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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 05:07 PM
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Edited on Fri May-04-07 05:19 PM by seemslikeadream

Carlo Bonini, investigative reporter for the Rome newspaper LA REPUBBLICA, broke the story about an Italian intelligence agency's involvement in forging documents saying that Iraq had tried to secure yellowcake uranium from Niger. Those documents helped the White House make the case for invading Iraq famously with the sixteen words: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address. Bonini tells the convoluted tale in his book COLLUSION: INTERNATIONAL ESPIONAGE AND THE WAR ON TERROR.
The forgeries have come back to haunt the administration in recent days. On April 25, 2007 the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to authorize a subpoena of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as part of an inquiry into the discredited information. The White House is expected to fight the subpoena, which followed a series of letters sent from the Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to the Secretary of State find out more below. The Secretary of State has also indicated that she will not testify on grounds of national security and her position in the Executive Branch.

HADLEY NAMED. La Repubblica has a dynamite series this week on the origin of the yellowcake forgeries. Laura Rozen reports:
With Patrick Fitzgerald widely expected to announce indictments in the CIA leaks investigation, questions are again being raised about the murky matter that first led to the appointment of the special counsel: namely, how the Bush White House came into possession of discredited Italian intelligence reports claiming that Iraq sought uranium "yellowcake" from Niger.
The key documents supposedly proving the Iraqi attempt turned out to be crude forgeries on official stationery stolen from the African nation's Rome embassy. Among the most tantalizing aspects of the debate over the Iraq War is the origin of those fake documents and the role of the Italian intelligence services in disseminating them.

In an explosive series of articles appearing this week in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, investigative reporters Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe d'Avanzo reveal how Niccolo Pollari, chief of Italy's military intelligence service, known as SISMI, brought the Niger yellowcake story directly to the White House after his insistent overtures had been rejected by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2001 and 2002.

Today's exclusive report in La Repubblica reveals that Pollari met secretly in Washington on September 9, 2002, with thenDeputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. Their secret meeting came at a critical moment in the White House campaign to convince Congress and the American public that war in Iraq was necessary to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing nuclear weapons.

The La Repubblica article quotes a Bush administration official saying, "I can confirm that on September 9, 2002, general Nicolo Pollari met Stephen Hadley."

Laura will have more on this story later today.

Double-Dealers and Dilettantes--the Men Behind Nigergate Were All Italians.

The military intervention in Iraq was justified by two revelations: Saddam Hussein attempted to acquire unprocessed uranium (yellowcake) in Niger (1) for enrichment with centrifuges built with aluminum tubes imported from Europe(2). The fabricators of the twin hoaxes (there was never any trace in Iraq of unprocessed uranium or centrifuges) were the Italian government and Italian military intelligence. La Repubblica has attempted to reconstruct the who, where and why of the manufacture and transfer to British and American intelligence of the dodgy dossier for war.

They are the same two hoaxes that Judith Miller, the reporter who betrayed her newspaper, published (together with Michael Gordon) on September 8, 2002. In a lengthy investigative piece for the New York Times, Miller reported that Saddam could have built an atomic weapon with those aluminum tubes. These were the goods that the hawks in the Bush administration were expecting.

The "war dance" which followed Judith Millers scoop seemed like "carefully-prepared theater to an attentive media-watcher, Roberto Reale of Ultime Notizie (The Latest News).

Condoleezza Rice, who was then White House Security Advisor, said on CNN: We dont want the smoking gun to look like a mushroom cloud. A menacing Dick Cheney told Meet the Press that We know with absolute certainty that Saddam is using his technical and commercial capacities to acquire the material necessary to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon. This was the beginning of an escalation of fear.

26 September 2002: Colin Powell warns the Senate: The Iraqi attempt to acquire uranium is proof of its nuclear ambitions.

19 December 2002: The information on Niger and the uranium is included in the three-page Presidents Daily Briefing prepared each day by the CIA and the Department of State for George W. Bush. The ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, added his stamp of approval: Why is Iraq dissimulating its purchase of Niger uranium?



Its a fact that on the eve of the Iraq war, and under the supervision of the diplomatic advisor to the Foreign Ministry, Gianni Castellaneta (today ambassador to the USA), the director of SISMI organized his agenda in Washington with the staff of Condoleeza Rice, who was National Security Adviser to the White House at that time. La Repubblica is able to document this two track process between the government and Italian intelligence. At least one of these barely official meetings of Pollaris was, according to secret service agents, the creation of a system that would bring together government, intelligence and public affairs .

