WikiLeaks reveals smuggled uranium in the Philippines

Posted at 02/02/2011 9:58 AM | Updated as of 02/02/2011 2:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The WikiLeaks website on Wednesday released a confidential cable from the United States embassy in London revealing the possible illicit smuggling of radioactive material in the Philippines in 2007.

The cable was dated November 21, 2007 and was marked as “sensitive”.

The cable revealed that an unidentified male called the US Foreign Service National Investigator (FSNI) unit on November 20, 2007 and revealed he had information about the "possible sale of uranium that formerly belonged to the US."

"The FSNI unit received a phone call from subject, xxxxxx, stating he had worked with divers in the Philippines previously and was recently contacted by them with information that they had found 5-6 Uranim 'bricks' at the sight (sic) of an underwater wreck," the cable said.

It said the caller's contacts expressed a desire to sell the radioactive material for profit.

On the same day, the Regional Security Office Investigation Unit received an unclassified e-mail with 9 photo attachments of the radioactive bricks.

The cable said the unidentified male had sent faxes to the US Embassy and the Central Intelligence Agency but had yet to receive a response. T

At the time the memo was issued, Philippine authorities had not been notified. It noted that the supplier/ origin point and intended destination of the material was still unknown.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, meanwhile, said the sensitive cable raises questions on why US forces are bringing radioactive material in Philippine territory.

Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr. said that under the Visiting Forces Agreement, Philippine authorities are not allowed to inspect the warships of the US forces and US commanders merely issue a general statement certifying the contents of the vehicles.

“Was there a US ship that sunk, and is this what’s being described as the underwater wreck? Was this ship nuclear-powered?” Reyes asked.

Reyes also sought a response from the Department of Foreign Affairs if they were at anytime notified of such a situation and if there were any reports of US ships sinking anywhere in the Philippines.

“Does the DFA even know about this or were they at any point formally notified by the US government? Or was this kept a secret because it will expose the US government’s violation of the constitutional ban on nuclear weapons?” Reyes asked.