BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Curveball?!

(PLEASE READ THE PREVIOUS POST ON THE MICHIGAN MILITIA IF YA HAVEN'T ALREADY)

Okay.

Here's the latest from the Guardian UK:

"US intelligence on Iraq chaotic and incompetent, says Bush commission"

Actually, the headline shoud read, "US bases its entire rush to war on info from a crazy guy"
A presidential commission investigating the intelligence debacle that preceded the Iraq invasion reported yesterday that the damage done to US credibility would "take years to undo."
Fine - great - dry set up - we've heard that charge before.

Get ready: It's time to take another drive through Crazytown.
The incompetence described in the report occasionally descends into farce, particularly over an Iraqi defector codenamed CURVEBALL, whose FABRICATED TALES about MOBILE biological LABORATORIES and their influence on US decision-makers were reminiscent of Graham Greene's accidental spy in Our Man in Havana. Despite warnings that he was "CRAZY", "a waste of time", and that he had not even been in Iraq at the time of an event he supposedly saw, his claims became the subject of almost 100 Defence Intelligence Agency reports and a focus of the National Intelligence Estimate in October 2002.
"What's the guy's name again?"

"Curveball, sir."

"Why? He throw a mean one? Heh heh."

"Don't know, sir."

"Nolan Ryan. He threw a mean curveball. But he was all about the fastball. (Pause) Colin ready to talk to the UN people?"

"He is, sir."
Most critically, Curveball's description of MOBILE LABORATORIES provided one of the highlights of COLIN POWELL'S ADDRESS to the UN security council on February 5 2003, in which the then US secretary of state laid out the JUSTIFICATION for the INVASION.

Curveball's story has already been told in part, but yesterday's account is the most comprehensive. He was an IRAQI CHEMICAL ENGINEER who was first debriefed in 2000 by a foreign liaison service - not named in yesterday's report but elsewhere reported as being German intelligence.

Before the war, the Germans refused to let US interrogators question Curveball directly, saying that he "would refuse to speak to Americans"; they just passed on his claims, according to the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Warning signs emerged in MAY 2000 when a military intelligence officer was allowed to visit Curveball.
Wait. May 2000? May 2000?!

"That's a long time before the War on Terror."

Yep.
He reported: "I do have a concern with the validity of the information, based on Curveball having a terrible HANGOVER the morning of [the meeting]."
"I will not talk to the Americans until somebody brings me a bottle of Chivas!"
The warning fell on deaf ears, but by autumn 2002 the CIA was growing increasingly nervous, knowing it had not met an important source. So a meeting was arranged between the local CIA division chief and German intelligence officers. When the division chief asked whether US agents could question the defector, "the foreign intelligence service responded with words to the effect of 'You don't want to see him because he's CRAZY' - furthermore, the [German] representative said that he worried that Curveball was 'a FABRICATOR'."

The division chief passed on this alarming news to his superiors, but George Tenet, then CIA chief, and his deputy, John McLaughlin, both denied having been told of it.
Good move.
Curveball is reportely related to a senior member of the Iraqi national congress (INC), then an exile group. However, the commission found that the INC had not brought him forward.
Gee. I wonder who Curveball is related to?

"Any chance it's that Chalabi guy?"

YA THINK?
THE REPORT is another nail in the coffin of Mr Tenet's reputation and CLEARS THE WHITE HOUSE AND PENTAGON of trying to shape intelligence to justify war.
You're kidding.
It concludes: "The commission found NO EVIDENCE OF POLITICAL PRESSURE to influence the intelligence community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programmes."
No evidence of political pressure. Right. Glad that's been cleared up. I was beginning to think that the Bushies were gettin' good at putting political pressure on their peeps.
It warns only of the dangers of intelligence leaders becoming too close to the president and risking the loss of objectivity. In other words, the commission found that Mr Tenet had been TOO EAGER TO PLEASE.
Wow.

I hope Mr. Tenet walked away from the Bushies with some steak knives. ("Always be closing!")

Read between the lines: The Bushies wanted to go to war with Iraq...long before 9/11. They just needed a good EXCUSE, and didn't care where they found "it."

PART OF THAT EXCUSE CAME FROM A DRUNK CRAZY GUY.

Grrrrr.

"This info is from a drunk crazy guy?"

"Years of...torture...under Saddam...turned him to the bottle, sir."

"I hear that. Hey, what's his poison? Let's send him something, you know, for his efforts."

"Right away, sir."

LAST THING - Curveball? Come on, people. You've got to come up with some better nicknames.

More later...

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