Sunday, November 19, 2006

I support the U.S. Bishops on Iraq

The nation's Catholic bishops on Monday (Nov. 13) called for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq "at the earliest opportunity":

"Our nation's military forces should remain in Iraq only so long as their presence contributes to a responsible transition," the statement reads. "Our nation should look for effective ways to end their deployment at the earliest opportunity consistent with this goal."
Got to hand it to the Bishops -- they've managed to come up with a position that President Bush, Congressman Murtha, and Noam Chomsky could agree on. Hat tip: Domenico Bettinelli.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Militant Ideology Atlas

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has announced the release of The Militant Ideology Atlas [online in its entirety, .pdf format], an in-depth study of the Jihadi Movement's top thinkers and their most popular writings. According to the CTC, this is the first systematic mapping of the ideology inspiring al-Qaeda.

The CTC’s researchers spent one year mining the most popular books and articles in al-Qaeda’s online library, profiling hundreds of figures in the Jihadi Movement, and cataloging over 11,000 citations. The empirically supported findings of the project are surprising:
  • The most influential Jihadi intellectuals are clerics from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, two of the US’s closest allies in the Middle East.
  • Among them, the Jordanian cleric Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi has had the most impact on other Jihadi thinkers and has been the most consequential in shaping the worldview of the Jihadi Movement.
  • In contrast, the study finds that Usama Bin Ladin and Ayman al-Zawahiri have had little influence on other Jihadi theorists and strategists.
The Executive Report summarizes the main conclusions of this comprehensive effort and provides policy-relevant recommendations informed by these findings. The Research Compendium contains summaries of all the texts used in the study as well as biographies of the texts' authors and the figures they cite most. A link to the entire database will be available soon.

"So I Guess The FMSO Documents Are Legit", muses Captain's Quarters:

Over the past year or so, I have provided CQ readers with a number of translations from key Iraqi Intelligence Service documents that have been translated by either the FMSO or by Joseph Shahda of the Free Republic website. I even engaged two interpreters to verify one particularly explosive memo last April, after Shahda published his own translation. That memo dealt with IIS plans to get volunteers for suicide missions to 'strike American interests".

One particular criticism that appeared with each new translation was that the documents were never proven genuine, although no one could explain the logic behind the US government hiding these documents in Iraqi Arabic among an avalanche of mundanity, only to shove it onto a shelf for years until Congress authorized their release to the Internet. Now we find another verification of their authenticity, this time from the New York Times, which reports today that the documents constitute a national-security threat . . .

Captain's Quarters has put a lion's share of effort into bringing the various translated documents from the Iraqi Intelligence Service to the attention of its readers. Among them are the following revelations:

  • Palestinian Jihad Part Of Iraq Insurgency - A new document translated by Joseph Shahda indicates that the Saddam Hussein regime agreed to allow the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to stage suicide operations within Iraq in the opening days of the American invasion. [posted Captain's Quarters October 26, 2006].
  • Post-Invasion Intel Showed WMD Went To Syria - Among the captured documents of the Iraqi Intelligence Services is a memo written in Arabic that describes pre-war intel from an Iraqi source working in Syria. Dated July 13, the memo itself was written after the invasion, but it describes the movement of trucks from Iraq into Syria just before the American invasions. [posted Captain's Quarters July 28, 2006].
  • Iraqi Intel Memo Describes Osama Connection A memo from the Afghan section of the Directorate of Counterintelligence (M5) to the head of M5 dated September 15th, 2001 relays information from an Afghani source that Taliban consul discussed the relationship between Osama, Iraq, and the Taliban. [posted Captain's Quarters July 24, 2006].
  • Foreign Intel Had Identified WMD Sites - an undated memorandum from the director of the IIS to the Military Industrialization Commission (MIC) discusses counterintelligence information regarding an informant with knowledge of the locations for Iraqi WMD programs. Document ISGZ-2004-007589-HT-DHM2A directs the MIC to change the locations of their assets. [posted Captain's Quarters October 17, 2006].
  • Operation Blessed July - Uday Hussein, in 1999, ordered a series of bombings and assassinations in London, Iran, and in the autonomous areas of Iraq. Document ISGZ-2004-018948 shows a response from a Saddam Fedayeen operative to Uday himself outlining the plan, known as Operation Blessed July.
  • Loose Lips Generate Paperwork, And Reveal Iraqi Malfeasance - Shortly before Saddam Hussein suspended all cooperation with the UNSCOM inspectors, in 1998 a surprise inspection at the Air Operations Directorate turned up a number of documents relating to "special" weapons -- the designation for WMD used by Iraqi forces. This caused the UN to declare a violation on the Iraqis, and touched off a massive internal investigation in Saddam's armed forces to find out who forgot to cleanse the files. The series of memos and statements in document IZSP-2003-00300856 shows that the Iraqis not only intended on making an example of the men who did such a poor job of purging the files, but that they actively hid materials that implicated Iraq in the hoarding of WMD.
  • The Saddam-Osama Connection (1994-1997) - One of the documents released by the FMSO project contains the records of the Iraqi regime's early connections to Osama bin Laden, starting in 1994 and continuing at least through 1997. [posted Captain's Quarters July 15, 2006].
  • Saddam's Subsidies To Terrorists - "Saddam's subsidy to suicide bombings has been reported in detail, and the fact that this went through his press secretary shows that he wanted to get the word out. Saddam wanted to provide incentives for terrorist recruitment in the Palestinian areas, [offering families of suicide bombers] the equivalent of ten years' revenue for a family of four. The money for this enterprise came from the West, in the helpful Oil-For-Food program that put billions of dollars in hard currency into the pockets of Saddam Hussein and his sons." [posted Captain's Quarters July 15, 2006].
  • Iraqi Documents: UNMOVIC Knew Of Renewed WMD Efforts to Make Ricin - In a summary of a larger document, translators found that Iraq had restarted its processing of castor-bean extraction, from which ricin can be developed -- and that UNMOVIC discovered it in December 2002. Hans Blix never mentioned ricin or castor beans in his UN presentation on March 7, 2003. [posted Captain's Quarters July 7, 2006].
  • Dr. Germ Analyzes Aircraft BW Attack Requirements In 2002 - Document CMPC-2003-004346 reveals that Dr. Rehab Rasheed Taha, otherwise known as Dr. Germ, prepared an analysis in 2002 of how to spread biological weapons material using an aircraft as the medium, and how far they had advanced on the application. [posted Captain's Quarters July 7, 2006].
  • Iraqi Documents: Kuwaiti POWs Used As Human Shields - captured IIS documents contains the actual orders from Qusai Hussein directing the Republican Guard to take Kuwaiti prisoners illegally held for twelve years and use them as human shields at strategic locations. [posted Captain's Quarters July 7, 2006].
  • Iraqi Documents: Our Friends, the Russians - According to document CMPC-2003-000878, the Russians gave more active support to Saddam prior to the March 2003 invasion than previously known -- and they used Syria as a conduit for their material. [posted Captain's Quarters July 7, 2006].
  • Saddam And Anthrax Operations - In document BIAP-2003-004552.pdf, we have a short memorandum announcing a transfer to a biological weapons program. "El-Salem wrote this memo in October 2002, so this is not a case of pre-Gulf War mischief. Abas got assigned to anthrax operations while Congress debated whether to authorize military force." [posted Captain's Quarters July 6, 2006].