Monday, 29 April 2013

The media party blocks embarrasing story?


Today, we are celebrating the 5th anniversary of article, verbatim by Sidhartha Banerjee in Resource Investor, entitled 'Cameco Scoops 550 tonnes of Yellowcake in Secret Deal'. My response is below with room for your comment below that, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.
While we are approaching the fifth anniversary, the odoriferous story the Democrats wished would just go away is still hanging out a pair of old socks that still smell! To refresh memories, on July 6, 2008, it was announced in a mining trade magazine that a Canadian company had acquired a massive amount of concentrated natural uranium from Iraq; a product that is not found naturally in Iraq and the U.S. military was behind the secrecy surrounding the transaction.

Sidhartha tells us that Saskatoon-based Cameco Corp. [NYSE:CCJ | TSX:CCO] purchased the reported 550 tonnes of ''yellowcake'', the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment, in a deal reported to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Cameco spokesman Lyle Krahn said the hush-hush nature of the transaction was at the request of the U.S. military, who supervised the transport of the raw material out of the volatile region.

''We were following the request of the U.S. government,'' Krahn said of the clandestine route the material took to get out of Baghdad and to Canada. Krahn confirmed the yellowcake uranium shipment arrived in Montreal by ship Saturday and is scheduled to be transported by truck to the company's facilities in Ontario.
''We will be completing the transaction in the third quarter of this year, the shipment is in Canada at this point and we will be completing it by the fall,'' Krahn said. ''We are sending it to Port Hope and Blind River.''

Cameco is spending between $15 and $20 million to clean up and another $20 to $25 million to repair and upgrade contaminated soil at its Port Hope uranium hexafluoride conversion plant and expects the work to also be completed in the fall. Uranium hexafluoride operations have been suspended since the discovery of contaminated soil under the plant in July of 2007.

''The (yellowcake) uranium is in various chemical forms and it needs to be processed further before it can be ultimately used as fuel and this is what these facilities do,'' Krahn said. Krahn would not disclose the amount of yellowcake uranium or the price of the transaction, but called the deal a good one for Cameco.

''Every year we sell more uranium than we produce so we go out on the market and look for opportunities to purchase uranium,'' Krahn said. ''When the U.S. government came to us with this opportunity, we obviously thought it was a good idea to bid on it,'' Krahn said. Despite its origins, some nuclear watchdogs wondered why the entire deal, reached earlier this year, was shrouded in so much secrecy.

''If it's yellowcake, then why would it be top secret? It's not weapons usable material per se,'' said Gordon Edwards, who heads Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, based in Montreal. ''But why is there this secrecy surrounding it,'' Edwards said. ''That's the real question here.'The Port of Montreal confirmed Sunday that a vessel carrying a shipment of uranium arrived Friday from Baghdad.

The cargo began its trek in April, when truck convoys started moving the yellowcake from Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 20 kilometres south of Baghdad to the city's international airport. Then, for two weeks in May, it was ferried on 37 flights to Diego Garcia, a speck of British territory in the Indian Ocean where the U.S. military maintains a base. On June 3, an American ship left the island for Montreal.

The stockpile has been described as the last major remnant of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's nuclear program. Yellowcake uranium poses no severe risk if stored and sealed properly. ''Yellowcake itself is a very fine powder, it's sort of the consistency of flour and uranium is radioactive heavy metal,'' said Edwards, adding the industry tends to downplay potential risk despite the material travelling on Canadian highways.

''The stuff is in very dispersible form and could easily be blown in the wind and could contaminate an extensive part an area ... because its so finely ground,'' he said. But Krahn says great care is taken in transporting the material and the usual procedures will be used this time as well. ''The material is quite commonly transported and there are obviously safeguards and security involved with that,'' Krahn said.

my response....
                                                               the late Saddam Hussein
For those who do not remember the controversy of 'yellowcake' that Saddam apparently, according to the British Intelligence ordered from Niger that brought down former Ambassador and noted Clinton apologist, Joe Wilson, let me refresh your memory.

According to wikipedia, "In late February 2002, Wilson traveled to Niger at the CIA's request to investigate the possibility that Saddam Hussein had purchased enriched yellowcake uranium. Wilson met with the then US Ambassador to Niger, Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick at the embassy and then interviewed dozens of officials who had been in the Niger government at the time of the supposed deal. He ultimately concluded: "it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place.

