Bin Laden family in bid to change its name

THE FAMILY of Osama Bin Laden has requested permission from the Saudi royal family to change its name, Arabian Business can reveal.

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By  Massoud A. Derhally Published  July 24, 2005

THE FAMILY of Osama Bin Laden has requested permission from the Saudi royal family to change its name, Arabian Business can reveal. Relatives of the Al Qaeda leader told John Bradley, author of Saudi Arabia Exposed, that they have applied for permission to make the change and that the royals had agreed to the move — “in principle”. “The Bin Ladens told me two bits of information that are particularly extraordinary,” Bradley exclusively told Arabian Business. “The first is that they have applied to the Al Saud regime to have their names changed in their passports: they no longer want to be known in the outside world as the Bin Ladens. Apparently, the royals have in principle approved that request, a decision [which is] unprecedented,” he added. The author, who spent more than two years in Saudi Arabia and was managing editor of Arab News, an English daily, added that some of the Bin Laden family members he encountered while in the kingdom told him they were on a special flight that rushed them out of the US in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. “There are still lingering official denials that the flight took place,” said Bradley, adding that on one occasion at a picnic he met two of Bin Laden’s nephews who confirmed they were on the alleged flight. “The two Bin Laden nephews who joined us told me very casually that they had been in the US as students on 9/11 and that a plane had picked them and all the other Bin Ladens up along with royals and other prominent Saudis, and got them out of the country,” explained Bradley. Osama Bin Laden was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Muhammad Bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi businessman of Yemeni descent, involved in construction and with close ties to the Saudi royal family. As one of 54 children, Osama Bin Laden is said to have inherited approximately US$25 million after his father died. It is widely believed that Bin Laden used this money to support the mujahideen (Muslim fighters) in their fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s. When the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, Bin Laden was acclaimed as a hero of the resistance. The important turning point came in 1990 when Saddam Hussein ordered his army to invade Kuwait and Saudi Arabia subsequently allowed US and coalition troops to be stationed on its soil in the run up to operation Desert Storm that ended the seven-month occupation. Bin Laden denounced the Saudi government for allowing the deployment of US troops on Saudi land. As a result, he was expelled to Sudan in 1991 by the Saudi government and later, after orchestrating an attack on a US Marine barracks in Dhahran, in the eastern of Saudi Arabia was stripped of his citizenship. Furthermore, in October 2001, Bin Laden confirmed his involvement in the 9/11 attacks in two separate videos aired on the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news channel. “As for the World Trade Centre, the ones who were attacked and who died in it were a financial power. It wasn’t a children’s school. And it wasn’t a residence,” said Bin Laden. “And the general consensus is that most of the people who were in there were men that backed the biggest financial force in the world that spreads worldwide mischief. And those individuals should stand for Allah, and to re-think and re-do their calculations. We treat others like they treat us. Those who kill our women and our innocent, we kill their women and innocent, until they stop from doing so,” he added. In a videotape released in October of 2004, just before the US presidential elections, Bin Laden admitted ordering the 9/11 attacks; “The events that influenced me directly trace back to 1982 and subsequent events when the United States gave permission to the Israelis to invade Lebanon, with the aid of the sixth US fleet,” he said.

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