onsdag den 29. september 2010

German Islamic Fifth Colonne and Meet Bin Ladens and their Saudi buddies: Der Spiegel analysis of Osama Bin Laden funding and logistics of Islamic Imperialism - "The Saudi Arabian Wahhabites are the luxury version of the Taliban"


Terror Alert
Hamburg Islamist Speaks of Threat of Attacks in Germany
Police officers guard the entrance of the Taiba mosque, the Hamburg home to many Islamists that was closed by the city in August.

Police officers guard the entrance of the Taiba mosque, the Hamburg home to many Islamists that was closed by the city in August.

German officials are investigating apparent statements by a Hamburg Islamist recently arrested by US forces in Afghanistan about attack scenarios for terror strikes in Germany and neighboring countries. Ahmad S. is one of a number of Germany-based Islamists thought to have traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2009.

Federal authorities in Germany are moving quickly to investigate claims by a German Islamist based in Afghanistan that militant jihadists may be planning attacks in Germany. American security forces detained Ahmad S. in Kabul at the beginning of July on suspicion of terrorism. The 36-year-old, who comes from Hamburg, Germany, has since been interrogated at the US military prison in Baghram.

He is reported to have spoken extensively about attack scenarios in Germany and neighboring European countries, according to information obtained by SPIEGEL. The Americans consider the prisoner to be an important source. S. is believed to be part of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IBU), a terror organization that has succeeded in attracting a number of recruits from Germany.

Since his arrest, Germany's Foreign Ministry has also issued several requests calling for German diplomats in Afghanistan to be given access to S., who is a German of Afghan descent. The German Interior Ministry and security authorities are also interested in the prisoner. They believe that S. left Germany at the beginning of March 2009 together with his Indonesian wife, his brother Sulyman and another married couple from Hamburg. They are believed to have flown from Qatar to Peshawar in ordered to travel from there to the Afghan-Pakistani border region.

Homegrown Islamists

Within a short period of time in 2009, a total of around a dozen Hamburg-based Islamists disappeared. German security authorities believe some of them received training in terror camps in the use of weapons and explosives. The group moved in circles close to Hamburg's Taiba mosque, which was recently closed by city officials and had also been visited by members of the terror cell responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York.

S. apparently also had good contacts within the conspirators' circle. He often drove the father of Mounir el Motassadeq to jail visits with Motassadeq who was sentenced in 2007 to 15 years by a German court for his participation in the 9/11 attacks in the United States. In 2002, S. also went on vacation with Motassadeq's family in Morocco.

Like Motassadeq, S. also worked at the Hamburg airport, where he did cleaning work on aircraft. A further Islamist from Hamburg, the German-Syrian Rami M., was extradited from Pakistan two months after his arrest to Germany in August and is now sitting in a jail in Germany. A judge had ordered him to be obtained on suspicion of membership in a foreign terrorist group and the German federal prosecutor is currently investigating S.

400 Dangerous Islamists in Germany

Over the weekend, the head of Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) told a newspaper that his office estimates there are more than 400 Islamists currently in Germany. The core is comprised of 131 people considered to be potential "offenders." BKA President Jörg Ziercke used that term to describe in an interview with Berlin's Tagesspiegel those "we assume could commit politically motivated crimes of considerable scale." Ziercke also estimated that those potentially violent criminals were supported by a further 278 supporters and other "relevant people."

He said the BKA is concerned by the many trips taken by Islamists between Germany and the Afghan-Pakistani border region. He said there was concrete evidence that 70 Islamists from Germany had undergone paramilitary training in terror camps. He said 40 are believed to have participated in combat in Afghanistan. Ziercke noted, however, that German authorities succeeded in stopping a total of 26 potentially violent Islamists from leaving Germany since early 2009.

Ziercke also told the newspaper he did not believe that al-Qaida is still capable of repeating terrorist acts on the scale of those seen in 2001. He noted that al-Qaida leaders like Osama bin Laden and Egypt's Aiman al-Sawahiri are being pursued with great effort and that their movements are severely restricted in their hiding spaces in Pakistan's Waziristan border region. He said he considered al-Qaida in North Africa, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iraq to be more dangerous.

dsl -- with wires


The Third Generation
German Jihad Colonies Sprout Up in Waziristan

By Yassin Musharbash, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark

Photo Gallery: 5 Photos

A wave of Germans traveling to training camps for militant jihadists has alarmed security officials back in Europe. The recruits are quickly becoming radicalized and, in some cases, entire families are departing to hotbeds for terrorism. It is even believed that colonies catering to German Islamists have taken shape in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It was a Sunday in September when they lost their son Jan*. He gave his parents a particularly tight hug, his father recalls, a long and intense embrace. The father says that he could sense that this was no normal goodbye, and that it was about more than the supposed vacation trip to celebrate the couple's first wedding anniversary -- which was the story that Jan, 24, and his wife Alexandra* had cooked up for him.

It was the day of the German parliamentary elections in 2009, and the autumn sun was shining in Berlin, but Jan and Alexandra weren't interested in who would govern the country. They were going to leave Germany. They had rejected this society and this state. Jan and Alexandra packed their things into a rental car, picked up another couple, and the four friends headed off into exile. One of their traveling companions was 17 years old and six months pregnant -- her husband had just turned 20. Their child would not be born in Germany.

The two married couples headed to Budapest, where they boarded a plane for Istanbul. Jan placed one last call to his parents from a hotel.

Since then there have been only sporadic e-mails. These have been loving messages to his father and mother. But he also writes things that frighten his parents. He is living among brothers and doesn't need much money, Jan writes. No, they can't visit him -- it would be too dangerous, he says. And no, he can no longer imagine returning to Berlin, to a life among the kuffar, the infidels.

Then, in December, he wrote that he didn't know if he would live to see the next summer. Since then his parents have been looking in their mailbox every morning -- and every morning it's the same: nothing. They can hardly bear the uncertainty.

Extremist Expats

German intelligence agencies presume that Jan and Alexandra are now living in the Afghan-Pakistani border region. It is a world in which al-Qaida and the Taliban are strong and the state is weak, where conflicts are resolved according to the rules of the sharia and local chieftains. This is also allegedly the last refuge, at least for the time being, of Osama bin Laden.

