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Meetings point to Iraqi link to attack ringleader
The Australian | October 16, 2001 | Robert Lusetich

Posted on 03/17/2003 9:11:49 PM PST by Wallaby

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Meetings point to Iraqi link to attack ringleader - WAR ON TERROR

Robert Lusetich  * Los Angeles correspondent
The Australian

October 16, 2001, Tuesday


BY tracing the movements of Mohammed Atta, the apparent ringleader of the September 11 suicide hijackers, US investigators are becoming convinced all roads lead to Baghdad.


"It's a statement of the bleeding obvious," said Australian Richard Butler, former chief of the UN arms control inspectors in Iraq. "Saddam has not pretended to be a neutral party."
    Although there is no direct evidence linking Saddam Hussein's Iraq with the fanatical holy war preached by Osama bin Laden, whose al-Qa'ida organisation is the prime suspect in the unprecedented terrorist assault on the US, the circumstantial evidence is growing.

    "It's a statement of the bleeding obvious," said Australian Richard Butler, former chief of the UN arms control inspectors in Iraq. "Saddam has not pretended to be a neutral party."

    Hussein was the only Arab leader not to condemn the attacks on New York and Washington and, significantly, a newspaper owned by one of his sons yesterday published a glowing portrait of bin Laden as a hero of the Arab world.

    What has US investigators intrigued is the meetings held in Prague between Atta and members of the Iraqi General Intelligence Directorate, whom US spycatchers sketch as Hussein's KGB.

    Czech intelligence agents have confirmed there were up to four meetings from June 2000, between Atta and, initially, Ahm Khalil Ibahim Samir al-Ami, an Iraqi consul who was quietly expelled from the central European republic in April for activities "incompatible with his diplomatic status", a euphemism for espionage.

    Although the other Iraqi agents Atta met have not been identified, Newsweek magazine quotes US sources as saying one of the men was Farouk Hijazi, Iraq's ambassador to Turkey and a former brigadier-general in the GID. Hijazi in 1998 travelled to Afghanistan as Hussein's envoy and is believed to have met bin Laden.

    Hussein reportedly was impressed with bin Laden's co-ordinated bombing of two US embassies in Africa -- Kenya and Tanzania, which left 224 dead -- and was eager to join forces with al-Qa'ida.

    Atta was in Europe in January and July, spending most of his time in Spain, apparently meeting with an Algerian terrorist cell during both visits. However, he went to Switzerland in July and investigators believe he may have visited Prague again which -- before the fall of the Iron Curtain -- had a friendly relationship with Iraq and has long been the centre of Iraqi spying in Europe.

    In 1998, Prague's Radio Free Europe, a non-profit service that promotes democracy and is funded by the US Congress, began broadcasting into Iran and Iraq. The broadcasts infuriated Hussein, who called the expansion an act of US aggression.

    Czech agents were watching Iraq's officers because they suspected a terrorist attack on the building, which once housed the parliament.

    In that same year, Arab intelligence agents informed the CIA that Hussein had joined forces with bin Laden in a war against the US, Newsweek magazine reported.

    The anti-Hussein Iraqi National Congress, based in Washington, said yesterday it had information that six years ago Iraq's GID devised a plan to use fuel-laden commercial aeroplanes as weapons of mass destruction against the US.

    There appears to be an official reluctance within the Bush administration to publicly challenge Iraq but behind the scenes a number of prominent players are convinced Hussein minimally helped the terrorists with difficult-to-procure items, such as false passports, and could have even planned the attack.


Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.

IRAQ DID NOT REPLACE HIJAZI


Ozgur Eksi, Ankara - Turkish Daily News
Turkish Daily News
May 30, 2002



Are US claims over Hijazi false?

   Hijazi is ambassador to Tunisia


 Hijazi reportedly met bin Laden, the main suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in 1998 in Kandahar, a region in southeastern Afghanistan where bin Laden had training camps.
   Iraqi Ambassador Farouk Yayha al- Hijazi who left Turkey on Nov. 30, 2001 has still not been replaced. According to sources close to Iraq, they are not considering appointing an ambassador, but Hijazi has been selected as ambassador to Tunisia. It is also speculated that the Iraqi foreign ministry has not overcome it's internal problems.

