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[casi] News, 23-30/4/03 (4)

News, 23-30/4/03 (4)


*  Saddam's deputy prime minister in custody
*  Saddam's intelligence chief surrenders
*  Fears over treatment of captured leaders
*  Arch-spy for Hussein in custody
*  Saddam to Iraqis: they only triumphed over you through betrayal
*  Comical Ali finds surrendering a challenge
*  Two More Saddam Officials Reportedly Have Surrendered


*  Washington sidelines Blix in search for weapons
*  Finding banned weapons in Iraq irrelevant, British official claims
*  Documents link Iraq, bin Laden
*  Star finds Bin Laden-Iraq links
*  U.K. officials knew of visit by Al Qaeda
*  Search Goes On for Weapons Powell Cited
*  Concern Grows Over Weapons Hunt Setbacks
*  Al-Qaida Associate Detained in Iraq
*  US changes tune on Iraqi weapons threat


CNN, 24th April

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister in the regime of
deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, is in U.S. custody, CNN has confirmed.

Aziz, who was often the public face of the regime on the international
stage, was No. 43 on the list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis and was the
"eight of spades" in the deck of cards being circulated by coalition troops.

U.S. Central Command has not disclosed any details of Aziz's apprehension.
But various U.S. officials have told CNN that Aziz turned himself in.

An intermediary approached U.S. officials Wednesday, indicating that Aziz
was interested in surrendering, U.S. officials told CNN. The surrender took
place late Thursday, the officials said.

Aziz -- described by one U.S. official as "pretty well wired" -- may have
knowledge about the fate of top Iraqi leaders, including Saddam Hussein, a
U.S. official told CNN. While it is considered unlikely that he would know
the location of weapons of mass destruction, he "may be able to confirm
their existence," the official said.

Two other U.S. officials said Aziz may have information about Iraqi
financial resources and complexes used by regime officials.

The officials said it would likely be some time before any decision is made
on Aziz's legal status.

On the eve of war, Aziz denounced reports that he had either been shot or
had asked for political asylum. Earlier, Aziz said he would never go into
exile and "would prefer to die" rather than "go to Guantanamo" as a U.S.
prisoner of war.

Before Aziz's apprehension, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said at least
seven members of the 55 most-wanted members of Saddam's regime are in
coalition custody.

The progress in the roundup, according to military officials, is credited to
extensive cooperation from liberated Iraqis. Marine Capt. Stuart Upton said,
"The fact that so many local Iraqis are helping us capture members of
Saddam's regime is an indication that Iraqis more and more believe that a
free Iraq is here to stay."

Upon returning to the White House from a trip to Ohio, President Bush
responded with a wave and thumbs-up to reporters' queries about Aziz's
capture, but he made no comment.


Sydney Morning Herald, 24th April

US forces took four more fugitive members of Saddam Hussein's scattered
ruling elite into custody today - including the chief of military
intelligence - as huge crowds of Shi'ite pilgrims surged through the holy
city of Karbala.

General Zuhayr Talib Abd al Sattar al Naqib, Saddam's chief of military
intelligence, gave himself up in Baghdad and US special forces captured
Salim Sa'id Khalaf Al-Jumayli, the former head of the Iraqi Intelligence
Service's American desk.

Naqib was No. 21 on America's list of the 55 most-wanted former members of
Saddam's government and US Central Command said Jumayli is suspected of
having knowledge of Iraqi spies and intelligence activities in the United

The US military also said Muzahim Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti, Air Defence Force
commander and No. 10 on the wanted list, "is under coalition control" but
gave no details of his capture.

The former Iraqi minister of trade, Muhammad Mahdi al-Salih, No. 48 on the
list is also in US custody, bringing to 11 the number of Iraqis on the US
most-wanted list to surrender or be captured.

"They're collapsing like a house of cards," said Army Lieutenant Colonel Tom
Kurasiewicz, a Pentagon spokesman.


by Michael Evans, Defence Editor
The Times, 25th April

HUMAN RIGHTS organisations expressed increasing concern yesterday over the
treatment of the captured Iraqis on the American "deck-of-cards" list of
most-wanted regime members.

Their intervention came after the detention of three more senior officials
on Wednesday, including the former chief of military intelligence and the
former head of the country's military air defences. Their arrests brought
the total to 11, but the Bush Administration is refusing to disclose where
or in what conditions they are being held.

The whereabouts of Abu Abbas, the Palestinian behind the 1985 hijacking of
the cruise liner Achille Lauro, who was arrested by US special forces in
Baghdad last week, are also unknown.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is based in
Geneva, said that it has been allowed to visit two of the 11, but had been
told not to divulge where they were being detained.

ICRC sources said that the civilians arrested should be covered by the
Fourth Geneva Convention, and the military by the Third Geneva Convention.
But there was considerable doubt over their present status. Amnesty
International said that all the captives from the most-wanted list had to be
treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention to ensure that they
were properly treated and not put under any "stressful duress".

A Pentagon spokesman told The Times: "Their status is not yet determined,
and their location is not being disclosed. It is still at an early stage and
it has not yet been determined what will happen to them."

A British Foreign Office official said that discussions were still going on
with Washington about what to do with the captured Iraqis on the most-wanted
list but no conclusions had been reached.

The ICRC said that every attempt was being made to visit all those Iraqi
regime members captured by the Americans. A spokeswoman said: "Everyone
wants to know where they are, but because they are such high-profile
figures, we can't even say where they are not being held."

Legal sources said that Mr Abbas's case was harder to deal with, although he
could also benefit from the protection of the Geneva Convention because he
was arrested during a war.

