|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Saturday, May 03, 2003
DEBKAfile - Syria took Iraq WMD?
: "the relocation of Iraq's WMD systems took place between January 10 and March 10 and was completed just 10 days before the US-led offensive was launched against Iraq. The banned arsenal, hauled in giant tankers from Iraq to Syria and from there to the Bekaa Valley under Syrian special forces and military intelligence escort, was discharged into pits 6-8 meters across and 25-35 meters deep dug by Syrian army engineers. They were sealed and planted over with new seedlings. Nonetheless, their location is known and detectable with the right instruments. Our sources have learned that Syria was paid about $35 million to make Saddam Hussein's forbidden weapons disappear. .. Powell’s meeting with the Syrian president Saturday was a confrontation. The secretary of state laid down the following demands:
A map with the coordinates of the pits holding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
Surrender of Saddam’s most senior insiders who fled to Aleppo and Latakiya.
Handover of the two senior Al Qaeda members now in Damascus. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and intelligence sources say their names and whereabouts were uncovered by US intelligence units in Iraq.
An explanation of Syrian motives in allowing two British terrorists to transit Damascus en route to Israel.
An immediate stop to the military-terrorist activities of the Lebanese Hizballah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Syria and Lebanon.
Failure to do so, Powell explained, will result in a painful tightening of economic pressure on Syria, after the loss of $1b in oil revenues from Baghdad 11:22:14 PM
DEBKAfile - Stowaway Terrorists Steal into America by Sea Container
: June 2002: "Between 75 and 125 operatives of the fundamentalist terror network, al Qaeda, are known to have illegally penetrated the United States in the last two months, mostly through American ports as stowaways in commercial sea containers. Many more are estimated to have slipped through unbeknownst to US authorities. .. shipping sources told us witnesses had seen suspect containers appearing to be quarantined after their al Qaeda infiltrators were killed, suggesting the suspected presence of toxic substances. " Livorno Italy is said to be a workable point of embarcation, with organized crime help. US DoD and other groups are working to upgrade screening procedures at foreign ports as well as in the US. 11:19:36 PM
DEBKAfile - Who Will Rule Iraq Now? Saddam's Demilitarized Army Is an Option: From a source of unknown veracity: "US, British and Australian special forces were armed with a flood of data for forging contacts with Iraqi field commanders. Two months before the war got underway the number of Iraqi officers willing to lay down arms spiraled under the stimulus of added incentives for commanders who “brought friends”. As the Western intelligence source told it: ”Iraqi commanders competed over who could bring the highest-ranking officer into the surrender chain for the most advantageous deal.” Quite soon, deal was leading to deal at a bewildering rate.
The surrender agreements included a US pledge not to conduct air or ground attacks on Iraqi units giving themselves up. Commanders and men were given safe conduct and immunity from pursuit during and after the war and allowed to rejoin their families as civilians. The Iraqi commanders’ promised, for their part, not to attack American or British troops or sabotage strategic infrastructure such as bridges, intersections, dams, and gas, oil, water and electrical facilities. They also pledged not to mine or booby-trap military installations, equipment or defense lines.
Military sources report that Iraqi officers were scrupulous in carrying out their side of the bargain to the letter. Many jumped the gun abandoning their positions before US forces appeared on the scene. These pre-war deals explain how Iraq’s 45 army divisions seemed to go up in smoke leaving a comparatively small number of military casualties in hospitals and relatively few prisoners of war in US and British hands. They also explain why not a single bridge over the Euphrates, Tigris, Diyala or Lesser Zab rivers was blown up – although all were booby-trapped - and the country’s oil and gas installations came out of the war by and large undamaged and ready to pump oil for export
.. Although no American official has said a word on the subject - interim US administrator retired general Jay Garner certainly never raised this option at the second gathering he called of prominent Iraqis this week - it is beginning to look as though the only organized Iraqi force that does not need to be pacified and is capable of getting down without delay to the tasks of restoring order and reconstruction may turn out to be the thousands of Iraqi generals, their subordinates and men, who shed their uniforms in the war and went home. " 11:02:12 PM
Federation of American Scientists on Position Paper on Secret Biodefense Activities, January 2003 : "Just before the US rejected the draft Protocol in July, 2001, the Chief Negotiator for the US admitted under questioning before Congress that a number of US government agencies conduct biological activities that raise “ambiguities” regarding their purpose. The kinds of biodefense activities that prompted his testimony and the hardline US opposition to a Protocol were illuminated by a New York Times article on September 4, 2001, exposing three secret biodefense projects that push up against the permissible limits of the BWC... According to a knowledgeable source, all three projects had predecessors that have not yet come to light, most notably a DoD bomblet project run in the late 1990’s at the Army’s Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. .. we now know, as a result of the investigation launched in the wake of the anthrax letter attacks, that the US has been secretly “weaponizing” anthrax .. for many years. It had been assumed that this activity had ceased by 1972.
