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Timeline of the War and its Aftermath
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11 September 2001: NATO’s former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Wesley Clark is going to appear on CNN to comment on the terrorist attacks when he is contacted by people connected to the White House and asked to link the terror attacks to Iraq. Clark asks for proof, but is given none.
February 2002: The CIA sends former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate allegations of attempts by Iraq to purchase uranium. Wilson returns home with the conclusion that the information is incorrect. General W. Fulton Jr. is also in Niger to monitor the country’s nuclear security. He concludes that everything is in order.
9 March 2002: The CIA sends a memo to the White House saying that the information about the uranium transaction is wrong. The same month, intelligence staff send a memo to Secretary of State Colin Powell with the same conclusion: that the information “is probably false.”
25 March 2002: Bush and Danish prime minister Anders Fogh meet in the White House, where they discuss topics including Iraq.
3 July 2002: Danish foreign minister Per Stig Møller meets Colin Powell, who tells him that the United States intends to remove Saddam Hussein no matter what, and that both covert operations and overt confrontations with Iraq are being considered.
9 August 2002: Ekstra Bladet sends satellite photos to the Danish foreign ministry, which show that the United States is stockpiling large quantities of arms and equipment in the Gulf of Arabia. Per Stig Møller replies in a letter that he will not comment on an approaching Iraq war, which he describes as “speculations in the press”.
6 September 2002: “The evidence must be able to stand up in the Copenhagen Municipal Court,” says foreign minister Per Stig Møller. “I am not in the slightest doubt that he possesses weapons of mass destruction and wishes to manufacture them,” says prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to the Danish news agency, Ritzaus Bureau, regarding the evidence against Saddam Hussein.
9 September 2002: President Bush telephones the Turkish prime minister, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the chairman of the European Union, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and asks them to “listen very carefully” to his address to the UN General Assembly three days later, in which he will issue a warning against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.
12 September 2002: Bush makes a speech and presents a document in the UN General Assembly, which is considered by many to be the actual declaration of war.
20 September 2002: A leading British intelligence officer raises internal doubts about the validity of the evidence against Iraq.
24 September 2002: Prime Minister Tony Blair presents the first public document to assert that Iraq has attempted to purchase uranium in Africa. The same day, the White House endorses the claim.
27 September 2002: US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld describes the hunt for hard evidence of a connection between Al-Qaida and Iraq: “We ended up with five or six sentences that were bullet-proof. We could say them, they are factual, they are exactly accurate. They demonstrate that there are in fact al Qaeda in Iraq.”
October 2002: United States intelligence agencies compile a 90-page National Intelligence Estimate, which is delivered to the White House. It casts doubt on the uranium claim and states that there “are no satisfactory sources” to confirm that Iraq supports Al-Qaida. In a speech, George W. Bush states: “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained Al-Qaida members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.”
Beginning of October 2002: George Tenet, Director of the CIA, personally warns the White House against using the claim about the uranium deal, as there is uncertainty as to whether it is correct.
7 October 2002: In a speech, President Bush says: “Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.”
10 October 2002: The US Congress authorises President Bush to go to war with Iraq. Several members emphasise that the alleged uranium deal has played a part in determining their votes.
29 October 2002: In the Danish foreign ministry, the office of security policy writes a memo to the government that describes the uranium deal as a fact and as evidence against Iraq. The memo also deals with Iraq's chemical and biological weapons: “Since weapons inspections ceased in 1998, Iraq has resumed the covert production of biological weapons, partially in small, mobile facilities. The amounts and types of Iraq's current weapons reserves can only be guessed at, but the stock may very well include several thousand litres of botulinum toxin, anthrax, and other types of bacteria and toxins, including ricin and plague bacteria.”
14 November 2002: Foreign minister Per Stig Møller reports on the memo to the Danish parliament. Among other things, he states that Iraq is less than a decade away from having nuclear weapons, and, “if Iraq gets its hands on enriched uranium or plutonium, the country could probably have an atomic bomb within a year.” Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen states that “no connection has been established between the events of 11 September and the regime in Iraq, but there is no guarantee that Saddam Hussein could not be tempted to employ terror as an instrument to achieve his goals.”
December 2002: Experts from US federal laboratories tell the Department of Energy and American intelligence services that the Italian-designed Medusa 81 missile possesses the same measurements and alloy as the confiscated aluminium tubing.
19 December 2002: The American State Department emphasises the uranium deal as proof that Iraq is suppressing information about its weapons stocks.
Same day: Secretary of State, Colin Powell, says: “The UN Special Commission concluded that Iraq did not verifiably account for, at a minimum, 2160kg of growth media. This is enough to produce 26,000 litres of anthrax 3 times the amount Iraq declared; 1200 litres of botulinum toxin; and, 5500 litres of clostridium perfringens 16 times the amount Iraq declared. Why does the Iraqi declaration ignore these dangerous agents in its tally?”
Same day: The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) asks the US to release the documentation for Iraq's attempt to buy uranium in Niger.
27 January 2003: Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the IAEA, presents a report to the UN Security Council. He cannot comment on the allegation that Iraq has attempted to purchase uranium in Niger, as he has not yet received evidence for the matter from the United States.
28 January 2003: President George W. Bush mentions the uranium deal in his State of the Union address to Congress, which is broadcast on TV. In the same speech, Bush states: “Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.”
5 February 2003: Foreign minister Per Stig Møller tells the Danish parliament that Iraq can conceal its biological and chemical weapons on concealed lorries.
5 February 2003: In his address to the UN Security Council, Colin Powell states that the United States' evidence on the link between Iraq and Al-Qaida consists of information about an Al-Qaida training camp in the Kurdish-controlled part of Iraq, and information that a suspected Al-Qaida member, Abu Mussab al Zarqawi, has received hospital treatment in Baghdad. In addition, Powell places emphasis on the confiscated aluminium tubes as decisive proof that Iraq is trying to develop atomic weapons.
Beginning of February 2003: The IAEA receives the Niger papers from the US. Initially, the IAEA attempts to obtain further information from Niger and Iraq. After ten days it becomes clear that there is no other information, and the IAEA therefore investigates the Niger papers, which quickly turn out to be forgeries.
19 February 2003: On the subject of anthrax and nerve gas, Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen says in the Danish parliament that “we know that he has them.”
6 March 2003: In a report, the United Nations’ inspectors in UNMOVIC conclude that large portions of Iraq's chemical and biological weapon stocks are decayed and worthless.
7 March 2003: IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei documents in the Security Council that the evidence for the uranium deal has been forged.
8 March 2003: The Danish foreign ministry's representative in New York e-mails Blix and ElBaradei’s speech, together with an assessment, to the government in Denmark. The e-mail is sent personally to both Per Stig Møller and Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
14 March 2003: President George W. Bush telephones Fogh and then Blair to discuss disarming Saddam Hussein.
19 March 2003: First and second reading in the Danish Parliament of the parliamentary decision to participate in the war. Neither Fogh nor Møller mentions the fact that the important evidence concerning nuclear weapons has been rejected as mendacious. The foreign minister says that “the situation has worsened” since 1998 due to Iraq's stocks of anthrax, botulinum and aflatoxin, but does not mention that the ministry has learned twelve days earlier that these materials are now harmless.
21 March 2003: During the press conference on Danish participation in the war, prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen says that “Saddam Hussein has had obvious connections with terrorists and possibly still has them.” He also says that there is a risk that Iraq will soon have nuclear weapons.
18 June 2003: Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen maintains in an interview with Ekstra Bladet that Iraq has a nuclear weapons programme. In the same interview, Anders Fogh Rasmussen maintains that “Saddam Hussein's collaboration with terrorists” is an important element in the government's basis for going to war.
July 2003: Former State Department intelligence official Greg Thielmann comes forward and states: “There was no significant pattern of cooperation between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist operation.”
8 July 2003: The White House acknowledges that the information about the uranium deal is based on forged documents.
11 July 2003: CIA Director George Tenet assumes responsibility for the fact that the White House has used the uranium allegation, despite the fact that the CIA knew that it was a lie.
17 July 2003: In a letter to the Danish daily newspaper, Information, Per Stig Møller refers to “uncertainty concerning ... reports about the import of uranium.”
6 August 2003: Anders Fogh Rasmussen replies to parliamentary question S3898 (whether the Danish Defence Intelligence Service had doubts about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction): “In regard to the specific question, the Defence Intelligence Service has stated that, in the preparation of intelligence assessments, there often will be contradictory information.”
7 August 2003: Per Stig Møller explains to the parliament that the government has not used the falsified information about the uranium deal in its assessments of Iraq’s weapons.
7 August 2003: Fogh Rasmussen tells the parliament that the Danish Defence Intelligence Service’s assessment of the connection between Iraq and Al-Qaida is based on its own intelligence, open sources and information from NATO and foreign partners, and that the material cannot be published.
20 August 2003: The prime minister states that he did not have documentation on 21 March 2003 to assert that Iraq would soon have nuclear weapons, but that the assertion was only “a political view”.
Same day: Fogh Rasmussen confirms in another reply in the parliament that he had been informed on 7 March that Iraq’s nuclear weapons programme had been abolished.
The chronology above is a translation of an original item entitled “Irak Dag for Dag”, written by the award-winning Danish investigative journalist, Bo “Skipper” Elkjær.
The original Danish chronology appeared in a special supplement to the Danish national newspaper, Ekstra Bladet, published under the title “Løgnen om Krigen Krigen om Løgnen”, ("The Lie About the War The War About the Lie") in October 2003 and February 2004.
Bo Elkjær was one of three Danish journalists who in January 2004 shared the top Danish journalism award, the Cavling Prize. The prize was awarded for the journalists’ work in revealing and documenting the complex conspiracy by which Denmark was induced to participate in the invasion of Iraq.
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© This English translation is copyright © 2004 by Aa-Tchoo! Translations. We acknowledge the work of Peter Gordy and Billy O’Shea in the preparation of the translation. Reproduction by express permission of the copyright-holder: aat2003-AT-mail-DOT-dk.
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