Osama bin Laden

  1. The Response to bin Laden’s Messages
    An account by Michael Scheuer of the response
    of America’s intelligence community and media
    to bin Laden’s messages.
  2. Osama bin Laden’s Motivation for 9/11
    An excerpt from bin Laden’s 2004-10-29 message,
    in which he
    indicates that he clearly has been following,
    from wherever he is hiding,
    the attempt by part of the American elite
    to put words into his mouth and thoughts into his brain,
    says their interpretation of his thoughts is all wrong, and
    explains what really were his thought processes
    that led to the 9/11 attack.
  3. Osama bin Laden
    Some remarks, again from Scheuer’s Imperial Hubris,
    about bin Laden himself.
  4. Selected Statements of bin Laden
  5. Elite Reaction to bin Laden
  6. Miscellaneous Articles

1. The Response to bin Laden’s Messages

From the green start line to the red end line
is an excerpt from Chapter Five of
Michael Scheuer’s Imperial Hubris
(with emphasis added):

A quiver of excitement and anxiety pulses through U.S. officialdom
each time rumors spread that another Osama bin Laden video or audiotape
has been passed to Al-Jazirah, Al-Arabiyah, or another television news outlet.
[T]he tape is soon played and
almost before bin Laden’s statement ends
a blast of official U.S. indignation is launched
and a blitz of forensic experts
attack al Qaeda’s latest media production.
The U.S. State Department condemns this or that Arabic satellite channel
for “irresponsibly” broadcasting a message from a terrorist,
and this statement is soon seconded by other U.S. officials and pundits.
As this public huffing and puffing proceeds,
government and media experts are unleashed on the tape,
assigned to answer questions that are meant, I suppose,
to make the United States more secure.
To wit:
Is his beard longer? Is it greyer? Look, he is not moving his left shoulder! Has he been wounded? Is he dying? Is that his voice? Doesn’t it sound more hoarse than usual? Is he drinking more water than last time? Does that mean his kidneys are failing? Aha, he is using a stick to walk down the mountainside! Is his back hurt? And what about those rocks? Igneous or sedimentary? Call the geologists! Can we locate those rocks in Afghanistan? Are those spring flowers or Arctic lichens? Call the botanists! Wait! What about that fir tree on the third mountain from the left? Can imagery locate it? Does he look paler than usual? Is he wearing Arab or Afghan clothes? Are those birds singing in the background? Send for an ornithologist! Look at that hat! Has he ever worn that type before? Is that a dagger in his belt? Why is there no dagger in his belt? Look, he is blinking his eyes! Could he be blinking attack orders? Call the eye-blink decoder! What about ...

In this blizzard of blather,
bin Laden’s words are the most overlooked part of the tape under review.
major U.S. or Western media have made no consistent effort
to publish bin Laden’s statements
thereby failing to give their audience the words
that put his thoughts and actions in cultural and historical context, and
which would increase the West’s awareness of the mortal threat he poses.

After the amusing parody of (part of) the intelligence process,
Scheuer hits the nail on the head:
Our entire media/political elite is systematically
either ignoring or grievously distorting
what bin Laden is trying to say to America.
Considering the cost in men, dollars, property,
and to our way of life
caused by the elite’s misinterpretation of bin Laden’s words,
I think that it is vital for ordinary Americans
to “listen to bin Laden,”
to hear what he actually is saying.
Why trust the elite to interpret him accurately,
when they so manifestly deceived us
about their reasons for going to war with Iraq?
Why should we be spending so much blood and treasure
for a war
whose causes we don’t really understand?
There is so much speculation on why the elite is so obsessed about
the internal affairs, values, and politics of Iraq
that it felt the need to invade;
why not listen to bin Laden’s explanation
of what he thinks the war that some call
the “global war on terrorism,”
or at least the 9/11 action of the war,
is about?

2. Osama bin Laden’s Motivation for 9/11

Here, again from a green start line to a red end line,
is an excerpt from his 2004-10-29
“Message to the American people.”
It is primarily taken
from the 2004-11-01 Aljazeera full transcript,
but in places I have supplied excerpts
from the 2004-10-29 CNN transcript as well,
where that seemed clearer or more direct.
Parts of his message that seemed of less interest to Americans
(e.g., most dealing with religion)
have been omitted,
while those that seemed of greater interest
have been emphasized.
Following my general convention,
quotations from people who are known to be Muslims
are highlighted in green,
while what seems the key event to bin Laden is,
for the sake of a later comparison, highlighted in red;
my comments appear in square brackets and this color.

