What happened to those wounded in US raid on compound where Bin Laden killed?

There are now reports that Osama/Usama Bin Laden’s wife was wounded, not killed, in the U.S. raid that killed him [and that another woman was wounded as well].

What happened to her, and to any others wounded, or simply present, inside the compound?

Apparently, the U.S. special forces [Navy Seals???] took “computers” from the compound to search them for leads.

Does it make any sense that if, as U.S. officials said, they will be pursuing other al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan or elsewhere, they would have left anybody in the compound?

UPDATE: Reports Tuesday night say that a wounded women and Usama’s children who were in the room with him when he was killed “resisting” are now in Pakistani custody. [A woman seized as a hostage by another man — not Obama — in another room was killed, together with the man who grabbed her…]

The Associated Press reported Tuesday night that “The White House says Osama bin Laden was not armed when a Navy SEAL raiding party confronted him during an assault on his compound in Pakistan. White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that bin Laden did not have a weapon even though administration officials have said that bin Laden resisted during the raid. Carney said resistance does not require a firearm. Bin Laden was shot in the head and in the chest during the encounter. Carney said that a woman in the room with bin Laden confronted the U.S. forces and was shot but not killed”. This report is posted here.

UPDATE TWO: The Atlantic magazine has published a post by Garance Franke-Ruta entitled “The Slippery Story of the bin Laden Kill”, here, which notes that “the history of misstatements from U.S. government officials about various combat operations raises questions about whether briefers also were subjecting us to a counterterrorism strategy and not just completely confused in their initial statements”.

graphic published to illustrate Atlantic post

Avner Cohen posted the link on Facebook, with this comment: “Does the Slippery Story of OBL killing matter? Yes, it does! Slipping the truth on this matter undermines the very credibility and the moral ground of the United States, the very raison d’etre of this act.”

For full transparency and disclosure, I’ll post below my own comments in participation and interaction on this thread:

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For fans of Shashi Tharoor … he says that India envies Israel for its military operation in Gaza

To members of the Shashi Tharoor fan club — don’t even bother to bombard me with your insincere comments saying how great he is, how he is nearly a saint, and how he is one of the best people ever to have passed through the United Nations.
Continue reading For fans of Shashi Tharoor … he says that India envies Israel for its military operation in Gaza

Hair-raising stories about Pakistan's present political melodrama

China Hand wrote in his (her?) brilliant blog, ChinaMatters, on Tuesday that “In contrast to Bhutto, who grotesquely over-reached and counterproductively traded on her U.S. support, Sharif seems to be playing his political hand with considerable skill and coolness—a fact that has probably not escaped Pakistanis wearied of Musharraf’s spectacular ineptness as a political leader. In an interesting move for a politician who once tried to get himself anointed ‘Defender of the Faith’, upon his return Sharif visited the Datar Durbar complex, the tomb of a Sufi saint revered throughout South Asia.
Sufism is at the heart of Punjab’s cultural identity and Sharif visited the tomb no doubt to play up his Punjab roots but also to place some distance between himself and Saudi Arabia, which considers itself the arbiter of Islamic orthodoxy and looks askance at Sufism”. You can look up this report by date here.

China Hand, who does everything with the most exquisite thoroughness, adds that “Looking at the circumstances around opposition leader Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan, one has to believe that there is a deal between Musharraf and Sharif, despite Sharif’s vehement denials. Or, more likely, that there is a deal between Musharraf and Saudi Arabia and between Saudi Arabia and Sharif, with the Saudis acting as guarantors and providing the necessary degree of separation and deniability both two faux-democrats need to maintain their credibility as political leaders. Because, absent a deal to guide and constrain Sharif’s actions, it is difficult to look at allowing his return as anything less than political suicide by Musharraf. This can be understand by looking at Punjab—home to 86 million people, the richest of Pakistan’s four provinces and the center of its politics, the key to power in Pakistan–and the political base of Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N party. Since Sharif’s departure from the scene, Musharraf moved to secure Punjab by midwifing a new Punjab-centered political party, the PML-Q, and lavishing patronage on its chief — and his main parliamentary ally — Chaudhry Shujaat (not to be confused with the Supreme Court Chief Justice). But all that looks like it might all be swept away by Sharif’s return. In addition to his innate reserves of charisma, the surviving organization of his party, the electorate’s general disgust with all things Musharraf, and having a real, live lion show up to greet him at the airport—and despite his reputed legacy as a corrupt politico who once had his ruffians storm the Supreme Court, the same institution for which he now professes such a tender regard–Sharif has Saudi good will and possibly Saudi money to spread around in the service of his campaign. Sharif filed papers to run for a parliamentary seat—indicating that his party will not boycott the elections (hint of a deal there) and triggering a flood of speculation in the Pakistani press that PML-Q will be decimated by a surge of support for Sharif and Chaudhry will fade into irrelevance. So, unless Musharraf wanted to shatter his base of support in Pakistan’s most important province, gut the political party that provides him with his only parliamentary cover, and, in essence, destroy his tenuous hold on power while he’s attempting a difficult transition to a civilian presidency, he’s not going to let Nawaz Sharif return without a deal, even if Saudi Arabia and the United States are wagging disapproving fingers at him…”

China Hand is certainly on to something. But, I can’t help wondering if Gen. Musharraf isn’t running on his own very personal internal, politician’s instincts — and taking risks that may somehow help him pull off something that will be a surprise to all of us (probably including himself) … Politicians take more hair-raising risks than any entrepreneur.

On 19 November, China Hand wrote this: “First a news flash: Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon are idiots. Via Antiwar.com, Pakistan Daily reports: ‘Frederick Kagan of the right-wing American Enterprise Institute and Michael O’Hanlon of the more liberal Brookings Institution argue in an article published in the New York Times on Sunday that the US simply cannot stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss … Possible plan: One possible plan would be a Special Forces operation with the limited goal of preventing Pakistan’s nuclear materials and warheads from getting into the wrong hands. Given the degree to which Pakistani nationalists cherish these assets, it is unlikely the United States would get permission to destroy them. Somehow, American forces would have to team with Pakistanis to secure critical sites and possibly to move the material to a safer place. For the United States, the safest bet would be shipping the material to someplace like New Mexico, but even pro-American Pakistanis would be unlikely to cooperate. It would be better for the US to settle for establishing a remote redoubt within Pakistan, with the nuclear technology guarded by elite Pakistani forces backed up and watched over by crack international troops’…

China Hand comments: “I actually had to check the New York Times website to make sure this wasn’t a spoof or some piece of anti-American psyops by the Pakistani media. And yes, they really said it. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezus.”

However amusing and tear-jerking this loony story is (it is enough to make one weep and laugh at the same time), it is simply inconceivable that any Pakistani would cooperate in handing over the country’s nuclear assests for shipment to New Mexico, or whatever.

Anyone who has listened for years to Pakistani and Indian officials argue in the UN for years would know for sure that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons capabilities were developed in tit-for-tat riposts to India’s nuclear weapons program — which was itself developed as an indignant anti-colonial protest at the situation caused by only a few nations (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, as it happens — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China) having such a potent “deterrent”.  As long as India has nuclear weapons, Pakistan has said, it will as well.  Neither India nor Pakistan are about to  give their nuclear assets up — certainly not because of transitory domestic political crises.

Asma Jahangir under house arrest in Pakistan

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) has put out a press release calling for the immediate release of Asma Jahangir, a UN special rapporteur and a member of the ICG Board:

The ICG release says that “Forces loyal to Musharraf rounded up hundreds of political and civil society leaders after his imposition of martial law at the weekend. Dr Jahangir – Chairperson of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Crisis Group Board member – was placed under house arrest for 90 days, along with scores of other HRCP members.”

The ICG statement also demands a restoration of Pakistan’s “constitutional order”.

In the statement, Lord Patten of Barnes, Co-chair of the Board of the Crisis Group, said that “Asma Jahangir must be freed at once … Musharraf’s actions are completely unconstitutional, and he has no legal basis to hold Asma or any of the others wrongfully detained over the past few days.” And U.S. former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, fellow Crisis Group Co-chair, said, “What has happened to Asma has happened to countless Pakistanis – the political opposition, civil society, the judiciary and the media are all under attack. Asma and the others must be set free, and fundamental freedoms must be restored in Pakistan right away.” Former Australian Minister Gareth Evans, Crisis Group President, said that “Asma Jahangir is unlawfully detained just as her country’s constitution has been illegally suspended … For her sake and for the good of the whole country, Musharraf must be made to reverse his decrees. Only a legitimate democratic order can save Pakistan from a descent into further turmoil.”

Later on Thursday, a group of UN human rights experts issued a statement saying that they were “deeply alarmed at the imposition of the state of emergency in Pakistan and condemn the suspension of fundamental freedoms, including the right not to be deprived of one’s liberty, freedom of movement, peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.  The imposition of the state of emergency entails an attack on the independence of the judiciary. We are concerned that President Musharraf’s declaration of emergency powers is in response to judges allegedly ‘overstepping their limits of judicial authority’ and ‘interfering in Government policy’, particularly in the context of countering terrorism and addressing extremism.   We condemn the retaliation measures, including the abuse of the notion of terrorism, against those who are expressing their dissent against the imposition of the state of emergency.  Considering the frequency of arbitrary detentions occurring during states of emergency, the exercise of power under such conditions must be in strict compliance with the principle of proportionality…”

The group of UN human rights experts got down to mentioning Asma Jahangir somewhere in the fifth paragraph: “In particular, we are extremely concerned about the detention and house arrest of leading judges, lawyers and human rights defenders.  This includes the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, who has been placed under house arrest for a period of 90 days, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and other members of the Supreme Court who were also placed under house arrest when they refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Provisional Constitutional Order.  We call for their immediate and unconditional release.  We are concerned that placing a Special Procedures mandate holder under house arrest may adversely impact on his or her ability to carry out the activities necessary to fulfill the mandate.  We are alarmed that a detention order remains in place against Hina Jilani, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders.  We urge the authorities to immediately overturn this order…”

The group also stated that “We condemn the excessive use of force by the police, the brutal repression and the massive arrests that have occurred during demonstrations organized by lawyers to protest against the suspension of the Constitution.  We also express our serious concern about the pervasive restrictions placed on the media, in particular the suspension of broadcasts of all international and national privately owned channels, as well as the serious assaults inflicted upon journalists by members of the police and security forces. We urge the Government to fully remove all restrictions to the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom of the press.  The suspension of fundamental freedoms, in what appears to be an imposition of a state of emergency in breach of national laws and international standards, undermines the enjoyment of all sets of rights and affects all sectors of the population.  We urge Pakistan to return to democratic rule and to stop the ongoing escalation of human rights abuses”.

On Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, issued a statement in which she expressed “concern about reports that leading judges, lawyers and political and human rights activists have been detained or placed under house arrest, including United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, Asma Jahangir. The High Commissioner called on the Pakistan authorities to clarify the status of those detained and ensure that no one is detained for the peaceful exercise of their political beliefs”.

The UN High Commissioner said, in the statement issued in her name, that she was “alarmed over the suspension of fundamental rights and imposition of a state of emergency in Pakistan. ‘A state of emergency should only be used to deal with a dire security threat to the nation, not to undermine the integrity and independence of the judiciary’, the High Commissioner said”.

The statement noted that “under accepted rules of international law, fundamental rights, such as the right to life, the prohibition on arbitrary detention, torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, cannot be suspended even in times of emergency. Such far-reaching restrictions of rights must be proportional and may only be applied to the extent and for the time strictly required by the situation”.
The UN High Commissioner’s statement is posted here.

Shimon Peres congratulates Musharraf

The Israeli Government Press Office has sent out the following tidbit: despite the lack of formal relations between their two countries, Israel’s President Shimon Peres has sent congratulations to Pakisan’s leader, General Pervez Musharraf, on his reelection.

Peres wrote: “You have shown responsibility and strength in preventing the spread of violence and terrorism on many occasions and I carry in my heart your support for peace in the Middle East which I heard directly from you.
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