October 31, 2004


Nick e-mails to remind me of my crazy bet:

If bin Laden is proved to be alive at this point, I'll take out a year-long subscription to the SMH. Hey -- I'll also take Paul [McGeough] out to lunch at the restaurant of his choice. He can bring Margo [Kingston] with him!

A deal's a deal. The subscription will be taken out on Monday, and invitations will shortly be on their way to Margo and Paul. Hope they like McDonald's ...

Posted by Tim Blair at October 31, 2004 04:00 AM

Convincing Margo to come could be difficult; I suggest you show your generosity and tell her you'll pay for the super-size option.

Posted by: Scott Campbell aka Blithering Bunny at October 31, 2004 at 04:27 AM

McDonalds!?! Save your money, man. Buy them an 18-hour old hot dog at the nearest gas station.

Posted by: Patrick Banks at October 31, 2004 at 04:30 AM

Margo and Paul would make a lovely couple. It's a wonder they haven't fallen into each other's arms already.

Posted by: biggus dickus at October 31, 2004 at 04:35 AM


Before you pay off, check: is there an Arabic-only version of the tape where you can match the sounds to OBL's lips & see if he really did speak what he is supposed to have spoken?

I haven't seen one yet; has anyone?

Posted by: localharbor at October 31, 2004 at 04:37 AM

I also remain unconvinced that the tape represents a currently-breathing Osama. I still think that the real Bin Laden has Bin Laid Out for quite some time now.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 31, 2004 at 04:38 AM

The Sand Goblin in Chief looked pretty libvely to me, Andrea. By of stout heart. Now we can catch and do a proper job of killing him.

Posted by: biggus dickus at October 31, 2004 at 04:42 AM

tim, you said that would buy a subscription to the SMH. That's fine, don't be a welcher.

But when you fill out the form, have it delivered to a convenient landfill.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 31, 2004 at 05:06 AM

[You are still not allowed to comment. The Management.]

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 31, 2004 at 05:21 AM

[You are still not allowed to comment. The Management.]

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 31, 2004 at 05:22 AM

How do you know that teh tape isn't 3 years old?
I think he should prove to you that he's alive by say, showing us a mugshot...

Posted by: Joe N. at October 31, 2004 at 05:29 AM

I see freezer burn.

Posted by: Fred Boness at October 31, 2004 at 05:32 AM

Joe, as much as I'd love to believe the tape is three years old, the reference to Michael Moore/ DNC talking points pretty much rules out that possibility. My guess he made the tape around the time "F911" was raking in the box office $$ (late June/ early July of this year). Which, technically speaking, means he could be dead NOW, but he wasn't during a long period of time that many people (including myself) thought he was.

Posted by: Sean at October 31, 2004 at 05:50 AM


But we only have a translator's voice by which to confirm what was said. There is also a faint voice in the background that is supposed to be OBL, but how can we tell?

That's why I'd first like to see the original Arabic version of the tape in order to match OBL's sounds to his lip movements. Is this, or is this not, an old tape of OBL dubbed with a faint OBL voice from an imitator, dutifully translated?

Posted by: localharbor at October 31, 2004 at 05:56 AM

[Listen you dickhead, if you don't want every single comment either deleted or changed to "I have a homosexual crush on Osama Bin Laden" then your next comment will be a personal apology to me and everyone else you insulted in this post. Until then, expect to have all your comments trashed and all your IPs banned. If I have to shut down the comments again to keep you from posting here I will do it. This is not your fucking playground and I have no patience with babies. The Management.]

Posted by: Steve at the pub at October 31, 2004 at 06:15 AM

Hope they like McDonald's ...

A high roller, indeed... :-)

Posted by: Roger Bournival at October 31, 2004 at 06:15 AM

"evariste" a regular commenter at LGF and native Arabic-speaker has viewed the Arabic version at al-Jazeera and is convinced it's genuine. Binny coming out of hibernation to campaign for John Kerry and parroting Michael Moore seemed really phony to me, too, but I respect evariste's opinion.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at October 31, 2004 at 06:16 AM

Do they serve expensive wine at McDonald's in Australia? Just make sure it's a long lunch.

Posted by: Polly at October 31, 2004 at 06:57 AM

I hear Mcdonalds have opened a few restaraunts in the courtyards of police stations in Iraq. Perhaps Allawi is free to make up the foursome?

Posted by: gubbaboy at October 31, 2004 at 08:29 AM

You may have to subscribe to SMH but you didn't promise to actually read it did you? In penance, I think you better make an equal donation to some truly worthy cause, just to ease your conscience.

Posted by: Retread at October 31, 2004 at 08:35 AM

I thought Margo always tried to avoid meeting you.

And if you do get the SMH, don't worry, its soft and absorbent.

Posted by: Quentin George at October 31, 2004 at 08:46 AM

ack! cant you donate the sub money to a charity instead?

Posted by: roceo at October 31, 2004 at 08:47 AM

Andrea - are you saying this is "Weekend at Osama's?" Rent or buy at Blockbuster?

Posted by: BlogDog at October 31, 2004 at 09:21 AM

This video proves nothing until it's been expertly analysed, and not by anonymous 'Govt sources' whoever the hell that is, the same ones who 'authenticate' every other 'new' tape. I want to see every dubious aspect of this tape explained before I'll accept anything.

Come on people.
Some healthy skepticism please!
There's just too much credulity all around right now, people graps at straws,
I find this lapse into public whimsy truly scary, the sign of civilizational collapse.

Posted by: Bruce at October 31, 2004 at 09:55 AM

maybe you could get puppy . then it will actually have a purpose

Posted by: ken the ex-canuck at October 31, 2004 at 10:26 AM

I myself have a subscription to the Sydney Morning Herald, but I’d give it up tomorrow to live in a world without terrorism.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at October 31, 2004 at 10:54 AM

Tim If the tape checks out, you must indeed subscribe. But have it sent to Kerry so he'll have something to read in all his free time...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at October 31, 2004 at 11:28 AM

Change of subject from CBS

Iraqi police say body that of Japan's Koda

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - Iraqi police say the headless body found in a Baghdad field Saturday is that of 24-year-old Japanese tourist Shosei Koda, who was kidnapped by a group linked to al-Qaeda.

The body is that of an Asian man with long black hair who was wearing jeans, a beige shirt and black underwear, said policeman Yassin Hashiman. The victim's hands and legs were bound.

"I am the one who examined the body and I confirm that he is the Japanese person who appeared on television and was threatened to be beheaded," said Hashiman.

Posted by: Evelin at October 31, 2004 at 11:42 AM

I'm a bit sceptical too. Whay are all of these tapes such crap quality? Even the cheapest of shitty domestic video cameras still has a pretty decent quality these days. This mob seems to specialise in super 8 or something similar. Why is it that each tape has to go through such rigmarole to be authenticated? Smells fishy to me!

Osama, slip down to Harvey Norman and get yourself a cheap camera, oh, and a light & tripod while you're there. Then sit close enough to the f***king thing so that we can CLEARLY see your face and CLEARLY hear your words. A cheap condensor mic will work. Then teach Achmed the camera man how to FOCUS. Most modern cameras have an auto-focus now so even Achmed stands a chance.

Sloppy play boys! I'm not totally convinced.

Posted by: Gibbo at October 31, 2004 at 11:47 AM

I'm willing to believe it's really him. The REALLY important thing to think about the new OBL tape is what he is saying: "OMG, please stop punching me" as opposed to "You will all die in atomic fire, God willing".

If he's trying to get us to leave him alone, or if the Al-Q boys pulling his corpse strings are, that means we're winning. And it's time to keep fighting, not to back off.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 31, 2004 at 12:24 PM

Just read the original post from Steve - I have met dozens of Americans without leaving Australia - there are plenty of Americans in Sydney. My daughter has just spent 4 years working in Europe - she also met plenty of Americans (some could even speak other languages than English!).

It leads me to wonder exactly which countries Steve has visited.

Posted by: dee at October 31, 2004 at 01:10 PM

First the Hitler diaries now the Osama revival tapes. How about an Osama Idol contest, Internet based?

Categories :-

Most convincing dub of a real Osama video
Best look alike of Osama
Best Script
Best Costume Design
Best Film Editing
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Makeup
Best Animated Short
Best Sound
Best Sound Effects Editing
Best Visual Effects

Posted by: Yoo Hoo at October 31, 2004 at 01:17 PM

So is this video quality thing the equivalent of CBS typing a memo in Word 73?

And BTW, they found an editorial Kerry's father wrote during WWII...

"Third Army Relieves Bastogne Hitler Not Found. FDR deceives American people."

