"Death By Water", Or The Start Of A Fresh Flood Of bin Laden Conspiracy Theories?

Tyler Durden's picture

Phlebas the Phoenician may not be Osama bin Laden, but the circumstances of his untimely end are oddly comparable to those surrounding the expiration of the Al Qaeda leader. Yet is there more than meets the eye. Once again, it is Politico sounding the alarm horn on a issue that is sure to inflame the "conspiratorial" bent of the population. As Politico notes in its latest must read analysis of the Osama endspiel, "while the watery grave may help diminish bin Laden’s status as a martyr
to his followers, it was already fueling conspiracy theories; as the
administration resisted releasing even photographs of the slain
terrorist leader on Monday, a predictable haze of myth and rumor had
already, inevitably, began to rise around him." Yet even the most grounded can not help by ask: why not at least present his body briefly to the "free world" and then shoot him into outer space if necessary (for all those who buy the "no shrine" theory). Although at the end of the day, the mission is more than successful: the population has a brand new and truly enveloping distraction to keep its preoccupied with largely irrelevant, although very emotionally charged, issues for a long time.

From Politico: Conspiracies say bin Laden lives

The decision to drop terror chieftain Osama bin Laden’s corpse into the Arabian Sea was the final meticulous step in a raid whose details were calculated to exert deadly force but also to achieve maximum effect in the propaganda war: the White House was careful to say bin Laden’s body had been treated according to Islamic tradition, but also to deny his followers a shrine.

But while the watery grave may help diminish bin Laden’s status as a martyr to his followers, it was already fueling conspiracy theories; as the administration resisted releasing even photographs of the slain terrorist leader on Monday, a predictable haze of myth and rumor had already, inevitably, began to rise around him.

The White House said Monday morning that it is running DNA tests on some element of Bin Laden’s remains, and that it’s debating releasing a photograph taken of him after the lethal U.S. raid on his Pakistani compound.

“The United States Government has not yet been made a decision on whether there will be a photo release,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in an email.

No political leader of any weight has doubted the American story, though some Muslim leaders have criticized the action and there will be a delicate political calculation to be made by bin Laden’s presumed successor, Ayman Al Zawahiri, as to whether he confirms or denying the death.

But in an age of mistrust for authority, and when the mainstream media has lost its ability to damp down discredited theories, bin Laden’s death is already in dispute.

An arm of a Pakistani Taliban group led the charge Monday, according to Pakistan’s GEO TV, insisting that Bin Laden is still alive. Supporters rallied around a new Facebook group called, “Osama bin Laden NOT DEAD.” Meanwhile, the Pakistani and British media Monday fell prey to a recycled and faked photograph of a dead Bin Laden.

In the United States, suspicious voices rose across the political spectrum. Radio host Alex Jones, a powerful hub of anti-government sentiment and leader of those who believe the American government was behind the September 11 attacks, instantly floated his own theory: “Government had Osama bin Laden frozen for years.”

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan wrote her supporters, “I am sorry, but if you believe the newest death of OBL, you’re stupid. Just think to yourself—they paraded Saddam’s dead sons around to prove they were dead—why do you suppose they hastily buried this version of OBL at sea? This lying, murderous Empire can only exist with your brainwashed consent—just put your flags away and THINK!”

And on the conservative site Big Government, J. Michael Walker demanded that Obama lay the corpse out in lower Manhattan. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” he wrote.

Others speculated that perhaps bin Laden had never existed at all. And throughout a Muslim world in which bin Laden’s guilt in the 9/11 attacks remains, according to polls, widely doubted, the stealthy American incursion could only stir more conspiracy theorizing.

And yet the American decision not to display the cadaver was, to many analysts, a reasonable one.

“The conspiracy theories were inevitable. Conspiracy theory and bin Laden go together like olive oil and hummus,” said Hussein Ibish, a fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, who said that burial at sea would be less anathema to Muslims than cremation, while having roughly the same effect. “You can’t stop the conspiracy theories but you can stop the shrine.”

“Inside the region, you’re dealing with an irrational, illogical mindset to begin with. And you’ve got people in this country who believe that the moon shot was filmed in Arizona,” said Aaron David Miller, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. “There will be people who think we never killed him and this is an invention and there will be people who think that he was innocent.”

The nature of modern warfare likely means that the U.S. government holds extensive video, photographic, and biometric evidence of bin Laden’s death. Government qualms about releasing photographs stem from the same impulse that led them to dispose of the body: A wish to avoid inflating the cult of a terrorist martyr.

But even photographs, in an age of digital trickery, may not convince everyone. The faked photos that re-emerged yesterday after circulating in 2009, for instance, are dramatic and compelling.

“The photos of Saddam Hussein’s sons did not really quiet the doubts about their death,” said Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who noted that the White House will probably avoid releasing photographs over the same propaganda concerns that prompted the burial at sea.

“I’m sure there are photographs. And I’m sure the administration will be extremely reluctant to release any of them if they can avoid it,” he said.

Though analysts of both American and Muslim politics said some level of conspiracy is inevitable, some factors could damp the theories down. Al-Zawahiri could use an announcement of bin Laden’s death to consolidate his organizational power. The Saudi ruling class, which owns much of the Arabic-language media, was bin Laden’s first target, and will likely celebrate his death, not perpetuate his legend. And bin Laden may be more useful to his movement as a martyr than as a myth.

“I think it’s going to be harder for them to create a conspiracy theory around this,” said Noah Pollak, the executive director of the Emergency Committee on Israel. “There’s no way to do it that flatters the Holy Warriors.”

And yet without Bin Laden’s head on a pike at the White House gate, most analysts of the running global conflict expect the theories to fester.

“Twenty years from now you, you’ll still find people in the Arabic world who insist that Osama bin Laden is still alive and living well in Karachi,” said Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for New American Security.

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NOTW777's picture

how many thousand times did cnbc mention bin laden and obama today

how many times did they confuse obama for bin laden - i heard 2

JW n FL's picture


When we heard that Osama Bin Laden had been positively identified using DNA, we wanted to know: How did they do that so quickly?

"Forensic DNA testing can be done very quickly--in a few hours," says George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Computational Genetics. (Church also heads up the Personal Genome Project, which we covered on NOVA scienceNOW back in 2008.) "Typically the protocol is PCR"--that's polymerase chain reaction, a technique for making multiple copies of a piece of DNA--"from tiny amounts of sample, followed by gel separation of DNA size variants." These "size variants," which are DNA chunks of different lengths, together create a unique "fingerprint" that can be used to identify an individual.

NOTW777's picture

it can be done even faster when poll numbers are falling

Ahmeexnal's picture

How long before videos made by the SEAL team with their iPhones are uploaded to youtube, posing with a dying, naked covered in pigshit OBL, while a laughing dude forcefeeds him bacon, sausage and porkchops??

aerojet's picture

Um, never?  I doubt very much any SEALs ever partook of any such atrocities.  Those guys are true professional killers.  They would probably bring an extra 30 round mag in place of an iPhone. 

jeff montanye's picture

i've read speculation on the parallel between obama's "long form" birth certificate and osama's "long form" death certificate:  they get released at the start and the end of the reelection campaign respectively.  to stop the "silliness".

Real Estate Geek's picture

The parallel that both were signed by Linda Green?

JW n FL's picture

U.S. Army Pys Ops Verse U.S. Congressmen & Senators http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/another-runaway-general-army-deploys-psy-ops-on-u-s-senators-20110223


http://goo.gl/LblE7  Federal Reserve Pays Banks 800% More for Deposits over Market Rate   


China: The Rich Are Fleeing http://goo.gl/FSTw4

Hephasteus's picture

Great finds JW. You rock!!

onthesquare's picture

1s watching CSI they had this thing like a box like thing and it was a hand held DNA like testiing thing

they just put some stuff init and pushed the botton an it came up with a face of the person

its so kool

Hammer Time's picture

How about this full moon in the vids? There was no full moon...., nowhere on this planet...

LonePatriot's picture

Sorry but that is rational/logical thought.  That is not aloud in the free world

legal eagle's picture

If I had an ounce of silver for everytime cnbc showed his face......it as if the media wants this guy to be a hero.....

Hedgetard55's picture

MSM creaming it's jeans over Obama for doing what they would have called a war crime if Bush had done it.


Obama earning his Peace Prize one terrorist, terrorist wife, or dictator's kid/grandkid, at a time.

jeff montanye's picture

the msm didn't call bush's war crimes war crimes.  the new york times still refuses to use the word torture to describe any u.s. actions but uses it freely to describe similar actions by "others".

jeff montanye's picture

and if the msm thought bush committed war crimes how would obama not be vulnerable for not prosecuting them?

Pladizow's picture

" Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play."

"The lie can be maintained for only such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the state to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the state."

Nazi Minister of Propaganda - Joseph Goebbels

Alcoholic Native American's picture

The big lie theory.

24/7 Osama's picture is up there.


Shit is starting to get interesting.

Thorlyx's picture

"how many times did they confuse obama for bin laden - i heard 2"


Good that Bush was in charge in Iraq. They certainly would have confused Barack Hussein with Saddam Hussein. 

NOTW777's picture

all of sudden the obama business channel is using the phrase "war on terror"  now its cool to fight terror

nmewn's picture

Amazing what crashing polls will do.

