http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/O...ow/4145722.cmsOsama hunt: Can UCLA trump CIA?
17 Feb 2009, 2245 hrs IST, Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
WASHINGTON: In the hunt for Osama bin Laden, can researchers using scientific theories succeed where spooks and spy-craft has failed so far? Can
UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) pull off what the CIA and FBI haven't been able to? ( Watch )
Bet on us, invite a team of UCLA geographers, who say they have a good idea of where the world's no.1 terrorist
leader was at the end of 2001 — and perhaps where he has been in the years since. To cut to the chase, he is likely in one of three large compounds in Parachinar town in Pakistan's Kurram Agency.
In a new study published on Monday, the geographers report that simple facts, publicly available satellite imagery and fundamental principles of geography place bin Laden in one of these buildings.
"If he's still alive, he honestly could be sitting there right now," says Thomas Gillespie, the study's lead author and an associate professor of geography at UCLA. "It is still the safest tribal area and city in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northwest Pakistan and one of the only tribal areas that the US has not bombed with its unmanned Predators."
(Even as Gillespie said this, US drones conducted their first ever Predator strike in Kurram Agency on Monday killing 30, and possibly lending some credence to the theory. The researchers advocate that the US first investigate — but not bomb — the three buildings.)
But to return to the science, the UCLA findings rely on two principles used in geography to predict the distribution of wildlife. The first, known as distance-decay theory, holds that as one travels farther away from a precise location with a specific composition of species — or, in this case, a specific composition of cultural and physical factors — the probability of finding spots with that same specific composition decreases exponentially.
The second, island biogeographic theory, holds that large and close islands have larger immigration rates and will support more species than smaller, more isolated islands. In other words, bin Laden isn't very far from where he was last seen and is in a familiar setting with the resources he needs.
Going by distance-decay theory, the researchers started by drawing concentric circles around Tora Bora, bin Laden last known location, on a satellite map of the area at a distance of 10 kilometers — or 6.1 miles — apart. "The farther bin Laden moves from his last reported location into the more secular parts of Pakistan or into India, the greater the probability that he will be in an area with a different cultural composition, thereby increasing the
probability of his being captured or eliminated," Gillespie says.
Then, informed by island biogeographic theory, the researchers scoured the rings for "city islands" — or distinctly separate settlements of considerable size. "Island biology theory predicts that he would find his way to the largest but least isolated city of that area," explains Gillespie.
"If you get stuck on an island, you would want it to be Hawaii rather than one with a single palm tree. It's a matter of resources."
The approach, according to an article on the UCLA website, netted 26 settlements within a 12.4-mile radius of Tora Bora. With a 2.7-square-mile footprint, Parachinar turned out to be the largest and fourth-least isolated city. Based on bin Laden's last known location, the researchers estimate that he must have traveled 1.9 miles over a 13,000-foot-high pass into Kurram and then headed for the largest city, which turns out to be Parachinar.
But how did they zero in on just three compounds from the thousands of structures in Parachinar? The team came up with a short list of the criteria that bin Laden would need for housing, based on well-known information about him, including his height (between 6'4" and 6'6", depending on the source), his medical condition (apparently in need of regular dialysis and, therefore, electricity to run the machine) and several basic assumptions, such as a need for security, protection, privacy and overhead cover to shield him from being spotted by planes, helicopters and satellites.
So they looked for buildings that could house someone taller than 6'4" and were surrounded by walls more than 9 feet tall (both as judged by mid-afternoon shadows depicted on the satellite imagery), and that had more than three rooms, space separating them from nearby structures, electricity and a thick tree canopy.
Only three structures fit the criteria. The buildings also appeared to be the best fortified and among the largest in
Parachinar. While the three structures meet all six of the criteria that the researchers believe would be required for lodging bin Laden, an additional 16 structures in Parachinar appear to meet five of the six criteria. If bin Laden is not in the first three structures, the US military should investigate these other buildings, the study recommends.
Even if they found him, or thought they found him, why would they advertise the fact?
Everyone has opinions, only some count.
I didn't mean to suggest that UCLA wanted the reward but that millions of individuals all over the world want the reward. Telling them where to find it is a good way to get a lot of bounty hunters on Bin Laden's doorstep.
UCLA theory to find bin laden is good , but i think he may be out of pakistan and if he was in pakistan they would caught them
but it is a good research may be true
As if Osama would be dumb enough to stay in Pakistan if he were alive even, when he's got the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa to live in complete peace away from everyone. Why stay in a region that's constantly under surveillance by drones ???
I know a guy from there. He's shia and splits time in Turkey but I'll see what his thoughts are.
Suspect UCLA has already moved this data on to useful hands. Takes time to write, edit, and publish after findings so...
"This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs
Very interesting. Who knows, they could pull it off. At the very least it should aid in the search efforts. It makes a lot of assumptions though.
Last edited by nebula82; 27 Mar 09, at 17:28.
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