by Prof David Ray Griffin
April 30, 2010
In 2009, I published a little book entitled Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? 1
Much evidence, I showed, suggested that Osama bin Laden had died on or about
December 13, 2001.
(Although this book was ignored
by the US press, it received major reviews in British newspapers,2 and it even provided the
basis for a BBC special.3 Pointing out that the only evidence to the
contrary consists of “messages from bin Laden” in the form of audiotapes and
videotapes that have appeared since 2001, I devoted one chapter to an
examination of the most important of these tapes, showing that none are
demonstrably authentic and that some are almost certainly fakes.
In the chapter preceding that examination, I discussed two videotapes
containing purported interviews of Osama bin Laden in the fall of 2001, when
the issue was whether he had been responsible for the 9/11 attacks. I
suggested that both of these tapes, in which bin Laden allegedly admitted
his responsibility, were fakes.
If they were, I pointed out, this fact would
increase the likelihood that all of the “Osama bin Laden tapes” appearing in
the following years - when the question of whether he was still alive was
added to that of his responsibility for 9/11 - were also fakes.
The clearest example, I argued, was the most famous of the so-called bin
Laden confession videos. Having allegedly been found in a private home in
Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in late November 2001, it is sometimes called the
“November 9 bin Laden video,” because this date was stamped on it, implying
that this was when it was made.
It is also called the “bin Laden video of
December 13,” because that was the date on which it was released to the
public by the Pentagon - which is perhaps significant, given the evidence
that bin Laden may have died on that day. (If he had, he would have
obviously, and perhaps conveniently, been unable to comment on whether the
tape was authentic.)
In any case, I provided several reasons for concluding
that this video was almost certainly fabricated.
I also suggested, with greater tentativeness, that another pre-2002 video
had been fabricated. This one had been described in a November 11, 2001,
article in London’s Telegraph by David Bamber entitled “Bin Laden: Yes, I
According to Bamber, the Telegraph had on the previous day
“obtained access” to a video in which,
“Osama bin Laden has for the first
time admitted that his al-Qa'eda group carried out the [9/11] attacks.”
Bamber added that this video, which would “form the
centerpiece of Britain
and America's new evidence against bin Laden,” was going to be released to
the public on November 14.4
When November 14 came, however, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that
his government did not actually have the video or even a complete
But his government released quotations said to be “extracts”
from it - quotations that were widely regarded as confirming Bamber’s
assertion that bin Laden, when asked about 9/11, had in effect replied:
Saying that it was “hard to know what to make of this episode,” I argued
that, if both the Telegraph and “intelligence sources” had copies of such a
video, then Blair’s government would surely also have a copy.
And if it did
have a video in which bin Laden had for the first time confessed his
responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, Blair’s government - which at the time
was encountering much skepticism from the Muslim world about bin Laden’s
responsibility for those attacks - would surely have released it.
Or, I added, Blair’s government would have done this,
“unless the video was a
fake and the government decided, between November 11 and 14, that the fakery
was so obvious that it should deny having a copy while merely releasing
damning ‘excerpts.’” 5
Then, while pointing out that,
“[t]his explanation is... merely one
possibility among many,” I added two further factors supporting the
“suspicion that a fake ‘bin Laden confession video’ had been made”: Blair
had recently tried but failed (as the BBC pointed out) to provide convincing
evidence of bin Laden’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks; and Blair was
getting ready to announce emergency powers to override human rights
legislation in order to imprison suspected terrorists.6
There was only one problem with my argument: I had somehow missed news
stories revealing that the reported video was a tape of an hour-long
interview of bin Laden that, after being recorded on October 21 by Al
Jazeera’s Kabul correspondent, Tayseer Allouni, was not aired by Al
This fact, not being generally known at the time, was not
mentioned in news reports appearing during the following month. On December
12, however, the New York Times reported that Blair had been referring to an
Al Jazeera interview.8 And then CNN, which had an affiliate agreement with
Al Jazeera, aired several minutes of this interview on January 31, 2002,
after which, on February 5, it posted the entire transcript online.9
My speculation that the tape reported by Blair might have been a fake was,
therefore, baseless, reflecting research that was, to say the least,
This fact was recently pointed out in a critique of my book by Maher Osseiran entitled “Osama bin Laden, Dead or Alive? An Irrelevant Question
Asked by David Ray Griffin.” 10
Osseiran’s article contained four criticisms:
Whether bin Laden is dead or alive is irrelevant.
It had long been known that the video to which Blair referred was an
interview of bin Laden by Al Jazeera.
I should have known that the bin Laden video released on December 13,
2001, was also not a fake, because Osseiran had shown, in articles known to
me, that it was an authentic video made during a sting operation.
There is no good evidence for my book’s claim that bin Laden died in
Although I agree with Osseiran’s second criticism, I disagree with the other
I will discuss his four criticisms in the above order (which is the
order in which he introduced them).
Criticism #1 - The Question of Whether Bin Laden Died in 2001 Is Irrelevant
In explaining the claim that he considered important enough to put in the
title of his critique - that it is irrelevant whether bin Laden is dead or
alive - Osseiran said that my book was based on an “irrational rationale,”
“In the world of David Ray Griffin and his cheerleaders, if it is possible
to prove that bin Laden is dead, wars would immediately come to an end.”
Osseiran did not, however, quote any statement to show that I hold any such
belief - which is understandable, because I have never made any such
Having no idea why Osseiran attributed such an absurd belief to
me, I will simply move on to his reason for calling the question of bin
Laden’s continued existence irrelevant:
“[I]t is irrelevant because the war policy makers in the U.S. government can
easily deal with a bin Laden death and find ways to justify their never
ending war on terror.”
I agree that civilian and military leaders would seek to justify their
current war policies even if they had to admit that Osama bin Laden was
dead. But Osseiran’s claim - that US policy makers could “easily” deal with
convincing evidence of bin Laden’s death, so that such evidence would be
irrelevant - is surely wrong, for several reasons.
First, it is widely recognized that a crusade against an allegedly evil
government or movement can more easily garner support insofar as that
government or movement has a leader who can be portrayed as extraordinarily
Since 9/11, Osama bin Laden has been thus portrayed by American leaders. For
example, after skeptics had questioned the authenticity of the video
released December 13, 2001, in which the bin Laden figure clearly took
responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, President Bush said that those who
considered this video a fake were simply hoping for the best about “an
incredibly evil man.”11
Bush’s press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said:
“Everybody knows how evil Osama bin Laden is.”12
A Reuters article in 2002
“Bush constantly described the Saudi-born militant as an incarnation
In an essay entitled “Constructing an Evil Genius,”
Winch, a professor of communications and the humanities, wrote:
Laden was framed in news media reports from 1999 through 2002 as an evil
genius... very similar to the fictional villain Dr. Fu-Manchu, a
Victorian horror novel character.” 14
The loss of such a figure would be far
In the second place, President Obama has greatly intensified the focus on
bin Laden. Back in November 2008, when
Barack Obama was still the
president-elect, one of his advisers said of bin Laden:
“This is our enemy,
and he should be our principal target.”15
Shortly after he assumed the
presidency, Obama himself, having been asked how important it was to
apprehend bin Laden, said:
“My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him. But if we have so
tightened the noose that he's in a cave somewhere and can't even communicate
with his operatives, then we will meet our goal of protecting America.”16
In June 2009, a UPI story said:
“Finding al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, believed still in hiding in
Pakistan, remains a top priority for the United States, CIA Director Leon
Three months later, a news report based on statements from Obama’s senior
counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, was entitled:
“US Says Hunt Still on
for Bin Laden.”18
In December 2009, Obama’s military commander in
Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, referred to bin Laden as an,
figure... whose survival emboldens al-Qaeda as a franchising organization
across the world.”19
Because the Obama administration has said not only that the main reason we
are in Afghanistan is to prevent al-Qaeda from attacking America again, but
also that al-Qaeda will remain an especially dangerous threat as long as its
“iconic” leader is still alive, the acknowledged death of that leader would
surely undermine the administration’s public rationale for remaining in
Moreover, bin Laden is relevant to the war rationale - to give a third
reason why acknowledgment of his death could not be easily absorbed - not
only because of his presumed survival but also because of his presumed
The Afghan war has increasingly become the “Af-Pak” war, because
of increased US military operations inside of Pakistan, and these operations
have been largely justified on the basis of “intelligence” that bin Laden,
along with other al-Qaeda leaders, is there.
In President Obama’s March 2009
speech in which he laid out a “new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan,”
“[A]l Qaeda and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the
remote areas of the Pakistani frontier. This almost certainly includes al
Qaeda's leadership: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
They have used
this mountainous terrain as a safe-haven to hide, train terrorists,
communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the
insurgency in Afghanistan. For the American people, this border region has
become the most dangerous place in the world.”20
In light of such assertions, a widespread agreement that bin Laden was no
longer with us would severely undermine the Obama administration’s professed
rationale for the expansion of the war into Pakistan, thereby further
increasing opposition to the Af-Pak war among the press and the public.
Whereas these first three points are more than sufficient to refute the
claim that the question posed by my book is irrelevant, the most decisive
reason is a fourth: The book’s argument, to recall, was not merely that bin
Laden is probably dead but also that he has probably been in this state
since mid-December 2001.
If this is true and were to become publicly
acknowledged, the dozens of “messages from Osama bin Laden” that have
appeared since 2001 would be exposed as fakes. People in America and around
the world would, therefore, realize that some organization had been
fabricating these tapes for the purpose of deceiving them into thinking that
bin Laden was still alive.
If it were to be learned, moreover, that these tapes had been fabricated by
the Pentagon, as part of its “psyops” (psychological operations), then the
military leaders who had authorized their creation would be exposed as
guilty of breaking the law prohibiting the US military from directing
propaganda at the American people.
Questions as to why they did this - questions that would likely lead to answers involving the
“military-industrial complex” - would probably follow. A lot of people would
not like such questions to be raised.
In light of these considerations, Osseiran’s first criticism is clearly
false. I turn now to his second.
Criticism #2 - The Video Mentioned by Tony Blair in November 2001 Is
As I have already indicated, I agree with this criticism, along with
Osseiran’s further point that I should have known that the bin Laden
interview to which Blair referred was one that had been videotaped by Al
Jazeera but then not aired.21
Now that I am aware of these stories, I am
mystified as to how I could have missed them.22
The fact that the video was authentic does not, however, undermine my
contention, argued in other writings, that there is no good evidence that
bin Laden had planned or even specifically authorized the 9/11 attacks.23 Osseiran’s contrary view may be based in part on the assumption that bin
Laden confessed responsibility for these attacks during the Al Jazeera
This assumption was, in any case, widely expressed when the tape was first
reported. As pointed out above, Telegraph writer David Bamber, in speaking
of the importance of this video, said:
“Osama bin Laden has for the first
time admitted that his al-Qa'eda group carried out the [9/11] attacks.”
Telegraph itself supported this view with the title it put on the article:
“Bin Laden: Yes, I Did It.”24
Prime Minister Tony Blair then endorsed this
interpretation a few days later by claiming that bin Laden had, during the
interview, said that he had “instigated” the 9/11 attacks.25
It was, in
fact, these descriptions of the tape’s content that made me suspect it to be
The idea that bin Laden had in this interview admitted responsibility for
the 9/11 attacks was, in any case, also promoted by CNN on January 31, 2002,
when it aired a portion of the interview.
After bin Laden was shown saying - in response to the American claim that he was responsible for 9/11
the description of him as a terrorist was unwarranted, CNN commentator Wolf
“That may sound like a denial but listen to what he says only
CNN then showed footage of bin Laden saying:
people to do that is terrorism and if killing those who kill our sons is
terrorism, then let history be witness that we are terrorists.”26
After the entire transcript was published, Sarah Sullivan of
Broadcasting System gave the same interpretation, writing:
of the interview makes bin Laden's defense of Sept. 11 and implicit
acknowledgement of responsibility even clearer than the excerpts broadcast
by CNN.” 27
Not all journalists, however, described this interview as one in which bin
Laden had acknowledged responsibility, even implicitly, for the 9/11
Guardian writer Oliver Burkeman, for example, said that bin Laden,
“dodges questions about his responsibility for the September 11 attacks, but
says they were justified.”28
A close examination of the transcript shows, moreover, that bin Laden did
not even dodge the question.
Rather, he simply made the same twofold point
about the attacks that he had previously articulated - namely, that he
rejoiced in the attacks but had not been responsible for them or even known
about them in advance.
On September 12, for example, this twofold point was made on bin Laden’s
behalf by one of his aides, who told Al Jazeera that bin Laden had had,
information or knowledge about the attack” but that he had “thanked Almighty
Allah and bowed before him when he heard this news.”29
Continuing to deny
responsibility in the following days, bin Laden himself told Al Jazeera on
“I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears
to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation.”30
October 7, he praised the “vanguards of Islam... [who] destroyed
America," but he did not withdraw his earlier statements denying
During the Al Jazeera interview of October 21, bin Laden made this same
On the one hand, he expressed his approval of the attacks in
New York and Washington, calling them “great on all levels” and saying, in
particular, that “the collapse of the twin towers is huge.”
On the other
hand, he denied responsibility.
After saying that the designation of him as
a terrorist was unwarranted, he responded to the American government’s claim
that it had convincing evidence of his complicity in the attacks by stating:
“We never heard in our lives a court decision to convict someone based on a
‘secret’ proof it has. The logical thing to do is to present a proof to a
court of law.”32
At this point, however, bin Laden did - contrary to Al Jazeera’s statement
that there was nothing new in this interview - go beyond what he had
previously said in public statements: Having denied direct responsibility
for the attacks, he suggested that he might have been indirectly
Speaking of “the brave guys who took the battle to the heart of
America and destroyed its most famous economic and military landmarks,” bin
“They did this, as we understand it, and this is something we have agitated
for before, as a matter of self-defense, in defense of our brothers and sons
in Palestine, and to liberate our
sacred religious sites/things.” 33
His point was that he had encouraged (“agitated for”) Muslims to strike back
at Americans and Israelis, as an act of self-defense against their attacks
on Muslim holy places and people.
This striking back was self-defense, he
argued, because Americans and Israelis would quit killing Muslims only if
Muslims killed enough of them in return to make them stop:
Having spoken of
the killing of Muslims in Palestine and Iraq, where, “more than 1 million
children died... and others are still dying,” bin Laden said: “If they
kill our women and our innocent people, we will kill their women and their
innocent people until they stop.”
Making still clearer the sense in which he might be given some credit for
9/11, he said:
“We have agitated for this [an attack on America] for years
and we have issued statements and fatwas to that effect.”
He then referred
to an event in Saudi Arabia in which four young men, who had been
“influenced by some of the fatwas and statements that we issued,” had
destroyed “an American center.”
Bin Laden then commented:
“If they mean... that there is a link as a result of our incitement, then it is true....
We have incited battle against Americans and Jews. This is true.” 34
In other words, just as bin Laden was not involved in planning the attack on
the American center in Saudi Arabia, but was indirectly responsible for it
in the sense that the four young attackers were “incited” by his fatwas
against America, he may also have been indirectly responsible for the 9/11
It is in this sense that we should understand the passage of his
interview quoted by Blitzer:
“If inciting people to do that [namely, attacking America in self-defense]
is terrorism, and if killing those who kill our sons is terrorism, then let
history be witness that we are terrorists.”35
Having denied that he was a “terrorist” in the sense of having
planned or specifically authorized the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden added
that, if the word “terrorist” is used (unreasonably) for Muslims who strike
back at America in self-defense, or who encourage fellow Muslims to do so,
then he and the “brave guys” who attacked America on 9/11 are indeed
I am grateful to Osseiran for pointing out the existence of the Al Jazeera
interview, thereby giving me the opportunity to provide this analysis of it.
By showing the falsity of the widespread assumption that bin Laden confessed
direct responsibility for the 9/11 attacks in this interview, this analysis
strengthens the case against the authenticity of the tape released December
13, in which the bin Laden figure claimed to have been directly involved in
planning the 9/11 attacks.
If bin Laden during his Al Jazeera interview had expressed
direct responsibility for those attacks, then it would not be surprising if
he had also done so in a private interview with a visiting sheikh (see the
But because bin Laden in the Al Jazeera interview once
again denied responsibility for the attacks - except possibly in the
indirect sense that his fatwas against America may have influenced the
attackers - then the video released December 13, 2001, would, if authentic,
be the one and only recording we have in which bin Laden claimed direct
I turn now, in any case, to Osseiran’s critique of my book’s treatment of
Criticism #3 - The Video Released December 13 Is Authentic
On December 13, 2001, the Pentagon released a video that was dated November
9, 2001, claiming that it had been found by US forces in a private home in
Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in late November (after anti-Taliban forces had
taken over the city).
As I wrote in my book:
“The tape purportedly shows Osama bin Laden, in a private home, talking
about the 9/11 attacks with a visiting Sheikh. During the course of the
conversation, in which the bin Laden figure is seen and heard gloating about
the success of the attacks, he states that he not only knew about them
several days in advance but had also, in fact, planned them.”37
After showing that the tape had been widely used to confirm the US-British
position that bin Laden had been responsible for the 9/11 attacks, I
discussed several features of the tape that support the widespread view that
it was a fake - that the bin Laden figure in it was not Osama bin Laden
By calling this video a fake, Osseiran complained, I had “disregarded the
truth” about it, which had been “pointed out to [me] on numerous occasions”
- by which he meant that he had sent me several papers in which he had given
an alternative theory of its creation.38
According to Osseiran’s theory, the video was made during a CIA-arranged
sting operation that took place on September 26, 2001, ten days before the
US attack on Afghanistan.
The operation was based around Khaled al-Harbi, a
wheelchair-bound Saudi sheikh whom bin Laden trusted.
Al-Harbi had traveled
from Saudi Arabia to a small village in Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province with
two CIA operatives in order to have a conversation with bin Laden. The
conversation between the two men was videotaped, but bin Laden did not know
this. When he spoke of his responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, therefore,
he did not realize that he would be confessing to the world.39
The videotaping of Osama bin Laden’s confession was, according to Osseiran,
the first part of a two-part sting operation. The second part was to kill or
capture bin Laden.
This could have been done right after the confession was
taped, but the United States chose to postpone that part of the operation
until later because, if bin Laden had been captured or killed at that time,
“there would have been diminished justification and therefore less support
for military actions in Afghanistan.... [T]he Bush Administration would
have met much greater resistance [by the American people] against its
invasion of Afghanistan.”40
I am puzzled as to how Osseiran’s believes this statement to be consistent
with his claim that the question raised by the title of my book - namely,
whether bin Laden is dead or alive - is irrelevant.
Be that as it may, the killing or capture of bin Laden, Osseiran suggested,
was to be carried out when he came back to the village again, which turned
out to be on November 2. The plan was for him to be killed or captured by US
forces transported to the village in a helicopter. This plan was foiled,
however, when the US helicopter, encountering bad weather, crashed, so that
bin Laden remained free.
Then on December 13, the US government, anxious to
supply evidence of bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11, released the tape,
thereby allowing him to realize that his security had been compromised. He
hence went into hiding, never to be heard from again.
Even though this videotape provides the clearest evidence that bin Laden was
directly involved in planning the 9/11 attacks, Osseiran says, and even
though the US government could prove the tape’s authenticity by explaining
that it was produced during a CIA sting operation, it has refused to do
Why? Because it does not want to admit that, although it could have
killed or captured bin Laden on September 26, 2001, it did not, in order to
retain its pretext for going to war. And to admit this would be to confess
We can certainly admire Osseiran’s passion to undermine the rationale for
the Afghan war by getting his account accepted, and this account has an
initial plausibility, partly because it provides an alternative explanation,
as I will point out below, for some of the features of the videotape that
have led many of us to consider it a fake.
