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[2003] THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: WEAPONS SEARCH; Iraqis Removed Arms Material, U.S. Aide Says [Clapper]
The New York Times ^ | October 29, 2003 | Douglas Jehl

Posted on 04/07/2017 1:22:39 AM PDT by Fedora

The director of a top American spy agency said Tuesday that he believed that material from Iraq's illicit weapons program had been transported into Syria and perhaps other countries as part of an effort by the Iraqis to disperse and destroy evidence immediately before the recent war.

The official, James R. Clapper Jr., a retired lieutenant general, said satellite imagery showing a heavy flow of traffic from Iraq into Syria, just before the American invasion in March, led him to believe that illicit weapons material ''unquestionably'' had been moved out of Iraq.

''I think people below the Saddam Hussein-and-his-sons level saw what was coming and decided the best thing to do was to destroy and disperse,'' General Clapper, who leads the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said at a breakfast with reporters. . .

. . .other American intelligence officials said General Clapper's theory was among those being pursued in Iraq by David Kay. . .

General Clapper's comments came as the Central Intelligence Agency prepared to defend its prewar assertions that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and that it sought to reconstitute its nuclear program. The director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, has written a letter to the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. . .

General Clapper's agency is responsible for interpreting satellite photographs and other imagery. He declined to answer a question about whether he believed that illicit Iraqi weapons material might have been smuggled into any other country.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Extended News
KEYWORDS: assad; assafshawkat; bcw; bushraassad; bushrashawkat; clapper; hamburgcell; iraq; iraqiwmd; iraqwmd; mohamadmajedsaid; sarin; syria; tatari; tatex; tatextrading; wmds
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Came across this interesting 2003 mention of Clapper while researching this week's events.
1 posted on 04/07/2017 1:22:39 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: Fedora

The secret commanders of Isis are former Iraqi Saadamite Baathist army officers, especially intelligence. Local Isis sheikhs are just front men, they put on a show of issuing commands, then a quiet voice from the back of the room gives them corrections and they change their story.

2 posted on 04/07/2017 1:28:06 AM PDT by CharlesOConnell (CharlesOConnell)
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To: Fedora

Remember Tatex Trading and 9/11 hijacker Atta’s Hamburg cell? One of its main investors was the former head of Syria’s intelligence directorate.

3 posted on 04/07/2017 1:35:58 AM PDT by piasa
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To: CharlesOConnell
Yes: How Saddam Hussein's former military officers and spies are controlling Isis: Isis defectors say the deposed Iraqi dictator's former officers and security agents are leading the group in Iraq and Syria
4 posted on 04/07/2017 1:39:13 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: piasa

5 posted on 04/07/2017 1:39:32 AM PDT by piasa
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To: piasa

I figured you’d have something interesting on this :-)

6 posted on 04/07/2017 1:40:34 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: piasa
From the link:


Tracking the financing of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations has proved a more difficult task for the U.S. and its European and Middle Eastern allies than had been anticipated in the immediate wake of Sept. 11. . .

Public records identify the single employee of Triple-B as its managing director, Abdul-Matin Tatari, a 60-year-old Syrian-born exporter of clothing and other items who has recently fallen under a cloud of suspicion with regard to Sept. 11.

The day before this year's Sept. 11 anniversary, Tatari's home and three warehouses in Schleswig-Holstein were raided by German federal police, who seized box-loads of files and hauled Tatari, his wife and two sons in for questioning. The Tataris were released after several hours but remain under investigation while police comb the seized documents.

According to the office of Germany's federal prosecutor, the 7 a.m. raid occurred because Tatari is suspected of having used another company, Tatex Trading GmbH, to support an "international network" dedicated to fomenting "a violent holy war by Islamic fundamentalists."

A statement by the prosecutor's office also referred to the Tatari family's suspected "contacts with extremist Islamic circles, particularly those involved in Sept. 11."

Tatari, who came to Germany from Syria 40 years ago to study chemical engineering in Dortmund, emphatically denies any links to Al Qaeda or terrorism, and he denounces the events of Sept. 11. "Nobody accepts something like has happened in the U.S.A.," he declared in a recent interview. "This is wrong."

