, of all people, is telling some truth about the Osama Bin Laden raid.
But he also went further, suggesting that the Navy SEALs sent to Abbottabad were not given the option of taking bin Laden alive. "If they were going in with no options other than to kill [bin Laden], then I do think that's a problem -- and that's what it's starting to sound like from the information that's coming out of Washington right now."
"It does seem from the initial reports that a deliberately small force was sent in and there wasn't a lot of thought given to the idea of capturing him."
Let's draw a comparison. Khaled Sheik Mohammed, the presumed planner of the 9/11 attacks, was captured. The circumstances surrounding his capture were decidedly odd
-- for one thing, he was widely reported as killed on September 11, 2002, some four months before
his capture on March 1, 2003. (Also see here
.) Nevertheless, the raiders on that occasion clearly wanted their man to stay alive. It is also the case that the CIA and the Pakistanis worked hand-in-hand on that occasion. At that
time, it seems, no-one worried that Al Qaeda sympathizers within ISI would snitch.
So if it was possible to get KSM alive, why couldn't they grab Osama alive? Frankly, KSM seems a tougher customer -- it's not as though the guy had a history involving dialysis machines. Although reports are contradictory, there seems to have been armed resistance in 2003. By comparison, only one person
at the Abbottabad compound tried to defend himself.
If it was possible for Pakistan and the U.S. to work together in 2003, why not in 2011?
Allow me to suggest one possible scenario. Let us suppose the Bin Laden daughter Safia was correct when she said that her father was captured and then executed. (Frankly, I think that's a fairly good bet.) Both the body and the post-mortum photos would provide evidence of the execution. A close-range shot leaves powder burns and other evidence.
This hypothesis would also explain the changing stories about whether Obama and Clinton watched the operation on video in real time
. (I feel certain that they did.) I suspect that they realized belatedly that they would need plausible deniability if the truth of the execution ever came out: "I am shocked, shocked to learn about this. At the time, I had no idea..."
The official line still needs some straightening. At this moment, the line holds that the body was flown to the USS Carl Vinson
, which was about 500 miles away. That's not within the range of a Blackhawk helicopter -- unless the chopper has external tanks
, in which case it might just barely get there and back. The ship was, however, within the roughly 1,200 mile range of a Chinook.
Ah...but were Chinooks involved? The Defense Tech site (as noted in earlier posts) has said that there were two dual-rotor Chinooks as well as two Blackhawks. As near as I can tell, the official story restricts us to two Blackhawks, which may have been little-known stealth models. At this stage, I know of no eyewitness reports of Chinooks.
Incidentally, our friend Red Dragon points to this article
which pretty thoroughly unravels the official story of no U.S.-Pakistan cooperation in the Osama raid. And here
is the report cited:
“It’s a no-fly zone,” said a Pakistani intelligence official, referring to the area around bin Laden’s mansion and the nearby military compound. “It is impossible for U.S. helicopters to fly over there without our knowledge and permission.”
A Pakistan Air Force official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, rejected reports that U.S. special forces had jammed Pakistan’s radar system in order to circumvent the no-fly zone.
“This is totally untrue. Neither our radars were jammed nor was any scrambling of any air force plane recorded,” the official said, referring to the practice of launching aircraft in the event that the airspace has been breached.
Residents in the area confirmed that the Pakistan army appeared to have at least some knowledge of the operation well before it began. Several residents said that two hours before the United States launched its attack, Pakistani army personnel ordered them to switch off their lights inside and outside their homes and remain indoors until further notice.
“The army personnel cordoned off the entire area long before we heard the sounds of helicopters hovering over the area,” said Zulfikar Ahmed, who lives in the Abbottabad neighborhood of Bilal Town, where bin Laden’s compound is located. Locals interviewed by the BBC and several other local and international media outlets made similar statements.
“Gen. David Petraeus paid an extraordinary visit to Islamabad on April 25,” said a senior military official said. The official said Petraeus held a one-on-one meeting with Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief of staff, in which they discussed the details of the operation.
We also have an interesting paragraph published by the Arabic news source Asharq Alawsat
However Abbottabad residents, speaking anonymously to Asharq Al-Awsat, claimed that Pakistani authorities warned them, prior to the beginning of the military operation, not to leave their homes and to turn off their lights. US Navy Seals carried out the operation to kill or capture Bin Laden, breaching the compound with 4 helicopters, one of which was forced to crash-land in a field nearby, reportedly due to mechanical failures
Despite the clear evidence of Pakistan/U.S. cooperation, the official story has lawmakers and pundits screaming against Pakistan. The Chicago Tribune asks: "Is Pakistan a friend?" while congressfolk are talking about aid reductions
. Methinks the cover story is having some unforseen consequences -- as cover stories often do.
I think that the Pakistani officials are just dying to spill the beans as to what really happened. That is certainly one justifiable between-the-lines reading of this piece
I believe that Osama is dead -- although I'd feel much more secure in that assessment if we had witnesses to the body who would not be open to treason charges if they told a story contrary to the official one. The main questions are:
1. Why was it necessary to execute Osama?
2. Was his location truly unknown to Pakistan?
3. If (as many believe) the location was well-known to Pakistan, how could it remain unknown to the United States? Isn't that sort of thing what we pay the NSA to find out?
4. Where was Osama Bin Laden between the invasion of Afghanistan and the building of that compound in 2005?
5. Why were so many Al Qaeda personnel allowed to escape in the first place, after the invasion of Afghanistan?
6. What secrets -- in particular, secrets about the drug trade -- did Osama Bin Laden take to the grave?