I find it more than a little ironic that the seed of intel that made this all possible, is exactly what Obama, the MSM and the rest of the "out of work establishment" railed against...and was even considering bringing criminal charges against the former administration for.

Then someone apparently pointed out to the nubes...that could be your head in a basket in 4-8 yrs...then the Church Lady enters and says...oh, never mind.

Collective/selective amnesia...LOL.

aerojet's picture

I never thought Bin Laden was real, I always figured he was a propaganda ploy, a character.  But SEALs don't risk their lives to kill a character, right?  Unless the whole thing was staged somehow.  I don't know if that is even possible.

I about threw up when I saw Cheney being interviewed this evening and was apparently trying to defend the Bush Administration's use of torture, although he didn't call it that, he said something like "agrgressive interrogation" or some other euphemism.  Cheney could have just kept his damn mouth shut, but no, he had to get on tv one more fucking time.

Motorhead's picture

About time we had a good news story.  I sure was getting sick of hearing about the Barack Obama's birth certificate.  Oh, wait, that's the whole point!

I Am The Unknown Comic's picture

Tyler, here is the official military report of the burial at sea off the coast of Pakistan on board the Carl Vinson.


Didn't your reports indicate the Vinson was in the Mediterranean?

Did it cross back through the Suez canal while we weren't looking?

Ruffcut's picture

Yep, he is partying right now in the caymens with ken lay.

the 72 whores are there too.

cnbs a few hundred times of binny.

Greater Fool's picture

"Those are pearls that were his eyes."

CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

Full fathom five bin Laden* lies.


* Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

MrBinkeyWhat's picture

"The media is the message." Norbert Weiner

falak pema's picture

the phony death certificate is the real birth certificate...for re-election!

TBT or not TBT's picture

Yeah, right after Obummer ends:   the endless deficits, the associated dollar printing, and federal regulation and intervention in health care and several dozen other domains we don't need it doing.

earlthepearl's picture

It is simple:
They are going to slowly release info/photos/videos over the next weeks/months
They need to milk the shit out of this

BobPaulson's picture

If you mean "medium" that was Marshall McLuhan, but agreed.

CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

Who are the geniuses who are junking your factual correction?

BobPaulson's picture

Dunno. Didn't want to rebut and seem thin skinned.

msamour's picture

hey don't worry about it, not every one can have a degree in Mass Communication.

Milestones's picture

Correct. Norbert Weiner wrote a book some years earlier " Cybernetics and Society: The human use of human beings. I believe it was published in 1908. Monster book.        Milestones      

Misean's picture

The neadersheeple bray with blood lust on the mind. But I wonder if this is a trial balloon to declare victory and leave Trashcanistan...

TruthInSunshine's picture

Who knows what happened.

With that disclaimer, they should have sent the alleged remains to the Moon, which would have stirred multiple conspiracy theorist camps, and made for an even greater distraction.

The government peeps aren't very creative.

BobPaulson's picture

The remains were dropped in a combination of locations including Area 51, The Bermuda Triangle and The Dark Side of the Moon. Now the anybody who questions this laughable assassination narrative will immediately be associated and dismissed ;)

NOTW777's picture

come on - dont you believe ben when he testifies he wont monetize debt? or obama when he promised every second of the healthcare debate would be on cspan and everyone would get copies of proposed legislation well in advance?

Silver Bug's picture

They either think, we are incredibly stupid. Or flat out want us to form conspiracies, as this is almost laughable.


They release fake photos to the press this morning, because people are demanding them. They then retract that they actually did this, and the photos were sent out by a conspiracy theorist!


Then to make matters worse, oops they dumped the body in the ocean, therefore we can't show you it. WHAT? How does this even remotely seem logical. Of course this is a complete hoak! He died years ago.



Misean's picture

Yep. A man on dialysis in the late 90's usually under good circumstances doesn't last that long. Not that it matters.

haskelslocal's picture

"...Or flat out want us to form conspiracies..."

Maybe it's not "us" that "they" are asking to form conspiracies.


a) You'd not leave a body behind to martyr.

b) You want to leave the opponents side guessing as to what may have happened.

c) You'd not want to make a public display of remains to be disrepsected and avenged.

d) As is Jim Morrison and Elvis, better left still alive for minds to remain off course from reality.

Hedgetard55's picture

They blow his face off, and then are worried they might inflame Muslims if he is not buried properly?

Canucklehead's picture

They are using him as bait for Somalis...

CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

If the US government really wanted to avoid upsetting Muslims they'd stop bombing their kids.

RichardP's picture

Good grief Crockett.  You are a stuck record.  Don't the Israeli's and Americans ever bomb adults?  I've never seen you acknowledge that.