Skip to comments.WHO LIED TO WHOM? (The Original Seymour Hersh Article About Uranium and Niger That Started It All!)
Posted on 07/14/2003 9:57:21 PM PDT by Dont Mention the War
Last September 24th, as Congress prepared to vote on the resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to wage war in Iraq, a group of senior intelligence officials, including George Tenet, the Director of Central Intelligence, briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Iraq's weapons capability. It was an important presentation for the Bush Administration. Some Democrats were publicly questioning the President's claim that Iraq still possessed weapons of mass destruction which posed an immediate threat to the United States. Just the day before, former Vice-President Al Gore had sharply criticized the Administration's advocacy of preëmptive war, calling it a doctrine that would replace "a world in which states consider themselves subject to law" with "the notion that there is no law but the discretion of the President of the United States." A few Democrats were also considering putting an alternative resolution before Congress.
According to two of those present at the briefing, which was highly classified and took place in the committee's secure hearing room, Tenet declared, as he had done before, that a shipment of high-strength aluminum tubes that was intercepted on its way to Iraq had been meant for the construction of centrifuges that could be used to produce enriched uranium. The suitability of the tubes for that purpose had been disputed, but this time the argument that Iraq had a nuclear program under way was buttressed by a new and striking fact: the C.I.A. had recently received intelligence showing that, between 1999 and 2001, Iraq had attempted to buy five hundred tons of uranium oxide from Niger, one of the world's largest producers. The uranium, known as "yellow cake," can be used to make fuel for nuclear reactors; if processed differently, it can also be enriched to make weapons. Five tons can produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a bomb. (When the C.I.A. spokesman William Harlow was asked for comment, he denied that Tenet had briefed the senators on Niger.)
On the same day, in London, Tony Blair's government made public a dossier containing much of the information that the Senate committee was being given in secret - that Iraq had sought to buy "significant quantities of uranium" from an unnamed African country, "despite having no active civil nuclear power programme that could require it." The allegation attracted immediate attention; a headline in the London Guardian declared, "african gangs offer route to uranium."
Two days later, Secretary of State Colin Powell, appearing before a closed hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also cited Iraq's attempt to obtain uranium from Niger as evidence of its persistent nuclear ambitions. The testimony from Tenet and Powell helped to mollify the Democrats, and two weeks later the resolution passed overwhelmingly, giving the President a congressional mandate for a military assault on Iraq.
On December 19th, Washington, for the first time, publicly identified Niger as the alleged seller of the nuclear materials, in a State Department position paper that rhetorically asked, "Why is the Iraqi regime hiding their uranium procurement?" (The charge was denied by both Iraq and Niger.) A former high-level intelligence official told me that the information on Niger was judged serious enough to include in the President's Daily Brief, known as the P.D.B., one of the most sensitive intelligence documents in the American system. Its information is supposed to be carefully analyzed, or "scrubbed." Distribution of the two- or three-page early-morning report, which is prepared by the C.I.A., is limited to the President and a few other senior officials. The P.D.B. is not made available, for example, to any members of the Senate or House Intelligence Committees. "I don't think anybody here sees that thing," a State Department analyst told me. "You only know what's in the P.D.B. because it echoes - people talk about it."
President Bush cited the uranium deal, along with the aluminum tubes, in his State of the Union Message, on January 28th, while crediting Britain as the source of the information: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." He commented, "Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide."
Then the story fell apart. On March 7th, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, told the U.N. Security Council that the documents involving the Niger-Iraq uranium sale were fakes. "The I.A.E.A. has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents . . . are in fact not authentic," ElBaradei said.
One senior I.A.E.A. official went further. He told me, "These documents are so bad that I cannot imagine that they came from a serious intelligence agency. It depresses me, given the low quality of the documents, that it was not stopped. At the level it reached, I would have expected more checking."
The I.A.E.A. had first sought the documents last fall, shortly after the British government released its dossier. After months of pleading by the I.A.E.A., the United States turned them over to Jacques Baute, who is the director of the agency's Iraq Nuclear Verification Office.
It took Baute's team only a few hours to determine that the documents were fake. The agency had been given about a half-dozen letters and other communications between officials in Niger and Iraq, many of them written on letterheads of the Niger government. The problems were glaring. One letter, dated October 10, 2000, was signed with the name of Allele Habibou, a Niger Minister of Foreign Affairs and Coöperation, who had been out of office since 1989. Another letter, allegedly from Tandja Mamadou, the President of Niger, had a signature that had obviously been faked and a text with inaccuracies so egregious, the senior I.A.E.A. official said, that "they could be spotted by someone using Google on the Internet."
The large quantity of uranium involved should have been another warning sign. Niger's "yellow cake" comes from two uranium mines controlled by a French company, with its entire output presold to nuclear power companies in France, Japan, and Spain. "Five hundred tons can't be siphoned off without anyone noticing," another I.A.E.A. official told me.
This official told me that the I.A.E.A. has not been able to determine who actually prepared the documents. "It could be someone who intercepted faxes in Israel, or someone at the headquarters of the Niger Foreign Ministry, in Niamey. We just don't know," the official said. "Somebody got old letterheads and signatures, and cut and pasted." Some I.A.E.A. investigators suspected that the inspiration for the documents was a trip that the Iraqi Ambassador to Italy took to several African countries, including Niger, in February, 1999. They also speculated that MI6 - the branch of British intelligence responsible for foreign operations - had become involved, perhaps through contacts in Italy, after the Ambassador's return to Rome.
Baute, according to the I.A.E.A. official, "confronted the United States with the forgery: 'What do you have to say?' They had nothing to say."
ElBaradei's disclosure has not been disputed by any government or intelligence official in Washington or London. Colin Powell, asked about the forgery during a television interview two days after ElBaradei's report, dismissed the subject by saying, "If that issue is resolved, that issue is resolved." A few days later, at a House hearing, he denied that anyone in the United States government had anything to do with the forgery. "It came from other sources," Powell testified. "It was provided in good faith to the inspectors."
The forgery became the object of widespread, and bitter, questions in Europe about the credibility of the United States. But it initially provoked only a few news stories in America, and little sustained questioning about how the White House could endorse such an obvious fake. On March 8th, an American official who had reviewed the documents was quoted in the Washington Post as explaining, simply, "We fell for it."
The Bush Administration's reliance on the Niger documents may, however, have stemmed from more than bureaucratic carelessness or political overreaching. Forged documents and false accusations have been an element in U.S. and British policy toward Iraq at least since the fall of 1997, after an impasse over U.N. inspections. Then as now, the Security Council was divided, with the French, the Russians, and the Chinese telling the United States and the United Kingdom that they were being too tough on the Iraqis. President Bill Clinton, weakened by the impeachment proceedings, hinted of renewed bombing, but, then as now, the British and the Americans were losing the battle for international public opinion. A former Clinton Administration official told me that London had resorted to, among other things, spreading false information about Iraq. The British propaganda program - part of its Information Operations, or I/Ops - was known to a few senior officials in Washington. "I knew that was going on," the former Clinton Administration official said of the British efforts. "We were getting ready for action in Iraq, and we wanted the Brits to prepare."
Over the next year, a former American intelligence officer told me, at least one member of the U.N. inspection team who supported the American and British position arranged for dozens of unverified and unverifiable intelligence reports and tips - data known as inactionable intelligence - to be funnelled to MI6 operatives and quietly passed along to newspapers in London and elsewhere. "It was intelligence that was crap, and that we couldn't move on, but the Brits wanted to plant stories in England and around the world," the former officer said. There was a series of clandestine meetings with MI6, at which documents were provided, as well as quiet meetings, usually at safe houses in the Washington area. The British propaganda scheme eventually became known to some members of the U.N. inspection team. "I knew a bit," one official still on duty at U.N. headquarters acknowledged last week, "but I was never officially told about it."
