In Osama killing, an illegal political assassination

It was a major victory in the ‘war against terror’. Was it? Not really. But this populist narrative coming out of the White House is blindly mimicked by much of the mainstream media.

To help matters along, we had that photo of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other US government officials sitting in the White House apparently watching a ‘live feed’ video of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. All very dramatic and all very Hollywood, with some Schwarzenegger-type gun toting unit reeking revenge on the bad guy. It plays out well to a US audience reared on media propaganda where there is black and white with no grey areas allowed.

Osama was not armed when he was shot dead. Neither was he using his wife as a ‘human shield’. This original version of events that came out of the White House is in direct contradiction to what Obama later announced. The new version of events was presented by spokesman Jay Carney, who said Osama’s wife had rushed one of the Seals and was shot in the leg but not killed. Carney also said that Osama was then shot and killed, and he was unarmed. The original version said he was armed.

You couldn’t make it up. Or maybe you could and they are. We were lied to or misled over the reason for the US and its allies going into Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, and we have been constantly misled over Osama being directly responsible for the attack on the twin towers in New York. There has never been any credible evidence presented. So, why believe anything that comes from the mouths of ‘official sources’ in the US?

Much of the media, however, merely parrots the ‘official narrative’ about not only the daring raid on Osama’s compound, but also the deceptions concerning some notional ‘war on terror’ and a simplistic tale of good vs evil wherein western imperialism has been airbrushed away.

The US media likes to focus on US citizens dancing in the streets and shoves microphones in people’s faces who mouth platitudes about revenge for 9/11 and justice having been done.

Instead of questioning the evidence (if any) presented for Osama being responsible for the twin tower attacks, or the way the CIA and Pentagon helped construct the al-Qaeda and even today in Libya are using it to further US ends, the media finds it much more sexy and ratings-friendly to spew out the US government line as fact.

Media’s failure

Noam Chomsky asks the US to consider how it (and the media) would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. The western media fails to highlight that the US operation to kill Osama was an illegal political assassination carried out on the sovereign territory of another state, apparently without that state’s consent or knowledge.

President Asif Ali Zardari has denied that Pakistan sheltered terrorists, describing it as “the world’s greatest victim of terrorism” in an article for the ‘Washington Post’. And there lies the crux of the matter. Just who are the real victims in all of this and who are the major culprits?

Don’t look to much of the mainstream media to provide the answer to this. The media narrative coincides with the US government’s depiction that hails weapon-wielding US ‘liberators’ for essentially killing and maiming millions in unjustified and illegal wars in West Asia and helping turn Pakistan into the mess of conflict and death it is becoming.

Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Blair and the rest of their cronies have been complicit in the deaths of people that outweigh those killed in the twin towers attack thousands of times over, and that’s not even taking into account the lakhs killed as a result of sanctions in Iraq during the 1990s (5,00,000 children under 5, according to UNICEF). Obama’s administration is continuing along the same lines.

Their policies have also been responsible for turning much of the West into a fear ridden open prison tinged with Islamophobia and ready to get in line whenever a new imperialist adventure is mooted or more draconian anti-civil liberty measures are forwarded to ‘protect’ people from the induced paranoia. It’s clear who the main victims and culprits are.

But why worry? As in the movies, the bad guy has been eliminated. All they need now is some other character to play the part. The media will no doubt continue to play cheerleader from the sidelines.

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