Thursday, October 28, 2004

The now-missing explosives were seen during invasion

The ultra-high explosives that has been the subject this week were in fact seen by the invading U.S. forces, and filmed by one of the embedded news crews. They just released the tape.

EXCLUSIVE:
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS video may be linked to missing explosives in Iraq
Apologies for the hype, but this is a local TV station in Minneapolis and it was their news crew apparently who did the filming. story here

The filming was done on April 18, 2003 according to the news report. While they don't have a positive identification that what they filmed is the now-missing explosive, the description makes it likely.

So far as I'm concerned, it's just another nail in the coffin of the credibility (or lack thereof) of the Bush administration.

Except... what about this statement by a U.S. State department official?


Russia tied to Iraq's missing arms

(By Bill Gertz; THE WASHINGTON TIMES; Published October 28, 2004)

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."

...and...


Al-Qaqaa, a known Iraqi weapons site, was monitored closely, Mr. Shaw said.
"That was such a pivotal location, Number 1, that the mere fact of [special explosives] disappearing was impossible," Mr. Shaw said. "And Number 2, if the stuff disappeared, it had to have gone before we got there."

er... okay.... so what about the news crew that apparantly filmed the explosives on April 18? If this was such an important site, then why is there news article after news article quoting military commanders saying they drove by the Al Qaqaa but didn't have orders to check the place out or secure it?

Such as ...

No Check of Bunker, Unit Commander Says



By JIM DWYER and DAVID E. SANGER

Published: October 27, 2004
(NY Times)

The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, said he did not learn until this week that the site, Al Qaqaa, was considered sensitive, or that international inspectors had visited it before the war began in 2003 to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a decade of monitoring.

Colonel Anderson, who is now the chief of staff for the division and who spoke by telephone from Fort Campbell, Ky., said his troops had been driving north toward Baghdad and had paused at Al Qaqaa to make plans for their next push.

"We happened to stumble on it,'' he said. "I didn't know what the place was supposed to be. We did not get involved in any of the bunkers. It was not our mission. It was not our focus. We were just stopping there on our way to Baghdad. The plan was to leave that very same day. The plan was not to go in there and start searching. It looked like all the other ammunition supply points we had seen already."

And this...

4 Iraqis Tell of Looting at Munitions Site in '03



By JAMES GLANZ and JIM DWYER

Published: October 28, 2004
(NY Times)

The Iraqis described an orgy of theft so extensive that enterprising residents rented their trucks to looters. But some looting was clearly indiscriminate, with people grabbing anything they could find and later heaving unwanted items off the trucks.

...The mechanic, Ahmed Saleh Mezher, said employees asked the Americans to protect the site but were told this was not the soldiers' responsibility.

... But the accounts make clear that what set off much if not all of the looting was the arrival and swift departure of American troops, who did not secure the site after inducing the Iraqi forces to abandon it.

"The looting started after the collapse of the regime," said Wathiq al-Dulaimi, a regional security chief, who was based nearby in Latifiya. But once it had begun, he said, the booty streamed toward Baghdad.

...Mr. Mezher, the mechanic, said it took the looters about two weeks to disassemble heavy machinery at the site and carry that off after the smaller items were gone.

Like I said, the Bush administration is suffering from a lack of credibility. They have for a long time.