The Schmidle Muddle of the Osama Bin Laden Take Down

by Joshua Foust on 8/4/2011 · 152 comments

A special guest post by C. Christine Fair

On Monday, August 1, the New Yorker ran a piece by Nicholas Schmidle, a young freelance journalist, which proffered a breathtakingly detailed account of the Bin Laden Take-down in May of 2011.  I have known Schmidle since the summer of 2006, when we met at my office at the United States Institute of Peace. He explained that he had a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs that would allow him to live in Pakistan and write about his experiences for two years.

Mr. Schmidle had one serious problem: he was not an accredited journalist, which meant the Pakistani government was disinclined to give him a journalism visa. He sought my advice. I explained to him that visa issues are not my bailiwick but I outlined some of the key issues he could consider if and when he sets out upon his newfound adventure. Though he didn’t know much about Pakistan, Mr. Schmidle struck me as a fast study.

In the end, Dr. Shireen Mazari (an outspoken, anti-American polemicist) agreed to host Mr. Schmidle at the think-tank she ran at the time. However, it was a bargain with the devil: he still was not a journalist and he got his visa at the behest of a dubious shill for Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

Over the next few years, I watched Mr. Schmidle’s reporting. He had an eye for the key issues and he covered many important stories that others overlooked. I met him episodically in Islamabad when I came to Pakistan. In January 2008, Mr. Schmidle published a piece in the New York Times Magazine called the “Next-Gen Taliban.” In that article, he ventured into Quetta to attend an opening ceremony for the campaign office of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), which he described in anodyne terms as a “a hard-line Islamist party.”

Mr. Schmidle wrote that the men in attendance mostly spoke Pashto but “knowing Urdu, I could understand enough [of their Pashto] to realize that they weren’t rehashing the typical J.U.I. rhetoric.” That made the rest of the article immediately suspect.  I knew Mr. Schmidle, and knew that his language skills in Urdu were functional at best and, even if he had superb Urdu skills (and he did not), this would not render Pashto comprehensible in the slightest. (It is not an Indo-Aryan language like Urdu and therefore has a grammar and syntax that is starkly different from Urdu.) While one may recognize some Urdu words, without grammar and syntax the content of the discussion would have been opaque to Mr. Schmidle. Indeed, Pakistanis who have spent their entire life in the country speaking Urdu cannot understand Pashto and would never make the absurd claim to do so.  How could Mr. Schmidle understand, must less interpret, what was going on without knowledge of Pashto or a translator? It seemed to me that things were not as they were reported.

I had a similar feeling this week when I began perusing Mr. Schmidle’s account of the Bin Laden raid.  The account was deeply detailed. He described how the commander of the team, whom he called James “sat on the floor, squeezed among ten other SEALs, Ahmed [the translator], and Cairo [the malimois]. (The names of all the covert operators mentioned in this story have been changed.) James, a broad-chested man in his late thirties, does not have the lithe swimmer’s frame that one might expect of a SEAL—he is built more like a discus thrower.”

Schmidle detailed “James’” apparel and personal effects:   he was sporting “a shirt and trousers in Desert Digital Camouflage, [carrying] a silenced Sig Sauer P226 pistol, along with extra ammunition; a CamelBak, for hydration; and gel shots, for endurance. He held a short-barrel, silenced M4 rifle.”  He even inventoried the contents of this fellow’s pockets.

Mr. Schmidle then recalls, in riveting detail, the harrowing movements of the helicopters and how “the interior of the Black Hawks rustled alive with the metallic cough of rounds being chambered.” When the first helicopter encountered problems, Schmidle exposits how the pilot reoptimized his plans and aimed for “for an animal pen in the western section of the compound.” He next tells his readers how the SEALs in the ill-fated bird “braced themselves as the tail rotor swung around, scraping the security wall. The pilot jammed the nose forward to drive it into the dirt and prevent his aircraft from rolling onto its side. Cows, chickens, and rabbits scurried.”

He even describes how the translator Ahmed hollered in Pashto at the locals that a security operation was ongoing to allay their suspicions about the nature of the cacophony in the cantonment town. (This detail caught my eye as the majority of persons in Abbottabad, where the raid took place, speak Hindko rather than Pashto.) He account is replete with quotes and other minute details obtained from persons seemingly involved directly in the assault and presumably speaking to him in person.

The article was in fact so detailed that it left the unmistakable impression that Mr. Schmidle had interviewed at least a few of the SEALs involved in the raid. During an NPR interview, Steve Inskeep explains that indeed Schmidle had spent time with the SEALs who were on the mission to get Bin Laden. NPR subsequently issued a correction for reasons noted below.

If not Navy SEALS, then perhaps he met some Navy Otters?

All of this makes for a gripping read. Too gripping I thought to myself.  As it turned out, there is one very serious problem with Mr. Schmidle’s account: Schmidle never met any of the SEALs involved, as reported (with great tact and restraint) by Paul Farhi on August 3.

Farhi reached the same conclusion as I had: “a casual reader of the article wouldn’t know that [he had not interviewed the SEALS]; neither the article nor an editor’s note describes the sourcing for parts of the story. Schmidle, in fact, piles up so many details about some of the men, such as their thoughts at various times, that the article leaves a strong impression that he spoke with them directly.”

Surely a journalist or an editor with a commitment to informing—rather than amusing—a public would understand that disclosing this simple fact is critical to allowing readers to determine how much credibility they should put into this account.  In the absence of such disclosure, we are left asking whether this was second or third-hand information? Who are the people that he spoke to and how credible is their information?

Such an egregious exercise of incaution raises a number of questions about the entire report.

Schmidle has demurred from tackling this serious issue of credibility, integrity and veracity directly.  During a “live chat” with Mr. Schmidle on the New Yorker’s website yesterday, several persons including myself tried to ask Mr.Schmidle to explain this egregious oversight.  (I posed the question four times throughout the course of the “live chat.” The moderator did not post a single one. (Earlier in the day, Schmidle and I exchanged emails wherein I expressed my dismay at his reportage.)

Many of us were following this in real time via twitter. I was not alone: others—including other journalists—tried to ask other tough questions but the moderator did not post them either. I also tried to post a comment to this effect along with other readers’ comments. That comment has not yet been posted.

Finally, after a volley of fatuous queries to which Schmidle responded with a peculiar degree of detail, the moderator finally let one person raise the issue that he neither met any of the SEALS involved nor indicated as much in his report.

Unfortunately for the credibility of this exercise, this person was Erin Simpson—a friend of Mr. Schmidle.  Ms. Simpson had earlier defended him during a twitter exchange with me wherein she responded to my vexed queries that “he’s a good friend.” She further intimated that someone involved in the operation may have spoken to him because he is a “GO’s kid.” The latter point references the fact that his father,  Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr., is the deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command.

Schmidle answers Ms. Simpson in a familiar voice: “Hi Erin. Good question. I’ll just say that the 23 SEALs on the mission that evening were not the only ones who were listening to their radio communications.”

The response was risible and hardly addressed how he could have acquired such details of the operation through such means.

That the moderator passed on only softball questions and that this one question was posed by a “close friend,” raises more questions than the “live chat” could have answered.

What’s at Stake?

One may ask at first blush why a feel-good story about the Bin Laden raid is problematic or even merits sustained critique. From an American point of view, the story reads like the film script Schmidle may well aspire to write. It confirms all that we wanted to know about the raid and the bravado of our SEALS.  The shooter, who finally killed Bin Laden, even managed to mutter “For God and Country” in the femtoseconds that his synapses took to pull the trigger, according to Schmidle.

However, there are implications that go well beyond Mr. Schmidle’s limits of journalism integrity and his own personal aggrandizement and professional aspirations.

First, many Muslims across the world fundamentally doubt the events of the Bin Laden raid. Some believe Bin Laden is still alive. Others believe he died long ago. Others believe that the events of May 2 were staged to allow the Obama administration to make an exit from Afghanistan.  As Mr. Schmidle’s is the first (and so far only) account of the drama, these problems cast a pale of doubt upon the events that transpired that evening.

Second is the simple fact of Mr. Schmidle parentage. His father, as noted above, is the deputy commander of the U.S. Cyber Command.  Given the conspiratorial propensities of many within and beyond the Muslim world, Schmidle’s ties to this organization by virtue of his father would recast any serious inaccuracy in his report as a U.S. military psychological operation to deliberately misinform the world about the operation.

