The Illegal Arms Trade – Iraq–Iran War 1980 – 1988 (Part 4)
We can now look into the illegal arms trade to Iraq which in itself became very sophisticated with its concealed web of distribution. The UK played a major role in support for Saddam Hussein with one company that really did stand out from the rest.
A Scottish Company called Allivane was at the heart of this activity and did so over a period of six years during the Iraq-Iran War. Needless to say this also involved the US who used the backyard of Britain to promote this joint effort.
It was back in 1976 when George Bush Snr, who was then Nixon’s Envoy in China, came across James Guerin, the founder of International Signal and Control (ISC), a US Defense Contractor. After a long discussion they decided that they could do business together.
Soon after this time there were many investigations carried out by US Congress regarding covert arms shipments and the workings of the CIA. A clean up of the CIA took place plus a complete shutdown of covert arms routes that involved many countries.
However, by this time George Bush Snr himself was running the CIA and realised that with the help of James Guerin, together they could re establish this covert business but not out of the USA. It became obvious that their ally Britain could now become the staging post for such an operation. Britain at the time was on an economical low and so the Prime Minister, James Callaghan, jumped at the idea. Callaghan was later to become an advisor to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) who would soon have a track record of drugs and illegal arms running as their backbone……one could add many more major banks to this list.
The down side to the BCCI was the fact that when it was closed down on 5 July 1991, a million people throughout the world lost their deposits. Many of the losers were from the Third World; small businessmen who had struggled to make a living in countries other than their own, and who had been impressed by BCCI’s multilingual staff and its often-trumpeted concern for the starving millions……no doubt we have all heard this before….a sort of Pandora’s Box!
The formation of this covert Bush – Guerin – Callaghan led to the resurrection of Allivance and the start of one of the biggest cover weapons supply and destabilization operations in the world………..nothing new hey?……..it goes on all the time with the same key players, Heads of State, CIA, MI5 and Mossad etc. The formation and working of this scam did not only involve the British Labour Party but also followed on with the Conservative Party. By this time it was well and truly out of control.
Back in the US meantime (In 1974) the ISC with the knowledge and assistance of US agencies, advanced radar-controlled anti-aircraft systems were shipped to South Africa. South Africa, together with ISC, also developed a sophisticated ground-to-air missiles for its own use and for export. All this equipment was restricted US technology requiring export licenses, which were not obtained. James Guerin claimed the company’s activities were sanctioned by the US government. Mr. Guerin set up a front company with the South African authorities for the US Nnational Security Agency, , as part of a US covert in 1974. This involved shipping advanced electronic sensors, optics and related equipment to South Africa without licenses so as to set up listening posts to track Soviet submarines off the Cape of Good Hope. The company, Gamma Systems Associates, ordered restricted equipment from ISC, then shipped it on to South Africa on board airliners. The equipment was repackaged and the airline companies given false descriptions of the equipment. The operation ceased to have official sanction in 1977 and the activities were dismantled.
From 1984 to 1988, ISC sentSouth Africa more than $30 million in military-related equipment, including telemetry tracking antennae to collect data from missiles in flight, gyroscopes for guidance systems, and photo-imaging film readers, all of which would form the “backbone” of a medium-range missile system. Some of this technology was reportedly transferred to Iraq. Another link to Iraq was the supply of the specifications for the MK-20 Rockeye cluster bomb through Chilean defence company Carlos Cardoen, which was able to build an almost identical weapon that was subsequently used against coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War of January-February 1991. These activities allegedly happened with the knowledge and assistance of U.S. intelligence agencies (including the CIA) and in violation of United States and United Natons sanctions.
Allivane’s contribution to Iraq certainly allowed both the US and UK to benefit from the exercise and to elongate the war effort between Iraq and Iran which was always paramount in the minds of our leaders. One has to remember that Geo-Politics does not possess any ethics or morality……just simply greed!
There were many other issues behind these covert arms shipments on the political front and none other than Donald Rumsfeld was right in the middle of it all. No doubt his partner in crime Dick Cheney was sitting in the sidelines. Perhaps this account throws more light of events:
Middle East envoy Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad in 1983, stated:
“While a Staff Member to the National Security Council, I was responsible for the Middle East and for Political-Military Affairs. During my five year tenure on the National Security Council, I had regular contact with both CIA Director William Casey and Deputy Director Robert Gates…CIA Director Casey personally spearheaded the effort to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war. Pursuant to the secret NSDD (National Security Decision Directive), the United States actively supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing U.S. military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure that Iraq had the military weaponry required. The United States also provided strategic operational advice to the Iraqis to better use their assets in combat. For example, in 1986, President Reagan sent a secret message to Saddam Hussein telling him that Iraq should step up its air war and bombing of Iran. This message was delivered by Vice President Bush who communicated it to Egyptian President Mubarak, who in turn passed the message to Saddam Hussein. Similar strategic operational military advice was passed to Saddam Hussein through various meetings with European and Middle Eastern heads of state. I authored Bush’s talking points for the 1986 meeting with Mubarak and personally attended numerous meetings with European and Middle East heads of state where the strategic operational advice was communicated.”
One can clearly see the double standards that existed and the means of delivery a message from one country to another by way of a third party (Egypt). No doubt the CIA had their own stock of carrier pigeons to spread the word…..one would have to ask the question how did they manage to deliver the messages amidst all the nerve gas and mustard gas etc?
The British origin of anthrax strain 14578 – “Vollum” strain
Anthrax strain 14578 may be found listed in past ATCC catalogues, in which the company’s ordering procedures explain that any request for it (and other pathogenic agents) “should be made on the institution’s official stationery (purchase order) and signed by the director of the institution, the chairman of the department concerned, or the scientist in charge of the project”. So, presumably, ATCC files will hold copies of Iraq’s original purchase orders. Such back-up documents do not appear to have been supplied to Senator Riegle in 1994, but should now be produced during a proper investigation under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council.
Each strain in the ATCC catalogue is listed together with its known history – or rather the individuals who have maintained the strain over the years are named in succession. Anthrax strain 14578 appears to have been deposited with ATCC after being held by P H A Sneath, H M Darlow, P Fildes, R L Vollum, and originally Dunkin. So, who are these people through whose hands this anthrax apparently passed en-route to the ATCC and thence to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, from where it became the principal element in the widely trumpeted ‘forty-five minute threat’ which provided the pretext for the invasion of Iraq in 2003?
Prof P H A Sneath, now of Leicester University, has recently stated (by e-mail) that he was never in charge of the strain, or a collection that included it. Instead, he suggests that “it was probably sent to ATCC by the National Collection of Type Cultures, Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale Avenue, London”. However, the ATCC catalogue entry references a paper co-authored by Prof Sneath, which was published in 1964 in the Journal of General Microbiology. The article discusses the anthrax strain and notes that it was isolated from bovine anthrax, has retained its virulence, and was previously in the care of the Microbiological Research Establishment (MRE), Porton Down, Wiltshire. According to the article, Prof Sneath was then at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London NW7.
Part 5 continues with much more detailed information on what was going on along with the conclusion.
Peter Eyre – Middle East Consultant – 15/1/2012