Wednesday, April 23, 2003
An online survey about weblogs form the U of Tenn. It's very long but I think it's a good idea to get data on this phenomenon.
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Eeeeh so scary.
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How does the Telegraph get this stuff?
"German spies offered help to Saddam in run-up to war
By David Harrison in Baghdad
Germany's intelligence services attempted to build closer links to Saddam's secret service during the build-up to war last year, documents from the bombed Iraqi intelligence HQ in Baghdad obtained by The Telegraph reveal.
Documents recovered from Iraqi intelligence HQ in Baghdad
They show that an agent named as Johannes William Hoffner, described as a "new German representative in Iraq" who had entered the country under diplomatic cover, attended a meeting with Lt Gen Taher Jalil Haboosh, the director of Iraq's intelligence service.
During the meeting, on January 29, 2002, Lt Gen Haboosh says that the Iraqis are keen to have a relationship with Germany's intelligence agency "under diplomatic cover", adding that he hopes to develop that relationship through Mr Hoffner.
The German replies: "My organisation wants to develop its relationship with your organisation."
In return, the Iraqis offered to give lucrative contracts to German companies if the Berlin government helped prevent an American invasion of the country.
The revelations come a week after The Telegraph reported that Russia had spied for the Iraqis, passing them intelligence about a meeting between Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister. Both the British and Italian governments have launched investigations.
The meeting between the Iraqi and German agents took place some six months before Chancellor Schröder's Social Democrat-led government began its policy of direct opposition to the idea of an American/British-led war against Iraq. The policy was adopted in the heat of last year's German general election campaign, at a time when the Social Democrats were widely predicted to lose the contest. Mr Schröder was re-elected as Chancellor last September, largely because of the popularity of his government's outspoken opposition to the war against Iraq. The apparently verbatim account of the meeting between Lt Gen Haboosh and Mr Hoffner was among documents recovered by The Telegraph in the rubble of the Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, which was heavily bombed.
During the meeting, Lt Gen Haboosh tells the German agent that Iraq has "big problems" with Britain and the United States. "We have problems with Britain because it occupied Iraq for 60 years and with America because of its aggression for 11 years," he says.
He adds, however, that Iraq has no problems with Germany and suggests that Germany will be rewarded with lucrative contracts if it offers international support to Iraq. "When the American conspiracy is finished, we will make a calculation for each state that helps Iraq in its crisis."
He also urges Mr Hoffner to lobby the German government to raise its diplomatic mission in Baghdad to full ambassadorial level. Mr Hoffner says that it would be a decision for the German foreign ministry, but Germany's diplomatic presence in the Iraqi capital made it easier for him to enter Iraq because he was able to use diplomatic cover.
Last night, a spokesman for the German government said it was "well known" that it had been offered lucrative contracts by Baghdad providing it maintained an anti-Iraq war stance. "Iraq made these kinds of promises before the war and praised Germany for its position," he said.
Iraqi police handed Saddam Hussein's finance minister to American forces after capturing him in Baghdad, raising hopes of tracing billions of dollars the ousted dictator may have spirited away. Hikmat Ibrahim al-Azzawi, who was also a deputy prime minister, is number 45 on America's list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis."
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Hmmm. So the most vocal opponent in the british govt to the Iraq war was actually on Saddam's payroll to the tune of £375,000 a year. That begs a few questions and strengthens some suspicions.
"George Galloway, the Labour backbencher, received money from Saddam Hussein's regime, taking a slice of oil earnings worth at least £375,000 a year, according to Iraqi intelligence documents found by The Daily Telegraph in Baghdad.
A confidential memorandum sent to Saddam by his spy chief said that Mr Galloway asked an agent of the Mukhabarat secret service for a greater cut of Iraq's exports under the oil for food programme.
George Galloway: 'I have never in my life seen a barrel of oil, let alone owned, bought or sold one'
He also said that Mr Galloway was profiting from food contracts and sought "exceptional" business deals. Mr Galloway has always denied receiving any financial assistance from Baghdad.
Asked to explain the document, he said yesterday: "Maybe it is the product of the same forgers who forged so many other things in this whole Iraq picture. Maybe The Daily Telegraph forged it. Who knows?"
When the letter from the head of the Iraqi intelligence service was read to him, he said: "The truth is I have never met, to the best of my knowledge, any member of Iraqi intelligence. I have never in my life seen a barrel of oil, let alone owned, bought or sold one."
In the papers, which were found in the looted foreign ministry, Iraqi intelligence continually stresses the need for secrecy about Mr Galloway's alleged business links with the regime. One memo says that payments to him must be made under "commercial cover".
For more than a decade, Mr Galloway, MP for Glasgow Kelvin, has been the leading critic of Anglo-American policy towards Iraq, campaigning against sanctions and the war that toppled Saddam.
He led the Mariam Appeal, named after an Iraqi child he flew to Britain for leukaemia treatment. The campaign was the supposed beneficiary of his fund-raising.
But the papers say that, behind the scenes, Mr Galloway was conducting a relationship with Iraqi intelligence. Among documents found in the foreign ministry was a memorandum from the chief of the Mukhabarat to Saddam's office on Jan 3, 2000, marked "Confidential and Personal".
It purported to outline talks between Mr Galloway and an Iraqi spy. During the meeting on Boxing Day 1999, Mr Galloway detailed his campaign plans for the year ahead.
The spy chief wrote that Mr Galloway told the Mukhabarat agent: "He [Galloway] needs continuous financial support from Iraq. He obtained through Mr Tariq Aziz [deputy prime minister] three million barrels of oil every six months, according to the oil for food programme. His share would be only between 10 and 15 cents per barrel."
Iraq's oil sales, administered by the United Nations, were intended to pay for only essential humanitarian supplies. If the memo was accurate, Mr Galloway's share would have amounted to about £375,000 per year.
The documents say that Mr Galloway entered into partnership with a named Iraqi oil broker to sell the oil on the international market.
The memorandum continues: "He [Galloway] also obtained a limited number of food contracts with the ministry of trade. The percentage of its profits does not go above one per cent."
The Iraqi spy chief, whose illegible signature appears at the bottom of the memorandum, says that Mr Galloway asked for more money.
"He suggested to us the following: first, increase his share of oil; second, grant him exceptional commercial and contractual facilities." The spy chief, who is not named, recommends acceptance of the proposals.
Mr Galloway's intermediary in Iraq was Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian. In a letter found in one foreign ministry file, Mr Galloway wrote: "This is to certify that Mr Fawaz A Zureikat is my representative in Baghdad on all matters concerning my work with the Mariam Appeal or the Emergency Committee in Iraq."
The intelligence chief's memorandum describes a meeting with Mr Zureikat in which he said that Mr Galloway's campaigning on behalf of Iraq was putting "his future as a British MP in a circle surrounded by many question marks and doubts".
Mr Zureikat is then quoted as saying: "His projects and future plans for the benefit of the country need financial support to become a motive for him to do more work and, because of the sensitivity of getting money directly from Iraq, it is necessary to grant him oil contracts and special and exceptional commercial opportunities to provide him with an income under commercial cover, without being connected to him directly."
Mr Zureikat is said to have emphasised that the "name of Mr Galloway or his wife should not be mentioned"."
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