Saturday, October 30, 2004


Readers may wish to go to The Adventures of Chester, authored by a Marine veteran of Iraq. He believes the enemy in that town is led by Abu Musab Zarqawi and sketches out the enemy order of battle, which could be from 1 to 8 thousand men.

What is the troop strength of the insurgents in Fallujah? Estimates range from 1000-8000. Does Zarqawi remain in Fallujah? I bet that he is there. After spending months -- actually a year or more -- building a base of support there, it is unlikely that he could replicate anywhere else the command and control that he has built for himself in Fallujah. Plus, his departure would be very demoralizing to those who remain there (though of course, they may not know his whereabouts themselves). Overall, hard to tell how many bad guys are in Fallujah, but the good news is that the place has been surrounded and cordoned off for a couple of weeks now, and it's a good guess that anyone left inside is only there to fight. A cleaner, less confusing battlefield is good for us and bad for them. Also, if Zarqawi hasn't left yet, he ain't getting out now.

Chester points out that while Fallujah is an important objective, it's seizure must be part of the entire reduction of the Al-Anbar insurgent strongholds. Therefore Ramadi is likely to be reduced as well. For more on the possible timings and directions of assault, go to his site.

The upcoming offensive is getting more and more press, more and more frequently. My initial focus was on Fallujah, but now on second thought I think it a certainty that Ramadi is going to be hit too. Look for 5th Marines to hit Ramadi, 1st Marines to assault Fallujah, and 7th Marines to continue guarding the Syrian border in the West, and possibly act as an operational reserve. They've probably shifted a good bit of the armor that is normally a part of 7th Marines (like 1st Tank Battalion) over to either 1st or 5th. Bet on it.

1st Marines is a brigade-sized force of about 3 thousand men and the other units are of the same size, all part of the First Marine Division. Chester's exposition above reveals a great deal about the nature of the conflict the US is facing in Iraq. The deployments suggest that Syria is the operational rear of the insurgents in the Sunni Triangle, which is why 7th Marines has been positioned to interdict the infiltration flow. The infiltration trickle finds its way to various sumps, or collection areas, where they are concentrated, tasked and launched out on attacks. Ramadi and Fallujah are probably typical of these. As Chester pointed out, they serve as command and control and probably training bases.

1st Marines will be supported by attachments, such as a logistics group and both aerial and artillery fires. The Iraqi component may consist of a slightly smaller force. The possible ground force deployed against Fallujah will be on the order of 5,000 men of whom about 3 thousand will be American. A glance at a large scale map (courtesy of Global Security) will give the reader a feel for the terrain.

The enemy has attempted a spoiling attack on a convoy of Marines, possibly a support unit, was hit as it made its way to Fallujah's outskirts today. Eight Marines were killed and the Iraqi troops accompanying them returned fire which may have killed 14 civilians in vehicles on the highway. The pre-battle maneuver may have started in earnest.

On Saturday, insurgents fired mortars at Marine positions outside Fallujah. U.S. troops responded with "the strongest artillery barrage in recent weeks," according to Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert. Later in the afternoon, a Marine Harrier jet bombed a guerrilla mortar position inside Fallujah, then strafed it with machine-gun fire, Gilbert said. He had no reports of insurgent casualties. Crowds of Iraqis peered skyward as a pair of warplanes circled over the rebel-held city, where large explosions rumbled Saturday afternoon. Insurgents fired rockets and mortars toward U.S. Marine positions.

Fallujah watchers will have noticed that the Marines are closing out a last round of negotiations for surrender while they have been progressively shutting down insurgent checkpoints within the city by hitting them with smart munitions. My own speculation is that the negotiations were launched, not in the expectation of getting Zarqawi to lay down his arms, but in order to negotiate a separate peace with the different  factions in town. The impending assault has been used as a negotiating lever to create gaps in the enemy ranks. This process is calculated to blind the enemy by shutting down his pickets and poison his intelligence channels -- not to mention introducing mutual suspicion and internecine fighting.

The main event next week will doubtless be the Presidential elections but for Marines in Anbar, their minds may will be on matters closer at hand.

Osama Bin Laden's Surrender Proposal

Osama Bin Laden released a video whose transcript is given below.

You American people, my speech to you is the best way to avoid another conflict about the war and its reasons and results. I am telling you security is an important pillar of human life. And free people don't let go of their security contrary to Bush's claims that we hate freedom. He should tell us why we didn't hit Sweden for instance. Its known that those who hate freedom don't have dignified the 19 who were blessed. But we fought you because we are free people, we don't sleep on our oppression. We want to regain the freedom of our Muslim nation as you spill our security, we spill your security.

I am so surprised by you. Although we are in the fourth year after the events of Sept 11, Bush is still practicing distortion and misleading on you, and obscuring the main reasons and therefore the reasons are still existing to repeat what happened before. I will tell you the reasons behind theses incidents.

I will be honest with you on the moment when the decision was taken to understand. We never thought of hitting the towers. But after we were so fed up, and we saw the oppression of the American Israeli coalition on our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind and the incidents that really touched me directly goes back to 1982 and the following incidents. When the US permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon with the assistance of the 6th fleet. In these hard moments, it occurred to me so many meanings I cant explain but it resulted in a general feeling of rejecting oppression and gave me a hard determination to punish the oppressors. While I was looking at the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it came to my mind to punish the oppressor the same way and destroy towers in the US to get a taste of what they tasted, and quit killing our children and women.

We didn't find difficulty dealing with Bush and his administration due to the similarity of his regime and the regimes in our countries. Whish half of them are ruled by military and the other half by sons of kings and presidents and our experience with them is long. Both parties are arrogant and stubborn and the greediness and taking money without right and that similarity appeared during the visits of Bush to the region while people from our side were impressed by the US and hoped that these visits would influence our countries. Here he is being influenced by these regimes, Royal and military. And was feeling jealous they were staying for decades in power stealing the nations finances without anybody overseeing them. So he transferred the oppression of freedom and tyranny to his son and they call it the Patriot Law to fight terrorism. He was bright in putting his sons as governors in states and he didn't forget to transfer his experience from the rulers of our region to Florida to falsify elections to benefit from it in critical times.

We agreed with Mohamed Atta, god bless him, to execute the whole operation in 20 minutes. Before Bush and his administration would pay attention and we never thought that the high commander of the US armies would leave 50 thousand of his citizens in both towers to face the horrors by themselves when they most needed him because it seemed to distract his attention from listening to the girl telling him about her goat butting was more important than paying attention to airplanes butting the towers which gave us three times the time to execute the operation thank god.

Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or Al Qaeda. Your security is in your hands. Each state that doesn't mess with our security has automatically secured their security.

It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out.

The American answer to Osama's proposal will be given on Election Day. One response is to agree that the United States of America will henceforth act like Sweden, which is on track to become majority Islamic sometime after the middle of this century. The electorate best knows which candidate will serve this end; which candidate most promises to be European-like in attitude and they can choose that path with both eyes open. The electorate can strike that bargain and Osama may keep his word. The other course is to reject Osama's terms utterly; to recognize the pleading in his outwardly belligerent manner and reply that his fugitive existence; the loss of his sanctuaries; the annihilation of his men are but the merest foretaste of what is yet to come: to say that to enemies such as he, the initials 'US' will always mean Unconditional Surrender.

Osama has stated his terms. He awaits America's answer.

Friday, October 29, 2004


Reader N, who identifies himself as a retired EOD officer, amplifies his earlier comments on the contents of the bunker filmed by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

Yes, it could have been RDX, HMX or any number of 1.1D explosives. It is difficult to see as they were filming inside the bunker and were dependant on the light coming through the door. I believe that the number 239 right next to the 1.1D placard raises serious issues with the position stated by Mr. David Kay. It could very well be that the Iraqi Army, largely trained in the old days by the Brit's, utilized the UN system of identifying and storing ordnance/explosives. The 239 number could have been placed on the drum by the manufacturer as well. We know the French have supplied them with ordnance and the French utilize the UN system! The UN number 239 is nitro starch, a rather slow detonation speed of 16,000 fps. This makes it a good choice for blasting, a filler for ordnance, or a booster for other slower explosive charges like ANFO( Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil).

If they had these huge quantities of HMX and RDX, why does this clip from channel 5 also show boosters and dynamite in the same bunker? These numbers quoted by the IAEA for the HMX and RDX are so large you would have entire bunkers filled with nothing but HMX and RDX.

If per the clip, it was dynamite (and not TNT or wrapped nitro starch as I previously stated); I can't imagine why anyone would place dynamite with any of your other explosives, especially not an expensive and IAEA monitored explosive like RDX and HDX. Dynamite needs constant attention, especially in hot climates. The nitroglycerin will leech out of the stick and form highly dangerous crystals. Dynamite must be constantly rotated to keep it from leeching. If I were an IAEA inspector, I wouldn't want to go into a bunker in Iraq where I knew dynamite was stored with the HMX, if you know what I mean! Leeching dynamite is a large enough problem in this country, but Iraq with the heat and questionable maintenance issues?

Boosters, why would boosters be placed in the same bunker with HMX? HMX and RDX certainly don't need boosters. Every time I wanted a boosting charge for blasting I would have to violate the IAEA seal to get at the booster charges. What was described as boosters on the film and what I saw was something that one would utilize for blasting purposes. Boosters are placed inside something like Ammonium Nitrate which detonates at 3,300 to 8,200 FPS (See the below link) and is utilized for blasting. Boosters contain things like Pentolite which detonates at 24,500fps. I think that what we may be looking at on that channel 5 clip is a bunker filled with explosives that are most commonly utilized for boosting other explosives for blasting purposes and/or just straight explosives more commonly utilized for blasting or fillers for ordnance.

It's one heck of a coincidence that the number 239 is right next to that 1.1D placard; 239 is the UN symbol for nitro starch; and this 1.1D placard 239 is shown in the clip in a bunker with other obvious booster charges!

His main points then are:

  • the material is visually ambiguous and identifying it as HDX is inconsistent with the labeling, at least in his opinion
  • the other material in bunker appears to be non-UN controlled explosives and he wonders why these are also behind UN seal

The gist of the argument against is whether an ambiguous substance found together with ordinary explosive should be identified as HDX. The main arguments for its identification as HDX is the presence of the UN seal and David Kay's identification of the material as such. The presence of the UN seal, assuming it is genuine is two-edged however,  considering the presence of ordinary explosive behind it.

More from reader N, who was an EOD officer.

Additional information on the Channel 5 clip concerning the IAEA HMX explosives. The number 239 next to the 1.1 D placard on the drums is very difficult to explain away. Storing boosters (other explosives) with IAEA monitored RDX and HMX behind sealed doors doesn't pass the common sense test. Why would anyone place useable explosives (the boosters) behind a door that they can't enter. They wouldn't do it. Explosive items like the boosters are highly valued items in that part of the world. In the U. S. and the Western world one might say just throw those other explosives in with the IAEA monitored RDX and HMX, we don't really need them now. I don't see them mingling these explosives which for all practicable purposes would be written off..

Concerning safety and storage compatibility, I just wonder if the IAEA might not have dictated to the Iraqis that NO other explosive items be stored with the RDX and HMX explosives. Compatibility and safety issues were huge problems for our soldiers in Bosnia who were entering explosive bunkers where various explosives can't be stored with other explosive items. A worst case example that occurred in Bosnia was storing blasting caps (primary explosives for initiating a charges) in the same vicinity as the detonating explosives (secondary explosives). It is dangerous business entering into an ordnance bunker not knowing what is contained in that bunker which raises another issue.

The IAEA must have a list of all ordnance contained within a IAEA monitored explosive bunker! Explosive items have a shelf life and some need to be destroyed as they become dangerous with age. Why would the IAEA seal off a bunker that contains other explosive items not monitored by the IAEA and not be knowledgeable of all the items in the bunker for safety purposes?

Are they RDX or HMX?

The substance in the bunker is HMX, at least according to David Kay. In an interview with CNN, Kay analyzes the material seen in the video. The close up of the white powder stored in barrels described by David Kay is in this still from Fox News.

BROWN: I don't know how better to do this than to show you some pictures, have you explain to me what they are or are not, OK? First, I'll just call it the seal and tell me if this is an IAEA seal on that bunker at that munitions dump.

KAY: Aaron, as about as certain as I can be looking at a picture, not physically holding it, which obviously I would have preferred to have been there, that's an IAEA seal. I've never seen anything else in Iraq in about 15 years of being in Iraq and around Iraq that was other than an IAEA seal of that shape.

BROWN: And was there anything else at the facility that would have been under IAEA seal?

KAY: Absolutely nothing. It was the HMX, RDX, the two high explosives.

BROWN: OK. Now, I want to take a look at the barrels here for a second and you can tell me what they tell you. They obviously to us just show us a bunch of barrels. You'll see it somewhat differently.

KAY: Well, it's interesting. There were three foreign suppliers to Iraq of this explosive in the 1980s. One of them used barrels like this and inside the barrel is a bag. HMX is in powdered form because you actually use it to shape a spherical lens that is used to create the triggering device for nuclear weapons.

And, particularly on the videotape, which is actually better than the still photos, as the soldier dips into it that's either HMX or RDX. I don't know of anything else in al Qa Qaa that was in that form.

BROWN: Let me ask you then, David, the question I asked Jamie. In regard to the dispute about whether that stuff was there when the Americans arrived, is it game, set, match? Is that part of the argument now over?

KAY: Well, at least with regard to this one bunker and the film shows one seal, one bunker, one group of soldiers going through and there were others there that were sealed, with this one, I think it is game, set and match.

There was HMX, RDX in there. The seal was broken and quite frankly to me the most frightening thing is not only is the seal broken and the lock broken but the soldiers left after opening it up. I mean to rephrase the so-called (UNINTELLIGIBLE) rule if you open an arms bunker, you own it. You have to provide security.

BROWN: That raises a number of questions. Let me throw out one. It suggests that maybe they just didn't know what they had.

KAY: I think quite likely they didn't know they had HMX, which speaks to the lack of intelligence given troops moving through that area but they certainly knew they had explosives.

And to put this in context, I think it's important this loss of 360 tons but Iraq is awash with tens of thousands of tons of explosives right now in the hands of insurgents because we did not provide the security when we took over the country.

The Belmont Club received an email from reader N, who says he is a retired EOD officer. It is reproduced below.

As a retired Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer I have some problems with the Channel 5 story. It appears to me that they are in a bunker filled with blasting agents (slower detonation rates for moving rock, see link below on detonation rates) . First we see boosters, (they would commonly be inserted into a bag of ANFO(ammonium nitrate fuel oil) or nitro starch for blasting. Then we see what is described as dynamite but is more likely TNT or wrapped nitro starch (see GI story below) and lastly those big cardboard barrels which appear to be a white powder. Note the number beside the 1.1D placard on the barrel, it says 239. Now 239 may very well be the U. N. number system for ammunition and explosives (see first link below). The U. S. does not utilize the U. N. system nor does the former USSR or it's satellites. When I was in Bosnia we put the Bosnians on the UN system to get some organization established for safety purposes. Please note the first site below from Australia and we can see they are most probably on the UN system: (239 NITROSTARCH, dry or wetted with less than 20% water, by mass). Common sense to me would be that HMX, one of the most powerful and expensive explosives WOULD NOT BE PACKAGED IN CARDBOARD BARRELS!

The much anticipated testimony from 3ID personnel that they moved explosives from Al Qa Qaa does not clarify matters much. Fox News reports that:

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Army officer came forward Friday to say a team from his 3rd Infantry Division took about 250 tons of munitions and other material from the Al-Qaqaa (search) arms-storage facility soon after Saddam Hussein's regime fell in April 2003. Explosives were part of the load taken by the team, but Major Austin Pearson was unable to say what percentage they accounted for.

The Pentagon believes the disclosure helps explain what happened to 377 tons of high explosives that the International Atomic Energy Agency (search) said disappeared after the U.S.-led invasion. Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita acknowledged the Defense Department did not have all the answers and could not yet account for all of the missing explosives, but stressed that the major's disclosure was a significant development in unraveling the mystery. "We've described what we know, and as we know more we'll describe that," said DiRita.

The Washington Post has more:

Maj. Austin Pearson, speaking at a press conference at the Pentagon, said his team removed 250 tons of TNT, plastic explosives, detonation cords, and white phosporous rounds on April 13, 2003 -- 10 days after U.S. forces first reached the Qaqaa site. "I did not see any IAEA seals at any of the locations we went into. I was not looking for that," Pearson said.

Di Rita sought to point to Pearson's comments as evidence that some RDX, one of the high-energy explosives, might have been removed from the site. RDX is also known as plastic explosive. But Di Rita acknowledged: "I can't say RDX that was on the list of IAEA is what the major pulled out. ... We believe that some of the things they were pulling out of there were RDX."

This does not bear directly on what was in the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS video, because we have no way of knowing whether Major Pearson is talking about the same bunker. Here's the data so far.

March 17, 2003 DOD overhead showing trucks loading material from the Al Qa Qaa IAEA site
April 4, 2003 A 3ID searches the area, finds thousands of boxes containing 3 vials of white powder and chemical warfare instructions.
April 10, 2003 An NBC news team embedded with 101st Airborne tours through the area. Sees little.
April 13, 2003 Major Austin Pearson removes 250 tons of explosive from the area. Sees no IAEA seal.
April 18, 2003 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS team shoots video showing a bunker with what looks like an intact IAEA seal, plus video of carboard barrels with small bags of material which David Kay identifies as RDX.

