2003 April 25 Friday
Iraqi Intelligence Files And Officials Round-Up

Pepe Escobar of Asia Times reports on Iraqi Mukhabarat intelligence service business dealings with Arab and Western businesses.

The handwritten document details a series of meetings between June 2002 and March 2003 (even when war was already raging in Iraq), probably in the same safehouse, involving Mukhabarat agents and representatives of firms from many Arab countries but also from France, Russia and the Netherlands. The document should constitute additional proof that the secret services indeed operated as a parallel state in Iraq - way beyond the reach of United Nations sanctions and trade embargo. All negotiations were secret. And everything was paid in US dollars, cash.

There should be lots of juicy revelations coming out about Western business dealings with Iraq.

The Los Angeles Times has found documents on Iraqi intelligence service assassination operations.

BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi Intelligence Service established a unit to assassinate Saddam Hussein's enemies at home and abroad that claimed 66 successful "operations" between 1998 and 2000, according to documents obtained by The Times.

Juan Tamayo, who writes for the Knight-Ridder news service, has been writing some excellent dispatches from Iraq. He has an excellent story about the extent to which the Iraqi intelligence officers were burning intelligence files as US forces advanced across Iraq.

At the General Directorate of Intelligence, Iraq's equivalent of the FBI and CIA combined, one file room with 2-foot-thick concrete walls was still smoldering this week, and 3 feet of shredded papers blanketed another room.

Baghdad residents report Saddam loyalists went around torching government buildings.

"The way they burned the buildings all seemed very organized and prepared. They burned all the documents," says Ali Mansour, who watched a group of men arrive on April 10 and set fire to the Ministry of Higher Education.

US forces really blew it by not bringing a larger ground force to take Baghdad. They should have been in a position to capture and control more buildings from the first moment US forces entered the city. The hawks who are excusing this failure are missing the point: all those destroyed documents effectively deny or make more difficult major US war goals. This was an avoidable outcome.

The burning of so many files make it more important to round up former Iraqi intelligence officials and agents. Fortunately, some pretty big fish are are being rounded up. It would not be surprising to find that some of these guys hid some files for use to trade with the US to get better deals for themselves. It would also not be surprising if some lower level officials hid some files not so much protect themselves as to just get cash and perhaps the ability to move to some safer country.

An LA Times reporter managed to interview Saddam Hussein's last director of military intelligence, Gen. Zuhayr Naqib, before Naqib surrendered to US forces.

After a wide-ranging interview with The Times in which he sharply denied that he had done anything in his career that could be counted as a crime against humanity, Gen. Zuhayr Naqib, the director of military intelligence under Hussein, surrendered to U.S. forces here.

Naqib says he was just a military man following orders. Where have we heard that before?

The more of these guys that get rounded up the more pressure there will be on each of them to talk. If several know some valuable secret then only the first one to reveal it will get any sort of credit from American interrogators for the revelation.

Formerly head of Iraqi intelligence back in the early 1990s, Farouk Hijazi has also surrendered.

The capture of Farouk Hijazi, who is accused of involvement in the unsuccessful plot by Iraqi intelligence to kill the first President Bush in 1993, came a day after the surrender of Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister.

The Daily Telegraph (free registration required) reports on how Saddam Hussein's secret police tested their officers.

The chief of Saddam Hussein's secret police "151" division knew how to test the mettle of his officers.

Hazal al-Nasire handed down the Iraqi president's orders to kill political and religious opponents, praising successful assassins and ordering investigations into the motives of those who dared refuse him.

Or see The Christian Science Monitor version of the same story.

Members of a minority Sufi Muslim sect in Baghdad were discovered as members of a secret cell opposing Saddam's rule and killed in the final days of Saddam's regime.

Most of the men arrested, they said, were working in the underground organization in a bid to destabilize the Hussein regime. For years, they said, the clandestine group had avoided detection by the intelligence services. It was exposed a few days before the war started when a courier was captured by the Mukhabarat carrying incriminating letters to the north of Iraq, they said.

Here's a curious story: Kurdish cells in Baghdad grabbed control of some government buildings as the regime fell.

Fedayat said he joined an underground cell of the PUK three months ago. Since the fall of Baghdad two weeks ago, his Baghdad branch activated immediately, responding to the power vacuum by seizing a number of Baath Party buildings in the capital.

One has to wonder who directed them to seize those buildings. Kurdish leaders or US special forces or a combination of both perhaps?

I continue to think that the bombing of Mukhabarat buildings was unwise. Buildings that had intelligence files and files about weapons development programs should have been spared. The war should have been fought to maximize the intelligence gain.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 April 25 05:06 PM  Reconstruction and Reformation


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