U.S. intelligence officials will tell members of Congress on Thursday that North Korea was helping Syria build a nuclear facility, according to a source familiar with internal administration discussions.No big blockbuster--this has been rumored for months. So why the possible game of poker? Think King of Clubs.
Depending on which Arabs you choose to believe former Saddam henchman Izzat al-Douri is either dead; still in hiding in either Yemen (little Baghdad), Iraq or Syria; or has been captured. Indeed reports surfaced today that he's been captured, again, and Iraq's intelligence minister Mowafaq al-Rubaie was quoted as telling a Saudi newspaper that Syria has long been hiding the Ice Man, another long-rumored rumor.
By the way, we've also learned that former spokesman Tariq Aziz is still not dead and awaits a trial, while Chemical Ali, also still not dead, has gone into the hospital due to a hunger strike. Has anyone told him how that worked out for Saddam?
Debka questions the timing, but that's often like getting an opinion from a 9/11 truth site. Remember, only a few weeks ago the Israeli media was hinting that a report would reveal this site contained vestiges of Saddam's fateful WMD program, which leads to the following wild speculation fit for only a blogger--perhaps Syria offered up al-Douri as a quid pro quo? But for what? The hearing hasn't been canceled and it will tar Assad for dabbling with the North Koreans. Hmm, perhaps that's better than being associated with Saddam's WMDs. If the Ice Man was running loose in Syria who better to coordinate the addition of smuggled Iraqi WMD apparatus?
One thing is certain, if al-Douri is in custody it's certainly a bizarre coincidence. If he was given up by the Syrians it's even more bizarre. Actually, if his capture has anything to do with Syria whatsoever it's terribly bizarre and suspicious. Again, not sure why Bush would sit on evidence that Syria was somehow involved with Saddam's WMDs but maybe they're not ready to do anything about it yet.
Politically speaking it's not hard to see why holding back such a revelation until after the nomination would be advantageous, based simply on the positions already firmly taken by the two Democrat candidates, especially the one with the Muslim middle name. But hey, it's probably just another hoax anyway.
The US is still insisting the terrorists they picked up yesterday don't include the Ice Man, so apparently it was a big coincidence. Funny how that happens.
Anyway, all this talk about al-Douri brings back memories of the recent Joint Forces Command report about Iraq. Remember, the one that said Saddam had dabbled with Egyptian Islamic Jihad when Zawahiri was running it while all the mainstream media outlets headlined a lack of an operational connection to bin Laden? Michael Isikoff of Newsweek recently covered the story and as usual, it requires some minor clarifications for the sake of balance.
Referring to the EIJ contacts, Newsweek got themselves one of the most Bush-biased ex CIA sources they could find to opine about it:
Pillar notes the Egyptian group—headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri—didn't merge with Al Qaeda until years later. "This is the same kind of word game they played before the war," Pillar says.Unreal--Mr. Pillar is clearly the one playing a "word game". We've got one terror group run by Zawahiri that merges with another run by bin Laden and they form AQ, yet somehow contact with the predecessor doesn't equate to contact with "al Qaeda" because they weren't incorporated yet. That's a stock liberal argument seen extensively since the statue fell but it represents the deepest myopia possible, suggesting there were no terrorist enemies before AQ was formed. You'd expect more from a CIA guy. Then again.
Isikoff also mentioned the saga of fugitive Abdul Yasin, the man who helped mix the chemicals for the first WTC attack:
..the newly discovered tape shows that Saddam and his ministers were puzzled by the bombing and wondered whether the "Zionists" or U.S. intelligence were secretly behind it. They also were deeply suspicious of Yasin, whom the Iraqis had in custody and were interrogating. Yasin, Saddam says on the tape, is "too organized in what he is saying and is playing games."He seems quite happy to announce that and why not? There are lots of neocons including Cheney who'll never give that one up. Should we?
Well, it was reported by CBS News that Iraq tried to offer up Yasin before the war and the US rejected the offer. Apparently they wanted too much in return. He was even interviewed by Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes in 2002 before the war and claimed he was sorry and "talked into it" by the others. That sounds like complete BS of course, and obviously Saddam was trying to leverage him against us during the run-up to the war, which if the Joint Forces report is true is the only reason they'd bring him out of custody to talk at all. Otherwise why risk letting a "game-player" appear on American TV?
The most damning report on Yasin to date was the ABC 'stringer' who reportedly found Yasin outside his father's house in Baghdad back in 93 or 94, but Saddam's new tape brings this into the realm of propaganda now.
Did Isikoff leave anything out? Well, sorta. Beginning on page 63, here's a few more tidbits:
The participants in this meeting discuss other possible explanations, including direct or indirect involvement of either Israel or various factions in Saudi Arabia or Egypt. These alternative theories resonate with Saddam; he doubts that Abdul Rahman Yasin,convicted of being the ringleader, is capable of such an operation.Notice he left out Egypt and Saudi Arabia as mentioned culprits, choosing to list only America and Israel.
Saddam and his advisors then proceeded to layout a strategic communication strategy on how and when to make dramatic statements about Yasin's arrest. Additionally, they decided that to be effective, they must let out a little information every day. Saddam's approach was that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing suspect, if handled correctly, "will benefit us greatly; it will benefit us in our issue in the matter of the stance that the US has taken against US
But this does appear to take Saddam off the hook for the bombing since disbelieving it seems to require believing the tape was fabricated to confuse the Americans or there was a spy in his inner circle. While the left might believe bin Laden tapes are faked it's not prudent to do so without supporting evidence, so we have to treat this tape similarly.
Especially when this revelation about Yasin is taken in combination with the fact Ramzi Yousef used an Iraqi passport to enter America and Mohammed Salameh made dozens of calls to Iraq before the attack. Such business points to an clever conspiracy afoot to frame Saddam and provide a casus belli to have him removed by force. This would implicate either Isreal, one of the other Arab countries, or perhaps Iran, unless of course we attacked ourselves before attacking ourselves was uncool.
Remember, the FBI had Yasin in custody in New York then let him go, after which he boogied straight to Baghdad. Where were the 2/26 truthers back then? Where was Marvin Bush?
Then again, if Iran were behind the attack Yasin was one cool cat to retreat into the belly of the beast in Iraq. Such a thing would also call into question everything we think we know about Yousef and KSM, heretofore thought to be Sunni Baluch terrorists who hated the Iranian Mullahs. That doesn't leave many culprits short of AQ (which according to Mr. Pillar wasn't there in 1993), especially when one considers that nobody would figure Clinton to roll tanks after we'd just left Somalia. And that takes Mossad off the hook because without us, they couldn't accomplish a war, kind of leaving it to rogue terrorists as the 9/11 Commission said. Unless we choose not to believe the tape.
As to Yasin's whereabouts now, well he's nowhere to be found. Dead perhaps, but why would Saddam kill him unless he knew something uncomfortable about the regime? Perhaps the shock and awe killed him by mistake or perhaps the real conspirators got to him first. Or maybe he just melted away. As with everything involving the War on Terror, it's hard for yokels armed with only an internet hookup to definitively say.