Skip to comments.Iraq's Complicity in Terrorism
Posted on 08/12/2005 5:18:07 PM PDT by Enchante
In 1992, when Richard Clarke assumed the counterterrorism portfolio in the White House, terrorism was not a serious problem. Libya's downing of Pan Am flight 103 four years before had been the last major attack on a U.S. target. Yet when Clarke left his post in October 2001, terrorism had become the single greatest threat to America. Clarke would have us believe that this happened because of events beyond anyone's ability to control and, moreover, that the Bush administration has adopted a fatally wrong approach to the war on terror by targeting Iraq in its response to the September 11 attacks.
Clarke's tenure as America's top counterterrorism official is essentially contemporaneous with the Clinton administration. Before Bill Clinton took office, it was assumed that major terrorist attacks against the United States were state sponsored. Clinton turned a national security issue, focused on punishing terrorist states, into a law enforcement issue, focused on arresting and convicting individual perpetrators. That produced a certain gratification.
More terrorists were convicted in U.S. courts in the Clinton years than during any other administration. However, this approach was completely ineffectual and had, in fact, created a very serious vulnerability long before September 11, 2001. Clarke, essentially, seeks to blame the Bush administration for September 11, while exonerating Clinton (and therefore Clarke). The reality is quite the reverse.
The February 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center--one month into Clinton's first term in office--marked the start of what would become an audacious series of assaults, culminating in the September 11 attacks. This terrorism was said to be new because it was carried out by "loose networks" not supported by any state, or so it was claimed. This was the official line of Clinton's Justice Department, although the first person to articulate it publicly was a man of the political Right, journalist Steven Emerson, in an April 7, 1993, New York Times article, a few weeks after the Trade Center bombing.
Yet senior figures at the New York branch of the FBI, the lead investigative agency, including its director, Jim Fox, believed that Baghdad was responsible for the attack. As Fox wrote, "Although we are unable to say with certainty the Iraqis were behind the bombing, that is certainly the theory accepted by most of the veteran investigators" (italics added).
Fox's background was counterintelligence. To Fox, the ease of the arrests suggested a conspiracy masterminded by others, with the militants left behind to get caught and take the blame. Mohammed Salameh, the 26-year-old Palestinian who rented the van that carried the bomb, was detained as he returned to the Ryder agency to ask for his deposit on that van. Fox recognized that Salameh and his militant cohort could not themselves alone have made that bomb--which left a crater five stories deep in the basement floors of the North Tower in an attempt to topple that building onto its twin.
Several Iraqis hovered around the fringe of the plot. One, Abdul Rahman Yasin, is the sole remaining indicted fugitive. Born in the United States while his father was a graduate student here, Yasin was able to obtain a U.S. passport in June 1992. Yasin arrived in New York from Baghdad in September 1992. He returned there shortly after the Trade Center bombing, transiting through Jordan, where he stopped at the Iraqi embassy and quickly (within 24 hours) received a visa for his U.S. passport. Much later, U.S. authorities found documents in Iraq that showed Yasin was rewarded with a house and monthly stipend.
Ramzi Yousef was a second key figure in that attack. Like Yasin, Yousef arrived in New York in early September 1992. At Kennedy Airport, Yousef presented an Iraqi passport, with stamps showing that his trip began in Baghdad. The immigration inspector who processed him testified that Yousef's passport "appeared to be valid and unaltered." Yousef fled the night of the Trade Center bombing on a Pakistani passport in the name of Abdul Basit Karim. Karim was a real person, born and raised in Kuwait. He studied for three years in Britain, graduating from the Swansea Institute in June 1989 and returning to Kuwait, where he received a job in Kuwait's planning ministry and where he was on August 2, 1990, when Iraq invad
Yousef obtained Karim's passport by going to the Pakistani consulate with photocopies of Karim's 1984 and 1988 passports. Yousef claimed to be Karim, saying he had lost his passport and needed a new one to return home. The consulate did not like Yousef's papers, as he had no original documents. Nonetheless, it provided him a temporary passport.
A careful consideration of this material, available from court records as well as Karim's file in Kuwait (details of which were provided to this author by Kuwaiti officials), shows that Yousef is an Iraqi intelligence agent. Yousef's identity is the crucial issue. As Judge Kevin Duffy, who presided over Yousef's two trials, stated at his sentencing hearing, "We don't even know what your real name is."
We call him Ramzi Yousef, but that is just the name on the passport he carried when he arrived in the United States. Nor is he Abdul Basit Karim, and therein lies the demonstration that Yousef is an Iraqi agent.
