Saturday, December 10, 2005

There is No Doubt Of Links Between Saddam and Al Qaeda

Again kudos to Elendil for a thoughtful and well stated response to my previous post. In your reply you plead ignorance to some basic facts about the ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Hopefully after reading this that objection will be removed. I warn you now the post will be long simply because the evidence of ties between the two are extensive. I will not list every bit of evidence but hopefully this will give you an idea of just how much information there truly is.

Please also understand that nowhere do I claim that “ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda proves or even suggestions Iraq had any involvement in the attacks on our country on 9/11.” I also find that point to be irrelevant to the basic disagreement between the hard core left and people like myself.

core left and people like myself.

I am not familiar with all the items that you list, and that's probably half the issue. There has been a polarisation in the discourse, so that while I've heard, for example, of Saddam paying compensation to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers,

Good so you at least acknowledge that Saddam supported some terrorists. That is important and relevant in showing his lack of compunction in doing so.

I had not heard of any phone records. I don't think it would be honest of me to say that's simply because I don't have full access to American media. We are all subject to confirmation bias, whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and very few of us have the time to keep up with these issues.

Well let’s start here. If you wish to speak intelligently on this issue you need to read The Connection by Stephen F. Hayes.

It is extremely well sourced and is quite compelling. I will tell you now the typical leftist response is “he is a right wing hack” or something of that nature. Mr. Hayes is no doubt on the right. What they never address are the actual facts contained in the book. All of his sources are provided and consist of agencies like The CIA, DOD, DIA, Senate Intelligence Committee, and numerous ranking officials of foreign governments and their intelligence services. There are literally dozens of documented links between Iraq and Al Qaeda covered in the book in great detail like this story in chapter 10 which you have not yet heard.

On October 2 2002 shortly before 8:30 pm Sergeant first class Mark Wayne Jackson and a fellow Special Forces soldier stopped at a café and karaoke bar just outside the gate of camp Enrile Malagutay located near Zmboanga city in Mindanao, an island in the southern Philippines. Leaders from the terrorist group from Abu Sayyaf one week earlier promised a campaign of terror aimed at the “enemies of Islam” westerners and Filipinos who make common cause with them. Abu Sayyaf has long been affiliated with Al Qaeda and was founded with the help of Osama bin Ladens brother in law. Al Qaeda supported the group with cash and trained its fighters in Afghanistan.

No one paid much attention to a Young Filipino man when he parked his Honda motorcycle in front of the cafe and began examining its tank. Seconds later a homemade bomb inside the motorcycle exploded killing the motorcyclist instantly. The front of the café was blown away. Six nearby stores were damaged. Sergeant Jackson was killed and his companion seriously wounded.

Eyewitnesses identified the bomber as a member of Abu Sayyaf.

Exactly one week after the attack Filipino authorities found an unexploded bomb on the playground of the san Roque Elementary school also in Zamboanga city. The bomb was to have been detonated by a cell phone. Filipino investigators analyzed the calls to and from that phone. Several piqued their interest, including calls to and from two Abu Sayyaf leaders. One call that stood out had been placed seventeen hours after the bombing that killed sergeant Jackson to an Iraqi intelligence agent named Hisham Hussein who was working as the second secretary at the Iraqi embassy in Manila.

On February 14th 2003 Hisham Hussein was asked to leave the Philippines for conduct incompatible with his diplomatic status. Officials there had been watching him for months and stepped up their monitoring after discovering his contacts with Abu Sayyaf. “He was surveiled and we found out he was in contact with Abu Sayyaf and also pro-Iraqi demonstrators.” Says a Philippine government source. Philippine intelligence was able to monitor their cell phone calls. Abu Sayyaf leaders called Hussein right after the bombing. They were always talking”

Andrea Domingo, immigration commissioner for the Philippines, said “studying the movements and activities of Iraqi intelligence assets in the country including radical Islamists, revealed an established network of terrorists headed by Hisham Hussein. A subsequent analysis of Iraq embassy phone records indicated that Hussein had been in regular contact with Abu Sayyaf leaders both before and after the Zamboanga city bombing.

Hamsinaji Sali, an Abu Sayyaf Leader had claimed that Iraq had provided the group with arms and funding. 1 million pesos (about $20,000) each year since 2000.

Hussein also met with members of the New Peoples Army a communist opposition group included on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists groups, in his office at the Iraqi embassy. The Philippine national Police later uncovered documents in an NPA compound that is says prove the Iraqi embassy had provided funding for the group.

Two additional Iraq embassy employees were expelled days later, as were several Iraqi nationals suspected of collaborating with Islamic terrorists.

Mathew Daley U.S. Deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs articulated the concerns about Abu Sayyaf in congressional testimony on March 26, 2003. We’re concerned that they have what I would call operational links to Iraqi intelligence services. ….there is good reason to believe that a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group who has been involved in terrorist activities was in direct contact with an IIS officer in the Iraqi Embassy in Manila”.

I hope you found that informative.

Now on to the next point.

The other items you list do not strike me as compelling evidence of a link between the Saddam regime and Al Qaida. Saddam's praise for the attacks could be more about his dislike for America than his liking of Al Qaida. The existence of AQ people travelling freely in Iraq does not necessarily imply that they were welcome there. ... but the _underlying_ reason why they are not compelling is a bit more complicated.

Let’s dissect this paragraph.

The other items you list do not strike me as compelling evidence of a link between the Saddam regime and Al Qaida.

You are absolutely correct but when added to the countless other items linking Saddam to Al Qaeda they are undeniable.

Saddam's praise for the attacks could be more about his dislike for America than his liking of Al Qaida.

Again true. However this is one of the grand understatements in history. Saddam was a sworn enemy of the United States. On his orders American and allied planes enforcing the “no fly zones “in northern and southern Iraq were fired upon regularly for over 12 years. Saddam ordered the assassination of a former president of the United States.

From Inconvenient Facts by Stephen F. Hayes:

* Later that same month--March 1993--Wali al Ghazali was approached by an Iraqi Intelligence officer named Abdel Hussein. Ghazali, a male nurse from Najaf, met another IIS agent named Abu Mrouwah who gave him an urgent mission: assassinate former President George H.W. Bush on his upcoming trip to Kuwait. On April 14, Kuwaiti police found Ghazali and other Iraqi Intelligence assets with two hundred pounds of explosives in a Toyota Landcruiser. Ghazali, the would-be assassin, told a Kuwait court that he had "been pushed by people who had no mercy." He said: "I fear the Iraqi regime, the Iraqi regime pushed me."


And then:

The existence of AQ people travelling freely in Iraq does not necessarily imply that they were welcome there

Only to someone completely ignorant of the facts:

Abu Musab al Zarqawi traveled to Iraq in May 2002. He lived in Baghdad with the knowledge--and perhaps sponsorship--of the Iraqi regime. A passage from p. 337 of the Senate Intelligence Committee report cites a CIA report called Iraqi Support for Terrorism: "A variety of reporting indicates that senior al Qaeda terrorist planner al Zarqawi was in Baghdad [redacted]. A foreign government service asserted that the IIS knew where al Zarqawi was located despite Baghdad's claims it could not find him." More, from p. 338: "Al Zarqawi and his network were operating both in Baghdad and in the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq. The HUMINT reporting indicated that the Iraqi regime certainly knew that al Zarqawi was in Baghdad because a foreign government service gave that information to Iraq."


Let’s move on to your next point.


Many leftwing commentators stated that the link would be unlikely for practical and ideological reasons. Rather than quote Juan Cole at you, I'll give you the words from DITSUM 044-02 itself, where the DIA opined "Saddam’s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control."

With this belief in place, the leftwinger sees the list above as circumstantial evidence, perhaps supporting, but definitely not proving the link. There's a higher weight of evidence required to convince someone of something they think is unlikely.

Without questioning the motives behind leftwing commentators reasoning, competence or reporting, there is ample evidence, easily available, and frequently reported, of Saddam cooperating, supporting and promoting “Islamic Revolutionary Organizations”. I.e. giving money to Islamic Jihad, Hamas, The Islamic Brotherhood, Abbu Sayyaf as the previously unknown to you story revealed.

