27 April 2014

It’s official. I’m a conspiracy theorist.

I’m probably one of thousands -- maybe tens of thousands -- who believe
President George W. Bush will do anything to retain control of the White
House. It’s not safe to have a healthy dose of skepticism like this these
days. But this has to be said. I don’t believe the country is going to be
attacked by al-Qaeda anytime soon. I don’t care how specific the so-called
threat is. I don’t care how many targets have been identified. I don’t
care how solid this new information is. I don’t buy any of it. What I do
believe is whenever Bush’s approval ratings start slipping the president’s
administration issues a terrorist warning saying an attack is imminent.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Consider the evidence.

This past Memorial Day weekend right through mid-June Bush’s approval
ratings yo-yoed due to bad news coming out of the war in Iraq. By
mid-June, 51% of Americans disapproved of the way Bush was handling the
war in Iraq, up about four points from May, according to polling results
from Zogby, Gallup and Pew.

Bush was taking a beating in the press in May and June because of the
Abu-Ghraib prison scandal and the high number of American military
casualties the U.S. suffered in Iraq. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, on
May 26, Attorney General John Ashcroft held a press conference warning the
public that al-Qaeda “wants to hit America hard.” Ashcroft didn’t release
specific information because he didn’t have any. He said that somewhere in
this country seven al-Qaeda operatives were planning an attack. That’s
hardly information that warrants a press conference. His announcement
didn’t even elevate a change in the color coded terrorist alert system. In
fact, it was all a smokescreen to change the news cycle. It worked. Bush’s
numbers went back up soon after Ashcroft’s press conference.

However, the Wall Street Journal reported a couple of days later that the
Department of Homeland Security found that Ashcroft’s dire warnings of an
attack on American soil “had been known for some time” and “was not new or
specific enough to merit an announcement or other action.”

Ashcroft cried wolf on a half-dozen other occasions too; last July 4, last
Christmas and right before the Super Bowl, to name a few. Those alleged
terrorist threats identified banks, shopping malls, power plants and
stadiums, obvious targets for a militant group that wants to rack up a
high number of casualties.

So when Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge announced Sunday that
terrorists want to blow up the Citicorp building in Manhattan’s financial
district, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington,
D.C. and the Prudential Building in Newark, N.J. the threat seemed more
real, more imminent, because, for the first time, we got specific
information. But as far as I’m concerned, the Bush administration picked
those targets out of a hat. The only way this administration can rebuild
its credibility is if one of those targets is blown up or an attack is

Why? It just so happens that every single terrorist warning was issued
whenever Bush’s approval ratings lagged and when bad news was coming out
of the war in Iraq, such as the failure to find any weapons of mass
destruction, the huge financial cost of the war and a shortage of troops.
Need evidence? Check pollingreport.com and then check the Department of
Homeland Security and the Justice Department web sites and you’ll see how
the terrorist warnings were issued at the same time Bush started to fall
behind in the polls.

The Australian newspaper, The Age,
ran a Reuters story that quoted unnamed senior U.S. officials as saying
that the constant flow of terrorist warnings since March 2003 “may also
just be a ploy to shore up the president's job approval ratings or divert
attention from the increasingly unpopular Iraq campaign.”

A few weeks before the Democratic National Convention, The New Republic
ran a story alleging that senior Pakistani intelligence officials were
pressured by members of the Bush administration to make arrests of
so-called high valued terrorists during the Democratic National Convention
in an attempt to boost Bush’s standing in the polls during a time when
John Kerry, the Democratic Presidential nominee, would have likely
received a bounce in percentage points for his campaign.

The July 7 article, “July Surprise”, said a Pakistani official was told by
a White House aid “that it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any]
HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July.' --
the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston."

That event actually occurred on July 29 when Reuters reported that an
unidentified U.S. official confirmed that Pakistan arrested “a senior al
Qaeda member wanted by the United States in connection with the 1998
bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa” all of which lends
credibility to the fact that the White House will do whatever it has to do
to make sure Bush is reelected.

Here’s more proof. Last week, at the end of the Democratic National
Convention a Newsweek poll showed Democratic Presidential nominee John
Kerry leading Bush in the polls 52% to 44%. Less than three days later,
Ridge, Bush’s Homeland Security chief, announces that al-Qaeda wants to
blow up targets in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The jury’s
still out on whether the latest terrorist alert will put Bush ahead of
Kerry in the race for the White House.

Bush has said on numerous occasions that America is safer since the
overthrow of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein. But on Monday, Bush
told reporters “America is in danger.” Last Friday, while campaigning in
Missouri and other battleground states Bush said “America has turned a
corner.” Talk about flip-flopping.