Breaking Political Stories and Commentary. "We're at the height of the Roman Empire for the Republican Party, but the tide slowly but surely goes out." --Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
The news has been percolating all day that ABC affiliate KSTP had video, from an imbedded reporter, that show the presence of explosives at what is probably the Al-Qaqaa storage facility, immediately after the invasion -- when the site was under American control.

Reuters is now reporting that this video shows the presence of the dangerous explosive HMX, with IAEA and UN markings that show this site was inspected immediately before the war.

In other words, the explosives were looted while under American control, under Bush's watch.

After a long initial silence, the Bush campaign is now furiously spinning, first denying that the explosives disappeared after the invasion, then suggesting the troops were to blame. Don't let your surrogates blame the troops, Mr. President... take responsibility for something.

Bush supporters continue to push increasingly complex conspiracy theories to deny this news. I think that at this point, that conspiracy would have to involve ABC, Reuters, the NY Times, CBS, the Iraqi government, and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Bush isn't worthy of his loyal supporters.

Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 28, 2004

By contrast the Pentagon released this image today showing trucks loading up stuff from the site just as the invasion was starting:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,136897,00.html

Bush supporters don't think there's any conspiracy involved. Simply that Saddam probably moved the weapons when the invasion began.

It's kerry supporters that imagine that somehow "looters" managed to walk up with 300+ TONS of explosive material from southern Iraq.

on Oct 28, 2004
Draginol, thank you for your comment.

I read the linked article. Regarding the released image, the Pentagon officials are very direct that they're making no claims about what the trucks are doing. In fact, the article seems to make nearly no strong claims based on that image, other than the facility wasn't hermetically sealed.

In fact, even the speculative interpretations made by the DoD, based on images that they haven't shown to the public, are contested. It appears that the trucks -- that the DoD speculates may be carting off explosives -- aren't actually parked next to bunkers that contained explosives, as identified by the IAEA.

So, on one side you have the Pentagon's ability to correctly interpret a satellite image, and on the other side you have the IAEA, the Iraq government, and ABC's imbedded video.

I'm sure you understand that I'm not totally confident in the Bush administration's accuracy, judgment, or impartiality when judging these satellite images. It's hard for me to be as confident as you, after remembering the experience of Colin Powell's "certain evidence" speech in front of the UN. For that matter, Bush has spent the four years demonstrating that his government is either poor at interpreting intelligence, or biased in how they present it.

On the other hand, I see little reason to think that the Iraq government, led by an ally of Bush, would scheme to undermine him -- but that government is insistent that the explosives disappeared while the country was under American control, as is the IAEA. And I find video images of barrels of explosives, and IAEA seals, more compelling than a satellite image that says nothing unless you accept -- without question -- the Bush Pentagon's interpretation.
on Oct 28, 2004
This is getting more absurd by the minute.



No one has ever suggested that ALL the high explosives disappeared. That some were there when the 101st arrived tells us NOTHING.



Reuters is now reporting that this video shows the presence of the dangerous explosive HMX, with IAEA and UN markings that show this site was inspected immediately before the war.




They show NO SUCH THING. We KNOW the IAEA conducted its last inspection that included an INVENTORY in JANUARY 2003, and that they returned in March at which time only SPOT CHECKS OF SEALS were made WITHOUT OPENING ANY BUNKERS. It is disingenuous at best to say that this "shows the site was inspected immediately before the war," implying Saddam wouldn't have had the opportunity to remove material, especially when we're talking about video of ONE SEAL. We also KNOW that many of these bunkers had ventilation access which was UNSEALED and through which material could have been removed without disturbing the IAEA seals (according to the IAEA itself).



In other words, the explosives were looted while under American control, under Bush's watch.




In other words, this is bullshit. There remains NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS ABSURD CLAIM. Another example of you wildly jumping to a conclusion without a basis in fact, even as you admit the video is only PROBABLY from Al-Qaqaa.



Bush supporters continue to push increasingly complex conspiracy theories to deny this news.[/qhote]



WHAT?!?!? Which "theory" is more complex or implausible - Saddam doing exactly what he had practiced in the past, or a bunch of guys in old beat-up Toyota pickup trucks managing to haul off 300 tons (the number has been reduced by the IAEA, BTW) of high explosives while the US had complete control of the roadways and air surveillance?



And the "conspiracy" which you falsely accuse Bush supporters of pushing requires only that the IAEA (el Baradei) have an agenda and the willful blindness of the NYT & CBS. What SCREAMS CONSPIRACY is CBS holding this story to broadcast it SUNDAY NIGHT, some 36 hours before the polls opened. Yet that doesn't even merit a second thought from you.



You also used this blog to regurgitate previously discredited allegations, such as the one about blaming the troops.



You fail to demonstrate any understanding of logic, despite your handle. I whimsically chided you in another blog about "blogic logic" but it was a serious criticism, which I will repeat here. You take a collection of loosely related factoids, rumors or unsubstantiated allegations, throw them in a blender and presto, you get your pre-determined conclusion.



Here's the example I used:



Fact: The Red Sox last won the World Series 86 years ago.

Fact: The Red Sox last appeared in a World Series in 1986.

Fact: The total number of runs scored in the ALCS = 86.

Therefore: The Red Sox will 86 the Cardinals.



The beauty of this example is that it turned out to be completely true while being completely irrational.



It is the Kerry supporters who are furiously trying to make the facts fit their published theory, blogic. We have no conspiracy theories to push.



Cheers,

Daiwa
on Oct 29, 2004
Daiwa,
you chide others for lack of logic, yet you consistently defend without any acceptance of legitimate points. Blogic did focus on the legitimate response from the pentagons and discussed his response to that. How can you find fault in this? You may disagree with his conclusions but he was very clear that this was his personal lack of faith in the US 'intelligence' and his belief. You in contrast completely ignore any conflicting points. Rather than discuss the fact that video evidence seems to suggest at least some explosives were present after the invasion, you categorically state there is 'NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS ABSURD CLAIM'. Yes there is. The question is the strength or legitamcy of that evidence and that's what the debate should be about, not just a I'm right you're wrong. Please actually debate the topic a bit more.

To discuss three of your points and ask for further debate from you on them,

- you now seem to accept/believe that maybe SOME high explosives were looted. Why do you believe this means nothing? Is it that you beleive the quantity may be below some trigger worry level or that you don't beleive the US should worry about securing dangerous material that is require for making nuclear bombs?

- you contest that this site was not inspected just before the war. There is indeed a big difference between an inventory and an inspection, but do you have any proof that seals could be successfully tampered with? If not why do you not accept the checking of seals as an acceptabel form of inspection? This is the exact form of inspection that was standard practice and acceptable to the US, why is it not acceptable to you?

- you don't believe that 300 tons of material oculd be looted. How do you explain the 1M+ tons of material looted from all official governemnt sites immediately after the war. The 10's of thoussands of Iraqis who plundered everything they could find while US troops stood around. There was plenty of coverage of thsi immediately after the war as well as widespread condemnation of US troops not stopping it. Whole building have been demolished and thousands of tons of scrap metal appears in junk yards in Jordan. All happened while the US was in complete control of the roadways and had ariel survelience. Why is 300 tons unbelieveable when the evidence immediately after the war a thousand times more looting actually happening?

Paul.
on Oct 29, 2004

Reply #4 By: Solitair - 10/29/2004 5:35:26 AM
Daiwa,
you chide others for lack of logic, yet you consistently defend without any acceptance of legitimate points. Blogic did focus on the legitimate response from the pentagons and discussed his response to that. How can you find fault in this? You may disagree with his conclusions but he was very clear that this was his personal lack of faith in the US 'intelligence' and his belief. You in contrast completely ignore any conflicting points. Rather than discuss the fact that video evidence seems to suggest at least some explosives were present after the invasion, you categorically state there is 'NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS ABSURD CLAIM'. Yes there is. The question is the strength or legitamcy of that evidence and that's what the debate should be about, not just a I'm right you're wrong. Please actually debate the topic a bit more.

To discuss three of your points and ask for further debate from you on them,

- you now seem to accept/believe that maybe SOME high explosives were looted. Why do you believe this means nothing? Is it that you beleive the quantity may be below some trigger worry level or that you don't beleive the US should worry about securing dangerous material that is require for making nuclear bombs?

- you contest that this site was not inspected just before the war. There is indeed a big difference between an inventory and an inspection, but do you have any proof that seals could be successfully tampered with? If not why do you not accept the checking of seals as an acceptabel form of inspection? This is the exact form of inspection that was standard practice and acceptable to the US, why is it not acceptable to you?

