By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Alcolac was one of a handful of corporations prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department for illegal exports. Although Alcolac allegedly supplied its mustard-gas ingredient to Iraq and Iran, the Justice Department indicted the company in 1988 only for its illegal exports to Iran, via a German company, Chemco. A Chemco executive, who arranged the sales, was convicted of violating export laws. Alcolac’s chemicals allegedly made their way to Iraq through Nu Kraft Mercantile Corp., via Jordan. In 1989, Alcolac pleaded guilty to one count of violating U.S. export laws.
Hussein’s troops used mustard gas against the Iranians in their war and also against Kurdish civilians at Halabjah in 1988. And during the first Gulf War, hundred of thousands of American soldiers might have been exposed to hazardous levels of poison gas released when coalition jets bombed Iraqi targets. At the time, Czech chemical-detection equipment, the most sophisticated in the world, registered mustard gas and sarin nerve-gas exposure. Gulf War vets were found to be two to three times more likely to have children born with birth defects, according to a study published by the Annals of Epidemiology. Likewise, vets may have higher-than- average rates of cancers, afflicting the brain, nervous and reproductive systems, pancreas, kidneys and lungs.
Of 567,000 American troops who saw duty in the Gulf during the 1991 war, 293,561 —or nearly 52 percent —have now filed medical claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs, said Steven Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center and a Gulf War vet. The VA has granted compensation to 163,000 Gulf War vets, at a cost of $1.8 billion per year. Robinson also says that at least 11,074 Gulf vets have died since the war.
“We want those companies, especially the American firms who may have broken the export laws, to be criminally prosecuted,” said Robinson.Jim Crogan's investigation continues in "Made in America (Part II)"- aWeekly Web exclusive.
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