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Iraqi cab driver was source for Iraq WMD claim, British MP says

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A British parliamentarian claimed in a report published Tuesday that an Iraqi cab driver was the source of an infamous claim made by Prime Minister Tony Blair that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The member of Parliament, a member of the conservative British Tory Party, claims that he was told by a British intelligence official that the claim actually came from an Iraqi taxi driver, and that it was considered highly unreliable but was tacitly backed by Blair’s government in public statements anyway.

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According to the report, the taxi driver worked near Iraq’s border with Jordan. The cab driver is said to have made the comments while transporting two British intelligence officers.

“Under pressure from Downing Street to find anything to back up the WMD case, [British intelligence services] were squeezing their agents in Iraq for anything at all,” MP Adam Holloway wrote in his report, leaked to the British Daily Mail. “One agent did come up with something – the [claim that chemical weapons could be launched on British forces in Cyprus in] ’45 minutes,’ allegedly discussed in a high-level Iraqi political meeting.”

British intelligence officers “were running a senior Iraqi army officer who had a source of his own, a cab driver on the Iraqi-Jordanian border. He apparently overheard two Iraqi army officers two years before who had spoken about weapons with the range to hit targets elsewhere in the Middle East.”

But in a “footnote to their report,” sent to Blair, “it flagged up that part of the report describing some missiles that the Iraqi government allegedly possessed was demonstrably untrue. The missiles verifiably did not exist.

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“The footnote said it in black and white,” Holloway continued. “Despite this the report was treated as reliable and went on to become one of the central planks of the dodgy dossier.”

Former British intelligence chief John Scarlett will face an inquiry from an investigatory committee Tuesday, where he will likely be asked questions about Holloway’s report.

The Guardian noted Tuesday that the original intelligence dossier cited by the Blair government didn’t specifically say that Hussein had chemical weapons; officials later acknowledged that it was intended to refer to conventional weapons

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“But, when it was published, some British papers interpreted the dossier as meaning that British troops based in Cyprus would be vulnerable to an Iraqi attack,” the paper said. “At the time the government did not do anything to correct this error.”

More than 4,000 American and British soldiers have died since the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Estimates put the number of Iraqi dead since the war began at somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000.


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2020 Election

Trump impersonated a CNN anchor — and a US president — during epic meltdown at Texas speech

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President Donald Trump offered multiple impersonations during a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas on Thursday.

Trump showed the crowd his impersonation of a president of the United States -- and a CNN anchor.

"No guns. No religion. No oil. No natural gas," Trump said. "Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas under those circumstances. Couldn’t do it."

In fact, Abraham Lincoln could not win Texas when he ran for president as the state refused to print any ballots with his name.

He then showed the audience two impersonations as part of his 87-minute speech.

"I used it to say, I can be more presidential. Look," Trump said, as he shuffled awkwardly on stage.

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Maddow reveals Trump’s Ukraine scandal is also an attempt to ‘unblame’ Russia for 2016 interference

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On MSNBC Thursday night, Rachel Maddow walked through an underreported aspect of the Ukraine scandal. When President Donald Trump dangled foreign aid in front of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he was not just demanding he dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden — he was also demanding he help dig up information that would disprove the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation.

"This scheme that the president and Giuliani were enacting using the three amigos, Gordon Sondland, Rick Perry, and [Kurt] Volker, who has already resigned, the scheme was to hold up a White House meeting for this foreign leader unless he coughed up stuff that Trump could use for his re-election effort against Joe Biden," said Maddow. "And in addition to that, interestingly, he needed help unblaming Russia for the 2016 election attack."

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Trump says Republicans ‘are all happy’ with his ‘deal’ to sell out the Kurds

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President Donald Trump on claimed during a Thursday night campaign rally in Texas that "all" Republicans on Capitol Hill are "happy" with the deal he cut with Turkey that cave the country Kurdish land in Syria.

Trump praised Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for their work on the deal, which has been blasted as ethnic cleansing.

"I took a lot of heat, even from some of our congressmen, some of our senators," Trump admitted.

"But now they're all happy," he argued.

"I am happy with them," he added. "I am happy with them."

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