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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Prosecution photos offer rare glimpse of Bin Laden’s Afghan hideaway

“We spoke about the past, the present and the future,” wrote Abdel Barri Atwan, the journalist who took the photos in 1996.
By Brooks Hays   |   March 14, 2015 at 3:34 PM
Prosecution-photos-offer-rare-glimpse-of-Bin-Ladens-Afghan-hideaway (2)NEW YORK, March 14 (UPI) – A new set of photos offer a rare glimpse of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in and around a hideout in remote mountainous region ofAfghanistan known as Tora Bora. The photographs became public this week as part of a federal terrorism trial in Manhattan.
The pictures reveal the now infamous terrorist before he had captured the attention and ire of the world as chief orchestrator of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks. They show Bin Laden living a spartan, wary life, surrounded by Islamic texts and armed bodyguards, often holding a Kalashnikov, which he claimed had been taken from a Soviet general who was killed during the nine-year Soviet war in Afghanistan.
The photographs were taken by Abdel Barri Atwan, a Palestinian journalist who was invited to visit Bin Laden in 1996.
The terrorism conspiracy trial that produced the photos centers around Khaled Al Fawwaz, the Saudi Arabian man who reportedly arranged the meeting, and served as a mouthpiece for Bin Laden in London in the late 1990s.
The case, prosecuted by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was held just a few blocks from Ground Zero. The “high-ranking” al-Qaida operative was convicted earlier this month on four terrorism charges and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
“We spoke about the past, the present and the future, about the corrupt Arab regimes and about American injustice to Muslims,” Atwan wrote in his book about his experiences with Bin Laden. “He talked to me about the days he spent in Sudan and Somalia, attempts made on his life and the enormous financial rewards he was promised if he would give up his mission and jihad.”