Creating Evidence Where There Is None

By Paul Craig Roberts, August 7, 2011

The New Yorker has published a story planted on Nicholas Schmidle by unidentified sources who claim to be familiar with the alleged operation that murdered Osama bin Laden.

There is no useful information in the story.  Its purpose seems simply to explain away or cover up holes in the original story, principally: why did the Seals murder an unarmed, unresisting Osama bin Laden whose capture would have resulted in a goldmine of terrorist information and whose show trial would have rescued the government’s crumbling 9/11 story?

The gullible Schmidle tells us: “‘There was never any question of detaining or capturing him—it wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,’ the special-operations officer told me.”  In other words, the SEALs murdered bin Laden, because the US government did not want detainees, not because trigger-happy stupid SEALs destroyed a font of terrorist information.

Why did the SEALS dump bin Laden’s body in the ocean instead of producing the evidence to a skeptical world?  No real explanation, just that SEALS had done the same thing to other victims.  Schmidle writes: “All along, the SEALs had planned to dump bin Laden’s corpse into the sea—a blunt way of ending the bin Laden myth.”  But before they did so, the US checked with an unidentified Saudi intelligence operative, who allegedly replied, “Your plan sounds like a good one.”

I mean, really.

After all of Sy Hersh’s New Yorker revelations of US government lies and plots, one can understand the pressure that might have been applied to the New Yorker to publish this fairy

tale. But what is extraordinary is that there was a real story that Schmidle and the New Yorker could have investigated.

In the immediate aftermath of bin Laden’s alleged murder by the SEALs, Pakistani TV interviewed the next door neighbor to bin Laden’s alleged compound. Someone supplied the video with an English translation running at the bottom of the video.

According to the translation, the next door neighbor, Mr. Bashir, said that he watched the entire operation from the roof of his house.  There were 3 helicopters. Only 1 landed. About a dozen men got out and entered the house. They shortly returned and boarded the helicopter.  When the helicopter lifted off it exploded, killing all aboard. Mr. Bashir reports seeing bodies and pieces of bodies all over.

The US government acknowledges that it lost a helicopter, but claims no one was hurt.

Obviously, as there were no further landings, if everyone was killed as Mr. Bashir reports, there was no body to be dumped into the ocean.

A real investigation would begin with Mr. Bashir’s interview. Was he actually saying what the English translation reported?  I have not been able to find the interview with the English translation, but I believe this is the interview that I saw.

Surely there is a qualified interpreter who can tell us what Mr. Bashir is saying.  If the English translation that I saw is not a hoax, then we are presented with a story totally different from the one the government told us and repeated again through Mr. Schmidle.

If the English translation of Mr. Bashir’s interview is correct, one would think that there would be some interest on the part of US news organizations and on the part of the intelligence committees in Congress to question Mr. Bashir and his neighbors, many of whom are also interviewed on Pakistani TV saying that they have lived in Abbottabad all their lives and are absolutely certain that Osama bin Laden was not among them.

Mr. Schmidle goes to lengths to describe the SEALs’ weapons, although his story makes it clear that no weapons were needed as bin Laden is described as “unarmed” and undefended.  The “startled” bin Laden didn’t even hear the helicopters or all the SEALs coming up the stairs. In addition to all his fatal illnesses which most experts believe killed him a decade ago, bin Laden must have been deaf as neighbors report that the sound of the helicopters was “intense.”

When Pakistanis on the scene in Abbottabad report a totally different story from the one that reaches us second and third hand from unidentified operatives speaking to reporters in the US who have never been to Abbottabad, shouldn’t someone qualified look into the story?


An attorney with a British Master of Laws degree in international law and diplomacy, who was born in Pakistan, provided the translation below. He writes: “I have no problem with being identified as the translator, but would prefer to remain anonymous.”

The translator provides these definitions and clarifications:

“Gulley” is generally referred (in Urdu) to a sidewalk or pavement, and also for the space between two houses. “Kanal” is a traditional unit of land area, so that one kanal equals exactly 605 square yards or 1/8 acre; this is equivalent to about 505.857 square meters. Muhammad Bashir refers to himself as “We”. This is common respectable language for the self; to use the plural term instead of singular. The English language equivalent would be the “Royal, We”. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan.

