By Ben Johnson
FrontPageMagazine.com | 3/27/2008
“If being used means that we’re highlighting the suffering of Iraqi children, or any children, then yes, we don’t mind being used.” – Rep. James McDermott, D-WA, on his 2002 trip to Iraq, financed by Saddam Hussein.
We’ve long contended the terrorists could not buy better representation than the Democratic Left gives them for free. We never knew how right we were.
The media revealed last night that Saddam Hussein personally funded the trip of three Democratic Congressmen to Iraq on the eve of the war that led to his ouster. Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) reportedly bribed an American Muslim activist with two million barrels of oil to arrange the fall 2002 trip for left-wing Congressmen Jim McDermott, D-WA; David Bonior, D-MI; and Mike Thompson, D-CA.
David Horowitz and I thoroughly chronicled the event in our new book, Party of Defeat. On September 29, 2002, the ignominious trio appeared on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, via satellite hookup from foreign soil, to extol the truthfulness of Saddam Hussein, decry the already weakened sanctions imposed by the United Nations, and call President Bush a liar bent on war. David Bonior – who long served as House Democratic Whip, the second-highest ranking post in the House of Representatives – laid the blame squarely on the United States of America. Bonior denounced the regimen of multilateral sanctions, already weakened by the Oil for Food program, as “barbaric” and “horrific.” He backed this up with anecdotal evidence gleaned from the group’s well-supervised tour of Iraqi hospitals. Worse, the U.S. had been “trying to push and dictate” Iraq, namely by requiring its dictator verify his compliance with the cease-fire that ended the first Gulf War and the 17 UN resolutions he was currently defying. Although Saddam Hussein had frustrated all previous weapons inspections, Bonior blithely announced that he would now allow inspectors the “unrestricted” autonomy “to look anywhere.” (Of course, the inspectors’ job was not to play hide-and-seek with Iraq’s prewar WMD cache; it was to verify that he had destroyed all WMDs, as he had agreed to do as a precondition of peace in 1991.) Rep. James McDermott echoed that none of the arms imbroglio was the Iraqi regime’s fault, anyway, as “Iraq did not drive the inspectors out; we took them out.” Again, the United States was blaming the victim and punishing innocent children for her own misdeeds. When pressed about believing the promises of a murderous international pariah, McDermott said, “I think you have to take the Iraqis at their face value,” but he offered no such quarter to the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military. “I think the president would mislead the American people,” he declared.
On the eve of the war, three sitting U.S. Congressmen treated Saddam Hussein as President Bush’s moral superior.
The Iraqi media multiplied the propaganda value of their visit. The Iraq Satellite Channel reported that the three were scheduled to “visit hospitals to see the suffering caused by the unjust embargo.” Yet the three expressed no regrets for acting as Saddam’s stooges. Jim McDermott told CNN’s Jane Arraf, “If being used means that we’re highlighting the suffering of Iraqi children, or any children, then yes, we don’t mind being used.”
Unholy Alliance, Meet the Party of Defeat
We now know they were indeed being used by a hostile leader with an anti-American agenda. They were also doing the bidding of a domestic fifth column inside the U.S. Islamist movement. The Associated Press has reported that federal officials have indicted Michigan Muslim activist Muthanna al-Hanooti for “conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, illegally purchasing Iraqi oil, and lying to authorities.” For seven years, Al-Hanooti worked for the Detroit-area Muslim charity Life for Relief and Development. Investigators say for the first three of those years, he moonlighted for Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS). According to the Detroit Free Press, al-Hanooti is also, coincidentally, “former head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations.” He is current president of Focus on American and Arab Interests and Relations. After his stint with Saddam, al-Hanooti went on to become a paid lobbyist for the Iraqi Islamic Party, whose “philosophy is based on the Islamic Shari’a”and which has praised the “heroic Iraqi resistance.” That such a man could operate smoothly in the U.S. Islamist movement speaks volumes about its radicalism.
The feds assert that al-Hanooti earned his money compiling lists of Congressmen favorable to lifting the sanctions against the Hussein regime. This confirms Charles Duelfer’s finding that Saddam Hussein plotted to get UN sanctions lifted, so that he could resume his relentless pursuit of WMDs. To underscore the ineffectiveness of those sanctions, Saddam paid al-Hanooti two million barrels of oil diverted from the Oil for Food program, which he serially abused for his personal aggrandizement and to influence foreign policymakers.
Useful Idiots from Central Casting
What is remarkable about Bonior, McDermott, and Thompson is that apparently no bribe was necessary to procure their services; their ideology placed them at odds with their own nation’s security.
The three had acted on this ideology before and after the 2002 junket to Baghdad. Following the first attack on the World Trace Center, Vermont Representative, and self-professed socialist, Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment to cut a minimum of 10 percent of the funding of each intelligence agency ten times. David Bonior then Democratic Whip, voted for the Sanders amendment all 10 times. Bonior did all he could to end a 1990 FBI program to cultivate intelligence sources within the Muslim community…the kind of sources that could have prevented 9/11, or informed on al-Hanooti earlier. As a reward, Bonior received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Sami al-Arian.
Bonior left the Congress shortly thereafter, but “Baghdad Jim” stayed to carry on the good fight against his own country during the ensuing war. When U.S. forces captured Saddam Hussein, McDermott accused his miliary of complicity in a Republican war sham, saying they could have nabbed the Tikriti tyrant “a long time ago if the wanted.” After the New York Times and The Washington Post published articles disclosing the existence of classified anti-terrorism programs – the warrantless wiretapping of al-Qaeda partisans and the rendition of those captured, respectively – McDermott hailed the security breaches for “breaking through the administration’s secrecy.” Again, he blamed his own commander-in-chief, accusing President Bush of trying to impose “censorship”…of classified war techniques.
The Irrelevant Fallout
The history and ideological mania of the principals has long been known; only the official Iraqi sponsorship remained a mystery. Last night’s revelation leads to two conclusions:
First, the Democratic Party and its apologists will emphasize that the three Congressmen had no idea Saddam Hussein had financed their trip. They will point out it had been cleared by the appropriate offices of the U.S. government, shifting the blame to Bush administration bureaucracy. McDermott’s office has maintained the Washington State Democrat “thought the trip was put on by a Seattle church,”and a spokesman said the Congressman went only to observe “the plight of Iraqi children.” Rep. Thompson’s office has echoed that he had no knowledge of improprieties in the underwriting of his subversive sojourn.
It is almost certainly true that the three had no such knowledge. Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd has stated that investigators “have no information whatsoever” to that effect. However, the government must make an exhaustive investigation to ascertain that this is the case.
Second, what the Left will obscure is the irrefutable fact that their prior knowledge is immaterial. The three knew beforehand that they were traveling to the capital of a nation, which had for years regularly fired on U.S. aircraft, as part of a tightly controlled tour of a dictatorship on the brink of defying its way into full-blown war with their constituents. And they shilled for the man who authorized the torture of rape of his children as though he had only their best interests at heart and as though he were prevented from expressing his immense love for his people only by heartless Republicans. After all, they deny health care to Americans; why wouldn’t they deny it to Iraqis?
In other words, when Third World dictators need someone to run interference, they know who to contact: leftist Democrats. Bonior, McDermott, and Thompson received nothing for their troubles, but al-Hanooti’s more than earned his bounty – yet as we note in Party of Defeat, “moderate” voices of the Democratic Party spoke not a word of condemnation. Democratic Minority Leader and 2004 presidential hopeful Dick Gephardt remarked merely that “every member has to reach…their own conclusion.” [sic.] When asked if he would condemn McDermott’s statements, conservative Texas Democrat and then-Congressman Martin Frost replied with a terse “No.”
When North Korean extremists need to stall for time to develop weapons for nuclear blackmail, they call Jimmy Carter. By 2004, the Axis of Evil nations endorsed John Kerry. On election eve, Osama bin Laden released a tape strongly influenced by Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, and his rhetoric since then has hewed closely to the Left’s party line – earning him an increasingly positive assessment from its membership.
Today, even as American troops are succeeding militarily via the surge strategy proposed by John McCain, the Democratic Left’s leadership demands unilateral withdrawal that would not merely maintain a thuggish and repressive, if stabilizing, status quo; it would vacate the battlefield, create a failed state, and give the perpetrators of 9/11 a new national base of operations.
But now, just as six years ago, certain leftists “don’t mind being used” by those with a thirst for massive bloodletting.
Iraqi Documents Show al Qaeda Ties
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
NewsMax.com | 3/21/2008
A much-publicized report released by the Pentagon last week details the extensive ties between the regime of Saddam Hussein and a wide variety of international terrorist organizations, including Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.
“Despite their incompatible long-term goals, many terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States,” the report’s authors at the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) state.
But instead of reporting on this conclusion, most of the media accounts have focused on a single sentence that appears in the executive summary, stating that the report’s authors found “no smoking gun” or “direct connection” between Saddam’s Iraq and al-Qaida.