Sometimes his intended meaning is unclear,
perhaps due to the translation,
but I think it’s worth trying to decipher his meaning.

People of America this talk of mine is for you
and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan,
and deals with the war and its causes and results.

Before I begin,
I say to you that
security is an indispensable pillar of human life, and that
free men do not forfeit their security,
contrary to Bush’s claim that we hate freedom.

If so,
then let him explain to us
why we don’t strike for example — Sweden?

[CNN translation:
Contrary to what Bush says and claims—
that we hate freedom—
let him tell us then,
“Why did we not attack Sweden? ”

And we know that freedom-haters
don’t possess defiant spirits like those of the 19 —
may Allah have mercy on them.

No, we fight because we are free men
who don’t sleep under oppression.
[CNN translation:
We fought with you because we are free,
and we don’t put up with transgressions.]

We want to restore freedom to our nation,
just as you lay waste to our nation.
So shall we lay waste to yours

No one except a dumb thief plays with the security of others
and then makes himself believe he will be secure.
Whereas thinking people, when disaster strikes,
make it their priority to look for its causes,
in order to prevent it [from] happening again.

But I am amazed at you.
Even though we are in the fourth year
after the events of September 11th,
Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception
and hiding from you the real causes.

And thus,
the reasons are still there
for a repeat of what occurred.

So I shall talk to you about
the story behind those events
the reason for those events]
and shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken,
for you to consider.

I say to you,
Allah knows that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers.
But after it became unbearable and we witnessed
the oppression and tyranny
of the American/Israeli coalition
against our people in Palestine and Lebanon,

it came to my mind.

The events that affected my soul in a direct way
started in 1982
when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon
and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that.

This bombardment began and many were killed and injured
and others were terrorised and displaced.

I couldn’t forget those moving scenes,
blood and severed limbs,
women and children sprawled everywhere.
Houses destroyed along with their occupants and
high rises demolished over their residents,
rockets raining down on our home without mercy.

[Compare Israeli historian Benny Morris’s account.]
[Is it not interesting that no American television network
has chosen to run a special or a documentary
showing the scenes that bin Laden is describing?
I am sure that the Arabic channels have appropriate footage
that they would be happy to make available.
But then,
depicting the Zionist/Arab conflict from the Arabic side
wouldn’t be American, would it?]


In those difficult moments
many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul,
but in the end they produced
an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny,
and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.

And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon,
it entered my mind that
we should punish the oppressor in kind
and that
we should destroy towers in America
in order that
they taste some of what we tasted
and so that
they be deterred from killing our women and children.

And that day, it was confirmed to me that
oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children
is a deliberate American policy.
Destruction is freedom and democracy,
resistance is terrorism and intolerance.
[Compare what Muslim women said to Karen Hughes
regarding their attitudes
on the value of the U.S.-initiated war with Iraq.]

This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions
as Bush Sr did in Iraq
in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known
[Wikipedia: “According to UN estimates,
a million children died during the trade embargo,
due to malnutrition or lack of medical supplies.
On May 10, 1996, appearing on 60 Minutes, Madeleine Albright
(then Clinton’s Ambassador to the United Nations)
was presented with a figure of half a million children under five
having died from the sanctions:
Albright, not challenging this figure, infamously replied:
‘We think the price is worth it.’ ”]
and it means the throwing of millions of pounds of bombs and explosives at millions of children - also in Iraq - as Bush Jr did,
in order to remove an old agent
and replace him with a new puppet
to assist in the pilfering of Iraq’s oil and other outrages.

[A literal reading of this,
in conjunction with the following paragraph, is
that bin Laden is using the 2003 Iraq war
as part of his justification for the 2001-09-11 attack.
I will give bin Laden the benefit of the doubt,
and assume that he is only using the 2003 Iraq war here
in a generally illustrative sense, as yet another example
of how the West has destroyed Muslim people and property.]

So with these images and their like as their background,
the events of September 11th
came as a reply to those great wrongs;
should a man be blamed for defending his sanctuary?

Is defending oneself and punishing the aggressor in kind,
objectionable terrorism?
If it is such, then it is unavoidable for us.

This is the message which I sought to communicate to you
in word and deed, repeatedly, for years before September 11th.

