Bin Laden Report: US Assassination "Act of War"
A report into the assassination of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, leaked to Al Jazeera, attacks both the Pakistani and American governments, and reveals a number of startling details surrounding the incident.
The report is an outcome of the Abbottabad Commission, called by the Pakistani parliament following the assassination of Bin Laden by US special forces in north-west Pakistan in May 2011. The Commission interviewed more than 200 witnesses, including Al Qaeda founder's own family, but the report was buried by the Pakistani government.
It's not hard to see why.
The 336-page document is unrelenting in its criticism of both the Pakistani government, military and intelligence services, for "gross incompetence" and "collective failures", describing the lack of intelligence over Bin Laden's whereabouts as "government implosion syndrome", and asserting that "the extent of incompetence, to put it mildly, was astounding, if not unbelievable."
It also labels the US military operation, which took place deep inside Pakistan and essentially violating Pakistani sovereignty, as an an "act of war" and a "criminal act of murder."
The report also reveals some startling details of Bin Laden's time in hiding, primarily largely upon testimonies from his own widows, including the fact that his vehicle was stopped by police for speeding in 2002 or 2003, but that officers failed to recognise him. He was also said to have worn a "cowboy hat" around the compound to avoid being recognised.
The report also claims that Pakistani attack helicopters were scrambled to shoot down American aircraft taking part in the operation, as they had breached Pakistani airspace, but that they arrived "too late."
Bin Laden had apparently been staying in Pakistan for years, after arriving in the spring or summer of 2002, eventually settling in the isolated compound in Abbottabad, under the noses of the country's military and intelligence establishments.