The Niger Forgeries

Saturday, November 05, 2005
Sorokossack and DUer fantasists have been having heart palpitations for two years about the origin of the forged documents purporting to prove an attempt by Iraq to purchase uranium in Niger. The fantasy involves a neocon cabal being the ultimate "source" of the forgeries which were (again, within the fantasy) primary evidence for the "Bush Lied, People Died" case. The forgeries also played a part in Jumpin' Joe Wilson's "Excellent African Adventure" and have been used by him as part of the justification for his wife's exercise in nepotism in suggesting that he possessed the competency to investigate anything more than the ease with which information may be extracted from a "covert operative".

The FBI now reports that they concur with the Italian government's initial assertion that the documents were produced by a petty scamster solely for pecuniary motive. The lefty's fantasy has been driven by a series of articles in the Italian newspaper "La Repubblica" (think of a cross between the National Enquirer and The Nation) by a couple of journos who combine Josh Marshal's reputation for accuracy in prediction with Sydney Blumenthal's style and wit. I've read the series in La Repubblica and the Italian journo's reliance upon "anonymous" sources with a political ax to grind is worse than the Times. No proof, no substance, no facts - just the suggestion of a tenuous web woven with the gossamer threads of innuendo.

The chief neocon figure attacked by both the lefties and the Italian journos is Michael Ledeen who bears the terrible burden of actually being fluent in Italian AND being one of the supposed architects of the Cheney groups "rush to war" effort. In fact, Michael Ledeen's only sin is being an articulate and informed voice with the mental capacity to identify and address the dangers that Saddam and the Mad Mullahs in Teheran pose(d) to the security of the United States.

Jay Rockefeller's assinine comment concerning the "thoroughness" of the FBI investigation is going to keep the Sorokossack's hopes alive and will help sustain the Democrats limping smear campaign for a bit longer but those of us who are actually sane may lay this issue aside with confidence.

Unless one wants to make an assertion as to the FBI's competence, of course. It will be interesting to watch the Dems claim that the FBI was incompetent in their investigation of the provenance of the forgeries while asserting that the FBI did a great job in investigating Libby.

UPDATE

Terrye raises a question in comments concerning continuing investigations and Jay Rockefeller. Rockefeller exposed the Dem hand in this infamous memo which outlines what passes for strategic political thought among top Democrats.

UPDATE

My thanks to Roger for highlighting this piece and welcome to those of you visiting. Please, take a look around and say hi to some of the other contributors.

90 comments:

David Thomson said...

“The fantasy involves a neocon cabal”

What is a neocon cabal? This is simply a disingenuous way for leftists to blast Jews who allegedly conspire to start WWIII on behalf of Israel. Radical Rightists don’t hesitate to directly slander Jews. The politically correct left wingers, however, feel that they should be a bit more discrete. This is especially necessary because of the high number of self hating Jews within their ranks.

Jamie Irons said...

Rick,

I especially like the trap for the left that you call attention to in your last paragraph!

Jamie Irons

jeff said...

Who knew that Ledeen was a covert administration official??

terrye said...

Rick:

What does Rockefller suggest? Is the taxpayer to foot the bill for one investigation after another until someone comes up with one the Democrats like?

Rick Ballard said...

Good question, Terrye. I added an update that explains the thimblewit's ratiocinations concerning "investigations". The Dems haven't even mastered checkers and they keep trying to play 3D chess.

Anonymous said...

According to Mac Ranger at http://macsmind.blogspot.com/; AJ Strata at http://strata-sphere.com/blog/; and Tom McGuire at http://justoneminute.typepad.com/, there is much more to this story than just the FBI report. I recommend checking these bloggers out to see if their predictions bear fruit.

Syl said...

There was also a bit of right-wing fantasy about the forgeries...that they were concocted by CIA or ex-CIA to damage Bush.

I'm glad the investigation is complete. I question the timing though. (not really...much)

The main thing to remember about the forgeries is that they are a red herring.

It's the twisting of things into their opposite that is driving me crazy about the Left.

Oh, btw, Ledeen is fluent in Italian but the forgeries were in French. I think Roger L pointed that out.

markg8 said...

What is a neocon cabal? I'd say it includes the Office of Special Plans in the DOD that cherry picked bad intelligence like these hamdhanded forgeries and the White House Iraq Group that trumpeted that bad intelligence to the credulous US media to stampede the country into war. Last I checked Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld aren't Jewish but what do I know? I'm just a whacko member of the reality based community.

Rick Ballard said...

The 'hamhanded forgeries" only have importance in the Alterman reality. Find a reference by any administration official to these specific documents and I would argue the point of their importance.

If you actually check out the forgeries entrance into the discusiion you'll wind up on the NYT e-page of July 6, 2003 under the signature of the very dimwitted Joe Wilson (Liar, Ordinary).

Keep clapping, Tinkerbelle will die if you don't.

markg8 said...

Those hamhanded forgeries could have left the discussion if the administration had allowed Wilson to return to the obscurity of his consulting biz and his wife to her job as a covert CIA operative after Tenet took the blame for not keeping this garbage out of Bush's 01/03 SOTU speech on July 11, 2003. But they couldn't do that. No, they had to step over the line and out Valerie Plame and along with her the whole Brewster Jennings front company nuclear non proliferation operation she worked at.

Now tell me again how unimportant those forgeries were. Seems to me they were important enough to the White House back in the summer of
2003 to jeopardize not only national security but their whole agenda by stepping over that line to punish Wilson's wife for having the temerity to disagree with them. And for what? They weren't even pretending the information was accurate anymore and it surely didn't matter at that point anyway, we were already in Baghdad and they were successfully selling a different rationale for the war to the American public.

markg8 said...

That should read:
"Seems to me they were important enough to the White House back in the summer of 2003 to jeopardize not only national security but their whole agenda by stepping over that line to punish Wilson's wife for him having the temerity to disagree with them.

terrye said...

mark:

You know what? If the left had been half as interested in getting answers to Saddam's wmd capacity a decade ago as they are in creating weird ass little conspiracy theories today we would not be having this discussion.

So much for reality based community.

As for Wilson, it would have been alot easier to let him go back to obscurity if the press had not been his biggest freaking fan club.

Rick Ballard said...

The forgeries were not mentioned in the SOTU. To imply that they were is to uncritically accept Joe Wilson's fantasy without reference to British intelligence reports that specifically address the fact that the forgeries did not play any part in their intelligence assessment that Hussein had sought to purchase uranium in Africa. The Brits stand by their intelligence today as firmly as they did when the provided the assessments used by the President in the SOTU.

Politics is a tough business and the Wilson's were counting on Kerry to block for them with regard to Joe's lies and his wife's nepotistic decicision to urge that her husband be sent at government expense to do a little log rolling for his personal consulting firm in Niger. Counting on Kerry has never made anyone any healthier or wealthier - wiser, yes.

