Does this article prove a Saddam Al-Qa'ida connection?

The independent Al-Yawm Al-Aakher reveals details on the training of Al-Qa’ida members operating under the orders of Saddam’s Presidential Palace two months before the September 11 attacks. The following are excerpts from the article:

"An Iraqi officer (L) [only identified by initial] tells us that one day a Land Cruiser belonging to the Personal Security Force (Al-Amn Al-Khass, responsible for the protection of Saddam Hussein) arrived and a senior officer from the Presidential Palace stepped out of it. He was one of those officers who used to stand behind Saddam, which means that he was one of [his] personal bodyguards. After a two-hour meeting with a select group of officers at the Special Forces School, we were informed that we would have dear guests, and that we should train them very well in a high level of secrecy - not to allow anyone to approach them or to talk to them in any way, shape, or form.

“A few days later, about 100 trainees arrived. They were a mixture of Arabs, Arabs from the Peninsula [Saudi Arabia], Muslim Afghans, and other Muslims from various parts of the world. They were divided into two groups, the first one went to Al-Nahrawan and the second to Salman Pak, and this was the group that was trained to hijack airplanes. The training was under the direct supervision of major general (M. DH. L) [only identified by initials] who now serves as a police commander in one of the provinces. Upon the completion of the training most of them left Iraq, while the others stayed in the country through the last battle in Baghdad against the coalition forces.”

“…The Fedayeen command [Fedayeen Saddam under Uday’s command] supervised the 100 Al-Qa’ida fighters directly, to the extent that senior Fedayeen officers visited them constantly and inspected them almost daily, especially during the final days when they transferred them, late at night in two red trucks that belonged to the Ministry of Transportation, to an undisclosed destination. I witnessed that with my own eyes because on that day I was the duty officer.”

So does this prove a connection?

What is proves is that Al-Yawm Al-Aakher claims that some unidentified Iraqi officer told them etc., etc., etc.

Unless you are GW, Rummy, Wolfie, et. al. you don’t act on such stories.

Maybe this was obtained under torture ? :wink:

Sounds like a “tell them what they want to hear” thing.

It’s tough to know what to make of this, given that we’re several steps removed from the source of the information (unidentified someone tells reporter, reporter writes story that most of us can’t read in its original form, etc., etc.). But there are a couple of things that make me skeptical.

First, they talk about people being trained to hijack airplanes, leading one to infer that the 9/11 terrorists received training in Iraq. But the article doesn’t actually say that, and, in fact, refers to these same trainees returning later for additional training. This is the same sort of slippery phrasing that has led millions upon millions of Americans to remain convinced that Saddam was somehow behind the 9/11 attacks. Those trying to link the two don’t actually say that, but they manage to leave the listener with the impression that we have some proof of the connection. Ironically, if the unnamed source hadn’t mentioned plane hijacking, but had simply said that Iraq was training al-Qaeda operatives in terrorist techniques, I’d be more inclined to believe it. The very mention of plane hijacking makes it sounds fishy.

Second, if this were legit, I can’t imagine the Bush administration failing to shout it to the rafters. After all, this would greatly reduce their embarrassment over having the pretenses for the Iraq war revealed for the lies they appear to have been.

Yeah I think Early Out hit the nail on the head. Most of these small-time claims probably aren’t worth the time of day, to be honest. As soon as something at least reasonably legit/believable comes along, those who proposed the war can’t repeat it enough.

Why? Because it is what they want to hear?

Again, why? Is it not possible that they were training people to hijack planes, especially considering that hijacking planes is one of the more common M.O.'s for international terrorists, and has been extremely effective in at least one case?

So this article shouldn’t be believed because the Bush administration haven’t yet commented on it? Do I correctly understand you to say that the endorsement of the Bush administration would make this article more credible?

I have no comment on the credibility of this report. It just seems to me that these reasons for questioning the report are themselves questionable.

I’m just saying that if even the Bush administration doesn’t put enough stock in this report to repeat it in a press conference, it must be even shakier than the stuff they have trotted out as proof, which puts it into the “steaming pile of goat droppings” category.

Regarding the plane hijiacking references, I think my post explained my feelings about it clearly, and I see no need to repeat it.

Is the story verifiable ?
Is it falsifiable ?
If it’s not one or the other, it isn’t even good evidence of a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda, much less proof. You’ve got to have some sort of standard to evaluate claims like this, and I don’t think “It’s what I want to hear” counts.

Saddam is a evil man who deserves to be imprisoned for the rest of his life for the crimes he has committed against humanity. Is he a terrorist? Yes. Does he support terrorist groups and their activities? Yes. Did he fund Al Queda? No one can say for sure. Is he a member of Al Queda? Once again, no one knows. Does the U.S.A. have tangible proof linking him to either Al Queda or Osama Bin Laden? If it does, it has not revealed even the smallest part to its citizens of the countries of the United Nations. George Bush grouped a bunch of probablies together and then decided that it equaled a fact in deciding to attack Iraq. Is the world a better place with Saddam gone? Yes. Does this simple fact justify us invading Iraq without United Nation support? Absolutely not. If we were to eliminate the leaders of countries because the world would be better off with them gone then we would be playing a scalled down version of “God”. Matter of fact, we would have to depose some of the leaders of countries that the Bush administration is pretty cozy with (Saudi Arabia, China,…). In fact, we would have to eliminate some of the leaders that our government has put into power. Kind of ironic. We eliminate one leader to install one more favorable to us then in turn have to eliminate that leader because they oppress and murder their own people.