Last Vial of Anthrax'>Colin Powell’s Last Vial of Anthrax

Dammit, I gave away half the game, the “who” said these words.

I have seen some information that would suggest that they have been actively working on delivery systems.


I’m not talking about uranium or fissile material or the warhead; I’m talking about what one does with a warhead.


There is no doubt in my mind — and it’s fairly straightforward from what we’ve been saying for years — that they have been interested in a nuclear weapon that has utility, meaning that it is something they would be able to deliver, not just something that sits there

But when? And about which country?

Contrary to what you might think, these words come not from Colin Powell’s famous UN speech, but from the speech where he rolled out the Laptop of Death in 2004, in the days just after Bush’s re-election when Dick Cheney was shoving Powell out the door.

The Laptop of Death, you’ll recall, amounted to war in a box, all the evidence you’d need to justify a war against Iran based on claims it was developing not just nukes, but nukes “they would be able to deliver, not just something that sits there.” It included the adaptation plans to Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles, the plans for a tunnel that bore no signs it’d be used for testing nukes but got included anyway, and evidence that a defunct firm had once produced a material–green salt–used in uranium processing. It was logically impossible all those things would be on one laptop, available for the taking, but that didn’t stop the usual suspects from selling the Laptop of Death as credible intelligence.

As the years went on, evidence grew the laptop had come from MEK–the same terrorists we’ve outsourced our Iranian scientist assassination to, perhaps by way of Mossad. And once the Iranians were given a copy of some of the documents, they were able to show they were forgeries.

It seems like a good time to remind everyone that even after Colin Powell ruined his reputation with the UN presentation, he still agreed to lend his diminished credibility to yet more transparent propaganda to start what might have been (and may yet still be) the next war. As Tiny Revolution and Digby note, Powell’s latest book attempts to refute bloggers who call him a liar for the UN presentation. Well, if he didn’t know, then why did he step up willingly to sell Cheney’s propaganda a second time, at a time when he owed the Bush Administration nothing?

Here’s an even better reason to remind people how long the Iran warmongers have been trying to sow war with transparent propaganda. As I joked and Moon of Alabama mocked at more length, they appear to have given the guy who drew the crappy illustration of the Mobile Bioweapons Labs based on admitted exile warmonger Curveball’s lies his job back, this time to draw the detonation tank Jim White already threw water on.

For whatever reason, even at the moment Colin Powell tries to pretend that the last time this hack illustrator sowed his wares everything was done in good faith, they’re rolling out similarly laughable illustrations again.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

16 replies
  1. matt carmody says:

    It says a lot about Powell’s complete lack of principles that he thinks he even had a name to protect.
    When Powell was a major in Vietnam assigned to the Americal Division, he was the first army officer to cover-up the massacre at My Lai. THAT was the beginning of Powell’s rise to power.

  2. Peterr says:

    As Tiny Revolution and Digby note, Powell’s latest book attempts to refute bloggers who call him a liar for the UN presentation. Well, if he didn’t know, then why did he step up willingly to sell Cheney’s propaganda a second time, at a time when he owed the Bush Administration nothing?

    If FDL gets Powell for a book salon chat, would TR, Digby, or you be a better choice for hosing it?

  3. Peterr says:



    It’s a good one, but I think that the distracting “bright shiny thong” dangled in front of the media (saying “please don’t look over here”) is still the best.

  4. Tony says:

    Anthrax seems to thrive best in the world of sheep. Maybe Powell should have tried to find some when he made his infamous speech. Oh…wait a minute….

  5. Jim White says:

    Cripes. Now even Reuters is repeating the “washing” bullshit:


    An IAEA report in November lent independent weight to the allegations. It found that Iran had built a large containment chamber in 2000 at Parchin, southeast of Tehran, in which to conduct high-explosive tests that the IAEA said were “strong indicators of possible (nuclear) weapon development”.

    Iran says the accusations are fabricated but has not granted repeated requests by the U.N. agency to visit Parchin. IAEA head Yukiya Amano says the issue is a priority in this week’s talks.

    Western diplomats say they suspect Iran may be cleaning the site to remove incriminating evidence before inspectors can go there. A U.S. security institute said last week that satellite imagery showed activity at Parchin, which it said raised concern that Iran may be “washing” the building the IAEA wants to see.

    Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA has previously dismissed such suspicions about Parchin as “childish” and “ridiculous”.

    Vaguely interesting that they cite “Western” diplomats as spreading the story. Most folks who are paying attention think this is an Israeli operation in which both the cleaning story and now the tank drawing are being used to engage the press.

  6. JTMinIA says:

    But, but, but, Rogers Brown said that everything our government says must be assumed to be true….

  7. orionATL says:

    without question, powell was lying in his un speech. there is no way he could not have known he was lying to the world, and most particularly, to the american people.

    powell is yet another of us humans who have lied and then have had to find some plausible-sounding excuse to hide the lie – thus lying, again.

    the only difference between you and me and secretary of state colin powell at the united nations is that general powell had power and responsibility – power he abused and responsibility to the american people that he abdicated.

  8. orionATL says:

    @matt carmody:

    thanks for that reminder, matt. i’s forgotten that little detail. one might say the man’s character was set, and on display, early in life.

    general petraeus, it suddenly strikes me, is just another general powell – a leaders with a pr/bullshit resume that is bullet proof against all criticism.

  9. lysias says:

    Don’t forget, the neocons in 2002-3 kept asserting that stocks of anthrax were among Iraq‘s WMD’s, and they kept suggesting that Iraq was somehow behind the anthrax attacks in the U.S. in late 2001.

  10. eCAHNomics says:

    My abiding Q is why are these forgeries & drawings so bad? Surely they could get better renditions (heh) in making a case for war, dontcha think?

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