There is more to come on Wilson, Mark - and the Alterman reality folks aren't going to like it at all.

Peter UK said...

There it is again,Valery PlaMe "covert" agent,makes on wonder where ,viewing potential oppositional nations a Scandinavian blonde could be usefully "covert".
Obviously Scandinavia? No,too obvious,Russia? No,they aren't dumb enough to fall for a front company like Brewster Jennings,Cuba perhaps,a little hair dye,dark contact lenses,a quick course in rolling cigars on her thighs,Nah! Too Hollywood even for the CIA!
So it is either Iran or Beltway cocktail parties.Since the latter are the only places where an American Ambassadors wife could roam freely that must be it.

Peter UK said...

Rick,
Is there any idea how much the CIA paid Wilson to go to Niger? I don't know how many employess the CIA has but surely the was a specialist already on the payroll who could have gone? In private industry this is called corruption.

PatCA said...

Hey, I didn't know you guys were all hanging out here.

Good blog!


PJ

Rick Ballard said...

Mark,

My apologies for not issuing a warm YARGBie welcome to our comments section. There will always be someone here willing to engage inhabitants of the Alterman Reality in general discourse on a relatively polite basis. If you run accross any extraterrestrials on your side of the veil, let them know that they too are welcome to visit.

Peter,

I understand that Monday may bring a bit of clarification concerning French involvement with the Niger docs. I don't believe that Wilson was paid for the trip. There is some question concerning him having used taxpayer paid transportation to conduct personal business pertaining to his consulting firm. To date, that is purely speculative although it must be noted that his only previous experience concerning uranium ore production would probably have come from his dealings with COGEMA - the Canadian headquartered French consortium which operates mines both in Niger and in Gabon - where Wilson served as ambassador prior to his leaving the foreign service for "personal" reasons.

markg8 said...

"If the left had been half as interested in getting answers to Saddam's wmd capacity a decade ago as they are in creating weird ass little conspiracy theories today we would not be having this discussion."

Um seems to me the left, if you can call Bill Clinton "left", looked at the same evidence provided by the same motly assortment of Iraqi defectors and other "intelligence" peddlers (as did the CIA) and even in his darkest Monica days in the summer of 1998 didn't succumb to the PNAC boys' siren song open letter inviting him to remove Saddam by any means necessary with their full support when he really could have used a diversion.

The fact is we didn't need to invade Iraq to establish Saddam had no WMDs. The UN inspectors were doing that when we ordered them out in March 2003. And as we all recall (or should) disarming Saddam was the reason for war.

Rick if the Brits stand by their evidence to this day then why haven't they released any details?
What downside would there be? None I can see and there's a tremendous upside. Niger denies the story and there are only two other African nations that export uranium. They could have and still can make Wilson's story go away (though not Plamegate) if they just come clean.
But they don't. And frankly at this late stage, long after the hunt for WMDs has ended and all the other evdience has been debunked what possible reason could Blair have for not backing up Bush in his hour of need?

Peter UK said...

"it must be noted that his only previous experience concerning uranium"

I don't think this is strictly true,I believe he had one of those watches that had hands an numbers which lit up,I must admit he was only young at the time.

Peter UK said...

"if the Brits stand by their evidence to this day then why haven't they released any details? "

Are you suggesting the release of classified material and the possible outing of a covert agent?

Rick Ballard said...

Mark,

How many times have you seen any intelligence service reveal sources, means or methods? The Venona project wasn't declassified for 50 years.

Secrecy just seems to be one of the drawbacks to having Secret Services. Amazingly enough.

terrye said...

Mark:

Actually Bill Clinton bombed Iraq in December 1998 and he also wrote the Iraqi Liberation Act calling for the removal of Saddam from power. To say he had nothing to do with the invasion when his own man Pollack was writing a book justifying the invasion of Iraq and everything Clinton did only made confrontation more likely is disengenuous.



I was a Democrat back then and I never doubted Saddam had the weapons and I remember watching Clinton on TV when he explained the danger of Saddam and the necessity of bombing Iraq and I thought then that it was only a matter of time.

I also remember Al Gore saying in 2002 that it was time we dealt with Saddam on our terms. And Clinton did support the invasion.

Now these people are trying to act as if they were out of town that week visiting a sick aunt and had nothing to do with any of this.

I think that after 9/11 with that intel, the knowledge that Saddam had tried to kill a president, that he harbored terrorists [one of which had been involved in the 1993 attack on the WTC] and Saddam's continued refusal to comply that Gore or Clinton either one would have done just what Bush, Blair and Howard did.

For the life of me I do not udnerstand why and how people who call themselves liberals can be so dead set against democracy in Iraq.

markg8 said...

Wilson says he already had a trip planned for Africa and agreed to include Niamey on his itinerary for the CIA. They paid his expenses but he did it probono. So if there was any financial perk it would be the CIA covering his cost of flying to the continent. $1000? He may have gotten a tax benefit out of it too for all I know but that's about it.

Oh and Niger? It's the second poorest country in the world. Niamey isn't exactly a top vacation destination.

vnjagvet said...

Mark:

The difference between the situation in 2002-2003 and that in 1998 was this combination of factors not earlier present:

September 11, the beginning of an announced campaign of terrorism against the United States by Al Queda;

The successful removal of Al Queda from its main base in Afghanistan;

The diaspora of Al Queda remnants throughout the Middle East, including to Iraq;

The increased efforts of Hussein to rid himself of the pesky inspections and get the UN supervision lifted;

Hussein's unwillingness to conform to either the letter or the spirit of a plethora of UN resolutions;

Continued intelligence showing that Hussein had unaccounted for chemical and biological weapons delivery systems;

Continued intelligence showing Hussein still wanted to develop nuclear weapons.

Under those cirumstances, none of which were believed by most informed people to be controversial at the time, it seemed unwise to allow Hussein to remain in power.

Peter UK said...

"Oh and Niger? It's the second poorest country in the world. Niamey isn't exactly a top vacation destination."

Which makes it all the more curious why the Iraqi Information Minister and member of Saddam Husseins inner cabal
Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf, aka "Baghdad Bob,made a visit.

ex-democrat said...

Vn - memory is hazy as to the details, but didn't we discover during that period the Norks had cheated - ramming home the rather large downside to a perennial 'wait and see' attitude?

Barry Dauphin said...

Rick,

A nice post on a topic the Moveon.org folks outwit themselves on. It is fascinating how something like their Ledeen wet dream (i.e., an articulate spokeperson for democracy in Iran is really a conniving warmonger, so therefore the deomcracy thing in Iraq is really a front to grab oil so that we can cause global warming that will require people to buy special safety pods made only by Halliburton which will be protected from prosecution by "machine gun Sammy" Alito...) fades into the background when the slow work of fact checking sends up a flare.

Do any of the moonies publicly retract anything said that is inflammatory and false? Instead it's go back to the "...disarming Saddam was the reason for war." How soon some forget that big brave Bill lobbed cruise missiles at Saddam's suspected WMD facilities and that we were already at war with Iraq, and that Bill and the Dems (including Jay Rockefeller) were threatening to send troops over there (before 9/11 ever happened) and that we had imposed no fly zones and sanctions over a country we had never signed a truce with or they forget Bush's speech to the UN in 2002 arguing for compliance from Saddam or his removal for a complex set of reasons or actually listened to the rest of the 2003 SOTU speech beyond the 16 words or that the 16 words did not say what the moonbats keep saying they say or that many were the same folks who had been calling for an end to the sanctions they then said were working and should be left in place, and ignore the Oil for Palaces prgram, etc.

It is a really good blog you guys from Roger's place have created.

terrye said...

I have to say with people like Valerie Plame and her hubby doing the intel it is no small wonder things were screwed up.

BTW, does anyone really know what happened to the weapons?

I know Hans Blix said there was a "presumption" that the weapons existed, but if they were indeed destroyed, when and where?

How hard would it have been to smuggle the wmd out of the country?

I certainly do not know but it would seem to me that it would be easier for the Iraqi regime to move the weapons than for so many people to be wrong.

I remember Madeline Albright saying her greatest fear was not that there were no weapons, but that there were and if so, where are they now?

terrye said...

barry:

Hello. Yes, they do love to chase their fluffy little tails don't they?

Whatever will they do and whoever will they hate when Bush goes back to Texas.

They say they can not wait, but in truth they will find that once Bush is gone they will still be toads.

loony little toads.

Rick Ballard said...

Mark is making his points without much snark. There are people living in the Alterman Reality who are capable of doing so and not deserving of reactionary response. Yet.

Hi, Barry. Thanks for the compliment. We're having a good time here and still having a good time at Roger's. Can't beat it.

markg8 said...

Peter UK I suggest you go read the Scooter Libby INDICTMENT. Maybe the news hasn't reached your side of the pond yet. It's "serious business" as the President says.

Rick thanks for the welcome. I love relatively polite discourse but I can swear like Dick Cheney on the Senate floor if you'd like too. It's easier than spellchecking the big adjectives.

Wilson spent over 20 years working on African affairs, including a stint as Clinton's senior director for African affairs at the NSC. He speaks fluid French which comes in handy in Niger because they are a former French colony and they do too. Which btw explains why the forgeries were written in French. Somebody go tell Roger Simon how silly he sounds will ya? Wilson was hailed as "truly inspiring" and "courageous" by George H. W. Bush after sheltering more than one hundred Americans at the US embassy in Baghdad, and mocking Saddam Hussein's threats to execute anyone who refused to hand over foreigners by wearing a noose as a necktie and daring Saddam to try.

I'd be awful careful about whatever else you try to pin on him unless you're absolutely sure your source doesn't lead back to Rove this time. He's getting pretty radioactive, even at the WH. Karl didn't get "Roved" on the frontpage of the WaPo yday by anonymous sources in the WH for nothing ya know. Anymore of his famous oppo smear tactics could backfire him right out onto the street if not into the pokey.

Peter UK said...

Terrye,
The crucial point is,Saddam Hussein was on parole, yet he constantly behaved as if he had WMD,frustrated the Inspectors to an enormous extent,flouted the No Fly zones and locked on to Coalition plane,even firing on some.He completely ignored the UN Resolutions.
In a normal policing situation,he would have simply been taken down.and he was.
It is impossible to arrest a man with an army without going through the army first so we did.
Those who say it was a law and order matter are right and that is the way it was handled,Saddam Hussein was arrested

Peter UK said...

"Peter UK I suggest you go read the Scooter Libby INDICTMENT. Maybe the news hasn't reached your side of the pond yet. It's "serious business" as the President says."

What has the Scooter Libby INDICTMENT,(a capitalist eh?) got to do with the price of cow peas in Niger.
Libby was not charged with anything to do with either Plame or Wilson,the charge is in connection with the conduct of Fitzgerald's investigation.
I know Libby has been INDICTED but he has retained counsel and pleaded NOT GUILTY!

Peter UK said...

"Wilson spent over 20 years working on African affairs, including a stint as Clinton's senior director for African affairs at the NSC. He speaks fluid French which comes in handy in Niger"

Fluid, has the bugger been at the bottle again?

Rick Ballard said...

Mark,

My mention (not Roger's) of Ledeens ability to speak Italian ties to the Alterman Reality version that it was his 'close' contacts within Sismi who generated and tried to pass off the Nigeri forgeries.

As to Wilson's experience in Africa, nobody denies that he was ambassador to Gabon and that being a Francophone probably helped out in that respect. I believe that '20 years experience' may be an overstatement and I believe that his overall competence to assess the uranium extraction process is totally dependent upon his relationship with COGEMA during his stint in Gabon. All of that will play out a little at a time over the coming months. As will his Saudi connections.

markg8 said...

What Rick said Terrye. Play nice.

And *sigh* whatever will we do without George Bush to irrationally hate? Have you ever stopped to think that there are some of us, now about 60% of the American public and most of the rest of the world that have very serious concerns about where he's leading this country? Have you ever objectively stepped back and looked at how he's screwed up his own professed goals almost everywhere? It ain't just fluffy tailed nutjobs saying it for partisan's sake, it's a long list of Republicans like Brent Scowcroft and Larry Wilkerson. You think they like
sewing division among Repubs?

Peter UK said...

"Have you ever stopped to think that there are some of us, now about 60% of the American public and most of the rest of the world that have very serious concerns about where he's leading this country?"

No
One,because we are still thinking about the Niger Forgeries.
Two we are still laughing at the French.

Mark said...

Yeah that's some real perspective. Some petty crooks throw out the bait and the administraion cites it in a run up to war. How adept of them.

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me how resolution 1441 simply disappears down the left's memory hole.

Has Saddam complied he'd still be in power. The only reason he didn't comply was because he had something to hide. I strongly suspect we found what he was hiding - a full fledged program to develop nuclear weapons. Ha, ha you say, we didn't find nuthin in Iraq.

But Iraq was not a good place to develop WMD. The UN was snooping around the place and the US had a distressing tendency to bomb things that looked suspicious.

So, Saddam out-sourced his nuclear program to Libya. That was discovered around the time it was obvious the jig was up for Saddam.

Try googling "Libya Iraq joint weapons programs"

Mark said...

Wow, some opinions really are embarassing. I'd say the so-called hatred is alve and well here in wingerville. There are no cabals. Not necessary when everything is right out in the open demial and all. Amazing pretzel logic.

ambisinistral said...

