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News, 23-29/9/01 (1) The News is still centred on the aftermath of the attacks in New York and Washington, and the question of possible involvement on the part of Iraq, and possible reprisals whether they are involved or not. The Finger Pointing at Iraq¹ section is a series of articles arguing for Iraq¹s involvement, with one surprising, but superficial, exception from the Israeli secret service. A lot of this is a matter of who met who where but there is also a new defector (new to me, anyway) with stories of germ warfare research. In the Supplement (shorter than last week¹s!) I have put some articles on the general character of US policy; and also on those countries whose co operation is necessary if Iraq is to get round the provisions of the Oil for Food Scheme. There is an interesting article on the problems posed by the enormous stocks of chemical weapons held by the US army. FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ * Alert by Saddam points to Iraq ["He was clearly expecting a massive attack and it leads you to wonder why." ...¹ Perhaps it was something to do with newspaper speculation at the time that the increased rate of bombing raids was building up to a massive attack.] * 'No Baghdad connection' [according to the chief of Israeli military intelligence, also downplaying the likelihood of a direct Iraqi strike on Israel] * Unholy trinity [bin Laden, Iraq and Sudan] in chemical weapons pact [according to a paper by Yossef Bodansky - date not given - for the US Congress Task Force on Terrorism and unconventional weapons] * Drain the ponds of terror [extract from Jerusalem Post article saying toppling Saddam would be easy] * Was bin Laden working with Iraq? [Laurie Mylroie, who, um, thinks he probably was] * Bite the bullet and target Iraq [William Safire. His argument is largely centred on the presence of a fundamentalist Islamic movement in the autonomous Kurdish region which, he says, is supported by Iraq] * Washington's hawk [Paul Wolfowitz] trains sights on Iraq [extracts giving some details on Wolfowitz¹s background] * Eyes turn to Iraq in attack on U.S. [More details on the Woolsey/Mylroie thesis] * 1998 Bin Laden meeting with Iraqi intelligence officer investigated [Meeting in Afghanistan and meeting between Atta and Iraqi intelligence officer] * Hotel clue points to an Iraqi connection [Osama bin Laden seen in Baghdad in 1998] * Saddam has germ warfare arsenal, says defecting physicist [Dr al Sabiri (not his real name)¹. Nasty tales. Nasty if they¹re untrue. Nastier if they¹re true.] IRAQI REACTION * Iraq Considers Itself a U.S. Target [Short extracts giving strong statement against attacking Iraq from the Secretary General of the Arab League] * Iraq warns US against a 'suicidal war sans limits' * Saddam says condolences to US would be hypocrisy AND, IN NEWS, 23-29/9/01 (2) IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Iraq: Iranian forces use missiles to attack mujahedin near Baghdad [Was this terrorism¹?] * Rafsanjani says Iraq is blocking implementation of UN resolution ending imposed war [and some Iranian responses to Sept 11, including Ayatollah Khameini: "America does not have the competence to guide a global movement against terrorism, and...Iran will not participate in any move which is headed by the United States."] * Egyptian- Iraqi telecommunications * Israeli jets in Turkey to bombard Iraq * 4 Alleged Iraqi Spies Reportedly Arrested OIL * Iraq urges OPEC not to increase oil output * UN to keep tabs on alleged Iraq oil kickbacks [Question of shortening price setting period still rages] * Rilwanu Lukman is OPEC new president [with OPEC reactions to Sept 11 attacks] * War-risk cover hits Iraqi crude competitiveness [Adverse effects of Sept 11 attacks on Iraqi economy] * Shaky Foundations: The US in the Middle East [Short extract from interesting MERIP analysis outlining Iraqi strategy to become an economic power even under Oil for Food] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * U.N. Approves $365 Million in Gulf War Reparations [The sorry tale continues. It includes Palestinians forced to flee Kuwait. By the Iraqis? Or by the Kuwaitis? And why does the article seem to suggest that there were only 1,200 Palestinians in Kuwait at the time of the invasion?] NO FLY ZONES * Iraq says it fired on US, British warplanes [Raids on Dohuk, Erbil and Nineveh on Monday] * Western Warplanes Hit Iraq Targets-US Spokesman [Raids on Sahban and Nassiryah, Thursday] INSIDE IRAQ * Iran's under-20 basketball team arrives in Iraq * Thai, Iraqi World Cup campaigns end NORTH IRAQ/SOUTHERN KURDISTAN * Fearing strike, Iraq dismantles refineries, rations fuel [Economic effects of Iraqi security measures on the Kurdish autonomous zone] * PUK Kicks Islamic From Halabja , Iran Interferes FINGER POINTING AT IRAQ http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/23/wirq23.xm l * ALERT BY SADDAM POINTS TO IRAQ by Jessica Berry in Jerusalem, Philip Sherwell and David Wastell in Washington Daily Telegraph, 23rd September Saddam Hussein put his troops on their highest military alert since the Gulf war two weeks before the suicide attacks on America in the strongest indication yet that the Iraqi dictator knew an atrocity was planned. Since the attacks, The Telegraph has learnt that the Iraqi leader had been providing al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, with funding, logistical back-up and advanced weapons training. His operations reached a "frantic pace" in the past few months, according to Western intelligence officials. Saddam has remained out of the public eye in his network of bunkers since the military alert at the end of August and moved his two wives, Sajida and Samira, away from the presidential palaces in Baghdad to Tikrit, his home town 100 miles to the north. The CIA also claims to have proof that bin Laden aides were in contact with Iraqi intelligence in the days before the New York outrage. One intelligence official said that there had been nothing obvious to warrant Saddam's declaration of "Alert G", Iraq's highest state of readiness. "He was clearly expecting a massive attack and it leads you to wonder why," he said. The CIA is understood to have evidence that Mohammed Atta, one of the suicide bombers, met an Iraqi intelligence officer earlier this year in Prague. Further evidence of Iraqi complicity emerged last week. In the past four months at least three high-ranking Iraqi intelligence officials - among them Hassan Ezba Thalaj, a veteran officer with a reputation for ruthlessness - have visited Pakistan to meet representatives of al-Qaeda. Previous visitors have taken large sums of money with them, including Ahmed al Jafari, a senior Baghdad intelligence officer who took £420,000 18 months ago. Other funds have been forwarded via banks in Lebanon. The "operational brains" behind the September 11 attack have been named by an Israeli intelligence official as Imad Mugniyeh, the head of special overseas operations for Hizbollah, and Ayman al Zawahri, an Egyptian and a senior figure in al-Qaeda. The official quoted by Jane's, the military journal, said they "were probably financed and got some logistical support from the Iraqi intelligence service". Zawahri was indicted in New York in 1999 in connection with the 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks blamed on bin Laden. Mugniyeh organised anti-American attacks in Lebanon in the 1980s, including the suicide lorry bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, and led a network of kidnappers who held dozens of Westerners hostage. Although the US is understood to have found no hard evidence linking Baghdad directly to the kamikaze attacks, hardliners in the Bush administration are pushing for Iraq to be targeted in the war on terrorism. Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, has argued, however,that taking on Saddam immediately could "wreck" the coalition by driving away Arab countries whose support will be needed. Saddam has a long track record of hosting terrorists and running guerrilla training camps. Khidhir Hamza, the Iraqi scientist who headed Saddam's nuclear bomb-making programme until he defected to America in 1994, said it was "highly possible" that the Iraqi regime played an indirect role in last week's attack through support and training for the hijackers. "Saddam has an intelligence network which knows its way around the world," he said. "Nobody else in the region has such a sophisticated and well-financed network." In a further development, Iraqi exiles have learnt from contacts in Baghdad that 58 young pilots, handpicked for their loyalty to the regime, underwent a rigorous three-month suicide mission course in 1999. The training took place at two separate airbases in Iraq. http://www.dailystarnews.com/200109/24/n1092401.htm#BODY11 * 'NO BAGHDAD CONNECTION' Daily Star (Bangladesh), 24th September Reuters, Jerusalem: The chief of Israeli military intelligence said in an interview published yesterday he saw no signs that Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks in the United States. "I don't see a direct link between Iraq and the hijackings and terror attacks in the United States," Major-General Amos Malka, concurring with US assessments, told Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. "I know many people are wondering whether this kind of attack could be carried out without the help of a country and they immediately point at Iraq or Iran," Malka said. "But as far as intelligence is concerned, I cannot point at the moment to a connection. There is no Iraqi angle or infrastructure that we can point to at this stage." Last week, a US intelligence office, asked how strong the evidence was that Iraq was behind the attacks against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, said: "Not very, at this time. We're still looking but not very." [.....] In the interview, Malka said there was no reason for Israelis to panic "and run to refresh their gas mask kits." He forecast that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would target Israel only as a last resort and would be wary of exposing now "what he has tried to hide for the past 10 years," a reference to Scud missiles and launchers. "But if he feels that the noose is tightening around his neck, he might take steps that would put us in the picture," Malka said. http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,2919891%255E9 54,00.html * UNHOLY TRINITY IN CHEMICAL WEAPONS PACT by Chris Griffith Courrier/Mail (Australia), 24th September AS intelligence services try to prove who was behind the New York and Washington attacks, the evidence is mounting that a secret pact was forged between Osama bin Laden, Iraq and Sudan to wage a terrorist war against the US. The pact, forged in 1998, led to Iraqi experts helping to build a chemical weapons factory especially for bin Laden's terrorists in Sudan and bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's Iraq co operating to build several others. In a paper for the US Congress's Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, its chairman Yossef Bodansky said the chemical weapons factory, in Soba, south-west of Sudan's capital Khartoum, was built with Iraqi know-how for Islamic terrorists affiliated mainly with bin Laden. Bodansky's paper shows a growing brashness of Iraqi involvement in developing chemical weapons for terrorism in Sudan away from the prying eyes of