Killing Osama bin Laden, Update 2021

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Photo: Pete Souza, Official White House Photographer, 4.06 pm EST, 1 May 2011, Situation room

Featured Photo: Pete Souza, Official White House Photographer, 4.06 pm EST, 1 May 2011, Situation room

ORT_Logo  Breadtag Sagas ©: Author Tony, 1 February 2021

The Killing of Osama bin Laden, Update 2021


In July to September 2015, I wrote three articles on The Last Days of Osama bin Laden. These were: 1 Abbottabad, 28 July 2015; 2 9/11, 9 August 2015and 3 The Killing 8 September 2015.

(For some reason article 1 was inadvertently erased (my incompetence), and I reposted it immediately on 19 February 2018, in case you are confused.)

Denise and I had spent a couple of days in Abbottabad in 1995 and knew a bit about the location. Osama bin Laden’s residence and compound was constructed in 2005. Osama bin Laden lived there from 2006, until the raid on the compound by a covert team of US Navy SEALS (from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan) and the ‘killing’ of Osama bin Laden on 2 May 2011.

The reason I wrote the articles in 2015 was that I had been uneasy about the US claims about the death of Osama bin Laden since 2011. In particular, I thought that it was impossible that no one in Pakistan knew bin Laden was there, as Abbottabad is a major military cantonment. I also thought it most unlikely that the US would have mounted the raid, without some type of approval from the Pakistani military or ISI (Pakistan Inter-services Intelligence Service). President Obama didn’t strike me as that gung ho.

I decided that having begun a blog in 2015 I should investigate and at least decide for myself what had happened.

I’ve reread the three blogs and don’t really think that there is anything that I would change. Nevertheless, a lot has happened in the past five years and an update is warranted.

Seymour Hersh

Seymour Hersh is a senior and respected investigative journalist who exposed the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1969 and the mistreatment of prisoners by the US military at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004. Coincidentally, Seymour Hersh, published a bombshell expose entitled The Killing of Osama bin Laden in the London Review of Books on 21 May 2015, just as I was beginning my task.

Hersh’s 19-page account provided a logical alternative to the official US government version of what had happened, which was more consistent and contained the ring of truth, according to Carlotta Gall, a senior British journalist with in-depth experience of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nonetheless, Hersh has been described as a conspiracy theorist by some of his critics. His assertions on certain things, such as, that the Assad regime in Syria did not use chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, have been discredited.

Hersh is also heavily criticised for his use of anonymous sources (even though these are partly justified because he is relying on personal communications from sources in the bureaucracy, the military and the security agencies).

My approach was to take Hersh with a grain-of-salt, but also to use his account and those of others to question aspects of the official US account.

Afghan, Money exchange market, Peshawar Bazaar, 1995
Afghan, Money exchange market, Peshawar Bazaar, 1995

What My Articles Were About

The poignant thing about Osama bin Laden’s killing was that by 2011 he was a bit player in his own tragedy. Al Qaeda had been side-lined for years and may even have betrayed al Zarqawi (founder of ISIS) to the USA. The rise of Islamic State in Iraq (ISI later ISIS — Islamic State Iraq/Syria) was precipitated by US activities in Iraq and ISIS was of much greater concern and impact than Al Qaeda had ever been as an active organisation.

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