But this appearance of plausibility disappears when one begins probing
Osseiran’s claim that the US operatives did not kill or capture bin Laden
right after the tape was made because, had they done so, the American public
would not have supported the invasion of Afghanistan.
The problem with this
claim is that the killing or capture of bin Laden would have undermined
support for the invasion only if the American public knew about it, and his
death or capture could have been concealed. After bin Laden had left the
village, for example, US operatives could have secretly killed him and then
buried his body where it could have been “discovered” later, after the goals
of the invasion had been achieved.
Alternatively, bin Laden could have been
captured and held in secret custody until those goals were achieved, after
which his freshly killed body could have been produced for all to see, along
with a dramatic story about heroic US forces tracking him down and killing
him. This could have been done, for example, just before the 2008 elections,
giving Republicans a big boost.
There is, moreover, another problem with Osseiran’s scenario: Although his
hypothesis addresses some of the reasons I gave for believing the video to
be a fake, it does not address all of them, including the most serious one.
I will now summarize these reasons, pointing out in each case whether Osseiran’s hypothesis can neutralize it.
Bin Laden Would Not Have Confessed in That Situation
In my book - in which I was assuming, for the sake of argument, the US view
that bin Laden had been aware of the camera - I argued that he would have
been most unlikely to confess responsibility to the 9/11 attacks.
Even if he
had been involved in planning the attacks, he would not have admitted this
while the camera was running, given the fact that, until then, he had always
publicly denied any involvement.
For example, having been asked on September
28 whether he had been involved, bin Laden replied:
“I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in
the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had
no knowledge of these attacks.”
Having made that denial, bin Laden would not on November 9
- the date on
which the US government claims this video was made - have confessed to the
attacks with a camera running.
To have done so would have been to show the
world that his previous statement - in which he said that he, as a Muslim,
tried to avoid lying - had itself been a lie.
Although this argument is not relevant to Osseiran’s scenario, because he
claims that bin Laden was unaware of the camera, his scenario faces an
analogous problem: Given the fact that bin Laden had repeatedly denied in
his public statements that he had been involved with the attacks, he surely
- if he actually had been involved - would not have admitted this in front
of anyone who might be untrustworthy.
And yet, after saying that bin Laden
was, out of caution, initially reluctant to talk about 9/11, Osseiran gives
this explanation for why he finally did:
“Since his immediate entourage already knew of his complicity, and only two
individuals apart from his visitor were strangers, he eventually and
erroneously concluded that all were harmless.”42
According to Osseiran, therefore, this was the situation. There were
strangers in the room, and bin Laden had taken no precautions to make sure
that his remarks were not being recorded.
And yet he, in this situation,
revealed his big secret. Is that not extremely implausible?
Bin Laden Appeared Too Healthy
In the last of the indubitably authentic bin Laden videos, which was made
sometime between November 16 (when the bombing of Khost, which was mentioned
on the tape, occurred) and December 27 (when the tape was publicly
released), bin Laden had, in the words of London’s Telegraph,
frail appearance” and his “beard was much whiter than on November 3,” when
the previous bin Laden video had been broadcast.
“bin Laden's left arm... hung limply by his side while he gesticulated with his right.”43
Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s medical correspondent, likewise commented on bin Laden’s,
“grayness of beard, his paleness of skin, very gaunt sort of features,”
along with the fact that, “[h]e never moved his left arm at all.”44
In the video released December 13, by contrast, the bin Laden figure was
rather well filled out, his skin and his beard were dark, and he was easily
able to move both arms.
This contrast in appearance and ability formed a very strong argument
against the government’s account, according to which this was a tape of bin
Laden that had been made on November 9. It would be hard to believe that bin
Laden’s appearance could have deteriorated so radically between November 9
and the day, sometime between November 16 and December 27, on which the tape
of the “gaunt” bin Laden was made.
This argument does not apply against Osseiran’s theory, however, because he
believes that this tape was made on September 26, so there would have been
between 50 and 90 days for bin Laden’s appearance to have deteriorated
before the “gaunt” video was made.
It is still the case, to be sure, that the bin Laden figure in the December
13-released video appears to be heavier than bin Laden as seen in the
undoubtedly authentic videos made near September 26, when Osseiran believes
that this one was made.
But he would argue that this problem is solved by an
analysis provided by Ed Haas, according to which the event was probably
recorded in PAL video format, which is common in Pakistan and has a higher
spatial resolution than the NTSC format, which is used in the United States.
If so, the conversion from the PAL to the NTSC format could have resulted in,
“an image that appears to be ‘squashed’ along the vertical axis, making
people and objects look fatter after the conversion.”45
Different Facial Structure, with Differently Shaped Nose
I have no expertise in these matters, but if we assume, for the sake of
discussion, that Haas’s suggestion, combined with the proposed early
recording date (September 26), could explain why the bin Laden figure in the
video appears too healthy and heavy, there would still be problems with his
One of these, as I pointed out, is that this man’s nose
does not seem to be shaped the same as that of Osama bin Laden.46
differently shaped nose, moreover, seems to be simply one part of a
differently shaped facial structure. As one can see by comparing an
undoubtedly authentic image of bin Laden with the face of the man in the
so-called confession video, the nose of the real bin Laden appears to be
So for Osseiran to make a convincing case, he would need to show that the
conversion from the PAL to the NTSC format could also explain these
Writing with the Right Hand
Another problem mentioned in my book that Osseiran, as far as I know, has
not addressed is the fact that, in the video in question, the bin Laden
figure writes with his right hand, whereas the FBI’s webpage for “Usama bin
Laden” as a “Most Wanted Terrorist” describes him as left-handed.48
This apparent anomaly cannot be explained, I pointed out, by supposing that
his left arm was immobile - as it was in the post-November 16 video, which
was released December 27 - because the bin Laden figure in this video easily
raises his left hand above his head.
This fact, of course, is not
inconsistent with Osseiran’s thesis, according to which the video was taped
on September 26, which may well have been before bin Laden suffered the
stroke or whatever it was that caused the immobility of his left arm that is
apparent in the post-November 16 video.
However, Osseiran and other defenders of the authenticity of this video
could overcome this problem if they could provide convincing evidence that
the FBI was wrong - that Osama bin Laden was, in fact, right-handed.
Evidence for this contention was provided in late 2009, in fact, in Growing
Up Bin Laden, a book that Jean Sasson co-authored with Osama bin Laden’s
first wife, Najwa bin Laden, and his fourth son, Omar bin Laden.
to Omar, his father was actually right-handed.
Here is his statement:
“For the first time I will reveal a truth that my father and his family have
carefully guarded for most of his life, for in our culture it is believed
that any physical disability weakens a man. My father is right-handed, but
he has to make use of his left eye for any task that requires perfect
The explanation is simple. When my father was only a young boy, he
was happily hammering on some metal when a piece of the metal flew into his
right eye. The injury was serious, resulting in a hushed-up trip to London
to seek the care of a specialist.
“The diagnosis upset everyone. My father’s right eye would never again see
clearly. Over the years my father taught himself to conceal the problem,
thinking it better for people to believe him to be left-handed rather than
allow them knowledge that his right eye barely functioned. The only reason
my father aims his weapon from his left side is because he is virtually
blind in his right eye.
Perhaps my father will be angry that I have exposed
this carefully guarded secret, but it is nothing more than a truth that
should hold no shame.” 49
If this claim is true, then the FBI was wrong to describe bin Laden as
Certain facts about both Jean Sasson and Omar bin Laden, however, should
lead us to be suspicious of this claim.
To put it bluntly, Jean Sasson is simply not a trustworthy
author. John R. MacArthur, the publisher of Harper’s magazine, has called
her “a propagandist for hire.” 50
The occasion for this description was Sasson’s 1991 book,
The Rape of Kuwait, which rose to second place on the
New York Times bestseller list in March of that year, thereby helping
solidify American support for the plan of the
George H.W. Bush
administration, in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait the
previous summer, to attack Iraq.
And that - other than making a lot of money - was the book’s purpose.
Sasson had proposed the idea of such a book to the Kuwaiti government, which
was aggressively trying to convince Washington to attack Iraq on Kuwait’s
In pursuing this objective, Kuwait paid Hill and Knowlton (H&K), a
well-connected public relations firm, close to $11,000,000 to sell the war.
At the center of the H&K campaign was the testimony of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti
girl, going only by the name “Nayirah,” who said that, after the Iraqis
invaded her country, she worked as a volunteer in a hospital.
“While I was
there,” she testified tearfully to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on
October 10, 1990,
“I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the
room where 15 babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the
incubators, took the incubators, and left he babies on the cold floor to
This was pure fabrication.
This girl, whose full name was
was the daughter of Saud al-Sabah, Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States,
who was a good friend of President George H.W. Bush.
Rather than having
observed these events, she had been given these lines by H&K, which thereby
earned the millions it was paid:
“[O]f all the accusations made against
[Saddam Hussein],” wrote MacArthur, “none had more impact on American public
opinion” than this story of babies being ripped out of incubators.52
Evidently to garner still more support from the American public, Kuwait
agreed not only to give Sasson a big advance on the book - which she
reportedly wrote in nine days in order to get it published before the
bombardment of Iraq began - but also to put up over $1 million to buy
hundreds of thousands of copies of the book to get it on the New York Times
list of bestselling books - a story that MacArthur told in “How Kuwait Duped
The Times’ Bestseller List.” 53
Calling The Rape of Kuwait “lurid and wildly inaccurate,” MacArthur pointed
out that it, among other things, “embellished on Nayirah’s tall tale of
Also calling this book,
“a piece of propaganda financed by a
foreign government with an interest in driving the United States into war,”
he characterized it as “154 pages of nonsense and lies.”55
Sasson’s next two books - entitled Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the
Veil, and Princess: Sultana’s Daughters - raised even more serious questions
about Sasson’s honesty. They were purportedly based on the diaries of a
Saudi princess using the alias “Sultana,” but they were almost certainly
A plagiarism suit was brought by Friederike Monika Adsani of London,
originally from Austria, who provided evidence that these books had been
plagiarized from her own book manuscript, "Cinderella in Arabia," which
recounted her recently ended 23-year marriage to a wealthy Kuwaiti.
