Trying to draw equivalence


by Sunny
10th May, 2011 at 11:31 am    

Are writers for CagePrisoners – the organisation which aims to work only to highlight cases of people politically imprisoned (esp in Gitmo) – on mind-altering drugs?

I only ask because, in response to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, they’ve decided that the best response would be to draw equivalence between Obama and Osama and do a mock-up of Obama being shot by authorities. (via Harry’s Place).

It’s not even absurd, its a pathetic attempt at equivalence. On the one hand these people believe people should be able to defend themselves, but apparently that does not apply to America.

I have no problem whatsoever with the assassination of OBL. He declared war on the USA and got killed in retaliation. Case closed. CagePrisoners should go back to highlighting cases of injustice and stop trying to be clever. Their funders may also want to take note of the actions of the people they’re funding.


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  1. cjcjc — on 10th May, 2011 at 11:42 am  

    “Their funders may also want to take note of the actions of the people they’re funding.”

    Should their partners, eg Amnesty, also take note?

  2. Sarah AB — on 10th May, 2011 at 12:47 pm  

    I agree, and of course this isn’t the only dodgy thing CP have published/approved.

    Although I can’t bring myself to lose sleep over the assassination of OBL – there do seem some quite telling points to be made on the other side – including a piece in The Times today about the damaging inconsistencies in the US’s version of events.

    I hope it’s ok if I also – as CP has invited discussion of Amnesty – link to this other piece at HP

  3. Kismet Hardy — on 10th May, 2011 at 11:57 am  

    It’s perfectly valid. Osama may have called for war on the US, but the US actually bleeding well went ahead with the war, didn’t they? And in a war, the head of state on both sides are fair targets.

  4. KB Player — on 10th May, 2011 at 12:01 pm  

    So, Kismet, what you’re saying is that CagePrisoners are on the side of Osama Bin Laden? You’re damning them more than they’re damning themselves.

  5. cjcjc — on 10th May, 2011 at 12:02 pm  

    Even taking that point, CagePrisoners is not supposed to be on any side, is it? Let alone OBL’s!

  6. jamal — on 10th May, 2011 at 12:16 pm  

    sunny you are acting as if America government is not actively participating in the mass killing of people!

    They have killed in the hundreds of thousands and continue to do so as well as causing massive destruction.

  7. Kismet Hardy — on 10th May, 2011 at 12:17 pm  

    I think in all wars, the generals should do an old-fashioned feud at dawn and shoot the fuck out of each other, and free their people from becoming hired killers to fight their wars for them.

  8. earwicga — on 10th May, 2011 at 12:35 pm  

    What Sunny said!

    Utterly stupid action by CagePrisoners.

  9. cjcjc — on 10th May, 2011 at 12:40 pm  

    Utterly in character.

  10. Optimist — on 10th May, 2011 at 12:52 pm  

    This is the best piece I have seen for a long time, I mean the one done by CagePrisoners, not the diatribe by Sunny!

    Well done CagePrisioners, you have the courage to speak the truth, while some others only want to prey at the alter of the USA!

  11. earwicga — on 10th May, 2011 at 1:15 pm  

    prey at the alter of the USA!

    Best typo ever! :)

  12. Optimist — on 10th May, 2011 at 1:33 pm  

    earwicga -

    Your vely, vely smart !

  13. Sarah AB — on 10th May, 2011 at 3:52 pm  

    I’m going to try to repost my former short-lived comment, in so far as I remember it.

    On the subject of OBL, while I can’t summon up any great concern, I do recognize that there are *grounds* for concern – or debate at least. There was some interesting coverage of that in the Times today – on the damaging inconsistencies in the US version of events.

    Because the link between CP and Amnesty has already been discussed, I think it’s relevant to link to a recent post on HP about how Amnesty is hosting an event involving dubious people/organisations.

  14. Optimist — on 10th May, 2011 at 3:04 pm  

    “Two days of continuous congressional hearings on the Obama administration’s foreign policy brought a rare concession from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who acknowledged that the United States too had a share in creating the problem that plagues Pakistan today.

    “In an appearance before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday, Mrs Clinton explained how the militancy in Pakistan was linked to the US-backed proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan.” Apr 26, 2009.

    Rare concession indeed! No wonder they did not want to capture OBL alive. He would have told the whole world how the US had created him as well as the Taliban. They had poured billions into Afghanistan and Pakistan to arm the rebels ( Taliban/Mujahideen) and build the Madrassas for indoctrination of young Muslims into religious fanatics.

    They thought that they had found a useful ally: political Islam, which dreamed of setting up theocratic states based on Shariah law. The US saw it as a natural enemy of commie Russia and a buffer against popular secular nationalism in the third world that could turn into, heaven forbid, socialism. So the US built alliances with Islamists in Sukarno’s Indonesia, Nasser’s Egypt, and Bhutto’s Pakistan. The rise of Hamas was quietly welcomed as a distraction for the secular PLO, and was allegedly even aided by Israel.

    Of course the right in the US was too stupid/dumb/blind/anti-communist to realize that it could all turn around, one day, and bite them in their big, fat back-side!

  15. cjcjc — on 10th May, 2011 at 3:22 pm  

    And what has that to do with Amnesty partner CagePrisoner’s apparent view of OBL?

  16. Katy Newton — on 10th May, 2011 at 4:15 pm  

    He would have told the whole world how the US had created him as well as the Taliban.

    ah yes, a message so deeply deeply hidden by the US administration that Hilary Clinton told the US House Appropriations Committee all about it in public evidence in 2009

  17. earwicga — on 10th May, 2011 at 5:01 pm  

    Nobody listens to women Katy Newton. Doh!

  18. Niels Christensen — on 10th May, 2011 at 6:01 pm  

    The equivalence between Osama and Obama confirms that Cageprisoners scale of measurement is beyond the pale.
    That Amnesty and the Rowntree Foundations is working together and support the organization is a wonder.

  19. Sunny — on 10th May, 2011 at 6:02 pm  

    Should their partners, eg Amnesty, also take note?

    As I keep pointing out, but you keep deliberately ignoring. Amnesty has partnered with only Begg, and only to talk about his experiences of Gitmo.

    but I’m assuming by your same standards, you think if you ever pray at a Catholic church or do some work for a Catholic charity then you’ve committed paedophilia?

  20. Sunny — on 10th May, 2011 at 6:03 pm  

    …because I certainly don’t. I do believe its possible to work with some people who’s whole agenda you may not buy but you can work with on certain issues.

    You know, the way John Reid shared a platform with Cameron etc.

  21. Sarah — on 10th May, 2011 at 6:12 pm  

    I’m going to try to repost my former short-lived comment, in so far as I remember it.

    On the subject of OBL, while I can’t summon up any great concern, I do recognize that there are *grounds* for concern – or debate at least. There was some interesting coverage of that in the Times today – on the damaging inconsistencies in the US version of events.

    Because the link between CP and Amnesty has already been discussed, I think it’s relevant to link to a recent post on HP about how Amnesty is hosting an event involving dubious people/organisations.

  22. Arif — on 10th May, 2011 at 6:32 pm  

    Sunny, while I agree with you that doing a mock up of an execution of Obama is awful, unjustified (at least for a human rights organisation), stupid etc, my reasons are completely different to yours.

    I think that CagePrisoners should not be aligning itself with any discourses of political violence and should be savvy enough to realise when people suspicious of their agenda would interpret an image/argument as supportive rather than critical of political violence.

    I do think, however, that there is a point in thinking about the standards that are being applied, and why you think there is no equivalence.

    If we consider terrorism to be a criminal act, then it should be judicially prosecuted. (Personally I do consider it a particular kind of criminal act).

    While there is no realistic court that Osama could have put Obama in front of, Obama could have arranged a trial for bin Laden if there was the political will.

    So assuming that Obama sees this more in terms of being a war, both Obama and bin Laden are “commanders in chief” and if one is a legitimate target for the army of one side, then so is the other a legitimate target for the other army.

    But if you want to avoid equivalence, what you have to say is that one side is fighting a war and the other side are doing something else. In this case, to justify this extrajudicial killing, we have to say that Al Qaida (not the US) is fighting a war, which is why their commanders are legitimate targets for killing (unless they are trying to surrender) even if they are not personally engaged in threatening anyone at the time of their killing.

    And if the US President is not in turn a legitimate target for Al Qaida, it implies that the US is not at war with al Qaida – but that their political violence should be interpreted as terrorism or some other kind of criminality – which for most people (including me) would seem ridiculous.

    Your argument about self defence is a non-sequitur, as if it is considered self defence to kill someone who is not an immediate threat (although a commander of opposing forces to your own) that can apply in both directions. Your argument would only hold if Osama Bin Laden was attacking the forces storming the compound when he was himself killed. If this is not the case, you have to explain more clearly your notion of self-defence which would make one commander a legitimate target and not the other.

    So while it makes sense (if you want to be consistent about the rules regarding political violence) to say Obama is making himself a legitimate target as commander in chief of an army during a war, people who align themselves with Obama will be suspicious of the motives of other people who point such things out.

    I don’t think it helps CagePrisoners support their human rights cause if they marginalise themselves by playing into the prejudices of the same authorities they are appealing to for justice. The point they should be making is that every criminal, including terrorist suspects should be tried if they can be. If there is no court with the capacity to do so, they should campaign for one to be constituted.

    If CagePrisoners believe Obama is a criminal, they can campaign for a court empowered to try him as well, as it is a lot better to make the case for a lost cause than attempting (what I assume is) a satire which backfires on their cause.

  23. KB Player — on 10th May, 2011 at 6:47 pm  

    Mussolini was executed and then displayed hanging upside down in a piazza in Milan. That’s a horrible barbarous thing to do, but Mussolini had caused huge harm. People at the time who were glad of his death were fairly sickened by the manner of it. However, if anyone had produced a picture of eg Churchill or Roosevelt hanging upside down you would have assumed they were supporters of Mussolini and Fascism. I would guess – and it’s no surprise whatsoever – that CagePrisoners are supporters of Bin Laden or Bin Ladenism or jihadism. So WTF is an organisation like Rowntree doing funding them?

  24. skidmarx — on 10th May, 2011 at 7:34 pm  

    Why Cageprisoners aren’t enamoured of a man who has broken his promise to close the place where they were all imprisoned and/or tortured is beyond me.

    Is there an equivalence to be drawn by your suggestion that they’re on mind altering drugs and that of Saif Gadaffi about the Libyan rebels, or would that come off badly for you given the years and treatment and therapy many victims of torture and false imprisonment need to get over their ordeal?

    I’m sorry if this comes off as rude.And no, I’m not personally too bothered about OBL’s death, but if the American administration wanted to give al-Qaida a fillip, then extra-judicial execution and dumping his body the way the Argentinian military regime did the Disappeared, way to go.At least there is some evidence it was a capture or kill operation.

  25. cjcjc — on 10th May, 2011 at 8:27 pm  

    Erm, but that’s not why they’ve posted their brilliant piece.
    It’s because they’re jihadis who rather looked up to OBL.

  26. Ted — on 10th May, 2011 at 8:29 pm  

    As I keep pointing out, but you keep deliberately ignoring. Amnesty has partnered with only Begg, and only to talk about his experiences of Gitmo.

    Demonstrably untrue. CP and AI collaborated on a briefing document back in 2007. AI are happy to co-produce material which describes CP as “a major human rights organization”.

    It goes way beyond just Begg, something AI would be happy to confirm if you asked them given they see nothing wrong cooperating and campaigning with CP.