Amnesty International said: "We would be against any of the captives being
sent outside Iraq to a detention camp such as the one at Guantanamo Bay in
Cuba or Bagram in Afghanistan." Amnesty said that if the captured regime
members were to be charged with war crimes or crimes against humanity, a
United Nations committee of experts should be responsible for deciding how
they should be tried.

That was what happened with indicted war criminals involved in the conflicts
in the Balkans, leading to the setting-up of the independent International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

The Amnesty spokeswoman said: "The 11 regime members captured so far should
all be held in a safe place and be allowed visits by the ICRC."

The Red Cross and Amnesty fear that the Americans will decide to define
those on the list of 55 as "unlawful combatants" which would put them
outside the protection of international humanitarian law.

One legal expert said: "It is almost like a remake of history and
international relations. Many human rights issues are being raised."

The latest three detained from the deck-of-cards list yesterday were Zuhayr
Talib Abd al Sattar al-Naqib, who was head of military intelligence, Muzahim
Sa'b Hassan al-Tikriti, air defence force commander, and Muhammad Mahdi
al-Salih, Iraqi Minister of Trade.

Pierre-Richard Prosper, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues,
has indicated that Saddam Hussein and his senior henchmen should, if
captured, be tried by Iraqi jurists, not by an international tribunal; and
that those accused of war crimes in the recent conflict, as well as in the
1991 Gulf War, should be dealt with by American civilian or military courts.

Most ordinary Iraqis detained during the war, and formally designated as
PoWs under the Geneva Convention, are still being held at the camp at Umm
Qasr in southern Iraq.

The Red Cross said that they could not be released until the coalition
declared a formal end of hostilities.

The Americans have released 927 PoWs, judged to have been non-combatants,
leaving 6,850 in custody. The Kurds in the north who captured hundreds of
Iraq troops, have so far released about 750.

by Greg Miller, Robin Wright
San Francisco Chronicle, from Los Angeles Times, 26th April

Washington -- A longtime Iraqi intelligence official, suspected of
involvement in a plot to assassinate former President George H. W. Bush and
of having links to the al Qaeda terror network, was delivered to the Iraqi
border by Syrian authorities Friday, U.S. officials said.

Farouk Hijazi was taken into custody near the Syrian border, U.S. officials
said, indicating new cooperation from a government that had been accused of
harboring members of Saddam Hussein's deposed regime.

U.S. officials also said the Bush administration is planning a new legal
process, in conjunction with emerging Iraqi leaders, that eventually could
bring hundreds of Iraqi officials to trial for war crimes and other major
offenses and offer thousands more amnesty in exchange for confessions.

Hijazi most recently served as Iraq's ambassador to Tunisia and was formerly
ambassador to Turkey. But he is of particular interest to the CIA and the
Pentagon because he was "a lifelong member of the Iraqi Intelligence
Service," known as the Mukhabarat, a U.S. official said.

"He is significant," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. "We think he
could be interesting."

Hijazi is believed to have extensive knowledge of Iraqi operations and plots
dating back decades. He occupied the No. 3 position in Hussein's spy
apparatus in the early 1990s, when Iraq tried to assassinate the former
President Bush in Kuwait.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey said Hijazi's capture was "the biggest
catch so far," and that Hijazi is a key link between Hussein and terrorist
organizations, including al Qaeda. "This man was involved, we know, with a
number of contacts with al Qaeda," Woolsey told CNN.

But current U.S. officials were more measured in their appraisals and
expressed some skepticism in particular about persistent reports that Hijazi
had once met with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Unconfirmed media reports have indicated that Hijazi served as Hussein's
liaison to anti Western terrorist organizations and that he met with bin
Laden between 1996 and 1998.

Officials said it is more likely that Hijazi would be able to provide
information on the attempted assassination of the first President Bush in

"We think that's highly probable, given the job that he had at the time,"
the U.S. official said. "We believe he was either witting or responsible,"
and in all likelihood personally involved.

At the time of the assassination attempt, Hijazi was responsible for
overseeing covert operations overseas for Hussein.

Bush had traveled to Kuwait after losing the 1992 presidential election to
Bill Clinton. The former president was to be honored by the Kuwaiti
government for leading Operation Desert Storm.

A U.S. official said Iraqi operatives had planned to rig a vehicle with
explosives and try to detonate it at an event attended by Bush or alongside
his motorcade. After the plot was thwarted, Clinton ordered a U.S. reprisal
that included air strikes on regime targets in Baghdad.

A senior official involved in the planning of the war crimes initiative said
the United States intends to try some Iraqis, both major politicians and
ordinary soldiers, for war crimes allegedly committed during this year's
conflict as well as the 1991 Gulf War.

Such trials would probably take place in military-run tribunals in Iraq,
adapting various international models dating back to the years after World
War II.

Beyond this limited number of cases, the United States is proposing a three-
stage judicial process to deal with a quarter-century of abuses. Washington
wants as much of the new system as possible to be determined by a new
leadership in Baghdad, while acknowledging that Iraq is likely to need U.S.
or coalition input, U.S. officials said.

Iraq will take the lead in the trials of other senior leaders, including
Hussein if he is still alive, although the United States is likely to assist
prosecutions by a new judicial system still to be created, the officials

"Atrocities and abuses by the regime of its own people should be tried by
Iraqis," said the senior official. "We're prepared to provide support, which
could range from financial aid to legal experts to judges, to make it
credible. "

Against the Kurds alone, Hussein's regime gassed or executed up to 182,000
people in 1988, according to human rights groups. Up to 60,000 Kurds and
Shiite Muslims were killed when the regime put down uprisings in 1991.


NO URL (sent to list)

Translation of an article published by Al-Quds Al-Arabi/ issue 4336 of 30
April 2003

The former Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, called upon the Iraqi people to
revolt against the American invaders, stressing that the foreign occupation
and not Shi'is and Sunnis is the only matter that concerns the homeland
"your great Iraq".

The call came in a written message, dated April 28, Saddam's birthday, from
Saddam to "the Great Iraqi people, and people of the Arab and Muslim nation,
and decent people everywhere", a copy of which was acquired by Al-Quds
Al-Arabi. Sources close to Saddam have confirmed that it is Saddam's
handwriting and signature on the message, pointing out that the
circumstances surrounding his hiding and security concerns do not allow for
anything more than a written message.

The Iraqi "Command of Resistance and Liberation" has confirmed the day
before yesterday in a special letter to Al-Quds Al-Arabi that Saddam Hussein
had survived the bombing attacks and that he would address the Iraqis and
the nation within 72 hours.

In his message, Saddam accused Iraq's neighbors of working against the
resistance, saying "the traitors have allowed themselves to openly declare
their betrayal, though it is disgraceful", in a possible reference to

Saddam pointed out that "betrayal" was behind the fall of Baghdad when he
said "they did not triumph over you, you who refuse occupation and
humiliation and whose hearts are for Arabism and Islam, except by betrayal."

Here is the full text of the message:

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

"And yet they had covenanted with God not to turn their backs, and a
covenant with God must be answered for" (33:15)

Iraq on 28 April 2003
>From Saddam Hussein To the Great Iraqi people And the people of the Arab and
Muslim nation And decent people everywhere

God's Peace, Mercy and blessings be upon you

Just like Hulago entered Baghdad, so did the criminal Bush with the help of
Al-Algqami, or more than one Alqami. [The Minister Ibn Al-Alqami is accused
of betraying the Abbasid Caliph Al-Musta'sim and collaborating with the
Mongols in 1258]. They did not triumph over you, you who refuse occupation
and humiliation and whose hearts are for Arabism and Islam, except by
betrayal. And by God's name theirs is not a victory as long as resistance
remains in your souls.

What we used to say has now become a fact, for we will never live in peace
as long as the false Zionist entity remains on our Arab land. And so there
is no division in the unity of Arab struggle.

People of our great nation: Revolt against the invaders and do not trust
those who speak about Shi'is and Sunnis, because the only matter through
which the homeland, your great Iraq, is living is the occupation. There are
no priorities except to expel the cowardly, killer, criminal, infidel
invader, towards whom no decent hands have been extended; only those of
traitors and agents.

I say to you that all neighboring countries oppose your resistance, but God
is with you because you are fighting infidels and defending your rights.

The traitors have allowed themselves to openly declare their betrayal,
though it is disgraceful. So declare your rejection of the invader for the
sake of the great Iraq and the nation and Islam and humanity.

Iraq, with the people of the nation and the decent people, will triumph and
we will get back what they stole from our heritage and rebuild the Iraq they
want to divide, may they be in shame.

Saddam had no property in his name, and I challenge anyone to prove that the
palaces were not registered in the name of the State of Iraq. I had left
them a long time ago to live in a small house.

Forget everything, and resist the occupation, for the gravest sin is to have
priorities other than the struggle against the invader and his expulsion.
And remember that they want to bring in the conflicting parties to keep your
Iraq weak so that they can steal it as they wish.

Your party, the Bath Arab Socialist Party, has the honor of not stretching
out its hand to the Zionist enemy and never surrendering to a cowardly
aggressor, American or British. And those who stood against Iraq and
conspired against it will never enjoy peace at the hands of America.

Salutes to every member of the resistance and every decent Iraqi citizen,
and to every woman, child and elderly in our great Iraq.

Unite, and the enemy and all those traitors who came with him will flee. And
learn that he with whom the invading troops came and whose planes flew to
kill you will only send you poison.

With God's will, the day of liberation and victory for us, the nation and
Islam before anything else will come, and this time, like every time the
truth triumphs, the coming days will be more beautiful.

Protect your properties, offices and schools, and boycott the invader.
Boycott him, for this is your duty towards Islam, religion and the homeland.

Long live the great Iraq and its people.
Long live Palestine, free and Arabic from the river to the sea.
God is Greatest.
And may the disgraceful be disgraced.

Saddam Hussein, 26 Safar 1424, 28 April 2003

by Alex Spillius
The Age (Australia), 1st May

During the war he was the oddball public face of Iraq, but now there are
claims that Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the former information minister, cannot
get himself arrested.

The minister, nicknamed "Comical Ali" for his eccentric denials that Iraqi
forces were being overrun, is said to have tried to turn himself in to the
Americans. But they refused, as he was not on their list of the 55 most
wanted members of Saddam Hussein's regime.

A London-based Arabic newspaper reports that Sahaf had holed up with his
aunt in Baghdad and wanted the Americans to arrest and protect him. The
report said he had left the northern city of Mosul four days ago.

A senior Kurdish official, Adel Murad, of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
(PUK), told the Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat: "He sent some of his
relatives to inform them of his wish to surrender, but they (the US) turned
him down. Negotiations are still going on to hand him over."

It was not the first attempt at surrender Sahaf had made. Before returning
to Baghdad, he asked the PUK in Mosul to contact US troops on his behalf,
but the PUK decided it was not worth the trouble.

Sahaf, with his beret and standing behind a forest of microphones, built a
worldwide cult following for his daily press conferences. Even US President
George Bush admitted he was a Sahaf fan and used to interrupt meetings to
watch him.

"He's my man, he was great," Mr Bush enthused to NBC television. "Somebody
accused us of hiring him and putting him there. He was a classic."

If his efforts at surrender fail, a career in television awaits.

