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Weapons of Mass Destruction found already.

  1. May 17, 2004 #1
    Well that did not take long considering the size of Iraq.

    "BAGHDAD, Iraq — A roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent (search) recently exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday.

    Bush administration officials told Fox News that mustard gas (search) was also recently discovered.

    Two people were treated for "minor exposure" after the sarin incident but no serious injuries were reported. Soldiers transporting the shell for inspection suffered symptoms consistent with low-level chemical exposure, which is what led to the discovery, a U.S. official told Fox News.

    "The Iraqi Survey Group confirmed today that a 155-millimeter artillery round containing sarin nerve agent had been found," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt (search), the chief military spokesman in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad. "The round had been rigged as an IED (improvised explosive device) which was discovered by a U.S. force convoy."

    The round detonated before it would be rendered inoperable, Kimmitt said, which caused a "very small dispersal of agent."

    Click to Read the Weapons of Mass Destruction Handbook

    A senior Bush administration official told Fox News that the sarin gas shell is the second chemical weapon discovered recently.

    Two weeks ago, U.S. military units discovered mustard gas that was used as part of an IED. Tests conducted by the Iraqi Survey Group (search) — a U.S. organization searching for weapons of mass destruction — and others concluded the mustard gas was "stored improperly," which made the gas "ineffective."

    They believe the mustard gas shell may have been one of 550 projectiles for which former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein failed to account when he made his weapons declaration shortly before Operation Iraqi Freedom began last year. Iraq also failed to then account for 450 aerial bombs with mustard gas. That, combined with the shells, totaled about 80 tons of unaccounted for mustard gas.

    It also appears some top Pentagon officials were surprised by the sarin news; they thought the matter was classified, administration officials told Fox News.

    An official at the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) headquarters in New York said the commission is surprised to hear news of the mustard gas.

    "If that's the case, why didn't they announce it earlier?" the official asked.

    The UNMOVIC official said the group needs to know more from the Bush administration before it's possible to determine if this is "old or new stuff. It is known that Iraq used sarin during the Iraq-Iran war, however.

    Kimmitt said the shell belonged to a class of ordnance that Saddam's government said was destroyed before the 1991 Gulf war (search). Experts believe both the sarin and mustard gas weapons date back to that time.

    "It was a weapon that we believe was stocked from the ex-regime time and it had been thought to be an ordinary artillery shell set up to explode like an ordinary IED and basically from the detection of that and when it exploded, it indicated that it actually had some sarin in it," Kimmitt said.

    The incident occurred "a couple of days ago," he added. The discovery reportedly occurred near Baghdad International Airport.

    Washington officials say the significance of the find is that some chemical shells do still exist in Iraq, and it's thought that fighters there may be upping their attacks on U.S. forces by using such weapons.

    The round was an old "binary-type" shell in which two chemicals held in separate sections are mixed after firing to produce sarin, Kimmitt said.

    He said he believed that insurgents who rigged the artillery shell as a bomb didn't know it contained the nerve agent, and that the dispersal of the nerve agent from such a rigged device was very limited.

    The shell had no markings. It appears the binary sarin agents didn't mix, which is why there weren't serious injuries from the initial explosion, a U.S. official told Fox News.

    "Everybody knew Saddam had chemical weapons, the question was, where did they go. Unfortunately, everybody jumped on the offramp and said 'well, because we didn't find them, he didn't have them,'" said Fox News military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney.

    "I doubt if it's the tip of the iceberg but it does confirm what we've known ... that he [Saddam] had weapons of mass destruction that he used on his own people," Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told Fox News. "This does show that the fear we had is very real. Now whether there is much more of this we don't know, Iraq is the size of the state of California."

    But there were more reasons than weapons to get rid of Saddam, he added. "We considered Saddam Hussein a threat not just because of weapons of mass destruction," Grassley said.

    Iraqi Scientist: You Will Find More

    Gazi George, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist under Saddam's regime, told Fox News he believes many similar weapons stockpiled by the former regime were either buried underground or transported to Syria. He noted that the airport where the device was detonated is on the way to Baghdad from the Syrian border.

