The July Surprise

Amazing, that on July 7 Josh Marshall wrote:

From TNR’s new piece, ‘July Surprise’…

A third source, an official who works under ISI’s director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq, informed tnr that the Pakistanis “have been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs [i.e., high-value al Qaida targets] before [the] election is [an] absolute must.” What’s more, this source claims that Bush administration officials have told their Pakistani counterparts they have a date in mind for announcing this achievement: “The last ten days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq’s] meetings in Washington.” Says McCormack: “I’m aware of no such comment.” But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring 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.

Imagine that …

Right on schedule, the Pakistanis have indeed come through for us, only hours before Kerry speaks. Amazing. Do I think the whole thing was choreographed? Yes, I do. Like everything else we’ll see from now until election day, it’s pure show, scripted by Karl Rove to help george win again.

We may have captured an important al Qaeda man; it’s the timing that’s choreographed. It’s vintage Rove, just like yesterday’s whisper campaign about Kerry’s “re-eneacted” Vietnam movies, just a few hours before Edwards spoke. Distract, distort, demolish — it’s been Rove’s winning formula for decades, and he’s not changing it now.

[Marshall link is via Kos.]

Update: Here’s what Marshall says.

This is just the latest, but perhaps the most blatant, example of how this administration has placed politics and, really, political dirty tricks above national security itself, and along the way persisted in defining political deviance down until tactics we used to associate with banana republics start to seem commonplace here.

And while we’re at it, this is yet another example of how truly important it is that we democratize the Middle East. Because once we have, some of them will be able to come back here and redemocratize us.

Update 2: I am not, as a couple of commenters think, alone on this one. Paul Krugman writes it up at the end of his column today, and Kevin Drum has more than one post about it.

Before reading Kevin Phillips’ American Dynasty I may have been a skeptic about this type of story. Not anymore. The Bush’s I and II thrive on covert operations and trickery like this; it is the norm.. It is not a matter of conspiracy but of documented fact. Just like the whisper campaigns against John McCain and Max Cleland, these things are always coordinated and intentional. According to the WaPo:

Pakistani officials have rejected allegations that they delayed the announcement for four days to obtain maximum publicity. Hayat said the delay was a result of “double checks and even triple checks in such cases.”

But in the arrests of other high-profile al Qaeda targets in Pakistan, including Abu Zubayida, Khalid Sheik Mohammad and Ramzi Bin al Shibh, the news media received word almost immediately.

The Discussion: 13 Comments

Bush at least has the support of the proven WMD-proliferating military dictator in the Middle East. All it cost is Bush remaining silent on on deportations of opposition figures.

Remember this every time Bush bleats about bringing freedom to the Middle East and how America needs to topple military dictators that oppose democracy for their people.

July 29, 2004 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

Isn’t it funny, how the world has blocked this out? Pakistan’s record of selling WMDs is unsurpassed — Iraq can’t hold a candle to them. Daniuel Pearl was murdered there, and it stand without equal as a haven for radical Isalmofascism. But they’re our good friends, and we’re bleeding to death over Iraq. Go figure.

July 29, 2004 @ 9:23 pm | Comment

Yeah, Richard, you’re right. It’s disgracful. Let him go immediately.

You’re dwelling the the conspiriacy fever swamps again.

July 29, 2004 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

I mentioned it before, but I reckon I cannot over-do the repeating.

Watch out for Pak and Saudi A.

One has the harsh madrasah discipline and a warrior culture (plus teh Islamic bomb), the other has oodles of money and the intolerant fanatical wahhabi ideology. Bad combination.

Bush’s US is a wee too close to them.

July 29, 2004 @ 10:45 pm | Comment

hey, Conrad:

go to hell, get out of Hongkong!!!! you loser, can not find a job in your country, then beg your life here in china!!! loser, loser, every body knows you are a loser, complaining only yourself is the “virtue” of all your losers here, is there anyone here can tell me he is successfun in his career, actually my friends in US told me, those who come to asian for life from american are all losers, they can not find a job in his own country, so Conrad, whoever you are, you are just a loser!!!!!! go to hell with all your family! and get out of Hongkong and china!!!!!!

