Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Will all the gullible, agenda-driven reporters please stand up…

So, the notorious “Curveball” was revealed to be someone called Rafid Ahmed Alwan, according to a 60 Minutes report.

Some journalists have made careers out of linking “Curveball” to the Iraqi National Congress, an organization I worked with for seven years. This was CIA disinformation in all its magnificent audacity: “Curveball” was the agency’s mess, but if the spooks could somehow pin him on Ahmed Chalabi’s INC then all those gullible, Bush-hating journos out there will follow the mistaken scent.

The pack went off yelping like mad and typing furiously, and another neocon-bashing myth was born.

At first, “Curveball” was peddled as the older brother of an INC operative or a Chalabi bodyguard; then the story was modified and turned him into a cousin of somebody in the INC, and then finally he was supposed to be a relative of somebody who may be affiliated with the INC.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan is neither the brother, cousin or relative of anyone I know in the INC, and I knew the whole bunch. Should anyone out there try to link him to a certain T. M. Alwan Al-D., then I am sorry to disappoint you: that’s yet another case of mistaken identity. That guy doesn't have anyone called Rafid in his extended family.

Or maybe "relative" itself is a relative term, just like its turns out that Cheney and Obama are distant relatives, as are Hillary and Madonna.

It's time for all those journos to tell us exactly who in the INC is related to Rafid Ahmed Alwan. Otherwise, they should own-up to their foolish mistake.

So, will any of the suckers out there retract their poisoned words, and apologize for being unsuspecting shills for George Tenet?

I wonder what other myths and lies will be proven wrong as the years roll by...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should have named names:

Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff of Newsweek, Jonathan Landay of Knight Ridder, and Bob Drogin of the Los Angeles Times.

A these gentlemen are supposed to be the serious journalists. There were also others in the yellow press who wrote similarly.

2:48 PM, November 02, 2007

Anonymous jake_nyc said...

George Packer just confessed: Curveball is his maternal uncle!!!


5:47 PM, November 02, 2007

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi anonymous,

I agree, but the biggest onus of responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Bob Drogin, who authored a book on "Curveball". In a Salon.com interview, Drogin spells out what his intelligence sources had told him, namely that Rafid Ahmed Alwan had a brother who joined the INC early on in the 1990s, and who called Alwan in Germany on Chalabi's behalf in 2001. After the war, the CIA met Alwan's mother in Baghdad, and she told them that her other son works for the INC and was at the time the INC's HQ at the Hunting Club.

Drogin needs to tell us who this person is, since these descriptions do not fit anyone I am aware of.

Here's the link to Drogin's claim and the relevant excerpt:


"What happened here was that, after Curveball came out -- and this was not known at the time -- it turned out that he had an older brother who fled Iraq in 1992, and who had joined Chalabi's organization in England in its early stages. But he and his brother were estranged. And there's a back story here, which is that it appears that Curveball went to jail in Baghdad before he fled, for either an unpaid debt or a theft, something involving money that the brother owed. So the two brothers were estranged. And in 2001, they haven't spoken now for nearly a decade, the elder brother working for Chalabi calls up Curveball in Germany and says, "Dr. Chalabi would like to know, we heard you're in Germany, do you have any information about weapons of mass destruction that we can give to the Americans, we're trying to help them with all of this." And Curveball, who's a semi-psychotic at this point in terms of his paranoia -- I shouldn't say psychotic; his behavior was very bizarre and he was clearly terrified of assassinations and reprisals, and the Germans had to move him several times and change his name and change his address and all of that. The phone call from the brother apparently just sent him over the edge. He was convinced they had tracked him down. And so that was the end of his cooperation with the Germans.

"None of this came out until after the war, when the Americans in Baghdad -- the CIA in Baghdad -- tracked down Curveball's mother and she told them about the brother, and they found him [Curveball's brother] then in Baghdad working in Chalabi's organization at a place called the Hunting Club, and they were able to confirm the telephone call. So he did have a brother who worked for Chalabi. But no one was able to prove -- and Chalabi repeatedly, angrily denied -- that he had sent Curveball out as a deliberate plant. And the reason that this is credible in this case is that Chalabi did send out numerous people -- I think 20 is the number who have been identified -- who came out through the Iraqi National Congress, and in almost every case proved to be providing false information of one kind or another. But in every one of those cases, they were handed off directly to the Americans.

"When the CIA found out about the brother, they totally freaked out because they thought, Oh my God, we've been set up, Chalabi really pulled the wool over us on this one. But in the end it was determined that it was just another fluke in this case, but one that sent them all going crazy for quite a while."

12:16 PM, November 03, 2007

Anonymous gj said...

Interesting stuff. What was the INC role as the source for Judith Miller's reporting in the NYT? Did you have anything to do with that?

12:58 PM, November 03, 2007

Blogger Jaguar b. p. said...

Why does it matter whether this CIA informant is related to the Iraqi National Congress or not?
I'm sorry to report that your lack of affiliation with Mr. Curveball does not absolve you (i.e. the Iraqi Shia)
from responsibility for the bloodshed in Iraq.

2:16 AM, November 05, 2007

Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

The INC has released an official statement on the matter:


The release of the name of Iraqi defector known as Curveball by CBS News 60 Minutes is the final evidence that there is no link between this person and the Iraqi National Congress. The INC can state categorically that there has never been any person at any level of the INC who is related to anyone named Rafid Ahmed Alwan.

The CIA engaged in a smear campaign to link Curveball to the INC in order to deflect blame from its own failures in Iraq. These lies were repeated by media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Knight Ridder and others with no evidence or substantiation and no attempt by the reporters to check the truth. They have been most recently repeated in a book about Curveball. The INC calls upon these media organisations to publish corrections to the false information that has misled their readers.

Iraqi National Congress
4 November 2007


5:10 AM, November 05, 2007

Anonymous toby928 said...

I would have the esteemed journalists also share the names of the officials who spun them.

7:12 PM, November 07, 2007


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