A Fistful of Euros The Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino has just stated that he considers threats against Italy by the Islamic militant grou
July 23, 2005

A Fistful of Euros

The Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino has just stated that he considers threats against Italy by the Islamic militant group Abu Hafs Al Masri Brigade to be credible.

OBL expert and former US government adviser Michael Scheur also takes them seriously (and confirms the el mundo story indirectly):

On the tactical and strategic levels, the London attacks were quintessentially al-Qaeda operations. At the tactical level, the attacks were preceded by the usual al-Qaeda warning that an operation in Europe was near. On 29 May 2005, the AHMB’s “European General” posted a statement on the Internet that foreshadowed the events of 7 July. In part, the statement said:
“We direct a message to America and all its allies around the world that the desecration of the Holy Qur’an will not go by without a response. In fact, the retaliation will come soon in the near future, God willing.

All this, of course, if confirmed would bring us back to the Madrid bombings, and the Van Gogh killing in the Netherlands.

Twelve Hours to Shred           

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the President might regard a vacancy on the Supreme Court as an opportunity to reward one of his political cronies, but it does seem curious that John G. Roberts, a minor cog in the Republican party's Florida 2000 machinations, should earn his shot at the bigs before longtime Bush buddy Alberto Gonzales. One explanation, offered by Frank Rich in today's NYT, is that now is not the most propitious time for Mr. Gonzales to be answering questions under oath:

When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions). It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.

As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Ddemocrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18”

All this, of course, if confirmed would bring us back to the Madrid bombings, and the Van Gogh killing in the Netherlands.

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