Not even as a joke. To the best of our knowledge, Osama was killed by a group of US Navy Seals during a raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. He was buried at the North Arabian sea from on board the USS Carl Vinson, a supercarrier which visited Manila on May 14-15, 2011, and which President B. S. Aquino 3rd and key Cabinet members boarded and toured before it entered Manila Bay.
Now, four years later, comes a 10,356-word investigative report by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh of The New York Times saying, on the basis of corroborating interviews with authoritative official and other sources, that except for the fact that US President Barack Obama had ordered the strike at Abbottabad, and that the Navy Seals had killed Osama, everything else that has been said about the killing was a lie—a hoax.
Hersh was the journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968, which helped turn the tide of American public opinion against the US military involvement in Vietnam. His credentials are beyond reproach. The White House has rejected his report, but he has stood by it. Between his word and that of the White House, one must take that of the journalist. He has no reason to lie, whereas the White House has more than enough reasons to do so. As Hersh himself observes, the killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his reelection; it was meant to burnish his image.
First hoax: The operation was an “all-American affair, and the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told in advance.”
President B. S. Aquino 3rd used this line to cut out the secretary of the interior and the chief of the Philippine National Police from the PNP chain-of-command during the ill-starred Operation Exodus against some high-value targets in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which resulted in the massacre of 44 Special Action Force police commandos. He said that not even the Pakistanis were informed about the US operation against Osama at Abbottabad.
The truth, according to Hersh: Osama had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbotabad compound since 2006. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI, knew of the raid in advance, and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms. They had to make sure that Pakistan’s army and air defense command would not track or engage with the US helicopters used on the mission. They were assured that their participation in the mission would never be made public, and enormous effort was exerted on both sides to make it appear that Pakistan did not know of the Seals’ mission.
Why was this? Pasha explained it to CIA Director Leon Panetta at CIA headquarters in April. “We needed a hostage to keep tabs on al-Qaida and the Taliban. The ISI was using bin Laden as leverage against Taliban and al-Qaida activities inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. They let the Taliban and al-Qaida leadership know that if they ran operations that clashed with the interests of the ISI, they would turn bin Laden over to us. So if it became known that the Pakistanis had worked with us to get bin Laden at Abbottabad, there would be hell to pay.”
Second hoax: The CIA learned of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking a network of
couriers handling his continuing flow of operational orders to the al-Qaida. A team of specially assembled CIA and NSA operatives had traced the courier known to be close to bin Laden to a highly secure million-dollar compound in Abbottabad. After months of observation, the American intelligence community had “high confidence” that a high-value target was living in the compound, and it was “assessed that there was a strong possibility that it was Osama bin Laden.”
The truth, according to Hersh: At this point, bin Laden was already under detention by the ISI. So the story about a courier network was pure junk. The information about his whereabouts was supplied in August 2010 directly by a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer, in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US in 2001. He approached the CIA station chief in Islamabad, Anthony Bank, who dealt with him, as with all walk-ins, with an abundance of caution. Bank had to fly in a polygraph team to find out whether he was credible.
The walk-in told Bank that bin Laden had lived undetected from 2001 to 2006 with some of his wives and children in the Hindu Kush mountains, and that the ISI got to him by paying some of the local tribal people to betray him. He described bin Laden as very ill, an invalid, and that in the early stage of his confinement at Abbottabad, the ISI had ordered Amir Aziz, a doctor and a major in the Pakistani army, to move nearby to provide treatment.
After the walk-in passed the test, the CIA put the Osama compound under satellite surveillance. They also rented a house in Abbottabad as a forward observation base, and contact point with the ISI. Then the CIA moved the informant and his family to the US where he now serves as a CIA consultant.
Third hoax: Osama was killed in a firefight. “After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body,” said Obama. According to a White House briefing, the US assault team ran into a firefight upon entering the compound. The next day John Brennan, then Obama’s senior adviser for counterterrorism, said Osama bin Laden tried to use one of his wives as a shield.