The translator:

I have translated the entire text of the video. I have tried my best to keep words in a chronological order, but in some cases this is not possible, as in translation words must be replaced in reverse order to make sense! However, I have had to put a few words in brackets to clarify meaning.

Video Transcript:

Welcome back! Muhammad Bashir, Abbottabad Area, Bilal Town resident, looks like an ordinary person, but he is no ordinary person! Muhammad Bashir lives in Abbottabad’s Bilal Town opposite Bin Laden’s House.

Night of 2nd May Muhammad Bashir was on the roof of his house, whereupon, the entire OBL, American operation was seen with his own eyes.

Last night, when our team was in Abbottabad, Bilal Town, near OBL house, Muhammad Bashir approached me and said that:

“Sister, I want to tell you something that is a great burden on my heart and conscience”

Listen to what he said:

00:59 Muhammad Bashir: I.. today… would like to comment about today’s Abbottabad operation events, until now, what I am about to say, no person has said.

01:08: Reporter: But, Muhammad Bashir sahib appeared frightened. While speaking to me, Muhammad Bashir sahib phoned his relative; leader, M.E.A. of Jamaat-e-islami, Abbottabad, Abdul Razaq Abaasi on the phone.

01:21: reporter: Tell me your name and where do you live?

Muhammad Bashir: – One minute, first I need to speak to him…I am going to give an interview, a complete interview. Shall I give a complete interview or half?

Reporter: Complete! Complete!

Muhammad Bashir: I first need to phone him, I need to speak to him.

Reporter: I could of…

01:39: Reporter: Muhammad Bashir sahib, on that night’s events of the American operation, that took place, he expressed such comments about circumstances that have never been expressed before, therefore, we checked his ID card, his place of residence and we can confirm that he definitely lives there and we also approached senior politicians and asked about him, after hearing his comments, we were amazed – now you watch what he said.

01:57: Muhammad Bashir: The events that happened are thus; we were awake, we were not asleep.

02:00: Muhammad Bashir: a helicopter came, and circled and dropped some people there.

02:07: Muhammad Bashir: in that house… where they are saying; Osama lives here, on that house’s roof, they dropped people, after that, the helicopter returned and went back.

02:16: Reporter: How many people were they?

02:18: Muhammad Bashir: They were ten, twelve people

02:20: Muhammad Bashir: After that it left and for approximately 20 minutes, there behind us, on those mountains, it kept going around, the top of the mountains.

02:27: After 20 minutes, it returned. When it returned, at that time there were TWO more helicopters arrived. One came from the West and one came from the North. When it approached for landing, after that…

Video cut

02:41: Muhammad Bashir: that helicopter, there was an explosion within it and there was fire within it, immediately, we came out and arrived there. When we arrived, the helicopter was on fire, it was burning. After that, about twenty minutes later the Army arrived, the police arrived. They moved all of us back…

03:04: Muhammad Bashir: …and all the people inside it, all of them…we think; if Osama was inside it, or inside this house, then who took him to the Americans?

03:16: Muhammad Bashir: Because America…the helicopters that America is saying; IT carried out the operation. If America did this operation and it’s army came and it’s helicopter came, then that helicopter that came from the Americans, within that, all the people that came, those people with the explosion were finished, got destroyed!

03:35: Muhammad Bashir: Within it, there was fire, those people, all of them died!

03:39: and if Osama was there, they would have put him in the helicopter. Obviously, if the helicopter caught fire, Osama could have died there. If their own people were gone, (dead) so could have Osama. After that, the fallen helicopter was destroyed after this, how can Osama be, with them in America? This is a strange thing!

Video cut

03:59: Muhammad Bashir: They are saying ‘we killed Osama here.’ After that, they picked him up and took him away.

04:04: Muhammad Bashir: PICKED HIM UP AND TOOK HIM AWAY – how did they do this? This, what we are thinking!

04:07: Muhammad Bashir: The Americans’ helicopter that came, that fell here and got destroyed!

04:09: Reporter: There was only ONE helicopter?

04:11: Muhammad Bashir: ONE helicopter landed down here, the second helicopter came from above and went towards Mansera. It did not land. No second helicopter landed!