The unknowns are:

  1. What were in those cardboard barrels? How much HMX could have been in them?
  2. Did Pearson examine the same bunker the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS team videotaped? How did the seals get back on if so.
  3. What bunker was being unloaded in the DOD video? Was this the same bunker the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS team entered?


The Return of the RDX

A report by ABC's 5 EyeWitness News, KSTP has images of the Al Qa Qaa site showing bunkers containing drums of explosive. KSTP says the images were taken on April 18, 2003 while a news unit was touring the area with members of the 101st Airborne. View the images by following the link.

Using GPS technology and talking with members of the 101st Airborne Division, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has determined the crew embedded with the troops may have been on the southern edge of the Al Qaqaa installation, where the ammunition disappeared. The news crew was based just south of Al Qaqaa, and drove two or three miles north of there with soldiers on April 18, 2003.  During that trip, members of the 101st Airborne Division showed the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS news crew bunker after bunker of material labelled "explosives." Usually it took just the snap of a bolt cutter to get into the bunkers and see the material identified by the 101st as detonation cords. ...

"We can stick it in those and make some good bombs." a soldier told our crew. There were what appeared to be fuses for bombs. They also found bags of material men from the 101st couldn't identify, but box after box was clearly marked "explosive."

Once the doors to the bunkers were opened, they weren't secured. They were left open when the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew and the military went back to their base. Officers with the 101st Airborne told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the bunkers were within the U.S. military perimeter and protected. But Caffrey and former 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Reporter Dean Staley, who spent three months together in Iraq, said Iraqis were coming and going freely. "At one point there was a group of Iraqis driving around in a pick-up truck,"Staley said. "Three or four guys we kept an eye on, worried they might come near us."

On Wednesday, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS e-mailed still images of the footage taken at the site to experts in Washington to see if the items captured on tape are the same kind of high explosives that went missing in Al Qaqaa. Those experts could not make that determination. The footage is now in the hands of security experts to see if it is indeed the explosives in question.

The images show wooden boxes, one of which is labeled "Contract No. 8702 Al QaQaa State Establishment Latifiya I.K. Lot No 1 Net Wt 40 kg Case No. 3259".  Inside each box are about 40 cylinderical packages each with a depression or marking in the center of the long axis. The actual explosive is not visible because of the packaging. (RDX in some forms may resemble a powder like cornstarch) There is also an image of unmarked cardboard cylinders of unknown size, because there is no object in the image to give it scale, marked "Explosiv Explosive 1.1 D". However, judging from the downward angle of the photograph, which looks to be taken with flash, the cardboard cylinders are about 3 feet tall or smaller. Some of them have their covers prised open, despite testimony that the bolts were cut by the 101st troopers on arrival, but this may be because they were stockpiled in an open condition.

For an explanation of the "1.1 D" designation, we turn to the US Army Corps of Engineers definitions as they apply to RDX and HMX.

RDX: "Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine, wetted, with not less than 15 percent water by mass , 1.1D, UN0072, PGII

HMX: "Cyclotrimethylenetetranitramine, wetted, with not less than 15 percent water by mass, 1.1D, UN0226, PGII"

The Captain's Quarters points out that RDX and HMX would only be labeled 1.1D if they contained at least 15% water. Since cardboard cylinders or wooden crates are hardly the place to store wetted substances, he believes that "1.1D" designation refers to the plethora of dry munitions which are covered by that designation -- precisely the kind of stuff the 101st AB troopers thought they were looking at.

Specifically there are 79 other substances and types of explosive material and supporting equipment that would get the 1.1 D label, including gunpowder, flexible detonating cord, photo-flash bombs, mines, nitroglycerin, rocket warheads, grenades, fuzes, torpedoes and charges. And few of them require any liquid dilution.

The material in the cardboard cylinders could have been the RDX, but this is at odds with the label and the lost amounts are inconsistent with the visible quantity. However, there may have been storage area outside the field of view of the camera. We should note that the door, according KSTP was still barred by an IAEA seal, whose closeups can be seen here. The seal in question bears IAEA number 144322 and has been color-coded purple.

"A spokesperson for the International Atomic Energy Agency told 5 Eyewitness News that seal appears to be one used by their inspectors. "In Iraq they were used when there was a concern that this could have a, what we call, dual use purpose, that there could be a nuclear weapons application."

Because a seal was present in the bunker visited by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, it should have been one of interest to the IAEA.  From the IAEA seal number, it should be a simple database lookup to see what the bunker's recorded contents were according to the UN. But why on earth should the IAEA put ordinary explosives under seal? Why control ordinary military munitions? The detcord and fuses found in the bunker which the troopers joked about with the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reporters are not exactly the kind of stuff that makes up WMD raw materials. But we should recall that the IAEA had not actually looked inside the bunkers and seen the actual RDX during its last mission in March, 2003 but had had simply relied upon the existence of the seals for verification.

Three months earlier, during an inspection of the Al Qaqaa compound, the International Atomic Energy Agency secured and sealed 350 metric tons of HMX and RDX. Then in March, shortly before the war began, the I.A.E.A. conducted another inspection and found that the HMX stockpile was still intact and still under seal. But inspectors were unable to inspect the RDX stockpile and could not verify that the RDX was still at the compound.

The DOD suggested that Al Qa Qaa may have been emptied of some munitions prior to the war. It offers as proof overhead imagery taken two days after the last IAEA inspectors left Al Qa Qaa showing a flatbed truck in front of a set of bunkers containing the HMX.

This picture shows two trucks parked outside one of the 56 bunkers of the Al Qa Qaa Explosive Storage Complex approximately 20 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, on March 17, 2003. It is not believed that all 56 bunkers contained High Melting Explosive also known as HMX. A large, tractor-trailer (yellow arrow) is loaded with white containers with a smaller truck parked behind it. The International Atomic Energy Association inspectors identified bunkers in this complex as containing High Melting Explosive. We believe members of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission visited the Al Qa Qaa complex on March 15, 2003, and withdrew its staff two days later on March 17. The Al Qa Qaa Explosive Storage Complex was occupied by Iraqi forces, who fired on U.S. forces when they entered on April 3, 2003.

The reader is invited to click on the high-resolution version of the DOD overhead image. The doors appear to be open and a forklift seems visible at right angles to the flatbed. The upper right corner of a stack of white boxes is still missing, presumably awaiting another load from the forklift. The white boxes themselves appear to be about 1 cubic meter in size.  Recalling the specific gravity of RDX is 1.7 and allowing for packaging, we are looking at a load of about 20 to 30 tons in the 40 or so packages that would fit on the flatbed. Recalling that a standard 40 foot container is about 13 meters in length, it is obvious by scale comparison that the bunkers in question were not very large -- about 20 x 30 x 5 meters in size. The usable storage volume of that bunker would be about 600-900 cubic meters. Therefore, while it is possible for about 350 tons of RDX to be lurking unremarked in the bunker outside the field of view visited by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, it is not likely. So the journalist's pictures are it or nothing. If the boxes in the videos are not identified as containers of dual-use or IAEA controlled explosives, and are in fact merely ordinary munitions behind UN seal it will be devastating for Baradei. That would be like discovering your wedding ring is costume jewelry.

The seals themselves are not very impressive and can be visually counterfeited by any machine shop. Presumably, the IAEA could measure other secret physical characteristics of the seal to determine whether it had been tampered with. All that can be said is that 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and 101st Airborne soldiers opened a door that was apparently sealed by the IAEA and it contained some ordinary explosive, visible in the video and described by the soldiers to the newsmen, although it may have contained other things.

We are left with a some mysteries which may be solved in the next few days. First, what were those "bags of material men from the 101st couldn't identify"? The description is unlikely to refer to the RDX. Three hundred and fifty tons is a huge amount as already pointed out. The reader may judge for himself,  from these KSTP images especially, how feasible it may have been to transport 350 tons from inside a 101st Airborne perimeter, however loose it was. There is eyewitness evidence that a group of Iraqis were driving around in a pickup truck but it would require hundreds of pickup truck loads to move 350 tons. My own personal opinion is that it would have been extremely unlikely. We are still not clear on where the 3ID team concentrated its search of April 3. It seems certain that they did not enter the bunker in question as they would not have replaced the seals, fake or not. They would have left it open or secured with another type of lock. But that is nothing as to the mystery of why, if the DOD imagery shows a forklift loading from an open bunker, the seals should have replaced themselves by the time the 101st got there.

