Monday, June 28, 2004

Now all we need is some cornbread to go with it

Remember the "sixteen words" fiasco from that State of the Union address in 2003? About British intelligence having learned about Iraq trying to get uranium from west Africa? Of course, Joe Wilson sought and got his fifteen minutes of fame for having visited Niger at the behest of the CIA to investigate the matter. Wilson sipped tea with local officials and asked them if they had been approached about such a deal. No, they had not. Okay, matter closed.

The Bush administration sticks by their story, but so what? We all know Bush lies, right? And the CIA disagreed with the Niger intelligence, and why would we not believe the CIA over British intelligence?

Of course, CIA human intelligence resources in Africa were pretty much gutted during the Clinton years. The United Kingdom did no such foolish thing, so maybe believing them was not so unreasonable. But, the loony left chooses to find the CIA credible in this one case.

So, it turned out some Italian document connecting Iraq with a uranim smuggling plot was forged. The Left howled and shouted, how Bush had tried to put one over on the public. In fact, this controversy became the basis of the supposed "sexed up" intelligence allegation of the anti-war movement.

And this quickly evolved into the very foundation of that anti-war, anti-America movement. Faked intelligence, hyped and oversold to a naïve American public. "He betrayed this country. He played on our fears!" Blah blah...

I did some checking on Niger myself. I few Google clicks turned up the interesting fact that Niger has four main exports: beef, black-eyed peas, onions and... yes, uranium.

So, that Iraqi official― who apparently was fairly high-level― was buying cattle? Onions? What, Saddam just had to have hoppin' John that day?

Well, it turns out there was a uranium plot after all. The Financial Times, of London, reports:
But European intelligence officials have for the first time confirmed that information provided by human intelligence sources during an operation mounted in Europe and Africa produced sufficient evidence for them to believe that Niger was the centre of a clandestine international trade in uranium.


Oh, and it turns out there were other countries involved: Iran, North Korea, Libya and China. Check the financial connections between North Korea and International ANSWER, which organized all those anti-war marches the beautiful people found so irresistably fashionable.

I'm sure all those patriotic left-wingers will do an immediate about-face and not only apologize, but lead the charge to fight terrorism.

Right.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mines
Niger produces almost 3,000 tons of uranium per year, which it sells mainly to France and Japan. It has two northern mines within a few kilometers of each other. They are both operated by the French company Cogema - one in a joint venture with a local company and other with a state-owned concern. The raw uranium is exported to France for processing via Cotonou, Benin's capital. Niger's French-run mines come under the control of the French atomic energy commission.

From Joe Wilson
Given the structure of the consortiums that operated the mines, it would be exceedingly difficult for Niger to transfer uranium to Iraq. Niger's uranium business consists of two mines, Somair and Cominak, which are run by French, Spanish, Japanese, German and Nigerian interests. If the government wanted to remove uranium from a mine, it would have to notify the consortium, which in turn is strictly monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, because the two mines are closely regulated, quasi-governmental entities, selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there's simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.
I guess the damn French were selling uranium to Iraq.

1:34 PM  

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