Why do you say "a lot of emphasis' ? How many of these weather balloons trucks have been captured ?Originally Posted by 2Sheds_Jackson
I'm going to regret posting this, because undoubtedly those with poor reading comprehension scores will draw the wrong conclusions from it. But it does no good to live life at the level of the dumbed-down...so without further ado-
I have many quesitons about this. In fact this prompts more questions than it answers.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12275328/
Lacking biolabs, trailers carried case for war
White House pushed Iraq bioweapons claim despite evidence to contrary
U.S. military personnel examine a suspected mobile biological weapons facility recovered in northern Iraq in April, 2003. The White House announced the trailers were evidence that Saddam Hussein had prohibited weapons systems, but a team of experts dispatched by the Pentagon came to the opposite conclusion.
By Joby Warrick
Updated: 1:28 a.m. ET April 12, 2006
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.
Report shelved while claim went forth
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.
The authors of the reports were nine U.S. and British civilian experts -- scientists and engineers with extensive experience in all the technical fields involved in making bioweapons -- who were dispatched to Baghdad by the Defense Intelligence Agency for an analysis of the trailers. Their actions and findings were described to a Washington Post reporter in interviews with six government officials and weapons experts who participated in the mission or had direct knowledge of it.
None would consent to being identified by name because of fear that their jobs would be jeopardized. Their accounts were verified by other current and former government officials knowledgeable about the mission. The contents of the final report, "Final Technical Engineering Exploitation Report on Iraqi Suspected Biological Weapons-Associated Trailers," remains classified. But interviews reveal that the technical team was unequivocal in its conclusion that the trailers were not intended to manufacture biological weapons. Those interviewed took care not to discuss the classified portions of their work.
"There was no connection to anything biological," said one expert who studied the trailers. Another recalled an epithet that came to be associated with the trailers: "the biggest sand toilets in the world."
Primary piece of evidence
The story of the technical team and its reports adds a new dimension to the debate over the U.S. government's handling of intelligence related to banned Iraqi weapons programs. The trailers -- along with aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq for what was believed to be a nuclear weapons program -- were primary pieces of evidence offered by the Bush administration before the war to support its contention that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction.
Intelligence officials and the White House have repeatedly denied allegations that intelligence was hyped or manipulated in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. But officials familiar with the technical team's reports are questioning anew whether intelligence agencies played down or dismissed postwar evidence that contradicted the administration's public views about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Last year, a presidential commission on intelligence failures criticized U.S. spy agencies for discounting evidence that contradicted the official line about banned weapons in Iraq, both before and after the invasion.
Spokesmen for the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency both declined to comment on the specific findings of the technical report because it remains classified. A spokesman for the DIA asserted that the team's findings were neither ignored nor suppressed, but were incorporated in the work of the Iraqi Survey Group, which led the official search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The survey group's final report in September 2004 -- 15 months after the technical report was written -- said the trailers were "impractical" for biological weapons production and were "almost certainly intended" for manufacturing hydrogen for weather balloons.
"Whether the information was offered to others in the political realm I cannot say," said the DIA official, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.
Others thought trailers had weapons use
Intelligence analysts involved in high-level discussions about the trailers noted that the technical team was among several groups that analyzed the suspected mobile labs throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said. "It was hotly debated, and there were experts making arguments on both sides," said one former senior official who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.
The technical team's findings had no apparent impact on the intelligence agencies' public statements on the trailers. A day after the team's report was transmitted to Washington -- May 28, 2003 -- the CIA publicly released its first formal assessment of the trailers, reflecting the views of its Washington analysts. That white paper, which also bore the DIA seal, contended that U.S. officials were "confident" that the trailers were used for "mobile biological weapons production."
Throughout the summer and fall of 2003, the trailers became simply "mobile biological laboratories" in speeches and press statements by administration officials. In late June, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared that the "confidence level is increasing" that the trailers were intended for biowarfare. In September, Vice President Cheney ****ounced the trailers to be "mobile biological facilities," and said they could have been used to produce anthrax or smallpox.
>snip< story continues 2 more pages
Does anybody else, anywhere, have a requirement for this many weather baloon trailers? Are they all painted olive drab? What did Iraq need with weather baloons? The "experts" opinions go to the design and construction of the trailer - but they have no way to know what the Iraqi's intended to do with them. By that I mean - Rust-Oleum makes paint for garden furniture. Any expert exaimining the can would conclude that it's made to paint garden furniture. When asked if it could be used to get high, they would probably make a statement similar to what these folks said about the trailers "yeah, you could do it but you'd be better off with...." any number of other options not available at the time.
For a nation with crumbling oil infrastructure, a laughable power grid, poor or non-existent sanitation - Iraq sure put an awful lot of emphasis on weather balloons. I don't buy it.
