Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?

The following are brief excerpts of the new book by Dr. David Ray Griffin, “Osama bin Laden Dead or Alive?” published by Olive Branch Press. In this book, Griffin’s meticulous analysis supports above all one simple and urgent conclusion: if Osama bin Laden is dead, the US should not be using its troops and treasure to hunt him down.

On October 2, 2008, former CIA operative Robert Baer, interviewed on National Public Radio, expressed his opinion that Osama bin Laden was dead. Later, when the interviewer, Terry Gross, asked Baer about this, he said: “Of course he’s dead.” Elaborating Baer said: “He hasn’t shown up. I’ve taken in the last month a poll of CIA officers who have been on his trail, and what astounded me was not a single one was sure he was alive or dead. In other words, they have no idea. This man disappeared off the side of the earth. That has never happened before in my years in the CIA.”

The following month, on November 10, 2008, the National Terror Alert Response Center said that Osama bin Laden was reportedly planning a new attack on the United States that “will ‘outdo by far’ the attacks of September 11 in 2001.”

The alert was written as if there were no questions about the continued existence of Osama bin Laden. The next day, November 11, 2008, a Washington Post story said:

“President-elect Barrack Obama … intends to renew the US commitment to the hunt for Osama bin Laden … ‘This is our enemy,’ one adviser said of bin Laden, ‘and he should be our principal target.’ … [Obama’s] national security transition teams … have not yet plotted their diplomatic approach to Pakistan, where US intelligence officials believe bin Laden is hiding.”

Much evidence … points to the conclusion that Osama bin Laden is no longer alive. This evidence includes the following points:

• A Pakistani newspaper published a report that a funeral ceremony for bin Laden occurred on December 15, 2001.

• The likelihood that bin Laden had died shortly before December 15 was increased by the fact that no messages from him have been intercepted by US intelligence since December 13, 2001.

• The likelihood that bin Laden had died was also increased by credible reports that he had been suffering from kidney disease and that, when he made his final undoubtedly authentic videotape sometime after November 16, he appeared to be seriously ill (as pointed out by Peter Bergen and Dr. Sanjay Gupta).

• President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and Kenton Keith (the spokesman for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan) all suggested in late 2001 or early 2002 that bin Laden might be dead. Vice President Cheney expressed the same thought at the end of 2008.

• Several people with access to inside information – including Robert Baer, Bruce Lawrence, Oliver North, Dale Watson, and sources within Israeli intelligence – expressed their strong belief that bin Laden was no longer alive.

• At one time or another, several mainstream news organizations – including the Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, the New York Times, the Telegraph, and Time magazine – put out news stories suggesting that bin Laden had died.

• It is widely agreed that the post-2001 “messages from bin Laden” provide the only evidence that he was still alive after 2001, but none of these can be considered definitely authentic.

• Some of the post-2001 audiotapes and videotapes purportedly from bin Laden seem rather clearly to have been fabricated, which suggests that all of them likely were.

• In 2008, a Western intelligence analyst said that the cessation of intelligence information about Osama bin Laden in December 2001 had been permanent: “We have had no credible intelligence on OBL since 2001. All the rest is rumor and rubbish either whipped up by the media or churned out in the power corridors of western capitals.”

The absence of any intelligence about bin Laden whatsoever – given spy satellites and the $25 million reward offered for information about him – provides further reason to conclude that he is no longer with us.

The available evidence, therefore, supports Robert Baer’s October 2008 statement that Osama bin Laden is dead.

If that is correct, then Baer’s conclusion about the “hunt for bin Laden” follows: “This could be an eternal war if the goal is to capture this man dead or alive.”

It may be, of course, that a desire by certain parties for just such a war has provided the motivation to create fake bin Laden messages.

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