  27. Shamit — on 10th May, 2011 at 9:51 pm  

    Some have suggested that Osama Bin Laden was head of an opposing army because it was declared “war on terror” – American Presidents have periodically declared “war on drugs” – no one equated Pablo Escobar with the President of the United States.

    Also Arif, under the National Security Act, the President of the United States is allowed and is actually supposed to take any action he sees fit to eradicate what s/he considers a “clear and present danger to the national security of the United States”.

    For three successive Presidents (clinton was the first President who authorised killing Osama but he wanted to use scud missiles) Osama Bil Laden was a “clear and present danger to the United States”.

    Finally, President Obama’s legitimacy comes from the will of the electorate that elected him to be the President of the United states without coercion or force.

    Osama had no legitimacy and he was a criminal just like Pablo Escobar – so why all this grand analysis and moral equivalence. And he was a bloody terrorist who actually had killed or instigated killings of thousands and thousands of people especially Muslims.

    So I am sorry he was no head of any army neither was he a legitimate political voice – so any attempts to equate the office of the President of the United States with a terrorist is pathetic and should be condemned.

    I am surprised that people here are talking about him as a leader of a legitimate army – so I guess Pablo Escobar was General and going after him was wrong too.

    On that note, I think we should give Anjem Chaudhary diplomatic immunity – because he does not accept British Sovereignty he is a foreigner and so treat him like an Ambassador.

    A serial killer was killed by US special forces and if you read comments here it sounds like the Seals killed a legitimate political voice like Lumamba of Congo or Chile’s Socialist President.

    Come on people – a criminal got killed so lets not try to justify this idiotic move by cage prisoners who by the way wwere always associated with dodgy people.

    ***************************

  28. Sunny — on 10th May, 2011 at 10:34 pm  

    Oh noes! Amnesty said something vaguely neutral about CP 4 years ago! in a small briefing doc. Clearly that means they’re best buddies.

    If we consider terrorism to be a criminal act, then it should be judicially prosecuted

    Arif – I don’t disagree… except.

    1) Obama’s orders was to capture him alive unless he was going to get away or had weaponry etc.

    I actually think capturing him alive would have provided more political capital. In the circumstances, judicial prosecution would have been best but I wasn’t there and I don’t thinkits that easy to capture someone alive in an armed compound. I’m not crying too much over his death as long as it doesn’t become a regular thing.

    For example, I’ve repeatedly stated I think Awlaki should face trial than be taken out.

    Second – I’m sure OBL also wanted Obama dead.

  29. Lamia — on 10th May, 2011 at 10:53 pm  

    It’s not satire by Cage Prisoners, and it’s not protest. It’s frustration, and it’s very understandable.

    They are angry that bin Laden is dead, and so they have created a fantasy revenge. It’s like burning a flag or an effigy – an attempt at sympathetic magic that unfortunately just shows their own impotence.

    Cage Prisoners have been interested in defending and glorifying a number of indiduals who are not even in prison, nor have been in Guantanamo Bay or any other US military prison, nor are remotely innocent, but who are simply murderous jihadi scum. I don’t think many people, apart from some clueless Quakers, are buying their line of peaceful guys simply wanting justice for innocent prisoners anymore.

    It does makes the Joseph Rowntree Fund, which is funding them for their supposed efforts to bring about peace between Muslims and non-Muslims look very, very naive. Bloody stupid in fact.

    This little tantrum will at least show more people what the cuddly Cage Prisoners are like with their masks down.

    Now perhaps someone can do a mock-up picture of Moazzam Begg having just shot himself in the foot…

  30. Don — on 10th May, 2011 at 11:35 pm  

    WTF with the deleting?

  31. Don — on 10th May, 2011 at 11:37 pm  

    1) Obama’s orders was to capture him alive unless he was going to get away or had weaponry etc

    Fig leaf.

  32. Don — on 10th May, 2011 at 11:53 pm  

    Seriously, what’s with that?

  33. damon — on 11th May, 2011 at 12:50 am  

    Cageprisoners have been dodgy from day 1 haven’t they?
    I stopped taking any notice of them when they defended the right of Afghans living in Britain, to go out to Afghanistan now and again for a few months fighting against ISAF – as it was their right to defend their country from foreign occupation. Then return to the UK and carry on their lives here.

    That makes them traitors to this country I think.

  34. AbuF — on 11th May, 2011 at 2:43 am  

    earwicga having a tantrum and deleting everything she does not like/understand…

  35. Sarah AB — on 11th May, 2011 at 5:08 am  

    Yes – I think it’s the first time I’ve had comments deleted *anywhere* – anywhere (except when I’ve been engaging with someone objectionable when my comments have been deleted to avoid confusing continuity errors). But, weirdly, my link has now been reinstated (to comment 15) – so perhaps whoever was deleting has thought better of it.

  36. Arif — on 11th May, 2011 at 6:47 am  

    Shamit, Sunny, you are both arguing that OBL was a criminal (as I do too) not a war-leader.

    Sunny, you agree that he should have been prosecuted if possible.

    As such, the moral legitimacy of the act depends on whether he was genuinely killed because he was attacking the commandos, not because of orders to do so. Our freedom from extrajudicial execution depends on that being cleared up.

    But that doesn’t fully deal with the issue of moral equivalence, Sunny.

    The lack of moral equivalence depends on additionally arguing (as Shamit does) that Obama – unlike bin Laden – is not a criminal for his acts as a war-leader, but that his violence is legitimate because of his status as the head of a State. Personally I think that legality is not the same as morality, but in this case Shamit’s point is still morally relevant.

    The problem is that drawing this difference seems to make it more (not less) morally and legally justifiable for people who oppose Obama to extrajudicially murder him. If he is a war-leader, those he is fighting against could claim it justifiable under the rules of war. Only if he is seen as a criminal (which none of us do) could we argue that his opponents should defend themselves by taking him to some kind of court instead.

    Shamit, you seem to be arguing that it is legal and therefore morally legitimate for a US President (and only a US President?) to kill anyone they believe is a clear and present danger to state security even if there are alternatives, but I may have misunderstood you. Since this power is democratically supported by the State he leads, you argue that it is just.

    For me this leads back to the same question – are we justifying the extrajudicial execution of suspected criminals by Obama? Should we do so, or should we change laws and conventions that make such actions possible? For our own safety, I do not think we should legitimise any State or head of state having such a power. Allowing them to do so by a rhetorical move (claiming it is a war, while denying the reciprocal status of your opponents as also engaged in war) is an act of bad faith, and has no more moral purchase on me than bin Laden suggesting his actions are justified as part of a legitimate struggle for freedom and self-determination.

  37. Jai — on 11th May, 2011 at 9:47 am  

    I agree with most of the comments made by Shamit and Sunny about OBL, with a couple of additions:

    1. For all the SEAL team knew, OBL could have been wearing a suicide vest under his clothes.

    2. Similarly, the building itself could have been wired with explosives, to detonate in the event of a major security breach such as the SEAL mission. Apparently there have been precedents for this.

    3. It turned out that OBL didn’t have any guns on his person (although again, it would have been suicide for the SEAL team to automatically assume that), but technically he wasn’t actually “unarmed”. There were multiple AK47s very close by in the bedroom where he was found.

    4. OBL did not surrender, which he should have done immediately. Instead, he kept moving around in the room when he was confronted by the SEALs. As a result, he continued to pose a threat to the SEALs, as per the points mentioned in 1, 2 and 3 above.

    In an ideal world, OBL should have been captured alive and put on trial. However, OBL himself made this impossible by his own actions when the SEALs confronted him. He wasn’t “executed” or “assassinated”, he was killed in a combat situation where he had easy access to firearms and refused to surrender. And the outcome was therefore inevitable irrespective of whether one views him as a criminal or the head of an opposing army.

    Finally, OBL wasn’t a “leader of Muslims”, he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Far, far more Muslims have been killed directly & deliberately by AQ and its affiliates than people from any other religion. Something which should never be forgotten by CagePrisoners, or indeed the people involved in Anjem Choudary’s most recent stunt.

  38. damon — on 11th May, 2011 at 9:58 am  

    Would people who get very concerned about the conditions of prisoners in Guantanamo also note that the Irish Republican dissident prisoners in Maghaberry jail in Northern Ireland are also in dispute and have smashed their cells and are on a dirty/no wash protest and are throwing the contents of their toilets onto the landings.
    http://republicanprisonersmaghaberry.com/default.aspx

    Personally I have little sympathy with them, as it looks like a straight foreward power-play between themselves and the system.
    But it is the kind of situation where Cageprisoners would campaign for ”prisoners rights” in an emotive way.

    The prisoners in Northern Ireland want ”group rights”. To have their cells open 24 hous a day and for complete free association amongst themselves and basicly be allowed to do what they like within their segergated wing. And they get their supporters on the outside holding protests and marches in support of them. Just like Cageprisoners.

  39. Sunny — on 11th May, 2011 at 9:58 am  

    I don’t think anything has been deleted. The spam filter keeps catching ordinary comments unfortunately…. and I’ve restored a few.

  40. Arif — on 11th May, 2011 at 10:45 am  

    Jai – point 1 to 3 would equally apply to everyone else in the compound. Why were they not all killed as well? Do you believe they should have been?

    Point 4, about surrender, is the key point if – like Melanie Phillips, but unlike Sunny and Shamit – you argue that the rules of war apply in this case. In which case the rules of law surely apply in the other direction as well. Otherwise, if you mean he was “resisting arrest”, then it would be conventional to use other methods to restrain him.

    I am not saying there is anything conventional about his crimes or the way he had to get caught. Nor am I denying there was potential for danger to the commandos and that they might be entitled to shoot him if they were threatened by him. I assume that is why the UN wants more information on the circumstances around this killing.

    I am saying only that I oppose extra-judicial killing, and that is why I am interested in the justifications offered for this one.

    I am coming to the conclusion that people in favour of it are tacitly putting OBL in some kind of third category (neither criminal nor warlord) which makes it justifiable to kill him without attempting due process and without it legitimating retaliation in kind. I find that understandable (if troubling). But since people are not clear if this is what they are doing, I am in danger of putting words in their mouths and it is hard to discuss.

    The other argument, that I find elsewhere, is a pragmatic/consequentialist one that killing him may not be due process, but it has better consequences than having a trial, reducing people’s scope for mischief and avoiding distractions.

    Both arguments can be made in good faith without necessarily being merely self-serving. But only by drawing out the implications and discussing them openly can we test them against other principles and arguments, such as our concepts of human rights.

    I do not like shadowy “encounters” of the kind where police routinely kill suspects in the subcontinent, but I accept other people think it is an efficient way to get rid of bad people. But if they use linguistic tricks to avoid responsibility for what they are doing and supporting, that is bad faith/corruption and further undermines the idea of rule of law.

  41. jamal — on 11th May, 2011 at 12:55 pm  

    America is looking for a way out of the afghan disaster.

    obama said troops would start leaving by july, so this execution was done at a time which is rather convenient. It paves the way for troops to leave and no one is going to stand in their way especially the long suffering afghans.

  42. ukliberty — on 11th May, 2011 at 1:50 pm  

    Allowing them to do so by a rhetorical move (claiming it is a war, while denying the reciprocal status of your opponents as also engaged in war) is an act of bad faith

    AIUI, they do not deny their oppponents’ status as ‘engaged in war’, they deny their opponents’ status as ‘prisoners of war’ because of the lack of uniform, flag and all the rest of it (unlawful enemy combatants). (and yes there are problems with throwing senile 80 year olds and people they’ve bought from Pakistan into the same pen as people captured on the battlefield, but that’s another story…)

  43. ukliberty — on 11th May, 2011 at 2:02 pm  

    Here is an excerpt from a letter by an active duty Navy Judge Advocate:

    To me, the question of legality is not a difficult one. I accept the United States’ position that we are in an ongoing armed conflict with al Qaeda and therefore conclude Osama bin Laden was a lawful military target (regardless of whether he was armed or otherwise threatening to the SEAL’s who killed him) so long as he had not clearly expressed an intention to surrender or was not otherwise hors de combat.

    I find it odd that senior officials have not articulated this position clearly and repeatedly in response to questions regarding the nature of the raid. The United States’ position is not new – it was clearly expressed by Harold Koh in 2010 when he addressed the American Society of International Law. Yet it bears repeating. Shouldn’t we take that opportunity, not only to explain that this particular killing was lawful, but to explain why it matters to us that it was lawful? As DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson said back in February 2009: “Adherence to the rule of law permits us to occupy the moral high ground, and display the very best of American values.” There are obviously many things that set us apart from al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Somewhere near the top of that list, I believe, is the value we place in, and our adherence to, the rule of law. And that’s why it matters that the killing of Osama bin Laden was lawful.

  44. ukliberty — on 11th May, 2011 at 2:04 pm  
  45. KB Player — on 11th May, 2011 at 7:19 pm  

    I regard the killing of Bin Laden as being similar to the killing of some mafia boss by the police. The police force in question might be a bit trigger happy, and I’d far rather they had taken “Binny the Bin” Ladeone into custody and put him on trial. But he was an evil bastard so I can’t get too upset that they blasted him. If the police chief gets kudos and maybe re-elected through this dodgy business, well, that’s life and democracy for you.

    There’s Moazzam Begg doing his very best for Amnesty International by saying that Binny the Bin was a nice chap who loved his mum:-

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-former-guantanamo-detainee-on-the-death-of-osama-bin-laden/2011/05/05/AFJGWwAG_story_1.html

  46. BIGted — on 11th May, 2011 at 8:59 pm  

    ’39. Sunny — on 11th May, 2011 at 9:58 am
    I don’t think anything has been deleted. The spam filter keeps catching ordinary comments unfortunately…. and I’ve restored a few.’

    Your spam filter automatically deletes comments that have been published?

  47. Shamit — on 11th May, 2011 at 9:29 pm  

    Arif -

    Good points.

    Let me start by saying I think most public policy decisions fall within the grey area – absolute rights and absolute wrongs are hard to come by and when they do they usually involve body bags.

    On this one though, there is no legal and moral qualms on any part of the American political spectrum and mainstream America. There is no legal ambuigity on this in American law.

    Miranda Rights only extend to those on American soil and a old US law technically allows (although hard to see it happen) American forces to come and kidnap some absconder from American Justice from even London. In fact, the former Secretary of State Condi Rice got caught up in a media storm after publicly reiterating this fact.

    I do not agree with that law and in fact I think British laws for extradition to the US are an abominaton. But that’s another debate.

    The reason I raise those points above shows the legal basis – but there is more.

    The primary responsibility of any Head of State/Government is to keep the citizens safe and American Presidents historically take that very seriously or politics tell them that.

    Killing Bin – Laden has probably saved spilling American blood in the future – and that’s the legal and moral argument and one hard to argue with it.

    It’s the same argument that Truman used for dropping the atom bombs on Japan and finished second world war without spilling more American blood.

    The question you could ask is: Is American blood more important than other bloods? To American Presidents the answer is Dubya style: Hell YEAH.

    Now, I hope all countries in the world do their best to protect their citizens from criminals and international terrorists. Shouldn’t the British Prime Minister’s job be to ensure our security and shouldn’t that be the primary responsibility? I think so and I know governments of all colours think so.

    And American Presidents do not use this power lightly and have been used to target Al Zawahiri, UBL and other terrorists who vowed to shed as much American blood as possible. So where is the immorality and illegality for doing the job you got elected to do?

    Or US could be like India.

    Saeed, the mastermind behind the 26/11 attack in Mumbai as confirmed by George Headley in a Chicago court and his other accomplices in US federal courts, which have been further corroborated by voice analysis and other intelligence means is leading public prayers for Osama Bin Laden after his demise.

    This is the guy who sent in trained terrorists with enough ammunition to last a few days with tactical coordination and was helped to get to the coast of Mumbai. We can all pretend there was no state involvement but that defies logic.

    And Pakistan says its legal system would not allow then to charge Saeed without finger print evidence and that was the public claim by the Interior Minister of Pakistan.

    Would India be right in targetting Saeed and taking him out? Or should India just let him plot the next one?

    Its a rhetorical question – India does not have the political will or the capability especially considering Pakistan would use nukes. But America can and it did.

    So as far as I am concerned there was no moral dichotomy – this was a clear win for the good guys. And I don’t think civil rights of criminal suspects have eroded an iota.

    I do not disagree that extra judicial killings are mostly wrong and unacceptable in a society that lives by the rule of law but in some cases they are justified and dare I say necessary.

  48. douglas clark — on 11th May, 2011 at 11:45 pm  

    Shamit @ 47,

    I largely agree with your morally ambivalent post. In the sense that I too think it is better he is dead than alive. And lacking a shrine. Perhaps I watched too many Westerns as a child, and it has always been my belief that he was ‘public enemy number one’ or a black hat in Western cowboy mythology. They always ended up in an unmarked grave, if I remember.

    Though I wish you’d left Hiroshima and Nagasaki out of it.

  49. ukliberty — on 12th May, 2011 at 7:25 am  

    From that WP article:

    I believe the killing of bin Laden — and those with him in Abbottabad — was extrajudicial, like the U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan. At the end of World War II, Nazi leaders captured by the Allies were not executed summarily. They were tried at the Nurembergwar tribunals, and the world saw the full extent of their crimes.

    “At the end of the war” and “captured” being important points, surely? During the war we assassinated Heydrich and Yamamoto – they seem more analogous.

  50. Optimist — on 12th May, 2011 at 9:26 am  

    I did’t know that you could split a hair in so many ways, but those of you who think the US had the right to assassinate him need to think very carefully.

    By such action the U.S. government has claimed the right to be judge, jury and executioner far beyond its borders – a calculated message to the world that the U.S. recognizes no limits on its actions, either from international law or the norms of civilized behavior.

    But this is nothing new. For 10 years, America’s military machine has been judge, jury and executioner for tens of thousands of Afghans who did nothing more than go to a wedding or travel in the wrong area–and that’s not to mention the victims of the U.S. who are labeled “rebel fighters,” and whose only crime was to resist an occupation of their country.

    But of course no right minded person should mourn his death in and of itself. He was a political reactionary whose ideology and actions set back the cause of democracy and freedom. The victims of al-Qaeda’s attacks against U.S. targets have almost always been ordinary people who bore no responsibility for the crimes of US imperialism.

    In the Middle East and elsewhere al-Qaeda has been equally vicious towards fellow Arabs and Muslims who oppose their hard-line version of Islam. And if they thought that by their actions they could weaken the U.S. and its allies, they could not be more wrong – September 11 and other such attacks–on the contrary have been used by the imperialist powers only to advance their project even further.

  51. Jai — on 12th May, 2011 at 10:48 am  

    but those of you who think the US had the right to assassinate him need to think very carefully.

    He wasn’t “assassinated”. He was killed in a combat situation where he refused to surrender and had easy access to multiple firearms a few feet away.

    By such action the U.S. government has claimed the right to be judge, jury and executioner far beyond its borders

    Not quite. Some more facts are coming to light:

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/10/bin-laden-fight-hostile-pakistan

    Quote:

    “As further details of the raid emerged, it emerged that Obama had readied a specialist team of lawyers, interrogators and translators aboard a US navy ship in case the al-Qaida leader was taken alive.”

  52. Optimist — on 12th May, 2011 at 11:35 am  

    ‘had easy access to multiple firearms a few feet away’

    Yes, of course, just like Saddam Hussein had WMDs ready to be fired within 45 minutes!

  53. Kismet Hardy — on 12th May, 2011 at 11:35 am  

    “He wasn’t “assassinated”. He was killed in a combat situation where he refused to surrender and had easy access to multiple firearms a few feet away.”

    Oh come on. We’re talking about the finest US marines armed to the teeth against an unarmed old man

  54. Kismet Hardy — on 12th May, 2011 at 11:37 am  

    ‘had easy access to multiple firearms a few feet away’

    Really? I thought they couldn’t find any weaponry?

  55. Jai — on 12th May, 2011 at 12:09 pm  

    Really? I thought they couldn’t find any weaponry?

    On the contrary, the US took two of OBL’s guns: An AK47 and a Makarov pistol, which were located in the bedroom alongside OBL himself when the SEALs confronted him.

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/may/05/osama-bin-laden-death-aftermath

  56. Jai — on 12th May, 2011 at 12:12 pm  

    Oh come on. We’re talking about the finest US marines armed to the teeth against an unarmed old man

    He wasn’t “unarmed”; there were guns present in the room where he was confronted and where he kept moving around, refusing to surrender. Fortunately he wasn’t given the chance to reach them. As for the description of him as an “old man”, he wasn’t exactly in his 70s or even his 60s.

    It’s also eye-opening to read about the disturbing contents of his handwritten journal along with the mass of electronic information discovered.

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/11/osama-bin-ladens-diary-los-angeles

    Quote: “Bin Laden suggested that they attack smaller cities and target trains as well as planes. Above all, he urged them to kill as many Americans as possible in a single attack.

    …His personal, handwritten journal and large collection of computer files reveal his hand at work in every recent major al-Qaida threat, including plots in Europe last year that had travellers and embassies on high alert, two officials said.

    …In one particularly macabre bit of mathematics, Bin Laden’s writings show him musing over just how many Americans he must kill to force the US to withdraw from the Arab world. He concludes that small attacks had not been enough. He tells his disciples that only a body count of thousands, something on the scale of the 9/11 attacks, would shift US policy.”

    When you also bear in mind that AQ’s full statement a few days ago (see: http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/06/full-statement-from-al-qaeda-on-osama-bin-ladens-death/) included the following utterly hypocritical remarks:

    “Even when the Americans managed to kill Osama, they managed to do ONLY that by disgrace and betrayal. Men and heroes only should be confronted in the battlefields”

    ….I think that tells you all you need to know about the type of people involved in AQ, including OBL himself.

  57. Optimist — on 12th May, 2011 at 12:29 pm  

    “there were guns present in the room where he was confronted and where he kept moving around, refusing to surrender.”

    thought they had a 40 minute fire-fight before they reached him. One would think long enogh time to reach for a gun, even for an ‘old man’!

  58. Shamit — on 12th May, 2011 at 1:13 pm  

    Jai

    Good points mate.

    But you have to give Optimist his due. He is correct when he says:

    And if they thought that by their actions they could weaken the U.S. and its allies, they could not be more wrong – September 11 and other such attacks–on the contrary have been used by the imperialist powers only to advance their project even further.

    I even agree with the “imperialist” argument – but not in the same way as him of course.

    What Optimist and others fail to realise there is an intellectual and ideological war that is also being waged here and on that one even in Arab streets – the US and its allies the winning. And that is more harmful to Al-Qaeda than even OBL’s death.

    Be it in Tahirir Square or Tunisia to Benghazi to Damascus – the idea of pluralism is making its impact felt. In Egypt, apparently the biggest political force in the country the Muslim Brotherhood had no clue about the revolution and despite claims by Iran and others they did not provide any leadership and it was by no means an Islamic Revolution.

    The idea that people would be wed to an ideology that requires their submission and not be able to express their thoughts and avail opportunities is defunct and buried.

    Yes there are still converts but they are fewer in number – because today’s Muslim youth want jobs, growth and a good quality of life. What do they use for their revolutions?

    Google, Facebook, Twitter and these are all American inventions and these are the tools that supported these revolutions. So yes, America’s imperialism with Coke, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple, Levi Strauss and MTV continues and thats a war that the fanatics cannot ever win.

    Evil has always been a part of human society and it always would be but as long as we win the ideas battle we would be alright. And on current form, I think the ideas battle are being won hands down.

    So optimist is right but not in the way he wanted to be.

  59. Shamit — on 12th May, 2011 at 1:23 pm  

    Douglas:

    I agree with your sentiments about the A Bomb.

    I only put it in to show how the defence of not spilling American blood works and if that could have been used to attack a country with nuclear weapons using it to justify OBL’s killing is a no brainer.

    And President Obama’s boss the American people thank him for it.

    My point is the argument for moral equivalence is an academic one apt for university lecture halls but in real life decision making is a bit more complex and more long term.

  60. Jai — on 12th May, 2011 at 1:42 pm  

    thought they had a 40 minute fire-fight before they reached him.

    No, the overall mission lasted 40 minutes. Most of that actually involved the SEALs locating and extracting the mass of material they took from the house when they left.

    Shamit,

    Excellent points above. Once again I agree completely.

    Regarding the following:

    Google, Facebook, Twitter and these are all American inventions and these are the tools that supported these revolutions. So yes, America’s imperialism with Coke, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple, Levi Strauss and MTV continues and thats a war that the fanatics cannot ever win.

    According to ongoing news reports during the past week, apparently some of the items OBL and his family were particularly fond of ordering during their stay in that house in Pakistan included bulk supplies of Coke and Pepsi. Yes, those quintessentially all-American soft drinks. I’m sure you can appreciate the irony of the situation.

  61. Optimist — on 12th May, 2011 at 2:19 pm  

    ” THE DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN

    WASHINGTON — After landing by helicopter at the Pakistani compound housing Osama bin Laden on Sunday, the U.S. special operations team tasked with capturing or killing the al-Qaida leader found itself in an almost continuous gun battle.

    For the next 40 minutes, the team cleared the two buildings within the fortified compound in Abbottabad, north of Islamabad, trying to reach bin Laden and his family, who lived on the second and third floors of the largest structure, senior Defense Department and intelligence officials said Monday.

    “Throughout most of the 40 minutes, they were engaged in a firefight,” said a senior Pentagon official, who characterized the operation as intense but deliberate.

    Bin Laden “resisted” and was killed by U.S. gunfire in the larger building toward the end of the operation. He fired on the assault team, a U.S. official said, and may have tried to use his wife as a shield. The woman also was killed.”

    http://www.kjonline.com/news/firefight-lasted40-minutes_2011-05-02.html

    Just one example from Kennebec Journal – one could find many more – but lets say that you can’t take too seriously what the US says, as they change their story every five minutes !!

  62. Jai — on 12th May, 2011 at 3:06 pm  

    The account above is outdated. Some more information has subsequently emerged, from multiple sources which are considerably more authoritative than the “Kennebec Journal”, a daily local newspaper in Augusta, Maine.

    Extract:

    As the raid commenced, the US soldiers were divided by their commanders into two groups. Immediately they ran into trouble with one of the helicopters crashing to the ground on landing, but the commandos managed to get out and press on to their targets. The first group storming the smaller guesthouse met the sternest resistance and, it is now clear, the only hostile gunfire of the whole operation. Kuwaiti opened fire from behind the door of the guesthouse, and the troops returned fire, killing him and his wife, according to reports sourced to a US government official. According to both the New York Times and the Associated Press on Thursday, this was the only incoming fire the commandos received during the entire raid.

    The second group poured into the main house before working their way, clearing room by room, up to Bin Laden’s quarters. Kuwaiti’s brother was killed as he prepared to fire a gun and as the troops moved to ascend the stairs to the second and third floors, they killed a fourth person, thought to be Bin Laden’s adult son Hamza as he “lunged” towards them, according to the New York Times report.

    …While ascending to Bin Laden’s quarters, the Seals were confronted with a family scene that soon turned to carnage. The terrorist’s daughter was immediately injured by a piece of shrapnel or flying debris to her ankle or foot, according to Pakistan intelligence, suggesting the commandos may have thrown in a grenade before entering the room. Other reports had the soldiers shooting through the door, which could have sent material flying round the room to the same effect. Either way, they were proceeding with great force. Once inside the room Bin Laden’s wife rushed towards one of the commandos as he entered the room and was shot in the calf.

    …Leon Panetta, the CIA director who was following the raid in real time from America, said on Tuesday that Bin Laden made “some threatening moves that … represented a clear threat to our guys. And that’s the reason they fired.”

    Whatever he did, the Seal unit opened fire and Bin Laden was hit once in the chest and once in the head.

    …With the clock ticking and concerns that the Pakistani military may be scrambling aircraft to intercept the top-secret raid, the US troops now had to move quickly. A “treasure trove” of computers, CDs, data sticks, DVDs and paperwork was quickly pulled together to provide intelligence. They lugged out about 100 thumb drives, DVDs and computer disks, along with 10 computer hard drives and five computers to be pored over by computer forensic experts and intelligence officers for evidence of future plots and clues to the shape of the organisation Bin Laden was leaving behind.

    They took survivors to a safe part of the compound so they weren’t hurt when the wrecked helicopter was blown up. They picked up the bloodied bodies of Bin Laden and his son and flew into the night, back to Afghanistan.

    URL: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/05/bin-laden-death-family-compound?INTCMP=SRCH

    Extract:

    The new details suggested that the raid, though chaotic and bloody, was extremely one-sided, with a force of more than 20 Navy Seal members quickly dispatching the handful of men protecting Bin Laden.

    …Administration officials said the official account of events has changed over the course of the week because it has taken time to get thorough after-action reports from the Seal team. And, they added, because the Special Operations troops had been fired upon as soon as they touched down in the compound, they were under the assumption that everyone inside was armed.

    “They were in a threatening and hostile environment the entire time,” one American official said.

    URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/us/politics/05binladen.html?_r=1&hp

    And, of course, OBL’s own journal details the type of barbaric atrocities deliberately targetting thousands of ordinary men, women and children he was still directly involved in planning and encouraging. Once again, this tells you everything you need to know about OBL, an unashamed mass murderer of Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

  63. Optimist — on 12th May, 2011 at 3:30 pm  

    Jai,

    While I agree with your last paragraph, I still think he had enough time to pick up a weapon, while all that shooting etc. was going on, don’t you think ?

    By the way, I had read most of this ‘new evidence’, but I still can’t think why they said all those things before, like ‘he used his wife as a human shield’ etc. when they are watching it all ‘live’ !

    But, I think we are going over the same ground – so, I quit – with last words that “don’t believe everything from people who said, Saddam had WMDs ready to be fired in 45 minutes!”

  64. Jai — on 12th May, 2011 at 4:11 pm  

    While I agree with your last paragraph, I still think he had enough time to pick up a weapon, while all that shooting etc. was going on, don’t you think ?

    Not necessarily, especially if the SEALs were using silencers. Plus the assault was fast-moving and quite late at night, when OBL was presumably asleep. According to some accounts, OBL also appeared to be taking sleeping tablets, which would further explain his confused behaviour if he was suddenly woken up by a completely unexpected military attack.

    when they are watching it all ‘live’ !

    I agree that they should definitely have got their stories straight before issuing any public statements, but they were not watching all the events unfolding ‘live’ — only one of the SEALs had a camera attached.

    “don’t believe everything from people who said, Saddam had WMDs ready to be fired in 45 minutes!”

    Different president and different White House administration.

    The death of another human being is never something to celebrate or sadistically take any joy in, regardless of how malevolent that person may be. However, the bottom line is the fact that, although OBL should ideally have been captured alive — and Obama had certainly made plans for that, as per the specialist team aboard a waiting US Navy ship — OBL brought his fate upon himself, in a broader sense due to his ongoing terrorism against the US & other countries and in a more immediate sense due to his behaviour on the night of the SEAL mission.

    Because OBL didn’t surrender when confronted by armed commandos from a nation he’d declared war against and whose civilian population he’d deliberately targetted for mass murder, his death was pretty much guaranteed, and it was entirely his own fault.

  65. Arif — on 13th May, 2011 at 8:02 am  

    Shamit #47, I find your post troubling, but will respond later to it when I have a clearer sense of why. In general I think of human rights (if they are to mean anything) to be something different to civic rights to be defined and granted by States as they wish. I get the sense you consider this overly academic, and that any rights mean nothing without enforcement by a State, so human rights do not exist outside of civic rights except in the minds of some idealists.

    Jai #51, I am really pleased to learn that there were preparations for capturing him and putting him on trial. I hope you agree that this was the right thing to have done. If it were a sincere preparation (and I am willing to give the US the benefit of any doubts I have) then that changes the whole argument from him being a legitimate target in war, to him being a criminal who resisted arrest and physically threatened those apprehending him so that they had no alternative but to shoot him. I would like them to articulate this clearly.

    To you it may seem extremely naive to think that military forces in such a tense situation catching an extremely evil terrorist leader could operate in the same sort of way as a police force picking up an average murderer at their home. But it is the fact that this is such a pressure situation that means the political leaders directing the operation need to define and make clear precisely what is and is not to be done, all the rules of engagement and objectives. And that is what is of priomary importance.

    Whether the rules were followed is also of importance, but is not a political issue.

  66. Jai — on 13th May, 2011 at 11:35 am  

    Arif,

    Jai #51, I am really pleased to learn that there were preparations for capturing him and putting him on trial. I hope you agree that this was the right thing to have done.

    Absolutely. I’ve already mentioned several times on this thread that ideally he should have been captured and put on trial.

    resisted arrest and physically threatened those apprehending him so that they had no alternative but to shoot him. I would like them to articulate this clearly.

    Agreed, although several officials have already stated this, including Leon Panetta, the CIA director. See #62.

  67. Jai — on 13th May, 2011 at 11:37 am  

    [Deleted by Jai: Duplicate comment]

  68. Arif — on 13th May, 2011 at 12:33 pm  

    Jai, perhaps it is clear to you that he was a criminal the US intended to bring to justice in a court, but many lawyers supporting the killing (for example all those cited by uk_liberty in #42 and #43 above) cite the laws of war, and make it the responsibility for Bin Laden to surrender under the laws of war (while one also simultaneously approves of finding ways to make it impossible for him to do so in practice).

    Those lawyers also, incidentally, bemoan the Obama administration not providing any of their legal reasoning.

    Leon Panetta’s remark that he was killed because he “made threatening moves” does suggest he was being treated as a criminal suspect, but has to be weighed against lots of other remarks, including Panetta’s own remark that “if he suddenly put up his hands and offered to be captured, then they would have the opportunity, obviously, to capture him” which suggests he was being treated under the rules of war, and expected to surrender as the only means to save his life.

    So I do not think you should be so sure that your scruples about bringing criminals to justice are completely shared by the administration unless we know the rules of engagement it drew up after all its difficult agonising. So I would like the UN to be provided the information. Not in order to berate the Americans, but in order to protect/reinstate the boundaries of our human rights.

  69. Arif — on 13th May, 2011 at 2:06 pm  

    Shamit #47

    There are so many strands to our discussion, it is hard to know where to start. But the first thing is to say I appreciate you taking the time to explain your views.

    In terms of US law, I guess I am more concerned about whether the action (and US law) are in conformity with human rights conventions. You yourself have qualms about the US laws you cite as relevant. The point about the status of national laws in an international context is whether they contribute to or undermine the rule of law. In addition whether that contribution is positive or negative for human rights.

    Outside one’s own borders, a State ought to abide to laws others than those they themselves decide for their own reasons – otherwise its relationships are not being governed under a principle of the rule of law, but a principle of sovereignty. And even sovereignty as a principle suggests an international law or convention on not limiting the ability of other States to undertake the actions they deem right within their own jurisdictions. Opposed to that principle we either have other international laws which compromise on sovereign liberty for security or we have “might is right”.

    In any actions which undermine the sovereignty of others, the question “is it legal?” does not mean “does it conform to your own laws?” To me it means something more like “does it conform with international laws and obligations?”.

    If you wish to argue that Pakistan should be forced to comply with India’s requests, you should be arguing for an extention of international law and a further compromise on sovereignty. I am all for that. It should be something which provides rights and obligations for all States with respect to one another.

    The alternative, which you seem both to present and to oppose, is to see sovereignty as something of a non-principle, which only exists as far as it is enforced. I am interpreting you to say that your opposition is only up to the point where a Head of State decides that they need to undertake an action in another territory to protect their own citizens.

    I am also interpreting you as saying when they undertake such actions they are bound only by their own laws, and not by any supposed international standards.

    I think that this is a dangerous formulation, and close to an argument for “might is right”. I would ask you to consider whether it would not be better to strengthen international law and reduce sovereignty for all. If you are saying “yes, but in the absence of such developments in international law, extra-judicial killing is justified” I would be more inclined to agree with you if the actor who undertakes it is simultaneously strenuously attempting to develop international law in that direction and shows willingness to abide by such rules themselves.

    It is all very grey, as you say. If you have the power to take what you want without troubling yourself about the consequences (because they only affect citizens of other States, for example) the temptation to do so is easy to understand, especially to protect people you identify with. As is the frustration of not being able to do so due to weakness. But the process of undermining human rights to achieve these goals means promoting “might is right” in international affairs.

    Justice has to be done and be seen to be done – but when different actors have different ideas and standards of justice, then the only kind of justice may be victor’s justice. Holding the victor to account might not just be the loser’s revenge, but also the conscience of human rights advocates who want to assert the right of everyone to have access to some kind of justice. Everyone including the victims of the “losers”.

  70. Jai — on 13th May, 2011 at 2:52 pm  

    Jai, perhaps it is clear to you that he was a criminal the US intended to bring to justice in a court, but many lawyers supporting the killing (for example all those cited by uk_liberty in #42 and #43 above) cite the laws of war, and make it the responsibility for Bin Laden to surrender under the laws of war

    Just to make matters completely clear, let me state that personally I view him as an enemy soldier first and foremost, who had declared war against the US and various other countries. Hence my earlier remarks about him being killed in a “combat situation” etc.

    Someone being a military combatant does not necessarily preclude them from also being subjected to a trial if they are captured, of course.

    Leon Panetta’s remark that he was killed because he “made threatening moves” does suggest he was being treated as a criminal suspect,

    He was killed because his threatening moves posed a potential risk to the lives of the SEALs confronting him.

    So I do not think you should be so sure that your scruples about bringing criminals to justice are completely shared by the administration unless we know the rules of engagement it drew up after all its difficult agonising.

    As mentioned above, I view him as an enemy military commander first and foremost. However, the Obama administration had prepared suitable measures if he was indeed captured, so this was not a “find & kill” mission.

    Beyond that, as I said, I think the mission had no other feasible outcome, given the circumstances and given the fact that OBL did not surrender.

    To you it may seem extremely naive to think that military forces in such a tense situation catching an extremely evil terrorist leader could operate in the same sort of way as a police force picking up an average murderer at their home.

    I think it is both naive and unrealistic to expect a different outcome to what actually transpired, considering the various dynamics, OBL’s own actions, and the sequence of events involved. This is the real world.

  71. douglas clark — on 13th May, 2011 at 3:20 pm  

    Jai, jai,

    I am probably as happy as you are that he is dead.

    But you just regurgitate a time line which jumps between opportunities to retell itself. If the first story is not true, then the second surely is, oops! And then we get the third and fourth versions. You jump along with this re envisioning of events to claim that you and the USA are somehow right.

    Let’s be done with it. He was assassinated, and we don’t care.

    You are getting caught in a trap, we bumped him off and apparently Pakistani Police trainees are now murdered in return.

    The USA uses extreme prejudice and Pakistani lads are killed?

    Where’s the logic? AQ just hate everyone and anyone.

    We are dealing with insanity here.

    I would suggest that every AQ operative is an affront to the gene pool.

    And anyone that thinks otherwise is nuts.

    Thank you.

  72. Arif — on 13th May, 2011 at 3:34 pm  

    Jai, I apologise that I did not realise that you put this in the framework of war and war crimes than international crime and terrorism. But I do feel you are cutting my words from post #65 in a slightly misleading way.

    I argued that whatever kind of mission it was, it is important to know the rules of engagement. The reason is to ensure it did not undermine human rights. Whether you or I think that is something the US might do, and if so whether intentionally or not, is not of that important. What matters is that the killing of Bin Laden strengthens rather than undermines human rights by showing clearly what are and are not acceptable rules of engagement.

    I also argue that the ability of military forces to follow the rules of engagement is a separate matter – so even if under pressure they broke those rules that is of a different order of importance to the nature of those rules in the first place and something which I understand happens in the real world.

    Finally, of course, one reason why it is important to clarify whether it is an issue of war or criminality is because it clarifies the legitimate rules of engagement for Obama’s opponents, for which they can be charged when they are captured. So under your formulation it seems, as Commander in Chief, Obama should be seen a legitimate target of al Qaida (as enemy soldiers) which is the very point Sunny started this thread in order to deny.

  73. Optimist — on 13th May, 2011 at 3:49 pm  

    I was not going to come back to this thread as I thought it was all done with – but douglas clark’s rather childish diatribe, ‘an affront to the gene pool.’ – has prompted me to return.

    OK the AQ are ‘terrorists’, willing to kill people regardless. But their body count is only a drop in the ocean compared to nearly a million innocent Iraqis dead, thousands of innocent Afganis dead, and don’t even get me started about the million or so innocent Palestinians dead, killed by a racist and a fascist state ( a terrorist state that controls the biggest prison in the world, Gaza), supported to the hilt by billions of dollars and arms from the USA.

    AQ will not be defeated until people stop to think that the American blood or the Israeli blood is more precious than the Arab blood, presumably with that ‘gene pool’!

  74. douglas clark — on 13th May, 2011 at 4:01 pm  

    Could I just also say that in computer games the ‘fog of war’ is lifted. In real life, ‘the fog of war’ comes down over any incident.

    It is difficult to know whether JFK was shot by a sole gunman from the Texas Book Depository or not. That is ‘the fog of war’ that is what we will hear for the next twenty years.

    Was OBL armed?

    Was OBL hiding behind his missus?

    Did he hold his hands up?

    Did anyone ask him to?

    Were there guns in the room?

    Is he really, really dead?

    If so, how come they could identify his DNA so quickly?

    Why take him to the Indian Ocean?

    Each, and every one of these speculations will become red hot topics on the conspiracy sites that appear to represent a fair proportion of the human race.

    Ladies and gentlemen, you are sane. You know this is a lot of nonsense. But it is what they do. They cast doubt.

    I read last weeks New Scientist and it talked about the probability of the corpse being OBL. It said, IIRC, that it was based on familial DNA. What it didn’t discuss was how long that analysis would normally take?

    I didn’t know if it was down to minutes or hours.

    How long was the body in Afghanistan before it was 99.9% assured to be that of OBL? Well, they dropped him in the Indian Ocean pretty much as soon as they could.

    Paranoid, moi?

  75. Jai — on 13th May, 2011 at 4:07 pm  

    So under your formulation it seems, as Commander in Chief, Obama should be seen a legitimate target of al Qaida (as enemy soldiers) which is the very point Sunny started this thread in order to deny.

    Obama is already seen as a legitimate target by AQ irrespective of any clarification of the rules of engagement by the US. Just like AQ sees the rest of us as legitimate targets too. Regardless of whatever justification they may claim as a pretext, in reality and in practice AQ’s own “rules of engagement” are not dependent on what their adversaries do or how the latter define themselves in combatant/non-combatant terms.

    It’s usually a good idea to grasp the difference between what people say and what they actually do. Case in point is AQ’s official statement (supplied via CNN earlier in the thread) shortly after OBL’s death, where they hypocritically said that “men and heroes should be confronted on the battlefields only”, despite the fact that (as OBL’s recovered handwritten journal reinforces) in reality, AQ’s ongoing strategy involves deliberately trying to murder thousands of ordinary civilians off the battlefield.

    In conclusion, as I said earlier, AQ already see Obama (and the rest of us) as a legitimate target, regardless of whether Obama is defined primarily as Commander in Chief, regardless of whether the SEAL mission was to capture or simply kill OBL, and regardless of the reasons that OBL ended up getting himself killed.

    I think this conversation has now run its course, or at least my own personal contribution to the thread has, so I’m signing off from the debate.

  76. douglas clark — on 13th May, 2011 at 4:24 pm  

    Optimist,

    You say:

    I was not going to come back to this thread as I thought it was all done with – but douglas clark’s rather childish diatribe, ‘an affront to the gene pool.’ – has prompted me to return.

    OK the AQ are ‘terrorists’, willing to kill people regardless. But their body count is only a drop in the ocean compared to nearly a million innocent Iraqis dead, thousands of innocent Afganis dead, and don’t even get me started about the million or so innocent Palestinians dead, killed by a racist and a fascist state ( a terrorist state that controls the biggest prison in the world, Gaza), supported to the hilt by billions of dollars and arms from the USA.

    AQ will not be defeated until people stop to think that the American blood or the Israeli blood is more precious than the Arab blood, presumably with that ‘gene pool’!

    You are completely up your arse on wanting to be a martyr. It is what you do. It is important to you.

    Me? I have no idea what Arab blood is, nor Isreali blood either.

    It is this BNP idea that blood matters that offends me.

    As far as I am concerned. if I give blood, it can go to you in cloud cuckoo land or anyone else.

    What is this fetishising about blood anyway?

    Weird.

  77. Optimist — on 13th May, 2011 at 4:34 pm  

    douglas clark-

    ‘completely up your arse on wanting to be a martyr’, again very school ground like remark, not valid in a serious discussion – as I presumed this is meant to be. The rest of your comments are not worth replying – as you know perfectly well what I mean in my remarks.

  78. douglas clark — on 13th May, 2011 at 4:48 pm  

    Optimist,

    ‘completely up your arse on wanting to be a martyr’, again very school ground like remark, not valid in a serious discussion – as I presumed this is meant to be. The rest of your comments are not worth replying – as you know perfectly well what I mean in my remarks.

    No. I don’t. I don’t think you are serious, I think you say shit like this:

    OK the AQ are ‘terrorists’, willing to kill people regardless. But their body count is only a drop in the ocean compared to nearly a million innocent Iraqis dead, thousands of innocent Afganis dead, and don’t even get me started about the million or so innocent Palestinians dead, killed by a racist and a fascist state ( a terrorist state that controls the biggest prison in the world, Gaza), supported to the hilt by billions of dollars and arms from the USA.

    It is an unfortunate fact that Muslims are quite willing to kill other Muslims. I’d have a bit more ‘respect’ for your ‘culture’ if it stopped doing that.

    You are an apologist for the wrong that Muslims do to other Muslims and you assume that an atheist such as me can’t see how utterly fucked up you are.

    You couldn’t argue a case for Muslims if you fucking well tried. Frankly you ought to be a disgrace to Muslims. I have never met one that thought like you.

    Just saying.

    I am saying that most muslims aren’t anything like you and that you are a nutter.

    I look forward to your reply.

  79. Optimist — on 13th May, 2011 at 4:57 pm  

    I will not sink to your level and use obsenities and fight you in the mire – I think you live in some mental shithole and can not see above that ‘brown line’ that actaully I am also an atheist and not a Muslim.

    If you havn’t met anyone else who thinks like me before then you should get out a little more!

  80. douglas clark — on 13th May, 2011 at 5:03 pm  

    Optimist.

    will not sink to your level and use obsenities and fight you in the mire – I think you live in some mental shithole and can not see above that ‘brown line’ that actaully I am also an atheist and not a Muslim.

    If you haven’t met anyone else who thinks like me before then you should get out a little more!

    On the contrary. I think some muslims kill other muslims and that is wrong.

    I am a male friend of IKWRO. Are you?

    Do you know what IKWRO is about?

    Do you support them?

    I suspect most scottish women would.

  81. Shamit — on 13th May, 2011 at 5:46 pm  

    Arif

    Thought provoking points as always. However, I think you probably misunderstand my position for example with regards to human rights.

    Whether it was practiced or not, Blair’s “humanitarian intervention” resonates with me which was further endorsed by the Pope and the UN Secretary General with what they dubbed as “right to protect”.

    Unfortunately, genocide did not stop with the end of the Second World War it continued in various forms and across continents be it Rwanda, or Iraq (with chemical gas) or Tibet.

    Governments killing their own people is no historical relic – it still haunts our present as the pictures from Libya or Syria show on our televisions.

    So while I accept a nation’s sovereignty and its right to do what it sees fit within its boundaries comes with responsibilities enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    And when you cross that certain line like Saddam Hussein did when he gassed his own people or gaddafi did or Mugabe did – you should and must face the consequences.

    In such circumstances the international community must act to protect human rights and in the process if need be violate sovereign territories. So I see human rights in a much broader context.

    This brings me to the next point about this moral equivalence being an academic pursuit and has limited impact in the real world.

    You or I have the luxury of not having the responsibility to protect people and hence we can let our moral compass reign supreme.

    But if I was in Obama’s shoes – even if it was a kill order – I would be worried about impact of a failed attempt and casualties to American and allied soldiers, the impact of capturing him and creating a frenzy to sudden blast of continuous small attacks or Mumbai style attacks on Western cities, the impact of making him a bigger hero by putting him in shackles and rumours starting about how his religious beliefs have been violated, the impact of stopping attacks in planning stages and how many lives that could save – and the man put his job and career on the line.

    But no one knows what went on in Obama’s head before he said go and these are your engagement rules. But the man put his job, his career and to some extent his country’s image on the line and I say he called it right.

    Secondly, on intervention in sovereign Pakistan.

    As a Pakistani commentator wrote last week that if Pakistan was aware of OBL and his residence in Abotabad then it was a rogue state – if on the other hand it just simply did not know about the whole thing until the attack was over then it is a failed state.

    Either way it sort of shows why international intervention is likely and probably necessary.

    And this was such an intervention to protect the lives of innocent civilians around the world – which was probably endorsed by a legal and possibly judicial opinion for the President of the United States and was later ratified by the Majority and Minority leadership of Intelligence Committees in Congress – so its 100% legal and moral as well.

    I somehow don’t have the same qualms about this and do not see this aas a might is right scenario at all.

  82. Arif — on 13th May, 2011 at 7:03 pm  

    Shamit, I am not judging what went through Obama’s mind. I am not judging his intentions. I am not diminishing the difficulties of his decisions and the pressures on him. However I am sure you will understand that I also not keen on giving up my own critical faculties and assume whatever he does is always for the best and that there are no other valuable perspectives.

    I am not opposed to the “responsibility to protect”, I think it is a very good idea. I am not enamoured of sovereignty at all. I don’t think, in that sense, we see human rights in any different sense.

    Perhaps where I differ from you is that I think that the judgments Obama makes should be made in and according to an international legal framework. That this framework should protect human rights, we agree on. That it can be achieved without any accountability to the UN or putting one’s own State under the jurisdiction of a human rights court, we will disagree on.

    Without that, any country can claim to be making difficult decisions in the best interests of their own citizens when they invade anywhere. And it is practically the same as “might makes right”, with responsibility to protect available as a rhetorical frill – sometimes deployed sincerely, perhaps, but with its credibility undermined by its own selectiveness.

  83. joe90 — on 13th May, 2011 at 11:22 pm  

    obama is no different than bush just because he makes better speeches he is as violent and bloodthirsty as his predecessor .

    almost 1000 drone attacks on pakistan with a strike rate of 2% meaning 50 civilians get butchered for every militant killed. Would they accept this in the west of course not but because brown faces are killed its ok!
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/28/us-drone-attacks-no-laughing-matter

    then they have the nerve to claim the so called civilized west are against terrorism what hypocrites!

  84. douglas clark — on 14th May, 2011 at 2:43 am  

    Joe90.

    I recall President Clinton making the kind of obvious case that the USA wanted to kill OBL. That he, personally, wanted to kill OBL. I recall being a tad surprised, and then relieved that a US President had a shoot to kill policy.

    Which is not to say that he didn’t make an arse of it, because he did. The Khartoum factory comes to mind. And the whole US drone policy stinks.

    Still and all Joe 90, is it better that OBL is dead or not?

    Your readers want to know.

    ’cause there is no forgiveness available for the bearded one amongst sane human beings. Muslims should rejoice that he is dead. And Pakistanis should chew the fat on why they are being murdered by his inheritors, much as they had nowt to do with it.

    Al Queda are beyond a joke, They are twisted psychopaths. Most of us kind of knew that. Apparently it passed you by, Joe 90.

    There is no merit in your point of view.

    Whatsoever.

    I quite like most muslims I have met. They do not seem to share your grievances. Indeed they appear to be better adjusted to the modern world than medieval fools like you.

    Why would that be?

    A name you have never heard of, I guarantee that, and you’d be a liar if you said you did.

    Humza Yousaf. Some of us think he might be third in line to represent the SNP. Can you get your idiotic head around that?

    Stuff all your grievance politics where the sun don’t shine.

  85. joe90 — on 14th May, 2011 at 9:31 pm  

    post #84

    i couldn’t care less if obl is dead, alive, in tesco supermarket or wherever, he was a product of the CIA factory so was he an agent to the end who knows. If it speeds up the exit of the american occupiers than fantastic they can leave now!

    I don’t know what muslims you have met but the ones i have met do get angry when they see predominantly muslim countries hit with 1000 drone attacks, see lands occupied, bombed, and have sanctions slapped on them. In fact i have met many non muslims including atheists who also get angry when they the same things. But hey in your view that’s mediaval to think like that, right to see kids burned with chemical weapons and people’s home’s blown up.

    What you saying is you support any person that shares your viewpoint and your viewpoint only.

    well here’s a newsflash we don’t all agree with your view point so stick that up your jacksey!

  86. Boyo — on 15th May, 2011 at 10:08 am  

    “don’t even get me started about the million or so innocent Palestinians dead,”

    A million? I’d love to know how you worked that figure out.

    Your yes-but-no-but-yes-but doesn’t really wash re OBL terror, indeed you’re simply parroting the terrorist line.

    Plainly there would be no Afghanistan without 9/11 and Iraq would have been unlikely. That war, you choose to forget, was against a secular dictator, and most of the deaths were at the hands of your Islamist chums who revelled in the opportunity to spill the blood of their fellow Muslims, in the name of a “purer” form of Islam no doubt.

    Oh, the West’s hands are certainly not clean. Israel is surely at fault and so on, but do you REALLY think (as you appear to, and as is parroted ad infinitum in the Islamic world) that all Muslims woes are the fault of the West? Is that why Pakistan is such a basket case?

  87. joe90 — on 16th May, 2011 at 12:29 am  

    post #86

    there would be no afghanistan without 9/11? says who

    iraq would have been unlikely? what with or without made up fiction and lies.

    How can you conclude the vast majority of deaths where at the hands of the muslims based on which facts?

    It is amazing you have shock and awe full scale invasions, and you pin the blame on the victim community are you Alistair campbell in disguise?

  88. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2011 at 2:13 am  

    joe90 @ 85,

    I quite like most of the muslims I have met. Not all of them, obviously.

    You, on the other hand love your sort of muslims beyond any sense of reason. It seems to me that you support that sort of muslim, y’know those that kill other muslims with impunity. Or at the very least you pretend it doesn’t happen.

    You really do need to get a grip.

    What you saying is you support any person that shares your viewpoint and your viewpoint only.

    Well, yes. In the sense that folk should try to resolve conflict without killing each other. I am quite comfortable with that – radical – idea.

    If you just ‘go off on one’ every time you post, then I will think you are the problem rather than the solution.

    You, sir, are not going to win either here or anywhere else.

    What age are you?

    Ten?

  89. Boyo — on 16th May, 2011 at 6:31 am  

    “are you Alistair campbell in disguise?”

    Yes!

    I wish i could live in your fantasy world. It would all be so much more comforting.

  90. Boyo — on 16th May, 2011 at 6:39 am  

    btw, as for facts, Iraq Body Count, obviously no friend of the Occupation Forces, state:

    “Most frequently identifiable are civilian killings caused by Coalition military or those who violently oppose them (17% of all deaths in 2006-2008).”

    But no facts to you are facts unless they fit your fairytale vision, are they. Please, tell us your secret!

  91. Optimist — on 16th May, 2011 at 11:45 am  

    Boyo,

    Good to get a response from you. Let me answer some of you points now and I will come back on the others, later on.

    1. OBL did immense damage to the cause of socialism, in which I believe. Before 9/11, the Anti-Capitalist movement had seen tremendous successes from Seattle to Nice. But 9/11 put an end to that.
    2. Only people who gained from 9/11 were Bush and Blair. Bush may have been impeached, but with the help of 9/11 he won land-slide 2nd term. Blair, a little man, was able the play ‘the big man’ on the world stage.
    3. OBL, Bush and Blair are all the same, they all believed in achieving their goals through violence, but Bush and Blair killed far more innocent civilians ( collateral damage ) than OBL could have ever dreamed in his dirtiest dreams.
    4. Muslims, Christians and Jews had lived in relative peace for a thousand years in the middle east until the creation of Israel.
    5. State of Israel came into being through terrorism and has prevailed only through terrorism. Just because they don’t use suicide bombers, many people in the west ignore the fact that they are the biggest terrorists in the world – they have nuclear weapons, F16 and kill innocent Palestinians at will, invade neighbouring countries without impunity and their soldiers enjoy nothing more than humiliating poor old Palestinian men.

