Osama bin Laden conspiracies – from living in Iran to dying straight after 9/11

It has been 10 years since Osama bin Laden was killed by a US special unit in a military operation in Pakistan.

On May 3, 2011, US President Barack Obama confirmed that al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who had masterminded the September 11, 2001, attacks, had been killed at his compound in Abbottabad a day earlier.

But after the US Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden gave him a sea burial within hours of his death, in order to follow traditional procedures for an Islamic burial, the lack of a body sparked a number of wild conspiracy theories.

Religious rites were carried out on the deck of a US aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson.

The body, shrouded in a white sheet and placed in a weighted bag, was then positioned on a flat board, tipped up, and eased into the Arabian Sea.

This occurred at 6am, approximately 12 hours after the firefight during which Osama Bin Laden was shot in the head.

The body was then flown to Afghanistan and Bin Laden's identity was confirmed.

Officials say a DNA sample was taken that matched that of several other family members. Some sources say facial recognition technology was also used.

But this hasn't stopped conspiracy theories being shared ever since his death was announced.

'Alive and living in Iran'

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Perhaps the most prominent is one which was shared by President Donald Trump in October last year, when he was still US president.

Trump retweeted a post from a QAnon-linked account, which alleged that bin Laden is still alive and that Joe Biden and Barack Obama “may have had SEAL Team 6 killed”.

The tweet, from an account that has since been suspended by Twitter, read: “Hiden Biden and Obama may have had SEAL Team 6 killed! EXPLOSIVE: CIA Whistleblower Exposes Biden’s Alleged Role with the Deaths of SEAL Team- Claims to have Documented Proof. RETWEET!!!”

The post linked to an article from blogger Kari Donovan, which laid out the conspiracy theory and alleged that bin Laden’s body double was actually the one killed in the raid of his house in 2011 after Iran double-crossed the US.

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The conspiracy theory was originated by Alan Howell Parrot, who claimed in an interview with conservative personality Nick Noe at a pro-Trump rally, that Mr Biden cut a deal with Iran to set up bin Laden’s death in Pakistan, according to The Daily Beast.

Mr Parrot claimed that Iran then double-crossed the US and switched bin Laden with a body double, which prompted Mr Biden and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to arrange for a Navy SEAL helicopter to be shot down to keep the truth a secret.

His claims reference the attack on a helicopter in Afghanistan in 2011, which killed 25 Navy SEALs and 13 others.

Ms Donavan later tweeted: “I have no proof that the Whistleblower's claim are true.”

'Died after 9/11'

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Some have claimed bin Laden actually died shortly after the 9/11 attack of natural causes.

Former State Department official Dr Steve R Pieczenik stated he believed bin Laden was suffering from Marfan Syndrome, a genetic mutation which affects the proteins keeping the body's tissue together.

He claimed the terrorist's tall frame, skinny limbs and long face were all textbook signs of the disease.

About one in 5,000 people are affected by Marfan and it can cause sudden death, despite there being no definitive DNA test for it.

Pieczenik claimed CIA doctors treated bin-Laden for Marfan and said he later died in 2001.

Others have also said he died in 2001 but from kidney failure.

'Killed in 2006'

Some theorists have claimed bin Laden was actually captured back in 2006.

Legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh alleges Pakistani intelligence services captured him but used him as leverage to operate in Afghanistan.

They then sold him to the US but forced them to stage the raid which killed him.

According to Hersh, Navy SEALs arrived in Abbottabad were greeted by a Pakistani intelligence officer who led them calmly to bin Laden's bedroom, where they shot him dead.

However, Hersh's sources for this story remain anonymous and the theory has been widely discredited.

Bin Laden 'can't have been killed as he didn't live in Abbottabad'

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Abbottabad resident Bashir Qureshi claimed in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that bin Laden had never lived in the city.

Although the raid blew out the windows on his house, he dismissed the idea, saying: "Nobody believes it. We've never seen any Arabs around here, he was not here."

Reports in the Pakistani media have also alleged the raid was set up so US forces would have an excuse to enter Pakistan, with some claiming another person instead of bin Laden was killed in the raid.

'US captured bin Laden well before 2011'

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Iran's regime has been central to the pumping out of conspiracies surrounding bin Laden's death, including alleging the US had captured and held him for years before killing him.

They claim there were fears bin Laden's trial in the US could lead to a hung jury or even an acquittal, so they decided to stage an elaborate raid to kill him.

The theory alleges that Barack Obama's government wanted to claim bin Laden's death as a major propaganda coup, a year before the 2012 Presidential Election.

Perhaps the wildest theory surrounding bin Laden's death is that he died and his body was kept frozen by the US until they could announce it at an "appropriate time".

The US allegedly froze the terrorist's body in liquid nitrogen following his death years earlier from either a raid on his stronghold in Tora Bora or from kidney failure.

Among the reasons given by theorists for choosing when to announce bin Laden's death include not clashing with Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding and knocking an episode of Celebrity Apprentice off the air in an apparent diss by Obama to his future successor Donald Trump.

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