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Death of Osama Bin Laden conspiracy theories

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Death of Osama Bin Laden conspiracy theories

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The death of Osama bin Laden gave rise to various conspiracy theories (WP), hoaxes, and rumors (WP).[1] A number of speculative fringe theories were discussed around the globe. These included the notions that bin Laden had been dead for years, or was still alive. Doubts about bin Laden's death were fueled by the U.S. military's disposal of his body at sea, a decision that received widespread criticism, and the decision to not release any photographic evidence of bin Laden's death.

On May 4, 2011, the Wikipedia:Obama administration announced it would not release any images of bin Laden's dead body.[2] The administration had considered releasing the photos to dispel rumors of a hoax, at the risks of perhaps prompting another attack by Wikipedia:al Qaeda and of releasing very graphic images to people who might find them disturbing.[1][3] Several photos of the aftermath of the raid were given to Wikipedia:Reuters by an anonymous Pakistani security official, but though all appear to be authentic and were taken after the U.S. forces had left, none of them included bin Laden.[4]

The people who promote the conspiracy theories have been referred to by mainstream media as 'deathers',[5] or 'proofers'.[6]

On May 6, 2011, an al Qaeda website acknowledged bin Laden's death.[1]


Criticism of burial at sea

Doubts about bin Laden's death were fueled by the U.S. military's disposal of his body at sea, though U.S. officials maintained that the burial was necessary because arrangements could not be made with any country to bury bin Laden within 24 hours, as dictated by Muslim practice.[1] However, the Muslim practice has not always been followed by the U.S. in the past. For example, the bodies of Wikipedia:Uday Hussein and Wikipedia:Qusay Hussein, sons of Saddam Hussein (WP), were held for 11 days before being released for burial.[7] In that instance, however, several Iraqi cities were reluctant to grant a gravesite for Saddam's sons.[7]

The decision to bury bin Laden at sea was questioned by some Wikipedia:Islamic scholars and by some Wikipedia:9/11 victims and their relatives.[8][9] Professor Peter Romaniuk of Wikipedia:John Jay College described the burial at sea as a way to forestall further questions. He stated: "Obviously they’re going to be under pressure to show a body or produce further evidence, but this was a way of taking that issue off the table."[10]

Views of individuals and groups

See also: Wikipedia:Reactions to the death of Osama bin Laden

In Pakistan

A number of Wikipedia:Abbottabad, Pakistan, residents said they believed the announcement of Osama's death was a U.S. conspiracy against Pakistan. A local lawyer from said, "They’re just making it up. Nobody has seen the body."[11] Some residents doubted not only that bin Laden was dead, but also that he ever lived among them.[12] Conspiracy theories abound in the Middle East, according to Lewis Brownstein, professor of international relations and political science at Wikipedia:State University of New York.[10]

Senior Pakistani officials disseminated the theory that no firefight ever took place, and that U.S. forces captured bin Laden alive, executed him outside the compound in front of his 12-year-old daughter, and took his body away on a helicopter.[13][14]

Yet another scenario was reported in an article in the Wikipedia:Urdu newspaper Wikipedia:Ausaf, which quoted military sources as saying, "Bin Laden has been killed somewhere else. But since the US intends to extend the Afghan war into Pakistan, and accuse Pakistan, and obtain a permit for its military's entry into the country, it has devised the [assassination] scenario."[15]

In Iran

A number of Iranians said they believed that bin Laden was actually working with the U.S. during the entire war on terror. Ismail Kosari, an Iranian MP, said that bin Laden[16]:
was just a puppet controlled by the Wikipedia:Zionist regime in order to present a violent image of Islam after the Wikipedia:September 11 attacks. Bin Laden's death reflects the passing of a temporary US pawn, and symbolizes the end of one era and the beginning of another in American policy in the region.
Another MP, Javad Jahangirzadeh, said he believed that it was the U.S. that had carried out the terrorist attacks, and bin Laden was the main source of help. He stated, "The West has been very pleased with bin Laden's operations in recent years. Now the West was forced to kill him in order to prevent a possible leak of information he had, information more precious than gold."[16]

On the Internet

Facebook (WP) groups formed discussing a rumor, in what has been dubbed the "death hoax".[17][18] Some Wikipedia:blogs theorised that the raid and killing were faked, in a conspiracy to attempt to deflect questions about President Barack Obama's (WP) citizenship (Wikipedia:Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories), or to boost Obama's approval ratings and guarantee him popularity during the 2012 U.S. presidential election.[17]


Anti-war activist Wikipedia:Cindy Sheehan stated "If you believe the newest death of OBL, you’re stupid". She referred to America as a "lying, murderous Empire", and told Americans, whom she called "brainwashed," to "put [their] flags away."[19][20] An article in Wikipedia:The Village Voice criticized her suggestion that Osama bin Laden wasn't dead, writing that "she appears to have really lost it."[21]

