Osama bin Laden/Talk

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Sorry for removing the picture! Out of habit, I just assumed that it wasn't hosted on our server. Good work to whoever so quickly uploaded the picture. --Larry Sanger

That was Jimbo who deserves the kudos. No harm done in being cautious.  :-) --KQ

Is there is reason why we have this as "Usama Bin Laden" rather than the far more common "Osama Bin Laden"? (Google registers more than 10 times the number of hits with the latter spelling.) I was going to just move it, but I thought maybe I should ask first. --Zundark

The FBI has it "Usama." And yes, "Osama bin Laden" (or "Bin," capped) is far more common. I have not moved it b/c I didn't want to start another silly debate that distracts from writing articles. --KQ
I created the initial entry, and I chose to use the FBI spelling because that's where I got the text for the original article. <>< tbc

Since there are redirects from at least all four (O/U)sama (B/b)in Laden spellings, I think that's enough. --Pinkunicorn
Fair enough. It's all an approximation anyway.  :-)
So, feel free to move it. --LMS

Some muslims I knew claimed that Usama Bin Laden was trained and backed by the CIA in the 80s to fight against the Soviet. Now the US had created a monster out of control. The American public were sheild from this type of information because the media wouldn't publicize it, but it seems to be common knowledge outside the US. Is there any truth to this?

well, it's common knowledge inthe U.S. that we backed the Mujahadeen with training and weapons, so to think that it's an unknown conspiracy is going too far. It was not at all uncommon to see reports on the backing while it was going on. Wasn't it DAn Rather who actually made a field trip? --MichaelTinkler
I heard a very similar statement from some Indians I used to work with. Historically, it is not *at all* uncommon for local fighters trained, armed, backed, and advanced by secret services or elite forces to end up in positions of power where they can cause a good deal of mischief well into the future. The CIA has (allegedly) done this many times in the past, and so it would not be a big surprise if it were true. One might even argue that it is in fact the CIA's mission and purpose to seek out and recruit human agents such as this, even though they actually rely more heavily on technical means of information collection (for good reason, IMHO). If a side effect of having an organization like the CIA working internationally during peacetime is heightened terrorism, might that question whether we should even _have_ active espionage agencies? -- BryceHarrington

Michael Moore (of Roger & Me fame) claims to have heard about bin Laden's CIA training on msnbc. that of course may not be worth much, just my .02 which I have not had time to research since I just got home about 10 minutes ago.

There could be a whole article called U.S. supports gone terribly wrong or something....In the Iraq-Iran war Hussein was the good guy, backed by Washington....--AN (yes, this has not much to do with this, erase it later.....)

From what I saw on Frontline, it sounded like on his return to Saudi Arabia he was not lauded as a hero, but indifference. He did expect to be a hero because he had fought for Islam.

So where should he go under biographical listings? Laden, Osama bin? bin Laden, Osama? Osama bin Laden?

bin Laden, Osama.

Whoa! This article is getting way too far from a neutral point of view. Putting words in "quotes" is a major red flag. Eliminating the "freedom fighter" text, without replacing it with a more neutral term, is messed up. Osama bin Laden is definitely not simply a terrorist; he is also a major political leader. And "freedom fighter" is the term that the US government used when they gave the likes of him money to fight against the Soviet Union. It's a term of art. If you prefer, you could use something like guerilla leader, etc. Which is what I'll add in. Just because the guy is essentially evil doesn't mean we should put in all this inflammatory anti-Taliban rhetoric. We don't need rhetoric. Just describe what they've done. Let the record speak for itself. --The Cunctator

Freedom fighter and guerilla leader are two different things. He politically fought for freedom in Saudi Arabia and militarily fought for freedom in Afganistan, so he's quite solid freedom fighter. --Taw

I still see no indication that he ever fought for freedom. Opposition to the Saud regime does not constitute fighting for freedom, unless one is trying to replace the regime with a rights-respecting government.

Replacing it with more right-replacing one was EXACTLY what he was fighting for. Main right he was interested in: right to oil money for all peoples of Saudi Arabia.

