Could the real perpertrators be someone other than Laden?

Right from the first day there has been almost an avalanche of evidence pointing to Bin Laden, training manuals in Arabic, cars with pictures of Bin Laden and an amazingly quick series of arrests.

But wouldn’t the perpetrators have much more serious efforts to cover their tracks? There is no reason to believe that the terrorists want to be traced back, after all no one has claimed responsibility. And surely if they had made serious efforts it would have taken longer to figure out who did it.

From the first day I have been rather skeptical of the speed at which the evidence was uncovered. I wondered if the attack was carried out by a another party , like Iran , for instance while at the same time trying to implicate Bin Laden. This would serve their purpose admirably because they are one party which hates both Laden/Taliban and the US with a passion. Of course this is only an example and I don’t have any particular reason to implicate Iran.

At first I thought that the government by rushing,more or less, to name Osama might be playing a game of double bluff trying to lull the real perpetrators into complacency. Then I realized that from the PR point of view it would be disastrous to switch midway and say that they now believed someone else was responsible.

So I can only conclude that the government really believes that Laden was responsible. Of course I realize that the FBI has a lot of very smart people who would have considered the possibility of a ruse so I would give the benefit of the doubt to the government.

Still it did look a bit fishy to me. What do you think?

There is a group of small minded zealots at who are seriously suggesting that the Bush administration did this as a conspiracy.

I am by no means a fan of a Bush, but this is seriously seriously nuts.

I think it is quite possible that bin laden is something of a front man in this. Reports I have heard indicate that he really is a bit out of touch lately. It is also possible that his organization collaborated with others in the attack. It is worth noting that some of the terrorists seem to be less than devout muslims.

Officials have been quite consistent in not ruling out other parties and I don’t see the embarrassment factor coming into play in deciding not to release information for strategic purposes. This is a very secretive administration by nature.

It is also theoretically possible that the crashes were as a result of pure chance. But, don’t bet the house on it! From a statistical point of view, many things are possible.

Iran’s populace wants closer relations with the US, and their president (even though he’s emasculated) has been pursuing detente with western countries for many years now. So, although possible, it seems illogical. I also doubt the leaders in Iran have the intellectual wherewithal to have years ago initiated positive overtures with the West as a smoke screen for their terrorist plots now.

However, it’s exactly Bin Laden’s “out-of-touchness” (as suggested by Ned) that would lead him to commit an act that probably has mortally wounded his cause.

Now, I believe that Iran’s militant conservatives, in particular their Supreme Ruler and his cronies, are quietly having a field day with this. But, I also believe that they know that they won’t have the support of the people, especially the under 25 crowd, if they start something with the US.

I suspect bin laden gave a group a big bag of cash and said ‘go get the USA’… then for security reasons they decided the targets and method of attack themselves.

This would be one way of foiling the CIA moni, toring etc.

If we get their money ( bin laden ) we can reduce their ability to operate.

Yes, there could be. Do you notice that they always refer to Bin Laden rather than al Qaifa (sp?), his umbrella group. In much the same way, when various Palestinian groups were engaged in terrorist activities, especially in the 70s, blame was always laid on Arafat, even though most of the attacks were from groups hostile to his Fatah movement (thinking here especially of the PFLP-GC). It is so much easier for the media to creating a cardboard villian to villify than to explore any complexity. Then again, they seem to work under the assumption that we can’t digest more than one non-North American name per decade.

There was a report on NPR (National Public Radio) this Friday evening, which said that a European investigation team had traced the terrorist attacks to a small extremist group in Hamburg, Germany, for which no connection to Bin Laden had yet been discovered.

The investigation in the U.S., at least as far as the popular press is concerned, seems to have decided right from the get-go that Bin Laden was responsible, and that the “job” of the investigation team was not to find out who really did it, or to find out if Bin Laden really did it, but to find out that Bin Laden did it. We wanted swift justice, we needed a scapegoat, Bin Laden was notorious for terrorist activities in the past – hey, who needs a thorough investigation when you’ve got a public target that the press will gladly turn into the next Hitler?

It wouldn’t have to be the whole Iranian government but only a the hardline faction which is against any movement towards the US. Or it could just a Shiite terrorist group which has links with Iran.

BTW I did’t want to suggest that it wouldn’t be a good idea to take out Bin Laden regardless of his involvement in this case. I think it’s a good idea to cripple any terrorist organization capable of perpetrating such atrocites and which have shown a willingness to attack the US in the past. Bin Laden definitely belongs in that category regardless of whether he was responsible for this one.

When you are talking about mass terrorism you have to be thinking about pre-emptive strikes not justice after the event. The US can’t be expected to allow every terrorist group to take a punch at it and only then take that group out.

My main worry is rather that by focussing so much on Bin Laden so early the US might perhaps be less aggressive against other parties who may be even more dangerous than Bin Laden.

bagkitty mentions in passing:

As in Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, IIRC?

Weren’t these folks the ones originally reported as having claimed credit for the attack?

What happened with that? Was it later determined that they had not, in fact, claimed credit for the attack, and the call was a hoax? Or was it determined that their leadership might WISH they’d done it but that they lack the capacity and need not be taken seriously?

Oddly, I never heard media retractions / corrections; instead, all conjecture turned to Bin Laden.

