Monday, November 1, 2010
Another good read...
Government accusations: no evidence needed
The New York Times, October 31:
As investigators on three continents conducted forensic analyses of two bombs shipped from Yemen and intercepted Friday in Britain and Dubai, American officials said evidence was mounting that the top leadership of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was behind the attempted attacks. . . .
Reviewing the evidence, American intelligence officials say they believe that the plot may have been blessed by the highest levels of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, including Mr. Awlaki. . . . This year, the C.I.A. designated Mr. Awlaki -- an American citizen -- as a high priority for the agency’s campaign of targeted killing.
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The administration: Hey: you know that American citizen whom the President has controversially ordered assassinated with no due process? Here's the proof that we were right to do that: he tried to send these bombs from Yemen to the U.S.!! How could anyone possibly object to our killing a murderous monster like this? That accusation -- as intended -- produced worldwide headlines identifying Awlaki as the likely Terrorist behind this plot.
The New York Times, today:
American and Yemeni officials still have little hard evidence about who was involved in the thwarted attack. . . . As for who was behind the plot, evidence remains elusive, though officials believe the bombs bear the hallmarks of Al Qaeda in Yemen's top bomb maker. On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a cable saying that the packages might have been linked to two schools in Yemen. . . . But American and Yemeni investigators are trying to determine whether the schools -- listed as the Yemen-American Institute for Language-Computer Management and the American Center for Training and Development -- even exist. There is a school in Sana called the Yemen American Language Institute, but it is sponsored by the United States State Department.
Wait: I read in the NYT on Sunday that "evidence was mounting that the top leadership of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was behind the attempted attacks." Today, however, in that very same paper, I learn that "American and Yemeni officials still have little hard evidence about who was involved in the thwarted attack" and "evidence is elusive." How can evidence of the culprits simultaneously be "mounting" and "elusive"?