Recent American history proves that various successive Administrations expect the populace to believe anything, provided it is quite incredible.
A good evidential start is the assassination of President Kennedy, allegedly conducted by one individual who held no apparent extremist views. He claimed innocence, but shortly after the event he was in turn assassinated by a mobster while, literally, in the arms of the police. The mobster did it out of sudden piety and latter-day sympathy for the president’s widow. Not long afterwards, the mobster conveniently died of cancer and that was the end of the (hi)story.
The next milestone is the vicious attack by two Vietnamese gunboats against a US frigate who had sailed well inside the territorial waters of North Vietnam, in the Gulf of Tonkin. Allegedly, the gunboats fired a few shots, no one was hurt, but that was reason enough to launch the Vietnam war in earnest, with its millions of dead and wounded.
The belief in the incredible was somewhat shattered by the revelations of Daniel Ellsberg, who released the (in)famous Pentagon Papers. But the inaudible and noiseless foot of time (1) has moved the Gulf of Tonkin, the Vietnam war and the Pentagon papers into the archives of things forgotten.
In this sample and very limited listing we may jump to the invasion of the small Caribbean island of Grenada (1983 – Operation “Urgent Fury”), allegedly launched to save the lives of some American medical students, whose lives had never been threatened.
Then we have the President who “never had sex with that woman”, which was obviously true. Otherwise, the image of the leader of the Western world cavorting with a whore in the Oval Office (and therefore in his official capacity), was a bit hard to swallow even for the Exceptional Nation. Or, at best (worst), it was a trivial event written in the stars, according to established literary tradition – “... an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star.”(2)
The official sanction of the sexlessness of the encounter finds its unofficial confirmation in the anointment of the very wife of the sexless-version-propounder, as the most likely next President.
But the masterpiece in the presumption of belief is perhaps the Osama bin Laden episode, including his two deaths, about 10 years apart from each other.
The first can plainly be attributed to the inevitable – for “… all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.”(3) As for the second I am still so “attired in wonder that know not what to say.”(4)
The affair starts with the fanta-scientific Pearl Harbor of 9/11, an operation planned, organized and directed by a gaunt, bearded and ailing man, wearing a pajama and a turban, from a cave in Afghanistan. Never mind that the majority of the hijackers were Saudi Arabian nationals. Or that the Bin Laden family had strong connection with the elite establishment. Or that 14 years after the event, a whole section of the report dealing with the organization and financing of 9/11 remains “secret” for reasons of “national security”. Which is new-speak for “we know who did it, but you shouldn’t.” To the point that a respected Senator who read the report, (Bob Graham), had to write a novel, using fictitious names, characters, sites, nations and locations to throw light on the matter. For the actual revelation of the report content would be a “criminal offense.”
To begin with, Osama bin Laden never took credit for 9/11. That most people believe he did it, is a tribute to the skills of the regime media. Here is what Osama said in an interview in Urdu to a Pakistani Newspaper (the Karachi Ummat), on September 28, 2001,
“I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. Neither I had any knowledge of these attacks nor I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel. There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as silent spectators. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia? Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America, is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Cast a glance around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies [of Muslims]. The US has no friends, nor it wants to keep one because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates. Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could triumph. Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This [funding issue] was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union, but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger. They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Osama and Taliban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of $40 billion. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance. Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get billions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US President, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.”
Then on July 20, 2002, the New York Times wrote, “Osama bin Laden is dead. The news first came from sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan almost six months ago: the fugitive died in December and was buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan.” Then the NYT journalist adds that, apart from the sources, the continued silence of BinLaden is one evidence of his demise. For “he had an ego as big as Mount Everest.” Which may or may not be, but it is certainly not reflected in the statement to the Pakistani newspaper.
After the New York Times announcement, Bin Laden more or less faded out of the picture as a person, but remained alive as an icon to justify wars, invasions, genocides, drone assassinations, torture, black sites, mercenary units and, of course, bigger budgets for arms and “intelligence.”
However, almost immediately after 9/11, a new type of discredited persona emerged among the citizens of the Exceptional Country, namely the conspiracy theorist (a euphemism for a nut). Which is a simple and inexpensive way to dismiss anyone who does not want to believe something, just because it is incredible.
In the meantime, the Osama bin Laden legend faded somewhat in the background, overtaken and overshadowed by subsequent events, the weapons of mass destructions, Iraq and its million plus dead, Wikileaks, sundry orange revolutions etc.
But given the usefulness of the legend, it was useful to resurrect it. Further considering that, among all the intervening turmoil, notably missing was a Hollywood capture of the infamous culprit. After ten years, many had forgotten that the very invasion of Afghanistan was launched to capture a man who was already dead. But in the economy of events the detail is trivial, considering the masses’ acquiescence and their impermeability to disbelief.
And in the society of the spectacle what better way of inducing belief than by fabricating spectacular proofs and by seducing the target with an appeal to patriotic pride. For the machine producing the lies lives in a dream of perpetual success, helped by the acquiescence of the populace whom the machine perpetually deceives.
In the second death of Bin Laden, we discover that, all this time, he had been living not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan, which functions as an extended US base for military and intelligence operations. Osama’s residence was in the resort town of Abbottabad, within earshot of the Pakistani Military Academy, and in a new large compound built and fortified to safeguard him. That in ten years no one had wondered what was the compound for, is a question that only a conspiracy theorist would ask, but let that go.
America had finally at hand the opportunity for a Hollywood ending. The ‘tip’ of a Pakistani agent who cashed the 25 million $ offered to reveal Osama’s whereabouts. The helicopters daringly landing inside the compound, the navy seals storming the fortifications, the gun battle with the heavily armed BinLaden himself, his death, his burial at sea and, of course, the movie (“Zero Dark Thirty”) to ensure that glory may not be forgotten.
But in recent weeks Seymour Hersch, a journalist, came to the fore with startling news. In Hersch’ amended version of the second death, the official narrative is a gargantuan fiction.
Hersch has been dismissed as a conspiracy theorist, of course, except that he has a long record of investigative reporting. He first proved himself in attacking the official silence and unveiling the US massacres of civilians in entire villages, conducted in Vietnam.
To start, Pakistani officials at the highest level were aware of bin Laden’s presence and identified one intelligence official, Ijaz Shah, as the man who arranged to house bin Laden in Abbottabad, at the direction of then-president Pervez Musharraf.
It also turns out that the Pakistanis holding bin Laden, the Saudis paying the expenses, the bounty hunter providing bin Laden’s location to the CIA, the Pakistanis’ cooperation with the raid by the Navy Seals, the US initial plan to claim bin Laden had been killed by a drone-fired missile—were revelations also previously made by R. J. Hillhouse, a US college professor who focuses on national security issues, in several postings during August 2011. Hillhouse confirmed that Hersh’s account is accurate, though she had different sources.
Osama was not armed, The navy seals arrived by helicopters one of which actually crashed. If Osama was unarmed, why kill him then? Given the mystery and the thousands of “conspiracy theorists” who do not believe the official version of 9/11, would not the capture and trial of Osama be a wonderful opportunity to prove the theorists as nuts? Instead, the Obama administration proclaimed the assassination of bin Laden, in 2011, as its greatest foreign policy achievement. And a means to justify increased funding for the US military and intelligence apparatus.
But according to Hersch, the US government decided to kill Osama to prevent a trial where he could testify about his longstanding relationship with sections of the Saudi state and US intelligence agencies.
Ever since 9/11, American foreign and domestic policies reflect the theory and practice of the “war on terror.” The theory is that human instruments of the devil attacked America out of spite, killing nearly 3,000 people, and forcing the US government to go to war against them in response. Forcing also the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon’s Northern Command. Plus enabling universal spying on telecommunications and the Internet; and organizing the rehearsal of marshal law, as it occurred in Boston after the Marathon bombing.
To conclude, the Administration has shown great alacrity of enterprise in organizing the death of Osama Bin Laden, including the genius of making him die twice. And I refuse to say which of the two versions is true. For even denying that it is impossible to die twice, may be construed as a symptom of conspiracy theorizing, a sinful rejection of belief due to incredibility.
Many believe that gross and ever-widening mendacity is indispensable to current American foreign and domestic policy. For the role of the US government is to defend the interests of a few thousand individuals, while pretending to represent the American people as a whole. Lying is therefore intrinsic to its operation.
Naturally, the regime media is the anointed instrument of mass deception. But the general silence and perceived mass indifference to even colossal misrepresentations is a good index. Namely that the commandment to believe anything, provided it is quite incredible, has found a wide, willing and captive audience.
It would be tempting to give a persona to judgment and exclaim, “O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts and men have lost their reason.”(5) But that would be a useless cry. For in our deeply Orwellian world ignorance is strength – where strength also implies the belief in the incredible and the accompanying ignorance of evidence.
In the end, as we ponder on our inability to change anything, we are left to play the fool with the times, while the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us. (6)
1. All’s Well That Ends Well
2. King Lear
4. Much Ado About Nothing
5. Julius Caesar
6. King Henry IV, part 2
In the play: The lines are part of the universally known monologue that starts with ‘To be, or not to be: that is the question’.”Bourn” = limit