back to article What treasures will the US really find on bin Laden's hard disk?

Computers and digital media seized from alleged al Qaeda supporters in Britain, Iraq and other hotspots in the war on terror have generally not provided forward intelligence enabling governments to prevent and deter new attacks. Hopes maybe high that the fruits of last weekend's assault on bin Laden's HQ's will yield an …

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OBL arrives in Paradise

OBL: Allah, I have died a martyr's death - where are my 72 virgins?

Allah: I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that, due to the increase in suicide bombings and a worldwide shortage of virgins, I'm afraid we're out of stock.

OBL: And the good news?

Allah: Here are your 72 vegans.

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Mind you

no one has ever said the virgins have to be female, and the evidence seems to suggest that the alternative might be just as acceptable.

One also assumes female suicide bombers are on the same deal, so the male virgin pool might be larger.

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Alternatives?

Are non-human virgins acceptable too?

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It's a mistranslation

A more learned punchline would be Allah telling bin Laden that "houris" was a mis-translation between Syriac and Arabic, and then giving him his 72 sultanas (sweet dried grapes)

Oddly, sultana / sultanah is almost the same mistake in English!

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Anonymous Coward

the CIA is getting to work

Joke if you must. But, the stuff collected could be quite invaluable.

It took almost 10 years to nail this guy down. And there is no telling just how valuable his personal papers and computer files might be.

Most of the time information may not appear to be valuable to you or I. But, when it collaborates other information it can be a gold seal. Even the lack of information can be meaningful as well.

The CIA and others have been looking for this dude for a long time. And he remained elusive simply due to the lack of information.

If I were a friend of this dude and heard about the raid, I'd be packing. No need to wait around for the helos. Even if I were not the next guy on the list.

This raid can be a lot more disruptive than you may first think. Who knows what the guy collected? Who knows what the CIA now actually has in its possession?

The CIA is not going to tell us much. But, if you want to live free of terrorism, you better hope they collected a lot of good intel.

Jokes aside, your life may depend upon it. His did.

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@AC 17:19

"if you want to live free of terrorism"

::looks around office::

::peers out windows::

::looks into darkroom::

::looks under sofa::

::looks inside gun safe::

::checks the dog crates::

::peers down spiral staircase to bedroom::

Nope. No terrorists. Not one. And here's the kicker ... THERE NEVER WILL BE, EITHER! And this is true for the vast majority of the Western world. This whole thing reminds me of the "reds under the bed" scare, with the Bushes being neo-McCarthy ... and the energy race standing in for the arms race. The .gov is scaring the general public with the boogyman, which is the true weapon of mass distrAction ... Open your eyes, people. You are being had.

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Anonymous Coward

@Jake

We've been through this before - last time a story like this came up, you insisted that there aren't any terrorists, let me remind you:

The UK any time from the 1970s to the 90s (pIRA)

The UK in the 80s and 90s and a little 00s (ALF, small, but still terrifying to those targeted)

9/11

7/7

Bali

Madrid

The Una (uni?) bomber

The federal building in Texas (I can't remember where it was. tbh)

Not to mention the tens of thousands of the "wrong sort" of Muslim that Al Quada killed.

These are just off the top of my head.

You may be going far in the opposite direction of the scare-mongerers to prove a point, but it's just as unhelpful as their point. There are terrorists, not /that/ many, but they are capable of terrible things.

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@AC 11:35

"We've been through this before - last time a story like this came up, you insisted that there aren't any terrorists,"

Well, *I'VE* never felt terrified ... Never been worried about being hit by meteors, either. And no, before, you ask, I don't play the Lottery ... because I can do math(s).

"let me remind you:"

My memory works, thanks :-)

"The UK any time from the 1970s to the 90s (pIRA)"

I lived in the UK for several, probably ten, of those years. I never felt terrified, despite the tabloids and the rest of the press (hi, Auntie Beeb!) trying to tell me how worried I should feel ...

"The UK in the 80s and 90s and a little 00s (ALF, small, but still terrifying to those targeted)"

Small groups of nutters targeting individuals are bullys, not terrorists.

"9/11"

One-off. A homicidal maniac managed to convince a few nut-jobs to do his dirty-work. It'll never happen again.

"7/7"

One-off, home-grown religious loonies.

"Bali"

Both seem to be completely random, and home-grown ...

"Madrid"

Probably home-grown political dissidents.

"The Una (uni?) bomber"

American born, educated perp.

"The federal building in Texas (I can't remember where it was. tbh)"

Oklahoma. Perp was a Gulf war decorated veteran, Catholic, Republican.

"Not to mention the tens of thousands of the "wrong sort" of Muslim that Al Quada killed."

See: "Crusades".

"These are just off the top of my head."

Indeed. They are. And you are tying them together as a cohesive whole, as if they were all connected in some way. Exactly the way the .gov wants you to view them ... But in reality, they are unconnected acts of anti-social lunacy, completely unrelated to each other.

"You may be going far in the opposite direction of the scare-mongerers to prove a point, but it's just as unhelpful as their point."

Why? Do you ENJOY being afraid of shadows?

"There are terrorists,"

Where? Show me the terrorists, already! But you can't, can you? All you can show me is random acts of anti-social, usually xenophobic, religious hatred. This shit has been happening for tens of thousands of years ... It's only now, with the advent of TV, that the .gov has decided to lump all this randomness under one umbrella called "terrorism". Keeps TheGreatUnwashed[tm] happily peeing in their boots , all the while selling bog roll, beer, razor blade & tampon commercials.

"not /that/ many,"

For values approaching "none" ...

"but they are capable of terrible things."

So am I. So are you. But we don't. We're sane. Well, I am, anyway (kinda ... I do tend to tilt at windmills) ... You seem to be slightly delusional, though ...

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Anonymous Coward

@Jake

Your "*I'VE* never felt terrified " so there aren't any terrorists argument is very much like "I've never seen a black swan, therefore there are no black swans" argument.

You then suggest that all the terrorist outrages I listed aren't terrorism becuase they don't meet your personal definition of terrorism because they're either not big enough, or are a one off.

As it happens, I don't wander round being afraid of terroists, I just think that some sensible balance is worth while. There are deomstrably terrorists, there are mercifully few of them, this doesn't mean to say that I'm going to ignore the black bag in the corner that doesn't belong to anyone, but I think that it's probably been forgotten and contains something boring like a laptop.

By the way:

Number of my friends farms burned down by the ALF - 1

Underground trains I nearly got on that were blown up (7/7) - 1

Number of collegues actually on trains blown up - 2

Bombs planted in the station in my town (pIRA) - 1

Number of collegues nearly blown up in 9/11 and Djar El Fnar - 2

So no, not delusional, terrorist outrages happen the trick is not to pretend they happen all the time, or to pretend that they don't happen at all.

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RE: @AC 11:35

".....See: "Crusades"......" As the Pakistanis are pointing out, the Taleban and AQ have killed approximately 35,000 Pakistanis - mainly civillians and almost all Muslims - since the start of the war on terror. I don't suggest you go tell the families of those 35,000 that terrorism doesn't exist, they might be a bit unimpressed. Referring back to the Crusades just demonstrates your lack of reading on the subject.

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@AC & Matt

Clearly, you don't get my point.

Lumping all random nutters under one umbrella known as "terrorism" makes it look like it's a huge, world-wide movement.

It ain't.

It's random nutters, brought into your livingroom by CNN or Auntie Beeb ... and manipulated by your .gov to look like it's all part and parcel of the same movement.

Again, it ain't a single movement. It's random nutters.

The random nutters have ALWAYS existed, and probably always will ... But it's only in the last quarter century (or thereabouts) that the likes of Liberia's internal issues have appeared in your livingroom, in near realtime, making it look like it's happening in your backyard.

But here's a clue: Liberia isn't in your backyard. Or even in your immediate neighborhood. So why are you so emotional about it? Do you enjoy being manipulated by the media & the .gov?

And Matt, do you have any idea how many so-called Christians were killed by so-called Christians during the Crusades? Seriously ... look it up. There is a reason I picked that.

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WTF?

RE: @AC & Matt

"....Lumping all random nutters under one umbrella known as "terrorism" makes it look like it's a huge, world-wide movement....." Bin Liner's biggest threat was that he managed to unify dispersed groups into co-operating, if loosely. He also managed to pull in funds from different sources. Yes, with Bin Liner gone it will be easier to deal with the individual extremist groups as the second tier of jihadi leaders don't look to be as good at the job as Bin Liner. Hopefully.

