Il Giornale, a respected Italian newspaper, has had two rather shocking tales about uranium deals in Niger, which Parnasokan, a poster at Free Republic has kindly translated.
In today's report, Il Giornale reports the role of the nefarious Pakistani ,A.Q.Khan, in illicit deals for enriched uranium:
The controversial "father" of Pakistan's nuclear program was in Niamey the very same days in which Saddam's emissaries were present.
The network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan is a complex puzzle of shadow companies, straw men, university brains, religious individuals, businessmen, military and spies belonging to a government that continues to claim that it knows nothing, has never known anything, about the traffic of centrifuges and know—how linked to the Islamic bomb. Despite the arrest of the dispenser of atomic favours the organisation can still boast of ties throughout the world, but it's in Africa, host to Islamic fundamentalism, that the situation seems to have escaped the 007's in their search for suppliers of primary material, missile components and technology for the construction of weapons of mass destruction.
A recent intelligence lead takes us back to Niger, where Khan was a welcomed guest of the government and where his intermediaries continue to do business, the very same who in 1999 made a fool of the French Secret Services charged with monitoring — through the multinational Cogema — the uranium mines from which some years before were able to illegally export 1,200 tons of yellow cake (yellow uranium oxide from which gas is extracted to be applied in centrifuges in order to be enriched) to Libya.
The very same Khan — according to official International Atomic Energy Agency data — bought a part of the 450 tons of stored in Libya in exchange for arms and petrodollars to finance Islamabad's nuclear program. Khan worked for Pakistan and for anyone else looking for the precious pieces with which to make an atomic bomb. Businessmen from Niger and the "architect" of the Islamic Bomb turn up in the notes of the secret services who some time back indicated, amongst other things, the attempts made by Saddam's emissaries to buy uranium from Niamey in the very same period in which, in Niger's capital, the Old Man of the DIY nuclear device, Khan, was present. As was seen in Niger—gate the final report of the British Parliaments Commission, in July 2004, pointed out the passage in Niger of Iraqi officials in 1999 and mentions sellers of uranium who in 1999 and 2001 planned to sell uranium to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.
This information is in part similar to Ambassador Wilson's report. The information puts Khan in Niger in that period, detailing how his scientific court, installed in the hall of the Grand Hotel du Niger, gave appointments to local emissaries and clients from every imaginable country on a daily basis. Appointments where information, money and encrypted documents exchanged hands. Secret Informative notes refer in detail to how Khan and his scientific council made a series of visits to Niger and to the Direction of the Pakistani nuclear site of Khauta, visits made in February.
In 1998, and above all 1999, a series of encounters defined by nuclear anti—proliferation experts as highly suspect, were held in Niamey. It was here that the "doctor" had his atomic shopping base, the very same base as was used for trips to Sudan, Nigeria, Dubai, Casablanca (where he was received by the ambassador Kakar), Bamako or Timbuktu in Mali (February 98, Hotel Hendrina Khan), Chad where in February he visited the Shifa centre which had just been bombed by the Americans. Again in February a visit to Mauritania where contacts are made with officials of the Republic of Congo and Somalia, countries evidence by the Cia to the White House before the declarations made by George W. Bush in regards to Iraq, declarations in which the President mentions Africa, and not Niger, as the place in which Saddam was desperately seeking uranium. While Rocco Martino was putting his hands on documents that evidenced agreements between the Niger government and Iraq for the supply of uranium at the very same time, and up until well into 2000, the strangest people on the earth were busy visiting Niger's 'Gran Bazar' with Khan. All of the intelligence agencies discovered the father of the Islamic Bomb seeking out money to satisfy the requirements of all those countries intentioned on counterbalancing Israel's nuclear deterrent. Between one trip and another Khan appeared again in Niger on February 22, 2000, he had been invited by the ambassador Brig Nisare. Khan arrived from Timbuktu, he had stopped over in Dubai where he remained with his right—hand—man Bukari Saied Abu Tair. After the time necessary to meet with his men he left on the 24 for Sri Lanka with Nairobi, Kenya, as a final destination. In fifteen days, on average, Khans visited ten African countries always returning to Niger because — as was later discovered — his laboratories in Pakistan were going ahead with atomic powder from the mines in Niger (Pakistan produced around 745 kilos of enriched uranium capable of producing 40 nuclear bombs each with a 2,000 km range) In 1999 Khan was discovered by the 007's between Niger and Nigeria looking for fuel for a Chinese reactor. From 1999 until today Khan's network has suffered a series of setbacks but, according to intelligence analysts, in Africa's fundamentalist countries Khan is continuing to function using lesser means: the work of the mediators is finding fertile ground in the trafficking of double use components that are, apparently, destined to civil use but in reality destined to the enrichment of uranium for military purposes.
In an earlier report, Il Giornale reported that the French member of the IAEA Jacques Baute, seems to have known about the Martino forgeries of purported sales of enriched uranium from Niger to Iraq, BEFORE the US or UK had them in hand.
It is increasingly clear that further international investigation of the Niger uranium business and the French "oversight " of it is warranted; that the CIA and its preposterous Mission to Niger came nowhere near to uncovering the truth and wasn't designed to; and that Wilson's many versions of when he saw the forged documents and how he came to see them deserve more attention than they have from both the Washington Post and New York Times which originally published reports that he had seen them.
Wilson, as you recall, repeated the story to the Senate Special Committee on Investigations, which noted that we never even had them until 8 months after his Mission and the CIA said he hadn't been given them. At that point he told the SSCI he may have seen the later IAEA report. The SSCI said that wasn't credible either, as the names and dates he said were wrong and were different than those in the IAEA report. His final version was that Andrea Mitchell had shown him the IAEA report, he wasn't wearing his glasses and might have misread them. [sarcasm]
Clarice Feldman 12 01 05