Osama bin Laden Killed

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Separating Fact From Seymour Hersh’s Fiction About bin Laden
Osama’s body was chopped up and dropped from a helicopter? That’s odd. I saw video of his burial at sea
By Michael Morell
(WSJ) As a career intelligence officer, I learned that there are few things in life of which you can be absolutely certain. But I am positive that a lengthy new article by journalist Seymour Hersh, which is getting widespread attention with a whole new tale about how Osama bin Laden was brought to justice, is wrong in almost every significant respect.
13 May
What Pakistan Knew About the Bin Laden Raid
As Islamabad’s ambassador to Washington, I had an intimate view of the Pakistani response to the SEAL Team 6 operation. But I still have a few unanswered questions.
Some of Hersh’s assertions in a 10,000-word London Review of Books article border on fantasy. He claims that bin Laden lived under the protection of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was given up for reward money by one of the agency’s officers, and was eventually eliminated in a U.S. raid covertly backed by Pakistan’s army commander and ISI chief. … With the exception of the possibility of a Pakistani “walk in” selling information about bin Laden’s location, the other details of Hersh’s story simply do not add up.
11 May
The many problems with Seymour Hersh’s Osama bin Laden conspiracy theory
On Sunday, the legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh finally released a story that he has been rumored to have been working on for years: the truth about the killing of Osama bin Laden. According to Hersh’s 10,000-word story in the London Review of Books, the official history of bin Laden’s death — in which the US tracked him to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan; killed him in a secret raid that infuriated Pakistan; and then buried him at sea — is a lie.
Hersh’s story is amazing to read, alleging a vast American-Pakistani conspiracy to stage the raid and even to fake high-level diplomatic incidents as a sort of cover. But his allegations are largely supported only by two sources, neither of whom has direct knowledge of what happened, both of whom are retired, and one of whom is anonymous. The story is riven with internal contradictions and inconsistencies.
The story simply does not hold up to scrutiny — and, sadly, is in line with Hersh’s recent turn away from the investigative reporting that made him famous into unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.
Hersh questions U.S. account on killing bin Laden, others question Hersh account
(Foreign Policy) Seymour Hersh says that pretty much everything written about the killing of bin Laden is wrong. Here is his account. Lots of anonymous sources, but good questions raised. In a nutshell, he says that Pakistani officials told the U.S. where bin Laden was, and that they allowed the incursion of American aircraft into their airspace. He also says there is no evidence that bin Laden actually was buried at sea.
Obama Administration: Hersh Account of Bin Laden Raid ‘Patently False’
In a rare on-the-record comment, CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani described the first article, written by Seymour Hersh and published Sunday in the London Review of Books, as “utter nonsense.”
Michael Morell, who was deputy director of the CIA at the time of the bin Laden raid, said he stopped reading Hersh’s article after finding “something wrong” in every sentence.

2013

8 July
osama bin Laden Pakistan reportLeaked report shows Bin Laden’s ‘hidden life’
Government report obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera reveals results of investigation into AQ chief’s life on the run.
The Commission’s 336-page report is scathing, holding both the government and the military responsible for “gross incompetence” leading to “collective failures” that allowed both Bin Laden to escape detection, and the United States to perpetrate “an act of war”.
Former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was able to hide in Pakistan for nine years due to the “collective failure” of state military and intelligence authorities, a leaked Pakistani government report has revealed.
The report, obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, also outlines how “routine” incompetence at every level of civil governance structure allowed the once world’s most wanted man to move to six different locations within the country.
The report of the Abbottabad Commission, formed in June 2011 to probe the circumstances around the killing of Bin Laden by US forces in a unilateral raid on the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, draws on testimony from more than 200 witnesses, including members of Bin Laden’s family, Pakistan’s then spy chief, senior ministers in the government and officials at every level of the military, bureaucracy and security services.
It was released by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit on Monday, after being suppressed by the Pakistani government.

