This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Evil Dead

(A collection of four articles written in May 2011 on the alleged killing of Osama bin Laden)

So they have killed the Evil One [1], the fount of all that is against Truth, Justice and the American Way (OK, you know this is becoming my favourite new snark-phrase, don’t you?).

I suppose there is a chance that this whole thing was a put-up job, meant to let Osama make a safe getaway. But, not being a conspiracy theorist, unless there’s evidence to the contrary, I’ll grant they have Osama bin Laden’s head on ice, and probably at this moment people with adequate security clearances are lining up to get a look at it in return for contributions for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Wait...I just read that last sentence again, and it doesn’t sound as facetious as I meant it to be. After all, this is going to be the USP of Obama’s 2012 bid, isn’t it? The Man Who Got bin Laden? How can you, with any conscience, vote against the man who Killed the Most Dangerous Evildoer In The World? Are you With Us or With The Terrorists? Huh?

And there’s another pay off from it too, which I’ll get to in a minute. But meanwhile –

Maybe it’s time to hang out the bunting and give the Faux News people their American Flag tie pins back. Maybe the world’s now safe for Truth, Justice, etc.

And then again, maybe not.

I’m not grudging anyone their celebration. Let anyone who wishes, celebrate. After all, the facts will still be there when they come back to earth.

And what are these facts?

1. Osama bin Laden was a figurehead. The real power in Al Qaeda was, and is, Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who turned to jihad after being imprisoned and tortured in recently-thrown-overboard US vassal Hosni Mubarak’s jails. Does anyone wish to remember how all these years we kept hearing bin Laden was dead and gone? Wasn’t Al Qaeda still being touted as a threat then? Now, with him really dead and gone, will Al Qaeda cease to be a threat? (Assuming it was one in the first place; more on that, also, in a minute.)

Apart from making my mother, who always thought bin Laden was such a handsome man, sad, said killing will do absolutely nothing except give Al Qaeda (and the militant version of right wing Islam) a martyr, and yet more cause to hate the Empire. Even the Empire itself acknowledges that, since it asked its citizens to be careful of anti-American violence while travelling. In Pakistan, certainly, the knowledge that American forces are operating without the knowledge or permission of the government [2] will certainly further increase anti-American hatred.

If all the killing has done is increase threat levels against Americans, is it something to celebrate?

Common sense, which is pretty rare on the ground these days, will say no.

2. Osama bin Laden was a Frankenstein’s Monster. It would seem hardly necessary to point that out, but for some reason far too many Americans refuse to remember that it was Reagan’s US (the same Reagan whom these same Americans love to celebrate, not coincidentally) which helped arm, train and create the same “Islamofascist threat” which it now calls the greatest threat to its values and civilisation. One might say it’s kind of sadistic of me to keep going over the point that the original US-sponsored jihad in Afghanistan was against a modernist, secular government which put women in classrooms and behind steering wheels. One might even say it’s all water under the bridge. But it isn’t.

It isn’t, because the creation of a Frankenstein’s Monster isn’t a one-time thing. Even as the Obama Imperium celebrates the demise of the Most Evil Man in the Universe, how many other Frankenstein’s Monsters is it arming, training and financing even as we speak? In...oh, Libya for instance, with all those brave freedom-fighting rebels (just as Al Qaeda and the mujahideen were brave freedom fighters in Afghanistan, if you care to remember) who set off fireworks to celebrate the murder of Moammar Gaddafi’s young grandchildren? [3]

3. Terrorism-wise, Al Qaeda is a joke. Despite all the brouhaha over how it’s the Greatest Threat to Humanity, Al Qaeda’s actual achievements, over the years since 11 September 2001, have been anything from utterly pathetic to less than modest. (I’ll assume for now that 11/9 was actually an Al Qaeda operation, though as far as I am aware nobody, including the same US administration that destroyed three countries in the name of fighting it, has yet proved Al Qaeda’s complicity in that act.) Except for an odd assassination here and there, Al Qaeda has achieved less than an outfit like the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak Muivah), the murderous Baptist terrorist group which openly runs an armed base called Camp Hebron near Dimapur, well within Indian territory, collects taxes, and runs a parallel government [4]. Al Qaeda’s only real contribution has been by courtesy of American overreaction, as bin Laden himself was all too aware. As he said [5],

"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedin to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.”

