Tag: Osama bin Laden

Bin Laden Coverup

Seymour Hersh, source of some big — although not necessarily accurate — stories, is alleging that the bin Laden raid did not go down as we were told:

The principal claims that Hersh’s article makes, which largely rely on the assertions of a single, unnamed, retired senior U.S. intelligence official, are:

• That the 2011 U.S. Navy SEAL raid on the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was hiding in northern Pakistan was not a firefight in which SEALs went into a dangerous and unknown situation, but a setup in which Pakistan’s military had been holding bin Laden prisoner in Abbottabad for five years and simply made him available to the SEALs who flew in helicopters to the compound on the night of the raid.

• An officer from Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence agency ISI accompanied the SEALs on the raid and showed them around the Abbottabad compound, and the only shots fired that night were the ones that the SEALs fired to kill bin Laden.

• A “walk in” to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad tipped off the CIA that bin Laden was living in the Abbottabad compound, and it was not true — despite the statements of multiple U.S. officials after the raid — that the CIA had traced back one of bin Laden’s couriers to the Abbottabad compound and built a circumstantial case that bin Laden was living there.

• Saudi Arabia was financing bin Laden’s upkeep in his Abbottabad compound.

• A Pakistani army doctor obtained DNA from bin Laden that proved he was in Abbottabad, proof that was provided to the States so that all the supposed uncertainty — cited by Obama administration officials after the raid — about whether bin Laden was actually living in the compound was a lie.

• The “most blatant lie,” according to Hersh, was that “Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders — General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI — were never informed” in advance of the U.S. raid on the bin Laden compound.

In short, according to Hersh’s account, President Barack Obama and many of his top advisers lied about pretty much everything concerning what is considered one of the President’s signal accomplishments: authorizing the raid in which bin Laden was killed.

In some way, I’m disposed to believe this story. It always did seem suspicious that bin Laden was right near a Pakistani military headquarters. And I wouldn’t put it past Obama to lie to us about it. The Administration has been milking the raid for propaganda since before it happened, including giving classified information to filmmakers for Zero Dark Thirty.

But after thinking about it, I have to say, like Peter Bergen, I am deeply skeptical of this. Part of this is Hersh. Yes, he broke My Lai story. But he also claimed that Bush intended to use nuclear weapons on Iran. So he’s not always in Earth orbit. Part of this is my general suspicions of conspiracy theories. Part of this is that it smells badly of a Killian Memo.

But mostly it because it contradicts well-established facts. You can read the details in Bergen’s piece. Notably, multiple witnesses, including Bergen, can attest to a bullet-riddled compound and multiple bodies. And there’s this:

Common sense would also tell you that if the Pakistanis were holding bin Laden and the U.S. government had found out this fact, the easiest path for both countries would not be to launch a U.S. military raid into Pakistan but would have been to hand bin Laden over quietly to the Americans.

Indeed, the Pakistanis have done this on several occasions with a number of other al Qaeda leaders such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational commander of 9/11, who was handed over to U.S. custody after a raid in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi in 2003. So too was Abu Faraj al-Libi, another key al Qaeda leader who was similarly handed over by the Pakistanis to U.S. custody two years later.

Ed Morrissey is suspicious of the story for similar reasons.

We’ll see what comes out. But I highly suspect Hersh is full of it. ISI may have known more than they were saying about bin Laden’s whereabouts. But a cover-up of this magnitude would also involve Seal Team 6 and multiple intelligence agencies. I find it highly unlikely a lid could be kept on such a conspiracy only to be blown by the likes of Hersh.

Reflections on a Decade

I’ve been tinkering with this piece for a week now, writing and deleting paragraphs, piling on links, reading what everyone else is saying, hoping some glorious insight would descend from the heavens (assuming my glorious insight bill is paid up). But the more I think about 9/11 and the decade that has followed, the more I keep circling back to one thought:

We are still here.

Ten years have passed. Osama bin Laden and most of his henchmen are dead. Before he went, he was reduced to a bitter little man clutching a blanket and watching his past glories on TV. Al-Qaeda is broken, probably never to return in anything like its former form. Saddam Hussein is dead. Gaddafi, if not dead already, is out of power. Iran is cut off and barely clinging to power.

But we are still here.

9/11 was act of unmitigated evil. You can read Goldberg or Hitchens if you need a reminder of the vile nihilism calling itself Islam that was Al-Qaeda. I’m currently reading, somewhat belatedly, The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, which chronicles the rise of Al-Queda. This was not, as some would have you believe, a movement of oppressed peoples yearning for justice. It was lead by wealthy privileged narcissistic ideologues who persuaded young, disaffected young men to commit evil acts. Those men were not oppressed by the West, but by the medieval misogynistic cultures in which they lived (most of whom still think we faked 9/11). They delivered a terrible act of violence that killed “only” 3000 because we — the American people — responded so beautifully. The towers were evacuated in record time — almost everyone below where the planes hit survived. The first responders fell saving as many as they could. The passengers on United 93 made the first counter-attack in the War on Terror. American Muslims turned out to be our strongest allies rather than a fifth column. And later attacks — the undie bomber, the shoe bomber, the Times Square bombers — were foiled by alert citizens, not our elaborate security state. Instead of descending into chaos, we pulled together and moved on.

We are still here.

There are those who will tell you that our survival is because of the heroic leadership of George W. Bush. Perhaps. I for one agree with Anne Applebaum that, on a political level, we did over-react, did spend too much money, did sacrifice too much of our freedom. The War on Terror is a $100 billion a year expense that mostly serves to catch drug dealers. It has entailed two wars that, when you count benefits for 150,000 injured veterans, will cost us over $4 trillion. We’re treated like criminals when we try to board an airplane. We treat peaceful tourists like suspects. And the Patriot Act, with all its glaring flaws, retains bipartisan support.

But. We are still here. I think it’s absurd to argue, as Sullivan does, that bin Laden got what he wanted. It’s impossible to know what was going through that lunatic’s mind at the time, but I doubt that he envisioned, ten years later, being dead and irrelevant. That we have made mistakes along the way — some of them very costly — is not the same as him having won. We just made our inevitable victory more difficult and more costly than it had to be. But in the wealth fountain that is the US economy, even a $4 trillion mistake, assuming it was a mistake, is not something we can’t absorb. We will claw back our civil liberties, eventually. When I look around, I don’t see a police state. At least, not until I’m in an airport. I see a country that still argues, fights, debates, yells, screams … and, in the end, grudgingly does the right thing.

This is way of America. We never act precisely the way we should. We make mistakes. We go down blind allies. We, as Churchill observed, exhaust every other possibility before doing the right thing. But we gradually, fumblingly, eventually stumble in the direction we need to go.

We’re still in the process of turning back from the edge. The economy has our attention for the moment, but the watchdogs are ready to move when we are. The ACLU, God bless them, just gave Obama a stinging rebuke on civil liberties. Libertarians, liberals and conservatives continue to grumble about the TSA and the Patriot Act. Even the Washington Post got into the act, documenting the gigantic intelligence industry we’ve built. Ken at Popehat runs down a list of reasons why we put up with TSA abuses which could be expanded to many aspects of the War on Terror. All are valid, but I would say the more important aspect is that Americans simply can’t be bothered, most of the time. Things have to reach a critical mass before we react and they haven’t yet. But they will. And when they do, the path to recovering our liberty has already been carefully laid out.

But despite all that, we are still here. When I think about the last decade, I will not think about living in fear of anyone. I will think about the spread of smartphones and tablets. I will think about the Red Sox and White Sox winning the World Series. I will think about my Packers and Steelers winning superbowls. I will think about the SEC dominating college football. I will think about Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and the movies of Chris Nolan. I will especially think about having become a dad. I will think about the science I’ve done and the people I’ve been privileged to work with. I’ll think about Lee and how I miss his voice.

That’s America. That’s our strength. That is what is crumbling would-be empires. Because being rich and having fun is more appealing to human beings than blowing yourself up. And that I can look back after ten years and see all that tells me all I need to know.

Osama bin Laden failed. Al-Qaeda failed. All of the fanatics and monsters of the world have failed to even slow us down.

We are still here.

Wanted: BHO

Yeah, good luck with that:

[Some Majorca lawyer] lodged a written complaint at the International Criminal Court accusing the US president of breaching the Geneva Convention.

Navy Seals acting on Mr Obama’s orders shot the al-Qaeda leader dead on May 2 after storming his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

In his written complaint, the Majorca-based lawyer said bin Laden should have been “pursued, arrested, tried and convicted” on behalf of “the victims of some terrible and appalling atrocities”. The killing of bin Laden was even worse as it took place in foreign territory, Pakistan, without the permission of that government, he said.

This is one of the reasons I was relieved that the US never ratified the ICC agreement. The chance that the ICC will call a trial on Obama for killing a declared enemy of the United States in battle is almost zero. But do we really want that potential hanging over their heads?

As it happens, even this complaint is garbage. Obama did pursue this man and tried to arrest him. But when you have a man whose followers frequently wire themselves with explosives, play dead in order to draw in soldiers and medics and see glorious suicide as their best option, you shoot first and ask questions later. This isn’t an instance of shooting a defenseless person in custody. This is shooting someone in a potential combat situation.

And what it really is a some lawyer trying to draw attention to himself. Well too bad, pud-knocker. I left your name out of the block quote.

Tacoma Terrorist?

