Five Oscar Nominations!?!?!?! They don’t even have a category for cardboard actors speaking cartoonish lampoon stereotyped lines.
OK, I went to see Zero Dark Thirty at Canal Place last night. I had not expected to be impressed but I had not expected such a completely mangy dog of a movie could have gotten such glowing reviews. Oh well, I should have remembered—it’s hard to tell a lie that is so incoherent you almost laugh while telling it with a straight face, much less with an extremely long two hour movie. NO character development, NO realistic dialog, NO insight, nothing. I felt I had to give the movie a chance, but basically…..if the American people really believe this story, so devoid of factual plausibility and with NO new details of any kind (and a lot of the same details, such as how they identified Osama bin Laden’s body, completely omitted), well…..the American people deserve the government they’ve got I guess. “Nobody EVER went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public” as P.T. Barnum is alleged to have said….
I would not rate Zero Dark Thirty a C-. It was all lies and propaganda designed to bolster the government’s completely unbelievable story. Reviews in the New Yorker and New York Times describe it as tense and suspenseful—they either saw a different movie or they were playing propagandistic caricature roles themselves—I suspect the latter. EVERYTHING I would have written about Zero Dark Thirty (aside from my criticisms of the acting, scriptwriting, continuity, total lack of plot integration–the superficially similar Ben Afleck movie—Argo—was a real masterpiece in all those departments) has to do with my complete disbelief of the government lies. So I will refer my readers simply to a different source: “Zero Dark Thirty”: The deeper, darker truths | Veterans Today. I have often referred to my extremely educational but all too brief association and involvement with the 9-11 investigative and study group that met near my flat on Denman near Stanley Park in the west end of Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2007, but they have without any doubt one of the finest organizations anywhere, a far larger attendance, for whatever reason, than you can get in Los Angeles on the same topics—and they recently produced a true masterpiece which should be required reading in every American High School, College, and Sunday School: 911 Vancouver Hearings.
Of course the media has been full of a totally off-target debate and discussion concerning this effectively content-free movie. The “public controversy” of Zero Dark Thirty is itself a just another major distraction: “Was torture effective in obtaining information leading to Bin Laden’s Death?” This issue is now being manically revisited everywhere from the floor of the United States Senate to horribly dull pre-Oscar parties all over Southern California. But this debate is intended to draw attention away from the complete lack of plot continuity or explanatory power in the government story or the movie. The plot is RIDICULOUS and the images of torture are so sanitized as to shock absolutely nobody. I have personally witnessed worse treatment of prisoners in Williamson County, Texas, and in fact all over California, Florida, Texas and Oklahoma than was shown on the screen in Zero Dark Thirty. None of the prisoners in the movie were bleeding or bruised even, none were drugged, none appeared to have been genuinely broken—but these things DO happen in the jails and detention centers of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave…..EVERY DAY.
Still, I don’t know—was torture ever effective in revealing the truth? Did torture help fanatically dogged CIA agents to find and corner Osama bin Laden (finally!) in May of 2011 so that Obama could take credit and thereby advance the confusing similarity between his two names (Hussein Obama) and the Bush administration’s intentionally selected “great enemies” for the first decade of the 21st century: Saddam Hussein and Osama. (I was always fond of the bumper stickers and campaign slogans: Hail to the de facto 44th President: “Obama’s been Lyin'”).
Perhaps we should convene a seance and ask the spirit of my dear old Harvard condiscipula, the late great Benazir (“B.B.” or “Pinkie” Bhutto…whom I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know even though she was technically several years ahead of me in school and was returning from Oxford when I knew her. The history was that we met when she effectively saved my pet coatimundi’s life and even played with us around Harvard Yard and North Yard and Law Yard after “Theresa” bit “Pinkie’s” bodyguard and the Pakistani ambassador in a single episode on Everett Street where I used to live….international incident avoided by fairly massive girl-power, I guess you’d say…).
As a result, I came to believe that Benazir Bhutto was one of the foremost leaders of the modern Islamic world, and I think it’s very significant that she (either inadvertently or purposely) on November 2, 2007, told David Frost (or someone very much like him) that Bin Laden had died in December 2001, and been buried just after Christmas that year….. But Pinkie was not the only one who believed that Osama was dead, as a matter of fact, only the Bush-Cheney propaganda machine kept him alive (for Obama’s ultimate benefit). Here is the reality of the situation: There are a few reports from around the world that I found that indicated that Osama bin-Laden had indeed died when Pinkie Bhutto said he died. Omar Sheikh has been in Pakistani police custody since February 2002 for the murder of Daniel Pearl.