The key events that he describes, highlighted in red above,
are not very well known to most Americans.
The post Lebanon 1982: the spark for 9/11 contains an account of them,
from a book by the Israeli historian Benny Morris.
The parts of Morris’s account
that seem to correspond most closely with what bin Laden described above
are again highlighted in red,
so that you can, if you like, correlate bin Laden’s view to Morris’s
by comparing the highlighted texts.
Clicking the link above will bring Morris’s account up in a new window,
so that you can accomplish the comparison simply by switching windows.

3. Osama bin Laden

Bin Laden’s description of his motives for 9/11, given above,
is powerful, compelling, and eminently reasonable
to any knowledgeable, sensible, and unbiased person.

Nonetheless, there clearly are forces in America
that desire for us to be at war with (much of) the Muslim world.
To achieve that ignoble end,
to convince the American public
that this war is a just cause,
that “the enemy,” those “Islamofacist terrorists,”
are just killers without the slightest justification,
the war advocates
(following Justin Raimondo and Georgie Anne Geyer,
let’s call them the War Party,
as they include both the well known neocons
cf. this and this,
and many Democrats as well,
cf. this and, coming later in this post, this)
must deal somehow with
that statement of bin Laden above,
and its many predecessors and successors.
They have two ways of doing that:
  1. get the media to ignore it—
    “Out of sight, out of mind,” and
  2. convince people that bin Laden and his allies
    are crazed, irrational liars,
    that nothing that they say can be trusted or respected.
Both have been tried by the War Party.

The purpose of quoting bin Laden in the above section
was to at least break the silence, or the misinformation,
on his motives;
the purpose of this section
is to present some information on bin Laden’s character,
at least as viewed by much of the Muslim world,
that would suggest that he is both rational and sincere, and
that his statements should be treated seriously and with respect,
no matter how abhorrent we find his actions, and
no matter how much we may ultimately disagree with his facts or reasoning.

To that end,
here, again from a green start line to a red end line,
are some excerpts from Chapter Four, “The World’s View of bin Laden,”
of Imperial Hubris.

[IH, pages 103–105]

Viewed from any angle, Osama bin Laden is a great man,
one who smashed
the expected unfolding of universal post-Cold War peace.
Now, before everyone gets irate, “great” in this instance,
at least in my view,
does not mean good, positive, valuable, or any other such accolade.
That, however, is just one guy’s view,
and it is clear that
there are literally tens and tens of millions of Muslims
who regard bin Laden as both
a great man and
a man who merits all the positive connotations of the adjective “great”....

[B]in Laden is seen by millions of his coreligionists—
because of his
defense of Islam,
personal piety,
physical bravery,
integrity, and
as an Islamic hero,
as that faith’s ideal type, and
almost as a modern-day Saladin,
determined to defend Islam and protect Muslims.

[Scheuer gives a quotation from Bruce Hoffman:]
[Bin Laden’s] effective melding of the strands of
religious fervor,
Muslim piety, and
a profound sense of grievance
into a powerful ideological force stands—
however invidious and repugnant—
as a towering achievement.
In his own inimitable way,
bin Laden cast this struggle as precisely the
“clash of civilization”
that America and its coalition partners have labored so hard to negate.

The closer the Western media comes
to accurately portraying bin Laden,
the better the United States and its allies
will understand the threat,
and the better they can plan and execute its destruction.

The “Failed Civilization” Paradigm
[IH, pages 110–114]

[O]ne distinctive theme that has emerged with a vengeance
since the 11 September attacks is dangerous to national security
because it is wrong but plausible, and
because it is comforting to American elites still refusing to see
that U.S. government actions in the Islamic world
are causing Muslims to attack the United States.
The argument’s gist is:
  1. bin Laden, his allies, and their goals
    have been spawned by a “failed civilization”
    one hostile to democratization, capitalism, and modernity,
    save for the tools of war — and
  2. they are driven by both
    the realization that Islamic society is dying and
    a maniacal desire to destroy other civilizations
    that are successful and causing the death of Islam.
These men, the argument goes,
recognize this failure, blame it on the West, and
are lashing out with indiscriminate violence
to spark an Armageddon-like battle with Western civilization.
This line of analysis
takes a brilliant, calculating, and patient foe like bin Laden
and reduces him
to the status of a madman, bloodthirsty and irrational.


The failed-civilization analysis, unfortunately,
allows U.S. elites, policy makers, and voters
to take refuge in the idea that the Islamic world has gone mad,
and that nothing the United States has done has caused al Qaeda’s attacks,
or generated the widely held anti-U.S. sentiment in the Islamic world.
This analysis can be used to buttress a belief that
such attacks are the irrational, almost-crazed Muslim response
to the death throes of a once glorious and worldwide Islamic civilization,
and that the violence is meant only to destroy the “others”
who are blamed for Islam’s demise.

[Scheuer quotes James Klurfield,
“Bin Laden Is No Match for the Modern World.”]

With the problem framed in this [“failed civilization”] context,
the other lines of analysis that accompany the thesis—
ones that deal with the Islamists‘ war aims
and bin Laden’s personal goals—
move the reader further down the road toward believing that
the Islamists and bin Laden have no specific complaints about
the policies and actions of the United States and its Western allies,
and are attacking because
they do not like us and resent our affluence and way of life.

[Scheuer gives an excerpt from Bernard Lewis.]

At this point,
we are again faced with the chance to incorrectly answer
the question “Why do Muslims hate us?”
Do they hate us for what we think and how we live, or
do they hate us because of what we do in the Muslim world?
The answer, per Bernard Lewis, would be mostly the former,
amounting to the same kind of ill-defined threat
posed by America and the West
that Ayatollah Khomeini railed so shrilly against
for more than a decade.
Khomeini’s rhetoric about the threat posed to Islam
by evil, degenerate, and irreligious Americans
fueled some sporadic acts of anti-U.S. violence
but never stimulated anything resembling a jihad.

[Scheuer gives an excerpt from Ralph Peters.]

So, by this point, we have progressed from
the ramifications of a failed civilization and the anger it engenders,
to a Khomeini-like hatred of America
because of its “dissolute way of life” that seduces Muslims,
to a group of ignorant young men with few “earthly prospects”
who sustain themselves psychologically by hating and
killing what they hate.
The payoff, naturally, is Osama bin Laden the madman.

[Another excerpt from Ralph Peters,
describing bin Laden as being “irrational in the extreme.”]

This line of analysis, as already noted,
comes from excellent and learned writers
[Scheuer earlier mentioned Bernard Lewis, Ralph Peters [this], Malise Ruthven [this], and Victor Davis Hanson [this]],
and I am loath to challenge and criticize those
from whom I have learned so much.
Still, I think these analyses miss the mark
regarding Osama bin Laden.

For nearly a decade now, bin Laden has demonstrated
brilliant planning,
managerial expertise,
sound strategic and tactical sense,
admirable character traits,
eloquence, and
focused, limited war aims.
He has never, to my knowledge,
behaved or spoken in a way
that could be described as “irrational in the extreme.”
The term “irrational,” it seems to me, is better applied to
Americans who have forgotten, or never learned,
Nathan Bedford Forrest‘s lesson that
“war means fighting and fighting means killing,”
and are horrified by the modest—
compared to what is coming—
casualties bin Laden has so far exacted.

There has been no similar reporting from those who
know, fought alongside, served under, fought against, or interviewed him.
To the contrary,
bin Laden is much more frank—
about al Qaeda’s success and, especially, its defeats—
and much less prone to hyperbole
than many of the Western leaders who thunder denunciations of him.

Bin Laden consistently put the blame
for the decrepit condition of Islamic civilization
squarely on Muslims themselves.
The enemies of Muslims—
be they Americans, Christians, Jews, apostates, or polytheists—
are dominating the Muslim world, according to bin Laden,
because an insufficient number of Muslims
have stood up and fought for their faith.
There simply is no evidence to support the idea
that he is vaingloriously trying to lead the world—
Muslim, Christian, and other—
to Armageddon.
And it is for this reason that I, with respect,
strongly disagree with those
who apply the failed-civilization theory
to bin Laden and al Qaeda.

Bin Laden on America’s Response to 9/11

Bin Laden gave a remarkable message immediately after 9/11,
on 2001-10-21,
concerning America and its responses to 9/11.
Here it is, from page 160 of IH:

I mention that there also are other events that took place,
greater and more dangerous than the collapse of the towers.
It is that this Western Civilization, which is backed by America,
has lost its values and appeal.
The immense materialistic towers were destroyed,
which preach [or symbolize]
Freedom, and Human Rights and Equality.
It became a total mockery and that clearly appeared
when the U.S. Government interfered and banned the media outlets
from airing our words which don’t exceed a few minutes,
because they felt the truth started to appear to the American people,
and that we truly aren’t terrorists by the definition they want,
but because we are being violated
in Palestine, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Sudan, in Somalia, in Kashmir, in the Philippines, and in every place....
Therefore ...
they forgot everything they mentioned about
Free Speech, and Unbiased Opinion, and all those matters.
So I say that Freedom and Rights in America, and Human Rights,
have been sent forward to the guillotine
with no return unless they are quickly reinstated.
The [U.S.] Government will take the American people
and the West in general will enter into a choking life,
into an unsupportable hell, because of the fact that
those governments have very strong ties,
and are under the payroll, of the Zionist lobby,
which serves the needs of Israel
who kills our sons and children without right
so they can keep on ruling with total control.

Scheuer then summarized and commented on bin Laden’s messages as follows:

To paraphrase the foregoing:

I will be mostly quiet.
I will attack those who help you.
I will wage war on you in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
I will incite all Muslims against you.
I will strike you again in the United States,
if possible with a weapon of mass destruction.
I will try to destroy your economy.
Though you are evil,
I care nothing for you, your beliefs, or your ways, but
I will force you to end several of your policies toward Muslims.
I will not grow weary, weak, or irresolute.
I will not compromise.
You will, God willing, be defeated.

[Again, the above is Scheuer’s paraphrase of bin Laden.]

Serious words from bin Laden,
just like those he uttered before 11 September
and then made good.
Americans—particularly the elites—
refuse to grasp their meaning,
which is simply that their country
is engaged in a war to the death
with an enemy who has warned us
of his every move and intention.
Bin Laden’s words leave us without excuses.
Whatever comes next,
whatever disaster befalls us, our children, and our country,
we were warned and chose not to fight to our utmost.

4. Selected Statements of bin Laden

These have been moved to the post
What “Islamic extremists” say .

5. Elite Reaction to bin Laden

Richard Holbrooke
Richard Holbrooke,
ambassador to the United Nations under Clinton,
is perhaps the Democratic Party’s current main voice on foreign policy and writes a monthly column for the Washington Post.
As such, he is surely a card-carrying member of America’s elite.
Let’s see exactly how he interprets Osama bin Laden
(OBL for short).

Below, from the green start line to the red end line,
is an excerpt (with emphasis added)
from Holbrooke’s 2005-09-09 WP column,
Our Enemy’s Face
[a deliberate echo of the World War II anti-Hitler cartoon,
Der Führer’s Face?].

Despite factionalism and fierce doctrinal disputes,
our enemies, broadly speaking, constitute a movement,
with goals, gurus, ideologues, myths and martyrs.
They share a core set of virulently anti-Western beliefs
and have common goals:
  1. to destroy the moderate (and still majority) wing of Islam,
  2. to establish Islamist theocracies that look backward
    toward a mythic “golden age,”
  3. to seek the destruction of Israel, and
  4. to inflict maximum damage and human suffering
    through acts of terrorism.

Among its leaders,
there is one whose face is as internationally recognized today
as Adolf Hitler’s was in 1941.
He was responsible for Sept. 11.
Yet the United States has not made it a primary goal
to expose Osama bin Laden as the monster he is,
something Roosevelt and Winston Churchill did to Hitler,
and American leadership did to communism during the Cold War
by demonstrating its moral and intellectual bankruptcy.
Bin Laden (unlike Saddam Hussein)
has been virtually ignored in public by official Washington.


Osama bin Laden must be discredited,
even if he remains at large.
He is not, as some argue, irrelevant
simply because his war will continue after he is gone
(although, of course, it will).
He remains a folk hero to millions of Muslims;
youths wear T-shirts of him and
children are named after him throughout the Muslim world.
The United States should stop ignoring him and his henchmen;
exposing them must become a top priority.
He is a false prophet who incites mass murder,
but he is clearly eloquent and charismatic.
His ideas, no matter how insane they seem to us,
appeal to many people.
(Hitler had those qualities, too.)


[America should] create an all-out, no-holds-barred campaign
to expose, ridicule and destroy
everything he and his ilk stand for—
murder, horror, intolerance, disrespect for human life
and a false view of Islam.

Please compare Holbrooke’s statements
about bin Laden and his goals
to bin Laden’s own statement of his motives for 9/11,
and to Scheuer’s characterizations of the man above.
Note the yawning gap between
Holbrooke’s version of what bin Laden represents
and Scheuer’s version and bin Laden’s own statement of his motivations.

I beg to take exception to Holbrooke’s accusation
that bin Laden’s ideas are “insane.”
Bin Laden’s grounds for complaint against America,
as stated above,
seem eminently legitimate and reasonable to this American.

