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Volume 18, No. 14, March 31, 2004
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Month End Feature
Kudos must circumspectly go to Al Qaeda for its well-conceived manipulation of a Spanish election and its plan that predicted and initiated a daisy-chain effect that includes at least London and Washington where real danger now exists.
The March 14 Spanish electoral upset was not happenstance. Intercepted Al Qaeda communications declared that Spain was the weakest link in the anti-terrorism coalition but if it could be broken, others would follow like pieces of domino (translation). With style and correlated threads in mind we believe this to be written work at least rooted in the thinking of Ayman al-Zawahiri and scribed (more or less on an intellectual par with junior to mid-high school level) by Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, maybe Saif al-Adel or a peer. These persons are believed to be among the Al Qaeda Majlis Al Shura, a collective council of thinkers, planners and scribes forming a quasi advisory board to Usama Bin Laden symbolically, but to Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri in effect. This core group also communicates and promotes doctrine to the independent inductees who have been drawn into training camps then sent back into the world without specific missions, to invent their own. The Majlis Al Shura, seldom creates its own operations but those few it does are successful. This is the case with Spain and what shall follow in the same vein.
"(translation) We think the Spanish people's leadership [Jose Maria Aznar Government] will not stand more than a hit, or more," the doctrinal musings declared, "before it will be forced to withdraw [from Afghanistan and Iraq] ...cause would be population pressure on it... if its army forces stay after these attacks, the victory of the Socialist Party [Rodriguez Zapatero] will be certain... ...the withdrawal of Spanish forces [from Afghanistan and Iraq] will follow. (end translation)"
Spanish opposition socialist party's Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, considered an outsider for Spain's top job, then promised Spaniards he would withdraw Spain from the U.S. coalition if he would win the election.
Polls said he wouldn't win.
Had March 10 been election day, polls show pro-U.S. conservative government of Jose Maria Aznar would have won with a healthy margin. Spain would stay in the coalition.
So Al Qaeda went into action and gave Spaniards a shake that changed many voters' minds.
On March 11, three days pre-election, Al Qaeda moved somewhat later than its original plan foretold with its first of two attacks (the second being foiled by Spanish police who disarmed a bomb on the high-speed commuter-rail between Madrid and Seville) and blew up a few thousand Spanish citizens on their way to work. Numerous bombs on four trains were all meant to detonate simultaneously; bring down the roof killing thousands as the commuter trains converged on a central Madrid commuter hub. The plan did not work fully, but the lesser result achieved the same end effect.
Spanish television's first reports erred in crediting Basque terrorist group ETA with the acts but TV stations soon broadcast Al Qaeda's hastily produced video tape to correct the record, take credit away from ETA, and credit Al Qaeda. It is clear that both competing political parties attempted to assign blame according to their campaign platforms. Al Qaeda quickly set the record straight with its video-taped claim for credit to say the Socialist Party was correct, it was Al Qaeda's act and Madrid commuters were being punished for the Aznar governments' participation in the U.S.-led coalition. This occurred just as Spanish authorities arrested five Al Qaeda thugs linked to detonators and Koranic verse found at the scene.
As the hours passed and the opening of polling booths approached, the death toll rose. Human remains were extracted from the rubble and Spaniards took to the streets in protest; in vigil. The near-simultaneous attacks on four Spanish commuter trains killed 200 civilians, badly injured another 1,500 people and 500 more persons sustained less threatening wounds.
The government's polls dropped by 11-16 percent. It lost the election. The Al Qaeda plan worked. Jose Maria Aznar said, "March 11, 2004, has taken its place in the history of infamy." Interviewers doing anecdotal post mortems on the election were told by voters that whereas Aznar was generally liked, he had essentially caused Spain's Al Qaeda-served punishment with his government's pro-America policies and therefore Aznar was to be punished by getting their ouster.
The winning socialist party promptly withdrew Spain from the coalition and Al Qaeda won its biggest victory ever.
The Al Qaeda WTC effort was nothing compared to its Spanish campaign. The results of Al Qaeda's September 11, 2001 attack were unpredicted and flukish. Al Qaeda's overturning of Spain's government was on target, predicted and brilliantly executed. In the modern history of overturning unwanted governments, not even the CIA with all its means could have pulled this off in its bygone halcyon years of skullduggery.
On the Ides of March, in the daisy chain of events, Zapatero, haplessly aligned with Al Qaeda, declared a goal to help U.S. Senator John Kerry win the U.S. presidency. (Kerry, whose initial outings have left him appearing somewhat kookish, precipitously grabbed the endorsement.) Zapatero joined in spirit Usama Bin Laden and the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, pleading that constituents urge Americans to vote for Kerry whilst being interviewed on Spanish radio. "We're aligning ourselves with [U.S. Senator John] Kerry," declared Zapatero. "...we hope Senator John Kerry will win the presidency."
The unprecedented and blatant interference in U.S. internal affairs by a EU-member nation shocked the globe, but delighted Al Qaeda which concomitantly has made the U.S. election a top priority and has sent messages to Zapatero informing him that if he does in fact pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and if he will put his weight behind the effort to oust U.S. President George Bush, Al Qaeda will make Spain a "terror-free zone", an unprecedented terrorist cease-fire per se. (Could Al Qaeda by such moves become a new World Governor? It certainly has now a lot of power.)
Al Qaeda would like nothing more than to axe Bush. The ironically centrist conservative Bush administration since coming to power in 2001 forced, amidst great controversy, an anti-terrorism doctrinal change from a law enforcement "fly-swatter" approach of criminal indictments and arrest warrants, to a first-ever military, fight-them-on-their-own-turf, bloody war : the "Global War on Terrorism." Many thousands have died.
The Bush doctrine ( 'if it looks like, sounds like or even hints of being Al Qaeda, we'll kill it!') is blooded and in full motion. The U.S. has killed anyone Al Qaeda-like or impounded them in hordes without warrant, relying on ancient war-time laws. This violent aggressiveness, apart from making the socialist governments of Canada and Europe shudder, has damaged, horrified and fractured Al Qaeda and infuriated Bin Laden.
Going back to February 2001, the Bush administration had DOD build a replica of Bin Laden's Kandahar mansion in a U.S. desert range and by May 2001 was getting practice lobbing missiles through its windows using manned and unmanned aircraft as launch platforms in an attempt to refine the "Predator" RPV. Bush had ordered "rolling back" to "permanently eroding" and eventually to "eliminating" bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization. Bush clearly wanted him killed. Without war, U.S. law which prevented FBI agents from jailing folks who made stupid remarks to flight instructors also forbid assassinations. At the time there were hints Bush would seek lifting the ban on state-sanctioned assassination.
Al Qaeda was founded in 1989 by Saudi-born Usama bin Laden who had come to Afghanistan in 1986 and had already created, Al Masadah, the Lion's Den, a training place for Persian Gulf Arabs. Partnered with Bin Laden in the formation of Al Qaeda was Egyptian Islamic Jihad's Muhammad Atef (1944-2001), a murdering radical somewhere past the fringe of psychopathy. (Usama bin Laden (left) and Muhammad Atef (below) whose daughter is married to bin Laden's son, were indicted November 4, 1998 in a U.S. court for the 7 August 1998 simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It is widely believed Atef was killed in November 2001 by U.S. forces in Afghanistan although we have no reports of his corpse being discovered.)
The incipient Al Qaeda was an aggregation of the mujahideen freedom fighters, mekhtab al khidemat (MAK) and Al Masadah. Usama Bin Laden and Palestinian Abdullah Azzam (an effective global promoter of the Afghani Jihad) had stimulated the creation of this mujahideen to oppose the 1979 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. After the Soviets withdrew, Bin Laden and the Afghani mujahideen had no purpose in life; no enemies to fight, so they recruited, trained, and financed thousands of foreign mujahideen to rid Muslim nations of Western influence and to kill Jews. Al Qaeda, in the vision of Usama bin Laden and Muhammad Atef would be "The Base" of all such anti-West, anti-Zionist operations.
Al Qaeda is now a doctrinally-focused collaboration of scattered, eccentric, Islamic fundamentalist, 'inner-city-street-gangs' with C-phones and internet-connected PCs, each cell led by terrorist 'thugs'. The people of Al Qaeda share the same ideology in what can be described as a movement. There are no membership cards.
Usama Bin Laden is its figurehead leader, perhaps seeing himself as a Christ-like prophet in the Islamic sense but having little to do with day to day operations. Usama Bin Laden's importance has been degraded and Al Qaeda as a whole is hurting badly blaming the United States' ("The Zionists and Crusaders") new anti-terrorist dogma.
Al Qaeda has lost to the new U.S. anti-terrorist doctrine one benevolent hosting nation; lost sympathy and acquiescence of several Islamic countries; lost 87 training camps in Afghanistan and Iraq; lost tones of supplies and weapons; lost chemical warfare labs; lost countless weapons firing ranges; lost millions of dollars in cold hard cash; lost millions of dollars worth of potential earning power; lost dual-use chemical stores; lost most of its best leadership and a lot of prestige as its demeaned figurehead hides in caves and tunnels while Islamic Pakistani soldiers run him into the ground under the valiant leadership of Pakistan's Gen. Pervez Musharraf, no longer an acquiescent neighbour to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Al Qaeda has been bashed to bits by the Bush Administration's willingness to fight and needed a major successful event somewhere. Spain, France, England and America, in that order, keep popping up as central to Al Qaeda's strategic goals. Albeit, Israel, Iraq and other nations are passionately touted as theatres by regional 'independent' Al Qaeda-aligned zealots but the core Al Quaeda has bigger fish to fry.
Spain nearly failed. Al Qaeda had a hard time finding operatives until a somewhat sloppy Moroccan crew came in step with the plan. In the final moments of a nearly botched effort, Al Qaeda won the jackpot in spades. Arguably it was aided by floundering, exasperated Spanish politicians who couldn't, on the eve of an election, get their story straight, but however you slice the blame, Al Qaeda won the whole pot.
chain then continued to the U.S. while France and England's law enforcement
elite began 'overturning the rocks', looking for Al Qaeda's next efforts, making
more than a few arrests, and while Canada's RCMP anti-terrorist section detained
a federal government contract employee working on the guts of Foreign Affairs'
Washington was rocked. A gasp, and then laughter, could be heard around the world and Kim Jong Il, once he stopped dancing about, ordered televised footage of Kerry's statements be broadcast to North Koreans in a prime state TV propaganda slot.
Some Americans went apoplectic. Mutterings are outright ugly within the security intelligence community. The thirst for power fogs minds; an unreasoned mind is easily manipulated; and the ability of the leftist media elite to mold the credulous minds of the North American middle class voters are well understood vulnerabilities exploitable by Al Qaeda's deep thinking "Majlis Al Shura" whose every home-made video gets 'breaking-news-flash"-priority and incessant replay on Al Jazeera and CNN.
Apart from raising alarm that he leads an international plot to unseat a U.S. President, Kerry, like Spain's Zapatero has chastised his country's invasion of Iraq. In February Kerry went on record with a statement saying that President Bush overstated the threat of Al Qaeda "terrorism". Kerry has also opposed troop funding; castigated the Bush administration for its anti-terror doctrinal re-direction and purblindly crafted the same scenario in America that Al Qaeda exploited in Spain. Kerry has heedlessly joined those now compromised by al-Quaeda to become an apparent chink in the U.S. armour.
Beware of this. Al Qaeda takes well its lessons learned from experiences, good and bad, and will do a replay on its tactics which have previously worked. Never forget that WWII poster: "Loose lips sink ships!"
Unequivocally the events of this March now ending foretell of pending horror. Beware the Ides of this March 2004. Julius Caesar ignored that warning with lethal consequences.
Micheal J. O'Brien, Editor
Spain's Controverted Election
On 13 March a spokesman for Al Qaeda claimed responsibility in a videotaped statement for a wave of bomb attacks in Madrid that killed 200 people, overshadowing Spain’s general elections in mid-March.
Hours earlier, Interior Minister Angel Acebes announced that five people, including some with possible links to Moroccan militants and Al Qaeda, had been arrested in the first breakthrough in the investigation of Thursday’s near-simultaneous attacks on four commuter trains which also injured 1,500 people.
