Hunt for Bin Laden Heats Up
Claims of the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden seem to be as common as sightings of David Duchovny at porn shops. It is tempting to dismiss all such accounts as hearsay and rumors, but current reports focus on three areas of the world as the most likely hideout for the globe's most wanted man: Parachinar, Pakistan; Chitra, Pakistan; and most shockingly, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
While it is often argued bin Laden would never receive harbor on Iranian territory, this is the location most identified by eyewitness reports available to the public, allowing for a detailed chronology of his movement in Iran to be drawn, as I attempted to do in a comprehensive report last month. Stunning new evidence has come out substantiating such allegations, which should make those who adhere to the outdated "Iran would never work with Sunni radicals" theory stammer so much you'd think they were Ozzy Osbourne.
Alan Howell Parrot, the director of the Union for the Conservation of Raptors (UCR), is dedicated to protecting the falcons of the Middle East, which are used in hunting, a love shared by Osama bin Laden and the highest officials of the Gulf countries. His website, SaveTheFalcons.org, shows how al-Qaeda and other terrorists and criminals in the region are heavily involved in the illegal trade of the highly sought-after birds.
As revealed by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld at the Huffington Post, of all places, Parrot says that members of the UCR have met with bin Laden in Iran six times. These meetings occurred in Zahedan, which was identified by the government as the location of an al-Qaeda network in January; in a safe house north of Tehran, similar to the description provided by Iranian defectors; and in Mashhad, another location known to be long used by al-Qaeda to smuggle personnel in and out of Iran.
She writes that Parrot has been sending the information on the meetings to the government since November 2004, but no members of his staff that tracked and met with bin Laden were interviewed. Parrot also wrote a letter to the State Department on January 20 saying he had spoken with Iranian officials about the matter and "a negotiated and political (i.e., non-military) solution is available," consisting of the transfer of bin Laden from Iranian custody to the Saudi minister of foreign affairs, a friend of Parrot's. He received no reply.
Ken Timmerman, whom I consider to be a Luke Skywalker of journalism, has talked to Parrot and has the rest of the details. Through an informant, Parrot was able to arrange a meeting with a Tajik smuggler who reported befriending bin Laden after unintentionally meeting him in November 2004 near Baluchistan and meeting him five more times in Iran, the last being in October 2007. The smuggler met with Parrot in March 2008 and videotaped him, in disguise, for a documentary Parrot was making. The smuggler came with a security force that called him repeatedly throughout the interview, ready to charge in the moment he didn't silence it after a few rings.