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The 9/11 Connection
National Review Online ^ | April 3, 2003, 2:40 p.m. | Deroy Murdock

Posted on 04/03/2003 2:58:44 PM PST by Remedy

Not far from Baghdad, Coalition forces may uncover evidence linking Saddam Hussein's regime with airline hijackings in general and the September 11 attacks in particular.

Salman Pak, a training camp on the Tigris River some 15 miles southeast of Iraq's capital, could clarify this question. According to Iraqi defectors and U.S. intelligence analysts, this is where Hussein's agents polished the air-piracy skills of foreign Islamist terrorists.

Details on this facility and its al Qaeda ties recently emerged in a Manhattan federal courtroom. Former CIA Director James Woolsey and Iraq scholar Laurie Mylroie offered sworn expert testimony in a largely overlooked lawsuit filed by the families of two people killed on 9/11. They are suing Iraq's government, among other rogue entities and individuals, for allegedly helping to murder their loved ones.

"I believe it is definitely more likely than not that some degree of common effort in the sense of aiding or abetting or conspiracy was involved here between Iraq and the al Qaeda," Woolsey said on March 3. President Clinton's CIA chief from 1993 to 1995 added: "Even if one cannot show that...any of the individual 19 hijackers were trained at Salman Pak, the nature of the training and the circumstances suggest, to my mind, at least, some kind of common aiding, abetting, assistance, cooperation — whatever word you might want to take."

Mylroie, a Pentagon terrorism consultant and Iraq-policy adviser to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign (and author of The War Against America), also testified March 3. She believes "It took a state like Iraq to carry out an attack as really sophisticated, massive and deadly as what happened on September 11."

Top Iraqi defectors amplify these American suspicions.

"There have been several confirmed sightings of Islamic fundamentalists from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Gulf states being trained in terror tactics at the Iraqi intelligence camp at Salman Pak," Khidir Hamza, Iraq's former nuclear-weapons chief, told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee last July 31. "The training involved assassination, explosions and hijacking."

"This camp is specialized in exporting terrorism to the whole world," former Iraqi army captain Sabah Khodada told PBS's Frontline in an October 14, 2001 interview. Khodada worked at Salman Pak. He said that instruction there was "all for the general concept of hitting and attacking American targets and American interests." He added: "We saw people getting trained to hijack airplanes...They are even trained how to use utensils for food, like forks and knives provided in the plane...They are trained how to plant horror within the passengers by doing such actions." A map of the camp Khodada drew for Frontline closely matches satellite photos of the base, thus bolstering his story.

"I was the security officer in charge of the unit," at Salman Pak, an ex-Iraqi lieutenant general told Frontline anonymously in a November 6, 2001 interview. "This unit was under the direct supervision and control of the Iraqi Intelligence Service," he added. "And the fact that the training was concentrated on a plane made it even stranger as far as I was concerned."

Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, denied this to Frontline that October 29. "I am lucky that I know the area, this Salman Pak. This is a very beautiful area with gardens, with trees," Aldouri said. "It is not possible to do such a program there, because there's no place for planes."

Oddly enough, that satellite photo shows no rose bushes. But clearly evident is the Russian-built Tupolev 154 airliner on which these Iraqi emigres report hijackings were rehearsed.

"We were told it was for counterterrorist training," former U.N. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer said in the Scotsman newspaper on February 18. "We automatically knocked off the word 'counter.'" Duelfer and his team saw the jet on a January 1995 visit.

Meanwhile, in a February 24 letter to James Beasley, Jr., the attorney in the aforementioned lawsuit, Czech U.N. Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek affirms an October 26, 2001 statement by Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross: "In this moment we can confirm, that during the next stay of Mr. Muhammad Atta in the Czech Republic there was the contact with the official of the Iraqi intelligence, Mr. Al Ani, Ahmed Khalin Ibrahim Samir, who was on 22nd April 2001 expelled from the Czech Republic on the basis of activities which were not compatible with the diplomatic status." Atta flew from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Prague on April 7, 2001. Car-rental records place him in the Czech capitol the next day. He flew home to Florida that April 9.

"If he [Atta] goes there and meets with an Iraqi intelligence officer, and then turns right around and comes right back, it looks an awful lot to me like it was an operational meeting," Woolsey said in court. "Certainly he and Mr. Al-Ani were unlikely to be discussing or looking at the lovely architecture of Medieval Prague."

