Skip to comments.The Butcher with the Terror Ties - The evidence mounts. (Newsweek reports on Atta in Prague, 2001)
Posted on 01/13/2006 9:11:24 AM PST by neverdem
January 13, 2006,
The Butcher with the Terror Ties
The evidence mounts.
Drip, drip, drip.
Drop by drop, isolated news stories and emerging documents are eroding the popular myth that Saddam Hussein had no connections to Islamofascist terrorists. These revelations undermine war critics efforts to whitewash Baghdads ancien regime such as when Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid declared: There was [sic] no terrorists in Iraq. Likewise, Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) describes a nonexistent relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.
Reid, Levin, and others who dismiss the Baathist-terrorist nexus would struggle to do so if the Bush administration unveiled the evidence tying Hussein to Osama bin Laden and other extremists. President Bush immediately should release papers discussed in the January 9 Newsweek and the January 16 Weekly Standard.
A declassified 2002 Pentagon presentation attained by Newsweeks Mark Hosenball offers fresh details on a suspected April 8-9, 2001, meeting in Prague between September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) station chief Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. No other intelligence reporting contradicts that [deleted] report, the heavily redacted document states. It adds: During one visit, al-Ani ordered IIS finance officer to issue funds to Atta. According to one slide, Atta also reportedly met with Iraqi Charge dAffaires Hussein Kanaan. Also: Several workers at Prague airport identified Atta following 9/11 and remember him traveling with his brother Farhan Atta. (For excerpts go here.)
A slide headlined High-Level Contacts, 1990 2002 lists numerous meetings and communications among bin Laden, his deputies, and top Iraqi officials. In 1999, the presentation says, al-Qaida established operational training camp in northern Iraq; also reports of Iraq training terrorists at Salman Pak, a military base 20 miles south of Baghdad. In 2000, According to CIA fragmentary reporting points to possible Iraqi involvement in bombing USS Cole in October.
Among the documents Findings: Some indications of possible Iraqi coordination with al Qaida specifically related to 9/11.
Is this all fabricated? How much of this presentation is true? Releasing all 60 or so slides for public inspection would help sort this out.
The Weekly Standards Stephen Hayes talked to 11 federal officials before concluding that documents U.S. troops captured in Iraq prove that the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion. Hayes reports, Secret training took place primarily at three camps in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Muslim fanatics, such as Algerias GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army, were among the 8,000 or so murderers instructed between 1999 and 2002.
Handwritten notes, typed forms, computer discs, videos, and other exploitable items confirm Husseins philanthropy of terror, Hayes says. But America has translated only some 2.5 percent of this huge cache. Federal officials barely discuss what they have learned. Even unclassified papers remain unavailable. Absurd. Having studied some of these artifacts, one intelligence expert says: As much as we overestimated WMD, it appears we underestimated [Husseins] support for transregional terrorists.
Asked by Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R., Mich.) to release some texts, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte reportedly told the House Intelligence chairman: Im giving this as much attention as anything else on my plate to make this work.
Earlier this month, Hayes writes, federal immigration judge Anthony Rogers decided to deport Ahmad Mohammed Barodi, a 41-year-old Arlington, Tex., convenience-store owner. Barodi testified in a January 4-5 hearing that he entered America in 1989 on a phony Syrian passport furnished by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB), an Islamic terror group. He admitted to smuggling bogus passports into Saudi Arabia for SMB. According to Justice Department records cited by KTVT, CBSs Dallas station, the SMB sent Barodi to a 21-day guerrilla warfare training camp in Iraq in 1982, with the approval of Saddam Hussein. The document adds: Barodi advised that the Iraqi government provided all of the training aids consisting of RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), firearms and the facility.
But, skeptics sputter, secular Saddam Hussein never would work with Osama bin Laden or other Islamic zealots. This argument foolishly ignores popularly elected Franklin Roosevelts alliance with genocidal dictator Josef Stalin to smash Adolf Hitler. Similarly, republican revolutionary George Washington and super-monarch Louis XVI collaborated to defeat Britains King George III. Why wouldnt Hussein and bin Laden similarly conspire to foil the Great Satan?
Moreover, the Butcher of Baghdad was not as secular as the no-connection crowd insists. He added Allahu Akbar (God is Great) to the Iraqi flag just before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He also began to pray publicly to bolster his mosque-cred. Hayes cites a SENSITIVE August 22, 1995, UNSCOM interview with Hussein Kamel, the tyrants son-in-law who defected to Jordan that year. Kamel told U.N. weapons inspector Rolf Ekeus, The Government of Iraq is instigating fundamentalism in the country . . . Now Baath Party members have to pass a religious exam. He added: They even stopped party meetings for prayers.
