Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Al-Qaeda and Iraq: Together at Last?
July 11, 2003 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Judge Finds Documentation Connecting Iraq with Al-Qaeda? Federal appellate Judge Gilbert S. Merritt of Nashville is in Iraq as one of 13 experts selected by the U.S. Justice Department to help rebuild Iraq's judicial system. And in an article from the Tennessean, he claims to have found a newspaper published in the Babylon Daily Political Newspaper, run by Uday Hussein, in which was a "List of Honor" containing the names of 600 men in high esteem by the former ruling regime. Among these was, apparently, ''Abid Al-Karim Muhamed Aswod, intelligence officer responsible for the coordination of activities with the Osama bin Laden group at the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan.''
posted by namespan (31 comments total)

 
And in other news. Apart from Iraq, Al-Qaeda has links with people from many other countries. Including non-Islamic countries. Including (probably) America.

blah, blah, blah.
posted by seanyboy at 3:31 PM on July 11, 2003


Earlier related thread.
posted by homunculus at 3:33 PM on July 11, 2003


seanyboy: I think it's relevant. We're jumping up and down hard -- as we should be -- on the poor case that the Bush Admin made against Iraq. One portion of that case was a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.... one that (IIRC) a large portion of Americans and Daryl Worley came to believe in. One that a lot of other folks (myself included) was poppycock. Does it pan out?

I also doubt Al-Qaeda has any sympathizers in the State in the U.S., let alone coordinators. That's the claim of this article as far as the former Iraqi State goes.
posted by namespan at 3:40 PM on July 11, 2003


seanyboy: Your dismissal is stated in irrelevant terms. Al-Qaeda may have links with persons in umpteen countries, but with how many do they have contacts assigned by the government itself to liaison with them? This is what the linked story claims to have documentation for: "assigned [by the Iraqi government] to the Iraq embassy in Pakistan, [to be] responsible for the coordination of activities with the Osama bin Laden group."
posted by Zurishaddai at 3:44 PM on July 11, 2003


Does being mentioned as a "man of honor" in a newspaper actually constitute a "link?" Just what is a "link," anyway?

For a real "link," I'd like to see money changing hands, intelligence changing hands, weapons or equipment changing hands.
posted by scarabic at 3:45 PM on July 11, 2003


Is that really all? Mentioned in a newspaper as someone of esteem? I understand that Kim Jong Il is a huge fan of Pretty Woman. Does this put Julia Roberts in league with North Korea? What about Richard Gere? Do we need hard evidence of gerbils changing hands?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:50 PM on July 11, 2003


Eh?

The newspaper list of top Iraqi officials that Judge Merritt describes in the accompanying article was also the subject of a mid-May report in the Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine. The list, published in an Iraqi newspaper before the U.S. invasion, has received little public attention elsewhere.

The magazine noted, as did Merritt, that one person on the list was characterized as being in charge of relations with Osama bin Laden at the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan. The magazine also mentioned that the list was prefaced by this puzzling passage:

''This is a list of the henchmen of the regime. Our hands will reach them sooner or later. Woe unto them.''


Smoking gun, fer sure....I mean...what I started to say was.... goddam no-good bastards cavorting with Saddam - can we please get some invasions or cluster bombing or air strikes going right away based on "lists" of some of his other asshole associates?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:59 PM on July 11, 2003


One thing to note is that "The Bin Laden Group" is the name of the Bin Laden family construction company.
posted by pitchblende at 4:04 PM on July 11, 2003


Also found: gum wrapper with "Osama Rocks!" written on it.

My shopping list is responsible for the coordination of activities with the Nutella group, known haters of freedom. Why do those who love evil always hate freedom?

Poppycock.
posted by squirrel at 4:12 PM on July 11, 2003


letters found in support of christian terrorist - bring in the b-52s and depleted uranium - lets clean up the zealots in south carolina.
posted by specialk420 at 4:23 PM on July 11, 2003


The circumstantial evidence (that the Hussein regime moved so quickly and effectively to remove the papers from circulation) is quite strong, if trustworthy.
posted by Zurishaddai at 4:33 PM on July 11, 2003


Firstly, You're always going to find people in government who have links to terrorist groups / oppressive regimes. As for ''responsible for the coordination of activities with the Osama bin Laden group.'' What were those activities? It could be anything from a (slightly disguised) version of "Person resonsible for spying on Osama" to "Person responsible for getting Osama to plan terrorist attacks." We don't know. It proves nothing.
posted by seanyboy at 4:38 PM on July 11, 2003


Does that mean that, because Texas hosted the Taliban during oil talks, the Bush regime should be considered complicit with 9/11?

How about the fact that Bush Sr. supplied money, weapons, and people to Saddam Hussein? Does that count, too?

Both of those, at least, are more direct than a single name referred to in a somewhat admittedly cryptic list published in a newspaper.
posted by FormlessOne at 4:51 PM on July 11, 2003


Lamest smoking gun ever.
posted by influx at 5:06 PM on July 11, 2003


All those people in and out of government worked for all those months to make the connection and all they found was some flimsy "meeting in Prague" nonsense and now suddenly some direct link is found? Were they looking in the wrong places?
posted by euphorb at 5:11 PM on July 11, 2003


Look people, I know that sometimes that in addition to plotting with others to blow people up, nations sometimes establish diplomatic ties and other covert contacts with all kinds of other nations (and extra-national groups, like the UN and the WTO and Al-Qaeda). I understand that in addition to the possibility of a harmless Al-Qaeda/Iraq connection, there's the possiblity the list is pure fiction. I also know, however, that pointing out the existence of those two possibilities -- which is what most of the offered attempts at counterargument so far in this thread do -- is not refutation of the other one.

So: what evidence is there that this list is fiction? And if not, what's more likely, that two orgs that hate the US would coordinate their bull sessions where they just complain about it, or that they might think of something worse?

Eh. So far the only counterargument I find convincing from this whole thread is f+m's link to the other Tennessean article. U.S. intelligence has the info and doesn't seem to think they're anything special. That says something to me.
posted by namespan at 5:30 PM on July 11, 2003


So namespan, why then didn't you include that other Tennessean story in your original post?

Anyway, after a bit of digging on the web, I've found that this guy was also responsible for coordination of activities with The McAuley-Schenker Group, which, quite frankly, is reason enough in hindsight to have invaded Iraq. I'm a little surprised this tidbit was not included in the 2003 State of the Union address.
posted by pitchblende at 5:45 PM on July 11, 2003


So namespan, why then didn't you include that other Tennessean story in your original post?

Didn't know about it 'til f+m linked to it.


Anyway, after a bit of digging on the web, I've found that this guy was also responsible for coordination of activities with The McAuley-Schenker Group...

Is your point that the idea of considering connections between Al-Qaeda and the former Iraqi State is only worthy of being mocked?
posted by namespan at 5:59 PM on July 11, 2003


What do I think about the latest smoking gun?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA AH FUCK...

If it weren't for the thousands of dead Iraqis and hundreds of dead american servicemen, this would be high comedy.

Do they seriously plan to manufacture one of these lame justification every week until the population of the world becomes stupid enough to believe one of them?

At least this farce is only costing 4 billion a month to maintain.

IMPEACH
posted by sic at 6:32 PM on July 11, 2003


I am from south carolina, and the majority of all of my friends are not religious zealots. In fact all of my friends are very liberal. I know that might not be representative of the whole state, but seriously a lot of us would like our state to be different, and instead we just move out. Besides, with 420 attached to the end of your name (Specialk420) you obviously support special interest groups. If you are indeed a liberal, you should be open minded and understand that these people are like that because of nurture, not nature. They had no more choice in who they are now than you did, just be thankful you were blessed with more open parents. Who sadly did not pass such understanding and compassion onto you.
posted by sourbrew at 6:45 PM on July 11, 2003


If being linked to Al Queda and Osama Bin Laden is reason enough to justify regime change, it would behoove us to look back to the Russian incursions in Afghanistan, where the Reagan and Bush administrations supported the "freedom fighters" of Al Queda and Osama Bin Laden directly with training and weapons. One could also look at the past support the United States has officially provided to folks such as Saddam Hussein himself, during and after most, if not all, of his worst atrocities.
posted by fatbobsmith at 6:58 PM on July 11, 2003


heh heh... Aswod.
posted by schlaager at 7:10 PM on July 11, 2003


where the Reagan and Bush administrations supported the "freedom fighters" of Al Queda and Osama Bin Laden directly with training and weapons. One could also look at the past support the United States has officially provided to folks such as Saddam Hussein himself, during and after most, if not all, of his worst atrocities.

All right, since lots of people seem interested in bringing this up, I'll argue it, even though I think it's a Red Herring.

Was it wrong when *we* did it? Either it was, or "it depends". If it was unequivocably wrong, then it's wrong if Iraq was doing it to, and we shoud pay attention. If it depends, then you should articulate what constitutes ethical collusion between two states or between a state and a revolutionary/terrorist force. Either way calling "criminal" on the US doesn't excuse Iraqi collusion (if shown), and I say that as a person who believes the US has some terrible involvements to face up and changes to make.

