[R-G] Iraq Being Plundered
info at cinox.demon.co.uk
Sat May 29 07:43:23 MDT 2004
Report: Iraq being plundered
Saturday 29 May 2004 1:43 AM GMT
A US newspaper reports that military equipment and oil rig parts are being
smuggled out of Iraq in a scale tantamount to looting.
"This is systematically plundering the country," John Hamre, of the
Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, was quoted
as saying by the New York Times on Friday.
While occupation authorities have approved the removal of scrap metal from
Iraq, including thousands of damaged Iraqi tanks, the newspaper said
material seen in scrap yards in neighbouring Jordan include new material
from Iraq's civil infrastructure.
Oil rigs and water plants were being stripped of equipment, which then were
being carted out of Iraq.
One hundred semitrailers loaded with what is billed as scrap metal arrive in
Jordan every day from Iraq bearing legitimate scrap metal, but also
inestimable amounts of plundered material, said the paper.
The daily said one of its reporters saw "piles of valuable copper and
aluminum ingots and bars, large stacks of steel rods and water piper and
giant flanges for oil equipment, all in nearly mint condition, as well as
chopped-up railroad boxcars, huge numbers of shattered Iraqi tanks and even
beer kegs marked with the words "Iraqi Bravery."
The head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency's verification office
in Iraq, Jacques Baute, told the newspaper that satellite photographs the
agency uses to monitor hundreds of military-industrial sites for the removal
of sensitive material show "jarring" results.
Entire buildings and complexes of as many as a dozen buildings have vanished
from the photographs, he said.
"We see sites that have totally been cleaned out," he said.
"There is a gigantic salvage operation, stripping of anything of perceived
value out of the country," said Hamre.
Sam Whitfield, a spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, however,
said the occupation forces had put a stop to widespread looting in Iraq.
But a Jordanian engineer at a scrap-yard in Jordan, pointed to items that
did not look like scrap at all.
He indicated five-meter long bars of carbon steel, water pipes and large
falanges he identified as oil-well equipment.
"It's still new and worth a lot," Muhammad al-Dajah said.
More information about the Rad-Green