Curveball

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.

[snip]

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

[snip]

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.

Curveball: I Lied to Get Rid of Saddam

Almost eight years after he helped start a war, the Iraqi behind the US claim that Iraq had mobile weapons labs admitted in an interview with the Guardian that he lied. (h/t Hissypit)

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995.

The article as a whole provides fascinating details of how the German intelligence, BND, service basically fed Curveball the details he’d need to fabricate his lies.

But I’m particularly interested in two new details he reveals. First, BND and British intelligence met with Curveball’s boss in mid-2000; the boss debunked Curveball’s claims.

Janabi claimed he was first exposed as a liar as early as mid-2000, when the BND travelled to a Gulf city, believed to be Dubai, to speak with his former boss at the Military Industries Commission in Iraq, Dr Bassil Latif.

The Guardian has learned separately that British intelligence officials were at that meeting, investigating a claim made by Janabi that Latif’s son, who was studying in Britain, was procuring weapons for Saddam.

That claim was proven false, and Latif strongly denied Janabi’s claim of mobile bioweapons trucks and another allegation that 12 people had died during an accident at a secret bioweapons facility in south-east Baghdad.

The German officials returned to confront him with Latif’s version. “He says, ‘There are no trucks,’ and I say, ‘OK, when [Latif says] there no trucks then [there are none],’” Janabi recalled.

So this is yet another well-placed Iraqi who warned western intelligence that the WMD evidence that would eventually lead to war was baseless (one George Tenet and others haven’t admitted in the past).

And Curveball describes how BND returned to his claims in 2002, then dropped it, then returned to it just before Colin Powell’s Feruary 5, 2003 speech at the UN.

We’ve known the outlines of these details before. But it sure adds to the picture of the US dialing up the intelligence it needed — however flimsy — to start a war.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Ooof. Hope you have enough coffee and/or bourbon.
2mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Sure. But that is exactly why the patina of "legality" is so illusory in this discussion.
6mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog And that applies to torture, extrajudicial killing, banksters, illegal surveillance, and a whole host of issues.
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog The problem, as with so much is the political acts that beget such use/nonuse of discretion.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Right. Failure to prosecute/hold accountable for Senate incursion is technically legal as prosecutorial discretion.
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @WSJ: At 79, Jerry Lee Lewis just released his 41st studio album. Listen here: http://t.co/rAJMtCwvpX http://t.co/IVJYFJ10VM
20mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @AntonioFrench: Bob McCulloch and Attorney General Holder should be launching investigations into who is leaking this info. Police? Atto…
35mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @mtracey @billmon1 As SSCI Chair, it was her duty to make the case, and she did, lack of vocal support from others, and non-SSCI depressing
46mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 Even assuming you get past that as to DOD action, which is dubious, there is still issue of §1117+§1119 liability for civilians
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bmaz @billmon1 I agree as to seriousness. But disagree that characterization as combatants is legally correct without a battlefield+imminence.
54mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @shenebraskan @billmon1 Yeah, sorry about that. But even in a constant sea of depressing, certain things just stand out.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 No, I think that is right. As was openly sanctioned extrajudicial execution of citizens. They are fundamental thresholds passed.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
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