None of the past and present officials I spoke with were able to categorically state that the fake Niger documents were created or instigated by the same propaganda office in MI6 that had been part of the anti-Iraq propaganda wars in the late nineteen-nineties. (An MI6 intelligence source declined to comment.) Press reports in the United States and elsewhere have suggested other possible sources: the Iraqi exile community, the Italians, the French. What is generally agreed upon, a congressional intelligence-committee staff member told me, is that the Niger documents were initially circulated by the British - President Bush said as much in his State of the Union speech - and that "the Brits placed more stock in them than we did." It is also clear, as the former high-level intelligence official told me, that "something as bizarre as Niger raises suspicions everywhere."
What went wrong? Did a poorly conceived propaganda effort by British intelligence, whose practices had been known for years to senior American officials, manage to move, without significant challenge, through the top layers of the American intelligence community and into the most sacrosanct of Presidential briefings? Who permitted it to go into the President's State of the Union speech? Was the message - the threat posed by Iraq - more important than the integrity of the intelligence-vetting process? Was the Administration lying to itself? Or did it deliberately give Congress and the public what it knew to be bad information?
Asked to respond, Harlow, the C.I.A. spokesman, said that the agency had not obtained the actual documents until early this year, after the President's State of the Union speech and after the congressional briefings, and therefore had been unable to evaluate them in a timely manner. Harlow refused to respond to questions about the role of Britain's MI6. Harlow's statement does not, of course, explain why the agency left the job of exposing the embarrassing forgery to the I.A.E.A. It puts the C.I.A. in an unfortunate position: it is, essentially, copping a plea of incompetence.
The chance for American intelligence to challenge the documents came as the Administration debated whether to pass them on to ElBaradei. The former high-level intelligence official told me that some senior C.I.A. officials were aware that the documents weren't trustworthy. "It's not a question as to whether they were marginal. They can't be 'sort of' bad, or 'sort of' ambiguous. They knew it was a fraud - it was useless. Everybody bit their tongue and said, 'Wouldn't it be great if the Secretary of State said this?' The Secretary of State never saw the documents." He added, "He's absolutely apoplectic about it." (A State Department spokesman was unable to comment.) A former intelligence officer told me that some questions about the authenticity of the Niger documents were raised inside the government by analysts at the Department of Energy and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. However, these warnings were not heeded.
"Somebody deliberately let something false get in there," the former high-level intelligence official added. "It could not have gotten into the system without the agency being involved. Therefore it was an internal intention. Someone set someone up." (The White House declined to comment.)
Washington's case that the Iraqi regime had failed to meet its obligation to give up weapons of mass destruction was, of course, based on much more than a few documents of questionable provenance from a small African nation. But George W. Bush's war against Iraq has created enormous anxiety throughout the world - in part because one side is a superpower and the other is not. It can't help the President's case, or his international standing, when his advisers brief him with falsehoods, whether by design or by mistake.
On March 14th, Senator Jay Rockefeller, of West Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, formally asked Robert Mueller, the F.B.I. director, to investigate the forged documents. Rockefeller had voted for the resolution authorizing force last fall. Now he wrote to Mueller, "There is a possibility that the fabrication of these documents may be part of a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq." He urged the F.B.I. to ascertain the source of the documents, the skill-level of the forgery, the motives of those responsible, and "why the intelligence community did not recognize the documents were fabricated." A Rockefeller aide told me that the F.B.I. had promised to look into it.
You raise an interesting point. If no one wants this stuff, why is everyone smuggling it?
This will help in the research....thanks!
South Africa will send experts in dismantling weapons of mass destruction to Iraq as part of Pretoria's bid to avert war, President Thabo Mbeki said in his state of the nation address today.
The intervention follows a visit to Baghdad by Aziz Pahad, the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, and comes ahead of today's crucial report-back by United Nations weapons inspectors to the Security Council in New York.
Addressing a special joint sitting of Parliament, Mbeki said it was hoped the UN report-back "will not serve as a signal to some that the time has come to unleash the fury of war".
"As we speak, a number of our citizens are preparing to travel to Iraq. These are the experts who led our country's programme to destroy our nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, as well as the missiles for the delivery of these weapons in conditions of combat."
The work they had done had resulted in South Africa becoming an international example of best practice in disarmament, he said. South Africa voluntarily disarmed its weapons of mass destruction in the 1990s. Pretoria had proposed to Iraq and to Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General that these experts share South Africa's experience with Baghdad, Mbeki said.
"I am pleased to inform the Honourable Members that Iraq has accepted our offer, which we have already discussed with the leadership of the weapons inspectors. "We trust that this intervention will help to ensure the necessary proper co-operation between the United Nations' inspectors and Iraq, so that the issue of weapons of mass destruction is addressed satisfactorily, without resort to war."
- "SA to send its nuclear experts to Iraq: Mbeki," http://www.sabcnews.com/politics/government/0,1009,52970,00.html., February 14, 2003, 11:15
Dare I hazard a guess?
Now remember how often we've been told that South Africa is a model of disarmament, an icon of international oversight programs?
And note that Bush said "Africa" while the press keeps mentioning just Niger...
Now remember that North Korea just made an ass out of international oversight programs, and pretty much blew apart the illusions of the 1994 Agreed Framework of the last administration...
The ego of the folks doing oversight has to be stinging just a little, no, when coupled with a decade of no progress in Iraq?
Now let's return to South Africa for a moment. That country is sacred to the left since they toppled its government. What fun it was when the US delegation had to pull out of the racism conference, it was so rank. Wouldn't it be really embarassing for the world community if say, South Africa turned out to be the supplier Iraq had been hitting on, and still had a stash to sell after all the international overseers declared it clean?
FEBRUARY 11, 1990 : (SOUTH AFRICA : KLERK RELEASES NELSON MANDELA FROM PRISON)
1991 : (SOUTH AFRICA : NELSON MANDELA BECOMES PRESIDENT OF ANC)
JULY 8, 1991 : (SOUTH AFRICA SIGNS ACCESSION TO NPT) Abstract: On 8 July 1991, South African Foreign Affairs Minister Pik Botha signed his country's accession to the NPT. The signing, which had been authorized by South African President F.W. de Klerk, was witnessed by British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, who stated he was "delighted South Africa had taken this step". By signing the NPT, South Africa will now have to allow the IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities.- "PIK BOTHA SIGNS NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION TREATY, " SAPA (JOHANNESBURG), 8 July 1991 via - "CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database: Sample Abstracts on South Africa's Nuclear Doctrine," These abstracts were selected from the over 30,000 entries in the CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database., http://www.nti.org/e_research/e1_safrica_nuclear.html.
SEPTEMBER 1991 : (SOUTH AFRICA SIGNS NPT) South Africa signed the NPT in September 1991 and agreed to IAEA safeguards at all its nuclear related facilities at that time. South Africa signed the NPT in September 1991 and agreed to IAEA safeguards at all its nuclear related facilities at that time. - "SOUTH AFRICA SAID TO ABANDON PURSUIT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS," THE WASHINGTON POST, 18 October 1991, PP. A23, A26 BY DAVID B. OTTAWAY via - "CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database: Sample Abstracts on South Africa's Nuclear Doctrine," These abstracts were selected from the over 30,000 entries in the CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database., http://www.nti.org/e_research/e1_safrica_nuclear.html.
