London, Sep 12 (ANI): The handshake by world’s most dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden has been described as limp, and like shaking a wet fish by a producer of CNN who met the terror mastermind.
CNN producer Peter Bergen, who wrote The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al-Qaeda’s Leader, met the most dreaded terrorist in March 1997 when he went to film his first television interview.
Bergen narrates about the extra security around bin Laden and how they were taken to his hideout at night changing vehicles blindfolded.
The interview took place near the Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan where Bergen and his crew were electronically swept for tracking devices, and had to pass through three groups of guards armed with sub-machineguns.
“Bin Laden made no effort at small talk, wanting to get the interview done as soon as possible. Peter Jouvenal, our British cameraman, remembers that bin Laden’s handshake was limp, like shaking a wet fish,” The Times quoted him, as saying.
“I don’t recall shaking his hand but I do remember that he took frequent sips from a cup of tea, giving him an air that was more feline than fierce, and his blistering diatribe against the US for its policies in the Middle East was delivered in a barely audible whisper. After an hour he was gone, as suddenly as he had arrived,” he adds.
He also narrates Abdel Bari Atwan, a London-based Palestinian journalist who interviewed him in Afghanistan in 1996, as saying that Bin Laden, it seems, had prepared for life as a fugitive for years, adopting a monk-like detachment from material comforts.
Zaynab Khadr, whose family lived with the al-Qaeda leader in Afghanistan during the late 1990s, was quoted by the author as saying that he did not even allow his children to drink cold water because he wanted them to be prepared for the day when there’s no cold water.
He quotes Bin Laden as once instructing his followers: “You should learn to sacrifice everything from modern life like electricity, air-conditioning, refrigerators, gasoline. If you are living the luxury life, it’s very hard to go to the mountains to fight.”
In a tape posted to Islamist websites in February 2006, he says bin Laden confirmed his willingness to be martyred: “I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don’t want to die humiliated or deceived.” (ANI)