Yesterday two major news developments emerged. The important one was that the CIA has spied upon millions of financial transactions, which is outrageous evidence of further abuses of power by the Bush administration. They are throwing the constitution down the toilet.
But Bush's team masterfully played the media, almost totally wiping the real story off the front pages, dropping it to minor news on TV, by electing to arrest, using major entrapments, a group of silly, incompetent misfits, who might have had fantasies of being terrorists.
It appears the Bush administration was working from an out of date version of a Canadian playbook, since the Canadians had arrested a group of "terrorists" a few weeks earlies. The problem is, apparently, the Bushstapo didn't keep paying attention in Canada, because the Canadian terrorists have become the laughing stock of Canada. They ordered two tons of highly-tracked-as-potential-bomb-material Ammonium nitrate to be delivered to a local storage locker, a dead give-away that something strange was amiss.
The reason this ragtag band of bozos was arrested was because the Bush administration needed a cover for the real news that was leaked, to the great consternation of Dick Cheney, that Bush and his people were doing even more spying in another area of our lives.
If we look at the terrorists who the Bush administration has arrested and prosecuted so far, they have two characteristics in common; most are eventually released for lack of an iota of evidence, and the ones who are held are idiots or nut jobs-- not a hardened, tough, serious terrorist among them-- NOT ONE!!
But not everyone is buying it. Bill Press
Attorney Andrew Cohen writes for CBSnews.com Major Terror Ring Or 'Al Qaeda Lite'?:
The same people who told us that Zacarias Moussaoui was the 20th hijacker and that Jose Padilla was building a radiological bomb now are telling us that they've foiled a legitimate terror plot to take down the Sears Tower in Chicago. Maybe yes. Maybe no. I'll wait for the trial to decide.And Robert Parry mocks the arrests of these pathetic substitutes for real terrorists in his article Terrorists in Miami, Oh My!
In the meantime, please forgive me my skepticism amid all the triumphant trumpets of glee and satisfaction. This administration has on too many occasions promised much more than it ultimately would and could deliver when it comes to these terror cases.
...Nothing in the four corners of the indictment convinces me that these guys were legitimate terrorist wannabes as opposed to a bunch of angry bozos looking lazily for al Qaeda to hook them up with all sorts of goodies. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if one of the defense themes here is that the men were conspiring against the "al Qaeda representative" to cheat him out of those supplies and cash they had asked for. And you can hear the defense attorneys now telling the judge and jury that their clients were merely expressing their hostility toward America, protected speech under the First Amendment, and taking photographs of police buildings (perhaps a crime, but not a major one).
Why the cynicism? Because I've been down this road before. I remember when the feds charged John Lindh with conspiracy to commit murder -" even though he was sitting trapped in a filthy prison in Mazar-i-Sharif the middle of a war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance when CIA agent Johnny Michael Spann was murdered by thugs. I remember when the feds tried to sell us on the notion that Moussaoui was the 20th hijacker long after they knew he wasn't. I remember when the government told us that Yaser Esam Hamdi was so valuable as an intelligence asset and so dangerous as a terrorist that he had to be held incommunicado and without charges as an "enemy combatant" until the feds lost a round in court and promptly set him free.
I remember the hullabaloo about the prosecution of terror suspects in Michigan that later imploded amid allegations of prosecutorial misconduct (the prosecutors failed to turn over exculpatory evidence). And, of course, I will never forget John Ashcroft, then-attorney general, interrupting a visit to Russia to jump on a satellite feed to warn us all back home that Padilla was a would-be "dirty bomber." Today, Padilla is just a regular old terror defendant in a case his Miami judge this week called "light on facts."
Because I remember these things, and because they contain the common themes of over-hyping and over-dramatization that are possible here, I'm going to wait a bit before I declare this latest indictment a major victory in the war on terrorism. I suggest you do so as well.
The Bush administration finally took action against alleged terrorists living in plain sight in Miami, but they weren't the right-wing Cuban terrorists implicated in actual acts of terror, such as blowing a civilian Cuban airliner out of the sky. They were seven young black men whose crime was more "aspirational than operational," the FBI said.
As media fanfare over the arrests made the seven young men, many sporting dreadlocks, the new face of the terrorist enemy in America, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales conceded that the men had no weapons or explosives and represented "no immediate threat."
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).