Mittwoch, Oktober 26, 2005

Speechless. Really.

Try and figure this one out: tip of the hat to Austin Bay's Blog.

Bush was and is lambasted for the reference to Nigerian yellowcake.

Based on "bogus" intelligence (the Brits didn't think so, but that's another story entirely).

That was sold to the Italians.

By an Italian businessman, masquerading as a "journalist".

Who now turns out to have been working for the French.

This is the quote:

His admission to investigating magistrates in Rome on Friday apparently confirms suggestions that - by commissioning "Giacomo" to procure and circulate documents - France was responsible for some of the information later used by Britain and the United States to promote the case for war with Iraq.

Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade "yellowcake" uranium from Niger, France was trying to "set up" Britain and America in the hope that when the mistake was revealed it would undermine the case for war, which it wanted to prevent.

Investigators in Rome suspect that Mr Martino was first engaged by the French secret services five years ago, when he was asked to investigate rumours of illicit trafficking in uranium from Niger. He is thought to have then been retained the following year to collect more information. It was then that he is suspected of having assembled a dossier containing both real and bogus documents from Niger, the latter apparently forged by a diplomat.

In September 2002 Tony Blair accused Saddam of seeking "significant quantities" of uranium from an undisclosed African country - in fact, Niger. US President George W Bush made a similar claim in his State of the Union address to Congress four months later, using information supplied by MI6.

The International Atomic Energy Agency expressed doubts over some of the documents' authenticity, however, and declared them false in March 2003.

In July, the White House withdrew the president's claim, admitting that it was based on inaccurate information. British officials still say that their intelligence about Iraqi uranium purchases was supported by a second, independent source.

This is completely, totally, incredibly mind-boggling and underscores how truly bizarre the whole situation is.

This means that the whole Plame controversy is even more bizarre.

I wish I was at a loss for words: the ones I am thinking of right now are not safe for work or mid-sized children, let alone the faint-of-heart.

PS: In looking at this further, I've found that this isn't really all that new: you can see it here, here and here. Doesn't change the import at all, but sheds a different light on a whole lot of events since then.
But that doesn't change the fundamentals of the story.

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