Saturday, September 18, 2004
The Italian businessman at the centre of a furious row between France and Italy over whose intelligence service was to blame for bogus documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material for nuclear bombs has admitted that he was in the pay of France....
His admission to investigating magistrates in Rome on Friday apparently confirms suggestions that - by commissioning "Giacomo" to procure and circulate documents - France was responsible for some of the information later used by Britain and the United States to promote the case for war with Iraq.
Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade "yellowcake" uranium from Niger, France was trying to "set up" Britain and America in the hope that when the mistake was revealed it would undermine the case for war, which it wanted to prevent.
I'm not holding my breath for the New York Times to say that the "yellowcake" memos were "fake, but accurate."
I've never been a Francophobe and often find myself defending France among my fellow travelers. But this article, if true, exposes its duplicity more profoundly than any bleating of Chirac or de Villepain. Why, after this, would we want their help in Iraq even if John Kerry could arrange it for us?