Tales of the Niger Documents

Thursday, June 08, 2006 at 02:42 PM

Raw Story has posted a Vanity Fair article By CRAIG UNGER
investigating how the forged Niger yellowcake documents came into being and found their way into the willing hands of US intelligence people.

It's a lengthy article to which I couldn't do justice with a summary.  Take a read.

The following excerpt does give you the basic idea, though:

The War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed

The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful "black propaganda" campaign with links to the White House

Though it may be unprepossessing, the Niger Embassy is the site of one of the great mysteries of our times. On January 2, 2001, an embassy official returned there after New Year's Day and discovered that the offices had been robbed. Little of value was missing--a wristwatch, perfume, worthless documents, embassy stationery, and some official stamps bearing the seal of the Republic of Niger. Nevertheless, the consequences of the robbery were so great that the Watergate break-in pales by comparison.

A few months after the robbery, Western intelligence analysts began hearing that Saddam Hussein had sought yellowcake--a concentrated form of uranium which, if enriched, can be used in nuclear weapons--from Niger. Next came a dossier purporting to document the attempted purchase of hundreds of tons of uranium by Iraq. Information from the dossier and, later, the papers themselves made their way from Italian intelligence to, at various times, the C.I.A., other Western intelligence agencies, the U.S. Embassy in Rome, the State Department, and the White House, as well as several media outlets. Finally, in his January 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush told the world, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Two months later, the United States invaded Iraq, starting a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and has irrevocably de-stabilized the strategically vital Middle East. Since then, the world has learned not just that Bush's 16-word casus belli was apparently based on the Niger documents but also that the documents were forged.

Get ready for the right wing's concerted and vigorous attempt to dissemble, smear, and ridicule.  But read the article first, so you can be armed with what it really says, before Limbaugh'Reilly get going with their Hannitys down.