Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 23, 2005

WB: Round Up the Usual Suspects

The Egyptian government is blaming (I kid you not) "local Bedouin."

Round Up the Usual Suspects

Posted by b on July 23, 2005 at 19:11 UTC | Permalink


Billmon, it looks like SOP.

A local nomad has confessed to selling explosives that may have been used in the Sinai attacks, Egyptian police say.

Security forces say the suspect is claiming his buyers said the material was intended for smuggling into the Palestinian territories.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jul 23 2005 20:06 utc | 1

Although we can not rule out Al-Qaeda , a local group composed mainly of Bedouins of Sinai looks more closer to reality . At least those responsible for the Taba bombings are responsible for those of yesterday . The Egyptian police detained more than 9000 persons - including whole families - from Sinai in the investigations of the Taba bombings and tortured a good number of innocent detainees . There were demonstrations from locals protesting this approach and asking for release of innocents . Human right groups in Egypt and abroad made similar complaints . The head of the group responsible for Taba bombings according to the Egyptian police is still at large . The same techniques used in the Taba bombins were used yesterday and these are the first instances that cars be used in terrorism in Egypt. Also the trial of those accused for Taba bombings was scheduled on 24/7 .

Posted by: hasan | Jul 23 2005 20:07 utc | 2

If indeed the Egyptian security forces did round up thousands to detain and torture them, we can be sure they would have managed to persuade at least a couple to give the confessions that they wanted to hear. In other words that whole operation rendered itself meaningless.
It is likely that local Bedouin are extremely pissed off about the imposition of a "Gommorah" right on their doorstep just like with other tourist destinations from Bali to Biaritz the local kids will have been corrupted away from their local culture into a western sex drugs and rock n roll one.
So perhaps a couple of the operatives were local it would certainly help with logistics, but if the casualty estimates are anywhere near true that is that 90% of the deaths were local people, I find it difficult to believe that this was planned by locals.
Of course it is likely that the extremely 'low' death rate amongst tourists is in fact more spin from a government desperately trying to protect one of the biggest earners for them and their corrupt cronies.
Even so as Billmon says the overall strategic goal of these bombings, that is to put the western oriented muslim economies under pressure is very much part of Al Quaeda's plan of operations. Of course none of that really matters because whoever did carry out these murders, the outcome will be the same anyway. People are dead, assholes on both sides are trying to manipulate the situation to their own advantage and none of us will ever really 'know' who was behind it.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 23 2005 22:38 utc | 3

I found this very interesting interview:

The Logic of Suicide Terrorism

Osama bin Laden’s speeches and sermons run 40 and 50 pages long. They begin by calling tremendous attention to the presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula.

In 1996, he went on to say that there was a grand plan by the United States—that the Americans were going to use combat forces to conquer Iraq, break it into three pieces, give a piece of it to Israel so that Israel could enlarge its country, and then do the same thing to Saudi Arabia. As you can see, we are fulfilling his prediction, which is of tremendous help in his mobilization appeals.

I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are not from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world. Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.

Another point in this regard is Iraq itself. Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005. Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled.

TAC: So your assessment is that there are more suicide terrorists or potential suicide terrorists today than there were in March 2003?

RP: I have collected demographic data from around the world on the 462 suicide terrorists since 1980 who completed the mission, actually killed themselves. This information tells us that most are walk-in volunteers. Very few are criminals. Few are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very own suicide-terrorist attack.

There is no evidence there were any suicide-terrorist organizations lying in wait in Iraq before our invasion. What is happening is that the suicide terrorists have been produced by the invasion.

Al-Qaeda appears to have made a deliberate decision not to attack the United States in the short term. We know this not only from the pattern of their attacks but because we have an actual al-Qaeda planning document found by Norwegian intelligence. The document says that al-Qaeda should not try to attack the continent of the United States in the short term but instead should focus its energies on hitting America’s allies in order to try to split the coalition.

What the document then goes on to do is analyze whether they should hit Britain, Poland, or Spain. It concludes that they should hit Spain just before the March 2004 elections because, and I am quoting almost verbatim: Spain could not withstand two, maximum three, blows before withdrawing from the coalition, and then others would fall like dominoes.

