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Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on

It is unlikely that many of my readers are regular churchgoers, but 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. 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 disobey, 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 and prayer – 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 and despair upon discovering that the slaughter was instigated by an ally of your own Government, the champion of the “War on Terror”, the USA. The children were sacrificed at the behest of the CIA, on the grounds that a bad guy was in the building – to hell with the innocent!


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. No apology was offered by the US. On the contrary, 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 the children 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 what is believed to be another U.S. drone attack on a cleric's house in Pakistan.

Repeated airstrikes in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11 have killed countless noncombatants, worshippers at mosques and wedding guests. 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 some of the victims at Damadola were “associates of al Qaeda”, but this does not excuse the CIA’s relentless slaughter of innocents, the global torture gulags, the serial flouting of international laws, etc. Even diehard conservatives must realize the futility of bombing allies. Up to 10,000 men, women and children rallied in the southern city of 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.


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 murder of the devotees at Damadola. As though to divert scrutiny of this crime, he is currently berating the mass media with dire warnings that the West will soon be hit with a major attack from a terrorist organisation, (presumably, one that rivals the CIA in ruthlessness). It could be anthrax, he says, or maybe WMD’s, even nuclear, bio-tech…. Did he mention bird flu? Not sure, but he reckons Osma bin Laden is still alive… and ticking.

Even as these words pour out, I wonder if I am wasting my time. Maybe the web merely cushions dissent, instead of being its springboard. A screaming room in a nut house. “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 ever dropped a nuclear bomb on a civilian population is unlikely to blink at collateral damage. In fact, the US military seems to relish big explosions at midnight, blood on the walls, the scattered bodies of decapitated children. And there’s plenty more bombs in the pipeline.

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Richard Neville has been a practicing futurist since 1963, when he launched the countercultural magazine, Oz, which widened the boundaries of free speech on two continents. He has written several books, including Playpower (71), the bio of a global (more...)
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