July 06, 2004

NIGER-URANIUM CLAIM BELIEVED

This story -- published last week in Londonís Financial Times and the NYTís business section -- has received no notice at all in Australia, at least that Iím aware of:

Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the US-led invasion, senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times.

Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.

The claim that the illicit export of uranium was under discussion was widely dismissed when letters referring to the sales - apparently sent by a Nigerien official to a senior official in Saddam Hussein's regime - were proved by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be forgeries. This embarrassed the US and led the administration to reverse its earlier claim.

But European intelligence officials have for the first time confirmed that information provided by human intelligence sources during an operation mounted in Europe and Africa produced sufficient evidence for them to believe that Niger was the centre of a clandestine international trade in uranium.

Interesting. Belgravia Dispatch has more.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 6, 2004 12:13 AM
Comments

tim, it doesn't go wish the Bushitler storyline! Ignore the man behind the curtain...

Posted by: ushie at July 6, 2004 at 12:40 AM

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy
Yeah! Ignore the facts . The Dogma is Bush Lied. Any facts, like Baghdad Bob in Niger,that get in the way of Dogma is to be ignored.

Posted by: Alien Grey for Haliburton at July 6, 2004 at 01:13 AM

Amazing how the Europe-loving lefties ignored the Brits on this one. You remember the Brits? They were the ones who never backed down on their intelligence information, which had nothing to do with the fake papers.

Posted by: Ken Summers, Perversion Catalyst at July 6, 2004 at 01:46 AM

Why was the US embarassed? They never put much stock in those documents and idententified them as forgeries quickly.

Posted by: aaron at July 6, 2004 at 02:08 AM

Yes this was in a blog or two last week as I remember reading the story.

I also recall a gentleman on talk radio.. the name escapes me... but at the time he spoke of a "big development" regarding some information on Uranium that has been bolstered by believable human intelligence and new information recently gotten from Lybia.

At the time it all sounded very cloak and dagger, conspiracy type stuff, but now it's looking pretty credible.

Posted by: Dash at July 6, 2004 at 03:11 AM

Nonsense! When Joe Wilson was lounging on the veranda at the US Embassy, sipping gin-and-tonics and chitchatting with his old colleagues, someone would have told him something, if it were actually true...


/sarcasm, and then some

Posted by: Spiny Norman at July 6, 2004 at 05:14 AM

Now we know why they keep bringing up the fake turkey. It's about all they have left.

Posted by: Rebecca at July 6, 2004 at 05:15 AM

As I recall, back in '81 when Saddam was building the Osirik (sp?) nuclear facility that Israel subsequently bombed, the uranium for that project had come from Niger. Small wonder that the Iraqis would go back to that source to buy more of the stuff especially since it's almost impossible to buy openly if you're a raving lunatic dictator.

As Aaron points out, the forged documents (which were never the sole source of intel) had been determined to be fraudulent but the French tried to embarrass Colin Powell at the UN by creating the impression that was all the intel Powell had.

The French have acted truly disgracefully throughout this entire affair.

Posted by: JDB at July 6, 2004 at 06:29 AM

I got an email from the widow of the late minister of Ministry of Uranium Control, saying that her husband just died, that a large shipment of yellowcake was sitting in limbo, and that if I, as a trusted foreigner, would just help her out, we could make lots of money.

Think I should respond?

Posted by: Tomorrowist at July 6, 2004 at 06:34 AM

If you do, make sure she pays you for your services in cash, not with a share of the yellow cake...unless you have good contacts to North Korea or Iran, I guess.

Posted by: PW at July 6, 2004 at 07:44 AM