A variety of scenarios are possible from this data. First, 350 tons of RDX were in the warehouse when 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS visited but no one recognized it and it was subsequently stolen, either carried off on foot by looters or loaded into dozens of flatbeds with no one the wiser. The second is that it was taken in the time between the departure of the IAEA staff and the arrival of US forces. The third was that it was already gone behind the flimsy seal even during the last UN inspection.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Noonday Train

Twenty years of European and UN Middle Eastern policy may be lying on the deathbed with Arafat. That they had to fly in doctors to treat him in a makeshift clinic underscores how, after 50 years of UN relief and billions in European investment, there are no Palestinian institutions. Not even decent hospitals for its supreme leader. The downside of the Arab Way of War -- the Intifada in this case -- is that the concept of victory through denial is inherently pyrrhic.  'We burned our village in order to keep it from falling into enemy hands' is like lighting a match to examine the gas tank; it works but misses the point.

Palestine was cursed by the example of Algeria, which after evicting the French, could spend the next three decades cleansing itself of the poisons of terrorism. Arafat forgot that the Jews, unlike the French in Algeria, were as much a part of region as themselves. In place of protracted war, which at all events ends, Arafat embarked upon an eternal war with the eternal Jew. He would enter Algeria's tunnel of terror with no light at the end of it.

The Intifada may have hurt Israel, but it consumed Palestine, leaving it with only the counterfeit of a functioning society. Terrorism leaves nothing but ash. And when Arafat dies, as all men must, his legacy, no less than his corpse will be contested by a swarm of pretenders -- a power struggle, of possibly surpassing savagery among men nurtured -- at the European taxpayer's dime -- for their skill at terror. The Guardian has a piece, really an advance obituary, describing how only America, Israel and England refused to invest in Arafat. They mean it as reproof, unaware even of its irony.

If Mr Arafat is unable to continue as leader of the Palestinians, that too will change the politics of the region. The US and Israel, and latterly Britain, have refused to work with him, claiming he is unreliable and untrustworthy.

His successor could come from one of the new generation of politicians, either the younger Palestinians who came to the West Bank and Gaza with him from exile in Tunis 10 years ago, or the generation that was brought up in the West Bank and Gaza and led the first intifada in 1987 and participated or led the second one that began in September 2000.  ... But the succession might not be that simple. Groups outside Mr Arafat's Fatah organisation might want a claim on leadership, not least the Islamist organisation Hamas that dominates life in Gaza.

European policymakers may have realized, in some dim corner of their minds, that this day would come; but continued to invest in the frail man who now lies at death's threshold. Now the hour has come and the devil is at the door. Not just for Arafat, but for a whole failed policy. The Kansas City Star reports:

The sudden decline in Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's health Wednesday night has widened a power vacuum that has already grown into a chasm in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip, and opens the real possibility of chaos and civil war in one of the world's most dangerous regions. ...

Even before the announcement of the Arafat's rapid decline Wednesday evening, factional fighting had left several cities in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories under the control of warring factions in the last year. In Jenin, a young firebrand named Zakaria Zubeidi has run the city for months, and has driven out other Palestinian officials.

In other cities, mayors have been run out of town, while other leaders have been killed by militants who are forging links with criminal gangs. There are few functioning municipal authorities and few signs of police authority. ...

While diplomats tend to discuss possible successors among the polished, urbane Palestinian political class, any realistic effort to understand what's next will have to take into account the Palestinian street, which is where the real power resides. And there is little indication thus far that any single leader can stem the political erosion Arafat and his supporters are already facing.

Liberal circles have derided the neoconservative idea of bringing democratic institutions to the Middle East as a pipe dream. Edward Said magisterially warned:

I wish I could say that general understanding of the Middle East, the Arabs and Islam in the United States has improved somewhat, but alas, it really hasn't. For all kinds of reasons, the situation in Europe seems to be considerably better. In the US, the hardening of attitudes, the tightening of the grip of demeaning generalization and triumphalist cliché, the dominance of crude power allied with simplistic contempt for dissenters and "others" has found a fitting correlative in the looting and destruction of Iraq's libraries and museums. What our leaders and their intellectual lackeys seem incapable of understanding is that history cannot be swept clean like a blackboard, clean so that "we" might inscribe our own future there and impose our own forms of life for these lesser people to follow. It is quite common to hear high officials in Washington and elsewhere speak of changing the map of the Middle East, as if ancient societies and myriad peoples can be shaken up like so many peanuts in a jar.

And heeding this advice, the Old Continent handed Arafat all the chalk he wanted to write what he wist. It would be nice if Europe were forced to live out the consequences of their policy -- to wed their superior vision to Arafat's perishable breath. But don't bet on it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The RDX Problem Resolves Itself

A little more data for the RDX pot. Whatever the MSNBC embeds saw with the 101st, the 3ID which preceded them saw more. It searched Al Qa Qaa and found suspicious material  Instapundit  finds this reference in CBS via the Captain's Quarters.

April 4, 2003. CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reports that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction continues at sites where the U.S. thought chemicals weapons might be hidden. "And although there are no reports of actual weapons being found, there are constant finds of suspicious material," Martin said. "It obviously will take laboratory testing to find out exactly what that powder is." U.S. troops found thousands of boxes of white powder, nerve agent antidote and Arabic documents on how to engage in chemical warfare at an industrial site south of Baghdad. But a senior U.S. official familiar with initial testing said the materials were believed to be explosives. Col. John Peabody, engineer brigade commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the materials were found Friday at the Latifiyah industrial complex just south of Baghdad.

... The facility had been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency as a suspected chemical, biological and nuclear weapons site. U.N. inspectors visited the plant at least nine times, including as recently as Feb. 18. The facility is part of a larger complex known as the Latifiyah Explosives and Ammunition Plant al Qa Qaa.  The senior U.S. official, based in Washington and speaking on condition of anonymity, said the material was under further study. The site is enormous and U.S. troops are still investigating it for potential weapons of mass destruction, the official said. "Initial reports are that the material is probably just explosives, but we're still going through the place," the official said. Peabody said troops found thousands of boxes, each of which contained three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare.

The contemporaneous CBS report, written before anyone knew al Qa Qaa would be a big deal, establishes two important things. The first is that 3ID knew it was looking through an IAEA inspection site. The second was that the site had shown unmistakable signs of tampering before the arrival of US troops. "Peabody said troops found thousands of boxes, each of which contained three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare." Now presumably those thousands of boxes were not all packaged and labeled with chemical warfare instructions under IAEA supervision, so the inescapable conclusion is that a fairly large and organized type of activity had been under way in Al Qa Qaa for some time. It is important to reiterate that these are contemporaneous CBS reports which were filed no with foreknowledge of the political controversy to come.

Michael Totten wonders why "there is no mention of 380 tons of HDX and RDX". Perhaps the reason the RDX isn't mentioned can be found via a link through Josh Marshall, quoting NBC's Jim Miklaszewski. (Hat tip reader Trebbers in Comments)

Following up on that story from last night, military officials tell NBC News that on April 10, 2003, when the Second Brigade of the 101st Airborne entered the Al QaQaa weapons facility, south of Baghdad, that those troops were actually on their way to Baghdad, that they were not actively involved in the search for any weapons, including the high explosives, HMX and RDX. The troops did observe stock piles of conventional weapons but no HMX or RDX. And because the Al Qaqaa facility is so huge, it's not clear that those troops from the 101st were actually anywhere near the bunkers that reportedly contained the HMX and RDX. Three months earlier, during an inspection of the Al Qaqaa compound, the International Atomic Energy Agency secured and sealed 350 metric tons of HMX and RDX. Then in March, shortly before the war began, the I.A.E.A. conducted another inspection and found that the HMX stockpile was still intact and still under seal. But inspectors were unable to inspect the RDX stockpile and could not verify that the RDX was still at the compound.

Here we discover the rather important fact that the UN inspectors hadn't actually seen the RDX in their final inspections. They just assumed it was there because the seals were intact. So let's put it all together. The UN inspectors conduct their final inspection before OIF without actually having seen the RDX. The 3ID reach the site on April 4, 2003, know they are looking at an IAEA site and find thousands of white boxes which they suspect may be chemical weapons. The boxes are labeled with chemical warfare instructions. On April 10, the Second Brigade of 101st Airborne arrives with press embeds. They look around but press on with their main combat mission. From this the NYT comes to the conclusion that the RDX was lost after the US assumed custody of the site. It is worthwhile to reiterate the NYT's key assertions. In their article of October 25, the Times said:

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

It turned out that White House and Pentagon officials had acknowledged no such thing. The next day, the NYT reported:

White House officials reasserted yesterday that 380 tons of powerful explosives may have disappeared from a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not find the explosives when they visited the complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell. But the unit's commander said in an interview yesterday that his troops had not searched the facility and had merely stopped there for the night on their way to Baghdad. The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, said he did not learn until this week that the site, known as Al Qaqaa, was considered highly sensitive, or that international inspectors had visited there shortly before the war began in 2003 to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a decade of monitoring.

