Silencers huh? Who were they planning on assassinating?
Weapons cache left by fleeing Saddam diplomats
Wednesday June 8, 2005
When Iraq's first post-Saddam ambassador to the UK surveyed his country's embassy in London, the locked safes must have been an intriguing discovery.
The embassy, in the salubrious Queen's Gate in Kensington, had lain empty since Saddam's diplomats fled as war loomed in March 2003.
By the time the new ambassador, Salah Al Shaikhly, took over in July last year, it had been burgled and ransacked and most of the fixtures were missing but the 20-odd safes were untouched.
Today it emerged what the Saddam-era staff had left behind in those safes: handguns, silencers, sub-machine guns and listening devices.
Dr Shaikhly said that professional safe-crackers had been brought in to open the safes, which were hidden around the embassy.
"As it turned out, most of them were empty apart from one interesting safe, locked in the Iraqi security services, which is upstairs," Dr Shaikhly told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
The safe above the ambassador's suite contained four machine guns - one Kalashnikov, one Uzi, and a couple of other makes - along with 10 handguns and four silencers.
"It was amazing. You really despair when you have this kind of arsenal kept at the Iraq embassy," Dr Shaikhly said. "There was something like 300 rounds of ammunition and another 300 that was spent. They must have used it for training.
"There were also some other things that looked like electric cattle prods. God knows, I don't know [what they were used for] ... they are the kind of thing used in some countries for crowd control."
There were also telescopic cameras, and listening devices like bugging devices. "I believe they must have been bugging their own people inside the embassy," he said. "Such was the regime they did not trust anybody. Everybody was spying on everybody else, unfortunately."
The equipment had no place at the new embassy, the ambassador said. "We do not need that. Not only do we not have it, but even if we did we don't know how to use it."
Ali Albayati, a consul at the embassy, said: "There was no massive surprise at what was there - we all know what they [the Saddam regime] were like. The regime was responsible for terrorist attacks ... [and] assassinations."
He said, however, that they had expected that weapons and tools for espionage purposes would have been taken away before the previous occupants left.
Renovations have started at the embassy and it is hoped the building will reopen this year. An Iraqi consulate, based in nearby Knightsbridge, is already working.
The Metropolitan police confirmed a number of weapons had been handed in by Iraqi authorities. No arrests had been made but investigations were continuing.
A spokesman said: "The current Iraqi authorities informed police of the discovery of a number of firearms found within their premises in south-west London. They cooperated fully with UK authorities, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and a number of firearms were subsequently recovered."
There are precedents for weapons being found in the Iraqi embassy. In April 1991, police found a bomb detonator and ammunition in part of the Iraqi embassy complex after it was stormed by Kurdish protesters. The siege ended peacefully when the Kurds, all unarmed, gave themselves up after being allowed to address the media from the fifth floor of the building.
Dr Shaikhly, 65, was a leading opposition figure and held ministerial positions in Iraq until 1978, before Saddam took power. In the 1980s he held a number of positions at the United Nations.
A message on the new Iraqi embassy website says: "Iraq has undergone a profound transformation since the liberation of our country from the former dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
"We have been successful in returning to our rightful place as a strategically important member of the international community ... diplomatic relations were restored with the United Kingdom in July 2004 after 13 years of severed relations under the Saddam Hussein regime."
"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have."
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
Silencers huh? Who were they planning on assassinating?
No man is free until all men are free - John Hossack
I agree completely with this Administration’s goal of a regime change in Iraq-John Kerry
even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act-John Kerry
He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. It’s the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat-John Kerry
Personally, i would be shocked if you didn't find AT LEAST that much hardware in any US embassy either.
True enough...Originally Posted by M21Sniper
Provides a nice little surprise for unwanted midnight callers
Among the community of nations, Pakistan today stands out on one hand as a petty thug brandishing a dangerous weapon, and at other times as a concubine, sleeping with anyone willing to pay for her expensive tastes. ~ Tarek Fatah
They are used for interrogation, except of course at the new gulag."There were also some other things that looked like electric cattle prods. God knows, I don't know [what they were used for] ... they are the kind of thing used in some countries for crowd control."
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