grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most popular grassroots peace sites in the US, and its content remains as an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

War on Truth  From Warriors to Resisters
Important New Books

The War on Truth

From Warriors to Resisters

Army of None

Iraq: the Logic of Withdrawal

Dr. Glen Rangwala and Labour Against the War were right

Scott Ritter was right - there are no Iraqi WMD's

See also Blair on hotseat

Bush Administration's WeaponsGate

Bush Charge on Iraq Arms Had Doubters, House Told

Bush Administraion 'warned over uranium claim' 10 months before State of Union Address

Bush Recantation Of Iraq Claim Stirs Calls for Probes (next article)


Bush Recantation Of Iraq Claim Stirs Calls for Probes

By Walter Pincus Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, July 9, 2003; Page A20

Democrats called for investigations yesterday after the White House acknowledged Monday that President Bush should not have said in his State of the Union address last January that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.

The White House acknowledgment followed a British parliamentary report casting doubt on intelligence about the alleged uranium sale, which Bush had attributed to the British.

"Knowing all that we know now, the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech," the White House statement said. In the speech, Bush was trying to make the case that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.

Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) called it a "very important admission," adding, "This ought to be reviewed very carefully. It ought to be the subject of careful scrutiny as well as some hearings."

The senior Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), said the administration's admission was not a revelation. "The whole world knew it was a fraud," Rockefeller said, adding that the current intelligence committee inquiry should determine how it got into the Bush speech. "Who decided this was something they could work with?" Rockefeller asked.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, yesterday questioned why, as late as the president's Jan. 28 speech, "policymakers were still using information which the intelligence community knew was almost certainly false."

Levin said he hoped the intelligence committee inquiry and one he is conducting with the Democratic staff of the armed services panel will explore why the CIA had kept what it knew buried "in the bowels of the agency," repeating a phrase used recently by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to explain why she did not know the information was incorrect.

Republicans saw things differently.

Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), chairman of the Republican Conference, praised the administration for being forthright. "I think they had the best information that they thought, and it was reliable at the time that the president said it," Santorum told reporters. "It has since turned out to be, at least according to the reports that have been just released, not true," he said. "The president stepped forward and said so," he continued. "I think that's all you can expect."

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) also defended Bush's approach, telling reporters that it is "very easy to pick one little flaw here and one little flaw there." He defended the U.S.-led war against Iraq as "morally sound, and it is not just because somebody forged or made a mistake. . . . The Democrats can try all they want to undermine that, but the American people understand it and they support it."

At the White House yesterday, officials stressed that Bush's assertions in the State of the Union address did not depend entirely on discredited documents about Niger but also referred to intelligence contained in a still-classified September 2002 national intelligence estimate that listed two other countries, identified yesterday by a senior intelligence official as Congo and Somalia, where Iraq allegedly had sought uranium. That information, however, has been described as "sketchy" by intelligence officials, and the British parliamentary commission said it had not been proved.

Several candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination spoke out yesterday. Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said Bush's "factual lapse" cannot be easily dismissed "as an intelligence failure." He said the president "has a pattern of using excessive language in his speeches and off-the-cuff remarks" which "represents a failure of presidential leadership."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said the administration "doesn't get honesty points for belatedly admitting what has been apparent to the world for some time -- that emphatic statements made on Iraq were inaccurate."

Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), former chairman of the intelligence panel, said, "George Bush's credibility is increasingly in doubt."

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) expanded the credibility problem to the administration: "The White House's admission that it cited false information to set this country on the path toward war erodes the credibility of the administration."

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean said, "The credibility of the U.S. is a precious commodity. We should all be deeply dismayed that our nation was taken to war and our reputation in the world forever tainted by what appears to be the deliberate effort of this administration to mislead the American people, Congress and the United Nations."

2003 The Washington Post Company


http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/09/international/worldspecial/09INTE.html

July 9, 2003

Bush Charge on Iraq Arms Had Doubters, House Told

By DAVID E. SANGER and CARL HULSE

WASHINGTON, July 8 — The State Department told a Congressional committee today that seven days after President Bush gave his State of the Union address, in which he charged that Saddam Hussein was trying to purchase uranium in Africa, American diplomats warned the International Atomic Energy Agency that the United States could not confirm the reports.
The State Department letter, provided to Representative Henry A. Waxman, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Government Reform, confirms that there were deep misgivings in the government about some intelligence Mr. Bush cited in his January speech.

On Monday the White House said for the first time that the evidence that Iraq sought nuclear fuel in Africa was not credible enough, and should not have been included in the president's remarks.

Nonetheless, White House officials declined today to reveal how the charge made it into Mr. Bush's speech. And they argued, in further statements that went beyond those issued from Air Force One on Monday, that the uranium issue was one of many pieces of evidence indicating that Iraq was seeking to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program.

The White House acknowledgment that it had used flawed intelligence came nearly six months after the speech, and after weeks of arguments here and in Britain over the justification for the invasion of Iraq. Today it touched off a new series of accusations between Democrats and Republicans over whether the administration had deliberately skewed the evidence, or, as the Democrats argued, withheld information that would have cast doubt on the intelligence.

Democrats seized on the admission as new justification for a full-scale investigation.

"It's a recognition that we were provided faulty information," Tom Daschle, the senate Democratic leader, told reporters. "And I think it's all the more reason why a full investigation of all of the facts surrounding this situation be undertaken, the sooner the better."

