The UK’s Daily Mail reported that the U.S. dropped charges against Bin Laden for the USS Cole and US Embassy bombings:
U.S. District Court judge Lewis Kaplan, who had been presiding over the bin Laden case in Manhattan federal court, issued an order called ‘nolle prosequi’, which means ‘do not prosecute’ in Latin, a typical legal move once a defendant is deceased.
Bin Laden was indicted back in 1998 in the Southern District of New York for his role in the al Qaeda attack on the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed more than 200 people, including a dozen Americans.
The indictment was later revised to charge bin Laden in the dual bombings of two American embassies in East Africa that killed 224 on August 7, 1998, and in the suicide attack on the USS Cole in 2000. None of the charges involved the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
It was 5 long years ago that author Ed Haas had noticed that the FBI web page for Bin Laden did not mention the attacks of 9/11. He called the FBI to find out more:
On June 5, 2006, author Ed Haas contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters to ask why, while claiming that bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 1998 bombings of US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the poster does not indicate that he is wanted in connection with the events of 9/11.
Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI responded, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.” Tomb continued,“Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.” Asked to explain the process, Tomb responded, “The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice then decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”
Since that report, the FBI has not displayed bin Laden’s web-page with information connecting him to the 9/11 attacks. Even further, the FBI has acknowledged evidence of controlled demolitions as “backed by thorough research” when presented by Richard Gage.That letter from the FBI is downloadable here.
Lack of evidence to connect Bin Laden to 9/11 aside, many are wondering why the death of Usama does not translate into the death of the ill-named “War on Terror.” Quite the opposite has become the case actually.
Within days of killing Bin Laden a NATO air-strike was launched on Tripoli, Libya killing one of Gaddafi’s sons. The death was not confirmed by NATO and there are questions as to the veracity of the report as Al Jazeera noted, however the article also pointed out the following:
Gaddafi and his wife were in the Tripoli house of his 29-year-old son, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, when it was hit by at least one missile fired by a NATO warplane late on Saturday, Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said on Sunday.
Al-Arab’s compound in Tripoli’s Garghour neighbourhood was attacked “with full power” in a “direct operation to assassinate the leader of this country”, Ibrahim said, calling the strike a violation of international law.
“What we have now is the law of the jungle,” he told a news conference. “We think now it is clear to everyone that what is happening in Libya has nothing to do with the protection of civilians.”
Alongside the Libya campaign were drone strikes in Yemen; barely remembered at this point but not completely forgotten. Karen Greenburg reports at Salon:
As if to underscore the policy implications of this commitment to “redoubling our efforts,” drone aircraft were dispatched on escalating post-bin-Laden assassination runs from Yemen (including a May 6th failed attempt on American al-Qaida follower Anwar al-Awlaki) to Pakistan. There, on May 23rd, a drone failed to take out Taliban leader Mullah Omar, while, on June 2nd, an attempt to kill Ilyas Kashmiri, a militant associated with the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, India, may (or may not) have failed. And those were only the most publicized of escalating drone attacks, while reports of a major “intensification” of the drone campaign in Yemen are pouring in.
Appropriately she also brings up the PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo Bay and other attempts to expand the all-out-war-on-everything:
In the meantime, President Obama used the bin Laden moment to push through and sign into law a four-year renewal of the Patriot Act, despite bipartisan resistance in Congress and the reservations of civil liberties groups. They had stalled its passage earlier in the year, hoping to curtail some of its particularly onerous sections, including the “lone wolf” provision that allows surveillance of non-US citizens in America, even if they have no ties to foreign powers, and the notorious Section 215, which grants the FBI authority to obtain library and business records in the name of national security.
One thing could not be doubted. The administration was visibly using the bin Laden moment to renew George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror (even if without that moniker). And let’s not forget about the leaders of Congress, who promptly accelerated their efforts to ensure that the apparatus for the war that 9/11 started would never die. Congressman Howard McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was typical. On May 9th, he introduced legislation meant to embed in law the principle of indefinite detention without trial for suspected terrorists until “the end of hostilities.” What this would mean, in reality, is the perpetuation ad infinitum of that Bush-era creation, our prison complex at Guantanamo (not to speak of our second Guantanamo at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan).
However all is not lost. At a recent Conference of Mayors the discussion was focused on bringing money for the war back home (interestingly money seems to be the factor – not the human toll). One mayor summed it up nicely as The Nation reports:
Mayor Joseph O’Brien of Worcester, Massachusetts, summed up sentiments at the conference when he complained that, “We are spending a billion a month after Osama bin Laden has been killed. And while I appreciate the effort to rebuild nations around the world, we have tremendous needs in communities like mine.”
Also Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul and others came together to sue the Federal Government for violating the War Powers Act and the Constitution during its war with Libya. The AP notes:
The lawmakers say Obama violated the Constitution in bypassing Congress and using international organizations like the UnitedNations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to authorize military force.
The lawmakers want a judge to issue an order suspending military operations without congressional approval. They said they were filing their lawsuit Wednesday against Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Capping this story well is a reminder by Jonathon Shell at TomDispatch:
Nobody seems to have noticed, but in the nearly two and a half years of the Obama administration at least three commonplace phrases of the George W. Bush era have slipped into oblivion: “regime change,” “shock and awe,” and “imperial presidency.” The war in Libya should remind us of just how appropriate they remain.