October 28, 2004

Top Iraqi Official: Explosives "Could Not Have Been Taken" Before US Invasion

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This from Yahoo News:

A top Iraqi science official said it was impossible that 350 tonnes of high explosives could have been smuggled out of a military site south of Baghdad before the regime fell last year.


"It is impossible that these materials could have been taken from this site before the regime's fall," said Mohammed al-Sharaa, who heads the science ministry's site monitoring department and previously worked with UN weapons inspectors under Saddam.

"The officials that were inside this facility (Al-Qaqaa) beforehand confirm that not even a shred of paper left it before the fall and I spoke to them about it and they even issued certified statements to this effect which the US-led coalition was aware of."

Sharaa also warned that other nearby sites with similar materials could have also been plundered.

"The Al-Milad Company in Iskandariyah and the Yarmouk and Hateen facilities contained explosive materials that could have also been taken out," the official told AFP in an interview.

In other words, the Bush administration knows full well that the explosives were plundered on their watch, were taken because they didn't think to put enough soldiers on the ground to watch all the places that needed to be watched. And a week before the election, with things so close, they are scared silly to admit the truth, so they have been lying their hineys off.

The al Qaqaa debacle is, at the right time, so perfectly representative of all the debacles the Bush administration has been responsible for; it would be difficult to think of a better story to exemplify the incompetence of this administration, and why we need new governance.

Posted by Luis at October 28, 2004 08:19 AM

"...the Bush administration knows full well that the explosives were plundered on their watch, were taken because they didn't think to put enough soldiers on the ground to watch all the places that needed to be watched."

Maybe you should rethink this?

Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein's weapons and related goods out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the March 2003 U.S. military operation, The Washington Times has learned.

John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.

"The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units," Mr. Shaw said. "Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units."

Check out the whole story here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20041027-101153-4822r.htm

Posted by: Anonymous at October 28, 2004 12:21 PM

First, you might want to reconsider that URL--I get a blank story page with it. Either there's an error, the address changed, or the story has already been retracted.

Overall, considering the source, I will not re-think my position just quite yet. The Washington Times is notorious for being far-right wing and an apologist for Bush, more than FOX News even, but somewhat less than NewsMax. At first blush, I would guess this is yet another short-term excuse drummed up by the Bush people to make people think it wasn't their fault, and the Times dutifully picked it up. Their first attempt to deny the story (troops & an NBC news team found them missing) was debunked in record time. Bush & Co know there is not much time left, and they know that if they can come up with a new story that cannot be debunked so quickly, it will take them through the election. If this story is debunked before then, you can bet whatever you like that they'll have yet another story lined up after that, so at any time before people vote Bush can claim that it was not his fault.

In short, they're desperate.

Who knows, maybe the new story is true--but I strongly doubt it.

Posted by: Luis at October 28, 2004 01:17 PM

Ha. Looks like the Times has retracted. All links from Google News and other pages go to the same page you cited, and that WT page is BLANK.

I would not be surprised if they were duped by Matt Drudge or someone....

Still, the story might just be in limbo--we'll have to see.

Posted by: Luis at October 28, 2004 01:20 PM

And it's pretty much established now: the story is a fake. Whoever posted the message, you should not be so gullible as to believe rags like the Washington Times. Of course, FOX picked up the story immediately.

However, it turns out the source of the story, John A. Shaw, is a less than reputable source, to put it mildly. Turns out he's not exactly liked by the Pentagon or other parts of the government, has misrepresented himself on several occasions, and has used his unauthorized investigations in Iraq to get lucrative contracts for his friends and associates. He is currently under investigation by the FBI.

As for the story, it appears to be totally bogus: "The Russian embassy in Washington rejected the claims as 'nonsense,' saying there were no Russian military in the country at the time."

So. Do you want to rethink this?

Posted by: Luis at October 28, 2004 04:27 PM