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‘No burial at sea for Osama,body parts tossed over Hindukush’

Tuesday, May 12, 2015,21:14 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Washington | Osama bin Laden was not given a burial at sea as claimed by the US and the al-Qaeda chief’s body may have been torn to pieces by rifle fire with some parts tossed out over the Hindukush mountains, according to a veteran American investigative journalist.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed that the US government’s assertion that Osama was given an appropriate Islamic burial was false and that the said burial funeral aboard the Carl Vinson did not take place.
With Obama’s announcement of his killing by the Seals everyone now expected a body to be produced. Instead, reporters were told that bin Laden’s body had been flown by the Seals to an American military airfield in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and then straight to the USS Carl Vinson, a supercarrier on routine patrol in the North Arabian Sea, Hersh said in his article in the London Review of Books.
The US government said that Osama had then been buried at sea, just hours after his death. Within weeks of the raid, Hersh said he was told by two longtime consultants to Special Operations Command, who have access to current intelligence, that the funeral aboard the Carl Vinson did not take place. One consultant told me that bin Laden’s remains were photographed and identified after being flown back to Afghanistan.
The consultant added: ‘At that point, the CIA took control of the body. The cover story was that it had been flown to the Carl Vinson.’ The second consultant agreed that there had been ‘no burial at sea’, Hersh said.
The second consultant added that the killing of bin Laden was political theatre designed to burnish Obama’s military credentials, according to Hersh. Hersh, in his account, quotes a retired senior US intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about Osama’s presence in Pakistan’s Abbottabad for most of his claims in the write-up. The retired official said there had been another complication: some members of the Seal team had bragged to colleagues and others that they had torn bin Laden’s body to pieces with rifle fire.
The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains – or so the Seals claimed, Hersh states. The US has rejected as inaccurate and baseless Hersh’s claims.
I can tell you that the White House is not the only one to observe that the story is riddled with inaccuracies and outright falsehoods, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday. According to Hersh’s account, at the time, the retired official said, the Seals did not think their mission would be made public by Obama within a few hours.
The retired official also said that if the Seals’ first accounts are to be believed, there would not have been much left of bin Laden to put into the sea in any case, according to Hersh. The Pentagon did release a series of emails related to the burial. In one of them, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette reported that the service followed ‘traditional procedures for Islamic burial’, and said none of the sailors on board had been permitted to observe the proceedings, Hersh points out. But there was no indication of who washed and wrapped the body, or of which Arabic speaker conducted the service, Hersh said.