portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts global

imperialism & war

Explosive Mistake

The New York Times reports this morning that "nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives" are missing from one of Iraq's "most sensitive former military installations."
The enormous cache of explosives is unaccounted for and may have fallen into the hands of terrorists or been used in bombing attacks against U.S. and Iraqi troops. The White House has thus far been at a loss to explain how a mistake this egregious was allowed to happen under their watch: administration officials "say they cannot explain why the explosives were not safeguarded." A look at the administration's mismanagement of post-invasion Iraq offers an explanation, though. After the invasion of Iraq, the White House failed to safeguard the large stockpiles of powerful explosives; the administration also failed to send enough troops to Iraq to quash the post-war insurgency, resulting in rampant looting.

HMX AND RDX EXPLAINED: The powerful explosives in question are HMX - high melting point explosive - and RDX - rapid detonation explosive. HMX and RDX can be used in bombs which could bring down entire buildings or "shatter" airplanes; for example, "the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of material." The chemical makeup of these explosives make them "insensitive to shock and physical abuse during handling and transport," making it particularly simple to smuggle the munitions to terrorists.

INTERNATIONAL WATCH WAS WORKING: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tried to warn the U.S. about the potential danger posed by the explosives and "specifically told United States officials about the need to keep the explosives secured" after the invasion. The Bush administration, however, refused to allow the agency back into the country after the invasion to verify the status of the explosives stockpile.

EXPLOSIVES USEFUL FOR INSURGENTS: The danger posed by the explosive "is its potential use with insurgents in very small and powerful devices." Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the IAEA, warns, "Our immediate concern is that if the explosives did fall into the wrong hands they could be used to commit terrorist acts and some of the bombings that we've seen." HMX and RDX are "the key components in plastic explosives, which insurgents have widely used in a series of bloody car bombings in Iraq." According to the Nelson Report, cited by Josh Marshall's Talking Points, "administration officials privately admit this material is likely a primary source of the lethal car bomb attacks which cause so many US and Iraqi casualties."

ADMINISTRATION FAILED TO SECURE KEY FACILITIES: Explaining the theft in a letter to the IAEA, a senior official from Iraq's Ministry of Science and Technology wrote the explosives disappeared because of looting that occurred "due to lack of security." The White House has increasingly come under fire for neglecting to send an adequate number of troops into Iraq to secure the country after the invasion. Recently, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, Paul Bremer, charged inadequate military presence after the invasion allowed rampant looting in Iraq and said the U.S. "paid a big price" for not sending enough troops to secure the peace.

WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?: Iraqi officials say they warned Bremer in May 2004 that the sensitive military installation had probably been looted in the immediate aftermath of the invasion. Note this happened while the United States was still in command, before the transfer of power to the Iraqis. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice claims she only found out about the missing explosives within the past month. The IAEA was only notified - by the Iraqis - a few weeks ago. According to Talking Points, the Nelson Report reveals the Defense Department not only may have known about the looting, it may have exerted pressure on the Iraqis to keep the story quiet.

WHOOPS, WE DID IT AGAIN: This isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened in Iraq. Earlier this month, international U.N. weapons inspectors found that sensitive material and equipment had been looted from nuclear facilities in Iraq. The IAEA had successfully monitored equipment and low-grade uranium at a plant in Iraq before the invasion. It was forced to leave in March of 2003, however, and the sensitive material was looted and may have found its way to the black market.
... 25.Oct.2004 12:10

this thing here

can anyone say: an unlimited amount of IED's and car bombs?...

don't even try and tell me that it hasn't, in the end, ended up in the hands of the insurgents. who else would need it? where else would it go? who else knew it was there? can you say the iraqi military and the baathist government? which was then disbanded, and perhaps went on to form elements of the insurgency?

iraq is supposed to be under u.s. occupation. iraq is supposed to be tightly controlled. you'd think that, by now at the very least, the u.s. military would try and choke off all supplies of arms and explosives to the insurgents. and yet day after day there are IED's and car bombs. let's just say that the insurgents appear to be "well provisioned". and given the bush admin.'s record of fucking up in iraq after the invasion, with not enough troops in all the wrong places, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that this huge amount of explosives has somehow, in some way, aided the insurgents.

It's Much Worse 25.Oct.2004 12:42


The missing explosive are high grade nuclear triggers. "Nuclear terrorists" would love to get there hands on it. AND it was all secured until Bush invaded, searching for "Weapons of Mass Distruction." see  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/300815.shtml

poof 25.Oct.2004 13:14

up in smoke

some of these explosives can vaporize a large jet with a briefcase full.

Towering Infernos 26.Oct.2004 00:43

Already Published

HMX AND RDX EXPLAINED: The powerful explosives in question are HMX - high melting point explosive - and RDX - rapid detonation explosive. HMX and RDX can be used in bombs which COULD BRING DOWN ENTIRE BUILDINGS or "shatter" airplanes; for example, "the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of material." The chemical makeup of these explosives make them "insensitive to shock and physical abuse during handling and transport," making it particularly simple to smuggle the munitions to terrorists.

Five Men Detained As Suspected CONSPIRATORS

by Paulo Lima
The Bergen Record [New Jersey newspaper]
September 12, 2001

Eight hours after terrorists struck Manhattan's tallest skyscrapers, police in Bergen County detained five men who they said were found carrying MAPS LINKING THEM TO THE BLASTS. The five men, who were in a van stopped on Route 3 in East Rutherford around 4:30 p.m., were being questioned by police but had not been charged with any crime late Tuesday.

However, sources close to the investigation said they found

"There are maps of the city in the car with certain places highlighted," the source said. "It looked like they're hooked in with this. It looked like they knew what was going to happen when they were at Liberty State Park."

Sources also said that BOMB-SNIFFING DOGS REACTED AS IF THEY HAD DETECTED EXPLOSIVES. The FBI seized the van for further testing, authorities said. Sources said the van was stopped as it headed east on Route 3, between the Hackensack River bridge and the Sheraton hotel. As a precaution, police shut down Route 3 traffic in both directions after the stop and evacuated a small roadside motel near the Sheraton.

Sources close to the investigation said the men said they were Israeli tourists, but police had not been able to confirm their identities. Authorities would not release their names. East Rutherford officers stopped the van after the FBI's Newark Office broadcast an alert asking surrounding police departments to look for a white Chevrolet van, police said.

"We got an alert to be on the lookout for a white Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration and writing on the side," said Bergen County Police Chief John Schmidig. "Three individuals were seen celebrating in Liberty State Park after the impact. They said three people were jumping up and down."

East Rutherford officers summoned the county bomb squad, New Jersey state troopers, and FBI agents, who waited alongside the van as prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office tried to obtain a warrant to search the van late Tuesday, Schmidig said. The FBI alert, known as a BOLO or "Be On Lookout," was sent out at 3:31 p.m. It read:

"Vehicle possibly related to New York terrorist attack. White, 2000 Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration with 'Urban Moving Systems' sign on back seen at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ, at the time of first impact of jetliner into World Trade Center. "Three individuals with van were seen CELEBRATING AFTER INITIAL IMPACT AND SUBSEQUENT *** EXPLOSION ***. FBI Newark Field Office requests that, if the van is located, hold for prints and detain individuals."

State police Col. Barry W. Roberson confirmed the traffic stop at a late night news briefing at state police headquarters in Trenton. He would not elaborate, however. A business traveler staying at the Homestead Studio Hotel said she watched state troopers drive the suspects away in a procession of state police cars about 5 p.m. "First, they told us we could hang out in the lobby, but then they told us to leave," the traveler said.

At 10 p.m., the hotel guest said she could see at least two police officers searching through the van while a crowd of other officers kept their distance.

Copyright 2001


Police Seize Rental Truck With TNT Traces
Monday, May 13, 2002
By Carl Cameron

A Budget truck was pulled over in Oak Harbor, Wash., last Tuesday near the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and found to have
traces of TNT on the gearshift
and traces of RDX plastic explosive on the steering wheel,
Fox News has learned.


Rescued From the WMD Syndrome 26.Oct.2004 00:49


Well...for a regime that sustains itself on "Pearl Harbors", this would seem to be going according to plan.

In the next couple of days, this revelation might take on Rovian tones that now, more than ever, this certainty that the American people will be attacked (since we know what the terrorists have in their possession), the runt must be retained in office. After all, can we depend on anyone else to meet this new, deadly threat?

Oooooh! High-melting point explosives!! Rapid detonation explosives!! Just like Pan Am flight 103!! ....(pause)... Four more years! Four more years!

Wait till Dick weighs in on this!

This makes up for WMDs! Now we know for sure--Rumsfeld will say "the presence of certainty is the same as the absence of uncertainty--BINGO!

And they don't care how many bodies are piled up.

I think we've just been delivered the October Surprise