U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rory Fitch walks a patrol in Fallujah, Iraq, March 14, 2008. Fitch is assigned to Police Transition Team 8, Regimental Combat Team 1, which trains Iraqi policemen and maintains local security.
Saddam’s Dangerous Friends
What a Pentagon review of 600,000 Iraqi documents tells us.
by Stephen F. Hayes
The Weekly Standard
03/24/2008, Volume 013, Issue 27
This ought to be big news. Throughout the early and mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein actively supported an influential terrorist group headed by the man who is now al Qaeda’s second-in-command, according to an exhaustive study issued last week by the Pentagon. “Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.” According to the Pentagon study, Egyptian Islamic Jihad was one of many jihadist groups that Iraq’s former dictator funded, trained, equipped, and armed.
The study was commissioned by the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, and produced by analysts at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded military think tank. It is entitled “Iraqi Perspectives Project: Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents.” The study is based on a review of some 600,000 documents captured in postwar Iraq. Those “documents” include letters, memos, computer files, audiotapes, and videotapes produced by Saddam Hussein’s regime, especially his intelligence services. The analysis section of the study covers 59 pages. The appendices, which include copies of some of the captured documents and translations, put the entire study at approximately 1,600 pages.
An abstract that describes the study reads, in part:
Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some way, a ‘de facto’ link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.”
Among the study’s other notable findings:
In 1993, as Osama bin Laden’s fighters battled Americans in Somalia, Saddam Hussein personally ordered the formation of an Iraqi terrorist group to join the battle there.
For more than two decades, the Iraqi regime trained non-Iraqi jihadists in training camps throughout Iraq.
According to a 1993 internal Iraqi intelligence memo, the regime was supporting a secret Islamic Palestinian organization dedicated to “armed jihad against the Americans and Western interests.”
In the 1990s, Iraq’s military intelligence directorate trained and equipped “Sudanese fighters.”
In 1998, the Iraqi regime offered “financial and moral support” to a new group of jihadists in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.
In 2002, the year before the war began, the Iraqi regime hosted in Iraq a series of 13 conferences for non-Iraqi jihadist groups.
That same year, a branch of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) issued hundreds of Iraqi passports for known terrorists.
There is much, much more. Documents reveal that the regime stockpiled bombmaking materials in Iraqi embassies around the world and targeted Western journalists for assassination. In July 2001, an Iraqi Intelligence agent described an al Qaeda affiliate in Bahrain, the Army of Muhammad, as “under the wings of bin Laden.” Although the organization “is an offshoot of bin Laden,” the fact that it has a different name “can be a way of camouflaging the organization.” The agent is told to deal with the al Qaeda group according to “priorities previously established.”
Read the rest here.
Girls’ school gets computers, Internet service
Forward Operating Base Delta, Iraq
Friday, 14 March 2008
Students at the al Kut Girls Secondary School use computers provided by the Wasit Provincial Reconstruction Team March 10. The school’s new Internet center features 10 new computers and furniture. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stacy Niles)
While the school’s infrastructure may be behind the times, students’ education has been thrust into the modern era.
The Al Kut Girls Secondary School received an Internet center complete with 10 computers and furniture. The school, established in 1932, educates 1,000 females, grades 10 to 12.
The center will be used by female students throughout the province, said the school manager, Zahrah Aljdrey.
Students will now be able to do research and work on projects. The center will also allow the girls to complete exams they would otherwise have to travel to Baghdad to take. Aljdrey said the computers will help students get a better education and will give them the opportunity to learn about different cultures.
For Sgt. Amanda Timmer, the Wasit Provincial Reconstruction Team head of women’s initiative and program manager, the project provided her with a feeling of satisfaction.
“It was great especially after talking with the girls and seeing how optimistic and energetic they were,” Timmer said. “It was as if they could sense that the world was at their fingertips. Like they knew they were the future of Iraq.”
“They already had the initiative, but this gives them the tools to help accomplish their initiatives and ambitions,” she said.
The project was a cooperative effort between the Wasit PRT, the Wasit provincial council and the Iraqi Director General of Education.
U.S. Army Col. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., right, commander, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, listens as Iraqi Army Gen. Jassem, commander of the 9th Iraqi Army Division, speaks during an opening ceremony for the new Salman Pak market, March 11, 2008.
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Natalie Rostek.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 13, 2008) – The first new $5 bill was issued by the Federal Reserve today during a commemorative transaction at President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home in Washington, D.C., a historic site used by the former president as a White House summer retreat.
Officials from the Federal Reserve Board, U.S. Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and U.S. Secret Service ushered the new $5 bill into circulation at the Lincoln Cottage gift shop.
Michael Lambert, Assistant Director, Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems at the Federal Reserve Board, spent the first new $5 bill on a book of President Lincoln’s speeches.
President Lincoln’s portrait continues to be featured on this redesign of the $5 bill.
