July 12, 2003


Howard was right:

Australian Taliban fighter David Hicks has freely admitted to Australian intelligence agencies that he trained with the terrorist group al-Qaeda, a senior intelligence source has told The Age.

The comments support claims by Prime Minister John Howard, which have been denied by Hicks' family and legal team, who are yet to speak to the 27-year-old detainee at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

And Howard was wrong:

The Prime Minister conceded yesterday the intelligence suggesting Iraq tried to buy yellowcake from Niger was fraudulent, but said "anything that I have said that might be seen as misleading was not a deliberate misleading".

Like, big deal. In the context of arguments against Saddam Hussein, this is similar to discovering that the Nazis killed only 5.9 million people instead of 6 million. Murdering lunatic deposed, people. This is a good thing.

UPDATE. It’s true! My foreign policy really is that simple! As for my critic’s policy on WMD-lusting dictators, well, it probably involves hugs or the UN or bunnies or something. Or maybe he thinks they should just be left alone.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 12, 2003 04:35 AM

Maybe I misunderstand, but I believe there were multiple sources of inofmration leading to the conclusion that Iraq was trying to be uranium from Niger (or as trendy lefties like Daniel Schorr would say, Nahzheer). So far, one of those sources has been proven to be not reliable. But last I checked the UK was still saying they weren't backing off their other sources.

I think 5,999,999 is a closer estimate.

Posted by: charles austin at July 12, 2003 at 07:07 AM

Tony Blair said that there were other sources of intelligence in this story. Scroll down to "The Niger Connection".

Posted by: scott h. at July 12, 2003 at 07:23 AM

odd then that that white house has admitted it was inappropriate to rely upon it, the IEA concluded the claim was unreliable and based upon forgeries and the director of the CIA has admitted that it shouldn't have made the State of the Union address.

i'd say a better analogy would be deliberate lies to congress prior to gulf war 1 about babies being pulled out of incubators and dashed on the floor. is this acceptable too?

also, 'trendy lefties'. oo oo. it must be comforting to have a bright-line distinction between 'us' and 'them'.

Posted by: cracker cracker at July 12, 2003 at 11:08 AM

'trendy lefties'. oo oo. it must be comforting to have a bright-line distinction between 'us' and 'them'.

If you mean "'them' lefties" then YEP

Posted by: lawrie at July 12, 2003 at 11:33 AM

1. The forged documents cited were regarding the putative sale of uranium/yellowcake to Iraq.
2. The estimable Mr Wilson visited Niger and having discussed at length (and much mint tea) the possible sale with sundry Niger officials, concluded that no such sale had taken place, or would be entertained, by the Niger government.
3. The statement by Mr Bush was that British intelligence had determined that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium in Africa.
4. Perhaps I draw too fine a line for those seeking out Mr Bush's iniquities, but I detect a difference, slight though it may be, between 'buying' and 'attempting to buy'.


Posted by: J.M. Heinrichs at July 12, 2003 at 01:22 PM

granted, but in the context of the state of the union address i believe it was misleading. the claim should never have made it into a presidential speech. this is a context in which the audience is not expected nor are they necessarily equipped to draw that sort of distinction. also, it was unequivocally repeated and occasionally inflated by wolfowitz, rumsfeld and others in a number of contexts.

i would also observe that the British based their position largely upon already discredited intelligence from the US. even if this were not the case, the debacle of the notoriously outdated/plagiarised/misleading british 'infrastructure of deception' dossier should have set off warning bells long before this.

Posted by: cracker cracker at July 12, 2003 at 02:16 PM

"Murdering lunatic deposed, people. This is a good thing."

we were lied to, people. this is a bad thing.

Posted by: adam at July 12, 2003 at 02:51 PM

Yes, adam, it is bad that you are lying and trying to make what was obviously a mistake look like a deliberate deception. But after the other mistakes about hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties, the Arab Street Rising In Their Wrath, and Baghdad becoming another Stalingrad, I think we can be confident that fewer and fewer people are listening to you with every tick of the clock.

Posted by: John Nowak at July 12, 2003 at 04:11 PM

"Yes, adam, it is bad that you are lying and trying to make what was obviously a mistake look like a deliberate deception."

Good point.Until there is proof that he lied, i.e someone pops up and says "er well actually I did tell him" relying on biased and unreliable sources such as Andrew "the nasty men wanted to know my credentials so its obvious they were hostile to me" Wilkes, and trying to portray as absolute fact that it was a deliberate deception is just another example of BBC style sexing-up.

Posted by: Richard at July 12, 2003 at 04:50 PM

funny how the left is grabbing onto this like a drowning man to a life-preserver. is this all they've got? that the cia made a *gasp* mistake? that the cia is actually made up of humans and not robots?!

