163 thoughts on “The Best Writing on Bin Laden’s Death

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  • angrysoba

    “We only have the interrogators’ reports of the widows’ testimony, so I must still retain some doubts on this, but it would seem daft for Pakistan to distort their testimony, unless they’re going to be disappeared or held for life. Hmmm, on second thoughts, maybe that is not so unlikely…”
    .
    Well, indeed. Presumably they’d be much sought after for news stories. Until they are released I am still going to have some sneaking doubts. And yet, rationally, the greater likelihood is that the story is true enough.
    .
    Here’s the thing, Pakistan are now under a massive spotlight and face accusations of harboring bin Laden. It would be in their interest to deny he was ever there in the first place but as they have bin Laden’s wives in custody there’s obviously not much room for denial. I am not sure how the Truthers are going to get past that one except to continually spam links to alternative news sources that say he died years ago.
    .
    Although if I were to play Truther Advocate I would argue that Pakistan are being bribed by the billions of dollars of military aid to accept whatever narrative comes out of the US and play along unless they wish to have their budget summarily cut. Of course, in blackmail cases this would ordinarily put Pakistan, rather than the US, at a greater advantage as they could then say, “We want more billions please if you don’t want us to expose your dirty little secret!”

  • Clark

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/06/osama-bin-laden-lived-two-rooms
    says this:
    .
    “Details of Bin Laden’s life inside the compound in Abbottabad follow anonymous briefings by Pakistani intelligence officials involved in the questioning of Yemen-born Amal Ahmed al-Sadah and two other wives.”
    .
    and a bit later says this:
    .
    “ABC quoted Asad Munir, a former officer from Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency…”
    .
    So basically, we’re listening to ISI spooks here, aren’t we? Can we even verify that these women are being held, or their relationship to Osama bin Laden?

  • dreoilin

    “Have you looked at his Wikipedia page? The history is short and sparse, and there’s a lot of dispute going on on its talk page.”–Clark
    .
    No, I haven’t so far, Clark. (I’ll do it now.) He was the guy interviewed by Alex Jones (someone gave the link further up the page). It seems to me that people who want to retain their credibility should perhaps avoid being interviewed by Jones, as they become tainted by association.
    .
    At the bottom of that ‘globalresearch’ page, they have said that: “Pieczenik’s assertion that Bin Laden has been dead for years is also backed up by a myriad of other intelligence professionals and heads of state, including Former CIA officer and hugely respected intelligence & foreign policy expert Robert Baer, as well as former FBI counter-terror head Dale Watson, who have all gone on the record to state that Osama was dead long before the raid on his alleged Pakistani compound earlier this month.”
    .
    That links to PrisonPlanet.com where you can read the list of people. But most of them seem to be expressing an opinion, not saying “I know he’s dead”.
    .
    I really don’t see why the White House couldn’t have released more info, without any question of compromising “national security”, and halted conspiracy theories dead in their tracks. Most people (those who watch films or use the internet) are not going to be overwhelmed by the sight of a dead body. I do not understand why they are withholding the photo of “dead bin Laden”.

  • Clark

    Dreoilin, I found the talk page of Pieczenik’s Wikipedia article fascinating. The page was created as a stub in November 2010. It just sat there as a stub for six months until, at 14:40 on April 4th 2011, someone called Drneustadt (who is probably John Neustadt, ND of Nutritional Biochemistry Incorporated in Bozeman) hugely expanded it and started editing it. In less than an hour N5iln spotted it and gave it the “Reads like an advertisement” tag, which it did, if you look at the old version. Nothing much happens until May 4th when some correctional edits get applied.
    .
    On May 5th, at 2:08, all hell breaks loose. A “Speedy deletion” tag is applied, and the talk page starts filling up with arguments and counter-arguments. Most of these are identified by IP address, meaning that whoever did the edit didn’t have a Wikipedia account. Most of these IP addresses appear only once, but they argue both ways!
    .
    Pieczenik’s show with Alex Jones was on May 3rd.