To summarize: Nicolo Pollaris SISMI wanted to substantiate the the Iraqi acquisition of raw uranium to build a nuclear bomb. The game-plan was rather transparent. Authentic documents relating to an attempted acquisition in Niger (old Italian intelligence from the 1980s) were the dowry of the second-in-command of CISMIs Roman headquarters (Antonio Nucera). They were bundled together with another fabricated document through a simulated burglary on the Nigerien embassy (from which they had gotten headed notepaper and seals). The documents were shown by Pollaris men to CIA station agents, and at the same time, a SISMI postman by the name of Rocco Martino was sent to Sir Richard Dearlove of MI6 in London.

turning to the second chapter of the Great Swindle, organized in Italy, to build the case that military intervention in Iraq was necessary. the Italian report on uranium

The CIA analysts thought the first report very limited and without the necessary details. INR analysts in the Department of State assessed the information as highly suspect. The immediate impact on the American Intelligence community wasnt very gratifying for Pollari Gianni Castellaneta advised him to look in other directions too, while the minister of Defence, Antonio Martino invited him to meet an old friend of Italys. The American friend was Michael Ledeen, an old fox in the parallel intelligence community in the US, who had been declared an undesirable person in our country in the 1980s . Ledeen was at Rome on behalf of the Office of Special Plans, created at the Pentagon by Paul Wolfowiz to gather intelligence that would support military intervention in Iraq. A source at Forte Braschi told La Repubblica : Pollari got a frosty reception from the CIAs station head in Rome, Jeff Castelli, for this information on uranium. Castelli apparently let the matter drop . Pollari got the hint and talked about it with Michael Ledeen. We dont know what Michael Ledeen did in Washington. But at the beginning of 2002, Paul Wolfowitz convinced Dick Cheney that the uranium trail intercepted by the Italians had to be explored top to bottom. The vice-president, as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence tells it, once again asked the CIA very decisively to find out more about the possible acquisition of Nigerien uranium. In this meeting, Dick Cheney explicitly said that this piece of intelligence was at the disposition of a foreign service.

Forte Braschi says that Pollari was incredibly cunning he knew that it wasnt enough to rely on the CIA to push the uranium story. It was necessary to work, as Palazzo Chigi and the Department of Defence had indicated, with the Pentagon and with the National Security Adviser, Rice. An administration official has told La Repubblica I can confirm that on September 9 2002, General Nicolo Pollari met Stephen Hadley, the deputy to the National Security Adviser, Condoleeza Rice. SISMIs postman, Rocco Martino contacted a journalist for a weekly newspaper edited by Carlo Rossella to sell her the documents at issue. Panorama had a worldwide scoop. Title The War? Its already begun, it spoke of half a ton of uranium. The government asked. The intelligence service gave. The media spread it. The government confirmed it. It was an old disinformation technique from the Cold War. Exaggerate the danger of the threat. Terrify and convince public opinion of it.


Monday, October 31, 2005
SISMI's War in Iraq: The Iranian Connection

Carlo Bonini and Giuseppi d'Avanzo are at it again. Another three-part blockbuster expos on the involvement of Italian Military intelligence inside Iraq.

Part I: From Chelabi to Iranian Agents--SISMI's War in Iraq
A strategic summit in Rome with the Pentagon.

ROME: Hes another politico-military intelligence chief. Hes a SISMI man. He makes his way slowly down the narrow hallway of the bar at the Hotel Eden in via Ludovisi. He stops to admire the sky and the attractive skyline of Rome in the April sun (it is 22 April 2003) through the hotels large windows. He looks elegant in his Chairman's Committee grisaille. . He selects a table at the center of the terrace. The waiter walks over and solicitously takes his order. The gentleman orders a freshly-squeezed orange juice and a double espresso. The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq began on the night of 19-20 March, thirty-three days earlier.

Today, as Silvio Berlusconi reveals that he never supported the military intervention in Iraq, it is fitting to tell the story of how our country, Italy, although allegedly opposed to war as our Premier now claims, was an active protagonist in war preparations and operations.

We will reveal the different arrangements and plans of action, as well as who planned them and with whom they were planned.

For us Italians, recounts the high-ranking SISMI official to La Repubblica, the war on Iraq was already underway in the days before Christmans, 2002. He smiles. He is animated with a glint of excitement in his eyes and for once seems seems to have no qualms about letting his personal satisfaction slip from behind a frozen mask.

