Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No election, no plot

Remember the Heathrow liquid bomb plot? The suspicion has lingered that the plot was hyped up by the electoral needs of George Bush -- specifically his desire to "own" the terrorism issue in the run-up to to the 9/11 anniversary and the November elections. It's already known that the triggering event in shutting the plot down was an arrest in Pakistan, with the only issue being whether the US forced the arrest to bring the rest of the "plot" to boiling point.

Now comes news that a Pakistan anti-terrorism court has thrown out the terrorism charges against the suspect, Rashid Rauf. He will be tried on lesser charges (possession of hydrogen peroxide?) in a regular court.

There's not much hope of ever getting the White House to tell the truth about what really happened. But with UK Home Secretary John Reid having used the plot to boost his own stature, a point of leverage might exist should he have any ambitions for higher office in the Labour Party.

UPDATE: The New York Times report lays out the confusion regarding the timeline --

Accounts differed over just when Mr. Rauf was arrested. The Pakistani police said he was taken innto custody Aug. 10, the day of the British raids, in Chohan Chowk near the Islamabad airport. But Mr. Habib [lawyer] said his client was actually arrested the day before while traveling between Multan and Bahawalpur in Punjab province ... Details of Mr. Rauf”s alleged involvement in the terror plot remained sketchy. Mr. Habib said the charges were trumped up. “All the story about the plans of hijacking airplanes was an imaginary allegation, just to boost the graph of Bush and Blair,” Mr. Habib said.

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