Full Text: U.S. v. Libby Indictment
Office of Special Counsel
Friday, October 28, 2005; 1:49 PM
In or about early June 2003, LIBBY learned from the Vice President that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA in the Counterproliferation Division;
Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers to Senate Intelligence Panel http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/102805I.shtml Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Indictment doesn't clear up mystery at heart of
CIA leak probe
By Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - At the heart of Friday's indictment of a top White House aide remain two unsolved mysteries.
Who forged the documents that claimed Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium for nuclear weapons in the African country of Niger?
How did a version of the tale get into President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, even though U.S. intelligence agencies never confirmed it and some intelligence analysts doubted it?
Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who found no substance to the alleged deal during a CIA-sponsored trip to Niger, accused Bush in July 2003 of twisting the intelligence.
Shortly thereafter, the identity of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, a covert CIA officer, was leaked to journalists, igniting special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's probe.
The FBI has been investigating the clumsy forgeries, which first surfaced in Rome in October 2002, for two years, but has made little progress, four U.S. government officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation continues. Those officials blame a lack of cooperation from Italy. A spokesman for the Italian Embassy in Washington denied that.
But a weeks-long review by Knight Ridder has established that:
-Italy's military intelligence agency, SISMI, and people close to it, repeatedly tried to shop the bogus Niger uranium story to governments in France, Britain and the United States. That created the illusion that multiple sources were confirming the story.
The CIA had begun receiving intelligence reports based on the same forgeries in October 2001, but they could not be confirmed. Copies of the fake documents suddenly surfaced at a critical point in the White House's fall 2002 campaign to take the country to war in Iraq.
The CIA eventually determined that the earlier reports were "based on the forged documents" and were "thus ... unreliable," a presidential commission on unconventional weapons proliferation said in March.
-State Department intelligence analysts and some in the CIA discounted the uranium story. But White House officials, working through a back channel to one CIA unit, seized on the tale, and it was included in Bush's case for war.
The following is a chronology of events that led up to the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. It's based on interviews and on reports by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the presidentially appointed panel on weapons intelligence.
Oct. 15, 2001 - The CIA received the first of three top-secret reports from a foreign intelligence service - which intelligence officials said was Italy's SISMI - that Niger planned to ship tons of uranium ore, or yellowcake, to Iraq.
SISMI was behind similar reports in Britain and France. Paris never put any stock in the reports, according to two European officials. London has stood behind its statement that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa.
February 2002 - Cheney and other officials asked the CIA to find out more.
Some CIA and Pentagon analysts were impressed with the reporting. But the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was skeptical. Its analysts noted that France controls Niger's uranium mines and argued that Iraq wouldn't risk being caught breaking U.N. sanctions.
The CIA station in Rome was skeptical of the reports from the start.
Feb. 21 - Wilson traveled to Niger at the CIA's request to investigate the purported uranium deal. He said he found nothing to substantiate the allegation. Neither did two other U.S. officials who investigated.
March 8 - The CIA circulated a report on Wilson's trip - without identifying him - to the White House and other agencies.
Sept. 9 - With the White House's public campaign against Iraq in full swing, Nicolo Pollari, head of SISMI, met with then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley at the White House. Hadley later took the blame for including the false Niger allegation in Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech.
National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said Thursday that the meeting was a 15-minute courtesy call and that no one could recollect talk about yellowcake.
Oct. 1 - U.S. intelligence agencies sent the White House and Congress their key prewar assessment of Iraq's illicit weapon programs, which said Iraq was "vigorously" trying to buy uranium ore and had sought deals with Niger, Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The State Department's INR dissented in the report.
Oct. 5 - Then-CIA Director George Tenet advised Hadley to drop a reference to Niger from the draft of a nationally televised speech that Bush was to give on Oct. 7 because the "president should not be a fact witness on this issue" as "the reporting was weak." The sentence was removed.
The CIA then wrote the White House that "the evidence (of a uranium ore deal) is weak. One of the two mines cited by the source of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine cited by the source is under the control of the French."
Oct. 9 - An Italian journalist for the Rome magazine Panorama, owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a supporter of the Iraq war, gave the U.S. Embassy a copy of the purported agreement by Niger to sell yellowcake to Iraq.
The journalist, Elisabetta Burba, reportedly received the documents from Italian businessman Rocco Martino, who has connections to SISMI.
