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The Pentagon is using blacklisted arms smugglers to get guns from Bosnia to Iraq, where they suddenly disappear. These are the largest arms shipments from Bosnia since World War II, and the guns have just vanished en route to Iraq. Let's hope the WH press corps has more than a few questions for Snow Job about this on Tuesday:

US in secret gun deal: Small arms shipped from Bosnia to Iraq 'go missing' as Pentagon uses dealers

The Pentagon has secretly shipped tens of thousands of small arms from Bosnia to Iraq in the past two years, using a web of private companies, at least one of which is a noted arms smuggler blacklisted by Washington and the UN.

According to a report by Amnesty International, which investigated the sales, the US government arranged for the delivery of at least 200,000 Kalashnikov machine guns from Bosnia to Iraq in 2004-05. But though the weaponry was said to be for arming the fledgling Iraqi military, there is no evidence of the guns reaching their recipient [...]

Senior western officials in the Balkans fear that some of the guns may have fallen into the wrong hands.

A Nato official described the trade as the largest arms shipments from Bosnia since the second world war. (Guardian)
This story is huge. And until the administration makes it clear what happened to the weapons, we cannot allow the press to let the White House sweep 200,000 guns under the carpet.

Originally posted to punditpong on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:12 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Viktor Bout (5+ / 0-)

    Also tied up in this story is mysterious arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is alleged to have supplied weapons to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.  He's also done extensive work for the US military in the past, and apparently still is.  His airline Aerocom is one of those that was supposed to be transporting the weapons from Bosnia to Iraq.

    Juan Zarate, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes,  called Bout "arguably the largest private arms dealer in the world today," willing to supply "guns and bullets by the ton, as well as advanced equipment such as attack helicopters, to anyone willing to pay his price."

    •  Lord of War (0+ / 0-)

      Awesome movie... It showed how these weapons were sold for black op money long ago.  Guess they figured no one would go looking for them.  Who needs 200k ak's?  

      My guess is they sold them years ago and they had to make up phony records that says they shipped them out.

  •  Was discussed a few days ago (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oysterface, KenBee

    CW has it the 200,000 number is vastly, vastly exaggerated.  For one thing, the numbers don't add up when you compare numbers to weights to the number of flights contracted.  But yeah, the Pentagon apparantly did ship some arms via some highly questionable air carriers.

    There is no question some of the arms were stolen, but how many is open to dispute.  The 200,000 is some sort of theoretical maximum, cited to sensationalize the story.  The only firm number cited in the story is one mising shippment of some 1,500 rifles.

    No doubt Iraq is awash with other stolen black market arms.  That's what happenes when you pump billions of dollars into an endless war - the profiteers show up.  Same shit - different war.

    Lincoln said it; Bush proves it: "...but you can't fool all the people all the time." Are these men the GOP's bookends?

    by Quicklund on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:24:00 AM PDT

    •  I thought I debunked... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee

      ...the "this is way too many guns" problem in the last diary.  I'll try again.

      First, yes, there likely wasn't some massive 200,000 gun shipment at one time that disappeared.  But, the Guardian does note that shipments took place in 2004-2005.  Their point is that the complicated web of contractors and sub-contractors has lead to a situation where no one can accurately account for where the weapons went.

      The number of guns is likely close to accurate.  It has been known for some time that Bremer's CPA put this whole thing in motion, causing Sen. Paul Wyden to publicly question the deal in a letter to Bremer:

         ...the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) recently issued a solicitation for the purchase of as many as 50,000 new AK-47 rifles, to be delivered to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior for purposes of outfitting Iraqi security forces.

         We question whether this is an efficient use of U.S. taxpayer dollars in a country already awash with AK-47s, many of which have been confiscated by coalition forces and are sitting in stockpiles. According to the New York Times, the U.S. military “is now the custodian of countless thousands of Iraqi weapons, many of them said to be in mint condition.” There would seem to be little or no cost involved for the CPA to obtain the weapons currently in U.S. custody, rather than buying new ones.

         We understand that, in the summer, the CPA purchased tens of thousands of AK-47 rifles and other weapons from dealers in foreign countries such as Jordan. We further understand that the CPA has not disclosed the details of these purchases, so that it is currently impossible to assess whether this has been an efficient use of resources.

      Kevin Drum has also written about this:

        In Iraq, a nation awash with hundreds of thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, the U.S.-led occupation authority is planning to buy and import 34,000 more of the ubiquitous weapons to equip a new Iraqi army.

