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What Obama Didn’t Tell The World About Osama Bin Laden’s Killing

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By P. V. Durga

Four years after Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, was killed by USA’s Navy SEALs in an operation in Abbottabad in Pakistan, an article by Seymor M. Hersh (reputed investigative journalist) in the London Review of Books, gives some path-breaking information. In essence, it states that the premeditated assassination might not have been the work of America alone.
osama bin laden
Pakistan had been on board with USA’s decision to kill Osama, even though a different story was told to the world. The people and media were made to believe that Osama’s dwelling was found by tracking his personal courier. Hersh’s article says otherwise. Consider the following facts:

First, Hersh points out that Osama was the ISI’s prisoner of war since 2006 and had been housed in Abbottabad with support from Saudi Arabia. Pakistan had been vying for stronghold in Afghanistan, and thus, was planning to hand him over to the US in return for a favorable reward. It then becomes only obvious that senior ISI officials in Pakistan were well aware of Osama’s whereabouts.

It all started with a walk-in evidence given to the CIA by a retired Pakistani intelligence agent, in return for a reward of 25 million dollars. The details were verified, evidence was gathered and the operation was strategically planned from August 2010, a good 9 months ahead of the operation. USA drew Pakistan into collaboration by what can best be described as arm-twisting. Refusing cooperation meant that the world would know that Pakistan was lodging a criminal in their own backyard. On the other hand, co-operating with them would be rewarded with increased military aid, as well as increased involvement in Afghanistan.

Second, according to Hersh, “the most blatant lie that was told to the world by USA was that Pakistan’s two senior most military leaders, Gen. Kayani (the then army chief) and Gen. Pasha (the then ISI chief) were not informed about the mission“. Hersh stated that one of the duties of Gen. Kayani and Gen. Pasha was to excuse the drones that entered the Pakistan airspace during the mission. In fact, Gen. Kayani is also said to have advised American agencies on the technicalities of Osama’s hideout. Their contribution was strictly kept under wraps, understandably so.

Third, it is said that Osama’s body was disposed of in the sea, but Hersh states that “pieces” of his body were thrown off in the Hindu Kush mountains. It is also said that there were only few bullet wounds inflicted on him. But Hersh mentions that his body was annihilated when he was attacked, and the “remaining” was disposed in the mountains.

Although Hersh’s article has been censured by Max Fisher stating logical inconsistencies and lack of credible evidence, one cannot ignore the fact that Pakistan has been adopting two pronged strategies – giving legitimacy to its cooperation in countering terrorism with USA through ISI, while assisting the Taliban in order to gather strength in Afghanistan. Moreover, soon after Hersh’s piece was published, there were legitimate sources that confirmed one of his claims.

As far as the American intervention in Islamic nations is concerned, scholars stand divided on the issue. There are some who believe that the sooner the USA withdraws, the better, because all said and done, the deadlock in the Islamic nations cannot be resolved, because USA will continue to be dependent on Pakistan. This mission has done nothing for Obama, except help him gain a second term as a president, they feel. Others like Carlotta Gall, a ground zero reporter who lived in Afghanistan for 12 years feel that American intervention has indeed been beneficial to the country, and its withdrawal would only leave the job “half done”.

At the end of the day, it is not a question of who knew what. Rather, it is important that nations do not lose sight of the larger picture in this tug of war for power and territory maximization. Fighting terrorism is important, but it is equally important that no other country’s security is compromised in this trade-off. Case in point, Afghanistan. It seems to be caught in the cusp of withdrawal by USA and an increased involvement of Pakistan, as was promised by the USA if Pakistan would extend its cooperation in the Bin Laden mission. Gall mentions that America’s inability to directly confront Pakistan on its double faced approach is something that would cost them the trust of Afghanistan. There is a need to develop a balanced, accommodative strategy rather than reducing the war against terrorism to mere bargains. Countering terrorism is probably more than just killing terrorists.

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    What Obama hasn’t told the world is that he is the only terrorist with a Nobel peace prize.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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