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News, 13-22/12/01 (1)

News, 13-22/12/01 (1)

What small amount of evidence there was for an Iraqi involvement in the
events of September 11th begins to fade into the shadow of a shadow, but
this does not deter the Masters of War. The war against Iraq argument has
become so dominant that Iıve had to hive it off into a separate, and still
pretty big, supplement.
Silliest quote of the week comes from this supplement, from ŒThe spymaster's
prescriptionı: ŒAccording to [James] Woolsey, Israel and the US are
hated²because we are free²ı. In fact the US is hated because it is a
terrorist nation Œwith global reachı. Its commitment to freedom and
democracy is for purely internal consumption (and even then its principle
idea is in fact not freedom but Œcapitalismı or, rather, moneygrubbing).
Internationally it behaves according to the most extreme precepts of the
theory of Absolute Monarchy. It believes itself to be sovereign over the
law, able to dictate what law is applicable, when, and to whom.
Witness for example the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on charges which,
however serious, still fall short of the accusations that have been levelled
against many of the people the US is currently installing in power in
Afghanistan. Witness also how those who never stop talking about the
desirability of assassinating President Hussein are full of moral outrage
over the attempt to assassinate G.Bush (in Kuwait in 1993); or that those
who claim a legal right to Œdestroyı a country which they say threatens them
(see Jack Strawıs recent defence of the principle of the pre-emptive strike,
of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, for example) never consider that if
there is one country in the world that is threatened it is surely Iraq, so
that, under their logic, Iraq has a perfect legal right to Œdestroyı the US.
But, it seems, weıre only at the beginning of many years of constant,
unremitting hypocritical and murderous blather of this kind. Thatıs what the
ŒWar against terrorı is all about. Difficult to know what to do about it but
one thing that can definitely be done is to expose it, constantly,
unremittingly, on every possible opportunity.
And oh, I nearly forgot. Merry Christmas.


*  Capitol Hill Anthrax Matches Army's Stocks [Although this article says
nothing about who was sending the anthrax or why, it seems to rule out
definitively any possibility that it originated in a laboratory in Iraq.
Funny this hasnıt attracted much publicity. It also reveals, that the CIA,
unbeknown to anyone, is - IS - engaged in a programme of manufacturing
*  New Clue Fails to Explain Iraq Role in Sept. 11 Attack [Article in the NY
Times which throws doubt on Atta meets Iraqi spy story without denying it
*  Czechs Insist Atta Met With Spy
*  Iraq link to Sept 11 attack and anthrax is ruled out [Interesting that
the most emphatic denial of the story should appear in the Daily Telegraph.
Doesnıt say much about the anthrax]


*  What are the Americans up to in Iraq? [General Wafiq al-Samarai, who
defected in 1994. He also pops up in the generalsı reunion in the Œstrategyı
supplement: ŒSearching for Saddamıs replacementı. Here he argues that an
attack on Iraq is unlikely since no-one wants to have to rely on the Kurds.
One assumes that General al-Samarai has had some experience of the Kurds]
*  Inspectors in Iraq? Hiding His Weapons Is Easy for Saddam [By Khidr
Hamza. Note that Khidr Hamza has boasted that he was in charge of chemical
weapons production at the time of the attack on Halabja. Yet instead of
facing prosecution for war crimes he is ŒPresident of the Council on Middle
Eastern Affairsı. He must be doing something to please someone]
*  Iraqi Defector Seeks Political Change [Najib alıSalhi of the Movement of
Free Officers. Defected six years ago but claims to have been clandestinely
trying to oppose Saddam within the army for seventeen years previous to
*  Iraqi defector says he renovated secret weapons labs [This and the next
two articles concern Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haider, who gave an interview in
Bangkok, apparently a thriving centre of anti-Saddam feeling if the ŒBangkok
Postı is anything to go by. He specialises in cement and sealing materials
and thinks some of the places where he works were being used for chemical or
biological weapon manufacture]
*  Refugee has Iraqi terror documents [Richard Butler is very convinced]
*  Brother fears for Iraqi defector
*  Saddam death squad bared [ŒAbu Zeinab al-Qurairy, a former brigadier
general in Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence serviceı, who claims to have
trained the people behind the sept 11th attack - or perhaps the people
behind the people ... So why has he not been thrown into prison?]

AND, IN NEWS, 13-22/12/01 (2)


*  "A Message From a Learned Scholar to US President" [Denunciation of
President Bush from an Egyptian cleric. It may have lost a bit in the
translation but its a powerful piece of writing: ŒI say, rest assured, there
is no Muslim on earth who loves you, even if he donates blood to you or let
you set up intelligence stations or let you design curricula for his people.
Everyone on earth who claims to love you - and none of the Muslims can make
such a claim - only loves you in the sense that the frightened prey loves
the predatory beast.ı
*  Say no to Saddam this Christmas - turn down a date [Buying or selling
dates from Iraq is a criminal offence liable to up to five years
imprisonment. Or perhaps now indefinite internment without trial if one
happens not to be a British citizen. I hope weıre all taking advantage of
the opportunity offered ...]
*  ...An attack adds to Iraqis' misery [Article by US academic. Recounts
entertaining story that shows the amiable, easygoing nature of the Iraqis
and suggests, but very mildly and politely, that torturing them even further
isnıt a good thing to do]


*  Regimes seek way to support attack on Iraq [Egypt and Turkey haggle over
their price. Turkey is still whining about all the money it lost because of
the Gulf War and the embargo. But if they were sincerely in favour of the
war and embargo they should be ready to pay the price; if they were opposed
to them, they should have expressed their opposition publicly. They are, to
say the least of it, not deserving of any sympathy]
*  SAS may fight in Iraq [The SAS in question comes from Australia which is
trying to get in on the act]

*  Putin opposed to US extending war to Iraq
IRNA, 17th December
Given what Putin represents in the world, his remarks would only be of
interest if they were, in some way, intellectually stimulating. Which they
*  Schroeder warns Bush against attacking Iraq
IRNA, 17th December
Ditto for Schroeder
*  The other shoe
by Neil MacFarquhar
New York Times, 18th December
On the attitudes  of various Arab governments. Pretty predictable.
*  A Lonely Crusade Against Saddam
by Thomas L. Friedman
The New York Times, 20th December
On the reasons Middle Eastern countries and Russia might have for not
wanting to support a US attack on Iraq.