The reasons for this are at least two-fold. First is the charge of U.S. Cyber Command itself, which in it the lexicon of the U.S. Department of Defense is “pulling together existing cyberspace resources, creating synergy that does not currently exist and synchronizing war-fighting effects to defend the information security environment.” While the organization appears dedicated to protecting cyber infrastructure, others may interpret its role as using cyberspace to spread disinformation.  Second, cynics may justifiably wonder what influence if any his father had in the article. Schmidle explains this to Farhi “’He knew I was working on it,’ the younger Schmidle says, ‘but we both decided it was best not to discuss it in advance. We wanted to maintain distinct lines of operation.’” I have no reason to not believe this. However, given that questions that now hover about his report will other readers be so inclined?

Finally, whether or not the shooter actually said “For God and For Country” is another important question that affects the way in which the United States and is citizenry are seen across the world. The conflict with Bin Laden has been waged in lamentably civilizational terms focusing upon the clash of Islam and the presumably non-Islamic west.  Since 9/11, countries with Muslim minorities have been gripped by Islamophobia with some states outlying headscarves and minarets and others seeking to restrict the erection of new mosques. Anti-immigration concerns in Europe are thinly disguised efforts to deter future Muslims from migrating.  Success in the war of terrorism seems to be equated with success in turning back the spread of Islam. Several states in the United States have even introduced ludicrous and shameful bills to outlaw Sharia.

How would a proclamation that Bin Laden was killed “for God and for country” be read in a place like Pakistan where the war on terror has been largely seen as a war on Islam and Muslims? If this was in fact uttered, as an American, I am saddened that eliminating the world’s most notorious killer was done “for God” first and country second. If it wasn’t uttered, such a gratuitous detail hardly helps the United States make its case that it opposes terrorists not Muslims.

A Story Too Good to Check?

Whether Americans and our allies like it or not, Pakistan and Pakistan’s populations are critical to U.S. interests.  This will be true for the foreseeable future.  Journalists have an important function: informing our publics.  Journalists’ reportage shapes how Americans see their country abroad and understand the countries with which the United States engages. It shapes our support for war, for foreign aid, for particular bilateral relations. The U.S. experience with the Iraq war illustrates the extreme limits of how a supine and incompetent press became the vehicle to mobilize an angry public for an ill-conceived and unjustifiable war of choice.  The United States will long pay the price for strategic error.

Journalists have an equally important, if less appreciated, role in shaping how the outside world sees us. With the internet, the entire world reads our press, watches our television and hears our radio broadcasts.  Media hype and hysteria, xenophobia, Islamophobia and more quotidian issues of inaccuracy and incaution with handling sensitive pieces of information are for the whole world to see and to judge us.

With stakes this high, should not the standards of journalistic integrity be even higher? I should think yes. The New Yorker should immediately right this wrong by publishing an editor’s note disclosing the simple fact that he never interviewed the SEALS in involved in the raid.

C. Christine Fair is an assistant professor at Georgetown University and the author of Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States.

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– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Jack Parsons August 6, 2011 at 4:25 am

Just did a bit of hunting on the linguistics- it sticks, almost. Pashto is at the far eastern end of the Eastern-Iranian branch of Indo-Aryan, and Urdu is at the far west end of “Urdu-Hindi” (Indo- means, um. India).

He may have thought Pashto was Altaic or Turkic. But Urdu v.s. Pashto is still far enough to be mutually unintelligible.

Liaqat Ali Toor August 6, 2011 at 11:17 am

Having lived for 35 years among the Pathans and having passed the basic Pashto exam back in mid eighties, I entirely agree with Chris Fair’s opinion about the impossiblity of some Urdu savant making even an iota of sense from a heated Pashto debate, especially when it is the multidilectical cacophony of the Pathans of Quetta region.
USA’s lies, as they say in Urdu as well as in Pashto, will never have “the feet to stand upon”.

M Shannon August 6, 2011 at 11:24 am

Nicholas Schmidle appeared on “Charlie Rose” yesterday. The one interesting thing I caught was his statement that the operation was relatively straight forward and was similar to raids that occur nightly across the region.

I think the point is well taken. A lot was made about SEALs but really is there a decent infantry platoon that couldn’t have replicated the mission? All infantry now have high quality night vision devices and individual communications equipment and more importantly all conduct “discriminatory” building clearing.

