Wednesday, May 19, 2004

More on Berg, Aziz and the Freepers

A January 18 email from Nick berg showed up on usenet some days ago; you can find the entire letter here. It's worth reading.

Much of it concerns technical matters. There is the surprising revelation that Berg ran into the Iraqi police in January, during his first trip; they seem to have wondered (for at least a moment or two) if he was a spy for the Iranians!

Incidentally, one report claims that a hotel staffer saw that Berg possessed both Jordanian and Iranian currency. I have no idea what to make of all this; these facts may be significant or otherwise.

More pertinent to our current inquiry is Berg on his shadowy new partner, Aziz Taee or "Joe Aziz":

Other than that, we're trying to wrap up our preparations here so I can get back to the US. I think our interests will be well taken care of while I'm gone. I've found a very competent and fairly reliable commercial Manager here. He's actually been living in Philadelphia the last twenty years and just came back - so he's similarly a bit out of his element. Imagine coming home to a country so different form where you grew up. We're right now at an office near the sporting club where he played European Football as a kid.

Since then it's been destroyed, rebuilt, run by Oday, son of Hussein, and finally privatized. The fact alone that he and I are just now sitting in a free and open internet shop is unbelievable to most Iraqis. Even a year ago he would have been arrested upon his return. Neither of us would be seeing the un-restricted internet. At any rate, Aziz will do us well I think, and I'm happy I finally found someone I can strategize with.
Nothing in this section indicates that Berg knew anything of Aziz's reported link to drug smuggling, illegal CD duplication, the Russian mafia, the neocon's pro-war propaganda effort -- and, just possibly, the intelligence community.

Irony of ironies, Aziz also had a connection to the thugs at FreeRepublic, the right-wing hate site which put Berg's father on an enemies list. A usenet post of December 16, 2003, includes this message:

The FReepers and MOVE-OUT also will host Aziz Al-Taee of the
Iraqi-American Council as speaker.

"Theirs is a voice that isn't heard in the media," Taylor complains.

Aziz recently appeared on Greta van Susteren's Fox News show, Taylor
said, and now he is starting to get a "few appearances." He adds that
Aziz and his group publicly demean Osama bin Laden in very strong
terms, something that isn't seen or heard – a very rare thing in the
Islamic world."
Further Googling reveals that Aziz has connections with GOPUSA and other right wing groups. At a pro-war rally, Aziz was quoted -- hilariously -- as saying of war opponents: "They never tell of Saddam's horrible crimes. They never want to show pictures of Halabja..."

No, Mr Aziz. You're wrong. In fact, you're re-writing history.

In the 1980s, it was Reagan and the elder Bush who tried to cover up the atrocity at Hallabja; liberals made an effort to direct the public's attention to the issue. Theirs were the only voices in this country discussing Saddam's many crimes. The Republicans treated Saddam Hussein as a partner. Since then, even the most vociferous opponents of the latest war have always been careful to stipulate the evils of Saddam Hussein. Anyone who pretends otherwise is a propagandist.

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