Iraqi Informant Curveball admits to lying about WMD's
|A German politician has warned that the CIA informant Curveball could go to jail after telling the Guardian that he lied about Saddam Hussein's bioweapons capability in order to "liberate" Iraq.|
Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, who was given the name Curveball by his US and German handlers, told the German secret service that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme.
The 43-year-old defector's evidence was then passed to the CIA and became the primary source used by the US to justify invading Iraq.
Politicians in Iraq called for Curveball's permanent exile following his admission and poured scorn on his claim to want to return to his motherland and build a political party. "He is a liar, he will not serve his country," said one Iraqi MP.
In his adopted home of Germany, MPs are demanding to know why the German secret service paid Curveball £2,500 a month for at least five years after they knew he had lied.
Hans-Christian Ströbele, a Green MP, said Janabi had arguably violated a German law which makes warmongering illegal. He added that Gerhard Schröder, German chancellor around the time of the second Iraq war, should also reveal what he knew about the quality of evidence Curveball gave to Germany's secret service, the BND.
Under German constitutional law, it is a criminal offence to do anything "with the intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially anything that leads to an aggressive war", said Ströbele. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment, he said, adding that he did not expect it would ever come to that.
The MP said he would table a question to the Bundestag demanding to know whether the German secret service knew that Curveball was lying before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Schröder famously refused to join the "coalition of the willing" who took part in the second Iraq war.
Curveball told the Guardian he was pleased to have finally told the truth but that he was scared of the consequences. He said he had given the Guardian's phone number to his wife and brother in Sweden "just in case something happens to me".
In the US, questions are being asked of the CIA's handling of Curveball and specifically why the then head of the intelligence agency, George Tenet, did not pass on German warnings about Curveball's reliability.
Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to the US secretary of state Colin Powell in the build-up to the invasion, said Curveball's lies raised questions about how the CIA had briefed Powell ahead of his crucial speech to the UN security council, where he presented the case for war.
Tyler Drumheller, head of the CIA's Europe division in the run-up to the 2003 invasion, said he welcomed Curveball's confession because he had always warned Tenet that Curveball may have been a fabricator. But the harshest criticism came from Iraq.
Jamal al-Battikh, the country's minister for tribes' affairs, said: "Honestly, this man led Iraq to a catastrophe and a disaster. Iraqis paid a heavy price for his lies – the invasion of 2003 destroyed Iraqi basic infrastructure and after eight years we cannot fix electricity. Plus thousands of Iraqis have died. This man is not welcome back. In fact, Iraqis should complain against him and sue him for his lies."
Others poured scorn on Curveball's plan to return to Iraq and enter politics.
Intefadh Qanber, spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress (INC), led by Ahmed Chalabi, said: "He is a liar, he will not serve his country. He fabricated the story about WMD and that story gave the USA a suitable pretext to lead the 2003 invasion, which hurt Iraq. For most Iraqis, it was obvious that Saddam was a dictator, but they wanted to see him ousted on the basis of his crimes against human rights, not a fabricated story about weapons of mass destruction."
In the US, a pressure group representing veterans of the Iraq war demanded the justice department open an investigation into the INC's relationship to Curveball.
Chalabi, who was very close to the former US vice-president Dick Cheney in the decade leading up to the 2003 invasion, has often been accused of being the man behind Curveball. It has long been known that Chalabi provided the CIA with three other sources who lied about Saddam's WMD capability. But when asked by the Guardian, Janabi and Chalabi denied knowing each other.
So finally...the truth comes out. They should be using this news to prosecute Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet and yes even Colin Powell for the lies they pushed on the American people. But we all know that won't happen. Instead, ol Rummy wins the Defender of the Constitution Award.
Seriously makes me sick inside.
|And he's proud he did it. What an .
