MoonDawg's Den: Out of Africa

MoonDawg's Den

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Out of Africa

Yesterday, while responding to my co-blogger Jeff about the dishonesty of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, the subject of President Bush's infamous "16 words" from the 2003 State of the Union speech came up (Bush had said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa"). Among other things, I noted this from the UK's Butler Report on Britain's pre-war intelligence, about how Iraq had sought uranium from the Congo:

There was further and separate intelligence that in 1999 the Iraqi regime had also made inquiries about the purchase of uranium ore in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this case, there was some evidence that by 2002 an agreement for a sale had been reached.

Serendipitously, today the Instapundit shares a relevant BBC news story - "DR Congo uranium ring smashed" (empahsis mine):

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they have dismantled an international network set up to illegally use uranium mined there.
...
DR Congo's daily newspaper Le Phare on Wednesday reported that more than 100 bars of uranium, as well as an unknown quantity of uranium contained in helmet-shaped cases, had disappeared from the centre as part of a vast trafficking of the material going back years.

In his post on the story, Glenn Reynolds notes some are speculating that the black market uranium went to Iran or North Korea. I don't think it's stretching the imagination too much to add Saddam Hussein's Iraq to that mix...

UPDATE: Chad at the KURU Lounge notes some further relevant information from the BBC on uranium smuggling from the Congo (so far the American news media is MIA on this story). Emphasis his:
Officially, no uranium at all should now be leaving the country. But the United Nations has reported that in the past six years more than 50 cases of smuggled uranium have been seized in Congo.

The last six years would cover 2002, the year that the Butler Report said Iraq had reached "an agreement for a sale" with the DRC. I'm sure that Keith Olbermann will make this news the lead item on Countdown tomorrow. NOT!

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