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 .)
Since they found yellow cake in Iraq after the war, the question of whether Saddam wanted to acquire yellow cake is somewhat irrelevant.
"Indeed, the yellow cake deal became one of the main early foundations for the US justification of an Iraq invasion. "
False statement right in the beginning of the article.
Der Spiegel is full of sh*t in every way, shape and form. BUSH NEVER MENTIONED NIGER OR THAT DAMN ITALIAN DOCUMENT.
Bush said Britain had learned of an attempt to buy yellowcake from AFRICA. And Britains intelligence had NOTHING to do with the forged document or Joe f***ing Wilson.
You are making an attempt to use common sense. Shame on you.
"Since they found yellow cake in Iraq after the war, the question of whether Saddam wanted to acquire yellow cake is somewhat irrelevant."
But,but,but it wasn't the 'refined' kind that makes atom bombs.
Don't cha know!
Problem is, as we all know, the documents were falsified. But where did they originate?<<<
Hmmm...Dan Rather maybe?
Utter nonsense. Russo Martino has admittd under oath he did this in the pay of French intelligence.
Le bump for the real story...
Isn't it awesome how the "facts" the MSM uses change over time? I listened carefully to public comments and speeches Bush made prior to the Iraq war. What he *actually* said bears absolutely no resemblance to the new media mythology. Even Saddam's weapons of mass destruction played only a minor role in the Administration's build-up to the war as I remember. It was Saddam's refusal to allow UN inspections to look for them, and his rejection of the UN resolution requiring inspections, that set things off. The media learned long ago it can create "history" to suit their political needs. We the people have short attention spans.
"Since they found yellow cake in Iraq after the war, the question of whether Saddam wanted to acquire yellow cake is somewhat irrelevant."
this is disinformation and counter spin to the revelation that the person who supplied the forgeries to the Italian security services has now come forward (this past week) and turned himself in to Italian authorities. He has admitted that he was a paid agent of the French DGSE and that they provided him the forgeries. He is saying he thought they were genuine.
Fitzgerald reportedly made a trip to Italy three weeks ago. If true, was it to show evidence of the French intelligence service's involvement in a plot to undermine the American government? A plot involving rogue elements in the CIA along with Joe Wilson and willing accomplices in the MSM?
If the above is true the French would have every incentive to eliminate their agent/dupe so that he can't implicate them, hence his coming forward as his only means of protecting himself.
The French had two motives for pulling off such an operation. First they were actively supporting Saddam and trying to stop the US from enforcing the peace agreement that ended GW1 and the subsequent UN resolutions. Second a French government owned company controls the yellow cake urnaium mining operations in Niger. There was already other intelligence that Saddam was working with this company to obtain yellow cake to replace the material under UN inspector seal so that he could restart his nuke program. The French created the forgeries and planted them in the intelligence community so that they could later be exposed as fakes. That would then discredit any other evidence as likely fake as well.
The elements within the CIA who mounted their end of the operation (e.g. sending a partisan opponent of President Bush to Niger) were desperate to deflect criticism for their pitiful failure for 30 years in dealing with islamic terrorism. They also have been in a war with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who are trying to clean house of the paper shufflers and clintonistas and this was a way to strike back.
The Plame / Wilson / Rove / Libby "scandal" is a bonus. That is unless Fitzgerald is actually investigating the underlying crime of treason exposed by the "leak" investigation.
Bits and pieces. That's how a good prosecutor builds a case. Wouldn't it be great if this is what Fitzgerald was doing? Imagine the rhetorical whiplash the MSM goons who have been praising Fitzgerald as "non partison" and "above politics" when they have to start attacking him. Of course, there are a few on the other side, such as Sean Hannity, who will have the opposite problem.
It would be fun.
BTW - The Spiegel is maybe leftist but for sure the best information base in Germany.
Thanks for the link. Strange that the Italian never said anything when he was in Washington (see the three links above)
I haven't dug real deep into the stories at all. What Bush said was that the British learned Saddam tried to obtain yellow cake from Africa. The parsing of the words to try to make it a lie based on Niger is and always has been silly. Clearly the security council was in Saddam's pocket.
