05-02-2011, 12:33 PM
The motherf---er is finally one with the universe...

05-02-2011, 12:43 PM
From the Inquirer - - -

US has killed Osama bin Laden - Obama

Agence France-Presse

"Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children," Obama said in a surprise late night White House address.

The world's most wanted man had been killed in a Pakistani compound in an operation on Sunday, which had been carried after cooperation from Islamabad, the US leader said.

Obama said in the historic address from the White House that he had directed the US armed forces to launch an attack against a compound in Pakistan on Sunday acting on a lead that first emerged last August.

"A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties."

US armed forces have been hunting the Saudi terror kingpin for years, an effort that was redoubled following the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon which killed 3,000 people in 2001.

But Bin Laden always managed to evade US armed forces and a massive manhunt, and was most often thought to be hiding out in Pakistan and Afghanistan border areas.

The death of Bin Laden will raise huge questions about the future shape of Al-Qaeda and also have steep implications for US security and foreign policy 10 years into a global anti-terror campaign.

It will also raise fears that the United States and its allies will face retaliation from supporters of bin Laden and other Islamic extremist groups.

05-02-2011, 12:46 PM
From Yahoo News - - -

Obama: Al-Qaida head bin Laden dead

WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden, the glowering mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that murdered thousands of Americans, was killed in an operation led by the United States, President Barack Obama said Sunday.

A small team of Americans killed bin Laden in a firefight Sunday at a compound in Pakistan, the president said in a dramatic late-night statement at the White House.

A jubilant crowd gathered outside the White House as word spread of bin Laden's death after a global manhunt that lasted nearly a decade.

"Justice has been done," the president said.

Former President George W. Bush, who was in office on the day of the attacks, issued a written statement hailing bin Laden's death as a momentous achievement. "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," he said.

Few details were immediately available of the operation that resulted in bin Laden's death, although the president said none of the Americans involved was harmed.

The development came just months before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon, orchestrated by bin Laden's al-Qaida organization, that killed more than 3,000 people.

The attacks set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and America's entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.

Al-Qaida was also blamed for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 231 people and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in Yemen, as well as countless other plots, some successful and some foiled.

A senior administration official says Obama gave the final order for U.S. officials to go after bin Laden on Friday. The official added that a small team found their quarry hiding in a large home in an affluent suburb of Islamabad. The raid occurred in the early morning hours Sunday.

Obama spoke with Bush and former President Bill Clinton Sunday night to inform them of the developments.

The attacks a decade ago seemed to come out of nowhere, even though al-Qaida had previously damaged American targets overseas.

The terrorists hijacked planes, flew one of them into one of Manhattan's Twin Towers — and, moments later, into the other one. Both buildings collapsed, trapping thousands inside and claiming the lives of firefighters and others who had rushed to help them.

A third plane slammed into the Pentagon, defacing the symbol of America's military night. A fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the hijackers and forced it down — before it could hit its intended target in Washington.

Obama struck a less than boastful tone in his brief announcement, although he said the death of bin Laden was "the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al-Qaida.

"His death does not mark the end of our effort. There's no doubt that al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant," he added.

Moments after he spoke, American officials cautioned that the events could lead to heightened threats against the United States.

05-02-2011, 01:39 PM
From the New York Times - - -

The Most Wanted Face of Terrorism


Osama bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan on Sunday, was a son of the Saudi elite whose radical, violent campaign to recreate a seventh-century Muslim empire redefined the threat of terrorism for the 21st century.

With the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, bin Laden was elevated to the realm of evil in the American imagination once reserved for dictators like Hitler and Stalin. He was a new national enemy, his face on wanted posters, gloating on videotape, taunting the United States and Western civilization.

“Do you want bin Laden dead?” a reporter asked President George W. Bush six days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I want him — I want justice,” the president answered. “And there’s an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ ”

It took nearly a decade before that quest finally ended in Pakistan with the death of bin Laden during a confrontation with American forces who attacked a compound where officials said he had been hiding.

The manhunt was punctuated by a December 2001 battle at an Afghan mountain redoubt called Tora Bora, near the border of Pakistan, where bin Laden and his allies were hiding. Despite days of pounding by American bombers, bin Laden escaped. For more than nine years afterward, he remained an elusive, shadowy figure frustratingly beyond the grasp of his pursuers and thought to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan and plotting new attacks.

Long before, he had become a hero in much of the Islamic world, as much a myth as a man — what a longtime officer of the C.I.A. called “the North Star” of global terrorism. He had united disparate militant groups, from Egypt to Chechnya, from Yemen to the Philippines, under the banner of his Al Qaeda organization and his ideal of a borderless brotherhood of radical Islam.

Terrorism before bin Laden was often state-sponsored, but he was a terrorist who had sponsored a state. For five years, 1996 to 2001, he paid for the protection of the Taliban, then the rulers of Afghanistan. He bought the time and the freedom to make his group, Al Qaeda — which means “the base” — a multinational enterprise to export terror around the globe.

For years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the name of Al Qaeda and the fame of bin Laden spread like a 21st-century political plague. Groups calling themselves Al Qaeda, or acting in the name of its cause, attacked American troops in Iraq, bombed tourist spots in Bali and blew up passenger trains in Spain.

To this day, the precise reach of his power remains unknown: how many members Al Qaeda could truly count on, how many countries its cells had penetrated, and whether, as bin Laden boasted, he sought to arm Al Qaeda with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

He waged holy war with distinctly modern methods. He sent fatwas — religious decrees — by fax and declared war on Americans in an e-mail beamed by satellite around the world. Al Qaeda members kept bomb-making manuals on CD-ROM and communicated with encrypted memos on laptops, leading one American official to declare that bin Laden possessed better communication technology than the United States. He railed against globalization, even as his agents in Europe and North America took advantage of a globalized world to carry out their attacks, insinuating themselves into the very Western culture he despised.

He styled himself a Muslim ascetic, a billionaire’s son who gave up a life of privilege for the cause. But he was media savvy and acutely image conscious; before a CNN crew that interviewed him in 1997 was allowed to leave, his media advisers insisted on editing out unflattering shots. He summoned reporters to a cave in Afghanistan when he needed to get his message out, but like the most controlling of C.E.O.’s, he insisted on receiving written questions in advance.

His reedy voice seemed to belie the warrior image he cultivated, a man whose constant companion was a Kalashnikov rifle that he boasted he had taken from a Russian soldier he had killed. The world’s most threatening terrorist, he was also known to submit to frequent dressings down by his mother. While he built his reputation on his combat experience against Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s, even some of his supporters question whether he had actually fought.

And though he claimed to follow the purest form of Islam, many scholars insisted that he was glossing over the faith’s edicts against killing innocents and civilians. Islam draws boundaries on where and why holy war can be waged; bin Laden declared the entire world fair territory.

Yet it was the United States, bin Laden insisted, that was guilty of a double standard.

“It wants to occupy our countries, steal our resources, impose agents on us to rule us and then wants us to agree to all this,” he told CNN in the 1997 interview. “If we refuse to do so, it says we are terrorists. When Palestinian children throw stones against the Israeli occupation, the U.S. says they are terrorists. Whereas when Israel bombed the United Nations building in Lebanon while it was full of children and women, the U.S. stopped any plan to condemn Israel. At the same time that they condemn any Muslim who calls for his rights, they receive the top official of the Irish Republican Army at the White House as a political leader. Wherever we look, we find the U.S. as the leader of terrorism and crime in the world.”


05-02-2011, 01:42 PM
(Cont'd from above)

The Turning Point

For bin Laden, as for the United States, the turning point came in 1989, with the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan.

For the United States, which had supported the Afghan resistance with billions of dollars in arms and ammunition, that defeat marked the beginning of the end of the cold war and the birth of a new world order.

Bin Laden, who had supported the resistance with money, construction equipment and housing, saw the retreat of the Soviets as an affirmation of Muslim power and an opportunity to recreate Islamic political power and topple infidel governments through jihad, or holy war.

He declared to an interviewer, “I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America.”

In its place, he built his own legend, modeling himself after the Prophet Muhammad, who in the seventh century led the Muslim people to rout the infidels, or nonbelievers, from North Africa and the Middle East. As the Koran had been revealed to Muhammad amid intense persecution, Bin Laden saw his own expulsions during the 1990s — from Saudi Arabia and then Sudan — as affirmation of himself as a chosen one.

In his vision, he would be the “emir,” or prince, in a restoration of the khalifa, a political empire extending from Afghanistan across the globe. “These countries belong to Islam,” he told the same interviewer in 1998, “not the rulers.”

Al Qaeda became the infrastructure for his dream. Under it, bin Laden created a web of businesses — some legitimate, some less so — to obtain and move the weapons, chemicals and money he needed. He created training camps for his foot soldiers, a media office to spread his word, even “shuras,” or councils, to approve his military plans and his fatwas.

Through the 90s, Al Qaeda evolved into a far-flung and loosely connected network of symbiotic relationships: bin Laden gave affiliated terrorist groups money, training and expertise; they gave him operational cover and a furthering of his cause. Perhaps the most important of those alliances was with the Taliban, who rose to power in Afghanistan largely on the strength of bin Laden’s aid, and in turn provided him refuge and a launching pad for holy war.

Long before Sept. 11, though the evidentiary trails were often thin, American officials considered Bin Laden at least in part responsible for the killing of American soldiers in Somalia and in Saudi Arabia; the first attack on the World Trade Center, in 1993; the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia; and a foiled plot to hijack a dozen jets, crash a plane into C.I.A. headquarters and kill President Bill Clinton.

In 1996, the officials described Bin Laden as “one of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic extremism in the world.” But he was thought at the time to be primarily a financier of terrorism, not someone capable of orchestrating international terrorist plots. Yet when the United States put out a list of the most wanted terrorists in 1997, neither Bin Laden nor Al Qaeda was on it.

Bin Laden, however, demanded to be noticed. In February 1998, he declared it the duty of every Muslim to “kill Americans wherever they are found.” After the bombings of two American Embassies in East Africa in August 1998, President Clinton declared bin Laden “Public Enemy No. 1.”

The C.I.A. spent much of the next three years hunting bin Laden. The goal was to capture him with recruited Afghan agents or to kill him with a precision-guided missile, according to the 2004 report of the 9/11 commission and the memoirs of George J. Tenet, director of Central Intelligence from July 1997 to July 2004.

The intelligence was never good enough to pull the trigger. By the summer of 2001, the C.I.A. was convinced that Al Qaeda was on the verge of a spectacular attack. But no one knew where or when it would come.


05-02-2011, 01:45 PM
(Cont'd from above)

The Early Life

By accounts of people close to the family, Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden was born in 1957, the seventh son and 17th child among 50 or more of his father’s children.

His father, Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden, had emigrated to what would soon become Saudi Arabia in 1931 from the family’s ancestral village in a conservative province of Southern Yemen. He found work in Jidda as a porter to the pilgrims on their way to the holy city of Mecca, and years later, when he would own the largest construction company in Saudi Arabia, he displayed his porter’s bag in the main reception room of his palace as a reminder of his humble origins.

According to family friends, the bin Laden family’s rise began with a risk — when the father offered to build a palace for King Saud in the 1950s for far less than the lowest bid. By the 1960s he had ingratiated himself so well with the Saudi royal family that King Faisal decreed that all construction projects be awarded to the Bin Laden group. When the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem was set on fire by a deranged tourist in 1969, the senior bin Laden was chosen to rebuild it. Soon afterward, he was chosen to refurbish the mosques at Mecca and Medina as well. In interviews years later, Osama bin Laden would recall proudly that his father had sometimes prayed in all three holy places in one day.

His father was a devout Muslim who welcomed pilgrims and clergy into his home. He required all his children to work for the family company, meaning that Osama spent summers working on road projects. The elder bin Laden died in a plane crash when Osama was 10. The siblings each inherited millions — the precise amount was a matter of some debate — and led a life of near-royalty. Osama — the name means “young lion” — grew up playing with Saudi princes and had his own stable of horses by age 15.

But some people close to the family paint a portrait of bin Laden as a misfit. His mother, the last of his father’s four wives, was from Syria, the only one of the wives not from Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden senior had met her on a vacation, and Osama was their only child. Within the family, she was said to be known as “the slave” and Osama, “the slave child.”

Within the Saudi elite, it was rare to have both parents born outside the kingdom. In a profile of Osama bin Laden in The New Yorker, Mary Anne Weaver quoted a family friend who suggested that he had felt alienated in a culture that so obsessed over lineage, saying: “It must have been difficult for him, Osama was almost a double outsider. His paternal roots are in Yemen, and within the family, his mother was a double outsider as well — she was neither Saudi nor Yemeni but Syrian.”

According to one of his brothers, Osama was the only one of the bin Laden children who never traveled abroad to study. A biography of bin Laden, provided to the PBS television program “Frontline” by an unidentified family friend, asserted that bin Laden never traveled outside the Middle East.

That lack of exposure to Western culture would prove a crucial distinction; the other siblings went on to lead lives that would not be unfamiliar to most Americans. They took over the family business, estimated to be worth billion, distributing Snapple drinks, Volkswagen cars and Disney products across the Middle East. On Sept. 11, 2001, several bin Laden siblings were living in the United States.

Bin Laden had been educated — and, indeed, steeped, as many Saudi children are — in Wahhabism, the puritanical, ardently anti-Western strain of Islam. Even years later, he so despised the Saudi ruling family’s coziness with Western nations that he refused to refer to Saudi Arabia by its modern name, instead calling it “the Country of the Two Holy Places.”

Newspapers have quoted anonymous sources — particularly, an unidentified Lebanese barber — about a wild period of drinking and womanizing in bin Laden’s life. But by most accounts he was devout and quiet, marrying a relative, the first of his four wives, at age 17.

Soon afterward, he began earning a degree at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jidda. It was there that he shaped his future militancy. He became involved with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group of Islamic radicals who believed that much of the Muslim world, including the leaders of Saudi Arabia, lived as infidels, in violation of the true meaning of the Koran.

And he fell under the influence of two Islamic scholars: Muhammad Quttub and Abdullah Azzam, whose ideas would become the underpinnings for Al Qaeda. Mr. Azzam became a mentor to the young Bin Laden. Jihad was the responsibility of all Muslims, he taught, until the lands once held by Islam were reclaimed. His motto: “Jihad and the rifle alone: no negotiations, no conferences and no dialogue.”

The Middle East was becoming increasingly unsettled in 1979, when bin Laden was at the university. In Iran, Shiite Muslims mounted an Islamic revolution that overthrew the shah and began to make the United States a target. Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty. And as the year ended, Soviet troops occupied Afghanistan.

Bin Laden arrived in Pakistan on the border of Afghanistan within two weeks of the occupation. He said later that he had been asked to go by Saudi officials, who were eager to support the resistance movement. In his book “Taliban,” the Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid said that the Saudis had originally hoped that a member of the royal family might serve as an inspirational leader in Afghanistan but that they settled on bin Laden as the next closest thing when no princes volunteered.


05-02-2011, 01:47 PM
(Cont'd from above)

He traveled like a visiting diplomat more than a soldier, meeting with leaders and observing the refugees coming into Peshawar, Pakistan. As the family friend says, it “was an exploratory rather than an action trip.” He would return twice a year for the next few years, in between finishing his degree and lobbying family members to support the Afghan mujahedeen.

Bin Laden began traveling beyond the border into Afghanistan in 1982, bringing with him construction machinery and recruits. In 1984, he and Mr. Azzam began setting up guest houses in Peshawar, which served as the first stop for holy warriors on their way to Afghanistan. With the money they had raised in Saudi Arabia, they established the Office of Services, which branched out across the world to recruit young jihadists.

The men came to be known as the Afghan Arabs, though they came from all over the world, and their numbers were estimated as high as 20,000. By 1986, bin Laden had begun setting up training camps for them as well, and was paying roughly $25,000 a month to subsidize them.

To young would-be recruits across the Arab world, bin Laden’s was an attractive story: the rich young man who had become a warrior. His own descriptions of the battles he had seen, how he lost the fear of death and slept in the face of artillery fire, were brushstrokes of an almost divine figure.

But intelligence sources insist that bin Laden actually saw combat only once, in a weeklong barrage by the Soviets at Jaji, where the Arab Afghans had dug themselves into caves using Bin Laden’s construction equipment.

“Afghanistan, the jihad, was one terrific photo op for a lot of people,” Milton Bearden, the C.I.A. officer who described bin Laden as “the North Star,” said in an interview on “Frontline,” adding, “There’s a lot of fiction in there.”

Still, Jaji became a kind of touchstone in the Bin Laden myth. Stories sent back from the battle to Arab newspaper readers, and photographs of bin Laden in combat gear, burnished his image.

The flood of young men following him to Afghanistan prompted the founding of Al Qaeda. The genesis was essentially bureaucratic; Bin Laden wanted a way to track the men so he could tell their families what had happened to them. The documentation Al Qaeda provided became a primitive database of young jihadists.

Afghanistan also brought Bin Laden into contact with leaders of other militant Islamic groups, including Ayman al-Zawahri, the bespectacled doctor who would later appear at Bin Laden’s side in televised messages from the caves of Afghanistan. Ultimately Dr. Zawahri’s group, Egyptian Jihad, and others would merge with Al Qaeda, making it an umbrella for various terrorist groups.


05-02-2011, 01:48 PM
(Cont'd from above)

The Movement

Through the looking glass of Sept. 11, it seemed ironic that the Americans and Osama bin Laden had fought on the same side against the Soviets in Afghanistan — as if the Americans had somehow created the Bin Laden monster by providing arms and cash to the Arabs. The complex at Tora Bora where Al Qaeda members hid had been created with the help of the C.I.A. as a base for the Afghans fighting the Soviets.

Bin Laden himself described the fight in Afghanistan this way: “There I received volunteers who came from the Saudi kingdom and from all over the Arab and Muslim countries. I set up my first camp where these volunteers were trained by Pakistani and American officers. The weapons were supplied by the Americans, the money by the Saudis.”

In truth, however, the American contact was not directly with bin Laden; both worked through the middlemen of the Pakistani intelligence service.

In the revisionism of the bin Laden myth, his defenders would later say that he had not worked with the Americans but that he had only tolerated them as a means to his end. As proof, they insisted he had made anti-American statements as early as 1980.

Bin Laden would say in retrospect that he was always aware who his enemies were.


05-02-2011, 01:50 PM
(Cont'd from above)

“For us, the idea was not to get involved more than necessary in the fight against the Russians, which was the business of the Americans, but rather to show our solidarity with our Islamist brothers,” he told a French journalist in 1995. “I discovered that it was not enough to fight in Afghanistan, but that we had to fight on all fronts against Communism or Western oppression. The urgent thing was Communism, but the next target was America.”

Afghanistan had infused the movement with new confidence.

“Most of what we benefited from was that the myth of the superpower was destroyed not only in my mind but also in the minds of all Muslims,” bin Laden later told an interviewer. “Slumber and fatigue vanished, and so was the terror which the U.S. would use in its media by attributing itself superpower status, or which the Soviet Union used by attributing itself as a superpower.”

He returned to Saudi Arabia, welcomed as a hero, and took up the family business. But Saudi royals grew increasingly wary of him as he became more outspoken against the government.

The breaking point — for Bin Laden and for the Saudis — came when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Bin Laden volunteered to the Saudis that the men and equipment he had used in Afghanistan could defend the kingdom. He was “shocked,” a family friend said, to learn that the Americans — the enemy, in his mind — would defend it instead. To him, it was the height of American arrogance.

The United States, he told an interviewer later, “has started to look at itself as a master of this world and established what it calls the new world order.”

The Saudi government restricted him to Jidda, fearing that his outspokenness would offend the Americans. Bin Laden fled to Sudan, which was offering itself as a sort of haven for terrorists, and there he began setting up legitimate businesses that would help finance Al Qaeda. He also built his reserves, in 1992, paying for about 500 mujahedeen who had been expelled from Pakistan to come work for him.


05-02-2011, 01:51 PM
(Cont'd from above)

The Terrorism

It was during that time that it is believed he honed his resolve against the United States.

Within Al Qaeda, he argued that the organization should put aside its differences with Shiite terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the better to concentrate on the common enemy: the United States. He called for attacks against American forces in the Saudi peninsula and in the Horn of Africa.

On Dec. 29, 1992, a bomb exploded in a hotel in Aden, Yemen, where American troops had been staying while on their way to Somalia. The troops had already left, and the bomb killed two Austrian tourists. American intelligence officials later came to believe that that was the first bin Laden attack.

On Feb. 26, 1993, a bomb exploded in a truck driven into the underground garage at the World Trade Center, killing six people. Bin Laden later praised Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of the bombing. In October of that year in Somalia, 18 American troops were killed — some of their bodies dragged through the streets — while on a peacekeeping mission; bin Laden was almost giddy about the deaths.

“After leaving Afghanistan, the Muslim fighters headed for Somalia and prepared for a long battle, thinking that the Americans were “like the Russians,” he told an interviewer.

“The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat,” he said. “And America forgot all the hoopla and media propaganda about being the world leader and the leader of the new world order, and after a few blows, they forgot about this title and left, dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat.”

By 1994, bin Laden had established new training camps in Sudan, but he became a man without a country. The Saudi government froze his assets and revoked his citizenship. His family, which had become rich on its relations to the royals, denounced him publicly after he was caught smuggling weapons from Yemen.

This only seemed to make him more zealous. He sent an open letter to King Fahd, outlining the sins of the Saudi government and calling for a campaign of guerrilla attacks to drive Americans from Saudi Arabia. Three months later, in November 1995, a truck bomb exploded at a Saudi National Guard training center operated by the United States in Riyadh, killing seven people. That year, Belgian investigators found a kind of how-to manual for terrorists on a CD-ROM. The preface dedicated it to Bin Laden, the hero of the holy war.


05-02-2011, 01:52 PM
(Cont'd from above)

The next May, when the men accused of the Riyadh bombing were beheaded in Riyadh’s main square, they were forced to read a confession in which they acknowledged the connection to bin Laden. The next month, June 1996, a truck bomb destroyed Khobar Towers, an American military residence in Dhahran. It killed 19 soldiers.

Bin Laden fled to Afghanistan that summer after Sudan expelled him under pressure from the Americans and Saudis, and he forged an alliance with Mullah Muhammad Omar, the leader of the Taliban. In August 1996, from the Afghan mountain stronghold of Tora Bora, bin Laden issued his “Declaration of War Against the Americans Who Occupy the Land of the Two Holy Mosques.”

“Muslims burn with anger at America,” it read. The presence of American forces in the Persian Gulf states “will provoke the people of the country and induces aggression on their religion, feelings, and prides and pushes them to take up armed struggle against the invaders occupying the land.”

The imbalance of power between American forces and Muslim forces demanded a new kind of fighting, he wrote, “in other words, to initiate a guerrilla war, where sons of the nation, not the military forces, take part in it.”

That same month in New York City, a federal grand jury began meeting to consider charges against bin Laden. Disputes arose among prosecutors and American law enforcement and intelligence officers about which attacks against American interests could truly be attributed to bin Laden — whether in fact he had, as an indictment eventually charged, trained and paid the men who killed the Americans in Somalia.

His foot soldiers, in testimony, offered differing pictures of bin Laden’s actual involvement. In some cases he could be as aloof as any boss with thousands of employees. Yet one of the men convicted of the bombings of the embassies said that bin Laden had been so involved that he was the one who had pointed at surveillance photos to direct where the truck bomb should be driven.

Bin Laden was becoming more emboldened, summoning Western reporters to his hideouts in Afghanistan to relay his message: He would wage war against the United States and its allies if Washington did not remove its troops from the gulf region.

“So we tell the Americans as a people,” he told ABC News, “and we tell the mothers of soldiers and American mothers in general that if they value their lives and the lives of their children, to find a nationalistic government that will look after their interests and not the interests of the Jews. The continuation of tyranny will bring the fight to America, as Ramzi Yousef and others did. This is my message to the American people: to look for a serious government that looks out for their interests and does not attack others, their lands, or their honor.”

In February 1998, he issued the edict calling for attacks on Americans anywhere in the world, declaring it an “individual duty” for all Muslims.

In June, the grand jury convened two years earlier issued its indictment, charging bin Laden with conspiracy to attack the United States abroad, for heading Al Qaeda and for financing terrorist activities around the world.

On Aug. 7, the eighth anniversary of the United States’ order sending troops into the gulf region, two bombs exploded simultaneously at the American Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Nairobi bomb killed 213 people and wounded 4,500; the bomb in Dar es Salaam killed 11 and wounded 85.

The United States retaliated two weeks later with strikes against suspected terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, which officials contended— erroneously, it turned out — was producing chemical weapons for Al Qaeda.

Bin Laden had trapped the United States in an escalating spiral of tension, where any defensive or retaliatory actions would affirm the evils he said had provoked the attacks in the first place. In an interview with Time magazine that December, he brushed aside President Clinton’s threats against him, and referred to himself in the third person, as if recognizing or encouraging the notion that he had become larger than life.

“To call us Enemy No. 1 or Enemy No. 2 does not hurt us,” he said. “Osama bin Laden is confident that the Islamic nation will carry out its duty.”


05-02-2011, 01:54 PM
(Cont'd from above)

In January 1999, the United States government issued a superseding indictment that affirmed the power Bin Laden had sought all along, declaring Al Qaeda an international terrorist organization in a conspiracy to kill American citizens.

The Aftermath

After the attacks of Sept. 11, bin Laden did what had become routine: He took to Arab television. He appeared, in his statement to the world, to be at the top of his powers. President Bush had declared that the nations of the world were either with the Americans or against them on terrorism; bin Laden held up a mirror image, declaring the world divided between infidels and believers.

Bin Laden had never before claimed or accepted responsibility for terrorist attacks. In a videotape found in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar weeks after the attacks, he firmly took responsibility for — and reveled in — the horror of Sept. 11.

“We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower,” he said. “We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all.”

In the videotape, showing him talking to followers nearly two months after the attacks, Bin Laden smiles, hungers to hear more approval, and notes proudly that the attacks let loose a surge of interest in Islam around the world.

He explained that the hijackers on the planes — “the brothers who conducted the operation” — did not know what the mission would be until just before they boarded the planes. They knew only that they were going to the United States on a martyrdom mission.

Bin Laden had long eluded the allied forces in pursuit of him, moving, it was said, under cover of night with his wives and children, apparently between mountain caves. Yet he was determined that if he had to die, he, too, would die a martyr’s death.

His greatest hope, he told supporters, was that if he died at the hands of the Americans, the Muslim world would rise up and defeat the nation that had killed him.

05-02-2011, 05:04 PM
I'm not sorry that he's gone, and I certainly don't thank him for making air travel even more tedious/stressful than it already was before, but at the same time I hope that the world at large (especially, I guess, the US, who has so far taken the public lead in the war against terrorism) doesn't think that this is over by a long shot. In addition, events since 9/11 have made it very clear that there are many other things demanding policymakers' attention.

World leaders shouldn't use this as an excuse to rest on their laurels, but as motivation to keep going towards tackling everything on their respective socio-economic development agenda.

Kid Cubao
05-02-2011, 08:19 PM
pakistan has a whole lot of explaining to do after osama was killed in that country. its leaders will need to explain why, despite earlier reports that he's always on the move, it was revealed he's residing in a palatial estate in a posh suburb 40 miles from islamabad, the capital, and that among his neighbors are the country's top generals. to think pakistan receives about seven billion dollars annually in military aid from the US. wait, now i see the point...

05-02-2011, 10:30 PM
I have this feeling that Osama was able to do what he is suppose to do. . . he has fulfilled his mission and his death is just nothing. . . he will still live in the hearts of the extremists and he will be considered a martyr for Allah. . . .

Kid Cubao
05-03-2011, 05:49 AM
^^ well, if you've read half of the articles posted by joescoundrel, it was clear that his mission was far from over. also, while he's the most charismatic personality among muslim radicals, the rest of the muslim world regard him as an utter disgrace. because of him and his extreme views, many normal peace-loving muslims become victims of hate crimes and other forms of prejudice. truth is, the muslim community soured on him since 9/11.

martyr for allah he is... for poor, uneducated and misguided people who've been conditioned to believe that their life's mission is to be a suicide bomber and blow up as many lives as possible so they can meet their eternal reward of 40 virgins waiting in heaven.

ang usap-usapan na lang ngayon ay kung naaayon sa panuntunan ng islam ang paglibing sa dagat kay osama. there's now a raging debate over this.

05-03-2011, 06:18 AM
I'm actually hoping that he's still alive and being tortured in some secret place in order for useful information to be extracted.

05-03-2011, 07:10 AM
From the Inquirer - - -

Most Wanted Face of Terrorism

THE MOST intense manhunt in history finally caught up with Osama bin Laden, but his life’s story will be told many different ways by different people.

Reviled in the West as the personification of evil, Bin Laden was admired and even revered by some fellow Muslims who embraced his vision of unending jihad against the United States and Arab governments he deemed as infidels.

Bin Laden’s money and preaching inspired the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed some 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, and forever ripped a hole in America’s feeling of security in the world.

His actions set off a chain of events that led the United States into wars in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, and a clandestine war against extreme Islamic adherents that touched scores of countries on every continent but Antarctica. America’s entire intelligence apparatus was overhauled to counter the threat of more terror attacks at home.

Bin Laden was killed in an operation led by the United States, President Barack Obama said Sunday. A small team of Americans carried out the attack and took custody of Bin Laden’s remains, Obama said.

Bin Laden’s al-Qaida organization has also been blamed for the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa that killed 231 people and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in Yemen, as well as countless other plots, some successful and some foiled.

Inspiration for terrorists

Perhaps as significant was his ability—even from hiding—to inspire a new generation of terrorists to murder in his name. Most of al-Qaida’s top lieutenants have been killed or captured in the years since Sept. 11, 2001, and intelligence officials in Europe and Asia say they now see a greater threat from home-grown radical groups energized by Bin Laden’s cause.

Bin Laden was born in Saudi Arabia in 1954. He became known as the most pious of the sons among his wealthy father’s 54 children. Bin Laden’s path to militant Islam began as a teenager in the 1970s when he got caught up in the fundamentalist movement then sweeping Saudi Arabia. He was a voracious reader of Islamic literature and listened to weekly sermons in the holy city of Mecca.

Thin, bearded and over 6-feet tall, Bin Laden joined the Afghans’ war against invading Soviet troops in the 1980s and gained a reputation as a courageous and resourceful commander. Access to his family’s considerable construction fortune certainly helped raise his profile among the mujahedeen fighters.

War against Soviets

At the time, Bin Laden’s interests converged with those of the United States, which backed the “holy war” against Soviet occupation with money and arms.

When Bin Laden returned home to Saudi Arabia, he was showered with praise and donations and was in demand as a speaker in mosques and homes. It did not take long for his aims to diverge from those of his former Western supporters.

“When we buy American goods, we are accomplices in the murder of Palestinians,” he said in one of the cassettes made of his speeches from those days.

A seminal moment in Bin Laden’s life came in 1990, when US troops landed on Saudi soil to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

Bin Laden tried to dissuade the government from allowing non-Muslim armies into the land where the prophet Mohammad gave birth to Islam, but the Saudi leadership turned to the United States to protect its vast oil reserves. When Bin Laden continued criticizing Riyadh’s close alliance with Washington, he was stripped of Saudi citizenship.

“I saw radical changes in his personality as he changed from a calm, peaceful and gentle man interested in helping Muslims into a person who believed that he would be able to amass and command an army to liberate Kuwait. It revealed his arrogance and his haughtiness,” Prince Turki, the former Saudi intelligence chief, said in an interview with Arab News and MBC television in late 2001.

“His behavior at that time left no impression that he would become what he has become,” the prince added.

Knack for staying alive

The prince, who said he met Bin Laden several times years ago in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, described him as “a gentle, enthusiastic young man of few words who didn’t raise his voice while talking.”

Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of Al-Quds al-Arabi, a London-based newspaper, spent 10 days with Bin Laden in an Afghan cave in 1996. He said Bin Laden “touched the root of the grievances of millions in the Arab world” when he presented himself as the alternative to Arab regimes that have been incapable of liberating Arab land from Israeli occupation and restoring pride to their people.

He said Bin Laden and his followers never feared death.

“Those guys spoke about death the way young men talk about going to the disco,” Atwan said. “They envied those who fell in battle because they died as martyrs in God’s cause.”

Still, Bin Laden had a knack for staying alive.

After being kicked out of Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden sought refuge in Sudan. The African country acceded to a US request and offered to turn Bin Laden over to Saudi Arabia in 1996, but his native country declined, afraid a trial would destabilize the country.

No. 1 US enemy

Back on familiar terrain in Afghanistan—allowed in by the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani—Bin Laden and his al-Qaida network prepared for the holy war that turned him into Washington’s No. 1 enemy.

When the Taliban—who would eventually give him refuge—first took control of Kabul in September 1996, Bin Laden and his Arab followers kept a low profile, uncertain of their welcome under the new regime. The Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar called Bin Laden to southern Kandahar from his headquarters in Tora Bora and eventually through large and continual financial contributions to the isolated Taliban, Bin Laden became dependent on the religious militia for his survival.

In Afghanistan, he would wake before dawn for prayers, then eat a simple breakfast of cheese and bread. He closely monitored world affairs. Almost daily, he and his men—Egyptians, Yemenis, Saudis, among others—practiced attacks, hurling explosives at targets and shooting at imaginary enemies.

He also went horseback riding, his favorite hobby, and enjoyed playing traditional healer, often prescribing honey, his favorite food, and herbs to treat colds and other illnesses. In Afghanistan, Bin Laden was often accompanied by his four wives—the maximum Islam allows. Estimates on the number of his children range up to 23.

First major strike

Al-Qaida’s first major strike after Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan was on Aug. 7, 1998, when twin explosions rocked US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Most of the victims were African passers-by, but the bombings also killed 12 Americans.

Days later, Bin Laden escaped a cruise missile strike on one of his training camps in Afghanistan launched by the United States in retaliation. Bin Laden is believed to have been at the Zhawar Kili Al-Badr camp for a meeting with several of his top men, but left shortly before some 70 Tomahawk cruise missiles slammed into the dusty complex.

Since Sept. 11, Bin Laden stayed a step ahead of the dragnet—perhaps the largest in history for a single individual.

As the Taliban quickly fell under pressure of the US bombardment, Bin Laden fled into the inhospitable mountains in the seam that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan, keeping up a spotty stream of chatter—first in video tapes and then in scratchy audio recordings—to warn his Western pursuers of more bloodshed.

Just hours after the US assault on Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001, Bin Laden appeared in a video delivered to Al-Jazeera, an Arab satellite television station, to issue a threat to America.

“I swear by God … neither America nor the people who live in it will dream of security before we live it in Palestine, and not before all the infidel armies leave the land of Mohammad, peace be upon him,” said Bin Laden, dressed in fatigues.

‘America can’t get me alive’

He reappeared in a video appearance broadcast by Al-Jazeera on Dec. 27, 2001, shortly after US forces apparently had him cornered in Tora Bora, a giant cave complex in eastern Afghanistan. Hundreds of al-Qaida suspects are believed to have escaped the massive US bombing campaign there, and Bin Laden is believed to have been among them.

During the past decade, Bin Laden and deputy Ayman al-Zawahri have appeared regularly in audio and video tapes to issue threats, and comment on a wide range of current events, although the appearances trailed off in recent years.

At several points in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks, Bin Laden’s capture or death had appeared imminent. After the March 2003 arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, officials in Islamabad and Washington were paraded out to deny a consistent stream of rumors that Bin Laden had been captured.

Through it all, Bin Laden vowed repeatedly that he was willing to die in his fight to drive the Israelis from Jerusalem and Americans from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

“America can’t get me alive,” Bin Laden was quoted as saying in an interview with a Pakistani journalist conducted shortly after the US invasion of Afghanistan. “I can be eliminated, but not my mission.”

Associated Press

05-03-2011, 07:28 AM
Remember the military operations on local bandit Abu Sabaya and terrorist group Abu Sayyaf?

Did the Americans actually learned something from the operations to trace Abu Sabaya and applied in it their pursuit of Osama Bin Laden?

In one of the pursuit operations against Abu Sayyaf in the middle in the jungle, they found packaging of newly purchased underwear and deodorants and other vanity items for male. They figured out that someone must be delivering these items Abu Sabaya, as it is obvious those items can't be purchased in the jungle. So, instead of intensifying efforts in the jungle pursuit, AFP intelligence monitored suspected accomplices and sympathizers from the urban areas.

They zeroed in on individuals who had no business to go to remote and forested areas where Abu Sayyaf was said to be hiding but actually were traveling to this remote places. When they were able to identify a strong lead, they had a government operative plant a tracking device on the back pack that was used by the identified accomplice/ sympathizer.

They successfully traced Abu Sabaya and killed him in an encounter. A press release was issued to announce the death of Abu Sabaya, but there were reservations from some sectors as there was no body to prove that he was actually killed.

Here is now an operation on Osama Bin Laden that started when the intelligence operatives were able to trace the favorite courier of the founder of Al Qaida. Trailed him and found him to be visiting an address in a location that is considered a military community. What business does a suspected Osama courier doing in a known military community? Then, when they conducted the operation, they actually made an effort to possess the body of the dead Osama to have proof that he is actually dead.

-- accomplices/ sympathizers going to places they had no business to be at,
-- taking possession of the body of the target.


All the while I had thought that the joint Philippine-US military operations was a lopsided arrangement for the AFP side. I wondered what the AFP and the operations here could offer the US. What benefit is there to gain for the Americans?

Well, based on the narratives on this operations, they benefited and did learned something.

05-03-2011, 09:16 AM
Osama Bin Laden is still alive.

It was Osama Din Laden who was killed in that raid.

05-03-2011, 12:04 PM
Remember the military operations on local bandit Abu Sabaya and terrorist group Abu Sayyaf?

Did the Americans actually learned something from the operations to trace Abu Sabaya and applied in it their pursuit of Osama Bin Laden?

In one of the pursuit operations against Abu Sayyaf in the middle in the jungle, they found packaging of newly purchased underwear and deodorants and other vanity items for male. They figured out that someone must be delivering these items Abu Sabaya, as it is obvious those items can't be purchased in the jungle. So, instead of intensifying efforts in the jungle pursuit, AFP intelligence monitored suspected accomplices and sympathizers from the urban areas.

They zeroed in on individuals who had no business to go to remote and forested areas where Abu Sayyaf was said to be hiding but actually were traveling to this remote places. When they were able to identify a strong lead, they had a government operative plant a tracking device on the back pack that was used by the identified accomplice/ sympathizer.

They successfully traced Abu Sabaya and killed him in an encounter. A press release was issued to announce the death of Abu Sabaya, but there were reservations from some sectors as there was no body to prove that he was actually killed.

Here is now an operation on Osama Bin Laden that started when the intelligence operatives were able to trace the favorite courier of the founder of Al Qaida. Trailed him and found him to be visiting an address in a location that is considered a military community. What business does a suspected Osama courier doing in a known military community? Then, when they conducted the operation, they actually made an effort to possess the body of the dead Osama to have proof that he is actually dead.

-- accomplices/ sympathizers going to places they had no business to be at,
-- taking possession of the body of the target.


All the while I had thought that the joint Philippine-US military operations was a lopsided arrangement for the AFP side. I wondered what the AFP and the operations here could offer the US. What benefit is there to gain for the Americans?

Well, based on the narratives on this operations, they benefited and did learned something.

oca, there was a documentary about the operation against Abu Sabaya. The man who was helping Sabaya was a former GS/HS classmate of his. That classmate of his turned against him and informed the AFP. And with the help of the CIA, they tracked down the Abu Sayaf leader.

They even showed actual videos on that documentary the night they ambushed Sabaya. The CIA used a drone hovering above the waters. The CIA and AFP were able to track Sabay because of the bugged satellite phone. Sabaya asked his classmate to purchase that phone, little did he know that it was already bugged.

As part of the deal, the AFP took credit. But without the CIA, they would not been able to accomplish the operation.

05-03-2011, 12:52 PM
Pakistani authorities still have a lot of explaining to do, considering where Osama Bin Laden was when he finally met his end. Truly these Pakistanis are even worse than Filipinos, with the world's most wanted and most dangerous man right in their own front lawn. There is no way anybody will ever convince me that no one in the Pakistani government or defense/security establishment did not know about Bin Laden being just several miles removed from Islamabad. President Barrack Obama simply gave a de rigeur acknowledgement by saying Pakistani intelligence authorities provided assistance in this operation. I hope those who were colluding with Bin Laden, even if the same never makes the headlines, are now one with the devil they harbored.

05-03-2011, 01:21 PM
From the New York Times ---

Clues Gradually led to Location of Quaeda Chief

WASHINGTON — For years, the agonizing search for Osama bin Laden kept coming up empty. Then last July, Pakistanis working for the Central Intelligence Agency drove up behind a white Suzuki navigating the bustling streets near Peshawar, Pakistan, and wrote down the car’s license plate.

The man in the car was Bin Laden’s most trusted courier, and over the next month C.I.A. operatives would track him throughout central Pakistan. Ultimately, administration officials said, he led them to a sprawling compound at the end of a long dirt road and surrounded by tall security fences in a wealthy hamlet 35 miles from the Pakistani capital.

On a moonless night eight months later, 79 American commandos in four helicopters descended on the compound, the officials said. Shots rang out. A helicopter stalled and would not take off. Pakistani authorities, kept in the dark by their allies in Washington, scrambled forces as the American commandos rushed to finish their mission and leave before a confrontation. Of the five dead, one was a tall, bearded man with a bloodied face and a bullet in his head. A member of the Navy Seals snapped his picture with a camera and uploaded it to analysts who fed it into a facial recognition program.

And just like that, history’s most expansive, expensive and exasperating manhunt was over. The inert frame of Osama bin Laden, America’s enemy No. 1, was placed in a helicopter for burial at sea, never to be seen or feared again. A nation that spent a decade tormented by its failure to catch the man responsible for nearly 3,000 fiery deaths in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, at long last had its sense of finality, at least in this one difficult chapter.

For an intelligence community that had endured searing criticism for a string of intelligence failures over the past decade, Bin Laden’s killing brought a measure of redemption. For a military that has slogged through two, and now three vexing wars in Muslim countries, it provided an unalloyed success. And for a president whose national security leadership has come under question, it proved an affirming moment that will enter the history books.

The raid was the culmination of years of painstaking intelligence work, including the interrogation of C.I.A. detainees in secret prisons in Eastern Europe, where sometimes what was not said was as useful as what was. Intelligence agencies eavesdropped on telephone calls and e-mails of the courier’s Arab family in a Persian Gulf state and pored over satellite images of the compound in Abbottabad to determine a “pattern of life” that might decide whether the operation would be worth the risk.

As more than a dozen White House, intelligence and Pentagon officials described the operation on Monday, the past few weeks were a nerve-racking amalgamation of what-ifs and negative scenarios. “There wasn’t a meeting when someone didn’t mention ‘Black Hawk Down,’ ” a senior administration official said, referring to the disastrous 1993 battle in Somalia in which two American helicopters were shot down and some of their crew killed in action. The failed mission to rescue hostages in Iran in 1980 also loomed large.

Administration officials split over whether to launch the operation, whether to wait and continue monitoring until they were more sure that Bin Laden was really there, or whether to go for a less risky bombing assault. In the end, President Obama opted against a bombing that could do so much damage it might be uncertain whether Bin Laden was really hit and chose to send in commandos. A “fight your way out” option was built into the plan, with two helicopters following the two main assault copters as backup in case of trouble.

On Sunday afternoon, as the helicopters raced over Pakistani territory, the president and his advisers gathered in the Situation Room of the White House to monitor the operation as it unfolded. Much of the time was spent in silence. Mr. Obama looked “stone faced,” one aide said. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. fingered his rosary beads. “The minutes passed like days,” recalled John O. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief.

The code name for Bin Laden was “Geronimo.” The president and his advisers watched Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, on a video screen, narrating from his agency’s headquarters across the Potomac River what was happening in faraway Pakistan.

“They’ve reached the target,” he said.

Minutes passed.

“We have a visual on Geronimo,” he said.

A few minutes later: “Geronimo EKIA.”

Enemy Killed In Action. There was silence in the Situation Room.

Finally, the president spoke up.

“We got him.”

Filling in the Gaps

Years before the Sept. 11 attacks transformed Bin Laden into the world’s most feared terrorist, the C.I.A. had begun compiling a detailed dossier about the major players inside his global terror network.

It wasn’t until after 2002, when the agency began rounding up Qaeda operatives — and subjecting them to hours of brutal interrogation sessions in secret overseas prisons — that they finally began filling in the gaps about the foot soldiers, couriers and money men Bin Laden relied on.

Prisoners in American custody told stories of a trusted courier. When the Americans ran the man’s pseudonym past two top-level detainees — the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed; and Al Qaeda’s operational chief, Abu Faraj al-Libi — the men claimed never to have heard his name. That raised suspicions among interrogators that the two detainees were lying and that the courier probably was an important figure.

As the hunt for Bin Laden continued, the spy agency was being buffeted on other fronts: the botched intelligence assessments about weapons of mass destruction leading up to the Iraq War, and the intense criticism for using waterboarding and other extreme interrogation methods that critics said amounted to torture.


05-03-2011, 01:23 PM
(Cont'd from above)

By 2005, many inside the C.I.A. had reached the conclusion that the Bin Laden hunt had grown cold, and the agency’s top clandestine officer ordered an overhaul of the agency’s counterterrorism operations. The result was Operation Cannonball, a bureaucratic reshuffling that placed more C.I.A. case officers on the ground in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

With more agents in the field, the C.I.A. finally got the courier’s family name. With that, they turned to one of their greatest investigative tools — the National Security Agency began intercepting telephone calls and e-mail messages between the man’s family and anyone inside Pakistan. From there they got his full name.

Last July, Pakistani agents working for the C.I.A. spotted him driving his vehicle near Peshawar. When, after weeks of surveillance, he drove to the sprawling compound in Abbottabad, American intelligence operatives felt they were onto something big, perhaps even Bin Laden himself. It was hardly the spartan cave in the mountains that many had envisioned as his hiding place. Rather, it was a three-story house ringed by 12-foot-high concrete walls, topped with barbed wire and protected by two security fences. He was, said Mr. Brennan, the White House official, “hiding in plain sight.”

Back in Washington, Mr. Panetta met with Mr. Obama and his most senior national security aides, including Mr. Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The meeting was considered so secret that White House officials didn’t even list the topic in their alerts to each other.

That day, Mr. Panetta spoke at length about Bin Laden and his presumed hiding place.

“It was electric,” an administration official who attended the meeting said. “For so long, we’d been trying to get a handle on this guy. And all of a sudden, it was like, wow, there he is.”

There was guesswork about whether Bin Laden was indeed inside the house. What followed was weeks of tense meetings between Mr. Panetta and his subordinates about what to do next.

While Mr. Panetta advocated an aggressive strategy to confirm Bin Laden’s presence, some C.I.A. clandestine officers worried that the most promising lead in years might be blown if bodyguards suspected the compound was being watched and spirited the Qaeda leader out of the area.

For weeks last fall, spy satellites took detailed photographs, and the N.S.A. worked to scoop up any communications coming from the house. It wasn’t easy: the compound had neither a phone line nor Internet access. Those inside were so concerned about security that they burned their trash rather than put it on the street for collection.

In February, Mr. Panetta called Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, to C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., to give him details about the compound and to begin planning a military strike.

Admiral McRaven, a veteran of the covert world who had written a book on American Special Operations, spent weeks working with the C.I.A. on the operation, and came up with three options: a helicopter assault using American commandos, a strike with B-2 bombers that would obliterate the compound, or a joint raid with Pakistani intelligence operatives who would be told about the mission hours before the launch.

Weighing the Options

On March 14, Mr. Panetta took the options to the White House. C.I.A. officials had been taking satellite photos, establishing what Mr. Panetta described as the habits of people living at the compound. By now evidence was mounting that Bin Laden was there.

The discussions about what to do took place as American relations with Pakistan were severely strained over the arrest of Raymond A. Davis, the C.I.A. contractor imprisoned for shooting two Pakistanis on a crowded street in Lahore in January. Some of Mr. Obama’s top aides worried that any military assault to capture or kill Bin Laden might provoke an angry response from Pakistan’s government, and that Mr. Davis could end up dead in his jail cell. Mr. Davis was ultimately released on March 16, giving a freer hand to his colleagues.

On March 22, the president asked his advisers their opinions on the options.

Mr. Gates was skeptical about a helicopter assault, calling it risky, and instructed military officials to look into aerial bombardment using smart bombs. But a few days later, the officials returned with the news that it would take some 32 bombs of 2,000 pounds each. And how could the American officials be certain that they had killed Bin Laden?

“It would have created a giant crater, and it wouldn’t have given us a body,” said one American intelligence official.


05-03-2011, 01:25 PM
(Cont'd from above)

A helicopter assault emerged as the favored option. The Navy Seals team that would hit the ground began holding dry runs at training facilities on both American coasts, which were made up to resemble the compound. But they were not told who their target might be until later.

Last Thursday, the day after the president released his long-form birth certificate — such “silliness,” he told reporters, was distracting the country from more important things — Mr. Obama met again with his top national security officials.

Mr. Panetta told the group that the C.I.A. had “red-teamed” the case — shared their intelligence with other analysts who weren’t involved to see if they agreed that Bin Laden was probably in Abbottabad. They did. It was time to decide.

Around the table, the group went over and over the negative scenarios. There were long periods of silence, one aide said. And then, finally, Mr. Obama spoke: “I’m not going to tell you what my decision is now — I’m going to go back and think about it some more.” But he added, “I’m going to make a decision soon.”

Sixteen hours later, he had made up his mind. Early the next morning, four top aides were summoned to the White House Diplomatic Room. Before they could brief the president, he cut them off. “It’s a go,” he said. The earliest the operation could take place was Saturday, but officials cautioned that cloud cover in the area meant that Sunday was much more likely.

The next day, Mr. Obama took a break from rehearsing for the White House Correspondents Dinner that night to call Admiral McRaven, to wish him luck.

On Sunday, White House officials canceled all West Wing tours so unsuspecting tourists and visiting celebrities wouldn’t accidentally run into all the high-level national security officials holed up in the Situation Room all afternoon monitoring the feeds they were getting from Mr. Panetta. A staffer went to Costco and came back with a mix of provisions — turkey pita wraps, cold shrimp, potato chips, soda.

At 2:05 p.m., Mr. Panetta sketched out the operation to the group for a final time. Within an hour, the C.I.A. director began his narration, via video from Langley. “They’ve crossed into Pakistan,” he said.

Across the Border

The commando team had raced into the Pakistani night from a base in Jalalabad, just across the border in Afghanistan. The goal was to get in and get out before Pakistani authorities detected the breach of their territory by what were to them unknown forces and reacted with possibly violent results.

In Pakistan, it was just past midnight on Monday morning, and the Americans were counting on the element of surprise. As the first of the helicopters swooped in at low altitudes, neighbors heard a loud blast and gunshots. A woman who lives two miles away said she thought it was a terrorist attack on a Pakistani military installation. Her husband said no one had any clue Bin Laden was hiding in the quiet, affluent area. “It’s the closest you can be to Britain,” he said of their neighborhood.

The Seal team stormed into the compound — the raid awakened the group inside, one American intelligence official said — and a firefight broke out. One man held an unidentified woman living there as a shield while firing at the Americans. Both were killed. Two more men died as well, and two women were wounded. American authorities later determined that one of the slain men was Bin Laden’s son, Hamza, and the other two were the courier and his brother.

The commandos found Bin Laden on the third floor, wearing the local loose-fitting tunic and pants known as a shalwar kameez, and officials said he resisted before he was shot above the left eye near the end of the 40-minute raid. The American government gave few details about his final moments. “Whether or not he got off any rounds, I frankly don’t know,” said Mr. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief. But a senior Pentagon official, briefing on the condition of anonymity, said it was clear Bin Laden “was killed by U.S. bullets.”

05-03-2011, 01:26 PM
(Cont'd from above)

American officials insisted they would have taken Bin Laden into custody if he did not resist, although they considered that likelihood remote. “If we had the opportunity to take Bin Laden alive, if he didn’t present any threat, the individuals involved were able and prepared to do that,” Mr. Brennan said.

One of Bin Laden’s wives identified his body, American officials said. A picture taken by a Seals commando and processed through facial recognition software suggested a 95 percent certainty that it was Bin Laden. Later, DNA tests comparing samples with relatives found a 99.9 percent match.

But the Americans faced other problems. One of their helicopters stalled and could not take off. Rather than let it fall into the wrong hands, the commandos moved the women and children to a secure area and blew up the malfunctioning helicopter.

By that point, though, the Pakistani military was scrambling forces in response to the incursion into Pakistani territory. “They had no idea about who might have been on there,” Mr. Brennan said. “Thankfully, there was no engagement with Pakistani forces.”

As they took off at 1:10 a.m. local time, taking a trove of documents and computer hard drives from the house, the Americans left behind the women and children. A Pakistani official said nine children, from 2 to 12 years old, are now in Pakistani custody.

The Obama administration had already determined it would follow Islamic tradition of burial within 24 hours to avoid offending devout Muslims, yet concluded Bin Laden would have to be buried at sea, since no country would be willing to take the body. Moreover, they did not want to create a shrine for his followers.

So the Qaeda leader’s body was washed and placed in a white sheet in keeping with tradition. On the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, it was placed in a weighted bag as an officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker, according to the senior Pentagon official.

The body then was placed on a prepared flat board and eased into the sea. Only a small group of people watching from one of the large elevator platforms that move aircraft up to the flight deck were witness to the end of America’s most wanted fugitive.

05-03-2011, 01:37 PM
What Drives History


Osama Bin Laden’s mother was about 15 at the time of his birth. Nicknamed “The Slave” inside the family, she was soon discarded and sent off to be married to a middle manager in the Bin Laden construction firm.

Osama revered the father he rarely got to see and adored his mother. As a teenager, he “would lie at her feet and caress her,” a family friend told Steve Coll, for his definitive biography “The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century.”

Like many people who go on to alter history, for good and evil, Bin Laden lost his father when he was about 9. The family patriarch was killed in a plane crash caused by an American pilot in the Saudi province of Asir. (Five of the Sept. 11 hijackers would come from that province. His brother was later killed in a plane crash on American soil.)

Osama was an extremely shy child, Coll writes. He was an outsider in his new family but also the golden goose. His allowance and inheritance was the source of his family’s wealth.

He lived a suburban existence and was sent to an elite school, wearing a blue blazer and being taught by European teachers. As a boy he watched “Bonanza” and became infatuated by another American show called “Fury,” about a troubled orphaned boy who goes off to a ranch and tames wild horses. He was a mediocre student but religiously devout. He made it to university, but didn’t last long. He married his first cousin when she was 14 and went into the family business.

I repeat these personal facts because we have a tendency to see history as driven by deep historical forces. And sometimes it is. But sometimes it is driven by completely inexplicable individuals, who combine qualities you would think could never go together, who lead in ways that violate every rule of leadership, who are able to perpetrate enormous evils even though they themselves seem completely pathetic.

Analysts spend their lives trying to anticipate future threats and understand underlying forces. But nobody could have possibly anticipated Bin Laden’s life and the giant effect it would have. The whole episode makes you despair about making predictions.

As a family man, Bin Laden was interested in sex, cars and work but was otherwise devout. He did not permit photography in his presence. He banned “Sesame Street,” Tabasco sauce and straws from his home. He covered his eyes if an unveiled woman entered the room. He liked to watch the news, but he had his children stand by the set and turn down the volume whenever music came on.

As Coll emphasized in an interview on Monday, this sort of devoutness, while not everybody’s cup of tea, was utterly orthodox in his society. He was not a rebel as a young man.

After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, he organized jihadi tourism: helping young, idealistic Arab fighters who wanted to spend some time fighting the invaders. He was not a fighter himself, more of a courier and organizer, though after he survived one Soviet bombardment, he began to fashion a self-glorifying mythology.

He was still painfully shy but returned with an enormous sense of entitlement. In 1990, he wanted to run the Saudi response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He also thought he should run the family business. After he was shot down for both roles, the radicalism grew.

We think of terrorism leaders as hard and intimidating. Bin Laden was gentle and soft, with a flaccid handshake. Yet his soldiers have told researchers such as Peter Bergen, the author of “The Longest War,” that meeting him was a deeply spiritual experience. They would tell stories of his ability to avoid giving offense and forgive transgressors.

We think of terrorists as trying to build cells and organizations, but Bin Laden created an anti-organization — an open-source set of networks with some top-down control but much decentralization and a willingness to embrace all recruits, regardless of race, sect or nationality.

We think of war fighters as using violence to seize property and power, but Bin Laden seemed to regard murder as a subdivision of brand management. It was a way to inspire the fund-raising networks, dominate the news and manipulate meaning.

In short, Osama Bin Laden seemed to live in an ethereal, postmodern world of symbols and signifiers and also a cruel murderous world of rage and humiliation. Even the most brilliant intelligence analyst could not anticipate such an odd premodern and postglobalized creature, or could imagine that such a creature would gain such power.

I just wish there were a democratic Bin Laden, that amid all the Arab hunger for dignity and freedom there was another inexplicable person with the ability to frame narratives and propel action — for good, not evil.

So far, there doesn’t seem to be, which is tragic because individuals matter.

05-03-2011, 01:52 PM
From the Washington Post - - -

Arab Responce to Bin Laden's Death Muted

BEIRUT — A decade ago, the Middle East might have responded to the killing of Osama bin Laden with fury at the United States. But with the region convulsed by mostly peaceful popular revolutions, the response to his death has been muted, another signal that the old Arab order is being swept away.

For this new generation, the young Tunisian who set himself on fire and ignited a revolution is a bigger hero than bin Laden, whose vision of martyrdom and jihad has been replaced by more prosaic aspirations such as free elections, good governance and an end to corruption.

“You will see protests for freedom and democracy, yes. But for Osama bin Laden? Definitely not,” said Mustafa Alani, director of the Security and Terrorism Studies Program at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai.

In the Arab world, he said, al-Qaeda was “already dying.”

The news of the death of the world’s most famous Arab prompted some loud anti-American voices. The Muslim Brotherhood called for the United States to withdraw from the region now that its chief foe was eliminated, and in the Gaza Strip, the Hamas movement condemned the killing, praising bin Laden as “an Arab and Muslim warrior.”

The region remains home to powerful strains of Islamist extremism, able to inflict great damage, even if their followers are relatively few in number.

But for many, bin Laden was as much a part of the old Arab order as the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia who were swept away by the populist clamor for change earlier this year, along with the other leaders in Syria, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere who are battling for their political lives against a groundswell of unrest.

“The timing of Osama bin Laden’s death has just been perfect,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of political science at Emirates University. “Osama was one of the leaders — an inspiration to some — that were behind the misery, defeats and stagnation that the Arab world has been going through.”

Now, he said, “his death adds to the modern, moderate and democratic Arab world that is currently in the making. This new Middle East is in sharp contrast to those who defined it before this year of change. Osama was an important force, but this is his end.”

In some places, his death was met with the shrugs of a people who have long since moved on.

“He died?” said Mohammed Shaaban, 21, as he took his lunch break at Cairo University, where few seemed to have heard the news many hours after President Obama announced that bin Laden had been killed.

“Egypt is removed from all this,” said Kholoud Samir, 20, a law student, who had heard the news but seemed unconcerned. Nevertheless, she added, “Now that he’s gone, I hope the U.S. has nothing to do with the Arab world.”

In Syria, the latest Arab country to be caught up in the turmoil, a student protester in the northern coastal town of Baniyas said people there were celebrating bin Laden’s death. “We are very happy that he was killed because he is a terrorist and we don’t like violence,” said the student, whose name is being withheld for his safety.

Al-Qaeda’s fading allure was a trend discernible long before the protests began sweeping through the region at the beginning of the year. It was perhaps most noticeable in Iraq, where Sunnis turned against the al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgents holding sway in their neighborhoods in 2006 and formed the Awakening movement, joining U.S. troops to almost, but not quite, defeat the extremists.

In Baghdad, government spokesman Ali Musawi welcomed the news. “The Iraqi people are among the most happy people, because we are the ones who suffered most from al-Qaeda,” he said.

Opinion polls have detected a steady decline in positive perceptions of al-Qaeda across the Arab world since the middle of the last decade, when the grisly, wall-to-wall satellite television coverage of beheadings and suicide bombings broadcast across the region from Iraq began to give Arabs pause for thought.

In 2004, 67 percent of Jordanians regarded al-Qaeda as “a legitimate resistance movement,” said Fares Braizat, who is in charge of polling at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in the Qatari capital, Doha. After al-Qaeda carried out suicide bombings against Jordanian hotels in 2005, that number fell to 20 percent, he said.

In the Palestinian territories, confidence in al-Qaeda fell from 72 percent in 2003 to 34 percent in 2011, according to polling conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. In Lebanon it fell from 19 percent to 1 percent.

The youth-led revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia crystallized the irrelevance of al-Qaeda and its extremist aspirations “because they achieved so much more than al-Qaeda ever achieved,” said Kamal Habib, a former member of the extremist Islamic Jihad movement in Egypt who now researches Islamist politics.

“Al-Qaeda’s peak was in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq,” he said. “There was an absolute panic that the West would somehow invade the Arab world. All this created a lot of fear and made al-Qaeda’s rhetoric more acceptable.”

“But now groups like al-Qaeda are facing a real crisis. People are saying, ‘If I can achieve change peacefully, why should I follow al-Qaeda?’ ’’

Yet al-Qaeda still is active in some of the most troubled areas of the region, including Yemen, North Africa and Iraq, and it cannot be counted out altogether, Braizat said.

“Al-Qaeda is going to lose rather than gain only if the revolutions succeed in producing proper democratic governments,” he warned. “It still has franchises out there, and wherever there are injustices, it will have appeal.”

05-03-2011, 02:35 PM
Agree with Madam 5FC. The war against terrorism is far from over.

People here in the gulf are skeptical about this development. Whilst some people think that Bin Laden's death would just paved a way for another extremist's rise, there are still a number of people in denial about his death and thinking that this is just another US (CIA) storyline.

Nevertheless, I still welcome this development and would take it anytime of the day.

05-03-2011, 05:03 PM
I agree that the war against terror is far from over but the killing of UBL by the FLO is a major victory, needless to say. It's not a knockout punch but it's the kind of punch that will scare the enemy and leave him with no choice but to run. The bullet that ended UBL's life also shattered a myth, a symbol, a rallying point.

The long term failure of the FLO to track and capture/kill UBL gave the Islamic jihadists courage to wage war, simply because UBL served as a symbol of the Islamic warrior who deftly evaded the high tech surveillance system of the allied forces. It gave them the false hope that they can bring the allied forces down to their knees.

Question is - who will be the next UBL? There are many lunatics and/or fundamentalists out there jockeying for the vacant position.

05-03-2011, 05:25 PM
I agree that the war against terror is far from over but the killing of UBL by the FLO is a major victory, needless to say. It's not a knockout punch but it's the kind of punch that will scare the enemy and leave him with no choice but to run. The bullet that ended UBL's life also shattered a myth, a symbol, a rallying point.

The long term failure of the FLO to track and capture/kill UBL gave the Islamic jihadists courage to wage war, simply because UBL served as a symbol of the Islamic warrior who deftly evaded the high tech surveillance system of the allied forces. It gave them the false hope that they can bring the allied forces down to their knees.

Question is - who will be the next UBL? There are many lunatics and/or fundamentalists out there jockeying for the vacant position.

Completely agree. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan already vowed to take revenge on the death of Bin Laden. They declared that their primary target is the Pakistan Rulers, second would be USA.

In addition to what has been reported by the Washing Post, the UAE Government welcomes Bin Laden's death. Dr Tariq Al Haidan, the Assistant Foreign Minister for Political Affairs at the Foreign Ministry described it as a positive step in the effort to combat terrorism.

05-04-2011, 03:50 AM
Osama Bin Laden has been dead for a long time. This is a staged death. Rather than extinguishing the OSAMA myth, the US simply made him a hero. Now his is LEGEND.

Osama bin Laden’s Useful Death

by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

In a propaganda piece reeking of US Triumphalism, two alleged journalists, Adam Goldman and Chris Brummitt, of the Associated Press or, rather, of the White House Ministry of Truth, write, or copy off a White House or CIA press release that “Osama bin Laden, the terror mastermind killed by Navy SEALs in an intense firefight, was hunted down based on information first gleaned years ago (emphasis added) from detainees at secret CIA prison sites in Eastern Europe, officials disclosed Monday.”

How many Americans will notice that the first paragraph of the “report” justifies CIA prisons and torture? Without secret prisons and torture “the terror mastermind” would still be running free, despite having died from renal failure in 2001.

How many Americans will have the wits to wonder why the “terror mastermind”--who defeated not merely the CIA and the FBI, but all 16 US intelligence agencies along with Israel’s Mossad and the intelligence services of NATO, who defeated NORAD, the National Security Council, the Pentagon and Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US Air Force, and Air Traffic Control, who caused security procedures to fail four times in US airports in one hour on the same day, who caused the state-of-the-art Pentagon air defenses to fail, and who managed to fly three airliners into three buildings with pilots who did not know how to fly--has not pulled off any other attack in almost ten years? Do Americans really believe that a government’s security system that can so totally fail when confronted with a few Saudi Arabians with box cutters can renew itself to perfection overnight?

How many Americans will notice the resurrection of the long missing bin Laden as “terror mastermind” after his displacement by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Guantanamo prisoner who confessed to being the “mastermind of 9/11” after being water-boarded 183 times?

Americans are too busy celebrating to think, a capability that seems to have been taken out of their education.

Americans are so enthralled over the death of bin Laden that they do not wonder why information gleamed years ago would take so long to locate a person who was allegedly living in a million-dollar building equipped with all the latest communication equipment next to the Pakistani Military Academy. Allegedly, the “most wanted criminal” was not moving from hide-out to hide-out in desolate mountains, but ensconced in luxury quarters in broad daylight. Nevertheless, despite his obvious location, it took the CIA years to find him after claiming to have gained information of his whereabouts out of captives in secret prisons. This is the image of the CIA as the new Keystone Cops.

In an immediate follow-up to the announcement that the Navy SEALs and CIA mercenaries acted in an exemplary fashion following the rules of engagement while a cowardly bin Laden hid behind a woman shield when the gunfire erupted, we have from the pressitutes that “U.S. officials conceded the risk of renewed attack. The terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge bin Laden’s death, CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote in a memo. . . . Within a few hours, the Department of Homeland Security warned that bin Laden’s death was likely to provide motivation for attacks from ‘homegrown violent extremists’.”

John Brennan, White House counter-terrorism adviser, told reporters that “it was inconceivable that the terrorist fugitive didn’t have support in Pakistan where his hideout had been custom built six years ago in a city with a heavy military presence.”

So the claimed murder of bin Laden by the US in a sovereign foreign country with which the US is not at war, a crime under international law, has set up three more self-serving possibilities:

-Terrorists will avenge bin Laden’s death, says the CIA, setting up another false flag attack to keep the profits flowing into the military/security complex and the power flowing into the unaccountable CIA.

-Homeland Security can extend the domestic police state, abuse of travelers, and arrests of war protestors.

-And Pakistan is under the gun of invasion and takeover (for India, of course) for shielding bin Laden.

The Israel Lobby’s representatives in the US Congress quickly fell in with the agenda. Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, declared that the Pakistani Army and intelligence agency “have a lot of questions to answer, given the location, the length of time and the apparent fact that this was actually--this facility was actually build for bin Laden, and its closeness to the central location of the Pakistani army.”

The two reporters question nothing in the government’s propaganda. Instead, the reporters join in the celebration. Nevertheless they let slip that “officials were weighing the release of at least one photo taken of bin Laden’s body as part of what Brennan called an effort to make sure ‘nobody has any basis to try and deny the death.’”

As the Guardian and European newspapers have revealed, the photo of the dead bin Laden is a fake. As the alleged body has been dumped into the ocean, nothing remains but the word of the US government, which lied about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections, about yellowcake, about Iranian nukes, and, according to thousands of experts, about 9/11. Suddenly the government is telling us the truth about bin Laden’s death? If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’ll let you have for a good price.

My initial interpretation of the faked bin Laden death was that Obama needed closure of the Afghan war and occupation in order to deal with the US budget deficit. Subsequent statements from Obama regime officials suggest that the agenda might be to give Americans a piece of war victory in order to boost their lagging enthusiasm. The military/security complex will become richer and more powerful, and Americans will be rewarded with vicarious pleasure in victory over enemies.


05-04-2011, 03:57 AM
Fake dead BIN LADEN. Of course it's fake. He's been dead for a long time.





05-04-2011, 06:37 AM
oca, there was a documentary about the operation against Abu Sabaya. The man who was helping Sabaya was a former GS/HS classmate of his. That classmate of his turned against him and informed the AFP. And with the help of the CIA, they tracked down the Abu Sayaf leader.

They even showed actual videos on that documentary the night they ambushed Sabaya. The CIA used a drone hovering above the waters. The CIA and AFP were able to track Sabay because of the bugged satellite phone. Sabaya asked his classmate to purchase that phone, little did he know that it was already bugged.

As part of the deal, the AFP took credit. But without the CIA, they would not been able to accomplish the operation.

Regardless what we read or heard or seen, what remains clear and unmistakeable here are--

--target was located through a courier,
--taking custody of the target, dead or alive.

Historically, it is most convenient for Americans to eliminate whom they want to eliminate by means of assassination or bombing a pinpointed location where target is verified to be present. But not in this case.

05-04-2011, 06:58 AM
Of course those images are fake. The operation was conducted without any third party present. Therefore, there can only be 2 official sources-- yung mangagaling sa Amerikano at yung mangagaling sa Al Qaida.

Wala pang binibitawang official photograph or video ang kahit sino-- an image of a dead Osama coming from the Americans, or a video from Al Qaida showing a very much alive beloved founder.

Until that happens, then the American version stays-- to which they took custody of the body, took biometrics for matching, took DNA, had one of the wives confirmed that the body was that of Osama

There would be no greater humiliation for the Americans than for a video of a live Osama delivering a message with references to events that happened after the raid on Attobaddad.

Only Al Qaida can disprove that their beloved founder is still alive.

05-04-2011, 07:05 AM
This now presents a new problem for the American establishment. The reason for invading Afghanistan was to pursue the mastermind of 9/11. Now that the White House claimed Osama has been eliminated, where is the premise for being in Afghanistan?

In the days to come, tiyak magsisimulang mag-ingay ng mas malakas ang mga tutol sa pananatili ng Amerikano sa Afghanistan.

Ewan ko kung may balak maglahad ng Exit Plan itong Establishment na ito.

05-04-2011, 07:22 AM
From the Inquirer - - -

Secretive US Navy SEALs shine

WASHINGTON—Osama bin Laden’s death in a ripped-from-a-spy-thriller helicopter raid and firefight gives a storied unit of US special operations forces bragging rights for what has become the most famous covert operation since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks launched on Bin Laden’s orders.

The unit, called Navy SEAL Team Six, probably won’t claim the credit publicly, however.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say units from SEAL Team Six dropped into Bin Laden’s high-walled compound in Pakistan early Monday morning, sliding down ropes in the predawn dark. The military won’t confirm which unit carried out the attack.

But the head of the Navy SEALs, Rear Adm. Edward Winters, sent an e-mail congratulating his forces and warning them to keep their mouths shut.

“Be extremely careful about operational security,” he added. “The fight is not over.”

The quiet professionals

Made up of only a few hundred forces based in Virginia, the elite SEAL unit officially known as Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or “DEVGRU,” is part of a special operations brotherhood that calls itself “the quiet professionals.”

SEAL Team Six raided targets outside war zones like Yemen and Somalia in the past three years, though the unit operates primarily in Afghanistan.

The unit is overseen by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the US Army’s Delta Force and other special units. JSOC’s combined forces have been responsible for a quadrupling of counterterrorism raids that have targeted militants in record numbers over the past year in Afghanistan. Some 4,500 elite special operations forces and support units have been part of the surge of US forces there.

CIA Director Leon Panetta was in charge of the military team during the covert operation, a US official said. While the president can empower the SEALs and other counterterrorism units to carry out covert actions without CIA oversight, US President Barack Obama’s team put the intelligence agency in charge, with other elements of the national security apparatus answering to them for this mission.

SEAL Team Six actually works so often with the intelligence agency that it’s sometimes called the CIA’s Praetorian Guard—a partnership that started in Iraq, as an outgrowth of the fusion of special operations forces and intelligence in the hunt for militants there.

SEALs and Delta both, commanded by then-special operations chief Gen. Stanley McChrystal, learned to work much like FBI agents, first attacking a target, killing or capturing the suspects, and then gathering evidence at the scene.

SEALs and Delta Force

McChrystal described it as building a network to chase a network, where the special operations forces work with intelligence analysts back at a joint base. The raiders, he said, could collect valuable “pocket litter” from the scene, like documents or computers, to exploit to hunt the next target.

The battlegrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan had been informally divided, with the SEALs running Afghanistan and the US Army’s Delta Force conducting the bulk of the operations in Iraq, though there was overlap of each organization. There is considerable professional rivalry between them.

Delta Force units caught Saddam Hussein late in 2003, and had killed his sons Uday and Qusay in a shoot-out in Mosul earlier that year. The race to be the unit that captured Bin Laden had been on ever since.

“Officially, Team Six doesn’t exist,” says former Navy SEAL Craig Sawyer, 47, who advises Hollywood and acts in movies about the military.

Failure not an option

After undergoing a six-month process in which commanders scrutinized his every move, Sawyer says he was selected in the 1990s to join the team.

“It was like being recruited to an all-star team,” he said, with members often gone 300 days a year, only lasting about three years on the team before burning out.

“They train around the clock,” he said. “They know that failure will not be an option. Either they succeed or they don’t come home.”

Other special operations units joke that “SEAL” stands for “Sleep, eat, lift,” though the term actually stands for Sea, Air, Land.

Most important mission

“The SEALs will be the first to remind everyone that the ‘L’ in SEAL stands for land,” says retired Army Gen. Doug Brown, former commander of US Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida. “They have skills on the land equal to their skills at sea.”

Brown, who led the command from 2003 to 2007, said the operation against Bin Laden was the most significant mission conducted by US commando forces since the organization was formed in 1987 in the wake of the failed attempt in 1980 to rescue the American hostages in Iran.

“I can’t think of a mission as nationally important,” Brown said.

The last time the public was made aware of a Seal raid on Pakistani soil was 2008, when the raiders flew only 2 kilometers over the border to the town of Angurada, according to Pakistani officials. The high-value targets the Americans had been told were there had fled, and those left behind in the compound fought back, resulting in a number of civilian casualties.

While the United States usually does not comment on covert actions, especially ones that go wrong, the 2008 incident was caught on mobile phone video, so they confirmed it and apologized publicly, US officials said.

DEVGRU is the same unit that rescued an American ship captain, Richard Phillips, held hostage on a lifeboat by Somali pirates after his capture from the USS Maersk Alabama in 2009. A DEVGRU unit fired precision shots from the rocking stern of a Naval ship, killing three of four pirates.

05-04-2011, 07:39 AM
Just like many, I agree that the terrorism bred by Al Qaida will not die with Osama. But I think Al Qaida has started to wane and due to become irrelevant with the advent of the phenomena of the Arab Spring. The non-violent protest demanding for reforms in numerous Arab and North African states was indicative of just how tired the general populace is of being in the midst of violence, being subjected to injustice and have no effective voice or representation.

Those who support Al Qaida by way of providing money, safe haven, logistics will see that there is another way of doing things. Individuals who secretly provide for Al Qaida have families for sure and they will see in their families and the communities they belong that there is another way of doing things. Inevitably, Al Qaida's supporters will diminish and that will pose a problem on how will it sustain itself. That it may splinter to smaller groups is most likely, but can this splinter groups be as influential and as omni-present?

What was significant about the Arab Spring was the absence of both Anti-American/ Anti-Western rhetoric and public display of support or sympathy for Al Qaida. No western images were burned and no poster size image of Osama on display.

The Arab Spring was clearly their own way and new way of wanting to do things,so far it has proven to be effective and more importantly it is non-violent.

Mabagal man ang pagbabago, human nature will adhere to non-violent means for as long as it is available.

05-04-2011, 07:41 AM
Bin Laden Death Staged - RP Official

In a shocking revelation, a defense and security official from the Philippine Islands said that the death of Osama Bin Laden was staged.

Bin Laden, widely known as the mastermind of several terrorist attacks over the last few years including the September 11 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, was killed two days ago in a special operation led by the United Stated military in Pakistan.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official, who has been in government since the Commonwealth era, said that the entire raid and subsequent press releases were all staged, in order to provide some closure for the American public and the world at large.

With the international economy reeling from nearly a decade of actual growth, world leaders needed to put an end to the so-called face of terrorism in order to address the world's economic woes.

"Apparently watching Saturday Night Live just wasn't cutting it anymore. They had to put an end to Bin Laden," the official declared. "If I recall correctly they hired Filipino actor Jorge Javier to play the part of Bin Laden, and the commandos were played by several old Filipino action stars like Jeric Raval and Ian Veneracion."

A director was hired to put the production together and rehearsals showcased several sanfus, according to the official. "Javier missed a lot of his cues and there were several re-takes. The director was totally flabbergasted." Raval and Javier nearly came to blows when Javier accidentally triggered an explosive that ruined the mullet that Raval had carefully cultivated since the 1990's. Cooler heads rpevailed.

The production nearly stopped when veteran character actor Jonathan Pryce, playing the role of a CIA field operative, was taken to hospital due to flatulence, making the set totally unworkable. "He was really taken with the Pakistani version of the Big Mac and just couldn't help himself. It was a disaster, like working in an actual WMD facility," the source said.

In the end though, the production did pull everything off, and the world is now a safer place, whether thay like it or not. "This was a great day for both democracy and the arts."

05-04-2011, 09:35 AM
From the Washington Post - - -

Pakistan defends role, questions U.S. action

By Karen DeYoung and Karin Brulliard

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan, reeling from domestic criticism over an American operation on its soil and international suspicion that it is harboring terrorists, expressed “deep concern” Tuesday over how the United States killed Osama bin Laden, but also took credit for helping to locate the terror mastermind.

In a sternly worded statement, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said its top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, had kept the military garrison city where bin Laden was found “under sharp focus” since 2003.

The ISI began sharing information on foreigners in the area with the United States in 2009, leads that the CIA used to reach bin Laden, the statement said.

The Pakistani response came as suspicions deepened in Washington over whether the U.S. ally, whose intelligence services are believed to have long-standing ties to Islamist insurgents, ignored or even sheltered bin Laden. The al-Qaeda leader was located in an unusually large, heavily fortified compound in Abbottabad, not far from a premiere military college and a military base.

“We have to find out what it is that they are up to. Are they on our side all the time?” Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said on CNN Tuesday morning. ”We want to find out what the real truth is.”

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), who chairs a subcommittee that is holding a hearing Tuesday on Pakistan’s relationship with the United States, said “many questions now remain” in the wake of the deadly raid. The hearing, by the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, lists three academic experts as scheduled witnesses, but no government officials. Separately, CIA director Leon Panetta is scheduled to brief House members on the bin Laden mission at 3 p.m., and to brief senators at 5 p.m.

In a series of morning television interviews, White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Pakistani officials were trying to determine “whether there were individuals within the Pakistani government or military intelligence services who were knowledgeable” of bin Laden’s whereabouts.

He questioned why bin Laden’s compound hadn’t drawn the attention of Pakistani authorities.

But Pakistan’s government said its spy agency had been sharing intelligence on the compound with the CIA since 2009.

In Islamabad on Tuesday, the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan tried to deflect concerns about the strained partnership.

“Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are determined to curb terrorism,” Marc Grossman said during a news conference with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Afghan deputy foreign minister Javeed Ludin.

Grossman called the death of bin Laden “important and a joint success of three states.”

Pakistan said it remains “resolved to continue” its fight against terrorism, and credited the nation’s army and intelligence agencies with playing a “pivotal role in breaking the back of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”

Yet it also lodged what sounded like a warning to the United States, which Pakistan has long prohibited from carrying out ground operations on its soil.

“This event of unauthorized unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule,” the foreign ministry statement said. “Such an event shall not serve as a future precedent for any state, including the U.S. Such actions undermine cooperation and may also sometime constitute threat to international peace and security.”

Pakistan dismissed questions about how bin Laden’s heavily fortified compound could have gone unnoticed, noting that many refugees fleeing conflict in conservative areas of the country have settled in Abbottabad, often in homes with high walls like those that surrounded bin Laden’s compound.

The walls are “in line with their culture of privacy and security,” the statement said. “Houses with such layout and structural details are not a rarity.”

In comments that seemed directed toward the Pakistani public, much of which disapproves of any type of cooperation with the United States, Pakistan “categorically” denied local media reports that it was given notice about the raid and its air bases had been used.

U.S. officials have said Pakistan was not told in advance of the raid, which was launched from Afghanistan.

The statement also said that some relatives of bin Laden who were left behind after the raid are in Pakistani custody or medical facilities. It did not specify the number of family members, but said they would be handed over to their native countries.

Bashir, the foreign minister, said Pakistan and the United States have “had robust cooperation in counter-terrorism, and we have sacrificed immensely in this campaign, which has been our number-one priority.”

He pleaded with reporters to stop focusing on Pakistan’s lack of involvement in the raid itself.

“Who did what is beside the point, and this issue of Osama bin Laden is history,” Bashir said.

05-04-2011, 09:58 AM
From the Washington Post - - -

Who shot bin Laden? SEALs fill in the blanks

By Manuel Roig-Franzia

Who shot Osama?

He’s out there somewhere, an instant icon in the annals of American conflict, the ultimate big-game hunter. But an enigma, too, his identity cloaked for now, and maybe forever.

He is the unknown shooter. The nameless, faceless triggerman who put a bullet in the head of the world’s most notorious terrorist.

Yet there are clues, and the beginnings of a portrait can be pieced together from scraps gleaned from U.S. officials. A trio of former Navy SEALs — Eric Greitens, Richard Marcinko and Stew Smith — helped us fill in the blanks, drawing from their experiences to develop a kind of composite sketch of an elusive historic figure in real time.

He’s likely between the ages of 26 and 33, says Marcinko, founder of the elite “SEALs Team 6” — now known as DEVGRU — that many believe led the assault on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. He’ll be old enough to have had time to hurdle the extra training tests required to join the elite counter-terrorism unit, yet young enough to withstand the body-punishing rigors of the job.

The shooter’s a man, it’s safe to say, because there are no women in the SEALs. And there’s a good chance he’s white, though the SEALs have stepped up efforts to increase the number of minorities in their ranks, Marcinko and Smith say. A “positive thinker” who “gets in trouble when he’s not challenged,” Marcinko suspects, a man who “flunked vacation and flunked relaxing.”

He was probably a high school or college athlete, Smith says, a physical specimen who combines strength, speed and agility. “They call themselves ‘tactical athletes,’ ” says Smith, who works with many prospective SEALs in his Heroes of Tomorrow training program in Severna Park. “It’s getting very scientific.”

Marcinko puts it in more conventional terms: “He’ll be ripped,” says the author of the best-selling autobiography “ Rogue Warrior .” “He’s got a lot of upper-body strength. Long arms. Thin waist. Flat tummy.”

On this point, Greitens departs a bit. “You can’t make a lot of physical assumptions,” says the author of “The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL.” There are SEALs who are 5 feet 4 and SEALs who are 6 feet 5, Greitens says. In his training group, he adds, there were college football studs who couldn’t hack it; those who survived were most often men in good shape, but they also had a willingness to subsume their concerns in favor of the mission.

The shooter’s probably not the crew-cut, neatly shaven ideal we’ve come to expect from American fighting forces. “He’s bearded, rough-looking, like a street urchin,” Marcinko supposes. “You don’t want to stick out.” Marcinko calls it “modified grooming standards.”

His hands will be calloused, Smith says, or just plain “gnarled,” as Marcinko puts it. And “he’s got frag in him somewhere,” Marcinko says, using the battlefield shorthand for “fragments” of bullets or explosive devices. This will not have been the shooter’s first adventure. Marcinko estimates that he might have made a dozen or more deployments, tours when he was likely to have run afoul of grenades, improvised explosive devices or bullets.

Chances are he’s keeping score. Smith, who served in the SEALs from 1991 to 1999, got together recently with five Navy SEALs, some of whom he’d served with and others whom he’d trained. “They were responsible for 250 dead terrorists,” Smith says. “They know their number.”

