The Bin Laden Document Dump
As MadDog noted, there is a big Bin Laden document dump today. Here is what appears to be the main 205 page pdf file released so far this morning. The first seven pages give a decent overview, lead off by this introduction paragraph:
This document provides a general description of the 17 declassified documents captured in the Abbottabad raid and released to the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). For additional context please see the documents themselves and/or the CTC’s report “Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Ladin Sidelined?” released in conjunction with this summary.
The “Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Ladin Sidelined?” is here.
I have not yet had a chance to look at these, so please feel free to dissect them and discuss them, with your analysis, in comments. Also, if more documents are released that I do not have up, drop a link into comments so that I see it and can add it into the main post.
Here is a very nice report and overview of the dump by our friend Spencer Ackerman at Wired.
Also, not necessarily exactly based on these same documents, Gareth Porter has a nice longform piece over at Jason’s joint, Truthout. The title is Finding Bin Laden: The Truth Behind the Official Story, and it makes a somewhat interesting juxtaposition to all the hype that has been being pitched by the Administration the last few days.
So, and I am not joking, Osama was a Keith Olbermann fan. See pdf page 14
“In practical terms, Bin Ladin wanted the memorandum to include broad guidelines concerning both the global military activities of the jihadis and their media releases. The two, he believed, should go hand in hand, so that “we do not violate our words with some of our practices.”40 ”
The cultural tradition of ‘tribe’s both hobbled, and facilitated their operations because ‘cells’ served to make their activity more opaque, while suffering from a lack of any centralized leadership, and the global coordination UBL sought.
Their tribalism is carved deeply in the genetic memory, and that will continue to hamper their effectiveness.
As I read some of the OBL missives, I began to ponder the intentions of the US government behind the release.
A couple thoughts spring to mind:
1) Based on the minute amount of released material (17 documents) compared to the US government’s claim of a vast treasure trove acquired from OBL’s Abbottabad Pakistan residence, we are seeing just what the US government wants us to see.
2) In conjunction with point 1, the narrative that the US government seems to be marketing is that of an out-of-touch reclusive madman with an exaggerated opinion of his own self-importance imagining he commanded the forces behind the Arab Spring and the uncritical admiration of the millions of Muslims of the Nation of Islam.
I don’t think it is too far-fetched to say that the US government deliberately selected these specific 17 documents to spin their own propaganda.
3) The target audiences that the US government seeks are varied. From Western “terrorism experts” opining on the demise of OBL and al Qaeda, to media outlets worldwide who will reliably repeat these opinions, to the al Qaeda remnants and “associated forces” and to wannabee jihadists worldwide, they are all target audiences who the US government would like to take away the message that all is lost and the best thing to do is to call it quits.
I don’t necessarily believe that will reception in some quarters, but I do plainly see an attempt by the US government to demoralize the “faithful” and spin a narrative of losers losing badly.
@MadDog: Good points all. There is no doubt really that the U.S. Government has become one arm of the propaganda machine of the plutocracy. Can’t trust or rely on any information from our Government without independent verification; a sad state of affairs for our sad State.
How do we know that these documents are authentic? Is the government saying anything about that?
@MadDog: An additional thought on the Bin Laden document dump:
Note that the very first of the 17 documents (SOCOM-2012-0000003 and page 9 in EW’s consolidated PDF) details some of OBL’s thoughts regarding Anwar al-Awlaki’s role in the al Qaeda hierarchy.
I highlight this inclusion of Awlaki in the very first document to suggest a theory that the US government deliberately chose this particular document as its first offering to publicly buttress their case for the assassination of Awlaki by implicating him as one of OBL’s BFFs in OBL’s own communications.
Minor detail in one of the documents regarding hostages.
The document is said to be dated 26 April 2011 – the author refers to a French ‘woman’ hostage. Assuming the reference is to the French hostages in Niger abducted in September 2010, the ‘woman’ was Francoise Larribe the wife of one of the French workers – she was released February 24, 2011. Her plight was well-known as she had cancer and needed medications. By April 26, 2011, the author should have known she was already free.
This disclosure actually leaves me with a better opinion of Bin Ladin than I had previously. Usually al-Qaida and similar organizations are portrayed as using modernist doctrines of necessity to justify violation of Orthodox Sunni jurisprudence. The disclosure shows that Bin Ladin was unhappy with killings of non-combatant Muslims and also displayed Orthodox Sunni concerns about upholding treaty obligations with foreign nations. He was concerned with ending these violations, not with justifying them through some legal wrangling.
When all this war on terror business is finally over in the Middle East where are we going to be left in this country in terms of civil liberties, privacy, etc.? Are some of the things we used to take for granted lost forever?