There simply must be more to this story than PJM knows. The Port Authority couldn’t actually be clearing a path for him. Could they?
UPDATE: Andrew Marcus – on video assignment for PJM – reports that the Port Authority evicted protesters from Ground Zero this morning. Group – including family members of 9/11 victims – was in front of the PATH station protesting possible appearance at Ground Zero by Ahmadinejad.
There was supposed to be a mass protest at 10 a.m. but I can’t find hide nor hair of it on the wires. It may have been scotched after Ahmadinejad hinted he wouldn’t push his request to visit the site, which itself may have been a way to defuse efforts to block him so that he could sneak down there today without meeting resistance. Nowhere will you find a more pithy expression of the impotence and tone-deafness of the administration on this than Condi Rice — who, as head of the State Department, could have denied him a visa — acknowledging this morning on CNBC that an Ahmadinejad visit to Ground Zero would be a “travesty” even while plans may still be afoot for him to visit.
You would think a looming humiliation for the administration would be enough to get the left to line up against a Ground Zero visit, too. But with respect to the fringe, at least, you’d be wrong.
Update: There is an anti-Ahmadinejad rally scheduled for noon, but that’ll be held uptown outside the UN and, as I said in an earlier post, Ahmadinejad’s not scheduled to be at the UN today. Rudy says he’ll be there in spirit. Why not in person?
Update: Like I say, Condi very well could have denied him a visa if she had wanted. State Department bulletin, November 26, 1988:
In summary, we find that:
* Tbe PLO, through certain of its elements, has employed terrorism against Americans;
* Mr. Arafat, as Chairman of the PLO, knows of condones, and lends support to such acts; he, therefore, is an accessory to such terrorism;
* Terrorism and those involved in it are a serious threat to our national security and to the lives of American citizens; and
* The headquarters agreement, contained in Public Law 80-357, reserves to us the right to bar the entry of those who represent a threat to our security.
Not good enough? How about the fact that a federal district judge slapped Iran with a $2.65 billion judgment three weeks ago stemming from the 1983 Marine barracks bombing? The president at the time was the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. If they want a visa, let them pay.
Update: Another blogger already caught the Arafat angle.
Update: Kevin McCullough e-mails to say he was there and Pajamas got it right.
My listeners (about 160) in total were hustled away from the primary elevator shaft on the north side of the PATH train stop (the primary spot at Ground Zero on street level.)
The woman who was given the most grief was Desiree (Jones?) from Brooklyn a long time listener/reader AND a 911 family member. She had tasteful signs that were rested neatly along the outer fencing of the area where we were and was giving a talk to those in attendance about the dangers Ahamdinejad presented to the free world.
Her sobering question – she repeatedly asked those who were passing by and gathered to hear her was, “what if we knew enough to stop another one of these from happening?”