Terry, my friend–
Oliver Lowell may indeed be innocent of the crimes for which he now is a suspected of being a participant. But the video he released still demonstrates him to be a despicable character. –That's certainly the consensus here in Kuala Lumpur, and I'm sure in most other parts of the affected region as well.
So, regardless of what you and I, and other Americans and Europeans think about due process, the Malaysians I've interviewed fully believe him to be the mastermind responsible for the 7/27 attacks. And I think this government or a consortium of regional government agencies is surely planning to hunt him down, and by any means necessary.
Then, if Lowell is captured alive, and if he can be extradited to this country (or to India or Indonesia), the proper authorities will certainly give the man his day in court. But whatever the truth, he will eventually be found guilty and he will be executed, of that I have no doubt, and probably in public.
Look this is Malaysia, where a Muslim man can be caned for drinking alcohol. So just what do you think is going to happen to Lowell and his ilk, if they aren't picked up by another country first?
The best thing that could happen to these guys is if the Americans or British find them first and lock them up for good in a good decent maximum security prison.
On the other hand, any country that knowingly harbors Lowell would do well to hand him over, before things get further out of hand. The fact that all the highjackers were Westerners has created deep resentment in this part of the world. You should see how everything here that is identifiably American or European is getting smashed. In fact, I've witnessed with my own eyes a McDonald’s right in Kuala Lumpur get trashed by angry demonstrators. These people need Lowell's blood in order to bring some closure to these tragic series of events.
btw, this resentment against the West is not just a phenomenon local to Malaysia, either. My sources within Aljazeera report that it's gone positively viral. In India, for instance, authorities in the southern Kerala state have prohibited the Indian subsidiaries of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo from manufacturing and selling their soft drinks. You can read about it here in Business Week, if you require evidence of the fact.
Of course, Kerala authorities claim it's because of a potential risk of pesticide contamination, but everyone in Asia knows that's just pure fabrication. Apparently Guruji Almond Sharbat is still on store shelves, and by all accounts they use they same purified water source as the multinationals.
It's becoming increasingly evident, in fact, that this kind of thing will only widen and spread until the entire region is infected. It's happening throughout Southeast Asia now, but analysts who know better than I say it will quickly spread to the Mideast as well.
So what we have already is a storm that can potentially consume half the world. If that happens, then you don't think it will also spill across the equator and creep north? Or maybe you think it's impossible a spark might somehow find its way over the Atlantic and ignite a fire on US soil? Such sparks do not literally have to cross an ocean, remember, they have only to be transmitted over the Internet by email. It may even be happening now.
Both Bush and Blair would be wise not to underestimate people's anger. And if they haven't already, the French government might now review any procedures they have in place regarding the potential lock down of Marseille's housing projects. Based on what I'm hearing from my colleagues in Doha and London, I fear such plans might come in handy sooner than later.
Essentially, the West must come up with a compelling answer as to why European nationals –ex military personnel at that– were allowed to drive fully fueled jets into the Asian continent –a veritable act of war. Because if no suitable explanation is forthcoming, then the little equatorial melting pot of anger that is this corner of the world is going to boil over and consume the entire sub equatorial region in ways I can't even begin to imagine.
India –just for starters– has sworn they will not let this incident get swept under the rug like the way the Bhopal disaster was, back in 1984.
Honestly, I don't think one even needs to be a political analyst to know what's potentially on the horizon. Retaliation is inevitable. Justice is required. And any multinational retaliatory measure executed as a cooperative response to the terrorist attacks of 7/27 on Southeast Asia should be considered by the International community as fair and reasonable, no matter what their inevitable scope. Am I wrong about that?
Jasper, I trust you will tell me if you think I am over reacting.
AND will someone please explain to me the online insanity I've witnessed for myself, what with some assholes in the States, and it appears all over Europe, thousands and thousands of idiots who now call the highjackers heroes and martyrs?
Have people in the West gone utterly mad?
Please explain it to me because inquiring Muslims want to know.
btw, believe it or not, Aljazeera will be interviewing me regarding for my personal account of my experience escaping the Petronas Towers on 7/27. I think the article will run as a feature sometime next week, although the entire article isn't about just me personally, thankfully. I just so happen to be their most convenient eyewitness source for what went on inside the towers right before they collapsed... I still can't believe it happened. 911 and now this. It's too much for one man to think about.