Monday, May 07, 2007

Who provided Iraq with chemicals and equipment for WMD's?

Wikipedia: Iraq and weapons of mass destruction (history, suppliers)

Program development 1960s - 1980s

1959 — 17 August USSR and Iraq wrote agreement about building atomic power station.

1968 — a Russian supplied IRT-2000 research reactor atomic power station together with a number of other facilities that could be used for radioisotope production was built nearby Baghdad.

1975 — Saddam Hussein arrived in Moscow in April. He asked about building advanced model of atomic power station. Moscow said Ok but under control International Atomic Energy Agency only. Iraq refused.

[ After 6 months Paris agreed to sell 72 kg of 93% Uranium and built the atomic power station without International Atomic Energy Agency control at a price of $3 billion.

In the early 1970s, Saddam Hussein ordered thecreation of a clandestine nuclear weapons program. Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs were assisted by a wide variety of firms and governments in the 1970s and 1980s. As part of Project 922, German firms such as Karl Kobe helped build Iraqi chemical weapons facilities such as laboratories, bunkers, an administrative building, and first production buildings in the early 1980s under the cover of a pesticide plant. Other German firms sent 1,027 tons of precursors of mustard gas, sarin, tabun, and tear gasses in all. This work allowed Iraq to produce 150 tons of mustard agent and 60 tons of Tabun in 1983 and 1984 respectively, continuing throughout the decade. Five other German firms supplied equipment to manfacture botulin toxin and mycotoxin for germ warfare. In 1988, German engineers presented centrifuge data that helped Iraq expand its nuclear weapons program. Laboratory equipment and other information was provided, involving many Germanengineers. All told, 52% of Iraq's international chemical weapon equipment was of German origin. The State Establishment for Pesticide Production (SEPP) ordered culture media and incubators from Germany's Water Engineering Trading.

France built Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in the late 1970s. Israel claimed that Iraq was getting close to building nuclear weapons, and so bombed it in 1981. Later, a French company built a turnkey factory which helped make nuclear fuel. France also provided glass-lined reactors, tanks, vessels, and columns used for the production of chemical weapons. Around 21% of Iraq’s international chemical weapon equipment was French. Strains of dual-use biological material also helped advance Iraq’s biological warfare program.

Italy gave Iraq plutonium extraction facilities that advanced Iraq’s nuclear weapon program. 75,000 shells and rockets designed for chemical weapon use also came from Italy. Between 1979 and 1982 Italy gavedepleted, natural, and low-enriched uranium. Swiss companies aided in Iraq’s nuclear weapons development in the form of specialized presses, milling machines, grinding machines, electrical discharge machines, and equipment for processing uranium to nuclear weapon grade. Brazil secretly aided the Iraqi nuclear weapon program by supplying natural uranium dioxide between 1981 and 1982 without notifying the IAEA. About 100 tons of mustard gas also came from Brazil.

The United States exported $500 million of dual use exports to Iraq that were approved by the Commerce department. Among them were advanced computers, some of which were used in Iraq’s nuclear program. The non-profit American Type Culture Collection and the Centers for Disease Control sold or sent biological samples to Iraq under Saddam Hussein up until 1989, which Iraq claimed it needed for medical research. These materials included anthrax, West Nile virus and botulism, as well as Brucella melitensis, whichdamages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene. Some of these materials were used for Iraq's biological weapons research program, while others were used for vaccine development.

The United Kingdom paid for a chlorine factory that was intended to be used for manufacturing mustard gas. The government secretly gave the arms company Matrix Churchill permission to supply parts for the Iraqi supergun, precipitating the Arms-to-Iraq affair when it became known.

Many other countries contributed as well; since Iraq's nuclear program in the early 1980s was officially viewed internationally as for power production, not weapons, there were no UN prohibitions against it. An Austrian company gave Iraq calutrons for enriching uranium. The nation also provided heat exchangers, tanks, condensers, and columns for the Iraqi chemical weapons infrastructure, 16% of the international sales. Singapore gave 4,515 tons of precursors for VX,sarin, tabun, and mustard gasses to Iraq. The Dutch gave 4,261 tons of precursors for sarin, tabun, mustard, and tear gasses to Iraq. Egypt gave 2,400 tons of tabun and sarin precursors to Iraq and 28,500 tons of weapons designed for carrying chemical munitions. India gave 2,343 tons of precursors to VX, tabun, Sarin, and mustard gasses. Luxembourg gave Iraq 650 tons of mustard gas precursors. Spain gave Iraq 57,500 munitions designed for carrying chemical weapons. In addition, they provided reactors, condensers, columns and tanks for Iraq’s chemical warfare program, 4.4% of the international sales. China provided 45,000 munitions designed for chemical warfare. Portugal provided yellowcake between 1980 and 1982. Niger provided yellowcake in 1981.