  • angrysoba

    “So basically, we’re listening to ISI spooks here, aren’t we? Can we even verify that these women are being held, or their relationship to Osama bin Laden?”
    .
    Yes, it is certainly not surprising that the ISI are conducting interrogations. But it also seems they have started letting US interrogators in too:
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/13/osama-bin-laden-wives-interviewed
    .
    “The women displayed a hostile attitude, one US official said, which was “not overly surprising considering that we had killed their husband or father”. One of Bin Laden’s sons, 22-year-old Khaled, was killed, and Bin Laden’s youngest wife, 29-year-old Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, was wounded in the calf during the raid.
    .
    “The ISI made no official comment on the meeting, but an American official said US investigators were allowed to meet the women “fairly briefly”. Pakistani intelligence services had been slow to grant access to the three, in part to show displeasure at not being warned about the operation to kill or capture Bin Laden.”
    .
    Bin Laden’s wife, Amal al-Sadah, is mentioned on p.338 of the Looming Tower. Apparently he married her, when she was fifteen, to cement some political arrangement with a prominent Yemeni clan as he hoped it would help bolster al-Qaeda recruitment in Yemen. Although most people were happy with the marriage, two of bin Laden’s sons – Mohammed and Othman – were angry with the marriage given her young age. Apparently bin Laden’s first wife, Najwa, left at this time also.
    .
    Actually, I now wish I had bought Steve Coll’s book “The Bin Ladens” and Michael Scheuer’s Osama bin Laden as they are supposed to be fairly reliable sources.
    .
    Dreolin:
    On bin Laden’s illnesses, or supposed illnesses, the books I do have suggest that nothing concrete has ever been known about them. In the link to a Global Research article by Paul Joseph Watson that you provided it is asserted:
    .
    “It was also widely acknowledged at the time that Bin Laden needed a kidney dialysis machine because of renal health problems. Indeed, CBS News reported that Bin Laden was having kidney dialysis treatment the night before 9/11. No dialysis machine was found in the alleged compound in Pakistan, which prompted the corporate media to backtrack and report that that he actually had kidney stones, not kidney disease, despite the fact that the CIA admitted back in 2008 that Bin Laden had suffered from kidney failure.”
    .
    Whatever the “corporate media” might have done none of those considered experts on bin Laden have said with any kind of certainty that bin Laden needed dialysis. In fact, some of them thought it was untrue. Lawrence Wright suggests that bin Laden may have had Addison’s Disease while Steve Coll simply points out that he’s been reported to have had insulin injections during a battle against the Soviets after possibly fainting from low pressure. This is the kind of speculation that even the “experts” are forced into but they always qualify their opinions as opposed to some of those who seem to know less but but make far more confident assertions “He died in December 2001 of renal failure!”
    .
    The Salon piece is worth reading in full and without Paul Watson’s paraphrasing. Again, the point here is that many of the ideas are, as you say, opinions and not definitive statements:
    .
    http://www.salon.com/people/feature/2001/11/09/marfan/print.html
    .
    In the same article: “David K. Schenker, a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, agrees that bin Laden’s size is atypical for his surroundings. “I lived in the Middle East, and I never ran into anyone that tall,” he says. But when I asked him if he heard about bin Laden’s being sick, Schenker said, “What are we talking about — the one where he is supposed to have kidney failure or liver disease?” He pointed out that it’s common for figures like bin Laden to be followed by rumors of fatal illnesses.”
    .
    In other words, these rumours are old, old news and seem to have been credulously seized on by those coming late to the party.
    .
    I wonder if the kidney dialysis stories were on a par with Hitler-has-only-got-one-ball stories. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were originally planted by the CIA in the first place.

  • angrysoba

    “So basically, we’re listening to ISI spooks here, aren’t we? Can we even verify that these women are being held, or their relationship to Osama bin Laden?”
    .
    Yes, it is certainly not surprising that the ISI are conducting interrogations. But it also seems they have started letting US interrogators in too:
    .
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/13/osama-bin-laden-wives-interviewed
    .
    “The women displayed a hostile attitude, one US official said, which was “not overly surprising considering that we had killed their husband or father”. One of Bin Laden’s sons, 22-year-old Khaled, was killed, and Bin Laden’s youngest wife, 29-year-old Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, was wounded in the calf during the raid.
    .
    “The ISI made no official comment on the meeting, but an American official said US investigators were allowed to meet the women “fairly briefly”. Pakistani intelligence services had been slow to grant access to the three, in part to show displeasure at not being warned about the operation to kill or capture Bin Laden.”
    .
    Bin Laden’s wife, Amal al-Sadah, is mentioned on p.338 of the Looming Tower. Apparently he married her, when she was fifteen, to cement some political arrangement with a prominent Yemeni clan as he hoped it would help bolster al-Qaeda recruitment in Yemen. Although most people were happy with the marriage, two of bin Laden’s sons – Mohammed and Othman – were angry with the marriage given her young age. Apparently bin Laden’s first wife, Najwa, left at this time also.
    .
    Actually, I now wish I had bought Steve Coll’s book “The Bin Ladens” and Michael Scheuer’s Osama bin Laden as they are supposed to be fairly reliable sources.

  • angrysoba

    Dreolin:
    On bin Laden’s illnesses, or supposed illnesses, the books I do have suggest that nothing concrete has ever been known about them. In the link to a Global Research article by Paul Joseph Watson that you provided it is asserted:
    .
    “It was also widely acknowledged at the time that Bin Laden needed a kidney dialysis machine because of renal health problems. Indeed, CBS News reported that Bin Laden was having kidney dialysis treatment the night before 9/11. No dialysis machine was found in the alleged compound in Pakistan, which prompted the corporate media to backtrack and report that that he actually had kidney stones, not kidney disease, despite the fact that the CIA admitted back in 2008 that Bin Laden had suffered from kidney failure.”
    .
    Whatever the “corporate media” might have done none of those considered experts on bin Laden have said with any kind of certainty that bin Laden needed dialysis. In fact, some of them thought it was untrue. Lawrence Wright suggests that bin Laden may have had Addison’s Disease while Steve Coll simply points out that he’s been reported to have had insulin injections during a battle against the Soviets after possibly fainting from low pressure. This is the kind of speculation that even the “experts” are forced into but they always qualify their opinions as opposed to some of those who seem to know less but but make far more confident assertions “He died in December 2001 of renal failure!”
    .
    The Salon piece is worth reading in full and without Paul Watson’s paraphrasing. Again, the point here is that many of the ideas are, as you say, opinions and not definitive statements:
    .
    http://www.salon.com/people/feature/2001/11/09/marfan/print.html
    .
    In the same article: “David K. Schenker, a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, agrees that bin Laden’s size is atypical for his surroundings. “I lived in the Middle East, and I never ran into anyone that tall,” he says. But when I asked him if he heard about bin Laden’s being sick, Schenker said, “What are we talking about — the one where he is supposed to have kidney failure or liver disease?” He pointed out that it’s common for figures like bin Laden to be followed by rumors of fatal illnesses.”
    .
    In other words, these rumours are old, old news and seem to have been credulously seized on by those coming late to the party.
    .
    I wonder if the kidney dialysis stories were on a par with Hitler-has-only-got-one-ball stories. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were originally planted by the CIA in the first place.

  • angrysoba

    “That links to PrisonPlanet.com where you can read the list of people. But most of them seem to be expressing an opinion, not saying “I know he’s dead”.”
    .
    The Prison Planet article was written by the very same Paul Joseph Watson who wrote the Global Research article. PJW is an employee of Alex Jones or at the very least one of the main contributors to Prison Planet.
    .
    The article is the very same mash-up of quotes and quote-mining that has appeared on every other conspiracy site. Again, the tactic is to barrage with factoids and forget about the contradictions. A CIA guy says OBL died of renal failure, Harry Reid says he was killed in an earthquake, Madeleine Albright says Bush captured him, Benazir Bhutto says Omar Sheikh killed him (can we at least retire that one? If we can’t recognize obvious “misspeaks” we are never going to get anywhere)… Again they can’t all be right so why should we assume any of them are right?
    .
    This time round there is a slightly greater granularity than the previous claims so more scope for investigating. I think this is something that makes it a more superior claim to a one-off article in which some unattributable CIA officer claims he was in a hospital in Dubai.

  • angrysoba

    Not sure what to make of the claims they found porn in Osama bin Laden’s compound though. I think they should release the images.

  • Clark

    It is interesting to watch the process of assertion becoming “fact”. The man watching TV in the over-the-shoulder home video is now confidently named as Osama bin Laden, despite contradiction by the residents of Abbottabad and even the doubts of the BBC’s Security Correspondent Frank Gardner. Fairly soon, I expect my mental health to be questionable if I retain doubts on this matter.

  • dreoilin

    US claim of Bin Laden porn arouses ridicule:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-claim-of-bin-laden-porn-arouses-ridicule-2284269.html
    .
    Seems to me, after what Wikileaks did to the USA, the U.S. admin now has a golden opportunity (by claiming their “treasure trove” of intel from bin Laden house) to produce a plethora of false stories. After all, was it Rumsfeld or Petraeus who said that the propaganda war was more important than the ground war? Or equally important, whatever … They have made no bones about using “propaganda” and that means lies/distortions/untruths.

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