Archive | May 6th, 2011

Ohio hotel: Half-staff U.S. flag not mourning bin Laden



‘It started getting out of hand. One person said we needed to be run out of town’

Ed note–if a few dozen people like this can get out of hand over something TOTALLY INNOCENT  and without being propagandized by the JMSM, imagine what can be done when someone with an agenda to push, with an unlimited amount of money and technological sophistication can do. Why, you never know, in a situation like that, an entire nation such as America could be talked into going to war and killing millions of innocent people over NOTHING.

An Ohio hotel has been fending off angry phone calls because a broken rope on its flagpole led some to think the business was mourning the death of Osama bin Laden.

The rope left the U.S. flag stuck at half-staff outside a Hampton Inn in Springfield in western Ohio two days before bin Laden was killed, its assistant general manager Connie Smith told

However, people started noticing the flag and assuming its position was in honor of bin Laden on Tuesday.

The hotel and its company received dozens of calls from people who were either upset or angry. One threatened to run the hoteliers out of town.

Smith, speaking by phone after the Springfield News-Sun first reported the story, said the flag had become frayed and the maintenance man was trying to replace it.

“He was trying to lower it down and it got stuck … and it got stuck at half mast,” Smith said. “It was raining, we’ve had non-stop rain for the past two or three weeks. The rope was slippery, it was so rainy, so windy, we just couldn’t mess with it.”

“Next thing I know we start getting calls like left and right, a couple of dozen at least,” she added.

One prospective guest on Tuesday night said he wasn’t going to stay at the hotel because of the flag, but relented when told it was a maintenance issue, rather than in honor of bin Laden.

Smith said the first call was polite with the caller saying “Did you realize your flag is half-mast?”

But the real deluge began Wednesday morning. “My first call was from a woman whose son was a sergeant in the army. She thought it was disgraceful,” Smith said.

“It was all over Facebook. I got a call from a man who said his boss told him about it at a meeting of 20 to 30 people,” she added.

Smith said she was shocked by the volume of calls.

“It started getting out of hand. One person said we needed to be run out of town,” she said, adding that another said the flag had to be fixed or he would “come out and chop that flagpole down.”

It was fixed by 9 a.m. Wednesday, Smith said, but the calls continued until 9:30 p.m.

The hotel is part of the Hilton hotel group — its flag flies below Old Glory — and Smith said it also received “a ton of calls.”

“They had one woman who was so distraught because she lost a friend in 9/11,” Smith said, adding that the caller ended up in tears.

“The whole town thought we were supporting bin Laden. So many people really had a fit about it. They were calling the local newspaper, they were calling the police. I didn’t realize how patriotic our city is,” she added.

For the record, Smith said that while she didn’t “want to see anybody die” she felt relieved when she heard bin Laden was dead. “A little justice was done for those people (his victims). He cannot hurt anybody any more.”


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Obama Pressed by Neocons to Take Stronger Action Against Assad



Amid a continuing crackdown against opposition forces, U.S. President Barack Obama is coming under growing pressure to impose tougher sanctions against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Two key lawmakers with close ties to the powerful “Israel Lobby” on Capitol Hill called Thursday for Obama to fully enforce existing sanctions, which would deny Damascus access to a range of technologies, and step up assistance to opposition activists both in Syria and abroad.

“Syria is not only hosting the world’s worst terrorist groups and developing weapons of mass destruction,” said New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel in releasing a letter[pdf] co-signed by the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. “Now it’s murdering its own people.”

“It’s long past time to impose the full range of sanctions on Syria and to work with our allies to tighten the screws on the Assad regime,” he added.

The letter followed the suggestion earlier this week by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that Assad’s crackdown had so alienated the Syrian population that it was unlikely that he could fully restore his authority over the country, even if he halted the repression now.

“I don’t think Israel should be alarmed by the possibility of Assad being replaced,” Barak told a television interviewer in an unprecedented comment on the crisis by a top Israeli official.

The statement was particularly notable because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reportedly told his ministers not to discuss the situation in public due in part to strong disagreements within the national-security establishment over whether Assad’s demise would serve or disserve Israel’s interests.

Barak’s assessment regarding the likely trajectory of the upheaval that has wracked its northern neighbor, however, also reflects the views of a growing number of analysts here who believe that popular discontent – if not outrage – with the government’s repression has become significantly more widespread over the past ten days, particularly since security forces besieged and occupied the southern city of Dera’a where the protests were first launched seven weeks ago.

The Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS) reported Thursday that several hundred people, including women and children, had been killed during a two-day period in Dera’a – among them some 81 soldiers and officers who, according to sources cited by the Center, are believed to have been shot for refusing orders to fire on civilians. Assad was quoted Wednesday as saying that military operations in the city would end “very soon”.

International human rights groups have reported that well over 500 people have been killed by security forces since protests began in March, but that figure is regarded by many as a conservative estimate.

Hundreds – and possibly thousands – more have reportedly been arrested in round-ups that have continued this week in Syria’s two largest cities – Damascus and Aleppo – which have until now remained relatively quiet, as well as in other key towns, notably Homs, Latakia, Saqba, Qamishly, and Dera’a.

Amnesty International reported Tuesday that it had received first- hand accounts of torture and other ill-treatment from detainees who have been released. There have also been reports that those who have been released have been told to tell others of the harsh treatment they received to discourage further protests.

“These disturbing new accounts of detainees being tortured further underscore the need for President Bashar al-Assad to put an end to his security forces’ violent onslaught against his own people,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Neo-conservatives, who, as in neighboring Iraq, have long favored actions designed to oust the ruling Baath Party, and their allies in Congress have urged Obama to take stronger action against the regime since the outset of the protests.

Elliott Abrams, who served as a top Middle East aide to former President George W. Bush and reportedly urged Israel to include Syria on its target list at the outset of its 2006 war on Hezbollah, has repeatedly urged the administration to pursue a diplomatic and economic strategy designed to isolate and ultimately bring down the regime.

“The demise of this murderous clan [the Assads] is in America’s interest,” he wrote on his blog the day after the first protests in Dera’a were met with a violent response by Damascus’ security forces in late March.

In late April, three influential senators, Republicans John McCain and Lindsay Graham and Independent Democrat Joseph Lieberman, called on Obama to impose tough sanctions and publicly demand that Assad resign, as he did with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Several days later, on Apr. 29, Obama announced a freeze on the assets of three senior government officials, including Assad’s brother, implicated in human rights abuses. At the same time, the administration helped gain passage of a resolution before the U.N. Human Rights Council condemning the violence.

But the administration has so far rejected appeals to impose sanctions directly on Assad or call for his resignation, urging him instead to stop the repression and implement far-reaching political reforms as he has repeatedly promised he would.

It has also sought to coordinate its position with the European Union, which is itself deeply divided on the best course and is currently considering targeted sanctions against 15 officials, including Assad himself.

Washington’s hesitation reflects the widespread belief that Assad’s ouster could usher in a period of chaos and possible sectarian civil war that could easily spill over into neighboring Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon and threaten the de facto peace that has prevailed along the armistice lines between Israel and Syria in the disputed Golan Heights since 1973.

On other hand, a growing number of analysts here believe that the repression is steadily reducing Assad’s base of support, diminishing the possibility – if it still exists – that he can ever regain the confidence of key sectors of the population, particularly the youth.

That calculation appears to be leading some to take a more-hawkish position, although military intervention, as in Libya, enjoys virtually no support at all.

In one notable shift, Steven Cook, a well-respected Middle East analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), wrote on his CFR blog this week that while there was a risk that a “new, nastier dictatorship or generalized instability” would follow Assad’s demise, the risk was worth taking in light of the “strategic opportunity” of breaking the Syrian-Iranian alliance that the Assad dynasty has fostered.

Urging Obama to publicly back the opposition and call for Assad’s departure, as well as increase sanctions, Cook wrote that the “potential for isolating Iran – a primary policy goal of the United States since the 1980s – is worth the risk.”

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Pakistan Wants to Reduce American Troops to ‘Minimum Essential’



Tensions Continue to Rise Between US, Pakistan

With US-Pakistan tensions continuing to rise in the wake of the Sunday raid which killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the Pakistani military has ordered the Obama Administration to slash the number of troops inside Pakistan.

Though it is unclear exactly what this will mean in terms of numbers, the Pakistani military said it wants the US to reduce the number of troops to the “minimum essential” in the country. The US has had troops engaged in training operations for years.

The two nations were already increasingly at odds over the extent of US spying across the nation, as well as the number of attacks across the tribal areas. The fact that the bin Laden raid came without US officials contacting Pakistan until it was over only made matters worse.

And now, US Congressmen are openly calling for the suspension of US aid to Pakistan, which makes the deployment of the US troops inside the country all the more controversial. Though many see a full split as unlikely, it seems tensions will remain high going forward.

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First suspected drone strike in Pakistan since bin Laden raid leaves 12 dead




Friday's suspected drone strike (file photo) was the 21st this year compared to 111 in all of 2010.

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — A suspected U.S. drone struck and killed targets in Pakistan’s tribal region Friday, the first such attack since American troops killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden north of Islamabad earlier this week.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN that 12 suspected militants were killed in the assault in the Data Khel region of North Waziristan, one of the seven districts of Pakistan’s volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The drone, an unmanned aircraft, attacked a militant hideout and a vehicle carrying militants.

The U.S. operation targeting bin Laden intensified discord and highlighted the mistrust between Pakistan and the United States, which did not inform the Pakistanis of the raid in the military garrison town of Abbottabad.

Before that dramatic operation, many Pakistanis had been particularly displeased with the controversial practice of targeting militants with unmanned aircraft because civilians have died in the operations.

Last month, 44 people were killed in a drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal region and the government of Pakistan formally asked the U.S. government for an apology.

After that strike, frequency of the drone strikes was reduced.

CNN’s Islamabad bureau has counted only four drone strikes over the last month and a half. Friday’s suspected drone strike was the 21st this year compared to 111 in all of 2010. There was no immediate comment on the strike from the United States.

The intelligence officials asked not be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Imran Khan — head of a right-wing political party in Pakistan — has warned that his party and followers will disrupt the flow of supplies through Pakistan to NATO troops in Afghanistan if the strikes aren’t stopped.

His group held a sit-in protest against the strikes in Peshawar last month. Around 8,000 to 10,000 people participated.

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Pentagon backtracks on claims that Bin Laden put up a fight



Latest version of events contradicts claim that al-Qa’ida leader was killed in firefight

By Rupert Cornwell,

The Independent

As President Obama made his pilgrimage to Ground Zero in New York, new details emerged yesterday suggesting that the commando raid that killed the world’s most wanted terrorist in Pakistan on Monday was a far more one-sided affair than original official US accounts suggested.

