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IRAQ – ITS INFRASTRUCTURE OF
CONCEALMENT, DECEPTION AND INTIMIDATION
This report draws upon a number of
sources, including intelligence material, and shows how the Iraqi
regime is constructed to have, and to keep, WMD, and is now
engaged in a campaign of obstruction of the United Nations Weapons
focusses on how Iraq’s security organisations operate to conceal
Weapons of Mass Destruction from UN Inspectors. It reveals that
the inspectors are outnumbered by Iraqi intelligence by a ratio of
200 to 1.
gives up to date details of Iraq’s network of intelligence and
security organisations whose job it is to keep Saddam and his
regime in power, and to prevent the international community from
goes on to show the effects of the security apparatus on the
ordinary people of Iraq.
While the reach of this network
outside Iraq may be less apparent since the Gulf War of 1990/1991,
inside Iraq, its grip is formidable over all levels of society.
Saddam and his inner circle control the State infrastructure of
One: The Effect on UNMOVIC
The role of the Inspectors is to
monitor and verify the disarmament of Iraq as demanded by the
international community at the end of the Gulf War, 12 years ago.
Inspectors are not a detective agency: They can only work
effectively if the Iraqi Regime co-operates pro-actively with the
Inspectors. We know this can be done successfully: South Africa
But Iraq has singularly failed to
Iraq has deliberately hampered the
work of the Weapons Inspectors. There are presently around 108 UN
Weapons Inspectors in Iraq – a country the size of France. They
are vastly outnumbered by over 20,000 Iraqi Intelligence officers,
who are engaged in disrupting their inspections and concealing
Weapons of Mass Destruction. This is a ratio of 200: 1.
Even with the obstruction, concealment and intimidation, the
inspectors have made a number of significant and disturbing
But as Hans Blix reported to the
UN Security Council on 27 January,: "It is not enough to open
doors. Inspection is not a game of "catch as catch
The Iraqi security organisations
work together to conceal documents, equipment, and materials.
The Regime has intensified efforts
to hide documents in places where they are unlikely to be found,
such as private homes of low-level officials and universities.
There are prohibited materials and documents being relocated to
agricultural areas and private homes or hidden beneath hospitals
and even mosques.
This material is being moved
constantly, making it difficult to trace or find without
absolutely fresh intelligence.
And those in whose homes this
material is concealed have been warned of serious consequences to
them and their families if it is discovered.
The Iraqis have installed
surveillance equipment all over the hotels and offices that UN
personnel are using All their meetings are monitored, their
relationships observed, their conversations listened to.
Telephone calls are monitored.
Al-Mukhabarat, the main intelligence agency, listen round the
clock. Al-Mukhabarat made telephone calls to inspectors at all
hours of the night during the days of UNSCOM. Intelligence
indicates they have plans to do so again to UNMOVIC.
Inspectors meet to co-ordinate
activities - the meeting rooms are arranged for the inspectors by
the Iraqis and contain eavesdropping devices. Hidden video cameras
monitor the progress of meetings, to check the faces of the
inspectors and to identify the key personalities.
From the moment the UNMOVIC
personnel enter Iraq, their every movement is monitored.
They are escorted by seemingly
helpful security guards and almost all of them are members of the
Al-Mukhabarat. If the driver is an Iraqi, he is Al-Mukhabarat too.
Journeys are monitored by security
officers stationed on the route if they have prior intelligence.
Any changes of destination are notified ahead by telephone or
radio so that arrival is anticipated. The welcoming party is a
Escorts are trained, for example,
to start long arguments with other Iraqi officials ‘on behalf of
UNMOVIC’ while any incriminating evidence is hastily being
hidden behind the scenes.
Al Mukhabarat have teams whose
role is to organise car crashes to cause traffic jams if the
Inspectors suddenly change course towards a target the Iraqi wish
to conceal. Crashing into inspectors’ cars was a ploy often used
Venues for any possible interviews
between inspectors and scientists or key workers are arranged by
Iraqis. They are then monitored by listening devices and sometimes
video. Most of the staff in the building where interviews take
place are Al-Mukhabarat officers, there to observe any covert
behaviour such as whispered conversations, the passing of notes or
conversations away from microphones.
The interviewees will know that
they are being overheard by Iraqi intelligence or security.