“The redesigned $5 bill’s enhanced security features help ensure we stay ahead of counterfeiters and protect your hard-earned money,” Lambert said. “It only takes a few seconds to check the new $5 bill to make sure it’s genuine. If you know how to check its security features, you can easily be confident it’s real.”
Read more here.
By Martina Smit and agencies
A new data security row has hit the Ministry of Defence after it emerged that an “extraordinary” 11,000 military ID cards have been lost or stolen in the past two years.
Opposition parties said the losses are yet more proof that the Government’s plans for a national ID card scheme would fail to improve security.
According to MoD figures released in a Commons written answer, 4,433 ID cards disappeared in 2006 and a further 6,812 went missing last year.
The disclosure follows the loss of a laptop with details of more than 150,000 people who had applied to join the Armed Forces. The computer was stolen in January from a Royal Navy officer’s car parked overnight in Birmingham.
The Government has been under pressure over data security since the loss last year of the entire HM Revenue and Customs child benefit database with the personal details of 25 million people.
Read more here.
Iraqi soldiers walk down a road leading into Ali Shaheen, Iraq, March 7, 2008, to begin a clearing operation. They are assigned to the 8th Iraqi Army Division’s 32nd Infantry Brigade, 2nd Battalion.
ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ – The Iraqi town of Al Farris looks like a model Soviet city up close and a rounded square from the sky. Saddam Hussein built it to house workers in the now-defunct weapons factory to the east, and they live in neighborhoods called City 1, City 2, City 3, City 4, and City 5. “Socialist living at its finest,” Sergeant Edward Guerrero said as we rolled through the gates in a Humvee. The place made me think of Libya, where I have been, and North Korea, where I have not.
Follow the story here.
By Jon Caruthers
That’s the $25 million question, isn’t it?
For six years now, pundits, bloggers, media vetted “experts,” politicians, columnists, and all sorts, kinds, and flavors of prognosticators have weighed in on the subject with the general consensus being that he’s just on the Pakistani side of the Tora Bora mountains in the federally administrated tribal areas (FATA).
After giving the US military the slip in late 2001, Osama and company have seemingly disappeared into the ether, reconstituting periodically to give the metaphorical digit to the American people and giving the left more ammunition to fire at the Bush administration.
Although the question seems largely to have been settled in the media, taking a fresh look at the question of our age is instructive for understanding more about Al Qaeda and specifically why we’ve not seen another attack on American soil.
The general consensus among the intelligentsia in the government apparatus and parroted ad nauseam by the talking heads on the media circuit is that Osama is hiding out in the caves of the Hindu Kush.
I would argue that he’s not, and the fact that he’s not is the reason why he’s yet to be caught but more importantly the reason why we’ve yet to see an attack on American soil since that fateful day.
Let’s think this through.
Osama bin Laden is a hero in that part of the world – especially in the tribal areas.
This isn’t September 12th, 2001, we’re a few years down the road.
If he really were in FATA, somebody would have talked by this point.
Obviously they wouldn’t be singing to western intelligence agencies deliberately, these people take their blood oaths seriously, but they would have talked nonetheless.
People are people no matter where you go.
Maybe it would have been a couple of housewives gossiping while doing laundry down by the local creek, or some school kid bragging to his buddies on a soccer field, or a couple of camel traders yacking over tea in Peshawar – but people talk.
These mighty Pashtun warriors are still people and they’re still susceptible to water cooler conversations like the rest of us – even if they lack the water cooler.
We, along with the rest of the western world, have that part of the world hard wired with listening posts, spy drones, turncoats, secret agents, and every intelligence gathering asset known to man. Surely, we would have picked up his scent by now.
Moreover, this is a part of the world where blood feuds and tribal hatreds are a national pastime.
If you’re the leader of tribe A and you’ve got a longstanding blood feud with tribe B and you’ve found out through the grapevine that bin Laden is a guest of tribe B, what better way of settling your feud, making a quick $25 million (of course, as we’re told relentlessly by the talking heads, in that part of the world money has no real value but I’m sure they’d be interested in $25 million worth of trade goods), and getting the prime pastureland and livestock of tribe A than dropping a dime and waiting for the smoke to clear from the daisy cutter?
That the trail has gone cold for this long means that Osama is not in the FATA of Pakistan – although I’m sure he’s doing his best to ensure that the intelligence apparatus of the west believes him to be.
I would wager that he’s probably using cutouts to carry orders from his location to the FATA and broadcast them from there.
So, that brings up the question of where he actually is. . . .
Read the rest here.
An Iraqi locomotive stirs up the dust as it passes a crowd of villagers upon its approach to the railroad gate to Camp Taji, Iraq March 5, 2008.
This is the first time a train has arrived at the coalition installation since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
‘Osama bin London’ jailed
Peter Walker and agencies
Friday March 7 2008
A terrorist instructor who called himself Osama bin London and set up al-Qaida-style training camps in the New Forest was today jailed indefinitely, with a minimum term of seven and a half years.
Mohammed Hamid, 50, from east London, was sentenced at Woolwich crown court after being convicted last week of soliciting to murder, as well as organising terrorist training.
The group’s self-appointed amir – meaning spiritual leader – Atilla Ahmet, 43, was jailed for six years and 11 months after admitting three counts of soliciting murder.
Five of the men’s followers were jailed last week for between three years five months and four years 11 months.
A jury heard how Hamid hoped to send his recruits on to further training in Afghanistan or east Africa.
Hamid, who had several of the July 21 failed bombers, including ringleader Muktar Said Ibrahim, among his followers, boasted that the July 7 attacks on London were “not even breakfast for me”, the court heard.
Shattered glass litters the ground in front of the joint-service recruiting station in New York City’s Times Square, Mar. 6, 2008.
Journalists Issue Guidelines That Downplay Islam in Terrorism
By Lynn Davidson
Many people have noticed a distinct change in the way that the media cover terrorism.
Right after 9/11, the Society of Professional Journalists issued “diversity guidelines,” which are now posted online.
No longer confined to the quaint idea of impartially reporting the news, the media were advised to change opinions, engage in public relations and “demystify” Islam and even ask “targeted communities” to “review” coverage and “make suggestions.” (ht LGF)
At their 2001 convention, the SPJ urged “tak[ing] steps against racial profiling in [the]coverage of the war on terrorism.” It reminded journalists to stop using “inflammatory” language and condescendingly said to “help audiences understand the complexities of the events in Pennsylvania, New York City and Washington, D.C.” Story guidelines are (all bold mine):
– Cover the victims of harassment, murder and other hate crimes as thoroughly as you cover the victims of overt terrorist attacks.
– When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.
– Do not imply that kneeling on the floor praying, listening to Arabic music or reciting from the Quran are peculiar activities.
On the surface, some of what the SPJ advocates is sensible. All Muslims are not terrorists. However, it ridiculous to claim that it is unimportant that a man recited passages from the Koran and prayed before breaking into an airplane cockpit.
The SPJ advised engaging in a cultural outreach and public relations for Islam:
– Use photos and features to demystify veils, turbans and other cultural articles and customs.
The SPJ knows that words matter and instructed journalists to use terms that do not link Islam to terrorism:
– Avoid using word combinations such as “Islamic terrorist” or “Muslim extremist” that are misleading because they link whole religions to criminal activity. Be specific: Alternate choices, depending on context, include “Al Qaeda terrorists” or, to describe the broad range of groups involved in Islamic politics, “political Islamists.” Do not use religious characterizations as shorthand when geographic, political, socioeconomic or other distinctions might be more accurate.
– Avoid using terms such as “jihad” unless you are certain of their precise meaning and include the context when they are used in quotations. The basic meaning of “jihad” is to exert oneself for the good of Islam and to better oneself.
– Consult the Library of Congress guide for transliteration of Arabic names and Muslim or Arab words to the Roman alphabet. Use spellings preferred by the American Muslim Council, including “Muhammad,” “Quran,” and “Makkah ,” not “Mecca.”
– Ask men and women from within targeted communities to review your coverage and make suggestions.
Asking “targeted communities” to “make suggestions” about terrorism coverage is extremely worrisome and will affect media impartiality and independence. Don’t journalism schools teach independent evaluation of stories? Will reporters now turn to Eric Rudolph’s buddies for “suggestions” when writing about abortion?
This pattern of downplaying inconvenient story lines is one reason why almost 70% of Americans believe the traditional media are out of touch. The media are too busy trying to help America “understand” The New Truth to realize their audience no longer thinks they are reliable.
Language is a powerful tool.
Controlling how issues are described, controls the debate.
Lynn contributes to NewsBusters. Reach her at tvisgoodforyou2–A T–y a h o o–D O T-c o m
Substandard Rx Reaches the U.S. from China – FDA Lacks Resources
Americans take for granted that the medicines that they take when ill or being treated are not only legitimate but are also quality products.
The problem is that more and more drugs being imported from countries like China and then relabeled for distribution in the U.S. Often, even when manufactured in the United States, the ingredients for these drugs are made in China.
The trouble occurs because the Food and Drug Administration does not have the resources needed to inspect the plants in China where these products and/or ingredients are made to ensure that they adhere to U.S. safety standards.
The result is a threat to our patient population that gets ill from the very drugs they are taking to treat an illness, or worse, die.
An investigation by the Chicago Tribune (David Greising and Bruce Japsen) revealed a quality issue with a drug called Heparin produced in one Chinese facility that no U.S. or Chinese government inspector had visited.
This one plant is which is now blamed for more than 400 illnesses and potentially as many as 21 deaths in the U.S. When FDA inspectors finally went to this facility at the end of February they found evidence of poor hygiene and safety standards.
Further, the inspection showed inadequate testing procedures; some tests results were missing and there was no way to actually trace the origin of some of the raw materials. The inspection also revealed that when batches of the product failed testing, workers were unable to diagnose the reasons for the failures.
Read the rest here.