Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, BBC, CNN, Times of London, Tom Ridge, the public - who is duping whom ?
November 17, 2001 12:32 AM   Subscribe

Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, BBC, CNN, Times of London, Tom Ridge, the public - who is duping whom ? On November 15, the BBC and the Times of London report Bin Laden's nuclear secrets have been found. The next day CNN also reports nuclear weapons-related documents found in an al Qaeda safe house . Tom Ridge confirms the story. The same day, the Village Voice reports the hoax spotted by the Daily Rotten given their command of thermo nuclear science. God help us all.
posted by Voyageman (13 comments total)
That’s a lot of links. Anyway, Cardhouse chimes in to deflate some hyperbole about “secret services” documents in the Sunday Times. (Scroll to 01nov05.)
posted by raaka at 12:57 AM on November 17, 2001

It's all a great big diabolical Taliban trick, part of a grand strategy that included pulling out of Kabul. And blah blah blah.
posted by raysmj at 12:59 AM on November 17, 2001

That’s a lot of links.

Um, because thoroughness is a bad thing? Okay. Whatever.
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:50 AM on November 17, 2001

Oh another journalism review: The NYT tried to look up the video in which bin Laden supposedly admits his guilt. They couldn’t find it and questioned its existence.

I remember quite a bit of self-congratulation regarding coverage of 9.11. Hopefully ombuds will be as forthcoming with admonishments about the recent spate of bad reporting.

donkey, Thoroughness isn’t bad, but redundancy is evil. The main article is linked twice and Daily Rotten is linked and mentioned in it. That’s at least two links that don’t need to be there. (I’m also a fan of linking as few words as neccessary, preferably just a verb.) Strive to be succinct.

Okay? Whatever.
posted by raaka at 3:21 AM on November 17, 2001

When in doubt, hide in basement.
I am always impressed by how many schoolmarmish verbal spankings posters get at this site. Reminds me of my formner wife.
posted by Postroad at 4:04 AM on November 17, 2001

did they find my bike?
posted by clavdivs at 7:29 AM on November 17, 2001

It was never relevant anyway. We know that bin Laden instructed his followers that getting nuclear weapons is a religious duty for Muslims; we know that his deputies have tried to obtain nuclear weapons and materials, and we know from September 11 that they have the will to use them, and the patience and discipline to wait a very long time to carry out their aims, not to mention to acquire necessary knowledge and contacts. Then there was this week's "bloody knight" threats from Omar. It's been a fast-moving several days, and this stuff just bounced aroudn the media; it didn't come from our technical teams scouring the ruins, but an amateur with (probably) a liberal arts degree.

I lump this material in with the ads for flying schools and the Microsoft Flight Simulator serial key -- it shows the kinds of things they're thinking about. Maybe one of the terror associates (probationary training level, part time, with dental) pulled it down, not knowing what it was; or maybe they did know what it was and had it around as a joke.

I, for one, would be very happy to find that geiger counter readings in all their camps turn up negative. Given that someone with nukes probably wouldn't have to resort to stealing jet-fuel bombs loaded with passengers, I'm inclined to feel comfortable they don't have anything.


In any case, the most important accomplishment has been the disruption of the network's control and training network, and with the deaths of people like Atef, the loss of a lot of institutional memory and capability. I feel, oh, 20% safer just from that. If they have to operate in the future inside countries which won't hesitate to arrest them, so much the better.
posted by dhartung at 7:53 AM on November 17, 2001

Another interesting thing, found at Adnan:

"Dawn's English version quotes Bin Laden as saying: "If America used chemical and nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as a deterrent." Mr Mir then asks Bin Laden where he got the weapons, which the al-Qaeda leader declines to answer.

But in the Urdu version of the article, Bin Laden does not threaten to use nuclear or chemical weapons. "The US is using chemical weapons against us and it has also decided to use nuclear weapons. But our war will continue," he says, according to the BBC's own translation of the Ausaf article.'"
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:37 AM on November 17, 2001

i think the key would be his research into nuclear shielding...
posted by clavdivs at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2001

Al-Qaeda's trail of terror I rarely agree with the Guardian, but their more thoughtful coverage of this is story is spot on, the advantage of reflective reporting over fighting to break news first.
posted by Voyageman at 8:26 AM on November 18, 2001

Incidentally, the staff at the Voice was super excited to post the story, they saw it as a big coup. In case anyone still cares.

I tried to get a link to into the story because of the AIR reference, but no dice.
posted by anildash at 8:41 PM on November 19, 2001

Disinformation : leave bogus plans behind so we think he's stupid and doesn't have nuclear weapons.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:37 PM on November 19, 2001

The WSJ (reg required) gives their 2 cents on the documents found in Kabul and journalism ethics issues.
posted by Voyageman at 9:58 AM on November 20, 2001

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