04:20: Only ONE helicopter, that first dropped its passengers, the SAME returned to pick the people and there was an explosion within it.

04:27: Reporter: People were inside it?

04:29: Muhammad Bashir: People were inside it!

04:30: Reporter: How do you know this?

04:32: Muhammad Bashir: These people, we seen them all

04:34: Reporter: In the helicopter… you saw dead people?

04:36: Muhammad Bashir: We saw dead people!

04:38: Reporter: How many people?

04:39: Muhammad Bashir: This, we could not count, within the compound there was fire.

04:43: Muhammad Bashir: and we… the gate was open, we entered the gate, at that time the Army had not arrived.

04:48: Muhammad Bashir: Police had not arrived. Some people from the agencies, were present, but they did not prevent anybody, they kept entering, every person was looking , now, nobody is saying, but everyone from the mohalla (neighborhood) and all the people present from the mohalla arrived first. We saw the gate open, we entered inside, saw the burning helicopter, the people inside were dead. After that everything was lifted. Now, there is nothing there!

05:16: Reporter: How many dead bodies did you see?

05:18: Muhammad Bashir: Look, you cannot count, the dead bodies were in pieces everything else was broken pieces, some here, some there, some broken, some half, some like this.

05:27: Reporter: Tell me fully – what happened?

06:30: Reporter: Tell me the full events

05:31: Muhammad Bashir: I told you, this is…

05:32: Reporter: You did not…I cannot believe this, that’s why.

05:36: Muhammad Bashir: Look, what I have said – that’s it!

Video cut

05:39: Reporter: When you saw the American craft (helicopter), what did you think, why they came here?

05:42: Muhammad Bashir: We thought… this is it…why did they came? We thought why did they come? Maybe… we… did not expect them to do anything. We thought maybe our Army is arriving at some center and the army people were sleeping, there was no explosions or events taking place, nothing was happening, everybody was sleeping, for 20 minutes or so…

06:05: Reporter: The craft landed in front of your house, how did you feel about this?

06:08: Muhammad Bashir: I thought…just…understand…imagine…we thought we’re dead!

Video cut

06:13: Reporter: But, how did the Americans return?

06:16: Muhammad Bashir: This is what I am saying; their Craft came and the helicopter was destroyed, HOW, could they return?

06:22: Reporter: Tell me this; you say, that you saw the dead bodies yourself….

06:25: Muhammad Bashir: one more thing, Madam, may I tell you; the people who were dropped from the craft, That walkway … that … where our gates are … they banged them hard … and shouted … don’t come out … don’t do this, don’t do that, if you come out you will be shot … we will do this, we will do that, all the people who were dropped, all of them spoke Pashtu (Afghani Language) – Pakhtun!

06:49: Reporter: Who were these people?

06:49: Muhammad Bashir: This I do not know! Those who were dropped from the craft (helicopter), those people.

06:54: Reporter: This, somebody else told me – that they spoke Pashtu.

06:57: Muhammad Bashir: They WERE Pashtun! We do not know if they were working for the Americans, we do not know if they were working for Pakistan, we do not know if they were army people or civilian, what people, BUT they SPOKE PASHTU!

07:07: Reporter: You said you heard they were asking for Osama?

07:09: Muhammad Bashir: No, they didn’t ask me about Osama, they just said, do not come out, if you come out from your house, we will shoot you!

07:16: Reporter: Were these Pakistani people?

Muhammad Bashir: Who?

07:18: Reporter: The ones who were saying that if you come out, we will shoot you.

07:20: Muhammad Bashir: They said that in Pashtu!

07:22: Reporter: So did they … were you coming out … exactly where were you, where was you standing when this happened?

07:26: Muhammad Bashir: Inside the house, on top of the roof, I was not in the house, just on top of the (flat) roof.

07:29: Reporter: from Above the roof these people in the helicopter…

07:30: Muhammad Bashir: I was on the roof, sitting, no, lying down, on the roof, lying and watching this and what was happening.

07:37: Reporter: Fear, was you not afraid? Did you not think to phone someone?

07:40: Muhammad Bashir: From the house, they were calling me from downstairs, the children were calling me, come down, come down, and I told them stop making noise! Go into your rooms, I am watching what is happening. Afterwards, I found out about this, that, Osama was killed here!

