Tag Archives: Osama bin Laden

For the Lookie Lou’s, Seeing Is Believing

11 May

For the past week, it seems as though a Presidential Address, Pakistani anger, national triumph and the promise of retaliation from Al Qaida have all done very little to actually convince the few naysayers who like to stir the political pot, that International Public Enemy# 1 has truly gone on to meet his maker’s fallen angel; who has a specially prepared place for him within the realms of the firery depths.

But even though the conspiracy theorists will have to settle for the word of their government that Osama Bin Laden was eliminated during a Navy SEALs raid on his Pakistani compoud last week, Yahoo News has revealed that a select few have actually been shown proof of Bin Laden’s death.

Select members of Congress are making appointments at CIA headquarters to view graphic photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse. But the American people might have to wait decades to see images of the al-Qaida leader who was killed in Pakistan by Navy SEALs during a daring middle-of-the-night raid.

The CIA is allowing members of the House and Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees to see the photos in a secure room at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va., a CIA spokesman said Wednesday. Lawmakers cannot take copies of the photos with them.

Access on Capitol Hill to privileged information, whether it’s a military secret, campaign strategy or the identity of a political nominee, is the coin of the realm in Washington. Knowing what so many others don’t can raise public profiles and spice careers in ways that methodically toiling over legislation and casting floor votes cannot.

The CIA invitations went out to the lawmakers who oversee spy missions and military operations.

GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was a largely unknown Michigan lawmaker when he was appointed to the post in December after Republicans won House control. Bin Laden’s death has catapulted him into a different league as an expert and insider, a familiar face now on television news shows.

Sen. James Inhofe, a Senate Armed Services Committee member, said he saw photos of bin Laden’s body Wednesday at the CIA, making him the first member of Congress to take advantage of the spy agency’s offer. Inhofe said he spent nearly an hour looking over more than a dozen photos of Osama’s body. The photos were taken at the scene and on board the U.S. Navy ship that buried bin Laden’s body at sea.

One of the photos was of bin Laden’s head and showed what appeared to be the fatal wound, according to Inhofe, R-Okla.

“Either a bullet, the significant bullet, went through the ear and out the eye socket, or vice versa,” Inhofe said in an interview.

Brain matter was hanging out of the eye socket, Inhofe said. “It wasn’t a very pretty picture,” he said.

The photos from the USS Carl Vinson showing bin Laden’s body being prepared for burial in the North Arabian sea are less jarring, he said.

“There are always people who are going to say, `Until I see it, I won’t believe it,'” Inhofe said. “Those are the pictures that I think would convince anyone.”

Technically, Inhofe isn’t the first lawmaker to see a death photo. Rogers saw a photo of bin Laden’s body during a May 2 visit to the CIA, just hours after the raid.

…The decision to send lawmakers to the CIA to see the images indicates that the agency controls the photos, said Daniel Metcalfe, executive director of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University’s Washington College of Law. It also could mean that anyone who wants the photos could be in for a long wait and lengthy legal battle.
The 1984 CIA Information Act allows the agency to exempt highly sensitive “operational files” from searches reviews or disclosures under the open records law. Operational files include foreign intelligence or counterintelligence operations.

“If the CIA is the sole custodian of the photos in all forms, and it treats them as operational files, then that’s an enormous barrier to access,” said Metcalfe, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy.

“That can be challenged in court, of course.” But he noted that there is no end date in the law for the special protection for such material.

Rogers supports President Barack Obama’s decision not to release the photos to the public. Obama has said that doing so could inflame anti-American sentiment overseas and put U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq at risk. “Osama bin Laden is not a trophy,” Rogers said.

Most Americans agree. An AP-GfK poll shows 64 percent of those questioned don’t think the U.S. should make public the photos of bin Laden’s body public. Also, 34 percent favored release and 2 percent said they didn’t know, according to the poll results.

Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who plans to look over the photos, believes that having people from two branches of government look at the images is “due diligence,” spokeswoman Tara Trujillo said.

Other lawmakers had no interest in seeing them.

“I’m quite satisfied Osama bin Laden is dead,” said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., a member of House Armed Services Committee.

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a Marine combat veteran, said Obama made the right call.

“I don’t have any fascination with looking at photos of gunshot wounds to the face,” Coffman said. “I take their word for it.”

So, what about you? Will your curiosity and/or doubt not be assuaged until you look upon bin Laden’s lifeless corpse? Or, are you one of the faithful sort who unquestionably believe the SEALs declaration “Geronimo E-KIA!!” ?