  92. Refresh — on 16th May, 2011 at 4:05 pm  

    Iraq would have happened regardless of 9/11. I believe congress had already passed such a motion well before. Not forgetting the architects of the PNAC and the subsequent shock-and-awe steamrollered the Iraq war.

    Syria and Iran were next.

    As for how they managed it, you just need to see how USA, the nation, was usurped by the Likudniks.

  93. Shamit — on 16th May, 2011 at 4:20 pm  

    “Iraq would have happened regardless of 9/11.”

    How did you come to this conclusion especially when GWB Presidency was to be focused upon domestic politics and not international politics.

    That was the goal until 9/11 happened. In fact, the Bush administration could not be bothered about international affairs until that time and there has been various accusations against the Bush admin for failing to listen about terrorist threats as well as international affairs.

    What law are you talking about that US Congress passed?

    I think once again bias is clouding judgement and while everyone is entitled to their opinion including Joe90 – everyone is not entitled to their own facts.

    The facts do not support the argument made by either joe90 or Refresh that Iraq was on the cards.

    The then President of the United States ran a campaign arguing Us should not be the policeman of the world and that his presidency would focus on domestic matters. All papers and chronicled conversations and reports suggest that was the case – once again the US haters are coming out in droves.

    But there has been little or no criticism about the role Pakistan played in all this. But I am not surprised.

  94. Optimist — on 16th May, 2011 at 4:35 pm  

    US haters ? I love the US. I been there many times, have driven around Florida, California, Wasington, Kentucky etc and have many American friends who hate their political system and their govts. foreign policy even more than I do!

  95. Refresh — on 16th May, 2011 at 4:50 pm  

    Shamit,

    The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.

    And as for the PNAC crew, you will recall the open letter to Clinton on Iraq.

    Pakistan’s problem, for completeness, is very simple. It has never been independent in thought or action, there are too many in positions of power who have been too close to foreign interests. Even today it has the opportunity to learn from India. India did its level best to keep the west out, stayed friends with the USSR whilst strengthening its credentials as a leader amongst the non-aligned movement.

    The so-called Arab-spring is a recognition by the people, that there is no need for animosity towards the west whilst they are allowed to remove their dictators and despots for themselves. Lets hope that will apply to Pakistan too.

  96. Shamit — on 16th May, 2011 at 5:45 pm  

    The Iraq Liberation Act was simply an action to say that the US would like to see a democratic Iraq and authorised POTUS to provide groups opposing Saddam hussein with material support and provide humanitarian assistance.

    It forbade any military action against the country – this act came into being after Saddam Hussein failed to comply with numerous UN Security Council resolutions.

    **************************

    Yeah, Refresh – we are seeing how wonderful the things are turning out in Syria and would have done in Libya.

    Non Aligned Movement was the biggest joke of the century – it was almost a Soviet cabal – India was firmly in the Soviet Camp and so was Cuba – so NAM was independent is arguable.

    ***********************
    Optimist – I was not referring you to be US hater. But on this blog and many other so called lefty blogs, there are double standards when it comes to the US.

    No one criticises Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, China or North Korea – but when it comes to the US the comments become rather revolting.

  97. Refresh — on 16th May, 2011 at 5:59 pm  

    The point is of course India seems to have been doing creditably well for NOT being in the US orbit of influence.

    You would think the corollary would be close allies of the US do remarkably well. But not so.

  98. Boyo — on 16th May, 2011 at 6:27 pm  

    @91 well, that is a comforting narrative, but a simplistic one.

    1 is plain wishful thinking. A few street parties in Seattle do not equal socialism, though they may have been a belated recognition of the impact of global neo-liberalism. As Naomi Klein eloquently outlines, it was game over in 1989 when the SU, which had inadvertently guaranteed social democracy crumbled. Socialist as I too am, it remains difficult to see how this particular rampaging genie can be placed back in its box – it is winning on all fronts.

    2-3 reeks of relativism. OBL was not a democratically-elected leader o a nation state (not even Afghanistan). Bush may have been a neo-liberal and Blair his unwitting poodle, but neither sought to kill to roll back centuries of scientific and social progress, purdah women, string up gays, etc. That all were utopians, however, is true. But then so too are socialists. ;-)

    4 I don’t think the history bears that out even allowing for a few hundred years slack either side. People do appear to forget that, for example, the Egyptian population were all, nominally at least, Christian before the Muslim Conquest. That few remain so in the region today says something for the discomfort under which non-Muslims were placed. Of course in response there is the expulsion argument in Spain, although again arguably this could have been said to be in response to conquest. In any case, it’s the ME that’s being discussed.

    5 Yep, the Israelis did start as terrorists and it is certainly rich for them to condemn the actions of others as if they were lilly white (one for the Spurs fans, including your truly). On the other hand, I have always felt it a bit rich for Christians in particular (not to say you are one, but I do include those born to a Christian culture) to slag them off when 2000 years or so of persecution (first pogrom was in York?) culminating with 6 million of them being murdered basically brutalised them to the point where they don’t give a fuck, and in a way, who can blame them? Well, you obviously, but I still think it’s taking the piss for the Christians (ie, us) to butcher them for thousands of years and then condemn them ALL OVER AGAIN for acting just like us. That’s enough to make me a Zionist apparently. Go figure…

  99. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2011 at 6:27 pm  

    Dunno if this is helpful, but the first Bush / Blair meeting about Iraq was in 2002. The war started in the following year 2003.

    I think, but correct me if I am wrong, that most of the lies about WMDs, etc, came in that intervening period. Bush was elected in 2000, so I suppose this was the earliest opportunity he had had to resolve his fathers ‘failure’. Y’know given that he had the little matter of Afghanistan to sort out. It always struck me that Iraq was ‘unfinished business’ for the Bush clan.

    I think that is how these folk think.

  100. douglas clark — on 16th May, 2011 at 6:36 pm  

    Refresh @ 95,

    In what way was Pakistan not free or independent? Och, you mean internally. Why don’t the Pakistanis try to embrace the Arab Spring, or is it too late?

  101. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 7:03 pm  

    Shamit – “No one criticises Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, China or North Korea – but when it comes to the US the comments become rather revolting.”

    And the right can see the US do no wrong and the same with Israel.

    The US is a purchased democracy run by lobby groups and influenced by fanatical right wingers whose religious nutjob thinking is to promote war.

    If the US is a global superpower and world policeman (self-appointed) then it needs to be honest and not brought off by lobby groups. It needs to be honest and apply International law fairly.

    The countries you list who are feted by the left are not Superpowers or world policeman.

    Its also nonsense to say Iran, Syria, Hamas are not criticised – they are its just that the right has taken a narrative which is shrill type politics and using that to have bogeymen.

    The right is renowned for its own dirty deals with Iran, Syria etc. during the Reagan Era.

  102. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 7:28 pm  

    Shamit – “Whether it was practiced or not, Blair’s “humanitarian intervention” resonates with me which was further endorsed by the Pope and the UN Secretary General with what they dubbed as “right to protect”.”

    Blair was a total hypocrate whose alliegance with the neo-cons is now becoming clearer as he quotes from the likes of the RAND Organisation and follows the thug like neo-con doctrine which is hardly humanitarian but more sinister.

    Blair was nowhere to be seen when humanitarian intervention was required in Gaza and chose instead to see Murdoch when his duty as PM of this country was to brief Parliament.

    As Quartet Envoy his lack of intervention is telling as his evangelical Christian thinking comes to the fore as he refuses to help move the Israelis and Palestinians towards peace, something he is paid to do. He is an attention seeker looking to salvage his reputation as he went to war on lies.

    Your Blair doesn’t call for an end to attacks on Israeli and Palestinian civilians but just Israeli. Is that his impartial humanitarian intervention. Does he call out the settlers for their brutal intimidation which even Bibi has done on a few occassions? No so where is his humanity?

    Even when given a chance to rebuild his tattered reputation he has failed to deliver leadership and instead sucks up to Israel as their poodle whilst not actually doing his job which requires humanitarian interventtion. A job he is paid hugely for.

    Tony “Humanitarian” Blair used cash for disadvanatged children to set up his palacial residence as Quartet envoy, this is a man with over £50 Million and his humantarian side took money from children. What a joker. Worse he spends one week a month there and then doesn’t deliver anything.

    How did a humanitarian put together a £50 million fortune in a job that pays less than £100,000 a year?

    Judge his overall record and not a few cases and the fact he was unable to overcome his own evangelical leaning to bring to people towards a peace.

    The man is a disgrace to his office and needs to be tried in court rather than feted as a humanitarian when there are so many examples of his failure and lack of compassion and humanity.

    The Blair Faith Foundation at its outset failed to send a message of Eid to Muslims when he sent a message to every other faith so that tells of his approach to Muslims.

    His failure to be balanced in his own job is clear for all to see.

    A true leader would work with all sides to resolve issue whereas a poodle won’t.

    Labelling a failed and pathetic leader as a humanitarian is disgraceful.

    Obama tried a failed to bring sides together, Blair didn’t even try and ran off to see Murdoch in dereliction of his duty.

    This waste os space als sent people to war without proper equipment and funding, young people from this country who died because a PM failed to provied adequete equipment. He of course made sure he was himself well protected on each trip. Thats your humanitarian who provided only for himself and his right wing friends.

  103. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 7:35 pm  

    Douglas – “In what way was Pakistan not free or independent? Och, you mean internally. Why don’t the Pakistanis try to embrace the Arab Spring, or is it too late?”

    In a country rife with violence, poverty and corruption where many people struggle to live day to day without bare essentials. Seriously their last concern is hardly an Arab Spring.

    There is a lack of education, drug use is increasing a rife.

    Pakistan needs stability, education reform etc. It’ll be decades before they can emerge from the mess.

    The country is religious is name only and is steeped in tribal makeup and superstitions.

    The Arab Spring itself hasn’t produced much and now in Egypt they are protesting again.

  104. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 7:40 pm  

    Douglas – “so I suppose this was the earliest opportunity he had had to resolve his fathers ‘failure’.”

    That’s nonsense. His father stuck to the UN mandate so hardly a failure except in the eyes of the right wing. His father kept his word and tried to bring peace to the Middle East after the Iraq war.

    Bush’s father and James Baker were quite well respected in the Middle East.

    Bush Jnr wasn’t. Bush and Blair both promised to work for peace in the Middle East trying to copy Bush Snr but both lied about that as well and didn’t do anything.

    Blair promised that if he was supported in Iraq he would push for Middle East peace and after amassing a £50 million fortune on less than £100,000 salary failed to even try for Middle East peace.

    Bush Snr. had many countries with him and tried to do some things right, and he even got fed up with his own son.

    Bush Jnr waslured to Iraq by the neo-cons on a promise of cheap oil and not to finish his father’s work.

  105. Shamit — on 16th May, 2011 at 7:42 pm  

    Imran – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    How did you think Obama won? Or Bill Clinton?

    The right in America hates them more than they hate anyone else. And lobbies in America work both ways – the left and the right. I used to work for lobbyists for the left and in the past couple election cycles – Democrats raised more money than the Republicans.

    I find it really disturbing that you think unless you are global superpower you should not be criticised for your lack of human rights and using terrorism as a foreign policy.

    If that’s what the left has become I don’t want any part of it. But I am glad you do not define what left is and neither do most of the loony tune bloggers.