In the light of the unearthed contemporaneous CBS report, the NYT's use of an interview with the Col. Anderson is totally worthless. They interviewed the wrong unit commander. It was a 3ID outfit that searched the place with the intent of discovering dangerous materials nearly six days before. The 101st had no such mission. Moreover, the NYT's innuendo that "the huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years ..." suggests a well-manicured facility that had been run to seed by knuckle-dragging American incompetence after faithful care by the IAEA. It totally ignores the disorderly condition in which 3ID found it, where, if the NYT correspondents had been present, they might have taken home their own boxes "with three vials of white powder, together with documents in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare" -- surely a sign it was untampered with, unless the NYT wishes to assert the contrary and thereby destroy their own case.

Incidentally, the condition of Al Qa Qaa is yet more indirect proof of the redeployment of war materiel which took place under the cover of UN obstruction, most notably by barring 4ID from attacking south through Turkey into the Sunni Triangle, which was the subject of Belmont Club's War Plan Orange.

The RDX Story Develops

It seems fair to say that MSNBC is not saying that the missing RDX was already missing from al Qa Qaa when their embedded reporters arrived in Baghdad with US troops. So MSNBC cannot reasonably be used to support the contention the site had already been stripped of RDX..

Army officials told NBC News on condition of anonymity that troops from the Army’s 3rd Infantry did not arrive at Al-Qaqaa until April 4, finding "looters everywhere" carrying what they could out on their backs. The troops searched bunkers and found conventional weapons but no high explosives, the officials said. Six days later, the 101st Airborne Division arrived. Neither group was specifically searching for HMX or RDX, and the complex is so large — with more than 1,000 buildings — that it is not clear that the troops even saw the bunkers that might have held the explosives.

What the DOD is willing to say on the record is this:

McClellan said the Defense Department ordered an inquiry of the missing weapons, directing Multinational Force Iraq and the Iraq Survey Group to come up with a comprehensive assessment about what happened to them.

The Iraqi government reported an estimated 350 tons of missing explosives Oct. 10 to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a U.N. monitoring group that last inventoried the facility in January 2003.

During that visit, the U.N. inspectors counted the munitions and equipment and tagged them with IAEA seals that indicate they are "dual use," or have conventional-weapons applications. These munitions were generally permitted to remain in Iraq. In contrast, "single use" munitions with nuclear applications were destroyed or rendered harmless. The IAEA returned to the site two months later, in March 2003, and confirmed the equipment it had tagged was still there.

However, coalition forces found no evidence of the weapons in question when they first arrived at the sprawling Al-Quaqaa facility, 30 miles south of Baghdad, about April 10, 2003, according to a defense official. The troops searched 32 bunkers and 87 other buildings, finding some weapons and explosive material, but nothing close to the quantity reported missing by the Iraqi government, and none with IAEA seals, he said.

In an Oct. 10, 2004, letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed J. Abbas, general director of the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology's Planning and Following Up Directorate, reported that 195 tons of high-melting explosive, 141 tons of rapid-detonating explosive, and 6 tons of pentaerythrite tetranitrate, another type of explosive commonly known as PETN, "registered under the IAEA custody were lost" after April 9, 2003.

Abbas blamed the loss on "the theft and looting of the governmental installations due to lack of security."

However, the defense official said there's no verification that looting ever occurred at the site. Citing lack of accountability over the materials between the March IAEA visit and April 10, he said it's possible that regime loyalists or other groups emptied the facility before coalition forces arrived in Baghdad.

The DOD is asserting that it did not find the 350 odd tons of explosive referred to in the IAEA report in its search of 32 bunkers and 87 buildings. Two things stand out in this account. First, the search was probably not comprehensive. If one accepts the estimate of 1,000 buildings on the site, then a visit to 120 structures does not constitute an exhaustive survey. Second, the missing material was a dual-use type of explosive whose possession had been permitted to Saddam. The UN under its terms of inspection, could have destroyed the RDX in the course of its inspection, but it judged that course of action to be improper. It may have occurred to Baradei in January 2003 that the impending war would necessarily break the chain of custody between the Saddam regime and the arriving US forces. But it was his judgement that the RDX did not, under his terms of reference, have to be destroyed, since it had potential civilian applications.

None of this establishes when the material was spirited away. There are three possibilities. First, the material disappeared before 3ID reached Baghdad; second, it vanished between the arrival of 3ID and 101st Airborne; third, it vanished afterward. Since an inquiry is under way, it is reasonable to say that no one knows for sure. The New York Times strongly implied, however, that it vanished afterward. In their article of October 25, the Times said:

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

The New York Times later allowed that Pentagon officials said, or now said that the explosives may have gone missing before US troops reached it, but then imply this assertion is contradicted by the cursory inspection that followed.

White House officials reasserted yesterday that 380 tons of powerful explosives may have disappeared from a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not find the explosives when they visited the complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell. But the unit's commander said in an interview yesterday that his troops had not searched the facility and had merely stopped there for the night on their way to Baghdad.

The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, said he did not learn until this week that the site, known as Al Qaqaa, was considered highly sensitive, or that international inspectors had visited there shortly before the war began in 2003 to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a decade of monitoring.

But a moment's reflection will show this account is essentially the same as MSNBC's. For the NYT assertion that the explosives vanished sometime after US custody to be true, the RDX would necessarily have to be present when 3ID and 101st got there. But if, as MSNBC emphasizes, we don't know what there was  -- didn't know they were not there -- then necessarily we don't know they were there. A null value cannot be true or false as one prefers. It is null. Nor should the menace of the material suddenly transform itself arbitrarily. The IAEA did not think them particularly dangerous in the hands of Saddam, who is after all, only going on trial for mass murder. Physically they are what they have always been but semantically they have been transmogrified.

The jury is still formally out on when the material actually vanished. IEDs and bombs are the most common cause of death or injury to American soldiers in Iraq. It is theoretically possible for soldiers and marines not to care about explosives reaching the hands of the enemy. But is not very probable.Considering the bulk of the explosive, its value and the natural human tendency to steal things before, rather than after you lose easy access to it (remember the currently sainted "resistants" were once the equally sainted Ba'athist high officials who had the keys to the explosives dump) it seems overwhelmingly probable the material was taken before, rather than after US custody.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The RDX, Part 2

Michael Totten at Instapundit notes that the 3ID may have arrived at al Qa Qaa  some time for the 101st Airborne and the NBC embeds.

J. TREVINO AT RED STATE points out that NBC’s Milkaszewski story doesn’t quite debunk the New York Times article that says the Iraqi explosives at al Qa Qaa were lost under American watch. NBC reports that when the 101st Airborne arrived at the site the explosives were already gone. But the Third Infantry Division was there a week earlier.

There are still at least two things we don’t know.

Was the Third Infantry Division the first to arrive at the site? If so, what did they find?

Good questions. However, it is important to understand the RDX issue not as a single event but in the context of the total forces available to CENTCOM at the time and what it was trying to achieve. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the missing RDX was only part of a much larger redeployment of military assets by the dying Ba'ath regime wrapped in the center of a large conventional war.

When 3ID and 101st Airborne first entered Baghdad they were still in active combat when maintaining unit integrity and concentration of forces was important. A review of contemporaneous news articles will show that everyone in the media, and not a few military analysts, believed Baghdad would be defended like Stalingrad. It was a shock to see it fall so quickly though not without a few sharp battles. Very few commanders, I think, would have detached little penny packets of men to stand guard over installations in that situation. Too much potential for defeat in detail and friendly fire accidents, not to mention the fact that it was unclear, at that stage, whether 3ID would have to reduce the Sunni towns further north.

The balance of probability is that the RDX, if it was not already missing before the OIF, disappeared in the early days when conditions were in flux. It was then that the absence of 4ID -- the most modern unit of the day -- must have been most keenly felt. That was when 18,000 men with the latest comms could have made a difference. Could have, because there is no guarantee that all the depots could have been secured even with 4ID available, though its presence could only have helped.

I have repeatedly emphasized the absence of the 4ID not to "absolve" the Administration but because it is the clearest effect of the successful delaying action achieved by the deadlock in the Security Council, whose most signal manifestation was the denial by Turkey of passage to nearly half of the US mechanized infantry strength. But it is not the most insidious aspect of it. Oil-For-Food, the removal of unknown but vast quantities of material to Syria, the mass release of criminals, etc. were not incidental events but related phenomena, at least in my opinion, and all of a piece. Whatever went over the border to Syria, as the Duelfer report confirms, is unlikely to be Hostess Twinkie Pies. And it did not go over by accident.

Instapundit quoted me as saying that the missing RDX in this context had the relevance of a toothache in a man suffering from AIDS and Ebola. By that I meant that the narrow focus of the subject was like seizing upon the tiger's whisker while ignoring the tiger himself. The point of discovering the whisker is understanding what that whisker is attached to.


Reader dan from cos says in the Comments section:

"While I was not on the ground and it has been 18 months since the advance, I seem to remember there was a thorough and almost frantic search for weapons of mass destruction as our foces plowed through the areas. They were also quickly followed by special teams whose job it was to find WMDs and secure them. I find it highly improbable that weapons stores with IAEA seals on them would be allowed to go unsecured."

The NRO has an email from a soldier who had knowledge of the al Qa Qaa search and reiterates that the RDX was already gone when the teams first arrived.

I was serving as a [identifying information removed by the Kerry Spot] staff member during the time in question. The Commander on the site had complete real time intelligence on what to expect and possibly find at the Al-QaQaa depot. The ordinance in question was not found when teams were sent in to inspect and secure the area. When this information was relayed, Operational plans were adjusted and the unit moved forward. Had the ordinance in question been discovered, a security team would have been left in place.

The accusation that America failed in its custodial duties has now been categorically denied, at least by some quarters. What plausibly remains to the critics is the charge that America "could have done more" to reach explosives magazines, which brings us right back to the missing 4ID and the bitter irony that the agency which did the most to prevent this powerful unit from reaching the scene, namely the UN, should now extend the finger of accusation for the absence which they caused. Once again: follow the whisker.

That Missing RDX

NBC reporters embedded with the 101st Airborne are questioning the New York Times report which suggests that US custodial incompetence was responsible for the loss of RDX explosive.

NBC News: Miklaszewski: “April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qakaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing. The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon. In a letter this month, the Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency the high explosives were lost to theft and looting due to lack of security. Critics claim there were simply not enough U.S. troops to guard hundreds of weapons stockpiles, weapons now being used by insurgents and terrorists to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq.” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 10/25/04)

The withdrawal of enemy resources into safe havens was the subject of Belmont Club's War Plan Orange. In this context, the loss of 380 tons of RDX is similar to worrying about a toothache after being diagnosed with AIDS and Ebola. Some 600,000 tons of explosive are said to have been dispersed throughout Iraq prior to the conclusion of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The loss of the RDX is serious, but in the overall scheme of things, one of the least worries. But it provides indirect confirmation of the preemptive dispersal of war materiel by the Saddam regime while the US was trying to negotiate UN permission to topple him for six months, compounded by Turkey's refusal to allow the 4ID to attack south into the Sunni Triangle.

The account above shows that the RDX explosive was already gone by the time US forces arrived. Although one may retrospectively find some fault with OIF order of battle, most of the damage had already been inflicted by the dilatory tactics of America's allies which allowed Saddam the time and space -- nearly half a year and undisturbed access to Syria -- necessary to prepare his resistance, transfer money abroad and disperse explosives (as confirmed first hand by reporters).  Although it is both desirable and necessary to criticize the mistakes attendant to OIF, much of the really "criminal" neglect may be laid on the diplomatic failure which gave the wily enemy this invaluable opportunity. The price of passing the "Global Test" was very high; and having been gypped once, there are some who are still eager to be taken to the cleaners again.

Monday, October 25, 2004

War Plan Orange

In retrospect Saddam's plan to defend Iraq may bear a resemblance to War Plan Orange's retreat into Bataan. Since reinforcements could not come to the aid of US divisions in the Philippine Islands in time to repel an anticipated Japanese invasion, the plan called for the abandonment of the capital and a concentration of forces and supplies into the Bataan peninsula, where MacArthur's forces could hope to hold out until relief eventually arrived. MacArthur attempted to change the plan at the last moment, attempting to fight near the beaches and was belatedly forced readopt the strategy of withdrawing into Bataan, a mistake which cost him thousands of tons in supplies. Still, by skillful rearguard actions at the Agno and Pampanga Rivers, MacArthur slipped 80,000 men into his defensive redoubt and held out for four months. Three years later, Tomoyuki Yamashita, facing the same strategic problem against superior forces, moved his 272,000 troops into the mountainous spine of Luzon where he held out for a little over eight months.

Faced with an invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam carried out his own sideslip maneuver into a redoubt. The Duelfer report notes that Saddam may have begun moving his WMD materials into Syria as the US vainly attempted to get UN authorization to topple his regime.

Duelfer agreed that a large amount of material had been transferred by Iraq to Syria before the March 2003 war. "A lot of materials left Iraq and went to Syria," Duelfer said. "There was certainly a lot of traffic across the border points. We've got a lot of data to support that, including people discussing it. But whether in fact in any of these trucks there was WMD-related materials, I cannot say."

At least some of that was the key munition of modern terrorist warfare -- money

Syria has acknowledged that its banks have held funds for Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service. But the regime of President Bashar Assad disputes U.S. officials who say Syria was harboring about $3 billion in Saddam funds. Instead, Syria maintains that its Iraqi assets have not exceeded $300 million.

If MacArthur's delaying actions at the Agno and Pampanga Rivers enabled him to get his forces into Bataan intact, the successful campaign to prevent the US from pushing the 4ID down from Turkey gave Saddam the time and space to move assets into Syria and disperse munitions and men into the Sunni Triangle. About 600,000 tons of munitions were dispersed throughout the country of which 100,000 tons -- five Hiroshima bombs worth of explosive -- were taken to Anbar province in the Sunni Triangle alone.

The ammunition is strewn all over Iraq, and provides insurgents with easily accessible free material to make bombs ... "Approximately 100,000 of the estimated 600,000 tons of explosives in the country are located in the Al Anbar Province, I MEF’s area of responsibility," said Army Capt. Elmer Bruner Jr., the officer in charge of the operation for the battalion.

Nor was there any shortage of men to use these weapons. Former CPA Administrator Paul Bremer noted that 100,000 convicted criminals were released just before US forces overran the cities, ready to be officered, along with many Sunnis, by either the cadre of the former Ba'athist dominated armies or international terrorists flooding in from Iran and Syria. Conceptually, the defense plan was similar to Lieutenant- General Ushijima's scheme to hold Okinawa. He offered no resistance either on the beaches or in the northern part of the island, preferring to withdraw his men behind the Shuri Line, honeycombed with secret tunnels and caves. All the while American forces battered against prepared positions, the Kamikaze suicide corps would take its grim toll of the supply lines and support units offshore until the US population grew weary of war. It was a campaign where nearly 1,000 men could die in an afternoon as actually occurred when Kamikazes hit the Essex class carrier Franklin with heavy loss.

The Americans lost 7,373 men killed and 32,056 wounded on land. At sea, the Americans lost 5,000 killed and 4,600 wounded. The Japanese lost 107,000 killed and 7,400 men taken prisoner. It is possible that the Japanese lost another 20,000 dead as a result of American tactics whereby Japanese troops were incinerated where they fought. The Americans also lost 36 ships. 368 ships were also damaged. 763 aircraft were destroyed. The Japanese lost 16 ships sunk and over 4,000 aircraft were lost.

These casualties -- compressed into four months -- would be unbelievable by today's standards. They were barely supportable, even to the hard men of the Greatest Generation and were a major factor in the subsequent decisions to incinerate the Japanese cities and use the atomic bomb. But no one knew at the time that Okinawa was the latest major land engagement of the Pacific War.

The major modern innovation of the Arab Way of War has been its radical new conception of defense in depth. The concept made its debut in Algeria; it was subsequently refined in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Checnya and the West Bank. Unlike Ushijima's Shuri Line with its tunnels in rock, the Arab redoubt was founded on establishing an underground of terror in the civilian populace. From the anonymity of crowds, they could emerge to attack the enemy from the rear as the Imperial Japanese Army once had done from tunnels. Faced with superior United States forces, this 21st century War Plan Orange was the natural choice of the Arab strategists. By denying the United States proof of its WMDs and grinding them down through occupation warfare -- the one mode of combat at which they excelled, they had a reasonable hope of holding America until a politician willing to treat with them was elected into office. There was no need for despair because, as James Lileks put it, "hope is on the way" -- a reference to the eventual actions of the antiwar Left. In Iraq the ultimate blitzkrieg force met the ultimate protracted war army and the protracted war army awaited events confidently.

Shortly after declaring major combat operations over, the US must have realized, like Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner in Okinawa, that it had come up to the approaches of the Arab Shuri Line. Fortunately, not everything had gone according to the enemy's plan. Like MacArthur in Luzon, they had underestimated the speed of their opponent's advance. They enemy had probably not counted on OIF reaching Baghdad in 3 weeks. Their withdrawal into the redoubt, although substantial was still incomplete. But most importantly, they had not reckoned on the American ability to generate local forces against them, something the Israelis had never achieved. This took the shape of an interim Iraqi government in which Kurds and Shi'ites were major participants. They must have watched with mounting alarm as Iraqi security forces were raised against them. They had forgotten, too, that just as they had developed their tactics in Lebanon, the Americans were able to leverage Israeli tactics that were invented to counter them.

