Bring Us the Head of Osama bin Laden

Have you heard the news?

We won’t have to worry about that slippery eel Osama anymore.

According to Jane Wardell of the Associated Press, an Islamic news agency in London has released yet another Osama tape (no doubt there will soon be an Osama’s greatest hits tape released).

On this latest tape bin Laden supposedly tells us he will die as a martyr “in the eagle’s belly,” which I guess means he will die here, in the US. In Washington, so-called “counterterrorism officials” (read: CIA guys who know about this kind of stuff because they invented a lot of it) are supposedly reviewing the tape.

Now, since Osama is a CIA asset, this latest tape can only mean one of two things:

1: Osama is about to be retired, which is to say there will be no more tapes, no more Osama sightings (these are a lot like Elvis sightings), and a lot less talk about him in the corporate media.

Actually, Bush stopped talking about Osama a long time ago. He’d rather talk about Saddam. If polls mean anything (even though it’s difficult to tell the rigged polls from the real polls), a lot of Americans think Saddam and Osama are the same person, plus (thanks to Colin’s UN presentation) more and more of us think we should go it alone and bomb the bejesus out of Iraq — you know just in case they have WMD, even though trained guys with specialized equipment can’t find any. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

2: There’s just too many Osamas.

Osama, Osama, who’s the real Osama? There’s the CIA Osama, and then there’s the Osama who delivers coded messages to his forces of darkness. Is the latest Osama tape real, or fake? Since Osama is a mythical figure these days, it’s way too easy for people to invoke him for any number of reasons. It really is a problem, especially for Bush. He never mentions Osama these days, so it’s time for Osama to exit stage right.

Like al-Qaeda, or “Terror, Inc.” (as one inventive copywriter called it), Osama seems to be everywhere: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa, even Indonesia.

Obviously, there’s a problem here, too many people are calling dibs on Osama and it creates a rather obvious credibility problem. Solution? Have Osama die as a martyr, preferably in some dramatic fashion. Produce a body, let the corporate vulture media splash it all over corporate dominated telescreens and websites, and then relegate the Evil One to the dustbin of history.

End of problem.

Once the mythical Osama is out of the way (the real Osama, of course, will retire somewhere, probably Saudi Arabia or, as it may soon become known, Exxon Arabia), the US can concentrate on the leaderless al-Qaeda, which is much better for propaganda and fear quotient purposes.

Unlike single individuals, organizations can be everywhere all at once, constantly threatening, faceless and incognito yet highly visible and ominous at the same time. Like corporations, al-Qaeda is able to transcend the inherent weaknesses and limitations of the mortal human form. Like multinational corporations, it is possible for al-Qaeda to live a long and productive life scaring the hell out of our children and grandchildren. Unlike Osama, al-Qaeda is capable of mutating into many forms, of showing up in Kenya or Bali and, at the same time, lurking in the alley beyond your bedroom window.

Of course, if al-Qaeda is going to be the ultimate bogeyman, its CIA and US military intelligence handlers are going to have to get it together. It’s time to show some professionalism around here.

I mean, the so-called “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid, recently sentenced to life for lighting matches on a passenger airliner, is not the sort of person likely to scare people into supporting hegemonic military activity and shredding of the Bill of Rights. Reid is a petty criminal from London, a mugger and purse-snatcher, not a world-class terrorist of the caliber of say Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, . Carlos the Jackal.

Now there was a scary dude.

Same for Jose Padilla, another petty criminal, who allegedly wanted to build a dirty bomb for al-Qaeda (never mind that former gangbangers such as Padilla usually don’t hold degrees in nuclear science or are they munitions experts).

These guys aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer and, as specters of evil, they are, well, almost laughable (that is, if they weren’t so pathetic).

Same thing with the so-called Lackawanna Six.

All they seem guilty of is religious fervor (in some parts of the United States, say the bible belt or Utah, foamy religiosity is a social and business asset; in fact, John Ashcroft has been known to be over the deep end when it comes to religion, especially considering he declared to serve the “Lord” before the Constitution and the American people).

Anyway, these hapless guys from New York were tailed for over a year by flat-footed Justice Department and Joint Terrorism Task Force investigators.

Guess what they found?

Some radical Islamic literature and audiocassettes. They also found a Panther stun gun and a .22 caliber derringer, both which are perfectly legal here in the US of A and can be found in a slew of households, especially in the kind of neighborhood where the Lackawanna Six lived prior to being accused of acting as al-Qaeda sleeper cells.

Justice is basing its case mostly on the fact one of these guys, Faysal Galab, told the FBI he went to an “al-Qaeda training camp” in Afghanistan in May 2001, well before 911. Galab has pleaded guilty to contributing funds and services to terrorists and may get 10 years in the clink. Plenty of defendants in serious criminal cases (I can’t think of a case more serious than this) readily cop a plea to a lesser charge in order to save their skin. Hell, in order to stay out of prison (or maybe even the concentration camp at Gitmo), they’d point the finger at their fellow defendants, no problem. More often than not, that’s how the legal system works in America.