    George said the finding likely will be the first in a series of discoveries of such weapons.

    "Saddam is the type who will not store those materials in a military warehouse. He's gonna store them either underground, or, as I said, lots of them have gone west to Syria and are being brought back with the insurgencies," George told Fox News. "It is difficult to look in areas that are not obvious to the military's eyes.

    "I'm sure they're going to find more once time passes," he continued, saying one year is not enough for the survey group or the military to find the weapons.

    Saddam, when he was in power, had declared that he did in fact possess mustard-gas filled artilleries but none that included sarin.

    "I think what we found today, the sarin in some ways, although it's a nerve gas, it's a lucky situation sarin detonated in the way it did ... it's not as dangerous as the cocktails Saddam used to make, mixing blister" agents with other gases and substances, George said.

    Officials: Discovery Is 'Significant'

    U.S. officials told Fox News that the shell discovery is a "significant" event.

    Artillery shells of the 155-mm size are as big as it gets when it comes to the ordnance lobbed by infantry-based artillery units. The 155 howitzer can launch high capacity shells over several miles; current models used by the United States can fire shells as far as 14 miles. One official told Fox News that a conventional 155-mm shell could hold as much as "two to five" liters of sarin, which is capable of killing thousands of people under the right conditions in highly populated areas.

    The Iraqis were very capable of producing such shells in the 1980s but it's not as clear that they continued after the first Gulf War.

    In 1995, Japan's Aum Shinrikyo (search) cult unleashed sarin gas in Tokyo's subways, killing 12 people and sickening thousands. In February of this year, Japanese courts convicted the cult's former leader, Shoko Asahara, and sentence him to be executed.

    Developed in the mid-1930s by Nazi scientists, a single drop of sarin can cause quick, agonizing choking death. There are no known instances of the Nazis actually using the gas.

    Nerve gases work by inhibiting key enzymes in the nervous system, blocking their transmission. Small exposures can be treated with antidotes, if administered quickly.

    Antidotes to nerve gases similar to sarin are so effective that top poison gas researchers predict they eventually will cease to be a war threat.

    Fox News' Wendell Goler, Steve Harrigan, Ian McCaleb, Liza Porteus, James Rosen and The Associated Press contributed to this report. "
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2004 #2
    Given the US government's utter lack of any form of credibility, I wonder if anyone will believe it's anything other than a US stunt.
  4. May 18, 2004 #3
    the war was justified and bush is a hero! :approve:
  5. May 18, 2004 #4
    Well, with the furore over the torture of the Iraqi prisoners, and the way that Bush is lagging in the opinion polls, is it really surprising that they're claiming to have "found" weapons of mass destruction?
  6. May 18, 2004 #5
    A single shell which supposedly contains trace amounts of a nerve agent is not an arsenal of WMD which imminently threatens the US and its allies. The fact that no one even died in this exposure, or was critically injured, is indicative that the levels of sarin were very low, and most likely a decaying 15-year-old munition.
  7. May 18, 2004 #6
    and to sway public opinion in favor of this war, the CIA staged this giant stockpile consisting of an old decaying bomb. I think you underestimate the CIA Pyrovus
  8. May 18, 2004 #7
    Hey it's Fox News! You can trust fox News!
  9. May 18, 2004 #8


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    I can easily believe that a shell with sarin components was found. I don't think it means much. Iraq was a total mess. That they might have lost a few shells while ferrying them around and trying to hide them 10 years ago is no surprise. One tactic was to hide chemical shells with standard shells. They avoided keeping records for obvious reasons.

    Whoever planted the shell probably thought it was a traditional round. It could not function the way it was used. The mechanism to mix the precursor chemicals required the shell to be fired, not merely detonated. Someone who knew what it was would know this.

    The reason for classifying this find is obvious. We don't want terrorists to realize that they might have a few chemical warheads in their possession. That this was leaked is very disappointing. Someone has decided that a small public relations boost is needed, and the welfare of our people over there can suffer as a result.

