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article imageOp-Ed: New details emerge of Osama bin Laden's burial at sea

By Ken Hanly     Nov 22, 2012 in World
Abbottabad - New details emerge of the burial of Osama bin Laden at sea. The Associated Press received a number of emails from the U.S. Defence Department revealing the procedures during his burial.
Members of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development group (Navy Seals) together with CIA operatives shot and killed Osama in Laden in a compound in Abbottabad Pakistan. President Obama ordered the covert operation. The Seals killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011 (local time).
As mentioned, Bin Laden's body was disposed of at sea. According to the emails mentioned, he was given an "Islamic burial" at sea amid very high secrecy. The emails are heavily blacked out but nevertheless represent the first government disclosure of any details of his death.
One email, classified as secret, describes the body being washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag. Another message notes that only a select few on the USS Carl Vinson knew of the burial.
An email from Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette reads:"Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed.The deceased's body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker.
After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body slid into the sea.''
Gaouette also said in a message:"The paucity of documentary evidence in our possession is a reflection of the emphasis placed on operational security during the execution of this phase of the operation."
Those receiving the message included Admiral Mike Mullen, who was then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General James Mattis of the U.S. Central Command. Code words were used to discuss whether the helicopters carrying the body along with Navy Seals had reached the Vinson. The body was referred to as "the package for us". In response to a query, Rear Admiral Samuel Perez, commander of the ships that included the Vinson replied:"FEDEX delivered the package. Both trucks are safely en route home base."
The Obama administration promises to be transparent but on the events surrounding the killing of bin Laden there has been little transparency. However, whenever Obama thinks that information might be positive politically, it is often leaked out through the news media.
In response to other requests by AP about the mission, the Defence Department said last March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden's body. The department could not find any photos of bin Laden's body on the Vinson either. There was no death certificate, autopsy report, or DNA results. There were not even any materials disclosing any plans about how the body would be disposed should bin Laden be killed. Although one of the helicopters used in the raid crashed, the Defence Department refused to affirm or deny the existence of any logs detailing the performance of the helicopters or any military gear. No wonder there are conspiracy theories about the event. As I recall, some U.S. officials were supposed to be watching events on TV. Local residents took photos of the disabled helicopter.
The CIA has special authority to keep information about the raid ever being made public. They did not even respond to the AP request for information. A book by a Navy Seal who took part in the operation contradicts some aspects of government versions of the events as they had appeared in the press. The appended video discusses this issue.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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