Monday, March 06, 2006

Ahmed Chalabi -- even more of a fraud than we realized:

EIGHT WEEKS after September 11, ... New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges, who’d just been put on the Al Qaeda beat, and Christopher Buchanan, an associate producer of PBS’s Frontline ... interviewed Jamal al-Ghurairy, an Iraqi lieutenant general who had fled Iraq. Ghurairy claimed to have witnessed foreign Islamic militants training to hijack airplanes at an Iraqi terrorist training camp.

...the story that [subsequently] spun out on the front page of the
New York Times was as shocking as it was convincing. Ghurairy claimed that as a senior intelligence official, he had witnessed foreign Arab fighters training to hijack airplanes at the Salman Pak military facility south of Baghdad. About 40 foreign nationals, Ghurairy said, were based there at any given time. “We were training these people to attack installations important to the United States. The Gulf War never ended for Saddam Hussein. He is at war with the United States,” the Times quoted Ghurairy as saying. Ghurairy also claimed a German scientist was working in a section of the base that produced biological agents.

...Unfortunately, the story was an elaborate scam.... What the reporters ... didn’t know, and what has never before been reported, is that it now appears that the man himself was a fake. According to an ex-INC official, the Ghurairy who met with the
Times and PBS was actually a former Iraqi sergeant, then living in Turkey and known by the code name Abu Zainab. The real Lt. General Ghurairy, it seems, had never left Iraq....

That's "INC" as in "Iraqi National Congress." This was a Chalabi operation -- and he was paid with American tax dollars to lie to Americans, under the terms of the Iraq Liberation Act.

Questions about the general's believability were raised in this 2004 New York Times article, but this takes what we know about the fraud to a new level.

In a just world, Ahmed Chalabi would rot in a U.S. prison for the rest of his life.

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