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Pentagon backtracks on claims that Bin Laden put up a fight



Latest version of events contradicts claim that al-Qa’ida leader was killed in firefight

By Rupert Cornwell,

The Independent

As President Obama made his pilgrimage to Ground Zero in New York, new details emerged yesterday suggesting that the commando raid that killed the world’s most wanted terrorist in Pakistan on Monday was a far more one-sided affair than original official US accounts suggested.

According to a new version provided by Pentagon officials, of the five people killed in the commando raid in which Osama bin Laden was shot dead, only one was armed and fired a shot. He was Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, the courier whose identification and shadowing led American agents to the fortified compound on the outskirts of Abbottabad where the al-Qa’ida leader was hiding.

After shooting Mr Kuwaiti dead in the guest house, along with a woman who was there, the US Navy Seals moved on to the main building and no further shots were fired in resistance, the officials said, painting a somewhat different picture from the prolonged firefight initially described. The raid culminated with the killing of Bin Laden on the top floor of the compound residence proper.

The raid lasted approximately 40 minutes. But at the moment of his death, the terrorist leader was not carrying a weapon, though some accounts suggest an AK-47 rifle and a pistol were on a table close by. The officials now describe the assault on the main residence as a “precision, floor-by-floor operation” in which the courier’s brother and Bin Laden’s son Khaled were shot dead, before the commando team reached the room containing Bin Laden.

Officials blame the confusion on the “fog of war”, and their desire to provide as much early information as possible to the media. They say that what precisely happened has been established only now that the Seals who took part in the raid have been properly debriefed.

But the changing story has removed a little lustre from the most triumphal national security moment of the Obama presidency. Originally, Bin Laden was supposed to have died in a massive gunfight, using his wife as a human shield, cornered in a house that was supposed to be the lap of luxury.

The Obama administration now says it will give no further details of the raid – which appears to have used “stealth” helicopters, fuelling worries that the wreckage of one that crashed could be shipped to China to reveal its technological secrets – following the President’s decision not to release death photos of Bin Laden.

But the impression persists that the administration sought to cast the operation in the most heroic light possible, at the expense of the facts. That in turn could stoke new demands for publication of the photos, should further discrepancies emerge.

Meanwhile, another Saudi terrorist – Khaled Hathal al-Qahtani, linked to Al Qai’da and the 13th most wanted man in his home country – was apprehended in a less violent manner earlier this week when he handed himself in. In any case, it will soon be partisan business as usual again in US politics. Yesterday, Vice-President Joe Biden opened talks with top congressional leaders on how to reduce the federal deficit.

The debt argument, pitting Republicans demanding spending cuts against Democrats determined to protect key social programmes such as Medicare and Social Security, is the issue that may above all decide whether Mr Obama wins a second term in November 2012.

Even as the President was in New York, the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, declared his party would not vote to raise the US debt limit, due to be hit within weeks, without “trillions of dollars” of spending cuts.

The death of national enemy No 1 Osama bin Laden has created a rare moment of unity between the parties. It is unlikely to last.

Who was the raid’s four-legged hero?

As the clamour for answers over the shooting of Osama bin Laden grows, one unexpected mystery is emerging from the fog of war: was the 80th member of the elite commando squad a German Shepherd or a Belgian Malinois? And was it decked out in its tan or camouflage green waterproof vest?

Soon after the raid in the early hours of Monday morning, US security officials revealed that one dog had taken part in the operation to kill or capture the al-Qa’ida chief. It has since been hailed as America’s most courageous canine, but like the rest of the elite Seal Team 6 that descended from helicopters and into the fray, its identity remains classified.

Dogs used by US Navy Seal teams were last year kitted out in waterproof tan or camouflage vests equipped with night-vision cameras and speakers so their handlers can shout orders at them remotely, according to a report in the New York Times. Nij Islam, head trainer with the UK-based Elite K9, which trains dogs for security services worldwide, said that although a parachuting canine may seem far-fetched, all it takes is solid training – and a plucky disposition.

“You just need a dog with a stable temperament – not a nervous dog – with a lot of confidence, a very strong nerve,” he said. In a situation such as the Pakistan raid, the dog could have been used to sniff out the human target, ensure there were no explosives, or bring down any suspect trying to flee. Mr Islam said only German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Herders would be up to the job.

Dogs are increasingly being deployed in war zones, where they are often used to hunt out deadly roadside bombs.

So Dusty could have been “taken alive” to use a Bushism. He wasn’t armed, there weren’t any female human shields; there was no fire fight. Total contradiction to what was announced at the beginning ! The “fog of war” ?

But we were lead to beleive that obuma and his team were watching the ‘action’ live.

Flag Like ReplyReply   PaddyMiguel  2 hours ago

US claims to have buried one body at sea to prevent a shrine being created. They admit killing others including OBL’s son. What happened to those bodies? Why was only one buried at sea? If the Pakistanis don’t raze the ‘million dollar’ compound in Abbotabad it’s going to receive more visitors than Graceland. No photo of a dead body will ever convince the non-believers (including me) that OBL was shot dead in the early hours of 2 May 2011 in Pakistan.

Flag smokescreen7863 liked this Like ReplyReply   Tom.  3 hours ago

While the West insists war with Pakistan is untenable, one would have thought framing Pakistan with one of the most ridiculous hoaxes in recent history – claiming to find Bin Laden on the doorstep of Pakistan’s military academy – was equally untenable.

Anwar al-Awlaki is the new Bin Laden. He also dined at the Pentagon, according to documents obtained by Fox News.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 1 more liked this Like ReplyReply   southernview  3 hours ago

One reason perhaps why the accounts of the U.S. raid had to be changed is that bin Laden’s wife and daughter are still alive. They are the only people who know the truth. Originally it was claimed his wife had been used as a human shield and shot dead.
If, as it seems highly likely, the U.S. is staging a cover up on parts on the events they will be offered a huge ammount of money to disappear to a safe country.
Flag 2 people liked this. Like ReplyReply   Tom.  4 hours ago

In light of the string of the blatant falsehoods being announced by the U.S. government these days. it’s interesting that so many people still believe whatever they are told by “official” sources.

It brings up the question of the functioning of their brains: How could a person swallow official information so gullibly and so completely without even asking commonsense questions about the reliability or factual basis of that information?

People who operate from The Gullible Mind tend to have misplaced trust in governments.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 3 more liked this Like ReplyReply   mr_bridger  4 hours ago

Can’t wait to see the movie on DVD with Alternative Endings.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 1 more liked this Like ReplyReply   FrankLe  4 hours ago

The only thing thing that is ‘true’ in this whole episode is that someone feels we need lying to, again.

OBL might have gone down wielding a machine gun or he may, as Benazir Bhutto stated, have been dead for years. I suggest we have about as much chance of knowing what happened as we do of knowing what happened in Dealy Plazza. But if arguing about how many Navy Seals can dance on a grassy knoll draws attention from the big picture then “Mission Accomplished”
Flag smokescreen7863 and 1 more liked this Like ReplyReply   Andrew Strachan  2 hours ago in reply to FrankLe

you’re missing the point! what type of dog was it? and, for the love of God!, what was it wearing!?
Flag desertratinwales liked this Like ReplyReply   Arion444  4 hours ago

Backtracked? The Pentagon and the CIA provided all the original info to the press, so why double-back on your own propaganda?

Flush this whole thing down the memory hole!
Flag smokescreen7863 liked this Like ReplyReply   Arion444  4 hours ago

Backtracks? The Pentagon and CIA floated all of the intial info to the press, so why double-back on their own propaganda?

Flush that down the memory hole!
Flag Like ReplyReply   Bryan Hemming  5 hours ago

This little diversion has been staged to draw everyone’s attention form the financial bubble, which is about to burst, bringng down the twin towers of the US financial system and the military industrial complex the US can no longer afford.

The banks of the world are engaged in global financial terrorism, There is no other description for actions that threaten the lives, incomes and homes of everyone without a snout in the trough. The dollar is on the verge of collapse, as financiers put their cash into gold, silver and commodities, while pretending the markets are still trading in stocks and shares by using virtual trading conducted by computers with money conjured out of cyberspace. That money does not exist. It’s just a matter of ‘when’ the dollar will fall.

The military industrial complex has been haemorrhaging the US economy since the 1950′s, as President Eisenhower predicted it would if it wasn’t stopped. The US military desperately needs to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan because it has overstretched itself at a time when the Middle East is the most unstable it has been in decades. They should’ve seen it coming.

Though little ever appears in the Western press, apart from Bahrain, Syria, the Yemen, Libya et al, there have been problems in Saudi Arabia for a long time. The US and Europe chose to ignore them because it was more profitable to buy oil and sell arms to a greedy elite prepared to kill and torture its own in order to hang onto power and riches. They didn’t want to even think of it spoilng the party they’ve been having for years.

As many ordinary people have been quoting both to journalists, and in these comments sections, the killing of Osama bin Laden will not put an end to terrorism and will probably increase it.

How much more are we going to take? The wars our leaders keep on starting are responsible for causing far more terrorism than they claim to prevent. If our political, financial, and military leaders can’t stop their addiction to power and money that threatens to destroy the planet we have to stand up against them.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 3 more liked this Like ReplyReply   JaitcH  5 hours ago

What an anti-climax. No sleeping with a gun under the pillow?

Still, with a couple of Hollywood screen writers and a whole lot of cgi, they could jazz it up and make it look like real confrontation where the U.S.A. wins again.

