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FOX News: Still Desperate to Link Saddam to Al Qaeda

Reported by Marie Therese - March 8, 2006

FOX's incestuous web of military experts never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday morning (3-7-06) I caught a segment on FOX & Friends featuring this totally absurd little man, Michael Shrimpton, who stated that Saddam Hussein absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt had weapons of mass destruction and that the proof of this lay in a few translations he had seen culled from a massive cache of 35,000 documents and tapes of Saddam Hussein and his henchmen collected after the fall of Iraq. During this morning's show Rep. Peter Hoekstra appeared for the third time since January and announced that he's introducing a bill in Congress, pushing to make these same tapes and documents public. The question is: Why?

Shrimpton, a London barrister, presented himself as one of the righteous defenders of freedom, but he struck me as just another in a long line of conservative hacks willing to say anything as long as it enlarges their bank accounts and advances the right-wing political agenda.

F&F host Brian Kilmeade started off by repeating that statements made by former Iraqi General Georges Sada in a recent book were proof that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. The General claimed several weeks ago in an appearance on FOX that the weapons were spirited out of Iraq and into Syria just before the war. He was plugging his new book at the time, published by Integrity, a Christian publishing house. Integrity has been caught in at least one situation where it did not live up to its name.

Kilmeade went on to mention that Mr. Shrimpton had recently spoken at "The Intelligence Summit" which was held in Virginia, February 17-20, 2006.

KILMEADE: You found it fascinating and you were a speaker at the Intelligence Summit where Saddam's tapes were played. And we know that Bill Tierney, who was a weapons inspsector, is leading the fight here just to get them translated. Why do you think the U.S. government is being slow on the mark here?

SHRIMPTON: I think politics is getting involved. I don't wish to be disrespectful to the Director of National Intelligence but I think he's taking entirely the wrong line on this. I know Bill Tierney, I've met him. He's a good man, a very capable intelligence officer This is a real intelligence find and all of these tapes need to be translated. Now there may be concern because of the huge political ramifications of confirmation on the tapes of a link between Al Qaeda and 9-11 and we know Iraq was heavily involved iwith Al Qaeda. We know Iraq was involved n 9-11. [bold face mine] If there is evidence on these tapes then that would be particularly damaging. For the benefit of the viewers, I should explain that the voice of Saddam Hussein has been authenticated. There is no doubt that these are tape recordings of Saddam Hussein himself talking with senior officials. He had a habit of recording his private meetings.

KILMEADE: Yeah, and there's so much we still don't know, especially his - everything from his strategy leading up to the invasion to why he was giving the weapons inspectors such a hard time. Could he indeed have had something to hide? Real quick. What we heard already. Bill Tierney was like reaching out to get some Arabic translators. Are you having trouble getting these translated, finding someone who that can - who does have the time to do it?

SHRIMPTON: You don't need translators. There is now available advanced translation software which will get very accurate, good idiomatic translation to English from Arabic doing it automatically. And you only need the human translators, you know, when you've got something that looks worthy of further investigation. But far more resources than are being made at the moment need to be put into getting these tapes translated. There is, in addition, thousands and thousands of boxes of the intelligence yield that was siezed when you guys went into Baghdad in 2003. All that material needs to be looked at and thoroughly assessed. Now I know some people in the intelligence community don't agree with the reporting that's out there of strong links between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein going all the way back to 1989 [which] is the first reporting I've had of a meeting between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. That was in Baghdad at Baghdad International Airport. [bold face mine] But if people are afraid of the conclusions and unwilling, for that reason, to have material which has been seized from Iraq translated, then all I can say is that's absolutely disgraceful. We need to look at every available tape, every available document that's come out of Baghdad.

In today's show, Rep. Hoekstra of Michigan, Chairman of the House Select Intelleigence Committee, said that National Intelligence Director John Negroponte has resisted releasing the documents out of concern for "sensitive and potentially harmful" information that might be contained therein. Host Steve Doocy said that Negroponte might be concerned that some of the information would "embarrass, maybe not the United States, but maybe some of our allies - France, Russia - and the fact that they had extensive dealings with Iraq in the run-up to the war. Rep. Hoekstra defined these as concern for the names of possible rape victims, the possibility that might be a formula for risin in there and privacy concerns for some of the people mentioned on the tapes. Hoekstra responded that the names of women could be blanked out, the risin formula could be blanked out and, as for people doing business with Saddam Hussein, he said, "Excuse me! If these people were doing business with Saddam Hussein, why are were concerned about their privacy?"

A quick trip to the Intelligence Summit site reveals that their Advisory Board includes some faces that are well known to the News Hounds.

WayneSimmons170x220.jpg PaulVallely170x220.jpg ThomasMcInerney170x220.jpg

Left to right: FOX News Military Analysts Wayne Simmons, Gen. Paul Vallely, Gen. Thomas McInerney

In addition, there were a number of familiar names among the speakers at the Summit, including FOX News Military Analyst Lt. Col. Bill Cowan and frequent FOX News guests Jed Babbin, Richard Perle, Richard Miniter and Dr. Walid Phares.

The list of exhibitors included companies selling armored luxury limos, name recognition software, surveillance technology, counterterrorism consulting, etc. Generally, the Intelligence Summit appears to have been a self-serving confab of speakers and exhibitors who stand to make (or are making) a killng off the Global War on Terror and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One would expect to see a lot of FOX News names included in such a stellar meeting of warmongers who are also war profiteers.

COMMENT

I can't figure this out.

What is the ultimate game plan here?

Are Shrimpton and his ilk trying to get these documents translated in an effort to protect George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld from impeachment here and possibleprosecution overseas for starting an illegal war?

Is this just a bunch of conspiracy nuts and egocentric Middle East experts who's pre-war ravings have been proven to be pure fantasy? Are they out to vindicate their own hype?

Since one would assume that the Bush administration would jump at the chance to prove it's case for the war in Iraq, are they even more afraid that the material will reveal details of American complicity (their own?) in the Oil-for-Food scandal?

Or is this simply a matter of money? Is this whole thing just a clever way of making money for people who've invested in some kind of new-fangled Arabic translation software?

What are your ideas?

I'd like to know, because right now it looks to me as though people like Hoekstra and Shrimpton are beating a dead horse in the futile hope that it will rise from the dead and run the Kentucky Derby!

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