FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The United State’s Futile Search for ‘World Domination’

by RAMZY BAROUD

Those enchanted by pseudo-reality must have been at the edge of their seats as they watched ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, a Hollywood account of how US SEAL Team Six killed Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011.

But a recently leaked report shows that the ‘riveting’ Hollywood account of the ‘greatest manhunt of all time’ was hardly as glamorous as it was made to be. In fact, if it were not for the ‘shocking state of affairs’ in Pakistan itself, where local governance had ‘completely collapsed’, the raid would have been yet another botched attempt at killing a man that had been using primitive means – for example a ‘cowboy hat’  to evade drones –  as he had managed to survive for nearly nine years.

The 337-page report was the outcome of a thorough, but secret investigation by a commission set up by the Pakistan government following the US raid. It mainly aimed at answering the question of  how US forces, a supposed ally, infiltrated Pakistani airspace, killing Bin Laden and three Pakistanis, and then hovered away undetected. The answer had little to do with the prowess of the US military whose behavior was viewed by the commission as that of a ‘criminal thug’. Instead, the answer lies in Pakistani authorities’ own failure, or as page 87 of the report describes as ‘Governance Implosion Syndrome’.

Reporting for Al Jazeera, Asad Hashim summed up the commission’s findings: “Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s chief, was able to evade detection in Pakistan for nine years due to the ‘collective failure’ of the Pakistani state’s military and intelligence authorities, and ‘routine’ incompetence at every level of the civil governance structure.”

Without that ‘collective failure’, there could have been no American success, the kind that is turned into riveting movies generating exuberant amounts of money which feed into the myth of the infallibility of the US military.

The timing of the leaked report was pretty interesting as well. It appeared shortly after Edward Snowden, a US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, leaked damning information of the very shady and illegal behavior by the US government pertaining to its global surveillance program. Hundreds of millions of people in the US and around the world have fallen victim to the NSA spying program, whether through their telephone records, or through the PRISM program that grants the spying agency direct access to stored internet activity of nearly anyone, anywhere. It is “a global, ubiquitous surveillance system that has as its goal the elimination of privacy worldwide”, wrote Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian.

Even EU offices were bugged by the US, according to the leaked information. If America’s closest allies were bugged, then no one is safe. The Brazilian newspaper O Globo revealed in reports, based on information provided by Snowden that the US had tapped into telecoms infrastructure in Brazil to acquire massive volumes of communications and to spy on governments throughout the region.

While Al Jazeera’s leak translated into media debates regarding Pakistan’s own failures and its odd alliance with the US – which unabashedly continues to violate the country’s sovereignty – Snowden’s leaks are generating a global debate regarding the US’s persistent attempts at global meddling and domination despite its repeated setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its diminishing, once unchallenged role as a superpower.

While corporate US media continue to toe the line by doing everything in their power to focus on the least relevant parts of the Snowden story, US government apologists are trying to soften the blow. Jim Lewis, a former intelligence official – now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington – had this to stay, according to the Financial Times: “Great powers all engage in espionage. That includes China, Russia and the US. It’s not war, it’s not an attack, it’s not use of force, it’s not even coercion.”

Although there is an element of truth in Lewis’ remarks, there is no denial that the extent of that spying can also tell us a great deal about the nature of the spy and the use of the information. When the victims are hundreds of millions of people from every country in the world, then one cannot help but object to the illegality and magnitude of the act.

One knows that it’s not your everyday spying practice when Cristina Fernández, president of Argentina says, “It sends chills up my spine when we learn they are spying on all of us through their intelligence services in Brazil.”

Not even the most paranoid amongst us would have imagined the extent of the US government’s violation of the very privacy laws that itself helped draft, promote and swore to protect. The Snowden leak revealed aspects of the NSA’s unwarranted practices, but what else is still being concealed? And what is the ultimate goal of the US government when it spies potentially on every citizen and every government?

In some parts of the world, the spying scandal raised the above questions and more. “The revelations have revived a narrative about the dangers of a world dominated by an untrustworthy superpower that had been dormant as debate raged instead about American decline,” wrote Geoff Dyer in Washington.

But should the debate shift away from the palpable decline to something else? Hardly, as the supposedly gutsy raid that killed Bin Laden should by no means contribute to the Hollywood-fed myth of the infallibility of the US military. Global surveillance is merely an indication that President Barack Obama – as a representation of the US ruling class – was never sincere as he attempted to woo the world with an image of a more gentle and peaceful American government. The Bin Laden raid, per the conclusions of the Pakistani commission, told of a sorry state of affairs that afflicted all aspects of government and military, and how it was underhandedly used by the US to carry out its own policy agendas, even at the expense of a supposed ally. It is hard to believe that any government can genuinely trust the US administration after all of this.

Ramzy Baroud is editor of PalestineChronicle.com. He is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle  and  “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London).

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail