The Iraqi “intelligence information” source, CIA code-name “Curveball”, has finally come clean to the BBC, that the information the U.S. and Britain relied upon to lauch The Iraq War in 2003 was a complete and total fabrication. As reported , Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, an Iraqi chemical engineer, who defected to Germany in 1999, admits he fabricated the entire story about “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) in order to, “topple the tyrant in Iraq.”
This fake WMD threat, of course, then directly led to our nine-year war in Iraq, which cost upwards of 100,000 Iraqi lives (military and civilian) as well as nearly 4,500 U.S. military dead and another 32,000 wounded, with a total estimated cost to our treasury and National Debt approaching $3 trillion. “Curveball’s” lies were then further manipulated by U.S. and British intelligence and then-Vice President, Dick Cheney, even made personal visits to the C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to pressure intelligence analysts who were otherwise openly skeptical of the raw intelligence sources on Hussein’s WMD.
President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address (You Tube Video) and Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Address to the United Nations (You Tube Video) presented this flawed intelligence to the American people and the World; shaped and massaged by American Neocons…designed to elicit international condemnation of Saddam Hussein and, thereby seal our justification for war. It also led to the outing of CIA Operations Officer, Valerie Plame, by officials in the Bush White House, a direct violation of national security laws, which led to the conviction of top Cheney aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby on four of five felony charges, sentenced to 30-months in prison and disbarred. Libby’s sentence was later commuted by Bush. Cheney, who is widely implicated as the real source of that security leak, of course was never indicted or prosecuted in the scandal.
Allow me to briefly explain the nature of intelligence gathering and analysis. My “bona fides” in researching/writing this story includes eight years spent as an Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist (1966-1974) a couple of which were in Human Intelligence, working for the now defunct Strategic Air Command at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Intelligence, whether collected/developed by the military or by our various civilian agencies (C.I.A., N.S.A., D.I.A., etc.) is often an inexact science, subject to misinformation and disinformation. Of course, there are different categories of Intelligence. There is strategic intel, operations intel (e.g.targeting and defense), electronic intel (radar, sonar, etc), signals intel (e.g. cryptography), combat intel (e.g. escape & evasion), covert intel (espionage) and human intel (reports from one’s own operatives and from foreign nationals).
While they all overlap to some extent in arriving at “intelligence estimates” or in developing “war plans,” the most inexact category (i.e. most prone to error through misinformation and disinformation is: Human Intelligence. “Curve Ball’s” information falls under that category. Required in evaluating any human intelligence is an effective rating system, employed objectively to sift through the reported information/details by ascertaining 1. the source credibility and 2. The validity, through independent confirmation. In the Air Force during the 60’s and 70’s, we used a dual, 6-point grading system, an “A-F Scale” in evaluating the “source” with “A” being the most reliable (nearly always our own operatives reporting their observations or findings). Only then would we assign a “1-6 Grade” to the “validity” of the information (which entailed evaluating empirical evidence such as photographs, mapping, electronic data, etc.). In order to confirm what the human was reporting. For example, an “A-1” evaluation assigned to an item of intel (that would then go into war planning or other combat determinations) would mean that the source was unimpeachable and that the source’s information or data had been confirmed through other independent sources.
Inversely, a rating of “F-6” would be the lowest possible rating… i.e., a completely unreliable source and with no supporting evidence. I relate all this merely to let you know that in reading the confession reported here, as an objective analyst, “Curve Ball’s” offered intel would – in my experience – have likely been rated near the bottom of the rating scale, rather than going into briefing books, memos (State of the Union or UN presentations) or, indeed, in war-planning documents or otherwise serve as a pretext for war.
I have followed the situation in the Mideast closely over the last half-century and studied the 19th and 20th Century machinations of the British, French, Americans, Turks and Germans, who carved out the various borders and alliances there (tribal families and monarchies). History is about to repeat itself. In the case of Iran and its quest to obtain nuclear weapons (while testing missile technology), I see a clear and imminent threat…if not to the U.S. itself, then surely to Israel. While I believe the threat is real and frightening, I tend to believe that the strict economic sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration and the world community (with a few exceptions, like North Korea) have not been fully allowed to impact Iran, in order to bring them to the negotiating table.
I don’t for a moment believe Iran’s nuclear aims are strictly for peaceful purposes (electric power). However, from a defensive posture, I can well understand the nervousness on the part of the Iranian Regime. Especially, given the history between our two nations (since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979 which ousted the Shah, his reign facilitated by the British and propped up by the U.S., and his dreaded state-security apparatus trained by our own C.I.A.)
That revolution resulted in the takeover of the American Embassy and the resulting Hostage Crisis that lasted 444 days and was largely responsible for the defeat of Jimmy Carter in 1980. There is no love lost at the highest career diplomatic and military levels between our two nations. And even less affection or respect between Iran and Israel. Add in to that mix an ultra-conservative hawk…Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, determined to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. Not exactly a recipe for long-term…or even short-term peace in the region.
Now we are faced with the prospect of a Romney presidency and, frankly, that scares the hell out of me even more. President Obama has taken a reasoned, pragmatic approach to the danger(s) of a military confrontation (e.g. air strikes targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities). Romney, through one of his top foreign policy advisors, Dan Senor (a key player in putting a “happy face” on the Iraq War during its darkest hours) and a neocon with little or no military/strategic background and one of a couple dozen former Cheney/Bush disciples now on the Romney/Ryan Team, has recently given tacit approval for a preemptive Israeli attack on Iran. Ominously, this “approval” has the financial backing of one Sheldon Adelson…an American, Israel backer and key Romney supporter, who has pledged to contribute upwards of $100 million to guarantee Romney’s election. You may have noticed I have referrenced the last administration as “Cheney/Bush” rather than reverse order. If you carefully study all the players here, you’ll understand why.
Cheney was the true Neocon here (along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) and was driving this tank into the ditch in 2003. Still smarting from America’s perceived failures and weakness under President Carter;…Cheney, Rumsfeld and the other Neocons have been looking for payback against Iran for years and, have long-coveted a lasting American hegemony in the region. This is a sure fire recipe for war rather than negotiation or any real chance for peaceful coexistence.
To give you a much better understanding of the history and key players in this potential “rush to war,” I am including a link to an EXCELLENT ANALYSIS I found at Daily Kos, Winds of War (the coming war), published last week under the byline “jps1.” I strongly recommend reading it. The writer is obviously well-schooled in the Mideast and all the various players. I tend to agree with many of the writers observations…even if not all the conclusions reached.
One qualification I would place on the article, however. Putting on my dusty Intel Analyst cap…in assessing its overall credibility, I must give it an “Intel Score” as reflected above. Since the author is not identified, nor are his/her “bona fides” established or are any potential biases open for scrutiny, I must rate it a “C” relative to source reliability (credible as to knowledge of the subject matter, as compared to my own understanding). For a “validity” score, I would assign a “2” – being a little generous here, as I have researched and evaluated his assertions and information through other available sources. A “C-2” Score, in my experience…though not quite “actionable intelligence,” definitely warrants careful consideration and bears close watching, as well as the need to keep Mitt Romney out of the White House.
Not only is Mitt Romney (or Paul Ryan) unqualified in foreign affairs, but he has now surrounded himself with the same sordid, Neocon “cast of characters” (Dan Senor, being the most dangerous) that brought us our last “war of choice” based on faulty, manipulated intel. Still worse, he now has a super-hawk contributor (Sheldon Edelson) and an extreme-conservative Israeli P.M, Bibi Netanyahu egging him on.