Weekly Intelligence Notes #14-03
WIN #14-03 Dated 9 April 03
Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are produced and edited by Roy Jonkers for non-profit educational uses by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. RADM (ret) Don Harvey contributes articles to selected WINs
CONTENTS of this WIN
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IRAQ INTELLIGENCE -- The fate of Saddam Hussein and his sons Qusay and
Uday is uncertain after two attempts to kill them by bombing from the air,
stimulated by intelligence tip-offs. The first attempt took place on 21 March 2003. Fragmentary unofficial reports indicate that CIA
and Army Special Operations teams infiltrated a key Baghdad
telecommunications center and tapped fiber optic telephone lines. They
also reportedly received information from three Iraqi defectors. This enabled
the U.S. clandestine team to locate Saddam and top leaders at
Dora Farm, an Iraqi command and control complex.
After CIA Director George Tenet conveyed the information to the White House, the Administration quickly launched massive strikes by F-117A warplanes with 2,000-pound bunker buster bombs and some 40 ship-launched cruise missiles. Saddam was said to have suffered burst eardrums in the attack, and was bleeding from the nose and mouth. He appeared in public on Friday, 21 March, however, self-composed and defiant, although wearing glasses allegedly because of concussive damage to the capillaries of his retinas. Iraqi TV showed pictures of him walking the streets of a Baghdad neighborhood (the working class al-Mansour area) where a throng of residents greeted him.
Three Iraqi agents, recruited by CIA, played a key part in the operation by providing "priceless" information, relating to the phone system and details of Dora Farm. They paid the price. Iraqi counterintelligence killed the three, shooting two and cutting out the tongue of a third, who bled to death.
A second attempt to kill Saddam and his senior officials took place this week. The results are not yet conclusive at this writing, but Saddam has not been heard of again. Intercepted tactical communications indicate, however, that Saddam's designated successor, Qusay, 36, is still directing the Iraqi security forces and the Republican Guard. They also indicate that he is being told lies by his officers. Iraqi generals speaking to Qusay over satellite phones and other communications devices generally talk about high American casualties and defeats of the allied forces in various cities. "He's being told by his cronies, by military officers, by political appointees, that they have control of the airport," said one American officer who has listened to the transmissions. "They say, `We're ready, we're fighting, we're moving to attack.' He's being told lies." This may explain much about the apparent failure of Saddam’s defensive strategy. Obviously, the regime is in its death throes. (Jonkers) (UPI International 7 April 03 //R. Sale) (http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030403-101300-9688r) (courtesy email@example.com) (NYTimes 8 April //B. Weinraub).
IRAQ SPECIAL OPERATIONS
-- In the largest covert military campaign in recent
history, more than 9,000 Special Operations troopers have reportedly been
conducting some of the riskiest missions of the war in Iraq, a largely invisible
campaign remarkable for its breadth and complexity, working in nearly every
corner of the country and penetrating even the streets of Baghdad. Their
operations have leveraged American technological superiority with devastating
effects. Information from spies, analysts, surveillance planes and satellites of
the intelligence agencies have been linked more directly than ever before to
commandos on the
The daring rescue of Private Lynch is the most prominent example of this complexity. American intelligence helped choreograph the intricate mission. When an Iraqi informant disclosed the wounded prisoner's location, American intelligence officers quickly found the foreign contractor who built the hospital, and within hours acquired blueprints that helped the small team of Navy commandos enter and escape without casualties.
Special Operations forces from the United States, Britain and Australia have fought running firefights in the empty deserts of western Iraq to seize an important airstrip, knock out suspected missile sites, smash command headquarters that could launch chemical weapons and interdict weapons smuggled across the border from Syria. When paramilitary forces in cities like Nasiriya and Najaf attacked convoys and slowed the advance toward Baghdad, Special Operations units were called in for classic covert force protection work. In the north, the Army's Green Beret units cleared the way for the largest military parachute landing since World War II when the 173rd Airborne Brigade dropped in to protect northern oil fields and hold the line against numerically superior Iraqi forces (which melted away). Special Operations teams supported the Pesh Merga, the Kurdish fighters, calling in air support and providing targeting information. Commando teams also scored a major victory when they seized the Haditha Dam, which intelligence officers warned might be blown by retreating Iraqi forces to flood a large swath of the Euphrates River. In the far south, Navy Seals and Polish special operations teams not only helped prevent the demolition of oil wells and petroleum plants -- including a possible attempt to flood the northern Persian Gulf with flammable crude oil -- but secured offshore oil terminals and gained control of the northern Persian Gulf and other vital waterways.
