The King of Terror
False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin,
Only a matter of time 'til night comes stepping in. - Bob Dylan
The only commentary some stories require is the sound of one's head striking the desk. For instance:
Zarqawi "captured, but let go"
BAGHDAD: Iraqi security forces allegedly caught terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi but released him because they did not realise who he was.
Deputy Interior Minister Hussein Kamal said on Thursday that the Jordanian-born leader of al-Q'aida in Iraq was in custody some time last year, but he would not provide further details, CNN reported.
The report could not be confirmed, but a US official said in Washington that American intelligence believed it was plausible. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
That reminded me of a Newsweek story from last April, which "revealed" how bin Laden sent two envoys to Iraq to assess the resistance in the summer of 2003, eventually endorsing Zarqawi as the "prince of Al Qaeda in Iraq."
Like the palid "strangers" of the film Dark City who are forever recasting reality, our masters of war are forever erasing distinctions and disappearing details. Little things, like deaths and resurrections, vanishing accents and the regeneration of amputed limbs. To any who pay attention to the changing narrative, the spin must sound like magic realism.
Zarqawi was first a prince of Ansar al-Islam, a vicious strategic counterweight to the authority of Saddam's central government that operated in the Kurdish lands of Iraq's former "no-fly" Northern Zone. Its founder is Mullah Krekar, who lives in Norway. Joern Holme, head of Norway's domestic intelligence service, says it's "incredible" that Krekar still resides in the country despite his links to groups identified as security risks, and despite a two-year old expulsion order. Neither has the United States sought Krekar's extradition.
Here's an interesting AFP item, now nearly three years old:
Ansar al-Islam leader threatens to document his links to US
DUBAI, Feb 1 2003 (AFP) - The suspected leader of a Kurdish Islamic extremist group threatened in an interview published Saturday to produce evidence of his contacts with Washington prior to the September 11 suicide hijackings.
"I have in my possession irrefutable evidence against the Americans and I am prepared to supply it ... if (the United States) tries to implicate me in an affair linked to terrorism," Mullah Krekar, who is believed to front Ansar al-Islam, told Al-Hayat newspaper.
He dismissed as "fabrications" reports linking his group to Al-Qaeda, saying they were designed to justify a strike against Iraq.
"I had a meeting with a CIA representative and someone from the American army in the town of Sulaymaniya (Iraqi Kurdistan) at the end of 2000. They asked us to collaborate with them ... but we refused to do so," he said.
"The Mullah claims he had a secret meeting with the CIA and US military personnel in Iraqi Kurdistan last year. Could this explain why US intelligence agencies were reportedly so concerned about Powell raising Ansar al-Islam as one of the key connections between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda?"
All this while Zarqawi functioned as his second-in-command, and chief actor on the ground in Iraq.
There are many "princes" of terror with shifting histories, and an inexhaustible supply of disposable "second" and "third" in commands. It's a shell game, like Dark City's Shell Beach that which proved to be just a fading poster on a brick wall. The wall needed smashing to find the truth.
In other words, who is the King of Terror?