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News, 23-30/4/03 (4) REMNANTS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ * 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 PROGRESS OF THE PRETEXT * 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 REMNANTS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAQ http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/04/24/sprj.irq.war.main/index.html * SADDAM'S DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER IN CUSTODY 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. [.....] http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/04/24/1050777336666.html * SADDAM'S INTELLIGENCE CHIEF SURRENDERS 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 States. 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. [.....] http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5944-658410,00.html * FEARS OVER TREATMENT OF CAPTURED LEADERS 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. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/a/2003/04/26/MN279952 .DTL * ARCH-SPY FOR HUSSEIN IN CUSTODY 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 1993. "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 added. "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) * SADDAM TO IRAQIS: THEY ONLY TRIUMPHED OVER YOU THROUGH BETRAYAL 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 Kuwait. 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 http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/04/30/1051381996319.html * COMICAL ALI FINDS SURRENDERING A CHALLENGE 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. http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Apr/04302003/nation_w/52613.asp * TWO MORE SADDAM OFFICIALS REPORTEDLY HAVE SURRENDERED 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. PROGRESS OF THE PRETEXT http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=463562003 * WASHINGTON SIDELINES BLIX IN SEARCH FOR WEAPONS 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 goal. "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 plane". 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." [.....] NO URL * FINDING BANNED WEAPONS IN IRAQ IRRELEVANT, BRITISH OFFICIAL CLAIMS 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 case.'' "[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 now.'" http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?GXHC_gx_session_id_=9fd7f9376 00c2f34&pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1051359175040&ca ll_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154 * DOCUMENTS LINK IRAQ, BIN LADEN 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 Turkey. "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. http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1051125568646 * STAR FINDS BIN LADEN-IRAQ LINKS 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 planned. 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. http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Artic le_Type1&call_pageid=971358637177&c=Article&cid=1051125570140 * U.K. OFFICIALS KNEW OF VISIT BY 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 Hussein. 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 regime. 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 Iraq. 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 Qaeda.'' 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. [.....] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39011-2003Apr25.html * SEARCH GOES ON FOR WEAPONS POWELL CITED 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 officials. 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 terrorism." 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. http://tinyurl.com/ahsy * CONCERN GROWS OVER WEAPONS HUNT SETBACKS 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." [.....] http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030429/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ir aq_al_qaida&cid=540&ncid=1478 * AL-QAIDA ASSOCIATE DETAINED IN IRAQ 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 figures. 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. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/04/30/1051381996322.html * US CHANGES TUNE ON IRAQI WEAPONS THREAT 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 locations". 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 cloud." 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. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk