When Osama bin Laden was killed earlier this week, US officials said DNA testing and facial recognition software proved they had got their man.
However, the lack of actual documentation released to the public (so far), and the fact he was buried at sea so quickly, has predictably seen an explosion of conspiracy theories dreamt up by doubters, or ‘deathers’ – as they’ve have now been dubbed. Here are just a few of them.
1. He must be still alive because there’s no proof
The lack of photos, videos and other evidence, plus inconsistencies in accounts of the raid that killed him, apparently shows the US government made the whole thing up.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid is one doubter. He released a statement to journalists saying: “This news is only coming from one side, from Obama’s office, and America has not shown any evidence or proof to support this claim.” Iranian State television also declared: "the mystery [of his death] has increased”.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq war, also disputed the news on Facebook. She said: "I am sorry, but if you believe the newest death of OBL, you're stupid. Just think to yourself - they paraded Saddam's dead sons around to prove they were dead - why do you suppose they hastily buried this version of OBL at sea? This lying, murderous Empire can only exist with your brainwashed consent - just put your flags away and THINK!"
Naturally, several other Facebook pages made by skeptics have been set up, while searches for "osama bin laden not dead," "osama bin laden still alive" and "bin laden not dead" on Yahoo! spiked off the charts on Monday.
Our figures show most of the searchers of "bin laden conspiracy" were from the US states of Oregon, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Indiana and New Jersey.
2. He’s already dead
Ever since the September 11 attacks there have been numerous reports of bin Laden’s death. Back in 2001 Fox News reported he’d died of lung complications in Tora Bora. In 2005 Senator Harry Reid suggested bin Laden was killed in the Pakistan earthquake, while in 2007 Benazir Bhutto said the al-Qaeda boss was murdered by Pakistani militant Omar Sheikh.
Conspiracy theorists reckon official news of his death was kept from the public to continue justifying the war on terror, with the US government periodically releasing fake videos of the terror leader to keep the world convinced. The theory is that because the powers that be didn’t need bin Laden as a terrorist ‘boogieman’ anymore, they finally announced his death.
3. He was taken alive
Controversial Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck is famous for his conspiracy theories and gave a couple of suggestions about bin Laden’s death on his radio show. Firstly, he speculated that Obama ‘ghosted out’ the al-Qaeda leader - which means the Navy SEALs made it look like he was killed when actually he was taken alive, presumably to be interrogated.
4. He knew about a nuclear bomb
Beck’s other theory was that bin Laden was captured to stop him revealing the location of al-Qaeda’s nuclear bomb. This is reference to WikiLeaks documents that show US security officials briefed other countries on the possibility the terror group had a dirty bomb. Beck didn’t explain why the US government would do this.
5. He’s been ‘on ice’ for years
Another controversial US radio host Alex Jones said the US concocted the story to justify a security crackdown. He reckons bin Laden was killed back in 2002 and his body has been “literally frozen” to be rolled out at a later date.
6. He was given up by Pakistan
Website Maggie’s Farm quotes ‘speculation’ (though they don’t name sources) that, contrary to the reports the US acted alone, Pakistan actually knew all all about Osama’s location and offered up the al-Qaeda leader as a “sweetener” to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
7. He was killed as a pretext for war in Pakistan
David Icke doesn’t agree though. No round-up of conspiracy theories would be complete without a contribution from Icke, who has written extensively about the event on his website. One of his theories is that the killing was fabricated to give the US a reason to actually invade Pakistan because they were harbouring the terror chief. War with China, he suggests, then Russia, will follow. Let’s hope he’s wrong.
8. He was killed to revive Obama’s poll ratings
Barack Obama’s presidency has been a difficult one. Universal healthcare, the budget deficit, high unemployment and fuel costs have resulted in low poll ratings and defeat for the Democrats at last year’s mid-terms, when the Republicans took the House of Representatives.
What better way then, some bloggers have argued, to get those poll ratings up than by suddenly killing America’s most wanted man? Writing on a Tea Party website, one conspiracy theorist said: "Don't you think Obama needs something to assure his re-election?"
9. He was killed to trump Trump
There’s no love lost between Donald Trump and Obama, with the property tycoon reviving the issue of the president’s birth certificate last week. Obama responded by first mocking Trump at the White House correspondents’ annual dinner. Then, when the time came for the bin Laden announcement, ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ had to be interrupted on NBC. The host? Donald Trump.
10. His killing was delayed for the Royal Wedding
The close proximity of the Royal Wedding and the death of bin Laden inevitably means some conspiracy theorists have linked the two events.
Firstly, a security expert told The Daily Express that the reason Wills and Kate postponed their honeymoon - possibly to Jordan – was because they had a tip-off on Friday about the upcoming events in Pakistan.
There’s also been speculation that the White House, who could have killed bin Laden on Friday, delayed pulling the trigger for two days in order for the two events not to clash.
11. His date of death is spooky
Osama bin Laden’s death was announced exactly eight years after George W Bush made his now infamous ‘Mission Accomplished’ announcement. Even spookier, it happened 66 years and 6 hours after the world learned about the death of Hitler. That’s 666