US planes patrolling the no fly zone in Iraq. It cites two other ultra-modern chemical weapons factories built in Sudan with Iraq expertise. One, at Kafuri, houses laboratories developing chemical weapons, nerve agents and biological weapons, while another in the Mayu area has production lines for warheads, bombs and canisters utilising chemical agents. They were built three years ago. Iraq and bin Laden both separately forged links with Sudan, in north Africa, a decade ago. The Iraqi-Sudanese co-operation began during the 1990 Gulf War when Iraq sent guns equipped with chemical shells, SCUD-B launchers and missiles to Sudan to strike Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The fact these SCUDs originated from Iraq was confirmed in the mid-1990s when the Russians, after being asked to fix them, recognised the serial numbers were from missiles sold to Iraq. After the Gulf war, Iraq needed to protect its chemical weapons development from US forces patrolling the Gulf. This escalated in 1997 when Iraq moved weapons it had stored in Yemen to Sudan, and in the same year, weapons of mass destruction. Bin Laden's involvement with Sudan began in 1991 after he was expelled from Saudi Arabia for his anti-government activities. He spent five years living in Sudan building a complex web of business and financial interests before returning to Afghanistan. Intelligence reports claim the secret pact between Sudan, Iraq and bin Laden was made in October 1998 and there are numerous reports of meetings between bin Laden and Iraqi officials since. Some of this evidence emerged in early 1999, when the Paris-based Arab language newspaper Al Watan Al Arabi reported that western diplomatic and security sources had warned in secret reports that Iraq, Sudan and bin Laden were co-operating to build several chemical and germ weapons factories in Sudan financed by bin Laden and supervised by Iraqi experts and technicians. It said the Baghdad-Khartoum-bin Laden deal was regarded as the biggest act of co ordination between extremist Islamic organisations and Baghdad "for confronting the US, the common enemy". Late in 1998, Italian paper Corriere della Sera reported: "Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have sealed a pact." http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/09/25/Opinion/Editorial.35287.html * DRAIN THE PONDS OF TERROR Jerusalem Post, 25th September [.....] But in the unlikely event that Saddam had no role in this latest attack, he is certainly no less worthy of removal than he was before September 11. Saddam had to go even before this, because he is openly defying the UN Security Council's efforts to disarm him of weapons of mass destruction and therefore poses a terrorist threat much greater than Osama bin Laden. Saddam is busy building a nuclear, biological, and chemical umbrella for terrorism. Most importantly, Saddam is much weaker than he is made out to be. He already does not control the "no-fly" zones maintained by the US and Britain. With considerably less force than was employed during the Gulf War, the US could help the Iraqi National Congress take over most of Iraq and recognize it as the legitimate provisional government. Within a short time, most of Iraq's military would defect to the opposition, and Saddam would effectively be transformed into the mayor of Baghdad. Most of his much vaunted missile sites would be out of his control, and he would be too busy fighting for his life to continue his race to rearm. The US and the Iraqi opposition would both commit to keeping Iraq whole and to holding free elections to determine Iraq's new government. [.....] http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/268/oped/Was_bin_Laden_working_with_Iraq_+ .shtml * WAS BIN LADEN WORKING WITH IRAQ? by Laurie Mylroie Boston Globe, 25th september AS THE UNITED STATES prepares to fight Osama bin Laden, the enemy in this new war against terrorism is disturbingly ill-defined. Above all, a critical question has not been addressed: Was bin Laden alone responsible for the carnage that occurred on Sept. 11, or was he working with an enemy state, namely Iraq? As Rafael Eitan, former head of Israel's Mossad, stated, ''I have no doubt whatsoever that the mastermind of this atrocity is none other than the Iraqi dictator.'' Former CIA director Jim Woolsey has also fingered Iraq, and senior officials in the Pentagon agree. Yet the Bush administration has adopted the position that it is not necessary to address that issue now. It will take care of bin Laden in the first phase of this war and deal with the possibility of state involvement later. That could be quite dangerous, however. This month's terrible assault should have made clear that the United States faces a resourceful and ingenious foe. We have to be equally clever. And we do not know if those behind the earlier terrorism intend more. Authorities are jittery. Most ominously, one airplane hijacker and a number of unidentified Middle Eastern men visited airfields over the past months asking questions about crop dusters. The planes could be used to disseminate biological agents and produce casualties on a far greater scale than the horrific attacks we have already seen. If Iraq was involved in this month's terrorist assaults, might Saddam actually want the United States to fight bin Laden? Once the battle in Afghanistan commences, and if another terrible terrorist assault occurs, won't we interpret it in that context? Aren't we then likely to redouble our campaign against bin Laden and forget ever more about Saddam? Won't he then have license to kill even more Americans, because each time an attack occurs, we blame it on bin Laden and his ilk? Indeed, the war we are about to fight contradicts the