Friday, October 31, 2014

You know it's bad when...

...the UN nuclear watchdog sounds tougher on Iran than our own government...
WASHINGTON — At a moment when American negotiators say they see some signs of movement on the part of Iran toward a broad nuclear deal with the United States, the head of the United Nations nuclear inspection organization declared Friday that Iran had stopped answering the agency’s questions about suspected past efforts to design the components of a bomb.
Combine that with an Obama staffer calling Netanyahu a chicken$h*t and some might surmise the middle eastern pot is about to come to a boil very soon.  After all, how many more extensions will the chicken$h*ts in Jerusalem tolerate before taking their own action?  They have red lines, too.  Real ones. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ebola Chaos

What's a public official to do?   They cannot have people exposed to Ebola, a virus with no vaccine and a proven high mortality rate, running around a city "self-monitoring", even if it might work.  The political fallout of a worse case is off the charts.

But how do they justify quarantines when the leader of the federal response is hugging an Ebola victim the same day she is released from the hospital? 

It should be obvious the virus isn't transmitted through the air at this point.  Even close contact might not spread it, as the relatives of Thomas Duncan can now attest.  At the same time, the doctor who assumed normal frivolities around New York City less than 2 weeks after returning from the hot zone (and somehow making it though the thermometer gauntlet at JFK) was thought to be meticulous in his protection routine, yet he came down with the virus anyway.  So there is still some uncertainty.  As a rule public officials have a hard time playing games of risk-reward with such uncertainties.  Ergo, Christie and Cuomo's bi-partisan quarantine order.

But there are political risks anyway.  Already the quarantine is beginning to blowback on Christie in the form of the nurse selected as patient one:
Hickox says she has asked repeatedly but hasn't been told how long she'll be held at the hospital. "To put me in prison," she said, "is just inhumane."
War on women!   Notice the CNN report has not one mention of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was just out the other day mocking the idea of 'self monitoring', calling it an oxymoron.   Yet patient one and CNN are laying blame on the fat guy. 

At the same time, grabbing citizens and placing them into mandatory quarantine, without access to lawyers or other advocates, is a long-held fear of the conservative right. It's something Obama was supposed to do, you know, the FEMA camps. Now a GOP governor is on the leading edge.  Alex Jones' head has probably exploded.  

And couldn't Christie have at least have called Governor Perry to get some advice on how they handled the mandatory quarantine of Thomas Duncan's relatives, who didn't seem to complain much (if there were any breathless CNN stories about Duncan's relatives being denied their civil rights and being treated inhumanely they seem to have disappeared now).   Ah, politics again. 

But a solution exists that doesn't involve government, one wrapped more in personal responsibility and civics. Nurse Hickox is associated with Doctors Without Borders, a group that has provided a large number of workers to the hot zones while at the same time taking a somewhat liberal approach regards returning volunteers.  This despite the fact the group has seen 16 workers infected with Ebola in the hot zones, with 9 of them dying as of October 14.  Another humanitarian group providing workers is Samaritan's Purse, who has their own approach to returning workers:
The relief group began requiring all returning staff to stay isolated for 21 days, away from family members. The organization houses workers within an hour’s drive of medical facilities, such as Emory University or the NIH, which are equipped to handle Ebola patients, in case someone gets sick. The workers, who are paid their normal salaries, are not allowed to take public transit or touch anyone, and they must take their temperature multiple times a day.
“That’s just a part of the deal, and they have accepted that,” said Isaacs, who acknowledges that the requirements make it potentially more difficult to recruit volunteers to work in West Africa. “We’ve never felt comfortable that just coming back and letting people go about life as normal and take their temp two times a day was sufficient.”
They admit their extra rigor might dissuade more volunteers, but listen to the comments of the quarantined nurse in New Jersey:
Hickox said she worries that her experience will discourage other aid workers from going to West Africa to help quell the Ebola outbreak. ..
[snip to a few sentences down]  Someone asked me earlier would I do this again if I knew what would happen, and my answer is categorically yes," she said. "I feel incredibly privileged to be able to do this work."
So yes and no.

The bottom line is that people are scared of the unknown.  In such times they expect prudence from public officials.  They see people dressed like astronauts still getting the virus and it's worrisome. They see Obama and all the other federal officials bending over backwards to dispel any notion of a problem, first saying it would never come to our shores, then saying it wouldn't spread, then it wouldn't become 'major'.  They remember Obama saying "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period".

Then they see people who might have been exposed but are not yet symptomatic breezing into the country past thermal scans that are useless unless someone has symptoms.  And they see an approach taken by groups like Samaritan's Purse and think "that sounds reasonable".   As time goes by and an outbreak doesn't occur, things will get better, whether by chance or by quarantine.  Then all the politicians can pat themselves on the back accordingly and we can all move on to the next crisis.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ottawa Attack

In the aftermath of the Ottawa attack Jake Tapper pointed out a brief history of terrorism in Canada, but anyone familiar with the roots of AQ could not have been surprised at today's events nor would they be very impressed much with Tapper's newsreel.  The question is really not why, but why has it taken so long considering the history up there?

A good primer on the subject is Stewart Bell's "Cold Terror", which goes back into the 80s when Sikh terrorists operating from Canada plotted to blow up two Air India jumbo jets (they succeeded on one), progressing into the Islamic variety of today.  It seems the country has long been a soft landing pad for extremists, possibly due to their lax immigration posture and/or welcoming of multiculturalism. 

While America was surviving the Clinton years, legacy AQ operators came to Canada, including such noted figures such as Marzouk, JaballahMahjoub, Daher, and Jdey.  Elusive figure Adnan Shukrijumah was rumored to have spent time in Canada, perhaps attending school at McMaster (disputed).  Another who allegedly spent some time there was Mubarak al-Duri from Iraq, whom the 9/11 Commission described as a WMD procurement agent for bin Laden.  In recent years we've seen the Toronto 18 and the VIA Rail/Amtrak plot.  And of course the murder of a soldier just two days ago. 

People like to worry about terrorists being funneled across "the border" and most immediately think "Mexican" border, but the bigger threat has always been our neighborly border to the north.  

Meanwhile the spin never ends.  CNN admitted the shooter was a Muslim convert but made a point to stress he had a 10 year history with drugs, as if it might somehow negate his conversion.  Chances are he quit taking drugs after converting.  The media tried the same deflection approach with the workplace beheading guy in Oklahoma, focusing more on his firing or some nonsense about racial comments.  But the beheading was the screaming message everyone understood quite clearly.

PM Harper isn't fooling around--he has already called today's and Monday's events "terrorism"; Obama finally uttered the T word tonight (maybe he felt compelled) but he continues to pretend it doesn't exist when it comes to attacks here.  After all, Core-AQ is still decimated and on the run.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Aviation Update

The reporting on the crash of the Dassault Falcon 50 in Moscow carrying French oil giant Total's CEO has become typically weird.  Not to say there is a giant conspiracy, but not to say one should be ruled out.

As usual there are conflicting reports.  Some examples are shown below, with items of note in bold.  First, here's something from an AP wire report:
The crash occurred at 11.57 p.m. Monday local time when the French-made Dassault Falcon 50 burst into flames after hitting the snowplow during takeoff from Vnukovo airport, which is used by Russian government officials, including President Vladimir Putin, and visiting foreign leaders.
So AP says it was during "takeoff". Makes sense when considering the destruction of the aircraft, which apparently inverted before its tragic end. But here's the press spokeslady from the Vnukovo airport (the government facility Putin uses to fly in and out):
During the taxiing before take-off, at around 0:10 am Moscow time on Tuesday, the light aircraft hit a snow-clearing machine, the head of Vnukovo’s press service, Elena Krylova, told the media. “A Falcon airplane that was en route from Moscow to Paris collided with a snowplow while the jet was preparing to take off. The plane caught fire after the collision and all the people onboard – including a passenger and three crew members - died,” Krylova said.
The aircraft did not leave the ground after hitting the vehicle, she added, refuting earlier reports that the plane did eventually take off but then the pilot made a decision to turn back and land. The investigators have already found the aircraft’s black boxes while the airport staff were writing explanatory reports, she added.
So we're being asked to believe the Falcon jet slammed the plow as it was lining up for takeoff?  With debris strewn hundreds of meters and the aircraft being inverted?  But despite the widespread debris the plow driver survived and amazingly, the airport was cleared to reopen only 2 hours later:
Vnukovo Airport temporarily suspended all flights following the incident, but by 2 am all operations were restored.
Perhaps at this juncture it would help to show a picture of the airport..

