Osama Bin Laden’s death and Propaganda

Osama Bin Laden may have been killed in Pakistan this week. The changes in the story make fabrication all so believeable. Bin Laden’s presumed death will not reduce the threat of violence against the United States or other western countries. Only respect for the great mass of people in the Arab and muslim world will do that. The revolutions against the regimes in arab countries may be popular revolts against suppression and oppression. I am unaware that it is in favour of the establishment of a plethora of islamic republics along the lines of Iran. I have respect for the journalism of Robert Fisk in the Middle East and he writes that it is time for the US to now leave Afghanistan. He is correct. When the Russians are driven out of a land area, it is time to take note. The US has an excuse to now leave the northwest frontier and go back to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of the Special Forces for some training.

It is is true as reported, that DNA testing was done within hours of the death of Osama Bin Laden, and if it true that a Muslim religious funeral was conducted before the burial at sea, it indicates to me the intention of killing Bin Laden and not capturing him. If he dies unarmed and was not simply arrested and brought for trial, this indicates extrajudicial execution and an own goal in international terms. While the Old Testament Bible and the Koran advocate “an eye for an eye” ie revenge, that is the law of the jungle and not of civilisation.

It is also appropriate for the United States government to tell the truth about the operation in Abbottabad, who was killed and what exactly happened. The mass of fake pictures on the internet does not help either. People reading the press releases of governments and organisations should swallow gently to avoid the rush of regurgitation. Just look at the broadsheets and what was published about the death of Bin Laden. Wives shielding a coward on first day and killed while fire fighting, then killed while unarmed, no wives killed, son killed etc I would much prefer to have Bin Laden in jail for the rest of his natural life. Justice rather than revenge must be the objective.

Robert Fisk: Time for a reality check on Bin Laden execution

Supporters of Pakistan’s religious party Jamatut Dawa offer funeral prayers for Osama bin Laden in Karachi, Pakistan yesterday

By Robert Fisk

Wednesday May 04 2011

So why are the Allies in Afghanistan? Didn’t the Americans and the British go there in 2001 to fight Osama bin Laden? Wasn’t he killed on Monday?

There was painful symbolism in the Nato airstrike yesterday — scarcely 24 hours after Bin Laden’s death — that killed yet more Afghan security guards. For the truth is that the Allies long ago lost the plot in the graveyard of empires, turning a hunt for a now largely irrelevant inventor of global jihad into a war against tens of thousands of Taliban insurgents who have little interest in al-Qa’ida, but much enthusiasm to drive Western armies out of their country.

The gentle hopes of Hamid Karzai and Hillary Clinton — that the Taliban will be so cowed by the killing of Bin Laden that they will want to become pleasant democrats and humbly join the Western-supported and utterly corrupt leadership of Afghanistan — shows just how out of touch they are with the blood-soaked reality of the country. Some of the Taliban admired Bin Laden, but they did not love him and he had been no part of their campaign against Nato. Mullah Omar is more dangerous to the West in Afghanistan than Bin Laden. And we haven’t killed Omar.

Iran, for once, spoke for millions of Arabs in its response to Bin Laden’s death. “An excuse for alien countries to deploy troops in this region under the pretext of fighting terrorism has been eliminated,” its foreign ministry spokesman has said. “We hope this development will end war, conflict, unrest and the death of innocent people, and help to establish peace and tranquility in the region.”

Newspapers across the Arab world said the same thing. If this is such a great victory for the United States, it’s time to go home; which, of course, the US has no intention of doing just now.

That many Americans think the same thing is not going to change the topsy-turvy world in which US policy is framed. For there is one home truth which the world still has not grasped: that the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt — and, more pressing, the bloodbaths in Libya and Syria and the dangers to Lebanon — are of infinitely graver importance than blowing away a bearded man who has been elevated in the West’s immature imagination into Hitlerian proportions.

Turkish prime minister Erdogan’s brilliant address in Istanbul yesterday — calling for the Syrians to stop killing their people and for Gaddafi to leave Libya — was more eloquent, more powerful and more historic than the petty, boastful, Hollywood speeches of Obama and Clinton on Monday. We are now wasting our time speculating who will “take over” al-Qa’ida — Zawahiri or Saif al-Adel — when the movement has no “leadership” as such, Bin Laden being the founder rather than the boss.

But, a day being a long time in the killing fields of the Middle East, just 24 hours after Osama Bin Laden died, other questions were growing thicker yesterday. If, for example, Barack Obama really thinks the world is “a safer place” after Bin Laden’s death, how come the US has increased its threat alert and embassies around the world are being told to take extra precautions against attack?

And just what did happen in that tatty compound — no longer, it seems, a million-dollar “mansion” — when Bin Laden’s sulphurous life was brought to an end? Human Rights Watch is unlikely to be the only institution to demand a “thorough, transparent investigation” into the killing. There was an initial story from Pentagon “sources” which had two of Bin Laden’s wives killed and a woman held as a “human shield” dying too. Within hours, the wives were alive and in some accounts, the third woman simply disappeared.

And then of course, there’s Pakistan, eagerly telling the world that it participated in the attack on Bin Laden, only to have President Asif Ali Zardari retract the entire story yesterday. Two hours later, we had an American official describing the attack on Bin Laden as a “shared achievement”.

And there’s Bin Laden’s secret burial in the Arabian Sea. Was this planned before the attack on Bin Laden, with the clear plan to kill rather than capture him? And if it was carried out “according to Islamic rights” — the dead man’s body washed and placed in a white shroud –it must have taken a long time for the officer on the USS Carl Vinson to devise a 50-minute religious ceremony and arrange for an Arabic-speaking sailor to translate it.

So now for a reality check. The world is not safer for Bin Laden’s killing. It is safer because of the winds of freedom blowing through the Middle East. If the West treats the people of this region with justice rather than military firepower, then al-Qa’ida becomes even more irrelevant than it has been since the Arab revolutions.

Of course, there is one positive side for the Arab world. With Bin Laden killed, the Gaddafis and the Salehs and the Assads will find it all the more difficult to claim that a man who is now dead is behind the popular revolutions trying to overthrow them. (© Independent News Service)

– Robert Fisk

Irish Independent