Media Lies and Misinformation on Bin Laden – by Stephen Lendman
Corporate media manipulators love a big story they can hype, distort and falsify to attract large audiences, unaware they’re getting managed news, not truth.
Moreover, the bigger the event, the worse the reporting, and no matter how often they’re fooled, madding crowds rely on proved unreliable sources like US cable and broadcast TV, as well as corporate broadsheets and popular magazines publishing rubbish not fit to print.
After Obama’s May day announcement, round-the-clock coverage now features “story one” ad nauseam, cheerleading the death of a dead man with no one allowed on to refute it.
A previous article did, accessed through the following link:
Separating fact from fiction, it explained:
(1) Significant facts from David Ray Griffin’s important book titled, “Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?” In it, he provided objective and testimonial evidence of his December 2001 death, likely from kidney failure, not a special forces hit squad getting their man then or now.
(2) Forensic evidence that post-9/11 videos and audios were fake.
(3) Bin Laden’s role as a CIA asset, as well as called “Enemy Number One,” using him advantageously both ways.
(4) Also, reports of his 2001 hospitalizations in Pakistan and Dubai where (in July) the emirate’s CIA station chief visited him in his hospital room. Why not if he was a valued asset, his likely status until his natural, not violent, death.
Nonetheless, Western politicians and media, notably America’s, never miss a chance to report fiction, not fact, especially on headline news like bin Laden’s death, a decade after it happened.
Examples of Media Misreporting
Several May 2 New York Times articles provide painful reading, including Mark Mazzetti, Helene Cooper and Peter Baker’s headlined, “Behind the Hunt for Bin Laden,” saying:
“For years, the agonizing search for (him) kept coming up empty. Then last July, Pakistanis working for the (CIA) drove up behind a white Suzuki navigating the bustling streets near Peshawar, Pakistan,” and discovered, after checking its license, that it belonged to his “most trusted courier….”
Claiming he lead them to bin Laden’s location, it said:
“79 American commandos in four helicopters descended on (it). Shots rang out….Of the five dead, one was a tall, bearded man with a bloodied face and a bullet in his head.”
Bin Laden’s manhunt ended, said the writers, when he was identified, then quickly buried at sea to hide the evidence, though under English common law most often, no body means no killing or crime. In other words, without proof, prosecutorial allegations are baseless.
Nonetheless, Mazzetti, Cooper and Baker recounted a decade-long fantasy, including detainee interrogations in secret Eastern Europe prisons, widespread surveillance, wiretaps, satellite images and more before tracking bin Laden to a Abbottabad, Pakistan compound and killing him.
No matter that none of it was true and much more. International and constitutional law prohibit sending uninvited military forces to another country for any reason.
Moreover, no one suspected of any crime may be summarily executed with no arrest, no due process, no no judicial fairness, and no trial. Just a bullet, bomb or slit throat, Washington’s version of summary judgment besides torture and imperial wars as official policies.
These topics were ignored in major media reports, focused solely on killing a decade earlier dead man.
On May 2, Times writers Scott Shane and Robert Worth headlined, “Even Before Al Qaeda Lost Its Founder, It May Have Lost Some of Its Allure,” saying:
Bin Laden had “long been removed from managing terrorist operations and whose popularity with Muslims worldwide has plummeted in recent years,” calling him a “violent extremis(t) without saying he was replaced after his 2001 death so, of course, his influenced waned. Out of sight, out of mind, especially when dead.
A May 2 Times editorial headlined, “The Long-Awaited News,” saying:
“The news that (he’d) been tracked and killed by American forces filled us, and all Americans, with a great sense of relief….(but we must) remember that the fight against extremists is far from over.”
Noting years of painstaking “vigilance and persistence,” it praised Obama for “show(ing) that he is a strong and measured leader. His declaration on Sunday night that ‘justice has been done’ was devoid of triumphalism.”
In fact, he affirmed continuity of America’s war on terror – state terror, including four imperial wars and numerous proxy ones, expending enormous sums while popular needs go begging.
Ignoring truth, he repeated lies endorsed shamelessly by America’s media, notably by Times correspondents, op-ed contributors, and editorial writers with comments like:
“Bin Laden’s death is an extraordinary moment for Americans and all who have lost loved ones in horrifying, pointless acts of terrorism.”
Unmentioned was decades of US and Israeli-sponsored state terrorism responsible for millions of deaths, destruction and human suffering. Earlier, noted scholar/activist Eqbal Ahmad (1934 – 1999) called it:
“illegal violence, (including) torture, (attacking and bombing) villages, destruction of entire peoples, (and) genocide,” adding, “Who will define the parameters of terrorism, or decide where terrorists lurk? Why, none other than the United States, (its leading practitioner) which can from the rooftops of the world set out its claim to be the sheriff, judge and hangman, all at one and the same time.”
So while rhetorically supporting equal justice and democratic values, Washington spurns international and constitutional law, using brute force to assert might over right, all the while proclaiming just cause reasons for its actions.
No wonder Ahmad called America “a troubled country,” sowing “poisonous seeds” globally, saying “(s)ome have ripened and others are ripening (with no) examination of (what they’ve) sown,” adding that “(m)issiles won’t solve the problem.” In other words, violence assures more of it, but don’t expect America’s media to explain.
On May 2, Washington Post writers Greg Miller and Joby Warrick headlined, “Bin Laden discovered ‘hiding in plain sight,’ ” recounting the same fantasy as Times writers, saying:
“The commandos swept methodically through (his) compound’s main building, clearing one room and then another” until they got their man. Sounding more like bad fiction, they said the operation was secretly planned for months, culminating with Sunday’s assault, adding bin Laden wasn’t hiding in a cave after all.
A WP editorial headlined, “Possible consequences of the bin Laden coup,” saying:
“There are multiple reasons to celebrate” his death, including loss of Al Qaeda’s leader, the prowess of US intelligence and military, and that the “prime (9/11) author (finally was) brought to justice.”
It brought “a rare moment of common celebration and relief in a divided America. But (it’s) not clear to what degree al-Qaeda’s operations will be affected by the loss of its leader.” It may, in fact, strengthen its resolve. History shows dead militants often inspire followers.
Ignoring illegal operations on foreign soil, it worried most about ending or curtailing them prematurely, no matter the toll in human life and neglect for popular domestic needs. For now, celebratory joy takes precedence, even for false reasons.
A Wall Street Journal editorial headlined “Victory in Abbottabad,” saying:
Killing bin Laden “doesn’t end the war against Islamic terror (note the racism), but it is a crucial and just victory that is rightfully cause for celebration.”
Ignoring daily US war crimes, including killer drones murdering civilians, it railed against “combatants who hide in the world’s dark corners, who rarely fight in the open and who attack innocents far from any conventional battlefield.”
Praising Obama, it called it “a moment to salute George W. Bush….a vindication of (his war on terror, intelligence, and) interrogation policies,” torturing innocent victims to extract false confessions and information about things they know nothing about, including bin Laden’s alleged whereabouts.
His death, said the writer, “is a measure of justice for the thousands he killed (and) a warning to others who would kill Americans that they will meet the same fate, no matter how long it takes or where they try to hide.”
This and other accounts like it, sadly, is what passes for corporate opinion in America, endorsing state terror and vilifying those against it.
Huffington Post contributor Michael Calderone headlined “Network Anchors Head to Ground Zero for Bin Laden Coverage,” saying:
They never miss a chance to misreport major news, including the three broadcast anchors: NBC’s Brian Williams, ABC’s Diane Sawyer, and CBS’ Katie Couric (an entertainer impersonating a newsperson) “host(ing) an expanded, one-hour May 2 edition of their nightly broadcasts from” Ground Zero.
Several cable channels joined them, including CNN and Fox, reporting fiction about a decade earlier dead man.
Time magazine’s cover story featured bin Laden’s full-page image with a pronounced red X crossing him out, highlighting what didn’t happen to the detriment of readers believing inaccurate reporting.
Al Jazeera was just as bad with stories like one headlined, “Obama says world safer without Bin Laden,” saying:
He “claimed responsibility for planning the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington,” providing no corroborating evidence. In fact, in David Ray Griffin’s writings, he said:
“(T)here is no good evidence that bin Laden had planned or even specifically authorized the 9/11 attacks.” Those believing it cite his misinterpreted September 2001 Al Jazeera interview, rejoicing in the attacks but denying knowledge or responsibility.
Griffin said one of his aides confirmed that he had “no information or knowledge about the attack(s)” but he “thanked Almighty Allah and bowed before him when he heard this news.” Days later he told Al Jazeera:
“I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation.”
During two subsequent October 2001 interviews, he praised the “vanguards of Islam (who) destroyed America,” but again admitted no knowledge or responsibility.
Al Jazeera now claiming it is a lie.
BBC aired the same misinformation as did America’s National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting (PBS), calling his death a blow to Al Qaeda. So did Democracy Now, ignoring bin Laden’s decade earlier natural, not violent, death.
Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel also swallowed the big lie, headlining her article, “With Osama bin Laden Dead, It’s Time to End the ‘War on Terror,’ ” that was entirely bogus from inception, saying:
“Today, President Obama and his team have a chance to reset our fight against terrorism,” vanden Heuvel not condemning its lawlessness, America’s imperial wars, a president with no credibility, a falsely reported 9/11 event, and that the only relevant terror is what Washington unleashes globally against nonbelligerent nations.
Instead, she praised Obama’s “humane and sober” position, calling it “a relief to hear in his words reminders of” a brief post-9/11 period before America went to war in Afghanistan, then Iraq, undertakings Nation magazine supported at the time and still stops short of rejecting.
A Final Comment
On May 2, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting’s Peter Hart headlined, “Bush’s Palpable Persistence in Pursuit of bin Laden,” suggesting he stopped looking, knowing he died, quoting him saying in March 2002:
“Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not. We haven’t heard from him in a long time….I don’t know where he is. I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.”
Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen offered more evidence of no interest in pursuing him, saying:
“In July 2006, we learned that the Bush administration closed its unit that had been hunting bin Laden,” reported also by New York Times writer Mark Mazzetti on July 4, saying the CIA ceased all efforts last year pursuing him.
Along with David Ray Griffin’s important work, it’s more proof of bin Laden’s 2001 death, putting a lie to Obama’s announcement and shameless journalists repeating it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.