* By Jeff Huber at-Largely *
The tallest Arab ever wanted dead or alive by a president of the United States is still at large. Either that or he’s dead. Again. We’ve been hearing from intelligence sources and the media that bin Laden is dead for a long time. How dead can one evildoer get?
In July 2002 the New York Times carried an op-ed piece that led with “Osama bin Laden is dead.” Bin Laden died in December 2001, according to the author, Amir Taheri, an editor of the Paris-based journal Politique Internationale. Both Taheri and his journal have been broadly accused of questionable journalism practices. Taheri’s sources – all unnamed except for then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who “repeated” the information – weren’t any more reliable than Taheri is, but he ultimately based his conclusion on logic. “With an ego the size of Mount Everest,” Taheri reasoned, “Osama bin Laden would not have, could not have, remained silent for so long if he were still alive.”
And what of all the videos of bin Laden that have surfaced between 2001 and now? David Ray Griffin, whom the BBC identifies as “a former theology professor and member of the 9/11 Truth Movement,” says they’re false because “None of them can be proven to be authentic.”
These are negative proof arguments, the kind that say, “We can’t prove little green men are flying over Nevada in spaceships, but we can’t prove they aren’t, so it must be true.”
Live or Memorex?
As former CIA officer Philip Giraldi noted in December 2009, analysts “inside and outside the government” base their assessment that bin Laden has found sanctuary in the hereafter on non-evidence: specifically, that they haven’t had any solid information about the al-Qaeda leader since late 2001.
That puts our intelligence agencies, which have access to more space-age gizmology than any other spy apparatus in the history of espionage, on par with the likes of the conspiracy theorists at WHATREALLYHAPPENED.COM. According to these folks, bin Laden is dead because unreliable journalist Taheri said so in a New York Times op-ed piece, and because a video released in December 2001 made bin Laden look much older than he did in a photo taken when he was much younger, and because in the video he didn’t move his left side much therefore he must have been suffering from diabetes, and because in November 2001 the UK Guardian revealed that Le Figaro of Paris reported that in 2000 bin Laden had ordered a mobile dialysis machine to be delivered to his base in Afghanistan.
The bin Laden narrative aptly illustrates the extent to which our government institutions have used the big media and polluted the information environment. Rumor begets hearsay. Hearsay begets opinion. Opinion begets unconfirmed facts, unconfirmed facts beget disinformation begets propaganda begets intelligence, and intelligence begets nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.
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