The navigation and flying may have been “special” but clearing a compound defended by perhaps two guys with rifles is nothing “special”. Even as SOF expand the difference in their ground combat skill set compared to conventional infantry is shrinking.

trav August 7, 2011 at 10:17 am

While your theory is sound on paper it falls miles short on action. Having worked within the Marines and Army infantry and done 5 combat tours they could not conduct the raid. Having done 3 tours with the SEALs they are trained for just such missions. Simply put not a single infantry unit carries C4. Case close getting into the compound and destroying the helicopter wouldn’t happen.

Darwin August 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

You don’t know what you are talking about. If you did you would know that getting and using C4 is trivial and is done all the time. It puts into question what your 5 “combat” tours really were. Maybe you worked in the PX. if having an during C4 is your only reason for saying a regular unit could not do that raid you don’t know anything about infantry.

TJM August 9, 2011 at 8:29 am

Actually all three infantry platoons in my company carried C4 (not on every mission). Regardless, we generally used det cord for door breaches.

smarterthanavgbear August 6, 2011 at 11:59 am

To M Shannon: Oh sure. Same skills, just like a high school baseball team infield turning a double play. They do it. The pro’s do it. Not much difference … except for the level of speed, accuracy, practice, commitment, and breadth of experience from learning by doing. And that is for each member of the team.

Why do you think the BUD/S course has a two-thirds drop rate? Your “average” soldier is not able to handle the “stresses” of the demands accepted by these special individuals. Maybe they are not special to you, but then I’m sure you are nothing special to them either.

Darwin August 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

We are talking about this specific raid not every type of missions SEALs vs infantry carry out. This specific raid could have been conducted by a regular unit. Of course its better to use Seal Team Six for such an important target but regular infantry does this sort of thing all the time. SEAL teams often combine with Marine and Army infantry to conduct such raids.

M Shannon August 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Smart: For the record half of all SOF are “below average”. That’s simple math. Every SOF unit has a guy who is the worst shot and another who is stupidest, least fit or least motivated. The notion that SOF is full of James Bonds or Jason Bournes is misguided. It’s a mixed bag like every other organization in the military.

Your sports analogy is wrong because, unlike pro sports versus high school, it assumes that every SEAL is better than every infantryman- and that’s not close to being true. It’s not even a question of “who is best” but who could have done the job with the same result.

In line with your sports analogy- the Red Sox would clobber any Little League team but so would their AA team. Do you believe that if an infantry platoon with the same chance for rehearsals and preparation, had been assigned the OBL mission that he would have escaped?

BTW it’s the infantry who are patrolling around villages with the high chance of being ambushed or hitting an IED. I don’t see how the SOF DA stress can be higher. Having the initiative in operations combined with the most high tech intel gathering and surveillance equipment would seem to reduce stress.

Billy Oblivion August 7, 2011 at 1:36 am


You’re blurring your venn diarams here. When you compare the subset that is the Navy SEALS physically (twitch reaction times, blood oxygen carrying capacity, etc. etc.) to the rest of the military they are in the top 5%. Of course within the SEALs there is a more or less normal distribution, but in the military as a whole, no.

Also different units train differently. There is a tremendous difference in the training regimes of a “standard” (if that word means anything in the US military today) infantry unit and what the SEALs train for. The SEALs have a much more narrowly focused mission (and each team purportedly is even more narrow). SEALs don’t spend a whole lot of time on company or battalion size ops as they don’t do that. I also doubt they get nearly as much Suicide Prevention or Diversity Education as your average line unit. But they spend a LOT more time jumping out of airplanes and helicopters (including fast-roping etc.) than your average grunt. They get weapons more tailored to their mission (a Grunt almost never gets a silenced MP5 SMG for example).

SEALs also spend more time and training on intel gathering than grunts used to. I suspect that’s changed some since 2003 (with normal infantry units spending more time on evidence collection etc.), but still it’s a foundation of what SEALs do (read Lone Survivor for more information).

Also regular infantry units lack the same level of cohesion as SEAL teams–the team leaders don’t get to select their people, and they have a harder time “unselecting” them. Most rifle platoons have their odd man out. On a SEAL team this isn’t as much a problem. You can’t hack it, you cause problems, you’re out.

So yes, a regular military unit COULD have done this, but not as fast, not as clean, and not as well.

