By the Pig’s Arms Middle East Correspondent Reuben Brand
“USA! USA! USA!” echoed through the streets of New York City, as thousands of people, adorned with American flags, placards and slogans, congregated at Ground Zero to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden.
“Now that he’s dead, it feels good! To feel excited about somebody’s death is a weird feeling, but when it comes to him (bin Laden) it’s alright!” Said Michael Carol, a young man who lost his father on September 11.
Since the death of Osama bin Laden the popular media has been awash with White House spin. Commentators, politicians, analysts, anyone with a public voice, all towing the official line and like good little boys and girls, not questioning the vast holes in the abyss that is US “intelligence” in this mess that is the death of one man.
“Bin Laden is dead! Bin Laden is dead… Osama bin Laden is dead! Happy days! Happy days everybody! This is the greatest night of my career! The bum is dead! The savage who hurt us so grievously… and I’m so blessed, I’m so privileged to be at this desk, at this moment!” Cheered Geraldo Rivera from Fox News, as he high fived a colleague.
So quickly the West descends from its moral high horse, so quickly it returns to a mob mentality, so quickly it becomes the thing that it hunts. The thing that it hates.
Osama bin Laden’s death was the result of a targeted assassination. But there are too many holes in the official story to believe it outright. I am a sceptic and refuse to ingest garbage that is continuously served up by a super power with such a bad track record. WMD’s in Iraq, ring any bells?
The initial story was one of a heroic mission, wherein a triumphant team of US Special Forces stormed bin Laden’s “heavily fortified” compound (which was apparently only 50 kilometres from the capital Islamabad – but we will address that later), encountered an armed struggle with bin Laden who resisted detainment and then callously used one of his wives as a human shield. The result of which was the death of bin Laden, his wife and a number of al Qaeda operatives.
Bin Laden’s body was then airlifted away by US Special Forces only to be dumped at sea 24 hours later. Even a common criminal’s body would have been kept for longer – bear in mind, this was the most wanted man in the world, so where is the post-mortem examination report? Where are the DNA tests to prove identity? Where is the video evidence of this sea burial? Where is any evidence from the entire operation?
According to Washington and regurgitated by the Sydney Morning Herald, “Bin Laden’s body was washed and placed in a white sheet, following Islamic custom. The body was then put in a weighted bag. A military official read religious remarks that were translated into Arabic. The body was placed on a board that was then tipped, and the body was ‘eased into the sea’.”
“Eased into the sea,” it sounds so gentle, so poetic, like an act of kindness and care. I am curious as to when the US military suddenly became so respectful of religious customs, traditions and formalities. The actions at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Bagram Prison in Afghanistan all tell a different tale of respect.
Remember, the West has been hunting this man for nearly ten years now. One would think every aspect of this operation would have been documented.
Apparently, President Obama has the official death photos of bin Laden, but does not want to release them for fear of offending and infuriating the Muslim world – news flash Obama, you just killed the leader of al Qaeda – pretty sure you’ve pissed of a few people already.
The simple fact is that a large majority of the Muslim world do not follow, or believe in bin Laden’s ideology. They want freedom and democracy, just like you and I – the revolutions and uprisings against corrupt dictatorships and regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria are all testament to this.
Yes, al Qaeda will use bin Laden’s death photos as propaganda pieces to inspire more hatred, just as the West uses every available media outlet as a vehicle of propaganda to do just the same thing.
New versions of the official story are emerging – now we learn that the official story has been changed, again. This time, apparently bin Laden was not armed when he was shot, he didn’t use his wife as a human shield, she wasn’t killed, she was shot in the leg and his young daughter was present and witnessed her father’s assassination.
One curious piece to this story is the geographic proximity of Islamabad to Abbottabad. The popular media would have you believe that it is a short 50km drive, that bin Laden was living just next door to President Zardari, that Pakistan itself is in on the whole thing.
I have worked in Pakistan and have travelled up into the mountains to Muzaffarabad – the road to Muzaffarabad goes directly through Abbottabad and I can tell you, it takes a lot longer than a brisk 50km drive. Do a quick Google maps search and you will find that the average distance is actually around 123km on roads that are sometimes very precarious. When simple facts such as these are so blatantly overlooked and not even fact checked by so called journalists, we have to question the full story and its authenticity.
We have no proof; we only have the word of an administration that is known for its mistruths. It does make for a good story though, but who’s to say bin Laden didn’t die a long time ago? Who’s to say he isn’t still alive? Without proof we are left with hypothetical stories.
As long as we are speaking in hypothetical’s, here’s one for you. Osama bin Laden, an old, weak and very sick man, who was reported to have been on a dialysis machine for much of his time, died peacefully in his compound in Abbottabad, explaining the large amount of family members who were present to attend the funeral. The US, who had surveillance of the region caught wind of this and seized an opportunity too good to pass up – Osama bin Laden cannot die of natural causes – America must take credit for capturing public enemy number one!
Hypothetical? Yes. True? Who knows, but it is just as plausible as the official US version.
Has US Foreign Policy become synonymous with targeted assassinations, covert espionage and clandestine raids? Is the West safer now that the leader of al Qaeda is dead?
The actions of the US have violated and vilified Pakistan’s sovereignty. Pakistan is now under intense scrutiny by the international community, the very convenient capture and killing of bin Laden have given the US carte blanche (not that it needs any more) to do as it sees fit in the region. Pakistan has become the new public enemy number one.
Make no mistake, Osama bin Laden is no victim. The acts of September 11 were gruesome, they were brutal and they were uncalled for. The loss of innocent life is an inexcusable travesty no matter where it occurs, how it occurs or who perpetrates it
Reuben Brand is a Freelance Journalist – for more information please visit his website at: www.reubenbrand.com