May 9, 2012
We just passed the one-year anniversary of the (alleged) execution of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. But, did he really live until 2011? Ten years earlier, in 2001, his kidneys were failing, and he was on dialysis. Do you know what the life expectancy is for dialysis patients in the United States? Unless you get a kidney transplant (and Osama did not) the average life expectancy is 5 years. And that presumes that top-notch medical care is provided, which may be hard to come by in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. And being on the run and living in hiding can’t possibly help the situation.
However, Osama bin laden had a lot of other health problems besides kidney disease. They included insulin-dependent diabetes, hepatitis, osteoporosis, an enlarged heart, anemia, abnormally low blood pressure, and Marfan’s syndrome. [See Nicholas Kollerstrom, “Osama bin Laden: 1957-2001” which can be found on jamesfetzer.blogspot.com, and David Ray Griffin, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? (2009).]
The picture below is of Osama bin Laden from 2001, and below it is an image of him from 2011 which was released by the Pentagon immediately after the raid. I think you’ll agree that in the first picture, he looks rather pale and ashen and quite sickly, and in the second picture he looks quite robust.
Which man looks older? They say that he dyed his hair, but forget about that. Hone in on the tired, weary eyes of the “younger” Osama. Compare the fullness of their faces, or I should say the lack of it in the older-looking, more decrepit Osama from 2001. Note that we tend to lose facial fullness with age for two reasons: the layer of sub-dermal facial fat tends to dissipate with age, and the facial skin cells don’t plump up as much with water as we get older.
Look at the firmness and solidness of the musculature around the shoulders of the latter bin laden compared to how he looked 10 years earlier. Sarcopenia, which is the age-related atrophy of somatic muscle, is a universal condition, but some people experience it more than others. But, it occurs to some degree in just about everybody, and it starts rather young, about age 30. But, those are some solid trapezoid muscles on the “older” Osama. What, was he lifting weights at his compound in Abbottabad?
With all his health problems and with the stress of living in hiding and being the most wanted man in the world, is there is any chance that bin laden could emerge in 2011 in the comparatively good, robust condition that you see above? We’re talking about 10 years on dialysis!
I happened to watch the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in which a man aged in reverse, where he got younger with each passing year. But, I needn’t have to tell you that that never happens in real life. People only age in one direction – from younger to older. Some people have the audacity to think that we may be able to slow-down the process of decline, and that includes me. But still, we know which direction it’s headed, and we don’t kid ourselves about that.
However, the 2011 Osama, above, seems to have defied the laws of biology completely. I’m starting to wonder if maybe he spent the whole time on a spaceship traveling at the speed of light so that he didn’t age, as per Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. But hey, he not only didn’t age, he actually got younger – a lot younger. And all the while on dialysis! It’s amazing! Maybe we should all sign up for it.
But, let’s look at it from another perspective: Is it the same guy at all? regardless of age? Is it even the same face?
Well, let’s compare that latter image of Osama to a familiar earlier image of him. At least in this other image, there is not the distracting effect of all the grey hair. Plus, he looks healthier. So, we can just compare their faces.
What do you think? Is it the same guy? I have the feeling that if you took away the Arab garb and all the facial hair, you wouldn’t think so, not at all. The real Osama (on the right) has a longer, leaner, and more triangular-shaped face. There seems to be more pointedness and deviation to his nose. And it’s not just his face that is more slender, but his whole body. Notice again how thick and substantial the trapezius muscle pad is on the latter-day Osama (on the left). Comparatively speaking, he looks like quite the he-man. But, the real Osama was never built that solidly, not even when he was younger, as you can readily see on the right. And, the trapezius muscle is definitely a muscle that tends to shrink spontaneously with age. It would take a whole lot of concerted effort in the gym to prevent a decline in that muscle over ten years’ time. The chances of making it grow are practically nil for most people. But the chances of a dialysis patient making it grow are absolutely nil. They waste muscle more rapidly than most people do. It is something that is written about in medical journals. Here, for example, is such an article from the journal Kidney International.
So, could Osama really have packed on major muscle over a 10 year course of dialysis and in the midst of all his other health problems? No. Of course not. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell.
Here is another picture of him that was released after the raid in April 2011:
Is it just me, or does he look like a wrestler?
In fairness, I should point out that after all this transpired, there were scattered reports in the media that he never suffered with kidney failure, that that was just a myth, that he only had kidney stones, and a mild case at that. Several media outlets reported that, but it was only sourced to one place: the CIA. Nowhere else. There were no sources outside the government for that claim.
However, there are independent sources that he had kidney failure. He was reported to have stayed at the American Hospital in Dubai in 2001 for dialysis treatment, and I believe it was first reported by the prominent French newspaper, Le Figaro. They said he bought two dialysis machines to take back with him to Afghanistan. They said he was visited twice by a CIA agent. And they named the Canadian kidney specialist who addressed his medical needs there: Dr. Terry Callaway. Radio France International also reported it. They also said that he first bought a mobile dialysis machine back in 2000 which was sent to his hideout in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
It was reported by CBS in 2002 that the night before 9/11/01, Osama bin laden was in a Pakistani military hospital receiving kidney dialysis treatment. Watch the segment with Dan Rather.
And, it was widely reported in many parts of the world that Osama bin laden had died long before 2011. Here is a Fox News Report about it from 2001.
But the big question is, why do Americans accept that Osama bin laden was still alive in 2011? And why do they accept the images of him that were released? That wasn’t him. It could not possibly have been him. It is medically impossible for that to have been him. Those pictures are downright goofy and comical. If Americans believe that story, they are the most gullible people in the world. Does the psychological hold of offialdom have that much power over us to completely obliterate our judgment?
As a postscript, I note that just the other day, it was announced that the Pakistani government has finally released from custody the many wives of Osama bin laden, who were returning to Saudi Arabia. At the time of the raid, my first thought was that there needs to be a press conference with those wives. Let’s hear from them about whether the man who was killed was really Osama bin laden. But, I thought to myself at the time that we will never see those ladies sitting behind a swarm of media microphones and answering questions from reporters. And we never will.