May Day Celebrations  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Osama Bin Laden's recent reported demise had one definite downside - my TV screen was infested with the ghosts of the evil undead from the past decade (John Howard and Tony Blair prominent among them) for several days, though an exorcism seems to have been successfully performed now as they have once again faded from view.

The NY Daily News notes that May 1 seems to be a popular date for big events - obscuring the traditional May Day celebrations by the left - Osama Bin Laden, Adolf Hitler both declared dead on May 1.

Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler share a towering reputation for evil - and also an anniversary. Both were declared dead on May 1. ...

In some cultures May 1 is the official beginning of summer. In many places, May Day is also Labor Day, a celebration of the working man.

May 1 is also the anniversary of President Bush's ill-conceived 2003 Mission Accomplished speech, prematurely announcing an end to combat in Iraq.

While Bin Laden's reported demise makes it unlikely he'll be resurrected again for his traditional pre-US presidential election media announcement supporting the Democrats, apparently he still has one last video recording "working its way through Al Qaeda's media pipleine" (!) - One Last Osama Bin Laden Video Is Going To Come Out.
Bin Laden is dead, but we haven't heard the last from him. According to the AP, one last Bin Laden video was recorded right before he died.

The government expects it to come out shortly. It's said to be already working its way through the Al-Qaeda media pipeline.

The story of Osama's last minutes has been getting murkier as the week has worn on, with the official story changing shape a number of times now.

News Corp has a good example of some of the more tedious propaganda that has been floated during the week (Terrorist's last moments: Osama bin Laden used wife as human shield) which has been softened as time passed to "The Young Wife Who Defended Osama Bin Laden". The aforesaid wife was originally supposed to have perished during Bin Laden's killing but apparently she's now alive again.

Moon Of Alabama has some comments about the evolving media story- Open Questions On The Alleged Bin Laden Kill.
There are a lot of open questions about the recent U.S. operation in Pakistan.

Politico notes that the administration is already changing significant parts on the story for example about the involvement of women as "human shields" (a phrase which is usually a hint to propaganda nonsense): White House modifies Osama bin Laden account.

At least four involved helicopters starting in the official account from Jalalabad in Afghanistan to fly to Abbottabad in Pakistan with at least the two backups hovering for 40 minutes and then to fly back does not fit the fuel capacity of any known helicopters. It is more likely, as The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder claims, that those helos started the operation from Pakistani ground.

The extraordinary electricity outage in Abbottabad just during the operation also points to significant Pakistani involvement. The Pakistani government would of course like to keep any involvement secret as cooperation with the U.S. in such an operation would diminish its domestic standing.

Those pictured parts of a downed helicopter do not fit any known helicopter type. What is it? How was it downed? Some reports said "mechanical failure", others claimed "shot down".

The administration's counterterrorism adviser John Brennan claimed that they would have captured Bin Laden alive it that would have been possible. That does not fit to what Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress just six weeks ago:
"Let's deal with reality," Holder said. Bin Laden "will never appear in an American courtroom."

Pressed further on that point, Holder said: "The possibility of catching him alive is infinitesimal. He will be killed by us or he will be killed by his own people so he can't be captured by us."

It also doesn't fit to what an anonymous U.S. national security official told Reuters:
"This was a kill operation," the official said, making clear there was no desire to try to capture bin Laden alive in Pakistan.

If this operation killed Osama Bin Laden it was an extrajudicial killing in breach of public international law.

There is also a lot of administration fed right wing chatter on how some Guantanamo torture confessions led to the necessary hints to find Bin Laden. That is likely just an attempt to justify such torture. The capture of the alleged Bali bomber Umar Patek in the same city, Abbottabad, in early April is much more likely to have given a lead to some hideout.

Then of course there is not even the slightest tiny bit of proof, not even an attempt to produce pictures, that Bin Laden was actually captured or killed in this operation, or was converted to crab food. Looking at the distances and the time needed to verify that the alleged dead person has been Bin Laden, how did the alleged burying at sea happen so fast?

This whole operation seems to be more designed to create conspiracy theories than to reveal what really happened.

While I do not agree with Malooga's comment here, I concur that this was likely an operation to retire the "Bin Laden" marketing campaign which has helped to promote divisive U.S. war of terror policies over the last decade.

That does not mean that the "product" that encompasses those policies is now finished. Why should it be when it is still very profitable? A new theme will be found for a new campaign to promote exactly the same product and policy program.

Conspiracy theorists are also bandying about a recent Wikileaks release about what would happen if Bin Laden was come to grief - WikiLeaks docs: Nuclear reprisals if bin Laden killed.
Recently-released WikiLeaks documents show that detained al Qaeda members have predicted nuclear reprisals if Osama bin Laden were captured or killed.

