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OBL Was/Wasn’t Behind Recent Attacks

First we have this report from the National Journal:

Bin Laden Journal Reveals Future Planning, Possible Targets

By Michael Hirsh
May 11, 2011

A personal journal taken from Osama bin Laden’s compound contains handwritten notes that are believed to be the terror chieftain’s thoughts about future operations and possible targets, along with “musings on al-Qaida,” a U.S. official said on Wednesday…

The journal does not include personal reflections about the al-Qaida leader’s life, the official added. “There doesn’t seem to be anything in there like, ‘I had trouble with one of my wives today.’” It was mainly professional observations about al-Qaida aims and future operations and targets, the official said.

Given that Mr. Bin Laden was living in that compound with three wives and more than a dozen children, we wonder how he ever found the time to even keep a diary.

At the same time, it is clear from the journal and other material recovered that bin Laden was still actively involved in operational planning and “this was not the rambling of an old retired jihadi. There were concrete ideas for the way forward, that he also put into correspondence with other al-Qaida leaders.”

Literally "concrete ideas." Apparently, Mr. Bin Laden had suggested putting concrete blocks – and even trees – on railway tracks. However, there are as yet no reports of him directing his operatives to put shopping carts or pennies on the rails.

Still, it’s clear Bin Laden was a big thinker.

Although U.S. officials say bin Laden was still involved in running the organization and may have planned specific acts of future terror, such as derailing a U.S. train, little evidence has turned up that his ideas had been put into motion

Somebody better get the word out to these anonymous officials. We cannot diminish Mr. Bin Laden, lest we might diminish Mr. Obama’s historic achievement in killing him.

Meanwhile, we have this self-contradicting report from the Associated Press:

Officials: Bin Laden eyed small cities as targets

By Kimberly Dozier, AP Intelligence Writer
May 12, 2011

WASHINGTON – Though hunted and in hiding, Osama bin Laden remained the driving force behind every recent al-Qaida terror plot, U.S. officials say, citing his private journal and other documents recovered in last week’s raid.

Not only is this contradicted by the National Journal article above, it is contradicted by the final paragraphs of this very article.

Until Navy SEALs killed him a week ago, bin Laden dispensed chilling advice to the leaders of al-Qaida groups from Yemen to London: Hit Los Angeles, not just New York, he wrote. Target trains as well as planes. If possible, strike on significant dates, such as the Fourth of July and the upcoming 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Above all, he urged, kill more Americans in a single attack, to drive them from the Arab world.

Bin Laden’s written words show that counterterrorist officials worldwide underestimated how key he remained to running the organization, shattering the conventional thinking that he had been reduced through isolation to being an inspirational figurehead, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

By all means we must burnish the powers of Osama Bin Laden now that he has been brought down by Mr. Obama. After all, you have to have great accomplishments to be a great man.

His personal, handwritten journal and his massive collection of computer files show he helped plan every recent major al-Qaida threat the U.S. is aware of, including plots in Europe last year that had travelers and embassies on high alert, two officials said.

Again, that is not what the article above claims. And it is contradicted in this same article below.

So far, no new plots have been uncovered in bin Laden’s writings, but intelligence officials say it will take weeks, if not months, to go through them.

And then they will be immediately leaked to the news media.

They described the intelligence to The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about what was found in bin Laden’s hideout.

Probably because this information is highly classified. But who cares, as long as we are making Mr. Obama look good.

The records show bin Laden was communicating from his walled compound in Pakistan with al-Qaida’s offshoots, including the Yemen branch, which has emerged as the leading threat to the United States. Though there is no evidence yet that he was directly behind the attempted Christmas Day 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner or the nearly successful attack on cargo planes heading for Chicago and Philadelphia, it’s now clear that they bear some of bin Laden’s hallmarks.

So it turns out that Bin Laden was not "the driving force behind every recent al-Qaida terror plot." And that he didn’t help "plan every recent major al-Qaida threat the U.S. is aware of."