In this remote mountain region, a colony of Germans has sprung up -- expats who have severed all roots and found a new homeland in the Hindu Kush. Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) maintains a list of suspects who have taken off to Afghanistan or Pakistan -- or at least tried to leave -- over the past few years. The list has nearly 100 names. It's a directory of the third generation of Islamist terrorists after the 9/11 suicide pilots and Germany's so-called "Sauerland Cell". Like their predecessors, they are eager to fight the holy war and die a martyr's death. Intelligence agencies are now wondering who among this generation will become the next Mohammed Atta or the next Fritz Gelowicz, the ring leader of the Sauerland Cell -- or who will emulate former Bosch employee Cüneyt Ciftci, who hailed from the quiet southern German town of Ansbach and carried out a suicide bombing in Afghanistan in March 2008, blowing himself to pieces and killing four people.

The list includes Jan and Alexandra from Berlin, Michael W. from Hamburg -- who tried to slip away last spring but was arrested in Pakistan and sent back -- and the 19-year-old Berliner Omar H., who disappeared with his girlfriend last January. They are driven by the dream of a life that they see as a pure reflection of the teachings of Islam. They want to exchange the Western world for an archaic life in barren huts, where they only occasionally have electricity and where the Koran stands above everything.

The first two generations consisted of angry young men who yearned to go into battle, and opted to leave their women behind. The third generation is different, though. They are younger and highly ethnically mixed, often men and women who leave Germany together -- or even shortly before the birth of their children -- on their way from the Berlin district of Wedding to Waziristan, the porous border region skirting the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Part 2: 'It's Shocking How Quickly Your Own Child Can Slip Away from You'

Agencies such as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic intelligence agency, and the BKA are particularly worried about the speed at which these young men and women are prepared to leave their lives in Germany, usually burning their bridges behind them. Occasionally, as in the case of Jan and his wife, it takes only a few months before they become unreachable -- first in terms of their willingness to listen to opposing points of view, then in a very literal sense.

Jan's parents, who came to Berlin from Eastern Europe 20 years ago, noticed the first change in May 2008, when their only son suddenly refused to eat pork. He told his mother earlier that he had purchased a copy of the Koran.

His parents weren't concerned because Jan had completed high school and planned to become a career soldier. He also had his girlfriend Alexandra, who was two years younger than him. The two young people wanted to get married. It looked like the makings of a picture-book life: peaceful, happy and unspectacular.

The wedding was in September 2008 -- a beautiful ceremony, held in the middle of the religious fasting month of Ramadan. They didn't eat until after sunset, but there was music and the bride was dressed entirely in white, just as she had wanted. In November, the couple married again -- this time in a Muslim ceremony -- and after that everything went very quickly. By March 2009, the parents only saw their daughter-in-law wearing a full veil. And the number of conflicts started increasing.

Jan tried to convert his father to Islam. His father accompanied him to the mosque to see who his son was meeting with. Jan even tried to convert his elderly grandmother, who is a fervently pious Catholic.

He decided to drop his original career plan of becoming a professional soldier, preferably stationed abroad. Jan told his parents that he otherwise might be forced to fight against his fellow believers. He also dropped out of vocational school.

By early 2009 the young couple mentioned for the first time that they would rather practice their faith undisturbed by distractions, in a country where this was still possible -- in Yemen, for example, Somalia or Pakistan, far away from the big cities. Last autumn, Jan and Alexandra started to secretly auction off their possessions on eBay. The process of radicalization had taken little over a year. "It's shocking how quickly your own child can slip away from you," says Jan's mother, who is now seeking contact with other families who have had similar experiences. "Hardly anyone else can understand our situation," she says.

The Recruiter

German officials believe that Jan can be seen in a video made by a relatively new group that calls itself the "German Taliban Mujahedeen". Up until now, they have drawn attention to themselves with noisy propaganda -- in a video released last fall that threatened to take the war to German cities, for example. This message was illustrated with images of the Brandenburg Gate and the main railway station in Hamburg. The man who appears to be responsible for the propaganda is Ahmet M., 32, who has apparently become something of a media services provider for a segment of the German colony.

Ahmet goes by the name of "Saladin" on the Internet, and every few weeks his "Elif Medya" label issues a new propaganda film aimed at luring new volunteers to Afghanistan. The muddled messages of German Islamist Eric Breininger from the milieu of the Sauerland Cell carry this same trademark, as do the communiqués of the "German Taliban."

Saladin's specialization with recruits from Germany can be explained by his personal history. He was born in the northern town of Salzgitter and his last German place of residence was in the state of Saarland. He ran afoul of the law in Germany at an early age and was caught stealing for the first time at 15. Later, he was convicted of dealing hash and cocaine, sentenced to three years in prison and deported to Turkey in April 2000.

German investigators believe that Ahmet M. alias Saladin is a key recruiter on the German-speaking scene. Only a few weeks ago, he personally tried to direct a willing recruit all the way from Germany to the Hindu Kush, but the German police intercepted the Berliner en route.

Ahmet M. boasts that he has served as the spokesman for the Islamic Jihad Union over the past few years, but he says "now I work for the Taliban." The German-Turk is thought to act as a link between the young new recruits and the front. During the month of Ramadan, he collected donations on German online forums to purchase "basic foodstuffs for the widows and orphans" and the wounded on the jihad battlefields of Afghanistan.

Part 3: From Pothead to Mujahedeen

The videos from the combat zone may seem bizarre, but they are effective. They lure men like Michael W. from Hamburg, an ethnic German born in Kazakhstan, who headed off in March 2009. Traveling with a friend, he flew with Qatar Airways from Vienna to Doha. When the two men checked in that morning in Vienna, Austrian officials asked them questions such as where they intended to travel and what they planned to do in Pakistan.

Take a vacation, said one.

Do business with carpets, said the other.

Police discovered that Michael W. was carrying two notes that smacked of neither vacationing nor the carpet trade.

One of them bore the headline "Rules of Conduct for the Jihad" and focused on highly practical issues. "Remain calm during battle. Do not scream," was one of the guidelines. "Do not punish with fire" and "no mutilating corpses," were two other bits of advice. The second piece of paper was a letter of recommendation from someone called "Ibrahim, the Lebanese from Hamburg," apparently to grant the holder access to a training camp. In addition, both men had laptops and mobile phones in their original packaging. The Austrians allowed them to pass, and they traveled via Doha to Karachi in Pakistan. There they were arrested because they were apparently traveling under false pretenses. Later, they were deported to Germany.

Michael W. is now 24 years old. He usually wears long, light-colored garments, has a big flowing beard and smiles a great deal. The police have identified him as a "dangerous element" and federal prosecutors are investigating his activities. He is seen as one of the new enemies of the state. It is likely that he was introduced to the scene by a fellow high school student in his graduating class of 2006.

In Hamburg there is a group of young believers who have been meeting since the summer of 2008, and it reportedly includes Michael W. The leader of the group has slipped past the border controls and is now in Waziristan -- a former pothead who has become a mujahedeen. Those who have been left behind meet every Friday in the former Quds Mosque on Hamburg's Steindamm street -- the very same house of worship once frequented by Mohammed Atta, and now called the Taiba Mosque. During religious services, Michael W. sits extremely close to the low wooden pedestal where the prayer leader stands.

Isolation, Deprivation and Suffering

It's possible that Michael W. should be thankful to the Pakistani border authorities. They may have saved his life. Reports currently arriving from the Hindu Kush in Hamburg, Berlin and elsewhere sound like a far cry from paradise -- and more like war and death. They paint a picture of life in isolation, full of deprivation and suffering.

Ever since the Pakistani army launched an offensive last fall and advanced on Waziristan, the Islamist groups have had to fear for their existence. "The kuffar are attacking us with all their might," one report from the combat zone states. There are also Germans among the heavily wounded. Relatives back home in Germany are now afraid that their children will be killed by the bullets of the Pakistani army -- or by a US drone attack.

Ever since he left Germany, Jan's parents have been asking themselves if their son is actually capable of fighting. On the one hand, his father says, Jan has never been violent. The father says he once asked him directly about it, and his son replied: "I'm not crazy." On the other hand, he recalls that they once went to see the combat-filled film "300," and Jan said how great it must be to have something worth fighting for.

And then there's that last will and testament. It was written by Omar H., one of Jan's acquaintances from Berlin. He slipped off the radar in late January together with his 16-year-old girlfriend Stefanie, who now calls herself "Amina". They are probably on their way to the German colony -- to the others from Berlin.

"I want to be buried in a Muslim cemetery. Care should be taken to ensure that no non-believer (including Jews and Christians) is buried near my grave," Omar decreed in his testament with his rounded, flawless schoolboy handwriting. "When I die, I would like to be washed according to Islamic rites by my wife Amina along with the helpers of her choice, then wrapped and buried. This is my wish unless Allah, in his mercy, honors me with a martyr's death."

* Editor's note: Name has been changed by the editors.

Translated from the German by Paul Cohen


Meet The Bin Ladens
Osama's Road to Riches and Terror

By Georg Mascolo and Erich Follath

The Bin Laden family disowned black sheep Osama in 1994. But have they really broken with the mega-terrorist? Recently revealed classified documents seem to suggest otherwise. Osama's violent career has been made possible in part by the generosity of his family -- and by his contacts with the Saudi royals.
Osama bin Laden remains at large. More questions are now being asked as to exactly how much help he has received from his family.

Osama bin Laden remains at large. More questions are now being asked as to exactly how much help he has received from his family.

In early spring 2002, American intelligence agents tipped off authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina that something wasn't quite right with the "Benevolence International Foundation." Their reaction was swift; special forces stormed eight offices of the Islamic foundation in Sarajevo and in Zenica. They found weapons and explosives, videos and flyers calling for holy war. More importantly, however, they discovered a computer with a mysterious file entitled "Tarich Osama" -- Arabic for "Osama's Story."

After printing out the file -- close to 10,000 pages worth -- the intelligence experts quickly realized they had stumbled upon a true goldmine. They were looking at nothing less than the carefully documented story of al-Qaida, complete with scanned letters, minutes of secret meetings, photos and notes -- some even written in Osama Bin Laden's handwriting. CIA experts secured the highly sensitive material, dubbed "Golden Chain," and took everything back to the United States. To this day, only fragments of the material have been published. Now, however, SPIEGEL magazine has been given complete access to the entire series of explosive documents dating from the late 1980s to the early 1990s.

During that time, Osama bin Laden, known as "OBL" in CIA parlance, was primarily interested in "preserving the spirit of jihad" that had developed during the successful Afghanistan campaign -- a fight which saw an international group of Muslim fighters stand up to the mighty Soviet army. Bin Laden wanted to expand the group's activities to battle "the infidels" in the West. A full decade before the attacks on the Twin Towers, the documents make horrifyingly clear, bin Laden was already dreaming of "staging a major event for the mass media, to generate donations."

Meet the bin Ladens

This is the first installment of a two- part series on the family of Osama bin Laden. You can read the second here. more...
Finances are the focal point in these early al-Qaida documents. OBL, as one of the heirs of a large construction company, had a substantial fortune at his disposal, but it was still not enough to finance global jihad. The Saudi elite -- and his own family -- came to his assistance.

"Be generous when doing God's work"

The evidence lies in the most valuable document investigators managed to acquire: a list of al-Qaida's key financial backers. The list, titled with a verse from the Koran, "Let us be generous when doing God's work," is a veritable who's who of the Middle Eastern monarchy, including the signatures of two former cabinet ministers, six bankers and twelve prominent businessmen. The list also mentions "the bin Laden brothers." Were these generous backers aware, at the time, that were not just donating money to support the aggressive expansion of the teaching of the Islamic faith, but were also financing acts of terror against non-believers? Did "the bin Laden brothers," who first pledged money to Al-Qaida and then, in 1994, issued a joint press statement declaring that they were ejecting Osama from the family as a "black sheep," truly break ties with their blood relatives -- or were they simply pulling the wool over the eyes of the world?

Bin Laden became a household name after the dramatic Sept. 11 attacks.

Bin Laden became a household name after the dramatic Sept. 11 attacks.
Vincent Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism for the CIA, says, "I tracked the bin Ladens for years. Many family members claimed that Osama was no longer one of them. It's an easy thing to say, but blood is usually thicker than water."

Carmen bin Laden, a sister-in-law of the terrorist, who lived with the extended family in Jeddah for years, says, "I absolutely do not believe that the bin Ladens disowned Osama. In this family, a brother is always a brother, no matter what he has done. I am convinced that the complex and tightly woven network between the bin Laden clan and the Saudi royal family is still in operation."

French documentary filmmaker Joël Soler even goes so far as to refer to the family as "A Dynasty of Terror," in his somewhat speculative made-for-TV piece.

But could this really be possible? Are the bin Ladens (or "Binladins," as they more commonly spell it), with their 25 brothers, 29 sisters, in-laws, aunts and, by now, at least 15 children of Osama, nothing but a clan of terrorists? Or are relatives being taken to task for the crimes of one family member, all on the strength of legends and conspiracy theories?

American celebrity attorney Ron Motley plans to file a lawsuit against alleged Saudi backers of al-Qaida on behalf of hundreds of families who lost relatives in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Listed among the defendants summoned by federal judge Richard Casey at Motley's request in January 2005 were Osama and one of his brothers, as well as the family's billion-dollar business in Jeddah, the "Saudi Binladin Group."

Tracking the bin Ladens across the globe

To form an impression of this rather unique extended family, one would have to travel to the desert kingdom, where it has its roots, as well as to Washington, Geneva, London and the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan -- in other words, to all those places where the bin Ladens have left their tracks or where they live today. And the best way to get to the bottom of this clan is to piece together its many parts. Only then will it become more apparent whether the bin Ladens are a clan of terrorists or (with one well-known exception) a terribly affable family.

The bin Laden story, with its dramatic twists and turns, almost comes across as an Arab version of Thomas Mann's novel "Buddenbrooks." In both cases, it's the story of an imposing patriarch, who has managed to hold the clan together, and of his sons, who cannot or do not wish to stop the family's moral decline.

Al-Qaida has supporters the world over.

Al-Qaida has supporters the world over.
JEDDAH, ON THE RED SEA, IS A MAJOR CITY AND AN IMPORTANT TRANSIT PORT FOR SAUDI ARABIA. It's also one of the main ports of entry for pilgrimages to the Muslim holy city of Mecca -- and to the headquarters of the family dynasty, the Saudi Binladin Group (SBG).

"We have a mayor and all kinds of political heavyweights. But the truly ruler of Jeddah is Bakr bin Laden," says an informer who agreed to speak only under condition of anonymity. "But Bakr is never seen in public, and when he does occasionally go to the Intercontinental Hotel for dinner -- usually with Osama's son Abdullah -- he has the entire restaurant closed. During a tour of the city, the source points out a glass and steel palace not far from the city's downtown area, with its twisting alleyways and smattering of restored old houses. It's the headquarters of SBG, the secretive realm of Bakr Bin Laden, 58, the son of the family's patriarch and chairman of the company's board of directors.

Jeddah is the place where the clan's founding father began his astonishing career. And it's also the place where the first family member became connected with Islamic terrorism -- not Osama, but his older brother, Mahrus bin Laden. US authorities have also clearly linked another member of the clan, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, who is married to one of Osama's sisters, to terrorist attacks abroad.

Although Bin Laden senior -- Mohammed bin Laden -- was practically illiterate, he was blessed with tremendous energy and keen sense of business. In 1930, he left his village, Ribat, in the desperately poor Yemeni region of Hadramaut, and headed north. In Jeddah, then a small city, he eked out a living as a porter for pilgrims, steadfastly saving his earnings to start his own company.

A year later, when the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia gained its independence, the immigrant from the south was still struggling to make ends meet. But he quickly recognized the two factors that were becoming increasingly important in his adopted country: oil, which had been flowing from Saudi wells since 1938, and, with its enormous profits, was revolutionizing the country's traditional society and causing nomadic tribes to take up roots; and the country's authoritarian king, whose patronage sometimes determined survival, but always determined social advancement.

Despite a worldwide manhunt -- and an assault on Tora Bora in Afghanistan, bin Laden has managed to evade capture.

Despite a worldwide manhunt -- and an assault on Tora Bora in Afghanistan, bin Laden has managed to evade capture.
A third factor that was critical to the success of the state, and was symbiotically linked with the monarchy from the very beginning, was the religious establishment in its uniquely Saudi form. The principles of Wahhabism-- as Saudi Islam is known -- have their roots with the 18th century radical zealot Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the Sauds' most powerful ally in their efforts to take control of the peninsula. After the founding of the Saudi state, fundamentalism became the official religion.

The royal court builder

Mohammed bin Laden had no quarrels with either the preachers or the princes; his only goal was to make it to the top, and the construction business was the ideal launching pad. The kingdom needed roads, railroads and airports. Bin Laden senior built ramps in the palace for the handicapped King Abd al-Aziz's wheelchair and highways into the mountains for his luxury cars. Bin Laden was later named Minister of Public Spending, and the royal family even awarded him the contract to renovate the country's holy sites. The family business, SBG, quickly developed into the court builder for the entire Saudi infrastructure.

Following an old Islamic tradition, the bin Laden senior kept numerous wives. In 1956, he sired child number 17 with a Syrian woman from Latakia, and the boy was named Osama. It must have been difficult for the patriarch to keep track of his family; ten years later, child number 54 was born -- Mohammed bin Laden's last offspring. In 1968, the patriarch was killed when his Cessna, piloted by an American, crashed -- a foreshadowing of things to come.

The king placed the family business, SBG, under the management of a trustee, making the bin Laden sons the de facto wards of the monarch. Osama was ten years old at the time and he was occasionally allowed to ride along on the company's bulldozers. But he had hardly known his father -- a deficit he recognized only later in life when he elevated the family's patriarch to the status of Spiritus Rector in matters of Islamic fundamentalism.

Even as a boy, Osama was always considered the "holy one" in the family. He drew attention to himself when he denounced school soccer tournaments as a godless waste of time and assiduously monitored the houses of neighbors, taking it upon himself to enforce the state's prohibition of music. He enrolled in the economics program at Jeddah's King Abd al-Aziz University, where the curriculum was determined by anti-Western agitators from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Bin Laden with some of his top deputies.

Bin Laden with some of his top deputies.
The family became divided, into a more stationary branch, and an "international" branch that settled across the globe. One member of the latter camp was Salem bin Laden. He attended a British university, married a woman from an upper-class British family, and vacationed in Disneyland. In 1972, when the Saudi government relinquished control over SBG, Salem, as the family's eldest son, was named head of the company and quickly made it clear that he had no compunctions about doing business with the United States.

Salem bin Laden established the company's ties to the American political elite when, according to French intelligence sources, he helped the Reagan administration circumvent the US Senate and funnel $34 million to the right-wing Contra rebels operating in Nicaragua. He also developed close ties with the Bush family in Texas. But Salem's successors, not Salem, were the ones who were able to fully capitalize on these connections. In 1988, Salem died in a plane crash near San Antonio, Texas, when the aircraft he was piloted became entangled in a power line. After Salem's death, Bakr took control of SBG.

Brother terrorist

In the meantime, trouble was brewing at home in Saudi Arabia -- in Mecca, of all places, and with the presumed involvement of a family member. In November 1979, insurgents occupied and barricaded themselves into Islam's holiest site, demanding an end to corruption and wastefulness in Saudi Arabia and charging the royal family with having lost its legitimacy by currying favor with the West. It was an act of terror that foreshadowed every major plank of the al-Qaida platform of radical fundamentalism -- and it was no coincidence that this radical group was lead by members of the Muslim Brotherhood with ties to Osama's professors.

At the time, Osama was still entrenched in Saudi society, but his older brother, Mahrus, maintained ties to the fanatics. It's even speculated that he may have used his access to SBG's offices to obtain the renovation plans for the Great Mosque, together with all its secret passageways, and handed them over to the radicals. In any event, the fanatics forced their way onto the mosque's grounds in a truck that was later identified as a Binladin company vehicle.

Mahrus bin Laden was arrested, but was then released for lack of evidence. The terrorist attack turned into a nightmare for the authorities. With the help of French special forces, the Saudis managed to overcome the attackers, but only after a two-week siege and a bloody battle claiming more than a hundred lives. For Mahrus's career, however, the affair proved to be nothing more than a minor speed bump and he later resurfaced as head of SBG's office in Medina.

In late 1979, Osama, with the royal family's blessing, set off for Afghanistan to participate in the jihad against the Soviet Union, which had invaded its neighbor to the south. Both the CIA and Saudi Arabia helped fund the Mujahedeen's armed struggle against the communist "infidels." Prince Turki, head of the Saudi secret service, visited Osama several times in Afghanistan and heavy equipment provided by the SBG family business was used to excavate secret tunnels. For Osama, the support of the Saud family and the bin Ladens became a reliable source of funding.

Osama bin Laden with his son Mohammed and Mohammed Atif.

Osama bin Laden with his son Mohammed and Mohammed Atif.
In 1990, after his triumph in Afghanistan, OBL offered the Saudi royal family the use of his troops to battle Saddam Hussein, whose forces had invaded Kuwait. But King Fahd decided instead to bring in American forces. The decision proved to be a financial coup for the family business, which helped build military bases for the outsiders, but it was turning point in Osama's life. Embittered, he went to Sudan in 1992, where he built training camps and organized attacks with his al-Qaida group, especially against "infidels" from the United States. He also made sure that the planning of terrorist activities remained in the family. His brother-in-law, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, was involved in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. On his visa application for the United States, he had listed his occupation as an "employee of the Saudi Binladin Group." Khalifa was briefly detained in the United States, but was then deported to Jordan, where he was released because of formal legal errors. In the past, he had also been implicated as a financial backer of the Philippine Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization.

Part II of "Osama's Road to Riches and Terror" can be read here.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Meet The Bin Ladens, Part II
Tracking Osama's Kin Around the World

By Erich Follath and Georg Mascolo

Osama bin Laden's family has disavowed itself from its terrorist "black sheep," but the discrepancies are considerable. In interviews with his family that took our reporters to Paris, Arlington, Virginia, Geneva and the furthest-flung corners of Pakistan, we take a closer look and the ties he may or may not still have to his relatives.

Osama also stayed in touch with his friends from the Saudi intelligence agency, even after Libya issued a warrant for his arrest, charging bin Laden with alleged involvement in the murder of two Germans -- an official working for Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and his wife. Prince Turki sent Osama's mother, Hamida, and his brother Bakr to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, several times to convince Osama to abandon his terrorist activities. The visits were so frequent that Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, believed at the time that Osama was a Saudi spy. Washington increasingly came under pressure to do something about OBL, especially after his involvement in attacks in Somalia and Yemen. The US government met with Saudi officials behind the scenes, confronting them with satellite images of al-Qaida training camps in northern Sudan. In April 1994, King Fahd finally revoked Osama bin Laden's Saudi Arabian citizenship. The bin Laden family followed suit, issuing a sparse, two-sentence statement, signed by Bakr, disowning Osama.

Meet the bin Ladens

This is the second installment of a two- part series on the family of Osama bin Laden. You can read the first here. more...
Despite these actions, OBL was still far from being a "black sheep" with no ties to his native country. Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki visited bin Laden several times after he had moved from Sudan to Afghanistan to join forces with the radical Taliban. Turki allegedly brought along expensive gifts to Kandahar, in the form of dozens of pickup trucks. According to a former member of the Taliban intelligence service, Prince Turki and OBL made a deal: The Saudis would support al-Qaida financially, but only under the condition that there would be no attacks on Saudi soil. (Prince Turki, now Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Great Britain, has denied these claims, telling SPIEGEL that they are "nothing but fantasy.")

On Jan. 9, 2001, OBL attended his son Mohammed's wedding in Kandahar, accompanied, according to CIA sources, by his mother and two of his brothers. The CIA also claims that "two of Osama's sisters traveled to Abu Dhabi" a month later, where they met with an al-Qaida agent at the Gulf emirate's airport to deliver large sums of cash.

In mid-January 2005, New York federal judge Richard Casey wrote, in his grounds for allowing the civil suit against SBG filed by the families of 9/11 victims, that "the Saudi Binladin Group maintained close relationships with Osama bin Laden at certain times," and that it remains "unclear" whether these ties continued when OBL became involved in terrorism.

Can this global company, with its close ties to the Saudi royal family, truly be brought to trial, or will the US government, officially allied with Riyadh in its "war on terror," work behind the scenes to have the case dismissed? SBG has already demonstrated its willingness to work with the West by entering into joint ventures with Motorola and a deal with Disney, and has also been Porsche's official agent in the kingdom. Moreover, SBG is developing new airport security equipment in Saudi Arabia, as well as building housing for US managers working in the oil industry.

In Kazakhstan, the Saudi Binladin Group is helping build the country's new capital, Astana. In Syria, SBG and a Spanish company jointly operate the country's biggest olive oil processing plant. And in Dubai, the family company has just submitted a bid for a portion of the construction of what will be the world's tallest building. Next to aircraft, it seems, the bin Ladens see towers as a special challenge.

