Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Enhanced speechwriting techniques

In a speech today, George Bush does nothing to resolve the longstanding trail of confusion about an alleged plot to fly a plane into Canary Wharf --

In this new war, the enemy conspires in secret -- and often the only source of information on what the terrorists are planning is the terrorists themselves. So we established a program at the Central Intelligence Agency to question key terrorist leaders and operatives captured in the war on terror. This program has produced critical intelligence that has helped us stop a number of attacks -- including a plot to strike the U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti, a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi, a plot to hijack a passenger plane and fly it into Library Tower in Los Angeles, California, or a plot to fly passenger planes into Heathrow Airport and buildings into downtown London.

Much like the American tourist looking for directions to "downtown London", it's not clear how far any of these plots ever got. But the London one is a particular mystery. The only traceable source for it is what's been released from the high-value detainee interrogations, including the one featuring a "dunk in the water" for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The talkative KSM admitted to 31 actual or potential terrorist plots in total, of which London was number 13:

I was responsible for planning, surveying, and financing for the operation to destroy Heathrow Airport, the Canary Wharf Building, and Big Ben on British soil.

Bush has made the same remark before, although then making specific reference to Canary Wharf so one wonders why it was dropped. Anyway, besides the Bush speeches, the only other accounts are all leaks to various news outlets, some met with appropriate scepticism. And it's on all this that Bush wants everyone to trust him with his powers to not torture detainees.

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