May 17, 2002


"In retrospect, this looks horrible."

That's what Condoleezza Rice, the "national security" advisor to the 
Emperor says about revelations that the Presidential Palace knew that there 
was a danger of airliners getting hijacked back a month before it happened. 
No kidding, lady. 

But, as an article in the British left-wing rag THE INDEPENDENT ("US asks a
disturbing question: What did the President know?" by Rupert Cornwell) 
points out:

> Far more serious is the accumulating evidence that the CIA and 
> the  FBI failed to "connect the dots" -- that the two agencies 
> did not  draw the right conclusions from the pieces of separate 
> evidence in  hand by late summer. They include:
> Warnings from some European intelligence services earlier in 
> the year that something was afoot.
> The Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped using ordinary 
> commercial jets in early summer after an internal security 
> warning.
> A request from an FBI agent in Phoenix, Arizona, for an 
> investigation of Middle Eastern men training at flight schools 
> in  America. The memorandum mentioned Mr bin Laden by name, and 
> said the training might be for terrorist purposes.
> Data reaching the CIA that something was intended for the 
> Independence Day holiday of 4 July.
> The arrest of Zacharias Moussaoui, the suspected "20th 
> hijacker",  who had raised suspicions during flight training in 
> Minnesota by  expressing little interest in take-off and 
> landing.

Whoa, hang on a minute! Leave aside the incompetence we've come to expect 
from our protectors. The Minister of Love stopped flying on airliners after 
he was warned -- but he wouldn't let us know about the same danger!

Now you know how you rate in the eyes of our rulers. If a threat is 
serious enough to keep Ashcroft off an airplane, why don't they think it's 
serious enough that ordinary people should have the chance to make that 
decision too -- not only for themselves, but for their children? Maybe some 
of the people who died on September 11 would have lived had they the same 
information that Ashcroft used in his effort to preserve his own worthless 
hide. But that, apparently, wasn't a consideration. Who cares if your Aunt 
Minnie risks getting snuffed on her way to visit you and the folks? Not, 
apparently, the people who are charged with keeping us "secure." So much 
for the people's "right to know."

Just recently the trendy-lefty webzine Salon.com published an article ("The
Israeli 'art student' mystery," by Christopher Ketcham) about the art 
student-spy issue. As Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com points out in "The
Story of the Century -- and the Effort to Derail It," Ketcham rehashes what 
was already known, and adds some rather arcane speculation on what the 
Israelis were actually doing:

> Ketcham then lists four possible scenarios, 
> 1) It was a drug operation, since the bulk of the effort seemed 
> to be directed at penetrating the DEA. Although Ketcham seems 
> to be disdaining this possibility, his method of doing so is 
> curious indeed. He lists a panoply of perfectly credible 
> motivations for a drug gang to pull off such an operation:
> "In the annals of crime chutzpah, for drug dealers to brazenly 
> approach drug agents in their homes and offices may represent 
> the all-time world record. And what conceivable useful 
> intelligence could they gather that would be worth the risk? 
> Were the tee-heeing tight-sweatered Israeli babes pulling some 
> kind of Mata Hari stunt, seducing paunchy middle-aged DEA boys 
> and beguiling them into loose-lipped info sharing?"
> Sounds perfectly plausible to me, except for a few things not 
> mentioned by Ketcham. For example: why would a drug gang be 
> interested in monitoring military facilities, such as Tinker 
> Air Force Base? And why is the possibility of an alliance of 
> Israeli intelligence and the Israeli Mafia in this country 
> never broached? Intelligence agencies often deal with people 
> whose moral sense is not highly developed, and certainly this 
> can't be ruled out in the case of the Mossad, which is well-
> known for its unscrupulous methods. 
> 2) They really were art students. This is dismissed as 
> unlikely, considering that the "art schools" they claimed to be 
> from either did not exist, or else had no record of their 
> attendance. 
> 3) It was espionage -- but "this doesn't make much sense," 
> according to Ketcham. Why, after all, would the Mossad go 
> barging into US government offices and sensitive defense 
> facilities in such an obvious way?
> 4) It was a covert operation designed to throw off our own 
> intelligence agencies: This appears to answer the above 
> question. If the operation was conspicuous, then that was the 
> whole point.

The Salon article introduces a Deep Throat character named "Stability," who 
provides all kinds of wheels-within-wheels, spy-counterspy-countercounter-
spy speculation about what the "art students" were actually doing. Says 

> Ketcham doesn't connect the dots, fully expecting that others 
> will -- in a way that will completely discredit them, and 
> divert us away from the real story. He has left the door open 
> for nutball anti-Semites to barge through, declaring that, at 
> last, here is proof the "Jewish conspiracy" was really behind 
> the horrific events of 9/11. It wasn't Al Qaeda -- these wackos 
> will cry -- who drove those planes into the World Trade Center, 
> it was the Mossad! The available evidence supports no such 
> conclusion, but that won't stop the purveyors of this theory, 
> who are motivated by ideology -- i.e. a form of religion -- and 
> could care less about the facts. And, of course, that suits the 
> Israelis just fineŠ. 

So, call me paranoid, but all this leads me to wonder. Did this latest 
Presidential Palace scandallette break when it did to provide a smoke 
screen for another scandal -- that the Israeli state may have known about 
the hijackers' plans before the attack, and kept silent?

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