Taliban Executes New Tactic: High-Profile Inside Jobs

Taliban Strategy
KABUL, Afghanistan — A car with the license plate of a high-ranking Afghan general approached the gates of the Defense Ministry in Kabul last month. A special "A" pass also was on its windshield, so guards quickly waved it through.
Once inside, a man in an army uniform jumped from the car and stormed the ministry's main office building, an Afghan government official said. He gunned down two Afghan soldiers before being killed. The gunman also wounded an Afghan army officer, who died later at a hospital.
The April 18 attack – brazen and cleverly orchestrated by insurgents – is indicative of the high-profile yet small-scale attacks that are trademarks of the Taliban's spring campaign. Unable to match the firepower of the U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces, insurgents conduct suicide bombings and assaults on government buildings, figuring these types of attacks will prove their resilience.
On Saturday, a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform detonated a vest laden with explosives at a provincial governor's compound in northern Afghanistan, killing two top Afghan police commanders and wounding the German general who commands NATO forces in the north. Two Germans and two other Afghans died.
It's unclear how deep of a dent the U.S.-led military campaign made in the insurgency over the winter or if these attacks are preludes to more widespread fighting by the Taliban this summer. Insurgents need to take back part of the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, their traditional strongholds, if they hope to retain their power base and the opium fields that fund their movement.
"Certainly the types of attacks they are now doing is an indicator they don't want to send a large number of fighters against coalition or Afghan National Security Forces because they know they will get the worse of that," said Lt. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the coalition. "The types of attacks they are doing are intended to create a propaganda flash and try to discredit the Afghan government."
Military and NATO officials, including the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, have predicted heavy fighting this summer. They have also predicted the Taliban will continue its campaign of terror and assassination. That campaign targets anyone who backs the Afghan security forces, peace talks with insurgents, or the Afghan government's reintegration program designed to lure Taliban foot soldiers back into their communities with offers of economic development for their villages.
"This is going to be a tough fighting season. The Talibs are not going to take these security gains laying down, and we have already seen them trying to come back. There are no certainties here," said British Maj. Gen. Phil Jones, a veteran of four tours in Afghanistan and NATO's point man on efforts to reintegrate Taliban fighters back into society.
Nearly all the Taliban's recent attacks have been on a small scale, with one or two notable exceptions in the mountainous northern province of Nuristan – a remote area where no permanent NATO or Afghan forces are deployed. Insurgents, however, have increased the tempo of assaults with attacks conducted by disgruntled Afghan soldiers and police or militants impersonating soldiers.
"The enemy is making huge efforts to infiltrate Afghan security organizations," Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan defense minister, recently told parliament.
The Taliban claim that indirect tactics, such as suicide attacks, assassinations and infiltration, are part of their new strategy against the government.
"The mujahedeen are able to infiltrate into the ranks of the enemy and are using these opportunities to attack," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said after the attack.
Since September 2007, the coalition has recorded 21 incidents in which a member of the Afghan security forces – or someone in a uniform used by them – have killed coalition forces. Forty-nine coalition troops, including at least 35 Americans, have been killed. At least six members of the Afghan security forces also died in the incidents.
Of the 21 incidents, eight were attributed to combat stress or personal disagreements; seven were due to unknown motives; four involved members of the Afghan security forces who were co-opted by insurgents or sympathetic to the insurgency, and two involved attackers who were impersonating Afghan police or soldiers.
The sale of Afghan security force uniforms is banned in Afghanistan, but they are still easily obtained.
While insurgents have claimed credit for nearly all the attacks, no evidence has been found suggesting they have successfully embedded individuals in the Afghan security forces with the intent to attack coalition forces, training mission officials said.
In the two most recent attacks in Kabul, however, militants had inside help.
In the attack on the Defense Ministry, the man who drove the car with heavily tinted windows into the facility was the nephew of the general, the government official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information.
The Afghan army would never stop or search a vehicle driving into the ministry with a special pass on its windshield, the official said, adding that the general had not yet been told about the car or the involvement of his nephew, who is believed to have fled to Pakistan where many insurgent groups have safe havens.
The official said the investigation was still under way, and he would not elaborate as to why the general had not been questioned, or whether he even knew that a vehicle assigned to him by the ministry was used in the attack.
A month later, on May 21, the Afghan intelligence service said a soldier serving with the security unit at the main military hospital in Kabul picked up a Pakistani national and drove him to a mosque in the capital. There, inside a restroom, the man slipped an Afghan army uniform over a suicide explosives vest and got back into the soldier's official vehicle.
He was then easily driven through the gates. The attacker blew himself up in a tent being used as a cafeteria. The explosion killed six Afghan students and wounded 23 others. No foreigners were injured.
Police later arrested the driver – a soldier who had been in the army for eight months. NATO said the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network was responsible.
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Bin Laden Killing Settled Score For CIA

Osama Bin Laden Raid Avenged Deaths Of CIA Members Tom Shah And Molly Huckaby Hardy

Bin Laden Cia
MATT APUZZO and ADAM GOLDMAN 05/29/11 07:40 AM ET AP


WASHINGTON — For a small cadre of CIA veterans, the death of Osama bin Laden was more than just a national moment of relief and closure. It was also a measure of payback, a settling of a score for a pair of deaths, the details of which have remained a secret for 13 years.
Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy were among the 44 U.S. Embassy employees killed when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998.
Though it has never been publicly acknowledged, the two were working undercover for the CIA. In al-Qaida's war on the United States, they are believed to be the first CIA casualties.
Their names probably will not be among those read at Memorial Day memorials around the country this weekend. Like many CIA officers, their service remained a secret in both life and death, marked only by anonymous stars on the wall at CIA headquarters and blank entries in its book of honor.
Their CIA ties were described to The Associated Press by a half-dozen current and former U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because Shah's and Hardy's jobs are still secret, even now.
The deaths weighed heavily on many at the CIA, particularly the two senior officers who were running operations in Africa during the attack. Over the past decade, as the CIA waged war against al-Qaida, those officers have taken on central roles in counterterrorism. Both were deeply involved in hunting down bin Laden and planning the raid on the terrorist who killed their colleagues.
"History has shown that tyrants who threaten global peace and freedom must eventually face their natural enemies: America's war fighters, and the silent warriors of our Intelligence Community," CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote in a Memorial Day message to agency employees.
These silent warriors took very different paths to Nairobi.
Hardy was a divorced mom from Valdosta, Ga., who raised a daughter as she travelled to Asia, South America and Africa over a lengthy career. At the CIA station in Kenya, she handled the office finances, including the CIA's stash of money used to pay sources and carry out spying operations. She was a new grandmother and was eager to get back home when al-Qaida struck.
Shah took an unpredictable route to the nation's clandestine service. He was not a solider or a Marine, a linguist or an Ivy Leaguer. He was a musician from the Midwest. But his story, and the secret mission that brought him to Africa, was straight out of a Hollywood spy movie.
"He was a vivacious, upbeat guy who had a very poignant, self-deprecating sense of humor," said Dan McDevitt, a classmate and close friend from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where Shah was a standout trumpet player.
Shah – his given name was Uttamlal – was the only child of an Indian immigrant father and an American mother, McDevitt said. He had a fascination with international affairs. He participated in the school's model United Nations and, in the midst of the Cold War, was one of the school's first students to learn Russian. From time to time, he went to India with his father, giving him a rare world perspective.
"At the time, that was unheard of. You might as well have gone to Mars," said McDevitt, who lost touch with his high school friend long before he joined the agency.
Shah graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston and Ball State University's music school. He taught music classes and occasionally played in backup bands for entertainers Red Skelton, Perry Como and Jim Nabors. His doctoral thesis at Indiana's Ball State offered no hints about the career he would pursue: "The Solo Songs of Edward MacDowell: An Examination of Style and Literary Influence."
"He was one of our outstanding people," said Kirby Koriath, the graduate student adviser at Ball State.
Shah and his wife, Linda, were married in 1983, the year he received his master's degree. In 1987, after earning his doctorate, Shah joined the U.S. government. On paper, he had become a diplomat. In reality, he was shipped to the Farm, the CIA's spy school in Virginia.
He received the usual battery of training in surveillance, counterespionage and the art of building sources. The latter is particularly hard to teach, but it came naturally to Shah, former officials said. Shah was regarded as one of the top members of his class and was assigned to the Near East Division, which covers the Middle East.
He spoke fluent Hindi and decent Russian when he arrived and quickly showed a knack for languages by learning Arabic. He worked in Cairo and Damascus and, though he was young, former colleagues said he was quickly proving himself one of the agency's most promising stars.
In 1997, he was dispatched to headquarters as part of the Iraq Operations Group, the CIA team that ran spying campaigns against Saddam Hussein's regime. Around that time, the CIA became convinced that a senior Iraqi official was willing to provide intelligence in exchange for a new life in America. Before the U.S. could make that deal, it had to be sure the information was credible and the would-be defector wasn't really a double agent. But even talking to him was a risky move. If a meeting with the CIA was discovered, the Iraqi would be killed for sure.
Somebody had to meet with the informant, somebody who knew the Middle East and could be trusted with such a sensitive mission. A senior officer recommended Shah.
The meetings were set up in Kenya, former officials said, because it was considered relatively safe from Middle East intelligence services. It was perhaps the most important operation being run under the Africa Division at the time, current and former officials said. Among the agency managers overseeing it was John Bennett, the deputy chief of the division. He and his operations chief, who remains undercover, were seasoned Africa hands and veterans of countless spying operations.
Because of the mission's sensitivity, Shah bottled up his normally outgoing and friendly personality while at the embassy.
"This is the glory and the tragedy of discreet work," said Prudence Bushnell, the former ambassador to Kenya. "You keep a very low profile and you don't do things that make you memorable."
Officials say Shah was among those who went to the window when shooting began outside the embassy gates. Most who did were killed when the massive bomb exploded. He was 38. Hardy was also killed in the blast. She was 51.
The U.S. government said both victims were State Department employees. But like all fallen officers, they received private memorial services at CIA headquarters. Every year, their names are among those read at a ceremony for family members and colleagues.
Hardy's daughter, Brandi Plants, said she did not want to discuss her mother's employment. Shah's widow, Linda, sent word through a neighbor that the topic was still too painful to discuss.
Shah's death did not stall his mission. The Africa Division pressed on and confirmed that the Iraqi source was legitimate, his information extremely valuable. He defected and was re-located to the United States with a new identity.
Bennett later went on to be the station chief in Islamabad, where he ran the agency's effort to kill al-Qaida members by using unmanned aircraft. He now sits in one of the most important seats in the agency, overseeing clandestine operations worldwide. His former Africa operations chief now runs the agency's counterterrorism center. Both have been hunting for bin Laden for years. Both were directly involved in the raid.
Shah and Hardy are among the names etched into stone at a memorial at the embassy in Nairobi, with no mention of their CIA service. Shah is also commemorated with a plaque in a CIA conference room at its headquarters. Both were among those whose names Panetta read last week at the annual ceremony for fallen officers.
"Throughout the effort to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida, our fallen colleagues have been with us in memory and in spirit," Panetta said. "With their strength and determination as our guide, we achieved a great victory three weeks ago."
Bin Laden said the embassy in Nairobi was targeted because it was a major CIA station. He died never knowing that he had killed two CIA officers there.
___
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Film on Black Ops Hunt for Bin Laden Set for 2012 Release

