The Obama administration is blaming the “fog of war” for confusion around the actual events in Abbottabad that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, but its record of obfuscation and deception makes it easy to see other agendas at work.

As Crikey showed yesterday, narratives around bin Laden’s willingness to use others as a human shield, and the importance of intelligence gained from the appalling human rights black hole that is Guantanamo Bay, were suspect even as they were being promoted by administration sources and eager spruikers in the US and foreign media. Both are now discredited.

And both were wholly unnecessary. It serves no purpose to further demonise a man who is already hated across much of the world, and whose terrorist organisation, to the extent that it remains a viable network, looks increasingly irrelevant as young Arab men and women seize their own futures in cities across the Middle East, futures bound up with greater liberty and freedom and not the fantasies of religious fundamentalism. The issue of how bin Laden was eventually located is one that should lie at the heart of the relations of the United States, and its western allies, with Pakistan, where bin Laden has been sheltered and hidden for much of the last decade.

Instead, the impression is left of an administration for whom, as for its predecessor, misleading propaganda is a core component of everything it says. Worse, the media, both in the United States and elsewhere, appears unwilling or unable to filter for this inbuilt bias toward deception.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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