Friday, November 17, 2006

Bush used Al-Qaida intel to justify invasion

Guess who GW relied on to prove that Saddam was training Al-Qaida in the
use of chemical and biological weapons? That's right an Al-Qaida agent
who wanted the US to invade Iraq.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1949927,00.html

Al-Qaida 'planted information to encourage US invasion'


Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday November 17, 2006
The Guardian

A senior al-Qaida operative deliberately planted information to
encourage the US to invade Iraq, a double agent who infiltrated the
network and spied for western intelligence agencies claimed last night.

The claim was made by Omar Nasiri, a pseudonym for a Moroccan who says
he spent seven years working for European security and intelligence
agencies, including MI5. He said Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who ran training
camps in Afghanistan, told his US interrogators that al-Qaida had been
training Iraqis.

Libi was captured in November 2001 and taken to Egypt where he was
allegedly tortured. Asked on BBC2's Newsnight whether Libi or other
jihadists would have told the truth if they were tortured, Nasiri
replies: "Never".

Asked whether he thought Libi had deliberately planted information to
get the US to fight Iraq, Nasiri said: "Exactly".

Nasiri said Libi "needed the conflict in Iraq because months before I
heard him telling us when a question was asked in the mosque after the
prayer in the evening, where is the best country to fight the jihad?"
Libi said Iraq was chosen because it was the "weakest" Muslim country.

It is known that under interrogation, Libi misled Washington. His claims
were seized on by George Bush, vice-president, Dick Cheney, and Colin
Powell, secretary of state, in his address to the security council in
February, 2003, which argued the case for a pre-emptive war against
Iraq.

Though he did not name Libi, Mr Powell said "a senior terrorist
operative" who "was responsible for one of al-Qaida's training camps in
Afghanistan" had told US agencies that Saddam Hussein had offered to
train al-Qaida in the use of "chemical or biological weapons".

What is new, if Nasiri is to be believed, is that the leading al-Qaida
operative wanted to overthrow Saddam and use Iraq as a jihadist base.
Nasiri also says that part of al-Qaida training was to withstand
interrogation and provide false information.

Nasiri said last night he was later sent to London by his French
handlers to infiltrate Finsbury Park mosque and spy on its imam, Abu
Hamza, as well as another radical cleric, Abu Qatada.

He said MI5 and French intelligence were watching the two clerics in
London from as far back as 1997. He said he told them that Abu Hamza was
carrying out combat training and how he listened into conversations
relaying messages between Abu Qatada and the training camps in Pakistan
and Afghanistan.

"At the time we didn't think that the growing threat from al-Qaida and
Osama bin Laden was sufficient to put more resources on it," Bob Milton,
a Metropolitan police special branch officer, told Newsnight. "We were
monitoring what he was doing, certainly working with the US and European
colleagues to do that. But at that time we were still unsure what the
threat would be," he said.

Abu Hamza was charged in 2003 and convicted this year for incitement to
murder and race hate crimes.

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