principles under which the United States fought the Gulf War a decade ago. Then, there was great emphasis on being clear in our objectives and in the means to achieve them. Presently, it is the opposite: Let's get bin Laden, and then we'll worry about what comes next.'' Military commanders have to make decisions on the basis of imperfect knowledge. To wait for certainty about a situation may be to invite defeat. That is also relevant to responding to the recent terrorism. A widespread misunderstanding exists about the FBI investigation and the evidence it will produce at this early stage of the inquiry. Investigations into major terrorist attacks are invariably long, tedious affairs. It took two years to determine that Libya was behind the 1988 bombing of Pam Am 103. If Iraq was involved in the recent assaults, the FBI is not likely to have evidence for a long time. Should we then do nothing? A decade ago, we would have recognized that a state was behind the latest assaults, even if that state might work with a ''group'' to provide deniability. The dominant understanding then was that only states had the capability to carry out major terrorist attacks. Following any such attack, the experts would speculate about which terrorist state was most likely to have been responsible. That speculation was based on an understanding of current politics, not on the FBI investigation, which does not produce results quickly enough to inform the conduct of national security affairs. Yet this view was lost during the Clinton years. Bill Clinton treated terrorism as a law enforcement problem, with the emphasis on arresting perpetrators and bringing them to justice. The role of states was virtually ignored. If we could recover our understanding of a decade ago, we would recognize that only a state had the ability to organize, plan, and provide the intelligence and logistics to carry out the most devastating terrorist assault in history. Then we would ask which state might have done it, and only one would come to mind: Iraq. The United States is still at war with Iraq. We bomb Iraq on a regular basis and maintain an economic siege that is itself the product of a war. Saddam attacks us through terrorism, thinly veiling Iraq's role by working with others. The Clinton administration, however, did not want to recognize that, and this month's events were the tragic consequence. Laurie Mylroie, who was an adviser on Iraq to the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign, is author of ''Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's unfinished war against America.'' http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,557612,00.html * BITE THE BULLET AND TARGET IRAQ by William Safire in Washington The Guardian, 25th September "We're looking for links" between Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist group and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, said Colin Powell yesterday. So far, the US secretary of state can see "no clear link" between Bin Laden's forces in Afghanistan and the America-hater publicly laughing at our grief in Baghdad. Powell does not want to acknowledge any evidence of sponsorship of Bin Laden by Iraq because that would demand a crushing blow at an Arab state. It might limit the diplomatic convoy of consensus he is assembling, which will travel at the rate of its most grudging member. The clear link between the terrorist in hiding and the terrorist in power can be found in Kurdistan, that northern portion of Iraq protected by US and British aircraft from Saddam's savagery. Kurdish sources tell me (and anyone else who will listen) that the Iraqi dictator has armed and financed a fifth column of al-Qaida mullahs and terrorists that calls itself the Jund al Islam ("Soldiers of Islam"). Its purposes are to assassinate the leaders of free Kurdistan, to sabotage the relief efforts of the UN and to whip up religious fervor in that free Muslim region. That is how Saddam plans to reconquer the no-flight zone that has been a thorn in his side for a decade. According to a key member of the Kurdish resistance reached by cellphone in Suleymaniyah, some 400 "Arab Afghan" mercenaries armed with Katyusha rockets transported by Toyota Land Cruisers, have been infiltrated into the liberated region by Saddam's secret intelligence force, the Mukhabarat. They have already murdered a high Kurdish official as well as a Muslim scholar who dared to interpret the Koran humanely. This current, direct threat by Muslim fanatics doing Saddam's bidding is uniting the two squabbling democratic parties in the free zone. These Kurds are not Arabs or anti-Turkish terrorists. Nor are they pseudo religious extremists humiliating women and moderates; on the contrary, the Muslim faith practised in northern Iraq has long been marked by tolerance. That brings us to the strategic decision now being debated in President Bush's war council. Do we respond to our initial, catastrophic defeat in a wholly multilateral way? That would mean seeking intelligence crumbs from Saudi and Egyptian potentates, negotiating cautious UN resolutions, hunkering down to limit the damage of suicide bombers, and beginning a phased air and ground assault on Bin Laden's "base" in Afghanistan to be followed up with joint police work for years around the world. It would fight yesterday's terrorist war. Or do we recognise now the greater danger of germ warfare or nuclear attack from a proven terrorist nation, and couple expected retribution for this month's attack with a strategy of pre-emptive retaliation? Such use of our superpower need not require our "going it alone"; civilised nations unafraid of internal revolt will understand the threat to their citizens and stand with us. Iraqi scientists today working feverishly in hidden biological laboratories and underground nuclear facilities would, if undisturbed, enable the hate-driven, power-crazed Saddam to kill millions. That capability would transform him from a boxed-in bully into a rampant world power. It's troubling when Powell says that President Bush "has not worked out what he might do in later stages". Now is the time to work out how to strike down terrorism's boss of all bosses. "Later" may be a stage too late. http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,558234,00.html * WASHINGTON'S HAWK TRAINS SIGHTS ON IRAQ by Julian Borger in Washington The Guardian, 26th September [.....] Three days after the attack, Mr Wolfowitz described the US military mission to journalists as follows: "It's not just a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism." Foreign policy specialists who heard those remarks had few doubts over which state the 57 year-old military strategist wanted to end. As a Pentagon official in the first Bush administration, he pressed for US-led troops to pursue the routed Iraqi forces all the way to Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein. During the Clinton years, as the Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University, he advocated military intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo. He also pressed his argument that not only was Saddam a suspected sponsor of terrorism, he was also likely to be a willing supplier of weapons of mass destruction (WMD in Washington parlance). [.....] His comments triggered a rare open debate inside the rigidly disciplined Bush administration. The secretary of state, Colin Powell, hardly bothered to veil his contempt for Mr Wolfowitz's "ending states" suggestion. "I think 'ending terrorism' is where I would leave it and let Mr Wolfowitz speak for himself," Mr Powell told reporters. [.....] Mr Wolfowitz's mindset was honed at the University of Chicago, where the mathematician's son was the protege of Albert Wohlstetter, the father of hardline conservative strategic thinking. The pupil became a leading Cold Warrior in his own right. At one point during the Soviet Union's collapse, he advocated using US troops to guarantee Lithuanian territory against Russian invasion. [.....] http://sunspot.net/news/nationworld/bal te.iraq27sep27.story?coll=bal%2Dnews%2Dnation * EYES TURN TO IRAQ IN ATTACK ON U.S. by Dan Fesperman and Michael James Baltimore Sun, 27th September [.....] Even without discovery of a strong link, the recent attack's echoes of the 1993 bombing and other plots have been striking to Mylroie and Woolsey. To them, the four simultaneous hijackings and attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon represent the next logical escalation in the plans of Yousef, the terrorist who directed the 1993 bombing and is now imprisoned. Yousef's intent in 1993, Mylroie said, was to send one tower toppling into the other, collapsing both in a poisonous haze of cyanide gas that would kill thousands more. The collapse did not occur, and the cyanide burned up in the heat of the explosion, but Yousef wasn't done. He planned another ambitious attack for early 1995 that never materialized - the simultaneous bombing of 11 U.S. commercial airliners while crashing another plane into CIA headquarters in Northern Virginia. Yousef was not just any operative. Mylroie argues in a detailed chronology of curious events that he was actually an Iraqi intelligence agent operating under a stolen identity - a "legend" created for him during Iraq's military occupation of Kuwait. But addressing Iraq's possible links to the Sept. 11 attacks will be more complicated than simply pursuing leads, mostly because the Bush administration is trying to build support in the Arab and Muslim world for an anti-terrorism coalition. The populations of many Arab nations sympathize with Iraq, believing that the United States has bullied the country with economic sanctions and periodic airstrikes since the end of the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Mylroie argues that Iraq has never stopped fighting the war and that Hussein's chief means of striking back has been terrorism. The foundation of that contention is spelled out in her year-old book Study of Revenge. Mylroie dug through government evidence from the trials in the 1993 bombing case, including much that was never presented in court. She established a trail of phone records and false identities that she says leads directly to Baghdad. She says that one of the men indicted in the 1993 bombing plot, Abdul Rahman Yasin, who fled after the explosion and is still at large, is believed to be living in Baghdad and is an employee of the Iraqi government. She notes that the date of the attack, Feb. 26, was the second anniversary of the end of the gulf war. But perhaps her most intriguing information concerns the mastermind Yousef. Known in New York Islamic circles as "Ramzi the Iraqi," Yousef left the United States shortly after the bombing, traveling on a Pakistani passport under the name Abdul Basit Karim, with an address in Kuwait. Karim was a real person, Mylroie concluded, with a file at Kuwait's Ministry of the Interior. But she said his file had been tampered with, citing a notation from Aug. 26, 1990, which stated that he and his family had left the country for Pakistani Baluchistan, via Iraq and Iran. The date of the notation was during Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. Friends of Karim's described him as being shorter and thinner, and with different facial features, yet the fingerprints contained in the file matched Yousef's. Mylroie concludes that Iraqi authorities killed Karim during their occupation of Kuwait, then doctored his file in order to steal his identity for their agent, to hide his Iraqi ties. Yousef, who was later captured in Pakistan and convicted for his role, is now in federal prison, where he has reportedly said little to authorities since Sept. 11. Missing the big picture The FBI never looked into Yousef's possible connections to Iraq, despite early suspicions of Iraqi involvement by the bureau's initial chief investigator, the late James Fox. Mylroie said the Justice Department was more interested in obtaining enough evidence to secure convictions of those indicted in the case. Paul Bracken, a terrorism expert and a professor at Yale University's School of Management and Political Science, said that is the typical course, and because of that, U.S. anti-terrorist investigations have historically "missed the big picture." "A foreign policy motive is not high on prosecutors' lists," Bracken said. The FBI compounded the error by not sharing its findings with U.S. intelligence services, Mylroie said. That, too, is a common occurrence when government agencies are operating on the same turf, according to Andrew C. White, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Baltimore. And no agency guards its findings more closely than the FBI, said White, who handled several international cases. [.....] In addition, news accounts describing several of the hijackers' drinking and gambling habits don't square with the usual abstemious lifestyle of a fundamentalist Muslim, the sort that supposedly dominates bin Laden's far-flung networks. Yousef, too, was noted for having a taste for the nightlife while he lived in the Philippines shortly before the 1993 attack. This week, Richard Miniter of The Wall Street Journal Europe offered a compilation of recent news reports of further intriguing tidbits - a London Daily Telegraph report of warnings relayed to the United States in August by Israeli intelligence of an imminent large-scale attack with "strong grounds for suspecting Iraqi involvement"; a report in Canada's National Post that bin Laden had set up training camps in Iraq in 1997; a report in London's The Guardian that Farouk Hijazi, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, had met in December 1998 with bin Laden, possibly offering him asylum; and a Washington Post report citing U.S. intelligence sources, who said Iraqi intelligence agents had been in contact with bin Laden in the days leading up to Sept. 11. [.....] http://salon.com/news/wire/2001/09/27/bin_laden_iraq/index.html * 1998 BIN LADEN MEETING WITH IRAQI INTELLIGENCE OFFICER INVESTIGATED by John J. Lumpkin Salon, 27th September A 1998 meeting between Osama bin Laden and a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Afghanistan is coming under new scrutiny as U.S. officials search for clues of a state sponsor of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Farouk Hijazi, an Iraqi intelligence officer who is Iraq's ambassador to Turkey, met with bin Laden in Kandahar, a region in southeastern Afghanistan where bin Laden is known to have training camps, a U.S. official said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. It is not known what was discussed at the December 1998 meeting. An Iraqi diplomat, also speaking on condition of anonymity, denied reports that Hijazi had met with bin Laden. Turkish intelligence officials would not immediately comment on the reports. Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday there was no evidence to link Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to the attacks by suicide hijackers on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A second U.S. official said that investigators and intelligence agencies have no hard evidence linking any country to the attacks, and all indications are that bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network was responsible. The official spoke on condition of anonymity. The meeting between Hijazi and bin Laden is the second known link between Iraqi intelligence and those suspected in the hijackings. One of the suspected hijackers, Mohamed Atta, believed aboard one of two planes that slammed into the World Trade Center, met in April with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Europe, officials said. Atta also apparently had dealings with a German import-export firm that has been tied to bin Laden's finance chief, officials said Wednesday. [.....] Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congress, is among those who contend that the Iraqi president supported the attacks. Chalabi said ties between Saddam and bin Laden date back to the early 1990s, when bin Laden lived in Sudan. Bin Laden was later expelled. "We believe that Saddam sees the (al-Qaida) network as a great avenue to take revenge on the United States," Chalabi said. http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2001/09/30/stiusausa02023.html? * HOTEL CLUE POINTS TO AN IRAQI CONNECTION by Tom Walker Sunday Times, 30th September A CHANCE encounter in a Baghdad hotel may have provided a clue for investigators trying to establish whether Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, was in contact with Osama Bin Laden in the months before the suicide bomb attacks on American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam three years ago. Giovanni Di Stefano, a controversial lawyer who was the business partner of the late Serbian warlord Arkan, has described how he met Bin Laden - now the world's most wanted man but then a relatively unknown figure - in the lobby of the five-star Al-Rashid hotel while negotiating a contract to represent Iraqi Airlines in Yugoslavia and Italy. If true, his account could strengthen the view of Washington hawks that Iraq had a hand in the embassy bombings and the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and that Saddam's regime should be targeted for retaliation. However, Di Stefano's claim has divided intelligence sources and academics: some say Bin Laden was plotting strikes against American targets with Saddam, while others insist he would not have been welcome in Iraq. Di Stefano said that in March 1998 - five months before the embassy bombings - he entered the state-run hotel with Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi foreign minister, and was sitting in the lobby with a business associate. Richard Butler, the chief United Nations weapons inspector, had just walked past when they overheard someone sitting nearby say: "That is a man who brings death to this country." Di Stefano said he looked over and saw a slightly built man sipping Evian water. "I said we also had our victims to cry over in Yugoslavia," Di Stefano recalled. "He walked over, and I remember his piercing eyes and handshake. His skin was gentle and soft, like a woman's hand." The two men made polite conversation, and the stranger introduced himself as Osama Bin Laden, a name that meant nothing to Di Stefano at the time. "He seemed kind: he talked about a family feast for his children and asked me about law," Di Stefano said. "He seemed a gentle man, although his eye movements were a little strange." It was only on his return to Belgrade in late March that Di Stefano realised whose hand he had fleetingly grasped. "Arkan told me I should have killed him," he said. Laurie Mylroie, the author of Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War against America, which highlights a series of links with Bin Laden, said the lawyer's story was plausible. "Bin Laden's not capable of doing this stuff without foreign intelligence, and that comes from Iraq. He can't do it wasting away in the Hindu Kush," she said. "It all fits in. It's circumstantial, but there are strong grounds to believe the plot was already under way." Although hawks in the Bush administration suspect that Iraq was involved in the jet attacks, Colin Powell, the secretary of state, has resisted calls for air strikes against Baghdad. "The Americans have only ever hinted at Iraq giving material support for Bin Laden, but they have never produced the evidence," said Professor Paul Wilkinson, of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrews University. "It's quite possible Bin Laden was in Iraq. There are differences between them but that doesn't mean you can exclude contact when they both hate America so much." Peter Bergen, whose biography of Bin Laden is to be published shortly, said Di Stefano's supposed sighting failed "every common sense test". He believes ideological conflicts between Bin Laden and Saddam would prevent them conspiring together. The relationship between Butler, who arrived in Baghdad on March 22 1998, and the Iraqi regime deteriorated. The Iraqis repeatedly denounced America, although they have always denied any links to Bin Laden. On August 4 Butler cut short a visit to Baghdad, and three days later explosions at the American embassies in the Kenyan and Tanzanian cities claimed 224 lives. Bin Laden has been indicted by Washington for the attacks. Di Stefano has maintained his contacts with Saddam's regime, but says has no idea why Bin Laden should have been in the Al-Rashid in 1998. "I don't know and I won't speculate," he said. http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/30/wiraq30.x ml * SADDAM HAS GERM WARFARE ARSENAL, SAYS DEFECTING PHYSICIST by Jessica Berry in Beirut Sunday Telegraph, 30th September SADDAM HUSSEIN has directed his top scientists to work exclusively on expanding his chemical and biological weapons arsenal, one of the regime's former senior scientists has told The Telegraph. He said Saddam has ordered the nuclear weapons programme to be shelved because it had proved too expensive. The disclosures by the nuclear physicist, a recent Iraqi defector, will add to the alarm of Western leaders who last week issued a warning of the prospect of chemical attacks on European and American targets. Military experts said Saddam's decision could have been linked to the attacks on New York's World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, which investigators believe were planned years in advance. Over the past six months about 3,000 physicists and chemists have been working flat out on secret programmes to develop both toxins and the means to deploy them to lethal effect, according to Dr al Sabiri (not his real name). The scientist formerly worked at the Atomic Energy Organisation in Baghdad, but defected because of his growing horror of the regime. "I created death in Iraq. I had to get out," he said. Details of Dr al Sabiri's defection cannot be revealed because of fears for his safety. "I was asked to examine hundreds of complicated and dangerous toxins," he said. "They were very easy to use to create germs. You could put them in water or steam, throw them in the air or use them in the soil. We developed nerve gas, botulism and anthrax. "One day a light green yellow substance, which was crystallised and packed in tins, arrived. Suddenly intelligence men came in and rushed it away. I later found out they were working on some secret project." All these substances were tested on Iraqi prisoners, mainly Kurds and Shi'ites in Radwania jail, in west Baghdad. The projects are headed by Prof Shaher Mahmoud al Jibouri, a chemist and secret service agent. Senior Western intelligence officers confirmed the experimentation on prisoners. "Between April and May this year, 30 prisoners died after being used in experiments," said one. Earlier this month The Telegraph revealed that at least 20 Iraqi soldiers