*  Internet in Iraq: Limited, appreciated
*  New 'Saddam' novel hits the stands

AND IN NEWS, 13-22/12/01 (3)


*  Iraqi Kurds buoyed by US visit
*  U.S. Again Placing Focus on Ousting Hussein [This appears here because I
just give a short extract in which Talabani and the PUK present themselves
as Americaıs best friend in the region at the expense of Barzani and the
KDP: ŒIraqi opposition figures say Mr. Barzani has extensive business
operations with Mr. Hussein's relatives.ı]


*  Turkish oil drilling has Iraq's backing
*  Iraqi clergy died in exile, in Iran
*  Saddam Hussein Calls for Arab Summit [in Mecca, as it happens. Perhaps
not a bad idea given the gravity of the situation facing Muslims at the
present time]
*  Egyptian medical team visits Iraq
*  In coordination with ICRC, Kuwait is ready to search for Iraqi missing
*  Iraq set to renew oil and trade protocol with Jordan


*  US navy attacks Iran oil tanker in Gulf
*  Iran, United States Dispute Oil Tanker Incident


*  U.N. Compensation Commission Awards $132.7 Million


*  Iraqi pleads guilty in hazmat license bribery [Case of an Iraqi refugee
trying to get a license to drive a heavy goods vehicle. The judge
congratulates the FBI and US Attorneyıs office for behaving fairly in this
Œvery difficult time in our nationıs history.ı]
*  Crackdown imperils Mideast exiles [The article covers two cases of
political persecution in Prague: an Uzbek dissident and an Iraqi journalist.
Only the bits dealing with the Iraqi are given here. One of the personae in
the story is the master spy or minor functionary of the Iraqi embassy,
al-Ani, he who is supposed to have met Mohammad Atta, so the story overlaps
with the Mohammad Atta story above].
*  Iraqi ex-guard fights deportation [From Australia. But the poor man did
everything wrong. He should have claimed high rank in President Husseinıs
personal guard and announced that he had exciting revelations about Saddamıs
secret weapons capacity ...]
*  Iraqi family in fear after attacks
*  Security alert over Saddam link [A fellow working for Air New Zealand who
turns out to be Saddam Husseinıs stepson]
*  Iraqis held in Somalia


by Rick Weiss and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post, 16th December

Genetic fingerprinting studies indicate that the anthrax spores mailed to
Capitol Hill are identical to stocks of the deadly bacteria maintained by
the U.S. Army since 1980, according to scientists familiar with the most
recent tests.

Although many laboratories possess the Ames strain of anthrax involved in
this fall's bioterrorist attacks, only five laboratories so far have been
found to have spores with perfect genetic matches to those in the Senate
letters, the scientists said. And all those labs can trace back their
samples to a single U.S. military source: the U.S. Army Medical Research
Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md.

"That means the original source [of the terrorist material] had to have been
USAMRIID," said one of the scientists.

Those matching samples are at Fort Detrick; the Dugway Proving Ground
military research facility in Utah; a British military lab called Porton
Down; and microbial depositories at Louisiana State University (LSU) and
Northern Arizona University. Northern Arizona University received its sample
from LSU, which received its sample from Porton Down. Dugway and Porton Down
got their samples directly from USAMRIID.

In another development yesterday, government health officials said they
planned to recommend that about 3,000 people who were exposed to anthrax,
including hundreds of Washington postal and Capitol Hill workers, be offered
an experimental vaccine as a precaution in case antibiotic treatment alone
failed to protect them from getting sick.

The FBI's investigation into the anthrax attacks is increasingly focusing on
whether U.S. government bioweapons research programs, including one
conducted by the CIA, may have been the source of deadly anthrax powder sent
through the mail, according to sources with knowledge of the probe. The
results of the genetic tests strengthen that possibility. The FBI is
focusing on a contractor that worked with the CIA, one source said.

But it remains unknown which lab may have lost control of the material that
apparently ended up in terrorist hands. One of the two scientists familiar
with the genetic testing, who has been advising the government on the
anthrax scare, said investigators still know little about security at Porton
Down, though they have no reason to suppose it has been inadequate. Of the
domestic labs, Dugway has attracted the most attention from the FBI, he

Dugway is also the only facility known in recent years to have processed
anthrax spores into the powdery form that is most easily inhaled.

Scientists have known for some time that bacteria used in the terrorist
attacks belong to the Ames strain, a variant of the anthrax bacterium,
Bacillus anthracis, that was first isolated from a cow in Iowa and has been
under study by military scientists for decades. But the Ames strain comes in
various subtypes that can be distinguished from one another by detailed
tests on the microbe's genes.

The genetic fingerprinting finding was made by a research team led by
geneticist Paul Keim at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, which has
been comparing the Ames strain bacteria found in the Senate letters to other
Ames strain samples retrieved from nature and from various university and
government laboratories.

"That's good detective work in the sense of determining the origins; this
will narrow the search for the people who had access to the strain," said
Jennie Hunter-Cevera, a microbiologist and president of the University of
Maryland Biotechnology Institute.

Other experts were cautious, noting that it is possible that the exact
subtype of the Ames strain could have originated elsewhere -- perhaps even
isolated from animals or soil in the wild.

"It's an important finding but it's not one of those things that says,
'Aha!' " said Richard Spertzel, a former director of the U.N. biological
weapons team in Iraq.

The scientists are still planning to do genetic testing on anthrax bacteria
from the Defense Research Establishment Suffield, a Canadian military
research facility, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the
Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, a government contractor doing
research on anthrax vaccines. Those are the only other facilities known to
have received samples from USAMRIID.

The researchers also plan to test samples obtained from nature, and from
other university labs known to have the Ames strain to see if any others
match. But of the few such samples that have been tested so far none has
matched the spores used by the terrorists. In addition, the researchers want
to examine other characteristics of the samples, such as proteins,
carbohydrates and other substances in the material.

"If there's also a telltale piece or trace of nutrients or chemicals that
show the process, that's even better. You start adding the pieces and go
from tentative to confirmative," Hunter Cevera said.

The CIA's biowarfare program, which was designed to find ways to defend
against bioterrorists, involved the use of small amounts of Ames strain, an
agency spokesman said yesterday. The CIA declined to say where its Ames
strain material came from. The spokesman said, however, that the CIA's
anthrax was not milled into the volatile power form found in the letters and
that none of it is missing.

