View Full Version : April 6, 2003: Marines Capture Suspected Foreign Terrorist Training Camp

01-13-06, 05:34 PM
April 6, 2003: Marines Capture Suspected Foreign Terrorist Training Camp; "Just One of a Number of Examples" Found in Iraq

Evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime trained foreign terrorists surfaced soon after coalition forces entered Iraq. And, as this Wall Street Journal editorial explains, more evidence has mounted since.

U.S. Marines entered Iraq's Salman Pak in early April 2003. Here's how Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks characterized what the Marines discovered during an April 6, 2003 briefing:
This raid occurred in response to information that had been gained by coalition forces from some foreign fighters we encountered from other countries, not Iraq. And we believe that this camp had been used to train these foreign fighters in terror tactics. It is now destroyed....

With regard to Salman Pak, that's just one of a number of examples we found where there's training activity happening inside of Iraq. It reinforces the likelihood of links between this regime and external terrorist organizations.

Clear links with common interests. Some of these fighters came from Sudan, some from Egypt, some from other places. We have killed a number of them and we have captured a number of them. That's where the information came from....

The -- there are a number of nations that were involved. I don't know all of them. I know that we had some from Egypt, some from Sudan, in people that we captured. And that was before the raid -- that gave us information about the raid....

The nature of the work being done by some of those people that we captured, their inferences to the type of training they received -- all these things give us the impression that there is terrorist training that was conducted at Salman Pak.... All of that, when you roll it together, their reports where they're from, why they might be here, tell us that there is still a linkage clearly between this regime and terrorism....

The Associated Press (April 6, 2003) further reported:
Hours after Marines occupied the base Sunday morning, a tour of the suspected terrorist training compound found a series of curious sights.

Plastic chairs were bolted to the ground facing each other, creating a kind of classroom in a clearing in the woods. A nearby storehouse was filled with gas masks, Baath Party plaques and bright orange rappelling gear. Farther along, speedboats lay beached in the shade of a tree.

The passenger plane's sun-bleached fuselage lay alone in a large, barren field. A fire engine sat at one intersection. Elsewhere, the twisted metal wreck of a double-decker bus stood near three decrepit green and red train cars.

The comments of Brig. Gen. Brooks are consistent with what the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes has reported:
The former regime of Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq....

The secret training took place primarily at three camps--in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak--and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence.

Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000. Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis.