So I Guess The FMSO Documents Are Legit

Over the past year or so, I have provided CQ readers with a number of translations from key Iraqi Intelligence Service documents that have been translated by either the FMSO or by Joseph Shahda of the Free Republic website. I even engaged two interpreters to verify one particularly explosive memo last April, after Shahda published his own translation. That memo dealt with IIS plans to get volunteers for suicide missions to ‘strike American interests”.
One particular criticism that appeared with each new translation was that the documents were never proven genuine, although no one could explain the logic behind the US government hiding these documents in Iraqi Arabic among an avalanche of mundanity, only to shove it onto a shelf for years until Congress authorized their release to the Internet. Now we find another verification of their authenticity, this time from the New York Times, which reports today that the documents constitute a national-security threat:

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.
Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”
Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.
The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

This is apparently the Times’ November surprise, but it’s a surprising one indeed. The Times has just authenticated the entire collection of memos, some of which give very detailed accounts of Iraqi ties to terrorist organizations. Just this past Monday, I posted a memo which showed that the Saddam regime actively coordinated with Palestinian terrorists in the PFLP as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. On September 20th, I reposted a translation of an IIS memo written four days after 9/11 that worried the US would discover Iraq’s ties to Osama bin Laden.
It doesn’t end there with the Times, either. In a revelation buried far beneath the jump, the Times acknowledges that the UN also believed Saddam to be nearing development of nuclear weapons:

Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
European diplomats said this week that some of those nuclear documents on the Web site were identical to the ones presented to the United Nations Security Council in late 2002, as America got ready to invade Iraq. But unlike those on the Web site, the papers given to the Security Council had been extensively edited, to remove sensitive information on unconventional arms.

That appears to indicate that by invading in 2003, we followed the best intelligence of the UN inspectors to head off the development of an Iraqi nuke. This intelligence put Saddam far ahead of Iran in the nuclear pursuit, and made it much more urgent to take some definitive action against Saddam before he could build and deploy it. And bear in mind that this intelligence came from the UN, and not from the United States. The inspectors themselves developed it, and they meant to keep it secret. The FMSO site blew their cover, and they’re very unhappy about it.
What other highlights has the Times now authenticated? We have plenty:
* 2001 IIS memo directing its agents to test mass grave sites in southern Iraq for radiation, and to use “trusted news agencies” to leak rumors about the lack of credibility of Coalition reporting on the subject. They specify CNN.
* The Blessed July operation, in which Saddam’s sons planned a series of assassinations in London, Iran, and southern Iraq
* Saddam’s early contacts with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda from 1994-7
* UNMOVIC knew of a renewed effort to make ricin from castor beans in 2002, but never reported it
* The continued development of delivery mechanisms for biological and chemical weapons by the notorious “Dr. Germ” in 2002
Actually, we have much, much more. All of these documents underscore the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and show that his regime continued their work on banned weapons programs. We have made this case over and over again, but some people refused to believe the documents were genuine. Now we have no less of an authority than the New York Times to verify that the IIS documentation is not only genuine, but presents a powerful argument for the military action to remove Saddam from power.
The Times wanted readers to cluck their tongues at the Bush administration for releasing the documents, although Congress actually did that. However, the net result should be a complete re-evaluation of the threat Saddam posed by critics of the war. Let’s see if the Times figures this out for themselves.
UPDATE: More at Stop the ACLU and QandO. And Michelle Malkin has a great take on this — the paper that blew a series of highly classified national-security programs wants to point fingers about the status of these documents?
UPDATE II: Bump to top. And The Anchoress has dreamed up a hilarious dialogue at the NYT — don’t miss it.
UPDATE III: Yes, I understand the difference between 1991 and 2002. What the critics of this post seem to miss is this:
1. Saddam still had all of the relevant documentation to restart his nuclear program, so the UNSCOM and UNMOVIC teams obviously did not “destroy all vestiges” of Iraq’s nuclear program. After all, the documentation is what the Times proclaimed as a dangerous breach that would allow Iran to build a bomb.
2. If the FMSO documents on the website are dangerous to publish because they might assist Iran in designing a nuclear weapon, then obviously they were dangerous sitting in Saddam’s files. Missing that particular point seems willfully dense at best.
3. Saddam had unexpurgated copies of the IAEA report in his files — the ones that the UN inspectors are so unhappy about being hosted at the FMSO site. I wonder how that happened?
4. Since the rest of the FMSO documents came from the same locations as the ones that the NYT proclaims as authentic and dangerous, that means that the rest of these documents are authentic as well. That’s the primary point of this post — because when one looks through the documents, it becomes clear that Saddam had many connections to terrorism, and had active WMD programs right through 2002.

