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Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Curve ball ties one on
    #2920255 - 07/23/04 01:52 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

Picture this scene. It is February 4 2003, the evening before Colin Powell, the secretary of state, is due to appear before the United Nations to make Washington's case for war in Iraq.

One of the aces up his sleeve is a claim that Saddam Hussein has developed new mobile biological warfare laboratories. Vivid graphics have been produced to illustrate the fearsome (and as it turns out, entirely imaginary) threat. It is to be one of the most dramatic moments at a turning point in history.

But, back in his darkened office, a military intelligence officer is growing increasingly anxious. He personally knows the principal source of the mobile laboratory story, an Iraqi defector codenamed Curve Ball. In fact, as far as this officer is aware, he is the only senior American official to have met him and he came away from that meeting with serious doubts. For one thing, Curve Ball appeared to be an alcoholic.

The anxious official sent off an urgent email to the deputy chief of the CIA's Iraqi WMD task force, his friend and immediate superior, telling him: "I do have a concern with the validity of the information based on 'CURVE BALL' having a terrible hangover the morning [of his debriefing]."

"I agree," the email went on, "it was only a one time interaction. However, he knew he was to have a [debriefing] on that particular morning but tied one on anyway." (For the benefit of non-Americans, "to tie one on" means to get seriously drunk.)

"These issues, in my opinion warrant further inquiry, before we use the information as the backbone of one of our major findings of the existence of a continuing Iraqi [biological weapons] programme!"

Only hours before Powell was due to go before the security council, the deputy chief of the CIA's Iraqi task force emailed back.

"Greetings," he began jovially - they were old friends. "Come on over (or I'll come over there) and we can hash this out. As I said last night, let's keep in mind the fact that this war's going to happen regardless of what Curve Ball said or didn't say, and that the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curve Ball knows what he's talking about. However, in the interest of Truth, we owe somebody a sentence or two of warning, if you honestly have reservations."

The two men met and the military intelligence officer expressed his concerns, and that is as far as it went. Powell made his speech. At the time, even with pictures of mobile labs, it convinced no one who was not already on board. But the February 5 UN speech, which now appears to have been stuffed full of exaggerations and falsehoods, forever undermined the international credibility of Colin Powell and the United States.

We only know about this email exchange because the Senate intelligence committee got hold of it and published it in their report on the whole intelligence fiasco. It is an extraordinary correspondence that will no doubt live on in history books about the war, if only because it says so much about the US mindset before the invasion.

The administration had been thundering on for months about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. The previous October, President Bush had warned America that the threat from Iraq was "grave and growing". Delay was not an option because it "could lead to massive and sudden horror". He told an audience in Cincinnati later the same month that: "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." ...


Don't worry, B. Caapi

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Re: Curve ball ties one on [Re: Xlea321]
    #2920684 - 07/23/04 03:47 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

I can not fucking believe that we went to war based on what some alcoholic named "Curveball" said.

It would be rotf hilarious if it weren't true.

Fucking "Curveball"!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS WORLD IS FUCKING INSANE!!!!!!!!!!


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Re: Curve ball ties one on [Re: Learyfan]
    #2922386 - 07/24/04 12:51 AM (13 years, 8 months ago)


We did that, by the way.

That little kid sure does look like he's enjoying his "freedom".

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
  --  Howard Zinn

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Re: Curve ball ties one on [Re: Learyfan]
    #2922596 - 07/24/04 02:31 AM (13 years, 8 months ago)

I guess it shows just how cynical Bush and his buddies really are.

Don't worry, B. Caapi

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