M Shannon August 7, 2011 at 10:32 am

“So yes, a regular military unit COULD have done this, but not as fast, not as clean, and not as well.”

How do you know this? There were apparently only two armed people in the compound and the SEALS shot them and at least one unarmed person.

I don’t recall ever being tested for O2 capacity- we had foot races. How do you know how SEALS compare to other people in these characteristics? What does it matter?

Since aqua skills and parachuting appear to have no role in Afghanistan the “narrowness” of SEAL training doesn’t seem so narrow. We are talking about clearing a compound. An rifle platoon in Sangin would certainly have lots of current experience in that.

I’ll sum this up. No ground combat “special military unit” is as good as it’s press. That said they are useful for 1) morale of the public who need to believe that our success in battle is due to the quality of our troops and not technology 2) special units are needed to convince guys to join and stay in what are basically different versions of infantry and 3) inter-service battles over SOF funding.

The OBL mission worked because of intel gathering and aviation skills. A raid was doable because the compound wasn’t defended. The SEALS were the least important component and could have been replaced by any number of other types of infantry.

Darwin August 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Lone Survivor is a ghost written fantasy. if you are basing your knowledge on that joke of a book you better get better intel. Ask SEALs with experience what they think of that book. Many of the vents are considered highly questionable by SEAL teams and by Marine Units who operated in the area.

Mangas August 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I particularly “liked” the part of Lone Survivor where he visits the mother of one of his fallen comrades and tells her that her son died a quick painless death, only to reveal the gory details of his anguished last moments a few pages later; her son crying until his screams eventually fall silent. If you are going to reveal these details in the book why even bother “sparing” his mother in the first place. That is the Ghost writers fault. I have no doubt that he “author” was under orders to attach his name to the book.

trav August 7, 2011 at 10:27 am

maybe what the Army calls SOF has half below average but as a guy who has trained beside SEALs for more than 3 years none are below average they are all James Bondish but dont say it or act it they just do what needs done the closest army sof gets is their Delta guys which are solid the UTth rangers arent bad but many of the Army SOF are that in branding only

pourts August 10, 2011 at 5:16 am

You have already lost all credibility with the C4 comment. You can stop posting now and go take a grammar lesson.

michael August 6, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I truly believe OBL was done in long ago by the US in the Mountain Caves. This article is just more chafe thrown out by who knows who. Remember the Kennedy Assassination stories and all that emanated from them. The raid was just big chafe. Keeping OBL in the game gave us much time to snoop and chase all over the world for him and leads to his people. As time wore on we needed to get rid of him, with a sea burial and all, no real evidence. I’m sure as time goes on we will see more stories to further take the readers from the realities. Its an old and widely used method in the intell community. We will see more stories and rebuttals and dead end leads down darkened allies that will sell ad space…

Ming the Merciless August 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm

We oppose terrorists, not muslims? Are you a muslima?

Both of these persons are bullshit artists!

There was 17,000 acts of terror by muslim goons since 9/11

Islam IS terror.

Allah’s pedophile “prophet” beheaded 1000 persons in one day, plus countless rapes…

That Christine Fair clown have the same politically correct problem as Schmidle the idiot buffoon.

George Frazier August 7, 2011 at 12:13 am

“… Since 9/11, countries with Muslim minorities have been gripped by Islamophobia…. Anti-immigration concerns in Europe are thinly disguised efforts to deter future Muslims from migrating…. Several states in the United States have even introduced ludicrous and shameful bills to outlaw Sharia.”

Fair had my couriosty peaked until I read this. It seems she is just another left wing appologist like so many that unfortunately fill our once proud institutions of higher learning.

While I do not doubt the issue of Schmidle’s inability of deciphering Poshton or that he may have traded in his journalistic integrity in hopes of a Peabody, Fair’s assertion that the biggest concern for American’s should be … “the way in which the United States and is citizenry are seen across the world…” is the same type of rhetoric that has us once again emboldening the enemy. The Muslim Brotherhood already has CAIR, Al Jahzeera and MSNBC rallying on their behalf. What happened to all the leftist, who have for years fought [and all but won] the war against any recognition of christianity in America? Do they want to admit now that their goal was just to destroy conservativism [i.e. christianity] in America or will they start taking the same stance towards Islam?

