June 17, 2004


Media Hound

Well, the author of today's Washington Post editorial should talk
to Dan Eggen, who included the pointless 'Saddam / 9-11' paragraph
in his hard news Washington Post article yesterday:



Not to mention that -- whether or not US intelligence officials now dispute the Prague meeting -- Czech intelligence still stand 100% behind the original report.

Bryon Gill

Everyone I know who doesn't follow politics closely thinks that we're in Iraq because we have evidence that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. They don't believe me that Bush said we have no such evidence until I play the audio, and even then they think I'm trying to trick them. They also express amazement when I tell them that none of the hijackers were Iraqis. We had "contacts" with Saddam over a long period of time too. That doesn't make us responsible for 9/11.

Having the VP push this conspiracy theory without solid evidence is doing some very bad things to the discourse in this country. The WP editorial board is too timid to come out and say that the VP is keeping this story alive because public support for the war in Iraq is predicated almost entirely on outrage over 9/11 and the perceived link between them, and if that link disappears in the public mind this administration is in deep voodoo.


No credit only to the WaPo here -- read that last passage again. If US media were remotely competent or reasonable, it would not be neccessary for the Vice President to "distinguish" in every statement between what he's saying and what he's not saying. Cheney's statements have been very clear, very simple, and very reasonable. Especially his statement (can't recall when, but high-profile forum, perhaps Meet The Press) that "we just don't know" the full story of the 9/11 attacks and any Iraqi or other involvement.

How rich is it for a media outlet to admonish Cheney for not being careful enough in his statements?

But here's the whopper: "a link between Iraq and the attacks that not even Mr. Cheney still alleges". "Still"? Whuh? When did Cheney EVER allege such a link?

And the semi-whopper: "The accusation is nearly as irresponsible as the Bush administration's rhetoric has been." How has the admin. rhetoric been irresponsible? Even in chastising other media for the focus of their reports on the latest commission product, the WaPo can't escape the media make-believe world in which various undocumented admin. sins are simply stipulated and reeled off as facts, when they're of course not true at all.

The substance of the commission report on the Iraq question only raises one question, and answers none. Simplified -- is the CIA's assessment of the issue as embodied in Tenet's Oct. '02 letter to the Senate committee implicitly rejected or addressed by the commission staff effort? Or simply not factored in?

BTW, I think you should reconsider the idea that a purported general unwillingness of AQ to collaborate with secular regimes is or was even an argument, much less the "strongest" argument, that Iraq-AQ cooperation would never happen. The claim is absurd on its face. Abstract arguments of this sort aren't really relevant, only information -- of whatever reliability, with that factored in -- and logic are. If one wants abstract arguments against AQ-Iraq collaboration, the only good ones there are operational security (esp. important to AQ's operating style) and control (two megalomaniacs don't often make good partners). Iran's theocracy has the world's premier terror-sponsoring organization, which works effortlessly with groups of any stripe who can help them advance their agenda. Syria's secular "Arab nationalist" regime works effortlessly with Iran's (Persian) theocracy and terror outfits of any stripe or denomination that will help them advance their agenda. Saddam's thug Ibrahim swears on the Koran fidelity to Zarqawi. Religious or other nominal labels are little help in understanding the cold-blooded murderous chess being played by folks in the MidEast.


I'm sorry, I was unclear: I was more precise last nt. I've never thought that argument was "strong" in the sense of "good" and I've argued that on several occasions. I mean here "strong" in the sense of "most often cited, strongest in the minds of advocates, most often taken as self-evident by the media, argued with most force." Thanks for making me clean that up.


"Religious or other nominal labels are little help. . ." Yes, as it has always been, even in the European and Japanese terrorism that sprouted up in the 1960s. Once a person crosses over from protest to killing, morality disappears. One minute Baader-Meinhof is protesting the Holocaust; the next minute they're training in Bekaa camps with the PLO.

I wonder why the Bushies don't explain more about the nature of terrorism. Is it because they think we won't get it, or see it as a hopeless case given the enmity of the press? AFter one year of observation, I have to agree with Glenn Reynolds on the press: they're on the other side.

Media Hound

Have you folks read about this document found in Iraq?

The Toronto Star
April 28, 2003

Star finds bin Laden-Iraq links
Three pages of documents point to the arrival of a messenger


Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization and Saddam Hussein's regime
shared direct contact as early as 1998, according to top-secret Iraqi
intelligence documents obtained by the Star.

The documents, discovered yesterday in the bombed-out headquarters of
the Mukhabarat, Iraq's most feared intelligence service, amount to the
first hard evidence of a link long suspected by the United States but
dismissed as fiction by many Western leaders.

The handwritten file, three pages in all, relates to the arrival of a
secret envoy sent by bin Laden to Iraq in March, 1998, apparently to
establish a clandestine relationship with the Iraqi regime.



And another...

The Tennessean
June 25, 2003

Document links Saddam, bin Laden

Federal appellate Judge Gilbert S. Merritt of Nashville is in Iraq as one of 13 experts selected by the U.S. Justice Department to help rebuild Iraq's judicial system.
Merritt, 67, has made trips to Russia and India to work with their judicial systems. He has been sending periodic reports to The Tennessean about his experiences in Iraq and filed this dispatch recently:
Through an unusual set of circumstances, I have been given documentary evidence of the names and positions of the 600 closest people in Iraq to Saddam Hussein, as well as his ongoing relationship with Osama bin Laden.
I am looking at the document as I write this story from my hotel room overlooking the Tigris River in Baghdad.
One of the lawyers with whom I have been working for the past five weeks had come to me and asked me whether a list of the 600 people closest to Saddam Hussein would be of any value now to the Americans.
I said, yes, of course. He said that the list contained not only the names of the 55 ''deck of cards'' players who have already been revealed, but also 550 others.
When I began questioning him about the list, how he obtained it and what else it showed, he asked would it be of interest to the Americans to know that Saddam had an ongoing relationship with Osama bin Laden.
I said yes, the Americans have, so far as I am aware, have never been able to prove that relationship, but the president and others have said that they believe it exists. He said, ''Well, judge, there is no doubt it exists, and I will bring you the proof tomorrow.''
So today he brought me the proof, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is right.

More at: http://tennessean.com/nation-world/archives/03/06/34908297.shtml?Element_ID=34908297


The Toronto Star's find is critical, and amazing, and I still have the urge to smack something everytime I think about its discovery not getting press coverage. You want to talk about something no one knows about? That's it.

Media Hound

Deb, I remember that article, thanks for posting.

If I recall correctly, Judge Merritt was appointed
by Jimmy Carter, which heads off any accusations
of partisanship.

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