Tuesday, August 08, 2006

U.S. sells surplus military hardware over the net to the highest bidder (no questions asked)

By Norman Silvester

AMERICAN defence chiefs are selling millions of dollars worth of military hardware from Iraq and Afghanistan to the highest bidder over the internet.

The items - which include rocket launchers and guided missile radar - can easily be used or adapted by criminals and terrorists.

One American government source described it as a "bargain basement" for terror chief Osama Bin Laden.

TheUSDepartment of Defense claims buyers on www.govliquidation.com are carefully vetted.

But our investigators registered a bogus company on their website.

Within minutes, our registration was accepted without question and we were sent a list of items for sale - many of which were surplus from Afghanistan and Iraq. These items included: Launcher mounts for anti-tank missiles.

Full military uniforms, including hi-tech, bullet-proof body armour.

Radar sets for guided missile systems and all-band antennae radios which can track enemy aircraft.

Small invasion landing craft.

Surveillance equipment, including global satellite positioning systems.

Grenade vests, ammunition belts, James Bond-style shoulder harnesses for revolvers - and even unused medals.

The US Government gave the contract to Liquidations Inc, who claim all buyers are vetted.

One senior Scottish military source said: "This is far cry from the combat jackets and sleeping bags you used to be able to buy from Army and Navy Stores.

"These bayonet knives, for example, may have been used in hand-to-hand combat to kill people.

"They are not toys or ceremonial knives.

"You could equip a small army with the stuff you can buy on this site."

Buyers can bid for items in the same way as they would on eBay.

An advanced satellite global positioning tool, which would normally cost the army $419,495, is on sale from offers over $85.

This bit of hardware could be used to track the position of an enemy or allied soldier anywhere in the world.

A ceramic body-armour kit, popular with gangsters, which normally costs around $1,716.12 , can be bought for as little as $142.998.

An inquiry has been launched into how second-hand military equipment is being sold openly by the US Army.

A US government report last month revealed the Department of Defense had become a "bargain basement for would-be terrorists".

Thousands of items which should have been destroyed were being sold.

But Liquidation Services claim they do nothing wrong. A spokesman said: "The property is inspected and verified by the government and determined to be appropriate for the public."

Aspokesman for the US Department of Defense said: "There are concerns about problems identified in the disposition of excess material.

"We are carefully assessing ways to eliminate errors and have already implemented procedures to strengthen the process."

MSP Kenny MacAskill, justice spokesman for the Scottish National Party, called for the website to be closed down. He added: "It's bad enough that people can buy knives and guns in Scotland without getting access to this type of hardware.

"While he was in the US last week, Tony Blair would have been well advised to ask President Bush to end this trade. It is not acceptable that the Americans use this site to recoup money from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"If they can close websites in theUSA which peddle child porn to people in Britain, then surely they can close this."

Britain's Revenue and Customs say it is difficult to regulate the sale of military equipment over the internet.

Aspokesman added: "Most of these items are legal to own privately. How they are used afterwards is an issue.

"But we would be concerned by largescale imports of stuff like bayonets and rocket-launching equipment."

Last year, it was revealed that 200,000 outfits of missing British Army-issue body armour were being sold openly on eBay.

No comments:


The posting of stories, commentaries, reports, documents and links (embedded or otherwise) on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such posted material or parts therein.

The myriad of facts, conjecture, perspectives, viewpoints, opinions, analyses, and information in the articles, stories and commentaries posted on this site range from cutting edge hard news and comment to extreme perspectives. I choose not to sweep uncomfortable material under the rug - where it can grow and fester. I choose not to censor uncomfortable logic. These things reflect the world as it now is - for better and worse. I present multiple facts, perspectives, viewpoints, opinions, analyses, and information.

Journalism should be the profession of gathering and presenting a broad panorama of news about the events of our times and presenting it to readers for their own consideration. I believe in the intelligence, judgment and wisdom of my readers to discern for themselves among the data which appears on this site that which is valid and worthy...or otherwise