Sat Nov 15 01:41:18 2003

21 July 2003
The following is a rough chronology of events around the Niger yellowcake fakery, as known to date:

* Within days of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the decision was made by the Bush Administration to go to war against Iraq—something which Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and others had been pushing since 1991.

* In October 2001, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz established a special unit in the office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy, Doug Feith, to cook up intelligence to provide a pretext for war on Iraq, by-passing the CIA and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). The unit, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP), was headed by Straussian Abram Shulsky and former Cheney aide William Luti. According to the London Guardian, Cheney "was at the shadow network's sharp end," and he was the primary customer for OSP "product."

* Around the same time, a parallel unit was set up in the office of Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, for the purpose of by-passing the Israeli Mossad, and feeding information into the Pentagon's OSP.

* In late 2001, stories began circulating about an alleged attempt by Iraq to purchase yellowcake from Niger, and Cheney and his national security adviser, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, are believed to have made at least one visit to CIA headquarters, to press the CIA to get more information on the story; according to one source, Cheney and Libby had gotten the information from the OSP.

* On January 1-2, 2002, a break-in occurred at the Niger Embassy in Rome.

* In February 2002, as a result of Cheney's pressure, the CIA dispatched former Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger, to check out the Iraq/yellowcake story. The current U.S. Ambassador tells Wilson that she has already sent reports to Washington debunking the yellowcake story. Wilson interviews numerous current and former Niger officials; when he returns, he tells the CIA that the story is almost certainly bogus, and the CIA informs various government agencies and offices, including the Office of the Vice President.

* On February 24, 2002, a second U.S. official, General Carlton Fulford, was sent to Niger to determine the status of Niger's uranium supply. He reported back, to the Defense and State Departments, that Niger's uranium stocks were kept under tight control by a French consortium.

* Some time in mid-2002, the Italian intelligence agency SISMI obtained a set of documents purporting to show that Iraq was trying to purchase some 500 tons of yellowcake from Niger. The Italian government notifies the U.S., Britain, and, by some accounts, Israel.

* During 2002, Cheney, Libby and Newt Gingrich (of Richard Perle's Defense Policy Board) all pay numerous visits to CIA Headquarters to press CIA analysts to come up with incriminating evidence against Iraq.

* On August 26, 2002, Cheney, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, declares that Saddam Hussein "has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons," and he announces: "Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon." This speech launches a campaign by the Bush Administration to portray Saddam Hussein as being on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons—despite the complete lack of any current, reliable intelligence to this effect.

* On Sept. 24, 2002, Tony Blair's government releases a dossier stating that "Iraq has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Shortly after this, the CIA advised the British government of its doubts on the matter.

* On Oct. 7, 2002, President Bush delivered a major speech in Cincinnati. In the days preceding the speech, CIA Director George Tenet personally intervened and persuaded Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to delete not only any claim regarding Niger, but all references to Iraq attempting to obtain uranium from Africa.

* On October 11, 2002, Italian journalist Elisabetta Burba obtains the bogus Niger documents. She provides them to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, which sends them on to Washington. State Deparment intelligence (INR) provides them to other agencies (but apparently not to the CIA), with the caveat that they are "highly dubious." Meanwhile, the CIA station in Rome, knowing that the yellowcake story has already been discredited, doesn't even bother to sent them to headquarters.

* A December 2002 State Department "Fact Sheet" says that Iraq failed to disclose attempts to purchase uranium oxide from Niger. The Fact Sheet was not cleared by State Department INR. The CIA objects. In cabling the Fact Sheet around the world, the Niger reference is dropped.

* January 27, 2003: In the days preceding the President's State of the Union address, CIA proliferation expert Alan Foley discovers that the White House is attempting to revive the Niger yellowcake claim, and objects. NSC aide Robert Joseph, a long-time crony of Richard Perle and Frank Gaffney, insists that the claim must go in. After negotiations, a compromise is reached, by which the claim will be attributed to the British government.

* On January 28, President Bush delivers the State of the Union address, stating: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.... Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide."

* Within days of the State of the Union address, the CIA obtains copies of the original Niger documents, by some accounts, having sent a representative to Rome to get them.

* On February 5, Secretary of State Powell delivers a presentation to the UN Security Council on Iraq's WMD programs. He omits any reference to the Niger yellowcake claim. The claim had been included in the first draft of his speech, reportedly written by Cheney's aide Lewis Libby, but was thrown out during an intensive, four-day review at CIA headquarters, during which Powell is reported to have labelled the Libby draft as "bullshit" and discarded most all of it.

* On February 5, the State Department gives copies of the Niger documents to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the warning that the documents are likely fraudulent. Within one to two hours, the IAEA easily determines that the documents are forgeries.

* On March 7, 2003, in a presentation to the UN Security Council, IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei announces to the world that the Niger documents are forgeries.

* On March 16, 2003, on NBC's "Meet the Press," Dick Cheney stated, when asked about ElBaradei's statement: "I disagree.... we know that he [Saddam] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong."

* On March 19, 2003, the U.S. launched the war on Iraq.

