Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

General Durrani, Osama Bin Laden, And Trading One Narrative For Another

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 15, 2015

One of the people Seymour Hersh quotes by name in his recent story challenging the decidedly-questionable official US story on the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound was none other than General Asad Durrani, a man with a vested interest in finding a way to explain, believeably, how bin Laden and his entourage could live unmolested for six years in a walled compound that was markedly different from the buildings around it, 800 yards from the Pakistan Military Academy.

The US’ official story, which up to now has been officially backed by the Pakistani government, tries to excuse this by resorting to the Sergeant Schultz Narrative, in which the Pakistanis were just too clueless to know where he was.  This story, while protecting both the Pakstanis and the US (because the only other choice until now is to assume that Pakistan deliberately harbored bin Laden as it has so many other jihadists, something the US tries to avoid openly acknowledging as Pakistan is officially an ally in the war on terror), is not very flattering to the Pakstani government.

Then along comes Seymour Hersh with a tale whose central aim seems to be to find a way to make the Pakistani officials look as good as possible (per Hersh, they knew exactly where he was because they were holding him prisoner and besides he was a harmless and demented crippled old man anyway) and the Americans look as bad as possible (they were so stupid the Pakistanis had to tell them where he was, and so bloodthirsty they shot him to pieces even though he was a helpless demented crippled old man, though the SEALs all did feel guilty about it afterwards and were angry at Obama for making them kill a harmless old cripple).

There are a few problems with this new storyline. For one thing, the SEALs may not all be too thrilled about Obama, but neither are they afraid to say so, as numerous SEAL books and other writings have shown. Does anyone really think that no SEAL who honestly thought that President Obama sent them to murder a harmless cripple would not have said so by now?

For another, at least one reporter has implicitly challenged Hersh’s view that bin Laden was a helpless old man who was of no danger or value to anyone. Carlotta Gall, who has covered the Middle and Near East for a decade and a half, states that bin Laden was not a helpless, useless prisoner of the Pakistanis, but an intelligence asset so valuable to (and thus protected and hid by) the Pakistani government that they dedicated an entire desk just to running bin Laden:

Beginning in 2001, I spent nearly 12 years covering Pakistan and Afghanistan for The Times. (In his article, Hersh cites an article I wrote for The Times Magazine last year, an excerpt from a book drawn from this reporting.) The story of the Pakistani informer was circulating in the rumor mill within days of the Abbottabad raid, but at the time, no one could or would corroborate the claim. Such is the difficulty of reporting on covert operations and intelligence matters; there are no official documents to draw on, few officials who will talk and few ways to check the details they give you when they do.

Two years later, when I was researching my book, I learned from a high-level member of the Pakistani intelligence service that the ISI had been hiding Bin Laden and ran a desk specifically to handle him as an intelligence asset. After the book came out, I learned more: that it was indeed a Pakistani Army brigadier — all the senior officers of the ISI are in the military — who told the C.I.A. where Bin Laden was hiding, and that Bin Laden was living there with the knowledge and protection of the ISI.

Sounds a lot different – and considerably more believable, in view of the past history of the Pakistani government – than either the USG’s “Sergeant Schultz” version or the Seymour Hersh “Supercunning ISI Agents” version of the Pakistani officials’ behavior in this incident.

3 Responses to “General Durrani, Osama Bin Laden, And Trading One Narrative For Another”

  1. лидия said

    As if the heroic USA “Seals” have ANY problems with murdering even children (see even the dirty coloinialist movie about one such “hero”, USA public it loves so much). They just do not give a damn about whom they are send to murder.

  2. Charles II said

    There is no contradiction between bin Laden as an intelligence asset and as a prisoner. An intelligence asset is quite often a prisoner in a gilded cage. Look at the Witness Protection Program.

    Trevor Timm, Columbia Journalism Review:

    The media’s reaction to Seymour Hersh’s bin Laden scoop has been disgraceful

    Seymour Hersh has done the public a great service by breathing life into questions surrounding the official narrative of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Yet instead of trying to build off the details of his story, or to disprove his assertions with additional reporting, journalists have largely attempted to tear down the messenger.

    Barrels of ink have been spilled ripping apart Hersh’s character, while barely any follow-up reporting has been done to corroborate or refute his claims—even though there’s no doubt that the Obama administration has repeatedly misinformed and misled the public about the incident .

    It pains me to see you add any ink whatsoever to that effort.

  3. kaleberg said

    None of this is surprising given that the ISI is heavily involved in terrorism in Pakistan and elsewhere. Didn’t they run the Mumbai raid and provide North Korea with nuclear technology? They were clearly hiding bin Laden, possibly using him as a source or to control what was left of his organization. Given his increasing irrelevance, it wouldn’t be surprising if the ISI decided to cash in.

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