Al Qaeda, in fact, has been extremely good at using the US as a proxy, in order to overthrow regimes which were aggressively anti Al Qaeda, whether in Iraq, or now in Libya, where another regime change effort is increasingly openly under way. In fact, any Muslim nation under American intervention almost automatically becomes more amenable to Al Qaeda, and don’t think the group doesn’t know this. The enemy of one’s enemy is at least not an enemy, if not quite a friend.

Will the United States declare its Global War Of Terror is over with the elimination of bin Laden, pull up its tent pegs from Afghanistan and Iraq, drop plans to invade Iran and any other nation that doesn’t suit its fancy, and go home? Of course not. Will the Empire stop supporting murderous dictators in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia so long as they continue to be reliable “allies”? Of course not. Will the Empire support democratic aspirations in those nations? Again, of course not. Therefore, since the Empire’s string of colonies will not be reduced by an iota, will Al Qaeda’s support drop? Of course not.

Getting back to that point, it’s almost as though the US and Al Qaeda were at an understanding. You know, somehow, all those countries the US invades (or has its proxies invade, as in Somalia) due to fear of Al Qaeda, seem to be countries the US would have liked to control anyway, like Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Somalia, not to mention Pakistan, which is no longer anything more than a US colony without a trace of independence. I certainly hope their understanding doesn’t suddenly break down now! We wouldn’t want to jeopardise another Peace Prize, would we?

Just imagine if Al Qaeda now decides that it’s been playing along long enough, and launches a genuine terrorist strike on American soil, smuggling in, let’s say, a nuke by container ship. Almost none of the seaborne cargo entering the US is inspected, and the only plausible reason Al Qaeda hasn’t used this route yet is that it did not want to. But now it may decide the partnership is over, and act accordingly.

What then?

4. Al Qaeda isn’t a unitary organisation; it’s a franchise [6]. Anyone, anywhere, can call himself Al Qaeda. It doesn’t take much more than one guy, a little internet research, and a half-baked idea like an underwear bomb to call himself Al Qaeda. Some of these franchises, like the late Abu Musab Al Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, were officially granted by the Zawahiri-bin Laden duo. Others just spring up like that, with one or more disaffected individuals (upset over things like, oh, Muhammad cartoons or burning Korans, maybe, or maybe by a million murdered Iraqis) taking it on themselves to become Al Qaeda.

5. Most Muslim “terrorists” aren’t Al Qaeda. A hell of a lot of them are in fact ideologically as far from Al Qaeda as you can get, especially the Shia groups, like Hizbollah. You know, the same Hizbollah which defeated the 2006 Zionazi invasion of Lebanon? That Hizbollah.

Many of them hate Al Qaeda worse than they hate the “west”, assuming any of them actually hate the “west” as an entity and not the misdeeds of the selfsame “west”. The Afghan and Iraqi resistance movements are conducted by groups which have in the former instance nothing more to do with Al Qaeda and in the latter instance never had. Eliminating Al Qaeda, even if such a thing were possible, would make no difference at all to these groups.

6. Killing Osama bin Laden will do nothing to reverse the Empire’s increasing state of economic collapse. It won’t pay off the deficit, get homeless people off the street, or do anything else to avert the Decline and Fall of the American Empire. Once the flag-waving euphoria and the fairly hilarious HAIL TO OUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF BARACK OBAMA (yes, I actually saw that as a comment on one website, block letters and all!) rhetoric dies out, everyone’s going to have to face the same old depressing realities.

7. The Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama has said that Osama bin Laden has killed many innocent people. If it were so, it was a grievous fault; and grievously hath Osama answered it...even though he started off killing innocent people as a tool of the Empire, and though there’s never been proof that he was behind 11/9 anyway. But what about the people killed by the Empire on the pretext of hunting down Osama?

I’ve already alluded to the million or more Iraqis killed by the Empire, and to that we can add the Afghans and Pakistanis who die daily in the “War On Terror”; the Somalis who were invaded in 2006 by the Empire’s proxy, Ethiopia; the Yemenis, whose murderous dictator is still being armed and financed by the Empire even as his own people continue to rebel against him; and who knows how many more to come. But there are the indirect casualties as well.

Another little episode Americans are loath to remember, but should be reminded of, was the destruction of the Al Shifa pharmaceutical factory by Bill Clinton’s regime in 1998 [7] on the excuse that it was making nerve agents and that its owners had ties with Al Qaeda. No such production or ties were ever discovered, and tens of thousands of Sudanese civilians are estimated to have died due to lack of medicines as the result of that bombing [8]. Bill Clinton’s wife Hillary is now Emperor Obama’s Secretary of State and widely thought to have made the United State’s foreign policy her own exclusive fief.

Who has killed more people, the Most Evil Man in the World, or the Forces of Good who have been trying to hunt him down?

8. The elimination of Osama bin Laden should be excellent news to the genuine anti-Empire resistance movements worldwide. Especially if they are Muslim, they can now fight the Empire without being, even if by association, linked to 11/9 or other Al Qaeda attacks. This is precisely the same thing that happened when Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia chief Abu Musab Al Zarqawi was killed in Iraq. The genuine Iraqi resistance wasn’t affected at all, but was freed from association with the murderous Jordanian terrorist.

9. I’ve alluded above to the other spin-off from the killing of Osama bin Laden. Just yesterday, the world was talking about the murder of Moammar Gaddafi’s (apolitical, student) son and three very young grandchildren. The Empire, and NATO, at first denied any such incident had even taken place. When the evidence, in the form of bodies and the testimony of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Tripoli, Giovanni Martinelli, came in, NATO was in a fix [9]. But now attention has been diverted from that little contretemps where it really matters: the infinitesimal attention span of the Imperial media. Now the invasion and occupation of Libya can go ahead.

Is it only my cynicism that makes me wonder if bin Laden hadn’t been killed several days ago and someone was waiting for an appropriate opportunity to announce it to the world, when the political benefits could be maximised? Is it actually beyond the realms of possibility?


Note: I should point out that the Osama bin Laden whose corpse was displayed on Pakistan TV looked not very much like the bin Laden of the pictures and videos [11]; and that since his corpse was buried at sea, nobody can check American claims for themselves any longer [12]. Make of that what you will.















                             Or, WHY MY DOUBTS KEEP GROWING.

So, twenty-four hours after the elimination of the Evil One broke on my personal consciousness, what further do I have to say?

Well, quite a lot, actually.

First, of course, is something I’ve already said elsewhere: that I wouldn’t trust the Empire’s media to tell me the right time. I find it quite charming that the same people who admit that the Empire’s media deliberately and repeatedly lied about WMDs in Iraq, the economic meltdown and just about anything else will say each time a new questionable statement comes up, “But, yes, this time they aren’t lying!”

Therefore, I have, and will continue to, maintain a healthy scepticism where the claims made by the Empire are concerned and will make up my own mind.

So, what exactly do we have?

