You better watch out, as this is not St Nicholas I am talking about. It’s too early for that and he will only start his Yuletide journey from the polar regions after enjoying whatever he can find there of summer’s heat. No melting ice cap will make him budge from his routine either.
Another though may face the real heat. This pretender may make an early appearance and he generally reserves his glad tidings to a respectable band of murderers whose global, concentric fiefdom is centered in the White House. He has a beard, lacks a paunch, and his bulging red bag, containing gifts of fear, death and deception, oozes with blood. Unlike Nicholas, nobody knows where he is, though the name of Osama bin Laden is on the forefront again.
President George W. Bush – the terror president - is not too sure about winning the November elections. That is winning it for the first time. With increasing intensity, there are unspecified terror warnings, and the warrior president is ramping up fear in desperation. You will find terror in a small town in Nebraska, terror under the quilt, terror in the air, terror from foreigners, terror at Halloween, terror in Santa stockings, terror everywhere except at Pennsylvania Avenue, on condition that Dick Cheney doesn't go AWOL when that fateful moment occurs. If he does...
“Dick Cheney can be president!” Hope that wasn’t a prophetic remark.
Opinion polls of course - when honestly presented - can be decisive in this war on terror. If John Kerry gets the upper hand, Bush can deliver his sucker punch – a dead bin Laden.
I will take my hats off and admit defeat by snorting a lethal dose of depleted uranium – simply by freelancing from Baghdad - if Bin Laden is ever captured alive. But I will want to question the man first.
Besides the plethora of questions raised by 9/11 skeptics, I will want to know how he had evaded a global dragnet for so long. Even Santa can be tracked on the net these days. Being the world’ s most wanted man is not easy in this panoptic world, not with a US$50 million bounty on your head. The French intelligence earlier claimed that he evaded capture in the nick of time, with a frequency and luck that made Carlos look like a Jackass. If that luck runs out this time, Bush will have Diebold machines tweaked to play American roulette, a variant that makes winning certain.
Since we know nuts about a lot of things, and can’t even solve John F. Kennedy’s murder, or Abraham Lincoln’s alleged tiff with mega financiers, where a chunk of the Nazi gold went, let’s explore where bin Laden might be. Here are the hypotheses:
Waziristan: The quarry is a diabetic and needs regular treatment. Has any smart aleck kept a registry of medical professionals in the region, an inventory of medical supplies and the movement of spare parts for medical kits? This lawless frontier province is supposedly sealed, and many highwaymen here operate with makeshift guns, a cottage industry spanning more than a century. The 160,000-odd soldiers dispatched to Iraq may have found it hard to shock and awe this terror hotspot, making a detour to Baghdad more desirable. The Pakistani ISI must also be more preoccupied with Hindu India than track the relevant medical desiderata, and the Internet, telephone and postal giveaways in this region. From the angle of communications alone, in a place of low phone and postal penetration, they should have nailed bin Laden long back. There are three prized quarries on the loose, if you include Ayman al-Zawahiri and Mullah M! ohammad Omar. If reports are true, they are in separate locations and the chances of them evading detection together, in our age, is astounding. The surgeon al-Zawahiri could of course be treating bin Laden, which increases the bounty to US$75 million. A turncoat could kill two birds with one stone and become a major player in Wall Street. Bin Laden’s hardcore lieutenants must be loyal in a region known for its shifting allegiances, and its murderous, clannish rivalries. Has Afghanistan known lasting peace since the days of Alexander the Great? Oh yeah, the Soviets met their debacle here, after Bin Laden and Co were armed to the teeth by the United States. No minor power can match that now. Excuses?
Top Secret Detention Centre: There are quite a number of these, and they remain a secret. If anyone from this triumvirate of terror is holed up here, the Bush administration will be accused of wasting away many American and Iraqi lives in their bid for global domination, guised under the war on terror. Very hard to imagine how American soldiers are going to maintain this secret, if it exists, unless private mercenaries, preferably those trained by Blackwell are in charge. You can discount money; the amount of loyalty needed to keep this sub rosa would approach cultic proportions
Already Dead: Highly plausible. He could have been confirmed killed at Tora Bora or somewhere nearby at this convenient hour. Bush would still be accused of a treasonous lie unless Jerry Bruckheimer – who helps package US wars – dispatches a CSI team to uncover his remains. A bone fragment with the right DNA cannot lie, and it can conveniently be discovered, or verified, soon. He could also have been dead long before Tora Bora or had a tooth plucked out for this eventuality.
Plush Harem: After all, the word “seraglio” originates from the Middle East and one shouldn’t discount why Bin Laden is not living the good life. With his medical condition, he needs some comfort and what better place than a safe redoubt, even a city, where Muslim leaders collaborate with the Bush administration. Look at the official statements emanating from Amman, Riyadh, Islamabad and Baghdad. Don’t; they have an uncanny similarity to Tel Aviv’s pronouncement against “terror”? Local reporters who trace the timeline and events leading up to 9/11 may find their lives or careers in jeopardy. The luckier ones will find their employment prospects frozen, passport renewals rejected for strange reasons, and income tax deductions declared larcenous. They better stick to their usual conspiracy theories i.e. a rehash of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. No need of cu! ltic loyalty, just plain fear will do.
Under this scenario, bin Laden has to be handed over covertly, dead, to the US authorities.
The Iranian Connection: The West has been battling Persia longer than the Arabs, and before Islam took root in the region. Like in the ancient days, Iran is poised to be a regional power again, something their Aryan cousins wouldn’t like. Recently, a close confidante of bin Laden, Khaled bin Ouda bin Mohammed al-Harby surrendered himself to the Saudi authorities under an amnesty plan that found few takers. This man was videotaped seated beside Bin Laden during a 9/11 thanksgiving dinner and turned to “God” and his haloed Saudi monarchy after getting stranded in the Afghan-Iranian border. The US is downplaying this catch, and insists he is not an “operational planner” but just a crippled hanger on to bin Laden. Al-Harby may know all those “secret locations” for a timely, successful liquidation of a high value target. If Bush wins “re-election”, he can blame Iran for all the mess and start a new war on terror.
Having terminated one target and blaming Iran will help Kerry, if he wins, to prolong the war on terror. That’s what the puppet masters would want. This limp challenger has done nothing but promote Bush’s policies under pretty boy slogans. Do you expect him to protest if the elections are rigged again?
If Bush engineers an upswing in the polls, then Bin Laden need not be produced. Under electoral threat, it would be best to capture, yes capture, Mullah Omar and wait. If that fails, kill al-Zawahiri weeks before the November polls. That would do the trick. The gentleman’s agreement with Bin laden would hold, for a while, predicated on the premise that he is still alive. August and September are indeed crucial months.
So kids, you better watch out! Don’t be naughty. Be nice. Santa may come early.
Mathew Maavak publishes an eclectic online journal called the Panoptic World (www.maavak.net). He is a journalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (C) Copyright 2004 Mathew Maavak.
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