Drilling Anwar and Yemen
As we drill Anwar al Awlaki's past for al Qaeda connections, one is not alarmed so much by what reads as what one doesn't read. Here's a quick rundown:
Anwar al Awlaki was born in New Mexico. He was an Imam and is supposedly the "bin Laden of the internets." For a while he was the Imam of Ft. Collins, CO, named by Money magazine in 2006 as the best place to live in America. He's a blogger and occasionally posted his sermons on his blog and had published through online publishers nice little stories about paradise and 72 virgins and mansions in the sky, sort of like the crow in Animal Farm.
He's also allegedly the Regional Commander of al Qaeda's operations in Yemen and has been more or less linked to Major Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter, and Abdulmutallab, the wouldbe Detroit Airport bomber. We're told that three of the alleged 9/11 hijackers went to one of his sermons. He was also supposedly killed when, coincidentally enough, the day before the Detroit attack, Yemeni fighter pilots, aided by Saudi and US intelligence, bombed the shit out of a little one dog town in Yemen where 30 al Qaeda leaders were holed up at a meeting. He may or may not be dead.
The operative words are, of course, "more or less." Because once you begin to peel away the layers of the onion does it disintegrate into a messy, reeking onion soup.
Here's a dead end for you: US intelligence intercepted, we're to believe, 18 emails between al Awlaki and Nidal Hasan. In one of them, Hasan asks al Awlaki if it was permissible under Islamic law to kill his fellow soldiers yet we're not treated to a text of Nidal's response. On the contrary, we have this: al Awlaki denied dispatching Hasan to kill those 13 people at Ft. Hood, although he didn't exactly condemn the actions on his blog, either. Before it got taken down for violating some TOS, al Awlaki's blog lauded Hasan's actions early last November in a stiff manifesto that reads more like agitprop written by some intelligence official a little familiar with the tenets of jihad than a declaration by an American expat.
Anwar al Awlaki, you might remember, was once the Vice President of the Charitable Society for Social Welfare (CSSW), the so-called money-laundering front organization allegedly funneling money to al Qaeda (which federal investigators could never prove).
Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque is understandably cynical about this whole Yemen/al Qaeda/US thing. Now, let's follow the amazingly serendipitous timeline that only cynical lib'ral minds would never confuse with coincidence:
A few days before Xmas, the Yemeni government announced it was waging a secret war against terrorism with the aid of the Obama administration. On Christmas Eve, Yemini fighter pilots bombed the shit out of Shabwa, allegedly killing al Awlaki and about 30 other al Qaeda leaders (Oddly enough, al Awlaki allegedly called Yemeni journalist Abdul Elah al-Shaya to say that he wasn't at the al Qaeda pow-wow but was home. Strange that the Regional Commander of al Qaeda in Yemen wouldn't be at such an important meeting).
The very next day, don't you know, some Nigerian tried to bomb a jet as it was starting its approach to Detroit using powder that was allegedly supplied to him in Yemen, as if this simple chemical compound couldn't be had anywhere else in the world.
None of these things have been proven. We have no idea what Abdulmullab actually told US investigators. We have no idea if al Awlaki actually encouraged Nidal Hasan to kill Ft. Hood soldiers. We have no idea if he's dead or alive. Because these are national security issues and we just need to take it on faith that we're hearing the facts and the President is basically telling us
...sort of like in 2001, 2002, 2003, infinitum ad nauseum.
Now, as with 2001, we're seriously talking about racial and the even dodgier religious profiling. We were immediately told to spend even longer lines at the airports, don't pee an hour before landing, keep your hands visible, don't keep anything in your laps, and, above all, comrades, don't look suspicious! Now, as with 2003, we're told that we need to liberate another Arab population from the grip of al Qaeda that, in our grip, is starting to take on the properties of a koosh ball that pops up where we least expect it every time we squeeze. It's Whack-a-Mole with mortal stakes.
Now, we're told the bad guy, this new decade's Goldberg, is some smart, internet-savvy guy coming from a privileged background, has ties to al Qaeda and is regarded by young, lone wolf American Muslims as some kind of rock star. And our most rock-solid evidence against him and his commitment to jihad is... blog posts and his Facebook page. Given the hard evidence that's been given to us, he appears to be nothing more than a Muslim version of Glenn Beck, Hal Turner, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly: A coward who doesn't get his hands dirty by personally dispatching zealots but crowing about their accomplishments while simultaneously distancing himself from them.
Oh, yeah, and he was also arrested a couple years ago by Yemeni authorities but set free. And, he may still be alive. But maybe not. But he may be. Just to put that out there, you know, just in case.
Remind you of anybody we know?
And am I alone in being suspicious of the rapid-fire timeline of events that we're supposed to accept on faith without any corroborative or supportive evidence whatsoever? And our next round of military adventurism wouldn't be predicated on this country's 17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, would it?