Indian paper says Pakistan intelligence was helping bin Laden

Chidanand Rajghatta writes in the Times of India:

Hiding bin Laden: Finger of suspicion at ISI

WASHINGTON: Just hours after American Navy Seals shot dead Osama bin Laden in a compound in Pakistan on Sunday, US President Barack Obama shot down the Pakistani security establishment’s attempt to claim joint credit for the operation.

In a ten-minute television address, Obama left no doubt that US personnel alone were involved in the action that brought bin Laden to justice. ”Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,” Obama said, adding, ”A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability.”

While Obama said ”It’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding,” he made no mention of any Pakistani military role in the operation. US officials in background briefing made it clear that no country, much less Pakistan, was informed of the operation. [Emphasis added.]

In fact, there was not even a word of thanks for Pakistan. Instead, Obama said: ”Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al-Qaida and its affiliates.”

The finger of suspicion is now pointing squarely at the Pakistani military and intelligence for sheltering and protecting Osama bin Laden before US forces hunted him down and put a bullet in his head in the wee hours of Sunday. The coordinates of the action and sequence of events indicate that the al-Qaida fugitive may have been killed in an ISI safehouse.

US analysts uniformly suggested that the Pakistani security establishment’s claim of a role in the operation is clearly aimed at ducking charges of its military’s possible role in hiding bin Laden. ”This is hugely embarrassing for Pakistan,” was a common refrain on US TV channels throughout the night.

In fact, top US officials have openly suggested for months that the Pakistani military establishment was hiding bin Laden. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came closest to publicly exposing Pakistan’s role last May when she accused some government officials there of harboring Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar.

”I am not saying they are at the highest level … but I believe somewhere in this government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Taliban are,” Clinton said on May 10 last year, adding, ”We expect more cooperation (from Pakistan) to help us bring to justice capture or kill those who brought us 9/11.”

Taken together with President Obama’s pointed reference to President Zardari and leaving out any mention of Pakistani forces’ involvement, it would seem that Washington believes that Pakistan’s military intelligence establishment, including the ISI, was sheltering bin Laden. The ISI was accused as recently as last week by the top US military official Admiral Mike Mullen of having terrorist links, and named as a terrorist support entity by US officials, according to the Guantanamo cables.

Lending credence to the charges is the fact that US forces homed in on bin Laden in Abbottabad, which is a cantonment just 50 kms from Islamabad, where the Pakistani military has a strong presence. The place where bin Laden was killed is only kilometers from the Kakul military academy, where many Pakistani military elites, including some of its ISI cadres, graduate from.

While US officials are tightlipped about precise details, analysts are trying to figure out whether the compound that sheltered bin Laden was an ISI safehouse. There is also speculation as to whether Hillary Clinton was referring to this when she made her pointed remarks last May.

US officials have said for years that they believed bin Laden escaped to Pakistan after the American bombing campaign in Afghanistan. But Pakistani officials, including its former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, insisted that he was in Afghanistan, even as Afghan officials would angrily refute it and say he is in Pakistan. In the end, the Americans and Afghans were right on the money.

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An Indian living in the West writes:

When I was in London a few weeks after 9-11, I remarked to an American friend that Bin Laden is probably in Pakistan and won’t get caught. Although my friend is conservative, he was utterly incredulous because he believed the US Administration when it said that Pakistan was an ally of America. I then explained to him the whole connection between the Taliban, Pakistan and Bin Laden. I explained to him the ideological roots of the Islamist movement in Pakistan, its financing with Saudi money (and CIA approval, I might add). In the 1980s, the Americans, Saudi hardliners and the Pakistani military were on the same side training and indoctrinating the Mujahedeen fighting against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Since 9-11, it has become fashionable for some in the American left to accuse Reagan of being the father of Bin Laden and the Taliban. They always say, “hey we created the Taliban didn’t we?” Of course, the distinction between the Mujahedeen (which was a coalition of Afghans) and the Taliban is rarely understood. The Taliban was a faction within the Mujahedeen which became dominant after the Soviet occupation ended and in-fighting broke out between the various factions of the Mujahedeen. The Taliban was a hard-line Sunni faction which was financed and backed by the Pakistani military establishment which had become extremely sympathetic to the hard-line Islamists. In addition, the US basically went off to sleep and started snoring in the Clinton years while the Pakistanis were funding and aiding/abetting the hard-line Taliban. Sometime in 1996/1997, Osama Bin Laden moved to Afghanistan which by then had fallen wholly under the control of the Taliban. The Pakistani military which was receiving copious amounts of American military hardware and financial aid had no problem with this. In fact, there is a good chance that they actively encouraged it. They were fully aware of Bin Laden and his views on America and his role in various terrorist acts against American targets.

The Indian government tried in vain for an entire decade during the Clinton years to warn the Clinton Administration of the growing menace in the region. This was met by a hostile reaction from the US Administration which refused to see what was happening in Pakistan. Clinton was of course, at that time, embroiled in the ridiculous Lewinsky scandal. One of the most hostile elements within the Clinton Administration was Madeleine Albright who refused to see the growing menace in Pakistan and Afghanistan and kept accusing the Indian government of committing “human rights abuses” in Kashmir. In addition, I have a strong suspicion that Albright wanted Kashmir to be handed over to Islamists on Wilsonian “self-determination” arguments.

9-11 was a watershed and it opened Americans’ eyes to what was really happening in Pakistan. While I don’t like comparing Bush with Bill Clinton, George W Bush was a far superior President to Clinton in his conduct of foreign policy. This is not an approval of Bush’s foreign policy but merely a statement that he was much better than Clinton. It is appalling that many Americans continue to remember Clinton as a good president. In fact, Clinton was simply a beneficiary of circumstances that were not his creation. He benefitted enormously from the false prosperity of the dot com bubble (financed by the easy money policies of Greenspan) and was lucky that 9-11 did not happen on his watch. Americans were not just sleeping in the Clinton years, they were in fact snoring very loudly. 9-11 was the alarm that went off.

It is ironic now that Hillary Clinton is bashing the Pakistani military establishment for aiding and abetting Bin Laden. What were her husband and the US establishment doing when the Indian government warned them of this several times during the 1990s? Had they listened, a great tragedy may well have been averted.

ILW continues:
Here is a comment that was posted following the Times of India article you linked to:

I just saw a news programme on Al-Zazeera TV, in which the Arab reporters interviewed a few residents of Abbotabad, who lived in the neighborhood of the Compound where Osama lived from 1995. They said this house is strange, as it is almost 8 times larger than the houses in this area and it had about 18 feet high compound walls. The residents said the house always appeared mysterious, especially that it was located at a stone’s throw away from Pakistani Military Academy and military establishment. The residents said that the town and the area is a highly Restricted Area, and EVERYBODY who wants to move in the area is subjected to a detailed security scrutinees, like checking IDs and references. Under these circutances, it was impossible for Bin Laden, his large family and armed security guards to be able to live there from 1995, without the protection of the ISI and Pak Army. The house was worth more than 1 million dollars and to survive in such a large and specially built house (large family and huge/constant medical expenses for ailing Osama) without any source of income was impossible, unless Bin Laden was being taken care of by the ISI, was not possible. Therefore, the conclusion is Osama was living in a ISI safe house.

ILW continues:

Steve Sailer finally makes the connection between the Pakistani militarty establishment and Bin Laden. Here’s an excerpt:

…even I was shocked to learn where Osama bin Laden had been hiding: in a sizable compound constructed in 2005, right down the road from … the Pakistan Military Academy.

(The bin Laden estate is “B” on the above Google Maps satellite photo, while the front gate of the West Point of Pakistan is “A”.)

In other words, while hundreds of American soldiers have died searching for bin Laden in the mountains of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, our purported ally Pakistan was actually hosting him in comfort at the heart of their national security apparatus.

And they were collecting billions from the American taxpayer to help track down bin Laden for us!

I’m horrified.

The behavior of the most powerful elements within Pakistan’s government is more cynical, mercenary, and shameless than even I had imagined. I had assumed that Pakistan wasn’t trying terribly hard to catch bin Laden and that even some within the state might be on his side. But this looks far worse. [cont.]

It is an interesting question as to what America should do with Pakistan. This is a chilling illustration of the country America is dealing with. It is also a chilling illustration of what Pakistan is doing with American aid money.

Perhaps the best solution may be to locate and destroy Pakistan’s nukes in a bold strike. However, as long as Pakistan has China’s support, the U.S. can be absolutely certain that Pakistan will get nukes again with Chinese help (as they did last time). This ties into that email I sent you on China several months ago.

This is a problem without a solution.

Robert B. writes:

Indian living in the West is wrong on Reagan an the Mujahideen—it was Jimmy Carter who began aid to them. See this and this.

John Dempsey writes:

I found this story rather odd considering the Times of India story you posted, and several others I’ve read today questioning Pakistan’s involvement, or lack thereof. The linked AP article was also posted earlier at The Washington Examiner, but it has disappeared from their site.

Laurence B. writes:

It seems pretty unlikley that bin Laden was residing within 50 miles of a well supplied Pakistani military compound, especially considering the high levels of security Pakistan maintained in the area. An article at Yahoo also mentioned some interesting aspects abouit the SEALs mission that makes Pakistani cooperation with the U.S., and an appreciation of U.S. initiatives, very unlikely. Sentences such as, “How did the helicopters elude the Pakistani air defense network? Did they spoof transponder codes? Were they painted and tricked out with Pakistan Air Force equipment? If so—and we may never know—two other JSOC units, the Technical Application Programs Office and the Aviation Technology Evaluation Group, were responsible” and “NSA figured out, somehow, that there was no telephone or Internet service in the compound. How it did this without Pakistan’s knowledge is a secret. The NGIA makes the military’s maps but also develops their pattern recognition software—no doubt used to help establish, by February of this year, that the CIA could say with “high probability” that bin Laden and his family were living there” give the strong impression that the U.S. forces were not only operating without Pakistani input, but were deliberately avoiding any cooperation or shared information with the Pakistani military. One is forced to conclude that, at least among the more serious branches of the American Armed Forces, there was a relaization of the complicity between bin Laden and Pakistan, and that any leak to Pakistani forces would have resulted in bin Laden’s notification and evacuation.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 02, 2011 10:45 AM | Send

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