So why is this important? As I've pointed out in these pages before, in recent years we have witnessed the beginnings of a rift in the the US-Saudi relationship.
Joe Rogan once had an insightful bit where he likened Osama Bin Laden to a comic book super villain. Osama, we are told, was a reclusive billionaire who sent threatening messages to the world from a cave fortress in an undisclosed location, yet still managed to elude capture for year after year. How appropriate, then, that just like one of those comic book villains, Osama Bin Laden is being resurrected from the dead to haunt the imagination of the American people and scar the psyche of a world weary from a decade and a half of the phoney "War on Terror."
This time the resurrection comes courtesy of Seymour Hersh, the veteran investigative journalist who just penned an article for the London Review of Books that, at first glance, looks like a savage critique of the obviously bogus official story of the death of everyone's favorite boogeyman, Osama Bin Laden. Titled simply "The Killing of Osama Bin Laden" the article purports to expose the transparent lies surrounding the May 2011 raid on a compound in Abbottabad that we have been asked to believe led to Bin Laden's death at the hands of an elite NAVY Seal team.
In a nutshell, Hersh's article claims that Pakistan's ISI captured Bin Laden in 2006 in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, where he had been living with his family undetected since 2001. From 2006 until 2011, the ISI had been sheltering the evil cave-dwelling mastermind in Abbottabad, a short distance from the ISI's Tarbela Ghazi covert operations base. The ISI, in Hersh's account, were using Bin Laden as leverage over Al Qaeda and the Taliban, threatening to turn Bin Laden over to the US if they acted against ISI interests. Then in 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence official blew the whistle on Bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad in return for a cut of the $25 million reward the US was offering for his capture. At this point the CIA drew the chief of the Pakistani army staff and the director general of the ISI into a conspiracy to stand down Pakistan's defenses while the US raided the compound. The plan was to keep the raid secret and then to later announce that Bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan, but the crash of one of the two Black Hawk helicopters used in the raid meant the operation was exposed and the US had to break their deal with the Pakistanis, announcing the raid and its target and concocting a fantastic and ever-changing story of how it happened. The firefight, Bin Laden reaching for his weapon, the killing of multiple people, the burial at sea; according to Hersh, all of this was fabricated after the fact. The story of how Bin Laden's courier network was tracked back to his compound was also a lie to cover for the whistleblower who first led them to the compound. And the "treasure trove" of documents the CIA supposedly processed (and released to the public) after the raid were a complete fabrication.
The response to the story from the mainstream sources that have been implicated as idiotic dupes of a ridiculous lie (or willing participants in a cover up) is as to be expected: This man is a CONSPIRACY THEORIST! Don't listen to his CONSPIRACY THEORIES! Did we mention that Hersh is peddling CONSPIRACY THEORIES!?
This alone is probably enough to get most alt media supporters to side with Hersh's article (even without having read through the hefty 10,000 word piece). Coupled with the raft of official denials that have flooded the MSM in recent days, that support seems all the more assured. "Never believe anything until it's officially denied" as the old saying goes. Ergo, Hersh must be right.
This kind of black/white, either/or thinking is affirmed by comments like this one, from "Freemon Sandlewould" on a Business Insider article about the story: "Well we do know Dear Leader Obamao lies quite often so my money is on Hersh."
If only it were so simple. Obama is wrong, therefore Hersh MUST be right!
Unfortunately for those of us who are able to see through a basic log
ical fallacy, there is a third option: both the US government's version of the raid and Hersh's are utter hogwash. Sadly, that seems to be the case here.
To be fair, there are points on which all of us (I presume) can agree with Hersh: that the "burial at sea" legend was self-evident hogwash from the beginning, and that the whole "we caught him through his courier network with the help of some torture techniques" was a transparently self-serving lie for a CIA embroiled in a torture scandal to tell the world (and then to sell the world through its Zero Dark Thirty propaganda psyop).
And to be fair, there are parts of the story that make sense. The idea that the chopper crash exposed the operation and caused a sudden and unexpected change in plans accounts for the parade of ridiculous (and immediately discredited) lies that were told in those first days and weeks after the raid.
There are other parts of the story that are seemingly being confirmed, quietly and with little fanfare, in the MSM propaganda mouthpieces, presumably so they can walk back some of the other lies that are being exposed by this story. NBC News ran a story right after Hersh's article came out confirming that there was a "walk-in" tip that helped the US track down Bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2010, as Hersh suggests (but being careful to stipulate that the source did not lead them to the compound itself and the official government story about the courier network is still The Gospel Truth).
But for all those alt media-savvy free thinkers who have been inclined to disbelieve the official OBL raid tale from the beginning, there are plenty of reasons to disbelieve Hersh's story. Not least of these reasons is the fact that swallowing Hersh's version of events involves believing that Bin Laden was in fact alive and well 10 years after having been reported dead the first time. Given that he had been reported dead on at least eight separate occasions between 2001 and 2011, coupled with the fact that he was known to be on life-saving dialysis (which is notoriously hard to come by in the mountains of Afghanistan, even for a comic book supervillain), tripled with the fact that he likely had Marfan syndrome, and quadrupled with the fact that his video releases were becoming more and more transparently fabricated and manipulated as the years progressed, only the most credulous (like Hersh and his sources, apparently) would believe that Bin Laden made it to 2011 alive and well anyway.
Although Hersh appears to be a brave investigative reporter going heroically against the grain by challenging the Osama Bin Laden death hoax ("Not one word of it is true!"), he is in fact subtly propping up the most important parts of that story ("Of course he was in Abottabad and he was killed by the SEALs, but the OTHER parts are a lie") by challenging the peripheral details.
As James Evan Pilato and I point out in the latest episode of New World Next Week, there's a name for this type of operation in the spy world: "limited hangout." Brought to public attention by an exchange on the Watergate tapes in 1973, a limited hangout is when certain parts of a cover story are exposed as a lie so the more important parts can remain hidden.
One example of a 'limited hangout' would be the so-called 'incompetence theory' explanation of an event like 9/11. "Oh, sure, NORAD had conducted exercises of flying jets into the WTC and was running live hijacking and plane crash drills on that morning; and yes the Project for a New American Century had called for a "New Pearl Harbor" the year before, and, OK, that's the exact phrase that was trotted out after the attack to describe the post-9/11 world; and yes, a hijacker's passport just happened to fall through all that dust and rubble into the FBI's waiting hands; and of course there was a surge of unusual trading activity in the days before the attack which was placed through a broker whose former executive was the Executive Director of the CIA; and I'll grant you that the invasion orders for the Afghan war were on the President's desk the week before 9/11, just waiting for an event to come along and justify their existence; and it is true that the very floors of the twin towers that were impacted by the planes were the ones that had just undergone fireproofing upgrades and core modifications before the attack; etc., etc. But all of that is just a COINCIDENCE." And with that one wave of the hand, all of those pieces of evidence that would be important indicators of conspiracy are simultaneously admitted to be true and dismissed as precluding any actual conspiracy.
Such is the case with this Hersh hangout: yes the government has repeatedly lied about every detail of the Osama raid, and yes the story about feeding Osama to the fishes is a ridiculous and desperate fabrication, and yes the media has unquestioningly reported on this story since the beginning. But the raid itself was real.
Interestingly, this seems to be part of a worrying pattern in Hersh's recent reporting. In 2013 he covered up the chemical weapons attack false flag in Syria with a limited hangout in which he blamed the Obama administration for cherry picking intelligence in order to blame the attack on Assad's government. The underlying truth that Hersh never touched is that the chemical weapons threat in Syria was the direct result of US involvement and that the attack itself was part of a "Bandar Bush"-led operation.
But regardless of whether Hersh is actively complicit in the hangout or merely a bumbling dupe of the super-duper-ultra-secret sources that feed him all of his big scoops, the question needs to be asked: why is this hangout coming out now? What purpose does it serve any part of the establishment to resurrect the ghost of Osama and kick up a fuss about the story now?
