Politics of assassination: U.S. contempt of the very notion of rule of law

Targeted Assassination of Osama bin Laden

TML Daily, June 9, 2011 – No. 95

ON MAY 1, 2011, the U.S. government announced that U.S. military personnel shot Osama bin Laden, after invading a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. TML Daily tries to provide the facts of events to inform readers but as is always the case when the U.S. imperialists publish their disinformation, the “facts” constantly change to suit a nefarious aim.

At first bin Laden was armed, used his wife as a “human shield” and fired from behind her, resulting in a 40-minute firefight and her death. It was later announced that bin Laden was unarmed, that only one person in the compound was armed and that bin Laden’s wife was alive. However, it was still claimed that the unarmed bin Laden had “resisted” the attack of the 25 heavily armed and armoured Navy Seals, requiring them to immediately execute him. It was also first asserted that bin Laden could have surrendered but this was contradicted by later statements that the mission’s aim was execution and that he was shot at as soon as he “appeared in a doorway.” It is also contradicted by the fact that the Taliban offered to send bin Laden to a third country for trial in October 2001 but the U.S. refused. A claim was made that torture gave the U.S. the information needed to find bin Laden, which was an obvious attempt to justify torture, but this has also been contradicted. Finally, the U.S. claims to have confirmed bin Laden’s identity through DNA testing and disposed of his body at sea “in accord with Muslim tradition.” The identification is disputed, as is the claim that the body was disposed of. In addition, Muslim clerics have stated that the burial at sea was a violation of Islamic tradition.

No matter which version of the story is given or which one believes, or how much the event was celebrated, it was ignominious. It was apparently witnessed by twenty-five participants on location as well as through video feed by President Obama, Hillary Clinton and U.S. military leaders. Despite this, the
 cover-up of what really happened there is not surprising and questions remain about bin Laden’s real connection to the U.S. ruling circles. Bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire, was a U.S. ally and armed by the U.S. when his organization was fighting the Russian army in Afghanistan. The Saudi bin Laden Group, a multinational construction and holding company run by his family, is heavily invested in the Carlyle Group, a global investment firm closely connected to Bush, father and son and to the CIA, and heavily involved in the current suppression of the peoples of the Middle East so as to maintain the status quo in most countries while continuing to target what George W. Bush dubbed “the axis of evil.”

In the case of the assassination of bin Laden, the U.S. government has made it clear that no matter what the “facts,” the execution of the unarmed Bin Laden was supposedly justified as an act of “national self-defense.”

This bogus claim is based on a joint resolution known as the Authorization of the Use of Military Force, passed in Congress in 2001 under George W. Bush, which gave the President authority to use “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harboured such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.” Even so, bin Laden was never formally charged by the U.S. with the September 11 attacks and what is called evidence of his involvement is highly suspect.

The killing of bin Laden is a further example of the U.S. imperialists’ violent “politics of assassination,” where they have given themselves (or their agents) the right to be judge, jury and executioner of any individual or group whom they see as opposing their interests. This is also used by the Mossad and any reactionary regime which gives itself the right to act with impunity. At one time it was used for covert operations for which governments did not take responsibility but has now become official policy. To carry out their assassinations, the U.S. imperialists also give themselves the right to violate the sovereignty of any country, as they did in Pakistan and are now doing in Libya. The U.S. forces were even ordered to fight their way out of Pakistan by armed force if necessary.

This practice was learned from the Hitlerite Nazis who also carried out assassinations on both an individual and a mass basis in any country they chose.

The practice came into common usage under the police of the Czar.

The U.S. politics of assassination has a long history, including the coup d’etat against Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz and the assassinations of Greek Communist leaders, the Phoenix Program during the aggression against Viet Nam, the assassination of Congo leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961, the many attempts to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the murder of Chilean general René Schneider in 1970 in preparation for the Pinochet coup d’etat, ongoing attempts to assassinate Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi and the U.S. drone missile attacks against individuals in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries. The U.S. and its agents have carried out assassinations within the U.S., including of native American leaders such as Crazy Horse and black leaders such as Malcolm X and Black Panther Fred Hampton. In fact, in yet one more manifestation of contempt for the First Nations within the United States itself, the operation to execute bin Laden was code-named Operation Geronimo, indicating that that more than a century later bin Laden was to be given the same treatment as that reserved for Geronimo. No matter what version of the “facts” one is supposed to believe, they underscore the inherent racist, colonialist nature of the U.S. regime.

All of it is supposed to give a rationale to the U.S. foreign policy which is trying to steer the U.S. national interests in ever sharpening contradiction with those of the big powers of old Europe in both Europe and Asia, especially. It is also to “normalize” the use of assassination by others, in particular Israel which has used it against a number of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian resistance leaders and fighters, as well as former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, all with full support of the U.S. as well as Canada. Other countries such as India and Pakistan have used it for decades against all those dubbed terrorists and it was the preferred weapon in the dirty wars conducted in Central and South America during the seventies and eighties.

The essence of this policy of assassination is not to defend national security since arguably it increases the dangers to the security of all through revenge killings, counter-measures, etc. The essence is to never permit a political solution to any problem facing the polity, to never permit the polity itself, either through its institutions or, in the event of their absence, through political institutions and arrangements established by the people, to sort out problems in a manner which upholds rights, rule of law and opens a path to progress.

Sandra Smith, First Secretary of CPC(M-L), points out in TML Daily, November 14, 2002 – No. 179:

“Resorting to politics of assassination is one of the main ways of lowering the standards of human behaviour and subverting the achievements of the peoples of the world. Once targeted assassinations are presented by the big powers and their news agencies as par for the course, nobody is safe. It is unacceptable that the Prime Minister of Canada and all other ministers remain silent in the face of what the United States is doing. The fundamental premise of a rule of law is that the authorities in power cannot and must not make themselves judge, jury and executioner. Clear note should be taken that while ‘targeted assassinations’ are presented in an acceptable light by portraying the victims as ‘deserving’ of such things, the same politics are being put in place at home in the form that all agencies of the state, not just ‘security’ forces, can act with impunity. It shows that while preparations are made to unleash imperialist war abroad, all measures are also being put in place to unleash fascism at home so that the people are not able to mount an effective opposition. It must not pass. Every effort must be made to oppose the criminalization of dissent and make it very clear that it is unacceptable under any conditions and circumstances with no exceptions. It is untenable to accept a definition of rule of law which is in contempt of the very notion of rule of law. This is the field in which the greatest wrecking activity is taking place. The fact that all of it is done in the name of ‘rights,’ ‘peace,’ ‘democracy,’ ‘security’ and even ‘nation-building’ shows just how subversive it is.”

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