< The OCTOBER SURPRISE by Michael Hammerschlag


HAMMERNEWS.com           SMRK CHP Vers.             by Michael Hammerschlag


  The most likely Oct. surprise by the Repubs is a huge groundless Ridge/Ashcroft security alert a few days before the election, designed to suppress voter turnout, particularly of new voters and minorities, the most tentative faction. This would excuse Repub. governors sending police to all polling places, which also would intimidate and suppress minority voting. That has the capacity to purge millions of mostly Dem votes, especially if confined to a few large liberal cities. It would be in keeping with Repub efforts to disenfranchise blacks in Florida, Missouri, et al; and reject or turn away new voters (Nevada, Oregon, Mich., Ohio), who tend to be majority or overwhelmingly Democratic. Again and again they've rung the "imminent attack" bell with no grounds. Be afraid! Don't change horses now!

In a precursor or trial run,  Sen. Mark Dayton (d-MN) closed his Washington office Oct 12th until after the election after an alarming report by the Majority Leader Frist, saying:

 "I take this step out of extreme, but necessary, precaution to protect the lives and safety of my Senate staff and my Minnesota constituents, " he said. "We know that Al Qaeda has a history of going back to targets it was unsuccessful in destroying," Dayton said Wednesday evening. Law enforcement agencies have said there is no new intelligence indicating the Capitol is a target.

Dayton also said Senate Sergeant at Arms Bill Pickle called the intelligence report, which was presented two weeks ago, the most "declarative statement" in his career. http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/10/13/senator.close.cnn/index.html

The senator also said he "wouldn't advise anyone to visit Capitol Hill who wasn't required to do so between now and the election," adding that he would not bring his two sons there, either. Dayton Chief of Staff Danielson said Dayton attended a closed-door briefing on Iraq by Senate leaders on Sept. 22. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other Pentagon brass were there. At the meeting, he said, Bill Frist announced a new threat assessment dated Sept. 15, and encouraged senators to read it. Dayton told his staff that Frist described the intelligence report as sobering. "It alarmed him," Danielson said. "It was very different in tone from previous reports." According to a Senate staffer, the briefing included a report of possible terrorist surveillance around the Capitol. A federal official said Dayton and other senators were shown a CIA document that projected a worst-case scenario involving synchronized terrorist attacks on multiple U.S. cities. The scenario was based on an uncorroborated piece of intelligence that did not contain any specifics, the official said.


Is some big attack possible before the election? Yes. The shocking success of the Spanish train bombings in changing the results of their election (though government lies helped), means that Al Qaida may maintain the fiction that it would turn people against Bush. Is it likely? Hopefully not. From reading Imperial Hubris by the CIA’s Anonymous, it is apparent that Bin Laden has a relatively good understanding of America and would understand that an attack now would definitely rally the country behind Bush.


On the other hand, since Bush is doing such a good job boosting Al Qaida’s ranks and destroying the country’s security, finances, health, and moral authority... maybe his reelection is just what Bin Laden wants. The terrible thing is that, since an attack is possible, there's no way to know if an alert is just a Rove Halloween trick... until it's too late.



Michael Hammerschlag’s commentary and articles (http://HAMMERNEWS.com) have appeared in Seattle Times, Providence. Journal, Columbia Journalism Review, Hawaii Advertiser, Capital Times, MediaChannel;  and Moscow News, Tribune, Times,  and Guardian. He’s been a TV reporter, foreign correspondent, and produced documentaries. He reported on the media savaging of Howard Dean, and the first big scoop on all the media mistakes on Election Night 2000.