Why do you say "a lot of emphasis' ? How many of these weather balloons trucks have been captured ?Originally Posted by 2Sheds_Jackson
OK I guess could buy that explanation - I suppose that missile units may have some kind of attached weather component. But if that was commonplace, why weren't these rigs immediately discounted?Originally Posted by Trace
Just a minor rant, but I did think this belonged to General Discussion, because this section is titled "Post all non military-related political discussions". This is obviously military related political news.
It will most likely become a political rant-fest, plus, it was posted here by a Moderator...Originally Posted by QRO?
I'm not certain how many have been captured, but I seem to remember that they believed there to be at least 18 of them.Originally Posted by Atlantic Friend
Well it's not news that these trailers were not biolabs - that's been long established. What's news is that the media is on another drive-by, insinuating that Bush knew one thing but said another. Of course that's not what the article says, but it's how it will be spun. And yeah, this will degenerate into a political crapfest soon enough.Originally Posted by QRO?
Personally I think this discovery underscores the need to be more transparent about military intelligence when it's being used to secure backing for a military intervention in a democractic society. It should not be enough for the administration to say "we have evidence" when it's so trivial to spin by giving just the main argument and hiding all of the details.
I hope that if there is a decision in the US to go to Iran to remove nuke potential one day, it happens after much more transparent review of the intelligence. There is ofcourse a counter balance interest in keeping as much knowledge about the enemy facilities and capabilities secret to not let them reshuffle their deck while the public debate is ongoing, but it seems that currently the aspect of not lying to the public is not even a consideration, when basically any direct evidence to the contrary doesn't change the party line at all.
A generation has some resident political memory, so lying your way to get the people back another war with basically the same excuse that turned out to be from completely to at least 75 % bogus, is going to be hell lot of a more difficult the second time. Even if Iran is really building nukes (instead of actually just nuclear power with the extended option of military use much later, currently only playing the nuke card as a bluff for regional politics), then proving it requires a much better show than for OIF.
There have been pretty spectacular swings of public opinion with proper intelligence, for example during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the recon photos were real and nobody was going to deny it.
I think it's news that there was evidence that the biolab claims were wrong when those claims were being made and that the evidence was made available to Washington.Originally Posted by 2Sheds_Jackson
I believe it's much more likely that Bush's speech writers knew about the report and deliberately chose to disregard it than that it got lost somewhere or not believed at all by anyone in a position to suggest a change to the WH spin at the time. Because nobody has gone off the record testifying about the exact internal handling of the report, all we have is the administrations current denial, which doesn't appear very convincing considering the history of the whole issue.
One day after Pentagon-sponsored experts submitted their conclusions in a field report to Washington on May 27th:
based on CIA/DIA assesments,the CIA and DIA publicly issued an assessment that U.S. officials were confident that the trailers were used to produce biological weapons. The assessment said the mobile facilities represented "the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program.
thereforeThe very next day, Bush declared in a Polish television interview, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories.''
sourceWhite House Spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the Post article and a report based on it that aired on ABC News Wednesday morning as irresponsible. He specifically called on ABC to apologize for reporting Bush knew that what he was saying was false.
Just what we needed, another conspiracy theory I'm still working over the 911 one! (fresh from debunking the moon 'hoax' one)Originally Posted by 2Sheds_Jackson
Good link, this is the key point about Bush's knowledge:Originally Posted by He219
So basically they haven't even yet decided on how to play this, to say that they didn't know at all and that the contradictory information was "lost in translation" or alternative B that there "was a disagreement between the experts and we chose to trust the desk jockeys back at Washington/Pentagon/Langley/Bolling and not those experts in the field next to the hydrogen production trailers". It will be interesting to see which one they eventually choose...Originally Posted by NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
Dunno about Iraq but here in Finland we use weather balloons to get weather information for artillery and mortars all the time. I believe every brigade has one 6-metric-ton truck container full of weather information equipment.Originally Posted by 2Sheds_Jackson
You probably mean M 87 (MAMS):Originally Posted by Kaapeli
We have a newer and much lighter system which fits in a 1,5 t trailer as well (including the hydrogen generator):
M 200 (LAMS):
Originally Posted by Vaisala Group
Last edited by QRO?; 04-12-2006 at 08:37 PM.
So whereas one nation has a weather station that fits on a two-wheeled 5' trailer, which includes a weather radar - Iraq uses a fullsize 17' long 8 wheel trailer just to fill balloons. I guess Saddam had money for gold plated AK-47's and toilets but not the latest in balloon filling equipment?
And this begs the question - if these were just your garden variety Applebee's greeter balloon fillers - why is so much of the report about them classified? Judging by the (apparent) size differential between these huge units and much more capable, newer ones - well I'm just going to stop there rather than to ask questions that could get me in trouble.