Ed Schweppe (edschweppe) wrote,
Ed Schweppe

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Pakistan captures al-Qaeda suspect - on schedule?

This, from the BBC:

Pakistan says it has arrested a key suspect in the bombings of two US embassies in East Africa in 1998.
He has been named as Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an al-Qaeda militant who has a $5m American bounty on his head.
Pakistan Interior Minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat said the Tanzanian was captured during a raid in a small town in central Pakistan on Sunday.

[ ... ]

The interior minister said it took the authorities a few days to make a positive identification of Mr Ghailani, but it had now been established beyond any doubt that he was the person wanted by the FBI.

Note the timing: Ghailani was captured on Sunday, but Pakistan didn't say anything until today, a few hours before John Kerry's scheduled acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but The New Republic ran an article entitled July Surprise a few weeks back. The article described the tremendous pressure that the Bush Administration was placing on the Pakistani government to capture or kill so-called High Value Targets - e.g., high-level al-Qaeda terrorists - and to do so in time to affect the US elections:

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 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.

Now, color me paranoid, but I'm more than a bit suspicious of the timing.

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