When Gary Faulkner was found high in the mountains of Pakistan, close to the Afghan border back in June 2010 he had with him a sword, dagger, pistol, a pair of night-vision goggles and a mission supposedly bestowed upon him by God almighty.
“I think Osama is responsible for bloodshed in the world, and I want to kill him,” he told his captors at the time.
But then, this wasn’t the first time he had attempted to track down Bin Laden. In fact, at that point in time it was his 11th attempt and there have been plenty more since.
Faulkner fast became something of a celebrity, to that extent that, by 2017 he had his very own movie, starring Nicolas Cage which attempts to chart his extraordinary and, at times, bizarre pursuit of Bin Laden.
The resulting film , Army Of One, arrived earlier this year, and blends reality and comedy with more of the former and less of the latter than you may think.
To be clear; Faulker isn’t crazy. Doctors have failed to find any kind of psychological issues. Yet, sitting down to talk to loaded, the self-taught terrorist tracker offers up some astonishing revelations. Starting with the belief that Bin Laden is alive. Even today.
And that’s only the start…
loaded: How weird a feeling is it seeing Nicolas Cage playing you up on the big screen?
Faulkner: Actually, it was very cool. He captured an essence of myself in a very unique way and I really appreciated it. I was very happy, we had fun. I spent about three hours with Nic and Larry Charles [the director] in Las Vegas at the Palms.
“Nic wanted to try and mimic me and get the essence of me”
They recorded the whole meeting. Nic wanted to try and mimic me and get the essence of me as close as he could and because it was a comedy movie he was able to throw in a little extra humorous exaggeration which made it hilarious.
All of my friends and people who have seen it love it. I wake up sometimes at night just laughing about some of the crazy things they did in that movie.
loaded: Let’s go back – do you remember the first time you decided you were going after Bin Laden?
Faulkner: I had just gotten back from Nicaragua. I had been helping after Hurricane Mitch in Honduras and Nicaragua for a few years before this. I remember, I was just kicking back on my hammock and suddenly the inspiration of the spirit moved me to go on to Pakistan.
loaded: You describe yourself as a “self-taught terrorist tracker” where do you even start when it comes to finding someone like Bin Laden?
Faulkner: The thing is what people have to realise is that this was truly a spiritual event between Osama Bin Laden’s beliefs and my beliefs and it isn’t over with yet. As soon as I get a kidney I am going to go back and I’m going to finish the job. He’s right where I left him. Unfortunately, the circumstances that evolved don’t allow me that privilege right now. Because of my kidneys.
I understand how the SEALs and other big military guys are put together to do certain training but some stuff goes beyond that.
I have been around spiritual stuff all my life and it would never surprise me if someone told me they saw a spirit or was touched by one. I understand these things. I was damn near almost killed by a spirit one time because of witchcraft while I was out in Honduras. If it wasn’t for my faith I would have died.
loaded: So you think he is still out there?
Faulkner: Oh yeah there’s no doubt in my mind. I know Bin Laden is still out there and I think you people would be surprised to find out he is the man behind all of this stuff. He is the man behind Al-Qaeda, he’s behind ISIS.
But he’s trapped because he knows that if he moves, the CIA will take him out now because they have already said they did, so now they can do whatever they want to him. He’s a real trapped rat.
loaded: You’ve said in the past that you spotted someone in a cave that might have been Bin Laden, is that right?
Faulkner: Oh yeah. The spirits kept moving me in different areas. I finally came to a spot and found these guys who were working on a massive, elaborate cave. I stayed with some of the local woodcutters around there and saw it.
Back then Bin Laden had been travelling pretty frequently between India and Pakistan. But then an earthquake hit while he was in Pakistan and all of a sudden you had all these people trying to save all these other people and that blocked his path. So he ended up there.
loaded: Were you surprised by the reaction that greeted you on your return to the US?
Faulkner: Well, the whole thing was supposed to be kept undercover because you kind of need to keep your damn mouth shut when you are going to do something as covert as this. I was off playing in another country’s backyard, pitting my beliefs against the beliefs of extremists.
loaded: You were first caught by Pakistan – what did they do?
“This was and still is God’s adventure, not Gary’s adventure”
Faulkner: Well, that’s just propaganda. I was never captured by anybody. I just joined back up with the military. The funny thing about this is that it’s pay to play. If you pay to play, as long as you don’t do anything too crazy, they let you go.
This last time was one of those. I’ve been dealing with the government and military for a while. Then again, I guess I am the only guy running around with a sword strapped to my waist.
loaded: Travelling back and forth all those times – how did you afford it?
Faulkner: This was and still is God’s adventure, not Gary’s adventure and I was just along for the ride. I do have people behind the scenes that have financial backing for this.
It’s not about a bounty, it’s about my faith and about what our government is trying to do with the US with the one world government. There’s a lot more to those towers coming down than a couple of crazy guys flying some planes into them.
loaded: Say you finally get round to sorting Bin Laden, would you be after Putin next?
Faulkner: You know what, the funny thing is everyone is trying to make bad guys out of everybody and it’s very easy to do that. Okay he bombed somewhere but let’s not forget we screw up too sometimes, man. Shit happens in war, man. I’m not agreeing with Putin, don’t get me wrong and I’m not agreeing with Trump or Obama.
My worry is that, we’re going to get into a few problems soon because the world is getting smaller and eventually something is going to go. Like a big zit popping and that splurge going everywhere. That’s going to happen real soon. It might be happening already – look at what is going in Europe. Come on people!
loaded: Just finally, how did you feel about Russell Brand appearing in the movie?
Faulkner: You know, at first I wasn’t sure how it would be with Russell but I loved it. He played the part fantastically. Everyone was great. The movie has a nice mix of serious stuff, hilarious stuff and a few sad things.
It made me realise a lot of crazy stuff has happened in my life in a short space of time. I could sit here and talk to you for a month and not mention the same thing twice – there’s so much happening and there’s even more that is going happen in the future too.
Army Of One is out now on DVD and video on demand.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.