Treasure hunter Bill Warren is continuing the moral mission-cum-publicity stunt he started last June, claiming he has located the body of Osama bin Laden off the the coast of the Arabian Sea. "I've located where they threw him. I am the only one with this information. It's 200 miles west of the Indian city of Surat," he told El Mundo. Oh, so he hasn't actually found the body. He just thinks he knows where the Navy threw it, information he got based on photos the Navy released. If this whole thing didn't already sound suspect, we'd like to point out the date he happened to have "found" the body. One year plus one day -- maybe it took El Mundo a day to get the story up? -- after Obama announced the death of OBL. Okay, dude. We will not believe this is true until we see some evidence, preferably of the photo sort.
The skepticism Warren received 11 months ago has only gotten more legitimate with time. Given that Warren hasn't located the actual bag, what if the body has decomposed or been ravaged by sharks, something critics asked just one month after the announcement. "The fish can’t get at it. He’s in a sealed Navy burial bag, zipped up, white canvas, rubber-lined inside, 200lbs of lead weight," Warren told Death and Taxes's Colleen Stufflebeem. What about after a year?
But say the bag is still all intact and stuff. Locating that bag, which Warren has yet to do, presents an even bigger problem. What sounded almost impossible back then, will be even harder now. "Finding a white canvas bag under similarly colored-sand would seem near impossible if it weren’t for the side scan sonar and the countless days and hours Warren is going to spend searching," continues Stufflebeem. LAWeekly's Simone Wilson had even less faith, calling it "a needle-in-the-haystack search of kilometers and kilometers worth of pitch-black ocean floor." The ocean floor has not gotten any darker or deeper in the last 11 months. But the location of the bag, which Warren so smartly gleaned from Navy photos of an event that happened over a year ago, has likely changed, with currents and all, meaning his "exclusive information" not all that valuable.
Even if he's wrong, and turns up body-less, Warren's succeeded. He doesn't want to find the body because he doesn't believe it exists. The motivation behind the whole mission was to "hunt for the truth" as the expedition's official $20 shirts read. Warren, without photo evidence of Osama's corpse, "doesn't believe the government" he told El Mundo. "I'm doing it because I am a patriotic American who wants to know the truth. I do it for the world," he told The New York Post last year. "The Obama administration should have released the photo, like we did with Billy the Kid, or [John] Dillinger, or even Saddam Hussein. I have a Russian girlfriend, and she tells me that over there, in intelligence circles, they don't believe bin Laden's really dead," he continued. So if he doesn't find the body in this exact location, he has proven that Osama bin Laden isn't dead after all, thus proving that the government is not to be trusted. Either way, it's a win-win for Warren.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.