July 30, 2004 @ 12:35 am | Comment

Richard I hope you aren’t serious. While you can not like Bush, Rove and co. it’s a hell of a leap to say they’d deliberately time captures of terrorists to co-incide with the DNC. They’ve been slowly hunting down top operatives of Al-Qaeda for years and they are going to keep on capturing these bastards. Sometimes the timing will be fortutious for them and other times it won’t be. Karl Rove might be powerful but he’s not that powerful. He just seems like it because too many people keep attributing too much to his doing.

Don’t let the paranoia get you. Sometimes a spade is just a spade.

Ummm, George, interesting comment. Time for your prozac.

July 30, 2004 @ 3:59 am | Comment

One shouldn’t be at all surprised by the extent to which covert political manoeuvres can be pushed. The ‘managed’ incidents in Australia on the eve of her previous federal elections to provide her right wing govt a political advantage have left a very bitter taste in some of her citizens mouths, an outraged opposition and a fairly divided nation.

Outrageous incidents allegedly committed by Afghan and Iraqi refugees were actually fabricated to convince the electorates that they needed a “strong” right wing govt to take charge and protect the nation from the hordes.

Post election, one minister had to resign as the sacrificial lamb to appease an angry and shocked nation, and an admiral, the top man in the military, took early retirement. But the tactics worked – the govt was voted back into power.

Then, 90% of the alleged nasty refugees have since been granted visas to stay in the country – after the elections, they were deemed not so nasty afterall.

July 30, 2004 @ 7:15 am | Comment

Conrad and Simon, please see thte Update 2 that I added. I am hardly alone here! Before I read Kevin Phillips’ American Dynasty I may have been a lot more skeptical about stories like this. Now I know that covert operations and secret deals, all timed for maximum impact, are the Bush imprimatur. They are not a rumor or a theory, but a documented fact. Are you familiar with the brilliantly timed whisper campaigns against Cleland, McCain and Ann Richards? Have you seen the memos from the administration demanding that Pakistan find some big-name terrorists prior to the elections? These are not wild theories, and the people advancing them are not leftist crazies — the WaPo, The New Republic, Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall. (Conrad probably sees Krugman as a leftist crazy so I won’t put him on the list.) This is vintage Rove, 100 percent. The New TRepublic published on July 7 that in the last 10 days of July, Pakistan will produce one of the big-name al Qaida terrorists. Voila! And see that quote in my update from the WaPo — they delayed the frikking announcement for four days, which they’ve never done with past captures!!

July 30, 2004 @ 11:13 am | Comment

George, I’d like to go but all the Chinese girls would be too disappointed. You see, they prefer the large American model to the smaller local version.

August 1, 2004 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

Richard I’d like to hear your thoughts on this at Belgravia Dispatch. It answers your fears this was all staged.

August 2, 2004 @ 8:32 pm | Comment

Simon, I think the announcement of the capture was delayed a few days. I can’t prove it, but many of the smartest un-radical to-the-left bloggers concur. Does that make it true? Of course not. But it looks to me like your vintage Rove trick. Whether it was on the 26th of July or the 30th of July, I don’t care. The New Republic called it for the last 10 days of July, via Pakistan, and voila! Last comment: the Belgravia Dispatch and any other blog that lists the Reverend Moon’s newspaper as it’s key testimonial is suspect in my book; I looked it over and it’s extremely hard on John Kerry, the next president of the United States. So of course it argued against the July surprise theory, though in a nitpicking and disingenuous manner.

I hope we can still be friends, even if our view of politics differs!

August 2, 2004 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

Of course we will remain friends – I like to think this site (for the most part) engages in civilised debate about various topics. I just don’t see the suspicions being reasonable. Pakistan just announced 5 more Al-Qaeda arrests today…where’s the timing in that? The reality is there is a war on and even Karl Rove cannot control events in the fog of war.

Let me just say though your blogging has been superb lately – thought provoking (even if I disagree sometimes) and interesting. Keep up the good work.

August 3, 2004 @ 7:22 pm | Comment

I appreciate it Simon. Of course, if I get the job I’m opting for, my blogging is going to slow down drastically. It’s one of the pleasures of not having a day job — you can blog nearly as much as you want.

August 3, 2004 @ 7:44 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.