While on the subject of France . . .
Italy blames France for Niger uranium claim
Italian diplomats say that France was behind forged documents which at first appeared to prove that Iraq was seeking “yellow-cake” uranium in Niger – evidence used by Britain and America to promote the case for last year’s Gulf war.
They say that France’s intelligence services used an Italian-born middle-man to circulate a mixture of genuine and bogus documents to “trap” the two leading proponents of war with Saddam into making unsupportable claims
. . . “The Americans were now convinced by the French that Saddam really was trying to buy uranium. They thought the French must be right, since not even a gram of uranium in Niger could be shifted without their knowledge.”
British officials still say that the claim about Iraqi uranium purchases rested on a second source, not just the now-discredited documents. Intelligence officials from some other Western countries now believe, however, that the second source was also France – part of a “sinister trap” for Mr Blair.
As Jeff Goldstein puts it, “if this is true, France should be cut loose from all US-involved alliances and set adrift to deal with its own problems, which begin with its citizens’ unorthodox bathing practices and end with its government’s complete loss of face after being caught trying to f–k its liberators right in the derriere”.