It began with a walk-in. In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad. He offered to tell the CIA where to find bin Laden in return for the reward that Washington had offered in 2001. Walk-ins are assumed by the CIA to be unreliable, and the response from the agency’s headquarters was to fly in a polygraph team. The walk-in passed the test. ‘So now we’ve got a lead on bin Laden living in a compound in Abbottabad, but how do we really know who it is?’ was the CIA’s worry at the time, the retired senior US intelligence official told me.Seymour Hersh on new revelations about the operation to kill Osama bin Laden
"After Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, the White House released a photo of President Barack Obama and his Cabinet inside the Situation Room, watching the daring raid unfold. Hidden from view, standing just outside the frame of that now-famous photograph was a career CIA analyst" - The man who hunted Osama bin Laden
It might be instructive to ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic (after proper burial rites, of course). Uncontroversially, he is not a “suspect” but the “decider” who gave the orders to invade Iraq -- that is, to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: in Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country and the national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region. Equally uncontroversially, these crimes vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.There is Much More to Say by Noam Chomsky.
Al Jazeera releases a new (as of yet unauthenticated) tape in which the terrorist leader accuses the US and other large nations of inaction. Osama suggests boycotting the American dollar and quotes Noam Chomsky. [more inside]
Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the CIA's "bin Laden Station", and the initially anonymous author of Imperial Hubris, pulls an O'Reilly on yesterday's Glenn Beck broadcast:
"The only chance we have as a country have right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States [...] only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them [...] with as much violence as necessary."[more inside]
What is the logical consequence of noting the fact that the terrorist groups that make a difference on planet Earth—such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the PLO, Colombia's FARC—are extensions of, respectively, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and Venezuela? It is the negation of the U.S. government's favorite axiom. It means that when George W. Bush spoke, and when Barack Obama speaks, of America being "at war" against "extremism" or "extremists" they are either being stupid or acting stupid to avoid dealing with the nasty fact that many governments wage indirect warfare.International relations professor Angelo M. Codevilla argues that Osama bin Laden is not quite influential, not quite relevant, and probably dead. (multipage version)
On Wednesday Sept. 5th, German police stopped a major terrorist attack. The planned bomb consisted of 730 kilogramms of hydrogen peroxide to be mixed with other chemicals. The explosive power would have been equivalent to 550 kilogramms of TNT. The IHT reports the possible targets were the Ramstein US Air Force Air Base and Frankfurt International Airport. The suspects had been under observation for 10 months, the chemicals had been clandestinely rendered harmless by German authorities. What caused the final arrest? Two things: 1) they had just recieved a call from north Pakistan urgently ordering them to follow through within 14 days. 2) a local village policeman blew the surveillance cover by literally telling them at a routine road stop that they were on a watch-list. German intelligence immediately knew the policeman had blown their cover. How? They had bugged the car [Spiegel, rough translation]. [more inside]
Kola Boof claims she was a successful actress in the Arabic-speaking world, an active member of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army and, most notably, Bin Laden's mistress. Although skeptics have been passionate in their criticism and the skeptics themselves vilified by the believers, no conclusive evidence seems to have been presented either way. So who is this woman? (Some links mildly NSFW: some female nudity.)
The anti-globalisers are flakes, Samuel Huntingdon is all about the decline of white hegemony, Bin Laden is ‘the illegitimate child of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan’ – Fred Halliday tells it like it is. (via, but you might well have filtered it out on the assumption that it's one of the tedious right-ring rants that they seem obsessed by nowadays.)
It Isn’t Easy Being the Sexy Bin Laden : “the face is alluring (big dark eyes, long lashes, plump lips, caramel skin)”. Satin sheets, a feather boa and not much else. And who could resist alluring bin Laden quotes like this?
“At the end of the day, I believe that the American people understand things and they have compassion and they see what’s fair,” [bin Laden] says. "They’re very fair, and that’s why I love America, and that’s why my mom loves America.”Or this quote:
“Come on, where’s the American spirit? Accept me. I want to be embraced, because my values are like yours. And I’m here. I’m not hiding.”
Bin Laden in Sweden Check out his HIP posse
what the news in america isn't telling us. Here is the Full transcript of Bin Ladin's speech
He's back: Bin Laden has released a new tape, where he attacks Bush, claims responsibility for 9/11, backhandledly backs Kerry and warns Americans to take responsibility for safety to themselves. But is it all an elaborate double bluff to make sure Bush gets in (and OBL stays as safe as he is now)?
"It would be best if the arrest or killing of [Osama bin Laden] were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July." During the first three days of the Democratic National Convention, the Bush administration offers The July Surprise.
The anonymous author of Imperial Hubris has been revealed.
This is a message to our neighbours north of the Mediterranean, containing a reconciliation initiative as a response to their positive reactions. Osama bin Laden's latest message to the world. (more inside)
9/11 Panel: Bush White House Withheld Papers The commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks announced yesterday that it has identified 69 documents from the Clinton era that the Bush White House withheld from investigators and which include references to al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and other issues relevant to the panel's work.
Osama vs Gandhi. Alas not Celebrity Deathmatch but an interesting discussion of worldviews from the latest Prospect.
Osama bin Laden: missed opportunities The question for the 9/11 commission: If the CIA was able to get that close to bin Laden before 9/11, why wasn’t he captured or killed? The videotape has remained secret until now.
Iraq and Al-Queda Linked? The WeeklyStandard claims to have received a letter sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy to the chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee, outlining the connections between Iraq and Bin Laden. Shortly thereafter, the DOD criticizes the WeeklyStandard for mischaracterizing the memo. Story still developing...
'The Search For Osama'. A long, well-researched article in the 'New Yorker' about the ongoing global manhunt for the leader of al Qaeda and the architect of the September 11 attacks.
Michael Moore is making a deal with Mel Gibson's Icon Prods. to finance "Fahrenheit 911," a documentary that will trace why the U.S. has become a target for hatred and terrorism. It will also depict alleged dealings between two generations of the Bush and bin Laden clans that led to George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden becoming mortal enemies.
A letter to the American people from Osama bin Laden is being circulated among Islamists in Britain. Although there's no way to confirm it's authenticity, the Observer claims that senior Arab journalists in the Middle Eastern media believe the letter is authentic, and calls it "the most comprehensive explanation of bin Laden's ideology to be issued for several years."
Misinterpreting Osama's Message: Erring on the Side of Danger (via AlterNet) Bin Laden's messages are mistaken for unconditional threats and vows to attack. They are really conditional warnings that whatever we do, they will respond in kind. Some new insights from reading between the lines of OBL's communiques without lapsing into left wing apologia (More inside)
Bin Laden Unmasked? Robert Fisk [ducks] reviews a '215 page treasure trove' written by an Al Jazeera journalist and published in Beirut. It contains a 'wealth of information' about the elusive billionaire and his followers. He communicates over the Internet - no surprise there - but the book gives some clues as to the site used: al-Nidaa, 'The Calling'. Can you find it? The words of Mullah Omar are apparently distributed on site called the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan', wild goose chase? You decide.
Another Big Lie. "The great mass of people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), German dictator. Mein Kampf, vol. 1, ch. 10 (1925)" There are Big Lies all around us. We seem to prefer to turn away from them, to dismiss the believers as harmless deluded fools. But doesn't that just make it worse?
All Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology Why did Bin Laden's homies do what they did on September 11? Why did Lindh (as per the Steve Earle thread below) do what he did? Here is a cogent answer.
How Al Qaeda Slipped Away "American officials concede that there was a mass escape from Tora Bora—as well as a broader exodus by various routes into Pakistan and Iran—but insist that Al Qaeda now is crippled and too busy running to do much damage. “Perhaps we could have got them wholesale,” says one senior Defense official. “Now we’re doing it retail. In the end, it doesn’t make much difference. We’re getting them.”" We might want to take care of this before we "invade" Iraq.
Bin Laden's eldest son 'takes over al-Qaeda' Does this add to the speculation that Osama is dead, or could it be just another ruse?
Is bin Laden dead? Some people in the intelligence community are apparently beginning to think so and are even quietly speaking to reporters about it.
It would be all too anticlimactic to have gotten him yet. Now it appears (or is being reported) that OBL was "spirited" away into Iran during a lull in battle when al-Qaeda forces strategically offered to surrender. The bombing momentarily ceases. Wily bin Laden gets away.
Bin laden tape released. I'm watching it on CNN now....
Osama bin Gone to Pakistan 10 days now according to the Christian Science Monitor, and left his boy Salah to protect the Laden ranch at Tora Bora.
televised suicide: the goofiest bin laden rumor yet? good lord. the story claims bin laden is going to kill himself on tv to trigger attacks on monuments around the world. even the tabloids have been staying away from the attacks, for the most part. but when this story went by on a ticker while i was surfing, i just had to look. what's the strangest post-attack rumor you've heard so far? i want obscure, here, people, not anything about malls on halloween.
A story that seems to be good news no matter what side of the 'war' you're on. The dragnet around Bin Laden is reported to be closing quickly, and currently stands, says the Sunday Times, at about 30 squares mile. So, what happens next? (via Plastic.com)
Naipul thinks the causes of Sept. 11 are religious, not American foreign policy. (NYT) "There is a passage in one of the Conrad short stories of the East Indies where the savage finds himself with his hands bare in the world, and he lets out a howl of anger. I think that, in its essence, what is happening.The world is getting more and more out of reach of simple people who have only religion. And the more they depend on religion, which of course solves nothing, the more the world gets out of reach."
Some news agencies are reporting that Bin Laden is dead. It's slowly being picked up here but, there are no confirmations yet.
"To me, every fundamentalist Muslim, no matter how peaceable in his own behavior, is part of a murderous movement and is thus, in some fashion, a foot soldier in the war that bin Laden has launched against civilization." a comment by Daniel Pipes If Muslim fundamentalists are this bad I wonder what his views are of the other religious fundamentalists
Muslim makes bin Laden a laughing matter. "My name is Shazia Mirza - at least that's what it says on my pilot's licence." It seems The Onion isn't the only one healing through comedy.
Falwell-Robertson-Bin Laden Quiz Can you tell their statements apart?
How do you censor terrorists in the 21st Century? Bush has got networks to agree not to run raw bin Laden footage over fear of transmitting instructions. But how do you get every publication in the free world not to run the text of statements?
Bert is Evil is gone.
"I have taken down the "Bert is Evil!"site from my server. I would like to thank Sesame Workshop for their patience and restraint all these years. I implore all fans and mirror site hosts of "Bert is Evil" to stop the spread of this site too. -- dino"
Short Shockwave piece. Kumbayah, my Lord, Kumbayah...
Short Shockwave piece. Kumbayah, my Lord, Kumbayah...
This didn`t seem too important to many but the last pieces of evidence associating Bin Laden and company to the WTC attacks was released, and is detailed by the Sunday Times. It`s surprising that many people were ready to go to war without this info...
Bin Laden Celebrates This is video shot just after the WTC attack and released today. It shows a celebration of Bin Laden and his top lieutenants surrounded by armed militants.
US to give detailed evidence of Bin Laden's Involvement. Apparently the US government does have enough evidence to hang Osama, but they're not telling just anyone ... you have to be part of NATO or the Pakistan government to get in on the info.
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