Sunday, July 17, 2005

Now he tells us

Con Coughlin, in the Sunday Telegraph of 17 July, 2005:

Irrespective of whether you are dealing with the disaffected youth of Leeds or a brainwashed Jihadi at a madrassa on the North West Frontier, the inescapable conclusion is that Pakistan forms the epicentre of Osama bin Laden's unremitting campaign of terror against the West.

Con Coughlin, on Amazon (and in the remainder pile of fine booksellers everywhere):

Saddam: King of Terror

Con Coughlin, in the Sunday Telegraph of 14 December, 2003:

Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam
Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.

Need we go on? Yes, we do. Take for instance the last story above. Here's what became of Coughlin's "documentary proof" [via Newsweek]:

The document, which according to Coughlin was supplied by Iraq's interim government, doesn't say exactly when Atta was supposed to have actually flown to Baghdad. But the memo is dated July 1, 2001, and Coughlin himself places the trip as the summer of 2001.

The problem with this, say U.S. law enforcement officials, is that the FBI has compiled a highly detailed time line for Atta's movements throughout the spring and summer of 2001 based on a mountain of documentary evidence, including airline records, ATM withdrawals and hotel receipts. Those records show Atta crisscrossing the United States during this period—making only one overseas trip, an 11-day visit to Spain that didn't begin until six days after the date of the Iraqi memo.

And by the way, in view of the ongoing Rove-Plame investigation and the sourcing to forged documents of the claim that Saddam purchased uranium from Niger, consider this from the same Newsweek story:

Mneimneh, the Iraqi document expert, says that there are other reasons to discount the handwritten memo touted by the Telegraph. The document includes another sensational second item: how Iraqi intelligence, helped by a "small team from the Al Qaeda organization," arranged for a shipment from Niger to reach Iraq by way of Libya and Syria.

One irony is that if Coughlin follows his new line above and produces another of his secret "documents," written conveniently in English and spelling everything out nice and clear, that labels Pakistan and Afghanistan as the central front in the Global War on Terror, he'll be moving us closer to the truth.

UPDATE AUGUST 2008: Was Coughlin's letter written by the CIA?

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