The strange death of Osama bin Laden

By Heiko Khoo
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 3, 2011
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U.S. President Barack Obama proudly proclaimed that the number one global terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 2nd. Thousands of jubilant Americans took to the streets in a celebration of this decisive victory in the war on terror. What followed this grand and historic announcement was somewhat less assuring.

More than 24 hours after the event not a single shred of evidence has been released. The U.S. media reported that bin Laden's body was taken to Afghanistan, where DNA samples were taken, then the body was flown to an aircraft carrier in the Gulf. There it was washed down according to Islamic custom and cast into the sea. Officials reportedly claimed it would be difficult to find a nation that would take the remains.

According official U.S. sources the DNA tests confirmed 99.9 percent that the body was that of bin Laden. This might have been a slip of the tongue, if not, it is not at all convincing. DNA fingerprints are accurate to one in a billion, i.e 99.9999999 percent a million times more precise than the 99.9 percent claimed.

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Then there is the matter of credulity. Why would US crack forces attack bin Laden's compound, kill him and 'secure his body', then within a few hours, on the President's orders, throw the corpse into the sea?

US news outlets explained that US forces wanted to abide by 'Islamic custom' and bury the body within 24 hours. Islamic custom does allow for burial at sea, for example when someone dies at sea and the body is decomposing rapidly and cannot make the shore. But in this case the body was taken on two flights from Pakistan to Afghanistan, and from Afghanistan to the Gulf, before it reached a US aircraft carrier. Why not bury him an unmarked grave as U.S. forces did with Che Guevara? Indeed it is the Wahabi Islamic tradition that all burial sites, even those of princes be devoid of all ornamentation. So there is no basis to claim it might have become a shrine. U.S. officials are claiming that no country offered to have him, but one can be sure that the Afghan government would have had no say in the matter had the U.S. chosen to bury him at a secret location in the country.

Why the haste to bury anyway? Saddam Hussein's sons were kept for 11 days before they were released for burial, so why was so much lavish attention paid to bin Laden's funeral rites? Why was the body disposed of half a day after securing it? Surely the autopsy required more time?

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