Beyond Galab’s cop, the government doesn’t have much of a case against the Lackawanna Six — that is beyond the fact these guys are young, male, of Yemeni descent, and apparently fundamentalist Muslims.

Chances are they are screwed, big time, because Dubya and Cheney took a personal interest in the case prior to the arrest of the six. You know you’re doomed when the (illegally appointed) president of the last remaining superpower takes an avid interest in your case. Queue up the funeral march music.

Dead man walking!

According to news reports, law enforcement officials were surprised by Bush’s detailed knowledge of the case. Bush reportedly asked aides, “What’s the Buffalo story?” CIA Director George Tenet added to the hysteria by calling the Lackawanna Six “the most dangerous bunch inside the United States.”

Based on what, George?

Oh, the Koran and maybe that .22 caliber peashooter.

Hey, somebody has to play the role of nefarious al-Qaeda sleeper cell, it might as well be these guys. In fact, as a senior FBI official told the Democrat and Chronicle, good old-fashioned investigative techniques are no longer necessary in such cases. “We used to have what some called a pipe-smoking approach to investigation,” said the official. “We’d spend time waiting, triangulating and pondering (suspects’) next move… The new approach is more like: ‘Who cares where it goes? Let’s go get (them).'”

I bet this rallying cry will eventually be used against other America-haters, say the ACLU and the Greens. Maybe even the American Library Association.

No need to build a case, let’s just go get ’em. Hell with legal niceties and such, we know they’re guilty. There’s even FEMA camps already staffed where they can be corralled until we can figure out what to do with them.

It doesn’t seem to matter if the al-Qaeda bogeymen are credible. Are the Bushites simply lazy, or do they think we’ll believe anything they say?

I vote the latter.

Besides, as the neocons keep telling us, pretense has nothing to do with it — they’re going to invade small, defenseless countries regardless of what we think, even if there’s no Saddam or Osama around to vilify and scapegoat. Evidence and credibility have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Obviously, as the recent mad dash for duct tape and plastic sheeting demonstrates, a lot of people don’t need proof of al-Qaeda maleficence, all they need as Bush telling them there’s evil and bloodthirsty guys out there gunning for them.

Remarkably, few people seem to care that the most horrendous crime in American history was swept under the carpet, the evidence destroyed, and calls for investigation stonewalled for months.

Few seem to care that the alleged perp, Osama bin Laden, wasn’t chased down to the four corners of the earth, apprehended, and put on trial. In fact, all the way along the line, he was let off the hook. Bush intervened personally, prevented law enforcement from questioning the bin Laden family. Can you think of one murder investigation where the murder suspect’s family is not interviewed? No, I can’t either.

We’re supposed to forget about all this and concentrate on the new evil, Saddam. Never mind that he was the guy Bush and Crew wanted all along.

The Bushite tactic now seems to be: Osama is dead, long live Osama! Let’s move on to bigger and better things. Let’s play it by the script. Look eastward, toward Baghdad. That’s where evil resides.

Osama? Osama who?

Now that Osama will conveniently kill himself in a blaze of Islamic glory, there will be no need for Bush to track him down (or hunt ’em down, smoke ’em out) and bring the suspected culprit to justice.

How utterly opportune.

No more messy tapes, no more coded speeches, no more audio and video experts calling the tapes obvious fabrications. No chance of the truth about 911 emerging.

After the US has the body of Osama bin Laden (and some fraudulent DNA “evidence”), unauthorized persons will no longer be able to use the Evil One for their purposes. Bush and Crew will be able to dangle that sword of Damocles, al-Qaeda, over our heads and demand we march in unison. Otherwise you’re not only un-American, you might be a terrorist yourself. Patriot Act II, the Sequel, will keep you in order.

Good old al-Qaeda, forever malleable, even with its dysfunctional and cartoonish operatives.

It’s all about control — and scaring the hell out of you and your children. Our Emmanuel Goldstein will no longer have a specific and recognizable face; he will be truly multifaceted, have many sides, many visages, and be ever shifting and thus ever elusive (and forever dangerous). Like Orwell’s Emmanuel Goldstein, al-Qaeda will turn up here, there, in Eastasia and then Eurasia, one step ahead of the federales and special forces, always poised to attack, especially during times of economic crisis (or when the rich need another tax cut).

Osama had a shelf life, al-Qaeda does not.

Like the Eveready bunny, al-Qaeda will simply keep going and going and…

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent online gallery. He can be reached at:

We highly recommend regular visits to Nimmo’s website, Another Day in the Empire


KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: