More ‘Shaky’ Intelligence Claims?
Jim Grichar (aka Exx-Gman)
by Jim Grichar
week after the capture of Saddam Hussein, the London
Telegraph reported that contrary to first impressions
Saddam was ‘... actively involved in directing attacks on the U.S.
forces...’ in Iraq. First reports from the U.S. military indicated
that Saddam was not in control of any of the post-war attacks on
U.S. forces and that he was only receiving briefings on the results
of attacks on various U.S. and other foreign interests in Iraq.
to the Telegraph reporter, who was listed as filing his story
from Baghdad, subsequent information gathered by U.S. investigators
indicated that Saddam was heading an elaborate network of guerrillas
by working through five very high-ranking Iraqi intelligence officers
who executed his instructions. The Telegraph reporter directly
quoted only one U.S. Army officer in his report Major Stan
Murphy, who serves as the intelligence officer for the 4th
Infantry Division’s First Brigade, and Major Murphy stated that
the five Iraqi intelligence officers "... knew where he (i.e., Saddam)
was and they were able to travel to him or meet him somewhere."
These five officers (from Tikrit, Saddam’s home village) reportedly
passed Saddam’s commands to lower level officials who then had others,
in various guerrilla cells, execute various attacks. To back this
up further, the Telegraph reported that ‘... millions of
dollars to support the insurgency were recovered in raids on other
suspected Saddam safe houses.’
this information may lead some to conclude that Saddam was indeed
actively involved in directing the post-war insurgency (the reporter
used this word, as "counter-insurgency" would imply that the coalition
illegally invaded Iraq), other interpretations are possible, and
this makes the intelligence gained thus far about Saddam’s activities
rather shaky. And it raises the further question of why U.S. officials
would deliberately release such information about Saddam’s alleged
direct involvement in the insurgency to the press.
intelligence officials and other investigators including
military intelligence officers could readily claim that Saddam
was only carrying the briefing materials in his possession in order
to conduct an elaborate ruse that is, to fool Americans into
believing that he was only receiving reports and not actively involved
in planning and directing the attacks if he were captured.
perspective sounds quite plausible until you begin to analyze the
information reportedly gathered about Saddam and his henchmen. One
question, which the Telegraph reporter inadvertently raised
but did not ask, was how Saddam could be accused of running the
insurgency operation if he were only giving general guidance. The
Army Major was quoted as saying, "He (i.e., Saddam author’s
note) would give very general guidance, like ‘Hey, I’d like to see
more attacks. His enablers (meaning the five senior Iraqi intelligence
officials from Tikrit) would then go out to the various tiers below
them and give specific guidance, money and weapons." Even Don Corleone
in "The Godfather" gave specific instructions on who to punish and
who to reward, and "The Don" was usually involved in approving the
actual plans for executing his instructions. No evidence has been
reported thus far showing Saddam’s dictation of specific instructions
on the who, what, when, where, and how of attacks on U.S. forces.
the U.S. military is keeping such information classified so as to
catch more of Saddam’s henchmen, but then you have to ask why information
about Saddam’s involvement would have been deliberately revealed
to the press if the information were critical to catching more of
explanation is possible for the real motive behind revealing such
shaky intelligence to the press, but it can only be inferred and
not readily confirmed. In another article in the same issue, the
also reported that any Iraqi trial of Saddam would take up to
five years before reaching a verdict if international criminal court
procedures were followed. Such a lengthy trial could prove extremely
embarrassing, to say the least, not only for the current Bush Administration
but also other major international leaders who cooperated with Saddam
in some of his earlier activities for which he may be charged with
to the Telegraph, one prominent Baghdad attorney who has
offered his services pro bono to Saddam, stated, "This tribunal
will embarrass Bush the father and that will be bad for Bush the
son. Saddam will talk and the whole world will be able to listen."
veteran French attorney who defended the Nazi war criminal
Klaus Barbie and who is now representing captured former Iraqi Vice
President Tariq Aziz hinted that "... Saddam’s defence would
highlight the international support he received while, for example,
gassing Kurds at Halabja." This attorney also visited Tariq Aziz’s
relations, now living in Amman, Jordan, and is reported to have
said, "'all Western heads of state" from that era should also go
on trial if Saddam ended up in the dock."
of which brings us back to the first article, about Saddam being
involved in directing attacks on the U.S. forces in Iraq. As the
author of that article stated, "This conclusion could have
serious implications for his (i.e., Saddam’s) status in United States
custody. American officials have made clear that he will lose his
rights as a prisoner of war if he was involved in the post-war violence."
Does this also mean that the U.S. would then try Saddam itself and
not allow him to be tried by an Iraqi court? Would Saddam be placed
in a status similar to that of those now being held in Guantanamo
Bay, a situation in which he would be presumably be held indefinitely
by the U.S.? Would Saddam instead be tried by a U.S. military court?
control of trying Saddam for various post-Iraqi war crimes sounds
like a convenient way of taking jurisdiction away from an Iraqi
court, a court that would apparently allow Saddam to indict the
past and present Bush Administrations as well as a number of other
past or present leaders.
in all deliberate intelligence leaks to the press, readers should
always ask themselves the question, "cui bono," or, "who benefits,"
from the leak. Whether or not the Bush Administration actually is
worried about what Saddam would say in a lengthy trial, the timing
of the press leak, the deliberate public quotation from a military
officer involved in the investigation, and the tentative nature
of the information itself make the whole affair smell fishy.
Grichar (aka Exx-Gman) [send
him mail], formerly an economist with the federal government,
writes to "un-spin" the federal government's attempt to con the
teaches economics part-time at a community college and provides
economic consulting services to the private sector.
© 2003 LewRockwell.com