"....it ain't a single movement. It's random nutters...." Sorry, but you are very, very wrong. Bin Liner managed to bring 35,000-odd foreign extremists to fight for the Taleban in Afghanistan, many of which returned to their home coutries and started spreading the Bin Liner version of reality. As an example, returnees in Algeria were easily recognised and laughed at due to their keeping their Afghan baggy trousers, shirts and trubans, in Algerian cities where the norm was jeans and t-shirts. Shortly after the "moderate Islamists" GIA stopped their rebellion, the hardcore returness formed the GSPC and later called it the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb. Similar groups of returnees linked domestic extremists with AQ in Somalia and Yemen. Large numbers of them were caught or killed in Iraq, where they were funnelled through Syria. Trying to pretend it is just individuals denies the facts. Even in the UK we had groups form (such as the London Tube bombers).

"....brought into your livingroom by CNN or Auntie Beeb...." Whilst refreshing not to hear it's just Fox, I think you're idea of some uber-conspiracy gives far too much credit to the ability of our governments to control the media.

".....And Matt, do you have any idea how many so-called Christians were killed by so-called Christians during the Crusades?...." Which has absolutely nothing to do with the matter in hand.

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Wow. 35,000 uneducated thirld-worlders. I'm impressed. Not.

Your average teen pop-star has several orders of magnitude more fans, and most of those even know how to read & write. If all 35,000 of your dangerous jihadis landed in (for example) San Francisco or Liverpool or Tokyo or Melbourne, armed to the teeth, and determined to fight to the death ... they would all be dead within 24 hours. And if they were spread out over much larger terrain (as is the reality), they would be even less effective. Perspective, Man, perspective.

The London Tube bombers were random homegrown nutters.

Not uber-conspiracy, just reality. All .govs are propaganda machines. Open your eyes.

The recruiting of so-called "Islamics" in order to kill other so-called "Islamics" in countries other than their own is EXACTLY the same thing as what was going on in the Christian camp during the Crusades. Read some history.

Honestly, Matt, do you ENJOY being frightened by shadows? Because from my perspective, it sure seems to be the case ...

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Happy

iPhone

I truly hope he had an iPhone. Then we'll find out where he has been hanging out the last year or so.

:-D

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homophobic extremists surfing for gay pr0n

I don't find it surprising, that for a few this is the case. An inward guilt ridden self hatred directed outward.

Or, as Messrs Curtis and Elton observed so long ago;

"I see three paths.. Kill yourself... Kill Bob... KILL EVERYONE!"

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Oh. I see.

The jihadists are a minor subset of the anonymoustwats? That would explain lots ... Lots of noise, lots of bluster, little RealWorld[tm] action ... and entirely too much press.

Put another way: If you feed the trolls, you get to keep them. Eventually the world will recognize that weapons of mass distrAction are just another form of advertising.

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he'll have

Your symantec AV trial expired 435 days ago

Adobe Flash needs to update

Google/Yahoo/AJ toolbars obscuring half of his browser.

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@ Tom

Don't forget Smiley Central (My Web Search)! lol

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Anonymous Coward

The Anarchist Cookbook

Of course, it's easier just to order The Anarchist Cookbook from Amazon...

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Stop

Will anyone at Amazon be arrested then?

Like this guy was?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-12581757

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Anonymous Coward

So......

Not much useful data. Certainly not enough to get your nikahs in a twist over.

Given the lack of Internet access, at least he won't have to worry about mails offering interesting financial deals or useful erectile dysfunction meds....

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Stop

Apparently AQ have confirmed his death now..

Here's a thought before you celebrate his death...

You wouldn't celebrate the death of a rabid dog would you?

There is no discernable difference between OBL and a rabid dog.

Both were considered dangerous and put down, accept it and move on.

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RE: Apparently AQ have confirmed his death now..

".....You wouldn't celebrate the death of a rabid dog would you?...." I'm guessing you've never seen someone suffering from rabies, or a poor animal suffering from it either. If the rabid dog was trying to kill me or my family I'd be most happy to see it dead. The difference is a dog get's rabies accidentally, it doesn't become a threat to those around it by choice. Bin Liner chose his path, as do those that accept his idiocy and follow his orders. Bin Liner was rich and had plenty of opportunity to help those he deemed "oppressed Muslims" by charitable or political means, but instead he chose violence. To compare him to a rabid dog is to excuse his own violent nature and ideology, and an insult to the dog. Personally, I'm quite happy to hear he's rotting on the seabed.

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FAIL

The operative word was "celebrate"

But if you want to break out the bunting and champers go right ahead.

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Re: Apparently AQ have confirmed his death now..

Well, if the bastard had bitten and killed my friends in New York, then I just might.

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The Operative Word Was Terrorist

I was two miles downwind when the towers came down one after the other. I would have seen it, but I couldn't watch once I saw the real extent of the damage and knew we were minutes from a replay of the events of the Shirtwaist factory.

Exercise for the reader: How hot would it have to get before you jumped from the 76th floor onto concrete? Hot enough that your clothes were fusing to your skin? Hot enough that your skin was peeling from your back like molten plastic? What would you say to your spouse and/or your kids before you did? Cellphones were still working then because the antennae were on the roof of one of the towers. Who ya gonna call?

You want to empathize, try empathizing with the person on the roof of WTC 1 when the outer struts gave way. Hell of a ride, eh?

I breathed the air that stank of rotting meat for two whole weeks of baking weather while the fire in the pit raged, ending only when it finally rained. All the while venal government officials were telling everyone the air was "safe", public celebrations were being held in the Arab nations of the world and domestic Islamic spokesmen were allocating blame to "American Foreign Policy".

There were 2,752 deaths registered as caused by the event, and every street in my part of Long Island (a suburb 40 miles away from the city) has families that lost a member to it. My own brother-in-law escaped only by being delayed by a phone call from departing for his office in the WTC.

And what had these people done to deserve their death? Turned up to work.

Oh yes, I'll celebrate this evil bastard's death. More than that, I hope he died miserably. If it were possible I'd host a dance party on his grave.

The reason Osama Bin Laden is dead is Osama Bin Laden. Had he put his knowledge and vast personal resources to work for the benefit of his people rather than taking the path he did he'd not only be alive today but would have actually done some good.

This is the language he spoke. This is the only way he could be answered.

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The difference between us and them

"public celebrations were being held in the Arab nations of the world"

That SHOULD be it. Supposedly we of the Western world put a high value on human life. That being the case, we shouldn't be celebrating a death, even one such as OBL. The Arab world, as a whole, clearly does NOT value human life, as evidenced by people dancing in the streets 10 years ago. Do you REALLY want to be brought down to that level? I sure as hell don't.

Not that I think he got anything less than what he had coming. I do think it would have been better to put him on trial for his crimes as we did with Hussein (who, after all, had far more blood on his hands than Bin Laden).

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apart from one thing

"public celebrations were being held in the Arab nations"

This is, by the way, a complete fantasy, fabrication and lie. It is also part of the reason why the literal, actual cheering and dancing in the streets of NYC and DC over Bin Laden's death last week was extremely undignified and unbecoming.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactions_to_the_September_11_attacks#Palestinian_celebrations

(PS I was a similar distance from the Pentagon as you were from the WTC on the day of the attacks).

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@Matt

> was rich and had plenty of opportunity to help those he deemed "oppressed Muslims"

Hmmm - all of his once massive personal wealth went into rebuilding Afghanistan post the Russian occupation.....you know, back when he was a US asset heroically fighting off the Goldstein of that moment...

Could argue more, but as usual Chomsky does it rather better:

http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/2652/noam_chomsky_my_reaction_to_os/

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Happy

RE: The operative word was "celebrate"

Upon hearing the news I didn't reach for the champers, but that's because I can't stand champagne. I did pour myself a nice glass of Smirnoff Red to toast the SEAL team, though. And some lads I know that did tours in Afghanistan are lining up a celebratory BBQ, but I suspect that you simply wouldn't know anyone in that involved.

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RE: The difference between us and them

"......I do think it would have been better to put him on trial for his crimes as we did with Hussein...." We didn't put Saddam on trial, the Iraqis did because he committed crimes against Iraqis whilst ruling over them. The US handed him over to the Iraqis because he was caught in Iraq and they had the means to try him. In consequence, the Iraqis had to endure a number of terrorist actions in the run up to his trial from Saddam's followers. We could support the Iraqis in their action as the vast majority of them wanted Saddam tried and punished. Quite a few Pakistanis would not want Bin Liner tried.

Putting Bin Liner on trial would just put more innocents at risk as his fruitcake followers would just try and set him free by killing and/or kidnapping anyone within reach, Muslim or not. Do you think the Pakistanis would want the US to hand over Bin Liner for a trial in Pakistan? It would be a bloodbath, a civil war. He wanted to play at "soldier of Allah", he should have known that in war you don't pause to let the enemy soldier pick up a weapon, if he's not surrendering you can shoot him dead. I think there were orders to shoot to kill, not arrest, and I think it was a smart idea.

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RE: @Matt

I suggest you need to do more than read Chomsky - a lot more!

"......all of his once massive personal wealth went into rebuilding Afghanistan post the Russian occupation....." Bin Liner spent millions on arming the Taleban and building extremist madrasas, not helping "rebuild" Afghanistan. He refused to help anyone that did not follow his extremist views. His whole drive was to cement the Taleban in power, including funding the transfer of 35,000-odd foreign jihadists to Afghanistan to fight for the Taleban. This was a man that thought chilled water was unislamic, do you seriously think he was helping Afghanistan develop a plural and developed society?

As for Chomsky, he just makes whatever wild and whacky comment he thinks will get him the more attention. I suddenly see the appeal that Assnut would have for you.

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Happy

RE: apart from one thing

Unfortunately, I think you'll find sarcasm is wasted on many of the posters here. That and facts seem to bounce right off 'em.

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If only we could find him

...then we could question him.

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Black Helicopters

Kids

"dad may well have provided the kids with shoot-em-ups to prepare them for their future "

I doubt very much OBL wanted his kids to grow up to be suicide bombers, snipers or whatever. Like most similar leaders he'll have wanted them to grow up to be rich, pampered Saudis like he was.

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WTF?

News ?

So that's now three pages in two articles in the last three days saying "We don't actually know anything, but there might not be too much hard intelligence on the hard-drives."

Gee. Colour me surprised. Politicians and military official in mild hyperbole shocker - who'd have thought ?

Can we stop these articles now ?

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Pint

Upvoted

... just because of "colour me surprised" - a delightful idiom which I haven't read in many a long year. Let me buy you a pint.

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Upvote the commentard

.. because I haven't heard the phrase "let me buy a pint" for a long time either.

Yes, I'm not serious. Never was, never will be.

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i1i

Uber Religious popstars? I knew that Cliff Richard was up to no good.

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Joke

Video: Bin Laden Killed While Sitting On Toilet

http://www.theonion.com/articles/osama-bin-laden-killed-while-sitting-on-toilet-nat,20302/

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The best Islamic-friendly indie song that never was?

"join the caravan" (of Jihad) - like it. I can just picture Fatboy Slim on the bass...

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Getting Nikah's in a twist

"Arabic word "nikah", meaning wedding"

That would explain quite a bit considering the habit of dropping ordnance on wedding parties.

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Weddings and AK47s.

Could be something to do with the volleys of bullets being fired off.

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Boffin

nikah = wedding = terrorist act

Jesus, you're right. If the Intelligence community have known for many years that Islamists use "nikah" as a codeword for "attack", then it would would explain many American (alleged) atrocities. It would also contribute to my hypothesis that many of today's problems are attributable to a conflation of the three entirely different meanings of the word "intelligence".

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Happy

RE: Getting Nikah's in a twist

Maybe Ed Milliband has come up with a crafty plan:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-13343050

"Hello, is that CIA Langley?...... Yeah, I - uh - hear there's a nikah going on at the Palace of Westminster. I hear the reception is being held at number 10, SW1A 2AA....... My name? Smith, John Smith."

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So...

Does everyone think he is actually dead then?

I mean surely the smart thing to do would be to take him alive, but tell everyone he is dead (and the body was handily dumped in the sea) so you can torture him for information at your leasure...?

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

No, they wanted him alive, they wanted to put him on trial and show the world, particularly the Muslim jihadist world (a very small world, admittedly) that he was a hateful terrorist who killed more Muslims than he ever did WASPs, all because they had the wrong kind of Islam. They would want to show him being cross-examined and not being able to defend his actions to a level that anyone except the most hateful jihadist could accept.

It's more than likely that he wanted to die by a western, preferably American bullet, rather than slowly going out through old age and ill health.

Also, people who are supposed to be dead have a nasty habit of eventually turning up - especially if you loose the next election... It's also worth noting that Kahlid Sheik Mohammad, the #2 at the time of 9/11 is widely known to be in GTMO.

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Black Helicopters

Following the courier

If we've followed OBL's courier around for 3 years before pouncing, surely we know who his contacts were. If they weren't assassinated on 1 May, they are either doing a runner or shivering in fear.

Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

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