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May 4, 2011

Gunfight at the Abbottabad Compound

Kevin E. Dayhoff

In the dark depths of a moonless night, at 1 a.m. Monday morning, Osama bin Laden, 54, the elusive leader of the global terrorist cabal al-Qaeda was brought to justice by an elite U.S. Special Forces team in Pakistan’s Abbottabad Valley.


Curiously, the Pakistanis did not seem to be aware that the fabled terrorist leader was hiding in plain sight, in Abbottabad, population approximately 100,000, just down the street from the headquarters of a contingent of the Pakistani army 2nd Division.


His $1 million dollar triangularly-shaped compound just happens to have 18-foot walls, topped by barbed wire and take up approximately one acre in an otherwise, relatively affluent neighborhood, about 100 miles above Islamabad and not that far from the Tarbela Reservoir.


It is reported that bin Laden has been living there for as much as six years – the compound was built around 2005.


There are sure to be more interesting details revealed in more extensive hot washes of the CIA-Navy SEAL Team Six operation in the future. At present historians are already fascinated with what details are known of the operation in which bin Laden took a U.S. bullet in the head (and one round in the chest) as he hid behind his wife that he was using as a human shield.


On May 1, members of SEAL Team Six in four helicopters paid a house call on bin Laden – codename Geronimo – and had him reclassified as EKIA – enemy killed in action.


According to several reports, including an in-depth Washington Post article, four other people at the compound were also killed in the daring middle of the night raid, including one of bin Laden’s sons, Khalid.


Only three men were there to protect the al-Qaeda leader. He was that confident in the secrecy of his location in Pakistan.


The Special Forces unit visited bin Laden’s three-story luxury compound for about 40 minutes, most all of which was spent in an intense fire-fight with the 22 inhabitants, after one of the Black Hawk helicopter’s crash landed in his back yard with an ominous thud.


It is widely reported that bin Laden was later afforded appropriate Islamic religious rituals and quickly buried at sea from the deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.


It has been almost 10-years since bin Laden, the son of an affluent and privileged Saudi Arabian family, was credited with being the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, deadly terrorist attacks.


Nearly 3,000 lives were lost and over 6,000 injured in the aftermath of a series of attacks which began at 8:46 A.M. when American Airlines flight 11 flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.


Now that justice has been served, we have three (or) more enemy combatants to go – and we know they may be currently located – at Guantanamo Bay.


Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM,) Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Mustafa al-'Uzayti, were, along with the late Osama bin Laden, also identified with helping to brainstorm the crimes against humanity on September 11.


Mohammed, a Kuwaiti, was captured on March 1, 2003, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, by – interestingly enough – the Pakistani ISI – Inter-Services Intelligence directorate. Mohammed, a 1986 graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, is currently also deservedly languishing at Guantanamo Bay.


Al-Shibh, from Yemen, the “20th hijacker” was captured in Karachi on September 11, 2002, and currently resides at Guantanamo Bay along with a number of other prisoners of war.


Abu Faraj al-Libi, aka Mustafa al-'Uzayti, from Libya, another al-Qaeda September 11 planner, was captured in Mardan, just north of Peshawar in Pakistan, by the Pakistani ISI on May 2, 2005. He also now resides in Guantanamo Bay.


A senior intelligence official says “multiple detainees provided us information and that it's impossible to point to a single person who put us on the trail of Osama bin Laden.”


According to several news accounts, many of the pieces of the puzzle were put together from answers to questions by detainees at Guantanamo Bay, the very same facility that President Obama promised to close during his election campaign.


Various news sources indicate that, although the beginning threads of the initiative that put a bullet in the head of bin Laden began last July in Peshawar, Pakistan; the original information that led to his fatal-migraine headache was discovered in one of those CIA black sites in Eastern Europe four years ago.


That was when counter-intelligence officials learned of a trusted courier, who was identified later as Sheikh Abu Ahmed, a Kuwaiti used by bin Laden.


However, as a result of Operation Cannonball, the boots on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan were rearranged, in 2005, in the effort to locate and destroy bin Laden. In part, that operation led to the courier being located in Peshawar.


The New York Times reports: “With more agents in the field, the CIA finally got the courier’s family name. With that, they turned to one of their greatest investigative tools — the National Security Agency began intercepting telephone calls and e-mail messages between the man’s family and anyone inside Pakistan. From there they got his full name.”


Hat’s off to President Barack Obama for his leadership in the exercise that led to the death of bin Laden. For those who have been encouraged by his continuation of the Predator drone attacks in Pakistan, begun by his predecessor George W. Bush; it may be that President Obama may be starting to “get-it” right about national defense matters.


However, that still remains to be seen…


Remember, it was U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who had earlier decided to put Mohammed on trial in New York City, along with four other alleged September 11 planners. No word if the trail was to be squeezed-in between the “serious-traffic cases” or what. Fortunately the resulting public outcry put an end to that mindless moment by the Obama administration.


Never mind that this is the administration that “ordered the court-martial of three Navy SEALs for allegedly giving terrorist Ahmed Hashim Abed a fat lip while he was in their custody? Abed is believed responsible for the murder of U.S. contractors in Iraq and the hanging of their charred bodies from a bridge over the Euphrates River in Iraq near Fallujah for the world press to photograph,” according to an excellent analysis by Investors Business Daily.


As long as President Obama appears to “get it,” there can be no better time to provide the other masterminds of the September 11 a fair military tribunal, at Guantanamo Bay – then provide them appropriate Islamic religious rituals and bury them at sea. Beginning the trials as soon as possible is certainly in order. It’s time to move on to the future.


. . .I’m just saying…


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