Some of the most secret missions have been within key cities and Baghdad, where Special Operations forces and CIA paramilitary teams have hunted leaders of the governing Baath Party, calling in devastating pinpoint airstrikes when local informants point to possible meeting places of Iraqi government leaders.
In short, courageous US, UK and allied (e.g. Polish) special forces units (of all three services) are operating on a grand scale, and, leveraged with absolutely superior American technology and intelligence 'transparency' (making the entire exercise akin to an arcade game), as well as devastating airpower, have produced phenomenal results. These forces, sometimes called the "black side" of military campaigns, are now very well integrated with `white' world operations. The full story may not be made public for some time yet, but the scale and scope of the 'black' Special Operations campaign before and during the invasion of Iraq are obviously part of the 'surprise' strategy promised by the Defense Department. (Jonkers) NYTimes 5 April 03 //T. Shanker and E. Schmitt) (national/worldspecial/06FORC.html) (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/06/interApril 6, 2003)
TALEBAN RESURGENCE -- Eighteen months after their ouster from power,
the Taleban is making a comeback. The new Afghan government soldiers and
policemen who were supposed to stop them have gone unpaid and are drifting away.
Instead of US promises of reconstruction and democracy, the Aghans are seeing
thieving warlords, robbery and killings on the roads, and a resurgence of
Taleban vigilantism. Their targets are foreigners and Afghans working for
From safe havens in neighboring Pakistan, where they are aided by militant Muslim groups, the Taleban began its revival with the US invasion of Iraq, capitalizing on widespread Muslim anger at the US. They are financed by militant Arabs and apparently allied with former rebel commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, recently placed on the US wanted list as a 'terrorist.' The new Taleban hav a command structure. Before executing International Red Cross worker Ricardo Munguia recently, the gunmen made a satellite phone call to their superior, Mullah Dadullah, a former powerful Taleban commander, for instructions. The order came back: Kill him. It had an immediate effect -- the Red Cross has suspended operations indefinitely. Afghanistan will be another job for intelligence and special operations once the Iraq war is over -- if Afghanistan still has any US priority, which may not be the case. (Jonkers) (Wash Times 8 april 03, p. A13)
IRAQ INTELLIGENCE FILES -- Anonymous US officials indicate that the intelligence community has embarked upon a covert program to acquire "raw Iraqi intelligence files--the archives." Members of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, the Mukhabarat, have been approached in one manner or another. The belief is that the files would document the full spectrum of Iraqi war crimes, ties to international terrorist groups such as al Qaeda, and possibly compromising links to foreign leaders. The hope is that the files would disclose Iraq's arms-buying network, and could provide evidence of Iraqi bribes to foreign officials to violate UN sanctions by shipping prohibited weapons. The Mukhabarat, overseen by Saddam's heir apparent son Qusai, is considered the most important arm of Saddam's state security system and acts as a spy agency as well as an internal security police force. Since the Iraqis have proven to be meticulous record keepers in the past, the hope is that internal Mukhabarat narratives would reveal a wide array of Saddam's policies and contacts with foreign governments. While it would seem reasonable to expect the Iraqi government to destroy all incriminating or politically important records prior to an anticipated surrender, it would not be unheard of for one or more officials to squirrel away revealing documents to use for bargaining with the victors. In the case of Saddam Hussein especially, it could be hoped that some officials would welcome the opportunity to facilitate his indictment. (Harvey) (WashTimes 25 Mar03, p.1 //R. Scarborough)
ISRAEL INTELLIGENCE -- Israel has
been called the fulcrum of US
international policy, and the US in general
and the Intelligence Community in particular must deal with the results of this
orientation. The President recently called for a 'roadmap' (of unspecified
length) toward a Palestinian state. British PM Tony Blair followed up by saying
"We have got a situation now where the President of the United States of America . . . has laid out a two-state vision - Israel,
recognized by everyone, confident about its security; and a viable Palestinian
state. I believe it is every bit as important that we make progress on that as
we get rid of Saddam."
The Sharon government did not reply directly to the US President, for obvious reasons, but did it indirectly by attacking Tony Blair as irrelevant and unbalanced. Said spokesman Dov Weissglass, "A country that adopts such unbalanced positions cannot expect to have its voice attended to seriously. We will not be able to bear Blair's statements and we will draw our conclusions." Getting the message, we have not heard of the President's plan again.