   The Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri came to office on May. 22, 2001 and since than has worked without an undersecretary. The ministry had three posts for an undersecretary and none of them are occupied now. Hijazi left Turkey before U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Turkey.

   What were the claims?

   Hijazi reportedly met bin Laden, the main suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in 1998 in Kandahar, a region in southeastern Afghanistan where bin Laden had training camps. Iraq has denied any meeting took place. The alleged meeting is the second suspected link between Iraqi intelligence and those implicated in the attacks. Mohammed Atta, one of the hijackers of a plane that slammed into the World Trade Center, is said to have met in April with an Iraqi intelligence agent in the Czech capital Prague. It was largely speculated at that time that Hijazi met Atta, in Prague in December 1998.

   Hijazi denied his departure from Turkey was in connection with allegations that he was involved in contacts between Atta. "These (allegations) are baseless. I was recalled to my country after the normal period of time," al-Hijazi was quoted as saying. "I am returning because my time of duty has ended. I want to stress that my return has nothing to with anything else." When asked about press reports tying him to Atta, al-Hijazi said: "We definitely do not have any such ties within Turkey or outside."

   Iraq has denied any contacts with Atta and Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, accused with his al Qaeda network of masterminding the attacks on the United States that killed nearly 4,000 people. Turkish investors at that time have trembled on fears U.S.-led attacks on Afghanistan would spread to neighboring Iraq, which refuses to allow the return of U.N. weapons inspectors.

   Hijazi worked for the Iraqi National Insurance Company until 1970, according to a former colleague at the insurance company who did not wish to be identified further. Hijazi was widely believed to have joined Iraqi intelligence at that time, the colleague said. Hijazi was appointed to Turkey as ambassador three years ago.

   And now

   Ambassador Francis X. Taylor, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, declared "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001" Annual Report in Washington, DC on May 21, 2002 and stated that the investigation on the claim is still going on. Taylor answering claims about Iraqi - Atta links said "As of now, that has not been confirmed."



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaida; jihadnextdoor; saddam; terrorwar; warlist
If Saddam doesn't go the exile route, the time to play any remaining exposure cards is right before we attack, not after Saddam does.
1 posted on 03/17/2003 9:11:49 PM PST by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
Maybe. Of course one could link Atta to several countries in the region, I'd guess.
2 posted on 03/17/2003 9:32:18 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
There have been no reports of Atta's meeting with the intelligence agents from any nation other than Iraq.
3 posted on 03/17/2003 10:01:03 PM PST by Wallaby
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To: Byron_the_Aussie; nunya bidness; The Great Satan; Alamo-Girl; okie01; Fred Mertz; Grampa Dave; ...
If Saddam doesn't take the exile, what could deter GWB from playing any exposure cards that he has? Why must there continue to be the pretense that this is a purely preemptive war?
4 posted on 03/17/2003 10:03:37 PM PST by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
Since Saddam just had a refinery blown up, I think that all info is about to be spilled.
5 posted on 03/17/2003 10:09:56 PM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons
But how would that help us, militarily?
6 posted on 03/17/2003 10:11:28 PM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: The Great Satan
It doesn't " help " us at all; militarily or otherwise. It just means that Saddam has rekindled the war ... NOW . He isn't leaving and he isn't waiting for us to fire first.
7 posted on 03/17/2003 10:19:40 PM PST by nopardons
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To: Wallaby
Thanks for the article and the ping!
8 posted on 03/17/2003 10:20:13 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Stamp out Freepathons! Stop being a Freep Loader! Become a monthly donor!)
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To: nopardons
I think the whole exile thing would go out the window if Bush went public. Can you see any way to sell that? I think if Saddam takes exile, and stuff dribbles out over time, people will shrug their shoulders and say, "Well, what else could we do?" But to openly beg Saddam to take exile after pointing the finger at him for 9/11 seems like a non-starter to me.
9 posted on 03/17/2003 10:22:40 PM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: The Great Satan
Saddam won't take exile, no matter what. The president and his advisors KNEW that. This is all just for the general public of the world, who are ill informed, at best, and wouldn't care about the real facts , no matter when / if they came to light.

Saddam WILL be killed ; one way or another. Good riddance to " evil "; I say. :-)

10 posted on 03/17/2003 10:32:51 PM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons
I wouldn't be so sure of that. Remember, also, that the offer is to his sons as well. They may not share pop's messianic zeal.
11 posted on 03/17/2003 10:35:29 PM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: The Great Satan
>openly beg Saddam to take exile after pointing the finger at him for 9/11 seems like a non-starter to me.

I agree. I was conditionalizing on his not taking exile. Yet, the deadline for his accepting exile is only 42.5 hours away. Cheney said they shouldn't talk about state sponsorship of the anthrax letters until they were ready to do something about it. Doesn't the converse hold? They're ready to do something about it, but they aren't ready to talk about it? That just doesn't make sense to me. When they didn't want to be pressured into a premature war, it made sense to preserve ambiguity. It no longer does.

12 posted on 03/17/2003 10:35:51 PM PST by Wallaby
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To: The Great Satan
Are you kidding ? Those apples don't fall far from the tree and won't give their father up. They are cruel, nasty, and have committed many crimes on their own.
13 posted on 03/17/2003 10:39:07 PM PST by nopardons
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To: Wallaby
The 48 hour thing is meaningless, IMO. What matters is the "time of our chosing." If we haven't invaded next week, Saddam will still be able to take the offer. In fact, he'll still be able to take the offer until the very day we enter Baghdad.
14 posted on 03/17/2003 10:40:08 PM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: Wallaby
All in good time. Just think of the laundry list, that will be made available, once this thing is over. :-)
15 posted on 03/17/2003 10:40:28 PM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons
Are you kidding ? Those apples don't fall far from the tree and won't give their father up. They are cruel, nasty, and have committed many crimes on their own.

That's not the point. The point is, are they suicidal? Because if they take the offer, they live (probably quite comfortably), and if they don't, they die. Are Qusay and Udday suicidal?

16 posted on 03/17/2003 10:42:27 PM PST by The Great Satan (Revenge, Terror and Extortion: A Guide for the Perplexed)
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To: The Great Satan
>The 48 hour thing is meaningless, IMO. What matters is the "time of our chosing."

Fair enough, though you now believe that the "time of our choosing" will be close on the heels of the expiration of the deadline. (I admit I'm now filled with FUD. I had come to be persuaded by your case that the "time of our choosing" was months away.)

17 posted on 03/17/2003 10:46:52 PM PST by Wallaby
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To: The Great Satan
Daddy has already tried to have one of them ( I forget which ) murdered. He won't allow them to do anything BUT stay with him. Give up ? When little Tommy D. becomes a CONSERVATIVE GOPer and Hitlery becomes a raving " beauty " .
18 posted on 03/17/2003 10:47:42 PM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons
>All in good time.

From your lips to God's ears.

19 posted on 03/17/2003 10:47:48 PM PST by Wallaby
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To: Wallaby
AMEN !
20 posted on 03/17/2003 10:48:33 PM PST by nopardons
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To: Wallaby; The Great Satan
Let's wait and see. I'm hoping Bush speech today was a "signal" of some sort. but hope diminishing......
21 posted on 03/17/2003 10:49:54 PM PST by bonfire
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To: Wallaby; rubbertramp
what could deter GWB from playing any exposure cards that he has? Why must there continue to be the pretense that this is a purely preemptive war?

the deck is generally sealed with "national security" for some reason???

22 posted on 03/18/2003 4:19:24 AM PST by thinden
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To: Wallaby
Hussein reportedly was impressed with bin Laden's co-ordinated bombing of two US embassies in Africa -- Kenya and Tanzania, which left 224 dead -- and was eager to join forces with al-Qa'ida.

More evidence against Saddam. Thanks Wallaby.

Bookmarked.

23 posted on 03/18/2003 7:08:02 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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