The United States Joint Forces Command, which commissioned the report from IDA, provided reporters late last week with a CD containing nearly 2,000 pages of supporting documents that purportedly formed the basis of the conclusions authored by Lt. Col. Kevin Woods and James Lacey in the 94-page redacted summary that initially was leaked to the press.
An analysis by Newsmax identified several documents with critical evidence of Saddam’s close ties to al-Qaida that were overlooked or ignored by the report’s authors, however.
These documents, published previously by the Foreign Military Studies Office of the Joint Reserve Intelligence Center, Fort Leavenworth, have since been taken down from U.S. government Web sites. Newsmax downloaded copies when they were still available.
“This is not a comprehensive, end-all, all-in-one study,” a source familiar with the drafting of the report told Newsmax. He spoke on background because his comments had not been cleared in advance by the U.S. military.
“This was a study very specifically for military lessons learned, to explain an environment. People shouldn’t make this report into something it’s not,” he added.
Another source involved in the report told Newsmax that one reason some documents were not included in the analysis was because of the sheer mass of material available — more than 600,000 documents, in all.
I have written about the Harmony data base of captured Iraqi military and intelligence documents in my recent book, Shadow Warriors: Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender.
One of the most damning documents to emerge from the Harmony data base, I wrote, was a Jan. 18, 1993 order from Saddam Hussein, transmitted to the head of Iraqi intelligence, “to hunt the Americans that are in Arab lands, especially in Somalia, by using Arab elements or Asian (Muslims) or friends.”
In response, the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service informed Hussein that Iraq already had ties with a large number of international terrorist groups, including “the Islamist Arab elements that were fighting in Afghanistan and [currently] have no place to base and are physically present in Somalia, Sudan, and Egypt.” In other words, al-Qaida.
The authors of the IDA study note that Saddam’s Iraq “was a long-standing supporter of international terrorism,” and that these particular documents provided ‘detailed evidence of that support.’”
The study also points out that the captured documents “reveal that Saddam was training Arab fighters (non-Iraqi) in Iraqi training camps more than a decade prior” to the 2003 war.
But the study shies away from identifying them as al-Qaida terrorists, even though many of them were members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, whose leader, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, became the deputy leader of al-Qaida in 1998.
Preparations for Suicide Operations Against U.S.
While the IDA study includes no information that would show operational ties between Saddam’s regime and the 9/11 hijackers, it reveals that Saddam personally gave orders on Sept. 17, 2001 to his general military intelligence directorate to recruit Iraqi officers for “suicide operations” against the United States.
The 112-page Harmony data file ISGQ-2005-00037352 contains Saddam’s order, as well as personal pledges to carry out suicide operations from more than one hundred “volunteers,” including a brigadier general.
In the order he issued just one week after the 9/11 attacks, Saddam stated that the volunteers should sign pledges “to be written in blood,” presumably their own.
Four years before this order, Saddam announced with great fanfare that he had tasked a prominent Iraqi calligrapher to produce a Quran written with his own blood. Saddam reportedly had doctors draw his blood for the task.
Several other key documents are glaringly absent from the IDA report and provide direct evidence of Saddam Hussein’s deep involvement with al-Qaida and its component organizations.
Among them is a 1999 notebook kept by an unidentified Iraqi intelligence official that detailed meetings between top Iraqi leaders and visiting Islamic terrorists. (Harmony document ISGP-2003-0001412).
One Baghdad visitor was Maulana Fazlur Rahman a signer of Osama bin Laden’s infamous 1998 fatwa calling on Muslims to “murder Americans.” Another was Afghan mujahedin leader Gulbudin Hekmatyar, who was also supported by Iran.
Roy Robison, a former U.S. government contractor who published an analysis of Saddam’s relationship to al-Qaida last year, argues that when Rahman met with Iraqi Vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan in 1999 “he did so as the father of the Taliban and as a leader of the World Islamic Front which declared war on the U.S the year before.”
Another document not included in this latest report was a review by Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) of their ongoing ties with Osama bin Laden and other opponents to the Saudi regime (Harmony document ISGZ-2004-009247).
This document reads like a memorandum for the record, written in early 1997, tracing the beginnings of the Iraqi regime’s relationship to Osama bin Laden.
In a letter dated Jan. 11, 1995, Saddam Hussein personally authorized the General Director of Intelligence to establish direct contact with bin Laden in Sudan, the report states.
The initial meeting with bin Laden took place just one month later, on Feb. 19, 1995, and included an offer by Iraq to provide bin Laden with broadcasting facilities and a discussion of plans “to perform joint operations against foreign forces in the land of Hijaz [ie, Saudi Arabia].