1988, she said, she had sent this manuscript to Peter Miller, a New York
literary agent, but he told her there was no chance of getting it published.
In 1992, however, after Sasson’s books had appeared, Adsani, seeing
similarities between the experiences of Princess Sultana and her own and
discovering that Peter Miller was Sasson’s agent, charged that Sasson’s
manuscript had plagiarized her “Cinderella in Arabia.”
A New York Times story about the lawsuit provided this summary of some of
the similarities listed by Adsani and her lawyer:
“’Cinderella’ is the story of a woman who marries the first-born son of a
wealthy, influential Kuwaiti family. Her husband was educated in medicine in
England. In ‘Princess,’ the woman marries the first-born son of a wealthy
and influential Saudi family. Her husband was educated in law in England.
both books,... the wife encounters strong opposition from her
mother-in-law, who tries to break up her marriage. There is physical
conflict between the women and the use of witchcraft and sorcery against the
children, which results in injury to one of them. Both wives are physically
inspected by their in-laws. Both fight with their husbands and are punched
Both partly design and build dream homes next to a mosque that have
nearby private zoos. Both women decide they want a divorce, then reconcile,
then decide to escape after their husbands turn to other women. Both women
get venereal diseases from their husbands, who have been infected by
Adsani’s lawyer also had a statement by a professor of English, supported by
32 pages of examples, which said that,
“Princess and Sultana’s Daughters are
substantially similar to Monika Adsani’s manuscript entitled Cinderella in
The lawyer had affidavits, furthermore, from a former US Ambassador
to Saudi Arabia and from another expert on the country, both of whom said
that Sasson’s books contained so many obvious errors that they could not
possibly have been based on diaries a Saudi princess.57
Adsani’s lawyer even
had a statement from the former CEO of Knightsbridge (which had published
Sasson’s first book, The Rape of Kuwait), who said that Peter Miller had
approached him in 1990 about publishing,
“a non-fiction manuscript by a woman
who he said had lived many years in the Gulf region,” which “would be much
more successful if it were published under Jean Sasson’s name.”58
It spite of such evidence, the judge took the side of the defense
was representing not only Sasson and Miller but also some very powerful
In 2001, Adsani’s manuscript was
published as Cinderella in Arabia: A Cross-Cultural Autobiography.58
reviews on Amazon.com suggest the correctness of agent Peter Miller’s
reported belief that the story could be a commercial success only if
rewritten by someone such as Jean Sasson. This does not change the fact,
however, that it appears that Miller and Sasson got away with plagiarism.
In 2003, Sasson published Mayada, the supposed account of an Iraqi woman
oppressed by Saddam’s regime. In Soft Weapons, Gillian Whitlock used this
book as a prime example of “propaganda generated through the veiled
best-seller,” which proved useful in “naturalizing aggressive military
strategy as a benevolent intervention.”
During Sasson’s promotional tour for
the book, Whitlock added, she even personally,
“attested to the sight of
advanced weaponry... in Iraq” and “assure[d] the American public that
loyal Iraqis enthusiastically welcome occupying American troops as a
Finally, besides providing false propaganda about the Arab-Muslim world
herself, Sasson also endorsed Norma Khouri’s bestselling but totally
fraudulent “memoir” about Jordan, Honor Lost (originally Forbidden Love),
calling it a “true story.”60
It would seem, therefore, that one looking for the truth should not trust
anything that is found only in a Jean Sasson book, especially if it is
something that might have propaganda value for the United States and its
Omar bin Laden
With regard to new information contained in the chapters of
Growing Up Bin Laden that are attributed to Omar bin Laden, there is an
additional reason to be skeptical of it: The circumstances behind this book
suggest that he may have shaded the truth in order to aid his own cause.
In 2007, Omar, who already had a wife and a two-year old child, was married
in Egypt to a British woman, Jane Felix-Browne, who took an Islamic name,
Zaina Mohamed al-Sabah.61
Omar then applied for permission to move to
England to live with her.
But in April 2008, he received word that his
application for a spousal immigration visa had been denied. The stated
reason was that Omar had, in recent media interviews, indicated “continuing
loyalty to [his] father,” so that his presence in England might cause
Following this rebuff, apparently, Omar suggested to Jean Sasson that they
collaborate on a book.
“[D]uring the spring of 2008,” she wrote in the
book’s Final Comments, she received an email letter from Omar saying that
“he wanted me to reveal his personal story.”63
In these comments, Sasson
indicated that she had concerns about Omar that were similar to those of the
I did not want to participate in the book if Omar believed that his father
had valid reasons for his murderous behavior. I was concerned, too, when I
read a number of Internet articles in which Omar seemed inconsistent about
his father’s cruel actions. Indeed, while Omar proclaimed his hatred of
violence, for a long time, he seemed unable to accept as true that his
father had been the man responsible for 9/11.64
In order for his autobiographical account to be acceptable to Sasson and
also to change the attitude of the British authorities, therefore, it would
need to show three things:
Omar does not doubt his father’s
responsibility for the 9/11 attacks
Omar does not believe his father had
valid reasons for these attacks
Being opposed to cruelty and terrorism, Omar has completely renounced his
father’s beliefs and commitments
Press interviews prior to that time had given cause for doubt about all
With regard to the first point: His new wife, having said in
2007 that Omar “misses his father,” added:
“Omar doesn’t know if it was his
father who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.”65
Omar himself was quoted
in April 2008 as saying that, although he condemned the 9/11 attacks, he
could not condemn his father due to lack of evidence of his guilt:
know 100 per cent that my father is behind 9/11?... I do not know if my
father is a terrorist or was involved in the attacks.”66
With regard to the second point, the Associated Press in January 2008 said,
“Omar doesn't criticize his father and says Osama bin Laden is just trying
to defend the Islamic world,” then quoted him as saying: "My father thinks
he will be good for defending the Arab people and stop anyone from hurting
the Arab or Muslim people any place in the world." 67
At about the same time,
ABC News quoted Omar as saying:
“[My father] believe if he put two buildings
down, maybe some people, little will die. But millions other will [be] save[d]. He believe that."68
With regard to the third point, ABC News, besides reporting that Omar,
not consider his father to be a terrorist,” quoted him as saying, “My father
is very kind man.... I still love him, so much, with all my heart."69
April 2008, the Telegraph referred to similar statements by Omar and
characterized him as having,
“revealed a somewhat ambiguous attitude towards
his father's track record.”70
After Growing Up Bin Laden appeared, the reviews made clear that Omar had
addressed all three points.
A review in Time magazine began:
“For Omar bin Laden... the awful realization that his father was a
terrorist mastermind who was plotting a global conspiracy that would destroy
the lives of thousands of innocent people and even his own family came
A Washington Post review summarized Omar’s portrait of his father thus:
“Osama bin Laden is a monster, a priapic zealot who was as cruel and
arrogant in family life as he has been in his bloodstained public career.
Not only is he a mass murderer, he is committed to inflicting death on as
many people as possible.
He lives to kill, the pursuit of violent jihad
overpowering even the most basic human feelings and paternal concerns. He
was a tyrannical and selfish father who deprived his many children of
education, food and the comforts of modern life.”72
Omar had clearly made all three points that needed to be made. The only
question is: Did he do so in a believable way?
A note of caution was raised
by an Asia Times reviewer, who wrote:
“Omar bin Laden... is reliant on the good graces of a number of easily
offended people... His newly released biographical book... is almost
sycophantic when it comes to discussing anything that might impact his
The person he can afford to offend... is his
father. [Omar is] at times prone to overly explicit condemnations (one
suspects he has an eye on future visa applications; he was recently rejected
from Britain despite his wife's nationality).”73
And indeed, when read with this suspicion in mind, the book contains much
that seems to confirm it.
For one thing, the main purpose of Omar’s contribution to the book seems to
be to show that he is completely different from, and has fully broken with,
He emphasizes their differences time and time again,74 and on
his final page, Omar says:
“I am nothing like my father. While he prays for war, I pray for peace.
“My father has made his choice, and I have made mine.
“And now we go our separate ways, each believing that we are right.
“I am, at last, my own man.”75
In drawing this contrast, moreover, Omar contradicts things he had said
In the book, he speaks of his “father’s message of hate”; he says
that after the 1988 attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es
Salaam, his father “had no regrets for the action, even for the death of
Muslims”; and on the final page, he says:
“I often wonder if my father has
killed so many times that the act of killing no longer brings him pleasure
Prior to writing the book, however, Omar had said:
"My father is
very kind man... And he very sorry when he do something like 11th
Even his account of coming to accept his father’s responsibility for 9/11 is
In the book, Omar says that this question was resolved after
hearing “an audiotape of my father’s words taking credit for the attacks.”
Although he does not there indicate when he heard this, except for saying
that it was “much later,”78 summaries of interviews after the book’s
publication show that he was saying that it occurred within months of
If so, why was he in April of 2008 still saying that he was
It would appear, therefore, that many of the things in Omar’s contribution
to the book are there not because they are true, but because he felt that
they needed to be there in order for Sasson to publish his story and for
that story to convince British immigration authorities to give him a visa.
There is, moreover, another conceivable motive.
Press reports indicated
that, as we would expect, intelligence agents were in contact with him.80
These agents might have promised to help him obtain a visa if he included
certain points in his book, such as the statement that his father was
actually right-handed and the assertion, which he also makes, that his
father did not need dialysis but merely “had a tendency to suffer from
kidney stones.” 81
We cannot know this to be the case, to be sure, but we
also cannot rule it out.
Finally, we have another reason, beyond Omar’s possible motives, for being
skeptical about any claims that are found only in Omar’s contribution to
this book: Given the fact that it was put into final form by Jean Sasson,
whose relationship to truth seems at best episodic, we cannot be sure that
all the things in Omar’s chapters really came from him.
This problem was brought to light during a Rolling Stone interview with
Omar, after Guy Lawson, the interviewer, referred to one of the most cited
passages in the book. According to this passage, Osama bin Laden, after
putting up a sheet of paper for men to sign if they were willing to
volunteer to be suicide bombers, encouraged his own sons to sign it.
one of Omar’s youngest brothers started to do so, Omar became furious and
“My father, how can you ask this of your sons?”
But when Lawson quoted
this passage, Omar appeared confused and asked:
“It says that in the book?"
After Omar’s wife Zaina confirmed that it did, Omar, shaking his head, said:
"It was not like that.”
His father had not suggested that his own sons
should sign up, Omar told Lawson, but,
“one of my little brothers wanted to
put his name. I shouted at him not to do it.” And that was it. Lawson asked,
"You never said anything to your father?"
Omar had spoken sternly to his
father at other times, he replied, but “not at this moment,” after which he
“He [my father] walked away from us. He was smiling, like it was just
between him and his God."82
In the book, however, the supposed account by Omar says that he rebuked his
father, after which:
“He stared at me with evident hostility, gesturing with his hands: ‘Omar,
this is what you need to know, my son. You hold no more a place in my heart
than any other man or boy in the entire country.’ He glanced at my brothers.
‘This is true for all of my sons.’
My father’s proclamation had been given:
His love for his sons did not sink further than the outer layer of his
flesh. His heart remained untouched by a father’s love... I finally knew
exactly where I stood. My father hated his enemies more than he loved his
According to the Rolling Stone interview, however, this conversation
- quoted time and time again as revealing Osama bin Laden to have been an
unfeeling monster of a father - never happened.
Jean Sasson apparently
invented the entire scene. Lawson concluded:
“In Omar's world, it appears,
it is possible to be misquoted in your own autobiography.”84
seems to be the case if your autobiography was put into final form by Jean Sasson.
The moral of this long discussion of Growing Up Bin Laden is that this book
is simply too untrustworthy, for several reasons, for its claim that Osama
bin Laden was right-handed to overturn the intelligence community’s
long-standing description of him as left-handed.
perhaps involving bin Laden’s wives or other children,85 might be able to
resolve the issue.
Things the Real Bin Laden Would Not Have Said
In any case, even if Osseiran were able to overcome all of the problems
discussed above, there would still remain what I consider the main reason
for calling the so-called confession video a fake:
the fact that its bin
Laden figure said many things that the real Osama bin Laden, if he had
planned the 9/11 attacks, would surely not have said.
Largely repeating here
the analysis I gave in my book - which Osseiran failed to address in his
critique - I will examine five such statements in the video:
Pre-Boarding Ignorance of the Hijackers: Speaking about the young men who
carried out the hijackings, the bin Laden figure in the video said:
“The brothers, who conducted the operation, all they knew was that they have
a martyrdom operation.... [T]hey didn’t know anything about the
operation, not even one letter. But they were trained and we did not reveal
the operation to them until they are there and just before they boarded the
According to the FBI, however, the 19 (alleged) hijackers had purchased
their plane tickets two weeks in advance, so they would at least have needed
to know which flights they were supposed to board.87
One might, to be sure, suspect that “bin Laden” meant only that the men did
not know that they were intended to hijack and then crash the planes into
the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and one other target. But even this idea
would be absurd.
If the hijacker pilots did not know their targets until
“just before they boarded the planes,” how could they have found their way
to those targets without assistance from air traffic control?
Even if they
used hand-held GPS (global positioning system) units, as some defenders of
the official account have suggested, they would have needed to know the
coordinates of their targets.
In fact, a supposed “bin Laden video” that appeared on September 9, 2002,
showed the alleged hijackers, as the BBC reported,
“reading flight manuals
and studying maps, one of which is of the Washington DC area.”88
To be sure, Osseiran, believing that bin Laden’s original plan had been taken over and
expanded by people in the US government,89 could dismiss this video as a
piece of post-operation propaganda.
But the problem would still remain of
how the al-Qaeda pilots could have reached their targets without guidance
from air traffic control, unless they knew the details of the operation in
Pilots as Not Knowing “Muscle Hijackers”:
Making another statement that did
not fit with the evidence compiled by the FBI, the bin Laden figure of the
confession video said:
“Those who were trained to fly didn’t know the others. One group of people
did not know the other group.”
According to what the official reports said, however, the pilots and the
other men, usually called the “muscle hijackers,” mingled with each other:
Some of the muscle hijackers reportedly settled in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,
along with pilots Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah, while the
other muscle hijackers settled in Paterson, New Jersey, along with pilot
Again, Osseiran might dismiss this contradiction as simply another
reflection of the fact that the plan created by bin Laden was later
If so, however, one must wonder why bin Laden - who knew something
about the need for close cooperation when people are carrying out dangerous
missions - would have devised a plan in which the al-Qaeda pilots would not
know the hijackers who were to subdue the crew and passengers.
Iron-melting Fires: Arguably the most problematic statement made by the
confession video’s “bin Laden” is one that Osseiran quoted, but only
Here is the statement in full:
“[W]e calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy who
would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the
floors that would be hit would be three or four floors... [D]ue to my
experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the
plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area
where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we
had hoped for.”91
In an essay in which Osseiran argued that bin Laden really did confess to
planning the attacks, he quoted a portion of this passage and then said:
“That is enough for me.”92
The portion he quoted, however, did not include
the statement in which the bin Laden figure said that, given his,
in this field,” he “was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane
would melt the iron structure of the building.”
This statement is doubly
In the first place, given bin Laden’s “experience in this field” - he was a
civil engineer - he would surely have known that that the Twin Towers would
have been supported by steel, not iron. If the translation is correct,
therefore, this is a statement that the real bin Laden would have been
unlikely to make.
Even more serious is the second problem:
As a civil engineer, Osama bin
Laden would surely have known that the “fire from the gas in the plane”
could not have melted any of the Twin Towers’ steel support columns. He
would have known that a building fire, even one fed by jet-fuel (which is
essentially kerosene), could not have brought any of the steel columns
anywhere close to their melting point.
The real Osama bin Laden, therefore,
would not have expected any of the buildings’ columns to have melted.
He would not, therefore, have had even the minimal expectation about floor
collapse expressed by the man on the tape, namely, that the fire would
“collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it.”
Although the man on the tape formulated this expectation as a modest hope
- that he expected “only” those floors to collapse - the real bin Laden,
unless he expected Allah to help out with a miraculous intervention, would
likely have laughed and said “only?” 93
The Opinion of Professor Bruce Lawrence
Another reason I gave for calling this video a fabrication was that
Professor Bruce Lawrence, considered America’s leading academic expert on
bin Laden,94 had called it “bogus.”
Adding that he had some friends in the
US Department of Homeland Security assigned to work,
“on the 24/7 bin Laden
clock,” he said that “they also know it’s bogus.”95
Having quoted Lawrence’s
statements in my book, I then referred to Osseiran without mentioning his
“One defender of the authenticity of this ‘bin Laden video’ has claimed that
Lawrence was talking about a later one.”96
I had shown otherwise by pointing out that Lawrence had called the video to
which he was referring the “bogus smoking-gun tape that came out in November
In saying “November,” Lawrence - whose statement was made in
response to a question during a radio interview - probably had in mind the
fact that this video was said to have been made on November 9 and was
reportedly found near the end of that month. In any case, by referring to it
as the “smoking-gun tape,” he clearly indicated that he was referring to the
so-called confession video we are discussing.
Osseiran, however, claimed that this was disproved by an email exchange he
had with Lawrence after hearing that radio interview.
Having sent Lawrence a
letter criticizing his statement and explaining his own hypothesis, Osseiran
received a reply in which Lawrence explained that, by calling the tape a
fake, he “meant that it did not originate with OBL.”
On the basis of that
statement, Osseiran concluded that it could,
“hardly be described as a [mere]
claim on my part that Dr. Lawrence back peddled [sic].”
In explaining why he
interpreted Lawrence’s reply as back-pedaling, Osseiran wrote:
“His play on words that the tape did not originate with bin Laden is either
supportive of my work or, if otherwise, needs to be publicly explained.”
Lawrence’s statement, however, surely meant simply that the bin Laden figure
in the tape was not Osama bin Laden himself.
That Lawrence did not accept Osseiran’s theory about the tape is further suggested by the fact, reported
by Osseiran, that Lawrence “has since been unresponsive to all
Osseiran accused me of “cherry picking” evidence in order to
support my claim that the so-called confession video, which was released
December 13, is a fake.
This accusation is doubly problematic:
fact that the examples he gave do not support his charge,98 he has himself
engaged in this practice. That is, he simply ignored a major portion of the
evidence I had provided in support of the conclusion that the “bin Laden
confession video” is a fake.
Given Osseiran’s charge that my statement to
this effect is an “outrageous falsehood,” it was incumbent upon him to
address all the evidence I had presented for this statement. But he
addressed only parts of it, ignoring the strongest part: the various
examples of things that Osama bin Laden would almost certainly not have
Osseiran cannot expect people to take his “sting” hypothesis seriously
unless he can successfully counter this evidence.
Criticism #4 - The Evidence for Bin Laden’s Death Is Inconclusive
- and Not
Even Very Good
Near the beginning of his critique, Osseiran wrote:
“I have looked into the
possibility of him [bin Laden] being dead while doing my own research and
found all evidence to be inconclusive.”
