Who would have thought that if we put on an international terror trial in Chicago with a cast of bad guys, including a self-confessed two-timing spy, secret documents, a shady Chicago businessman and testimony of alleged involvement by Pakistani ex-military officers in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 170 people including six U.S. citizens, who would have figured that no one would show up for the trial?
No one, that is, except scores of journalists from India, Australia, Britain and Denmark. Our American news people were instead down the corridor at the Rod Blagojevich federal trial. The 40th governor of Illinois, thrown out of office but as not as yet thrown into prison, and the darling of late night comedians, got the trial star treatment.
Time, it always seems, ticks on, and the spotlight moves on, too...
In just a few months, American media and its talking heads will refocus on 9/11 with, no doubt, plenty of coverage on how little we have done within the context of homeland security.
Also expect resurrection of the conspirists; 9/11 conspiracy theories allege that the September 11 attacks were either permitted to proceed even though known about in advance or a so-called false flag operation orchestrated by an organization with elements inside the United States government. In a poll of citizens in 17 countries, 15 percent of those surveyed believed the U.S. government was responsible for the attacks, 7 percent believed Israel was, and another 7 percent believed some other perpetrator, other than al Qaeda, was responsible. Somewhat akin to birthers and JFKers, a certain percent of the population falls for such beliefs or makes money writing or talking about them.
It’s what I call the 15 percent rule.
For example: The percent of Americans who do not know who the U.S. fought against in its 1776 independence battles, and it’s about the same number who believe witches are real. How about those who believe the sun revolves around the earth or those who believe the apocalypse will happen within their lifetime? The 15 percent rule. Then there is the 15 percent who believe in alien abductions.
So who’s perfect?
Not, it turns out in federal court, is David Coleman Headley. Born Daood Sayed Gilani, he is a Chicago-based Pakistani American who conspired with Lashkar-e-Taiba, and, he testified, Pakistani military officers to launch the 2008 Mumbai attacks and other terrorist activity.
Cloak and Dagger
During a certain period of time, Headley made trips to Pakistan for terror training while also working as a Drug Enforcement Administration informant at the same time. He worked with a friend, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Chicago businessman, whose immigration business gave Headley identity cover during his travels abroad.
The trial happened without incident, as compared to the doom-and-gloom talking heads, and also without much of a peanut gallery.
Still, we all learn from the past, including enterprise security executives.
When it comes to homeland security and after such tragedies as 9/11, Mumbai and others, we learn and adjust everything in both big and small ways, from See Something, Say Something to billions of dollars a month fighting the enemy from the mountains for Afghanistan to the downtown streets of Chicago.