Curveball speaks out

The Iraqi defector codenamed “Curveball” who lied to several governments and convinced America’s top spies that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq recently spoke out on the CBS program 60 Minutes.

Rafid Alwan was interviewed in an undisclosed location in Europe. According to Alwan, he had planned the deceit that would act as a cornerstone to the reason for a war against Iraq for many years, CBS News reports.

In November 1999, as Alwan attempted to travel to England, he was picked up by police in Germany where he began his story. He told German intelligence officers that he had been a director at a biological weapons site outside of Baghdad called Djerf al Nadaf, which Iraqis claimed was a seed purification plant.

The Germans hid Alwan in a hotel in the town of Erlangen. He was then given his code name and interrogated extensively throughout the year 2000. Reports of the interrogations were sent to U.S. intelligence.

“When you look at the written reports, and there about 100 of them, you get a sense of someone who is there, it’s convincing,” Charles Duelfer, a leader of U.N. inspections during the 1990s said, according to CBS News. “The CIA would have been at fault to not take it very seriously.”

Saddam Hussein has previously produced biological weapons until he was caught by U.N. inspectors after the first Gulf War. In December 1998, Saddam kicked out U.N. weapons inspectors, which left the inspectors blind to anything going on in the country. When Curve Ball’s reports came of biological weapon manufacturing, it was at a time when there were many worries of just such an occurrence.

One report of an accident at Djerf al Nadaf that killed 12 people and blackened their skin was used by Colin Powell in a speech to the U.N. This report was completely fabricated by Alwan, according to the 60 Minutes report.

By the time the United States had taken Curve Ball’s stories to heart, he had stopped talking with the German officials and started working at a local Burger King. He and his family now have German passports and live in the southern part of Germany.