163 thoughts on “The Best Writing on Bin Laden’s Death

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  • evgueni

    Dreolin, Clark
    I admit there is a catch-22, chicken-and-egg problem here. All the evidence shows that the more responsibility is available to people, the more they strive to inform themselves (e.g. the Swiss are the best informed with the most newspapers published in relation to the population). By contrast in a society like ours the most civic responsibility the majority of us will ever have is if we get selected for jury service. Consequently there are no meaningful consequences of our ignorance and so we can afford to be flippant with our opinions, or lose interest in politics altogether and seek instead only entertainment.
    .
    But maybe we could start somewhere small and build on that. I am inclined to think that the less autocratic a society the less scope for violent change – simply because there are other options open. These other options (elections, courts, business..) result in better material conditions for the majority. When people are sufficiently well-off to aspire to live a ‘normal’ life i.e. support a family they are unlikely to jeopardise those aspirations and will invariably prefer to avoid violent conflict.
    .
    So I think our best hope of change is something other than violent protest. A protest by some new and non-violent means. I wonder if the age of the internet is handing us the tools now for finishing off the indoctrination machines – the BBC, SKY, The Times, The Guardian and so on. The initial capital outlay for an internet-only news network is a small fraction of what it used to cost to start a newspaper. The Google advertising model is compatible with such a start-up. Additional funding from donations ought to be possible. Charitable foundations can be another source of funding. If such an enterprise is successful, launching a printed edition can be contemplated next, or an internet-based TV channel. The difficult part would be to legitimise such an institution in the eyes of the majority, and for this it would have to be truly different from all the others that are seen either as MSM, or as ‘small voices’ that can be plausibly dismissed by the MSM as having hidden agendas of their own. Hence the idea of a democratically elected editorial board.

  • mark_golding

    Evgueni – My understanding of sensationalism is exaggeration. I have called Tony Blair ‘a war criminal’ which to me is no exaggeration. Here lies a problem because as you so rightly say it is all down to belief – what we as individuals believe in. I may be biased as I have worked in the aftermath of war although many others visualise the destruction while others stay nihilistic. As I see it too many believed in quite simply ‘shock & awe’ or ‘appall & appall using the verbs. Appalling certainly, as we witnessed the destruction of Baghdad by fire. That big fire in Baghdad caused the loss of over 15,000 children, juniors mostly, under the age of eleven, and in the first two days of ‘the invasion.’ What is so appalling? Their burned little bodies?
    No, those children had felt the love of their mother since the second trimester. That feeling overwhelmed their minds, a feeling that would later become a yearning to give love rather than receive it. Those children never had the opportunity to convey, to gift, or to express and communicate love, a truth, an irrefutable fact. Their little souls are lost unable to identify with love – yet this *is* sensational to some. It is despairing to others, devastating to other mothers, heart-breaking to mothers and fathers and inconsolable to a few.
    Nothing we do to change our media or devise some magical way of banishing autocratic democracies will work; that is, until we conceive, until we think and understand the connection we have to each other, a oneness to everything we are, a balance and harmony not only necessary to continue, to others more wise, immortalise and eternalise.

  • angrysoba

    Clark, thanks for the satellite information. It looks like it is parked almost on the Greenwhich meridian as well as on the equator. So, yes the dish would have to point West.
    .
    Ah! Here’s the information:
    “Address: Abbottobad, Pakistan
    Latitude: 34.1467°
    Longitude: 73.2164°

    Satellite: 5.2W SYRACUSE 3B
    Elevation: 0.9°
    Azimuth (true): 263.4°
    Azimuth (magn.): 261.2°”
    .
    http://www.dishpointer.com/
    .
    But I’m wondering if the calculations on the dish itself are correct.