Kathryn Bigelow is working on a film about a mission to kill bin Laden. (Reuters)
Kathryn Bigelow is working on a film about a mission to kill bin Laden. (Reuters)

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal's movie about the Black Ops hunt for Osama Bin Laden is set for release next year.
Columbia Pictures, which acquired the domestic distribution rights to the film earlier this week, says the untitled movie will come out at the end of 2012.
Bigelow and Boal each won a pair of Oscars for producing, directing and writing last year's best picture, "The Hurt Locker." The two began developing the film about the Black Ops' mission to capture Bin Laden in 2008.
Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal says Bigelow and Boal "have an outstanding perspective on the team that was hunting the most wanted man in the world."
READ MORE - Film on Black Ops Hunt for Bin Laden Set for 2012 Release

Suspected Qaeda gunmen seize city: Yemen official

Armed tribesman loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashid tribe, patrol around his house, in Sanaa, Yemen - AP
Armed tribesman loyal to Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, the head of the powerful Hashid tribe, patrol around his house, in Sanaa, Yemen - AP
Suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen have taken control of the south Yemen city of Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, after heavy fighting with security forces that left 16 dead, an official said on Sunday.
The fighters "were able to gain control of the city of Zinjibar ... and took over all government facilities," except for the headquarters of the the 25th mechanised brigade, which is besieged by militants, the security official said.
Two other security officials said that fighting raged in the city on Friday and Saturday.
Five soldiers and a civilian were killed on Friday, they said, while residents of Zinjibar said they found the bodies of 10 soldiers, bringing the toll from the fighting there to at least 16.
One of the officials said that another two soldiers were killed Friday in clashes with suspected Al-Qaeda fighters in the town of Loder, also in Abyan province.
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The bullet-proof dogs who helped kill Bin Laden

BY Elbert ChuMon May 16, 2011
If you see this dog coming for you, run. Thanks to his extensive training--and customized body armor that can cost upwards of $30,000--he's bulletproof, can hear through concrete, and can record high-def video of missions, even in the dead of night.
K9 Storm dog
171digg  Since the moment it was revealed that the "nation's most courageous dog" [Update: named "Cairo"] served alongside the 80 Navy SEALs who took out Osama bin Laden, America's fascination with war dogs has hit a fevered pitch. And while the heart-tugging photos of these four-legged heroes are worth a look, so is the high-tech gear that helps them do their job.
Last year, the military spent $86,000 on four tactical vests to outfit Navy Seal dogs. The SEALs hired Winnipeg, Canada-based contractor K9 Storm to gear up their four-legged, canine partners, which it has used in battle since World War I. K9 Storm’s flagship product is the $20,000-$30,000 Intruder, an upgradeable version of their doggie armor (you can check out the full catalogue here). The tactical body armor is wired with a collapsible video arm, two-way audio, and other attachable gadgets.
"Various special ops units use the vest, including those in current headlines," says Mike Herstik, a consultant with International K-9, who has trained dogs from Israeli bomb-sniffing units to the Navy SEALSs. "It is much more than just body armor."
The big idea behind the armor add-ons boils down to a simple one: the key to any healthy relationship is communication. Each dog is assigned one human handler. To operate efficiently in a tactical situation, they need to be connected.
So how much high-tech connectivity does a dog get for $30,000 anyway?
Using a high-def camera mounted on the dog's back, handlers can see what the dog sees, using handheld monitors. Jim Slater, who cofounded K9 Storm with his wife Glori, says footage is stable because the entire module is sewn into the vest. With unpredictable light conditions, like middle-of-the-night missions, the camera adjusts automatically to night vision. The lens is protected by impact-resistant shielding. And since we're talking about SEALs notorious for amphibious assaults, the system is waterproof.
In Abbottabad, the patented load-bearing harness would have enabled a Navy SEAL handler to rappel from the helicopter with his dog strapped to his body. Once in the compound, the dog could run ahead to scout as the handler issued commands through an integrated microphone and speaker in the armor. The proprietary speaker system enables handlers to relay commands at low levels to the dog. "Handlers need to see and hear how their dog is responding," said Slater. "In a tactical situation, every second counts." The encrypted signal from dog to handler penetrates fortified barriers like concrete, steel-fortified ships, and tunnels. That translates to standard operating ranges up to four football fields.
The armor itself protects against shots from 9mm and .45 magnum handguns. Slater is a veteran police dog trainer and built the first vest after a prison riot. He realized he wore full riot gear, while his K9 partner, Olaf, was basically naked. So he started making vests. The weave technology catches bullets or ice picks like a mitt wrapping around a baseball; knives and sharpened screw drivers wielded by prisoners require tighter weaves.
Keeping the armor strong, but light, is a priority. "Every gram counts for our clients. So we prefer advanced fibers and innovative textiles," said Slater. "The entire communication module is 20 ounces." The average armor weighs between three to seven pounds, depending on the size of the dog and the level of protection.
They’ve even gone stealth. A silent hardware system prevents any metal to metal contact--you won't hear any jangling or see any reflective give-aways. K9 took the average 150-gram V-ring and developed a 5-gram version made of a Kevlar, poly-propylene, and nylon fiber blend. "It’s actually stronger, rated to 2,500 pounds. Completely silent, and ultralight," said Slater.

Of course, these systems don't come cheap--and it's the dogs themselves that are the real investment. The Navy’s first Master Military Working Dog Trainer (a trainer of other dog trainers), Luis Reyes emailed from Afghanistan: "There are many products that help MWDs [military work dogs] and many are ‘cool’ but not necessary. No amount of money can replace the life of a canine that saves the precious lives of our troops in harm's way."
Although new tech is the buzz, what put K9 Storm on the map is dedication to customization. Its mainstay dog armor is the more-affordable $2,000-$3,000 base model. Each vest they make is custom sized for the dog. "The fit has to be perfect or it will flop around," said Slater. That hinders mobility, or worse, can cause injury.
Clients can measure dogs themselves, or Slater will fly out for dog fittings. They’ve done 15-pound West Highland Terriers--which look like playful white puffballs but were bred to scare badgers out of holes, and are helpful in drug raids with confined spaces like air ducts. On the other end are St. Bernards, which push 240 pounds.
K9's client list spans 15 countries, from China to Switzerland. Buyers include SWAT teams, police and corrections agencies, security firms, search and rescue units, and border patrols. Slater and 12 employees spent years developing a proprietary computer-assisted design program to translate measurements into accurate patterns, which are hand sewn. However, it's as much a tech company as it is an armor manufacturer.
The next phase of development includes plans for remote-delivery systems and enhanced accessory functionality. They describe a system that would help dogs transport medical supplies, walkie-talkies, or water into constricted areas like rubble. They're also planning new appendages like air-level quality meters for mines.
No word on mounting mini heat-seeking missiles just yet. So, for now, bad guys will only have to tussle with highly-trained fangs exerting 700 pounds of pressure per square inch.
READ MORE - The bullet-proof dogs who helped kill Bin Laden

Serbian genocide suspect Ratko Mladic arrested in tiny village by police after 16 years on the ru

