May 4, 2011
“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
– Mark Twain (1897)
The mythology surrounding America’s public enemy number one took yet another bizarre turn this week as Washington announced that after ten years of searching they have finally located and killed their illusive adversary, Osama bin Laden. Unfortunately for US authorities however, this latest staged media event has created far more questions than it has answers.
Indeed, The Washington Post did report Monday that bin Laden, the long-hunted al-Qaeda leader and alleged chief architect of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was in fact killed on Sunday in what officials described as a Navy Seal-run surgical raid on his alleged luxury hideout in Pakistan.
In a rare Sunday night address from the East Room of the White House, President Obama announced that small team of U.S. personnel attacked a compound in Pakistan’s Abbottabad Valley, where bin Laden is said to have been hiding. During a firefight, the U.S. team allegedly killed bin Laden, 54, and then took custody of his body. President Obama described the event as “the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaeda”, and seen as a “significant turning point for global security and the War on Terror.”
According to US sources, this latest operation was made possible thanks to “a trail of evidence that originated from Al-Qaeda detainees”, which had led to the careful monitoring of a compound suspected to be Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani hiding place. This is an interesting statement planted by Washington into this story, as it will no doubt be used by authorities to justify the existence of Guantanamo Bay and similar gulag-like cites around the world- all of whose credibility in the area of gathering real terror intel has been rather poor to date.
Public confusion over body ID
Bin Laden’s body was then allegedly recovered by the U.S. military and kept in its possession until it was dumped at sea hours later. From here, the story begins to get very dicey. Both ABC News and the Associated Press have reported that the body has been identified by DNA testing using tissue and blood samples taken from his sister who died of brain cancer previously. However, Reuters reports that DNA test results will not actually be available for days still, and that his body was identified using facial recognition techniques.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q98-d51-Lbs] Patrick Henningsen on Russia Today: helping to deconstruct the myth of bin Laden.
Adding to the confusion surrounding evidence of bin Laden’s death, US military officials are said to have immediately disposed of the body in the Arabian Sea, supposedly adhering to “Muslim burial customs”. Washington insists that they have photos and video of the body, but have yet to release them to the public.
This means that, in theory, there can only be a limited number of actual witnesses and that there is no body to verify that it genuinely was bin Laden, leaving the public with only the government’s official version of events to believe. Confusion, not conclusion, will be the order of the day. It is likely that this tactic was an intentional one on the part of Washington, providing pundits and conspiracy theorists with an endless knot that will take decades to unravel.
Numerous past reports of bin Laden’s death
Since 2001, numerous reports and statements have been made confirming the death of bin Laden. Infowars chronicled a list of these incidents recently, reporting the following:
- Osama bin Laden died of kidney failure soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
- In 2002, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said bin Laden had kidney disease, and that he had required a dialysis machine when he lived in Afghanistan. That same year, the FBI’s top counter-terrorism official, Dale Watson, said, “I personally think he is probably not with us any more.”
- A Taliban leader told the Pakistan Observer on December 21, 2002, that Bin Laden was suffering from a serious lung complication and died in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief, according to Fox News.
- Alex Jones was told live on the radio in 2002 by high-level Council on Foreign Relations members that Osama Bin Laden had died of kidney failure in early 2002.“I have it from high level [sources] from inside the Bush administration…that bin Laden died of natural causes and that his family has given the body to the CIA, that they’re gonna roll him out right before the election, that he’s on ice right now. They will claim they killed him right before the election,” Alex said at the time. During the 2004 election, CNN reported that Democratic insiders had been told that George W. Bush was going to use the Bin Laden body as an ace-in-the-hole if he thought he was in danger of losing the 2004 election. This confirmed the evidence that Jones had been given by the CFR and others.
- In 2003, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Fox News Channel analyst Morton Kondracke she suspected Bush knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and was waiting for the most politically expedient moment to announce his capture.
- Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a suicide attack at the end of 2007, stated that Osama bin Laden had been killed by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a man convicted of kidnapping and killing journalist Daniel Pearl.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b348VJJNOjo] Grainy videos like this one are all that is available to substantiate this latest Bin Laden story.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
With little to celebrate in the US where the US dollar is plummeting, unemployment numbers have reached record highs and government deficits are bleeding the public resources, Bin Laden’s reported death has provided something for American to celebrate with spontaneous celebrations erupting in places like New York City and Washington DC.
With a system of which has grown into an institution since 2001, the security state’s reaction to the announcement of Bin Laden’s demise is as routine as it is predictable. For a public who has been trained to live in a perpetual state of fear, the alleged death of Bin Laden translates into a brief respite and opportunity to celebrate followed by yet another increase in the security apparatus.