PARIS, AVENUE MONTAIGNE, NEAR THE CHAMPS-ELYSÉES AND THE LUXURY HOTEL "PLAZA ATHÉNÉE". A dinner appointment with Yeslam bin Laden at one the French capital's most expensive and exclusive restaurants.

He did not reserve a table. Was it because he doesn't like to identify himself as a bin Laden on the phone? "No no," says Osama's brother, "despite everything, I am proud of our family's name. But they know me here, so I don't need a reservation." Indeed, the staff, apparently accustomed to princely gratuities, practically bends over backward for bin Laden, a regular here, and seats us at the best table in the restaurant. Yeslam bin Laden, 55, orders a steak, medium rare. "Osama and I grew up very differently, and I never shared his system of beliefs," says Yeslam bin Laden.

When Yeslam was six, his mother sent him to a school in Beirut, because it was far more liberal there than in Saudi Arabia. He later attended schools and universities in Sweden and England. Although he spent his vacations at home, he saw his father "rarely," and his "half-brother Osama no more than three or four times, the last time in 1987 or thereabouts." He says that his only clear memory of Osama is of his strict condemnation of music, and his religious fanaticism, which struck Yeslam as odd. Yeslam himself believes religion is a personal matter, and he refuses to take responsibility for others. "Am I my brother's keeper?" he asks, calling himself an "enlightened Muslim," clearly alluding to the biblical story of Cain and Abel.

As a young man, Yeslam went to night clubs, drove a Porsche and earned his pilot's license. He studied business administration in Los Angeles. Photos from his college days show him with his Persian fiancée, a long-haired, happy hippy couple ensconced in the California lifestyle. He rarely received visitors from Saudi Arabia. One of these visitors was his devout brother Mahfus, who brought news of the bin Laden family, the Saudi royals and the Wahhabite clerics. But despite his worldly influences, Yeslam bin Laden retained his Saudi roots and insisted on a wedding in Jeddah. Against his wife Carmen's will, the women were fully veiled at the ceremony.

After living in the United States, Yeslam spent more than a decade and a half in Saudi Arabia -- from 1977 to 1984 -- where he was one of the leading executives in the family company in Jeddah. After a dispute with his brothers over SBG's finances, Yeslam went to Geneva, where he founded an investment company that specialized in managing large fortunes. There were soon rumors that Yeslam had reconciled with Bakr and was involved once again in business dealings with the bin Laden family. He dreamed of the birth of a son, and probably of rising to the top of SBG management in Jeddah.

When Yeslam's third daughter was born in April 1987 and he began spending long periods away from home, his marriage failed. According to his wife Yeslam, worried about his business, he became increasingly tense. Members of the Saudi royal family were now traveling to Geneva regularly and demanding his attention, especially the influential Prince Mishal. Yeslam bin Laden's divorce developed, as he himself says, into a bitter "War of the Roses." But in 2001, after years of troubles, he was finally successful on another front when he was granted Swiss citizenship. What is Yeslam's relationship with his brother Osama, who, as he claims, he last saw 18 years ago?

"9/11 was a tremendous shock for me," says Yeslam, now an upstanding citizen of Geneva who has also donated many thousands of dollars to the local film festival. "Osama had long since become a stranger to me, nothing but a name one reads in the newspaper," he says. "I felt that I was being held responsible for the crimes of a relative." The offices of his Geneva-based Saudi Investment Company (Sico) and his properties near Cannes were searched by the authorities, "just like that, on the strength of suspicion," he says. In early 2001, he registered the name "Bin Laden" as a trademark. He planned to establish a fashion house that would sell Bin Laden jeans but then, heeding the advice of friends, he abandoned the idea after 9/11: "After the incidents in New York, it would have been seen as a label in poor taste."

He developed a new business idea in the fall of 2004, a line of perfume. It's named "Yeslam," after its inventor and, according to its advertising, marries the scents of jasmine and lilies of the valley with an underlying note of sandalwood. In ads for the perfume, this combination of scents produces "a penetrating but gentle message for those who yearn for inner peace." The company plans to sell 60,000 bottles to its peace-loving customers.

Everything could work out for the best in Yeslam's world -- if only these new, hateful accusations would go away. A shadow lies over the man who tries to be pro-American and anti-Osama with every fiber of his being. In late December 2004, the French paper Le Monde reported that examining magistrate Renaud von Ruymbeke plans to investigate the bin Laden family's allegedly dubious financial dealings.

At the center of the investigation is an account that brothers Omar and Heidar bin Laden opened in 1990 with Swiss bank UBS with an initial deposit of $450,000. According to documents presented to the court, this account was still in existence in 1997, and only two people were authorized to conduct transactions: Yeslam and Osama bin Laden. The French court also intends to investigate information suggesting that €241 million were funneled from Switzerland to shadowy bank accounts in Pakistan through Akberali Moawalla, a former business partner of Sico and an acquaintance of Yeslam. Could all this have occurred with Yeslam's involvement or knowledge?

"I am not involved in money-laundering, and especially not with al-Qaida," says Yeslam bin Laden, his voice becoming slightly hoarse and edgy. He says that he never used the alleged UBS account and, probably for this reason, forgot about it. He takes pains to point out that he has not been charged with anything, neither by the New York court nor the French judge. He says that he is "innocent until proven guilty" -- another Western concept that this man living between cultures values, knowing full well that it carries no particular weight in his native country.

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, HOME OF THE AMERICAN CEMETERY FOR WAR HEROES AND "HARRY'S TAP ROOM". It's a relatively inconspicuous burger-and-seafood restaurant conveniently located halfway between the White House and CIA headquarters in nearby Langley, Virginia. We are here for a meeting with the CIA agent who hunted down Osama, tried to shed light on the bin Laden family's business dealings, and probably knows a great deal about the mysterious departure of more than a dozen bin Laden family members from the United States after 9/11. This is the man who published the bestseller "Imperial Hubris" last year under the nom de plume "Anonymous."

Anonymous now has a name and a face. His name is Mike Scheuer, and a gray beard partially covers his finely-chiseled academic face. He resigned from the CIA after 22 years of service, because he was no longer able to remain anonymous. Journalists were on the verge of uncovering his identity, and his book was facing harsh criticism from the White House. "That was when I did what had to be done," says Scheuer, 52, before taking a bite of his hamburger. He leaves his French fries untouched, glancing at his stomach. Being overweight isn't exactly part of the image someone wants to convey who, as a CIA field agent, helped arm the mujahedeen to fight the Russians in Afghanistan and who, in 1996, was placed in charge of "Alec," the top-secret unit authorized by former President Bill Clinton to hunt down bin Laden.

It was the first time an entire CIA station focused on a single man. Scheuer headed the special unit for three years until his superiors, angered by his complaints that the hunt for the world's top terrorist was being conducted half-heartedly, reassigned him for the first time. But he was brought back after Sept. 11, 2001, when it became clear that his bleak predictions had come true. But Scheuer's criticism of the Iraq war ultimately destroyed his good standing with the White House. "Bush strengthened the terrorists with his invasion, but it was a truth that they didn't want to hear."

Scheuer's axis of evil differs markedly from the president's. He believes that Pakistan and, even more so, Saudi Arabia are the epicenters of global violence. "Many Saudis support the terrorists in Iraq to this day - but we're the ones who are putting up the money -- by paying $50 for a barrel of oil and making ourselves dependent on oil imports."

Scheuer, an experienced intelligence expert, doubts that the entire bin Laden family has severed ties with Osama: "I haven't seen anything in the last 10 years that's convinced me that would be the case." In his view, SBG still derives some of its profits from business dealings in the Islamic world that can be linked to the family's supposed "black sheep." "He's treated as a hero almost everywhere over there," says Scheuer.

The CIA came close to capturing OBL several times. On one occasion, during the al-Qaida leadership's hasty retreat from the Afghan city of Kandahar in the fall of 2001, family passports were inadvertently left behind. Saad, a son of Osama bin Laden, was supposedly sent back to al-Qaida headquarters to make sure the documents wouldn't fall into the hands of the Americans. When he realized he had forgotten the combination for the safe, he used a cell phone to get the information, directly violating his father's strict instructions. Several different intelligence agencies picked up the call, but by then it was too late to act.

According to Scheuer, members of the bin Ladin family who were doing business in the United States or studying at US universities were almost completely inaccessible. "My counterparts at the FBI questioned one of the bin Ladens," the former CIA agent recalls. "But then the State Department received a complaint from a law firm, and there was a huge uproar. We were shocked to find out that the bin Ladens in the United States had diplomatic passports, and that we weren't allowed to talk to them."

Scheuer believes that these diplomatic privileges also helped the bin Ladens get out of the United States quickly after September 11, in a bizarre episode that has even been probed by the US Congress and an investigative commission.

Only two days after the attacks, when the US government had just reopened US air space, charter jets began taking off from various cities. Nine pilots flew 142 Saudi Arabians back to the kingdom. On Sept. 20, 2001, the "bin Laden jet" took off from St. Louis, making stops in Los Angeles, Orlando, Washington and Boston. At each stop, the plane picked up more half-brothers, nephews, nieces and cousins of public enemy number one. At that point, the FBI had already begun investigating two of the bin Ladens who were flown out of the country. They both lived in Falls Church, a suburb of Washington, and were officials in the "World Assembly of Muslim Youth."

Richard Clarke, for many years the chief of counterterrorism at the White House, has revealed that he was responsible for the flights. He says that he grantedhis approval after having been asked to handle the issue. And by whom? Perhaps by Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, after coordinating the plan with Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar, a close friend of the First Family? "I would be happy tell you, but I don't remember," Clarke told a Senate investigating panel -- few believe he was telling the truth.
Of course, former CIA agent Scheuer is well aware that the bin Ladens, as investors in and customers of the Carlyle Group, an investment company, had common business interests with the Bushs. In fact, until October 2003 George W.'s father and predecessor in the White House still worked as an "advisor" for Carlyle, which is also involved in the defense sector. Although Scheuer is no wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, he also believes that the US government was "unusually" accommodating to the bin Ladens. Does he regret leaving the CIA, and does he dream of returning? Scheuer, a father of four, says: "I liked my job. I wanted to protect the country against its enemies -- but not the president against

Meet The Bin Ladens, Part II
Tracking Osama's Kin Around the World

By Erich Follath and Georg Mascolo

Part 2: NEXT PAGE: "The Saudi Arabian Wahhabites are the luxury version of the Taliban"

GENEVA, IN THE FRENCH-SPEAKING PART OF SWITZERLAND, AT THE BAR IN THE FIVE-STAR HOTEL LA RÉSERVE. The bar offers an impressive view of the lake and its snow-covered banks. We have an appointment with Osama's sister-in-law, Carmen bin Laden.

She arrives precisely on time. "I hate unpunctuality," she says, dropping her fur onto the arm of her chair and, with an alert, almost furtive look in her eyes, and observing her surrounding, as if she were expecting trouble and had to keep her guard up. She is an attractive woman who seems to draw attention to herself, the type of woman who is eternally in her late 30s, perfectly put together, from her face to her figure to her wardrobe. But despite her appearance, she doesn't come across as a Chanel doll. And despite the willpower she must have needed in the past, especially during her seven years in Saudi Arabia, she also exudes a sense of fragility.

Her father was a wealthy Swiss businessman and her mother the child of an upper-class Iranian family, and Carmen never lacked anything money could buy. But her parents' marriage failed just as she was entering school and, like so many children of divorce, she felt responsible. What fascinated Carmen most about Yeslam bin Laden when she met him in her early 20s was his self-confidence, but his good looks and clearly unlimited financial resources were also a plus.

While she felt that her years studying in the United States were carefree, the years spent in Jeddah after her marriage to Yeslam were nothing short of martyrdom. Living in the family clan's environment, she was able to observe first-hand the oppression of women and the indoctrination of children. For Carmen, it was unbearable not to be allowed to drive a car, or to be required to obtain her husband's permission whenever she wanted to travel. "The Saudi Arabian Wahhabites are the luxury version of the Taliban," says Carmen bin Laden.

She rarely saw Osama. She noticed him because he turned away in horror when she opened the house door: "I was unveiled, and he was afraid of the sight." The family saw OBL as fanatically pious -- and he was also admired for the same reason. But Carmen thought he was odd. She says that Osama's young wife, Najwa, was not even permitted to give her baby a bottle when it was very hot, because the merciless father felt that the bottle's nipple was "haram" -- impure in a religious sense.

The outsider observed the trench warfare that was taking place for power within the family dynasty, a battle in which her husband, son number 10, soon moved to the top. "The daily realty within the family was jealousy, envy and intrigue," she says. "But the all-powerful Islamic traditions of Wahhabism ensure that no one is excluded from the clan. No individual destiny is more important than the shared system of values."

