Thursday, May 11, 2006



UK's The Mirror is reporting today : Some 200,000 guns the US sent to Iraqi security forces may have been smuggled to terrorists....

"The 99-tonne cache of AK47s was to have been secretly flown out from a US base in Bosnia. But the four planeloads of arms have vanished."

The okay for the monumental weapons order came from the US Department of Defence. To get the high powered machine guns to the Iraqi Security forces, an intricate web of arms dealers, many privately owned, was activated.

The same Moldovan airline that was supposed to get the guns into Iraq is the same company the UN ripped into in 2003 for their complicity in smuggling arms to Liberia.

Amnesty chief spokesman Mike Blakemore said: "It's unbelievable that no one can account for 200,000 assault rifles. If these weapons have gone missing it's a terrifying prospect."

The AK47s had been sitting in storage for years, after being seized during the Bosnian War in the 1990s.

The Mirror claims : Nato and US officials have already voiced fears that Bosnian arms - sold by US, British and Swiss firms - are being passed to insurgents.

"There's no tracking mechanism to ensure they don't fall into the wrong hands," a NATO spokesman told The Mirror.

"There are concerns that some may have been siphoned off."

This incredible scandal follows earlier claims that two UK arms firms were caught up in a shipment that went drastically wrong (for unspecified reasons) and resulted in thousands of weapons meant to reach the Iraqi security forces falling into the hands of Al Qaeda instead.

The arms industry is hardly the most respectable industry in the world, despite being one of the biggest. Arms dealers, and arms deals, are rarely reported in the media, even in the business sections of newspapers, even when they're worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and the industry is a magnet for smugglers and criminals, if only because of the influence and prestige that having access to high velocity weapons and powerful missiles and explosives can bring to the traders and smugglers.

The profit factor is something else altogether.

The Mirror claims that an arms broker's lawyer reportedly admitted another shipment of some 1500 AK47s went missing during transportation into the Iraq war zone.

Probably most stunning of all, other arms deals tied directly to the US Department of Defence are going wrong and falling through the cracks of regulators. The Mirror claims a US official said more than £270million of equipment was not traceable.

That's a quarter of a billion dollars worth of killing gear gone missing.

These very same weapons, falling into the hands of Al Qaeda and the Iraqi Insurgency are being used to kill American and British troops.

For now, Amnesty International is doing more to fight the illegal trade of weapons into Iraq than either the US or British governments.

Amnesty spokeswoman Kate Allen was quoted in The Mirror thus, "(the worldwide arms trade) is out of control and costing hundreds of thousands of lives every year."

True, but thousands of people are making billions of dollars along the way.

The global arms trade is not one of the three biggest, and most profitable, industries in the world because those involved are uniquely concerned with morality or ethics.

What's the life of an American soldier, or a Liberian civilian, worth to these kinds of people?

Nothing except the profit that can made from the weapons, and the bullets, that kill them.