Skip to comments.Saddam's 500-ton Uranium Stockpile
Posted on 11/02/2005 7:12:42 PM PST by InvisibleChurch
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 9:58 p.m. EST Saddam's 500-ton Uranium Stockpile
Thanks to Leakgate Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's decision to indict "Scooter" Libby last week, Bush administration accuser Joe Wilson is once again the toast of Washington, D.C. - recycling the fifteen minutes of fame he first purchased in July 2003 with the claim that Bush lied about Iraq's plan to acquire uranium from Niger.
Why was Bush's uranium claim so important? Because if true, the mere attempt by the Iraqi dictator to acquire uranium would show that he had clear and incontrovertible plans to restart his nuclear program.
Maybe that's why the press seldom discusses the fact that Saddam already had a staggering large stockpile of uranium - 500 tons, to be exact.
And if his mere intention to acquire uranium was enough to justify fears of Saddam's nuclear ambition, what would the average person deduce from that fact that he'd already stockpiled a huge quantity of the bombmaking fuel?
In its May 22, 2004 edition, the New York Times confirmed a myriad of reports on Saddam's nuclear fuel stockpile - and revealed a chilling detail unknown to weapons inspectors before the war: that Saddam had begun to partially enrich his uranium stash.
The Times noted:
"The repository, at Tuwaitha, a centerpiece of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program, . . . . holds more than 500 tons of uranium . . . . Some 1.8 tons is classified as low-enriched uranium."
Thomas B. Cochran, director of the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Times that "the low-enriched version could be useful to a nation with nuclear ambitions.
"A country like Iran," Mr. Cochran said, "could convert that into weapons-grade material with a lot fewer centrifuges than would be required with natural 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.
Luckily, Iraq didn't have even the small number of centrifuges necessary to get the job done.
Or did it?
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 said 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 plant, 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 were 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: the 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."
Saddam's Stash/Wilson's Flash Bump.
True story...Don't you remember when the media was in a frenzy about the U.S. "not securing the weapons in Iraq" and there were some weapons "stolen" or "missing" and the Democrats used that as an attack on Bush before the 2004 election? Well that's when we found out there was uranium being guarded in Iraq. I guess only Uranium from NIGER or AFRICA registers to the Left as being capable of creating a nuclear weapon.
Yes, this is true. Saddam was waiting for the sanctions to be dropped first and the spotlight to dim on Iraq before he was going to reinstitute his WMD program. That's why he was involved w/ the Oil for food program...to get in the European's good graces...and hopefully they would drop the sanctions.
that was a different location, not Al Tuwaitha.
the reason this doesn't "register" is that the material at Al Tuwaitha was known and under seal by the IAEA. Its not "fresh WMD", so it doesn't "count" according to the left.
Yes. These were weapons that where under the IAEA's 'control' before the war. Here is a link you might be interested in reading. I used it to stuff in the faces of a few libs on another conservative site last year during the height of their insanity. It is a DOD briefing. Why the IAEA did not remove the stuff long ago is the MYSTERY!
they don't remove or destroy, they just "seal" it and monitor the seals for tampering.
Thanks for the website
In 1999 Iraqi officials visited Niger.
I'm sure these Iraqi officials were not in Niger to sip sweet mint tea.
BTW, Joe Wilson was also in Niger in 1999.
Saddam was in charge of the UN Oil for Food program. Made no secret he would trade with any person or country if they worked to get sanctions lifted.
I agree, if the Niger claim can be shown to be true (it is, if they would debunk the forged documents) - then this would be a "new" WMD claim.
yep..monitor it until they are thrown out or duped. (rolling eyes)
Some of us believe some of the centrifuges and uranium ended up in Libya, and when Quadaffi turned over all he had it was all transported I believe to Fort Knox.
I suggest we lock Wilson up in the Libyan mountain where Nigers uranium was never shipped. We can close the door on this case and as long as nobody outs him. We wont see him again.
BTW..if u read the DOD briefing at the link I provided..there were reports that more yellow cake was found than had been declared or sealed by IAEA it would appear from this briefing during the war.
Here is the relevant paragragh from the briefing FYI:
Q: The other part of the question was, what do you make of the fact that the IAEA inspected this facility in December 2002 and surveyed it and found less stuff than you-all have found now after it was looted?
Senior Military Official: Well, first of all I'd say I have not seen an official inventory. That's part of what this will be. But we had information from a number of sources as to what we thought was there, and we actually found more than what we thought was there. What we thought may not have been absolutely accurate, because we didn't have that official inventory. But it also probably wouldn't be useful to speculate about what might have -- how the additional stuff might have gotten there. We'll wait until the inventory is done.
there was a story floating around a while back that they were taking some of this material to Oak Ridge, to get a chemical signature on it, to see if it matched the material the material that Libya gave up - which would show that the Libyan program was linked to Iraq. I never heard anything about that story again.
you are very informed on this topic, I haven't seen you posting before on threads regarding this topic (could be my bad memory).
Many of us could explain this stuff convincingly in about 10 minutes. Why the republicans don't think they need to is beyond me.
Yes I remember that. I live near Oak Ridge and remember reading that.
So when do the Senate Dims want to hold public hearings so that all of this can come out? /sarcasm
This is an interesting find from 1998..an article from the NYT..funny how they were on Clintoon's side when it came to Iraq but not President Bush's..(rolling eyes)
NEW YORK -- Last month in Iraq, U.N. weapons inspectors thought they were closing in on a long-sought prize: computer hard drives that contained the records of Iraq's entire program of weapons of mass destruction, the program at the center of the current standoff.
But the Iraqis stalled for 20 minutes, as inspectors watched from a distance while the old hard drives were whisked away and replaced with new ones. When the inspectors finally got permission to enter, the equipment ran only computer games.
Meeting with New York Times editors and reporters on Monday, Richard Butler, who heads the U.N. weapons inspection commission, cited this incident as one of several cat-and-mouse games that have convinced him that Iraq is determined to hide evidence that it has biological and chemical weapons.
Butler confirmed earlier reports that his team had evidence that Iraq has loaded biological weapons onto missile warheads. He also discussed a range of options that the U.N. Security Council could consider short of a military strike. They could include extending the no-fly zone currently in force over northern Iraq and sealing off the Iraqi port of Basra to end a contraband trade in oil that he estimated brings Iraq hundreds of millions of dollars a month.
In the meeting on Monday, Butler left little doubt that he had reached the end of his rope with the Iraqis, who, he said, "have never cooperated fully in the disarmament process."
"They've never given us an honest declaration," Butler said. "The declarations have always been incomplete."
Butler said that the biological weapons were loaded onto missiles that could be put on mobile launchers and driven away to avoid being hit by bombs. While he did not specify the nature of the evidence or exactly how the team obtained it, he said Iraqis had enough biological material like anthrax or botulin toxin to "blow away Tel Aviv" and that some of the missiles "were very crude, but they work." He also said the team did not know how many missile systems the Iraqis had.
As a result of his trip to Iraq last week, Butler said, he believes Iraq will not back off its refusal to allow inspectors access to sensitive sites. The Security Council is to meet this week to decide its next steps. The United States and Britain have been pressing for military action, but Butler said he expected that in such a case he would receive enough notice to withdraw the 150 inspectors and other workers now stationed in Iraq.
Butler described U.N. weapons inspectors stymied in their efforts to ferret out evidence hidden in vast presidential sites that include ornate palaces and dozens of other buildings, some used to house Saddam Hussein's security apparatus.
Once, he said, Iraqi officials burned documents in full view of the inspectors waiting to be let in and dumped the ashes in the Tigris River. When inspectors appeared at another site, Butler said: "We saw them carrying suitcases through a garden wall."
He also said Iraqi security officials had a drill in which they practiced cleansing a site of documents in 15 minutes or less.
The U.N. inspectors are monitoring more than 100 sites opened by the Iraqis, using surveillance cameras and what Butler described as visits to "sniff the air and test the soil" by collecting samples for analysis.
When Butler was in Baghdad last week seeking unrestricted access to other sites, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz identified eight complexes containing Saddam's palaces and other buildings. Those buildings were closed on grounds that inspecting them would offend national "dignity." When Butler proposed that foreign diplomats provide a face-saving escort for inspectors entering the presidential palaces, he said, Aziz "basically said, 'Get lost.' "
Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
where did it all go.
Newsmax first posted this story on Oct 8th of 2004, but it's good that they bring it up now. The fact is that while it was ignored by the MSM last year that "500 ton" cache is playing huge now.
In actuality the HE uranium was put through isotrophic dilution, although one could not absolutely verify that through porous IAEA records.
Wilson's '99 trip to Niger - referenced as a fact finding mission on uranium not related to Iraq, is now getting some media scrutiny as it fits conveniently with other facts we know about the Plame Game. More and more Wilson is looking like the point man on several 'deals" between Niger and other rogue countries via Iraq up until the Gulf war.
Seems lots of people were making a 'buck or two' on this 'business', and it makes all the attacks on the Bush Administration (who killed the Golden Goose) make more sense.
It was shipped out before the war. I have been reading all of the Clinton stuff from 1998 on that Global Security site. Unbelievable!
One report said he had over 6000 missiles ready to go with WMD. Berger said in one briefing that Saddam had nuclear weapons for crying out loud! I think in the next few days I will gather up the most blatant examples of the double standard and post it for all who are interested.
Here is a link to Berger's press briefing from the day Desert Fox commenced: (He is saying that the administration had to act in secrecy because they were afraid the weapons would be moved, etc.) No duhhhh....
I've held the opinion for some time that Wilson's setup of Bush via his trip to Niger was a smokescreen, the real intent was to CYA for he and his bosses because they were facilitating deals beneficial to iraq and likely were receiving Oil-For-Food payola.
With OFF unraveling, he had to go get some tracks covered. I'm sure that the inspiration to turn around and hurt Bush was secondary. This stinks to high Heaven and needs to be aggressively pursued.
To any enterprising sleuths out there: With the UN OFF report naming some 2200 companies on the take, wouldn't it be very special to find one that ole Joe or Val was hip deep in? I bet that company exists.
Read the report for yourself.
What a great angle to view the hysteria from the entire redistributionist socialist complex which includes the UN, China, dictators the world over and Democrats. Pimps don't like their streets getting shut down.
Hi, Jet. Thanks for the ping. I read the book The Bomb In My Garden some time ago; he turned over the blueprints and components to America using the author as an intermediary. The book was chilling; it described how easily he was able to purchase components illegally on the black market. It's a situation we haven't dealt with -- this ease of purchasing components, uranium, etc.
"I have read other bits of compelling data that prove Saddam never let go of his Nuclear/Bio/Chem weapons ambitions, but for some reason this administration does not bring these to the forefront. I believe that the President wants to respect the integrity of ongoing investigations that is why we don't see more made of our gains in the war on terror or what we know to be true about Saddam's weapons programs. However, I think it is time for the President to flip the script, because by not doing so, he will be hurting the party in '06 and '08."
It is not only the President who seems unwilling to state the many pieces of damning information that would badly damage the Dem/liberal position. It is difficult to find any GOP heavyweight willing to do do actual battle. This is what happens when the party is dominated by "neo"-cons, "meso"-cons, or even compassionate-cons, instead of just plain old conservatives.
That is nonsense in its entirety.
The Dem/liberal "position" is that of lies and weakness. This will be met, and is being met, by a multitude of responses and sources both within and out of the Administration.
One of those is bloggers - most of whom are not concerned with puffing themselves and being in effect a fifth column, but in defeating a political party that has, now, become traitorous to this nation in time of war.
Thanks for the link!
"in the 1980s"? During the war agsinst Iran, when the USA and Iraq were allies?
Excellent! I shall read it on my lunch break.
It's posts like this that make me wish the Dems in the Senate would just "bring it on". Go ahead. Make my day. Openly debate the facts on the Senate floor!
Q: Where did Saddam ship his jets when the Gulf War I was on?
Q: What country is closest to joining the Nuclear club?
Q: Where did Saddam's low enriched Uranium go during Operation Iraqi Freedom?
A: (You fill in the blank)
According to the Libyan story, if you choose to believe it, Libya was buying yellowcake from Niger. They were using it for a joint Libya-Iraq nuke development program. If true, the CIA and Joe Wilson missed that, too.
Bkmrk for later.
I believe there were reports of easy access to the uranium that bypassed the "seals".
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