The circus comes to town;
the Obama administration insisted the killing of Bin Laden was legal and not an execution, while human rights groups and international lawyers pressed the White House for more details of the mission.
Eric Holder, the US attorney-general, said the killing was justified and that had Bin Laden attempted to surrender, the US forces would have taken him alive.
Meanwhile a senior Pakistani intelligence official told the Guardian that members of the Bin Laden family were being held in custody in Pakistan, including his Yemeni-born wife, Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, and his 12-year-old daughter, who allegedly claimed her father had been shot in cold-blood in front of her.
The official did not confirm a report by al-Arabiya news that the daughter is claiming her father had been held first and then shot.
George Little, a CIA spokesman, denied Bin Laden had been held by US forces before being shot. “There is no indication that Bin Laden was somehow captured and later killed inside the compound. It would be wrong to suggest otherwise.”
Questions about the legality of the killing have grown after the White House backtracked on Tuesday on its initial account of the mission, admitting that Bin Laden had not been armed.
The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, refused to provide further details about the shooting in Abbottabad. The Obama administration has been forced on the defensive after offering conflicting accounts of what happened. Asked on Wednesday whether the team that killed Bin Laden had come under fire, Carney said the White House had gone to the limit in providing details and that any more would risk future operations. “I am not going to get into operational details,” he said.
Carney, asked about the legality of the killing, read from a statement, saying it was consistent with the laws of war and that if Bin Laden had surrendered, he would have been taken alive.
Holder, giving evidence to the Senate armed services committee, said it had not been a kill mission but “a kill or capture” mission. “If he had surrendered, attempted to surrender, I think we should obviously have accepted that, but there was no indication that he wanted to do that and therefore his killing was appropriate,” Holder said.
The attorney-general said Bin Laden had no intention of being captured. “Let me make something very clear, the operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed was lawful. He was the head of al-Qaida, an organisation that had conducted the attacks of September 11. He admitted his involvement,” Holder said.
Andrea Prasow, a Washington-based spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch, said: “Our position is that we do not have enough information to determine whether the killing of Bin Laden was lawful. We hope the US government will provide a more detailed accounting of what happened so we can understand if it was in fact lawful under either international humanitarian law – the so-called law of war – or under human rights law.”
Philippe Sands, a University College London professor currently writing a book on the making of modern international law, said much would depend on the exact circumstances of Bin Laden’s death. “If no one else was around, if they had him in a room unarmed and the building was covered, then it looks pretty bad,” Sands said . . . Benjamin Ferencz, an American lawyer who was a US prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials and who lives in New York state, asked whether the killing was justifiable self-defence or premeditated illegal assassination. He would have preferred he had been captured and put on trial.
Ferencz, 92, said : “The picture I get is that a bunch of highly trained, heavily armed soldiers find an old guy in pyjamas and shot him in the chest and head and that borders, without access to more facts, on murder.” He added: “Even [the head of the Luftwaffe Hermann] Göring had a right to trial.”
from The Guardian 4th May 2011
And if you think anything has changed in the last century, except a worldwide expansion of the Wild West, and its disregard for the rule of law and other nations’ territorial integrity and human rights;
After the US special forces gave Osama bin Laden the nickname Geronimo, the native American leader’s tribe is asking for an apology from the White House.
In a letter to President Obama, Jeff Houser, chairman of the Fort Sill Apache tribe, descendents of Geronimo’s Chiricahua Apache Tribe, writes:
We are grateful that the United States was successful in its mission against Bin Laden, but associating Geronimo’s name with an international terrorist only perpetuates old stereotypes about Apaches.
In the 1800′s Geronimo and the Chiricahua Apache people were portrayed as savages. This portrayal was used as justification for the forced removal from their homelands and their subsequent imprisonment. Linking Geronimo’s name to an infamous terrorist only reinforces this false and defamatory stereotype.
And let us not forget, the USA’s oppression of the original North Americans continues – unremarked in the press, and ignored in the slavish rush to prostrate economies and societies before the great war machine.
The association of Geronimo’s name to Osama bin Laden is yet another degrading slap in the face to American Indians from another president and our federal government who waged an “unnecessary holocaust war” against American Indians in the forming of the America we have today. True American history shows Indians were never an enemy of this country. American Indians had every right to stand up for their true home land, way of life, freedom, civil liberties and right to self govern.
You can sign a petition for apology to Obama here