Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Cinco de Mayo Toast to the Unsung Informant

Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5 in the U.S. while the rest of the world celebrates May Day on May 1? The official story involves the 1862 Battle of Puebla between the Second Federal Republic of Mexico and the Second French Empire but no one really knows the truth, and I probably shouldn't tell you now.

May Day celebrates the "martyrs" of the 1886 Haymarket Riots in Chicago and has become the great holiday of international socialism. Labor demonstrations starting on May 1 culminated in a faceoff between protesters and police on May 4, where anarchists tossed a bomb into the police line killing seven policemen. The United States of America has never been able to bring itself to joining the rest of the world in celebrating the killing of those policemen.

May 5 was the day the police acting on information raided the offices of the anarchist August Spies, who was convicted and executed of conspiracy in the deaths along with Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, and Louis Lingg (who committed suicide on the day before the execution). That's why America celebrates May 5.

An attempt was made a year ago by President Barack Obama to rehabilitate May 1 in the eyes of Americans when he gave the order to get Osama Bin Laden in time to announce it to the country on the evening of May 1, 2011. The horrified international socialists were quick to observe that Bin Laden died an hour after midnight on May 2 local time in Pakistan. That's OK, we can justas easily celebrate Kill Bin Laden Eve.

Time Magazine editor Whittaker Chambers who turned in communist spy Alger Hiss, Oscar winning film director Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront) who named names for the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952, and unabomber Ted Kaczynski's brother David are a few famous American police informants. Mostly, it's an anonymous trade.

Now you might think no one sings the praises of police informants, but there you would be wrong. "Say a prayer for Lefty too" as you drink a toast on Cinco de Mayo. This song was made famous by Willie Nelson but written by the lesser known Townes Van Zandt. We'll give the honors to Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch, because every unsung hero needs to be serenaded by a pretty lady or two.

Here's to you out there tonight. Perhaps you're hanging with the Taliban in a Pakistani border town, huddling with Al Qaeda remnants in Yemen, or just singing the blues not quite as well as you used to at an Occupy encampment on a cold night under a Cleveland bridge. The safety of the free world depends on your information.

And Osama Bin Laden? No one heard his dying words either. And while the experts and pundits debate whether the information that led us to him came from waterboarding someone a decade ago, the true source was likely much more recent. We should give credit to the brave men of Seal Team 6 to be sure. But I suspect that a few days after Bin Laden was killed, on May 5, 2011 let's say, a lone informant got his due, a stack of unmarked cash, the thanks of a grateful nation, delivered in a brown paper bag in a dark corner of a nondescript Abbottabad parking garage. Drain your glass for the great informer whose name we may never know!

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