[Sources: EIRNS, July 21, 2003]
that the line of investigation pointing to a wetwork must be urgently kept open. At the least, it is clear that some very nasty people were making dire threats against him, and were determined to drive him into a state of desperation. We quote two sources, from coverage today, pointing to this: has an item, entitled, "Kelly Warned of Dark Actors' Games," which states: "Iraq weapons expert Dr. David Kelly reportedly warned of 'many dark actors playing games,' in an e-mail sent hours before he bled to death from a slashed wrist. The message, sent to a journalist, appeared to refer to officials within the Ministry of Defence and British intelligence agencies with whom he had sparred over interpretations of weapons reports...." The Sunday Times' lead front-page story is headlined, "Kelly: I Felt Betrayed When the MoD Revealed My Name." The article states: "David Kelly felt betrayed by the leaking of his name, and was put under 'intolerable' pressure by being placed at the centre of the row between the government and the BBC. The government scientist, who was found dead in a field with a slit wrist near his home on Friday, also said he was put 'through the wringer,' during meetings with Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials, and spoke of 'many dark actors playing games.'" The paper reports, that he had given an interview with the Sunday Times right before his death, saying he was "shocked," that his name had been made public, as the supposed "mole," who had told BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan, that Tony Blair's media czar Alastair Campbell had "sexed up" the September 2002 "Blair dossier" on Iraqi weapons. July 19, the Independent reported that Kelly had been "grilled for five days," by MoD officials, about his testimony to the House of Commons Select Foreign Affairs Committee this past week. To sum up what all this points to, top MoD officials, leading members of the Blair entourage and others, were intent that David Kelly would go out, discredit Gilligan, and, thereby, substantiate, as Britain's leading expert on Iraqi weapons, the Blair "case for war" against Iraq. Kelly refused to play this dirty role, and most likely expressed his opposition, in these private sessions, to the "government line" on the Iraqi threat. This would have been even more cogent and threatening to Blair et al., because Kelly was supposed to leave, soon, for Iraq. What Kelly's own last e-mail indicates, is that he then came under massive threat. Now, he has been silenced.

[Sources:BBC News Online, July 20, Sunday Times, Independent July 19, 2003]
reports the Sunday Observer. "American efforts at finding top Iraqi scientists who can attest to Saddam Hussein hiding weapons of mass destruction have turned out to be as fruitless as the search for the weapons themselves," the Observer notes, adding that the inability to produce a single scientist from the former regime who will confirm U.S. assertions about the alleged threat from Saddam's weapons is becoming an embarrassment.

The International Red Cross has been urging the U.S. to clarify the status of three dozen Iraqi scientists and officials it is holding. Some are believed to be held in solitary confinement, or in sweltering hot tents near the Baghdad airport.

The Observer story focusses on Amer al-Saadi, the British-educated scientist who was the Iraqi liaison to the UN inspection team. He was the first scientist to surrender to the U.S., wanting "to make himself available to the coalition forces for questioning and cooperation," his wife says. "He thought he would be interrogated for three hours, but it became three days, three weeks, and now more than three months."

"I am sure he is continuing to say what he always said, which is that the weapons were destroyed years ago," she says.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph reports an interview with a former prisoner of U.S. forces in Iraq, who described former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who is being held in prison near Baghdad, as looking "dirty and hungry," and was digging his own latrine. Aziz's family has received only one short communication from him, via the Red Cross.

[source:Observer, Sunday Telegraph, July 20, 2003]

Newsweek magazine asks, in an article called "Follow the Yellowcake Road," in its new issue. On the evening of Jan. 1-2, 2002, police discovered that the Niger Embassy in Rome had been broken into and ransacked. A few months later, the Italian intelligence service SISME obtained a stack of official-looking documents from an African diplomat, purporting to show that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium ore yellowcake from Niger. The Italians notified British and US intelligence of the documents (and Israel also, EIR has been told).

In October 2002, an Italian journalist, identified as Elisabetta Burba, a foreign correspondent for Panorama (owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi), somehow obtained the Niger documents, and turned them over to the U.S. Embassy. She also went to Niger to check out the story, found out that the documents were fraudulent, and so never published anything about them.

Newsweek reports that the FBI is now investigating the forgeries, trying to determine if this was just a con job by a diplomat looking for some extra cash, or an attempt by Iraqi exiles to plant a story.

[source: Newsweek, July 20, 2003]

Claiming that the detection of krypton gas at the border probably comes from the processing of plutonium from a secret facility, a "senior Bush administration official" told the Times that there may be two such facilities, in addition to the known Yongbyon nuclear plant. This would severely undermine the military option of knocking out the Yongbyon plant, as was contemplated in 1994. North Korea is said to have between 11,000 and 15,000 deeply buried military-industrial sites.

The story emerges as Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, fresh from meetings in North Korea, held extended meetings with Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney and others in Washington on Friday, July 18, with plans to renew three-way (China, NK and US) and 5-way (adding Japan and SK) talks at an early date

[source: NYT, David Sanger, Thom Shanker, July 20, 2003]

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Searched the web for IRAQ WMD "David Kelly" "JOSEPH WILSON" CIA LEAK

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