Mirror room at the Funhouse
Our friend Roger directed me to one document he though was interesting, and reading it, I believe he is right about it. Find my (hopefully accurate) translation of this document HERE.
Here are some excerpts from Omar's translation from a document dated September 15, 2001:
Our Afghani source #002 (info on him in paper slip '1') has informed us that Afghani consular Ahmed Dahistani (info on him in paper slip '2') had spoken before him of the :following 1-That Usama Bin Ladin and the Taliban group in Afghanistan are in contact with Iraq and that a group from the Taliban and Usama Bin Ladin's group had conducted a .visit to Iraq 2-That America possesses evidence that Iraq and Usama Bin Ladin's group had .cooperated to strike targets inside America 3-In case Taliban and Usama's group are proven involved in those sabotage .operations, it will be possible that America directs strikes at Iraq and Afghanistan 4-That the Afghani consular had heard about the Iraq connections with Usama Bin .Ladin's group during his presence in Iran 5-In the light of what preceded we suggest writing to the Intentions Committee about .the above information
Recall that al-Qaeda had been publicly identified as the perpetrator of the September 11 attacks immediately after they occured. So Afghani source #002, supposing he were genuine, would simply be confirming what was publicly known. What's interesting is the if-then appreciation of points number 3 and 4.
- 3-In case Taliban and Usama's group are proven involved in those sabotage .operations, it will be possible that America directs strikes at Iraq and Afghanistan
- 4-That the Afghani consular had heard about the Iraq connections with Usama Bin .Ladin's group during his presence in Iran
David Corn doesn't think the documents prove anything. I'm not sure whether Mr. Corn had included Omar's translated document in his assessment.
Conservatives and war-backers have been howling for the release of all these documents because they believe--or hope--that they will contain a smoking-gun memo showing that Saddam had oodles of WMDs or was buddy-buddy with bin Laden. But so far, no soap. At least not from the first nine documents posted by the military. One actually shows that Iraqi intelligence in August 2002 was looking for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. This suggests Zarqawi was not given office space in Baghdad by Saddam, which is what some war supporters practically have claimed.
Part of the problem in assessing the newly released documents is that their contents must be evaluated after translation for reliability and put into their context. It's not necessarily the case that what they say is "true" in the setting that we find ourselves in today. Consider David Corn's suggestion that Saddam's regime was hostile to al-Qaeda because he was looking for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Does this necessarily contradict Omar's translated document, which talks about "the Iraq connections with Usama Bin Ladin's group during his presence in Iran"? Zarqawi's allegiances may have been far different in 2002 from what they are today. Far more interesting is why Iraq should have been dealing with OBL pre-September 11 when he was in Iran. What was OBL doing there? Why should sensitive discussions between Saddam and the world's most wanted terrorist be conducted where Iraq could not possibly control the venue? Unless Iran was part of the discussions.
The questions will mount before the answers become clear. But one thing seems fairly sure. It was a good move to release the documents. After all, if secrets are going to be leaked to the press why not leak them to the public. That way the public can figure things out for themselves.