The latest batch of Wikileak releases has provided the neocons with what they think is evidence purporting to link al-Qaeda to Saddam Hussein prior to 9/11.
Part of the propaganda that the neoconservatives, many of whom held high positions in the Bush administration, used in the lead up to the US and their allies invasion and destruction of Iraq was the accusation that Saddam Hussein had connections with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda and, therefore, must somehow have been complicit in the events of 9/11. Long after it became obvious that Saddam actually had nothing at all to do with bin Laden or al-Qaeda, the neocons continued to insist that he had. Even though President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were vocal about the Saddam-al-Qaeda connection in the run up to the war, both have since conceded that there was no connection.
But, in an article in Weekly Standard today, the neocons once again think they’ve been exonerated by the latest release of 779 US secret documents by Wikileaks. One of the leaked documents, most of which are written assessments by US intelligence analysts on Guantanamo Bay prisoners, accuse one of the prisoners, an Iraqi by the name of Jawad Jabber Sadkhan, of having been an Iraqi intelligence officer who was ‘relocated’ to Afghanistan. According to the assessment, Sadkhan had ‘ties that reached all the way to Osama bin Laden’ and that bin Laden had paid Sadkhan money ‘both before and after the September 11 attacks’. However, a careful read of Sadkhan’s leaked file reveals that all of the accusations made about him were made by other prisoners anxious to please their American captors and keen to co-operate in order to secure release or an easier experience while in detention.
The most damaging of Sadkhan’s accusers was a fellow Iraqi prisoner at Guantanamo named Nashwan Abd Al Razzaq Abd Al Baqi, also referred to as Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi. Al-Iraqi was said to have been a major in Saddam Hussein’s military before also being ‘relocated’ to Afghanistan. Al-Iraqi had told interrogators that Sadkhan had been an Iraqi intelligence officer. According to Sadkhan, however, he had been in Saddam’s military but had gone AWOL and had served time for being AWOL and later fled Iraq to Iran and then to Pakistan in order to avoid arrest for theft.
There were a number of Iraqis in Afghanistan, just as there are a great many of other foreigners from Arab and North African countries, but not all were there to fight jihad. Many Iraqis were there simply to live elsewhere or to get away from Saddam Hussein’s government for whatever reasons.
Nowhere in the released Wikileak files is there any evidence whatsoever to link al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein. The neocons are clutching desperately to straws – again to justify the illegal war against Iraq.
Finally, if indeed there were any connections between Iraqi detainees captured in Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein, would not the US already have made it known to the world in order to justify their destruction of Iraq? Why would the government leave it to the neocons to exonerate America?