Nhân sự kiện nhà báo điều tra danh tiếng Seymour Hersh vừa “chậm trễ” cho ra mắt bài viết chi tiết về việc bịa đặt thông tin chung quanh vụ ÁM SÁT BIN LADEN tại Pakistan của nhà nước Mỹ, một sự kiện mà theo nhiều chính trị gia khu vực cũng như các nhà báo độc lập cho rằng cũng đã không thật sự xảy ra – vì Oasama Bin Laden với chứng cớ minh xác rằng không phải là thù phạm vụ 911 và cũng đã chết vì bệnh THẬN (hoặc bị nhóm biệt vụ của Arap ám sát, cùng năm 2001- theo cựu thủ tướng Pakistan Benasir Buttho- bà này cũng bị ám sár vì “hớ miệng” khi trở về Pakistan tranh cử)
Trang Nhân Chủ cũng đã viết bài tổng hợp và phân tích về sự kiện Osama Bin Laden. Hôm nay chúng tôi không thấy có nhu cầu “lập lại” – Thay vì vậy, để giúp TRÍ NHỚ của độc giả, chúng tôi chỉ ĐĂNG TẢI LẠI những bài viết then chốt của các phóng viên, nhà báo, chuyên gia … để tùy quí vị tham khảo lý giải và tự qui kết riêng sau khi bản tin làm chấn động dư luận của Seymour Hersh.
Người Chết Không Thể Nói: Kẻ Sống Dối Trá Không Thể Tin. Chúng tôi chỉ đưa ra một câu hỏi, để mọi người tự trả lời với cung cách rất đời thường và thông thường rằng: VỚI cái nhìn của tất cả chúng ta, theo lẽ thông thường, theo CON MẮT THÔNG THƯỜNG của QUÍ VỊ- ngay cả những tuyên bố dối trá như HÌNH BIN LADEN BỊ BẮN NÁT ĐẦU, Obama và NỘI CÁC THEO DÕI DIỄN TIẾN BẮN BIN LADEN v.v nhưng ngay sau đó Nhà nước Mỹ đã TỰ NHẬN là HƯ CẤU không THẬT!!!
Ghi chú: Osama Bin Laden sinh năm 1957- nghĩa là lúc chết- theo tin tức tại khu vực Trung Đông- tháng 12 2001- chỉ hưởng dương 44 tuổi. Nhưng nếu tính theo “tin tức” Âu Mỹ, thì Osama Bin Laden bị bắn chết vào tháng 2 -2011, tức là cũng chỉ có 54 tuổi.. chưa GIÀ LỤM KHỤM !!!!
Cả nội các nhà nước Mỹ đang theo dõi… màn ảnh ĐEN XÌ.. Thật là một lũ KỊCH SĨ ĐẠI TÀI!!!
Xin tạm bỏ ngoài tai TẤT CẢ LẬP LUẬN CHUYÊN GIA, liệu chúng ta có thể tin rằng TẤT CẢ CÁC HÌNH ẢNH GỌI LÀ CHÂN DUNG của Osama Bin Laden được chính qui chính thức đang tải từ CIA là của MỘT NGƯỜI hay không? Xin hãy nhìn những hình ảnh chính thức dưới đây. Rồi TÙY PHÁN XÉT của mỗi cá nhân quí vị! Và cần nhớ rằng cái gọi là toán SEAL 6 đã “tử nạn trực thăng chết hết” sau đó ít lâu tại Afganistan!
Khi không chỉ một người, mà cả một hệ thống dối trá 99% với bạn, liệu bạn còn đủ “thông minh” để tin 1% còn lại của nó?? Tùy sự suy xét của quí vị vậy!!!
Nhìn những HÌNH và PHIM, xin quí vị chú ý ngoài KHUÔN MẶT, chú ý TAY TRÁI, TAY PHẢI- NHẪN ĐEO, ĐỒNG HỒ của CÁC “Osama Bin Laden”. Hay nói rõ hơn là có MỘT OSAMA BIN LADEN nguyên thủy KHÔNG ĐEO NHẪN và CÁC OSMA BIN LADEN khác có ĐEO NHẪN (vàng và đồng hồ khác nhau)
*Bàn tay NGÓN TAY của OSAMA BIN LADEN dài muột như PHỤ NỮ KHUÊ CÁC
Luật Koran cấm đàn ông Hồi ĐEO NHẪN CƯỚI và NHẪN VÀNG – nhẫn bạc và các loại khác có thể được phép đeo
Praise be to Allaah.
With regard to men wearing gold, whether it is a ring or anything else, it is not permissible under any circumstances, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade gold for the males of this ummah. He saw a man wearing a ring of gold and he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) took if from his hand and said, “Would any one of you take a coal from the fire and hold it in his hand?” (Narrated by Muslim, al-Libaas wa’l-Zeenah, 3897). So it is not permissible for the Muslim male to wear a gold ring. But with regard to rings of silver or any other kind of metal, it is permissible for men to wear them even if they are precious metals.
With regard to the wedding ring, which is worn on the occasion of marriage, this is not one of the customs of the Muslims. If it is believed that it generates love between the spouses, and that taking it off and not wearing it will have an effect on the marital relationship, then this is regarded as a form of shirk and is a kind of jaahili belief. Based on the above, it is not permissible to wear a wedding ring under any circumstances.
Trước tiên, hình ĐÚNG THẬT NHẤT về OSAMA BINLADEN từ ABC Interview With ABC John Miller năm 1998
Và từ CNN, do chính Peter Bergen giám đốc sản xuất CNN (KÝ GIẢ CIA) – Peter Arnett phỏng vấn Bin Laden vào năm 1997 khi Bin laden đang bị bệnh THẬN nặng nề.
Chọn BIN LADEN nào đây?
“OSAMA BIN LADEN” THÔNG ĐIỆP CUỐI TRƯỚC KHI BỊ ÁM SÁT (TÀI LIỆU CIA) 2011
OSAMA BIN LADEN 1998—1998 – Osama Bin Laden HÌNH ẢNH THẬT SỰ CHÍNH XÁC NHẤT trong cuộc phỏng vấn với ký giả ABC- Interview With ABC John Miller
Chú ý bên tay phải của “ông già bin laden” 54 tuổi sát cạnh màn hìn là một cái KHOAN ĐIỆN!!! Hình ảnh khoan điện này đã bị tất cả các đài chính qui cắt bỏ khi thông tin, cũng như đoạn phim tên khủng bố tại vụ Charlie Hebdo bắn viên cảnh sát nằm vệ đường không nát óc máu chảy cũng bị cắt xén khỏi các bản tin chính qui..!!!
THAM KHẢO CÁC BÀI ĐIỀU TRA VẾ VỤ ÁM SÁT OSAMA BIN LADEN:
The Killing of Osama bin Laden
Seymour M. Hersh
This spring I contacted Durrani and told him in detail what I had learned about the bin Laden assault from American sources: that bin Laden had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbottabad compound since 2006; that Kayani and Pasha knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms; that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US, and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration’s account were false.
‘When your version comes out – if you do it – people in Pakistan will be tremendously grateful,’ Durrani told me. ‘For a long time people have stopped trusting what comes out about bin Laden from the official mouths. There will be some negative political comment and some anger, but people like to be told the truth, and what you’ve told me is essentially what I have heard from former colleagues who have been on a fact-finding mission since this episode.’ As a former ISI head, he said, he had been told shortly after the raid by ‘people in the “strategic community” who would know’ that there had been an informant who had alerted the US to bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, and that after his killing the US’s betrayed promises left Kayani and Pasha exposed.
The major US source for the account that follows is a retired senior intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. He also was privy to many aspects of the Seals’ training for the raid, and to the various after-action reports. Two other US sources, who had access to corroborating information, have been longtime consultants to the Special Operations Command. I also received information from inside Pakistan about widespread dismay among the senior ISI and military leadership – echoed later by Durrani – over Obama’s decision to go public immediately with news of bin Laden’s death. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
The US initially kept what it knew from the Pakistanis. ‘The fear was that if the existence of the source was made known, the Pakistanis themselves would move bin Laden to another location. So only a very small number of people were read into the source and his story,’ the retired official said. ‘The CIA’s first goal was to check out the quality of the informant’s information.’ The compound was put under satellite surveillance. The CIA rented a house in Abbottabad to use as a forward observation base and staffed it with Pakistani employees and foreign nationals. Later on, the base would serve as a contact point with the ISI; it attracted little attention because Abbottabad is a holiday spot full of houses rented on short leases. A psychological profile of the informant was prepared. (The informant and his family were smuggled out of Pakistan and relocated in the Washington area. He is now a consultant for the CIA.)
‘By October the military and intelligence community were discussing the possible military options. Do we drop a bunker buster on the compound or take him out with a drone strike? Perhaps send someone to kill him, single assassin style? But then we’d have no proof of who he was,’ the retired official said. ‘We could see some guy is walking around at night, but we have no intercepts because there’s no commo coming from the compound.’
In October, Obama was briefed on the intelligence. His response was cautious, the retired official said. ‘It just made no sense that bin Laden was living in Abbottabad. It was just too crazy. The president’s position was emphatic: “Don’t talk to me about this any more unless you have proof that it really is bin Laden.”’ The immediate goal of the CIA leadership and the Joint Special Operations Command was to get Obama’s support. They believed they would get this if they got DNA evidence, and if they could assure him that a night assault of the compound would carry no risk. The only way to accomplish both things, the retired official said, ‘was to get the Pakistanis on board’.
During the late autumn of 2010, the US continued to keep quiet about the walk-in, and Kayani and Pasha continued to insist to their American counterparts that they had no information about bin Laden’s whereabouts. ‘The next step was to figure out how to ease Kayani and Pasha into it – to tell them that we’ve got intelligence showing that there is a high-value target in the compound, and to ask them what they know about the target,’ the retired official said. ‘The compound was not an armed enclave – no machine guns around, because it was under ISI control.’ The walk-in had told the US that bin Laden had lived undetected from 2001 to 2006 with some of his wives and children in the Hindu Kush mountains, and that ‘the ISI got to him by paying some of the local tribal people to betray him.’ (Reports after the raid placed him elsewhere in Pakistan during this period.) Bank was also told by the walk-in that bin Laden was very ill, and that early on in his confinement at Abbottabad, the ISI had ordered Amir Aziz, a doctor and a major in the Pakistani army, to move nearby to provide treatment. ‘The truth is that bin Laden was an invalid, but we cannot say that,’ the retired official said. ‘“You mean you guys shot a cripple? Who was about to grab his AK-47?”’
‘It didn’t take long to get the co-operation we needed, because the Pakistanis wanted to ensure the continued release of American military aid, a good percentage of which was anti-terrorism funding that finances personal security, such as bullet-proof limousines and security guards and housing for the ISI leadership,’ the retired official said. He added that there were also under-the-table personal ‘incentives’ that were financed by off-the-books Pentagon contingency funds. ‘The intelligence community knew what the Pakistanis needed to agree – there was the carrot. And they chose the carrot. It was a win-win. We also did a little blackmail. We told them we would leak the fact that you’ve got bin Laden in your backyard. We knew their friends and enemies’ – the Taliban and jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan – ‘would not like it.’
A worrying factor at this early point, according to the retired official, was Saudi Arabia, which had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his seizure by the Pakistanis. ‘The Saudis didn’t want bin Laden’s presence revealed to us because he was a Saudi, and so they told the Pakistanis to keep him out of the picture. The Saudis feared if we knew we would pressure the Pakistanis to let bin Laden start talking to us about what the Saudis had been doing with al-Qaida. And they were dropping money – lots of it. The Pakistanis, in turn, were concerned that the Saudis might spill the beans about their control of bin Laden. The fear was that if the US found out about bin Laden from Riyadh, all hell would break out. The Americans learning about bin Laden’s imprisonment from a walk-in was not the worst thing.’
Despite their constant public feuding, American and Pakistani military and intelligence services have worked together closely for decades on counterterrorism in South Asia. Both services often find it useful to engage in public feuds ‘to cover their asses’, as the retired official put it, but they continually share intelligence used for drone attacks, and co-operate on covert operations. At the same time, it’s understood in Washington that elements of the ISI believe that maintaining a relationship with the Taliban leadership inside Afghanistan is essential to national security. The ISI’s strategic aim is to balance Indian influence in Kabul; the Taliban is also seen in Pakistan as a source of jihadist shock troops who would back Pakistan against India in a confrontation over Kashmir.
Adding to the tension was the Pakistani nuclear arsenal, often depicted in the Western press as an ‘Islamic bomb’ that might be transferred by Pakistan to an embattled nation in the Middle East in the event of a crisis with Israel. The US looked the other way when Pakistan began building its weapons system in the 1970s and it’s widely believed it now has more than a hundred nuclear warheads. It’s understood in Washington that US security depends on the maintenance of strong military and intelligence ties to Pakistan. The belief is mirrored in Pakistan.
‘The Pakistani army sees itself as family,’ the retired official said. ‘Officers call soldiers their sons and all officers are “brothers”. The attitude is different in the American military. The senior Pakistani officers believe they are the elite and have got to look out for all of the people, as keepers of the flame against Muslim fundamentalism. The Pakistanis also know that their trump card against aggression from India is a strong relationship with the United States. They will never cut their person-to-person ties with us.’
Like all CIA station chiefs, Bank was working undercover, but that ended in early December 2010 when he was publicly accused of murder in a criminal complaint filed in Islamabad by Karim Khan, a Pakistani journalist whose son and brother, according to local news reports, had been killed by a US drone strike. Allowing Bank to be named was a violation of diplomatic protocol on the part of the Pakistani authorities, and it brought a wave of unwanted publicity. Bank was ordered to leave Pakistan by the CIA, whose officials subsequently told the Associated Press he was transferred because of concerns for his safety. The New York Times reported that there was ‘strong suspicion’ the ISI had played a role in leaking Bank’s name to Khan. There was speculation that he was outed as payback for the publication in a New York lawsuit a month earlier of the names of ISI chiefs in connection with the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 2008. But there was a collateral reason, the retired official said, for the CIA’s willingness to send Bank back to America. The Pakistanis needed cover in case their co-operation with the Americans in getting rid of bin Laden became known. The Pakistanis could say: “You’re talking about me? We just kicked out your station chief.”’
The risks for Obama were high at this early stage, especially because there was a troubling precedent: the failed 1980 attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran. That failure was a factor in Jimmy Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan. Obama’s worries were realistic, the retired official said. ‘Was bin Laden ever there? Was the whole story a product of Pakistani deception? What about political blowback in case of failure?’ After all, as the retired official said, ‘If the mission fails, Obama’s just a black Jimmy Carter and it’s all over for re-election.’
Obama was anxious for reassurance that the US was going to get the right man. The proof was to come in the form of bin Laden’s DNA. The planners turned for help to Kayani and Pasha, who asked Aziz to obtain the specimens. Soon after the raid the press found out that Aziz had been living in a house near the bin Laden compound: local reporters discovered his name in Urdu on a plate on the door. Pakistani officials denied that Aziz had any connection to bin Laden, but the retired official told me that Aziz had been rewarded with a share of the $25 million reward the US had put up because the DNA sample had showed conclusively that it was bin Laden in Abbottabad. (In his subsequent testimony to a Pakistani commission investigating the bin Laden raid, Aziz said that he had witnessed the attack on Abbottabad, but had no knowledge of who was living in the compound and had been ordered by a superior officer to stay away from the scene.)
Bargaining continued over the way the mission would be executed. ‘Kayani eventually tells us yes, but he says you can’t have a big strike force. You have to come in lean and mean. And you have to kill him, or there is no deal,’ the retired official said. The agreement was struck by the end of January 2011, and Joint Special Operations Command prepared a list of questions to be answered by the Pakistanis: ‘How can we be assured of no outside intervention? What are the defences inside the compound and its exact dimensions? Where are bin Laden’s rooms and exactly how big are they? How many steps in the stairway? Where are the doors to his rooms, and are they reinforced with steel? How thick?’ The Pakistanis agreed to permit a four-man American cell – a Navy Seal, a CIA case officer and two communications specialists – to set up a liaison office at Tarbela Ghazi for the coming assault. 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.
The US had begun to cut back on aid to Pakistan – to ‘turn off the spigot’, in the retired official’s words. The provision of 18 new F-16 fighter aircraft was delayed, and under-the-table cash payments to the senior leaders were suspended. In April 2011 Pasha met the CIA director, Leon Panetta, at agency headquarters. ‘Pasha got a commitment that the United States would turn the money back on, and we got a guarantee that there would be no Pakistani opposition during the mission,’ the retired official said. ‘Pasha also insisted that Washington stop complaining about Pakistan’s lack of co-operation with the American war on terrorism.’ At one point that spring, Pasha offered the Americans a blunt explanation of the reason Pakistan kept bin Laden’s capture a secret, and why it was imperative for the ISI role to remain secret: ‘We needed a hostage to keep tabs on al-Qaida and the Taliban,’ Pasha said, according to the retired official. ‘The ISI was using bin Laden as leverage against Taliban and al-Qaida activities inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. They let the Taliban and al-Qaida leadership know that if they ran operations that clashed with the interests of the ISI, they would turn bin Laden over to us. So if it became known that the Pakistanis had worked with us to get bin Laden at Abbottabad, there would be hell to pay.’
At one of his meetings with Panetta, according to the retired official and a source within the CIA, Pasha was asked by a senior CIA official whether he saw himself as acting in essence as an agent for al-Qaida and the Taliban. ‘He answered no, but said the ISI needed to have some control.’ The message, as the CIA saw it, according to the retired official, was that Kayani and Pasha viewed bin Laden ‘as a resource, and they were more interested in their [own] survival than they were in the United States’.
A Pakistani with close ties to the senior leadership of the ISI told me that ‘there was a deal with your top guys. We were very reluctant, but it had to be done – not because of personal enrichment, but because all of the American aid programmes would be cut off. Your guys said we will starve you out if you don’t do it, and the okay was given while Pasha was in Washington. The deal was not only to keep the taps open, but Pasha was told there would be more goodies for us.’ The Pakistani said that Pasha’s visit also resulted in a commitment from the US to give Pakistan ‘a freer hand’ in Afghanistan as it began its military draw-down there. ‘And so our top dogs justified the deal by saying this is for our country.’
It was clear to all by this point, the retired official said, that bin Laden would not survive: ‘Pasha told us at a meeting in April that he could not risk leaving bin Laden in the compound now that we know he’s there. Too many people in the Pakistani chain of command know about the mission. He and Kayani had to tell the whole story to the directors of the air defence command and to a few local commanders.
‘Of course the guys knew the target was bin Laden and he was there under Pakistani control,’ the retired official said. ‘Otherwise, they would not have done the mission without air cover. It was clearly and absolutely a premeditated murder.’ A former Seal commander, who has led and participated in dozens of similar missions over the past decade, assured me that ‘we were not going to keep bin Laden alive – to allow the terrorist to live. By law, we know what we’re doing inside Pakistan is a homicide. We’ve come to grips with that. Each one of us, when we do these missions, say to ourselves, “Let’s face it. We’re going to commit a murder.”’ The White House’s initial account claimed that bin Laden had been brandishing a weapon; the story was aimed at deflecting those who questioned the legality of the US administration’s targeted assassination programme. The US has consistently maintained, despite widely reported remarks by people involved with the mission, that bin Laden would have been taken alive if he had immediately surrendered.
‘They knew where the target was – third floor, second door on the right,’ the retired official said. ‘Go straight there. Osama was cowering and retreated into the bedroom. Two shooters followed him and opened up. Very simple, very straightforward, very professional hit.’ Some of the Seals were appalled later at the White House’s initial insistence that they had shot bin Laden in self-defence, the retired official said. ‘Six of the Seals’ finest, most experienced NCOs, faced with an unarmed elderly civilian, had to kill him in self-defence? The house was shabby and bin Laden was living in a cell with bars on the window and barbed wire on the roof. The rules of engagement were that if bin Laden put up any opposition they were authorised to take lethal action. But if they suspected he might have some means of opposition, like an explosive vest under his robe, they could also kill him. So here’s this guy in a mystery robe and they shot him. It’s not because he was reaching for a weapon. The rules gave them absolute authority to kill the guy.’ The later White House claim that only one or two bullets were fired into his head was ‘bullshit’, the retired official said. ‘The squad came through the door and obliterated him. As the Seals say, “We kicked his ass and took his gas.”’
After they killed bin Laden, ‘the Seals were just there, some with physical injuries from the crash, waiting for the relief chopper,’ the retired official said. ‘Twenty tense minutes. The Black Hawk is still burning. There are no city lights. No electricity. No police. No fire trucks. They have no prisoners.’ Bin Laden’s wives and children were left for the ISI to interrogate and relocate. ‘Despite all the talk,’ the retired official continued, there were ‘no garbage bags full of computers and storage devices. The guys just stuffed some books and papers they found in his room in their backpacks. The Seals weren’t there because they thought bin Laden was running a command centre for al-Qaida operations, as the White House would later tell the media. And they were not intelligence experts gathering information inside that house.’
On a normal assault mission, the retired official said, there would be no waiting around if a chopper went down. ‘The Seals would have finished the mission, thrown off their guns and gear, and jammed into the remaining Black Hawk and di-di-maued’ – Vietnamese slang for leaving in a rush – ‘out of there, with guys hanging out of the doors. They would not have blown the chopper – no commo gear is worth a dozen lives – unless they knew they were safe. Instead they stood around outside the compound, waiting for the bus to arrive.’ Pasha and Kayani had delivered on all their promises.
Not everyone agreed. Robert Gates, the secretary of defence, was the most outspoken of those who insisted that the agreements with Pakistan had to be honoured. In his memoir, Duty, Gates did not mask his anger:
Before we broke up and the president headed upstairs to tell the American people what had just happened, I reminded everyone that the techniques, tactics and procedures the Seals had used in the bin Laden operation were used every night in Afghanistan … it was therefore essential that we agree not to release any operational details of the raid. That we killed him, I said, is all we needed to say. Everybody in that room agreed to keep mum on details. That commitment lasted about five hours. The initial leaks came from the White House and CIA. They just couldn’t wait to brag and to claim credit. The facts were often wrong … Nonetheless the information just kept pouring out. I was outraged and at one point, told [the national security adviser, Tom] Donilon, ‘Why doesn’t everybody just shut the fuck up?’ To no avail.
Obama’s speech was put together in a rush, the retired official said, and was viewed by his advisers as a political document, not a message that needed to be submitted for clearance to the national security bureaucracy. This series of self-serving and inaccurate statements would create chaos in the weeks following. Obama said that his administration had discovered that bin Laden was in Pakistan through ‘a possible lead’ the previous August; to many in the CIA the statement suggested a specific event, such as a walk-in. The remark led to a new cover story claiming that the CIA’s brilliant analysts had unmasked a courier network handling bin Laden’s continuing flow of operational orders to al-Qaida. Obama also praised ‘a small team of Americans’ for their care in avoiding civilian deaths and said: ‘After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.’ Two more details now had to be supplied for the cover story: a description of the firefight that never happened, and a story about what happened to the corpse. Obama went on to praise the Pakistanis: ‘It’s important to note that our counterterrorism co-operation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.’ That statement risked exposing Kayani and Pasha. The White House’s solution was to ignore what Obama had said and order anyone talking to the press to insist that the Pakistanis had played no role in killing bin Laden. Obama left the clear impression that he and his advisers hadn’t known for sure that bin Laden was in Abbottabad, but only had information ‘about the possibility’. This led first to the story that the Seals had determined they’d killed the right man by having a six-foot-tall Seal lie next to the corpse for comparison (bin Laden was known to be six foot four); and then to the claim that a DNA test had been performed on the corpse and demonstrated conclusively that the Seals had killed bin Laden. But, according to the retired official, it wasn’t clear from the Seals’ early reports whether all of bin Laden’s body, or any of it, made it back to Afghanistan.
Gates wasn’t the only official who was distressed by Obama’s decision to speak without clearing his remarks in advance, the retired official said, ‘but he was the only one protesting. Obama didn’t just double-cross Gates, he double-crossed everyone. This was not the fog of war. The fact that there was an agreement with the Pakistanis and no contingency analysis of what was to be disclosed if something went wrong – that wasn’t even discussed. And once it went wrong, they had to make up a new cover story on the fly.’ There was a legitimate reason for some deception: the role of the Pakistani walk-in had to be protected.
The White House press corps was told in a briefing shortly after Obama’s announcement that the death of bin Laden was ‘the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work’ that focused on tracking a group of couriers, including one who was known to be close to bin Laden. Reporters were told that a team of specially assembled CIA and National Security Agency analysts had traced the courier to a highly secure million-dollar compound in Abbottabad. After months of observation, the American intelligence community had ‘high confidence’ that a high-value target was living in the compound, and it was ‘assessed that there was a strong probability that [it] was Osama bin Laden’. The US assault team ran into a firefight on entering the compound and three adult males – two of them believed to be the couriers – were slain, along with bin Laden. Asked if bin Laden had defended himself, one of the briefers said yes: ‘He did resist the assault force. And he was killed in a firefight.’
The next day John Brennan, then Obama’s senior adviser for counterterrorism, had the task of talking up Obama’s valour while trying to smooth over the misstatements in his speech. He provided a more detailed but equally misleading account of the raid and its planning. Speaking on the record, which he rarely does, Brennan said that the mission was carried out by a group of Navy Seals who had been instructed to take bin Laden alive, if possible. He said the US had no information suggesting that anyone in the Pakistani government or military knew bin Laden’s whereabouts: ‘We didn’t contact the Pakistanis until after all of our people, all of our aircraft were out of Pakistani airspace.’ He emphasised the courage of Obama’s decision to order the strike, and said that the White House had no information ‘that confirmed that bin Laden was at the compound’ before the raid began. Obama, he said, ‘made what I believe was one of the gutsiest calls of any president in recent memory’. Brennan increased the number killed by the Seals inside the compound to five: bin Laden, a courier, his brother, a bin Laden son, and one of the women said to be shielding bin Laden.
Asked whether bin Laden had fired on the Seals, as some reporters had been told, Brennan repeated what would become a White House mantra: ‘He was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in. And whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don’t know … Here is bin Laden, who has been calling for these attacks … living in an area that is far removed from the front, hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield … [It] just speaks to I think the nature of the individual he was.’
Gates also objected to the idea, pushed by Brennan and Leon Panetta, that US intelligence had learned of bin Laden’s whereabouts from information acquired by waterboarding and other forms of torture. ‘All of this is going on as the Seals are flying home from their mission. The agency guys know the whole story,’ the retired official said. ‘It was a group of annuitants who did it.’ (Annuitants are retired CIA officers who remain active on contract.) ‘They had been called in by some of the mission planners in the agency to help with the cover story. So the old-timers come in and say why not admit that we got some of the information about bin Laden from enhanced interrogation?’ At the time, there was still talk in Washington about the possible prosecution of CIA agents who had conducted torture.
‘Gates told them this was not going to work,’ the retired official said. ‘He was never on the team. He knew at the eleventh hour of his career not to be a party to this nonsense. But State, the agency and the Pentagon had bought in on the cover story. None of the Seals thought that Obama was going to get on national TV and announce the raid. The Special Forces command was apoplectic. They prided themselves on keeping operational security.’ There was fear in Special Operations, the retired official said, that ‘if the true story of the missions leaked out, the White House bureaucracy was going to blame it on the Seals.’
The White House’s solution was to silence the Seals. On 5 May, every member of the Seal hit team – they had returned to their base in southern Virginia – and some members of the Joint Special Operations Command leadership were presented with a nondisclosure form drafted by the White House’s legal office; it promised civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the mission, in public or private. ‘The Seals were not happy,’ the retired official said. But most of them kept quiet, as did Admiral William McRaven, who was then in charge of JSOC. ‘McRaven was apoplectic. He knew he was fucked by the White House, but he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Seal, and not then a political operator, and he knew there’s no glory in blowing the whistle on the president. When Obama went public with bin Laden’s death, everyone had to scramble around for a new story that made sense, and the planners were stuck holding the bag.’
Within days, some of the early exaggerations and distortions had become obvious and the Pentagon issued a series of clarifying statements. No, bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed. And no, bin Laden did not use one of his wives as a shield. The press by and large accepted the explanation that the errors were the inevitable by-product of the White House’s desire to accommodate reporters frantic for details of the mission.
One lie that has endured is that the Seals had to fight their way to their target. Only two Seals have made any public statement: No Easy Day, a first-hand account of the raid by Matt Bissonnette, was published in September 2012; and two years later Rob O’Neill was interviewed by Fox News. Both men had resigned from the navy; both had fired at bin Laden. Their accounts contradicted each other on many details, but their stories generally supported the White House version, especially when it came to the need to kill or be killed as the Seals fought their way to bin Laden. O’Neill even told Fox News that he and his fellow Seals thought ‘We were going to die.’ ‘The more we trained on it, the more we realised … this is going to be a one-way mission.’
But the retired official told me that in their initial debriefings the Seals made no mention of a firefight, or indeed of any opposition. The drama and danger portrayed by Bissonnette and O’Neill met a deep-seated need, the retired official said: ‘Seals cannot live with the fact that they killed bin Laden totally unopposed, and so there has to be an account of their courage in the face of danger. The guys are going to sit around the bar and say it was an easy day? That’s not going to happen.’
There was another reason to claim there had been a firefight inside the compound, the retired official said: to avoid the inevitable question that would arise from an uncontested assault. Where were bin Laden’s guards? Surely, the most sought-after terrorist in the world would have around-the-clock protection. ‘And one of those killed had to be the courier, because he didn’t exist and we couldn’t produce him. The Pakistanis had no choice but to play along with it.’ (Two days after the raid, Reuters published photographs of three dead men that it said it had purchased from an ISI official. Two of the men were later identified by an ISI spokesman as being the alleged courier and his brother.)
These claims were fabrications: there wasn’t much activity for bin Laden to exercise command and control over. The retired intelligence official said that the CIA’s internal reporting shows that since bin Laden moved to Abbottabad in 2006 only a handful of terrorist attacks could be linked to the remnants of bin Laden’s al-Qaida. ‘We were told at first,’ the retired official said, ‘that the Seals produced garbage bags of stuff and that the community is generating daily intelligence reports out of this stuff. And then we were told that the community is gathering everything together and needs to translate it. But nothing has come of it. Every single thing they have created turns out not to be true. It’s a great hoax – like the Piltdown man.’ The retired official said that most of the materials from Abbottabad were turned over to the US by the Pakistanis, who later razed the building. The ISI took responsibility for the wives and children of bin Laden, none of whom was made available to the US for questioning.
‘Why create the treasure trove story?’ the retired official said. ‘The White House had to give the impression that bin Laden was still operationally important. Otherwise, why kill him? A cover story was created – that there was a network of couriers coming and going with memory sticks and instructions. All to show that bin Laden remained important.’
In July 2011, the Washington Post published what purported to be a summary of some of these materials. The story’s contradictions were glaring. It said the documents had resulted in more than four hundred intelligence reports within six weeks; it warned of unspecified al-Qaida plots; and it mentioned arrests of suspects ‘who are named or described in emails that bin Laden received’. The Post didn’t identify the suspects or reconcile that detail with the administration’s previous assertions that the Abbottabad compound had no internet connection. Despite their claims that the documents had produced hundreds of reports, the Post also quoted officials saying that their main value wasn’t the actionable intelligence they contained, but that they enabled ‘analysts to construct a more comprehensive portrait of al-Qaida’.
In May 2012, the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, a private research group, released translations it had made under a federal government contract of 175 pages of bin Laden documents. Reporters found none of the drama that had been touted in the days after the raid. Patrick Cockburn wrote about the contrast between the administration’s initial claims that bin Laden was the ‘spider at the centre of a conspiratorial web’ and what the translations actually showed: that bin Laden was ‘delusional’ and had ‘limited contact with the outside world outside his compound’.
The retired official disputed the authenticity of the West Point materials: ‘There is no linkage between these documents and the counterterrorism centre at the agency. No intelligence community analysis. When was the last time the CIA: 1) announced it had a significant intelligence find; 2) revealed the source; 3) described the method for processing the materials; 4) revealed the time-line for production; 5) described by whom and where the analysis was taking place, and 6) published the sensitive results before the information had been acted on? No agency professional would support this fairy tale.’
The retired official said that Afridi had been recruited long before the bin Laden mission as part of a separate intelligence effort to get information about suspected terrorists in Abbottabad and the surrounding area. ‘The plan was to use vaccinations as a way to get the blood of terrorism suspects in the villages.’ Afridi made no attempt to obtain DNA from the residents of the bin Laden compound. The report that he did so was a hurriedly put together ‘CIA cover story creating “facts”’ in a clumsy attempt to protect Aziz and his real mission. ‘Now we have the consequences,’ the retired official said. ‘A great humanitarian project to do something meaningful for the peasants has been compromised as a cynical hoax.’ Afridi’s conviction was overturned, but he remains in prison on a murder charge.
‘We thought the best way to ensure that his body was given an appropriate Islamic burial,’ Brennan said, ‘was to take those actions that would allow us to do that burial at sea.’ He said ‘appropriate specialists and experts’ were consulted, and that the US military was fully capable of carrying out the burial ‘consistent with Islamic law’. Brennan didn’t mention that Muslim law calls for the burial service to be conducted in the presence of an imam, and there was no suggestion that one happened to be on board the Carl Vinson.
In a reconstruction of the bin Laden operation for Vanity Fair, Mark Bowden, who spoke to many senior administration officials, wrote that bin Laden’s body was cleaned and photographed at Jalalabad. Further procedures necessary for a Muslim burial were performed on the carrier, he wrote, ‘with bin Laden’s body being washed again and wrapped in a white shroud. A navy photographer recorded the burial in full sunlight, Monday morning, May 2.’ Bowden described the photos:
One frame shows the body wrapped in a weighted shroud. The next shows it lying diagonally on a chute, feet overboard. In the next frame the body is hitting the water. In the next it is visible just below the surface, ripples spreading outward. In the last frame there are only circular ripples on the surface. The mortal remains of Osama bin Laden were gone for good.
