Sunday, March 19, 2006

On Anniversary, Secret Documents Revealed

Last month, audio recordings of Saddam Hussein's high-level meetings with political and military advisers did significant damage to claims by opponents of the administration that Saddam's Iraq had neither an ongoing weapons program nor the desire to make use of it. It was only through the efforts of Bill Tierney, John Loftus, and the Intelligence Summit that these tapes were made known and translated for public consumption (and I would be remiss if I did not remind you that only a small fraction of those audio recordings has been translated to date -- one can only guess as to what else can be found on those tapes).

Now, on the third anniversary of the Iraqi invasion, even more telling information has come to light, in the form of recently unclassified pre-war Iraqi documents -- documents which, if authenticated, will show Saddam had his tyrannical tendrils deep into other activities, possibly even those affecting the United States. These documents, which can be directly accessed here (although I should warn you that most of these documents remain untranslated), only further bolster what the administration has been saying since 2002, which is that the pre-war Iraqi regime was systematically developing weapons systems, muddying the waters by preventing U.N. inspectors from doing their job without interference, and working with enemies of the United States. At least one document even intimates a link between Saddam's Iraq and Al Qaeda prior to the 9/11 attacks.

According to ABC News:
An Iraqi intelligence service document [dated September 15, 2001] saying that their Afghani informant, who's only identified by a number, told them that the Afghani Consul Ahmed Dahastani claimed the following in front of him:
  • That [Osama bin Laden] and the Taliban are in contact with Iraq and that a group of Taliban and bin Laden group members visited Iraq.
  • That the U.S. has proof the Iraqi government and "bin Laden's group" agreed to cooperate to attack targets inside America.
  • That in case the Taliban and bin Laden's group turn out to be involved in "these destructive operations," the U.S. may strike Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • That the Afghani consul heard about the issue of Iraq's relationship with "bin Laden's group" while he was in Iran.
At the end, the writer recommends informing "the committee of intentions" about the above-mentioned items. The signature on the document is unclear.
Another set of documents from the summer of 1999 discusses possible Iraqi involvement in the making of campaign contributions to French politicians:
[This batch of documents] includes a document from the Iraqi intelligence service classified as "secret," ordering the translation of important parts of a 1997 report about campaign financing laws in France. It also includes a document from the foreign minister's office indicating the report was attached. The attached translated report included very detailed information about all the regulations regarding financing of election campaigns in France. Translation was done by someone called "Salam Abdul Karim Mohammed."
Here is information about a document discussing Iraq's (ultimately successful ) strategy for scuttling weapons inspectors dating from 1997:
A letter from the Iraqi intelligence service to directors and managers advising them to follow certain procedures in case of a search by the U.N. team, including:
  • Removing correspondence with the atomic energy and military industry departments concerning the prohibited weapons (proposals, research, studies, catalogs, etc.).
  • Removing prohibited materials and equipment, including documents and catalogs and making sure to clear labs and storages of any traces of chemical or biological materials that were previously used or stored.
  • Doing so through a committee which will decide whether to destroy the documents.
  • Removing files from computers.
The letter also advises them on how they should answer questions by U.N. team members. It says the intelligence service should be informed within one week about the progress made in discarding the documents.
ABC News also cites a document, dated August 2002, purporting to be investigating the presence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, as if this were unknown to the government:
A number of correspondences to check rumors that some members of al Qaeda organization have entered Iraq. Three letters say this information cannot be confirmed. The letter on page seven, however, says that information coming from "a trustworthy source" indicates that subjects who are interested in dealing with al Qaeda are in Iraq and have several passports.

The letter seems to be coming from or going to Trebil, a town on the Iraqi-Jordanian border. Follow up on the presence of those subjects is ordered, as well as comparison of their pictures with those of Jordanian subjects living in Iraq. (This may be referring to pictures of Abu Musaab al Zarqawi and another man on pages 4-6) The letter also says tourist areas, including hotels and rented apartments, should be searched.
ABC News, which leaves no major news story unspun, feels compelled to attach editorial comment to each of these translated snippets -- editorialization which, in my opinion, is done to make it appear as if nothing in these documents contradicts or undermines critics of the administration by showing that there is nothing new or revelatory here. For instance, with respect to the document discussing possible Al Qaeda links with Iraq, ABC News states that "[t]he controversial claim that Osama bin Laden was cooperating with Saddam Hussein is an ongoing matter of intense debate. While the assertions contained in this document clearly support the claim, the sourcing is questionable . . . ." It also feels obliged to bolster the August 2002 document that claims surprise at the presence of Al Qaeda in Iraq by firmly declaring that it "indicates [only] that the Iraqis were aware of and interested in reports that members of al Qaeda were present in Iraq in 2002" and that it "does not support allegations that Iraq was colluding with al Qaeda" (although anyone with half a neuron would allow for the possibility that documents produced a full year after 9/11 might have a self-serving quality).

(There are other documents that address other matters, ranging from Iraq's role in sending "volunteers" to fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan to the development of explosive devices. I encourage you to check out the direct link to the documents above, although they are mostly in Arabic. If you know anyone who knows Arabic, I encourage you to pass them on.)

At any rate, the documents are out there and available for all to see (thank God for the Internet); perhaps the biggest problem right now is not a lack of information, but a glut of information that is in desperate need of translation.

What strikes me about these documents is not that they definitively prove anything one way or the other, but that they paint a picture that is very, very different than the one the liberal elite in the media and elsewhere want you to have. It severely undercuts claims that the Bush administration was lying about Iraq's ongoing weapons programs, its obstruction of weapons inspectors, and its involvement with enemies of America -- and that document discussing Iraqi links to Osama bin Laden, if corroborated by other information, would be powerful proof that even the administration had not used to justify the war.

I have no doubt that, as more and more information comes to light, the revelation of even more incriminating information will go a long way toward vindicating President Bush and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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