The truth, according to Hersh: At the Abbottabad compound ISI guards were posted around the clock to keep watch over bin Laden and his wives and children. They were under orders to leave as soon as they heard the rotors of the US helicopters…The Seals had been warned by the Pakistanis that heavy steel doors blocked the stairwell on the first and second-floor landings; bin Laden’s rooms were on the third floor. The Seals squad used explosives to blow the doors open, without injuring anyone. Knowing where the target was, they went straight to the third floor, second door on the right. As Obama retreated into the bedroom, two shooters followed him and opened up. The White House’s first impulse was to say that the Seals had shot bin Laden in self-defense. Six of the Seals’ finest, most experienced NCOs, faced with an unarmed elderly civilian, had to kill him in self-defense?
More sober minds found this absurd, so the line was scrapped. The Pentagon had to issue a series of clarifying statements. No, bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed. No, bin Laden did not use one of his wives as a shield. Bottom line, there was no firefight. But the White House legal office drafted a non-disclosure form to be signed by the Seals after they returned to their base. It promised civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the Abbottabad mission, in public or private.
Fourth hoax: bin Laden’s mortal remains were flown by the Seals to a military airfield in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and then straight to the USS Carl Vinson, which buried them at the north Arabian sea.
The truth, according to Hersh: At the outset even the White House press corps was skeptical about this report. At John Brennan’s press briefing, the questions were short, to the point, and rarely answered. “When was the decision made that he would be buried at sea if killed?” “Was this part of the plan all along?” “Can you just tell us why that was a good idea?” “John, did you consult a Muslim expert on that?” “Is there a visual recording of that burial?” When this last question was asked, Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, came to Brennan’s rescue: “We’ve got to give other people a chance here.”
Brennan said “appropriate specialists and experts” were consulted, and that the US military was fully capable of carrying out the burial “consistent with Islamic law.” But he failed to mention that Muslim law calls for the burial service to be conducted in the presence of an imam, and there was no suggestion that one happened to be on board the Carl Vinson. A Vanity Fair writer wrote, quoting sources, that bin Laden’s body was cleaned and photographed at Jalalabad, and that on board the carrier it was washed again and wrapped in a white shroud. This prompted requests for access to the photographs, under the Freedom of Information Act. To these, the Pentagon responded that a search of all available records had found no evidence that any photograph had been taken of the burial. Not even the log of Carl Vinson, which showed the sequence of all activities on board, could be accessed, because all records on the raid had been ordered deleted from the military computers and moved to the CIA, where they would be shielded from FOI requests by the agency’s “operational exemption.”
There wasn’t any gossip about a burial among Carl Vinson’s sailors either. The carrier concluded its six-month deployment in June 2011. When the ship docked at its home base in Coronado, California, Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, commander of the Carl Vinson carrier strike group, told reporters that the crew had been ordered not to talk about the burial. Captain Bruce Lindsey, skipper of the Carl Vinson, told reporters he was unable to discuss it. Cameron Short, one of the crew of Carl Vinson, told the Commercial-News of Danville, Illinois, that the crew had not been told anything about the burial. “All he knows is what he’s seen on the news,” the newspaper reported.
From the Pentagon, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette told the Associated Press in an email that none of the sailors on board had been permitted to observe the proceedings. But there was no indication of who washed and wrapped the body, or of which Arabic speaker conducted the service. Within weeks of the raid, two longtime consultants to Special Operations Command, with access to current intelligence, told Hersh that the funeral aboard the Carl Vinson didn’t take place.
At the same time some members of the Seals team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body with rifle fire. The remains, including his head, which had a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag, and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains—or so the Seals claimed.
The above has shown that for the last four years the world may have been ruled by a cruel lie as far as the bin laden story is concerned.
We cannot allow ourselves to be similarly ensnared. We must not suffer the lies being peddled by our government about what happened to our 44 PNP-SAF commandos and the international terrorists they were supposed to seize from the hands of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. We must not allow the government to feed us with lies about the Bangsamoro Basic Bill, or any other thing that would punish our own people and reward their enemies.
For once in our lives, we must show the world that what big lies the big powers will stand for, we cannot and will no longer tolerate.