Following bin Laden’s expulsion from Sudan, in July 1996, the memo states that the Iraqi intelligence service is “working to revitalize this relationship through a new channel.”
The IDA report includes in its supporting documentation a detailed report by the Iraqi general director of intelligence in response to an “action directive” issued by Saddam on Jan. 18, 1993, ordering his intelligence service to establish relations with terrorist groups around the world and to develop the “expertise to carry out assignments.”
In addition to a variety of Palestinian groups, the document lists the Hezb Islami of Afghanistan, the Islamic Scholars Group of Pakistan, the Jam’iyat “Ulama Pakistan, all of which subsequently became affiliated with al-Qaida.
The authors of the IDA report note in the abstract accompanying their work that the captured documents provide “evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including . . . Islamic terrorist organizations.”
While the documents “do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al-Qaida network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al-Qaida,” and to provide financing and training of these outside groups.
“This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a ‘de facto’ link between the organizations,” the report’s authors stated.
Much of the polemic over Saddam’s support for al-Qaida arises from disputed claims, put forward in a Czech government intelligence report, that an Iraqi intelligence official met with 9/11 pilot Mohamed Atta in Prague in the April 2001.
No documents have surfaced that would corroborate that claim, while in press interviews well after the liberation of Iraq, the Iraqi intelligence officer who reportedly met with Atta in Prague told reporters that the meeting never took place.
All Iraqi Roads Lead to Terrorism
Contrary to the accounts that have appeared in mainstream media outlets, the Harmony documents and the IDA report show beyond any doubt that Saddam Hussein was willing to fund, train, and use Islamic terrorists, including groups affiliated with al-Qaida, to carry out his long-standing plans against the United States and U.S. allies in the region.
A 2002 annual report to the Iraq Intelligence Service M8 directorate of liberation movements shows that the IIS hosted 13 terrorist conferences during the year, and that Saddam personally received 37 congratulatory messages from international terrorist groups. The annual report also noted that the IIS had issued 699 passports to terrorists during the year.
“Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al-Qaida [such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri], or that generally shared al-Qaida’s stated goals and objectives,” the IDA report states.
But an element of competition also kept Saddam from too much direct involvement with al-Qaida, the IDA report states.
While both Saddam and bin Laden wanted to drive the West out of Muslim lands and to create a single powerful state that would replace America as a global superpower, “bin Laden wanted — and still wants — to restore the Islamic caliphate while Saddam, despite his later Islamic rhetoric, dreamed more narrowly of being the secular ruler of a united Arab nation,” the report’s authors state.
The relationship between Saddam Hussein and bin Laden bore some resemblance to the Cali and Medellin drug cartels.
While the seemingly rival cartels were vying for market share, “neither cartel was reluctant to cooperate with the other when it came to the pursuit of a common objective,” the report’s authors state.
“Recognizing Iraq as a second, or parallel, “terror cartel” that was simultaneously threatened by and somewhat aligned with its rival helps to explain the evidence emerging from the detritus of Saddam’s regime,” the IDA report states.
Link to First World Trade Center Attack
One terror tie apparently put to rest in this latest report are the suspicions that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.
Analysts such as Laurie Mylroie have argued for years that Saddam’s regime was behind the 1993 attack, and cited as evidence the fact that a key member of the plot, Abdul Rahman Yasin, fled to Iraq immediately after the bombing.
As I reported in Shadow Warriors, Saddam Hussein recorded all meetings in his presidential office, and the Harmony data base includes tapes from a series of meetings during 1993 that discussed the interrogation of Yasin.
Saddam “discusses the possibility that the attack was part of the ‘dirty games that the American intelligence would play if it had a bigger purpose,’” and expresses concern that Yasin might be an American agent, the IDA report states.
According to Saddam, Yassin was “too organized in what he is saying and [he] is playing games, playing games and influencing the scenario” during his interrogations by Iraqi intelligence. Saddam ordered that the interrogations continue but “actually warns against allowing Yasin to commit suicide or be killed in jail,” the report states.
Saddam believed that “the most important thing is not to let the Arabic public opinion [believe] we are cooperating with the US against the opposition. I mean that is why our announcement [that Yasin is being held] should include doubts . . . [about] who carried out this operation. Because it is possible that in the end we will discover — even if it is a very weak possibility — that a fanatic group who carried it organized the operation.”
Saddam and his advisors were hoping to use the interrogations of Yasin, and whatever information they could gather from him about the organizers of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, to enhance their position in world public opinion.
If handled correctly, Saddam said, Yasin’s confessions “will benefit us greatly; it will benefit us in our issue in the matter of the stance that the U.S. has taken against us.”
Kenneth R. Timmerman was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize along with John Bolton for his work on Iran. He is Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and author of Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum: 2005).
Malnie Phillips wrote an article in The Spectator titled “I found Saddam’s WMD bunkers”
She began it with
It’s a fair bet that you have never heard of a guy called Dave Gaubatz. It’s also a fair bet that you think the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has found absolutely nothing, nada, zilch; and that therefore there never were any WMD programmes in Saddam’s Iraq to justify the war ostensibly waged to protect the world from Saddam’s use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
Then she blogged on the subject under the title The questions that need to be asked about those WMD.
In it she raises a great deal of evidence in support and then extacts from Memorandum in Support of Request for Congressional Investigation of John Negroponte,submitted by John Loftus, President the International Intelligence Summit (www.IntelligenceSummit.org)
You won’t want to miss reading it all.
By the way, – the transfer of Iraqi WMDs to Syria was described several years ago by Yossef Bodansky (including the Iranian purchase of former Soviet nuclear bombs from Khazakstan). What became of him, – does anybody know?
Syria more than likely has WMD via Saddam. Saddam and Assad were establishing closer ties before the US invasion of Iraq and if Saddam would send his jets to Iran (who was a foe) for safe haven before the Gulf War in ‘91, why would anyone think he would not do the same with WMD to Syria?
Satellite photos showed lines of trailers heading to Syria before the invasion and Israeli intelligence confirms this also.
I think you are either very naive or hooked on an agenda if you think this is not at least a possibility.
Thanks, for bringing this up again Ted, Iraqi WMD are going to some up somewhere someday. I hope it is not when they are being used.
By Ray Robison
On the Rush Limbaugh radio program, VP Cheney restated his position that Saddam had ties to al Qaeda. The Vice President is completely correct. Specifically, he spoke of Abu Mus’ab al Zarqawi’s presence in Iraq before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As much as a year earlier, al Qaeda affiliated jihadists lead by Zarqawi began aggressive attacks on the Kurdish regions in the north of Iraq. Why would this committed jihadist leader bring his fighters to Iraq to attack Saddam’s enemies?
While researching for our new eBook Both In One Trench we realized that there seems to be a confluence of prominent terrorists emanating from Kuwait after it was occupied by Saddam’s armies. Many of these men are of Palestinian ethnicity. The Palestinians living in Kuwait had favored Saddam because he was a prominent proponent of the Palestinian cause. Their allegiance to Saddam was so thorough that the Kuwaiti government kicked out its Palestinian population after liberation because they collaborated with Saddam. Saddam’s support of Palestinian terrorism is incontrovertible.
A large number of these Palestinians, over a hundred thousand, made their way to Jordan where they began to radicalize the moderate Jordanian population. One of these Palestinians – part of the Palestinian migration from Kuwait which has been termed the “returnees from Kuwait” – was Sheik Abu-Mohammed al-Maqdisi (or Isam Mohammad Taher al-Barqawi). He would later become a major al Qaeda leader.
Barqawi became the spiritual leader for the newly radicalized Jordanians like Abu Mus’ab Al Zarqawi. Zarqawi would organize a group of radicalized Jordanians and other “returnees from Kuwait” called tawhid, which would align itself with al Qaeda for the Millennium Plot (or before).
Barqawi, a Palestinian-Jordanian, a “returnee from Kuwait” sympathized with Saddam. Barqawi sent Zarqawi to Iraq with other Palestinian-Jordanian “returnees” to fight jihad against Saddam’s enemies, not to fight Saddam. It may very well be that Zarqawi had no personal love for the Ba’athists. But Osama bin Laden himself has called for the jihadists in Iraq to work with the Ba’athists to defeat the Christian crusaders.
A study reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute explains what happened next:
The Jihad fighters “related that Abu Mus’ab [Al-Zarqawi] used the experience of the [Iraqi] Ba’th[ists] in his war on the Americans and Iraqis, including regarding the security issue. [A man named] Ahmad clarified that this was particularly true regarding the city of Al-Fallujah, which contained hundreds of former Iraqi military intelligence officers with great experience in the security sphere.
According to one of Zarqawi’s own followers, Zarqawi traveled to Iraq where he joined with Saddam’s intelligence agents – with great experience – not new recruits but senior level intelligence officials, loyal men who would only have been there if they had been sent by Saddam.
The evidence of this alliance is the insurgency itself. The Iraqi government has many times tried to inform the American public that the leaders of the insurgency are Ba’athists working with al Qaeda. Such reports are ignored or criticized by the US media. Typically, the US media trots out a retired, senior CIA official who made rank under President Clinton to deny these reports because they don’t want the American public to know that Ba’athists and Islamic terrorists were working together before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. To acknowledge such a connection would be to demonstrate that certain intelligence officials who said that this type of combined operation could not happen – in fact made careers off the theory after the 1993 WTC attack – were wrong.
Some time after the Saddam regime fell and Zarqawi began to slaughter Iraqis, Barqawi (Maqdisi) got cold feet. He tried to rein-in Zarqawi which caused a split in the Palestinian-Jordanian branch of al Qaeda. In late 2004, Zarqawi distanced himself from the Jordanian branch of al Qaeda by swearing allegiance directly to al Qaeda. In other words, he quit the Barqawi branch of al Qaeda and went to the Ayman al Zawahiri branch because he still needed jihad recruits to fight in Iraq.
Upon breaking away from his mentor, he began to set himself up as the Islamic authority in Iraq (the pupil became the teacher). Those Iraqi intelligence agents who had worked with him since before OIF had themselves become radicalized, realized the Ba’athist regime wasn’t coming back, and began to swear loyalty to Zarqawi. Thus, Zarkawi, who had come to Iraq to support the Saddam regime would abandon his directives from his mentor and attempt to take direct control of Iraq.
But why would Saddam send senior IIS agents to work with jihadists? Because they were already working with Islamic jihadists long before the start of OIF. This Dar al Hayat article, “The Resistance In The “Sunni Triangle”, makes clear that because the Iraqi economy was strangled by UN sanctions. Saddam’s senior military officials, many of them with land grants in Fallujah – where Zarqawi teamed up with them – had smuggled oil in cooperation with Islamic extremists. These Islamic extremists were joined to Anbar province by religious and tribal affiliation.
These extremists, already living under the radar in places like Jordan, were the perfect smuggling partners. Thus, as the sanctions dragged on, senior Iraqi military leaders and even a few close advisors to Saddam began to adhere to the extremists’ Islamic teachings. Initially, Saddam tried to shut it down. But because these Iraqi officials were Saddam’s support base, he eventually had to come to terms with them to protect his power. These Islamic extremists and smugglers were from places like the Palestinian “returnee” camps in Jordan. They were feeding Saddam’s support base.
Our research points to these Palestinian-Jordanian “returnees” as one of many portals of influence between Saddam and the global Islamic jihad movement. Other portals of influence to the movement include Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (Islamic Party) and Mulla Omar (Taliban) in Afghanistan, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and his jihad political parties in Pakistan, Hassan al Turabi and his National Islamic Front followers in Sudan, and Ayman al Zawahiri himself with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and later when it became al Qaeda along with Bin Laden’s followers.
To not see the portals means averting the eyes. Too many people who should know better have done so.
Ray Robison is co-author of the forthcoming book Both in One Trench, and a frequent contributor to American Thinker
Undersecretary General of UN Indicted in Oil-for-Food Case
by Jim Kouri, CPP
United Nations Undersecretary General Benon Sevan of Cyprus and Ephraim Nadler, a/k/a “Fred Nadler” of New York City were indicted on charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in connection with the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program.
From mid-2000 until March 2003, the Iraqi government’s regime conditioned the right to purchase oil under the Oil-for-Food Program on a purchaser’s willingness to pay a secret surcharge to Iraq. These secret payments were illegal kickbacks, made in violation of United Nations sanctions and United States criminal law.
Nadler allegedly participated in a scheme to make unlawful payments to the former government of Iraq in connection with the purchase of oil under the Oil-for-Food Program. Sevan, who at the time was the Executive Director of the United Nations Office of Iraq Program (the Office that operated the Oil-for-Food Program), as well as being the UN’s Undersecretary General, allegedly received almost $160,000 — money generated from the sale of Iraqi oil under the Program — from Nadler on behalf of Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq.
Nadler is alleged to have helped a co-conspirator to obtain the right to buy Iraqi oil under the Oil-for-Food Program in exchange for commissions from the oil sales, and then allegedly funneled approximately $160,000 of these oil commissions to Sevan, according to the New York District Attorney’s Office, which will be prosecuting the case along with the US Attorney’s Office in New York.