In the real world the US has recently increased its stipend to Israel fivefold, from $3 billion to $15 Billion this year, by the usual unanimous vote in Congress, without debate, Soviet-style, while the Congressmen assiduously overlooked the reportedly deliberate murder of an American woman (Rachel) by an Israeli bulldozer house-destruction squad in Gaza. Given the realities of politics in the US, and on the ground in occupied Palestine -- with some thirty new Jewish settlements apparently being built with US support in the occupied territories, and a repression which has reportedly impoverished and demeaned the population and has allegedly driven out some 100,000 Palestinians during the past two years -- Mr. Sharon's spokesman is right. The notion of a Palestinian state becomes quite ludicrous indeed.
The Palestinian 'desperation of the impotent ' under foreign occupation (along with their leadership miscalculations and Israeli provocations) that erupted into the Intifada and proceeded with suicide bombings, has been counterproductive, just like terrorism is against the US. It put humanist Jewish opinions on the defensive, leaving the field to the hawks. The Palestinian society and basis for a state has now been largely destroyed. Instead of the shadow play of a promised Palestinian territorial state, with impossible terms and interminable negotiations, the real-world solutions on the horizon appear to be (1) Israel's movement towards a secular democracy for all, with citizenship for all integrating the territories into Israel (unlikely, given the cultural differences and population statistics) , (2) the creation of some Palestinian enclaves possibly enhanced by the designation as a notional state, (3) a separate Arab 'virtual' (non-territorial) segregated 'state' within the exclusive Israeli Jewish democracy encompassing the whole territory, or (4) Israel's further success on the ground in driving out the Palestinians (possibly assisted by a US Marshall Plan-equivalent incentive).
The solutions will have to come from within the Israeli and American Jewish communities, currently operating under the compliant umbrella of absolute American world military and economic superiority. Meanwhile, US Intelligence will have to deal with the contribution to Arab anger and terrorism fueled by US political support for the current Israeli government policies. In the short run it means more funding. (Jonkers) (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5944-637522,00.html)
BALKAN INTELLIGENCE -- Three years after
war ended under a hail of American bombs on Serbia and Kosovo, the
Balkans remain a tinderbox of ethnic tensions and criminality. Deep social
problems, poverty, ethnic divisions, and the large proportion of refugees pose
the constant threat of renewed political instability. Criminal syndicates,
government corruption, high unemployment and continuing ethnic and religious
tensions, could make Bosnia, Serbia - including its
so-called 'Kosovo Province' - and
Macedonia, into destructive,
destabilizing forces for all of southern Europe. Without more rapid
reconstruction the region's poverty levels will continue to rise, fueling mass
migration into surrounding countries. In addition, the region is likely to
increase its role as a major haven for drug traffickers, people smugglers,
Islamic militants, and anti-American terrorism.
States has a significant stake in stability
and control of the region. The US currently provides
about 8,000 troops to the NATO peacekeeping operations in the area, and is an
essential deterrent to ethnic violence. US
force-protection counter-intelligence, and anti-terrorist intelligence
operations, will continue to be necessary, within the larger need for continued
US funds and troops.
The needs are unlikely to be met unless there is another crisis. There is pressure to reduce the number of US troops in the area. In addition, non-US international aid is set to decline dramatically. The European Union (EU) provided 900 million dollars in 2002, but this is set to fall annually to 500 million by 2005. Assistance from the United States and other bilateral donors is rapidly decreasing as Afghanistan and the Middle East rival the Balkans for the aid available. In this environment of declining aid and stalled transition, the region faces three significant risks in 2003:  loss of momentum;  governments in crisis; and  renewed conflict. Some problems are hard to fix with bombing. War is easier to finance than reconstruction. But after Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Korea, US Intelligence, troop and funding priorities may once again have to shift back to dealing with the Balkan tinderbox and the results of past mistakes. (Jonkers) (NYTimes 9Dec02 //J. Dao //Council of Foreign Relations report) (http://www.nytimes.com) (Oxford Analytica Daily Brief, 6 December 2002 (http://www.oxweb.com).
