The U.S. - Iraq Complicity Page

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How U.S. Arms and Technology Were Transferred to Iraq*

Ted Koppel - ABC News - Excerpt of Nightline Special Investigation
(Click here to see the full report.)

TED KOPPEL:

"In 1982, the United States gave the world a clear signal that relations with Iraq were improving. It dropped Iraq from its list of states that support terrorism and, around the world, a variety of interested parties watched, listened and drew their own conclusions...

"It wasn't just a tilt toward Iraq, it was an opening of the floodgates. At times, U.S. laws were violated. There was an official atmosphere that ranged from indifference to tolerance and sometimes even outright cooperation...

"The sheer quantity of technology, weapons and money that were transferred to Iraq over roughly the same period dwarfs anything that went to Iran. Remember, official U.S. policy was that no help should go to either side. In reality, the Reagan administration was split, some senior officials supporting Iran, others Iraq....

"But it's not a question of holding the Bush or Reagan administrations to account for having made mistakes in regard to their policies toward Iraq. The issue is how those policies were implemented. "As we've reported over the past few months, the Atlanta branch of an Italian bank, BNL, was able to funnel billions, some of it in U.S. credits, to Iraq's military procurement network. The U.S. government knew and turned a blind eye.

"Sophisticated military technology was illegally transferred from a major U.S. company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to South Africa and Chile and, from there, on to Iraq. The Iraqi-born designer of a chemical weapons plant in Libya set up shop in Florida, producing and then shipping to Iraq chemical weapon components. The CIA, the FBI and other federal agencies were made aware of the operation and did nothing to prevent it.

"During the 1980s and into the '90s, senior officials of both the Reagan and Bush administrations encouraged the privatization of foreign policy, certainly towards Iran and Iraq. The policy may have had merit, but they weren't willing or, in some instances, weren't successful in fighting it out on Capital Hill. So they found other ways. They made a mockery of the export control system, they found ways of encouraging foreign governments to do what our laws prohibited. They either knew or, if not, were guilty of the grossest incompetence, that U.S. companies were collaborating with foreign arms merchants in the illegal transfer of American technology that helped Saddam Hussein build his formidable arsenal." (Nightline Show #2690 - Sept. 13, 1991)

It is this same Iraqi arsenal that once again represents an existential threat both to Israel and the US. It is this same arsenal that Jonathan Pollard warned Israel about nearly 2 decades ago as the US covertly armed Iraq. In a recent interview, former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger indicated that the Pollard case was not of major consequence, but that more was made of it than it was. [See Caspar's Ghost - NY Jewish Week - June 14, 2002]. This is a shocking admission from the man most responsible for securing the unprecedented life sentence that Pollard received.

In hindsight, it was clearly this secret US tilt towards Iraq and the covert build up of US arms and intelligence in Iraq that the Pollard affair threatened to reveal. It now becomes apparent why such energy and effort has been invested in burying Pollard alive and why that policy continues to this day as America again prepares for war against Iraq - an enemy armed to the teeth with American weapons, technology and intelligence.


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