Just in case someone claims that the US didn't arm and back Saddam:
Dozens of U.S. Items Used in Iraq Arms;
Exports Often Approved Despite Warnings From Pentagon, Others
The Washington Post July 22, 1992, Wednesday, Final Edition
Copyright 1992 The Washington Post
by R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post Staff Writer
International inspectors discovered evidence of American commercial assistance to Iraq's nuclear weapons program while searching last October through an industrial warehouse on the southern outskirts of Baghdad.
Inside a large packing crate they pried open at the Daura complex was a sophisticated welder fitted with a special clamp for attaching end caps to the main cylinder of a centrifuge meant to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon.
The welder, U.S. and United Nations officials say, was shipped to Iraq by the American subsidiary of a German firm -- Leybold Vacuum Systems Inc. in Enfield, Conn. -- along with a high-tech lathe useful in missile and nuclear applications.
Internal Commerce Department documents obtained by The Washington Post show that in 1988, the Leybold exports were approved by the department over the objections of some licensing officers who warned that the equipment might be used in an Iraqi effort to build weapons of mass destruction. Leybold said at the time that the equipment was for general military repair purposes and maintains it has no reason to believe the equipment was misused. . .
In addition to U.N. discovery of the welder, congressional investigators here have uncovered evidence showing the United States approved dozens of exports that found their way into Iraq's missile, nuclear, poison gas and germ weapon programs.
These exports included bacteria or fungus cultures, computers and electronic instruments, chemical process control equipment, and missile navigation and communications gear, according to a formerly secret State Department document made public yesterday by House Banking Committee Chairman Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tex.).
About two of every seven export licenses approved between 1985 and 1990 "went either directly to the Iraqi armed forces, to Iraqi end-users engaged in weapons production, or to Iraqi enterprises suspected of diverting technology" to weapons of mass destruction, Gonzalez said in a speech on the House floor.
He and other legislators also contend that the executive branch either neglected or deliberately ignored a series of warnings about Iraq's procurement of U.S. equipment for its unconventional arsenal...
Gonzalez disclosed yesterday, for example, that a dozen or so high-tech exports were approved for use at Iraq's Salah Al Din, Saddam and Nassr State Establishments, all linked by secret U.S. government reports before the gulf war to arms production or military research.
Six U.S. exports of biological material were approved for the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, which the CIA said in a secret report last year had acted as a "cover" for the Iraqi germ weapon program. Another 11 biological exports were sent to the University of Baghdad, now also suspected of fronting for Iraq's weapons program.
In addition, the Bush administration approved 10 U.S. exports for the Technical and Scientific Materials Division of the Iraqi Trade Ministry, tied in a classified 1990 CIA report to "biological warfare support and numerous other military activities," according to Gonzalez.
"Iraq was able to obtain . . . equipment of a predominantly commercial or civilian character, such as computers, from American firms for the Sa'ad 16 facility," Iraq's principal research and development center for ballistic missiles, said last year's classified interagency report to Congress. At least two of these exports occurred after 1986, when Sa'ad 16's purpose had been described in a secret Defense Department report to Commerce officials.
Some of the exports were approved with conditions proscribing their use in nuclear or missile applications. But U.S. officials verified that Iraq was observing these conditions on only one occasion, according to Gonzalez. "Tragically, in the case of Iraq, the United States did not adopt a policy of conducting post-installation checks," Gonzalez said yesterday.
Confidential Commerce Department files also reveal that the Reagan and Bush administrations approved at least 80 direct exports to the Iraqi military. These included computers, communications equipment, and aircraft navigation and radar equipment, Gonzalez said.
Many of these exports were made before Iraq's eight-year war with Iran ended in 1988, a period in which Washington maintained an official policy of neutrality toward the combatants but vigorously worked to block foreign military purchases by Iran.
In addition, the U.N. Special Commission on Iraq secretly informed the administration six months ago that equipment from 11 American companies was found in Iraqi missile and chemical manufacturing plants. The equipment included a "filling system for projectiles," a "pressure and temperature regulator," a ballistic missile "X-ray machine" and the chemical ingredients of a deadly nerve agent, according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.
Also, a recent confidential report by the International Atomic Energy Agency has identified at least 15 American companies that inspectors believe made major machine tools used or earmarked by Iraq for its nuclear weapons program, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition that they not be named.
Only a few of the U.S. exports to Iraq involved munitions. Virtually all the rest involved so-called "dual-use" equipment, ostensibly meant for civilian application but also capable of being used in a military program. U.S. law proscribed such exports to countries listed as supporting terrorism, a label Washington applied to Iraq before 1982 and reinstated one month after Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
In between those years, Iraq allowed at least three major terrorist organizations to operate from its territory, and provided refuge to Abul Abbas, a terrorist blamed for the notorious 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in which an American tourist was killed. But the Reagan and Bush administrations decided to leave Iraq off the terrorist list during this period in what officials say was a deliberate effort to avoid an interruption of trade that would jeopardize political ties and harm U.S. commercial interests.
As a result, Iraq was officially described under Commerce Department rules as a Free World nation -- a designation that lumped Iraq with Britain and France in gaining access to America's high-tech goods. Export licenses could be refused to a Free World nation only for a few reasons, such as risk of diversion to the Soviet Union, threat to regional stability or use in developing nuclear weapons...
Paul Freedenberg, who served as assistant secretary of commerce for trade administration in 1988 and 1989, said the White House rejected his proposal at that time to impose such foreign policy controls in response to Iraq's use of poison gases against Iranian soldiers and ethnic Kurds. The National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan responded that "the licensing policy with regard to Iraq was . . . normal trade," he said.