Capture of UbL: The USG's Denying It- Might Make it True- What If?

Could this be true? What if it is?

It’d sure be great timing for the Plamegated, plausible-deniability-lovin Bush Admin.

TEHRAN Feb. 28 (Mehr news Agency) – An informed source told the Iranian radio today that Osama bin Laden has been captured in Pakistan.

We’ve been seeing rumors to that effect here in India too. If true, hurray! But if true, why would anybody want to keep it hidden? Why would anybody think they could keep it hidden?

I’m waiting for more solid data.

A) That would be putting a lot of faith in the accuracy of ‘Iranian state radio’.

B) If they did get the little bastard, it would make sense that they would enthusiastically question him for a while, and have a chance to covertly act on any information they glean. Grabbing him and immediately trumpeting the fact would certainly lessen the value of any intelligence we get out of him.

If this is the case, then I could see his capture being kept secret for a month or two. More than that would be a bit gratuitous, IMO. But the decision to go public should be strongly influenced by the CIA/Brit Intel/other concerned and involved bodies. Going public for the sake of going public would be pissing away a great deal of the intel we get, and just wouldn’t be worth it.

Well, maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but the big Super Tuesday elections are coming up, and a report of a captured Osama bin Laden on that day would theoretically get Bush in the news on a day when Democrats are supposed to dominate it. Further, if Osama bin Laden were captured on a Friday, that’s the worst day to release a news item. More people pay closer attention to the news on Mondays and fewer on weekends. That’s why the administration likes to bury big news that might have political blowback on Friday afternoons: it minimizes its impact. Holding bin Laden a few days, from Friday to Tuesday morning, wouldn’t make that much of a difference, and it would maximize the benefit Bush could derive from it.

Sure, I’m cynical about Bush, but this does make sense to me. At the very least: there’s a reason why someone would want to bury the story for the time being. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they’d keep him in the hoosegow until the week before Election Day, but a few days’ detention for short-term political gain wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

If Bush were to use this as a political move, he’d be nuts to blow his wad on Super Tues. Better to srping the news about 4 wks before the general election in Nov. But then, keeping it secret that long might be, shall we say, problematical…

The news rumors, especially about excursions into Pakistan, sure validate that a bigger push is being made to capture ObL. But I don’t see any evidence to indicate that he’s already in custody.

The report I read on Yahoo News said that Tehran radio reported him having been captured “a long time ago.” If it’s true, it’s not a matter of them holding off for a few days. I hope it’s true but I don’t believe it.


Does anyone know why Iran would want to float this rumor?

The only think I can think of is to make things harder for the US justify making military incursions into Pakistan. But even then, I don’t see how effective that would be in slowing the incursions.

<hijack> In other news, the Bush Administration has 4 million high paying jobs that require minimal skills waiting to be filled. These jobs will be announced on Labor Day.</hijack>

No answers, just WAGs, of course.

  1. They actually believe it. The get an English translation of a Pakistani report and translate it into Farsi, send it through an underqualified editor,add it to an earlier report by a guy speaking Urdu and BANG! you got a story. Add that to general cynicism about the U.S. among the power structure in that country and you’ve even got a good story.

  2. It’ll be easier to make up conspiracy theories after we get him or kill him. Say we kill him and a new tape doesn’t come out for months and months. Iraq news can say “as we reported last winter…” as part of their “he’s still alive” conspiracies.

More wacky WAGs would be things like 3) they’ve got him, 4) they have knowledge of his death and are just screwing with us, etc.

My personal theory is 1), which they’ll translate into 2) if and when appropriate.

[Tinfoil hat]

I say the plan was to announce the capture right around the time of the Democratic National Convention.

(Though the leaks could force an earlier announcement.)

[/Tinfoil hat]

Did I imagine it, or did Rumsfeld state recently that ObL will be captured? If I heard that report right, it sure seems like more evidence in support of the Iran story. Wherefore the certainty, unless ObL has already been captured?

Rumsfeld did say this.
Another possible reason for the statements of ceratinty could be just bravado.

I have little faith in the original report; I have even less faith in the conspiracy theories being touted here.

But I’m prepared to be surprised.

  1. The US hasn’t the people on the ground where OBL is likely to be,

  2. US intelligence in the ME is heavily technology-reliant and weak on human sourced info’: the wrong mix to catch OBL

  3. OBL has been very ill for a while & wouldn’t be taken alive.

My guesses:

  1. Someone else caught him (most unlikely)

  2. He’s died of natural causes - My intuition goes this way.

  3. Sensing the PR value in him never been taken, a colleague has finished him off.

If ObL is captured he will be captured with the help of Pakistani agents or troops… Iran has “acess” to info from these agents and troops and would be the first to find out about the capture of ObL… though of course they would be the first to hear about the capture of another big guy wrongly attributed to be ObL as well.

Is there any reason for Bush not to keep ObL hidden away until right before the election as make himself the great warrior king figure ?

If they have any brains, they don’t really want to take ObL alive. Do that, and eventually they will have to try him. Where? Here, of course, nobody else would be willing to host such a dangerous affair.

The ultimate result would be to martyr ObL at the hands of the infidel USA. Not good.

Anybody else reminded of the “October Surprise” that helped get Reagan and George HW Bush elected?

You young’uns do a Google search of “october surprise” iran if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Iran’s political pendulum just swung back 200 years in last week’s elections. They’re also walking funny from the probing they went through for nukes. Maybe they’re looking for a way to get out from under President Bush’s Axis-of-Evil microscope. They will be looking for a diversion if the political climate with students gets any worse (and it will).

OBL will become a martyr regardless but I agree that he won’t be take alive. Pakistan wouldn’t survive the civil war that would immediately explode if he is caught by them and turned over.

A civil war in a nuclear-armed Pakistan. Grim.