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bmetzler's Journal: Found: A Smoking Gun 12

Journal by bmetzler

In the town of Kalar, about a hundred miles northeast of Baghdad, Kurdish villagers recently reported suspicious activity to the pesh merga.

That Kurdish militia has for years been waging a bloody battle with Ansar al-Islam, the terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and supported by Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It captured a courier carrying a message that demolishes the repeated claim of Bush critics that there was never a "clear link" between Saddam and Osama bin Laden.

The terrorist courier with a CD-ROM containing a 17-page document and other messages was Hassan Ghul, who confessed he was taking to Al Qaeda the Ansar document setting forth a strategy to start an Iraqi civil war, along with a plea for reinforcements. The Kurds turned him over to Americans for further interrogation, which is proving fruitful.

The Times reporter Dexter Filkins in Baghdad, backed up by Douglas Jehl in D.C., broke the story exclusively. Editors marked its significance by placing it on the front page above the fold. Although The Washington Post the next day buried it on Page 17 (and Newsweek may construe as bogus any Saddam-Osama connection) the messages' authenticity was best attested by the amazed U.S. official who told Reuters, "We couldn't make this up if we tried."

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Found: A Smoking Gun

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  • It captured a courier carrying a message that demolishes the repeated claim of Bush critics that there was never a "clear link" between Saddam and Osama bin Laden.

    [snip]

    ...who confessed he was taking to Al Qaeda the Ansar document setting forth a strategy to start an Iraqi civil war, along with a plea for reinforcements.

    This is not "Back to the Future". Most people agree that post-Bush Iraq is now an ideal breeding ground for terrorists, home for Al Qu'aida, etc etc. Newsweek made precisely that poi

    • This is not "Back to the Future". Most people agree that post-Bush Iraq is now an ideal breeding ground for terrorists, home for Al Qu'aida, etc etc. Newsweek made precisely that point six months ago. That is quite different from proving that Al Qu'aida had anything to do with Iraq before Saddam fell.

      Ansar Al Islam certainly did, however - and Iraq and Al Queda did cooperate regarding the 1993 attack on the WTC. People with a clue also agree that Baghdad itself was home to quite a few terrorists before Sa

      • Can we unpack what "co-operate" means here? Are you saying that Saddam and Bin Ladan were co-operating to "start and Iraqi civil war", to quote Brent, while Saddam was in charge of the country? That would be a little eccentric. That funds and bombs move between organisations is not news - I'm sure you can link the IRA and maybe ETA to the WTC bombing with a bit of work, by supply of equipment, exchange of intelligence, training or something. That's rather different to saying that Iraq was anything remotely

        • Can we unpack what "co-operate" means here? Are you saying that Saddam and Bin Ladan were co-operating to "start and Iraqi civil war", to quote Brent, while Saddam was in charge of the country?

          Of course not: they were fighting the Kurds. The civil war is to "take Iraq back" - which obviously wasn't an aim until they lost it in the first place.

          I admit I don't know a lot about Mussolini, but it seems to me that there is a radical religious dimension to Bin Laden that was absent in WWII. (European dictator

          • Of course not: they were fighting the Kurds. The civil war is to "take Iraq back" - which obviously wasn't an aim until they lost it in the first place.

            Right, so the OP is hogwash then - the fact that OBL is doing stuff now has nothing to do with what might or might not have been happening before the war.

            There are rather a lot of Jews who would disagree with you there - or would do, had they not been killed for belonging to the religion Hitler was trying to exterminate...

            You are confusing ethnicit

            • Right, so the OP is hogwash then - the fact that OBL is doing stuff now has nothing to do with what might or might not have been happening before the war.

              It isn't OBL doing anything - it's an Al Queda affiliated organisation. It's doing something now, and was doing something similar before the war: fighting Saddam's enemies - the Kurds and now the coalition. Of course they weren't fighting the coalition before it existed - but they were still fighting against Saddam's enemies in Iraq. Did Germany fighting

              • It's doing something now, and was doing something similar before the war: fighting Saddam's enemies - the Kurds and now the coalition.

                Maybe. Maybe not. But Brent's post doesn't establish anything about what was happening before the war either way. It's not a smoking gun, although maybe someone has been smoking something else...

                There are indeed multiple branches... but OBL speaks for none of them

                That's like saying "there are indeed multiple branches of Christianity - Catholic, Lutheran and Orthodox

                • Maybe. Maybe not. But Brent's post doesn't establish anything about what was happening before the war either way. It's not a smoking gun, although maybe someone has been smoking something else...

                  Which half are you questioning - that Ansar Al Islam was fighting Hussein's enemies before the war, or their links to Al Queda? There's certainly ample evidence of the former - such as eyewitness accounts from those who were fighting them - but captured members also confirm the latter...

                  That's like saying "there

                  • Which half are you questioning

                    The claim by Brent that the presence of AQ in Iraq now proves anything about their presence before the war. The fact that you are building your argument with other evidence suggests you agree with me.

  • Brent,

    First, this piece from the NY Times is an EDITORIAL piece and NOT a "story." In order for this piece to be run as a story, the reporter must have independent confirmation of the story. He doesn't. Thus, it's an Opinion / Editorial.

    Second, Ex Post Facto. Connections between Al Queda and Iraqi insurgent leadership TODAY don't necessarily mean that there were connections in the past.

    Third, the Bush Administration (with the exception of Sec. Rumsfield) has admitted that there was NO connection betwe
  • And who knows what else they'll catch by tightly controlling Iraq's borders? This was just with the Kurds guarding the border.

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