by Jerre Skog
April 3, 2003
We've been subjected, repeatedly, to American/British intelligence reports that claim Iraq has this biological weapons facility or that cache of deadly chemicals. We've even heard how the cunning Iraqis plot and plan to acquire those terrible nukes. There seems to be no end to Iraqi inventiveness when it comes to WMDs, and Bush, Rumsfeld and Powell have time and again told us of their proof of hidden Iraqi factories based on their trustworthy US Intelligence. Unfortunately for CIA & Co, all we've been told so far has turned out to be lies, fantasies or delusions and U.N. weapons inspectors haven't found any corroborating evidence for the claims. Since the CIA has a habit of telling the US president what he wants to hear and the president has an uncanny partiality for sending out his bombers, missiles and military forces to attack other countries based on what usually turns out to be baseless allegations by CIA (remember the bombing of a medicine-factory in Sudan) we have to understand the way such "proof" and "evidence" comes to be in order to give it the correct weight.
No wonder they get it wrong. Every report from the intelligence-gathering communities has passed through a number of levels, each interpreting the basic information according to his or her personal idiosyncrasies, phobias and political persuasion not to mention that each and every one of those individuals is jealously trying to protect and promote his or her career. The American allegations that motivates this present war, "Iraq has and produced biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction," is a hen made of a feather.
Here is an example of how such a report might develop from its original to the final product, ready to be sold to tame journalists by a blubberingly aggressive Rumsfeld, a cliche-ranting zoombially smirking Bush or a Powell who sold his military honour if he ever had any.
The Al Djemba-file:
Ali bin G, a.k.a. subsubagent B 17, stationed in Baghdad and desperate to get money from his foreign masters to pay for his new fridge, is payed by his masters for results. No interesting stuff, no pay. WMD-rumours or hints, multo dinero. Ali sends in his weekly report.
"At a dinner at corporal A.'s (former republican guard) yesterday I overheard conversation between two party officials wherein the word "virus" was mentioned at least two times. The corporal's wife, by the way is a lousy cook. The kebab was so spicy it could kill you and how she managed the destruction of such excellent raw-materials is beyond me. Perhaps they do it like that in Al Djemba, south of Baghdad, where she was brought up. Never mind! Do I get paid? How much? When do I get it?"
Unfortunately Ali doesn't know that the so-lowly-as-almost-insignificant party officials mentioning virus each have children taken ill after bumping into some of the usual viruses that plague the area now and then. Ali also is a bit of a blabbermouth, which tends to confuse his reports, but his heart and mind can be bought as can his ears. He finds a nomad who will take the report to Kuwait by way of the camel-express.
Now, this report reaches agent K 6W, station boss Wilkes, in Kuwait three weeks later in the form of a paper written with invisible ink, smudged by camel dung, wrinkled to oblivion, a few bits missing and smuggled out submerged in illicit palm wine. Wilkes has been critizised by his superiors for laziness, is desperate for promotion, longs for his children and mistress in Washington D.C. and is a thoroughly fascistoid type. Thus he immediately gets the gist of the report like this:
Al Djemba, south of Baghdad
Because of his laziness and personality the final draft of Wilkes' report now bound for Langley, is hurried, unclear and biased. It might go something like this when translated from the CIA-lingo.
"Report from B 17 indicates deadly virus produced at Al Djemba, southwest of Baghdad. Connected to the Republican Guard and party officials, B 17 overheard further raw-materials for mass destruction and surprised. Killer factory should be investigated if no counter indication of B 17 or existing"
(plus half a page sucking up to his boss by telling how difficult it is to obtain information and how hard he works to do so, which is a bloody lie as he spends most of his time whoring together with a Kuwaiti general. To make his report look even more impressive, Wilkes adds a postcard depicting the mosque in Al Djemba.)
Though he can't write a concise and clear report to save his life, Wilkes' future is guaranteed. His superior at CIA HQ, Langley, a hawkish fellow nicknamed "Rambo" (for obvious reasons) and superb at delegating all work away from himself at supersonic speeds, immediately passes the report on to the Censatdec (Center for Satellite Detection), who will soon direct a satellite to take a peep at the facility indicated in the report. Censatdet dept soon confirms.
Satellite observation report:
"Facility at Al Djemba, reported by B 17, found and kept under observation. Facility is medium big factory 7,9 miles southeast of Baghdad, emitting smoke and steam and regularly visited by lorries operated by Republican Guards loading and offloading big cases that could contain chemicals. Canisters of what could be biological agent delivered to factory at irregular intervals. Photos IB 1-67 R."
This report goes back to Rambo who adds his take of the satellite-info and cooks up a summary for head of intelligence-gathering at CIA. This is a bit more elaborate and much better written than Wilkes' report.
"Report from credible source in Baghdad, B 17, well connected within the top of Republican Guard and Ba'ath-party, corroborated by Censatdet investigation (pictures IB 1-67 R), indicates facility for producing biological WMDs at Al Djemba plant 7,6 miles northeast of Baghdad. Deliveries observed of canisters of probable biological agent. Site regularly visited by Republican Guard lorries delivering and collecting boxes of the sort where certain chemicals are stored. Iraqi Party Officials talk openly of virus and mass destruction."
(Rambo steals the postcard depicting a mosque and sends it to his mistress in Georgetown adding "Wish you were here! XXX, Rompy")
The report might have been formulated differently if Ali had been more thorough, Wilkes had been less gullible and especially if Rambo had realized that even Republican Guards get dirty uniforms that needs to be laundered now and then and that laundering tends to produce steam and need detergents, often delivered in canisters! Dirty laundry has a tendency to come packed in all shapes and forms and boxes are reasonable good.
Rambo's boss, who is too secret to be named, is in his upper 50s and ready to retire and get out of "this madhouse". He has a vivid and "patriotic" imagination and hates everything and everybody outside America's borders, including Iraqis and kebab. After looking at the satellite pictures and taking in the key words while trying to listen to a ball game with half an ear, he adds some personal refinements and passes the garbage on to head of CIA.
Rambo's boss' (Idiot X) report:
"Iraqi humint report from B 17, highly placed Republican guard with excellent connections within the top echolons of the ruling Ba'ath-party, warns of biological weapons facility at Al Djemba, 9,7 miles northwest of Baghdad. Satellite pictures (IB 1-67 R) confirm report. Republican Guards transports arrive regularly with big cases with chemicals and canisters containing what probably is killer virus. Iraqi party officials openly talk about deadly virus and destruction of America and Israel. Highest priority!"
(The last two sentences with the artistic addition of some key words should get Frank an invitation for a private dinner at the White House, he estimates.)
Above "intelligence"-report then goes to the highest boss of CIA, who, after stretching the report out a bit and adding the recommendation his political masters are desperate for, puts his report-summary together with recommended action and photos and in a nice red folder marked "Eyes Only! The President of United States of America".
Final report, which by a miracle lands on the desk of an unelected president Bush one hour later, is what the world will laugh at.
Idiot X's report:
"The Al Djemba-file
Humint report from Baghdad source B 17, highly placed Republican guard with excellent connections within the top echolons of the ruling Ba'ath-party, together whith confirming satellite pictures (IB 1-67 R), give credible evidence of the existence of top-secret biological weapons facility at Al Djemba, 6,7 miles southeast of Baghdad. Republican Guards transports with chemical material to and from the plant are frequent and plastic canisters containing biological material is deadly virus delivered regularly. Iraqi party officials openly talk about deadly virus and destruction of America and Israel. Probability that WMD-material is delivered to Al Qaeda from this site estimated at 95%.
Urgent and decisive action recommended!"
Now The American leaders can again stand in front of the cameras and point to new proof of their allegations. It doesn't make it any better that the leaders, the final recipients of the information, are people who have sold out their integrity, decency and country and would gladly sell their grandmothers for a few lousy drops of oil and a little more power!
Of course this failure of the world's most expensive intelligence-gathering community will be as irrelevant as US' illegitimate aggression has made U.N., once the aggressors, sorry, coalition forces have invaded Iraq enough to capture some habitated areas. Then American forces can, with a smile on their lips, demonstrate to the TV-cameras the finding of some skull and bones-labelled canisters that, surprise surprise, turns out to contain a chemical or biological agent, which, if delivered by a highly sophisticated robot or missile, none of which Iraq has, is capable of killing almost as many people as some Tomahawk-missiles on Baghdad.
By then, the spooks from CIA, who brought the stuff all the way from Fort Detrick and planted it in Iraq, ought to be out of view for any journalist! And we can be sure Fort Detrick is happy to get rid of some obsolete stuff that has lost its capacity to kill on a really grand scale. To kill the "American way!" When it comes to WMDs there are thankfully not so many places where one can be sure to find them. The best bet would be in the Deluded States of America.