Bowden was careful not to claim that he had actually seen the photographs he described, and he recently told me he hadn’t seen them: ‘I’m always disappointed when I can’t look at something myself, but I spoke with someone I trusted who said he had seen them himself and described them in detail.’ Bowden’s statement adds to the questions about the alleged burial at sea, which has provoked a flood of Freedom of Information Act requests, most of which produced no information. One of them sought access to the photographs. The Pentagon responded that a search of all available records had found no evidence that any photographs had been taken of the burial. Requests on other issues related to the raid were equally unproductive. The reason for the lack of response became clear after the Pentagon held an inquiry into allegations that the Obama administration had provided access to classified materials to the makers of the film Zero Dark Thirty. The Pentagon report, which was put online in June 2013, noted that Admiral McRaven had ordered the files on the raid to be deleted from all military computers and moved to the CIA, where they would be shielded from FOIA requests by the agency’s ‘operational exemption’.
McRaven’s action meant that outsiders could not get access to the Carl Vinson’s unclassified logs. Logs are sacrosanct in the navy, and separate ones are kept for air operations, the deck, the engineering department, the medical office, and for command information and control. They show the sequence of events day by day aboard the ship; if there has been a burial at sea aboard the Carl Vinson, it would have been recorded.
There wasn’t any gossip about a burial among the Carl Vinson’s sailors. The carrier concluded its six-month deployment in June 2011. When the ship docked at its home base in Coronado, California, Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, commander of the Carl Vinson carrier strike group, told reporters that the crew had been ordered not to talk about the burial. Captain Bruce Lindsey, skipper of the Carl Vinson, told reporters he was unable to discuss it. Cameron Short, one of the crew of the Carl Vinson, told the Commercial-News of Danville, Illinois, that the crew had not been told anything about the burial. ‘All he knows is what he’s seen on the news,’ the newspaper reported.
The Pentagon did release a series of emails to the Associated Press. In one of them, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette reported that the service followed ‘traditional procedures for Islamic burial’, and said none of the sailors on board had been permitted to observe the proceedings. But there was no indication of who washed and wrapped the body, or of which Arabic speaker conducted the service.
Within weeks of the raid, I had been told by two longtime consultants to Special Operations Command, who have access to current intelligence, that the funeral aboard the Carl Vinson didn’t take place. One consultant told me that bin Laden’s remains were photographed and identified after being flown back to Afghanistan. The consultant added: ‘At that point, the CIA took control of the body. The cover story was that it had been flown to the Carl Vinson.’ The second consultant agreed that there had been ‘no burial at sea’. He added that ‘the killing of bin Laden was political theatre designed to burnish Obama’s military credentials … The Seals should have expected the political grandstanding. It’s irresistible to a politician. Bin Laden became a working asset.’ Early this year, speaking again to the second consultant, I returned to the burial at sea. The consultant laughed and said: ‘You mean, he didn’t make it to the water?’
The retired official said there had been another complication: some members of the Seal team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body to pieces with rifle fire. The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains – or so the Seals claimed. At the time, the retired official said, the Seals did not think their mission would be made public by Obama within a few hours: ‘If the president had gone ahead with the cover story, there would have been no need to have a funeral within hours of the killing. Once the cover story was blown, and the death was made public, the White House had a serious “Where’s the body?” problem. The world knew US forces had killed bin Laden in Abbottabad. Panic city. What to do? We need a “functional body” because we have to be able to say we identified bin Laden via a DNA analysis. It would be navy officers who came up with the “burial at sea” idea. Perfect. No body. Honourable burial following sharia law. Burial is made public in great detail, but Freedom of Information documents confirming the burial are denied for reasons of “national security”. It’s the classic unravelling of a poorly constructed cover story – it solves an immediate problem but, given the slightest inspection, there is no back-up support. There never was a plan, initially, to take the body to sea, and no burial of bin Laden at sea took place.’ The retired official said that if the Seals’ first accounts are to be believed, there wouldn’t have been much left of bin Laden to put into the sea in any case.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s long-delayed report on CIA torture, released last December, documented repeated instances of official lying, and suggested that the CIA’s knowledge of bin Laden’s courier was sketchy at best and predated its use of waterboarding and other forms of torture. The report led to international headlines about brutality and waterboarding, along with gruesome details about rectal feeding tubes, ice baths and threats to rape or murder family members of detainees who were believed to be withholding information. Despite the bad publicity, the report was a victory for the CIA. Its major finding – that the use of torture didn’t lead to discovering the truth – had already been the subject of public debate for more than a decade. Another key finding – that the torture conducted was more brutal than Congress had been told – was risible, given the extent of public reporting and published exposés by former interrogators and retired CIA officers. The report depicted tortures that were obviously contrary to international law as violations of rules or ‘inappropriate activities’ or, in some cases, ‘management failures’. Whether the actions described constitute war crimes was not discussed, and the report did not suggest that any of the CIA interrogators or their superiors should be investigated for criminal activity. The agency faced no meaningful consequences as a result of the report.
The retired official told me that the CIA leadership had become experts in derailing serious threats from Congress: ‘They create something that is horrible but not that bad. Give them something that sounds terrible. “Oh my God, we were shoving food up a prisoner’s ass!” Meanwhile, they’re not telling the committee about murders, other war crimes, and secret prisons like we still have in Diego Garcia. The goal also was to stall it as long as possible, which they did.’
The main theme of the committee’s 499-page executive summary is that the CIA lied systematically about the effectiveness of its torture programme in gaining intelligence that would stop future terrorist attacks in the US. The lies included some vital details about the uncovering of an al-Qaida operative called Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, who was said to be the key al-Qaida courier, and the subsequent tracking of him to Abbottabad in early 2011. The agency’s alleged intelligence, patience and skill in finding al-Kuwaiti became legend after it was dramatised in Zero Dark Thirty.
The Senate report repeatedly raised questions about the quality and reliability of the CIA’s intelligence about al-Kuwaiti. In 2005 an internal CIA report on the hunt for bin Laden noted that ‘detainees provide few actionable leads, and we have to consider the possibility that they are creating fictitious characters to distract us or to absolve themselves of direct knowledge about bin Ladin [sic].’ A CIA cable a year later stated that ‘we have had no success in eliciting actionable intelligence on bin Laden’s location from any detainees.’ The report also highlighted several instances of CIA officers, including Panetta, making false statements to Congress and the public about the value of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in the search for bin Laden’s couriers.
Obama today is not facing re-election as he was in the spring of 2011. His principled stand on behalf of the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran says much, as does his decision to operate without the support of the conservative Republicans in Congress. High-level lying nevertheless remains the modus operandi of US policy, along with secret prisons, drone attacks, Special Forces night raids, bypassing the chain of command, and cutting out those who might say no.
Seymour Hersh Succumbs To Disinformation — Paul Craig Roberts
Hersh concludes that the Obama regime’s account of the killing of bin Laden is a total fabrication except for the fact that bin Laden was killed.
I do not believe Hersh’s story for three reasons. One reason is that bin Laden was suffering from disease that no one can survive for a decade. His death was widely reported in 2001. One reason is that even Hersh’s “true” account of “what really happened” is contradicted by eye witnesses and the initial Pakistani TV interviews of eye witnesses. One reason is that Hersh’s story is too convoluted for an assassination raid, a routine event. He exposes lies within lies, indecision within decision, payoffs within payoffs, and reports such a huge number of people with advance knowledge of the raid that it cannot possibly have been kept a secret.
I could add a fourth reason–the US government’s lack of credibility. Washington lies about everything. For example: Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, Russian invasion of Ukraine. If, as Hersh reports, lies comprise 99% of Washington’s tale of the raid in Abbottabad, why believe that 1% of the story is true and that bin Laden was killed. It is difficult to have murder without a body. The only evidence that bin Laden was killed is the government’s claim.
In my opinion, Washington’s disinformation agencies have finally managed to deceive Seymour Hersh with a concocted “inside story” that saves Washington’s claim of having murdered bin Laden by proving that the US government is an extraordinary liar and violator of law.
Hersh’s story does prove that the US government is a liar, but it does not prove that a
SEAL team murdered Osama bin Laden.
What we’re learning from Seymour Hersh’s bombshell story
By Justin Raimondo
May 13, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – “Antiwar“- Who said this?:“I’m not saying that they’re at the highest levels, but I believe that somewhere in this government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda is, where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is, and we expect more cooperation to help us bring to justice, capture or kill those who attacked us on 9/11.”
That was Hillary Clinton, almost exactly four years ago.
Her remarks caused a storm of controversy – not in the US, where suspicion of the Pakistanis was rife, but in Pakistan, where the US was already in trouble due to drone attacks that routinely kill innocent civilians. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar denied the American Secretary of State’s accusations, but he did so in a way that, in retrospect, hardly seems like a denial at all: “If there were officials who knew where bin Laden was,” he averred, “I can assure you that he would not be a free man.”
But of course, according to Seymour Hersh’s 10,000-word piece in the London Review of Books, he wasn’t a free man during his years in protective custody in the Abbottabad hideaway so conveniently close to ISI headquarters and within spitting distance of the capital city of Islamabad. There were steel doors on the entrance to his third story quarters and armed guards posted, all of it subsidized by the Saudis. The ailing and elderly Osama bin Laden was a prisoner, and had been since 2006.
Amid the hysterics in our state-worshipping “mainstream” media, where the accomplices of power are busy echoing the denials of various government officials, the key element of Hersh’s stunning exposé is being steadfastly ignored, and it is this:
What would have been “the worst thing”?
Imagine if bin Laden, instead of being killed – in a firefight, according to the Official Government-Approved Story, or simply murdered, according to Hersh – had been captured alive. If Hersh’s reporting is correct – and I believe it is – then a whole can of worms Washington has gone to a great deal of trouble to keep sealed would have come pouring out.
Peter Bergen, the British born author and terrorism expert, has come out against the Hersh revelations guns blazing: it’s a “farrago of nonsense,” he spluttered, because the Saudis are the sworn enemies of al-Qaeda, which has vowed to overthrow the monarchy. Yet this assumes “the Saudis” are a monolith, that there are no al-Qaeda supporters or sympathizers within the royal family and governmental apparatus. But this assumption is totally unwarranted, as former Senator Bob Graham of Florida – once head of the Senate Intelligence Committee – and those members of Congress who have read the censored 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 would no doubt argue.
Those 28 pages deal with the involvement of certain foreign governments in the events leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Members of Congress are allowed to read them, but must do so in the presence of intelligence officials in a soundproof bug-proof underground room: they cannot take notes, or reveal what they have read to anyone. President Obama, when he ran for office, promised the families of the 9/11 victims he would declassify those pages, but has so far not done so.
Those who have direct knowledge of the information contained therein are unequivocal about which country assisted the 9/11 hijackers in their grisly, fateful task. Graham says the Saudi government directly aided the hijackers and that the FBI has covered it up. Rep. Thomas Massie described his reaction upon reading the censored 28 pages:
“It was a really disturbing event for me to read those. I had to stop every two or three pages and rearrange my perception of history. And it’s that fundamental…it certainly changes your view of the Middle East.”
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Massachussets) says the assertions of Saudi financing of the 9/11 attacks are verified in the 28 pages: “There are people named; there are transactions identified.” Speaking of the Obama administration, Lynch went on to say: “What are they afraid of? Having those 28 pages disclosed to the public will inform our foreign policy going forward, which would be very helpful at this stage.”
Hersh, in his interview with Democracy Now!, asserts the Saudis were aiding al-Qaeda both “before and after” 9/11, and that their fear of bin Laden blabbing to the Americans led to their support for his Abbottabad internment.
Hersh’s bombshell story has the media in defensive mode: defensive, that is, of their patrons and overseers in official Washington. Nothing illustrates this master-slave relationship more clearly than the ferocity unleashed on Hersh by the administration’s Praetorian Guard in the “mainstream” press. Everyone from Max Fisher of Vox – a reliably pro-Obama outlet – to Jamie Kirchick, the neocons’ slimiest smear-monger, are screaming “Conspiracy theorist!” at the top of their lungs. Within this left-right anti-Hersh Popular Front various motivations coexist, but all are united in the contention that our government would never ever lie to us about something so big, so important, as the circumstances surrounding the killing of bin Laden.
Faith in our government leaders – blind, worshipful suspension of disbelief – is what unites both wings of the Washington establishment, and this faith is almost religious in its intensity in the one institution where it should be entirely absent: the “mainstream” media. Yet it isn’t at all surprising that, instead of pursuing the many leads provided by Hersh in his reporting, they are busying themselves smearing and sneering at the man who exposed the My Lai massacre and Abu Ghraib atrocities. After all, these are the same people who swallowed every lie put out by the Bush administration in the run up to the invasion of Iraq, broadcasting and elaborating on the phony “intelligence” promulgated by the neocons as justification for what Gen. William E. Odom accurately characterized as the worst disaster in American military history.
There is much more to Hersh’s reporting than I can cover in one column, but his essential contentions – that bin Laden’s location was revealed by a “walk-in” from Pakistani intelligence, and that the Pakistani government knew the terrorist chieftain’s location – have already been corroborated by NBC News.
What’s striking, however, is the embarrassing editorial addendum to this reporting by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: in an interview with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, a very uneasy-looking Mitchell contented that this doesn’t contradict the Obama administration’s Official Story in any way.
That’s worse than mere nonsense: it’s a pernicious and conscious lie, and it’s to Hayes’ eternal shame that he sat there without calling her on it. The whole administration narrative is based on the concocted story that we found bin Laden by tracing him through his personal courier: that it was due to the heroic efforts of our intelligence agencies, plus a little torture, that we got our man. (The bit about torture was later retracted, although it was featured in “Zero Dark Thirty,” a Pentagon-sponsored film about the operation).
We are learning a lot more from Hersh’s reporting than how and why bin Laden met his end: we’re learning that our media is among the most servile on earth, and that our political leaders lie routinely, and effortlessly, faking outrage better than the best Hollywood actor. We’re learning that you can’t trust anyone in government and the media (or do I repeat myself?) farther than you can throw them. And we’re learning, above all, that the truth is out there, and will eventually come out no matter what the Washington know-it-alls say or do.
Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000]. Copyright © Antiwar.com 2015
Why Is The Hersh Abbottabad Story Coming Out Now?
By Moon of Alabama
May 12, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – The Hersh story about the killing of Osama bin Laden gets trashed by the usual suspects in the main stream media. They have fallen for, and “reported”, the story the White House and the CIA told them. To acknowledge that Hersh is mostly right on this would embarrass them too much.
But they could have known better. The Hersh story is not new. It is pretty much the same story R.J. Hillhouse told back in 2011. Her take was also somewhat confirmed by the former Pakistani Brigadier FB Ali at Pat Lang’s site.
Hillhouse is now pissed, rightly, that the current Hersh story does not mention her account:
On August 7, 2011, I wrote, among other things:
- The US cover story of how they found bin Laden was fiction
- OBL was turned in by a walk-in informant, a mid-level ISI officer seeking to claim $25 million under the “Rewards for Justice” program.
- The Pakistani Intelligence Service — ISI — was sheltering bin Laden
- Saudi cash was financing the ISI operation keeping bin Laden captive
- The US presented an ultimatum to Pakistan that they would lose US funding if they did not cooperate with a US operation against bin Laden
- Pakistani generals Kiyani and Pasha were involved in the US operation that killed OBL
- Pakistan pulled out its troops from the area of Abottabad to facilitate the American raid
- The Obama administration betrayed the cooperating Pakistani officials
- The Obama administration scrambled to explain the crashed helicopter when their original drone strike cover story collapsed
That all make sense and, as I do not believe that Hersh has a need to simply plagiarize her, is now confirmed by his sources.
The great heroic tales of the seals, the “torture let to bin Laden” claims by the CIA and all the other nonsense told about the event were just propaganda.
But one wonders why the story is coming out now. Sure it makes the White House look bad. It also lets the Pakistani generals look bad but only in the eyes of the Saudis. But it surely lets the Saudis look bad – those people who financed Bin Laden and paid the Pakistanis to keep him locked up. Who might have been that?
Coincidentally a piece in today’s NYT about the new Saudi king gives hints:
In increasing the kingdom’s regional role, King Salman risks escalating the conflict with Iran, fueling further instability. And his support for Islamists could end up empowering extremists, just as Saudi support for the Afghan jihad decades ago helped create Al Qaeda.
King Salman has a history of working with Islamists. Decades ago, he was a royal point man and fund-raiser for jihadists going to Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere.
Salman just snubbed Obama by declining an invitation to Camp David. He is ignoring U.S. “advice” to stop the bombing of Yemen. Is someone trying to apply pressure on him.
It is always interesting when one sees such issues – the Hersh story, the NYT tale of his AlQaeda financing and Salman’s resistance to the White House orders – come together at a single point in time. Is that directed or just coincidence?
By Linh Dinh
|Ed note – Both of the articles below were first published in May 2011|
May 04, 2011 – Since September 11, 2001, Bin Laden had been mostly an absence. His few video or audio tapes were highly suspect, and speculations about his death had often surfaced. On July 11, 2002, Amir Taheri wrote in the New York Times, “Osama bin Laden is dead. The news first came from sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan almost six months ago: the fugitive died in December and was buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan […] With an ego the size of Mount Everest, Osama bin Laden would not have, could not have, remained silent for so long if he were still alive. He always liked to take credit even for things he had nothing to do with. Would he remain silent for nine months and not trumpet his own survival?”
