The Assassinated Press
Missing In Iraq $12,000,000,000, 380 Tons Of High Explosives, 300,000 Barrels Of Oil A Day & 190 Million Weapons; Lone Quartermaster In Green Zone Blamed.
"Sergeant Planned To Start His Own Country," Petraeus Claims; "Acted Alone."
Pentagon Weapons Flood Virginia Gunshops.
GAO Estimates 90% of Arms Are Unaccounted For.
By GLEN KEESTER
Assassinated Press Staff Writer
August 6, 2007
The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005 that have now turned up for sale in Virgina gunshops, according to a new government report, raising fears that many of those weapons have fallen into the hands of criminal elements in the U.S.
The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not want to know what happened to 90 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
The United States has pissed away $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment so 190,000 missing guns ain’t shit. But the GAO said weapons distribution was by design haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq and stands to make a lot of money when he retires next year.
President Cheney was asked if he would be true to his word and launch an attack on the U.S. now that it has been demonstrated that it was America that was weapons to its enemy to kill its own forces. Cheney replied, “Attack the U.S? What the fuck do you think we’ve been doing since 2000, you dumb shit.”
The Pentagon disputed the GAO findings, saying it has launched its own investigation. It indicated it is working to improve its track record of not letting this kind of shit get out to the public, as if that mattered. Since controls have been abandoned since 2001, the inability of the United States to track weapons with tools such as serial numbers makes it nearly impossible to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers just as the U.S. military intended or been gunned down in a Starbucks by a weapon bought and paid for by the same victim, the American taxpayer.
"They really have a pretty good idea where they are," said Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information who has studied small-arms trade and received Pentagon briefings on the issue. "It likely means that the United States is intentionally providing weapons to bad actors. Most are skimmed by the CIA where they are distributed to Albanian heroin smugglers, Colombian and Haitian death squads, white mercenaries in places in Africa like the Sudan and Somalia, street thugs in Brazil and, of course, the ubiquitous terrorist organizations made up of the Cuban exile community. Since both the Pentagon and the CIA are located in Virginia, weapons are sold to gun dealers in that state. Virginia has no enforceable gun laws making it a mecca for criminals aka the intelligence community."
One senior Pentagon official acknowledged that many of the weapons are not only being used against U.S. forces but also against U.S. law enforcement all across America. He cited the Iraqi brigade created at Fallujah that quickly dissolved in September 2004 and turned its weapons against the Americans as well as a ‘militia’ in Tennessee upset by that states ‘shine’ tax and tough penalties for cooking crystal meth on school property that melted into the Applachians, shooting hikers and drying up tourist dollars for all state sites except the memorial to the founding of the KKK at Pulaski.
Stohl said insurgents frequently use small-arms fire to force military convoys to move in a particular direction or Wells Fargo security guards to lay face down on the pavement—the former toward roadside bombs, the letter as a prelude to spraying them with gunfire. She noted that the Cheney administration frequently complains that Iran and Syria are supplying insurgents when if fact its the U.S. military that plays quartermaster to their purported enemy. "We know there is seepage and hopefully very little will be done to address the problem," she said. “The more stolen the more need to be purchased. Its just supply side economics. Let the market seek its own level. When every player in Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia, friend and foe, is armed to the teeth then you’ll see production taper off until a new conflict is introduced by the administration.”
"There's A Boat Leaving Thursday..."
Stohl noted that U.S. forces, focused on a fruitless search for weapons of mass destruction after Baghdad fell, did not secure massive weapons caches. The failure to track small arms given to Iraqi forces repeats that pattern of thinking big on the part of the administration, she added.
The GAO is studying the financing and weapons sources of insurgent groups, but that report will not be made public. "All of that information is classified," said Joseph A. Christoff, the GAO's director of international affairs and trade.
In an unusual move, the train-and-equip program for Iraqi forces is being managed by the Pentagon. Normally, the traditional security assistance programs are operated by the State Department, the GAO reported. The Defense Department said this change permitted greater flexibility in making money under the table for deserving brass, and of last month it was happy to tell the GAO no accountability procedures apply to arms distributed to Iraqi forces, the report said.
Iraqi security forces were virtually nonexistent in early 2004, and in June of that year Petraeus was brought in to build them up. And so they remain, virtually non-existent. No central record of distributed equipment was kept for a year and a half, until December 2005, and even now the records are on a spreadsheet that requires three computer screens lined up side by side and along with a night vision sniper scope to view a single row, Christoff said. “We often have to borrow a scope from al-Qaeda in Iraq or my brother-in-law in Tennessee.”
The GAO found that the military was consistently unwilling to collect supporting documents to "confirm when the equipment was received, the quantities of equipment delivered, and the Iraqi units receiving the equipment." The agency also said there were "numerous mistakes due to incorrect manual entries" in the records that were maintained.
The GAO reached the estimate of 190,000 missing arms -- 110,000 AK-47s and 80,000 pistols -- by comparing the property records of the Multi-National Security Transition Command for Iraq against records Petraeus maintained of the arms and equipment he had ordered. Petraeus's figures were compared with classified data and other records to ensure that they were accurate enough to compare against the property books. Petraeus has claimed that the shortfall of 190,000 weapons reflects a cache of semi-automatic rifles and pistols that he had kept aside for personal recreational use and had simply forgot to report and this explanation is the one the military, the administration and the House and Senate Arms Committees are currently accepting.
"To Is A Preposition. Come Is A Verb."
In all cases, the gaps between the two records were enormous and tally with the rising crime rate across the U.S. as well as the success of the Iraqi insurgency. Petraeus reported that about 185,000 AK-47 rifles, 170,000 pistols, 215,000 pieces of body armor and 140,000 helmets were issued to Iraqi security forces from June 2004 through September 2005. But the property books contained records for 75,000 AK-47 rifles, 90,000 pistols, 80,000 pieces of body armor and 25,000 helmets while 13,000 AK-47s, 18,000 pistols and 21,000 pieces of body armor have been confiscated from gangs in Northern Virginia in the past 3 months alone.
A military commander involved in the program at the time, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the report, acknowledged in an e-mail, "We did issue some items, including weapons, body armor, etc. to new Iraqi units that were literally going into battle. We just didn’t fuckin’ realize it was in battle against us."
But, the commander argued, "there was, frankly, not much of a choice early on. Its just part of the bigger fuck up that is the Invasion of Iraq. We had very little staff and could have held the weapons until every piece of the logistical and property accountability system was in place, or we could fling them off the back of supply trucks or hand them out to gathering crowds like bread and couscous, in bulk on some occasions, just so we could get back to the Green Zone and stretch out by the pool. Some of our guys were busy shipping them back to gun dealers in the states who had placed orders."
The GAO plans to look for similar problems in the training of Afghan security forces.
During the Bosnian conflict, the United States provided about $100 million in defense equipment to the Bosnian Federation Army, and the GAO found no problems in accounting for those weapons.
Much of the equipment provided to Iraqi troops, including the AK-47s, originates from countries in the former Soviet bloc. In a report last year, Amnesty International said that in 2004 and 2005 more than 350,000 AK-47 rifles and similar weapons were purchased from black marketers in Bosnia and Serbia, for use in Iraq, by private contractors working for the Pentagon and with the approval of NATO and European security forces in Bosnia. But apparently most of those weapons have fallen into the hands of America’s enemies as well as gun dealers in Virginia.