Sunday, September 14, 2003

THE LIES CONTINUE: As you may remember, on March 16th of this year, Vice-President talked to Tim Russert on Meet the Press predicting exactly the opposite of today’s situation in Iraq. A serious miscalculation or an outright lie? It’s perfectly possible that Cheney really did not expect what happened – the ugly looting and Ba’athist resistance of the occupation. Today Cheney spoke to Russert again, and yes, he continued his campaign of misinformation, by deceiving and misleading watchers at home.

MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it’s not surprising that people make that connection.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.

We know, for example, in connection with the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93 that one of the bombers was Iraqi, returned to Iraq after the attack of ’93. And we’ve learned subsequent to that, since we went into Baghdad and got into the intelligence files, that this individual probably also received financing from the Iraqi government as well as safe haven.

Now, is there a connection between the Iraqi government and the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93? We know, as I say, that one of the perpetrators of that act did, in fact, receive support from the Iraqi government after the fact. With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we’ve never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don’t know.
Let’s take a look at these claims.

The first claim, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad presumably refers to Abu Mussab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian. President Bush referred to him in his October 7, 2002 speech and Colin Powell used it on February 5 when he presented his case against Saddam Hussein to the UN Security Council. The Washington Post quoted senior administration officals who doubted al-Zarqawi’s connections with al-Qaeda. Newsweek and Agence-France Presse even cited German court papers that alleged that al-Zarqawi became disentanched with bin Laden’s assertation that the Qu’ran allowed the killing of women and children.The only evidence that is confirmed is that al-Zarqawi searched for physical treatment in Baghdad. Whether he had connections with Saddam Hussein is very doubtful and unlikely.

The second claim is that of Abdul Rahman Yasin. He met the suspects of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in Jersey City. He liived together with them and most definitely aided them. Whether he did any actual planning is unknown. He was arrested by the FBI and cooperated, giving telephone numbers and names. He was released, after which he fled to Iraq. There’s no evidence of Iraqi involvement in the bombing, just speculation by conspiracy theorist who lacked any conclusive evidence.

Thirdly is the old Mohammad Atta story. Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ahani, then consul and second secretary of the Iraqi embassy in the Czech Republic, allegedly met in April 2001. Mohammad Atta was in Virginia Beach at that time. Newsweek quoted FBI and CIA officials who had officially concluded that no such meeting ever occurred based on reports from Czech intelligence which had “quietly acknowledged that they may have been mistaken about the whole thing.”

Any sane person’s conclusion of this is that Cheney is simply doing what he does best: make up shit. All of these claims have been discredited and proved false. It would be libelous to suggest otherwise.

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