Holbrooke’s antiterrorism policy is that the United States
“expose, ridicule and destroy
everything [bin Laden] and his ilk stand for.”
The only problem
is that Holbrooke has grievously distorted what that is.
Holbrooke, like all too many of his fellows in the elite
(Holbrooke can hardly be called a neocon) ,
wishes to focus America’s attention on the acts that
Arabs and Muslims do against the Zionist alliance
(that term does seem inescapably apt),
while ignoring what
the Zionist alliance has done to Arabs and Muslims, e.g.,
causing these events and these and these civilian deaths.

While Americans may, unfortunately,
buy into this self-serving line,
because they know no better,
the rest of the world will not,
because the rest of the world has a media
not so firmly under Jewish control, directly or indirectly.

President George W. Bush
President Bush, in his speech of 2005-10-06
on the “war on terror”
(per transcript, NYT, WP, Raimondo) ,
seems to have exactly followed Holbrooke’s advice.
Here is how Georgie Anne Geyer,
in an excellent and sensitive column,
described Bush’s speech (emphasis is added):
In [his speech],
even as pundits were still betting that he would take
a more moderate or at least analytical tone,
he in effect declared war on even more of the world.

Radical Islam
is not simply a reasonably small fundamentalist uprising,
in the president’s view; and
our fight against it is congruent historically
with the noble fights against evil fascism and communism.
Its adherents and adepts dream of
“an empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.”
They have a “focused ideology that (is) evil, but not insane.”
“regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity,”
aided and abetted by
“helpers and enablers ... allies of convenience like Syria and Iran.”
He compared today’s Iraq and Afghanistan
(and wherever else we are or are not going)
to the American losses in Beirut in 1982
[ignoring the Muslim losses caused by the Israelis] and
to similar losses in Mogadishu in 1993.
Thus, Iraq was never an isolated case, or avoidable, but
part of an ongoing persecution of America in the world
that America must every moment defend against.

The notably uncaptured Osama bin Laden,
not mentioned at all in Bush’s recent speeches,
was named, by my count, five times.
Osama is a child of “privilege”
who sends others out to die but
“never offers to go along for the ride.”
[Unlike Bush himself.]

The sense of the long and deadly serious speech was that
the United States had no responsibility for any of this.
He put together
Chechen extremists killing schoolchildren in Russia,
Israelis on the West Bank and
memories of the Crusaders
in a kind of mumbo-jumbo mixture
of violence, hatred and suffering in the world.
“In fact,” he finally said,
“we are not facing a set of grievances
that can be soothed and addressed.
No act of ours invited the rage of the killers,
and no concession, bribe or act of appeasement
would change or limit their plans for murder.

We will
never back down,
never give in and
never accept anything less than complete victory.”

6. Miscellaneous Articles


No-sama bin Laden
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2009-12-10 (Thursday)

Monday’s revelation from Defense Secretary Robert Gates that
“I think it has been years”
since the US government has had any solid information about Osama bin Laden
should come as no surprise to readers of Antiwar.com,
which has been questioning the rationale for the global war on terrorism
ever since it was a twinkle in Dick Cheney’s eye.
Gates also commented that US intelligence believes that
the fugitive terrorists might well be moving about
in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The “where’s Waldo” narrative provided by Gates is somewhat shocking
in light of the billions of dollars
that have been spent in the search for the slippery Saudi,
but it is even more significant in that
it completely undercuts the Barack Obama Administration’s case
for increasing the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

Many analysts both inside and outside of the government
have become convinced that
Osama bin Laden is dead and has been so for quite some time.
They base this perception on the same non-evidence that Gates cites,
i.e. that
there has been no solid information on bin Laden or his whereabouts
since late 2001.

The absence of any intelligence could be due to the likelihood that
a top terrorist on the run would be extremely careful about
how he moves about and how he communicates,
which is what many have believed up until recently, but

at a certain point it becomes too much of a stretch to believe that
a man heading a major terror organization
has successfully become invisible.

It is widely believed that
videos and recordings featuring his image and voice
could well be clever composites.

[On the other hand,
Michael Scheuer on 2010-01-07 stated his belief that bin Laden is still alive.]

The dead bin Laden school of thought also points to
the impotence of al-Qaeda in events unfolding in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Even the redoubtable General Stanley McChrystal,
relying on the paucity of al-Qaeda sightings and the intelligence void,
has estimated that there are likely fewer than 100 al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
His estimate is undoubtedly fairly rough as
the CIA has no idea what is going on,
but the comment itself implies that
the formerly scary terrorist group is not up to much.
Pakistani intelligence sources,
who are almost certainly better informed than their American counterparts,
believe that there is only a tiny al-Qaeda presence inside their own country.
Prime Minister Sayed Yusuf Raza Gilani recently declared flatly that
bin Laden is not inside Pakistan.


If bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is shadow of what it once was
then the whole justification for maintaining
100,000 soldiers and a nearly equal number of contractors
in Afghanistan at ruinous expense
becomes a fiction.

President Obama based his call for an escalation
on the terrorist threat in the region,
but it can be plausibly argued based on available evidence
that al-Qaeda has essentially faded away.
If that is so,
and Obama almost certainly knows that to be a distinct possibility,

the American soldiers are essentially being sent
to prop up two extremely corrupt American allies,
President Asif Zardari in Pakistan and
President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan.

[Giraldi evidently has not been reading the Washington Post,
whose editorial board has declared the war in Afghanistan a matter of morality.]

A prolonged bout of nation building is not exactly the snake oil
that was sold to the American people in Obama’s speech on December 1st
and it calls into question the integrity of
a president whose majority over John McCain certainly consisted of
voters who believed that would end ongoing wars
and bring about change in the way America conducts its foreign policy.

Most intelligence analysts who follow terrorism issues seriously
would admit that
the terrorism issue has been consistently overhyped
and that it is also receding
due to concerted action by a number of governments since 2001
combined with diminishing appeal among young Muslims.
They would also likely agree that
the international brand of al-Qaeda-like Salafist-style terrorism,
albeit diminished,
continues to be a serious problem for much of the world.
[Here is where the silence of Michael Scheuer is really missed, at least by me.
Whether he has been kept aware of the latest secret intelligence or not,
at least he could give a historical perspective on
what the likely possibilities are to look out for.
And he surely is, or was, an expert on Sunni, Salafist, and Wahhabist terrorism.]

But its epicenter is almost certainly not
where President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
appear to think it is located,
somewhere north of the Khyber Pass.


That Pakistan is politically wobbling is clear to everyone
and the possibility that it could become an Islamist dominated state,
once remote,
is increasing due to widespread corruption
and the Islamabad’s government’s inability to curtail
US drone strikes along its borders.
There has been some serious consideration in Washington of
what might happen if the current government were to fall,
including suggestions that the US and Pakistani military would intervene
to remove the country’s nuclear arsenal
and take it to some place for safe keeping.
That such an idea might even be seriously floated
calls into question the sanity level of Obama Administration policy makers.
Pakistan would never agree to such a scheme
and the US does not have either the resources or the information needed
to enable it to go around to
the numerous dispersal sites where Pakistan keeps its weapons
to scoop them up.
So that leaves the Pakistan conundrum unresolved
and 100,000 American soldiers sitting next door
as some sort of guarantor of stability
waiting to close the barn door after the horse escapes into the night.

So Secretary Gates has inadvertently let the cat out of the bag
even though the mainstream media apparently has not yet figured it out.
He has revealed that the war on terror is dead, or at least it should be.
But rather than breathe a sigh of relief,
rest assured that the word “terrorism” will be trotted out periodically
to scare the public and keep the long war going.
Nobody is coming home.
America is in for a prolonged, bloody, and expensive experience in AfPak
in spite of Obama Administration insistence that there is some kind of end game.
America under President Barack Obama
will be nation-building big time and for years to come,
until the supply of money and soldiers run out.


On Osama to Obama
By Marwan Bishara
english.aljazeera.net, 2010-01-26


Osama on Palestine

Bin Laden speaks of Gaza and Palestine,
knowing all too well that he undermines Palestinian resistance -
especially that of Islamist Hamas.

It is rather paradoxical that Osama and Obama
continue to condemn the various Islamist resistance groups
whether Palestinian, Lebanese or Iraqi.

Listening to bin Laden speak in the name of Palestine
is as awkward as
listening to Obama speaking in the name of America on Palestine.
How his administration overestimated its capacity to affect the parties
to reengage in the ‘peace process’!

This is the commander-in-chief of the one and only true superpower
that deployed half a million soldiers to free Kuwait from Iraqi occupation
and 100,000 soldiers to Afghanistan!

After four decades of occupation,
two decades of failed negotiations and continued illegal Israeli settlement,
the US president throws his hands in the air
as his special envoy to the Middle East, former Senator Mitchell,
makes empty statements.

With such a diplomatic void and strategic impotence,
bin Laden will always find listeners.

