The headlines are as unvarying as the chorus in a Medieval chant: “Foiled Terror Plot on Scale of 9/11.” “How Britain Prevented Another 9/11.” “Worst since 9/11.” You can tell the 9/11 fifth anniversary is approaching fast, and lacking a fresh angle. Now it has one.
Pakistan is revealing that an arrested British national in Pakistan supplied information that tipped authorities. Spreading the fear (a hot American export) American officials warn India of attacks in Delhi and Mumbai, says the Times of India. Now from the Department of Contradictions: The Washington Post reveals that authorities traced the plot all the way back to 2005: “By late 2005, the probe had expanded to involve several hundred investigators on three continents. They kept dozens of suspects under close surveillance for months, even as some of the plotters traveled between Britain and Pakistan to raise money, find recruits and refine their scheme, according to interviews with U.S. and European counterterrorism officials.” But this kicker: “Precise details of the plot -- how many planes, their destinations and the date -- remain unknown.” In other words, headlines suggesting an near-miss are apparently wrong.
Susan and Joseph Trento argue in the LATimes that “Security experts knew of this kind of plan, and have been urging carry-on restrictions, since before 9/11. Why is TSA so late?”
From the Editorial Board: “It will become clear over the next few days how close the plot to blow up several trans-Atlantic aircraft had come to realization -- when, for example, the bombs the alleged terrorist plotters intended to use are or are not revealed. An unfortunate but necessary degree of doubt now shadows government's claims about foiled terrorist plots, given recent alerts that turned out to be little more than harebrained schemes chattered about more than actually coordinated to the point of imminence.” See the editorial in the Daytona Beach News-Journal…
Bill O'Reilly, Hero? From Crooks and Liars: "O’Reilly was really spreading his brand of propaganda over the thwarted terrorist plot tonight. His hopes that the Republicans will stay in power really had him juiced and he was humming. Bill talked about the NSA program guest after guest, condemning liberals for opposing it and citing information that the NSA wiretapping program was used to stop the threat. That’s great news, we need all the tools we have to fight off the terrorists. Except…here comes the good part….he admitted that the government got warrants to use the NSA program. I couldn’t believe my ears. That’s been the whole issue surrounding the controversy. He proved our point!" See the video clip... (thanks for the alert Ohdave)
ThomasMc.com: "Fear: It's the glue that holds America together. Elections are just months away, so it's time for another terror alert! This time it's "red", for "Republicans losing." Of course, this horrible "terrorist threat" [Reuters] will again mysteriously vanish on Nov. 3, but the pathetic majority is too stupid to ever put two and two together and realize what's going on. Evolution has failed us. Note: even DHS Secretary Chertoff says the plot was to take down flights from the UK to the US, and "there is no indication, however, of plotting within the United States;" nonetheless they are banning all liquids on all flights internal to the USA. I wonder when Karl Rove gave the order."
Absurd juxtaposition of the day: In this morning's Times: “Israel has asked the Bush administration to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions, which it could use to strike Hezbollah missile sites in Lebanon, two American officials said Thursday.” In This afternoon’s Times: “sraeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed early on Saturday to recommend that his government accept a revised United Nations Security Council resolution that should bring an end to the month-long war with Hezbollah and Lebanon, senior Israeli officials said.” In sum, we're heading for peace by clusterfuck (pardon my Hebrew-accented Arabic).
Briefly close to a cease-fire, Lebanon in flames again. Russia “losing patience” with the UN resolution, reports the UK Independent. At 6 a.m. EST, the Beirut Daily Star was reporting the Israeli air force blitzing suburban Beirut: “Twelve dawn raids brought down three buildings at a major crossroads, blocking all traffic on the area's main thoroughfare Hadi Nasrallah, named after the slain son of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, an AFP photographer said. Another raid caused the collapse of a second building that also blocked the old route to the airport and hit a building belonging to the highest authority of Lebanon's Shiite community. Unusually, two more raids struck the suburbs around midday (0900 GMT). Previous raids on the suburbs have struck in the late afternoon or at dawn.”
Robert Fisk: Hizbollah's iron discipline is match for military machine.
Video of the Day: Britain's George Galloway gives SkyNews, and Israel's brand of kidnappings, occupation and terrorism, the business.
In Australia’s The Age: “Are Our Troops Fighting a Dirty War in Afghanistan?” John Martinkus, an Australian television journalist, writes: “The US forces based in the south were not engaged in nation-building, they were engaged in operations to kill or capture al-Qaeda and Taliban. These operations created a vacuum exploited by local leaders for their own ends and alienated sections of the population mistakenly targeted. It is this resentment the Australian troops will be working to overcome while fighting a war against a very experienced and battle-hardened enemy.”
A final word on Lamont-Lieberman, from the Editorial Board: To set the record straight, Joe Lieberman is not and never has been a shill for the Bush administration, on Iraq or any other issue. For 18 years the Connecticut Democrat has been a principled and prudent leader in the U.S. Senate. Never a party liberal, his centrist beliefs have found favor among moderates in both major political parties. Since 2000, he has challenged George W. Bush and the Republican Senate majority on many issues, domestic and foreign. That said, Lieberman just doesn't get it.” See the full editorial in the News-Journal.
Because there aren’t enough meltdowns to worry about: “Greenland’s Icecaps Melting Fast,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports—“ faster than ever before on record, and the pace is speeding year by year.”
Because there aren’t enough meltdowns to worry about, Part II: All signs point to a recession in the United States, McClatchy reports.
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, one of the country’s principal newspapers, always amazes me. It’s as if the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Look at its front page today. No word of the foiled terror plot in Britain. No word of the war in Lebanon. No word of the war in Iraq. It’s been like that for weeks: Lebanon and Iraq never make it on the front page. And we worry about American isolationism.