The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

The Death of Bin Laden, Revisited | William Blum

The books and the films are coming out. The subject is a sure winner. The American tracking down and execution of Osama bin Laden in May of 2011. Has there ever been a better example of Good triumphing over Evil? Of Yankee courage and cleverness? “The bin Laden operation was a landmark achievement by our country, by our military, by our Intelligence Community, and by our Agency,” said the acting Director of the CIA, Michael Morell.

But even if everything the government has told us about the operation is true … How important was it really? What did it change in Washington’s glorious War on Terror? American taxpayers are not spending a penny less on the bloody spectacle. American soldiers still die in Afghanistan as before. American drones still bring extreme anxiety, death and destruction to children and parents in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Guantánamo still holds numerous damned souls who wonder why they are there as they bang their head against a brick wall.

Anti-American terrorists are still being regularly created as a result of US anti-terrorist operations. (Even the way bin Laden was “buried” increased the hatred.) It’s a mass-production terrorist assembly line working three shifts even if the bin Laden model has been discontinued. If only one in 10,000 of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims is moved to want to attack the US because of Washington’s repeated outrages against Muslims, the United States will have created a pool of 160,000 Muslims devoted to seeking revenge against Americans.

“Remember when the United States had a drug problem and then we declared a War on Drugs, and now you can’t buy drugs anymore? The War on Terrorism will be just like that,” declared author David Rees in 2008.

The fear mongering remains as is; airport security has not gotten any less stupid, embarrassing, or destructive of civil liberties than before, only worse. “Will that be frisked or naked pictures with your airline ticket, sir?” The No-Fly list grows bigger with each passing day, listing people who are too guilty to fly, but too innocent to charge with anything.

Wherever you go — “If you see something, say something!”

People are entrapped as much as ever, charged with some form of terrorism (or “terrorism”), staged and financed by government agents, put away for terribly long periods. The State Department puts a country on its terrorist list, then the FBI persecutes Americans for helping someone in that country, perhaps no more than medical aid.

And surveillance of Americans … the science fiction methods are expanded without end … no escape from Fortress America. Protestors in America are monitored and harassed and recorded as much as before; witness the recent revelations concerning the FBI/Homeland Security/et al and the Occupy Movement. The Patriot Act is still the law of the land, now joined by the National Defense Authorization Act which makes it easier than ever to hold people in indefinite detention, for any reason, or no reason, including American citizens. And now we have the president’s clandestine “kill list”.

Could it be any worse if bin Laden were still alive?

Three Senators and Zero Dark Thirty | Amy Davidson

Three senators went to see “Zero Dark Thirty,” and they recoiled from it. The problem was torture. Senator John McCain, Dianne Feinstein, and Carl Levin—a Republican and two Democrats, respectively—have now sent a letter to Sony Pictures about their “deep disappointment,” with the movie: “We believe the film is grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama bin Laden.” They also called it “factually inaccurate,” “false,” and “perpetuating a myth that torture is effective.” According to the AP, after watching the movie McCain, who was tortured himself as a prisoner in Vietnam, felt sick.

For a sense of how wrong the movie is about torture, read Jane Mayer’s definitive post. Like the Senators, she was taken aback when the movie showed men who were being or had already been “broken” by torture giving the C.I.A. precious, if scattered, clues—for example, about the identity of bin Laden’s courier. That is not how it happened: as the Senators wrote, “We have reviewed CIA records and know that this is incorrect.” The breakthrough about the courier came “through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program”; the prisoner who came closest to giving us the information did so before he was tortured, not after. The senators asked for a correction, or, rather, a clarification: “We believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Usama Bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film’s fictional narrative.”

We are fans of many of your movies, and we understand the special role that movies play in our lives, but the fundamental problem is that people who see Zero Dark Thirty will believe that the events it portrays are facts…

The use of torture in the fight against terrorism did severe damage to America’s values and standing that cannot be justified or expunged. It remains a stain on our national conscience. We cannot afford to go back to these dark times, and with the release of Zero Dark Thirty, the filmmakers and your production studio are perpetuating the myth that torture is effective. You have a social and moral obligation to get the facts right.

What are senators doing asking a movie company to present its film one way or the other? Is that their role? Is it there a “social and moral obligation”—or any obligation—for a filmmaker to “get the facts right”? The debate on torture, it should be noted, in no way hinges on whether it yielded any one fact—especially when there are unanswerable questions about whether the information could have been gained otherwise, the problem of false leads, and whether it is morally wrong—the senators may be making a mistake in acting like it does. And no one wants a censorship board, or only worthy movies, or ones that don’t play with history.

But that’s not what’s happening. The two problems are the claims that the filmmakers have made and the vacuum of classification that they are making them in.

The senators’ letter notes that “there has been significant media coverage of the CIA’s cooperation with the screenwriters.” It’s not bad that the filmmakers talked to the government; reporters do it all the time. What’s troubling is that the government hasn’t talked more. We are meant to understand that the filmmakers heard things we can’t, at a time when cases brought by torture victims are thrown out of court because the government has invoked the state-secrets privilege. That’s not how our political discourse should work, either. So much about our recent history as torturers has been left unexamined, with no accountability, with details of events marked secret and shoved away, and the lines between the parts we do know left open to the imagination. The next time we are asked to make a judgment about whether our country should engage in torture, we should be able to look at more than a single movie. That is the value in the senators’ statement. Feinstein and Levin have access to classified information, too, as part of a review of this history, and they cite it in their letter. The senators shouldn’t edit the movie; they can, and should, increase transparency about torture. [++]

Zero Dark Thirty: new torture-glorifying film wins raves | Glenn Greenwald

… If Bigelow had merely depicted episodes that actually happened, then her defense that she is not judging and has no responsibility to do so would be more debatable. But the fact that she’s presenting lies as fact on an issue as vital as these war crimes, all while patting herself on the back for her “journalistic approach” to the topic, makes the behavior indefensible, even reprehensible. Is it really possible to say: this is a great film despite the fact that it glorifies torture using patent falsehoods?

Ultimately, I don’t believe that this film is being so well-received despite its glorification of American torture. It’s more accurate to say it’s so admired because of this.

Over the last decade, nothing has produced more positive feelings among Americans about themselves than the killing of bin Laden. That’s why it was a centerpiece of Obama’s re-election campaign and multiple chanting sessions at the Democrats’ convention.

When it comes to “the hunt for bin Laden”, few people want their nationalistic pride to be diluted by criticisms of the agencies responsible or reminders of the war crimes their country committed (or the fake child vaccine programs on which it relied). Any film that powerfully and adeptly leads Americans to view their government and its intelligence and military actors as noble heroes is one that is going to produce gratitude and glee no matter what else it does.

Those who ordered and implemented torture were never prosecuted. They were actively shielded from all forms of legal accountability by the current president. They thus went on to write books, get even richer, and live the lives of honored American statesmen. Torture was thus transformed from what it had been - a universally recognized war crime - into just another pedestrian, partisan political debate that Americans have.

That’s the critical context in which a film can simultaneously be said to glorify torture using outright fabrications and be praised as the year’s greatest film. The normalization of torture - and of all crimes committed by the US government in the name of war - is both a cause and effect of this film’s success. That normalization is what enables a film like this to be so widely admired, and it will be bolstered even further as the film gathers more accolades and box office riches.

Almost immediately after President Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden, top government officials, including then-CIA Director Leon Panetta and top terrorism adviser John Brennan, made numerous false statements about what took place. That included the claim that Bin Laden was killed after he engaged in a “firefight”, that he used his wife as a human shield to protect himself, and that he was living in luxury in a $1m mansion. None of those claims, central to the story the White House told the world, turned out to be true. Bin Laden was unarmed and nobody in the house where Bin Laden was found ever fired a single shot (a courier in an adjacent guest house was the only one to shoot, at the very beginning of the operation). Bin Laden never used his wife or anyone else as a shield. And the house was dilapidated, showed little sign of luxury, and was worth one-quarter of what it was claimed. Numerous other claims made by the administration about the raid remain unanswered because of its steadfast insistence on secrecy and non-disclosure (except when it concerns Hollywood filmmakers).

