Monday, March 08, 2004

October Surprise

There is already strong suspicion that the Bushies plan an October Surprise regarding the capture of Osama bin Laden. In fact, Pakistani journalists have accused the US of already having bin Laden in custody and a few editorial cartoons have begun appearing suggesting the same thing. Today's leader (notice bloggers - LEADER, not LEDER) in The Guardian takes up the theme:

In order to save time, the following article is being printed several months ahead of schedule as a service to readers and nascent conspiracy theorists.

The capture of Osama bin Laden, while warmly welcomed around the world, raises several questions about the interface between the war on terror and the US election cycle. The most worrying of these is the suspicion that Mr Bin Laden had already been in custody for a considerable period. George Bush's official spokesman has vehemently denied charges that the al-Qaida leader was actually apprehended in December 2001. But there is more than a hint of a "non-denial denial" about the White House's rejection of claims that news of Mr Bin Laden's capture was timed to coincide with the climax of the Democratic party convention. It is not just die-hard cynics who found the White House spokesman Scott McClellan's "Where'd you get a crazy idea like that?" less than frank.

Further, it is hard to be convinced by the explanation that Mr Bin Laden's tanned and robust appearance was because "he worked out a lot", given that Mr Bin Laden is said to have been living in caves for almost three years. Similarly, Mr McClellan's description of the site of Mr Bin Laden's capture as "Pakistan, Afghanistan ... around there" was dangerously vague and left the White House vulnerable to troubling suspicions.

There has still been no official comment on the Los Angeles Times's leak of a draft agenda for the Republican convention, with a curious entry: "Sept 1, 18.45-18.55 EST, main floor: OBL to support ban on gay marriage." And the fact that Fox News was the only television crew on hand to witness his capture cannot only be "good old-fashioned journalism", as its management asserts, a scepticism strengthened by reports in March of Mr Bin Laden attending the News International management conference in Cancun. None of these discrepancies adds up to hard evidence - but the idea that US special forces capturing Mr Bin Laden also found George Bush's missing national guard records in a Tora Bora cave is simply too much to swallow.

Too true to be funny, isn't it?

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