Monday, July 12, 2004

More Buried News

The New York Times today has a piece titled The Talkative Terrorist on Tape: Madrid Plot 'Was My Project.' As the title makes clear, the portrait of Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, a.k.a. "Muhammad the Egyptian," makes him out to be a loquacious, almost affable fellow. This despite the fact that the Times calls the al Qaeda member "the mastermind of the March 11 train bombings in Madrid" which killed 190 people.

The story was put together from "[d]ozens of pages of transcripts obtained by The New York Times" from Italian authorites who had been monitoring Ahmed's conversations. These wiretaps have been ruled admissible in court.

And so the article goes on and on about Ahmed's method of blending in to the population in European countries, the advice he gave to suicide bombers and his photography skills in taking the pictures that will be sent home to their families after their deaths. It describes the politicking between Italian and Spanish police over his detainment and the distribution of the evidence.

At the end of the 31st graph, long after most readers will have stopped reading and after most newspapers that pick the story up will have trimmed it, comes this Ahmed quote: "This [Madrid] plan cost me a lot of study and patience. It took me two and a half years."

And then on into more story. But stop for a second and do the math: March 11, 2004, minus two years (the low-end time estimate he gave) is March 2002. That means the "plan" to commit mass murder in Madrid began long before the Coalition, including Spain, came together to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam.

Yet we are told, and the media continues to tell us, and many people continue to believe, that the only reason Spain was targeted was because of its cooperation in the Iraq war.

The article earlier mentions that Ahmed was in Madrid in 2001 and 2002, befriending "a group of radical Muslims, some of whom were involved in the March 11 bombings and were killed in a suicide operation while trying to escape the police." Yet the reporters don't even bother to point out that this upsets the accepted view of things, which is that Spain was punished solely for helping America.

It is possible, of course, that the plan was laid, but not activated, until the Iraq war. Certainly the intent was to punish the Spanish and sway their election. But the fact is, the terrorists had wired up Madrid for a blast long before they found their excuse to hit the button.