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Just not interested

By Jason Hayes
web posted May 10, 2004

In a 26 April blog entry, I argued that two recently foiled chemical weapon attacks, planned by al-Qaida members and targeting countries friendly to the US, were a solid indication that Saddam had shifted his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stockpiles to Syria prior to the coalition actions in Iraq.

Larry Elder's article, The curious lack of curiosity about WMD makes the same assertion and then takes the idea a step farther by questioning the media's lack of interest in al-Qaida's possession of enormous quantities of deadly nerve gases. Nerve gases that are suspiciously similar to WMD's that Saddam was said to have possessed. Nerve gases that, the media takes great pleasure in widely reporting, “do not exist”.

A thorough investigation of these weapons may turn up nothing – perhaps these chemical weapons came from Russia, North Korea, or somewhere else. Perhaps the media is correct and these WMD's did not come from Saddam's regime. However, reports of high levels of vehicle traffic moving from Iraq to Syria just before the war started and the fact that al-Qaida now has tons of weapons that normally require substantial funding and dedicated production facilities to create should have caused some questions to form in the minds of the media.

In his article, Elder and terrorism expert, John Loftus discussed the lack of capacity Syria, let alone al-Qaida, has to produce the 20 tons (yes 20 tons) of VX, Sarin, and other gasses, which authorites confiscated. They noted that if they had not been stopped, these attacks would have killed as many as 80,000 people. They reviewed the fact that captured al-Qaida agents have openly confessed that they were trained and equipped in Iraq. They also made note of al-Qaida's preference for targeting Jordan and explained that Jordan is an ally of the US, it has worked cooperatively with Israel, and it has prosecuted Islamist terrorists.

Loftus also makes a revealing and unnerving statement that goes to the heart of the media's refusal to investigate and report on this issue.

It's embarrassing to the (press). They've staked their reputations (on the fact) that this stuff wasn't there. And now all of a sudden we have al-Qaida agents from Iraq showing up with weapons of mass destruction.

The complete lack of interest shown by the media over this issue is a scary peek into the motivations of media moguls and their talking heads.

The potential links between al-Qaida and Iraqi WMD's are clear enough to warrant an investigation. However, the major media outlets are so consumed with repeating the "WMD's never existed" mantra that they ignore the fact that WMD's do exist and that they could have been sourced in Iraq.

Rather than tracking obvious leads for critical stories, they busy themselves with little other than misleading questions of whether Iraq is a quagmire or the next Vietnam. They obsess over the loss of life and spend hours "reporting" on the minute details of deaths and failures in Iraq (ever heard of Ted Koppel?), while essentially ignoring the potential for attacks that would dwarf 9/11 in terms of lost human life.

If one these cargoes of Sarin or VX made it through security lines and was used in a terrorist attack, Koppel, Jennings, Zahn and others would don their fatigues, flak jackets, and rubber suits and race to the scene. They would jockey amongst themselves to be the first to beam back pictures of victims coughing up blood, with others twitching and dying in the streets as a backdrop. They would be the first to question whether the invasion of Iraq and continued activities in Afghanistan or North American examples of anti-Islamic bigotry had prompted the al-Qaida bombers to spread the deadly gas over populated areas.

However, despite this boundless reservior of energy for breathlessly publicizing penetrating and insightful reports on how American activities had caused terrorist atttacks, they have not bothered to pose a question as simple as, "how could al-Qaida have magicked up multiple tons of these WMD's?" The media's purposeful disdain for this story is as offensive a display of bias and but-covering as I have witnessed.

In this instance, the media has abandoned their responsibility to print 'all the news that's fit to print' and focused their efforts on political propaganda aimed at discrediting Bush and the US military. It is sadly true that in this instance, their motivations and actions might just play a role in ensuring substantial losses of human life.

Jason Hayes is a Calgary-based consultant who specializes in environmental, policy, and tech issues. His blog is located at http://www.hayz.ws/blog.

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