Friday, July 08, 2005

The "Secret Group" Claim

The claim of responsiblity for yesterday's London bombing attacks by the "Secret Group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe" which appeared on the "al-Qala'a," and reposted on Germany's Der Speigel Website may not be genuine.

Reuters reports:

"Analysts said the "Secret Group" claim should be treated with extreme caution because the group had no history and the message had not been posted using a secure, tamper-proof channel."

"I don't think that this message is very reliable," said Rita Katz, director of the Washington-based SITE Institute which tracks militant Web sites and researches terrorism."

"She said the claim was not posted using a secure channel that would ensure authenticity, for example by having a webmaster upload it to a password-protected Web site that had posted reliable militant information in the past."

"El qal3ah is a Web site on which many, many messages have been posted in the past that turned out not to be authentic," Katz said."

"British analyst Eedle said, "I think the way to judge Internet messages is by what the Islamists ... online themselves think of them. Genuine communiqus like the ones from Iraq are very rapidly copied to a host of different Islamic Web sites and e-mail lists. This one hasn't (been)."

MSNBC's Jacob Keryakes, a translator, found a major flaw in the claim:

"Well, the statement was published on an Islamic web site. Minutes later, it was removed from the web site itself because it contained an error in one of the Quaranic verses and al-Qaida doesn't usually do that, but the same statement was published (later) on a secular web site."

On September 11th, 2001, as I stared at the television screen (only CBS was on the air for a good part of the day in New York City since the other networks used the World Trade Center for their transmissions), over and over again I heard Palestinians kicked around as a likely suspect, and al Qaeda was hardly even mentioned. Domestic terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh or the then-unknown Atlanta Olympic bomber, Eric Rudolph, were never even mentioned as possibilities.

It's disheartening to see some liberal bloggers trying to frame this horrible tragedy as a side-effect of the illegal invasion of Iraq or the "war on terror."

The truth is we don't know who did this. And I think that everyone - bloggers, journalists, commentators, and especially politicians - should wait until more facts come in before they rush to politicize this.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice doesn't seem to have any doubts, as shown in this press release, taken from an interview with Jonathan Beale of BBC News:

Responding to a suggestion that the attacks might have been prompted by Britain’s role in the war in Iraq, Rice said, "I would remind everyone that these terrorists attacked without warning on September 11th, 2001, well before any engagement in Afghanistan or engagement in Iraq; that they've attacked in Madrid, they've attacked in Jakarta, they've attacked in Morocco."

But the transcript of the interview is included with the press release issued by the State Department and it does contain initial doubts.

When Rice was asked what she knew, she responded, "Well, I have no special knowledge at this point." Rice also said, "Well, I think we can't -- we don't want to try, prior to really having information, to say what this comes from." And "If that is indeed what has happened, if that is indeed who's behind this.."

Worst of all, Condoleezza - yet again - links Iraq to this "ideology" and, at the same time, claims that "nobody suggests" such links:

"We have to deal with the circumstances that are producing this ideology of hatred and with the ideology itself, and that's the Middle East. And that is the link to Iraq. Now, nobody suggests that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, but it's a rather narrow definition of what caused 9/11. This ideology of hatred has to be defeated. It has to be defeated by replacing it with an ideology of hope. And a free and democratic Iraq is going to be an important pillar of this new and different kind of Middle East."

Condi Rice should STFU until we know a little bit more about what happened and why.

We don't know shit, yet.


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