Meet the Man Who Started the War in Iraq

Rafid Ahmed Alwan (left), the Iraqi refugee code-named "Curveball" whose nonsense reports about Saddam Hussein's mobile bio weapons labs to German Intelligence officers helped pave the way for invasion, is speaking publicly for the first time. And he's pissed. "'For what I've done, I should be treated like a king,' he said outside a cramped, low-rent apartment he shares with his family [somewhere in Germany]. Instead, the Iraqi informant [...] has flipped burgers at McDonald's and Burger King, washed dishes in a Chinese restaurant and baked pretzels in an all-night bakery. He also has faced withering international scorn for peddling discredited intelligence that helped spur an invasion of his native country. Now, in his first public comments, the 41-year-old engineer from Baghdad complains that the CIA and other spy agencies are blaming him for their mistakes."

"I'm not guilty," Alwan said, insisting that he made no false claims. "Believe me, I'm not guilty."



"Everything that's been written about me isn't true," Alwan repeated.



Along with confirmation of Curveball's identity, however, have come fresh disclosures raising doubts about his honesty — much of that new detail coming from friends, associates and past employers.



"He was corrupt," said a family friend who once employed him.



"He always lied," said a fellow Burger King worker [...]



Alwan's fanciful accounts to [Germany's Federal Intelligence Service] officers were echoed in his tall tales to friends and co-workers.



In early 2002, a year before the war, he told co-workers at the Burger King that he spied for Iraqi intelligence and would report any fellow Iraqi worker who criticized Hussein's regime.



They couldn't decide if he was dangerous or crazy.



"During breaks, he told stories about what a big man he was in Baghdad," said Hamza Hamad Rashid, who remembered an odd scene with the pudgy Alwan in his too-tight Burger King uniform praising Hussein in the home of der Whopper.



"But he always lied. We never believed anything he said."



Another Iraqi friend, Ghazwan Adnan, remembers laughing when he applied for a job at a local Princess Garden Chinese Restaurant and discovered Alwan washing dishes in the back while claiming to be "a big deal" in Iraq. "How could America believe such a person?"



But an unrepentant Alwan is unfazed.



"Everything I said was true," he said. "And everything that's been written about me is wrong. It's all wrong. The main thing is, I'm an honest man." [LAT via Neatorama]