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May 03, 2011

OBL Odds and Sods

Posted in: Uncategorized

Just a few items about the bin Laden raid, some new information that we have now learned:

• The White House still has not determined whether to release a photo of the corpse of bin Laden, which they have in custody. They are weighing the benefit of clarity and closure on his death with potential costs of inflaming the Muslim world. Given the caution of this White House, we may never see that photo, though officials say they are leaning toward release.

• Clerics in Saudi Arabia questioned whether the hasty burial at sea really followed Islamic law and customs. They said that Muslims bury their dead on land, regardless of whatever rites were performed. The burial at sea denies a future shrine for jihadists at the gravesite of bin Laden, although it also denies an excellent spot to monitor jihadists hanging out at the gravesite of bin Laden.

• Officials used the DNA of a family member to get a match on bin Laden, which confirmed his identity with 99.9% accuracy.

• Bin Laden’s wife, who was injured in the assault, and some of his children are in Pakistani custody. According to Pakistani officials, one daughter watched Navy SEALs shoot her father. She then identified the body for the SEALs.

• Bin Laden left a will, or at least what a Kuwaiti magazine says is a will. In it, he insists that his children not join Al Qaeda.

The four-page document, written on a computer and signed by “your brother Abu Abdullah Osama Muhammad Bin Laden,” predicts that he would die by the “treachery” of those around him [...]

But its most striking feature is that he orders his wives not to remarry and urges his children not to join al-Qaida or go to “the front”, citing the example of the seventh century Muslim Caliph Omar bin Khattab to his son Abdullah. Bin Laden also asked his children to forgive him for not having spent enough time with them.

“I have chosen a path fraught with dangers and endured hardships, disappointment and betrayal. If it wasn’t for betrayal, things would be different today.

“As for you, my sons, forgive me if I failed to devote more of my time to you since I answered the call to Jihad.”

Lots of fathers don’t want their sons to join the family business.

• Here’s the newest story, the new “official narrative” on the raid. We can now confirm that bin Laden was not armed, nor did he use a wife as a human shield. I’ll put the official narrative on the flip. Jack Shafer has a great story pointing out all the discrepancies in the official narrative, something I also did today. Read skeptically.

• Incredibly, geographers predicted with 80% accuracy that bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, using only ecosystem science. “Caves are cold, and you can’t see people walking up to them,” said the UCLA geographer who oversaw the study.

• Bin Laden apparently had truckloads of Coke and Pepsi brought into his hideout. Coke and Pepsi? Now I know why he had kidney problems.

Here’s that official narrative:

On orders of the president, a small U.S. team assaulted a secure compound in an affluent suburb of Islamabad to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. The raid was conducted with U.S. military personnel assaulting on two helicopters. The team methodically cleared the compound, moving from room to room in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes. They were engaged in a firefight throughout the operation and Osama bin Laden was killed by the assaulting force.

In addition to the Bin Laden family, two other families resided in the compound: one family on the first floor of the Bin Laden building and one family in a second building. One team began the operation on the first floor of the Bin Laden house and worked their way to the third floor. The second team cleared the separate building.

On the first floor of Bin Laden’s building, two Al Qaeda couriers were killed, along with a woman who was killed in crossfire. Bin Laden and his family were found on the second and third floors of the building. There was concern that Bin Laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he did resist. In the room with Bin Laden, a woman, Bin Laden’s wife, rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed.

Following the firefight, the noncombatants were moved to a safe location as the damaged helicopter was detonated. The team departed the scene via helicopter to the U.S.S. Carl Vinson in the north Arabian Sea. Aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, the burial of Bin Laden was done in accordance with Islamic precepts and practices. The deceased’s body was washed and then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on prepared flat board, tipped up, and the deceased body eased into the sea.

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