Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Is this Karl Rove again?
Two interesting articles this morning out of the NY Times and the Washington Post, which both state that the information that led to the terror alert, whilst gained from captured information and interrogations as recently as January, is three or four years old. And thus we develop an interesting conspiracy theory: Does this mean Karl Rove and the Republican strategists are holding the US populus to ransom again?

The Washington Post reports that "most of the al Qaeda surveillance of five financial institutions that led to a new terrorism alert Sunday was conducted before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and authorities are not sure whether the casing of the buildings has continued since then, numerous intelligence and law enforcement officials said yesterday."

White House officials say that the reason for the current terror alert is this information, in conjunction with the recent threat attributed to Al Qaeda that they were determined to launch an attack on US soil before the November elections.

However, the NY Times offers that "Federal authorities said on Monday that they had uncovered no evidence that any of the surveillance activities described in the documents was currently under way. Another counterterrorism official in Washington said that it was not yet clear whether the information pointed to a current plot. 'We know that Al Qaeda routinely cases targets and then puts the plans on a shelf without doing anything,' the official said."

The timing would be just perfect wouldn't it? Kerry concludes a strong week at the Democratic Convention expecting the usual ratings bounce, the terror alert is raised at the end of the convention, and any gains he has made are wiped out as people forget campaigning Democrats and remember that they're at war and need their 'war president' to protect them.

This would be nothing new. The recent slew of books on Karl Rove and on Bush himself show the strategy of keeping leadership positions by maintaining a level of fear amongst the population of an outside 'sinister' enemy who could strike at any time. Republican strategists have used it incessantly over the years; it was in fact an art perfected by Reagan in the 80's.

To add more interest to the conspiracy theory, you would have thought that the biggest terror alert since the 9-11 attacks, and on financial institutions themselves, would have sent the stock market plummeting when it reopened on Monday. What happened? The NYSE gained ground and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 39 points. Is that pure business skepticisim, or do Bush's big business buddies know something we don't...