Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Austrian rifles are no smoking gun

The UK Telegraph delivers a White House psych-ops plant with this story on 100 Austrian rifles that were traced to an arms shipment made to Iran in 2005*. This proves nothing except guns have a tendency to disappear into the black market. The Telegraph fails to mention that the US government has lost track of over 14,000 guns themselves, many of which are now no doubt being used against US troops. As I said at the time, maybe we should be bombing ourselves if we're to judge complicity by that criteria.

As Capt. Fogg points out in this excellent link rich post, tracking arms smuggling is much more complicated than simply tracing serial numbers to their original source. These are not the smoking guns, this is just more smoke and mirrors coming from a White House hell bent on tricking Americans into supporting opening up a new front in their endless war -- again.

Update:*- Pat in comments points out that I misspoke. The order for the guns was made in 2005 but they were delivered in 2006, apparently early in 2006 since they have been finding them for over six months. One still might ask why they have suddenly become the "smoking gun" and not just the routine results of normal black market arms trade? I stand by the point of my post.
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11 Comments:

Anonymous lester said...

OT -http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul367.html

shocking there is actually someone with some common sense in washington. while people are busy debating the moral moment in history and our historical imperitive for liberty, we are killing our country

6:31:00 PM  
Anonymous rockync said...

How silly! If they checked out the "deadly explosives devices" currently being funneled through Iran, they would proabably find Russian writing on them - or Chinese. Like you said, all sorts of stuff disappears into the black market. Close down the Iran border and the weapons pipeline will develop on another border. The bottom line; as long as we are occupying Iraq, we will be seen by most middle eastern countries as the enemy and they will consider it their duty to supply arms to their rebel brothers trying to out us and what they see as a traitor government put in place by the US.

6:45:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Great link Lester. Thanks.

Rocky, I think that's exactly right. Illegal arms trading is probably the second oldest profession in the world. Everybody does it, including some of our own soldiers.

7:04:00 PM  
Anonymous romunov said...

If you like arms smuggling, then you must see Lord of war! Certainly not one of those advertised movies...

2:33:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Thanks for the tip Romunov. It looks interesting. I'm so out of touch with movies these days. Always glad to get a pointer to something good.

9:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Libby,
Rudi from TMV, not only no smoking gun but the dates and timing of UK Telegrapk article stinks. The sale happened in 2005,August and the US imposed sanctions on S-M on 2005,December(info at Dept of State).
Jump forward 15 to 20 months and the story reappears after an (factaul) embarrassing Pentagon briefing.
Rudi

1:40:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Rudi. How nice of you to drop by. Good point and unfortunately I think a scary one because it reinforces my belief they're gearing up for an air strike and madly looking for an excuse. Emphasis on mad...

2:13:00 PM  
Anonymous PatHMV said...

Look at the story a bit more closely, please. The order for the weapons was placed in 2005; that is not when the shipment was made.

The Telegraph article explicitly states that the shipment of a particular rifle used in an attack against American troops was shipped only very shortly before the attack:

"Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon."

Now, maybe that's not an accurate statement and somebody made it up. But if so, you should be explicit in your accusation, not erroneously suggest that the shipment occurred simultaneously with the purchase order.

2:43:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Pat. Thanks for dropping by. Point well taken and I'll make a correction but I'd note that the author has hacked for the White House before and I'd bet money that our troops are also being killed by the guns we lost ourselves, a point which the author fails to mention and is pertinent to the story.

Black market arms trading has a long history.

2:59:00 PM  
Anonymous PatHMV said...

Hey, Libby! Glad to stop by and say hi, and I appreciate your clarification.

I agree that it is not, by itself, a smoking gun (though the 45-day window between shipment and diversion makes it stronger as evidence). Nor is the presence of a Qods commander from Iran in Iraq a smoking gun that the mullah leadership of Iran has ordered extensive meddling in Iraqi affairs and military actions against American soldiers.

But taken together, along with other circumstantial evidence, it starts to paint a revealing picture.

That certainly doesn't mean that we should make war against Iran, but more than justifies other steps, such as the announcement by Iraq today that it was going to seal the border with Iran to try to prevent any such smuggling going on.

I would want still more concrete evidence of Iranian involvement before supporting an attack on Iran (and I don't believe the President is intent on attacking Iran, either).

Revealing this evidence at this time does serve a useful purpose. It lets Iran know that we've caught them, or at least caught the "unauthorized" adventures of some of their officials, military officers, and people. It gives them an opportunity to shut down such shipments without losing face, blaming any improper meddling (not that they admit any occurred) on rogue operations rather than official government policy. Such defense would be weakened if the attacks and shipment continued after they were made aware of them, so they have an incentive to at least cut back now. A good thing, all the way around.

4:05:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Leaving aside that I do believe Bush badly wants an airstrike against Iran, that's an good and interesting point Pat. I'm certainly not against the sealing of the border, although I doubt any border can really be sealed but in terms of the diplomatic value, I'd have to agree that if Tehran was complicit in the smuggling, this does offer them a way to stop it gracefully.

Something to think about certainly. Thanks.

4:28:00 PM  

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