The circumstances in my book, The Hammer of God, that mirror both the deadly Benghazi attacks and the Algerian Natural Gas facility raid and hostage siege were the subject of my blog, ‘Marginal Notes On Benghazi.’ In that piece, I floated an abandoned plot line from the marginal notes I made as I was writing and developing the core action of my novel. In this alternate version, the American Ambassador to Egypt is kidnapped, held in a petroleum facility in the desert and used as a bargaining chip to release a terrorist mastermind in U.S. custody.
Current events seem like a reshuffling of those pieces around a game board. But the result is the same. Yesterday, the terrorists holding the hostages announced they were willing to trade the American prisoners for the Blind Sheikh. Now for those who don’t know, the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman was convicted in the First World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Although in the book, the “Mastermind” that the bad guys want released is not the Blind Sheik, but Sheik Alzir El Benhan, the architect of a Bio Terror Attack, in the terror game he holds the same point value.
Another marginal note I did not reveal in the blog was “Why not kill him?” That was a thread of “fiction” where one of my special Ops guys who captures, El Benhan considers putting a bullet in his head and thus ends the cycle of attacks, kidnaps, ransom and repeat, that he knows will ensue if American Justice is carried out and this mastermind killer is allowed 3 squares and a cot for the rest of his natural born days. His fear is, the Sheik, while enjoying constitutionally guaranteed protections as our prisoner, would become the rationale and prize that spurs further kidnapping and death in attempts to get him released. The soldier’s math; kill one guilty guy now, save many, maybe even thousands, of innocents later. Of course as a writer, I quickly nixed that idea, because it would kill my book. If my ‘Sheik’ died the whole story would die with him.
So my question is, why is the blind Sheikh still alive? Whose story is the Government of the United States trying to keep going? Who is deciding that letting one high value terrorist live is worth the retaliation and death that his followers and fanatics in the future will bring.
If that sounds harsh, consider this, the Sheikh was captured tried and sentenced in the mid 90s. Recently, the new President of Egypt was not more than a few minutes in office before he promised his electorate, the 80 million people of Egypt, that he would free the Blind Sheikh from American prison. By the way, the same guy the current hostage takers want to trade American lives for.
For those keeping score. The American reporter, and first ‘YouTube’ execution victim, Daniel Pearl is still dead from brutal decapitation. The Ambassador and 3 other Americans slaughtered in Benghazi also remain dead. (No one has been charged or even accused in the Benghazi Attacks and no one has lost their jobs in the U.S. government either!) Monica Smith and her unborn child (7-months) and 5 other New Yorkers are still dead from the First Attack on the World Trade Center.
I believe the Blind Sheikh will have U.S. taxpayer funded, breakfast and lunch and diner today and probably be allowed to listen to TV and hear the reports from Algiers.
As of this posting it has been reported that all the hostages in Algeria are dead. Our prayers and sympathies go out to their families.