Posted by: Samkit at July 12, 2003 at 07:40 PM

We all make mistakes, but when war is entered into by mistake...that's somewhat more serious. The "right" will be needing GPS beacons, not life preservers, within the next few months.

Posted by: tony at July 12, 2003 at 08:38 PM

"We all make mistakes, but when war is entered into by mistake...that's somewhat more serious. The "right" will be needing GPS beacons, not life preservers, within the next few months."

Sure they will. It'll be Payback Tuesday all over again.

Posted by: John Nowak at July 13, 2003 at 01:54 AM

says tnr:

Baute, the head of the IAEA's Iraq inspections unit, had been pestering the U.S. and British governments for months to share their intelligence with his office. Despite repeated assurances of cooperation, TNR has learned that Baute's office received nothing until the day before Powell's presentation, when the U.S. mission in Vienna provided the IAEA with an oral briefing while Baute was en route to New York, leaving no printed material with the nuclear inspectors. As IAEA officials recount, an astonished Baute told his aides, "That won't do. I want the actual documentary evidence."...

Baute sat down with the dozen or so pages of U.S. intelligence on Saddam's supposed nuclear procurements--the aluminum tubes, the Niger uranium, and the magnets. In the course of a day, Baute determined, like the ambassador before him, that the Niger document was fraudulent...

if this says "obviously a mistake" to you, then i congratulate your ability to believe anything.

even though it looks pretty clear that bush lied, maybe you could argue that howard made a "mistake". but this idea has a number of problems. first, why would three separate australian intelligence agencies each, of their own initiative, decide to keep highly relevant information [that the nuke claims were bogus] both from the prime minister and from the ministers to which they were responsible? second, why would they continue, again of their own initiative, to keep said information from the PM even after they knew that howard was relying on fraudulent documents? and third, why would the prime minister not check with the experts in any of the aforementioned three intelligence agencies before making the nuke claim?

answer those questions, and maybe i'll accept your "mistake" claim, but even then it will have been far from obvious.

Posted by: adam at July 13, 2003 at 02:42 AM

Amazing. A successful war won quickly, and there is still all this bitching and moaning about the good old days when lovable Saddam was in power, how the world was safer then, etc., etc.
The man had to go, period. When the Ancient Romans, who knew a thing or two, decided to make war, they first got ready for fighting and then looked about for a casus belli, and nobody bothered to argue afterwards. It's the way real politics work.

Posted by: Daniela at July 13, 2003 at 05:00 AM

Are you just assuming that the three agencies *knew* that the claim was "bogus" Adam or do you have some new evidence? Because they are saying that at the time there was only one US department within the intelligence community expressing "doubts" about the intelligence, with all the rest standing by it. It was a one liner in an 86 page document expressing doubts while the rest of the intelligence community was satisfied. It may be highly relevant *now* in hindsight but it certainly wasn't then.
Your three points rely of the premise that the intelligence agency thought the one liner was highly relevant (which they are saying that they didn’t) and that from this one liner “expressing doubts” (against all the other sources that stood by the information) they were able to deduce that it was without doubt, false. Plain common sense says that this premise itself is flawed.

Most people would have to accept that with many pieces of intelligence, unless there is absolute factual proof there would always be someone who would have doubts. Just look at Bali. Some of the very people who are now attacking Howard because the entire intelligence community were not in total 100% agreement about the uranium claims, were the same ones who have only recently been trying to blame him for the bali deaths because the government didn’t take as gospel one persons comments that Bali *might* be a target.
They can’t have it both ways. Intelligence is either an exact science with everyone in total agreement on every issue or its not. I think most people would agree its not.

Posted by: Richard at July 13, 2003 at 05:44 AM

three agencies:

The Office of National Assessments, the Defence Intelligence Organisation and the intelligence arm of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade knew about doubts over claims Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa in January this year.

Posted by: adam at July 13, 2003 at 10:49 AM

A reasonable person could make the case that the DNC and the PRESS are hyping the "Uranium" non-story to cover up the real SCANDAL: the left's campaign to intentionally undermine America on the world stage, undermine our efforts in Iraq, undermine our CIC - for power's sake. The usual, I know - but this time they were caught and exposed - by the author who wrote the "Bush Lied about Uranium..." non-story.

The DNC - Carville, McAuliffe, Gephardt and Daschle - wrote a "war script" for the press last year. The press followed the script - check it out - is still following the script.

The author who exposed the DNC-press scandal also wrote the "Uranium" lie - Doug Thompson at Capitol Hill Blue. He retracted the "Uranium" story the next day. Turns out he was conned. The press didn't retract their stories - though Doug's article was picked up by William Pitt's 'truthout.org' and then by Japan Today, ETC.

