Accuracy in Media

The capture of Saddam was big news on December 14. But another big story also unfolded that day in the pages of the London Sunday Telegraph in a story by Con Coughlin. He revealed the content of an Iraqi intelligence document showing that Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers, was trained in Baghdad just a few months before almost 3,000 people were murdered on American soil. The then-head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service said that Atta “displayed extraordinary effort” and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be “responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy.”

Appearing on NBC News just hours after the capture of Saddam Hussein, Coughlin explained the details of the document, calling it “concrete proof” of al Qaeda working with Saddam. Coughlin said he had the document authenticated and that it was a “very explosive” development. Tom Brokaw thanked Coughlin for his comments and noted that the story was posted on the website of the Telegraph.

It’s a very big development, and the media, which have tried to discredit the Saddam-al Qaeda connection, should be honest enough to report it. While it is very explosive, this only adds to the evidence that has already been accumulated of how Saddam worked with al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers. We suggest going to a special appendix of Richard Miniter’s book, Losing Bin Laden, which explores the subject in detail. It includes evidence that al Qaeda operatives were trained at Salman Pak, a terrorist center run by Saddam. The al Qaeda operatives practiced hijackings on a full-scale Boeing 707. Does that sound familiar?

The document obtained by Coughlin was headed simply “Intelligence Items.” It was dated July 1, 2001, and addressed to Saddam. The first paragraph stated that “we”?meaning the regime?hosted Mohamed Atta in Abu Nidal’s house “under our direct supervision. We arranged a work program for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him…He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy.” Abu Nidal was an international terrorist who died under mysterious circumstances in Iraq in August 2002. The “targets” seem to be a reference to the September 11 attacks.

This is additional evidence of Saddam’s crimes against humanity. But such groups as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International want to spare Saddam from the death penalty. Even before Saddam was captured by U.S. forces, Human Rights Watch issued a statement saying it was concerned because the law establishing a war crimes tribunal in Iraq “does not prohibit the death penalty?” Amnesty International said it was “particularly concerned” that the death penalty might be used by the tribunal.

Saddam is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 300,000 in Iraq alone. Almost 3,000 people were killed in America on 9/11. There is also evidence to suggest that Saddam was behind the anthrax attacks on America that killed 5 people and poisoned many others, but the FBI has failed to pursue it.




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