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Iraq Site: Mystery Trucks Eyed
AP/CBS ^ | 10/28

Posted on 10/28/2004 9:19:26 AM PDT by ambrose

Iraq Site: Mystery Trucks Eyed

Oct. 28, 2004

The Pentagon is studying satellite photographs of the weapons storage facility in Iraq from which a massive amount of high explosives is missing, trying to determine the nature of unusual vehicle activity there before U.S. troops arrived, reports CBS News Correspondent David Martin.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog this week alerted the Security Council that up to 377 tons of powerful explosives was missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility. The Iraqi government said the material was lost to looting due to poor security after the U.S. invasion. U.S. commanders acknowledged that when troops visited the site in April 2003, they did not conduct an extensive search for weapons.

The missing explosives have become an issue on the campaign trail.

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry claims the Bush administration failed to secure the weapons, endangering U.S. troops.

The administration has countered that the explosives might have been looted before troops arrived.

A story in The Washington Times on Thursday quoted a high-ranking U.S. defense official alleging that Russian special forces had "almost certainly" helped spirit out the hundreds of tons of high explosives. The newspaper based its report on an interview with John Shaw, the deputy U.S. undersecretary of defense for international technology security.

Russia angrily denied the allegations. Defense Ministry spokesman Vyacheslav Sedov dismissed the allegations as "absurd" and "ridiculous."

"I can state officially that the Russian Defense Ministry and its structures couldn't have been involved in the disappearance of the explosives, because all Russian military experts left Iraq when the international sanctions were introduced during the 1991 Gulf War," he told The Associated Press.

Martin reports that the trucks seen on satellite photos could have been at the site for any number of reasons having nothing to do with hauling away the explosives. The Pentagon is trying to correlate the specific geographic coordinates of those bunkers where the explosives were stored with these satellite photos to see if there is evidence that trucks were parked outside those bunkers.

Meanwhile, an infantry commander said Wednesday it is "very highly improbable" that someone could have trucked out so much material once U.S. forces arrived in the area.

Col. David Perkins commanded the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division, the division that led the charge into Baghdad. Two major roads that pass near the Al-Qaqaa installation were filled with U.S. military traffic in the weeks after April 3, 2003, when U.S. troops first reached the area, the colonel said.

Perkins and others in the military acknowledged that some looting at the site had taken place. But he said a large-scale operation to remove the explosives using trucks almost certainly would have been detected.

However, three Iraqis claim to have witnessed wide-scale looting of the site in the days after U.S. troops moved through, according to The New York Times.

The first U.S. military units to reach the Al-Qaqaa installation did not have orders to search for the explosives.

"We were still in a fight," said the commander of the unit that was first to arrive in the area, in an interview with Martin.

"Our focus was killing bad guys," he continued, adding that he would have needed four times as many troops to search and secure all the ammo dumps his troops came across during the push into Iraq.

Mike McCurry, an adviser to Kerry, said, "From some of the Pentagon reporting today, there is a window that's available there where either just prior to or just after the invasion, there could have been an opportunity for either Saddam to move the weapons or for something happening after that facility had been abandoned.

"And that is up to the administration to best determine how to answer that question when that happened. But they don't have an answer, and that's what we're asking for," McCurry said.

The explosives were known to be housed in storage bunkers at Al-Qaqaa. U.N. nuclear inspectors placed fresh seals over the bunker doors in January 2003. The inspectors visited Al-Qaqaa for the last time that March 15 and reported that the seals were not broken. The team then pulled out of the country before the invasion, which started March 20.

ABC News reports that the unbroken IAEA seals may not offer proof that the explosives were there in March 2003, because there were unsealed potential entry points to the bunkers. ABC also reports discrepancies in IAEA documents over exactly how much explosive material was stored at Al-Qaqaa.

Meanwhile, an armed group claimed in a video obtained Thursday to have obtained the explosives and warned that it will use them if foreign troops threaten Iraqi cities.

At the end of a tight presidential race dominated by national security issues both campaigns have raced to address the question of when the explosives went missing and whether they should have been better secured.

The Democratic nominee has seized on the story as proof of his contention that President Bush has mismanaged the war.