The Italian government has denied any connection to the forged documents.
The embassy forwarded a copy to the State Department. It raised the suspicion of an INR nuclear analyst, who noted in an e-mail that the documents bear a "funky Emb. Of Niger stamp (to make it look official, I guess.)"
Jan. 13, 2003 - The INR nuclear analyst told other analysts that he believed the Niger documents were forgeries.
Jan. 16 - The CIA finally received copies of the forged French-language documents. It sent them back to the State Department to be translated.
Jan. 17 - A CIA analytical unit known as WINPAC (Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control) said in a secret assessment that there was "fragmentary reporting" on Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium from "various countries in Africa."
Sometime in late January, Robert Joseph, a senior White House staffer, and Alan Foley, the head of WINPAC, agreed that Bush could refer to the uranium claim in his State of the Union speech, but he should cite a public British report.
Jan. 28 - Bush delivered the State of the Union.
Feb. 5 - Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the U.N. Security Council on the threat from Iraq but didn't repeat the yellowcake allegation.
March 3 - The International Atomic Energy Agency told the United States that the documents were forgeries after an expert used the Google search engine to identify false information.
July 6 - In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Wilson wrote that his failure to confirm the alleged uranium deal led him to conclude that the Bush administration "twisted" some of the intelligence it used to justify the war.
July 14 - Syndicated columnist Robert Novak identified Plame in a column.
Lawmakers back special prosecutor
And Friday, after a grand jury indicted Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff for allegedly lying to investigators about the leak of Plame’s identity, Simmons made clear his feelings about the work of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. "If public officials lie to a grand jury and obstruct a federal investigation in a clear and obvious way, they should be fully prosecuted under our process of law and afforded their day in court," Simmons said.
"That is how our judicial system works, and after two years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald today has sent a strong message reinforcing the rule of law," Simmons said.
Ken Dautrich, a professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut, said the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby "pales in comparison" to Watergate or the Lewinsky affair.
The significance of Friday’s developments was the resignation of Libby, who while widely unknown prior to the scandal, was a prime catalyst for the administration’s divisive foreign policy, Dautrich said.
Libby was born in New Haven and is a 1972 Yale graduate.
"It’s not the president or vice president who lied to a grand jury. It’s a top aide, but Bush or Cheney, they don’t have a stink left on them," Dautrich said.
"This is the guy behind the Bush administration’s foreign policy. This is a guy who thought Saddam Hussein had to be taken out. He was the highest-level hardliner, and was a close adviser to Cheney and Bush. Clinton lied to a grand jury. This was just a high level aid," Dautrich said.
U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., has been critical of both Bush administration policy in Iraq and the jailing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller for her refusal to name her source’s identity in the Plame case. She eventually testified it was Libby.
Dodd said that if true, the allegations against Libby indicate "extreme arrogance on behalf of this White House."
"Leaking a CIA agent’s identity is extremely dangerous, reckless and wrong. But doing so for the larger purpose of discrediting someone who did not believe the administration’s untruths about Iraq and misleading the country into war is reprehensible and damaging to our country’s interests," Dodd said.
U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., called Friday "a sad day in the history of our government," but said the indictment was "not about partisan politics or the war in Iraq."
"This indictment is about serious violations of law," Lieberman said. "Whatever our party affiliation or opinion on the war, we all agree that perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to a grand jury are inexcusable criminal acts.
"That is where our shared focus should be so that today’s indictment does not become one more cause of debilitating political divisiveness in our government," Lieberman said.
U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3, however, invoked Iraq and called on both Bush and Cheney to address the country.
"This indictment is an indication of wrongdoing, unethical and now seemingly unlawful behavior at the highest level of the Bush White House," DeLauro said. "The president said he would fire all involved in this attempt to silence whistleblowers about Iraq. He has not kept his word to the American people."
Scott McLean, chairman of the political science department at Quinnipiac University, said it’s still unclear how the indictment would affect next year’s midterm elections, but said the cloud still hanging over Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove could make him "like Kryptonite" in the White House.
U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4, called the indictment "extremely disturbing."
"Obstruction of justice, false statements and perjury are charges that — if proven correct — show contempt for our judicial system. … The American people deserve better than a top government official perjuring himself and obstructing justice," Shays said. http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15476855&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=517515&rfi=6
LIBBY RATTED OUT BY ROVE--They will spill guts about forged war intel.
Karl Rove apparently has sang his heart out to Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury and gotten Lewis Libby to take the rap for him, for now. More important than these people are the American casualties, now in the thousands (2000+) and over 100,000 dead Iraqi -- killed in a war that Bush, Rove, Cheney, Lewis and others lied us into. The trials in this matter -- any trials -- will make clearer the lies and the uselessness of this war. Fitzgerald still could indict Rove and others besides those announced today. Another US Attorney, Paul McNulty, has brought three indictments into Israeli spying against the US, and this will uncover more facts about the war scam. Then there is the ongoing investigation in Italy into that country's involvement in forged war evidence used by Bush and Blair, which could come to a head with extradition proceedings for Bob Lady and 21 other CIA operatives.
Rove/Libby/Bush/Cheney got and used forgeries (shown) on Niger uranium to start the Iraq war -- WHICH LED TO A COVERUP AND THE PRESENT CHARGES. The point isn't their fate but (A) the administration is corrupt, (B) the war is based on forgeries can end now, and (C) foreign governments that aided the culprits must be exposed. The Washington grand jury of US Attorney Fitzgerald will obtain indictments in the outing of CIA's Valerie Plame on Friday, sources say, and could nail Bush's and Cheney's right-hand men, Rove and Libby.....In Alexandria, VA, another grand jury, Paul McNulty's, investigating Israeli espionage against the US, has indicted a neocon Pentagon analyst and continues its work.
With these and other probable indictments, there will be trials that will EXPOSE FIXED INTELLIGENCE and FOREIGN MANIPULATION that pushed the US into war.....Also, Italian officials promise to request in coming weeks the extradition of CIA man Bob Lady, a key figure in Imam Rapito and the NIGER FORGERIES. See how these events are converging.
The way things are going, the Neo-Conservatives are going to need more than a puppet judge to replace Harriet Miers, THEY ARE GOING TO NEED TO "STACK" THE SUPREME COURT. --------------------------- IF YOU SEE NO GRAPHICS HERE OR AT BOTTOM, go to http://www.indybay.org/news/2005/10/1776552.php to see them. ------------------------------- [Rome -- Oct. 25, 2005] The AP reported that Italy's parliament announced Tuesday that the director of Italy's SISMI (their CIA), Nicolo Pollari, will be called to testify on charges he gave Bush official Stephen Hadley the forgeries shown and described here, knowing they were forgeries. This is in response to the newspaper report http://www.repubblica.it/2005/j/sezioni/esteri/iraq69/bodv/bodv.html that Pollari met with Hadley in the White House on Sep. 9, 2002, just before the forgeries were put into play to start the war. Hadley is now Bush's National Security Advisor, the successor of Condoleeza Rice. ------------------------------- [Washington, DC -- Oct. 14, 2005] As Karl Rove made his fourth appearance before a grand jury investigating the "outing" of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame, the Washington Post quoted a source close to White House adviser Karl Rove as saying at least two people told him Valerie Plame was an agent. One of them was Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, and Rove said he couldn't remember who the other person was. The multiple appearances of Rove and Libby and the low bar a prosecutor must clear to get indictments makes it likely that they will be indicted and will have to leave the administration at least until they can be tried. ------------------------------ [Rome -- Sep. 29, 2005] The Chicago Tribune reported that Italian investigators have uncovered computer records, including photographs and an Internet map search, that appear to link a former U.S. diplomat and CIA operative to the controversial February 2003 abduction of a Muslim cleric in Milan, according to court documents. Prosecutors say they are proceeding with formal extradition requests. THIS WILL BE BIG NEWS, if the Italians keep their word. Robert Seldon Lady, the alleged leader of the CIA gang, is reported by the Trib to be hiding from the law in Honduras [most likely Valle de Angeles]. http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/12776492.htm ------------------------------ [Alexandria, VA -- Aug. 4, 2005] US Attorney Paul McNulty, whose grand jury has been investigating Israeli espionage against the US, involving Bush Administration figures, spelled out more on charges against Defense Department analyst Larry Franklin and two others. Franklin already had been accused of illegally disclosing classified defense information to Israeli lobbyists. Administration officials close to Israel, like Franklin, helped incite the Iraq war. -----------------------------
The above news stories are developing and converging and should at last give Cindy Sheehan some of the answers she sought from President Bush about the "noble cause" that took her son's life in Iraq. Maybe we will even learn how foreign agents manipulated the US into the Iraq war and just how corrupt our own government is.
NIGERGATE: Forged Italian Documents on Niger Uranium Sent GIs to War
As this story is developing, there will be some overlap and synergies between the investigations of US attorney Paul McNulty's grand jury in Eastern Virginia and US Attorney Patrick Figzgerald's grand jury in Washington, DC. Fitzgerald is concentrating on Plamegate, the outing by Karl Rove and others of Valerie Plame Wilson in revenge for her husband exposing the tricks of Nigergate (forged Niger documents on uranium and Iraq).
At Michael Ledeen's (Karl Rove's foreign policy advisor) meeting with Italian intelligence in December 2001, to procure evidence against Iraq as an excuse for war, was Larry Franklin, whom McNulty got indicted for collaboration with Israeli agents.
The FBI caught Franklin, 58 -- a Pentagon analyst on Iran and an Air Force Reserve colonel -- meeting two agents of AIPAC, Israel's US "lobby," in an Alexandria, VA, restaurant in June 2003. AIPAC employees -- including now-charged AIPAC agents at the meeting, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman -- had been under FBI surveillance for a couple of years. The FBI was surprised by Franklin showing up and began investigating him, too. The FBI arrested Franklin, on May 4, 2005, for illegally disclosing highly classified information to AIPAC -- spying for AIPAC, in other words. He is free on bond and is expected to plead innocent at his trial.
The McNulty grand jury is the one that indicted Franklin and is covering territory that approximates that of the Downing Street Memos. McNulty is concentrating on collaboration between Israel and US officials who incited the Iraq war. As we see, there are a few European governments that appear to have manipulated US policy to the same end.
Before the Rosen and Weissman indictments, we wondered why no one at AIPAC had been charged in the Israeli-spying case besides Franklin. Did someone in the Bush administration obstruct justice by trying to prevent the two latest, and possibly more, indictments?
For that matter, why hasn't the FBI interviewed Rocco Martino, the acknowledged and admitted procurer of the phony Niger uranium documents that Pollari is to be questioned about? They are known to be investigating the phony documents but somehow missed interviewing Martino when he visited New York. The documents are one of the main reasons we are at war and are related to McNulty's and Figzgerald's investigations and the Italians' charges against Bob Lady. Bob Lady was the CIA chief in Italy and may have been a conduit for the Niger forgeries. Is he serving as a patsy, a fall guy, to take the fall for higher-ups? Is someone else to serve as a patsy for Bush, Cheney or other administraton officials.
The Bush administration can't interview the Itialian citizen Martino, but they could have the CIA abduct an Egyptian cleric, Abu Omar (Osama Mostafa Hassan), off the streets of Milan in February 2003, for "extraordinary rendition," aka "torture," in Egypt. This open violation of Italian sovereignty, supervised by the CIA's station chief in Milan, Robert Seldon Lady, formerly of Panama and New Orleans -- involves still another investigation, by Italian prosecutors and legislators. (Could it be that US legislators -- the Congress -- need to look into this, too?) The US violated the sovereignty of another European nation, Sweden, in the 2001 rendition of Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed Al Zero. Swedish officials were complicit and the Swedish public was outraged. Where is the outrage in America?
EXPORTING PERSONS BY FORCE, FOR TORTURE, BY US AGENTS, FROM ITALIAN SOIL
Nineteen CIA agents were charged formally in June 2005 with illegally abducting Egyptian cleric Abu Omar off the street in Milan in February 2003. They sent him, with the cooperation of certain named US Air Force officers at the Aviano Air Base, to Egypt for questioning enhanced by torture. Kidnap-torture (so-called "renditioning") is sanctioned by President George Bush to get around the fact that torture is unconstitutional in the United States. In October 2005 three more Americans were charged and the Italian prosecutor Armando Spataro promised to initiate the process to extradite all 22 to Italy to face charges. I doubt if he can keep this promise.
The chief of the crime ring (as the Italians see it), Robert Seldon Lady, also appears to be involved in using Italian intelligence sources, official and unofficial, for producing phony intelligence, and laundering intelligence produced in other countries, to secretly influence US foreign policy. One product of Italy and the CIA is the forged Niger-uranium documents that President Bush and Tony Blair alluded to in inciting the US to war against Iraq. These documents are at the center of the probes of the McNulty and Fitzgerald grand juries.
The CIA was tipped off by an Italian source about 6 months before charges were brought, and the CIA removed the 19 from Italy and presumably Europe. The spies, including Lady, are currently sought all over Europe under warrants issued by a judge in Italy. To facilitate capture, the prosecutor's office has asked police experts to digitally enhance the photos of the CIA fugitives. This was back in June 2005. The entire rogue's gallery was to be forwarded to Eurojust and Europol for circulation at airports and border posts.
WHERE ARE THE CIA FUGITIVES' PHOTOS AFTER 4 MONTHS? WHERE IS THE EXTRADITION PLEA TO US AUTHORITIES?
The original photos obtained by DIGOS are mainly photocopies of IDs, copied at the luxury hotels where the kidnappers hatched their plot over 3 months. The photocopies were dark and thus needed to be enhanced.
Under a treaty former US president Ronald Reagan signed with Italy in 1982, it is thought Washington is obliged to reveal the real identities of the agents, as well extradite all those charged. Has Italy sought to invoke the treaty and extradite the criminals? As they made public the charges against three more Americans -- including Betnie Medero, a 38-year-old female CIA agent who was working as the second secretary at the US embassy in Rome until a couple of months ago -- they promised to try to extradite the fugitives. She now is reported to be at the US Embassy in Mexico City. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10473.htm The two other CIA agents now wanted by Italian police have been named as 55-year-old Vincent Faldo and 57-year-old Thomas Harbison, apparently their real names since both had valid passports. [Why not just "rendition" them? That would be faster and easier, as well as poetic justice.]
While we wait for the Italian authorities to get serious about apprehending the CIA fugitives, special prosecutors in the US Government have convened two grand juries that are investigating possible criminal charges in two scandals that are coming to be referred to as "Nigergate" (similar to the Downing Street Memos scandal in the UK but focusing on espionage by Israel) and "Plamegate" (the outing of Iraq whistleblower Joseph Wilson's CIA-spy wife, Valerie Plame). The two scandals eventually could result in the prosecution of the president's top aide, Karl Rove, and even criminal charges against the president or vice president. The president, but not the vice president, would first have to be removed from office by impeachment or resignation. Potentially at least, Bush and Cheney could be imprisoned under existing US laws.
NIGERGATE: ASSOCIATES OF KARL ROVE AND MICHAEL LEDEEN PROCURED NIGER FORGERIES
Karl Rove's only full-time foreign-policy advisor is Michael Ledeen, a rabid anti-Arab, anti-Iran, pro-Israel activist. The FBI is investigating Ledeen for procuring forged documents (shown here) on nonexistent WMD, which George Bush used to justify his war on Iraq. Did Ledeen procure the documents for Rove, and how might he have done that? This story, the Nigergate scandal, includes multinational stool pigeon Rocco Martino, Italian spy Francesco Pazienza, wanted CIA spy Robert Seldon Lady, and Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, who's under charges of giving US secrets to Israel. http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=7256 On October 25, 2005, we begin to see the Plamegate and Nigergate scandals converge, along with the CIA cleric-kidnapping ("Imam Rapito") case in Italy.
Karl Rove's foreign-policy advisor, Michael Ledeen, proclaimed "the rightness of the fascist cause" in 1972. He is a particular admirer of Benito Mussolini. In 1984 he got George Bush Sr to appoint Iranian arms merchant and Iranian/Israeli double-agent Manucher Ghorbanifar as a middleman in the scandalous Iran-Contra affair. Ledeen has been a fixture in Washington and Israel ever since, advocating a modern version of the Crusades against Islamic nations. Based on what he has said and written, I believe Ledeen is insane. He certainly is advocating madness.
Michael Ledeen, Rove's "brain," is one of the leading advocates for a US attack on Iran. The Washington Post quoted Ledeen as saying that Rove told him, "Anytime you have a good idea, tell me." I guess that means we can look forward to the Bush team drumming up a war with Iran.
George Bush Jr., when he assumed the presidency at the start of 2001, already knew that he was going to settle the family score with Saddam Hussein. His "brain," Rove, quickly enlisted Ledeen to trump up a causus belli, which took about a year.