         ....Yet U.S. forces who seized control of Iraq in April have discovered vast stockpiles of new, never-fired AK-47s, which U.S. military officials have said were being deliberately warehoused for a future Iraqi army.

         At one compound of eight concrete warehouses that a company of the 10th Engineer Battalion found in central Baghdad in mid-April, Los Angeles Times reporters watched soldiers form a human chain to fill a truck bed with AK-47s so new the soldiers' hands turned orange from the packing grease.

         ....The following day, U.S. Marines who were securing the city of Tikrit north of Baghdad announced that they had found 100,000 AK-47s there, 80,000 of them in a hospital. And in the months that have followed, there have been almost daily reports of U.S. military units seizing quantities of AK-47s both large and small, new and used.

      So, lets sum up: the CPA decided to ship in more AKs into a country that already has a ton of them.  The contractors selected to bring them in decided to "make a killing" by getting the guns for dirt cheap from Bosnia, and using shady characters to ship them in.  Of course, said shady characters (such as Viktor Bout) ran really bad, unlicensed operations, and could never really be trusted anyway.  Likely, some of the guns found there way into the hands of people who were willing to pay more money for them.

      A collossal waste of money gone awry.

      •  Perhaps you debunked it (0+ / 0-)

        perhaps I did not read it, or perhaps your level of proof is different than mine.

        I read through two articles on that story, one from a tabloid, one from Amnesty International.  And a careful reading indicates only one firm claim:  One planeload went missing.  Were there more?  Undoubtably.  

        Billions of dollars are missing, after all.  Many to graft, certainly.  But the bulk, I suspect, have been diverted to Rumsfeld's secret ongoing war in Iran.  I would not doubt some thousands of the AKs have ended up in Iranain resistance groups.

        That being said, I don't see where the two unrelated stories have any bearing on the specific story that 200,000 AKs were diverted from Bosnia.  Yes, I am certain Iraq is awash with AKs, black market AKs, US-purchasedAKs, and AKs that were in Iraq before the invasion.  That AKs exist in Iraq is not evidence they were stolen from Bosnia.

        Consider the story firmy bunked.

        Lincoln said it; Bush proves it: "...but you can't fool all the people all the time." Are these men the GOP's bookends?

        by Quicklund on Fri May 12, 2006 at 01:46:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Went back in the time machine and tagged (0+ / 0-)

        the previous diary with Viktor Bout.
          I think, reading all the diaries that the discrepancies indicate a more likely truth to be that the AK's came from Iraq and were sent to some other criminal in Africa, Bolivia, or Afghanistan>Iran MEK etc.
          Viktor Bout seems another in a long line of CIA fronts or places they think they've infiltrated in order to keep an eye on things. This is an old pattern I think. Cuba, SE Asia, Central America......
           The problem is that they become so corrupted by the activities at hand they can't see the forest for the trees, and we can, at least I tries to, I tries.

        Somebody, do something, I got kids I care about, fer crying out loud!

        by KenBee on Fri May 12, 2006 at 01:47:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How are the kids? (0+ / 0-)

      I'd say this is the only question you can expect an answer to, but they'd probably lie just as a matter of habit about that one too.

    •  Also diaryed last night, good story tho (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      retLT

      by Lithiumcola:"We Know We Left Them Around Here Somewhere".
         I bet Viktor Bout is the person referenced by Wayne Madsen in his obtuse story about Brewster-Jennings and what they were doing, and who they were annoying.
         Varerie Plame's CIA front company was supposedly tracking and buying soviet era loose nukes and was driving the price up and competing with Israeli and Russian mafia. Viktor Bout fits this description to a 'T'.
         The guns are a problem, but as a thread to people like Viktor Bout and others like him it could turn into a noose, I hope.

      Somebody, do something, I got kids I care about, fer crying out loud!

      by KenBee on Fri May 12, 2006 at 12:15:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. (0+ / 0-)

    First, they let that huge complex of bunkers, the one full of explosives, get cleaned out after the invasion.  

    Now this?  Are we really stretched so thin that we can't spare a couple of our own damn planes to transport the guns?  I mean, it says they left from a US base!  This is utterly absurd!  

    I don't know what's worse, if the Pentagon did this on purpose or if they're just that stupid.

    •  Hello, I'm dumb. (0+ / 0-)

      That wasn't a US base, it was run by a firm called "American Eagle" and I assumed that was some dumb code name (Divine Strake?  WTF?)  

      but either way, this is still a stunning turn of events.  It means we basically have to keep killing until nobody wants to hold a rifle anymore.  Cause it's not like they're ever going to run out now.

  •  reminds me of the move 'Lord of War' (0+ / 0-)

    movie quote: They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails." (Yuri Orlov)

    A truely cynical movie about gunrunning based on a true story; just another example of how sick some of the people running this country are.

  •  Arm dealer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LITBMueller, KenBee

    The arms dealer, Viktor Bout, was also rumored to have been "in play" in the Dubai Ports deal... he, allegedly, has longstanding ties to that government...

    Jeff Wells has written about Viktor Bout here and here.  

    Talk about someone being above the law... this guy seems untouchable...

    •  Rumor (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dqueue, KenBee

      I've seen a rumor on the net that Condi Rice herself told the CIA and FBI "hands off of Bout." Just a rumor, but I wouldn't put it pass this crew!

    •  Viktor Bout (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dqueue

      Douglas Farah's: site has been after him.
      a Doug Farah google search is impressive, and shows his dedication to exposing this crook. Doug exposes his associations with Charles Taylor and his attempts to escape. Also Bout's  involved with diamond smuggling and this is a known terrorist and Al-Qeada money laundering and finance arrangement. Also Jerry Falwell has been involved with Charles Taylor!
      So, Falwell<>Taylor<>Bout<>bin Laden? WTF? WTF?
      The Yorkshire Ranter is or has been tracking his planes, now where is the internatiional police efforts? Nope, just us in our PJ's.
      Rigorous Institution and also here has been on his case.
         I tagged Viktor Bout in dkos as well. I hope some of us can help expose the wrongdoings of he and his enablers in the govt, who seemed to be named, among others, Rice and Negroponte. Is he some CIA front company? Who knows?
         I'm adding this comment as a collection of the links I've read so far, for future reference and hopefully future diarys, hint hint!
      =============
      In other comments I made I remembered Wayne Madsen's reference to Russian and Israeli mafia? Well, I did, and so did this commentor in a Rigorous Institution diary :

      Check out waynemadsenreport.com to learn all about Bout's ties to the Russian Ukrainian Israeli Mafia, including a big investor in Neil Bush's 'Ignite,' Russian oligarch Boris Berezofsky. They're not unfamiliar with Sun Cruz and Casino Jack Abramoff, surprise surprise. They're all up to their bad old ways, using the Rendition flights for cover, no doubt using the same program to disappear inconvenient witnesses. Boris and Neil are also on familiar terms with Sun Myung Moon, who's probably getting some use out of our new airbase in Paraguay, making plans with Bolivia's reactionaries.

      200,000 AK-47's to Bolivia? Maybe.
      Another CT? Maybe. Anything that goes: Viktor Bout<>Jerry Falwell<>Charles Taylor<>bin Laden<>Neil Bush<> Sun Myung Moon<>Jack Abramof is going to be labeled a CT. But,...there are always some truths to be found at the core, I hope we can see more, and get to the truths

      Somebody, do something, I got kids I care about, fer crying out loud!

      by KenBee on Fri May 12, 2006 at 01:18:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee

        Thank you for the link dump!  I have definitely followed the Rigorous Intuition threads... and I recognize the Yorkshire Ranter pages...

        This is definitely a subject who deserves one hell of a lot of sunshine...

        But what is the angle?

        •  Well, that's the first question...me, I see CIA (0+ / 0-)

          cooption here. It's an old precedent..CUBA, SE Asis, mid-East...same pattern with OBL, and Kahn...follow, get involved to a degree ( right there's the big problem)and do favors for each other.
             The FBI by contrast, makes the case and then breaks down the door (like today @ Foggo's) rather than the CIA constantly gathering more and more intell but not acting sooner than the FBI...a nutshell description of the tensions between the 2 agencies..maybe accurate.
              World arms dealing...all those names, there won't be just one theme but evil. Have at these Melon Farmers everybody.

          Somebody, do something, I got kids I care about, fer crying out loud!

          by KenBee on Fri May 12, 2006 at 07:48:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If there is any substance to this account, it (0+ / 0-)

    might just lend some credence to the claim that has been made that the US is itself fomenting the civil war in Iraq so that it will split rather than remain a unified country controlled by the pro-Iran Shiah.

    we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

    by Lepanto on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:32:50 AM PDT

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