  10. May 18, 2004 #9
    Need I again mention the river in Vietnam, the guns, and the people "finding" it?
  11. May 18, 2004 #10
    I agree wtih GRQC and Njorl.
  12. May 18, 2004 #11
    How effective would a 155mm shell with sarin be? What would be its lethal radius? Im thinking that if the shell lands some 50 meters out it wouldn't do nearly as much damage as a direct hit, and if it were a direct hit the sarin wouldn't be needed because the target would be blown to bits from the original 155mm shell (especially if the shell is a high explosive round and not just sabot).

    Absolutely, it is so trustworthy it is even featured on The Simpsons, "This is Fox News, your source for evil"
  13. May 19, 2004 #12


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    3-4 liters, not trace amounts
    No, it's not an arsenal, but let's not forget the axiom "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". I've posted several times about the sense of D'jevu I get with all of this. Does anyone else remember the similar reports post balkans, only in regards to mass graves?

    No, it's not. It could be indicative of the precautions our armed service members have been trained to take with IED's, it could be indicative of a misuse of weaponry. These munitions hold two chemical precursors of sarin are carried in separate chambers in the shell (I believe one is rubbing alchohol). When the shell is fired, the rifling in the barrel spins the shell at a high rate of speed. The spin of the shell ruptures the chambers and mixes the chemicals. I believe there is timer based fuse that goes off in the shell as it nears the ground that aerates and disperses the two precursors in their final form, sarin.

    One would assume that without proper use the mixing would not be thorough and dispersal would be poor, resulting in a less affective weapon. Of course, as Njorl pointed out...now that they have been well informed/instructed in use of this weaponry through the media...their is a significant increase in danger.

    Also, I believe the reason for the seperate chambers was to resolve the issues with degradation of product over time. I'm pretty sure that the duel chambers allowed for a much longer "shelve live" possibly lasting decades.
  14. May 19, 2004 #13
    Nor is it in any way supportive of the bollocks claims of one of the few people to profit from the war.

    And no, they do not have a shelf life of decades.
  15. May 19, 2004 #14


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    The story was intentionally leaked by the military.

  16. May 19, 2004 #15


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    I thought it was once again through the Iraqi Survey Group. Which has a history of releasing faulty info. (if my memory serves me right...) Which, I think explains Rumsfields rather cautious acknowledgement. Perhaps not, but either way it was still disseminated by the media, correct?
  17. May 19, 2004 #16


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    That is what the media do. We have a free press or we don't. While the govenrment can ask the media to refrain from printing some stories, they can't ask the media to not print a story that it is specifically asking them to print!

    Whoever leaked the info did so did it for one of two reasons. As a PR move to deflect news from the prisoner abuse scandal, and hopefully diffuse unrest, or, more likely, to improve George Bush's standing in the polls.

    I would like to think it was the former, and that whoever made the decision decided that the benefit of diminishing unrest outweighed the possible risk of the use of such munitions. I find it much more likely that it was the latter reason though, and that whoever made the decision didn't realize or didn't care about the risk to our troops.

  18. May 19, 2004 #17


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    Lol, or it could be a phsycological move..constantly finding and disproving chemical and biological weaponry..might diffuse the impact when and if there ever is a significant amt found..you know kind of like the boy who called wolf syndrome. :wink:
    At any rate, if there are more (and I believe is bound to be) it's certainly increased the danger for everyone Iraqi civilians and our troops.
  19. May 19, 2004 #18
    The shell dates from the 1980s and a single shell is no proof whatsoever. Anyone claiming that isn't worthy of posting here.
  20. May 19, 2004 #19


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    Source for the date?
  21. May 19, 2004 #20
    Proof of what? That there are no WMDs in Iraq? Is that like only killing someone a little bit, so you can't count it as a full kill? Try getting busted with a little bit of Crack I bet you still go to jail. This refers to any Iraq and UN Security Council Resolution 1441
    Last edited: May 19, 2004
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