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March 16, 2006
Unlocking History At Leavenworth

The documents released by John Negroponte and hosted on a military website at Leavenworth promise to rewrite the long history of Iraq and its place in the war on terror. Just the first few documents have shown links between Saddam's regime and terrorism, including a strong reference to the 9/11 attack by Saddam's own intelligence service. ABC News has begun their own translation of the key documents, as have others in the blogosphere.

Let's start with the document that mentions 9/11, a report from the IIS regarding a conversation with a Taliban official:

Our source in Afghanistan No 11002 (for information about him see attachment 1) provided us with information that that Afghani Consul Ahmad Dahestani (for information about him see attachment 2) told him the following:

1. That Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan are in contact with Iraq and it that previously a group from Taliban and Osama Bin Laden group visited Iraq.

2. That America has proof that the government of Iraq and Osama Bin Laden group have shown cooperation to hit target within America.

3. That in case it is proven the involvement of Osama Bin Laden group and the Taliban in these destructive operations it is possible that American will conduct strikes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

4. That the Afghani Consul heard about the subject of Iraq relation with Osama Bin Laden group during his stay in Iran.

5. In light of this we suggest to write to the Commission of the above information.

Please view… Yours… With regards

Signature:……, Initials : A.M.M, 15/9/2001

Foot note: Immediately send to the Chairman of Commission

Immediately after 9/11, the US suspected that al-Qaeda had masterminded the attacks, confirming it within days. Until the 20th, when Bush made his speech, the government had not clearly and publicly stated its position to the Taliban. However, the IIS reported four days after the fact that the Taliban believed the US had proof of cooperation between Iraq and Osama bin Laden to attack American targets. The Taliban went out of its way to warn Saddam that the US would retaliate against Iraq when we got the proof together. That explicitly shows cooperation between the two governments. Moreover, the same people who sheltered and sponsored Osama bin Laden turned immediately to Saddam after the attacks for coordination on their response. They would have had no reason to do so -- except knowing that Osama and Saddam had a working relationship in fostering terrorist attacks against America.

Another document of note is the review of French campaign contribution regulations, provided on request by the IIS. Given the penetration of the Iraqis into French politics as seen by the massive graft of the UN Oil-for-Food program, this document shows that the bribery was a calculated scheme to blunt any effort to enforce UN Security Council resolutions. By buying off French politicians, including some still in charge, Saddam meant to secure the French veto on American and British insistence on enforcement. It would not surprise me to find similar analyses about Russian politics, while the Chinese Communist autocracy would have been much simpler to navigate (and buy).

One final document reviews the procedures demanded by Saddam to thwart UN inspections, written in 1997. One year later, Saddam would throw them out of the country altogether, which resulted in a few missiles shot at Baghdad -- and nothing else. They would not return until the end of 2002, when Saddam agreed to the inspections to put off the proposed military action by the US and UK. It would have been unlikely that Saddam would have changed the rules from 1997:

* Removing correspondence with the atomic energy and military industry departments concerning the prohibited weapons (proposals, research, studies, catalogs, etc.).

* Removing prohibited materials and equipment, including documents and catalogs and making sure to clear labs and storages of any traces of chemical or biological materials that were previously used or stored.

* Doing so through a committee which will decide whether to destroy the documents.

* Removing files from computers.

This demonstrates that the orders to block and stymie the weapons inspections came from the top and represented government policy. When Saddam could not make this policy work effectively enough, he stopped even pretending to cooperate and ended the program. In the intervening four years, he had plenty of time to hide information and falsify records. By the time the inspectors returned, Saddam had cleaned up -- and even at that, Hans Blix reported that the same efforts were made by the Iraqis to keep the inspectors from doing their jobs.

All of this emphasizes that Iraq had plenty of connections to terrorism, had secret contacts with the Taliban about al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's efforts to coordinate attacks on America with Iraq, conspired to corrupt at least one of the permanent members of the UNSC, and built elaborate ruses to defy the UN and the cease-fire agreement which kept Saddam in power. Just these few documents show all the reasons why any war on terror had to include toppling Saddam Hussein ... and there are plenty more to come.

See also Power Line for some excellent posts, as well as Michelle Malkin.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 16, 2006 9:11 PM

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