Lamest smoking gun ever.

Who said it was a smoking gun? Did you notice the question marks in my post? I think it's a suggestion that maybe the Iraq-Al-Qaeda connection isn't total BS. Doesn't anyone else here think: "Hmmm. Interesting. Maybe people should be talking about this and trying to find out if this Aswod guy really exists and learn a thing or two about him or maybe even put him into the deck'o'cards."?

It all comes back to two points:

(1) either this connection is fiction or it's not; and
(2) either involvement with Al-Qaeda matters or it doesn't.

#2 is pretty self evident. What I'm curious about is what efforts have been made to follow the lead suggested by #1, or what reasons you have to just shrug it off. And like I said, f+m is the only person in this whole thread who's offered even something close.
posted by namespan at 9:50 PM on July 11, 2003


Iraqis liked that Bin Laden was conducting war against their enemy, the USA. They liked that Bin Laden had 'victories' against the US in Africa and other places. They were worried about Islamism taking root in Iraq, and wanted to co-opt that. But so far the most credible information uncovered by the most dilligent and credible intelligence agencies has concluded that while Iraq was interested in working with Al Qaeda, it was unable to find a way to do so, as they had ultimately different interests and very different worldviews.

Holding certain Al Qaeda members in 'esteem' is something we already knew about. Supporting them in any real way is something that up until now, we are fairly sure did not happen. This is no revelation, just a rehash and a bit of diversion.
posted by chaz at 10:04 PM on July 11, 2003


Lame ad hominem, sourbrew.
posted by squirrel at 10:32 PM on July 11, 2003


I was not making a personal attack, i was merely suggesting that there was no reason to target south carolina. Bush is from texas, there was no reason to target my state for any reason. I do not stand behind south carolina, I merely wanted to state that this was an unfounded attack. I do not deny the presence of religious zealots, just merely wanted to state that an attack on anyone because of their nurture is akin to the attack that bush is making on iraq. These people were born into their situation in the same way that my fellow rednecks were born into their trailers. They can no more help being ignorant than militant iraqi's can help hating us soldiers. It is a mere case of indoctrination and to draw lines based on beliefs is to assume that everyone should share your belief. Because this is not possible in a world where everyone is brought up differently i believe such attacks are akin to trolling, and i was merely trying to draw attention to this fact with out calling it such.
posted by sourbrew at 1:19 AM on July 12, 2003


Sourbrew - chill. or stop trolling. or whatever.

namespan: either this connection is fiction or it's not;
The list of names doesn't answer the question of a connection. It just raises that question of that connection yet again. It isn't making officials investigate links between Iraq and Al-Quaeda, because officials are already investigating links between Iraq and Al-Quaeda.
posted by seanyboy at 1:39 AM on July 12, 2003


sourbrew.

believe me ... i no more want to see bombs rain down on south carolina, than i do baghdad, tehran, p'yongyang, dallas, etc.

namespan's post illustrates the pitiful level of grasping at straws that this administration and those who supported the war in iraq have been reduced to - i merely meant illustrate through comparison of attaching collective guilt to some sad scrap of paper - im quite sure most south carolina folks are wonderful people - and certainly minnesota has it's own collection of doozies.
posted by specialk420 at 8:53 AM on July 12, 2003


Excellent points, Chaz.

What I want to know is, why is it that we (as a nation) hav trolled so long and hard to find a plausible link between Iraq and Al Qaeda when in fact Al Qaeda is inextricably linked to another Arab regime - namely, the Saudis - and, well, we don't like to talk about that much?
posted by kgasmart at 11:20 AM on July 12, 2003


in fact Al Qaeda is inextricably linked to another Arab regime - namely, the Saudis - and, well, we don't like to talk about that much?

The subject may soon become harder to avoid:

U.S. report on 9/11 to be 'explosive' - Government errors, Saudi ties to terrorists among highlights
posted by homunculus at 11:51 AM on July 12, 2003


Does anyone else find Judge Merritt's writing to be pretty lousy, considering the fact that he is such a well-educated, credentialed man? Is there any possibility that this article is a fake? Most lawyers (which I'm sure Judge Merritt started out as) know how to write.
posted by amro at 10:27 AM on July 15, 2003


« Older Mark Pilgrim and Dave Winer are fighting, again....  |  It's a Giant Sperm!... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments