June 26, 2019  

Two new flags will be flying high at the Olympic Games in Rio.

For the first time, South Sudan and Kosovo have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Kosovo, which was a province of the former Yugoslavia, will have 8 athletes competing; and a good shot for a medal in women's judo: Majlinda Kelmendi is considered a favorite. She's ranked first in the world in her weight class.

(South Sudan's James Chiengjiek, Yiech Biel & coach Joe Domongole, © AFP) South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, will have three runners competing in the country's first Olympic Games.

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus


(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)



Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler



CARTOON: Peter Broelman, Australia/BROELMAN.com.au)


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Entries in Osama bin Laden (2)


The Bin Laden Capture: A Feeling of Betrayal in Pakistan (PERSPECTIVE)

By Themrise Khan

And so it ends. The world’s most feared man is dead. Or so we are told.

The news Pakistan woke up to Monday morning was something most of us never thought would happen. Osama bin Laden had already transgressed into terrorist mythology many years earlier, including being the very mortal victim of renal failure some years ago.

Now, not even all the headlines of the world can pronounce his death often enough for it to sink in. It will take some time.
The world is rife with jubilation, while Pakistan sits in a state of shock.
Why? Take the hiding place. Abbottabad? Seriously? Bin Laden’s compound was situated just 800 meters from the most prestigious (not to mention heavily guarded) military school in the country - with more than 100,000 active and retired military personnel? How on earth could it be possible? Like one friend remarked: “there goes the cave theory.”

With the release of an official statement by Pakistan’s Foreign Office, that the operation was conducted by US forces without any Pakistani involvement, the shock gradually began turning into a state of denial.  So did our government know about it beforehand or not? Did we just quietly sit back and let the US do what they do best?

But as the days tick by, denial is gradually turning into one of betrayal. Betrayal of the not just the Pakistani people by its own government and military, but by the Americans as well. It was bad enough that the world saw us as “terrorists” for the last ten years. Now they just wont be able to think of us as anything else. Especially since we apparently, didn’t have anything to do with it!

But if there was any event that had the makings of a conspiracy theory, it’s this one. And that is what is fuelling Pakistanis at the moment. And understandably so. From the location, to the action, to the conclusion (dumping a body into the ocean according to Islamic practices?), every element of this tale defies any logical analysis that has thus far been presented about bin Laden and his whereabouts.

What is unbelievable in this fairly bizarre saga, is not that an operation of such a scale actually took place without anyone knowing of it. The point of espionage and covert operations are exactly that. Neither is it hard to believe that such intelligence existed for many months and possibly both countries were aware of it. Planning an attack like this would obviously take a great deal of preparation and Pakistan could well have been trying to protect its “interests” by turning a blind eye.

What is unbelievable and a matter of great shame for us, is the fact that everyone who has thus far accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists, is now spot on. I can picture fingers wagging saying, “told you so”.

Even many die-hard critics of the government were in agreement that the al-Qaeda leader was probably not in Pakistan, or at least not anywhere habitable - or in a densely-populated urban area. Now, they too stand stunned in silence.  The implications of this fact alone, is perhaps more dangerous for Pakistan than the threat of militant reactions to bin Laden’s death.

If it is true that the US kept the operation and existence of bin Laden from the Pakistani government, its intelligence and military, then that is clear proof that either one or all three of these institutions were seen as colluding to the interests of the militants. If, on the other hand, the military and government were aware of the whereabouts of bin Laden but kept denying it, then that is clear proof that a government lied to its own people. In either case, the Pakistani people stand to inherit a huge trust deficit from their leaders.

Surprisingly so, despite threats already being slung at the Pakistani military, government and at the American establishment, the retaliation that is expected, is not so much physical violence, although that threat is very real.

More so, it is the threat of a falling out of power between the Pakistani military and its civilian establishment over how this event was orchestrated and conducted. It is the internal strife between the Pakistani military, ruling political parties and the opposition that will now be at centre-stage as the outside world celebrates.

Who in our establishment, will take responsibility for this, is the biggest question on the national agenda. And who will apologize to us for embarrassing us as a nation, beyond all doubt?

We will never know the truth of this story. We will never see a body and even if we do, we will never know if it was real. Unless bin Laden walks back from the grave and into a downtown shopping mall somewhere in Wisconsin or Karachi, he is to all intents and purposes, dead.

But in reality, this awe-inspiring notion means little to people in Pakistan. The damage to the nation was already done many years ago and continues unabated. Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in terrorist acts, tens of times more than those who died on September 11. Our war is endless, with or without bin Laden. He just planted the seed, we bear the fruit.

The nightmare seems to have ended for many across the world. For Pakistan it has only just begun.

HUMNEWS contributor Themrise Khan is a freelance social development consultant based in Karachi who occasionally dares to venture into the Pakistani media.

Osama bin Laden Killed by US Forces (BLOG) 

by Al-Jazeera Staff in Asia on May 2, 2011 

Leader of Al-Qaeda is dead following US operation in Pakistan.

(All times are local in Doha GMT+3)

Osama Bin Laden with senior al-Qaeda members Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Muhammad Atef 3:16pm - US team's mission was to kill, and not capture, Osama bin Laden - US security official tells Reuters.

3:08pm - An Indonesian Islamist group has hailed assassinated Osama bin Laden as a "martyr" who championed Islam against America. Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) spokesman Son Hadi told AFP:

If it's true Osama bin Laden is dead, then he died a martyr. He fought for Islam and he fought for the lands colonised by America. Al-Qaeda didn't die with him. Jihad will not be dampened just because he's dead because jihad is a command of the religion, not of individuals.

2:59pm - Saudi Arabia, the country of bin Laden's birth, hopes his killing will help the international fight against terrorism and stamp out the "misguided thought" behind it, the Saudi state news agency said.

"An official source expressed the hope of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the elimination of the leader of the terrorist al Qaeda organisation would be a step toward supporting international efforts aimed at fighting terrorism," the news agency said.

2:32pm - Iran says the death of bin Laden has removed "any excuse" for the United States and its allies for deploying forces in the Middle East under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

2:17pm - The Palestinian group Hamas condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden, saying that this was a "a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood".

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden's al-Qaeda and Hamas, but said:

We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.

1:57pm - The death of bin Laden was greeted with near-silence on Monday from Gulf Arab states, including his birthplace Saudi Arabia.

By mid-afternoon, the only official comment from the Arabian Peninsula came from Yemen, bin Laden's ancestral homeland, where an official speaking on condition of anonymity hoped the killing would "root out terrorism throughout the world".

Saudi Arabia's official news agency merely noted that the United States and Pakistan had announced bin Laden had been killed in a US military operation in Pakistan but gave no clue to Riyadh's thinking.

The foreign ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, attending a meeting of Gulf foreign ministers in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, all declined to comment on bin Laden's death.

1:50pm - NATO Secretary-General statement on Osama bin Laden

I congratulate President Barack Obama and all those who made the operation against Osama Bin Laden possible. This is a significant success for the security of NATO Allies and all the nations which have joined us in our efforts to combat the scourge of global terrorism to make the world a safer place for all of us.

NATO made clear that it considered the September 11 attacks on the United States an attack against all Allies. We remember the thousands of innocent lives lost to terrorist atrocities in so many of our nations, in Afghanistan, and around the world.

As terrorism continues to pose a direct threat to our security and international stability, international cooperation remains key and NATO is at the heart of that cooperation. NATO Allies and partners will continue their mission to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for extremism, but develops in peace and security. We will continue to stand for the values of freedom, democracy and humanity that Osama Bin Laden wanted to defeat.

1:38pm - Japan, a key US ally, welcomed the death of Osama bin Laden and said it would step up security at military bases in case of possible reprisal attacks. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said:

We welcome this significant progress in counter-terrorism measures, and I pay respect to the efforts by the officials concerned, including those in the United States and Pakistan. 

1:25pm - Libyan rebels, fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, broadly welcome the news of the death of al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden.

1:23pm - Afghanistan's president lauded bin Laden's death as a serious blow to terrorism and argued that the strike in Pakistan proves the real fight against terrorists is outside his country's borders. President Hamid Karzai told an assembly of district government officials in Kabul, as the hall erupted in applause:

This is a very important day. Maybe you have already heard on the television or on the radio that American forces have killed Osama bin Laden, delivering him his due punishment.

11:35am - Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden will have to answer to God for having killed many people and exploiting religion to spread hate, the Vatican said.

Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that while Christians "do not rejoice" over a death, it serves to remind them of "each person's responsibility before God and men".

Osama bin Laden, as everyone knows, had the grave responsibility of having spread division and hate among people, causing the deaths of an innumerable number of people and exploiting religion for these purposes.

11:30am - Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told AFP in an interview that the US killing of Osama bin Laden, not far from the Pakistani capital, was a "great victory".

10:54am - Pakistan's foreign ministry says the death of bin Laden shows the resolve of his country and the world to battle terrorism. Pakistan's first official statement about the operation to kill bin Laden said Monday's raid was a US operation.

Bin Laden was killed an a luxury house in the town of Abbottabad not far from a Pakistani military academy, raising questions over whether Pakistani may have known of his whereabouts. The statement did not address those questions.

10:50am - Al Jazeera's Andrew Coombes took this picture outside the White House after the "Bin Laden is dead" announcement:

10:46am - After bin Laden was killed, senior administration officials said the body would be handled according to Islamic practice and tradition. That practice calls for the body to be buried within 24 hours, the official said.

Finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult, the official said.

So the US decided to bury him at sea. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security matters, did not immediately say where that occurred. (Associated Press)

10:43am - Osama bin Laden's body was taken to Afghanistan and later buried at sea after he was slain in Pakistan. (New York Times)

10:37am - Britain has told its embassies to review their security for fear of reprisals following the killing of bin Laden, Foreign Secretary William Hague said. Hague told BBC Radio 4:

There may be parts of al-Qaeda that will try to show that they are still in business in the coming weeks as indeed some of them are.

I have already this morning asked our embassies to review their security, to make sure that vigilance is heightened and I think that will have to be our posture for some time to come.

10:22am - Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said that US soldiers should be withdrawn from Afghanistan and Iraq after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Essam al-Erian, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's governing body, told Reuters:

With Bin Laden's death, one of the reasons for which violence has been practised in the world has been removed. It is time for Obama to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and end the occupation of U.S. and Western forces around the world that have for so long harmed Muslim countries.

10:00am - The Western-backed Palestinian Authority said that the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces was "good for the cause of peace". PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib said:

Getting rid of Bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods -- the violent methods -- that were created and encouraged by Bin Laden and others in the world. 

9:47am - Kenya's prime minister, Raila Odinga, thanks America and Pakistan for bin Laden's killing, saying that it was positive for Kenya.

Kenya's prime minister, Raila Odinga, thanks America and Pakistan for bin Laden's killing, saying that it was positive for Kenya.

9:34am - The killing of Osama bin Laden is "good news for all men in the world who think freely and are peaceful," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.

9:20am - Said Agil Siradj, chairman of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, says bin Laden's death will help restore Islam's image as one of people, not violence.

But he believes terrorism will continue as long as there is injustice against Muslims.

9:00am - Al Jazeera's Tarek Bazley prepared this report:


8:46am - At least two Pakistani television stations broadcast pictures of what they called unconfirmed images of Osama bin Laden's bloodied face after the United States said he had been killed.

8:43am - The dollar rebounded from three-year lows and US crude slid more than 1 per cent on after news that Osama bin Laden was killed reduced the perception of security risks facing the United States.

8:37am - A leading US Muslim organisation welcomed  the killing of bin Laden, saying he was a threat to America and the world. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement:

We join our fellow citizens in welcoming the announcement that Osama bin Laden has been eliminated as a threat to our nation and the world through the actions of American military personnel.

As we have stated repeatedly since the 9/11 terror attacks, bin Laden never represented Muslims or Islam. In fact, in addition to the killing of thousands of Americans, he and Al-Qaeda caused the deaths of countless Muslims worldwide.

8:30am - India said the killing of Osama Bin Laden was a "victorious milestone" in the war against terrorism but urged the world to continue battling militancy, a statement from the foreign ministry said.

The world must not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate the safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighbourhood. The struggle must continue unabated.

8:16am - Thousands have flocked to Ground Zero to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden, alleged mastermind of the devastating September 11 attacks on New York nearly 10 years ago.

New York's police chief Raymond Kelly called the death of bin Laden a "welcome milestone" for the families of the 3,000 victims of the 2001 strikes by Al-Qaeda.

8:13am - Abbottabad is named after a colonial officer, so the 'Abbott' is the same as the Western pronunication of the name.

'abad'= aa-baa-d. Low 'a's, as in the British pronunciation of 'class'.

8:00am - This background on the operation to kill bin Laden was given to Al Jazeera by a senior US offiicial:

On June 2, 2009 the President signs a memo to Director Panetta stating “in order to ensure that we have expanded every effort, I direct you to provide me within 30 days a detailed operation plan for locating and bringing to justice Usama Bin Ladin…”

In the lead up to this operation, the President convened at least 9 meetings with his national security Principals. Principals met formally an additional five times themselves; and their Deputies met 7 times. This was in addition to countless briefings on the subject during the President’s intelligence briefings; and frequent consultations between the NSC, CIA, DoD and Joint Staff. The President was actively involved in reviewing all facets of the operation.

The President made the decision to undertake the operation at 8:20am on April 29th in the Diplomatic Room before he left for Alabama. In the Dip Room were Donilon, Daley, Brennan and McDonough. Donilon then prepared the formal orders and convened the Principals at 3pm to complete the planning.

May 1 -- staff worked pretty much all day today on the operation. Principals have been in the Situation Room since 1pm.

2:00pm the President met with the Principals to review final preparations.

3:32pm the President returned to the Sit Room for an additional briefing.

3:50pm the President first learns that UBL was tentatively identified.

7:01pm the President learns that there’s a “high probability” the HVT was UBL.

8:30pm the President receives further briefings.

7:00am - US president Barack Obama said Osama bin Laden, the most-wanted fugitive on the US list, was killed on Sunday in a US operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, about 150km north of Islamabad.Click here for more.

- Originally published on Al-Jazeera May 2, 2011 under Creative Commons Licensing