Top U.S. goal in Afghanistan ought to be capturing bin Laden
By Jack Devine
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2010-10-10


Bin Laden dead, the USG in disarray, and empty Congressional threats toward Pakistan
by Michael Scheuer
Non-intervention.com, 2011-05-07


The path to bin Laden’s death didn’t start with Obama
By Jose A. Rodriguez Jr.
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2012-04-30

The Truth Behind the Official Story of Finding Bin Laden
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2012-05-04
[Original 2012-05-03 story at truth-out.org.]


The CIA’s claim that it found bin Laden on its own is equally false.
In fact,
the intensive focus on the compound in Abbottabad
was the result of
crucial intelligence provided by
the Pakistani intelligence agency,
the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

Truthout has been able to reconstruct
the real story of bin Laden’s exile in Abbottabad,
as well as how the CIA found him,
thanks in large part to information gathered last year
from Pakistani tribal and ISI sources
by retired Pakistani Brig. Gen. Shaukat Qadir.
But that information was confirmed, in essence,
in remarks after the bin Laden raid
by the same senior intelligence official cited above –
remarks that have been ignored until now.



How Was Bin Laden Killed?
Seymour Hersh's sources tell a more believable story
than the self-serving official White House narrative.

by Philip Giraldi
American Conservative, 2015-05-20


The presumed role of the Pakistani intelligence officer leads naturally to
the plausible assumption that
Pakistan had bin Laden under control as a prisoner.
Among retired intelligence officers that I know
no one believes that
the Pakistanis were unaware of bin Laden’s presence among them

though there are varying degrees of disagreement regarding
exactly why he was being held and what Islamabad intended to do with him.

And then there is the Saudi role.
Hersh claims that Riyadh was footing the bill for holding bin Laden
because they did not want him to reveal to the Americans
what he knew about Saudi funding of al-Qaeda.
The Pakistanis for their part wanted bin Laden dead as part of the deal
so he would not talk about their holding him for five years
without revealing that fact to Washington.

Other claims by Sy Hersh include his debunking of the “garbage bags of computers and storage devices” seized by the team, used to support the contention that bin Laden was still in charge of a vast terrorist network. But there is little evidence to suggest that anything at all was picked up during the raid. Documents turned over by the Pakistanis afterwards were examined but found to be useful mostly for background on al-Qaeda.

Concerning the firefight that may not have occurred, the government account started with a claim that bin Laden was armed and resisted using his wife as a shield, a wild west fantasy concocted by then-White House terrorism chief John Brennan, but it eventually conceded that the terrorist leader was unarmed and alone. In the initial debriefing the SEAL team reportedly did not mention any resistance in the compound. The military participants in the raid were subsequently forced to sign nondisclosure forms threatening civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the operation either publicly or privately.


So what do I [Philip Giraldi] think is true?
I believe that
a walk-in Pakistani intelligence officer provided the information on bin Laden
and that
the Pakistanis were indeed holding him under house arrest,
possibly with the connivance of the Saudis.
I am not completely convinced that
senior Pakistani generals colluded with the U.S. in the attack,
though Hersh makes a carefully nuanced case
and Obama’s indiscreet comment is suggestive.
I do not believe any material of serious intelligence value was collected from the site
and I think accounts of the shootout were exaggerated.
The burial at sea does indeed appear to be a quickly contrived cover story.
And yes, I do think Osama bin Laden is dead.


Bin Laden’s papers prove him and al-Qaeda a hands-down success
by Michael Scheuer
non-intervention.com, 2016-09-24


There have been three major releases of the so called “Abbottabad Documents” –
a bit more than 235 documents — since bin Laden’s death:

–1.) https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/letters-from-abbottabad-bin-ladin-sidelined, 3 May 2012

–2.) https://www.dni.gov/index.php/resources/bin-laden-bookshelf?start=2, 20 March 2015

–3.) https://www.dni.gov/index.php/resources/bin-laden-bookshelf?start=1, 1 March 2016

Being a terminal pedant, I have read the documents – especially those bin Laden wrote and received,
many have little or nothing to do with him —
and can only say that their contents are diametrically opposed to
what the Bush and Obama administrations have told Americans and the world.
The documents, for example, show that:

—Bin Laden was never isolated.

—Bin Laden, in his private correspondence, never said that al-Qaeda’s war on the United States and its allies had anything to do with his hatred for Western civilization, freedom, the people’s selection of leaders, alcohol, women’s rights, etc.

–Bin Laden never was anything but enthusiastic about and thankful-to-Allah for the Arab Spring.

–Bin Laden resolutely opposed any near-term attempt to recreate the Caliphate.

–Bin Laden never once thought, per the released documents, that the 9/11 attacks were a mistake

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