Thursday, August 17, 2006

Was it real?
After the airplane plot was foiled and flying-with-hand-creme became a prosecutable offense, Doug wondered whether this was another one of those lame non-threatening threats ginned up by officials to scare the liquid crap out of us. And I thought--and expressed in comments--C'mon Doug, why so cynical? This is the BBC! It's the renowned British intelligence! Those would-be terrorists had a plan; they were ready for a run-through. They were going to have a red sports drink with a false bottom! That's serious! We had informants and a man on the inside and help from the Pakistanis!

But now, alas, this one is looking more and more like it's only half a step beyond the Florida bozos and the guy that was going to topple the Brooklyn Bridge with a blow-torch. Kevin Drum has more. And Drum points to Britain's Craig Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan, offers his sobering and cynical analysis here.
[M]any of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year - like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.

Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth.

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