At least bin Laden dies facing his enemies and wasn’t in hiding in a foxhole like our other hero Saddam.
Flag Arion444 and 2 more liked this Like ReplyReply   gacman  5 hours ago

When will the bloody yanks learn to keep their stupid mouths shut until they have their stories straight? Same thing every time. Amateurs.
Flag desertratinwales and 3 more liked this Like ReplyReply   jahkemet  5 hours ago

The narrative changed after they remembered that Bin Laden’s 12 year old daughter was a witness to the shooting and could give a different account. It has also been revealed by his Yemeni wife that he had not left his bedroom for the past 5 years. This would suggest that he may have been seriously ill or even a cripple at the time of his assassination.
Flag 4 people liked this. Like ReplyReply   Martin Boyle  6 hours ago

big brave soldiers.

Flag Steve_I and 2 more liked this Like ReplyReply   lettus  6 hours ago

The reason why Osama bin Laden has been “killed” now is so that the UK and US governments can claim that any terrorist attacks are not their own stupid fault for invading Libya, but are reprisals from Osama bin Laden’s supporters.

As we see, Cameron and Obama are already pursuing this spin …

The fact that Osama bin Laden’s “death” has been turned into a media event shows that that is just what it is – spin. Otherwise, they would have kept it quiet, in order not to stir up the terrorists.

I have sadly come to the conclusion that the UK and US governments like terrorist attacks in their own countries because people’s fear of a deathly enemy helps to distract criticism of their own governments. You know, like in wartime – people band together, and are far less likely to complain about not having any money and the failings of their government if they are in fear of their lives.

Terrorism also gives governments a reason to interfere even more in people’s liberties.

After all, if they were really concerned to quell terrorism then they wouldn’t have invaded Libya, which will no doubt cause new terrorist attacks. I actually think that one of the reasons for invading Libya was to stir up a bit more terrorism, because terrorist activity has been a bit too quiet recently for their liking.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 8 more liked this Like ReplyReply   desertratinwales  7 minutes ago in reply to lettus

governments love anything that keeps people occupied from what’s really going on. If as many people that tuned into and cared about the royal wedding, tuned into and cared about what’s going on politically and financially, it’d surely be a better place. They’ve had a double whammy the last few weeks and I’m sure are pleased with the attention going from royal nuptuals straight to killing the icon of terror.
Flag Like ReplyReply   Steve_I  6 hours ago

It makes you wonder whether the White House is congenitally unable to tell the truth. I just can’t buy all this “fog of war” baloney. How could they get the story so badly wrong given the external monitoring they have in place for these missions?

There was a picture of Obama, Clinton and others allegedly watching the action live. Now they’re saying the cameras were “switched off” for 25 minutes. Come on, how stupid do they think people are?

Even if you don’t have any sympathy for Bin Laden (I don’t), the blatant lies accompanying this mess are disgusting. There’s also the flood of stories about the “elite of the elite” commandoes the media has been harping on about. For god’s sake, at most there was one armed man – the rest were summarily executed, possibly after having surrendered. Not exactly a mission you’d want to boast about – or be involved in if you had any self-respect.
Flag Martin Boyle and 8 more liked this Like ReplyReply   David Forkit  5 hours ago in reply to Steve_I

“Come on, how stupid do they think people are?”
This is exactly the problem – they know how stupid peolpe are. Wrap anything up in a patriotic flag (especially the American one) and the public swallow it without question
Flag Steve_I and 3 more liked this Like ReplyReply   fairpetethebold  6 hours ago

So a doggy, a German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois was probably the real hero of the commando raid to get Bin laden, always said a dog is a man’s best friend, give that dog a bone!
Flag 1 person liked this. Like ReplyReply   TAG22  6 hours ago

He was shot because he might have been wearing a bomb vest…yeah right…for five years he had been living in one room…with a suicide vest strapped to him…even whilst he slept…just like that Mr de Menezes…
Flag 5 people liked this. Like ReplyReply   TAG22  6 hours ago

Think of this, if the papers had printed the pictures of the piles of bodies, the muderous effects of concentrated shelling, during the Great War does anybody seriously think that the war would have gone on for as long as it did. If pictures of bin Laden were to be published it would be open for all to see the effect of firing a flat headed drilled out bullet into somebody’s brain, like was done to Mr de Menezes, and to see what an assassination by the State looks like. The President should apologise, there should have been a trial, there should be proper process of law, just what sort of lawyer was he. It is not silly to point out that this was an assassination, that the ends do not justify the means. This was an illegal act.
Flag gacman and 4 more liked this Like ReplyReply   TAG22  6 hours ago

Many journalists are so closely linked to the media sections of government that they know that they have to report it from the perspective of the government, and their agencies. It is only when ‘the serious’ commentators get hold of the ‘story’ that press releases are shown to be mostly based on fiction, and not fact. Consider Harry in Afghanistan, and the censorship by the media. This all goes back to the Great War, and the reporting on it, originally journalists given free access, then the brutality, then the losses.
Flag 1 person liked this. Like ReplyReply   TomPayne2  7 hours ago

Richard Nixon, the master of lies once said “it’s not the big lie they get you on, it’s the little one”. The real truth about OBL could not afford to come out. OBL was a CIA asset (friend of GH Bush – CIA director in 1970s), used to channel $6bn of US and Saudi taxpayers’ money to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. That money started arriving in Afghanistan in July 1979, 5 months prior to the Russian “invasion” under the terms of an official order by President Carter. Zbigniew Brzezinski designed Russia’s “Vietnam” and has attested to this in an article in the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998. OBL knew about the 1993 Trade Centre attack (red flag operation to clear the building for two weeks to install explosives for 9/11) and the subsequent US actions across the middle east. He had to die, armed or not. The US government is not your friend.
Flag 8 people liked this. Like ReplyReply   Hesperidean  8 hours ago

I think Osama Bin Laden being captured alive would have been a more dangerous person than dead. I’d say the US chose the lesser of two evils.

Flag 1 person liked this. Like ReplyReply   revelation100  8 hours ago

The USA has given
Al Qaeda (who were fast becoming a less effective terrorist organisation) a great media boost and added fuel to ignite more to join them, haven’t they?
Flag 1 person liked this. Like ReplyReply   grey_rage  7 hours ago in reply to revelation100

Perhaps that was there intention. It’s hard to justify billions spent on terror, when there have been no terror attacks in years, in the countries doing the spending.

Are they trying to provoke attacks to justify the continued spend ?
Flag gacman and 4 more liked this Like ReplyReply   revelation100  8 hours ago in reply to revelation100

Sorry about the repeat post but for some reason my posts become fragmented when published… wonder what’s going on?
Flag Like ReplyReply   Pragmatist  8 hours ago

The inability of the administration to get the story straight is leading to the inevitable conspiracy theories of what happened. I would hope that any conspiracy would be run slightly better than what we are seeing and so the outcome looks more like a cock up and there are good reasons to believe this is the case.

Partly the problem of the multiple stories of what happened is the result of the way Americans manage groups.

They profess to love teams which may be true but some of us are old enough to remember the fiasco of ‘Operation Eagle Claw’ when team obsession and dynamics was identified as a key contributor to the failure of the mission. Get too many people involved with different skill levels and objectives and a suboptimal outcome is inevitable. It now seems that the obsession with team representation has infected not the mission but the command centre with the cast of thousands watching the mission live.

A cynic may posit that it actually means they want everybody in the room to make sure that if there is a problem the blame is nicely shared. Supposing the assault was a complete mess and they ended up shooting a gay hairdresser called Colin who resembled OBL? Obama would not want Hillary et al holding anonymous briefings that she was against the mission or would have handled it differently. Remember she is another ‘miltary expert’ who is incapable of determining if she is under sniper fire at an airport, her view would count and with 2012 around the corner she would want to run if Obama botched it! Biden can barely be trusted to string a sentence together, you don’t want him off message. So Johnson’s modern law states you need them not in the tent but in the command centre watching the screen and in the group photos, but that has consequences. They will leave the room and start basking in their glory with Fox and CNN.

Then there is the miserable record of this administration, health care failed, economy in the tank etc etc, ‘Yes we can’ becomes ‘if only we could’. If this was to be good news then everybody wants a piece, remember ‘success has many fathers…’. So we end up with a room full of people, the vast majority of whom have no idea what they are watching on the screen, very few have any military experience and most have a record of failure to date. What they do have is a highly developed sense of self promotion and so leave the room and give press briefings on what they have ‘heard or seen’. As the joke goes, there may be no ‘I’ in team but there is a ‘me’ if you look carefully enough.

Another contributory factor is the American obsession with technology and what it gives, the ability for people to watch. Headcams are now common and they are a menace. This was a military operation, it should have been left to the military until it was over and a full military debrief carried out. What contribution was Joe Biden, the head of Homeland Security and Hillary Clinton making to a military operation? Why were they there at all? Biden did everything he could to avoid military service but is quite happy to watch others carrying it out on TV! The video may be of use to the military after the operation but it has no business being shown to politicos during the mission who will then brief on their impression of what they saw.

So, conspiracy or cock up? I doubt these people are intellectually capable of carrying out a major conspiracy. What is more likely is that the egos, group dynamics and the abject performance of this administration led to a perfect storm of incompetence and glory seeking that resulted in the chaos and which ensured that conspiracy theorists and our enemies will have a field day.

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