Friday, October 29, 2004

NY Times analyzes the Al Qaqaa videotape

Earlier I noted that the Minneapolis ABC affiliate had broadcast video of soldiers in Al Qaqaa going through bunkers looking at the weapons. The NY Times has now analyzed the video, verifying that it showed the HMX explosives everybody is concerned about. Plus, it showed the UN "seal" which the inspectors had left behind.

Meaning, the U.S. soldiers shown on the videotape broke in, breaking the UN seal, the seal that was supposed to keep the site safe. They probably didn't know what they were doing. And, for that matter, the UN seal shown is a spindly thing that probably wasn't clearly marked as to what it was, so the soldiers probably didn't think much of it.

See here:

Video Shows G.I.'s at Weapon Cache


Published: October 29, 2004
(NY Times)

The article gives a good timeline of the events.:

The agency said that when it left Iraq in mid-March, only days before the war began, the only bunkers bearing its seals at the huge complex contained the explosive known as HMX, which the agency had monitored because it could be used in a nuclear weapons program.

In mid-march the explosives were seen there, and sealed by the UN inspectors. The seal pictured in the article isn't very much, but it would show if the building had been entered because one would be unable to enter without breaking the seal.

Yesterday evening, the Pentagon released a satellite image of the complex taken just two days after the inspectors left, showing a few trucks parked in front of some bunkers. It is not clear they are the bunkers with the high explosives.

The Iraqi's had some activity at Al Qaqaa, but it's unclear what it was they were doing. There was apparently other weaponry on the site and the simplest conclusion is they were retrieving that in preparation for the invasion they knew the U.S. was about to launch.

The videotape , taken by KSTP-TV, an ABC affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul, shows troops breaking into a bunker and opening boxes and examining barrels. ...
The ABC crew said the video was taken on April 18.

The videotape verifies the explosives were there, on site, after the invasion. This disproves the administration's claim/excuse that the Iraqi government removed the HMX before the invasion, because it was still there afterward.

Then they headed north to Baghdad, and the site was apparently left unguarded. By the time special weapons teams returned to Al Qaqaa in May, the explosives were apparently gone.

Then in mid-May the U.S. special weapons team went to the scene, and the explosives were gone. Because of the videotape we know they must have disappeared between April 19 and mid-May. And we know looters were active at this site just as they were all over the country.

As the article says, the timing is critical. This issue has become key in the presidential race, with the Bush side disclaiming responsibility saying that not all the facts are in. Well, it is clear to me that enough facts are in. And that you, Mr. President, are caught redhanded in criminal negligence.

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