Bin Laden Raid: Questions we should Ask

President Obama’s Pants on Fire??

“methinks he doth protest too much”
Maybe I’m becoming way more sceptical now that I’m in my dotage, but the bin Laden exercise is looking more ridiculous as it progresses down its rocky road of multiple “corrections” – and how convenient the timing, just as the re-election looked uncertain and embarrassing evidence about Obama’s birthplace was about to surface?

That much-circulated photo, so carefully stage-managed, of President Obama and others watching live footage of the Navy SEALs gunning down “heavily armed” (correction unarmed) people! (I would have looked shocked too, if I’d been in the room, but Hilary Clinton later confessed she was just coughing, not covering her mouth in shock.)

Now, if I was going to launch a pre-emptive strike on a terrorist cell, I’d probably not think to arrange for the official White House photographer to take photos of me triumphantly watching the action on a live feed. Or, if I needed that much proof, I’d show the actual screen I was watching as well.

But we have no photos of the monitors Obama was watching with his staff, nor any videos of the “firefight”. No bodies either, nor any photos of them. Oh wait, we ARE going to release the photos! No – hang on, we decided not to after all.

I give a great big Hmmmmmm.

The official White House account of Osama bin Laden’s demise has had more cosmetic surgery than Michael Jackson.  The many  contradictions were explained by “confusion”. Press Secretary Jay Carney said the story line was being “corrected”.

He added: “One of the things we all have to be careful about is the idea that you can suddenly rush to transparency and understanding in a matter of minutes or hours on the first day.” No, by all means keep up the obfuscation for as long as possible!

Some of the White House contradictions and corrections that have emerged so far:

  • bin Laden’s son Hamza was killed in the raid. Corrected to that of another son, Khalid.

Hamza or Khalid – Which Bin Laden son was killed in the Abbottabad raid? There are contradictory reports on who was inside the compound at the time of the raid and who was killed, injured or survived the US attack. But which son actually died – US officials now say the hunt is on for Hamza who “may have escaped”.

Nobody knows where he is – perhaps in US custody along with others from the compound, and whether or not bin Laden died years ago, died in the raid, or is now tucked away in a US military stronghold we don’t actually know for certain, and are not supposed to ask. Not that I care that much – but honesty and transparency is always comforting in supposed democratic Government.

John O’Brennan, the chief counterterrorism advisor to President Obama, said in a White House press conference on May 2 that the US Special forces had killed Hamza Bin Laden, the 22 year-old son of the Al-Qaida leader.

Question: Were there any civilian – I mean, how many civilian casualties were there?

MR. BRENNAN: Bin Laden died; the two al Qaeda facilitators – the brothers, who were – the courier and his brother in the compound; bin Laden’s son Hamza; and the woman, presumed to be his wife, who was shielding bin Laden.

Since that press conference it became clear, the woman that assaulted the American soldiers in the room with Osama Bin Laden did survive the raid and was not killed but shot in the leg. From documents found inside the Abbottabad compound it is possible to suggest the woman is Bin Laden´s youngest wife, Amal al-Sadah from Yemen.

Today the New York Times reveals some new details of the Abbottabad raid in a inside account. According to the NYT, the Navy Seals Team first shot a bodyguard of Bin Laden who tried to attack them and then also killed a woman.

“When the commandos moved into the main house, they saw the courier’s brother, who they believed was preparing to fire a weapon. They shot and killed him. Then, as they made their way up the stairs of the house, officials said they killed Bin Laden’s son Khalid as he lunged toward the Seal team.”

So, which account is to be trusted as for now? Was the Bin Laden son who was killed taken by the US soldiers along with the body of Osama Bin Laden, and was it Khalid or Hamza?

Other contradictions include:

  • Bin Laden’s wife died while shielding the terrorist leader from U.S. gunfire. But was merely shot in the leg, although another woman did die.
  • Bin Laden died in a bloody firefight.  No, Bin Laden did not engage in a firefight.  Bin Laden “was not armed.” Version three: he had an AK-47 “nearby.”
  • US officials said that “cellphones were strictly forbidden at the compound” but another reported that Navy SEALs confiscated a number of mobile phones. Which is true?
  • Obama and his team “monitored the raid”. But CIA Director Leon Panetta admitted “there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn’t know about.”
  • A transport helicopter experienced “mechanical failure” and was forced to make a hard landing during the mission. Then it was changed to: a top-secret helicopter clipped the bin Laden compound wall, crashed and was purposely exploded after the mission to prevent our enemies from learning more about it.
  • The bin Laden photos would be released to the world as proof positive of his death. Then: the photos would not be released to the world because no one needs proof and it’s more important to avoid offending Muslims.
  • Bin Laden’s compound was a lavish (million-dollar) mansion. Photos show Bin Laden’s compound as a glorified pigsty.
  • Bin Laden’s compound had absolutely no television, phone or computer access. Video shows the was stocked with hard drives, thumb drives, DVDs and computers galore.
  • A gung-ho Obama spearheaded the “gutsy” mission. Later: Obama dithered for 16 hours before being persuaded by CIA Director Leon Panetta.
  • Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and close advisers watched the raid unfold in real time — “minute by minute,” according to Carney.  Later:  they weren’t really watching real-time video “minute by minute” because there was at least nearly a half-hour that they “didn’t know just exactly what was going on,” Panetta clarified.

And – those “home videos”. US officials released five videos they found on a computer in the compound, which offered “proof” of Bin Laden living there. Correction – one video of a grizzled old man who could be anybody, watching TV, and the place and date is unidentified; and four old propaganda videos without soundtracks, so the dates cannot be verified.

The official line for why Bin Laden looked so much younger in these is that “he dyed his beard”. [and his hair and eyebrows? and used botox to smooth his wrinkled face??].

It wasn’t but a moment before they appeared on Youtube, and I was able to watch them in more detail than on the BBC news. What I really wanted to check was the EARS. You can always spot a doppleganger by the ears. Unfortunately the fuzzy videos didn’t give me clear enough resolution to do so, but maybe someone with more expertise than me could check.

However, I did notice that there appeared to be more cables than needed for a simple TV/DVD setup and remembered the announcement that this compound “had no phone or internet”. Yet it had computers that could be seized for valuable information, and a lot more electronic equipment standing around. Strange?

A senior U.S. intelligence official says bin Laden’s home was “a command-and-control center for the terrorist network”, but with no visible means of communication?

Bin Laden’s wife supposedly told the story of how they evaded capture for so long by hiding in a secret location in a small village in Pakistan. This apparently without any of the villagers noticing.

Chak Shah Muhammad, the Pakistani village Osama bin Laden’s wife said they made their home for two and a half years, previously to the compound in Abbottabad, is a small farming village of low brick houses, poultry farms and wheat fields. But the feudal landlord who owns much of the land in the area, his tenant farmers and the local police were all in disbelief.  “It’s absurd,” villagers said.

“It’s impossible,” said Liaquat Khan, the main landowner in the region, whose ancestor Shah Muhammad gave his name to the village and founded the nearby town of Haripur. “It is a very open place, with 50 houses, and they are very poor people who live there,” he said. The feudal system is such that no villager would host an outsider without checking first with him. “They give me daily reports from the village,” he said of his tenants.

We envy him. It seems this Pakistani landlord is more in touch with his surroundings and society than we are, as the “daily reports” we receive never quite seem to make sense or confirm events.  It leaves us wondering, whom do we trust? Do they wonder why conspiracy theories have proliferated as a result?


2 thoughts on “Bin Laden Raid: Questions we should Ask

  1. That the Obama Administration cannot get its message straight is nothing new and they are milking it for all its worth. As far as I am concerned all that matters is our SEALS did an amazing job and OBL is doing the Texas two step with the fishies. Justice has been done.


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