None of these questionable US activities has been declared in the US annual CBM reports. ..It is startling to find, in the Assessment Report of a meeting of US and UK defense officials in 2000, that “in the US these [relevant treaties, including the BWC] do not apply to the Department of Justice or Department of Energy”. The Report recommends “If there are promising technologies that DoD is prohibited from pursuing, set up MOA with DOJ or DOE.” These secret projects, carried out for “threat assessment,” degrade the BWC and encourage other countries to follow suit. The United States has already experienced the first fruits of its threat assessment fixation: the anthrax attacks, which were almost certainly generated by someone inside the biodefense establishment. .. The secret development of offensive capabilities for threat assessment purposes is increasingly undermining the very meaning of the BWC. 10:54:21 PM
Economist.com | Intelligence failures
: Nov 22, 2001: ".. in a nondescript house in the wealthiest district of Kabul, where a Pakistani NGO called Ummah Tameer-e-Nau (UTN) once had its offices. UTN's president is Bashiruddin Mahmood, one of Pakistan's leading nuclear scientists and a specialist in plutonium technology. Last month Mr Mahmood was arrested by the Pakistani authorities and interrogated on his links to the Taliban, with whom he has had frequent contact .. Whoever fled this house when the Taliban fell was working on a plan to build a helium-powered balloon bomb carrying anthrax. .. since the fall of Kabul on November 13th, journalists have been fanning out across the city. They have stripped houses such as this one, and others directly connected to the al-Qaeda network, of all sorts of documents and other valuable evidence. These have included the names and addresses of al-Qaeda contacts in the West. For the West's intelligence agencies, September 11th was Black Tuesday. There may be no words with which to describe their failure in the week since the fall of Kabul." See related blog entries on Brian Ross of ABC in Iraq in April 2003. 10:41:48 PM
Iraqi Nuclear Site Is Found Looted
: "A specially trained Defense Department team, dispatched after a month of official indecision to survey a major Iraqi radioactive waste repository, today found the site heavily looted and said it was impossible to tell whether nuclear materials were missing.
The discovery at the Baghdad Nuclear Research Facility was the second since the end of the war in which a known nuclear cache was plundered extensively enough that authorities could not rule out the possibility that deadly materials had been stolen. The survey, conducted by a U.S. Special Forces detachment and eight nuclear experts from a Pentagon office called the Direct Support Team, appeared to offer fresh evidence that the war has dispersed the country's most dangerous technologies beyond anyone's knowledge or control.
In all, seven sites associated with Iraq's nuclear program have been visited by the Pentagon's "special nuclear programs" teams since the war ended last month. None was found to be intact.." Perhaps finding WMD was a low priority! 8:42:01 PM
Relentless Moral Crusader Is Relentless Gambler
: "William J. Bennett, author of "The Book of Virtues" and one of the nation's most relentless moral crusaders, is a high-rolling gambler who has lost more than $8 million at casinos in the last decade, according to online reports from two magazines. " 3:10:05 AM
Digging Up the Dead
: "Mr. Yakovlev believes in holding criminals to account, and he understands that obligation as something more profound than purging bad guys. In the case of [his] Soviet Union, he contends that the unwillingness to face history in its dreadful entirety has left his country as an invalid -- the people still hobbled by prehensile fear, the system still paternalistic, if not exactly repressive. .. Mr. Yakovlev points out that this is not just about clearing away evildoers, or just about implanting democracy in Iraq. As we were in the last century, we are up against a toxic ideology with global aspirations — not Communism in this case, but an ideology that feeds on Arab grievances and a malignant version of Islam. Combating it requires all the moral authority we can muster, not just the authority of our might. " 2:52:58 AM
Where Saddam Was Seen Before Bombs Hit: Apr 15 report on Apr 8 bombing site. Like Afghanistan, key sites seem not to be secured and visited by US intelligence: "Behind a popular Baghdad restaurant, four 2,000-pound bombs created a 60-foot deep crater, destroying four homes and killing 14 civilians. But neither Saddam nor his son Qusai were among the dead, neighbors said. The two were in the safe house, only a few steps away, and they apparently escaped. .. The house had five separate phone lines, suggesting that it was used by Saddam or someone placed high in his regime. .. There were no signs whatsoever of the kind of underground bunkers U.S. officials said Saddam had built all over Baghdad. Neighbors said the ABCNEWS team was the first group of journalists to visit the safe house, and there was no evidence that there had been any American presence there. This surprised former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, now an ABCNEWS consultant in Baghdad. "I'm astounded there was no American military presence there — that no one had been there. There are no people doing forensic analysis. If the military thought Saddam was here, you'd expect them to be digging to find the remains to prove he was dead," Galbraith said." Also, Brian Ross of ABC reported of several mansions he visited where former regime officials worked where important documents were freely available and no US security was found. 1:54:30 AM