That is exactly what happened. Six months after the document was produced, al-Qaeda attacked Spain in Madrid. That caused Spain to withdraw from the coalition. Others have followed. So al-Qaeda certainly has demonstrated the capacity to attack and in fact they have done over 15 suicide-terrorist attacks since 2002, more than all the years before 9/11 combined.

Many people worry that once a large number of suicide terrorists have acted that it is impossible to wind it down. The history of the last 20 years, however, shows the opposite. Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop—and often on a dime.
TAC: There have been many kinds of non-Islamic suicide terrorists, but have there been Christian suicide terrorists?

RP: Not from Christian groups per se, but in Lebanon in the 1980s, of those suicide attackers, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were Communists and Socialists. Three were Christians.

Posted by: MarcinGomulka | Jul 24 2005 1:07 utc | 4

I can't help but notice the sleaziest man in the British Labour Party Jack Straw has given the world his two bob's worth on the Egyptian massacre.

Of course as a paid up member of the lets keep the sheeple consuming school of governence Straw's take on it is that Britons need to keep travelling to Egypt. "Stiff upper lip old boy" "Don't give the fuzzy wuzzies a inch"

That's fine for him since he travels the world with an armed protection squad, sniffer dogs and the rest of the paraphernalia of the paranoid.

It occurs that the best way to end this terrorism of the innocent would be if the people making the decisions that anger substanial sectors of the world community were to make themselves more available, more vulnerable.

If those who felt oppression also felt able to vent their wrath on the direct cause of that oppression then the rest of us could happily catch the tube to the airport, to fly to Egypt for a fortnight in the sun, with nary a care in the world.

Corollary to that would be politicians cease making decisions that encourage a significant segment of the planet's population to feel oppressed. This would be no bad thing. Weren't we taught that the sign of a healthy democracy isn't just acceeding to the wishes of the majority, it is protecting the rights of minorities. If a decision is getting up the noses of significant numbers of people, chances are it's a bad decision. I realise that doesn't suit the full speed ahead let's get on with making this joint happen part of the community, but those types are all too common in governance roles. Lets get rid of them anyhow.

Most of us live quiet lives where we show consideration for the feelings of others. We didn't reach that point just because "Its the right thing to do" we got here because we have found out the hard way if you piss on another from a great height the chances are you'll get your boots splashed.

It's time the pollies had to make the same choices. How dare they hide behind a protective barrier desperate to avoid the consequences of their actions while they leave the rest of us out here to dodge bombs with a stiff upper lip? Then they tell us what a drag it is to be trapped behind the walls they built for themselves and stick their snouts in the trough for yet another huge slurp. This is inevitably followed by breaking wind with a noxious gas of lies and subterfuge.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 24 2005 4:14 utc | 5

I posted this in the last thread too, but here you go. A lot of people(Billmon included) seem to be great fans of Juan Cole. He is regularly interviewed on NPR etc.,

But I'm no longer enamored with his 'analyses' ..

BLOCKQUOTE>(I)will be very interested to see what Juan Cole has to say about this.

I dont know about that Billmon. I used to drop in @ Juan Cole's site now and then. But then I came across this..

Making Cole-slaw of history

For a trained historian, even in Middle Eastern studies, Juan Cole is scandalously incompetent when it comes to cause and effect. Here's his latest gaffe, made in the context of the London bombings:

According to the September 11 Commission report, al-Qaeda conceived 9/11 in some large part as a punishment on the US for supporting Ariel Sharon's iron fist policies toward the Palestinians. Bin Laden had wanted to move the operation up in response to Sharon's threatening visit to the Temple Mount, and again in response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp, which left 4,000 persons homeless. Khalid Shaikh Muhammad argued in each case that the operation just was not ready.

Did Cole read the same 9/11 report as the rest of us? There's not a single passage in the 9/11 report mentioning Sharon's (or Israel's) policies, and I challenge him to produce one. Cole just made it up. And in point of fact, the report's narrative definitively contradicts him.

The report makes it clear that 9/11 was conceived well before Sharon became prime minister of Israel in March 2001. Chapter 5, section 2 (p. 153) says the following, based on the interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Muhammad (KSM), the 9/11 mastermind:

According to KSM, he started to think about attacking the United States after [Ramzi] Yousef returned to Pakistan following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.... He maintains that he and Yousef...speculated about striking the World Trade Center and CIA headquarters as early as 1995.

