May 2nd 2011 – Osama bin Laden, the head of Al Qaeda, is killed by United States Navy SEALs in a secret raid Or so the Government would have you believe
Four years after bin Laden’s death, a new story hit the headlines, which questions everything about President Obama’s terrorist victory In May 2015, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh released a 10,000-word article, called ‘The Killing of Osama bin Laden’ In it, Hersh claims that the Al-Qaeda frontman wasn’t killed in a secret US mission at all But if the USA didn’t capture and kill bin Laden, then who did? Hersh’s account undermines America’s triumph of destroying the man who killed almost 3,000 people in the September 11 attacks According to the official story: American’s most wanted was hiding in a secret compound in the quiet Pakistani town of Abottabad, having been observed there for months by US surveillance
On May 2nd 2011, 23 US Navy Seals flew to Abottabad in the dead of the night Without alerting Pakistani authorities, the USA instigated its attack on Osama’s hide-out killing him just 20 minutes into the raid Fearing interference from the Pakistani air force, the Navy Seals made a quick exit with bin Laden’s body, and dropped it in the North Arabian sea America’s decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden was over SECTION 3 [The True Story?] But Seymour Hersh tells things a little differently: The ‘secret raid’ wasn’t a secret at all; it was a joint mission between Pakistan and the USA, carefully planned so that both nations would benefit from the operation
According to Hersh, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence had located and detained Osama bin Laden since 2006 Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s Government was less than popular: The ‘Obamacare’ health insurance act was criticized as socialist, and Obama was being repeatedly attacked for not being tough enough on foreign policy What Obama’s presidency really needed was to score some political points before his 2012 presidential campaign against Mitt Romney And bin Laden was the jackpot After bin Laden was killed, Obama’s presidential approval rating shot up 11% among Republicans and Democrats, from 46-57%
And what did Pakistan get out of the deal? SECTION 4 Hersh alleges that in 2010, America discovered that Pakistani military intelligence had imprisoned bin Laden America did not, as reported, conduct extensive interrogations on Al-Qaeda detainees to uncover bin Laden’s location – a former Pakistani officer leaked information about bin Laden’s whereabouts for $25 million And unsurprisingly, America was furious; its ally, Pakistan, had concealed crucial information US officials influenced Pakistan with bribery and the threat of sanctions, and so, the two nations joined forces to finally kill bin Laden Indeed, there was nothing secret about the assassination; the US was granted permission by Pakistan to monitor Abottabad, before conducting a staged raid on bin Laden’s compound
As part of Pakistan and America’s agreement, Obama was to wait one week before announcing bin Laden’s death, and only then announce that he’d been killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan But on the night of the raid, America double-crossed Pakistan and Obama declared his victory against Al-Qaeda, scoring a hallmark achievement in his first term of Presidency 18 months later, he was re-elected President SECTION 5 But Rob O’Neill, the Navy Seal supposedly responsible for bin Laden’s death, has taken serious offence at Hersh’s controversial article The man who says he shot bin Laden 3 times on the night of the raid has called Hersh’s report a ‘joke’, and prominent journalists like CNN’s Peter Bergen, have also critiqued Hersh’s article for its heavy use of unreliable sources
Hersh relies solely on unnamed intelligence officials throughout his report – which he argues is to protect the identities of those he has interviewed – but critics like Bergen believe this highlights just how untrustworthy Hersh’s work really is But perhaps more telling is the White House’s response to the article Instead of commenting on the new claims regarding Pakistan’s involvement in bin Laden’s capture, the White House has failed to address them at all, arguing that Hersh’s story contains ‘too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions to fact check each one’ Is Obama’s government showing a genuine disregard for Hersh’s report? Or could it be that America is refusing to acknowledge that Pakistan is really responsible for one of the greatest political accomplishments in US history – and they, too, helped kill Osama bin Laden?