  • Serbian special forces capture former general at relative's home 60 miles north of Belgrade
  • Mladic believed to be behind the Srebrenica massacre where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed
  • US had offered $5million bounty, Serbia €10million
  • Arrest paves the way for Serbia's admission to the EU
  • This offers a chance for justice to be done, says triumphant Nato secretary-general
Wanted: General Ratko Mladic is alleged to have been involved in the Srebrenica massacre
Wanted: General Ratko Mladic is alleged to have been involved in the Srebrenica massacre
General Ratko Mladic, the ruthless Bosnian Serb leader charged with orchestrating Europe's worst massacre of civilians since World War II, has been arrested.
The most prominent Bosnian war crimes suspect still at large, Mladic was wanted for his alleged involvement in the Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo.
He has been on the run since 1995, after he was indicted on charges of crimes against humanity by the United Nations war crimes tribunal at the Hague.
Serbian special forces swooped on a relative of Mladic's home in a tiny Serbian village at dawn.
The raid ended a 16-year hunt for the alleged architect of what have been dubbed 'scenes from hell.'
His capture was confirmed by Serbian president Boris Tadic in a triumphant press conference this afternoon.
'On behalf of the Republic of Serbia I can announce the arrest of Ratko Mladic,' Mr Tadic told reporters.
'We have ended a difficult period of our history and removed the stain from the face of Serbia and the members of our nation wherever they live.'
Mr Tadic said Serbia had begun the process of extraditing Mladic to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. 
A bullnecked field commander with narrow, piercing blue eyes, Mladic, now 69, faces life imprisonment if tried and convicted of genocide and other charges.
The UN court has no death penalty.
Triumphant: Serbia's President Boris Tadic announces the capture of Ratko Mladic during a media conference in Belgrade
Triumphant: Serbia's President Boris Tadic announces the capture of Ratko Mladic during a media conference in Belgrade
Rural hideout: The village Lazarevo close to the northern Serbian town of Zrenjanin, 60 miles north of Belgrade, where special forces arrested Mladic
Rural hideout: The village Lazarevo close to the northern Serbian town of Zrenjanin, 60 miles north of Belgrade, where special forces arrested Mladic
Before sunrise, agents of Serbia's domestic intelligence agency moved quietly on Mladic's hideout.
He was hiding in a single-story yellow brick house owned by a relative, said Radmilo Stanisic, the de facto mayor of Lazarevo, a village of some 2,000 residents about 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Belgrade.
'They didn't even wake us up,' said a resident who identified himself only as Zoran.
Serbia's B-92 radio said Mladic did not resist the arrest and 'was cooperative.'
Serbian state TV said Mladic was bald and appeared 'worn out.'
Army chief: Ratko Mladic was in charge of the Bosnian Serb army during the Balkan wars
Army chief: Ratko Mladic was in charge of the Bosnian Serb army during the Balkan wars
Mladic was the leader of Bosnian Serb forces during the bloody 1992 - 1995 Balkan wars.
He was the military chief of Radovan Karadzic, the wartime Bosnian Serb political leader, who was captured in Belgrade in July 2008 and remains in detention pending trial for crimes against humanity.
Foremost among the horrors Mladic is charged with is the July 1995 slaughter of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which was supposed to be a safe zone guarded by Dutch peacekeepers.
Bosnian Serb forces seized the town and Mladic was seen handing candy to Muslim children in the town's square.
He assured them everything would be fine and patted one boy on the head. Hours later, his men began an orgy of killing, rape and torture.
War crimes tribunal judge Fouad Riad said during Mladic's 1995 indictment in absentia that the court had seen evidence of 'unimaginable savagery: thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers' eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson.'
'These are truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history,' he said.
Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two: Forensic experts examine a mass grave in Bosnia near the site of the notorious 1995 Srebrenica massacre
Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two: Forensic experts examine a mass grave in Bosnia near the site of the notorious 1995 Srebrenica massacre
Reward: Although a hefty bounty had been offered for Mladic's arrest it is thought he had been living openly in Serbia for a long time
Reward: Although a hefty bounty had been offered for Mladic's arrest it is thought he had been living openly in Serbia for a long time
THE CHARGES AGAINST MLADIC
General Ratko Mladic has been on the run since 1995, when the UN war crimes tribunal at the Hague indicted him on 15 counts of war crimes.
These are the counts.
  • Count 1: genocide
  • Count 2: complicity in genocide
  • Count 3: Persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds
  • Count 4: Extermination
  • Count 5: Murder
  • Count 6: Murder
  • Count 7: Deportation
  • Count 8: Inhumane acts (forcible transfer)
  • Count 9: unlawfully inflicting terror upon civilians
  • Count 10: murder
  • Count 11: murder
  • Count 12: cruel treatment
But even as Balkan war-crimes fugitives such as Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic were brought to The Hague, Mladic was idolized and sheltered by ultranationalists and ordinary Serbs.
This was despite a €10million ($14 million) Serbian government bounty, plus $5 million offered by the U.S. State Department.
He was known to have made daring forays into Belgrade to watch soccer games and feast on fish at an elite restaurant.
In a particularly brazen touch, he had been using the alias Milorad Komadic, an anagram of his true identity, police said.
Justice officials in The Hague said it will take at least a week before Mladic is handed over.
Regular reports on Serbia's compliance with the chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor are crucial for its efforts to become an EU member candidate.
The prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, had long complained that authorities were not doing enough to capture Mladic and other war-crimes fugitives.
On Thursday, Brammertz called justice for the victims of Mladic's alleged crimes in Bosnia 'long overdue.'
Folk hero: A boy walks pass graffiti of Mladic in Belgrade. He is a hero to Serbian ultra-nationalists
Folk hero: A boy walks pass graffiti of Mladic in Belgrade. He is a hero to Serbian ultra-nationalists
In Bosnia, the arrest was welcomed by the head of a group of victims' family members formed to keep the pressure on war crimes investigators.
But, added Munira Subasic, 'I'm sorry for all the victims who are dead and cannot see this day.'
In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the arrest 'finally offers a chance for justice to be done.'
The White House said Mladic's capture shows that justice eventually will come to those who perpetrate crimes against humanity.
Croatian media, which first broke the story, said police there got confirmation from their Serbian colleagues that DNA analysis confirmed Mladic's identity.
Justice: Bosnian Muslim woman from Srebrenica Zumra Sahomerovic, center, watches TV in Sarajevo about the arrest of Europe's most wanted war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic
Justice: Bosnian Muslim woman from Srebrenica Zumra Sahomerovic, center, watches TV in Sarajevo about the arrest of Europe's most wanted war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic

'Burn their brains': The ruthlessness of the Serbian god

General Ratko Mladic's ruthlessness was legendary: 'Burn their brains!' he once bellowed as his men pounded Sarajevo with artillery fire.
Mladic, the wartime Bosnian Serb military chief wanted for genocide for Europe's worst massacre of civilians since the Second World War, was the UN war crimes tribunal's No 1 co-fugitive with his partner in crime, Radovan Karadzic.
The 69-year-old had eluded capture since he was indicted by the tribunal in 1995.
But his days as a fugitive were numbered after Serbian security forces captured Karadzic on July 21, 2008, in Belgrade. Today, Serbia's president announced that Mladic is in custody.
Serbian 'God': Bosnian Serb wartime leader, Radovan Karadzic, second right, and his general Ratko Mladic, first left, walk accompanied by bodyguards on Mount Vlasic frontline in this April 15,1995 file photo
Serbian 'God': Bosnian Serb wartime leader, Radovan Karadzic, second right, and his general Ratko Mladic, first left, walk accompanied by bodyguards on Mount Vlasic frontline in this April 15,1995 file photo
Known for personally leading his troops in the 1995 Serb onslaught against the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica - where thousands of Muslim men and boys were killed - Mladic was indicted for genocide against the Bosnian town's population.
Just hours before the massacre, Mladic had handed out sweets to Muslim children rounded up at the town's square and assured them that all would be fine - even patting one child on the head. That sinister image is forever imprinted in the minds of Srebrenica survivors.
Born on March 12, 1942, in the south-eastern Bosnian village of Bozinovci, Mladic graduated from Belgrade's prestigious military academy and joined the Yugoslav Communists in 1965.
Mladic embarked on his army career when Yugoslavia was a six-state federation. He rose steadily through the military ranks, making general before the country's break-up in 1991.
At the start of the Balkan bloodbath, he was in Croatia leading Yugoslav troops in Knin and was believed to have played a crucial role in the army bombardment of the coastal city of Zadar.
A year later, he assumed command of the Yugoslav Army's 2nd Military District, which effectively became the Bosnian Serb army.
Appointed in 1992 by Karadzic, Mladic led the Bosnian Serb army until the Dayton accords brought peace to Bosnia in 1995.
Genocide: Bosnian Muslim civilan prisoners taken from Srebrenica and transported to a location somewhere on Mount Treskavica
Genocide: Bosnian Muslim civilan prisoners taken from Srebrenica and transported to a location somewhere on Mount Treskavica
As military leaderships go, his was omnipresent, from front-line trenches to chess games on high-altitude outlooks.
He was known for ordering press-ups as a prelude to battle, and he enjoyed reviewing pompous military parades and rubbing shoulders with UN commanders in Bosnia.
MLADIC TIMELINE
1942: Born in south-eastern Bosnian village of Bozinovci.
1945: His father, a Second World War guerrilla fighter, is killed, allegedly by Croat pro-Nazi forces.
1961: Ratko Mladic starts military education.
1992: Having risen through the ranks to become a general, he takes command of newly formed Serb army in Bosnia. Launches siege of Sarajevo; moves to take control of large swath of Bosnia where Serbs established their self-styled rebel republic.
1994: Splits from Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic.
1995: Launches operation to capture UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica, allegedly orders massacre of some 8,000 Muslim boys and men in Europe's largest massacre of civilians since Second World War. Indicted by UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
1997: Replaced as commander of Bosnian Serb army. Assumes low profile but is often seen in Belgrade and elsewhere in Serbia, where he enjoys protection from the military and the government of President Slobodan Milosevic.
2002: Goes into hiding after Milosevic is ousted. Serbia's new pro-Western authorities revoke his military escort.
2010: Serbia's government increases its reward for the capture Mladic from one million euro (£870,000) to 10 million euro (£8.7 million).
May 26, 2011: Mladic is arrested in Serbia.
Obsessed with his nation's history, Mladic saw Bosnia's war - which killed more than 100,000 people and displaced another 1.8 million - as a chance for revenge against 500 years of Turkish-Ottoman occupation of Serbia. He viewed Bosnian Muslims as Turks and called them that as an insult.
Convinced of the power of his army, he was known for telling his soldiers: 'When I give you guarantees, it's as if they are given by God.'
Once, asking air traffic control to clear the way for his helicopter to land, he declared: 'Here speaks Ratko Mladic - the Serbian God.'
Sarajevans never forgot his commands to the Serb gunmen pounding the Bosnian capital in early 1992. Mladic issued his orders through a military radio system, not bothering to scramble his words, which would be picked up, taped and broadcast on television the next day.
'Burn their brains!' he ordered as his gunners trained their artillery on one suburb.
Mladic's short temper only added to his popularity among Bosnian Serbs, who appeared to like him all the more when the general reportedly fell out with Karadzic in 1994.
With Karadzic, Mladic shares a tribunal indictment for genocide linked to the Srebrenica massacre, as well as numerous counts of crimes against humanity.
The allegations include the taking of UN peacekeepers as hostages, the destruction of sacred places, the torture of captured civilians and the wanton destruction of private property.
During the shelling of Sarajevo, Mladic was said to have commanded: 'Scorch and destroy!' He denied ever giving such an order.
The US government offered $5million dollars (£3.2 billion) for information leading to Mladic's arrest or conviction in any country.
Field commander: In this September 1, 1995 file photo, Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic plays pool during the pause in talks with UN commander Bernard Janvie
Field commander: In this September 1, 1995 file photo, Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic plays pool during the pause in talks with UN commander Bernard Janvie
Mladic was dismissed from his post in December 1996 by Biljana Plavsic, then president of the Bosnian Serb republic. In 2003, Plavsic was sentenced to 11 years in prison in her own war crimes trial on a reduced charge of persecution.
In firing Mladic and his entire general staff, Plavsic cited their indictments for war crimes. But her main aim was to sever links with the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, with whom Mladic was close.
During the war, Milosevic - who died in 2006 while on trial in The Hague for genocide and crimes against humanity - was revered as the Bosnian Serbs' chief patron. But he later abandoned them when he signed the Dayton agreement, a deal intensely disliked by both Karadzic and Mladic.
Mladic began his fugitive years in Han Pijesak, a military compound in eastern Bosnia built for former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito.
Impunity: Ratko Mladic dancing with his wife while on the run in Serbia
Impunity: Ratko Mladic dancing with his wife while on the run in Serbia
With his wife, Bosa, Mladic settled down to domesticity, passing the time caring for bees and goats. His 23 goats reputedly bore the names of foreign dignitaries he despised, such as Madeleine Albright, the former US secretary of state.
Surrounded by security guards, he occasionally ventured out of the dense pine forest to mark events such the anniversary of the Bosnian Serb army and St Vitus Day, a religious festival marking the 1389 Serb defeat by the Turks at Kosovo.
When in the late 1990s his trail grew too hot in Bosnia, Mladic moved with family into a posh suburban villa in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade.
In Belgrade, he was seen attending his son's wedding. He showed up at football games, dined in plush restaurants and frequented elite cafes, refusing to give interviews and smiling quizzically when he happened to be photographed.
When Milosevic was ousted from power in October 2000, and Yugoslavia's new pro-democracy authorities signalled they might hand Mladic over to the tribunal, tabloids had him leaving Belgrade for Bosnia.
But true to his style, Mladic countered those rumours and others that had him terminally ill in Belgrade. Before going underground in 2002, he was repeatedly seen in public - sometimes with his guards, sometimes without them.
READ MORE - Serbian genocide suspect Ratko Mladic arrested in tiny village by police after 16 years on the ru

Diplomats: IAEA fears Iran hackers

By GEORGE JAHN
FILE - In this Tuesday, April 8, 2008 file photo released by the Iranian President's Office, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, visits the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, which is under International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, monitoring. The U.N. nuclear agency is investigating fears from its experts that their cell phones and lap tops have been hacked into by Iranian officials looking for confidential information. Diplomats told The Associated press Wednesday May 18, 2011 that the hardware apparently was tampered with while left unattended during inspection tours in the Islamic Republic.
FILE - In this Tuesday, April 8, 2008 file photo released by the Iranian President's …

The U.N. nuclear agency is investigating reports from its experts that their cellphones and laptops may have been hacked into by Iranian officials looking for confidential information while the equipment was left unattended during inspection tours in the Islamic Republic, diplomats have told The Associated Press.
One of the diplomats said the International Atomic Energy Agency is examining "a range of events, ranging from those where it is certain something has happened to suppositions," all in the first quarter of this year. He said the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog agency was alerted by inspectors reporting "unusual events," suggesting that outsiders had tampered with their electronic equipment.
Two other diplomats in senior positions confirmed the essence of the report but said they had no further information. All three envoys come from member nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency and spoke on condition of anonymity because their information was privileged.
Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor said the IAEA had no comment on the issue. IAEA inspectors are in Iran touring various facilities every other week.
A woman answering the cell phone of Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's senior envoy to the agency, said Soltanieh "wishes to give no interviews" after the caller identified himself as an AP reporter and before the reporter could say what the call was about.
An agency official, who also spoke on condition that he not be identified, said strict security measures included inspectors' placing their cellphones into seamless paper envelopes, then sealing these and writing across the seal and the envelope to spot any unauthorized opening while they were away.
He said inspectors are not allowed to take their cellphones with them while touring Iran's uranium enrichment facilities and other venues. Laptops, he said, are either locked in bags or sealed the same way as cellphones when they are left temporarily unattended by inspectors. The computers also are sometimes left unattended in hotel rooms at the end of a work day, he said.
But the diplomat who spoke at greatest length about the reported breach said the Iranians had found ways to overcome the security measures. He said he had no further details.
Iran has been under IAEA inspections for nearly a decade after revelations that it was running a secret uranium enrichment program and has been hit with four rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt the activity.
Tehran insists it wants only to provide peaceful nuclear energy for its rising population and notes that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows for enrichment as a source of fuel.
But international concerns have grown. The uranium enrichment program could also make fissile warhead material. Also, Iran refuses to cooperate with U.N. investigations of suspicions that it ran alleged experiments related to making nuclear weapons.
Low-enriched uranium can be used to fuel a reactor to generate electricity, which Iran says is the intention of its program. But if uranium is further enriched to around 90 percent purity, it can be used to develop a nuclear warhead.
Olli Heinonen, who stepped down last year as the IAEA's deputy director general in charge of investigating Iran's nuclear program, said information on the laptops is encrypted — and therefore difficult to decipher. Anybody gaining access to information on cellphones would find little sensitive material, he said.
Heinonen speculated that any attempt to access such equipment might have been meant to plant spyware designed to infect the IAEA computer network once the cellphones or laptops are connected and siphon off information.
"It's possible if there is tampering that something is planted in the computer and when you work with sensitive data it transmits it or it contaminates other computers with sensitive information — like Stuxnet," he said.
IAEA officials attribute a temporary breakdown of Iran's enrichment program late last year to the Stuxnet computer worm, and Tehran has acknowledged that Stuxnet affected a limited number of centrifuges — a key component in uranium enrichment — at its main uranium enrichment facility in the central city of Natanz. Tehran blames the United States and Israel for creating and planting the malware.
____
George Jahn is at http://twitter.com/georgejahn
The Associated Press
READ MORE - Diplomats: IAEA fears Iran hackers

