Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Saturday, April 26, 2003  

More lies than WMD

Then there's this, from the Australian Age. Are the old lies starting to bother people confronted by the new raft of dubious statements?

Take the phoney war's great hoax: the dossier that Colin Powell finally presented to the UN in early March as "proof" that Iraq had imported illicit uranium ore from Niger. For months before that, the Bush Administration kept the file close to its chest, citing it constantly, but seldom letting anyone take a closer look.

Now, quietly, quite a few people are paying it a good deal more attention, including a handful of congressional investigators. Far from clearing up the mystery, however, the digging has only deepened it. What investigators have achieved isn't much, having teased just a few tantalising strands of truth from a dark web of deceit - but for laymen, the whodunit is as captivating as a le Carre novel.

Initially attributed only to vague "intelligence sources", the documents appeared to represent hard proof that Saddam Hussein was in flagrant breach of UN sanctions. As Powell explained, they constituted "an irrefutable smoking gun".

Within hours of being made available to the UN, however, they were exposed as fictions - and not very good ones at that. First, there was the quantity of uranium ore said to be involved - 500 tonnes - which would have represented 20 per cent of Niger's total annual output, a quantity so large it stretches credulity to imagine it being siphoned off unnoticed.

posted by Jeff | 8:46 PM |
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