The answer may just be buried in one innocent-looking paragraph in the middle of this very long article:
"A worrying factor at this early point, according to the retired official, was Saudi Arabia, which had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his seizure by the Pakistanis. ‘The Saudis didn’t want bin Laden’s presence revealed to us because he was a Saudi, and so they told the Pakistanis to keep him out of the picture. The Saudis feared if we knew we would pressure the Pakistanis to let bin Laden start talking to us about what the Saudis had been doing with al-Qaida. And they were dropping money – lots of it.'"
Did you catch it? There in just a few sentences is what may be the crux of the article. Here we find that the real villain of the story. It's not Osama, who was mostly a sad, decrepit old man in Hersh's telling. It's not even Pakistan, that crazy nuclear state with the large militant Muslim population who more or less openly cooperates with various terror groups (and Osama, supposedly). It's the Saudis. They're the ones who were funding Osama's stay at Club Med, Abbottabad, between 2006 and 2011. They're the ones who are doing deals with Al Qaeda. And they're the real enemy.
So why is this important? As I've pointed out in these pages before, in recent years we have witnessed the beginnings of a rift in the the US-Saudi relationship. Some of the most dramatic moments in this growing rift include the Saudis canceling their speech at the UN General Assembly and refusing a seat on the Security Council; a US federal judge ruling that 9/11 victims' families could sue Saudi Arabia over its role in the attacks; and King Salman's snub of an Obama-led Camp David summit on the Middle East earlier this week.
The 9/11 - Saudi connection is especially important, because it is increasingly looking like a weapon that the US is holding over Riyadh's head to keep the Saudis in line. Ever since the joint Congressional intelligence report on 9/11 first came out, it's been an open secret that the infamous redacted 28 pages on foreign government involvement in the events implicates the Saudis. 15 of the 19 alleged hijackers were on Saudi passports, after all, and Osama himself as well as the radical brand of Islam that he promoted source from Saudi Arabia. This has led in recent years to an increasingly boisterous campaign to "declassify the 28 pages," led, strangely enough, by Senator Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate intelligence committee who just happened to be breakfasting with ISI chief (and suspected 9/11 financier) Mahmoud Ahmed on the morning of 9/11.
But as Kevin Ryan has skillfully pointed out in a recent article on the subject, Graham's sudden interest in "revealing the truth" about 9/11 has to be taken with a mountain of salt. Not only was he the head of that joint Congressional inquiry into 9/11 that whitewashed and covered up almost every important piece of evidence about those attacks, he also remains mum about the mountains of evidence beside the 28 pages that the government is still covering up that could answer key questions about that day: the actual data that NIST used in its computer model for WTC7; the details of the torture testimony that was used to construct the false 9/11 Commission Report; and the hundreds of cubic feet of testimony and evidence from the Commission archives that were initially supposed to be made available to the public but still sits sealed in the archive. But now we're expected to believe that Graham is personally spearheading the quest to expose the "hidden truth" of Saudi culpability in 9/11.
The obvious conclusion is that there is a power play going on right now between the US and Saudi Arabia, and movements like Graham's are designed to keep the Sword of Damocles over King Salman's head: don't move too far away from our orbit or we will blame 9/11 on you. Seen in that context, this new report from Hersh takes on another light altogether. Once again, Riyadh is being shown that the US government has a fallback position on the Osama 9/11 fairy tale that points the finger at the House of Saud. Sure Hersh is being ridiculed now, but just imagine if that part of the story were to be confirmed...
It's interesting to see this unfolding now, and it's interesting to see the the reaction that Hersh's piece is generating, but it will be most interesting to see where the US-Saudi relationship goes from here. Personally I don't think we're going to see any fundamental movement on the Saudi-9/11 front unless and until a decisive break with the Saudis occurs. For now, it looks like Washington and Riyadh are engaged in a delicate dance, with the US trying to nudge the Saudis back into the fold with some subtle threats.
So where does this leave us? Well, for those genuinely interested in 9/11 truth it seems that we'll have to turn elsewhere than Seymour Hersh to get it. In the meantime, Osama bin Boogeyman rises from the dead once again to scare us back into fearing Al Qaeda, exactly like the comic book villain he was always intended to be.