Glenn Greenwald, Obama officials’ spin on Benghazi attack mirrors Bin Laden raid untruths via The Guardian

But no matter. The White House’s initial statements about what happened, false though they turned out to be, forever shaped perceptions of that event. Many people are unwilling to change their minds even in the wake of new evidence, while many others hear only of the initial claims made when news coverage is at its peak and never become aware of subsequent corrections. Combine that with the generalized “Look Forward, Not Backward” mentality popularized by President Obama – as embodied by John Kerry’s “shut up and move on” decree to those asking questions about what really happened in the Bin Laden raid – and those initial White House falsehoods did the trick.

[..]

Then, there are the implications for the intervention in Libya, which Obama’s defenders relentlessly tout as one of his great victories. But the fact that the Benghazi attack was likely premeditated and carried out by anti-American factions vindicates many of the criticisms of that intervention. Critics of the war in Libya warned that the US was siding with (and arming and empowering) violent extremists, including al-Qaida elements, that would eventually cause the US to claim it had to return to Libya to fight against them – just as its funding and arming of Saddam in Iraq and the mujahideen in Afghanistan subsequently justified new wars against those one-time allies.

War critics also argued that the intervention would bring massive instability and suffering to the people of Libya; today, the Washington Post reports that – just as the “president of Afghanistan” is really the mayor of Kabul and the “Iraqi government” long exercised sovereignty only in Baghdad’s Green Zone – the central Libyan government exercises little authority outside of Tripoli. And intervention critics also warned that dropping bombs in a country and killing civilians, no matter how noble the intent supposedly is, would produce blowback in the form of those who would then want to attack the US.

(via arielnietzsche)

(via randomactsofchaos)

Democrats parade Osama bin Laden’s corpse as their proudest achievement

patternsofbehavior:

By Glenn Greenwald

One of the formative events shaping my views of the last decade’s American political landscape was watching the 2004 Republican national convention. An expertly staged, supremely manipulative ritual of jingoism and leader-worship, I regarded it with an equal measure of awe and horror.

America’s militarism was continuously exploited by speaker after speaker to glorify the commander-in-chief, George W Bush, as a brave and noble warrior for American Greatness. Each mention of war and killing prompted his delirious followers to erupt in the same boisterous crowd-chant: “USA, USA.” Bush’s opponent (and his supporters), by contrast, were vilified as soft-on-the-terrorists, troop-hating, America-despising weaklings who lacked the stomach to Keep Us Safe.

Typifying all of this was Dick Cheney’s vice-presidential acceptance speech:

“As in other times, we are in a war we did not start, and have no choice but to win.

(APPLAUSE)

“Firm in our resolve, focused on our mission, and led by a superb commander-in-chief, we will prevail.

(APPLAUSE)

“The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans may have thought they could attack us with impunity, because terrorists had done so previously.

“But if the killers of September 11 thought we had lost the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America, and they did not know George W Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

“From the beginning, the president made clear that the terrorists would be dealt with and that anyone who supports, protects or harbors them would be held to account.

(APPLAUSE)

“President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half measures. And his determination has sent a clear message …

“Even in this post 9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn’t appear to understand how the world has changed. He talks about leading a ‘more sensitive war on terror’ …

(LAUGHTER)

” … as though al-Qaida will be impressed with our softer side.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

“He declared at the Democratic convention that he will forcefully defend America after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked …”

(APPLAUSE)

[AUDIENCE:] “USA. USA. USA.”

[CHENEY:] “But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few.

(APPLAUSE)

“George W Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people.”

(APPLAUSE)

[AUDIENCE:] “USA. USA. USA.”

It went on and on like that, speaker after speaker. The same chant erupted when Bush, in his acceptance speech, declared that ever since 9/11, “I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America – whatever it takes.” It erupted again when he added:

“In Saddam Hussein, we saw a threat. Members of both political parties, including my opponent and his running-mate, saw the threat, and voted to authorize the use of force.”

I thought, or at least hoped, that such vulgar crowd celebrations of leader-reverence, jingoism and militarism would not soon be replicated. But on Thursday night, the final night of the Democratic party convention, it was.

It is hard to count how many times a Democratic party speaker stood up proudly to proclaim:

Osama. Bin. Laden. Is. Dead!

Almost every time Bin Laden’s scalp was paraded around on its pike – all thanks to the warrior spirit and unflinching courage of our commander-in-chief – the crowd of progressives, liberals and party faithful erupted into a prolonged “USA. USA” chant.

Leading this orgy of chest-beating, we’re-more-bellicose-than-you, nationalistic strutting was, ironically, the 2004 GOP’s prime victim of it: Democratic Senator John Kerry. Kerry’s speech exploited virtually every theme of patriotism and militarism that was used against him eight years ago, and he did so with great efficacy.

Like Obama advocates so often do, Kerry first trumpeted how faithful and loyal Obama is to the Israeli government, and held up the Israeli prime minister as the arbiter of truth and sufficient loyalty:

“‘Barack Obama promised always to stand with Israel to tighten sanctions on Iran – and take nothing off the table.

“‘Again and again, the other side has lied about where this president stands and what this president has done. But Prime Minister Netanyahu set the record straight – he said, our two countries have ‘exactly the same policy’ – ‘our security cooperation is unprecedented.’ When it comes to Israel, I’ll take the word of Israel’s prime minister over Mitt Romney any day.”

Kerry, to the delight of the crowd, strongly insinuated that Romney harbors disrespect for the sacred American troops (that is: our brave men and women in uniform):

“And let me say – let me say something else – let me say something else, no nominee for president should ever fail in the midst of a war to pay tribute to our troops overseas in his acceptance speech.

(APPLAUSE)

“Mitt Romney – Mitt Romney was talking about America. They are on the front lines every day defending America and they deserve our thanks.”

(APPLAUSE)

[AUDIENCE:] “USA! USA! USA!”

And, most pointedly of all, he milked the Bin Laden killing for everything it was worth, and then some:

“And after more than – after more than 10 years without justice for thousands of Americans murdered on 9/11, after Mitt Romney said it would be naive to go into Pakistan to pursue the terrorists, it took President Obama, against the advice of many, to give that order and finally rid this earth ofOsama bin Laden.

(APPLAUSE)

“Ask Osama bin Laden is he is better-off now than he was four years ago.”

(APPLAUSE)

Yeah: ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off – if you can find his corpse where our commander-in-chief dumped it: at the bottom of the ocean. USA! USA!

For the moment, leave aside one’s views on the justness and legality of the Bin Laden killing. (For reasons adeptly set forth here by international law professor Kevin Jon Heller, I really don’t understand how one can have a favorable opinion on that without actually knowing what happened, which may be the reason John Kerry is so insistent that nobody try to find out.) Whether or not one is still stimulated when thinking about that exciting raid, there is obvious meaning in how central it has become to the political identity of America and, especially, the self-esteem of the Democratic party.

It is a truly potent indicator that this grand achievement has become the greatest source of nationalistic pride. Americans once found national purpose – justification for their belief in their own exceptionalism – from inventing new life-improving technologies, or putting a man on the moon, or advancing the cause of equality, or vanquishing the mighty Nazi military machine, or enshrining unparalleled protections for core liberties in the constitution.

Now, many Americans find it in the heroic ability to hunt someone down who is in hiding, pummel his skull full of bullets even as he lay dying on the ground, and then dump his corpse into the ocean. That such actions are the new source of American pride, vindication of national greatness, was the claim made by President Obama when he first announced the killing:

“But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.”

If one wants to mount a political defense of all of this – that it is about time the Democrats gave the GOP a taste of its own medicine, that Kerry, in particular, has the right to exact vengeance, that anything is justified to win the election, etc – that’s fine. I have no real quarrel with, or interest in, that perspective. In so many ways – political adeptness, party solidarity, effective exploitation of national security for political gain, media favorability, message discipline – the two parties have experienced a radical role reversal in the matter of a few short years, and it’s understandable why one is happy about that if one’s overarching political concern is Obama’s re-election.

But the collective bloodlust on display over the last week, especially Thursday night, was nothing short of creepy. Even in those instances in which state killing is justified and necessary, it ought to be a sombre and regrettable affair (as many Democrats righteously argued when some attendees at a GOP debate cheered Texas Governor Rick Perry’s touting of his execution record). Boastful, raucous, nationalistic crowd-chanting at every single mention of someone’s corpse, even when that someone is Osama bin Laden, is warped.