First, key pages from Karim's passports, as presented by Yousef to the Pakistani consulate, were altered.
- The signature in the 1984 passport is totally different from the signature in the 1988 passport.
- A Pakistani passport includes spaces for "permanent address in Pakistan" and "present address in Pakistan." A permanent address is a family's place of origin; by definition, it does not change. Yet Karim's 1984 passport shows one permanent address, in Karachi, and the 1988 passport shows another one, in Turbat, in Baluchistan province.
Second, a file containing details on Karim's life was tampered with to create a false identity, or "legend," for Yousef. Material is missing from Karim's file in Kuwait. It should have included copies of the front pages of his passport, with his picture, signature, and so on. The Kuwaitis attributed the omissions to the Iraqi occupation. But information was also added to Karim's file maintained by the Interior Ministry. It contains the notation that Karim and his family left Kuwait on August 26, 1990, and traveled to Iraq and Iran, crossing at Salamcheh, on their way to Pakistani Baluchistan, where they live now.
Yet there was no Kuwaiti government on August 26, 1990: Iraqi authorities had to have put that information into Karim's file. Moreover, a traveler does not give his entire itinerary when crossing a border; he states merely whence he came and where he is going directly. Finally, tens of thousands of people were trying to flee Kuwait and Iraq then; it is extremely unlikely that Iraqi officials were recording the flight plans of all those people. That notation was put into Karim's file for a reason.
Most significantly, Yousef's fingerprints are in Karim's file. Yet Yousef is not Karim. Yousef is six feet tall, but Karim was substantially shorter, according to his British teachers as his 1988 passport, issued when he was 20 years old and fully grown. Karim's teachers at Swansea do not believe their student is a terrorist mastermind. Indeed, the institute's principal and deputy principal both told the BBC after September 11 that they believed their student was murdered in Kuwait after Iraq invaded and his identity was assumed by another man.
Thus, the fingerprint card in Karim's file had to have been switched; the original one bearing Karim's prints was removed and replaced with one bearing Yousef's prints. Reasonably, only Iraq could have done so while it occupied Kuwait, for the evident purpose of creating a "legend" for one of its agents.
This kind of deception is a well-known practice of Soviet-style intelligence agencies. Indeed, Allen Dulles, the CIA's first director, described this practice in his book The Craft of Intelligence. The Soviets might chose a city like Munich as the source of such "legends," Dulles explained, because it had been destroyed during bombings. Creating a legend involves a "thorough concealing" of the past, said Dulles, "under layers of fictitious personal history" that have to be "backstopped"--for example, several sources must appear to corroborate the identity. An agent so made over is known as an "illegal." Because he has assumed a new identity, it is very difficult to link him to the enemy state for which he works.
AL QAEDA AT WORK?
Since September 11, U.S. authorities have learned a great deal more about al Qaeda. They now understand that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Yousef's "uncle," masterminded the September 11 attacks. The principle paymaster for the hijackers was Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, also known as Ammar al Baluchi, supposedly Yousef's first cousin and another of Mohammed's "nephews." Furthermore, two of Yousef's "older brothers" are also al Qaeda masterminds, capable of replacing Mohammed, who was captured in March 2003.
Thus, the official U.S. position is that a family lies at the core of the most lethal series of terrorist assaults ever inflicted on this country. That, however, is without precedent: no major terrorist organization has a family at its core. Yet all these identities, with the possible exception of Ali's, are based on Kuwaiti files that predate Kuwait's liberation from Iraqi occupation and are thus inherently unreliable.
Al Qaeda is a militant Islamist organization. That is the motivating factor for Osama bin Ladin and most others. Yet Yousef and Mohammed are not religious militants; they are Iraqi intelligence agents. Their genuine proclivities were exposed as a result of a failed plot in the Philippines to bomb a dozen U.S. airliners. The plot, in which Mohammed was also involved, misfired when Yousef accidentally started a fire while mixing explosives in his kitchen sink and they were forced to flee abruptly. Yousef and his cohort, it turned out, regularly frequented the nightclubs and brothels of Manila.
After Mohammed was captured, the Washington Post cited a U.S. intelligence official: "To be honest, it wasn't until recently that any of us even realized he was part of al Qaeda . . . The big problem nailing him down is that the informants that we relied on, especially before 9/11, were mujaheddin. They'd been in Afghanistan, in Sudan, back in Afghanistan. Khalid was never a part of any of that" (italics added).
