Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hussein Planned Rocket Attack On RFE Prague HQ

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, bent on ending broadcasts to his country, allegedly planned a rocket attack in 1999 on the Prague headquarters of the U.S. radio station, Radio Free Europe, according to a Czech media report.

Television Nova quotes the Czech counterintelligence service, BIS, as saying the former Iraqi dictator planned to use a RPG-7 anti-tank missile launcher to fire on RFE's former offices at the top of the famed Wenceslaus square in the heart of the Czech capital.

The BIS said Iraqi agents had planned to launch their attack from a rented apartment some 80 meters from the building, the former Czechoslovak parliament building.

BIS spokesman Jan Subert said Hussein "had ordered his agents to violently disrupt Iraqi broadcasts of Radio Free Europe."

Radio Free Europe went on the air in 1998 after Congress okayed funding.

"Signficant funds were made available for the operation," Subert told Nova.

This is not the first time Czech officials have talked about an alleged Iraqi plot to assault U.S. targets in their country, but never before in such detail.

Czech security agents say they uncovered and foiled the Iraqi plot, and, according to the Nova TV news report, the Iraqis in 2003 voluntarily handed over weapons allegedly planned for use in the attack, including, Kalashnikov rifles, submachine guns, along with the anti-tank missile launcher.

The report said the weapons were shipped into the country using a diplomatic vehicle.

The BIS said RFE was one of three targets Saddam planned to attack in Prague, with the town's Jewish Quarter another.

Fears of an attack on Radio Free Europe, fully funded by the U.S. government, spiked after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

In 2003, security was stepped up at RFE's headquarters, including police armed with submachine guns and concrete barriers encircling the building.

Earlier in 2009, RFE moved to a new, more secure building outside the city center.

Reports of an alleged Iraqi attack on RFE go back to 2001, when then Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross confirmed media reports of an alleged meeting between suspected 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and Iraqi intelligence officers.

This alleged confab was seized on by neo-cons, like Vice President Dick Cheney, to link al-Qaeda to Iraq, and therefore justify the attack on Iraq.

Those reports turned out to be false, with Czech officials confusing the 9/11 Atta with a man with the same name from Pakistan. That story is detailed here.

I'll let that piece wrap it up:

The following month, the Czech Prime Minister at the time, Milos Zeman, told CNN: "Atta contacted some Iraqi agent, not to prepare the terrorist attack on [the twin towners] but to prepare [a] terrorist attack on just the building of Radio Free Europe" in Prague. Then, in December, 2001 Czech President Vaclav Havel retreated further; saying there was only "a 70 percent" chance Atta met with al-Ani.

In July this year, the independent U.S. panel known informally at the 9/11 commission, has concluded there is no evidence Iraq aided Al-Qaeda in planning the attacks. Furthermore, the 9/11 commission stated categorically that there is no evidence that Egyptian Mohamed Atta ever met with Iraqi intelligence agents in Prague; in fact, mobile phone records place him in the U.S. at the supposed date of the meeting.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Craig said...

Why didn't Bush use this as the pretext to the invasion or for advocating for moving forward the now-aborted missile defense program?

aw said...

Good points. Neo-cons did exploit an alleged meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi Intelligence agents to make the case of an Al-Qaeda/Iraq link. That story turned out to be a lie, like most of the case surrounding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.