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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Stephen Hayes On Condi's View Of The Saddam Docs

Stephen Hayes is on top the Saddam document release. And it seems that he is the only one within the media, in general, to really touch on them. Bloggers have been on them, but the media treats bloggers as some grotesque red-headed step-child badly in need of a butt-beating. (Too bad the bloggers are the ones meting out that punishment to the MSM establishment.) But today, Mr. Hayes brings to light a view from the administration in the form of the lovely, skileld, and talented Dr. Condoleeza Rice.

SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE on Sunday contradicted claims from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that documents captured in postwar Iraq and now being posted on the Internet will not contain anything new or significant.

"We're going to find some important and surprising things in these documents," Rice said in an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press.

Rice also addressed revelations, important but not surprising, that former Russian ambassador to Iraq, Vladimir Teterenko, passed the U.S. war plan to Iraq shortly before the war began. The charges, based largely on
two Iraqi documents captured in postwar Iraq, came in a report issued by the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, and released by the Pentagon late last week. Rice said she is not in a position to confirm or deny the claims but vowed to take "a hard look at the reports" of Russian betrayal.

The revelations about the Russians will be the subject of discussions this week between Bush administration officials and their Russian counterparts. "We will certainly raise it with the Russians," Rice said.

The Russian government has already denied the charges. "Similar, baseless accusations concerning Russia's intelligence have been made more than once," Russian Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman Boris Labusov said. "We don't consider it necessary to comment on such fabrications."

But Labusov has not always found such allegations baseless. In 2003 Labusov confirmed reports, based on captured Iraqi documents, that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service was training Iraqi Intelligence operatives
as late as September 2002. This is how the San Francisco Chronicle, which broke the story on April 13, 2003, reported the findings:

A Moscow-based organization was training Iraqi intelligence agents as recently as last September--at the same time Russia was resisting the Bush administration's push for a tough stand against Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraqi documents discovered by The Chronicle show.

The documents found Thursday and Friday in a Baghdad office of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi secret police, indicate that at least five agents graduated Sept. 15 from a two-week course in surveillance and eavesdropping techniques, according to certificates issued to the Iraqi agents by the "Special Training Center" in Moscow.

The "Moscow-based organization," it turns out, was the SVR, Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service:

Russian intelligence officials have confirmed that Iraqi spies received training in specialized counterintelligence techniques in Moscow last fall--training that appears to violate the United Nations resolution barring military and security assistance to Iraq.

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Boris Labusov, acknowledged that Iraqi secret police agents had been trained by his agency but said the training was for nonmilitary purposes, such as fighting crime and terrorism.

Said Labusov: "The SVR does not refuse cooperation with secret services of different countries in the areas of counter-terrorism and war, fighting drug traffic and investigating the illegal trade of weapons."The Chronicle article continues:

However, it seems likely that the Iraqi agents who were trained at the Moscow center were using their skills for other purposes. Found in the same Mukhabarat office with their personnel files and graduation certificates were a host of other documents, including orders for wiretaps and for break-ins at such sites as the Iranian Embassy, the five-star al-Mansour Hotel and private doctors' offices.

Rice on Sunday missed an opportunity to highlight two other significant revelations from captured Iraqi documents. The
"Iraqi Perspectives Project" study, which ignited the public discussion of Russia and Iraq, also reveals that beginning in 1998 Saddam Hussein's intelligence services began training "non-Iraqi Arab volunteers" at camps in Iraq. Another captured document details the plan of the Iraqi Intelligence Service to invigorate its relations with Saudi opposition groups, including one headed by Osama bin Laden. According to that document, which a Pentagon task force determined "appears authentic," bin Laden requested assistance from the Iraqi regime on its anti-Saudi propaganda efforts and with attacks on U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. The documents indicate that Iraq agreed to rebroadcast al Qaeda propaganda and left open the possibility of working with al Qaeda on attacks.

Let us take that last part just a step further. Yesterday Thomas and I ripped through the recent argument presented by the Left that Saddam had no ties to al Qaeda. In fact, the 9/11 Commission refutes that point:

"There is also evidence that around this time Bin Laden sent out a number of feelers to the Iraqi regime, offering some cooperation. None are reported to have received a significant response. According to one report, Saddam Hussein's efforts at this time to rebuild relations with the Saudis and other Middle Eastern regimes led him to stay clear of Bin Laden."

"In mid-1998, the situation reversed; it was Iraq that reportedly took the initiative. In March 1998, after Bin Laden's public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban, and then Bin Laden. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Laden's Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. In 1998, Iraq was under intensifying US pressure, which culminated in a series of large air attacks in December."

"Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Laden or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Laden declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides' hatred of the United States. But to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States."

The commission's report is quick to point out that they found no connections regarding Iraq and al Qaeda cooperation on attacks against the US. However, they admit that there was a relationship between the two. It revolved around training, personnel, and money for the most part. Yes, to date there has been no operational connection between the two, but even the minor relationship that was found by the 9/11 Commission and the release of these documents (with more to be released soon) shows that there was enough cooperation to give the US a level of concern.

A question that has been on my mind since the connection was first made is: With the level of cooperation between the two, how long before the relationship would have turned "operational?" That is, how long before Osama and Saddam decided that they had to work together to really hurt the US? My guess, and mind you this is a rough one, is that within five years, or so, the relationship would have moved beyond the "hey, I'll give you some training camps and money" stage. Iraq had already proposed such an option, but bin Laden had turned them down because he did not want to lose his independence.

But with the pressure building not only for bin Laden, but for Iraq as well, how long before that relationship evolved into something more sinister and deadly. Suppose that instead of Iran getting a nuclear weapon, it was Saddam. And suppose that their hatred fro the West led Saddam to hand that device over to have it detonated in Western Europe. We know that Iraqi Intelligence had been making its way around Europe in the late nineties, as was al Qaeda. The US, for all of its apparent lack of security prior to 9/11 still would have been a stretch as a target for such a device. But Europe would not have been. Nor Israel.

The simple fact that the moonbat crowd has a problem grasping is that while his ties to al Qaeda were considered "minimal" by intelligence standards, and barely worth noting, were still there. That connection was still there and being utilized in the late nineties by a dictator determined to build his WMD stockpiles up, and face off in another confrontation with either the region, or the West. And his ties to al Qaeda, while "minimal" would have given him yet another weapon or vehicle to carry that war out. Much ado is made regarding Iran's ties to Hezbollah. Those run even deeper than the ones Saddam had with al Qaeda. And now Iran is seemingly on the brink of gaining the one thing Saddam could not.

That is a nuclear weapon. Their ties to Hezbollah make it imperative that they not be allowed to construct such a weapon. Hezbollah has been working in and around Israel for years, and the prospect of a crude nuclear device detonated by Hezbollah in Israel is a nightmare; sure to ignite a war in a region that is desperately trying to find it's way in the new millenium. With one side poised to move towards democracy, and another still stuck in a 7th Century long gone, neither side is willing to budge. That makes that a hotbed region. And that also makes for unsavory characters willing to work with the most despotic regimes. Al Qaeda is indeed a worry of ours, and it will continue to be one in the years ahead. But to arbitrarily disdain and ignore the documents released regarding Saddam's Iraq, his ties to al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups as nonsense is not smart, nor prudent. The information released thus far reinforces what the administration said from the start, and there is not a pundit out there who can prove otherwise.

The Bunny ;)

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