Unexplained contradictions rise to an even dozen

Post-malfunction US helicopter

From Yesterday’s Daily Beast ‘Morning Scoop’ lead:The killing of Osama bin Laden—and Obama’s decision to strike quickly to get him—erases the enduring stereotype of Democrats as weak politicians who won’t use force, writes The Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart, and has greater potential to change the party’s reputation on national security than any single event since Vietnam.”

Clearly, six months is but the batting of an eyelid – and therefore ‘quickly’ – in the Unites States. But the Beast’s headline – ‘Obama dumps the Wimp factor’ – does kind of suggest that perhaps The Slog is on the right track in the way it sees this, the most important assassination since Cane and Abel. (That said, a new poll out in the US yesterday afternoon EST showed no bounce at all for Obama from the operation – a fascinating result.)

Whatever the folks on Main Street say, the White House version of events continues to suggest that hyperbole went into overdrive in the initial reports, and entered that politically vote-altering state known as hyperbollocks. As of this morning, we’re not so much getting clarity as a lot of use of the prefix ‘mis’.

It’s easy to be a wiseass. So, as with yesterday’s post, let’s examine the realities as we understand them.

1. Just how dangerous was this raid?

From the word go, President Obama and the US media have gone out of their way to position the raid as ‘meticulously planned’, ‘daring’, and ‘highly dangerous’: not to be attempted by the viewers at home, and strictly for the elite Force 6 Navy Seals alone, plus some CIA operatives along for the ride:

‘President Barack Obama announced last Sunday night that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed during a daring and risky operation in Pakistan’

It is entirely sensible to plan for the worst option for example dozens of highly-armed suicide nutters – rather like those found by lightly-armed Israeli forces on the Gaza ‘peace’ flotilla, in fact. But as we’ve already heard so many times, the ‘crack team’ spent half a year staking out the joint.

This from the BBCNews website this morning (my italics): ‘[The] fortified compound in a quiet suburb was home to the world’s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden, and a few close associates. The building was also reportedly home to several of his wives, numerous children and domestic helpers….’

In fact, the few associates seem to have been just two brothers: neighbours said two heavily moustached, fair-skinned brothers lived there. Most agreed they were Pashtuns — members of the tribe that straddles the Pakistan-Afghanistan border — though some said they spoke Urdu, which would suggest they were from other parts of Pakistan.

So: two close chums, what seems in fact to have been five unarmed women, a bevy of kids, and the odd wannabe Masterchef.

Google ‘gunfire in Bin Laden compound’ and you get 2.9 million results. Google ‘prolonged’ or ‘heavy’ gunfire, and 314,000 results come up. Not a controlled scientific experiment I agree – but none – zero, zilch – of the 314,000’s first ten Google pages use the words heavy or prolonged at all. The vast majority of comments focus on a few (perhaps two) loud blasts at the outset – standard procedure to disorientate the compound’s occupants.

We know from the excitable, short-sighted and highly confused John Brennan that Bin Laden was killed using two shots. Last Monday, a senior White House official said the raid “lasted under forty minutes”: that could mean two or thirty-nine…and anyway, this was the same guy who categorically declared “Bin Laden went down firing at the navy Seals” – which of course we now know to be bollocks.

So based on this body of evidence, the following could be a description of what happened:

24 navy seals arrived under cover of darkness in two helicopters. They landed outside, and one copter was hit by SNAFU. Not a good start. Three grenades were set off and the main gate stormed. There was some brief gunfire as the lower floors were cleared. Then they found Osama Bin Laden, asked him to come quietly, he didn’t, so they shot him twice.

The Alamo it wasn’t.


The copter was hit by something from somewhere, the Seals knew they’d been betrayed, and then with only one vehicle left to get away in, two dozen very brave guys went in anyway and shot at anything that moved, including their target. I wouldn’t blame them for that – but the White House says no missile, just malfunction.

Now whichever way you cut this, Obama can’t have both copter malfunction and The Alamo.

