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Niger forgeries- New Revelations by top French Spymaster

by de Gondi Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 02:17:42 PM EST

Promoted by DoDo Update [2005-12-5 11:33:13 by Jerome a Paris]: - See also de Gondi's new diary: SISMI and the FBI

The following article appeared on December 1st in the Italian daily, la Repubblica, authored by Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe D'Avanzo. The authors were the first to scoop the yellowcake hoax back in July 2003.

"Nigergate, French spymaster debunks Sismi version"

I'll leave it without comment for now, other than it puts the Italians and the Americans on the hot seat.

Paris -  The Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) is the French counter-espionage abroad. Alain Chouet was Vice-Director. Today he is enjoying his retirement in the country but - up to the summer 2002 - he was the man who handled the `Nigergate' on behalf of Paris. He says: "I know what happened. When it happened. How it happened. I guided the French intelligence in this affair. I made the decisions. I communicated and exchanged with the Americans all information concerning this case.  At the time I was head of the Service de Renseignment de Sécurité, the Security and Intelligence Department, which is responsible for anti-terrorism, counter-intelligence abroad and counter-proliferation of mass destruction weapons".
(Rest below the fold)

Alain Chouet's story modifies the reconstruction of the affair given by the government and Sismi to Parliament in four main points.

  1. Rocco Martino, the crook who spread the false documents abroad, was not working for DGSE as the Sismi director, Nicolò Pollari, has repeatedly said (also to Repubblica).

  2. The CIA  have been in possession of at least a part of the false documents (given out by Rocco Martino) not since October 2002 [as previously reported, my note], when they were handed over to the American Embassy in Rome by Panorama, but four months before, during the summer.

  3. Contrary to what Pollari and Letta (the chief political authority for intelligence) reported, it was not the French who transmitted the false documents to Washington but rather the Americans who transmitted them to the French asking to verify their authenticity. The French complied and had denounced them as groundless since July 2002.

  4. Rocco Martino, shadowed and photographed by Sismi, came into contact with the French in the summer 2002 only. Alain Chouet's story, then, reveals the gross window-dressing (let's call it that way) of our government. Now it's time to listen to him.

"My personal relations with the Italians have always been excellent. That's why I feel even more astonished. I keep wondering why Sismi claim that we are behind this affair. I'll tell you how things really went. I'll simply stick to the facts I know myself".

Alain Chouet wants to put in the right sequence dates and protagonists. A substantial correction: the `Nigergate' prologue was staged in the summer 2001, before September 11th, at the hands of the CIA.

“Early in the summer 2001, the CIA passed us a piece of information both general and alarming. ‘Iraq’ – Langley warned – ‘is apparently trying to purchase uranium from an African country’. The Americans added that they had been put on the alert by a trip, dating back two years, of the Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See to [several] Central-African nations. As standard procedure, the Americans never reveal the source of their information. Washington did not mention Niger but, in more general terms, Africa. The U.S. knew that not a leaf stirs in the African francophone ex-colonies that the French aren’t aware of, especially in the field of counter-proliferation. For that matter, that information, though general, wasn’t just routine for us. From the Gulf War (1991) onwards, France could not afford to be accused of underestimating Saddam Hussein’s rearmament programs. Therefore, when the Americans moved in the summer 2001, I rolled up my sleeves. I instructed my men to get to work in Africa. In Niger, obviously, but also in Namibia (you will soon understand why). The outcome was entirely negative. At the end of August 2001, the alert died down. After the attack against the Towers, between September 2001 and the spring of the following year, that piece of information about the uranium from Niger was once again an indistinct and irrelevant background noise. Then something happened…”

This is what happened according to the Sismi. On September 21st 2001, Admiral Gianfranco Battelli (Pollari’s predecessor) sent a cable to Langley with news of a mission ‘of Iraqi staff to Niger, which took place in 1999. On that trip questions were asked as to the production of uranium ore in the country’s two mines and on the mode of exportation of that material’. On October 15th of the same year, Nicolò Pollari took office at Sismi. On October 18th, with a letter one and a half pages long, Pollari explained to the CIA that ‘the news on Niger come from a reliable source, even though we cannot evaluate its quality’. In February and March 2002, two more reports confirming the Niger lead of Saddam’s atomic re-armament came to Langley from a ‘foreign Service’. Sismi claimed it was ‘French information’. Chouet smiles.

“No, things did not go that way. The CIA knocked on our door once again, with the story of the uranium, only in late spring 2002. The end of April, I would say, beginning of May (therefore after the February and March reports). This time their request had high-priority urgency (on February 2002, Vice-President Dick Cheney demanded the CIA to get information, after receiving a report from the DIA confirming the Iraqi purchase of 500 tons per year of uranium from Niger). Compared to the summer of the previous year, the Americans were more precise. They named a country, Niger. [And] gave a number of details. They actually handed us all the information which only later we found – and I’m stressing ‘only later found’ - were in Rocco Martino’s dossier and which we had never heard about till then. As standard procedure, Langley held back the source. They did not mention Martino or Sismi. They simply asked us to check that stuff. Langley’s pressure was strong. The CIA asked for an immediate answer about the authenticity of the information. Immediately after September 11th, the relations between Dgse and the CIA were excellent (these good relations have always been questioned by Italy) and therefore I arranged a ‘deep undercover’ mission. Between the end of May and June 2002, ‘my men’ were in Njamey, the capital of Niger. The mission – as arranged by the Dgse operative directions – was held back from our Foreign Office as well as from the whole diplomatic network”.

In Niger the Dgse men found nothing at all, nothing different from what had already been found by ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whom the CIA had sent to Njamey in February.

“Five of our best men were part of the team. With a deep knowledge of Niger and of all the issues connected to yellowcake. My men stayed in Africa for a couple of weeks and, once back, they told me a very simple thing: ‘the American information on uranium is all bullshit’. When I read their report, I did not doubt their work nor, if you let me say so, my mind. I know Niger well but I can say that I have known Baghdad and Saddam even better. And I know that if Saddam had wanted to purchase yellowcake (which he already owned in great quantities) from Niger he would have never asked an Ambassador to open negotiations. Saddam did not trust anybody in his Foreign Office. He certainly didn’t trust his ambassadors around the world. For such a task he would have sent one of his sons. On the other hand, we knew the reason of the journey of Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See, Wissam Al Zahawie. He had to identify an African country ready to accept the storage of the regime’s hazardous toxic waste, in exchange for money. In fact Namibia, which had been used as a dumping ground by Iraq, had told Baghdad they couldn’t go on contaminating their soil. I told the CIA the results of our mission in Niger. The Americans seemed very disappointed for what they had to hear. I understood then the reasons for their frustration and I understood them even better when the CIA, not content with the result, at the end of June 2002, sent us a part of the documents of the Niger dossier, as if they wanted to underline the reasons for their insistence”.

We are at a crucial point. End of June 2002. Langley sent a part of the Niger documents to Paris. Which documents? According to the Italian and American reconstruction, those documents were not yet in the hands of the CIA nor had they ever been in the hands of the Sismi.

“If what I’m saying surprises you, I can’t help it. I tell you I received a ‘sample’ of those documents in the summer 2002 from Langley. They sent the sealed envelope to Paris through the usual intelligence channels. I can remember they were no more than a dozen pages. There was a short introduction where the CIA explained the meaning of the documents and no more than three complete documents, I would say. After a quick scrutiny we decided it was all rubbish. Gross fakes. The document which struck me most referred to the Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See. Reading that page, I thought back to the odd and general request of the summer 2001 and wondered: ‘Hey, the Americans… they have had this stuff for one year and they tell us only now, after we have already been to Niger twice’. Anyway the Americans didn’t say who they got that stuff from, then or later. But we discovered things ourselves. We may be French but not altogether that stupid. First of all, those documents, as far as one could read, led to the Niger Embassy in Rome. And we definitely know where Rome is. Besides, on those same days when the CIA handed down to us part of the documents, this gentleman appeared. A Rocco Martino, your fellow countryman”.