"The missing explosives could very likely be in the hands of terrorists and insurgents, who are actually attacking our forces now 80 times a day on average," Kerry said in Iowa.

For his part, Mr. Bush is depicting Kerry's criticism as another example of what the Republicans have said are traits that make the senator a poor choice to lead a nation at war.

"A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief," Mr. Bush told supporters Wednesday. "The senator is denigrating the action of our troops and commanders in the field without knowing the facts."


TOPICS: Front Page News; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaqaa; ammogate; hmx; kerrylies; rdx

1 posted on 10/28/2004 9:19:26 AM PDT by ambrose
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To: ambrose

Well, given the source, that about does it for this one. Even CBS (not to mention the AP) are reporting the massive holes in the Times' allegation.


2 posted on 10/28/2004 9:22:08 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know what this was)
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To: The_Reader_David

1971... 2004 There is no difference between John Kerry then and now... Whats next are Americans going to be raising the flag upside down and burning it. Are they going to spit on our troops when they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. John Kerry has the campaign of hate.


3 posted on 10/28/2004 9:24:59 AM PDT by tomnbeverly (Kerry will bring the Big Dig to Washington in the form of Healthcare becasue thats what liberals do)
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To: ambrose
Wow ... the Dims/media have succeeded in springing a certain kind of October surprise. This explosives controversy is a hot issue by its very nature, but somehow the springers of it have subliminally advanced the ridiculous notion that the outcome of the controversy should determine whether President Bush is fit to lead as CIC.

The more the issue thrashes, the better for what they are trying to do, because it puts the President on the defensive. They could care less whether their allegations are proven true.

4 posted on 10/28/2004 9:26:28 AM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: ambrose

"And that is up to the administration to best determine how to answer that question when that happened. But they don't have an answer, and that's what we're asking for," McCurry said.

--that's right, back away, back away very slowly from that tiger about to pounce on your campaign, McCurry.

What a hoot! Seems to me Kerry wasn't ASKING anything.


5 posted on 10/28/2004 9:26:33 AM PDT by ProfShade
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To: The_Reader_David

Know what, if this story hadn't been leaked to the Net, debunking of this story wouldn't have happened until after November 2


6 posted on 10/28/2004 9:27:36 AM PDT by chemical_boy
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To: ambrose
Meanwhile, an armed group claimed in a video obtained Thursday to have obtained the explosives and warned that it will use them if foreign troops threaten Iraqi cities.

At the end of a tight presidential race dominated by national security issues both campaigns have raced to address the question of when the explosives went missing and whether they should have been better secured.

The Democratic nominee has seized on the story as proof of his contention that President Bush has mismanaged the war.

"The missing explosives could very likely be in the hands of terrorists and insurgents, who are actually attacking our forces now 80 times a day on average," Kerry said in Iowa.

It appears to me the "armed group" got their idea to issue their claim straight from John Kerry's insane ranting of the last few days.

7 posted on 10/28/2004 9:29:23 AM PDT by cyncooper (And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm)
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To: ambrose

Kerry's mouth is the greatest asset of terrorism everywhere. He sure is the worst trained international diplomat I've ever heard. If it got him a free vote, he'd give the GPS coordinates of our nuclear football to North Korea.


8 posted on 10/28/2004 9:30:32 AM PDT by blackdog (Can we possibly have just one more "Kidz-Bop"?)
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To: chemical_boy

Exactly. We are fortunate that the NYT wanted to scoop 60 minutes as it has given us the time to de-bunk the original gist of the story.

This article is actually a very good summary of the story at present, IMO.


9 posted on 10/28/2004 9:30:43 AM PDT by WI Conservative 4 Bush (Nobody speaks English, and everything's broken...)
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To: ambrose
I'm actually quite pleased by this article...

Just seeing AP/CBS repeat the allegation that Russia helped move weapons out of Iraq is a HUGE leap forward.
10 posted on 10/28/2004 9:30:52 AM PDT by IDRATHERNOT
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To: chemical_boy
You are so right! NYT saying today that they "had to run it Monday because the story was already leaked on the Internet." This broke up the coordinated one-two attack planned by 60 Minutes/NYT for this Sunday (two days before election).