Gaddafi Will 'Inevitably' Leave Power In Libya, Says Obama

Gaddafi

By Alister Bull and Joseph Logan

WASHINGTON/TRIPOLI, May 20 (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi will inevitably leave power, U.S. President Barack Obama said, as NATO intensified its weeks-long bombing of government targets and said on Friday it had sunk eight Libyan warships.
Obama was speaking in an address on the Middle East where a series of uprisings this year governments in Tunisia and Egypt, and inspired a three-month-old revolt in Libya that aims to overthrow Gaddafi.
"Time is working against Gaddafi. He does not have control over his country. The opposition has organised a legitimate and credible Interim Council," Obama said in Washington on Thursday.
"When Gaddafi inevitably leaves or is forced from power, decades of provocation will come to an end and the transition to a democratic Libya can proceed," he said, defending his decision to take military action against the Libyan leader's government.
His comments echoed NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen who said military and political pressure were weakening Gaddafi and would eventually topple him.
The Libyan leader remained defiant.
"Obama is still delusional," Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said. "He believes the lies that his own government and media spread around the world ... It's not Obama who decides whether Muammar Gaddafi leaves Libya or not. It's the Libyan people."
Acting under a U.N. mandate, NATO allies including France, Britain and the United States are conducting air strikes that aim to stop Gaddafi using military force against civilians.
NATO aircraft sank the eight warships in overnight attacks on the ports of Tripoli, Al Khums and Sirte, the alliance said in a statement.
"Given the escalating use of naval assets, NATO had no choice but to take decisive action to protect the civilian population of Libya and NATO forces at sea," said Rear-Admiral Russell Harding, deputy commander of NATO's Libyan mission.
Libyan officials took journalists to Tripoli port where a small ship spewed smoke and flames, and cast doubt on whether boats targeted by NATO had been involved in fighting.
Mohammad Ahmad Rashed, general manager of Tripoli's port, said six boats had been hit by missiles.
The boats, five belonging to the coastguard and a larger naval vessel, had been undergoing maintenance since before the start of the fighting, he told reporters, adding that the port was still functional and capable of handling commercial traffic.
NATO bombs struck Tripoli, Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte and Zlitan east of the capital, state TV said late on Thursday.
Rebels control eastern Libya and pockets in the west but the conflict has reached a stalemate as rebel attempts to advance on Gaddafi's stronghold of Tripoli have stalled.
Western governments, under pressure from sceptical voters, are counting on Gaddafi's administration to collapse.
"We have significantly degraded Gaddafi's war machine. And now we see results, the opposition has gained ground," Rasmussen told a news conference in the Slovak capital, Bratislava.
"I am confident that a combination of strong military pressure and increased political pressure and support for the opposition will eventually lead to the collapse of the regime."
LIBYA TV SHOWS GADDAFI
Libyan state TV showed footage of Gaddafi meeting a Libyan politician in Tripoli. Government spokesman Ibrahim said the politician had been in a delegation that met Russian officials in Moscow this week to explore possibilities for a ceasefire.
The footage zoomed in on a TV screen in the room that showed Thursday's date displayed in the corner. Gaddafi wore a brown robe with a hat and sunglasses.
Gaddafi was last seen on May 11 when state TV showed him meeting tribal leaders in Tripoli. NATO bombed his compound the next day, and a day later TV broadcast an audio clip in which he taunted NATO and said the alliance could not kill him.
The last few days have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity focusing on a possible ceasefire deal.
But Western powers are likely to stress their determination to keep the pressure on Gaddafi when heads of state from the Group of Eight industrialised nations meet on May 27-28.
In an attempt to raise pressure on Tripoli, the European Union is considering tightening sanctions by blacklisting some Libyan ports to prevent exports of oil and imports of fuel, a Western diplomatic source told Reuters. (Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Brussels; Martin Santa in Bratislava, Isabel Coles in Cairo, Souhail Karam in Rabat, Tarek Amara and Sylvia Westall in Tunis and Emma Farge, Peter Apps, Dmitry Zhdannikov and William Maclean in London, Writing by Matthew Bigg; Editing by David Stamp and Miral Fahmy)
READ MORE - Gaddafi Will 'Inevitably' Leave Power In Libya, Says Obama

Porn stash found at Osama bin Laden compound

 Washington: A sizeable stash of pornography was among the items seized when US Navy SEALs raided the Pakistani hideout of Osama bin Laden, almost two weeks ago, US officials say.

The officials said it was unclear who the material belonged to, and there was no way to know whether bin Laden had viewed it.

Bin Laden's son and two other adult male couriers lived at the compound, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.


The pornography was among the computer materials confiscated in the raid after the SEALs killed bin Laden, ending an almost 10-year manhunt for the terrorist behind the 9/11 terror attacks.

The disclosure that US investigators found pornography — which provoked ridicule among bloggers on Friday — fuels the US narrative that bin Laden was not the respectable or noble figure that his supporters embraced. The US government previously asserted that bin Laden hid behind a woman in the compound as a "human shield" on the night of the raid but later revised its account of the deadly shooting inside the compound and said she rushed at one of the Navy SEALs and was shot in the calf.

The SEALs fatally shot bin Laden in a post-midnight raid on May 02 at his hidden compound in the Pakistani Army town of Abbottabad, shooting him in the head and chest when he ducked away from the raiders into his bedroom — they thought, reaching for a weapon.

After they killed him, they confiscated what US officials call a "treasure trove" of information from bin Laden's second-floor office. The items included a handwritten journal, five computers, 10 hard drives and 110 thumb drives seized at the site.

All the media taken from the site is now being analysed by a CIA-led team.

The material includes a record of e-mails that were sent by flash or thumb drives, carried out by couriers on foot, and transmitted at Internet cafes, giving bin Laden access to al Qaeda's offshoots inside Pakistan, and as far away as Yemen and Europe. The e-mails show he helped chose target cities and guide overall the overall militant strategy, encouraging followers to attack soft US targets like smaller, less protected cities in the American heartland, aiming to take as many casualties as possible.

Bin Laden's handwritten journal includes his own philosophical debates over how to force the US government to withdraw from the Arab world, and included musings over how to kill President Barack Obama, US officials say. Bin Laden concluded he was too well protected.

So far, none of the information has tipped them off to new plots under way, or to suspects against whom they could take quick action, one of the officials said.
READ MORE - Porn stash found at Osama bin Laden compound

Osama was communicating with other terrorists: US

Washington: A handwritten journal taken from Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan show that the slain Al Qaeda leader was communicating with other members of the terrorist group, US media reports citing officials say.
Osama was communicating with other terrorists: US
"There are strong indications there is back and forth with other terrorists," CNN reported citing a US official. "These are not just the writings of an elderly jihadi."
There is evidence of two-way written communications demonstrating that not only was bin Laden sending messages, he was getting responses as well, he said.
US officials cited by the WashingtonPost said bin Laden was in touch with frequently and directly with among others Ayman al-Zawahiri, his long time second in command, as well as Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan operative who is the latest to fill the organization's No. 3 slot.
Bin Laden's personal journal, which was seized during the US raid, includes information about the importance of attacking the US and lists key dates on the American calendar-including July 4, Christmas and the 10th anniversary of Sep 11, 2001 attacks.
At this point, the official said, there is no indication of a time, date or place for any specific attack, and much of what has been seen is more bin Laden ideas than actual plans.
The Post citing US intelligence officials analysing the seized material from the bin Laden, said he was preoccupied with attacking the United States over all other targets, a fixation that led to friction with followers.
Even while sealed inside a cement compound in a Pakistani city, bin Laden functioned like a crime boss pulling strings from a prison cell, it said.
"Bin Laden is saying, 'You've got to focus on the US and the West,' " a senior US intelligence official was quoted as saying.
Bin Laden served as a "chief executive who is giving fairly generic, broad instructions and guidance rather than tactical orders," the official said.
Source: IANS
READ MORE - Osama was communicating with other terrorists: US