According to a new version provided by Pentagon officials, of the five people killed in the commando raid in which Osama bin Laden was shot dead, only one was armed and fired a shot. He was Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, the courier whose identification and shadowing led American agents to the fortified compound on the outskirts of Abbottabad where the al-Qa’ida leader was hiding.

After shooting Mr Kuwaiti dead in the guest house, along with a woman who was there, the US Navy Seals moved on to the main building and no further shots were fired in resistance, the officials said, painting a somewhat different picture from the prolonged firefight initially described. The raid culminated with the killing of Bin Laden on the top floor of the compound residence proper.

The raid lasted approximately 40 minutes. But at the moment of his death, the terrorist leader was not carrying a weapon, though some accounts suggest an AK-47 rifle and a pistol were on a table close by. The officials now describe the assault on the main residence as a “precision, floor-by-floor operation” in which the courier’s brother and Bin Laden’s son Khaled were shot dead, before the commando team reached the room containing Bin Laden.

Officials blame the confusion on the “fog of war”, and their desire to provide as much early information as possible to the media. They say that what precisely happened has been established only now that the Seals who took part in the raid have been properly debriefed.

But the changing story has removed a little lustre from the most triumphal national security moment of the Obama presidency. Originally, Bin Laden was supposed to have died in a massive gunfight, using his wife as a human shield, cornered in a house that was supposed to be the lap of luxury.

The Obama administration now says it will give no further details of the raid – which appears to have used “stealth” helicopters, fuelling worries that the wreckage of one that crashed could be shipped to China to reveal its technological secrets – following the President’s decision not to release death photos of Bin Laden.

But the impression persists that the administration sought to cast the operation in the most heroic light possible, at the expense of the facts. That in turn could stoke new demands for publication of the photos, should further discrepancies emerge.

Meanwhile, another Saudi terrorist – Khaled Hathal al-Qahtani, linked to Al Qai’da and the 13th most wanted man in his home country – was apprehended in a less violent manner earlier this week when he handed himself in. In any case, it will soon be partisan business as usual again in US politics. Yesterday, Vice-President Joe Biden opened talks with top congressional leaders on how to reduce the federal deficit.

The debt argument, pitting Republicans demanding spending cuts against Democrats determined to protect key social programmes such as Medicare and Social Security, is the issue that may above all decide whether Mr Obama wins a second term in November 2012.

Even as the President was in New York, the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, declared his party would not vote to raise the US debt limit, due to be hit within weeks, without “trillions of dollars” of spending cuts.

The death of national enemy No 1 Osama bin Laden has created a rare moment of unity between the parties. It is unlikely to last.

Who was the raid’s four-legged hero?

As the clamour for answers over the shooting of Osama bin Laden grows, one unexpected mystery is emerging from the fog of war: was the 80th member of the elite commando squad a German Shepherd or a Belgian Malinois? And was it decked out in its tan or camouflage green waterproof vest?

Soon after the raid in the early hours of Monday morning, US security officials revealed that one dog had taken part in the operation to kill or capture the al-Qa’ida chief. It has since been hailed as America’s most courageous canine, but like the rest of the elite Seal Team 6 that descended from helicopters and into the fray, its identity remains classified.

Dogs used by US Navy Seal teams were last year kitted out in waterproof tan or camouflage vests equipped with night-vision cameras and speakers so their handlers can shout orders at them remotely, according to a report in the New York Times. Nij Islam, head trainer with the UK-based Elite K9, which trains dogs for security services worldwide, said that although a parachuting canine may seem far-fetched, all it takes is solid training – and a plucky disposition.

“You just need a dog with a stable temperament – not a nervous dog – with a lot of confidence, a very strong nerve,” he said. In a situation such as the Pakistan raid, the dog could have been used to sniff out the human target, ensure there were no explosives, or bring down any suspect trying to flee. Mr Islam said only German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Herders would be up to the job.

Dogs are increasingly being deployed in war zones, where they are often used to hunt out deadly roadside bombs.

So Dusty could have been “taken alive” to use a Bushism. He wasn’t armed, there weren’t any female human shields; there was no fire fight. Total contradiction to what was announced at the beginning ! The “fog of war” ?

But we were lead to beleive that obuma and his team were watching the ‘action’ live.

Flag Like ReplyReply   PaddyMiguel  2 hours ago

US claims to have buried one body at sea to prevent a shrine being created. They admit killing others including OBL’s son. What happened to those bodies? Why was only one buried at sea? If the Pakistanis don’t raze the ‘million dollar’ compound in Abbotabad it’s going to receive more visitors than Graceland. No photo of a dead body will ever convince the non-believers (including me) that OBL was shot dead in the early hours of 2 May 2011 in Pakistan.

Flag smokescreen7863 liked this Like ReplyReply   Tom.  3 hours ago

While the West insists war with Pakistan is untenable, one would have thought framing Pakistan with one of the most ridiculous hoaxes in recent history – claiming to find Bin Laden on the doorstep of Pakistan’s military academy – was equally untenable.

