If you’re not helping the unilateral cowboys, please stand up

Did German spies help bomb Iraq?

I saw this yesterday but didn’t get to it. That’s a shame, because it’s really pretty big news if true:

German spies helped target Saddam Hussein for American bombers to launch the Iraq War, according to German media reports timed to appear on the day that Germany’s new Chancellor arrives in Washington.

The timing of the reports in the magazine Der Spiegel, in the newspaper Suddeuutsche Zeitung and on the ARD public TV channel may be a happy coincidence for the newly elected Chancellor Angela Merkel and her first meeting with President George W. Bush.

The reports of close U.S.-German intelligence cooperation in Iraq, even as the then German government was denouncing the war, should help buttress Merkel’s insistence that Germany and the United State[s] remain firm friends, even if they sometimes differ.

Remember back in early 2003 when bush and his administration claimed (sometimes plainly, sometimes with winks and nods) that there were additional members of the coalition besides those publicly disclosed? Murdoc does, and he also remembers a fair amount of snickering over it. At best, some admitted if pressed, the unnamed nations might be Muslim countries worried about Saddam but afraid to side openly with America. This, actually, is what Murdoc thought.


Then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Germany “will not make itself available for any adventures under my leadership”.

But all along, behind the scenes, Germany’s intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) was highly active inside Iraq, and their reports were forwarded directly to their American counterparts. This went far beyond the routine sharing of intelligence findings and conclusions that is standard practice among NATO allies. German agents in Baghdad directly cooperated with the U.S. air strikes by helping to pick targets.

The German press reports even suggest that the attempted killing of Saddam Hussein, his sons and immediate aides, in a hastily-arranged Stealth bomber attack on a restaurant complex in Baghdad’s fashionable Mansour suburb, was launched on the basis of a German intelligence agent’s report of Saddam’s whereabouts.

This is astoundingly good news. And it gives me a bit of hope for Old Europe. Just as I’ve said about Canada, we won’t be able to win (however you define “winning”) without them.

UPI link via Donald Sensing, who says only


You don’t say.

As a side note, doesn’t it seem likely that at least some in high positions in the US Congress knew about this? Even as they railed on and on about the unwise choice to “go it alone”?


  1. It makes sense to me, the Germans have had a very large influx of people from Pakistan, who are predominantly Islamic. I think there were numerous terrorist cells in Germany before 9/11, but don’t quote me on it. Anyway the germans have been involved in many terrorist things, think back to the Lufthansa hijacking! The well executed GSG-9 raid. It wouldn’t surprise me that that was the germans intelligence ‘wake up’ call.

  2. I am sceptical. This is one of those stories based on anonymous sources (some US ex-official). In the past, many of these leaks were shown to be insignificant or plain wrong. Why should this be any different? Of course, usually these leaks are meant to hurt President Bush and are enthusiastically reported. It-

  3. You have to understand that anti-americanism is also rife here in the UK. I see it with my own eyes daily. It is a trend; if you are someone ‘popular’ it is right to be anti-war and thus anti-bush and anti-blair. The ‘hate’ has started to die down though. Probably in a year people will have other media things to talk about.

  4. Same in Australia, especially amongst intellectuals 🙁 If I even try to mention to someone something about the American gov’t it’s immediately dismissed as propaganda/lies/spin/etc. without a second thought. Anything which makes Americans look bad is assumed to be true; anything which makes Americans look good is assumed to be false. I’m thinking of giving up even trying bringing the subjects up any more.

  5. For the record: I included an ‘if true’ because, of course, this sort of report could very easily be gaming. Especially from Der Spiegel. Then, in response to these three points: ‘With their public anti-Americanism, [German] politicians and media have dug a deep hole’ ‘You have to understand that anti-americanism is also rife here in the UK. I see it with my own eyes daily.’ ‘Same in Australia, especially amongst intellectuals’ Murdoc would like to point out that all three statements are equally true about his residence, the US of A. I guess you always kind of expect folks in other countries and cultures to question you and protest some of what you do, but I am constantly astounded by many Americans. I’m not really questioning their patriotism (this time). But they really seem to talk and act like I’d expect people from quasi-hostile foreign nations to act. As wide-open as America’s immigration policy is, our emmigration policy is even more open. Yet, for all their talk, the America-bashing Americans are staying put.

  6. Murdoc, for the sake of accuracy I should point out that not all Americans do stay put. To name but one (since he became famous), Mel Gibson came here (Australia) as a child because of his parents’ decision in the ’50s. And I have met a number of people of US origin, including one who simply never returned when he was demobilised after 1945. We simply don’t have enough to draw any conclusions about all this, except maybe that people do have different views – even Americans.