Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

What missing explosives? Look, over there - UBL!

Reported by Chrish - November 1, 2004 -

Bret Baier, on Special Report Friday October 29, allowed several minutes on the "seemingly neverending story" of the explosives missing from Al QaQaa storage facility. (This is only the fifth day of an incredibly important and damaging story. Has he not heard of Scott Peterson?)
Fox viewers were told that the Pentagon officials don't have all the information, and no-one can say definitively if the insurgents got 377 tons of missing explosives. (To his credit, he dropped the "allegedly" and implicitly acknowledged that they are indeed missing.)

There were several disturbing aspects to this report. We're told in this Friday report Major Austin Pearson of the 3rd Infantry Division was tasked by his commanders to secure and destroy ammunition and explosives in the days following the fall of Saddam's regime. He and his 25-man team arrived at Al QaQaa April 13 with tractor trailers and forklifts, at which time the 101st Airborne was in charge and had secured AQQ and the surrounding area.
BUT we were told only Wednesday that the 101st had been ordered to stop overnight on April 9th, on their way to Baghdad, and that they moved on to Baghdad April 11th, without having been ordered to search the whole facility for weapons. (Remember too, we were told by former Chief Weapons Inspector David Kay on CNN that the compound is about the size of Manhattan.)

The major tells us that he and his team removed 250 tons of material, including TNT, plastic explosives, detonation cords, and ammunition. The plastics were used to detonate thousands of tons of other munitions found in more northern Iraq.
At no point does he claim or even insinuate that his team removed the missing explosives in question.

A Pentagon official -Larry Dirita - conceded this didn't answer all the questions. He did remind us that the missing explosives were only 1/1000th of the munitions identified or destroyed. He does not elaborate about the quality/potency of the missing 377 in comparison to the 400,000, only their weight. One pound of the missing explosive is enough to take down a passenger jet, and it is easily transported until weaponized. Comparing it pound for pound to bullets and even other explosives is disengenuous and misleading.

Bret reports that Fox caught up to Mohamed El Baradei, the head of the IAEA, who insisted there was no political motivation to the timing of the release of the story. As far as the IAEA is concerned there was 377 tons, Bret tells us, though that documentation has not yet come forward.

Comment: Yeah, well, neither has the documentation of where Bush was in 1972-3 and why he lost his flight status, and you guys at Fox don't seem to care too much about that. And where is the pResident's official physical report for 2004? Inquiring minds want to know why it's been postponed until after the election.

But back to Al QaQaa. Nowhere in his report did Bret Baier even hint at the videotape from KSTP-5 , whose embedded reporter was present at the unsealing, by American soldiers, of the bunkers in question. The unmistakeable point is that the explosives were there, all protestations aside, and they have been lost/looted/stolen/sold under the responsibility of the US military. This crucial information was not relayed to Fox viewers, who are left with the impressions that a.) it's not such a big deal, and b.) the IAEA hasn't proven the explosives were there, with their shoddy paperwork.

We'll see if it's totally buried by Monday under the terrifying appearance of OBL, who Bush let get away so he could have a perpetual enemy.

This is manipulation and misinformation at its worst. Fox should lose its license.