UPDATE: A communique from al-Qaida makes it clear that whoever might not believe that Osama bin Laden is dead, the organization he headed believes it, and they’re not amused.
From Al Jazeera English:
Al-Qaeda has confirmed the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, and said in an online posting that it would continue to launch attacks on the West.
The group said it would not deviate from the path of armed struggle and that bin Laden’s blood ” is more precious to us and to every Muslim than to be wasted in vain”.
The statement was released on forums sympathetic to al-Qaeda and translated by the SITE monitoring service on Friday.
“It [bin Laden's blood] will remain, with permission from Allah the Almighty, a curse that chases the Americans and their agents, and goes after them inside and outside their countries,”al-Qaeda said.
It was not clear what country the statement had been posted from.
The message called upon Pakistan, where bin Laden was discovered, to “rise up and revolt to cleanse this shame that has been attached to them… and to clean their country from the filth of the Americans who spread corruption in it”.
It added that the group would soon release an audiotape of bin Laden that was recorded one week before he was killed by US commandos on Monday.
Al Qaida in Yemen confirmed the death four days ago, and Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula declared itself “devastated” by the news, which it called a “catastrophe.”
They’re baaack! Judicial Watch, which sues presidents pretty much for a living, is filing a Freedom of Information Request to try and get hold of those Osama bin Laden death pictures. And if that doesn’t work? They’ll sue.
From The Hill:
Tom Fitton, the group’s president, said he doesn’t believe President Obama’s objections to releasing the photos outweigh the public’s right to know.
“We are prepared to sue if they don’t respond as they are supposed to under the law,” Fitton told The Hill. “I have not heard anything from the president that would provide a lawful basis for not providing the photos. Not wanting to be seen as ‘spiking the football’ is not a lawful reason to withhold documents under FOIA.”
On Tuesday, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request with the Defense Department for photos and videos of bin Laden on the day of the U.S. military raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The group also filed a request for the bin Laden photos Wednesday with the CIA.
Under the law, the Obama administration has 20 days to respond to those requests. If those requests are denied, the watchdog group can file an appeal and eventually a lawsuit to secure the release of the photos.
“This is arguably the most important military operation in our lifetimes. This is basic information,” Fitton said.
The FOIA could be tripped up by the photos being in White House rather than DoD custody, though it’s not clear from The Hill story whether the president could simply classify them and keep them out of the public domain, since they could be said to be a product of government agency – the Defense Department itself. We’ll see. The ACLU and other government transparency organizations are so far declining to get on board the Judicial Watch train on this one.
Meanwhile, President Obama will visit with SEAL Team 6, who caught and killed bin Laden early Sunday. The meeting will come tomorrow as the president also visits with troops at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
And more details of the raid and the intelligence gleaned from it are emerging, including the fact that the SEALs may have encountered only a single armed man inside the compound, which could set off a fresh round of hand wringing from liberals uncomfortable with the raid; and an allegation that al-Qaida may have been planning a rail attack inside the United States to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Story here.
Pakistan is warning the U.S.: no more raids without telling us.
But just in case folks on Capitol Hill are not amenable to sending more cash, the Pakistanis are calling in the lobbyists.
You won’t have to wait long for the movie of bin Laden’s capture. A film apparently was already in the works when the ending was written for the filmmakers on Sunday according to Variety. Katherine Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal (the team that brought you “The Hurt Locker” — for which Bigelow won a best director Oscar) planned to start shooting the flick this summer. That could spell some discomfort though, since some troops and veterans took exception to the reckless, cowboy depiction of the lead character in “Hurt Locker.” Among the objectors: Paul Rieckhoff, who has become hugely influential as founder of IAVA. We’ll see how the new film goes over.