Friday, March 17, 2006

Mirror room at the Funhouse

Iraq the Model got his hands one of the untranslated Saddam-era documents now being released to the public, (possible in part through the efforts of Roger Simon) Omar writes:

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.


Blogger John Aristides said...

Only the truly open-minded will benefit from these documents. For the rest, their theories are already beyond falsifiable.

Whatever the saying, it won't be curiosity that kills those cats.

3/17/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

You know, Abu Nidal was killed in Baghdad before OIF started. Always wondered about that. People have assumed that it was a Iraqi move to placate the U.S.

Could it be that Zawquawi or Bin Laden wanted the competition rubbed out? Or that they did it themselves?

3/17/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

“Abu Nidal was killed in Baghdad before OIF started.”

I figured they were shutting him up.

“Three can keep a secret if two are dead”.-Benjamin Franklin

3/17/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The towering fact remains that America's government had ignored an enemy who declared global war and conducted global attacks throughout the 90's. Al Qaeda survived effectively unmolested for a decade, before executing the fatal attacks of 9/11/01.

Those who demand that we should have then ignored another declared enemy, in the aftermath of that Day of Infamy, we should have begun to ignore an enemy in Iraq with whom we had been at war, under multiple UN sanctions, for a decade, these people who suggest we should have actually scaled back our efforts against known, declared, active enemies - AGAIN! - AFTER 9/11! - are simply not to be taken seriously.

3/17/2006 07:06:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The validation of the actual threat is useful but the gang bangers in LaLa land do the crotch grab whether they are packing or not to accent their point, it is predictable and you will have to determine your response before hand how you will react to a tan bellicose felonious home boy. Either he is a made illegal alien with a legitimate affiliation and an inalienable right to murder white boys and he is packing or he is a wanna-be who is or is-not packing. It is too confusing to me, although I must admit that I don’t go out at night any more, no gun play for me. But in the not too distant past I would assume that the Frito Bandito was packing and take him down once he grabbed his crotch. It doesn’t really matter either way; he will kill you or convince you that he means to kill you. Forbearance means staying within striking distance and waiting for the first glimmer of hardware.

There are old warriors and there are bold warriors but there are no old, bold warriors.

Saddam did the crotch grab and we could of waited for the throw down and maybe die or we could of believed him and reacted instantaneously. Faking quick draws at high noon doesn’t mitigate the situation. If you are a convincing gangsta, honorable men will believe you, and the girlies who fan their faces, flutter their fake lashes and go home with the criminal who remains standing until the sheriff breaks up the morass. Saddam didn’t get the girl.

3/17/2006 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Agree W,
“You would only refuse to release a document if you already knew what it contained.” Open sourced information is news. Secrets, motives, analysis, and policies are intelligence. Whether you hold them, show them, or fold them has a lot to do with what kind of hand you’re holding.

There are two major reasons to keep a secret; 1) a competitive advantage 2) an undisclosed vulnerability. The facts can be spun or downplayed for short-term gain like the eleventh hour expose, but in the long run, the truth, unless it were to remain hidden, will set you free. Every recent government scandal had nothing to do with what was actually disclosed nor what was covered up, but that simply that the truth was obscured to begin with. Conspiracies cannot exist without secrets. The most fundamental tenant of modern Globalism is the transparency of governance, and it is telling in today’s environment of 24-hour news, continuous monitoring and surveillance both government and commercial, that even the intelligence agencies have gone open source for their feeds. They have experienced information overload and they are not getting caught up anytime soon… ever. The keyword filters of global signals intelligence has alerted on millions of conversations a day using Echelon and other black means and methods but since the closure of the East-West Cold War conflict and the rise of the GoT keywords and the lines of communications and their complex relationships have netted a unusable tumult of information in a diversity of language that the old Soviet desk can no longer catalog, let alone translate.

When asked who keeps government secrets anymore the answer comes back; there is No Such Agency.

3/17/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Bloody certainly we've got to see to it . . . that down the gullies of the eras we may catch ourselves looking forward to what will in no time be staring you larrikins on the postface in that multimirror megaron of returningties, whirled without end to end.

JJ - Finnegans Wake

3/17/2006 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Like so many real-time analytical processes, ONE aspect of ONE part of ONE document may not fit, accurately.

In a court of law, that might be sufficient to require 'that the jury disregard Exhibit 17, in totality.'

But the world today is NOT a court of law, and the rest of this document IS a smoking gun, and there are another 1,999,990 documents to strip-mine!

I've got a short, pungent take on this Trove at ""

3/18/2006 02:22:00 AM  
Blogger blert said...

Clean up your link...

3/18/2006 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...


Something tells me the tidbit of evidence linking al-Queda, Saddaam and Iran has something to do with the announcement that the US will begin direct talks with Tehran.

Release just enough information & let the pundits pose the questions. Were they implicated with terrorist activity eminating from Iraq and Afghanistan? Are they actively engaged in direct support of an insurection in Iraq now?

The real smoking gun, IMHO, is in the hands of the state dept. If so, it would allow them to bargain with the mad mullahs from a position of power.

Let's just hope that, if that is the case, they leverage it to the full extent.

3/18/2006 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

How can anyone take anything that David Corn says seriously when he begins his piece like this, "Conservatives and war-backers have been howling for the release ... "

Howling indeed, Mr. Corn.

3/18/2006 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

I figured they were just holding the documents in check, letting the Dems shoot off their big mouths and dig themselves into a deep hole before releasing the documents in a whammy that would kill off any credibility they had with the American people.

3/18/2006 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

I read Omar's translation of the document almost immediately after he posted it.

My take on this was that the debate will now changed. What the anti war crowd has assumed as fact will now be called into question.

The anti war, Anti America crowd is now in the unenviable position of having to at once doubt the credibility of newly released documents while having no alternative sources to offer.

My prediction is that they will do two things:

First look for a massive effort to change the subject. bush's polling number and, if you can beleive it, Enron, were both floated as alternatives.

This is school aged schtick. People are basically saying: Well those documents might just mean what they say, but Bush's poll numbers suck and he and ken lay both come from Texas." yeah, right.

The other gambit will be big time word parsing. Interested people on both sides of the issue will pour over these documents like eager cold war era CIA analysts trying understand yesterday's Pravda.

We will be treated to endless forays into pretzel logic as the anti war crowd twists and turns in an attempt to convince us that we should ignore our lying eyes.

Finally, I completely agree with the sentiment that this release is a bitch slap of the MSM. What will those guys do when they realize that Americans don't need them to explain the world?

3/18/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

What will those guys do when they realize that Americans don't need them to explain the world?
For one thing they'll watch their revenue and stock price drop. The other is that they will mount an increasingly ferocious attack on the competing institution and the credibility of its shining lights.

I expect to see a Democrat sponsored bill that restricts public access to these documents.

3/18/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

CNN: Was The War Worth It?

Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Colonel, U.S. Army (ret.); former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell:

"No. I'm principally a strategist and from that perspective the war has been a disaster. First, the foremost winner has been Iran: it rid itself of its greatest threat, Saddam Hussein and his military, without firing a shot; won the December 15 Iraq elections; owns the south, particularly Basra; and has felt the freedom to elect Mahmoud Amadinejad who, in turn, has felt the freedom to reclaim leadership of radical Islam, leadership Osama bin Laden claimed on 9/11. Second, the foremost loser, after Iraq itself, has been Israel, whose leaders must now fear more than ever before the new strategic maneuver room afforded Iran by America's ineptitude. Third, the general war against global terrorists has been affected greatly by the failure in Iraq. Recruiting among Muslim ranks has been aided significantly, while America has squandered the upper hand in the world of ideas, which is the real battlefield of this conflict. Lastly, if our failure in Iraq produces regional conflict, we will find ourselves expending far greater blood and treasure to stabilize the situation once it gets completely out of hand. And the odds that it will get completely out of hand if we continue on the present course are quite high."

I would disagree with (ret.) U.S. Army Colonel Wilkerson, and this without waiting for the eventual truth to come out from the released documents.

What the documents will show is what most of us already know: That all the players in the ME were using alQaeda to further their imperial ambitions. And thus, all the Jihadi players can be implicated as having sponsored alQaeda. Colonel Wilkerson claims that the war afforded Iran strategic maneuver room. I would argue the opposite. Yes, the war opened a temporary tactical window for Iran to maneuver, but Iran is deeply implicated in sheltering and assisting alQaeda. Sunni alQaeda is sheltered in Shia Iran in exchange for Sunni Pakistan handing over atomic secrets to Iran. This we all already knew prior to the documents release. If Saddam's agents were any good they would have picked up on that, and the released Iraqi documentation would mention this. Either way, like a French guillotine, the window is about to be closed shut on the Mullahs' heads.

3/18/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

How did they translate the Dead Sea Scrolls?

3/18/2006 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The White House cabal
By Lawrence B. Wilkerson

IN PRESIDENT BUSH'S first term, some of the most important decisions about U.S. national security — including vital decisions about postwar Iraq — were made by a secretive, little-known cabal. It was made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

3/18/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

“I expect to see a Democrat sponsored bill that restricts public access to these documents.” Unless it is classified then they will move heaven and earth to leak it to the NYT.

MboxT, etc.,
I didn’t realize that US’s intention was to keep competing factions in a perfect balance of hostilities. I guess the colonel’s strategy will preclude the possibility of peace anywhere in the world less we upset that balance.

It is a good thing that Iran has felt comfortable with ‘regaining’ leadership from UBL. They have a capital to bomb. Maybe they can invite some friends for a terror summit and save us an extra trip.

Israel now has problems with their neighbors… that’s a stunning development, and since Iraq ‘splodey-dopes want to kill us. I suppose that as a military man, he knows best, we should have sat around and do nothing. I sounds like a specialty of his, I wonder if this fetid malignancy really goes all the way up and down the officer corps or just make their way into secretaries staff.

That colonel is a jack-@ss and what irks me the most is not that this guy was Colins man but that this idiot used to command US forces.

3/18/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Most of it was already translated. ;) As for the rest, I think we're still waiting..

3/18/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

" QUESTION: On this question of the Iraq-Al Qaida relationship, it looks as if, in this final report, you, sort of, scaled back some of the language from the staff statement with respect to that finding of no collaborative relationship. This time you say "no collaborative operational relationship with regard to the attacks on the United States." I wondered if you might just address that.

And then, on the same lines, whether you're talking about Richard Clarke's e-mails contained in this final report or Secretary Cohen's testimony to the commission, it appears that the Clinton administration believed in 1998 and believes today that Iraq provided at least some chemical weapons expertise to Al Qaida. I wondered if you had a comment on that.

KEAN: Well, there was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaida. At one point, there was thought maybe even Al Qaida would find sanctuary in Iraq. And there were conversations that went on over a number of years, sometimes successful, sometimes unsuccessfully.

While we don't know about weapons collaboration, particularly chemical collaboration, there was a suspicion in the Clinton administration that when they fired that bomb at that factory, that if, in fact, there were chemicals there, they may have come from Iraq.

So there was a relationship."

9/11 Chair saw connection of AlQ and Saddam, WaPo

And then there's St. Richard Clarke his own self, the hero of the a-hole patrol:

"Clarke did provide new information in defense of Clinton's decision to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles at the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, in retaliation for bin Laden's role in the Aug. 7 embassy bombings.

While U.S. intelligence officials disclosed shortly after the missile attack that they had obtained a soil sample from the El Shifa site that contained a precursor of VX nerve gas, Clarke said that the U.S. government is "sure" that Iraqi nerve gas experts actually produced a powdered VX-like substance at the plant that, when mixed with bleach and water, would have become fully active VX nerve gas.

Clarke said U.S. intelligence does not know how much of the substance was produced at El Shifa or what happened to it. But he said that intelligence exists linking bin Laden to El Shifa's current and past operators, the Iraqi nerve gas experts and the National Islamic Front in Sudan.

Given the evidence presented to the White House before the airstrike, Clarke said, the president "would have been derelict in his duties if he didn't blow up the facility."

Clarke said the U.S. does not believe that bin Laden has been able to acquire chemical agents, biological toxins or nuclear weapons. If evidence of such an acquisition existed, he said, "we would be in the process of doing something."

(Excerpted from "Embassy Attacks Thwarted, U.S. Says; Official Cites Gains Against Bin Laden; Clinton Seeks $10 Billion to Fight Terrorism," Vernon Loeb, Washington Post, A02, January 23, 1999.)

3/18/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

I'd like to see Gore, too. Kerry would be fun, again. Hillary, o man, I got about a million words I will write for that campaign. But, in the interest of open debate of the two determined sides in American politics, I wish they would run Howard Dean. That would be a scream!

3/18/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The Gore - Clinton campaign race is rich in ironies. Gore could see himself as anchoring the 'centrist' to leftist Dem vote, bring with him strong moonbat credentials. He might even offer Hillary a go at VP. From first lady to second man aint bad eh? But Hillary wouldn't play second flute to no man, so based on here popularity, offer Gore a second go as the ineffectual VP he'd so confidently played before.

Snickers aint just a candy bar.

3/18/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"No. I'm principally a strategist and from that perspective the war has been a disaster."

I really have to take issue with that. The Iraq war eliminated any possibility of Saddam running any kind of malicious interference. Coalition forces can now focus on Iran knowing their back is secure and that Saddam will not attack from the rear (or use Iraqi oil as a weapon and cause the global economy to stumble). If anything, with Iraq now out of the way, dealing with Iran will be much easier than otherwise. And having dealt with Saddam and soon the Iranians, the Saudis will also be kept happy.

3/18/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I agree MboxT,
If this were chess, the pieces keep getting closer for the Iranians. You got Iraq has a strategic question mark, Afghanistan that will not be blackmailed, Pakistan that isn't in the bargaining mood, and other on the sideline not quite ready to join the scrum.

3/18/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


You calling me a kernel head? :)

3/18/2006 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Know, our u? I don't have a bunch of wierd fonts on my machine so part of your name is rendered in symbols starting with 'm' box 't'and some accents that I am not even sure what to call. English is pretty stingy with accents.

3/18/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

No trang,
If they don't worship at the same pew they will not take advantage of their political and economic interests. That is why Christian Democrats have declared Jihad with their co-religionists in the Middle East.

3/18/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


3/18/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Assume I'm very young. Cause I'm stiff as a tree. ;)

3/18/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I see about the same but the 'boxes' are bigger. Rat calls him mat. I missed the congenialities but think that m'box't used to go as mika, but heh, what's the point of having a screen name if you can't mix it up a little bit?

As long as we are on a mundane side bar, does any one else have a problem figuring out the letters in the code word? I am not complaining, the old spam was awful, but I think I might be going blind!

3/18/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


What font are you using? Try Verdana. I find it the most pleasing for reading online.

3/18/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

your type showed up in Trebuchet for what it is worth. I was speaking about the fonts like kanna, cyrillic, arabic, et al. I was just being difficult be cause Rat is not with us this morning.

3/18/2006 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Yep, the letters are a little hard sometimes, like sans serif j's and q's mix me up for i's and p's, specially if the string doesn't have the corresponding character to compare. And they're kerned together and slanted.

That's so screen-scrapers can't OCR the verification. Otherwise, reading robots would bomb the site too easily.


Umm, I like to the think of the geography game as more like Go than Chess. You take what you got and build out from there, in multiple directions. Afghanistan was necessary (and what took so long?), Iraq was the natural next step since we'd already been in that war for a dozen years. Where before the board was an empty, forbidding desert, our stones are growing.


Back to the imaginary candidates, I'd really like it to be Dean - a couple of weeks ago he said "this President is weak on defense." I'd really like to hear what he thinks is strong on defense. Maybe "We'll re-deploy immediately and put our entire military on the docks inspecting containers?" Maybe go back to our invulnerable, universally loved condition on 1/19/2001? That was really effective, and novel! You hardly ever see a country have one of its warships almost sunk in a foreign harbor, and do nothing about it. Perhaps Dean will propose we go back to that kind of "out of the box" thinking in the GWoT.

3/18/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Ooops, I was talking about the word verification, not Methuselah's young new name.

3/18/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Maybe we can get Wilkerson to play a little video game called Rise of Nations, and see how our kernel head Strategist does.

3/18/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


3/18/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

AP reports on world-wide anti-war protests on the OIF third anniversary.

See if it strikes you that somehow AP missed the story here--yes, every capital had their show, but, crowds of 1,000? 3,000? (and even those pitiful #'s almost surely amped, at that?)

3/18/2006 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005, singled out Mr Cheney in a wide-ranging political assault on the BBC's Today programme.

Mr Wilkerson said that in an internal administration debate over whether to abide by the Geneva conventions in the treatment of detainees, Mr Cheney led the argument "that essentially wanted to do away with all restrictions".

My respect for Cheney just went up.

3/19/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Karen A Wyle said...

Re the documents in general: are any of the translation software programs already on the market, or in development, being used to translate any of the newly released documents? Could speed things up considerably, if the programs are up to the task (and if they can translate from Arabic).

3/19/2006 04:35:00 PM  

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