Damnatio Memoriae (of damned memory)

By DeusExMacintosh

Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, the ISI, has said it is embarrassed by its failures on al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

An ISI official told the BBC the compound in Abbottabad where Bin Laden was killed by US forces on Sunday had been raided in 2003. But the compound “was not on our radar” since then, the official said. He gave new details of the raid, saying Bin Laden’s young daughter had said she saw her father shot.

Bin Laden, 54, was the founder and leader of al-Qaeda. He is believed to have ordered the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, as well as a number of other deadly bombings.

The ISI official told the BBC’s Owen Bennett-Jones in Islamabad that the compound in Abbottabad, just 100km (62 miles) from the capital, was raided when under construction in 2003. It was believed an al-Qaeda operative, Abu Faraj al-Libi, was there.

But since then “the compound was not on our radar, it is an embarrassment for the ISI”, the official said. “We’re good, but we’re not God.”

The compound is just a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy – the country’s equivalent of West Point or Sandhurst.

The ISI official also gave new or differing accounts of some of the events of Sunday’s raid. They included:

– There were 17-18 people in the compound at the time of the attack

– The Americans took away one person still alive, possibly a Bin Laden son

– Those who survived the attack included a wife, a daughter and eight to nine other children, not apparently Bin Laden’s; all had their hands tied by the Americans

– The surviving Yemeni wife said they had moved to the compound a few months ago

– Bin Laden’s daughter, aged 12 or 13, saw her father shot…

The US has not commented on anyone it captured or had planned to capture, other than saying it had taken Bin Laden’s body.

The ISI official said the organisation had recovered some documents from the compound.

The CIA is already said to be going through a large number of hard drives and storage devices seized in the raid. White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan said there had been concern Pakistani forces would deploy to counter the US Navy Seal team conducting the raid but it had avoided any confrontation.

The ISI official said: “We were totally caught by surprise. They were in and out before we could react.”

Earlier, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, President Asif Ali Zardari admitted Bin Laden “was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be”.

But he denied the killing suggested Pakistan was failing in its efforts to tackle terrorism. Mr Zardari said Pakistan had “never been and never will be the hotbed of fanaticism that is often described by the media”.

BBC News


  1. Posted May 4, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Wonderful. Thanks DEM.

  2. Posted May 4, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I found the wannabe F22 adorably cute. The idea has that DisneyPixar movie potential.

  3. Joe Lewis
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Loved the Abbott cameo. These are so good.

  4. Posted May 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Joe, we’re waiting for a call from Private Eye, whereupon we’ll lose our cartoonist. She’s better than anyone they’ve got already, and it’s only a matter of time before she’s discovered…

  5. kvd
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I was going to say please ease off a bit DEM, otherwise we’ll lose you. But I see you’ve already employed SL as an agent. The very best of British (Scots, or Welsh) to you!

  6. Posted May 4, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    {blush} All reasonable offers will be considered…

    Thanks guys. It’s not like I’ve had a dearth of material from which to choose this week, which always helps!

  7. Posted May 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I will add my webvoice to the chorus of congratulation. Like others, ‘e is an ex-terrorist’ and ‘i was going to put myself through college’ were glittering gems of a delightful ensemble.

  8. Posted May 7, 2011 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    And in case you were wondering why the little drone wanted to be an F-22… here is some footage of a real F-22.

    It is like something from a David Attenborough documentary – a thing of beauty.


  9. AJ
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    http://www.pop.is/2kt2i <– This is pretty great. Comments are worth the effort as well.

  10. Posted May 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    That’s awesome AJ, thanks.

  11. Posted May 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I was teaching archery at a outer Melbourne school recently, where the kids shoot arrows with blunts at a rubber-covered man-sized target. (I get them to wave at “Bill” the target and tell them their job is to kill Bill.)

    One turban-wearing lad enthusiastically shot at the target saying “die, bin Laden, die”. (He was, of course, a Sikh.)

    And the Darth Vader announcement is very funny, if one does not go anywhere near the underlying moral implications.

One Trackback

  1. By Rafe’s Roundup May 14 at Catallaxy Files on May 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    […] A pictorial celebration of the passing of Osama Bin Laden. […]

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