Remember: It’s not Islamophobia if they really are trying to kill you.

John August 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Okay, so if this really all about academics and the media running cover for the Islamic takeover of the west, why don’t you just get some fertilizer and a gun and shoot up a university or the New York Times office, a la your ideological counterpart in Norway? And before you jump on me for equating his version of Christianity with yours, remember that you are making the exact same equivalency between Islam and Islamic terrorists.

The problem with fundamentalists on both sides of the Jesus/Mohammed divide is that they create the self-fulfilling prophesy of an intractable “clash of civilizations,” and thus an endless cycle of attack and retaliation. What we need is an atheist peace.

And give me a break with the whining about how Christians are somehow victimized by efforts to keep our republic secular, as the founders intended. Contrary to what you might believe, the Ten Commandments are not a viable blueprint for running a government, unless you consider the LRA to be a government.

Bunny Olesen August 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm

What does Sharia law have to do with terrorism? The problem with Islam is that they have butchered millions upon millions of christians, hindus, sikhs, buddhists, b’hai, zoroastrians, ahmaydiah, jews, and even each other, during the past century alone. Don’t compare sane rational humans who despise islam for what it is (anti democracy, anti freedom, oppressive, murderous, persecuting shit) and some fucking nutjob.

England already has civil Sharia law courts across the country, with their stupid approval.

Maybe if you knew all the things sharia law covered, you wouldn’t be so fucking stupid. Check IRAN and all those they execute, because they are following sharia law to a T, buddy. GAY, christian, blashphemy, apostasy, adulterers (almost 100% women) all hanged, teenagers are not exempt. And according to Ayatollah, raping a female (or male) inmate brings heavenly blessings, so the women are raped repeatedly in prison.

They are allowing muslim prayer in schools, and some schools in Cali even have a fucking IMAM every friday for sabbath prayers. WHERE’S MY PRAYER? oh yeah, thats right, you cant even mention jesus in a graduation speech, but for some reason muslims can pray and have their Imam in the school.

You don’t know shit.

Gary August 7, 2011 at 1:19 am

Anyone curious about Islam, Islamophobia, etc., ought to be interested in this minority third view, neither pro nor con, by a Christian libertarian who used to write for the new version of the John Birch Society. Is he a Left apologist for Islamic terror? Or a far right conspiracy theorist? Or simply a man committed to honesty and liberty?

The War Party’s Latest Torchlight Parade by William Norman Grigg

The most powerful patron of radical Islam is not Iran, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia. It is the government headquartered in Washington, D.C., which for more than a half-century has diligently cultivated Islamic terrorism.

In other articles, such as “The Scam of Sharia, in order to grab attention and be provocative, not disrespectful, Grigg describes dead US soldiers from the Iraq War as “effectively martyrs for Sharia Law” imposed upon Muslims who DID NOT WANT SHARIA and did not suffer under Sharia prior to the US invasion, rather had a secular open sort of society … under thuggish Saddam.

(Though it makes one wonder how “thuggish” Saddam really was, or if he was merely fighting Islamist fanatic warriors.)

Both Iraq and Afghanistan suffer under Sharia constitutions written by US lawyers with the Paul Bremer team.

This is amply confirmed even by the Wikipedia article on the Dawa Party in Iraq.

Other sourced articles by blogger aangirfan and others support the same conclusion. In great detail, Dr. Michel Chossudovsky has written many articles on this matter published as far back as Sept-October 2001, such as “Osamagate”, and at least one documentary discussing Sept 11 in this context.

dm August 7, 2011 at 5:35 am

At the “New America Foundation” site (, with which Schmidle is affiliated, they headline his New Yorker piece by saying “Following interviews with the Navy SEALs who took out Osama bin Laden….” whereas in last week’s PBSNewhour interview Schmidle explicitly states that he did not speak with any of the SEALS:

Moko August 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

The author writes about “ludicrous and shameful bills to outlaw Sharia” in the US. The only ludicrous thing I can see is this statement. There’s nothing wrong with bills outlawing sharia anywhere. Or putting an end to muslim immigration. How can a bill defending women’s rights, gay’s rights, apostates’ rights, freedom of religion and freedom of speech be wrong? All these rights would be a thing of the past if sharia ever gained hold. All the islam appeasers and liberals who say otherwise lie to you. Period. The hypocrites the libs are, they were pretending to fight for equal laws for women and gays, but don’t have a problem if these very same groups get abused in the name of islam. Just disgusting.