Think you got what it takes to be a Secret Service agent? It takes more than just looking good in a suit and sunglasses (oh, and talking into your hand, gotta do that). They have a unique mission:

The mission of the United States Secret Service is to safeguard the nation’s financial infrastructure and payment systems to preserve the integrity of the economy, and to protect national leaders, visiting heads of state and government, designated sites and National Special Security Events.

Gee, nowhere in that description does it mention anything about roughing up and scaring the bejesus out of 13 year old kids:

Who wants to get a call like this?

When Timi Robertson found out her middle-schooler son was being questioned by the Secret Service and the police at his Tacoma, Wa. school, she says she “just about lost it,” — especially after they told her it was over a Facebook post the boy had written warning President Barack Obama of suicide attacks in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death.

It’s a short article so you can read the whole thing.

I doubt the Facebook comment is still up, but according to the boy ,”I was saying how Osama is dead and for Obama to be careful because there might be suicide bombers”, hey, give him props for getting the names right, most people interchange the two regularly.

So we have federal agents scouring the net for threats against the president, sounds reasonable, that is after all their job, to protect him. But does that statement resemble anything that could be construed as a threat? Now I don’t do Facebook (they are going to have to drag me into the 21st century kicking and screaming) but I assume that the kids profile is right there, 13 years old. Maybe some cursory checking up on the kid might be in order, you think they did a background check on him first before yanking him out of class?

As usual when you have two sides of a story (the schools and the mothers) the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but I’m thinking its real close to the mother’s side, and miles from that of the schools.

In California when the police have any contact with a minor, the parents have to be contacted immediately and a Miranda admonishment must be given. With adults Miranda is only invoked when you are considered a suspect but for children, it is for anything, no exceptions. I’m wondering if Vito was Mirandized. It also sounds like the school was negligent in contacting a parent and having them present before any questioning commenced, very bad. If I was the mom, I would be going to the school board for some answers.

I know, it’s all Obama’s fault. Now that that is out of the way, I gotta say, this really looks bad. I know I was making the point in the other thread that mistakes happen, but this is one big honkin’ Mt. Everest size mistake. Further clarification, explanation, and some contrition is in order, and begs the question ,”What are those guys doing over there?”

The Taliban Strikes Back

The Taliban has retaliated for the death of Osama bin Laden. As usual, they have done it in the most cowardly way imaginable:

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Friday for suicide attacks on a military training facility in the nation’s northwest, saying they were in retaliation for the killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden.

The twin suicide bombings killed at least 80 people, nearly all of them military recruits who had just completed their training, said Bashir Ahmad Bilour, a senior provincial minister. About 140 others were injured.

“Pakistani and the U.S. forces should be ready for more attacks,” said Ihsan Ullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, who accused the Pakistani military of telling the United States where bin Laden was.

“Osama was our great leader and the killers of Osama will have to pay its price,” he said.

Notice something important: their first strike was against Pakistan, not the US. Their goal here is try to frighten the Pakistani government into bailing out of any cooperation. I’m hoping that it will have the opposite effect. The Pakistani people have to realize that they are being targeted whether they work with us or not. Al-Quaeda is not some front of Islamic liberation (look a few hundred miles west for that) but a nihilistic blood-thirsty death cult that has no use for even the mildest moderation.

Ron Paul thinks the Pakistani government is above board

I was like, “No way. He didn’t. There’s no way that numbskull said we should’ve ‘worked with the Pakastani government’ to get a man they were protecting for years.” But yeah…he said it. And this is why Ron Paul is not fit to be dogcatcher much less President.

Ron Paul says he would not have authorized the mission that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, and that President Barack Obama should have worked with the Pakistani government instead of authorizing a raid.

“I think things could have been done somewhat differently,” Paul said this week. “I would suggest the way they got Khalid [Sheikh] Mohammed. We went and cooperated with Pakistan. They arrested him, actually, and turned him over to us, and he’s been in prison. Why can’t we work with the government?”

It’s dumb things like this which prevent the “big L” Libertarians from ever being taken seriously (I know, we’re all supposed to pretend Ron Paul is a Republican. It’s BS.). This is naive. It’s stupid. It’s reckless, ignorant, and not a little myopic. It’s Ron Paul all over. The man isn’t fit to be block captain of my neighborhood watch with naivete like that. I’m sorry, I know that Republicans are almost nothing but a disappointment and we desperately need legitimate third & fourth parties but not this man, and not in these times.

Paul also said:

What if he’d been in a hotel in London? We wanted to keep it secret, so would we have sent the airplane, you know the helicopters into London, because they were afraid the information would get out?”

Ed at Hot Air added:

For one thing, had we found him holed up in London, we would have been able to trust the British intelligence service to cooperate.

Duh. Paul’s showing his ass on this one for sure.

Hat tip: Jammie Wearing Fool via Hot Air via Ace.

The Pakistan Problem

Obama made absolutely the right call when he did not tell the Pakistani government that we were going after bin Laden. While I think the Pakistani government tries to be sympathetic to us, I also think they are both compromised by Wahabbists within and desperate not to inflame a radical Islamist revolution in their own country.

Whether we should break off things with them is even more iffy. Having their government on our side makes it easier to chase down AQ operatives in their country and try to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of Jihadists. Pakistan is also being courted by China as a strategic ally, a potentially dangerous power shift.

But the Pakistani’s are not making it easy for us. Beside hiding bin Laden in their country, they’ve threatened to give the wreckage of the stealth helicopter to the Chinese. And yesterday, they outed our CIA station chief:

The public outing of the CIA station chief here threatened on Monday to deepen the rift between the United States and Pakistan, with U.S. officials saying they believed the disclosure had been made deliberately by Pakistan’s main spy agency.

If true, the leak would be a sign that Pakistan’s powerful security establishment, far from feeling chastened by the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison city last week, is seeking to demonstrate its leverage over Washington and retaliate for the unilateral U.S. operation.

Less than six months ago, the identity of the previous CIA station chief in Islamabad was also disclosed in an act that U.S. officials blamed on their counterparts in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI.

The new station chief, who runs one of the largest U.S. intelligence-gathering operations in the world, played an instrumental role in overseeing efforts to confirm bin Laden’s location before last week’s raid.

This is, to some extent, a temper tantrum by Pakistan. The Soviet Union and the US used to do this to each other in retaliation during the Cold War. But there’s a very real danger here of Pakistan sliding toward China and away from us. (On the other hand, the Chinese would probably find an alliance with Pakistan even more of a mixed blessing than we do).

The future of our relationship with Pakistan is going to be a real test of both Obama and Hillary Clinton. I don’t know if we can keep Pakistan on our side and I don’t know that we should. But without them, things get a lot more difficult. Patching up our relationship as best we can — at least in the short term — may be the least of several evils.

Long term, India is far more important to us and far less insane. We might be better off concentrating our efforts there.

NO TRAIN FOR YOU.

Are you one of the hundreds – if not thousands – of people who have inadvertently ended up on the no-fly list? Do you really need to travel, and want to take the train instead? Well guess what, dillhole? NO TRAIN FOR YOU. Asshole Senator Chuck Schumer needs to look busy, so he’s doing this now:

A senator on Sunday called for a “no-ride list” for Amtrak trains after intelligence gleaned from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound pointed to potential attacks on the nation’s train system.

Sen. Charles Schumer said he would push as well for added funding for rail security and commuter and passenger train track inspections and more monitoring of stations nationwide.

“Circumstances demand we make adjustments by increasing funding to enhance rail safety and monitoring on commuter rail transit and screening who gets on Amtrak passenger trains, so that we can provide a greater level of security to the public,” the New York Democrat said at a news conference.

If you think TSA at an airport is bad, wait’ll you get a load of Amtrak TSA.

Seriously, when are we going to stand up and tell these ruling class nitwits that we’ve had enough security theater? Do morons like Schumer really not see that with every move like this, they guarantee that even dead, bin Laden is still winning the game?

Bin Laden, Unplugged

The US has released five videos of bin Laden taken from his compound. Here is the most striking one:

I find this striking because it really shows bin Laden for what he was: not some nobel warrior fighting the giant, but a pathetic man reduced to reliving his past glories, his tentacles in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan defeated or reduced. For all the instructions he was sending out, his ability to hurt us has been substantially reduced and is now gone forever.

Still, this remains my favorite bin Laden vid.

In other news, Extreme Liberal speculates that Bradley Manning’s leaks may have forced Obama’s hand on bin Laden. It’s speculation at this point. But it will be interesting to find out. It’s clear that Manning did not filter anything he sent to wikileaks before doing so. Would all his defenders be jumping for joy if his leaks of secret info had resulted in bin Laden escaping?

Death cult won’t be denied

Seriously, maybe it is time for us to lob some bombs at the compound now that we have the admirers of bin Laden treating the compound where he was killed as a tourist attraction. You and I think of a nice beach, some girls in bikinis, cool drinks, and a nice breeze carrying some music as a vacation spot. Or maybe you like the mountains. Do some skiing, drink some hot coco in a cabin warmed by a nice fire. Maybe it’s going to a national park and camping. We look for fun and nice things to do. Members of the cult of death? Well, their latest vacation spot is the place where UBL was finally killed. They are doing it to show him their love. This is like people going to Hitler’s bunker, not to see where the evil Nazi Third Reich came to its end, but to show your love for Hitler.

Things like this should make us wonder why we still think that we can avoid the inevitable fight to the death that this disconnect between what we believe and want, and what they believe and want are going to come down to. They meant it when they told us they love death more than we love life.