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Imperial Justice and Indian Frenzy

Operation Geronimo evoked the most farcical reactions in India. Besides approvingly endorsing US imperial arrogance, the media also began advocating that India should carry out similar surgical operations to kill the likes of Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed hiding in Pakistan.

MARGIN SPEAK

Imperial Justice and Indian Frenzy

Anand Teltumbde

death with sheer imperial arrogance. As for Osama, it was merely American propaganda that he had masterminded the 9/11 attack. America could not provide a shred of evidence to establish his involvement. At best he was a suspect and according to international law deserved a fair trial. But

Operation Geronimo evoked the most farcical reactions in India. Besides approvingly endorsing US imperial arrogance, the media also began advocating that India should carry out similar surgical operations to kill the likes of Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed hiding in Pakistan.

Anand Teltumbde (tanandraj@gmail.com) is a writer and civil rights activist with the Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Mumbai.

Do unto others as you would have them do to you.

– Luke 6:31

I
n the early hours of 2 May, US President Barack Obama announced the killing of Osama bin Laden saying “justice has been done”. The swift 40-minute operation by 79 members of an American counterintelligence and counterterrorism team ended a manhunt that spanned 10 years. It also meant that Obama had fulfilled his election promise. It was code-named “Operation Geronimo”, after the Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the US for encroaching on Apache tribal lands. There were varied reactions to the American operation. Americans were jubilant that their national enemy had been killed; Pakistanis were bewildered about Osama’s presence in their country and angry that the US could openly violate their territorial sovereignty; elsewhere many followed the dominant media in endorsing the killing while a few questioned it seeing the portent of blatant defiance of international norms by the mighty. The most comic reactions however were witnessed in India where there were calls for a similar “surgical” operation against its enemies hiding in Pakistan.

Imperial ‘Justice’

The manner in which the 9/11 incident was used by the US to declare its “war on terror” and Osama was presented as the kingpin who was hunted across Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, ensured that the world took his death for granted. As Obama described it, he was responsible for the killing of thousands of men, women and children and hence deserved to die the way he did. Surprisingly, few people raised their voice against this process of bringing to justice an unarmed man and the four others against whom Obama could not possibly have had any charges. They were done to

june 4, 2011

he was summarily done to death when he could have been easily arrested.

The operation was also carried out in utter violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. The US had the temerity to explain that it deliberately kept Pakistan out of the loop as it did not trust it. Instead of an apology, the US defiantly declared that it would carry out more attacks inside Pakistan. Just three days after Osama was killed, an US attack with remote-control aerial drones killed 15 people in Pakistan and wounded four. As per the CNN’s Islamabad news bureau there were 17 drone attacks killing 44 people in Pakistan’s tribal region. There were 111 strikes in 2010, in which 957 innocent civilians were killed as per the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. A drone attack is a programmed and unmanned aerial vehicle remotely controlled to strike targets supposedly with precision. The targets are reduced to carbonised bodies, and can only be identified through their u nburnt limbs. In such an attack bystanders are flung like dolls and suffer shattered bones and fatal brain injuries. Osama was at least spared this horror by the Seals gunning him down though scores of innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan have not been as fortunate. A handful of US officials have questioned if it is right to use unmanned aerial vehicles against people labelled as “high value target” in faraway Pakistan or Afghanistan.

The US covered its crime with the fig leaf of an argument that it was a war action and not a police action; Obama was a war combatant and not a political leader. The US has a federal law that includes two bodies of code applicable to warfare – Title 10 and Title 50. The former protects US troops from prosecution for murder or manslaughter when they kill an enemy soldier, and the latter relates to definitions of war and espionage, holding the governments responsible for the consequences of armed conflict. Notwithstanding that they are the

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Economic & Political Weekly

internal codes of the US, without any international sanction, many legal luminaries have opined that “Operation Geronimo” was led by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and therefore rated as a Title 50

o peration. In terms of established jurisdiction, the US government has clearly gone too far in playing the role of judge, jury and executioner. All its pretensions about this operation being legal cannot hide its imperial arrogance and injustice.

