I was commissioned to write this a few years ago for the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava (and thank you to all the photo...
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Osama Bin Laden's Secret Base
The great thing about interviewing Joan Fontcuberta was it gave me a chance to use Osama Bin Laden's secret base in a story - the most absurd secret base invented since Dr Evil's Underground volcano.. I've been waiting to do that for years and finally the opportunity came.
Osama Bin Laden's secret base was a fictional hideaway that had been dug out of the Tora Bora Bora mountains. It was the cave complex where Bin Laden and hundreds of his fighters were holed up in Afghanistan, post-911, 2001. It was packed with food, water, weapons and everything else that a good Jihadi needs; a mosque, cinema, boutique and bowling alley are missing from the diagram but you can bet they were there.
I remember seeing this in the UK papers and laughing out loud. The story of Bin Laden's secret base went global and was shown on TV. Donald Rumsfeld was shown the plans and said "And there's not one of those. There are many of those."
But of course the base was never found. Not yet anyway. And now if they found it, because Al Qaeda have now somehow been reinvented as the cuddly arm of the jihadist movement ("We would never have kidnapped an aid worker. He was helping muslims"), it would have yoga rooms and Anger Management Therapy and counsellors for religious OCD.
It was of course completely made up, one of many things (the dodgy dossier that was written by a student showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction) that have been used to justify war.
Anyway, now that we know that Islamic State are the real bad guys, the really real bad guys, here is a handy guide to Good Beheadings and Bad Beheadings. There's a difference.