Iraqi Informant Threw US Curveball on WMD For War

The Iraqi informant known as “Curve Ball” – whose fake story about Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction program helped build the case for the US-led invasion of Iraq – has been identified by the CBS 60 Minutes Program.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan first arrived in Germany as a refugee in 1999 and told authorities he had been a chemical engineer who managed a biological weapons factory, Djerf al-Nadaf, in Iraq.

Apparently, Mr Alwan told this story to increase his chances of being granted asylum in Germany. He further embellished the story when he told German officials that a dozen of his co-workers had died manufacturing biological weapons.

US Atomic Inspectors At North Korea Nuclear Facility

US atomic inspectors have arrived in North Korea to supervise the first steps of disabling the country’s nuclear facilities under an agreement reached in February during the six-nation diplomatic process.

The nine-member American team will first oversee the decommissioning of the main reactor in Yongbyon, which has produced weapons-grade plutonium.

Madrid Train Bombings Victim Families Rail Court Acquittals

The families of victims killed in the 2004 Madrid train bombings were outraged yesterday at the Spanish national court’s acquittals of seven defendants and the perceived leniency in sentences handed down to those convicted of the worst terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic militants on European soil.

On March 11, 2004 ten backpacks loaded with nails and dynamite exploded on four commuter trains during morning peak hour in Madrid. The blasts ripped apart several carriages, killing 191 people and wounding 1,841 more.

Spanish authorities brought a total of 28 suspects to trial – 19 Arabs, mostly from Morocco, and 9 Spaniards. Seven other men believed to have been ringleaders blew themselves up in a Madrid apartment three weeks after the attacks as police closed in to arrest them.

US, Iran Rhetoric Feared Heading For Military Showdown

US lawmakers and the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency fear that heated rhetoric between the United States and Iran will escalate into a military conflict with devastating consequences throughout the Middle East and around the world.

“My fear is that, if we continue to escalate from both sides, that we will end up into a precipice, we will end up into an abyss,” said Mohamed ElBaredei, director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. “The Middle East is in a total mess, to say the least. And we cannot add fuel to the fire.”

Draft for US Diplomats For American Embassy in Iraq?

In a move that has already drawn inevitable comparisons with military conscription, the State Department has announced on Friday that US diplomats may soon be compelled to serve one-year tours of duty at the American Embassy in Iraq.

The plan has been prompted by a chronic lack of volunteers for postings in Baghdad, where the US embassy now comes under daily fire from insurgents.

Microsoft Accepts European Commission Anti-Trust Ruling

Ending its long-standing battle with European courts, Microsoft agreed on Monday to bow to a 2004 European Commission ruling and share interoperability information with open-source software developers.

European commissioner for competition policy Nellie Kroes hailed the agreement as “a victory for consumers” and said the resulting changes would “profoundly affect the software industry”.

Turkey Holds Crisis Meeting After Kurdish Rebel Attacks

Turkey’s Prime Minister will hold a Sunday evening crisis meeting with government and military officials after Kurdish rebels ambushed and killed 12 Turkish soldiers near the Iraqi border early Sunday.

This brings the death toll among Turkish soldiers and security personnel to 40 for the past month alone.

“Our parliament has granted us the authority to act, and within this framework we will do whatever has to be done,” said Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, referring to Wednesday’s overwhelming vote by the Turkish parliament to allow military incursions into Iraq to strike back at the PKK.

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