While it is the case that the U.S. government has not yet released photos of bin Laden’s body — meaning skepticism is still a healthy exercise — it is another thing entirely to claim you know what REALLY happened.
So with no further ado, we present the 5 dumbest conspiracy theories about bin Laden’s death, or lack thereof.
1. President Obama is actually bin Laden in disguise
Do we really need to explain why this is laughably false? Just watch this video and let the crazy debunk itself.
2. The U.S. had bin Laden’s body frozen since 2001
This strong claim appeared in a headline on Alex Jones’s Infowars.com Monday morning as a statement of fact — but their story had zero evidence to support it. In a lengthy piece, writer Paul Joseph Watson qualifies his very-certain-sounding headline by citing officials who’ve said they believed bin Laden was dead, yet none of whom offered even a scintilla of proof.
For a conspiracy theorist who’s demanding photographs of bin Laden’s body, claiming without proof that he’s been in a U.S. government cryo-freezer for nearly a decade sure seems odd.
3. Bin Laden died in 2001, and also in 2003
Many conspiracy theorists like to cite two false reports about bin Laden’s death: one from Fox News back in 2001 — which was lifted from a Pakistani tabloid — and one from a British tabloid that cites a “French expert” who claimed messages on Internet forums prove bin Laden was killed in Tora Bora in 2003.
Neither of these bears the burden of proof, but the reports were apparently enough to convince some that the Bush administration would not tell the world that they’d killed the most-wanted man on the planet.
4. Pakistan’s army kept bin Laden as a prisoner to help Obama politically
This one comes straight from Taliban sympathizers on the Islamic Awakening forum, who reacted with shock and disdain at last night’s announcement.
It was also pounced upon by some fringe conservatives on the U.S. political forum Free Republic, who added their own paranoid spin to it. One demanded that bin Laden’s body be drug through the streets of New York City for all to see before he’d believe it. “More likely Obama pulled the plug on the search for Bin Laden but wanted to end on a high note,” another replied.
A DNA test on bin Laden’s remains proves otherwise, according to U.S. officials. Additionally, his body was reportedly identified by his wife at the scene, then photographed before being tossed into the sea. That image has yet to be released, presumably for security concerns.
5. It’s all a lie and bin Laden is actually still alive
This claim comes by way of Pakistani television, which cited an unnamed Taliban official. (A different Taliban spokesman wasn’t so sure.) Now it’s being touted by some as proof the terrorist leader is still alive, even though the Taliban has a very strong motive to tell followers that their spiritual leader perseveres.
Meanwhile, on Free Republic, users took the Taliban at their word and placed the burden of more proof on the president. “The commie muzzie usurper in chief had better release photos and videos toot sweet,” one wrote. “WTF with this burial at sea before the body is cold?…Something about this smells.”
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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