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What Gave Away Bin Laden’s Location

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As you would expect, Osama Bin Laden kept messages to friends and family reasonably secure. However transmissions between his bodyguards and their families were not subjected to the same level of scrutiny. The fact that he stayed in such a high profile house was unusual however. Anyone with the slightest bit of curiosity would wonder about the purpose of a compound with 12 foot concrete walls and barbed wire. It is to be expected that he would have the cooperation of local military and intelligence elites, rebels have a very difficult time operating unless they stack the deck in their favor by allying with neighboring forces. Their lack of technological sophistication is also pretty standard, many documents have been captured unecrypted from insurgents because they don’t understand that encryption is very difficult to impossible to break if done properly.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2011/0502/Bin-Laden-bodyguard-s-satellite-phone-calls-helped-lead-US-forces-to-hiding-place

Satellite phone calls that Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard made from July to August last year are believed to have helped US forces hunt down the Al Qaeda leader in the Pakistani compound where he was killed early Monday, according to local Pakistani intelligence sources.

US intelligence agencies tracked the Kuwaiti bodyguard’s calls from the compound to Al Qaeda associates in the cities of Kohat and Charsada in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, a narrative that was corroborated by several sources.

From Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Location_of_Osama_bin_Laden#Tracking

American intelligence officials discovered the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden by tracking one of his couriers. Information was collected from Guantánamo Bay detainees, who gave intelligence officers the courier’s pseudonym and said that he was a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.[5] In 2007, U.S. officials discovered the courier’s real name and, in 2009, that he lived in Abbottābad, Pakistan.[6] Using satellite photos and intelligence reports, the CIA surmised the inhabitants of the mansion. In September, the CIA concluded that the compound was “custom built to hide someone of significance” and that bin Laden’s residence there was very likely.[7][8] Officials surmised that he was living there with his youngest wife.[8]

Built in 2005, the three-story[12] mansion was located in a compound about 4 km (2.5 mi.) northeast of the center of Abbottabad.[7] While the compound was assessed by US officials at a value of USD 1 million, local real-estate agents assess the property value at USD 250 thousand.[13] On a lot about eight times the size of nearby houses, it was surrounded by 12- to 18-foot (3.7-5.5 m)[8] concrete walls topped with barbed wire.[7] There were two security gates and the third-floor balcony had a seven-foot-high (2.1 m) privacy wall.[12] There was no Internet or telephone service coming into the compound. Its residents burned their trash, unlike their neighbors, who simply set it out for collection. The compound is located (34°10′09″N 73°14′33″E) and 1.3 km (0.8 mi.) southwest of the closest point of the sprawling Pakistan Military Academy.[14] President Obama met with his national security advisors on March 14, 2011, in the first of five security meetings over six weeks. On April 29, at 8:20 a.m., Obama convened with Thomas DonilonJohn O. Brennan, and other security advisers in the Diplomatic Room, where he authorized a raid of the Abbottābad compound. The government of Pakistan was not informed of this decision.[7]

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US Intelligence services contacted a Pakistani physician through the US NGO Save The Children, to help them set up a fake vaccination program that would allow them to collect DNA to identify the people inside of the compound. This lead to him being arrested and sentenced to 33 years for Treason, supposedly for links to a local tribal terrorist organization:

To identify the occupants of the compound, the CIA worked with doctor Shakil Afridi to organize a fake vaccination program. Nurses gained entry to the residence to vaccinate the children and extract DNA,[9] which could be compared to a sample from his sister, who died in Boston in 2010.[10] It’s not clear if the DNA was ever obtained.[11]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakil_Afridi

Colleagues at Jamrud Hospital in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber tribal were suspicious of Dr. Shakeel Afridi’s, the hospital’s chief surgeon, absences which he explained as “business” to attend to in Abbottabad. Dr Afridi was accused of having taken a half-dozen World Health Organization cooler boxes without authorization. The containers are for inoculation campaigns, but no immunization drives were underway in Abbottabad or the Khyber agency.[11][12]

Pakistani investigators said in a July 2012 report that Afridi met 25 times with “foreign secret agents, received instructions and provided sensitive information to them.”[13] According to Pakistani reports, Afridi told investigators that the charity Save the Children helped facilitate his meeting with U.S. intelligence agents although the charity denies the charge. The report alleges that Save the Children’s Pakistan director introduced Afridi to a western woman in Islamabad and that Afridi and the woman met regularly afterwards.

China Plans to Open Military Bases Worldwide

Dated 2010:

“It is baseless to say that we will not set up any military bases in future because we have never sent troops abroad,” an article published on Thursday at a Chinese government website said. “It is our right,” the article said and went on to suggest that it would be done in the neighborhood, possibly Pakistan.

http://antemedius.com/content/game-changer-china-plans-open-military-bases-worldwide

Dated 2011:

China is weighing up whether to open an Indian Ocean naval base in the Seychelles in a move which will heighten tensions with India amid fears of a regional arms race.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/seychelles/8953319/China-considers-Seychelles-military-base-plan.html

Dated 2012:

China plans military base in Pakistan
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/china-military-base-in-pakistan-naval-base-at-gwadar/1/167084.html

The Gun Bazaar of Pakistan

Pakistan’s Gun Bazaar

The area is inhabited by Pathans or Pushtuns, rather fierce Pushtu-speaking hill tribes. On the map, it is part of Pakistan, but the Pakistani government has never really controlled it. Pathan tribal chiefs run everything.

Pathan territory spans the border. 60% of them live in Pakistan, 40% in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, they are the largest ethnic group at 40-odd% of the population and have often dominated government and business.

The Pathans have twice defeated the greatest armies of their day. When Alexander the Great wanted to cross the pass, he could not manage it for several weeks, until he bribed one of the local chieftains into assisting him against the ones who were blocking him. At the height of British power in Queen Victoria’s reign, the Khyber was the border of the Raj. Britain fought several wars against Pathans and never completely subdued the area. In the first Afghan war, a force of 16,000 (4500 soldiers plus grooms, cooks, etc.) went in and one man came out alive. Pathans were also recruited into the British military, where they were excellent soldiers.

Since 1980, Pathans have been fighting Russians, various other Afghans, American and allied forces, the Pakistani army…and sometimes each other.

The Pathans provided most of the adherents of Taliban. Many — both pro and anti-Taliban — are still (2012) fiercely resisting various efforts by US and allied forces and/or the Pakistani government to control their area.

Crossing the Khyber has always been something of an adventure. Today, it is far too dangerous for most travellers Link

In 2010, the already complicated relationship with Pakistan (always accused by the US of hosting the Taliban in this border area without reporting it) became tougher after the NATO forces, under the pretext of mitigating the Taliban’s power over this area, executed an attack with drones over the Durand line, passing the frontier of Afghanistan and killing three Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan answered by closing the pass the 30th of September which caused a convoy of several NATO trucks to queue at the closed border.[8] This convoy was attacked by extremists apparently linked to Al Qaida which caused the destruction of more than 29 oil tankers and trucks and the killing of several soldiers.[9] NATO chief members had to issue a formal apology to the Pakistan government so the supply traffic at this pass could be restored.

In August 2011, the activity at the Khyber pass was again halted[10] by the Khyber Agency administration due to the more possible attacks of the insurgency over the NATO forces, which had suffered a period of big number of assaults over the trucks heading to supply the NATO and ISAF coalitions all over the frontier line. This instability made the Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners Association to demand more protection from the Pakistani and US government threatening not to supply fuel for the Afghan side.

This rising of violence had taken place due to the detention and killing of the Al Qaida´s chief leader Osama Bin Laden in May 2011. However, it must be said that the strengthening of the insurgency´s activity had always been linked to the control that Pakistani military services and the ISI exercises over this western area of Pakistan. In other words, conflict over the Khyber Pass is totally tied to the diplomatic relationships between Pakistan and the US, lately affected by the illegal American military intervention in Pakistan for the “hunting” of Bin Laden and the big number of Pakistani soldiers and civilians killed due to the, scarcely reported, drone attacks[11] perpetrated by the NATO and US army over the frontier between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Link

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