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The Plates, They Shift!

At last, the promised Marshall/Rozen tectonic plate shifter is beginning to make itself felt. Sadly for Josh and Laura, the Times of London seems to have been a bit quicker to the draw than was The Washington Monthly, but there's much more to be said about this, and I expect we'll be hearing it from then.

For now, let me just point out a connection of particular interest to, well, me. The bad actors here appear to have been in SISMI (Italian Military Intelligence) or at least working with the assistance of some SISMI elements. Meanwhile, SISMI has also been the source of a lot of intelligence beloved of America's Iran hawks indicating that Iran is behind the Iraqi insurgency. Now if SISMI was a party to an effort to snow US intelligence once, that doesn't mean everything they have to say about Iraq is false, but still....

And may I also remind you that there was not one Niger forgery, but two. One pertaining to the uranium and another pertaining to Iran-Iraq cooperation.....

August 1, 2004 | Permalink


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» That uranium thing from Gavin's Blog.com
Josh Marshall details a look into the Niger-Italian-Iraq uranium story. Have a read. Yglesias discusses it here.... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 1, 2004 3:40:15 PM


I read Josh Marshall's August 1st post that you link to. Putting aside the issue of whether it's true or not, it sounds like a good Tom Clancy thriller. Has he optioned the movie rights yet? I hope they get Monica Bellucci...

Posted by: next big thing | Aug 1, 2004 3:39:38 PM

The Italians are plotting world domination, subtly and secretly using disinformation to set their enemies and superiors into destructive wars against each other. Got it.

Gotta go, find me a copy of Da Vinci Code.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 1, 2004 3:41:13 PM

Surely one of you journos will look into the suspicious timing of David Beckham's move to Real Madrid, yes?

Posted by: praktike | Aug 1, 2004 4:07:12 PM

Actually, this is probably a more important confluence of events than your post makes it out to be Matt.

What was that new Neocon focus group called again? The Comittee on Imminent Danger or something? Wait, that was for Iraq wasn't it? Anyway, these guys moved right on from Iraq to Iran, and being the good Straussian's they are, they will not only not care that the SISMI data was a deliberate forgery, they will in fact be happy to use data from the same source again, forged or not in order to justify another war, hoping only that nobody will call them on it until we are knee deep in combat or occupation.

This time however, the Iran stalemate on nuclear material is indeed SERIOUS and more importantly its on a tight time frame for resolution. The irony is that we have these loonies leading the way, like kids let loose in the mall, running from one perceived threat to the next, driven purely by ideology, leaving the real world strategy and implementation to the lesser mortals.

Its basically "Team B" cold warriors gone wild after eight years of living without their pet evil empire.

So lets hope that Josh and the press at large are able to blow the lid on this "intel" enabler, and at the same time focus more spotlight on the fanatics behind it before it gets beyond us. We need to deal with the threat without a doubt, but the Neocon element thats trying to push and shape this thing already is perhaps more dangerous than the threat itself.

Posted by: Waffle | Aug 1, 2004 4:14:23 PM

You shd read Peter Robb's Midnight in Sicily where on chapter contains a similar story about an ex-SISMI operator who was a security consultant with info about the link between the Mafia and Andreotti, the Italian Prime Minister. The 'consultant' ended up assassinated, his material disappeared.

Great book!

Posted by: Otto | Aug 1, 2004 4:50:59 PM

Why is this a "tectonic plate shifter"?

Posted by: abb1 | Aug 1, 2004 5:22:45 PM

The key question remains: what's in it for Italy or their military intelligence to disseminate bogus intelligence? Especially to an ally?

Posted by: JadeGold | Aug 1, 2004 5:33:56 PM

> Why is this a "tectonic plate shifter"?

Had they gotten it out all at one time, without being "scooped" (probably leaked by one of the subjects of the report as a counter-strategy), and without being dribbled, it might have been picked up by the major media as a runner.

But as it stands now - I doubt it. Too insiderish, too wonky, too complex. And denial tactics already in place for key players.


Posted by: Cranky Observer | Aug 1, 2004 7:36:28 PM

abb1 asks a good question: How is this a tectonic plate shifter? Bush clearly knew how this was going to go. Despite all the pushback on this issue from the conservatives, with the 9/11 commission report seeming to support the view that there really was an Iraq-Niger connection, Bush never weighed in defending the original claims in the SOTU.

Do Bush's conservative supporters ever get tired of being hung out to dry?

Posted by: epistemology | Aug 1, 2004 7:38:19 PM

"Why is this a "tectonic plate shifter"?"

Well, a slanderous guess, presuming my theorey on neo-imperialism among the Italians is incorrect, imagine that the documents were drawn up by Richard Perle and James Woolsey, and that it can be proven.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 1, 2004 9:52:49 PM

Hmmmm, sounds as though this "security consultant" -- he of the criminal record -- is about as reliable as Ahmad Chalabai. But the liberal theology will cause leftingers to believe whatever they think "supports" the now completely discredited idea that Bush's 16 SOTU Words were wrong, when it seems completely clear that they were accurate.

Posted by: Al | Aug 1, 2004 10:56:07 PM

It's a tectonic plate shifter if the security consultant's last name starts with P.

Posted by: praktike | Aug 1, 2004 11:26:35 PM

Well, if I have this correctly, the "security consultant" was just a cut-out and unimportant.

What we seem to have so far is Italian intelligence giving the documents to a hustler to pass around (without explaining where he got them? I guess).

What we yet don't know is why, and where Italian intelligence got the documents. If they made them themselves, I need this explained to me as to their purpose. If on the other hand, highly-placed American neocons asked for a favor....

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 1, 2004 11:44:53 PM

Bob, if you're right and the administration is responsible for this, Bush flat-out has to be impeached. It really brings me no joy to say this - it would absolutely tear the country apart - but that's just the way it is. Tectonic plates, indeed. It would be about a thousand times worse than Watergate.

Posted by: JP | Aug 2, 2004 12:44:02 AM

I am not completely up on this and I vaguely remember a whole box of documents. So Iranians, for example, may have given the documents to Italian intelligence. But in any case, why instead of Italian intelligence passing them directly to the French or British, did they use this deniable and disreputable cutout as a go-between?

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 2, 2004 1:27:14 AM

The SOTU 16 words were accurate in the same way that "I did not have sexual relations with that young woman" was accurate.

Posted by: next big thing | Aug 2, 2004 2:35:21 AM

somewhere in all of this mess there is a russian connection.

Posted by: captainblak | Aug 2, 2004 3:55:22 AM

It's not a tectonic plate shifter. Josh got carried away. This story has reached the point where my eyes glaze over at the mere mention of it. Is there some way we can work a blow job into it?

Posted by: Slothrop of Boulder | Aug 2, 2004 9:15:59 AM

Slothrop, there was a male italian sleazy guy and a female journalist. It isn't unlikely they might announce there was a blowjob involved if it will get more media attention.

You show a shabby set of values, but you at least remind us how the mass of the electorate thinks.

Posted by: J Thomas | Aug 3, 2004 4:54:17 PM

For anyone who is interested, below is my effort to piece together where Marshall may be going with this story:


Posted by: Fred Vincy | Aug 4, 2004 8:11:12 AM

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