77 marines in a fierce firefight for 40 minutes against a man, a few women and children, all unarmed? 6 helicopters among 7 military bases, nobody saw them?
Let's see. We have six US military helicopters carrying 77 marines flying 600 kilometers into a country to a small town which contains 7 military bases and is less than 35 minutes from the nation's capital. The helicopters land at a housing compound situated only a few hundred meters from the main military base, but the local military doesn't know anything happened because the US has new secret "stealth helicopters" that would prevent the millions of local inhabitants from either seeing or hearing the aircraft anywhere during their 3-hour flight. And besides, they flew "low, between the hills, to avoid the radar". I know they can do that, because I saw that once on TV.
Then we have the 77 marines jumping from their helicopters and launching "a ferocious assault" on a small unfortified house in the center of the compound, the home of Osama bin Laden, the occupants consisting of bin Laden, his three wives, a few children, and maybe (not confirmed) one other man, none of whom were armed. According to the White House, the marines were then engaged in an "intense 40-minute firefight" in their attempt to reach and kill bin Laden. The brave US Marines eventually succeed, then casually take another 30 minutes to clean up their mess a bit and to collect "a treasure trove" of computers and data, on the way out apologising to the women and children for killing their husband and father. They grab bin Laden's dead body by the ankles, drag and bump him down three flights of stairs and toss him into a helicopter. Then they blow up one of their (apparently damaged) aircraft, climb aboard the others and retrace their several-hundred kilometer flight out of the country.
Seven hours of fighting and nobody heard it?
After a total foreign military excursion lasting more than seven hours and taking place right in the middle of seven military bases, the local military still didn't know anything happened. Nobody heard all those aircraft coming and going, nobody heard the tens of thousands of shots extending over 40 minutes, and nobody heard the massive explosion that destroyed the helicopter. That's real "stealth", by anybody's definition. Nobody realised that six aircraft and almost a hundred soldiers had carried out an intense, hour-long armed assault next door to the city's largest military base. Nobody saw anything, nobody heard anything, nobody knew anything, until long after the Americans were safely out of Pakistan. As the BBC would say, "That's just amazing" (*). And while the brave marines were carrying out this heroic and dangerously challenging 77:1 murder assault, the White House staff were watching intently the "live satellite feed" of the entire operation. Obama was very anxious, Hillary Clinton was biting her nails and gasping for breath, and Dick Cheney wet his pants.
(*) That was the foolish BBC comment when televising the faked pulling-down of Saddam's statue.
When the helicopters were safely aboard ship, US military officials, noted worldwide for their deep respect for human life even when it's dead, gave bin Laden a funeral which consisted of "performing traditional religious rites for Islamic burial" on the deck of the American aircraft carrier, where "A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker". Bin Laden's body was washed, his hair shampooed with Head & Shoulders, then he was shrouded in a white sheet, his body placed in a weighted bag, put on a flat board, tipped up and "eased into the Arabian Sea". That's a good story.
What proof do we have that bin Laden was really there and was actually killed in this exercise? Well, first and most importantly, we have the DNA match. We're told that "Hours after bin Laden was killed, his corpse was flown to Afghanistan to be identified through DNA analysis". Readers may not be aware that every well-equipped US commando team carries a genetic lab on almost all missions and are fully trained to do DNA matches over a campfire on a moment's notice. Readers may also not be aware that DNA testing normally requires at least two weeks, and that a horde of scientific authorities immediately dismissed the DNA testing claim as "unadulterated rubbish", but let's let the Americans tell their story.
Bin Laden's 11-year-old daughter confirmed that she saw her father killed, though we were not told to whom she made this apparent confirmation, and unfortunately she was immediately "taken into custody" - no idea why - by the local authorities and seemed to have disappeared. We also had bin Laden's wife who was there and saw her husband killed, but she also was quickly taken into custody and also disappeared. We also had the testimony of one of bin Laden's other wives, the brave one who single-handedly attacked the 77 marines trying to kill her husband, but she'd been shot and was unavailable for an interview. Sadly, we had no witnesses.
Of course, we had the body itself, but according to Hillary the photos were "too gruesome" to ever show anyone - much more gruesome than all the torture and other photos we'd already seen. Plus, the photos couldn't be shown because that might inflame "Anti-American sentiment", and heaven knows we don't want that. We also had live video of the consecration, rites and burial of the body at sea, but unfortunately that video wouldn't be released either. But this raises questions. The US reveled in publicly displaying the corpses of Saddam Hussein's two sons whom they killed in their invasion of Iraq. Why weren't those photos too gruesome for the public to see? Saddam Hussein was taken alive, mocked and ridiculed, put on public trial and subjected to a public hanging. The US was delighted to repeatedly display on TV the video of Moammar Khadaffi being captured, sodomised with a huge knife, and then shot in the head. If that wasn't gruesome, I don't know what would be. But Osama bin Laden's body, penetrated by a single bullet, would have been too disturbing to see.
So we have the US, which is well-known to have the world's most humane, respectful, and religious military that always treats its entire trail of dead (and live) Arab bodies with the utmost reverence, "taking into custody" the corpse of bin Laden. They lovingly wash him, reverently conduct a Muslim funeral rite, then slowly ease his body into the Sea of Question Marks. Is this the same US military that killed Arabs as trophies and collected their severed fingers as souvenirs? Are these the same people who ran Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib? Of the hundreds of Arabs whose deaths at US torture prisons have been documented (and only God knows how many deaths were not documented), were "traditional procedures for Islamic burial followed" for any of those? And why did they toss bin Laden's body into the sea, other than to destroy the only evidence that existed? Well, US officials claimed they didn't feel any country "would accept his remains" for a proper burial but, in the heat of the moment, they probably forgot to ask his parents in Saudi Arabia.
One person (one) said they heard gunfire somewhere
What proof do we have that there was actually a firefight? Well, one "Pakistani citizen" conveniently tweeting from CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia, told us he could hear gunfire. But everyone else in the city must have been busy praying or watching the goats, oblivious to all the gunfire and explosions only meters from their homes. There is no credible documented record of any awareness whatsoever of all this activity by any local residents including the Pakistani military at the seven nearby army bases.
Just so it doesn't go unsaid, Hillary's claim of the "intense, 40-minute firefight" would probably have created a bunch of noise. I mean, we have 77 Marines firing automatic weapons for more than half an hour. "Intense", in the dictionary, is defined as "excessive, extreme and protracted", which does not mean each Marine firing one shot per minute but maybe 30 shots per minute. For 40 minutes. Times 77 Marines. That's more than 100,000 shots, more than enough to wake my dog but apparently insufficient to be heard by the 50,000 Pakistani soldiers who were only a few minutes away. I'm with the BBC on this one. That's just amazing.
It should occur to most readers that for this kind of military operation conducted in close proximity to 50,000 armed and hostile soldiers, the safely permissible in-and-out time is more likely to be two minutes rather than two hours. Anyone needing two hours for a commando raid should stay at home. It should also occur to most thinking people that a 77-person, "intense 40-minute firefight" seems a bit excessive to kill an unarmed man and shoot one of his wives, especially in such a small building where one grenade would end the battle by killing everybody. We were told repeatedly of the long running gun battle, but then the White House, in its eagerness to plug the holes in its story, claimed the commandos went straight to bin Laden at the beginning of the exercise. So they walked upstairs to the top floor, killed their man, then had their intense 40-minute firefight on the way out? What were they doing? Shooting each other?
Nobody heard the aircraft crash
Then we had the strange trouble with the destroyed aircraft that apparently crashed while landing for the raid (a "heart-stopping moment", according to Hillary), and that the commandos destroyed with explosives before departing with bin Laden's soon-to-be-shampooed body. At the risk of appearing picky, the published SEAL photos of the destroyed aircraft raised some questions. Most explosives of my acquaintance tend to rip things apart and scatter the pieces all over hell, but these SEALS apparently had a new "stealth" explosive that totally destroys an aircraft and then gathers all the leftover bits into a neat little pile for the trash man to take away in the morning. Again, just so it doesn't go unsaid, the US military must have a new silent 'stealth' explosive that blows everything up just by whispering, since none of the nearby military bases heard anything. But then, if they didn't hear 100,000 gunshots, maybe we shouldn't be surprised.
More disturbingly, the various explanations behind the White House version of the helicopter crash were clearly nonsense, and anyone with even a small amount of flight experience or knowledge of basic aerodynamics would know the presented "facts" could not be true. First, we were told the helo crashed because it was trapped in "vortices" behind the compound wall. But the only vortex would be that caused by its own rotor blades, the air cushion into which every helicopter descends on every landing. There is no way a chopper can create vortices in an open space so severe as to cause its own destruction. Or, to put it another way, if one aircraft can do this, they will all do it.
When that explanation drew ridicule, the story changed and we were told the crash was due to the chopper being "hot and high", which is a reference to reduced lift being caused by thin air, either due to very high air temperatures or very high altitude. In these conditions, an airplane's wings or a helicopter's rotors cannot produce as much lift because the air is less dense. This usually means it cannot fly as high, or carry as great a load as at a lower altitude or lower temperature. But the aircraft had already supposedly made the trip from Afghanistan to Pakistan in that same temperature and at the same altitude, and would now be carrying a lot less fuel and would be much lighter. Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Misinformation Committee, clarified that "The air temperature in the compound was hotter than expected and the helicopter was too heavy to stay aloft under that condition", which is just patent nonsense. If the helicopter wasn't too heavy to have flown hundreds of miles to its destination, it certainly wasn't too heavy to land.
In response to massive public skepticism, the White House admitted that its initial account of the killing of bin Laden had been riddled with errors, but claimed they were trying to provide as much information as possible while "in the heat of the moment" during an "intense battle". But who was in that intense battle? The White House PR staff? The "battle", if there was one, was taking place 15,000 Kms away on the other side of the world, but we are to believe the ten-year-olds in the White House and State Department were so excited at watching someone die they made hundreds of errors in crafting their little tale.
One of the more comical, if unforgivable, lies in this narrative was the widely-publicised photo of President Obama, Hillary Clinton and about a dozen White House and Military staff gathered in front of what purported to be a TV screen, all watching "by special satellite link" the live action by the SEAL team in bin Laden's compound. When experts quickly detailed this as a ridiculous impossibility, the White House abandoned the claim but the fake photo will exist forever. Initially, the White House claimed they had live video but chose not to release it, but in the face of Obama's shaky story the White House had to admit there was no video and that the entire White House "Bin Laden Situation Room" photo session was indeed a fake. Neither Obama nor Clinton ever apologised for this astonishing lie.
The irregularities did not end there. Three months later, a Chinook helicopter was shot down at a US military base in Afghanistan, apparently killing all 38 people on board including the entire US Navy SEAL Team six, the same ones that supposedly entered Pakistan and killed bin Laden. The Chinook is an old, vulnerable, and largely useless helicopter, but if we need to destroy an aircraft for show, no need to waste a good one. A multitude of eyewitnesses claimed the helicopter was brought down by fire from within the US military compound, but US officials desperately insisted this was not the case. In a continuing run of bad luck, American officials claimed the bodies were so badly burnt that they were forced to cremate them immediately since they were under a tight deadline to make all the evidence disappear. As with both 9/11 and the Bin Laden raid, there are no survivors, no bodies, no photos, and no evidence to prove the government's creative version of events. There is no evidence that any persons were aboard that Chinook helicopter but, to strengthen the narrative, we're told the families of the non-existent but nevertheless dead Navy SEALs sued the US government, claiming the shooting of the helicopter was planned as part of a cover-up for its own lies.
But challenges to the story still wouldn't die, and the Americans continued inventing new details in their desperation to plug the holes. In July of 2013 we learned of a "Confidential Top-Secret Special Report" - attributed to Pakistani authorities but actually written by the CIA - which was "obtained and leaked" by Al-Jazeera, the US government's newly-purchased Middle East mouthpiece. The report makes a desperate attempt to lend credibility to the increasingly shaky official US narrative by pretending official (if secret) Pakistani admission of the fabricated "facts". It particularly noted that the Pakistan Defense Forces failed to detect six American aircraft entering and remaining in Pakistani airspace for hours, and that the first Pakistani fighter jets were scrambled 30 minutes after the Americans had already exited Pakistan with Bin Laden's body - in other words, more than three hours after the escapade had ended. "The extent of incompetence, to put it mildly, was astounding, if not unbelievable", the report said, purporting to represent Pakistani admission of their own stupidity, but this was just more nonsense because no Pakistani would express those sentiments in that way. The expression itself and the words used were 100% American.
Where did the report come from?
It was unclear how tiny al-Jazeera would have gotten a copy of such a report unless it were given to them by the CIA authors who also happened to be their owners. Pakistani government officials refused to comment on the veracity of the Al Jazeera report. Al Jazeera officials refused to comment on the veracity of the CIA report. The US State Department refused to comment on anything.
In a too-clever-by-half comment, the report criticises the US for its failure to have captured bin Laden earlier, although to be fair to the Americans the report claims bin Laden was a master of disguises, having once worn a cowboy hat to avoid detection. That would do it. If you want to disappear in Pakistan, the best way is to wear an American cowboy hat which works like a Harry Potter invisibility cloak.