07:53: Reporter: How did you get inside (the compound)?

Muhammad Bashir: Where?

Reporter: When there was fire.

Muhammad Bashir: The gate was open, when there was fire, the gate was open.

08:02: Reporter: The house gate was open?

08:03: Muhammad Bashir: The outer gate, the big gate, was open.

08:06: Reporter: You came from upstairs to downstairs?

08:08: Muhammad Bashir: I came down, from my own house into the gulley, I didn’t go alone inside the other house, 200 other people went inside! Everybody saw it!

08:15: Reporter: All 200 saw the dead bodies?

08:17: Muhammad Bashir: Everybody saw this. Whoever went inside they saw everything!

08:20: Reporting: The events at that time that are in your mind, please express them.

08:28: Muhammad Bashir: I have told you this and this, in my mind, this is what I have seen, when we were there, when we entered the gate, when the helicopter exploded, it scattered everywhere, one piece fell over there, one fell here, one here, a lot of pieces fell in the gulley outside, they reached up to the gulley and our house and also some pieces managed to reach onto my roof. So, the area of the open space there (in front of the house) is about four Kanal in size. It is a very large compound. You cannot see all of it from one location. Four Kanal is a big area, only in a small area you could possibly see everything. There I saw some people, in broken pieces, someone’s leg, someone’s arm, someone’s torso, someone’s head. Beside this, I did not see intensely, who are they, how are they, because I thought that one of our own craft had fallen and the people within it were our own people. Because they spoke Pashtu they could be Pakistani.

09:35: Muhammad Bashir: But language does not necessarily mean … by speaking it … the American language could be spoken, the agents can speak all sorts of languages. It could be that it is the American army and they could speak Pashtu and the people would think that it is our own people.

09:54: Reporter: Seeing the dead bodies – did you not feel fear?

09:57: Muhammad Bashir: But we were thinking about ourselves at the time, but seeing the dead bodies who felt frightened?

10:00: Reporter: When you went inside, what did you do after that, how did you come out?

10:02: Muhammad Bashir: We came out, our Army reached there, when the army arrived, they moved all the people back. Move aside, move aside! So we moved aside. Then they closed the area down.

10:13: Reporter: Did Rais see this?

Muhammad Bashir: What?

Reporter: Where was your cousin?

10:18: Muhammad Bashir: My cousin was at that time in the house.

10:20: Reporter: Did he go with you?

10:21: Muhammad Bashir: He was with me, but I did not notice when he was picked up.

10:28: Reporter: Has he returned yet?

10:29: Muhammad Bashir: Yes, he has returned. They picked him up and took him away.

10:32: Reporter: What is he saying?

10:34:Muhammad Bashir: I have not met him yet, he is at home they will not let him come out, we are not allowed to visit him, they will not let him come out. We have not met.

10:40: Reporter: You were not able find out, but since when have you been allowed out?

10:45: Muhammad Bashir: I did not go home, by going home…

Reporter: You have seen the fire you have seen the bodies. How long did you stay there?

Muhammad Bashir: Approximately, after five or six minutes, I left and came out … five, six minutes … What happened … The reason we left, was that after we entered, there was another small explosion, I do not know if the engine fail and there was another fire, it was a small explosion, after this explosion all the people ran out.

11:06: Muhammad Bashir: when we went out, nobody let us go back in again.

11:11: Reporter: Besides you, why is nobody else saying these things? Why are you alone in this?

11:16: Muhammad Bashir: Look, what we have seen, that is what we are saying and we are speaking for this reason that, we are sad that such humble and nice people of our town, that has never seen such events, no fighting, no arguments, no animosity, no murders, such nice people of ours in this town and they have been branded as terrorists.

11:43: Reporter: Tell me; two helicopters came, lifted and took the rest of the people?

11:46:Muhammad Bashir: No, they did not take the rest of the people, because they did not even land, One came from the West and it left towards the North, the one that came from the North, left towards the South. They did not land!

