Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, whose codename was “Curveball,” admitted lying to Western authorities about former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program, according to a lengthy interview he conducted with UK newspaper The Guardian.
Janabi was a defector from Iraq who was granted asylum in Germany in 2000. Three weeks later, he said he was approached by a German official who asked him about his life and job back in Iraq.
At this point, he “decided to let his imagination run wild” and over the next six months “manufactured a tale of dread” about an imaginary biological weapons program in Iraq.
His tale had serious consequences. Based on his lies, then US Secretary of State Colin Powell made a presentation to the UN about Janabi’s fantastical biological weapons program, citing the defector as an “Iraqi chemical engineer who supervised” one of the weapons facilities.
Later, the supposed existence of Iraq’s biological weapons program was a key US justification for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Here are some highlights of The Guardian’s article:
--Janabi said he opportunistically lied to German officials in order to topple the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein. I and my sons are proud of that, and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy,” he said.
--At the end of 2000, Germany and British officials went to Iraq to confirm Janabi's story and parts of it proved to be false. German officials confronted Janabi about an inaccuracy but essentially left it at that. Janabi seems to be implying that even though his story could easily be proven false by Western officials, the latter chose to, for whatever reason, not dismiss his tale.
--At one point, Janabi claims he was threatened with the deportation of his then-pregnant wife by German officials. He says, you work with us or your wife and child go to Morocco,” said Janabi.
--Prior to Powell’s presentation to the UN, Janabi said he was never contacted or interviewed by US officials. He was also shocked to see diagrams based on his fraudulent descriptions being used in the presentation because he was told that everything he said would “stay in Germany.”
--Right after Colin Powell’s speech (the Iraqi invasion soon followed), he claims he was put in a virtual lockdown for two months by German officials.
--Janabi has since returned to Iraq and started a political party there.