By thus phrasing his statement, he
implied that I had claimed the evidence to be conclusive. But that is not
The strongest assertion I made, which occurs on the final page of the book,
“The available evidence, therefore, supports Robert Baer’s statement,
made in October 2008, that Osama bin Laden is dead.”
To say that the
available evidence “supports” a thesis is not to say that it conclusively
proves it. Moreover, to speak of the “available evidence” is to acknowledge
that evidence supporting the opposite conclusion might surface.
Most of the people I quoted in support of my thesis, moreover, used the word
Dale Watson of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, for example,
“I personally think [bin Laden] is probably not with us anymore.”
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan said:
“I would come to believe that
[bin Laden] is probably dead.”
Likewise, in an online essay with the same title as my book, I wrote:
little book, by showing that bin Laden has probably long been dead, can help
shorten this war, it will have served its main purpose.”99
Osseiran, however, seemed to be saying that my evidence, besides not being
conclusive, was not even very good. Supporting this claim would have
required him to show that all of the evidence I provided was weak.
however, simply ignored most of it.
In the aforementioned essay, I summarized the evidence provided in my book,
dividing it into two types: objective and testimonial.
evidence was summarized thus:
“First, up until mid-December, 2001, the CIA had regularly been intercepting
messages between bin Laden and his people. At that time, however, the
messages suddenly stopped, and the CIA has never again intercepted a
“Second, on December 26, 2001, a leading Pakistani newspaper published a
story reporting that bin Laden had died in mid-December, adding: ‘A
prominent official in the Afghan Taleban movement... stated... that he
had himself attended the funeral of bin Laden and saw his face prior to
“Third, bin Laden had kidney disease. He had been treated for it in the
American Hospital in Dubai in July 2001, at which time he reportedly ordered
two dialysis machines to take home. If you have ever wondered what bin Laden
was doing the night before the 9/11 attacks, CBS News reported that he was
being given kidney dialysis treatment in a hospital in Pakistan. And in
January of 2001, Dr. Sanjay Gupta said - based on a video of bin Laden that
had been made in either late November or early December of 2001 - that he
appeared to be in the last stages of kidney failure.
“Fourth, In July of 2002, CNN reported that bin Laden’s bodyguards had been
captured in February of that year, adding: ‘Sources believe that if the
bodyguards were captured away from bin Laden, it is likely the most-wanted
man in the world is dead.’
“Fifth, the United States has since 2001 offered a $25 million reward for
any information leading to the capture or killing of bin Laden. But this
reward offer has produced no such information, even though Pakistan has many
desperately poor people, only about half of whom have been supportive of bin
The testimonial evidence consisted of statements by the following people:
President Musharraf of Pakistan
Dale Watson, the head of the FBI’s counterterrorism unit
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan
Sources within Israeli intelligence
Sources within Pakistani intelligence
Former CIA case officer Robert Baer
Former Foreign Service officer Angelo Codevilla (who said: “Seven years
after Osama bin Laden's last verifiable appearance among the living, there
is more evidence for Elvis's presence among us than for his.”)
In belittling this evidence, Osseiran commented on only on the testimonial
evidence and two examples of the objective evidence, and most of these
comments are weak.
His strongest treatment involved an alternative explanation for my first
example of objective evidence - the fact that all interceptions of
communications with bin Laden suddenly ceased in mid-December 2001.
“Mr. Griffin and I agree on one thing, December 13, 2001 is a very important
date.... One of Mr. Griffin’s arguments supporting the death theory is
that it is the date bin Laden went quiet, i.e. no electronic intercepts. I
have a more plausible take on this quietness and it is not death. December
13 also happens to be the date the Pentagon released the ‘bin Laden
When Bin Laden saw himself on TV confessing he
realized that the taping was done by a covert camera and realized how close
intelligence were to capturing him; Bin Laden would never let anyone that
close again.... It is no coincidence bin Laden went silent on that date
and into deep hiding; it was the only logical reaction to the release of the
If Osseiran’s “sting” hypothesis were plausible, this explanation for the
sudden cessation of intercepts might seem convincing.
As I have indicated,
however, that hypothesis is, for several reasons, implausible.
Also, even if bin Laden had indeed decided to go into “deep hiding,” doing
so successfully would have been no easy matter for this tall, very
Ignoring the fifth example of objective evidence I had
provided, Osseiran failed to address the question of why, if bin Laden has
been alive all these years, not a single person has reported his location in
order to collect the $25 million reward.
With regard to my third example of objective evidence, Osseiran wrote:
“Assuming it is true that bin Laden had kidney problems, severity unknown,
to present dialysis as the only effective treatment without considering
other treatments that are more effective and readily available is simply
disingenuous. There is an older treatment that bin Laden could have stocked
The note for this passage, however, referred the reader to a Wikipedia
article about peritoneal dialysis.100
So the treatment Osseiran had in mind
was not an alternative to dialysis, but simply an alternative to the type of
dialysis, called hemodialysis, given in clinics.
The most important
difference is that one undergoes peritoneal dialysis by means of a permanent
tube in the abdomen,
“with the primary advantage being the ability to
undertake treatment without visiting a medical facility.”
that peritoneal dialysis is “more effective” than hemodialysis is not
supported by the article, which says, in fact, that
“PD is less efficient at
removing wastes from the body than hemodialysis.”101
The main problem with Osseiran’s statement, however, is that the issue is
not what bin Laden could have done, but what he reportedly did do, and my
book referred to multiple reports that, besides undergoing dialysis in a
hospital in Dubai, he had transported dialysis machines to Afghanistan.
(More recently, moreover, I learned the above-mentioned fact that, according
to CBS News, he was in a hospital in Pakistan getting dialysis the night
before the 9/11 attacks.102)
It would seem, therefore, that bin Laden
preferred hemodialysis to the other type. I also reported that, according to
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the video released December 27, 2001, indicated that bin
Laden was in the final stages of kidney failure. Osseiran’s speculation
about bin Laden’s possible options did nothing, therefore, to undermine the
evidence provided by these reports that he was near death because of kidney
Osseiran did make a valid point in saying that,
“if bin Laden survived Tora
Bora and made his way to Pakistan,” he might have received a kidney
transplant (which could have extended his life for many years).
in this speculative possibility, however, Osseiran simply ignored my second
type of evidence: the report of bin Laden’s funeral in the Tora Bora area in
the middle of December - a rather striking piece of evidence simply to
Osseiran also ignored my fourth example of objective evidence - the report
that bin Laden’s bodyguards were found in 2002 without him, which CNN took
as a sign that he was no longer alive.
With regard to the testimonial evidence I provided, Osseiran’s only comment
was to say that heads of state and intelligence officials “are not reliable
sources.” That may in general be the case.
But one of the principles of
historiography is that, if a person makes a statement that runs counter to
the official stance of the organization to which that person belongs, this
is a reason to accept it as an honest statement of the person’s belief.
Osseiran’s attempt to dispute my conclusion that Osama bin Laden
probably died in December 2001 consisted of an alternative to one of my
examples of objective evidence, a weak responses another, a weak response to
the testimonial evidence, and no response whatsoever to three examples of
I will continue, therefore, to maintain that the
presently available evidence suggests that bin Laden probably died in
Osseiran and I share the desire to help bring the Af-Pak war to an end. We
also agree that the truth about Osama bin Laden, if it were to become
publicly known, could help bring about that result.
We even agree that a
proper understanding of the
bin Laden videotape released by the Pentagon on
December 13, 2001, is crucial for understanding the truth about bin Laden.
We disagree, however, on the proper understanding of that videotape.
Concluding that this video was a fabrication, I believe this conclusion to
be important for two reasons.
First, it destroys the government’s primary
exhibit for its claim that bin Laden acknowledged responsibility for the
Second, as one of the three most obviously fabricated bin
Laden videos, it provides a basis for suspecting all of the post-2001 video
and audio tapes to be fabrications.
Osseiran and I also disagree on the twofold question of the persuasiveness
and importance of the evidence that Osama bin Laden has long been dead.
me, that evidence is strong enough to conclude that he is probably dead, and
this conclusion is important because it undermines, even for people who
still accept bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11, the public rationale for
the continuation of the war in Afghanistan and its extension into Pakistan.
The conclusion that bin Laden has most probably been dead since December
2001 is also important because, in conjunction with the evidence that the
video released December 13, 2001, is a fabrication, it provides a strong
reason for considering all of the post-2001 bin Laden tapes to be fakes - fakes that were created, evidently, to maintain support for the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq and other policies that were justified on the basis of
the 9/11 attacks.
If so, they constitute a massive, illegal propaganda
effort directed at the American public.
Osseiran, by contrast, seems unconcerned with the question of whether bin
Laden is alive or dead and also with the question of whether some or all of
the bin Laden tapes issued from 2002 until the present are fakes. For him,
the all-important truth is that the tape released December 13, 2001, was the
product of a sting operation set up by the CIA, during which US forces could
have killed or captured bin Laden.
Getting that truth revealed, Osseiran
claims, would undermine the war by showing that it was launched for a
purpose other than, or at least in addition to, that of killing or capturing
bin Laden. Osseiran was apparently motivated to attack my work because I
have not accepted what he considers this all-important truth.
But the question of Osseiran’s motivation is irrelevant to the only
important question, which is whether his criticisms are correct. Although
three of them are not, as we have seen, I gratefully acknowledge the
correctness of the criticism about the Al Jazeera interview.
of the authenticity of that reported interview has helped me strengthen my
case with regard to the crucial issue:
the bogus nature of the “bin Laden
confession video” released December 13, 2001.
1 David Ray Griffin, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? (Northampton, Mass.:
Olive Branch [Interlink Books], 2009); henceforth OBLDA.
2 Sue Reid, “Has Osama Bin Laden Been Dead for Seven Years
- and Are the
U.S. and Britain Covering It Up to Continue War on Terror,” Daily Mail,
September 11, 2009 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1212851/Has-Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-seven-years--U-S-Britain-covering-continue-war-terror.html);
Bill Coles, “The World’s Most Wanted Man,” Daily Express, September 12, 2009
3 Conspiracy Files: Osama Bin Laden - Dead or Alive? BBC2, January 10, 2010;
available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpqg9SF2x50).
4 David Bamber, “Bin Laden: Yes, I Did It,” Telegraph, November 11, 2001
5 OBLDA 20.
6 OBLDA 20-22.
7 In later explaining why it had refused to air it, Al Jazeera gave three
reasons: that bin Laden had changed the questions to be asked; that “[t]he
interview was not that newsworthy”; and that bin Laden had insisted that, if
any of the interview was aired, it all had to be, so Al Jazeera, not wanting
to strengthen the perception that it was a mouthpiece for bin Laden, decided
not to air any of it. See Sarah Sullivan, “Courting Al-Jazeera, the Sequel:
Estrangement and Signs of Reconciliation,” TBS Journal, February 20, 2002
(http://www.tbsjournal.com/Archives/Fall01/Jazeera_special.htm), and Oliver
Burkeman, “News Channels at War: Al-Jazeera Accused of Hiding Bin Laden,”
Guardian, February 2, 2002 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2002/feb/02/usnews.afghanistan).
8 James Risen and Patrick E. Tyler, “Interview With bin Laden Makes the
Rounds,” New York Times, December 12, 2001 (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/12/world/a-nation-challenged-propaganda-interview-with-bin-laden-makes-the-rounds.html).
9 “Transcript of Bin Laden's October Interview,” CNN, February 5, 2002
10 Maher Osseiran, “Osama Bin Laden, Dead or Alive? An Irrelevant Question
Asked by David Ray Griffin,” 9/11 Blogger, December 5, 2009
11 “’Feeble’ to Claim Bin Laden Tape Fake: Bush,” CBC, December 14, 2001
12 “Bin Laden's Sole Post-September 11 TV Interview Aired,” CNN, February 5,
13 Alan Elsner, “Bin Laden: From ‘Evil One’ to Unmentionable One,” Reuters,
August 20, 2002 (http://www.ratical.com/ratville/CAH/linkscopy/BCFenemies.html).
14 Samuel P. Winch, “Constructing an Evil Genius,” All-Academic, 2004
15 Karen DeYoung, “Obama to Explore New Approach in Afghanistan War,”
Washington Post, November 11, 2008 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/10/AR2008111002897_pf.html).
16 “Obama: 'Capture Or Kill' Bin Laden,” CBS News, January 14, 2009
17 “CIA: Finding Bin Laden Top U.S. Priority,” UPI, June 12, 2009 (http://www.voltairenet.org/article160602.html).
18 Kim Landers, “US Says Hunt Still on for Bin Laden,” Australian
Broadcasting Corporation, August 7, 2009 (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/08/07/2648521.htm).
19 “Bin Laden Death Tied to al Qaeda Defeat - McChrystal,” Reuters, December
8, 2009 (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N08219254.htm).
20 “Remarks by the President on the New Strategy for Afghanistan and
Pakistan,” White House, March 27, 2009 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-on-a-New-Strategy-for-Afghanistan-and-Pakistan).
21 As to why Blair claimed not to have the video, Osseiran, who accuses me
of “excessive speculation,” provides this explanation: “The most likely
scenario is that CNN, who was very unhappy with the decision [by Al Jazeera
not to air the video], informed the American government, and as a
consequence, their cohorts, the British, of Al-Jazeera’s position prompting
British or American intelligence to steal the tape. The quotes from the tape
in David Bamber’s report of November 11 helped Al-Jazeera recognize the tape
as their own and moved to prevent Blair from using it on November 14.”
22 In a brief comment entitled “Response to Maher Osseiran’s Critique of
David Ray Griffin’s Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?” History Commons,
December 8 (http://hcgroups.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/response-to-maher-osserian’s-critique-of-david-ray-griffin’s-osama-bin-laden-dead-or-alive),
Kevin Fenton wrote: "You have to ask the question: why did Griffin not point
out that the video whose authenticity he was questioning had been public for
seven years? If one is considering claiming that a video is fake, would it
not be wise to actually view and analyse it, and then discuss that analysis
with one’s readers? Of course, there is the possibility that Griffin
remained unaware that the video had actually been broadcast, but this then
says what about his research?" This second possibility is the case, and what
it says about my research on this video is that it was woefully inadequate.
Osseiran suggests, however, a different explanation, calling my error
“intentional.” His basis for making this charge was that “[t]he truth was
available” to me, because it had been “pointed out to [me] on numerous
occasions” by Osseiran himself. As far as I recall, however, our discussion,
carried on by email, focused entirely on the video released December 13,
about which he sent me several papers. I was unaware that he had, in a paper
quoted in his critique - “Bush, Blair, and the Terrorism Shell Game,” posted
February 20, 2007 (http://www.mydemocracy.net/war_crimes/bush_blair_synthetic_terrorism.htm)
- briefly discussed the Al Jazeera interview. While preparing for writing
this response to Osseiran’s critique, I discovered that I had a copy of this
article. But it contained no underlining to suggest that I had read it. I
suspect that, having read several 2006 versions of Osseiran’s argument about
the December 13th-released tape, I assumed that this 2007 article would be
simply one more version of the same argument - which it is for the most part
- and filed it away without reading it. In any case, why Osseiran thinks
that I, having known the truth about the video to which Blair was referring,
would have intentionally engaged in speculation about it that could easily
be shown to be false, resulting in embarrassment for me, I do not know (even
given his assumption, expressed late in his critique, that I am a “mole,”
working on behalf of insidious forces).
23 See, e.g., David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the
Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008), esp. Chaps. 6
24 David Bamber, “Bin Laden: Yes, I Did It” (see note 4, above).
25 “UK Offers New Bin Laden Evidence,” CNN, November 14, 2001 (http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/11/14/inv.britain.proof/index.html).
26 “Osama bin Laden's First Television Interview Since September 11;
Deadline of Death Delayed for American Journalist,” CNN, January 31, 2002
27 Sarah Sullivan, “Courting Al-Jazeera, the Sequel: Estrangement and Signs
of Reconciliation,” TBS Journal, February 20, 2002 (http://www.tbsjournal.com/Archives/Fall01/Jazeera_special.htm).
28 Oliver Burkeman, “News Channels at War: Al-Jazeera Accused of Hiding Bin
Laden,” Guardian, February 2, 2002 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2002/feb/02/usnews.afghanistan).
29 Quoted in Walter Pincus and Karen DeYoung, “U.S. Says New Tape Points to
Bin Laden,” Washington Post, December 9, 2001 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/18/AR2007111800690.html).
30 Associated Press, “Bin Laden Denies Being Behind Attacks,” September 16,
31 “Bin Laden's Message to the US,” Asia Times, October 10, 2001 (http://www.atimes.com/media/CJ10Ce02.html);
the text of the speech can be read at “Osama bin Laden Speeches,” September
11 News.com (http://www.september11news.com/OsamaSpeeches.htm).
32 “Transcript of Bin Laden's October Interview,” CNN (see note 9, above).
36 This would be true, at least, until the appearance of the “October
Surprise” video of 2004. But it also, I argued in my book, shows multiple
signs of being a fabrication.
37 OBLDA 23.
38 Osseiran even claims that I had “stated that [I] believed in [his] work
to the point [of trying] to include it in ‘Debunking 9/11 Debunking’ and
apologized by email for [my] failure to do so.” However, the email statement
from me that he quoted to support this claim merely said: “after I read Ed’s
essay and your latest version, I checked to see if I could modify my account
of this video in my book somewhat but it was too late.
” Although Osseiran
infers from that statement that I was “not only very familiar with the work
but also a believer,” my statement does not say that but merely that I would
modify my discussion of the video. If I recall correctly now, I found his
hypothesis interesting enough to write about, especially in light of Ed
Haas’s essay of March 7, 2007, entitled “Taking the Fat Out of the Fat Bin
Laden Confession Video” (http://web.archive.org/web/20070918060054/muckrakerreport.com/id372.html),
which argued that distortions caused during the production of the tape could
account for the fact that its bin Laden figure appeared too fat to be the
real bin Laden. Adding a treatment of the Osseiran-Haas hypothesis would
have been a significant modification of my discussion of this video, but it
would not have entailed an endorsement of that hypothesis.
39 Maher Osseiran, “Is bin Laden Responsible for the 9/11 attacks?” July 26,
“Osama’s Confession; Osama’s Reprieve,” Counterpunch, August 21, 2006
40 Osseiran, “Osama’s Confession; Osama’s Reprieve”; “Is bin Laden
Responsible for the 9/11 attacks?”
41 Osseiran, “Osama’s Confession; Osama’s Reprieve”; “Is It High Treason or
Just a Simple Case of Dereliction of Duty?” January 11, 2007 (http://www.mydemocracy.net/war_crimes/treason_dereliction_duty.htm).
42 Maher Osseiran, “Bin Laden’s Confession; Is That What It Is?” March 15,
2007. At one time, this paper was posted at Muckraker Report (http://www.muckrakerreport.com/id375.html)
; available at 911 Blogger (http://www.911blogger.com/node/6954).
43 Toby Harnden, “US Casts Doubt on Bin Laden’s Latest Message,” Telegraph,
December 27, 2001 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1366508/US-casts-doubt-on-bin-Laden%27s-latest-message.html).
44 “Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Bin Laden Would Need Help if on Dialysis,” CNN,
January 21, 2002 (http://www.cnn.com/2002/HEALTH/01/21/gupta.otsc/index.html).
For the tape, see “”Osama Bin Laden Tape Dezember [sic] 2001” (http://www.myvideo.de/watch/3760193/Osama_Bin_Laden_Tape_Dezember_2001).
45 Ed Haas, “Taking the Fat Out of the Fat Bin Laden Confession Video,”
March 7, 2007 (see note 38, above).
