Friday, December 03, 2004

The Missing Al-QaQaa Weapons

Remember the missing munitions from the Al-Qaqaa weapons dump that the press put on the front page of every newspaper and led every tv broadcast with as theri last assualt on the President before the election? The same weapons that have not been spoken of a single time by members of the press since November 3rd? We may now have an explanantion of where the weapons went, and the source of the story can by no means be considered a right wing rag. The story comes from The Independent:

As American forces closed in on Baghdad last year, senior members of Saddam Hussein's government devised a plan to send suicide bombers in vehicles packed with devastating high-energy explosives that were under UN safeguards.

The disappearance of the explosive, known as HMX (high melting explosives), in mysterious circumstances at the end of the war caused a few nasty moments for President George Bush's presidential election campaign last month.

A letter to Saddam from Dr Naji Sabri, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, five days before the fall of Baghdad, suggests taking the HMX from underground bunkers, where it had been kept under seal by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and giving it to suicide bombers.

He wrote: "It is possible to increase the explosive power of the suicide-driven cars by using the highly explosive material [HMX] which is sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] and stored in the warehouses of the Military Industry Departments."

The Iraqi regime took credit for several suicide bombs towards the end of the war. After the fall of Saddam, one of the worst attacks - which killed 22 UN workers and the special envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, in August 2003 - had an explosive force that could only have come from military grade explosives.

The disappearance of 350 tons of explosives, including 191 tons of HMX, at the time of the war in April last year became a crucial issue in the last weeks of the US presidential election campaign. John Kerry portrayed the failure to secure the explosives, which could have been used to kill US soldiers, as a symbol of Mr Bush's incompetence in Iraq.

It now appears that senior officials in the Iraqi government were discussing the removal of the HMX before the fall of Saddam. The letter from Dr Sabri, obtained by The Independent, was sent on 4 April 2003 as US tanks were advancing on Baghdad. It said that the world was getting the impression that Iraqi civilians were co-operating with American soldiers.

So the military and the administration were right that the weapons were not there, and the press was wrong. Gee, the story wasn't a set up by the media as a last ditch effort to topple the president was it? No, couldn't have been.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.