Is it a psy-op? A limited hang-out? A realists’ shot across the neocons’ bow? Or just another shameless lie?
The US government’s “revelation” that Osama Bin Laden owned a copy of David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor – the seminal study of the 9/11 inside job – alongside many other “conspiracy classics” raises more questions than it answers.
But one thing’s for certain: As Jim Dean keeps saying, “You can’t make this stuff up.”
The mainstream media is using the story to ridicule truth-seekers and link “conspiracy theorists” to evil bogieman Bin Laden. The next thing you know they’ll be sending Seal teams to murder 9/11 truthers and throw our bodies in the ocean “according to truther burial custom.” Or if they take pity on us maybe they’ll just lock us up in Guantanamo or Wal-Mart or someplace like that.
Seriously, folks, I’m getting spooked by all these “truther terrorist” stories: “Gaddafi was a truther.” “The Tsarnaev brothers were truthers.” Now “Osama was a truther.”
The FBI has sent a bulletin to state and local law enforcement warning that 9/11 truthers may be terrorists. British PM David Cameron calls truthers “non-violent extremists” who are as bad as ISIS. The mainstream media is using the phrase “terrorist truthers.” French President Hollande says “conspiracy theories” led to the holocaust and should be outlawed at the national, European and international levels…then named me as one of the world’s five leading “conspiracist intellectuals.”
Back in 2008, Obama’s Information Czar Cass Sunstein argued that the government should “disable the purveyors of conspiracy theories” and use “cognitive infiltration” against conspiracy movements. He added that some day it may become necessary to outlaw conspiracy theories. Has that day finally arrived? Will the identification of “conspiracy theorists” with Osama Bin Laden be the pretext for the long-awaited crackdown?
Or is something more mundane going on?
The Administration declassified Osama’s library shortly after Seymour Hersh published his article charging Obama with lying through his teeth about the alleged killing of Osama. If you think that’s a coincidence, you must be one of those crazy coincidence theorists.
Obviously the Administration wants to convey an impression of honesty and transparency. Good luck with that.
Let’s systematically explore the possibilities of what could be going on here. The bottom line is that the US authorities are such a shameless bunch of liars that if they ever accidentally told the truth about anything, nobody would believe them.
First possibility: Osama Bin Laden died long before 2011, most likely in December, 2001. There is a significant amount of evidence – none of it conclusive – supporting this interpretation. For details, read David Ray Griffin’s Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive? If indeed OBL died in 2001 of kidney failure and was buried in an unmarked grave, the whole story of the Abbottabad raid must have been a grotesque charade. If this is true, one wonders why Bin Laden’s family members, al-Qaeda supporters (yes, they exist), Pakistani officials, and others in a position to know that Bin Laden was long dead, and certainly not in Abbottabad, have not come out and said so.
Second possibility: Everything Obama has told us about the Abbottabad raid and its aftermath is true: Bin Laden was really “hiding in plain sight” unbeknownst to anyone in power, he was found through interrogations of detainees, the raid transpired as advertised, Bin Laden cowered behind women, Bin Laden bravely defended himself, he was armed, he was unarmed, they tried to capture him alive, they made no attempt to capture him alive, they IDed his body, they didn’t ID his body, they have records positively identifying it was OBL but they’re top secret and you’ll never see them, they have no such records, he was thrown in the ocean according to Islamic burial custom but there’s no evidence or witnesses for any such act or any such custom for that matter … (Okay, calling this a “possibility” is a bit of a stretch.)
Third possibility: Hersh got it at least partly right: Bin Laden really was killed in a raid on May 2nd 2011, though what transpired was very different from the official version.
Let’s think through some of the implications of Hersh’s version. He claims that Bin Laden was a prisoner of the Pakistani ISI and had been held at the Abbottabad compound under house arrest since 2006. The Saudis, says Hersh, were complicit.
But not the Americans? Or some Americans?
Certain elements of US intelligence were always very close to Bin Laden. The relationship goes back to when Osama toured US military bases under the code name “Tim Osman” and was given stinger missiles to use in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
The official myth holds that when Bin Laden declared jihad against America in the mid-90s, the CIA broke off friendly relations and began trying to kill him. And indeed, one branch of the CIA – Michael Sheuer’s branch – apparently really did want to kill OBL, but their efforts kept getting nixed or SNAFUd by higher-ups. That means that another branch, meaning CIA folks with a higher-level security clearance, were still working with and protecting OBL.
Two months before 9/11, Osama was treated in the American Hospital in Dubai by an American kidney specialist, Dr. Terry Calloway, and was visited by CIA Station Chief Larry Mitchell. Obviously at that point he was still on the payroll.
On 9/11/2001 Bin Laden watched the made-for-TV reality-television docu-drama “attack on America” from a Pakistani military hospital that has a US official as well as unofficial presence. Had US leaders wanted to capture or kill him that day it would have been a piece of cake.
But they didn’t.
Then Osama crossed into Afghanistan and embarrassed Bush by repeatedly denying responsibility for 9/11, which he termed an un-Islamic atrocity…while pointing the finger at American Zionists.
Throughout September and early October 2001 Osama continued to deny and deplore 9/11. The mainstream media ignored this – and continued to blame an innocent man.
Then the US invaded Afghanistan. A visibly angry Bin Laden did an interview with al-Jazeera’s Tayseer Allouni bashing the Americans and saying that even if he, Bin Laden, was not responsible for 9/11, the Americans really had it coming, and he hoped worse would follow.
This is where the clear trail ends.