This is why Carmen bin Laden believes it is impossible that the brothers have severed all ties with Osama. "No matter what he has done, they cannot disown him -- it would be a violation of the Sharia laws." And because of the close relationships between the royal family and the construction company, Carmen also believes that there are still secret links among Osama, various princes in senior government positions and leading religious scholars.

Carmen had little difficulty separating from Yeslam. "He became more and more Saudi, more intolerant, especially when we left Jeddah in 1984 and began living in Switzerland." After publishing a critical book about her experiences two years ago, she no longer maintains any contact with Yeslam or anyone in the bin Laden clan. Now she is working on a second book -- using documents she says will shed light on the bin Ladin's financial dealings and dubious transactions in tax havens.

She has never considered dropping her married name. "It would have looked as though my daughters and I were plagued by a bad conscience," she says. Even after divorcing Yeslam, she continues to fight for an adequate financial arrangement, "for the daughters," she says. Carmen bin Laden is proud of the fact that her three daughters have stayed with her. The youngest, Nur, 18, still lives at home and goes to school in Geneva, where she is a year away from graduation. Nadja, 27, studies design at a university in Geneva. Waffa, 29, earned a law degree from Columbia University and commutes between New York and London.

"My uncle's terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001 was also directly against me personally," says Waffa. Although she was in Geneva at the time of the attacks, her New York apartment, where she spends most of her time, was only about a mile from the Twin Towers.

Waffa, born in Los Angeles, is an American citizen and a vocal champion of everything OBL detests: Western open-mindedness in matters of faith, music and fashion. British tabloids describe Waffa as an "erotic-exotic brunette" who has become a "fixture on the London club scene." There has also been talk of a potential career as a pop singer, after friends introduced Waffa to Nellee Hooper, who has produced Madonna's and Björk's albums. Waffa has already recorded demos of what insiders have dubbed catchy East-West ethno-pop.

But Waffa bin Laden does not feel drawn to the spotlight, at least as she claims. She is primarily interested in finding a job in a law firm. After all, she says, she does have a law degree. She is convinced that her lack of success on the job market is solely attributable to her family name: "After all, who wants Osama bin Laden's niece as their legal advisor?" Manager Simon Coldwell also believes that she should think carefully before embarking on a career as a pop star: "There is only one surname that's less well-suited to launching a pop career -- Hitler."

THE VILLAGE OF DIR ON THE SOUTHERN SLOPES OF THE HINDUKUSH MOUNTAINS, JUST BELOW THE LOWARI PASS. The village is little more than a wretched, dusty group of huts at the end of the world, in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, a place shaped by "Pashtunwali," the code of honor of warlike tribes and Islamic loyalties. Tribal law offers unconditional protection for guests, even at the risk of one's own life, but also gives rise to gruesome blood feuds for perceived injustices and any form of insult.

Dir is famous throughout the region for its sharp knives and the Kalashnikov knockoffs that every young man older than 14 carries in the streets. It's also known for smuggling along dozens of hidden paths across the border into Afghanistan, only 40 kilometers away. Asmar, the Afghan village on the other side of the border, is the place where Osama bin Laden was last seen by credible witnesses -- well over a year ago (whereas his last taped message was recorded only five months ago).

The world's number one terrorist has moved on. Some intelligence experts believe he has gone north into the remote Wakhan region, with its jagged mountains and thousands of caves in which to hide. Others believe he is in the rugged mountainous Khost region south of here, on either side of the border town of Parachinar.

It seems difficult to believe that OBL can move around in this region entirely without the knowledge of Pakistani intelligence and military officials. American special forces are repeatedly seeing the same pattern: Whenever they believe they are close to bin Laden's followers in the border region, someone tips off the terrorists -- presumably high-ranking sympathizers within the ranks of Pakistani intelligence or military.

His mother Hamida's phone line in the Middle East is constantly monitored, on the off chance that Osama will call, enabling agents to track his whereabouts. The National Security Agency, America's enormous spy agency, obtained Osama's satellite telephone number in 1996, and its computers recorded every call made from Osama's number, 00873-682505331, but the number is long since defunct. Hundreds of calls were recorded, conversations with contacts in Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Pakistan. But no one spoke with Osama as frequently as his mother, Hamida. He apparently last spoke with Hamida in the spring of 2001, a few months before 9/11. In the very brief conversation Osama told his mother that he would not be able to call again for a long time, a remark that seemed cryptic to the agents listening in at the time, especially when Osama added that "great events are about to take place." At the time, US President George W. Bush was so convinced that this would be the way to catch the terrorist leader that he told the Emir of Qatar: "We know that he'll call his mother one day -- and then we'll get him."

Hamida herself has remained loyal to her son. "I disapprove of the ambitions the press ascribe to him," she said in 2003, "but I am satisfied with Osama, and I pray to God that He will guide him along the right path."

Said bin Laden, one of OBL's older sons and now on Washington's Top Twenty list of terrorists being sought worldwide, is also presumably under electronic surveillance. Two years ago, the Iranian authorities arrested Said as he was crossing the border from Afghanistan, and are apparently holding him, together with three other high-ranking members of al-Qaida, as a bargaining chip for negotiations with Washington.

Some American investigators believe that their best chances lie in keeping an eye on a village in Yemen's Hadramaut region, not far from the birthplace of the family patriarch, Mohammed bin Ladin. According to Western intelligence sources, a 20-year-old Yemeni woman and her child recently came to the village from Pakistan, and was taken in by her relatives. The two-year-old child is apparently another offspring of Osama bin Laden. If the information is correct, this would demonstrate that, even after 9/11, the world's most-wanted terrorist has not been leading the monastic life of a hermit.

A terrorist as a caring father of a family? As recently as 2000, OBL said the following to an interviewer: "I thank God that he has allowed my family to understand my path. They are praying for me."

He also values the blessing of his father, who he transformed posthumously into an Islamic fighter. "When he did some work in Jerusalem, he tried to have bulldozers converted into tanks so he could attack Israel -- he was disappointed when the plan failed."

Experts say that it would be a mistake to apply Western patterns of thought to Middle Eastern reasoning. According to the Wahhabite world view, those who declare war on the West and have killed Western civilians can still love their neighbors at home.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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* Part 1: Tracking Osama's Kin Around the World
* Part 2: NEXT PAGE: "The Saudi Arabian Wahhabites are the luxury version of the Taliban"