- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2003

A new audiotape on which a speaker claims to be ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is probably authentic and was likely recorded recently, U.S. intelligence officials said yesterday.

The tape appears to be making a reference to the recent political firestorm over the prewar intelligence used by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to build the case for attacking Iraq, according to a transcript of the tape provided to The Washington Times by U.S. intelligence officials.

“What will the two liars, Bush and Blair, say to their people and to humanity after this?” says the speaker on the tape. “What will they tell the world after they wove the scenario of lies against Iraq’s people, leadership and civilization? …”

The recording, aired by Arab television and radio stations in the Middle East this week, is the second tape to emerge during the past month and marks the latest in a series of developments increasing suspicion that Saddam is alive.

The tape’s content is similar to that of a purported Saddam tape aired on Arab television July 4, but the quality of both tapes is rather poor, preventing intelligence analysts from being “absolutely certain of [their] authenticity,” one U.S. intelligence official said on the condition of anonymity.

But references on the latest tape to recent events suggest the voice was most likely that of Saddam, the official said. Claiming the recording was made July 14, the tape’s speaker makes at least one statement that could be interpreted as a reference to Iraq’s new Governing Council. It was officially formed in Baghdad on July 13 after a joint effort by Iraqi, U.S. military and reconstruction officials.

According to the transcript, the tape’s speaker says: “We are certain that our glorious, vigilant, and great people, who rejected and resisted occupation, will reject all orders by the colonialists and consider them the natural result of the colonialists’ plans and schemes, as well as the schemes of the evil aggressors.

“None of our people should be preoccupied with it [the council],” the speaker says, “as this would weaken their concentration on occupation and action against it.”

The speaker also appears to make a reference to the recent flap over prewar intelligence used by Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair to bolster the case for war. Statements suggest the tape was recorded by someone paying close attention to the flood of recent news reports resulting from the political haggling in the United States and Britain.

“It transpired that their statements were false and lies, and that the lies included in them were known to the U.S. president and the British prime minister when they decided to stage war and aggression,” the speaker says. “They were not fooled, as Zionism and they — using their well-known techniques — are trying to depict the situation to save themselves and put the blame on others.”

On the earlier tape purported to be from Saddam, the speaker claims to have made the recording June 14 and that he is in Iraq where “jihad cells and brigades have been formed” to fight against the U.S. occupation. The speaker also refers to postwar efforts to locate weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

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