Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dead Bin Laden

As Jesus watches our sorry efforts ... Relatively neat and tidy hits have to be better than satanic orgies of profiteering and bringing as many of our fellow creatures as possible to grief on the excuse of (allegedly) trying to bringing a coupla handsful of rotters 'to justice'.  Here are some worthwhile articles:

Family member of U.S. service members: Bin Laden's death can't replace our loved ones, but it's time to end the wars

Thomas Himes, Staff Writer

Posted: 05/02/2011 05:46:52 PM PDT

While the killing of Osama bin Laden came as little comfort to local people who lost loved ones in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the family members of some servicemen said his death has given them cause to hope for the quick withdraw of U.S. forces from the Middle East.

News that bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan on Sunday after a decade-long manhunt, gave Leticia De La Pena reason to reflect on her son, his life and death, she said.

At 25-years-old, La Puente native Esau De La Pena-Hernandez was on his fifth combat tour when he was shot and killed in a battle outside Chak, Afghanistan on May 15, 2009.

De La Pena said the knowledge that bin Laden was killed is of little solace to her and her family.

"The death of this person isn't going to replace my son or the other young people who gave their life for this country," De La Pena said.

The nearly decade old war in Afghanistan and eight year old war in Iraq reached a grim milestone last month when the Department of Defense reported 6,000 U.S. servicemen and women had been killed in the conflicts.

Wayne Hiltz also said Bin Laden's death has done little to fill the void left by his own son.

Cory Hiltz, 20, was one of five soldiers who died on June 28, 2007 when his unit came under attack in Baghdad, said Irwindale's acting police chief, Hiltz.

"While our family, like all Americans and others around the world who disdain terrorism, are gratified
to see his reign of terror has come to an end - it in no way provides relief from the pain and the anguish that our family suffers every day over the loss of our son," Hiltz said choking back his emotions.

Hiltz, however, said he hopes the killing of bin Laden will save American lives by bringing a speedy end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We are thankful that none of our forces involved in this operation were injured and hopeful that his death, in some significant way, reduces incidents of terrorism and expedites the safe return of our troops who remain in harm's way," Hiltz said.

Rossana Cambron's 27-year-old son is scheduled to make his third deployment to Iraq with the Army at the end of the month. The Whittier woman said in killing bin Laden, the U.S. military has reached its stated objective for wars that need to end.

"The idea was to go after him because he was the one who was responsible for bombing the towers," Cambron said.

"Now it's done. Let's go home. Enough is enough already," she said.

A call from a relative alerted Cindy Rowe about the death of bin Laden at the hands of U.S. military forces.

The Whittier woman doesn't watch the news.

Rowe, 39, stopped watching news broadcasts after her husband, U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Blue Rowe, was killed May 26, 2009, by an improvised bomb in Panjshir, Afghanistan. He was 33.

"It doesn't bring my husband back to me," she said of the president's announcement. "It doesn't change anything."

Although Rowe is glad about bin Laden's death, she worries "there's someone else who's going to take his place."

Cynthia Fisher, of Arcadia, said her 24-year-old son is currently serving in Afghanistan, as a member of an elite special forces unit - Marine recon. Although she has not heard from him since bin Laden was killed, she said she can imagine his reaction.

"He is probably pleased this quest has come to an end," Fisher said. "But he's probably also somewhat disappointed that he didn't get to experience the capture."

Fisher said that while she is pleased by the news of bin Laden's death, she believe a picture of his body would have helped bring her closure.

"It would give me closure if I had seen an actual photo of his corpse before he was buried at sea," Fisher said.

Pat Alviso said Bin Laden's death should leave U.S. policymakers with little cause for continuing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Alviso has dedicated the last five years of her life to organizing rallies in Los Angeles and Orange County in an effort to bring home U.S. servicemen and women. Her son returned home from his fourth tour in Iraq last week.

"This is another piece we hope that will help us bring our loved ones home," Alviso said. "I can't think of another reason why we would stay there."

De La Hernandez, however, isn't as hopeful as some military family members. She said she has little faith that bin Laden's death will end U.S. military actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

"It doesn't really give any comfort to me because I think these kind of political issues will continue."

Staff Writer Sandra T. Molina contributed to this story.

Read more: Family member of U.S. service members: Bin Laden's death can't replace our loved ones, but it's time to end the wars - Whittier Daily News


Dianne Feinstein: Bin Laden Was At Pakistan Compound For Up To Six Years
Pakistan , Frank Lautenberg , Osama Bin Laden , President Barack Obama , Sen. Dianne Feinstein , Senate Intelligence Committee , Dianne Feinstein , Osama Bin Laden Dead , Osama Bin Laden Pakistan , Sen. Frank Lautenberg , Politics News

WASHINGTON -- Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Monday that Osama bin Laden had been living on the compound where he was killed for up to six years and expressed concern that the Pakistani government may have known.

“It appears that Osama bin Laden and his family could have lived there for up to six years,” Feinstein told reporters at the Capitol. “This compound has been around [for up to six years] and that’s the belief. I said up to six years.”

The California Democrat voiced concerns that the Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), may have known bin Laden was there and not done anything about it, particularly given the compound’s massive size and proximity to Islamabad.

“It’s very hard for me to understand how Pakistani [leaders], particularly the ISI, would not have known that something was going on in that compound,” she said. “I’ve had a growing concern that the Pakistani government … is really walking both sides of the street.”

Feinstein stopped short of calling for cutting off $1.1 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan for counter-insurgency efforts. But she floated the idea of restructuring those funds in a different way.

“Our government is in fiscal distress,” she said. “To make contributions to a country that isn’t going to be fully supportive is a problem for many.”

Feinstein noted that members of the Intelligence Committee had been briefed on the compound “for some time” and that fact that nobody leaked information about it is “very special.” She also gave President Barack Obama credit “for having the gumption to make the decision” to attack the compound when it still wasn’t 100 percent certain that bin Laden was there. Intelligence officials had been tracking the compound for a while and there was some “actionable intelligence” that bin Laden was there, but nobody had actually identified him yet, she said.

Feinstein isn’t the only key Democrat raising concerns about the Pakistani government's potential knowledge of bin Laden's whereabouts: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), vice chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, said it may be time for “a review” of U.S. aid to Pakistan.

“I hate to take a phrase from the past, but someone once said,‘Trust but verify,’” he said.

~*~*~*~*~*Dude:  Trust nobody, trust nothing; try to verify what you can!  And let's face it: 
Pakistan's 'government' is about as much a single unit as China's in the 1920s or France's in Joan of Arc's time.

Why Did Bin Laden Hide In Plain Sight?

NEW YORK -- After living on the run in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, why did the world’s most wanted terrorist decide to stay put for up to six years in a three-story hilltop compound just a thousand yards from Pakistan’s most prestigious military academy?

The resort town of Abbottabad in northwest Pakistan, home to retired military officers, lies less than 40 miles from the capital of Islamabad. It was an unlikely setting for the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden. That incongruity has raised questions about whether Pakistani officials had knowledge of his presence and how American intelligence agencies were finally able to pinpoint his whereabouts after ten years of failing to find the 6’6” terrorist leader with a serious kidney problem.

The house bin Laden was found in had a reputation as a place to be avoided, according to interviews with local residents conducted by USA Today and Time magazine: its threatening exterior boasted 14-foot-high walls topped with barbed wire that surrounded the complex. There was a 7-foot security wall on the second floor, as well as security gates and cameras. The compound was constructed in 2005 to house bin Laden, but it is not clear when he moved in, authorities told The Wall Street Journal. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said today that bin Laden had been living on the compound for up to six years and expressed concern that the Pakistani government may have known. And the sleepy town was starting to attract unwanted attention -- four months ago, Pakistani agents there arrested Indonesian al Qaeda member Umar Patek, who had a $1 million bounty on his head as the mastermind of the 2002 suicide bombings that killed 202 at nightclubs in Bali.

bin Laden’s presence in a town teeming with Pakistani military has reinforced for some the widespread suspicion that the country’s intelligence agencies were fully aware of his movements. “It’s very hard for me to understand how Pakistani [leaders], particularly the ISI, would not have known that something was going on in that compound,” Feinstein said. “I’ve had a growing concern that the Pakistani government … is really walking both sides of the street.”

