Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Latest Al-Qaida No. 2 Arrested in June

huh, how about that. Last week we heard about the arrest of yet another Al-Qaida number 2 (notice how we never seem to capture al-qaida number 1, or number 3, but always seem to catch the number 2 guy----number 2 seems jinxed [why oh why can't number 2 be jinxed here in America too!]). Apparently though, this arrest actually took place in June!!! and not last week as was so strongly plastered on all the TV screens.

The arrest of al-Qaida in Iraq's second in command took place in June, and not a few days ago as the Iraqi government had initially announced, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell said Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, also known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana, was captured on June 19. Other suspects were in custody, he said, but their names have not yet been made public.

National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie announced al-Saeedi's arrest Sunday, saying it had occurred a few days earlier.

Hmmmm, now why would the Bush administration wait until Labor Day week to release this kind of information? Hmmmm.

Andrew Sullivan delves deeper into the UK terror plot, and discovers some interesting tidbits. He quotes John Judis who says:

While those arrested were British Muslims, they were thought to be acting on behalf of or in coordination with Al Qaeda. A "senior US intelligence official" told The Boston Globe, "There are suspicions that there is a real Al Qaeda connection - not just Al Qaeda wannabees or inspire-ees." Pakistani and American officials claimed that the "operational planner" of the conspiracy was Rashid Rauf, a British citizen, whom the Pakistanis said had admitted under interrogation of having met with an Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan ...

Was the plot an Al Qaeda operation? Rauf himself had been busted by the Pakistanis the day before the London arrests, and, according to the Pakistanis, had admitted - allegedly under torture - to having made contact with Matiur Rehman, whom the Pakistanis claim is an Al Qaeda operative. But that's hardly proof of Al Qaeda direction. Moreover, Rauf's role remains unclear. A British counterterrorism official told the Los Angeles Times that Rauf was not the plot's "mastermind." And Rauf's actual connection to Al Qaeda is also suspect. Rauf has been linked to Jaish-e-Mohammed, which operates in Kashmir. There could still be an Al Qaeda link. But, like all the initial details of this case, it remains in doubt.

As the details have become murky, what has also been cast in doubt is the explanation of why the arrests were made in the first place. According to British officials, the Brits did not want to arrest the plotters; they preferred to see who else, over the next months, the plotters recruited and made contact with. But their hand was forced when the Pakistanis arrested Rauf on August 9. Why the Pakistanis did so remains unclear, but there is a speculation that they did so at U.S. urging. "There have been reports that U.S. officials pushed for the arrest," the Los Angeles Times reported on August 20.

How much more evidence does one need to see that the Bush administration is playing politics with America's security? Does the Bush administration care more about electoral gains or protecting America? To this point, the evidence points pretty clearly to the former rather than the latter.

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