Was Doug conned or set up?

Hundreds of international-American pundits were e-mailed Doug's earlier article over the past month:

'Dems plan to undermine America to beat Bush'

The talking points outline a strategy to raise public doubts of the President’s real intentions, including: --Saying the war is about oil and will be fought to benefit oil companies that have long supported Bush and the Republican party;

--Claiming the Bush administration has “manufactured” evidence against Saddam Hussein and used that evidence to encourage Britain and other allies to join the American fight against Iraq;

--Suggesting a wartime economy is the only way the administration can revive the country’s lagging economic situation.

“It is clear that the current approval ratings of the administration are tied directly to strong American feelings toward traditional values,” the talking points say. “To counter this, doubt must be raised as to America’s true position within the world community and the true intent of the Bush administration in waging war.”

...Others, however, are willing to try anything to put the White House and Congress back under Democratic control. “The real war isn’t in Iraq,” one Democratic consultant said. “It’s right here at home, at the ballot box in 2004.”

Among the other points Democrats hope to make in the coming weeks:

--Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are controlled by oil and defense industry special interest groups.

--The war on terrorism is a failure because Osama bin Laden is still at large.

--America is unprepared for another terrorist attack because of White House preoccupation with Iraq. --War will increase the country’s economic woes. --Bush will be forced to raise taxes to finance the war.

“It’s time to take the battle to the people and make them understand just how dangerous George W. Bush’s policies are to the future of America,” the talking points conclude.

Democratic sources say the talking points were developed by Democratic Chairman Terry McAuliffe, former Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, Senate Majority Leader Daschle and former House Democratic Leader Gephardt.

“This is a classic, Jim Carville, scorched earth campaign,” crows one DNC staffer. “Take no prisoners. That’s how you win elections.” Democratic party spokesmen would not return phone calls seeking comment on this report.

© Copyright 2003 Capitol Hill Blue

January 6, 2003 | DOUG THOMPSON

I apologize for the length of this post. The lies from the left are endangering our troops. Those honorable warriors are calling home and wondering why their loved ones only hear negative news. They are kicking bad guy derriere DAILY while rebuilding Iraq with the help of grateful Iraqis. They are NO ONE's "VICTIMS".

Posted by: tortoise at July 13, 2003 at 01:16 PM

"knew about doubts over claims Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa in January this year."

is a whole world away from - the agencies *knew* "[that the nuke claims were bogus]"

This is from your own link Adam

"Senator Hill has told Channel Seven the intelligence agencies knew of the doubts over Iraq sourcing uranium, but still did not consider the information to be flawed.

"The CIA and the British intelligence, weighing up all the intelligence available, believe that this program was continuing, and that's what was put to Australian agencies and that's what Australian agencies then put to Government," Senator Hill said."

And this is from one of the agencies:

"The DIO's director, Ron Bonighton, told the Nine Network yesterday that while one US State Department report expressed doubts, the rest of the intelligence community was satisfied with the intelligence.

"To us, that meant that the rest of the US intelligence community was happy with it," he said. "But the fact is we didn't tell the Government (about the State Department concerns)."

It is understood the document that ONA, ASIS and DIO received in January was a top-secret overview of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. It contained only a brief reference in an annex on the Africa-uranium issue.

Mr Howard conceded it would have been better had he been told of the doubts, but said it would not have changed his attitude to the war. He insisted that in an 86-page document only one line had referred to some doubts by a section of the State Department. Mr Howard said he was also relying on British intelligence when he made his February 4 comment to the parliament."

Both these references show clearly that at the time no-one felt the doubts were "highly relevant" as you put it. And another thing, it’s not the "nuke claims" that have been shown to be incorrect, its the specific information about the attempt to purchase uranium from Africa. Most of the intelligence community still believes that Hussein was trying very hard to restart his nuclear program.
If those agency's had passed this information along and it had been enough to stop the war, five or ten years down the track when (God forbid) an Iraq supplied nuclear weapon obliterated a Western city (or even a non Western city) with the millions of associated deaths, of course the blame would be laid squarely at the feet of Bush, Blair and Howard and they would be absolutely pilloried for ignoring the overwhelming evidence of the majority of the intelligence community and instead relying on one line in a 86 page document.

Posted by: Richard at July 13, 2003 at 03:01 PM

Let's look at the fact that Iraq mothballed centrifuges. These were found buried in a rose garden.

Does it matter if yellowcake was purchased or not? (They alreay had some from China...)

The mere fact that Iraq was keeping the program mothballed shows that they planned to continue once the heat was off.

The danger is in the regime and it's programmes, not in specific instances of weapon purchases, etc. Don't lose sight of the forest for the tree.

Posted by: aaRON at July 14, 2003 at 08:19 PM