Nevertheless, the FBI has turned its attention to learning more about the
CIA's work with anthrax, which investigators were told about by the agency
within the past few weeks, government officials said. The CIA has tried to
develop defenses against a vaccine-resistant strain of anthrax reportedly
developed by the Russians several years ago.

While the CIA has had small amounts of Ames strain anthrax in its labs to
"compare and contrast with other strains," a spokesman said, the agency did
not "grow, create or produce the Ames strain." The anthrax contained in the
letters under investigation "absolutely did not" come from CIA labs, the
spokesman said.

He also said that the FBI is fully aware of the CIA's work with anthrax and
suggested investigators were satisfied with the information they had been
provided. Law enforcement sources, however, said the FBI remains extremely
interested in the CIA's work with anthrax, with one official calling it the
best lead they have at this point. The sources said FBI investigators do not
yet know much about the CIA program.

Both law enforcement and intelligence officials said the CIA is cooperating
with the FBI probe.

Investigators are considering a wide range of possible motives for the
anthrax attacks, including vengeance of some sort, profiteering by someone
involved in the anthrax cleanup business, or perhaps an effort by someone to
cast blame on Iraq, which has an extensive bioweapons arsenal. Whoever sent
the letters could have a strong scientific background, officials said, but
they also believe the material could have been stolen and mailed by someone
without such expertise.

A law enforcement source said the FBI did not initially include the CIA on
its list of labs working with anthrax because the agency was not among 91
labs registered with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
to transfer anthrax specimens. But as investigators interviewed workers at
those known labs, they learned of the CIA's work, and in the past few weeks
posed questions about it to the agency.

CIA scientists worked with other government agencies and outside contractors
in the defensive biowarfare program, the agency spokesman said. The agency
said most of its defensive work involves simulants, not active biological

"Everything we have done is appropriate and necessary and consistent with
our treaty obligations," he said, adding that congressional oversight
committees, along with the National Security Council staff, has been kept
abreast of the CIA lab work. "One of our missions is to learn about
potential biological warfare threats," he said, adding that research can
involve "anthrax and other biological agents."

Staff writer Joby Warrick contributed to this report.

by Chris Hedges with Donald G. Mcneil Jr.
New York Times, 16th December

When Czech officials disclosed that Mohamed Atta, the suspected mastermind
of the Sept. 11 attacks, had met last April with an Iraqi diplomat in
Prague, it stirred immediate speculation about whether Iraq had a role in
killing thousands of Americans.

But in the weeks since, the Prague meeting has emerged as an object lesson
in the limits of intelligence reports rather than the cornerstone of the
case against Iraq. Interviews with Iraqi defectors, Czech officials, and
people who knew the Iraqi diplomat have only deepened the mystery
surrounding Mr. Atta's travels through central Europe.

Iraqi opposition groups say the episode cannot have been a coincidence.
According to several former Iraqi intelligence officials, the diplomat was
actually a well trained spy with ties to terrorist operations, a master of
disguise whose movements are supervised by Iraq's most senior officials.

American officials in Washington, by contrast, said the diplomat was a minor
functionary who happens to have the same last name as a more important Iraqi
intelligence agent. These officials said that they had no evidence that Iraq
was involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

There are even questions about whether the reports of the meeting took
place. An associate said the Iraqi diplomat had a business selling cars and
met frequently with a used car dealer from Germany who bore a striking
resemblance to Mr. Atta. Just this week, there were even reports from Prague
that the Mohamed Atta who visited Prague last April was a different man with
the same name.

In a retreat from the earlier definitive statements by his government, the
president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, recently said there was "a 70
percent" chance the meeting between Mr. Atta and an Iraqi agent named Ahmed
Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani took place.

With the Taliban vanquished and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda fighters cornered
in Afghanistan, this sort of arcane debate among experts has taken on new
significance. President Bush has said he intends to defeat the nations and
groups that support terrorism, a global war whose targets will be selected
by intelligence agencies sifting through fragmentary conflicting evidence
comparable to the reports about the Prague meeting.

"There was definitely one meeting," between Mr. Ani and Mr. Atta, an
intelligence official in Washington said. "We don't know if it was
significant. We certainly don't attribute to it the significance others
attribute to it automatically. Just because there was a meeting doesn't mean
it was connected to 9/11."

This much has been asserted. Mr. Atta went to Prague last April and then
flew to Florida as the plot to ram jetliners into buildings gained momentum.
It has been reported by Czech authorities that he met with Mr. Ani, the
diplomat who Iraqi opposition leaders insist is an important spymaster for
Saddam Hussein.

American intelligence officials who believe that Mr. Ani is a low- ranking
diplomat of little consequence emphasize that the Iraqi National Congress,
the opposition group seeking to overthrow Saddam Hussein, has an agenda and
a history of coloring fact to suit its needs.

As if the waters were not muddied enough, some in Prague who knew the
diplomat say he met with a used car salesman named Saleh from Nuremberg,
Germany, who looked like Mr. Atta. "He is a perfect double for Atta," said a
Syrian businessman who has lived in Prague for 35 years and says he knew the
diplomat and the car salesman. "I saw him several times with Mister Consul."

On Friday, a major Czech newspaper, quoting Czech intelligence officials,
offered still another theory: the Mohamed Atta who came to Prague last April
was not the hijacker but a Pakistani of the same name.

"He didn't have the same identity card number," an unidentified Interior
Ministry official told the newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes. "There was a great
difference in their ages, their nationalities didn't match, basically
nothing - it was someone else." The details of the meeting, as reported by
the Czech authorities, remain vague. The Czech intelligence service has not
said how it knows the meeting took place, or what was said.

"We went to the public just with the thing we can really prove," said Hynek
Kmonicek, the Czech ambassador to the United Nations who gave Mr. Ani his
expulsion orders last April. "And we can really prove just one thing: that
these two people met." But his proof, he acknowledged, is the Czech Interior
Ministry announcement.

Mr. Ani was expelled from Prague for activities that were described as
"incompatible with his diplomatic status." Details of his infraction have
never been made public but they had nothing to do with Mr. Atta, who was
unknown to Czech intelligence, Mr. Kmonicek said.

A number of Arabs in Prague who knew Mr. Ani say he had every attribute of a
minor figure in a minor post, a woman chaser and drinker with a tyrannical
penchant whose main task seemed to be urging Iraqis to return home. Yet
former Iraqi intelligence agents in exile in Europe, made available for
interviews by the Iraqi National Congress, say they grew up with and worked
with Mr. Ani and that he is an established and respected spymaster.

His specialty is said to be the recruitment of foreign Muslim militants who
support Iraq's long campaign against America and the close surveillance and
intimidation of Iraqi dissidents.

The former Iraqi agents in Europe say that Mr. Ani, is in fact, Muhammad
Kailil Ibrahim al Ani.

"Baghdad would only use Ani for big jobs, serious jobs," said a former major
in Iraqi intelligence. "He had something very important to tell Atta, or
Atta had something very important to tell Baghdad."

Mr. Ani, for his part, adamantly denied any ties to terrorism or Sept. 11
and said he had never heard of Mr. Atta until after the terror attack.
Jaroslev Kmenta, a Czech journalist who knew Mr. Ani in Prague, interviewed
him in Baghdad last month.

` "I've never in my life met him, never seen him, never spoke to him," Mr.
Kmenta quoted him as saying. "The first time I heard of him was after Sept.

Mr. Kmenta said Mr. Ani seemed to be living well in Baghdad, driving a
late-model BMW and eating at a riverside restaurant, which would support the
thesis that he is a figure of importance to the regime because economic
sanctions have left most Iraqi civil servants living in penury.

The defectors in Europe said that like many agents sent abroad, Mr. Ani
altered his real name from post to post, dropping his first name, Muhammad,
in Prague and going by Ahmed.

"I went down to renew my driver's license in 1991 in Baghdad," said the
former major in the intelligence service, who fled to Europe after his
brother was executed for involvement in a failed coup in 1994 against Mr.
Hussein. "I saw Ani dressed in jeans, with an earring and with long flowing
hair. He looked like a hippie. He was on a job. I could not speak with him.
I saw him a year later dressed in long Arab robes."

He said Mr. Ani grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Baghdad and joined
the intelligence service, following a year or two of university studies. He
was sent to study at The Institute of National Security, the preparatory
school for Iraq's intelligence service. In 1994, the defectors said, he was
transferred to a new intelligence branch created for foreign operations
called Al-Amin al- Khas. He soon was part of special operations, a unit for
covert activities like recruitment and assassination.

In Prague, few who were interviewed about Mr. Ani thought of him in such
vaunted terms. But they recognized allegations of highhandedness. Waled
Majed Bahnam, 56, and his son Majid Waled Majed, 22, both Iraqis, own the
Bavodo restaurant in Prague. In July 2000 for the Iraqi national day, Mr.
Ani ordered $1,200 worth of food and catering from the restaurant.

After three days, when the bill still had not been paid, the mother called
asking for the money. The family said Mr. Ani and the accountant came over
and screamed at them. "They said `We are the embassy, you are nothing, we
are the boss, you are animals,' " Mr. Bahnam said. Mr. Ani threatened to
revoke their passports and the accountant said he would kill the couple's
eldest son. When the family complained to the Foreign Ministry, the embassy
paid the bill.
Monday December 17 2:05 PM ET

by Ondrej Hejma
Yahoo, 17th December

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) - Czech authorities are standing by their
account of a clandestine meeting in Prague between suicide hijacker Mohammed
Atta and an Iraqi diplomat, dismissing media reports that cast doubts on
whether the pair ever really met.

Officials first disclosed the meeting in October, saying Atta - who piloted
one of the jetliners that slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 -
met in April with Iraqi diplomat Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir Al-Ani.

In the absence of any conclusive audio or video evidence the meeting took
place, Czech media have begun to dispute whether it ever happened.

Even President Vaclav Havel has distanced himself from the claim, saying
earlier this month that he believed there was only ``a 70 percent chance''
that Atta met with the Iraqi, who since has been expelled.

Citing anonymous intelligence sources and members of Prague's Arab
community, the Mlada Fronta Dnes newspaper reported Friday that the agent
who claimed firsthand knowledge of the meeting at Prague's international
airport may have mistaken Atta for a businessman who frequently met with
Al-Ani - or with a Pakistani citizen of the same name.

But Interior Minister Stanislav Gross, responding to the report, said he
stood by his original statement that Atta and Al-Ani met at least once in
Prague and said it was based on a reputable account from BIS, the Czech
counterintelligence agency.

``Minister Gross had the information from BIS, and BIS guarantees the
information,'' his spokeswoman, Gabriela Bartikova, said Monday. ``So we
stick by that information.''

In Washington, U.S. officials told The Associated Press they also still
believe the meeting occurred.

The Iraqi government has steadfastly denied a meeting, suggesting that such
reports were intended to make Iraq appear to have been involved in the Sept.
11 attacks and justify making Baghdad a U.S. target in the war on terror.

Before meeting with President Bush in Washington last month, Czech Prime
Minister Milos Zeman said Atta had contacted Al-Ani to discuss an attack on
the Prague building that serves as the headquarters for U.S.-funded Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Zeman later backed off that statement, saying it was just a hypothesis
raised by the intelligence services. Security around the RFE offices has
been noticeably tightened as a precaution

by Peter Green in Prague
Daily Telegraph, 18th December

THE case for widening the war on terrorism against Iraq suffered a major
setback yesterday when a vital piece of evidence allegedly linking Baghdad
to the September 11 attacks appeared unfounded.

Czech police said yesterday they had no evidence that the ringleader of the
suicide attacks, Mohammed Atta, met an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague
earlier this year. Administration hardliners in Washington had cited the
alleged meeting in support of their argument that Saddam Hussein's regime
had been backing terrorism.

The story emerged as the White House announced that the anthrax attacks that
swept America probably originated from a domestic source. It had been
suggested that the bacillus had originated in an Iraqi biological weapons

Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said: "There is nothing that has
been final, that has been concluded. But the evidence is increasingly
looking like it was a domestic source."

The story of Atta's possible link to Iraq first surfaced in Czech and US
newspapers and later appeared to be confirmed by the interior minister,
Stanislav Gross. In a briefing to journalists two months ago, Mr Gross said
the Czech counter-intelligence service, the BIS, had evidence of a meeting
in April this year between Atta and an Iraqi spy, Ahmed al-Ani, who was
working as consul at the Prague embassy.

But yesterday Jiri Kolar, the police chief, said there were no documents
showing that Atta visited Prague at any time this year, although he had
visited twice in 2000.

Atta could have entered the country using false papers, but Mr Gross
questioned why Atta would do so when he was not a wanted man. "I don't see
any reason for him to visit under a false name," he said. "He was 'legal'
when he was in Germany."

The true story of any Prague connection appears to be much less definite
than Mr Gross first suggested. The Czech president, Vaclav Havel, who has
access to papers of the counter intelligence service, said earlier this
month that it was only "70 per cent" certain that Atta had met the Iraqi spy
in Prague.

It had been assumed that the information on the April meeting came from BIS
agents trailing an Iraqi spy, something that is common in Nato states such
as the Czech Republic. But Mr Havel said the report of the meeting came
"from an informer who followed this Iraqi spy", rather than a BIS staff

Other Nato states, including Britain - which is known to be lukewarm about
the idea of attacking Iraq during the next round of the war on terrorism -
have questioned accounts of Baghdad's possible involvement in the September
11 attacks.

On a visit to Prague last month, Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, said
there was no proof of Iraqi involvement in the attacks. "I must emphasise
that we do not have any proof of Baghdad's participation in the attacks on
New York and Washington," he told a Czech newspaper.

In recent days, there have been suggestions in the Czech press that another
Mohammed Atta had visited Prague this year. A man of the same name did
arrive in the Czech capital in 2001, an intelligence source told a Czech
newspaper, but it was not the Egyptian terrorist.

"He didn't have the same identity card number, there was a great difference
in their ages, their nationalities didn't match, basically nothing. It was
someone else," an unidentified interior ministry official told the newspaper
Mlada Fronta Dnes.

A police spokesman, Major Ivana Zelenakova, said Atta the hijacker had been
in Prague, but a year before the alleged meeting with al-Ani. Atta's two
confirmed visits in 2000 took place a few days apart, in May and June. On
both occasions, Atta's entry was logged by Czech police. "What exactly he
did here during that time, we do not know," she said.

According to the FBI, Atta left the US for several days in early April this
year for Europe. Credit card records indicate that he bought a knife at
Zurich airport and show him returning to Florida a few days later.

His alleged contact, the Iraqi consul al-Ani, was expelled from Prague soon
after the alleged Atta meeting for "conduct incompatible with his diplomatic
duties". The Czechs suspected that al-Ani was a spy because he was
noticeably absent from all diplomatic functions. "He was paid for performing
some duties, and he had no diplomatic duties, so we checked, we found and we
acted," said a senior Czech official.

One long-time member of Prague's Arab community, a businessman who prefers
to be known only as Hassan, said that he was a close friend of the Iraqi and
that he believed the Czechs had mistaken another man for Atta.

Hassan said a man he knew only as Saleh, a used car dealer from Nuremburg,
often came to Prague to meet al-Ani and sold him at least one car. "I have
sat with the two of them at least twice. The double is an Iraqi who has met
with the consul. If someone saw a photo of Atta he might easily mistake the
two," Hassan said


by Najm Jarrah
The Daily Star (Lebanon), 15th December [Posted to list by Salwa de Vree]

LONDON: While this week's visit to Iraqi Kurdistan by a ranking US
delegation has triggered much speculation about possible American plans to
engineer the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein's regime in Baghdad, a
former head of Iraqi military intelligence believes that it is for the most
part misplaced.

General Wafiq al-Samarai, a former director of Iraqi military intelligence
who served during the Gulf War and defected in 1994, told me the notion of
the United States enlisting the Kurds in a campaign to topple the central
government ­ using aerial bombardment, ground forces, guerrilla warfare,
economic and political pressure, or a combination thereof ­ was far-fetched,
and inconceivable under present circumstances.

Iraqi dissidents, Western analysts and Arab commentators alike have seen the
visit as evidence that Washington is making active preparations to line Iraq
up as the next target of its 'war on terror' after Afghanistan, and to use
the country's three Kurdish-controlled northern provinces for that purpose.

The American delegation, led by Undersecretary of State for Near East
Affairs Ryan Crocker, spent four days in the Kurdish enclave in northern
Iraq, meeting separately with Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Masoud
Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan chieftain Jalal Talabani as well as
representatives of other minor Iraqi opposition groups based in the area,
including an ethnic Assyrian party and the Turkish-sponsored Iraqi Turcoman

Baghdad protested against the visit, which the head of the Iraqi
Parliament's Arab and international affairs committee, Salem Kubaisi,
described as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and an act of blatant
interference in the country's internal affairs. 'It is a new link in the
chain of repeated aggressions which American administrations have committed
against Iraq,' he said, urging the UN to put an end to such violations of
international law.

US State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the aim of Crocker's
mission was 'to demonstrate continued US engagement with the Iraqi
opposition' and 'consult with key players on issues in northern Iraq,' as
well as mediating between the KDP and PUK on long standing disputes between

Each party controls a sector of the Kurdish enclave, which has been
off-limits to Baghdad and policed by Turkish-based American warplanes since
1991. Political rivalry between the two main Kurdish parties led to bouts of
fierce fighting, particularly in 1996, when Iraqi government forces
intervened on the KDP's side to eject the PUK from Arbil, and in the process
put an end to the presence in the enclave of the American-backed opposition
group known as the Iraqi National Congress.

Since peace was established between them, the two Kurdish parties have gone
some way toward resolving their quarrels over power sharing and the
allocation of revenue from taxes levied on external trade, prompting
observers to question the assertion that Crocker's mission is to mediate
between them.

'To be sure there are still many unresolved issues between the two sides,
but they do not require American mediation any longer, and one would have
thought the Americans had other priorities at the moment,' one independent
Kurdish politician remarked to The Daily Star.

That perception was shared by non-Kurdish Iraqi exiles, who pointed to the
recent stream of high-level statements from Washington threatening military
action against Baghdad, either on grounds of sponsoring 'terrorism' or
developing weapons of mass destruction.

'This visit is a serious move,' one well-connected opposition figure said.
'I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Americans have a ready-made plan
for military action in Iraq, but they’re sounding out the Kurds about the
possible options and gauging their response. This is the preparatory work,'
he said.

