Osama Bin Laden 'extensive' porn collection?

By Razib Khan | May 13, 2011 2:40 pm

This is happening. Pornography found in bin Laden hideout:

The pornography recovered in bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive, according to the officials, who discussed the discovery with Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The officials said they were not yet sure precisely where in the compound the pornography was discovered or who had been viewing it. Specifically, the officials said they did not know if bin Laden himself had acquired or viewed the materials.

Three other U.S. officials familiar with evidence gathered during investigations of other Islamic militants said the discovery of pornography is not uncommon in such cases.

One issue I’ve noticed personally with some conservative Muslims is that their threshold for what is ‘pornographic’ is different from those of typical Westerners. I have an uncle who is a member of Tablighi Jamaat who considers the outfits worn by ballerinas to be pornographic and instances of crass nudity. I do wonder if outbreaks of extreme sexual deviance and psychopathy, such as the notorious Saudi gang rape, might be as much due to the peculiar collapse of what seem clear and distinct categories to us, as much as garden-variety repression. A woman can dress in a sexy and alluring manner in public without being assumed to be a prostitute, but in some societies that’s really not an accepted category. So the occasional porn caches found in the possession of Islamic militants might be part of the constellation of ‘perversion’ which they make little distinctions across. My thinking here is informed by friends in secondary school from religious conservative Christian backgrounds, who also seemed to have an antinomian tendency once they crossed their strict “lines” (this is like my conservative Christian friends who sometimes talked joyfully about murdering people for fun and having same sex relations if there wasn’t a god; it’s all talk, but I think this mindset is illustrative of a “brittle” moral-ethical framework).


Of course there is a high likelihood that the porn had some sort of encrypted message. But that begs the question: couldn’t they find something else besides porn? I wonder if there was double motive….

Finally, I thought of this SNL sketch about Bin Laden:

CATEGORIZED UNDER: International Affairs
  • juan

    I kind of assume this is a lie meant to discredit Bin Laden. A lie I fully support. It’s weird reading news accounts of secret raids from the government. I trust they aren’t lying about the big picture (ie OBL dead), but I assume many of the details are lies meant to protect secrets (stealth copter) and relationships (what did Pakistan know).

    I’m pretty sure we’ve had confirmation that the US and Pakistan have an agreement on drone strikes, for example, where the Pakistanis pretend they aren’t helping and don’t know anything — and we lie and pretend Pakistan didn’t know anything. Haven’t the Wikileaks releases confirmed that with several Islamic countries — they give us terrorist locations, we blow them up, then they protest our invasion of their sovereignty, yada yada yada.

    I probably have too much faith in my ability to know when my government is lying to me, and too much trust that they will only lie to me when it’s really necessary — like not revealing the cooperation of Islamic govts in hunting Islamic terrorists.

  • John Emerson

    I’m letting the whole Bin Laden story pretty much slide. Anyone who says anything has their agenda, we have no way of checking anything, and there hasn’t been a history of frankness and honesty during this phase of history.

    My best guess is that Bin Laden is dead and that he was recently killed in Pakistan by American troops. That’s the official version, and I may be wrong to accept it, but I really don’t think so.

    I’m treating everything else as spin.

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    Like juan, I also suspect spin.

  • ZolarKingOfMoney

    I’m sure he had some porn. I’m sure he drank alcohol, etc.
    He was not a imam, he was a thug who used religion instead of cash to mobilize an army.
    His ultimate goal was the overthrow of Saudi Arabia and establishing himself as king.
    He’s really not all that different from any common megalomaniac/sociopath/psychopath (Hitler/Manson/Jim Jones, etc).
    Yes there will be disinformation, but I wouldn’t ascribe any true Muslim values to him.
    It was all a game, and ultimately history passed him by and American never forgot.
    Buh-bye!

  • vkmo

    Osama did his waterboarding with his harem – in bubble bath, hot tub and jacuzzi

  • chris w

    boi-oi-oi-oing!!!

  • Laassi Hippeläinen

    I expect someone will find OBL’s membership card in the Democrat Party.

  • John

    Maybe it is spin, but does that mean it’s necessarily false? It seems pretty consistent with the news we hear about fundamentalist Christians here in the West. Also, didn’t Pakistan recently rank first in sex-related content searches?

  • leviticus

    Going further with the comparison between conservative Muslims and Christians. I had a Shiite friend once tell me that in Islam it is worse to justify a form of sinful behavior than engage in the sin. This is food for thought when discussing the fight between liberal and conservative Muslims, or Christians, for that matter. Something like this is very true for where I grew up in the rural South.

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    I have a fair number of Orthodox Jewish friends and friends who are former Orthodox Jews. What they think of as pornographic is generally much tamer than the general population.

  • http://phknrocket1k.wordpress.com Hassan

    Any chance Osama Bin Laden followed the Hizb-ut-Tahrir fatwa of pornography being legal?

  • Magoonski

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was at the very least ‘soft core’ porn. The more self-repressed, especially when it comes to biological needs such as sex, the more a person is likely to lean toward the ‘forbidden.’ After watching “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan” on Frontline (can be viewed on the PBS website), I’m just glad they found only porn and not young boys.

  • ackbark

    The thumb drives they found could have been second, third or twelfth hand.

    These files could be files recovered after the drive was reformatted.

  • Charles

    Ackbark: yes, I am sure bin Laden was buying used thumb drives off of eBay and he got one that previously contained porn. Sometimes files can be recovered from an erased thumb drive, but once a thumb drive is filled with new data, the old data cannot usually be recovered. That’s how programs ‘secure erase’ drives: they write new, random data over the old data several times.

    As for certain porn being “much tamer”, porn is porn. Is soft-core porn less sinful than hardcore porn? Is beer less sinful than wine, which is less sinful than vodka, if you believe that any alcohol is a sin? Is cheating on your wife two times OK, since you didn’t cheat on her 20 times? In the age of the internet and freely accessible porn, why would someone limit themselves to looking at a woman in a bikini when he could see her naked? Of course, many peoples’ tastes are different: some people are fine with just looking at softcore stuff (like Playboy) and don’t care for the hardcore stuff.

  • JVW

    Bin Laden was a guy,he has porn so what?big whoop..wonder what’s the big hype considering that he organized terrorist acts what does a little porn in comparison?just cause this so called “leader” of the islamic movement is into porn and everyone is all oohs and aahhs about it. just cause this so called “matyr” can’t wait for his 72 or 76 or 1 billion virgins so he used his hands as a compromise~ *there’s a joke in there somewhere*

    anyways yes i think that does shade him a little grey as a pure hearted soldier of his so called non existent god (as i believe no god will ask you to conduct murder) but let’s keep in mind that bugger got thousands of people killed. he’s a wanker but heck he’s also a killer..and now the wanker’s dead YAY

  • Pingback: No Rest for the Righteous: Even Osama Had Porn – a blind flaneur

  • Shadyshylock

    to JVW, Bin Laden was also a guy who demanded that the US refrain from sexual promiscuity, and drug use in his Letter to America which outlined his reasons for Jihad. He grew pot while supporting Afghan and Pakistani militants that grow opium. He routinely slept with prostitutes and divorced his many wives. His own mother was a concubine. This article is not surprising but very relevant. He was a hypocrite beyond belief.

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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