Our man is too disciplined to crow about his successes and too stubborn to be discouraged by defeat. He tells us: It was a novelty, a revolution for our intelligence services. Never before in its history has SISMI been so prominently involved in military ground operations and a major role in planning a war campaign, to boot. The Italian Government? Of course our work was authorized by the Italian Governmentare you joking? It was real war, not an exercise! The twenty men we sent to Iraq were risking their lives. He pauses. The espresso arrives. He sips it slowly, his eyes half-closed with satisfaction.

He continues. Twenty men from three SISMI departments were involved: Intelligence, Operations and Counterterrorism. They were divided into small groups which were to operate in and around the areas of Kirkuk, Baghdad and Basrah using outlandish disguises. Each unit was unaware of the identities and the mission of the others. Each unit was ordered to operate within a sector of territory and to work with intelligence assets who had already been selected and trained. The objectives were twofold: To identify Iraqi defenses and to evaluate the readiness of the Iraqi armed forces.

If combat was less intense than expected, it is due to the job we didand we didnt do it alone. If we won the war before firing a shot, it was due to our successes at infiltration and intelligence-gathering.

The story of Italian military intervention in Iraq begins when the resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Ledeen, sponsored by Defense Minister Antonio Martino, debarks in Rome with Pentagon men in tow to meet a handful of Iranian exiles. The meeting is organized by SISMI. In an Agency safe house near Piazza di Spagna (however, other sources have told us it was a reserved room in the Parco dei Principi Hotel).

"Reid: Cheney Obstructing Investigation"

Reid: Cheney Obstructing Investigation
From Laura Rosen at War and Piece...

Reid on Fire

The New Republic has more on what I reported last month: that Cheney has intervened with chairman Pat Roberts to obstruct the Senate Select Intelligence committee's investigation of the Bush administration's use of Iraq intelligence. TNR write:

...--More dramatically, Reid also made it clear that he believes the delay in the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of prewar Iraq WMD--the underlying issue behind Tuesday's closed session--is entirely attributable to Vice President Dick Cheney. "Nothing happens regarding intelligence gathering ... unless it's signed off on by the Vice President," he said. " Roberts couldn't do it"--i.e., Roberts couldn't conduct a full investigation without Cheney's approval. When I asked Reid whether he meant to state so flatly that Cheney was personally and directly stalling the Intelligence Committee's work, he didn't pause a beat. In fact he almost stood from his chair. "Yes. I say that without any qualification ... Circle it." ...

I don't understand why we haven't heard Pat Roberts complaining more vociferously about the obstruction he's experienced from the Veep. Why would the Senator stand for the administration bucking oversight and Congressional reporting requirements on Iraq intelligence, torture, black site prisons, etc.? (Via Tapped's Ezra Klein). ...

But committee staff sources say that before the cooperation ceased, the committee had received from Feiths office internal memos suggesting that the office may indeed have been conducting unlawful activities. In particular, Democratic staffers are interested in a secret December 2001 meeting of two Feith deputies, Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, with Ghorbanifar in Rome. The meeting also included members of a foreign intelligence service (Italys SISMI). The catch is that it wasnt reported in advance to the intelligence committee or the CIA, in possible violation of Section 502 of the National Security Act, which says that anyone conducting intelligence activities must inform the committee and the agency

"Italy MPs probe Niger-Iraq claim"

Italy MPs probe Niger-Iraq claim

The director of the Italian military intelligence agency (Sismi) is due to give evidence over allegations that Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger.

Nicolo Pollari is testifying before a parliamentary committee over reports that Italy wilfully gave the US and UK evidence that turned out to be false......

The Italian hearing into the claims is being held behind closed doors, but some details were expected to emerge later.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica says Italian agents gave the false dossier to British and American intelligence services........

"Niger Uranium Forgeries: Excavating a Roman Mystery"
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Tarheel_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for the reminder SLAD, I'll be there.....n/t
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. Y.. Y.. You mean Bush LIED America into WAR?
Wouldn't that be grounds f.. f.. for impeachment?

Thanks for the reminder -- and all you do, 'Dreamy.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Yes Mr. Fish,
he did.

Watch the clip from 7 minutes in.

ABC News reporter John Cochran told ABC's Peter Jennings, "He got out of his hotel suite this morning, was about to leave, reporters saw the White House chief of staff Andy Card whisper into his ear, then reporters said to the President 'do you know what's going on in New York'? - he said he did and would have something to say about it later."

This contradicts Bush's statement that he made on two separate occasions, that he first learned of what was going on in New York from watching a television outside of the classroom as he prepared to talk about education with a group of Florida schoolchildren. ...
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thanks for the reminder. I'll be there!
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-04-07 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. NM 9:00 MDT KUNM PBS! eom
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