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2001-11-07

Washington Says It Can’t Find Osama, But It Is Communicating with Him: The U.S. Will Attend the WTO Meeting in Qatar After Receiving Assurance From Bin Laden That It’s Safe

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The Bush Administration continues to pound Afghanistan with B-52’s, cluster bombs, and fuel-air explosives in itsefforts get Osama bin Laden, while civilian deaths and world outrage continue to rise.

The Bush Administration and Pentagon may not be able to find Osama bin Laden, but they are communicating with him ­through the Emir of Qatar. At least according a German paper, Die Tageszeitung.

This week trade ministers from around the world are traveling to the tiny Gulf Emirate of Qatar, where the WTO willbegin its ministerial meeting on Friday amidst unprecedented security. After massive popular protests disrupted thelast WTO meeting in Seattle, Qatar was the only country willing to host this year’s gathering. The country has nofreedom of speech or assembly, no political parties, unions or elected legislature and had pledged to tightlyrestrict the entry of WTO critics to prevent protests.

Qatar is home, however, to the cable network Al-Jazeera, the freest source of news in the Arab world. Since September11 US officials have slammed Al-Jazeera for carrying criticism of the US and broadcasting tapes of Osama bin Laden.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon decisively changed the significance of the WTO meeting. Manycountries, including the US, worried about the possibility of political unrest and event terrorist attacks in Qatarwhile the US and Britain bombed Afghanistan.

But the WTO decided to go ahead with the meeting after the US received assurances . . . from Osama bin Laden . . .that there would be no trouble.

Guest:

  • Andreas Zumach, journalist with Die Tageszeitung who broke the story.

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