had died and about 200 were injured after a chemical weapons training exercise had gone wrong. Dr al Sabiri spent five years in the organisation's Neutron Analysis and Activation Department. Scientists, paid about £10 a month, worked exclusively on analysing substances, mostly imported, in order to copy and produce more. Using a small nuclear reactor, they are able to establish the exact composition of a substance. There was a shortage of material, which was why he was told to copy the samples that he was given. At one stage he was asked to reproduce a wax, crucial for use in firing ballistic missiles. This he did with the help of several Bulgarian scientists. "Ballistic missiles," he said, "is just one method they want to use to spread the poisons." More importantly, he said, the regime is currently working on adapting 12 pilotless aircraft, last used in the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s. "Engineers are now working on developing their range. So far they have managed a range of 700 miles," he said. "The planes could easily reach Israel, Iran, Turkey or Saudi Arabia. The idea is to use them to deploy the toxins." Most of the parts, he added, were imported. A senior Western intelligence officer said last night that at least 30 front companies, mainly pharmaceutical firms, are under investigation for supplying Iraq. They are based in Italy, Thailand, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates. The companies cannot be named for legal reasons. The defector's disclosures refute comments by Tariq Aziz, Iraqi deputy prime minister, who last week denied that the regime had any biological weapons. Last week Paul Wolfowitz, the United States deputy defence secretary, told Nato colleagues of "the alarming coincidence between states that harbour international terrorists and those states that have active, maturing programmes of WMD [weapons of mass destruction]." American hardliners are said to be keen to attack Iraq as soon as possible, and believe that aerial bombardment is sufficient. British defence advisers, however, have warned Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, against this. It is unwise, they say, while there is no suitable successor to Saddam. One intelligence official added: "The other problem is, we have no idea where Saddam is." IRAQI REACTION http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=9437958&template=baghdad/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * IRAQ CONSIDERS ITSELF A U.S. TARGET Associated Press, 23rd September [.....] In Jordan, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said Arab countries were opposed to any strikes against Iraq. He said such an attack would ``topple the balance of power'' in the region, and that the U.S. quest to combat terrorism had to be carried out in consultation with Arab countries. [.....] ``We are confident that America is heading to its end,'' Ramadan said. http://www.dailystarnews.com/200109/25/n1092513.htm#BODY11 * IRAQ WARNS US AGAINST A 'SUICIDAL WAR SANS LIMITS' Daily Star (Bangla Desh), 25th September AFP, Baghdad: Iraqi newspapers warned the United States on Monday against pitching itself and the rest of the world into a suicidal war "without limits" that will have serious socio-economic consequences. "Everything indicates that America, with its eyes shut, is heading towards the unknown by launching itself into a suicidal war without limits," said Ath-Thawra, mouthpiece of the ruling Baath party. "It seems Washington has nervously and hysterically fallen into the trap set for it by succumbing to internal and foreign pressures pushing it to involve itself in conflicts and confrontations without limits with several parties," Ath-Thawra said. Babel, run by President Saddam Hussein's elder son, Uday, said the "Americans, and behind them, the Zionists, are working with all their might to transform this defeat (the attacks) into a victory, without considering the serious consequences of its action." "These criminals resort to the language of blood, murder and terrorism while trying to make the world believe that they want to fight these methods," it charged. "It is not in the interests of any of the world's countries, with the exception of the Zionist entity, to join up with a hateful and racist US camp and blow up the world. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=27524 * SADDAM SAYS CONDOLENCES TO US WOULD BE HYPOCRISY Gulf News, 27th September Baghdad (Reuters): Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said yesterday he would be a hypocrite if he had sent condolences to the United States over the September 11 suicide attacks on Washington and New York. "(U.S. President George) Bush wants us to condole with him," Iraqi television quoted Saddam as telling a visiting envoy of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "If I had done so, then I would not have respected my people...as Bush is the president of a state which launches war on us and bombs us in a despicable terrorist way," he said. A U.S.-led coalition bombed Iraq heavily during the 1991 Gulf War. Iraqi targets still come under attack by Western planes policing two "no-fly" zones in the north and south of the country. "This would be a hypocrisy if I had send condolences to its president, and we are not hypocrites," he said. Iraq has not publicly condemned the devastating attacks, but Saddam's senior aide, Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, sent letters of condolences to a U.S. group opposed to sanctions on Iraq, and to former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark who Saddam said had come "to console us for the calamities afflicted by America on us". [.....] -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.