Faisal August 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Agreed. Not only that all Muslims in the West should wear gold star to signify their religion, so they can be truly checked and searched as terrorists.

May August 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

How does Moko conflate Sharia with Muslim immigration? Must be a product of a poor education system.
Muslims in their own countries have secular legal systems. use the internet to find that out. Sharia is used by the conservatives.

Bunny Olesen August 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm

You are a stupid bitch. The only mudslime country I know with secular laws is BANGLADESH and they still have imams ruling cities and flogging 14 year old rape victims to death. Do you consider BLASPHEMY laws with the death penalty secular?

Turkey, allegedly secular, has islamic police. A documentary being made about ‘those who walk on all fours’ (retarded brain damaged inbred offspring of 2nd generation 1st cousin marriage) and a truckload of islamic police showed up to make sure they did not talk about evolution, because evolution is against islam.

There are no secularly governed muslim countries left. Apparently you forgot to look up what is actually happening in the world.

Sparky August 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm

The reason IMO why the SEALs were used over regular infantry is due to security clearance. Not only were they operating in Pakistan, but to this day the mission is shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Few will ever know what happened there on that day for certain and that is clearly by design.

F August 9, 2011 at 8:57 am

That makes a certain amount of sense. Though if you look up Operation Claret you’ll see that in the past conventional units have been trusted with sensitive cross border operations too. That was all pre Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, though.

It’s unfortunate that certain missions have been deemed to be purely SOF, as it only increases the burden on low density units. A raid/cordon and clearance operation should be open to any decent light infantry, reconnaissance or cav unit. It’s a straightforward operation that doesn’t require near-olympic levels of fitness. HAHO infiltration, covert beach reconnaissance, underwater demolitions, hostage rescue, training indigineous guerrilla forces and other such tasks, on the other hand, require the specialised training of elite units.

Bunny Olesen August 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm

And now that those seals are all dead, no one will ever know. WHAT A FUCKING SURPRISE. Bin Laden was already dead. Obama is a killer.

John K August 9, 2011 at 7:34 am

Shameless laws against Sharia? Can only be written by someone who doesn’t know anything about it. You raise legitimate concerns about the OBL raid, but you are not professionally prepared to write about Sharia either.

Bunny Olesen August 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Come on, I’ve been saying for years i thought Bin laden was dead. How the fuck did he get dialysis treatment for years in a cave.

T2 August 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm

This is about how to brainwash a nation. How can one believe anything spewed from the US media/ gov? Recall Pat Tillman; killed by his own Army Rangers, then the cover up and McChrystal’s approval for the Silver Star Award. All this dribble of the killing of OBL and dumping his body in the sea and now the team that killed him is dead. Really? Come on. Remember Jessica Lynch? One truth you can be sure of is the loss of your 4th amendment rights. In Tucson we see a two tour ex-Marine Jose Guerena killed by an amped-up Swat team in a botched drug raid., Now, we find out US DEA is dealing drug as well as weapons.

JR Dogman August 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm

“Since 9/11, countries with Muslim minorities have been gripped by Islamophobia”

This statement and the examples of “Islamophobia” that follow it totally undermine your post.

Paul August 27, 2011 at 8:16 am

Great response. I lost any respect for the author or article when I came to those tatements.

David Virgil Dafinoiu August 16, 2011 at 10:28 am

The SEAL and the “journalist” really didn’t tell much.

As far as I can see, no real tactical information was released. Any intelligence agency in the world could piece together this operation just based on the helicopter crash and the Open Source International Media.

Information that endangers lives is: names, sources, mission planning at the team level, weapons used, technology used and clues as to future events. Nothing that this “journalist” said even came close to that.

I think that stories like this are put out to the public on purpose. Propaganda goes two ways. Instead of having videos of U.S. SEAL’s walking around caves with canes, we have them release stories about how they killed their #1 guy under the protection of the Pakistani government.

The whole story sounds like fiction to me, someone will be making a movie soon !!! don’t miss it.

David V. Dafinoiu

Rehoboth August 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Thanks for this interesting article. I’ve book marked this site because I hope you post more articles soon, I plan to share this.

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