Muammar Gaddafi Makes First Appearance Since Son's Death

Gaddafi Compound Bombed
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libyan television showed Muammar Gaddafi meeting officials in a Tripoli hotel, ending nearly two weeks of doubt over his fate since a NATO air strike that killed his son.
The Libyan leader, who had not been seen in public since an April 30 strike killed his youngest son and three grandchildren, made his appearance on Wednesday in trademark brown robe, dark sunglasses and black hat.
Gaddafi was shown greeting a group of tribal leaders who support him. "You will be victorious," an old man told Gaddafi.
Four months into a revolt against his rule, Gaddafi is still holding doggedly onto power despite weeks of NATO strikes on his military and command structures.
The conflict has now entered stalemate, with Gaddafi in control of most of the west of the country, while the rebels are hemmed in to their stronghold in the east and a few pockets in the west.
State television reported that the North Korean embassy in Tripoli had suffered major damage in a NATO strike.
"We have seen these reports. We cannot verify them independently. NATO conducts all its strikes with the greatest precision to avoid damage to the civilian population, unlike the Gaddafi regime and its forces," a NATO official said.
The report is likely to revive uncomfortable memories for the alliance of an incident in 1999 when it bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during a campaign against Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.
The rebel leadership in the eastern city of Benghazi -- having seen attempts to advance west on the capital bogged down in the desert -- is now focusing on drumming up more international support.
Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council, met British Prime Minister David Cameron in London and received a pledge of help.
"The government is today inviting the council to establish a formal office here in London," Cameron told reporters. "We will work with you to ensure that the international community increases the diplomatic, the economic and the military pressure on this bankrupt regime."
The United States has also been providing the rebels with help, delivering its first shipment of food rations as part of a $25 million non-lethal aid package.
Offering a glimmer of encouragement for Western governments which hope Gaddafi's rule will collapse from within, Tripoli's consul in Cairo said he was quitting his post to join rebel ranks.
He joined a string of senior Libyan officials who have broken ties with Gaddafi's government.
WINDOWS RATTLED
NATO air strikes, which have now become an almost daily occurrence in Tripoli, hit the city again overnight.
A Reuters correspondent said he heard at least two blasts early on Thursday. The explosions were powerful enough to rattle the windows of the hotel just south of the city center where foreign media are staying.
Libyan officials said two people had been killed in NATO strikes and showed foreign journalists two bodies at a hospital.
Staff at the hospital said they had treated more than 20 people who had been wounded.
Western governments say they are carrying out their military intervention in Libya to stop Gaddafi's forces killing civilians who rose up against his rule in a rebellion which took its lead from uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world.
Libyan officials deny killing civilians, saying instead they are fighting criminal armed gangs and al Qaeda militants. They say the NATO air strikes are an act of colonial aggression by countries that want to grab Libya's oil wealth.
REBEL GAIN
Rebels in the city of Misrata, their only major stronghold in the west of Libya, hailed an important victory on Wednesday, saying they had seized the city airport from pro-Gaddafi forces.
The rebels said they had also seized large quantities of weapons and munitions. No independent verification of the rebels' account was available.
Taking the airport would be a psychological boost for rebels who have been grimly defending the besieged city for weeks, but it was unlikely to change the military balance of power.
The city, Libya's third largest, is still encircled by pro-Gaddafi forces and cut off from other rebel holdouts by thousands of kilometers of desert.
On another front in the rebels' conflict with Gaddafi loyalists, in the barren Western mountains region south-west of Tripoli, anti-Gaddafi fighters are holding off attempts by loyalists to take their mountain-top positions.
Government forces lob rockets and artillery from the plains below, yet apart from areas on the eastern edge of the mountain range, they have been unable to gain much ground.
At a training session on Wednesday in the mountain town of Kabaw, rebel fighters chanted "We're coming, Muammar!".
But the reality is there is little prospect of them breaking out of their mountain haven and advancing on the capital.
"Now, we are just defending," said one of the their commanders, British-educated Tarek Zanbou. "If we get weapons, we can push them (pro-Gaddafi forces) to Tripoli. But now we are in a defensive situation."
Thousands of people have been killed since the revolt broke out against Gaddafi's rule in late February.
(Reporting by Matt Robinson in Zintan, Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers, Deepa Babington in Benghazi, Isabel Coles in Cairo, David Brunnstrom in Brussels, Peter Griffiths and Stefano Ambrogi in London; writing by Sylvia Westall and Christian Lowe, editing by Ralph Boulton)
READ MORE - Muammar Gaddafi Makes First Appearance Since Son's Death

US had authorised SEALs to fight Pak forces

Washington: US President Barack Obama had authorised Navy SEAL commandos, on mission to capture or kill al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, to engage the Pakistani police or forces if confronted while carrying out the operation.
As against the wishes of some of his advisors, President Obama insisted to increase the size of his combat team so as that they would be able to successfully handle the Pakistani forces if confronted during the mission, 'The New York Times' reported.
Pakistan has already said it had scrambled its jets and forces to tackle the foreign forces at Abbottabad, but the US Special Forces left the compound after successfully carrying out the operation in about 40 minutes.
US had authorised SEALs to fight Pak forces
"As the Abbottabad episode illustrates our Military responded to the US Forces covert incursion. The Air Force was ordered to scramble. Ground units arrived at the scene quickly. Our response demonstrates that our armed forces reacted, as was expected of them," Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told Parliament yesterday.
The New York Times said Obama's decision to increase the size of the force sent into Pakistan shows that he was willing to risk a military confrontation with a close ally in order to capture or kill the leader of al-Qaeda.
"Such a fight would have set off an even larger breach with the Pakistanis than has taken place since officials in Islamabad learned that helicopters filled with members of a Navy Seals team had flown undetected into one of their cities, and burst into a compound where bin Laden was hiding," it said.
"Their instructions were to avoid any confrontation if at all possible. But if they had to return fire to get out, they were authorized to do it," a senior Obama Administration official was quoted as saying.
"The planning also illustrates how little the administration trusted the Pakistanis as they set up their operation. They also rejected a proposal to bring the Pakistanis in on the mission," the newspaper reported.
While two helicopters were sent to Abbottabad, under the original plan, two assault helicopters were going to stay on the Afghanistan side of the border waiting for a call if they were needed.
But the aircraft would have been about 90 minutes away from the bin Laden compound, it said.
"Some people may have assumed we could talk our way out of a jam, but given our difficult relationship with Pakistan right now, the president did not want to leave anything to chance," one senior administration official was quoted as saying.
"He wanted extra forces if they were necessary," the official added.
If a confrontation appeared imminent, there were contingency plans for senior American officials, including Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to call their Pakistani counterparts to avert an armed clash.
But when he reviewed the plans about 10 days before the raid, Obama voiced concern that this was not enough to protect the troops on the mission, administration officials said, according to the newspaper.
That resulted in the decision to send two more helicopters carrying additional troops.
These followed the two lead Black Hawk helicopters that carried the actual assault team. While there was no confrontation with the Pakistanis, one of those backup helicopters was ultimately brought in to the scene of the raid when a Black Hawk was damaged while making a hard landing.
The New York Times said two teams of specialists were on standby during the entire operation: One to bury bin Laden if he was killed, and a second composed of lawyers, interrogators and translators in case he was captured alive.
"That team was set to meet aboard a Navy ship, most likely the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea," the daily said.
With tensions between the US and Pakistan escalating since the raid, American officials yesterday sought to tamp down the divisions and pointed to some encouraging developments, the paper said.
It quoted a US official as saying that American investigators would soon be allowed to interview bin Laden's three widows, now being held by Pakistani authorities, a demand that Obama's national security adviser Thomas Donilon made on television last week.
READ MORE - US had authorised SEALs to fight Pak forces

Pakistani Media Outs CIA Chief

Some cite 'retaliation' for bin Laden killing

Local residents gather to view the house of Osama bin Laden, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday, May 8, 2011.
Local residents gather to view the house of Osama bin Laden, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday, May 8, 2011.   (AP Photo/Aqeel Ahmed)

Pakistan’s media has unveiled the name of the man who it says is the CIA's Islamabad station chief, and some say the Pakistani government is behind the leak. If that’s the case, it would mark the second outing of a CIA agent in Pakistan in six months and point to an increasingly strained relationship with the US in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, the Wall Street Journal reports. The name was reported on Friday by a private TV station in a story about a meeting between the director of Pakistan's spy agency and the station chief.
The TV station said it had “one-plus” sources on the name, but didn’t reveal them. “If we did not mention the man's name, the credibility of the story would have been reduced,” said a rep. The name “has to have been released by some government agency,” said the editor of a right-wing newspaper. “Who else would know such information?" It could be Pakistan's "own little way of retaliating" for the raid, said a former US intelligence official. In December, a lawsuit in Pakistan revealed the name of the former station chief, prompting the US to remove him from the post.
READ MORE - Pakistani Media Outs CIA Chief

Mastermind of terror... or a doddery old fool?