12:00: Studio Reporter: These events that we showed you from Abbottabad, there are many more things that we discovered about the compound where OBL was staying. There were vegetables planted there, what kind of vegetables, the person who grows the vegetables is the cousin of this person (Muhammad Bashir), whose interview we have shown. An extraordinary thing that he has said and he has sworn repeatedly on the veracity of his statement. This is from his own account and upon this account do view this. Yesterday we found out and it has been confirmed that there were two Ashfaq’s who lived there (in the compound): Mr Arshad and Mr Tariq who went shopping locally and used to buy international brands, the items they found in the house, dry dates, dried meat and things like this, this person who you saw in the interview in his house there was food from OBL’s house, he was given Kaabli Pillau (Rice) and such items were presented to him. There the view of local mosque people, what they think of OBL all these things we will present to you in an exclusive program an important newsbeat, todays time is finishing, do write to us at where you can get other information as well and you can join us at Newsbeat with Fareeha Idrees. That’s my favorite bit. Do write to us. The time is up now. By your permission to leave, take care of yourself, in Allah’s care.

13:20: Reporter: I am now at standing in front of Abdullah Bin Zubair Mosque, this is the same mosque that is within walking distance from OBL’s house. Are you saying that if people found out that OBL was living here, would they be happy?

1st man: Possibly, people could be happy.

2nd man: He wasn’t living here, but he was a Muslim, he believed in Allah.

Anyone fluent in Urdu who wishes to dispute the translation should do so.

I asked the translator if he might contact the Pakistani news organization and inquire if the reporters had further investigated Bashir’s story. He replied that he could do so, but exactly 24 hours later “for some unknown reason” the news organization started to discredit Bashir by connecting “him to his cousin, who is accused of receiving foodstuffs from the household of OBL.”

Bashir’s cousin is the person who, according to the reporter (see 12:00 time line) had a vegetable garden inside the wall of the alleged bin Laden compound. Is it likely that with a hunted and dangerous person hiding within, locals would be permitted to have vegetable gardens inside the compound?  The cousin’s vegetable garden obviously had to be redefined as “receiving foodstuffs from OBL.”

The translator offers his view on the 13:20 timeline:

The final seconds of the video clip contain random people to generate and show some kind of sympathy with OBL in the district.

It would be very difficult to find people in Pakistan who sympathize with OBL or the Taliban. The only people who do sympathize are the poor illiterate people who do not know about the religion and can easily be convinced of a distorted version of Islam.

Therefore, the closing part of the video contains out of context expressions:

1st man: Possibly, people could be happy. (Meaning it is possible that SOME people could be happy.)

2nd man: He wasn’t living here, but he was a Muslim, he believed in Allah. (Meaning he claimed to be Muslim, so he must have believed in Allah.)

Therefore, it seems that although initially, the TV station was overjoyed with this interview, they changed their tune twenty four hours later (for some unknown reason).

Readers can arrive at their own conclusions.  It seems clear that under intense pressure and serious threats from the US government, the Pakistani government fell in line with the US government’s claim that a commando raid had killed bin Laden and all had returned safely, and that the TV news organization also got the message to get in line.

It is likely that the many witnesses who observed the dead from the helicopter crash have been warned to keep quiet. However, a news organization, should one be so inclined, could certainly interview Bashir and the 200 others who saw the dead bodies. A good reporter, perhaps accompanied by trained psychologists, would be able to tell if people were lying out of fear and encourage some to speak anonymously.

I am confident that no news organization believes that it could confront such an important US national myth in this way.  The killing of bin Laden satisfies the emotional need for revenge and justice.  In the least, a news organization that challenged the government’s story would be cut off from all government sources and be denounced by politicians and a large percentage of the US population as an anti-American terrorist-serving organization.

OBL’s death will remain one of those many “truths” that rest on nothing but the government’s word.

The Honorable Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was appointed by President Reagan Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and confirmed by the US Senate. He was Associate Editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, and he served on the personal staffs of Representative Jack Kemp and Senator Orrin Hatch. He was staff associate of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, staff associate of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, and Chief Economist, Republican Staff, House Budget Committee. He wrote the Kemp-Roth tax rate reduction bill, and was a leader in the supply-side revolution. He was professor of economics in six universities, and is the author of numerous books and scholarly contributions. He has testified before committees of Congress on 30 occasions. Read more articles by Paul Craig Roberts.


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