- you don't believe that 300 tons of material oculd be looted. How do you explain the 1M+ tons of material looted from all official governemnt sites immediately after the war. The 10's of thoussands of Iraqis who plundered everything they could find while US troops stood around. There was plenty of coverage of thsi immediately after the war as well as widespread condemnation of US troops not stopping it. Whole building have been demolished and thousands of tons of scrap metal appears in junk yards in Jordan. All happened while the US was in complete control of the roadways and had ariel survelience. Why is 300 tons unbelieveable when the evidence immediately after the war a thousand times more looting actually happening?


Well for one thing it isn't 300 tons, just a little over 200. For another IAEA has stated that they didn't seal the air shafts that lead into the bunker and that they were big enough to bring out munitions. And BTW the "trucks" in the spy photo that aren't parked next to the bunkers? They're parked next to the unsealed air shafts. How can you explain all the tire tracks or the boot prints left in the dried mud around the bunkers. The 300 tons are unbelievable because they (101st) were told to secure the site. For us to believe what is being spouted, we would have to first believe that they didn't do their job. Which I find HIGHLY unlikely! There is a big difference between letting someone loot an office building and letting someone loot a munitions dump. There ain't that much that can kill you in an office building. But there sure is a lot in a munitions dump, now ain't there?
on Oct 29, 2004
"Matthew Bunn, a Harvard University expert in nuclear weapons and terrorism, said that although he is concerned by the removal of the explosives, he is far more worried by IAEA reports that large quantities of sophisticated equipment, such as electron beam welders, were looted and removed from Iraq's nuclear weapons program. "That material, which would be quite useful to a nuclear weapons program, was also well known to the United States, was not guarded." Bunn stated he suspects these materials are now in Iran.

There are also reports that HIV and Black fever virus was looted from the Iraqi equivilent to our CDC AFTER the fall of Baghdad.

Draginol "By contrast the Pentagon released this image today showing trucks loading up stuff from the site just as the invasion was starting:"

Yes, the only problem is that this single satellite image shows this single truck in front of a lone bunker that did not contain any explosives. That has been verified by many weapons experts and inspectors who know the site extensively. The Washington TImes is also reporting that the Russians moved it out before the war started but even Donald Rumsfeld was skeptical of that assessment and says he has not seen ANY evidence to support the claim. It's just a disinformation shell game they are playing. There are also reports on FOX that suggets that looters may have removed the 277 tons of explosives throught the AIR VENTS! I really got a good laugh trying to picture that in my head!
on Oct 29, 2004
Daiwa: “Which "theory" is more complex or implausible - Saddam doing exactly what he had practiced in the past, or a bunch of guys in old beat-up Toyota pickup trucks managing to haul off 300 tons (the number has been reduced by the IAEA, BTW) of high explosives while the US had complete control of the roadways and air surveillance?


This simply isn’t true. I wrote a pretty extensive article on this subject today and posted it in my blog. I will post an excerpt of my article to show you that your assertions are incorrect.

"David Kay, former chief weapons inspector, who spent the better part of 10 years monitoring and dismantling weapons in Iraq, disagrees:

“...We do know that the U.N. certified in early March that the explosives were there. We know that by May, when the 75th Exploitation Task Force went in, they were not there. There's a gap of about three weeks, two and a half weeks, before the war took place until a month after the war took place…”

”I must say, I find it hard to believe that a convoy of 40 to 60 trucks left that facility prior to or during the war, and we didn't spot it on satellite or UAV. That is, because it is the main road to Baghdad from the south, was a road that was constantly under surveillance. I also don't find it hard to believe that looters could carry it off in the dead of night or during the day and not use the road network.”

”I saw many Iraqi facilities in which they came by pickup truck and constantly -- it's amazing to see whole buildings disappear at the hands of looters who are not organized, who do not have heavy equipment. But I also think we ought to put it in perspective. We're talking about 400 tons of high explosives. It would be a great tool in the hands of insurgents and terrorists. But that's a country that is awash with tens of thousands of tons of explosives that have been used now for well over a year against the coalition forces there. “

Who is in a better position to say whether Iraqi's were capable of looting these explosives? David Kay who spent the better part of 10 years in Iraq witnessing Iraqis doing exactly what Rumsfeld says is impossible, a military officer who may never have been in Iraq before in his life prior to the invasion and who didn't know the culture, and didn't have a clue just how capable the Iraqis actually are? I mean no disrespect to the U.S. officer who is making these statements but he doesn't know the country like David Kay and other inspectors who spent YEARS in Iraq.

