The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
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 The spymaster's prescriptionı: According to [James] Woolsey, Israel and the US are hated²because we are free²ı. In fact the US is hated because it is a terrorist nation with 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 capitalismı 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 destroyı 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 destroyı 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 War 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. FINGER POINTING AWAY FROM IRAQ * 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 anthrax] * 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 entirely] * 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] DEFECTORS * 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 strategyı supplement: Searching 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 President 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 that] * 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 Bangkok 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 [Abu 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) REMNANTS OF DECENCY * "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: I 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] LIGHTWEIGHT NATIONS OF THE WORLD * 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] URLs ONLY: http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/26151817.htm * 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 arenıt http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/26193954.htm * Schroeder warns Bush against attacking Iraq IRNA, 17th December Ditto for Schroeder http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/18/international/middleeast/18ARAB.html?pagew anted=print * The other shoe by Neil MacFarquhar New York Times, 18th December On the attitudes of various Arab governments. Pretty predictable. http://www.iht.com/articles/42432.html * 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. INSIDE IRAQ * Internet in Iraq: Limited, appreciated * New 'Saddam' novel hits the stands AND IN NEWS, 13-22/12/01 (3) SOUTHERN KURDISTAN/NORTHERN IRAQ * 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: Iraqi opposition figures say Mr. Barzani has extensive business operations with Mr. Hussein's relatives.ı] IRAQI/MIDDLE EAST - ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * 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 ENFORCING THE EMBARGO * US navy attacks Iran oil tanker in Gulf * Iran, United States Dispute Oil Tanker Incident IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * U.N. Compensation Commission Awards $132.7 Million REFUGEES * 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 very 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 FINGER POINTING AWAY FROM IRAQ http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A49502-2001Dec15?language=printer * CAPITOL HILL ANTHRAX MATCHES ARMY'S STOCKS 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 said. 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 agents. "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. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/16/international/middleeast/16IRAQ.html?searc hpv=nytToday&pagewanted=print> * NEW CLUE FAILS TO EXPLAIN IRAQ ROLE IN SEPT. 11 ATTACK 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. 11." 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. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011217/wl/attacks_atta_1.html Monday December 17 2:05 PM ET * CZECHS INSIST ATTA MET WITH SPY 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 http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/12/18/wirq1 8.xml&sSheet=/news/2001/12/18/ixnewstop.html * IRAQ LINK TO SEPT 11 ATTACK AND ANTHRAX IS RULED OUT 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 lab. 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 member. 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 DEFECTORS http://www.dailystar.com.lb/15_12_01/art30.htm * WHAT ARE THE AMERICANS UP TO IN IRAQ? 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 Front. 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 them. 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 theyre 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. http://www.iht.com/articles/42152.html * INSPECTORS IN IRAQ? HIDING HIS WEAPONS IS EASY FOR SADDAM 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 lifted. 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 Iraq. 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 http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/bw-wh/2001/dec/18/121808015.html * IRAQI DEFECTOR SEEKS POLITICAL CHANGE 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 treatment. "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 accountable." 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." http://www.sfgate.com/cgi bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2001/12/20/MN78036.DTL * IRAQI DEFECTOR SAYS HE RENOVATED SECRET WEAPONS LABS 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. http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/2001/12/21/FFXQXPFUGVC.htmlWORLD NEWS * REFUGEE HAS IRAQI TERROR DOCUMENTS 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. http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,3479403%255E40 1,00.html * BROTHER FEARS FOR IRAQI DEFECTOR 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 material. 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. http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/36464.htm * SADDAM DEATH SQUAD BARED 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 deadly. 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 Mukhabarat. 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, That'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 exercises." -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.