                                                                         Joe Wilson
Wilson learned that the Iraqis had in fact requested a meeting to discuss "expanding commercial relations" but that Niger's Prime Minister Mayaki had declined, due to concern about U.N. sanctions against Iraq.
President Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address included these 16 words : "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." 
In response, in the July 6, 2003, issue of The New York Times, Wilson contributed an "op-ed" entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa", in which he states that on the basis of his "experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war", he has "little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."
                                                            Niger's Prime Minister Mayaki
Wilson describes the basis for his mission to Niger as follows: "The vice president's office asked a serious question [about the truth of allegations that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium yellowcake from Niger]. I was asked to help formulate the answer".

In the last two paragraphs of his op-ed, Wilson relates his perspective to the Bush administration's rationale for the Iraq War:
"I was convinced before the war that the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein required a vigorous and sustained international response to disarm him. Iraq possessed and had used chemical weapons; it had an active biological weapons program and quite possibly a nuclear research program — all of which were in violation of United Nations resolutions. Having encountered Mr. Hussein and his thugs in the run-up to the Persian Gulf war of 1991, I was only too aware of the dangers he posed. But were these dangers the same ones the administration told us about? We have to find out. America's foreign policy depends on the sanctity of its information. For this reason, questioning the selective use of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq is neither idle sniping nor "revisionist history", as Mr. Bush has suggested. The act of war is the last option of a democracy, taken when there is a grave threat to our national security. More than 200 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq already. We have a duty to ensure that their sacrifice came for the right reasons."
At a press conference on Monday, July 7, 2003, the day after the publication of the op ed, Colin Powell said: "There was sufficient evidence floating around at that time that such a statement was not totally outrageous or not to be believed or not to be appropriately used. It's that once we used the statement, and after further analysis, and looking at other estimates we had, and other information that was coming in, it turned out that the basis upon which that statement was made didn't hold up, and we said so, and we've acknowledged it, and we've moved on.". He also said: "the case I put down on the 5th of February, 2003 for an hour and 20 minutes, roughly, on terrorism, on weapons of mass destruction, and on the human rights case...we stand behind"

                                                               CIA director George Tenet
In a July 11, 2003 statement, CIA director George Tenet, stated that the President, Vice President and other senior administration officials were not briefed on Wilson's report (otherwise widely distributed in the intelligence community) because it "did not resolve whether Iraq was or was not seeking uranium from abroad".

In his 2007 memoir, Tenet writes that Wilson's report "produced no solid answers" and "was never delivered to Cheney. In fact, I have no recollection myself of hearing about Wilson's trip at the time." In the July 11 statement, Tenet also notes that, according to Wilson's report, a former Niger official interpreted an Iraqi approach as an "overture as an attempt to discuss uranium sales." Asked about this the following October, Wilson said that the official in question had declined the meeting, due to U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iraq, but speculated "maybe they might have wanted to talk about uranium".

                                               Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney

There has been substantial disagreement about whether Wilson implies in the Op Ed that he was sent to Niger at the request of the vice president, or his office. The implication that Cheney or his office sent Wilson to Niger, whether made by Wilson or the media party, was apparently a cause of consternation to vice- presidential aide I. Lewis Libby, who called NBC's Tim Russert to complain. On July 6, 2003, in a Meet the Press interview with Andrea Mitchell, Wilson stated: "The question was asked of the CIA by the office of the vice-president. The office of the vice-president, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked and that response was based upon my trip out there."
The week after the publication of Wilson's New York Times op ed, Robert Novak, in his syndicated Washington Post column, disclosed that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA as an agency operative. Subsequently, former Ambassador Wilson and others alleged that the disclosure was part of the Bush administration's attempts to discredit his report about his investigations in Africa and the op-ed describing his findings because they did not support the government's rationale for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. 
                                                          Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald,
Wilson's allegations led to a federal investigation of the leak by the United States Department of Justice, to the appointment of a Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, to the CIA leak grand jury investigation, and to a major American political scandal variously dubbed by the press "Plamegate", the "Plame affair", the "CIA leak scandal", and other terms relating to the public disclosure or "leak" of Mrs. Wilson's then-classified covert CIA identity as "Valerie Plame". 