Czech officials sent Al-Ani packing just two weeks after his meeting with Atta when they caught the Iraqi casing and photographing Radio Free Europe's Prague headquarters, some believe in hopes of bombing it.

Iraq also is tied to the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Chief conspirator Ramzi Yousef reached America bearing an Iraqi passport, although he fled to Pakistan on a Pakistani passport issued to one Abdul Basit Karim, a Pakistani-born resident of Kuwait whose identity Mylroie surmises that Yousef assumed, perhaps with the help of Iraqi intelligence agents who had access to immigration files before U.S. and allied forces drove them from Kuwait.

For his part, Indiana-born and Iraqi-reared Abdul Rahman Yasin — indicted for mixing the chemicals in the bomb that shook the Twin Towers, killing six and injuring roughly 1,000 people — returned to Iraq after the explosion, stopping first at the Iraqi embassy in Amman, Jordan. He lived freely in Baghdad for a year. Iraqi officials say they have kept him in custody since 1994, though they neither have prosecuted him nor extradited him to face American justice.

Also, according to the State Department's "Patterns of Global Terrorism — 2001,"released May 21, 2002, "Iraq was the only Arab-Muslim country that did not condemn the September 11 attacks against the United States." That day, an official Iraqi broadcast said America was "...reaping the fruits of [its] crimes against humanity."

Some have dismissed the notion that supposedly secular Saddam Hussein would conspire with Muslim extremists like Osama bin Laden and the men of al Qaeda. Woolsey and Mylroie note that Hussein sometimes embraces Islam for political purposes. The Iraqi flag, for instance, has borne the Arabic words Allahu akbar ("God is great") since 1991, the year Hussein lost Gulf War I. Terrorists often invoke this Islamic incantation before blowing themselves apart. Whatever their differences on Heaven, Hussein and bin Laden share a common foe on Earth: America.

Said Woolsey, "I've used the analogy a number of times about the Iraqi government and al Qaeda as being like two Mafia families who hate each other, kill each other's members from time to time, insult one another, but are still capable of cooperating against what they consider to be a greater enemy — namely, us."

Are these apparent ties tough to prove? You bet. Iraq's work with homicidal zealots does not resemble a municipal bond deal, with contracts registered at City Hall. As Woolsey noted, "This is putting together pieces of a puzzle in which quite likely both parties are doing everything they can to keep these pieces from being fitted together."

So why has the Bush administration not highlighted these ominous connections? One theory is that showcasing pre-9/11 evidence of Salman Pak might make people wonder why nothing was done about it before the atrocity. Another view is that federal officials who implemented President Clinton's light touch towards Iraq are in no hurry to remind Americans of how foolish their policy was.

In either case, we soon may know much more about Salman Pak — assuming it has not been thoroughly sanitized. Baghdad's liberation should snap open government file cabinets and loosen captured officials' tongues. Before long, they may reveal the extent of Saddam Hussein's complicity in the September 11 massacre.

— Mr. Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaedaandiraq; deroymurdock
The Saddam / Al-Qaeda Connection Excerpts from Khodada’s gripping interview ran in newspapers around the world, including November 11 and 12 features in, respectively, Britain’s Guardian ("The Iraqi Connection") and in the New York Times ("Defectors Cite Iraqi Training for Terrorism"). A transcript of his interview with "Frontline" is available at www.pbs.org <http://www.pbs.org>. Recently, a syndicated radio talk show collected this material - which some of us have been screaming about for a year-and-a-half - and posted it on its website, equipped with all the proper links. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, it is finally getting mass circulation.

Some of the best work on Saddam’s Al-Qaeda connection has been done by Jeffrey Goldberg in The New Yorker, who has done exhaustive research, particularly his February 10, 2003 piece, "The Unknown." From the New York Times op-ed page, William Safire has done impressive investigation. The New York Sun has done commendable work, as have reporter Bill Gertz in his book Breakdown and former NSC staffers Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon in their book, The Age of Sacred Terror.

Another significant piece of evidence is the about-face by our own intelligence and defense officials and Bush administration members. Initially, Powell, Rumsfeld, and CIA Director George Tenet all denied any Saddam-Osama nexus. They did so on-the-record. Eventually, they all changed their view. Their conversion came as evidence snowballed. They learned what they didn’t know before. This was also true for Bush himself.


Saddam Hussein

Iraq Masses Troops Against Kuwait, October 1994
"Does [America] realize the meaning of every Iraqi becoming a missile that can cross to countries and cities?" Saddam Hussein, September 29, 1994

"[W]hen peoples reach the verge of collective death, they will be able to spread death to all..." Al-Jumhuriyah, October 4, 1994 (State-controlled newspaper)

"[O]ur striking arm will reach [America, Britain and Saudi Arabia] before they know what hit them." Al-Qadisiyah, October 6, 1994 (State-controlled newspaper)

"One chemical weapon fired in a moment of despair could cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands." Al-Quds al-Arabi, October 12, 1994 (State-controlled newspaper)

Operation Desert Fox, December 1998
"If [other Arab nations] persist on pursuing their wrongful path, then we should — or rather we must — place the swords of jihad on their necks..."
Saddam Hussein, January 5, 1999

"Oh sons of Arabs and the Arab Gulf, rebel against the foreigner...Take revenge for your dignity, holy places, security, interests and exalted values."
Saddam Hussein, January 5, 1999

U.S.S. Cole Bombing, October 12, 2000
"[Iraqis] should intensify struggle and jihad in all fields and by all means..." Iraq TV, October 22, 2000 (State-controlled)

The Attacks of September 11

If the attacks of September 11 cost the lives of 3,000 civilians, how much will the size of losses in 50 states within 100 cities if it were attacked in the same way in which New York and Washington were? What would happen if hundreds of planes attacked American cities?" Al-Rafidayn, September 11, 2002 (State-controlled newspaper)

"The simple truth [about September 11] is that America burned itself and now tries to burn the world." Alif-Ba, September 11, 2002 (State-controlled magazine)

"[I]t is possible to turn to biological attack, where a small can, not bigger than the size of a hand, can be used to release viruses that affect everything..."
Babil, September 20, 2001 (State-controlled newspaper)

1 posted on 04/03/2003 2:58:45 PM PST by Remedy
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Many Unanswered Questions Concerning 9/11, Insight Magazine, Posted April 2, 2003

On the opening day of the government's National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9-11 Commission, an international group of independent researchers called 9/11 CitizensWatch held a press conference in New York City to offer assistance and give notice to official investigators tasked with answering questions about the Sept. 11 tragedy.

"We honor the victims by learning the truth," said Kyle Hence of 9/11 CitizensWatch. "And by learning the truth of what happened that day and why, we help ensure that such a tragedy never happens again."

Ryan Amundson, who lost his brother, Craig, in the attack on the Pentagon, said, "I desperately want to be able to trust the government, but as long as these questions remain unanswered I will always have doubt in my mind."

The questions at the top of the group's list are these:

  1. Why in the months before Sept. 11 did FBI headquarters consistently obstruct field-agent investigations of potential terrorists or terrorist financiers?
  2. Why were many detailed warnings from the intelligence services of Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Egypt, Russia and Italy ignored?
  3. Why did the chief of Pakistani intelligence, Gen. Mahmoud Ahmed, approve more than $100,000 in wire transfers to alleged 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta prior to the attacks?
  4. Why in the wake of the most cataclysmic intelligence and air-defense failures in American history have no government officials or Pentagon brass been held accountable?
  5. Why in the one hour and 20 minutes after the onset of a multiple hijacking, with hundreds of people dead or dying in the Twin Towers and a third jet hurtling toward the nation's capital, did no U.S. Air Force, Navy or Air National Guard fighters defend the Pentagon?


These are just a few of hundreds of questions that 9/11 CitizensWatch (www.911citizenswatch.org) believes must be answered before the American public will accept that all the truth has been told about the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. John Judge of 9/11 CitizensWatch said: "We have a research standard of excellence. We will continue to address the unanswered questions, and we hope that the National Commission also does so. We believe it is our collective responsibility and obligation as Americans to get to the bottom of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001."

Kelly Patricia O'Meara is an investigative reporter for Insight.

2 posted on 04/03/2003 3:05:14 PM PST by Remedy
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To: Remedy
Not far from Baghdad, Coalition forces may uncover evidence linking Saddam Hussein's regime with airline hijackings in general and the September 11 attacks in particular.

BUMP
3 posted on 04/03/2003 3:16:20 PM PST by GirlShortstop
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To: Remedy
bumpus!
4 posted on 04/03/2003 3:16:27 PM PST by RaceBannon
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To: Remedy
POP QUIZ:

What famous Middle Eastern country did the United States just invade and take over for no very clear reason?

5 posted on 04/23/2003 11:32:58 PM PDT by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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