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July 18, 2003

TONY BLAIR'S SOURCE....Who was Tony Blair's "entirely separate and credible source" for the Niger uranium allegations? All we know is that according to one British official it was "based on intelligence from a third country that was reliable."

General Glut takes a look at the pieces and concludes that the most likely source is Israeli intelligence. I'm not sure if his case his convincing, but it's at least suggestive. Take a look and decide for yourself.

And as long as you're over there, check out this interesting post. According to Le Monde (quoting La Repubblica), Silvio Berlusconi personally called George Bush three days before the State of the Union address to hawk the Niger documents that we now know were forged. Maybe they can discuss it next week when Berlusconi is scheduled to pay a visit to the Crawford ranch....

Posted by Kevin Drum at July 18, 2003 10:53 PM | TrackBack


Comments

When Tony Blair said Israel should get security, that's when I got concerned. Why do I see Tony Blair and the Trojan Horse of security meaning that Israel will get UN forces to protect the new terrorist state?

Okay, it won't happen. I don't know how Sharon will play this, but he's going to be the one, down the line, that gets the salute in the history books.

Tony? Bush? Here, I just don't know.

Bush would be wise if he uses a business model in Iraq and not build a Potemkin Village ... but it seems Halliburton and Bechtel aren't creating jobs in Iraq. They're using the military! Slave labor. And, it makes no sense.

Meanwhile, we're supposed to be interested in Tony Blair's comments that Julia Child always uses yellowcake? Dunno.

This news gets screwier than some of you think my posts are.

As to the Brits, and their claims about Israel and security issues, it's a wonder the IRA guy didn't get killed when he got captured. It seems there's a bottom line to British 'intelligence' that leaves a lot to be desired. Israel seems to take much of what the British say with grains, and grains of salt.

Now, why isn't Iraq being rebuilt? What's wrong with the picture that Halliburton and Bechtel are getting rich on contracts and we're not seeing those massive cranes moving in and moving the earth around?

Posted by: Carol Herman at July 18, 2003 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing. Israel has good reason to want to remain anonymous. If Israel was the source of this information, and if that's confirmed, and if it turns out to be of dubious reliability....

this will explode.

(Perversely, however, this may improve the credibility of the information. Mossad isn't legendary for nothing.)

Carol: offhand, I imagine it's because they're waiting until they can reasonably assume they won't be shot at. (Sweet irony if those two companies are ticked at the "throwing flowers" crowd.)

Posted by: Demosthenes at July 18, 2003 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

And, this just in from the Jerusalem Post; until Sharon sat down with Blair for lunch there were no high level channels for Israeli Intelligence to reach Downing Street.

Bigger question is why did the Brits throw the Irish Journalist, John Morgan, to Shin Bet? Were they hoping Israel would kill him? HA!

Now, just whose gonna get blamed for the new dead body showing up in England? Conditit. Doesn't have to make sense. The press just LUVS ta gossip over dead bodies. There's one now in England, not Israel. Meaning that if Israeli Intelligence had been involved in 'yellow cake' it would have struck gold. Not this nitwit story.

Who makes sentence decisions, anyway, on presidential speeches? What a horrid job. Worse that cribbing text in college for a paper you'd think no one would read.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY REMEMBER BUSH'S SPEECH?

Can't wait till someone pulls a Ph.D out of a hat on this one! Folks, buy your spy glasses, here.

Posted by: Carol Herman at July 18, 2003 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

While the Bursceloni story is certainly interesting, it should be noted that La Repubblica was very anti-war editiorially, so caveat emptor.

Posted by: cure at July 19, 2003 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

What I find absolutely hillarious is that according to the Guardian article, Israel has its own equivalent of the Office of Special Plans, which bypasses their own intelligence apparatus. Just like ours. This just gets better and better. Even if anything comes out of this which is actually positive, this whole thing is a cesspool of crap. And that it happened at all is entirely due to us, the people, who let it happen. In many cases, actually campaigning for it to happen. Process is there to actually prevent this kind of crap.

Posted by: John at July 19, 2003 07:10 AM | PERMALINK

You know, I'm pretty sure that there aren't a whole lot of people out there willing to absolutely hate Israel that don't already do so.

If the information comes out, it won't change anyone's mind.