These terrorists are all Baluchi, a Sunni group living in eastern Pakistan and western Iran. The United States has virtually nothing to do with the Baluchi, and most Americans have never heard of them. Saddam's Iraq, however, had extensive and deep-seated ties with the Baluchi on both sides of the Pakistan-Iran border, according to Wafiq Samarrai, former head of Iraqi military intelligence, who defected after the 1991 Gulf War. Iraq used the Baluchi as spies and saboteurs against the Shia rulers of Iran, with whom it fought a lengthy war in the 1980s.
There is no evident reason for the Baluchi to attack the United States, save for their ties to Iraq. Indeed, a former deputy head of Israeli military intelligence, Amos Gilboa, remarked that the identities of these al Qaeda masterminds are fabrications, produced by Iraqi intelligence while Iraq occupied Kuwait. Jim Fox called the question of Yousef's identity the "smoking gun." Israeli ambassador Itamar Rabinovich and Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar agreed.
Yet it is virtually impossible to get the U.S. government to move on this. The bureaucracies that accommodated Clinton's desire not to hear that Saddam was involved in attacking America then do not want to acknowledge their error now. They lack the grace to apologize. Only one colleague in the intelligence community made a halfhearted attempt after September 11: "I thought Saddam could never carry out such an attack, and even if he could, he wouldn't dare."
We went to war with Iraq because Baghdad was involved in September 11, as senior administration officials recognized. Almost certainly, President George W. Bush does not understand how easy it would be to demonstrate Iraq's involvement in those attacks, even as it is essential that the administration do so. A house divided cannot stand. We cannot expect some employees of the U.S. government, namely our soldiers, to risk life and limb in Iraq while other employees of the same government continue to engage in a posterior-covering exercise that denies to those soldiers, and to the American public, an understanding of why, exactly, we are fighting this war.
Laurie Mylroie was adviser on Iraq to the 1992 Clinton campaign and is author of Bush vs. the Beltway: How the CIA and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror (HarperCollins).
Clarke left the Administration knowing, after September 11th, that his time was up. That gave him plenty of free time to direct his own guilt at the Bush Administration. Clarke is as much to blame for the pre-9/11 failure as anyone.
I have read quite a few articles by Laurie Mylroie...she knows her stuff...
Plus, if the overall Atta timeline is back on the table as
a result of the recent revelations, then Prague is back on
the table, bringing Iraq back in as well.
We need a Commission that will actually look at the
evidence, and not just prop up that house of cards
called the Clinton Legacy.
Salman Pak would be a great place to do a documentary. Complete with interviews with people who worked there.
We discussed Atta and Prague on another thread. I'm pretty well convinced it was Atta meeting with the Iraqi security agent. He could have gotten a fake passport, and there's no other trace of him on the day the meeting took place.
Wrong. Clarke is MORE to blame.
Maybe this particular itme hasn't been posted. I don't know. But I have posted a number of Laurie Mylroie articles along the same lines myself.
And, I agree, if it is now known that Atta had entered the Unied States in 2000 on false documents, there is no reason to hold to the truly dumb position that he didn't go to Prague in 2001 just because he didn't check out with the INS.
The fact is the Clinton admin and a slew of leftist shills are unwilling to stare the truth in the face. And the Bush admin has not been bold enough in presenting the facts to the American public. The public believes the left's version because the left has been the shrillest. It's time for the Bush admin to make more noise about Iraq's terrorist actions against us.
Here's another real dumb question to ask your liberal nitwit friends: "Do you think there would have been a second attack on the World Trade Center if the first attack had worked?"
Mylroie has written several books, and you might be interested in reading them.Among them are these, directly relevant to this matter:
.The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks: A Study of Revenge
by: Laurie Mylroie
November 15, 2001
.Bush vs. the Beltway : How the CIA and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror
by: Laurie Mylroie
August 01, 2003
Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf
by: Laurie Mylroie
One of the biggest mistakes that this administration made leading up to 9/11 was following the advice of Richard Clark.The guy was a total failure who lacked the wisdom needed to fight terrorism.His actions following 9/11 showed us exactly what type of character he was.For nearly ten years we had a political whore in one of our top anti terror positions.He knew nothing about battling terror,instead he was an expert in ass kissing and back stabbing.
Stuff like this makes me want to puke. Every day many of us on this forum gather data and make determinations knowing we don't have 100% of the facts. However we will have enough information to make an assessment with a certain degree of confidence based on the information mined. I have wondered over the past several years what level of data would be enough for some of these CIA/FBI weenies to be able so say anything with even reasonable certainty.
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