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June 25, 2004

New York Times: Iraq Sought Al Qaeda Alliance (Who Said That? Oh Yeah: The New York Times)

Front of the Website:

WASHINGTON, June 24 β€” Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990's were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq.

Note the attempted spin right off the bat: This was merely an effort against Saudi Arabia, which just happened to be coincidentally directed against Saudi Arabia's allies.

Which allies might they be?

Doesn't really matter, does it? But let's read on.

American officials described the document as an internal report by the Iraqi intelligence service detailing efforts to seek cooperation with several Saudi opposition groups, including Mr. bin Laden's organization, before Al Qaeda had become a full-fledged terrorist organization.

Ah. "Before Al Qaeda had become a full-fledged terrorist organization." It was, during this period, an expansion franchise. They went 2-14 in their opening season and lost to the lowly Arizona Cardinals twice.

So, nothing to worry about here.

...The document states that Iraq agreed to rebroadcast anti-Saudi propaganda, and that a request from Mr. bin Laden to begin joint operations against foreign forces in Saudi Arabia went unanswered. There is no further indication of collaboration.

No further indication. Okay. Let's see if that conclusion, parked conveniently in the front of the article, is borne out by the details which follow.

...

The new document, which appears to have circulated only since April, was provided to The New York Times several weeks ago, before the commission's report was released.

Somehow the Times "forgot" to report it.

Since obtaining the document, The Times has interviewed several military, intelligence and United States government officials in Washington and Baghdad to determine that the government considered it authentic.

Right. They embargoed it for several weeks just to check up on it.

...

The task force concluded that the document "appeared authentic," and that it "corroborates and expands on previous reporting" about contacts between Iraqi intelligence and Mr. bin Laden in Sudan, according to the task force's analysis.

It is not known whether some on the task force held dissenting opinions about the document's veracity.

If they deemed it a fake, as a group, somehow I doubt the New York Times would be so curious to learn/speculate if there were dissenting opinions who felt it was authentic.

...

Iraq during that period was struggling with its defeat by American-led forces in the Persian Gulf war of 1991, when American troops used Saudi Arabia as the base for expelling Iraqi invaders from Kuwait.

This sounds an awful lot like "context" masquerading as a justification. The New York Times seems determined to suggest that Saddam was just doing what any defeated genocidal tyrant might do in his shoes.

The document, which asserts that Mr. bin Laden "was approached by our side," states that Mr. bin Laden previously "had some reservations about being labeled an Iraqi operative," but was now willing to meet in Sudan, and that "presidential approval" was granted to the Iraqi security service to proceed.

So, Saddam Hussein sought out an alliance with Al Qaeda.

Nothing to see here, folks. Move on.

...

Mr. bin Laden "also requested joint operations against foreign forces" based in Saudi Arabia, where the American presence has been a rallying cry for Islamic militants who oppose American troops in the land of the Muslim pilgrimage sites of Mecca and Medina.

But the document contains no statement of response by the Iraqi leadership under Mr. Hussein to the request for joint operations, and there is no indication of discussions about attacks on the United States or the use of unconventional weapons.

Um, a document from May 6th will not indicate what was decided on May 15th, morons.

Why would you expect a single document from a single day to contain further information about future events which had not yet occurred when the document was written?

This is like the New York Times stating that Kobe Bryant's accuser must be lying, because before she was raped she was not documenting the rape to come.

The document contains "no indications" of further meetings; but how is that evidence they didn't occur? Why would one expect a document to speak of future events?

Does the fact that a paystub records payments from the first two weeks of the month indicate, by its silence, that someone wasn't paid in the following two weeks?

Are they this stupid, or do they just think we are?

...

Members of the Pentagon task force that reviewed the document said it described no formal alliance being reached between Mr. bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence. The Iraqi document itself states that "cooperation between the two organizations should be allowed to develop freely through discussion and agreement."

Ah. No "formal alliance." Just "cooperation" to develop "freely."

No "corroborative relationship." Just a cooperative one. Nothing to worry about.

The heated public debate over links between Mr. bin Laden and the Hussein government fall basically into three categories: the extent of communications and contacts between the two, the level of actual cooperation, and any specific collaboration in the Sept. 11 attacks.

The document provides evidence of communications between Mr. bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence, similar to that described in the Sept. 11 staff report released last week.

"Bin Laden also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime," the Sept. 11 commission report stated.

So, Saddam is seeking ties with bin Ladin; and bin Ladin is also exploring possible cooperation with Saddam.

But, again, no "ties."

The Sudanese government, the commission report added, "arranged for contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

No contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda, except for those "contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda" arranged by a third-party terrorist-sponsoring government.

"A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan," it said, "finally meeting bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded."

Apparently. And that, apparently, is based upon this single document. Because a document from an earlier date does not, precognitively, describe events which might have taken place in the future, it is therefore proof of the non-occurrence of such events.

Quod erat democratum.

...

A former director of operations for Iraqi intelligence Directorate 4 met with Mr. bin Laden on Feb. 19, 1995, the document states.

And what is "Iraqi intelligence Directorate 4"? The Times doesn't bother to say; that's where the article ends.

If they're not telling us what Directorate 4 might have been responsible for-- take a wild fucking guess what it was responsible for.

Anyone want to bet?

Anyone want to fucking bet that Directorate 4 just happened to own an airplane fuselage parked at Salman Pak?

Update: Well, I guessed that Directorate 4 was concerned with terrorism and such in foreign countries. I guessed this, of course, because the Times didn't say what its portfolio was.

Had its portfolio been something fairly innocuous like propaganda, they would have identified its purpose. The fact that they actively suppressed Directorate 4's mission meant, inevitably, it was up to no good.

Actually, it's sort of in between.

Directorate 4 was the "Secret Service, operating both at home and abroad," according to this site.

But the real Directorate of major concern to us was Directorate 14, which was responsible for the attempted assassination of President Bush the Elder, and which, yes, maintains the Salman Pak facility.

Directorate 4 would be the service expected to make contacts abroad, since they were present in every Iraqi embassy in the world. It is chiefly a spy service, collecting both signals and human intelligence.

It's not as juicy as Directorate 14. But the day is young.

And Directorate 4 isn't exactly benign. Although I can't find a cite yet proving it, I suspect that Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir Al-Ani, the intelligence officer who allegedly met with Mohammed Atta in Prague, was part of Directorate 4. I base this on the general responsibilities of Directorate 4. It's the foreign secret service, based in embassies around the world, and so that would seem to be the most Al-Ani's most likely assignment.

Whether Al-Ani met Atta or not, it seems pretty well settled that he was planning to bomb Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty towers.



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posted by Ace at 01:37 AM

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