COSATU concerned at execution of Osama Bin Laden

Federation says Al-Qaeda leader was not given chance to plead his case

COSATU statement on death of Osama bin Laden

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has consistently deplored the use of terror and violence for political ends.

We unreservedly condemned the 9/11 attacks in the USA, and others in Kenya, England, Spain and elsewhere. We have absolutely no sympathy for the late Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organisation, which has murdered hundreds of innocent civilians. There can be no possible justification for their methods, regardless of the political cause for which they are carried out.

COSATU is however extremely concerned at the manner in which Bin Laden was killed by US government forces in Pakistan. It is following a trend of using armed force, under the excuse of fighting ‘terrorism', by the USA, Britain and France in particular, to justify invading other countries in order to protect their economic interests and impose their hegemony on the world.

The invasion of Iraq was justified by claims that Saddam Hussein was holding weapons of mass destruction for use in terrorist campaigns, which to this day has never been proved. COSATU deplored Saddam's brutal repression of his people, but noted that Saddam had previously been an ally of the USA in the war against Iran. We condemned the US-led invasion which was not waged to promote democracy but to secure access to the country's oil reserves.

Similarly the US-led invasion of Afghanistan was justified as part of the war against terror, despite the fact that the Taliban, like Saddam, had also been promoted by the US as an ally against the then Soviet Union and its sympathetic regime in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden at that time was working with the Taliban and, according to Wikipedia, "From 1979 through 1989 under Presidents Carter and Reagan, the US Central Intelligence Agency provided overt and covert financial aid, arms and training to Osama's Islamic Jihad Mujahideen through Operation Cyclone, and the Reagan Doctrine. President Reagan often praised the Mujahideen as Afghanistan's ‘Freedom Fighters'."

Today the US's former allies, in the resistance movement in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, are arrested on suspicion of ‘terrorism', imprisoned without trial in Guantanamo Bay and subject to torture and inhumane treatment. In Bin Laden's case he was summarily executed, without any chance to plead his case. The principle of being innocent until proved guilty has been flagrantly ignored in all these cases.

A similar story is now being played out in Libya, with Britain and France playing the leading role, using the undeniably brutal nature of Gaddafi's dictatorship, as an excuse to bring about a regime change, in order, yet again, to protect their access to oil. This is despite having accepted Gadaffi's apology for the Lockerbie plane bombing, which was supposed to have led to the normalisation of relations. These former colonial powers are acting as though African countries were still their colonies.

These are all worrying signs that the big imperialist powers, which already dominate international institutions like the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which they use to protect their domination of the global economy, are increasing using direct military means to maintain their strategic political and economic interests.

COSATU agrees with the ANC statement, that "world problems cannot be resolved through violence, but through peaceful means. There can therefore, be no justification for the use of violence to resolve global challenges that we daily face - whether social, political or economic...

"It is against this background that - while we have noted reports of the death of Osama bin Laden - we hope that his death will greatly contribute towards a peaceful resolution in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan - countries that have seen high levels of conflict."

Statement issued by Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson, May 3 2011

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