Categorized | Pakistan & Kashmir

The Fog of War and the Murder of Osama Bin Laden – the inevitable war against Pakistan



Irfan Salah Butt

Will Obama now be able to declare war on Pakistan who have a stated nuclear capability and have admitted to having caught terrorists on their own soil?

The raid on 2nd May 2011 is about as mysterious as the attack on the twin towers on 9/11 itself. If conspiracy theorists and people all over the world do not fully trust the Obama administration can they be blamed? This is not the first time an American administration has been caught fabricating stories and events around the world in the name of national security and foreign policy. The events of 2nd May 2011 perfectly fit Obama’s policy of bringing Osama bin Laden to “justice” and widening the War on Terror into Pakistan, as people who understand the mechanics of US foreign policy should be fully aware. Was it a great intelligence plan and befitting reply to the ISI for their audacity in dismantling the terror network of Raymond Davis in Pakistan or just a simple raid to kill the world’s most wanted terrorist?

The raid that took place in Abbotabad in the early hours of the morning of 2 May 2011 was reported more like a Hollywood script as opposed to a professional operation staged by the ever so brave, wonderful, elite, perfect, Rambo-esque, no mistakes Navy Seals. The professional reality makers went to work as the might of the Obama media machine went into full swing. There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden was killed in that house on that day by the best elite within the elite commando force in the world. This was the objective of the press briefings and that is how the western media followed sheep like into the clutches of the Obama administration.

Three days later, however, and the world is realising that the story that was told on the morning of the 2nd May 2011 is changing. You can fool most of the American people most of the time but you cannot fool the rest of the world all the time. America lost the moral high ground years ago: Extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Waterboarding, Drone attacks, Aafia Siddiqui, Blackwater, Raymond Davis – the list is endless. Most people outside of the West do not trust the US administration and they have every right not to. American lies and cover ups have become the norm in the War on Terror which Muslims around the world feel is a war on Islam where lawlessness and anarchy reign supreme and where a blood-thirsty American people will accept anything the US administration does on its behalf. There is no place for chivalry in this war as the enemy is not an enemy but an evil ideology that threatens the very way of life of the Western world. The rhetoric has worked so much that the invasion of a sovereign country and the cold blooded murder of an unarmed man “identified” as Osama Bin Laden and the attempted kidnap of women and children is tolerated by the freedom loving people of the West as justified. Is it surprising if the rest of the world does not share the idealistic vision of human rights, freedom and justice as interpreted by the US administration?

The fire fight that took place between the Navy Seals and Osama bin Laden was very quickly ditched for a different story altogether. Maybe the lack of bullet holes in the building after a 40 minute fire fight was a fog of war too far. Going down in a blaze of glory and martyrdom may not have whetted the appetite of the American people even if it was falsely claimed that he was using women as human shields. In fact the change of heart is so embarrassing that it only further indicates the fabrication and lies that the US administration have concocted to gain maximum political leverage from the whole affair.

The conflict of statements between Obama and Leon Panetta (the serving head of the CIA) was never more telling than in their respective responses to the killing and the events on the ground. Panetta opines that had Osama surrendered he would have been taken alive as per CIA policy (one wonders how and when that is exactly followed). Obama clearly stated that the mission was a search and kill type operation. If the former is believed and as we are now told that Osama bin Laden was not armed, then why was a second shot required to make sure he was dead? Surely he could have been shot in the leg as was his alleged wife and taken alive. The reality is that nobody is quite sure what the law is anymore as it can only be interpreted by those that are prosecuting the War on Terror. One would have the thought that the head of the CIA and the President of the USA (a Harvard trained lawyer) would be well briefed on the position in law – but then again the US has always dealt with the war as one where its actions are lawful in domestic and international law so long as they fulfil national interests. No surprise then that the Attorney General defended the killing yet Geoffrey Robertson QC (international and criminal law expert) has pointed to the dangers of the precedent that is set. Others would say what he found difficult to – that it was cold blooded murder.

Accordingly as Obama himself has argued it could be said that those killed on 911 did not have burials and were shown no mercy. If that is a principle which creates a basis for what the “elite and brave” unit of the Navy Seals did then the entire system of justice in the USA is undermined or fails to exist – or maybe this is another exceptional case in an exceptional war? When those accused of crimes are murdered by the state something that is fundamentally wrong with the world is perpetrated by those pretending to defend it. With it comes the demise and inevitable end of the American empire. Oppression and injustice has never in the history of the world led to freedom and liberty.

If one is to believe the astonishing story of the body of Osama bin Laden being thrown into the sea the US administration could not have done a better job to add insult to injury and incite further violence against itself. The amazing deference shown by the US in burying the body within a few hours of the raid in the middle of the sea must break all records in the history of Islam. It also shows the utter hatred of the enemy and fear of a man that dared to challenge the might of the superpower of our times. Sea burials are as much from Islam as is eating pork. Both situations are permissible where it is borne out of necessity. The body was taken from land to sea and so no such necessity existed. As the Mufti of Dubai correctly stated he could have been buried on any piece of land anywhere in the world in secret. No “shrine” would have been created. Was this not a deliberate attempt to humiliate the sensitivities of the enemies of the USA while at the same time appease the blood thirsty, feed-him-to-the-sharks, American public?

The sea burial however is the most mystifying aspect to the whole episode and perhaps gives us a clue as to what really happened on 2nd May 2011. The fact of the matter is that the US administration has decided not to release pictures of the murdered body of Osama bin Laden and nobody will ever be able to verify his death or body as it is now allegedly sitting somewhere at the bottom of the Arabian Sea. The only “evidence” we have of his killing is from the US administration which has historically lied to the world and covered up its actions in the name of national interests.

The ongoing conflict between the CIA and the ISI in the war on terror and the recent Raymond Davis debacle points to a theory that is plausible to those familiar with the ground realities in Pakistan. It is inconceivable that the ISI would be unaware that the most wanted man, perhaps in the history of the world, was a few metres from the Pakistan Military academy. The whole foreign policy dispute of the entire region is that Pakistan is harbouring terrorists. India and Afghanistan were the first to say “we told you so” and now Pakistan is under immense pressure to give explanations. It is thus out of the question that the ISI was complicit in giving safe passage to Osama bin Laden. There are better places than an obvious three 3 storey house on a main road that was once allegedly used by Abu Faraj Al-Libi (the ISI captured high ranking Al Qaeda operative) as a hideout in May 2005. Pakistan has aided the USA more than any other country in the War on Terror and thus it makes no sense that it would harbour Osama bin Laden. Equally if for some other reason he was being given a safe haven he would not have been found even if a thousand Raymond Davis’ were on the ground in Abbotabad or any other city in Pakistan. Osama bin Laden would have been kept in a secret prison within a secret prison with no contact to the outside world whatsoever. The ISI would not risk the international condemnation and reprisals by putting him in a safe house on a main road in an open district of Abbotabad. It is simply not possible.

The audacity of the ISI in breaking the CIA network with the capture of Raymond Davis (who many believe was the Station Head of the CIA) and subsequent arrest of hundreds of operatives which would have been built up after years of hard work and the loss of many lives is the real reason this mission took place. The biggest drone attack to date against civilians in Waziristan followed the day after the release of Raymond Davis as the US released its anger and frustration at its “strategic partner”. It is interesting to note that Raymond Davis (a possible nom de guerre used by the CIA) shares his name with a nuclear Physicist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate. Was this a mere coincidence?

With the sea burial and lack of photographic evidence is it not entirely plausible that Osama bin Laden was not in the house that was raided on 2nd May 2011? The US administration has already accepted they did not know for sure that he was there prior to the raid and initial reports suggested that they were only sure of a high value target. It is plausible that the raid was successful in killing members of his family or another high value target. It may be that the US administration has very credible intelligence that Osama Bin Laden was killed in a previous battle or of natural causes. They may have obtained video evidence of the same which would lead to the confidence in assuring that he “will never walk on the face of the world again”.

To gain maximum political leverage Obama “informs” the whole world that Osama bin Laden is dead and phase two of the inevitable war against Pakistan is activated (phase one being the drone attacks): the use of select ground operations against targets within Pakistan. The fact that this constitutes an act of war in violation of international law seems to be under the radar as the law givers once again re-interpret domestic and international law to suit their national interests.

One would expect a sovereign Pakistan to demand evidence for the murder of Osama bin Laden and warn the US not to violate its airspace and sovereignty again. Further if we are to believe the last account of what happened, Osama bin Laden was shot “above the left eye with part of his skull blown off”. Surely some of his DNA can be found in the house that he purportedly lived in for 6 months. Hair, skin fibres, fingerprints can easily be taken by the ISI to verify his presence. Failure to provide any evidence whatsoever renders the whole episode a figment of a defeated American imagination.

If the Pakistani government can prove that Osama Bin Laden was not there in the first place it may well give them the diplomatic offensive it so desperately needs to prevent the war that Obama so desperately craves. Failing to stop phase two of the war will merely mean that the US administration is ever emboldened to carry out more drone attacks and commando type raids in violation of international law and the sovereignty of Pakistan. In due course this could escalate to sanctions, air strikes and an all out war which looks all the more inevitable if the strategic objective of neutralising the nuclear assets of Pakistan is to be realised. Bush went to war with Iraq under the pretext of terror and weapons of mass destruction with no evidence whatsoever and in violation of international law without the support of the international community. Will Obama not be able to declare war on Pakistan who have a stated nuclear capability and have admitted to having caught terrorists on their own soil? Perhaps the real shots that were fired on 2nd May 2011 were political in nature, setting the new rules of engagement that the US administration is prepared to take in the next phase of the War on Terror.

Irfan Salah Butt
Barrister at Law
Legal Advisor to Cageprisoners

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