Wednesday, 04 May 2011

The Race to Replace Osama bin Laden as America's Most Wanted

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No matter whether Osama bin Laden was killed this week or, as some claim, years ago, the irrefutable fact is that while he lived, much of his activity for most of his life was supported to varying degrees by the U.S. government.

An enlightening essay published by the Centre for Research on Globalisation provides the reader with details of the relationship between the American intelligence apparatus and Osama bin Laden and his fellows:

Prime suspect in the New York and Washington terrorists attacks, branded by the FBI as an "international terrorist" for his role in the African US embassy bombings, Saudi born Osama bin Laden was recruited during the Soviet-Afghan war "ironically under the auspices of the CIA, to fight Soviet invaders."

In 1979 "the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA" was launched in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in support of the pro-Communist government of Babrak Kamal.

With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan's ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence], who wanted to turn the Afghan jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan's fight between 1982 and 1992. 

Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad.

The Islamic "jihad" was supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia with a significant part of the funding generated from the Golden Crescent drug trade.

In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166, ... [which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies — a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987, ... as well as a "ceaseless stream" of CIA and Pentagon specialists who traveled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan's ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There the CIA specialists met with Pakistani intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan rebels.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) using Pakistan's military Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) played a key role in training the Mujahideen.

In turn, the CIA sponsored guerrilla training was integrated with the teachings of Islam:

Predominant themes were that Islam was a complete socio-political ideology, that holy Islam was being violated by the atheistic Soviet troops, and that the Islamic people of Afghanistan should reassert their independence by overthrowing the leftist Afghan regime propped up by Moscow.

Despite the substantial financial and logistical support provided to bin Laden and his “freedom fighters,” there is still a chance that the agents of the U.S. government never figured that bin Laden and company would parlay that patronage into a worldwide terror organization. 

Perhaps those in control of the American empire did not purposefully create the monster of Osama bin Laden. Alternatively, perhaps they not only allowed him to become a symbol of “terrorism,” but they propped him up as a straw man whose name and likeness could be used as an unquestioned excuse for the evisceration of the civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Whichever explanation is true (which will likely never be known for sure), there is no debate about the fact that the killing of Osama bin Laden sprayed lighter fluid on the fire of anti-American hatred. Equally certain is that that fire, in turn, will be dutifully tended by the agents of tyranny inside and outside the American government and will be employed to consume liberty on the altar of statism.

Assuming, in arguendo, that the official story of bin Laden’s killing is true, then it is certain that he will never be held accountable for the crimes of which he was indicted (not the 9/11 atrocities, by the way). The U.S. government decided (it is reported that President Obama made the final kill order himself) that justice is best served by well-trained hit squads rappelling into homes at night.

Why did Osama bin Laden deserve such a fate? Because he was an enemy of the state. There are few who would argue that our government masterfully (and effectively) made the case for the Saudi-born terrorist’s “most wanted” status. There was a multi-million dollar reward, there were “dead or alive” speeches, and posters in post offices.

The more timely question now that the deed is done is who is next? There are still tatters of the Constitution remaining to be obliterated, so there will undoubtedly be a new face of fear.

As this writer has documented over the past couple of years, there is one person who is cited regularly as the new name in terror: Anwar al-Awlaki.

The convincing argument to replace bin Laden’s face on the wanted posters with that of Awlaki is already being made by the mainstream media:

Anwar al-Awlaki is a frightening ­prospect — a terrorist who lived among us before turning to terror as a way of life. Aged just 40 and born in the US, he has been linked to the failed “underwear bomb” plot of 2009.

For two years he lived in London lecturing Muslims — and counted 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi among his followers in the US.

As head of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, he is said to be the West’s gravest enemy. Web savvy and a shrewd ­manipulator of social networking, al-Awlaki could even leapfrog bin Laden’s deputy Ayman ­al-Zawahiri, ­who has a £15.6 million bounty on his head.

Known as The Doctor, al-Zawahiri also masterminded the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

As reported in The New American, al-Awlaki is an American-born imam of Yemeni descent who shares something other than Predator drone target status with (the late) Osama bin Laden. According to a Fox News report, as was the case with bin Laden in the '80s, Anwar al-Awlaki was trained by the CIA in anticipation for his starring role.

That Awlaki spews nonsense and preaches hate against the United States is indisputable. He is an an enemy to peace, but that does not make him an enemy of the state, and his status of being an American citizen should shield him from presidential death warrants, the kind that got a couple of bullets put in Osama bin Laden’s head.

The bottom line (the line in the sand) is when “radical Islam” is no longer valuable as shorthand for “evil,” who will fill that billet? In a world where the President of the United States can nod and special operations soldiers are deployed to assassinate suspected terrorists (including those born in the United States and not indicted of any crimes, such as Awlaki), who is safe? Will “radical” defense of the Constitution one day land an otherwise law-abiding American citizen on a hit list?

While celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden, take time to recognize that the bell that tolls for him may soon toll for the Constitution and the American Republic.

Photo: AP Images

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