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Saudi Rulers Refused To Take Osama's Body

PTI 02 Aug 2011, 12:34:15 IST

New York, Aug 2: New details have emerged on how US navy SEALs gave Osama bin Laden a “blunt” sea burial to end his myth, after they killed the al-Qaeda chief during a raid in Pakistan's garrison town of Abbottabad.  

The US navy SEALs planned disposal of bin Laden's body on the basis on a similar burial they carried out for Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a top al-Qaeda leader in East Africa, in 2009.

But, US deputy national security advisor John Brennan did call up a former Saudi intelligence official, asking him whether the country was interested in taking the body of bin Laden as his relatives were there and once he was a citizen of Saudi Arabia. However, there was no positive response from the other side,” The New Yorker magazine reported.

“All along, the SEALs had planned to dump bin Laden's corpse into the sea - a blunt way of ending the bin Laden myth,” it said.Nabhan's corpse was flown to a ship in the Indian Ocean and was given proper Muslim rites before being thrown overboard.

In the case of bin Laden's corpse, flip-wing V-22 Osprey flew the body from a US base in Afghanistan's Bagram to USS Carl Vinson-a thousand-foot-long nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sailing in the Arabian Sea, off the Pakistani coast—in another violation of Islamabad's airspace. Once the body reached Carl Vinson, it was washed, wrapped in a white burial shroud, weighted, and then slipped inside a bag.

The process was done “in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices,” Brennan later told reporters in Washington.The shrouded body was placed “on an open-air elevator, and rode down with it to the lower level, which functions as a hangar for airplanes. From a height of between twenty and twenty-five feet above the waves, they heaved the corpse into the water,” the magazine said.

Earlier Jalalabad where the corpse was brought, a pair of SEALs unloaded the body bag and unzipped it so that man in charge of the mission Vice Adm William H McRaven and the CIA station chief could see bin Laden's corpse with their own eyes.

Photographs were taken of bin Laden's face and then of his outstretched body.54-year-old Bin Laden was believed to be about six feet four, “but no one had a tape measure to confirm the body's length. So one SEAL, who was six feet tall, lay beside the corpse: it measured roughly four inches longer than the American,” it said.
Minutes later, McRaven appeared on the teleconference screen in the Situation Room in the White House and confirmed that bin Laden's body was in the bag. The corpse was sent to Bagram. PTI