mercredi 4 mai 2011

The Comedy of Terrors

In the United States, bullshit can almost be considered the Fifth Element, with Donald Trump being The Last Hairbender. And indeed, the actions of this administration of late seem to be less autonomous actions as they're reactions to the Donald's assertions and charges.

Just as Trump was building what in right wing circles was a noteworthy and sturdy campaign platform ("Show us the birth certificate!"), out came the long form birth certificate. Then, to make room for the President's announcement of bin Laden's death, Trump's program, Celebrity Apprentice, was preempted. Sandwiched in between this was Obama's standup act at the White House Correspondent's dinner that was half devoted to roasting Trump without his prior knowledge.

But Donald Trump is easy fun fodder for people who don't have to worry about black helicopters and JSOC legally bypassing posse comitatus. As easy as it is to make jokes about Trump and the Republicans who were unwilling or unable to get bin Laden for the last 10 years, we seem to have forgotten how to recognize the failings and to make fun of an administration simply because it's controlled by the Democratic Party and is led by a man with a reputation for intelligence and glibness.

For instance, consider all the things that went wrong in Abbottabad, Pakistan the night we supposedly killed bin Laden: Misjudging the altitude and air density at the compound, a Navy SEAL chopper was grounded at the foot of the compound's outer wall. This prevented the chopper's takeoff after the op, requiring the vehicle's demolition. In a way, this will remind some of us older folks about the abortive rescue operation in Iran in 1980. It was probably the one single biggest fuckup that resulted in Jimmy Carter getting ousted out of office by Ronald Reagan.

Even though Pakistan's government shared with us intelligence about the compound, we decided to go in with guns blazing without first notifying the Pakistani government. Which, considering how notoriously corrupt Pakistani governments always seem to be and how close they've been to al Qaeda, may not have been such a bad idea, after all.

Then there was the supposedly open-ended ROE or Rules of Engagement: Capture bin Laden except if he resists. First we were told bin Laden traded fire with Navy SEAL and CIA operators. Then that was downgraded to, "Well, he may not have gotten off a shot, after all." By today, we were told by Jay Carney that he wasn't, in fact, armed at all, leading one to wonder what he could have done that could be construed as "resisting" and terminal force with extreme prejudice was deemed necessary.

And now NBC is telling us that bin Laden was captured alive then killed.

In fact, virtually everything we were told by the president and John Brennan, Obama's #1 counter-terrorism advisor, was a complete fabrication. Therefore, if we're to retain any sort of intellectual honesty, we have to wonder about what else went down in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

For those of you whose own memories don't stretch that far back, it may be worth it for me to remind you all that Brennan was Obama's first pick to head up the CIA. Then Brennan had to withdraw his name from consideration because of his prior statements that glorified torture, extraordinary rendition and other war crimes that we've been unsuccessfully denying for years.

Before becoming Obama's top counter-terrorism chief, Brennan headed up a company called Analysis Corp, a security company whose parent company's (Global Strategies) mercenaries have been criticized by human rights groups for human rights abuses.

So not only is Brennan a torture and extraordinary rendition-loving type of guy, he's also a fuckup and a liar who'd embarrassed the administration yet will still keep his job.

This is the first picture authorized by Brennan to be released of bin Laden's body.

Now, it ought to behoove us to remind ourselves of bin Laden's own murky and troubling history with our government and especially the CIA itself, an involvement that certainly did not end with bin Laden's and his mujahedeen's battle with the Soviets during the 80's. In fact, it's a matter of public record that bin Laden was still working with our government and his terrorist training camps in Afghanistan were enjoying protection paid for by the US taxpayer as recently as two years before 9/11.

In fact, the al Qaeda-supported KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) was supported by not only bin Laden and his people but also by Germany and Uncle Sam. But don't believe me: This is coming from a former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania. The KLA, you might remember, has long since been declared a terrorist organization by the US State Department.

Yet somehow, bin Laden's involvement with the CIA hardly ever makes it into the official narrative, especially any that's even tangentially devoted to September 11th. For instance, if you were to go straight to the index of Bin Laden, the Man Who Declared War on America by Yossef Bodansky, who's a former senior consultant to the Pentagon and U.S. State Dept., you'll note two pages of entries for bin Laden but only four mentions of the Central Intelligence Agency. That's hardly what I'd call an innocent oversight.

Compare that to Taliban, by Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid. His own index lists eight entries on bin Laden and no less than 11 about the CIA.

Speaking of intrepid journalists working abroad safely beyond the confines of the American corporate mainstream media, it may be worth it to look at a series of interviews that Greg Palast did for the BBC in the months before 9/11. Pay particular attention to what Michael Springman, a longtime veteran of that same State Department, says about how deep and incestuous was our involvement with al Qaeda. In fact, Springman said at the beginning of the first sound bite that he was ordered to issue visas to al Qaeda terrorists.

This was, of course, during the time when former CIA chief George HW Bush was still clinging to Reagan's coat tails in the White House.

I'm just dabbing at the many, many disturbing connections between bin Laden and the United States government. We know about the financing and training in Afghanistan and all that. What we may not know so much about was Dubya's inexplicable decision to pull back two attack subs near Afghanistan that had been in place for two years and were certainly in a position to take out the training camps if they'd been gotten the order (Clinton gave the order twice to do so but those were struck down by then CIA Director George Tenet).

Considering to what extraordinary lengths the Obama administration has gone to protect the war criminals of the Bush administration, is it really beyond the pale to speculate that perhaps the current administration was, in killing bin Laden, protecting not the United States but previous administrations?

Perhaps the whole idea was take bin Laden out before he could get to the trial phase. And, if anyone had a lot of secrets about our government, secrets that never should get out, that person was Osama bin Laden.

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