Skip to comments.Was Berlusconi Behind the Pre-Iraq War Yellow Cake Story?
Posted on 10/27/2005 7:25:10 AM PDT by AdmSmith
It was one of the biggest of the American pre-war blunders. Iraq, documents showed, had tried to buy uranium from Niger. The papers, though, soon proved to be false. But who forged them? Now, a new article in an Italian newspaper says that the Italian government was heavily involved.
Remember the Niger "yellow cake" scandal? Back in the days before the US invasion of Iraq, nobody except of course the UN weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq, was really sure whether Saddam had the Bomb or not. US President George W. Bush was desperately looking for some shred of proof that might work as pretence for invasion. In 2002, he thought he had just what he was looking for. Iraq, or so it seemed based on some documents turned up by the CIA and British intelligence, had been attempting to buy so-called "yellow cake", a substance rich in uranium, from Niger. Indeed, the yellow cake deal became one of the main early foundations for the US justification of an Iraq invasion.
Problem is, as we all know, the documents were falsified. But where did they originate? A new, three-part series (Part one http://nuralcubicle.blogspot.com/2005/10/berlusconi-behind-fake-yellowcake.html , part two http://nuralcubicle.blogspot.com/2005/10/yellowcake-dossier-not-work-of-cia.html , and part three http://nuralcubicle.blogspot.com/2005/10/nigergate-great-nuclear-centrifuge.html ) by the Italian daily La Repubblica, and translated by blogger Nur al-Cubicle, digs deep into the secret-services netherworld and comes to a rather surprising answer. The article implicates none other than Silvio Berlusconi. (Read the original Italian http://www.repubblica.it/2005/j/sezioni/esteri/iraq69/sismicia/sismicia.html .)
Iraq aquired hundreds of tons of yellowcake in the 80s from Niger, Brazil, Portugal, and I think Russia and others. It is all pretty well documented by the IAEA, and easy to find on the internet the way everybody but the MSM finds things on the internet (hint: it begins with "G"). Yet the MSM continues to portray Iraq's interest in post-Gulf War yellowcake as if Saddam had never done it before and as if it was some outrageous Bush lie.
I'm looking for another source on Fitzgerald traveling to Italy as well. I've heard it from a couple of sources, who have varying degrees of reliability, as well as posters here.
That's why I added "reportedly" and "if the above is true" to my post.
There is also a recent post on this thread (#35 from Angkor) that said the phone on Fitzgerald's new web site originally linked to a DOJ "Counterintelligence" office.
For what it's worth...Salon reported this week that NATO sources confirmed that Fitzgerald had asked for and received the unpublished Italian government's investigation into the forgeries.
Whoops. "Counter espionage".
"Incidentally, if you call the number the new Web site lists for Fitzgerald's D.C. office, the phone is somewhat mysteriously answered "counterespionage section."
But as Samborn explained to me, that's because the special prosecutor is borrowing space in the Justice Department's Bond Building from the counterespionage section. "The office of special counsel doesn't really have its own dedicated space," he said.
Sorry I didn't have time to format the links, I have to run an errand, but wanted to get this info out. Clarridge was fingered by the Italians in the uranium forgery, according to Larry Johnson and Vincent Cannistraro. Seems Cannistraro and Clarridge go back a ways. Also, Cannistraro was in Rome in Nov 2001 according to that poster, so he has alot of nerve claiming it was Ledeen just because Ledeen had a meeting in Dec 2001. Sure wish I could find the exact date that Rocco Martino got the forgery in hand, all I can find is "late 2001". Will follow up when I get back.
The first Niger Embassy break in was on January 02, the second on January 31, both in 2001, way before Ledeen went there:
Rocco Martino received the forged documents in "late 2001". That makes Cannistraro just as suspicious as Ledeen if the dates of his visit to Rome are correct. Larry Johnson is a known liar and the Italians issued a press statement yesterday that they were not involved in the forgeries:
This is also backed up by Martino, who said he was employed by the French:
Ledeen has gone public and denied involvement:
I have absolutely no connection to the Niger documents, have never even seen them. I did not work on them, never handled them, know virtually nothing about them, don't think I ever wrote or said anything about the subject. I have left a voice mail for Cannistraro suggesting he should apologize and retract right away. I think you should get back to him and ask him if he didn't just make it up, or was repeating gossip. There can be no credible evidence for the claim, and you will not wish to be associated with it, I'm sure.
And you should also notice that you and Cannistraro have misspelled the acronym for the Italian Military Intelligence Service. It's SISMI not SISME. A good Italian like Cannistraro should at least know that!
And Cannistraro has a lot of nerve talking about Ledeen and Iran-Contra:
Cannistraro himself [along with Duane "Dewy" Clarridge, then Chief of the CIA's Latin American Division] headed Casey's original operation to arm the Contras, based on Reagan's March, 1981 decision.
Did you notice what I just posted? Duane Clarridge and Cannistraro are old friends. If the Italians nailed Clarridge for the forgeries...what does that tell you?
My God, how I want to believe that. If the bad guys win yet again, I fear all is lost.
