Posted by Thomas Nephew on July 29th, 2003
On September 25, 2002, the Guardian ran a story by James Astill and Rory Carroll, “African gangs offer route to uranium.” From the lead:
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.
It comes as the dossier unveiled by Tony Blair accused Saddam Hussein of trying to buy African uranium to give Iraq’s weapons programme a nuclear capability. The dossier did not identify any country allegedly approached by Baghdad but security analysts said the Congo was the likeliest, followed by South Africa. [...]
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.
Via “Daily Howler” Bob Somerby, although sans the link to the article. Somerby quotes other British newspapers who also wrote of a Congo connection that day, including sourcing to the British Cabinet Joint Intelligence Committee. Like Somerby says,
Was it true, as the Times reported, that “the Iraqis were known to have targeted the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo?” Here at THE HOWLER, we simply don’t know. But our press corps has persistently suggested that the Brit intel was all about Niger, and lived or died by those crudely forged documents. These contemporary reports from the British press suggest that this wasn’t the case.
As an added bonus, Somerby busts Seymour Hersh’s March 31 New Yorker piece, (“Who lied to whom?“), for implying the Guardian article was about the disputed Iraq-Niger connection.
Incidentally, if the Guardian report is true, this suggests a stake I have in political stability in the Congo that I wasn’t aware of.