We have Osama being killed in the course of a ‘firefight’ in the Pakistani town of Abbotabad, which is apparently an affluent ex-military colony, and where he had a mansion. Said mansion was apparently eight times bigger [1] than any other building in the area, and, besides:

Nestled in an affluent neighborhood (sic), the compound was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet, topped with barbed wire. Two security gates guarded the only way in. A third-floor terrace was shielded by a seven-foot privacy wall. No phone lines or Internet cables ran to the property. The residents burned their garbage rather than put it out for collection. Intelligence officials believed the million-dollar compound was built five years ago to protect a major terrorist figure. [2]

Now, I admit I’m no big expert in the hiding-out game, but it strikes me that if you choose to conceal yourself in the belly of the beast – in the nerve centre of a country crawling with CIA spies who do not have any accountability to the host country’s laws, for instance [3] – and you choose to hide out in that manner, and for all of two years to boot, you might as well be putting out a signboard saying LOOK HERE! SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY! I’d have thought that you’d be better off shaving your beard instead of doing a fairly crummy dye job, and hiding out in small private houses, frequently changing location to throw off pursuit. But then what do I know.

What I know, though, is that all the accounts we’re getting of the actual so-called firefight in which the World’s Most Wanted Man was killed come from one side, and one side only; and that side has very well-entrenched reasons to tell only its preferred version of the story. Therefore, when we hear that bin Laden’s youngest wife (who was allegedly killed with him) was being used by him as a “human shield” [4], it does occur to me to ask how, precisely, we know that such a thing actually happened. This woman may have been used as a human shield, and shot (though according to usual hostage situation SOP I don’t know if human shields are considered expendable). She may have been shot, deliberately or accidentally, by the attackers when she was nowhere near the Evil Dead One. She may have been killed when she threw herself in the way of a bullet in order to protect her beloved. We just don’t know.

What we do know is that not one of the people in that house survived the assault, in a wounded condition or otherwise, so there is no one alive to refute or confirm the official story. You just have to take it on trust. And anyone familiar with the Empire’s lies, dating back to the “Kuwait incubator” fabrication of 1990 [5], should have any particular reason to believe the Empire’s story without independent corroboration.

We also know that the Empire now claims that so-called “burial at sea” was planned well in advance. First, I strongly doubt the “burial at sea” story; it’s far more likely that bin Laden’s corpse is now in a locker somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon. In fact, if it is really bin Laden’s body, any other move would be inconceivable. Secondly, it’s kind of rich for the same country which had no scruples parading Saddam Hussein’s sons’ corpses around Iraq for eleven days after their death [6] to “prove they were dead” to now claim they were respecting Muslim sentiments by burying bin Laden within 24 hours. It’s totally ridiculous.

Then, while the Empire claims that the Evil One would have been captured if possible, it’s fairly evident that no real plans were ever made for his actual capture, and that the only aim of the raid was to kill him. After all, since the Empire’s official spokesman “doesn’t know” whether Osama even fired a gun [7], it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that the objective was to kill him. In any case, he could never have been brought to trial, in an open court; to this day no evidence has ever been presented linking him to the crime for which he was blamed, at least three countries to date destroyed, and well over a million people killed, and the FBI has admitted that it has no such evidence [8]. Besides, inconvenient truths have a nasty way of coming out in open court, and bin Laden was privy to a lot of skeletons in the Imperial closet.

Therefore, it wasn’t anything more than vigilante “justice”, not too unlike a lynch mob. That’s obvious to anyone and everyone who cares to think of it; and plenty of people are, in fact, rejoicing in that aspect of it, especially in the chronically Islamophobic halls of the Great Indian Muddle Class mind. A quick sweep through Indian websites will show the shrill howls for summary murder of accused Muslim “terrorists”, and anyone (like me) daring to show dissent is automatically branded a bin Laden sympathiser.

I’m not saying bin Laden isn’t dead. I am, though, saying openly that we haven’t got the real story, and considerable effort has gone into ensuring that we never shall.

But what is the final word on this whole carnival show? Hillary Clinton, she who rules the Empire’s foreign policy [9]

(presented) the killing ... less as a game-changer than as a vindication for the overall policy of endless war worldwide.