Two main runways, lots of taxiways, more than enough potential confusion with low visibility.  And they could have resumed operations with only one runway, it appears.  So what about the weather? According to this report the temperature at crash time was 34F with humidity at 100 percent with a light southeast wind--all conducive to fog formation, and indeed the weather observation mentioned visibility at only 1/4 mile in light drizzle. So, why was a snow plow on the runway?  Were they releasing urea or some other substance to melt possible slush and ice?  Maybe--Moscow was expecting snow.  And it's entirely conceivable the allegedly drunken plow driver got lost in the mist and took the wrong taxiway or crossed an active runway and nobody in the tower could see it.  But we're back to the plow driver surviving, which sounds like a miracle. 

By the way, here's another story that described the crash this way:
"During run-up at 11:57 pm (1957 GMT), there was a collision with the airport's snowplough...
Misinformation after crashes is as predictable as sunrise, especially with the clown car media involved, but this report was from the airport PR person, not the media.  And she claims the plane wasn't taking off, because if it was taking off it wouldn't be 'running up'. 

But here's a presumed eyewitness report of airport operations this morning--only hours after the crash:
I was in Vnukovo today. I couldn't find any rests of the aircraft. Last night, at 12.15, I was returning home, driving through eastern Moscow. Heavy rains after a snowy sunday. It wasn't snowing at all. It was just raining. As I got to my house, 8nm from Vnukovo, around 12.35, there was almost no rain left. Flights today were mostly in order, no big delays. Heavy winds in the West-East direction. Lately, runway 24 is mostly used for take offs while runway 01 for landings. Anyone knows where was the crash? I saw nothing, although it was a 4 minutes drop off visit to Vnukovo, but i deeply checked in the around and couldn't find a single piece of aircraft, smoke, nothing. I was there at 11am.
Hard to believe there would be no sign of some debris there the morning after.  And it would be nice to see what the plow looks like now.

In other words, we getting some conflicting information. Sorting out the factual information from the misinformation, or possible disinformation, is the key. There is a difference. Proving 'disinformation' is always the hardest.

One way to guess is an analysis of where stories about the event are taking viewers/readers.  Right now almost all the stories are blaming a drunken cartoonish Russian plow driver.  They are also keying on the notion that de Margerie was against isolating Russia with punishing sanctions due to Ukraine, ie, why would a friend of Pooty Poot get rubbed out in Moscow?  But there's also this:
Total is a major shareholder in Novatek, Russia's largest independent natural gas producer. The two companies were planning to develop a massive liquified natural gas reserve in Siberia.
But the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine in July prompted Total to suspend buying additional shares in Novatek.
So as oil prices crater (less cash for Russia and the Middle East) perhaps Vlad couldn't twist his arm into more positive action.  Things are getting strange out there.

Speaking of oil, a few stories are also mentioning de Margerie and Total Oil's roles in the Iraq "Oil for Food" program where he was suspected of helping the Saddam regime sell oil on the underground markets to get around UN/US sanctions, charges of which the company was only recently cleared.  But take a look at this from the OFF memory hole and it gets weirder (added emphasis):
Thirty percent of the oil vouchers were issued to beneficiaries in Russia, including individual officials in the president’s office, the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian Communist Party, members of the Russian parliament, and the oil firms Lukoil, Gazprom, Zarubezhneft, Sibneft, Rosneft, and Tatneft.
Fifteen percent of the beneficiaries were French, including a former interior minister, the Iraqi-French Friendship Society, and the oil company Total.
Yes, both the Russians and French were helping Saddam back in the day so combined with the abovementioned bits of history it would seem to make the West, and not Russia, prime suspects for sabotage.  Then again, if something nefarious is up in Russia it doesn't necessarily always have to originate in Putin's office.  Their investigations committee is already laying blame!  But sometimes accidents just happen--even in Russia. 

MORE  10/23/14

More details are coming from Russia regarding the fallout from the crash.  Seems the plow driver has been arrested and detained.  His lawyer claims he wasn't drunk at the time and that tests to confirm his blood-alcohol will take 5-7 days rather than within 1 day as is usual, however this report claims it was released today and measured 0.06. That's below US standards for drunk driving, but airport operations require zero point zero.  Russian authorities have also picked up a couple of air traffic controllers, a maintenance supervisor, and a 'flights director', while the top two airport officials have resigned.    

