It is pretty clear now that the US didn’t even try to arrest Osama Bin Laden. Israeli-style targeted assassination has now, it seems, become acceptable. This, plus the initial lies about what took place, and the over-the-top celebrating, is actually a sign of American weakness. A more confident US would have brought him to trial in the Hague, though I gather there is no evidence to link him to the organisation of the attack on the Twin Towers.
I find it hard to believe the recent claim that he was still organising Al Qaeda operations, it feels like a cover story to keep up the pretence of a big coup. The truth is that his following in the Arab world was already much diminished and the Arab spring has shown that his ideas have little salience. Good could come out of this rather sorry event if it gave the US the confidence to negotiate some kind of settlement with the Taliban and speed up their withdrawal from Afghanistan. The purpose of the invasion of Afghanistan was to deny Al Qaeda a base there. This was achieved long ago. The Taliban are cruel fundamentalists but they never were involved in operations outside Afghanistan.
The big truth that underlines all of this is that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are a blowback from US policy of a close alliance with Saudi Arabia – the source of the ugly hate filled Wahhabi version of Islam – and the policy of using Saudis to incite an Islamist uprising against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Almost all the men involved in the attacks on 9/11 were Saudis and Osama bin Laden was a Saudi.
Easter in East Germany
I went to Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig over Easter. It made me realise how quickly history can move under our feet. And secondly what a rough time the East German people have had – first world war, thirties depression, Hitler, second world war and its’ aftermath then East Germany, the Stasi and the Wall. They seem to be doing pretty well now and very fond of their gardens. Someone said to me that in the past they all hated the government but helped each other out. Now they can travel and fix up their houses but aren’t as close to each other. The same person said that they dismissed what they were taught about capitalism under the previous regime as propaganda but now they realise some of it was true.
The other realisation was that the bombing of Dresden in 1945 which killed 28,00 people in three days and was entirely targeted at the centre of a beautiful old city full of refugees, was in today’s terms a warcrime.
Figures from OCHA and the Israeli Hydrological Service show that Palestinians are limited
to 17% of the water under the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip even though 80% of the rain that recharges the shared groundwater falls over the West Bank.
Global opium production increased 80% from 1998- 2009 and the international market for drugs is now worth $320 billion ( £199 billion) a year according to Mr Fedotov the new Executive Director of The UN Office on Drugs and Crime which enforces the 1961 UN Convention.
If only governments had the guts to review this policy and learn the lessons of prohibition in the US, we could massively reduce crime, the destabilisation of some parts of the world and probably drug addiction as the pushers lost the chance of creating new addicts.
Children’s mobile phones
97% of British children over the age of 11 have a mobile phone and 1 billion people in the world are severely malnourished