Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Real Scandal

There are 2 "real" scandals developing over these "missing explosives."

As remarked here earlier, an NBC news crew was at the Al Qaqaa site with the 101st on April 10, 2003, and they didn't notice any IAEA-sealed bunkers during the 24 hours they were there. But one could always say they weren't necessarily looking.

But we now find that CBS, which was working on breaking this story with the NYT just before the election, with the charge that the explosives disappeared during the looting of mid to late April (before inspectors arrived again in May), ALSO had an embedded crew.

And that the CBS crew arrived at Al Qaqaa with the 3rd ID a week earlier, and filed a report on April 4, 2003 that didn't mention the presence of tons of explosives -- and the 3rd ID was specifically searching the site!

What they did find was boxes of white powder, that may have been the remnants -- indicating the bulk of the stockpiles were moved earlier:
The site is enormous and U.S. troops are still investigating it for potential weapons of mass destruction, the official said.

"Initial reports are that the material is probably just explosives, but we're still going through the place," the official said.

Peabody said troops found thousands of boxes, each of which contained three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare.

He also said they discovered atropine, used to counter the effects of nerve agents.

The facility had been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency as a suspected chemical, biological and nuclear weapons site. U.N. inspectors visited the plant at least nine times, including as recently as Feb. 18.

The facility is part of a larger complex known as the Latifiyah Explosives and Ammunition Plant al Qa Qaa.
Now CBS knew this. They know there's a period between February 18 and April 4 when the explosives could have been removed, and that the report of their own crew suggests it likely that they were gone by April 4.

Yet they were still going to report -- without a shred of evidence -- that the disappearance happened later, after we should have been responsible for it.

We also find out that in the visit of the inspectors before the war, that they didn't even confirm all of their own seals were intact, and only checked some of them. As if the seals alone tell you anything. I've seen pictures, and all they are is a strand of wire through the door handles with a metal tag imprinted with the IAEA seal. As if those can't be duplicated! As if there might not be secret entrances!

And the second big scandal is, if these HDX and RDX explosives are so darn dangerous, and a key ingredient in an atomic weapon, they why didn't the IAEA hvae them destroyed, like they were supposed to, anytime in the preceding 10 years?

Because maybe the whole notion of non-cooperative inspections is a farce?

Because maybe international agencies don't share the interests and concerns of the United States, and shouldn't be relied on for our security?


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