Saddam Executed: The Secrets That Died With Him

December 31, 2006

How the West armed Saddam, fed him intelligence on his ‘enemies’, equipped him for atrocities – and then made sure he wouldn’t squeal

London Independent | December 31, 2006
Robert Fisk

We’ve shut him up. The moment Saddam’s hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington’s secrets were safe. The shameless, outrageous, covert military support which the United States – and Britain – gave to Saddam for more than a decade remains the one terrible story which our presidents and prime ministers do not want the world to remember. And now Saddam, who knew the full extent of that Western support – given to him while he was perpetrating some of the worst atrocities since the Second World War – is dead.

Gone is the man who personally received the CIA’s help in destroying the Iraqi communist party. After Saddam seized power, US intelligence gave his minions the home addresses of communists in Baghdad and other cities in an effort to destroy the Soviet Union’s influence in Iraq. Saddam’s mukhabarat visited every home, arrested the occupants and their families, and butchered the lot. Public hanging was for plotters; the communists, their wives and children, were given special treatment – extreme torture before execution at Abu Ghraib.

There is growing evidence across the Arab world that Saddam held a series of meetings with senior American officials prior to his invasion of Iran in 1980 – both he and the US administration believed that the Islamic Republic would collapse if Saddam sent his legions across the border – and the Pentagon was instructed to assist Iraq’s military machine by providing intelligence on the Iranian order of battle. One frosty day in 1987, not far from Cologne, I met the German arms dealer who initiated those first direct contacts between Washington and Baghdad – at America’s request.

“Mr Fisk… at the very beginning of the war, in September of 1980, I was invited to go to the Pentagon,” he said. “There I was handed the very latest US satellite photographs of the Iranian front lines. You could see everything on the pictures. There were the Iranian gun emplacements in Abadan and behind Khorramshahr, the lines of trenches on the eastern side of the Karun river, the tank revetments – thousands of them – all the way up the Iranian side of the border towards Kurdistan. No army could want more than this. And I travelled with these maps from Washington by air to Frankfurt and from Frankfurt on Iraqi Airways straight to Baghdad. The Iraqis were very, very grateful!”

I was with Saddam’s forward commandos at the time, under Iranian shellfire, noting how the Iraqi forces aligned their artillery positions far back from the battle front with detailed maps of the Iranian lines. Their shelling against Iran outside Basra allowed the first Iraqi tanks to cross the Karun within a week. The commander of that tank unit cheerfully refused to tell me how he had managed to choose the one river crossing undefended by Iranian armour. Two years ago, we met again, in Amman and his junior officers called him “General” – the rank awarded him by Saddam after that tank attack east of Basra, courtesy of Washington’s intelligence information.

Iran’s official history of the eight-year war with Iraq states that Saddam first used chemical weapons against it on 13 January 1981. AP’s correspondent in Baghdad, Mohamed Salaam, was taken to see the scene of an Iraqi military victory east of Basra. “We started counting – we walked miles and miles in this fucking desert, just counting,” he said. “We got to 700 and got muddled and had to start counting again … The Iraqis had used, for the first time, a combination – the nerve gas would paralyse their bodies … the mustard gas would drown them in their own lungs. That’s why they spat blood.”

At the time, the Iranians claimed that this terrible cocktail had been given to Saddam by the US. Washington denied this. But the Iranians were right. The lengthy negotiations which led to America’s complicity in this atrocity remain secret – Donald Rumsfeld was one of President Ronald Reagan’s point-men at this period – although Saddam undoubtedly knew every detail. But a largely unreported document, “United States Chemical and Biological Warfare-related Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War”, stated that prior to 1985 and afterwards, US companies had sent government-approved shipments of biological agents to Iraq. These included Bacillus anthracis, which produces anthrax, andEscherichia coli (E. coli). That Senate report concluded that: “The United States provided the Government of Iraq with ‘dual use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-systems programs, including … chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment.”

Nor was the Pentagon unaware of the extent of Iraqi use of chemical weapons. In 1988, for example, Saddam gave his personal permission for Lt-Col Rick Francona, a US defence intelligence officer – one of 60 American officers who were secretly providing members of the Iraqi general staff with detailed information on Iranian deployments, tactical planning and bomb damage assessments – to visit the Fao peninsula after Iraqi forces had recaptured the town from the Iranians. He reported back to Washington that the Iraqis had used chemical weapons to achieve their victory. The senior defence intelligence officer at the time, Col Walter Lang, later said that the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis “was not a matter of deep strategic concern”.

I saw the results, however. On a long military hospital train back to Tehran from the battle front, I found hundreds of Iranian soldiers coughing blood and mucus from their lungs – the very carriages stank so much of gas that I had to open the windows – and their arms and faces were covered with boils. Later, new bubbles of skin appeared on top of their original boils. Many were fearfully burnt. These same gases were later used on the Kurds of Halabja. No wonder that Saddam was primarily tried in Baghdad for the slaughter of Shia villagers, not for his war crimes against Iran.

We still don’t know – and with Saddam’s execution we will probably never know – the extent of US credits to Iraq, which began in 1982. The initial tranche, the sum of which was spent on the purchase of American weapons from Jordan and Kuwait, came to $300m. By 1987, Saddam was being promised $1bn in credit. By 1990, just before Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, annual trade between Iraq and the US had grown to $3.5bn a year. Pressed by Saddam’s foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, to continue US credits, James Baker then Secretary of State, but the same James Baker who has just produced a report intended to drag George Bush from the catastrophe of present- day Iraq – pushed for new guarantees worth $1bn from the US.

In 1989, Britain, which had been giving its own covert military assistance to Saddam guaranteed £250m to Iraq shortly after the arrest of Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in Baghdad. Bazoft, who had been investigating an explosion at a factory at Hilla which was using the very chemical components sent by the US, was later hanged. Within a month of Bazoft’s arrest William Waldegrave, then a Foreign Office minister, said: “I doubt if there is any future market of such a scale anywhere where the UK is potentially so well-placed if we play our diplomatic hand correctly… A few more Bazofts or another bout of internal oppression would make it more difficult.”

Even more repulsive were the remarks of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Howe, on relaxing controls on British arms sales to Iraq. He kept this secret, he wrote, because “it would look very cynical if, so soon after expressing outrage about the treatment of the Kurds, we adopt a more flexible approach to arms sales”.

Saddam knew, too, the secrets of the attack on the USS Stark when, on 17 May 1987, an Iraqi jet launched a missile attack on the American frigate, killing more than a sixth of the crew and almost sinking the vessel. The US accepted Saddam’s excuse that the ship was mistaken for an Iranian vessel and allowed Saddam to refuse their request to interview the Iraqi pilot.

The whole truth died with Saddam Hussein in the Baghdad execution chamber yesterday. Many in Washington and London must have sighed with relief that the old man had been silenced for ever.

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Internationally Known Radio Talk Show Host, Jack Blood, Assaulted By Police & Arrested (Update)

December 18, 2006

I have personally spoken with Jack Blood and have been listening to him since early 2006.  His show follows The Alex Jones show, which is listened to by at least two million people ever day.  I have always believed that he is the most underrated radio talk show host out there, and I always enjoy the style of his show.  He’s been talking for the past week about an upcoming party in Austin, TX where a favorite band of his would be playing, and he invited everybody in town to come down for the show.  What resulted was a show indeed, but not one anybody came to see.

On Sunday morning, December 17, 2006, syndicated radio host Jack Blood was Pepper sprayed and arrested by Austin PD. He received multiple injuries to his Face, hands, arms, back, and legs in a 12 hour ordeal in police custody.

Following an after party for “The Arab League” with many fans and supporters of Jack Blood at the Jackalope on Austin Texas’s famous 6th street, Jack was standing at the back alley exit of the club waiting to leave, and talking to fans. Out of nowhere a fight broke out between two Hispanic males and one Caucasian victim who turned out to be an employee of the Jackalope.

The victim was knocked unconscious by the two perpetrators who were continuing to attack the defenseless victim. Without any fear for his own safety, Jack Blood jumped in and fended off the attackers and chased them away while dozens of onlookers witnessed the mêlée.

As Jack was standing over the unconscious victim to protect him from any possible further attacks until an ambulance could arrive, an Austin Police officer (APD Harvey 4694) came rushing into the scene and without identifying himself, or asking questions of the gathering mob… Proceeded to pepper spray Mr. Blood directly in the eyes, before violently cuffing him and hauling him off to jail.

No attempt was made to investigate the beating, or to identify the suspects of the assault.

The Victim was rushed to Breckenridge Hospital with a broken Nose and multiple injuries.

Jack Blood was transferred from the county jail receiving quarters to Breckenridge Hospital for high blood pressure and hypertension, where he was rigidly handcuffed to a gurney for 4 hours. He was not allowed to use a restroom, and several officers told him he would have to urinate in his cloths, an unacceptable command. Bottled urine samples were later illegally obtained by the authorities against Mr. Blood’s will.

“I did not ask to go to the hospital and refused treatment” said Jack Blood. “As I was not given the proper respect by my jailers, I fought back by unleashing a 3 hour Info-Tirade against Officer Harvey, making sure to wake him up every time he closed his eyes to sleep. Fair is fair and I will admit that they had a tiger by the tail trying to hold me,” said Blood.

A bit of humor interjected itself into the story when the doctor treating Mr. Blood admitted several times to both Blood and his jailer that he was a “Big Fan” of Deadline Live with Jack Blood, heard daily on 100.1 FM in Austin Texas. He vouched for Mr. Blood’s character to no avail.

Jack was released Sunday Afternoon with a promise to appear later in the week to face charges of Public Intoxication. “Yes I had a few drinks,” said Blood, “But I was in no way intoxicated, or a threat to the public. Indeed I believe that I was doing the officer’s job by jumping in to save a defenseless victim of what may have been a racially motivated attack. There are multiple witness, including the victim who are prepared to back my story,” Jack went on to say. “I Plan to fight the charges and clear my name.”

If this is the kind of treatment that Americans are to receive when standing up to help a fellow citizen in need, then we do indeed find ourselves in troubled times.

www.jackblood.com is currently awaiting a statement from the APD.

DEADLINE LIVE with Jack Blood airs live 2 – 4PM Central time on the Genesis Communications Network out of Minnesota, and can be heard for free in over 70 countries worldwide at www.gcnlive.com or on AM and FM radio stations across the USA

This is really disgusting. I hope Jack makes it to the studio today and tells us his story.

All police are not bad though, we have to remember that. We have to realize that most police are good people, and that they will not go through with the eventual police state that those who in power want to place USA under. It might be hard, but don’t stereotype the police (or military) as all bad, because that will only work against our cause of freedom

Update: To listen to Jack Blood’s show from Monday, December 18th, Right-click and Save the following the link.


Christmas Terror Attack: "Highly Likely"

December 11, 2006

Christmas terror attack ‘highly likely’

By Matthew Moore, Sunday Telegraph

An attempted terrorist attack in Britain over the Christmas period is “highly likely”, the Home Secretary said today.

John Reid

John Reid: We cannot guarantee to stop 100 per cent of attacks

John Reid said that around 30 conspiracies were under preparation, and the current threat level was “very high indeed”.

He told GMTV Sunday that he did not think it an attack was inevitable, but that “the terrorists only have to get through once, as they did on July 7, for us to see the terrible carnage that it causes”.

“Our security services have to be successful on every occasion to prevent that happening,” he said.

“I try to walk the tightrope between being truthful and honest about the threat to the public but, on the other hand, to say we are doing everything possible to combat it and to try to keep our lifestyle as near as possible to the British way of life.”

The Home Secretary added that he thought the battle against Islamic terrorism was likely to last longer than a generation.

Mr Reid’s comments echo statements made by last month by Tony Blair and Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, about the rising threat posed by Muslim fundamentalist terrorists. Mr Blair warned that Britain faced a “long and deep struggle” to defeat al-Qa’eda.

The official terror assessment, posted on the Government’s Intelligence website, currently rates the threat as “severe” – the second highest level.

“We ought to be very grateful to the people in the security services who work night and day to try to protect us,” Mr Reid said.

“We can never guarantee that we will get 100 per cent success but we do get 100 per cent effort from the security services.”

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All we can hope is that they don’t run any more “drills” like they did on 7/7/05, and then coincidentally have the terrorists replicate the exact thing they are drilling for…at the exact same time.  It’s always bad when that happens, like it did on 9/11/01 and 7/7/05.  Those are just random coincidences of course though.

I would assume that a small to medium terrorist attack during the sacred Christmas season would be a shocking reminder to the general public that they should continue to be terrified of a terroristic threat, and that they should continue to submit to the will of the Government if they want “security”, which is defined as a constant state of threats and fear, apparently.