In 2005, retired US Army Major General Paul E. Vallely claimed that former Ambassador Wilson "mentioned Plame's status as a CIA employee" in 2002 [one year before she was allegedly "outed"] in the Fox News Channel's "green room" in Washington, D.C., as they waited to appear on air as analysts. In a later report on the conservative news site World Net Daily, Wilson demanded through his lawyer that Vallely retract these allegations, calling them "patently false."

                                                    Former CIA agency operative Valerie Plame,

Although no one was "indicted for actually leaking Plame's identity," the investigation resulted in the federal criminal trial United States v. Libby in which Lewis Libby, the former Chief of Staff to Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney, was tried on five federal felony counts. He was convicted on four of the counts, involving false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice, none of which related directly to the Plame revelation but rather to his failure to cooperate with the subsequent investigation into the revelation. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Libby's prison sentence was commuted by President Bush, who let the conviction and fine stand. In 2004, Wilson published a political and personal memoir entitled The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir. The book describes his diplomatic career, his personal life and family, and his experiences during the Valerie Plame affair.

                                                         Lewis Libby, the former Chief of Staff

Wilson's autobiographical account of over two decades of his life in foreign service includes detailed descriptions of his extensive diplomatic-career experiences, his first marriage and family, briefer references to his second marriage, his meeting of Valerie Plame, their courtship and marriage, and a detailed narrative of the events leading to his decision to go public with his criticisms of the George W. Bush administration and its aftermath.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal published in mid-July 2004, finds some justification for his perspective presented in "What I Didn't Find in Africa", but highlights some evidence of Iraq's attempts at acquiring uranium yellowcake from African nations such as Niger, on which Iraq did not follow through.
But another editorial published in the July 13, 2005 Wall Street Journal asserts that Wilson had lied in his "What I Didn't Find in Africa" about "what he'd discovered in Africa, how he'd discovered it, what he'd told the CIA about it, or even why he was sent on the mission."

                                               Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell
An editorial headlined "A Good Leak" published in the April 9, 2006 Washington Post claims that "Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth and that, in fact, his report to the CIA supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium." Some commentators and newspaper readers believed that this Washington Post editorial contradicted a news article in the paper's same issue, which reported that the administration had misrepresented its actual confidence level in the intelligence reports that Hussein was seeking uranium. Complaints to the Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell about the apparent contradiction between the article and editorial, resulted in her acknowledging "the high wall between editorial and news" and also that "it would have been helpful if the editorial had put statements about Wilson in more context".

In their 2006 book Hubris, Michael Isikoff and David Corn assert that it was Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State, who first revealed that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA to Robert Novak sometime before July 8, 2003. In late August 2006, along with advance publicity for the book, news accounts and editorials began focusing on that public revelation: "Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state, has acknowledged that he was the person whose conversation with a columnist in 2003 prompted a long, politically laden criminal investigation in what became known as the C.I.A. leak case, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday [August 29, 2006]."

                                             Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state

Wilson and his wife then amended their civil lawsuit (see below) to add Armitage as a defendant along with Vice President Dick Cheney and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. According to their complaint, Richard Armitage was being sued individually (independently of his White House colleagues) for having nevertheless also violated Plame's right to privacy and property (ability to make a living), while not reducing the culpability of the others as claimed.

In a column posted in on 14 September 2006, however, Novak disputes details of Armitage's contemporaneous media accounts of their conversations. According to Novak, "Armitage did not, as he now indicates, merely pass on something he had heard and that he 'thought' might be so. Rather, he identified to me the CIA division where Mrs. Wilson worked, and said flatly that she recommended the mission to Niger by her husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson. Second, Armitage did not slip me this information as idle chitchat, as he now suggests. He made clear he considered it especially suited for my column." He noted that critics would not be able to "fit Armitage into the left-wing fantasy of a well-crafted White House conspiracy to destroy Joe and Valerie Wilson. The news that he and not Karl Rove was the leaker was devastating news for the Left." In the American Journalism Review, editor Rem Rieder noted that the disclosure that Armitage was Novak's "primary source" was insufficiently covered in the media.