He pointed out that Britain, which a few weeks ago was publicly opposing an
American offensive against Iraq, has become more guarded in its statements
on the subject, declining to rule out the possibility. He noted that the
INC, though lacking any real presence on the ground in Iraq, is strongly
favored by many hawks in and close to the Bush administration. Under the
Clinton administration, they lobbied in favor of its proposal that the US
carve out and extend military protection to a 'safe haven' in southern Iraq
from which it could organize a guerrilla campaign aimed at eventually
seizing power in Baghdad.

'The thinking then was that they would use Shiite rebels, but the countries
of the region would have none of it and the Clinton administration was not
interested. The thinking now may be to try and do the same in the north,
using the Kurds rather than Shiites,' perhaps under the auspices of an
alternative opposition umbrella to the INC.

The Bush administration's apparent eagerness to project US military might,
especially after success in Afghanistan by using heavy aerial bombardment to
pave the way for local guerrilla forces to overrun and oust the Taleban
regime, may tempt it to try to repeat the scenario in Iraq.

But Samarai said the formidable practical and political difficulties of such
an enterprise render it a non-option, at least in the foreseeable future.

'I do not believe they intend to apply the Afghanistan experiment to Iraq,'
he told me.

'I think the visit (of the US State Department delegation led by Crocker) is
a routine one in every respect, apart from its timing. In my estimation, the
timing is deliberate, intended to exert strategic pressure on Baghdad in the
current climate, but I don't see a major military campaign against the
regime ensuing,' he said.

For one thing, he said, the Kurds ­ who maintain a modus vivendi with
Baghdad under which it leaves them more or less to their own devices in
their American-protected enclave provided they do not 'provoke' it ­ have
too much to lose from such a venture going wrong.

Iraq's neighbors, especially the Gulf Arab states, also oppose US military
action against Iraq unless it deals a fatal blow to Saddam's regime and at
the same time does not lead to Iraq's dismemberment ­ neither of which could
be guaranteed beforehand.

Samarai said the Iraqi military also retains considerable capabilities, and
any attempt to oust the regime by American-backed force would inevitably
inflict 'tremendous destruction' on the country, far in excess of what many
of its advocates appear to assume.

While not ruling out US air strikes against Iraq in the coming few months,
especially if Baghdad does not move on the disarmament issue, Samarai said a
concerted campaign aimed at changing the regime was not viable. Rather, it
is more likely that the status quo in relations between Baghdad and
Washington will be maintained for a while longer, particularly if the UN
arms inspectors, who were pulled out of Iraq ahead of the December 1988
Anglo-American bombing campaign against the country, are allowed back in.
While the Iraqi government is sticking to its refusal to readmit them,
Samarai said there had been indications that it might change its stance in
the six months before the UN Security Council next discusses the issue.

The former military intelligence chief said he believed the most feasible
way of changing the regime in Baghdad was at the hands of the Iraqi armed
forces themselves. A coup could be encouraged by external powers, but much
work would have to be done. 'It would require an evaluation of the
situation, detailed plans, declarations of intent, and the appropriate
climate,' he said.

by Khidhir Hamza
International Herald Tribune (from The New York Times) 18th December

NEW YORK President George W. Bush's recent demand that Saddam Hussein allow
weapons inspectors to return to Iraq, as required by the United Nations,
looked like a continuation of Bill Clinton's Iraq policy. But Mr. Bush's
angry statement that Saddam "will find out" the price he will have to pay if
he does not agree to inspections may indicate a hardening line.

Unfortunately, even resumed inspections would have little effect other than
to increase the international legitimacy of Saddam's dictatorship. The two
top American inspectors in the last Iraq inspection effort - the UN Special
Commission, known as Unscom - were Charles Duelfer, deputy chairman and
chief American representative, and Richard Spertzel, director of Unscom's
biological weapons unit. Both have expressed skepticism about any inspection
system in Iraq under present conditions.

For inspection to be meaningful, Iraq needs a strong incentive to comply.
The only incentive that might move Saddam Hussein is the prospect that the
United States would agree to a lifting of UN economic sanctions. But that
will not happen, and even Saddam gave up hope on it long ago. The United
States will never agree to a full lifting of sanctions because it knows that
this move would lead Saddam to accelerate his programs to develop weapons of
mass destruction. If President Bush were to put some teeth in his threat and
a serious military strike against the Iraqi regime became imminent, Saddam
might relent and allow inspectors, as he did in November 1997. But then it
is almost certain that he would do whatever he could to keep up the weapons
programs in secret.

Inspections would probably be less fruitful now than in the past. Research
and development no longer take place only at fixed factory sites. Even
before I left Iraq, the government was spreading its weapons-development
sites across the country - in mobile units, in military barracks and
well-camouflaged buildings - both to evade inspections and to reduce
exposure to air attacks.

Suppose inspectors were to find one of these locations. According to the
inspectors I talked to in the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission (formed to replace Unscom and still awaiting an invitation to
Baghdad), the new protocols do not allow inspectors to demand immediate
access after finding a site. They would report their findings to their New
York headquarters, which would pass them on to the Security Council.

Then, a few days later, permission could be granted by Baghdad to inspect
the site - by which time the site would have been sanitized.

The inspectors would then, of course, report that they had found nothing,
and Saddam Hussein's allies - Russia, France and most Arab countries - would
have their opportunity to demand, as Russia has before, that sanctions be

This pattern was repeated daily in meetings of the Security Council just
before Saddam stopped inspections altogether in 1998.

The environment in which Unscom was effective no longer exists. Iraq's
invasion of Kuwait won very strong backing for inspections from the United
Nations and Iraq's neighbors. But over time, Iraq's recovery from the war
and the desire of France and Russia to reopen military trade with Baghdad
combined to undermine Unscom. Now the new, far weaker inspection commission
has to negotiate its way into a set of inspection conditions agreeable to

Whatever President Bush decides to do about Saddam Hussein, weapons
inspections will in the end have little effect.

The writer, now president of the Council on Middle Eastern Affairs, is a
former director of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program who defected to the
United States in 1995. He contributed this comment to The New York Times

Las Vegas Sun, 18th December

WASHINGTON- Najib al-Salhi is not prone to ambiguities when he talks about
Saddam Hussein. "Saddam is crazy," the former Iraqi Army general said the
other day as he discussed his 23-year quest to depose the Iraqi president.

For 17 of those years he did so clandestinely, from within the military
inside Iraq. For the past five years he has operated from the outside, first
in Jordan, now in a Virginia suburb of Washington.

During the interview, al-Salhi spoke matter-of-factly about mass graves
outside Baghdad where he said remains of Saddam's suspected opponents lie.
He also recalled the poison gas used against an Iraqi Kurdish village in
1988; the tanks that he said were sent in to crush remains of those killed
as anti-Saddam uprisings were suppressed.

Beyond that, he said, Saddam terrorizes military officers into obedience by
having agents kidnap and rape relatives, then sending videotapes of the
attacks back to the officers. Torture of officers' fathers and mothers is
not unusual, he says.

Al-Salhi, 49, has no doubt his own family in Iraq has been subjected to such

"I try not to think about it," he said, speaking through an interpreter. "I
don't want to create obstacles to my work. We have to make sacrifices to get
to our goals."

Al-Salhi, who held the rank of staff general before deserting and who boasts
a string of degrees, is founder and general secretary of the Movement of
Free Officers, which he said maintains clandestine contacts with dissident
officers inside Iraq.

The goal is to bring political change in Iraq and explore possibilities for
a coup d'etat. The group also publishes articles in anti-Saddam journals
outside Iraq and keeps in touch with a range of Iraqi dissident groups.

A book al-Salhi wrote about Saddam's repression of Shiites in southern Iraq
was translated to English by the State Department. He contended the death
toll from that campaign is in the 250,000 range.

To the delight of al-Salhi and his allies, the constituency in the United
States for taking action against Iraq appears to be stronger now than at any
time since the end of the Gulf War more than 10 years ago.

It has been stimulated in large measure by the success of U.S. forces in
blasting the Taliban regime in Afghanistan out of power.

Referring to Iraq, President Bush said recently that countries that develop
weapons of mass destruction intended for terrorist purposes "will be held

A bipartisan group of leading members of Congress urged Bush two weeks ago
to take decisive action against Iraq because the threat from that country
"cannot be permanently contained."

Skeptics warn that the Afghanistan model cannot be duplicated easily in
Iraq. They point out that there is no equivalent in Iraq to Afghanistan's
northern alliance, a vital element in the defeat of the Taliban.

The Iraqi military also is much larger and better equipped than the Taliban
militia. Beyond that, if the United States takes on Iraq, it would not have
nearly the international support it has enjoyed in the Afghan campaign.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander of the U.S.
Central Command and now a Middle East envoy, is another skeptic. He wrote
shortly before his retirement last year that the $97 million in military
support that Congress has appropriated for use by Iraqi rebels won't get the
job done.

"What will we have?" he asked. "A Bay of Goats, most likely."

Al-Salhi said the naysayers fail to consider the vulnerability of the Iraqi
regime after decades of unabated repression.

"My work is to convince U.S. officials we have to get this job done," he
said. "The Iraqi people are waiting for U.S. efforts to get rid of Saddam."

by Judith Miller
San Francisco Chronicle (from New York Times), 20th December

An Iraqi defector who describes himself as a civil engineer said he worked
on renovations of secret facilities for biological, chemical and nuclear
weapons in underground wells, private villas and under the Saddam Hussein
Hospital in Baghdad as recently as a year ago.

The defector, Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, gave details of the projects he
said he worked on for President Saddam Hussein's regime in an extensive
interview last week in Bangkok.

U.S. government experts said yesterday that he had also been interviewed
twice by American intelligence officials, who were attempting to verify his
account. The experts said his information seemed reliable and significant.

The interview with Saeed was arranged by the Iraqi National Congress, the
main Iraqi opposition group, which works for the overthrow of Hussein. If
verified, Saeed's allegations would provide ammunition to officials within
the Bush administration who have been arguing that Hussein should be driven
from power partly because of his unwillingness to stop making weapons of
mass destruction, despite his pledges to do so.

Saeed's account gives new clues about the types and possible locations of
illegal laboratories, facilities and storage sites that U.S. officials and
international inspectors have long suspected Iraq of trying to hide. It also
suggests that Baghdad continued renovating and repairing such illegal
facilities after barring international inspectors three years ago.

Saeed said Iraq had used companies to purchase equipment with U.N. blessing,

and then secretly used the equipment in its unconventional weapons program.
One such firm, he said, was Leycochem, a construction materials company
based in Cologne, Germany, that has long done business in the Middle East.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Juergen Leyde, Leycochem's managing
director, said that his limited contracts with the Iraqi ministries of oil
and industry have nothing to do with unconventional weapons and had been
approved by the United Nations.

Saeed said that his work for the government's Military Industrialization
Organization and for a company associated with it, al-Fao, continued until
just before he was arrested on what he calls trumped-up fraud charges and
imprisoned last January. He said that he bribed his way out of prison last
summer and fled Iraq after receiving a tip that he would soon be rearrested.

To support his account, Saeed provided copies of contracts, including one
involving his company, the Iraqi industrialization group and al-Fao.

Saeed said that several of the production and storage facilities were hidden
in the rear of government companies and private villas in residential areas,
or underground in what were built to look like water wells which are lined
with lead-filled concrete and contain no water. He said that he was shown
biological materials from a laboratory that was underneath Saddam Hussein
Hospital, the largest hospital in Baghdad.

Saeed said that he had not visited the lab and was not certain whether it
was a storage facility for germs and other materials to be used in the
program or a place where research and development was conducted.

He said the Iraqis and another contractor who brought him the material to
examine "told me where, and the conditions under which it was stored, and
asked me to tell them whether it might still be good, even though it had
been kept beyond the expiration date."

He said, however, that he had visited at least 20 sites that he believed to
have been associated with Iraq's chemical or biological weapons programs,
based on the characteristics of the rooms or storage areas and what he had
been told about them during his work. Among them were what he described as
the "clean room" of a biological facility in 1998 in a residential area
known as al-Qrayat.

Saeed said that his company had specialized in filling cement cracks in the
floors and walls of such facilities, lining their floors and walls with
layers of epoxy paste and other substances that would prevent leaks and
enable them to be easily decontaminated, and injecting cement walls and
floors with additives to resist chemical corrosion. NEWS  

The Age (Australia), 21st December

An Iraqi man hoping to come to Australia today produced documents suggesting
Saddam Hussein was producing chemical and biological weapons.

