Reporter: Jonathan Miller
Producer: Ivan O'Mahoney
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Insight News Television presents a film on
Ansar al-Islam - the radical Islamic militia named by US Secretary of
State Colin Powell in his speach to the UN. He said it was one of the
missing links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Our reporter, Jonathan Miller, spent two
days with Ansar's leader, Mullah Krekar. Krekar's an Iraqi Kurd, but is
today living in Norway, which granted his family political asylum ten
years ago. Refugee status hasn't stopped him from returning regularly
to Northern Iraq to wage jihad and commit human rights abuses against
his own people. Krekar set up a Taliban-style mini-state on the Iraq /
Iran border where pop music and TV have been outlawed and Sharia law
Powell said Ansar al-Islam offered
sanctuary to al-Qaeda fighters who fled Afghanistan - chief among them,
bin Laden's chemical and biological weapons man, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi.
He's been linked to the assassination of a US diplomat in Jordan last
October and the ricin poison plot in Britain last month. Powell also
said an Iraqi agent occupies a leadership position in Ansar al-Islam.
In interview, the Mullah addresses each of
the detailed allegations put to him - the same allegations made by
Powell at the UN. Miller presents Krekar with detailed video and
audiotape evidence of his activities and of atrocities which
international human rights groups say his group carried out.
Krekar denies links with al-Qaeda and says
he is Saddam's his sworn enemy. He scoffs at the idea that his trusted
friend, the Iraqi Arab Abu Wa'il, is a spy. He denies any links with
international terrorism and said he'd never met al-Zarqawi.
The film depicts the Mullah as a family
man: a loving father, husband - and son: his ageing mother tells us how
much she loves him and laughs off the allegations against him. But
Krekar shows his dark side, describing suicide bombing as the very very
best sort of jihad and revelling in pictures showing how his fighters
had decapitated and mutilated members of a rival Kurdish militia.
We have also acquired video footage filmed
inside Ansar territory, showing the Islamists training. Child soldiers
feature prominently; Krekar is seen standing beside the man Powell
thinks is an Iraqi agent; sharia punishments are administered.
The Mullah claims he had a secret meeting
with the CIA and US military personnel in Iraqi Kurdistan last year.
Could this explain why US intelligence agencies were reportedly so
concerned about Powell raising Ansar al-Islam as one of the key
connections between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda?
Insight News Television can also offer
access to the full interview with Mullah Krekar as well as additional
pictures from inside Ansar al-Islam territory.