Ali al-Hadethi, supervisor of the Dubai-based al-Arabiya satellite channel
said he would welcome Sahaf as a commentator and analyst. Mr Hadethi said he
did not know Sahaf's whereabouts and asked him to contact Arabiya to take up
his job.

"We want to benefit from the experience of Mr Sahaf and his analysis of the
current situation and the future of Iraq," Mr Hadethi said. He said his
network was already using Saddam's former United Nations ambassador,
Mohammed al-Douri, as an analyst in Dubai.

Reports that Sahaf had hanged himself appear to be unfounded.

Salt Lake Tribune, 30th April

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP): Two more top officials of Saddam Hussein's regime -- the
former head of Iraq's top-secret missile program and the former governor of
Basra province -- were reported in custody Tuesday.

U.S. officials said Amer Mohammed Rashid, known to U.N. weapons inspectors
as "Missile Man," surrendered Monday. He was ranked 47th on the U.S.
most-wanted list of 55 members of Saddam's inner circle.

Walid Hamed Tawfiq al-Tikriti, the former governor and a member of Saddam's
clan, surrendered to the Iraqi National Congress, according to Haidar
al-Moussawi, a London based spokesman for the anti-Saddam group. U.S.
military officials did not comment.

Al-Tikriti, who surrendered in Baghdad, was 44th on the U.S. most-wanted
list of officials of Saddam's regime (eight of clubs in the U.S. deck of
cards). He was being interrogated Tuesday by U.S. forces and Iraqi National
Congress representatives, al-Moussawi said. "They will decide in the field"
when to hand him over to U.S. custody, al-Moussawi said.

Rashid is a former general who oversaw Iraq's top-secret missile programs.
He is married to Rihab Taha, a microbiologist known as "Dr. Germ" who was in
charge of the secret Iraqi facility that weaponized anthrax and other toxic
substances. She also is sought by the United States; her Baghdad house was
raided by U.S. forces last month, but there was no word on her whereabouts.

Rashid was a member of Saddam's Military Industrialization Organization, the
group responsible for producing Iraq's most lethal weapons.

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said last month that Rashid and his
wife would be among "the most interesting persons" for American
investigators to interrogate because of their familiarity with a range of
Saddam's secret weapons programs.

In other developments Tuesday:

‹ The U.S. Army announced that it will deploy up to 4,000 additional
military police and infantrymen over the next 10 days in an attempt to
curtail looting and lawlessness in Baghdad.

As part of the security initiative, U.S. forces are broadcasting detailed
instructions to Baghdad residents. Among the directives: People cannot be in
the streets from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.; government employees must return to
their jobs; and all members of Saddam's Baath Party must identify themselves
to coalition forces.

‹ The world's top museum curators urged U.S. authorities to seal Iraq's
borders to stop the flow of looted antiquities, a loss that one said was the
worst calamity for a national art collection since World War II. "American
control at the border is almost zero," said Donny George, research director
of Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad.

‹ U.S. military officials said a cease-fire with the Mujahedeen Khalq on
April 15 allows the Iranian exile group that's on the U.S. list of terror
organizations to keep tanks, artillery and other weapons to defend itself.


The Scotsman, 23rd April

THE Bush administration yesterday pointedly snubbed the chief UN weapons
inspector, Hans Blix, saying the coalition had taken on the job of searching
for weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Blix had said that his inspectors were ready to return to Iraq but the
White House appeared to reject any such move.

Asked if the administration expected UN inspectors to return soon, the White
House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said: "The coalition has taken on
responsibility for the dismantling of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and
missile programmes, which is part of the international community's shared

"We are looking forward, not backward. Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, and
we will need to reassess the framework design to disarm the regime given the
new facts on the ground."

Mr Fleischer even suggested Mr Blix failed to carry out the task of
disarmament properly by not interviewing Iraqi scientists with knowledge of
the banned weapons programmes, as US forces are now doing.

The White House snub came as Mr Blix was addressing the UN Security Council
in closed session yesterday on his readiness to field an inspection team.
Russia has insisted that UN inspectors must return to certify that Iraq's
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons have been eliminated, along with
the missiles to deliver them.

Yesterday's comments will further strain the US relationship with Mr Blix.
In an interview with the BBC yesterday, Mr Blix criticised what he called
the "shaky" intelligence that the US and UK governments used to make the
case for war and accused Washington of briefing against him in the run-up to
the conflict.

Speaking before yesterday's Security Council meeting, Mr Blix said: "We are
convinced about the objectivity of the determination of the inspectors who
are there for the coalition forces.

"But at the same time I am also convinced that the world and the Security
Council [would] like to have the inspection and verification bear the
imprint of independence and of some institution that is authorised by the
international community."

Robin Cook, who resigned his post as leader of the Commons in protest over
the war, said yesterday that Mr Blix should return to Iraq "on the next

He added: "America is not going to convince the rest of the world it has
uncovered a chemical or biological threat in Iraq if it persists in refusing
to submit any find to independent, outside assessment."



by Steven Edwards
National Post, 26th April

UNITED NATIONS - Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary, lashed out at
critics yesterday for claiming the discovery of weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq was necessary to justify the U.S.-led invasion.

Mr. Straw said they were twisting the facts and suggested the coalition's
failure to uncover illicit weapons in Iraq was irrelevant.

Several legal analysts and defence experts agree with his assessment,
pointing out the most recent UN Security Council resolution on Iraqi
disarmament said nothing about having to find weapons.

Rather, it gave Iraq a "final opportunity" to work with UN weapons
inspectors to prove it was free of weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam Hussein's determination to deceive UN weapons inspectors was laid
bare on Wednesday as six Iraqi scientists working at different Baghdad
research institutions told how they were ordered to destroy bacteria and
equipment just before inspections.

