STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Esquire Portrait of bin Laden's Death Fails to Convince
By Staff News & Analysis - February 12, 2013

The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed. For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced and skilled warriors carry on with their lives. – Esquire

Dominant Social Theme: Bin Laden is dead.

Free-Market Analysis: This article attempts to provide us with a blow-by-blow description of Osama bin Laden's death by putting the killing within the context of the "shooter's" life.

The article is purportedly about the injustices being heaped upon the killer of the world's most famous terrorist. He has injuries, can't move his neck much and is facing a good deal of difficulty in paying his bills, as he can't find a job to replace his regular service salary of about US$60,000 a year.

The article is by Phil Bronstein, who works out of a non-profit called the Center for Investigative Journalism in Berkeley, California. Bronstein and his colleagues are all eminent journalists who appear to have run major newspapers and are now keeping the tradition of independent journalism alive as best they can.

But one thing that struck us about the article was that it used a photo of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and others in the White House's "situation room." In the famous photo, Hillary has her hand over her mouth as if watching something grave or terrible on the screen in front of them (which cannot be seen from the photographer's vantage.) Her colleagues, including the President of the United States, look terribly grave.

But as we learn from Wikipedia and elsewhere, these notables were NOT in the White House situation room but in a side room nearby. And Hillary had her hand over her mouth because she had allergies and was trying to suppress a cough.

This photo has been published numerous times and usually with the implication that Hillary, Obama and the others were gathered there watching the death of bin Laden. But as has been stated numerous times, there were no interior shots of the "compound" and therefore, none of the people pictured saw bin Laden's actual death.

There are other problems. Osama bin Laden had perhaps been dead for ten years of Marfan syndrome that elongated his body, made him sickly and ruined his kidneys. He was reportedly on dialysis in 2000. It is highly doubtful that a man in such a condition could have survived another decade before being shot by a Navy SEAL.

Additionally, as we have reported, there are various eyewitness accounts that cast doubts on how the operation was conducted and whether the SEALS even landed as described.

One point that sticks out is that the SEALS came down on top of the compound supposedly but such an approach makes no sense. Ordinarily in such occurrences, the landing is done well away from the target. For our extensive reporting on the subject just conduct a 'Net search for "bin Laden's death" and "Daily Bell."

It is the photo in the Esquire article that we are fixated on because it has much resonance and has been thoroughly debunked on the Internet. In a pre-Internet era, we would have no way to fully understand the falsity of what is presented to us. And even the Wikipedia article about the photo reads like something out of a schizophrenic's description. While virtually admitting the photo is false, the article continues on and on – explaining the importance of the photo as if it were real. Here's some of the description.

Some historians have commented on the historical significance of the photograph, particularly its depiction of the crossing of gender and racial boundaries. Lehigh University political science professor Saladin Ambar said that the picture suggests "a new American landscape that we're still crossing into." He continued "When Obama was elected, there were some people who thought that we had crossed a racial threshold. What his presidency is revealing is that there are many crossings."

The photograph has also been noted to depict a change in presidential leadership style. Historian Clarence Lusane said that past presidents have felt a need to project "machismo" and "swagger." Meredith College sociology professor Lori Brown said it is significant however, that Obama is neither in the center of the room nor in the tallest chair. Political analyst Cheryl Contee said "Obama's willingness to be photographed without the typical Oval Office swagger gives birth to a new type of swagger." She said that the image shows Obama's leadership style as a collaborator.

The New York Times commented on Clinton's expression in the photograph, writing, "She is what the French critic Roland Barthes called the 'punctum,' the not necessarily conspicuous detail that gives a photograph its emotional resonance." They also stated the mystery of the photograph—what are they looking at?—was analogous to the uncertainty of Western democracy's relationship with Islamic militant terrorism.

Ambar stated that the photograph also shows how entrenched women have become in U.S. politics; Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason are in the photograph, while the similar photograph of John F. Kennedy and his staff during the Cuban Missile Crisis does not show any women. Lori Brown said in a CNN article that the photograph also shows how women have made progress in U.S. political life, although Brown said that Clinton's visible reaction dulled the impact somewhat, because women "are often more physical in their emotional responses and in a 'power situation' it may not seem as acceptable."

But it is not "history" – or not at least the history that has been described. Again, the facts are seemingly not in dispute. The photo did not take place in the actual "situation room." The people in the room were not watching the death of bin Laden, as the live feed – or whatever it was – did not extend inside of bin Laden's compound. Finally, the photo's so-called punctum, Hillary Clinton, was putting her hand up to her mouth to shield a sneeze, not because she'd just seen something awful.

If great evil is also great banality, then this banal photograph of a number of people crammed into a small room watching a phony feed – while one suppresses a sneeze – shall go down in history not as a great gathering of leaders but as a gathering of political actors playing out their assigned roles.

Because that's what is more likely going on. The power elite that wants to build world government and controls governance in many countries already, has created a phony war on terror to justify its depredations regarding civil liberties. People must lose their freedoms so that global institutions can be built.

The killing of bin Laden was doubtless part of this phony show. These people were just following orders like everyone else, and all the fulsome articles in big US magazines cannot alleviate the narrative's phoniness.

More likely, if someone was shot it was a blameless, aged victim – perhaps the man who actually owned the house. Or perhaps no one was shot at all. The article ends by pointing out that the shooter may be in danger from other al Qaeda types that know his name. But he is probably more in danger from the US government that concocted this phony bin Laden death – in part to re-elect Obama – and is desperate to ensure that the truth does not leak out.

But the truth already HAS leaked out, just like the truth about the photo that Esquire uses to punctuate the gravity of the moment when shooting occurred.

It seems to be a phony photo, a phony moment, a phony shooting and a phony narrative. If it tells us anything at all, it is how what we call the Internet Reformation has changed the context of 21st century information.

Twenty-five years ago, this would have been a significant article. Today, knowing what we do about the US government and its serial lying at the behest of a tiny and impossibly wealthy power elite, we can only shake our collective heads in wonder that those orchestrating these promotions still don't understand how things have changed.

It is this as much as anything else that makes us confident that plans to gather up the world are not going well. The photo discussed above is an apt metaphor for how little they have learned and how unable they are to respond with legitimate anti-Internet strategies.

They have no idea how to contain the knowledge that the Internet has dispersed about the Way the World Really Works short of shutting down the Internet, which they cannot do.

Instead, they run long articles in magazines that are way past their prime telling people what they ought to think about this or that promotion. Don't they understand that thinking people can go on the 'Net and debunk these strategies with a single click of the keyboard?

After Thoughts

It's not that they don't know anything better. It's that they cannot think of anything else. And what does that tell us? Think about it …

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