But, more importantly, it’s a depressing symbol of America’s political culture. The premise seems to be that – aside from this specific corpse and the others the president has piled up – there is little else for ordinary Americans to celebrate now when it comes to the search for nationalistic achievement, purpose and greatness among their political leadership. That this dark premise appears valid is what is most disturbing of all.

As Gawker’s pseudonymous writer Mobutu Sese Seko notes in an excellent review of the night’s festivities, Joe Biden “laid it on especially thickly when it came to talking about whacking Osama bin Laden”. Among other things, the vice president crowed that “Obama is our president because he always has the courage to make the tough decisions.” Of the kill order: “He said, do it – and justice was done!” And then:

“And he also knew – he also knew the message we had to send around the world: if you attack innocent Americans, we will follow you to the end of the earth.

(CHEERS, APPLAUSE.)

“Look …”

[AUDIENCE:] “USA! USA! USA! USA!”

He further suggests that it may not be “justice” that is achieved by “a double-tap to the brain of a sclerotic masturbating whitehair and his family, in the dead of night, by trained killers.” Rather, he argues, “justice” likely entails – following the Allied and Israeli example of how Nazi war criminals were treated – a trial, with evidence of guilt shown to the world, and a deliberative punishment then meted out.

Again, though, regardless of one’s views on that question, there is a world of difference between approving of the Bin Laden hit, on the one hand, and gathering together to chant nationalistic slogans and feel pulsating crowd-based power from it, on the other.

Exclusive: Reuters obtains Pentagon letter on Osama bin Laden book

reuters:

Exclusive: Former Navy SEAL in “material breach” of non-disclousre agreements with Osama bin Laden book, according to the Pentagon’s top attorney in a letter obtained by Reuters. 

The Pentagon says it is considering “all remedies legally available” against the former Navy SEAL and all those acting in concert with him. The Pentagon says further public dissemination of the book “will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements.”

More soon on Reuters.com.

He says Biden told ‘lame jokes’ no one understood, reminding him of ‘someone’s drunken uncle at Christmas dinner.’

SEAL book raises questions about bin Laden’s death

WASHINGTON (AP) — A firsthand account of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden contradicts previous accounts by administration officials, raising questions as to whether the terror mastermind presented a clear threat when SEALs first fired upon him.

Bin Laden apparently was hit in the head when he looked out of his bedroom door into the top-floor hallway of his compound as SEALs rushed up a narrow stairwell in his direction, according to former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen in “No Easy Day.” The book is to be published next week by Penguin Group (USA)’s Dutton imprint.

Bissonnette says he was directly behind a “point man” going up the stairs. “Less than five steps” from top of the stairs, he heard “suppressed” gunfire: “BOP. BOP.” The point man had seen a “man peeking out of the door” on the right side of the hallway.

The author writes that bin Laden ducked back into his bedroom and the SEALs followed, only to find the terrorist crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head and two women wailing over his body.

Bissonnette says the point man pulled the two women out of the way and shoved them into a corner and he and the other SEALs trained their guns’ laser sites on bin Laden’s still-twitching body, shooting him several times until he lay motionless. The SEALs later found two weapons stored by the doorway, untouched, the author said.

In the account related by administration officials after the raid in Pakistan, the SEALs shot bin Laden only after he ducked back into the bedroom because they assumed he might be reaching for a weapon.

We got the remake of the Greedo scene.

*Note. The quote at the top was completely unnecessary, I know, but made me LOL, so there you go.

[Let’s] review the Obama administration’s rules: leaking classified information is a grave crime — espionage! — when done to blow the whistle on serious government corruption, deceit and illegality, and it merits decades in prison. But when it’s done to enable Hollywood to produce a propaganda film glorifying the great and “gutsy” Commander-in-Chief, then it is a noble and patriotic act.

Glenn Greenwald, WH leaks for propaganda film

For more on this story, see Pentagon, CIA, White House opened up to Hollywood on bin Laden raid | POLITICO.

