Published On: Wed, May 20th, 2015

The surprising books on Osama bin Laden’s reading list

Osama readingConspiracy theories and a taste for the apocalyptic

Washington(ANN)Osama bin Laden liked to read about the New World Order — a conspiracy theory that holds that a secretive, rich and powerful group wants to rule the world.

The al Qaeda leader had a lot of downtime during his decade in hiding following his masterminding of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. His reading list, as recovered by the raid on his Pakistani compound in 2011 and in part released by the U.S. government on Wednesday, offers some insight into his state of mind.

Bin Laden liked to read what journalists — many from the U.S. — wrote about al Qaeda as well as religious documents in Arabic and English-language books. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was no self-help book or beach read among them.

“It’s an interesting selection,” says Aram Sinnreich, media professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. “It’s far more political and economic than religious or ideological.”

Among the more mainstream choices were “Obama’s Wars,” written by the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and published in 2010, and “Oxford History of Modern War” by Charles Townsend, first published in 2000.

But Paul Kennedy, a professor of history and director of international security studies at Yale University, questioned whether bin Laden or someone in his group even bothered to read the book jacket before plunking down the cash. His book “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” was found in and around bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, where bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. Special Forces on May 2, 2011.

“It’s funny, really,” he said. “I bet one of bin Laden’s goons sent it to that bookshelf because of their eagerness about ‘American decline’ and never saw what it said about Arab religious fanaticism leading to their historical eclipse in the 16th century.”

Bin Laden also had a taste for the apocalyptic, including “The 2030 Spike: Countdown to Global Catastrophe” by Colin Mason. While Mason warns of depleted fuel supplies, population growth, poverty, climate change and international lawlessness, according to the book’s description on, he aims to provide a guide to a “peaceful and prosperous future.”

Another find, “Bloodlines of the Illuminati” by Fritz Springmeier, which, according to Amazon, gives “a devastating expose” of the New World Order. Two books by Noam Chomsky were also found in his collection: “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance” and “Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies,” which looks at subtle forms of ideological control.

William Blum, a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy, wasn’t disturbed by learning that bin Laden had two of his books. In fact, bin Laden had previously mentioned one.

“In 2006, as you may remember, bin Laden appeared on an audiotape urging Americans to read ‘Rogue State,’” Blum said. “This made me an instant celebrity and I was all over the media, which before then, and since then, has ignored me.”

Blum’s latest book, “America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy: The Truth About U.S. Foreign Policy and Everything Else,” argues that U.S. foreign policy has been on “autopilot” since World War II.

Slate editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg, appearing on a panel on MSNBC late Wednesday, took note of the irony that 9/11 conspiracy titles were on the shelves of “the one person who can’t be a ‘truther.’ ”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the release of the documents follows an interagency review and will be followed by other documents “whose publication will not hurt ongoing operations against al-Qa‘ida or their affiliates.”

Here is the list of the English-language books released on Wednesday:

• “The 2030 Spike” by Colin Mason

• “A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam” by I.A. Ibrahim

• “America’s Strategic Blunders” by Willard Matthias

• “America’s War on Terrorism” by Michel Chossudovsky

• “Al-Qaeda’s Online Media Strategies: From Abu Reuter to Irhabi 007” by Hanna Rogan

• “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” by Greg Palast

• “The Best Enemy Money Can Buy” by Anthony Sutton

• “Black Box Voting, Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century” by Bev Harris
Araweelo News Network
Somaliland Office
Twitter: Arraale M Jama @Araweelonews

About the Author

- #Arraale Mohamoud Jama is a freelance journalist and human rights activist with more than 20 years of experience as a professional journalist and human rights activist, as well as a writer and investigative journalist on a wide range of topics related to social issues, human rights, politics and security, economics, democracy, and good governance. He has written extensively on regional and international events, and has worked Somaliland newspapers, and Human rights organization. In 2008, he created the website #Araweelo #News #Network, and is based in Somaliland and is currently managing it; #Arraale is a specialist in investigating and reporting on human rights, democracy, security, and good governance issues. Contact: Send an SMS or MMS to + 252 63 442 5380 + 252 63 442 5380 /

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