SEARCH

Entries in Cave (2)

Tuesday
May032011

Osama Bin Laden Unarmed When Killed, White House Says

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden was not armed when he was shot and killed by U.S. Navy SEALs during a daring raid on his compound in Pakistan, the White House said today.

"We were prepared to capture him if that was possible," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. But even though bin Laden was not carrying a weapon, Carney said he had "resisted" and several people in the compound were armed and firing at the American special operators.

"Resistance does not require a firearm," Carney said.

When the SEALs entered the room in which bin Laden was hiding, his wife charged them and was shot in the leg, Carney said. Bin Laden was then shot in the chest and head.

"U.S. personnel on the ground handled themselves with the utmost professionalism," he said. "[Bin Laden] was killed in an operation because of the resistance they met."

The decision to kill, rather than capture, came from commanders on the ground, Carney said.

Officials initially said that bin Laden had been among several people in the compound who took up arms and engaged in a firefight with the SEALs.

President Obama's counterterror chief John Brennan also initially said that bin Laden used one of his wives as a human shield and the woman was killed in the gun battle. That has turned out to be incorrect and officials attributed the mistake to the confusion that usually accompanies a fast-moving gun battle, or "the fog of war."

In a photograph released by the White House, the President and his top advisors – including a visibly tense Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – are shown watching a screen very intently in the White House Situation Room. What was on the screen at the time is not clear, but CIA Director Leon Panetta told the Public Broadcasting Service that Obama was not watching the Navy SEALs helmet-cam footage that showed the shots that took Osama down.

Like the White House's Situation Room, screens in both the Pentagon and the CIA were showing real-time footage of the compound – possibly footage from a circling drone -- creating not one, but three incredibly tense rooms in the highest echelons of U.S. security.

The operation began when two U.S. helicopters flew in low from Afghanistan and swept into the compound where bin Laden was thought to be hiding late Sunday night Pakistan time, or Sunday afternoon Washington time.

Two teams of SEALs slid down fast-ropes from the helicopters as soon as they were in position and stormed the compound. One of the helicopters stalled and made a hard landing just outside the walled compound before the SEALs stormed in. The Navy SEAL team on this mission was supported by helicopter pilots from the 160th Special Ops Air Regiment, part of the Joint Special Operations Command.

After what Carney called a "volatile" firefight, the SEALs killed bin Laden and at least four others with him. The SEALs alerted the White House through the cryptic phrase "Geronimo-E KIA" code. "E" stood for enemy and "KIA" for killed in action.

"Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn't know just exactly what was going on. There were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information. But finally Adm. [William] McRaven came back and said he had picked up the word 'Geronimo,' which was the code word that represented they got bin Laden," Panetta told PBS.

The SEALs words, however, were not sufficient proof that the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks was finally dead. As the evidence piled up -- verbal ID, face recognition analysis and DNA matches -- the White House debate continued.

Obama ended the discussion with a terse, "We got him."

Before they left, the SEALs gathered a trove of evidence from among bin Laden's personal possessions, from computer hard drives to CDs and papers. U.S. intelligence analysts are expected to pour over the information in coming days, hoping to turn information kept by the al Qaeda leader against the entire terror network.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar012011

Moammar Gadhafi's Underground Dungeons Exposed

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(BENGHAZI, Libya) -- A hole in the ground is drawing a crowd of gawkers because even in Benghazi, Libyans are amazed at the cruelty of their beleaguered leader Moammar Gadhafi. The hole leads to an underground dungeon inside a government compound that was feared and avoided by the people of Benghazi. After chasing Gadhafi's loyalists from the city, the two-room cinder block cells were discovered by people who heard voices coming from beneath them.

Al Sha'beh, who had been a soldier in the Libyan army for 26 years before defecting to the ranks of the rebels 10 days ago, told ABC News Gadhafi's officials used to put prisoners in one of several vault-like underground jails and forget about them. Prisoners would die and you would just find skeletons, he said ominously.

One of those who came to see the cells today was Abdullah Ali, a Libyan engineer.

"It is the worst kind of punishment," he said pointing to the dusty ground where the prisoners were entombed. "Gadhafi is a bad man, frightening man. He has no feeling to the people."

The dungeon was discovered by Libyans who were touring the Benghazi's government compound, a secret world where no one knew what really took place behind its windowless walls. Sha'beh brought his four children to walk through the burnt wreckage of the compound where Gadhafi used to live when he visited Benghazi. "Look, he has so many houses here," he told ABC News and his children.

The former soldier said Gadhafi used to sleep in his tent underground because he was paranoid something would happen to him.

Sky News reported the location of the prison was only discovered after residents heard sounds from below ground. They brought in digging equipment to free those trapped below. Inside is a cramped and frightening tableau: the prison itself is tiny, really just two cells with an opening connecting them. Wooden posts support the crude underground roof. The walls are made of rough concrete blocks.

The only visible sign that the prisoners were meant to stay alive is a white plastic pipe that appeared to provide air for the prisoners.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio