Story of killings of Bin Laden and Prabhaharan:
Contradictions and double standards
A firsthand account of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden
contradicts previous official accounts and raises questions as to
whether the terror mastermind presented a clear threat when SEALs first
fired upon him.
US President Obama, his Vice President Biden, Secretary of State
Hilary Clinton, Gates and national security team watching the
bin Laden operation from White House
The news organisations which had the privilege of obtaining copies of
the book written by a US Navy SEAL who participated in the raid gives a
firsthand account of how bin Laden died in the hands of the US Navy
Bin Laden apparently was hit in the head when he looked out of his
bedroom door into the top-floor hallway of his compound as SEALs rushed
up a narrow stairwell in his direction, according to former Navy SEAL
Matt Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen in No Easy Day.
The book is to be published next week by Penguin Group's Dutton imprint.
Bissonnette says he was directly behind a "point man" going up the
stairs. "Less than five steps" from top of the stairs, he heard
"suppressed" gunfire: "BOP. BOP." The point man had seen a "man peeking
out of the door" on the right side of the hallway.
The author writes that bin Laden ducked back into his bedroom and the
SEALs followed, only to find the terrorist crumpled on the floor in a
pool of blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head and two
women wailing over his body.
Bissonnette says the point man pulled the two women out of the way
and shoved them into a corner and he and the other SEALs trained their
guns' laser sites on bin Laden's still-twitching body, shooting him
several times until he lay motionless. The SEALs later found two weapons
stored by the doorway, untouched, the author said.
" Bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist organisation Al Qaeda, had
gone into hiding after claiming responsibility for the 9/11 attacks on
New York and Washington. He was discovered in Pakistan and killed on May
2, 2011, in a raid led by American forces.
The White House informed the national and international media on May
3, 2011 that Osama bin Laden was not carrying a weapon when he was
killed by American troops when they stormed a fortified mansion in a
Pakistani elite neighborhood just outside the capital of Islamabad.
Several experts on the rules of engagement in combat told The New
York Times that in a raid on a target as dangerous as bin Laden, the
American troops would be justified to open fire at the slightest
commotion when they burst into the room.
John B. Bellinger, legal counsel at the (US) National Security
Council and State Department in the previous Bush administration said:
"If he were surrendering, or knocked out on the ground that would
raise serious questions. But this is a guy who's extremely dangerous,
and if he's nodding at someone in the room, or rushing to a bookcase or
you think he's wearing a suicide vest, you're on sound ground to kill
But according to the narrative provided by the White House to the
media on Tuesday, nothing of this sort happened.
And the US Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette who was present when bin Laden
was killed confirms in his book 'No Easy Day' that they killed an
unarmed, defenseless man who posed no threat to the Navy raiders. The
Bissonnette narrative in the book totally dismisses what the White House
media man Jay Carney said to the Washington media men and to the world
Now, go through this dialogue very carefully between the White House
spokesman and the media at the White House briefing room:
Carney: The resistance was throughout. As I said, when the assaulter
entered the room where Osama bin Laden was, he was rushed by one
individual in the room, and the resistance was consistent from the
moment they landed until the end of the operation.
Media: How did Osama bin Laden resist if he didn't -- if he didn't
have his hand on a gun, how was he resisting? Did he have any weapon?
Carney: He was not armed, is what I understand to be true.
Media: Since, as you said, bin Laden was not armed, why was the
decision made to kill him as opposed to capturing him?
Carney: We were prepared to capture him if that was possible. We
expected a great deal of resistance and were met with a great deal of
Media: But he wasn't armed?
Carney: But there were many other people who were armed in the
compound. There was a firefight.
Media: But not in that room when he went in? (Asian Tribune (AT)
note: The firefight was not in the room bin Laden was but in the
courtyard outside the mansion).
The US Navy SEAL's narration totally dismisses what the White House
spokesman said at that time.
Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian
Affairs in the State Department addressed the killing of unarmed bin
Laden when he met the media in Colombo on May 4, 2011 during his visit
to Sri Lanka.
Question: There were reports that when US. troops shot Osama Bin
Laden he was unarmed and there was some controversy over that issue. The
UN Human Rights Commissioner has also raised the issue and asked the
United States Government to explain the circumstances in which he was
shot, and other groups like the ICJ (International Crisis Group) and
Amnesty International are expected to take up this issue. Do you think
that as the country leading the campaign against terrorism, this kind of
action can undermine the whole operation?
Asistant Secretary Blake: I've been traveling in Sri Lanka for the
last couple of days, so I'm unaware of the specific allegations that you
But let me just say as a general proposition that Osama bin Laden was
the leader of an armed group that was engaged in armed conflict against
the United States.
He was therefore a lawful target under the laws of armed conflict. So
we certainly stand by our actions and we believe that his death
represents a very important step forward in our fight and in the
international fight against al-Qaeda and terrorism.
Reaction to bin Laden killing Capturing the long-sought terrorist
mastermind alive might have been an option, but it wasn't a top priority
to the American administration.
"The costs of capturing bin Laden, as opposed to killing him, were
pretty stark," said Seth Jones, a counterinsurgency and counterterrorism
specialist who has advised the military on Afghanistan. "It creates
almost a desperate push (by his followers) to get him freed. Then what
do you do with him? Who tries him? Where do you keep him? What sort of
justice do you put him through?
"It was probably wise to kill him right there."
US officials have said that bin Laden was unarmed but had resisted in
some unspecified manner.
"If he had run out of the compound with his hands held up, obviously
it might have been different," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., a former
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman. "The first thing you want to do
is accomplish the mission: Take the head of the snake."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the House Foreign
Affairs Committee, said that given the controversies, killing him was
"less problematic to the United States than having him in Guantanamo and
bringing him up on charges. It would be a very difficult set of years to
go through that whole legal process."
