Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
- Joshua Hartley describes ominous atmosphere of ‘dragon’s egg’ bunker
- Marine was not allowed to look in, once found mustard gas by the entrance
- Isis controls a former chemical weapons factory near Baghdad, it’s claimed
- The Muthanna State Establishment made nerve agents in the 80s and 90s
- Iraq wrote to the UN this summer to say that it had lost control of the depot
- Officials said that armed terrorist groups had taken over the complex
- It comes after it was revealed the US found 5,000 chemical weapons in Iraq
Marines who guarded Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons compound in Iraq were particularly fearful of one bunker they dubbed the ‘dragon’s egg’.
American soldiers posted to the Muthanna State Establishment were never allowed to look inside the vast three-square-mile site, where up to 4,000 tonnes of deadly Sarin was produced each year.
But former guard Joshua Hartley revealed to Fox News‘s Paul Alster there was an ominous feeling surrounding one X-shaped bunker – which is now in the hands of Islamic State fighters.
A CIA picture of the Muthanna State Establishment, which produced chemical weapons on an industrial scale
Remnants of Iraq’s chemical weapons program at the Muthanna State Establishment. It was destroyed by American bombs during the 1991 Gulf War
‘We were made aware of a particular bunker on the north side [of Al Muthanna] which we were informed was sealed and remotely monitored,’ Hartley, who served in the weapons company of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, told FoxNews.com.
‘We were not to approach, and definitely not to attempt to enter.’
Despite conflicting claims about the nature of weaponry held at the ‘dragon’s egg’, Hartley insists he has no doubt it produced liquid nerve agents after his platoon was ordered to clean the area surrounding it.
He told Paul Alster: ‘When we began searching, we discovered a huge stockpile of 105-millimeter artillery shells that were filled with mustard gas.
‘I have always wondered why it never became big news, as well as other incidents. I never doubted the existence of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq.’
One Marine, he said, ‘picked [a shell] up and could literally hear the liquid sloshing around inside of it.’
The enter site was bombed by the US during the 1991 Gulf War, but the munitions there were only partially destroyed, according to the UN – then left to Iraq to take care of.
However, Iraqi officials wrote to the United Nations this summer claiming that abandoned weapons containing Sarin are still in the ruins of the Muthanna State Establishment, which made chemical weapons in the 1980s and early 1990s.
This is now in the hands of the violent jihadists.
They warned that they had watched equipment there being looted on CCTV.
Cache: Isis controls a compound in Iraq containing 2,500 chemical weapons rockets, according to the Iraqi government. Pictured are Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians preparing unexploded ordnance for demolition at a safe disposal area near Baghdad in 2003
A U.S. Army Third Infantry Division soldier loads materials discovered in an explosives laboratory hidden in a home April 15, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq
Militants then shut the surveillance cameras at the depot down, the New York Times reported.
Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim wrote to the UN saying that ‘armed terrorist groups’ took over the Muthanna complex, which lies 60 miles north of Baghdad, on June 11.
In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said remnants of a former chemical weapons programme are kept in two bunkers there.
‘The project management spotted at dawn on Thursday, 12 June 2014, through the camera surveillance system, the looting of some of the project equipment and appliances, before the terrorists disabled the surveillance system,’ Alhakim wrote in the letter dated June 30.
‘The Government of Iraq requests the States Members of the United Nations to understand the current inability of Iraq, owing to the deterioration of the security situation, to fulfill its obligations to destroy chemical weapons,’ he said.
The Muthanna complex measures three by three miles and was thought to be capable of producing around 4,000 tonnes of nerve agent a year.
Alhakim singled out the capture of bunkers 13 and 41 in the sprawling complex 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad in the notorious ‘Sunni Triangle.’
The last major report by U.N. inspectors on the status of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program was released about a year after the experts left in March 2003. It states that Bunker 13 contained 2,500 sarin-filled 122-mm chemical rockets produced and filled before 1991, and about 180 tons of sodium cyanide, ‘a very toxic chemical and a precursor for the warfare agent tabun.’
However, U.S. Defence Department spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said earlier that the United States’ best understanding was that ‘whatever material was kept there is pretty old and not likely to be able to be accessed or used against anyone right now’.
‘We aren’t viewing this particular site and their holding it as a major issue at this point,’ Kirby said. ‘Should they even be able to access the materials, frankly, it would likely be more of a threat to them than anyone else.’
It was revealed this week that about 5,000 chemical weapons were recovered or destroyed in Iraq following the 2003 invasion but the Pentagon chose to keep the findings top secret.
An investigation by The New York Times has revealed that U.S. forces happened across the hidden caches of warheads, shells and aviation bombs between 2004 and 2011.
Secrets: In 2002 President George W. Bush said Hussein was developing a program of chemical weapons but no evidence of such weapons was ever found
But the information wasn’t made public for several embarrassing reasons including the fact some of the weapons were U.S.-made, plus they had been sitting dormant since the early 1980s and therefore didn’t support President George W. Bush’s rationale for going to war.
The weapons – most of them mustard agents in 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets – were developed by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war which raged between 1980 and 1988.
But on September 12, 2002, President Bush had contended that Hussein was developing new chemical weapons capable of ‘mass destruction’.
‘Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons,’ he said. But all the weapons found had been developed before 1991.
BUSH AND BLAIR’S IRAQ WAR AND THE ‘INTELLIGENCE FAILURE’ OVER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
In March 2003, President Bush received a mandate from the U.S. Congress to lead an invasion of Iraq, asserting that Iraq was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441.
With strong support from British P.M. Tony Blair, the Bush administration claimed that Sadam and his forces were in possession of weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to U.S. security and that of allies including the U.K. and Australia.
After investigation following the invasion, the U.S. led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical and biological programs in 1991 and had no active programs at the time of the invasion, but that they intended to resume production if the Iraq sanctions were lifted.
Although no active chemical weapons program was found, at least 17 U.S. troops and 7 Iraqi police officers were burned or wounded when chemical devices exploded.
President Bush later said that the biggest regret of his presidency was ‘the intelligence failure’ in Iraq, while the Senate Intelligence Committee found in 2008 that his administration ‘misrepresented the intelligence and the threat from Iraq’.
The U.S. completed its withdrawal of military personnel in December 2011, during the ninth year of the war.
The rise of ISIS means that the U.S. will send an army headquarters to Iraq for the first time in three years to assist local security forces struggling to resist advances by the fundamentalist group.
Another reason for the cover-up, according to The Times, was that five of the six chemical weapons encounters involved weapons designed by the U.S.
”’Nothing of significance” is what I was ordered to say,’ said Jarrod Lampier, a now-retired Army major who was present when forces found 2,400 nerve agent rockets in 2006 – the largest chemical weapons discovery of the war.
Soldiers were also loathe to report finding the caches as documenting chemical weapons added hours of extra work to their load.
Chemical warfare specialists had to be called in, and waiting for them to arrive put coalition forces in dangerous positions.
‘I could wait all day for tech escort to show up and make a chem round disappear, or I could just make it disappear myself,’ one ex-soldier told The Times.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (centre) is greeted as he arrives at Vienna International Airport. He’s in the country to discuss Iran’s nuclear program
The mustard shells could be put in with other explosives that needed to be destructed and then detonated.
However, handling chemical weapons lead to many injuries, which were not taken seriously by military doctors at the time.
Many explosive ordnance disposal personnel were not aware that the shells they were handling contained chemicals, believing them to be regular old artillery.
At least 17 American military personnel and seven Iraqi police were sickened by poisons – usually sarin and mustard gases.
Many of the shells would leak liquid during transportation, exposing the soldiers to the potentially-lethal fumes.
Symptoms ranged from disorientation and nausea to blindness and huge, seething blisters.
Jarrod Taylor, a former Army sergeant on hand for the destruction of mustard shells that burned two soldiers in his infantry company, joked of ‘wounds that never happened’ from ‘that stuff that didn’t exist’.
‘I love it when I hear, ”Oh there weren’t any chemical weapons in Iraq”,’ he said. ‘There were plenty.’Follow VeronicaCoffin
Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
By Mona Charen
Voters are souring on the Democratic Party.
Apparently, all it takes are six years of economic torpor; the disastrous debut of the biggest new federal program in two generations; record levels of federal debt; revelations of scandals and malfeasance at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service, the Secret Service and the Justice Department; Russian revanchism on the march; a rampaging army of (literal) cutthroats gobbling up territory in the Middle East; and the feeble and patronizing government response to a modern plague.
Truly, it says something about the reputation of the Democratic Party that even now, 50 percent of those responding to a CBS News poll said the Democrats are the party that “cares more about the needs and problems of people like” them. Only 34 percent chose the Republicans.
On other matters, the Democrats have lost a lot of altitude in recent months. An October CBS poll found that Republicans enjoy a 9-point lead over Democrats on the question of which party can better handle the economy. Republicans are 11 points ahead on foreign policy and 21 points ahead on terrorism.
A Pew Research Center survey found that Republicans scored better than Democrats on most of the issues that voters care a lot about — specifically the economy, jobs, the way the federal government works, the Islamic State and the federal budget deficit. Democrats scored better on matters that voters don’t find all that compelling, such as climate change, abortion and access to contraception.
The one outlier on the Pew survey was “equal pay for women.” That issue is the only one that voters both care about and think Democrats are better at handling.
This is a triumph of spin — a solution in search of a problem. Are there women who face pay discrimination? Sure, but a) not that many, and b) they have access to a slew of remedies in state and federal laws. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats are proposing that we adopt a federal statute making it illegal to pay men more than women for performing the same work. It’s such a good idea that it was passed — in 1963, the Equal Pay Act.
That’s not all. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also contains penalties for wage discrimination. As Gerald Skoning explained in The Wall Street Journal, those include, but are not limited to, “back pay, attorneys’ fees, injunctive relief, prejudgment interest, $300,000 in punitive and compensatory damages, an additional $10,000 in penalties, and a prison sentence of up to six months for an employer who willfully violates the law.” What will Democrats think of next? How about a law outlawing price fixing? Oh, wait; the Sherman Antitrust Act was passed in 1890.
Well, all these laws may be on the books, yet women still earn less than men, right? Women certainly appear to believe so. Sixty percent of millennial women, for example, told Pew that “men generally earn more for doing the same work,” and 75 percent of millennial women believe that society must continue to make the changes needed to bring about gender equality in the workplace.
Yet when respondents were asked about the situation in their own workplaces, 75 percent of women said the sexes are paid equally for the same work. Only 1 in 10 thought women are paid less.
As noted above, remedies for wage discrimination are abundant in the law. The solutions for other problems highlighted by the Pew survey of millennials are not so apparent. Young women continue to outperform young men in education, labor force participation and, yes, wages. A single, childless woman in her 20s now out-earns her male counterparts, Forbes reports. While 45 percent of women between 18 and 24 are enrolled in college, only 38 percent of young men are. Women’s wages have been trending up since 1980, while men’s have been sliding down.
That’s for the men who are still working. Men’s labor force participation has declined steadily over the past several decades and now lags behind women’s.
We don’t know what it portends that women are outperforming men in college graduation rates, wages and labor force participation. It may make it harder for women to find suitable men to marry, just for starters. It may also increase the number of rootless men, which is never good for any civilization. The relatively poor performance of men over the past several decades is the social problem that goes unnoticed in our politics and our discourse. But it’s a much bigger challenge than “equal pay for women.”
Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
The Supreme Court let the Texas voter ID law stand this week, which of course has the liberals crying racism. Even in her dissenting opinion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that requiring people to show proper identification to vote is “racially discriminatory” and that the law has a disproportionate effect on blacks and Latinos.
See, the idea is that a law that applies to everyone is racist because minorities are somehow incapable of getting an ID and can’t be expected to prove who they are. Asking minorities for proof of identification disenfranchises them and denies them their rights according to the left.
This episode has got me thinking that there are many other things in our society that require an ID that are equally racist and should be stamped out if we are ever to truly become a post-racial country. Here’s my top ten list of things that are racist because they require an ID:
#10 Buying alcohol – You can’t legally purchase alcohol anywhere in the United States unless you are at least 21-years old. You also can’t purchase alcohol without showing proper ID, even if you look old enough. Not only is this practice racist because many minorities don’t have identification, but it also promotes ageism and profiling. We can help heal the racial wounds of the past by taking everyone at their word that they are old enough to buy a 40 of malt liquor.
#9 Buying cigarettes – Same deal as with alcohol, only the age requirement varies from state to state. As you know, many smokers are poor and many poor people are minorities so this is doubly racist. In any case, letting 8-year olds buy a pack of Kools is a great way to take a stand against racism.
#8 Renting a car – Can you believe those racist assholes that rent cars actually want to know who you are before they hand over the keys to $40,000 automobile? Rental cars are already covered by insurance; what’s the big deal?
#7 Seeing a movie – Even though the MPAA ratings are not bound by law, movie theater employees will card younger looking patrons before selling them tickets to rated R films. How are minorities supposed to see Tyler Perry and Robert Rodriguez movies when they don’t have the ID to prove they are old enough? It’s like Jim Crow all over again.
#6 Buying a video game – No Game Stop in the country is going to let a teenager walk out of the store with an M rated game without them proving they are at least 17 years old. Denying access to violent video games is something the Nazis did, not a post-racial society.
#5 Bowling – For some racist reason a bowling alley won’t let people bowl in their street shoes. You either have to buy a pair of bowling shoes or rent them from the alley. If you opt for renting, those jerks are going to ask to hold your ID until you return the shoes. This is clearly an example of a de facto tax on the fundamental right to use a large black ball to knock over skinny white pins.
#4 Banking – You can’t open a bank account, write a check, or cash a check without ID. This racist practice of ensuring people are who they say they are and thus should have access to their money is a financial burden on the minority community. If we could eliminate the ID requirement, redistribution of wealth would be easy to attain as the poor would have unrestricted access to much richer folks bank accounts.
#3 Accessing national parks – A few years ago I had to show a valid ID to get on the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Earlier this year I had to leave a valid ID to borrow the recorded tour device at Andrew Jackson’s estate. Why can’t the federal government take my word that I’m not going to blow anything up or that I’ll return something that probably cost a couple hundred dollars?
#2 Flying – Restricting free movement is probably the most racist thing of all. You cannot board a plane without ID and that puts minorities at a distinct disadvantage. Instead, the TSA should simply ask flyers if they are a terrorist and if they have Ebola. If the answer is no to both; let ‘em on the plane. Who would lie about these things?
#1 Gun Ownership – Unlike the other things on this list, which are implied rights, gun ownership is a specific right protected by the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. You can’t buy a gun without a valid ID, you can’t possess a gun without valid ID, and you can’t carry a gun without valid ID. If requiring people to show ID to vote is racist, then so is requiring ID to exercise the right to keep and bear arms.
If liberals think voter ID laws are so racist they should advocate the wholesale elimination of identification from our society. People are basically honest, right? If voter fraud is a myth, as they claim, then so must be underage drinking, bad guys with guns, and terrorism. Lets see the democrats try to sell the honor system as means to a safer and more racially harmonious America.