Spanish television's first reports credited the Basque ETA with the acts but they quickly aired Al Qaeda's hastily produced videotape (of a person who spoke with a Moroccan accent in Arabic humbly saying he in fact represented yet another person who was the representative of Al Qaeda who we can assume was unavailable to make such a hasty recording), which corrected the record and took credit away from the Basques and gave it to Al Qaeda. So it was true, as Al Qaeda had complained, credit goes to Al Qaeda.
Under outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, Spain has been a close ally of the United States, firmly supporting U.S. policy on Iraq and sending 1,300 troops there after the war.
On a video tape provided to Spanish TV via a drop-off trash bin, a man speaking in Moroccan-accented Arabic says Al Qaeda launched the attacks in retaliation for Spanish cooperation with the United States and its allies.
"If you don't stop your injustices, more blood will flow," went the Al Qaeda pronouncement, "and these attacks are very little compared with what may happen with what you call terrorism, the Al Qaeda spokesperson said", according to a Spanish transcript provided by the Interior Ministry.
The statement referred specifically to Iraq and Afghanistan, both countries where Spain has sent troops to keep the peace in the fight against terror. The man noted that the Madrid blasts came exactly two-and-a-half years after the September 11 attacks conducted by some nineteen or more Al Qaeda operatives against the United States.
He makes the statement in the name of someone claiming to be the military spokesman of Al Qaeda in Europe, Abu Dujan al Afgani, Minister Acebes told a news conference.
Interior Minister Acebes said the name was not known to intelligence services and that investigators were examining the tape’s authenticity. The Interior Ministry did not release the video itself. Acebes said the man speaking on it wore Arab dress and had his face uncovered. At an earlier news conference Acebes said investigators had found no evidence of suicide bombers.
Spanish Election Ends U.S./Spain Special Friendship
Outgoing incumbent Jose Maria Aznar's party had suddenly plummeted 11 percentage points in the polls almost overnight when Al Qaeda attacked Madrid punishing Spaniards for sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. (See Comment).
Planning to step down from his party leadership after eight years at the helm, Aznar had anointed Mariano Rajoy as his replacement in the top job should his party win the election.
Aznar, a strong ally to the U.S. in its fight against Al Qaeda, last year told press about the coalition in Iraq: "We've worked very hard, and with good results, to forge consensus within the European Union that it is necessary to maintain. We share the efforts and the needs within the Security Council that the international community has to maintain to guarantee peace and security in the world."
Aznar, during his time in office, had devoted his efforts to making good on promises that first put him in Spain's top slot: balance the budget, root out corruption and crack down on Basque terrorism
The Socialist party's Jose Luis [ Rodriguez ] Zapatero is to be Spain's new prime minister, ending eight years of conservative rule. "My immediate priority will be to fight all forms of terrorism," he said in a victory speech on the night of March 14. The Socialists won 42 per cent of the vote while the center-right Popular Party garnered 38 percent, according to official results.
Zapatero, who declared during his campaign that he hoped Sen. John Kerry would win the U.S. presidency, recently repeated his preference. "We're aligning ourselves with Kerry," Mr. Zapatero said, according to the International Herald Tribune. "Our allegiance will be for peace, against war, no more deaths for oil, and for a dialogue between the government of Spain and the new Kerry administration." In a radio interview yesterday, Mr. Zapatero, whose victory was propelled in part by the terrorist attacks in Madrid, emphatically asserted that "fighting terrorism with bombs ... with Tomahawk missiles isn't the way to defeat terrorism."
Born in the city of Valladolid on August 4, 1960, Rodriguez Zapatero studied Law, but - aside from a stint as a law teacher - has devoted his entire life to politics within the Spanish socialist party. From a family with left-wing ideas --his grandfather was executed by the Nationalists at the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936-- he first became fascinated with politics when he attended his first political rally in Gijón (Asturias) in 1977, when Spain was about to hold its first democratic elections following the death of dictator Franco. The speaker was a young Felipe González, and Rodriguez Zapatero was mesmerized. The following year, he joined the socialist party.
In 1982, he headed the socialist youth organization in his home province of León (north-western Spain). In 1986, he became the youngest member of parliament in Spain when he won a seat representing the province. In 1988 he was elected to head the regional chapter of the socialist party in León, and in 1997 he was appointed to the Federal Executive Committee, the party's governing body.
Ideologically, Rodríguez Zapatero is a moderate, closer to social democracy than socialism. His right-hand-man is the Galician member of parliament, José Blanco. Rodriguez Zapatero married in 1990. He has two daughters. His hobbies are jogging and trout fishing.
Spain is a country of South Europe and member of the European Union. The national capital of Spain is Madrid. The main religion is Christianity (Catholicism). The national language is Spanish (historically, Castilian). Other official languages in the autonomous communities comprise Catalan and Basque. Spain has a lot of linguistic minorities. In the Basque provinces an active separatist movement is present. In the year 1037 the Castilian became an independent state, it merged with Aragon in the year 1479 to become Spain. The country is a federal parliamentary democratic monarchy. Inside the federation the communities of Basque and Catalonia have a far going autonomy. The Basque provinces has a strong and violent independence movement. Spain also includes the overseas communities of the Canary Islands and the Baleares and the overseas exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.Executive:
King: Juan Carlos I de Borbón y Borbón (1975)
President of the Government: José María Aznar (1996/2000) PP
Parliament of Spain
Las Cortes Generales (The General Courts) have two chambers. The Congreso de los Diputados (Congress of Deputies) has 350 members, elected for a four year term by proportional representation in each province. The Senado (Senate) has 248 leden, 208 members elected for a four year term in four-member constituencies and 40 members designated by the regional legislatures.
Spanish Election Summary:
Winner - Socialists (PSOE) led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero: 43 per cent
Who but a Kook would want to trade shoes with U.S. President?
If, as the U.S. Democratic Party suggests, the sitting President is to blame whenever Al Qaeda attacks (on September 11, 2001 3,000 civilians were murdered by Al Qaeda), who in their right mind would want to disrupt the continuity of leadership by stealing away the job of President now?
If not sooner, then certainly by the time of the next U.S. presidential term, at least some of Al Qaeda's far-flung units will have perfected the delivery means and formed an execution plan. ("We have the right to kill four million Americans two million of them children and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons..."Al Qaeda's, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, 2002)
Al Qaeda has always boldly overstated its abilities knowing that eventually by growing popularity among Islamic fundamentalists it would amass sufficient momentum to achieve those exaggerated claims. It's just a matter of
time and as many predict toward the end or into the next U.S. presidential
March Summaries: Coalition Losses in Iraq To Date
Terror Mob Leaders Wanted For Murder in Falluja
Today, news watchers around the world will be horrified by images of four Americans killed and burned or burned alive and dragged through the streets of Sunni enclave Falluja, Iraq. After dragging the burnt and mutilated bodies through the downtown streets the insurgents hung the charred corpses from a bridge over the Euphrates River while some onlookers cheered and danced about in laughter and jubilation. Sick puppies, for sure. We shall not display the full photos which are sourced from Associated Press and French Press.
If you know who any of these persons are, report them to your local authorities. They are murderers who have desecrated human remains after committing an unprovoked murderous act which surely is intended to incite further violence amidst an already troubled and veritably psychotic, self-defecating society.
Afghanistan Al Qaeda Update
Both Taliban and al Qaeda fighters are showing increasing signs of activity, and, with the ambit of Hamid Karzai's government essentially restricted to Kabul, the possibility of another round of warlord power distribution is growing. In the past terrorists have found safe haven in the territory of these regional strongmen. This could happen again giving the terrorists a greater level of security as they plot and train. Additionally, some experts see the geographic base of Islamic Fundamentalist terror shifting to the Caucasus, where camps are said to have been established. Russian and other forces may be able to destroy these camps, but without a comprehensive settlement in Chechnya and the broader region, terrorists will move from camp to camp and remain a problem.
Saif al-Adel is among the FBI's most wanted criminals. He has been issuing a series of writings through the internet in Arabic attempting to motivate and recruit Islamic fundamentalists.
"The United States Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Saif Al-Adel", say FBI publicists.
About Afghanistan Saif al-Adel writes, "If we look at the current situation in the second year of war, the desired security [by the coalition] has never been achieved. Additionally, they did not capture the leader of the Taliban or Al Qaeda. And we did not see any political agenda for the groups of thieves in Kabul. The Afghanistan cities which were united and in which security was spread during the time of the Taliban, today no longer exist. All the efforts the American enemy exerted confirm their bad intentions to establish a double agent leadership and divide the country and steal its wealth. Therefore, America cannot change the Afghanistan view about it. Currently, the imposed government in Kabul does not control anything but the palace it lives in, and the coalition forces now are creating excuses to leave Afghanistan. But the mujahideen [ Al Qaeda ] are still in the battlefield, and the fight continues and will not end, God willing, until Afghanistan returns to Shari`a [Islamic law] and Islam once more."
Canada Reaffirms Commitment to Afghanistan
Canada's International Cooperation Minister Aileen Carroll and Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham today
announced Canada's pledge of $250 million to assist the people of Afghanistan as their country moves toward stability and democratic rule. The ministers are attending the International Conference on Afghanistan, which began today in Berlin and wraps-up on April 1. The new funding will be delivered from 2005 to 2009 through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). (
See Canada In Afghanistan)
Update Al Qaeda Europe
England, intel sources believe, will follow Spain and Paris in Al Qaeda's efforts to destabilize the West. It is now more widely accepted that Al Qaeda has a vindictive side that sways its anti-Zionist aims whenever it's leadership is so inclined. That leadership is comprised of a board of advisors (Majlis al Shura) who collectively publish, using a variety of means, a doctrinal, almost evangelical creed for the world-wide collection of small-band sympathizers to follow. In it, every thing of Islam is "blessed" and everything of the West is either "evil" or "Zionist" which are used interchangeably.
Typical Al Qaeda missive closing remarks: "we seek the help of Allah, the Almighty, against His enemies, and we ask Him to use us and grant us and our Ummah success in our jihad."
France has banned Islamic head gear in its schools and England plays a significantly aggressive role in the "Global War on Terrorism". Al Qaeda seeks to sway public opinion in these nations with the help of intense publicity from Al Jazeera TV and CNN as was the case in Spain.
"...work in small groups, and avoid by all means working in large groups", directs Saif al-Adel
Another growing issue since the "Global War on Terrorism" began is the radicalization of Europe's Muslim population. Just the last year witnessed the first suicide bombing in Israel carried out by Muslims who were British citizens. The incident was unique but it bespoke a deeper reality. As polling demonstrates, a growing and dangerous alienation of young, European-born Muslims has taken root, and, as the French scholar Olivier Roy has observed, this cohort increasingly embraces an alternative, pan-Islamic identity that is often radical and occasionally violent. This could emerge as a considerable security challenge for Europe and the West in general.
Foreign Affairs Canada Employee Arrested
One person, Mohammed Momin Khawaja, was been detained Monday and remanded yesterday into custody by an Ottawa Court which also imposed a publication ban.
The nature of recently-defined 'terrorism' criminality introduced by Parliament's December 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act is such that the 'Crown in the Right of Canada' (U.S. equivalence would be Federal Prosecutor) shall proceed with indictment (types in order of seriousness are: summary, hybrid and indictment) for which there is no time limitation on when a charge can be laid following a criminal act or the discovery thereof. Upon conviction of one of these offences, a sentence of up to fifteen years imprisonment can apply.
The arrest information provided by the RCMP sets out offences defined in the Criminal Code of Canada section 83.01(1) contrary to section 83.18. Khawaja is the first person to be arrested under these new sections.
Timing and location of the alleged offences is "on or between November 10, 2003 and March 29, 2004", at or near Ottawa and London, England.
The RCMP say Khawaja, "...did knowingly participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, an activity of a terrorist group, for the purpose of enhancing the ability of a terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity..."
The second allegation says he, "...did knowingly facilitate a terrorist activity..."
U.S. Troop Strength In Iraq Grows With Repositioning and Delayed Rotation
As march came to a close there were about 155,000 U.S. military personnel in the Iraq Command theatre including about 30,000 in Kuwait and nearby but outside Iraq's borders. A constant flux in numbers makes this as much a guessing game as a matter of tracking troop movements because for one thing the U.S. has put a lid on the release of data for security reasons meanwhile a large scale troop rotation is currently under way as a full year of combat operations draws to a close.
Iraq's Sunni and Shiite Elite Experience Internal Unrest
Nazem Khalaf, a cleric at the Rahman mosque in Abu Dsheer, a suburb in southwestern Baghdad, said that assailants drove up next to his car and opened fire.
He was wounded in the head and hand, and his 21-year-old-son and 37-year-old son-in-law were killed.
"Whoever tried to kill me is trying to ignite sectarian violence," said Khalaf, who claimed that three days before the attack, a member from a Shiite Muslim militant group threatened to kill him if he didn't stop going to the mosque. He said he was accused of belonging to the Wahhabis, a militant sect whose adherents are mainly in Saudi Arabia.
The alleged attempt is the second known attack on a Sunni Muslim cleric following the bombings at Shiite Muslim shrines in Karbala and Baghdad on March 2 which killed at least 181 people and left 573 wounded. It was the bloodiest day since the ouster of Saddam Hussein last April.
Iraq Governing Council Annoyed That U.S. Is Releasing Detainees
While around the world many special interest groups complain that the U.S. in Iraq is detaining prisoners without proper warrant, some members of the Iraqi Governing Council are furious and say they want many of these people held as possible witnesses to Saddam Hussein's rein of terror.
A top Iraqi lawyer coordinating preparations for Saddam Hussein’s trial accused the U.S. military yesterday of hampering efforts to gather evidence by releasing detainees linked to the toppled dictator.
The complaint: The U.S. military just releases detainees without consulting with us. They are releasing people with valuable information on Saddam. They are undermining the process of putting him on trial, Salem Chalabi said. Why should we bother?
Chalabi said frustrations over the releases were growing in the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, with some members discussing putting on hold the special tribunal expected to try Saddam and his top aides if they were not consulted.
There is a feeling that it is a pointless exercise. Important figures are being released and we are not even consulted. These people are leaving the country.
Chalabi said he expressed his concerns to a high-level U.S. Justice Department team that visited Iraq this week to assemble evidence for war crimes cases against Saddam. They said they would relay our concerns, he said, adding that a much larger American team of 50 would return in about five weeks.
Chalabi said prosecutors would seek to establish a chain of command that proved Saddam ordered atrocities such as a chemical attack on the Kurds in 1988 and the crushing of a 1991 Shiite uprising that allegedly sent thousands to mass graves. The U.S.-educated attorney, whose uncle Ahmad Chalabi is a member of the Governing Council, said there were about 100 Iraqi detainees with ties to Saddam who could provide hard evidence against him.
"The Americans have released 15 detainees who would have been valuable to us. They are doing this because they arrested too many people and now they are compensating", he said.
One important example, he said, was Saadoun Hammadi, a longtime Saddam ally who served as prime minister in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.
Chalabi said Saddam’s trial was not expected to be held this year, but some other former Iraqi officials closely connected to Saddam would likely face prosecution in 2004. He said final security arrangements were being made for 20 investigative judges, who
will be aided by 50 investigators.
This Issue: Related Links, Resources and ResearchAl Qaeda training manual 1
Al Qaeda training manual 2
Al Qaeda training manual 3
Al Qaeda training manual 4
Al Qaeda: agents of Bacterial Origin
Global Terrorist Groups aligned to Al Qaeda
Al Qaeda Killed Masoud - Ahmad Shah Masoud
Al Qaeda's Usama Bin Laden
Al Qaeda: World Trade Center
Agents of Bacterial Origin
Canada in Afghanistan
Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear Terrorism
Documentation & Diagrams - The Early Atomic Bomb
Al Qaeda Internet Rational For Its Existence
Decline of the American Empire
Indicting Al Qaeda and Bin Laden
U.S. Department of Justice
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Revised: March 31 2004
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