Rocco Martino: ’I am the Source of the False Niger/Iraq Uranium Story’
by : Juan Cole
Tuesday August 3, 2004 - 02:35
by Juan Cole
The Sunday Times on Sunday and the Financial Times on Monday report that an Italian businessman and fraudster named Rocco Martino has said that he was the source of the false stories and documents related to Iraq’s alleged attempts to buy uranium from Niger. He explained that in 1999, French intelligence sought information about business dealings in Niger. He has met with French intelligence officials in Brussels ever since 1999 on a regular basis and knew about the situation in Niamey.
Highly placed European officials admit that Martino provided the French with documents showing that Iraq may have been planning to expand trade with Niger. In fact, the 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. (We now know that Iraq had no nuclear program and so it is hard to see what it would have done with the uranium, anyway). The FT continues:
It was then that Mr Martino first became aware of the value of documents relating to Niger’s uranium exports. He was then asked by French officials to provide more information, which led to a flourishing "market" in documents. He subsequently provided France with more documents, which turned out to have been forged when they were handed to the International Atomic Energy Agency by US diplomats.
Martino may well be the "independent" source that British intelligence maintains it had, apart from the forged documents, for the story of Iraq attempts to purchase Niger uranium. If so, it turns out that his "reports" are no more genuine than his documents. Martino alleged that the forgeries were produced by Italian intelligence, SISMI, and were given to their agent in the Niger embassy in Rome to be passed on to Martino from there. They knew Martino, who had once worked for SISMI, would immediately sell the documents to Western intelligence agencies. The question of why SISMI would produce such bad forgeries, which were falsified within a day of their receipt by the IAEA in early March of 2003, remains a mystery unresolved in Martino’s account.
The Financial Times concludes:
One western intelligence official said: "This issue shows how vulnerable intelligence services and the media are to tricksters like Martino. He responded to a legitimate . . . demand from the French, who needed the information on Niger. And now he is responding to a new demand in the market, which is being dictated by the political importance this issue has in the US. He is shaping his story to that demand."
Martino’s confession bolsters the case made by Josh Marshall in The Hill recently that conservative attacks on the credibility of Ambassador Joseph Wilson have been misplaced. Marshall has been following the Niger story closely for over a year.
Actually, whether Iraq made inquiries into Niger uranium is irrelevant to the current investigation of the Bush White House over the leaking of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the press. Plame is Wilson’s wife and the leak was done in revenge on him for going public with the news that he had investigated and falsified the Niger story for the CIA in spring of 2002. It is illegal for a government official to blow the cover of a CIA operative.
Plame’s specialty? Fighting the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Her close contacts and friends in the 3rd world for the last 20 years? Likely mostly dead, now, thanks to some politico in the Bush White House.
letter of october to President obama
Wednesday 1 - 10:21by kakine
African Americans: Truth & BDS to overcome huge injustices of Apartheid America
Monday 29 - 06:31by Dr Gideon Polya
The Parrot that Has Ceased to Be: Ukraine will never again be a united country
Sunday 28 - 16:19
France French artists against war - Lili-oto
Sunday 28 - 04:53by Lili-oto french artist / contemporary art
THE CONQUEST OF EUROPE
Thursday 25 - 19:01by JOHN CHUCKMAN
A Clear Message to ISIS Leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Monday 22 - 14:43by William Morgan
My Synopsis of Recent US Economic History: When the Cat’s Away the Mice will ..
Sunday 21 - 20:32by Richard John Stapleton
Australian state terrorism - 1 million preventable Australian deaths since 9-11
Sunday 21 - 09:22by Dr Gideon Polya
Donors will fail Gaza again
Friday 19 - 16:20by Nicola Nasser
With SIDS in limelight, Christophe Mazurier pleads for more awareness
Friday 19 - 12:39
US state terrorism, the Big Lie & 20 million preventable US deaths since 9-11
Thursday 18 - 09:52by Dr Gideon Polya
FOREIGN AFFAIRS AS OPERA BUFFA: THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST ISIS
Wednesday 17 - 21:18by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Risk of UK resident dying preventably 38,000 times greater than terrorism death
Tuesday 16 - 08:50by Dr Gideon Polya
Palestinian reconciliation at crossroads
Monday 15 - 10:15by Nicola Nasser
NATION OF COWARDS
Sunday 14 - 18:52by JOHN CHUCKMAN
American Republic Army looking for recruits to defend against ISIS rebels
Sunday 14 - 15:26by William Morgan
Obama’s Iraq War & Obama’s Syrian War will both involve 12 kinds of war crimes
Friday 12 - 09:21by Dr Gideon Polya
9 key reasons why Scots should vote Yes for an Independent Scotland
Friday 5 - 04:00by Dr Gideon Polya
PENETRATING THE DARKNESS COVERING TWO MALAYSIAN AIRLINE DISASTERS
Thursday 4 - 20:07by JOHN CHUCKMAN
Kick Russia Out Of SWIFT, UK Demands
Wednesday 3 - 14:59by Tyler Durden
THINGS MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME
Wednesday 3 - 12:47by JOHN CHUCKMAN
letter of september to Obama
Monday 1 - 11:10by kakine
The Guardian Australia censors the Iraqi Genocide renewed by the US & Australia
Sunday 31 - 04:42by Dr Gideon Polya
Iran’s lost billions: Tejarat Aria Gostar Iranian Navid Co may have questions to
Thursday 28 - 15:13by kanopia
Christophe Mazurier lobbies for U.S. model for financing arts
Thursday 28 - 14:14by hyuem
A Nation of Monday Morning Quarterbacks
Monday 11 - 21:26by Richard John Stapleton
Nuclear Weapons Ban & BDS to save world from Nuclear, Poverty & Climate threats
Monday 11 - 09:20by Dr Gideon Polya
Top Australian columnist loses job for criticizing latest Israeli Gaza Massacre
Friday 8 - 07:52by Dr Gideon Polya
WW1, ongoing Palestinian Genocide, latest Israeli Gaza Massacre & Western lies
Tuesday 5 - 15:20by Dr Gideon Polya
Weapons System offered to Hamas and the People of Gaza
Monday 4 - 15:57by William Morgan
Israel’s Attempted Genocide Must Fail: Lessons from Genocide in ’Canada’
Monday 4 - 05:20by Denis Rancourt
BEYOND THE EURO: THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE
Saturday 2 - 15:34by Co-ordinating of the Left against the euro, Italy
letter of august to president Obama
Friday 1 - 09:36by kakine
55 anti-racist Australian MPs condemn Israel’s Gaza Massacre and war crimes
Thursday 31 - 08:31by Dr Gideon Polya
Hell, No—We won’t go! We won’t fight for Texaco!! - Rebellion in *west* Ukraine
Wednesday 30 - 21:47by Daniel Patrick Welch
Tejarat Aria Gostar Iranian Navid Co.: Why the end of sanctions against Iran may
Wednesday 30 - 17:59
"I got my eyes on your fatty"
Tuesday 29 - 04:28by BenAMarine
"If I forget about them, may God forget about me"
Monday 28 - 19:12by Daniel Patrick Welch
Refutation of false Zionist one-liners behind the latest Israeli Gaza Massacre
Saturday 26 - 00:21by Dr Gideon Polya
IS RELIGION HUMANITY’S DEADLIEST INVENTION?
Friday 25 - 12:46by David R. Hoffman, Legal Editor of Pravda.Ru