jeremy-corbyn

 

Not a day goes by anymore without the newspapers sensationalising something or another that Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The latest is the claim that Corbyn called the death of Osama bin Laden “a tragedy”. For one thing, you might have the mistaken impression from Social Media or from newspaper headlines that Mr Corbyn had said this in recent days; in fact, it’s something he said four years ago, at the time of Bin Laden’s alleged assassination in May 2011.

But more importantly, it is clear that Corbyn wasn’t calling Bin Laden’s death itself a tragedy, but was talking about the fact that he was assassinated without having been brought to trial.

Speaking on Iran’s Press TV at the time, he had complained that there had been “no attempt whatsoever that I can see to arrest him and put him on trial, to go through that process”. He added “This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy,” he said, referring to the ‘tragedies’ of 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“The next stage,” he then said presciently, “will be an attempted assassination on Gaddafi, and so it will go on. This will just make the world more dangerous and worse and worse and worse.”

And he was right, of course. NATO in fact had attempted to assassinate Gaddafi the very same morning of the Bin Laden assassination; in fact, not a lot of people know this, but the reason for the ‘hit’ on Bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan, on that exact date was to cover up the fact that NATO had been bombing Gaddafi’s family homes in Libya – an act that was illegal under international law and which violated the terms of the UN Resolution in regard to Libya.

Assuming Bin Laden was even still alive in 2011 (which many argue he might not have been), the Bin Laden ‘hit’ was simply a sleight-of-hand to make sure the media focused on something other than what was going on in Libya. Gaddafi, as it happened, survived NATO’s bombings at this point in time – but three of his infant grandchildren, all under the age of twelve, were killed in the NATO bombing of one of the houses (one of them is pictured below). This was on the same day as the Bin Laden killing – but the Bin Laden killing instead took up all the headlines and media coverage (read more on this in ‘The Libya Conspiracy’ here). This is classic government/media collusion strategy to bury unwanted news with something bigger.

 

gadaffi-grandchild

 

Gaddafi himself, of course, was eventually murdered by NATO and Al-Qaeda in October that year. He too, like his enemy Bin Laden, wasn’t afforded a trial. And this was the essence of the ‘tragedy’ Mr Corbyn was more generally referring to: the dangerous precedent being set by America and NATO in carrying out extra-judicial assassinations and making no attempt to conduct any legal process. In Gaddafi’s case, this was obviously because nothing Gaddafi had been accused of was true and he therefore couldn’t be allowed a trial. In Bin Laden’s case (again, assuming he was even still alive at that point), it would’ve been because of all the information and connections that would’ve had to come to light in any potential Bin Laden trial; for example, all those connections between the Bin Laden and Bush families. Again, most people still don’t realise that Osama bin Laden’s alleged ‘masterminding’ of the 9/11 attacks has never been proved: it was simply stated as fact by the American government and then carried universally by the Western mainstream media thereafter without any burden of proof.

What Corbyn, in any case, was saying makes perfect sense, of course: extra-judicial assassination without any proven evidence of guilt and with no legal process is not the way any civilised nation should carry out ‘justice’; yet most people have gotten so used to the idea that the American military does this that we don’t even bat an eyelid anymore. It has become the norm; the US has been drone-striking targets in places like Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan for years, carrying out assassinations with no real legal processes or burden of proof; and of course it has made the world a more dangerous place, for one thing because another generation of people in those countries is growing up to hate America and its allies and to view them as illegal murderers and assassins who are above the law. For another, it establishes a very negative precedent for how ‘justice’ should be carried out and how ‘security interests’ should be served.

Such extra-judicial killings go on in a lot of countries; governments, police or security forces in Kenya, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Columbia, for example, are all known to engage in such arbitrary killings outside of the law. In those cases, these are generally government or police agencies killing its own citizens rather than foreign nationals; but it could be argued that the US government’s vast assassination programme can be perceived to validate or legitimize the extra-judicial murders carried out by these other governments. Pakistan or Kenya, for example, can hardly be told by the US to cease its activities when the US itself is engaged in such activities on a far larger scale.

Again, it is also demonstrated that the so-called ‘targeted assassinations’ aren’t anything like as accurate as they’re made out to be, and that there is more often than not substantial collateral damage and additional deaths (sometimes entire families). All this does ultimately is ensure further, long-term resentment of the US and its allies and ultimately further radicalisation. This has certainly been the result in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in Palestine; but as the International Crisis Group warns, in reference to Kenyan security forces’ own extra-judicial killings; “Across the spectrum of Kenyan Muslim opinion, there is a clear message: as well as historical grievances, the State’s ‘counter-terrorist’ operations are a primary driver towards extremism.”

This is especially believed to be the case in regard to America‘s ongoing drone assassination programme. In other words, for every alleged terrorist killed in a strike, a dozen or more other people are freshly radicalised, having witnessed or directly suffered the destruction from above.