According to Sismi, Rocco Martino has been a Dgse agent at least since 2000. He had his office in Luxembourg with a covering firm, the Security Development Organization, Intelligence Office at no. 3, Rue Hoel, Sandweiler. So, Rocco Martino worked for Chouet, according to our Intelligence. He handed the fake Niger documents to Dgse, as reported by Gianni Letta to Parliament, even before September 11th. To confirm the circumstance, Sismi gave the press a photo of Rocco Martino talking ‘in Brussels’ with a French agent, whose name was also given, Jacques Nadal.

“This story about Rocco Martino working for us is just a falsehood. The first time he knocked on our door was at the end of June 2002. He said he had important documents about an illicit trade of uranium from Niger to Iraq and asked one hundred thousand dollars for the stuff. Now, I’m too used to Arab souks to swallow bait like that. So I told my people to tell him we would look at the stuff first and then, if we were interested, we would discuss the price. This is how things went. Martino turned up at our Embassy in Luxembourg and asked to talk to some of our people. I asked Jaques Nadal, at the Brussels station, to meet the Italian in Luxembourg. Nadal met him at the end of June 2002”.

The photos circulated by Sismi refer to that meeting. Chouet looks at them (the clearest print is published in these pages). He laughs heartily.

“I’m laughing because these photos prove the opposite of what Sismi says. Let me explain. This photo proves:

a. Sismi was shadowing Rocco Martino in the summer 2002, therefore they already knew who he was, what he was doing or what he was trying to do.

b. Rocco Martino’s contact was Jaques Nadal. Well. Do you know when Jaques Nadal was posted to the Brussels station? I appointed him between April and May 2002. Therefore, if you want to claim that Nadal was Rocco’s ‘French contact’, which is true according to the photo, the contact dates back to the summer 2002. Not before. (nor later, of course, in 2003, when all the world knew that those documents were a forgery and the meeting would have been meaningless). The photo, in short, proves the exact contrary of what it was meant to prove, that is that the French were behind Rocco.

One last remark. Look at Rocco’s and Nadal’s clothes. You do not walk around dressed like that in Luxembourg except in full summer. This proves what I’m saying. You could object: ‘It could be the summer before’. But, as I said, the summer before Nadal was not in Brussels yet. So, Rocco looked for us. We met him twice. The first time he showed his papers. Nadal took them, sent them to Paris. In Paris we compared them with those the Americans had passed on to us a few weeks before and which we had already judged a forgery. They were identical. We decided Rocco was the source of all the bullshit passed off to the Americans. The very same bullshit which had been going around since the summer 2001. We decided that Rocco was the source that, in those same days, was trying to pass off those same documents to the Germans of the Bundesnachrichtendiens (Bnd, federal intelligence service). The Germans asked for advice and we warned them it was all rubbish. We met the Italian a second time around the end of July 2002. We told him his stuff was a trashy forgery. In the meantime we checked up on Rocco Martino and discovered he was an ex agent of the Italian Intelligence”.

Sismi accused the French Intelligence of having kept quiet about the groundlessness of the Niger dossier. Actually Sismi reported that the counter-proliferation director in the French Foreign Office during a meeting on November 22nd 2002, with officials from the State Department, had said that France had information according to which Iraq had tried to purchase uranium in Niger. The information, claimed the French diplomat, had been verified and thought reliable. Quoting the report of the Control Committee on Intelligence of the U.S. Senate, Sismi maintained that ‘only on March 4th 2003, France told Washington that their information about uranium was based on the same information Paris had’.

“I’ll say this again for the umpteenth time. First: our Foreign Office does not know what the Dgse does. That’s the rule. It’s standard procedure not only in the French Services. Second: we told the CIA in the summer 2002. Third: pay attention to the words in the US report. It does not say that France informed the Americans on March 4th 2003. The report says: ‘On March 4th 2003, the American government has learnt that the French had based their initial analysis on the same documents in the hands of Washington’. ‘The government understands that the French…’. Someone sat on that information. In Washington, perhaps. Certainly not in Paris. And then I would be more cautious in saying that our Foreign Office claimed that France had evidence of an attempted illegal trade of uranium. I’ll tell you one thing. In the two years when I was director at Dgse, I happened to meet George Tenet, the then CIA head. I took part in meetings between Paris and Washington. Well, if I said something was ‘possible,’ that word became ‘probable’ in Tenet’s words”.

Conclusion with a question. According to Alain Chouet’s story, the French have nothing to do with Rocco Martino (Sismi definitely has). Sismi didn’t miss a single move of Rocco Martino’s when, in the summer of 2002, the crook met the French agent for the first time (it’s not true, then, that Sismi only discovered who Rocco Martino was in the summer of 2003).

The CIA turned to the French for clarification on the news received by the Italians and it was the French who debunked them (therefore, it was not the Italians who debunked the news in the hands of the French to the CIA). More precisely it was the French who told the Americans of the forgeries back in the summer of 2002 (while [to the contrary] the Sismi did not tell the CIA nor the National Security Council of the forgeries).

The CIA have at least part of Rocco Martino’s documents, gathered by a Sismi source (the ‘Signora’ in the Niger Embassy in Rome), controlled by a Sismi Colonel (Antonio Nucera) already as far back as July 2002. Not, as the Sismi says, only since October 2002.

Alain Chouet’s evidence muddles up the false account given by the government to the ineffectual and submissive Parliamentary Control Committee [Copaco] and the public prosecutor[Ionta] in Rome. Will Parliament and the magistracy be able to understand that there is still much more, perhaps too much, to know in the Nigergate story?

Crossposted at Booman and DailyKos. Update [2005-12-2 1:40:1 by de Gondi]:I have corrected the translation.

I took part in meetings between Paris and Washington. Well. If I said one thing was `possible' that word became `probable' in Tenet's words".

Indeed. And I will add one point that connects the article to a chapter in the Wilson affair: the Senate Whitewash Report's claim (based on the claim of an unnamed intel official) that the only noted part of Wilson's report was another info on Iraqi intent to buy Uranium. First the relevant part in the article:

The CIA knocked on our door once again, with the story of the uranium, only in late spring 2002. The end of April, I would say, beginning of

In  Niger the Dgse men found nothing at all, nothing different from what already found by ex Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whom the CIA had sent to Njamey in February....

On the other hand, we knew the reason of the journey of Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See, Wissam Al Zahawie.

As for the detail on Wilson's trip: as I explained to wchurchill earlier, Wilson was sent to investigate information that referred to the February 1999 visit of the Iraqi Ambassador to the Vatican, but the info the Senate report references was something from the summer of 1999. At that time, the then PM of Niger met an Iraqi businessman who told him about a planned visit of an Iraqi delegation to Niger, and later, he shared with Wilson his speculation that that visit would be about purchasing uranium. (The Whitewash Report fails to mention that no such visit even took place.)

Now, my point: even tough Wilson disproved the Iraqi Ambassador's 1999 visit connection, and some unnamed intel spinmeister took note of a later visit that never happened, two months later the French were asked not about the latter, but about the Ambassador's visit! Someone was collecting and funneling intel in rather strange ways at the CIA...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 01:51:29 PM EST
I've always had my doubts about this passage in the SSCI report. The bottom line is that it's based on the testimony of Mayaki. From what I have been able to gather from other sources is this:

The Niger Minister of Mines in the year 2000, Yahaya Baaré, declared that during the transition government in 1999, a country « that was not Iraq » tried unsuccessfully to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger. Also, two Nigerien businessmen who resided abroad contacted the Ministry as intermediaries with the proposal to buy uranium for a nation that presumably had not signed all of the conventions against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The identity of this third-party nation has not been revealed.

I do not know if this testimony syncs with Mayaki's. The timeline is the same.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 07:14:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The bottom line is that it's based on the testimony of Mayaki.

A testimony only about his own speculation. Which should have not been taken as proof of anything.

a country « that was not Iraq » tried unsuccessfully to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger.

Apparently, that country was Iran. At least I read an article somewhere (I quoted the info to wchurchill) about what Wiklson reported, and it references another Nigerien official, one Mai Manga, saying so. (Had the intel process not been corrupted, an analyst would conclude that Manga's willingness to talk about Iran's attempt at purchase reinforces the truthfulness of his denial that Iraq has attempted such.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 04:19:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran has been indicated as the most likely country.

Keep in mind that it is most likely not the same country the two Nigerien expats purportedly represented. To the best of my knowledge, Iran had signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaties, perhaps not all, but that would need some fact checking.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 05:21:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I keep trying to follow this...its like watching a ball of yarn being unwrapped...layers and layers...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 02:07:14 PM EST
I riffed on this earlier this month:

Finally, the truth on Plamegate: Wilson was a French spy!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 04:25:05 PM EST
I haven't had time to read your piece- I just caught it now. However, if it concerns rightwing spin, it is being manufactured wholesale by Berlusconi's il Giornale, Berlusconi's wife's il Foglio, plus Libero and il Tempo.

I have been sitting back and waiting to see who would pick it up and start shoveling it around the international MSM.

Believe me, tomorrow there will be plenty more here in Italy. Hell, they may even drag in Eurotrib which is part of the vast leftwing conspiracy that controls the blogosphere and the MSM.

Did you know that not only is Wilson a French spy, but Waxman is a front for LaRouche? Plus Jay Rockefeller is a partner in the French Cogema that mines uranium in Niger? Or that the Niger uranium actually got to Iraq and Jay is covering it up with the lefty cabal? Bush and Berlusconi are poor innocent victims of the lefty plot to dominate the world by fooling them into going to war.

No kidding, it's the sort of stuff available in the rightwing press here in Italy.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 04:58:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your right-wing is only catching up with my right-wing :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 05:09:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think they walk hand in hand. Maybe they take turns back-walking.

I have read the misnomered "AmericanThinker" article that Jerome took the piss out of. It was hard getting past the vision of Martino confessing in court. (He never has been arrested, indicted, tried, nor has he confessed anything.)

But I did check timelines and have noted that the "freerepublic" article came out just before the Italian spin on October 25th. I still haven't traced the Rockefeller-LaRouche-Waxman-LeftCoaster-KnightRidder cabal source. Suggestions welcome.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 05:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think they walk hand in hand. Maybe they take turns back-walking.

Well, the leadership of the bigger right-wing party here in Hungary used Berlusconi's Forza Italia (in every detail - even translating the name) as model to re-organise their base. (With this move, they turned an earlier Hungarian joke into reality: "due to dissatisfaction with their work, Politician X deselected the party membership.")

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 04:04:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be fun to find out who finances them. Hungary used to be a great haven for relaundering Sicilian mafia gains.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 05:26:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I think they stole enough money in government for that... (I forgot to mention that these 'civilian rounds' under the Hajrá Magyarország umbrella formed just before, during, and after the Right narrowly lost the 2002 elections.)

BTW, speaking of Italian perceptions of Hungarian connections to Italian organised crime, do you know anything (especially anything recent) about the strange case of Tamás Somogyi - the Hungarian entrepreneur accused of having been an arms dealer for the Fiat Uno gang, and imprisoned by the Italian justice system in an apparent case of serial justizmord (i.e. all instances repeating the errors), and only Strasbourg ordering a re-trial in 2004, after a five-year ordeal?

(I may have missed what happened to the retrial, and Google can't find me an update in Hungarian news sites as the name is too common...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 06:44:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I quick check behind subscription walls gave no results. I'll dig into it, and drop you a line if I find something.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 3rd, 2005 at 04:41:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone actually believe it?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 1st, 2005 at 05:38:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends which news outlet you read: this one
reads "il giornale", not " la repubblica"

I personally prefers la Repubblica, but I read Eurotrib...
Italian media, and especially those belonging to Mr. B, are quite good at the game "eurasia is at war with oceania".

La répartie est dans l'escalier. Elle revient de suite.

by lacordaire on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 09:28:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurasia does seem to be at war with Oceania.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 09:34:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks to de Gondi for making this available to English
speaking readers.   To my mind the interesting (if believable) point is the news that the Niger hoax was already being "circulated" to a receptive and high-level audience in the summer of 2001, i.e., just before 9/11.
This might partially explain Rumsfeld's 9/11 order to "roll it all up" into an excuse to attack Saddam  To me this is further circumstantial evidence that the goal of the 9/11 attacks was to produce the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We already know the names of a number of the active participants in this disinformation campaign, although
we know neither the extent to which they "really believed" nor who was directing the orchestra.  

Needless to say, any information being doled out by an
acknowledged spymaster must be accepted only with a high degree of skepticism.   Nevertheless, the Dgse has not been ro recently, publicly, and conspicuously wrong as the U.S. "intelligence" services.

Hannah K. O'Luthon

by Hannah K OLuthon on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 08:10:18 AM EST
It's great to see you checking in, Hannah. I understand your job keeps you off-site a lot. Hope to see you back soon. There's so much going on in Italy that a few more hands would be great.

Anyway, back to this article, I was very happy to see a French official speak out on the case. It's a point that I think is very important. Of course one can't expect or pretend that a government or an agency respond to innuendo or smear. It's in the norm to ignore the din, which is precisely what the DGSE and the French government has always been doing- and is still doing.

This was what I intended to put up as my lead graph for this piece (modified for Kos):

One of the intriguing aspects of the Niger hoax was the silence of French authorities. Well before the coalition invasion of Iraq France was on the receiving end of a vicious smear campaign as well as prurient antics in the US House of Representatives. Before DU and WP gave a whole new meaning to Freedom Fries, that was what we were fed on the Hill. When the Niger forgeries hit the press in July 2003, the Financial Times was on stage accusing the French of masterminding the hoax. Nor were they alone. It became a rightwing truism.

 "Frankly, if you put aside the slanderous aspects of the affirmation, Niger is francophone and we know everything about it. Nobody here would've made the mistake of mixing up ministers," a French DGSE agent laughed in response to the Financial Times. That perhaps was about as close as you would get to an official French statement on the matter.

Now this has changed. In an in-depth article published on December 1st in the Italian daily, la Repubblica, the two authors, Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe D'Avanzo, interview the retired Number Two DGSE chief, Alain Chouet, on the case. Bonini and D'Avanzo, by the way, were the first to reveal the Iraq-Niger yellowcake scam.

Beyond that, the project to invade Iraq has been around since the nineties. Clinton opted for containment, embargo, harassment and caused consequential starvation. Plus a hell of a lot of multinationals reaped profits off the situation. I don't think it's a secret that taking out Iraq was part of the Bush agenda since day one of his tenure. The problem was finding a causus belli, and 9/11 was a golden opportunity to sting Saddam's wretched  regime. The INC pulled out all the plugs throughout the world to get their disinformation across. There was Curveball, the Atta-Prague spin, the tailor-made defectors, fantastic meets of Iraqi officials and Bin Laden in Kandahara, WMDs galore- the sort of entertaining bullshit you'll get in Diehard sequel.

There is no smoking gun that links the INC to the Niger documents. It may actually have been an opportunistic operation that got out of control and was reigned in as some sort of messy pastiche, smothered in State Secrecy sauce. Damage control.

The Italian position is untenable. The government and the Sismi insist Italy has nothing to do with the story. A small time con artist from Formello ends up in the limelight as a French agent. And Italy applies state secrecy! It's a great script if it weren't for the appalling tragedy it brought on.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 05:09:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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