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August 14, 2008

I Was Right! Right! Right!

Besides my main $1000 bet that Iraq had no WMD, I also had a small side bet with Robert Toteras that no WMD would be planted. I believed this not because the Bush administration is so so honest, but because planting anything would be too difficult. It wouldn't be like two policemen pulling some cocaine out of the evidence locker to plant on someone they'd just arrested. It would require lots of people. And it would be extremely difficult to find or create material that tests wouldn't demonstrate immediately to be non-Iraqi.

Clearly I was correct about the non-planting itself, but I'm pleased to see that a new Scott Ritter article suggests I was also correct about the reasons:

I made use of my connections within the community of former Iraqi WMD scientists to try to gain access to what they knew [for a prospective Harper's article]. One in particular, who, because of ongoing security concerns, will be identified only as Mohammed worked to facilitate my visit...

On a bright morning one day in late June 2003 Mohammed waited patiently on the side of a street in the Jadariyah district of Baghdad...Mohammed had been summoned to a meeting with a special intelligence cell that reported not to David Kay’s Iraq Survey Group, but instead directly to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld...

About five minutes into the session, Army lieutenant colonel...introduced himself as Dave. Dave...sported a gray T-shirt emblazoned with the seal of the United States and the words “U.S. Embassy Kuwait"...For four hours Dave questioned Mohammed about various matters dealing with the Iraqi’s former work.

The final line of questioning focused on weapons of mass destruction. Dave was on his feet, pacing before Mohammed, before turning to him and asking straight out, “Where are the weapons of mass destruction?” Mohammed, who had intimate knowledge of certain aspects of the Iraqi WMD effort, replied straight back: “There are no WMD in Iraq.”

Dave continued pacing back and forth in front of Mohammed. “My president,” he said, “is in trouble. Can you help him?”

Mohammed was taken aback by the question. “Excuse me?” he asked. “Could you repeat yourself?”

Dave sat down next to the Iraqi. “George Bush is in trouble. Our people did not find any WMD in Iraq. Can you help us?”

Mohammed looked back at Dave. “How?”

“Can we prepare something for that? We could bring in some nuclear material from the former Soviet Union, and pretend they are Iraqi.”

Mohammed, stunned by the unexpected nature of the request, indicated that such a ploy could be easily uncovered by forensic examination of the evidence by outside experts, such as UNSCOM (the United Nations Special Commission) or the IAEA, who would undoubtedly be called in to verify such a finding. Dave sat in silence for a few moments, before springing to his feet. “I have to leave for a meeting,” he said. “Stacey will show you out.”

Mohammed was to meet again with Dave, Stacey and Carol in the weeks that followed. The subject of WMD, Iraqi or otherwise, was never again broached by Dave or anyone else in his team.

Read the rest, which includes a plausible account of the CPA passing along information about Ritter's visit to the Badr Brigades' assassination squads.

QUESTION: I seem to recall something like this being reported elsewhere—suggesting that "Mohammed" has told this story to people besides Ritter—but can't remember where. Please let me know if you saw this too.

UPDATE: I think I must be remembering this, from Raw Story:

Yet at least one source close to the UN Security Council tells RAW STORY that the smaller team was acting on behalf of Office of Special Plans and Defense Department leadership, specifically under the guidance of Feith and in tandem with Cambone...

This smaller unnamed team was tasked with interviewing former Iraqi intelligence officers in hopes of securing help with a "political WMD" problem, a source close to the UN Security Council says.

During the summer of 2003 through the fall of 2003, the team, whose members who were not named by sources, is said to have interviewed many Iraqi intelligence and former intelligence officers. The UN source says that the political problem discussed had more to do with solving the lack of WMD than anything else.

"They come in the summer of 2003, bringing in Iraqis, interviewing them," the UN source said. "Then they start talking about WMD and they say to [these Iraqi intelligence officers] that 'Our President is in trouble. He went to war saying there are WMD and there are no WMD. What can we do? Can you help us?'"

The source said intelligence officers understood quickly what they were being asked to do and that the assumption was they were being asked to provide WMD in order for coalition forces to find them.

"But the guys were thinking this is absurd because anything put down would not pass the smell test and could be shown to be not of Iraqi origin and not using Iraqi methodology," the source added.

Former and current US intelligence officers explain that such forensics is essential and would have in fact proved if a weapons stash found was using Iraqi methodology.

(Thanks to Marcy Wheeler for the tip.)

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at August 14, 2008 09:26 AM

I'm surprised we didn't start a secret, high-speed nuclear program in Iraq, producing weapons which we could "discover" on the road to glorious victory.

Oh well. There's always Iran!

Posted by: dcs at August 14, 2008 01:35 PM

Just goes to show what an incompetent faith based clown circus qualifies for imperial management these days.
Would it have been that difficult to have some containerized custom tailored Iraqi WMD evidence sitting in Kuwait or floating in the Gulf ready to go in Fall '02? After all, the US government sold them most of those materials in the '80s so making the evidence fit the fixed intel that fit the flawed policies was already half way done. Probably just change a few labels.
Hell, every podunk flatfoot in America has some reefer, soda and a cheap heater to plant on a suspect everytime they go out on patrol. Whatever happened to pride in your work and craftsmanship?
No surprise Feith and Cambone pop up. What a bunch of nimrods.

Posted by: Pvt. Keepout at August 14, 2008 02:22 PM
It wouldn't be like two policemen pulling some cocaine out of the evidence locker to plant on someone they'd just arrested.

I wouldn't overestimate the American public.

I'm reminded of the unarmed bridegroom that was shot 50 times in front of various witnesses.

How'd that turn out?

If I was this guy in the story, I'd have tried it. I mean really, result wise, would it have been worse than what they have now? The right wing chatterbox would have ensured that any talk of "conspiracy" is truther-like hysteria. talking point? Fucking ey!

The thing that annoys me is that they've become so used to phoning it in, that they're not even trying very hard.

Jeez but a trillion dollars used to buy more. Must be the inflation.

Posted by: Labiche at August 14, 2008 03:14 PM

LaBiche, trillion doolars was not inflation! CBO's report was released
and 85 billions were given to contractors ( 1:1 ratio----contractor/soldier ) per Mr Mark Gilmore ( Assistant Director for National Security ) on C-SPAN this morning on Washington Journal and out of that, 20 billions are not accounted for!!! ( miscellaneous!!).
Documentary "NO END IN SIGHT" amply demonstrated the Ignorance, Incompetence and Arrogance of this administration. No one should expect it to do ANYTHING right, even its crookery.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at August 14, 2008 05:06 PM

Labiche, in the matter I think you're referring to, the judge basically committed the sin of letting the cops off with an opinion free from both law and fact. The population, of many ethnicities, disagreed. So that's one for the common man.

I actually pointed out to friends that no WMD would be discovered -- even AFTER Bush redefined WMD to include chemical and biological agents (who gives a shit about chemical warfare?) and that none would be planted. My reasons are a little different: no WMD needs to be planted. It would be absolutely redundant. Bush's approval rating isn't the worst in history because he lied (though that contributes), but because the economy is shit and it's obviously his fault and because Iraq is a quagmire -- though the entire point of the invasion was to make the invasion permanent.

Our nation contains a substantial population that will happily rape and murder foreigners for sport (not even for economic gain), so no WMD ever needed to be found. Saddam's fall would justify all -- there were liberals trumpeting the same. Some still do. WMD were and are a red herring.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at August 14, 2008 05:57 PM

I'm with No One of C (and you). Once you're in, who needs to cover your tracks? They don't even bother with the propaganda to school kids anymore -- we happily teach them that the Spanish didn't really blow up the Maine, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was based on lies, and maybe even that Custer had it coming. Doesn't matter -- we didn't give Cuba back to Spain, and the compensation that Indians got for centuries of misery was casinos.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at August 14, 2008 08:24 PM
They don't even bother with...

Exactly what I'm saying. We've become a nation of cynical slackers.

There's no pride in good workmanship or well imagined conspiracies anymore. Just lazy fucks that show up to collect the generous check for half-assed work.

You've got to make an effort at duplicity people! It's expected.

And, Go McCain!!!

Posted by: Labiche at August 14, 2008 10:08 PM

“My president,” he said, “is in trouble. Can you help him?”


Well MY president is a liar and a sociopath.

Whether that is "trouble" for him is an open question, but it clearly doesn't do much for the rest of us.

Posted by: None at August 15, 2008 12:25 AM

HOW could the president be in ANY kind of trouble? I don't see any trouble, do YOU? Nancy (1-202-225-0100) says "no harm, no foul, no trouble, no problem", and I suspect most of AMERICA (U&I) says exactly the(heart of hearts)same.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 15, 2008 02:12 AM

Labiche and Whistler have it right, I think. Bush is unpopular because Americans are hurting, not because he's a war criminal.

I thought that a few barrels of noxious chemicals would be held up as evidence that Bush was right. I figured that the press would be so subservient that this would be enough. I think I was slightly too cynical in that regard. The MSM is bad, but if there is enough attention paid they will sometimes do a decent job or admit that they screwed up--the NYT even admitted that it did a bad job in the runup to the Iraq War, though their role there in acting as a funnel for US government propaganda wasn't any different from the way they usually behave.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at August 15, 2008 08:09 AM

You didn't read that right, Jon.

It's "Office of Special PlanTs."


Posted by: Baldie McEagle at August 15, 2008 09:29 AM

Who'd you ding for that first grand, amigo? I'd never have taken a bet like that. Or didja get some hubristic neo-con for $100 at 10-1? In any case, I shall regretfully decline your invitation to play hold-em this weekend...

Posted by: woody, tokin librul at August 15, 2008 01:31 PM

Bush is unpopular because Americans are hurting, not because he's a war criminal.

Yup; and somewhat, too, because he hasn't "won" the war. Murkins don't like 'losers' much...

Posted by: woody, tokin librul at August 15, 2008 01:35 PM

Who'd you ding for that first grand, amigo?

An electrical engineer from Texas. Met him in the comments section at Maxspeak -- I'd invited someone else to make the bet for our favorite charity for $200, but that guy wouldn't do it. And the engineer spoke up and said he'd bet me $1000 with no charities involved.

Still, I've meant for some time to find a good Iraqi charity to give the money to. Keeping it is extremely bad karma.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at August 15, 2008 02:39 PM

+1 for No One of Consequence

Posted by: Paul at August 16, 2008 06:21 AM


Posted by: symantec spyware software at August 20, 2008 05:00 PM