George Bush, the U.S. President, said on Thursday that Iraqi officials and
scientists have told how Saddam Hussein ordered chemical and biological
weapons destroyed or dispersed just before the war.

Mr. Straw's outburst came after Robin Cook, who resigned his Cabinet post in
the British government to protest the war, claimed failure to find banned
weapons would destroy the war's legitimacy.

"People are now trying to suggest that somehow the decision to take military
action was entirely conditional on subsequently finding chemical and
biological weapons material,'' Mr. Straw told BBC radio. "That wasn't the

"[The international community] accepted that Saddam had these weapons and
they posed a threat," he added. "Did we overstate the threat? I don't think
we overstated the threat.''

Iraq's "final opportunity" to comply is part of Security Council Resolution
1441, passed unanimously on Nov. 8. It came after more than a decade of
widespread sanctions trying to get Iraq to honour its disarmament
commitments in the 1991 truce ending the first Gulf War.

The resolution said Iraq would face "serious consequences" if it did not
declare all its weapons programs and help weapons inspectors verify it had
no weapons of mass destruction.

Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector, said Iraq fell short on both
tasks, though he argued its co-operation improved as war appeared imminent.

The United States and Britain, meanwhile, said the rest of the Security
Council knew "serious consequences" meant war because military action is
stated in the UN Charter as the next level of enforcement after sanctions.

"As a legal matter, an inability to find large stockpiles of weapons of mass
destruction does not mean there is no just cause for the war," said Lee
Casey, a Washington-based international law expert and former Justice
Department official in the Reagan administration.

"If everything the other side does leads you to conclude that they are a
threat, then you are covered."

The testimony of the six Iraqi scientists indicates the Iraqi dictator
violated Resolution 1441 on several levels.

They said orders to destroy their experiments came just before inspections,
suggesting secret police had been spying on the inspectors, because
schedules were supposed to be secret.

The scientists also said they had not been working on weapons programs, but
were told to destroy their experiments anyway.

Destroying even innocent experiments would be considered non-compliance

For Mr. Casey, however, it is natural to believe something much more
sinister was afoot.

"Researchers would be expected to work, at least sometimes, on dangerous
experiments," he said.

"So it is logical to believe that the Iraqis were afraid the inspectors
would make a connection between this work and research work elsewhere. They
thought the inspectors would start to connect the dots and find out that
something forbidden was underway."

Some of the information about Iraq destroying weapons just before the war
came from an Iraqi scientist who led U.S. officials to buried ingredients
and equipment that could be used to make a chemical weapon.

The same scientist, who has not been identified to protect his safety, also
said many of Iraq's recent programs were restricted to research and
development work, which is relatively easy to conceal.

This could explain why coalition forces have uncovered little evidence of
programs so far. It also suggests Saddam was preparing the ground to
re-start programs if sanctions were lifted.

"Saddam had a whole army of scientists able to go back into action," said
Jack Spencer, defence analyst with the Heritage Institute, a
Washington-based think-tank. He argued Saddam's lack of co-operation with
weapons inspectors was rightly the benchmark for military action.

"No inspectors have said he cooperated fully. That in itself justifies
military action under the UN's own rules," he said. "It defies logic that
Saddam would have given up billions in potential oil revenues during more
than a decade of sanctions if he did not have something to hide."

Expressing anger that coalition forces are already being criticized for not
finding banned weapons, Mr. Spencer added: "I find it odd that when the UN
weapons inspectors were in there, critics of the Bush administrations said,
'Give them more time.'

"But now that the coalition forces are in there, they say, 'We want proof

Toronto Star, 26th April

Top-secret Iraqi intelligence documents, unearthed by the Toronto Star in
the bombed-out headquarters of the dreaded Mukhabarat intelligence service
in Baghdad, have established the first clear link between Saddam Hussein and
Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization.

The documents were found by correspondent Mitch Potter, the Star's Jerusalem
bureau chief. Potter, who has been in and out of Iraq since the war began,
was digging through the rubble of the Mukhabarat's Baghdad headquarters with
his translator Amir when they uncovered the intelligence treasure trove.

Bin Laden's name appears three times in the handwritten Iraqi file, but each
of the references was clumsily concealed with White-Out and then blackened
with ink, "presumably by agents of the Mukhabarat," writes Potter, who was
travelling with Amir and Inigo Gilmore of London's Sunday Telegraph.

In his dispatch, Potter details how his translator, sitting on the end of
his hotel room bed today, carefully scraped away the White Out with a
scalpel to reveal bin Laden's name hidden underneath.

And he writes of Amir's stunned reaction when the name became apparent: "It
says Bin Laden! It says Bin Laden!" The full account will appear in
tomorrow's Star.

The discovery of the document coincides with the Friday capture of Farouk
Hijazi, an Iraqi spymaster the United States claims was the link between
Iraq and Al Qaeda. Hijazi, according to U.S. allegations, met bin Laden
prior to the Sept. 11 attacks during Hijazi's term as Iraq's ambassador to

"The document in question is in every way possible entirely like the
hundreds of others we've been poring over in our spare hours these many
nights in the safety of our hotel room while intermittent gunfire pops away
in the distance," Potter writes.

Spies from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who scoured the building
after it was bombed into rubble, apparently missed the document.

The presence of bin Laden's name on the document has been verified by four
Arabic interpreters.

by Mitch Potter
Toronto Star, 28th April

Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization and Saddam Hussein's regime shared
direct contact as early as 1998, according to top-secret Iraqi intelligence
documents obtained by the Star.

The documents, discovered yesterday in the bombed-out headquarters of the
Mukhabarat, Iraq's most feared intelligence service, amount to the first
hard evidence of a link long suspected by the United States but dismissed as
fiction by many Western leaders.

The handwritten file, three pages in all, relates to the arrival of a secret
envoy sent by bin Laden to Iraq in March, 1998, apparently to establish a
clandestine relationship with the Iraqi regime.

The purpose of the trip was "to gain the knowledge of the message from bin
Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden,"
according to the final page of the Iraqi document, a handwritten letter
dated Feb. 19, 1998.

The letter describes bin Laden as an "opponent" of the regime in Saudi
Arabia and said the message to convey to him through the envoy would relate
to "the future of our relationship with him (bin Laden) and to achieve a
direct meeting with him."

The signature beneath the letter is a codename, "MDA," believed to be that
of a director of one of the intelligence sections within the Mukhabarat. A
second signature on the page, also in code, recommends bringing the unnamed
agent to Iraq because "we may find in this envoy a way to maintain contact
with bin Laden."

The remaining pages confirm bin Laden's agent arrived in Baghdad on March 5
and stayed a full 16 days as a guest of the Iraqi government at the Mansur
Melia Hotel, one of the capital's premier accommodations.

The contact came less than five months before bin Laden became America's
most-wanted fugitive in the wake of deadly bomb attacks on two U.S.
embassies in East Africa.

The White House has linked the invasion of Iraq to the war on terror
maintaining that ousted Iraqi president Saddam harboured terrorists,
including Al Qaeda operatives.

Bin Laden's name appears three times in the handwritten Iraqi file, but each
of the references was concealed clumsily with corrective fluid and then
blackened with ink, presumably by agents of the Mukhabarat.

But after the masking material was carefully removed yesterday, bin Laden's
name was clearly legible in each reference. The translation of the document
was confirmed independently by five Arabic interpreters.

The discovery coincides with the Friday capture of Farouk Hijazi, an Iraqi
spymaster the United States claims was the link man between Iraq and Al
Qaeda. Hijazi, according to U.S. allegations, met bin Laden before the Sept.
11 attacks during Hijazi's term as Iraq's ambassador to Turkey.

The Osama papers obtained by the Star were discovered yesterday within a
file folder lying in rubble in a partially destroyed building inside the
sprawling Mukhabarat compound west of the Tigris River in Baghdad. Around
the tree-lined facility hundreds of thousands of papers litter the ground.

The final page, a handwritten letter dated Feb. 19 and marked "Top Secret
and Urgent," refers to the planned trip from Sudan by an unnamed agent close
to bin Laden.

The letter describes the envoy as "a trusted confidant (of bin Laden) and
known by them (Al Qaeda)."

It continues: "According to the above we suggest permission to call the
Khartoum station (the Iraqi intelligence station in Sudan) to facilitate the
travel arrangements for the abovementioned person to Iraq. And that our body
carry all the travel and hotel expenses inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of
the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from
us to bin Laden."

According to notes at the bottom of the page the letter was then passed on
through another director within the Mukhabarat to the deputy director
general of the intelligence services.

The other two pages of the file, dated Feb. 23 and March 24, relate to
correspondence between different agencies within the Mukhabarat over
preparation and approval for Iraq to cover the costs of the bin Laden
envoy's stay at the Mansur hotel.

Each is countersigned by a number of codenamed Iraqi officials. One is
addressed to "M4/7" and signed by "MD1/3." The three pages were found bound
with a staple.

Margin notes on the letter show a signature of the Mukhabarat's deputy
director general, also in code.

It mentions that the visit of the envoy was extended by a week.

In a margin note, it mentions the name Mohammed F. Mohammed Ahmed, but there
is no indication whether this is the envoy. The documents do not indicate
whether an actual meeting took place, or whether any follow-up contact was

Bin Laden's five years in Sudan ended in 1996, when he was ousted and
returned to Afghanistan, home of the mujahideen fighters from which he
launched Al Qaeda.

But it is believed remnants of his Sudanese operations remained behind.

Hijazi, the captured spymaster, was known to be a senior operative within
the Mukhabarat before joining Iraq's ambassadorial ranks.

He was first proposed as Iraq's ambassador to Canada, but the placement was
refused. In 1998, he became ambassador to Turkey.

According to U.S. officials, Hijazi travelled to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in
December, 1998, for an alleged meeting with bin Laden near his expanding
network of terrorist training camps.

Details of that meeting are not known, but U.S. officials cite the
allegation as the clearest link to date between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

by Linda Diebel
Toronto Star, 28th April

WASHINGTON‹British intelligence officials yesterday suggested they already
may have known about a possible 1998 trip to Baghdad by a purported Al Qaeda
agent, as reported in the Sunday Star.

On Sunday, the Star's Mitch Potter reported on the contents of a top-secret
document found in the bombed-out headquarters of Iraq's Mukhabarat
intelligence service.

The handwritten file, three pages in all, detail an alleged visit to Baghdad
by a secret envoy from Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization, apparently
to establish a clandestine relationship with the Iraqi regime of Saddam

The file, in which bin Laden's name was clumsily hidden with corrective
fluid, shows a potential direct contact between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi

Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001,
terror attacks on the United States and President George W. Bush cited
Saddam's harbouring of terrorists as a justification for the war against

Potter worked on the story with Inigo Gilmore, a freelancer for Britain's
Sunday Telegraph.

In a report yesterday on the Sunday Telegraph story, the Times of London
said there were "intelligence indicators about that time of a possible visit
to Baghdad by someone purporting to represent Al Qaeda.''

However, the newspaper added "there has been no evidence of any follow-up
meetings to suggest that Baghdad had forged a long-term partnership with Al

And, British intelligence agents expressed doubt that any such working
relationship was ever established.

In his report, Potter stressed that, without further documentation, it was
impossible to surmise whether any follow-up meeting every occurred.

