Osama’s dead possibly gravely ill! Update: Alive and well, says Hamid Mir; Update: Video added

posted at 1:22 pm on September 23, 2006 by Allahpundit

Naturally the news breaks on the one morning of the week that I sleep in.

Catching up now. Mary K‘s got the best round-up. Note in particular the report from Time that she links; CNN said a little while ago that one of Nic Robertson’s sources confirmed that Osama’s very sick (but not dead).

Update: Rusty’s right — operationally, this is bigger news than Osama being dead. If you’re not familiar with Ansar al-Sunna’s handiwork, follow the link and check out Rusty’s list.

Update: Ace lists six reasons to believe the report might be true. The only solid one is number five.

1. As Ace says, AQ has allies within the Saudi government. Saudi police have even been known to let jihadis escape after apprehending them. Presumably they’d also be willing to plant disinformation in the western press if it would benefit Bin Laden. Which it might — if that AQ WMD plot is serious, Osama’s going to want to lie as low as possible for awhile. And then perhaps miraculously “reappear” later.

Bear in mind, this isn’t the first time “someone who would know” has falsely claimed that Bin Laden died.

2. Osama supposedly expired on August 23; Bill Roggio predicted a truce in Waziristan on June 25. The pullout’s been in the works for awhile now. Granted, Musharraf might have used his death as the pretext he needed to withdraw from the region, but in that case, why would he retreat in a position of weakness by paying a ransom? Why not simply announce Osama’s death and declare “mission accomplished” to save face?

There are two possible answers to that. One: because Bush and Rove asked him to keep it quiet for the time being. That’s possible, but what’s more important to Musharraf — pleasing Bush or making sure the jihadis who have been trying to kill him for years aren’t emboldened by what appears to be a withdrawal under fire? If he knew Osama was dead, he’d be using that information to salvage a victory from the situation. Two: because Osama is wildly popular in Pakistan and Musharraf doesn’t want to take credit for his demise. That’s nonsense. The Pakistanis actually fought for credit last month when the details of the UK terror plot became known. They love to triangulate on terror. Taking credit for Bin Laden’s death while giving AQ free reign in the tribal area would have been a perfect compromise.

It’s also worth remembering that, according to the Blotter, this is the second truce between Pakistan and the tribal chieftains. The previous one, in 2003, fell apart when the “militants” didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. The Blotter expects this one will fall apart too for the same reasons, and that all parties involved know it. So the contract isn’t “filled and finished.” It’s simply been suspended while they take a breather.

3. How does acknowledging that the U.S. threatened to bomb Pakistan “back to the stone age” curry favor with Islamists? All it does is prove that Musharraf can be cowed by threats — a “weak horse,” in Mark Steyn’s favorite parlance. Also, how would news that Bin Laden had died of typhoid make things worse for Musharraf? Islamists have been trying to assassinate him since 9/11; finding out that Osama succumbed to a disease he got from drinking rotten water isn’t likely to ratchet up the hate that much. If anything, it’s a sort of victory for them. He died naturally, not by U.S. or Pakistani bombs.

I took the “stone age” thing to be Musharraf’s sop to Pakistani moderates. No doubt some of them aren’t happy with him right now because of the Waziristan pullout. This is his way of reminding them that he did what he had to do after 9/11 to protect them and the country.

4. I had the same thought Ace had when that press conference was announced, but we got a hot tip to tune in about an hour before the conference was held. I can’t believe they were planning to announce Bin Laden’s death as late as that — and had flown in 9/11 families for the big news — but then suddenly changed their minds. Doesn’t add up. Which brings us to the rather more important point of how the U.S. would or could ever confirm that Bin Laden is dead without getting hold of his body. Do we have him in a freezer somewhere? If not, would Bush dare risk announcing his death and then having Bin Laden humiliate him by putting out a new video? No, of course not. No body, no story.

I guess AQ could announce he’s dead, but why on earth would they do that?

5. Can’t argue with Ace here. It’s hard to imagine what else Rove could have in mind as an October surprise. Terrorist kills/captures are really the only events big enough to swing a lot of voters that can be kept secret by the government. Unless they’ve got Zawahiri locked up somewhere, this certainly does point towards Bin Laden’s death. On the other hand, if France knows about this, we surely do too — and yet none of Bush’s enemies in the intelligence community has leaked it in order to foil a planned “October surprise”?

On the other other hand, this news is so big that Bush would surely be keeping it close to the vest.

