Sunday, November 23, 2008

beating the statue with my shoes

OK, so about them Iranian superbomb spookologists. We're not convinced. Even at the height of the nonsense, a lot of the military in Iraq were regularly quoted pouring cold water on the tale. Later, we looked into just how hard it would be to find out how to make an EFP. (All you need is Wikipedia, a search engine, and love. Or hate.)

Further, we were able to identify the stuff in the official photos as ball bearings made in India and trivially available in commerce. So, what about them Iranian superbombs? Not so much. IPS wire service has a fine story following the matter up. Their source is the US Army's intelligence operation set up to analyse the sources of arms used by the Sadrists.

The task force database identified 98 caches over the five-month period with at least one Iranian weapon, excluding caches believed to have been hidden prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion.

But according to an e-mail from the MNFI press desk this week, the task force found and analysed a total of roughly 4,600 weapons caches during that same period. The caches that included Iranian weapons thus represented just 2 percent of all caches found. That means Iranian-made weapons were a fraction of one percent of the total weapons found in Shi'a militia caches during that period.

The extremely small proportion of Iranian arms in Shi'a militia weapons caches further suggests that Shi'a militia fighters in Iraq had been getting weapons from local and international arms markets rather than from an official Iranian-sponsored smuggling network....

There's more.

In late April, the U.S. presented the Maliki government with a document that apparently listed various Iranian arms found in Iraq and highlighted alleged Iranian arms found in Basra. But the U.S. campaign to convince Iraqi officials collapsed when Task Force Troy analysed a series of large weapons caches uncovered in Basra and Karbala in April and May.

Caches of arms found in Karbala late last April and May totaled more than 2,500 weapons, and caches in Basra included at least 3,700 weapons, according to official MNFI statements. That brought the total number of weapons found in those former Mahdi Army strongholds to more than 6,200 weapons. But the task force found that none of those weapons were Iranian-made....

None. Zero.

Only two months before the new high-level propaganda push on alleged Iranian weapons supply to Shi'a militias, the U.S. command had put out a story suggesting that large numbers of Iranian-supplied arms had been buried all over the country. On Feb. 17, 2008, U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith told reporters that Iraqi and coalition forces had captured 212 weapons caches across Iraq over the previous week "with growing links to the Iranian-backed special groups".

The Task Force Troy data for the week of Feb. 9-16 show, however, that the U.S. command had information on Iranian arms contradicting that propaganda line. According to the task force database, only five of those 212 caches contained any Iranian weapons that analysts believed might have been buried after the U.S. invasion. And the total number of confirmed Iranian-made weapons found in those five caches, according to the data, was eight, not including four Iranian-made hand grenades.

The idiocy of trying to lie to a government essentially based on Iranian-backed militiamen and their political mouthpieces about Iranian support to their own side should be obvious. And them bombs:

The task force database includes 350 armour-piercing explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) found in Iraqi weapons caches. However, the database does not identify any of the EFPs as Iranian weapons. That treatment of EFPs in the caches appears to contradict claims by U.S. officials throughout 2007 and much of 2008 that EFPs were being smuggled into Iraq by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The allegedly Iranian-manufactured EFPs had been the centrepiece of the U.S. military's February 2007 briefing charging Iran with arming Shi'a militiamen in Iraq.

Press reports of a series of discoveries of shops for manufacturing EFPs in Iraq in 2007 forced the U.S. command to admit that the capacity to manufacture EFPs was not limited to Iran. By the second half of 2008, U.S. officials had stopped referring to Iranian supply of EFPs altogether.

MACHIAVELLIAN PROPAGANDA; YR DOIN IT RONG. And finally, there's the "and finally..." moment.

The co-authors note that Iranian arms can be purchased directly from the website of the Defence Industries of Iran with a credit card.

You wonder how many of the toxic HELOC-backed credit card bills were actually run up getting deliveries of IDI explosives. Ram it to Washington Mutual and screw Chalabi, in one easy package. No wonder DHL was so keen to resume service to Iraq.

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