Palestinian Jihad Part Of Iraq Insurgency

A new document translated by Joseph Shahda indicates that the Saddam Hussein regime agreed to allow the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to stage suicide operations within Iraq in the opening days of the American invasion. Document CMPC-2003-015588 is a handwritten memo from the Foreign Ministry’s Arabic Department recounting the meeting between PFLP officials and representatives of the Iraqi government. It also makes a reference to a neighboring country as having given permission for the PFLP to make these arrangements:

The Embassy of Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria. Interest Section of the Republic of Iraq
Number: 1/110
Date: 25/3/2003
Secret and Confidential and Immediate
Foreign Ministry/ The Arabic Department
Subject: Meeting
This mornining of 25/3/2003, Mr. Khlaed Ahmad Gibril and Dr. Talal Naji the Deputy of the General Secretary of the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine (General Headquarters) visited our mission and met our Ambassador the chairman of the mission and the delegation indicated it solidarity and support to Iraq.
Mr. Khaled Ahmad Gibril and Dr. Talal Naji said that there is coordination going on with the organizations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian organizations to escalate the suicide operations in the inside and that is timed with the resistance of the Iraqi people.
Mr. Khaled Ahmad Gibril and Dr. Talal Naji informed us that the Front decided to send forces to Iraq to fight to the side of the Iraqi people and in the locations chosen by the Iraqi leadership, and preferably to be in cities. And the groups that will be sent are elite units and have experience in cities warfare and that thess forces will be made of 500 fighters and it will arrive Iraq in groups and as follow:
1. The first unit: It will be composed of 100 fighters and will arrive in three days with its complete machines and equipments, and each platoon from these platoons is made of an air defense anti-aircraft group and equipped with 23 mm Strella machine guns.
2. The second unit: it will be made of anti-tank with SPG-9 launchers and a military engineering group to plant improvised bombs that are remotely guided and car bombs and it include Suicide Martyrs groups and each platoon of these platoons has these weapons.
3. The third Unit: The fire support unit and made of multi rocket launchers 107 and include Suicide Martyrdom elements and fighting elements and also has a guiding unit.
The Front ask that these forces enter from the North of Abou Kamal area, and these forces do not need anything since it has enough weapons and ammunitions and it only need fuel.
The delegation said that they go the initial approval by the Syrian side to send these forces to Iraq.
It is noteworthy that the delegation expressed its amazement of the administration of the battle from all its political, media, military, and economic sides, and they are optimistic of the certainty of victory God willing.
Please let us know quickly and give us directions, with regards
Mohamad Rifaa’t Ali Al AA’NI
The Chairman of the Mission
Now the handwritten notes from Taha Yassin Ramadan Saddam Chief Deputy
To the Respected Mr. Foreign Minister
Yes we approve their coming with all appreciation to this position. And let the ambassador inform us about the time of arrival of each unit and the area of entry so we can send the vehicles to transport them.
Taha Yassin Ramadan

The mention of Syria seems significant. Syria has run Hamas for years, and Islamic Jihad at least in part. The PFLP gets support from Damascus, and they speak about using all three groups in Iraq to fight off the American invasion. It implies strongly that Syria partnered with Saddam Hussein at some level, which again begs the question about Saddam’s missing weapons. Did Damascus partner with Saddam on those as well as on martyrdom operations and insurgent fighting?
In any case, it shows that the previous thinking on the entry of foreign insurgents was not entirely correct. Saddam didn’t keep terrorists out of Iraq; in this case, he has a good enough relationship with the PFLP and through them Hamas and Islamic Jihad to call on them for action on his behalf. Supposedly these groups only have Palestinian interests in mind, but here they seem anxious to help rescue a secular Iraqi dictator. Saddam had plenty of connections to terrorists in the region, and it hardly surprises that he would rely on them in his hour of need. (h/t: Squiggler)

March 2001: Iraqi IIS Wants To Attack American Assets

Joseph Shahda has continued his excellent work at the Free Republic forum in translating captured documents from the Iraqi government. He has taken a close look at document CMPC-2003-006758, translating it from the Arabic and revealing the intent of Iraq to attack American interests. The memo from the IIS complains about the election of “Bush the Son” and talks about the need to exhort terrorists to attack America:

In the name of God the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
The Presidency of the Republic
The Intelligence Service
Mr: The Respectful Assistant Director of the Apparatus Operations.
Subject: The New American Policy Toward Iraq
Aside is a notice for the 10th Directorate and attached is a note from the respectful Mr. Director of the Apparatus on 24/3/2001 that your Excellency and the two gentlemen directors of the 4th Directorate and 10th Directorate to study in what is issued on the 10th Directorate memo and which includes:
1. The available signs indicate the intentions of America under the presidency of Bush the Son that aim to damage the political leadership in the country, and among it is their seeking to apply what it called the smart sanctions and it summarize as:
A. Allow the importing of humanitarian goods to Iraq without prior approval and this aim to make the leadership in Iraq responsible for the starvation of the Iraqi people and not the responsibility of the United Nations.
B. The return of the Inspectors.
C. The massing of the World opinion around the special procedures to contain Iraq.
D. Travel prohibition for the Iraqi officials and the freezing of their special accounts.
2. The 10th Directorate suggested the following to encounter what was mentioned above.
A. Prepare a public relation plan that aims to clarify the rights of Iraq, and bring up what is related to the Palestinian cause, and the call to strike the presence and interests of America.
B. Work to commit some nations like France, China, Russia and Japan to economical agreements that make the implementation of the smart sanctions to have negative effect to the interests of these nations.
C. Strengthen our embassies with new remarkable staff that is can go toward new windows in the international relations.
D. Make a list of the citizens including those who are in the Apparatus that have in their names foreign accounts and do the procedures to protect these accounts from any enemy action.
E. Insist that that Iraq money will stay local.
Notice the Presidency of what was mentioned above.
Please review and please consider the opinions of the 4th Directorate, the 5th Directorate, and the 40th Directorate in regards to what was mentioned above… with regards.
Director/ S. A. AA.

Interestingly, the Iraqis met success on almost all of these efforts. They managed to get three of the four nations mentioned to undermine the sanctions regime and argue for its end even more vociferously after Bush took office. Only Japan demurred from enabling the Iraqis to break what little containment still existed. The IIS tightened its grip on Iraqis within Iraq; they had a fearsome reputation regarding expatriates already. And as history proved less than six months later, terrorists attacked America while the Palestinians danced in the streets.
The timing of this memo seems significant. Recall that just two weeks prior to this memo, Air Brigardier General Abdel Magid Hammot Ali called on the pilots under his command at Ali Bin Abi Taleb Air Force Base to volunteer for suicide missions. That memo used language strikingly similar to this: “… we ask to provide that Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests …” As I wrote last April:
Obviously, the terror missions could not be conducted under the color of Iraqi military or get traced back to them, otherwise the American forces — especially under George Bush — would almost certainly attack Iraq with everything we could muster. Saddam would also not be able to rely on his clandestine partners on the Security Council to wield their vetoes, as even France and Russia would have to acknowledge the right of the US to defend itself once Saddam initiated this kind of attack. So how would he hide the nationality and identity of these volunteers? He would have to “launder” them through another organization, one that would not necessarily immediately point back to Iraq — like al-Qaeda.
That doesn’t prove in a legal sense that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. It does show that they wanted to inspire others to attack American interests, and again that they actively recruited for these missions in their own military. That amounts to a policy to conduct a proxy war against the US, both at home and abroad, certainly a good cause for the US to pre-empt it. (h/t: CQ reader Jeff R)

The Return Of CMPC-2003-001488

Two months ago, almost to the day, I posted about a translation of a captured IIS document, CMPC-2003-001488, that described intelligence that the IIS garnered from one of its Afghan contacts regarding ties between Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and Saddam Hussein. I also noted in that post that the memo had been translated by Iraqi blogger Omar at Iraq the Model and at Pajamas Media last March. Tapscott’s Copy Desk notes that blogger Fix 4 RSO has now also discovered this memo, which appears to put lie to the notion that post-war intel failed to show any operational ties between Saddam Hussein and AQ.
Here’s the memo as I posted it in July:

Office of the Presidency Intelligence Service M5/3/9/2
The Honorable Mr. General Director Manager M5
Subject: Information
Our Afghani source numbered 11002 had provided us with the information on the denotation paper number -1- )
The Afghani Consul Ahmad Dahstani (the information on the denotation paper number (2)) had mentioned in front of him with the followings:
1. Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban Group in Afghanistan were in touch with the Iraqis and that group of the Talibans and Osama Bin Laden had visited Iraq.
2. The United States of America has evidence that the Iraqi government and Osama Bin Laden’s group expressed cooperation among themselves in bombing targets in American.
3. In case Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban were proven to have been involved in carrying out these terrorist operations, it could be possible that the United Stated will attack both Iraq and Afghanistan.
4. The Afghani consul heard about the connection between the Iraqis and the Osama Bin Laden group during his stay in Iran.
5. Upon what has been presented we suggest writing to the Intention Committee with the above information.
Please revise…Your recommendation …. With appreciation,

Obviously, the case worker for this source at M5/3 (the directorate for North Africa and East Asia) was very concerned that the US had information that exposed an operational link between Iraq and AQ. It doesn’t mention any specific tie to the 9/11 attack, but it states that the Afghan source believed that we had proof of their intent to bomb American targets. The IIS was very concerned that the information he believed we already had would lead the US to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq — and this memo was written four days after 9/11.
This didn’t get treated like speculation, either. The case worker directed this memo to the head of M5, responsible for counterintelligence, for his immediate attention. It also got copied to the “Intention Committee President”, apparently a separate review process for intel. The IIS considered this important data.
However, as I pointed out, it’s hardly new. It’s been in the open for at least six months, and the government translation for two. All of which casts even more doubt on the Senate report that claims no additional evidence of connectioned between Saddam, Osama, and the Taliban came to light in the post-invasion period. Has the Senate even bothered to look through the FMSO documents?

Saddam Documents: Fences Make Good Neighbors Edition

A newly-translated document from the archives of Saddam Hussein’s ISI indicates that the regime kept some kind of weapons in Baghdad that made Saddam’s elite Special Republican Guards nervous enough to keep hidden — in a residential area. Document CMPC-2003-000788 contains a memo from Major Sa’ad Ahmed Taha al-Wis, an intelligence officer in the Special Republican Guard to the Special Security Organization dated May 14, 2001, regarding the proximity of weapons caches to residential units at the SRG base. These facilities became the point of contention between UNSCOM and the Saddam regime in 1997 and precipitated the collapse of the weapons inspections, as the UN suspected that Saddam hid his WMD with the SRG. The SRG and SSO existed to handle the most sensitive programs in Iraq, including the protection of Saddam Hussein but also the protection of the regime’s secret programs.
Taha’s memo complains that the fence surrounding the facility is too low and allows local residents to view their weapons storage. Note that his complaint remains even though Taha discovered that the residents all work for the ISI:

Date: May 14, 2001
Dear General Director of the Unit
Greetings and regards
Subject: Adjacent Houses
I would like to inform you that there is an open area from the back and the side of the unit. It starts at the back fence of the compound and goes up to the houses at the Al-‘Amil Block road bordering the north side of the Special Security Institute. This area expands toward the weapons cache belonging to the supply and transportation companies of the Special Republican Guard and to the Artillery Battalion of the Special Republican Guard which is neighboring the compound from the south side up to Al-‘Amiriyah street –Al-Jihad Al-‘Am Neighborhood. This matter previously submitted to you, but now it appears this area is already allocated as a public housing area and the public started building their houses on it. Some of these houses are less than 15 meters from the back compound fence. Some of the houses surrounding the compound are so close to the weapons storage belonging to the supply and the transportation company of the Special Republican Guard, and if they build the buildings higher, they can see whatever is inside the compound from the back side. After further investigations, we found out that most of the residents are employees of the Intelligence Service.
I suggest the following: inform the comptroller to improve the compound and to raise the height of the fence to 4 meters instead of the 2 meter existing height. The total length of the fence is approximately 500 – 600 meters.

The memo included a block drawing by Taha showing the problem.
Click here for a larger view of the drawing. The center shows four cache facilities where the Special Republican Guard kept its ammunition — including the SRG Artillery Battalion.
It looks like the UNSCOM inspectors had the right idea. Saddam would hardly need to stage a conventional artillery battalion within his elite corps, whose mission had less to do with defending Baghdad than it did in protecting Saddam and his favorite toys. The regular Republican Guard had artillery battalions for conventional combat, as did the Army. Taha would hardly be concerned with the ability of civilians to view normal artillery shells, especially since military reviews regularly put such weapons on display in the streets of Baghdad as a morale booster.
So what was Taha afraid the neighbors would see in May 2001, prompting him to request a 12-foot-high fence around the facility?

Iraqi ‘Special’ Olympics

Another set of translated documents have been released by the FMSO over the last few days, and while a good deal of them contain nothing new, some enlighten us as to the twisted mindset of the Saddam Hussein regime. Document ISGZ-2004-019744 contains a list of equipment and prices for equipment requested by the Iraqi National Olympic Committee — for something called the “Special Workshop”. A covering memo requesting the funds shows to what use the equipment was needed:

The Republic of Iraq
Presidency of the Republic
Saddam’s Fedayeen
Office of secretary
Date 20 December 2002
The supervisor of the honorable Saddam’s Fedayeen
Subject: Issue of funds
Please approve the request to issue the sum of (143,670,000) One Hundred Forty-Three Million, Six Hundred Seventy Thousand Dinar to the Iraqi National Olympic committee (special workshop), the amount is to manufacture and prepare for the Fedayee effort with supplies indicated in the attached application list.
Please review the matter and advice… with appreciation.
Brigadier General of support
Muhsin ‘Abd-al-Karim Mahmud
General Secretary
20 December 2002

The memo shows an approval dated the next day, meaning that while the US demanded a green light from theUN Security Council to invade Iraq, a Brigadier General took the time to ask the supervisor of the Saddam Fedayeen — Uday Hussein — permission to buy equipment for the Olympic Committee. Could these have been pommel horses for their gymanistics squad, or perhaps new uniforms for the wrestlers? Not exactly:

Cost………………………… Subject
5,000,000 Dinar……. For the manufacturing of 2 fuel tanks. “received”
360,000 Dinar………. For the preparation of the special insignia for the Fedayeen (God-Country-Commander) [TC: Hand written note on the side of the page statingreceived]
100,000,000 Dinar .. For the manufacturing of 5 al-Razi firing systems
11,732,500 Dinar …. For special equipment (batons shaped like an “L” for riot control – leather gloves – equipment for climbing trees – climbing rope – “Nachuka” rope – deadly stars – jumping circles – seatbelt for jumping)
2,000,000 Dinar ….. For the manufacturing of 200 weapons
9,375,000 Dinar ….. For 125 fire extinguishers size 12 kg
5,460,000 Dinar ….. For 1365 Chinese made pickaxes
9,742,500 Dinar ….. For 2165 Chinese made shovels
The total amount is 143,670,000 Dinar.

Nachukas and deadly stars? Did the Olympics suddenly open up ninja competitions in 2002? Apparently the IOC has a very broadminded take on competition, as the Iraqi Olympic team needed to manufacture 200 weapons for their team. Pickaxes and shovels may have been needed for preparation in the brand-new Mass Grave Dig-off, in which the Chinese held a traditional edge.
Most interesting on this list is the 100 million dinars for 5 “al-Razi” shooting systems. The ISG report has a couple of al-Razi references. One regards the efforts at the al-Razi research center on a type of laser used in uranium enrichment, which doesn’t really fit the context of this memo. The other refers to the Zakaria al-Razi Chemical Company — which the ISG identifies as a “special weapons” contractor to the Saddam regime’s WMD programs.
In December 2002, Saddam’s army wanted to go for the gold in the war everyone knew was coming, and purchase 5 al-Razi shooting systems for his Olympic team. The Saddam regime really supported its own idea of the ‘special’ Olympics, it appears.