Anwar al-Awlaki is the new Bin Laden. He also dined at the Pentagon, according to documents obtained by Fox News.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 1 more liked this Like ReplyReply   southernview  3 hours ago

One reason perhaps why the accounts of the U.S. raid had to be changed is that bin Laden’s wife and daughter are still alive. They are the only people who know the truth. Originally it was claimed his wife had been used as a human shield and shot dead.
If, as it seems highly likely, the U.S. is staging a cover up on parts on the events they will be offered a huge ammount of money to disappear to a safe country.
Flag 2 people liked this. Like ReplyReply   Tom.  4 hours ago

In light of the string of the blatant falsehoods being announced by the U.S. government these days. it’s interesting that so many people still believe whatever they are told by “official” sources.

It brings up the question of the functioning of their brains: How could a person swallow official information so gullibly and so completely without even asking commonsense questions about the reliability or factual basis of that information?

People who operate from The Gullible Mind tend to have misplaced trust in governments.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 3 more liked this Like ReplyReply   mr_bridger  4 hours ago

Can’t wait to see the movie on DVD with Alternative Endings.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 1 more liked this Like ReplyReply   FrankLe  4 hours ago

The only thing thing that is ‘true’ in this whole episode is that someone feels we need lying to, again.

OBL might have gone down wielding a machine gun or he may, as Benazir Bhutto stated, have been dead for years. I suggest we have about as much chance of knowing what happened as we do of knowing what happened in Dealy Plazza. But if arguing about how many Navy Seals can dance on a grassy knoll draws attention from the big picture then “Mission Accomplished”
Flag smokescreen7863 and 1 more liked this Like ReplyReply   Andrew Strachan  2 hours ago in reply to FrankLe

you’re missing the point! what type of dog was it? and, for the love of God!, what was it wearing!?
Flag desertratinwales liked this Like ReplyReply   Arion444  4 hours ago

Backtracked? The Pentagon and the CIA provided all the original info to the press, so why double-back on your own propaganda?

Flush this whole thing down the memory hole!
Flag smokescreen7863 liked this Like ReplyReply   Arion444  4 hours ago

Backtracks? The Pentagon and CIA floated all of the intial info to the press, so why double-back on their own propaganda?

Flush that down the memory hole!
Flag Like ReplyReply   Bryan Hemming  5 hours ago

This little diversion has been staged to draw everyone’s attention form the financial bubble, which is about to burst, bringng down the twin towers of the US financial system and the military industrial complex the US can no longer afford.

The banks of the world are engaged in global financial terrorism, There is no other description for actions that threaten the lives, incomes and homes of everyone without a snout in the trough. The dollar is on the verge of collapse, as financiers put their cash into gold, silver and commodities, while pretending the markets are still trading in stocks and shares by using virtual trading conducted by computers with money conjured out of cyberspace. That money does not exist. It’s just a matter of ‘when’ the dollar will fall.

The military industrial complex has been haemorrhaging the US economy since the 1950′s, as President Eisenhower predicted it would if it wasn’t stopped. The US military desperately needs to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan because it has overstretched itself at a time when the Middle East is the most unstable it has been in decades. They should’ve seen it coming.

Though little ever appears in the Western press, apart from Bahrain, Syria, the Yemen, Libya et al, there have been problems in Saudi Arabia for a long time. The US and Europe chose to ignore them because it was more profitable to buy oil and sell arms to a greedy elite prepared to kill and torture its own in order to hang onto power and riches. They didn’t want to even think of it spoilng the party they’ve been having for years.

As many ordinary people have been quoting both to journalists, and in these comments sections, the killing of Osama bin Laden will not put an end to terrorism and will probably increase it.

How much more are we going to take? The wars our leaders keep on starting are responsible for causing far more terrorism than they claim to prevent. If our political, financial, and military leaders can’t stop their addiction to power and money that threatens to destroy the planet we have to stand up against them.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 3 more liked this Like ReplyReply   JaitcH  5 hours ago

What an anti-climax. No sleeping with a gun under the pillow?

Still, with a couple of Hollywood screen writers and a whole lot of cgi, they could jazz it up and make it look like real confrontation where the U.S.A. wins again.

At least bin Laden dies facing his enemies and wasn’t in hiding in a foxhole like our other hero Saddam.
Flag Arion444 and 2 more liked this Like ReplyReply   gacman  5 hours ago

When will the bloody yanks learn to keep their stupid mouths shut until they have their stories straight? Same thing every time. Amateurs.
Flag desertratinwales and 3 more liked this Like ReplyReply   jahkemet  5 hours ago

The narrative changed after they remembered that Bin Laden’s 12 year old daughter was a witness to the shooting and could give a different account. It has also been revealed by his Yemeni wife that he had not left his bedroom for the past 5 years. This would suggest that he may have been seriously ill or even a cripple at the time of his assassination.
Flag 4 people liked this. Like ReplyReply   Martin Boyle  6 hours ago

big brave soldiers.

Flag Steve_I and 2 more liked this Like ReplyReply   lettus  6 hours ago

The reason why Osama bin Laden has been “killed” now is so that the UK and US governments can claim that any terrorist attacks are not their own stupid fault for invading Libya, but are reprisals from Osama bin Laden’s supporters.

As we see, Cameron and Obama are already pursuing this spin …

The fact that Osama bin Laden’s “death” has been turned into a media event shows that that is just what it is – spin. Otherwise, they would have kept it quiet, in order not to stir up the terrorists.

I have sadly come to the conclusion that the UK and US governments like terrorist attacks in their own countries because people’s fear of a deathly enemy helps to distract criticism of their own governments. You know, like in wartime – people band together, and are far less likely to complain about not having any money and the failings of their government if they are in fear of their lives.

Terrorism also gives governments a reason to interfere even more in people’s liberties.

After all, if they were really concerned to quell terrorism then they wouldn’t have invaded Libya, which will no doubt cause new terrorist attacks. I actually think that one of the reasons for invading Libya was to stir up a bit more terrorism, because terrorist activity has been a bit too quiet recently for their liking.
Flag smokescreen7863 and 8 more liked this Like ReplyReply   desertratinwales  7 minutes ago in reply to lettus

governments love anything that keeps people occupied from what’s really going on. If as many people that tuned into and cared about the royal wedding, tuned into and cared about what’s going on politically and financially, it’d surely be a better place. They’ve had a double whammy the last few weeks and I’m sure are pleased with the attention going from royal nuptuals straight to killing the icon of terror.
Flag Like ReplyReply   Steve_I  6 hours ago

It makes you wonder whether the White House is congenitally unable to tell the truth. I just can’t buy all this “fog of war” baloney. How could they get the story so badly wrong given the external monitoring they have in place for these missions?

There was a picture of Obama, Clinton and others allegedly watching the action live. Now they’re saying the cameras were “switched off” for 25 minutes. Come on, how stupid do they think people are?

Even if you don’t have any sympathy for Bin Laden (I don’t), the blatant lies accompanying this mess are disgusting. There’s also the flood of stories about the “elite of the elite” commandoes the media has been harping on about. For god’s sake, at most there was one armed man – the rest were summarily executed, possibly after having surrendered. Not exactly a mission you’d want to boast about – or be involved in if you had any self-respect.
Flag Martin Boyle and 8 more liked this Like ReplyReply   David Forkit  5 hours ago in reply to Steve_I

“Come on, how stupid do they think people are?”
This is exactly the problem – they know how stupid peolpe are. Wrap anything up in a patriotic flag (especially the American one) and the public swallow it without question
Flag Steve_I and 3 more liked this Like ReplyReply   fairpetethebold  6 hours ago

So a doggy, a German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois was probably the real hero of the commando raid to get Bin laden, always said a dog is a man’s best friend, give that dog a bone!
Flag 1 person liked this. Like ReplyReply   TAG22  6 hours ago

He was shot because he might have been wearing a bomb vest…yeah right…for five years he had been living in one room…with a suicide vest strapped to him…even whilst he slept…just like that Mr de Menezes…
Flag 5 people liked this. Like ReplyReply   TAG22  6 hours ago

Think of this, if the papers had printed the pictures of the piles of bodies, the muderous effects of concentrated shelling, during the Great War does anybody seriously think that the war would have gone on for as long as it did. If pictures of bin Laden were to be published it would be open for all to see the effect of firing a flat headed drilled out bullet into somebody’s brain, like was done to Mr de Menezes, and to see what an assassination by the State looks like. The President should apologise, there should have been a trial, there should be proper process of law, just what sort of lawyer was he. It is not silly to point out that this was an assassination, that the ends do not justify the means. This was an illegal act.
Flag gacman and 4 more liked this Like ReplyReply   TAG22  6 hours ago

Many journalists are so closely linked to the media sections of government that they know that they have to report it from the perspective of the government, and their agencies. It is only when ‘the serious’ commentators get hold of the ‘story’ that press releases are shown to be mostly based on fiction, and not fact. Consider Harry in Afghanistan, and the censorship by the media. This all goes back to the Great War, and the reporting on it, originally journalists given free access, then the brutality, then the losses.
Flag 1 person liked this. Like ReplyReply   TomPayne2  7 hours ago

Richard Nixon, the master of lies once said “it’s not the big lie they get you on, it’s the little one”. The real truth about OBL could not afford to come out. OBL was a CIA asset (friend of GH Bush – CIA director in 1970s), used to channel $6bn of US and Saudi taxpayers’ money to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. That money started arriving in Afghanistan in July 1979, 5 months prior to the Russian “invasion” under the terms of an official order by President Carter. Zbigniew Brzezinski designed Russia’s “Vietnam” and has attested to this in an article in the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998. OBL knew about the 1993 Trade Centre attack (red flag operation to clear the building for two weeks to install explosives for 9/11) and the subsequent US actions across the middle east. He had to die, armed or not. The US government is not your friend.
Flag 8 people liked this. Like ReplyReply   Hesperidean  8 hours ago

I think Osama Bin Laden being captured alive would have been a more dangerous person than dead. I’d say the US chose the lesser of two evils.

Flag 1 person liked this. Like ReplyReply   revelation100  8 hours ago

The USA has given
Al Qaeda (who were fast becoming a less effective terrorist organisation) a great media boost and added fuel to ignite more to join them, haven’t they?
Flag 1 person liked this. Like ReplyReply   grey_rage  7 hours ago in reply to revelation100

Perhaps that was there intention. It’s hard to justify billions spent on terror, when there have been no terror attacks in years, in the countries doing the spending.

Are they trying to provoke attacks to justify the continued spend ?
Flag gacman and 4 more liked this Like ReplyReply   revelation100  8 hours ago in reply to revelation100

Sorry about the repeat post but for some reason my posts become fragmented when published… wonder what’s going on?
Flag Like ReplyReply   Pragmatist  8 hours ago

The inability of the administration to get the story straight is leading to the inevitable conspiracy theories of what happened. I would hope that any conspiracy would be run slightly better than what we are seeing and so the outcome looks more like a cock up and there are good reasons to believe this is the case.