He was well aware of U.S. counterterrorist defenses and schooled his followers how to work around them, the messages to his followers show. Don’t limit attacks to New York City, he said in his writings. Consider other areas such as Los Angeles or smaller cities. Spread out the targets.

So the averted 2006 attack on LA’s Liberty Tower (now called the US Bank Tower) was not a propaganda myth concocted by Bush and Cheney, after all?

In one particularly macabre bit of mathematics, bin Laden’s writings show him musing over just how many Americans he must kill to force the U.S. to withdraw from the Arab world. He concludes that the smaller, scattered attacks since the 9/11 attacks had not been enough. He tells his disciples that only a body count of thousands, something on the scale of 9/11, would shift U.S. policy.

Well, Bin Laden was schooled to be an engineer. Still, doesn’t he sound like John Murtha or Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi here?

He also schemed about ways to sow political dissent in Washington and play political figures against one another, officials said

Like that was necessary when we already have the Democrat Party and its news media arm.

Officials have not yet seen any indication that bin Laden had the ability to coordinate timing of attacks across the various al-Qaida affiliates in Pakistan, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq and Somalia, and it is also unclear from bin Laden’s documents how much the affiliate groups relied on his guidance

Again, this undercuts the AP’s earlier claims.

British officials said the Americans had shared some information with them about the bin Laden cache, but there had been nothing concrete yet to indicate bin Laden’s stamp on any of the recent terror attacks or plans in Britain — including a European plot last year involving the threat of a Mumbai-style shooting spree in a capital…

Britain’s two largest terror attacks and plots — the 2005 suicide bombings and the trans-Atlantic liquid explosive plot to blow up several airliners in 2006 — both had trails that led back to Pakistan and al-Qaida figures, but there was never a direct link to bin Laden himself.

Most of the recent plots, including the stabbing of a lawmaker last year, have been traced to al-Qaida in Yemen and specifically the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, British officials have said.

So Bin Laden probably wasn’t involved in these attacks at all. But of course the AP chose to bury these details that might contradict their earlier assertions.

One British official said counterterror authorities had not been tracking bin Laden like they had other terrorists deemed more directly involved in operations

What is this? Didn’t the British hear Mr. Obama say that the most important thing was to get Bin Laden? And that once we got him, the war on terror would be over?

No wonder our petulant President has no use for them.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, May 12th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “OBL Was/Wasn’t Behind Recent Attacks”

  1. proreason says:

    So basically, Spike reluctantly acquiesced to offing a guy whose wrote journals to himself, communicated with the world through occasionally couriers, who wasn’t contributing in any significant way to world-wide terrorism and who was living in a bubble from which he never emerged.

    It looks like dubya killed his ability to control events about 8 years ago.

    But Spike has his scalp, and will wave it at every campaign event for the rest of his life.

  2. tranquil.night says:

    “There doesn’t seem to be anything in there like, ‘I had trouble with one of my wives today.’”

    Let’s hope this official isn’t actually in charge of anything important if that comment is supposed to be serious.

    For a very solid and detailed look at the erosion of stability and the dynamics of power in Pokestahn, check out Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi writing at Steve’s alumn: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/what_to_do_about_pakistan.html

    He comes to the same conclusions as Panetta and I. With Pokestahn continuing to accelerate down the slope to Islamism, the status quo cannot continue but simply leaving them to turn into the next Afghanistan isn’t an option either. We should be using our foreign aid to pressure the Pakistani Military and Intelligence to cooperate into opening up fronts against those Jihadist elements for whom they’re providing cover. And we should be looking to further formalize ties with India as the future joint bulwark of power for maintaining security and free markets in Asia.

    Know who delivered her keynote ‘vision of America’ speech (themed around Energy) in India? That’s right, the Wasilla Witch, who as we all know is such an unelectable dunce. And those Republicans just got no one who can handle Spike on FoPo fer sure.

    • proreason says:

      Nah, as long as those nutters are allowed to have nukes, they will be an existential threat to humanity.