'Read the original Italian'. . .bump. . .
plus, there's no love lost between Berlusconi and the German liberal elite.
Exactly! From the start, this has one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on the American people.
From Bush's "16 Words:"
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Bush never evens mentions Niger...and, has previously been noted by even the Butler report, Saddam had sought uranium from other African countries including the Congo. Heck, even Wilson admitted that a Saddam rep tried to procure a deal from Niger in 1999...which obviously means Saddam was "seeking" uranium. The 16 Words was never a lie.
The original article is Italian, not German ;-)
That is the key to the truth. Bush knew that Saddam had compromised the UN Security Council. He forced the SC to admit that Saddam was in noncompliance. Failure to do so would have meant that France, Germany, Russia and the UN High Command would be exposed as corrupt traitors, a fate they are narrowly escaping to date.
The yellow cake story was documented quite apart from forged documents and was proven true when the materials were discovered in Iraq.
This criminal cabal, which includes Marxist CIA operatives, continues to act like a cat in a litter box.
and der spiegel's interest in promulgating it is?
Or Belusconi and the commie-socialists in Italy for that matter.
Another, pathetic, traitorous, MSM myth that every stinking leftie believes to be true.
this was a collaborative effort by the French and CIA coordinated by Wilson and his second wife. Fitzgerald went to Italy to investigate the Niger Embassy burglary...when the letterhead and seals for the forgeries were stolen. The Italians released a press report yesterday saying they had nothing to do with the forgeries:
Spiegel is merely reflecting the anti-war attitude - or bias - of the left-leaning chunk of German society. It has been shown that Saddam had hundreds of tons of uranium, both yellowcake and enriched. Where did that come from if not Africa? So are we to assume that Bush is a liar? And Joe Wilson evidently had his own axe to grind.
exactly. why do people continue to pursue 2 separte issues and try and connect them. like "there is not link between iraq and 9/11"
I thought Rupert Murdoch paid for the Hitler diaries, and published them in one of his brittish papers.
Iraq had lots of yellowcake that the UN inspectors found and tagged before the war. It's what they were trying to buy illegally and without the UN's watchdogs guarding it that is the problem.
Lots of dirty deals in this matter and some familiar names starting to crop up.
It is notable that last week, the phone number listed on Fitz's new web page was answered with the greeting "Counterintelligence" at DoJ. The reason given was that Fitz and his nomadic staff just coincidentally happened to be crammed into that particular office space at DoJ, and didn't have their own telephone.
Right, a two year investigation with no telephone. Sorry, not plausible. Why concoct such an absurd cover?
Because this is first and foremost a counterintelligence investigation, not a political one, and it's not about trivial political perjury or certainly about Plame's long-disproven status as a "covert agent".
So if there is any truth whatsoever to Rove and Libby being "targets", it is only at the end of a very long chain that begins with Wilson, Plame, and their pals at the CIA, and the injection of false documents and false statements into the intelligence process.
You don't maintain a counterintelligence investigation for two years over two or four or even ten acts of alleged "perjury".
This is pretty certainly the real story behind the Plame/Wilson affair: an attempt to embarrass and undermine President Bush jointly mounted by French intelligence and rogue CIA agents.
I alternate between hoping that Fitzgerald may actually be intent on ferreting out the truth and fearing that he may be coopted by the media into indicting Libby or Rove on some weak technicality. Wouldn't it be splendid if he turns out to be Eliot Ness and actually indicts the bad guys?
It most certainly would and any fair reading of the facts and the multiple anonymous leaks that appeared every time Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld made a statement on Iraq make this a serious possibility.
We knew Saddam had yellowcake. That is why I always suspected the Niger stuff was bogus. The difference between yellowcake and a nuclear bomb is the difference between maple sap and maple syrup.
There is alot of processing going on. 99% of the yellowcake is discarded in the process. If I remember correctly, we allowed 500 tons of yellow cake to remain under seal at the end of Gulf War I. We checked the seals every year, until the inspectors were thrown out, and they were intact. Since that point, Saddam could have used the yellowcake he had. Why would he have needed to buy any from Niger?
Could be an interesting press conference on Halloween. Burlesconi is meeting with the President that day. I am sure he will get grilled.
Is there a link to this?
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.