    In the last couple of months, can you please show me some examples of out and out lefties castigating Gaddafi or Assad. No. But bloggers did portray Wisconsin Governor and David Cameron as Nazi. I am not a Tory and neither am I a right wing nut. But I am centre left and I think the left has lost its perspective.

    If you are for mass human rights – you are for human rights. You cannot pick and choose and that’s where I have got a major problem with the way Left articulates itself and binds itself in a flawed intellectual cul-de-sac – which Clinton, Blair and Obama could get out of. But the rest of the left is still stuck in the rut infact they are regressing.

    So the left – right divide is bizzare to say the least.

    **************************

    Refresh:

    India and the US have become staunch allies since the Clinton administration which also sort of coincided with the economic opening of India. Since then and especially under Bush and Obama, India and US would call themselves allies privately and publicly and it is almost a friendship of equals.

    Interesting analysis about US allies.

    Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Japan ASEAN, NATO countries haven’t done well you mean to say. I think they have done very well and that too within the US orbit of influence – in fact many of those countries depend on the US for its national defence.

    Because those countries focused on education, innovation and personal development of citizens – while others such as Pakistan etc etc did the opposite and focused on stealing money without investing in core infrastructure and education and health.

    Is it really Us fault that Pakistan’s quality of life and education has been reserved for the very elite?

    Israel has done well economically as well as with education, health etc – why couldn’t the Arab countries with immense wealth do the same?

    Because simply inadequate leadership and lack of vision among its leaders. US would protect its interests and despite whatever people say it has every right to – however, it is the responsibility of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to look after the interests of its people – sadly it has never happened.

    Instead it has created a military state where resources from education, health etc have been diverted to the Military industrial complex and exporting terrorism as a foreign policy tool. Result is a big zero – and you think its US fault.

    That is your opinion but the facts once again do not support your assertions.

  106. Boyo — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:04 pm  

    “The country is religious is name only and is steeped in tribal makeup and superstitions.”

    Islamist line 1

    “The Arab Spring itself hasn’t produced much and now in Egypt they are protesting again.”

    Islamist line 2

    Because of course what they need is more religion, right?

    Dog consumes own tail and begins to talk out of its…. but I wouldn’t want you to take offence ;-)

  107. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:05 pm  

    Shamit – “Imran – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

    Laugh as its always better ;-)

    “The right in America hates them more than they hate anyone else. And lobbies in America work both ways – the left and the right. I used to work for lobbyists for the left and in the past couple election cycles – Democrats raised more money than the Republicans.”

    And I didn’t deny that – the reason I answered your point was that you only mentioned the left and I simply reminded you that the right does the same if not worse. Lobby groups are a huge risk to democracy in the way they are now manipulating politicians.

    “I find it really disturbing that you think unless you are global superpower you should not be criticised for your lack of human rights and using terrorism as a foreign policy.”

    Again please read what I said. I didn’t say that a global superpower shouldn’t be criticised, I think it doesn’t matter if you are a superpower or not; if you lack human rights then you should be criticised. I think Hamas should be criticised as should the USA. But lets not be selective and make excuses for either.

    “In the last couple of months, can you please show me some examples of out and out lefties castigating Gaddafi or Assad. No. But bloggers did portray Wisconsin Governor and David Cameron as Nazi. I am not a Tory and neither am I a right wing nut. But I am centre left and I think the left has lost its perspective.”
    Agreed.

    “If you are for mass human rights – you are for human rights. You cannot pick and choose and that’s where I have got a major problem with the way Left articulates itself and binds itself in a flawed intellectual cul-de-sac – which Clinton, Blair and Obama could get out of. But the rest of the left is still stuck in the rut infact they are regressing.”

    Ah but Clinton and Blair didn’t get out they still supported “friends” who were thungs and denied people human rights and in fact protected them. So how did they get out? Where was their leadership?

    “So the left – right divide is bizzare to say the least.”
    I’d say from an ethnic perspective the right is far more dangerous.

  108. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:10 pm  

    Boyo – “Because of course what they need is more religion, right?”

    Did I say that? Show me where I said that?

    I said: “The country is religious is name only and is steeped in tribal makeup and superstitions.”
    If you bothered to understand what I was saying it is that people use religion as an excuse to maintain what they have rather than moving forwrad and throw in tribal loyalty, superstition etc. and you have the mix you find in areas of Pakistan.

    Also labelling people Islamist without understanding what is being said is poor discussion and so typical of the right who claim to want free speech but then label anything they dislike to stop people from hearing. Do you have a Glen Beck poster ;-)

  109. Boyo — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:12 pm  

    This isn’t the first time you’ve posted. I’m familiar with your viewpoint, although happy to be set straight.

  110. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:17 pm  

    ““The Arab Spring itself hasn’t produced much and now in Egypt they are protesting again.”

    Islamist line 2″

    If you had a grasp on events as you pretend you do then you’d know that Islamists support the Arab Spring because thats what they believe in from the doctrines of Qutb etc. and saying you were talking out of your rear-end may cause offence because you fail to realise this point shows your utter failure to grasp the Islamist doctrine.

    The Arab Spring hasn’t produced much in Tunisia because mainly the same people remain in charge, in Egypt its much the same. An analyst such as you should be able to see this but you can’t.

    As you sit by pathetically labelling people with false slurs such as Islamist you fail to see that the people in the region are still not happy, because they had hope of change which has not come.

  111. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:21 pm  

    Boyo – “This isn’t the first time you’ve posted. I’m familiar with your viewpoint, although happy to be set straight.”

    It isn’t the first time you’ve thrown out shitty labels but I’m happy to be set straight though you have previous poor form.

    The point I made was that the Arab Spring has not brought the people the change they wanted. It hasn’t produced the results they wanted. So how is that Islamist?

    Its typical right wing to label people Islamist in an attempt to silence them. Are you a Mail, Express or Telegraph reader then or dare I say it Sun?

  112. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:23 pm  

    Boyo – “Dog consumes own tail and begins to talk out of its…. but I wouldn’t want you to take offence”

    coming from someone who is begining to talk out of his a..e rather than trying to have a friendly discussion, who choose to cuase offence then say he doesn’t want me to take offence is rather rich.

    Why not try having a discussion or is that too much for you?

  113. Shamit — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:23 pm  

    Imran –

    I actually agree with pretty much everything you said in response to my previous comment excluding the last point.

    I think extreme politics when coupled with demagogues are always violent as history has shown us. Lenin/Stalin and Hitler all have killed millions of people.

  114. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:35 pm  

    Shamit – “I think extreme politics when coupled with demagogues are always violent as history has shown us. Lenin/Stalin and Hitler all have killed millions of people.”

    Fair point, I agree with you. I think it isn’t just extreme politics but extremism in religion also has a violent history and people, communities and countries need to see and stop extremism in all its forms as it is of no benefit. But where politicians fail is when they won’t provide true leadership and speak out against all forms of extremism.

    Bin Laden is a good example of what happens in exttremism in religion where he became blinded to the point he hated entire societies and that is never a good thing as it breeds hatred and violence.

    It was interesting to see that although he espoused a certain philosophy that he actually chose to live quite well himself and so did his family in contrast to what he preached.

  115. Boyo — on 16th May, 2011 at 8:52 pm  

    I think I labeled you Islamist because of your insistence in following the letter of the Koran (vis Creationism).

    Growing a sense of humour might help, either way.

  116. Imran Khan — on 16th May, 2011 at 9:21 pm  

    “I think I labeled you Islamist because of your insistence in following the letter of the Koran (vis Creationism).”

    That’s religious belief which granted you may find unacceptable and odd but it is my belief.

    This is vastly different from the term Islamist.

    An Islamist is someone who merges Socialist/Marxist thinking with Islam as Sayyid Qutb did and thus believes in violent revolution to overthrow regimes to implement his version of Islam. Just for your reference Sayyid Qutb had no theological understanding of Islam as he went to the extreme that he did not consider most Muslims as Muslims and he believed that he did not have to pray mandatory Friday prayers as there was no global Khalifite. This in Islamic terms is extremism in religion and he was condemned by the leading religious scholars of his time. His thoughts sadly took hold and lead to the extremism we see today.

    This ideology basically justified any action as being acceptable and is deviant from the core teachings of Islam as such thinking was exposed by the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) when they battled similar minded people of their time.

    As for your statement following the letter of the Qur’an (your spelling was Koran is in fact incorrect) then in core pillars of belief yes you follow the Qur’an and Hadith which are the primary sources of revelation. But these also exhort Muslims to help the needy, to protect life, preserve the environment etc. which admiteddly many Muslims do not follow.

  117. Optimist — on 17th May, 2011 at 9:54 am  

    Boyo -

    “5 Yep, the Israelis did start as terrorists and it is certainly rich for them to condemn the actions of others as if they were lilly white (one for the Spurs fans, including your truly). On the other hand, I have always felt it a bit rich for Christians in particular (not to say you are one, but I do include those born to a Christian culture) to slag them off when 2000 years or so of persecution (first pogrom was in York?) culminating with 6 million of them being murdered basically brutalised them to the point where they don’t give a fuck, and in a way, who can blame them? Well, you obviously, but I still think it’s taking the piss for the Christians (ie, us) to butcher them for thousands of years and then condemn them ALL OVER AGAIN for acting just like us. That’s enough to make me a Zionist apparently.”

    I agree with most of your point 5 and I also notice that you use the word ‘Christian’ everywhere – and not Muslim, anywhere !!

    That is good – and that is exactly my point.

    I have all the sympathy with the Jews who were persecuted so much throughout history, and I have many, many Jewish friends who agree with me totally that, IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PALESTINIANS !!!!!

    Why did the Zionists not demand that Israel is created in Germany, the land of the holocaust?

    Why are the Zionists trying to do the same to the Palestinians what was done to them? It may be the case like the ‘children who are abused, themselves often become the abusers’ but why don’t they go and ‘abuse’ some Christians, better still, Nazis?

    By the way, I am an atheist – and will come back to you on others points later on.

  118. jamal — on 17th May, 2011 at 11:26 am  

    boyo

    you labeling people islamist is bit like me calling you islamaphobic is that fair enough!

  119. Optimist — on 17th May, 2011 at 4:34 pm  

    Boyo -

    Please see these pictures below – and they may make you pro-Palestinian, rather than a Zionist!!

    http://sites.google.com/site/falastinel7ora/jews–survivors-of-holocaust

  120. Boyo — on 17th May, 2011 at 7:45 pm  

    i wouldn’t call you an islamist jamal, cos i don’t know who you are!

    i am pro-people Optimist. For the record i have (albeit briefly) worked with an NGO on the West Bank assisting Palestinians.

    Perhaps it is the nature of my work (or what i used to do) – i have been involved in many projects across the globe and tend not to be inclined to single any particular group out, which is precisely what makes me reticent about Israel. Five million people have died in the Congo over the past decade, for example, largely for the elements that fuel the developed world’s computers. Now that, and the fact that it barely registers on the radar of the “campaigning consensus”, is to me an outrage and real proof of racism.

  121. Boyo — on 17th May, 2011 at 7:49 pm  

    Oh, alright, i do single out “islamists” a bit but largely because

    - they’re always good for a row
    - they’re easy to disagree with because they’re so obviously wrong
    - apart from right wingers (who are either amoral or stupid) they at least a counter-hegemony
    - i find a section of the left’s love affair with them deeply irritating

    It’s probably the last one that actually makes it worthwhile ;-)

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