Rumsfeld wanted to meet Tariq Aziz at Camp Cropper
By Wayne Madsen
While on his second trip to Iraq in November 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld requested officials on Paul "Jerry" Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to set up a meeting between Rumsfeld and imprisoned former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who Rumsfeld described to CPA officials as his "old friend."
WMR has been told by a senior U.S. Army commander in Iraq that Bremer's people scuttled the planned Rumsfeld meeting with Saddam Hussein's deputy after CPA officials spoke in the clear on cell phones about Rumsfeld's planned meeting with Aziz. Saddam's former deputy was being held at the U.S. prison at Camp Cropper, located near Baghdad International Airport.
WMR has also been informed that Rumsfeld's planned meeting with Aziz was also likely deep-sixed with the help of a number of Israeli contractors working at Camp Cropper who were also made aware of Rumsfeld's plans. The official reason given to Rumsfeld for cancelling the meeting with Aziz was that because his travel plans became public, there was an increased security risk to Rumsfeld and his security detail.
Rumsfeld met with Aziz on December 19, 1983, when the Reagan administration decided to "tilt" to Iraq during the nation's bloody war with Iran. Rumsfeld was a special envoy of President Reagan to Saddam Hussein. A secret cable from Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Lawrence Eagleburger to Rumsfeld stated one of the main reasons for Rumsfeld's trip to Baghdad: "We are talking with oil industry representatives about their plans for construction of new alternative facilities for Iraq's oil exports."
What is known about Rumsfeld's dealings with Aziz in the 1980s is that there was a quid quo pro being discussed: America would arm Saddam Hussein with weapons, including biological warfare agents like those used against Kurds in northern Iraq, in return for Iraq's support for re-establishing the old Iraq-to-Haifa oil pipeline to bypass the Persian Gulf and the naval war being waged there between Iraq and Iran. WMR was told by Israeli sources that Aziz was careful not to discuss this proposal with Saddam Hussein at an early stage because the deal would have involved Israel and the payment of oil royalties to Israel for the pipeline. The deal also would have included Jordan and payments to King Hussein.
Aziz has been sentenced to death by Iraq's Shi'a-dominated government. However, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has refused to sign the execution order, citing Aziz's advanced age and poor health. The Iraqi government has also ignored pleas for clemency for Aziz from Pope Benedict XVI. Aziz is a Catholic.
Rumsfeld is currently working on his memoir. However, it is not likely that his friendship with Aziz will be featured in the book. And Rumsfeld has not publicly said or done anything to help his friend escape a hangman's noose in Iraq.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. He has written for several renowned papers and blogs.
Madsen is a regular contributor on Russia Today. He has been a frequent political and national security commentator on Fox News and has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and MS-NBC. Madsen has taken on Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity on their television shows. He has been invited to testifty as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an terrorism investigation panel of the French government.
As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. He subsequently worked for the National Security Agency, the Naval Data Automation Command, Department of State, RCA Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation.
Madsen is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Association for Intelligence Officers (AFIO), and the National Press Club. He is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.