By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
A representative of the U.N.’s weapons-inspection team, who spoke on condition of anonymity, denied the U.S. had pressured anyone. "The decision to ‘sanitize’ the list of names was made by the permanent members in consultation with us. We felt it was necessary to protect their names, so UNMOVIC [the U.N. inspection agency] could go back and ask the companies follow-up questions. It’s like journalists protecting their sources," the source added.
Also speaking on a not-for-attribution basis, a spokesperson for the U.S. United Nations delegation denied the U.S. had pressured anyone to withhold suppliers’ names: "We wanted them released," the spokesperson said. "It was the Europeans who demanded they be kept secret."
The corporate entities were subsequently listed in a German newspaper, but the disclosure got little play in the United States, despite the presence of an impressive list of American corporate players.
It turns out that the Iraqi declaration also identified three American nuclear-weapons labs as assisting with Iraq’s nuclear-weapons program: Los Alamos, Sandia National Laboratories, and Lawrence Livermore. A Los Alamos representative refused comment. And Sandia’s spokesperson did not return calls. But a representative from Lawrence Livermore told the Weekly the reference was to a public conference that several Iraqi scientists attended. "There was no classified material discussed. It was only about conventional explosives and detonations," the spokesperson said. "These were public, scientific papers being discussed. And I think the conference was sometime during the late 1970s."
Former congressional investigator Jeff Hodges remembers it differently. "First, the conference wasn’t held in the late 1970s," said Hodges. "It was September 1989. That’s less than 14 months before the Gulf War started," he said.
Hodges also pointed out it was the elder Bush’s State Department that arranged visas for three participating Iraqi nuclear scientists. "In addition to the information they received from the public papers, the scientists also profited from valuable contacts they made at the conference," he added.
Six months after the conference, American and British customs officers at London’s Heathrow Airport arrested operatives working for Iraq’s nuclear-weapons research lab.
Of course, history could have taken a completely different turn in 1990. A former U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells the Weekly that in July of 1990 his associate, an intelligence operative, was reviewing developments in Iraq with President Bush, Colin Powell (then chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), Dick Cheney (then the Secretary of Defense) and Secretary of State James Baker on the looming crisis in the Gulf.
"My friend was the individual used by our government to hand-carry secret intelligence information on Iran’s military to Baghdad," recounted the source. "He told Bush and the others that Iraq was moving troops towards the Kuwaiti border. He also told the president he could stop them dead in their tracks by making a public announcement that any attack on Kuwait would be viewed as an attack on the U.S." But the source said that the advice was rejected.
Bush et al. "decided they didn’t want to align the U.S. that closely with Kuwait," the former intelligence official said. "But I guess that plan didn’t work out too well, did it?"
Companies Being Sued for Ties with Iraq
The following companies are named in the Gulf vets class-action suit, which claims the companies aided Iraq’s weapons program. None of these companies has admitted any wrongdoing; some have yet to be served with the lawsuit alleging wrongdoing:Preussag, a German company, allegedly built a chemical-weapons facility. Schott Glaswerke, a German company, allegedly provided specialized equipment for chemical plants. Klockner, a German company, allegedly sold Iraq spare machine parts for its chemical-weapons facilities. Sigma Aldrich Corp., a German company, allegedly sold biological-weapons equipment. Chemap A.G., a Swiss company, allegedly sold specialized equipment for Iraq’s bioweapons program. American Type Culture Collection, a U.S. company, supplied biological agents and pathogens to Iraq. Phillips, now part of ConocoPhillips, an American oil and energy company, allegedly sold chemicals used in the production of mustard gas. Alcolac International, a U.S. company, allegedly sold chemicals used in the production of mustard gas. Alfa Laval, a Swedish company, allegedly sold specialized equipment for Iraq’s bioweapons program. Karl Kolb, a German company, allegedly built a chemical-agent factory. WET, a German company, allegedly sold specialized equipment for Iraq’s bioweapons program. Herberger, a German company, allegedly built bio-weapons facilities.