Friday, August 17, 2007

Glocks v. Steyrs

One of the recurring claims made by certain US officials to advance the argument that Iranian government sources are officially transferring signficant quantities of high quality arms to Iraqi groups has been the sniper rifle stories. Here is the London Telegraph's breathless and non-inquisitive reporting of the story:

Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids.

The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.

The Yorkshire Ranter last February did some due diligence and found this Agence France Press report on the vast investigation US intelligence performed on these rifles:

Austrian arms manufacturer Steyr-Mannlicher insisted Feb. 13 that there was no proof that sniper rifles recently seized by U.S. troops in Iraq were the same ones it had sold amid controversy to Iran in 2004.
“We have not been contacted by the Americans. Usually one would ask us to verify the origin of a weapon through its serial number, something that is not the case here,” Franz Holzschuh, the new owner of the more than 100-year-old weapons company, told AFP.

I am mentioning this as I want to build off the post by Cernig on the missing Glocks as I saw a very interesting paragraph in the MSNBC report on actual due diligence.

The Austrian government repeatedly checked the serial numbers of the murder weapons. The manufacturer informed Ankara that the pistols were consigned originally to " 'US Mission Iraq' [formerly the Coalition Provisional Authority], address: Republican Presidential Compound, Ministry of the Interior, Baghdad, Iraq."

When one is interested in finding out the truth, or at least the start of the trail towards the truth, this is pretty easy work; however when one is attempting to catapult the propaganda to bomb Iran, who needs to do any actual work!

UPDATE From the Ranter himself --- his follow-up post on the Steyr sniper rifles stories:

This tale about Steyr-Mannlicher sniper rifles was thin enough to start with, but it's now been officially disavowed by the US Army's press chief in Iraq, who states that no such weapon has ever been recovered anywhere in Iraq.

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