Saturday, April 08, 2006

Happy Birthday, Seymour Hersh

Today in History - April 8 (by the Associated Press)

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh is 69.

Still going superman-strong, Hersh has got a doozy of a story that just went up at the New Yorker today, THE IRAN PLANS: Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?:

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. One target is Iran’s main centrifuge plant, at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. Natanz, which is no longer under I.A.E.A. safeguards, reportedly has underground floor space to hold fifty thousand centrifuges, and laboratories and workspaces buried approximately seventy-five feet beneath the surface. That number of centrifuges could provide enough enriched uranium for about twenty nuclear warheads a year. (Iran has acknowledged that it initially kept the existence of its enrichment program hidden from I.A.E.A. inspectors, but claims that none of its current activity is barred by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.) The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete.


The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. “The White House said, ‘Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.’”

Again...I'd like to link to Larisa Alexandrovna's story of the year, Outed CIA officer was working on Iran, intelligence sources say, which has still been ignored by America's mainstream press.

British journalist Mick Smith (or Michael Smith) from the Sunday Times, the one who broke the Downing Street Memo story, is one journalist who did note Larisa's story at his Times Online blog:

We were the first mainstream newspaper to confirm the story. But it was actually broken by a US internet newspaper known as Raw Story, an extraordinarily good website which combines links to the best of other media around the world with its own scoops. Raw Story has persistently led the way on Plamegate, breaking story after story that the US mainstream media have subsequently been forced to follow up. Now Larisa Alexandrovna, the Raw Story reporter who has taken the lead on most of these stories, has come up with what appears to be an extremely interesting new line.


If this Raw Story exclusive is as accurate as its predecessors, Plamegate will have been the trigger to something far more damaging than even some of the administration’s most vociferous critics believed.

Speaking of Smith, he's got a huge one himself today, Niger embassy forged documents used as basis for Iraq war, paper to report :

According to NATO sources who spoke to the SUNDAY TIMES, the investigation has evidence that Niger's consul and its ambassador's personal assistant faked a contract to show Saddam Hussein had bought uranium ore from the impoverished west African country.

The documents, which emerged in 2002, were used in a State Department fact sheet on Iraq's weapons programme to build the case for war. They were denounced as forgeries by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shortly before the 2003 invasion.

According to the SUNDAY TIMES' sources, an official investigation believes Niger's Adam Maiga Zakariaou, the consul, and Laura Montini, the ambassador's personal assistant, known as La Signora, forged the papers for money.

The link to Smith's full article, 'Forgers' of key Iraq war contract named, is here.

Also Times attacking Hersh?


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