French neocolonial uranium war in Niger

This Greenpeace video is called Left in the Dust – Areva’s uranium mining in Niger.

Remember Niger? A former French colony in Western Africa. Treated by the Sarkozy regime in Paris as if it still were a colony. Like in other (ex?) French colonies, where French soldiers run around waging war.

Remember Niger? Where the small “pro-Western” ruling elite is rich and corrupt. And where most people are again and again in danger of starvation.

Remember Niger? A country with natural riches, including uranium. Uranium, craved by warmongers for nuclear weapons and energy sector capitalists for nuclear reactors.

The United States Bush administration lied that uranium supposedly from Niger would provide Iraq with weapons of mass destruction. This lie was their main justification for the bloody Iraq war, along with at least 934 other lies.

This is called the Plamegate scandal. The Plamegate scandal, which saw Dick Cheney‘s assistant “Scooter” Libby sentenced to jail, but which saw Dick Cheney himself and George W Bush go scot-free. See also: Fair Game: Hollywood liberals treat the drive to war in Iraq: here.

Remembering all this about Niger, here is a Radio France International report on that country. It shows that Sarkozy is not just waging war on Roma, Muslims and African immigrants in France, but is waging a neocolonial war for uranium money from Niger as well (maybe Mr Sarkozy thinks that all that money from his Karachigate and Ms BettencourtL’Oreal scandals is still not enough?)

The Radio France International report also shows that there are not just French neocolonial nuclear interests and French neocolonial wars, but also French neocolonial media reports, as we shall note.

Here comes the RFI report:

Radio France Internationale (Paris)

Niger: France Deploys 80 Troops in Niamey

20 September 2010

France has dispatched 80 troops to the Niger capital Niamey following the abduction of seven people including five French nationals, diplomatic and security sources said Monday.

How would Sarkozy react if some Paris gangsters would abduct citizens of Niger or of another African country staying in France, and if that African country would react by sending soldiers to France? Sarkozy would have some hissy fit about “the sovereignty of France” and not one African soldier would be allowed to cross the French border.

… They have French Breguet-Atlantique reconnaissance planes at their disposal.

“They have already carried out 21 hours of reconnaissance flights in the area in an effort to locate the hostages,” a source said. The seven were kidnapped on Thursday from their homes in Arlit in northern Niger by suspected Al Qaeda-linked gunmen,

Every dictatorship which gets Western military aid, but which thinks it should get even more, whether it is the regime in Uzbekistan which boils dissidents alive, or some African NATO friendly potentate, is sure to define its opponents as “Al Qaeda”. Whether those opponents are really pro Al Qaeda, very devout but not pro Al Qaeda Muslims, Muslims who go to a mosque just once every twenty years, or non-Muslims. Of course, all Somali, Iraqi and Afghan civilians killed by United States or US allied armed forces are “Al Qaeda” as well. The only proof needed for that is that NATO soldiers killed them.[sarcasm off]

or Tuareg bandits

The Tuareg are the people of the sparsely populated north of Niger (with very different ideas about Islam and the position of women in society, than the real Al Qaeda). Though they are the inhabitants of the uranium rich part of the country, they are very poor. The ruling clique in Niamey treats them with ethnic discrimination and violence. As a consequence of that, some Tuareg wage armed opposition against the Niamey rulers. Does that make them “bandits”, as RFI says? Very probably, if the Tuareg rebels would be pro Sarkozy and the Niamey government would be anti-Sarkozy, not the reverse as things stand now, then RFI would call the Tuareg “heroes” and “freedom fighters”. And the Niamey regime (shock horror) “a dictatorship“. Africa-based journalist Tristan McConnell reported already three years ago:

In Niger’s desert north almost fifty soldiers have been killed since February 2007 yet, according to President Mamadou Tandja’s twitchy government, there is no rebellion. It blames bandits and drug-smugglers for the attacks and has responded by declaring a “state of alert” and deploying thousands of troops to the region.

Apparently, since 2007 the Niamey rulers have come to the conclusion that just appealing to rich countries with “war on drugs” references does not bring in enough military aid euros or dollars, and that they may get a better chance by screaming loudly Al Qaeda. Back to the RFI report:

who may have planned to sell them on to the Islamists.

They are five French nationals, including a married couple, one Togolese and one Madagascan. All worked for French companies involved in uranium mining in the Arlit region.

See also here.

Local Tuaregs have seen little benefit from Niger’s natural wealth: here.

Niger’s former second-in-command junta leader, Colonel Abdoulaye Badie, and another officer are being held for “attempting to destabilise the regime” and “eliminate” junta chief General Salou Djibo, a security source said Saturday: here.

100,000 protest against government nuclear policy in Berlin: here.

USA: Tea Party Senate Candidate Mike Lee Tried to Dump 1,600 Tons of European Nuclear Waste on Utah: here.

For the second time in less than four months, Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has travelled to West Africa with a view to finalizing plans for Canada’s participation in French and US-led counter-insurgency warfare on the continent: here.

Ex White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan writes that Bush made him lie on Plame-Iraq war scandal

This video from the USA is called The Complete Bill Maher Interview: Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson.

Another video from the USA, which used to be on the Internet, used to say about itself:

Bill Maher on CIA agent Valerie Plame. Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq. Karl Rove blew the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Bush patriotic? Not!

From Editor & Publisher in the USA:

UPDATE: Scott McClellan in Upcoming Book Ties Bush to CIA Leak Case — Dodd Calls for Probe …

NEW YORK To no one’s surprise in a world where top White House aides with any president eventually write a book about it, former Press Secretary Scott McClellan will be coming out with his volume in April. It’s called “What Happened” and its publisher, Public Affairs, at its Web site now carries this brief excerpt — which set off a media firestorm on Tuesday.

It also led to a call for a full probe by a top U.S. senator and condemnation from former CIA agent Valerie Plame.

E&P was first mainstream news outlet to report on Monday night that the McClellan excerpt reads:

“The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove [see also here] and Scooter Libby.

“There was one problem. It was not true.

“I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration “were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the president himself.” …

Later Tuesday, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Ct.) , who is running for president, stated, “Today’s revelations by Mr. McClellan are very disturbing and raise several important questions that need to be answered. If in fact the President of the United of States knowingly instructed his chief spokesman to mislead the American people, there can be no more fundamental betrayal of the public trust.”

Bush commutes prison sentence of convicted perjurer and Iraq war conspirator I. Lewis Libby

In this video, “With a snarky grin, Vice President Cheney essentially admits (unapologetically) that he declassified the identity of covert CIA agent Valery Plame, wife of former Ambassador Joe Wilson who was sent to Niger at the behest of the CIA to investigate the claim of uranium sales to Iraq.

See my other video of what former President Bush Sr. had to say about those who reveal the names of covert agents: here.”

By Barry Grey:

President Bush’s commutation of the 30-month prison sentence of I. Lewis Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is a monument to the lawlessness of the Bush administration and the utter corruption of the American ruling elite.

It is one more expression of the government’s brazen contempt for both the law and the American people. A recent poll showed that 72 percent of the population opposes a pardon for Libby.

Bush issued his order of presidential clemency within hours of a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rejecting Libby’s appeal of a decision last month by the trial judge in his perjury and obstruction of justice case. Judge Reggie B. Walton had ruled that Libby could not remain free while he appealed his jury conviction. Monday’s appeals court ruling meant that Libby was to begin serving his sentence within weeks.

In a cynical and perfunctory statement, Bush outlined the objections to the judge’s sentence leveled by right-wing supporters of the administration and fascistic bloggers and talk radio hosts who have been conducting a “free Libby” campaign to demand that Bush pardon Cheney’s former top aide.

The character of the forces whipped up in the campaign for Libby was indicated in an extraordinary statement by Judge Walton at last month’s hearing on Libby’s bail request. Walton said he wanted to put on the record the fact that he had received threatening letters.

See also here.

From the blog of Paul Begala in the USA:

George W. Bush is One Tough Hombre

Tough enough to execute Karla Fay Tucker — and then laugh about it. Tough enough to sign a death warrant for a man whose lawyer slept through the trial — and then snicker when asked about it in a debate. Even tough enough to execute a great-grandmother who murdered her husband — after he abused her. A friend of mine at the time asked Bush to commute her sentence, telling him, “Betty Lou ain’t a threat to no one she ain’t married to.” No dice.

Mr. Bush is tough enough to invade a country that was no risk to America, causing tens of thousands of civilian deaths and shedding precious American blood in the process. Tough enough to sanction torture. Tough enough to order an American citizen arrested and held without trial.

But if you’re rich and right-wing and Republican, George is a real softie. As George W. Bush demonstrated in giving Scooter Libby a Get Out of Jail Free Card, he is only compassionate to conservatives.

Correction: hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq.

See also here.

Libby oil trail: here.

Libby’s fine: here.

‘WMD’ in Iraq: here.

Evidence indicates that the contract for 28 Marine One helicopters to an Italian firm was a payoff to the Italian government for supplying the forged documents showing Saddam had obtained weapons grade uranium from Niger: here.

USA: Judith Miller of the Plamegate scandal smears peace movement

The Plamegate scandal which started the Iraq war, cartoon

By Bill Van Auken:

Judith Miller defends New York police repression of antiwar “terrorists”

5 May 2007

Judith Miller, the former senior correspondent of the New York Times who played a key role as a conduit for the fabricated intelligence about Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” used to drag the American public into the Iraq war, has found her way back into print—this time as a mouthpiece for selective and self-serving intelligence released by the New York City Police Department.

Miller left the Times with a hefty severance package a year and a half ago, posing as a martyr for the First Amendment and—as she wrote in her parting statement—a hapless victim of “public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war.”

Her dubious claim to First Amendment credentials stems from her spending 85 days in jail for defying a court order to divulge a confidential source.

While the principle of press freedom from judicial coercion is no doubt important, in Miller’s case the source she was protecting was the since-convicted chief of staff for Vice President Cheney, I. Lewis Libby.

By all appearances Libby was collaborating with the New York Times reporter in the scheme to punish Joseph Wilson—who blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s false claims about Iraq seeking to buy uranium in Niger—by exposing his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative.

The episode was marked by the same ideologically based intimate ties that Miller established with her sources in the Bush administration, US and Israeli intelligence and the Iraqi exile groups.

This same kind of relationship with the top echelons of the NYPD is revealed in her piece published Thursday on the notoriously right-wing editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which was provocatively titled, “When Activists are Terrorists.”

The article amounts to a defense brief for the NYPD brass as it faces multiple lawsuits in relation to the police-state crackdown unleashed against peaceful demonstrators during the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Nearly 2,000 people were rounded up during the convention, including people who were not even demonstrating but merely happened to be on city blocks where cops carried out mass arrests using plastic nets to corral everyone in the area.

President Bush, Karl Rove, and other top administration officials were “involved” in misleading the White House press corps about the outing of ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame, a forthcoming book from former Press Secretary Scott McClellan alleges: here.

Judy Miller: The Wrong Poster Child for a Federal Shield Law: here.

USA: will Bush pardon ‘Scooter’ Libby for perjury?

Scooter Libby and Iraq war, cartoon

By Patrick Martin:

Is there a Bush pardon in Lewis Libby’s future?

Cheney aide abruptly ends defense in perjury trial

15 February 2007

Attorneys for I. Lewis Libby, the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who is facing perjury charges, rested their case Wednesday after declining to call either Cheney or Libby himself as defense witnesses.

The result was a nearly uncontested prosecution case demonstrating that Libby repeatedly lied to the grand jury investigating the leak of the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

The decision not to have Libby take the stand in his own defense and not to call Cheney as a character witness represents an abrupt abandonment of the trial strategy which Libby’s attorneys had made public over the past year.

They had repeatedly suggested that Libby’s defense—given the overwhelming evidence that he had given false testimony to the grand jury—was that he had forgotten the details of the Wilson affair because of the press of high-level national security work in which he was engaged.

Cheney’s testimony was critical both as a character witness and to support the portrayal of Libby as an overburdened aide with many more important concerns than whether Valerie Wilson, wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson, was employed at the CIA.

Libby himself would have to take the stand to substantiate the “forgetfulness” defense, as Judge Reggie Walton made clear in a series of rulings before the start of the trial.

Update: here.