Osama's Death: Fact or Fiction

May 04, 2011

Do you have lingering doubts over the death of Osama bin Laden? You are not alone.

Like many when the news alert of Osama’s death popped on my Blackberry, I said, “Good Riddance.” The snippets of news started to trickle in. Initially CNN said in its alert, it was in Afghanistan. I sighed and said, thank GOD, it was not Pakistan.

My relief was fairly short-lived. The confirmation from subsequent news items and Reuters that it was in Abbotabad, Pakistan, was a deep disappointment.

All along it was being presented as a possibility, that he was in Pakistan. Despite the denials of (former President) Musharraf and (Interior Minister) Rehman Malik, it was clear that OBL could not just hide in the caves, along the “Af-Pak” border. The caves had to be no less than a sophisticated military fortress to conceal someone for 10 years. Besides, all dwellers of caves had to survive on something. Things were just not adding up logically.

Now this “operation” of U.S. Navy Seals is sort of lacking some logic as well. A lot of us are sceptical and rightfully so. The alleged villa was built five years ago, and somehow the oddities of that dwelling got noticed after five years. Strange. The no cable, no Internet, no communication needs some more clarification.

How can one explain the burial at sea?

In Pakistan it is common for people to burn trash. But, if the rest of the neighborhood had theirs picked up, presumably every week, and this place did not, then this should have been a red flag for quite a while back.

Reading the Twitter account of the Pakistani gentleman who tweeted, while this operation was unfolding, gives credence. He was unaware of who was carrying the operation, so at least it corroborates that some action was taking place in his neighborhood. Who was really carrying the action, is the big question.

The Navy seals cannot just fly their chopper from, let’s say Bagram, without the approval of Pakistani military. Then even if the military approves of such action, there has to be local support to carry it out. The seals need the support and back up of the people who are familiar with the terrain, language and the uncontrollable variables.

722 Photograph circulated on the net following Osama bin Laden's death

The photo being circulated on the Net is a fake for sure. An Arabic site had the photo back in 2010. The firefight may have erupted, but looking at the photo, one can easily deduce that the bullet mark on the forehead and the eyes does not match. How can one explain the burial at sea? The explanations are a bit illogical. As heinous and abhorrent the character may be, every human being deserves his final rites. Saudis and Wahabis, in particular, do not believe in shrines.

So to really make this fool-proof, the body should have been given its final rites, after the prayers, he should have been buried at an unidentified location in Pakistan or Afghanistan. The entire ceremony should have been videotaped. The people doing the final rites could have covered their face to avoid the reprisal. The comeback of no country was willing to accept the body does not make sense. Hello…if a live Bin Laden was supposedly living in Pakistan, then a dead one would have been fine too.

There is more than what meets the eye. In this case with these bizarre twists, this story has a lot of loose ends. Now it is up to the U.S. Government to provide irrefutable evidence to support their claim. A cloud of doubt will always loom around this, unless the evidence supports the claim. This scribe’s opinion about terrorism is fairly well known. I don’t want the readers to misunderstand the write-up. Like any other objective individual, the scribe is looking for clear and conclusive evidence. Without that, it is more of a fiction, than a fact.


This was originally published on Let’s Build Pakistan in May 2011.