Nov 02 2005
In a previous post I noted the strange coincidence that the Niger Forgeries were possibly made in the 1999-2000 timeframe (before Bush was even elected), which was also coincidental with the Iraqi trade commission trip to Niger, and Joe Wilson’s first trip to Niger for the CIA. Joe Wilson had just left the US government and started JCWilson International Ventures, Inc – which specialized in trade with African countries.
Countries including Niger, which only had one real product to export: uranium.
In that post I postulated that the Niger Forgeries would be a real good way to divert western intelligence services away from any nefarious activities by pointing them at international bad guy Saddam Hussein. I speculated that if – and this is a big if – Joe Wilson was working with rogue CIA elements to make some money on the side, covered by Valerie’s cover employer supposedly chartered to keep an eye on this kind of WMD trade, then the Niger Forgeries would be a classic CIA method of diversion away from an illegal money making scheme.
Some of this speculation was confirmed when these reports surfaced claiming that the Niger Forgeries were created by Libya to divert suspicions from a Libya-Iraq-Egypt alliance, where Libya purchased the yellowcake for Saddam and others.
New attempts are being made by officials from Niger to obfuscate the political picture with regard to the supply of Niger-originating uranium to Iraq. However, there is now a growing possibility that the reality that Niger supplied uranium to Libya, and that Libya hosted the Iraqi strategic weapons programs from about 1998 onwards, will be openly acknowledged by US and UK governments in the near future.
I have no clue to the veracity of these claims or where this group comes from. But the fact that we found a nuclear weapons capability in Libya shortly after Saddam’s regime fell is consistent with the scenario were we traced Saddam’s weapons to Libya and Libya gave up the ghost when we confronted them.
But how could this play with Wilson?
Here is an interesting timeline of events that is the most common chronology of events in 1999:
1999 â€“ Joseph Wilson takes a trip to Niger at the behest of the CIA to investigate â€œuranium-related mattersâ€ separate from Iraq . (Wilson, Politics lv-lvi). According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on pre-war intelligence, Wilson â€œwas selected for the 1999 trip after his wife mentioned to her supervisors that her husband was planning a business trip to Niger in the near future and might be willing to use his contacts in the region.â€ (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Report on Prewar Assessment of Iraq Intelligence, 39, July 2004).
April 22, 1999 â€“ Valerie Wilson lists â€œBrewster-Jennings & Assoc.â€â€”later revealed to be a CIA front companyâ€”as her employer when making a donation to the Gore campaign. ( Gore FEC filing).
June 1999 â€“ Niger â€™s former prime minister Ibrahim Mayaki meets with an Iraqi delegation wanting to discuss â€œexpanding commercial relations.â€ Mayaki interprets this as an interest in uranium, Niger â€™s main export, and later tells Wilson that he did not discuss it because Iraq remained under UN trade sanctions. (Senate Intelligence Cmte., Iraq 43-44, July 2004).
Nowhere was I able to find out when Joe Wilson went to Niger. If he went when the Iraqi delegation did, it would be truly interesting. To recap, Wilson was considered a candidate for the 2002 tea sipping trip to Niger because Valerie had proposed him once before for a CIA mission to Niger in 1999.
The committee found Wilson had made an earlier trip to Niger in 1999 for the CIA, also at his wife’s suggestion.
The entire story in 1999 was it made sense for him to assist because he was going to Niger for business anyway. But you would have to understand how crazy that should be – given Niger had just been through a coup d’etat in May 1999
The armed forces are maintaining their grip on power in Niger following the assassination of the country’s president, Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, on Friday.
Mark Doyle in Niamey: “Long struggle ahead for civilian politicians”
The prime minister, Ibrahim Assana Mayaki, said the military would remain in power until the formation of “a government of national unity” in a few days.
Details of the president’s assassination remain sketchy.
French news agency AFP said that two possible successors have been mentioned – Major Daouda Mallam Wanke, who commands the first military region and the presidential guard, and Colonel Moussa Moumouni Djermakoye, the army chief of staff.
It reported Togolese sources as saying that Major Wanke had been directly involved in the assassination and had been slightly wounded.
American diplomats said he was killed at Niamey airport by members of his personal guard after trying to sack his chief of military staff, Musa Mumuni Djermoukoi.
Yes, this is the same Mayaki Joe Wilson will name when he comes back in 2002 and report that Mayaki had been approached by the Iraqi delegation – which we can see from the above time line was June, only a month after a coup. It is safe to assume the new goverment needed money and possibly military support. So would you go to do business in a country just racked by a coup? Did he go before the coup?
Joe Wilson was a big player in Africa. The year before he was the coordinator for Clinton’s Africa Trade trip – which probably was Wilson’s golden parachute effort for getting out of the Federal Government so young and with a future. The timing of his departure is truly interesting. It would make sense to ride some Clinton coat tails into a new business.
Was Wilson in Niger around the time of the coup d’etat? Well in the old days when he would blather on and on, Wilson talked a bit too much in October, 2003 at UVA event when discussing his pertinent experience for the 2002 trip:
I was asked to go because I have a unique set of experiences to bring to the table on this issue. I had served there in the mid 1970â€™s. I had retained many ties and friendships including with the Niger Ambassador to the United States for the subsequent twenty-five years. When I was senior director for Africa at the National Security Council in the mid 1990â€™s, the government that was in place at the time of these purported documents covering the memorandum of agreement for the sale of Uranium from Niger to Iraq, that was the government that was in place when I was in the White House. I had worked very closely with them to try and move what was at the time a militaryâ€™s dictatorship back to the Democratic side of the ledger.
This is all well and good and makes sense. But it also covers his time in the government, not when he went into private practice. That description followed next [emphasis mine]:
So, I knew these guys intimately. They were in Washington all of the time. I was out there both in government and in African government helping them.
There’s the transition point. He was using his contacts from his government job to launch his business. Moreover, his clients were the African governments he used to be a US representative to, including Niger. It is clear from the â€˜in African Governmentâ€™ wording that Joe was hired by Niger to help with trade (and they only had one thing to trade). Then he spills some info on the timing of his trip:
In fact after the President, the military dictator had been assassinated, I went to see his successor and at the request of some of my friends there and some of the colleagues with whom I had been working, I went to see the new military dictator and I told him in no uncertain terms, that the only way he was going to get out of this mess, not just alive, but perhaps with a chance to restore his own personal honor, and the honor of his organization, the Presidential guard that had been responsible for the assassination of his predecessor.
Well, that jives 100% with the May 1oth, BBC article referenced above. Was â€œthe request of some of my friends there and some of the colleagues with whom I had been workingâ€ a request from the CIA? Did he accidentally let slip more on how he viewed these â€˜requestorsâ€™?
Niger did go on to have elections in October and November of 1999. ‘Ol Ego-Joe took a lot of credit for the results when reminiscing at the UVA event:
The only chance he had was to get out and effect a change back to democratic rule as quickly as possible. I told him, I said, that you need to understand from my experience in Africa that your successor president probably will not be very comfortable with you standing watching his back after you have effected the transition. After all, your organization was responsible for the assassination of your predecessor shooting him in the back. Therefore, I said to him, I think that you probably ought to leave the country for a while. Those are pretty strong words to walk into a military barracks and tell a guy who has assassinated his predecessor and has assumed responsibility for his country.
I came back a year later during the course of the transition and the president met me at the airport.
OK. While Joe pat’s himself on the back, like he often does, he has given us a window in 1999 for his visit for the CIA. It had to be between the coup and the elections: April and October 1999. But we can whittle this window down a lot. Here is that time period in Niger history from Wikepedia:
In April 1999, BarÃ© was overthrown in a coup led by Maj. Daouda Malam WankÃ©, who established a transitional National Reconciliation Council to oversee the drafting of a constitution for a Fifth Republic with a French style semi-presidential system. In votes that international observers found to be generally free and fair, the Nigerien electorate approved the new constitution in July 1999 and held legislative and presidential elections in October and November 1999. Heading a coalition of the National Movement for a Developing Society (MNSD) and the Democratic and Social Convention (CDS), Mamadou Tandja won the presidency.
Again, back to Ego-Joe for some clarification:
The only chance he had was to get out and effect a change back to democratic rule as quickly as possible.
The new democratic rule did not come into existence until July with the constitution. It is clear from Niger’s history and Joe’s own words that Wilson was more than likely in Niger, meeting with Mayaki and Wanke, when the Iraq delegation attempted to make contact for trade in June. Joe was there for trade as well. What are the chances he first learned of the Iraqi meeting in 1999 and not 2002 as he claims?
Was Joe working a CIA front? Or were some of the folks at the CIA working a rogue effort in Niger? How is it the wife of a CIA WMD expert, charged with monitoring trade in uranium yellowcake, is married to someone who works for Niger establishing trade with that one-product country? Were the forged documents and the 2002 trip meant to cover tracks that could be discovered if Niger was investigated too deeply? Was there reason to be concerned about missing uranium in 1999 from Niger (there had been a coup d’etat)?
Too much coincidence for me. I wonder if anyone with real resources will investigate this angle.