By Dinouk Colombage
Osama Bin Laden is dead,’ these were the words every news channel was flashing across the screens on Monday morning. The news had just come in that American commandos had successfully located and killed the United States’ most wanted criminal.
As the world rejoiced, President Barack Obama made a short statement claiming that on Sunday night after nine months of investigations the US were able to determine that Bin Laden was hiding out in a compound in the town of Abbottabad in Pakistan. Along with the co-operation of Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, the Americans launched a raid which resulted in the death of Bin Laden. All over America celebrations were sparked by the news; in New York people gathered at the site of the attack on the twin towers back in 2001 carrying flags and chanting ‘USA, USA.’ For many Americans this was a significant step forward in the war on terrorism.
For some however this announcement was not convincing, to them it was simply yet another manipulation carried out by the American administration. Conspiracy theorists have emerged all over with accusations that Bin Laden is not dead and that this is simply a political ploy, others claimed that he has been dead for many years and the US is attempting to win over credit for something they did not do.
As news continues to filter through regarding the operation contradictions follow contradictions. The Central Intelligence Agency head, Leon Panetta, explained that after Special Forces entered the compound there was a video blackout. “Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn’t know
just exactly what was going on,” he explained. These comments conflict with previous versions of the events that took place at the White House. Officials earlier reported that the President and his advisors watched the entire operation through a camera mounted on the helmets of the Special Forces.
The main question put forth by supporters of America has been “Why would the President of the United States lie?” This would not be the first time that a president has lied, especially not an American president. In 2003 president George W. Bush clai-med that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction, despite UN weapon inspectors having found no evidence of such accusations. On the back of these allegations Bush instigated a US led coalition into the country and overthrew the ruling government. In the following eight years, war and terrorism ran rampant in the country. Yet there has been no sign of these supposed WMDs.
Now on May 2, 2011, Barack Obama announced to the world that Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist, had been killed by American Special Forces in Pakistan. Theories have emerged that this is a lie to help promote the Obama administration ahead of next year’s presid-ential election. In Barack Ob-ama’s anno-uncement his speech writers no doubt craft-ed it well to appear as tho-ugh Obama himself had organised, planned and ultimately contributed greatly to the death of Bin Laden. Critics have claimed that too many inaccuracies exist in the story provided by the Americans on the events that took place. The biggest misconception that surrounds the story is when Bin Laden was actually killed. Obama announced that the terrorist was killed on Sunday evening. However, CNN a leading American news network reported that Bin Laden had been killed a week ago and that the authorities waited to confirm his identity before making the announcement. In the following days this story has been removed and replaced with a story indicating that Osama bin Laden was in fact killed on Sunday. This mistake did not go unnoticed as many individuals vented their surprise and suspicions on social networking sites such as twitter.
Regardless of the date when Bin Laden was killed, questions still exist around whether or not Pakistan knew of Bin Laden’s presence and more importantly whether they knew of the Americans carrying out such an operation. Once again Barack Obama in his announcement drew notice to the fact that it had been a joint venture between America and Pakistan. While White House officials announced that American helicopters took off from a Pakistani airbase, Pakistani military officials denied any such activity. The Pakistan government went further by insisting that they had not been notified by the Americans that such an operation was taking place in Pakistan. America has back-tracked on previous statements claiming cooporation with Pakistan instead saying they did not trust the Pakistan intelli-gence service and that they did not notify them of any such actions being taken. These comments have sparked allegations emerging that Pakistan was in fact harbo-uring Bin Laden and they may in fact be harbouring other such wanted terrorists, an idea Islamabad strongly denies. Pakistan officials have gone further by denying that any such fire-fight had taken place at the compound supposedly homing Bin Laden.
Where is the proof that Bin Laden is dead? White officials say that his body was disposed of in the sea as they wished to comply by Islamic law of burying the body within 24 hours; they chose not to bury it as they did not wish to see it become a monument.
Critics on the internet have called this “a shallow story to hide the fact that no such body exists.” Obama recently announced that they would not be releasing photos of the body as they believed it was “too grisly and would provoke reprisals against American forces and civilians.”
Sources claim that Bin Laden’s daughter during her interrogation by Pakistani forces admitted to seeing her father killed by the Americans. Her story has now changed with her claiming that he was in fact first captured by forces and later executed. White House officials have admitted he was unarmed when killed. Eric Holder, US Attorney General, has deemed this killing was ‘lawful’ and an act of ‘national self-defence.’ In Sri Lanka people have begun to question whether double standards exist for America and the rest of the world. The United States have led calls for investigations into human rights crimes during the closing stages of the war. However it appears that the gunning down and killing of an unarmed man can be considered lawful by the American Attorney General.
Despite the growing misconceptions over the events that took place during that fateful night, the United States has continued to brush aside any doubts. President Barack Obama appearing in an interview was asked as to whether he was sure that Bin Laden was dead, Obama replied with a single “yes.” When asked how he was sure Obama replied that he saw the photos. For many Americans Bin Laden’s death is a closed chapter in their war on terrorism, for some others it is a new chapter on American manipulation and deceit.