Friday, December 03, 2004

Missing explosives

Hey remember that HUGE news story about explosives that were missing in Iraq. You remember, the one that dominated the frontpages of all the major newspapers three days before the election? Everyone thought that it was the DNC's last ditch attempt at creating an "October Surprise", like the revelation of Bush's DUI in the 2000 election.

Well it turns out that those explosives more than likely were looted during the Saddam. He then used the explosives to rig cars for suicide bombers. Funny that you don't see the mainstream media sweating this anymore:
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.

Dr Sabri suggested that the best way of preventing US troops getting too close to Iraqi civilians was "to target their vehicle checkpoints with suicide operations by civilian vehicles in order to make the savage Americans realise that their contact with Iraqi civilians is as dangerous as facing them on the battlefield".