Messages from beyond the grave

Gol-dang, if that Osama isn’t the most talkative spook or the most animated corpse you’ve ever seen. Now that everyone is talking about his death (thank you, Beni!), he has to pipe up via audiotape and claim that the rumors of his demise are premature…

Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida’s latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida’s Iraq branch on the run.

The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan’s government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday. That suggested the tape was made before the assassination.

Or by someone who isn’t in fact Osama.

This is hardly the first time we’ve seen an impostor being fobbed off as him. Or heard one, come to that. Apparently, since we aren’t overly familiar with his voice (are you? I’m not), and all Arabic-speakers are supposed to sound alike to our western ears, we are meant to take it on faith that if a Pentagon “expert” says it’s him, it must be him. Never mind that the Pentagon has had a problem with Arabic translations, since it refuses to let perfectly qualified gay people do the job even in the face of an acute shortage.

So…how are we to know if this latest “Osama” is, in fact, the real Osama? Or, come to that, if any of the rest of them were?

We aren’t meant to. We are meant to simply accept the explanation we are given. Such as that the tape was made before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The possibility that it’s a fake isn’t even being entertained. Why? Because we’re also supposed to take the Pakistani dictator government’s word for it that al-Q and the Taliban are responsible for her death.

And of course, we are not to pay any attention to all those little men from the CIA and the Pakistani ISI behind the curtain.

What we are meant to believe is that the war in Iraq is going better than it is. It must be going better, else why would Osama pipe up so conveniently just now to buck up the insurgents? Remember, the Pentagon says that al-Q is on the retreat in Iraq. And why would the Pentagon lie?

So here we are, seeing them kill two birds with one stone–the rumor of Osama’s early demise, and that of BushCo’s MessO’Potamia having turned into an irrevocable clusterfuck, right along with BushCo’s Pakistan. The fact that there was no al-Q in Iraq before the Coalition of the Killing invaded is being conveniently left out of this narrative, along with Goddess only knows how many other salient facts. Instead, we’re getting crapaganda like this:

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said bin Laden’s tape shows that al-Qaida’s aim is to block democracy and freedom for all Iraqis.

“It also reminds us that the mission to defeat al-Qaida in Iraq is critically important and must succeed,” Fratto said. “The Iraqi people — every day, and in increasing numbers — are choosing freedom and standing against the murderous, hateful ideology of AQI. And we stand with them.”

Several hours before the tape was issued, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said al-Qaida was becoming increasingly fearful of losing the support of Sunni Arabs and had begun targeting the leaders of the Awakening Councils.

Petraeus said al-Qaida attaches “enormous importance” to “these tribes that have turned against them, and to the general sense that Sunni Arab communities have rejected them more and more around Iraq.”

“They are trying to counter this and they have done so by attacking them,” which is increasingly turning Sunnis against al-Qaida, he said.

Never mind that the majority of Iraqis, Sunni or otherwise, were never for al-Q (remember, it was never in their country before the invasion.) The anti-coalition sentiment in Iraq is not due to any agitation on the part of al-Q or other terrorists, but is simply the Iraqis fighting back against an unwelcome foreign presence which is there to take their oil, override their elected officials, and open the country to big foreign businesses while closing off all prospects for Iraqi self-determination–politically, economically, you name it.

The idea that Iraqis would welcome the US-dominated coalition as liberators was ludicrous from the moment it crossed Rummy’s shrivelled lips. Never mind Saddam’s evils, whether real or imaginary. Even he was better than the “freedom” the disaster-capitalists were hell-bent on ramming through over the objections of the Iraqis themselves. For that “freedom” was not meant for Iraqis, not ever for them–it was only for the big business moguls, particularly those of the mercenary-industrial complex. Ordinary Iraqis weren’t being invited to rebuild the country the US had so thoughtfully broken. They were basically told to go fuck themselves while foreign contractors came to do the job–poorly and at great expense.

This is why we have to treat with extreme skepticism anything we hear from the current squatters in the White House (and their hand-picked lackeys at the Pentagon). They lied to us all along; why stop now?

And I doubt very much we’re hearing the truth about the murder of Benazir Bhutto from them, either. Already the cause of her death has changed so many times, and with no autopsy (and no photos), there is no way to verify anything. One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that there is no way in hell that I would believe she could have bumped her head so hard ducking inside her vehicle as to fracture her own skull. Or, come to that, leave bullet wounds in it:

Pakistan People’s Party Information Secretary Sherry Rehman said on Saturday that she saw a bullet wound in Benazir’s head when she bathed her body after her assassination, AFP reported.

She said that she was in the former premier’s motorcade at the time of the gun and suicide attack and rejected government claims that the death was caused when Benazir’s head hit her sunroof.

"I was actually part of the party which bathed her body before the funeral," she said, adding that her car was used to transport Benazir to hospital. "There was a bullet wound I saw that went in from the back of her head and came out the other side. We could not even wash her properly because the wound was still seeping. She lost a huge amount of blood," Sherry explained.

Cover-up: Sherry accused the government of mounting a cover-up over Benazir’s death. "The hospital was made to change its statement. They never gave a proper report," she said. "I believe the Interior Ministry is saying that she died from some concussion that may have taken place against the sunroof. This is ridiculous, dangerous nonsense because it is a cover-up of what actually happened," she added. She said the government had denied Benazir the security measures she had been asking for, Reuters adds.

Once again, the finger of blame points back at Musharraf. No surprises there; Pakistanis of all walks refuse to believe he is blameless.

I think they would also do well to keep their eyes on his puppet-masters in Washington. Get a load of this latest bit of weirdness from the State Dept.:

It was a decidedly odd moment. On Thursday, within hours of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters in Washington that his boss, Condoleezza Rice, had quickly made two calls. One was to Bhutto’s bereaved husband, Asif Ali Zardari. Rice’s other call, Casey said, was to the man he called Bhutto’s “successor,” Amin Fahim, the vice chairman of her Pakistan Peoples Party. Casey couldn’t even quite master this obscure politician’s name, but he said, “I’ll leave it up to Mr. Amin Fahir—Fahim—as the new head of the Pakistan People’s Party to determine how that party is going to participate in the electoral process.”

The problem is, nobody but the State Department—especially not the political elites in Pakistan, even those within Bhutto’s own party—sees Fahim in such a role, and certainly not so soon. Critics suggest that the administration is so eager to graft legitimacy onto President Pervez Musharraf, its ever-more-unpopular ally in the war on terror, that it is pressing too hard to move past Bhutto and continue with scheduled Jan. 8 parliamentary elections, even though riots are paralyzing the country. “They’re trying to rush everything. This is a disaster,” says Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Depratment official and current scholar at the Middle East Institute. “This is now our new game plan: We’re working out a deal between Fahim and Musharraf after the election. They mention Fahim because they don’t know any better. The fact is, she [Bhutto] didn’t trust him.”

Pakistani political experts tend to agree with Weinbaum. Although Fahim was sitting next to Bhutto in her SU
V when she died, “he’s not the successor,” says Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani diplomat and scholar who was very close to Bhutto and knows many within the party. “He’s respected. He has a constituency. But he’s not a charismatic figure” like Bhutto. In fact, given the dynastic politics of Pakistan, the person who succeeds her is far more likely to be her husband, Zardari, the former Karachi playboy and polo star who is widely blamed for the tangle of corruption that strangled and cut short Bhutto’s two terms in office. (Zardari was labeled “Mr. 10 Percent” in the Pakistani press because of the commissions and kickbacks he allegedly demanded from contractors doing business with the Pakistani government.) A long shot PPP candidate to succeed Bhutto might be Aitzaz Ahsan, who personally engineered the reinstatement of sacked Supreme Court Chief Justice Chaudhry earlier this year. Ahsan, however, was known to have broken with Bhutto over her decision to hold tentative talks with Musharraf about a coalition government and is considered to have too little support inside the party.

With emotions still so raw, no one knows whether anyone can even begin to fill the void that Bhutto left behind. Casey told Newsweek Friday that he had misspoken on Thursday when he named Fahim as Bhutto’s successor. “That’s my mistake,” Casey said. “That’s technically inaccurate. He is the nominal interim head of the party. But God knows it may not be, in the end, a single person. There isn’t a single one who stands out right now. My own personal thought on this is they may end up with something like India’s Congress Party, where Sonia Gandhi is head of [the] party but doesn’t lead the ticket.” Casey added, “U.S. policy isn’t to anoint candidates or pick leaders for Pakistan.”

No? Well, you could have fooled me. They certainly have their pugmarks all over not only the current so-called president, but also the “successor” that Bhutto certainly would never have picked.

Séances at the Pentagon. Bizarre prognostications from the State Dept. Jeezus, what next? Will the ghost of Ronnie Ray-Gun start sending messages by way of his old astrologer?

At this rate, my trusty Ouija board could soon become obsolete.

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