The “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine”?

Don’t tell me – they’re bitter enemies of the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Liberation of Palestine People’s Front, the Palestinian People’s Liberation Front, the People’s Front of Judea, and the Judean People’s Front, right? :wink:

Whaddaya expect? The Unpopular Hind-end Contingent for the Liberation of the Palestinian Disinterested?


Sure it’s possible, at least in theory. Why think that only one semi-hermit hiding in the hills can have both the hatred and the resources to do this?

But that’s the only group we’ve been told about - with all the news sources in the world, and all the leaks in all the governments, one might think that any other candidates would be known by now, even with near-complete lack of Western ground intelligence in the area. bagkitty’smention of other radical Palestinian groups doing things that the PLO always got blamed for is well-taken, but the other groups certainly were known to at least exist.

AHunter3 wrote:

Well, I at least expect a terrorist group to have a name that doesn’t sound quite so much like it belongs in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. :wink:

ElvisL1ves wrote:

… except for the terrorist cell in Hamburg.

It certainly was not only one man. You would think this guy was superman in a turban to listen to the average man on the street in his anxiety to kill Osama bin Ladin. One elderly scholar is not the sole force responsible for the hundreds of attacks on targets around the world that the organization for which he is the front man has orchestrated. He is the spin philosopher. He is the political hack. Yes, he is a figurehead of some importance. But he is not the only one responsible for this ghastly act.

The second biggest worry I have is that He will wise up, or even worse actually decide to serve a cause of some sort, and surrender to a neutral third party, and demand a trial. The opportunity for divisive rhetoric is enormous. It will preempt any simple murder plot, since killing him while he is on trial will be an obvious bad step. It will galvanize thousands of hemideminutjobs throughout the Middle East to foment distrust. And if he gets a life term in prison, he becomes a martyr with a voice.

This is not a one-man war, folks. There are quite literally thousands of terrorists in the world. They are not even all Islamic. Actually, quite a number of them are not. And they certainly are not all Afghani. The war against terrorism is going to take decades to fight, and it will only be won in the sense that it will become rare, rather than commonplace. To make terrorism stop, you have to make terrorism not work. You have to stop being manipulated by the violence of zealots. You have to reduce your dependence on pissant autocrats, and quit letting economic expedience decide who your friends are.

The enemies of our country, are not even really enemies of our country. They are the enemies of incumbent factions of political parties in places where a good enemy is the best thing you can have to gain friends. We are just a convenient villain. If you want to increase your support, you claim that your faith is your only loyalty. That way you don’t have to owe any political favors, you just find yourself a narrow-minded hate filled churchman (and here in the US, we know how easy that is.) and give him a microphone, and a couple of million. Now you have a cause. Now you have a bunch of followers willing to believe that they don’t have to think anymore, just follow.

The sad fact is, the herd of drones, and the drooling madman with the book are the only ones anyone is interested in killing. The bagman with the political plans just moves on, after the jihad. Or after the well planned justified application of joint multinational military force as the case may be. This is not a war against Osama bin Ladin, or one terrorist group. If we want to sleep nights, we have decades of war coming up, but very little actual military action. Mostly we need to follow the money, and make terrorism the most expensive choice of all.


“The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” ~ Albert Einstein ~

So you’d prefer to kill him without a trial? Much though I sympathise with what the US has gone through in the last week, I don’t think this will add to the reputation of the US as a fair and just nation which respects the rule of law.

One small curiosity: if, just for arguments sake, OBL was arrested by a european power, would the european human rights laws come into play? What I mean is could he be legally extradited to the US where the death penalty could be used?

Not so long ago, a British guy who murdered a family member in the US fled back to Britain. He was contesting the legality of the extradition order through the (european?) court(s), but I don’t know what came of this.
Sorry for the hijack.

There was much the same kind of “bomb the ragheads” hysteria in the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing - people needing a scapegoat to focus their grief and anger on.

Sadly, as Tris made clear, terrorists exist all over the world - there are probably as many US citizens (I’m thinking of the militia wingnuts etc) who are prepared to engage in terrorist activities to achieve their ends as there are in foreign states.

The situation is similar (perhaps) to the end of the Gulf War - Sadam Hussein was painted as almost the be-all and end-all of the whole situation: “take out Sadam and we win” sort of mentality. Bin Laden occupies much the same position in the current US psyche: “take out bin Laden and we crush world terrorism”.

But the US decided that to assasinate Sadam would do more harm than good (unite the Muslim states, fire up the Iraqi people etc) and I get the feeling they are fearful that the same would happen if they simply shot bin Laden.

Would the American people roll over and submit if George Bush were assasinated? Course not - they’d fight back harder. Surely the same is true of bin Laden and his supporters…?

Or we could use the Hague, possibly…,,2001320007-2001323590,00.html

I would like to point out that Osama bin Ladin is NOT an ‘elderly scholar’, and it is dangerous to think of him that way. He was born in 1957, so is only a year older than me (and I ain’t ‘elderly’ yet!). He is the well-educated and privileged son of an immensely wealthy Saudi family, and supposedly a formally well-trained demolition expert. Before taking up his current ‘trade’, he was employed in the family’s large and very successful construction company as, I believe, a demolition engineer.