I’ve read some wacky conspiracy theories suggested by “progressive” opponents of the Dubai ports deal, but I think what I read at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Stakeholder blog last night takes the cake. The post titled Oy, linked to a New York Post (that’s Rupert Murdoch’s shmatte) story, QAEDA CLAIM: WE ‘INFILTRATED’ UAE GOV’T (registration required). The Stakeholder post thanked the Left Coaster for alerting it to the story.
The first thing that struck me about this was that two erstwhile progressive websites were leaning on a Murdoch rag to support their opposition to the ports deal. Have we no shame?? I expect Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs to link to nasty unsourced anti-Arab stories from the British tabloid press. But I don’t expect the same from my colleagues in the progressive blog world. Would you rely on Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity as a source for one of your posts unless you meant to ridicule them? I know I wouldn’t.
But even worse is the actual “substance” of the story:
February 25, 2006 — WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda warned the government of the United Arab Emirates more than three years ago that it “infiltrated” key government agencies, according to a disturbing document released by the U.S. military.
The warning was contained in a June 2002 message to UAE rulers, in which the terror network demanded the release of an unknown number of “mujahedeen detainees,” who it said had been arrested during a government crackdown in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
So get this straight, this “disturbing” and “explosive” story is based on a purported message that Al Qaeda sent to UAE rulers. Al Qaeda was pressuring the government to release the former’s prisoners and in order to gain more leverage it claimed it had operatives in place within agencies who could do great harm to UAE. Why in heavens name would anyone trust the truth of the Qaeda message?? Did they provide any proof of their alleged infiltration? Rather than trusting the authenticity of the message, it’s far more likely that Qaeda was blowing smoke up UAE’s ass attempting to spook them into releasing the Qaeda detainees.
The explosive document is certain to become ammunition for critics of the controversial UAE port deal, who fear the Dubai-based firm could be used by terrorists to sneak money and personnel into the United States.
And indeed it has, though the Post could never have imagined that gullible so-called lefties would be the ones to use such ammunition.
Little is known about the origins or authorship of the message.
That’s the only fully accurate statement in this entire story. And in case anyone wondered about the “journalistic standards” of the Post, they need look no farther than here. The Post quotes the alleged contents of the message here:
“You are well aware that we have infiltrated your security, censorship and monetary agencies, along with other agencies that should not be mentioned,” the message said.
“Therefore, we warn of the continuation of practicing . . . policies which do not serve your interest and will only cost you many problems that will place you in an embarrassing state before your citizens.
“Your homeland is exposed to us. There are many vital interests that will hurt you if we decided to harm them.”
As a suspect under interrogation would say on a TV cop show: “is that all ya got?”
The document was among a batch of internal al Qaeda communications captured by U.S. forces in the war on terror.
They were declassified and released earlier this month by the Center for Combating Terrorism at West Point.
A word on the Combatting Terrorism Center. It is an anti-terror military institute affiliated with the U.S. Military Academy and directed by Gen. Wayne Downing. Downing was the general who resigned in 2002 (before the Iraq war) from his White House job as assistant to the president for combating terror when Don Rumsfeld rejected his plan to topple Saddam Hussein relying on air power and heavy special forces operations.
Downing is likely quite disaffected from Bush Mideast policy and so would have a vested interest in releasing documents which shed negative light on the Dubai ports deal. So until someone can prove otherwise, the source of the alleged document and its distributor is suspect.
“If it’s real, the document shows that the UAE really is trying to cooperate with the U.S. in the war on terrorism, because they were being threatened by al Qaeda,” said terrorism expert Lorenzo Vidino.
“But it also reveals that even though they [the UAE] are our friends, al Qaeda seems to have people on the inside in the UAE, just as it has in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar and Kuwait.”
“If it’s real.” That’s the $64,000 question. If I had that much money I’d bet against it. And if it is “real,” why does it prove “Qaeda seems to have people on the inside?” It merely proves that Qaeda SAID it has people on the inside. How much credence do you give to statements from Al Qaeda?? Right. I don’t either. And who is Lorenzo Vidino and why should anyone put any trust in him?
So what we have here is garbage. But garbage spewed by the far-right press and embraced avidly by Democrats and progressives desperate to lay a glove on Bush. Besides desperation, this dance with nativism indicates the abject failure of the progressive movement to shed a mortal blow on the Bush presidency. We’re so damn frustrated at this failure that it seems that some of us have relaxed our usual standards in order to grasp this frail reed of a controversy.
Finally, to me the ports deal and “evidence” such the purported Al Qaeda message show that Americans suffer from the same paranoia about Al Qaeda which it was attempting to instill in the UAE when it wrote this message. If we believe that Al Qaeda “owns” UAE, then certainly AQ will only be a footstep from our door when Dubai Ports World takes over the U.S. port terminals. Then it’s only a question of time before AQ hurts us badly and DPW will be the conduit for such terror.
This hyperactive, paranoid fantasy only shows that Al Qaeda has taken over our psyches. When you let it do so you are doing the bidding of both Al Qaeda AND George Bush, who after 9/11 did his best to create a national security state in which there is no other priority but fighting terror. Terror dominates us–our minds and our souls. How sad. Neither Al Qaeda, nor terror, nor fear owns me. I wish I could say the same about some of my progressive blog colleagues.