But save for one doubtful video, Bin Laden never took credit for 9/11. In fact, he repeatedly denied any responsibility for those mass murders. On September 28, 2001, he was interviewed by the Karachi Ummat, an Urdu language newspaper. The US Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a component of the CIA, translated:
[…] I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. Neither I had any knowledge of these attacks nor I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people. Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel. There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia? Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies [of Muslims]. The US has no friends, nor it wants to keep one because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates […] Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed […] The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive […] Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This [funding issue] was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger. They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usama and Taliban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of $40 billion. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance. Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US President, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks […]
Judge for yourself. Does this sound like the raving of some mad man with an ego the size of Mount Everest? He sounds quite composed, actually, and far more lucid, perceptive and concise than all American politicians and most intellectuals. In any case, this interview was the last substantial utterance from Bin Laden. After this, he more or less disappeared.
Though neither seen nor heard, he was often evoked to justify the crimes America was committing against others, and even her own citizens. Bin Laden vindicated whatever our leaders chose to do. But ten years is a long time, however, to throw this shadow against our walls. This bearded man had become a bit of a joke, frankly. On a cartoon show, the folks of South Park Colorado, even asked Bin Laden to help them kill an invading horde from New Jersey.
This week, our government decided, finally, to kill off the Bin Laden apparition. Since the United States had supposedly been after him since 1998, you would think they’d hang on to their man a bit longer after they got him, if they got him, but within hours of finding her public enemy number one, America got rid of Bin Laden!
Hey, if you can’t show me something, maybe you don’t have it, especially since you are a chronic liar and in the cloak and dagger business. For most English-language trials since the disappearance of William Harrison in 1660, there has been the principle of no corpse, no murder, but here you actually have an open admission of murder, widely broadcast, but no corpse, which is tantamount to destruction of evidence, whatever it was.
So the CIA is basically saying to us, The dog ate my cadaver. Frankly, this farce was so crudely put together, the explanation so ridiculous, that our overlords must think most of us are morons, brainwashed as we are by cradle-to-grave propaganda delivered via print or pixels. I hate to think they might be right.
Though the important questions are not being asked, the official lessons are being pounded into our heads. According to governmental bobbleheads and embedded media pundits, this virtual assassination is a vindication of America and her (evil) ways. The end justifies the means, you see, so waterboarding, extra-rendition and all the rest have been and are necessary.
Ari Fleischer, former Bush mouthpiece, attributed this week’s happy outcome to “a strong foundation of anti-terrorist efforts including the predator strikes in northern Pakistan, indefinite detention, Guantanamo where we had interrogation techniques that led to the courier […] all that is what Barack Obama continued that George Bush started. This is a day for all of us to just be proud of what our country has accomplished.”
Obama also dished up some righteousness, “Tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.”
An additional lesson was provided by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. With Bin Laden gone, he said to CNN, it was time to eradicate Bin Ladenism, which he defined as using violence to affect political changes. An apologist for the ultra violent state Israel and America’s invasion of Iraq, Friedman did not seem to care that it is the US that leads the world in violence for political and economic ends. Even before 9/11, the Taliban made repeated overtures to hand Bin Laden over to the US, but America would have none of it. Our intention, then as now, was to bomb, bomb and bomb!
So like a great clean up batter, dead man Bin Laden brought everyone safely home. Bush could round the bases at last, could find closure and high five Obama at home plate. We’re all on the same team, see? Even Colin Powell could be defrosted long enough to gush over our Navy Seals.
To pro ve his U.S. birth, Obama showed us an electronic file then, jokingly, a cartoon excerpt, but to prove Bin Laden’s death, Obama’s handlers have given us nothing but a cartoon narrative suitable only for dimwitted children. The bloody crooks hustling us must be incredulous, if not laughing uproariously, at what they can get away with in this nation of suckers.
Murder without Corpse
By Linh Dinh
May 08, 2011 – In a photograph, Bush is shown in an Army jacket, his hands holding a tray with a picture-perfect turkey, garlanded by grapes. He is surrounded by American troops, most of whom are not looking at him. This is meant to convey that the photo was spontaneous, casual, and not posed. It is authentic.
In another photograph, Obama is shown in the Situation Room of the White House, surrounded by his top security advisors. They are watching something. Of the thirteen faces, none is looking at the camera. Again, this is to convey that the photo was natural and spontaneous. Obama is shown in a casual jacket, Biden in shirt sleeves, details that indicate they are at work, and not posing for a propaganda photo, god forbid. This image is so authentic, in fact, that it borders on the illicit. This was a secret session, after all. That’s why all of the laptop monitors have been blackened out, and the photo in front of Hillary Clinton has been blurred. We should be thankful, then, for this courtesy peep at a scene we shouldn’t even have access to. The spontaneity is also reinforced by an unfamiliar face at the back, peeking in. She is younger and shorter than the rest, truly a little person among heavyweights, nearly all of whom are men, by the way, yet only the most cynical would conclude that this small woman was added to double the female representation in the room. A really tall and large woman would not do. Like that worm in the British royal wedding photo, this tiny woman provides just enough intrigue without distracting.
As we all know, Bush served up a plastic turkey, so the turkey propaganda photo was itself a turkey, but a much bigger turkey is the Situation Room image. Releasing it, the White House explained that Obama and company were watching the raid and execution of Bin Laden in real time, with the snuff film made possible by a camera mounted on the helmet of a Navy Seal. Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that any head during a firefight is not likely to be stationary, not long enough, in any case, to broadcast steadily and clearly to the folks back home, not unless it wants to be a dead head, that is.
“Hey, Seal with the camera, run up that stairs and fix your gaze on Geronimo, will you? Remember to stand still and don’t duck, so our Commander in Chief will have a vivid stream of images, OK?”
Soon after, the White House explained that there was no live feed of the crucial moment, after all, that the camera actually didn’t work for 25 of the 38-minute raid, so there was absolutely no video footage of Bin Laden, but why this sudden reversal? Can’t these people work out their lies before they broadcast them to us?
The White House had to backtrack because it had painted itself into a corner. It had already refused to produce photos of a dead Bin Laden. He had been shot above the eye, it said, shattering his skull, so such a gory image would inflame Muslim sentiments. “We don’t want to spike the football,” Obama explained. But if we can’t see a dead Bin Laden, how about a photo of him alive? If a helmet mounted camera could deliver a live feed to the Situation Room, surely it can produce at least one image of Bin Laden with his head still intact, and in that house? But this, too, was out of the question, incredibly enough.
With webcams, surveillance cameras, Google street view and the ubiquitous camera phones, it seems that the entire world is always photographed, or ready to be photographed these days, that anyone at any moment can be captured by that voracious shutter, then uploaded onto a screen. There are cameras hidden inside pens, books, boom boxes, clocks, air purifiers and smoke detectors. You can probably google any name, a grade school chum, your first lover, long lost cat, dead grandma, bless her soul, and find photos of them online, uploaded by the Pentagon, or maybe God himself.
The public has also come to expect a photo, as evidence or trophy, after any political assassination or execution. Just think of the strung up Mussolini, bloody Ngo Dinh Diem inside an armored car, a shirtless Che Guevara or the bandaged head of Leon Trotsky.
We are drowning in photographs, most of which we can do without, yet the one image that everyone wants to see this week, of a Bin Laden dead or alive during the raid, is not available. Instead, we are treated to a wealth of irrelevant information. We are told that there was “a hero dog” involved; that Obama and company had turkey pita wraps, cold shrimp, potato chips and soda, bought from Costco, the cheapo outlet—how nice, this common man touch—in the Situation Room; that Obama has met to congratulate his commandos, all highly intelligent and responsible family men between the ages of 30 and 40. Whatever.
The Bin Laden photos would not matter if there was a corpse, but that too, has gone missing, so without a cadaver or even the flimsy evidence of a photoshopped photograph, what is there to this sensational murder, really? Nothing but words from the CIA and the White House. Though they lied to us about Jessica Lynch’s “rescue” and Pat Tillman’s murder, we are to believe them this time because they have suddenly decided to speak the truth. Honestly.
Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating social scape through his frequently updated photo blog, Postcards from the End of America.
September 2001 Interview with Osama bin Laden. Categorically Denies his Involvement in 9/11
Full text of Pakistani paper’s Sept 2001 “exclusive” interview
Global Research Editor’s Note
We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.
The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.
The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.
Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.
In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.
He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of the September 11 attacks.
This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.
We have highlighted key sections of this interview.
It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.
Michel Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014
Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin
Ummat (in Urdu)
translated from Urdu
Karachi, 28 September 2001, pp. 1 and 7.
Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.
The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.
Following is the interview in full detail:
Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?
Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.
I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.
Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.
There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?
Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .
The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.
However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .
Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.
According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.
Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.
They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.
Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.
Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?
Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?
Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.
We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.
Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?
Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom. This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.
Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.
Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.
Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?
Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.
The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.
Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?
Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.
These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.
Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?
Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.
Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?
Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.
Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001
Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller
According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.
The Big Lie: Obama DID NOT Kill Bin Laden!
Claiming otherwise is one of his many Big Lies. On May 1, 2011, he willfully deceived the US public saying:
“The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda.”
“Today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.”
In last Sunday’s London Review of Books, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh shredded Obama’s Big Lie like others before him.
Obama’s official narrative “might have been written by (Alice in Wonderland author) Lewis Carroll,” he said. It was a total fabrication. More on his account below.
Volumes of evidence separate fact from fiction. On July 11, 2002, TheNew York Times said “Osama bin Laden is dead. (He) died in December and was buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan.”
“Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf, echoed the information…(T)he truth is that Osama bin Laden is dead.”
The BBC, Fox News and other media sources reported the same information. David Ray Griffin‘s seminal book on the topic titled “Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?” did it best.
He presented “objective evidence and testimonies.” The former includes the following:
Through December 13, 2001, the CIA monitored messages between bin Laden and his associates. Suddenly they stopped.
On December 26, 2001, a leading Pakistani newspaper reported bin Laden’s death. It cited a prominent Taliban official attending his funeral – witnessing his dead body before it was laid to rest.
His was very ill with kidney disease and other ailments. In July 2001, he was treated at the American Hospital in Dubai.
On September 10, 2001 (one day before 9/11), CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported his admittance to a Rawalpindi, Pakistan hospital.
He had nothing to do with 9/11. An earlier article discussed the Mother of All Big Lies.
In January 2001, Dr. Sanjay Gupta said bin Laden appeared “in the last stages of kidney failure” (according to Griffin) – based on video evidence he saw in late November or early December 2001.
In July 2002, CNN reported the capture of bin Laden’s bodyguards months earlier in February. “Sources believe that if the bodyguards were captured away from bin Laden, it is likely the most-wanted man in the world is dead,” it said.
Washington offered a $25 million reward for information leading to bin Laden’s capture or killing. No one came forward to claim it. More on this below.
Testimonial evidence Griffin cited included influential “people in a position to know” saying bin Laden died in December 2001 including:
- Pakistan President Musharraf;
- FBI counterterrorism head Dale Watson;
- Oliver North saying, “I’m certain that Osama is dead…and so are all the other guys I stay in touch with;”
- Afghanistan President Karzai;
- Israeli intelligence saying supposed bin Laden messages were fake; and
- Pakistan’s ISI “confirm(ing) the death of…Osama bin Laden (and) attribut(ing) the reasons behind Washington’s hiding (the truth) to the desire of (America’s hawks) to use the issue of al Qaeda and international terrorism to invade Iraq.”
In October 2008, former CIA case officer Robert Baer told National Public Radio when asked: “Of course he’s dead.”
In March 2009, former Foreign Service officer Angelo Codevilla published an American Spectator article titled “Osama bin Elvis, saying:
“Seven years after (his) last verifiable appearance among the living, there is more evidence of Elvis’s presence among us than for his.”
Griffin explained today’s advanced technology can create fake messages and videos able to fool most people.
Pre-May 2011 claims about “bin Laden’s continued existence (weren’t) backed up by evidence,” Griffin explained.
Perpetuating the myth about bin Laden remaining alive until May 2011 remains one of the Big Lies of our time.
It bears repeating. Clear evidence proves he died of natural causes in December 2001. Keeping alive a dead man was done to pursue America’s phony “war on terror.”
So-called “Enemy Number One” was used to stoke fear as pretext for post-9/11 imperial wars on one country after another to this day.
Griffin hoped his book would help shorten America’s wars. They rage endlessly. Don’t expect Hersh’s article to change things.
He said bin Laden’s reported killing was “the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election.”
The official White House account of bin Laden’s death was totally “false,” said Hersh. His version of events differs markedly from Griffin’s explained above.
Most important is both explanations and others expose the official Big Lie – hype used as justification for America’s war on terror, naked aggression against one country after another by any standard.
Hersh said the May 2011 bin Laden operation began in August 2010 after a former senior Pakistani (ISI) intelligence official offered information on his location in return for the $25 million reward Washington promised leading to his death or capture.
Claiming he was in Abbottabad under ISI house arrest doesn’t comport with convincing evidence of his December 2001 death.
Saying Obama wanted Osama dead belies his earlier demise. The staged bin Laden killing was hokum – especially with no visuals, corpse, independent proof and shifting official accounts.
Major events are always strategically timed for political reasons. In this case, to boost Obama’s sagging image. It got an immediate bump following the staged event.
It diverted attention from neoliberal harshness, force-fed austerity and protracted homeland Main Street Depression conditions.
They’re evident today in unprecedented levels of borderline/actual/or deep poverty, unemployment or underemployment, homelessness, hunger and overall deprivation in the world’s richest country.
It continued post-9/11 fear-mongering to further Washington’s imperial agenda – featuring one direct or proxy war of aggression after another against nations threatening no others.
So-called DNA evidence claimed to prove bin Laden’s death 12 hours after the staged Abbottabad incident was fake.
Experts explain DNA identification takes days to complete – impossible in hours, especially in a location with no professional lab or skilled personnel to conduct it.
Convincing evidence revealed about the alleged May 2011 bin Laden killing proves the official White House account was fabricated – one of many of Obama’s Big Lies.
A Final Comment
On August 6, 2011, 30 US special forces (including 20 Navy Seals) involved in the Abbottabad incident died in a reported helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
Draw your own conclusions. Dead men tell no tales.
The Mysterious Death of Osama bin Laden: Creating Evidence Where There Is None
The New Yorker has published a story planted on Nicholas Schmidle by unidentified sources who claim to be familiar with the alleged operation that murdered Osama bin Laden.
There is no useful information in the story. Its purpose seems simply to explain away or cover up holes in the original story, principally why did the Seals murder an unarmed, unresisting Osama bin Laden whose capture would have resulted in a goldmine of terrorist information and whose show trial would have rescued the government’s crumbling 9/11 story?
The gullible Schmidle tells us: “‘There was never any question of detaining or capturing him–it wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,’ the special-operations officer told me.” In other words, the SEALs murdered bin Laden, because the US government did not want detainees, not because trigger-happy stupid SEALs destroyed a font of terrorist information.
Why did the SEALS dump bin Laden’s body in the ocean instead of producing the evidence to a skeptical world?
No real explanation, just that SEALS had done the same thing to other victims. Schmidle writes: “All along, the SEALs had planned to dump bin Laden’s corpse into the sea–a blunt way of ending the bin Laden myth.” But before they did so, the US checked with an unidentified Saudi intelligence operative, who allegedly replied, “Your plan sounds like a good one.”
I mean, really.
After all of Sy Hersh’s New Yorker revelations of US government lies and plots, one can understand the pressure that might have been applied to the New Yorker to publish this fairy tale. But what is extraordinary is that there was a real story that Schmidle and the New Yorker could have investigated.
In the immediate aftermath of bin Laden’s alleged murder by the SEALs, Pakistani TV interviewed the next door neighbor to bin Laden’s alleged compound. Someone supplied the video with an English translation running at the bottom of the video. According to the translation, the next door neighbor, Mr. Bashir, said that he watched the entire operation from the roof of his house. There were 3 helicopters. Only 1 landed. About a dozen men got out and entered the house. They shortly returned and boarded the helicopter. When the helicopter lifted off it exploded, killing all aboard. Mr. Bashir reports seeing bodies and pieces of bodies all over.
The US government acknowledges that it lost a helicopter, but claims no one was hurt. Obviously, as there were no further landings, if everyone was killed as Mr. Bashir reports, there was no body to be dumped into the ocean.
A real investigation would begin with Mr. Bashir’s interview. Was he actually saying what the English translation reported? I have not been able to find the interview with the English translation, but I believe this is the interview that I saw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0vo-L3VACs
Surely there is a qualified interpreter who can tell us what Mr. Bashir is saying. If the English translation that I saw is not a hoax, then we are presented with a story totally different from the one the government told us and repeated again through Mr. Schmidle.
If the English translation of Mr. Bashir’s interview is correct, one would think that there would be some interest on the part of US news organizations and on the part of the intelligence committees in Congress to question Mr. Bashir and his neighbors, many of whom are also interviewed on Pakistani TV saying that they have lived in Abbottabad all their lives and are absolutely certain that Osama bin Laden was not among them.
Mr. Schmidle goes to lengths to describe the SEALs’ weapons, although his story makes it clear that no weapons were needed as bin Laden is described as “unarmed” and undefended. The “startled” bin Laden didn’t even hear the helicopters or all the SEALs coming up the stairs. In addition to all his fatal illnesses which most experts believe killed him a decade ago, bin Laden must have been deaf as neighbors report that the sound of the helicopters was “intense.”
When Pakistanis on the scene in Abbottabad report a totally different story from the one that reaches us second and third hand from unidentified operatives speaking to reporters in the US who have never been to Abbottabad, shouldn’t someone qualified look into the story?
Lies, Lies, and The Death of Bin Laden
The cult of mendacity has met the cult of the disingenuous, from the time the “War on terror” was declared to the pornographic violence of Zero Dark Thirty, a sort of haloing of the American effort against unmitigated evil that culminated in that fatal night in Abbottabad. This was Gunsmoke with torture, and it proved just as convincing.
It was fitting, then, that bin Laden would perish in circumstances he lived in: mystery, deception, an Alice in Wonderland variation of hobbled half-truths and discredited accounts. Alexander Cockburn has called this a “volcano of lies,” though it just as aptly might be deemed a factory of dissimulation, reconstruction and fantasy. It was a factory that provided a barely plausible cover story over the Navy Seal mission that would end his life.
The main feature of the entire operation was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – chief of the army staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and director general of ISI, General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, were kept in the dark about it. Our only conclusion is that the White House lied, and did so with some enthusiasm.
Naturally, the responses to this account of purported cover-up have been frothily indignant. Max Boot, who tends to see the jackboot of freedom march with determination before the shackle of liberty, accused Hersh as being a fantasist, and a left-wing one at that. Presumably, the report on attempts to cover-up the My Lai atrocity perpetrated by US forces in Vietnam was another sterling effort of a fantasist.
One conspicuous note for the cognoscenti of investigative journalism lay in the forum Hersh ended up publishing in. His effort appeared in the London Review of Books, rather than his traditional home of The New Yorker, to which he has been a contributor since 1971. That, it was surmised, was largely because New Yorker’s Nicholas Schmidle had written a story in August 2011 hugging the official narrative spun by the White House. As Gabriel Sherman posed, “Was New Yorker editor David Remnick’s decision not to publish Hersh’s piece a sign that Hersh’s account couldn’t be trusted?”
All who sup from the bin Laden cup have been found wanting, largely because those who have been writing the history have been held on a tight leash. Peter Bergen of CNN suggested that Hersh’s piece “reads like Frank Underwood from House of Cards has made an unholy alliance with Carrie Mathison from Homeland to produce a Pakistani version of Watergate.” (Hersh himself makes the same accusation of the Obama administration’s story, though he prefers the inspiration of Lewis Carroll.)
Bergen’s sideswipe falls to the anonymous retired US intelligence source. He deems it a pretty tall order to go about accusing the American president and his top advisors of instinctive and calculated lying on the basis of just one source, though a careful reading will necessitate a dismissal of Bergen’s point. He argues, instead, for his own set of factoids, claiming that the Hersh account “is a farrago of nonsense that is contravened by a multitude of eyewitness accounts, inconvenient facts and simple common sense.” Fanciful stuff indeed considering that nothing about the “war” on terror has involved a shred of common sense.
He also happily puts in his diminished two-cents worth by telling readers that he “was the only outsider to visit the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden lived before the Pakistani military demolished it.” He saw a compound trashed and evidence of “many bullets fired the night of bin Laden’s death.” The point being that more bullets were fired than Hersh is willing to allow. Importantly for Bergen, he finds it impossible that American officials might have even countenanced the very idea of a cover-up. “What did US officials have to lose by saying that bin Laden was being protected by the Pakistanis, if it were true?”
Surely, the one with a smile, crooked as it may be, will be the late bin Laden, his spirit dancing on the narratives that have been springing up around him. Prior to his death, he had died a multitude of times, a body in pieces that seemed to be surviving one assault after another. He was said to be suffering from a host of ailments, yet could muster being the relevant totemic figure in the “war” on terror. He was spectral and dissimulative. He deceived US security forces by dressing up as a woman. He was, at one point, in several locations across the Middle East, suggesting that he had managed the remarkable saint’s feat of bi-location.
Even after his death, there was a debate about where bin Laden’s body should go. An ocean grave it became, but that was hardly the end of the matter. Hersh’s account simply continues a discussion of a myth that continues to enrage and distort.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Assassination of Osama bin Laden: Glaring Anomalies in the Official Narrative
Osama was Left Handed…
This article was first published in May 2011 following the alleged assassination of Osama bin Laden
“In politics stupidity is not a handicap”, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821.)
For those who believe in omens, the triumphal announcement of the murder of Osama bin Laden, his son and various of his household (if it were he) by US., special forces, did not bode well.
Running at the bottom of Fox4O on the event was: “Reports: Obama Bin Laden Dead.” On Fox News, anchor Gerald Rivero announced that Mr Obama had beenshot: ”President Obama, speaking from the East Room of the White House (told) the nation and the world President Obama is in fact dead, it was a US., led strategic …” His co-anchor interrupted and he corrected to: “I am sorry, Osama bin Laden is dead, a strategic operation, they caught him in a mansion outside Islamabad.” (i) Fortunately the President was shown walking away from his lecturn, after the announcement.
Rumours of his death may have been exaggerated, but did not prevent the BBC and Sky News repeating them.(ii, iii.)
However, as the bin Laden saga unravels, electoral suicide may be yet unavoidable. That the President quickly claimed responsibility for the liquidations (“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan…”) is already beginning to seem unfortunate. Also being questioned is legality, with two independent, unpaid UN experts asking some un-charachteristically tough questions.
Christof Heyns’ expertise is in extrajudicial, summary, or arbitary executions, and Martin Scheinin, an authority on human rights and counter terrorism, have stated the importance of knowing if: ” … the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture bin Laden. “The norm should be that terrorists be dealt with as criminals, through legal processes of arrest, trial and judicially decided punishment,” they stated. “Actions taken by States in combating terrorism, especially in high profile cases, set precedents for the way in which the right to life will be treated in future instances.”(iv) That two such authorities should raise deeply concerning questions regarding legality, at the very, least dampens the President’s parade.
Ironically, the 1st., May, the day Obama boasted that bin Laden’s “demise should be welcomed …”, and saw the killing of Colonel Quaddaffi’s son and three young grandchildren, was the day America celebrates “Law Day”: “meant to reflect the role of law in the foundation of the country and to recognise its importance for society.” An aspiration which might have passed its sell by date, some might think.
Since this “new day in the proud history of America”, according to the Daily Mirror (3rd., May) forests’ worth of news print has also shown huge anomalies, unanswered questions and contradictions, including mine (v) which noted some and omitted others, in danger of becoming a book, rather than an article.
A glaring anomaly mentioned by others, is the fact that Pakistani officials said there was neither internet or telephone connection to the home where the family and seemingly others resided, but it was cited as a “Command and Control Centre”, by the US., Administration, who had also stated that the residents did not use mobiles either, for fear of their location being discovered. There was also, apparently no electricity, the world was initially told, but gleefully, apparently took away a “treasure trove” of computers and mobile phones.
No doubt the “Command and Control Centre” story (the same was said regarding Quaddaffi’s son’s modest, one story home) is because, were it not, bombing, or breaking, entering and killing looks a bit like cold blooded murder. The “burials” at sea might, some have queried, tend to confirm some missing bits of the story. Disposing of bodies in water (or concrete pillars and blocks) has long made forensic certainties difficult. No body, no forensics and no proof of wrong doing.
However, we have the videos of bin Laden’s sad, deteriorating years. Wrapped up in a blanket, topped by a wooly hat, unkempt beard, sadly replaying himself, appearing on television. Shades of Saddam Hussein’s unkempt appearance, proof for those who knew of his scrupulous attention to appearance, that he had been held by the US., for months. (By the way, whatever happened to that former US., soldier who alleged just that? All references also seem to have vanished.)
Anyway, back to the videos. There he sits, on the floor, in an apparently run down dwelling, zapping away at the remote (no electricity remember) presumably also in a fantasy world – or is that the Psych-Ops one?
The zapping on the remote is being done, and it is held in his right hand. All pictures that can be found, show him wearing his watch on his right hand (in this one he is not) and those with a gun, holding it in his left, or with it slung over his left shoulder.
Osama bin Laden was left handed. This from the FBI “Most Wanted” notice:
” Bin Laden is left-handed and walks with a cane.”(vi)
So who is it in those videos?
Another day, another anomaly.
There is another anniversary on Ist., May. In 1915, the RMS Lusitania sailed from New York. Six days later, she was torpedoed, with the loss of all on board. Let us hope it is not another political omen for the Obama Administration.
I am indebted to Lesley Docksey, Editor of Abolish War ( http://www.abbolishwar.org.uk ) for her eagle eye .
Pakistan TV Report Contradicts US Claim of Bin Laden’s Death
In my recent article, “Creating Evidence Where There Is None,” about the alleged killing of Osama bin Laden by a commando team of US Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan, I provided a link to a Pakistani National TV interview with Muhammad Bashir, who lives next door to the alleged “compound” of Osama bin Laden. I described the story that Bashir gave of the “attack” and its enormous difference from the one told by the US government. In Bashair’s account, every member of the landing party and anyone brought from the house died when the helicopter exploded on lift-off. I wrote that a qualified person could easily provide a translation of the interview, but that no American print or TV news organization had investigated Bashir’s account.
An attorney with a British Master of Laws degree in international law and diplomacy, who was born in Pakistan, provided the translation below. He writes: “I have no problem with being identified as the translator, but would prefer to remain anonymous.”
The translator provides these definitions and clarifications:
“Gulley” is generally referred (in Urdu) to a sidewalk or pavement. Also for the space between two houses.
“kanal” is a traditional unit of land area, so that one kanal equals exactly 605 square yards or 1/8 Acre; this is equivalent to about 505.857 square meters.
Muhammad Bashir refers to himself as “We”. This is common respectable language for the self; to use the plural term instead of singular. The English language equivalent would be the “Royal, We”.
Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan.
I have translated the entire text of the video.
I have tried my best to keep words in a chronological order, but in some cases this is not possible, as in translation words must be replaced in reverse order to make sense! However, I have had to put a few words in brackets to clarify meaning. If you want to ask about any section – please supply time stamp and I will supply a contextual text.
welcome back! – Muhammad Bashir, Abotabad Area, Bilal Town resident, Looks like an ordinary person, but he is no ordinary person! Muhammad Bashir, lives in Abotabad’s, Bilal Town Opposite Bin Laden’s House.
Night of 2nd May Muhammad Bashir was on the roof of his house, whereupon, the entire OBL, American operation was seen with his own eyes.
Last night, when our team was in Abotabad, Bilal Town, near OBL house, Muhammad Bashir approached me and said that:
“Sister, I want to tell you something that is a great burden on my heart and conscience” – Listen to what he said:
00:59 Muhammad Bashir: I.. today… would like to comment about todays Abotabad operation events, until now, what I am about to say, no person has said.
01:08: Reporter: But, Muhammad Bashir sahib appeared frightened. While speaking to me, Muhammad Bashir sahib phoned his
relative; leader, M.E.A. of Jamaat-e-islami, Abotabad, Abdul Razaq Abaasi on the phone.
01:21: reporter: Tell me your name and where do you live?
Muhammad Bashir: – One minute, first I need to speak to him…I am going to give an interview, a complete interview. Shall I give a
complete interview or half?
Reporter: Complete! – complete!
Muhammad Bashir: I first need to phone him, I need to speak to him
Reporter: I could of…
01:39: Reporter: Muhammad Bashir sahib, on that night’s events of the American operation, that took place, he expressed such comments about circumstances that have never been expressed before, therefore, we checked his ID card, his place of residence and we can confirm that he definitely lives there and we also approached senior politicians and asked about him, after hearing his comments, we were amazed – now you watch what he said.
01:57: Muhammad Bashir: The events that happened are thus; we were awake, we were not asleep.
02:00: Muhammad Bashir: a Helicopter came, and circled and dropped some people there.
02:07: Muhammad Bashir: in that house… where they are saying; Osama lives here, on that house’s roof, they dropped people, after that, the helicopter returned and went back.
02:16: Reporter: How many people were they?
02:18: Muhammad Bashir: They were ten, twelve people
02:20: Muhammad Bashir: After that it left and for approximately 20 minutes, there behind us, on those mountains, it kept going around, the top of the mountains.
02:27: After 20 minutes, it returned. When it returned, at that time there were TWO more helicopters arrived. One came
from the West and one came from the North. When it approached for landing, after that…
At this point;Video cut and resumed:
02:41: Muhammad Bashir: that helicopter, there was an explosion within it and there was fire within it, immediately, we
came out and arrived there. When we arrived, the helicopter was on fire, it was burning. After that, about twenty
minutes later the Army arrived, the police arrived. They moved all of us back…
03:04: Muhammad Bashir: …and all the people inside it, all of them…we think; if Osama was inside it, or inside this house – then who took him to the Americans?
03:16: Muhammad Bashir: Because America…the helicopters that America is saying; IT carried out the operation. If
America did this operation and it’s army came and it’s helicopter came, then that helicopter that came from the
American’s, within that, all the people that came, those people with the explosion were finished, got destroyed!
03:35: Muhammad Bashir: Within it, there was fire, those people, all of them died!
03:39: and if Osama was there, they would have put him in the helicopter. Obviously, if the helicopter caught fire,
Osama could have died there. If their own people were gone, (dead) so could have Osama. After that, the fallen helicopter was
destroyed after this, how can Osama be, with them in America? this is a strange thing!
Video cut & resumes
03:59: Muhammad Bashir: They are saying we killed Osama here. After that, they picked him up and took him away.
04:04: Muhammad Bashir: PICKED HIM UP AND TOOK HIM AWAY – how did they do this? This, what we are thinking!
04:07: Muhammad Bashir: The Americans’ helicopter that came, that fell here and got destroyed!
04:09: Reporter: There was only ONE helicopter?
04:11: Muhammad Bashir: ONE helicopter landed down here, the second helicopter came from above and went towards Mansera.
It did not land. No second helicopter landed!
04:20: Only ONE helicopter, that first dropped it’s passengers, the SAME returned to pick the people and there was an
explosion within it.
04:27: Reporter: People were inside it?
04:29: Muhammad Bashir: People were inside it!
04:30: Reporter: How do you know this?
04:32: Muhammad Bashir: These people, we seen them all
04:34: Reporter: In the helicopter… you saw dead people?
04:36: Muhammad Bashir: We saw dead people!
04:38: Reporter:How many people?
04:39: Muhammad Bashir: This, we could not count, within the compound there was fire.
04:43: Muhammad Bashir: and we… the gate was open, we entered the gate, at that time the Army had not arrived.
04:48: Muhammad Bashir: Police had not arrived. Some people from the agencies, were present, but they did not prevent
anybody, they kept entering, every person was looking , now, nobody is saying, but everyone from the mohalla (neighbourhood) and all the people present from the mohalla arrived first. We saw the gate open, we entered inside,
saw the burning helicopter, the people inside were dead. After that everything was lifted. Now, there is nothing there!
05:16: Reporter: How many dead bodies did you see?
05:18: Muhammad Bashir: Look, you cannot count, the dead bodies were in pieces everything else was broken pieces, some
here, some there, some broken, some half, some like this.
05:27: Reporter: Tell me fully – what happened?
06:30: Reporter: Tell me the full events
05:31: Muhammad Bashir: I told you, this is…
05:32: Reporter: You did not…I cannot believe this, that’s why.
05:36: Muhammad Bashir: Look, what I have said – that’s it!
05:39: Reporter: When you saw the American craft, (Helicopter) what did you think, why they came here?
05:42: Muhammad Bashir: We thought… this is it…why did they came? we thought why did they come? maybe..we… did not
expect them to do anything, we thought maybe our Army is arriving at some centre and the army people were sleeping,
there was no explosions or events taking place, nothing was happening, everybody was sleeping, for 20 minutes or so…
06:05: Reporter: The craft landed in front of your house, how did you feel about this?
06:08: Muhammad Bashir: I thought..just…understand…imagine..we thought we’re dead!
06:13: Reporter: But, how did the Americans return?
06:16: Muhammad Bashir: This is what I am saying; their Craft came and the helicopter was destroyed, HOW, could they return?
06:22: Reporter: Tell me this; you say, that you saw the dead bodies yourself….
06:25: Muhammad Bashir: one more thing, Madam, may I tell you;The people who were dropped from the craft, That walkway … that
..where our gates are…they banged them hard…and shouted… don’t come out…don’t do this, don’t do that, if you come
out you will be shot..we will do this, we will do that, all the people who were dropped, all of them spoke Pashtu
(Afgahni Language) – Pakhtun!
06:49: Reporter: Who were these people?
06:49: Muhammad Bashir: This I do not know! Those who were dropped from the craft (helicopter), those people.
06:54: Reporter: This, somebody else told me – that they spoke Pashtu.
06:57: Muhammad Bashir: They WERE Pashtun! we do not know if they were working for the Americans, we do not know if they
were working for Pakistan, we do not know if they were army people or civilian, what people, BUT they SPOKE PASHTU!
07:07: Reporter: You said you heard they were asking for Osama?
07:09: Muhammad Bashir: No, they didn’t ask me about Osama, they just said, do not come out, if you come out from your
house, we will shoot you!
07:16: Reporter: Were these Pakistani people?
Muhammad Bashir: who?
07:18: Reporter: The ones who were saying that if you come out, we will shoot you.
07:20: Muhammad Bashir: They said that in Pashtu!
07:22: Reporter: so did they..were you coming out…exactly where were you, where was you standing when this happened?