Nadler and Sevan are charged with wire fraud, based on their depriving the United Nations of its right to Sevan’s honest services; bribery concerning an organization (the United Nations) that receives more than $10,000 annually from the federal government; and conspiracy to commit these offenses.
Nadler is also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud by engaging in prohibited financial transactions with Iraq and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 112 years’ imprisonment. If convicted, Sevan faces a maximum sentence of 50 years imprisonment.
The DA’s office reports that the United States government has issued warrants for the arrest of Nadler and Sevan with Interpol, and will seek their arrest and extradition to the United States.
The Oil-for-Food Program was created to provide critical humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people. But prior prosecutions by the District Attorney demonstrate that the former government of Iraq thoroughly corrupted the Program — by employing undisclosed Iraqi agents in the United States to try to influence the terms under which the program was adopted, and by demanding secret kickbacks from participants in the program during its operation.
The allegations in this current indictment that the Executive Director of the very program that was created to provide humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people was involved in such a scheme demonstrates how pervasive the corruption was, and how that corruption undermined the operation of the supposedly humanitarian program, according to US officials.
FBI Assistant Director Mark Mershon stated during a press conference in New York: “This indictment — which brings the number of individuals charged or convicted in our far-reaching investigation to 14 — strikes at the heart of the corruption that pervaded the Oil-for-Food program. As Executive Director of the program and Undersecretary General of the U.N., Benon Sevan was responsible for maintaining the program’s probity and propriety. Instead, his administration of the program was marked by profiteering and profligacy.”
“The Oil for Food Program was established to provide humanitarian relief to the Iraqi people, not to line the pockets of corrupt officials. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have joined forces to uncover and prosecute any corruption or other illegal activities connected to that program. Today’s indictment of the top UN official in charge of the Oil-for-Food Program and his business partner is an important step in our continuing investigation.”
The US investigation into criminal wrongdoing in the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program is continuing, with the Department of Justice and the New York District Attorney’s office working together.
Sources: US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York District Attorney’s Office,
National Security Institute
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com. Kouri’s own website is located at http://jimkouri.us
Former U.N. oil-for-food head charged with bribery
Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:19 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former executive director of the U.N. oil-for-food program for Iraq and a brother-in-law of a former U.N. secretary-general have been charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud tied to the program, a U.S. federal prosecutor said on Tuesday.
Former executive director Benon Sevan, the highest ranking U.N. official to be charged in relation to the program, and Ephraim Nadler, brother-in-law of Boutros Boutros-Ghali, were named in an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.
Michael Garcia, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement that Sevan, a Cypriot, allegedly received about $160,000 from Nadler on behalf of the Iraqi government.
Garcia said the United States had issued warrants for the arrest of Nadler and Sevan and will seek their arrest and extradition to New York.
“The allegations in this current indictment that the executive director of the very program that was created to provide humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people was involved in such a scheme demonstrates how pervasive the corruption was and how that corruption undermined the operation of the program,” Garcia said.
Sevan’s lawyer, Eric Lewis, did not immediately return a call for comment.
The oil-for-food program was designed to soften the blow to civilians of international sanctions, imposed against Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, by allowing Iraq to sell oil to finance purchases of humanitarian goods.
More than 2,300 companies have been investigated and some governments accused of having abused the $64 billion humanitarian program, which ran from 1996 until 2003.
Boutros-Ghali was secretary-general of the United Nations from 1992 to 1996.
Saddam Hussein hanged: Iraqi official
Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:57 PM ET
By Mariam Karouny
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging shortly before 6 a.m. (10:00 p.m. EST) on Saturday, U.S.-backed Iraqi television station Al Hurra and Arabic satellite channel Arabiya said.
Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Labeed Abbawi also said the execution had taken place.
“I believe so, yes. He has been executed. It has been officially announced that he has been executed,” Abbawi said, speaking by telephone to BBC News 24.
The former Iraqi president ousted in April 2003 by a U.S.-led invasion was convicted in November of crimes against humanity over the killings of 148 Shi’ite villagers from Dujail after a failed assassination bid in 1982.
An appeals court upheld the death penalty on Tuesday and the government rushed through the procedures to hang him by the end of the year and before the Eid al-Adha holiday that starts on Saturday, coinciding with the haj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Earlier, senior officials told Reuters they were expecting to see the former president hang between 5:30 and 6 a.m. (0230 and 0300 GMT).
U.S. television showed scenes of cheering and flag-waving Iraqi-Americans in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest U.S. Arab-American community.
Arabic satellite channel Arabiya said Saddam’s half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former judge Awad al-Bander were also executed by hanging on Saturday.
The Iraqi government had kept details of its plans shrouded in secrecy amid concerns it could spark a violent backlash from his former supporters with Iraq on the brink of civil war.
The execution will delight Iraq’s majority Shi’ites, who faced oppression during Saddam’s three-decade rule, but may anger some in his resentful Sunni minority.
Some Kurdish leaders had sought a delay so they too could see justice for the man they accuse of genocide against them.
ONCE BELLIGERENT STRONGMAN
Saddam’s conviction on November 5 was hailed by President Bush as a triumph for the democracy he promised to foster in Iraq after the invasion almost four years ago.
With U.S. public support for the war slumping as the number of American dead approaches 3,000, Washington is likely to welcome the death of Saddam, despite misgivings among many allies about capital punishment.
But the hanging could complicate efforts by Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to heal Iraq’s sectarian divisions with violence spiralling out of control and threatening to pitch the country into full-scale civil war.
Once the belligerent strongman of the Middle East, Saddam’s power crumbled when U.S. tanks swept into Baghdad in April 2003. He fled and was captured in December that year by U.S. soldiers who found him hiding in a hole near his home town of Tikrit.
During his three decades in power, Saddam was accused of widespread oppression of political opponents and genocide against Kurds in northern Iraq. His execution means he will never face justice on those charges.
Defiant to the end, Saddam insisted during his trial that he was still the president of Iraq.
He said in a letter written after his conviction in November that he offered himself as a “sacrifice”.
“If my soul goes down this path (of martyrdom) it will face God in serenity,” he wrote in the letter.
Defense lawyer Issam Jhazzawi earlier told Reuters Saddam’s exiled daughters in Jordan were bracing for his imminent death.
“The family are praying for him every minute and are calling on God that He let his soul rest in peace among the martyrs,” he said.
His daughter Raghd, who is exiled in Jordan, “is asking that his body be buried in Yemen temporarily until Iraq is liberated and it can be reburied in Iraq,” a source close to the family said by telephone before the execution.
(Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald, Ibon Villelabeitia, Claudia Parsons in Baghdad and Suleiman Khalidi in Dubai)
November 16, 2006 That non-existent Saddam threatFew in the mainstream media have paid much attention to the recent New York Times story (see my previous post) which reported Iraqi documents showing that Saddam was actively developing a nuclear weapon. In the Jerusalem Post recently, Caroline Glick wrote this:In response to the Times story an international security Web site run by Ray Robinson published a translation of a story that ran on the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Seyassah’s Web site on September 25. Citing European intelligence sources, the Al-Seyyassah report claims that in late 2004
Syria began developing a nuclear program near its border with
Turkey. According to the report,
Syria’s program, which is being run by President Bashar Assad’s brother Maher and defended by a Revolutionary Guards brigade, ‘has reached the stage of medium activity.’The Kuwaiti report maintains that the Syrian nuclear program relies ‘on equipment and materials that the sons of the deposed Iraqi leader, Uday and Qusai. transfer[red] to
Syria by using dozens of civilian trucks and trains,
before and after the US-British invasion in March 2003.’ The report also asserts that the Syrian nuclear program is supported by the Iranians who are running the program, together with Iraqi nuclear scientists and Muslim
nuclear specialists from Muslim republics of the former
Soviet Union. The program ‘was originally built on the remains of the Iraqi program after it was wholly transferred to
Syria.’This report echoes warnings expressed by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon in the months leading up to the US-led invasion of
Iraq that suspicious convoys of trucks were traveling from
Sharon’s warnings were later supported by statements from former IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, who said last year that
Iraq had moved its unconventional arsenals to
Syria in the lead-up to the invasion. According to the US Senate’s Prewar Intelligence Review Phase II, which studied the prewar intelligence on Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, in 2002, the US had learned from the Iraqi foreign minister that while Iraq had not yet acquired a nuclear arsenal, ‘Iraq was aggressively and covertly developing’ nuclear weapons. The Senate report concluded that Saddam was told by his own weapons specialists that
Iraq would achieve nuclear weapons capabilities ‘within 18-24 months of acquiring fissile material.’In the weeks and months after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the
US, President George W. Bush repeatedly stated that
America’s primary security challenge was to prevent the world’s most dangerous regimes from acquiring nonconventional, and particularly nuclear weapons. When Bush’s statements are assessed against the backdrop of the apparently advanced Iraqi nuclear bomb designs that were placed on the Web in recent weeks, it becomes clear that the US-led invasion successfully prevented Saddam Hussein from acquiring nuclear weapons.