Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Osama bin Laden’s Thoughts as American Helicopters Approached

A Talking Point Memo (TPM) of the last couple of days proved absolutely fascinating to me. It’s about the 2011 U.S. Special Ops raid on the mysterious compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Mission’s purpose: Kill Osama bin Laden.
by Charlie Leck

The blog's title is not meant to be a set-up for a joke. We really can now know quite precisely what Osama bin Laden was thinking when the American helicopters were approaching. His first thought was that a storm was approaching. He and his youngest wife stepped outside onto a terrace. His ears told him! He knew!

The tyrant gathered some of his family around him. He prayed. He read a few verses from the Quran. He then urged everyone to leave his room.

How did it go down?
Turns out the movie didn’t have it exactly right nor did most of the reports about the operation by American news sources. Now the Pakistani government has received a special report from the Abbottabad Commission it appointed to investigate what happened and how it happened. The TPM summary of that report is terribly fascinating and also surprising in a couple of places.
You can read it here.
“Bin Laden had been spending the evening with Amal Ahmad Abdul Fattah al-Sadah (photo above), a 29 year old Yemeni woman who was the youngest of the international fugitive’s three wives. The two originally thought the commotion outside was an incoming storm and went on to the balcony to investigate, but the moonless sky made the outdoor surroundings pitch black. When Sadah reached to turn on a light, bin Laden said, ‘No!’”

There are more surprises in the report and you will likely find it fascinating to read. For instance, bin Laden’s eldest wife, Khairiyyah Sabar, claims that the invaders made off with her husband’s will.

The report charges the Pakistani government and its agencies of law enforcement with “incompetence.” It also calls the American military invasion of the compound an “act of war.”

The TPM memo is only a two or three minute read, but it is also fascinating in every way. If you want to read something more extensive, you can go to this ABC News account about the commission’s report. The ABC story highlights these key points in the report…

·         Report finds comprehensive failure to detect bin Laden and CIA presence
·         Bin Laden was pulled over for speeding in Swat but matter was quickly settled
·         Bin Laden wore cowboy hat at Abbottabad compound to avoid detection
·         Evidence from wives paints picture of frugal, secluded life
·         Bin Laden children were never allowed to leave Abbottabad compound
·         Bin Laden took charge of children's' religious education and playtime
·         Bin Laden women observed strict purdah (seclusion from men) from age of three

Osama’s loyal wives…
It’s clear from Reuter’s news reports in 2012 about the U.S. interviews of Osama bin Laden’s wives that they remained and still remain incredibly loyal to him. The women would not cooperate with the U.S. agents. Amal Ahmad Abdul Fattah al-Sadah, a citizen of Yemini, showed signs of fury and would not cooperate with the American interviewers. All three wives remained fiercely loyal to their husband.

When the Pakistanis had gotten all the information they were able to drag from the three wives, they were sent, along with the eleven children, back to Saudi Arabi. The wives had been convicted in Pakistan’s criminal courts for entering the country illegally.

Best Account of Osama bin Laden’s last night
came from the author of a biography of the terrorist’s life (The Osama bin Laden I Know), published in 2006. Peter Bergen’s account, The Last Days of Osama bin Laden, was published by the New American Foundation and, if you wish,
you can read it here. If you want to read something more substantive about bin Laden’s last days, this is the place to go.

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