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Zero Dark … Fantasy?




|| By FITSNEWS || Renowned investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh has accused the administration of Barack Obama of lying about the circumstances surrounding the 2011 assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

No … this isn’t one of those “Osama is still alive” conspiracies.  It is, however, a credible rebuke of the government’s account of the hunt for bin Laden and the raid which ultimately took his life.

According to the official government narrative – as depicted in the movie Zero Dark Thirty – intelligence obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s “enhanced interrogation” program led directly to a May 2011 raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

That raid resulted in U.S. special forces shooting and killing bin Laden in a firefight – or so the story goes.

Obviously, we already knew the part about the CIA’s torture program gleaning actionable intelligence was complete and total B.S.  But what about the rest of the narrative?

According to Hersh, the government’s account is riddled with fabrications …

For example, he claims it wasn’t a tortured terrorist detainee who provided U.S. officials with the terrorist mastermind’s whereabouts – but rather a former Pakistani intelligence officer motivated by the government’s $25 million bounty.  Apparently the guy just walked into the U.S. embassy in Islamabad and offered up the information – and collected on a sizable portion of the loot.

Also, Hersh’s report – published by the London Review of Books – claims bin Laden had been in Pakistani custody since 2006, and that his Islamabad compound was really a jail cell guarded by Pakistani forces.

Want more?

Hersh claims that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – general Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Ahmed Shuja Pasha – not only knew of the U.S. raid, but actively helped the Americans plan for it and even participated in the operation by “ensuring that Pakistan’s army and air defense command would not track or engage with the US helicopters used on the mission.”

Why did Pakistan play ball?

Because according to Hersh, “the US had begun to cut back on aid to Pakistan.”  Giving up bin Laden – and rolling out the red carpet for the special forces operators – was all about turning the spigot back on.

Hersh also alleges the American raid – contrary to government accounts – was a “kill mission” from the get-go.  And that there was no real effort to gain any actionable intelligence from the compound after it as over because by the time bin Laden was delivered to the Americans – he had no such information in his possession.

Here’s the section of the report dealing with bin Laden’s assassination …

‘They knew where the target was – third floor, second door on the right,’ the retired official said. ‘Go straight there. Osama was cowering and retreated into the bedroom. Two shooters followed him and opened up. Very simple, very straightforward, very professional hit.’ Some of the Seals were appalled later at the White House’s initial insistence that they had shot bin Laden in self-defense, the retired official said. ‘Six of the Seals’ finest, most experienced NCOs, faced with an unarmed elderly civilian, had to kill him in self-defense? The house was shabby and bin Laden was living in a cell with bars on the window and barbed wire on the roof. The rules of engagement were that if bin Laden put up any opposition they were authorized to take lethal action. But if they suspected he might have some means of opposition, like an explosive vest under his robe, they could also kill him. So here’s this guy in a mystery robe and they shot him. It’s not because he was reaching for a weapon. The rules gave them absolute authority to kill the guy.’ The later White House claim that only one or two bullets were fired into his head was ‘bullshit’, the retired official said. ‘The squad came through the door and obliterated him. As the Seals say, “We kicked his ass and took his gas.”’

Finally, Hersh claims the Obama administration double-crossed its Pakistani allies by taking credit for a raid.

“In the initial plan it was to be announced a week or so after the fact that bin Laden was killed in a drone strike somewhere in the mountains on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border and that his remains had been identified by DNA testing,” Hersh reported.

The government’s response to all this?

“There are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one,” said Ned Price, the White House’s national security spokesman.

Right … because (sarcasm alert) the government would never lie about stuff like this, right?

Hersh is an award-winning journalist with a reputation for exposing government deception all over the world.  For example two years ago he exposed the Obama administration’s efforts to kickstart a war in Syria over false claims related to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

At the end of the day … will anyone care?

Probably not.  As long as bin Laden is dead (a fact no one is disputing), Hersh’s work is unlikely to stir up much fuss.  It is, however, a compelling counter-narrative to the official version of events.

The real takeaway here?  The ongoing erosion of trust in government.  After all, the more our leaders get caught lying … the more credibility it lends to counter-narratives like this one.