Pentagon, CIA, White House opened up to Hollywood on bin Laden raid | POLITICO

Just weeks after Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency officials warned publicly of the dangers posed by leaks about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, top officials at both agencies and at the White House granted Hollywood filmmakers unusual access to those involved in planning the raid and some of the methods they used to do it, newly released government records show.

At a briefing in July 2011, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers told filmmakers Michael Boal and Kathryn Bigelow that the leaders of the the Special Operations Command couldn’t speak to them for appearances’ sake. However, Vickers said that the Pentagon would make available a Navy SEAL who was involved in planning the raid from its earliest stages.

Pakistani doctor who helped U.S. find Osama bin Laden jailed, fined

shortformblog:

  • 33 years in prison for running a fake vaccination program in an attempt to find Osama bin Laden using DNA
  • $3,500 fine for his actions, which led to the U.S. finding and killing the al-Qaeda leader a year ago source

» And no, the U.S. isn’t happy: Previously, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she hoped to see Shakil Afridi freed, as his work helped capture a pretty bad dude. Instead, Afridi is heading to jail, a move which will likely strain relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, who are currently locked in a diplomatic battle over Afghan War supply routes.

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The Bin Laden the Obama Administration Wants You to See | Kevin Gosztola

Coverage of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s killing has been a prime example of American establishment journalism, a public relations operation designed to validate all the activities of the national security state and the military industrial-complex in the past year. This operation has been bolstered by the official release of documents found in bin Laden’s residence by the SEALs team that raided the compound in May 2011. Most news organizations have published their own glimpse into what the documents reveal. However, few questioned the fact that only 17 documents out of thousands of documents seized in the raid were released.
There was one exception: Matt Apuzzo, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his work exposing NYPD surveillance operations against Muslims, challenged the release of only a tiny fraction of the documents.
[…]
The Obama administration … does not want the public to have a full understanding of bin Laden. One can speculate why this may be and suggest, perhaps, there was correspondence between Pakistani government agencies that would make US intelligence agencies look bad. One can speculate that the “far-reaching network” Americans have been conditioned to fear is much more loose and much less threatening than the US government would have Americans believe. Instead, the public gets 17 selected documents that actually could be used in the coming months to promote more drone strikes and wider military intervention in Yemen if necessary.
It is overwhelmingly clear that the administration is not interested in transparency and openness when it comes to bin Laden. They are interested in exploiting him for political gain. Like George W. Bush invoking 9/11 to shut down political debates and win support, Barack Obama plans to invoke Bin Laden. And based on the fact that the administration won’t release photos or videos and plans to not release anymore documents, the nature of this seems even more opportunistic.
If there weren’t an election, would the American people even get to see the mere 17 documents?

Read the rest →

The Bin Laden the Obama Administration Wants You to See | Kevin Gosztola

Coverage of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s killing has been a prime example of American establishment journalism, a public relations operation designed to validate all the activities of the national security state and the military industrial-complex in the past year. This operation has been bolstered by the official release of documents found in bin Laden’s residence by the SEALs team that raided the compound in May 2011. Most news organizations have published their own glimpse into what the documents reveal. However, few questioned the fact that only 17 documents out of thousands of documents seized in the raid were released.

There was one exception: Matt Apuzzo, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for his work exposing NYPD surveillance operations against Muslims, challenged the release of only a tiny fraction of the documents.

[…]

The Obama administration … does not want the public to have a full understanding of bin Laden. One can speculate why this may be and suggest, perhaps, there was correspondence between Pakistani government agencies that would make US intelligence agencies look bad. One can speculate that the “far-reaching network” Americans have been conditioned to fear is much more loose and much less threatening than the US government would have Americans believe. Instead, the public gets 17 selected documents that actually could be used in the coming months to promote more drone strikes and wider military intervention in Yemen if necessary.

It is overwhelmingly clear that the administration is not interested in transparency and openness when it comes to bin Laden. They are interested in exploiting him for political gain. Like George W. Bush invoking 9/11 to shut down political debates and win support, Barack Obama plans to invoke Bin Laden. And based on the fact that the administration won’t release photos or videos and plans to not release anymore documents, the nature of this seems even more opportunistic.

If there weren’t an election, would the American people even get to see the mere 17 documents?

Read the rest