Louie [Claude Raines]: "And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?"
Rick [Humphrey Bogart]: "My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters."
Louie: "The waters? What waters? We're in the desert!"
Rick: "I was misinformed."
Czech counter intelligence let it be known that they had an Iraqi official under its surveillance by the name of Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al Ani.
After a defected Iraq agent, Jabir Salim, told of plans to plant a car bomb outside of Radio Free Europe, al-Ani who had taken Salim’s place at the Iraq Embassy in Prague, Czech intelligence assumed that he might be continuing that mission, which accounted for the surveillance on al-Ani.
Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan had briefed Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington about a trip Mohammed Atta had taken to the Czech Republic in April of 2001 and a meeting between Atta and al-Ani that was captured by airport surveillance cameras in Prague.
After news of this story had leaked out and was confirmed by the State department, major newspapers picked up on the story.
Then the NY Times in October of 2001, wrote that Czech officials were denying the incident.
Shortly after the Times article, Stanislav Gross, the Minister of Interior of the Czech Republic, called a press conference to clarify what was known about the meeting. He explained that Atta had been in the Czech Republic at least twice: on June 2, 2000 and in early April 2001. During his brief June visit, Gross said Atta was not observed by Czech intelligence, but in April, "We can confirm now that during his trip to the Czech Republic, he did have a contact with an officer of the Iraqi intelligence, Mr. Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al Ani."
After that press conference and confirming with the White House and law enforcement agencies, the NY Times refuted the story they had previously written to ascertain that indeed the meeting between Atta and al-Ani had been confirmed.
The article stated:
“Federal law-enforcement officials said the Prague meeting fits into Atta's itinerary this way: On April 4 he was in Virginia Beach. He flew to the Czech Republic on April 8 and met with the Iraqi intelligence officer, who was identified as Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. By April 11, Atta was back in Florida renting a car.”
The article also states:
“A senior Bush administration official Friday night indicated the Czech decision to go public with the information about the meeting took Washington by surprise. “As for the meeting itself, the official said, "We are not sure we know exactly the full meaning of this, but we have known about it for some time."
Shortly after this, an anonymous “senior administration official,” retracted everything by saying "the Czechs said they were no longer certain that Atta was the person who met al-Ani.”
Czech intelligence - the BIS - are noted for its accuracy and meticulousness. They have never backed away from their certainty that Atta met with Al-Ani, the Iraqi agent they were tailing around Prague.
John Tagliabue, the writer of the series of articles pertaining to the Prague meeting, wrote a searing editorial regarding the entire mess of the Prague-Atta-Al Ani incident by openly establishing that he had been told by the State Department, that the Prague matter was considered closed and 'strongly advised' he stop any further investigations into it. Tagliabue had been officially "censored".
Now we have Rumsfeld announcing that there is a connection between Iraq and al Queda. The reports they tried to squash and discredit the Czech government with, is now coming back to haunt them. In their eagerness to credit Osama bin Laden with the attacks, they dug the Atta-Prague connection into a grave they will desperately try to exhume.
So we only need to combine the Atta-Prague connection, the Ansar al-Islam camps in Kurdistan sponsored by Saddam Hussein, the terrorist training camps in Salman Pak complete with an airliner to train how to take an airliner over without use of weapons, the stories of Sabah Khodada who trained in the elite terror camp in Iraq in which he claims they were told their "ultimate targets would be Americans". [Satellite photos over Salman Pak show that nestled between the small farms is a large plane located close to the place drawn on a map Khodada had drawn] to draw a logical conclusion that Saddam Hussein has a connection to the attacks of September 11th and the very real threat of something to happen in the future.
Why was the Bush team so quick to accuse Osama over Saddam with little to no evidence remains to be seen.
We do know that as early as July of 2001, Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October of 2001. Mr Naik said US officials told him of the plan at a UN-sponsored international contact group on Afghanistan which took place in Berlin. Iran, Russia and India were to be part of the military action to remove the Taliban from power.
We do know Bush had the plans sitting on his desk on September 9th 2001, but he had not had the chance to sign them before the attacks of September 11th occurred.
We do know that according to CBS News, Rumsfeld, in the hours after the Sept. 11 attacks, reported that the defense chief had asked for plans to be drawn up then for a retaliatory attack against Iraq, even though it was not clear at the time that Saddam Hussein was linked to the hijackings.
It was also not clear in the hours after the attack that it was Osama bin Laden but plans were already drawn up for Afghanistan. All that needed done there was to implement them.
Remember the original title for the War on Terror -- Operation Infinite Justice? It was quickly changed to Operation Enduring Freedom because we did not want to make it sound like we were out for revenge on the attacks, but we were kidding nobody. Revenge was exactly what we wanted.
But Bush and Company took vengeance on the wrong country.
The short-lived Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence that was set up to provide false news leads but was just as quickly disbanded after Rumsfeld felt it's reputation was ruined by political cartoons and editorials, could very well be going strong.
I believe it started January of 2000.
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