Category Archives: Osama bin Laden

The Killing of Osama Bin Laden: Interview with Seymour Hersh

Amy Goodman talks to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh about his new book, The Killing of Osama bin Laden, in which he argues the official U.S. account of how bin Laden was found and killed was deceptive, and that Pakistan detained bin Laden in 2006 and kept him prisoner with the backing of Saudi Arabia. He suggests that the U.S. and Pakistan then struck a deal: The U.S. would raid bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but make it look as if Pakistan was unaware. (Democracy Now!)


Tequila, Painted Pearls, and Prada: How the CIA Helped Produce ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Jason Leopold and Ky Henderson report for VICE News:

On April 21, 2011, Mark Boal called the CIA to tell them he was going to Afghanistan.

The previous year, the screenwriter had been at a dinner when CIA director Leon Panetta asked Boal to alert the agency if he ever traveled to the country. At the time, Boal was working on a movie called Tora Bora, about the CIA’s failure to capture Osama bin Laden in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The title referred to the region in eastern Afghanistan where the US felt it had let bin Laden slip through its fingers during a battle in December 2001.

But less than two weeks after Boal made the call, a team of Navy SEALs raided the al Qaeda leader’s compound in Pakistan and killed him. Boal would not be going to Afghanistan after all.

Instead, he stopped writing the script for Tora Bora and began writing a different screenplay about what one lawmaker called “the most classified mission in history” — the killing of bin Laden. That movie, which Boal would work on with director Kathryn Bigelow, would become the 2012 Oscar-winning film Zero Dark Thirty. And the CIA would play a huge role in the creation of the script.


A Thousand 9/11s

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Middle East Eye:

Fourteen years ago, 2,996 people were murdered when four civilian planes in the United States were hijacked by al-Qaeda extremists, one flown into the Pentagon, and two into the World Trade Centre towers.

But this was just the beginning of the bloodletting.

The 9/11 attacks ushered in a new era of global warfare to root out extremism. Far from defeating al-Qaeda, the ‘War on Terror’ has seen its enemy metastasise into a self-styled “Islamic State” (IS).

Along the way, we have seen the collapse of the rule of law: the illegal invasion of Iraq, the fabrication of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), extra-judicial assassinations, systematic torture (still continuing), organised kidnapping, indefinite detention and global mass surveillance.

We have also seen the wanton abuse of law to extend unaccountable state authority across Western homelands: eroding habeas corpus, policing ordinary citizens, normalising racial profiling and criminalising dissent.

Conservative figures suggest that since 9/11, the “War on Terror” has killed some 14,000 Afghans, 35,000 Pakistanis, and 120,000 Iraqis – excluding indirect deaths from destruction of power, water, sanitation and medical facilities: 150,000 people overall. That’s fifty 9/11s.

At the higher end, a survey of major epidemiological studies by the Nobel Prize-winning doctors group, Physicians for Social Responsibility, puts the direct and indirect death toll at some 1.3 million people. That’s over four hundred 9/11s. Yet another study based on UN Population Division mortality data suggests the full death toll may be as high as four million: that’s over a thousand 9/11s.

The casualty figures keep wracking up.


The bin Laden death mythology

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Insurge Intelligence:

[…] Hersh’s account has been rejected by some on the grounds that he relies on unverifiable anonymous sources. This investigation conducts a systematic review of open sources and key journalistic reports relevant to the events leading up to the bin Laden raid.

While much corroboration for Hersh’s reporting is uncovered, elements of his account and the Official History contradict a wider context of critical revelations disclosed by many other pioneering journalists. When that context is taken into account, a far more disturbing picture emerges.

The geopolitical relationship between the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan played a central role in identifying and locating Osama bin Laden far sooner than officially acknowledged — yet nothing was done. The role of a former ISI officer in blowing the whistle on the ISI’s protection of bin Laden in August 2010, brought his concealment out into the open and triggered high-level White House discussions on how to resolve the situation: to kill or not to kill?

Declassified documents, official government reports and intelligence officials confirm that since before 9/11, and continuing for the decade after, the US intelligence community was systematically stymied from apprehending Osama bin Laden due to longstanding relationships with Saudi and Pakistani military intelligence.’


The US government told me Bin Laden read my book. But what is it not telling us?

Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, writes for The Guardian:

Osama bin Laden‘[…] I do hope Osama made it to page 229. I talk about a guy who worked at my office, Clinton Davis. Before I left to write for the Guardian and Observer, my office was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. Davis, a cop, was safe at ground level, but he ran upstairs to save others – and disappeared, forever. Did Bin Laden get a little laugh out of that one? At least he got to know his victim’s name.

And what did Bin Laden think of my investigation of the 9/11 attack? While working at Newsnight, a few weeks after the towers fell, a little birdie dropped off a 30-page memo marked “SECRET,” “eyes only” and “1-99I WF”, which is code for “national security document”. The document suggested that FBI agents were blocked from investigating the Bin Laden family well before 11 September 2001. Calls to the Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA and FBI insiders authenticated this bombshell of a devastating intelligence failure.

No, the evidence did not show that President Bush knew about the 9/11 attack in advance. But here was something still quite damning: we learned that the Bush family connection to the Bin Laden family business might have been a shield against government probes. Did Bin Laden, reading that, make a note to himself to thank the Bushes for their unintended protection? I assumed the FBI would deny the authenticity of the document. Instead of denying that the Bin Laden investigation had been spiked, the FBI spokesman told Newsnight these chilling words: “There are a lot of things the intelligence community knows and other people ought not to know.”’


Bin Laden’s Bookshelf

A list of books Osama bin Laden reportedly had on his digitised shelf in Abbotaland: 

  • The 2030 Spike by Colin Mason
  • A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam by I. A. Ibrahim
  • America’s Strategic Blunders by Willard Matthias
  • America’s “War on Terrorism” by Michel Chossudovsky
  • Al-Qaeda’s Online Media Strategies: From Abu Reuter to Irhabi 007 by Hanna Rogan
  • The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast
  • The Best Enemy Money Can Buy by Anthony Sutton
  • Black Box Voting, Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century by Bev Harris
  • Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier
  • Bounding the Global War on Terror by Jeffrey Record
  • Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions by Henry Sokolski and Patrick Clawson
  • Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 A.D. by C. R. Haines
  • Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies by Cheryl Benard
  • Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
  • Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Committee of 300 by John Coleman
  • Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert
  • Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance (only the book’s introduction) by C. Christine Fair and
  • Peter Chalk
  • Guerilla Air Defense: Antiaircraft Weapons and Techniques for Guerilla Forces by James Crabtree
  • Handbook of International Law by Anthony Aust
  • Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky
  • Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer
  • In Pursuit of Allah’s Pleasure by Asim Abdul Maajid, Esaam-ud-Deen and Dr. Naahah Ibrahim
  • International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific by John Ikenberry and Michael Mastandano
  • Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II by William Blum
  • Military Intelligence Blunders by John Hughes-Wilson
  • Project MKULTRA, the CIA’s program of research in behavioral modification. Joint hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session, August 3, 1977.
  • Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky
  • New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin
  • New Political Religions, or Analysis of Modern Terrorism by Barry Cooper
  • Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward
  • Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend
  • The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum
  • The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall (1928)
  • Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins
  • The Taking of America 1-2-3 by Richard Sprague
  • Unfinished Business, U.S. Overseas Military Presence in the 21st Century by Michael O’Hanlon
  • The U.S. and Vietnam 1787-1941 by Robert Hopkins Miller
  • “Website Claims Steve Jackson Games Foretold 9/11,” article posted on (this file contained only a single saved web page)


Journalists split over Sy Hersh’s bin Laden killing claims: Interview with Gareth Porter

‘The new report on the assassination of Osama bin Laden by famed journalist Seymour Hersh has been garnering major criticism from mainstream press outlets. Ben Swann speaks with investigative journalist Gareth Porter about the flaws in Hersh’s report and where the mainstream media has been failing the public.’ (RT America)

Critics Attack Seymour Hersh After Bin Laden Raid Story Goes Public

‘Seymour Hersh published a HUGE article on what actually happened during the Osama bin Laden raid in Pakistan. There’s a lot of dispute about this article, and Cenk comes out somewhere in the middle. The critics are saying that the reporting is thinly sourced. Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) goes over the disputed details, and goes on to show and discusses the attempts to smear Hersh’s “The Killing of Osama bin Laden“.’ (The Young Turks)

Seymour Hersh Interviewed on Bin Laden Killing Story, Responds to White House and Media Backlash

Editor’s Note: This is a 20-minute exceprt from Hersh’s interview on Democracy Now! You can watch the final 10-minutes here.

‘Four years after U.S. forces assassinated Osama bin Laden, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has published an explosive piece claiming much of what the Obama administration said about the attack was wrong. Hersh claims at the time of the U.S. raid, bin Laden had been held as a prisoner by Pakistani intelligence since 2006. Top Pakistani military leaders knew about the operation and provided key assistance. Contrary to U.S. claims that it located bin Laden by tracking his courier, a former Pakistani intelligence officer identified bin Laden’s whereabouts in return for the bulk of a $25 million U.S. bounty. Questions are also raised about whether bin Laden was actually buried at sea, as the U.S. claimed. Hersh says instead the Navy SEALs threw parts of bin Laden’s body into the Hindu Kush mountains from their helicopter. The White House claims the piece is “riddled with inaccuracies.” Hersh joins us to lay out his findings and respond to criticism from government officials and media colleagues.’ (Democracy Now!)

NBC Confirms Hersh: Pakistani Official Turned in bin Laden

Ben Kamisar reports for The Hill:

The CIA discovered Osama bin Laden’s location from a Pakistani intelligence official before the American Special Forces raid that killed the al Qaeda leader, NBC News reports.

A Special Forces operator told the network that the government used a cover story to assert that bin Laden’s courier tipped off the CIA in order to protect the identity of the Pakistani official who gave up the information. The military official added that Pakistani intelligence was hiding bin Laden in the country.

The news comes just one day after a controversial report from journalist Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books alleged that a Pakistani intelligence official gave up bin Laden’s location to the CIA.

But Hersh’s report also asserts the Pakistani intelligence services cooperated with the mission by helping U.S. helicopters enter the country. It also claims that American forces faced no resistance in bin Laden’s compound because the guards were ordered to stand down.’


Seymour Hersh on The Killing of Osama bin Laden

Seymour Hersh writes for the London Review of Books:

It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.’


Ron Paul: U.S. Didn’t Really Want To Catch Bin Laden, Needed An Excuse To Invade The Middle East

Andrew Kaczynski and Megan Apper report for BuzzFeed:

‘Former Republican presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul says he doesn’t believe the United States government wanted to catch Osama Bin Laden because they needed him as an excuse to build up the military and invade Middle Eastern countries.

“Matter of fact, can’t you just see the difference that might have occurred. Ya know, they knew where Bin Laden was. I don’t think they really wanted to catch him because he was used as the excuse for us, you know, invading various countries and building up the military,” Paul said on Scott Horton’s radio program.’


Will France Repeat America’s Mistakes After 9/11?

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern writes for Consortium News:

First, a hat tip to Elias Groll, assistant editor at Foreign Policy, whose report just a few hours after the killings on Wednesday at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, included this key piece of background on the younger of the two brother suspects:

“Carif Kouachi was previously known to the authorities, as he was convicted by a French court in 2008 of trying to travel to Iraq to fight in that country’s insurgent movement. Kouachi told the court that he wished to fight the American occupation after viewing images of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.”

The next morning, Amy Goodman of and Juan Cole (in his blog) also carried this highly instructive aspect of the story of the unconscionable terrorist attack, noting that the brothers were well known to French intelligence; that the younger brother, Cherif, had been sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a network involved in sending volunteer fighters to Iraq to fight alongside al-Qaeda; and that he said he had been motivated by seeing the images of atrocities by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib.’


Bin Laden ‘Shooter’ Story Is FUBAR, Special Ops Sources Say

Shane Harris writes for The Daily Beast:

The Situation Room‘On Tuesday, Fox News will air a highly-anticipated documentary about a former Navy SEAL named Robert O’Neill, who claims to be the man who fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden. Several of O’Neill’s former brothers-in-arms are coming forward to say his story is way, way off.

In interviews with The Daily Beast, former special operations officials, as well as other sources who are familiar with the events of the 2011 raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, accused O’Neill of misstating key facts and wrongly taking sole credit for killing the world’s then-most wanted man.

At issue is who fired the shot—or shots—that hit bin Laden in the head, splitting open his skull and almost certainly ending his life. O’Neill insists that he was the shooter. But others—including a fellow SEAL who was standing within feet of O’Neill when the final encounter with bin Laden went down—say another, still-unidentified man likely fired the round that caused a lethal head wound.’