By Michael Burleigh
Idealistic: This portrait of Osama Bin Laden compounded the belief that he was still heading up Al Qaeda's operations. His squalid compound suggests the reality might be different
Idealistic: This portrait of Osama Bin Laden compounded the belief that he was still heading up Al Qaeda's operations. His squalid compound suggests the reality might be different
The idealistic portrait of the guerilla leader secluded in his lair turns out to be an illusion. Footage of Osama Bin Laden’s life inside his shabby Abbottabad compound might have come from a care home in Hastings.
There he sits, in a woolly cap and brown blanket, silently rocking to and fro in front of a small TV.
He is not watching a shopping channel on daytime TV, but old footage of his younger self – waving an AK-47 assault rifle in the Afghani hills, or acting with faux presidential grandeur in one of his jihadist broadcasts.
That the Pakistanis subsequently found ‘herbal Viagra’ in Bin Laden’s medicine cabinet sheds further light on the super terrorist’s vanity. The new footage reveals that before taping his broadcasts, he used dye on his beard and hair to achieve the impression of virility.
The unkempt figure hunched before the TV seems much older than his 54 years. Occasionally, he can be seen forgetting his lines in otherwise well-crafted propaganda broadcasts.
The release of the videos – recovered from Bin Laden’s compound – by U.S. intelligence officials is clearly designed to expose the Bin Laden myth as a carefully manufactured fraud: the godfather of terror reduced to a doddery old man with nothing to do but watch videos of himself.
For years, Bin Laden’s grainy videos and audio broadcasts have been a sort of ominous counterpoint to the major speeches on global terrorism made by U.S. presidents from Clinton to Obama via Bush.
Now the boot is on the other foot. By showing this new footage, and humbling the supreme Al Qaeda leader, the Americans are directly contradicting the message he used to put out and trying to extract maximum gain from their coup in Abbottabad.
The U.S. military machine has devoted huge resources into studying Al Qaeda propaganda and how to counteract it. Carefully honed pictures of Bin Laden were central to the myth – the young Saudi who abandoned a wealthy lifestyle to live in scorpion-infested caves on a diet of water and vegetable stews.
He encouraged his followers to call him ‘the Sheikh’, part warlord, part religious guru, the mysterious and elusive leader of a global terrorist organisation whose word had the status of holy writ.
By releasing these latest pictures of Bin Laden, the U.S. hopes to shatter the myth.
Yet at the same time as the Americans released these videos – with the sound muffled in case they contained coded messages to his followers – there were claims emanating from different parts of the U.S. administration that Bin Laden was clearly still active, on a strategic and tactical level, as leader of Al Qaeda.
Uninhabitable: Bin Laden's living quarters resembled a poorly-run care home rather than the nerve centre of the world's most wanted terrorist
Uninhabitable: Bin Laden's living quarters resembled a poorly-run care home rather than the nerve centre of the world's most wanted terrorist
Far from being a marginal, symbolic figurehead, they say,  he was still very much the man in charge.
Furthermore, America claims, the intelligence proves the compound was operating as the global headquarters for Al Qaeda.
It’s hard not to be cynical. The Americans can’t have it both ways. The idea that Bin Laden was this half-demented and tragic figure simply does not chime with such claims.
Why then, if they are portraying Bin Laden as a fraud, are they also insisting that he was still head of Al Qaeda operationally? Well, the Americans claim they have captured a treasure trove of highly important materials, from computer hard drives to a dozen mobile phones, some of which Bin Laden’s couriers drove 90 minutes away to use without attracting attention to his hideout.
Of course none of us know exactly what they have found, but the number of mobile phones alone – and the fact that they could not be used near to the compound – suggests that Bin Laden was in fact sending messages out to the world via  his couriers.
Already there is evidence that Al Qaeda was hoping to derail passenger trains on the anniversary of 9/11, which would conform with Bin Laden’s obsession with transport systems and their infrastructure.
But there is another reason, too, for the American suggestion that this was the hub of Al Qaeda.
Such a disclosure, U.S. intelligence hopes, will sow discord and panic among Al Qaeda’s global network, none of whose members can be entirely sure that their location or phone numbers are not in that mountain of data.
In their panic, they may make mistakes and become vulnerable to arrest or deadly attack. Either way, the initiative is with the U.S..
Nothing Al Qaeda can do will regain the ground they lost last week, shown up as they have been by a vain and weary old man rocking in a shabby room.
Inside the squalid lair of a hunted man
READ MORE - Mastermind of terror... or a doddery old fool?

Another surprise raid likely as America hunts Al Qaeda no.2, Al Zawahiri

"The message is that the United States will carry out and execute now what it says it's going to do, and it has the capability to do so."

A videograb of al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri delivering a speech encouraging Muslims to rise up against NATO apparently taped before the Western intervention in Libya - AFP


A videograb of al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri delivering a speech encouraging Muslims to rise up against NATO apparently taped before the Western intervention in Libya - AFP

After killing Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the United States is now hunting for his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri, but it still may not tell Pakistan if he is targeted.

It would depend on 'the specifics of the operation', White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon has told ABC when asked whether the US would inform Pakistan if it decided to target al Zawahri
"This really wasn't a matter of trusting or not trusting; it was a matter of operational security," he said, referring to the secrecy surrounding the May 2 raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad hideout and the decision not to inform the Pakistani government.
US officials have admitted that Pakistan was not told because many linked to the Osama raid feared leaks within the ISI. The Pentagon has also ignored Pakistan's anger after helicopters reportedly breached sovereign airspace to conduct the Osama raid. In fact, a few days after the famous incursion, an unmanned US drone conducted another attack on Pakistan soil, killing at least 17 terrorists.
Donilon also told CNN that al Zawahiri, the Egyptian surgeon who is likely to emerge as the new chief of the terror outfit, would be the next most wanted terrorist on it list.
"Al Zawahiri will be the next number one terrorist that we're looking for in the world. But we have a broad and global effort," he said.
Describing the killing of bin Laden as 'the most significant achievement against Al Qaeda and our nation's efforts against Al Qaeda over the last ten years', Donilon said the 'amount of intelligence we got as a result of the raid, in addition to taking out bin Laden, is really extraordinary'.
When the US commandos raided bin Laden's hideout they 'were fired upon. They had to breach several walls and doors to get to where Osama bin Laden was'.
"At no point during the course of this operation did Osama bin Laden indicate that he was prepared to surrender," he said in justification of killing an unarmed bin Laden.
From a strategic point of view, the message of the raid 'was of United States carrying out here over the course of two administrations, a persistent, deliberate and dedicated effort to achieve its goals'.
The message is that the United States will carry out and execute now what it says it's going to do, and it has the capability to do so," Donilon said.
READ MORE - Another surprise raid likely as America hunts Al Qaeda no.2, Al Zawahiri

Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US

Washington/New Delhi: Two days after Osama bin Laden's dramatic killing, the US Wednesday described its ties with Islamabad as "complicated" with the CIA chief saying that Pakistan was either "involved or incompetent" in la'affaire Osama.
Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US
In a stinging attack, CIA director Leon Panetta told US lawmakers that Washington was trying to get to the bottom of Pakistan's "troubling" role in their professed ignorance about the whereabouts of the Al Qaeda chief.
In a closed door briefing for House members Tuesday, Panetta said that "either they were involved or incompetent. Neither place is a good place to be", CNN reported.
Senators were unrelenting in their attack on Pakistan, a country whose leaders have repeatedly claimed that Osama, the world's most wanted terror leader, was either dead or hiding in Afghanistan.
"It had everything except a neon sign sticking out there," Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg told CNN, referring to spacious and high-walled mansion in Pakistan's Abbottabad city where US special forces shot dead Osama after a 40-minute gun battle Sunday night.
Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US
Republican Allen West echoed the angry mood in the Congress.
"There is no way people in the ISI (Pakistan's intelligence agency) and military did not know that Osama has been living there for quite some time," said West, who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
In his detailed briefing on how Osama was trapped and killed, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney spoke approvingly of Pakistan's cooperation on the war on terror but admitted that US-Pakistani ties were "complicated".
"Pakistan is a partner - a key partner - in the fight against Al Qaeda and terrorism," he said. "It's a complicated relationship. There's no question. And we do have our differences."
In India, US envoy Timothy J. Roemer kept up the pressure.
"We are certainly going to see Capitol Hill take a very hard look at the assistance that we give (to Pakistan)," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.
Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US
Underlining that Pakistan needed to do more against terrorists, Roemer said it had to be seen whether Islamabad was using the funds given by the US in a "proper way".
"Congress is going to engage in I think two very fundamentally important tasks in the weeks ahead. One will be as we share or sell certain military equipment to Pakistan, is that being used in the proper way to take on counter terrorism efforts."
While conceding that Pakistan had taken on Al Qaeda, he said it wasn't, however, doing enough against terrorists ranged against India.
"Are they doing enough on Lashkar-e-Taiba? Are they doing enough on Mumbai trials? Are they doing enough on Hafiz Saeed and (Zakiur Rehman) Lakhvi? No, they need to do more."
He said Pakistan should also show results on trying the masterminds of the Mumbai massacre of November 2008.
Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US
"They need to show progress and results on the Mumbai trials. That Mumbai attack on 26/11 killed scores of Indians, six Americans, and the US wants to see progress and results and justice."
Roemer said Osama's discovery in Pakistan would also be taken up.
"The second part of this will be in respect to bin Laden being discovered outside of Islamabad.
"Congress will ask tough questions and go to the bottom. How do we more effectively use that aid, I am sure Pakistan is helping us not only degrade Al Qaeda, but go after groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba," he said.
In Pakistan, there were more voices of disbelief that American's enemy number 1 was holed up near a Pakistani military academy in Abbottabad even as Islamabad claimed to be chasing the Al Qaeda leadership.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain demanded an apology from the Pakistani government and intelligence agencies for their lapse on allowing Osama to hide deep inside Pakistan.
Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US
Dawn newspaper echoed the national despair: "Right under our military`s nose was found Osama ... living in relative comfort in a compound with stringent security that somehow went unnoticed.
"Add to this the way he was killed, and embarrassment turns into deep shame."
A Canadian newspaper meanwhile reported that the Pakistan-backed Hizbul Mujahideen, which seeks to end Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir, owned the Abbottabad mansion where Osama was killed.
It added the HM, as the group is widely known, had the backing of the Pakistani military.
The report added that Hizbul's links to Al Qaeda would "deepen Pakistan's embarrassment" over Osama's death.
Source: IANS
READ MORE - Pakistan 'involved or incompetent', says furious US

Shot dead 'with money sewn into his clothes': Bin Laden was captured alive and then executed, 'claims daughter, 12'

