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Kayani and Pasha knew of OBL presence in Pakistan & helped US: claim by US journalist

Former Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden

Seymour Hersh, in his column on London Review of Books, claimed that former Army Chief General (Retd.) Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and former director general of ISI knew about Bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad and that the raid was going to take place. He added that Bin Laden was made a “prisoner” since 2006 in Abbottabad.

Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan’s city of Abbottabad

“This spring I contacted Durrani and told him in detail what I had learned about the bin Laden assault from American sources: that bin Laden had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbottabad compound since 2006; that Kayani and Pasha knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms; that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US, and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration’s account were false”, he claims.

Former Director General of ISI General (R) Shuja Pasha (left) and Former Army Chief General (R) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (right)

“The Americans who planned the mission assured Kayani and Pasha that their co-operation would never be made public”, he writes.

“Abbottabad is less than 15 minutes by helicopter from Tarbela Ghazi, an important base for ISI covert operations and the facility where those who guard Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal are trained. ‘Ghazi is why the ISI put bin Laden in Abbottabad in the first place,’ the retired official said, ‘to keep him under constant supervision.’’

He also claimed that ISI was going to use Bin Laden as leverage against Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He sarcastically said that the United States’ account of OBL raid may have been written by Lewis Carroll-the author of Alice in Wonderland.

The US author Hersh Seymour said that a former Pakistani intelligence officer leaked the secret of Bin Laden’s whereabouts in exchange of a $25 million reward.

“It began with a walk-in. In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad. He offered to tell the CIA where to find bin Laden in return for the reward that Washington had offered in 2001. Walk-ins are assumed by the CIA to be unreliable, and the response from the agency’s headquarters was to fly in a polygraph team. The walk-in passed the test. ‘So now we’ve got a lead on bin Laden living in a compound in Abbottabad, but how do we really know who it is?’ was the CIA’s worry at the time, the retired senior US intelligence official told me”, Seymour writes.

President of United States Barack Obama (2nd left) and Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd right) look on as Navy SEALs raid Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad

“Pakistani intelligence officer walked into the American embassy in Islamabad alone and offered information about Bin Laden’s whereabouts in August 2010, in exchange for the $25 million reward”, Seymour writes in his coloumn.

He also claimed that General Durrani made sure that the helicopters, carrying the Navy SEALs officer, get inside Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms. He added that Durrani had told him that Pakistani nation would support US’ narrative of the raid.

“Pasha and Kayani were responsible for ensuring that Pakistan’s army and air defence command would not track or engage with the US helicopters used on the mission. The American cell at Tarbela Ghazi was charged with co-ordinating communications between the ISI, the senior US officers at their command post in Afghanistan, and the two Black Hawk helicopters; the goal was to ensure that no stray Pakistani fighter plane on border patrol spot the intruders and took action to stop them”, he writes.

“When your version comes out – if you do it – people in Pakistan will be tremendously grateful,’ Durrani told me. ‘For a long time people have stopped trusting what comes out about bin Laden from the official mouths”, he added.

The journalist stated that the burial of Osama in the sea also never took place.

“We thought the best way to ensure that his body was given an appropriate Islamic burial,’ Brennan said, ‘was to take those actions that would allow us to do that burial at sea.’ He said ‘appropriate specialists and experts’ were consulted, and that the US military was fully capable of carrying out the burial ‘consistent with Islamic law’. Brennan didn’t mention that Muslim law calls for the burial service to be conducted in the presence of an imam, and there was no suggestion that one happened to be on board the Carl Vinson.

In a reconstruction of the bin Laden operation for Vanity Fair, Mark Bowden, who spoke to many senior administration officials, wrote that bin Laden’s body was cleaned and photographed at Jalalabad. Further procedures necessary for a Muslim burial were performed on the carrier, he wrote, ‘with bin Laden’s body being washed again and wrapped in a white shroud. A navy photographer recorded the burial in full sunlight, Monday morning, May 2.’ Bowden described the photos:

One frame shows the body wrapped in a weighted shroud. The next shows it lying diagonally on a chute, feet overboard. In the next frame the body is hitting the water. In the next it is visible just below the surface, ripples spreading outward. In the last frame there are only circular ripples on the surface. The mortal remains of Osama bin Laden were gone for good.

Bowden was careful not to claim that he had actually seen the photographs he described, and he recently told me he hadn’t seen them: ‘I’m always disappointed when I can’t look at something myself, but I spoke with someone I trusted who said he had seen them himself and described them in detail.’ Bowden’s statement adds to the questions about the alleged burial at sea, which has provoked a flood of Freedom of Information Act requests, most of which produced no information. One of them sought access to the photographs. The Pentagon responded that a search of all available records had found no evidence that any photographs had been taken of the burial.”, he wrote.

“The White House press corps was told in a briefing shortly after Obama’s announcement that the death of bin Laden was ‘the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work’ that focused on tracking a group of couriers, including one who was known to be close to bin Laden. Reporters were told that a team of specially assembled CIA and National Security Agency analysts had traced the courier to a highly secure million-dollar compound in Abbottabad. After months of observation, the American intelligence community had ‘high confidence’ that a high-value target was living in the compound, and it was ‘assessed that there was a strong probability that [it] was Osama bin Laden’. The US assault team ran into a firefight on entering the compound and three adult males – two of them believed to be the couriers – were slain, along with bin Laden. Asked if bin Laden had defended himself, one of the briefers said yes: ‘He did resist the assault force. And he was killed in a firefight”, he added.

US President Barack Obama announces the death of Osama Bin Laden shortly after the raid in Abbottabad



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