When the conspiracy stares you in the face…

I don’t have time to write much, but the WSWS has a simple and useful list of points about the failed terrorist attack aboard Northwest Flight 253:

Among the facts now known are the following:

• Abdulmutallab’s father, a prominent retired banker and ex-government minister, had visited the US Embassy in Abuja more than a month before the attempted bombing to warn CIA officials that his son had become involved with Al Qaeda elements in Yemen. He provided them with information with which the young man could have been located, and he followed up his visit with at least two phone calls.

• For at least four months, US intelligence had information from Yemen that Al Qaeda operatives there were preparing “a Nigerian” for a terrorist attack.

• The information from Yemen was further substantiated by the National Security Agency’s interception of communications discussing preparations for an impending attack and the use of the “Nigerian.”

Moreover, Abdulmutallab’s $2,800 ticket was paid for with cash, apparently at the last minute, and he made the transatlantic trip having checked no luggage, carrying only a backpack.

Then there is the story told by a passenger on the plane, Kurt Haskell, a Michigan lawyer, who claims that he saw Abdulmutallab approach the airline ticket counter in Amsterdam accompanied by a well-dressed South Asian man, who told the Northwest ticket agent that the young Nigerian needed to fly without a passport.

“He’s from Sudan, we do this all the time,” the older man told the agent, Haskell recounted. He said that the agent then directed them to the office of the airline’s local manager.

Normally, any one of these things would have triggered intense scrutiny before Abdulmutallab was allowed to board the plane.

Once again, as in the wake of September 11, 2001, the government and the media are peddling the explanation that all of these extraordinary lapses were the product of mere negligence or a “failure to connect the dots.”

Eight years after 9/11, with all of the still unanswered questions surrounding the attacks that were used to justify an explosion of American militarism, the attempt to gloss over an event that nearly cost the lives of 300 people with this hackneyed metaphor does not hold water.

The general outlines of the Northwest bombing attempt and the 9/11 attacks are startlingly similar. One might even say that what is involved is a modus operandi. In both cases, those alleged to have carried out the actions had been the subject of US intelligence investigations and surveillance and had been allowed to enter the country and board flights under conditions that would normally have set off multiple security alarms.

Once again, it was everyday people who almost paid with their lives for what is essentially no more than a PR stunt designed to keep the terrorists and exploiters in power. Both the ones in the East and the ones in the West. Where’s the difference between those willing to execute a terrorist attack and those willing to let it happen?

And how many more will die in the wars that will follow? How many more will be persecuted for their religion or nationality?


  1. I think this underestimates the incompetency of US government and similar interests. Our air traffic security is a joke, with policies more focused at looking busy than at actually stopping attacks. Our political system is so wildly adversarial that any conspiracy among legislators would be exposed for PR gain. Our foreign and domestic intelligence services hate each other. And Obama really has no need for a terrorist attack to justify war. On the other hand, even his policy with the most clear public mandate, health care, has only succeeded as a shadow of its intended form.

    As an American, I find it much, much more believable that the government was too incompetent to connect the dots than that elements in the government were somehow able to pull off a conspiracy of this magnitude.

  2. Incompetency isn’t the issue, Greg. This was a conspiracy to shed bad light on the Obama administration and, by extension, the Democratic Party. Now, I don’t like Obama very much, but after this, I like the right-wing even less. These weren’t “mistakes” were deliberate.

    The goal is simple: Make Obama look bad so the American public doesn’t vote Democrat in the following elections. Republicans get in, power is once again theirs, and they continue to prosper.

    If I can find a green peaceful spot on this earth where no one will bother me, I will fight tooth and nail to get there.

  3. @Greg: I can fully understand what you mean. But given the magnitude of the intelligence apparatus, and the extreme way in which it operates, it seems unlikely to me that two really strong clues like this would not have been connected. They spend so much time tracking information, including information on innocent people, that missing this would be very hard.

    And I don’t think it takes a vast conspiracy to make this sort of thing happen. It just takes a few people in the CIA more loyal to Dick Cheney than to their country. It’s not like similar things have not happened before, worldwide.

Comments are closed.