The inspectors want to interview
some key people outside Iraq, without minders. All scientists and
key workers have been made to draw up a list of their relatives by
Al Mukhabarat. The interviewees know only too well what will
happen to them, or their relatives still in Iraq, if it is even
suspected that they have said too much or given anything away
None have agreed to be interviewed
The inspectors use sophisticated
technology to detect hidden Iraqi programmes. Many of these are
safety systems from the nuclear and chemical industries which are
also available to the Iraqis.
When a detectable chemical or
substance is hidden, the Iraqis do not just hide it and hope the
Inspectors will not find it. They check that the technologies
which they know the Inspectors have and use will not detect what
they have hidden.
For example when an illicit piece
of equipment (say a missile warhead) or substance is buried by the
Iraqis, they make sure it stays hidden by using Ground Penetrating
Radar to determine whether the inspectors will be able to detect
Before UNMOVIC personnel arrive in
Iraq, their names are sought by at least one and probably several
of the Iraqi intelligence and security services. They will find
out as much as possible. Do they have family, do they have any
weaknesses that can be exploited? Are they young, nervous,
vulnerable in some way?
The inspectors' personal security
and peace of mind is a concern both to the individual inspectors
and to UN management. So the Iraqis disrupt their work and daily
lives by staging demonstrations wherever they go and having
stooges make threatening approaches to Inspectors - such as the
Iraqis who recently tried to enter the Inspectors' compound armed
with knives or climbed into UN vehicles which were going out on an
inspection. The whole effect is one of intimidation and
Two: The Security Apparatus
The Presidential Secretariat
The Presidential Secretariat has
around 100 staff, who are drawn from the security agencies. The
Secretariat is responsible for Saddam's personal security, as well
as defence, security and intelligence issues.
It is overseen by Saddam's
personal secretary, Lieutenant General Abid Hamid Mahmud. Mahmud
is Saddam's distant cousin and is the sheikh of both the
Al-Bu-Nasir and Al-Khattab tribes.
Mahmud is regarded by some as the
real number two figure in the Iraqi leadership. He controls all
access to Saddam - possibly with the exception of Qusay and Uday
Hussein - and has the ability to override government decisions.
Al-Majlis Al-Amn Al-Qawni.
The National Security Council.
Headed by Saddam Hussein but
usually chaired by his son Qusay Hussein, it oversees the work of
all other security agencies.
Membership in Majlis Al-Amn
Al-Qawni includes chosen people from;
Majlis Al-Amn Al-Qawni,
headquartered at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad, meets on a
Special Security Committee
Qusay Hussein is the deputy
chairman of the Special Security Committee of the Iraqi National
Security Council that was created in 1996 as part of the
The Committee membership includes:
Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti,
the director of the Public Security Directorate
Dahham al-Tikriti, Director of
the Iraqi Intelligence Service –Al Mukhabarat
Abid Hamid Mahmud, the
president's personal secretary.
Faris 'Abd-al-Hamid al-'Ani,
the director general of the Presidential office
This special body also includes
representatives of the Republican Guard.
The Committee is supported by over
2,000 staff. The staff is drawn from the Republican Guard, or the
Special Guard, and the intelligence services.
Their main task is preventing the
United Nations inspectors from uncovering information, documents,
and equipment connected with weapons of mass destruction.
They are recruited for this
specific mission and chosen from the most efficient and loyal
The work is divided between two
sections, each of which has a staff of about 1,000:
The first section focuses on
the daily work of the UN monitoring commission, including
sites to be visit and inspected, escorting UN inspectors,
preventing them from carrying out their mission effectively.
The second section conceals
documents, equipment, and materials and moves them about from
one location to another. Several facilities have been
especially built for collecting and hiding such selected
material. This section is responsible for material that is
imported through "special channels" as part of the
programme of rebuilding the strategic military arsenal,
including chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles
and associated technology.
The Directorate of General
Created out of the Ba’ath party.
Al-Mukhabarat is roughly divided
into a department responsible for internal operations,
co-ordinated through provincial offices, and another responsible
for international operations, conducted from various Iraqi
Its internal activities include:
Spying within the Ba'th Party,
as well as other political parties;
suppressing Shi'a, Kurdish and
individuals and groups inside Iraq;
spying on foreign embassies in
Iraq and foreigners in Iraq;
maintaining an internal network
Its external activities include
spying on Iraqi diplomats
organisations in hostile regimes;
subversion, and terrorist operations against neighbouring
countries such as Syria and Iran;
murder of opposition elements
outside of Iraq;
infiltrating Iraqi opposition
providing dis-information and
exploitation of Arab and other media;
It has long been known that
Al-Mukhabarat uses intelligence to target Iraqis .It forces Iraqis
living abroad to work for Saddam by threatening dire consequences
for relatives still inside Iraq.
It is reported that an Iraqi
cannot work for a foreign firm inside Iraq without also working
for Al-Mukhabarat directly or as an informant. This includes those
allowed to work with foreign media organisations.
All Iraqis working with foreigners
have to have a special permit which is not granted unless they
work for Al-Mukhabarat.
They carry out tests which include
approaches to Iraqi officials with false information to see
whether they report it to Baghdad or foreigners.
The Directorate of General
The oldest security agency in the
The Al-Amn Al-Aam supports the
domestic counter-intelligence work of other agencies.
As a policy, Saddam staffs key
positions in Al-Amn Al-Aam with his relatives or other close
members of his regime.
In 1980, Saddam appointed 'Ali
Hassan al-Majid, who would later be the architect of the regime's
anti-Kurdish campaign, as its director to instil the ideology of
the Ba'ath Party into the agency.
Al-Amn al-Aam was given more
political intelligence responsibilities during the Iran-Iraq War.
When Majid was put in charge of repressing the Kurdish
insurrection in 1987, General 'Abdul Rahman al-Duri replaced him
until 1991 when Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Sabawi Ibrahim
al-Tikriti, (who had served as its deputy director prior to 1991)
then became head of this agency.
In 1991, Saddam Hussein provided
it with a paramilitary wing, Quwat al-Tawari, to
reinforce law and order, although these units are ultimately under
Al Amn al-Khas control.
After the 1991 Gulf War, Quwat
al-Tawari units were believed to be responsible for hiding
Iraqi ballistic missile components. It also operates the notorious
Abu Ghuraib prison outside of Baghdad, where many of Iraq's
political prisoners are held.
Each neighbourhood, every office
and school every hotel and coffee shop has an officer assigned to
cover it and one or more agents in it who report what is said and
what is seen.
Al-Amn Al-Aam runs a programme of
provocation where their agent in a coffee house or work place will
voice dissident views and report on anyone who agrees with those
An Al-Amn Al-Aam agent or officer
will sometimes approach an Iraqi official pretending to recruit
him for some opposition or espionage purpose and then arrest him
if he does not report it.
They also look for foreigners who
might be breaking Iraqi law or seeking to stir up anti-regime
feelings among native Iraqis.
Technically, it is illegal for an
Iraqi official or military officer to talk to a foreigner without
permission from a security officer.
Al Amn al-Khas.
The Special Security Organisation
The most powerful and most feared
agency, headed by Qusay Hussein.
It is responsible for
the security of the President
and of presidential facilities;
supervising and checking the
loyalty of other security services;
supervising operations against
Iraqi Kurds and Shias; and
securing Iraq’s most
important military industries, including WMD.
The Al-Amn al-Khas is nebulous and
highly secretive and operates on a functional, rather than a
Qusay Hussein supervises the
Special Bureau, the Political Bureau and the Administration
Bureau, the agency’s own military brigade, and the Special
Its own military brigade serves as
a rapid response unit independent of the military establishment or
Special Republican Guard. In the event of a coup attempt from
within the regular military or Republican Guard, Special Security
can easily call up the Special Republican Guard for reinforcements
as this unit is also under its control.
The Security Bureau is divided into a Special Office, which
monitors the Special Security agency itself to assure loyalty
among its members. If necessary, it conducts operations against
suspect members. The Office of Presidential Facilities, another
unit of the Security Bureau, guards these places through Jihaz
al-Hamaya al-Khas (The Special Protection Apparatus). It is
charged with protecting the Presidential Offices, Council of
Ministers, National Council, and the Regional and National
Command of the Ba’th Party, and is the only unit responsible
for providing bodyguards to leaders.
The Security Bureau
The Political Bureau collects and analyses intelligence and
prepares operations against "enemies of the state."
This unit keeps an extensive file on all Iraqi dissidents or
subversives. Under the Political Bureau, the Operations Office
implements operations against these "enemies,"
including arrests, interrogations and executions. Another
division is the Public Opinion Office, responsible for
collecting and disseminating rumours on behalf of the state.
The Political Bureau
The operations of Special Security
are numerous, particularly in suppressing domestic opposition to
the regime. After its creation in 1984, Special Security thwarted
a plot of disgruntled army officers, who objected to Saddam’s
management of the Iran-Iraq War. It pre-empted other coups such as
the January 1990 attempt by members of the Jubur tribe to
It played an active role in
crushing the March 1991 Shi’a rebellion in the south of Iraq.
Along with General Intelligence, Special Security agents
infiltrated the Kurdish enclave in the north of Iraq in August
1996, to hunt down operatives of the Iraqi opposition.
It serves as the central
co-ordinating body between Military-Industrial Commission,
Military Intelligence, General Intelligence, and the
military in the covert procurement of the necessary components for
Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
During the 1991 Gulf War, it was
put in charge of concealing SCUD missiles and afterwards in moving
and hiding documents from UNSCOM inspections, relating to Iraq’s
It is also thought that Special
Security is responsible for commercial trade conducted covertly in
violation of UN sanctions.
The members of Al-Amn al-Khas are
primarily drawn from Saddam’s own tribe, the Abu Nasr, or from
his home district of Tikrit.
Jihaz al-Hamaya al-Khas.
The Special Protection Apparatus
Charged with protecting
Presidential Offices, Council of Ministers and the Regional and
National Commands of the Ba’ath Party.
It is the only organisation
responsible for providing bodyguards to the very top of the
Approximately 40 personal
bodyguards are responsible for Saddam's immediate security.
The Directorate of Military
Its main functions are ensuring
the loyalty of the army’s officer corps and gathering military
intelligence from abroad. But it is also involved in foreign
operations, including assassinations.
Unusually the heads of
Al-Istikhbarat al-Askariyya have not been immediate relatives of
Saddam appointed, Sabir 'Abd
al-'Aziz al-Duri as head during the 1991 Gulf War. After the Gulf
War he was replaced by Wafiq Jasim al-Samarrai.
After Samarrai, Muhammad Nimah
al-Tikriti headed Al-Istikhbarat al-Askariyya in early 1992 then
in late 1992 Fanar Zibin Hassan al-Tikriti was appointed to this
These shifting appointments are
part of Saddam's policy of balancing security positions. By
constantly shifting the directors of these agencies, no one can
establish a base in a security organisation for a substantial
period of time. No one becomes powerful enough to challenge the
Military Security Service
Established as an independent
entity in 1992, its function is to detect disturbances in the
The Amn was initially
headquartered in the Bataween district of Baghdad. In 1990 Amn
moved to a new headquarters in the Al Baladiat area of the city,
with the Bataween building becoming the agency's main prison.
The Secret Police also has a
number of additional facilities and office buildings. Amn
maintains a presence in every town and village, with personnel
stationed in civilian police stations across Iraq -- normally the
"ordinary" police are on the ground floor and the Secret
Police on the second floor.
The Security branch is responsible
for monitoring and countering dissent within Amn, and the Military
Brigade provides rapid intervention para-military capabilities -
the Brigade commander was executed in August 1996 for alleged
involvement in a coup attempt.
is currently headed by Staff Major General Taha al Ahbabi, who
previously headed the Military Security Service and served as the
head of the secret service section of the Mukhabarat. As
with many other senior Iraqi leaders, he is a native of Saddam's
home town of Tikrit.
Al-Haris al-Jamhuri al-Khas.
The Special Republican Guard
Headed by Qusay Hussein, it serves
as a praetorian guard, protecting Presidential sites and escorting
Saddam Hussein on travels within Iraq.
The Al-Haris al-Jamhuri al-Khas
are the only troops normally stationed in Baghdad.
It consists of four brigades,
three infantry and one armoured.
Al-Haris al-Jamhuri al-Khas also
has its own artillery battalions, air defence and aviation assets.
Units consist mainly of individuals from tribes loyal to Saddam
Al-Haris al-Jamhuri al-Khas has
played a role in securing WMD warheads and maintains control of a
Al Hadi project.
is estimated to have a staff of about 800.
The Al Hadi Project is the
organisation responsible for collecting, processing, exploiting
and disseminating signals, communications and electronic
Though it reports directly to the
Office of the Presidential Palace, Al Hadi is not
represented on the National Security Council, and the intelligence
it collects is passed on to other agencies for their use.
30,000 to 40,000 young people.
It is composed of young militia
press ganged from regions known to be loyal to Saddam.
The unit reports directly to the
Presidential Palace, rather than through the army command, and is
responsible for patrol of borders and controlling or facilitating
The paramilitary Fedayeen
Saddam (Saddam's `Men of Sacrifice') was founded by Saddam's
son Uday in 1995. In September 1996 Uday was removed from command
of the Fedayeen. Uday's removal may have stemmed from an
incident in March 1996 when Uday transfered sophisticated weapons
from Republican Guards to the Saddam Fedayeen without
Control passed to Qusay, further
consolidating his responsibility for the Iraqi security apparatus.
The deputy commander is Staff Lieutenant General Mezahem Saab Al
Hassan Al-Tikriti. According to reports, control of Saddam Hussein’s
personal militia was later passed back to his eldest son, Uday.
It started out as a rag-tag force
of some 10,000-15,000 bullies. They are supposed to help protect
the President and Uday, and carry out much of the police's dirty
The Fedayeen Saddam include
a special unit known as the death squadron, whose masked members
perform certain executions, including in victims' homes. The Fedayeen
operate completely outside the law, above and outside political
and legal structures.
The Tribal Chief’s Bureau
This was created after the Gulf
war as a vehicle for paying tribal leaders to control their
people, spy on possible dissidents and provide arms to loyal
tribesmen to suppress opposition.
The effect on the people of Iraq
The Iraqi on the Street
Close monitoring is a feature of
everyday life in Iraq. Saddam’s organisations all run elaborate
surveillance systems including mobile teams that follow a target,
fixed observation points overlooking key intersections and choke
points on routes through Baghdad and other major cities, networks
of agents in most streets - the watchmen on buildings, the guards
on checkpoints, the staff in newspaper kiosks - all linked by
modern real time communications.
The effect is to make it extremely
difficult and dangerous to try to hide activity from the State.
Iraqis who are members of Saddam's
favourite tribe find it easier to join the Ba'ath Party. Some have
even been members since childhood.
If they aspire to be part of the
inner circles of the regime, they can work their way up the party
ladder – and work towards the Presidential palace.
But they must not show dissent
from the Party line or appear too influential.
They must always remember that
anyone who is a threat to Saddam or his sons will not be
tolerated. And if they become a threat, someone will know - they
will be reported. Imprisonment or execution may follow.
Iraqis who are not members of the
favourite tribe must join the Ba'ath Party to progress in Iraq.
They then could join one of the
security or intelligence services – but they must avoid being
seen as a threat.
If an Iraqi wants to work for a
foreign firm, Al-Mukhabarat would soon know of their application.
Whether they get the job depends on their willingness to spy on
the firm from inside.
If they have an opportunity to
travel, Al-Mukhabarat will know and give them instructions about
If Iraq’s do not want to
participate, Al-Mukhabarat will know where their family lives
inside Iraq. And if they think that living abroad will protect
them – they must remember that Al-Mukhabarat has a long arm.
In September 2001, a report on
human rights in Iraq by the UN Special Rapporteur noted that
membership of certain political parties is punishable by death,
that there is a pervasive fear of death for any act or expression
of dissent, and that there are current reports of the use of the
death penalty for such offences as "insulting" the
President or the Ba'ath Party.
The mere suggestion that someone
is not a supporter of the President carries the prospect of the
Iraq Ba’ath Party
The Ba'ath Party is central to the
Iraqi infrastructure of fear.
Everyone’s name and address is
known to district Ba'ath Party representatives. It is they who
will know if there are signs of people deviating from unswerving
support from Saddam.
When the Royal Marines occupied
the Ba'ath Party offices in Sirsank in Northern Iraq in 1991, they
found records detailing every inhabitant of the town, their
political views, habits and associates. This included a map
showing every household, colour-coded to show those who had lost
sons in the war against Iran and those who had had family members
detained or killed by the security apparatus or Ba'ath Party.
The Iraqi Regime exerts total
control over the media. When the domestic or foreign media
interview a seemingly ordinary person on the street in Iraq, they
will often be members of one of the security agencies, mouthing
platitudes about Saddam and his regime. If the media do manage to
find "an ordinary voice" those people are well aware
they are being watched by the Regime. They know they have to say
they love Saddam, and that the West is evil. They know if they don’t
keep to the script, they risk serious consequences including
Even off-camera, only a few are
prepared to run the enormous risk of revealing their true
The overall effect of the systems
of control and intimidation is that every Iraqi is suspicious of
all except closest family.