But the irregularities still didn't want to end. In October of 2013, we had Navy Seal team six - the same one that killed bin Laden and was itself killed in the helicopter crash - magically resurrected and launching a failed raid in Somalia in search of "terrorists" who orchestrated a bombing in Nairobi. These Americans are like zombies; we keep killing them but they won't remain dead. At last report, lawyers for the families of these un-dead vampire SEALs were uncertain how to proceed with their lawsuits.
Then more challenges. Under a recent court order, some internal US military emails on this bin Laden matter were released, but were heavily blacked out and provided no useful information except to deny that any evidence exists. It seems that the US Defense Department "looked everywhere" but could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or aboard the ship, and no photos at all of bin Laden's body. This lack of evidence results in part from the fact that "Nobody was permitted to watch Osama bin Laden's burial at sea." No idea why. As well, the Pentagon had also looked everywhere, but was been unable to produce an autopsy report, a death certificate, or the results of the DNA tests.
To ensure continuation of this state of affairs, the US ordered all files about the bin Laden raid to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA where they could be "more easily shielded from public scrutiny". What evidence do we have that anything actually happened in Pakistan? None whatsoever. But the story still wouldn't die. Not long after these above events, journalists and others began filing numerous reports from sailors aboard the US naval vessel where bin Laden's body was supposedly tidied up prior to disposal, and apparently they claim to a man that the entire story was a hoax, that their ship had experienced no such event.
A long list of individuals including former CIA and military officers, foreign government officials and heads of state, and even former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had testified that bin Laden had been dead for years but that his "death" would only be announced at a politically expedient time. "In April 2002, CFR member Steve Pieczenik, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, and James Baker, stated in a TV interview then that Bin Laden had already been "dead for months". He stated what many already knew, that bin Laden had severe kidney disease that forced him to travel with dialysis machines, and that he had died of renal failure in 2001."
More seriously, Pieczenik also stated that the December 2001 video of a Bin Laden look-alike "taking responsibility" for 9/11 was "just a hoax" designed to "manipulate" people about the real perpetrators of 9/11. Even the respected veteran newsman Walter Cronkite labeled that entire bin Laden video a farce and called it "a Karl Rove-orchestrated set-up". A CIA official said, "It is quite possible a false or partial narrative was given of how bin Laden was found. Intelligence can only function in silence and in the dark. In this case, it was a PR operation, not an actual military one, but the value to Washington was seen as even greater than an actual military victory on the field". A simpler translation is that the whole story was just another Hollywood-scripted fabrication, a PR stunt used to create a nationally-celebrated event to bolster support for an increasingly unpopular war.
US officials were surprisingly stubborn in their persistence with this tale, and surprisingly imaginative too. The CIA paid someone in Hollywood a lot of money to produce a simplistic trashy movie about the raid and the killing of bin Laden, and must have exerted enormous pressure on someone to have this boring and non-descript film put in the cinemas. It appears that Osama bin Laden is indeed dead, but there is no evidence of any kind that his death was related to the made-for-TV American version of events. Why did the US media continue to support this outrageous tale? On the subject of a newspaper openly challenging the official White House story of bin Laden, one reporter said, "it wouldn't be worth their life to try".
But the story still wouldn't die. In the end, after almost all was lost and Obama and the establishment had vacated virtually all claims made, we had yet another attempt to preserve at least the contrived fiction of the Americans 'bringing down' bin Laden. Seymour Hersh produced a fine book that trashed all the original White House story details, to no particular purpose since those details had already been thoroughly eviscerated by multiple writers for years. But the book and its surrounding publicity did have a purpose - to perpetuate the myth of the valiant SEALS killing bin Laden and, in a particularly mean-spirited fit of afterthought, noting the confiscation of bin Laden's (hitherto non-existent) library of porn. Talk about kicking a man when he's down.
When insiders in the State Department and intelligence agencies confirm independently that bin Laden had been dead for years, it takes a special kind of anti-conspiracy theory conspiracy theorist to continue the conspiracy theory that Captain America got his man. The question that needs to be asked is what motivated Hersh to write that book, but nobody wants to ask.
Mr. Romanoff's writing has been translated into 28 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English-language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney's new anthology 'When China Sneezes'. His full archive can be seen at https://www.moonofshanghai.com/ and http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/ He can be contacted at: email@example.com.