Opinion: Geronimo: A century after his death, mysteriously tied to Bin Laden, the CIA and Skull and Bones


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Geronimo was an Apache leader in the 19th century. More than 100 years after his death the Native American warrior’s name is back in the news when it was revealed that ‘Geronimo’ was the code name used for Osama Bin Laden while the U.S. special forces plotted to kill him.

Born in what would later become New Mexico in 1829, Geronimo spent many years successfully fighting Mexican and U.S. armies until 1886. when he and 35 warriors surrendered to Gen. Nelson Miles near the Arizona-New Mexico border.

Geronimo was sent to an Army outpost at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where he eventually died of pneumonia in 1909.


In 1918, according to legend, members of the secret Skull and Bones club at Yale (including, allegedly, former President George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush) dug up Geronimo’s grave when a group of Army volunteers from Ivy League school was stationed at Fort Sill during World War I. The grave robbers took Geronimo’s skull and some of his bones.

On the 99th anniversary of Geronimo’s death a group of 20 of the warrior’s decendants sued the U.S. government, Skull and Bones and Yale in an attempt to rebury their ancestor’s bones near his birthplace.

In 2010 Judge Richard Roberts granted a Justice Department motion to dismiss the suit. Geronimo’s relatives, he said, failed to establish that the government waived its right not to be sued. Roberts also
dismissed the lawsuit against Skull and Bones and Yale, saying the plaintiffs cited a law that applies only to Native American cultural items excavated or discovered after 1990.

Though Skull and Bones is often known as a Yale organization, the college has never officially recognized it. When President George W. Bush was asked on ‘Meet The Press’ about Skull and Bones he said, ‘it’s so secret we can’t talk about it.’ Don Oldenburg of the Washington Post wrote: ‘Conspiracy theorists have a field day over the fact that Bonesmen were among the founders of the Central Intelligence Agency. They love to point out that statues of the patriot spy Nathan Hale, Yale 1773, stand on both the university’s campus and the CIA’s headquarters in Langley [Va.].’

Though one of Oldenburg’s sources has a perfectly good explaination for the coincidence, there’s no doubt that more conspiracy theorists will reopen their argument that there is a relationship between Skull and Bones and the CIA now that the world knows that the CIA-led mission to kill Bin Laden used the name of an alleged victim of the secret society: Geronimo.



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-- Tony Pierce