That’s right, the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, the proxy invasion of Somalia and its return to civil war, the drone strikes murdering civilians round the clock in Pakistan and Yemen, the ongoing devastation of Libya, are all now post facto justified because the Empire has, allegedly, “got its man.” And the wars are set to continue.

Who is the real Fount of All Evil here?












[This is becoming quite a regular feature, isn't it? I might have to charge admission...]

Before I get on the serious stuff, let me remind you that there is a website called the Comics Curmudgeon, where an excellent man named Josh Fruhlinger spends a lot of time mercilessly lampooning the comic strips of the day.

What does that have to do with the topic at hand?

This: that the saga of the elimination of Osama bin Laden has now developed so many twists and turns that not only does it surpass the efforts of a drunken sidewinder, but if it were a comic strip, it would be richly deserving of Josh’s best snarkery.


I must admit that I’m having a harder and harder time taking any piece of ”information” I get about this affair seriously. It seems to me that today’s statement is denied today, without bothering to wait for tomorrow. Much of the assumptions I made, going by official statements, in the previous two posts have already been abandoned...because of new official statements.

So, just as a kind of overview, let’s see what we have got at the moment, according, as always, to the official narrative:

Osama bin Laden, instead of shooting back at his attackers, as initially reported, or cowering behind his wife whom he was using as a human shield, as also claimed, was (according to the latest reports) doing neither [1]. No, he was “unarmed but resisting”, so he had to be shot – apparently, in the head. I have a question about what kind of resistance a physically frail unarmed individual can offer to armed Navy SEALs that is so intense that they have to gun him down. Actually, I’m probably far from the only person who has questions on that point.

Also, his wife wasn’t killed, though another, so far unidentified woman was, a woman, moreover, who wasn’t even in the same part of the compound when she was killed [2]; nor was the wife used as a human shield. However, she was ‘only’ shot in the leg because “’she attacked the US forces.” I’m sure all those big and strong men must have been utterly overwhelmed at the assault of an undernourished, oppressed, disadvantaged burqa-clad woman in order to have to shoot her to subdue her. How do I know she was undernourished, oppressed, burqa-clad and disadvantaged? Well, wasn’t bin Laden against all “Western freedoms”, and aren’t all Muslim women whose men are against “Western freedoms” undernourished, oppressed, burqa-clad and disadvantaged? Oh, and add to that list “brainwashed”, for who except a brainwashed woman would assault the forces of freedom?

Then, there’s also the little fact that – contrary to previous claims that bin Laden was to be captured if possible and not killed – the object was to kill him all along, and capture him only if he “surrendered” [3]. This, you may remember, is something I had explicitly declared in my previous update – that the idea was to kill him, come what may. Now they have explicitly admitted it, and that is very interesting on several points:

First, his death was an execution, no more, no less. It was, without a doubt, a vigilante-style execution, if the official accounts are to be believed at all. And if it was an execution, isn’t it important to ask why?

After all, isn’t it time the American people came off their high and began asking a few simple questions?

Like, for instance, why shoot bin Laden instead of arresting and trying him, because if he is guilty, then they can execute him judicially afterwards and he’d be equally dead anyway?

Like, if Osama bin Laden was actually in that situation, hiding in plain sight as it were, then wouldn’t even a semi-competent administration – let alone one which has legitimised torture [4] as an interrogative tool – have preferred to squeeze every bit of information out of bin Laden rather than expect to find the so-called “treasure trove” of information they allegedly unearthed in his hideout? If you were in Obama’s place, what would you do?

Like, why is bin Laden always equated with 11/9, despite that being a crime with which he was never formally charged and for which the FBI admitted a lack of evidence? Why do people never seem to remember that not only was he a Frankenstein’s monster, but that his victims were mostly Afghans, Arabs and Russians...and that bin Laden was a financier and backer of terrorists like Shamil Basayev (of Beslan) for example? Does that say more about Americans than about bin Laden?

Like, was bin Laden captured previously, squeezed dry, and then bumped off when of no further value? Is that why this allegedly highly conspicuous “mansion” featured on nobody’s radar all these days? And if so, was he bumped off because there was no information he could give regarding the 11/9 crime he has been accused of? Was the lack of evidence the FBI has already alluded to so complete that even a secret military tribunal couldn’t find him guilty? Did the US know all along where Osama was, and kill him only at a politically opportune time [5]?

If the answers to these last questions are no, then why on earth was an unarmed bin Laden shot? Isn’t killing him going to turn him into a martyr, especially as bin Laden had already told a journalist that he didn’t fear death, and that only if he was captured alive could he have been said to have been defeated [6]?

After all, in this sort of situation, victory can’t be anything but a matter of perception, can it?

Also, while I’m on the subject, since the entire operation was allegedly videotaped for the delectation of Obama and H Clinton by helmet mounted cameras, why does the official account keep changing? It stinks to high heaven, even if we leave out the odour of bin Laden’s corpse, which is now allegedly at the bottom of the Arabian Sea.

Then again, it seems that apart from bin Laden, and his youngest wife, at least one of his sons (whose name has also mysteriously changed) was present, and killed. There was apparently also a daughter, aged 12 or 13, who watched her dad being shot (way to go, PTSD) and up to eight other children, all present in the same compound [7]. If you’re the world’s most wanted man, and hiding in the centre of a country crawling with enemy spies, you not only live in a gigantic and ultra-conspicuous mansion, but you also stuff it full of your kids. Did these children never go to school? Were they somehow so reliably brainwashed into concealing their parents’ identity that they could be allowed at large? What on earth was bin Laden thinking?

Also, if Osama was executed, or in cruder terms murdered in an act of vigilante justice, has the Empire now formally endorsed lynch mobs? Once you begin sliding down the slippery slope of lawlessness, at what point can you stop? How soon before what was “the last resort” becomes merely “convenient”? Shouldn’t this be a question asked by anyone who knows Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem (“First they came...”) [8]

I’m told that the Empire has pictures of “bin Laden’s corpse” which are “too gruesome to be released”, though it is thinking about releasing them to “set doubts about his death at rest.” [9] That is, again, rich coming from the same Empire which had no problems plastering pictures of Uday and Qusay Hussein’s corpses all over the net after they had been killed to “prove their deaths.” Not that the release of pictures will prove a thing, of course, either way.

Then again, how many times has bin Laden been killed over the years [10]? I’ve lost count, myself. I should be so lucky, to have that many lives. Since, according to sources who ought to know, the man has either been captured or killed multiple times over the years, are we to assume that they were all wrong, entirely on the basis of a story which changes by the minute?

Can there be any kind of theory that explains, at the least, some of this?

I believe there is, actually.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think I have solved the mystery:

Osama bin Laden was a zombie.

Look at how much this explains. He’s been dead for a long time, and yet they had to shoot him while he was unarmed in order to put him down, and through the head at that. Haven’t you watched the George Romero films? Of course they had to shoot him, because zombie bites and scratches are lethal, and through the head, because that’s the only way to take down zombies. Correct?

And that explains his wife’s bullet injury too, because being his wife, she must have had sex with him, and it’s more likely than not that she, too, was infected by the virus. At the least, they couldn’t take that chance, and so when she came for them with her lethal fangs and claws, they shot her. Perfectly reasonable.

OK, I apologise for that. But the whole mess is so farcical I had to descend to the same level to deal with it.

Now let’s wait for tomorrow’s new news, which will overturn today’s old news.

On with the show.












Further reading:


...Or, Why bin Laden had horrible BO.

OK, guys, this is going to be my last bin Laden update for a while, simply because I don’t want my rationality contaminated any further by this rubbish.

