Nov 27 2005

More Links Between Iraq and Africa’s Uranium

Published by at 1:36 am under All General Discussions,Plame Game

Joe Wilson’s cover story for Africa is starting to fall apart rapidly. As we explore we learn that Africa’s uranium trade was newsworthy at the same time Wilson was running to Africa for his CIA wife:

Uranium-producing countries in Africa such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa could be a source of fissile material for rogue states, including Iraq, attempting to develop nuclear weapons, the London Guardian reported today.

A dossier released by the United Kingdom yesterday accuses Iraq of attempting to obtain uranium from Africa (see GSN, Sept. 24). While the dossier did not identify which countries might have been involved, analysts said the two most likely countries were the D.R.C. and South Africa.

Leaders of the Mayi-Mayi, a militia group involved in the D.R.C. civil war, traveled to Baghdad twice to offer gold and diamonds, according to documents. While uranium was not specifically mentioned, the Mayi-Mayi would have been able to obtain the mineral in areas under its control, a western intelligence officer said.

Other rogue states and groups have attempted to obtain uranium from the D.R.C., according to reports. In 1998, North Korea provided the D.R.C. with military trainers under an agreement with former President Laurent Kabila, the Guardian reported. The trainers were withdrawn under U.S. pressure after allegations that they had reopened a uranium mine, the Guardian reported.

In addition, French radio reported last year that supporters of Mobutu Sese Seko, the former leader of then-Zaire, shipped 22 pounds of uranium bars to Libya (see GSN, Dec. 5, 2001; Astill/Carroll, London Guardian, Sept. 25).

Looks like the Libya-Iraq connection was well established by the liberal UK Tabloids in 2002.

Iraqi agents have been negotiating with criminal gangs in the Democratic Republic of Congo to trade Iraqi military weapons and training for high-grade minerals, possibly including uranium, according to evidence obtained by the Guardian.

A delegation of five Iraqis was arrested in Nairobi by the Kenyan secret service last November while travelling to eastern Congo on fake Indian passports, a western intelligence officer said.

Documents seen by the Guardian show that leaders of the Mayi-Mayi, a brutal militia embroiled in the country’s civil war, visited Baghdad twice and offered diamonds and gold to the Iraqis. Uranium was not mentioned in the documents but the intelligence officer said the Mayi-Mayi would be able to obtain the material in areas it controlled.

In 1998 North Korea sent military trainers to Shinkolobe under an agreement with the country’s former president, Laurent Kabila. They were swiftly withdrawn under American pressure after it was alleged that they had reopened a uranium mine.

Citing sources in Brussels, French radio reported last year that Mobutu loyalists had moved 10kg (22lbs) of uranium bars to Libya, en route to a “rogue state” believed to be Iraq.

So why is it now inconceivable that these five arrested Iraqis were innocent victims of an over zealous, misleading news media and not part of any Iraqi effort to obtain uranium for Saddam?

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “More Links Between Iraq and Africa’s Uranium”

  1. mary mapes says:

    Nuclear Smuggling:
    Patterns and Responses

    “…Furthermore, the nuclear black market, such as it is, does not follow the pattern of conventional criminal businesses. The market as a whole is populated by amateur criminals, scam artists, and (on the demand side) undercover police and police decoys. Bona fide buyers are conspicuously absent, even in the handful of cases where weapons-usable substances are proffered. Significantly, the two highest-profile smuggling incidents in the 1990s, the seizure of almost a pound of plutonium in August 1994 and of 2.7 kilograms of HEU probably originating in the same Russian laboratory the following December in Prague, were both artifacts of undercover police stings…

    …In a demand-side model, by contrast, the buyer or buyer’s agent comes to the seller. Adversaries would plan and organize a clandestine effort to obtain what they want rather than relying on stray bits of material to be stolen from laboratories and subsequently appear on the international black market. Also, a state planning to deploy nuclear warheads or missiles would want weapons-grade uranium or plutonium, enriched to more than 90-percent uranium 235 or plutonium 239; what fissile material does circulate through smuggling channels is generally of a lower standard. Additionally, an adversary such as Iran could use an umbrella of legitimate nuclear purchases from Russia to pursue a variety of illegal nuclear deals with respective suppliers. The elements of a sophisticated nuclear procurement chain—legitimate-seeming front companies, corrupt nuclear managers and officials, and smuggling stratagems to circumvent or overpower border defenses—might function for some time without being detected….

    …Finally, a well-designed support structure would be needed to transport the stolen materials from the target facility to their ultimate destination. Experienced middlemen would be employed for this purpose. An array of sophisticated smuggling techniques is available; for example, interspersing the material with legally tradable radioactive isotopes, using false customs documentation, concealing it in bulk metal cargo, or shipping it out in diplomatic luggage, which is seldom checked by the authorities. Consignees outside the NIS might take possession of the material—for example, an import-export firm in Dubai’s Jebel Ali free-trade zone—and then re-export it to a Middle Eastern buyer.”

  2. MaidMarion says:


    See my post under “Wilson, Gabon and Yellow Cake Uranium” which I probably should have posted here…

  3. […] On this site we have speculated that the rogue CIA elements that Hindraker is pointing to are so rogue they would partake in black market trade of such items as uranium. We have shown how uranium was/is still available from abandoned minds in Niger and Gabon – where Wilson was US Ambassador. Was the uranium from these abandoned mines (abandoned by French company Cogema/Avera Group) being routed to Libya through Niger? […]