                                                                        Robert Novak

In response to the verdict on March 6, 2007, finding Lewis Libby guilty of four of the five charges in the Fitzgerald grand jury indictment against him, the Wilson's issued a statement in a press release posted on the website of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. They stated that they respected the jury's verdict and believed justice was done, as well as affirming their commitment to pursuing their civil suit.
Wilson criticized President George W. Bush's July 2, 2007 commutation of Lewis Libby's prison sentence, calling it "a cover-up of the Vice President's role in this matter and quite possibly the role of the President and/or some of his senior White House advisers."Wilson also complained that the President's action and others' actions leading to President Bush's commutation of Libby's sentence could seriously damage United States national security by harming its intelligence capability.

 On the evening of the verdict in the Libby trial, Joseph C. Wilson appeared on Larry King Live, during which he announced that he and his wife had "signed a deal with Warner Bros of Hollywood to offer their consulting services - or maybe more - in the making of the forthcoming movie about the Libby trial", their lives and the CIA leak scandal. According to an article by Michael Fleming published in Variety earlier in the week, the feature film, a co-production between Weed Road's Akiva Goldsman and Jerry and Janet Zucker of Zucker Productions with a screenplay by Jez and John Butterworth to be based in part on Valerie Wilson's then still-forthcoming book "Fair Game", whose publication, in October 2007, after a delay of two months, was contingent on CIA clearances. The film, Fair Game, was released November 5, 2010, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It is based on two books, one written by Wilson, and the other by his wife.

                                                          Presidential advisor Karl Rove

On July 13, 2006, a civil suit was filed by Joseph and Valerie Wilson against Vice President Dick Cheney, his former Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, top Presidential advisor Karl Rove, and other unnamed senior White House officials (among whom they later added Richard Armitage), for their alleged role in the public disclosure of Valerie Wilson's classified CIA status. On September 13, 2006, Joseph and Valerie Wilson amended their original lawsuit, adding Richard Armitage as a fourth defendant. Unlike their charges against Rove, Cheney, and Libby, "claiming that they had violated her constitutional rights and discredited her by disclosing that she was an undercover CIA operative", the Wilsons sued Armitage "for violating the 'Wilsons' constitutional right to privacy, Mrs. Wilson's constitutional right to property, and for committing the tort of publication of private facts.'"
United States District Court for the District of Columbia Judge John D. Bates dismissed the Wilsons' lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds on July 19, 2007, stating that the Wilsons had not shown that the case belonged in federal court and Bates also ruled that the court lacked jurisdiction over the claim because the couple had not yet exhausted their administrative remedies. Bates stated that the lawsuit raised "important questions relating to the propriety of actions undertaken by our highest government officials" but also noted that "there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials", even if "the alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility" were perhaps "highly unsavory." 

                                                         Former President George W. Bush

On July 20, 2007, Ms. Sloan and the Wilsons announced publicly that they had filed an appeal of the US District Court's decision to dismiss their law suit. On August 12, 2008, in a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the dismissal. Melanie Sloan, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which represents the Wilsons, "said the group will request the full D.C. Circuit to review the case and appeal to the US Supreme Court." Agreeing with the Bush administration, the Obama Justice Department argues the Wilsons have no legitimate grounds to sue. On the current justice department position, Sloan stated: "We are deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has failed to recognize the grievous harm top Bush White House officials inflicted on Joe and Valerie Wilson. The government’s position cannot be reconciled with President Obama’s oft-stated commitment to once again make government officials accountable for their actions." On June 21, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal."

As unfortunate a scenario as it is when a true patriot like Valerie Plame-Wilson gets caught in the cross-fire, the fact remains that Joe Wilson was sent to gather intelligence, not make a final decision concerning a shipment of yellowcake from Niger to Iraq. Joe produced a report that was received and obviously filed. . His wife told him that and he wouldn't listen to her, either!!! Joe was told afterwards to keep his mouth shut by folks who knew more than he did and he refused. Joe had an agenda and everyone knew it! Yellowcake was found in Iraq after the war and there is no mining of yellowcake in Iraq. The British had been tracking this shipment and advised Washington before war was declared. If Saddam had been able to convert, we could have all been in danger. Saddam had to be stopped. After the war, the top-secret yellowcake was stored by the US military and eventually shipped to the Port of Montreal in a US vessel to be used in a commercial environment by Cameco, at a deep discount.

                                                              Joe and Valerie Wilson

Joe was not in possession of all of the intelligence gathered by multiple agencies, nor, as things have turned out, should he have been!


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The media party blocks embarrassing story? 
He didn't know and, as things have turned out, he shouldn't!  

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