      The first step to solving the problem should be to identify where the nukes are. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen with Spike in charge, but certainly in a country of over 100 million, there must be some sane people who will help, and with nearby India in a situation where millions of people are at risk, it’s possible to find out with relative certainty where they store the weapons.

      Then, a Republian president has to do what dubya did with Mucharaff…”hey, we are going to destroy you, your families, you friends, your neighbors and your country if you don’t cooperate.” We probably didn’t take the nukes at that time because we didn’t know where they were.

      If they don’t cooperate, we have to go get them.

      This sounds radical but it’s actually the only sane solution. The alternative is to hope that radical islam becomes rational and sane, and there isn’t an iota of evidence to demonstrate that is even remotely possible.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Yes, a pre-emptive strike on an already completed nuclear arsenal carries all sorts of enhanced and nearly unacceptable risks, but your conclusion might very well be right and even more so by the time Spike leaves office.

      One thing is for sure: our candidate needs to be fully prepared. I’m loving the post-Trump Cain surge of course, but Doc0 I thought offered some fair criticism in suggesting Herman bone up on FoPo, which of course became a mainstream issue in the last debate ‘unexpectedly’ – but that’s exactly how it happens as President too, and we’re grading everyone on their preparation on ALL issues, not just their honed messages.

      We have solid policy resources for our candidates to consult, so ignorance isn’t an excuse. Palin and Bolton both have their gears straight on redefining a realistic Conservative (without prefixes) foreign policy in the modern era. I hope others don’t ignore that wisdom just because of personalities.

    • proreason says:

      Interesting that you mention Bolton, tn.

      Here’s a perspective on the two you won’t hear anywhere else: is it easier for a minor candidate conservative with good economic creds to come up-to-speed on foreign policy than it is for a minor candidate conservative with good foreign pollicy creds to come up-to-speed on economic policy?

      As Cain rises, so should Bolton.

      I think Cain’s mistep on foreign policy was a very serious, even unfathomable mistake. I’m not as impressed as some are with him.

    • tranquil.night says:

      You make a very serious point Pro. Domestic and fiscal matters are handled as much if not more through Congress, where more robust public debates are to be had before action. Foreign Policy is unique in how much it relies on a competent Commander in Chief specifically to set National Security policy. Simply relying on your advisors in a high-stakes scenario is like betting American lives on a game of Yahtzee.

      I’m learning a lot about seperating my emotions from a complete analysis of a candidate’s virtues. I’m not afraid to admit it, heh, it’s very instructive to watch how they handle unseen challenges.

  3. Chase says:

    Pakistan doesn’t really want a stable gov’t in Afghanistan, and so they will continue, by whatever means, to support and facilitate militancy and flow of insurgents and weaponry across the borders, and the leaders and organizers within their borders. A stable Afghanistan is a threat, with some historic ties to India, that the Pakistanis officielly don’t want to see emerge. These people just all hate each other, and a lot of foreign aid is only going to put smiles on their faces while returning gestures of cooperation;.

  4. Papa Louie says:

    “So Bin Laden probably wasn’t involved in these attacks at all.”

    Why would anyone jump to such a conclusion so soon? The evidence is barely trickling in from (always reliable) anonymous leaks and people are already drawing firm conclusions. That’s like saying that King George probably wasn’t involved in the Revolutionary War because he could only communicate by courier.

    Have you forgotten how they found Bin Laden in the first place? One of his couriers was discovered talking to a terrorist suspect who was being monitored. The courier then led them back to Bin Laden’s lair. I’m sure the courier and the terrorist suspect were discussing the latest fashion in head scarfs for Osama’s wives. There’s simply no way they were discussing anything at all to do with terrorism, right? The fact is, we would never have found Osama if he wasn’t at least still trying to participate in terrorism against us. How effective his involvement was remains to be determined AFTER all the evidence comes out.

    Don’t worry about Obama getting a little credit for Osama’s death. There’s more evidence for Bin Laden’s continuing involvement in terrorism than there is for Obama’s involvement in killing him. The SEALs took out Bin Laden despite Obama’s interference, not because of it. Obama gets credit for not calling off the raid and nothing more.

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