Curious Hamster offers up an intriguing little tale of comment censorship over at the Daily Torygraph…
Last night, I noticed that “journalist” Con Coughlin has a blog at the Telegraph. His latest post references the “Iran is taking over al-Qaeda - nuclear armageddon - we’re all going to die!!” article which he wrote and which appeared on the front page of the Telegraph the other day.
Strangely, my comment didn’t get past the moderators even though I went out of my way to be polite (not always an easy task for a gruff Scotsman but I’m pretty sure I managed on this occasion). Even more strangely, other comments, including one saying Con “sounds like an idiot”, did make it past the censors so criticisms are obviously acceptable in some cases. And another comment has been accepted which was submitted after mine last night so it’s not like it’s stuck in a queue.
If you’re wondering quite what our friendly inquisitive rodent managed say (politely) to deserve the blue pencil treatment, then read on…
Perhaps I’m jumping the gun here but it seems that the Telegraph might not be overly keen on its readers knowing about Coughlin’s long standing relationship with MI6 or the fact that he was taken to court after he participated (perhaps unintentionally) in one of their disinformation campaigns and (knowingly) falsely described his source as a “British banking official”. It’s not altogether beyond the bounds of possibilities.
Remember, this is guy who’s writing front page articles on the subject Iran allegedly ‘taking over’ Al Qaeda, on the assumption that we, the British people, are way too fucking stupid and gullible to ever understand the difference between a Sunni (or Wahabbi) Muslim and a Shi’a Muslim.
And if you genuinely don’t get the difference, then let me explain it in rather more familar terms - the idea of Iran taking over the running of Al Qaeda would be the equivalent of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness being appointed the joint-leaders of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Naturally, it would be rather unfortunate for the reputation of Con Coughlin, were the article that relates the story of his dealings with MI6 to become inadvertly linked to the words Con Coughlin and time they were entered into a certain search engine. I’m sure that the last thing that Con Coughlin would want.
Revealed: the Iraqi colonel who told MI6 that Saddam could launch WMD within 45 minutes
By Con Coughlin (Filed: 07/12/2003)
An Iraqi colonel who commanded a front-line unit during the build-up to the war in Iraq has revealed how he passed top secret information to British intelligence warning that Saddam Hussein had deployed weapons of mass destruction that could be used on the battlefield against coalition troops in less than 45 minutes.
Lt-Col al-Dabbagh, 40, who was the head of an Iraqi air defence unit in the western desert, said that cases containing WMD warheads were delivered to front-line units, including his own, towards the end of last year.
He said they were to be used by Saddam’s Fedayeen paramilitaries and units of the Special Republican Guard when the war with coalition troops reached “a critical stage”.
These would, presumably, be the same WMD warheads that weren’t found by UN Weapons Inspectors, US investigators working on behalf of the Iraq Study Group or the US and British military.
For the record, inspectors in Iraq had their first actual ‘find’ only a couple of weeks ago, which turned out to be a stock of unused and unusably degraded chemical shells left over from the Iraq-Iran war of the late 1980’s.
Not, of course, that any of this detered Lt-Col al-Dabbagh from continuing.
In an exclusive interview with the Telegraph, Col al-Dabbagh said that he believed he was the source of the British Government’s controversial claim, published in September last year in the intelligence dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam could launch WMD within 45 minutes.
“I am the one responsible for providing this information,” said the colonel, who is now working as an adviser to Iraq’s Governing Council.
He also insisted that the information contained in the dossier relating to Saddam’s battlefield WMD capability was correct. “It is 100 per cent accurate,” he said after reading the relevant passage.
Interesting that the Daily Telegraph, and Con Coughlin in particular, should be the ones to get an exclusive interview with an MI6 informer.
Lt-Col al-Dabbagh, by the way, is now known as plain old Ali al-Dabbagh and has (conveniently enough) gone up in the world as a member of Iraq’s parliament and official spokesman for the Iraqi Prime Minister.
And don’t think it stops there…
The devices, which were known by Iraqi officers as “the secret weapon”, were made in Iraq and designed to be launched by hand-held rocket-propelled grenades. They could also have been launched sooner than the 45-minutes claimed in the dossier.
“Forget 45 minutes,” said Col al-Dabbagh “we could have fired these within half-an-hour.”
You fucking what? The devices were known as “the secret weapon”????
Who the fuck is writing this guy’s material? Baldrick? Is the bit about Saddam having a ‘cunning plan’ coming up next?
On a credibility scale of 1 to 10 this ranks somewhere below an old Dangermouse script that was rejected because even a six year old wouldn’t buy it.
Local commanders were told that they could use the weapons only on the personal orders of Saddam. “We were told that when the war came we would only have a short time to use everything we had to defend ourselves, including the secret weapon,” he said.
The only reason that these weapons were not used, said Col al-Dabbagh, was because the bulk of the Iraqi army did not want to fight for Saddam. “The West should thank God that the Iraqi army decided not to fight,” he said.
“If the army had fought for Saddam Hussein and used these weapons there would have been terrible consequences.”
Yes, okay. But where are they then?
Col al-Dabbagh, who was recalled to Baghdad to work at Iraq’s air defence headquarters during the war itself, believes that the WMD have been hidden at secret locations by the Fedayeen and are still in Iraq. “Only when Saddam is caught will people talk about these weapons,” he said.
So what you’re saying is that Saddam’s ‘Fedayeen’, i.e. his most fanatical fighters - the literal meaning of Fedayeen is ‘one who is prepared to sacrifice his life’ - were:
a) told that they would only have a short time to use these weapons,
b) then decided not to use them because they didn’t want to fight for Saddam, which makes them possibly the least fanatical bunch of fanatics in history, and
c) then had enough time to hide the fucking things so well thatmore than three years later we still haven’t found the fucking things.
And let’s also not forget that, “Only when Saddam is caught will people talk about these weapons”, which appears to be a statement that Mr al-Dabbagh might like to revise not that not only has Saddam been caught, he’s also been tried, convicted and sentencd to death, and still nobody seems to be fucking talking.
Let’s put this story in context.
It’s written by a journalist who’s been outed, in the past, for publishing propaganda for MI6 and based on a interview with a former Iraqi Lt-Colonel who claims to have been the source who told MI6 that the Iraqis had WMD’s that could have been fired within 45 minutes, even though no actual trace of any of these weapons has ever been found and who is now the official spokesman for the Iraqi government, having also been an ‘advisor’ to the previous transitional Iraqi Governing Council.
And this is all completely on the level…
Nah. Fuck Off.