Skip to comments.Khan's visit to Timbuktu was to prospect for uranium - dissident
Posted on 02/23/2004 6:56:39 PM PST by piasa
A London accountant has described how Pakistan's disgraced nuclear hero Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan visited the West African state of Mali on three occasions between 1998 and 2000.
Abdul Ma'bood Siddiqui accompanied A.Q. Khan on three mystery trips between 1998 and 2000. Their final destination was Timbuktu, a remote outpost in the desert that has always been a magnet for explorers and adventurers from around the world.
The mystery behind the visits has deepened following recent revelations that Khan is also the owner of a small hotel in the town that he has named after Hendrina, his Dutch-born wife and the mother of his two daughters.
Siddiqui, who used to live in the Gulf until he moved to London, has told how on his vists to Timbuktu the 'father' of the Pakistani bomb witnessed the digging of a well, toured an ancient Islamic library and enjoyed the views of the desert.
Despite Siddiqui's claim that the three visits had no ulterior motive, the qualifications of the men who accompanied Khan, including his chief scientific adviser, the head of security at the top secret Khan Research Laboratories near Islamabad and a former surgeon general of the Pakistan army, would suggest otherwise.
Pakistani dissidents for their part have told how the real reason for Khan's visit Timbuktu was to prospect for uranium. Landlocked Mali lies adjacent to uranium-rich Niger, from where the French government obtains all the uranium it needs for its nuclear programme, and Mali also has untapped resources of the same mineral.
The dissidents say Khan's subsequent purchase of the newly named Hendrina Khan Hotel was just a cover to his real interest in the precious uranium needed for nuclear bombs. But Siddiqui, a partner in the London accountants firm Reddy, Siddiqui and Watts says he has no knowledge of any uranium prospecting.
"What uranium is there in Timbuktu?" he asked when he was contacted on the telephone, at variance with what he wrote of his journeys in a book.
"We went three times. There is a village there, people are very poor there, we went to help them. We dug a well that's why we went there. There are other villages nearby, you will get more information if you go there. There is a desert there. There is an ancient islamic library there. Once upon a time it was a big civilisation."
Siddiqui is the author of a book on Timbuktu that 'Hurmat' publications of Islamabad published in 2000. In it the author describes three journeys he made to Timbuktu in the company of the renegade scientist.
"In February 1998 I received a call from Tahir Mian, a dear friend of mine and a very close associate of Khan. He lives in the Gulf and is a computer businessman. He said that Khan is planning a visit to Timbuktu and 'you are invited to join him'.
"My joy knew no bounds at the prospect of spending a few days with Khan. On February 19, 1998 I met up with Khan. He had with him Hank, a Dutch businessman dealing in air filtration system, solar energy, metallurgical machinery and materials; Lt Gen Dr Chauhan, former Surgeon General of Pakistan Army and now Director General of KRL (Khan Research Laboratories); and Brigadier Sajjawal. Khan told us that we would fly to Timbuktu via Casablanca in Morocco and Bamako, capital of Mali."
After stopping over in Casablanca and attending a dinner where Pakistani ambassador to Morocco Azmat Hussain was also present, the group flew to the Mali capital of Bamako and then chartered a private plane to fly them to Timbuktu.
"We had only a few hours in Timbuktu, which we spent in sight seeing. We returned by the same route", Siddiqui writes.
One year later in February 1999 Siddiqui agreed to accompany a Khan-led group back to Timbuktu. This time Khan had with him his chief scientific adviser, Dr Fakhrul Hasan Hashmi, Brig. Tajjawal, Dir. Gen. of Security at KRL and other senior officials of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
The group flew via Sudan, Nigeria, Niger and Chad. In February 2000 Siddiqui travels to Niamey, capital of Niger, where Ambassador Brigadier Nisar, hosted a dinner in honour of Khan."Niger has big uranium deposits", Siddiqui adds in the book without further comment.
1990s mid : (HAZEL O'LEARY'S "FLYING CARPET TRIPS" TO PAKISTAN, INDIA & AFRICA WHERE SHE OFFERED TO "SHARE" AMERICAN TECHNOLOGY AND OPEN US NUCLEAR RESEARCH LABS TO FOREIGN SCIENTISTS) He [ret. Col. Edward McCallum, former head of Energy's Office of Safeguards and Security] says that in her [former Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary] trade trips to Pakistan, India and Africa, O'Leary invited scientists to tour the labs. "When Hazel O'Leary was on her flying carpet trips in the mid-'90s, one of the pitches she made was, 'Send your scientists. We have technology to share,'" McCallum said. And she made sure they got into the labs. - "Clinton opened nuclear labs to terrorist-state visitors," By Paul Sperry, WorldNetDaily.com, Thursday, December 13, 2001
1994 : (CLINTON ENERGY SECRETARY O'LEARY EXEMPTS LOS ALAMOS & SANDIA LABS AN EXEMPTION FROM REAGAN-ERA REQUIRED BACKGROUND CHECKS, DESPITE WARNINGS FROM SECURITY PROFESSIONALS ABOUT THREAT OF TERRORISM) Under the Reagan and Bush administrations, Energy required background checks on foreign visitors. But in 1994, O'Leary granted Los Alamos and Sandia exemptions from the rule. As a result, few background checks were conducted at those labs, and the number of foreign visits exploded. Los Alamos, for example, had 2,714 visitors in two years from sensitive countries, but only 139 were checked, according to a 1997 congressional report. The new policy did not sit well with McCallum [ret. Col. Edward McCallum, former head of Energy's Office of Safeguards and Security] , a former green beret. "We raised hell about it all the time," he said. He and other security officials worried that the uncontrolled access to the labs invited not only espionage, but terrorism. But O'Leary and her aides dismissed their warnings. In one meeting, McCallum recalls, the former Energy secretary pooh-poohed the idea of threats from other countries. "Hazel said to me, and this is a quote, 'Boy, don't you understand that the Cold War is over, and all these people are our friends now?'" McCallum said. "And we were talking about security against terrorists and espionage in the same conversation." Phone calls seeking comment from O'Leary were not returned.
After McCallum told Congress about Energy's security problems, he was punished by former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. He left the department in 1999. - "Clinton opened nuclear labs to terrorist-state visitors," By Paul Sperry, WorldNetDaily.com, Thursday, December 13, 2001