But Tatari also admits that Tatex Trading has employed, at various times in the past 15 years, two Syrian-born German citizens, both from his hometown of Aleppo, who are high on the list of Sept. 11 suspects. . .

Investigators also say Atta himself worked for a time at Tatex, which Tatari vehemently denies. But Tatari admits that one of his sons signed Atta's petition to establish an Islamic "study group" at Hamburg's Technical University that served as a rendezvous for the hijackers and their supporters.

The son, Mohammed Hady Tatari, also is close to another former Hamburg student, Mounir El Motassadeq, who currently is on trial in Hamburg, charged with providing the hijackers material support.

According to Tatari, his son stood as a witness at Motassadeq's wedding. He said the pair also traveled to Denmark for an undisclosed purpose in March 2000, at a time when the hijacking plans were being laid in Hamburg.

Although Motassadeq shared an apartment with one of the Sept. 11 hijackers and admits having been friends with several of the accused conspirators, his lawyers say he has denied advance knowledge of the hijackings.

7 posted on 04/07/2017 1:48:47 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: Fedora


Investigators suspect some of the "buyers" were actually Al Qaeda operatives or other Islamic radicals from Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Tatari, while maintaining that all were "good people," conceded that not all had been buyers. "They come to visit, and they come for health," he said. "Some of them come to buy."

The origins of Tatex Trading itself have become of interest to investigators. Although Tatari is that company's managing director, records show that its major shareholder is another wealthy Saudi, a real estate and construction magnate from Mecca named Hamed Al Barakati.

A second Tatex investor is Mohamad Majed Said, a former head of Syria's General Intelligence Directorate. According to Tatari, Said's son, Dr. Ayham Said, a German-trained physician who was employed by Tatex for several months as a salesman of medical equipment, invested about $100,000 of his father's money in the company a few years ago.

Investigators puzzled

Investigators say they are frankly puzzled by their discovery of the Said family's role in Tatex, especially in view of Tatari's reputed membership in the radical Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that for more than 20 years has tried to bring down the secular government of his native Syria.

Although Tatari denies any association with the Muslim Brotherhood, a senior German intelligence official said the Syrian government has identified Tatari as a member.

The Syrian connection to Tatex became crucial early this year, after Mohammed Zammar, whom Tatari acknowledges having referred to as "a friend and a brother" in a conversation overheard by police, was deported from Morocco to Syria at the request of the U.S.

With the German federal police eager to learn what Zammar was telling the Syrians about Sept. 11 and Al Qaeda's operations in Germany, one source said the Germans agreed to allow Tatari to remain free during the Tatex investigation in return for access to Zammar's statements.

8 posted on 04/07/2017 1:56:04 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: Fedora

Thanks for posting this.

My guess: the game changed when Assad loaded Hezbollah trucks with the chemical warheads and sent them to Lebanon. Probably enough to take out Haifa.

9 posted on 04/07/2017 1:57:58 AM PDT by Read Write Repeat
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To: Fedora

Seymour Hersh has quite a different spin on Tatex.

10 posted on 04/07/2017 2:01:04 AM PDT by piasa
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To: piasa
I see he talked about it here: The Syrian Bet: Did the Bush Administration burn a useful source on Al Qaeda?
11 posted on 04/07/2017 2:06:55 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: Fedora

12 posted on 04/07/2017 2:07:00 AM PDT by piasa
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To: piasa

snip/ Tatex had only two shareholders. One of them was Mohamad Majed Said, who was the head of the Syrian intelligence service from 1987 to 1994. In 2001, Said was also a member of the Syrian National Security Council — the government’s chief security apparatus.

13 posted on 04/07/2017 2:08:20 AM PDT by piasa
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To: Fedora
Syria had accumulated much of its information because of Al Qaeda’s ties to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic terrorists who have been at war with the secular Syrian government for more than two decades. Many of the September 11th hijackers had operated out of cells in Aachen and Hamburg, where Al Qaeda was working with the Brotherhood. In the late nineties, Mohammed Atta and other Al Qaeda members, including Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who is believed to have been one of the organization’s top recruiters, worked on occasion at a German firm called Tatex Trading. Tatex was infiltrated by Syrian intelligence in the eighties; one of its shareholders was Mohammed Majed Said, who ran the Syrian intelligence directorate from 1987 to 1994. Zammar is now in Syrian custody.

Within weeks of the September 11th attacks, the F.B.I. and the C.I.A, with Syria’s permission, began intelligence-gathering operations in Aleppo, near the Turkish border. Aleppo was the subject of Mohammed Atta’s dissertation on urban planning, and he travelled there twice in the mid-nineties. “At every stage in Atta’s journey is the Muslim Brotherhood,” a former C.I.A. officer who served undercover in Damascus told me. “He went through Spain in touch with the Brotherhood in Hamburg.”

14 posted on 04/07/2017 2:09:57 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: Read Write Repeat
I tried searching to test your theory and found this:

Liberman: WMDs Israel thwarted from reaching Hezbollah were chemical arms: Liberman was referring to previous comments he made after a suspected Israeli strike on the Mezzeh airbase near Damascus. (December 8, 2016)

“Israel has no interest in intervening in the civil war in Syria. Our policies and our positions are very clear and are based on three red lines: We will not allow any harm to come to Israeli citizens; we will not allow any harm to the sovereignty of the State of Israel; and we will not allow the smuggling of sophisticated weapons or chemical weapons from Syria to Lebanon for Hezbollah,” he said at Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

15 posted on 04/07/2017 2:15:49 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: Fedora

Another bit-o-trivia:

Recall that Yee’s clerical training was in Damascus:

SEPTEMBER 20, 2003 : (SC : ARMY CAPT. YEE IS BEING HELD AT NAVY BRIG & CHARGED WITH SEDITION, ESPIONAGE, AIDING THE ENEMY, SPYING & FAILING TO OBEY GENERAL ORDER) Military officials ... confirmed that a Muslim chaplain who was counseling al Qaeda prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base has been detained since Sept. 10 after being found in possession of classified documents. The Washington Times first reported .... that Army Capt. James. J. Yee is being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C., charged with sedition, espionage, aiding the enemy, spying and failing to obey a general order.  The Pentagon could not be reached yesterday and the CIA refused to comment on the detention of Capt. Yee.  Guantanamo, the lone U.S. presence in communist Cuba, serves as the holding site for 650 men from more than three dozen countries who are accused of being linked to the Muslim al Qaeda or Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime.  As a chaplain, Capt. Yee had unfettered access to the accused members of terrorist groups held at the base. The military has prided itself on its promotion of Muslim chaplains, and now claims to have 17 on active duty. Capt. Yee has been among the many noted in revered tones by both reporters and the government. - “Military confirms Muslim chaplain had secret papers ,” Washington Times , by Steve Miller, September 21, 2003

No one curious as to why Syria would want a mole at Gitmo?

MARCH 28, 2003 (FLORIDA : AL ARIAN SUPPORT ORGANIZATION, TBCJP, REPORTS THAT THE FBI RAIDED THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ISLAMIC AND SOCIAL STUDIES, WHICH ENDORSES MUSLIM CHAPLAINS FOR THE DOD)...on March 20th, federal authorities raided over 16 Muslim institutions and homes of prominent Muslim leaders. The name of Dr. Al-Arian appeared on the search warrants of these raids. The reasons for Dr. Al-Arian’s name or the raids have absolutely nothing to do with the September 11th attacks or with security. Dr. Al-Arian had never even heard of 11 of these organizations. On the other hand, one of these organizations, namely the Fiqh Council of North America, is the highest Muslim religious authority in the US. It’s concerned only with religious opinions, which are considered very moderate. The Graduate School of Islamic and Social Studies (GSISS) which was also raided, is the official certified school for endorsing Muslim chaplains by the Defense department. Of the 13 Muslim chaplains in the different military branches, 9 were graduates of this school. - From a March 28, 2003 statement by the Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace, a group supporting Dr. Al Arian , found by Freeper browardchad on

Wasn’t al Arian of Palestinian Islamic Jihad?

