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February 16, 2006

Bill Tierney Is BACK!

Yesterday Nightline reported on some newly-released tapes of Saddam Hussein talking with his nearest and dearest sociopaths during the nineties. Anticipation for this had been frenzied around the wingnut-o-sphere. But it turns out there isn't anything revelatory in them, at least in the parts made public so far. On the WMD and terrorism front they just confirm what's already known.

They're certainly of historical interest, though. For instance, it turns out Saddam himself predicted (non-Iraqi) WMD terrorism against the US:

One of the most dramatic moments in the 12 hours of recordings comes when Saddam predicts — during a meeting in the mid-1990s — a terrorist attack on the United States. "Terrorism is coming. I told the Americans a long time before Aug. 2 and told the British as well … that in the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction." Saddam goes on to say such attacks would be difficult to stop. "In the future, what would prevent a booby-trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one?" But he adds that Iraq would never do such a thing. "This is coming, this story is coming but not from Iraq."

It must be quite a disappointment to Laurie Mylroie and Paul Wolfowitz that Saddam didn't then add: Except for the fine conventional terrorism by our Agent McVeigh.

Anyway, the most intriguing part to me is that the person who gave the tapes to ABC is Bill Tierney. Tierney is the only former UNSCOM member who also put in some lengthy protest time outside Terry Schiavo's hospital.

But there's even more to him than that. I was first alerted to Mr. Tierney's multifarious career by Billmon and World of Crap. Ever since I've seen him everywhere. He's like a fundamentalist, mentally-shaky Waldo.

Here are some Tierney highlights (mostly swiped from Billmon/WOC):

• He joined the army in 1983 because God told him to. In the late nineties he was detailed to UNSCOM, but was forced to retire early for a hazy incident involving praying with a Christian Iraqi defector.

• In 2002 he was a civilian interrogator at Guantanamo for two months until he "was dismissed when DIA officials once again felt he wasn't following established procedures."

• Before the Iraq war, he said in a radio interview he'd pinpointed a secret uranium enrichment facility in Iraq. How did he locate it? "I would ask God."

• After the war he went on CNN to explain how the terrfying WMD were on the verge of being found. He also called fellow guest Imad Khadduri "an agent of influence of the Baath Party." Until then Khadduri had cleverly concealed his fealty to the Baath Party by never joining and later fleeing Iraq with his family.

• The U.S. understandably wanted to benefit from Tierney's expertise, so he then spent eight months as an interrogator in Baghdad. As Tierney later explained at an "intelligence" conference:

''The Brits came up with an expression - wog...That stands for Wily Oriental Gentleman. There's a lot of wiliness in that part of the world.'' And when it comes to interrogating wily insurgents, Tierney explained, he favors ''smarts over smack.''


After explaining his various psychological tactics to the audience, [Tierney] said, ''I tried to be nuanced and culturally aware. But the suspects didn't break.''

Suddenly Tierney's temper rose. ''They did not break!'' he shouted. ''I'm here to win. I'm here so our civilization beats theirs! Now what are you willing to do to win?'' he asked, pointing to a woman in the front row. ''You are the interrogators, you are the ones who have to get the information from the Iraqis. What do you do? That word 'torture'. You immediately think, 'That's not me.' But are we litigating this war or fighting it?''

• In March last year, he headed down to Florida:

Mr. Tierney, a former military intelligence officer in Iraq who works as a translator and investigator for private companies, cried as he talked about watching the Schiavo spectacle on television and feeling the utter need to be at the hospice.

Like many of the protesters, Mr. Tierney said he had experienced proof in his own life that God is real. He held out his left hand showing the traces of scars from injuries he suffered in a gas explosion in 1987.

"You can hardly see it anymore," he said, the tears cascading down his sun-darkened cheeks. "And I was burned all the way from my waist up. By the laws of physics, I should be dead. So I've seen miracles."

• In November last year he did an interview with Frontpage Magazine in which he described Judith Miller as "one of the few bright lights at the New York Times."

Okay, then.

Of course, none of this indicates these tapes aren't real. In fact, Tierney's involvement makes me certain they are; if he'd doctored them in some way, it wouldn't be to create the kind of weak tea excerpted above. Instead, Saddam would be declaring his blood oath of fealty to (1) George Soros and (2) Satan.

But it is quite remarkable to see our world can, as long as they have the right politics, find a home for people who are genuinely insane. If only he'd advocate blowing up Iran, there'd be a cushy gig somewhere for John Hinckley.

Posted at February 16, 2006 05:12 PM | TrackBack

I'm confused. Do you mean Dormammu should be offered a job at the Heritage Foundation?

Or are you implying something EVER MORE SINISTER?

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at February 17, 2006 08:13 AM