Navy Seal shooter who ‘killed Osama bin Laden’ to reveal his identity on Fox News

Lamiat Sabin reports for The Independent:

The Situation Room‘The US Navy Seal who claims to have shot dead Osama Bin Laden is expected to reveal himself on television next month.

The identity of the Team 6 member called “The Shooter” has been a top secret to protect his safety after the raid on al-Qaeda founder Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.

According to a Fox News press release, the two-part interview, The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden, will see the Navy Seal “share his story of training to be a member of America’s elite fighting force and explain his involvement in Operation Neptune Spear, the mission that killed Bin Laden”.’


Polio: Pakistan polio outbreak hits record high

BBC News reports:

A Pakistani child receives a polio vaccination drops from a health worker in Rawalpindi - 8 April 2014‘Pakistan has recorded its highest number of polio cases for 15 years, with health officials blaming the rise on attacks on immunisation teams. The number of new cases in 2014 so far is 202, exceeding the 199 cases in 2001 but short of the 558 cases in 1999.

Most of the infections are in the north-western tribal region where militants have targeted health teams. Militants there accuse doctors of being spies and say the vaccinations are part of a Western plot to sterilise Muslims.

Suspicions over the programmes worsened after the US was accused of using a fake vaccination programme during its tracking of al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.’


The CIA Caused A Polio Outbreak In Pakistan

‘When the White House went public with its catching-bin-Laden story, they told every media outlet just about every detail of the raid possible. They even allowed a Hollywood blockbuster to be made about the event. There was so much leakage of information that Dianne Feinstein called for a criminal investigation. Among the leaks was the information that the CIA had recruited doctors to collect DNA samples to help find bin Laden by going door to door to vaccinate people. The Taliban learned of this and started banning vaccines. Now, there is a huge resurgence of polio in Pakistan. The Resident discusses.’ (The Resident)

John McCain’s War

Editor’s Note: The Steve Clemens piece mentioned by Thom Hartmann in these videos is titled “‘Thank God for the Saudis’: ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback“. And if you’re interested, you can download a copy of the film “Charlie Wilson’s War” here.

CIA hatched plan to make demon toy to counter Osama bin Laden’s influence

Adam Goldman reports for The Washington Post:

‘For more than a decade, the CIA has deployed drones, satellites, spies, informants and tracking devices to thwart al-Qaeda in Pakistan. The spy agency also considered a plan to wage war with toys. Beginning in about 2005, the CIA began secretly developing a ­custom-made Osama bin Laden ­action figure, according to people familiar with the project. The face of the figure was painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a red-faced bin Laden who looked like a demon, with piercing green eyes and black facial markings.

The goal of the short-lived project was simple: spook children and their parents, causing them to turn away from the actual bin Laden. The code-name for the bin Laden figures was “Devil Eyes,” and to create them the CIA turned to one of the best minds in the toy business, said those familiar with the project, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the project publicly.’


Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden’s Hideout and Protected Him, NYT Reporter Confirms

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

Osama_bin_Laden_compound2After the killing of Osama bin Laden, Pakistan vehemently denied any knowledge that the most wanted terrorist operative in the world had lived in a protected compound in Abbottabad just a few short miles from Pakistan’s military academy. Nobody really believed them. Senior U.S. officials would, when asked by the press, give the Pakistani government a verbal licking, but only in vague terms that declined to confirm what seemed obvious to everyone: that Pakistan did know of bin Laden’s hideout there.

New York Times journalist Carlotta Gall, who spent more than a decade reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan has pretty well confirmed that Pakistan not only knew of bin Laden’s presence, but actively protected him. More than that, the U.S. government knows they knew, and the Pakistanis know they know they knew.


FBI Al-Qaeda Informants Didn’t Stop WTC Bombings

‘Abby Martin goes over the anniversary of the 1993 first WTC Bombing, explaining how an FBI informant embedded in the group responsible for the attack wasn’t prevented from carrying it out. She also discusses the revelation that the FBI had a mole embedded within Bin Laden’s leadership that could have prevented future terrorist attacks.’ (Breaking the Set)

Did U.S. Special Operations Commander Order Bin Laden Death Photos Destroyed?

From AP:

Eleven days after the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, the US military‘s top special operations officer ordered subordinates to destroy any photographs of the al-Qaida founder’s corpse or turn them over to the CIA, according to a newly released email.

