The US government had been selling WMD to Iraq since Ronald Reagan was President, and probably for even longer. Until at least as late as George Bush's presidency, the USA continued to arm Iraq with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
Iraq's WMD - Made in America
American exports to Iraq, with the full knowledge and approval of the US government, included regular shipments of anthrax, botulism, West Nile fever, brucella melitensis, and other materials used in germ warfare. Other routine shipments included chemical warfare agent precursors, detailed plans for chemical weapons production facilities, chemical and biological warhead filling equipment, as well as delivery systems, missile production equipment and missile guidance systems.
WMD shipments from the US to Iraq continued long after the mass gassing of Kurds in Halabja, 1988; an incident which US intelligence blamed on Iran at the time, but the story was revised to make Saddam Hussein the evil-doer not long before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
After the 1991 Gulf war, Iraq dismantled its WMD programmes, in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions. In December 2002, in a desperate bid to avoid war, Iraq's government released a 12,500 page dossier documenting the disarmament process. Unfortunately, the US government removed 8,500 pages of this report, leaving only 30% that the rest of the world was allowed to see. This was hardly surprising, since all five permanent members of the UN Security Council carry more blame for Iraq's WMD than Saddam Hussein himself. But the US holds more responsibility for arming Iraq than any other country.
The great cost of dismantling such a well-fed weapons programme must have contributed to the suffering of the Iraqi people under the decade of international sanctions and recurring US air strikes that followed. Unfortunately, sanctions and bombs tend to affect ordinary people, not the ruling classes. The UN knows that very well indeed.
SUnday Herald (UK), "How America armed Iraq", 13 June 2004.
[ http://www.sundayherald.com/42647 ]
UNDER the successive presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the USA sold nuclear, chemical and biological weapons technology to Saddam Hussein.
In the early 1990s, UN inspectors told the US Senate committee on banking, housing and urban affairs - which oversees American export policy - that they had “identified many US-manufactured items exported pursuant of licences issued by the US department of commerce that were used to further Iraq’s chemical and nuclear weapons development and missile delivery system development programmes”.
In 1992, the committee began investigating “US chemical and biological warfare-related dual-use exports to Iraq”. It found that 17 individual shipments totalling some 80 batches of biomaterial were sent to Iraq during the Reagan years.
These included two batches of anthrax and two batches of botulism being sent to the Iraqi ministry of higher education on May 2, 1986; one batch each of salmonella and E.Coli sent to the Iraqi state company for drug industries on August 31, 1987.
Other shipments from the US went to the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission on July 11, 1988; the department of biology at the University of Basra in November 1989; the department of microbiology at Baghdad University in June 1985; the ministry of health in April 1985 and Officers’ City military complex in Baghdad in March and April 1986.
As well as anthrax and botulism, the USA also sent West Nile fever, brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene. The shipments even went on after Saddam ordered the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, in which some 5000 people died, in March 1988.
The chairman of the Senate committee, Don Riegle, said: “The executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licences for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think it’s a devastating record.”
Other items which were sent by the US to Iraq included chemical warfare agent precursors, chemical warfare agent production facility plans and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment, biological warfare-related materials, missile fabrication equipment and missile system guidance equipment.
BBC News, "'Little new' in Iraq declaration", 19 December 2002.
[ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2589149.stm ]
The Bush administration is reported to have decided already that it is not satisfied with the Iraqi document and is only hesitating about when to declare Iraq in "material breach" of UN resolution 1441.
Sections containing sensitive information, such as details on the manufacture of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, were removed for the version given to non-permanent members, leaving a document of about 3,500 pages.
The Humanist and ArtVoice, "What bush didn't want you to know about Iraq", March/April 2003.
[ http://www.projectcensored.org/publications/2004/3.html ]
Throughout the winter of 2002, the Bush administration publicly accused Iraqi weapons declarations of being incomplete. The almost unbelievable reality of this situation is that it was the United States itself that had removed over 8,000 pages of the 11,800 page original report.
This came as no surprise to Europeans however, as Iraq had made extra copies of the complete weapons declaration report and unofficially distributed them to journalists throughout Europe. The Berlin newspaper Die Tageszetung broke the story on December 19, 2002 in an article by Andreas Zumach.
According to Niman, "The missing pages implicated twenty-four U.S.-based corporations and the successive Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. administration in connection with the illegal supplying of Saddam Hussein government with myriad weapons of mass destruction and the training to use them." Groups documented in the original report that were supporting Iraq's weapons programs prior to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait included:
- Eastman Kodak, Dupont, Honeywell, Rockwell, Sperry, Hewlett-Packard, and Bechtel,
- U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture and Department of Defense,
- Nuclear weapons labs such as Lawrence-Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia.
Beginning in 1983, the U.S. was involved in eighty shipments of biological and chemical components, including strains of botulism toxin, anthrax, gangrene bacteria, West Nile fever virus, and Dengue fever virus. These shipments continued even after Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran in 1984. Later, in 1988 Iraq used the chemical weapons against the Kurds.
But perhaps most importantly, the missing pages contain information that could potentially make a case for war crimes against officials within the Reagan and the Bush Sr. administrations. This includes the current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld — for his collaboration with Saddam Hussein leading up to the massacres of Iraqi Kurds and acting as liaison for U.S. military aid during the war between Iraq and Iran.
"The Insider" mailing list article, 14 June 2004.
Tags: Iraqi, WMD, US, supplied, weapons, America, armed, Iraq, disarmed, Resolution, 1441, , conspiracy theories.