Despite numerous reports in recent years that bin Laden had fled Afghanistan for Pakistan -- a NATO official said last October that he was “living comfortably” in Pakistan -- the country’s officials have consistently denied such reports. Yet bin Laden’s ability to elude capture in Pakistan has helped fuel such suspicions. After crossing the Tora Bora mountains in December 2001 to Parachinar, Pakistan, where an army brigade was deployed to snag him, he slipped away and headed to the Army garrison town of Kohat before vanishing into thin air, according to intelligence reports.

“Many Americans, convinced that Pakistan has done less than it might to confront radical militants and terrorists, see their worst suspicions confirmed by the fact that bin Laden lived in a large, well-protected compound right under the Pakistani military's nose,” says Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. ”Either Pakistan's intelligence service is terribly incompetent, fatally compromised, or both, raising questions about its utility as a partner.”

Even former Pakistani prime minister Pervez Musharraf was stunned to find out about bin Laden’s hideout. “That really surprises me that it was next to the Pakistan Military Academy,” he told Bloomberg TV. “I used to run 9 miles en route, maybe passing by the house."

The dysfunctional nature of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan was evident in today’s comments describing the operation. According to Pakistani officials, the operation was a joint U.S.-Pakistani operation, but U.S. officials insisted that only U.S. personnel were involved.

On the run since the 9/11 attacks, bin Laden has long been suspected of finding safe harbor in lawless parts of Pakistan, but he was known for never staying in one place too long. So the length of his time in the compound mystifies some former intelligence officials -- what brought him there, and why did he stay for so long?

Jack Cloonan, former FBI special agent with the bin Laden task force, suspects that there is more to the story than just the administration’s claim that the CIA tracked bin Laden’s couriers for several years. “What did it take to get him from wherever he was in August into this compound? And what made him go against his usual M.O. and stay at at a single location for months upon months? There must have been some human intelligence," he said. "Maybe we had an inside source who helped keep him there.”

Former CIA field officer Bob Baer also has his doubts about the official account of how bin Laden was tracked. "Intelligence agencies like the CIA and the US military will simply put out disinformation to protect the real sources, which could have been anything from intercepts to the Pakistani government itself," he told the BBC.

An administration official declined to provide more details about the operation, explaining that some discretion is necessary to avoid tipping off al Qaeda members to methods used by U.S. intelligence agencies. A CIA spokesperson did not return an email requesting more details on the operation either. Efforts to develop double agents among al Qaeda and the Taliban have backfired at times -- last year, a Jordanian double agent blew up seven CIA officers in a suicide bombing at a CIA base in Afghanistan, the second-most deadly attack in CIA history.

Foreign policy experts were split on the impact of bin Laden’s killing. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Richard Haass, the former U.S. coordinator for policy toward the future of Afghanistan, emphasized that it is “not a transformational event,” comparing al Qaeda to an out-of-control medical malady. “You might be successful at attacking this virus but you don’t get rid of the disease. The scourge of terrorism remains.”

He emphasized that al Qaeda’s other prominent leaders, including bin Laden’s number two Ayman al-Zawahiri and American-born Yemeni Anwar al Awlaki, have been preparing for such a possibility for a long time. “Whether either of them comes to the fore, there remains a degree of decentralization within al Qaeda with so many franchises that operate independently of each other," Haass said. "I don’t see this as altering what it might do.”

Though the act of killing bin Laden is symbolically very important, Haass stressed that information that U.S. Special Forces obtain from the computer hard drives found in the compound may ultimately prove more valuable.

Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institute pointed out that over the past ten years, bin Laden's role in al Qaeda had become less operational and more inspirational, as the group itself transformed from a centralized operation into more of a conglomerate. Therefore, his death won't have much of an impact on al Qaeda's ability to pull off future terror attacks. “But his legend may continue to inspire” members of the group, O'Hanlon said.

But former CIA analyst Marc Sageman predicts that bin Laden’s death is further proof of al Qaeda’s decline in influence, adding that its franchises in Yemen, Iraq and North Africa are not that effective. “I suspect the al Qaeda senior leadership will splinter," he said. "This will create a vacuum.”

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