Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The October Surprise - on Bush 

Maybe Teresa Heinz Kerry will be disappointed - maybe Bush and Rumsfeld won't be pulling the Osama rabbit out a of a hat just in time to steal the election that rightfully belongs to her husband.

Maybe this election's October Surprise has not been engineered by the incumbent but against him.

It seems that
CBS's "60 Minutes" was planning the last possible October Surprise, on the 31st of the month, dumping the "380 tons of missing explosives" story on Bush, with not enough time for the President to effectively respond to the story before the election day.

We now know that the "60 Minutes" was scooped by the "New York Times", which jumped the gun and published the story six days earlier, on the
25th of October.

There is some speculation that
the source of the story is the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei. ElBaradei has a history of strong disagreement with American Middle East policy; furthermore, his candidacy for the third term as the director general of the IAEA is being opposed by the Bush Administration.

ElBaradei, in turn, was relying on a letter of 10 October he received from
Mohammed Abbas, a senior official at Iraq's Ministry of Science and Technology, who reported that the disappearance of the explosives occured sometime after 9 April 2003 (copy of the letter here).

The letter is curious; as the
"New York Sun" story reports, "one U.N. official who is well versed with monitoring procedures told the Sun that there is no way for the Iraqis to know whether the material was looted at that date or was hustled out of Iraq earlier, during the war. 'We are talking about 40 trucks worth of this stuff,' the official who asked not to be named told the Sun. 'It's a huge operation'." The date of the removal also seems to be contradicted by the NBC story, relying on its embedded reporters, as well as American soldiers connected with the al-Qaqaa installation (see the comments section of this post).

The question now is: we know why the mainstream media would want to land this one on Bush only a few days before the election; we also know why ElBaradei would want the world to know; what we don't know is - is the Abbas letter simply something that opportunely and coincidentally played into ElBaradei's agenda, or is it itself a part of the plan? And if so, why would Iraqi officials want to damage Bush?

Stay tuned.


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