However, yesterday, Iraqi opposition leader Ahmed Chalabi, asked about the
document on Fox News Sunday, said he has ``specific information'' about
links between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi intelligence service.

Chalabi, who heads up the U.S.-backed Iraqi National Congress, said it is
imperative for the U.S. to prove the link between Al Qaeda and the Saddam
regime. "We have specific information about visits that leaders of Al Qaeda
made to Iraq in as late as 2000, and the requests for large amounts of
cash,'' he told Fox News Sunday.

Chalabi would not elaborate, however, "because we want to chase down
specifically the information so there will be an actionable case for
international authorities."

Chalabi is backed by many in the Bush administrationto head Iraq's postwar
government. His organization has received congressional funding.

"We have captured a great many files of Saddam's (intelligence) services and
there is astounding information about the extent of their networks and their
efforts to recruit foreign nationals ‹ including Americans ‹ to work in the
Mukhabarat,'' he told Fox News Sunday.


by Walter Pincus
Washington Post, 26th April

The United States has yet to find weapons of mass destruction at any of the
locations that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell cited in his key
presentation to the U.N. Security Council in February, according to US

Powell's speech on Feb. 5 signaled the end of the Bush administration's
support of continued U.N. weapons inspections and set the stage for military
action by providing information he said showed Iraq was in continued
violation of Security Council resolutions that required it to disarm. The
secretary told the council he was sharing "what the United States knows
about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as well as Iraq's involvement in

Powell said last week he was "reasonably sure" that U.S. forces "will find
them [weapons]." In a PBS interview, he added, "I spent four days and nights
of my life in the days before my presentation in February with the
intelligence community, at the highest levels, going over everything that I
was to present to make sure that the entire community agreed on that
information, and they did."

In the 38 days since U.S. and British troops invaded Iraq, however, military
forces have yet to produce any of the weaponry or chemical or biological
agents Powell described, nor have they produced Iraqi scientists with
evidence about them, officials said.

They also have not turned up anything to support Powell's claim to the
Security Council that "nearly two dozen" al Qaeda terrorists lived in and
operated from Baghdad.

President Bush, who less than two months ago said Iraq's deposed leader,
Saddam Hussein, "possesses weapons of terror" and was providing "safe haven
to terrorists who would willingly use weapons of mass destruction," on
Thursday told NBC's Tom Brokaw that "time and investigation" will be needed
to prove both allegations.

The U.S. Central Command, which is running the war, has dispatched special
units to search sites where U.S. intelligence agencies said it was highly
probable that proscribed weapons would be found. There have been several
early published reports from these teams about possible weapons or chemical
finds, but each one has so far been discounted.

"First reports from the field are almost always incorrect," a senior Defense
Department intelligence official said. "Second reports generally compound
the problem and only with the third report do we start to begin to make some
sense out of [the find]."

"We are being enormously careful," this senior aide said, recognizing how
important it will be to be accurate in showing Hussein did have weapons of
mass destruction. He repeated Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's regular
statement to reporters that the Iraqis had 12 years to learn how to hide
weapons and it is going to take a long time to find them.

One of Powell's most dramatic disclosures was that while the Security
Council was debating a resolution authorizing renewed weapons inspections in
November, the United States "knew from sources that a missile brigade
outside Baghdad was dispersing rocket launchers and warheads containing
biological warfare agents . . . to various locations in western Iraq." He
went on to say that "most of the launchers and warheads had been hidden in
large groves of palm trees and were to be moved every one to four weeks to
escape detection."

None of those weapons has been found, a senior administration official said
yesterday. Searches have been conducted in western Iraq without any
successes. U.S. forces attacked the missile brigade along with Iraqi Special
Republican Guard units that Bush administration officials told reporters in
the weeks before the war had received chemical weapons. "We don't know where
those people are," the official said, but added that U.S. military personnel
in Iraq may be looking for them.

Another part of Powell's presentation focused on an electronic intercept of
a conversation between two Republican Guard Corps commanders. They were
talking to each other "just a few weeks ago," Powell said, and discussed
removing the discussion of "nerve agents wherever it comes up" in wireless
instructions, in anticipation of U.N. inspectors' arrival.

U.S. intelligence knew the locations of the two commanders and probably
their names. "We don't know where they are," one official said yesterday.

The sites where they were talking from were on priority lists for searching,
another senior analyst said.

Powell detailed Iraq's use of mobile laboratories to produce chemical or
biological weapons as a way of avoiding discovery. He displayed diagrams to
show their interiors. The information came from an Iraqi chemical engineer
who had seen one of them and witnessed an accident in which 12 technicians
died from exposure to biological agents. This defector, and three others,
presented independent information, Powell said, that proved Iraq had "at
least seven of these mobile biological agent factories" and that each of the
truck-mounted factories had at least two or three trucks each.

None of the truck laboratories has been discovered and none of the defectors
has come forward. "They are not likely to appear," the senior official said,
until Hussein's fate is known. "They and their families still have to fear
some retaliation."

Powell and administration spokesmen repeatedly emphasized that Iraq
possessed large stocks of chemical and perhaps biological weapons, but those
allegations were primarily based on weapons and chemical and biological
agents that Baghdad had declared it had in 1991, when U.N. inspection teams
first began work in Iraq after the Persian Gulf War.

By 1998, those U.N. inspectors, working from Iraq's declarations, supervised
or had evidence of the destruction of about 80,000 weapons and tons of
chemical precursors. But Iraqi officials had not been able to prove they had
unilaterally destroyed 550 artillery shells containing mustard gas, 30,000
empty munitions that could be filled with chemical agents, 6,500 bombs
missing from the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and possibly 25,000 liters of
anthrax material.

