Skip to comments.Downing Street reveals ‘deception skills’ of Saddam, the artful dodger
Posted on 02/01/2003 4:01:36 PM PST by MadIvan
From bugging inspectors to hiding papers in mosques, Iraq is said to be running rings round the UN, writes Nicholas Rufford
Downing Street has assembled a document designed to paint a picture of Saddam Husseins regime systematically deceiving United Nations weapons inspectors.
The unpublished briefing portrays an operation by Saddams security services that is running rings around United Nations inspection teams.
It claims spies monitor the UN teams every move and conversation, enabling incriminating material to be moved from any facility about to receive a visit from the inspectors.
In a phrase that seems to have been crafted more by Downing Street spin doctors than by sober-minded intelligence officials, the report notes: Saddam and his inner circle control the state infrastructure of fear.
It says houses, farms and mosques are used as hiding places and that the Iraqis are using sophisticated equipment to deceive the inspectors. There are claims that ground-penetrating radar is being used to test whether packages hidden underground could be detected by similar UN devices.
The briefing will be crucial in building up the American and British case that Saddams non-co-operation with UN inspectors is a material breach of his international obligations.
However, the report is likely to prove vulnerable to critics who will point out that it gives almost no details of what Saddam may be hiding in breach of UN resolutions.
Critics will argue that its findings contrast with those of Hans Blix, the chief inspector. He told the UN last week that Iraq was not actively obstructing his teams, but was failing to give evidence that it had got rid of its weapons of mass destruction.
The British report, entitled Iraq Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation, states plainly: Iraq has deliberately hampered the work of the weapons inspectors and is now engaged in a campaign of obstruction.
It continues: The regime has intensified efforts to hide documents in places where they are unlikely to be found, such as private homes of low-level officials and universities . . .
There are prohibited materials and documents being relocated to agricultural areas and private homes or hidden beneath hospitals and even mosques.
Some of the methods said to be used are hardly surprising for an experienced police state such as Iraq. Surveillance equipment has been installed in all the hotels and offices used by the UN, while all phone calls are said to be tapped.
When the teams leave for their inspections, their drivers are intelligence agents and security officers stationed by roadsides give notification about where the motorcades are heading.
In addition to their picture of Saddam as willing to resort to anything to outwit the UN, the British and Americans are using the confessions of senior Al-Qaeda figures to show the Iraqi regimes willingness to sponsor terrorism.
The main confession comes from a leading Osama Bin Laden apparatchik who has told Sudanese authorities that in the 1980s, before he joined Al-Qaeda, he trained Syrian fundamentalist fighters at a camp just outside Baghdad.
The man has said that he worked at the Al-Rashdiya camp near Baghdad, now a Republican Guard headquarters. The camp trained hundreds of fighters from Syrias fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.
The source, who once ran Bin Ladens business interests in Khartoum, was named in a New York courtroom in February 2001 as a member of Al-Qaedas executive board.
One of his alleged trainees is Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, now under arrest in Spain and suspected of being head of the Spanish cell of Al-Qaeda.
Another graduate of Al-Rashdiya was Mustafa Sitmirian Nasar, a 44-year-old Syrian who was named in the New York trial two years ago as running a group trying to buy uranium in Africa on behalf of Bin Laden.
A separate thread being followed for connections between Al-Qaeda and Saddams regime runs through northern Iraq. Abu Musab Zarqawi, a middle-ranking Al-Qaeda member, is said to have had medical treatment in Baghdad then travelled to the Kurdish north and visited Ansar al-Islam, a small Muslim militia linked to Bin Laden.
US intelligence officials suspect Zarqawi has helped with work on chemical weapons. He has also been linked to the murder of the American diplomat Lawrence Foley in Jordan last October and to the recently uncovered ricin plot in London.
Tony the Phony Blair, talking about someone else's 'deception skills.'
That's a hot one, Ive. :)
No, my friend. He may well be hiding it.
The onus is on the President or the PM to produce it, as promised, or call the whole thing off. Isn't the way the Left is rallying over this making you nervous? It should be.
Rest assured, when everything is revealed, I WILL be pinging you for your comments.
What Left? Every whingeing, hand-wringing Labour MP in God's creation is screaming how evil George Bush is and the war shouldn't happen. Maybe it's different in Australia, but here, the Left is against the war, and removing Saddam Hussein.
Please do, madame, and should an apology be in order I'll make it unhesitatingly.
However let me flag something for you; my instinct is that, despite the awesome might of the US' intelligence gathering capability, the 'smoking gun' is not going to be what we were led to expect: a secret anthrax lab in Tikrit, or similar. If it turns out to be transcripts of Camp X-Ray interrogation sessions, or some mystery defector's admissions, that won't cut the mustard. Cheers, By.
Of course they are mate, and that's the problem.
Think back a year or two. The Euro Left were dispirited and issue-less. They had no answer to the success of right-wing candidates voted in on a wave of public concern over immigration. Hell, even Norway moved to the right! And now they are coalescing and rediscovering an identity around anti-war activism. It cannot be good for our side to take the focus off the main game of advancing the cause of conservatism- all for this silly Iraqi sideshow. You don't give an enemy as dangerous as the socialists a stick to beat you with. It's just that simple.
If this is true, will you be more understanding of our position?
Given what we know about Saddam, he is not a person to trust with weapons of mass destruction either - he should have been killed off during the Gulf War.
Your logic is lacking. I don't know how or why you came to hold onto a militant anti-war position, but it defies reason and logic.
Oh by the way, the right is poised to win elections in Germany, just won on the Netherlands and Israel, and even Labour's lead over the Tories has dropped to just 4 points. So nothing of what you say is coming to pass.
I've read that, and it prompts the obvious question: why haven't some of them been electronically intercepted saying things like 'bring the anthrax to laboratory B, 16 Hussein Street, Tikrit'? Can't US SIGINT produce some meat, to go with all the limp salad?
Give me a year of unfettered access in Iraq and I'll find an army buried in various parts of that country.
There's third and fourth options, amigo.
For starters, surely Saddam can be Tomahawked, without the uncertainty of a ground invasion? I've been around long enough to know that once a war starts you can expect the unexpected. And this war is coming at the wrong time in the US political cycle. By 2004 it'll be too late to advance our agenda without giving the Dems a 'heartless Republicans' free kick, and any Iraq creds will have receded in the public's mind.
Remember Bill Clinton? To use the President's words, all he managed to do was fire a million dollar missile to take out a 10 dollar tent and hit a camel in the butt.
I've been around long enough to know that once a war starts you can expect the unexpected.
Oh well, we shouldn't have fought Hitler then. Or even Galtieri. Too unpredictable.
And this war is coming at the wrong time in the US political cycle. By 2004 it'll be too late to advance our agenda without giving the Dems a 'heartless Republicans' free kick, and any Iraq creds will have receded in the public's mind.
If the outcome of war is unpredictable, how come the consquences to you are so predictably bad?
Where I'm from (Perth), we wouldn't treat you so nicely.
Ive, you're going to compare Hitler and Galtieri, both of whom attacked British territory, with Saddam, who doesn't even control the northern and southern parts of his own country?
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