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Browsing in bin Laden’s library II

May 21st, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — following up on Browsing in bin Laden’s library ]
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Marcy Wheeler at Salon reports of the ODNI’s Bin Laden’s Bookshelf (expanded form, .pdf) that “the categorization imposed by ODNI” consists “largely of overlapping categories of English-language materials worthy of a Jorge Luis Borges short story.

Categories include:

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The Borges “short story” referenced here isn’t in fact a short story but an essay, The Analytical Language of John Wilkins, which includes a classification system “which doctor Franz Kuhn attributes to a certain Chinese encyclopaedia entitled ‘Celestial Empire of benevolent Knowledge'”. Borges’ spurious taxonomy divides the animal kingdom into the following categories:

(a) belonging to the emperor,
(b) embalmed,
(c) tame,
(d) sucking pigs,
(e) sirens,
(f) fabulous,
(g) stray dogs,
(h) included in the present classification,
(i) frenzied,
(j) innumerable,
(k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
(l) et cetera,
(m) having just broken the water pitcher,
(n) that from a long way off look like flies.

Nicely observed, Marcy.

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Of particular personal note considering my interest in games:

Under the heading “Documents Probably Used by Other Compound Residents” we find listed:

  • Delta Force Extreme 2 Videogame Guide
  • Game Spot Videogame Guide
  • One wonders (idly) whether ODNI cannot believe OBL would play such games, or whether that classification was arrived at on the basis of the location in the compound where these materials were found.

    And given my interest in religion:

    Under the heading “Think Tank & Other Studies”:

  • Program for the Study of International Organizations (PSIO), “Hizb ut-Tahrir: The Next Al-Qaeda, Really?” by Jean-Francois Mayer (2004)
  • And under the heading “Other religious documents”:

    a treatise on Christianity by one Monqith Ben Mahmoud Assaqar PhD, titled Was Jesus crucified for our atonement? — which opens with the following (presumably post-doctoral) statement of scholarship-to-date:

    Praise to Allah (S.W) , the cherisher and sustainer of the worlds, and may peace and blessings be upon all of His messengers. In our previous parts of this series “True guidance and light series”, we have concluded and confirmed a plain truth, which is that the Holy Bible, as we have seen, is man work, and not the word of Allah (S.W) in any way. Thus, Christians cannot present it as evidence for any of their creeds or events, including the crucifixion and the Atonement.

    FWIW, reading this treatise will likely not have helped OBL in his quest for interfaith understanding.

    Browsing in bin Laden’s library

    May 20th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — always interested in other people’s books, & with a keen eye for eccentric choices ]
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    Steve Jackson Games Illuminati WTC card

    Steve Jackson Games Illuminati WTC card

    **

    Every terrorism library – and every terrorist’s library, too, maybe – should have at least one conspiracist book in it, and Bin Laden’s library apparently had several – I’d likely count America’s “War on Terrorism” by Michel Chossudovsky and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins among them — but I’m impressed he had a copy of Michael Ruppert’s Crossing the Rubicon, my own choice for that category on account of its chapter on games.

    Interesting, too, that he had a copy of the Select Committee on Intelligence report on Project MKULTRA, “the CIA’s program of research in behavioral modification.”

    Way more interesting, though, is his seemingly owning a copy of Manley P Hall’s great opus, The Secret Teachings of All Ages – “An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy: Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings Concealed within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of All Ages” — the date 1928 is given in ODNI’s listing of his English language books, so I’m wondering if he had the same huge, wood-boxed early edition I once had, now retailing for $1,500.

    And then there’s the kicker. Bin Laden apparently had a copy of the article Website claims Steve Jackson game foretold 9/11 — still up on the web — see illustration above.

    That’s just too rich!

    Human ping-pong

    May 18th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron – reports from the twitter-stream — and this is only the game as played at sea ]
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    In more detail:

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    Meanwhile, in the Mediterranean:

    Egypt, ex-professors, death sentences, strange loops

    May 16th, 2015

    [by Charles Cameron — hunh? ]
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    **

    The Mufti must sign the death warrant of the man who appointed him. The professor who worked on authoritarianism in Egypt is sentenced to death by Egyptian authoritarianism. Strange loops indeed, Dr Hofstadter!

    Dr Shahin has responded: Statement by Prof. Emad Shahin on his death sentence:

    In another travesty of justice, an Egyptian court today issued a mass death sentence against more than 120 defendants in two cases known as the “Grand Espionage” and “Prisons Break.” I was falsely charged in the first case and I received the death sentence pending referral to the mufti. I repeat my absolute rejection of the charges against me and note that I am hardly the only victim of injustice in this case. Furthermore, I condemn the sham trials engulfing Egypt since July 2013 where wholesale death sentences on flimsy or no evidence have been the mark of the current military regime.

    Ramadi

    May 16th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — is there an OODA loop specific to the respective tempi of adaptation? ]
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    Here, I suspect — as an admitted novice — is the crux of the news from Ramadi:

    SPEC DQ Ramadi

    **

    Sources:

  • Pat Lang, Sic Semper Tyrannis
  • Martin Dempsey, Small Wars Journal

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