Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | June 27, 2011

Between Death And Insanity: One Man’s Pursuit Of Osama’s Body

One man’s ‘psychotic’ mission to retrieve bin Laden’s body

New York – Is the truth down there? That’s what deep-sea treasure hunter Bill Warren wants to find out by trolling the Arabian Sea for the terrorist’s remains

Southern California salvage diver Bill Warren says he’s embarking on his most ambitious hunt yet for undersea treasure: The corpse of Osama bin Laden. Warren, who has successfully discovered some 150 shipwrecks, says he’ll spend at least two weeks scouring the floor of the North Arabian Sea for bin Laden’s body, at a cost of $11,000 a day.

Since President Obama won’t release photos of bin Laden’s corpse, Warren says, he’s taking it upon himself to photograph the body and get DNA samples to share with the world. Here, a brief guide to Warren’s odyssey:

What’s Warren’s plan?

Warren says he is renting a ship in India, which will be outfitted with sonar and other specialty equipment, and a remote-operated submarine. If he finds bin Laden’s body, the sub would bring it up to the boat for documentation. Even though the remains have been at the bottom of the sea since May 2, they would still be well preserved “in a sealed Navy burial bag, zipped up, white canvas, rubber-lined inside, 200 lbs. of lead weight,” Warren says.

What is he thinking?

Warren says he’s just a “patriotic American who wants to know the truth,” and share it with a skeptical world. But he also “thinks he can still collect the government reward” of $25 million, since it’s for finding bin Laden “dead or alive,” says Joe Coscarelli at The Village Voice. Of course, this hunt is “psychotic,” says Simone Wilson in LA Weekly. And a “publicity stunt,” too.

What are the chances he’ll find bin Laden?

Slim to none, says LA Weekly’s Wilson. If Warren thinks he can track down the corpse along “kilometers and kilometers worth of pitch-black ocean floor,” he’s “one optimistic deather.” Sure, “finding a white canvas bag under similarly colored-sand would seem near impossible,” says Colleen Stufflebeem at Death + Taxes, “if it weren’t for the side scan sonar and the countless days and hours Warren is going to spend searching.”

Is this really a good idea?

“We wish him luck,” says LA Weekly’s Wilson. “If by some miracle Warren does succeed,” the photos of a waterlogged bin Laden “would be priceless.” I’m not well-versed in the laws and morality of “deep sea grave-robbing,” says Stufflebeem, “but I am almost positive this is going to anger a lot of people.” Between the CIA, al Qaeda, sharks, and pirates interested in his “pricey boat and expensive equipment,” it would surprise me if he comes out of this alive.

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