Who Is the Criminal?

Osama is projected as the mastermind of the series of coordinated suicidal aerial attacks on 11 September 2001. On that morning, 19 Al Qaida terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners and intentionally crashed two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings next door. Both towers collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington DC. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania while some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane from the hijackers, who were to attack either the Capitol Building or the White House. There were no survivors. Nearly 3,000 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. This is the broad story given out for public consumption but no explanation has been given regarding the doubts raised. Whether it is simple energy balance, the engineering details of the structural collapse, chemical analyses of the remains, physical examination or mathematical verifications, the story has miserably failed on each count. As a result, “Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth” (www.ae911truth.org) has systematically exposed the truth behind the incident. While their efforts to identify the people behind these attacks and their motives may not be completed, they have already concluded that the above story is a lie. That the air strike was used as an alibi and that the Twin Towers and the nearby tower basically collapsed due to a controlled explosion, is proved beyond any reasonable doubt. The story of the Pentagon attack has been completely falsified. A three-year independent investigation by South California-based researchers has brought out new evidence which establishes that the violence in Arlington was not the result of a surprise attack by suicide hijackers. It was a military-backed operation involving a carefully planned and skilfully executed deception (http://www.freedomfiles.org/war/pentagon.htm). The poor souls who gave their lives in a jihad against America were trained in the US and protected by the US military and Geroge Bush; they were mind-controlled patsies used by the military industrial complex to put on a show for them. Interestingly, there were no Arabs listed on the Manifest and all four crashed flights had 20% occupancy.

All the evidence and analyses show that the entire 9/11 episode was an intricately concocted lie to accomplish some strategic objectives. One may not ever get to know what these objectives were, how they were accomplished, by whom and when, but one thing is clear: Osama bin Laden could not have been the mastermind behind it. He only came in handy as a character constructed entirely by the US agencies to anchor the lie. The making of Osama as a terrorist or the construction of Jehadi-Islam by the US goes back to the 1980s and is fairly well-documented. When the Soviet forces occupied Afghanistan, the US skilfully converted the Afghan peoples’ resistance into a theocratic-terrorist movement. Osama was deputed by the CIA to Afghanistan to finance and oversee the resistance to the Soviets. How the US and the CIA created Osama and his network has been well-documented in the book Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid, published by the Yale University Press. Indeed, there is lot of weight in the thesis that the modern Jehadi-Islam is a by-product of intrigues

MARGIN SPEAK

by the west to keep the Islamic world under its suzerainty, devoid of any kind of democratic processes and also to use it as a whipping boy occasionally whenever attention needs to be diverted from issues raised by anti-globalisation campaigners. Osama fitted into the scheme of 9/11 perfectly. His own admissions should not count as they served him well in his natural evolution into an anti-US zealot. Thus the entire onus of not only 9/11 but also the thousands of deaths that followed thereafter shifts away from Osama.

Farcical Indian Reaction

“Operation Geronimo” evoked the most farcical reactions in India. Besides approving the imperial arrogance, the media created a nationalist hysteria that the US should d eclare Pakistan a terrorist state; and that I ndia should carry out similar surgical operations to kill the likes of Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed, hiding in Pakistan. If one went by the TV shows, there seemed to be a complete consensus among the neo-liberal generation assembled there. There were no qualms about the right or wrong or even a consideration of consequences. Once more, it seemed that the dangerous fusion of H indu nationalism with neo-liberalism had completely swamped sanity. It culminated in a faux pas by our army general V K Singh who said that the military was capable of carrying out such an attack if it was mandated. The frenzy came to an abrupt stop with Pakistan’s threat of dire consequences if any such misadventure was attempted. The issue is not whether India would actually execute such attacks, it is that the I ndian elites should even think of it; and want India to be a regional bully, in complete disdain of the needs of a vast majority of their fellow citizens.

Economic & Political Weekly EPW june 4, 2011 vol xlvi no 23

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