When that chopper carrying the SEAL Team 6 members went down, I indulged in a bit of gallows humor and suggested that this event occurred pursuant to the Conspiracy Theorist Full Employment Act of 2008. A friend to this blog -- someone who listens to right-wing conspiranoia radio so we don't have to -- informs me that this prediction has more or less come true.
Alex Jones gets the ball rolling here
. (Yes, I clothespinned my nostrils shut and and listened to my least favorite broadcaster for all of about two minutes. This was not easy.) He claims that he has heard from inside military sources -- including a colonel -- that members of SEAL Team 6 were killed to shut them up about the Bin Laden raid.
I don't think that Alex is a deliberate liar. The guy may be wacky as hell, but he wouldn't concoct a source out of thin air. If he says he talked to a colonel (or someone cleverly impersonating a colonel), then he probably did just that.
That said -- I've had run-ins with lots of guys like
Alex (though not AJ himself), and I know how easy it is for alleged military sources to play games with their heads.
: During the Clinton years, conspiracy crank Sherman Skolnick offered all sorts of "inside" info about Bill Clinton. The info came from a military source who, we eventually learned, was none other than the notorious Gunther Russbacher. If you don't know the name -- well, you're lucky. Suffice it to say that I do not consider him credible.
: An off-beat writer of my acquaintance learned putative inside dope about the death of Princess Di from a source he would only call "The General." Eventually, I learned that the General was Oswald LeWinter, who is even more notorious than Russbacher. Long
story there. (LeWinter and Russbacher had both played disinfo games during the height of the October Surprise controversy.)
: The pseudonyms "Falcon" and "Condor" may be familiar to some of you. If so, please don't discuss them in your comments, because that entire topic makes me want to retch. As Stan Lee would put it: Nuff said
Bottom line: The hipsters of paranoia are the
-- and I mean THE
-- easiest people in the world to con, precisely because guys like Alex Jones are so fucking sure of themselves. Whenever a source tells those people something that flatters their biases, they lap it up.
Alex Jones' source won't divulge either his name or even his branch of the military, presumably to protect himself. But -- and let us presume for the moment that the "colonel" really is
a colonel -- the DIA or ONI or AFOSI or whatever surely knows full well that the guy is talking to a well-known broadcaster like Alex Jones. So you gotta ask: Protection from what
At any rate, Jones' riff has been picked up by Peter Schiff and other conservatives who consider themselves "outside the box" thinkers. (Of course, the mere fact that these "thinkers" are part of Club YAL -- Yet Another Libertarian -- means that they are really in
the box but won't admit it.)
Having said all of that...
Firedoglake has published what I consider an intriguing article
(relying, alas, on still more unnamed sources) on what really occurred during that raid. This story reprints a post on a blog run by one R.J. Hillhouse, who claims to have led a very wild life:
Dr. Hillhouse has run Cuban rum between East and West Berlin, smuggled jewels from the Soviet Union and slipped through some of the world’s tightest borders. From Uzbekistan to Romania, she's been followed, held at gunpoint and interrogated. Foreign governments and others have pitched her for recruitment as a spy. (They failed.)
Sounds like a fun lady. So here's what she has to say, and forgive the lengthy quotation...
Forget the cover story of waterboarding-leads-to-courier-leads-to bin Laden. Sources in the intelligence community tell me that after years of trying and one bureaucratically insane near-miss in Yemen, the US government killed OBL because a Pakistani intelligence officer came forward to collect the approximately $25 million reward from the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program.
The informant was a walk-in.
The ISI officer came forward to claim the substantial reward and to broker US citizenship for his family. My sources tell me that the informant claimed that the Saudis were paying off the Pakistani military and intelligence (ISI) to essentially shelter and keep bin Laden under house arrest in Abbottabad, a city with such a high concentration of military that I’m told there’s no equivalent in the US.
The real bombshell here is the Saudi connection. The American public might react very badly if they learned that the nation which feeds our oil addiction also paid for Bin Laden's upkeep. That's
the kind of secret which might justify killing the slaves who buried the Pharaoh.
Next they approached the chiefs of the Pakistani military and the ISI. The US was going to come in with or without them. The CIA offered them a deal they couldn’t refuse: they would double what the Saudis were paying them to keep bin Laden if they cooperated with the US. Or they could refuse the deal and live with the consequences: the Saudis would stop paying and there would be the international embarrassment…
The ISI and Pakistani military were cooperating with the US on the raid.
The cooperation was why there were no troops in Abbottabad. They were all pulled out.
This scenario coalesces with some little-noticed info published in The Nation
-- not the lefty American magazine but the Pakistani news organ with strong links to that country's military. We discussed these oddities in previous stories -- here
About 200 Pakistan Army men provided ground support, top level official sources told The Nation. During the operation, four helicopters of the Pakistan Army hovered over the fortress-like hideout of al-Qaeda chief at Thanda Choh, a relatively isolated area of Abbottabad’s otherwise posh locality Bilal Town that is barely a kilometre away from the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.
After completing aerial assessments, the four Pakistan Army helicopters were replaced by two US helicopters, ten minutes later.
When the residents of the area, upon hearing heavy gunshots and explosions, came out of their homes or went up to the rooftops of their houses, Pakistani soldiers in helicopters threw search lights, instructing them to stay indoors. Besides initial aerial support, the Pakistan Army provided ground support by deploying ground troops within a radius of one kilometre of the operation area.This report
also speaks of ISI cooperation with the Americans:
One senior military official, who asked not to be named because he is not permitted to speak to the press, said that Pakistani army troops were in fact providing backup support when the United States began its operations inside the compound where bin Laden had been staying, including sealing off the neighborhood where the compound was located.
Officials interviewed scoffed at the idea that Pakistan could have been unaware of the American operation.
“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.
The emergent scenario makes a lot of sense, at least to me. Again: The Saudi link is key; researchers should concentrate their attentions in that direction.
But what about the allegation that SEALs involved with the Bin Laden raid went down in that recent chopper crash? The claim has been both widely repeated and widely denied.
And as for what Alex Jones has to say -- well, maybe his source is on the level. Or maybe someone in AFOSI is trying to humiliate the Obama administration. Maybe both
. Conceivably, the source could turn out to be another Russbacher, tasked to bring discredit to an essentially true story by festooning it with improbable and disprovable details.
For now, let's just file all of that in the folder labeled "Wait and see."
(Oh, a message to the 9/11 weirdo who never misses an opportunity to get his foot in the door: Give it a rest, willya? There are