Echo of the Muslim world’s events

  • 2011-05-11
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis

VILNIUS - News about the killing of Osama bin Laden, which was achieved, according to former CIA Director Michael Hayden, partially due to leads extracted by the famous detainees’ interrogation techniques in the black sites (U.S. secret terrorist detention centers), provoked little public reaction from Lithuanian officials, while interest was big among local media, which published opinions of Lithuanian survivors who escaped the fall of the Twin Towers as well as reports from Aurelija Radziunaite, 24, who after an Internet acquaintance, married a Pakistani man (one of his brothers, according to her Internet blog, asked her if Lithuania has a border with the USA) and has lived for three years in Abbottabad. Bin Laden was killed in that city, which has a road sign near its entrance stating “Welcome to the city of poets.” The city was named after Sir James Abbott, a British army officer and poet of the 19th century.

Radziunaite told the Lithuanian media that locals do not believe in the death of bin Laden. She heard the explosion in bin Laden’s house but she and her husband found out who their neighbor was only by watching TV the next morning. Her husband expressed the opinion that they lived in quite a safe neighborhood, where both the Pakistani military academy and bin Laden coexisted.

On May 2, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister expressed fear that after bin Laden’s death, no neighborhood in the world is safe. “The response is, of course, possible if taking into account how vengeful terrorists are,” Azubalis said. There would be less possibility for terrorists to respond if bin Laden would have been taken to some black site for inquiry, instead of the murder solution, but due to the modern fashion of political correctness and due to a weird scandal about a mystical black site in Lithuania, such a theme is taboo in Vilnius. Anyway, if bin Laden would have been killed several years ago, his death would have been a big story among the world’s Arabs, but now they are fighting for freedom and do not care about jihad and a world-wide caliphate.

During the same short briefing, Azubalis also took the opportunity to say that Lithuania’s official position on Libya does not coincide with President Dalia Grybauskaite’s recent statement, which some of Lithuania’s allies can describe as a foot in the mouth. “The military operation obviously overstepped the UN mandate. Only the no-fly zone and protection of civilians were supposed to be established,” Grybauskaite told Austrian daily Die Presse, adding “First of all, we should seek finding a political solution. There are plenty of violent dictators in Africa’s south but nobody talks about military interference. Why was it needed in Libya?”

“The UN’s mandate is not overstepped. It is important to use all possible means to protect civilians. The president’s statement reflects the opinion of some commentators and it is no wonder that such an opinion is expressed,” Azubalis said. He must watch out: his predecessor, Vygaudas Usackas, lost the job of foreign minister after daring to disagree with Grybauskaite (on the issue of the possibility of the existence of a U.S.-managed black site near Vilnius in the past – he was not a believer in the existence of such a site). Now Usackas is the EU’s special envoy for Afghanistan. He said that he received hundreds of congratulatory e-mails from Afghan friends after the killing of bin Laden, though before that event he got a bullet, which stuck in the bullet-proof window of his office in Kabul.

Another Islamist-related story in Lithuania is the case of Egle Kusaite, a 22-year old Muslim convert who allegedly planned a terrorist attack in Russia. The Lithuanian human rights’ activists have suspicions that the case was made up by the Lithuanian State Security Department to demonstrate its fight against terrorism. The State Security Department has observed Kusaite closely since she was 16 years old, according to the human rights’ activists. On May 10, the Vilnius court decided to release her from pre-trial imprisonment.