Conflict & Justice

News on Osama bin Laden: emails reveal new details of Osama's burial at sea


A billboard with Osama bin Laden wearing an 'I love Guantanamo' t-shirt is on display at Farragut North Metro Station in Washington D.C. in September 2009.The billboard is an advertisement from, an organization that launched a metro billboard campaign to remind policymakers that torture is a top recruiting tool for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his network.


Shannon Curran

Military emails have revealed new details about the burial at sea of Osama bin Laden after he was killed by Navy SEALs last year.

Accoridng to CNN, which cited the emails, the burial followed traditional Islamic procedures, howeverfewer than a dozen "leadership" members aboard the Navy carrier were even informed about it, and no sailors witnessed it.

CNN cites a May 3, 2011 email from a Navy commander to the public affairs officer on the USS Carl Vinson — the carrier where the SEALs took bin Laden's body by helicopter after the May 2, 2011, raid at his compound in Pakistan:

"Any sailors watch the burial?" 

In separate heavily redacted emails, the public affairs officer replied:

"Only a small group of the leadership was informed — less than a dozen"

"Burial No Sailors Watched."

Ten emails, also obtained by the Associated Press from the Department of Defense through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily redacted.

The FoI lawsuit was initially filed by the watchdog group Judicial Watch.

According to the AP, another of the emails, sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer, describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.

"Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed," said an email sent to former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen on May 2, 2011.

It added that "a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body slid into the sea."

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