The battle began to go against them from the start. In essence, Ba'athist-terrorist coalition was unable to inflict the losses necessary to disrupt the organizational learning curve of the American forces. Unlike the conscript Soviet Army, the American Armed Forces were a professional force that retained its core of officers, NCOs and to a large degree, even their enlisted men. Forces were rotated out of Iraq largely intact, where they incorporated lessons learned into the training cycle in CONUS; and relieving forces were improved accordingly. In 1980s, the Al Qaeda and not the Soviet Army had turned Afghanistan into a training ground but in 2003-2004, it was the US Armed Forces and not the terrorists that were coming away with organizational memory. Simply not enough of the enemy survived to pass on their experience and simply too many American lieutenants left Iraq to return as captains. The terrible enemy losses on the battlefield could not be wholly overcome by media plaudits which they received. At least 15,000 enemy cadres have been killed in the 17 months since OIF. Recently, the remains of a French jihadi were identified in Fallujah and his fate is probably a common one. While Afghanistan was once where the young fundamentalist fighter went to get experience, Iraq was now where the fundamentalist fighter went to die.

One indication of the unfavorable trend faced by enemy forces face was the rapid transformation in US operations. It is interesting to compare Marine preparations to assault Fallujah in April 2004 with those apparently under way today, just months later. The Marine methods of April would have been instantly familiar to any military historian: hammer and anvil, seizure of key terrain; feint and attack. Today, many of the military objectives in the developing siege of the terrorist stronghold are abstract. They consist of developing a network of informers in the city; of setting up a functioning wireless network; of getting close enough for smaller US units to deploy their line-of-sight controlled UAV and UGV units to create a seamless operational and tactical environment to wage "swarm" warfare; of getting artillery and mortar units close enough to play hopscotch over everything the network decides to engage. To the traditional methods of warfare the Americans were adding a whole new plane which only they could inhabit.

Faced with a force increasingly familiar with Arabia, with deep combat experience, nearly unlimited technical resources and growing lethality, the enemy, like Yamashita in the Cordilleras and Ushijima in Okinawa, can only hope to be saved by the bell. Objectively, there is little chance of that. But as Lileks said: "hope is on the way".

Saturday, October 23, 2004

From Whose Bourne No Traveler Returns

A reader sends a link to a Guardian article claiming that terror is a figment of the panicky American imagination. There are really no wolves in the forest, just the sound of the wind in the trees. BBC documentary producer, Adam Curtis, produced a series called "The Power of Nightmares" (scheduled on BBC2 at 9pm on Wednesday October 20) which claims that terrorism "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media.". The article goes on to say:

Bill Durodie, director of the international centre for security analysis at King's College London, says: "The reality [of the al-Qaida threat to the west] has been essentially a one-off. There has been one incident in the developed world since 9/11 [the Madrid bombings]. There's no real evidence that all these groups are connected." Crispin Black, a senior government intelligence analyst until 2002, is more cautious but admits the terrorist threat presented by politicians and the media is "out of date and too one-dimensional. We think there is a bit of a gulf between the terrorists' ambition and their ability to pull it off."

In this view, terrorism is a narrative invented by unscrupulous politicians to panic people into doing their bidding. Osama Bin Laden is a boogie man who is not really the threat he is made out to be.

"Almost no one questions this myth about al-Qaida because so many people have got an interest in keeping it alive," says Curtis. He cites the suspiciously circular relationship between the security services and much of the media since September 2001: the way in which official briefings about terrorism, often unverified or unverifiable by journalists, have become dramatic press stories which - in a jittery media-driven democracy - have prompted further briefings and further stories. Few of these ominous announcements are retracted if they turn out to be baseless: "There is no fact-checking about al-Qaida."

The most interesting aspect of Curtis' argument is the narrowness of its cast. By limiting his set of terrorist incidents to the developed world, and to Europe in particular, he arrives at the conclusion that terrorism does not exist. He looks around his world and asks, 'where is it?'. Kashmir, Algeria, Saddamite Iraq, Sudan, the Balkans, Indonesia, Timor and the Philippines -- to name a few places -- are ommitted from his account. The wonder is not that he omitted them; the astounding thing would have been if he had included it. The Left has displayed a magnificent indifference to death in the Third World and only slightly more sensitivity to deaths in the Balkans.

In places like Basilan in Mindanao, terrorism is not a nightmare. It is the waking day. The Australian Government, for example, issued a travel advisory warning its citizens from visiting Mindanao not because it feared some Freddy Kreuger intruding upon Aussie dreams as they lay in their beds in the Lantaka Hotel, but to guard against something more substantial, like a hand grenade pitched in at the seaside bar. You go to shrink to defend against nightmares. In places like Jolo a shrink will get you nowhere. But an automatic rifle will, and I have heard fathers lovingly describe a prospective purchase of a Browning Automatic Rifle or an M-1919 machinegun in the anticipatory tones of someone who has bought health insurance for his children. The "Power of Nightmares" should be shown in both the Muslim and non-Muslim parts of Mindanao. It should do well, billed as comedy.

Best of the Comments

For a while I've wondered if the blindness of the left comes from a lack of knowledge of their physical world. ... Spiney Widgmo

I wish it were that simple. As an engineer in Silicon Valley, I have observed that a delusional world view has no relationship to professional skill. I've spoken in depth with a solidly leftist engineer friend, and his world view diverges from mine at a very deep level. ... Twisted Knickers

Spiney--I sympathize with the thrust of your comment, but in fact, having met many, many Physics PhDs (theoretical and experimental), chemical engineers, and the like, Communists and Socialists (many of them taxi drivers in NYC originally from the former Soviet Bloc), my opinion is that in reality the ones capable of resisting and destroying the cultural legacies of Marxism and the darker elements of the French Revolution (the Bolshevik Revolution, for example) are those who are CORRECTLY instructed in history and the arts. ... Dan

Not even the stock market noticed. When 80 people were blown up in Buenos Aires in 1994, it was a one-day story in U.S. and those victims are still awaiting justice and their Iranian killers are still walking free. Why is terrorism not terrorism if it happens in Latin America? ... ArgentinaWatcher

The Hollow Men

Readers with an interest in finding out more about the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) can follow this link sent by a reader, TD. I suppose many of their resolutions have to be taken with a grain of salt as the political statements they are. However, it does give a sense of where the OIC is coming form and what sort of world it desires. It is definitely not the value neutral One World that the Western Left so ardently desires. There are 168 points in the OIC declaration, from a conference held in June, 2004. Here are some of them.

9. The Conference commended with pride the resistance of the valiant Palestinian people and their legitimate leadership headed by gallant President Yasser Arafat against Israeli aggression. It called for an immediate end to the siege imposed on the Palestinian people and President Yasser Arafat so that they can move freely in and out of the Palestinian territories. It condemned recent Israeli threats on President Arafat’s life and reaffirmed its continued political, financial and moral support for the Palestinian people so that they can regain their inalienable national rights, including the right of return, self-determination and an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds Sharif as its capital.

27. The Conference expressed firm support for the rightful cause of the Muslim Turkish Cypriots ...

29. The Conference reaffirmed its support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their legitimate right to self-determination, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. It called for respect of the human rights of the Kashmiri people and the ending of their continuous violations. It urged India to end human rights violations against the Kashmiri people and allow international human rights organisations to verify the condition of human rights in Indian-held Kashmir.

54. The Conference urged the Republic of the Philippines to complete Phase II of the Peace Agreement concluded in 1996 between the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and to continue to implement the Comprehensive Plan for the Development of the Muslim Autonomous Region in Southern Philippines in order to restore stability and peace in the region. It also called on it to cooperate with international and regional organizations that provide assistance for the development of the region.

62. The Conference expressed deep concern over repeated and erroneous attempts to associate Islam with human rights violations, and over the use of television, the radio and the press to propagate such misconceptions. It called for an end to the unjustified campaigns of some non-governmental organizations against a number of Member States, which demand the abolition of Sharia laws and penalties in the name of human rights protection. It affirmed the right of States to uphold their religious, social and cultural idiosyncrasies, which are legacies that help enrich common universal concepts of human rights. It urged that the universality of human rights must not be used as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of States and flout their national sovereignty. The Conference also condemned the decision of the European Union to denounce stoning as a penalty and what it calls inhumane punishments meted out by some Member States in compliance with Islamic Sharia.

107. The Conference reaffirmed the need to boost the Supreme Council for Education and Culture in the West, which is an Islamic cultural strategy. It called on OIC Member States to provide financial and moral support to the Council through ISESCO.

108. The Conference requested the Secretary General to conduct an in-depth study in coordination with Member States so as to safeguard Islamic culture and heritage from the adverse effects of globalization.

137. The Conference commended the IRCICA’s efforts to safeguard the cultural heritage and Islamic identity of Muslim communities in Non-OIC Member States and called on it to continue such efforts. It requested Member States and Islamic institutions and personalities to provide it with the support needed to attain such a noble goal.