But there are terrorists, and then there are TERRORISTS. Bin Laden falls into the latter category. It’s hard to imagine someone not wanting to take credit for such a significant kill. Yet revealing SEALs’ identities would make them targets for al-Qaeda sympathizers and would also make it difficult or impossible for them to participate in future secret operations.

The identities of other key players in the war against terrorism remain anonymous. No one has identified the troops who slapped cuffs on Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein or named the pilots who dropped the bombs that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Times have certainly changed. Another era’s military history-makers were frequently publicly identified — Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, wasn’t a mystery. But this is a different kind of war — a kind of perpetual, amorphous conflict — one much less likely to see a formal declaration of peace. Also it’s likely the shooter’s superiors would forbid him and his colleagues to reveal his identity.

“This is playing in the Super Bowl and getting the Oscar all in one breath. He wants credit,” Marcinko supposes of the shooter who felled bin Laden. “But only among his peers.” Many SEALs consider themselves “humble warriors,” Greitens says.

But among his colleagues, the shooter’s identity will be well-known. And right now, he’s probably in for some locker-room-style ribbing.

“They’re gonna hard-ass him,” Marcinko says. “It’ll be, ‘If I’d have been there, it’d have been done in 20 minutes instead of 40 minutes.’ ” Smith can envision the shooter’s pals razzing him about the precise location of the shot. But, in the culture of the SEALs, it’s not as if he won’t push back. He’ll come back at them, Marcinko says, with something like: “Talk is cheap. I did it. I left my mark in the sand.”

There are sure to be awards and honorifics, all done in private. But the shooter is likely looking for some moments of peace, a way to completely remove himself from the pressure cooker. “These guys can one day be killing on the other side of the world and then mowing the grass 24 hours later,” Smith says.

But given the chance, he’ll almost certainly want to get right back into the action, to feel the rev of adrenaline again. “He keeps going,” Marcinko predicts. “He wants to prove that it wasn’t a fluke.” He’ll be thinking: “Let me prove I really did know what I’m doing.”

When the next helicopter is fueled and ready to whirl away, Greitens says, the Unknown Shooter will “be the first one running for the helo.”

Kid Cubao
05-04-2011, 10:33 AM
former pakistan military leader pervez musharraff is reportedly making the media rounds defending his and his country's involvement in the hunt for the slain OBL. whatever the country's authorities are saying, it is important for the US to halt its hefty military aid at the soonest. already members of the global community are expressing serious doubts and reservations about pakistan's true motives after it was revealed that osama has been ensconsced in abbottabad for at least three years. for them to feign surprise about this development is hard to swallow.

05-04-2011, 12:53 PM
Leave it to the a--hole Musharaf to try and make it like their hands were clean on this whole episode. If I were Leon Panetta I would've ordered synchronized terminations of anyone remotely suspected of harboring and aiding Bin Laden. What kind of an ally wouldn't know that the most wanted man in the world was living in a what is supposedly an army town?

05-04-2011, 09:48 PM
in my opinion the al qaeda movement was becoming irrelevant even before bin laden's death. you could see it in how the muslim youth rose up against the various dictatorships in egypt, saudi arabia, yemen, bahrain, tunisia and libya. they longed for democracy, greater freedom, greater access to education, more rights for women, more opportunities for economic advancement, etc. and the people leading these movements were western-educated young intellectuals. they longed for western-style freedoms despite the bearded old fanatical imams continuously calling for jihad against the infidel.

al qaeda probably still has capability to launch a few more terrorist attacks but they're far gone from the movement that took the muslim world by storm a decade ago. now they're just another bunch of thugs with bombs.

Raging Blue
05-04-2011, 10:34 PM
Eventhough he is dead and gone, Osama Bin Laden may be considered to be the first important person of the 21st century. His actions which led to the 9/11 tragedy has changed the lives of American and people all over the world forever.

For one, just look at the long line at airports because people are subject to redundant security checks that may even encroach your right to privacy all for the sake of security.

05-05-2011, 03:37 AM
Leave it to the a--hole Musharaf to try and make it like their hands were clean on this whole episode. If I were Leon Panetta I would've ordered synchronized terminations of anyone remotely suspected of harboring and aiding Bin Laden. What kind of an ally wouldn't know that the most wanted man in the world was living in a what is supposedly an army town?

Pakistan's ISI supports the Taliban even without Musharaff. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is the only reason why taht country was never bombed like Iraq.

Saudi Arabia's Wahabist has bee the primary source of funds for Al Quada. The US will neve bomb Saudi Arabia.

Rigght now, the US is fighting togother with Al Qauda against Qaddafi...WTF! Whi is the US fighing alongside Al Kubeta?


Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

Funny game they play.

Now from Israel's version of Stratfor :

White House fumbles getting its Osama bin Laden story straight

DEBKAfile Special Report May 4, 2011, 3:20 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tags: Osama bin Laden Barack Obama US special forces Pakistan Abbottabad
The Abbottabad villa does not support US account of a fortress with few windows

Two days after the US President Barack Obama's triumphal announcement that Osama bin Laden was dead, the White House was grappling with a serious credibility problem: Questions and contradictions are mounting about the how and why US elite SEALs killed the most wanted man in the world at his mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2. New information proving the first stories wrong comes not just from a defensive Pakistan government but also from US officials.
Dismissing the conflicting disclosures as "artificial stories" and "conspiracy theories" won't wash – not just in the US but in Arab and Muslim countries after Washington was forced to retract data the president's adviser on terrorism John Brennan put before the media on Tuesday. It was admitted tardily that bin Laden was not armed when he was killed, there was no firefight in the Abbottabad villa and his wife was not used as a human shield.
Pakistani sources challenged other parts of the original narrative and Wednesday, May 4, the dead terrorist's daughter told Al Arabiya TV most damagingly that her father was captured alive and then shot by US forces.
Even before that, amid rising demands for evidence that Osama bin Laden was dead, White House spokesman Jay Carney confessed Tuesday night: "Even I'm getting confused."
And no wonder. Monday, in his first statement on the operation, Obama stated: "And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice." Was he talking about a targeted assassination?
Brennan later said that in the firefight in the terrorist's bedroom he had been asked to surrender and was shot dead when he did not answer. Another US spokesman said the SEALs were ready to take him alive.
Other US sources described the shooting as happening quickly - "in the blink of an eye," said one. The Republican leader Mitt Romney remarked: "Osama bin Laden took one in the eye."
His daughter's evidence contradicted this jumble of American versions. Even though she must have had a Pakistani green light for the Al Arabiya interview, her testimony cannot be lightly dismissed because she was present and shot in the leg (later correction: she was not injured) before being taken into Pakistani custody. Her version makes it look as though US troops executed her father in cold blood.
The backlash from her testimony will not do much good to the delicate relations between the Obama administration and Muslim rulers like Saudi King Abdullah which are already tested to the limit over US involvement in the Egyptian uprising and Libyan war.
Pakistani leaders are caught awkwardly between an effort to clear their intelligence service ISI of American accusations of collusion in concealing the al Qaeda leader's presence in its midst, and domestic opinion, which is outraged by their government's suspected connivance with Washington to betray a Muslim figure and permit American forces to violate sovereign territory.
Reporters in Islamabad heard from the Pakistani foreign secretary Salman Bashir Wednesday, May 4: "We had indicated this complex (in Abbottabad) as far back as 2009 as a possible place," after sighting suspected terrorist movements on the property. It was not known at the time that bin Laden was hiding there and there were millions of other suspect locations, he said.
Bashir also hit out at former CIA Director Leon Panetta's comments that informing Islamabad in advance about the raid had been ruled out as "worrying."
These comments are just the start of the war of words building up between the Zardari-Ghilani government and the Obama administration. Islamabad has one major advantage: The inmates of the Abbottabad villa and the injured persons present when bin Laden was killed are in Pakistani custody, some in military hospitals. They can be produced whenever necessary to rebut Arab and Muslim criticism of Pakistan's conduct and fend off any attempts to undermine its ties with the Taliban, which has already vowed to avenge Osama bin Laden's death in Pakistan and Afghanistan and outside those countries.
This verbal war will make further inroads on the Obama White House's credibility.

05-05-2011, 03:52 AM
This now presents a new problem for the American establishment. The reason for invading Afghanistan was to pursue the mastermind of 9/11. Now that the White House claimed Osama has been eliminated, where is the premise for being in Afghanistan?

In the days to come, tiyak magsisimulang mag-ingay ng mas malakas ang mga tutol sa pananatili ng Amerikano sa Afghanistan.

Ewan ko kung may balak maglahad ng Exit Plan itong Establishment na ito.

The War on Terror is a perpetual war to keep the US military primacy in the world. this has been discussed over and over among antiwar activists in the West.

The Project for the New American Century serves as the blueprint for the perpetual war. Anyone who ever read Carol Quigley's "Tragedy and Hope" will understand the nature of international banking power, and how the various warring factions were (Lenin was bankrolled by the International bankers)/are being funded and encouraged for the benefit of global finance.

I do not even know where to start...or how I can explain the tragedy that we are all in. WE are all being subjected to misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. The mainstream media is the primary channel of deceit.

WMD in Iraq. Lies.

911. How many buildings fell because of Bin Laden's airlplane? TWO

Wait. There were 3 buildings that collapsed. No plane hit the Third Tower, yet it collapsed as it it was a controlled demolition. So who demolished the Third Tower?


The US better bomb that group who demolished the THIRD TOWER. :)

Anyone here ever heard of Operation Northwood?


05-05-2011, 03:59 AM
Only Al Qaida can disprove that their beloved founder is still alive.

He's been dead a long time ago. It is actually up to the US .... no no no... It is up to Obama to prove that he was indeed alive and he was tho one they killed. Otherwise he is going to lose the 2012 3l3ction. Neat timing.

The terrorist was already on hemo-dialysis during the 911 attack. Final stages of liver failure.


Top Government Insider: Bin Laden Died In 2001, 9/11 False Flag Attack

by Paul Joseph Watson

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under three different administrations Steve R. Pieczenik says he is prepared to tell a federal grand jury the name of a top general who told him directly 9/11 was a false flag attack

Top US Government Insider: Bin Laden Died In 2001, 9/11 A False Flag 040511top

Top US government insider Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik, a man who held numerous different influential positions under three different Presidents and still works with the Defense Department, shockingly told The Alex Jones Show yesterday that Osama Bin Laden died in 2001 and that he was prepared to testify in front of a grand jury how a top general told him directly that 9/11 was a false flag inside job.

Pieczenik cannot be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist”. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under three different administrations, Nixon, Ford and Carter, while also working under Reagan and Bush senior, and still works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. A former US Navy Captain, Pieczenik achieved two prestigious Harry C. Solomon Awards at the Harvard Medical School as he simultaneously completed a PhD at MIT.

Recruited by Lawrence Eagleburger as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Management, Pieczenik went on to develop, “the basic tenets for psychological warfare, counter terrorism, strategy and tactics for transcultural negotiations for the US State Department, military and intelligence communities and other agencies of the US Government,” while also developing foundational strategies for hostage rescue that were later employed around the world.

Pieczenik also served as a senior policy planner under Secretaries Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, George Schultz and James Baker and worked on George W. Bush’s election campaign against Al Gore. His record underscores the fact that he is one of the most deeply connected men in intelligence circles over the past three decades plus.

The character of Jack Ryan, who appears in many Tom Clancy novels and was also played by Harrison Ford in the popular 1992 movie Patriot Games, is also based on Steve Pieczenik.

Back in April 2002, over nine years ago, Pieczenik told the Alex Jones Show that Bin Laden had already been “dead for months,” and that the government was waiting for the most politically expedient time to roll out his corpse. Pieczenik would be in a position to know, having personally met Bin Laden and worked with him during the proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan back in the early 80′s.

Pieczenik said that Osama Bin Laden died in 2001, “Not because special forces had killed him, but because as a physician I had known that the CIA physicians had treated him and it was on the intelligence roster that he had marfan syndrome,” adding that the US government knew Bin Laden was dead before they invaded Afghanistan.

Marfan syndrome is a degenerative genetic disease for which there is no permanent cure. The illness severely shortens the life span of the sufferer.

“He died of marfan syndrome, Bush junior knew about it, the intelligence community knew about it,” said Pieczenik, noting how CIA physicians had visited Bin Laden in July 2001 at the American Hospital in Dubai.

“He was already very sick from marfan syndrome and he was already dying, so nobody had to kill him,” added Pieczenik, stating that Bin Laden died shortly after 9/11 in his Tora Bora cave complex.

“Did the intelligence community or the CIA doctor up this situation, the answer is yes, categorically yes,” said Pieczenik, referring to Sunday’s claim that Bin Laden was killed at his compound in Pakistan, adding, “This whole scenario where you see a bunch of people sitting there looking at a screen and they look as if they’re intense, that’s nonsense,” referring to the images released by the White House which claim to show Biden, Obama and Hillary Clinton watching the operation to kill Bin Laden live on a television screen.

“It’s a total make-up, make believe, we’re in an American theater of the absurd….why are we doing this again….nine years ago this man was already dead….why does the government repeatedly have to lie to the American people,” asked Pieczenik.

“Osama Bin Laden was totally dead, so there’s no way they could have attacked or confronted or killed Osama Bin laden,” said Pieczenik, joking that the only way it could have happened was if special forces had attacked a mortuary.

Pieczenik said that the decision to launch the hoax now was made because Obama had reached a low with plummeting approval ratings and the fact that the birther issue was blowing up in his face.

“He had to prove that he was more than American….he had to be aggressive,” said Pieczenik, adding that the farce was also a way of isolating Pakistan as a retaliation for intense opposition to the Predator drone program, which has killed hundreds of Pakistanis.

“This is orchestrated, I mean when you have people sitting around and watching a sitcom, basically the operations center of the White House, and you have a president coming out almost zombie-like telling you they just killed Osama Bin Laden who was already dead nine years ago,” said Pieczenik, calling the episode, “the greatest falsehood I’ve ever heard, I mean it was absurd.”

Dismissing the government’s account of the assassination of Bin Laden as a “sick joke” on the American people, Pieczenik said, “They are so desperate to make Obama viable, to negate the fact that he may not have been born here, any questions about his background, any irregularities about his background, to make him look assertive….to re-elect this president so the American public can be duped once again.”

Pieczenik’s assertion that Bin Laden died almost ten years ago is echoed by numerous intelligence professionals as well as heads of state across the world.

Bin Laden, “Was used in the same way that 9/11 was used to mobilize the emotions and feelings of the American people in order to go to a war that had to be justified through a narrative that Bush junior created and Cheney created about the world of terrorism,” stated Pieczenik.

During his interview with the Alex Jones Show yesterday, Pieczenik also asserted he was directly told by a prominent general that 9/11 was a stand down and a false flag operation, and that he is prepared to go to a grand jury to reveal the general’s name.

“They ran the attacks,” said Pieczenik, naming Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley, Elliott Abrams, and Condoleezza Rice amongst others as having been directly involved.

“It was called a stand down, a false flag operation in order to mobilize the American public under false pretenses….it was told to me even by the general on the staff of Wolfowitz – I will go in front of a federal committee and swear on perjury who the name was of the individual so that we can break it open,” said Pieczenik, adding that he was “furious” and “knew it had happened”.

“I taught stand down and false flag operations at the national war college, I’ve taught it with all my operatives so I knew exactly what was done to the American public,” he added.

Pieczenik re-iterated that he was perfectly willing to reveal the name of the general who told him 9/11 was an inside job in a federal court, “so that we can unravel this thing legally, not with the stupid 9/11 Commission that was absurd.”

Pieczenik explained that he was not a liberal, a conservative or a tea party member, merely an American who is deeply concerned about the direction in which his country is heading.


Kid Cubao
05-05-2011, 04:43 AM
yeah, right. also, the moon landing was an elaborate hoax, elvis is still being sighted in 7/11 and walmart buying his own records, and president obama's birth certificate was actually commissioned in recto by his filipino chef.

05-05-2011, 05:21 AM
... he was prepared to testify in front of a grand jury how a top general told him directly that 9/11 was a false flag inside job.

I suppose that's hearsay.

Recruited by Lawrence Eagleburger as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Management, Pieczenik went on to develop, “the basic tenets for psychological warfare, ...."

There you go.

05-05-2011, 08:22 AM
Whatever be the "version" or "theory", all points to Osama being dead now.

Sa ordinaryong tao tulad ko, ano man ang version or theory, magandang abangan yan sa pelikula o tv documentary.

Buhat ng mamatay si FPJ, matagal-tagal na rin ako di nakapasok ng sinehan. ;D

05-05-2011, 10:20 AM
For one, just look at the long line at airports because people are subject to redundant security checks that may even encroach your right to privacy all for the sake of security.

I've been corrected about this before, so first of all I acknowledge that long lines and tedious security checks were around even before anyone had ever heard of this bin Laden dude. However, I think I can safely say that his machinations have directly caused airport security crackdowns in the last decade.

Now, having said that and considering the previous posts pointing out al-Qaeda's recent loss of relevance, I believe that air rage is the fullest extent of his "legacy" to the average global citizen. Nice going, bin Laden... not! ::)

Dark Knight
05-05-2011, 10:40 AM
okay, so bin laden was finally killed.....by the number one terrorist group...

the fucking United State Of America...

Sam Miguel
05-06-2011, 07:56 AM
I wonder who's next on the American hitlist now...? They're certainly taking their time with that Quaddafi fellow...

Sam Miguel
05-06-2011, 08:13 AM
From the Inquirer ---

Pakistan Knew

Close this ASIDE FROM the four dead and one wounded already reported, there was another casualty in the US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan early this week: the credibility of the Pakistani military. Given all the details of the location and size of the compound, and the unusual conduct of the compound’s residents, it is difficult to imagine that the highly trained army of a nuclear power could have missed telltale clues in the five or six years Bin Laden was said to have resided in the compound—especially as that army was supposed to be in active pursuit of the notorious al-Qaida founder in the first place.

The official White House account of the raid has been partially changed at least twice, and official or officially sourced descriptions of the compound as a mansion or a luxury residence (something the available pictures give the lie to) continue to alienate observant news consumers. But there is no need to rely on White House sources as far as the fact of the compound itself is concerned; we can check it for ourselves, by looking at Google Maps, or using the many interactive graphics now available on news websites. The compound is only several hundred meters away from a Pakistani military academy; it stands out in its immediate area, for its high security perimeter and third-floor privacy wall; it was especially conspicuous when it was being built, a few years ago, when there were fewer houses in the area. It strains credulity to assert, as various Pakistani officials have done, that the compound did not arouse suspicions.

“It needs to be appreciated that many houses have high boundary walls, in line with their culture of privacy and security,” a Pakistani government statement read. “Houses with such layout and structural details are not a rarity.”

But as news reporters were able to confirm only a day after the early morning raid, the conduct of the compound’s residents was also suspicious. They hardly went out, the many children inside did not go to school, they did not let any visitors in. US officials say the compound aroused their suspicions also because it did not have a telephone or an Internet connection, and because the residents took the unusual precaution of burning their trash. It was the conduct, in other words, of people with something to hide. As an Abbottabad resident put it, “People were sceptical in this neighborhood about this place and these guys. They used to gossip, say they were smugglers or drug dealers.” Exactly. But apparently, Pakistan’s prestigious military doesn’t engage in gossip, or listen to it.

The town itself, even though heavily populated by military men or retired personnel, is no stranger to top terrorists. Before his arrest elsewhere in Pakistan, top al-Qaida deputy Abu Faraj al-Libi used to live there. And only last January, top Indonesian terrorist Umar Patek and his Filipina wife were arrested in the town. (The news broke only in March, when the Associated Press heard of the arrest and wrote about it.) In other words, a government intent on pursuing the world’s most wanted man would have had ample reason to keep a close, even intense watch on Abbottabad.

We realize that, for Islamabad, the entire Osama bin Laden question is vexing and complicated. Ever since then-President Pervez Musharraf said offhandedly in 2002 that Bin Laden was either undergoing dialysis in Saudi Arabia or already dead, there has always been an ambivalence in official Pakistani attitude about Bin Laden’s ultimate fate. It is true that Pakistan has many other interests than merely playing terrorist cop, including the stability of its Afghan neighbor.

But apparently, according to Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, it is the world’s fault that Bin Laden had gone undetected for so long. “Certainly, this is intelligence failure of the whole world, not Pakistan alone,” he told the media in France the other day.

That idea is an even more difficult sell. From what we can see, the best that can be said is that Bin Laden was either hiding or being hidden, and Pakistan was either incompetent or complicit.

Sam Miguel
05-06-2011, 08:19 AM
From Atty Raul Pangalangan of the Inquirer ---

The debate over the dead Bin Laden’s photos

OSAMA BIN Laden wields power even from his watery grave. That much we learn from the big debate over US President Barack Obama’s decision not to release a photograph of Bin Laden’s corpse. A sample of that gruesome photo has since floated in the Internet and, by itself, photo-shopped or not, can be the provocation that the United States aims to prevent. And that, precisely, is the central point to the Bin Laden phenomenon. Why even bother to wait for the authenticated photos? Bin Laden drew power from half-articulated grievances and instinctive hatreds. He thrived not on reason but on superstition. It was difficult enough hunting down Bin Laden the man. Now try defeating Bin Laden the myth.

The non-rational nature of Bin Laden’s appeal makes one wish for the good old days when the enemy was the communists. At least being disciples of Karl Marx meant they would at least try to be systematic and logical in the Hegelian tradition. You can say it was the Orwellian double-speak that made them dangerous, but at least being godless meant they wouldn’t appeal to religion. (And here I hasten to add that there are fundamentalists of all faiths, and that Taliban thinking can be found in mosques as well as in cathedrals.) Not that this ever stopped them from making votive offerings to Chairman Mao during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, no different from Pinoys going to Baclaran on Wednesdays (and, for bar examinees, to Manaoag in August). Remember the Pinoy quip—and I got this from a nun—that the local commies ought to be classified as “faith-based groups.” Still and all, compared to Mao Tse Tung Thought, Bin Laden Thought is the backlash to the Enlightenment and everything it stands for. It’s as if we had been thrust three centuries back into a dark world where voodoo reigned supreme.

Thus the care with which the United States handled Bin Laden’s death. His body was cast into the sea so that his followers can find no earthly grave where they can make offerings and hold memorials. US military officials note rather explicitly that the burial followed Islamic tradition and, though some Muslim experts dispute this, it was obvious the United States was tiptoeing around religious outrage. And now the withholding of the photos.

And that is why it is important for the United States now to draw the line between “targeted killings” and assassination, or for that matter, extrajudicial killings. The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, has said “it would be helpful if we knew the precise facts surrounding his killing. … The UN has consistently emphasized that all counter-terrorism acts must respect international law.”

This debate has actually raged even before Bin Laden’s death. During last year’s meeting of the American Society of International Law, Harold Koh, legal adviser to the US State Department and former law dean at Yale, said: “The principles of distinction and proportionality that the US applies are . . . implemented rigorously throughout the planning and execution of lethal operations to ensure that operations are conducted in accordance with all applicable law.”

Issues have been raised after US authorities issued inconsistent versions of how Bin Laden was killed. One, it now appears that, contrary to earlier reports, he was unarmed when he was killed and that he hadn’t used a woman (his wife) as his shield (who, it turns out, was merely shot in the calf during the ensuing clash). Two, the US government has its own laws prohibiting assassinations committed in its name. Three, even the Nazis had their day in the Nuremberg court. Locally, Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita was allowed a dignified surrender at Kiangan, Ifugao. An international tribunal could have been created to try Bin Laden. And finally Pakistan can claim—with factual basis and, I imagine, very little sympathy from most anyone—that the United States had thus transgressed Pakistan’s sovereignty.

The principle of distinction means that only combatants and not civilians can be legitimate targets. The principle of proportionality and of military necessity requires that an armed group may use only such force as needed to attain military advantage and avoid collateral damage. Applying both principles, the human cost of targeted killing should be weighed against other options like air strikes, carpet bombing, or outright invasion by ground troops. Finally, targeted killing cannot be meted out as punishment for past behavior or for revenge (lest it resemble an execution without trial). The US position is strongest when it says that it has been attacked (on Sept. 11, 2001), it is acting in self-defense, Bin Laden has openly owned up as the mastermind and is at any rate merely an unlawful combatant. It is weakest when it says that Bin Laden was caught in the conduct of hostilities, but the only witnesses are either partisan (US troops and Bin Laden’s widow) or dead.

At the height of the Cold War, it was said that the so-called Free World suffered a disadvantage. The Soviet Union could suppress evidence and airbrush disgraced comrades out of official photographs. In contrast, the democrats had a free press that would stop only at publishing troop movements; civil libertarians who sleep under the freedom that their government protects; and lawyers and judges who would repeatedly thumb their noses at that government. True, what a disadvantage! And today the Berlin Wall has fallen, the USSR is history, and guess who has won?

Sam Miguel
05-06-2011, 08:38 AM
From the pinko demagogue now enjoying his pork barrel perks ---

Osama’s no Martyr, but the Man Prevailed

By Walden Bello

Osama bin Laden is no martyr. He is certainly no Che Guevara, whose fate at the hands of the Central Intelligence Agency was strikingly similar to his. But one cannot escape the fact that he succeeded in unleashing a chain of events that led to his nemesis, the United States, becoming a diminished power compared to what it was in the halcyon days of unilateralism at the end of the last century. One cannot but acknowledge that in the duel between Washington and Osama, the latter was, at the time of his death, far ahead on points.

Soon after the US went to war against the Taliban in pursuit of Osama in October 2001, I penned a widely published analysis that at the time provoked controversy. However, it anticipated the course of the titanic struggle between a global power and a determined fanatic over the next decade. I am reprinting part of that essay below:

In the aftermath of the September 11 assault, a number of writers wrote about the possibility that that move could have been a bait to get the US bogged down in a war of intervention in the Middle East that would inflame the Muslim world against it. Whether or not that was indeed bin Laden's strategic objective, the US bombing of Afghanistan has created precisely such a situation…

The global support that US President George Bush has flaunted is deceptive. Of course, a lot of governments would express their support for the UN Security Council's call for a global campaign against terrorism. Far fewer countries, however, are actually actively cooperating in intelligence and police surveillance activities. Even fewer have endorsed the military campaign and opened up their territory to transit by US planes on the way to Southwest Asia. And when one gets down to the decisive test of offering troops and weapons to fight alongside the British and the Americans in the harsh plains and icy mountains of Afghanistan, one is down to the hardcore of the Western Cold War alliance.

Bin Laden's terrorist methods are despicable, but one must grant the devil his due. Whether through study or practice, he has absorbed the lessons of guerilla warfare in a national, Afghan setting and translated it to a global setting. Serving as the international correlate of the national popular base is the youth of the global Muslim community, among whom feelings of resentment against Western domination were a volatile mix that was simply waiting to be ignited.

The September 11 attacks were horrific and heinous, but from one angle, what were they except a variant of Che Guevara's "foco" theory? According to Guevara, the aim of a bold guerilla action is twofold: to demoralize the enemy and to empower your popular base by getting them to participate in an action that shows that the all-powerful government is indeed vulnerable. The enemy is then provoked into a military response that further saps his credibility in what is basically a political and ideological battle. For bin Laden, terrorism is not the end but a means to an end. And that end is something that none of Bush's rhetoric about defending civilization through revenge bombing can compete with: a vision of Muslim Asia rid of American economic and military power, Israel, and corrupt surrogate elites, and returned to justice and Islamic sanctity.

Yet Washington was not exactly without weapons in this ideological war. In the aftermath of September 11, it could have responded in a way that could have blunted bin Laden's political and ideological appeal and opened up a new era in US-Arab relations.

First, it could have foresworn unilateral military action and announced to the world that it would go the legal route in pursuing justice, no matter how long this took. It could have announced its pursuit of a process combining patient multinational investigation, diplomacy, and the employment of accepted international mechanisms like the International Court of Justice.

These methods may take time but they work, and they ensure that justice and fairness are served. For instance, patient diplomacy secured the extradition from Libya of suspects in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, and their successful prosecution under an especially constituted court in the Hague. Likewise, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, set up under the auspices of the ICJ, has successfully prosecuted some wartime Croat and Serbian terrorists and is currently prosecuting former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, though of course much remains to be done.

The second prong of a progressive US response could have been Washington's announcing a fundamental change in its policies in the Middle East, the main points of which would be the withdrawal of troops from Saudi Arabia, the ending of sanctions and military action against Iraq, decisive support for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state, and ordering Israel to immediately refrain from attacks on Palestinian communities.

Foreign policy realists will say that this strategy is impossible to sell to the American people, but they have been wrong before. Had the US taken this route, instead of taking the law--as usual--in its own hands, it could have emerged as an example of a great power showing restraint and paved the way to a new era of relations among people and nations. The instincts of a unilateral, imperial past, however, have prevailed, and they have now run rampage to such an extent that, even on the home front, the rights of dissent and democratic diversity that have been one of the powerful ideological attractions of US society are fundamentally threatened by the draconian legislation being pushed by law-and-order types…that are taking advantage of the current crisis to push through their pre-September 11 authoritarian agendas.

As things now stand, Washington has painted itself into a no-win situation.

If it kills bin Laden, he becomes a martyr, a source of never-ending inspiration, especially to young Muslims.

If it captures him alive, freeing him will become a massive focus of resistance that will prevent the imposition of capital punishment without triggering massive revolts throughout the Islamic world.

If it fails to kill or capture him, he will secure an aura of invincibility, as somebody favored by God, and whose cause is therefore just…

September 11 was an unspeakable crime against humanity, but the US response has converted the equation in many people's minds into a war between vision and power, righteousness and might, and, perverse as this may sound, spirit versus matter. You won't get this from CNN and the New York Times, but Washington has stumbled into bin Laden's preferred terrain of battle.

I take no credit for originality of the thoughts expressed in this ten-year-old essay. Many others who had studied the history of insurgent movements and imperial responses could have written the same thing then and anticipated the general thrust of events over the next decade.

Unfortunately for the world, hegemonic powers never, never learn from history, and Washington did stumble into Osama’s preferred terrain, with all the consequences of this move motivated by imperial hubris: thousands of lives lost, loss of credibility, loss of legitimacy, and a significant erosion of power.

05-06-2011, 09:23 AM
I wonder who's next on the American hitlist now...? They're certainly taking their time with that Quaddafi fellow...

In Libya, they are now in bed with Al Quaeda. Just like Afghanistan during the Soviets. Freedom fighers then, terrorists in Afgahnistan, anti-Quaddafi rebels in Libya.


05-06-2011, 09:30 AM
I am showing you disturbing information. Check them out.

The third tower was pulled.




Did that SOB Bin Laden ordered the demolition of the Third Tower?


Dead or alive, we are in for a perpetual war.

05-06-2011, 09:33 AM
Whatever be the "version" or "theory", all points to Osama being dead now.

Sa ordinaryong tao tulad ko, ano man ang version or theory, magandang abangan yan sa pelikula o tv documentary.

Buhat ng mamatay si FPJ, matagal-tagal na rin ako di nakapasok ng sinehan. ;D

If our contention is and issue is simply that OSAMA is dead, then I agree. It does not matter when and how he died. He has been irrelevant for a decade already.

As for disturbing information that I intentionally put forward... matatalino naman ang mga tao dito. Magsaliksik at basa basa lang tayo..


05-06-2011, 09:48 AM
Osama is dead. How about the hijackers? How many are still alive?


Enjoy. :)

05-06-2011, 12:47 PM
From the Washington Post - - -

Evil does not die of natural causes

By Charles Krauthammer

Two months and a day before 9/11, terrorism expert Larry C. Johnson published “The Declining Terrorist Threat,” a New York Times op-ed decrying the fact that “Americans are bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism,” when, in reality, “the decade beginning in 2000 will continue the downward trend” in lethal terrorism.

Not quite.

A decade later, Osama bin Laden is dead and the old chorus of pre-9/11 complacency has returned. The war on terror is over — yet again, it seems. Bin Laden was but “a distraction,” writes Peter Beinart, and the war on terror “a mistake from the start.” 9/11 was nothing more than “an isolated case,” argues Ross Douthat. And “bin Laden was always the weak horse.”

The new post-bin Laden dispensation is that the entire decade-long war on terror was an overreaction — as shown by the bin Laden operation itself, which, noted one critic, looks a lot like police work, the kind of law enforcement John Kerry insisted in 2004 was the proper prism through which to address the terror threat.

On the contrary. The bin Laden operation is the perfect vindication of the war on terror. It was made possible precisely by the vast, warlike infrastructure that the Bush administration created post-9/11, a fierce regime of capture and interrogation, of dropped bombs and commando strikes. That regime, of course, followed the more conventional war that brought down the Taliban, scattered and decimated al-Qaeda and made bin Laden a fugitive.

Without all of this, the bin Laden operation could never have happened. Whence came the intelligence that led to Abbottabad? Many places, including from secret prisons in Romania and Poland; from terrorists seized and kidnapped, then subjected to interrogations, sometimes “harsh” or “enhanced”; from Gitmo detainees; from a huge bureaucratic apparatus of surveillance and eavesdropping. In other words, from a Global War on Terror infrastructure that critics, including Barack Obama himself, deplored as a tragic detour from American rectitude.

It was all not just un-American, now say the revisionists, but also unnecessary.

Really? We could never have pulled off the bin Laden raid without a major military presence in Afghanistan. The choppers came from our massive base at Bagram. The jump-off point was Jalalabad. The intelligence-gathering drones fly over Pakistan by grace of an alliance (unreliable but indispensable) forged with the United States to fight the war in Afghanistan.

Even the war in Iraq played an (unintended) role. After its rout from Afghanistan, al-Qaeda chose the troubled waters of Iraq as the central front in its war on America — and suffered a stunning defeat, made particularly humiliating when its fellow Sunni Arabs rose up to join the infidel Americans in subduing it.

Bin Laden declared war on us in 1998. But it was not until 9/11 that we took him seriously. At which point we answered with a declaration of war of our own, offering the brutal, unrelenting and ferocious response that war demands and that police work prohibits.

Including bin Laden’s execution. It’s clear there was no intention of capturing him. And for good reason. Doing so would have been insane, gratuitously granting him a second life of immense publicity on a worldwide stage from which to propagandize.

We came to kill. That is what you do in war. Do that in police work and you’ve committed murder. The Navy SEAL(s) who pulled the fateful trigger would be facing charges, not receiving medals.

You want to say we’ve now won the war? Fine. It’s at least an arguable proposition. After all, the war on terror will end one day, and we will return to policing the odd terrorist nut case. I would argue, however, that while bin Laden’s death marks an extremely important inflection point in the fight against jihadism, it’s far too early to declare victory.

Now, it is one thing to have an argument about whether it’s over. It’s quite another to claim that our reaching this happy day — during which we can even be debating whether victory has been achieved — has nothing to do with the war on terror of the previous decade. Al-Qaeda is not subsiding on its own. It is not retiring from the field, having seen the error of its ways. It is not disappearing because of some inexorable law of history or nature. It is in retreat because of the terrible defeats it suffered once America decided to take up arms against it, a campaign (once) known as the war on terror.

05-06-2011, 12:53 PM
More from the Post ---

The book the SEALs read: Adm. William McRaven’s ‘Spec Ops’

After years in the shadows of clandestine war, Vice Adm. William H. McRaven has become famous for preparing the elite Navy SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden last Sunday. Even though many details of the raid remain closely held, anyone seeking more insight on it is in luck: McRaven has written the book on covert missions.

That would be his 1995 book, “Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare, Theory and Practice,” a sort of textbook/history of hostage rescues, POW camp raids, battleship assaults and more of the most heart-stopping operations in military history.

In “Spec Ops,” McRaven outlines the principles of successful special operations — simplicity, security, repetition, surprise, speed and purpose — and unpacks eight famous missions, including the 1976 Israeli rescue of hostages from Uganda’s Entebbe airport.

It’s a fascinating read. But if you don’t have time, here’s a cheat sheet on how they conduct special ops at the highest level:

Practice makes perfect: “Certain combat units, such as counterterrorist teams, strategic bombers, and SEAL delivery vehicle teams, perform standard mission profiles as a matter of routine. . . . Most special operations, however, vary enough from the standard scenario that new equipment and tactics must be brought to bear on the problem. When this occurs it is essential to conduct at least one, and preferably two, full-dress rehearsals prior to the mission. The plan that sounded simple on paper must now be put to the test. . . . Invariably when a certain aspect of an operation was not rehearsed, it failed during the actual mission.”

Get it over with: “In a special operations mission, the concept of speed is simple. Get to your objective as fast as possible. Any delay will expand your area of vulnerability. . . . Most special operations involve direct, and in most cases immediate, contact with the enemy, where minutes and seconds spell the difference between success and failure. Of the successful missions analyzed in this book, only in [one] did the attacker take longer than thirty minutes to achieve relative superiority from the point of vulnerability. In most of the other cases, relative superiority was achieved in five minutes and the missions were completed in thirty minutes.”

Go in at night — unless you shouldn’t: “Most attacking forces prefer to assault a target at night, primarily because darkness provides cover, but also because at nighttime the enemy is presumed to be tired, less vigilant, and more susceptible to surprise. But nighttime frequently increases alertness and each mission should consider the ramifications of a night assault. Several of the most successful special operations were conducted in daytime and achieved a high degree of surprise.”

Commit to the part: “The purpose of the mission must be thoroughly understood beforehand, and the men must be inspired with a sense of personal dedication that knows no limitations. . . . In an age of high technology and Jedi Knights we often overlook the need for personal involvement, but we do so at our own risk.”

Cowboys need not apply: “The view of special operations personnel as unruly and cavalier with a disdain for the brass was not borne out in this study. The officers and enlisted whom I interviewed were professionals who fully appreciated the value of proper planning and preparations, of good order and discipline, and of working with higher authorities. They were also exceptionally modest men who felt that there was nothing heroic in their actions and often sought to downplay their public image.”

05-06-2011, 12:57 PM
Osama is dead. How about the hijackers? How many are still alive?

Speaking of hijacking....

I do hope that all those secular-flavored "revolutions" in Arab countries that have succeeded, or are currently happening now, don't get hijacked by Islamists who are just waiting for the right opportunity to seize power for themselves. The west shouldn't overplay its hand in supporting the toppling of regimes, lest Iran happens all over again. (No single interest group can claim sole credit for toppling the Shah, but fanning the flames of antiwestern sentiment was vital in enabling the Islamists to seize power, repress their erstwhile allies and making Salamn Rushdie paranoid as hell for decades.) It would be a poor thing for the heirs of a revolution to be its first victims.

Perhaps an appropriate message to western powers now would be to, moderate your greed. Don't give yourselves more reason to be hated than you already are in that part of the globe..

05-06-2011, 01:00 PM
More from the Post - - -

Torture apologists stain triumph over bin Laden

By Charles Fried and Gregory Fried

The killing of Osama bin Laden after a fierce firefight in his Abbottabad compound is a great victory for our military and intelligence forces and for our civilian leadership. But the handwringing about whether it looked as though bin Laden was reaching for a gun or suicide belt, as if this were some who-is-the fastest-gun-in-the-West movie, and about whether we violated Pakistani sovereignty by going in after him is risible.

As the code of war that Abraham Lincoln promulgated in 1863 — the first anywhere — made clear: “military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb of armed enemies . . . it allows of the capturing of . . . every enemy of importance to the hostile government.” Yet Lincoln’s code also said that “military necessity does not admit of cruelty . . . nor of torture.”

In this all civilized men and women agree: Torture is condemned by American law, international law and by the pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church. In 2005 it was condemned by Congress at the instance of, among others, Sen. John McCain. Now, the same apologists who applauded President George W. Bush’s authorization of torture — and make no mistake, waterboarding is torture — are working to stain this great triumph. They argue that but for their barbaric treatment of detainees through 2003, we would never have found our man.

The claim is indecent most immediately because there is no way of knowing whether it is true, and any attempt to prove or disprove it must reveal intelligence that our security requires remain secret. But even if true, it does not make the point. However dangerous he may have been, Osama bin Laden was not the ticking bomb requiring immediate defusing, so familiar now from television dramas. And that’s just the point about making exceptions to moral imperatives that should remain exceptionless — like Lincoln’s absolute condemnation of torture, or the condemnation of sexual degradation as a weapon of war, or the judicial killing of an innocent person to keep the peace. These things must never be done. To put such moral boundaries on the same level as legal niceties about sovereignty or the need for a warrant reveals a profoundly flawed sense of proportion.

Those who defend the use of torture and who are using bin Laden’s killing to prove their point prove just the opposite. However vile, bin Laden was not the armed-nuclear-bomb-hidden-in-downtown-L.A. scenario of Jack Bauer’s “24.” The point is that once you are willing to cross the line of absolutely wrong, you must answer impossible questions: How many people must be endangered; how certain must we be of the danger; how sure must we be that this is the person who can lead us to the bomb and that the torture will work on him? What if the terrorist who planted the bomb is immune to torture or beyond our reach, but his young child is not? May we torture the child if that will make the terrorist talk? And how certain must we be that that will work?

One Bush torture apologist, like the 13th chime of the clock, has famously argued that even the torture of the child would be allowed. But, of course, the lack of a stopping place in justifying this evil shows how readily the resort to deliberate brutality metastasizes so that it can be used to justify torture to save just one person, or even if there is a chance of saving one person, or even if it involves random cruelty to soften up the next person we interrogate, as in the case of Abu Ghraib. To paraphrase Justice Robert Jackson, such an argument either has no beginning or it has no end.

As Lincoln understood, the main damage torture inflicts is on the torturer. We all suffer pain and we all must die. But while we live we must strive to be worthy of the humanity that is supposed to be the goal of our battles. Lincoln’s code proclaims: “Men who take up arms against one another in public war do not cease on this account to be moral beings, responsible to one another and to God.” Francis Lieber, who drafted the code at Lincoln’s direction, elaborated: “The late proclamation of General Halleck, declaring himself ready for retaliation . . . distinctly tells his officers and soldiers not to retaliate cruelly. . . . Can we roast Indians, though they have roasted one of our own? Simple infliction of death is not considered cruelty.”

The death of Osama bin Laden may ultimately prove to be a footnote to al-Qaeda’s real moment of defeat. The same Muslim men and women bin Laden sought to recruit to jihad in the name of his Pol Pot-like caliphate are now revolting for a chance to lead decent lives in democratic nations governed by the same values that we proclaim guide us. Their goal is also our best hope for a lasting end to this war on terror. It defiles their sacrifice, as well as that of our own troops, if we who have long championed democracy embrace the brutal values of our enemies, even in the name of self-defense. We must deny bin Laden this posthumous victory.

05-06-2011, 01:08 PM
More from the Post - - -

Obama’s fickle European fans

By Charles Lane

If Europeans could vote for U.S. president, Barack Obama would have carried that continent by a landslide in 2008. Who can forget the cheering in Berlin for the “proud citizen of the world?” Youthful, urbane, and broadly in agreement with European views of Guantanamo and “enhanced interrogation,” Obama had been in office only a few months when a select group of Norwegians gave him the Nobel Peace Prize.

But now many of Obama’s erstwhile Euro-fans are feeling a twinge of buyer’s remorse. By ordering a covert raid on Pakistan that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of Navy SEALs, Obama has earned the kind of condemnation Europe’s cognoscenti once reserved for his predecessor, George W. Bush.

And nowhere is the chorus more moralistic than in Germany, where former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, a Social Democrat, has pronounced the action “clearly a violation of international law.” The quality press is full of carping and quibbling. Handelsblatt called the raid “an act that violates both the international prohibition of force and humanitarian law." Der Spiegel, under the headline “Justice, American Style,” reports an expert’s view that it’s “questionable whether the USA can still claim to be engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaida.” Elsewhere in the same journal, a reporter calls NewYork celebrations of bin Laden’s death “reminiscent of Muslims celebrating in the Gaza Strip after the 9/11 attacks.”

To be sure, the criticism is not universal. The newspaper Bild opined that “it is not only good that bin Laden is dead. It is also good that the U.S., after ten agonizing years, has finally freed itself from his terrible stranglehold.” Chancellor Angela Merkel pronounced herself “glad” that the terrorist chieftain was dead.

But German clerics and politicians immediately chided Merkel for her lack of tact, claiming that she might inflame the Muslim world. And Bild is a right-wing tabloid, the less-than-respectable news source of strap-hangers consruction foremen.

The fashionable critique of Obama and the U.S. achieved its purest form on ARD Television, Germany’s equivalent of the BBC, where commentator Jörg Schoenenborn pompously observed that nothing good could come from Obama’s Bush-like breach of international law. “Al Qaeda will seek revenge,” he asserts, “so, is the world any safer? No.” Yet Americans dance in the streets, which Scheonenborn attributed to something essential, and essentially primitive, in the American character. The USA is, after all, “quite a foreign land to me. What kind of country celebrates an execution in such a way?”

It never occurs to Schoenenborn that Americans might not be celebrating bin Laden’s death as such but the suddenly real chance that a long and costly struggle could end — and end in victory, no less. To be sure, optimism does not come naturally in Central Europe, for good historical reasons. And victory is not a word that comes readily to the lips of U.S. officials waging this war. But it’s actually quite rational to suppose that the decapitation of al Qaeda, plus the exposure of its Pakistani safe haven and the recovery of a vast intelligence trove may, in fact, hasten the organization’s end. Certainly the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter than it was before.

What kind of country celebrates? The same one that elected Obama in the first place. Perhaps Schoenenborn and Obama’s other critics across the pond missed the part of the 2008 campaign in which Obama quite clearly promised that "We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.” He also said that “if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights."

It was Republican John McCain who questioned the wisdom of Obama’s plan in part because it would violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. All right-thinking Europeans despised him.

The only way the German TV commentator can make sense of this is to insinuate that Obama abandoned his true principles to curry favor with the unreasoning American electorate. He is “in a political campaign and has distinguished himself as a ‘law and order’ candidate,” Schoenenborn observed. “Has he gotten closer to re-election? Yes. I’m afraid the balance is just that simple.”

Schoenenborn never seems to consider that Obama took a huge political risk by ordering this operation, which could have gone wrong in a thousand ways – and would have destroyed him politically if it did. The safe course, politically, was to keep the SEALs’ powder dry. Was it an “execution?” Perhaps. What little “resistance” bin Laden offered seems to have been in the nature of the inherent danger posed by a man who had made his living killing by stealth, sponsoring suicide bombings – and swearing to die with his boots on.

But would any of Europe’s moralizers have been more pleased if the U.S. had blown bin Laden and his house away with a B-2 bomber or a Predator drone strike – the president’s other options? More to the point, do the critics have a realistic suggestion as to how the president could have met their demand to arrest bin Laden and put him on trial — without violating the sovereignty of the double-dealing nation, Pakistan, where he had unlawfully found refuge?

Part of the reason Obama chose to send ground forces to deal with bin Laden “up close and personal” was to limit civilian casualties, which the Navy SEALs did, almost unbelievably well. They harmed none of the dozen or so children with whom bin Laden surrounded himself, even though he knew that he was subject to U.S. attack at any time.

This was the kind of choice that responsible statesman hate to face but cannot avoid. And Obama’s decision was the essence of leadership – decisive, nervy, humane. If it earns him the same scorn Europe’s fickle intelligentsia once heaped on his predecessor, then he, like his predecessor, should wear it like a badge of honor.

05-06-2011, 01:17 PM
More from the Post - - -

Pakistani military, government warn U.S. against future raids

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s army chief warned Thursday that any repeat of the type of U.S. commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden would be viewed as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty and would imperil military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries.

The combative statement came as a senior U.S. defense official said Pakistan would have to take “very concrete and visible steps” to persuade Congress to continue providing $3 billion in annual military and economic assistance.

The two countries are allies but their relationship has been plagued by mistrust over the last 50 years.

“We are still talking with the Pakistanis and trying to understand what they did know, what they didn’t know” about bin Laden’s apparently years-long residence in a garrison city north of the Pakistani capital, Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy said at the Aspen Institute in Washington.

Obama administration officials said they were uncertain whether the statement by Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, which also acknowledged “shortcomings” in Pakistani intelligence on bin Laden, reflected Pakistan’s actual stance or whether it amounted to posturing for a domestic audience.

In conversations with U.S. officials, one administration official said, Kayani had been “much more nuanced. . . . We didn’t hear this bellicosity.”

Regardless of the statement’s intended audience, it reflected the intense anger felt at the highest levels of Pakistan’s powerful military toward the United States and suggested that the two countries remain far apart in how they view bin Laden’s killing.

The discovery of the terrorist leader’s refuge deepened belief in Washington that elements of Pakistan’s army had provided him sanctuary. But Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment has chafed at U.S. expressions of victory and shown acute resentment about what it deems a lack of gratitude for Pakistan’s partnership.

The administration has asked Pakistan for details about the compound where bin Laden lived in Abbottabad and who had access to it. But officials have largely refrained from criticizing Pakistan in recent days while trying to keep a crucial, if unsteady, counterterrorism partnership from completely unraveling.

“It is not always an easy relationship,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday in Rome, on the sidelines of an international conference on Libya. “But, on the other hand, it is a productive one for both of our countries, and we are going to continue to cooperate.”

At White House meetings Wednesday, President Obama’s national security advisers discussed how long to wait before delivering a sterner message to Pakistan, what it should be and who should deliver it, the administration official said. One option under consideration is for Vice President Biden, who visited with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in January, to make a phone call. Another is to wait until Clinton visits Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, later this month.

“We realize that at this point we have a great degree of leverage, and we want to make sure we use it wisely and effectively, because it won’t last long,” said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the situation on the record.

Doubts on both sides

The Thursday statement was the first by Kayani since the bin Laden operation. In the statement, he and Pakistan’s other top generals said they had decided to reduce U.S. military personnel in the country to the “minimum essential.” But U.S. military officials said they had received no formal request to draw down the 120 Special Operations trainers presently working in Pakistan.

Kayani’s statement described Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency as second to none in combating terrorism and its CIA counterparts as untrustworthy.

“In the case of Osama bin Laden, while the CIA developed intelligence based on initial information provided by ISI, it did not share further development of intelligence on the case with ISI, contrary to the existing practice between the two services,” the statement said, adding that Pakistani spies had captured or killed about 100 al-Qaeda operatives and leaders.

U.S. officials have long alleged that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence establishment provide support to Islamist militants as assets for influence against archenemy India. U.S. officials have said this week that they have no evidence of state support in Pakistan for bin Laden, but they have also expressed deep doubts that he could have lived in a military town without assistance from some security officials.

Those doubts were voiced Thursday at a hearing on Pakistan held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. At the hearing, virtually all members questioned what Pakistan knew and did about bin Laden. “Some critics say it is time for us to wash our hands of the whole country,” said Sen. Richard G. Lugar (Ind.), the ranking Republican on the committee. He said his view was that “distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous.”

Lugar, John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the committee chairman, and Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.) co-sponsored a $7.5 billion, five-year package of economic assistance to Pakistan in 2009. On Thursday, Berman sent Clinton a letter questioning whether Pakistan was qualified to receive the aid, as she had certified in March.

Earlier Thursday, in the Pakistani government’s first detailed briefing on the bin Laden killing, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir appeared to question the legality of the U.S. operation. Pakistani media have speculated that the United States, riding high, would soon try to capture Afghan Taliban leader Mohammad Omar or the chief of the Haqqani network, another Afghan militant group.

Issue of sovereignty

At least on the surface, the Pakistani responses indicate that Washington might not be able to easily leverage the embarrassing revelation that bin Laden was hiding in plain sight in Pakistan to force the nation’s army to hit harder against militant sanctuaries, turn over other high-value terrorists living in Pakistan or help speed reconciliation in Afghanistan.

But in a week in which Pakistan’s army and intelligence services have faced a rare onslaught of criticism, the Pakistani statements also appeared to reflect a concerted effort to redirect the public discourse toward anger at the United States. Violations of sovereignty, particularly by U.S. troops, are a sensitive issue in Pakistan, and the national conversation has begun to focus on that, rather than on the presence of militants in Pakistani cities.

Pakistanis “feel deeply angered, aggrieved, and humiliated at the failure of our civil and military leadership in the face of the flagrant violation of our sovereignty by the government of the United States,” said a statement Thursday from the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association, an organization of about 2,000 former officers.

The army promised an investigation into how bin Laden could have lived undetected in Pakistan. But past Pakistani government and military inquiries, including into the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, have rarely been revealing.

05-09-2011, 09:18 AM
From the New York Times - - -

Killing Evil Doesn’t Make Us Evil


I don’t want closure. There is no closure after tragedy.

I want memory, and justice, and revenge.

When you’re dealing with a mass murderer who bragged about incinerating thousands of Americans and planned to kill countless more, that seems like the only civilized and morally sound response.

We briefly celebrated one of the few clear-cut military victories we’ve had in a long time, a win that made us feel like Americans again — smart and strong and capable of finding our enemies and striking back at them without getting trapped in multitrillion-dollar Groundhog Day occupations.

But within days, Naval Seal-gazing shifted to navel-gazing.

There was the bad comedy of solipsistic Republicans with wounded egos trying to make it about how right they were and whinging that George W. Bush was due more credit. Their attempt to renew the debate about torture is itself torture.

W. preferred to sulk in his Dallas tent rather than join President Obama at ground zero in a duet that would have certainly united the country.

Whereas the intelligence work that led to the destruction of Bin Laden was begun in the Bush administration, the cache of schemes taken from Osama’s Pakistan house debunked the fanciful narrative that the Bush crew pushed: that Osama was stuck in a cave unable to communicate, increasingly irrelevant and a mere symbol, rather than operational. Osama, in fact, was at the helm, spending his days whipping up bloody schemes to kill more Americans.

In another inane debate last week, many voices suggested that decapitating the head of a deadly terrorist network was some sort of injustice.

Taking offense after Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, said he was “much relieved” at the news of Bin Laden’s death, Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, posted the Twitter message: “Ban Ki-moon wrong on Osama bin Laden: It’s not justice for him to be killed even if justified; no trial, conviction.”

I leave it to subtler minds to parse the distinction between what is just and what is justified.

When Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said she was “glad” Bin Laden had been killed, a colleague called such talk “medieval.”

Christophe Barbier, editor of the centrist French weekly L’Express, warned: “To cry one’s joy in the streets of our cities is to ape the turbaned barbarians who danced the night of Sept. 11.”

Those who celebrated on Sept. 11 were applauding the slaughter of American innocents. When college kids spontaneously streamed out Sunday night to the White House, ground zero and elsewhere, they were the opposite of bloodthirsty: they were happy that one of the most certifiably evil figures of our time was no more.

The confused image of Bin Laden as a victim was exacerbated by John Brennan, the Obama national security aide who intemperately presented an inaccurate portrait of what had happened on the third floor in Abbottabad.

Unlike the president and the Navy Seals, who performed with steely finesse, Brennan was overwrought, exaggerating the narrative to demonize the demon.

The White House had to backtrack from Brennan’s contentions that Osama was “hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield” and that he died after resisting in a firefight.

It may be that some administration officials have taken Dick Cheney’s belittling so much to heart that they are still reluctant to display effortless macho. Liberal guilt may have its uses, but it should not be wasted on this kill-mission.

The really insane assumption behind some of the second-guessing is that killing Osama somehow makes us like Osama, as if all killing is the same.

Only fools or knaves would argue that we could fight Al Qaeda’s violence non-violently.

President Obama was prepared to take a life not only to avenge American lives already taken but to deter the same killer from taking any more. Aside from Bin Laden’s plotting, his survival and his legend were inspirations for more murder.

If stealth bombers had dropped dozens of 2,000-pound bombs and wiped out everyone, no one would have been debating whether Osama was armed. The president chose the riskiest option presented to him, but one that spared nearly all the women and children at the compound, and anyone in the vicinity.

Unlike Osama, the Navy Seals took great care not to harm civilians — they shot Bin Laden’s youngest wife in the leg and carried two young girls out of harm’s way before killing Osama.

Morally and operationally, this was counterterrorism at its finest.

We have nothing to apologize for.

05-09-2011, 09:25 AM
More from the Times although not directly having to do with Osama's timely passing; I just thought this would be a good reminder of what the future is looking like in the Middle East - - -

End of Mideast Wholesale


If you look into the different “shop” windows across the Middle East, it is increasingly apparent that the Arab uprisings are bringing to a close the era of “Middle East Wholesale” and ushering in the era of “Middle East Retail.” Everyone is going to have to pay more for their stability.