Anyway, here goes, the latest in the changing, changing story [1]:

It appears now that “only one” of the five people killed in the alleged “firefight” that eliminated bin Laden was armed, and that this person was in a “guesthouse” separated from the main building [2], which turns out not to have been a “palatial mansion” at all, but something far more modest, lacking even basic air conditioning [3] . The others were not only not armed but in no way were offering resistance at all, even though they seemed to have plenty of weapons lying around. From the initial heavy exchange of fire, then, we come down to a virtually one-sided massacre, and maybe by tomorrow even the one man who shot back will have been disarmed.

From the beginning, one question I’ve been asking myself is, why didn’t Osama bin Laden make an attempt to fight or flee? Even if he were unaware of the raid being planned, helicopters (take it from me; I’ve been near one many times) are noisy things. He can scarcely have been unaware of the clattering metal bugs settling down on his courtyard. Why didn’t he even try to pick up the weapons allegedly lying around and fire back, or at least dash out of the room in which he was? According to the latest version, he calmly waited to be shot, standing there in his pyjamas.

Now that the world is coming off the preposterous high that followed the announcement of the murder, questions are of course being asked whether the shooting was even legal, let alone necessary [4]. But legality was never a concern to people who want to rule the world and believe in American Exceptionalism. Therefore, not only do they insist the murder was legal, they – in the person of Obama himself – insist that they will do the same in future [5].

Do you remember how just yesterday I had warned about the danger of vigilantism becoming the preferred option? Why am I once again being proved right?

How long before people in Washington or San Francisco are being bumped off by Delta Force hit squads because it’s inconvenient to arrest or try them?

I’ve been – like many people – thinking of an alternate reality in which Osama bin Laden was brought to trial. Let us, for the sake of argument, grant that the man was actually, as advertised, killed as and when described. He could, of course, have been brought to trial, and then what?

If he was brought to trial, obviously, the evidence against him – whatever that evidence may be – would have been produced in court. If that evidence was actually sufficient to convict him, he could have been convicted, and, presumably, punished. Even if the court proceedings were less than fair – the Saddam Hussein “trial” comes to mind – the US could at least claim that it had given him more opportunity to defend himself than he gave his victims, and at the end they could have strapped him to a gurney and pumped his veins full of poison, just as they do to so many people every year.

While I’m on that subject, I should point out that the Taliban had – on 15 October 2001 – offered to hand bin Laden over for trial by a court comprised of members of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC).

The OIC is a moderate, Saudi-based organization (sic) representing all Islamic countries. A trial of bin Laden by judges from OIC member countries might have dealt a more serious blow to al Qaeda’s Islamic credentials than anything the United States would have done with bin Laden. [6]

That offer was refused by the US, something that ought to surprise anyone naive enough to still imagine the invasion of Afghanistan was anything to do with crushing Al Qaeda or bin Laden.

Obviously, a bin Laden “martyred” in a targeted assassination by the Empire’s forces is a different matter entirely from a bin Laden forced to defend himself in the dock. The former is – by any perception – the victim of a “hit squad”, and to anyone already convinced that Muslims are being targeted by the Empire, worldwide, the man becomes another victim of Imperial evil. The latter is a criminal facing justice for his crimes, and if there is evidence that can be presented in the open court, his crimes become obvious to everyone...including the fact that his victims included, probably, more Muslims than members of all other religions put together.

Which, do you suppose, would have a better impression on Muslims worldwide about the bona fides of his accusers? Which, in the long term, would have been better for the international image of the United States of America?

Since the answer is fairly obvious, one can but wonder why the strategists in Washington couldn’t see it. There are three possible answers.

The first possibility is that there was never sufficient evidence to connect bin Laden to the crime he is always accused of, the destruction of the World Trade Centre. In fact, bin Laden has never been charged with that crime, and the FBI admitted that it had no evidence linking him to it. (I’m not ruling out that “evidence” may be found, or manufactured, post facto from all those computers, flash drives etc allegedly found in bin Laden’s residence.) If that were so, it would have been a major problem because the idea of “punishing” bin Laden was the excuse for the holocaust visited on the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and northern Pakistan to this day.

However, bin Laden could still have been tried for other crimes committed by Al Qaeda, in the US and elsewhere – and while I’m on the subject, let me remind you that the first country to issue an arrest warrant against Osama bin Laden was...Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya [7].

To those who refuse to admit that bin Laden deserved a fair trial, I ask: are you afraid that he might have been proven innocent, and that your hatred of him and your support for ten years of war to bring him down might be proved to be no more than a manipulation by cynical politicians and media sources?

The second possibility is that bin Laden knew too much. This was an extremely likely possibility, given the fact that he was a Frankenstein’s Monster created by the Empire itself, and his dealings with it were murky and of long standing.

To those who refuse to admit that bin Laden deserved a fair trial, I ask: are you afraid that a trial would have proved your own side’s complicity in creating the monster, and damaged your perception of yourself as an innocent victim?

The third possibility is extremely interesting. There is the possibility that bin Laden was murdered simply in order to show that the Empire was capable of crude vigilante justice, and cared not at all for international law or any constraints in the pursuit of vigilante justice, with the “evildoer” being exterminated to popular acclaim [8]. In this case, bin Laden had to be killed, simply to make a domestic political point: that the side accused of being ‘soft’ on the War Of Terror could match the other side in every way in toughness. This point was aimed quite clearly at impressing the same demographic to which the cheering crowds outside the White House belonged. Of course, the long term damage would be great, but which politician has ever looked beyond the next election?

To those who refuse to admit that bin Laden deserved a fair trial, I ask: is he 'automatically' guilty without one? If it were you accused of some heinous crime tomorrow, would you be comfortable with the idea of being condemned, found guilty by political innuendo and media dramatics, and extra-judicially murdered without even a day in court?

If a country which claimed to be the world’s standard-bearer for truth, justice and freedom now throws the very concept overboard, who has won?

There’s no doubt about it: the bin Laden shot dead by the Empire’s shock troops has won [9]. He has won –without really doing anything at all – because he becomes a martyr who will draw more recruits to the cause, and because the Empire will further embroil itself in endless wars against these people. He has won because in his perception the war is one of ideologies, of long term perceptions, and at the end of the day it’s the Empire which has dropped all its cherished “freedoms” and “values” to become more like him, while he has not had to move from his position by a millimetre.

The US could have put him on trial and refurbished its own image. It blew the chance, spectacularly, and in all probability for short-term domestic political benefits.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject of changing narratives, it appears now that surveillance, and not waterboarding, is what led to bin Laden’s whereabouts [10]. That must be a disappointment for right wing pundits cheering on the torture chambers. Sorry, guys.

Right, now on to the thing I was going to tell you about: the body odour. Osama bin Laden was apparently all set to flee at a moment’s notice; he had € 500 stitched into his clothes along with two telephone numbers, according to the people who claim to know [11]. I’ll pass over the telephone numbers for the moment, except to say that it would be a piss-poor escape plan that didn’t involve basic memorisation of them, and that the people to whom those numbers belonged had better be fleeing for their lives. The money is much more significant.

Since Osama planned to flee at a moment’s notice, even though he made absolutely no attempt to actually flee, he should have had the money and the clothing either very, very close at hand or on his person at all times. I doubt very much whether he had € 500 sewn into all his clothes. Nor is it likely that each time he changed a shirt, the money was taken out and restitched. And as anyone who’s ever accidentally laundered a wallet knows, a wash does cash little good.

Ergo, bin Laden always wore the same clothes, or kept them by his side, and never laundered them. After living all these years in a house without air-conditioning, in the heat of the Pakistani summer, can you imagine how much those clothes must have stunk?

The Navy SEALs probably found him by the body odour alone.













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