Posted by: richard mcenroe at October 31, 2004 at 01:39 PM

Superb timing as the deadline for the animated short film submissions for the Oscars
is November 1

Posted by: Yoo Hoo at October 31, 2004 at 01:41 PM

Beheaded body identified
From correspondents in Tokyo
October 31, 2004

THE Japanese Government had confirmed that a head and body found in Baghdad were the remains of Japanese hostage Shosei Koda, public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News reported today.

Mr Koda, 24, was threatened with beheading by Islamic militants in a video released on the Internet last week if Japan did not withdraw its troops from Iraq within 48 hours. Japan refused the demand.

The decapitated body was found near Haifa Street in a notorious area in the centre of the capital, said colonel Adnan Abdul Rahman, a spokesman for the Iraqi interior ministry.

Iraqi officials said the head and body were found wrapped in a US flag. The hands and feet of the corpse had been tied and there were two bullet wounds, a police officer said.

Posted by: Yoo Hoo at October 31, 2004 at 01:52 PM

Osama with Acute on Chronic kidney disease would, if alive, look nothing like this dummy- His main medication would consist of of large doses of steroids, which after several years leave ones physical appearance quite altered, added to which living rough in the Whereeverstan could hardly be conducive to improving his prognosis.
He required regular dialysis, blood and urine testing not readily available in Tora Bora nor the specialist dietry needs to be met with this illness.
Come to think of it, John Kerry, + an expert and skilled makeup artist,a latex nose and false beard copied from Saddams a clever bit of lip synch, ala Michael Moore productions and voila JFK/OBL

Posted by: Rose at October 31, 2004 at 01:55 PM

Osama alive?

hmm, amazing what one can do with technology too, so until reporters on the ground actually speak and show visual data, it remains possible that this could be a well crafted video production.

Crikeys if George Lucas can update the Star Wars trilogy by putting in the image of the current Aniken Skywalker in the closing scenes of The Return of the Jedi, then this Osama video, on the face of it, could be a fabrication.

Posted by: Louis Hissink at October 31, 2004 at 02:28 PM

Open letter to everyone that still wants to believe Osama's dead:

Yeah, the video COULD be a fabrication. And I COULD be a fancy unicorn, but let's don't all cling so hard to the hope that Osama is dead that we lose any ability to accept evidence to the contrary. Our spooks have always said that Osama was alive despite the reasonable conclusion tim and others made that OBL was probably dead on account of his mysterious silence (and his illness). I sure thought he was a goner myself.

But the past years of silence were never proof that Osama was dead, just an absence of any evidence that he was alive. Now that the evidence pops up, we can't dismiss it just because we really, really, really, really like the thought of Osama being dead. Don't be so obtuse that you end up looking like a retard the day a teary-eyed Osama gets dragged out of a spiderhole, because it would be a real bummer to have egg on your face on that happy day.

As Spiny Norman noted above, the Arabic version looks genuine and matches the translation. It MAY be an imposter, it MAY be a fake video, but the fact that he didn't make as many videos as we would have expected him to all these years is no longer compelling evidence that he is dead.

It's not the end of the world. The scumbag's been so far underground that he's not been able to put anything out until now and all he can squirt out is a plea for a hunda so he can try to replace all those brave young jihadis who are getting wasted everyday. Despite how the left likes to pretend that GWB's smirk is Osama's greatest recruitment device, it obviously isn't good enough for the bearded rat to keep up his shouty belligerence.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 31, 2004 at 03:30 PM

Waddyamean, hope he likes Mcdonalds? You said it was McGeorgh's choice. Take him up on it. He knows of a place where they serve tender eye fillet and the finest wines for 50 cents a serve. Oh yes, it exists, because five people whom he can't name told him that someone they know has been there. So stick that in your revolver and shoot it.

Posted by: slatts at October 31, 2004 at 03:50 PM

Hey Tim,
Don't be so upset by your subscription - I subscribe to The Age so I don't have to give them so much money!

Posted by: SezaGeoff at October 31, 2004 at 03:50 PM

Bearded rat.

LOL! What bothers me most is how much he resembles this guy.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at October 31, 2004 at 03:54 PM

Hmmm. An ill, dialysis-dependant guy with a scratchy video camera, a dusty old AK, and some nervous-looking body-guards. Rides a donkey from cave to cave.

For four years, he's been RIDING A DONKEY, FROM CAVE TO CAVE...

Why not let's blow him up now? Or maybe throw his skinny, wormy arse in jail? Is that asking too fucking much?

Posted by: Endgame at October 31, 2004 at 03:55 PM

oh look! chris 'cock gobbler' sheils has turned up!! SSSHHH!! SSHHH!!! everybody wisten carefully now!! this man is vewwy vewwy smart! he's a lecturewa at a Edumacational Institute! Wisten and wearn you ignorant Howered Voters!

Posted by: rosceo at October 31, 2004 at 04:06 PM

oh look! chris 'cock gobbler' sheils has turned up!! SSSHHH!! SSHHH!!! everybody wisten carefully now!! this man is vewwy vewwy smart! he's a lecturewa at a Edumacational Institute! Wisten and wearn you ignorant Howered Voters!

Posted by: Woscoe at October 31, 2004 at 04:07 PM

Slatts and Chris Sheil misinterpret my "hope they like McDonald's" line. To explain: I hope dear Margo and Paul like McDonald's ... because then they'll select McDonald's instead of somewhere requiring a bank loan.

Speaking of predictions, Chris, congratulations on your accurate calls throughout the entire election campaign. My next prediction: Chris will double his earnings in 2005 by selling ad space on the water balloon he uses for a head.

Posted by: tim at October 31, 2004 at 04:09 PM

Don't be upset Tim. Senator Meg Lees has signalled a willingness to cooperate on new media ownership laws. Before long Kerry Packer could own the Sydney Morning Herald and you could be writing groovy NASCAR stories on page three! It won't feel so bad to have a subscription then! Make sure you bring that up over lunch, and take along a digital camera so we can all see Margo's face.

Posted by: Stan at October 31, 2004 at 04:11 PM

I have a 20 year old video camera that has been living in the shed for at least ten years.
I sprayed it for spiders, hooked up a DC power source, and STILL took a better quality video than the Bin Liner opus.

I am not convinced that's the real Bin Man.

I'd want better proof than that dodgy video before splashing out on McGeogh and the Margoyle's McHappy meals.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at October 31, 2004 at 04:23 PM

And predictably, here comes Moby Rambo to sneakily make the DNC talking point that "Hey, why hasn't this guy been caught yet?" I'd hazard a guess that, um, he's not actually been riding a donkey around from cave to cave in plain sight, but thanks for playing!

Don't spend those Soros Dollars all in one place, Endgame.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 31, 2004 at 04:25 PM

oh look! chris 'rock spider' sheils has crawled out from under his errr, spider rock! my advice to chris is to (1) throw your hard drive into lake burley griffin before the feds get to you and (2) un-ban me from your site. i hate that dissent crushing thing...

Posted by: roscoe at October 31, 2004 at 04:29 PM

slatts is right timbo. No getting out of it with maccas ol' bean. Paul's choice! Isn't this fun! What's your next prediction tim? Ho! Ho! Ho!

Posted by: cs at October 31, 2004 at 04:29 PM

So what if the bin Laden video is a fake? He's saying exactly what bin Laden would say if he was alive -- the same as his mate, Michael Moore, says.

In other words, it's fake but accurate.

Silliness aside, if this dinner ever occurs, why not make it a group occasion? RWDBs and Margolians at the same table, suitably lubricated, could be fun.

Posted by: EvilPundit at October 31, 2004 at 04:40 PM

You can't welsh on your bet, Tim, but the skeptics are right. I watched that clip of OBL at the podium before a s**t-brown backdrop years ago in Paris. Also, US media constantly replay a clip of OBL & Al-Zawahiri picking their way along a rocky mountain path. That, too, I watched on Antenne 2 avec mes amis. It looks like French tv is feeding old clips from their archives to Al-Jazz. The CIA's "authentication" is just one more of their nasty tricks. But don't bet on it!

Posted by: John Van Laer at October 31, 2004 at 04:42 PM

"DNC talking point"

I know I promised Andrea that I wouldn't respond to Sortelli's insults, but this is getting annoying. Every time I comment, he's got something rude to say about it. And it's never interesting, funny or even correct.

I'm not happy that Osama Bin-Loogie is still alive. It has nothing to do with politics. He is my enemy, and yours too Sortelli. If you are not concerned about that, then I suggest that it is off to the DNC for you. I'm sure your nuanced version of kumbayah will bring tears to their eyes.