While on the Russian government-funded[22][23] Wikipedia:Russia Today, radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claimed that bin Laden had been dead for nearly ten years, and that his body had been kept frozen on ice to be used as a propaganda tool at a future politically expedient time. During an interview with Jones in 2002, he said an anonymous White House source had told him that bin Laden "died he is frozen, literally frozen and that he would be rolled out in the future at some date".[24] In a separate interview in 2002, Wikipedia:Council on Foreign Relations member Wikipedia:Steve Pieczenik told Jones that bin Laden had been dead for months.[25] Pieczenik also later suggested that bin Laden had died from complications of Wikipedia:Marfan Syndrome in 2002.[26] Jones also pointed to similar comments made by former Secretary of State Wikipedia:Madeleine Albright in 2003, "Yes we have been told by intelligence that they’ve got him, Bush may roll him out but because they exposed that at the election they didn’t do it".[24] A post in Politico by journalist Ben Smith criticized Jones's interview on RT, saying, "he does reflect a level of conspiratorial thinking present in the upper echelons of a Russia, whose history has, after all, been characterized by horrifying conspiracies by the security services."[27]

Iranian-controlled Wikipedia:Press TV interviewed investigative journalist Wikipedia:Webster Tarpley and researcher Wikipedia:Stephen Lendman, who both doubted the official story of bin Laden's death. Tarpley said he believed bin Laden had been dead for a long time, and that the public had been deceived by a staged announcement. He described the announcement of bin Laden's death as an attempt to involve the U.S. in a war with Pakistan.[28] Moreover, Lendman said that bin Laden died of Wikipedia:natural causes in mid-December 2001, citing former Pakistani President Wikipedia:Benazir Bhutto. He also said that the death announcement was an excuse to involve the U.S. in more wars in the Middle East.[28] Lendman also contended that bin Laden's supposed death was strategically timed as a distraction so Obama's approval rating would increase, despite a very weak American economy.[28]

A political and legal analyst for Wikipedia:Fox News said in the May 2 edition of his show on Wikipedia:Fox Business', that pending further evidence bin Laden's death could not be verified, and insinuated that Obama was using the death of bin Laden to save his "lousy presidency."[29] An article in Wikipedia:Mediaite criticized Napolitano's remarks, opining that "such conspiracy talk" is "beneath" the journalist.[30]

Canadian deputy Leader of the Opposition and MP, Wikipedia:Thomas Mulcair, stated in an interview with Wikipedia:CBC Television that "I don't think from what I've heard that those pictures [of bin Laden's body] exist".[31] His remark were picked up by dozens of U.S. media outlets,[32] and criticized by various Canadian politicians.[33][34][35][32]

An official statement from the Wikipedia:Taliban stated that the lack of photos or video footage is suspicious, as their own sources close to bin Laden had not confirmed or denied his death, and that "When the Americans killed Mullah Dadullah (Taliban’s chief military commander) they publicly showed the footage".[11]

Wikipedia:Glenn Beck, on his show, The Glenn Beck Show, gave an argument that "Bin Laden knew where al-Qaida's secret nuclear bomb was kept, and was killed to prevent him from leaking its location. Barack Obama wants to keep its whereabouts out of public knowledge." He went on to discuss his belief that bin Laden had not been killed in the raid, and was instead being held and interrogated in order to learn more about al Qaeda's nuclear arsenal.[15]

Other conspiracy theories

Numerous other conspiracy theories relating to bin Laden's death that were discussed include:

