« Home | Hurricane who? » | Iran supposedly supplying Iraqi insurgents with so... » | Moss dross: will it ever stop? » | Prisons being used as a dumping ground for the men... » | Media and police distortions of a brothel raid. » | Former UDA leader murdered. » | Bush picks completely unknown quantity for supreme... » | UK approaches Libya over deportation agreements. » | Sun-watch: allegations of celebrity worship. » | Bali. » 

Friday, October 07, 2005 

Ten al-Qaida plots stopped since 9/11 and other stories.

Various interesting stories out today about Bush, the war on terror and its malcontents. The first is that in an otherwise piss-poor speech about Iraq, Bush mentioned that 10 al-Qaida plots had been stopped since 9/11.

George Bush claimed yesterday that at least 10 al-Qaida attacks had been thwarted since September 11, including three inside the US, during an impassioned speech in which he defended the war in Iraq and the wider fight against terrorism.

The president also said the US had stopped five more attempts by terrorists to "case targets in the US or infiltrate operatives into the country".

Among the 10 plots cited by Mr Bush, and later released as a dossier after much criticism for the vagueness of his claims, were three involving UK targets. The White House referred to them as the UK urban target plot of 2004 "using explosives against a variety of sites", in the UK, but remaining unnamed; the 2003 Heathrow airport plot where "the US and several partners disrupted a plot to attack Heathrow airport using hijacked commercial airliners"; and a bombing campaign planned for spring last year said to be "large-scale". Again, the supposed targets were not specified.

I wonder if this 2003 Heathrow airport plot is related to the government's deployment of tanks outside at the time, which just happened to be in the week before the February 15th Stop the War March, which at least 1.5 million attended. We have been told little of why they were deployed, and nothing much has been spoken of it since. If it wasn't to provoke fear and to make us think that maybe war against Iraq was justified to protect us here at home, why has there been no official explanation?
It's also worth wondering whether any of those plans intercepted involve the so-called ricin gang, where only Kamel Bourgass was found guilty.

Apart from the claims of saving us from human bombs, Bush's speech went over very familiar ground. An excellent rebuttal has been written by Juan Cole, and is available here.

Of more curious interest is the press release for an upcoming BBC2 programme, which has managed to get the former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath to go on the record and reveal that Bush seems to have a rather personal relationship with God:

One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."

More humourously, the article also mentions Blair and Bush supposedly praying together when they met at the Crawford ranch in 2002: something which Blair has strenuously denied. When asked by Jeremy Paxman in his main interview before the general election this year, Blair looked exasperated and angry that it had been brought up. It's true that Blair is a believer, despite Alastair Campbell's now famous remark that "we don't do God". Many have also speculated that Blair will eventually turn Catholic, away from his Anglican roots, mainly because Cherie was brought up as one.

On the Bush issue though, it's rather worrying that the leader of the free world seems to think that he is being spoken through by the Lord, or that he is carrying out God's will. While many have rightly pointed out that the atheist regimes of the 20th century were among the most brutal, you can't exactly forget the inquisition, crusades, or to be more modern, the Taliban in a hurry. Whether Bush genuinely does think that he is doing what God wants, it's always also been marketed squarely towards the religious right, the same right which has been angered this week by Bush's decision not to nominate an ideological conservative to the supreme court. Maybe this report won't do him any harm in their eyes. That said, it's worth remembering that it's the apocalyptic Baptists who believe in the reestablishment of Greater Israel, so that the second coming and armageddon will occur, that offer Bush their full support. They might not believe that it's the same God that's telling him to establish a Palestinian state.

In more heartening news, the Senate has voted to ban degrading treatment of anyone in US custody, wherever they are. However, don't expect it to be applied to Guantanamo, or to other various US outposts where terrorist suspects are being held, as the CIA has a waiver. The White House opposed it, saying it would "restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice". Yep, torturing suspects and anyone you just happen to pick up off the street in Iraq helps to protect Americans. You heard it here first.

Finally, New York's subway system has been put on alert following the supposed most significant and specific threat since 9/11. This alert of course would have nothing to do with the various scandals which now appear to be engulfing the Republicans and the Bush administration, ranging from Tom DeLay, to the Valerie Plame inquiries implicating Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, up to the handling of Katrina and the Israeli spying trials. Maybe a dose of heightened awareness about the terrorist threat will make everyone forget about them.

Share |

Links to this post

Create a Link