Doesn’t PIJ have a physical and very public office in Damascus as does Hamas?

16 posted on 04/07/2017 2:20:50 AM PDT by piasa
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To: Fedora

Spain had some info on Tatex’s Syrian investor as well- connection to the Madrid Bombings. IIRC.

17 posted on 04/07/2017 2:23:04 AM PDT by piasa
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To: piasa

Mamoun Darkazanli -- the subject of tonight's The Wanted on NBC (9 pm) -- is probably one of the most interesting terrorists in the al Qaeda network. In addition to the financial assistance he provided the al Qaeda's Hamburg cell for the 9/11 attacks, Darkazanli compiled one of the more intriguing dossiers you will read. Darkazanli was initially a member of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB), which was once staunchly opposed to the Assad family's regime and, in fact, sponsored by Saddam's government, among others. The Syrian government, however, went through a couple of phases of rapprochement with the SMB. And SMB elements abroad ended up working for or with Syrian intelligence on some occasions. In all probability, Darkazanli and his fellow Syrian, Mohammed Zammar, who recruited lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta for al Qaeda, were both such SMB elements. They ran the al Qaeda Hamburg cell, but prior to that they worked for a company called Tatex Trading. Tatex Trading was run by Abdul Matin Tatari -- a longtime backer of the Assad family. Tatari's eldest son was actually close with Mohammed Atta. After 9/11, German investigators found that Mohammed Hadi Tatari often visited Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi (another 9/11 hijacker) in their Hamburg apartment. A younger Tatari son also signed one of Mohammed Atta's petitions calling for an "Islamic studies" group to be formed at the Technical University of Hamburg, where both Atta and the Tatari son attended. It gets much worse. Tatex had only two shareholders. One of them was Mohamad Majed Said, who was the head of the Syrian intelligence service from 1987 to 1994. In 2001, Said was also a member of the Syrian National Security Council -- the government's chief security apparatus. All of this, and more, is why German intelligence officials have openly talked about "The Syrian Connection" to 9/11. There is nothing to worry about though. Just because an ally openly talks about a hostile government's involvement with al Qaeda, it doesn't mean we should take it seriously. Indeed, the 9/11 Commission went out of its way to ignore all of this. Darkazanli, as tonight's The Wanted showed, is still a free man. The Germans have refused to extradite him to Spain to stand trial for his involvement with the 3/11 Madrid train bombers and his other al Qaeda ties. After being captured in Morocco, Zammar was transferred to the Syrians with the blessing of the Bush administration. Zammar's transfer to the Syrians is one of the more bizarre episodes in the war on terror because it ensured that American investigators would not have direct access to him. There is simply no way the Syrians are going to tell us what Zammar and Darkzanli were really doing while working for Tatex, or how they ended up working for a Syrian intelligence front company. One last thing: According to German intelligence, Darkazanli -- again, who helped finance 9/11 -- was involved in illicit trade deals with the Iraqi regime under the oil-for-food program. Darkazanli shipped mercury heat lamps through a Jordanian intermediary to Saddam's government. Those lamps were so-called "dual use" items that had legitimate purposes but could also be used in WMD development projects. None of this appeared in tonight's show, but it was still worth watching.

18 posted on 04/07/2017 2:25:14 AM PDT by Fedora
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To: Fedora
I rather enjoy the different takes on this- a company with one employee and a two investors was "infiltrated?" What's the difference between Syrian intelligence infiltrating a company and being responsible for partially owning it?

Tatex was infiltrated by Syrian intelligence in the eighties; one of its shareholders was Mohammed Majed Said, who ran the Syrian intelligence directorate from 1987 to 1994

19 posted on 04/07/2017 2:31:20 AM PDT by piasa
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To: piasa
Haven't thought about Yee for a while. . .Yes, Al-Arian was Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Interesting aside on that: Georgetown University and Radical Islamists: It’s a Family Affair
20 posted on 04/07/2017 2:36:28 AM PDT by Fedora
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