And Rummy got a book deal.
|In his book about the Prosecution of George W. Bush for murder, Vincent Bugliosi discusses this guy in detail. He says that in the administration’s rush to war, even though there was not one other source to confirm what “Curveball” said, it was what Bush and his cronies needed to support what they wanted, which was to go to war no matter the cost. This guy gave them a bunch of BS and whether the Bush team bought it or not, it was what they were looking for. The end justifies the means, and all that BS.
|Thought this might be somewhat pertinent to the thread:
|Warning Against Wars Like Iraq and Afghanistan|
WEST POINT, N.Y. — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of government in that fashion again were slim.
“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here.
That reality, he said, meant that the Army would have to reshape its budget, since potential conflicts in places like Asia or the Persian Gulf were more likely to be fought with air and sea power, rather than with conventional ground forces.
“As the prospects for another head-on clash of large mechanized land armies seem less likely, the Army will be increasingly challenged to justify the number, size, and cost of its heavy formations,” Mr. Gates warned.
“The odds of repeating another Afghanistan or Iraq — invading, pacifying, and administering a large third-world country — may be low,” Mr. Gates said, but the Army and the rest of the government must focus on capabilities that can “prevent festering problems from growing into full-blown crises which require costly — and controversial — large-scale American military intervention.”
Mr. Gates was brought into the Bush cabinet in late 2006 to repair the war effort in Iraq that was begun under his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, and then was kept in office by President Obama. He did not directly criticize the Bush administration’s decisions to go to war. Even so, his never-again formulation was unusually pointed, especially at a time of upheaval across the Arab world and beyond. Mr. Gates has said that he would leave office this year, and the speech at West Point could be heard as his farewell to the Army.
A decade of constant conflict has trained a junior officer corps with exceptional leadership skills, he told the cadets, but the Army may find it difficult in the future to find inspiring work to retain its rising commanders as it fights for the money to keep large, heavy combat units in the field.
“Men and women in the prime of their professional lives, who may have been responsible for the lives of scores or hundreds of troops, or millions of dollars in assistance, or engaging or reconciling warring tribes, may find themselves in a cube all day re-formatting PowerPoint slides, preparing quarterly training briefs, or assigned an ever-expanding array of clerical duties,” Mr. Gates said. “The consequences of this terrify me.”
He said Iraq and Afghanistan had become known as “the captains’ wars” because “officers of lower and lower rank were put in the position of making decisions of higher and higher degrees of consequence and complexity.”
To find inspiring work for its young officers after combat deployments, the Army must encourage unusual career detours, Mr. Gates said, endorsing graduate study, teaching, or duty in a policy research institute or Congressional office.
Mr. Gates said his main worry was that the Army might not overcome the institutional bias that favored traditional career paths. He urged the service to “break up the institutional concrete, its bureaucratic rigidity in its assignments and promotion processes, in order to retain, challenge, and inspire its best, brightest, and most battle-tested young officers to lead the service in the future.”
There will be one specific benefit to the fighting force as the pressures of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan decrease, Mr. Gates said: “The opportunity to conduct the kind of full-spectrum training — including mechanized combined arms exercises — that was neglected to meet the demands of the current wars.”
Not that there was any doubt in my mind that these wars have been a huge and costly mistake, but it is refreshing to hear that from the current SoD
|60 Minutes just did a segment on Curveball today on their program.
|Did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction? No, he did not. We've known that for some time now. So where did the intelligence come from that he was building up his arsenal? Fantastically, the most compelling part came from one obscure Iraqi defector who came in and out of history like a comet. His code name, ironically, was "Curve Ball" and his information became the pillar of the case Colin Powell made to the United Nations before the war. Who is Curve Ball and how did he fool the world's elite intelligence agencies?|
60 Minutes spent two years, and traveled to nine countries, trying to solve the mystery. We talked to intelligence sources, to people who knew Curve Ball and to people who worked with him. As correspondent Bob Simon reports, Curve Ball's real name has never been made public, nor has any video of him, until now.
60 Minutes has obtained video of Rafid Ahmed Alwan at a 1993 Baghdad wedding, filmed six years before he became the key Iraqi source known as Curve Ball, six years before he helped launch the war.
Former CIA senior official Tyler Drumheller was an insider and watched Curve Ball emerge from nowhere.
Asked how important Curve Ball was in taking us to war in Iraq, Drumheller tells Simon, "If they had not had Curve Ball they would have probably found something else. 'Cause there was a great determination to do it. But going to war in Iraq, under the circumstances we did, Curve Ball was the absolutely essential case."
How did Rafid Alwan become Curve Ball? 60 Minutes' investigation led us to Germany, where in November 1999, Alwan arrived by car and requested asylum at a refugee center outside Nuremberg. The 32-year-old told German intelligence that he was a chemical engineer in Saddam’s Iraq, and that he had done so well in university he had been made director of a site at Djerf al Nadaf, just outside Baghdad. The Iraqis called it a "seed purification plant." In reality, he said, the place was secretly making mobile biological weapons.
He told the Germans specially-equipped trucks made their way to one end of a warehouse, entered doors there, hooked up to hoses and pumps and brewed biological agents. The germ trucks then exited hidden doors on the other side.
Alwan’s story fit what Western intelligence agencies feared: that Saddam might turn to mobile weapons to evade American bombs. The Germans hid Alwan in Nuremberg, then later in the town of Erlangen. He was given a code name: Curve Ball. He was interrogated once a week, sometimes twice, for a year and a half. He told the Germans he didn't want to meet with Americans. Only summaries of his debriefings were transmitted to Washington. Still, there were enough details to convince analysts at the CIA.
"Curve Ball was the one piece of evidence where they could say, 'Look at this. If they have this capability, where they can transport biological weapons, anthrax, all these horrible weapons, they can attack our troops with them. They can give them to terrorist groups,'" Drumheller says.
One of Curve Ball's reports was especially alarming: proof that the agents were lethal, something Curve Ball claimed he had seen while working at Djerf al Nadaf.
"He said, 'In 1998, working around these tanks, there was even an accident and 12 people were killed.' And that got everybody’s attention," Drumheller explains.
So much so that in February 2001, German and American experts met in Munich to discuss Curve Ball. The Americans revealed they had located Djerf al Nadaf on overhead imagery; 60 Minutes found it on Google Earth.
The imagery was very close to what Curve Ball had described, with one exception: "If you look at the photos, all the way back to 1998, there was a wall that was built there," Drumheller points out. "Like a cinderblock wall that was built there, that nothing could go through."
The wall stood right in front of where Curve Ball said the trucks went in. CIA analysts who believed in Curve Ball had an explanation.
"There was an idea that it could have been a fake wall," Drumheller says.
The analysts believed Iraq had put up a fake wall to make the Americans think no trucks could pass through. The analysts also believed Curve Ball because he named names. He claimed that Dr. Basil al Sa'ati, a noted nuclear scientist, was a senior official in Iraq’s mobile bio-weapons program. British intelligence found Dr. Basil outside of Iraq and pressed him on Djerf al Nadaf, as did 60 Minutes.
"Rafid Alwan told German intelligence that you personally were fully involved in the project to use Djerf al Nadaf for mobile biological weapons," Simon tells Dr. Basil.
"Big lie," the doctor replies.
If something were going on there, Dr. Basil says he would "definitely" have known about it.
"There are people in the American intelligence community…who believe that seed purification is a cover for biological weapons production," Simon remarks.
"No. It was, it was really seed purification," the doctor replies.
Dr. Basil pointed out that if he had been working on something top secret, why did Saddam let him emigrate from Iraq in 1999? In Germany, Curve Ball was caught by surprise. He didn't know Dr. Basil had left Iraq. Curve Ball became less cooperative, more nervous in debriefings. The Germans became uneasy about their source. And they weren't alone. At a CIA meeting in December 2002, the agency’s former central group chief, Margaret Henoch, raised her own doubts.
"I said, 'You know, I don't know who this guy is. There's no proof that he is who he is. There’s no proof that any of this ever happened. And, from my perspective, I just don’t think we should trust this,'" Henoch recalls.
The top analyst, who believed Curve Ball, brought up the alleged accident at Djerf al Nadaf and said there were pictures of Curve Ball in a hazmat suit.
"Then I said, 'How do you know that was him if he's completely covered? 'Cause it could be me.' And, as God as my witness, she looked at me like a pig looking at a wristwatch. And I thought it was over. And, when I went back, I sort of said to my boss, 'Well, I'm such a genius,'" Henoch says.
"That’s it for Curve Ball," Simon remarks.
"We killed that one," Henoch says. "And it was whack-a-mole. I mean, he just popped right back up."
Curve Ball was still seen as credible at the highest level of the CIA.
On Dec. 18, 2002, sources tell 60 Minutes that an urgent request from CIA Director George Tenet was relayed to the head of German intelligence. Tenet was going to meet President Bush in three days to discuss the case against Iraq. Tenet wanted the Germans to let Curve Ball appear on television or have an American expert debrief Curve Ball and then go on TV with the story.
Failing that, Tenet wanted to use Curve Ball's information publicly. An answer was requested within 48 hours, before Tenet went to the White House.
The answer came from Berlin 48 hours later from the German intelligence chief, Dr. August Hanning. In a letter, a copy of which 60 Minutes has obtained, Hanning began, "Dear George." He said no to Curve Ball being interviewed on television or by an American officer. Hanning wrote that Curve Ball’s reporting was "plausible and believable," but, he added, "attempts to verify the information have been unsuccessful." Curve Ball’s reports "must be considered unconfirmed," Hanning wrote. If Tenet still wanted to use the information despite these caveats, Hanning said he could if the source was protected.
Since the letter was addressed to him directly, 60 Minutes wanted Tenet's response. Through a spokesman, he said he never saw the letter.
Former CIA European division chief Tyler Drumheller doesn’t believe that. "He needs to talk to his special assistants if he didn’t see it. And the fact is, he had very good special assistants. I’m sure they showed it to him. And I’m sure it was just, it wasn’t what they wanted to see," Drumheller says.
The next day, Dec. 21, Tenet met with President Bush and told him making a public case that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was "a slam dunk." Making that case would be Secretary of State Colin Powell before the United Nations. Powell sent his chief of staff, Col. Larry Wilkerson, to the CIA to prepare the presentation. Wilkerson says Tenet and his experts brought up Iraq’s mobile bio-weapons program.
"They presented it in a very dynamic, dramatic, we know this is accurate way," Wilkerson tells Simon.
"Did it make any difference that the source on this was a firsthand witness?" Simon asks.
"Certainly it did. This was a man who had actually been in the belly of the beast. He had been in the lab. He had been there when an accident occurred. He’d seen people killed. And the implication was, strong implication, that they weren’t killed because of the accident in the explosion, they were killed because they were contaminated. Yes, the source was very credible. As it was presented by the CIA," Wilkerson says.
Asked if Colin Powell accepted all this on blind faith, Wilkerson says, "Well, you’re the secretary of state. You’re not the head of intelligence for the United States. And you depend on the director of central intelligence to assimilate all the intelligence community’s input and give it to you."
Once the speech was ready, Wilkerson felt the section on mobile bio-weapons was the crown jewel. "This was the strongest part of the secretary’s presentation," Wilkerson recalls.
"And Secretary Powell was convinced as well?" Simon asks.
"I’m convinced he was convinced," Wilkerson replies.
On Feb. 5, 2003, Powell told the world that Saddam Hussein had mobile biological weapons. The source: Curve Ball.
"The source was an eyewitness, an Iraqi chemical engineer, who supervised one of these facilities. He actually was present during biological agent production runs. He was also at the site when an accident occurred in 1998. Twelve technicians died from exposure to biological agents," Powell said.