Post-Invasion Intel Showed WMD Went To Syria

Among the captured documents of the Iraqi Intelligence Services is a memo written in Arabic that describes pre-war intel from an Iraqi source working in Syria. Dated July 13, the memo itself was written after the invasion, but it describes the movement of trucks from Iraq into Syria just before the American invasions. Document ISGQ-2005-00022470 has notations reading “DOD” that indicate the Pentagon has already reviewed the data:

PAGE (1)
PAGE (2)
Reda (name) CA11
Subject: we have information about the location of Mass Destruction Weapons
On Moharram 10th (Arabic calendar), prior to US/allied invasion to Iraq, fifty (50) Iraqi trucks entered Syria as convoys (or groups), I met some the drivers of those trucks, they got no idea about the content of their trucks.
The loads basically came from some where in Baghdad, Iraqi intelligence were escorting the loads. During their tripe, those truck drivers were stopped and asked frequently by the intelligence officers about whether or not they got any idea about the content of their loads, the divers replied “we have no idea”, then the officers would say “thank you”.
Upon their arrival to Deayr Ezoor city/ Syria, the drivers were ordered to get down, elements from Syrian intelligence got into the trucks, they took the trucks to big barracks for downloading.
After that; Iraqi drivers got their trucks back, they got $200 as a reward.
The drivers told me that it was their second time to bring such secret shipment; the first shipment was Moharram 1st.
I have a friend in Syria working in Syrian company, the man has ½ of the company, and the other ½ belongs to a Syrian businessman.
This Iraqi person, a former counselor at Iraqi embassies, has strong connections with Iraqi embassy in Syria, he knows all Iraqi intelligence men there, and he has no idea that I am working with the Iraqi opposition in Syria.
I used to visit him daily during that period to listen to the important news.
When the trucks arrived to Syria, I visited him, told him “Iraqi weapons got inside Syria”, he replied “who told you”, I said “I have my own resources”, he replied “don’t tell any one about that because actually it is inside”.
CA 11-10
Mrs. Mona; please keep it in file CA 11 30

For those unfamiliar with the Muslim calendar, 10 Mohorram would equate to March 14th for 2003 — or a little over a week before our invasion of Iraq. The opposition source told the Kurds that the trucks arrived in Dayr az Zawr, a Syrian city on the Euphrates in the expansive eastern section of Syria. A look at a map shows Dayr az Zawr in the middle of nowhere, with plenty of space to hide stockpiles from 50 trucks.
After unloading the trucks — taking care to separate the Iraqi drivers from their vehicles while doing so — the Syrians returned the trucks to the drivers and paid each of them $200, a rather princely sum for an Iraqi in 2003. And that was the second such convoy that IIS officers conducted into Syria; the first had been on Mohorram 1, or March 5th.
While this is not quite a smoking gun, it provides yet another piece of evidence pointing to a massive operation to hide Iraq’s WMDs. Saddam Hussein must have thought that if the Coalition could not find the WMDs, they would have to withdraw and allow him to assume power once more. It would explain why he allowed so much of his army to disappear rather than fight; he expected to command them again within a few weeks. In fact, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri told Time Magazine that Saddam had made a mistake allowing the army to fight at all:

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam’s top lieutenant with a $10 million bounty on his head, struck a defiant tone in an intervew appearing on Time magazine’s Web site in which he wrote out answers to questions sent in May through intermediaries. Time said it wasn’t clear when his answers were written.
Al-Douri, the highest-ranking figure from Saddam’s regime still at large and the “king of clubs” on the most wanted list, said Saddam blundered by having his army confront the U.S.-led invasion force instead of holding it in reserve to fight a guerrilla war, but he said the old army has bounced back.

This movement of the weapons also appeased Russia, which helped Saddam build them. The Russians did not want the US to discover the weapons stores and pressed Saddam to get them somewhere else, and fast. American intel has long claimed to have seen these convoys streaming across western Iraq into Syria, and this provides a more complete picture as to what they did when they arrived.

Iraqi Intel Memo Describes Osama Connection

FMSO has translated a new set of documents from those captured in the fall of Saddam Hussein, and one of them seems very provocative indeed. A memo from the Afghan section of the Directorate of Counterintelligence (M5) to the head of M5 dated September 15th, 2001 relays information from an Afghani source that Taliban consul discussed the relationship between Osama, Iraq, and the Taliban. Document CMPC-2003-001488 had previously been translated by Iraqi blogger Omar at Iraq the Model for Pajamas Media last March, but now has been translated by the government:

Office of the Presidency
Intelligence Service
The Honorable Mr. General Director Manager M5
Subject: Information
Our Afghani source numbered 11002 had provided us with the information on the denotation paper number -1- )
The Afghani Consul Ahmad Dahstani (the information on the denotation paper number (2)) had mentioned in front of him with the followings:
1. Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban Group in Afghanistan were in touch with the Iraqis and that group of the Talibans and Osama Bin Laden had visited Iraq.
2. The United States of America has evidence that the Iraqi government and Osama Bin Laden’s group expressed cooperation among themselves in bombing targets in American.
3. In case Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban were proven to have been involved in carrying out these terrorist operations, it could be possible that the United Stated will attack both Iraq and Afghanistan.
4. The Afghani consul heard about the connection between the Iraqis and the Osama Bin Laden group during his stay in Iran.
5. Upon what has been presented we suggest writing to the Intention Committee with the above information.
Please revise…Your recommendation …. With appreciation,

Four days after 9/11, the North Africa and East Asia bureau of the Counterintelligence Directorate appeared very concerned with this information being discussed, so much so that the information went right to the top of the directorate.

Foreign Intel Had Identified WMD Sites

In the last of the documents of this release, an undated memorandum from the director of the IIS to the Military Industrialization Commission (MIC) discusses counterintelligence information regarding an informant with knowledge of the locations for Iraqi WMD programs. Document ISGZ-2004-007589-HT-DHM2A directs the MIC to change the locations of their assets (emphases mine):

We were informed by one of our sources working abroad, that foreign intelligence is working to obtain information about some military and scientific targets in the Country. The undercover source provided us with a map of the targets, for which he was assigned to gather information during his visit to the Country. For the purpose of pointing out the enemy’s interest, and to enable you to maneuver by changing the locations of these targets, in order to foil enemy’s plans, we hereby list the following:
1- He was presented with a map by the Foreign Intelligence, indicating the nuclear sites in the Country. Our source noticed that most of the sites are located near Mawsil and on the Tigris River, and some on the outskirts of Baghdad.
2- Another map indicated the Chemical sites, of which most are located in the suburbs of Baghdad, north and south of the city. It was noticeable that the sites north of Baghdad were more numerous than those in the south. The Map also marked some sites located on the outskirt of Mawsil City.
3- The third map marked the sites of long range Missiles.
4- A satellite image of the Al-Taji area, indicated orchards located in the triangle of Kirkuk-Mawsil Road, after the Baghdad Gate. Our source was informed that missiles and important military equipment were hidden in these orchards. He was asked to go to the area and observe whether it was well protected by military units and check the presence of any radar [TC: Satellite Dishes] in the area.
5- There are a large number of hidden missiles in the Al-Mahawil and Jubaylah area.
6- There is a warehouse for chemical material in the Al-Mahmudiyah area.
7- On the Baghdad-Falujah road and near Falujah checkpoint, there is a nonfunctional Cement Factory, which is being used for storing Chemical materials. Please observe whether there is any protection around the Factory.
8- Missiles were hidden in the triangle located near the Presidential Palace along the highway to Saddam’s International Airport.
9- There is a missile testing laboratory in the Al-`Amiriyah area.
10- There is secret airport designated for emergency use in the Al-`Aziziyah area, where sixty-five missiles are hidden.
11- Chemical materials were moved from the Al-Qa`qa` depot and hidden in the Industrial High School in Al-Musayib, in the Agricultural High School at al-Yussifiyyah, and other specific schools in al-Mahmudiyyah.
12- Al-Taji Area (Al-Tarmiyyah Triangle).
13- Al-Tharthar area (Tal al-Tharthar) [TC: could be Mountain], north west of the mountain slope (tourist area) [TC: Al-Tharthar is considered a tourist area]
14- Also Missiles were hidden at Biji Refinery.

The MIC had responsibility for all of the WMD programs, including their development, production, distribution, and storage. The message from the top man at the IIS was clear: this information was correct, and the MIC needed to act fast to move the assets around to keep them from discovery. Counterintelligence found out about his visit in time to make the changes necessary.
The Iraqis had WMD. They knew when to move them to keep them from being discovered — a task for which they apparently had abundant talent.

Loose Lips Generate Paperwork, And Reveal Iraqi Malfeasance

Shortly before Saddam Hussein suspended all cooperation with the UNSCOM inspectors, in 1998 a surprise inspection at the Air Operations Directorate turned up a number of documents relating to “special” weapons — the designation for WMD used by Iraqi forces. This caused the UN to declare a violation on the Iraqis, and touched off a massive internal investigation in Saddam’s armed forces to find out who forgot to cleanse the files. The series of memos and statements in document IZSP-2003-00300856 shows that the Iraqis not only intended on making an example of the men who did such a poor job of purging the files, but that they actively hid materials that implicated Iraq in the hoarding of WMD.
Like any investigation, one has to start out with the specifics of the crime (page 4):

According to the Secret, Personal and Urgent letter of the Diwan of the Defense Ministry no. Intelligence and Security/8/2/5493 dated 19 July 1998; we authorize you to form an investigation committee headed by you including Staff Major General Fahim Sari ‘Inad, who is affiliated with the Diwan of the Defense Ministry, Intelligence Colonel Zahar Yunis Muhammad, and the Director of the Air Force Security System.
The duty of the committee is to investigate the incident, in where some special documents have not been kept in the 1st Section of the Air Force Operations Directorate according to the document security instructions. The documents were found by the Special Inspection Committee, which searched our command on 18 July 1998.

The file contains the statements made under interrogation of all the personnel assigned to the office in question. Most amusing are the excuses one gets from the staff, who knew that punishment would be swift and severe for embarrassing Saddam to the international community. Take the statement of Wing Commander Mazin Rashid:

Q1: Wing Commander Mazin Makki Muhammad Rashid, the Assistant Commander of the Surveillance Department in the First Section of the Aerial Movement Directorate, was interrogated about the reason and the person who asked him to sign a statement stating that there are no documents records, material and equipment related to the banned
weapons. He replied:
A1: The other officers and I were asked by the Assistant of the Section Commander to destroy all documents related to the banned weapons. Therefore, I searched my office, and found nothing. Afterwards, the officers and I searched the section office and destroyed many of these documents.
Q2: What measures did you take, when the Inspection Team entered the Commands Complex at 0900 hr on 18 Jul 1998?
A2: I participated with other officers in evacuating the secret dossiers and documents from the file cabinet in the directorate. Those documents were kept with Colonel Bilal, the Security Officer of the Directorate.
Q3: The Inspection Team found weapons issuing records in the file cabinet of the section. The records were titled with the word “Special”. Why was this word not deleted by you, although you claimed that nothing left about this type of documents??
A 3: These records were in the file cabinet, but none of the officers noticed them. It was in a file including about lectures. I was unaware of this dossier because it wasn’t in my office, but it was in the file cabinet.

As it turns out, many of the people at the Air Directorate had tasks that apparently excluded them from housekeeping. Commander Muhammed Hasib tells investigators that the cabinet in question belonged to the section manager — and then tells them that the unit had no section manager. Staff Air Commodore Ansaf Muhammed explains that he couldn’t be responsible, because someone else was supposed to have cleaned out the cabinet before he was assigned to that unit. Iraqi investigators heard every excuse except that the dog was supposed to eat the documents.
In the end, they pinned blame on two high-ranking officers, both Commodores, and explained the circumstances (page 54). Included in the summation is this rather telling description of Iraqi cooperation (emphasis mine):

4- After the investigation, they found out that the word (private) that is mentioned in the file wasn’t audited, either by the previous Director of the Section (Al-Qadisiyyah Hero), the Staff Air Commodore Mahmud Jasim Muhammad or by his successor the Staff Air Commodore Insaf Jasim who is the senior officer in the section. In addition, the Staff Air Commodore Insaf Jasim confessed that he omitted and damaged all the documents related to the Special Committee (as mentioned in the Investigating Council) without checking because he thought that the file didn’t include the word (private).
5- The Investigating Council found out that the previously mentioned section followed the orders of the superiors regarding destroying all of the documents relating to the banned weapons and they damaged 12 bags of files and plans. In addition, the section hid many important files during the presence of the Special Committee members, before they arrive and while granting approval to enter.

The two men apparenly received courts-martial for their ineptitude. However unlucky they were, the case shows that Iraq had no intention of ever honestly working with UN inspectors to verify that they had disarmed themselves of WMD capability. The notion that the entire WMD program was some big red herring or a figment of Saddam’s imagination dies a painful death on the review of this document. The Iraqis spent a lot of time and effort in clearing out information on those programs in advance of the inspections — and those who did not succeed in thwarting the inspectors paid the price.