KEY EVENTS AROUND THE FAKED YELLOWCAKE EVIDENCE
Sat Nov 15 01:41:18 2003
21 July 2003
CHRONOLOGY OF KEY EVENTS AROUND THE FAKED YELLOWCAKE EVIDENCE
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
* 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
* 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]
ALTHOUGH THE DEATH OF BRITISH WEAPONS EXPERT DR. DAVID KELLY HAS BEEN DECLARED A
SUICIDE BY POLICE, THE CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING UP TO HIS DEATH ARE SO OMINOUS,
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]
THE DETENTION OF IRAQI SCIENTISTS IS 'TURNING INTO A MAJOR HUMAN RIGHTS ROW,'
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
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]
"DID IT START WITH A BREAK-IN?"
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]
BUSH CHICKENHAWKS "LEAK" THAT NORTH KOREA MAY HAVE A SECOND SECRET NUCLEAR SITE.
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
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
[source: NYT, David Sanger, Thom Shanker, July 20, 2003]
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