Partly the problem of the multiple stories of what happened is the result of the way Americans manage groups.

They profess to love teams which may be true but some of us are old enough to remember the fiasco of ‘Operation Eagle Claw’ when team obsession and dynamics was identified as a key contributor to the failure of the mission. Get too many people involved with different skill levels and objectives and a suboptimal outcome is inevitable. It now seems that the obsession with team representation has infected not the mission but the command centre with the cast of thousands watching the mission live.

A cynic may posit that it actually means they want everybody in the room to make sure that if there is a problem the blame is nicely shared. Supposing the assault was a complete mess and they ended up shooting a gay hairdresser called Colin who resembled OBL? Obama would not want Hillary et al holding anonymous briefings that she was against the mission or would have handled it differently. Remember she is another ‘miltary expert’ who is incapable of determining if she is under sniper fire at an airport, her view would count and with 2012 around the corner she would want to run if Obama botched it! Biden can barely be trusted to string a sentence together, you don’t want him off message. So Johnson’s modern law states you need them not in the tent but in the command centre watching the screen and in the group photos, but that has consequences. They will leave the room and start basking in their glory with Fox and CNN.

Then there is the miserable record of this administration, health care failed, economy in the tank etc etc, ‘Yes we can’ becomes ‘if only we could’. If this was to be good news then everybody wants a piece, remember ‘success has many fathers…’. So we end up with a room full of people, the vast majority of whom have no idea what they are watching on the screen, very few have any military experience and most have a record of failure to date. What they do have is a highly developed sense of self promotion and so leave the room and give press briefings on what they have ‘heard or seen’. As the joke goes, there may be no ‘I’ in team but there is a ‘me’ if you look carefully enough.

Another contributory factor is the American obsession with technology and what it gives, the ability for people to watch. Headcams are now common and they are a menace. This was a military operation, it should have been left to the military until it was over and a full military debrief carried out. What contribution was Joe Biden, the head of Homeland Security and Hillary Clinton making to a military operation? Why were they there at all? Biden did everything he could to avoid military service but is quite happy to watch others carrying it out on TV! The video may be of use to the military after the operation but it has no business being shown to politicos during the mission who will then brief on their impression of what they saw.

So, conspiracy or cock up? I doubt these people are intellectually capable of carrying out a major conspiracy. What is more likely is that the egos, group dynamics and the abject performance of this administration led to a perfect storm of incompetence and glory seeking that resulted in the chaos and which ensured that conspiracy theorists and our enemies will have a field day.

Posted in USAComments Off on Pentagon backtracks on claims that Bin Laden put up a fight

Rabbi Convicted Of In-Flight Molesting




Gavriel Bidany, a 47-year-old father of 11, was found guilty this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. Bidany was named last month in a misdemeanor information charging him with molesting the woman on a March 27 Delta Airlines flight bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The verdict was rendered following a two-day bench trial before Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes. Bidany, an Israeli citizen, faces a maximum of six months in prison when he is sentenced by Reyes on May 12. In reading the verdict at 2 PM, Reyes called the victim’s testimony “compelling and wholly believable,” while dismissing the testimony of Bidany, pictured above, as “not worthy of belief.”

As she initially told FBI agents, the molestation victim, a 23-year-old Israeli Army officer, testified yesterday that Bidany twice fondled her on the trans-Atlantic flight. Bidany, seated next to the woman, first placed his hand under a blanket on her lap and groped her genital area. When the woman “jumped back,” Bidany “quickly removed his hand from her groin.”

Minutes later, the woman testified, Bidany again reached under her blanket, and this time groped her breasts. The victim, who commands a missile defense unit, has a “substantial number of soldiers serving under her charge” and is “currently deployed in a front-line role,” according to a court filing.

The woman told the FBI that when she confronted Bidany, he claimed, “It’s a mistake, I’m asleep.” She then reported the incident to Delta flight crew members, who later told FBI agents that the woman was “visibly shaken and frantic.”

Testifying yesterday afternoon via a Hebrew translator, Bidany denied ever touching the woman, saying that he would not “do such nonsense and risk my entire life.”

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If these dancing Americans, however, were to transform their fear and fas­ci­na­tion with violence into rage and courage to occupy the same streets in protest, against the ruling elite that has profited from the loss and grief of 9/11 and the wars that followed, and the unde­mo­c­ra­tic corporate interests running their lives, they might find the arms of other ordinary working people from around the world extended in solidarity.

– Sarah Hawas, Egyptian rev­o­lu­tion­ary (Mondoweiss)*

That was the chant a group of delighted uni­ver­sity students were repeating as they marched in cel­e­bra­tion past my window around 1 in the morning last night upon news that Osama bin Laden had been assas­si­nated earlier that night in Pakistan. The students were most likely 11 years old when the September 11 attacks occurred – attacks that 8 months later the CIA was unable to link to bin Laden. I don’t find much to celebrate or mourn in the “death” of an old man on dialysis sitting in a compound in western Pakistan where pre­sum­ably the Pakistani ISI had been conniving in harboring him. I do find something to mourn in the mindsets of the young jingoes popping champagne on the occasion of an American death squad assas­si­nat­ing a suspected criminal on foreign territory.

For genuinely insight­ful com­men­tary, you can start here. For my purposes, I find the death of bin Laden a useful Rorschach test for an intel­lec­tual culture that would rather die – or have brown people die – than exert itself to think, a thought­less­ness that then filters down to the jin­go­is­tic little twits parading around my campus in the form of chants that go, USA! USA! Nation­al­ism is cute, isn’t it? How facilely we forget that the ruling class is the one that gets to define the National Interest. Always.