AL QAEDA WEBSITE REFUSES TO DIE -- Repeatedly tossed off the Internet, a website believed to be al Qaeda's primary online method of communication continues to resurface as an uninvited guest on other websites. Alneda.com first appeared after the Sept. 11 attacks, hosted by legitimate Internet service providers in Malaysia and the United States who promptly evicted the site after being alerted to its contents and purpose.(Levine's Newsbits,8 April 03) (http://www.wired.com/news/infostructure/0,1377,58356,00.html)
DEFENSE TOOL FOR ACCESS TO ENEMY SYSTEMS -- The Defense Department has awarded a research contract for a ruggedized portable system that warfighters would use to extract data from enemy forces’ captured computers. Ideal Technology Corp. on Friday received a DOD Small Business Innovation Research six-month contract to begin work on the portable tool. The first phase is worth $65,000. If Defense awards the company a second-phase contract, the value of the deal could grow to $750,000. (Levine 8 April 03) (http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/21640-1.html) (http://www.vnunet.com/News/1139984)
TAPPING ON-LINE PHONE CALLS -- Wiretapping takes on a whole new meaning now that phone calls are being made over the Internet, posing legal and technical hurdles for the FBI as it seeks to prevent the emerging services from becoming a safe haven for criminals and terrorists. The FBI wants regulators to affirm that such services fall under a1994 law requiring phone companies to build in surveillance capabilities. It is also pushing the industry to create technical standards to make wiretapping easier and cheaper. (Levine 4 april) (http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,58350,00.html) (http://www.nandotimes.com/technology/story/840612p-5909700c.html) (http://www.msnbc.com/news/895013.asp) (http://www.securityfocus.com/news/3711) (http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0403/040403td2.htm)
TRAVELING WITH BIG BROTHER -- It provoked protests from privacy advocates and high-flying executives. People boycotted and bad-mouthed it. People from all corners hate the idea of the passenger-profiling system called Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening II program, better known as CAPPS II. But CAPPS II is not travelers' biggest privacy threat, according to Edward Hasbrouck, a travel agent and author. CAPPS II is only one possible use -- and perhaps not the most invasive-- of the Transportation Security Administration's proposed Aviation Security Screening Records database.(Levine 4 April) http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,58344,00.html
TRUST NO ONE: The Secret World of Sidney Reilly, by Richard B. Spence, Feral House, Los Angeles, CA, January 2003, ISBN 0-922915-79-2, with Bibliography and Notes. The serious student of intelligence history will appreciate the exhaustive research that author Spence put into his revealing story of “The Ace of Spies,” Sidney Reilly, born Salomon Rosenblum, in Poland. A Professor of History at the University of Idaho, Spence has provided a density of detail that one seldom encounters in an espionage biography. But, that density is a two edged sword. On the one hand, the academically oriented will relish the microscopic facts from fantasy discussion of Reilly’s life and world. On the other hand, those seeking more drama and less detail may find 'Trust No One' a rather slow-going read. Spence often conjectures where facts are absent, but his “maybe” and “perhaps” offerings add to the mystery that was Sidney Reilly, without subtracting from the author’s monumental efforts at ferreting out the truth of the man who trusted no one. In reading this new biography of an old spy, we see the world of finance, oil, espionage and war is not very different today than it was in the early years of the last century–only the technology has improved. The international stew of greed, double dealing and conflicts of interest which made up the main course of Sidney Reilly’s diet, is still being served up hot on today’s international menus. AFIO members will want to add this one to their shelves.(Reviewed by AFIO member Adam Mandelbaum, author of 'The Psychic Battlefield: A History of the Military occult Complex')
DOD ALMANAC REFERENCE -- Check (http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/almanac/unified.html\). (G. O'Hara)
WMD REFERENCE SITE -- Links to sites containing files on WMD-related topics can be found using AFIO member Greg O'Hara's 54 page word document containing links collected over the years and "clickable" if online. See (http://info.dom.uab.edu/gorgas/anthrax.ppt). If you want the WORD document, please send a separate email to: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
IN MEMORIAM -- Several members of the press have been killed, more were wounded, most of them unfortunately by US friendly fire, along with almost a hundred military men and women killed in action. We respect and salute them all, journalists along with our military. They were killed in line of duty and in pursuit of their mission. Each one is a tragedy, personally, and also in the larger sense of the human condition and of war, which is, and always has been, high-risk legitimized mass murder since time immemorial. May these soldiers and journalists rest in peace, may the wounded find recuperation, and the families solace. (RJ)
Former AFIO Director and former
President of the National Press Club Don Larrabee wrote the following in memory
of the first journalist killed:
Michael Kelly -- American journalism lost an eloquent and responsible voice and the intelligence community lost a friend when Michael Kelly was killed April 4 while traveling with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division near Baghdad. Kelly, 46, was the first American journalist killed in the war. An editor-at-large with the Atlantic Monthly and also a Washington Post columnist, he had covered the first Persian Gulf War as a magazine free lancer and became a star overnight with a book about that war, "Martyrs' Day". Shortly before his death, he told the New York Times that he and other reporters enlisted in the Pentagon's embedding program because "there was a real sense after the last Gulf War that witness had been lost. The people in the military care about that history a great deal because, it is their history." The Post editorially called Michael Kelly "one of the premier writers and magazine editors of his generation." He would have been a prime contender for AFIO's annual Stewart Alsop Media Excellence Award. (Don Larrabee).
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