Still no pictures of the plow.  The driver claims he was part of a convoy of plows heading across the airport grounds when something happened to his truck and he stopped to get out and look.  He claims he couldn't hear anything due to the roar of his plow engine and didn't realize he was on the active runway.  He claims he tried to contact his foreman on radio (which would probably not be on the same frequency as ATC ground, but one that ATC should monitor). Then the crash.

He seems to have been driving when the crash occurred, as there are indications he got back in the truck to start again but couldn't see the other trucks.  Based on the photo of the aircraft wreckage the plane had obviously taken off and perhaps gotten slightly airborne, since it somehow ended up inverted, therefore the plow driver was on the active runway.  Since he was completely unharmed it's likely the impact was a glancing blow, perhaps to a wing or the tail, since pictures show the Falcon jet's nose landing gear extended as normal and largely undamaged.  That scenario would explain the final resting position better than the airport PR director's initial remarks.

Still, we have a situation where a 10 year veteran airport maintenance operator was bumbling around on an active runway and nobody noticed.  That's where the notion of alcohol comes in--it could be used to explain the driver's actions quite well.  Of course it's Russia, don't people get up in the morning blowing a point six?  

Even with some booze it's hard to imagine that a plow driver could be that stupid and wouldn't have been monitoring ground frequencies to know whether there was any air traffic around.  Then again, one can imagine a haphazard operation where a fleet of plows were cleared to cross, the last driver was a bit loopy and stopped after hearing a sound--not knowing where he was because he was only following the truck in front of him because it was foggy, then getting back in and driving fast trying to catch back up but not wanting to talk on the radio then getting clipped by the departing aircraft before catching up to his comrades. He could have also been outside the truck when ATC gave the Falcon jet clearance, which was possibly given by an ATC trainee.  Most accidents are caused by a compounding of separate errors.

So, while conspiracies can never be totally dismissed in a country run by a former KGB officer the theory of negligence must first be eliminated, and right now it's looking pretty strong.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crisis management, as usual

The Pentagon just announced they are forming 30 unit rapid-response teams to be dispatched within the US to combat any Ebola non-outbreak outbreaks.  Hmmmm.  This comes a few days after Obama described CDC rapid response teams as "SWAT".   On Saturday the same guy urged Americans not to "give in to hysteria" on the issue while today he was blasting the GOP for "peddling fear". 

Words from a man who suspended his fund raiser schedule to have photo-op meetings in the White House, something that didn't even happen after the murder of an ambassador in an AQ terrorist attack or after Russia captured part of Ukraine or an American journalist was beheaded by a terror group shown on worldwide video.  So don't take that to mean anything as it would be giving in to hysteria.

Anyway, they made a big production of a formal White House meeting with all the big-wigs sitting around the long table looking stupid.  The NY Times filled in the blanks by informing us Obama was angry (no doubt after reading about Dallas in the paper)--matter of fact he was so furious he appointed a Democrat political fixer with no medical background as an "Ebola czar", a move that can focus blame elsewhere if needed while allowing him to get back on the links and the campaign fund raiser circuit so he can resume hurling barbs at the GOP for cash from people with names like Rich Richman.  If the Ebola virus peters out it will be "Ron who?'

In other words, crisis management as usual.   Hey, the reason people are fearful is the thought of a killer virus with over a 50 percent mortality rate being 'handled' by the current administration, who couldn't even handle building a web site. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Aviation Update

The temperature screening at five airports has finally commenced, although it's doubtful the program will have a very soothing affect on the public at large, especially after today's Ebola hearings in Congress.

The question of why the administration has not restricted travel to the hot zones was asked of White House spokesman Josh Earnest today, and briefly provided a moment of levity..

But the question remains open.  The administration seems fine with taking a risk that some asymptomatic Ebola victims will arrive in America despite the screening efforts, expressing confidence the system will protect Americans if they later present at the local hospitals with symptoms.  This despite the FUBAR with index patient zero, Mr. Duncan, in Dallas.  That's not a very comforting assurance.  It almost has the impression of a cost-benefit analysis, ie, a few American deaths are worth trading to prevent a collapse of west African governments, which could lead to a bigger world problem.  Just hope you're not collateral damage.

But isn't there almost a de facto travel ban in place already?  Here's some information on current airline services into the hot zone countries...

