Today’s Brown cartoon in The Independent

The magnificent seven inconsistencies tying the White House in knots

So far in the saga of gutsy born-again President Obama, only the Independent’s cartoonist Dave Brown (apologies Indie for not getting permission) seems to be plugged into what the story is here: why – when I suspect 97% of sane folks accept quite readily that Osama Bin Laden has been rubbed out in a well-planned raid – is everyone involved in the Obama Administration talking such utter tripe to the media?

The answer is no kind of mystery; as The Slog’s first posting logged immediately yesterday, what we’re dealing with here is blatant electioneering over-egging the pudding to a ridiculous degree. The American media and People have not as yet awoken from their orgy of visceral triumphalism in order to allow some calm analysis to seep in. In the meantime, the usual Washington Establishment trick of ‘framing’ all critics has begun in earnest. Anyone asking impertinent questions is dubbed a ‘death-denier’ and thus deranged. Or silenced.

You can always be fairly sure you’re getting warm when a website as big and ugly as The Huffington Post bans your comments on the grounds of them daring to differ from the White House line. It seems that SuperBama is now so beyond reproach, we are not worthy of the right to criticise his Divine interventions. Meanwhile, back in the 21st Century, the inconsistencies between (a) the White House version and the witnesses (b) various White House staff (c) the White House and the Q’ran and (d) the White House and the Pakistanis continue to pile up, and up….and up.

Let’s take a look at each in turn.

1. Nobody was killed in the mission. Body bags heap bad for popularity ratings. So far the only reliable eye-witness, local resident Syad Hussain, has said quite clearly to BBCNews, “I saw a helicopter hit, and it crashed to the ground in flames.”

Pakistani Ambassador to the UK Wajid Hasan observed on CNN, “A helicopter went down, we know that. We think it may have been hit by a missile, but we’re not sure where from”.

Pilots don’t walk away from that kind of incident. An unnecessary lie….but typical of the political class in pursuit of a goal. Think WOMD and so forth.

2. Burial at sea in to avoid shrines. This was a pearler from a CBS interview last night with a Pentagon spokesman: “We eschewed the route of an air raid to ensure clear identity of the body”. Then we threw it in the sea. This isn’t the cover-up of an assassination that never was: it’s a political move to ensure nobody questions the DNA evidence, the violence used, how the bullets entered and so on. Myself, I don’t care if they shot him Met Police-style 38 times in the head. But burial at sea is the ultimate – not in clean closure, but in choice of hiding place.

I counsel everyone to watch counter-intelligence chief John Brennan facing the press last night. It was an object lesson in how to answer questions like “But why at sea?” (noises off, loud: why? why? why?) with “He was buried in accordance with Muslim tradition”. The Islamics asked about this so far have said burial at sea is an insult to a Muslim, and only allowed when you can’t get to land within 24 hours. The idea isn’t to take the body to the nearest aircraft carrier and then dump it over the side.

3. ‘About the gutsiest decision I’ve ever seen a President take’. John Brennan again: and once more, a glaringly transparent attempt to create SuperBama. Tell me John, how many Presidents have you seen decisions like this one? Above all, tell me what else Obama was going to do – decide not to go in? They’d have impeached the guy. They sit and painstakingly plan a mission for six months, but boy did it take some guts to say “OK, let’s get him”.

Politically, it was a no-brainer – especially with the poll ratings Barack Obama has been getting. My only question is why it took six months to verify what half of Islamabad seems already to have known.

4. Obama bollocks I: “Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground…”. Absolute tosh. Over the last eighteen months, I have researched leads, and taken statements from relatively junior people in Northern Pakistan, the FCO and Uncle Tom Patel. While one or two put Bin Laden in the badlands to the far north, the rest never varied from the view that Obama was in the Islamabad area under the protection of the Pakistani security services. Yet more electionering: “It was tough, but I the Mighty Superbama doggedly hunted this man down”.

5. Obama bollocks II: “…’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding”. This is a lie, pure and simple. It’s very important not to look as if you behaved like a rogue cop off his patch, but this one is never going to stand the test of media interrogation: I can confirm that the ISI knew the Americans would make a move in the end; but they didn’t help (or even get told) by the CIA before the raid occurred.

6. Obama bollocks III: “…America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens.” Classic Obama rhetoric, but empty as ever. The USA has never been more legally and economically unequal than it is today. The President did indeed set his mind to the task of killing Osama Bin Laden: but only after spending half a year sussing out one compound (sorry to sound patriotic here, but the SAS would’ve done it within a week) did he press the button that saved his political life. If nothing else, this does explain why it took the US ten years to finally catch one man. It’s called ‘dithering’.

7. The photoshopped head. It was released by Al Jazheera in 2009. It was a fake then and it’s a fake now. But somebody with authority must’ve put it out, because AP accepted it for ten hours. Why did it resurface? Over-egging again. Too damned clever by half is what we call this. And we still await a straight answer to the mystery.

I hope more on this extraordinary chain of events will emerge from The Slog in the coming days: a third lead and two witnesses need to be verified. When I have these standing upright, you’ll be the first to know.

But I will give you one prediction: within weeks it will be clear that large bits of Operation Compound were a case of good old-fashioned SNAFU. What we are witnessing here is the making of a Presidential Myth; but it’s very difficult to make that stick in the digital age. Once the US media gets its critical faculties back, a great deal more should emerge.

Sorry to end on this sour note, but at the moment the only consolation I’m taking out of this debacle is that the Telegraph’s rabid Republican US ‘commentator’ Nile Gardiner has just seen all this patient work of ten months to render Obama an historical no-hopers burned to ashes. We must be thankful for small mercies.

Enough of conspiracy theories? Try some conspiracy fact instead: How Newscorp conspired to pervert British Justice & Politics.


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