However, some other reports, which seem to make some sense, indicated that Osama bin-Laden died in December 2001. An Egyptian newspaper called al-Wafd published the following article (Volume 15 No 4633) on December 26th, 2001:
A prominent official in the Afghan Taleban movement announced yesterday the death of Osama bin Laden, the chief of al-Qa’da organization, stating that binLaden suffered serious complications in the lungs and died a natural and quiet death. The official, who asked to remain anonymous, stated to The Observer of Pakistan that he had himself attended the funeral of bin Laden and saw his face prior to burial in Tora Bora 10 days ago. He mentioned that 30 of al-Qa’da fighters attended the burial as well as members of his family and some friends from the Taleban. In the farewell ceremony to his final rest guns were fired in the air. The official stated that it is difficult to pinpoint the burial location of bin Laden because according to the Wahhabi tradition no mark is left by the grave. He stressed that it is unlikely that the American forces would ever uncover any traces of bin Laden.
If the funeral took place 10 days before this article was published in al-Wafd and The Observer of Pakistan, this would put the death of Osama bin-Laden around the 16th or 17th of December 2001. Israeli intelligence officials also told reporters in October 2002 that they and United States officials believe that Osama bin-Laden had been killed in December 2001.
If you look at a timeline of events involving Osama bin-Laden, ignoring the questionable videotapes, there is a noticeable shift in the type of communication Osama bin-Laden has with the world and the rhetoric used by Bush Administration and Pakistani officials in regards to the threat Osama bin-Laden poses starting in the middle of December 2001. Some highlights:
September 15, 2001 – President Bush said of bin-Laden, “If he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken.”
September 17, 2001 – President Bush proclaimed loudly and vigorously (and as about as articulately as he ever got), “I want justice. And there’s an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’”
November 7, 2001 – Pakistani reporter Hamid Mir interviewed Osama bin-Laden in person.
November 16, 2001 – Battle of Tora Bora began.
November 25, 2001 – Osama bin-Laden gave his last known public speech to his followers in Milawa, Afghanistan, a village located on the route from Tora Bora to the Pakistani border.
November 28, 2001 – Osama bin-Laden reportedly escaped from Tora Bora.
December 15, 2001 - Osama bin-Laden’s (authenticated) voice was reportedly intercepted for the last time communicating with his fighters in Tora Bora via his shortwave radio.
December 17, 2001 – US Intelligence and Pentagon officials admitted that they had “lost Osama bin-Laden.”
December 17, 2001 - United States declared victory at Tora Bora
December 26, 2001 – An article about Osama bin-Laden’s funeral was published in Pakistan and Egypt. The funeral allegedly had taken place about 10 days earlier. The article was also discussed by Fox News.
December 28, 2001 – President Bush said (for the first time), “Our objective is more than bin-Laden”
January 18, 2002 – Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf told CNN that he believes Osama bin-Laden to be dead
January 27, 2002 – Vice President Dick Cheney said that Osama bin-Laden “isn’t that big of a threat. Bin Laden connected to this worldwide organization of terror is a threat.”
January 27, 2002 – White House Chief of Staff Andy Card told CNN, “”I do not know for a fact that he’s alive. I happen to believe he’s probably alive… Our overall objective is to defeat terrorism, wherever it is around the world. And so, our objective is not to get Osama bin Laden.”
January 29, 2002 – President Bush delivered his first State of the Union address since 9/11. While he labels Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the “axis of evil”, he fails to mention Osama bin-Laden at all.
March 13, 2002 – President Bush said, “Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he’s alive at all… He’s a person who’s now been marginalized.… I just don’t spend that much time on him.… I truly am not that concerned about him.”
April 4, 2002 – Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers said, “The goal has never been to get bin-Laden”
October 14, 2002 – President Bush said, “I don’t know whether bin-Laden is alive or dead”
October 16, 2002 – Middle East Newsline reported that Israeli Intelligence officials confirmed that Israel and the United States both believed Osama bin-Laden was killed in mid-December 2001 during the Tora Bora bombing campaign.
This timeline, with Osama bin-Laden’s death allegedly occurring in the middle of December 2001, makes it possible that Omar Sheikh could have committed the murder. From October 2001 through January 19, 2002, Omar Sheikh was living openly in his home in Lahore, Pakistan. His positions as leader of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (a Taliban and Osama bin-Laden partner) and ISI agent (the source of funds for Harkat-ul-Mujahideen) would also have given him means for access to Osama bin-Laden.
While it was disturbing that Benazir Bhutto may have revealed that our government has been (and continues to be) lying to us about Osama The Big Bad Wolf, his life, death, now only awaiting his resurrection, the revelation that his supposed killer was Omar Sheikh raises even more questions than the obvious ‘Who the hell was making and releasing all those Osama bin-Laden videos and for what purpose?’.
Here are some interesting facts:
- Daniel Pearl was investigating, among other things, connections between the Pakistani ISI and terrorist groups when he was kidnapped and killed.
- On February 5, 2002, before Daniel Pearl’s body was found, Omar Sheikh turned himself in to ISI officials. ISI kept Omar Sheikh (one of their agents) in custody for a week before turning him over to Pakistani police. What happened during that week is unknown as Omar Sheikh wouldn’t discuss the details fearing his family will be killed.
- The trial of Omar Sheikh in Pakistan, the result of which was a death sentence, was held entirely in secret and with questionable evidence. According to The Guardian, both US officials and Marianne Pearl (Daniel Pearl’s wife) have concluded that Omar Sheikh is not guilty.
- Before Omar Sheikh’s trial had concluded, Pervez Musharraf publicly declared that he wanted the trial to result in a death sentence, leading many to believe he effectively ordered the courts to render that verdict.
- Condoleeza Rice and Alberto Gonzales told Marianne Pearl (Daniel Pearl’s wife) that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad confessed to the murder of Daniel Pearl. Daniel Pearl’s family and former CIA investigators doubt that the confession, received only after Mohammad was tortured, is true.
- Khalid Sheikh Mohammad is the so-called “9/11 mastermind” whose identity was supposedly provided by the interrogations of Abu Zubayda and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The tapes of these interrogations were the ones famously destroyed by the CIA in 2005.
- On October 7, 2001 General Mahmood Ahmad was replaced as the head of the ISI at the request of the United States due to numerous reports that he had ordered Omar Sheikh to transfer $100,000 to Mohammad Atta before 9/11.
- ISI director General Mahmood Ahmad was in the United States during 9/11. In the days preceding the attacks, he met with CIA director George Tenet and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Mark Grossman. During the attacks, we was meeting with Senator Bob Graham and Representative Porter Goss (who will take over as CIA director after George Tenet leaves). After the attacks, Graham and Goss will co-head the House-Senate investigation into the 9/11 attacks.
- The previous time the director of the ISI, Ziauddin Butt, came to the United States was a few days before Pervez Musharraf took over control of Pakistan in a 1999 military coup (Benazir’s Zulfikar was assassinated and his government overthrown a full two decades earlier in 1979, derailing modernization in Pakistan at exactly the same time as the Islamic Revolution in Iran did the same to the Shah’s ambitious programs of Westernization. Coincidence????
- General Mahmood Ahmad received his position as the director of the ISI after helping dictator Pervez Musharraf claim power.
- Benazir Bhutto said that a “key figure in security” (ISI?) would be on the list of people who would want her dead.
- The ISI has been in existence since the 1980’s due to the financing of the CIA and according to The Guardian “it has long been established that the ISI has acted as go-between in intelligence operations on behalf of the CIA.”
I don’t really know what to make of these facts and don’t even know if all of them are now or ever were relevant. But I do have some questions to which I for one demand (if not answers then at least) serious discussion:
- Is it possible that Daniel Pearl had found out that Osama bin-Laden had been killed during the course of his investigation, leading him to be kidnapped one month after the alleged murder?
- If Omar Sheikh did kill Osama bin-Laden, could that explain why he was falsely accused and convicted of the murder of Daniel Pearl? (Another movie was made to promote this fraud). To shut him up? Is he still alive, as believed, because of his ties to Pakistan’s ISI?
- (One uncomfortable question) How much do CIA and Bush Administration officials know about the murder of Daniel Pearl? Did they have an interest in the silence of both Daniel Pearl and Omar Sheikh? Why hasn’t the Bush Administration demanded that Pervez Musharraf allow the United States to question Omar Sheikh, since he was still alive and in their custody?
- (Some much more uncomfortable questions, damning in fact): How deep and how sinister was the alliance of the Bush government and the Musharraf government? How interconnected were (are?) the ISI and CIA and could the ISI have assisted Osama bin-Laden, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, and the Taliban without the knowledge of the CIA?
- (But above all else:) Did the Bush CIA want Benazir Bhutto gone? Pinkie was useless to the Bush Administration—she was not playing her role to justify interventionism and imperial expansion. Benazir Bhutto presented the west with the totally wrong image for Pakistan (from the Bush administration’s imperial perspective)—she was so lively, so articulate in English, so completely modern, such an uncompromising advocate for the sovereignty of her homeland.
- Why did the Bush Administration want us to think Osama bin-Laden was still alive? How did they personally benefit from this deception more than they would benefit by publicly taking credit for catching Osama bin-Laden? I think they were saving a moment of glory for Barack Hussein Obama, their hand-picked stealth-bomb of a successor (who looked so different, he was the obvious choice to continue all the same policies…it’s called “hiding in plain sight”)
I understand how some people might think or feel that Benazir Bhutto’s statement in November 2007 was largely uncorroborated and might not be immediately believable or subject to unquestioning acceptance. But what was her motive to lie? I can imagine none. The lively woman I once knew who liked to hang around the Peabody and Semitic Museums on Divinity Avenue, play with my coatimundi, hop on the train and go to New York every other weekend, and drink café au lait by the gallon in Harvard Square was by then the Prime Minister of Pakistan twice. She was a glorious symbol of Islam in the modern world—a fearless female leader against both the reactionary Imams and the invading oil companies.
And given her position and family heritage, she was unquestionably privy to more information than any reporter, especially reporters working for the American press. Also, it’s the word of a dead heroine of genuine, civilized, modernization and progress in the Islamic world against those of the hopelessly corrupt and discredited Bush Administration, the CIA, Pervez Musharraf’s government, and the American and British mainstream press. Who was more deserving of our trust in 2007? Who is more deserving now? Let’s have that seance….