Um seems to me the left, if you can call Bill Clinton "left", looked at the same evidence provided by the same motly assortment of Iraqi defectors and other "intelligence" peddlers (as did the CIA) and even in his darkest Monica days in the summer of 1998 didn't succumb to the PNAC boys' siren song open letter inviting him to remove Saddam by any means necessary with their full support when he really could have used a diversion.

---------------------------------

"Just consider the facts," Bill Clinton urged.

"Iraq repeatedly made false declarations about the weapons that it had left in its possession after the Gulf War. When UNSCOM would then uncover evidence that gave the lie to those declarations, Iraq would simply amend the reports. For example, Iraq revised its nuclear declarations four times within just 14 months and it has submitted six different biological warfare declarations, each of which has been rejected by UNSCOM. In 1995, Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law, and chief organizer of Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more. Then and only then did Iraq admit to developing numbers of weapons in significant quantities and weapon stocks. Previously, it had vehemently denied the very thing it just simply admitted once Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected to Jordan and told the truth."

Clinton was on a roll:

"Now listen to this: What did it admit? It admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability--notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs. And might I say, UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production.

Next, throughout this entire process, Iraqi agents have undermined and undercut UNSCOM. They've harassed the inspectors, lied to them, disabled monitoring cameras, literally spirited evidence out of the back doors of suspect facilities as inspectors walked through the front door. And our people were there observing it and had the pictures to prove it. "

More Clinton: "We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century," he argued. "They will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen. There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein."


---------------------------------

A little honesty is in order. As this article documents Clinton was clearly opposed to the regime of Saddam. In fact, in 1998 Democrats supported a resolution calling for military action against Iraq.

It would be much more accurate for Democrats to argue that all the Republican whining about Clinton playing "wag the dog", to divert attention from the 60 million dollar blowjob investigation, limited his actions.

Neither party is blameless in the mistakes that led up to 9/11. Also, until 9/11, neither party would have had the public support for an invasion.

This Plame business is just as silly, and just as damaging, as Republican screaming "diversion" every time Clinton did respond to Iraq or al Queda. Both Parties would be well served to spend more time keeping their eyes on the prize.

Mark said...

"I strongly suspect we found what he was hiding - a full fledged program to develop nuclear weapons. Ha, ha you say, we didn't find nuthin in Iraq."

Imagine it Igor. Don't let reality hit you in the keister. Doesn't look there's much danger of that, Heh!

ambisinistral said...

Mark,

Do you have something to say beside, "I'm right and you're wrong, neener-neener"?

Peter UK said...

Ambi,
No!

ex-democrat said...

Perhaps I missed this, but has Wilson ever publicly explained why he left out of his (in)famous op-ed the small detail that Niger's former prime minister admitted to him that Iraq attempted to purchase yellowcake from Niger in late 1999?

Peter UK said...

There is proof over at The Belgravia Desoatch

Mark said...

Well how do you account for no evidence of a follow up? I know you want to play up the 1999. In three years. And the attempt was unsuccessful and incomplete.
I understand, Wilson was hiding that because he wanted them to get the yellowcake. What a pack of nutcases.

JB said...

"Imagine it Igor. Don't let reality hit you in the keister."

It seems to me if an inhabitant of Planet X, without any prejudices of the Bush administration were to drop in on planet Earth, he could find plausible the possibility of a Saddam transfering some of his WMDs to a Bashir. That's knowing what we know of those two.

Short of invading Syria how will we know? Speculation isn't fact, and constructing narratives giving the benefit of the doubt to those two seems to stretch the boundaries of honest discourse.

That's the trouble with the left's narrative. No matter how many people may have "concerns" about GWB's leadership, there aren't enough people who can be convinced that W. is less trustworthy than those two. Not for the lack of trying.

ex-democrat said...

that's an answer??

Syl said...

Mark

What you're missing is that the forgeries had NOTHING to do with the 16 words.

The 'debunking' of the forgeries had NOTHING to do with Wilson. He debunked nothing himself.

The various intel departments and agencies were sceptical that Niger actually sold yellowcake to Iraq anyway!!

But they certainly suspected that Saddam was TRYING.

You cannot make a case for/against war on some forgeries that played NO PART in the case.

Peter UK said...

The yellowcake industry in Niger is controlled by the French company COGEMA,The forged documents were claimed by the Italian security services to have French provenance.
De Villepin arranged a meeting with Colin Powell at the French Embassy concerning the Iraq war,Powell was astonished to see,at the time the meeting should have been taking place that,De Villepin was making a speech denouncing the war.
France promissed support in the UN,then went round bribing and strongarming its former colonies to vote No.
France,was up to its neck in the Oil For Food crime,through multifarious businesses,Paribas,TotalFinaElf,its Ambassabor to the UN has been charged.
So when Joe Wilson asks a representative of Cogems,"Did the Iraqis try to buy yellow cake". the answer is likely to be "Non Monsieur".

There is also some confusion,the charge is that Iraq "attempted" to buy yellowcake,not that it did.
Even walking close to yellowcake was breaking the terms of the cease fire .It sahould be noted that Chirac sold Saddam Hussein his first nuclear reactor,where Saddam claime he would make the "First Arab bomb"
This was the reactor at Osirak that the Israelis bombed.

It is quite natural, therefore,to check ones pockets after the French have said "Non"

markg8 said...

Unfortunately those forgeries are a big part if not the entire basis of the 16 words: "The British government, has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

If the British have evidence of different attempts they really ought to come forward and let Gabon, South Africa or Namibia (the only other African countries with commercial uranium mining operations
at the time, Gabon's has reportedly since closed) refute or acknowledge them. This doesn't necessitate revealing sources or methods. Saddam's in prison. We've scoured his country and interrogated if not arrested most of his nuclear scientists and diplomats. If there's anything to this story from Iraq's side why wasn't the administration waving valid documentary evidence around or dragging Professor X or General Y to interveiews with Judy Miller in the summer of 2003 to corraborate it instead of desperately trying to smear Wilson?
Since no one has ever said the mystery nation involved even entertained taking Saddam up on this supposed offer it wouldn't even embarrass the unwilling suitor.

The CIA and WH went back and forth over this claim in the fall of 2002.
It had been refuted by Joe Wilson, a 4 star marine general, and Bush's own ambassador to Niger. The CIA successfully got it removed from Bush's speech in Cincinnati on 10/6/02. But the Bush boys finally thought they weaseled a workaround for this claim they really wanted to make by saying the Brits "learned" of it. The Brit intel agencies were sharing information with the CIA too weren't they? Why would the CIA be unwilling to back that claim if there was other compelling evidence?

When Wilson heard Bush say the 16 words in the 01/03 SOTU speech he was shocked. He knew if Bush was referring to Niger it was BS.

So immediately after the SOTU speech
the IAEA, under the provisions of Res. 1441, asked the WH for it's evidence. What did we give them? The forgeries.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the president's poll numbers I find it odd that most of those trumpeting the numbers now did not mention them when they were high. If they did mention them they would comment on how dumb Americans were. Polls go up and polls go down. Strong men and women make decisions regardless of polls. And no...as others have pointed out prior...neither GW nor Cheney are running in 2008.

