A few of you have asked for my thoughts about the recent reports concerning Osama Bin Laden's pdf library. His collection included offerings by Noam Chomsky, Bob Woodward, Greg Palast, Michael Ruppert, William Blum, David Ray Griffin (one of the few 9/11 CD cranks who can write coherently) and Eustace Mullens.
(Ah, Mullens! I could write a long, weird post about that creep. He fancied himself to be the Gore Vidal of the post-war Nazi set.)
also includes Manly Palmer Hall's mystical magnum opus, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
. The original version of this book, published in 1928, was a physically huge and copiously illustrated volume which attempted to discover the core ideas uniting all religious systems. The version sold in bookstores nowadays gives you little idea as to what the author intended.
Interestingly, the first edition included a full-color painting of the prophet Mohammed
, who is treated with great respect by the text. The painting shows Mohammed destroying the idols in Mecca -- which is very strange, since Muslims would consider this very painting
to be a form of idolatry. Nevertheless, I have not heard of any complaints from Muslims about Hall's book. Could that illustration be the reason why Bin Laden took an interest in this work?
One of these days, I really must tell you about my visit to the library at Hall's Philosophical Research Center. A strange place. It had not changed one whit since the days when Sirhan Sirhan studied there.
Forgive me: I have digressed, as is my habit.
The question before us is a simple one: Is this list real, or is it a fiction cobbled together to associate certain authors with the hated Bin Laden? I'm not sure. Frankly, I would have expected Bin Laden's library to consist almost entirely of religious works with Arabic titles -- books that most Americans would consider unfamiliar and uninteresting. True, the library includes In Pursuit of Allah's Pleasure
-- but Bin Laden's copy is an English translation. How likely is that?
There's something unpersuasive about this list. And there is something awfully strange about the timing of its release, so soon after the Hersh article.
Naturally, Fox News is going to town with this list: "Bin Laden's bookshelf stuffed with anti-American, conspiracy works by lefty US authors."
One can only laugh at the spectacle of Fox making derisive use of the term "conspiracy," since Fox rarely goes more than 45 minutes without whipping up a conspiracy theory involving Democrats.
FrontPage offers up an even more striking exercise in hypocrisy: Bin Laden Liked the Same Books as the Leftist Nutjobs Who Defended Him.
(In the alternative universe of the right-wing nutcases, writers on the left defended
Bin Laden. I don't know of any progressive who has done that. I do
know that George Bush let Bin Laden scurry off to safety; for more details, scroll down a couple of posts.)
FrontPage also features a piece titled "The Problem with Jade Helm." In wingnutland, it's perfectly acceptable to dismiss Blum and Chomsky as conspiracy theorists, while simultaneously embracing one of the stupidest conspiracy theories ever concocted.
You may be interested in Phil Giraldi's take
on the death of Bin Laden:
So what do I think is true? I believe that a walk-in Pakistani intelligence officer provided the information on bin Laden and that the Pakistanis were indeed holding him under house arrest, possibly with the connivance of the Saudis. I am not completely convinced that senior Pakistani generals colluded with the U.S. in the attack, though Hersh makes a carefully nuanced case and Obama’s indiscreet comment is suggestive. I do not believe any material of serious intelligence value was collected from the site and I think accounts of the shootout were exaggerated. The burial at sea does indeed appear to be a quickly contrived cover story. And yes, I do think Osama bin Laden is dead.
This sounds reasonable. But what happened to the body? Like Giraldi, I believe that Bin Laden is dead, but my belief is based on little more than a gut reaction. The unnerving truth is that we have no hard evidence.