UK firm which set up Uganda’s nuclear, biological weapons program talks
First published by Blackstar News in August 2008.
More information continues to emerge about Uganda’s chemical and biological weapons operation–the U.K. expert who provided the training to top Ugandans insists in an exclusive interview with The Black Star News that the East Africans were trained only on “defensive” and not “offensive” capabilities.
“There is a big difference between defense and attack—huge difference,” says Ian Day, Operations Director at U.K.-based The CBRN Team Ltd (an acronym referring to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear), who provided the training to the Ugandans.
Day says his company was not involved in teaching Ugandans on any offensive chemical and biological weapons capability.
Day says he was contacted by Uganda officials to provide specialized training as the country prepared to host last November’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). “I train people in how to protect people against terrorist attacks in chemical and biological weapons,” Day says, about his expertise.
Day says Uganda was supplied “defense equipment” for protection and detection. “They are detectors and protective equipment. Detectors would tell if there are chemical agents in the air—if it has been released it would tell you it’s in the air.”
He declines to say precisely how many such equipment were shipped to Uganda’s notorious Presidential Guard Brigade. “The minimum amount to do the job–let’s put it this way; no more than 10,” he says. “Everything was cleared by the British government.”
He says no testing was conducted in Uganda. “They did all the training in England, like everyone else does.”
Asked whether Uganda had returned the equipment after the completion of CHOGM, Day says, “I don’t actually know that; but I don’t think they are in the country.”
He says he first went to Uganda about one year ago to do reconnaissance of the problems. He says the Uganda government told him it feared terrorists might launch an attack during CHOGM using chemical and biological weapons. He wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of intelligence the Ugandans offered on which to base their concerns.
Ironically, Day contradicts himself; he says no African country has the capacity to produce and store chemical and biological weapons, raising questions about why Uganda would fear such an attack in the first place. Day also claims it’s also impossible to secretly spirit weapons or live agents to Uganda.
His explanations challenge the rationale for the purpose for which the Uganda authorities told him they needed the expertise. “No Third World country uses chemical weapons,” he says.
Day’s company, The CBRN Team, has been in the news lately. Niels Tobiasen, a Danish national employed by the company was recently arrested and faces various U.K. court charges together with two top individuals who were involved in Uganda’s “defensive” chemical and biological weapons program established by CBRN.
A trial date on that case has been scheduled for September 22 and U.K. Police have also interrogated Day on the matter. Day says police cleared him of involvement: The Black Star could not confirm this as Day wouldn’t provide the name or unit involved in the investigation.
He says he told U.K. police “exactly what we did for Uganda.” He adds: “I showed them that I have been inspected—I have lesson plans. I have all the data sealed. I have the software–I have it all labeled.”
“I have a government license saying I have done everything clear,” Day says, insisting that all his dealings with the Ugandans were approved by U.K. authorities. “I don’t have the United Nations on my back because I do everything by the letter– by the book.”
Arrested and also facing charges with Tobiasen is Ananias Tumukunde, Uganda president Yoweri K. Museveni’s Special Advisor on Science and Technology. Day says Tumukunde was the top Ugandan on the chemical and biological program.
Also charged but believed to be at large is Rusoke Tagaswire, a lieutenant in the Uganda army who was also involved in the program that Day helped the Ugandans with, he says.
Day says Tobiasen’s alleged transgression “had to do with money” and nothing to do with chemical or biological weapons—police also questioned him only about money, he says.
Day insists Tobiasen “has nothing to do with operations—he is a financial guy; he’s a money man.” He adds: “He couldn’t spell CBRN let alone do it. He’s not an expert in the field.”
Day in the interview says he trained Tummukunde in “defensive” capabilities only. He says Tagaswire “handled the grunt work” on the ground, taking care of security. Tagaswire is reported to be a bio-chemist with Masters degree in toxicology.
Day says Uganda’s “smartest” people were sent to be trained in the U.K.; he says he provided additional training in Uganda.
Now that CHOGM was long over, what were the students of his expertise engaged in? Day says beneficiaries of his teaching are back at their “regular government jobs,” but he would not name the departments or ministries. He also declined to name others he had trained.
He says some of his students have recently contacted him seeking help on how to manage what they say was possible repercussion on Uganda of radioactive contamination in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. He says the Congo contamination comes from toxic waste dumped by Chinese companies there.
He says the Ugandans are also concerned for the safety of its peace keeping troops in Somalia because the Italian mafia was dumping hazardous waste on the Somali coast.
Throughout the interview Day insists Uganda doesn’t have the technological or financial wherewithal to maintain a chemical or biological weapons program, whose cost would run in “billions of dollars.”
“Their technology level is very low. You are talking to an expert about chemical and biological weapons,” he says, referring to himself.
“I have seen these people. I have seen them up close. I have seen their capability—it is s a wild dream to think they can do this.”
There have been widespread speculation that biological agents or toxins have been used to kill prominent Ugandans. Last year, when a top Uganda military official, Brigadier Noble Mayombo, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defense died suddenly, there was speculation that some type of toxins could have caused his demise. Some prominent Ugandans are now even known to carry their own food with them when they travel.
At Mayombo’s funeral, President Yoweri Museveni announced that he had appointed a three-man team to “probe into the death of Brigadier Mayombo. The team that includes Col. James Mugira, Lt. Tagaswire Rusoke and a senior medical doctor…” according to the official Uganda State House government website. Please see http://www.statehouse.go.ug/
The use of toxins in the poisoning of political figures gained global attention with the 2004 spectacular attempt on the life of Ukrainian opposition leader Victor Yuschenko. After he became ill and his face was severely swollen and pock-marked, it was discovered that he had been poisoned with TCDD dioxin—-there had been more than 6,000 times the usual concentration in his body.