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Il Giornale | September 21, 2004 | Gian Marco Chiocci in Rome

Posted on 09/21/2004 8:53:04 AM PDT by parnasokan

Interview with Rocco Martino the ex-007

“I was paid by the French Secret Services but I didn’t play their game: It was me who gave them a copy of the dossier: Even Paris thought they were false”

In addition to his moustache Rocco has grown a beard, thick but not false as the stereotype of a secret agent demands. “Giacomo the spy”, as a number of newspapers have called the protagonist at the centre of the false documents on Saddam Hussein’s attempts to procure uranium in Niger, accepted to confess all to “Il Giornale” following his interview with the Judge Franco Ionta. In something akin to the organization of a Rave Party Rocco Martino, born 66 years ago in Tropea, met with us in the centre of Rome after having continually moved the appointment from one place to another. The “intelligence free-lance”, as he defines himself, explained that the changes were a necessary security measure after having had to live dangerously around the world for a month as the “untraceable” key-man in a story involving the 007’s of Italy, France, Great Britain and the United States.

The ex SID agent Martino has little time for small talk and goes straight to the point, “I don’t have much time and although I have a number of things to say about the Nigergate affair I’d like to start by clearing something up.”

“Please go ahead”

“I didn’t run away from Italian justice, I only distanced myself for obvious reasons. Let’s say for reasons of personal security and also to avoid being abused by the national media. I went abroad and remained there until the Judge Franco Ionta, on my lawyer Giuseppe Placidi’s request, called me. When the Judge asked to meet with me I came to Rome within hours to supply my version of the facts supported by a number of documents and recordings that confirm my good faith throughout this murky story. It’s a story which is much bigger than me and in which I was the weakest link.”

“You claim to have acted in good faith but the dossier that you gave to ‘Panorama’, which was never published after the magazine verified the contents, was a complete hoax”

“I didn’t know that it was a hoax, and I can prove this. I’ve been involved in Intelligence for years, I offer my collaboration to different services, including the French, of whom a lot has been said and we will return to later. The hoax came to be one day when a source at the Niger embassy, who until then had proved reliable and who had contacts with a collaborator of a collaborator of SISMi, passed me a varied series of documents. Amongst these were some which referred to uranium traffic between Niger and Iraq. What did I do at that point? I gave them to the French secret services with whom I’m in contact and by whom I was paid. I also gave them to ‘Panorama’ who studied them, even sending a journalist to Niger, before passing the documents to the American embassy in Rome for their opinion.”

“After which?”

“The journalist told me that the trip to Niger had not produced any results, the French also told me that the documents that I had given them had no foundation. By then, however, it was too late. The dossier began to circulate, the information contained in it went round the world, Bush and Blair spoke, without citing them specifically, of the documents. I turned on the television and I couldn’t believe my ears.”

“The suspicion is that you played France’s game, France opposed the intervention in Iraq and had the intention of creating a ‘trap’ to discredit the USA and Great Britain who at the time were searching for a means of justifying the invasion of Iraq: Nigergate”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. These are ridiculous suggestions as the documents came out in 2000, a year before the attack on New York’s Twin Towers, and 3 years before the decision to proceed with the war against Saddam.”

“Perhaps somebody remembered the documents, they took them back out of the bin and put them into circulation at the most opportune moment”

“Anything’s possible. In any case I’m the victim, the instrument used by someone to play games much bigger than me.”

“When did you realize that you were in trouble”

“When I read an article in an English newspaper that practically called me a criminal, suggesting that I was a double agent of the French who were obviously interested in what we just discussed.”

“But you were followed, photographed and recorded while you spoke to French agents”

“So what? I already told you I collaborated with them. Not only them, but I never plotted against Italy or against the United States.”

“The British 007’s thought differently”

“That’s their business.”

“In an interview with the ‘Sunday Times’ you declared that SISMi and the Italian Government were involved in Nigergate. Then, just the other day, when interviewed by the judge you did a U-turn. Just where does the truth lie?”

“I made a preliminary agreement with the ‘Sunday Times’ for an interview that never took place. We spoke about this and that, even about SISMi, but only to say that my source on the traffic of uranium was the same as the source of a collaborator of the Italian Services. For all I know SISMi has nothing to do with it all. I never said, and I repeat never said, that ‘Forte Braschi’ [SISMi’s headquarters] was involved and far less the Italian government. The truth is that I’ve been used and manipulated. I want to know why they chose me, I have some ideas but without proof there is nothing that can be done.”

“Who used and manipulated you?”

“If I knew I would go straight to the Judge to whom, amongst other things, I’ve already consigned important documents and revealed the names of all the protagonists of this murky affair.”

“Things have been written about your past misadventures.”

“I’ve read them, I’ve read them. So many lies. Just to cite two, I was never thrown out of the Carabinieri or out of SID.”

“Not to insist but if you had nothing to hide why did you lie low for so long?”

“Because the game, as anyone who know it are aware, became too dangerous. I don’t know if, as somebody wrote, secret agents of various nationalities were after me in order to eliminate me. I don’t even know who would be interested in making sure that I never opened my mouth again. The fact is that thanks to my lawyer, Giuseppe Placidi, and his contacts with the judge that enabled me to make a deposition even the thoughts of suicide that were passing through my mind have disappeared.”

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: france; niger; plamegate; roccomartino; uranium

1 posted on 09/21/2004 8:53:04 AM PDT by parnasokan
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To: parnasokan

ping IRAQ Niger docs

2 posted on 09/21/2004 9:06:06 AM PDT by WOSG (George W Bush / Dick Cheney - Right for our Times!)
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To: parnasokan


3 posted on 09/21/2004 9:14:12 AM PDT by boycott
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To: parnasokan; Admin Moderator

Why don't any of the articles you post have links?

4 posted on 09/21/2004 9:16:55 AM PDT by Howlin (What's the Font Spacing, Kenneth?)
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To: parnasokan

I like "Nigerquiddick" much better!

5 posted on 09/21/2004 9:43:00 AM PDT by Tacis (Benedict Arnold & "Viet Cong" Kerry - It's all about forging documents and selling out America!)
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To: Howlin

I'm sorry but I could not supply a link due to the fact that the web site ( of the "Il Giornale" newspaper is under construction. In any case "Il Giornale" is a very important Italian newspaper that is well known in the US Embassy in Rome.

I hope this explains the lack of a URL.

Many thanks for raising the issue.

6 posted on 09/21/2004 10:06:24 AM PDT by parnasokan
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To: parnasokan

You need to provide working links for your posts.

7 posted on 09/21/2004 10:11:57 AM PDT by Howlin (What's the Font Spacing, Kenneth?)
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To: Fedora


8 posted on 10/14/2004 8:27:07 PM PDT by calcowgirl
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To: piasa; Shermy


9 posted on 10/14/2004 8:42:44 PM PDT by Fedora
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