Malaise among the warmakers

Lou Paulsen wwchi at
Wed Sep 19 04:11:06 MDT 2001

I urge everyone to read the Robert Novak column above.  According to this
well-connected columnist, things are not going so well among the
administration.  Powell wants to concentrate on Afghanistan.  Rumsfeld wants
to go after Baghdad and Beirut.  Meanwhile Bush occasionally escapes his
keepers and causes trouble by talking about capturing bin Laden 'dead or

Novak points out - this is worth some stress - that it is a mistake from the
imperialists' point of view to focus too much attention on Osama, because
the "truth" is that Osama does not have much to do with organizing such

"U.S. government intelligence experts regard bin Laden as the primary
spiritual and political leader of the terrorists who is one of the most
admired men in the Arab world but does not actually run the complex,
sophisticated terrorist network that planned the Sept. 11 attack. Thus,
Defense Department strategists argue against a bin Laden manhunt on two
grounds: it is unlikely to be successful, and it would not effectively
throttle terrorism if it did succeed."

So, we have been hearing about "billionaire" Osama bin Laden all week, first
as the prime suspect, then as the actual culprit; the Pakistanis are in
Afghanistan begging the Taliban to surrender Osama; and yet he "does not
actually run the .. network"!!!  Leave aside the question of whether there
IS a network, or whether anybody "runs" it, or how sophisticated it is if it
exists, or whether such a network actually had anything to do with the WTC
disaster.  Here you have a very well-connected columnist telling us that
Osama bin Laden did NOT play the role of 'mastermind of the WTC attack'
which they have been telling us all week that he DID play!  No wonder they
have been resisting suggestions, whether from the Taliban or from the PRC,
that they come forward with their evidence against bin Laden before
demanding his extradition: the likelihood is that they don't have any!

Of course we know that everyone in the world can be linked to everyone else
through a relatively small number of personal links.  For a week now they
have been pursuing the task of trying to link the men they have named as the
hijackers with Bin Laden, or with "associates of Bin Laden", whatever the
heck that means!  Now the New York Times in this article reports that they
have at last made a "link" between a couple of the suspected hijackers and a
bin Laden "associate":

"[T]he link between the hijackers and the former cab driver, Raed M. Hijazi,
is among the first specific pieces of evidence that connect the hijackers to
important associates of Mr. bin Laden."

Well, it's nice to hear that after declaring that Osama is "wanted dead or
alive", they now have a specific piece of evidence!  However, we do not get
to actually SEE the piece of evidence. We are told only that it involves a
"link" with a man named Nabil al-Marabh who lived in Boston.

When you read this story and play with the pieces some, you get the
impression that the government's case against Osama is not exactly
open-and-shut, and requires some little leaps of faith!  Hijazi supposedly
was in Afghanistan during the war, in the early 1990's.  That is the last
and only 'association' between Hijazi and Osama that the article mentions
(if indeed Hijazi ever saw Osama - Afghanistan is a big country, after all).
Hijazi then lived with a man named Bassam Kanj, another veteran of the
Afghan war who was "killed in Lebanon in January 2000 after leading a
militant rebel group in an attack against the Lebanese army."
Simultaneously, Hijazi was supposedly trying to organize an attack on
Americans in Jordan to coincide with the millennium celebrations, but the
plans were uncovered.  "Former friends of Mr. Kanj's in Boston said he
helped Mr. Hijazi lease a taxi from the Boston Cab Company, which Jordanian
officials said he drove to raise money for his conspiracy in Jordan."  Now,
WAIT.  Hijazi drove a taxicab to raise money for his conspiracy in Jordan?!
Isn't Hijazi supposed to be an associate of Osama bin Laden, the
"billionaire venture capitalist of terror" as they call him?

Hijazi is now in jail in Jordan facing trial before a military court, and
now he has begun "to cooperate with investigators there."  I don't know how
it works in Jordanian prisons, but I know how much faith to put in U.S.
prisoners faced with serious charges who begin to confess and identify
people.  In his "cooperation", Hijazi has named Nabil al-Marabh as a "U.S.
operative" of Osama bin Laden.  It doesn't actually say though WHEN Hijazi
came up with this information against al-Marabh.  It would be interesting to
know if he came up with this information during the last week, possibly
after Nabil al-Marabh, about whom we know nothing at all really, was
identified as being "linked" in some way, which we know nothing about, with
the supposed hijackers.

And what a pity if they go to all this work "linking" the hijacks with bin
Laden, and then Rumsfeld decides that they would really rather go to war
against Iraq after all!  So Mr. Hijazi's cooperation in prison, under god
knows what inducement, may be to no purpose.  They might much rather use a
"link" that they discovered this week between another of the suspected
hijackers and an Iraqi official.

This is awful shaky stuff to organize a global war around, in my personal

Lou Paulsen

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