1991 : (SOUTH AFRICA SIGNS NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY) - "Iraq 'sought African uranium' Britain says Iraq wanted African uranium, "BBC News World Edition, Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
OCTOBER 1991 : (SOUTH AFRICA'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF AEC DENIES THAT SOUTH AFRICA HAD EVER COOPERATED WITH ISRAEL, IRAQ, OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN NUCLEASR TECHNOLOGY) Abstract: According to Waldo Stumpf, Chief Executive of South Africa's Atomic Energy Corporation, South Africa has "abandoned its nuclear weapons program and is seeking instead to become competitive on the world nuclear fuel market within a few years." Stumpf cited change in South Africa's strategic concerns and the prospects for a future black government as factors in his country's decision. Stumpf, however, refused to comment on US intelligence allegations that South Africa had enriched uranium to a weapons-grade level. In an interview in October 1991 Stumpf denied that South Africa had ever cooperated with Israel, Iraq or "any other country" in the field of nuclear technology. ... This came despite 1989 reports from US intelligence sources that South Africa had provided weapons grade HEU to Israel. UN inspectors in Iraq have noted that Iraq had looked into the South African jet-nozzle enrichment process, however, the South African Atomic Energy Corporation was not mentioned among Iraq's suppliers of nuclear technology in the documents seized by the UN. Stumpf stated that South Africa's nuclear program is now geared toward the export of "nuclear fuel and nuclear industry-related technology." South Africa is therefore pursuing laser enrichment processes. South Africa signed the NPT in September 1991 and agreed to IAEA safeguards at all its nuclear related facilities at that time. Stumpf said that South Africa hopes to compete with the US, FRG, France and Japan in world nuclear fuel exports, particularly to Asia and Europe. South Africa is thought to have been capable of producing weapons grade HEU since the early 1980's, according to proliferation specialist Leonard Spector. However, Stumpf declined to comment on the highest level of enrichment attained by South Africa. Stumpf did say that South Africa's two research reactors had run on 90%-plus HEU before being reduced to 45% some years ago. - "SOUTH AFRICA SAID TO ABANDON PURSUIT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS," THE WASHINGTON POST, 18 October 1991, PP. A23, A26 BY DAVID B. OTTAWAY via - "CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database: Sample Abstracts on South Africa's Nuclear Doctrine," These abstracts were selected from the over 30,000 entries in the CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database., http://www.nti.org/e_research/e1_safrica_nuclear.html.
1993 : (SOUTH AFRICA : KLERK ANNOUNCES DESTRUCTION OF THE COUNTRY'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT CAPABILITY) In 1993 when F. W. de Klerk announced the destruction of South Africa's nuclear weapons capability, he claimed that no foreign assistance was provided for the development of nuclear weapons, but made no mention of South Africa's missile capability. - "Nuclear Scientists Threaten To Reveal Secret Arms Programs: 'Blackmail' Admitted," Sunday Times (Johannesburg), 27 March 1994, pp. 1-2 (original source) , JPRS-TND-94-008, 1 April 1994, pp. 1-2, 1 April 1994 via - "CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database: Sample Abstracts on South Africa's Nuclear Doctrine," These abstracts were selected from the over 30,000 entries in the CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database., http://www.nti.org/e_research/e1_safrica_nuclear.html.
1993 : (KLERK & MANDELA SHARE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE) The two [F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela] shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize for their role in bringing about a peaceful end to apartheid. - "Ex-S.African first lady murdered," CNN.com, December 5, 2001 Ex-first lady murdered
APRIL 15, 1993 : (SOUTH AFRICAN NUCLEAR & ROCKET SCIENTISTS LAID OFF)
MARCH 1994 late : (SOUTH AFRICA : NUCLEAR & ROCKET SCIENTISTS THREATEN TO RELEASE WEAPONS SECRETS UNLESS PAID COMPENSATION) Abstract: In late March 1994, South African nuclear and rocket scientists threatened to expose secrets about South Africa's arms industry unless they were paid 4.5 million Rand as compensation for being laid off by Advena, a subsidiary of Denel, on 15 April 1993. A spokesman, claiming to represent 16 scientists, said that their disclosures would "prove embarrassing for Armscor [Armaments Corporation of South Africa], Denel [an offshoot of Armscor], and the National Government." In 1993 when F. W. de Klerk announced the destruction of South Africa's nuclear weapons capability, he claimed that no foreign assistance was provided for the development of nuclear weapons, but made no mention of South Africa's missile capability. The [South African nuclear & rocket scientist's] spokesman claimed that Israel had supplied rock[et] technology to South Africa as well as details on how to convert a space launch vehicle into a nuclear ballistic missile. According to the spokesman, the South African space program was originally intended to deliver nuclear weapons using a "clone" of the Israeli two-stage solid-fuel Jericho-2 missile. In 1988 and 1989, two mobile launchers were built and tested at the Armscor proving group at Advena, but were never used. The missile, code named RSA3, only underwent static testing. According to the spokesman, from 1989 to 1992 more than 200 South Africans secretly visited Israel and worked on the missile program. Israel sold technology to South Africa that would make its missiles accurate to within one kilometer by using a system of explosives that could stop the missile at a specific point in flight, allowing it to fall onto the target. - "Nuclear Scientists Threaten To Reveal Secret Arms Programs: 'Blackmail' Admitted," Sunday Times (Johannesburg), 27 March 1994, pp. 1-2 (original source) , JPRS-TND-94-008, 1 April 1994, pp. 1-2, 1 April 1994 via - "CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database: Sample Abstracts on South Africa's Nuclear Doctrine," These abstracts were selected from the over 30,000 entries in the CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database., http://www.nti.org/e_research/e1_safrica_nuclear.html.
NOVEMBER 1993 : (SOUTH AFRICA ENTERS INTO AGREEMENT WITH THE US WITH INTENT TO GET US TO RECOMMEND ADMISSION TO THE MTCR) In November 1993, South Africa entered into an agreement with the US on the restriction of missile-related imports and exports, adherence to which would result in a US recommendation for admission to the MTCR As a member of the MTCR, South Africa would have access to technology and markets currently not available. - "Nuclear Scientists Threaten To Reveal Secret Arms Programs: 'Blackmail' Admitted," Sunday Times (Johannesburg), 27 March 1994, pp. 1-2 (original source) , JPRS-TND-94-008, 1 April 1994, pp. 1-2, 1 April 1994 via - "CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database: Sample Abstracts on South Africa's Nuclear Doctrine," These abstracts were selected from the over 30,000 entries in the CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database., http://www.nti.org/e_research/e1_safrica_nuclear.html.
MARCH 1994 : (SOUTH AFRICAN COURT BARS NUCLEAR & ROCKET SCIENTISTS FROM DISCLOSING INFORMATION ON ARMSCOR) In late March 1994, the Transvaal Supreme Court issued an order preventing the 16 scientists from disclosing information to the media or unauthorized personnel regarding the "obtaining, marketing, importing, exporting, development, manufacture, maintenance or repair of armaments by Armscor or its subsidiaries" . The decision followed a suit by Armscor claiming that disclosure of the information might harm South Africa's chances of admission to the MTCR .-  Stephanie Bothma, Business Day (Johannesburg), 30 March 1994, pp. 1-2; in JPRS-TND-94-008, 1 April 1994, p. 3, "Supreme Court Issues 'Gagging Order'." - "Nuclear Scientists Threaten To Reveal Secret Arms Programs: 'Blackmail' Admitted," Sunday Times (Johannesburg), 27 March 1994, pp. 1-2 (original source) , JPRS-TND-94-008, 1 April 1994, pp. 1-2, 1 April 1994 via - "CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database: Sample Abstracts on South Africa's Nuclear Doctrine," These abstracts were selected from the over 30,000 entries in the CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database., http://www.nti.org/e_research/e1_safrica_nuclear.html.
AUGUST 26-29, 1994 : (SOUTH AFRICA : ANC WINS ELECTIONS) 1994 : (SOUTH AFRICAN APARTHEID GOVERNMENT ENDS) Under the apartheid government, which was in power until 1994, it had a covert nuclear weapons programme. - "Iraq 'sought African uranium' Britain says Iraq wanted African uranium, "BBC News World Edition, Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
1994 : (SOUTH AFRICA : KLERK GIVES UP POWER TO MANDELA) F.W. de Klerk gave up power to Nelson Mandela after South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994. - "Ex-S.African first lady murdered," CNN.com, December 5, 2001 Ex-first lady murdered
Oops, getting friendly with China...
