» Thursday, June 17, 2004

Iraq/Al Qaida

Asked to which particular organisations she had been referring this morning when she had spoken about groups affiliated to Al Qaida operating in a permissive regime in Saddam’s Iraq, the PMS said that she did not have the precise details to hand. As she had told journalists this morning, we had always acknowledged that Saddam had created a permissive environment for terrorism and that he had tolerated groups affiliated to Al Qaida operating in Iraq during his regime. The Prime Minister had always made it clear that Iraq under Saddam had been a rogue state which threatened the security of the region and the world. Asked to present the evidence we had to back up that claim, the PMS said that this was nothing new. This was something we had said before. Put to her that the report from the independent Commission in the US investigation the September 11 attacks did not seem to support that position, the PMS said she was not suggesting that there was a direct link between Saddam and Al Qaida. She was simply making the point that his permissive regime allowed groups affiliated to Al Qaida to operate in Iraq. She said later that groups such as Zarqawi and Ansar al Islam had operated in the region.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news


  1. What difference does it make that they have made these accusations before? They still haven’t produced any evidence!

    It would be very easy to produce reams of evidence to show that the UK and US have supported terrorism and could be classed as a threat to other countries. This is still no justification for starting a war.

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 18 Jun 2004 on 5:25 pm | Link
  2. So, Saddam’s "permissive regime" allowed "groups affiliated to Al Qaida to operate in Iraq," eh?

    I think there are more Al-Qaeda affiliated groups and individuals in the US and UK than in pre-war Iraq, where they were seen as a threat to Saddam’s secular regime.

    What utter fibs! Do they really think we are not listening to what they are saying?

    Comment by Lee Bryant — 18 Jun 2004 on 6:21 pm | Link
  3. We were. Many of us knew full well about these "connections" because they were quite clearly described not only in the major press, but in a broad number of other sources.

    But granting asylum to hijackers is hard to accept as the equivalence of two organisations; nor, for that matter, is providing medical treatment to a known Al-Qaeda member and allowing him to live in Baghdad.

    This isn’t new. This isn’t even news. And it’s never been enough to prove that connection, and won’t be enough tomorrow, no matter how much Bush plays down his own rhetoric.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 18 Jun 2004 on 8:49 pm | Link
  4. Far more important than most of this is the special exemption from prosecution for the ICC non-signatories.

    It is because of this exemption that the ICC, nor foreign nations, can do anything about, for example, American activities in Abu Gharib; the counterbill, signed in the American legislative system, was the "Invade the Netherlands" bill that said that if any U.S. soldier was held prisoner by a foreign court, for example the Hague or the ICC specifically, the U.S. legislature granted the executive branch automatic permission to invade and remove that person from their hands.

    The U.S. has now clearly proven that it cannot be trusted to uphold, in principle, international laws and treaties over the treatment of prisoners of war, or for that matter, prisoners in general, and must not, should not, does not deserve to be exempt from prosecution for human rights abuses.

    Abuses everyone knows now, full well, that they can and do commit.

    The Prime Minister cannot and must not back the U.S. request to be exempt from basic human rights for people in their care. If the U.S. wants to dodge international law, they’ll dodge this one too – but don’t go giving them *permission* to do so.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 18 Jun 2004 on 9:19 pm | Link
  5. Annan’s statements:

    <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2004/US/06/18/annan.us.reut/index.html">Annan rebukes U.S. on global court</a>:

    "I think it would be unfortunate for one to press for such an exemption, given the prisoner abuse in Iraq," he said. "I think in this circumstance it would be unwise to press for an exemption, and it would be even more unwise on the part of the Security Council to grant it."

    No doubt your listening devices picked up this comment as well as the international press; as you have it, in this case, from both ears, perhaps you’ll listen.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 18 Jun 2004 on 9:20 pm | Link

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