163 thoughts on “The Best Writing on Bin Laden’s Death

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  • angrysoba

    Dreoilin:”But we have no guarantee that that video was made in that house in Abbottabad. Agreed?”
    .
    No, all we have is that it is likelier than most other possibilities given that the videos were found there.
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    “Clark,
    That satellite stuff is fascinating. And by the way, yes, the satellite had been removed in the post-raid pics provided by the US Dept of Defense and reproduced at the Sky News link I gave. One wonders if it was simply servicing an antique TV set, why anyone would bother removing it …”
    .
    It seems that the pictures of the house with the satellite dish were taken after the raid so it wouldn’t mean that the US special forces took it. If anyone took it it would be the Pakistani investigators.
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    “Are you really convinced that that was Osama bin Laden? All we have is a view over an old man’s left shoulder.”
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    No, not completely.
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    “It looks like a much older man than in the other four videos on your BBC link.”
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    It looks like bin Laden dyed his beard for his public broadcasts and he may have been healthier by this time than earlier.
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    “And a local man said that was the owner of the house.
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    If that old man is who the US forces killed, shame on them. Maybe that’s why they dumped the body in the sea so fast. SNAFU.”
    .
    Well, if a local said it was the owner of the house it wouldn’t rule out bin Laden. Some salient points here are that three of bin Laden’s wives and some of his children are supposed to be in Pakistani custody from the raid. If they really were in the house at the time of the raid then they should be able to have something to say.
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    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/world/asia/11binladen.html?_r=1&hp
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    On top of that surely there must be enough forensic material for investigators to determine who was in the house.

  • dreoilin

    “all we have is that it is likelier than most other possibilities given that the videos were found there”
    — Angry
    .
    How do you know they were found there? (Because the Obama admin said so?)
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    “It seems that the pictures of the house with the satellite dish were taken after the raid”
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    Can you provide some sort of link or date or evidence for that?
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    “Well, if a local said it was the owner of the house it wouldn’t rule out bin Laden.”
    .
    Funny that he’s holding the remote control in his right hand, when the FBI claim he was left-handed.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, I took it rather differently; that the videos were old material, made when Osama bin Laden was younger and healthier. The US has been collecting such tapes for years.
    .
    The local man I mentioned said that the man shown watching television was the owner of the house, and named him. According to the BBC report, 49 out of 50 said it was NOT Osamna bin Laden. I suppose 98% of the locals +could+ be lying on behalf of Osama bin Laden (deceased), but it seems unlikely.
    .
    With no communal rooms except a small kitchen, that building does not look like a family dwelling. With all rooms having two outside walls, it doesn’t much look like a “purpose built terrorist hide-away” either. It looks most like something midway between a boarding house and a prison.
    .
    No, I don’t trust the US on this. How much time passed between the raid and the US announcement of Osama bin Laden having been killed? Maybe they just mistook identity. We know there are some very gung-ho military people, to whom one “lousy towel-head” looks much like another, I suspect, especially after you’ve blown much of his head off. If the announcement had already been made before ID was confirmed, the rest could be just to cover embarassment. I know, “Al Qaeda” has also “admitted that Osama bin Laden is dead” – I’m using quotes here because the BBC report I saw this on did too. But so far I haven’t seen any evidence presented by the US, and that seems very odd. I’d expect them to display their proof very publicly.
    .
    Dreoilin, I don’t have any dates for pictures of that dish. But I think all the pictures are from after the raid, as the house was of no interest before. Note the canopy at a window that has fallen down at one end. Assuming that was damaged in the raid, all the photo’s are post-raid. Pre-raid photo’s would be helpful.

  • angrysoba

    “Can you provide some sort of link or date or evidence for that?”
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    It certainly appears that al-Jazeera got post-raid pictures of the compound with the satellite dish:
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    http://ogleearth.com/2011/05/finding-osama-bin-ladens-abbottabad-mansion-with-google-earth/
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    “Funny that he’s holding the remote control in his right hand, when the FBI claim he was left-handed.”
    .
    I’m not surprised the FBI say he was left-handed as he is shown holding AK-47’s the way left-handed people would such as in this one:
    http://newspirates.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/osama-and-gun.jpg
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    In others he seems to gesture, drink glasses of water and hold microphones with his right hand:
    http://tinyurl.com/6jgcse7

  • angrysoba

    “How much time passed between the raid and the US announcement of Osama bin Laden having been killed? Maybe they just mistook identity. We know there are some very gung-ho military people, to whom one “lousy towel-head” looks much like another, I suspect, especially after you’ve blown much of his head off. If the announcement had already been made before ID was confirmed, the rest could be just to cover embarassment.”
    .
    It’s possible.

  • angrysoba

    …though it would seem highly bizarre that they’d shoot the wrong person and then try to convince everyone by showing a video of that very same wrong person.
    .
    If you are contending that the guy in the video is indeed the owner of the house and yet a completely different person to Osama bin Laden and has no connection to him it must have come as quite a surprise to the US special forces to find that the same guy was watching videos of bin Laden. What are the chances of that?

  • dreoilin

    What are the chances of someone videoing someone watching videos of bin Laden if they didn’t want it for a specific purpose? If it is bin Laden, why would anyone in the house video him watching videos of himself?
    .
    Why has all talk of DNA disappeared? Why was she described as “his sister” (for DNA test purposes) when she was only a half sister? Wouldn’t that likely make the test time longer and the results less conclusive?
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    The guy in Abbottabad who started tweeting when he heard the helicopter overhead, said it was there at 1.00am local time (2 May).
    http://www.businessinsider.com/sohaib-athar-2011-5#-1
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    Obama’s speech on the matter was scheduled for 10.30pm 1 May, but his speech was announced at about 10.00pm, which as far as I can make out was 07.00am 2 May in Abbottabad.
    That’s a bare six hours after the guy tweeted about a helicopter overhead. Not much time for a 40 min raid, all that palaver about 3-hour DNA test (according to Larry’s link) then washing the body, preparing for a Muslim funeral, not to mention flying him all the way to the Arabian sea, was there?
    .
    From Google maps, Abbottabad is almost 1,000 miles (by road, not air) from the Arabian Sea. Those modified Black Hawk thingies must move damn fast … and the DNA test must have been very conclusive …

  • dreoilin

    “though it would seem highly bizarre that they’d shoot the wrong person and then try to convince everyone by showing a video of that very same wrong person”–Angry

    Unless … he was a double, kept there as a prisoner, and made to make fake videos since 2001.
    Then, in death, was made once again to substitute for bin Laden, one last time. The SEALs wouldn’t know the difference.
    That old man wrapped in a blanket looked more like a prisoner than the world greatest terrorism mastermind, wouldn’t you agree? 🙂

  • dreoilin

    “Unless … he was a double, kept there as a prisoner, and made to make fake videos since 2001.”
    .
    Correction: Kept somewhere, and in Abbottabad since 2005.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, you wrote “…though it would seem highly bizarre that they’d shoot the wrong person and then try to convince everyone by showing a video of that very same wrong person.”
    .
    Hmmm, yes. Any idea when that video was first released? If it was really quick, I suspect more SNAFU.
    .
    Why is there a video of [someone / Osama bin Laden] watching video of Osama bin Laden? I’ve no idea either way! Does its being a video of a video of Osama bin Laden make it more or less significant? I don’t know, but the US apparently went to a lot of trouble to add it to their video library. Whatever, the audio is obviously important enough for the US to have removed it before broadcast.

  • Clark

    The US authorities may have made a mistake based upon mistranslation of the audio. Oh, this is stupid. None of this makes much sense whichever way you look at it. Blasted arrogant US. Avoiding this sort of speculative nonsense is why we have trials etc. instead of just blowing people away in super daring Hollywood-style raids with modified unidentifiable helicopters.

  • dreoilin

    Please excuse me while I use the bottom-of-the-thread space to try out a few tags:
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  • angrysoba

    Clark,
    .
    Thanks for digging those articles up.
    .
    As it happens I’ve been really busy this week and have had almost no time to read the news [and, like you, I don’t watch TV – or at least very rarely] so I have been unable to get as much information about this case as I would like.
    .
    This article though, http: //www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/06/osama-bin-laden-family-compound , is interesting for me because I didn’t know which of Osama bin Laden’s sons had been killed in the raid. The article says it was Hamza bin Laden who is the son mentioned in that famous Benazir Bhutto video.
    .
    But here’s the thing:
    “As well as the Pakistani brothers, who were both killed, the Americans removed the remains of Bin Laden’s son Hamza, believed to be 28 years old. His mother was Bin Laden’s first wife. There was also another body – possibly another of Bin Laden’s 11 sons.”
    .
    So they took Hamza’s body too? And if I am reading this paragraph correctly the Americans also took two more bodies. But that doesn’t square with the tally of three dead men given that the Pakistani authorities revealed pictures of two dead men in the compound. If they took the bodies of three men plus Osama bin Laden then there must have been at least five men killed along with one woman and OBL.

