On March 7, 2003, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported [.pdf] to the UN Security Council that
"After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapon program in Iraq.”
After conducting a total of 218 inspections at 141 sites including 21 sites suggested by the CIA! ElBaradei reported
“There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities in those buildings that were identified through the use of satellite imagery as being reconstructed or newly erected since 1998, nor any indication of nuclear-related prohibited activities at any inspected sites.
“There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import uranium since 1990.
“There is no indication that Iraq has attempted to import aluminum tubes for use in centrifuge enrichment. Moreover, even had Iraq pursued such a plan, it would have encountered practical difficulties in manufacturing centrifuge out of the aluminum tubes in question.”
Hans Blix, Chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, made a similar, but somewhat less conclusive, report concerning chemical and biological weapons (and the makings thereof), noting that the remaining significant uncertainty had to do with the actual quantities of chemical and biological agents that were unilaterally destroyed by the Iraqis in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War.
And that, of course, is what the neo-crazies had feared. That the UN Inspectors would tell the whole world what the neo-crazies had known for years. That Saddam Hussein had long been in substantive compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions requiring "the destruction, removal or rendering harmless under international supervision," of all so-called "weapons of mass destruction" and the makings thereof.
Therefore, Saddam Hussein was no longer a threat to peace in the region.
According to Walter Pincus, former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet had produced in December, 2002, a 2-inch-thick book that listed high-, medium- and low-priority sites in Iraq, suspected of being related to weapons of mass destruction.
So, on March 7, 2003, apparently alarmed at what Blix and ElBaradei were reporting they hadnt found in Iraq, Carl Levin (D,MI), then Ranking Democrat (and now Chairman) of the Senate Armed Service Committee, wrote DCI Tenet questioning how Tenets report to the SASC could be true that the United States has “now provided detailed information on all of the high-value and moderate-value sites,” as well as “far more than half of these lower-interest sites” to the inspectors.
Also alarmed at what Blix and ElBaradei were reporting, Henry Waxman [D,CA], then the Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform [but now Chairman], began ten days later formally requesting [.pdf] of Condi Rice, then Bushs National Security Adviser, an explanation of the use, by President Bush and other top Administration officials, of “fabricated intelligence” in an attempt to “justify” Bushs exercise of the highly conditional authority Congress had provided under the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.
Amy Goodman recently interviewed, on Democracy Now!, Peter Eisner, co-author of the book The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq, and Carlo Bonini, co-author of the book Collusion: International Espionage and the War on Terror.
Unfortunately, most of the interview as well as most current media interest revolves about the "fake letter" delivered to the US Embassy in Rome on October 9, 2002, which purported to confirm that Niger had agreed in 2000 to supply up to 500 tons of "yellowcake" to Saddam Hussein.
But even Eisner apparently aware that Bonini had revealed in articles published back in 2005 in La Repubblica, the collusion of the Brits and Italians (but not the French) with the U.S. to "fix the intelligence to fit the policy," and had now amplified on that theme in his book had this to say about the "significance" of the "fake letter."
"It comes in the context of a plan that had been hatched in the White House in the summer of 2002. The White House Iraq Group, which was basically a propaganda operation that realized that the one thing that needed to be done to sell the war in Iraq was to not deal with biological weapons, not deal with chemical weapons, but to deal with the fear and threat of a mushroom cloud and the purveyors of language specifically said, ‘Let’s use and start hammering away the idea that a mushroom cloud is on the horizon, that we can’t wait until we have firm information, but we have information. We’ve got to act now.’
"And it was decided to wait specifically until September 8, 2002 to make that claim and to make it in a public relations campaign that included appearances on television, on radio, speeches around the world by Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and others, along with selling the story to the New York Times, which, in fact, they did."
We all now know and many high-level government officials, here and in London and Rome, knew it at the time that President Bush had decided many months earlier to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iraq, the principal objective being to depose Saddam Hussein.
As Bonini reports, the military intervention in Iraq was "justified" by two hoaxes, that Saddam Hussein had attempted to acquire  tons of "yellowcake" from Niger for enrichment with gas centrifuges built with  aluminum tubes imported from Italy.
SIMSI, the Italian equivalent of our CIA, may or may not have been responsible for perpetrating these two hoaxes, but SIMSI and MI-6, the Brit equivalent of our CIA, certainly perpetuated them. SIMSI knew the Niger yellowcake dossier was fake from the gitgo and knew the aluminum tubes were replacement parts for rockets the Italians had sold the Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq War.
But, there is a danger is focusing on the "fake letter," as Eisner and the mainstream media have tended to do. The focus should be on the conspirators: the Cheney Cabal and the White House Iraq Group.
Here is the question that desperately needs to be answered. How were the conspirators able to get Congress, the mainstream media and most Americans to totally disregard the null findings of UN inspectors under Director-General ElBaradei and Chairman Blix?
Well, the conspirators are nigh onto doing it again, getting Congress, the mainstream media and most Americans to totally disregard the null findings of Director-General ElBaradei in Iran.
Former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D, WV) was one of the few who tried to stop Bush from attacking Iraq. On February 12, 2003, Byrd had this to say on the floor of the Senate.
“This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time.
“The doctrine of preemption the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self-defense.
“It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter.
“And it is being tested at a time of worldwide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our or some other nation’s hit list.”
Iran doesnt wonder; it knows.