The result of this latest chapter in the Bin Laden saga has been an elevation in “Terror Threat Levels”. In near robotic fashion, all major news outlets are running identical talking points centred on authorities in Western countries who are advising “vigilance against possible Al Qaeda strikes in retaliation to the death of Osama Bin Laden”.
Authorities are also advising that people “avoid travel to areas where anti-western protests may erupt” and also to “avoid public gathering that might attract a revenge attack”.
RT: Questions are raised about the media’s reporting of latest bin Laden death.
It wasn’t long ago that Wikileaks files were cited where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told Guantanamo Bay interrogators the terror group would detonate the nuclear device if the al-Qaeda chief was captured or killed. The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks is said to have warned that al-Qaeda has hidden a nuclear bomb “somewhere in Europe” which will unleash a “nuclear hell storm” if Osama bin Laden was ever captured.
Obama: A timely announcement
Broadcasters and pollsters will tell you that Sunday evening is the very best time to plant a story because most Americans are home, preparing to face another work week, and the largest percentage of Americans watch TV on Sunday evening. When President Obama finally made his statement about how he had located bin Laden and killed him in a firefight, the President proceeded to take no reporter questions.
Obama’s bin Laden moment: the President bolsters his wartime resume this week.
The timing of this announcement certainly carries a high political value for a US administration soon entering a new Presidential election cycle in 2012. It could help to reposition a domestically unpopular President Obama as a competent military operator overseas.
Obama outlined this epic chain of events during his Sunday address stating, “Shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.” The President then certified his War on Terror and military credentials explaining how he gave the order to kill, “And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.”
In the world of modern US politics, the “patriot card” is the ace which can be produced during any speech or Presidential debate. Obama has clearly positioned himself as the man who will “take credit” for the killing of Osama bin Laden. The ten year anniversary for Sept 11, 2001 will take place this fall and it is certain that Obama will rehash this week’s glorious assassination from a podium at Ground Zero. Obama’s wartime resume will also be bolstered by this week’s event, a tool he will likely employ in the Democrat effort to effectively stave off any challengers from the Republican Party’s right wing next year.
Another state-sponsored assassination
In the wake of the infamous Iraqi WMD debacle and with tax payer confidence in the abilities of US Intelligence community at an all-time low, this latest announcement will be used by Washington to demonstrate that their agencies are indeed competent and can actually produce valid and actionable intel. In effect, Washington will use its latest campaign to wipe the old slate clean and build on this apparent victory, possibly with some future intel concerning prospective adversaries like Iran.
This latest state-sponsored assassination also re-enforces the precedent of targeting foreign leaders outside of the boundaries of legal justice. Currently the US and NATO are carrying out a series of targeted extrajudicial killings in Libya, an effort that has already claimed the lives of Gaddafi’s immediate family and one which hopes to eventually eliminate Gaddafi himself.
Both unusual and illegal as this may appear on its surface, the Western public has now become accustomed to seeing its governments carry out these high level state mafia-style hits, a rather bizarre trend for evolved Western civilisation. It goes without saying that in almost all of these cases, each of these high-profile victims could not be successfully brought in front of any real court of justice due to an acute lack of evidence against them. They amount to purely political targets who unfortunately will be denied the luxury of any proper investigation into the West’s charges against them.
A shift in focus towards new enemies
Amongst all the hype and revelry, it still seems rather implausible that Osama bin Laden has “been on the run” for nearly a decade. Authorities would like us to believe that it took the entire US military industrial complex 10 years to both locate and kill Osama Bin Laden, their sworn public enemy number one. What is more plausible is that this particular moment in time has in fact been chosen and the event has been staged and later choreographed for mass media consumption.
Once the feel-good factor, public traction and the brief heightened state of alert has been spent, Washington and its NATO allies will be turning their sights further down field.
Most significant, is that this new announcement could very well be signalling a shift in US and NATO war plans, gradually moving focus away from the War on Terror and repositioning US public angst towards a cadre of new nation-state enemy players. With both occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan still on the burner, US imperial aspirations overseas are already at near breaking point. Polls and historical trends also show that American voters will not likely want to switch their leadership during a hot military conflict, so we can expect that an expansion of ground troops could occur in Libya, or that a brand new operation could be launched as early as next spring 2012. On top of US and NATO agendas for prospective conflicts are clearly Libya (currently in progress), Iran and possibly Syria. Any one of these potential conflicts will require solid backing from the US public in order to ensure their launch and longevity.
Mark Twain could not have scripted a better ending for this, the season finale of Osama On the Run. As events unfold in the coming months, educated members of the public will be able to better piece together the real behind significance of Sunday’s announcement and read the long-range foreign policy game plan of the US, Israel and their NATO allies. Watch this space.
This article first appeared on 21st Century Wire.
Author Patrick Henningsen is a writer and communications consultant and currently the Managing Editor of 21st Century Wire.