Monday, November 17, 2008

Is Capturing bin Laden Another Bush Lie?

Twice in the past six months, America has been shown that Osama bin Laden was in sight of Allied forces and twice George Bush directed troops in the field to back off, effectively letting him escape.

The first telling was Kill bin Laden by “Dalton Fury,” the pen name of a former Delta force officer who is forbidden from writing about operations using his real name. Fury led an elite Delta Force unit into Afghanistan with the sole mission of finding bin laden and killing him. But he points out repeatedly there was interference from Washington, cancelling missions including one where Fury’s company came within a few meters of actually capturing or killing bin Laden. One of his commandos with a night vision scope sat watching bin Laden make his way through a mountain pass from Afghanistan into Pakistan while Washington ordered “Don’t shoot!”

Now, a new French documentary shows that French soldiers trapped and arrested bin Ladin but Washington ordered the French to release him. Bin Laden, The Failings Of A Manhunt by Emmanuel Razavi and Eric de Lavarene confirms claims of French soldiers on the ground that they could have killed bin Laden during two different operations but American forces prevented them from doing so.

As he’s moving out of The White House, someone ought to tap George Bush on the shoulder and ask him why.

Kabul’s independent secular daily newspaper Hasht-e Sobh reported on Sept. 29 that the documentary shows how the Americans are interested in continuing the bloody and expensive game whose victims are only the unprotected and local people of Afghanistan. Rumours in Kabul spread about this film last year but it has not been taken seriously by the media. A translation of the article shows up on the US Government Open Source website and was cited by Juan Cole (

Even though French soldiers insist on the truth of the story, both the Elysees Palace and The White House rejected their account. Afghan leaders in Kabul say they has no information about either the operation or official interference.

Yet according to Hasht-e Sobh, the film raises a number of disturbing questions that US meda have yet to raise:
• If bin Laden was allowed twice to escape capture by Washington, why is the US still fighting in Afghanistan.
• If America’s target in Afghanistan isn’t bin Laden, then who is the US target?
• What is America searching for in Afghanistan and why are they looking for whatever it is?
• The Western media remained silent before the report of the Osama Bin-Ladin arrest by French soldiers, reducing a known fact to rumour by not noting the report.

Hasht-e Sobh reminds readers that politicians in Kabul try forgetting such news, and they give similar advice to locals. Yet the newspaper points out that, “Forgetting and ignoring such facts is possible but how can we forget and ignore the bombs exploding next to our houses every day?”

It’s pretty hard to win the hearts and minds of an indiginous people when America’s stated reason for invading Afghanistan may be shaping up to be one more big lie.