Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

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The Reaper
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Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby The Reaper » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:19 pm UTC

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/fe ... s-iraq-war
The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.

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.

"Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right," he said. "They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy."

The admission comes just after the eighth anniversary of Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations in which the then-US secretary of state relied heavily on lies that Janabi had told the German secret service, the BND. It also follows the release of former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld's memoirs, in which he admitted Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction programme.

The careers of both men were seriously damaged by their use of Janabi's claims, which he now says could have been – and were – discredited well before Powell's landmark speech to the UN on 5 February 2003.

The former CIA chief in Europe Tyler Drumheller describes Janabi's admission as "fascinating", and said the emergence of the truth "makes me feel better". "I think there are still a number of people who still thought there was something in that. Even now," said Drumheller.

In the only other at length interview Janabi has given he denied all knowledge of his supposed role in helping the US build a case for invading Saddam's Iraq.

In a series of meetings with the Guardian in Germany where he has been granted asylum, he said he had told a German official, who he identified as Dr Paul, about mobile bioweapons trucks throughout 2000. He said the BND had identified him as a Baghdad-trained chemical engineer and approached him shortly after 13 March of that year, looking for inside information about Saddam's Iraq.

"I had a problem with the Saddam regime," he said. "I wanted to get rid of him and now I had this chance."

He portrays the BND as gullible and so eager to tease details from him that they gave him a Perry's Chemical Engineering Handbook to help communicate. He still has the book in his small, rented flat in Karlsruhe, south-west Germany.

"They were asking me about pumps for filtration, how to make detergent after the reaction," he said. "Any engineer who studied in this field can explain or answer any question they asked."

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.

He said the BND did not contact him again until the end of May 2002. But he said it soon became clear that he was still being taken seriously.

He claimed the officials gave him an incentive to speak by implying that his then pregnant Moroccan-born wife may not be able to travel from Spain to join him in Germany if he did not co-operate with them. "He says, you work with us or your wife and child go to Morocco."

The meetings continued throughout 2002 and it became apparent to Janabi that a case for war was being constructed. He said he was not asked again about the bioweapons trucks until a month before Powell's speech.

After the speech, Janabi said he called his handler at the BND and accused the secret service of breaking an agreement that they would not share anything he had told them with another country. He said he was told not to speak and placed in confinement for around 90 days.

With the US now leaving Iraq, Janabi said he was comfortable with what he did, despite the chaos of the past eight years and the civilian death toll in Iraq, which stands at more than 100,000.

"I tell you something when I hear anybody – not just in Iraq but in any war – [is] killed, I am very sad. But give me another solution. Can you give me another solution?

"Believe me, there was no other way to bring about freedom to Iraq. There were no other possibilities."
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby stratosfender » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:52 pm UTC

Almost 10 years later and do people still believe Iraq was about hurr-durr terrorists hate our freedom?

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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby Garm » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:07 pm UTC

Does this mean we can finally go after the fuckers who started this war? No? Okay, just checking.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby Telchar » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:26 pm UTC

Man, this piece is awful...

then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.


"Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right," he said. "They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy."


I mean, that's in the first 3 breaks. I gave up after that.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby bentheimmigrant » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:00 pm UTC

stratosfender wrote:Almost 10 years later and do people still believe Iraq was about hurr-durr terrorists hate our freedom?

Yes. I have some conservative American friends who jump on every possible hint at WMD... needless to say, I've hidden their FB feeds.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby Kou_Kagerou » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:17 pm UTC

Hmmm~ Go figure. Played for the fool. Either way what happened happened.

What I'd like to see is responsible adults admitting what was done was wrong, but still moving forward to make the most of what became of it. Unfortunately I'm sure it will be more like a high school fight where everyone points fingers and no one acknowledges that maybe no one was right in what they did. Everyone will continue to fly their banners of indignant self-righteousness and over zealous pride.

But I'm just one voice in the crowd. I'm sure others will have more enlightened thoughts on the matter.

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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby BoomFrog » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:02 am UTC

The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.

I'm annoyed that the first line in the article implies he regrets lying, but the rest of the article clearly shows he's happy with the outcome.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:04 am UTC

The fact that he "watched in shock as it was used to justify the war" does absolutely nothing to help his case. He didn't even consider the consequences of his actions, and that's supposed to make me sympathetic?
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby Kou_Kagerou » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:03 am UTC

@ Sourmilk & BoomFrog

Maybe Martin Chulov and Helen Pidd, who wrote the quoted article, used the word "shock" instead of "amazed" to make the article more attention-grabbing?

I don't actually see a quote from the defector that indicates he actually said he watched in shock. Even the other article says this:

Everything he had said about the inner workings of Saddam Hussein's biological weapons programme was a flight of fantasy - one that, he now claims was aimed at ousting the Iraqi dictator. Janabi, a chemical engineering graduate who had worked in the Iraqi industry, says he looked on in shock as Powell's presentation revealed that the Bush administration's hawkish decisionmakers had swallowed the lot.


Y/N? Maybe I misread?

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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby SlyReaper » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:48 am UTC

I think this guy is giving himself too much credit. No intelligence agency worth its salt is going to take the word of one defector and his family as the deal-breaker in whether or not a country has WMDs.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:56 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:I think this guy is giving himself too much credit. No intelligence agency worth its salt is going to take the word of one defector and his family as the deal-breaker in whether or not a country has WMDs.


That's funny, you think that Bush-Era american intelligence was worth its salt.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:14 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I think this guy is giving himself too much credit. No intelligence agency worth its salt is going to take the word of one defector and his family as the deal-breaker in whether or not a country has WMDs.


That's funny, you think that Bush-Era american intelligence was worth its salt.

Yes, it was. You're mistaking intelligence for the line the executive branch wanted to push.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:17 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I think this guy is giving himself too much credit. No intelligence agency worth its salt is going to take the word of one defector and his family as the deal-breaker in whether or not a country has WMDs.


That's funny, you think that Bush-Era american intelligence was worth its salt.

Yes, it was. You're mistaking intelligence for the line the executive branch wanted to push.


Isn't this still the same intelligence that though there were WMDs in Iraq in the first place?
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby Zamfir » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:49 am UTC

@sourmilk. The prime job of intelligence organizations, like all organizations, is to keep their bosses happy. Their bosses wanted an excuse to attack Iraq, so the intelligence organizations produced evidence of WMDs. That's not failure, that's success.

If you want to improve the situation, it is relevant to find out what the weakness of the system was. Perhaps the weakness was that intelligence organizations where stupid and gullible, in which case you need to improve the quality of their people and procedures.

But that won't help you if the problem was that they just told their bosses what they wanted to hear, and if people only care about intelligence if it fits their goals. If that is the problem, a better smarter intelligence community will just be better at telling the people in change what they want to hear.

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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby cybermutiny » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:19 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I think this guy is giving himself too much credit. No intelligence agency worth its salt is going to take the word of one defector and his family as the deal-breaker in whether or not a country has WMDs.


That's funny, you think that Bush-Era american intelligence was worth its salt.

Yes, it was. You're mistaking intelligence for the line the executive branch wanted to push.


Isn't this still the same intelligence that though there were WMDs in Iraq in the first place?


We don't know what the intelligence agency actually thought. We only know what they reportedly thought.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby sourmìlk » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

cybermutiny wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I think this guy is giving himself too much credit. No intelligence agency worth its salt is going to take the word of one defector and his family as the deal-breaker in whether or not a country has WMDs.


That's funny, you think that Bush-Era american intelligence was worth its salt.

Yes, it was. You're mistaking intelligence for the line the executive branch wanted to push.


Isn't this still the same intelligence that though there were WMDs in Iraq in the first place?


We don't know what the intelligence agency actually thought. We only know what they reportedly thought.


Interesting: for whatever reason I was under the impression that it was very much the intelligence agency's fault, but it appears this is not necessarily the case
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby dedwrekka » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:06 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/15/defector-admits-wmd-lies-iraq-war
The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.

*snipped*
Lies are srs bsns.

You know, despite still being kind of pissed, that guy is officially a total badass.


stratosfender wrote:Almost 10 years later and do people still believe Iraq was about hurr-durr terrorists hate our freedom?

Well, actually it was never about terrorists, that was one country over. Though I suppose Saddam's continued threats against Kuwait and refusals to allow UN inspectors into his country made the lies easier to swallow. Though the US and UK never let up attacking Iraq after GW1, and had been bombing Iraq continuously through the intervening years and never gave up the shared position that he had WMDs from GW1 to GW2.

sourmìlk wrote:
cybermutiny wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:I think this guy is giving himself too much credit. No intelligence agency worth its salt is going to take the word of one defector and his family as the deal-breaker in whether or not a country has WMDs.


That's funny, you think that Bush-Era american intelligence was worth its salt.

Yes, it was. You're mistaking intelligence for the line the executive branch wanted to push.


Isn't this still the same intelligence that though there were WMDs in Iraq in the first place?


We don't know what the intelligence agency actually thought. We only know what they reportedly thought.


Interesting: for whatever reason I was under the impression that it was very much the intelligence agency's fault, but it appears this is not necessarily the case

The Inteligence community had been asked to justify a war with Iraq, which is when they provided the intelligence they had. Then got thrown under the bus, flattened, and folded into an even tighter grip by the executive branch while being unable to defend themselves. They created a whole new beurocratic branch specifically for the purpose of bringing the Intel community further under control of the presidency, and said as much when they were doing it. Only the initial thought was that it was because they provided bad info, not because they proved that the government was justifying actions with disproven intel.
The fact that the politcal line decided to go ahead with it anyways when the intel was disproven is another matter entirely. Even the article linked states that the information was disproven before they decided to present it as fact.

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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby Kulantan » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:20 am UTC

dedwrekka wrote:Well, actually it was never about terrorists, that was one country over.

Facts would seem to disagree with you. However, if you meant that the people pushing that lie didn't believe it, yeah true.
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby meatyochre » Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:09 pm UTC

How is this information not classified?
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Re: Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:18 pm UTC

It probably is, but the source spoke directly to the media. "Classified" is a state's attempt to keep secrets, but the press isn't expected to keep their secrets for them. Especially not when it's a British paper revealing secrets belonging to another country.
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