Posted by: Endgame at October 31, 2004 at 05:04 PM

Heres a must see movie to take Margo and Paul to after McDonalds

Posted by: dawn w at October 31, 2004 at 05:23 PM

The poor focussing and generally low quality don't necessarily mean that the video is fake. It might simply mean that it was directed by Michael Moore, and it was his screen adaptation of "My Pet Goat".

Posted by: Clem Snide at October 31, 2004 at 06:04 PM

slatts is right timbo. No getting out of it with maccas ol' bean. Paul's choice! Isn't this fun! What's your next prediction tim? Ho! Ho! Ho!

Speaking of bad predictions, that dumb ol' Tim predicted Latham to win! Boy, I bet Tim's pretty annoyed at that one, too!

Speaking of predictions of Latham winning, that's just like another dead-wood member of the bedwetters' society the blogosphere calls 'the left'. Fuck me if i can remember his name though!

Posted by: Anonymous at October 31, 2004 at 07:33 PM

Very smart of you. You know Margo and Paul wouldn't be seen dead in a symbol of American capitalism. There's as much chance seeing Philip Adams eating Maccas as there is of these two galahs joining you. Margo will not be happy Tim.

Posted by: Anthony at October 31, 2004 at 08:45 PM

I speak Arabic and unfortunately it does seem genuine. I really believed the mofo was in an unmarked grave by now.

Posted by: Crusader at October 31, 2004 at 09:10 PM

Remember we've only got a transcript of 5 mins of the 18-min tape (OBL's on for 14 mins or so of it). there's good reasons for not publishing all of it, especially in the original Arabic : OBL uses Stenography (ie hidden messages in his videos) to give out co-ordinated attack orders. With a bit of luck, we'll know the code, the words won't all have been transmitted, and we'll catch the buggers as they're preparing their Election Surprise.

I too *thought* that *probably* OBL was cactus, but the post I'd authored on the subject was scheduled for posting no earlier than Nov 3rd. I figured that he absolutely, positively had to do something before the US election, and if he didn't, he was toast.

I'm sure Bush and co thought the same - but weren't about to be suckered (sorry, Tim) into claiming the scalp before absolute proof was obtained.

Now for the important stuff : who's going to win on November 2nd? After some considerable thought, my bet's on Vinnie Roe, by a nose.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at October 31, 2004 at 09:28 PM

Senator Meg Lees has signalled a willingness to cooperate on new media ownership laws.

That's only because she's less than a year away from becoming legislatively irrelevant. Funny how dickheads like Lees (or substitute any non-Coalition member of the present or future senate for 'Lees') become a lot more pliant when the electorate gives them the arse?

Posted by: Anonymous at October 31, 2004 at 10:30 PM

The New York Post has gleaned a few more details of the parts of the tape that weren't broadcast. Seems Osama is complaining that the US has hurt his group.

Posted by: EvilPundit at November 1, 2004 at 02:49 AM

If you'd done your homework, Tory trollop, you'd know that the two have not spoken since McGoo tricked Kingston in order to get the dirt on Cheryl Kernot and her schoolkid fling. The Sydney Boring Herald sent McGoo to Canberra to do the hatchet job on Cheryl. He did, then got promoted to editor. It's on the public record.

Posted by: Canberra Man at November 1, 2004 at 02:16 PM

I don't know about Steve at the Pub. It sounds as though he could use a few more drinks (if one assumes he is not the angry kind of drunk). I live in Switzerland now and have lived in the United States. I am Australian born though. I've met heaps of Americans in my travels and don't have any particular gripes about them.

I can tell you for sure that manners and civility are appreciated in Switzerland. Most of the Americans I have seen here seem to understand this but I would wonder if Steve at the Pub would?

I don't quite understand why Steve at the Pub gets hot under the collar because people mention their home state or town before mentioning the United States. That seems like quite a trivial aspect. For someone who has travelled a lot, Steve at the Pub does not seem to have developed a broad mind. That is strange and it is a pity because most people think that is one of the best aspects of travel. Living and working in another country is also great and from my experience in the United States, I can assure you, the Americans are just fine. Like the Swiss they are just sometimes misunderstood when people rely on cliches.

Oh and McDonalds in Switzerland has beer.

Posted by: Harry Heidelberg at November 1, 2004 at 09:21 PM