When will the MSM start reporting on the real conspiracies? Like the vast left-wing conspiracies? Oh, sorry, dreaming again...
11 posted on 10/28/2004 9:31:16 AM PDT by ProfShade
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To: ambrose
The first U.S. military units to reach the Al-Qaqaa installation did not have orders to search for the explosives.

However, they would have searched an area of sufficient size while establishing a perimeter. Would not the search for enemy would have taken them to unsealed bunkers.

12 posted on 10/28/2004 9:31:17 AM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (If it talks like a liberal, votes like a liberal and spends like a liberal, it's a liberal.)
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To: chemical_boy

The Pentagon needs to stop studying and start setting the record straight!!! There is NO WAY that stuff went missing after America's finest hit the scene!


13 posted on 10/28/2004 9:31:51 AM PDT by Woogit (IN GOD I TRUST...NO MATTER WHAT!)
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To: gov_bean_ counter

?


14 posted on 10/28/2004 9:32:00 AM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (If it talks like a liberal, votes like a liberal and spends like a liberal, it's a liberal.)
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To: gov_bean_ counter
Pootie Poot on Iraq WMDs:

Leaders of Russia, France, Germany meet on Iraq

VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer

Friday, April 11, 2003

(04-11) 18:12 PDT ST.PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) --

President Vladimir Putin said Friday he welcomed the fall of Saddam Hussein, but called the U.S.-led war in Iraq illegitimate and a threat to international law.

Speaking after a summit with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac, Putin signaled Russia was ready to cooperate with U.S.-led coalition forces on reconstruction, saying Moscow would consider writing off Baghdad's debts.

But Putin also criticized the United States for failing to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which he said was the only justification for war.

"Even in the most acute moment of the fight for its survival, the Iraqi regime did not use such (weapons)," Putin said. "If in the last moment of its existence it did not use them, it means they do not exist."
15 posted on 10/28/2004 9:34:19 AM PDT by jimbo123
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To: Woogit
The Pentagon needs to stop studying and start setting the record straight!!! There is NO WAY that stuff went missing after America's finest hit the scene!

And there is no way they are just now evaluating those photos, either.

16 posted on 10/28/2004 9:34:36 AM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (If it talks like a liberal, votes like a liberal and spends like a liberal, it's a liberal.)
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To: gov_bean_ counter

There are a lot of things I'm sure the administration knew about, but couldn't talk about, until, ummm, someone 'stepped in it' big-time. We'll see, we'll see.


17 posted on 10/28/2004 9:39:45 AM PDT by ProfShade
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To: chemical_boy

Pictures of the missile batteries in Cuba and missiles on ships on their way to Cuba appeared in newspapers--front page above the fold--as final proof to the citizens that the Cuban Missile Crisis was real. The tracks of the ships as they turned back in the face of the blockade signaled the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I believe that the NYT got the scoop. Pictures of the trucks at el Qaqa should appear either Friday or in the Sunday Times.


18 posted on 10/28/2004 9:40:30 AM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: chemical_boy
Yup, it's been left to FReepers and bloggers to do the job the Founding Fathers imagined the press doing.

At least the desire for a 'scoop' is still strong enough as a balance to their leftist ideology that the MSM doesn't stay united in denying that the blogosphere knows. One network or major paper will always give the truth enough airtime or space, and the others have to follow.

19 posted on 10/28/2004 9:40:45 AM PDT by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know what this was)
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To: gov_bean_ counter
Check out the bias in this quote from the article:

Meanwhile, an armed group claimed in a video obtained Thursday to have obtained the explosives and warned that it will use them if foreign troops threaten Iraqi cities.

What they don't mention is that the terrorist group claims to have gotten hold of the explosives with the help of American intelligence. This is absurd to the point of being laughable.

20 posted on 10/28/2004 9:43:23 AM PDT by rocklobster11
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To: Woogit

Could studying be another word for declassifying?


21 posted on 10/28/2004 9:43:30 AM PDT by highlandbreeze
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To: ambrose

How many eye in the skys are we allowed to put up? Do we have to notify other countries? Seems the more the better.


22 posted on 10/28/2004 9:44:22 AM PDT by Dallas59 ("A bad peace is even worse than war" -Taticus)
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To: highlandbreeze

Good point...But showing the tape would certainly clear this crap up!


23 posted on 10/28/2004 9:46:36 AM PDT by Woogit (IN GOD I TRUST...NO MATTER WHAT!)
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To: ambrose
However, three Iraqis claim to have witnessed wide-scale looting of the site in the days after U.S. troops moved through, according to The New York Times.

These three Iraqis are probably brothers to the Vietnamese that CBS found who corroborated Kerry's heroic deeds.

24 posted on 10/28/2004 9:52:19 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Got Wood?)
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To: ambrose
How long before Kerry says the Prez was incompetent by starting the war too late to safeguard these explosives?
25 posted on 10/28/2004 9:54:06 AM PDT by Feckless
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To: ambrose

I've always thought that David Martin was the best of the CBS reporters, and I think he's given a fairly balanced report here.


26 posted on 10/28/2004 9:55:10 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: jimbo123
"If in the last moment of its existence it did not use them, it means they do not exist."

Bull-malarkey. It means no such thing.

Nice try, though, Putin.

27 posted on 10/28/2004 9:55:42 AM PDT by Allegra (The Astros Done Broke My Heart Again...sigh...)
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To: Woogit

Absolutely, but I will say, it appears on other threads that the liberal press is starting to "jump ship," so to speak.

;-P


28 posted on 10/28/2004 9:57:38 AM PDT by highlandbreeze
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To: ambrose

When is someone going to blame the U.N. for letting Saddam keep that stuff in the first place? If they had done their job, the stuff would have been destroyed long before the war. If it was gross incompetence for Bush to let it get away, it was gross incompetence for the U.N. to let Saddam keep it.


29 posted on 10/28/2004 9:58:16 AM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: ambrose
Bump!
30 posted on 10/28/2004 10:14:46 AM PDT by talleyman (A foreign leader told me on his deathbed: "Kerry is a liar - he just makes stuff up...")
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To: ambrose
I would like the administration to document how many hours have been wasted responding to this hit piece. The media, DNC and all their closet communists are wasting valuable time and money with these poorly researched stories.

We are in a war people. No democrat, in my book can ever say again that they are patriotic Americans when they would put us at risk just to get elected. The DNC needs to be discredited just like islime.

NYT is now saying they released this story early because it was breaking on the Internet? How come yesterday it was because SeeBS was not going to be able to get the people it wanted on camera early enough so the NYT decided to run with it?

31 posted on 10/28/2004 10:16:15 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (I have the biggest organ in my town {;o))
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To: Woogit

Here's another point. No one has asked, nor explained how this Mohammed J. Abbas - General Director of Planning and Following Up Directorate could possibly know that these items disappeared after April 9, 2003? Was he watching the site? Did he go there on April 9th and see them? Or is he by chance one of these who are against the US, linked up with the French, and playing footsie with Al Baredi, getting all the info from him about what to put in the report? How would this guy know WHEN US troops were in that area and then gone?


32 posted on 10/28/2004 10:31:58 AM PDT by Ruth C (learn to analyze rationally and extrapolate consequences ... you might become a conservative)
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To: ambrose

" However, three Iraqis claim to have witnessed wide-scale looting of the site in the days after U.S. troops moved through, according to The New York Times."

What this article conveniently leaves out.. is that these 3 upstanding Iraqi looters said they took computers and scrap metal which they got by breaking down heavy machinery .
One of the looters was an engineer who said he went back and took his records-
hmmmm, this sounds interesting, but, the NYT apparently did not ask him why his records were so important.

But, not one word from the looters that they took or even saw, boxes marked with IAEA seals.
I don't remember the LA rioters forgoing tv sets and sofas, in favor of running down the street with boxes of unknown chemicals marked with UN seals.


33 posted on 10/28/2004 10:38:17 AM PDT by Wild Irish Rogue ( Kerry to our troops-Throw down your arms and surrender !)
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To: ambrose
"I can state officially that the Russian Defense Ministry and its structures couldn't have been involved in the disappearance of the explosives, because all Russian military experts left Iraq when the international sanctions were introduced during the 1991 Gulf War," he told The Associated Press.

There are no Russians in Iraq...

34 posted on 10/28/2004 10:43:22 AM PDT by gridlock (BARKEEP: Why the long face? HORSE: Ha ha, old joke. BARKEEP: Not you, I was talking to JF'n Kerry!)
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To: ambrose
"I can state officially that the Russian Defense Ministry and its structures couldn't have been involved in the disappearance of the explosives, because all Russian military experts left Iraq when the international sanctions were introduced during the 1991 Gulf War," he told The Associated Press.

So we didn't actually hit a Russian convoy by mistake? This statement is addresses the issue with the implicit assumption that the munitions disappeared before the arrival of US troops! :-)

35 posted on 10/28/2004 10:46:10 AM PDT by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: cyncooper; ambrose
Meanwhile, an armed group claimed in a video obtained Thursday to have obtained the explosives and warned that it will use them if foreign troops threaten Iraqi cities.

Wow, we'd better not get close to Baghdad! </sarcasm>

36 posted on 10/28/2004 10:49:00 AM PDT by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: ambrose
Meanwhile, an armed group claimed in a video obtained Thursday to have obtained the explosives and warned that it will use them if foreign troops threaten Iraqi cities.

Oh please. We're supposed to believe that they've just been oh so patient for the last 18 months while foreign troops have been IN Iraqi cities.

37 posted on 10/28/2004 10:51:32 AM PDT by agrace
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To: ambrose

Just on FNC that we may see sat photos as early as today!


38 posted on 10/28/2004 11:17:32 AM PDT by Joe Miner
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To: ambrose; Mudboy Slim; Owl_Eagle
I just happened to glance at the N.Y. Times headlines today, and it said "Bush hits back at Kerry Iraq charges." I laughed when I saw them refer to their own story as Kerry's charges. Gee, the rats who put the story up in the first place couldn't be jumping from a sinking ship, could they? Its great to see the honor and dedication these lefties have for one another!
39 posted on 10/28/2004 11:34:39 AM PDT by HenryLeeII ("How do you ask a goose to be the last goose to die for a shameless political stunt?" -Tony in Ohio)
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To: ambrose
Russia angrily denied the allegations. Defense Ministry spokesman Vyacheslav Sedov dismissed the allegations as "absurd" and "ridiculous."

I can't help wondering if high resolution photos showing Russian made trucks might attenuate this "protesteth too much" jackass?

40 posted on 10/28/2004 12:07:18 PM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.)
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To: ambrose
"Martin reports that the trucks seen on satellite photos could have been at the site for any number of reasons having nothing to do with hauling away the explosives. The Pentagon is trying to correlate the specific geographic coordinates of those bunkers where the explosives were stored with these satellite photos to see if there is evidence that trucks were parked outside those bunkers."

How Pathetic.

The big trucks could have been at Al QaQaa for any reason, but if looters were at Al QaQaa, for sure it was to snatch 1,000 pick-up truck loads of HE! Or 3,000 passenger car-loads, or 12,000 motorcycles or 20, 000 bicycles, or 200,000 looters on foot!

CBS = Convoluted Brain Strain.

41 posted on 10/28/2004 1:26:57 PM PDT by cookcounty (WWW-Will John Kerry seek a 4th Purple Heart for fingers burnt in the Battle of Al-Qa Qaa?)
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To: chemical_boy
" Know what, if this story hadn't been leaked to the Net, debunking of this story wouldn't have happened until after November 2"

Absolutely. What an accelerant.

42 posted on 10/28/2004 1:29:13 PM PDT by cookcounty (WWW-Will John Kerry seek a 4th Purple Heart for fingers burnt in the Battle of Al-Qa Qaa?)
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To: jimbo123

Wow, Putin in deep denial of WMD already on April 11th! "Sarindar" already implemented!!


43 posted on 10/28/2004 1:32:10 PM PDT by cookcounty (WWW-Will John Kerry seek a 4th Purple Heart for fingers burnt in the Battle of Al-Qa Qaa?)
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To: ambrose
Since it isn't feasible to stack explosives without protective wrapping and racking in a warehouse or a bunker with access (not to mention aisles), it should be noted that the explosives in question would require a volume of at least 65,000 cubic feet or a footprint of over two acres if future access was planned and the boxes no more than one foot high.
44 posted on 10/28/2004 1:47:08 PM PDT by Old Professer (About the hearty and haughty the humble harbor a horrid hatred that hobbles the heavy heart.)
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