Powell told the Security Council about Iraqi scientists who were threatened
with death if they told about weapons activities to U.N. inspectors and "a
dozen experts . . . placed under house arrest -- not in their own houses."

That information came from human intelligence sources, a senior official
said, but to date not one of those individuals has been produced in public.

Those scientists may be in U.S. hands, however, since the Central Command
has not disclosed all the individuals its personnel have met with or all the
information they have received.

by Bob Drogin
Los Angeles Times, 28th April

WASHINGTON ‹ Disorganization, delays and faulty intelligence have hampered
the Pentagon-led search for Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass
destruction, causing growing concern about one of the most sensitive and
secretive operations in postwar Iraq, according to U.S. officials and
outside experts familiar with the effort.

The slow start has created so many interagency squabbles that a National
Security Council military staffer at the White House has been assigned to
mediate among the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction
Agency, the CIA, the Energy Department and other government agencies
involved in the hunt. ...

Two classified videoconferences involving commanders in Iraq, at the U.S.
Central Command headquarters in Qatar and in Washington, were organized over
the last week to help straighten out the mess, officials said. The DIA's
deputy director for intelligence operations, Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, also
flew to Baghdad to investigate the disorder and organize reinforcements for
the hunt.

"Everybody recognizes that it's gotten off to a rocky start," said one
official who helped draft the Pentagon's weapons search plans and has seen
reports coming back from Iraq. "Frankly, the whole situation is very
confusing at the moment."


by John J. Lumpkin
Yahoo, 29th April

WASHINGTON - U.S. forces near Baghdad have captured a man they describe as a
midlevel terrorist operative with links to al-Qaida, a counterterrorism
official said Tuesday.

The operative, whose name was not provided, works for Abu Musab Zarqawi, a
senior associate of Osama bin Laden, the official said, speaking on the
condition of anoymity.

The capture occurred this week, the official said.

Zarqawi, linked to the death of an American diplomat in Jordan last year, is
one of the Bush administration's links between al-Qaida and the regime of
Saddam Hussein. He is also among the administration's most-wanted al-Qaida

Zarqawi fled Afghanistan during the U.S.-led war to oust the Taliban. He
passed through Iran and then received medical treatment in Baghdad in
mid-2002, U.S. officials have said.

During this time, several of his associates, affiliated with Egyptian
Islamic Jihad, joined him in the city. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad is
considered merged with al-Qaida.

It is unclear if the captured operative was one of those associates.

Zarqawi left Baghdad, but those associates remained, officials have said.
His current whereabouts are unknown.

Both Zarqawi and the captured man are also suspected of links to Ansar
al-Islam, an Islamic extremist group in northern Iraq composed of ethnic
Kurds. The group's camps were bombed heavily by U.S. forces during the war.

Officials suspect Zarqawi is linked to a plan to use poison against European
targets late last year. They also say he took part in a foiled plot to bomb
a tourist hotel in Amman, Jordan, during millennium celebrations.

by Marian Wilkinson
The Age (Australia), 1st May

President Bush's National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, is now
acknowledging that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program is far less
clear-cut and probably more difficult to establish than the White House
portrayed before the war.

She has no doubt that the US-led coalition, assisted by experts from Britain
and Australia, will find the weapons. But for the first time, Dr Rice is
saying publicly that it is less likely many actual weapons will be found.
Rather, she described the programs as being hidden in so-called "dual use"
infrastructure. In other words, chemicals and biological agents could be in
plants, factories and laboratories capable of being used for both legal and
prohibited purposes.

Almost three weeks since the fall of Baghdad, with senior Iraqi scientists
and officials in US custody, no major chemical or biological weapons
stockpiles have been found. Nor has any evidence emerged that Iraq restarted
its nuclear program.

In explaining the gap between the prewar and postwar claims on Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction, Dr Rice said the US was now seeing the programs
in a different light.

According to Dr Rice, the weapons programs are "in bits and pieces" rather
than assembled weapons. "You may find assembly lines, you may find pieces
hidden here and there," she said. Ingredients or precursors, many non-lethal
by themselves, could be embedded in dual use facilities.

She had a new explanation, too, of Iraq's ability to launch the weapons that
were not assembled - "just-in-time assembly" and "just-in-time" inventory,
as she put it.

But in the weeks and months before the Iraq war, President Bush and his
senior advisers, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, gave far more
black-and-white, frightening descriptions about Iraq's stockpile.

Before the UN Security Council on February 5, Mr Powell said that recent
intelligence showed a missile brigade outside Baghdad was "dispersing rocket
launchers and warheads containing biological warfare agent to various

Mr Bush was equally alarmist, describing satellite evidence showing that
Saddam Hussein was reconstituting its nuclear weapons programs with his top
nuclear scientists, his "nuclear mujahideen". Iraq's deadliest weapons could
end up in the hands of terrorists. "We cannot wait for final proof," said
President Bush, "the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom

When chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix suggested Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction program could be more fragmented and degraded, he was pilloried
as naive, or worse, incompetent. When his inspectors talked of a far more
complex search where components or precursors could be found in the form of
legal, dual-use chemical or biological agents that had to be monitored, they
were dismissed as flat-footed and over-cautious.

Yet ironically, Dr Rice's descriptions today of Iraq's weapons program are
far closer to Dr Blix's analysis than she would want to concede.

Many international weapons experts also believed that the threat from Iraq
was less direct.

Now the US, Britain and Australia, which have taken on the mission to find
Iraq's program, have to explain this more complex and diffuse threat to the
international community.

Dr Rice's public comments will assist that explanation. But the refusal of
the US to accept a role for Dr Blix and his UN inspectors to verify what
actually made up Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program in the past
years will only encourage scepticism of all the coalition claims.

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