There are conspiracy theories and then there are conspiracy theories. There are those who believe that Aliens were found in a crashed spacecraft at Roswell in 1947 and the truth was hidden by US government or that humans are the result of a breeding program engineered by a group giant reptiles called Anunnaki from the Draco constellation as proposed by David Icke. Then there are conspiracy theories which arise out of hard facts and a reasonable interpretation of human behaviour and experience. Two of the latter have been in the news in he recent weeks: the furore over Barack Obama’s missing birth certificate and the alleged murder of Osama bin Laden.
In the case of Obama he refused to perform the simple and reasonable act of producing a full birth certificate to prove he was born in the USA for more than three years. Had he done so when it first became an issue during the 2008 Democratic Primaries it would in all probability have killed the issue. (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53563.html). Instead he chose to issue only an abbreviated version which was a computer generated document produced in 2008. The consequence of this tardiness is that Obama still has a poblem, namely, doubters are asking why has it taken so long for him to produce the certificate if it is genuine. It makes no political sense for him to have let the matter rumble on for three years.
The idea, frenetically pressed by both Obama and his political and media supporters, that asking a candidate for the Presidency to prove they are qualified to stand is wrong or absurd is peculiar to say the least. Indeed, if the US constitution is taken seriously, all candidates should as a matter of course prove their qualification because the Constitution states that “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President” (Article II section 1). In the case of Obama, the fact that one parent was a foreign national gives such a request greater force because of the increased possibility that he might have been born abroad. bearing in mind that presidential candidates make their medical history available to the public – a much more intimate set of data – it is difficult to see why any candidate should object to producing a birth certificate which if it shows the candidate is a” natural born citizen” at worst might reveal that they are illegitimate, something which is scarcely a scandal to most Americans these days. However, in Obama’s case it is part of a pattern because he has been obsessive in keeping secret documentation of his life such as his educational records and his records as state senator in Illinois. (http://www.projectworldawareness.com/2009/07/obama-is-shielding/). The record he did have to produce – details of his medical history – was minimal running to a single page. This secrecy suggests that Obama is paranoid about reality clashing with his own version of his life and person in his books “Dreams from my father” and “The Audacity of Hope”. He probably has good grounds for his fear because much of his depiction of himself has been shown to be fantasy, for example, his inflation of the importance of his first job after graduating and his practice of presenting vast tracks of dialogue as reality when they are clearly invention because, as far as is known, he has not kept a journal at any point of his life. (Those wanting a detailed examination of Obama’s tendencies to fantasy can find my The character of Barack Obama in his own words on the American Renaissance website (http://www.amren.com/mtnews) . The article is in three parts. Just put my name or the title of the article into the search facility). The argument has been put forward that Obama did not release the full birth certificate for a long time because he was worried that it would provide a lever for demands that he release the rest of his unreleased records. This is nonsense. There is no constitutional requirement for a candidate to do anything other than prove they are a “natural born citizen”. Hence, the only document which by implication is constitutionally required is a birth certificate.
It has been claimed that there is no explicit provision for such a check in the Constitution and consequently no authority or procedure to make such a check. . The answer to that is simple, the Supreme Court adjudicates on whether the provisions of the Constitution have been breached. They are by implication the body to make the adjudication on presidential constitutional qualification. That both the Supreme Court has not intervened on their own initiative or accepted any challenge as having no standing and every lower court which has been faced with a request to force Obama to prove his eligibility has also rejected it on the grounds of lack of standing is distinctly disturbing for how can any US citizen fail to have standing in the matter of whether the President is legitimately qualified? (Having standing in US courts means having a direct interest in and/or being directly affected by the substance of the suit) .
Apologists for Obama have suggested that the delay in releasing the full birth certificate was an act of Machiavellian genius to allow the birthers to become ever more demanding before deflating them by producing the document . I do not buy this, not least because Machiavellian plots rarely succeed. I cannot see what Obama would gain from delaying the document’s release. Those who think the birther claims are nonsense will not change their minds: the rest of the population will at best continue to wonder why he did not put the latter to bed before now and at worst suspect the document is a forgery. Not only that, but the birther claims started while he was running for president, a time when they could have done him real damage. If Obama did not have a cast iron reason for releasing the full certificate after his election he certainly had one during the primaries and election campaign.
The full certificate Obama has produced will not convince many of the birthers simply because of the delay. It is also worth asking why he has not produced the original birth certificate issued to his parents. However, there is a more general problem. With digital technology it would be very easy to forge such a document. The certificate would need to be subjected to forensic analysis of inks, paper, the handwriting (to see it is compatible with the person who supposedly filled in and signed the form) and so on. (See http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/obama-us-citizenship-and-the-presidency/). Even a forensic test would not be absolutely conclusive because it is reasonable to presume that it would be possible to replicate ink types or use a blank certificate which has survived since the right period or to “wash” another person’s certificate of their details and impose Obama’s details on the cleansed certificate. An example of the sort of manipulation which can be done is at http://rightnetwork.com/posts/obama-birth-certificate-a-fake. However, a forensic test would probably catch any forgery because forgers tend to forget some details which give them away.
That brings us to the alleged murder of Bin Laden. I say alleged not because there is any doubt about the crime of murder if the reports from the US government are true, but because there has to be a question mark over whether Bin Laden has in fact been killed. More on the question of whether Osama was killed later. First let us look at the oddities in the US government’s story.
It is very strange indeed that the body would supposedly have been disposed of so soon and deliberately placed where it could not be recovered. If the Pakistanis knew nothing about the raid, then the only people to have seen the body would have been American. If they did know about the raid, the Pakistani government and security service would have a very good
political reason not to admit they knew anything because they cannot afford for both domestic and political reasons . As for releasing a photograph of the alleged body that would prove nothing because these can easily be forged . An example is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/02/osama-bin-laden-photo-fake. It is also dubious whether a photograph of someone suffering a massive would to the face is likely to be convincing. Nor is there an undisputed photograph or video of Obama since 2001. The appearance of a man, especially a sick ageing one, can change dramatically in ten years. No one has a clue of how he looked in 2011. What the US could do but almost certainly will not do is release the video of the attack including the killing of the claimed Bin Laden. The claimed DNA evidence would prove nothing because there would be no means of verifying it. Media reports say that the near match was with one of Bin Laden’s sisters. It would be interesting to know if she was a full or half sister of Bin Laden (Bin Laden senior had over 50 children by various wives). If the latter, a match would be less conclusive.
The American government has described the assault on the compound as resulting in “a fierce firefight”. Yet they also claim that no American involved in the attack was wounded in the slightest let alone killed. Those two statements sit uneasily together. How exactly does a “fierce firefight” occur with one side not suffering any injuries? Nor are there reports of large numbers of casualties on the other side, most of which occurred it seems when the Navy Seals shot unarmed people.
The initial description of Bin Laden’s death from Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan painted bin Laden as a coward using women as a human shield : “From a visual perspective, here is bin Laden … living in this million dollar-plus compound … hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield. I think it really just speaks to just how false his narrative has been over the years.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8489236/John-Brennan-In-Quotes.html). The US government has since admitted that no women were used as a human shield. As there was a live feed to the CIA and the White House of the raid itself plus debriefing of those who took part in the raid, it is difficult to see how the mistake could have been made. Why did the story change? Perhaps it was because there is a filmed record of the raid which shows the original claim was false and the propensity for computer files to be leaked these days persuaded the White House that they could not afford to continue the lie for fear of this file going AWOL.
Brennan also claimed that “If we had the opportunity to take him [Bin Laden] alive, we would have done that.” The US government has since admitted that Obama was not armed, yet they claimed that he had to killed because he was “resisting”. Let’s examine that claim. We are told on the one hand that the Navy Seals who undertook the raid are the cream of the cream of elite special forces. Are we to believe that such men found it necessary to shoot dead an unarmed Bin Laden, a man in his fifties who is seriously ill and frail? There is also, as in the case of the claim of the use of a woman as a human shield, no plausible reason why it should have been claimed initially that Bin Laden was armed.
Brennan also speculated that “It’s inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a support system in the country that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time. I am not going to speculate about what type of support he might have had on an official basis inside of Pakistan.“ This is a fair point, but an equally telling one, perhaps more telling, is why the US military would not have identified the compound as being worthy of suspicion simply on the grounds of its size and nature. They have ample satellite surveillance and even if they did not have reason to suspect that Bin Laden was there, they should have been curious enough about it to make enquiries.
The other things which remain unclarified are three: (1) how did the Navy Seals leave the compound; (2) why did the local Pakistani military not respond to the attack and (3) what has happened to the surviving members of then Bin Laden family who were allegedly living with Bin Laden. The Seals arrived in two helicopters and left in one because of the claimed malfunction of one helicopter which rendered it useless and led to its destruction by the Seals. It would be interesting to know how many Seals were employed in total and what the lifting and carrying capacity of a single helicopter was . If a single helicopter could not evacuate all of the Seals then we need to know how they got away. The failure of the local Pakistani military to respond to the attack despite the town crawling with army personnel and having forty minutes to respond is peculiar at best and indicative of collusion between the US and Pakistani authorities at worst. Interestingly, there are reports which say the local residents close to the compound were asked to turn off their lights an hour before the attack. As for the alleged surviving members of Bin Laden’s family, it will be interesting to see what happens to them.
Those are the oddities. How about the question of whether it was Bin Laden who was killed? Reports of his death date back ten years, for example, Fox news carried a report in December 2001 claiming Bin Laden was dead. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,41576,00.html). The last undisputed Bin Laden video dates from 2001. Since then there have only been two videos in which purport to show Bin Laden talking. The last was in 2007. The authenticity of both these videos is disputed. The other tapes have provided audio only. (A good account of these and the Bin Laden story since 911 can be found in the 2010 BBC programme Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive . This is posted on YouTube in six parts and parts 2 and 3 are the most useful for the videos in which Bin Laden is purportedly seen speaking. Go to the url below and you will find all six parts on the page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLmG9mOxLn4&feature=related. )
It is also striking that there has been no claimed definite sighting of Bin Laden since 2001 until now despite the fact that his is a face which has been plastered all over the mainstream media and Internet in still photographs and videos and the $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or death offered by the USA. The fact that it is now claimed that Bin Laden was living for a substantial period in a garrison town only 60 miles from the Pakistani capital makes the failure to inform to claim the reward even more extraordinary if the story is true. It also stretches credulity that the Pakistani authorities at some level would not have known he was there .
If Bin Laden was not killed why the raid? Here’s a scenario for you. The US carried out the raid, thought they had Bin Laden, took the body away and then found to their dismay it was not him. They then got rid of the evidence. That would leave them open to Bin Laden putting out another video but it would be impossible for the man to absolutely prove he was still alive without exposing himself to capture or killing. There is also a decent probability that he died some time ago.
Here’s a second scenario. The whole thing was a charade. Bin laden was already dead, perhaps a long time ago, and the US knew it. They staged the attack to provide a distraction from
the failure in Afghanistan, the disaster of Iraq and the new involvement in Libya and potentially the rest of North Africa and the Middle East. In addition, the claimed death of Bin aden brought down the psychological curtain on the USA’s original prime reason for attacking Afghanistan and provided a possible springboard to extract the USA from Afghanistan on the basis that it was “mission accomplished”.
As to the immediate political value of the raid, Brennan rather gave the show away with “It was probably one of the most anxiety-filled periods of time in the lives of the people asembled here. The minutes passed like days….The president had to evaluate the strength of that information, and then made what I believe was one of the most gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory….I think the accomplishment that very brave personnel from the United States government were able to realise yesterday is a defining moment in the war against al-Qaeda, the war on terrorism, by decapitating the head of the snake known as al-Qaida.” That is propaganda not a rational analysis of what the raid had achieved.
Whatever the truth of Obama’s delay in producing his full birth certificate and the alleged killing of Bin Laden , there is a fact about them which cannot be denied: in both instances the powers-that-be in US politics have given ample grounds for rational scepticism. Examining official versions of events for contradictions and unanswered questions does not mean you are away with the fairies. Blindly accepting the official version is the real bending of reality; accepting the official version while knowing it is questionable is worse than naïve, it is sinister.