The email was obtained under a freedom of information request by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. The document, released on Monday by the group, shows that Admiral William McRaven, who heads the US Special Operations Command, told military officers on 13 May 2011 that photos of Bin Laden’s remains should have been sent to the CIA or already destroyed. Bin Laden was killed by a special ops team in Pakistan on 2 May 2011.

McRaven’s order to purge the bin Laden material came 10 days after the Associated Press asked for the photos and other documents under the US Freedom of Information Act. Typically, when a freedom of information request is filed to a government agency under the Federal Records Act, the agency is obliged to preserve the material sought – even if the agency later denies the request.


Whistleblower Michael Springmann on the visas-for-terrorists program

Michigan Man Claims He Tipped The FBI To Bin Laden’s Location, Wants $25 Million Reward

al jazeera osama bin ladenFrom Business Insider:

A Michigan man claiming he tipped off the FBI to Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts in 2003 has hired a high-profile Chicago law firm to help him get the $25 million reward offered for his capture, Jason Meisner of McClatchy-Tribune reports.

The Loevy & Loevy law firm sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey in August on behalf of 63-year-old Tom Lee, an international gem merchant living in Grand Rapids, Mich., who claims he “accurately reported” Bin Laden was living in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

“It disturbs me, and it should disturb every American, that I told them exactly where bin Laden was in 2003, and they let him live another eight years,” Lee told The Grand Rapids Press


White House Considered Keeping Bin Laden Raid Secret, Says Former Official

From Buzzfeed:

Perhaps the most famous accomplishment of President Obama’s time in office was almost kept secret.

Speaking at a BuzzFeed Brews event Monday, former top White House national security communications aide Tommy Vietor said administration officials considered keeping news of Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. military forces out of the public, at least for a little while.


CIA Sued Over Whether Top Secret Info Helped Hollywood Directors Make “Pro-Obama” Film

From Infowars:

Judicial Watch is suing the CIA in order to obtain the guest list from a June 2011 awards ceremony during which former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed “top secret” information in the presence of Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal, in order to ascertain whether the White House jeopardized national security in order to help Hollywood directors make a “pro-Obama” film.

The conservative watchdog group is seeking, “Any and all guest lists or other records identifying individuals who attended and/or were invited to attend the June 24, 2011 awards ceremony at CIA Headquarters for individuals involved in the search for, and killing of, Osama bin Laden,” in addition to, “Any and all records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Central Intelligence Agency and any other party regarding the attendance of Mr. Mark Boal at the aforementioned awards ceremony.”

Despite being required by law to respond to Judicial Watch’s December 19 Freedom of Information Act request on the matter within 20 days, the CIA denied the request and invited the group to make an appeal to the Agency Release Panel. Deciding that no administrative appeal was possible, Judicial Watch launched the lawsuit on June 21 and announced it yesterday on their website.

During Panetta’s speech at the ceremony, the former CIA Director revealed ”the name of the Navy SEAL unit that carried out the Osama bin Laden raid,” the unit’s ground commander, as well as other “classified information designated as “top secret” and “secret”.

Judicial Watch also highlights the hypocrisy of the Obama administration in pursuing whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden while simultaneously revealing sensitive information to Hollywood directors.



Pentagon Hides Bin Laden Truth ~ Breaking the Set

SEE ALSO: Bin Laden videotape was result of a sting (Guardian)

Leaked report shows Bin Laden’s ‘hidden life’ ~ Al Jazeera

SEE ALSO: How US Kept bin Laden Raid Records Secret (Newser)

This undated file photo shows Osama bin Laden in 
Al Jazeera

Former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was able to hide in Pakistan for nine years due to the “collective failure” of state military and intelligence authorities, a leaked Pakistani government report has revealed.

The report, obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, also outlines how “routine” incompetence at every level of civil governance structure allowed the once world’s most wanted man to move to six different locations within the country.

The report of the Abbottabad Commission, formed in June 2011 to probe the circumstances around the killing of Bin Laden by US forces in a unilateral raid on the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, draws on testimony from more than 200 witnesses, including members of Bin Laden’s family, Pakistan’s then spy chief, senior ministers in the government and officials at every level of the military, bureaucracy and security services.

It was released by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit on Monday, after being suppressed by the Pakistani government.

It comes on the heels of a report by AP news agency revealing that top US special operations commander, Adm William McRaven, ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.