The classified Defense Department files, obtained from detainee interviews at the Guantanamo Bay prison, were released by the document-sharing Web site a week before the raid in Pakistan that resulted in bin Laden's demise. (See list of related CNET stories.)

Abu al-Libi, al Qaeda's third in command and "operational chief" before he was captured in 2005, reportedly said the nuclear device was "located in Europe" and would be used in retaliation over bin Laden's death, according to the leaked files. The phrase "nuclear hellstorm" appears in the Defense Department's dossier on Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, who allegedly confessed to masterminding the September 11 attacks and will be tried by a military tribunal.

Another detainee, Sharif al-Masri, reportedly said that if al Qaeda was able to move the bomb to the United States, they would be able to find operatives of Europeans of Arab or Asian descent to use it. He said, the records show, if bin Laden "were to be captured or killed, the bomb would be detonated in the US" and that al-Libi "would be one of those able to give the order."

The claims--which could, of course, be false--add more detail to suspicions in Washington about possible reprisals following Sunday's special forces raid in Pakistan. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, told Fox Business yesterday that "we have to assume that al Qaeda is going to try to retaliate as quickly, as lethally as possible."

CounterPunch has a different Wikileaks angle to the story - US Knew Where Osama Was Since 2005.
The unredacted Guantanamo files show clearly that the trail to Abbottabad was known to the US intelligence services at least since 2005, when al-Libi, another Abbottabad dweller, was captured.

Timing is everything. The US President announced killing of Osama bin Laden just as Wikileaks completed its publication of Guantanamo files. Was it coincidence? If not, what was the connection?

An answer to this question is directly connected with the cross and double cross accusations exchanged in the murky world where the intelligence services meet mainstream media. ...

However the most important redactions by Leigh and Keller were directly dictated by the US intelligence services. The name of Nashwan Abd Al Razzaq Abd Al Baqi, or by another name, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi or by his number IZ-10026 was edited away from the file of Abu al-Libi (US9LY-010017DP) and elsewhere. This file is available in a redacted version of the Guardian and in the uncut version of Wikileaks. Comparison shows to what extent all the traces of al Iraqi were removed. It was not connected to “caring about informers”, for al Libi was dead, having allegedly committed suicide in a Libyan jail just before the arrival of the US Ambassador in Tripoli. The file of al Iraqi is missing in all databases; he was captured in 2005 and kept in various secret prisons, until transferred to Guantanamo where he is detained now.

Careful reading of the file shows that al-Libi was connected with al Iraqi since October 2002. In 2003, OBL stated al Libi would be the official messenger between OBL and others in Pakistan. In mid-2003, al Libi moved his family to Abbottabad, Pakistan and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar. He maintained contact with al Iraqi.

And we know that OBL was found and killed in Abbottabad – just as this publication hit the pages of the newspapers. So the trail to Abbottabad was known to the American services at least since 2005, when al-Libi, another Abbottabad dweller, was captured.

What we do not know is the nature of the contacts between the US authorities and OBL. What we do know is that David Leigh and Bill Keller tried to hid it from their readers. Their redacting of the Guantanamo files, like their redacting of the Cablegate, had nothing to do with “saving informers”.

David Leigh claimed that Assange "double-crossed" the paper by distributing the Gitmo files to various "right-wing" news organisations, meaning the conservative Daily Telegraph. This is rich. “Left” and “right” has very little meaning nowadays, after Blair and Clinton. What is important is the position on wars and overseas interventions, susceptibility to Secret Service meddling, subservience to the priorities of the state.

In France, right-wing Marine Le Pen stands against foreign interventions in Libya and Côte d'Ivoire , against payments to bankers, against the president, while left-wing Bernard Henri Levy supports wars and interventions, loves bankers, is a friend of the right-wing president Sarkozy.

In England, the Guardian is the leading newspaper for calls to war. Libya, Syria – the Guardian wants them bombed. Afghanistan, Serbia, Iraq, - the Guardian wanted them to be invaded. It is just the package is different: instead of right-wing jingoism, the Guardian served the neo-colonialist adventurism under delicate sauce of humanitarian intervention. The Guardian leads on hypocrisy. The Guardian is not the newspaper of the left; it is the problem of the left. The case of Guantanamo files proves that the Guardian redacted the most vital information as told by the CIA.

And Osama? What about Osama bin Laden? Now we know that the US knew of his whereabouts; they knew of the trail, they asked Leigh and Keller to remove relevant references. Why didn’t they capture him or kill him earlier?

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