not that we didn’t already know this, but

This is getting surprisingly little traction in traditional media over here (though you can find mentions in HuffPo & one or two others): Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war. When I think of this war, of the false premises that it started on, of its terrible and staggering cost in lives from both countries, of the sheer expenditure we have thrown at this, and the horrifyingly high war profits certain companies have made off this conflict, I just want to scream.

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.”

I wish he’d thought of some other way to try and topple the regime. Then again, in some sense he probably hardly mattered. President Bush was by all accounts determined to go after Iraq and if not this, then he would have used something else, found someone else, fabricated something else. After all,

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.

If they already knew he lied before using his claims then it really didn’t matter what he did. Even so. I’m not sure I’d be so ready to say I’d do it all again if I were him.

There’s an uncaptioned video cilp there, about six minutes long. The first minute is uncaptioned English audio which includes parts from Powell’s speech to the UN justifying the invasion. The interview itself is in Arabic (or Farsi or possibly even German) and subtitled in English. al-Janabi goes on to conclude

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.”

I find that immeasurably sad. I wonder about Egypt’s example. Has anyone asked him what he thinks of their 18 days to topple Mubarak, with far less loss of life and no foreign invasion?

More info here:
Life and times of Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, AKA Curveball
Curveball: How US was duped by Iraqi fantasist looking to topple Saddam

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