Anyone interested in reading my article, hop over to my blog whenever you are finished here! Good job, blogic!
on Oct 29, 2004
Drmiler, It is exactly 277 tons...the mix up is because the original story used METRIC tons when describing the quantity of the missing explosives but when you convert it to U.S. weights and measures, it's 277 U.S. tons.
on Oct 29, 2004
Yo, Blogic, I've posted on this today, too, after I heard NPR reporting on it. I'm sure the righties will have TONS of EXPLOSIVE responses to us both.

Cheers.
on Oct 29, 2004
Drmiler: “How can you explain all the tire tracks or the boot prints left in the dried mud around the bunkers.”

First of all satellite imagery can be very misleading as we found out after Collin Powells’s presentation to the U.N. For example, during Powell’s UN presentation, he showed satellite imagery of trucks allegedly being used to move illicit materials that were later determined to be empty and were being used to move mechanical parts. Secondly, Powell showed satellite photos allegedly showing Iraqi sanitization of chemical weapons sites. It turned out that the site was an old ammunition storage area where Iraqi trucks often visited but no evidence of illicit activities had been discovered. One diplomat described the subsequent investigation of the site as a “wild goose chase.” Bernd Birkicht, a former UN weapons inspector said that Powell had shown him satellite photos of an alleged Iraqi “decontamination truck” as proof of Iraq’s on-going WMD program but it turned out to be a fire truck. When inspectors were given exact co-ordinates of alleged Iraqi WMD sites, they “found nothing…just desert.” So I wouldn’t put too much stock into a single satellite photograph when we have no idea what we are actually seeing and do not have any additional context of what the truck is doing or why it was there.
on Oct 29, 2004
Myrrander, I want to check out your story...come see mine as well!
on Oct 29, 2004

Reply #10 By: T_Bone4Justice - 10/29/2004 10:17:20 AM
Drmiler: “How can you explain all the tire tracks or the boot prints left in the dried mud around the bunkers.”


Excuse me, but this was not from satellite imagery. This was reported by men of the 101st Airborne div upon their arrival at the facility.
on Oct 29, 2004
Who is in a better position to say whether Iraqi's were capable of looting these explosives?


Charles Duelfer (who was there THIS year)
From the Duelfer Report:
Iraq under Saddam successfully devised various methods to acquire and import items prohibited under UNsanctions. Numerous Iraqi and foreign trade intermediaries disguised illicit items, hid the identity of the enduser, and/or changed the final destination of the commodity to get it to the region. For a cut of the profits, these trade intermediaries moved, and in many cases smuggled, the prohibited items through land, sea, and air entry points along the Iraqi border.

Paul Bremer (has said that they most probably were gone before in an interview)
The 3rd ID (interviews with people that were there,has said the same)
The 101st (interviews with people that were there, has said the same)
Embedded reporter (interview, has said the same)

First of all satellite imagery can be very misleading


This is not true. What they make public is not near the capability of what they have, I know this for a fact. The images that are made public are comparable to a quick shot disposable, it's 25 year old technology. Conclusions made on best available info can be wrong.

Yes, the only problem is that this single satellite image shows this single truck in front of a lone bunker that did not contain any explosives


Did not contain explosives? Then where were they on March 17, 2003? What about the IAEA seals? Did you look at the photo? Apparently not. There are 2 heavy equipment trailers (18 wheelers) one each in front of two bunkers with two smaller moving van sized trucks behind each of them. What is the plausible explanation for these trucks? Another photograph taken on April 1, 2003, of a nearby airfield (located only a Kilometer or two away from the bunkers) also showed a lot of vehicles on it.

With regard to Powell's testimony, read it, carefully and objectively. There are plenty of caveat's and weasel words (as all these guys use them) and he even directly addressed the fact that there is debate. I've already posted elsewhere that German Intelligence publicly admitted that Germany helped provide the mobile chem/bio lab materials and expertise on building them. The Duelfer Report also concluded the labs/trailers were not for BW production (this is pretty conclusive). However, if you actually read the Duelfer report there is plenty credible, plausible and probable explanations regarding the whole WMD thing (of course you have to be willing to see it). In some instances we were off base, others, not.

Also from the Duelfer Report:

Exploitations of IIS laboratories, safe houses, and disposal sites revealed no evidence of CW-related research or production, however many of these sites were either sanitized by the Regime or looted prior to OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom). Interviews with key IIS officials within and outside of M16 yielded very little information about the IIS’ activities in this area.

