Monday, March 20, 2006

Sometimes it seems as if Republican presidents and the people they choose as allies created every threat we're now facing.

First, from AFP:

US-made Stinger missiles will pose a threat to military and commercial aircraft across the region if they fall into the hands of Taliban rebels in Afghanistan, the US-led coalition said Monday.

Washington supplied a large number of shoulder-fired Stingers to Afghans fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and dozens are still thought to be missing.

There was no evidence to support media reports that the Taliban had obtained some of the heat-seeking missiles but coalition forces were continuously monitoring the situation, spokesman Colonel Jim Yonts said....

I found a bit more about this in a story from the Irish Independent -- which, if true, says that these missiles are a threat because of our pals:

Pakistan officials 'gave missile parts' to Taliban

US AND Nato forces are following up reports that the Taliban has received vital component parts for shoulder-fired Stinger missiles from Pakistani officials enabling them to be used against helicopters in Afghanistan.

It is claimed that the missiles - originally supplied to the Afghan Mujaheddin by the US during the war against the Russians - have been fitted with new battery packs allegedly provided by the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, in the last four months.

Western sources say they are not sure whether the supplies, needed to make the American-made missiles operational, were provided by rogue elements within the Pakistani secret service or approved at a high level....

"In the last four months." Lovely.

Then we've got this from England's Independent on Sunday (IoS): Apparently bomb technology used in IEDs that have killed soldiers in Iraq was used by the Irish Republican Army more than a decade ago -- and the technology was provided to the IRA by the FBI and England's MI5:

...Our story showed that the technology, far from being new, had in fact first been used in Newry, Co Down, in 1992 to murder a policewoman and maim her male colleague.

Kevin Fulton, a former soldier who infiltrated the IRA on behalf of the security services, made an astonishing claim: that he had flown to New York, met FBI and MI5 agents and was given money to buy an infra-red device to be used to set off IRA bombs.

The security services - already successful in preventing radio-signal bombs - believed that by supplying the equipment they could then introduce counter-measures.

"They knew the IRA was looking at the technology. By supplying the equipment, they thought they could stay one step ahead of the IRA," Mr Fulton told the IoS yesterday....

The IoS has also spoken to a republican who was a senior IRA member in the early 1990s. He confirmed that Mr Fulton had introduced the IRA to the new technology and that the IRA shared this with "like-minded organisations abroad"....

The story notes that after eight British soldiers were killed by bombs of this kind, John Reid, England's Secretary of State for Defence, said the technology had come from Iran. He later issued a retraction when the technology's provenance was revealed. Oops!

So that was 1992 -- gee, what was the name of the U.S. president back then? Same as it was in 2004, when the U.S. government also thought it would be a swell idea to slip weapons know-how to bad guys -- this time the mullahs in Iran. You remember that story, which appears in James Risen's book State of War. In that case, we didn't hand out working technology we assumed could be controlled because we knew how to defeat it; we gave out bomb plans with a hidden flaw -- but our courier, a Russian defector, told the Iranians about the flaw. Oops again!

(IRA story via Norwegianity.)

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