07:26: Muhammad Bashir: Inside the house, on top of the roof, I was not in the house, just on top of the (flat)roof
07:29: Reporter: from Above the roof these people in the helicopter…
07:30: Muhammad Bashir: I was on the roof, sitting, no, lying down, on the roof,lying and watching this and what was
07:37: Reporter: Fear, was you not afraid? did you not think to phone someone?
07:40: Muhammad Bashir: From the house, They were calling me from downstairs, the children were calling me, come down,
come down, and I told them stop making noise! go into your rooms, I am watching what is happening. Afterwards, I found
out about this, that, Osama was killed here!
07:53: Reporter: How did you get inside? (the compound)
Muhammad Bashir: where?
Reporter: when there was fire.
Muhammad Bashir: the gate was open, when there was fire, the gate was open.
08:02: Reporter: The house gate was open?
08:03: Muhammad Bashir: The outer gate, the big gate, was open.
08:06: Reporter: You came from upstairs to downstairs?
08:08: Muhammad Bashir: I came down, from my own house into the gulley, I didn’t go alone inside the other house, 200 other people went inside! Everybody saw it!
08:15: Reporter: All 200 saw the dead bodies?
08:17: Muhammad Bashir: Everybody saw this.Whoever went inside they saw everything!
08:20: Reporting:the events at that time that are in your mind, please express them.
08:28: Muhammad Bashir: I have told you this and this, in my mind, this is what I have seen, when we were there, when we
entered the gate, When the helicopter exploded, it scattered everywhere, one piece fell over there, one fell here, one
here, a lot of pieces fell in the gulley outside, they reached up to the gulley and our house and also some pieces managed to reach onto my roof. so, the area of the open space there (in front of the house) is about four Kanal in
size. It is a very large compound. You cannot see all of it from one location. Four Kanal is a big area, only in a small area you could possibly see everything. There I saw some people, in broken pieces, someone’s leg, someone’s arm,
someone’s torso, someone’s head. Beside this, I did not see intensely, who are they, how are they, because I thought that one of our own craft had fallen and the people within it were our own people. Because they spoke Pashtu they could be pakistani.
09:35: Muhammad Bashir: but language does not necessarily mean.. by speaking it…the American language could be spoken, the agents can speak all sorts of languages. It could be that it is the American army and they could speak Pashtu and the people would think that it is our own people.
09:54: Reporter: Seeing the dead bodies – did you not feel fear?
09:57: Muhammad Bashir: But we were thinking about ourselves at the time, but seeing the dead bodies who felt frightened?
10:00: Reporter: When you went inside, what did you do after that, how did you come out?
10:02: Muhammad Bashir: we came out, our Army reached there, when the army arrived, they moved all the people back. Move
aside, move aside! So we moved aside.Then they closed the area down.
10:13: Reporter: did Rais see this?
Muhammad Bashir: What?
Reporter: where was your cousin?
10:18: Muhammad Bashir: My cousin was at that time in the house.
10:20: Reporter: Did he go with you?
10:21: Muhammad Bashir: He was with me, but I did not notice when he was picked up.
10:28: Reporter: Has he returned yet?
10:29: Muhammad Bashir: Yes, he has returned. They picked him up and took him away.
10:32: Reporter: What is he saying?
10:34:Muhammad Bashir: I have not met him yet, he is at home they will not let him come out, we are not allowed to visit him, they will not let him come out.We have not met.
10:40: Reporter: You was not able find out, but since when have you been allowed out.
10:45: Muhammad Bashir: I did not go home, by going home…
Reporter:You have seen the fire you have seen the bodies how long did you stay there?
Muhammad Bashir: approximately, after five or six minutes, I left and came out..five, six minute..what happened …. the reason we left, was that after we entered, there was another small explosion, I do not know if the engine fail and
there was another fire, it was a small explosion, after this explosion all the people ran out.
11:06: Muhammad Bashir: when we went out, nobody let us go back in again.
11:11: Reporter: Besides you, why is nobody else saying these things? why are you alone in this?
11:16: Muhammad Bashir: Look, what we have seen, that is what we are saying and we are speaking for this reason that, we are sad that such humble and nice people of our town, that has never seen such events, no fighting, no arguments, no animosity, No murders, such nice people of ours in this town and they have been branded as terrorists.
11:43: Reporter: Tell me; two helicopters came, lifted and took the rest of the people?
11:46:Muhammad Bashir: No – they did not take the rest of the people, because they did not even land, One came from the West and it left towards the North, the one that came from the North, left towards the South. They did not land!
12:00: Studio Reporter: these events that we showed you from Abotabad, there are many more things that we discovered about the compound where OBL was staying, there were vegetables planted there, what kind of vegetables, the person who grows the vegetables is the cousin of this person (Muhammad Bashir), whose interview we have shown. An extraordinary
thing that he has said and he has sworn repeatedly on the veracity of his statement. this is from his own account and upon this account do view this. Yesterday we found out and it has been confirmed that there were two Ashfaq’s who lived there (in the compound):Mr Arshad and Mr Tariq who went shopping locally and used to buy international brands, the items they found in the house, dry dates, dried meat and things like this, this person who you saw in the
interview in his house there was food from OBL’s house, he was given Kaabli Pillau (Rice) and such items were presented to him, There the view of local mosque people, what they think of OBL all these things we will present to
you in an exclusive program an important newsbeat, todays time is finishing, do write to us at email@example.com where you can get other information as well and you can join us at newsbeat with Fareeha Idrees thats my favourite bit, do
write to us, the time is up now, By your permission to leave, take care of yourself, In Allah’s care.
13:20: Reporter: I am now at standing in front of Abdullah Bin Zubair Mosque, this is the same mosque that is within walking distance from OBL’s house. Are you saying that if people found out that OBL was living here, would they be happy?
1st man: Possibly, people could be happy.
2nd man: He wasn’t living here, but he was a Muslim, he believed in Allah.
End of translation
Anyone fluent in Urdu who wishes to dispute the translation should do so.
I asked the translator if he might contact the Pakistani news organization and inquire if the reporters had further investigated Bashir’s story. He replied that he could do so, but exactly 24 hours later “for some unknown reason” the news organization started to discredit Bashir by connecting “him to his cousin, who is accused of receiving foodstuffs from the household of OBL.”
Bashir’s cousin is the person who, according to the reporter (see 12:00 time line)
had a vegetable garden inside the wall of the alleged bin Laden compound. Is it likely that with a hunted and dangerous person hiding within, locals would be permitted to have vegetable gardens inside the compound? The cousin’s vegetable garden obviously had to be redefined as “receiving foodstuffs from OBL.”
The translator offers his view on the 13:20 timeline:
“The final seconds of the video clip contain random people to generate and show some kind of sympathy with OBL in the district.
“It would be very difficult to find people in Pakistan who sympathise with OBL or the Taliban. The only people who do sympathise are the poor illiterate people who do not know about the religion and can easily be convinced of a distorted version of Islam.
Therefore, the closing part of the video contains, out of context expressions:
“1st man: Possibly, people could be happy. (Meaning it is possible that SOME people could be happy.)
2nd man: He wasn’t living here, but he was a Muslim, he believed in Allah. (Meaning; he claimed to be Muslim, so he must have believed in Allah.)
“Therefore, it seems that although initially, the TV station was overjoyed with this interview, they changed their tune, twenty four hours later. (for some unknown reason.)”
Readers can arrive at their own conclusions. It seems clear that under intense pressure and serious threats from the US government, the Pakistani government fell in line with the US government’s claim that a commando raid had killed bin Laden and all had returned safely, and that the TV news organization also got the message to get in line.
It is likely that the many witnesses who observed the dead from the helicopter crash have been warned to keep quiet. However, a news organization, should one be so inclined, could certainly interview Bashir and the 200 others who saw the dead bodies. A good reporter, perhaps accompanied by trained psychologists, would be able to tell if people were lying out of fear and encourage some to speak anonymously.
I am confident that no news organization believes that it could confront such an important US national myth in this way. The killing of bin Laden satisfies the emotional need for revenge and justice. In the least, a news organization that challenged the government’s story would be cut off from all government sources and be denounced by politicians and a large percentage of the US population as an anti-American terrorist-serving organization.
OBL’s death will remain one of those many “truths” that rest on nothing but the government’s word.
Report: Bin Laden Already Dead
Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.
“The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead,” the source said.
Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.
About 30 close associates of bin Laden in Al Qaeda, including his most trusted and personal bodyguards, his family members and some “Taliban friends,” attended the funeral rites. A volley of bullets was also fired to pay final tribute to the “great leader.”
The Taliban source who claims to have seen bin Laden’s face before burial said “he looked pale … but calm, relaxed and confident.”
Asked whether bin Laden had any feelings of remorse before death, the source vehemently said “no.” Instead, he said, bin Laden was proud that he succeeded in his mission of igniting awareness amongst Muslims about hegemonistic designs and conspiracies of “pagans” against Islam. Bin Laden, he said, held the view that the sacrifice of a few hundred people in Afghanistan was nothing, as those who laid their lives in creating an atmosphere of resistance will be adequately rewarded by Almighty Allah.
When asked where bin Laden was buried, the source said, “I am sure that like other places in Tora Bora, that particular place too must have vanished.”
Kidney failure may already have killed Bin Laden
The president of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, said yesterday he thinks Osama bin Laden has probably died from an untreated kidney disease. “I think now, frankly, he is dead, for the reason he is a patient, a kidney patient,” Gen Musharraf told CNN. Contradicting US intelligence officials who say they do not know if Bin Laden has suffered from kidney problems, he said he knew the al-Qaida leader had taken two dialysis machines into Afghanistan.
“One was specifically for his own personal use. I don’t know if he has been getting all that treatment in Afghanistan,” Gen Musharraf said.
The general’s statements provoked a swift plea for caution from the White House and US military officials. President George Bush’s spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said: “I don’t think the president would view that [Bin Laden’s death] as an unwelcome event, but the fact of the matter is, we do not know.”
General Tommy Franks, the military commander in the US campaign in Afghanistan, said he had received no intelligence to confirm or deny Gen Musharraf’s claims.
The Pakistani president said video and photographic evidence supported his theory. “The photographs that have been shown of him [Bin Laden] on television show him extremely weak,” he told CNN. “I would give the first priority that he is dead and the second priority that he is alive somewhere in Afghanistan.”
Bin Laden has long been rumoured to suffer from kidney or heart problems but the US has no clear evidence on the matter, an intelligence official told the Associated Press.
Briefing reporters at the US central command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, Gen Franks admitted he had no idea where Bin Laden was, or whether he was still alive. “We’re in the speculative sort of world,” he said.
“Bin Laden could be alive, dead, or in Afghanistan, or not. Right now, I don’t know where he is.” But, he added, “He may hide today, he may hide tomorrow, but the world is not a large enough place for him to hide.”
A plethora of reports from intelligence sources suggest the US remains confused over Bin Laden’s whereabouts. One claimed he had been sighted in Afghanistan by an unmanned Predator aerial reconnaissance craft, while the CIA is believed to be following leads that suggest he is in Iran, Pakistan, on a ship on the high seas, or heading north through the former Soviet Union.
Hopes of a breakthrough now rest on the questioning of al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners, including 110 at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and on luck.
Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, said this week he thought Bin Laden and the Taliban’s leader, Mullah Omar, were both in Afghanistan, “but we are looking at some other places as well from time to time”.
Timeline: Osama Bin Laden Died on December 14, 2001 From Complications Due to Kidney Failure
In light of Sy Hersh’s claim that the raid on Osama bin Laden in 2011 is “one big lie,” here’s an overview of evidence in support of an alternative narrative: bin Laden died in December 2001 in Tora Bora from a lung complication as a result of kidney failure starting at least since mid-2000. All sources are from the mainstream media, many of which have since been “scrubbed” from the internet.
2000 to September 2001: Reports Emerge of bin Laden Dying From Kidney Disease
In March 2000 the Chicago Tribune reports that an Afghan witness and “Western intelligence official” say bin Laden is suffering from severe kidney and liver failure. Link: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-03-25/news/0003250085_1_laden-bin-religious-militia
This story was also picked up by CBS News in 2000, who outright lead with the title that “Bin Laden Reported to be Dying” from “kidney disease.” Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20010212010328/http://www.cbsnews.com/now/story/0,1597,172666-412,00.shtml
In July 2001, the South Asia Analysis Group reports: “Bin Laden, who suffers from renal deficiency, has been periodically undergoing dialysis in a Peshawar military hospital with the knowledge and approval of the Inter-Services Intelligence, (ISI) if not of Gen.Pervez Musharraf himself.” Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20011007021426/http://www.saag.org/papers3/paper266.html
September to November 2001: bin Laden is Trapped in Afghanistan, Unable to Receive Kidney Treatments
In September 2001, PBS’ Frontline interviews the former general counsel for the CIA, mentioning reports from 1998 that the DEA found out Osama bin Laden was undergoing kidney dialysis with a doctor in Peshwar. They mention further that the DEA wanted to poison bin Laden through his dialysis machine, but the CIA allegedy rejected this due to the ban on assassinations. Link: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/terrorism/interviews/smith.html
In November 2001, The Guardian is reporting that French intelligence officials say bin Laden was flown to Dubai for kidney treatment in July of 2001, where he also met with several CIA agents and the head of Saudi intelligence. This story is also picked up by several French newspapers. Link: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/nov/01/afghanistan.terrorism
In his first interview since 9/11, in November 2001 bin Laden talks to a Pakistani newspaper and claims that his “kidneys are all right” and denies visiting a hospital in Dubai the previous year (note that he may have visited one in Pakistan). In the same interview he also asserts, clearly lying, that he has “nuclear weapons.” Link: http://dawn.com/news/5647/osama-claims-he-has-nukes-if-us-uses-n-arms-it-will-get-same-response/2
December 2001: bin Laden is Dead, Buried in Afghanistan
In December of 2001, the New York Times reports on “high-level murmurings that bin Laden is dead.” Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/26/international/asia/26LADE.html
That same day,citing a Taliban source, Fox News reports that bin Laden has died due to an “untreated lung complication” from kidney disease. About 30 “close associates” reportedly attended bin Laden’s funeral in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan. A source concludes that the U.S. government and other forces are in a “mad search operation” but will never be able to locate the now-dead bin Laden, buried in an unmarked location. Link: http://www.foxnews.com/story/2001/12/26/report-bin-laden-already-dead/
Late December 2001 to March 2002: bin Laden’s “Death Video” is Released
In late December of 2001, after reports of bin Laden’s funeral, a new video appears of a gaunt, sickly Osama bin Laden. The London Telegraph reports, verbatim: “The recording was dismissed by the Bush administration yesterday as sick propaganda possibly designed to mask the fact the al-Qa’eda leader was already dead.” One aid further concludes that the video was created earlier in the event bin Laden is dead, who by December of 2001 was so heavily surrounded he would have been unable to escape to obtain kidney dialysis. Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1366508/US-casts-doubt-on-bin-Ladens-latest-message.html
At this time CBS news also runs a story on bin Laden receiving kidney disease treatments in Pakistan the week before 9/11. Link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmhXSUIFLZ4
In January of 2002, The Guardian reports that the president of Pakistan speculates that bin Laden is now dead of untreated kidney disease based on video and photographs of a gaunt-looking bin Laden. Link: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/jan/19/afghanistan.oliverburkeman
In January of 2002, based on his analysis of video and photographs of bin Laden from December 2001, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that bin Laden seems to be having renal failure. He notes kidney dialysis is expensive, and suggests bin Laden would need help in obtaining medical treatment. Link: http://edition.cnn.com/2002/HEALTH/01/21/gupta.otsc/
In March 2002, the BBC reports on an interview with bin Laden’s wife, who speaks of bin Laden in the past tense, notes his failing kidney and frequent use of pills and other medicines. She says she has not seen her husband since September 2001, but holds out hope that he is still alive: “I feel deep inside me that he is still alive.” She also notes that bin Laden’s wish was to die in Afghanistan and nowhere else: “He never spoke to me about his intention to leave Afghanistan and always wished to die there. He told me once that if he ever left Afghanistan, it would be to meet his Creator.” She also says that bin Laden “always suffered from kidney and stomach pains and that he “told me once that he was going to Pakistan for treatment.” Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/monitoring/media_reports/1871182.stm
In March and April of 2002, U.S. officials downplay the threat of bin Laden, with Rumsfeld even saying the bin Laden threat has been “neutralized.” Even Bush, called out for rarely mentioning bin Laden in 2002, admits: “We haven’t heard from him [bin Laden] in a long time… I don’t know where he is. I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.” Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PGmnz5Ow-o
In May 2002, ABC News reports on a new spliced-together tape from unknown time periods in which bin Laden appears “about the same” (that is, sickly-looking) as in the tape from December 2011. ABC News also says they have “learned intelligence reports indicate bin Laden had received a kidney transplant in Pakistan,” but do not know when. Link: http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=79973&page=1
July 2002: FBI Chief Says bin Laden is Most Likely Dead; Nothing from bin Laden Since December 2001
In July 2002, the BBC reveals a bombshell: the FBI’s counter-terrorism chief Dale Watson says bin Laden is ‘”probably dead.” Conveniently, bin Laden’s followers’ claim that bin Laden will “not make more video statements until his group launches another attack on the United States.” Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2135473.stm
In July 2002, CNN reports that bin Laden’s close bodyguards were captured in February of 2002, but not bin Laden. The article also quotes mentions some high-level officials: “Some high-level U.S. officials are already convinced by such evidence that bin Laden, who has not been seen or heard from in months, is dead.” Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20021204040117/http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/07/30/binladen.son/
In July 2002, Time Magazine reports that “intelligence officials are not certain whether Osama bin Laden is alive or dead” but that “they have found a tantalizing document that suggests he was living at least as recently as the last days of December [of 2001].” Link: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1002840,00.html
In July 2002, The New York Times runs another article on how Osama bin Laden is likely dead. The author notes how unusual it would be for bin Laden, known for his constant desire for media attention, would be silent for over half a year. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/11/opinion/the-death-of-bin-ladenism.html
October 2002: Intelligence Officials Confirm bin Laden is Dead; bin Laden’s Will is Released
Also in October 2002 the D.C.-based news service The World Tribune, citing Israeli intelligence sources, reports that the United States and Israel have concluded that bin Laden died in Afghanistan in December 2001. They note that additional bin Laden messages are “probably fabrications,” and that bin Laden’s heir has been chosen. Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20021205223313/http://22.214.171.124/2002/me_terrorism_10_16.html
The president of Afghanistan also concludes that bin Laden is probably dead: “The more we don’t hear of him, and the more time passes, there is the likelihood that he probably is either dead or seriously wounded somewhere.” Link: http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/asiapcf/central/10/06/karzai.binladen/
In October 2002 CNN reports that U.S. intelligence officials have obtained Osama bin Laden’s will, which is dated December 14, 2001 (approximately the same date as has been reported bin Laden’s funeral in Tora Bora by Fox News and other outlets). CNN also reports that there has been no evidence of bin Laden since December of 2001. Link: http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/10/26/binladen.will/
2002 Onwards: Efforts to Target bin Laden are Closed Down; bin Laden = “Elvis”
In 2004, the LA Times quotes Donald Rumsfeld (who mixes up Hussein with bin Laden) as admitting: “We’ve not seen him [bin Laden] on a video since 2001.” Link: http://newsmine.org/content.php?ol=9-11/binladen/death/rumsfeld-says-no-clues-to-bin-laden-since-2001.txt
In 2006 the New York Times reports the CIA had officially closed down the unit focused on capturing bin Laden the previous year. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/04/washington/04intel.html?ex=1309665600&en=3779ed9b98bb9d22&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
In 2006, U.S. and Pakistani officials say they have not received any information about bin Laden in years: “no tips from informants, no snippets from electronic intercepts, no points on any satellite image.” The article rehashes the December 2001 video of bin Laden as the most recent evidence (other than a second-hand claim from 2003) of bin Laden’s existence. Some commandos are now giving Osama bin Laden the codename “Elvis.” Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/09/AR2006090901105.html
The available reports overwhelmingly supports the view that bin Laden died of kidney failure in December of 2001. We have mainstream media reports from a variety of sources, and zero credible evidence since then, as admitted by top level offiicals. Even if you believe the official story, the evidence very strongly suggests some entity (either the CIA, Saudi Royal Family, the Pakistani government, or all the above) helped bin Laden survive long enough via medical treatments to be killed at a later point in time.
This very well could be the “one big lie” Seymour Hersh has mentioned in The Guardian recently.
Monday 25 May 2015
Suddenly it looks like we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive
Who’s left if we want to negotiate with Isis?
What an old softee he was, compared to the throat-cutting killers of the “Islamic State”. The black-bannered executioners are back at work in Ramadi and Palmyra and yet, back from the dead, old bin Laden returns once more, fished out of the Indian Ocean (if he was ever there) for one final re-appearance. He loves his wife, he wants his son to take over the whole al-Qaeda outfit, he studies – if he can read English – Noam Chomsky.
Surely he’s a chap we could do business with, the “moderate” we are always searching for when we fail to destroy our enemies, a “middle party” to start a “dialogue” with these unruly Isis fellows. But the French, in their search for the “interlocuteur valable” who would chat to the FLN when de Gaulle chose to throw in the towel in Algeria, found they had already assassinated all their potential “interlocuteurs” – and we, goddammit, did the same with bin Laden. Having liquidated the Fountainhead of World Evil in 2011, we’ve no one left to represent us if we want to negotiate with the new Fountainhead of World Evil in 2015.
I have the suspicion we’re being fooled here. I’m puzzled about the CIA’s latest dip into the barrel of the collected works and thoughts of the Old Man of Abbottabad. Why now, so long after they released the first tranche of fascinating but occasionally boring tracts between bin Laden and his lads in Yemen, do they pop up with yet more bin Laden junk-mail? Because Seymour Hersh has just presented us with a more disturbing version of the bin Laden myth, in which the guy, after effectively falling under Pakistani intelligence control, was blown to bits by his American killers in Abbotabad – and some of those bits then thrown over the Hindu Kush? (The sea burial was a lie, according to Hersh).
Why were the new bin Laden videos silent? And why were some of these documents, like the previous set, actually censored – for which read the devious phrase “redacted” – by the CIA? The CIA feels it necessary to censor bin Laden? Weirdly, not a soul asked why. Journos waffled on about a “treasure trove”. I’m not so sure. What was it that the CIA knew and bin Laden knew – and which we mustn’t know?
My meetings with bin Laden – in 1993, 1996 and 1997 – long ago became an albatross for me, a piece of tat to hang on a reporter’s CV, as if talking to the man who would approve (if he did not plan) the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001, somehow makes history clearer. But I do recall how at our second meeting in 1996, he was obsessed by Saudi Arabia’s corruption, how its royal family had betrayed Islam – until I learned that the Saudis were still offering him – via a Saudi diplomat who visited him in Afghanistan – millions of dollars and the return of his passport if he “returned” to Riyadh.
And there’s an intriguing paragraph buried in Hersh’s version of events – or “counter-narrative”, as colleagues insist it be called – in which Hersh’s “retired official” source tells him that during the hunt for bin Laden, Saudi Arabia was a worrying factor because the Kingdom “had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his [post 9/11] seizure by the Pakistanis”. The Saudis, according to Hersh’s “retired official”, “feared…we would pressure the Pakistanis to let bin Laden start talking to us about what the Saudis had been doing with al-Qaeda. And they were dropping money – lots of it.”
I have too many questions about the latest bin Laden mail. We don’t know who translated this stuff, let alone who censored it. I don’t doubt the authenticity of some passages; the letter to his wife Khairiah Saber – mother of Hamza, whom bin Laden wished to be next leader of al-Qaeda – contains a moving paragraph about his desire to see her in the afterlife and to be her husband there again (even if she marries in the real world after his “martyrdom”). But the fear of US drone attacks – bin Laden’s only advice is to travel under cloudy skies – the forlorn and belated understanding that education is necessary for real revolution, and the determination to strike at the US rather than its Middle East puppets, does not suggest that the Abbottabad recluse was running a “terror” control centre.
So why is all this material coming piecemeal and truncated? The 103 letters, reports and videos released last week follow three years after the “Combating Terrorism Centre” at West Point’ released an earlier 175 pages of bin Laden chit-chat which was equally truncated and oddly translated. For example, when a bin Laden agent in Yemen sent his master a copy of an article of mine which described al-Qaeda as “the most sectarian organisation in the world”, the second half was translated by the Americans back from Arabic into English – with obvious deviations from the original English used in The Independent. But the first half was a straight “lift” from the paper with no attempt to translate from Arabic.
Now we’re told that even more documents from Abbottabad await “declassification”. From what do they have to be declassified? It’s one thing to “declassify” government information for the world to read – but to “declassify” bin Laden’s secrets for the world to read? What does this mean? Saudi material perhaps?
I won’t delve into the “porn” stash supposedly found at Abbottabad – which it took the CIA four years to watch before deciding not to release it. Is the organisation which waterboards victims and stuffs food up their rectums really so prissy? And then there are the books, Chomsky, Woodward & Co. Quite an English-language reading list – if bin Laden could read English. But when I met him in 1997, he could hardly speak a word. Did he have language tutors in Abbottabad? He did read Arabic-language books. Which of them were found by the Americans? Or did they contain too many works on Saudi Arabia?
Certainly the previous batch of mail suggested the old boy was prepared to contemplate negotiating with the Brits. Nothing to suggest this in the latest collection. Could he have been useful as a bridge to the “moderates” that we in the West will undoubtedly discover inside the abominable Isis? Oh, if we could only read the letters of the “Islamic State” archives. But maybe they would have to be censored, too. Which is why I can suggest at least one “interlocuteur valable” for Isis, despite bin Laden’s demise. Saudi Arabia.
Friday 22 May 2015
So, it turns out Osama bin Laden was a terrorist monster with a tender side…
After all, evil is a man-made construct designed to help our tiny minds grapple with unthinkable things
Osama bin Laden: loving family man, good with kids? Yes indeed, as some of the letters just released by the US demonstrate. There’s plenty of stuff about jihad, about “killing and fighting the American people and their representatives”. But there’s also simple human concern for his several wives, 20 children and numerous relatives.
“By God, I miss you so much,” he writes to his daughter, Umm Muadh. He asks how her son is getting on at school. “What is his latest funny news?” In another letter he asks one of his wives to look after his daughters, “and be careful of bad company for them”.
His son, Saad, was being groomed as his successor when he was killed in a drone strike in 2009. But Bin Laden, too, had a soppy side. “Know that you do fill my heart with love, beautiful memories, and your long-suffering of tense situations in order to appease me and be kind to me,” he wrote to his wife. “You are the apple of my eye, and the most precious thing that I have in this world.” This is all irrelevant, some might say. The fact is, Bin Laden senior was the brains behind the wickedest terrorist act in history. He was pure evil, and the only emotion we need to feel here is relief that he’s dead.
Similarly – though some way down the scale of iniquity, perhaps – my first thought when I heard about the recent deadly biker shootout in Waco, Texas, was along the lines of the late, great comedian Bill Hicks, who talked about someone taking LSD and throwing themselves off a roof thinking they could fly: “Good. The world just lost another idiot.” Nine of them, in fact, in this case, nine dead idiot bikers.
But then the pictures started to come in. There’s Matthew Mark Smith of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club: he’s hugging his girlfriend Kelsey Anne; lying in bed asleep; smiling at the camera with a baby in his arms. He looks like a nice, sensitive bloke; he worked for an electronics company called Geek Squad.
There’s his Cossack comrade Wayne Campbell, flanked by a couple of young women, looking like an off-duty lecturer; there he is wearing a suit, with his girlfriend Charla in an attractive black dress. They look as if they’re off out to a nice restaurant for the evening. Even on his bike he looks like Mr Respectable having his regulation midlife crisis, not a homicidal outlaw on two wheels. There are lots of photos of Rick Kirschner, the Cossacks’ Sergeant at Arms. In one of them, he’s in his flat with his wife Ashley – he’s in shirt and tie, she’s in a lovely blue dress. They look so affectionate, so decent, so ordinary. Police, meanwhile, were yesterday still totting up the weaponry recovered from the Twin Peaks restaurant: they were up to 118 handguns, 157 knives and an AK-47.
We all, clearly, have sometimes wildly contrasting sides to us. And that goes for just about everyone, even biker gang members, even wagers of jihad. Even Nazi mass-murderers. In the recent BBC4 film Himmler: the Decent One, Heinrich Himmler’s letters revealed him to be a doting husband and dad.
“I am so sorry that I forgot our wedding anniversary for the first time but I was so busy these past few days,” he writes to his wife Margarete. In 1943, he ordered the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, then wrote home: “My dear mummy. A few quick lines. Enclosed are two packages and a piece of fruit cake.” I’d find it difficult to argue against anyone who found this juxtaposition utterly obscene. But even so, it’s a clear demonstration that even Heinrich Himmler had his good points.
As I type these words I can feel a Twitterstorm on the horizon but, were they still around, Rebecca West and Gitta Sereny would know what I mean. For her book The Meaning of Treason, West attended the trials of William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw. She saw in the dock ‘a lively, wisecracking, practical-joking little creature… That he was a civilised man, however aberrant, was somehow clear before our eyes.”
Sereny dedicated her life to getting inside the heads of supposedly “evil” people. In fact, she didn’t believe in “evil” at all; I believe it’s a man-made mental construct designed to help our tiny minds grapple with unthinkable things.
Sereny famously befriended Albert Speer, eventually getting him to confess – to himself, as much as her – that he knew all about the Final Solution. She ended up liking him, and insisted she’d detected a capacity for moral redemption. Even in her dealings with Franz Stangl, who was held responsible for the murder of 900,000 people, she saw some good, and decided that he was “not an obviously evil man”.
While “evil” may not exist as a single, over-arching concept, I think it is possible to describe individual acts as evil, in our attempts to grasp what makes people do abominably bad things. But unless we realise that however badly a person behaves, in other respects they’re just like us, we’ll never be able to properly understand why they do what they do.
Bin Laden documents released:
Al-Qaeda leader was reading Noam Chomsky and 9/11 conspiracy theories inside Abbottabad compound, say US officials
Wednesday 20 May 2015
Osama bin Laden spent his last reading the books of Bob Woodward and Noam Chomsky, conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks and continued to plot attacks against the West, according to a “library” of documents released by the US intelligence services.
Officials in Washington released more than 100 documents they said were discovered inside the al-Qaeda leader’s compound in Abbottabad by US special forces after a raid to kill or capture him in May 2011.
The digital volumes reportedly included works by linguist and writer Noam Chomsky, former intelligence official and antiwar activist Michael Scheuer, conspiracy texts about the September 11 attacks that Bin Laden himself had plotted and a work by Bob Woodward.
US officials say Osama Bin Laden was reading a variety of books in his last days, including one by Bob Woodward
The release of the newly-declassified documents comes as the US is engaged in a dispute over the circumstances in which the al-Qaeda leader was found and killed. The US has always insisted it tracked down the 54-year-old by means of first finding his trusted couriers, who then unknowingly led them to the compound.
However, a number of commentators have raised questions about such a narrative, suggesting instead that senior figures within the Pakistani military were holding him for leverage. Most recently the veteran investigative journalist Seyour Hersh claimed the White House had repeatedly mislead the US public over the details of the Bin Laden operation.
Mr Hersh told The Independent the US government was continuing to mislead people and was getting entrapped by its own twists. “When you change course in midstream, you walk all over yourself,” he said.
The documents purportedly found in the property also quoted Bin Laden as saying his militants should focus their attacks on America and American targets.
“The focus should be on killing and fighting the American people and their representatives,” Bin Laden apparently wrote in one of the newly revealed documents.
US special forces shot and killed Bin Laden at this compound in Abbottabad
He wrote one letter to militants in North Africa and told them to stop “insisting on the formation of an Islamic State” and rather to attack US embassies and American oil companies.
Bin Laden also told al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – the Yemeni affiliate of the group – to halt attacks on domestic targets and start launching attacks on American interests.
It is not clear whether bin Laden’s warnings against Isis never reached the militants or if they simply were ignored, but al-Qaeda has continued to carry out attacks on local targets.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement that the release of the documents followed a review by US government agencies and “aligns with the president’s call for increased transparency consistent with national security prerogatives”.
One of the documents, translated by intelligence officials, is said to begin begins with questions that similar to a conventional job application, the Associated Press reported.
President Barack Obama has insisted the US tracked down Bin Laden without Pakistani help
“Do you have hobbies? Have you been convicted of a crime,” it says. “What objectives would you like to accomplish on your jihad path?”
It then asks: “Do you wish to execute a suicide operation,” and adds: “Who should we contact in case you become a martyr?”
Some commentators believe the US has acted inconsistently with the release of documents and evidence relating to the Bin Laden raid. Wednesday’s release was the second; 17 documents from the compound were previously made public in May 2012, one year after the Navy SEAL raid.
But a lot of information remains classified, or may even have been destroyed. The Associated Press, among other media organisations, have lobbied the government to release more documents, including the details of Bin Laden’s funeral, which the White House said was carried out at sea on a US naval vessel immediately after he was shot and killed.
Last yeast it was revealed that eleven days after the killing, the US military’s top special operations officer ordered subordinates to destroy any photographs of the Bin Laden’s corpse or turn them over to the CIA.
The message was sent by Admiral William McRaven, who heads the US Special Operations Command, 10 days after the AP asked for the photos and other documents under the US Freedom of Information Act. The White House said Bin Laden’s body was buried at sea on board the the US Navy’s carrier USS Carl Vinson .
The documents said to have been found in Pakistan also suggested that Bin Laden was a man who doted upon up his many sons and daughters, and was a much-loved and admired father.
The documents also present Bin Laden as a meticulous editor, and some of the memos he wrote were revised as many as 50 times.
The new documents show how Bin Laden reacted to the events of the Arab Spring, which was rocking the Middle East in the months before his death.
He wrote lengthy memos analysing what was happening, pointing to the “new factor” of the so-called information technology revolution. He said this had helped spur the revolutions and characterised them as “the most important events in the Muslim world in centuries”.
Nhà báo Anh ROBERT FISK phỏng vấn Osama Bin Laden 1993-1996
Robert Fisk: A close encounter with the man who shook the world
One hot evening in late June 1996, the telephone on my desk in Beirut rang with one of the more extraordinary messages I was to receive as a foreign correspondent. “Mr Robert, a friend you met in Sudan wants to see you,” said a voice in English but with an Arabic accent. At first I thought he meant another man, whose name I suggested. “No, no, Mr Robert, I mean the man you interviewed. Do you understand?” Yes, I understood. And where could I meet this man? “The place where he is now,” came the reply. I knew that Bin Laden was rumoured to have returned to Afghanistan but there was no confirmation of this. So how do I reach him? I asked. “Go to Jalalabad – you will be contacted.”
