Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The "Truth" About Osama's "Death"
Straight up, I admit my prediction of Jones' response to bin Laden's reported death was wrong. I thought he would try to convince his listeners that They had to pretend to kill bin Laden at this point in time because Jones had done his job too well; as founder and leader of the 9/11 Truth movement (he's neither, but that's another post), he had convinced the world that 9/11 was an inside job committed by neocons and other New World Order baddies. Thanks to Jones' runaway success, the heat was coming down on Them. They had to put an end to their decade-long charade.
To his credit, though, Jones didn't take the credit. Instead, he hammered at the "fact" that bin Laden died in 2002. He also trotted out former ISI chief General Hamid Gul, the guy who went on CNN in December 2008 to declare that 9/11 was perpetrated by "neocons and Zionists". In my opinion, given Pakistan's shadowy links to 9/11 and international terrorism in general, this is kind of like asking the bank robber for a description of the getaway car. Again, though, that's another post.
Keep in mind that I have some doubts about the story of bin Laden's demise. Like bin Laden's entire life, it is shrouded in mystery and contradictions. Why take his body only to dump it in the Indian ocean? Was it really worth the risk of extracting his corpse, simply to avoid the construction of a shrine? What the hell took so long, anyway? Granted, at least one of bin Laden's children claims to have witnessed his death, but there are a lot of unanswered questions. Only time will tell if this story is accurate.
However, I'm going to show you that Jones' 2002 death claim isn't any more valid than the current government claim. In fact, it's even flimsier. Let's look at Jones' primary sources:
Steve Pieczenik. On his May 2 and May 3 broadcasts, Jones repeatedly referred to Pieczenik as "the number two man next to Kissinger" (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, which was a more elastic title than you might think). I certainly wouldn't brag about that, but never mind. What Jones did not dwell upon is that Pieczenik has collaborated with Tom Clancy. You may recall that Jones has accused Clancy of participating in the New World Order conspiracy, using "predictive programming" in his novels and videogames (see here and here, for example). Dr. Pieczenik was also granted a Council on Foreign Relations fellowship.
I'm surprised that Jones considers him a reliable source. I certainly don't, but not for the reasons stated above. I think the guy uses Wikipedia and his website to exaggerate his achievements, possibly to promote his "nutritional medicine" practice and line of related products.
But let's be generous. Many résumé -padders and shameless self-promoters have given the world valuable inside information. It would be neither fair nor prudent to dismiss Pieczenik's bin Laden revelation just because he has a touch of Walter Mitty syndrome. Let's look at the meat of the matter: What evidence does Dr. P. bring to the table?
Here is what he told Jones in 2002: "I think that Musharraf, the President of Pakistan, spilled the beans by accident three months agao when he said that bin Laden was dead because his kidney dialysis machines were destroyed in East Afghanistan. Well, he was one of the few that knew he had a kidney problem. That wasn't well known before. Everybody thought he had a heart disease. "
That's it. That's all he had to say. Pieczenik was just repeating what Musharraf had said in a CNN interview in January 2002. Musharraf didn't say bin Laden was dead. He said, "I think now, frankly, he is dead for the reason he is a ... kidney patient. I would give the first priority that he is dead and the second priority that he is alive somewhere in Afghanistan."
Musharraf now believes bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011 (and is desperately trying to convince the world that Pakistan knew nothing about bin Laden's presence in his country). So Pieczenik's sole piece of "evidence" - Musharraf's 2002 opinion that bin Laden could be dead - is null and void. Pieczenik was making a guess based on someone else's guess. And for the record, Pieczenik didn't say anything about bin Laden's body being preserved so officials could "roll it out later". Jones added that bit.
Sometime between April 2002 and this Tuesday, Pieczenik's story changed dramatically. Now he claims that back in '02, he knew from the "intelligence roster" that bin Laden had Marfan Syndrome and had been treated by CIA doctors. He died in late 2001.
This is certainly a lot more specific than Pieczenik's 2002 pronouncement, but Pieczenik still doesn't provide any evidence. It has long been speculated that bin Laden suffered Marfan Syndrome (see here and here), so that's not exactly inside information.
Pieczenik does not claim to have seen bin Laden's corpse, he does not provide any details about the circumstances of his alleged death, and he doesn't or will not give the specifics of bin Laden's alleged treatment by CIA physicians. His story rings every bit as hollow as the CNN reports.
Walter Cronkite. The late Walter Cronkite never stated that bin Laden was dead. Just the opposite, actually. Like Heinz and Albright, he made a cheeky remark about bin Laden being used to boost Bush's approval ratings in the run-up to the 2004 elections. Specifically, he commented on Larry King Live about the bin Laden tape released on October 29, 2004: "I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, that he probably set up bin Laden to this thing." Cronkite believed it was bin Laden on that tape, alive and well. In fact, he conceded the tape could be a "double-edged sword" for Bush, because it presented the threat of further attacks along with evidence that his administration still hadn't bagged their number one enemy.
Two unnamed "White House sources". Information that comes from anonymous sources is essentially worthless unless it leads to documentable sources. That's not the case here. No one has offered up verifiable evidence that bin Laden is dead.
Madeleine Albright. On December 17, 2003, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was about to be interviewed on the Fox News show Special Report With Brit Hume when she turned to Fox News analyst Morton Kondracke and wondered aloud if the Bush administration could already have a living Osama bin Laden in captivity, and was just waiting for the most politically expedient moment to announce his capture. She said nothing about bin Laden being dead. She did not say he was "on ice", as Jones repeatedly stated. Kondracke promptly relayed her comments to the world, and the story was picked up by many news outlets, notably the Washington Times.
If she had accidentally spilled the beans, Albright could have denied the conversation even took place. Instead, she confirmed her comments, but hastily assured the public that her speculation was made in jest. Clearly it was, because Bush did not spring bin Laden's capture as an October Surprise before the '04 elections.
Just like Musharraf, Albright has publicly accepted the report of bin Laden's death.
Theresa Heinz Kerry. I've spent all freaking day trying to find any instance of Teresa Heinz saying bin Laden was dead. Can't. It seems, however, that just like Madeleine Albright she made a catty remark about Bush capturing bin Laden just in time for the 2004 elections. At a fundraiser held in Pheonix, Arizona on September 22, 2004, she said, "I wouldn't be surprised if he [bin Laden] appeared in the next month."
As we've seen, these October Surprise remarks came to naught. Bin Laden did not appear in time for the 2004 elections - yet Bush nabbed a second term, anyway.
Conclusion: For some reason, Jones chose the weakest links to build his Osama-was-already-dead chain. He would have been better off trumpeting the bizarre statement made to David Frost in 2007 by Benazir Bhutto, the assassinated former prime minister of Pakistan. She told Frost on November 2, 2007, that bin Laden had been killed by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, one of the men accused of murdering journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. She offered no details, and Frost didn't ask her to elaborate.
That was probably a wise choice. Nine days later, while under house arrest in Pakistan, Bhutto gave an interview to NPR in which she commented that her guards should be out searching for Osama bin Laden rather than confining her to her house.
On his May 2 broadcast, Jones repeatedly said They announced bin Laden's death at least ten times after September 11. This is a misleading statement. There were many rumours and unsubstantiated reports that bin Laden had been killed or captured at various times and in different places, but the only official government announcement of his death was made on May 1, 2011.
For a more reasoned take on bin Laden's reported death, check out the article Five Surprising Truths About the Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Joseph Fitsanakis at Intelnews.org.
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