6. Bush has been downplaying Bin Laden for years, to the left’s great delight. There was a stretch of a year or two, I believe, where he didn’t even mention his name publicly. Partly that’s because it’s embarrassing that we haven’t caught him yet, partly it’s because Osama just isn’t that important to the greater war on terror. The point is, it’s not worth reading into it.

In closing, note that Hamid Mir claims to have met on September 12 with AQ commander Abu Dawood, who allegedly told him that Osama’s fine and still in command. That’s not worth much, but Mir does have excellent contacts in Al Qaeda and would surely love to break the story of Osama’s demise. The fact that he hasn’t mentioned this at all while peddling this story about Shukrijumah and the supposed nuke plot makes me skeptical.

Update: Everyone’s skeptical.

Update: One more thing. Assuming the October surprise thing is true, Rove wouldn’t want this to come out too close to the election. Otherwise he risks a backlash from people disgusted at his cynicism. So if they’re going to announce it, why wouldn’t they have announced it yesterday, when Musharraf was at the White House and had the world’s attention? That would have punctured Chavez’s balloon too by reminding people who the real devil is.

Or, if the symbolism of Pakistan’s president celebrating Osama’s demise in the crusader’s house was simply too “freighted,” why not announce it earlier this week before the Bush-bashing UN session got under way?

Update: Osama’s friends and relatives tell CNN they haven’t heard anything.

Update: The Saudi embassy has issued a press release insisting they don’t know anything.

Update: I mentioned Hamid Mir earlier. The world’s most alarmist website has contacted him about the rumor and Mir says it’s a bunch of “rubbish.”

He also says Osama wants Bush in charge because it makes it easier for him to recruit. The New York Times says — he’s right!

Update: Here’s video from tonight’s Heartland with John Kasich featuring Mir and Annie Triton, a counterterrorism specialist with Phoenix Global Intelligence. Not only do both think Osama’s alive, they’ve each heard very recent reports that he’s crossed over from Pakistan into eastern Afghanistan.

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However the coroner from the “Wizard of OZ’ is still alive, maybe he could be enticed to make a pronouncement at the proper time.

bbz123 on September 23, 2006 at 1:29 PM

The late September Surprise.

I hope he’s buried facedown in a shallow grave so his friends can pop in for a cold one.

JammieWearingFool on September 23, 2006 at 2:19 PM

Eewwwww Jam! That was nasty! But funny as hell, thanks for the laugh!

I hope it’s not true, if he’s dead, that means he got away with it (in THIS life). I want him and zawahiri to lead a jihadi raid into Afghanistan and die the way zarqawi died, with an American Soldier standing over him. I want the last thing he sees is an ‘infidel’ wearin’ a Green Beret lookin’ down at him. I want the last human voice he hears to be that of an American with a N.Y. accent, saying “Does it hurt when I step HERE?” I want his last words to be “OUCH! Sir, please remove your boot from my ass.”

Tony737 on September 23, 2006 at 2:38 PM

If he “shat” himself to death, how does that affect his status in heaven?

Dan866 on September 23, 2006 at 2:42 PM

That picture of OBL with “Evil Bert” always cracks me up.

CP on September 23, 2006 at 2:59 PM

I think we know his vital sign status about as good as we know his twenty.

Drtuddle on September 23, 2006 at 3:01 PM

Dead or dying, either is good news.

Zawahiri’s time is about up, too.

georgej on September 23, 2006 at 3:48 PM

Would this be Karl Rove’s “October Surprise?”

Gregor on September 23, 2006 at 4:03 PM

Could this have been what the large gathering of AQ was in the cemetary we saw but couldn’t bomb?

Enoxo on September 23, 2006 at 4:05 PM

One of the slogans of Dems for 2008 was going to be “We are going to capture Bin Laden”. What now?

Ropera on September 23, 2006 at 4:16 PM

I have a few thoughts…

The conspiracy theorist Jack has it all wrong as he defines Cigarman as the enemy, and an opponent. Billy [needs a humidor] is neither. All he rates is ex-President.

I question the timing of the Osama report. It comes out too late for it to make the Sunday shows, and no one is showing actual proof.

Well, I’ll be hoping, and if nothing else perhaps this will cause the location of Osama to be discovered.

DannoJyd on September 23, 2006 at 4:17 PM

Enoxo, great point!

DannoJyd on September 23, 2006 at 4:18 PM

One can hope for this to be true…

Tom N on September 23, 2006 at 4:22 PM

Show me the bones or conclusive DNA evidence. Otherwise, after the poor outcome of previous reports of his premature demise, this dude has more lives than a cat.