AUGUST 1997 : (SOUTH AFRICA SELLS ZIRCONIUM TUBING PLANT TO CHINA, NEWSPAPER REPORT OF ILLEGAL CHINESE WORKERS DISMANTLING PLANT ALERTS PEOPLE TO THE SALE RIGHT AROUND THE TIME CHINA HAD CONCLUDED AN AGREEMENT WITH IRAN TO BUILD A ZIRCONIUM TUBING PLANT THERE) Abstract : In August 1997, South Africa and China concluded a contract for the sale of a plant used to manufacture zirconium tubing at Pelindaba. The deal was not made public until a South African newspaper revealed the presence of "illegal" Chinese technicians dismantling the plant and packing equipment for export to China. The Chinese workers had entered South Africa with business visas, and had been working without the proper employment visas. According to an unidentified member of the South African government, had it not been for the newspaper report, "there might have been nothing to stop this sensitive equipment leaving the country." The South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated that there are three pieces of equipment, described as CNC [computer numerically controlled] machine tools used to make complex molds, require authorization for export under the Nuclear Suppliers Group dual-use guidelines. The South African government requires an end-user certificate from China before it will authorize the export of the equipment. US officials are concerned that China might ship the South African plant to Iran, because China has signed a contract to build a zirconium tube factory in Iran. - "Is Iran In RSA-China Zirconium Deal?," Jane's Pointer, February 1998, p.1 , 1 February 1998 via - "CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database: Sample Abstracts on South Africa's Nuclear Doctrine," These abstracts were selected from the over 30,000 entries in the CNS Nuclear and Missile Developments Database., http://www.nti.org/e_research/e1_safrica_nuclear.html.
1998 : (FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN LEADER KLERK & WIFE ARE DIVORCED) The de Klerks divorced in 1998 after 39 years of marriage. As her husband rose through the ranks of the ruling National Party during apartheid, his wife also was politically active, eventually leading the party's women's organisation. - "Ex-S.African first lady murdered," CNN.com, December 5, 2001 Ex-first lady murdered
1999 : (GABON HALTS EXPORT OF URANIUM) Gabon ceased exports of [unprocessed uranium oxide] after 1999 - reserves at the largest mine, Mounana, had been depleted. - "Iraq 'sought African uranium' Britain says Iraq wanted African uranium, "BBC News World Edition, Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
MARCH 2001 : (BBC ALLEGATIONS ARISE THAT IRAQ PURCHASED URANIUM FROM SOUTH AFRICA IN 1988) The BBC television programme Correspondent reported in March 2001 that Iraqi defectors, including a nuclear engineer and an assistant to Saddam Hussain's son Uday, had revealed that Iraq obtained uranium for its nuclear programme from South Africa. The deal had been signed in 1986 and the uranium delivered in 1988 - "Iraq 'sought African uranium' Britain says Iraq wanted African uranium, "BBC News World Edition, Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK SEPTEMBER 1, 2001 : (SOUTH AFRICA : US ENCOUNTERS RACISM CONFERENCE WHICH DEGENERATED INTO A HOSTILE MESS AGAINST THE US AND ISRAEL) Mideast dominates racism summit
SEPTEMBER 3, 2001 : (SOUTH AFRICA : US PULLS OUT OF UN RACISM CONFERENCE) Israel and the U.S. have pulled out of the U.N. Conference Against Racism after compromise over condemning Israel had failed U.S. pulls out of racism conference
SEPTEMBER 8, 2001 : (SOUTH AFRICA : UN RACISM CONFERENCE ENDS) Racism conference ends
SEPTEMBER 10, 2001 : (SOUTH AFRICAN SUMMIT) Southern African summit
SEPTEMBER 10, 2001 : (USA : LEFTWING WEBSITE TRUTHOUT.ORG IS REGISTERED; WOULD PLAY ROLE IN NIGER/IRAQ URANIUM FLAP)
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 : (911 ATTACKS ON US)
Wow, what a country when former first ladies get "offed"...was it a random murder or something more?
