July 08, 2013

Report: 26 People in bin Laden Compound
Bin Laden Wore "Cowboy Hat"

Al Jazeera has published a leaked report from the Pakistani "Abbottabad Commission" tasked with looking into how Osama bin Laden had been able to escape detection in Pakistan for so long and how the US was able to commit an "act of war" that "lasted three hours" without any Pakistani response.

The document is well over 300 pages, and I'm looking through it now. My initial observation about it is that most of the report deals with the US raid on the bin Laden compound and the Pakistani military's lack of response. This suggests Pakistan is more worried about an alleged violation of its sovereignty than how the world's most wanted man lived for six years just a few hundred yards from a major military academy.

I have read the scant parts recounted by the wives of the various players on the movements and day to day activities of the bin Ladens and al-Kuwaitis (the brothers guarding bin Laden). And, to be honest, there's just not much there.

According to the wives, the bin Ladens led a pretty austere and lonely existence. Osama's extended family, consisting of 16 people, lived in the main house and one side of the compound. The al-Kuwaiti's and their families -- 10 in all -- lived in another part of the compound.

According to one of the al Kuwait wives, the bin Ladens lived in total segregation and isolation. How isolated? She claims that that in all the time she lived there they had virtually no contact. The men would get together and talk often, but the women and children were completely separate and never spoke to one another.

That's the level of paranoia bin Laden and his family lived with. His children and wives never left the compound -- bad enough. But they were also not allowed to play with or even see the other children living in the compound.

Sucks to be them.

But apparently Osama's reclusiveness paid off, didn't it? To live six years in barbed wire topped compound with 26 people in it and not to set off a blips of curiosity on the radar screens of the authorities is a bit hard to swallow. Even for the commission, which suggests that local authorities were either complicit in hiding Osama or seriously negligent.

Which goes a long way in explaining why the commission's report was hidden from public view until it was leaked.

When a Pakistani commission suspects that at least some in Pakistan must have known where Osama bin Laden was hiding, then that does not bode well for your country. Not good PR, you see.

Like I said, I haven't read the entire report yet as much of it is devoted to the failure of Pakistan to respond to the US raid.

But, again, that doesn't bode well either, does it? When a country is more worried about its sovereignty being violated than the fact that it hid the world's most wanted terrorist for years and years, then we have a problem.

There's more in the report for those of you interested where Osama went after Tora Bora (first to South Waziristan, then to Bajaur, then to Swat, then finally to Obbattabad in 2005) and the people he hung out with. For instance, he met with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad only a month before KSH was captured, prompting him to move again.

The only other thing of interest I've read so far is that bin Laden wore a "cowboy hat" when outside so he couldn't be detected from above.

Bin Laden in a cowboy hat? John Wayne is rolling over in his grave right now.

So, go read it. If you find anything else interesting let me know.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:46 PM | Comments |