Of course, it doesn’t stop me from crossing my fingers and hoping.

LewWaters on September 23, 2006 at 4:31 PM

Would this be Karl Rove’s “October Surprise?”

Probably not. Though as Ropera noted, it eviscerates a Democratic Party “talking point.”

I think there will be a series of “surprises” aimed at specific Senate and House races. But I could be wrong.

However, if the Democrats choose to be paranoid about the death of bin Laden as the result of the “evil hand of Karl Rove,” I’m inclined to let them stew in their own fear.

georgej on September 23, 2006 at 4:48 PM

At this point, Osama’s status is irrelevant. Osama is irrelevant. We came, we saw, we kicked some serious Taleban ass, and I, for one, am glad the mutt lived to see it. For all his gloating and boasting about smashing the Satan America, he has failed. Big time failed. That he has been alive to have his beak of a nose rubbed in it is a good thing.

Sure, the vengeful side of me would love to see the bastard frog-marched into the town square, put on display in shackles for the populace to point and laugh at, hauled off to the gallows and left to swing in the breeze as the ravens pick clean his eye sockets. But that won’t bring back the innocents he killed.

Once dead, he’s dead. His minions continue to run around ululating and Akbaring as they plot their next attack on the West. The leadership void is easily filled and not much changes. They continue to plot and plan the Islamic takeover of the world.

I wish I could say all I know here. There is more, lots more, to this than a bunch of Islamic fanatics pushing their ideology of hate on the world. Keep asking questions … someone already started down the right road … WHY would Osama mount an attack on the US like that? He surely must have known the outcome of that would not be good for him and his “cause” … he is not a stupid man. So WHY?

Hints: “We” knew of this as far back as the late 60s. It does not directly involve any government or state. It has nothing to do with oil. “Useful idiots” will have a whole new meaning. If Bush I had not been hamstrung by the Saudis in going after Saddam in Gulf I, we would not be having this discussion.

Keep digging. It’s there, and I know ya’ll will find it.

LissaKay on September 23, 2006 at 4:59 PM

OK, I’ll admit that lots of people much smarter, with more information and better connections than I completely disagree with what follows:

But this report notwithstanding (Excellent summary BTW, AP) I still believe that Osama is not sick, not recently dead, but has been dead for at least a couple of years.

If he isn’t a grease spot and a pile of dessicated bones in the bottom of a collapsed cave in Tora Bora, he died of kidney failure a couple of years ago.

If he IS still alive it is because Chirac (or maybe hugo chavez, now that I think of it) has him living in his basement with a full time medical staff.

I’m fully prepared to look like a fool (even moreso than usual) ;-) should he actually, verifiably, appear somewhere alive or as a very recent corpse.

But since I have, for years, seen or heard absolutely NO IRREFUTABLE evidence that he is alive , I am going to assume he is long dead.

He’s not pinin’for the fijords; He’s passed on! This terrorist scumbag is no more! He has ceased to be! He’s expired and gone to meet his Maker! He is a LATE terrorist. He’s a stiff. Bereft of life, he rests in hell. He’s pushing up the daisies! He’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! He is an ex-terrorist!, he is a ‘good terrorist. He is gone and nearly forgotten…..

/monty python

LegendHasIt on September 23, 2006 at 5:13 PM

Oh, by the way… I’m hoping that the October Surprise is going to be absolute proof of Saddams WMDs.

Either that or lots of indictments of politicians, bureaucrats and media people for Treason and /or Sedition

LegendHasIt on September 23, 2006 at 5:19 PM

That would be good in my eyes,LegendHasit, but how many moonbats would still vote for an incarcerated politician?

bbz123 on September 23, 2006 at 5:55 PM

Would that have been his funeral in Afghanistan with the Taliban all gathered about…..the one we didn’t bomb?

doingwhatican on September 23, 2006 at 6:43 PM

I am with LegendHasIt. I think he has been dead for 2 or 3 years. If he died as a result of US inflicted injuries, we will never know. AQ would never give us the satisfaction of believing our forces killed him. If he is not dead, it won’t be the first time I’ve been wrong, but I believe he is worm food.

bopbottle on September 23, 2006 at 7:03 PM

I suspect Osama had plastic surgery in Yemen and is now living comfortably and anonymously in Rotterdam, guiding the jihad from a cybercafe.

(He’s really only about 6 feet tall, not the 6’4″-6’8″ he has been mytholigzed up to, so keep your eyes peeled…)

profitsbeard on September 23, 2006 at 7:08 PM

Nobody else in the comments seems to have brought this point up, so I guess it is up to me to air it.