 

drone-attack-victims-waziristan

 

The mental damage done by the drones is just as powerful as the physical destruction; a recent study carried out in Yemen by clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr Peter Schaapveld, reported severe post-traumatic stress disorder in children living in areas targeted for drone strikes. Meanwhile, according to the report ‘Living Under Drones’, by Stanford and New York Universities’ Law schools, the drone programme is essentially also a form of psychological warfare and trauma permanently inflicted upon civilian populations. ‘Their presence terrorises men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.’

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, ‘The U.S. targeted killing program operates without meaningful oversight outside the executive branch, and essential details about the program still remain secret, including what criteria the government uses to put people on CIA and military kill lists as well as how much evidence is required before it does so. The U.S. Constitution and international law prohibit the use of lethal force outside of armed conflict zones unless it is used as a last resort against a concrete, specific, and imminent threat of grave harm.

But far from being a clear-cut anti-terrorist programme, some view the programme as essentially a terror programme in itself. Renowned intellectual and critic of US foreign policy, Noam Chomsky, calls the drone assassination programme ‘the Most Extensive Global Terrorism Campaign The World Has Yet Seen’.

But aside from the objections of some human rights organisations, there has been no real challenge against the essential premise of the US drone missile program or its presumed authority to assassinate anyone it wants to anywhere in the world and at any time: in essence, that the CIA and the Pentagon have the right to kill any individual, in any country, on the say-so of the president. Drone murder by the US government has become entirely routine and has become lazily accepted as normal and legitimate by legal institutions in the US and, more worryingly, by the mass media for the most part. The media in America mostly doesn’t bat an eye-lid at the drone programme or the assassinations, because essentially everything and anything is seen as ‘fair game’ after 9/11.

 

yemen-dronestrikes

 

This has in some cases included the drone assassination of some of its own citizens; yet the CIA and the Pentagon are seldom challenged on actions like this by the media or asked to justify them. And when they are occasionally challenged to justify them, the justification is usually very questionable.

An estimated 286 to 890 civilians have been killed in US drone strikes in just Pakistan alone, including 168 to 197 children. Amnesty International found that a number of victims were unarmed and that some of the strikes could amount to war crimes.

For all the talk from Washington of these strikes being ‘precise’ assassinations, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that only 84 of the 2,379 people killed by drone strikes in Pakistan have been identified as actual members of Al-Qaeda. There are in fact estimates that much as 98% of drone-strike casualties are civilians (amounting to 50 for every one “suspected terrorist”).

So while the presumption of the right to assassinate people at whim is questionable in itself, the effectiveness of the practise is just as debatable.

_____________________

bin-laden-death

 

Getting back to the original point made by Jeremy Corbyn concerning the assassination of Osama bin Laden, that assassination was itself highly questionable both morally and tactically. Aside from all the uncertainties and theories surrounding the reality of the Bin Laden ‘narrative’ in general – such as the question of whether he really was behind 9/11, the question of whether he was a CIA asset all along, the question of whether he had in fact already died in 2001 or 2002, and the question of whether the Pentagon simply played out the Bin Laden pantomime in May 2011 to cover up NATO’s attempted assassination of Gaddafi in Libya – the fact is that there was no real need to kill him.

The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh makes that much clear in his much talked-about piece on the operation. Bin Laden at that specific moment was no immediate threat to the Navy Seal team; indeed, it didn’t matter if he was or wasn’t a threat, because it is clear the team was under orders from the outset to kill him on sight. Why? Surely bringing him to a trial (in which his involvement in the 9/11 attacks could be demonstrated for all the world to see) would’ve strategically made much more sense. It would’ve brought closure to the whole 9/11 issue and it would’ve represented ‘justice’ being carried out.

By killing him instead, all the US did was to risk inflaming further outrage, violate Pakistan’s sovereignty, and basically ensure that the mysteries surrounding Osama bin Laden would continue, along with all the enduring conspiracy theories and suspicions that 9/11 was an inside job. Because it looked suspiciously like the kill-on-sight policy was simply to ensure Bin Laden would never be able to talk.

Jeremy Corbyn is absolutely right to say that this set a very negative and dangerous precedent; which is now echoed in Kenya, in Pakistan itself, in Somalia and Eritrea, and all the other places previously mentioned, including in Israel, where alleged Palestinian ‘terrorists’ are frequently bombed in their homes (along with their families and any civilians who happen to be in the area) without any legal process or any disclosure of evidence. We are supposed to be societies subject to law and due process: assassinating ‘suspects’ in foreign lands, violating sovereign nations to do so, and all without any legal process, and usually without any disclosure of evidence, subverts international law and sets a very dangerous precedent.

Because one day it’s all about targeting suspected terrorists, but what about tomorrow?

Which brings me right back to the brutal killing of Gaddafi in Libya; I know I return to this subject a lot, but it is extremely important. Because Gaddafi, unlike Bin Laden, wasn’t a terrorist or a criminal, but was the national figurehead of a nation. It is equivalent to Nelson Mandela being murdered by NATO bombers.

The extra-judicial murder of Gaddafi (pictured below, being murdered by NATO-backed terrorists in Sirte), which was first attempted by NATO on May 1st 2011 (and which I am convinced the Bin Laden killing was simply a deliberate/tactical distraction from), and was finally, successfully carried out in October that year, was possibly the worst instance of extra-judicial assassination on record. Because, again, he wasn’t a terrorist or someone involved in any terrorist activity, nor someone involved in any hostilities against the US, Britain or any foreign nation. That NATO – and the US, French and British governments – were wholly complicit in his murder is entirely demonstrated beyond doubt in my extensive document on the subject (see here).

 

libya-gaddafimurder

 

For further, detailed information on the precise circumstances of Gaddafi’s murder, see the book; but essentially his small convoy was ruthlessly attacked by NATO bombers, trying to kill him and all those who were with him. When he survived this attack from the air, it was NATO personnel who ensured that the vicious Islamist/rebel mob on the ground captured, tortured and killed him. All of this, including the French agents and the role of NATO Special Forces, is detailed in the book; the point is that it was the ultimate and most heinous extra-judicial assassination. The Western governments were entirely unwilling to allow Gaddafi to live and to stand trial – primarily because there was no legitimate case to be made against him or any evidence to be presented against him, and in fact any such trial would’ve only served to expose NATO, France, Britain, the US and its allies as the criminals.

The fact that so few mainstream observers bothered to question the legitimacy of NATO carrying out an extra-judicial assassination of a major political figure *in his own country* just shows how morally redundant the entire narrative, along with the mainstream media, has become. Everyone by then was already so used to the drone programme and the casual assassinations in foreign lands that they barely blinked an eye.

This was the “tragedy” that Jeremy Corbyn was both lamenting and predicting; because NATO and the US was now no longer just assassinating ‘terrorists’ without any legal process, it was assassinating a political figure and without *any* intention of letting him live or letting him stand trial.

It should also be pointed out that Gaddafi had been travelling under a ‘white-flag’ truce at the time NATO decimated his convoy; that he posed no threat to anyone and may in fact have been trying to leave Sirte peacefully under a negotiated agreement. All of that is detailed more fully in the book, so please read it for the full story (and to understand why I regard individuals like Hilary Clinton, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy as absolute criminals and possibly murderers and why I will continue to bring up Gaddafi’s murder until people are put on trial for it).

Gaddafi’s is the worst case in history; but one suspects that a great many other extra-judicial assassinations might also be a case of individuals being killed because there isn’t enough evidence to justify a trial or any legal process. In the Bin Laden case, there’s no real doubt that he could’ve been taken alive. There was no element of self-defense involved; it was a kill mission from the outset. Also in Bin Laden’s case, as in the case of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, it may even have been a case of the US assassinating its own assets/collaborators once they’d outlived their usefulness.

As Reprieve puts it, ‘The United States has used drones to execute without trial thousands of people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – all countries against whom it has not declared war. The US’s drones programme is a covert war being carried out by the CIA. Armed drones can hand down a death sentence simply because a person exhibited suspicious behaviour. Yet what that behaviour is, the United States refuses to say.’ Reprieve adds, ‘The UK government and UK companies are actively complicit in this covert war – through intelligence sharing, the activities of US bases on British soil, and shared assets’.

And assuming that the entire programme isn’t really *intended* to be a prolonged programme of psychological warfare – a way of keeping certain populations in perpetual trauma and anxiety – then it is, with all its thousands of recorded deaths, simply a vast system for the carrying out of extra-judicial assassinations. People never afforded any legal process, people against whom no evidence needs to be produced, are simply ‘taken out’ by remote-controlled robots in the sky.

Perhaps, in some way, it’s preferable to being shot in the face at point-blank range as Bin Laden supposedly was, and it is certainly preferable to being tortured, sodomised, filmed and executed by a violent mob as Gaddafi was; but it ultimately amounts to the same thing – unlawful and industrialised execution by agencies who consider themselves above all laws.

And while the newspapers and anti-Corbynites are busy making a fuss over Mr Corbyn’s sentiments and trying to suggest he was a Bin Laden ‘sympathiser’, they are of course entirely missing the more serious points. But of course they are; like Bin Laden’s killing itself, it’s just more mass media/government sleight of hand to distract everyone.

 

yemen-civilians-poor

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Comments
  1. sand49 says:

    Reblogged this on sand49 and commented:
    An interesting assessment of whether the extra judicial assassination drone warfare program is good for Democracy.

    Like

  2. meusoc says:

    Wow, the author is either drunk or a complete fucking moron.

    Like

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