Saturday :: Feb 25, 2006

Uranium from Africa and the Niger Forgeries: British publication Private Eye picks up a Left Coaster finding

by eriposte

[This is part of my ongoing coverage on this topic; click here to read a consolidated synopsis of my findings to-date]

Yesterday, I was informed by investigative journalist Solomon Hughes of Private Eye that their 2/15/06 issue (#1151) had an article "Telegram Sam" on the recently revealed March 2002 INR memo where they cited my Jan 20, 2006 analysis of that memo. Private Eye claims that they are "the UK's number 1 best-selling news and current affairs magazine" and that "Published fortnightly the magazine is read by over 600,000 readers". As readers may recall, Mr. Hughes and Private Eye were the ones who ingeniously discovered the Bush administration's hiding of the "Global Support" forgery from the IAEA.

The article is not available on the web but Mr. Hughes was kind enough to send me a transcript. I am reproducing a partial extract from the article here (the originally formatting is unfortunately not preserved here and all emphasis is mine):

American campaign group “Judicial Watch” forced the US to release the telegram using their Freedom of Information act. The paper, written by US intelligence, says that an alleged plan for “500 tons” of uranium “to be delivered xxxxxxx [words deleted] in one year” was unlikely because it would mean “25 hard to conceal 10-ton tractor trailers would be used to transport the off-the-books uranium. Because Niger is landlocked, the convoy would have to cross at least one international border and travel at least 1,000 miles to reach the sea. Moving such a quantity over such a distance would be very difficult, particularly because the French would be indisposed to approve or cloak this arrangement”. Even if the US did not fully share these words with British Intelligence, the UK could easily have made the same calculations, and seen that the claims in Blair’s September Dossier were implausible....However, this March 2002 telegram refers specifically to “500 tons” of uranium – exactly the same amount in the Niger forgeries. Mathematically minded Eye readers will note that twenty five 10-ton tractors would only carry 250 tons of Uranium, not 500 tons. However, the Niger forgeries specify the “500 tons” will be delivered “in two phases”. The US released the telegram after a legal appeal, but still blacked out some words, including a space that appears to refer to two separate deliveries. There are several more very close matches between the March telegram and the Niger forgeries, largely ignored by newspapers, but outlined by American “blog” called “the left coaster”.

Readers who want to take a look at my analysis of the memo can do so by clicking here. Among the things I pointed out there was the following:

As I have pointed out before, the forged Niger Doc 3 says (emphasis mine):

...500 tons of pure uranium per year will be delivered in two phases.

So, the redacted portion in the above paragraph in the INR memo is clearly referring to the "two phases" because 25 10-ton trucks refers to a 250-ton shipment. I do wonder why this information has been redacted - and not just in the INR memo but also in the discussion of the Niger uranium claims in the SSCI Report.

In light of a more recent analysis of pre-9/11 Niger uranium rumors (which I am still trying to reconcile with these earlier, and different Iraq-Niger uranium procurement stats), I am increasingly suspicious of the reason for the systematic redaction of the mention of "two phases" in official documents that have been released. Here are the sections of the SSCI Report where information mentioning "two phases" appears to have been redacted.

Page 37 of the SSCI Report:

The report indicated that 500 tons of uranium per year [SENTENCE DELETED].

Page 47 of the SSCI Report:

On March 25, 2002, the DO issued a third and final intelligence report from the same "[foreign] government service." The report said that the 2000 agreement by Niger to provide uranium to Iraq specified that 500 tons of uranium per year would be delivered in [DELETED].

Rather interesting, to say the least. In any case, I'd like to thank Mr. Hughes for the citation of my work.

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