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October 1, 2001
2:31 PM   Subscribe

A lot of people have been asking for "proof." Here is your proof. And it makes for chilling reading.
posted by Steven Den Beste (32 comments total)

 
Proof? Seems rather weak to me.

And really how is this any different than the documentation that the US provided to the contras or to other right-wing paramilitary groups in Central America?

In fact it seems that the info isn't anything other than the same material you can get from declassified US Army manuals that you can buy at Army Surplus stores?
posted by pixelgeek at 2:46 PM on October 1, 2001


This is terrible, and it shows that Bin Laden is dangerous, but is this really proof?
posted by bshort at 2:46 PM on October 1, 2001


"The Big Koran of Mischief" (not yet available at amazon.com)
posted by BentPenguin at 2:47 PM on October 1, 2001


Well, now — I had a copy of "How To Kill" when I was in high school (good old Paladin Press) but that doesn't prove anything about me except that I was sort of an unpleasant kid.

I'm confident that bin Laden's culpable and I hope our government has or will have the proof it needs to demonstrate our moral authority to slap the shit out of him, and that it'll show us and the world that proof eventually — but this ain't it.
posted by nicwolff at 2:49 PM on October 1, 2001


How is this proof? Wouldn't this count as circumstantial evidence? When I hear people talking about proof, I expect to see a list of documents that show a direct connection with the hijackers and Al-Qaida. A training manual is gravy; I still want to see the damn meat and potatoes.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:50 PM on October 1, 2001


I was looking for a place to put this, but I didn't want to add yet another Taliban front-page link. According to MSNBC, Bin Laden called his mother(!) on 9/9, and told her to expect "big news" in two days, and she wouldn't hear from him for a while. An unknown "intelligence agency" allegedly taped the call. If true, this would certainly be some "proof."
posted by pardonyou? at 2:50 PM on October 1, 2001


How is this proof (I assume you are talking about WTC)? It is just a terrorism manual. I think everyone knew these guys were terrorists already.

On another point: Why is proof of Sep11 guilt even necessary? Bin Landen has been implicated quite clearly in a number of previous atrocities.

Todays homework assignment: Reuters is calling the Taliban "puritanical". It it appropriate to compare these two religious groups? Obviously reuters is looking for a intolerant western parallel to the taliban, but had to go back 200 years.
posted by phatboy at 2:50 PM on October 1, 2001


In other words, the only proof you'd accept would be a videotaped confession by bin Laden himself. Sorry, we're fresh out.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:51 PM on October 1, 2001


Steven, everyone knows Bin Laden has connections to terrorist organizations. These manuals don't prove that, because we already knew it. These manuals also don't seem to link Bin Laden to the 9/11 attacks. So what proof are you referring to?
posted by Doug at 3:06 PM on October 1, 2001


The volumes were obtained by The Associated Press from a former Afghan guerrilla who said he got them from a Libyan fighter.

Doesn't that read like something that you'd expect to find on Snopes?
posted by holgate at 3:18 PM on October 1, 2001


> And it makes for chilling reading.

As does the stuff the Paladin Press and other such outfits (see the ads in the back pages of Soldier of Fortune magazine) have been peddling, perfectly legally, in the U.S. for years.
posted by jfuller at 3:18 PM on October 1, 2001


hey, i had a copy of the 'anarchist's cookbook' back in high school!
posted by jcterminal at 3:21 PM on October 1, 2001


I don't know. Gathering evidence is like building a brick house. You have to do it one at a time. I think that these manuals are important. I just want to see more of the bricks.
posted by bragadocchio at 3:24 PM on October 1, 2001


The Anarchist's Cookbook and things like that are even more chilling imho.. Proof = material linking al quaeda directly to the attack. Simple enough, communications etc. This is just a generic terrorists handbook, and hey, we know they're nasty folk anyway.
posted by Mossy at 3:26 PM on October 1, 2001


from CNN: U.S. allies getting evidence linking bin Laden to attacks
posted by kliuless at 3:30 PM on October 1, 2001


This is proof the way the Turner Diaries was proof of McVeigh's actions.

