Intel Summit Touches on Saddam Tapes, Al Qaeda Falconry Camps

By Sherrie Gossett | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

Arlington, Va. ( - A four-day counter-terrorism conference, featuring intelligence professionals from over 30 countries, was headlined by the release of 12 hours of Saddam Hussein's audiotapes. But the non-governmental Intelligence Summit also focused on al Qaeda's use of falconry camps as support networks for al Qaeda; and the recent testing of security in U.S. government installations.

Former United Nations weapons inspector Bill Tierney said he had been hired by the FBI to translate the Saddam tapes that dated from 1992 to "post-2000." Initial media reports about the tapes indicated that they dated back only to 1995 and lacked the "smoking gun" evidence that the Intelligence Summit had billed in promoting the conference.

The presentation of translated excerpts was bogged down by its three-hour length; and by the inclusion of vague, cryptic and inconclusive sections. Tierney provided context for the conversations and his interpretation of their significance.

Excerpts from 1992, Tierney said, pointed to the rebuilding of Saddam's chemical weapons facilities. A mid-1996 tape had Saddam discussing decontamination at a biological weapons facility.

Some excerpts from 1992 also described the removal of warheads from missiles that Saddam had ordered destroyed. On the tape, an unidentified male said, "Sir, the group of missiles whose equipment was destroyed, the warheads were removed on cattle trucks that were at the military industrial facility and at the National Communications [indistinct.]"

The most recent excerpts were dated to "post-2000" and featured scientists briefing Saddam on plasma technology activity within various venues. Some of the excerpts provided to the press, including references to "tokomaks" (a chamber used in fusion research to heat plasma) and "breakeven" (a condition under which heated plasma results in a net yield of energy) seemed to indicate the scientists were briefing Saddam on the basics of nuclear fusion

Dr. Thamir Ma'aman Mawdud from the Theoretical Applications Center at the Iraqi Military Industrial Commission stated that "in 1981 we started to create sources of plasma, which were used in the Iraqi nuclear program." He later referenced "production we achieved in the advanced stages in the end of the 1990s." Thamir then appeared to reference the first Persian Gulf War when he remarked that "the 30-state aggression against" the Iraqis' plasma activity was "limited to ... tests and experimental and industrial measurements."

The most-publicized excerpt was one in which Saddam described a possible terrorist strike against America. "Terrorism is coming ... with the Americans. Two years ago, not a long while ago, with the English I believe, there was a campaign [unintelligible] with one of them, that in the future there would be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction ...." He later added, "This is coming, this story is coming, but not from Iraq."

Tierney contended that the Saddam was likely brainstorming about using proxies to attack the U.S. He disagreed with ABC Nightline's independent translation, aired last week, which suggested that Saddam had warned the U.S. of a potential attack.

Tierney told Cybercast News Service that he is currently working as a freelance translator and has signed a book deal. The book, tentatively titled "My High Tower," is about "the spiritual dimension of military intelligence," Tierney said, adding that "God's my intel system."

One of the most unusual presentations of the summit concentrated on "Al Qaeda Falconry" -- or the alleged use of month-long royal falcon hunting camps as cover for wealthy Arabs to provide vehicles, weapons, cash and medical care to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. The royal camps are being used as al Qaeda's 'boardroom,' warned Hari Har Singh Khalsa, one of the presenters.

Investigations of falcon smuggling undertaken by a group called Union for the Conservation of Raptors eventually led to evidence of terrorist and mafia involvement, Khalsa said. The evidence reportedly was turned over to the FBI.

Khalsa, who said he has 20 years of experience hunting with trained falcons in the company of prominent sheiks and princes from the Middle East, also named diplomats and government officials allegedly involved in the criminal activity.

"Without the falconry camps, al Qaeda will be knee-capped. We need to shut them down. We need to cancel the U.N. permission that licenses these camps," said Khalsa.

Also popular at the summit was famed SEAL team SIX founder Richard Marcinko, author of "Rogue Warrior." SEAL team SIX became the Navy's premier counter-terrorist unit and engaged in numerous classified actions around the world.

Marcinko said he has been testing and 'breaching' security of various venues including the Pentagon, airports, nuclear shipyards and subway systems. Marcinko told Cybercast News System that his most recent testing of a government installation occurred less than three weeks ago.

He also said there should be less debate over whether terrorists might use a nuclear or a 'dirty' bomb and more focus on the threat of simple attacks, such as the backing up of a propane truck to a ventilation system in a building, then setting it off with a "Radio Shack transmitter."

Cybercast News Service also asked Marcinko for his opinion on a pending deal that would make a company in Dubai the controller of six U.S. ports. "Dubai? That is brain dead," said Marcinko. "That's like invitin' the godd**n fox into the chicken coop."

Other topics presented at the summit included media warfare, telecommunications and network breaching, resource warfare, and recruitment of terrorists to serve as double agents.

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