Tuesday, October 01, 2002


Atomic energy officials said Monday that a substance seized by police near the Syrian border was not weapons-grade uranium as Turkish officials first reported, according to the Anatolia news agency.

Atomic Energy Institute chief Guler Koksal said the material was harmless, containing zinc, iron, zirconium and manganese.

Police, acting on a tip, recovered the material in a taxi last week in Sanliurfa province, near the Syrian border. Two Turks who were trying to sell the material as uranium were released from custody.

The seizure alarmed intelligence agencies around the world when the Turkish police said it weighed 35 pounds last week. On Monday, police said the material weighed only 5 ounces.

The disparity occurred because authorities initially included the weight of the lead container in which the material was placed, police said.
Zinc, Iron, Zirconium, and Manganese!

Wonder if they were actually trying to smuggle some of that "gorgeous cubic zirconium" to the Shopping Channel? That stuff's red hot, you know.

So, lessee... IAEA proven as deliberately misinterpreted (or an out-an-out lie); IISS says that Iraqi nukes are years away at best; the Blair Dossier is a textbook example of embedding old and dubious information in new speculation; U.N. talks are going swimmingly and barring interference will likely get inspectors in by October 16; the U.S. resolution appears to be going nowhere; nobody has really dealt with the clear fact that Iraq is as deterrable as anybody else without being reduced to poorly-written science fiction; the "uranium" will likely make for a lovely necklace; and Rumsfeld is reduced to claiming that anti-aircraft missile launchers are actually breeder reactors in very clever disguises.

Massaoui could make a better case.

So, can we just drop the pretense and admit that this is all becuase the U.S. wants a League of Nations-style mandate in Iraq?

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