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Safety In Numbness

By Beau Elliot. The Daily Iowan, 27th July, 2004

Feeling any safer yet?

Yeah, me too.

Of course, we're all supposed to feel safer now that the 9/11 commission has spoken. Sort of, anyway. Those were the panel's words - we're safer, but not safe.

Not to delve into the slings and arrows of rhetoric (who, me?), but exactly how safe is safer, but not safe? Do we need to contact Morley Safer to find out?

Or do we cross that Ridge when we come to it?

(To be honest, the only time I haven't personally felt safe was Sunday night in the Iowa-Dubuque intersection when a Yankee fan on an impressively large motorcycle fixed the glare of his headlight upon me, gunned his engine, and roared toward me. Impressively throaty roar. I could understand his angst: The Evil Empire had just dropped two out of three to the Beau Sox. Curbing my enthusiasm, I scampered to the sidewalk, and the Yankee fan roared by, laughing. It's one of Dante's circles of hell having friends who are Yankee fans.)

Meanwhile, back at the 9/11 report, the panel pretty much told us what we already knew: Our intelligence was a mess, the Feds missed something on the order of 10 opportunities to thwart the 9/11 hijackers, officials basically ignored all the Cassandras - Richard Clarke, Coleen Rowley, the Phoenix memo, etc., etc.

What the 9/11 panel did not do was to lower the boom on the administration, as many Bush-niks had feared it would do. Instead, the commission blamed the system. Yeah, the system. Who knew that the panel was filled with '60s-era hippies? It's the system, stupid.

The commission did A) dispel any notion of a collaboration between Saddam's Iraq and Al Qaeda and B) note that certain neocon members of the administration (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz - the usual suspects) both on the very afternoon of the 9/11 attacks and soon thereafter fixated on attacking Saddam.

Well, surprise, surprise. We knew all this, too, but I guess it's nice to have further confirmation. The 9/11 panel did note a Qaeda-Iran connection, which led Maureen Dowd of the New York Times to say we bombed the wrong Ira-.

Well, yes and no, which is kind of the way things go these days. We invaded the Ira- that we knew we could beat, not the Ira- that posed the greater danger. Sometimes, practicality trumps sense, which is another way things go these days.

What the 9/11 panel did not note, so far as I could tell, was the alleged Pakistani-Qaeda connection. Michael Meacher, a Labour Party member of the British Parliament, writes in the July 22 issue of the U.K.'s Guardian about one Omar Sheikh, who is facing execution in Pakistan for the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Sheikh is almost certainly innocent in the Pearl matter, Meacher writes, and he asserts that the U.S. government has acknowledged this.


What Sheikh is guilty of, according to Meacher, is that pre-9/11, the head of the Pakistani version of the CIA, Mahmoud Ahmed of the Inter-Services Intelligence, instructed him to wire $100,000 to lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta.

Hmmm. Very odd. Pakistan is our great ally in the war on terrorism. One is tempted to say, with allies like this, who needs Saddam?

When the Wall Street Journal broke the Ahmed story, our great ally Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani leader, "retired" the intelligence chief. As far as anyone can tell, the United States has not pushed to question Ahmed about the $100,000 wire.

I seem to remember that in the 2000 campaign, candidate George W. Bush lavished praise on Musharraf. Musharraf, by the way, attained power by means of a coup against an elected government.

The Pakistani allegations may or may not be true, but they do dovetail nicely with what Sibel Edmonds has been saying. Or at least what she's allowed to say. Edmonds is a Turkish-American former translator for the FBI who has many interesting allegations about 9/11 involving specific people and foreign countries, but she can't detail them because she's been placed under a gag order by Attorney General John Ashcroft. She did tell the Guardian: "My translations of the 9/11 intercepts included [terrorist] money laundering, detailed and date-specific information .. if they were to do real investigations, we would see several high-level criminal prosecutions in this country."

Feeling any safer yet?

Yeah, me too.

It must be those damn Yankee fans

Copyright (C) 2004, The Daily Iowan
Reproduced here under Fair Use only for educational purposes


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