46 I had suggested looking at “Osama bin Laden Gets a Nose Job” (http://www.awitness.org/news/december_2001/osama_nose_job.html).
47 These differences are emphasized in a one-minute clip entitled “The Bin
Laden Confession Tape” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19eVwHAbmRI).
48 “Most Wanted Terrorists: Usama bin Laden,” Federal Bureau of
49 Najwa bin Laden, Omar bin Laden, and Jean Sasson, Growing Up Bin Laden:
Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World (New York: St.
Martin’s, 2009), 159-60.
50 John R. MacArthur, Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf
War, updated with a new preface (Berkeley: University of California Press,
51 Ibid., 58.
52 Ibid., 54.
53 John R. MacArthur, “How Kuwait Duped The Times’
Bestseller List,” New York Observer, March 11, 1996.
54 MacArthur, Second Front, 258.
55 “Foreign Government Financed Propaganda into Best Seller,” National
Public Radio, March 30, 1996.
56 Lawrence Van Gelder, “Plagiarism Suit on Parallel Tales of Arab Wives,”
New York Times, January 10, 1995 (http://www.nytimes.com/1995/01/10/nyregion/plagiarism-suit-on-parallel-tales-of-arab-wives.html).
57 Richard H. Curtiss, “’Princess’ Plagiarism Suit Provides Rare Look into
Literary Arab-Bashing,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October
1996: 82, 111-12 (http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1096/9610082.htm).
58 Monika al-Amahani, Cinderella in Arabia: A Cross-Cultural Autobiography (iUniverse,
59 Gillian Whitlock, Soft Weapons: Autobiography in Transit (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 2006), 91.
60 Ibid., 113-14, 213n8. Besides providing a blurb for Khouri’s book, Sasson
also wrote a brief review of it on Amazon.com in which she called it a “true
story” and added: “I recommend this book with as much enthusiasm as I can
possibly muster” (http://www.amazon.ca/product-reviews/0743448790?pageNumber=11).
The review that exposed Norma Khouri’s book as a fraud showed that anyone
who knew much about Jordan would have quickly seen its fraudulent nature;
see Malcolm Knox, “The Lies Stripped Bare,” Sydney Morning Herald, July 24,
61 David Brown, “Briton Marries Bin Laden’s Son,” London Times, July 11,
62 David Brown, “Osama Bin Laden’s Son Omar Ossama Is Banned from Britain,”
London Times, April 30, 2008 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3842353.ece).
63 Growing Up Bin Laden, 287.
64 Ibid., 289.
65 Brown, “Briton Marries Bin Laden’s Son.”
66 Brown, “Osama Bin Laden’s Son Omar Ossama Is Banned from Britain.”
67 “Bin Laden Son Aims to be ‘Ambassador of Peace,’” Associated Press,
January 21, 2008 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22711392).
68 Nick Watt, “Bin Laden's Son Wants to Make Up for Father's 'Mistake,’” ABC
News, January 21, 2008 (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=4168151).
70 Tom Leonard, “Osama bin Laden's Son Asks 'Find Another Way,'” Telegraph,
April 12, 2008 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1576262/Osama-bin-Ladens-son-asks-find-another-way.html).
71 Andrew Lee Butters, “Growing Up bin Laden: Osama's Son Speaks,” Time,
October 27, 2009 (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1932318,00.html).
72 Thomas W. Lippman, “My Father, the Terrorist,” Washington Post, November
15, 2009 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/13/AR2009111301386.html).
73 Simon Allison, “Osama bin Laden, My Father,” Asia Times Online, December
24, 2009 (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KL24Ak01.html).
74 Growing Up Bin Laden, 41, 127, 140, 163, 165, 178, 199, 200, 221, 239,
242, 275, 287.
75 Ibid., 287.
76 Ibid., 199, 237, 248, 287.
77 Watt, “Bin Laden's Son Wants to Make Up for Father's 'Mistake.’”
78 Growing Up Bin Laden, 285.
79 Butters, “Growing Up bin Laden: Osama's Son Speaks”; Charlotte Kemp, “My
Bizarre and Terrifying Childhood with My Father, Osama bin Laden,” Daily
Mail, October 28, 2009 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1223409/My-bizarre-terrifying-childhood-father-Osama-bin-Laden.html);
Thomas Hochwarter, “Bin Laden Will Never Be Found, Son Claims,” Austrian
Times, December 15, 2009 (http://austriantimes.at/news/General_News/2009-12-15/18872/Bin_Laden_will_never_be_found,_son_claims).
80 Hochwarter, “Bin Laden Will Never Be Found, Son Claims”; Watt, “Bin
Laden's Son Wants to Make Up for Father's 'Mistake.’”
81 Growing Up Bin Laden, 172.
82 Guy Lawson, “Osama's Prodigal Son,” Rolling Stone, January 20, 2010
83 Growing Up Bin Laden, 263.
84 Lawson, “Osama's Prodigal Son.”
85 See Lara Setrakian, “Osama Bin Laden’s Teen Daughter Allowed to Leave
Iran,” ABC News, March 22, 2010 (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/International/iran-releases-osama-bin-ladens-teenage-daughter/story?id=10169432).
86 “Transcript of Usama bin Laden Video Tape,” Department of Defense,
December 13, 2001 (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec2001/d20011213ubl.pdf).
87 For the government documentation of these ticket purchases, see the
Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons, “August 25-September 5, 2001:
Hijackers Spend Over $30,000 on 9/11 Tickets” (http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a082401buyingtickets&scale=0).
88 "Bin Laden 'Voice' Lists Hijackers," BBC, September 10, 2002 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2249984.stm).
89 In “Bin Laden’s Confession; Is That What It Is?” Osseiran wrote: “The
magnitude of 9/11 was not achieved by Osama bin Laden alone. He might have
been the originator of the plan. He might have put his plan in motion. But
the reason 9/11 unfolded is because it was allowed to unfold by elements of
the global intelligence community and other segments of the U.S. government.
That is to say that Osama bin Laden was enabled and his plan exploited by
the very people that could have stopped it. Instead of preventing 9/11 once
they learned of it, people like Dick Cheney decided to make it worse - to
create their desired New Pearl Harbor to further facilitate their lust for a
New World Order. One could argue that the first hijacking related to 9/11
occurred when the bin Laden plan was hijacked by those that could make WTC7
collapse - a building that bin Laden was not targeting.”
90 These points were made in the testimonies of Cofer Black, Dale Watson,
and Robert Mueller, September 26, 2002. See “Complete 9/11 Timeline,” April
23—June 29, 2001: 9/11 ‘Muscle’ Hijackers Arrive in US at This Time or
91 “Transcript of Usama bin Laden Video Tape.”
92 “Bin Laden’s Confession; Is That What It Is?”
93 If bin Laden had done research on this question, he would have found that
fires, no matter how big and long-lasting, had never caused steel-framed
high-rise buildings to collapse, even partially. He would also have learned
that no partial collapse had ever resulted if the fire had been produced by
an airplane crashing into the building (as when in 1945 a B-25 bomber struck
the Empire State Building and created big fires and a hole 20 feet high (see
Norman Glover, Collapse Lessons,” Fire Engineering, October 2002 [http://fe.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=Archi&Subsection=Display&P=25&ARTICLE_ID=163411&KEYWORD=norman
%20glover]). And he would have learned that a study of the damage that would
be caused to the Twin Towers in particular by the impact of a large
airliner, traveling at a high speed, would have consisted of “only local
damage which could not cause collapse” (quoted in James Glanz and Eric
Lipton, City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center [New
York: Times Books, 2003], 131).
94 Lawrence is the editor of Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama
Bin Laden (London and New York: Verso, 2005).
95 Lawrence made these statements on February 16, 2007, during a radio
interview conducted by Kevin Barrett of the University of Wisconsin at
Madison. It can be heard at Radio Du Jour (http://www.radiodujour.com/people/lawrence_bruce).
Osseiran mischaracterized Lawrence’s position by saying that it was “based
on Dr. Lawrence’s ‘friends’ in Homeland Security,” as if Lawrence were not,
as a bin Laden expert, voicing his own opinion. What Lawrence said was that
his friends in Homeland Security were of the same opinion.
96 OBLDA 36. Osseiran responded to this statement by saying: “I do resent
the use of the word claim by Mr. Griffin as I do not claim, I state.”
Osseiran evidently believes that the word “claim” is properly used only to
characterize assertions that are false.
97 OBLDA 36.
98 Osseiran’s main example of my “cherry picking” is the fact that I quoted
Ed Haas’s report of a conversation he had with an FBI official (who admitted
that the FBI “has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11”) but
ignored an essay by Haas that disagrees with my position on this video.
“Cherry picking,” however, involves citing only the evidence related to some
issue that supports one’s hypothesis while ignoring other relevant evidence
that counts against one’s hypothesis about that issue. This is a topic I
have written about at some length: At the same time I was writing the little
book on bin Laden, I was also writing my book on the NIST report about WTC 7
(The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7), a large part of which
deals with evidence contradicting NIST’s fire hypothesis that NIST had
simply ignored. The principle of scientific method thereby violated by NIST,
I suggested, could be phrased thus: “Relevant evidence should not be
ignored.” This principle does not entail that if you quote a particular
author on one topic, you are obligated to refer to that author’s opinions
about other topics. If that were a rule, bibliographies would be impossibly
99 “Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?” Global Research, October 9, 2009
(http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15601); a slightly
revised version was posted at Veterans Today, October 22, 2009 (http://www.veteranstoday.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=9079).
100 Peritoneal Dialysis, Wikipedia, December 9, 2009 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peritoneal_dialysis).
102 For the video, see “911 Bin Laden at Rawalpindi Hospital September 10th
1 28 2002 CBS” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OW4A-yd9BI); for the text,
see “Bin Laden Whereabouts before 9/11,” CBS Evening News with Dan Rather,”
January 28, 2002 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CBS203A.html).