So. Mirror mirror on the wall who is the dumbest of them all? In only vaguely par­tic­u­lar order: Genocidaire-in-Chief Obama blathers that “the world is safer” with the death of Osama. Frankly I think the world would be safer with the death of Obama, who has the blood of tens of thousands of Iraqis, Afghans, and Africans running in rivers under his feet. Or it would be safer if we lived in a world in which people were making policy and we were those people and struc­tures weren’t selecting people to make policy. Not this world.

Next, Nicholas Kristof, forever virginal when it comes to history, par­tic­u­larly that of American meddling in the Middle East, writes that “Bin Laden’s ability to escape from the U.S., and his apparent impunity, fed an image in some Islamist quarters of America as a paper tiger — and that encour­aged extrem­ists”; “extrem­ists” of course have never found human fodder due to ongoing US occu­pa­tions of Muslim and Arab lands, nor succor from US black-ops as in the case of the US-assisted Pakistani ISI that….helped to create bin Laden. Roger Cohen, whose brain occa­sion­ally thrums at a tempo nearing intel­li­gence, also considers history irrel­e­vant, writing that bin Laden “came of age as the Arab world shifted from Nasserite nation­al­ism to the discovery of identity in political Islamism,” a deft chrono­log­i­cal sleight-of-hand that hides one of the causal agents in the tran­si­tion from “nation­al­ism” to “Islamism”: the forceful American-Israeli destruc­tion of Arab nation­al­ism and Arab communism and the erasure of the Afghan Marxists with the help of – guess! – bin Laden’s reac­tionary extremism. Never mind too that Israel helped create Hamas, or that America’s main ally in the region is the reac­tionary medieval despotism known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

(Cohen’s stupidity merits extended exegesis: he goes on to write that this assas­si­na­tion occurs “as post-Islamist rev­o­lu­tions from Tunis to Cairo topple despotism in the name of demo­c­ra­tic values long denied Arabs”; it is the Nahda party that is poised to take power in post-revolutionary Tunisia, while “post-Islamist” is just a silly bene­dic­tion Cohen utters in front of his secular fun­da­men­tal­ist read­er­ship to suggest that perhaps these Ay-rabs are under control, unlike the filthy rabble sporting rocket launchers and spitting out Koranic slogans in Gaza and Lebanon, while iron­i­cally the demo­c­ra­tic values he is pre­tend­ing to espouse are the ones the bottom layers of the Egyptian Muslim Broth­er­hood also embrace while the upper layers hew true to the more important creed in Egyptian cap­i­tal­ist society – making money. Religion “explains” nothing here. Cohen caps off this try at playing smart with the invo­ca­tion of “West­ox­i­fi­ca­tion,” according to him “the sense of humil­i­a­tion among Arabs at perceived Western dominance and aggres­sion.” The term was Iranian c. 1980 and is no longer broadly used, but perhaps not knowing the dif­fer­ence between Persians and Arabs is what secures you a colum­nists’ spot in theNYT ).

Robert Dreyfuss, on his better days capable of real insight, offers us the Nation magazine’s oblig­a­tory act of ritual excretion on the Hamas gov­ern­ment, calling Ismail Haniyeh’s (dumb) comment on bin Laden, in which Haniyeh called him a “holy warrior,” “the stupidest and most inex­cus­able” of the froth of idiocy bubbling in the wake of the murder. Actually I am waiting for Eric Alterman and Thomas Friedman to hold forth before I start handing out laurels for “stupidest,” since they are shoo-ins for first prize, always. Given the non-existent political integrity of American lib­er­al­ism and political impotence of the American left, Haniyeh hardly needs to tack to the winds of decent public opinion in the United States anyway. No excuse, but not quite as dumb as Dreyfuss wants the silly lead­er­ship of the silly denizens to Gaza to be.

Descend­ing down the food chain, Paul Woodward, a mediocre gossip who thinks of himself as an intel­lec­tual, has nothing at all to say, which is kind of perfectly appro­pri­ate. He likes killing Arabs anyway. Next, Idrees Ahmad, presaged by (actually I’ll pretend he didn’t say it, I keep on hoping he’ll change course one of these days) fixates, eyes a-glaze, on “neo­con­ser­v­a­tives and other elements of the Israel lobby,” who “have drawn different, if pre­dictable, con­clu­sions,” namely that the assas­si­na­tion was good policy and that some of the neo-cons/lobbyists think Israel even pioneered the American policy of targeted assas­si­na­tions. So the lobby’s organic intel­li­gentsia says the same thing as the rest of the cap­i­tal­ist class’s organic intel­li­gentsia, while smearing on the addi­tional claim that targeted killings, such as the Phoenix Program, the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the slaying of Martin Luther King Jr., and the ruinous repres­sion of the Blank Panthers, are an Israeli export to the United States, thereby neatly tying up cap­i­tal­ism, impe­ri­al­ism and Zionism with Judaism, a nice service to Zionist pro­pa­ganda but now with the overt if sleep-walking con­nivance of “dis­si­dents.” (Thanks for staying alert, Idrees. God’s work you’re doing).

Moving now up a different food chain, with com­men­tary that will be duly ignored, Gabriel Ashcomments on the “death of a master signifier” and the exuberant joy some of the American people feel – even, perhaps, “the people whose houses were fore­closed in the last three years.” But nin­com­poop Ash is talking about class and power. In this post-modern post-Marxist post-materialism world, we should ignore him for sure for spoiling a party to which only meta­phys­i­cal expla­na­tions were invited. In a similar vein, Richard Estes writes of the “perverse, unac­knowl­edged alliance between al-Qaeda, neolib­er­als and neo­con­ser­v­a­tives, as all three groups are in agreement about the urgency asso­ci­ated with the need to mar­gin­al­ize and impov­er­ish workers even if it is in the service of strik­ingly different visions of the future,” neatly tying up in a bundle what the forceful destruc­tion of the left in the Arab world and the withering away of the left in the Anglo-American world has left us with: various dystopias and demagogic rabble-rousing to get us to them, as poor as possible. Forget Osama. Do I feel safer when the louder the voice is the stupider it is? No, not really. Neither should you.

*To whom I give real thanks for the good

Posted in USAComments Off on USA! USA! USA! USA!

Muslims rap French Islamophobic plan



Angry Muslim mothers and rights groups in France rally against a controversial proposal that bans Muslim moms from taking part in their children’s extracurricular activities at school.

Protesters chanted slogans against French Education Minister Luc Chatel, who has asked Muslim mothers that want to accompany their children on field trips to leave home their veils, whether they are the version that also covers the face or the simple headscarves.

With chants of “Mothers excluded, children humiliated,” the female demonstrators criticized the French government for what they described as controlling their lives and their children’s education, a Press TV correspondent reported Monday.

In 2004, France banned students from wearing Islamic shawls but the official anti-discrimination body now says the ban applies only to students and not their parents.

There is concern that a vaguely-worded decree would ultimately prevent women that wear the Islamic headdress from even entering the school or lead to humiliations that render them second-class citizens.

The protesters argue that the proposal fuels Islamophobia and flies in the face of women’s rights.

“It’s always women they point their finger at. In 2004, it was a young girl who was expelled from school and today it’s their mothers,” said N’della Paye with Feminists for Equality Collective.

The recent development follows efforts by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to pass anti-Muslim laws, including the recent burqa ban, to seek re-election by gaining the support of the National Front, some observers believe.

Most teachers welcome the participation of parents in school activities with open arms. However, many mothers wonder whether the message being conveyed is that Muslims are a bad influence on children.

France is home to over five million Muslims.

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Syrians stage anti-US protest



Syrians and foreign nationals demonstrating in Damascus on Sunday May 1, 2011.

Hundreds of Syrians and foreign nationals have gathered near the US Embassy in Damascus calling on Washington to stop meddling in Syria’s internal affairs.

The demonstrators on Sunday condemned the US “double standards” policy towards Syria and other countries while “turning a blind eye to Israeli crimes against Palestinians,” Syria’s Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

Pointing to the human rights violations committed by the US in Guantanamo in Cuba, Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, Afghanistan and in their secret prisons spread around the world, the protesters urged Washington to “mind its own internal affairs” before lecturing “freedom and human rights” to other countries.

The demonstrators said that United States should refrain from spreading chaos in Syria.

They said that the Syrian nation will “refute all lies, will not accept injustice, will foil all US conspiracies and will sort out their problems on their own.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has introduced a new package of reforms, which he has said would meet the demands of pro-reform protesters in the country.

Assad has also granted amnesty for all those detained during the recent protests, aside from those who Damascus says have committed criminal acts against the homeland and its citizens.

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Seattle: Anti-IsraHell billboard ads to be removed



Pro-Palestinian group seeking to end US funding of Israel takes another blow in battle to have inflammatory ads put up around Seattle’s King County

A Seattle group seeking to publish ads calling for an end to US financing of Israel suffered another defeat recently. Last year the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign tried to get ads pointing to “Israel’s war crimes” to run on the sides of buses but they were cancelled.

The Seattle Times reported Sunday that the ad agency has now removed the “softened” message billboards as well.

The new ads showed a Palestinian boy behind a fence with the caption “Equal rights for Palestinians — Stop funding the Israeli military.” The group’s website is also mentioned.

The site states that “under Israeli military occupation, millions of Palestinians live in conditions which closely resemble the apartheid system that existed in South Africa.”

It also claims that Israel is committing war crimes, violating the Geneva Convention by killing innocent people, expanding settlements and maintaining the occupation.

The site also claims that Israel carried out “ethnic cleansing” in 1948 and continues to do so today.

According to the report in this weekend’s Seattle Times, the Clear Channel Outdoor ad agency initially decided to publish the ads, but resolved to take them down last week citing company policy of avoiding messages that offend certain persons or organizations.

The group had originally purchased four ads to run for four weeks, at $1,400 a piece. Three had already been put up throughout the city.

“We’re trying to bring up a very serious human-rights issue that we’re complicit with because our government supports these human-rights violations overseas,” said Edward Mast Spokesman for the group. “We’re not being allowed to talk about it.”

Yet the ad agency claimed that they have no problem with the slogans in the ads but pointed to the website content as problematic.

In a statement, the company said it supports “community discussion of serious issues,” but stressed it also wants to ensure any ads, including websites they promote, “are not offensive toward any business, group or individual”.

Last December the same group sought to publish ads accusing Israel of war crimes on the sides of Seattle buses but following a large number of complaints from Jews, the King County transportation department announced they were withdrawing the ads stating that they could encourage violence.

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