In December 2001, a ludicrously bogus “Fatty Bin Laden confession video” was produced, with no chain of possession, and ridiculed into oblivion (at least by everyone paying attention). But the forgery, and idiotic media propaganda, convinced the American people that Bin Laden was complicit in 9/11…despite the FBI’s clear denial.
Then a long series of purported audio and video messages from Bin Laden, some of them proven forgeries, kept the world entertained and frightened for a decade.
If something akin to Hersh’s version of Bin Laden’s death is true, here’s how it could have happened: Bin Laden maintained contact with Pakistanis, Saudis, and (knowingly or unknowingly) CIA spooks, a network of people feeling or feigning sympathy with his cause. (Arab Muslim CIA infiltrators reporting to Agency higher-ups?)
Quoting from my book Questioning the War on Terror:
And if the Bush Administration really wanted to catch Bin Laden and his associates, why did it seemingly go out of its way to let them escape? After American forces and their Northern Alliance had surrounded Kabul November 2001, a huge convoy of “at least 1,000 cars and trucks” carrying top al-Qaeda leaders, presumably including Bin Laden, jammed the main road out of Kabul from eight a.m. until three a.m.; a local businessman said “it must have been easy for American planes to see the headlights.” People in Kabul knew what was going on and were amazed that the Americans, who had Kabul under a microscope, didn’t bomb the convoy. “We don’t understand how they weren’t all killed” said one local businessman.
From Kabul, al-Qaeda forces moved to Jalalabad, and U.S. intelligence agencies reported that Bin Laden was among them. A Knight-Ridder news report described how, once again, U.S. forces seemed to go out of their way to let Bin Laden escape:
American intelligence analysts concluded that bin Laden and his retreating fighters were preparing to flee across the border. But the U.S. Central Command, which was running the war, made no move to block their escape. “It was obvious from at least early November that this area was to be the base for an exodus into Pakistan,” said one intelligence official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. “All of this was known, and frankly we were amazed that nothing was done to prepare for it.”
On November 14th, the U.S.-directed Northern Alliance took Jalalabad. That night, once again, a huge al-Qaeda convoy of over 1,000 vehicles openly left town without any interference. As the massive convoy pulled out, U.S. planes bombed the Jalalabad Airport but allowed Bin Laden and his thousands of associates to escape by land.
From Jalalabad, Bin Laden and his followers reached Tora Bora. American planes bombed one of the two roads from Tora Bora to Pakistan, but left the other one alone. Naturally, Bin Laden and friends took the road that was free from interference. U.S. troops could have easily been assigned to blockade all escape routes. Instead, the U.S. military surrounded the al-Qaeda convoy on three sides only, leaving an open road to Pakistan. According to the London Telegraph, “the battle for Tora Bora looks more like a grand charade.” Tora Bora locals and American whistleblowers say that mysterious black helicopters came and went unimpeded by U.S. forces, ferrying al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders to safety in Pakistan.
Not long after U.S. forces apparently went out of their way to let Bin Laden escape—and just six months after the destruction of the World Trade Center—Bush said of Bin Laden: “I truly am not that concerned about him.” Gen. Richard Meyers, the acting head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11, seconded Bush’s remarks, saying “The goal has never been to get Bin Laden.” An anonymous U.S. official explained: “’Casting our objectives too narrowly’ risked ‘a premature collapse of the international effort if by some lucky chance Mr. bin Laden was captured.’” Not all U.S. officials agreed with the let-’em-go strategy. One said, “It’s not a f_ckup, it’s an outrage.”
So the “black helicopters” ferried OBL to safety. US leaders with a need-to-know, alongside their Pakistani and Saudi underlings, kept a close eye on Osama during the final decade of his life. Despite the phony “war on terror,” OBL was worth more alive than dead. If they had publicly killed him too early, it would have “risked a premature collapse of the international effort.”
Then in 2011 the Obama Administration decided to terminate the al-CIA-duh leader “with extreme prejudice.” Why?
As Hersh suggests, Obama wanted raw meat for his re-election effort. How could the Republicans label the President “soft on terror” if he was the big bad Bin Laden killer?
Secondly, Obama and his realist advisors wanted to sneak out from under the bogus “war on terror,” which is really a war on Islam for Israel. The realists want a “pivot to Asia.” They want to focus on containing Russia. They want to expand global corporate capital into a bigger and bigger empire, via the TPP and so on. They don’t want to squander more blood and treasure on Mideast wars that are not helping the US empire, just the Israeli empire.
So by killing Bin Laden, the realists hoped to declare victory and put the “war on terror” to bed.
No such luck. The neocons, predictably, have responded with a blistering crescendo of false flags, each more outrageous than the last, keeping the Islamophobia pot boiling in service to their fear-mongering Machievellian methodology.
And now we are told that Osama Bin Laden was a conspiracy theorist.
It isn’t entirely implausible. OBL’s alleged bookshelf is actually quite respectable and sophisticated. (It even contains key works by two of my favorite repeat radio guests, John Perkins and William Blum.) Knowing that he had nothing to do with 9/11, Osama might have wondered who was really behind it.
The bottom line is that if Hersh’s story, and this new follow-up, is a limited hangout, it’s the lamest limited hangout ever. To anyone with critical thinking skills, it’s obvious that Hersh’s version, and OBL’s conspiracy bookshelf, shreds the official story of 9/11 and the war on terror.
Then again, the whole tale could be spun out of whole cloth. But who would have made this up? And why?
Are the Obama realist forces rubbing the neocons’ nose in the 9/11 inside job by putting The New Pearl Harbor on OBL’s imaginary bookshelf? Are the neocons demonizing “conspiracy theorists” by association, as I suggested earlier? Or is somebody pulling our collective leg just for the hell of it?
It’s a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.