Thursday, October 16, 2003


Real world. Very interesting.

Read the whole story here to see what the CIA did to help us walk into Baghdad.
From the beginning, al-Jaburi's primary mission had been to scope out Saddam International Airport, one of the keys to taking Baghdad. Ahmed had a way in. He had a friend, "Mahmoud," who he says commanded the SSO's 3rd Battalion and was in charge of airport security. Ahmed knew Mahmoud had cursed Saddam privately, so he took him out for drinks, drawing him out on his views. The airport commander was sufficiently negative about Saddam to warrant a three-way drinking date with al-Jaburi. At a third session, al-Jaburi asked Mahmoud to cooperate and offered him $15,000. The commander, al-Jaburi says, agreed to help.

At sundown on March 23, with the war raging in the south and Baghdad under nightly bombardment, the airport commander drove al-Jaburi, in a military uniform, and Mashadani, bearing his mukhabarat ID, into the airport compound. In an SSO car, the trio crisscrossed the tarmac, mapping every building and bunker, counting every soldier and weapon they could see. Following the CIA's instructions, they repeated the exercise three times over three nights to confirm their sketches. By the time they had finished, U.S. battle planners had a detailed picture of the situation at the airport, from the weak points in the Iraqi defenses to the safest landing zones for American choppers.

On March 26 an exhausted al-Jaburi took a break to visit his family in his hometown near Tikrit. The next day his brother, an engineer at the Bayji oil refinery, was summoned to the plant to remove documents before the Americans got there. Al-Jaburi decided to go too, hoping to get papers of use to the U.S. It was a trap. Saddam's secret police surrounded al-Jaburi's car. He learned later that they had acted on a tip from one of his relatives eager to collect a reward. Taken to Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, the last stop for many of the regime's opponents, al-Jaburi was sure he was going to die. His jailers, he said, placed a hood over his head and hung him from the ceiling by his arms, which were bound behind him. They hit him repeatedly with wire cords and clubs, smashing his feet.

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