February 26, 2003


Iraq's U.S. arsenal: Complicity of firms in Saddam's crimes against humanity now well-documented (Paul Rockwell , Metro San Jose)
We now know who supplied Saddam Hussein with materials of mass destruction and where his military regime, notorious for atrocities against Iraqis, Iranians and Kurds, acquired helicopters, germs and lethal chemicals--an arsenal of terror. Iraq acquired its weapons of mass destruction from, among others, the United States and Britain--the very countries preparing all-out war to disarm Iraq.

In December, in the long-awaited 11,000-page report to the United Nations Security Council, an Iraq Weapons Inventory listed more than 150 foreign companies, including European and U.S. companies, that allegedly supplied Saddam Hussein with deadly and dual-use material.

Hoping to downplay its own culpability in Iraq's past war crimes, the U.S. reportedly suppressed the list of firms that contributed to Saddam's arsenal, but the dossier was leaked to a German newspaper, Die Tageszeitung, which published it. More information trickled onto the back pages of The New York Times and the Washington Post. The main facts are no longer in dispute.

The U.S. companies listed, some of which have facilities in Silicon Valley, include Spectra Physics, Honeywell, Dupont, Eastman Kodak, Bechtel, Tektronix, Unisys, Rockwell and Hewlett-Packard. They allegedly provided materials for Iraq's rocket program, planned nuclear weapons program and conventional weapons program, which includes military logistics as well as supplies and materials for building weapons plants.

The complete list included 24 companies with home bases in the United States, along with 50 subsidiaries of foreign companies that conducted their arms business with Iraq from within U.S. borders.

In addition to these companies, another group designated in the report as Iraq's arms suppliers includes the U.S. Ministries of Defense, Energy, Trade and Agriculture, as well as Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia National laboratories.

The article in Die Tageszeitung reported that German involvement with Iraq outstripped that of all other countries combined. The newspaper reported that Siemens had sold Baghdad at least eight sophisticated medical machines used to destroy kidney stones in patients, but which also contain switches that can be used as detonators for atomic bombs.

Great, so we're all agreed that Saddam has these weapons--now let's make up for past mistakes by going and taking them away, right? Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2003 11:52 AM

This is egregious. Everybody with functioning eye-sight knows that Iraq uses Russian tanks, that its missiles are based on Russian/Ukrainian and Chinese/North Korean technology. France and Germany have both contributed more to Saddam's arsenal then the US have. The Iraqi Air Force is not flying F-16's or F-15's, but Mirages. His mustard gas is not American, but German etcetera.

This doesn't mean that there is no American involvement in Saddam's weaponry, but it is truly disgusting to see German and French sources try to shift the blame on the US. And like you said, the US are at least prepared to get rid of those weapons, while France and Germany only want to supply more of them.

Posted by: Peter at February 27, 2003 7:51 AM