  • angrysoba

    Also, thanks for the Uri Avnery article. Interesting that he compares OBL to Avraham Stern. I guess Avnery would know as he was once a member of the Stern Gang (or the Irgun, I can’t remember exactly which terrorist group he was part of).
    .

  • angrysoba

    “Hmmm, yes. Any idea when that video was first released? If it was really quick, I suspect more SNAFU.”
    .
    The raid occurred on May 1st and the videos were released on May 7th – or at least that seems to be the earliest date of the articles on them. If it was a mistaken-identity fuck-up then the timeline is wrong to explain the dumping in the sea. And as I said, the video clearly does show a guy watching bin Laden on TV. I have no idea why bin Laden would film himself watching himself on TV but if the SNAFU went down as you hypothesise and that the guy in the video was killed by accident then the story is that the Americans killed some random man they thought was OBL, snatched his videos, then discovered it WASN’T OBL and decided to dump his body in the sea to avoid the embarrassment and finally couldn’t believe their luck when, trawling through the videos discovered that the same guy had actually been videoing himself watching bin Laden on satellite TV.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, yes, in that video, Benazir Bhutto says that she was warned “by a friendly country” via General Musharraf, that Hamza bin Laden (among others) might try to assassinate her. But she did not name the “friendly country”.
    .
    So I now accept that Osama bin Laden was killed in the US raid, but on the basis of Pakisatani evidence, not US. Hamza bin Laden was also probably killed, and Benazir Bhutto seemed to accept that he was a threat. There remains a discrepancy on the number of bodies, and the locals seemed very convinced that the man watching videos was not Osama bin Laden; one was certain it was his neighbour that he knew well, but Osama bin Laden reportedly never left the house.
    .
    I found the Uri Avnery article linked from Richard Stallman’s political notes (“polnotes”) page, which you may find useful.
    .
    http://www.stallman.org/
    http://www.stallman.org/archives/polnotes.html

  • Clark

    Dreoilin, Pieczenik again. He was mentioned the other day as being prepared to testify something about 9/11 in front of a Grand Jury. Have you looked at his Wikipedia page? The history is short and sparse, and there’s a lot of dispute going on on its talk page.

  • angrysoba

    “Hamza bin Laden was also probably killed, and Benazir Bhutto seemed to accept that he was a threat. There remains a discrepancy on the number of bodies,”
    .
    Yes, even more so as it now looks like Hamza bin Laden “escaped” the compound raid or wasn’t there at the time of the raid.
    .
    “Pakistani security officials believe a member of the bin Laden household has disappeared since the raid, further deepening the confusion about who was killed.
    .
    “It is understood that three of bin Laden’s widows, currently in Pakistani custody, have told interrogators that one son has not been seen since the operation.
    .
    “The fresh details raise fears that the al-Qaeda leader’s youngest son and closest confidant, Hamza, may have escaped capture.
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    “The White House initially claimed that Hamza, 20, had been killed at the house in Abbottabad, about 30 miles from Islamabad. Officials later said his 22-year-old brother Khalid had been killed instead.”
    .
    http://tinyurl.com/65k9kl9
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    “and the locals seemed very convinced that the man watching videos was not Osama bin Laden; one was certain it was his neighbour that he knew well, but Osama bin Laden reportedly never left the house.”
    .
    Yeah, I watched that BBC report and have to say that it seems odd. The guy who said, “That’s my neighbour Bob Thompkins” surely could be the source of a massive scoop. Why didn’t the BBC journalist pursue that lead? On the other hand most of the other people who she talked to were just saying run-of-the-mill conspiratorial stuff, “It was all done with special effects!” It’s not that they’re lying, it’s just that they probably know no more than we do.

  • Clark

    Oh ho! “Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”! So now we await the rebirth of Big Bad bin Laden in the new incarnation of Hamza! The Telegraph have already referred to him as “crown prince of terror”, though they don’t take credit for that title themselves, of course. What next? “Bin Laden Clone Factory Discovered in…” Er, where shall we pick?
    .
    No, just one interviewee said that the picture was faked with “advanced technology”. I’d like to find someone who could translate the audio on that BBC clip.

  • Clark

    I suppose it isn’t a massive scoop because (1) we have the widows’ testimony that Osama is dead, so it would only be a scoop about a misidentification of an over-the-shoulder shot in a home video and (2) now the various sources, mainstream and otherwise, agree that Osama is dead.
    .
    We only have the interrogators’ reports of the widows’ testimony, so I must still retain some doubts on this, but it would seem daft for Pakistan to distort their testimony, unless they’re going to be disappeared or held for life. Hmmm, on second thoughts, maybe that is not so unlikely…

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