  • mary

    Americans Are Living In 1984 By Paul Craig Roberts

    May 09, 2011 “Information Clearing House” — The White House’s “death of bin Laden” story has come apart at the seams. Will it make any difference that before 48 hours had passed the story had changed so much that it no longer bore any resemblance to President Obama’s Sunday evening broadcast and has lost all credibility?
    /
    So far it has made no difference to the once-fabled news organization, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which on March 9, eight days later, is still repeating the propaganda that the SEALs killed bin Laden in his Pakistani compound, where bin Laden lived next door to the Pakistani Military Academy surrounded by the Pakistani army.
    /
    Not even the president of Pakistan finds the story implausible. The BBC reports that the president is launching a full-scale investigation of how bin Laden managed to live for years in an army garrison town without being noticed.
    /
    For most Americans the story began and ended with four words: “we got bin Laden.” The celebrations, the sweet taste of revenge, of triumph and victory over “the most dangerous man on the planet” are akin to the thrill experienced by sports fans when their football team defeats the unspeakable rival or their baseball team wins the World Series. No fan wants to hear the next day that it is not so, that it is all a mistake. If these Americans years from now come across a story that the killing of bin Laden was an orchestrated news event to boost other agendas, they will dismiss the report as the ravings of a pinko-liberal-commie.
    /
    Everyone knows we killed bin Laden. How could it be otherwise? We–the indispensable people, the virtuous nation, the world’s only superpower, the white hats–
    were destined to prevail. No other outcome was possible.
    /
    No one will notice that those who fabricated the story forgot to show the kidney dialysis machine that, somehow, kept bin Laden alive for a decade. No doctors were on the premises.
    /
    No one will remember that Fox News reported in December, 2001, that Osama bin Laden had passed away from his illnesses. {http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,41576,00.html}

    /…. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28062.htm

  • mary

    Did anyone see the BBC fiction about the OBL ‘killing’ from Jane Corbin last night on BBC1? I did not. Was it in the style of ‘Death on the Med’? I note it was followed by some wardrum beating and flag waving about the hearses that are paraded regularly through Wootton Bassett.

  • YugoStiglitz

    What’s the source on that claim Mary? A Fox News report citing a Pakistan Observer report citing an unnamed “Taliban leader”. Wow. Apparently that’s sacrosanct to you. You do realize that the Taliban are in favor of enslaving women, don’t you? You do know that they murder apostates, right? Yet you bend over backwards to take them at their word, while you reflexively doubt all of the statements of the democratically elected leaders of America.

    I don’t have any respect for the statements of an unnamed “Taliban leader”.

    [Mod: personal abuse deleted]

  • Clark

    Evgueni, I know that I’m in a pessimistic mood, so please forgive me if what follows is unduly negative. Yes, the Internet has given us communicational tools that bypass the indoctrination effect of centralised media. Truly independent news flows via the Internet at a rate unimaginable only two decades ago. But that news is diffuse and unfocused, and thus lacks consensus-building power.
    .
    Therefore, I think I understand your motivation to encourage a journalist’s cooperative. But I suspect there is a problem. Say that such an organisation were to start achieving consensus-building authority. That would give it power, and power corrupts. Obviously, it would become a target for those who deliberately distort the news for purposes of influencing public opinion. It would attract false or misleading reports. Less obviously, any media organisation is composed of people who themselves are subject to the influence of the consensus being created; a sort of dynamic equilibrium applies, but (again) positive feedback is present within each journalist, tending to draw the consensus towards its own stable points whose representational accuracy cannot then be verified.
    .
    My personal frustration with Internet (and mainstream) news is the predominance of opinion and speculation over information. My impression is that on issues such as this one, the claimed assassination of Osama bin Laden, the harvest of actual data is pathetically small, but many Internet writers want to transmit their interpretation of it. I follow many links, from this site and others, looking for additional information, and I waste masses of time trawling through pages of opinion which usually turn out to be based on the same tiny pieces of actual data.
    .
    Sorry, I don’t know where to go or how to develop these thoughts.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, here’s a list of geostationary satellites in sequence of longitude:
    .
    http://sat-nd.com/geo/biglist.html
    .
    If you can be bothered, you could use dishpointer.com to calculate dish alignments for satellites adjacent to Syracuse 3B. My guess is that various satellites would prove to be within the margin of error that we could calculate given the photographs of that dish in Abbottabad.
    .
    If anyone can get a close-up of that dish, the equipment at its focus could determine if it was capable of reception only, or of transmission too. Transmission-capable equipment would indicate bi-directional communication rather than mere satellite TV.

  • Clark

    I found the builder’s plan for the Abbottabad house on the BBC News website. It seems to have one kitchen and no common/living room. Of eight bedrooms, six have en-suite batroom/WC, and two share a bathroom/WC. The kitchen seems to be the only communal facility. The plan is stamped by “Modern Associates”. It’s in English and dimensions are in GB Imperial units. Does anyone know if this is normal for Pakistan? This does not look like a family house to me.
    .
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13332623

  • angrysoba

    One of the most popular satellites according to that site was Hotbird 1,2 and 3:
    .
    Elevation: 15.9°
    Azimuth (true): 252.2°
    Azimuth (magn.): 249.9°
    LNB Skew [?]: 52.0° Dish Skew [?]: 90.0°
    .
    Looks not far off.
    .
    Or Nilesat. Egyptian satellite. Has a problem with the elevation though:
    Elevation: -0.6°
    Azimuth (true): 264.5°
    Azimuth (magn.): 262.2°
    LNB Skew [?]: 55.5° Dish Skew [?]: 90.0°

    .
    This one should excite those of a certain disposition. Israel’s Amos 2 and 3 is here:
    .
    Latitude: 34.1467°
    Longitude: 73.2164° Name: 4W AMOS 2 | AMOS 3
    Distance: 41472km
    Elevation: 1.9°
    Azimuth (true): 262.8°
    Azimuth (magn.): 260.5°
    LNB Skew [?]: 55.2° Dish Skew [?]: 90.0°
    .
    “Angrysoba, it does seem that the satellite dish was removed”
    .
    Maybe so but the photographs of it taken after the raid seemed to have shown the satellite dish as far as I remember. If that’s the case then it would be the Pakistani security forces who took the dish down.
    .
    “If anyone can get a close-up of that dish, the equipment at its focus could determine if it was capable of reception only, or of transmission too. Transmission-capable equipment would indicate bi-directional communication rather than mere satellite TV.”
    .
    But isn’t this also part of the contradictory claims by that website that Osama bin Laden’s compound was a “secure site” with no comms and yet had a bidirectional satellite link up?

  • evgueni

    Ah, Clark, we are at cross-purposes. The problems you sight are precisely the ones that I wish to address with the democratic structure of the enterprise. When I say co-op I mean employees (journalists) being continuously in control of internal processes including hiring and firing of management, rather like in Ricardo Semler’s Semco. The annually re-elected editorial board would ward off attempts at corruption from outside as well as dictate a sense of direction to the enterprise that is roughly in line with the expectations of the electorate. This may not be ideal, it may even ultimately be corruptible to an extent, but you have to admit it would be a damn sight better than a perfect hierarchy that is our typical news organisation.
    .
    As for the internet, I concur it is a giant heap of jumbled up information to most people. They cannot be expected to have the time or the inclination to seek out the grains of truth. The availability heuristic is a fundamental feature of human nature that will never go away. So we have to work with it, supplanting our MSM with a new model that is inherently more trustworthy. One idea is that which is implemented in Switzerland where newspapers and TV are obliged by law to give equal time and space to all sides in a political debate. A similar measure here obviously would need to be initiated from within the legislature. A journalist-owned news outlet on the other hand can in theory spring up organically without explicit permission from the government structures, and it can act as a filter to deliver focussed news AND opinion. After all that is exactly what news media are supposed to do already and many people mistakenly think that they do.
    .
    I think that the internet media as they are currently can only succeed in sewing doubt and cynicism. Of course this is not enough for positive change and it is at present not even enough to act as a break on our elites. We agree again..

  • angrysoba

    Well, I asked someone over at JREF and got this response:
    .
    http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=7167454&postcount=195
    .
    A few things in R.Mackey’s response are similar to yours. The dish’s elevation is far too low to be of much use and lots of maths would be involved.
    .
    And others pointed out another prosaic point. On the videos of OBL he is seen watching himself using satellite TV on some antique TV set.

  • evgueni

    Mark,
    I appreciate your sentiment but not your argument. I think you are saying that with the current political structures, including the MSM, we could stop the injustices perpetrated in our name by changing how we view ourselves and the world:
    .
    “Nothing we do to change our media or devise some magical way of banishing autocratic democracies will work; that is, until we conceive, until we think and understand the connection we have to each other, a oneness to everything we are, a balance …”
    .
    So far as that goes, alright – IF we could do such a thing as change our fundamental human nature. But we cannot, other than on a geological timescale, perhaps. So what remains? To work with our human nature by creating institutions of state and society, that bring out the best in us and inhibit the worst. I believe I can refute your other assertion – that changing our understanding of ourselves is the ONLY way to make progress. As far as I am aware from living amongst the Swiss for a couple of years, they are people just like us, without a heightened sense of self-awareness and worldly inter-connectedness. But they persist in disagreeing with their politicians on questions of involvement in international military and political alliances and because unlike us they have institutions that empower them – Switzerland remains immune to the concept of ‘humanitarian war’.
    .
    Yes, Tony Blair is indisputably a war criminal and I also do not consider the statement controversial (in the moral sense, not in some narrow legalistic sense). To most people out there this would be a sensational headline. But I also played on words a little, invoking also the informal meaning of sensational, i.e. “extremely good”.

  • Clark

    Mark Golding, Evgueni, these two, apparently separate processes are at least linked, and may be one process, examined from different viewpoints. “…the Swiss […] have institutions that empower them…”; these institutions ARE the connection between them, and also the result of that connection. Neither one has produced the other; they have grown together. Also, the diversity of the media that Evgueni mentioned earlier. Their “heightened sense of self-awareness and worldly inter-connectedness” is displayed and expressed in their willingness and enthusiasm to inform themselves and vote with intelligence and compassion. They are involved with each other and their society and its power structures in a way that we in the UK are so unfamiliar with that we might fail to recognise it.

  • mark_golding

    Evgueni – From my experience the ‘change of fundamental human nature’ is not required, neither would I be so arrogant, superior or super-human to suggest such a fundamental change, no, I am describing discovery or the determination that living or life is indeed precious and fragile, dependent on a harmony not just on our planet but within our entire universe which is beautifully ordered. Our human conscious enables us to determine that killing without justification is wrong and why indeed populations are by default anti-war in those circumstances i.e. no WMD – no threat – hence illegal war. The propaganda is trying to convince us that striking a perceived threat before it materialises is morally acceptable even if the lives of innocent people are forsaken or thrown away. It is that disinformation, that brain washing that useless indoctrination that constitutes and establishes the ‘war on terror’ with all the controlling elements that form such a banal doctrine.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, I took a look at the jref thread. The best answer is from MRC Hans. Geostationary satellites are in one particular orbit, above the equator, at the one particular altitude that results in one orbit per day, thus keeping the satellite above the intersection between one particular longitude and the equator. Thus, for a geostationary satellite we only need to specify that longitude.
    .
    So, consider Syracuse 3B. It orbits synchronously, remaining above 5.2 deg. West and the equator. From the point on the ground, on the equator and 5.2 deg. West, we would point our dish straight up. If we were further east, we would have to tilt the dish west to compensate. Eventually, at a bit less than 90 deg. around the equator, we would be pointing our dish straight along the ground. Any further, and there would be no direct line-of-sight to the satellite; it would be below the horizon.
    .
    The reason a low inclination becomes unusable is (1) most interference comes from electronic devices situated on or near the ground, so the dish would be aimed to accept all that mush mixed in with the wanted signal, and (2) the signal would have to travel through lots of atmosphere.
    .
    The point about being “off beam” is relevant to TV satellites. I would guess that a military satellite could aim beams as and where they are needed. Also, a military satellite would probably have higher available power for transmission. Noise (interference) wouldn’t matter so much for digital communications; error correction would just keep re-sending “data packets” until the verification systems said they were received OK. More noise slows the process down by forcing the same data to be retransmitted until gets through.

  • Clark

    Evgueni, yes, a Semco type structure would be a good start; it would ward off corruption. What about false reporting, or reporters being misled? Should there be some adversarial process, like in the scientific community?

  • mark_golding

    Clark – Interesting analysis of the satellite dish. I was interested in the generators on the roof and also the average electricity consumption figures over say 4yrs. I am trying to get more information.

  • evgueni

    Clark,
    “false reporting” – I think that such an enterprise as I propose would be no more susceptible to it than conventional media. In fact it should be more resistant to PR efforts. If however it becomes singled out as a deliberate target for disinformation then I hope this would prove ineffective in the face of the journalists’ collective experience and intuition!

  • dreoilin

    “I hope this would prove ineffective in the face of the journalists’ collective experience and intuition!”
    –Evgueni
    .
    Like we currently have in the BBC? or maybe in the Guardian or the Irish Times? How good a job is the NUJ currently doing for us? Do they all suffer from extreme cowardice? Why don’t a few of them set up a collective blog/website and depend financially on donations and Google ads, if you think such a thing would work? And if they genuinely cared for the truth? What we get (mostly) these days is “churnalism” and investigative journalism seems to be virtually dead in the “West”. And as far as that goes, John Pilger and Greg Palast have their own websites, and I wonder how many X-Factor watchers visit them. Isn’t that really the main problem?

    “no more susceptible to it than conventional media”
    .
    Frankly this conversation is going around in circles, IMO …

    Evgueni,
    I didn’t say one word about violent protest. I spoke of civil disobedience. They are not one and the same.
    .
    Mark,
    I wouldn’t say that people here are on a guilt trip. The vast, vast majority of the people of Ireland were not responsible for the reckless behaviour of the banks, the light-to-no-touch regulation that allowed it, or the blanket guarantee that turned those bank losses into sovereign debt. (UK and US taxpayers were looted in this crisis as well, just not quite as viciously as we were.) And the ECB/IMF “bailout” (loan) that was forced on us had very different motives than “bailing out the Irish” … as I’m sure you know.

    This is Paul Krugman’s latest take on it:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/09/opinion/09krugman.html

    But fear, yes. Fear drove them to vote out Tweedledum and put in Tweedledee, like they’ve done for decades. Some of us were hoping for a brand new political party, or even a grand coalition of the Left (if the Labour party can be called Left, when they’re barely left of centre) but of course it didn’t happen. (sigh)

  • dreoilin

    (Bad spacing above – must do better)
    .
    “no more susceptible to it than conventional media”
    .
    Frankly this conversation is going around in circles, IMO …
    .
    Evgueni,
    I didn’t say one word about violent protest. I spoke of civil disobedience. They are not one and the same.

  • dreoilin

    Angry, you said,
    “On the videos of OBL he is seen watching himself using satellite TV on some antique TV set.”
    .
    But we have no guarantee that that video was made in that house in Abbottabad. Agreed?
    .
    Clark,
    That satellite stuff is fascinating. And by the way, yes, the satellite had been removed in the post-raid pics provided by the US Dept of Defense and reproduced at the Sky News link I gave. One wonders if it was simply servicing an antique TV set, why anyone would bother removing it …

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, you did write “On the videos of OBL he is seen watching himself using satellite TV on some antique TV set.” Are you really convinced that that was Osama bin Laden? All we have is a view over an old man’s left shoulder. It looks like a much older man than in the other four videos on your BBC link. Even Gardner didn’t seem convinced. And a local man said that was the owner of the house.
    .
    If that old man is who the US forces killed, shame on them. Maybe that’s why they dumped the body in the sea so fast. SNAFU.
    .
    Dreoilin, thanks. That dish may have been moved during the raid, blown by helicopter downdraft, for instance. We would really need pictures from earlier.

  • mark_golding

    Military mind ‘entangling’ the intention to unravel 9/11 NOW – Follow:
    Dr Alan Sabrosky

    SEARCH – ‘YouTube’ WITH THE TERMS ‘dr alan sabrosky’ SORT BY:
    ‘Upload Date’

    VIEW
    INTEND
    ACT

    Welcome to the Matrix

  • mark_golding

    Dreoilin – Thanks for the link – as a consequence I ‘stumbled upon’ the University for Strategic Optimism – A university based on the principle of free and open education, a return of politics to the public, and the politicisation of public space.

    http://universityforstrategicoptimism.wordpress.com/

    Which revived my memories of ‘the common’ and their purpose – perhaps we should all congregate on ‘the common’ near a ‘hotspot’ with our laptops running Ubuntu accessing multiple blogs and shout the fact we are all getting fucked by this new government and the neoliberal ideology which they buy into wholesale. This ‘we are all’ refers to us labourers, teachers, administrative/clerical staff, cleaners, secretaries, public sector workers, the unemployed/redundant/retired and soon to be all of these, etc. The new ‘working class’ is something like a family resemblance of precarious labour-workers, and this family resemblance which could lead to a revolutionary class (or at least powerful true democratic force) is being constantly undermined by government propaganda.

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