2011


Afghan officials confirm that al-Qadea leader Bin Laden has died [GALLO/GETTY]

16 November
Book on bin Laden raid is a ‘fabrication,’ says US Special Operations
(CSM) ‘SEAL Target Geronimo’ by former Navy SEAL Chuck Pfarrer, which presents an alternate version of the death of Osama bin Laden, is ‘far off the mark,’ says a US Special Operations spokesperson.
6 November
Bitter Seals tell of killing ‘Bert’ Laden
(The Australian) OSAMA BIN LADEN was killed within 90 seconds of the US Navy Seals landing in his compound and not after a protracted gun battle, according to the first account by the men who carried out the raid. The operation was so clinical that only 12 bullets were fired.
The Seals have spoken out because they were angered at the version given by politicians, which they see as portraying them as cold-blooded murderers on a “kill mission”. They were also shocked that President Barack Obama announced bin Laden’s death on television the same evening, rendering useless much of the intelligence they had seized.
Chuck Pfarrer, a former commander of Seal Team 6, which conducted the operation, has interviewed many of those who took part for a book, Seal Target Geronimo, to be published in the US this week.
10 September
Bin Laden made news, not history
The real significance of the last decade: The world is more interconnected than ever – yet no one is in charge.
By David Miliband, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom from 2007-2010
Ten years after 9/11, the instant history is being written. In the French newspaper Le Monde, a highly intelligent commemorative supplement dubbed the period “The Decade of bin Laden”. But is that right?
In the ten years since 9/11, the combined GDP of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRICs) rose from 8.4 per cent of the global economy to 18.3 per cent. Anglo-Saxon-style capitalism crashed.
Moreover, it was the decade when Internet access went global – from 360 million people in 2000 to more than 2 billion people today. It was a time when the war in Iraq divided the world, but also when a civilian surge for freedom finally hit the Middle East, as millions of Muslims turned for inspiration to democratic governance, not global jihad.
None of this was the doing of Osama bin Laden. To be sure, al-Qaeda was (and is) a new and serious kind of threat. Born of 30 years of tumult in the Muslim world, al-Qaeda has a worldview, not just a local view. It aspires not just to change, but to revolution.
Indeed, the notion of a “war on terror” in reply was misguided in part because it allowed people to think that al-Qaeda was just another terrorist group like the IRA, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, or the Red Brigades. It wasn’t – and isn’t. But it also aggrandised Bin Laden’s claim to be a world historical figure.
The fight – led by the United States, with the rest of the West providing lower-key support – has weakened Al Qaeda’s influence and capacity. But it has also been an enforced detour from the vital diplomatic task of building new rules and institutions for an interdependent world.
15 August
Pakistan lets China see US helicopter
(FT) Islamabad allowed military engineers to photograph and take samples from helicopter used by US special forces who killed bin Laden ; (CNN) U.S. suspects Pakistan let China visit stealth chopper
2 August
The Truth About al Qaeda
John Mueller
(Foreign Affairs) New information discovered in Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan suggests that the United States has been vastly overstating al Qaeda’s power for a full decade. The group appears to have spent more time dodging drone strikes and complaining about money than trying to get an atomic bomb.
The chief lesson of 9/11 should have been that small bands of terrorists, using simple methods, can exploit loopholes in existing security systems. But instead, many preferred to engage in massive extrapolation: If 19 men could hijack four airplanes simultaneously, the thinking went, then surely al Qaeda would soon make an atomic bomb.
22 July
Dr. Charles G. Cogan: The bin Laden Operation: What’s Not To Like?
(HuffPost) The death of bin Laden was of enormous psychological importance. No other person, in al-Qaeda or elsewhere, can match the inspirational charge that he carried: the “prince” who gave it all up to wage holy war from the mountains. No one can really take his place.
25 May
The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence
(Stratfor) While the cross-border nighttime raid deep into Pakistan was a daring and daunting operation, the work to find the target — one person out of 180 million in a country full of insurgent groups and a population hostile to American activities on its soil — was a far greater challenge. For the other side, the challenge of hiding the world’s most wanted man from the world’s most funded intelligence apparatus created a clandestine shell game that probably involved current or former Pakistani intelligence officers as well as competing intelligence services. The details of this struggle will likely remain classified for decades.
Examining the hunt for bin Laden is also difficult, mainly because of the sensitivity of the mission and the possibility that some of the public information now available could be disinformation intended to disguise intelligence sources and methods.
18 May
Al Qaeda names Adel as interim chief: report
(Reuters) – Al Jazeera television said al Qaeda has appointed a temporary leader and a new head of operations following the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. commandos, citing Pakistani security sources. The Arab satellite channel said Saif al-Adel was named interim leader and Mohammed Mustafa al-Yemeni, whose surname hints he is from Yemen, would direct operations
12 May
Osama bin Laden: Death of a terrorist

by Anne Lagacé Dowson
(Hour Community) “Ding dong, bin Laden is dead,” chanted a poster at Ground Zero as the United States celebrated the execution of “The Most Wanted Man in American History.”
But in the end, bin Laden was more like the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz than the Wicked Witch of the West.
On Saturday, on CJAD, I interviewed legendary anti-war activist Tom Hayden, who was once married to Jane Fonda and who did a stint in the California legislature. At 71, Haden is a strong voice for peace, and he is trying to persuade his fellow citizens, and America’s comrade in arms, Canada, that a silver moment has arrived: “President Obama has gained the moral and political capital to responsibly end the military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
On a lighter note:
Osama bin Laden’s diary: ‘Are dishwashers blasphemous?’
(The Guardian) How did the world’s most wanted man keep himself busy in that Pakistani compound? Bin Laden’s recently discovered diaries give us a unique insight into his politics, TV viewing habits and haircare regime
11 May
Bin Laden’s preoccupation with U.S. said to be source of friction with followers
(WaPost) Osama bin Laden was preoccupied with attacking the United States over all other targets, a fixation that led to friction with followers, according to U.S. intelligence officials involved in analyzing the trove of materials recovered from the al-Qaeda leader’s compound.
7 May
Osama bin Laden’s death: What the Arab papers say
(The Economist) In al-Sharq al-Awsat, a pan-Arab newspaper, Hussein al-Shabakshy comments on the response of the general public and media to Mr bin Laden’s death and the consequences for the uprisings in the Arab world:
The reaction of the Arab public has been varied. Some refuse to believe he was just killed because—according to them—he was “already dead”: how else could his prolonged silence be explained? And then of course, various conspiracy theories are now being threaded together which cast doubt on the whole story and on the pictures (despite their being leaked by the Pakistani authorities and not the Americans). But others just don’t care because, for them, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are old news—remnants of a more troubled and past age. Today, what matters is Muhammad Bouazizi and the movement for freedom. Osama is gone, Bouazizi lives on. Which one will win? Bouazizi of course! Turn the page and cast aside the book of al-Qaeda and its stalwarts. Bin Laden’s death is being treated in the Arab press as if a head of state just passed away; this is worrying because the public’s distraction will cost Deraa and Mesrata dearly. More
6 May
Al Qaeda plotted 9/11 anniversary rail attack: U.S.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Al Qaeda considered attacking the U.S. rail sector on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, U.S. government officials said on Thursday in describing intelligence from Osama bin Laden’s hide-out in Pakistan
5 May
Neil Macdonald: The Devil likely died happy
(CBC News Analysis) … when bin Laden directed those airplanes at civilians ten years ago, he stole a lot more from this nation than the lives of 3,000 of her citizens.
He taught this country the consequences of operating an open, free society. Literally, he showed Americans the price of their liberty, how many of their principles they’d be willing to cast aside, and how quickly they would do it.
In other words, bin Laden showed American exceptionalists how unexceptionally they behave when faced with horrors most older nations have endured.

Bin Laden apparently plotted 9/11 anniversary attack
Osama bin Laden played a direct role in planning terrorist attacks despite his seclusion for five years in a fortified compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, U.S. officials say. Hand-written documents seized by the American commandos who killed the former al-Qaida leader on Monday show that an attack on a U.S. train was being considered for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (5/5),
Osama bin Laden death: Pakistan’s army fights to restore credibility
Testimony of 12 survivors released by spy agency as US ordered to cut military presence in Pakistan to a minimum
(The Guardian) The military’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, or ISI, is releasing a steady drip of testimony from the 12 survivors of the US raid on Bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad
BBC (5/6)
U.S. reaffirms firefight at bin Laden compound
(Reuters) – U.S. officials reaffirmed on Wednesday that there was a firefight at the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed, despite growing questions about the Obama administration’s version of events and revelations the al Qaeda leader was not armed.
We do not understand why so much information has been released to the media – would it not be more effective to let the al Qaeda operatives believe that the western intelligence agencies are still in the dark? The release of this information gives the terrorists a huge red flag.
TREASURE TROVE FOR SPOOKS
What Bin Laden’s Seized Data Stash Could Reveal
(Spiegel) The data and documents secured after the killing of Osama bin Laden could be a treasure trove for intelligence analysts. For the first time, there is hope that they may find answers to some of their most pressing questions about al-Qaida’s organization and leaders.
Belgian Malinois: The Dog That Took Down Osama Bin Laden?
(HuffPost) Of the 80 member team that was deployed to take down bin Laden, few draw more speculation than the one on four legs.
Most likely a Belgian Malinois (though officials say it could also have been a German Shepherd), there was one non-human member of the SEAL team that raided Osama bin Laden’s compound, according to the New York Times. The heroic pooch was strapped to a Navy SEAL as they were lowered from a hovering helicopter.
The news of the dog’s use in the raid broke Wednesday, but like the other members of the team that was deployed, its identity remains unknown.One Dog And 79 Commandos Kill Osama Bin Laden
4 May
Obama won’t release bin Laden photos, cites risks
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama said in a television interview on Wednesday he decided not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s body because it could incite violence and be used as an al Qaeda propaganda tool.
“We’ve done DNA sampling and testing and so there was no doubt we had killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama told CBS’s “60 Minutes” program, according to an excerpt released by the White House. “The fact is you will not see bin Laden walking on this Earth again.”
3 May
Robert Fisk: Was he betrayed? Of course. Pakistan knew Bin Laden’s hiding place all along
Bin Laden died a failure, outstripped by history
The mass revolutions in the Arab world this year mean that al-Qa’ida is already politically dead.
UN’s Ban, Security Council respond to death of bin Laden
In a written statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized the death of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces as “a watershed moment in our common global fight against terrorism.” In another statement, drafted by the U.S., the world body’s Security Council stressed that conditions contributing to the spread of terrorism must be addressed because “terrorism will not be defeated by military force, law enforcement measures and intelligence operations alone.” Bloomberg (5/2), Reuters (5/2)
The Ability to Kill Osama Bin Laden Does Not Make America Great
(ColorLines) Osama Bin Laden, evil incarnate, has justified so, so much American violence in the 21st century. We have launched two wars and executed God knows how many covert military operations in the ethereal, never-ending fight he personifies. We have made racial profiling of Muslim Americans normative, turned an already broken immigration system into an arm of national defense, and reversed decades worth of hard-won civil liberties while pursuing him, dead or alive. We have abandoned even the conceit of respect for human rights in places stretching from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay in the course of hunting him down. Now, finally, the devil is dead.
The killing of Osama bin Laden
(The Economist/Lexington) The heli-borne raid that killed the arch-terrorist was completed in only 40 minutes, according to the White House. Mr bin Laden resisted the attackers and was killed in a firefight. His body was removed and, it is now reported, buried at sea so as to avoid the possibility of his grave becoming a shrine.
[Update: Sea burial of Osama bin Laden breaks sharia law, say Muslim scholars
US decision to dispose of body in the sea prevents grave site becoming a shrine but clerics warn it may lead to reprisals]
But if the raid was lightning-fast, the intelligence operation that preceded it was long and deliberate. Barack Obama was told in August last year that the intelligence community might have discovered bin Laden’s hiding place—not some cave but a fortified compound in the town of Abbottabad, not far north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city.
… For Mr Obama, this could hardly be a sweeter moment. At a stroke, the daring raid and the careful planning that preceded it have destroyed the credibility of the Republican argument that he is soft on terrorism or does not have what it takes to be commander-in-chief. Just conceivably, that will make it easier for him to accelerate the planned start of this summer’s drawdown of troops from Afghanistan. The last American troops are already scheduled to depart from Iraq at the end of the year. The long and bloody decade that began on September 11th 2001 is not quite over. But it may at last be drawing to an end.
Pakistan and Osama bin Laden: What did they know?
(Economist/Newsbook) WHICHEVER way you cut it, Pakistan’s authorities are in a bind over the discovery, and killing, of Osama bin Laden by American Navy Seals in Abbottabad, a military town just north of Islamabad. The hollow claims made for many years by Pakistani rulers, military chiefs and spooks that bin Laden, other al-Qaeda leaders and Taliban bosses were being allowed no refuge inside Pakistan, have been spectacularly exposed. The fact that he had last been holed up not in some wretched mountain cave but in a specially built, fortress-like compound within a mile of a prestigious military academy, in a town bristling with Pakistani military men, is a damning detail to which Pakistan’s authorities are struggling to respond. See also The evolution of al-Qaeda
The man who tweeted the attack on Osama bin Laden — without knowing it
Sohaib Athar’s Tweets from the attack on Osama bin Laden
(WaPost) According to his Twitter stream @reallyvirtual, Sohaib Athar moved from Lahore, Pakistan to the resort town of Abbottabad to take a break from the rat race. It seems he didn’t move far enough. On Sunday, Athar found himself smack in the center of one of the year’s biggest news events. A 33-year-old IT consultant, Athar was on Twitter when the sound of a helicopter flying overhead drove him to write a series of frustrated notes. Over the next few hours, he compiled rumors and observations about an event that would soon have the world riveted: Athar tweeted the secret operation that killed Osama bin Laden. “I am just a Tweeter, a guy awake at the time of the crash,” he wrote after the world noticed he had a front seat to history and inundated him with questions and messages. Here’s the story from Athar’s point of view:
US forces kill Osama bin Ladenmany links to related stories
(The Independent) The al-Qa’ida leader was killed on Sunday during an operation north of the Pakistani capital led by helicopter-borne US special forces. A Pakistan government official told The Independent that it was a joint operation, led by the US but with crucial Pakistani involvement.
The killing of Bin Laden – his death apparently coming after the CIA had for months tracked two couriers who worked for the al-Qa’ida leader over many years – immediately raises as many issues as it does provide answers. Where had he been hiding all this time; who within Pakistan knew about his presence; what now for the relationship between US and the country it insists is a vital regional ally?
Chris Hedges Speaks on Osama bin Laden’s Death
(Truthdig) … I spent a year of my life covering al-Qaida for The New York Times. It was the work in which I, and other investigative reporters, won the Pulitzer Prize. And I spent seven years of my life in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I’m an Arabic speaker. And when someone came over and told Jean and me the news, my stomach sank. I’m not in any way naïve about what al-Qaida is. It’s an organization that terrifies me. I know it intimately.
But I’m also intimately familiar with the collective humiliation that we have imposed on the Muslim world. The expansion of military occupation that took place throughout, in particular the Arab world, following 9/11—and that this presence of American imperial bases, dotted, not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Doha—is one that has done more to engender hatred and acts of terror than anything ever orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.
Red Alert: Osama bin Laden Killed
May 1, 2011
(Stratfor) The United States has killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and recovered his body, according to numerous media reports May 1 citing U.S. officials. U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to make an announcement on the subject. It is not clear precisely how bin Laden was killed or how his body was recovered, but the assertion that he is dead is significant.
Bin Laden had become the symbol of al Qaeda, even though the degree to which he commanded the organization was questionable. The symbolic value of his death is obvious. The United States can claim a great victory. Al Qaeda can proclaim his martyrdom.
It is difficult to understand what this means at this moment, but it permits the Obama administration to claim victory, at least partially, over al Qaeda. It also opens the door for the beginning of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, regardless of the practical impact of bin Laden’s death. The mission in Afghanistan was to defeat al Qaeda, and with his death, a plausible claim can be made that the mission is complete. Again speculatively, it will be interesting to see how this affects U.S. strategy there.
Osama bin Laden is dead
(FT) President Barack Obama will announce that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks on the United States, is dead, according to US media outlets.
Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan
(Al Jazeera) US president confirms al-Qaeda leader’s death, saying he has been killed in firefight following US raid in Abbottabad.
Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, is dead.
US president Barack Obama said bin Laden, the most-wanted fugitive on the US list, has been killed on Sunday in a US operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, about 150km north of Islamabad.
“We must also reaffirm that United states is not and will never be at war against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader, in fact, he slaughtered many Muslims,” Obama said.

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