Saddam Hussein hosted regular conferences for terrorists in Baghdad throughout the 1990s. Mark Fineman, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, reported on one such gathering in an article published January 26, 1993. "There are delegates from the most committed Islamic organizations on Earth," he wrote. "Afghan mujahideen (holy warriors), Palestinian militants, Sudanese fundamentalists, the Islamic Brotherhood and Pakistan's Party of Islam." One speaker praised "the mujahid Saddam Hussein, who is leading this nation against the nonbelievers. Everyone has a task to do, which is to go against the American state."

So can we dismiss the idea of Saddam being reluctant to support Islamic Fundamentalists?


Then there's the issue of suspicion....

The left generally suspects that the Administration had ulterior motives in invading Iraq. When they observe that the threat WMD from Iraq was vastly overestimated, they will likely conclude that the latter was a consequence of the former. The issue of an AQ-Iraq connection is viewed as another part of this deception, and is doubted in much the same way.

I should say on the issue of "deception" that there is a strong current of thought in leftwing circles that the Administration behaved like lawyers rather than scientists. i.e. they reached their conclusion first, and then found the evidence to support it second, rather than the other way around. This runs the gamut from "they believed their own bs" to "they lied". (For the record, I am in the former group.) It also finds expression in the phrase "reality-based community", which is a rejection of the idea that one should conduct foreign policy in this way.

Again I do not question your sincerity but this time I will absolutely question the sincerity of the left in general especially those “in the know” who had reported the Iraq Al Qaeda connection as a given for years. The same is true for President Clinton’s administration.

* The Clinton administration cited an "understanding" between Iraq and al Qaeda in its 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden. "Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."

As you can see the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda was known and openly cited long before George W. Bush came in to office. So you may be suspicious of GWB’s motives (which also is illogical but that is an entirely different argument) but hopefully this canard that he invented the Al Qaeda Iraq connection can be put to rest.

The example of al-Libi then becomes a pointed lesson about this error. Because the Administration already had their conclusion, they only found what they had already decided was true. Even when presented with differing opinions from within, the selection bias was in favour of using the false testimony.

No the bias was in favor of Al Libi’s testimony corroborating similar intelligence already in hand.

Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report (p. 331):
"Twelve reports received [redacted] from sources that the CIA described as having varying reliability, cited Iraq or Iraqi national involvement in al Qaeda's [chemical, biological, nuclear] CBW efforts."

Take particular note of this other than Al Libi there are 11 other sources citing Iraq cooperating with Al Qaeda on WMD.

The only logical conclusion when your mission is protecting the lives of 300 million Americans from two sworn enemies who have both vowed to do everything in their power to destroy United States is one of caution and believing the worst of our enemies.

Now I promised you numerous links and here they are from Stephen F. Hayes article in the weekly standard Inconvenient Facts:

On March 28, 1992, the Iraqi Intelligence Service compiled a 20-page list of terrorists the regime considered intelligence assets. Atop each page was the designation "Top Secret." On page 14 of that list is Osama bin Laden. The Iraqi Intelligence document reports that bin Laden "is in good relationship with our section in Syria." The document has been vetted and authenticated by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The existence of the document was first reported on CBS's 60 Minutes. It has been widely ignored.

Saddam Hussein hosted regular conferences for terrorists in Baghdad throughout the 1990s. Mark Fineman, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, reported on one such gathering in an article published January 26, 1993. "There are delegates from the most committed Islamic organizations on Earth," he wrote. "Afghan mujahideen (holy warriors), Palestinian militants, Sudanese fundamentalists, the Islamic Brotherhood and Pakistan's Party of Islam." One speaker praised "the mujahid Saddam Hussein, who is leading this nation against the nonbelievers. Everyone has a task to do, which is to go against the American state."

* Abdul Rahman Yasin is an Iraqi who mixed the chemicals for the bomb used in the first World Trade Center attack on February 26, 1993. We know this because he has confessed--twice to the FBI and once on national television in the United States. He fled to Iraq on March 5,1993, with the help of an Iraqi Intelligence operative working under cover in the Iraqi Embassy in Amman, Jordan. A reporter for Newsweek interviewed Yasin's neighbors in Baghdad who reported that he was living freely and "working for the government." U.S. soldiers uncovered Iraqi government documents in postwar Iraq that confirm this. The documents show Yasin was given both safe haven and financing by the Iraqi regime until the eve of the war in Iraq.

* Later that same month--March 1993--Wali al Ghazali was approached by an Iraqi Intelligence officer named Abdel Hussein. Ghazali, a male nurse from Najaf, met another IIS agent named Abu Mrouwah who gave him an urgent mission: assassinate former President George H.W. Bush on his upcoming trip to Kuwait. On April 14, Kuwaiti police found Ghazali and other Iraqi Intelligence assets with two hundred pounds of explosives in a Toyota Landcruiser. Ghazali, the would-be assassin, told a Kuwait court that he had "been pushed by people who had no mercy." He said: "I fear the Iraqi regime, the Iraqi regime pushed me."

According to numerous press reports, the deputy director of Iraqi Intelligence, Faruq Hijazi, met face-to-face with Osama bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden asked for anti-ship mines and al Qaeda training camps in Iraq. There is no indication that Iraq made good on his requests.

That same year, according to internal Iraqi Intelligence documents authenticated by the U.S. intelligence community and reported in the June 25, 2004, New York Times, a Sudanese government official met with Uday Hussein and the director of Iraqi Intelligence to facilitate the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.

According to the New York Times, the same Iraqi Intelligence document said that bin Laden earlier "had some reservations about being labeled an Iraqi operative" and that "presidential approval" had been granted to the Iraqi Intelligence service to meet with him. Bin Laden "also requested join operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia. At bin Laden's request, Saddam Hussein also agreed to broadcast on Iraqi television sermons of an anti-Saudi cleric.

* The Clinton administration cited an "understanding" between Iraq and al Qaeda in its 1998 indictment of Osama bin Laden. "Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."

* The 9/11 Commission reports that Iraq and al Qaeda had a series of "friendly contacts" that did not appear to have developed into a "collaborative operations relationship." The final report provides details of meetings between senior Iraqi Intelligence officials and al Qaeda terrorists throughout the spring and summer of 1998 and indicates that "Iraqi official offered bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq."

The offer of asylum was also included in the Senate Intelligence Committee's unanimous, bipartisan review of prewar intelligence. From p. 335 of the Senate report: "A [CIA Counterterrorism Center] operational summary from April 13, 1999, notes four other intelligence reports mentioning Saddam Hussein's "standing offer of safe haven to Osama bin Laden."

This, from p. 316 of the Senate Intelligence Committee report: "From 1996 to 2003, the [Iraqi Intelligence Service] focused its terrorist activities on western interests, particularly against the U.S. and Israel. The CIA summarized nearly 50 intelligence reports as examples, using language directly from the intelligence reports. Ten intelligence reports, from multiple sources, indicated IIS 'casing' operations against Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in Prague began in 1998 and continued into early 2003. The CIA assessed, based on the Prague casings and a variety of other reporting, that throughout 2002 the IIS was becoming increasingly aggressive in planning attacks against U.S. interests."

* Page 331 of the Senate report: "Twelve reports received [redacted] from sources that the CIA described as having varying reliability, cited Iraq or Iraqi national involvement in al Qaeda's CBW [chemical and biological weapons] efforts."

* Abu Musab al Zarqawi traveled to Iraq in May 2002. He lived in Baghdad with the knowledge--and perhaps sponsorship--of the Iraqi regime. A passage from p. 337 of the Senate Intelligence Committee report cites a CIA report called Iraqi Support for Terrorism: "A variety of reporting indicates that senior al Qaeda terrorist planner al Zarqawi was in Baghdad [redacted]. A foreign government service asserted that the IIS knew where al Zarqawi was located despite Baghdad's claims it could not find him." More, from p. 338: "Al Zarqawi and his network were operating both in Baghdad and in the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq. The HUMINT reporting indicated that the Iraqi regime certainly knew that al Zarqawi was in Baghdad because a foreign government service gave that information to Iraq."

* More recently, Hudayfa Azzam, the son of bin Laden's longtime mentor Abdullah Azzam, told Agence France Presse that the Iraqi regime worked closely with al Qaeda in Iraq before the war. "Saddam Hussein's regime welcomed them with open arms and young al Qaeda members entered Iraq in large numbers, setting up an organization to confront the occupation," he said in an interview published August 29, 2004. Azzam added that al Qaeda fighters "infiltrated into Iraq with the help of Kurdish mujahideen from Afghanistan, across mountains in Iran" and that once they arrived, Saddam "strictly and directly" controlled their activities.


Page 176 the connection.

Barham Salih, Prime minister of the Kurdish Regional Government in Sulaimaniya lost 5 of his body guards in an assassination attempt on his life by Ansar Al Islam in April 2002.

The normally soft spoken intellectual Salih when asked about the notion that Saddam did not support Islamic Radicals in Kurdistan “bullshit” he says. Yes they hate each other, but they are very utilitarian. Saddam A secular infidel to many jihadists, had no problem giving money to Hamas. This debate about whether Saddam worked with Al Qaeda is stupid. The proof is there.

Kurdish intelligence sources believe that the Iraqi regime supported Kurdish Islamic extremists for years. “It’s strictly utilitarian- they had no problem working together to take on the Big Evil and their Kurdish Surrogates” says Salih.

From Stephen F. Hayes No Terrorism in Iraq Before The War?

CIA Analysis, January 2003: Iraqi Support for Terrorism, (p. 314 of Senate Intel Report):
"Iraq has a long history of supporting terrorism."

CIA Analysis, January 2003--Iraqi Support for Terrorism, (p. 314 of Senate Intel Report):
"Iraq continues to be a safehaven, transit point, or operational node for groups and individuals who direct violence against the United States, Israel and other allies."

Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report (p. 315):
"The CIA provided 78 reports, from multiple sources, [redacted] documenting instances in which the Iraqi regime either trained operatives for attacks or dispatched them to carry out attacks."

Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report (p. 316):
"Iraq continued to participate in terrorist attacks throughout the 1990s."

Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report (p. 316):
"From 1996 to 2003, the [Iraqi Intelligence Service] focused its terrorist activities on western interests, particularly against the U.S. and Israel."

Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report (p. 316):
"Throughout 2002, the [Iraqi Intelligence Service] was becoming increasingly aggressive in planning attacks against U.S. interests. The CIA provided eight reports to support this assessment."

The 9/11 Commission Report (p. 66):
"In March 1998, after bin Laden's public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraq Intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to
Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with bin Laden."


Now you may ask if this information is so easily accessible why is this all coming from one man?

To which I would answer if this information is so easily accessible (and it is) why isn’t anyone else reporting on it when these absurd claims of no links between Iraq and Al Qaeda keep surfacing?

Even though they are less thorough or frequent or detailed Mr. Hayes is not completely alone in the dark.

One of the first WTC bombers was living in Iraq with support of Sadaam the day we invaded.

From CBS News:

Abdul Rahman Yasin is the only participant in the first attempt to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993 who was never caught. Yasin, who was indicted in the bombing but escaped,[b] was interviewed by CBS News' Lesley Stahl in an Iraqi installation near Baghdad last Thursday, May 23.[/b] Stahl's report appeared on 60 Minutes, Sunday June 2nd

From CNN News:

Abu Abbas, a convicted Palestinian terrorist who masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro on which a wheelchair-bound American was killed, was captured by U.S. Special Forces in the outskirts of Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said Tuesday

From Laurie Mylroie Saddam's Terrorist Ties:

Nonetheless, the director of Iraqi intelligence informed the palace that the vice chairman of Sudan's governing National Islamic Front would be sending a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad - a group headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who subsequently became Osama bin Laden's deputy - to Baghdad on a Sudanese plane carrying meat.

You will find several other articles from Ms. Mylroie in the link I Provided as well.

Now Again I have only supplied a small sample of the evidence that is publicly available. This obviously does not include the counless documents we will either never see or at least not see for many many years. I hope you agree with me that this is compelling, convincing, and the end of the argument about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Tracked back to: Is it Just Me, Otismaster, Choose Life, Stop The ACLU, The Uncooperative Blogger, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Point Five, 10ft2ft, Adam's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits, bRight & Early, Jo's Cafe, All Things Beautiful,

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