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Marines hold nuclear site
Pittsburgh Tribune Review ^ | Wednesday, April 9, 2003 | Carl Prine

Posted on 04/09/2003 10:29:29 AM PDT by Ditto

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:02:56 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

SOUTH OF BAGHDAD In a valley sculpted by man, between the palms and roses, lies a vast marble and steel city known as Al-Tuwaitha.

In the suburbs about 18 miles south of the capital's suburbs, this city comprises nearly 100 buildings workshops, laboratories, cooling towers, nuclear reactors, libraries and barracks that belong to the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission.


(Excerpt) Read more at pittsburghlive.com ...


TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: altuwaitha; atomic; blix; cia; fedayeen; frenchnuclear; hamza; iaea; iraq; iraqinuclear; marines; nuclear; nuclearweapons; nuke; plutonium; radiation; seegar; semperfi; tierney; tuwaitha; un; unarmsinspections; unarmsinspectors; underground; unfailure; unitednations; unlegsinspectors; usmc; war; warlist; wmd
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To: meyer
but they don't tell us what a "score" is.

1 score = 20

201 posted on 04/09/2003 9:42:08 PM PDT by 1066AD
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To: carlo3b; stanz; Howie; christie; TwoStep
Have you seen this??
202 posted on 04/09/2003 10:28:40 PM PDT by jellybean
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To: Ditto; *war_list; W.O.T.; Dog Gone; Grampa Dave; blam; Sabertooth; NormsRevenge; Gritty; ...
Just in case you have not seen this, I am pinging you!

OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST

203 posted on 04/09/2003 11:02:06 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and where is Tom Daschle?)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks. This is one of the great pieces that Backhoe has indexed/accumulated for us re Iraq!

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/889383/posts
204 posted on 04/09/2003 11:10:47 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: Ditto
Yikes Bookmark!
205 posted on 04/09/2003 11:19:08 PM PDT by PeaceBeWithYou (De Oppresso Liber!)
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To: ISawIt
Wasn't there recently a guy arrested in South Florida as an al Qaeda suspect who was planning a 'dirty bomb'?
206 posted on 04/09/2003 11:24:31 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: Ditto
bump
207 posted on 04/10/2003 4:58:56 AM PDT by TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
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To: 1066AD
1 score = 20

Well shoot, I should have known that. Thanks!

208 posted on 04/10/2003 5:17:14 AM PDT by meyer (how do I turn this thing off?)
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To: All
Any more info on this story? I'm finding nothing at any of the traditional news stories. It's been over 24 hours since the original story was broken. Another WMD false alarm that didn't pan out? Anyone?
209 posted on 04/10/2003 5:22:58 AM PDT by D. Brian Carter
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To: ISawIt
I was not disputing the potential danger of the material. What I was disputing was the conclusion that this discovery proves a continuing Iraqi nuclear weapons program in violation of U.N. resolutions. Is it the "smoking gun"?

It's possible that these readings are due to Iraqi incompetence, not the development of an illegal weapons program. I'm sure the French reactors are normally very safe. But I question the ability of the Iraqis to keep them that way. Put it this way: if you were operating a secret weapons lab, would you intentionally have so much dangerous leakage that you could not even enter parts of the facility? Why make your own facility unihabitable?

210 posted on 04/10/2003 5:35:32 AM PDT by XJarhead
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To: Kadric
Yes it does. Did you catch the pretty young Iraqi woman on Fox last night who made the sign of the cross as she passed the cameras hanging out the passenger side window of a car?
211 posted on 04/10/2003 5:43:34 AM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: XJarhead
Why make your own facility unihabitable?

Scorched earth? Or to make it difficult for us to inspect.

212 posted on 04/10/2003 5:51:14 AM PDT by js1138
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To: Carry_Okie
You can put anything in wet ground with the right drainage system and proper dewatering of the construction area. You underestimate what we Civ E's. are capable of.
213 posted on 04/10/2003 5:57:06 AM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: All
Bump!! BTTT!!

Fox News has finally picked this up, talking about it right now!

