Friday, December 26, 2003

The truth about yellowcake
How many times will the adminitration lie about the yellowcake, and why does their lie not even matter? Don't ask Atrios! First, the administration used documents, known to be forgeries, resulting in a technical lie in his State of the Union. The documents which formed the basis of this claim, according to public press reports, had been known to the CIA to be forgeries months before the Bush speech. The second forgery, and I must admit this is only a likely forgery, is a handwritten memo found in post-Saddam Iraq, which, presented by Iraq Governing Council member Allawi, claims to discuss not only Mohammed Atta in Baghdad in 2001, but also uranium from Niger. Note the total lack of interest the press has shown in this document. Mostly, of course, because Allawi is up there with Chalabi, inveterate scoundrel, in terms of reliability in the eyes of the Iraqis. The second point, of course, is that the note is just too convenient. Why didn't it mention Saddam's ability to launch chemical weapons in forty-five minutes, too? Can experts look into the precise date of the writing? I don't know, but I'm very willing to throw this document out for the "unbelievable" and the "pushed by a flunkie" aspects. The third forgery was recently published by the Washington Post, and I found it via Atrios, and it included this tasty tidbit
Sources said the CIA is angry about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets suggesting Plame had a role in arranging her husband's trip to Africa for the CIA. The document, written by a State Department official who works for its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), describes a meeting at the CIA where the Niger trip by Wilson was discussed, said a senior administration official who has seen it. CIA officials have challenged the accuracy of the INR document, the official said, because the agency officer identified as talking about Plame's alleged role in arranging Wilson's trip could not have attended the meeting.
Three strikes and your out, baseball players say, but there is a darker, much more fundamental issue, that makes the Bush administration's false-penpals orchestrations really quite absurd, before they hit the press. Yellowcake is a heavy powder. One can not make a nuclear fission or fusion bomb with yellowcake, and it would be a poor choice for "dirty" bomb, just because the controls are tighter on that than other forms of radioactive material. To make a nuclear bomb one needs to "enrich" the uranium. The more enriched the uranium, the more explosive power per kilogram possible. How big is an enrichment facility? It's a kilometer long, at least. What would make it cheap enough for Saddam to build? Leaving off all the shielding which would make the enrichment undetectable from outer space. Since that's the most important part, and you did me the service of reading this whole thing, I repeat, uranium enrichment is generally detectable from outer space without the added, large expense of shielding. In other words, the Bush administration and friends have forged three separate sets of documents to prove a claim which wouldn't get Saddam Hussein one step closer to having a nuclear bomb.

No comments: