The Books Found on Usama Bin Ladin’s Bookshelf: Chomsky, the Illuminati & More


Yesterday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released "a sizeable tranche of documents recovered during the [2011] raid on the compound used to hide Usama bin Ladin." The release includes lots of documents, but surely the "highlight" is the list of books (and other English-language reading material) found on bin Ladin's bookshelves.

If you can believe the CIA's data dump (even after reading Seymour Hersh's recent challenge to the US narrative of the bin Ladin raid), then it seems like bin Ladin wasn't much of a fiction reader. No, non-fiction was his thing. And, above all, he spent time reading books that allowed him to supposedly "know thy enemy" -- to make sense of America's political, religious, and military motivations in his own way.

Bin Ladin read some fairly respectable books that might sit on your own bookshelves at home -- books like The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy, Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward, and The Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend.

A good number of the books helped confirm his already dark view of America. Not one, but two of Noam Chomsky's books sat on his shelves, right alongside titles like: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy; Black Box Voting, Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century; and Imperial Hubris.

And before you get the impression that UBL's reading tastes skewed left, you'll want to examine the conspiracy theory books that resonate with America's hard right -- namely, Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier and Eustace Mullins's Secrets of the Federal Reserve.

Then there are books that, putting politics aside, are simply all doom and gloom. See, for example, The 2030 Spike: Countdown to Global Catastrophe.

The more you look at the list, the more you'll get a feel for bin Ladin's psyche. See the full list below:

  • 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
  • Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier
  • Bounding the Global War on Terror by Jeffrey Record
  • Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions by Henry Sokolski and Patrick Clawson
  • Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 A.D. by C. R. Haines
  • Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies by Cheryl Benard
  • Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
  • Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Committee of 300 by John Coleman
  • Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert
  • Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance (only the book’s introduction) by C. Christine Fair and
  • Peter Chalk
  • Guerilla Air Defense: Antiaircraft Weapons and Techniques for Guerilla Forces by James Crabtree
  • Handbook of International Law by Anthony Aust
  • Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky
  • Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer
  • In Pursuit of Allah’s Pleasure by Asim Abdul Maajid, Esaam-ud-Deen and Dr. Naahah Ibrahim
  • International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific by John Ikenberry and Michael Mastandano
  • Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II by William Blum
  • Military Intelligence Blunders by John Hughes-Wilson
  • Project MKULTRA, the CIA’s program of research in behavioral modification. Joint hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session, August 3, 1977.
  • Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky
  • New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin
  • New Political Religions, or Analysis of Modern Terrorism by Barry Cooper
  • Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward
  • Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend
  • The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum
  • The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall (1928)
  • Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins
  • The Taking of America 1-2-3 by Richard Sprague
  • Unfinished Business, U.S. Overseas Military Presence in the 21st Century by Michael O’Hanlon
  • The U.S. and Vietnam 1787-1941 by Robert Hopkins Miller
  • “Website Claims Steve Jackson Games Foretold 9/11,” article posted on (this file contained only a single saved web page)


Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and  share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

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Comments (8)
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  • Lazy Guy says:

    Had he known his enemies, he would have watched their TV shows, and listened to their music instead… Maybe even funded some, to infiltrate their hearts and minds.

  • Justin Robertson says:

    Come on now, there is no reason to believe these documents, and this reading list, are anything more than fictions created by the CIA. The CIA’s lack of veracity on matters such as these is as consistent as the imminent threat that OSL posed to western democracies, and particularly the US.

  • Alex says:

    Usama Bin Ladin or Bin Laden?

  • kerouac22 says:

    Yeah, I can’t tell if the funky spelling here is a result of pretentiousness or ignorance.

  • Brian says:

    Spelling is from the CIA website. United States agencies usually use this alternate spelling.

  • Ben J says:

    Are you OK Dan? Monsters do not read books, silly man!

    Elephants don’t play chess either, to quote Rodney Brooks:

    “By then, the military had constructed a mock-up of the compound in Abbottabad at a secret former nuclear test site in Nevada, and an elite Seal team had begun rehearsing for the attack.”

    Could you get a list of the books on Brennan’s shelf for us? He withdrew his name from consideration for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the first Obama administration over concerns about his support for the use of waterboarding by the CIA under President George W. Bush. We should want to get a feel for his psyche more so than a dead monster?

    Website Claims Steve Jackson Games Foretold 9/11…this game was based on a previous game, based on a novel from the 70’s, that foretold all this type of sinister activity. Robert Wilson’s and Bob Shea’s book Illuminatus!, like Mumbo Jumbo by Ismael Reed, is 100% factual and a true prediction of U.S.A. political activity. They were special prophets of occurrences and not merely superb inventors or gifted storytellers who hit on major psychological material and a cosmic zeitgeist.
    Dan, please do a review of Jesse Walker’s book The United States of Paranoia. I’m pretty sure Jesse is high enough in the ranks of the Illuminati to give you a better perspective on their operations in 2015.

  • shthar says:

    Please don’t make this site another shill for the wart on error.

  • madelonsjelly says:

    the threath is still real tho…damn errorists…still confusing Bin Laden with Al Ladin’s brother…Ben Ladin!

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