Sometimes you get the publicity you deserve. For David Hicks the decision to pose up with a rocket launcher perched on his shoulder was somewhat regrettable in the PR department.
I’m not saying of course that posing with an RPG of itself justifies being thrown in the clink at Guantanamo Bay for several years and then incarcerated with some of South Australia’s most accomplished scumbags and weirdos at the Yatala Correctional Facility. But, you know, people will draw their own conclusions.
Especially when coupled with the fact that you did it because you were being trained by al-Qaeda. And happened to meet Osama bin Laden four times. Once is an accident, twice a zany coincidence, but three or more suggests you’ve fallen in with a bad crowd.
Latest 2 of 129 commentsView all comments
Eleven years yesterday since the murder of thousands of innocents in New York and Washington. Eleven years and 36 days since President Bush received a disturbing daily intelligence memo entitled: “BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE IN U.S.”.
The world has known about that memo’s contents since August 2004, when the Bush Administration declassified the document for the 9/11 commission.
Yesterday, though, there were further revelations (and accusations) that the Bush White House’s treatment of the Al Qaeda threat before 9/11 was grossly negligent in an opinion piece in a major American newspaper.
Author and journalist Kurt Eichenwald wrote in The New York Times:
Latest 2 of 118 commentsView all comments
A woman is summarily executed in front of 150 cheering men, as a man read from the Koran, and said: “Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it’s the wrong way. It is the order of Allah that she be executed. We cannot forgive her, God tells us to finish her. Juma Khan, her husband, has the right to kill her.”
The authorities blame the Taliban, the hardline Islamic group who ruled Afghanistan until 2001, for the murder of 22-year-old Najiba, accused of sleeping with one Taliban member while being married to another.
The video is shocking. The idea that such a repulsively evil thing can be done so openly, so close to Kabul, with so many witnesses eagerly watching, even more so.
Latest 2 of 435 commentsView all comments
The death of Al-Qaeda’s leader has sparked a fierce response that lacks an understanding of the real world. The world is not perfect and nobody should pretend that it is.
Nor is foreign policy black and white. It is a cocktail of aspirational idealism and hard fought realism but too often we forget this. The last few weeks have seen an army of armchair commentators purporting their often narrow and moralist interpretations of events as the only courses of action that would have been permissible. So let’s set the record straight on ten fundamental questions with some real world answers:
1. Could Bin Laden have been captured rather than killed?
Late Sunday night it was revealed on Twitter - by a well-known TV presenter whom I assume approved - that David Hicks had just received a standing ovation at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
I wanted to know what they were cheering and tweeted: “Fact he abandoned wife and kids? Fact he thought OBL terrific bloke?”
There was no answer, but soon after another tweet arrived, from a complete stranger, saying: “God I am so glad you said that… I am no right wing jerk BUT I draw the line.”
Latest 2 of 174 commentsView all comments
I don’t care what you believe, what awful things you’ve seen to make you hate - if you think an aeroplane ploughing into a skyscraper full of civilians is a good thing there is something seriously wrong with you.
So what was wrong with Osama bin Laden?
Like Muhammad Atta, the pilot of the second plane to strike the World Trade Centre, bin Laden was an educated man from a privileged background.
Latest 2 of 84 commentsView all comments
For nearly a decade, the question of what Osama bin Laden might look like ran a close second to where he might be located.
Do years of murderous terrorism escalate the hair greying process? Would he be with beard or without? And what are the dress regulations for 21st Century villainy? Semi-criminal or smart homicidal?
In the long years between the September 11 terrorist attacks and Operation Assassination, these were key questions faced by US authorities as they tried to keep the visuals on their wanted posters and card decks up to date.
Amongst the rubble of the Abbotabad compound, US Forces discovered a diary which they have leaked to diaryleaks.com.au, after Julian Assange rejected it due to “quality” and “veracity” issues. Read on for selected excerpts.
3 February 2002
Have decided to keep diary to ensure world has record of important post 9/11 career.
So far contribution to global jihad has mainly been hiding in caves. Somewhat out of touch with day-to-day Al Qaeda operations. Number 2 is running things from Yemen in my absence.
It all changes, however, when that man is Osama Bin Laden.
There are many theories about how heroes and villains are created. The majority of us are destined to work nine to five and will neither blow buildings up nor end world poverty.
It’s unlikely John Howard will apologise, but he should at least feel deeply embarrassed.
Al Qaeda would be praying that Barack Obama became US president, Howard said in February 2007.
The comment—an obvious diplomatic gaffe then—looks particularly stupid now.
