- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2002

U.N. arms inspectors will not disclose the identities of foreign suppliers to Iraq's weapons programs, but past arms transfers have been sent from a range of companies in Russia and in China, as well as in Europe and the United States.
U.S. officials familiar with the report said that it consists mainly of declarations made to the United Nations in the years leading up to 1998, when inspectors were blocked from returning after a U.S. bombing raid.
According to the private Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, Iraq's suppliers of goods related to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and missiles include European, Asian and South American companies, as well as U.S. firms.
The project has documented hundreds of public sales of equipment and material in the years before the 1991 Persian Gulf war as well as during the 1991 to 1998 period when dual-use and military equipment was banned.
Among the main suppliers in the past were German companies that provided Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's military with nuclear and missile technology.
Swiss firms also have sent Iraq missile-fuel production equipment and nuclear-related equipment, and one Italian company provided a plutonium-extraction laboratory.
France assisted Iraq with its Osirak nuclear reactor, which was bombed by Israeli warplanes, and Brazil helped with equipment related to missiles and nuclear arms.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is working with Hans Blix's U.N. weapons inspectors, also documented nuclear-arms equipment it found in Iraq after the 1991 war.
The goods included 60 machines that shape metal into centrifuge parts that were produced by the German companies Dorries, H&H; Metalform, Kieserling & Albrecht, Leifeld and Magdeburg, Britain's Matrix Churchill and the Swiss company Schaublin.
U.S. and German companies were found to have provided mass spectrometers, which monitor bomb-fuel production, and Sweden's Metallextraktion AB had sold plutonium-extraction equipment.
A Japanese NEC mainframe computer was found in Iraq that was to be used in processing nuclear-bomb codes, and French company Sciaky had supplied a special welder used to make centrifuges.
The Wisconsin Project also has documented sales to Iraq of equipment used by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, which was in charge of Iraq's nuclear-arms program.
The commission was found to have used Hewlett-Packard computers for electronic testing and calibration. Other computer makers that were found to have helped Iraq's missile program included the Data General Corp. and Honeywell.
Mr. Blix said on Monday that the names of foreign companies will be edited out of the Iraqi arms declaration before it is sent to the Security Council on Monday.
Ewen Buchanan, a spokesman for the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, which Mr. Blix heads, said the policy of not disclosing companies "is designed to protect our sources."
Mr. Buchanan said that in the past some company names have been left in U.N. reports by accident, but most are taken out.
The U.N. oil-for-food program also has been a major source of financing for Iraqi weapons-related goods. The program is supposed to permit Iraq to buy humanitarian goods but among the thousands of purchases have been militarily useful goods, including special powder that can be used to make chemical weapons more difficult to counter.
The United States also assisted Iraq with its biological-arms program. In 1986, the Commerce Department permitted the sale from a U.S. company of fungal cultures that were used by Iraq to make aflatoxin.
Also, in 1985, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a shipment of West Nile fever virus to an Iraqi researcher.
Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project, said he believes it is a mistake for the United Nations to withhold the names of Iraq's foreign suppliers.
"If they want to make exceptions for some companies that would be useful in investigations, that's fine," he said. "But to say you're not going to release any company names is not responsible, because the best way to deter these companies is reveal who they are."
According to Mr. Milhollin, U.N. weapons inspectors had compiled a series of confidential reports on the foreign-supply network used by Iraq.
"What they recount is an ongoing effort to build weapons of mass destruction," said Mr. Milhollin, who has seen the reports.
Some 20 different countries had helped Iraq evade sanctions in rearming since 1991, he said.

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