Republicans said the White House had been "forthright" in making the admission and they pointed to the risks of using intelligence from other nations. Mr. Bush had cited British intelligence reports on the uranium, but that report was at least in part based on American reports.

"Obviously, when you use foreign intelligence, you — we don't have necessarily as much confidence or as much reliability as you do your own," said Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate. "It has since turned out to be, at least according to the reports that have been just released, not true. The president stepped forward and said so. I think that's all you can expect."

The State Department's letter came in response to a statement provided to Mr. Waxman by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations body that monitors nuclear activity. The agency said it had sought information in December to back up American charges that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium in Niger.

The initial intelligence was provided to Congress in late October. But it was not until Feb. 4, a week after Mr. Bush spoke, that the administration provided documents to the I.A.E.A. to back up its charges.

The I.A.E.A. quickly concluded that the documents the United States had turned over to support Mr. Bush's claims were fraudulent. But even in turning over the material, the State Department told the organization, "We cannot confirm these reports and have questions regarding some specific claims."

That statement appears to show that serious doubts about the intelligence were present early on, but Mr. Bush also cited other evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program.

Michael N. Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said today, "The documents alleging a transaction between Iraq and Niger were not the sole basis for the line in the president's State of the Union speech that referred to recent Iraqi attempts to acquire uranium from Africa."

He said that at the time a "national intelligence estimate" cited "attempts by Iraq to acquire uranium from several countries in Africa," adding, "We now know that documents alleging a transaction between Iraq and Niger had been forged."

Mr. Bush never mentioned Niger by name in his speech. But without the Niger evidence, the argument that Iraq was intent on getting uranium from Africa did not hold up.

Mr. Anton noted today that "other reporting that suggested that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from Africa is not detailed or specific enough for us to be certain that such attempts were in fact made.

"Because of this lack of specificity," he continued, "this reporting alone did not rise to the level of inclusion in a presidential speech. That said, the issue of Iraq's attempts to acquire uranium from abroad was not an element underpinning the judgment reached by most intelligence agencies that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."

That judgment was highly controversial, with the State Department's intelligence unit and the Energy Department arguing that the evidence was murky at best. Republicans, however, insisted today that if the president made a very public mistake, it was not a consequential one.

"It's very easy to pick one little flaw here or one little flaw there," said Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the second-ranking Republican leader in the House of Representatives. "The overall reason we went into Iraq was sound and morally sound. And it's not just because somebody forged or a made a mistake on whether Saddam Hussein was looking for nuclear material from Niger or whatever."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3056626.stm

Bush 'warned over uranium claim'

BBC - July 8, 2003

The CIA warned the US Government that claims about Iraq's nuclear ambitions were not true months before President Bush used them to make his case for war, the BBC has learned.

Doubts about a claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the African state of Niger were aired 10 months before Mr Bush included the allegation in his key State of the Union address this year, a CIA official has told the BBC.

On Tuesday, the White House for the first time officially acknowledged that the Niger claim was wrong and should not have been used in the president's State of the Union speech in January. Given the fact that the report on the yellow cake did not turn out to be accurate, that is reflective of the president's broader statement White House press spokesman Ari Fleischer Uranium row in quotes

But the CIA official has said that a former US diplomat had already established the claim was false in March 2002 - and that the information had been passed on to government departments, including the White House, well before Mr Bush mentioned it in the speech.

Both President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair mentioned the claim, based on British intelligence, that Iraq was trying to get uranium from Niger as part of its attempt to build a nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Blair is under fire from British MPs about the credibility of a dossier of evidence, which set out his case for war.

And in the US, increasing doubts are being raised about the American use of intelligence.

Forged documents

In his keynote speech to Congress in January, the President said: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

But the documents alleging a transaction were found to have been forged.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer appeared to concede on Tuesday that the uranium claim in the State of the Union address was based on inaccurate information.

"The president's statement was based on the predicate of the yellow cake [uranium] from Niger," Mr Fleischer said.

"So given the fact that the report on the yellow cake did not turn out to be accurate, that is reflective of the president's broader statement." The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. President George W Bush Mr Bush's State of the Union address

But a former US diplomat, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, went on the record at the weekend to say that he had travelled to Africa to investigate the uranium claims and found no evidence to support them.

Now the CIA official has told the BBC that Mr Wilson's findings had been passed onto the White House as early as March 2002.

That means that the administration would have known nearly a year before the State of the Union address that the information was likely false.

In response, a US Government official told the BBC that the White House received hundreds of intelligence reports every day.

The official said there was no evidence that this specific cable about uranium had been passed on to the president.

But in Congress, Democrats are demanding a full investigation into the intelligence that underpinned the case for war.

They have demanded to know if President Bush used evidence that he knew to be weak or wrong.

British undeterred

The British Government has stood by its assertion, saying the forged documents were not the only evidence used to reach its conclusion that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Africa.

On Tuesday Mr Blair defended the assessment, telling a committee of MPs that it was not a "fantasy" and that the intelligence services themselves stood by the allegation.

"The evidence that we had that the Iraqi Government had gone back to try to purchase further amounts of uranium from Niger did not come from these so-called 'forged' documents, they came from separate intelligence," Mr Blair said. However, Mr Blair did not specify what that separate intelligence was.

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