For Monrovia, Liberia, it appears there are only two: Brussels Airlines, with flights to Brussels, and  Royal Air Maroc, with flights to Freetown and Casablanca.  It's a bit humorous to see that Delta suspended its much-heralded flights from JFK to Monrovia on August 31st due to "weak passenger demand".

For Freetown, Sierra Leone,  the same two still flying to Monrovia, Brussels and Royal Air Maroc to the same destinations as from Monrovia.

And for Conakry airport in Guinea, it appears Air France with service to Paris, Royal Air Maroc with service to Casablanca, and Brussels Airlines with service to Brussels is the extent of it.

So it's not like Obama could use his pen and phone and shut down Brussels Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and Air France operations to west Africa.  As of this minute there's no American flag carrier service to this area already and no non-stop flights on any airlines.  Maybe that's why they can come across so cavalierly in opposing a travel ban--it's basically in place already.  In today's hearings (and other media questioning) CDC chief Frieden stressed that a ban would make it harder to track people arriving here from the hot zone countries and cause a widespread world outbreak.  Thing is, the surrounding countries have already imposed bans, which they credit with keeping the spread under control so far.

That doesn't leave many ways for sick people in the hot zone countries to get out.  They can't drive out of their area and can only fly to 3 or 4 cities if they can get past screeners.  In other words, maybe US authorities feel they have the few conduits of passage well viewed, perhaps even with the assistance of FBI or DHS tracking.

Of course, if law enforcement or transportation agencies are actually monitoring people it didn't work too well for Mr. Duncan.  One could even question why he wasn't moved to one of the top-notch Ebola treatment facilities as have all the other American cases so far.  Were they rigidly trying to follow a stupid protocol that was later changed, or was someone trying to send a subtle message to foreigners that coming here via deception might not result in a good outcome?   The Pentagon was only yesterday warning about a mass migration across our borders should Ebola spread to our southern neighbors, which would be based on the notion that once here they would have to be treated.   But treated how, like Duncan or the Americans?  

But let's end this on a positive note.  We are coming closer to the end of the 21 day incubation period for Mr. Duncan's friends and relatives who at last check were spending some quality time in an undisclosed quarantine location.  As far as the media has been told none of them have come down with the virus.  Also, nobody on the plane with Duncan came down with it.  So it's entirely possible the public quasi-panic will begin to subside soon if none of the casual contacts with Duncan or his nurses show any symptoms.  Other nurses or doctors working close to the patients coming down with it would not spread the same panic. 

Taken another way, if in a few weeks Obama takes full credit for solving Ebola that will actually be a good thing for the nation because it will mean, 1) we know more about the virus and how to handle it, and 2) it didn't become a widespread outbreak, none of which would be blamed on Obama if things get worse.  Politically speaking, this good news would not likely affect the mid-term elections very much because people expect the government to act when bad things come up and everyone knows the initial reaction was poor. If things get worse nobody will care about the elections.

BANS..   10/16/14

To co-opt an Obama phrase, let me be clear.  This blog called for Visa/passport bans weeks ago.  Those are not travel bans.  As pointed out above, there are no US carriers running flights into the hot zones anyway.  Flights will still run if the overseas airlines want to run them.  That's why the State Department's incessant argument that banning travel would cause huge problems in fighting the disease there deserves a big "how"?  The only thing that would change would be the delay of people in the hot zones getting into the US.  Run a quarantine, like the relatives of the Dallas index patient.  How f-ing hard is that?  We've heard our military will be subject to quarantines.

Simply standing there at the podium and arrogantly refusing while admitting that as many as 100 Visa applications are coming in per day in the hot zones is beyond the pale.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hans Blix didn't find them after all

Is this the October surprise Bob Beckel on Fox was rumormongering about last month?
From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.
In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
It's a pretty slick Times report, complete with animated GIFs, all highlighting reporter CJ Chivers' account of thousands of chemical weapons shells found all over Iraq per ground reports and a Pentagon FOIA.

Wait thousands of shells, doesn't that qualify as a stockpile?   Not so fast, says Chivers...
All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all. Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin.
Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area, according to those who collected the majority of them. In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.
Chivers stopped just short of saying the United States was manufacturing chemical weapons for Saddam, but he went right up to the waters' edge, saying that American-designed shells had been sold to Iraq by European nations, wink wink, cue the Rummy shaking hands with Saddam photo.  While the story implicates certain European nations of actually selling the material to Iraq, nobody will cue the Jacques Chirac handshake picture with Saddam.

But we're left with this--there WERE chemical weapons in Iraq, lots of them, and they were never acknowledged.  Now ISIS likely has possession of the remainder.  All of which makes the reports out of Syria last year about rebels having used Sarin gas more credible.  And if true, part of the blame lies with Maliki, since the Iraqis, as members of the Chemical Weapons Convention, were responsible for getting rid of their old rusty chemical stockpile--but they never finished before ISIS rolled into town. 

But the Times didn't splash this report across the front page to vindicate BushCheneyBurton.  They did so presumably to give Obama an out card by saying the Pentagon/Bush covered up the fact that chemicals were found because they weren't the right chemicals, so it's not the Democrats' fault.  And Bush still lied because he said Saddam had active programs.

But Ace of Spades challenges the definition of "active", ie, the Times piece says, "The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West."

Hmm, looking back at history Bush had been fairly careful to avoid saying Saddam had active chemical weapons programs as a casus belli for war. He did leave the impression there were active programs, but mostly stuck to the idea that Iraq possessed chemical weapons and the facilities to produce them, which the Times has now authenticated.  Let's go back to the Iraq AUMF that Hillary, Biden and Kerry voted for:
Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism;
That's to say Iraq entered a cease-fire agreement to destroy their chem-weapons and program.  While they might have mothballed their active program, they didn't destroy the "means to deliver" such as artillery shells. Instead they buried them all over the place.  And there were likely individuals who had the treasure maps to dig them up later.  One of those was not Hans Blix, whose UN team never found them in 2003 before the invasion.  Ergo, Saddam was in material breach.  Back to the AUMF:
Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;
Doesn't thousands of shells constitute a stockpile?  At what point does a stockpile stop being a stockpile if they are not destroyed or rendered inert?  And notice again it says nothing about an active chem-weapons program.  More..
Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;
"Continuing to possess"--check. The left will point out "and develop" in reference to the chemical weapons (and biological), perhaps dredging up this brutal report by the WaPo in 2004 describing the Duelfer Report, which noted: chemical weapons existed and that there is no evidence of attempts to make such weapons over the past 12 years. Iraq retained dual-use equipment that could be used for such an effort.
Which was simply wrong--munitions were there, buried underground.  What else did Mr. Duelfer get wrong?  The Kay Report on the Iraqi Survey Group done a year earlier stated:
We have multiple reports that Iraq retained CW munitions made prior to 1991, possibly including mustard - a long-lasting chemical agent -- but we have to date been unable to locate any such munitions.
Which was closer to correct.  The Times has finally located them.  Kay's report also left open the possibility that Saddam had explored reactivation of the chem program as late as 2002-2003, something Duelfer threw cold water on a year later.  Which was correct, considering the current revelations?

Of course this story leaves open the obvious political question:  if chemical weapons were indeed found in large quantities in Iraq why did the Bush administration remain silent about them?  Was it, as the left might say, a reminder of past sins in helping to arm the tyrant in an attempt to stop a worse band of tyrants (Iran), actions which might implicate the Bush family and friends?  Did we get rolled by our realpolitik of the past to the point where Dubya just said "the heck with it, we got Saddam, let's move on"?

Possible.  It would interesting to hear what James Baker has to say about it, assuming he could ever talk candidly. Hell, or George HW Bush.

Or maybe the Bush folks felt they couldn't justify going to war over old shells alone, which, even if passed along to AQ wouldn't do the kind of damage a bio or nuclear (or dirty bomb) would do.  This was borne out by the several attacks on coalition soldiers in Iraq using Sarin shells, which did relatively little damage.  Such munitions are also not easily transportable.  With terrorists swarming the country during the insurgency years it probably made no sense to start trumpeting "but they had chemical stockpiles"!  In the end this story is probably not going to change any minds either way.

But we don't live in history, we live in the present. Presently ISIS controls a lot of the areas where shells were found and were never destroyed, ergo, ISIS has chemical weapons. They may have already used them. A current political question would be "who allowed this"? The simple answer is partially contained in the idea that a certain president 'ended the war' in Iraq a little too soon.  In non-political terms perhaps this could explain why the 60 nation coalition hasn't been able to do very much to stop the advance of ISIS yet.