I question the timing.

And you know I’m not the only one who “thinks” like this.

Anyone been to DU or KOS to see what they think/feel?

EFG on September 23, 2006 at 7:51 PM

I want the last human voice he hears to be that of an American with a N.Y. accent, saying “Does it hurt when I step HERE?”

… and a female voice at that.

Doesn’t matter… the only voices he hears are his own screams in hell… I too agree he’s been dead for years.

hindmost on September 23, 2006 at 10:33 PM

Another helping of bagged spinach for AQ ! OBL was known to love spinach…hehehhehe.

Danilo on September 23, 2006 at 11:58 PM

Not only do both think Osama’s alive, they’ve each heard very recent reports that he’s crossed over from Pakistan into eastern Afghanistan.

From Waziristan?

DannoJyd on September 24, 2006 at 12:13 AM

Seriously, Allahpundit, let’s keep on saying that OBL died of typhoid that one of his aides pratically poisoned him with dirty water and deny him or al Qaeda any chance of enjoying his martyrdom.

BTW, is the DU in mourning now about OBL?

Kokonut on September 24, 2006 at 12:23 AM

the NYT has become so marginalized who gives a flying crapola what they write. Bastards ought to be taken out of ‘circulation’.

auspatriotman on September 24, 2006 at 12:55 AM

I’m agnostic on the subject, but if I HAD to bet, I’d think I’d put my shekels on him being the LATE OBL.

the-gunslinger on September 24, 2006 at 1:03 AM

Dirty water in Pakistan?? You’re kidding, right??

gary on September 24, 2006 at 7:55 AM

Does anyone know if typhoid is a painful, agonizing death?

(Oh please, oh please, oh please…)

Corky on September 24, 2006 at 9:58 AM

I don’t think we need to worry about OBL’s death. He’ll eventually die and then he gets to spend eternity in hell. What’s a few years give or take on this side of existence.

As to Rove’s October surprise: I think it’s just psy-ops agains the democrats (Vichy-Americans). Republicans are already getting momentum going coming into November due to a number of reasons. One awful thing for democrats is that September 11th comes after the primaries and before the general election, serving as a reminder that the stakes couldn’t be higher in our war against radical islam.

Mojave Mark on September 24, 2006 at 11:32 AM

Typhoid is called the dirty hand disease spread by consuming feces contaminated materials.

A certain culture reserves the left hand for handling hygiene, and the right hand for eating. This same culture likes to cut off the right hand of a thief to punish him, forcing the thief to use one hand for both purposes.

Good thinking.

Who would know if Osama is really dead? They all look like Osama to me. With a tradition of first cousin marriages, I am not sure a DNA test would give unique results.

entagor on September 24, 2006 at 11:40 AM


I hope there’s not enough left to swab…

profitsbeard on September 24, 2006 at 3:26 PM

Hey Mohave, “Vichy-Americans” haha, good one! I used that expression with a few of my lib friends and they had no idea what I was even talkin’ about. Libs have no knowledge of history at all but I’ve come to expect such excellence from HotAir Posters. Good job Mark!

Tony737 on September 24, 2006 at 5:07 PM

A certain culture reserves the left hand for handling hygiene, and the right hand for eating. This same culture likes to cut off the right hand of a thief to punish him, forcing the thief to use one hand for both purposes.


I agree with earlier posters – I think OBL has been dead for awhile and that’s why we haven’t seen video of him such a long time. Not that it matters anyway…the islamofascist jihad now has forward motion without OBL behind the wheel. it’s going to happen regardless.

pullingmyhairout on September 24, 2006 at 10:19 PM

My opinion based on zero facts but my cumulative experience in Dearbornistan is Osama is still eating Pita with his buds.

The reason is the high strung emotional level of izzystan folk. If he was condensed into a grease spot, the izzies would generate an emotional emote that would jump person to person like a lightening bolt. These folk are not good at all at controlling anger.

They were not even good at concealing the 911 plot like a guy insisting he doesn’t want to learn to land airplanes – just crash them? We are equally good at not listening to their open threats.

The Dearbornistan community is way too content right now. So content I assume they are waiting for Little Boy II to drop.

If Osama died way back at some point of high hysteria and mass confusion, his death could have been off the izzystan radar. In that case he becomes an media manipulated legend. After he hits 110 years old people will begin to suspect he is really not alive.

entagor on September 25, 2006 at 4:05 PM