As of the last week, the news media has focused mainly one thing: Ex-Counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke and his allegations that the Bush
administration "bungled" and continue's to "bungle" the war on terror and how the administration's focus on Iraq took away from running a
sustained global campaign against al-Qaeda. In such, it seems that none of those same news media outlets have bothered reading Mr. Clarke's book,
Against All Enemies
? Perhaps they should? In any event, seems that within the book there contains a chapter that describes how Al-Qaeda
'cooperated' with Iraqi scientists to make weapon's of mass destruction.
Clarke: Iraq Teamed Up With bin Laden to Produce WMDs
....reporters aren't talking about the chapter of "Against
All Enemies" that describes how Osama bin Laden cooperated with Iraqi scientists to make weapons of mass destruction - a development that, if true,
would more than justify President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq.
In his book, Clarke describes how the Clinton CIA determined in 1996 that Sudan's Shifa chemical plant, which was allegedly bankrolled by bin Laden,
was producing the chemical EMPTA.
Despite the on-slaught of continued denials of an Al-Qaeda and Iraq connection, Mr. Clarke reveals that the previous Clinton Administration had strong
beliefs and evidences to prove otherwise. Mr. Clarke's assessment stems in large part from the Sudanese Al-Shifa
pharmaceutical plant and the
Clinton administration's decision to launch a cruise-missile attack that subsequently destroyed it. What is more evident in reading this chapter, is
that Mr. Clarke's assessments of the intelligence information that had been gathered on Al-Shifa
, indicates that he played a key role in the
Clinton administration's decision process to destroy said pharmaceutucal plant in Sudan.
If this information, for which Mr. Clarke openly states within his book, is found to be accurate and factual, then this places Mr. Clarke's comments
about the war in Iraq distracting from the larger war against Al-Qaeda in an entirely different context. In doing some further digging on this report,
I ran across these:
OSAMA BIN LADIN AND IRAQ
The Clinton View of Iraq-al Qaeda Ties
The NYT, yesterday, reported that no traces of the VX precursor, Empta, nor its degradation product, Empa, could be found in 13 samples taken
from the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant and its grounds last Oct.
That work was supervised by the chairman of the Boston U. chemistry department, hired by the law firm representing Salih Idris, owner of the plant.
Also, Idris' lawyers hired Kroll "to conduct a detailed review of the Shifa controversy. In their report, made available to the New York Times,
Kroll Associates found no evidence of a direct link between Idris and bin Ladin," even as the White House maintained, "We stand by our evidence
linking this plant to bin Ladin's network."
"Al-Shifa" Plant in Sudan Destroyed, Moderate Damage to Terrorist Bases
For nearly two years, starting in 1996, the CIA monitored the al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. The plant was known to have
deep connections to Sudan's Military Industrial Corporation, and the CIA had gathered intelligence on the budding relationship between Iraqi chemical
weapons experts and the plant's top officials. The intelligence included information that several top chemical weapons specialists from Iraq had
attended ceremonies to celebrate the plant's opening in 1996. And, more compelling, the National Security Agency had intercepted telephone calls
between Iraqi scientists and the plant's general manager.
Iraq also admitted to having a $199,000 contract with al Shifa for goods under the oil-for-food program. Those goods were never delivered. While
it's hard to know what significance, if any, to ascribe to this information, it fits a pattern described in recent CIA reporting on the overlap in
the mid-1990s between al Qaeda-financed groups and firms that violated U.N. sanctions on behalf of Iraq.
The clincher, however, came later in the spring of 1998, when the CIA secretly gathered a soil sample from 60 feet outside of the plant's main gate.
The sample showed high levels of O-ethylmethylphosphonothioic acid, known as EMPTA, which is a key ingredient for the deadly nerve agent VX. A senior
intelligence official who briefed reporters at the time was asked which countries make VX using EMPTA. "Iraq is the only country we're aware of,"
the official said. "There are a variety of ways of making VX, a variety of recipes, and EMPTA is fairly unique."
PICKERING DISCUSSES U.S. POLICY ON SUDAN, IRAQ, ISRAEL,
The "al-Shifa" factory in Khartoum was said to be totally destroyed. Sudanese television said there were dozens of casualties, with some
people still buried beneath the ruins. Hospital officials said they had the names of 10 people injured in the missile attack, five of them seriously.
Sandy Berger said the factory, which was thought to manufacture one of the ingredients for VX nerve gas, was "functionally destroyed."
U.S. HAS CHEMICAL WEAPONS-RELATED SOIL SAMPLE FROM SUDAN PLANT
Most important was the fact that a precursor of VX nerve agent, that has no other use, that does not occur naturally, was found in a sample
taken 60 feet, about, from the door of the Al Shifa plant in Sudan. Secondly, it was very clear that Usama bin Ladin had very close connections with
the Sudanese. He'd lived with them for a long period of time. Thirdly, it was very clear to us that the Sudanese themselves had a great interest in
developing these kinds of weapons.
Were the Sudanese Making Chemical Weapons?
Kay, who helped identify traces of VX on Iraqi Scud missiles after the Persian Gulf war, suggested that Iraq may have helped build the Sudanese
drug plant. He said, for example, that "Sudan is not a state that you'd normally expect to understand, by itself, the intricacies of the production
of VX" and for that reason the Iraqis are suspected of helping with the plant's construction.
U.S. intelligence officials, who declined to be identified, told reporters that there were contacts, as the Sudanese company was being developed,
between al-Shifa officials and Iraqis working on their country's VX program. Iraq is the only country "we are aware of that
had planned to use EMPTA," the U.S. officials said.
The "smoking gun" that prompted the United States to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles was a soil sample taken from outside the factory by a
covert operative. Lab tests revealed that the soil sample contained EMPTA, one of four precursor chemicals needed to make VX. Also, CIA Director
George Tenet told U.S. senators during a classified briefing that the United States had intercepted telephone conversations from within the plant that
showed evidence of a chemical weapons program. Senior intelligence officials later told the Washington Post that the factory's chairman had visited
Iraq to meet with "the father of Iraq's VX program."
BIN LADEN, ATEF INDICTED IN U.S. FEDERAL COURT FOR AFRICAN BOMBINGS
4. According to a May 2003 debriefing of a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, Iraqi intelligence established a highly secretive relationship
with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and later with al Qaeda. The first meeting in 1992 between the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) and al Qaeda was brokered
by al-Turabi. Former IIS deputy director Faruq Hijazi and senior al Qaeda leader [Ayman al] Zawahiri were at the meeting--the first of several between
1992 and 1995 in Sudan. Additional meetings between Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda were held in Pakistan. Members of al Qaeda would sometimes visit
Baghdad where they would meet the Iraqi intelligence chief in a safe house. The report claimed that Saddam insisted the relationship with al Qaeda be
kept secret. After 9-11, the source said Saddam made a personnel change in the IIS for fear the relationship would come under scrutiny from foreign
According to the indictment, bin Laden and al Qaeda forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in Sudan and with representatives of the
Government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah with the goal of working together against their common enemies in the West,
particularly the United States.
"In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on
particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq," the indictment
So if the decision to strike Al-Shifa
was incorrect, and there was or is "no" link between Bin Laden/Al-Qaeda and Iraq, shouldn't they, the
media, previous government officials, the previous administration, etc., be at least as forthcoming with their Iraqi WMDs information as various
individuals and critics are now insisting that the current Bush administration be in regard to their intelligence information on Iraqi WMDs?
You decide. Thoughts?
Related News Articles
09 November 1998
The Clinton Administration's Strikes on Usama Bin Laden: Limits to Power
Chemical Weapons in the Sudan: Allegations and
Speech by Richard Clarke
A Strategy's Cautious Evolution
Report: Saddam Harbored Terrorists Who Killed Americans
The Nose Knows
[Edited on 24-3-2004 by Seekerof]