DECEMBER 5, 2001 : (SOUTH AFRICA : FORMER FIRST LADY MARIKE DE KLERKE, WIFE OF SOUTH AFRICAN LEADER WHO HAD ONCE ANNOUNCED THE DESTRUCTION OF THE COUNTRY'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT CAPABILITYIS, IS MURDERED) CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- The former first lady of South Africa, Marike de Klerk, has been murdered at her home in Cape Town. Police say an autopsy revealed that the 64-year-old former wife of F.W. de Klerk had been stabbed and strangled. Marike de Klerk's body was discovered on Tuesday afternoon, about 30 hours after coroners estimated she had died.The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was strangulation. Police spokesman Wicus Holtzhausen said she had also been stabbed in the back. "The stab wound ... was not the cause of death," he added. De Klerk also had cuts on her arms, which police believe could have been sustained trying to fend off a knife attack. There were no immediate arrests and police did not admit to having any suspects. South Africa has one of the world's highest per-capita murder rates. More than 9,800 homicides were committed in the first half of this year, according to police statistics. De Klerk's body was found about 4p.m. on Tuesday after her hairdresser, arriving for an appointment, became concerned when she did not answer the door. The hairdresser summoned neighbourhood security guards who found the body at the entrance to her bedroom. Nothing was missing from de Klerk's house and the motive for her killing was unknown, Holtzhauzen said. F.W. de Klerk said in a statement released on Wednesday he was devastated and deeply shocked at the circumstances under which his ex-wife had died. "I have learned with great shock and sorrow of the circumstances of the tragic death of my former wife, Marike," he said. "I have been informed that the South African Police Service is conducting a murder inquiry and hope that they bring the person or persons involved to justice as soon as possible." The former president cancelled plans to attend a ceremony to commemorate the centenary of the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway and was heading back to South Africa, his spokesman Dave Steward said. President Thabo Mbeki expressed his condolences Tuesday in a statement and described de Klerk as a "strong, charming and dignified woman." - "Ex-S.African first lady murdered," CNN.com, December 5, 2001 Ex-first lady murdered
JULY 8, 2002 : (SOUTH AFRICA : LEADERS LAUNCH AFRICAN UNION) Leaders launch African Union
AUGUST 24, 2002 : (SOUTH AFRICA : PRIOR TO EARTH SUMMIT, GREENPEACE VIOLATES SECURITY AT BUILDING AT KOEBEG NUCLEAR POWER PLANT) MELKBOSSTRAND, South Africa -- Police have detained up to a dozen Greenpeace environmental protesters who tried to scale a South African nuclear power plant two days before the start of the Earth Summit. Some of the demonstrators climbed a building at the French-designed Koeberg nuclear power plant on the coast near Cape Town on Saturday and strung up two yellow and black banners proclaiming "Nukes out of Africa -- Greenpeace." The nuclear plant is the only one in Africa. Police detained three of the anti-nuclear activists on the 15-metre (50 feet) high concrete building, which pumps water from the sea to cool the twin-domed reactor alongside, leaving another three dangling by wires from the installation. They also seized two inflatable speedboats, each containing three people, that brought the protesters from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, Greenpeace said. Police declined immediate comment. But the local provincial commissioner expressed shock that Greenpeace could reach the tightly guarded installation from the sea. "We have to take firm action now, this situation is intolerable," commissioner Lennit Max told Reuters, adding the break-in "is a matter of concern for us, we will be looking into that." Greenpeace wants to put pressure on about 100 world leaders at the 10-day summit opening on Monday to agree ways to protect the planet while cutting poverty. It fears that their promises will fall short of real action. "This is Africa's one and only nuclear facility, it should be its last," said Mike Townsley of Greenpeace. "It creates deadly long-lived legacies of nuclear waste. It's a major terrorist threat, it's a proliferation threat and it's uneconomic... At a time when world leaders are meeting in Johannesburg to discuss how to solve the impending environmental crisis, and to meet the need for electricity of the two billion people who don't have any, we want to make the point that their needs cannot be met through nuclear power," he said. During its building, the plant was attacked by the now-ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the 1970s as part of a protest against white minority rule. - CNN.com, Greenpeace N-plant protest
SEPTEMBER 4, 2002 : (SOUTH AFRICA : EARTH SUMMIT : US SECRETARY OF STATE POWELL IS HECKLED) Powell heckled at Earth Summit
(* My note : Scores of lefties atended this thing from all over the world ...)
Any thoughts as to why Mrs. De Klerk was murdrered? A warning? To keep her from spilling some information?
With Zimbabwe going to pieces next door, I wouldn't be too surpried if al Qaeda or other unsavory types took advantage of the anarchy to acquire things.
I maintain there was no "untruth" in the first place. He stated precisely what he had been told by his intelligence. As a matter of fact, Britain continues to say it's solid intel. The only "untruth" being bandied about is coming from the media and the democRATS. And the lies continue to proliferate and grow in size.
Bingo! I see Hillary's fingerprints all over this one: how close is she to Wilson?
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