214 posted on 04/10/2003 6:28:36 AM PDT by Tatze (Give Pizza Chants!)
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To: D. Brian Carter
FOX is reporting this now
215 posted on 04/10/2003 6:29:20 AM PDT by JustinV
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To: JustinV
Justin, thanks. If possible, please post updates for those of us stuck in the office.
216 posted on 04/10/2003 6:32:36 AM PDT by D. Brian Carter
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To: js1138
I suppose that's possible, sure. One thing that struck me was when they went into the one facility with all those barrels, and had to get right out. That sounds like sheer sloppiness/incompetence to me. If your going to do a "scorched earth" policy, then why bother putting the crap into barrels at all? Just dump it.

I would love if this turned out to be a true smoking gun site, because that would put the nail in the coffin of everyone who argued against intervention. But I'm a bit puzzled as to why the story really hasn't been picked up more. Let's face it -- an illegal nuclear site would be huge -- far bigger than discovery chemical weapons. But it seems to get little attention. A "cover-up" doesn't make much sense to me because they site has been identified and will be investigated. If it really is a smoking gun, that will be confirmed at some point no matter how much some media outlets might like to cover it up. And then, it will be impossible to bury the story.

The most logical explanation is that "people in the know" really don't believe that this site is a smoking gun. Or at the least, they think there is considerable doubt, and think that more confirmation is required.

217 posted on 04/10/2003 6:32:57 AM PDT by XJarhead
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To: JustinV; Tatze
Any news on what was reported on Fox? Would love to hear more info, as it is very scarce here on the net....
218 posted on 04/10/2003 6:49:57 AM PDT by D. Brian Carter
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To: XJarhead
They are going to find enriched uranium rods. You heard it here first.
219 posted on 04/10/2003 6:55:56 AM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: XJarhead; D. Brian Carter
From yesterday's Washington Post. It appears the IAEA knew about the materials in this facility. Interesting, since some other experts apparently didn't.

Days after the site was overrun by Marines, U.S. military commanders said yesterday they have imposed heightened security and safety measures at a nuclear complex where the Iraqi government warehoused radioactive material.

Iraqi forces abandoned the Tuwaitha nuclear site over the weekend, prompting fears among nuclear experts that the facility might be plundered, or that arriving U.S. troops or Iraqi civilians might be exposed to potentially dangerous doses of radiation.

The site, about 15 miles south of Baghdad, is Iraq's only internationally sanctioned repository for nuclear material. Since the early 1990s, large quantities of uranium and dozens of radioactive devices used in medicine and research have been stored at the site in warehouses that are sealed and monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

Marines who have held the facility since Sunday have entered some of the complex's bunkers and recorded high levels of radiation inside, according to reports from embedded journalists. The accounts fueled speculation initially that the troops had discovered a secret nuclear weapons laboratory.

Among U.S. and international nuclear experts familiar with the site, the reports raised concerns that the IAEA's seals may have broken, leaving the nuclear material vulnerable and Iraqis and U.S. troops in danger of radioactive contamination.

"There is a risk to troops who might enter these secure areas, and there's a risk of looting that could allow the material to be spread around," said one nuclear expert close to the IAEA's Iraq inspection team.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Qatar said coalition forces were familiar with the materials stored at Tuwaitha and had taken steps to protect troops and guard against theft.

Built in the 1960s, Tuwaitha was the birthplace of Iraq's previous nuclear weapons program and the site of a French-built nuclear reactor that was destroyed in an Israeli bombing in 1981. All of Iraq's known stocks of weapons-grade uranium were removed following the 1991 Gulf War, but Iraq was allowed to keep about 1.7 tons of low-enriched uranium and nearly 500 tons of natural uranium at Tuwaitha under IAEA safeguards. Low-enriched uranium is not immediately useable for a weapon but could be valuable to anyone trying to build one.

The site also served as a repository for about 150 pieces of radioactive equipment that Iraq was permitted to keep for medical or industrial applications. Some of the devices contain high levels of radiation and could be potentially used in a "dirty bomb," said David Albright, a former IAEA inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security.

"This might be a good opportunity for [coalition forces] to take this stuff out now," he said. "Why leave it for the next Iraqi government to deal with?"


220 posted on 04/10/2003 6:59:09 AM PDT by browardchad
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