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney gave Hayes a boost Wednesday. As the vice president told radio host Tony Snow: Steve Hayes is of the view and I think hes correct that a lot of those documents that were captured over there that have not yet been evaluated offer additional evidence that, in fact, there was a relationship that stretched over many years between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda organization.
To its enormous detriment, Cheneys comments notwithstanding, the administration has been nearly silent about Husseins decades of collusion with Islamic terrorists. The worry, White House aides tell me, is that revealing these ties would generate media criticism and anti-war catcalls. Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita told Hayes that some reporters might discover exculpatory material among these papers, then wed spend a lot of time chasing around after it.
That risk does not excuse paralysis. If the president wrote MoveOn.org a $10,000 check, they would denounce his penmanship. Bushs detractors never stop complaining, so the administration simply should make its case. If handed the keys to Fort Knox, dont worry that someone might whine about the wallpaper. Grab the gold.
Administration officials also should remember that the United Nations Oil-for-Food scandal resembled an eccentric one-woman show when reporter Claudia Rosett began exposing it. Then the documents tumbled out. Rosett was vindicated and how! Worldwide probes, resignations, and criminal arrests followed as the contours of this $21 billion shakedown became clear.
Stephen Hayes similarly remains among the few journalists excavating this huge, deliberately concealed story. Now Newsweek has nibbled at the Iraq-terror connection. Other journalists should stop napping and demand that the White House finally document everything it can about Saddam Husseins multifarious links to terrorism.
Deroy Murdock is a New York-based a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Arlington, Va.. His research on Saddam Husseins support for Islamofascism appears at HUSSEINandTERROR.com.
Bush got off to a late start with appointments because clinton used the chad wars as an excuse not to allow him any transition period.
Bush's new tone worked well in Texas. The Dems were fairly cooperative while he was governor, evidently. But you could see it failing at the national level within the first few months of his first term.
I understand why he remained polite, but I don't understand why he never cleaned house. I quoted Machiavelli at the time. If you need to do something politically unpopular (like killing your enemies) do it soon, do it quickly, and do it all at once. Then you can spend the next few years making nice.
If I recall, the 9/11 commission dismissed the reports of Atta in Prague because his cell phone was in Florida at the time of his alleged meeting. (So the fact that the guy didn't take his cell phone with him, to a place where it probably wouldn't work anyway and where it might give him away is evidence that he couldn't have been in Prague).
I guess I didn't go to Brazil last year, because I didn't take my cell phone with me.
I have a friend who's an ex-army officer (and a die-hard Dem) who steadfastly refuses to believe that Hussein had any ties to terrorism. I quoted him many sources and pieces of information about Husseins terror ties, but he just shook his head and kept denying, denying, denying.
I think the problem with Dems like my friend is that deep down they know it's true. They hate Bush so much they can't bear the thought that he was right and they were wrong.
It simply beggars the imagination to believe that a monster like Hussein would not have ties to as many terrorist orgs as possible. To think that he wouldn't ally with A-Q over religious "principles" is simply absurd. As more and more of these connections between Hussein and A-Q and other Islamic terrorists are outed, many Bush-haters will finally have to accept the truth: Bush was right, and they were wrong. And the sound of the weeping and gnashing of liberal teeth will be heard across the nation ...and the world.
"Nothing to see here folks, move along please."
I'd take that bet! The Admin. probably has mountains of info that would bury many a Dim. Why use it all at once?
bookmark for later
I think that the President should go on the offensive regarding this Saddam and terrorists very well established connections. He needs to mention this in the State of the Union Address.
Terrorist behind September 11 strike was trained by Saddam
By Con Coughlin
Iraq's coalition government claims that it has uncovered documentary proof that Mohammed Atta, the al-Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks against the US, was trained in Baghdad by Abu Nidal, the notorious Palestinian terrorist.
Details of Atta's visit to the Iraqi capital in the summer of 2001, just weeks before he launched the most devastating terrorist attack in US history, are contained in a top secret memo written to Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad.
In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy".
The second part of the memo, which is headed "Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment - believed to be uranium - that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria.
Although Iraqi officials refused to disclose how and where they had obtained the document, Dr Ayad Allawi, a member of Iraq's ruling seven-man Presidential Committee, said the document was genuine.
"We are uncovering evidence all the time of Saddam's involvement with al-Qaeda," he said. "But this is the most compelling piece of evidence that we have found so far. It shows that not only did Saddam have contacts with al-Qaeda, he had contact with those responsible for the September 11 attacks."
Although Atta is believed to have been resident in Florida in the summer of 2001, he is known to have used more than a dozen aliases, and intelligence experts believe he could easily have slipped out of the US to visit Iraq.
