Updated: 5/16/2006; 2:53:34 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses

daily link  Tuesday, October 05, 2004

How US fuelled myth of Zarqawi the mastermind: UK's Telegraph reporter says that the stories of Zarqawi's influence are based on dubious sources, that the number of foreign fighters may be as low as 200, that the emphasis on a foreign terrorist is cited by some US military intelligence agents as more selective reading of intelligence for political purposes.  Also, some reports have the famous Zarqawi letter as a hoax, and emphasize Zarqawi's rivalry with bin Laden and his ambition and desire for fame.  10:06:33 PM  permalink  

CIA review finds no evidence Saddam had ties to Islamic terrorists:  Oct 5, 2004.  " A new CIA assessment undercuts the White House's claim that Saddam Hussein maintained ties to al-Qaida, saying there's no conclusive evidence that the regime harbored Osama bin Laden associate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.  The CIA review, which U.S. officials said Monday was requested some months ago by Vice President Dick Cheney, is the latest assessment that calls into question one of President Bush's key justifications for last year's U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.  ..

While intelligence officials cautioned that information about al-Zarqawi remains incomplete, Bush, Cheney and other top officials have publicly made al-Zarqawi the linchpin of their contention that Saddam's Iraq had ties to al-Qaida.  .. Since the Sept. 11 commission's judgment in June, Bush and Cheney have repeatedly said that al-Zarqawi was an associate of bin Laden and received safe haven from Saddam. But Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld backed away Monday from such claims, apparently as a result of the new CIA assessment. ..

According to a senior administration official and intelligence officials familiar with the review, at Cheney's request CIA analysts spent several months reviewing new material gathered since Baghdad fell last year and re-examining earlier intelligence.  He said the report contained new details of al-Zarqawi 's prewar activities in Iraq, including the arrests in late 2002 or early 2003 of three of his "associates" by the regime.  "This was brought to Saddam's attention and he ordered one of them released," he said, providing no further details.  ..  The report didn't conclude that Saddam's regime had provided "aid, comfort and succor" to al-Zarqawi, a senior administration official said. .. He added that there are now questions about earlier administration assertions that al-Zarqawi received treatment at a Baghdad hospital in May 2002.  "The evidence is that Saddam never gave Zarqawi anything," another U.S. official said.  Some officials believe that Saddam's secular regime kept an eye on al-Zarqawi, an Islamic extremist, but didn't actively assist him.  ..

Al-Zarqawi 's ties to al-Qaida are in dispute. While he clearly shares much of al-Qaida's violent ideology and ran an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan, the Jordanian has his own organization, acts independently and hasn't sworn fealty to bin Laden. ..

Bush and Cheney have charged that Saddam's regime allowed al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian native, to travel to Baghdad and to set up cells of his Islamic terrorist network in the Iraqi capital.  .. Secretary of State Colin Powell, in his Feb. 5, 2003, presentation on Iraq to the U.N. Security Council, said al-Zarqawi went to Baghdad in May 2002 for medical treatment and stayed two months, during which time nearly two dozen extremists converged on the Iraqi capital and established a base there."

  12:04:49 PM  permalink  

Why Putin is backing Kyoto again: "The Bush administration was deceiving itself if it thought that Russia was really opposed to Kyoto; Moscow was simply playing hard to get. .. Traders on the new London carbon exchange, where the price of carbon dioxide jumped 20 per cent to more than $11 per tonne on the news of Moscow's forthcoming ratification, estimate that Russia will be able to earn around $10 billion a year by selling the unused part of its carbon quota to countries that cannot meet their own quotas. ..

Why did Russian President Vladimir Putin decide to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change last week, only six months after his top adviser, Andrei Illarionov, called it a "death treaty?" One reason is that the European Union offered Russians visa-free travel within the 25-country bloc plus EU support for Russia's membership in the World Trade Organization. "  Could it also be that Bush started to criticize Putin for his anti-democracy moves, and Putin thought that he'd held back on Russia's economic interest long enough?

  11:18:41 AM  permalink  

Oceans Alive - Eat Smart: Concise guide to seafood health and depletion issues. Includes printable Pocket Seafood Selector.  10:57:42 AM  permalink  

Russian missiles found in ETA arms caches: "French police have found two Russian-made surface-to-air missiles among huge arms caches uncovered during a sweep against Basque separatist guerrilla group ETA in southwestern France, officials said on Tuesday.  French police sources said they were SAM-7 missiles that can be used to bring down helicopters or low-flying aircraft.  The Russian missiles were "in perfect condition and ready to be used", Spain's Interior Ministry said in a statement. "  If you're the worrying type, recall that ETA attempted a Madrid bombing campaign in December 2003, similar to the one jihadists did in March 2004.  There have been suggestions of cooperation between the two.  9:16:34 AM  permalink  

Iran missiles now reach 2,000 km: "Iran's former president Hashemi Rafsanjani said Tuesday that his country has created missiles that can now reach targets 2,000 kilometres away, a substantial increase from its previous range.   Rafsanjani made the announcement to staff at the Aerospace Research Institute in Tehran, adding that Iran is determined to improve its military capabilities.

In August, Iran test-fired a new version of its Shahab-3 missile. The old version was known to have a range of 1,296 km, which would make it capable of hitting Israel. A missile with a 2,000- km range could hit parts of Europe. ..

Rafsanjani also said Iran possesses the basic technology to produce and launch satellites. Iran said in January it would put a satellite into orbit within 18 months. . "

  9:13:53 AM  permalink  

Next wave of Al Qaeda leadership may be Pakistani:  ""It is a new generation of Al Qaeda," says Riffat Hussain, a leading defense and security analyst based in Islamabad, Pakistan. "These are new converts to Al Qaeda. They may have no links with Al Qaeda in the past, but now they are willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause as they feel Al Qaeda is the name of defiance to the West. They are young and angry, and their number has swelled in the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq."

Police here suggest that Pakistan's newly organized jihadis and educated radicals might number in the hundreds. Police say that more than 600 suspected Al Qaeda militants have been rounded up by security forces over the past three years."

  12:19:08 AM  permalink  

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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 2:53:34 PM.