A month later. “CLACK-CLACK-CLACK.” It was as if someone was attacking my head with an ice-pick. “CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK-CLACK.” I sat up. Someone was banging a set of car keys against the window of my room in the Spinghar Hotel. “Misssster Robert,” a voice whispered urgently. “Misssster Robert.” He hissed the word “Mister.” Yes, yes, I’m here. “Please come downstairs, there is someone to see you.” It registered only slowly that the man must have climbed the ancient fire escape to reach the window of my room. I dressed, grabbed a coat – I had a feeling we might travel in the night – and almost forgot my old Nikon. I walked as calmly as I could past the reception desk and out into the early afternoon heat.
The man wore a grubby, grey Afghan robe and a small round cotton hat but he was an Arab and he greeted me formally, holding my right hand in both of his. He smiled. He said his name was Mohamed, he was my guide. “To see the Sheikh?” I asked. He smiled but said nothing.
I followed Mohamed all the way through the dust of Jalalabad’s main street until we arrived next to a group of gunmen in a pick-up truck in the ruins of an old Soviet army base, a place of broken armoured vehicles with a rusting red star on a shattered gateway. There were three men in Afghan hats in the back of the pick-up. One held a Kalashnikov rifle, another clutched a grenade-launcher along with six rockets tied together with Scotch tape. The third nursed a machine gun on his lap, complete with tripod and a belt of ammunition. “Mr Robert, these are our guards,” the driver said quietly, as if it was the most normal thing in the world to set off across the wilds of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province under a white-hot afternoon sun with three bearded guerrillas. A two-way radio hissed and crackled on the shoulder of the driver’s companion as another truckload of Afghan gunmen drove up behind us.
We were about to set off when Mohamed climbed back down from the pick-up along with the driver, walked to a shaded patch of grass and began to pray. For five minutes, the two men lay half-prostrate, facing the distant Kabul Gorge and, beyond that, a far more distant Mecca. We drove off along a broken highway and then turned on to a dirt track by an irrigation canal, the guns in the back of the truck bouncing on the floor, the guards’ eyes peering from behind their chequered scarves. We travelled like that for hours, past half-demolished mud villages and valleys and towering black rocks, a journey across the face of the moon.
By dusk, we had reached a series of cramped earthen villages, old men burning charcoal fires by the track, the shadow of women cowled in the Afghan burka standing in the alleyways. There were more guerrillas, all bearded, grinning at Mohamed and the driver. It was night before we stopped, in an orchard where wooden sofas had been covered in army blankets piled with belts and webbing and where armed men emerged out of the darkness, some holding rifles, others machine guns. They were the Arab mujahedin, the Arab “Afghans” denounced by the presidents and kings of half the Arab world and by the United States of America. Very soon, the world would know them as al-Qa’ida.
Mohamed beckoned me to follow him and we skirted a small river and jumped across a stream until, in the insect-filled darkness ahead, we could see a sputtering paraffin lamp. Beside it sat a tall, bearded man in Saudi robes. Osama bin Laden stood up, his two teenage sons, Omar and Saad, beside him. “Welcome to Afghanistan,” he said.
He was now 40 but looked much older than at our last meeting in the Sudanese desert late in 1993. Walking towards me, he towered over his companions, tall, slim, with new wrinkles around those narrow eyes. Leaner, his beard longer but slightly flecked with grey, he had a black waistcoat over his white robe and a red-chequered kuffiah on his head, and he seemed tired. When he asked after my health, I told him I had come a long way for this meeting. “So have I,” he muttered. There was also an isolation about him, a detachment I had not noticed before, as if he had been inspecting his anger, examining the nature of his resentment; when he smiled, his gaze would move towards his 16-year-old son Omar – round eyes with dark brows and his own kuffiah – and then off into the hot darkness where his armed men were patrolling the fields.
Just 10 days before, a truck bomb had torn down part of the US Air Force housing complex at al-Khobar in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and we were speaking in the shadow of the deaths of the 19 US soldiers killed there. And Bin Laden knew what he wanted to say. “Not long ago, I gave advice to the Americans to withdraw their troops from Saudi Arabia. Now let us give some advice to the governments of Britain and France to take their troops out – because what happened in Riyadh and al-Khobar showed that the people who did this have a deep understanding in choosing their targets. They hit their main enemy, which is the Americans. They killed no secondary enemies, nor their brothers in the army or the police in Saudi Arabia… I give this advice to the government of Britain.” He said the Americans must leave Saudi Arabia, must leave the Gulf. The “evils” of the Middle East arose from America’s attempt to take over the region and from its support for Israel. Saudi Arabia had been turned into “an American colony”.
Bin Laden was speaking slowly and with precision, an Egyptian taking notes in a large exercise book by the lamplight like a Middle Ages scribe. “This doesn’t mean declaring war against the West and Western people – but against the American regime which is against every American.” I interrupted Bin Laden. Unlike Arab regimes, I said, the people of the United States elected their government. They would say that their government represents them. He disregarded my comment. I hope he did. For in the years to come, his war would embrace the deaths of thousands of American civilians. “The explosion in al-Khobar did not come as a direct reaction to the American occupation,” he said, “but as a result of American behaviour against Muslims, its support of Jews in Palestine and of the massacres of Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon – of Sabra and Chatila and Qana – and of the Sharm el-Sheikh conference.”
But what Bin Laden really wanted to talk about was Saudi Arabia. Since our last meeting in Sudan, he said, the situation in the kingdom had grown worse. The ulema, the religious leaders, had declared in the mosques that the presence of American troops was not acceptable and the government took action against these ulema “on the advice of the Americans”. For Bin Laden, the betrayal of the Saudi people began 24 years before his birth, when Abdul Aziz al-Saud proclaimed his kingdom in 1932. “The regime started under the flag of applying Islamic law and under this banner all the people of Saudi Arabia came to help the Saud family take power. But Abdul Aziz did not apply Islamic law; the country was set up for his family. Then after the discovery of petroleum, the Saudi regime found another support – the money to make people rich and to give them the services and life they wanted and to make them satisfied.” Bin Laden was picking away at his teeth with that familiar twig of mishwak wood, but history – or his version of it – was the basis of almost all his remarks. The Saudi royal family had promised sharia laws while at the same time allowing the United States “to Westernise Saudi Arabia and drain the economy”. He blamed the Saudi regime for spending $25bn in support of Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war and a further $60bn in support of the Western armies in the 1991 war against Iraq, “buying military equipment which is not needed or useful for the country, buying aircraft by credit” while at the same time creating unemployment, high taxes and a bankrupt economy. But for Bin Laden, the pivotal date was 1990, the year Saddam invaded Kuwait. “When the American troops entered Saudi Arabia, the land of the two Holy places, there was a strong protest from the ulema and from students of sharia law all over the country against the interference of American troops. This big mistake by the Saudi regime of inviting the American troops revealed their deception. They were giving their support to nations which were fighting against Muslims.”
Bin Laden paused to see if I had listened to his careful, if frighteningly exclusive history lesson. “The Saudi people have remembered now what the ulema told them and they realise America is the main reason for their problems… the ordinary man knows that his country is the largest oil producer in the world yet at the same time he is suffering from taxes and bad services. Now the people understand the speeches of the ulemas in the mosques – that our country has become an American colony. What happened in Riyadh and al-Khobar is clear evidence of the huge anger of Saudi people against America. The Saudis now know their real enemy is America.” The overthrow of the Saudi regime and the eviction of US forces from the kingdom were one and the same for Bin Laden. He was claiming that the real religious leadership of Saudi Arabia – among whom he clearly saw himself – was an inspiration to Saudis, that Saudis themselves would drive out the Americans, that Saudis – hitherto regarded as a rich and complacent people – might strike at the United States. Could this be true?
Bin Laden sometimes stopped speaking for all of 60 seconds in order to reflect on his words. Most Arabs, faced with a reporter’s question, would say the first thing that came into their heads for fear that they would appear ignorant if they did not. Bin Laden was different. He was alarming because he was possessed of that quality which leads men to war: total self-conviction.
Bin Laden had asked me – a routine of every Palestinian under occupation – if Europeans did not resist occupation during the Second World War. I told him no Europeans would accept this argument over Saudi Arabia – because the Nazis killed millions of Europeans yet the Americans had never murdered a single Saudi. Such a parallel was historically and morally wrong. Bin Laden did not agree. “We as Muslims have a strong feeling that binds us together… We feel for our brothers in Palestine and Lebanon… When 60 Jews are killed inside Palestine” – he was talking about Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel – “all the world gathers within seven days to criticise this action, while the deaths of 600,000 Iraqi children did not receive the same reaction.” It was Bin Laden’s first reference to Iraq and to the United Nations sanctions that were to result, according to UN officials themselves, in the death of more than half a million children. “Killing those Iraqi children is a crusade against Islam,” Bin Laden said. “We, as Muslims, do not like the Iraqi regime but we think that the Iraqi people and their children are our brothers and we care about their future.” It was the first time I heard him use the word “crusade”.
For some time, there had been a steadily growing thunderstorm to the east of Bin Laden’s camp and we could see the bright orange flash of lightning over the mountains on the Pakistan border. But Bin Laden thought this might be artillery fire, the continuation of the inter-mujahedin battles that had damaged his spirit after the anti-Soviet war. He was growing uneasy. He broke off his conversation to pray. Then, on the straw mat, several young and armed men served dinner – plates of yoghurt and cheese and Afghan naan bread and more tea. Bin Laden sat between his sons, silent, eyes on his food.
I said to Bin Laden that Afghanistan was the only country left to him after his exile in Sudan. He agreed. “The safest place in the world for me is Afghanistan.” It was the only place, I repeated, in which he could campaign against the Saudi government. Bin Laden and several of his Arab fighters burst into laughter. “There are other places,” he replied. Did he mean Tajikistan? I asked. Or Uzbekistan? Kazakhstan? “There are several places where we have friends and close brothers – we can find refuge and safety in them.” I told Bin Laden he was already a hunted man. “Danger is a part of our life,” he snapped back.
He began talking to his men about amniya, security, and repeatedly looked towards those flashes in the sky. Now the thunder did sound like gunfire. I tried to ask one more question. What kind of Islamic state would Bin Laden wish to see? Would thieves and murderers still have their hands or heads cut off in his Islamic sharia state, just as they do in Saudi Arabia today? There came an unsatisfactory reply. “Islam is a complete religion for every detail of life. If a man is a real Muslim and commits a crime, he can only be happy if he is justly punished. This is not cruelty. The origin of these punishments comes from God through the Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him.” Dissident Osama bin Laden may be, but moderate never. I asked permission to take his photograph, and while he debated this with his companions I scribbled into my notebook the words I would use in the last paragraph of my report on our meeting: “Osama bin Laden believes he now represents the most formidable enemy of the Saudi regime and of the American presence in the Gulf. Both are probably right to regard him as such.” I was underestimating the man.
Yes, he said, I could take his picture. I opened my camera and allowed his armed guards to watch me as I threaded a film into the spool. Without warning, Bin Laden moved his head back and the faintest smile moved over his face, along with that self-conviction and that ghost of vanity which I found so disturbing. He called his sons Omar and Saad and they sat beside him as I took more pictures and Bin Laden turned into the proud father, the family man, the Arab at home.
Then his anxiety returned. The thunder was continuous now and it was mixed with the patter of rifle fire. I should go, he urged, and I realised that what he meant was that he must go, that it was time for him to return to the fastness of Afghanistan. When we shook hands, he was already looking for the guards who would take him away.
Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace: The Saudi businessman who recruited mujahedin now uses them for large-scale building projects in Sudan. Robert Fisk met him in Almatig
Monday, 6 December 1993
OSAMA Bin Laden sat in his gold- fringed robe, guarded by the loyal Arab mujahedin who fought alongside him in Afghanistan. Bearded, taciturn figures – unarmed, but never more than a few yards from the man who recruited them, trained them and then dispatched them to destroy the Soviet army – they watched unsmiling as the Sudanese villagers of Almatig lined up to thank the Saudi businessman who is about to complete the highway linking their homes to Khartoum for the first time in history.
With his high cheekbones, narrow eyes and long brown robe, Mr Bin Laden looks every inch the mountain warrior of mujahedin legend. Chadored children danced in front of him, preachers acknowledged his wisdom. ‘We have been waiting for this road through all the revolutions in Sudan,’ a sheikh said. ‘We waited until we had given up on everybody – and then Osama Bin Laden came along.’
Outside Sudan, Mr Bin Laden is not regarded with quite such high esteem. The Egyptian press claims he brought hundreds of former Arab fighters back to Sudan from Afghanistan, while the Western embassy circuit in Khartoum has suggested that some of the ‘Afghans’ whom this Saudi entrepreneur flew to Sudan are now busy training for further jihad wars in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. Mr Bin Laden is well aware of this. ‘The rubbish of the media and the embassies,’ he calls it. ‘I am a construction engineer and an agriculturalist. If I had training camps here in Sudan, I couldn’t possibly do this job.’
And ‘this job’ is certainly an ambitious one: a brand-new highway stretching all the way from Khartoum to Port Sudan, a distance of 1,200km (745 miles) on the old road, now shortened to 800km by the new Bin Laden route that will turn the coastal run from the capital into a mere day’s journey. Into a country that is despised by Saudi Arabia for its support of Saddam Hussein in the Gulf war almost as much as it is condemned by the United States, Mr Bin Laden has brought the very construction equipment that he used only five years ago to build the guerrilla trails of Afghanistan.
He is a shy man. Maintaining a home in Khartoum and only a small apartment in his home city of Jeddah, he is married – with four wives – but wary of the press. His interview with the Independent was the first he has ever given to a Western journalist, and he initially refused to talk about Afghanistan, sitting silently on a chair at the back of a makeshift tent, brushing his teeth in the Arab fashion with a stick of miswak wood. But talk he eventually did about a war which he helped to win for the Afghan mujahedin: ‘What I lived in two years there, I could not have lived in a hundred years elsewhere,’ he said.
When the history of the Afghan resistance movement is written, Mr Bin Laden’s own contribution to the mujahedin – and the indirect result of his training and assistance – may turn out to be a turning- point in the recent history of militant fundamentalism; even if, today, he tries to minimise his role. ‘When the invasion of Afghanistan started, I was enraged and went there at once – I arrived within days, before the end of 1979,’ he said. ‘Yes, I fought there, but my fellow Muslims did much more than I. Many of them died and I am still alive.’
Within months, however, Mr Bin Laden was sending Arab fighters – Egyptians, Algerians, Lebanese, Kuwaitis, Turks and Tunisians – into Afghanistan; ‘not hundreds but thousands,’ he said. He supported them with weapons and his own construction equipment. Along with his Iraqi engineer, Mohamed Saad – who is now building the Port Sudan road – Mr Bin Laden blasted massive tunnels into the Zazi mountains of Bakhtiar province for guerrilla hospitals and arms dumps, then cut a mujahedin trail across the country to within 15 miles of Kabul.
‘No, I was never afraid of death. As Muslims, we believe that when we die, we go to heaven. Before a battle, God sends us seqina, tranquillity.
‘Once I was only 30 metres from the Russians and they were trying to capture me. I was under bombardment but I was so peaceful in my heart that I fell asleep. This experience has been written about in our earliest books. I saw a 120mm mortar shell land in front of me, but it did not blow up. Four more bombs were dropped from a Russian plane on our headquarters but they did not explode. We beat the Soviet Union. The Russians fled.’
But what of the Arab mujahedin whom he took to Afghanistan – members of a guerrilla army who were also encouraged and armed by the United States – and who were forgotten when that war was over? ‘Personally neither I nor my brothers saw evidence of American help. When my mujahedin were victorious and the Russians were driven out, differences started (between the guerrilla movements) so I returned to road construction in Taif and Abha. I brought back the equipment I had used to build tunnels and roads for the mujahedin in Afghanistan. Yes, I helped some of my comrades to come here to Sudan after the war.’
How many? Osama Bin Laden shakes his head. ‘I don’t want to say. But they are here now with me, they are working right here, building this road to Port Sudan.’ I told him that Bosnian Muslim fighters in the Bosnian town of Travnik had mentioned his name to me. ‘I feel the same about Bosnia,’ he said. ‘But the situation there does not provide the same opportunities as Afghanistan. A small number of mujahedin have gone to fight in Bosnia-Herzegovina but the Croats won’t allow the mujahedin in through Croatia as the Pakistanis did with Afghanistan.’
Thus did Mr Bin Laden reflect upon jihad while his former fellow combatants looked on. Was it not a little bit anti-climactic for them, I asked, to fight the Russians and end up road-building in Sudan? ‘They like this work and so do I. This is a great plan which we are achieving for the people here, it helps the Muslims and improves their lives.’
His Bin Laden company – not to be confused with the larger construction business run by his cousins – is paid in Sudanese currency which is then used to purchase sesame and other products for export; profits are clearly not Mr Bin Laden’s top priority.
How did he feel about Algeria, I asked? But a man in a green suit calling himself Mohamed Moussa – he claimed to be Nigerian although he was a Sudanese security officer – tapped me on the arm. ‘You have asked more than enough questions,’ he said. At which Mr Bin Laden went off to inspect his new road.