1999, EARLY 2000: ROCCO MARTINO AND THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Rocco Martino is a 66-year-old Italian gentleman SEE PHOTO who worked on and off for the Italian SISMI (analogous to the CIA) for many years and who also peddled the same information to various spy organizations and publications -- a convicted felon and international stool pigeon, just the kind of person Ledeen's associates needed. rocco_martino.jpg #file_1#
After being fired by SISMI (he was considered unreliable, possibly because he had been convicted for receiving stolen checks, among other things), he convinced the French intelligence in 1999 that he knew all about Africa and the traffic in conventional and nonconventional arms. To avoid stepping on the toes of SISMI (Italian intelligence), the French gave him a contact, or handler, in Brussels.
Meanwhile, the Italians were pursuing their own intelligence aims, according to Martino, using the Niger embassy in Rome as a conduit to distribute information the US and others while concealing their identity.
In early 2000, a former colleague at SISMI told Martino of a SISMI source at the Niger embassy in Rome -- "a lady," according to most reports, but this was no lady, as we shall see -- who could provide Martino with information.
Martino soon provided the French with documents showing that Iraq may have been planning to expand trade with Niger. In fact, the first set of documents did not refer to uranium, and the trade plans were probably the typical sort of relationship Arab oil states had with a whole range of third-world countries.
Martino was surprised when he saw that the French immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion and thought that the documents indicated an Iraqi interest in uranium. (The world now knows that Iraq had no nuclear program.) Martino's handler in Brussels asked him to obtain every type of news or reference to contraband uranium from Niger -- ("NYE-jer") a former French colony in the Sahara desert, not to be confused with ex-British Nigeria in W. Africa -- where mining was under the jurisdiction of two companies controlled by the gigantic French mining company Cogema.
JANUARY 2001 BREAK-IN AT NIGER EMBASSY
At night, between the first and second of the January 2001, a mysterious thief came to the embassy of Niger in Rome and into the residence of the counselor in charge. It turned out that some letterhead and seals (see photocopy) came up missing.
Then, late in 2001 Martino received a telephone call from a former colleague at SISMI, who informed him that his source, the "lady" at the Nigerien embassy, was in possession of documents that might be of interest to him. “I met her and she gave me documents,” Martino later told the Sunday Times (London). “SISMI wanted me to pass on the documents but they didn't want anyone to know they had been involved.” Martino thus received half a dozen letters and other documents between Niger and Iraqi officials negotiating a sale of 500 tons of uranium oxide (yellowcake).
Martino passed the dossier on to the French secret service, who had paid for it, and anyone else he could sell it to, practically hawking it on the sidewalks like a newsboy.
It was a forgery, and very amateurish, not likely produced through official channels by any state intelligence agency with their vast resources. However, it soon became important as the Bush administration, in its first year (2001), ramped up its public relations campaign for war.
ROME MEETING IN DECEMBER 2001
Michael Ledeen organized a meeting in Rome to gather evidence to support the planned war. Remember, Martino obtained the Niger forgeries about this time -- possibly a littler sooner, possibly a little later. Present at the meeting were:
1. Michael Ledeen, Karl Rove's foreign policy advisor and organizer of the meeting
2. Nicolo Pollari, head of the the Italian equivalent of the CIA, the SISMI. Pollari certainly knew Lady, the CIA chief in Milan.
3. Italy's Minister of Defense, Antonio Martino (no relation apparently to the spy Rocco Martino), Pollari's boss 4. Larry Franklin, an American who presently is being prosecuted in the US for giving classified information to an Israeli front group, AIPC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) -- which some would call "spying," even though he has not been charged with espionage
5. Harold Rhode: member of Dick Cheney's Office of Special Plans, protege of Ledeen, go-between with Iraqi exile and CIA asset (at the time) Ahmed Chalabi.
6. Manucher Ghorbanifar, Iranian/Israeli double agent and Ledeen accomplice going back to Iran/Contra. I won't even attempt to guess whom or what Ghorbanifar was working for in 2001. If it was Iran or Israel, both wanted action against Iraq.
IMPORTANT THING ABOUT MEETING: A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT LIKELY CREATED OR PASSED THE FORGERIES TO INFLUENCE US POLICY.
Whether it was France, Israel, Iran, or Italy, or some other country, this is highly illegal, and such goings on are a threat to US national security bigger than any known terrorist activity. Again, is the FBI investigating, or not? Was the idea to make Saddam "look bad," or Bush? It turns out the forgery has made both look bad, has brought down Saddam and crippled Bush.
Ledeen already had a longstanding friendship with Francesco Pazienza, an Italian felon and forger who had been kicked out of the official Italian intelligence organization SISMI but who had found a new home in the renegade intelligence agency P-2 (Propaganda Due). Pazienza apparently was not present but definitely was known to Italian intelligence agents, including Rocco Martino, as well as to Ledeen and probably Lady.
Ledeen also was a personal friend of Pollari, who, like Ledeen, is a master of the card game bridge (Ledeen writes columns on it). There are close ties between Pollari's official intelligence organization, SISMI, and Pazienza's unnofficial one, P-2. In fact, P-2 recruits from SISMI.
Somehow, through the efforts of the people at Ledeen's meeting, plus Rocco Martino, Francesco Pazienza (or at least P-2), and CIA man Bob Lady, the Bush administration soon had its causus belli, the forged letters on the sale of uranium by Niger to Iraq.
Rove, Ledeen -- the Bush administration -- obtained this historic false information through very irregular means, and this means should be the subject of a Congressional investigation, perhaps in the next Congress. To preserve the rule of law in the United States, the FBI and US attorneys should ascertain how these people and others used unofficial channels to obtain a false causus belli. The Constitution will mean little if the president and his cronies can get away with sneaking around using common criminals, false information, and clandestine foreign alliances to fabricate a case for war that they couldn't obtain through legal channels -- their own CIA and State Department.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence of Sen. Pat "Coverup" Roberts of Kansas looked into this and another, June 2002, meeting between some of these persons but backed off, apparently with the consent of Democrats on the committee. Conducting defusing investigations is Roberts' specialty. "Coverup's" committee is like the administration's bomb squad.
CAUSUS BELLI: A PIECE OF CRAP [SEE PHOTOCOPY] nigery7580.jpg #file_2#
The accompanying figure shows one of the letters made with the stolen letterheads and seals and forged by an unofficial source -- most likely Ledeen's friend, Francesco Panzienza. These documents are the "evidence" on which George Bush has sent almost two thousand young Americans and untold thousands of Iraqi civilians, mostly children, to their deaths.
SPRING 2002: JOE WILSON TO NIGER
Former US Ambassador (to Gabon) Joseph Wilson made the trip, apparently at the behest of the CIA, to determine the authenticity of the charges in Martino's documents, even though the CIA already could see they were forgeries. I believe the CIA already had the documents by this time, even though the Italian magazine Panorama says it was months later that Martino conveyed them to Panorama and that Panorama in turn gave them to the US embassy in Rome. I believe that Karl Rove's man Ledeen somehow obtained them from Martino or P-2 about the end of 2001. Wilson reported back to the CIA that there was no proof that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger. The US government knew there was no proof.
FALL 2002: USING THE CRAP
In London, Tony Blair spoke on September 24, 2002, for the first time on the attempts of Saddam Hussein to obtain uranium from Africa. Remember, Martino apparently had obtained the phony dossier this was based on in late 2001; and Ledeen, Franklin, and Rhode had gone to Rome to get the goods on Saddam Hussein in December 2001. The US State Department and CIA had rejected Martino's dossier. The Pentagon, too, knew it was false, of course, but the Wolfowitz-Feith-Perle Defense Policy Board cabal -- plus Bush and Cheney and their respective aides, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby (both now subjects of interest to US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his grand jury in Washington, DC -- decided to go public with it anyway. The first step was to get their British stooge Tony Blair to go public as just noted. This indiscretion of Blair's is the subject of the Downing Street Memos.
In October 2002, Martino passed the Niger-uranium dossier on to Panorama (a magazine owned by Bush lackie and Italian president Silvio Berlusconi), which assessed it in order to study it, dispatching reporter Elizabeth Burba to Niger. Panorama also turned the file over to the US embassy in Rome for cross-checking.
The Italian journalist soon told Martino that her trip to Niger had not produced any real confirmation, and the French also confirmed to Martino that the reports he had passed on to them were groundless. In other words, Bush's war rationale had been debunked by amateur as well as professional sleuths. Martino says he was surprised again by what happened next.
THE REST IS HISTORY: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein...
...recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." THIS IS BUSH'S LEGACY: Sixteen little words in Bush's January 2003 State of the Union message that will be remembered in history with more honorable presidential words like, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (FDR). Bush was going on the forged documents procured by Rocco Martino, debunked by experts and amateurs, and debunked by Joseph Wilson for the CIA. In March 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (a UN organization) needed just a few hours to debunk the Niger document. However, a few days later, George Bush started a war. US forces overcame Iraqi opposition -- temporarily (resistance was "suicide" for the Iraqis at first, now it's occupation and collaboration that are suicide as US deaths near multiple thousands, 2000) -- mainly by bombing civilian structures, beginning on March 19, 2003
PLAMEGATE: The exposure of Valerie Wilson's secret CIA cover by Bush officials who misused government information they knew was secret, in order to endanger her CIA assignments and colleagues as a payback to her husband Joseph.
Wilson's outraged response to using, for murder, evidence he had debunked got his family, or at least his wife, targeted by that amoral husk of a man, Karl Rove, who, along with I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby (Cheney's chief aide) outed Valerie Wilson to Robert Novak, Judith Miller (the jailed New York Times reporter and pro-war hawk), Matthew Cooper (Time's reporter who jeopardized Rove in the criminal investigation), and at least two or three other journalists. Except for Novak, they all wisely resisted Rove's bait. Novak has been Rove's leaker since at least the early 1990s (Bush's father once fired Rove for a Novak leak).
IMP OF IMPS: MICHAEL LEDEEN'S DAUGHTER SMILES IMPISHLY IN IRAQ [PHOTO] simone_3.jpg #file_3#
The war is not just about oil, Israel's fears/ambitions, or US hegemony. There are contracts and contractors in Iraq. Modern-day carpetbaggers with briefcases descended like a plague of scorpions on the poor, bloodied, bombed-out, grieving people of Iraq. They included the daughter of the war's chief banshee -- Simone Ledeen, Michael's daughter -- shown in the photo, greeting with an impish smile another occupier at the Baghdad airport -- getting ready to lord it over the Iraqis as she tries out her new MBA in working for the CPA.
The Lady Is No "lady": ROBERT SELDON LADY
It is my belief that the "Italian functionary," or "a lady," that Martino said gave him the Niger forgeries used to incite war was actually a Lady, Robert Seldon Lady Sr, the same man who headed up the torture abduction of Abu Omar.
Italian prosecutor Armando Spataro has obtained arrrest warrants for 9 more CIA spies in addition to the original 13 that included Robert Lady, in connection with the abduction.
Robert Seldon Lady, 51, had homes in Abita Springs, LA, and in Panama until 2001, when he left for the Milan post. He and his wife Martha own a villa in the Italian countryside near Penango (Asti) in NW Italy, where they hoped to enjoy retirement before he took it on the lam. Born in Honduras, he was an affable New York City cop in the 80s who infiltrated and ratted out leftist groups. He is something of an electronics hacker (someone hacked the cell phones his operatives used, but not successfully, as the Italians used base-station data to retrace the agents' movements). In the 1980s he joined the CIA and its efforts in Honduras in behalf of the Nicaraguan "contras" who were attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. Lady is the son of an American expatriate in Honduras, Billy Seldon Lady, who had many resources and aptitudes coveted by the CIA and who even operated an airline, Aero Servicios. And now the son, Bob Lady, is a wanted felon in Europe. He is in Honduras again as the Sandinistas are resurgent in Nicaragua, and the Bush administration no doubt needs a few good men to oppose them.
During the "Imam Rapito" (imam kidnapping) operation in Italy, Lady apparently worked directly with the commander of the 31st Security Police Squadron -- Lt. Col. Joseph L. Romano, USAF -- at the Aviano Air Base in Italy. Lt. Col. Romano, who currently works at the Pentagon, also is sought for questioning by Italian prosecutors. At the time, Romano worked under Brig Gen R. Michael Worden, commander of the 31st Fighter Wing, who also has some questions to answer. Evidence has also been uncovered that Lady was in Cairo during the two weeks when Omar is said to have suffered the most violent interrogation. Investigators tracked down two airplane tickets showing that he flew to Cairo from Zurich on 24 February 2003, and returned to Italy on 7 March. The Italian prosecutor could attempt to extradite the American kidnap-torture perps at any time. In that event, the kidnapping of Abu Omar could become a very big story because of its possible effects on relations between nations and its relationship to the fixed intelligence for the Iraq war. http://www.phxnews.com/fullstory.php?article=27415