Well, OK, I'll give you it's more than that, but to call it 'proof' is really stretching it. And it doesn't have to go to the level of video-taped confessions, there are many ways to connect acts of terror to groups that planned and/or financed them. Real proof is necessary to give our military the leeway they need to act.
posted by cell divide at 3:44 PM on October 1, 2001


Hey Stevie!
You should read "Innocent Muslim doctor tells of arrest, two-week ordeal" - that might give you a clue as to why people ask for "proof" before they condone ripping people's lives apart. Disdaining those who believe that "proof" is necessary to arrive at a determination of "guilt" sort of pisses all over "democracy" and "due process" and other warm words like that, doesn't it? Think before you act, prove before you accuse.
posted by holycola at 4:01 PM on October 1, 2001


[You should read "Innocent Muslim doctor tells of arrest, two-week ordeal"]

Just watched an interview with him on CNN. He said he had no problem with being detained. He said he believed in the premise of America, believed in equality and tolerance, and thought that two weeks of his life was a small price to pay to live in this country. He also said he thought it wasn't any hardship at all compared to what thousands of others were dealing with because of 9-11.
posted by revbrian at 4:05 PM on October 1, 2001


Jesus! That WAS chilling.

Almost as chilling as U.S. Army Field Manuals.

Ooops...forgot about that party line I'm supposed to be toeing as an American.

Sorry.

I hope they don't come and "detain" me for two weeks. I didnt' mean anything by it. I promise. And my swarthiness is just a tan...I swear.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 4:34 PM on October 1, 2001


In other words, the only proof you'd accept would be a videotaped confession by bin Laden himself. Sorry, we're fresh out.

Normally you're pretty logical about this stuff, Steven. I'm surprised to see it so absent here.

First, the proof that people are looking for is proof that Bin Laden's terrorist network planned and/or carried out the Sept. 11 attacks. Not proof that Bin Laden is a terrorist.

Bin Laden's terrorist manual, which is old news, doesn't even prove that. Anyone can write up an Anarchist Cookbook -- check out the stuff sold by Loompanics.

Second, no one said anything about requiring a videotaped confession from Bin Laden himself. People would like to see a paper trail leading from the hijackers to Bin Laden's network. I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation, considering the stakes of military action in Afghanistan.

I'm at a loss for the rhetorical effect you were hoping this link would achieve. It's no surprise to anyone that Bin Laden's an evil nutjob, but frankly there's no shortage of them. Before we risk the destablization of the Middle East to kill him and wipe out his network, it might be a good idea to show that he's the right nutjob, rather than treating him like the Middle Eastern Henry Lee Lucas.
posted by rcade at 4:44 PM on October 1, 2001


In other words, the only proof you'd accept would be a videotaped confession by bin Laden himself. Sorry, we're fresh out.

Hey look sarcasm. This is old news, one of bin ladin's terrorist manuals has been on the smokinggun.com for months. This is a terrorist manual, yes. Where is the obvious connection to 9/11? No one is denying al queda is a terrorist organization.
posted by skallas at 4:48 PM on October 1, 2001


Ok, so Bin Laden wrote a book a couple of years ago. And this links him to 9/11 how?
posted by delmoi at 5:03 PM on October 1, 2001


rcade, the Henry Lee Lucas parallel is an extremely relevant comparison. I've been praying that the FBI finally, somehow gets the evidence on this one.

Bin Laden has already been indicted on relatively solid evidence for the embassy bombings. Bring him in or bring him down, for sure. But never stop hunting for the proof of the authors of 9.11.

If the U.S. mistakenly focused on bin Laden -- leaping on circumstantial evidence and some of the doers' attendance at his Terrorist Academy -- the error would rob the dead of justice.

Simply put, it would leave the true author of the atrocity snickering, free to kill more Americans.
posted by sacre_bleu at 5:49 PM on October 1, 2001


Remember the story circulating the world when Iraq invaded Kuwait? Babies incubators were turned off by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwaiti hopsitals.

Anyway, the story was later found to be false. But, not only that, it was cooked up by an Amercian PR company for around a million green ones. New York-based if my memory serves me correct.

Whatever the case, take a very careful look at the 'evidence'. Politicians lie all the time. And now is the perfect time for a 'justifiable' con.
posted by skinsuit at 5:54 PM on October 1, 2001


It proves that Al Qaeda is a danger to the United States, and that if it is allowed to continue operating, that it will unquestionably launch attacks against the United States in future.

That is sufficient proof to justify a war against Al Qaeda irrespective of whether they can be directly tied to the WTC attack.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:54 PM on October 1, 2001


[It proves that Al Qaeda is a danger to the United States, and that if it is allowed to continue operating, that it will unquestionably launch attacks against the United States in future.]

Unless the reporters are trying to avoid big headlines (which would be unlike reporters) this manual proves squat. The U.S. isn't even mentioned. As previously noted, there are much more homicidal booklets for sale at Loompanics, etc. Ever read "The Poor Man's James Bond"?

Bin Laden & Co. are a danger, sure. Based on his proclaimations and the investigation that led to his indictment for the embassy bombings, I'd say so.

At least we agree on that part.
posted by sacre_bleu at 6:21 PM on October 1, 2001


Chief : "You're a loose cannon, Den Beste! You're off the case!"
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:55 PM on October 1, 2001


That is sufficient proof to justify a war against Al Qaeda irrespective of whether they can be directly tied to the WTC attack.

So, then you are backing off your original claim that this is proof bin Laden was involved in the 9.11 attack.

Just watched an interview with him on CNN. He said he had no problem with being detained.

What else did you expect him to say? That he demands his rights be respected? That would be a recipe for more hatred of Muslims.
posted by locombia at 7:55 PM on October 1, 2001


Locombia, no I am not backing off of anything. I believe that this is proof that Al Qaeda is behind the attack.

But it's clear that for some people there will never be enough proof; they've decided that we should not go to war, and since being shown proof would require them to admit that we should go to war, then they will never accept anything as being enough proof.

My point was that even though I believe that this does demonstrate strongly a link with the WTC attack, that even if other people don't agree to that link that this is still sufficient grounds for war against Al Qaeda.

If this were a criminal investigation, then we'd need a direct link. Since this is a war, the mere fact that this shows that Al Qaeda is a serious hazard to the people of the US is sufficient.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:45 PM on October 1, 2001


Steven, if you're looking for proof that Al Qaeda is behind the 9/11 attacks, you need some sort of documentation directly linking the organization to the attacks. It's not enough to show that they're a terrorist organization. It's not enough to show that they would have liked something like this to happen. You have to show that they actually did it.

But instead of admitting that what you've provided is no more proof of Al Qaeda's culpability than the Turner Diaries were of McVeigh's, you divert into two straw-man arguments.

First, you state that proof isn't really necessary. This may or may not be true - but it is irrelevant to the original question of whether this handbook is proof.

Second, you accuse those who are looking for proof of refusing to accept any evidence at all as proof. That's a completely separate claim - and a tenuous one, at that.

Personally, I do not think the United States needs ironclad proof to take action against bin Laden - like you said, the threat bin Laden poses to US interests is well-documented, and sufficient. But I do think proof would have a significant impact on diplomatic efforts - and since it is thus in the United States' national interests to obtain such proof, I think shooting down claims of proof which in fact prove nothing is well worth our time. Clearer thinking, and harder evidence, must prevail.
posted by Chanther at 9:51 PM on October 1, 2001


I, for one, am totally convinced...

...that arguing this rationally with Steven will prove to be a fruitless endeavour.

...that the definition of "proof" has certainly sagged in the past few weeks.

..and that there is a frighteningly high number of bloodthirsty folks out there who'd like to get some killing done, and who will gladly swallow whatever stories the American governmental/war/news machine will provide. Without questioning the validity or the consistency of what they've been told. Because its unAmerican to openly question your country's motives, even if many have given their lives to make this possible.
posted by websavvy at 10:07 PM on October 1, 2001


for what its worth Sky News has had 2 reports lately on "incontrovertible" proof, the latest one is on the front of their website. The gist of it seems to be "we have the proof, but can't tell you what it is".
posted by kev23f at 5:22 AM on October 2, 2001


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