Skip to comments.The Uranium Joe Wilson Didn't Mention
Posted on 07/17/2005 2:21:36 PM PDT by wagglebee
By April 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein had stockpiled 500 tons of yellowcake uranium at his al Tuwaitha nuclear weapons development plant south of Baghdad.
That intriguing little detail is almost never mentioned by the big media, who prefer to chant the mantra "Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction" while echoing Joseph Wilson's claim that "Bush lied" about seeking more of the nuclear material in Niger. The media's decision to put the Wilson-Plame affair back on the front burner, however, may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for President Bush - giving his administration a chance to resurrect an important debate they conceded far too easily about the weapons of mass destruction threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
First, the facts - from a reliable critic of the White House - the New York Times, which covered the story long after the paper announced it was tightening its standards on WMD news out of Iraq.
"The United States has informed an international agency that oversees nuclear materials that it intends to move hundreds of tons of uranium from a sealed repository south of Baghdad to a more secure place outside Iraq," the paper announced in a little noticed May 2004 report.
"The repository, at Tuwaitha, a centerpiece of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program until it was largely shut down after the first Persian Gulf war in 1991, holds more than 500 tons of uranium," the paper revealed, before insisting: "None of it [is] enriched enough to be used directly in a nuclear weapon."
Well, almost none.
The Times went on to report that amidst Saddam's yellowcake stockpile, U.S. weapons inspectors found "some 1.8 tons" that they "classified as low-enriched uranium."
The paper conceded that while Saddam's nearly 2 tons of partially enriched uranium was "a more potent form" of the nuclear fuel, it was "still not sufficient for a weapon."
Consulted about the low-enriched uranium discovery, however, Ivan Oelrich, a physicist at the Federation of American Scientists, told the Associated Press that if it was of the 3 percent to 5 percent level of enrichment common in fuel for commercial power reactors, the 1.8 tons could be used to produce enough highly enriched uranium to make a single nuclear bomb.
And Thomas B. Cochran, director of the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Times that the low-enriched uranium could be useful to a nation with nuclear ambitions.
"A country like Iran could convert that into weapons-grade material with a lot fewer centrifuges than would be required with natural uranium," he explained.
Luckily, Iraq didn't have even the small number of centrifuges necessary to get the job done.
Or did they?
The physicist tapped by Saddam to run his centrifuge program says that after the first Gulf War, the program was largely dismantled. But it wasn't destroyed.
In fact, according to what he wrote in his 2004 book, "The Bomb in My Garden," Dr. Mahdi Obeidi told U.S. interrogators: "Saddam kept funding the IAEC [Iraq Atomic Energy Commission] from 1991 ... until the war in 2003."
"I was developing the centrifuge for the weapons" right through 1997, he revealed.
And after that, Dr. Obeidi said, Saddam ordered him under penalty of death to keep the technology available to resume Iraq's nuke program at a moment's notice.
Dr. Obeidi said he buried "the full set of blueprints, designs - everything to restart the centrifuge program - along with some critical components of the centrifuge" under the garden of his Baghdad home.
"I had to maintain the program to the bitter end," he explained. All the while the Iraqi physicist was aware that he held the key to Saddam's continuing nuclear ambitions.
"The centrifuge is the single most dangerous piece of nuclear technology," Dr. Obeidi says in his book. "With advances in centrifuge technology, it is now possible to conceal a uranium enrichment program inside a single warehouse."
Consider: 500 tons of yellowcake stored at Saddam's old nuclear weapons plan, where he'd managed to partially enrich 1.8 tons. And the equipment and blueprints that could enrich enough uranium to make a bomb stored away for safekeeping. And all of it at the Iraqi dictator's disposal.
If the average American was aware of these undisputed facts, the debate over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction would have been decided long ago - in President Bush's favor.
One more detail that Mr. Wilson and his media backers don't like to discuss: There's a reason Niger was such a likely candidate for Saddam's uranium shopping spree.
Responding to the firestorm that erupted after Wilson's July 2003 column, Prime Minister Tony Blair told reporters:
"In case people should think that the whole idea of a link between Iraq and Niger was some invention, in the 1980s we know for sure that Iraq purchased round about 270 tons of uranium from Niger."
What Bush needs to do is release video footage of the yellowcake uranium in Iraq.
BUMP .... So did the French or JFKerry select old Joe Wilson to sip tea in Niger to cover up Saddam and "yellowcake"?????
Considering that J F'n K gave Old Joe a job on his campaign shortly after he carried water for him....
If I'm not mistaken, Wilson signed on with J F'n K's campaign as early as March 2003 and his NYT op ed was written in July. I'll try to find a link to the timeline.
I seem to remember it was after; lemme know what you find out.
Tea and yellowcake. Always a tasty snack. Hey Joe, care for a spot of tea with that yellowcake? Hm?
I agree that President Bush should have the guts to reveal all this information about Saddam's stockpile. Bush is shooting himself in the foot by holding back vital information that would destroy the MSM and give the Democratic nutty bunch a hot foot. Why, is Bush afraid to pull some strings on some of these nuts?
In this October 2003 article, he claims to have been advising Kerry for about 5 months. That would put his initial involvement back in May or June of 2003.
Wilson, former ambassador to the West African nation of Gabon, said he has long been a Kerry supporter and has contributed $2,000 to the campaign this year. He said he has been advising Kerry on foreign policy for about five months and will campaign for Kerry, including a trip to New Hampshire next month.Emphasis mine.
Everyone knows Hussein had 500 tons of yellowcake. Hell, the UN was in charge of monitoring it. We removed it after the war.
But don't let any of that get in the way of the idiot agenda of the Left.
Could minor Ambassador Joe Wilson himself have been the source in blowing his own Wife's cover?
It is distinctly possible, (though it may be unlikely that Joe Wilson himself directly was NY Times Judith Miller's source), since Joe Wilson himself evidently routinely bragged openly to strangers about her CIA employment, prior to such "cover" being "blown" in the press.
Here's an example of Joe's apparently routine and open bragging about Valerie being a "CIA agent," which became known directly to me over a year ago:
He certainly bragged about it per a famous and highly reliable source's (named below) account of his own face-to-face encounter with Amb. Joe Wilson prior to Valerie Plame's "outing" as a CIA agent/employee.
Based upon a personal conversation (we were in a small group eating; it was NOT an "off the record") I had with eminent historian Victor Davis Hanson (we were at a luncheon table together during a trip to Europe), it appeared entirely possible that Joe Wilson himself was the (or one source, if not the original one) possible source in revealing his own wife's status as a CIA agent or employee.
Victor Davis Hanson (Wilson presumably knew Victor Davis Hanson wrote regularly for NRO (National Review Online), had done OpEds for the Wall street Journal, and other publications, and had his own Website with a widespread following) said he (VDH) & Joe Wilson were both in the same "Green Room" before a televised debate-discussion on Iraq, etc. and Joe first warned the TV make-up person not to get powder on his $14,000 Rolex watch, then he bragged to Victor about several things (possessions and trips to Aspen, etc.), like his expensive car (I think it was a Mercedes), and then bragged about his beautiful wife who, Joe Wilson said (braggingly) was a CIA operative.
I asked Victor Davis Hanson Why he didn't write up this account.(?) He replied that Joe Wilson would probably simply deny it, since only he (VDH) & Joe Wilson were in the Green Room together before the broadcast.
However, it is now easy to surmise that Joe Wilson is a crass, materialistic, self-promoting, vain, egotistical, bragaddocio-opportunist, so this account is perfectly consistent with Valerie Plame's TWO photo shoots in Vanity Fair. (Or was it Vogue? No, probably too crass for Vogue, n'est pas?)
It's not exactly a revelation. Iraq posessing it was not a violation of any agreements or UN sanctions, and it was regularly monitored by the IAEA, and its existence was well known and documented repeatedly before the war.
And the only way yellowcake can injure you is if someone dropped a drum of it out a window on your head.
the pubbies do not promote themselves very well. why, i do not know.
Great article. I was just going to post it when I saw that you already did
See post #15.
That's just a really bad blues name.
I fold. :=) Good find!