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The Therapy Sessions
Friday, May 16, 2003
A reader from thoughtcrimes and I have been e-mailing each other for the past few days. He has been nice enough to write detailed replies to my questions. My responses to him require time and I have decided to put them here:

He wrote:

Actually, the tapes of bin-Laden have been "authenticated" by the CIA and he was making reference to contemporary topics which would indicate he was alive as recently as a few weeks ago.

I’m just not convinced by AUDIOtapes.

And I don’t think the Arab world is either. Huge things are happening in the Arab world and there is plenty for Al Qaeda to be angry about. Nothing is more important right now than a picture of Bin Laden in front of the latest issue of the International Herald Tribune.

We know it. He (provided he’s not dead) knows it too.

He may in disguise, dressed as woman, say, in Indonesia.

I doubt this because his image is the most potent thing Al Qaeda possesses and he has plenty of friends and places to hide – bearded, white-robed, preaching hate (quietly).

I’m not all that convinced by the CIA’s “evidence.” The CIA – as is well known – is not bound by its commitment to truth. Disinformation in the name of national security is their whole modus operandi.

I not passing judgment on them – I think their job is necessary. But this is just a fact.

They may not consider it in the national interest to declare Bin Laden dead. The nation would breathe a huge sigh of relief, declare the war on terrorism won and the national security issue would take a backseat to some other silliness – national health care, maybe. Such loss of focus would be dangerous, because the idea of Bin Laden is more important than the man himself.

In addition, by insisting that Bin Laden is alive, both the CIA and Al Qaeda insure that no successor can be named. It also confuses matters inside Al Qaeda too: awaiting contact from the leader – who everybody seems to know is alive – many terrorist cells may be dying on the vine. Or better yet, when the cells try to contact Bin Laden, they make themselves visible to the CIA.

And I also remember that an independent Swiss lab analyzed the Bin Laden tapes and declared that they were obvious fakes.

Some of these things are conspiracy theories, but I make no apologies. But I also find it amazingly humorous that people who usually doubt everything the CIA says take this story at face value.

I’m not saying that Bin Laden or Hussein are dead (neither of us knows this answer). Their actions – notably their non-actions – are consistent with death. And these are all we have to go on, because if either one of them is dead, it will be a secret.

I remain skeptical, and the minute photographic evidence emerges, I’ll admit my error.

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