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Rubber-Stamped by the Home Office

08.04.2005 09:21 | DISPATCHES

From the Dossier of an Ex-Patriot.

Over and over again, as in this Salon article reprinted from Der Spiegel, "The Spirit of Osama," we hear that bin Laden is the "overlord of Islamist terrorists. . . But these groups operate autonomously." That Al Qaeda is "no longer involved in working out the details of attacks."

What about when it comes to nuclear-suitcase bombs? If you're familiar with Osama's Revenge by Paul L. Williams (Prometheus Books, 2004), you know Islamists have procured them. Before reading it, I had assumed his findings were based on conjecture and unnamed sources. Williams, however, is less an investigative journalist than an assembler.

In other words, most of his information comes from respectable published sources. Apparently deemed too scary for the public, it's not widely disseminated. As for progressives, they tend to be leery of this kind of information because they see scare-mongering as an excuse for hard-right war-mongering.

In fact, despite non-stop criticism of the administration's policies, strategies, and tactics for fighting terrorism, Williams is a favorite of the crowd. For whatever reason, they're more comfortable with the Apocalypse. A new Zogby poll, "Nuclear Attack Should Be Top Government Focus According to Two-in-Five," bears this out.

"When asked where the U.S. should concentrate its resources if it could only guard against one potential disaster, two-in-five (39%) said preparing for a nuclear attack should be the government's top focus. . . There is a clear partisan divide on the question, with half of Republicans (48%) choosing nuclear attack, but a lower 37% of Democrats saying the same."

Any nuclear weapons Islamists possess are most likely in the hands of Al Qaeda's al qaeda ("the base's" base). However, if "autonomous" cells have them, no matter how dispersed Al Qaeda has become, it's a safe bet they won't be used without bin Laden's authorization.

Note: Paul Williams's new book, The Al Qaeda Connection, also on Prometheus, is due to be released in September.


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