Posted by: Jaybird at July 19, 2003 07:21 AM | PERMALINK

One of my readers sent me This Article in response to some of my recent posts. I responded here. While both the Israeli and French connection ideas are interesting. They come without substantiation. How conveinient.

Posted by: Dietz at July 19, 2003 07:54 AM | PERMALINK

These "other sources" stories are just a distraction. If other sources backed up Bush & Blair, it would have killed this story from the get go and we would already know.

The "other sources" stories will be fed to the public through compliant press/media until the story dies of boredom or something else happens to take it off the front page.

Other sources? You all know better.

Posted by: James E. Powell at July 19, 2003 08:37 AM | PERMALINK

These "other sources" are just like those "Iranian moderates" Reagan used to blather about: Fig Newtons of the neo-fascist imagination.

Posted by: David Ehrenstein at July 19, 2003 08:48 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you should change the name of this site to "NigerPundit." ;)

Posted by: Crank at July 19, 2003 08:58 AM | PERMALINK

The General raises some potentially relevant points, but he also quotes the just de-classified part of the NIE as saying that "reports indicate Iraq also has sought uranium ore from Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo." The wording indicates that they had at least slightly more of a reason to believe in a Somalia connection than a DRC one, and I can't think of any reason that Israel would have better Somalia sources than the US or Britain, as opposed to the General's not-too-wild conjectures about possible Israeli intelligence connections in Kenya and DRC. It doesn't really add up to Israel being the "third country"--but it's probably not that much worse a guess than the one about an Iraqi/Africa/uranium connection in the first place!

Posted by: Haggai at July 19, 2003 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Any theories as to why Israel would give the intelligence to the Britain and not the U.S., and why Britain would not give it to the U.S. either? Seems implausible to me.

Posted by: NYer at July 19, 2003 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

NYer: yeah, that occurred to me too. If there really is a third party (which I'm not entirely convinced of), it seems that it needs to be someone comfortable with passing information to the UK but to the U.S. Not sure who that would be.

Posted by: Kevin Drum at July 19, 2003 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Here are some possible reasons Israel would not give it to the US. #1 The CIA and moreso State might not be buying unless it was verifiable and the British have hinted that it's from no more than 2 human sources (assuming there's anything at all). #2 They know it would look bad for them (Israel) and us (US) if it came out that they were our intel source for such a serious charge. What would look better would be #3 if they could give it to the British, a credible 3rd party, who could cite it publicly without revealing the source, allowing Bush to then cite the British. That's plausible to me.

But it makes more sense that there isn't any solid evidence and it's easier to rely on this mystery 3rd party than fess up. And bringing Israel into it is a bit of a hot potato that I'm not altogether comfortable speculating on. With the scant details available it's just as likely Pakistan is the 3rd party.

Posted by: Wes at July 19, 2003 08:33 PM | PERMALINK

So, perhaps the Blair government is lying about having additional (credible) evidence? Two things that seem to indicate that. In March when the IAEA discovered the forgery, they asked some more questions:
The IAEA asked the U.S. and Britain if they had any other evidence backing the claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium. The answer was no.

The next piece to look at is the State Department's response to Waxman (pdf) at the end of April:
Beginning in late 2001, the United States obtained information throught several channels, including U.S. intelligence sources and overt sources, reporting that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Africa. In addition, two Western European allies informed us of similar reporting from their own intelligence services. As you know, the UK made this information public in its September 2002 dossier on "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction." The other Western European ally relayed the information to us privately and said, while it did not believe any uranium had been shipped to Iraq, it believed Iraq had sought to purchase uranium from Niger. We sought several times to determine the basis for the latter assessment, and whether it was based on independent evidence not otherwise available to the U.S. Not until March 4 did we learn that in fact the second Western European government had based its assessment on the evidence already available to the U.S. that was subsequently discredited.

I don't think there was any other real information than the scattering of reports that the US already decided were totally bogus.

I've constructed a timeline that tries to set these things in context.

Posted by: Mary at July 19, 2003 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

On 11 Sep 2001, were there not five "Middle Eastern" types drinking beer, cheering and otherwise, celebrating, from across the Hudson River, in a park, as the WTC event progressed to collapse?

On arrest, were they not then found to be Isrealis and within days, deported?

Where is the followup? Who were they? Why were they "celebrating", cheering according to one witness, as first one, then the other tower collapsed?

and, where are the news-stories? Would this not be of interest?

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