The documents are so detailed that former United Nations weapons inspector
Richard Butler believes they are authentic.

There was a real chance that Iraq was back in the business of producing
weapons, Mr Butler said.

"I've read a lot of such reports from defectors, from people who have left
Iraq. I can't tell you how many," Mr Butler told ABC radio.

"And you get a feel about them.

"And as I read what he said I thought, my goodness this has a real ring of
authenticity about it just the detail, the names of places, the sorts of
stuff he was discussing.

"I thought this is true."

The Iraqi man told ABC radio he worked for nine years as a chemical engineer
at Saddam Hussein's top military plants.

He pinpointed hundreds of plants and provided detailed information.

The man, a Kurd, said he was a contractor to Hussein's military industry
organisation from 1992, working on sealing top secret factories and bunkers
to prevent the escape of chemical and bacterial agents.

He was eventually arrested and tortured for six months earlier this year
before bribing guards to escape and now wants to move to Adelaide to live
with family.

Mr Butler today said documentation of the 150 secret military projects,
included diagrams of exact locations of sites used to produce weapons and
missiles to deliver them.

"Reports like that of this guy and other defectors suggests to us quite
strongly that they're back in business," Mr Butler said.

Mr Butler and his weapons inspection team was thrown out of Iraq in 1998.

He said in the three years since inspections stopped Iraq had access to a
stockpile of uranium and could have acquired more.

"In the three years without inspection I've seen reports that he's recalled
his nuclear weapons design team and Lord knows what he's been able to
acquire on the black market," he said.,5936,3479403%255E40

by Thea Williams and Roy Eccleston
The Advertiser (Australia), 22nd December

ADELAIDE man Borhan Saaid is frightened for the safety of his brother, Adnan
Ihsan Saaid al-Haideri, after revelations by Mr Haideri yesterday that Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein was secretly developing nuclear, chemical and
biological weapons.
Mr Haideri, an Iraqi Kurd who worked until January this year as a civil
engineer repairing secret facilities and storage areas in Iraq, was jailed
eight months ago but has escaped to Thailand through Syria.

The New York Times reported yesterday that Mr Haideri believed the
facilities he worked on were for the production and storage of radioactive

Mr Haideri also said he was shown biological materials from a laboratory
under Baghdad's main hospital. Many of the facilities were deliberately
located to avoid the prospect of US bombing, he said.

He said he never heard people referring to germ warfare; instead, they
called it "chemical work".

While work was usually not going on when he visited, Mr Haideri said he
believed he had visited 20 sites associated with the weapons programs.

In 1989 and 1992, he claimed, biological and chemical agents had been tested
on Shi'ite and Kurdish prisoners in the Iraqi desert. His brother, Mr Saaid,
who fled Iraq in 1974 and settled in Australia in 1988, says he told Mr
Haideri in 1993 to get out or risk his life.

"He told me if the Kurdish people knew him they would hang him because they
knew he was working at the centre of the Iraqi Defence Ministry," Mr Saaid
said in Adelaide yesterday.

After Mr Haideri, 43, was arrested outside his Baghdad office and jailed, Mr
Saaid said "they put electricity through his genitals; he has been beaten
and hanged".

Mr Haideri and his family were now being supported by members of the Iraqi
National Party, opponents of Mr Hussein. But Mr Saaid said he was concerned
for his brother's safety after the revelations in [Bangkok? - PB].

"He has a lot more information (than he told ), I know that. For Adnan to
sit down at night and drink with the Iraqi military and intelligence
services, they know he had a lot of information."

Richard Butler, the Australian who headed the UN weapons inspection team
kicked out of Iraq three years ago, said he believed that Mr Haideri's
claims were authentic.

He said he guessed the information would increase the likelihood of US
action against Iraq, which strenuously denies it is developing such weapons.

"It's the most up-to-date information and confirmation that we've had for a
while of what we've deeply suspected ­ that he's (Mr Hussein) back in the
biological and chemical business big-time," Mr Butler told CNN yesterday.

by Bill Hoffmann
New York Post, 21st December

A top-secret squad of 30 Iraqi terrorists, all specially trained killing
machines, are loose around the world and could strike anytime and anywhere,
a former top spy of Saddam Hussein has revealed.

Their deadly specialties include sabotage, urban warfare, hijacking and
murder, according to Abu Zeinab al-Qurairy, a former brigadier general in
Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence service.

The onetime Iraqi big tells the February issue of Vanity Fair his "Dirty 30"
were culled from a secret, 1,200-strong commando force called al-Qare'a -
"the Strikers."

Known as Iraq's "elite of elite," the Strikers, whose existence wasn't known
in the West until now, have been trained to a level far beyond the nation's
ordinary special forces, al-Qurairy says.

The feared unit was commissioned by Saddam's son Uday and presented as a
"birthday present" to his dad in April 2000.

But the 30 evil soldiers now roaming the world are said to be much more

Al-Qurairy said he gave the 30 new identities, complete with United Arab
Emirates passports supplied by a corrupt UAE minister paid off by the

That means they can travel anywhere without creating suspicion.

In fact, Al-Qurairy believes the Twin Towers attacks have a direct link to
the terror team he trained.

He notes that hijack leader Mohamed Atta twice met a notorious Mukhabaret
special operations expert in Prague, Czech Republic, and Ziad Jarrah, who
piloted Flight 93, also had met with Mukhabaret men.

"When I saw the World Trade Center attack on television, I turned to a
friend and said, ŒThat's ours,'" he says.

The links are plausible, considering the intense training exercises
al-Qurairy put his squad through.

In one of most disturbing, he fitted the Dirty 30 in diving gear and had
them blow up a specially-constructed mock-up of a U.S. Navy destroyer.

The destruction of the fake ship, moored in central Iraq's Habbaniya Lake,
was videotaped and then shown to Saddam as part of his birthday celebration.

Al-Qurairy, 41, says that, to this day, he has no idea where the Dirty 30
are or what they are planning in the way of murder and mayhem.

His elite force was trained at one of Saddam's main terrorist training
camps, Salman Park, 45 minutes south of Baghdad.

There, he says, "trainees who fail are used as targets in live-ammunition

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