From Paul Bremer (NYT 10/8/2004)
What I Really Said About Iraq

snip

The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president’s strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism. I have been involved in the war on terrorism for two decades, and in my view no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush.

The president was right when he concluded that Saddam Hussein was a menace who needed to be removed from power. He understands that our enemies are not confined to Al Qaeda, and certainly not just to Osama bin Laden, who is probably trapped in his hide-out in Afghanistan. As the bipartisan 9/11 commission reported, there were contacts between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime going back a decade. We will win the war against global terror only by staying on the offensive and confronting terrorists and state sponsors of terror - wherever they are. Right now, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Qaeda ally, is a dangerous threat. He is in Iraq.

President Bush has said that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He is right. Mr. Zarqawi’s stated goal is to kill Americans, set off a sectarian war in Iraq and defeat democracy there. He is our enemy.

Our victory also depends on devoting the resources necessary to win this war. So last year, President Bush asked the American people to make available $87 billion for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military commanders and I strongly agreed on the importance of these funds, which is why we stood together before Congress to make the case for their approval. The overwhelming majority of Congress understood and provided the funds needed to fight the war and win the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. These were vital resources that Senator John Kerry voted to deny our troops.


snip

U.S. Commander Theorizes on Iraq Weapons
By JOHN J. LUMPKIN
Associated Press Writer

An infantry commander said Wednesday it is "very highly improbable" that someone could have trucked out so much material once U.S. forces arrived in the area.

snip

Two major roads that pass near the Al-Qaqaa installation were filled with U.S. military traffic in the weeks after April 3, 2003, when U.S. troops first reached the area, the colonel said.

snip

John A. Shaw, the U.S. deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, told The Times in an interview: "The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units. Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units."

Shaw, who was in charge of cataloging the tons of conventional arms provided to Iraq by foreign suppliers, said he recently obtained reliable information on the arms-dispersal program from two European intelligence services.


snip

CNN (4/6/2003) Russian convoy fired on in Iraq
Link

snip

U.S. Central Command said the convoy was attacked in territory controlled by the Iraqi government, and that no coalition forces were operating in the area at the time of the incident.

snip

U.S. Searches 'Suspicious' Iraqi Site (April 4, 2003) CBS
Link

U.S. troops found thousands of boxes of white powder, nerve agent antidote and Arabic documents on how to engage in chemical warfare at an industrial site south of Baghdad. But a senior U.S. official familiar with initial testing said the materials were believed to be explosives.


snip

"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.


snip

Obviously the 3rd ID knew what it was looking at and that the site was and IAEA site. Hmm, either the IAEA allowed the packaging of unknown white powder with Arabic Chem warfare documents, or the site was tampered with after they left and before the 3rd ID got there. Too bad the officer interviewed in the NYT piece wasn't from the 3rd ID. The bigger question is If the IAEA had found RDX and HMX (and materials capable of detinating nuclear weapons) why the hell wasn't it removed and destroyed? Their solution was to bicycle lock the front doors and ignore vents large enough for people to get through with the removal of six screws? It wouldn't be that difficult to remove the 3 TONS of RDX the IAEA documented through the vents.

Discrepancy Found in Explosives Amounts (ABC 10/27/2004)
Link

snip

But the confidential IAEA documents obtained by ABC News show that on Jan. 14, 2003, the agency's inspectors recorded that just over three tons of RDX were stored at the facility — a considerable discrepancy from what the Iraqis reported.

The IAEA documents could mean that 138 tons of explosives were removed from the facility long before the United States launched "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in March 2003.

snip

"There have always been cheerful idiots in this country who believed that there would be no more war for us if everybody in America would only return into their homes and lock their front doors behind them."
-FDR: December 24, 1943

Apparently the IAEA also thought locking the front door was all that was needed.
on Oct 29, 2004

Reply #10 By: T_Bone4Justice - 10/29/2004 10:17:20 AM
Drmiler: “How can you explain all the tire tracks or the boot prints left in the dried mud around the bunkers.”

First of all satellite imagery can be very misleading


Not true. Evidentually you have never watch Discovery channel. It was on last night and was talking about Area 51. They were using HD satellite imagery to show what the guys were saying was true! They showed close ups of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. done with this satellite. And this was civilian equipment. I would imagine that the US military has better equipment.
on Oct 29, 2004
Thanks, T B, for such a thorough compilation. I appreciate the leg work that went into it.

Cheers,
Daiwa
Meta
Views
» 225
Comments
» 29
Category
Sponsored Links