MSNBC Reporting That We Missed Bin Laden at Tora Bora

MSNBC is reporting that the recent assault on Tora Bora was an attempt to get Osama Bin Laden, or Ayman Al Zawahiri, or HVT1 and HVT2 as the intel agencies label them. I reported on the assault here, while they did get a close aide to Bin Laden who was subsequently transported to Guantanamo, nothing else has yet come to light.

From MSNBC:

For three days and nights — between Aug. 14 and 16 — U.S. and Afghanistan forces pounded  the mountain caves in Tora Bora, the same caves where Osama Bin Laden had hidden out and then fled in late 2001 after U.S. forces drove al Qaeda out of Afghanistan cities. Ultimately, however, U.S. forces failed to find Bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri, even though their attacks left dozens of al Qaeda and Taliban dead.

One of the officials interviewed by NBC News, a general officer, admitted Tuesday that it was “possible” Bin Laden was at Tora Bora, saying, in fact,  “I still don’t know if he was there.”

MSNBC uses the body of the report to slam the military, but I suspect there’s more to come from this. We acted, we caught someone, it wasn’t UBL. 

UPDATE: I just remembered Bill Roggio’s report on the Tora Bora fight back in August here, rumors that Al Haq was wounded.

Previous reports on the assault here and here.

Bin Laden’s Mentor Turns on Him

al-qaida-schism.jpgzawahiri-dajjal.jpg 

“Are you happy to meet Allah with this heavy burden on your shoulders?” Al Oadah, a highly prolific scholar and media commentator, presses bin Laden. “It is a weighty burden indeed — at least hundreds of thousands of innocent people, if not millions [displaced and killed].”  

Osama Bin Laden’s mentor has turned on him, in essence saying that he is not fighting a holy war, or jihad, but instead is waging an unholy war against society (Hirabah,) in Dar Al Islam, the lands ruled by Islam. This editorial in Daily Times sums that up, as well as the change in Bin Laden evident in last tape.

In an open letter, one of his prominent Saudi mentors, preacher and scholar Salman Al Oadah, publicly reproaches bin Laden for causing widespread mayhem and killing. “How many innocent children, elderly people, and women were killed in the name of Al Qaeda?” asks Al Oadah on his website, Islamtoday.com, and in comments on an Arabic television station. “How many people were forced to flee their homes and how much blood was shed in the name of Al Qaeda?” The reaction of his former pupil is not known, but the angry denunciation by bin Laden’s supporters leaves no doubt that it hurts.

The significance of that can be appreciated only in the context of the position al Oadah holds in Islamic orthodoxy. He’s a heavyweight Salafi preacher with a large following in Saudi Arabia and abroad. In the 1990s the Saudi regime imprisoned Al Oadah, along with four leading clerics, for criticising the kingdom’s close relationship with the US, particularly the stationing of American troops there after the 1991 Gulf war. That decision — posting forces in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam — was the catalyst that drove bin Laden to attack the US. Throughout the 1990s bin Laden cited Al Oadah as a dissident voice and critic of the Saudi royal family and fellow Salafi traveler who shared his strict religious principles and worldview.

In one of the most honest assessments to date, the Cleric goes on to lay all the ills that have befallen Islamic countries post-9/11 squarely on Usama Bin Laden’s shoulders. It’s heartening that someone in the Islamic world who is certainly not friendly to the US sees the true unholy evil that Al Qaeda inspires.

It’s also clear that Bin Laden has strayed far from his roots and home, and now panders to the western press, pimping phrases suitable for a politician running for office in New York.

Dawn to the Asteroids Tomorrow

dawn_vesta_ceres_sized.jpgThe postponed Nasa Mission to the asteroids will take off tomorrow from Cape Canaveral. The mission’s been delayed by higher priorities (the Mars Lander Mission,) and by the weather, but on the morrow the 8 year mission travels to the asteroid belt.

From Breitbart:

Scientists have been waiting for Dawn to rise since July, when the mission was put off because of the more pressing need to launch NASA’s latest Mars lander, the Phoenix. Once Phoenix rocketed away in August, that cleared the way for Dawn.

“For the people in the Bahamas, on the 27th will be one day where they can say that Dawn will rise in the west,” said a smiling Keyur Patel, project manager from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Dawn will travel to the two biggest bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter—rocky Vesta and icy Ceres from the planet- forming period of the solar system.

More at Spaceflight Now

Burmese Junta Fires on Monks

In Burma (Myanmar) the miltary has begun firing at the Monks who are demonstrating for democracy in massive numbers. More at Captain’s Quarters.

Update from From AP:

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar security forces opened fire on Buddhist monks and other pro- democracy demonstrators Wednesday for the first time in a month of anti-government protests, killing at least one man and wounding others in chaotic confrontations across Yangon. Dramatic images of the protests, many transmitted from the secretive Southeast Asian nation by dissidents using cell phones and the Internet, riveted world attention on the escalating faceoff between the military regime and its opponents.

Clouds of tear gas and smoke from fires hung over streets, and defiant protesters and even bystanders pelted police with bottles and rocks in some places. Onlookers helped monks escape arrest by bundling them into taxis and other vehicles and shouting “Go, go, go, run!”

The government said one man was killed when police opened fire during the ninth consecutive day of demonstrations, but dissidents outside Myanmar reported receiving news of up to eight deaths.

Some reports said the dead included monks, who are widely revered in Myanmar, and the emergence of such martyr figures could stoke public anger against the regime and escalate the violence

Previous articles here, including Aung San Suu Kyi series.