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Bin Laden had lost relevance: Fisk

Published: 9:10PM Monday May 02, 2011 Source: ONE News

Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda had lost relevance, and the chance of reprisal attacks following the terrorist leader's death are slim, says veteran journalist Robert Fisk.

Fisk, who interviewed bin Laden three times before the September 11 terror attacks, says he was little more than "a name and an icon".

"He was never a hands-on person, he never planned operations," Fisk told TV ONE's Close Up programme.

"Secondly, he was a middle-aged man. He'd become rather vain, clearly. In his videotapes he began to wear embroidered clothes I noticed. He used to dress much more humbly."

Watch the full Robert Fisk interview here.

Fisk said the wave of protests sweeping the Arab world showed al Qaeda had lost the battle for hearts and minds.

"We're now in the middle of this huge Arab revolution, when millions of Arab Muslims are getting rid of their dictators because they want a secular, free, democratic society, which is the opposite of what bin Laden wanted," he said.

"In a sense, al Qaeda has failed in its objective and it's totally out of touch with the Arab Muslim world, which is the world bin Laden comes from."

Fisk said he did not believe bin Laden's death would bring about reprisal attacks, despite France and Britain's leaders warning the West must be vigilant for revenge attacks.

"Before we start worrying about revenge attacks, we ought to see the irrelevance of al Qaeda now politically and the irrelevance of bin Laden himself," said Fisk.

"Had we grabbed this guy in Tora Bora in 2001 and put him on trial, that would have been a resounding triumph. But we didn't."

However, former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern had a different view , telling Close Up bin Laden's death would make attacks more prevalent.

"It's likely to lengthen the recruiting lines in front of al Qaeda recruiting stations."

McGovern questioned why the US killed bin Laden, saying that would prevent them from finding out more about al Qaeda.

Watch the Ray McGivern interview here

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  • Deeley said on 2011-05-04 @ 13:29 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Impact? His death will give Muslim extremistists added justification to hate and terrorise. The rest of the world population will see this as a wonderful occurance in ridding the world of of yet 1 more worthless hateful piece of scum. Apart from the joy of knowing the ******* is not around anymore, I don't think his death will make one jot of difference to anything much.

  • dmaclure said on 2011-05-04 @ 10:14 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Terrorism will not go away as may led to new leader to succeed Osama Bin Laden more likely to attack further.

  • highlanderX said on 2011-05-04 @ 05:14 NZDT: Report abusive post

    It was not only 24 hours before the reveal of Osama Bin Ladens death that i had a convosation with my partner about the US president and what he had acheived so far after his election as the first African American President. Apart from the obvious i found it quite funny that not even 24 hours later my question was answered. He will always now be known for the man responsible for the death of tyrant. God bless the families who lost a loved one RIP

  • 1600nz said on 2011-05-03 @ 15:43 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Barack Obama may not be of Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan standard but this is a major success for him and with this I hope he wins the 2012 election.

  • shinrai said on 2011-05-03 @ 12:50 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Wonder what activity there has been at area 51 over the last few days? Osama hanging with the Roswell aliens, Elvis and the Ark of the Covenant perhaps.......