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Osama bin Laden dead: Bin Laden's burial at sea fuels 'death hoax' rumor. latimes.com.
  2. Montopoli, Brian (2011-05-04). "Obama: I won't release bin Laden death photos." Wikipedia:CBS News. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
  3. Osama bin Laden killed: live coverage. Telegraph.
  4. Allbritton, Chris (2011-05-04). Photos show three dead men at bin Laden raid house. Reuters. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  5. The Dumbest Deather Theory. New York. URL accessed on May 4, 2011.
  6. 'Proofers' want evidence of bin Laden's death. Newsnet5.com. URL accessed on May 6, 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Brian Whitaker. Bin Laden's body buried at sea. Guardian.
  8. Muslims furious about Osama sea burial – Daylife. Fuse.tv. URL accessed on May 6, 2011.
  9. Osama bin Laden's burial at sea: critics range from 9/11 families to militants.. The Christian Science Monitor.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Alison Bowen. Osama bin Laden: Conspiracy theories thrive on lack of proof. Metro.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Conspiracy Theories". Wikipedia:Indian Express. May 5, 2011. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Conspiracy-Theories/786136/. Retrieved May 5, 2011.</li>
  12. Not everyone believes bin Laden really is dead. Yahoo! News.</li>
  13. Shot dead 'with money sewn into his clothes': Bin Laden was captured alive and then executed, 'claims daughter, 12'. The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-05-04.</li>
  14. Yusufzai, Mushtaq (2011-05-04). Bin Laden’s daughter confirms her father shot dead by US Special Forces in Pakistan. Al-Arabiya. Retrieved 2011-05-04.</li>
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Osama bin Laden death: The conspiracy theories. Wikipedia:The Guardian. URL accessed on May 5, 2011.</li>
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Iran’s reaction to Osama death ranges from skepticism to conspiracy theories". Wikipedia:International Business Times. May 4, 2011. http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/141350/20110504/iran-us-osama-israel.htm. Retrieved May 4, 2011.</li>
  17. 17.0 17.1 Bin Laden's sea burial fuels conspiracy theories. kwch.</li>
  18. Osama bin Laden killed: conspiracy theories proliferate in wake of raid. Telegraph.</li>
  19. Geraghty, Jim (2011-05-02). Cindy Sheehan: ‘If you believe the newest death of OBL, you’re stupid.’. National Review. Retrieved 2011-05-02.</li>
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Osama photo decision fuels conspiracy theories". Wikipedia:International Business Times. May 4, 2011. http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/141402/20110504/osama-photo-decision-fuels-conspiracy-theories.htm. Retrieved May 5, 2011.</li>
  21. Coscarelli, Joe (02-05-11). "Cindy Sheehan, Grieving Mother and War Critic, Doesn't Believe Osama Bin Laden is Dead". The Village Voice. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/05/cindy_sheehan_osama_bin_laden_facebook_conspiracy_theories.php.</li>
  22. Russia Today Courts Viewers With Controversy Wikipedia:The Moscow Times March 17, 2010</li>
  23. Stephen Boykewich. Russia Today Television Misses Launch Date. The Moscow Times.</li>
  24. 24.0 24.1 Davis, Richard Alex Jones claims Bin Laden ‘mission’ is a fake. Economic Voice. URL accessed on May 4, 2011.</li>
  25. Wax, Emily Report of bin Laden’s death spurs questions from conspiracy theorists. Wikipedia:Washington Post. URL accessed on May 4, 2011.</li>
  26. Paul Joseph Watson. Question For Time Magazine: Are The Assertions of a Top Spymaster Who Worked Under 5 Different US Presidents “Black Helicopter Fantasies”?. PrisonPlanet.</li>
  27. Smith, Ben (03-05-11). "Alex Jones on Russia Today". Politico. http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0511/Alex_Jones_on_Russia_Today.html.</li>
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 US seeks to Balkanize Mideast. Wikipedia:Press TV. URL accessed on May 5, 2011.</li>
  29. "Right-Wing Media Figures Ask For "Proof," "More Evidence" Of Bin Laden's Death". Wikipedia:Media Matters for America. May 2, 2011. http://mediamatters.org/research/201105030016. Retrieved May 4, 2011.</li>
  30. Schneider, Matt (03-05-11). "Judge Napolitano On Bin Laden’s Death: Is Obama ‘Pulling A Fast One’ To Save ‘Lousy Presidency’?". Mediaite. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/judge-napolitano-on-bin-laden-is-obama-pulling-a-fast-one-to-save-lousy-presidency/.</li>
  31. "Conspiracy theory: NDP deputy leader Mulcair doubts U.S. has bin Laden photos". Wikipedia:The Canadian Press. May 4, 2011. http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5gsjUBZTF0SjtjJdJ_aD4_7gqlbEQ?docId=6758076. Retrieved May 4, 2011.</li>
  32. 32.0 32.1 Kaszor, Daniel (04-05-11). "NDP MP Thomas Mulcair questions Bin Laden pictures". National Post. http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/05/04/ndp-mp-thomas-mulcair-questions-bin-laden-kill/.</li>
  33. Press, The Canadian (04-05-11). "Conspiracy theory: NDP deputy leader Mulcair doubts U.S. has bin Laden photos". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/985972--conspiracy-theory-ndp-deputy-leader-mulcair-doubts-u-s-has-bin-laden-photos.</li>
  34. Payton, Laura (04-05-11). "NDP deputy leader doubts bin Laden photos exist". CBC. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/05/04/pol-mulcair-osama.html.</li>
  35. Ibbitson, John (04-05-11). "NDP’s deputy leader doubts existence of bin Laden photos". Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ndps-deputy-leader-doubts-existence-of-bin-laden-photos/article2010535/.</li>
  36. 36.0 36.1 Caroline Gammell. Osama bin Laden dead: time for the royal wedding conspiracy theories. Telegraph.</li></ol>

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