And somebody who fights against foreign occupation usually is caled 'freedom fighter', and that was also the case in both cases.--Taw

Research suggests the term 'freedom fighter' is applied to Osama bin Laden only by those who are sympathetic to his aims. The term therefore violates the neutral point of view rule.

People who are not sympathetic to bin Laden will see his opposition to the Saudi regime as just so much grievance peddling. Distribution of wealth is not freedom fighting. Supporting a religious dictatorship in Afghanistan is not freedom fighting.

I think that if the US government saw fit to call him a freedom fighter than we shouldn't hesitate to use the term. The word terrorist is a more appropriate but doubtless equally loaded term.

Which research ?

Well, I'm sympathetic to fair distribution of resources and fighting against Soviet occupation. But people who are against it are quite a minority I think.

Whether fair distribution of wealth is freedomn fighting or not depends on one's ideology. Many people think they have right to land they live on, and its resources, and taking land from them is restricting their basic freedoms. Osama bin Laden shares this point of view, therefore he's fighting for freedom, at least for his version of freedom.

Afganistan isn't very democratic by western standards, but many people (me and Osama included) think that almost everything is better than communism. Nazis and religious fundamentals included. So he's fighting for freedom here again. --Taw

A discussion of how bin Laden is perceived by different parties would be appropriate for the main article, and a discussion of why some might call him a freedom fighter could go there. But we should not characterize him as such because that is not a neutral characterization.

Just because American TV says otherwise, doesn't mean it's biased. For me situation is very clear, if you think otherwise, please describe 'freedom fighter or not' issue or leave freedom fighter alone. Unfortunatelly I can't describe this issue, as I don't know about opponent's arguments. --Taw

The way to resolve this issue is to just make an entry for freedom fighter. --The Cunctator

I agree with Taw that it is not right to remove the term freedom fighter just because the freedom he fought for is not American freedom. For fighting against a forign occupation qualified him as a freedom fighter, at least relative to his own country. I can also see a problem here after George W. Bush called all the people who fights against bin Laden as freedom fighters too. Don't forget heros and villains are relative terms. Your heros are my villains if we happen to be enemy. If wikipedia is supposed to represent the US point of view than I have no objection to removing the word "freedom fighter" from the article. However, if you want to claim this wikipedia is neutral, you should put it back. Perhaps a statement like "he is viewed as a freedom fighter amongst his own people" is fine with me.

Could somebody investigate which acts did he admit and which did he deny ? --Taw

On 9/12/01 Frontline interviewed Larry C. Johnson, deputy director of the U.S. State Department Office of Counterterrorism from 1989 to 1993, in which he explains "why our perception of Osama bin Laden and his organization may be wrong, what we know about bin Laden's involvement in the 1998 embassy bombings and the 2000 USS Cole attack, and the degree of warnings leading up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the U.S." [1] This would be useful material to integrate into the article. <>< tbc

What Osama bin Laden is, and what some people call him, are two different issues. What he is, is a terrorist, and that is what this article will say. If you want to start another article What Osama bin Laden is called, go ahead. I will have a few things to add to that page - walking pile of pig shit, for example. But the fact that some people (me) call him a walking pile of pig shit has no place in the Osama bin Laden article, which describes what he is (a terrorist) not what some people call him (walking pile of pig shit, freedom-fighter, etc.). - Tim

No he's not.

  • He has never admited being "terrorist".
  • Many people don't think he is.
  • Everyone is innocent unless proven guilty.
  • No evidence that he is one has been ever showed.
  • No court ever found that he is a "terrorist".
  • Word "terrorist" carries more emotion than meaning anyway, and should not be used.

That clearly shows that you can't just say that he's a "terrorist" for sure. Taw

This article could use some reorganization. The stuff about the world trade centers should be before the nairobi bombings I think, as its more topical right now. The fact that he's not considered a terrorist by a lot fo people needs to be extensively addressed. The article is kind of clumsy to read as well. --Alan D