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I said nothing about the killing of Osama bin Laden on the most recent episode of the C-Realm Podcast, and that is for a couple reasons: First, the episode was already full, and the episode content had been decided before I heard the reports that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US forces. But secondly, it is very rare that I will entertain on the C-Realm Podcast something that is in the current news cycle, and that is because I think the current news cycle is typically a tool with which to keep people misdirected and thinking about things that are really of very little importance to their lives. Even so, I was struck by the fact that Osama bin Laden was reported to have been shot in the face and that his body was then immediately dumped into the ocean, even though he was killed several hundred miles from the nearest ocean. My immediate reaction was, "Show me the body."

I don't have any beliefs about what happened to Osama bin Laden, whether he is alive or dead and, if dead, when or how he died. I used to work with a man who claimed to be ex-CIA, and in 2004 he told me that bin Laden had been killed within a few days of the 9/11 attacks. He did not specify why Osama bin Laden had been killed, but this is consistent with one of the more prominent alternative narratives. In particular, I'm thinking of the one propagated by Alex Jones. I will not articulate that alternative narrative here because I don't think the specifics of that narrative are particularly important to the topic at hand. I won't even say that I put that alternative narrative on par with the official narrative of what happened to Osama bin Laden, namely that he eluded capture for nearly a decade and was then meticulously tracked, located, and that a special team of elite military forces invaded his home with orders to kill him and dispose of the body immediately. After listening to NPR on and off for a week, I have heard enough people fleshing out the details of this officially sanctioned narrative that the mechanism of social proof has got me favoring the notion that Osama bin Laden really was alive until April of 2011. I'm not saying that I believe that definitively, only that, on the whole, I give it more weight than the Alex Jones alternative narrative.

I saw a link on Facebook to a short essay by Noam Chomsky, detailing his reactions to the news of bin Laden's death. Chomsky made the very obvious point that Osama bin Laden had been accused of a crime, and that normally when someone is accused of a crime they are apprehended and put on trial. The charges against them along with the evidence that supports those charges is scrutinized in great detail, and an adversarial process takes place in which two teams of people are assigned the task of presenting contradictory versions of reality, and then a jury, or sometimes just a judge or tribunal, is charged with the task of evaluating the two narratives and rendering a judgment as to which side has made the stronger case. Chomsky states, and the government's narrative concurs, that no effort was made to apprehend the unarmed man and that he was summarily murdered (or "terminated" if you prefer a morally neutral term) and his body disposed of in a way that makes forensic investigation of the killing impossible.

Eight days ago when I first heard the claim that Osama bin Laden had been killed and that deliberate efforts had been taken to dispose of all evidence (other than DNA evidence which is so intangible as to constitute no evidence at all from my perspective) my first thought was that the entire episode had been fabricated in the service of some political machination. I did not, and have not, committed to belief in that idea; it was just the most obvious scenario that leaped to mind. I am also open to entertaining the idea that, in fact, Osama bin Laden was still alive up until eight days ago and that he really was killed by a team of US Navy SEALs. The fact remains that the SEALs made no effort whatsoever to take Osama bin Laden alive so that he could stand trial for the crimes of which he stands accused. Given that he was a figure of great political importance his murder amounts to a political assassination. In Noam Chomsky's words, "It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law."

I posted the link to Chomsky's essay to Facebook, and along with the link to the essay, and I included the following questions:

"Would you prefer that Osama bin Laden had been taken into custody and tried for his crimes? Do international norms against political assassination apply to the United States?"

A woman with whom I went to high school and with whom I've had very little interaction in recent years replied with, "I don't think there is a fair enough amount of justice on this Earth that could have been achieved with a trial. Shooting somebody between the eyes hardly seems adequate, though, for such a diabolical person like Bin Laden. It may be wrong, but I wouldn't have minded seeing his body slowly streched and pulled into two pieces. Yes, that would have been cool."

I have no reason to think that my old classmate is a bloodthirsty psychopath, and yet she has expressed a desire to see a stranger die a very painful and gruesome death. The person she thinks got off too easy by being shot in the face is someone that she does not know and about whom she only knows based on what she has been told by anonymous strangers in the corporate media. The mainstream narrative about Osama bin Laden has been repeated so often, so skillfully and with such authority by the corporate media that a normally decent person who admits that her desires may well be morally wrong craves to witness the torture and murder of someone she does not know.

Someone else commented, "It is obvious that the 'evil' that [she] speaks about is something kindled in her heart and the hearts of people by the truly evil people who dictate policy in the U.S.A...."

I wish that he had stopped there, because I think that he has articulated something that is quite obviously true, and, to me very important. Unfortunately, his sentence ended as follows, "and who are the ones who were responsible for 9/11 and other false flags." The 9/11 attacks as false flag event is, to my mind, a credible narrative. I don't believe it, but at the same time, I don't believe it to be false. Even so, tying this controversial narrative to the very obviously true and well-articulated claim that the hatred that millions of Americans feel for Osama bin Laden comes not from their personal experience or judgment but from a decade of intense propaganda drags down the stronger and more important claim.

Obviously, I have several concerns here, but the one that I wish to draw attention to is the fact that we, the people, on whose behalf Osama bin Laden was purportedly killed, are expected to take reports of his death at face value without evidence and not bat an eye at the trillion dollar expense report that comes with the claim of "Mission Accomplished." The very notion that proof would be required has been depicted in the mainstream narrative as a sign of paranoia, as if our government had never told us expedient lies. To me, a notion more disturbing than that Osama bin Laden's death was fabricated is the idea that his death really did occur as we have been told, and that people in positions of great authority made a deliberate decision to establish (or perhaps merely reenforce) the precedent that news of this importance should, as a matter of course, be accepted without skepticism. The machinery of manufacturing consent has now established to the satisfaction of the seeming majority of American citizens that to ask for proof for the claims of one's government is evidence of an unhinged and paranoid mind.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
peristaltor
May. 9th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
Well put. Ten years after the fact, any other topics brought for consideration seem somewhat belabored.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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