Charlie (Colorado) said...

Unfortunately those forgeries are a big part if not the entire basis of the 16 words: "The British government, has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Mark, are you even faintly trying to keep up on this? You're asserting that the forgeries were a big part of the statement; the British government's own report says they weren't. Do you have some evidence that the they were? What?

Is the explanation hysterical blindness?

Syl said...

mark

"instead of desperately trying to smear Wilson?"

The administration had to figure out what the HELL was going on first. There was NO report with Wilson's name on it that they could wave around.

Because Wilson had debunked nothing the CIA just added a few lines concerning the fact a sale was improbable but there was an attempt in 1999 to open trade talks which the former Interior Minister had assumed meant yellowcake.

Even this snippet did not have Wilson's name on it.

That's how UNIMPORTANT Wilson was.

Are you under the impression that the intelligence behind Iraq consisted of a dozen items and anything there that could discredit Wilson could be found quickly?

The reason the administration couldn't immediately discredit Wilson on the facts of his trip was that Wilson was so damned unimportant he didn't even show up in the system.

Rick Ballard said...

Markg8,

We turned over the documents to the IAEA with a specfic disclaimer as to their reliability:

February 4, 2003: State Department officials give the IAEA the information the agency requested about Iraq's attempts to obtain uranium from Niger, telling the agency that it "cannot confirm these reports and [has] questions regarding some specific claims."

Tony Blair disposed of the assertion with reference to the forgeries thusly:

Q6. [125879] Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak): On 3 July, the Government finally admitted that they had not passed to the International Atomic Energy Agency the evidence on which the Prime Minister based his statement to the House that we know that Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Is the Prime Minister not concerned that the failure of the source of that intelligence to pass it on to the IAEA for scrutiny constitutes a breach of article 10 of Security Council resolution 1441, and would he still use such words of absolute certainty today?

The Prime Minister: I stand by entirely the claim that was made last September. Let me make two points to my hon. Friend. First, as she knows, the intelligence on which we based that was not the so-called forged documents that have been put to the IAEA. The IAEA has accepted that it received no such forged documents from British intelligence: we had independent intelligence to that effect. Secondly, it may be worth pointing out to the House and to the public that it is not as if the link between Niger and Iraq was some invention of the CIA or Britain. We know that in the 1980s Iraq purchased more than 270 tonnes of uranium from Niger. Therefore, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility—let us at least put it like that—that Iraq went back to Niger again. That is why I stand by entirely the statement that was made in the September dossier.

That thread won't hold, Mark.

Syl said...

Furthermore, Wilson led people to believe (note the questions of reporters at the time) that Cheney had sent him, received his 'report', then ignored it.

Upon requesting info from the CIA, the CIA came back with the fact this group within the bowels of the CIA had, with his wife's involvement, sent Wilson to Niger, without Cheney's knowledge.

No report to Cheney's office was ever made specifically concerning Wilson's trip.

That's what the administration had to work with. It took much much longer to sort out all the details.

The reason the administration said they shouldn't have included the 16 words was not because they were false, but because citing foreign intelligence didn't belong in the SOTU.

We had intelligence of our own.

ex-democrat said...

mark has long since demonstrated that he is impervious to logic; however, in case there are others out there of his persuasion but interested in thinking i'll ask this simple question again: Wilson reported to the CIA that Niger's former prime minister admitted to him that Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake from Niger in late 1999; how then can you explain the fact that he omitted this fact from his NYT "tell all" op-ed? Unless he has alzheimmers, i cannot imagine an innocent explanation for this oversight. Think about it.
Also, if you have trouble with this one, think about why, by comparison, you are so willing to disbelieve Libby, based on the facts there (for facts, read the actual indictment).
In the end, this is not about that stuff out there; it's about what is going on in your own head.

markg8 said...

Ok Peter let me see if I understand your argument. The French government was up to it's neck in the Oil for Food scandal and didn't want that gravy train derailed and their complicity exposed. So they badly forged up some phony docs "proving" Saddam was trying to buy over 500 tons of yellowcake in Niger thus making Bush's argument for invasion stronger and the liklihood of exposing their complicity in the Oil for Food scandal greater. And as a kicker they decided to implicate their own state run mining company COGEMA. Now theory that deserves some serious snark but I think I'll let it stand on it's own.

As for that French reactor in Iraq the French not only built it for Saddam they gave the Israelis targetting coordinates on where to bomb it. If I'm not mistaken they also sold Israel the Mirage jets they bombed the site with. Somewhere Milo Minderbender was having a good laugh I'm sure.

But speaking of Saddam's old nuclear program which also included a subsequent Russian reactor that was destroyed in the first Gulf War, there was a bigger reason he had no reason to send emmisaries around the world attracting exactly the kind of attention he didn't need. He already had 500+ tons of yellowcake in UN sealed drums at the Al Tuwaitha facility. According to the UN inspectors they were in the same condition in February 2003 that they were in 1998 when Saddam threw the last batch of inspectors out, just dustier. He didn't need yellowcake if he really wanted to try building nukes again. He needed a whole bunch of equipment he didn't have. That equipment could have been bought thru A.Q. Khan's network but apparently he didn't try because once again when we pulled apart that network where was the evidence that he had? Or if he was in cahoots with Khaddafy where is the evidence of that?

Peter UK said...

This faith in the probity of the IAEA is touching,and,since that organisation had links to the Iraqi regime,there had been a number of bribery attempts,somewhat naive.

The IAEA gave Iraq a pass on its first nuclear weapons development,so it is not that astounding that it had no credibility.

Since the vast, all embracing, criminal conspiracy that ran through every level of the UN like a pecunary fungus,meant that information passing through one of its tendrils was likely to find its way back to Iraq,nobody in their right mind would give classified information to this wholly owned subsidiary of the Arab League and the International Left.

Mark said...

"But they certainly suspected that Saddam was TRYING."

No they didn't. It was a longshot chance at best and longshots rarely pay off, hence the CIA sent the envoy Wilson to see what he could find based on his connections. Now you folks are so against Wilson personally that you discount his connections, credentials, his trip and continue to adhere to the argument from ignorance that because he didn't find evidence of a sale that there still was nonetheless.

Reasonable people, which none of you are, disagree. His findings were not absolute and he says so. No evidence and degree of difficulty governs where to place ones chips.

There's no cabal, just an administration using the same faulty logic as you guys. Nothing new there. Sayonara.

Peter UK said...

By George he's got it,he's really got it.
So they BADLY forged up some phony docs "proving" Saddam was trying to buy over 500 tons of yellowcake in Niger thus making Bush's argument for invasion WEAKER and the liklihood of exposing their complicity in the Oil for Food scandal SMALLER."
No because Along Came Joe,the rebuttal of the documents,enormous publicity,YOU might want to recall that this was in the early days of the War pressure was immense to call a halt.
Wht did France betray Colin Powell? All part of the same ball of wax,if an invasion of Iraq could not be stopped by outright opposition,then every effort must be made to discredit it.The very fact you are here prove that it was a successful gambit.

"As for that French reactor in Iraq the French not only built it for Saddam they gave the Israelis targetting coordinates on where to bomb it. If I'm not mistaken they also sold Israel the Mirage jets they bombed the site with. Somewhere Milo Minderbender was having a good laugh I'm sure.

This merely proves that the Frnch would also betray Saddam Hussein,after,of course, taking his money.Are you beginning to get the feel of these people now?

The rest of your comment,proves that there had been a nuclear capability,you amazingly naive belief that components could not acquired under the aegis the immense scam of OFF,if and when required is astounding.
"Look at the drum,closed both ends,this Weapons Inspector is going to seal it,You are sure it can't be opened without you knowing? There is nothing inside but yellowcake? Hold on what is that tapping from inside the drum?"Did you ever see David Copperfield?

Peter UK said...

"Now you folks are so against Wilson personally that you discount his connections, credentials, his trip and continue to adhere to the argument from ignorance that because he didn't find evidence of a sale that there still was nonetheless."

Connections,Wilson served in Gabon not Niger,I know Africa is one big place to you,but Gabon is not Niger.

Credentials,What credentials,as an Ambassador,Wilson will have swanned around the cocktail circuit,trade is dealt with by the Commercial Attache.There is nothing in Wilson education,service or life experience which gave him any real knowledge about the Yellowcake industry.


Finally,the accusation is not of a sale but attempted purchase,not the same thing.An attempted puchase still broke the terms of the ceasefire from the First Gulf War.

markg8 said...

Where in Saddam's records does it show that Saddam spent a lot of money on the missing now presumed nonexistent WMD since 1995 or 1998? I haven't done a thorough study, those records aren't available to me, but our government should have a pretty good idea where he was making his money and where he spent it by now don't you think? We know he and his family lived pretty gaudy lifestyles in their umpteen tacky palaces, he provisioned even Shias with 6 months of food rations before the invasion, no doubt hoping to buy some loyalty. He lavished billions on his friends in the Oil for Food kickback scheme. So if those WMDs went to Syria (a claim even Condi Rice said there's no evidence of) or indeed existed at all where's the hole in the budget that accounts for the money? If there is such evidence why isn't the administration trumpeting it to the high heavens to help themselves?

Look I admit everybody did think in the fall of 2002 Saddam had WMD. Partly because he kept making stupid threats about lakes of fire if we invaded and partly because the administration was saying there was "no doubt" and kept warning us about mushroom clouds.

But by late winter 2003 the administration was losing the int'l. propaganda war not because the world hates a bully or thought Saddam was a swell guy. Not because we all wanted to protect those suspected payoffs going to Russian politicians. It's because the evidence wasn't holding up. Saddam submitted his report as required in December which was a hodgepodge of old excuses etc. that Powell and Cheney ridiculed but which also turned out to be true. The UN inspectors weren't finding anything in their surprise visits based on the best intelligence we gave them and reported pretty good cooperation from the Iraqis.

Bush was either going to have to sh*t or get off the pot according to the military. They didn't want our soldiers wearing heavy chem warfare suits in Baghdad in July if there was going to be an invasion. They wanted the kickoff no later than mid March or a delay til fall. Bush couldn't run the risk of the inspectors clearing Saddam when his whole case was built on disarming him. Frankly I think he believed Cheney and Rummy could turn the country over to Chalabi or someone like him in a few months and we'd be more or less out of the occupation biz in Iraq by September 2003. So what did Bush do? He jumped into the toilet.

Peter UK said...

"Where in Saddam's records does it show that Saddam spent a lot of money on the missing now presumed nonexistent WMD since 1995 or 1998? "

Nobody knows where most of the OFF money went,billions seem to have diappeared into thin air.

"The UN inspectors weren't finding anything in their surprise visits based on the best intelligence we gave them and reported pretty good cooperation from the Iraqis."

Blix himself said that cooperation from the Iraqis was less than satisfactory.Iraq was hindering the Inspectors at every turn,stuff would go out of the back door as the Inspectors came in the front.

"Bush couldn't run the risk of the inspectors clearing Saddam when his whole case was built on disarming him."

Why? Here we are getting to the nitty gritty of your argument,why would Bush want an invasion,if there was a politically acceptable way out.
"I have been informed by Hans Blix that Saddam Hussein has completely disarmed and acquiesced to Resolution 1441 and its predecessors.Folks the troops are coming home!"
Bush receives the Garland of Peace from Kofi Annan,later the Nobel Peace Prize,France,Russia,et al carry on business as usual.One of the Brothers Grim eventually takes power in wahat will be a nuclear armed Iraq,the worlds,your oyster!
So let us have your reasons,Why?

flenser said...

markg8

"The UN inspectors weren't finding anything in their surprise visits based on the best intelligence we gave them and reported pretty good cooperation from the Iraqis."


Please review the report submitted by Hans Blix to the UN in January 2003.

It matches the information which Bush gave in his State of The Union address about unaccounted for WMD. It also discusses in detail the lack of cooperation which Iraq was providing to the inspectors.

Lastly, as Blix himself notes, it was not the objective of the inspectors to either find or fail to find WMD. It was their purpose to ascertain whether or not Iraq was cooperating with the investigation. The report makes it perfectly clear that it was not.

It is also neccessary to point out that the inspectors were only allowed into Iraq on account of the presence of an army poised on its borders. That also seems to contradict the proposition that Iraq was engaged in voluntary compliance with the terms of the cease-fire.

markg8 said...

Flenser from Blix's transcript you posted:

"While the inspection is not built on the premise of confidence, but may lead to confidence if it is successful, there must nevertheless be a measure of mutual confidence from the very beginning in running the operation of inspection. Iraq has, on the whole, cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field.

The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect. And with one exception, it has been [without] problems. We have further had a great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul. Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good.

The environment has been workable. Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. These inspections have been conducted in the same manner as all other inspections."

He then goes on to talk about how Iraq didn't like the idea of U-2 spyplanes. I think they acquiesced on that point later, not that it matters, we have other eyes in the sky. They also wanted to send helicopters along with the UN's on missions into the no fly zones which was eventually resolved by letting the Iraqi minders hitch rides on the UN copters instead.

Then there was a sightseeing trip to a mosque the UN inspectors took on their day off that the government subsequently raised a stink about. Blix told them it was a sightseeing trip not an inspection, lighten up. I think Saddam was hoping to gin up a little int'l. Islamic outrage over that one.

Peter you may be thinking back to the bad old days of the 90s inspections but in 2002 that's flat wrong.

The real problem as Blix states it is there just wasn't much to show them in the way of WMD or records. He didn't want to spend his obviously dwindling days on the job poking his nose around on a snipe hunt, he wanted the Iraqis to come clean and show him the records they kept of what they made and what they destroyed. Showing his guys a stretch of desert where they say they dumped some of it out wasn't cutting it. But Saddam wasn't exactly an ace bookkeeper. Whaddya want? This guy was more of a Stalinist thug than he was a Nazi.

markg8 said...

And yes Peter let's get to the nitty gritty of my argument, why did Bush invade Iraq?

Maybe this quote from Houston Chronicle journalist Mickey Herskowitz and Bush family friend who worked for a time with Bush on a ghostwritten memoir might give us
a clue,

"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999, it was on his mind. He said, 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He went on, 'If I have a chance to invade…, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.'"

Be my guess given his advisors' predilictions for Iraqi regime change back 1998, Paul O'Neil's assertions that Bush was talking about Iraq as soon as he came into office, the assertions by Richard Clarke that Bush and Rumsfeld wanted to scour intelligence for any and all clues that Saddam might be involved in the 9/11 attacks right afterward, and the fact that the DOD
diverted Tommy Franks to start writing up a new war plan for Iraq before we even let bin Laden get away at Tora Bora it's a pretty safe bet that Bush had Saddam in mind for a quick little mission to accomplish that would give him the political capital he needed to push through the rest of his agenda.

flenser said...

markg8

"Showing his guys a stretch of desert where they say they dumped some of it out wasn't cutting it. But Saddam wasn't exactly an ace bookkeeper."

Your selective quotations are highly misleading.

Here is a more representaive sample of what Blix had to say.

"Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed the inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace"

Do you understand that, Mark?

"Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it"

That is the cause of war, right there. It was that acceptance which the inspections were to test. It was not the role of the inspections to prove or disprove the existence of WMD in Iraq. How do I know this? Because Blix himself says so, in another portion which you glossed over.

"Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1441 states that this cooperation shall be "active." It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of catch as catch can. Rather, as I noted, it is a process of verification for the purpose of creating confidence. It is not built upon the premise of trust. Rather, it is designed to lead to trust, if there is both openness to the inspectors and action to present them with items to destroy or credible evidence about the absence of any such items."

Blix goes on to list several areas where Iraq had still not accounted for different types of WMD.

The failure of Iraq to comply with the terms of 1441 was the immediate cause of the invasion.

As for showing a patch of desert where WMD were destroyed, that is exactly what was supposed to happen. The destruction of WMD would leave traces in the soil which the inspectors could have verified. Your concern for Saddams poor bookkeeping skills is touching though.

You also skip over the point that the inspectors were allowed in only when an army was assembled on Iraq's border, a point which Blix notes here;

"For nearly three years, Iraq refused to accept any inspections by UNMOVIC. It was only after appeals by the secretary-general and Arab states and pressure by the United States and other member states that Iraq declared on 16 September last year that it would again accept inspections without conditions."

Iraq was not cooperating with the disarmament process, in violation of the cease-fire agreement. What more needs to be said?

Peter UK said...

markg8
In your eagerness to refute the evidence you have omitted to read the report in its entirety.

"I have touched upon some of the disarmament issues that remain open and that need to be answered if dossiers are to be closed and confidence is to arise. Which are the means at the disposal of Iraq to answer these questions? I have pointed to some during my presentation of the issues. Let me be a little more systematic. Our Iraqi counterparts are fond of saying that there are no proscribed items and if no evidence is presented to the contrary they should have the benefit of the doubt, be presumed innocent. UNMOVIC, for its part, is not presuming that there are proscribed items and activities in Iraq, but nor is it – or I think anyone else after the inspections between 1991 and 1998 – presuming the opposite, that no such items and activities exist in Iraq. Presumptions do not solve the problem. Evidence and full transparency may help. Let me be specific.




Find the items and activities



Information provided by Member States tells us about the movement and concealment of missiles and chemical weapons and mobile units for biological weapons production. We shall certainly follow up any credible leads given to us and report what we might find as well as any denial of access.



So far we have reported on the recent find of a small number of empty 122 mm warheads for chemical weapons. Iraq declared that it appointed a commission of inquiry to look for more. Fine. Why not extend the search to other items? Declare what may be found and destroy it under our supervision?




Find documents



When we have urged our Iraqi counterparts to present more evidence, we have all too often met the response that there are no more documents. All existing relevant documents have been presented, we are told. All documents relating to the biological weapons programme were destroyed together with the weapons.



However, Iraq has all the archives of the Government and its various departments, institutions and mechanisms. It should have budgetary documents, requests for funds and reports on how they have been used. It should also have letters of credit and bills of lading, reports on production and losses of material.



In response to a recent UNMOVIC request for a number of specific documents, the only new documents Iraq provided was a ledger of 193 pages which Iraq stated included all imports from 1983 to 1990 by the Technical and Scientific Importation Division, the importing authority for the biological weapons programme. Potentially, it might help to clear some open issues.



The recent inspection find in the private home of a scientist of a box of some 3,000 pages of documents, much of it relating to the laser enrichment of uranium support a concern that has long existed that documents might be distributed to the homes of private individuals. This interpretation is refuted by the Iraqi side, which claims that research staff sometimes may bring home papers from their work places. On our side, we cannot help but think that the case might not be isolated and that such placements of documents is deliberate to make discovery difficult and to seek to shield documents by placing them in private homes.



Any further sign of the concealment of documents would be serious. The Iraqi side committed itself at our recent talks to encourage persons to accept access also to private sites. There can be no sanctuaries for proscribed items, activities or documents. A denial of prompt access to any site would be a very serious matter."

Despite the lagalese,Blix is a Lawyer,it is obvious there is a frustration at the prevarication and obfuscation by the Iraqis.

The main point is that it behoved Iraq,under the terms of the ceasefire and numerous UN resolutions, to declare ALL WMD information.The onus was on Iraq to prove that it did not have WMD,It is quite clear from the report that that it did not do so.
The Security Council was in no doubt that Iraq was in material breach of the the Resolution,any disagreement concerned what methods should be used to enforce compliance.

Peter UK said...

markg8,
Why are you evading my question? Why do you think Bush wanted to invade Iraq?

flenser said...

markq8

"..it's a pretty safe bet that Bush had Saddam in mind for a quick little mission to accomplish that would give him the political capital he needed to push through the rest of his agenda."

No need to imagine some hypothetical conspiracy. It turns out that regime change in Iraq was actually official US government policy, since 1998. So while it is indeed a "pretty safe bet" that Saddam was a marked man, that status had nothing to do with any sinister "agenda" on the part of Bush.

Peter UK said...

markg8,
No not something you simply Googled which seemed to fit the bill,quoting nearly verbatim is a real giveaway.
Don't you think that that other references, regarding journalist Mickey Herskowitz being fired from the job of Bush's official biographer were relevant? "Hell hath no fury like ajourno scorned"
No, what do you think the real reason for the invasion was?

Mark said...

"The rest of your comment,proves that there had been a nuclear capability"

Boy what funky thinker. Nothing could be further from the truth as everything has shown during, and since they didn't even have conventional weapons capability. This is the saddest thing I've ever heard. It's simply unbelieveable that people are this twisted by ideology as to defy all reason.

Mark said...

"Sinister" is a label of emotion designed to deflect criticism of the prima facie case Bush wanted this all along no matter what. That's astandard propaganda technique.

Peter UK said...

Mark,
You are babbling again!

flenser said...

mark

"..criticism of the prima facie case Bush wanted this all along no matter what"

As I already pointed out, and as you (once again) ignored, getting rid of Saddam was actually the official policy of the US government as far back as 1998. So claiming that Bush wanted this "all along" is not exactly a damming claim, even if true. And you offer very flimsy grounds for even that proposition.



You also have yet to address the point that Iraq was in violation of the cease-fire agreement which ended the first Gulf War, and refused to accept the need for disarmament.

You can either accept that, or you can reject it and offer arguments for why you think Iraq was not in violation. But please do not continue to dodge the issue.

Peter UK said...

Flenser,
There is Markg8 and Mark the Snark,half man half guppy.One is trying,and the other? Very trying.

Rick Ballard said...

Peter,

Well, I did invite Markg8 to ask along any extraterrestrials that he ran accross in the Alterman Reality.

hayek said...

Minor false assertions may not be significant in themselves,but when they add up they tell you the bona fides of those who assert them.A simple check of the facts using this wonderful medium would establish that the Isrealis were flying USA hardware and not Mirages,a weapon system they were not supplied after the 67 war,when they bombed the Iraqui reactor at Oserick.Our apologist for the butcher of the Kurds and Shia has no credibility.

Peter UK said...

Makes one wonder if some are here in an honest spirit of debate, are merely propagandists or simply deluded.

markg8 said...

Flenser: Who's misleading who here?
Let's go over what we know.

According to the Duelfer Report:
"Iraq had no deployable WMD of any kind as of March 2003 and had no production since 1991."

Yes Blix wanted them to fess up and tell him about everything Bush and Cheney said they had and show them where it was or show him the proof they'd gotten rid of it. Yes he played good cop and pointed to the bad cop over the horizon in the form of the US Army in Kuwait. He warned them time was running out.

In March 2005 Duelfer added an addenda to the original report, covering five topics:

* Prewar Movement of WMD Material Out of Iraq, concluding "it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place".

* Iraqi Detainees, concluding "the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible. ... there is no further purpose in holding many of these detainees".

* Residual Proliferation Risks: People, concluding "former WMD program participants are most likely to seek employment in the benign civil sector, either in Iraq or elsewhere ... However, because a single individual can advance certain WMD activities, it remains an important concern".

* Residual Pre-1991 CBW Stocks in Iraq, concluding "any remaining chemical munitions in Iraq do not pose a militarily significant threat ... ISG has not found evidence to indicate that Iraq did not destroy its BW weapons or bulk agents".

* Residual Proliferation Risk: Equipment and Materials, concluding "Iraq’s remaining chemical and biological physical infrastructure does not pose a proliferation concern".

I might add that the reason Iraq’s remaining chemical and biological physical infrastructure does not pose a proliferation concern is because like most everything else of value it's been looted.

Those aluminum tubes that were supposed to be key components for enrichment centrifuges? You'd think if they were such critical parts they'd be in our possession under lock and key somewhere. Last I heard they were in a junkyard in Jordan.

Mow maybe you think Duelfer is wrong or just a lefty appeaser lying to smear the President. If so why not push the Bush Amdisntration to keep looking?

Saddam's in prison. He had no WMD to find. Iraq has held 2 national elections and passed a constitution such as it is. In December they'll hold another election. According to a recent British Ministry of Defence poll conducted in Iraq 82% of Iraqis are ‘strongly opposed’ to the presence of coalition troops. Up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks on coalition troops and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

Let's all face some facts here. Yes a capitalistic democratic Iraq allied with the US and grateful to us for their liberation and reconstruction would be nice. But in reality it never had much of a chance of happening. It required perfect execution of a massive post invasion nation building and pacification program by an administration that has never equivocated about their hate for that kind of thing.

Where do we go from here? We'll leave starting next year. Bush has no other choice unless he wants to set back the US Army to 1975 readiness and morale levels. The Republican party can't afford to stay the course right off the cliff in next November's elections either.

The best case scenario - and it really sucks - is that Iraq will become a relatively peaceful democracy allied with Iran. The worst case is a Sunni-Shia civil war will break out on the second biggest pot of oil in the world that may envelop the rest of the region.

markg8 said...

Let's go back to the original subject of the post: the forgeries.

Why has the FBI said they've closed their investigation and declared the forgers were motivated by greed instead of influencing US policy? There's got to be an easier way of making a buck than stealing an embassy's letterhead and faking up politically explosive documents.

The FBI managed to figure out the perps' motivations without figuring out who the perps are. Pretty slick if ya ask me. Veritable mindreaders.

They came to that conclusion without even talking to the guy at the center of the story, Rocco Martino the Italian businessman who provided the documents to SISMI. And the reasons they're giving for not talking to him are to put it simply, a joke. Because there was no apparent violation of U.S. law, the bureau couldn't compel him to talk—even though he twice visited the United States last year for interviews with news organizations.

Now when he first came here in June 2004 he wasn't known to be involved. But by the time he came back in August his name had been splashed all over the European press as the guy who gave the papers to SISMI.

Frankly the FBI's excuse stinks to high heaven.

flenser said...

markg8

What is the relevance of the Duelfer Report to the case for war in March 2003?

None.

Peter UK said...

Flenser,
It is the everything and the kithchen sink technique.
Interstingly it doesn't address our point that it was Iraqs duty to prove they were in good faith,not the existance of WMD,verified or otherwise externally.

Peter UK said...

Joe Wilson The French Connection

markg8 said...

The relevance flenser is we now know who was lying and who wasn't. Saddam said he was out of the WMD business and Bush and Co. said there was no doubt he wasn't and then invaded to prove it. And we haven't even gotten so much as an "oopsy, my bad" out of the guy for embroiling us in a totally pointless war of occupation that's draining the US treasury and killed thousands.

markg8 said...

Peter I believe you have WMD somewhere in your house. Prove to me you don't. I'm waiting.

Peter UK said...

Idiot Child,
Hans Blix,if you read it said it was about Iraq proving good faith,which it manifestly did not.Needlenose will explain it to you.
I say you have a vacuum between your ears prove that you have not.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.