Latest 2 of 65 commentsView all comments
The world is justifiably relieved that Osama bin Laden is dead. But there’s this niggling little feeling that the whole operation was a little bit too… American.
The US as judge, jury and executioner. A daring and dramatic feat, and our brave heroes, kill the bad (really bad) guy. The President declares the victory and the crowds take to the streets chanting “USA. USA. USA.”.
Update: Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot and killed, although the Whitehouse says there was a “volatile firefight” underway. All the latest at news.com.au.
Latest 2 of 416 commentsView all comments
The ‘world’s most wanted man’, Osama bin Laden is dead. For all the latest news, see www.news.com.au. For an analysis of what it means, here is what Matthew Gray, ANU expert in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, had to say.
This is a symbolic victory, and there’s considerable satisfaction for those who wanted revenge. I’m not sure it’ll have that much operational or strategic impact on Al Qaeda, though.
Osama was not, as far as I can tell, doing much direct operational work or strategic stuff beyond setting vague directions as to where the Al Qaeda ‘brand name’ might go from here – Al Qaeda is now a set of like-minded groups in different parts of the world.
Latest 2 of 170 commentsView all comments
US president Barack Obama has just announced officially the news currently flashing around the world, which is that Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Bin Laden was hunted down and killed by US operatives, in a mission which followed a tip-off last August. The strike on Bin occurred in Abbottabad, in northern Pakistan. Members of his family are also believed to have been killed. There were no US casualties in the firefight. It is not known whether any civilians were harmed.
The architect of 9/11 and numerous other terrorist atrocities, Bin Laden has been wanted dead or alive by the US for almost a decade now. The immediate question now is whether the global jihadist movement will be diminished or indeed possibly strengthened by his death.
Latest 2 of 288 commentsView all comments
Clad in his spectacular Bishop’s regalia, Greek Orthodox Bishop Ezekiel throws a cross in the water at the annual “Thefeonia” at Station Pier. This Greek “Festival of the Waters” is held at Port Melbourne in early January every year, where I’ve represented Federal Labor to the sometimes 5 to 6 thousand members of the Greek Australian community.
Usually I’m there with an array of local State and Federal Greek Australian politicians, but, in my own mind, my presence is emblematic of the natural tolerance and pluralism of modern Australia. All the politicians release doves and make brief speeches.
At the “Thefeonia” this year it seemed appropriate that I briefly expressed the nation’s solidarity with another ancient Christian community, Australia’s Copts, who are approximately 80,000 strong across Australia four of whose churches, in Australia were amongst the sixty four listed worldwide as targets by an Al Qaeda website.
Latest 2 of 73 commentsView all comments
News that our Diggers have rejected Kevin Rudd’s pessimistic view of the war in Afghanistan is no surprise.
A foreign minister who derides the French and German contribution to the conflict as nothing more than ‘organising folk dancing festivals’ when each nation has suffered nearly 50 casualties is insensitive and out of touch.
Like our European friends Australia’s participation in Afghanistan is part of a broader international effort that is making considerable progress.
Latest 2 of 55 commentsView all comments
It is fair to say that there is a growing sense of unease in Australia about our commitment in Afghanistan. Twenty-one Australian soldiers have now died.
The latest casualty, Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney, was laid to rest just nine days ago. Five hours after his burial his widow Beckie gave birth to their second child.
Beckie’s friend, Courier Mail journalist Jane Fynes-Clinton, wrote a heartfelt but forthright column about the broader meaning of this family’s private tragedy. She argued on behalf of her friend that Australia should honour Jared’s memory by staying the course in Afghanistan.
Latest 2 of 37 commentsView all comments
Who’s going to say it first? Surely in the prickly conversations going on through the ranks of Australian sport and diplomacy, many people are suggesting it: that we shouldn’t be going to the Commonwealth Games.
It is one thing to take your own life in your hands by getting on a toboggan and going down an ice chute but it is quite another for governments and sporting authorities to send athletes to a place where people are threatening to kill them.
Following today’s threat of a terrorist attack on the Games in New Delhi from an al-Qaeda offshoot the stakes have been raised to vertigo-inducing levels. Fox Sports reports today:
Latest 2 of 43 commentsView all comments
As a new year begins we should look at where we are with the struggle against Jihadi terrorism.
Retrospectively, we can now see a pattern in the role of Pakistani based Jihadists and new potential threats to Australia.
Three Australians, Gareth McEvoy, Nathan Verity, and Craig Senger, were murdered in Jakarta on July 17 by al-Qaeda’s South East Asian franchise, Jemaah Islamiyah.
Latest 2 of 62 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…