Monday, July 12, 2004

I'm sorry I never posted anything about this New York Times article from Friday, in which Muhammad al-Zubaidi, a veteran anti-Saddam exile who worked with Iraq defectors, describes how those defectors' stories changed after they began working with Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress:

In February 2002, a third defector, Harith Assaf, a major in the Iraqi intelligence service, was filmed by the CBS News program "60 Minutes" speaking about mobile biological weapons laboratories that he said were put into seven refrigerated trucks. Mr. Assaf also described a meeting between a member of the Iraqi government and Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan.

When Mr. Zubaidi objected and tried to stop the interview, Mr. Musawi [of the INC], who had come with the television crew from London, said he insisted that it continue. "I told him, 'It's not your call. I'm allowing the story to be told,' " Mr. Musawi said.

Mr. Zubaidi said that the major, Mr. Assaf, had not revealed the purported bin Laden meeting and the mobile laboratories during discussions that had begun three months earlier. His diary entry for Feb. 11, 2002, says: "After the interview, an argument with Nabil about their way of working, especially the connection with bin Laden." In a follow-up story in March 2004, "60 Minutes" reported that Mr. Assaf had been deemed unreliable by American intelligence.

I've added this to the links at right (in a repost by Information Clearinghouse, which I hope will remain available for a while), along with two other articles about Chalabi and the INC: "The Manipulator" by Jane Mayer, from the 5/29/04 issue of The New Yorker, a history of Chalabi which I find most interesting for its discussion of the INC's document-forgery shop (“It was a room where people were scanning Iraqi intelligence documents into computers, and doing disinformation. There was a whole wing of it that he did forgeries in”) and "How Chalabi Played the Press" by Douglas McCollam, from the July/August Columbia Journalism Review, which talks about information supplied to the press by the INC ("...the stories, however, advanced almost every claim that would eventually become the backbone of the Bush administration’s case for war, including Saddam Hussein’s contacts with al Qaeda, his attempts to develop nuclear weapons, and his extensive chemical and bioweapons facilities — all of which are now in grave doubt").

No comments: