Monday, May 2, 2011

No body home

First thing I heard on the radio today is that Osama Bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan by US forces.  Checking it out later I saw in the NYT that the "Body is Buried at Sea".

The CIA did this disappearing act with Che Guevara--hide the body so there would be no shrine potential....come to think of it, that's why the Russians burned Hitler's corspe, no?

In 1997 Guevera's remains were found, exhumed and transferred to Cuba where they lie in a mausoleum and monument.  Even his hands.  Hmm?  These had been hacked off and sent back to his native Argentina to be preserved in formaldehyde but were later sent to Cuba.  Odd, eh?  Ten years prior, 1987, Argentine leader Juan Peron's tomb was desecrated and his hands cut off with an electric saw.  An investigation into the matter was inconclusive and some involved in it died under "questionable circumstances".  Wikipedia states that "In their book Unveiling the Enigma, writers Damian Nabot and David Cox write that the P2, also known as the Propaganda Due, were involved in the theft, and that there was a ritual involved in the cutting of Peron's hands".

CIA National Security Archive, 1967.
Che has in fact become exactly the folk saint the authorities who hid his body feared: 
"It's like he is alive and with us, like a friend. He is kind of like a Virgin Mary for us. We say, 'Che, help us with our work or with this planting,' and it always goes well."
— Manuel Cortez, a campesino who resides next to the schoolhouse where Guevara was executed.
I find it significant his body was displayed in a laundry, as if to clean Che from collective memory before hiding him away.  But hey, there's nothing like a missing body or empty tomb to base a religion upon....

But I'm getting away from Bin Laden.  I must admit, so quickly disposing of his body raises alarms bells in my prone-to-be-skeptical brain.  I'm not saying there's something, er, fishy going on, but you can bet half the internet will.  Seems like a perfect psy-op to me.  Without any thorough independent examination of a body hastily disposed of, there will always be suspicions that this was like the second Oswald.  This was the biggest manhunt in US history, the capture ten years in coming and now there is no body.  Doesn't seem like standard police procedure to me.
I remember that Saddam Hussein employed body doubles to throw off would-be assassins.  Some have argued that it was in fact on of these hapless doppelgangers who was hanged in Baghdad....

You see, the seed already has tentative roots.  Won't be so hard for some clever dick to make it blossom.  From the comments on my Facebook homepage, that process is already well underway.  All I can say is, if you want to start a folk legend, kill the outlaw.  If you want to canonize him, hide the body....


  1. Holy smokes. I had just rubbed the sleep out of my eyes when I saw that they pulled OBL out of the deep freezer. A quick scan of the newsreader had him "buried at sea."

    Man, all those years studying history seems to have had an effect. I thought immediately of Che Guevara's death and how Felix Rodriguez his Bolivian hit squad trotted out his smiling corpse at the first opportunity.

    Think of it. Some poor bastard had to hump Che's dead ass down a mountainside so they could get the pictures, and he was small potatoes compared to the most wanted terrorist mass murderer ever. But for him, we take a Polaroid and bury him at sea. Not likely.

    All I can say is that the quality of the black propaganda has diminished over the years.

  2. Yeah, after only 12 hours so as to respect Muslim traditions. Trouble is, burial at sea is usually reserved for those who have died at sea and cannot be brought back before they start to decay.

    Which makes the official explanation suspect at best....and I take absolutely no pleasure in that. I really wish this made sense.

  3. it's bullshit, OBL died ten years ago in 2001:

    a pic of OBL can be found on this page, last known pic shows nearly totally grey facial hair, bad skin - ten years ago:

    and maybe here:

  4. I'd like to see some better photographs. The one in the post may be a screen shot from a TV report--I saw it on a TV in another version somewhere online--it could be a distortion produced a capturing an image from TV, an image whhich may not have been the best to begin with.

    I'm reserving judgement until I've seen more, or better processed what I've already read.

    The phot, the burial at's almost as if it were designed to sew doubt.

  5. Good link:

    According to the article:

    Under Islamic law, people can only be buried at sea if they died there, or if there is a risk their body will be exhumed or dug up if buried in the ground.

  6. I've been discussing this and the alleged Osama photo--a hoax--on my FACEBOOK PAGE

    My take is that this was a true hoax and not a failed piece of US propaganda. The photo may have been around for years....

  7. I don't doubt that they got him. But the celebration and gloating, the dancing on his grave disturbs me. I don't really care about what happens to guys like bin Laden, or Hussein, or what fait await Gaddafi. They deserve whatever they get. But I don't ever feel like celebrating when someone is killed. It's not a cause for joy. No matter what they did with the body, people would question it. But what I really want to know is, what were bin Ladens grades in college?

  8. Jon, I just saw an intro to an article from a Washington Post/Pew poll:

    "Americans “relieved,” “proud” and “happy” about death of mastermind behind Sept. 11."

    I feel none of these things. I feel slightly hopeful that this will curtail "some" acts of terrorism, but I doubt it. Still, when I heard the news on the way to take my children to day care, I actually said "Good" to myself, albeit a bit grimly and without a feeling of elation.

    Anyway, the idea of celebration and gloating, while understandable, is distasteful to me. Like the death penalty; I oppose it, but I don't really shed a tear for those who get it. And I certainly recoil from those who celebrate it.

    Not necessarily against vengeance. If someone raped and killed one of my children I might kill the perpetrator with my bare hands. Hope I never find out if I would, obviously. But handing the power to the state to kill a man gives me shivers. But I agree Bin Laden got what he deserved. And again, it's a joyless "victory".

    And yeah, whatever they did with the body, there would be questions; pretty much the point of this post. Full disclosure: I'm not saying this is a fabricated event, but I must admit to being confused as to what I believe. But that's the next post!

  9. Pablo (oui, moi)says: Well, a ghost, finally, he has'nt got a body. Neither in his lifetime or after his death...

  10. Merci Pablo! Operation: Phantom Menace.

  11. He's hiding out with Elvis and Rasputin no doubt.

  12. I wonder if his feet will wash up in Canada?

  13. BTW, I bought the *Unveiling the Enigma* book mentioned above and never finished it. I was greatly disappointed by it. It could have been a great and revealing look into Argentine society, the archetypal significance, even if unintentional, of severed hands. Or many other things that might surprise and intrigue. But as journalism and history it fails. It reads like a bad detective story, so annoyingly "omniscient" it simply seems false, sensationalist, cheap.


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