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Politics : Foreign Affairs Discussion Group

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To: Ish who wrote (148892)10/24/2004 10:45:02 PM
From: Michael Watkins  Read Replies (1) of 281500
Yep I do some reading. IAEA says nuclear materials and bomb making equipment now gone. That might be over your head.

This may be over your head, but:

1. The materials were known / identified / tagged / and under IAEA surveilance before "Operation Iraqi Freedom" commenced. In other words, IAEA knew exactly where everything was - and had been in the country re-verifying as late as December 2003.

2. The US, not Iraq, prevented the IAEA from returning to Iraq in early 2003 (the war drums were-a-beating).

3. At the outset of the invasion of Iraq, the US-led coalition forces should have secured the materials after the war started. In fact, they did not - at least not until well after at least one site was ransacked (materials not removed though).

4. As of April 2004 the IAEA still was not able to fulfil its mission in Iraq, and its mission had not been terminated by the UN Security Council, of which the US is a veto holding member.

5. With no access "on the ground" the IAEA nevertheless was able to detect movement of materials / removal of buildings. No explanations had at that time been provided to the IAEA by the "Coalition Forces" or the provisional Iraqi government.

You'll remember that its the US/Coalition Forces which had been running the entire country for the past 12 months at that time.

The Agency is concerned about the implications of the results of its review of satellite imagery, especially with respect to sites known to the Agency to have contained items subject to monitoring under the OMV plan. The imagery shows that there has been extensive removal of equipment and, in some instances, removal of entire buildings. Other information available to the Agency, confirmed through visits to other countries, indicates that large quantities of scrap, some of it contaminated, have been transferred out of Iraq, from sites monitored by the IAEA. It is not clear whether the removal of these items has been the result of looting activities in the aftermath of the recent war in Iraq, or as part of systematic efforts to rehabilitate some of the locations.

In other words, because US forces/provisional Iraqi government had not advised the IAEA of the status of these buildings and materials, the IAEA has no idea whether

- the materials were removed by run of the mill looters
- the materials were removed by "terrorists"
- the materials were removed by organized crime, or, and most importantly,
- the materials were removed by US order

In some cases, the last is already known to be the right answer.

6. It was quite some time before IAEA inspectors were allowed to return to Iraq. Some sites which had been under supervision by the IAEA had been ransacked with drums of nuclear material spilled out. I've already written of this on this thread.

7. As the force on the ground, it was always incumbent on the US-led coalition and the new Iraqi government to a) secure these items and b) report to the IAEA when movement happens - whether it is through theft or US/Iraqi sanctioned movement. Clearly as of April 2004 they had not done this. As of the latest report, details remain uncommunicated.

Read - actually read - the April 2004 report:

Read - actually read - the latest report:

Again, none of this is "new news" -- IAEA raised the concerns back in April. Its likely that the reports were designed to raise profile to get the US to report things which it already knows about. The IAEA also wanted clarity on its mission and purpose with respect to Iraq.

So, why has the IAEA been left in the dark?

One might suppose the current US Administration, involved in an election, might intentionally leave doubt hanging in the air because it makes for media coverage which is advantageous to their cause. Well, perhaps you might not suppose that but this questioning skeptic does.

With the help of a few less than complete news stories, the average American will think "my gosh, terrorists have stolen all these materials!"

Yes, they would come to that conclusion, particularly if they, like you, have not been paying attention.
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