11 May 2006

Did Uncle Sam Secretly Give 200,000 AK-47s to Death Squads in Iraq?

On Wednesday, the British tabloid The Daily Mirror reported the following story (reprinted in its entirety):
SOME 200,000 guns the US sent to Iraqi security forces may have been smuggled to terrorists, it was feared yesterday.

The 99-tonne cache of AK47s was to have been secretly flown out from a US base in Bosnia. But the four planeloads of arms have vanished.

Orders for the deal to go ahead were given by the US Department of Defense. But the work was contracted out via a complex web of private arms traders.

And the Moldovan airline used to transport the shipment was blasted by the UN in 2003 for smuggling arms to Liberia, human rights group Amnesty has discovered.

It follows a separate probe claiming that thousands of guns meant for Iraq's police and army instead went to al-Qaeda

Amnesty chief spokesman Mike Blakemore said: "It's unbelievable that no one can account for 200,000 assault rifles. If these weapons have gone missing it's a terrifying prospect." American defence chiefs hired a US firm to take the guns, from the 90s Bosnian war, to Iraq.

But air traffic controllers in Baghdad have no record of the flights, which supposedly took off between July 2004 and July 2005. A coalition forces spokesman confirmed they had not received "any weapons from Bosnia" and added they were "not aware of any purchases for Iraq from Bosnia". Nato and US officials have already voiced fears that Bosnian arms - sold by US, British and Swiss firms - are being passed to insurgents. A Nato spokesman said: "There's no tracking mechanism to ensure they don't fall into the wrong hands. There are concerns that some may have been siphoned off." This year a newspaper claimed two UK firms were involved in a deal in which thousands of guns for Iraqi forces were re-routed to al-Qaeda.

One arms broker's lawyer is said to have admitted that nearly all of a shipment of 1,500 AK-47s went missing. And a US official said £270million of equipment could not be traced.

Meanwhile, Aerocom, the Moldovan air firm at the centre of the 200,000 missing AK47s, was stripped of its licence by its national authorities a day before the first shipment.

Two other companies in the complicated sale claim to have papers proving the guns were delivered in Iraq but refuse to show them.
It goes without saying that 4 plane-loads of automatic weapons don't just disappear. This is another in a long line of stories that provide a tiny glimpse into the shady underworld of war profiteering and covert operations.

It's not an accident that "the Moldovan air firm at the centre of the 200,000 missing AK47s was stripped of its licence by its national authorities a day before the first shipment" or that other companies involved won't tell the truth. Nor is it surprising that many of the weapons were smuggled from Bosnia into the hands of 'alCIAda' given their collaboration with Uncle Sam in the Balkans under the Clinton administration. For covert operations to remain covert, the operators need cover stories and plausible deniability.

We must assume that, in an effort to fuel the sectarian fighting they hope will lead to civil war so they can split the country, Uncle Sam found a way to get the shipment into the hands of their death squad allies in Iraq inside the Interior Ministry and in the SCIRI Badr Brigade - many of whom received training from Rudy Guilani stooge and failed nominee for the post of Homeland Security Director, Bernard Kerik.

Taking another approach to the story, Vheadline has contrasted the silence from Uncle Sam concerning the "loss" of 200,000 weapons with their angry recriminations at the legitimate and public sale of 100,000 of the same weapon from Russia to Venezuela.

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