Thursday, December 2, 2010

CIA source who built case for war swindles $10,000 from Iraq

• 'Curveball' told Iraqis he was starting political party
• 'He owes the greengrocer money too,' says victim

Martin Chulov in Baghdad, Wednesday 1 December 2010

"The plump, smooth-talking stranger hailing himself as a patriot and liberator should have been enough reason for caution. And if that didn't ring alarm bells, a check of his name, Rafid Ahmed Alwan, through any internet search engine most definitely would have.

But neither instinct nor due diligence managed to stop the man the world knows as Curveball from swindling yet another government earlier this year – this time his own – in a $10,000 scam that reveals how little he has changed since his false claims helped the US come up with a pretext to invade Iraq almost eight years ago.

The return to notoriety of Curveball began in September last year when an unassuming member of Iraq's National Reconciliation Commission, Fa'al Niema Thehieb, took a call from an expatriate, now living in Germany, who said he wanted to return home to form a political party that could help the re-election campaign of Nouri al-Maliki.

The caller was Curveball, the most infamous of all Iraqi defectors in the lead-up to the 2003 war...."

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