Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on.
Imagine yourself drawn to a place of worship this January to celebrate an event that your community regards as holy. The cathedral is packed, all the bright children arrayed in festive dress, three days of feasting will follow. The occasion which melds you is the commemoration of a biblical story that long predates the birth of Christ, and his supposed resurrection. It is the Festival of Sacrifice (Eid ul-Adha). You are there to honour the willingness of Abraham to carry out what he regarded as a directive from God, as conveyed in a dream, that he must kill his beloved son.
As Abraham prepares to slit his son’s throat, despite the Devil urging him to resist, his devotion is rewarded by God, who lets the prophet sacrifice a sheep instead. Every year, millions of believers worldwide celebrate Abraham’s commitment by feasting on meat and distributing it among the poor. This year, let us imagine your place of worship – be it Westminster Cathedral or a boring brick chapel in Canberra - is struck by hellfire. Almost a score of the congregation are burnt to a crisp, many of them women and children. No warning is given, no negotiation is proffered. An untold number of celebrants are maimed, orphaned and scarred for life.
Later, after the wounded are tended, the bodies buried, you ask, who are these evil doers? From whence came the fire? Was it Al-Qaeda? No! Imagine your rage on discovering the slaughter was instigated by an ally of your own Government, the champion of the “War on Terror”, the USA. The children sacrificed at the behest of the CIA, on the grounds that a bad guy was in the building – to hell with the innocent!
ON NOT TREATING PEOPLE LIGHTLY
On Friday the 13th of January, such was the plight of the tribes people in Damadola, a village in Pakistan, when the CIA flattened several dwellings with Hellfire missiles. The apparent target was Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's second-in-command, who was not present at the time. Some Pakistani officials said the village been struck by as many as 10 missiles fired from the remote-controlled drones and that the death toll was 25. Locals denied any knowledge of al-Zawahiri. Instead of an apology, Condoleezza Rice reminded the Pakistanis that al-Qaeda and its supporters "are not people who can be dealt with lightly", meaning the lives of children – even those of its allies – are expendable.
The bombing of Damadola is a war crime. In a just world, the people who the ordered the attack would be hauled before an international court. In Bushworld, such criminals are honoured.
Two weeks prior to this atrocity, eight people died in another U.S. drone attack on a cleric's house in Pakistan. Repeated air strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11 have killed countless noncombatants, worshippers at mosques and wedding guests. On Jan 3, several members of the same family, including women and children, were killed in a US air strike that destroyed their home in northern Iraq.
Isn’t it time for the UN to publicly name the CIA as the world’s most lethal terrorist network? The people who work for the agency, despite their firm handshakes and boyish charm, are handmaidens of terror and torture. They should be investigated by a legally constituted war crimes tribunal.
It may turn out that two or three of the victims at Damadola were connected with Al Qaeda, despite the repeated insistence by Pakistani Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz, that such claims are “bizarre”. The village is now off limits, some identities remain unconfirmed. Newsday reports that the CIA’s missiles killed a gold merchant, Bakhtepur Khan, his wife and four of his five children, plus other relatives. Sisters Madia, 9, and Sadiqa, 10, were among those who died. Such deaths were expected, according to a former CIA specialist quoted by Newsday, but the chance to knock off some bad guys was too good to miss. While many regard this act as criminal, those who pushed the buttons will bathe themselves in glory.
Surely diehard conservatives realize the futility of bombing allies. Up to 10,000 men, women and children rallied in Karachi to denounce the atrocity at Damadola, chanting “Death to America”. For every “associate” of al Qaeda who is eliminated by such means, a thousand new terrorists are born.
THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH
One of the CIA’s golden boys is Henry "Hank" Crumpton, hailed by the Washington Post as a “revered master of CIA covert operations… on at least four continents … who recently came in from the cold … to take the job as State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the very public rank of ambassador”. It is likely Ambassador Crumpton ordered the murders at Damadola.
As though to divert scrutiny of this crime, he has been berating the mass media with dire warnings that the West will soon be hit with a major attack from a terrorists. It could be anthrax, he says, or maybe WMD’s, even nuclear, bio-tech…. Did he mention bird flu? Not sure, but he reckons Osama bin Laden is still alive… and ticking. Up goes the fear meter.At this moment a tape from Osama turns up on Al Jazeerra.
The story has another chilling aspect. It is widely accepted that the Pakistanis have granted the CIA permission to mount such attacks, but they suppress this fact. (Some Westerners seem unaware that Pakistan is a military dictatorship). Last November in Waziristan, a suspected hide-out Osama bin Laden, two similar attacks took place. Pakistan's government claimed the explosions were caused by “clumsy al-Qaeda militants building bombs”.
However, a local journalist, Hayatullah Khan, obtained fragments from a US made missile and photos that proved an attack from the air. On Dec 5, he was abducted by armed gunmen and remains missing.
Khan’s eight-year-old daughter, Naila Hayat, and her brothers, Hamran, 5, and Fareshta, 6, have since headed a protest by family members and journalist colleagues, demanding his return. A placard read, “Give us our father back.” The day before he disappeared, Khan told his brother, “If anything happens to me, the government must be held responsible.”
But which Government?
“Freedom is a precious thing”, a friend said, who had escaped from East Germany as a child. “You people are losing it bit by bit, and you don’t even notice.” She had fled across barbed wire. The only country in the world to have dropped a nuclear bomb on a civilian population still claims collateral damage as its right. The US military likes big explosions at midnight, blood on the walls, the scattered bodies of decapitated children. And there’s plenty more bombs in the pipeline.
Note: This is a revised version of the piece I posted 21/Jan/06 on www.opednews.com