'WHITEWASH WEDNESDAY.' Fittingly, the CIA was the first to know. But many in its rank and file were dismayed by Director James Woolsey's closed-circuit report to the staff on the investigation of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames. "Whitewash Wednesday," one officer called it. Woolsey shared few secrets. While deploring Ames's betrayal, which destroyed the CIA's Soviet network of spies and consigned 10 agents to death, he largely blamed "systemic failure." He reprimanded 11 officers and singled out by name only one--both publicly and in-house--for lapses.
Even then, he pulled his punches. Three of the severely reprimanded had already retired and one, former Bonn station chief Milton Bearden, was only days from retirement. Although Ted Price, the deputy director of operations, was singled out, Woolsey blunted the criticism by lauding his "ability and professionalism" and keeping him at his post. Among the reprimanded but not named was Alan Wolf, the CIA station chief in Rome when Ames's drinking problems and security violations were overlooked.
Then I found this:
Duane 'Dewey' Clarridge longtime CIA field agent (NE & SE Asia) and administrator pardoned by GHW Bush for Iran-Contra involvement; was Aldrich Ames' supervisor (See A Spy for All Seasons, 1997, Scribner's).
Does anyone else find it strange that the two people that Cannistraro name are the same ones that worked with Aldrich Ames, the person that "outed" Valerie Plame to the Russians?
Is there any reporting on this besides Cannistraro's word? I will see what I can find.
What is going on here? I do find it strange that the two people that Cannistraro names are the same ones that worked with Aldrich Ames, the person that "outed" Valerie Plame to the Russians?
My mind doesn't operate enough to figure out a scenario, but I don't believe in those kind of coincidences.
And I will add, much as I've always thought of Woolsey, I'm surprised and disappointed to hear about how he handled that entire matter.
In brief, between 1999 and 2000 the French realize that someone is working abandoned mines to generate a brisk clandestine trade in uranium. Who is purchasing the smuggled uranium? The French are looking for an answer and Rocco Martino senses an opportunity.
But according to Joe Wilson in his infamous NYT op-ed:
Given the structure of the consortiums that operated the mines, it would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. Niger's uranium business consists of two mines, Somair and Cominak, which are run by French, Spanish, Japanese, German and Nigerian interests. If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine, it would have to notify the consortium, which in turn is strictly monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, because the two mines are closely regulated, quasi-governmental entities, selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.
Well, well, what have we here?
The French are aware that uranium is being smuggled out of Niger by persons having access to abandoned uranium mines.
But Joe Wilson, our CIA's man in Niger, concludes, solely from conversations with some has-beens (remember, he was barred by our embassy from talking with current government officials and businessmen) while sipping mint tea by the hotel pool, that it would be impossible to smuggle uranium out of Iraq.
Joe Wilson is so certain of this that he publishes a NYT op-ed revealing the details of what should have been a top secret trip to Niger for the entire world to see.
Now it seems the French knew all along that smuggling of uranium was taking place from Niger. Another outright falsehood by Joe Wilson in his NYT op-ed.
Joe Wilson must surely go down as one of the biggest buffoons in the entire history of American intelligence agencies.
I did find something interesting that I missed before in Hersch's article:
The second former official, Vincent Cannistraro, who served as chief of counter-terrorism operations and analysis, told me that copies of the Burba documents were given to the American Embassy, which passed them on to the C.I.A.s chief of station in Rome, who forwarded them to Washington. Months later, he said, he telephoned a contact at C.I.A. headquarters and was told that the jury was still out on thisthat is, on the authenticity of the documents.
Okay...just how did Cannistraro know about the documents before they were vetted? Sounds a whole lot like Wilson's slip-up about seeing the documents.
Yah! Give it to em.
pissant for Supreme Court.
Dang...gotta run for the evening. How did Cannistraro and the unnamed CIA agent in Hersch's article know about the documents before the CIA vetted them and exactly what path the documents took? He is ex-CIA...where is he getting his info from? I am still convinced that Cannistraro was involved in the forgeries and/or the break in. Guess I'll have to work some more on it tomorrow...'Night all!
Didn't Dewey pass away?
I'm a little distracted right now, ravingnutter, because of a family member who is having serious medical problems, but I'm reading and trying to digest and just want to thank you - BIG TIME - for your extraordinary work and research on this matter.
You should be an investigative reporter, imo, as you are doing more reporting and digging on this matter than anyone in either the MSM or the conservative press.
Dewey's still alive and I ask the poster or moderator to remove that leftwing slander about Ledeen from this site.
There were tons of yellow cake in Iraq, before and after the war. It was, as others have pointed out, acquired before GW1 and (largely) under UN weapons inspector seal when discovered post GW2.
The attempts to acquire yellow cake in Niger involved in the current controversy started in the late 90s and were intended to replace that known and "controlled" stockpile.
You're not wrong, you're just chasing the wrong evidence. The Niger yellow cake acquisition has been proven by both congressional and UK investigations (e.g. the Butler report). The lamestream media is choosing to cover that up. Our job is to ferret out those proofs and remind people of them.
Over and over and over, if necessary.
Our enemies count on us getting tired of going over the same points repeatedly. They then stay "on message" and win by default.
We can't play their game.
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