US position on Prabhaharan killing In October 2009 the US State
Department presented a report to the Congress on 'Incidents During the
recent Conflict in Sri Lanka'.
In the Executive Summary the report noted "This report is submitted
pursuant to the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the
Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-32), which directed the
Secretary of State to submit a report detailing incidents during the
recent conflict in Sri Lanka that may constitute violations of
international humanitarian law or crimes against humanity, and, to the
extent practicable, identifying the parties responsible.
This report focuses on incidents that occurred from January 2009,
when fighting intensified, through the end of May 2009, when Sri Lankan
government forces defeated the LTTE."
This State Department report gave credibility to the pro-Tamil Tiger
lobbyists in the United States and Europe that Sri Lankan armed forces
violated international law in killing unarmed leaders of the LTTE,
including its leader Prabhaharan, who were stepping out with white flags
The observations, sentiments expressed in this official State
Department report based on ambiguous reports the American Embassy in
Colombo received gave political ammunition to the pro-LTTE/separatist
lobby groups to create an anti-Sri Lankan voice in the power centers in
Washington and capitals in the European Union.
This is how the unconfirmed and ambiguous date/reports that the
American Embassy in Colombo received were incorporated in the report of
"May 14-18 - An organisation reported information from its sources
that all the LTTE persons remaining in the NFZ were massacred. The GSL
maintains that these senior LTTE leaders in fact did not raise white
flags or give any indication to the SLA soldiers in their vicinity that
they intended to surrender, but instead continued fighting and were
subsequently killed in the ensuing final battle.
May 18 - Embassy Colombo, as well as press and foreign governments,
received reports that LTTE political leaders Nadesan and Puleedevan,
along with other LTTE leaders, were killed while surrendering to GSL
Then the report goes on to say: "According to these reports, Nadesan
and Puleedevan spoke to international and domestic actors who acted as
intermediaries with the Secretary to the Foreign Ministry, Dr. Palitha
Kohona, to negotiate their surrender along with 300 other people.
Nadesan requested the presence of UN Secretary-General envoy Vijay
Nambiar to witness the surrender, but was told that he had President
Rajapaksa's assurance regarding safety of surrendering LTTE leaders. On
the morning of May 18, Nadesan and Puleedevan led a group of
approximately one dozen men and women out to the SLA troops, waving a
white flag. According to a Tamil witness who later escaped the area, the
SLA started firing machine guns at them. Everyone in the group
reportedly was killed."
Following the revelation of the US Navy SEAL of the manner in which
bin Laden was killed, does the following statement made in the 2009
State Department report on Sri Lanka apply to the United States: "The
United States recognises a state's inherent right to defend itself from
armed attacks, including those by non-state actors such as terrorist
groups. The United States also expects states and non-state actors to
comply with their international legal obligations. This report compiles
alleged incidents that transpired in the final stages of the war, which
may constitute violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) or
crimes against humanity and related harm."
And where does the following remark in the report fit into what was
revealed by the Navy SEAL:
"Killing of captives or combatants seeking to surrender - A number of
sources alleged that the GSL committed unlawful killings. Multiple
reports alleged that in the final few days of fighting, senior LTTE
leaders contacted international representatives in an effort to broker a
surrender but were killed after they allegedly reached a surrender
agreement with the GSL."
As noted above, capturing the long-sought terrorist mastermind alive
might have been an option, but it wasn't a top priority for the Obama
Capturing a long-sought terrorist mastermind Velupillai Prabhakaran
and his top players in the Sri Lankan episode were cornered while the
Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tiger fighting cadre were exchanging
lethal fire. If any of the top players of the LTTE emerged from their
hideouts the military was not sure if they were wearing suicide vests to
harm the soldiers who were in close proximity.
According to the US Navy SEAL's description such a scenario never
existed when they confronted Osama bin Laden.
US violated International Law Curtis Doebbler, Professor of Law at
Webster University and Geneva School of Diplomacy and International
Relations, both in Geneva, Switzerland, says that the action against
Osama Bin Laden violated international law.
He says International law prohibits targeted killings in several
First, a targeted killing, as this one was, is carried out often by
the use of force against the territorial integrity and political
independence of a foreign state. In this case the President of Pakistan
has made it clear that his country did not authorise the American
action. Instead, the US sent about two dozen troops in helicopters into
Pakistani airspace and attacked a house in a civilian neighbourhood
without the permission of the Pakistani government. National security,
one of the most crucial attributes of both political independence and
territorial integrity, was violated.
Second, targeted killings are summary and extrajudicial executions
that violate the right to life. It is hard to believe that the US had no
other option but to kill Osama Bin Laden. According to US reports he was
killed by two gun shots to the head at close range fired from American
soldiers' guns. Moreover, after he was killed, the US claims they took
his body. These facts indicate that the well-armed and protected US
troops operating illegally on foreign soil could have made an attempt to
capture Osama Bin Laden, but instead merely executed him.
When a life is taken in the course of an illegal action there is a
prima facie violation of the human right to life. Even American law
makes killing carried out during the commission of another crime a more
serious offence. Moreover, if this was not the case, states could merely
elevate a situation in which they were acting, to the level of an armed
conflict so as to label their targets combatants and thus enemies who
may be lawfully killed. Such action is discredited, even by the US
itself, which has admonished leaders in the Middle East for the use of
excessive force against their people even when those leaders have
claimed to be dealing with a war. (AT Remark: Do you see a similarity of
what he is saying in relation to the Sri Lanka situation that prevailed
in May 2009 of intense fighting between the lethal armed forces of the
LTTE and Sri Lanka military forces)
Courtesy: Asian Tribune