For myself, I think it takes balls of steel to do what those 24 blokes did. But then, they’re not the ones hyping the whole thing – the politicos are the ones larging it. Fancy that.

By the way – apropos of not very much – according to the Charlotte Observer, most of the Seals involved in the op voted Republican. Cue another 27,000 conspiracy theories.

2. Bin Laden: how did he die?

Even the Obama-supporting newspaper The Washington Post had to admit yesterday, ‘New details of U.S. raid contradict initial accounts of top-secret operation’ . Just to summarise, John Brennan said the seals were on ‘shoot to kill’ orders against Bin Laden. That Bin Laden had been armed. That he had shielded himself with wives. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the seals wanted Bin Laden alive, he did not have a weapon of any kind, and he did not shield himself. Brennan watched the whole thing live on Skype, and yet somehow got all the details ‘wrong’. This man runs the CIA. He’d just had 24 hours to watch a 40-minute max video over and over again, but he “must’ve confused the Bin Laden incident with one in another room”.

So you’re off to a press briefing with a global audience of 300 million hanging on your every word. Should you study the tape closely? Naar – what the Hell, let’s go watch the ballgame.

Turning to Mr Carney for a minute, I have to say that any US Adminstration that wanted Bin Laden alive would have to be clinically insane – so sorry Jay, but I don’t believe you. He also said that Bin Laden “resisted arrest without a weapon, and so was shot in the head and chest”. Here we have frail 53 year-old bloke known to require occasional kidney dialysis, but the only way two dozen navy Seals can restrain him is with two bullets from close range. So (if you follow) the second Carney statement tends to support my disbelief in the first one. Either that, or he has a promising career ahead of him in the Metropolitan Police.

3. Why was the Helicopter detonated?

‘Following the firefight, the non-combatants were moved to a safe location as the damaged helicopter was detonated’.

The obvious answer to this one is that it was cram-packed with sensitive technology the Seals didn’t want to fall into ‘enemy’ hands. But it doesn’t really stack up.

In the first place, the Chinook (and after several false starts, we do know now it was a Chinook) is a bog-standard field helicopter. The US sells the damn things to foreign powers: it’s about as secret right now as where Bin Laden was hiding.

Secondly, where are all these enemies – among the chickens clucking around again this morning in the streets surrounding the complex? I know that the Pakistanis seem to have behaved like enemies, but they are America’s allies. We’re talking a $34 million helicopter here: why trash it because of what the Administration is now describing as ‘mechanical failure’? Why not, you know, just take out the top secret Apple Ipad plus highly restricted Skype kit, and then come back for the copter later?

I’d suggest there are two possible answers: (a) the copter had been hit – eye witness reports suggest this; or (b) there actually was something – ie, data – on board that the Americans genuinely thought would be highly sensitive if picked up by Pakistan’s ISI.

As for option (a), read this eye-witness account from last night’s Washington Post: ‘Raja Kamran Khan, a community leader who lives along the main road, said he was awakened by helicopters, then a series of loud blasts…’. The report goes  on to say, ‘Mangled remnants of one helicopter — destroyed after what U.S. officials described as “mechanical failure” — lay in a field outside.’

So the copter got to just outside the compound and then – out of all the times the ignition might have had a chance not to work – it chose this one. Or it was part of the ‘series of loud blasts’.

Option (b) is also supportable. Again from the Post:

‘….Yet despite the placidity of the area, most neighbors seemed to agree on one thing: It was unfathomable that a terrorist of bin Laden’s stature could have lived in their midst — on property that is part of the military cantonment, not far from the border with Pakistan’s archenemy, India — without being detected by authorities. “He cannot,” said Sardar Mohammed Aslam, 65, whose property sits across a verdant field from the bin Laden house. “He would be noticed very easily.” The military and intelligence agencies are viewed as all-knowing in Pakistan, and monitoring is considered common…..’

So there are two imponderables: if the copter was hit, who hit it? It clearly wasn’t the Bin Laden retinue, who it seems were mainly armed with pea-shooters.

And what was the sensitive data on board that they couldn’t remove without destroying an extremely expensive bit of kit?

4. Will we ever see the video watched by the White House bigwigs?

No. Emphatically and double-dog no, not ever, never. A new paperback, How to ignite a million conspiracy theories by John Brennan will be available from Arrow books later this year.

I think the chances of it leaking one day are very high – if it isn’t destroyed at some point before then. But it seems to me obvious that there is something about the way things went in the compound – and/or how Bin Laden was killed – we’re never going to see.

5. Will we ever see the corpse photograph?

Yes, we probably will. Sources last night were suggesting that Time will feature them in its next edition, although there is no confirmation of this.

I think I can categorically state that the pictures will show Osama Bin Laden looking extremely dead and somewhat grisly. But it will be nothing the average 14 year-old kid hasn’t seen a hundred times before on umpteen Game consoles.

The shot will show (I think) a man with a shorter beard as part of his ‘disguise’, and it will be Bin Laden, because Bin Laden is dead. But it still won’t explain who gave AP a fake shot, and why.


Related: The Magnificent Seven unanswered Questions.

Enough of conspiracy theories? Try some conspiracy fact instead: How Newscorp conspired to pervert British Justice & Politics.


Why Bernanke and King REALLY daren’t raise interest rates. (Most read this year)

Why the West’s ‘recovery’ is a myth.


  1. “Bodyguard lifts lid on life with terror chief” (Nasser Al-Bahri )
    And life in this 3rd world wannabe state continues apace as publishers feverishly hunt for an Arabic translator who also does laddish humour.

    The book will be out just in time for Xmas but may have some hefty competition from “My Life after Big Brother” (name any slapper with plastic breasts)


  2. America worries me. It pretends to be the policeman of the world, but I would not feel safe if, for example, there was civil unrest in the UK and the American forces stepped in to “protect” the protestors, as they did with Libya.
    There is a lot of discontent in the UK right now. People don’t like not having access proper news media outlets rather than propaganda and the laws of the land being applied to everyone with no regard to wealth or status. It’s getting less easy to lie to people, now that people have access to the world wide web and digital technology. We no longer have to rely on the Guardian for the news, which is just as well, as that paper seems to have abandoned its purpose, by getting rid of proper journalists and employing some right dodgy people.
    And speaking of the news, at the same time yesterday the newsvendor Ian Tomlinson was being vindicated, a very brave 85 year old multimedalled war veteran called Norman Scarth from Bradford was falsely arrested and unlawfully detained in the back of a police van outside Wirral Magestates Court, and three hours later he was physically manhandled and thrown onto the pavement by the Sergeant and told that he had been de arrested and to go home. But you won’t find any of the news about Norman Scarth in the mainstream media, because that old man has been treated in such a disgraceful way for many years that none of the newspapers dare to print his story.

    You just cannot take the news media outlets as gospel truth nowadays. So much is skimmed over, so many lies, so much spin.


  3. I´ve given some thought to this over the past year or two and have to say that people are just as easy to lie to as they always were, maybe even more so today.
    The reason, as I see it, is that the left wing has been hugely successful in cocooning the “masses” with soft entertainment; EPL football and cheap reality TV just two of the mediums used to deflect attention and therefore the electorate´s eye off the ball, as it were.
    In the world of the Telegraph reader, for example, the view is wholly anti-EU and totally committed to the creative ability of the individual. The truth; I´m afraid to say, is that the Telegraph view is a minority view; we like the welfare hammock and will resist all attempts to throw us out of it.


  4. Personally no, I wouldn’t. I’d rather have played cricket using a radioactive isotope as the bat.


  5. What a nit wit you are .

    Don’t you know that masses of bods have taken their eye off the ball and politics in general because they are always checking to see whether their zips are done up and checked the Tote at the same time, glanced in the mirror for a cheesy Whiter than white smile, and gloried over their patronage of the the local tattoo studio.

    The rest are absolute philistines and piss artists.
    This country has descended into a real life Benny Hill bedroom farce( RIP by the way Benny)

    However, as most of us are trusting and gullible- and those numb skulls who voted for Cameron and his ‘Vote for change’ in the last election, will soon find out how blinking gullible they have been , so just say Yes, and mind your Ps and Qs please!


  6. Didn´t understand much of your “you are a nitwit” reply to me.
    My ma always said I was a nitwit who would never amount to anything good and my shrink always said nitwits make the best shrinks.
    Your rude reposte makes no sense since you appear to agree with the thrust of what I said.

    Explain, please. I´ll do this one for free.


  7. John,

    Just to add to the confusion you might like to check this article out, and in particular read the comments (Vector1771’s comments I thought were very interesting).

    When the first reports of the attack went out, only 3 helicopters were mentioned, so, is the helicopter actually a US helicopter, or a Pakistani one? Was the firefight (that lasted “up to 40 minutes”) just between the SEAL’s and the 4 men inside, or perhaps also with unfriendly Pakistani soldiers or police (the police station being only a few yards away from the OBL complex?

    Other odd facts, which don’t necessarily mean anything: why was the police station built so close to the complex? Whichever was built first, raises interesting questions; the complex had its own separate power supplies, either not connected to the local grid, or connected separately from the other buildings in Abbatobad; the Pakistan army claims it lost a helicopter on the night of the raid (second hand source, so cannot be confirmed); why did the Pakistan military claim to have raided the complex in 2003, when satellite photos of the area show there was nothing there (just an empty field) until 2005?; who encouraged buildings to be put up in the town so close to the complex? And why?;


  8. Pakistani intelligence said”, I woudn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, more disinformation on behalf of the Taliban.


  9. The picture of the helicopter wreckage in the Telegraph does not look like a Chinook but a smaller craft.


  10. We are being fed a load of bollocks. How did 2 armed men fend off 24 heavily armed SEALS for up to 40 minutes? Whilst I don’t doubt they guy is dead ( & has been for sometime) he has been officially killed for a reason, which we will find out shortly.
    An escalation of US military activity in the middle east after revenge attacks by the AQ bogey men?


  11. …or the US is now bored with that sector of Islamists. A nation only needs one enemy to make the people unite. This particular war has gone on past its public sell by date.
    Iran next?
    North Korea was back in the news this morning. Is that a coincidence?
    The US economy and the dollar are about to tank. It could be that world financiers are about to be demonised (more).


  12. Iran for the oil, yes.
    This story also takes attention away from the state of their economy, the impending tanking of the dollar and massive theft of wealth by the financiers and wealthy. A nice war will get everyone singing from the same sheet for a while.


  13. Er – the Nazis are already in Tel Aviv. They are called Israelis and act in just the same way – stealing someone else’s territory, occupying it, killing anyone who resists and confining (concentrating) the native population, who they regard and treat as sub-human. And we in the west support them – well some of us do – “in case they get nuclear weapons – like what we’ve got…..”
    And I though you were trying to deconstruct bollocks, not talk it.


  14. In that picture Obama is sat in the corner on the little kids chair, look at the chair of the guy at the head of the table. That tells you something about who was running the show.


  15. I think Obama knew exactly where Osama Bin Laden was and why.
    The so-called mansion looks like a prison.
    Pakistan probably had Bin Laden under “house arrest” and was
    collecting information from a very sick man who had been on dialysis
    for kidney failure and other medical problems.
    This might have been Obama’s last chance to capitalize on “capturing”
    the former leader of Al Qaida before he died of natural causes.
    Pakistan might protest but given the amount of foreign aid it receives
    from NATO countries, it may reluctantly cooperate in the cover up.
    An incursion into a sovereign nation’s territory is a pretty serious event
    especially given that Pakistan is an ally of the USA (believe it or not) but
    the bigger picture is a lot more complicated than one dead terrorist.


  16. I have read your post and don’t see that it supports your claim of ‘highly armed suicide nutters’ being found on the flotilla.

    Do you have any source for this?


  17. Pingback: Superbama: those three little words that mean so much…. | The Slog

  18. Pingback: REVEALED: Why the Bin Laden Raid helicopter was destroyed. | The Slog

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