The idea was fully hatched by early 1999 (p. 154):

KSM acknowledges formally joining al Qaeda in late 1998 or 1999, and states that soon afterward Bin Ladin also made the decision to support his proposal to attack the United States using commercial airplanes as weapons.... Bin Ladin summoned KSM to Kandahar in March or April 1999 to tell him that al Qaeda would support his proposal. The plot was now referred to within al Qaeda as the "planes operation."

The election of Ehud Barak as Israeli prime minister in May 1999 didn't put a crimp in the planning. To the contrary: preparations proceeded apace, and Bin Laden pushed even harder for the operation, which wasn't quite ready. Bin Laden did so again after Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. But that visit took place on September 28, 2000, when Sharon was leader of the opposition. He only became prime minister five months later.

In short, the 9/11 operation could hardly have been "conceived" as a response to U.S. support for Sharon's "iron fist policies." It was conceived, its operatives were selected, and it was put in motion, long before Sharon took the helm.

And what of Cole's claim that Bin Laden wanted to launch the attacks "in response to the Israeli attack on the Jenin refugee camp, which left 4,000 persons homeless"? The Jenin operation took place in April 2002, seven months after 9/11. Apparently, in the bizarre universe of the Colesque, Sharon's horrid deeds are always at fault for 9/11, even if he committed them after the event. (Hat tip to the vigilant readers of Tony Badran's latest Cole-smashing post.)

Cole has been summoned by certain media to pronounce on the motives of Al-Qaeda in striking London. He hasn't got a clue. He can't keep the basic chronology of the 9/11 plot straight, and he doesn't have any notion of overall Middle Eastern chronology, which means he regularly mangles cause and effect. Reason? Bias trumps facts. If historians could be disbarred, Cole would have lost his license long ago. Instead, the Middle East Studies Association has elected him its president. So much for scholarly standards.

Addendum: Experienced Cole-watchers know that when he makes a mistake, he just goes back and tidies up his postings. So he's purged the Jenin reference. Instead, he writes that Bin Laden wanted to move up the operation "in response to Sharon's crackdown in spring of 2001." That's not what the 9/11 report says. It says Bin Laden may have considered speeding up the operation to coincide with a planned Sharon visit to the White House (p. 250).

Knowing Cole's habits, I saved the original posting. It's here. (And at the time of this posting, Google's cache still records the original version.) The doctored version is here. Blogger etiquette demands that substantive errors be fixed by adding or posting an explicit correction. Cole exempts himself, as he must, given the gross inaccuracies that plague his weblog. So you quote him at your peril: his words might change under your feet. Here, for example, is a poor Cole admirer from Pakistan who quoted Cole Sahib's Jenin revelation. I don't have the heart to notify him that his hero got it wrong. (See Jenin update below.)


For those interested, more here

In Cole's case, looks like his bias and prejudices triumphs rational analysis. It almost seems like he derives his conclusions first and then tailors his analysis towards that end.

This was discussed on the DailyKos site too and I think one needs to take Cole's pronouncements with more than a pinch of salt.

Posted by: Chamed Ahlabi | Jul 24 2005 4:35 utc | 6

I always wondered about Mr. Cole ever since I read a few disdainful remarks on those "uppity Kurds" shaming all those American deaths if they got control over Kirkuk and Mosul. However I am also skeptical of Mr. Kramer who lists the rabid Orientalist and Armenian genocide apologist Bernard Lewis as his hero and mentor. However it appears Kramer is either blatantly lying or being a sloppy scholar as well.

Did Cole read the same 9/11 report as the rest of us? There's not a single passage in the 9/11 report mentioning Sharon's (or Israel's) policies, and I challenge him to produce one. Cole just made it up. And in point of fact, the report's narrative definitively contradicts him.
As already pointed out by a few commentators at Kos, the 9/11 commission report actually mentions Israel many times and specifically Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount specifically on page 36 of Chapter 7.
In 2000, for instance, KSM remembers Bin Ladin pushing him to launch the attacks amid the controversy after then-Israeli opposition party leader Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Posted by: theother | Jul 24 2005 6:05 utc | 7

to say the bombers were all pakistani is factually inaccurate. actually they were all British. and one, so far as we know at least, was of caribbean extraction. come on billmon we need you to keep your facts straight.

Posted by: james governor | Jul 25 2005 11:03 utc | 8

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