Prominently displayed were models of the mobile trucks Curve Ball had sketched to the Germans. The most damning evidence in the speech had come from a source no American had interviewed. Just three days later, U.N. inspectors in Iraq visited a suspected WMD location -- Djerf al Nadaf, Curve Ball’s secret site. And what did they find there? A wall -- the very wall that had appeared on the overhead imagery back in 2001. Curve Ball had claimed the mobile bio-weapons trucks entered through doors at one end of a warehouse.
"When the inspectors examined the facility, they found that this was an impossibility," explains Jim Corcoran, whose job it was to relay intelligence to the inspectors in Iraq.
Corcoran learned the wall blocked any entrance to the warehouse. As for Curve Ball's hidden doors at the other end that would allow the trucks to exit?
"Again, there was a wall there, no doors. And outside there was a stone fence that would have made it impossible for this to have occurred," Corcoran says.
Corcoran knew Djerf al Nadaf was of great importance, so he sent inspectors back 20 days later to take samples, to see if any traces of biological agents were there. "They proved negative," Corcoran tells Simon. "There was nothing there."
But the inspectors' findings in Iraq made no impact; the war began three weeks later.
Once the U.S. took over Iraq and started looking for WMD, Curve Ball’s story began to unravel. His university record was located. 60 Minutes obtained a copy. Rafid Ahmed Alwan, aka Curve Ball, had claimed to the Germans he graduated at the top of his class in chemical engineering. Well, not quite.
60 Minutes showed a copy of the record to Dr. Basil, Alwan’s former boss and a scientist himself.
"It’s a 59, 50, 50, 50, 50, 50, 67. I can see all his marks are 50, 50s," Dr. Basil remarks.
Those marks were out of a score of 100.
"Not a great student," Simon remarks.
"Never. No, never," Dr. Basil replies.
Not only that, it turns out Djerf al Nadaf was a seed purification plant after all. Dr. Basil was the head of production design. Alwan worked for him as an engineer, but only while the facility was being built.
"Rafid left few months after we finished Djerf al Nadaf, which was I would expect Rafid left sometime 1995," Dr. Basil says.
He did. 60 Minutes discovered Alwan then worked at the Babel television production company, where he stole expensive equipment. An arrest warrant was issued for him; charges were dropped when Alwan agreed to repay Babel. After that misadventure? The man who invited Alwan to his wedding, Dr. Hillal al Dulaimi, says Alwan’s career took an even more unlikely turn.
"He working for a cosmetics," Dr. Hillal tells Simon. "He did some homemade cosmetics."
As for the biological accident that supposedly killed 12 people at Djerf al Nadaf in 1998? It never happened. Rafid Alwan wasn't even in Iraq when he said it happened. He had left the country, first traveling to Jordan, then Egypt, then Libya, before making his way to Morocco. From there, Alwan’s trail ran cold, until he showed up in Germany and became Curve Ball. The case finally ended in Munich in March 2004, when the Germans allowed a CIA officer to interrogate Curve Ball.
"And the key thing, I think, was the wall. He showed him pictures of the wall," Drumheller remembers.
What did Curve Ball say?
"'You doctored these pictures.' And he said, 'No, we didn't.' He said, we didn’t doctor them," Drumheller says.
The wall had been built in 1997. Curve Ball didn't know it existed because he had already left Djerf al Nadaf.
"Curve Ball was caught," Simon remarks.
"And Curve Ball said, 'I don’t think I’m gonna say anything else,'" Drumheller says.
The CIA finally acknowledged Curve Ball was a fraud. But why did he do it?
Former CIA insider Tyler Drumheller has an idea. "It was a guy trying to get his Green Card, essentially, in Germany, playing the system for what it was worth. It just shows sort of the law of unintended consequences," he says.
Rafid Alwan got what he wanted. He is thought to be living in Germany today, most likely under a new name, after pulling off one of the deadliest con jobs of our time.
|Originally posted by ziptnf |
The end justifies the means, and all that BS.
110,000 dead, a lot of 'guessing' of around $709billion to $3trillion (depending on who you believe) and managing to polarise the entire region that little bit more into a new generation of whitey hating arabs.
Makes one wonder what qualifies as a 'bad result'