Just When You Thought I was Trippin’: The Pro’s Chime In On Bin Laden

3 May

Not that a pair of professional athletes have all of a sudden become authorities on The United States’ Foreign Policy and public celebratory decorum, and not that I co-sign on anyone’s conspiracy theories (because I don’t), but amidst the varying degrees of tongue lashings I’ve recently received for my comments about some of my countrymen’s crunk and disorderly behavior these past few days, I have begun to feel a bit of comfort in knowing that I am not alone in my critical analysis of the overzealous.

To be clear, great relief  ≠  full on rejoicing.

A Declaration of Death, A Nation Rejoices

2 May

At a little before eleven last night, social media outfits like Twitter and Facebook were ablaze with first, news that President Obama would be presenting an unusual Sunday Night address, followed by the leaked bulletin that the POTUS’s revelation had to do with the confirmed death of arguably the world’s most wanted man in history (personally, I thought we were going to have an Armageddon moment where the president was going to tell us that the Endeavor mission was actually scrubbed because there was an unavoidable meteor headed for the planet; fortunately, the news was less world shattering and more world changing).

In a late night televised address, President Barak Obama spoke to the nation and the world to verify that after receiving substantiated intelligence briefings last week from the CIA and other Special Ops factions, he gave the order to eliminate Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11th attacks against the United States. The president also confirmed that the United States military was in possession of bin Laden’s body, and that in executing this very covert operation with the assistance of the Pakistani government, the world was on its way to becoming a safer place.

As the residual waves of shock and disbelief at the 10-year fugitive’s demise began to wear off however, the tone in America began to change. Twitter trending topics like #BinLadenDead, #JackBauer (fictional Counter Terrorist Unit Operative) and #NavySeals emerged from the social networking site, and jokes as well as tweets consigning bin Laden to hellfire and eternal damnation abounded.  News outlets like MSNBC, Fox and CNN were covering the swells of revelers at The White House Gates and Ground Zero; both very festive and celebratory scenes that, if one did not know better, would assume was a result of a pre-planned party, not the reaction to a bullet-in-the-head death.

Now don’t misunderstand, I believe unequivocally that Osama bin Laden and the members of Al Qaeda have always posed a real and serious threat to The United States, and that his death was ultimately a necessary one; one that I don’t oppose, but I must admit that I was more than a little disturbed by the sheer jubilation and revelry I witnessed in the people from the various news reports and on the social streams throughout the night and into the early morning hours.  Just like the biblical proverb reminds us not to gloat or be filled with gladness when our enemy has fallen, it has certainly been hard for me to see the humanity in wishing anyone dead (and taking up the omniscient banner of condemning their soul).

After absorbing the ramifications of last night’s HUGE revelation, my first thought immediately became whether or not my countrymen even remembered how it felt when the Sept. 11th’s death toll continued to rise and word of extremist zealots burning American flags and dancing in the streets was received. Or the sinking feeling that became part of our hearts each time the 11 o’clock news announced yet another death of an American solider as a result of our country’s War on Terror.

Listen, I get it, Lord knows I do; people feel a sense of vindication and closure as a result of the death of such an inherently evil mass murderer and I am sensitive to that (I can’t say with all certainty that I would feel a whole lot different had I lost a loved one in the 9/11 tragedies, or due to military conflict) but to be delighting in the man’s sanctioned murder as opposed to exulting and taking pride in the end of his reign of terror and what he stood for seems a bit macabre and bloodthirsty, even for our highly depicted “shoot-first-ask-questions-later” Western characterizations.

I think for me though, what I’ve found most troubling about last night and in the various Twitter and Facebook “philosophical” debates I have had seems to be that for all the zeal and celebrating going on, so many people continue to miss the point.  In the live coverage, uninformed declarations, biased opinions (about Muslims…still) and drunken reveling and flag waving thrived.  On the net, global concern, critical thinking on the issue or hesitance in kindling the brimstone was met with expletives, racial slurs and accusations of terrorist sympathizing.

Call me naïve, but I’d have thought that for whatever the American public’s varying opinions have been on the death of what we can all agree was a heinous terror architect, we’d at least appreciate the magnitude of this historic event and how it makes the world a little more safe; not how it gives some of us an excuse to get intoxicated and rabble-rouse in the name of “justice served”.

Where were you and what were you doing when this world-rocking, historical news broke? Do you believe that the public’s frenzied endorsement of bin Laden’s death is warranted or one resulting from bloodlust?

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