Thursday, May 03, 2012


Gareth Porter has a very interesting and largely persuasive piece on TruthOut arguing that by the time the Americans caught up to Bin Laden (with help from Pakistani intelligence) he had no operational role in Al Qaeda and in fact had been forced into exile by his underlings:

But Porter is misleading when he gives the impression the mainstream media fell hook, line and sinker for administration hype about Bin Laden's supposedly active role in Al Qaeda at the time he died. This was what I wrote in a  column looking at the nature of the continuing threat days after Bin Laden was deep-sixed:

      Unfortunately, those who follow the terrorist threat most closely don’t think bin Laden’s death will have reduced it much, if at all. “It’s good that we got him,” a senior law enforcement official told me the morning the news broke. “Until we did this, we appeared weak and anemic. But when it comes to terrorism, I don’t think it makes a difference whether he’s alive or not. He wasn’t responsible for Marrakesh. He wasn’t responsible for the guys picked up in Germany on Friday,” the official said, referring to the bombing at a favorite tourist destination in Morocco that killed 16 people last week and the arrest of three men in Germany for allegedly plotting to bomb targets there.

     Whatever plans bin Laden laid in his Pakistani bedroom, so many al Qaeda sub-groups have sprung up with vicious and ambitious leaders out to prove that they can kill Westerners, too, that the man to whom many supposedly pledged allegiance in fact exercised little or no control over them. The wannabe bin Ladens have already shown they’ll take any shot they can get. They’ve even claimed credit for close calls that failed. As Robert Fisk wrote earlier this week in The Independent, the al Qaeda “movement has no ‘leadership’ as such, bin Laden being the founder rather than the boss.” In the end, he had become no more nor less than a symbol himself.

    “Those inspired by bin Laden,” says the senior law enforcement official, “don’t see a difference between where he is now”—a corpse reportedly buried at sea—“and where he was a few days ago” hidden away from the world in Pakistan.
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