Al-Quds Sharif, by the way, is the city once known as Jerusalem. It is also the name of a medal awarded to people who have performed exemplary service to the Palestinian cause. Although people may choose one point of view over another; prefer to call a city Al-Quds Sharif or Jerusalem according to their inclination, it seems self-evident that there are sides to choose from. Not to put too fine a point on it, the OIC has chosen a side; their side to be exact and they are perfectly entitled to do it. What is at issue is whether people in the West are also free to choose their "side" or whether this has been permanently proscribed as a kind of bigotry or ethnocentrism; a form of hate speech or forbidden thinking. The Global War on Terror may be not so much about freeing the Middle East as about liberating ourselves. Allah spoke to his Prophet and sent forth his flame; but the West has forgotten all, even its very name.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
-- William Blake

Best of the Comments

"St Augustine defines virtue as ordo amoris, the ordinate condition of the affections in which every object is accorded that kind of degree of love which is appropriate to it. Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought. When the age for reflective thought comes, the pupil who has been thus trained in 'ordinate affections' or 'just sentiments' will easily find the first principles in Ethics; but to the corrupt man they will never be visible at all and he can make no progress in that science. Plato before him had said the same." MDBritt

Friday, October 22, 2004


The new Bush-Cheney ad featuring wolves stalking through a forest has been compared to Ronald Reagan's 'Bear' ad. Glenn Reynolds provides a link to both of them at one place at the Daily Recycler. But to one of Roger Simon's readers, it evokes Louis Macneice's poem "Wolves". The poem reminds us that there is more than one response to a circling pack.

Come then all of you, come closer, form a circle,
Join hands and make believe that joined
Hands will keep away the wolves of water
Who howl along our coast. And be it assumed
That no one hears them among the talk and laughter.

September 11 did not evoke a universal desire to strike back which President Bush somehow "squandered". Judyth Hill's poem, "Make Peace", described as a thing of beauty by the pacifist movement, took a different tack.

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Make soup.

Make soup. Hold hands. That's all you have to do.

Best of the Comments

Find out how the word "spandrel" is used in context from reader Jinderella's comment. But here's some background in spandrels.

"Dr. Gould and Dr. Richard Lewontin, also at Harvard, soon elaborated on the importance of how organisms are built, or their architecture, in a famous paper about a feature of buildings known as a spandrel. Spandrels, the spaces above an arch, exist as a necessary outcome of building with arches. In the same way, they argued, some features of organisms exist simply as the result of how an organism develops or is built. Thus researchers, they warned, should refrain from assuming that every feature exists for some adaptive purpose."

I doubt one could have "breathed in the SS Totenkopf Corp and breathed out Wandervoggel merrily hiking thru the alps singing songs." Nor could anyone on the doomed aircraft of 9/11 breath in an Islamofacsist thug and breath out a flight attendant with a warmed towel before dinner. -- Rickvid

Some Are More Equal Than Others

Joshua Muravchik's essay at the American Enterprise Institute shows how hard it is to create a culturally neutral One World.

This month, the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn terrorism ...but the convoluted text and the dealings behind the scenes ...reveal is that even after Beslan and after Madrid and after 9/11, the UN still cannot bring itself to oppose terrorism unequivocally. The reason for this failure is that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which comprises fifty-six of the UN's 191 members, defends terrorism as a right. ...

True, the final resolution condemns "all acts of terrorism irrespective of their motivation." This sounds clear, but in the Alice-in-Wonderland lexicon of the UN, the term "acts of terrorism" does not mean what it seems. For eight years now, a UN committee has labored to draft a "comprehensive convention on international terrorism." It has been stalled since day one on the issue of "defining" terrorism. But what is the mystery? At bottom everyone understands what terrorism is: the deliberate targeting of civilians. The Islamic Conference, however, has insisted that terrorism must be defined not by the nature of the act but by its purpose. In this view, any act done in the cause of "national liberation," no matter how bestial or how random or defenseless the victims, cannot be considered terrorism. This boils down to saying that terrorism on behalf of bad causes is bad, but terrorism on behalf of good causes is good. Obviously, anyone who takes such a position is not against terrorism at all-but only against bad causes.

The resolution itself "condemns in the strongest terms all acts of terrorism irrespective of their motivation, whenever and by whomsoever committed, as one of the most serious threats to peace and security". But what, Murvachick asks, does the United Nations consider to be a terrorist act? The United Nations Policy Working Group on Terrorism tried to tackle the "use of ideology (secular and religious) to justify terrorism" -- without success. The Policy Working Group's own report admits that it could reach no conclusion:

13. Without attempting a comprehensive definition of terrorism, it would be useful to delineate some broad characteristics of the phenomenon. Terrorism is, in most cases, essentially a political act. It is meant to inflict dramatic and deadly injury on civilians and to create an atmosphere of fear, generally for a political or ideological (whether secular or religious) purpose. Terrorism is a criminal act, but it is more than mere criminality. To overcome the problem of terrorism it is necessary to understand its political nature as well as its basic criminality and psychology. The United Nations needs to address both sides of this equation.

14. While terrorist acts are usually perpetrated by subnational or transnational groups, terror has also been adopted by rulers at various times as an instrument of control. The rubric of counter-terrorism can be used to justify acts in support of political agendas, such as the consolidation of political power, elimination of political opponents, inhibition of legitimate dissent and/or suppression of resistance to military occupation. Labelling opponents or adversaries as terrorists offers a time-tested technique to de-legitimize and demonize them. The United Nations should beware of offering, or be perceived to be offering, a blanket or automatic endorsement of all measures taken in the name of counter-terrorism.

15. The phenomenon of terrorism is complex. This does not, however, imply that it is impossible to adopt moral clarity regarding attacks on civilians. Terrorism deserves universal condemnation, and the struggle against terrorism requires intellectual and moral clarity and a carefully differentiated implementation plan.

The last paragraph is pure United Nations; and its total indefiniteness constitutes the definite heart of the cultural neutrality problem. Under the stated criteria, acts such as the recent Israeli missile strike against Hamas second-in-command Adnan al-Ghoul, and his aide, Imad Abbas in Gaza could could come under condemnation just as easily as the massacre of schoolchildren in Beslan.

Oct. 21 - An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Thursday night killed a leading weapons maker of Hamas who was responsible for some of the group's most powerful bombs and its homemade rockets, Israel's military said. A white sedan carrying the bomb maker, Adnan al-Ghoul, and his aide, Imad Abbas, was hit by two missiles and burst into flames, according to Palestinian witnesses. The two men were killed and four Palestinians on the street were wounded, according to doctors at Shifa Hospital.

From a certain point of view the missile strike against al-Ghoul is an act of terror while the beheading of British hostage Kenneth Bigley is a legitimate act of resistance against occupation.

An Australian TV journalist who was kidnapped and freed by Iraqi militants was under attack today for saying that the executions of British and American hostages were understandable. ... "These guys, they’re not stupid. They are fighting a war but they’re not savages. They're not actually killing people willy-nilly. There was no reason for them to kill me," Martinkus said when he arrived at Sydney airport on Tuesday. "There was a reason to kill (British hostage Ken) Bigley, there was a reason to kill the (two) Americans. There was not a reason to kill me," he added.

Terrorism is condemned, but the terrorist act is left undefined. With this background, point 10 of the UN Security Council's vote to condemn terrorism reads differently. The Security Council asked the Working Group, which will almost certainly include the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to consider how victims of the unspecified act of terrorism might be compensated:

10. Requests further the working group, established under paragraph 9 to consider the possibility of establishing an international fund to compensate victims of terrorist acts and their families, which might be financed through voluntary contributions, which could consist in part of assets seized from terrorist organizations, their members and sponsors, and submit its recommendations to the Council;

It would be naive to assume this refers to the seizure of Osama Bin Laden's assets to compensate the victims of September 11, or those of the sheiks who may have bankrolled Bali, Madrid or Beslan. Depending on the eventual definition of terrorism, it could theoretically, and may eventually justify the use of Israeli or American taxpayer money to compensate Hamas or the Al-Qaeda. And why not? In a world where all causes are equal, it is impossible to insist upon a particular point of view. John Kerry understood the inadmissability of parochial viewpoints in in the conduct of international affairs.

In 1994, discussing the possibility of U.S. troops being killed in Bosnia, he said, "If you mean dying in the course of the United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that. If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no."

But how then, if this very United Nations considers all viewpoints equally valid? How if you have a logical system in which, since no truth table is possible, everyone is free to construct his own? Then you have a system where every function call returns a null; where sentences start, but never end. You have One World, as in the days when the jungle once covered the earth.

Best of the Comments New Feature!

Terrorism will remain undefined until the the World Polity -- the UN with teeth -- arrives. Then it will be defined as "actions which threaten the security of the state". #