  • Wife confronted U.S. forces and was shot but not killed
  • Human shield who tried to protect terror chief was NOT his wife
Osama Bin Laden's daughter has claimed he was captured alive in his Pakistani hideout and then shot by U.S. special forces, it was reported today.
Arabic news network Al-Arabiya quoted 'senior Pakistani security officials' who said the 12-year-old saw her father executed and his body dragged to a helicopter.
A Pakistani official rejected U.S. accounts of a bloody firefight, saying: 'Not a single bullet was fired from the compound at the U.S. forces and their choppers. Their chopper developed some technical fault and crashed and the wreckage was left on the spot.'
The channel also said the surviving bin Laden relatives, including six children and one of his wives, had been taken to hospital in Rawalpindi.
Changing stories: The White House has confirmed Osama bin Laden, right, was not armed when he was killed and that his wife Amal Al-Sadah, left, was not used as a human shield
Changing stories: The White House has confirmed Osama bin Laden, right, was not armed when he was killed and that his wife Amal Al-Sadah, left, was not used as a human shield
Changing stories: The White House has confirmed Osama bin Laden, right, was not armed when he was killed and that his wife Amal Al-Sadah, left, was not used as a human shield
Pakistani police officers standing guard outside bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad
Pakistani police officers standing guard outside Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad today
A slew of fresh details have emerged in the last 24 hours.These include a report that Bin Laden had money and phone numbers sewn into his clothes at the time of his death, according to Fox News.
If true, this would indicate that the Al Qaeda leader had been prepared to flee swiftly if his compound came under attack.
In a particularly salacious account, the National Enquirer claimed that the terror chief had begged for his life and said 'It's not me' when he was confronted by the hit team.
It has also emerged that Amal Al-Sadah, the terror chief's 27-year-old wife and youngest bride, was shot in the leg during the raid but survived.
In initial accounts of the firefight, US. officials had claimed bin Laden was armed with an AK47 rifle and was using his wife as a ‘human shield’ when he was shot.
U.S. Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed more details of the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last night
U.S. press secretary Jay Carney confirmed more details of the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last night
Counter-terrorism official John Brennan had said. 'There was family at that compound, and there was a female who was, in fact, in the line of fire that reportedly was used as a shield to shield Bin Laden from the incoming fire.'
But last night, the White House said Bin Laden was not armed when a U.S. Navy SEAL confronted and killed him during Sunday night's assault on his compound.
The discrepancy between the two versions of events was put down to the 'fog of combat' by the White House.
Security officials said they did not recover any arms and explosives during their detailed search of the compound and the 13-roomed house, during which they removed two buffalos, a cow and around 150 chickens.
Over two days, the White House has offered quite a few contradictory versions of events, including misidentifying which of Bin Laden's sons was killed and wrongly saying Bin Laden's wife died in gunfire, as it tries to produce an accurate account.
Explaining the ‘mix-up’, a U.S. official said another woman had been killed.
She is believed to be the wife of Bin Laden’s courier, Sheikh Abu Ahmed, who was also killed in the raid.
White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that Bin Laden did not have a weapon even though administration officials have said that the terror leader resisted during the raid.
Carney said resistance does not require a firearm. Mr Carney also confirmed Bin Laden was shot in the head and in the chest.
He added: ‘Bin Laden’s wife rushed the U.S. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. Bin Laden was then shot and killed. He was not armed.
'The U.S. personnel on the ground handled themselves with the utmost professionalism. He was killed in an operation because of the resistance that they met.’
Police at a checkpoint on a road leading to the complex
Police at a checkpoint on a road leading to the complex, which was built around five years ago
Security officials said they removed two buffalos, a cow and around 150 chickens from the 13-room compound in Abbottabad
Security officials said they removed two buffalos, a cow and around 150 chickens from the 13-room compound in Abbottabad
In explanation of the discrepancies Mr Carney said that officials had been trying to get information out as quickly as possible about the complex event witnessed by just a handful of people, and the storyline was being corrected.
'We provided a great deal of information with great haste in order to inform you. And obviously some of the information was, came in piece by piece and is being reviewed and updated and elaborated on.'
Meanwhile, the White House said Bin Laden's death would not affect plans to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan this summer.
An official with Pakistan's ISI told the BBC 17 or 18 people were inside the compound at the time of the attack.
One of those in the building was a daughter of Bin Laden's who saw her father fatally shot by U.S. forces, the official claimed.
Miss Al-Sadah was just 17 when she and Bin Laden wed in Afghanistan. She was born in Yemen and the marriage was reportedly arranged to strengthen the terrorist’s links with the Gulf state. 
When her father gave her away he said he was ‘proud’ to do so. Bin Laden had sent her home to Yemen for her own safety but somehow she returned despite being under surveillance.
She has already told Pakistani investigators they had been living in the compound since 2005, according to Time magazine.
Outraged Pakistani protesters burn a U.S. flag during a rally to condemn the killing of bin Laden
Outraged Pakistani protesters burn a U.S. flag during a rally in Multan to condemn the killing of Bin Laden
People in Multan, Pakistan chant anti-American slogans and wave placards proclaiming Bin Laden a hero
Demonstrators in Multan chant anti-American slogans and wave placards proclaiming Bin Laden a hero
The dead body of the terror mastermind’s son Khalid is understood to have been flown out with the Americans, and it is not clear what has happened to it.
Pentagon sources confirmed the Navy Seals had planned to take Bin Laden’s family with them as they left, but were forced to abandon the plan when one of the helicopters crash-landed.
It had apparently clipped a tail rotor on the wall of the compound and the pilot was forced to set down. No one was injured.
Recovery: The remains of a U.S. helicopter are taken away from the site
Recovery: The remains of a U.S. helicopter are taken away from the site
Recovery: The remains of a U.S. helicopter are taken away from the Bin Laden compound
Target: Barbed wire surrounds the high walls of the compound in Abbottabad. A Pakistani official today rejected U.S. accounts of a firefight
Target: Barbed wire surrounds the high walls of the compound in Abbottabad. A Pakistani official today rejected U.S. accounts of a firefight
Rural: The compound is in a lush part of Pakistan and little resembles the popular myth of Bin Laden's hillside hideaway
The compound is in a lush part of Pakistan and little resembles the hillside hideaway where popular myth claimed Bin Laden was hiding out
On Monday, thanks to sophisticated satellite monitoring, U.S. forces knew they would be most likely to find Bin Laden on the second or third floors.
They were apparently helped in identifying their target when Miss Al-Sadah unwittingly screamed out his name in the melee. White House officials insist the Navy Seals were given orders to capture Bin Laden if he offered no resistance.
THE 'FOG OF COMBAT': How White House changed its story
There have been a number of discrepancies issued by the White House since Sunday's raid.
Press Secretary Jay Carney blamed the below differing stories on the 'fog of combat.'
THEN: Osama Bin Laden was armed with an AK-47 during the raid.
NOW: The Al Qaeda leader was actually unarmed but did resist before he was shot.
THEN: On Monday, the White House said Bin Laden was involved in a firefight, which is why the SEALs killed rather than captured him.
NOW: On Tuesday, however, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Bin Laden did not fire on the SEALs.
THEN: Counter-terrorism chief, John Brennan said a woman, thought to be one of bin Laden’s wives, was used as a human shield during the raid and was killed.
NOW: Amal Al-Sadah, 27, bin Laden’s youngest wife, is thought to have rushed at the Navy SEALS and was shot in the leg but not killed. The woman who died was said to be the wife of one of his aides, caught in the cross fire.
THEN: A White House transcript said it was bin Laden’s son Hamza who was killed in the raid.
NOW: They then corrected that to another son Khalid.
THEN: The night of the raid, administration officials held a telephone briefing for reporters. 'During the raid, we lost one helicopter due to mechanical failure,' one of the administration officials said.
NOW: Later in the same call, another official contradicted that: 'We didn't say it was mechanical.'
The commandos had been schooled in Arabic phrases which were to be shouted out in an attempt to get the terror leader to surrender.
But officials admitted they never expected him to do so, and it was unclear whether he was really been given the chance.
Confusion about the identities of those killed in the raid came despite the attack being viewed live by U.S. President Barack Obama and other senior officials.
Secret photos of the dead bin Laden seen by U.S. officials show a precision kill shot above his left eye, it was claimed today.
According to the U.S. account, the assault team on the compound in Abbottabad came away with hard drives, DVDs, documents and more that might tip U.S. intelligence to Al Qaeda's operational details and perhaps lead the manhunt to the presumed next-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri.
'We're moving with great dispatch to mine that' material for insights into terrorist plots that may be in the works and for clues as to the location of senior Al Qaeda officials, said John Brennan today.
Mr Brennan also asked today the question that was reverberating around the world: 'How did Osama bin Laden stay at that compound for six years or so and be undetected?'
He went on: 'We have many, many questions about this. And I know Pakistani officials do as well.'
Mr Brennan said Pakistani officials were trying to determine 'whether there were individuals within the Pakistani government or military intelligence services who were knowledgeable'.
One US source today said a 'motherload of intelligence' had been taken from Bin Laden’s compound including computer files, CD-Roms and other electronic information. It is being examined by U.S. intelligence experts at a secret location in Afghanistan.
'They cleaned it out,' said one official. 'Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive? Hundreds of people are going through it now. It’s going to be great even if only 10 per cent of it is actionable.'
Giving further details today, Mr Brennan said the aim now was to use the information from the raid to thwart possible ongoing terrorist plots. He added: 'He seemed to be very active inside the compound. We know that he was in contact with some senior Al Qaeda officials.
'So what we’re trying to do now is to understand what he has been involved in over the past several years, exploit whatever information we were able to get at the compound and take that information and continue our efforts to destroy Al Qaeda.
Watching events unfold: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama Bin Laden
Watching events unfold: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama Bin Laden
READ MORE - Shot dead 'with money sewn into his clothes': Bin Laden was captured alive and then executed, 'claims daughter, 12'
 
 
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