Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Data, Lies, & Political Motivations

Julius Civitatus at JuliusBlog has put together a chart comparing Bush approval numbers to the timeline of terror alerts.

click here to view the 'Bush Approval v. Terror Alerts' chart

Julius notes the following data correlations in his own analysis of the chart:
  • Whenever his ratings dip, there's a new terror alert.

  • Every terror alert is followed by a slight uptick of Bush approval ratings.

  • Whenever there are many unfavorable headlines, there's another alert or announcement (distraction effect).

  • As we approach the 2004 elections, the number and frequency of terror alerts keeps growing, to the point that they collapse in the graphic. At the same time, Bush ratings are lower than ever.
  • Please take note that Julius is remarking on data correlations here, and not drawing general conclusions about cause and effect. Correlation does not prove causation.

    However, Julius notes in an update:
    We are sure a considerable amount of these alerts were legit and caused by real and immediate information of potential threats. What is important to note is that many of these "immediate" terror alerts were later on discredited (in some cases they used old data, in other cases the announcements were less immediate and less urgent that we were lead to believe, as the press reported.) Those are the cases that could be interpreted as politically motivated, especially when they seemed to coincide with political news and events unfavorable to the administration.
    Opportunistically-timed, "immediate" alerts based on faulty data...yes, it does seem reasonable to consider political motivation as a possible factor at play.

    Suspicions of political motivations for the latest terror alert are being loudly voiced in the British press, not that their statements are being reported in the US media.
    Writing in a London newspaper on Aug. 7, the British counterterror chief asked acidly: "Is that really the job of a senior cabinet minister in charge of counter-terrorism? To feed the media? To increase concern? Of course not. This is arrant nonsense."

    According to press reports, the Bush administration's closest allies in the Blair government were "dismayed by the nakedly political use made of recent intelligence breakthroughs both in the U.S. and in Pakistan." The Brits simply didn't believe there was any imminent threat justifying a public alert.
    Thankfully, thee Brits currently demonstrate a higher resistance to cognitive dissonance than we do on this side of the puddle.

    In the most frightening moment in this saga, to bolster their questionable claims for the heightened terror alert, the Bush administration outed their Al Qaeda informant--a double agent working for the US inside Al Qaeda.
    There is no question about who perpetrated the leak. On Aug. 8, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice admitted that the administration had disclosed Khan's arrest to The Times "on background." Experts around the world are still astonished by this reckless decision.

    "The whole thing smacks of either incompetence or worse," said Tim Ripley, a security expert who writes for Jane's Defense publications. "You have to ask: what are they doing compromising a deep mole within al Qaeda, when it's so difficult to get these guys in there in the first place?"

    ...In a war against terrorist groups that have proved nearly impossible to penetrate with human agents, the loss of such a well-placed turncoat could prove tragic.
    The Bush Administration is on record here: there is zero question that they outed a valuable intelligence asset and sabotaged not just our own investigations but also intelligence operations by Britain and Pakistan. New York Senator Charles E. Schumer has called for an investigation into the Whitehouse-initiated security leak.

    Terrorizing the American citizenry for political gain is more than arrant nonsense. It is a form cynical exploitation and power profiteering. BushCo's "War on Terror" is happy to make friendly fire casualties out of American civil liberties, truth, and now even national security...as along as BushCo comes out on top.

    Crossposted from BOPnews.
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