He Who Lives By the Sword 129

Osama Bin Laden had perpetrated many acts of violence. Blowback does not only affect states; Osama Bin Laden was killed by his former allies, those who used to support and arm him. Celebrations of someone’s death are always distatsteful, but Osama Bin Laden dealt in violent death and died a violent death. Of course, he who lives by the sword is a two-edged observation; it applies to Americans too, and I am afraid there will sadly be further violence in the short term.

There are questions to be asked about why Osama Bin Laden was killed rather than captured, when he would evidently be such a valuable intelligence asset. There are aspects of the official story which do not add up. I have seen the photo of his body on France 24, and plainly he was killed by a head shot; if you have to shoot someone you are trying to capture, you do not go for the head. Secondly we are told that he could not be captured because there was a fierce firefight of resistance at the house; but that no Americans were injured. So not that fierce, then. Aside from Osama Bin Laden, only two men and one woman were killed – so again, hardly a great pitched battle. The building was then torched, destrying the forensic evidence.

If Bin Laden did not kill himself, or get one of his own men to shoot him, it remains open to question why he was taken out with a headshot in a situation where resistance had been so ineffective that no American had been hurt.

It is yet another commentary on the state of Pakistan that Bin Laden was living in a large house in Abbottabad – which is by no means a backwater. It is also a major garrison town and the headquarters for military and intellligence operations in the Afghan frontier areas. (By chance, James Abbott, its founder, is one of the Great Game players I am currently studying). I simply do not believe that Bin Laden could live for years in a million dollar home in Abbottabad without significant parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence community knowing he was there.

129 thoughts on “He Who Lives By the Sword

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  • KingofWelshNoir

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe when US Special Forces kill a guy they lay on a US Navy ship to give him a burial at sea in accordance with his religious views.

    Have they ever done that for any of the other thousands of Muslims they’ve killed?

    I also don’t believe if they really had his corpse they wouldn’t be parading it on CNN like they did with Saddam Hussein.

    The only conclusion to be drawn is, it never happened.

    In which case you have to wonder what the point of the stunt is.

    Hi Angrysoba, how’s it going?

  • Roger Whittaker

    Maybe the right question to ask is “why now”. A whole lot of files from Guantanamo got leaked very recently.


    It sounds as if the US knew he was in Abbottabad at least since
    2008, and maybe very much before that. Perhaps the courier mentioned here is the one mentioned as also being killed:

    The al-Qaida courier, his brother and one of Bin Laden’s sons,
    whom officials did not name, were also killed.

  • CanSpeccy

    “Celebrations of someone’s death are always distatsteful”
    Craig Murray April 5, 2010

    “If I have to refrain from smiling about the death of Terre Blanche, I do hope nobody kills Tony Blair, or I shall have to refraiin from peals of laughter and dancing for joy.”
    Craig Murray May 2, 2011

  • Osama bin Laden

    The last few months have been a bit difficult. 1) You people still won’t believe that I perpetrated 911. 2) I was forced to witness the Arab Spring, which was a complete rejection of my values. And 3) I’m swimming around with a big hole in my head.

    Gurgle gurgle gurgle

  • Ruth

    So Obama is the Joker.
    The reason/reasons for the sudden ‘discovery and death’ are interesting. We are coming up to the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and to finally declare Bin Laden dead could be seen to draw a line under the whole affair.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    The Pakistan Army and Security ‘services’ have known exactly where this murderous bastard was for 9+ years, since they have been protecting him for all that time. For the past several years, he has been living in great comfort in a specially-made mansion in a very safe and plush part of town right bang in the middle of the cantonment with sentry-posts on every street corner and the Pakistan Military Academy virtually next door! Fact is, the Govt of Pakistan does not rule Pakistan; the Army and Sec. forces do (‘Milbus’: ‘Military Business’); the civilian politicians exist as very much the junior partner in this mafiosi dynamic. Zardari (President) and Gilani (PM) would have had no control over any of this. I mean, Zardari’s wife was assassinated by Bin Laden’s home-grown adherents and the Army was protecting him! So, in essence, for the past approximately 5-60 years, Pakistan has been at war with itself. In 1971, Z. A. Bhutto should have screwed the Army right down, into barracks, but for his own characteristically selfish reasons, he didn’t. The ISI and the Army need to be booted right out of the economic and social sphere; they are the main enemy of the people of Pakistan, they are the ones who supply and fund the Taliban and the Jihadists who have murdered more Pakistanis than anyone else! Line the leaders of the ISI and the armed services up against the wall and… well, put them in a court and try them for treason. Ha! It won’t happen. The rot is bone-deep.

  • Clark

    Suhayl Saadi, thank you for returning us to the topic, and pointing out the serious implications within Pakistan.
    Ruth, well spotted with that photo.

  • Dr Paul

    Here are some thoughts on the historical significance of al Qaeda I’ve
    put on another site. I would emphasise that bin Laden’s death and the
    continued decline of al Qaeda does not represent the end of violent
    Islamist activity, as this could well be given a boost if Western
    policies continue to alienate the masses of the Arab and Islamic world
    and if the democratic thrust behind much of the unrest in the Middle
    East declines or, as looks likely in the case in Libya, becomes
    discredited by becoming associated with Western intervention, or if
    there is a severe social collapse in any of these countries — and I’m
    mainly thinking here of a post-Gaddafi Libya — along the lines of
    what happened in Iraq. But I doubt if this will have much to do with
    al Qaeda, as these will much more likely be indigenous Islamist
    forces, not some sort of Islamist ‘international brigade’.

    As it is, bin Laden and his organisation have a strangely old-hat feel
    about them, as if the USA is somehow fighting yesterday’s battle.


    When al Qaeda didn’t follow up demolishing the World Trade Center with, say, motor-borne bombs every month in major US cities or other similar acts, I reckoned on its being a one-shot outfit, with the WTC being its peak point. Yes, it has subsequently committed atrocities in some major cities, including London where I live, but has only really established itself in one place — Iraq — and that as a direct result of the chaos ensuing from the US-led invasion (talk about an irony of history).

    For all the publicity generated by it and about it, the countless speeches by politicians and experts, and despite the personal tragedies of its victims, on an historical scale al Qaeda is a footnote. I wondered shortly after the WTC went down if the footage would in 50 years’ time be like the Hindenberg crash — a televisual spectacle, an horrific image, but meaning little else. Terror groups, some more destructive than al Qaeda, have come and gone leaving little trace.

    Al Qaeda could not establish what any effective political group requires: a national base. It was tolerated in some places for a while, but that’s not the same thing. Its modus operandi of exclusively terror activities precluded its ever being a mass movement, or even any size of movement working in the open; its clerical obscurantism precluded any real support outwith the most harsh parts of the Islamic world, and beyond the bounds of the most extreme Islamists. It had no way of connecting its immediate demands about the Middle East, which are not unexceptional, with its maximum programme of a World Caliphate — it had no transitional strategy from one to the other.

    Al Qaeda was always and is more so today only of nuisance value to the big powers. Even had the WTC bombing been followed up by regular attacks, it could not destabilise the US state. Will it outlive its leader’s death? Almost certainly. Its ascetic, violent brand of Islamism will continue to appeal to a tiny number of young Islamists around the world, and it might pick up some support if Libya and Yemen disintegrate à la Iraq. Whilst manifestations of Islamist politics and violence will continue to occur, not least in response to ill-advised Western policies in the Middle East and beyond, will al Qaeda be anything more than an historical footnote? I very much doubt it.

  • Dr Paul

    I have to smile at the US citizens dancing with joy. Just think, you’ve lost your job, you’ve lost your house, your medical insurance has suddenly been deemed invalid just when you’ve fallen ill, the economy is down the dunny but the bankers are still laughing at you and taking home whopping big bonuses… But, never mind, the wicked witch is dead.

    The words ‘mass destraction’ come to mind. If our rulers here can fool the masses with a royal wedding, O’Bama & Co can do the same with a shoot-out in Pakistan.

  • YugoStiglitz

    Actually, Dr. Paul, things are turning around (quite slowly, of course), and the dancing U.S. citizens are mostly college students, whose future prospects are much more brighter than their sad counterparts in Europe.

  • YugoStiglitz

    And I acknowledge my grammar error there.

    Quick Mark Golding and Yonatan! I made a mistake in my wording!

  • wendy

    usa to release video tomorrow .. and we call it a “victory”

    eh? we lose civil/human rights, become amoral unethical and bankrupt but everythings fine because we’ve got obl ???

  • evgueni

    I agree that ‘inside job’ arguments stretch credibility beyond breaking point. But I also think that aiming at your opponents instead of their arguments is bad manners. YugoStiglitz takes that approach to its logical conclusion.

  • angrysoba

    I agree that ‘inside job’ arguments stretch credibility beyond breaking point. But I also think that aiming at your opponents instead of their arguments is bad manners. YugoStiglitz takes that approach to its logical conclusion.”
    Well, maybe, but in my defence Truthers have often referred to themselves as Truthers while “conspiracy theorist” seems to me to be a methodology as much as anything else.

  • dreoilin

    So the sister whose brain they claim they used for DNA testing was only a half-sister? And an uncomplicated DNA test takes three hours? I suspect testing against a half-sister might take longer and not give a conclusive result …
    All very interesting … Not that anything can ever be independently checked or verified now, since bin Laden is said to be in the Arabian Sea, and they killed 22 people in that house in Pakistan. I don’t know if anyone survived.

  • dreoilin

    Jeremy Scahill just tweeted:
    “The story is changing. Now they say woman wasn’t “human shield” but was caught in crossfire. Not OBL wife. Also OBL not armed.”

  • mark_golding

    Bin Laden is not wanted by the FBI for 9/11; there is no hard evidence connecting this man to the official conspiracy of 19 hijackers connected to al-Qaeda using planes to attack buildings in America on September 11th 2001.
    The WTC collapses are the most important event to our generation, perhaps more important than the fall of the Berlin wall and even more important to our children and future generations considering the event resulted in two wars that have killed thousands of innocent children and changed our lives forever.
    I believe it is our duty to our own children and all the bereaved families post 9/11 to insist on a thorough independent scientific investigation into the 9/11 tragedy. Craig kindly permitted a 9/11 thread here that examines some of the arguments. Some other relevant information on 9/11 is available via these links.

    [a] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii49BaRDp_A
    [b] http://www.911blogger.com/news/2010-07-12/nist-denies-access-wtc-collapse-data
    [c] http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/30834556
    [d] http://books.google.ca/books?id=Q3wOAAAAQAAJ
    [e] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERhoNYj9_fg
    [f] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d5iIoCiI8g
    [g] http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM

  • spectral

    American Spectator
    March, 2009
    Osama bin Elvis
    by Angelo M. Codevilla is professor emeritus
    of international relations at Boston University.
    “All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama bin Laden. But tell that to the CIA and all the other misconceptualizers of the War on Terror.”

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Wendy (and anyone who is interested in the region), two excellent books on Pakistan are:

    1) ‘Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy’ (2007) by Ayesha Siddiqa,


    2) ‘Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America’s War on Terror (2005), by Hassan Abbas.

    Siddiqa’s book is extensively referenced and reads like an academic text – an excellent Ur-text, really, it should be required reading for anyone interested in the region and the complex global politics arising from it. Abbas’s book is easier to read, also is extensively referenced, has a wickedly ironic sense of humour and interestingly provides an insider’s insight into some of the key personalities involved.

    And one thing that comes across in spades is that it is complex. There are as many inter-agency fights as there are simple dualisms. The decent people within the Army and Police for example, tended to get sidelined or retired early by corrupt and sometimes frankly Islamist buffoons and malevolent players. They are obsessed with India, and ongoing regional war benefits them and their class to the tune of billions; this is one of the toxic legacies of the 1980s Afghanistan conflict.

    The idea that the USA controls everything that happens in Pakistan clearly is inaccurate; the USA is one of a number of players; I think the Raymond Davis episode was emblematic of that.

    Hard evidence? No, I don’t have pics of Bin Laden’s gold taps, his ‘black room’ for orgiastic pleasures or his water-beds (!) But there is evidence outlined in the two books above and extensively elsewhere of the several decades-long active and destabilisation of the country (Pakistan), its political culture and its economy by its own armed forces and security services. This episode (Bin Laden’s ‘Tuscan villa’) is highly likely to be just one more in a long line of duplicity and treachery against its own people.

  • Wikispooks

    Suhayl says: For the past several years, he has been living in great comfort in a specially-made mansion in a very safe and plush part of town

    Have a look at a photo of it – I’d say ‘mansion’ was a bit of a stretch to put it mildly – Looks more like an LA crack house to me

    But if he WAS there – and that’s another big stretch IMHO – then I agree, it was with the connivance of the Pakistani military.

    IF he was already dead, the US could have chosen any time to ‘kill’ him; likewise if he WAS there and they knew it, he wasn’t going anywhere and again they could have chosen their timing – both of which beg the question “Why now”?

    And that I submit is a far more potentially revealing line of inquiry than ‘was he really killed on May day?”

    Some possibilities: 1. The US NEEDS an casus beli to deal with Pakistan and now has one. 2. The US NEEDS to demonstrate the efficacy of their Guantanamo Bay torture facility; having told us that’s where the ‘intelligence’ on his location came from; it will be repeated ad-nauseam. 3. There is some other reason that will soon become apparent. And 4 – maybe the intention was to kill Gadafi (attacked about the same time and Obama’s announcement inexplicably delayed) and Get OBL alive and they screwed up on both counts.

    OK – 4 is a bit tongue-in-cheek but, on past performance, cannot be entirely ruled out.

    The fundamental point is that the US chose 1 May 2011 to turn a major historic page in “creating our own realities” (Pace Karl Rove) – I’m sure we’ll all find out why soon enough.

  • Vronsky

    I don’t want to revisit the 9/11 thread (I hear a sigh of relief) but let me briefly explain what I find incredible about the official account. Consider WTC1. Impact by jets damaged the steel frame structure of a few stories near the top of a 100+ story building. Fires broke out, assisted by the presence of large amounts of aviation fuel, causing weaking of adjacent surviving steel structure. The weight of the upper floors was too much for this mess to bear, and they fell. So far, so plausible.
    The official explanation actually ends there. Magic takes over. About a dozen floors plummet downwards with an acceleration close to free fall, pulverising the 90 or so floors beneath which are naturally more heavily built on the lower levels. These upper floors themselves survive this catastrophe, only disintegrating when they reach the ground a few seconds later, their work done. It is this account which ‘strains credibility beyond breaking point’.
    I think any impartial observer of these surprising events would decide that the presence of some demolition technology should at least be investigated, but that possibility was excluded from investigations. Reason for the omission? They didn’t look for explosives (they said) because none would be there.
    If buildings can be brought down in this way, you can see why I founded ACME Demolitions Inc, with its unique low-tech service. Sever a few structural members near the top, set a fire, and down will come cradle, baby and all. Easy money.

  • Wikispooks

    Oh dear; two in a row. To paraphrase Suhayl above:
    The decent people within the Army and Police for example, tended to get sidelined or retired early by corrupt and sometimes frankly Islamist (Neocon) buffoons (fascists) and malevolent players. They are obsessed with India (US global hegemony), and ongoing regional war (the manufactured ongoing GWOT) benefits them and their class to the tune of billions; this is one of the toxic legacies of the 1980s Afghanistan conflict (the US emerging relatively unscathed from the depradations of WWII)
    Your description fits US/UK/NATO power structures to a tee and, so far as Pakistan and India are concerned, should be blindingly obvious to anyone with their eyes half-way open,.
    As for decades long destabilisations of Pakistani society by its military/intelligence complex – all I can say is DITTO. The CIA/NSA and MI6 are the daddies of them all so far as destabilisations are concerned and undoubtedly taught the Pakistanis almost all they know on the subject – less so in their own countries perhaps, but only because overarching objectives didn’t require it – though with Operation Gladio, and it’s later proteges being notable exceptions.

  • ingo

    Leaves to say that I not envy the researchers and professors who seek to look at Usama’s life and into his ‘greatest death of this century’, as the hyperbole goes. They will feel obfusecation and harrassment when they try and lay bare the connections that bind the House of Bin Laden with that of the Bush family et al.
    I thank him for his timely death at a time when re elections and’trumpismn’are raising their ugly head. I’m also glad that this issue has cut through the nasty AV agenda.
    maybe now I can actually bring local issue into a local election, three days before it happens.
    Elections in this country are about as manipulated by the media and parties as one can take it, it is so sad that the largely inept political minds are accepting this sheeple game.

  • mary

    No doubt the cabinet meeting currently assembling will be discussing the extra judicial killing. Radio 5 live had the disgusting and self important Cameron on regaling us with the details of his 3am call from Obomber (he just loves the buzz of it all) who ‘put him in the picture’. He also said that he had called a COBRA meeting immediately afterwards to make sure that all steps were in place to deal with the inevitable reprisals. It was also revealed that torture has been used in this operation.


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