Fifteen years for Saddam's Dutch chemicals supplier
Last Updated: 1:08am GMT 24/12/2005

A Dutch businessman has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling chemicals to Saddam Hussein to use in attacks on Iran and on Iraq's Kurds.

The court at The Hague found Frans van Anraat guilty of complicity in war crimes, but acquitted him of genocide charges.

It concluded that he supplied the chemicals knowing they would be used to make the poison gas which Saddam Hussein used in his 1980-1988 war with Iran and against Iraq's own Kurdish population, including an attack on the town of Halabja in 1988.

Judge Roel van Rossum said: "His deliveries facilitated the attacks andconstitute a very serious war crime. He cannot counter with the argument that this would have happened even without his contribution.

"Even the maximum sentence is not enough to cover the seriousness of the acts."

Defence lawyers said they would appeal the sentence.

Earlier the prosecution said van Anraat, 63, shipped the chemicals to Iraq from the United States via Belgium and Jordan, and from Japan via Italy.

The court heard he delivered more than 1,000 tonnes of thiodiglycol, an industrial chemical which can be used to make mustard gas but which also has civilian uses.

More than 800 tonnes of the chemical were used on the battlefield.

The judge said van Anraat showed no sign of remorse.

"The fact that he wanted to resume exports of thiodiglycol almost immediately after he had seen footage of the gas attacks and told a colleague to tell no one that he was in Baghdad, shows he did not regret or repent hisacts," he said.

The attack on Halabja on March 16, 1988, killed an estimated 5,000 people.

More than 50 relatives of victims followed the proceedings. Some clapped when the sentence was read out, while outside the court dozens of people danced in a circle to beating drums.

Banners attached to fences outside the court read: "The Hiroshima of Kurdistan is Halabja" and "Halabja genocide never again".

Dutchman in Iraq genocide charges

Prosecutors in the Netherlands have formally charged a Dutch businessman with complicity in genocide for selling chemicals to Iraq's former regime.

Frans van Anraat, 62, is accused of selling US and Japanese chemicals which were used to produce poison gas.

The gases are said to have been used to kill more than 5,000 in a 1988 attack on the Kurdish Iraqi town of Halabja.

Mr van Anraat earlier admitted selling chemicals but told Dutch TV he had not known what they would be used for.

The full trial of the businessman - the first Dutch national to be prosecuted for genocide - is not due to start until November.

Evidence being used by prosecutors includes information obtained from the former head of Iraq's chemical weapons programme, Ali Hassan al-Majid, otherwise known as Chemical Ali.

He has been charged in Iraq of masterminding the mustard gas attack on Halabja for which Saddam Hussein also faces charges.

'Not my order'

Frans van Anraat listened to the charges on Friday in the Rotterdam courtroom in the presence of four survivors of the Halabja attack, each of whom are demanding more than $10,000 (7,513 euros) in damages.

The atmosphere in the courtroom was sombre as a prosecutor read them out, the BBC's Geraldine Coughlan reports.

The prosecution said there was a direct link between the injuries of two victims and a chemical substance known as TDG, allegedly supplied by the businessman.

"Van Anraat was conscious of... the fact that his materials were going to be used for poison gas attacks," said prosecutor Fred Teeven.

"The damage and grief caused will not be rapidly, if ever, forgotten."

Mr van Anraat is charged with supplying thousands of tons of raw materials for chemical weapons used in the 1980-1988 war against Iran and against Iraqi Kurds.

According to prosecutors, the United Nations has described Mr van Anraat as "one of the most important middlemen in Iraq's acquisition of chemical material".

His defence lawyers said there was no convincing evidence linking the material supplied by Mr van Anraat and chemical weapons used by Saddam.

In a 2003 interview, Mr van Anraat denied being aware of the attack.

"The images of the gas attack on the Kurdish city Halabja were a shock. But I did not give the order to do that," he told Dutch magazine Revu.

"How many products, such as bullets, do we make in the Netherlands?"

Iraqi haven

One of the survivors in court, Karwan Abdula, told AFP news agency that the arrest of van Anraat "was nearly as important as the arrest of Saddam Hussein".

Prosecutors say the Dutchman had been a suspect since 1989, when he was arrested in Milan, Italy, at the request of the US government.

But he was later released and fled to Iraq, where he remained until 2003.

During that time, reports say he fed information to the Dutch intelligence agency on Saddam Hussein's weapons programme.

After the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, he returned to the Netherlands and was arrested in December 2004 at his Amsterdam home.

The UN suspects he made 36 separate shipments of chemicals via the Belgian port of Antwerp through Aqaba in Jordan to Iraq, the prosecution says.

At Friday's hearing, judges rejected a request by Mr van Anraat to be provisionally released pending trial - to applause from the public gallery.


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