Let’s start with Israel. For the last 30 years, Israel enjoyed peace with Egypt wholesale — by having peace with just one man, Hosni Mubarak. That sale is over. Today, post-Mubarak, to sustain the peace treaty with Egypt in any kind of stable manner, Israel is going to have to pay retail. It is going to have to make peace with 85 million Egyptians. The days in which one phone call by Israel to Mubarak could shut down any crisis in relations are over.

Amr Moussa, the outgoing head of the Arab League and the front-runner in polls to succeed Mubarak as president when Egypt holds elections in November, just made that clear in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Regarding Israel, Moussa said: “Mubarak had a certain policy. It was his own policy, and I don’t think we have to follow this. We want to be a friend of Israel, but it has to have two parties. It is not on Egypt to be a friend. Israel has to be a friend, too.”

Moussa owes a great deal of his popularity in Egypt to his tough approach to Israel. I hope he has a broader vision. It is noteworthy that in the decade he led the Arab League, he spent a great deal of time jousting with Israel and did virtually nothing to either highlight or deal with the conclusions of the 2002 U.N. Arab Human Development Report — produced by a group of Arab scholars led by an Egyptian — that said the Arab people are suffering from three huge deficits: a deficit of freedom, a deficit of knowledge and deficit of women’s empowerment.

The current Israeli government, however, shows little sign of being prepared for peace retail. I can’t say with any certainty that Israel has a Palestinian partner for a secure peace so that Israel can end its occupation of the West Bank. But I can say with 100 percent certainty that Israel has a huge interest in going out of its way to test that possibility. The Arab world is going through a tumultuous transition to a still uncertain destination. Israel needs to do all it can to get out of their story, because it is going to be a wild ride.

Alas, though, the main strategy of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas will be to drag Israel into the Arab story — as a way of deflecting attention away from how these anti-democratic regimes are repressing their own people and to further delegitimize Israel, by making sure it remains a permanent occupier of Palestinians in the West Bank.

Have no illusions: The main goal of the rejectionists today is to lock Israel into the West Bank — so the world would denounce it as some kind of Jewish apartheid state, with a Jewish minority permanently ruling a Palestinian majority, when you combine Israel’s Arabs and the West Bank Arabs. With a more democratic Arab world, where everyone can vote, that would be a disaster for Israel. It may be unavoidable, but it would be insane for Israel to make it so by failing to aggressively pursue a secure withdrawal option.

The second group that will have to pay retail for stability is the Arab monarchies — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco. These governments have for decades bought stability with reform wholesale — by offering faux reforms, like reshuffling cabinets, that never amounted to real power sharing — and by distracting their people with shiny objects. But these monarchies totally underestimate the depth of what has erupted in their region: a profound quest for personal dignity, justice and freedom that is not going away. They will have to share more power.

The third group I hope will have to pay retail is Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Under Mubarak, in an odd way, the Brotherhood had it easy. Mubarak made sure that no authentic, legitimate, progressive, modern Egyptian party could emerge between himself and the Muslim Brotherhood. That way, Mubarak could come to Washington once a year and tell the president: “Look, it’s either me or the Muslim Brotherhood. We have no independent, secular moderates.”

Therefore, to get its votes, all the Muslim Brotherhood had to say was that “Mubarak is a Zionist” and “Islam is the answer.” It didn’t have to think hard about jobs, economics or globalization. It got its support wholesale — by simply being the only authentic vehicle for protest against the regime. Now the Muslim Brotherhood is going to have to get its votes retail — I hope.

This is the key question: Will a united, legitimate, authentic, progressive, modern, nationalist alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood get its act together and challenge the Islamists in the Egyptian elections, and then rule effectively? Woody Allen famously pointed out that 80 percent of life is showing up. Wrong. Eighty percent of life is getting stuff done. The Egyptian centrists from Tahrir Square now need to show that they can form parties to get good stuff done. Nobody pays wholesale anymore.

05-09-2011, 09:45 AM
More from the Times - - -

Bin Laden's Secret Life in a Diminished World

WASHINGTON — The world’s most wanted terrorist lived his last five years imprisoned behind the barbed wire and high walls of his home in Abbottabad, Pakistan, his days consumed by dark arts and domesticity.

The Abbottabad compound became the Bin Laden base in 2005. Interviews paint a portrait of a man, perhaps a little bored, presiding over family life while plotting mayhem.

American officials believe that Osama bin Laden spent many hours on the computer, relying on couriers to bring him thumb drives packed with information from the outside world.

Videos seized from Bin Laden’s compound and released by the Obama administration on Saturday showed him wrapped in an old blanket watching himself on TV, like an aging actor imagining a comeback. A senior intelligence official said other videos showed him practicing and flubbing his lines in front of a camera. He was interested enough in his image, the official said, to dye his white beard black for the recordings.

His once-large entourage of Arab bodyguards was down to one trusted Pakistani courier and the courier’s brother, who also had the job of buying goats, sheep and Coca-Cola for the household. While his physical world had shrunk to two indoor rooms and daily pacing in his courtyard, Bin Laden was still revered at home — by his three wives, by his children and by the tight, interconnected circle of loyalists in the compound.

He did not do chores or tend to the cows and water buffalo on the south side of the compound like the other men. The household, American officials figure, knew how important it was for him to devote his time to Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization he founded and was still actively running at the time of his death.

American officials say there is much they do not know about the last years of Bin Laden, who was shot dead by Navy Seal commandos last Monday in his third-floor bedroom, and the peculiar life of the compound. But what has emerged so far, in interviews with United States and Pakistani military and intelligence officials and Bin Laden’s neighbors in the middle-class hamlet where he had been hiding, is a portrait of an isolated man, perhaps a little bored, presiding over family life while plotting mayhem — still desperate to be heard, intent on outsize influence, musing in his handwritten notebooks about killing more Americans.

“My father would not look forward to staying indoors month after month, because he is a man who loves everything about nature,” Omar bin Laden, a son of Bin Laden, said in an e-mail message in 2009. “But if I were to say what he would need to survive, I would say food and water. He would go inward and occupy himself with his mind.”

Abbottabad, a scenic hill cantonment for the British Raj and later home to the elite military academy that is Pakistan’s West Point, became the Bin Laden family base in late 2005. Their large compound, in a new neighborhood on the outskirts of town, is now the most photographed house in the country, with stories spilling forth from astonished neighbors. Bin Laden, who was the tall man C.I.A. officers watched pacing the courtyard from a surveillance post nearby, never went out. The neighbors knew the family as Arshad Khan and Tariq Khan, the aliases of the trusted courier and his brother. The courier also went by the name Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.

The Khans seemed pleasant enough, but they kept to themselves behind their 12-foot concrete walls and barbed wire, neighbors said. They never invited anyone in or went to others’ homes, although they did go to prayers in the mosque and funerals in the neighborhood. The women left the compound only with their husbands in a car, and covered in black burqas. The children rarely played outside. When neighborhood boys playing in the fields let a ball fly into the compound by mistake, the Khans gave them 50 rupees, less than a dollar, to buy a new one rather than let them in to retrieve it.

“We thought maybe they had killed someone back in their village or something like that and were therefore very cautious,” said a neighbor, an engineer who identified himself as Zaheer.

The brothers, both in their 30s, had two cars, a red Suzuki van and a white Suzuki jeep, and paid double the daily wage (about $2.40) to laborers who worked on the house as it was being built in 2004. They offered various explanations to the neighbors about their comparative wealth, once saying they had a hotel in Dubai or that they worked in the money-changing business. They were Pashtuns from Charsadda, in Pakistan’s northwest frontier.

“They never told us why they came here,” said Naheed Abassi, 21, a driver and farm laborer who said he had worked on construction of the house. The courier and his brother, both killed in the raid, were sons of a man Bin Laden had known for decades. A Bin Laden son, Khalid, who lived in the home and was also killed, was married to a sister of the Khans, Pakistani officials said.

Little is known about how Bin Laden, believed to be 54, managed his relationships with his three wives. (Under traditional Sharia law, a Muslim man is allowed to have four wives.) On the night he was killed, Bin Laden was in his bedroom with his youngest wife, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, whose Yemeni passport shows her to be 29, a quarter-century Bin Laden’s junior.

This wife was apparently the one shot by commandos in the leg as she rushed them in an effort to protect her husband. American officials said there were also children in the bedroom; Pakistani intelligence officers, in reports that have not been verified by American officials, said a 12-year-old girl told them that she was a daughter of Bin Laden and that she saw the Americans shoot him. There was one woman killed in the raid, caught in cross-fire when the commandos killed the courier. A retired Pakistani intelligence officer, Brig. Asa Munir, said the woman was an Arab doctor.

There were nine children in the household, but it remained unclear how many belonged to Bin Laden and his son and how many to the courier and his brother. Neighbors said the courier and his brother had seven young children between them, and so it was no great surprise that Pakistanis found remedies for children’s ear infections, colds and coughs. According to NBC News, the Pakistanis also found Avena syrup, an extract of wild oats that can be taken for an upset stomach but is also marketed as an aphrodisiac.

Contrary to a widely held belief that Bin Laden was on dialysis to treat a kidney ailment, Pakistani investigators said last week that his youngest wife told them he was healthy. “He was neither weak nor frail,” one of the investigator quoted the wife as saying. She told them, they said, that Bin Laden had recovered from two kidney operations a decade or more ago in southern Afghanistan, in part by using homemade remedies, including watermelon.

Although American intelligence analysts are just beginning to pore over a huge trove of computer files, storage devices and cellphones that the commandos recovered from the compound, they were eager to release the new videos, five in all, on Saturday. They said they did not know when the video of Bin Laden watching himself on television had been recorded, but since there is a brief image of President Obama flickering on the screen, it appears to have been made in the compound sometime after January 2009, when Mr. Obama was inaugurated.

Another of the videos, all of which were provided without sound, showed what an intelligence official said was Bin Laden speaking in a “message to the American people” that condemned the United States and capitalism. The official said the video had been recorded between Oct. 9 and Nov. 5, 2010.

American officials assume that during the last five years, Bin Laden recorded about a half-dozen audio messages a year from inside the house. The messages were meant for dissemination to the outside world, but to avoid detection, Bin Laden had no Internet, e-mail or phone lines that he could use to send them.

Instead, the audio files were evidently stored on a CD or tiny thumb drive and passed from courier to courier until they reached As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s media arm. There they would usually be combined with still images of Bin Laden, subtitled translations, quotations from the Koran and other embellishments. The finished product would be uploaded to jihadist Web forums and occasionally delivered to Al Jazeera or other broadcasters.

The messages, the only glimpse the world had of Bin Laden’s thinking while he lived inside the compound, suggest not just a firebrand calling for mass murder — a staple of most of the recordings — but a man, perhaps stifled by monotony, eagerly attuned to the news and sometimes attracted to unexpected subjects. It is not known if he had a radio in the house, but his son Omar, who lived with him in Afghanistan until 1999, described his father as constantly listening to the BBC.

In October, when American intelligence was close on the trail of the courier and spy satellites were taking detailed photographs of the house, Bin Laden issued two audio statements urging help for victims of floods in Pakistan. “We are in need of a big change in the method of relief work because the number of victims is great due to climate changes in modern times,” he said.

In 2007, he complained that Democratic control of Congress had not ended the war in Iraq, a fact he attributed to the pernicious influence of “big corporations.” In other messages he commented on the writings of Noam Chomsky, the leftist professor at M.I.T., and praised former President Jimmy Carter’s book supporting Palestinian rights.

Although the couriers who handed off the thumb drives were outside electronic detection, that did not extend to Al Qaeda’s No. 3, who needed a cellphone and e-mail to carry out plans and give orders to more than one person. As a result, Al Qaeda’s third-in-commands had short life expectancies, the fodder of wry jokes in the counterterrorism field. Two No. 3s were killed around the time Bin Laden lived in the compound — Hamza Rabia in December 2005 and Mustafa Abu al-Yazid in 2010.

Congressional officials said they were struck by how Bin Laden’s low-profile, low-tech lifestyle protected him but might have also hastened his death. Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat who serves on the Armed Services Committee, said that the lack of a large entourage was obviously intended to attract as little attention as possible.

“If you had 25 18-year-olds with guns, then not only would the C.I.A. notice, but so would the Pakistani military,” Mr. Reed said.

But he said he was also struck that Bin Laden was not prepared for the kind of attack the commandos carried out. “There was no escape route, no tunnels, not even false rooms in the house in which to hide,” he said. “It makes you wonder: at what point did that extra degree of vigilance he had get dulled by routine?”

05-09-2011, 03:52 PM
From the Washington Post, for all those who think the US Navy SEALs are all about locking and loading on the battlefield only - - -

SEALs go from superhero to sex symbol

Ever since an elite unit of Navy SEALs stormed a fortresslike compound near Islamabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden, people can’t get enough of the SEALs. There are some who want to know what it’s like to be one, and others who want to know what it takes to become one.

Then, there are those who want to know what it might be like to, well, “be” with one.

The serious-minded can sift through countless articles and hours of documentaries. The more prurient can mine an entire universe of Navy SEAL romance novels. There’s the “Tall, Dark and Dangerous” series by Suzanne Brockmann or the “Tempting Seals” books by Lora Leigh.

The appeal of a clean-cut Navy SEAL in the land of “lace-wristed dukes” and longhaired Fabios is simple.

“For readers, Navy SEALs are superheroes without the spandex,” said Pamela White, a journalist and romance novelist whose pen name is Pamela Clare.

Publishers are already bracing for a flurry of Navy SEAL-themed pitches and manuscripts in the coming weeks.

“When something like this happens, it is going to be huge,” said Gail Chasan, senior editor at Harlequin Enterprises Special Edition, the Ontario-based publisher synonymous with the romance genre.

Chasan need only look at the nonfiction-bestseller-list world to know. “SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper,” which has not even been released, is already No. 5 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Beyond publishing, the interest in all things SEAL is just as rabid. Sales of merchandise at the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., are up 200 percent, said spokesman Rolf Snyder. In Chesapeake, Va., ex-SEAL Don Shipley has been flooded with calls and e-mails seeking information about his Extreme SEAL Experience camp.

There are SEAL movies in the works, including one by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow. And Discovery Channel plans to air an “insta-mentary” called “Killing bin Laden” on Sunday.

White lucked out. The release of her Navy SEAL romance novel “Breaking Point” happened to be scheduled a few days after bin Laden was killed.

Usually it takes as long as 18 months for a book to go from manuscript to store shelves. E-books can take a few months. So publishers are cautious about placing bets based on short bursts of interest in a particular subject.

“When ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ came out, we had a discussion about, ‘Do we think pirates as heroes will come back?’ But it never caught on,” said May Chen, a top editor for Avon Romance, part of HarperCollins Publishers.

Since Navy SEAL romance novels first appeared in the mid-1990s, they have gone in and out of fashion. In 2009, Marliss Melton, who has written a successful series of Navy SEAL romance books, was dropped by her publisher, Grand Central Publishing, because it wanted her to write about the theme du jour: vampires. She is self-publishing her next SEAL effort, “The Protector.”

On balance, though, Navy SEAL romance novels have proven to be reliable sellers in the romance suspense category, and several have made the New York Times bestseller list, including “Dark Viking” by Sandra Hill, which features a SEAL who travels in time to the land of the vikings, one of seven viking Navy SEAL books she’s written.

“The progression into Navy SEALs” from vikings “was a natural one,” said Hill, who can trace her family tree back to the 10th century and a viking called Rolf.

Romance fiction sales as a whole hover around $1.4 billion annually, and 90 percent of the readership is female, according to the Romance Writers of America.

The woman credited with launching the Navy SEAL mini-genre is Brockmann, who decided to feature Navy SEALs in romance novels after reading a magazine story about “Hell Week,” the toughest part of the Basic Underwater Demolition training program that aspiring SEALs are put through. Less than a third typically make the final cut.

The resulting book, “Prince Joe,” “was very different than anything we had ever done. It was an odd theme for a book and an odd profession for a hero to have,” said Chasan, her editor at Harlequin. “It plunged readers into a world they were not familiar with at all. At the same time, it really was a classic romance freshly told, and we were able to build on that.”

Brockmann has now written 26 books featuring active-duty or retired SEALs. Though she is a longtime military history buff, she admits that in the early days she winged it a little, relying on her memory of “Star Trek” episodes for rank and titles.

“When I started, there wasn’t that much information” about the SEALs, Brockmann said from her home in Sarasota, Fla. But then there was surge of interest after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and again in 2009, after a SEAL unit rescued an American captain from pirates. Now there are Web sites, YouTube videos of their training and cable network shows. The increased public awareness, however, has meant more homework for the authors who have followed in Brockmann’s footsteps.

“There is so much you have to know. The way the teams work, the training the men have gone through. Where they do their missions,” said Melton, a former linguistics professor at the College of William & Mary who published her first SEAL romance novel in 2002. She has a former Navy SEAL commander read over her work to check for errors.

That attention to detail is important because although romance novel readers might love unrealistic happy endings, they also want a story and characters that are plausible.

Romance authors “are writing about the human experience for readers today, so whatever setting — the 1600s, another world inhabited by vampires who are hotter than hot — readers still want something that makes sense to them,” said Amy Pierpont, executive director of Grand Central Publishing’s Forever romance imprint.

That desire for realism extends to the female characters, who, unlike heroines in decades past, are not easily swept off their feet. For instance, Natalie Benoit, the heroine in White’s new book, considers SEAL Zach MacBride with wariness: “It wasn’t right for any man to be so dangerous and so sexy at the same time. Her adrenal glands and her ovaries were locked in a shouting match now, the former insisting she needed to run away fast, the latter wishing he’d kiss her again.”

Benoit, like all of White’s heroines, is a journalist who isn’t afraid to venture into dangerous places. And that’s par for the course these days, writers and editors said.

“You definitely get some reader backlash if a heroine is too mild-mannered or too apt to acquiesce to a man’s needs,” Pierpont said.

Pierpont and others believe therein lies another aspect of the SEALs’ appeal: As the female characters have become more high-powered, mirroring the rising education and achievement levels of romance novel readers, the male love interests have had to step it up a notch. A Navy captain might have been dashing enough 20 years ago. But in today’s world, where women are secretaries of state, CEOs, single parents and soldiers, a guy’s got to have more to offer than a pretty uniform. And what man can offer more than a SEAL, the product of the military’s toughest training regime?

“They have all of these abilities that the average guy doesn’t even have,” White said. “They appeal to the side of women who want to know there are really strong men in the world who aren’t afraid to take responsibility. SEALs are not not going to pay their child support. They are not couch potatoes who don’t care. They are active in making the world better.”

In the romance world, the competency of SEALs knows no bounds. “They are trained from Day 1 to notice the tiniest detail,” Melton said. “A man who can pick up on the smallest little nuance is bound to be able to please a woman, if you catch my drift.”

08-08-2011, 02:40 AM
The Navy Seals who raided Bin Laden are all dead, according to reports. The brave soldiers who witnessed "the event" are dead? Pawns in the grand scheme of things. :-\

01-30-2012, 01:09 PM
Balikan natin ang isa sa pinagmulan ng gyerang walang katapusan.

So ano nga uli nangyari sa Building No. 7?




Sam Miguel
05-04-2012, 01:54 PM
From the LA Times - - -

WASHINGTON — In his final months padding around the dark third-floor room in his cinder-block Pakistan hide-out, the world's most notorious terrorist mastermind spent a lot of time in his own head.

He fretted about his public image and the legacy of his organization. He wondered whether he had misnamed it Al Qaeda. He fired off orders, handed out promotions, denied requests for help from the battlefield and sought to direct publicity for the looming 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And as well, he schemed to kill the man who would, in the end, give the order to shoot him dead: Barack Obama.

That's the portrait of Osama Bin Laden painted by the slim collection of notes and letters made public Thursday by the Combating Terrorism Center, a think tank at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The 17 documents represent a sliver of the vast cache of material on computer hard disks, flash drives and DVDs that Navy SEALs scooped up from Bin Laden's compound after they found him a year ago in his bedroom and put a bullet in his face.

The documents offer few revelations about how Bin Laden evaded the U.S. for nearly a decade. But they do provide, with granular detail, selective insights into the mind of the terrorist leader during the years he was on the run.

What is missing from the tightly controlled release are details of who may have protected him, and how America's Public Enemy No. 1 had spent years just a mile from Pakistan's own version of West Point, the prestigious Kakul military academy in Abbottabad.

During those years, the documents indicate, Bin Laden was haunted by Al Qaeda's failures and sought to recast his revolution. He concerned himself with the organization's inabilities to launch a second large-scale attack in the U.S., to capitalize on resentment that fueled the "Arab Spring" and to retain the trust and loyalty of Sunni Arab tribes in western Iraq.

Al Qaeda's experience in Iraq weighed heavily on Bin Laden. He saw how beheadings and indiscriminate bombings that led to scores of Muslim civilian deaths turned the tribes against the group, pushing tribal leaders into an alliance with the U.S. military. He did not want to see this happen again and warned the leader of his affiliate in Yemen to treat tribal leaders carefully.

"Bin Laden appeared to be deeply concerned that affiliates could go too far by killing too many people," said Seth Jones, an expert on Al Qaeda at the Santa Monica-based Rand Corp. think tank and author of "Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of al Qa'ida Since 9/11."

Concerned that a "large portion" of Muslims had lost their trust in Al Qaeda, Bin Laden even floated new names for his organization. He felt that continuing to call the group Al Qaeda "reduces the feeling of Muslims that we belong to them."

Al Qaeda means "the base" and was a name that emerged from the organization's origins in the base camps for fighters in Pakistan training to launch attacks on Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan in the 1980s. Bin Laden pondered ideas for a new name to better embrace the Muslim world, the contenders including: Muslim Unity Group, Islamic National Unification Party or Monotheism and Jihad Group.

Bin Laden continued to order that holy war be waged thousands of miles away, even as he remained within his compound. He could only see the world in shadows, flickering on his television set and computer screen, described to him through letters and Arabic translations of American news reports.

As a result, he developed a sort of talk radio view of U.S. politics. At the same time, he could no longer trust that his commands were being followed, or whether his subordinates still revered him.

"I don't think he had understood that Al Qaeda had long passed him by. I think he thought that by doing what he knew — top down management — he could get it back, but no one was listening," said Jarret Brachman, a consultant to the U.S. government on the leadership of terrorist organizations and the author of "Global Jihadism: Theory and Practice."

Among the plans that never came to fruition was a plot to kill President Obama.

Bin Laden ordered a lieutenant to set up a terrorist team near Bagram air base in Afghanistan that would be ready to blow up the president's plane if he arrived for a surprise visit, as he eventually did on Tuesday, the first anniversary of Bin Laden's death.

Bin Laden wrote in a letter to one of his lieutenants that assassinating Obama would put a "totally unprepared" Vice President Joe Biden in charge of the country, "which will lead the U.S. into a crisis."

Despite a deepening sense that his organization was being fractured by a relentless covert campaign of U.S. drone strikes that killed some of his most trusted aides, Bin Laden's preference for spectacular attacks, as opposed to pin prick strikes, remained strong, as well as his obsession with airplanes.

He also continued to express a need to maintain personal control, demanding that affiliates in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa stop fighting regional battles and help him focus on attacking the West.

Given the American focus on the Horn of Africa, Bin Laden was concerned about militants in Somalia coming under increased U.S. military pressure and economic sanctions if Al Qaeda offered its public support. He told the head of the Yemen affiliate that he shouldn't declare an Islamic state there as long as "the enemy continues to possess the ability to topple any state we establish."

The small selection of letters seems to show a Bin Laden who may have grown apart from his long-time deputy, Egyptian-born surgeon Ayman Zawahiri, and come to rely on the judgment of Libyan-born Atiyah Rahman, who was killed in a predator drone strike in August 2011. In the letters, Rahman and Bin Laden also lament the rash and short sighted leadership shown by a new generation of leaders rising through the ranks.

"It is clear that the documents that paint a negative portrait of Al Qaeda, they [the Obama administration] wanted out," said a former U.S. official familiar with the intelligence haul who spoke under the condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive material.

Seeing a more three-dimensional portrait of Bin Laden would require the release of a more representative batch of the documents, said Bill Roggio, managing editor of the Long War Journal, a website that tracks terrorist groups and is funded by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a right-leaning think tank in Washington.

"I think that nearly all of Osama bin Laden's files should be declassified and released to the public, not just a tiny fraction of them," said Roggio.

Sam Miguel
05-04-2012, 01:59 PM
From the LA Times - - -

By Doyle McManus

We're far enough away from it now that we can probably all agree: It was a mistake for George W. Bushto land on that aircraft carrier in a flight suit to proclaim "Mission Accomplished." And not just because the war in Iraq was far from over at that point.

Every president crows about his successes in war — assuming he has anything to crow about. But he should try to seem modest and statesmanlike while doing so.

President Obama should have reminded himself of that lesson this week as he prepared to fly to Afghanistan to observe the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. The president didn't actually use the words "mission accomplished," but he came pretty close.

Obama and his campaign have managed to turn the anniversary of Bin Laden's death into a weeklong celebration of the president-as-tough-guy. And they're celebrating in a distinctly partisan way, suggesting that Mitt Romney would not have made the same decision.

The impulse is understandable. Ever since Obama took office, the GOP has accused him of being weak. Romney and other Republicans have painted him as a peacenik, as soft on defense, as a leader who makes preemptive concessions to tougher-minded adversaries. And these portrayals have persisted despite Obama's refusal to play the part. Not only did he order the death of Bin Laden, he also approved relentless campaigns of drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen and tripled the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Still, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would have done better not to turn the anniversary of Bin Laden's death into an attack on Romney. It wasn't presidential, and it wasn't even necessary. The president deserved credit for a gutsy decision, but by the time he got to Kabul, his campaign had turned it into another cable television food-fight.

And that micro-debate overshadowed a far more important foreign policy (and campaign) message of Obama's trip to Kabul: The president is keeping his promise to wind down the unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The tide has turned," Obama said in Kabul. "The goal that I set — to defeat Al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild — is within reach." And so, he promised, thousands of troops will come home from Afghanistan this summer and fall — a good-news story that will recur long after the anniversary of Bin Laden's death has faded.

His success in the fight against Al Qaeda even emboldened him to try out a metaphor that hasn't been heard in decades: It's morning in America.

After "a decade under the dark cloud of war … we can see the light of a new day on the horizon," he said. "As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it is time to renew America — an America … where sunlight glistens off soaring new towers in downtown Manhattan."

To a remarkable degree, Obama has won the debate on Afghanistan. There are still Republican critics, led by Sen. John S. McCain (R-Ariz.), who say the troop withdrawals are too fast and warn that the Taliban is simply waiting us out. Their position is reasonable and defensible, but it collides with a public that is sick and tired of the war and its costs. An ABC News-Washington Post poll this month found that 66% of adults say the war has not been worth fighting — and that included 55% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

Indeed, Afghanistan was one issue you didn't hear Mitt Romney talk about this week, perhaps because his positions aren't likely to win many votes beyond his existing base of national security conservatives.

Romney has called for delaying troop withdrawals until at least the end of the year and has said he would stay in Afghanistan as long as it took to "defeat the Taliban." Moreover, Romney has denounced Obama for seeking negotiations with the insurgents, even though the Afghan government (and McCain, for that matter) supports the talks as a way to bring the war to an end.

It's no wonder the Romney camp was bent out of shape this week. Not only did Obama challenge his opponent's manliness; he also kept the nation focused on Afghanistan rather than on the sorry state of the economy, where Romney stands a better chance of scoring points.

Obama has every right to point out the progress he's made in the fight against Al Qaeda and the promises he's kept in Afghanistan and Iraq. And he's got every right to challenge Romney for apparent inconsistencies.

But that's what campaign debates are for. When the president wants to commemorate an act of military valor, he should keep politics out of the mix.

10-24-2012, 11:31 AM
Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists

Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists

By Greg Miller

Wednesday, October 24, 7:08 AM

The Washington Post

This project, based on interviews with dozens of current and former national security officials, intelligence analysts and others, examines evolving U.S. counterterrorism policies and the practice of targeted killing. This is the first of three stories.

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.

Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.

Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.

“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”

That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism. Targeting lists that were regarded as finite emergency measures after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are now fixtures of the national security apparatus. The rosters expand and contract with the pace of drone strikes but never go to zero.

Meanwhile, a significant milestone looms: The number of militants and civilians killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by certain estimates, surpassing the number of people al-Qaeda killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Obama administration has touted its successes against the terrorist network, including the death of Osama bin Laden, as signature achievements that argue for President Obama’s reelection. The administration has taken tentative steps toward greater transparency, formally acknowledging for the first time the United States’ use of armed drones.

Less visible is the extent to which Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war. Spokesmen for the White House, the National Counterterrorism Center, the CIA and other agencies declined to comment on the matrix or other counterterrorism programs.

Privately, officials acknowledge that the development of the matrix is part of a series of moves, in Washington and overseas, to embed counterterrorism tools into U.S. policy for the long haul.

White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is seeking to codify the administration’s approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced.

10-24-2012, 11:33 AM
(^ Continued)

CIA Director David H. Petraeus is pushing for an expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones, U.S. officials said. The proposal, which would need White House approval, reflects the agency’s transformation into a paramilitary force, and makes clear that it does not intend to dismantle its drone program and return to its pre-Sept. 11 focus on gathering intelligence.

The U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, which carried out the raid that killed bin Laden, has moved commando teams into suspected terrorist hotbeds in Africa. A rugged U.S. outpost in Djibouti has been transformed into a launching pad for counterterrorism operations across the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

JSOC also has established a secret targeting center across the Potomac River from Washington, current and former U.S. officials said. The elite command’s targeting cells have traditionally been located near the front lines of its missions, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. But JSOC created a “national capital region” task force that is a 15-minute commute from the White House so it could be more directly involved in deliberations about al-Qaeda lists.

The developments were described by current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

These counterterrorism components have been affixed to a legal foundation for targeted killing that the Obama administration has discussed more openly over the past year. In a series of speeches, administration officials have cited legal bases, including the congressional authorization to use military force granted after the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as the nation’s right to defend itself.

Critics contend that those justifications have become more tenuous as the drone campaign has expanded far beyond the core group of al-Qaeda operatives behind the strikes on New York and Washington. Critics note that the administration still doesn’t confirm the CIA’s involvement or the identities of those who are killed. Certain strikes are now under legal challenge, including the killings last year in Yemen of U.S.-born al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son.

Counterterrorism experts said the reliance on targeted killing is self-perpetuating, yielding undeniable short-term results that may obscure long-term costs.

“The problem with the drone is it’s like your lawn mower,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Obama counterterrorism adviser. “You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.”

An evolving database

The United States now operates multiple drone programs, including acknowledged U.S. military patrols over conflict zones in Afghanistan and Libya, and classified CIA surveillance flights over Iran.

Strikes against al-Qaeda, however, are carried out under secret lethal programs involving the CIA and JSOC. The matrix was developed by the NCTC, under former director Michael Leiter, to augment those organizations’ separate but overlapping kill lists, officials said.

10-24-2012, 11:34 AM
(^ Continued)

The result is a single, continually evolving database in which biographies, locations, known associates and affiliated organizations are all catalogued. So are strategies for taking targets down, including extradition requests, capture operations and drone patrols.

Obama’s decision to shutter the CIA’s secret prisons ended a program that had become a source of international scorn, but it also complicated the pursuit of terrorists. Unless a suspect surfaced in the sights of a drone in Pakistan or Yemen, the United States had to scramble to figure out what to do.

“We had a disposition problem,” said a former U.S. counterterrorism official involved in developing the matrix.

The database is meant to map out contingencies, creating an operational menu that spells out each agency’s role in case a suspect surfaces in an unexpected spot. “If he’s in Saudi Arabia, pick up with the Saudis,” the former official said. “If traveling overseas to al-Shabaab [in Somalia] we can pick him up by ship. If in Yemen, kill or have the Yemenis pick him up.”

Officials declined to disclose the identities of suspects on the matrix. They pointed, however, to the capture last year of alleged al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame off the coast of Yemen. Warsame was held for two months aboard a U.S. ship before being transferred to the custody of the Justice Department and charged in federal court in New York.

“Warsame was a classic case of ‘What are we going to do with him?’ ” the former counterterrorism official said. In such cases, the matrix lays out plans, including which U.S. naval vessels are in the vicinity and which charges the Justice Department should prepare.

“Clearly, there were people in Yemen that we had on the matrix,” as well as others in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the former counterterrorism official said. The matrix was a way to be ready if they moved. “How do we deal with these guys in transit? You weren’t going to fire a drone if they were moving through Turkey or Iran.”

Officials described the matrix as a database in development, although its status is unclear. Some said it has not been implemented because it is too cumbersome. Others, including officials from the White House, Congress and intelligence agencies, described it as a blueprint that could help the United States adapt to al-Qaeda’s morphing structure and its efforts to exploit turmoil across North Africa and the Middle East.

A year after Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta declared the core of al-Qaeda near strategic defeat, officials see an array of emerging threats beyond Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — the three countries where almost all U.S. drone strikes have occurred.

The Arab spring has upended U.S. counterterrorism partnerships in countries including Egypt where U.S. officials fear al-Qaeda could establish new roots. The network’s affiliate in North Africa, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has seized territory in northern Mali and acquired weapons that were smuggled out of Libya.

“Egypt worries me to no end,” a high-ranking administration official said. “Look at Libya, Algeria and Mali and then across the Sahel. You’re talking about such wide expanses of territory, with open borders and military, security and intelligence capabilities that are basically nonexistent.”

10-24-2012, 11:35 AM
(^ Continued)

Streamlining targeted killing

The creation of the matrix and the institutionalization of kill/capture lists reflect a shift that is as psychological as it is strategic.

Before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States recoiled at the idea of targeted killing. The Sept. 11 commission recounted how the Clinton administration had passed on a series of opportunities to target bin Laden in the years before the attacks — before armed drones existed. President Bill Clinton approved a set of cruise-missile strikes in 1998 after al-Qaeda bombed embassies in East Africa, but after extensive deliberation, and the group’s leader escaped harm.

Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it.

This year, the White House scrapped a system in which the Pentagon and the National Security Council had overlapping roles in scrutinizing the names being added to U.S. target lists.

Now the system functions like a funnel, starting with input from half a dozen agencies and narrowing through layers of review until proposed revisions are laid on Brennan’s desk, and subsequently presented to the president.

Video-conference calls that were previously convened by Adm. Mike Mullen, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been discontinued. Officials said Brennan thought the process shouldn’t be run by those who pull the trigger on strikes.

“What changed is rather than the chairman doing that, John chairs the meeting,” said Leiter, the former head of the NCTC.

The administration has also elevated the role of the NCTC, which was conceived as a clearinghouse for threat data and has no operational capability. Under Brennan, who served as its founding director, the center has emerged as a targeting hub.

Other entities have far more resources focused on al-Qaeda. The CIA, JSOC and U.S. Central Command have hundreds of analysts devoted to the terrorist network’s franchise in Yemen, while the NCTC has fewer than two dozen. But the center controls a key function.

“It is the keeper of the criteria,” a former U.S. counterterrorism official said, meaning that it is in charge of culling names from al-Qaeda databases for targeting lists based on criteria dictated by the White House.

The criteria are classified but center on obvious questions: Who are the operational leaders? Who are the key facilitators? A typical White House request will direct the NCTC to generate a list of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen involved in carrying out or plotting attacks against U.S. personnel in Sanaa.

The lists are reviewed at regular three-month intervals during meetings at the NCTC headquarters that involve analysts from other organizations, including the CIA, the State Department and JSOC. Officials stress that these sessions don’t equate to approval for additions to kill lists, an authority that rests exclusively with the White House.

With no objections — and officials said those have been rare — names are submitted to a panel of National Security Council officials that is chaired by Brennan and includes the deputy directors of the CIA and the FBI, as well as top officials from the State Department, the Pentagon and the NCTC.

10-24-2012, 11:37 AM
(^ Continued)

Obama approves the criteria for lists and signs off on drone strikes outside Pakistan, where decisions on when to fire are made by the director of the CIA. But aside from Obama’s presence at “Terror Tuesday” meetings — which generally are devoted to discussing terrorism threats and trends rather than approving targets — the president’s involvement is more indirect.

“The president would never come to a deputies meeting,” a senior administration official said, although participants recalled cases in which Brennan stepped out of the situation room to get Obama’s direction on questions the group couldn’t resolve.

The review process is compressed but not skipped when the CIA or JSOC has compelling intelligence and a narrow window in which to strike, officials said. The approach also applies to the development of criteria for “signature strikes,” which allow the CIA and JSOC to hit targets based on patterns of activity — packing a vehicle with explosives, for example — even when the identities of those who would be killed is unclear.

A model approach

For an administration that is the first to embrace targeted killing on a wide scale, officials seem confident that they have devised an approach that is so bureaucratically, legally and morally sound that future administrations will follow suit.

During Monday’s presidential debate, Republican nominee Mitt Romney made it clear that he would continue the drone campaign. “We can’t kill our way out of this,” he said, but added later that Obama was “right to up the usage” of drone strikes and that he would do the same.

As Obama nears the end of his term, officials said the kill list in Pakistan has slipped to fewer than 10 al-Qaeda targets, down from as many as two dozen. The agency now aims many of its Predator strikes at the Haqqani network, which has been blamed for attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

In Yemen, the number of militants on the list has ranged from 10 to 15, officials said, and is not likely to slip into the single digits anytime soon, even though there have been 36 U.S. airstrikes this year.

The number of targets on the lists isn’t fixed, officials said, but fluctuates based on adjustments to criteria. Officials defended the arrangement even while acknowledging an erosion in the caliber of operatives placed in the drones’ cross hairs.

“Is the person currently Number 4 as good as the Number 4 seven years ago? Probably not,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official involved in the process until earlier this year. “But it doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous.”

In focusing on bureaucratic refinements, the administration has largely avoided confronting more fundamental questions about the lists. Internal doubts about the effectiveness of the drone campaign are almost nonexistent. So are apparent alternatives.

“When you rely on a particular tactic, it starts to become the core of your strategy — you see the puff of smoke, and he’s gone,” said Paul Pillar, a former deputy director of the CIA’s counterterrorism center. “When we institutionalize certain things, including targeted killing, it does cross a threshold that makes it harder to cross back.”

Sam Miguel
12-13-2012, 11:16 AM
The moral choices on interrogations

By David Ignatius, Dec 12, 2012 08:18 PM EST

The Washington Post Thursday, December 13, 4:18 AM

Mark Boal, screenwriter of the new movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” says he wanted to tell a story that conveyed the moral complexities of the hunt to kill Osama bin Laden. The debate already churning around the film shows that he and director Kathryn Bigelow succeeded in that, and much else.

The movie tells the story of the relentless pursuit of bin Laden, seen through a character called “Maya,” who is based on one of the real-life CIA targeters who tracked down the al-Qaeda leader. It was Maya’s good sense to focus on the courier “Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti,” who finally led the targeters to their prey.

But it’s a muted victory. In the haunting last scene of the film, Maya is seen sitting in a C-130 cargo plane at Bagram air base after she has identified bin Laden’s body. One of the crew asks her where she wants to go. She doesn’t know what to answer, and this frames the uncertainty of America itself: What did we accomplish in killing bin Laden? At what cost? Where do we go next?

The debate about the film centers on what role torture played in pinpointing al-Kuwaiti and then bin Laden himself. The film suggests that without “enhanced interrogation techniques” (the Orwellian euphemism), Maya might not have made the match. The movie doesn’t “advocate” torture — which it shows in horrifyingly believable detail — but it does demonstrate how evidence gleaned from it led to bin Laden’s door. Could Maya have gotten there some other way? The film doesn’t speculate.

Some critics contend that the film is wrong because, first, torture is ineffective and, second, bin Laden could have been found through other tactics. But I fear this argument softens the moral dilemma and overlooks part of the factual record. I asked intelligence officials to clarify some of the details, and they responded with information that may help audiences evaluate “Zero Dark Thirty” when it opens Dec. 19.

Let’s start with what Leon Panetta, then CIA director, said last year in a letter to Sen. John McCain, himself a victim of torture and one of its leading critics. Here’s an excerpt from the letter, written a week after the May 2, 2011, bin Laden raid:

“Nearly 10 years of intensive intelligence work led the CIA to conclude that bin Laden was likely hiding at the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. . . . Some of the detainees who provided useful information about the facilitator/courier’s role had been subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. Whether those techniques were the ‘only timely and effective way’ to obtain such information is a matter of debate and cannot be established definitively. What is definitive is that the information was only a part of multiple streams of intelligence that led us to bin Laden.”

So that’s a caution, at the outset: The role of harsh interrogation “cannot be established definitively.”

Let’s look specifically at information about the mysterious al-Kuwaiti. According to the intelligence officials, several dozen detainees provided information about him starting in 2002. Seven of the first eight detainees providing information were actually captives of foreign intelligence services, and the CIA can’t say whether they were tortured. (The eighth was held by the U.S. military.)

The first mention that al-Kuwaiti was a courier for bin Laden came in 2003 from a CIA detainee who was harshly interrogated. Opponents of torture counter that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times, lied about al-Kuwaiti — which, in their view, shows that the practice doesn’t work. But counterterrorism experts argue that the fact Mohammed concealed the courier’s role, even under duress, was actually a red flag, convincing the analysts of the courier’s importance.

Even without the torture-based information, “we still would have focused on [al-Kuwaiti] like a laser,” insists one intelligence official.

“Zero Dark Thirty” describes the analysts’ triumph in persistently following leads about the courier. But intelligence officials say the real breakthrough was obtaining his true name, Ibrahim Said, which was discovered in Kuwait through “old fashioned spy work” — presumably meaning the recruitment of a source with access to al-Qaeda’s network. On that subject, senior officials are mum.

Here’s the bottom line, at least for me: We should oppose torture because it’s wrong, not because it doesn’t work. Perhaps the courier’s trail could have been found through other means; we’ll never know. President Obama was right to ban torture, but the public must understand that this decision carries a potential cost in lost information. That’s what makes it a moral choice.

Sam Miguel
02-12-2013, 11:31 AM
From Esquire online - - -

The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... Is Screwed

For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced and skilled warriors carry on with their lives.

By Phil Bronstein

Phil Bronstein is the former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and currently serves as executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting. This piece was reported in cooperation with CIR.

The man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden sat in a wicker chair in my backyard, wondering how he was going to feed his wife and kids or pay for their medical care.

It was a mild spring day, April 2012, and our small group, including a few of his friends and family, was shielded from the sun by the patchwork shadows of maple trees. But the Shooter was sweating as he talked about his uncertain future, his plans to leave the Navy and SEAL Team 6.

He stood up several times with an apologetic gripe about the heat, leaving a perspiration stain on the seat-back cushion. He paced. I didn't know him well enough then to tell whether a glass of his favorite single malt, Lagavulin, was making him less or more edgy.

We would end up intimately familiar with each other's lives. We'd have dinners, lots of Scotch. He's played with my kids and my dogs and been a hilarious, engaging gentleman around my wife.

In my yard, the Shooter told his story about joining the Navy at nineteen, after a girl broke his heart. To escape, he almost by accident found himself in a Navy recruiter's office. "He asked me what I was going to do with my life. I told him I wanted to be a sniper.

"He said, 'Hey, we have snipers.'

"I said, 'Seriously, dude. You do not have snipers in the Navy.' But he brought me into his office and it was a pretty sweet deal. I signed up on a whim."

"That's the reason Al Qaeda has been decimated," he joked, "because she broke my fucking heart."

I would come to know about the Shooter's hundreds of combat missions, his twelve long-term SEAL-team deployments, his thirty-plus kills of enemy combatants, often eyeball to eyeball. And we would talk for hours about the mission to get bin Laden and about how, over the celebrated corpse in front of them on a tarp in a hangar in Jalalabad, he had given the magazine from his rifle with all but three lethally spent bullets left in it to the female CIA analyst whose dogged intel work and intuition led the fighters into that night.

When I was first around him, as he talked I would always try to imagine the Shooter geared up and a foot away from bin Laden, whose life ended in the next moment with three shots to the center of his forehead. But my mind insisted on rendering the picture like a bad Photoshop job — Mao's head superimposed on the Yangtze, or tourists taking photos with cardboard presidents outside the White House.

Bin Laden was, after all, the man CIA director Leon Panetta called "the most infamous terrorist in our time," who devoured inordinate amounts of our collective cultural imagery for more than a decade. The number-one celebrity of evil. And the man in my backyard blew his lights out.

ST6 in particular is an enterprise requiring extraordinary teamwork, combined with more kinds of support in the field than any other unit in the history of the U.S. military.

Similarly, NASA marshaled thousands of people to put a man on the moon, and history records that Neil Armstrong first set his foot there, not the equally talented Buzz Aldrin.

Enough people connected to the SEALs and the bin Laden mission have confirmed for me that the Shooter was the "number two" behind the raid's point man going up the stairs to bin Laden's third-floor residence, and that he is the one who rolled through the bedroom door solo and confronted the surprisingly tall terrorist pushing his youngest wife, Amal, in front of him through the pitch-black room. The Shooter had to raise his gun higher than he expected.

The point man is the only one besides the Shooter who could verify the kill shots firsthand, and he did just that to another SEAL I spoke with. But even the point man was not in the room then, having tackled two women into the hallway, a crucial and heroic decision given that everyone living in the house was presumed to be wearing a suicide vest.

But a series of confidential conversations, detailed descriptions of mission debriefs, and other evidence make it clear: The Shooter's is the most definitive account of those crucial few seconds, and his account, corroborated by multiple sources, establishes him as the last man to see Osama bin Laden alive. Not in dispute is the fact that others have claimed that they shot bin Laden when he was already dead, and a number of team members apparently did just that.

What is much harder to understand is that a man with hundreds of successful war missions, one of the most decorated combat veterans of our age, who capped his career by terminating bin Laden, has no landing pad in civilian life.

Back in April, he and some of his SEAL Team 6 colleagues had formed the skeleton of a company to help them transition out of the service. In my yard, he showed everyone his business-card mock-ups. There was only a subtle inside joke reference to their team in the company name.

Unlike former SEAL Team 6 member Matt Bissonnette (No Easy Day), they do not rush to write books or step forward publicly, because that violates the code of the "quiet professional." Someone suggested they might sell customized sunglasses and other accessories special operators often invent and use in the field. It strains credulity that for a commando team leader who never got a single one of his men hurt on a mission, sunglasses would be his best option. And it's a simple truth that those who have been most exposed to harrowing danger for the longest time during our recent unending wars now find themselves adrift in civilian life, trying desperately to adjust, often scrambling just to make ends meet.

At the time, the Shooter's uncle had reached out to an executive at Electronic Arts, hoping that the company might need help with video-game scenarios once the Shooter retired. But the uncle cannot mention his nephew's distinguishing feature as the one who put down bin Laden.

Secrecy is a thick blanket over our Special Forces that inelegantly covers them, technically forever. The twenty-three SEALs who flew into Pakistan that night were directed by their command the day they got back stateside about acting and speaking as though it had never happened.

"Right now we are pretty stacked with consultants," the video-game man responded. "Thirty active and recently retired guys" for one game: Medal of Honor Warfighter. In fact, seven active-duty Team 6 SEALs would later be punished for advising EA while still in the Navy and supposedly revealing classified information. (One retired SEAL, a participant in the bin Laden raid, was also involved.)

With the focus and precision he's learned, the Shooter waits and watches for the right way to exit, and adapt. Despite his foggy future, his past is deeply impressive. This is a man who is very pleased about his record of service to his country and has earned the respect of his peers.

"He's taken monumental risks," says the Shooter's dad, struggling to contain the frustration that roughs the edges of his deep pride in his son. "But he's unable to reap any reward."

It's not that there isn't one. The U.S. government put a $25 million bounty on bin Laden that no one is likely to collect. Certainly not the SEALs who went on the mission nor the support and intelligence experts who helped make it all possible. Technology is the key to success in this case more than people, Washington officials have said.

Sam Miguel
02-12-2013, 11:31 AM
^^^ (Cont'd )

The Shooter doesn't care about that. "I'm not religious, but I always felt I was put on the earth to do something specific. After that mission, I knew what it was."

Others also knew, from the commander-in-chief on down. The bin Laden shooting was a staple of presidential-campaign brags. One big-budget movie, several books, and a whole drawerful of documentaries and TV films have fortified the brave images of the Shooter and his ST6 Red Squadron members.

There is commerce attached to the mission, and people are capitalizing. Just not the triggerman. While others collect, he is cautious and careful not to dishonor anyone. His manners come at his own expense.

"No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job," Barack Obama said last Veterans' Day, "or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home."

But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:

Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.

Since Abbottabad, he has trained his children to hide in their bathtub at the first sign of a problem as the safest, most fortified place in their house. His wife is familiar enough with the shotgun on their armoire to use it. She knows to sit on the bed, the weapon's butt braced against the wall, and precisely what angle to shoot out through the bedroom door, if necessary. A knife is also on the dresser should she need a backup.

Then there is the "bolt" bag of clothes, food, and other provisions for the family meant to last them two weeks in hiding.

"Personally," his wife told me recently, "I feel more threatened by a potential retaliatory terror attack on our community than I did eight years ago," when her husband joined ST6.

When the White House identified SEAL Team 6 as those responsible, camera crews swarmed into their Virginia Beach neighborhood, taking shots of the SEALs' homes.

After bin Laden's face appeared on their TV in the days after the killing, the Shooter cautioned his older child not to mention the Al Qaeda leader's name ever again "to anybody. It's a bad name, a curse name." His kid started referring to him instead as "Poopyface." It's a story he told affectionately on that April afternoon visit to my home.

He loves his kids and tears up only when he talks about saying goodbye to them before each and every deployment. "It's so much easier when they're asleep," he says, "and I can just kiss them, wondering if this is the last time." He's thrilled to show video of his oldest in kick-boxing class. And he calls his wife "the perfect mother."

In fact, the couple is officially separated, a common occurrence in ST6. SEAL marriages can be perilous. Husbands and fathers have been mostly away from their families since 9/11. But the Shooter and his wife continue to share a house on very friendly, even loving terms, largely to save money.

"We're actually looking into changing my name," the wife says. "Changing the kids' names, taking my husband's name off the house, paying off our cars. Essentially deleting him from our lives, but for safety reasons. We still love each other."

When the family asked about any kind of government protection should the Shooter's name come out, they were advised that they could go into a witness-protection-like program.

Just as soon as the Department of Defense creates one.

"They [SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee" under an assumed identity. Like Mafia snitches, they would not be able to contact their families or friends. "We'd lose everything."

"These guys have millions of dollars' worth of knowledge and training in their heads," says one of the group at my house, a former SEAL and mentor to the Shooter and others looking to make the transition out of what's officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. "All sorts of executive function skills. That shouldn't go to waste."

The mentor himself took a familiar route — through Blackwater, then to the CIA, in both organizations as a paramilitary operator in Afghanistan.

Private security still seems like the smoothest job path, though many of these guys, including the Shooter, do not want to carry a gun ever again for professional use. The deaths of two contractors in Benghazi, both former SEALs the mentor knew, remind him that the battlefield risks do not go away.

By the time the Shooter visited me that first time in April, I had come to know more of the human face of what's called Tier One Special Operations, in addition to the extraordinary skill and icy resolve. It is a privileged, consuming, and concerning look inside one of the most insular clubs on earth.

And I understood that he would face a world very different from the supportive one President Obama described at Arlington National Cemetery a few months before.

As I watched the Shooter navigate obstacles very different from the ones he faced so expertly in four war zones around the globe, I wondered: Is this how America treats its heroes? The ones President Obama called "the best of the best"? The ones Vice-President Biden called "the finest warriors in the history of the world"?

Sam Miguel
02-15-2013, 11:53 AM
Admiral: SEAL shooter knew he'd lose benefits

Tony Lombardo, Navy Times

8:41p.m. EST February 14, 2013

The chief of Naval Special Warfare Command says the SEAL was counseled on his benefits before he left the service last year.

The "man who killed Osama bin Laden," featured in the March issue of Esquire magazine, knew full-well he was leaving the service short of a retirement and without benefits, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Command says.

The so-called bin Laden "shooter" made world headlines this week after the story asserted that the former SEAL was "screwed" by losing his military health insurance benefits when he left service in September.

But Rear Adm. Sean Pybus said the SEAL in the article knew what he was giving up in leaving service with 16 years, shy of the 20-year retirement mark.

"Concerning recent writing and reporting on 'The Shooter' and his alleged situation, this former SEAL made a deliberate and informed decision to leave the NAVY several years short of Retirement status," Pybus said in a statement. "Months ahead of his separation, he was counseled on status and benefits, and provided with options to continue his career until Retirement eligible. Claims to the contrary in these matters are false."

STORY: Report: Uncertain future for bin Laden shooter

Even so, Pybus adds, "Naval Special Warfare and the Navy are prepared to help this former service member address health or transition issues, as we would with other former members."

Lt. Cmdr. David McKinney, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare Command, would not confirm if the subject of the Esquire article was indeed the SEAL who killed bin Laden.

"The Shooter," as he is referred to in the story, is never identified. According to Esquire, he had 12 long-term deployments and 30-plus kills.

"My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night," he said in the story, referring to his end of service. "I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You're out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your sixteen years."

He told Esquire he has lost some vision and was planning to buy private insurance for $486 a month but will have to pay out of pocket for some chiropractic care.

Stars and Stripes newspaper refuted the SEAL's claim in a report released Monday. All combat veterans, including the SEAL, are eligible for five years of free health care through the Veterans Affairs Department. And no service member who does less than 20 years gets a pension, unless he has to medically retire.

Phil Bronstein, who wrote the Esquire article, told Stars and Stripes the SEAL was unaware of the VA benefits at the time of the interview.

Esquire later revised its story, adding a correction that reads, "A previous version of this story misstated the extent of the five-year health care benefits offered to cover veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since the article, the ex-SEAL has visited with lawmakers to discuss veterans benefits.

His meetings included a sit-down with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who chairs the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Sanders was interested in gaining perspective on how long it takes the VA to process disability claims, said Michael Briggs, the senator's press spokesman.

Associates of the former SEAL set up the meeting, Briggs said. He declined to say whether the SEAL revealed his true identity.

02-27-2013, 03:37 PM
The Doctor, the CIA, and the Blood of Bin Laden

The killing of public enemy number one has become a legend, a political talking point, and this month a movie. But the question remains: How, after a decade on the run, did U.S. intelligence agents track him down? And who helped them? MATTHIEU AIKINS travels to Pakistan to investigate how one mysterious man led us right to Bin Laden's doorstep

By Matthieu Aikins

The locals had two names for it: the Big House and Waziristan House. Big House because of its unusual size, three stories tall in this one- or two-story suburb of Abbottabad, Pakistan. The second name was a kind of inside joke: Waziristan is a notoriously violent and remote area in the country's tribal regions, where the house's seldom-seen occupants had supposedly come from. Rumor had it they had settled in Abbottabad after fleeing a family vendetta.

The house belonged to two brothers, Arshad and Tariq Khan, who lived with their wives and kids, as well as a mysterious uncle who was said to be ill. They were a reclusive clan, which, it was true, wasn't all that unusual for conservative Pashtuns from the tribal areas. No one was invited inside the house's thirteen-foot walls, and apart from the kids, the family rarely ventured outside. But since building the place in 2005, they had never caused anyone any trouble, and the locals didn't ask too many questions. Better to live and let live in Pakistan these days.

Then, on April 21, 2011, a gray jeep pulled into town and parked in front of a property dealer's shack a short distance from the Big House. It was an official vehicle, with the logo of the provincial health department painted on the door, and from the passenger side stepped a doctor, here on business from the province's capital, Peshawar. In his collared shirt and pressed trousers, the doctor stood out among the wheat fields and dirt paths of this semi-rural suburb: a handsome, imposing man with a thick head of black hair, his filled-out frame a point of pride in a country where stunted growth can be a mark of the lower classes. Leaving his driver behind, the doctor set off along a narrow gravel-strewn path, beside fields thick with grass and dusky cauliflower leaves, his gaze focused intently on the house ahead.

Waiting for him outside the compound's forest-green metal gate were two nurses, Bakhto and Amna, their shawls drawn across their foreheads. All day, as part of a hepatitis B vaccination team that the doctor had assembled, the nurses had been canvassing the area, knocking on doors and looking for women ages 15 to 45 to cajole into taking the needle. First a drop of blood would be drawn from the patient and blotted on a rapid-test strip, which would show, within minutes, whether the patient had been infected with hepatitis. If the patient was negative, the nurses were instructed to administer the vaccination.

Normally a jovial man, the doctor seemed tense at the gate. Amna wondered why he was so interested in this house in particular, the only one whose vaccination he had bothered to personally supervise. She watched as he rapped sharply on the metal door. They waited. Again he knocked, but there seemed to be no one home. Amna shrugged. Did it really matter if they missed this one house? Undeterred, the doctor strode across the street to a low brick compound and roused a neighbor, whose son, as luck would have it, did the occasional odd job for the Big House. The man had the cell number of one of the Khan brothers. The doctor dialed it and handed his phone to one of the nurses, but when the brother answered and said the family was away on a trip, the doctor took the phone back from her.

"Hello?" he said. "This is Dr. Shakil Afridi." The doctor urgently explained the need for the hepatitis test. It was crucial that it happen soon. The vaccine, he said, would be very good for them.


As the doctor made his rounds in Abbottabad, back in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama and a small circle of senior advisers were fixated on a single question: Was Osama bin Laden concealed inside that three-story house? For months, in planning a raid on the compound, the CIA and the military had conducted intensive surveillance without coming to a definitive answer. President Obama himself put the odds of finding Bin Laden there at "fifty-fifty." Such an extraordinarily risky mission—sending a team of commandos deep inside Pakistan without Pakistani consent—could only be justified with a once-in-a-decade chance of getting the world's most wanted terrorist. The White House, desperate for information, had tasked the CIA with coming up with new and inventive solutions for getting inside the compound. One of them was Dr. Afridi.

We know what happened next: On May 1, two American stealth helicopters swooped from the sky and landed in Abbottabad, unloading a team of Navy Seals who shot dead Osama bin Laden. But even as the Abbottabad mission played out in front of the whole world, the mystery of the doctor's true identity and his role in the operation persisted. Though U.S. government officials have given extensive interviews about their military preparations for the raid, they have been cagey about the network of Pakistani "assets"—locals on the CIA payroll—who helped them track down Bin Laden. They have refused to say what exactly Afridi did to help the mission, even as they praise him for playing a key role. "This was an individual who in fact helped provide intelligence that was very helpful with regards to this operation," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. "He was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan. He was not in any way doing anything that would have undermined Pakistan."

Pakistan's military and its main intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), saw things differently. After the ISI discovered that Afridi had visited Bin Laden's house just before the raid, its agents arrested him as he was driving home in Peshawar on May 23, and as they say in Pakistan, "he was disappeared." Afridi was taken to a secret prison, leaving unanswered the question of what exactly happened that day in Abbottabad.

When I arrived in the border city of Peshawar this summer to learn more about Afridi, the doctor's grim fate had come to symbolize the ongoing animosity between America and its ostensible ally. Peshawar—dusty, crowded, its avenues lined with mirrored-glass shopping complexes and crumbling old office buildings—sits on the outskirts of Pakistan's tribal areas, where the CIA is waging a drone-warfare campaign against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Pakistan's military has long grown fed up with the drone attacks and various other "unilateral missions," in which the CIA operates without its knowledge and consent. Military officials believe the CIA is bribing a vast network of local informants inside the country, not only to hunt Al Qaeda and the Taliban but also to spy on Pakistan's nuclear weapons, which some U.S. officials worry could one day fall into the wrong hands. Afridi—and the mission to kill Bin Laden—was a realization of the ISI's greatest fears.

02-27-2013, 03:42 PM
^ Continued

The Americans, meanwhile, believe Pakistan's military maintains links to militant groups like the Haqqani network—a powerful insurgent group fighting the United States and NATO in Afghanistan—in order to further its influence in the region. The mistrust had taken hold outside the gates of the U.S. consulate, where I saw Pakistani police standing guard, dressed in black-and-khaki uniforms and carrying assault rifles. According to journalists and officials I spoke to, anyone leaving the compound was likely to be tailed by plainclothes Pakistani intelligence agents, who suspected the consulate of being a hotbed of spies; what else would they be doing in a city like Peshawar? "The consulate has a lot of suspicious types with bulging biceps, wearing Oakleys," one ISI official told me. "It's just like Berlin at the height of the Cold War. Every agency worth their name has people here."

In the wake of the Bin Laden mission, Pakistan's government has become increasingly intent on squeezing out those foreign assets. "We found they were conducting unilateral operations from inside Afghanistan, not just on Osama bin Laden but on so many other issues," the intelligence official told me. "We've been restricting access to certain people, tailing them, monitoring them."


The spy games have created an atmosphere of extreme paranoia in Peshawar. Not surprisingly, mentioning Afridi's name tended to bring an abrupt end to conversation. Almost everyone who knew the doctor well had been questioned—and some arrested—since the incident, and no one was eager to admit any association with the man. More than once, when asked about Afridi, my interview subjects would in turn ask my fixer, in Pashto, whether I was really a journalist. And the thing was, I had to admit that I was acting a little like a spy. It was necessary, for safety's sake. On my way to meet Afridi's friends and former colleagues, I would disguise myself in traditional clothing—a long, flowing shirt and baggy pantaloons. I'd have guarded, oblique conversations on the phone and arrange meetings in secluded environments where I could see if I was being followed—and indeed I was, stopped by the ISI twice.

The paranoia got to my first fixer in a matter of days. After meeting someone who spoke too frankly about Afridi and the ISI, he sighed and said: "He will be killed." Shortly after, he quit, but not before offering me his advice: "You cannot distinguish truth from lie here." This was useful counsel. Afridi's story was wrapped in a protective layer of lies and half-truths, filtered through the multifarious interpretations of lawyers, spies, and politicians, at the center of which lay the lonely figure and his secret relationship with the CIA. No one had yet managed to discover what Afridi had accomplished that day at the Big House. Did he get what he was after? How did he become involved with the CIA in the first place? And what would lead a doctor to accept such a mission? Why would he risk so much, including his freedom, to get involved in the hunt for Bin Laden? To find the answers, I had to start at the beginning.


According to Afridi lore, the doctor wasn't the first world-famous hero—or traitor—in the family tree. In 1915 his grandfather Mir Dast won the Victoria Cross while fighting in the trenches of Ypres, Belgium, during the First World War. (Dast was one of a million Indians who fought alongside the Allied forces against Germany.) King George V himself presented him with the British army's highest honor. Meanwhile, in a historic act of betrayal that very year, Afridi's great-uncle Mir Mast led the only recorded mass defection from British to German lines.

After the war, Mir Dast settled his family in the Pakistani tribal lands, at a place now known as Afridiabad. This July, I drove south from Peshawar deep into the Punjab Province, where the summers are famous for temperatures that reach 115 degrees at midday. It was cotton season, and motoring down Pakistan's pocked highways, we passed tractors pulling carts piled twenty feet high with canvas-wrapped bales. Men moved slowly in the heat, and goats and donkeys clustered by wooden troughs.

In Afridiabad, Shakil Afridi's elder brother, Jamil, waited for us outside his home. He bore a striking resemblance to the doctor; they had the same broad frame, same thicket of dark hair swept back, same straight brow, same cropped push-broom mustache. Jamil's features were coarser, though, his nose slightly bulbous, and when he embraced me I was pressed against his protruding gut. "I hope it's not too hot for you," he said.

Jamil led me inside and sent for some mangoes. When his brother was arrested, the Afridi family was thrust into the media frenzy around Bin Laden's killing. Shakil's wife, a school principal named Imrana, had taken their three kids and left Peshawar to hide with her parents. Jamil's friends had advised him to do the same, but he had insisted on speaking out publicly, giving press conferences in which he defended his brother as innocent and pleaded for America to help him. His phone had been tapped, he said, and he was constantly followed by government agents. Eventually, Jamil decided Peshawar was too dangerous for him, and he had come back to the place where he and Shakil had grown up.

Jamil remembered a happy childhood in Afridiabad, filled with the simple pleasures of country life. His family, however, wasn't like the others in the village. His mother was a strict disciplinarian who saw their lineage—the descendants of one of the town's founding fathers—as above that of the neighbors. "They consider us British here," Jamil told me in his broken English. "They don't like us."

02-27-2013, 03:44 PM
^ Continued

The Afridis' sense of apartness grew acute when relatives visited from abroad—especially their uncle, a dashing former air-force officer who had immigrated to Dallas and often brought gifts, including the village's very first electric refrigerator. Once, when the uncle had seen Jamil and his brother return barefoot from playing in the street, he had grown angry with his sister for failing to keep them from mingling with the villagers. "Why should you compare them to village boys?" he said. "You should compare them to my sons."

The rest of Mrs. Afridi's siblings—all six of them—had gone off to successful careers around Pakistan and abroad, but she had been blinded by illness at a young age and married a relatively humble police sergeant in Afridiabad. Growing up, Jamil says, he was a lot like his father, a bit of a loafer who loved nothing more than to hang around with a small herd of goats. But Shakil had inherited his mother's drive; she had taught herself to cook and sew and keep the household accounts. "He wasn't interested in goats," Jamil recalled. "He would take our sister's dolls and inject them with syringes or do operations on them. He wanted to be a doctor."

After high school, Afridi earned a spot at Khyber Medical College, Peshawar's premier medical school, where he was introduced to the woman who would become his wife. But away from home for the first time, Afridi also discovered the pleasures of the big city, temptations that upended his small-town mores. At the student hostel, he became known as a drinker and womanizer, a reputation that stuck with him beyond school. "He liked the ‘taxi girls,' " said Abdul Karim Mehsud, a lawyer in Peshawar, using a local term for prostitutes. "I saw many going into his room, down the hall from mine." He smirked in recollection. "Fresh Afghan-Persian girls, from the refugee camps."

Upon graduation, Afridi secured a position with the provincial health department, working in government-run clinics and hospitals in the volatile tribal areas. He was posted to Khyber Agency, a district just outside Peshawar that sat astride the main trade route between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was a lawless area rife with smugglers, spies, and militants—chaos that held opportunity for the enterprising doctor.

Those who worked with Afridi remember a gregarious but elusive man, a swaggering joker who loved to sit and hold court but who rarely formed close bonds. He advanced through the ranks in Khyber Agency and—despite being briefly suspended for sexual harassment—ultimately became one of the senior medical officers. Still, the salary of a government doctor in Pakistan was meager—$500 to $600 per month. So Afridi went into business on his own. Along with a partner, a doctor named Nusrat Shah, he opened a small private clinic in Khyber called Al Noor Hospital, really just a one-room shop partitioned by a green curtain, with a wooden desk on one side and an operating table on the other. And though not trained as a surgeon, he taught himself to perform a wide range of operations using a general anesthetic. "It was a pretty good hospital for the area," one pharmaceutical salesman (who preferred not to be named) told me. "They were lucky to have a doctor as qualified as him."


Afridi's hospital doubled as a prescription-drug clearinghouse. The sales rep told me that he would go see Afridi whenever he was short his monthly quota and the doctor would buy up the shortfall—demanding a kickback on his commission. The rep would show up with gifts—fans, calculators, cell phones—that Afridi dismissed with a wave of his hand. Forget all these things, he'd say. Talk to me about money. "His mission was to make money," the rep said. "I don't know how he sold all that medicine off—most probably across the border, in Afghanistan."

Afridi had a caustic sense of humor about the desperation of his milieu. "Look at these monkeys," he once said to the salesman, indicating his bearded and turbaned patients. "And I'm the big monkey." There were persistent accusations that the self-trained Afridi performed unnecessary operations in order to make money and that his patients sometimes suffered grievously as a result. His lawyers and family rejected the allegations as professional jealousy. But in Peshawar, I spoke to Ahmed Saeed, a student living in Bara, who told me that in 2007 he took his father to see Afridi after his father complained of chest and abdominal pains. Saeed left to buy some medicine next door, and when he came back he found that his father and Afridi had disappeared. "They went to his clinic," one of the nurses told him. When Saeed finally arrived at Afridi's private practice, he found his father unconscious. "I operated on his kidney," the doctor told him. Afridi charged them about $200. After the surgery, his father's condition worsened, and Saeed took him to a government hospital in Peshawar. The doctors there diagnosed his problem as a heart condition and, according to Saeed, said his kidneys had been damaged in a sloppy and unnecessary operation. Less than a month after being operated on by Afridi, Saeed's father died at home. His family blamed the doctor. "He was a cheater, and he betrayed his profession," Saeed said.

At his home in Afridiabad, Jamil brushed aside such stories. Shakil was a good man, he said, who took care of his family. He bought a house in Hayatabad, a suburb of Peshawar, for his wife and kids and gave money to support Jamil and his family. At the end of our discussion, I asked Jamil if he thought his brother had really played a key role in the CIA's mission to find Bin Laden. "I don't think that he knew what he was doing," he replied. "But even if he did, he did a very good thing."


When did Afridi start working for the CIA? On one of my visits to Peshawar, I obtained copies of a sealed court record that contained documents from the prosecution of his case. One is a long narrative of Afridi's recruitment by the agency, supposedly based on his interrogation by the ISI. It's hard to know what to make of it. The document, which is strangely specific in some places and conspicuously vague in others, can't be taken at face value. It's marred by an inconsistent time line and several demonstrably false statements. Yet its overall gist has been confirmed by U.S. officials, and it offers a window into Afridi's recruitment and handling by CIA agents working undercover in the capital city of Islamabad.

According to the document, the doctor was first recruited in 2008 after attending a workshop for medical professionals in Peshawar, hosted by Save the Children, an international NGO that carries out extensive humanitarian operations in Pakistan. There, the report says, he met with Michael McGrath, then Save the Children's country director. (McGrath, who left Pakistan in August 2009, told me that while he did meet Afridi at a training session, he denies any further contact and any relationship between the CIA and Save the Children.) McGrath, the report says, asked Afridi if he was the same doctor who was recently kidnapped by Mangal Bagh, a local warlord who headed a militant group called Lashkar-e-Islam. Afridi answered that yes, indeed, back in April he had been taken from his hospital and held for the equivalent of around $10,000, a big sum for his family. The incident had made local headlines. Afridi's wife had to sell her jewelry and borrow money from relatives in order to pay the militants.

02-27-2013, 03:45 PM
^ Continued

After Afridi recounted his misfortune, the report says, McGrath asked if he could meet with him alone at Saeed Book Bank in Islamabad on Saturday morning. A week later, at half past seven on the dot, McGrath drove into the capital's busy market and picked up Afridi in front of the bank's red-and-white storefront. Passing a carpet shop and a bank on the commercial strip, they entered a tree-lined residential area and stopped at a house nearby, where Afridi was introduced to "Kate," described as a blue-eyed, blond-haired woman in her late thirties. Over dinner, Kate and Afridi talked about his abduction, his family, and the political situation in Khyber Agency, where militants had taken over several main towns. About an hour and a half later, Afridi was dropped off at a gas station down the road.

According to the documents, Kate was the first of four CIA handlers to work with Afridi, followed by "Toni," "Sara," and "Sue." Each of them was female—perhaps the CIA knew the doctor's reputation—and each worked with the doctor for less than a year. Afridi would meet them at gas stations or taxi stands, and then, after driving a short distance to a secluded spot, he would get in the back of his handler's SUV and hide underneath a blanket. They would then drive for about fifteen or twenty minutes before arriving at a lot with several shipping containers converted to offices (almost certainly, though the report omits it, on the premises of the U.S. embassy). Eventually, Afridi was given his mission: to create and administer a vaccination program focusing on a specific suburb of Abbottabad. Due to the extreme secrecy of the mission, it's all but certain that Afridi was never told the identity of his target. The report does not mention what, if any, other assignments Afridi was given, but it does say that he received a device capable of communicating by satellite with his handlers—and that the CIA paid him about $55,000 to conduct the vaccination campaign. That's more than five times his ransom and about nine times his official annual salary.

"Shakil Afridi is part of a big game," Qamar Nadeem said, as we strode through the marble hallways of Peshawar's High Court. Nadeem was a key player on Afridi's defense team; when I met him at the High Court, he was wearing the traditional uniform of a Peshawar lawyer, astarched white shalwar kameez with a charcoal suit vest. He led me into the bar room, where litigators in white robes lounged under low ceiling fans that stirred the torpid summer air. Nadeem peered at me through his pair of rimless rectangular glasses. As he saw it, Afridi was a pawn in the struggle between the United States and Pakistan. At stake was the future of CIA operations against Al Qaeda and billions of U.S. dollars in aid to the Pakistani military. "In America, there is a show called The Six Million Dollar Man," he said. "Dr. Shakil is the hundred-million-dollar man."

After his arrest in late May 2011, Afridi had disappeared into ISI custody. He would later claim he was blindfolded and chained in an underground prison in Islamabad, tortured with electric shocks and cigarette burns (charges the military denies), and interrogated extensively about his collaboration with the CIA. A year later, having had almost no contact with his family, Afridi was handed back to the civilian authorities to stand trial. To his legal team's surprise, they found that Afridi had been charged not with treason for his work with the CIA but rather, under a draconian colonial-era tribal code, with supplying Lashkar-e-Islam—the same militant group that had kidnapped and ransomed him—with money and medical treatment for its fighters. The tribal code provided no right of representation or trial by jury, and that same month, during secret proceedings that neither he nor his lawyers were allowed to attend, Afridi was sentenced to thirty-three years in prison.

Like most observers of the case, Nadeem believed the terrorism charges were just a way for the government to handle Afridi as quietly as possible, behind the closed doors of the tribal system, without the messy task of proving the treason charges—as it would have to do in the ordinary courts, where lawyers could demand to see the evidence and, more dangerously, pose the question of whether it had indeed been so traitorous to support the U.S. in its search for Bin Laden, especially when the villain had been sitting under the nose of the Pakistani government in Abbottabad. "There is no charge in the Pakistani criminal code for taking money from a foreign government," said Nadeem. "The charge is for waging war against the state. Will Pakistan say that the U.S. is their enemy?"

Pakistani officials—who were frank in private that Afridi was being punished for his association with the CIA—were adamant that Afridi was a traitor and his actions criminal. "The American concern about Afridi, where they're projecting their own patriotism about getting Bin Laden onto him, is nonsense," one ISI officer in Islamabad told me. "He was in it for money."

Now Nadeem and a group of lawyers from the tribal areas are appealing Afridi's sentence. But the appeal process kept getting postponed by the government, and in the meantime, Afridi languished in prison. During one of my visits to the High Court, Nadeem brought me upstairs to an outdoor stone-tile-lined hallway and asked me to peer over its high wall. Looking out into the sunlight, I could see, adjacent to the court building, an extensive compound with windowless whitewashed one-story buildings, shaded by trees and surrounded by a double wall topped with razor wire.

"That is Peshawar Central Prison," he told me. "Dr. Afridi is there."

I managed to get a copy of a letter written by Afridi from his prison cell. In his crabbed doctor's handwriting, he claims to have been tortured into false confessions by the ISI. "I received death threats, I have been tortured, and my body has suffered serious violence," he writes. He goes on to issue a terse, blanket denial of his collaboration with the CIA handlers, saying, "All of this is an untrue story fabricated by the ISI, and they have been telling it to me for the last year."

Nadeem squinted through his spectacles off into space, as if he were trying to peer through the web of lies and conspiracy that surrounded his client's case. He sighed and turned to me. "Do you think that the American government cares about Dr. Shakil?" he asked. I thought about it for a moment and then told him that the CIA probably wasn't being very sentimental about it. A few politicians had taken up the case individually. Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky, was making a lot of noise, and Congress was genuinely upset with Pakistan these days. In May, it proposed docking $33 million, one for each year of Afridi's sentence, from U.S. aid to Pakistan, and Paul had been trying to compel a vote to freeze all aid to Pakistan. "America should not give foreign aid to a country whose government is torturing the man who helped us kill Osama bin Laden," he said in a statement.

02-27-2013, 03:47 PM
^ Continued

Nadeem nodded. "Yes, I know about Mr. Paul. He is the vice presidential candidate. If he wins, it will be very good for Dr. Afridi." No, I said. That is Paul Ryan, the congressman from Wisconsin. Nadeem smiled and shook his head, muttering something about the complexity of American politics. I could tell he was disappointed.


There is one thing that the U.S. and the ISI agree on: Afridi was a critical component in the Bin Laden raid. Panetta had said that he provided "very helpful" intelligence, and this summer Hillary Clinton said that "his help, after all, was instrumental in taking down one of the world's most notorious murderers." The ISI documents put it thusly: "In May 2011, in the incident of Osama bin Laden, he played a fundamental role as a result of which Pakistan was humiliated in front of the whole world."

After a year in a secret prison, Afridi was transferred to Peshawar's Central Prison. Yet no one has been able to determine what exactly he accomplished. U.S. officials, as well as Afridi himself, have consistently claimed that he was never actually able to get inside the Big House to vaccinate a member of the Bin Laden clan. But this is to be expected. Since the raid, U.S. officials have repeatedly tried to control the public narrative and cover the tracks of their assets in Pakistan. On May 9—two weeks before Afridi was detained by the ISI—White House spokesperson Jay Carney said that as far as he was aware, no one was eligible for the $25 million reward offered for information leading to Bin Laden, because there was no one helping on the ground. One of the earliest comprehensive reports on how the CIA tracked Bin Laden, by ABC's Matthew Cole on May 19, cites "senior U.S. officials" who claim that the whole thing was done through electronic eavesdropping and that no human assets were involved: "[A] single errant phone call, snapped up in a web
of electronic surveillance, had led them to Abbottabad."

Now we know that Afridi was one of several Pakistani assets assisting the operation from the ground, including a local who found the Bin Laden house by tailing an Al Qaeda courier there. While I was in Pakistan, I was introduced to a journalist—I'll call him Nader—who lived in Abbottabad. Nader promised that if I came to his hometown, he would prove that Afridi had actually collected DNA evidence from the Bin Laden house. And so I drove, as Afridi did, from Peshawar toward the verdant foothills of the Himalayas, where the city of about half a million lies at the start of the famous Karakoram Highway, which crosses over some of the highest passes in the world into China. It's part of the belt of military towns in northern Pakistan that are full of bases, training academies, ammunition factories, and retirement colonies for officers—sort of like certain stretches of Virginia near D.C.

Arriving in Abbottabad, I met with Amna and Bakhto, the two nurses who had been part of the twenty-two-member vaccination team and who had gone with Afridi to Bin Laden's house. After the raid, the whole team had been arrested, interrogated, and then fired, and the women had to be coaxed by Nader into meeting me in the murky light of his unfinished office.

From the outset, they were wary and defensive, and my greeting set loose an impassioned defense of their innocence in the whole affair, followed by a heartrending description of their unjust dismissal and subsequent impoverishment. (The women were the only Pakistanis I found, besides Afridi himself, who had been punished for the Bin Laden imbroglio.) They became taciturn as I tried to pry the specifics of what had happened at the Big House. When pressed for details, elderly Amna, hunched forward in her flecked cotton cloak, retreated into guttural arias about her age and misfortune.

For her part, Bakhto says she first met Afridi on March 16, about a month before the vaccination campaign reached the Bin Laden house. She had been late to a planning session at the local health clinic and arrived flustered, but Afridi, who was holding forth confidently in front of a roomful of female health workers, smiled at her and waved for her to sit down. The campaign, he announced, would take place in several neighborhoods in the suburbs of Abbottabad. Calling his driver over, he pricked him with a needle to demonstrate how the testing strip worked: One bar meant negative and two bars meant positive. After the campaign, all materials, including the used strips, were to be returned to him. He handed out promotional items, including flyers with his grinning face plastered on them.

On April 21, after the vaccination campaign had started, Afridi called Amna and Bakhto to meet at the Big House. When no one had answered the doctor's knock on the gate, Afridi stalked across the street to find the neighbor's son and got the cell-phone number for the house's owner. What happened next is unclear. Nader, the local journalist, told me that when he had first interviewed Amna and Bakhto immediately after they were released in the initial days of the investigation, they said that they had indeed gotten into the house and successfully collected blood samples from a young woman who may have been the age of Bin Laden's daughter Maryam. Contact with the house's residents wasn't unheard of: Bakhto herself had vaccinated seven children for polio there the year before, when one of the brothers brought them to the gate to receive the oral vaccine. Why wouldn't he do it again, this time for a hepatitis shot?

But by the time I got to them, the women's stories had calcified into self-protective denial. Amna said that they had never gone inside and that although the vaccination campaign continued for another day, she never returned to the house, even though Afridi had asked her to. She said she couldn't, claiming that her leg was aching. The nurses said Afridi returned to Abbottabad on April 27, this time driving his personal vehicle, to collect the vaccination records and materials from a social worker. According to the ISI's investigation document, that same day Afridi drove with his driver and the social worker to Islamabad. After dropping them off, he met with his CIA handler "Sue" and gave her the used vaccination kits and records, and she paid him for the job.

With this information, the doctor's potential importance comes into sharper focus. We know that Afridi's attempt to get DNA from the Bin Laden house came at a crucial point in the preparations for the U.S. mission. According to journalist Peter Bergen's book-length account, Manhunt, the CIA had tracked an Al Qaeda courier—the brother of the man Afridi spoke to on the telephone—to the three-story compound and had been monitoring it from a safe house in the neighborhood since early fall 2010 without being able to confirm that Bin Laden was actually there. The White House agonized over authorizing the mission without hard proof. At a final meeting about the mission on April 28, Obama gave it just "fifty-fifty" odds. Vice President Joe Biden advised against going ahead.

02-27-2013, 03:50 PM
^ Continued

The day before Obama and his team met, if Nader and the court documents are to be believed, Afridi had delivered the used vaccination kits to the CIA in Islamabad. Rapid DNA testing takes at least a day, once the samples were out of Pakistan, and so the results would have arrived, at the earliest, on the president's desk the very evening before he made his final decision. On the morning of April 29, the president made up his mind and ordered the mission to go ahead.


The Big House no longer looms above the neighborhood outside Abbottabad; the military razed the compound last spring, and in its place lies an empty field. But its presence lingers indelibly on the quiet streets, where residents stop and eye strange cars warily. In the center of the plot, where the living room might have been, a busted water line burbles freely out into the grass, and women from the poorer houses come in their colorful robes to collect clean water from what was once Bin Laden's personal supply.

As Nader and I neared the site, we saw a black late-model Toyota Hilux with an extended cab idling by the road. I noticed Nader tense as we cruised past it. We drove around the corner, parked on a side street, and then walked down the same path Afridi had used to approach Bakhto and Amna as they waited, over a year before, at the door of Bin Laden's house.

There wasn't much to see anymore. The government was still trying to decide what to do with the land—perhaps build a school there. The triangular outline of the lot and the house's floor plan could be made out in the short concrete stubs of foundation that remained. You can walk onto it, as if onto a giant architectural blueprint, and stand in, or under, rather, the exact place where they shot Bin Laden after he peered out of his bedroom into the darkness of the hallway. Touring the house's footprint, you get the unreal sensation of passing freely through a space that had taken so many years and billions and lives to breach.

As I retraced the doctor's steps, I thought of the mysteries hiding in plain sight around us. Whatever Afridi's true relationship with the CIA, he could hardly have known the identity of his quarry that day. And he didn't seem to understand the serious business he had found himself in—his grinning photos on the vaccination brochures betray not a hint of worry. But now, caught up by his own imprudence and avarice, the doctor would surely rot in prison, yet another life ground in the gears of the vast machine of the war on terror, a pawn in the impenetrable spy games between the United States and Pakistan.

The rumble of tires on gravel sounded behind us, and Nader and I turned to see the black Hilux coming slowly down the road. It rolled to a stop beside us, and the doors opened. From the rear passenger side closest to me, a cherubic young man with a neat goatee and round spectacles popped out and came forward, smiling amicably. Three considerably larger, clean-shaven men then emerged. They were not smiling. "Hello," the little man with round spectacles said, and we shook hands, beaming at each other like old friends. He had the air of a young academic and introduced himself as an officer from the Intelligence Bureau. "Welcome to Abbottabad," he said. He didn't bother to ask for any identification. I noticed that Nader was looking past him at the three broad-shouldered men, who were returning his gaze intently. The intelligence officer and I continued to exchange pleasantries.

"So have you found anything interesting?" he asked. I wasn't certain if he was mocking me, but I grinned and shrugged, raising my palms in the universal gesture of helpless confusion. The hard-faced men stared back at me. "Well," the man continued, smiling, "let me know if you learn anything." With that, they got back in the truck and drove off.

Standing silently on the path, Nader and I watched them disappear around the corner. After a moment, we turned and walked toward our own car. Behind us, there was just an empty lot, as if nothing had been there at all.

Matthieu Aikins is a freelance writer based in Kabul.