Abu Nidal, who was responsible for the failed assassination of the Israeli ambassador to London in 1982, was based in Baghdad for more than two decades.
Not only did he have a hand in 9/11, he really did have WMD's.
Where are they? Syria. Buried in the desert. Poured into the Tigris. It's not like he didn't have warning that we were on the way.
Is Salman Pak in Boston? If so, who is this Salman fella the park is named after?
This may be Bush's strategy...
It could be that up until recently Bush/Executive Branch only had the bits and pieces.
Bush likes overwhelming his opponents (enemies). Once a "preponderance of evidence" (to use a legalism) is present, he just may dump it on the public and let everyone see how complicit the democrats are in aiding and abeting the enemy.
What is the status of the meeting in Prague between September 11th hijacker Mohamed Atta and Iraqi embassy intelligence officer, Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir Al-Ani?
The basic information has not changed: Czech counter intelligence determined that an Iraqi official under its surveillance met Atta in April 2001. The interpretation of it, however, has undergone a number of vacillations. Here is the chronology:
Please go to link above for specifics.
He who lives by terrorism...
Con Coughlin reveals the deadly intrigue that last week led Saddam Hussein to murder Abu Nidal, the Palestinian terrorist who was one of his trusted, and most feared, confidants
T his time there can be no mistake: Abu Nidal is dead. The Palestinian terrorist who, for more than two decades, left a trail of carnage and destruction throughout the Middle East and Europe, has died as he lived, by the gun.
For most of his life Abu Nidal was the archetypal gun for hire, plying his deadly trade for a number of paymasters, most notably for Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
Long before anyone had ever heard of Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'eda, Sabri al-Banna, the Palestinian terrorist who used the nom de guerre Abu Nidal (Father of the Struggle), was the world's most most-wanted man, and his followers constituted the most feared, and brutal, terrorist organisation.
Last week the tables were finally turned when a team of Saddam's gunmen burst into Abu Nidal's Baghdad apartment and shot him dead.
The reason for the shooting, as The Telegraph today reveals, is that Abu Nidal declined Saddam's request to use his considerable expertise to train a number of al-Qa'eda fighters who have taken refuge in northern Iraq since the collapse of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
As with so many aspects of Abu Nidal's life, at first the details surrounding his death were so shrouded in mystery that no one was sure whether he really was dead, or if this was just another of the hoax announcements that had been made in the past to confuse international intelligence organisations.
During the Iran-Iraq war in the early 1980s, for example, when Saddam was trying to win American backing for his war against the ayatollahs, the government-owned Baghdad press reported that Abu Nidal, who had been busy directing his international terrorist network from his office in Baghdad, had died of a heart attack.
A month later, just as the report was starting to acquire credence among intelligence agencies, Libya's Colonel Gaddafi announced that Abu Nidal was alive and living in Tripoli, thereby undermining Saddam's ingenious attempt to wash his hands of the Abu Nidal issue.
A few years ago he was reported to be dying of cancer at an Egyptian hospital but when Egyptian security forces, prompted into action by Western intelligence agencies, raided the hospital, Abu Nidal was nowhere to be seen.
Last week the confusion concerned not so much the fact of his death, but the manner of his passing. Initially the reports emanating from Baghdad said he had died of cancer, which were then updated to suggest that he had committed suicide because he could no longer cope with the effects of his illness.
Meanwhile his supporters in Beirut claimed that he had been murdered by the Iraqis, which in turn prompted Taher Jalil Haboush, the head of Iraqi intelligence, to make an unprecedented public appearance at a press conference, at which he gave what he insisted was the definitive account of Abu Nidal's demise.
Iraqi intelligence agents, said Haboush, had discovered that Abu Nidal had entered the country illegally from Iran. They launched an intensive search of Baghdad but were unable to find him because he kept changing his name and moving apartments.
In the course of their investigations they learnt that Abu Nidal was involved in a plot to assassinate Saddam. Eventually the security agents located his address and went to his apartment to arrest him and take him away for interrogation. Soon after they arrived, Abu Nidal excused himself, went to another room, put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
The shot did not immediately kill him and the Iraqi officers rushed him to a nearby hospital where Abu Nidal later died of his wounds. To prove the point, Haboush produced a photograph of the deceased terrorist lying prone on his hospital bed, blood still oozing from his head.
Given the gruesome reputation of Saddam's interrogation methods, it is perhaps not surprising that Abu Nidal should prefer to take his own life rather than endure the barbarity that is routinely applied to detainees in the "operations room" of Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison complex.
The only problem with Haboush's elaborate account of Abu Nidal's death is that it is almost entirely fictitious, a clumsy attempt by Saddam's rapidly collapsing regime to distance itself from the murder of a man who was once one of Saddam's most trusted, and most feared, confidants.
Certainly the reports currently being analysed by Western security experts paint a very different picture from that provided by Haboush. For example, the suggestion that Abu Nidal had entered Iraq illegally, and that he was living in hiding in Baghdad, is highly misleading.
Abu Nidal and his entourage had been invited to take up residence in Baghdad several months ago on Saddam's personal orders.
Even in his declining years, Abu Nidal always travelled with a number of bodyguards who carried with them large quantities of arms, ammunition and explosives. When they arrived at the Jordanian border they were met by Iraqi intelligence officials who escorted them to Baghdad.
Saddam had facilitated Abu Nidal's return to Baghdad so that he could receive medical treatment for a mild form of skin cancer.
Far from being hidden away at a secret location, Abu Nidal received a VIP welcome, and was treated at the Ibn Sina Hospital in central Baghdad, which is located just 100 yards from Saddam's office at the Presidential Palace.
Access to the hospital is strictly controlled by Saddam's security officials, and Abu Nidal was treated in a neighbouring room to the one specially reserved for Saddam's eldest son, Uday, who narrowly survived an assassination attempt in 1996.
Abu Nidal's treatment did not require full-time admission to hospital and on most days he returned to his apartment in central Baghdad.
According to officials at the Iraqi National Accord, the London-based Iraqi opposition group, Abu Nidal was frequently seen in the company of General Muwafak Ali, a senior officer with Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence agency, who is responsible for Iraq's relations with Jordan and the Palestinians.
Just nine days before his death, Abu Nidal was spotted visiting a group of Palestinians resident in Baghdad, accompanied by Iraqi intelligence officers.
Saddam's invitation to Abu Nidal to return to Baghdad, however, was by no means altruistic. In the aftermath of September 11 Saddam became one of the principal targets of American President George W. Bush's war on terror.
With the prospect of renewed hostilities between the US and Iraq becoming increasingly imminent, Saddam has been looking at various ways of disrupting Washington's plans.
Iraq's support for Palestinian suicide bombers, for example, is well-documented. By stoking the flames of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Saddam has been trying to divert Western attention from Iraq.
It now appears that Saddam's renewed relationship with Abu Nidal was related to the Iraqi leader's efforts to counter Washington's attempts to depose him. In return for providing Abu Nidal with a safe haven in Baghdad, and providing him with medical treatment, Saddam hoped to persuade the veteran terrorist to reactivate his extensive network of "sleeper" cells in Europe and the Middle East.
During the 20 or more years that his terrorist organisation was active, Abu Nidal demonstrated his organisation's ability to conduct attacks at a wide variety of locations.
During the late 1970s, he waged a murderous campaign against moderate Palestinian leaders, including the murder in 1978 of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's representative in London. In 1982, his group was responsible for the attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov, the Israeli ambassador to London, which was the main reason for Israel's decision to invade Lebanon a few days later to attack Palestinian terror groups.
In the mid-1980s, after he shifted his allegiance from Saddam to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Abu Nidal undertook some of his most spectacular terrorist attacks, such as the 1985 bombing of the Israeli airline El Al's ticket desks at Rome and Vienna airports.
He was also responsible for murdering two British diplomats in Athens and Bombay, and the murder of British journalist Alec Collett, who was hanged in Lebanon. One of his aides last week claimed that in private he had even claimed responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people.
In recent years Abu Nidal's network had lain dormant after he apparently became disillusioned with the ineffectiveness of his terror tactics. According to Arab diplomats, he wanted to establish his credentials as a serious political figure in the Palestinian movement, positioning himself as a viable alternative to the PLO leader Yasser Arafat.
Saddam, however, had other plans. He wanted Abu Nidal to reactivate his "sleeper" cells and to use his agents to conduct a new wave of terror attacks. In particular he wanted Abu Nidal to attack targets in Jordan and Turkey, which he hoped would destabilise two countries which the US plans to use in the event of fresh hostilities against Iraq.
Saddam was also keen that Abu Nidal use his considerable expertise in terrorist techniques - gleaned from a six-month training course undertaken in China in the early 1970s - to train groups of al-Qaeda fighters who have taken refuge in northern Iraq.
Despite his previous willingness to assist Saddam, on this occasion Abu Nidal was not prepared to co-operate with the Iraq dictator's demands.
He believed that his political prospects - such as they were - would not be assisted either by conducting terrorist attacks or training a new generation of Islamic fanatics. And, for this intransigence, he paid with his life.