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Russians didn’t remove weapons from Iraq

Yesterday I noted John Shaw’s claims that Russia removed weaponry from Iraq just prior to the 2003 invasion. I argued his claims were rubbish. Now it turns out even the US administration doesn’t support Shaw’s claims.

Scott McClellan, George Bush’s press secretary, when asked about Russian involvement replied:

“I have no information that points in that direction.”

Donald Rumsfeld has also refused to support Shaw:

Asked about Shaw’s comments during an interview on WABC radio in New York, Rumsfeld said, “No, I have no information on that at all and cannot validate that even slightly.”

CNN adds that:

Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita said Shaw was not speaking for the Pentagon and that his views were not those of senior defense officials. DiRita also said that Shaw’s superiors were talking to him about his comments.

Of course, none of this means that Iraq didn’t move weaponry on its own, nor does it mean that there wasn’t weaponry of Russian origin in Iraq in early 2003. But I think that, on balance, the chances of the Russian military being directly involved in the logisitics of its removal are somewhere close to zero.

Update: I hate CNN! They don’t appear to keep static webpages and the page referred to above has since been updated which means that both Donald Rumsfeld’s and Larry DiRita’s comments have vanished into the ether. But they were there once – I swear. Once I find a new source for their claims I’ll post it here.

Update 2: OK, here we are – both the Seattle Times and the Albuquerque Tribune carry the Rumsfeld quote. No sign of DiRita’s comments though.

And, more importantly, the debate which kicked off the accusations about Russian involvement appears to have been blown wide open by a new video just shown on US tv showing US troops inspecting the missing explosives 9 days after the invasion.

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