The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

What the U.S. government doesn't want you to know about weapons of mass destruction

Jan 6, 2003

Included in documents the Iraqi government released to the United Nations Security Council on December 7 are details of how some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. and Europe aided Saddam Hussein to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Listed in the report are the names of 24 companies based in the U.S. that sold Iraq components to make weapons of mass destruction. These include some of the biggest and most well-known companies in the country: Honeywell, Semetex, UNISYS, Sperry, Rockwell, Hewlett Packard, Dupont, Eastman Kodak, Union Carbide and Bechtel. In addition, the foremost U.S. laboratories, including the nuclear weapons laboratories at Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Scandia also provided important support to build rockets, components for nuclear weapons, as well as chemical and biological weapons. And this was all not just OK'd, but also coordinated by various departments of the U.S. government, including the departments of Defense, Energy, Trade and Agriculture.

As the documents show, from 1975 up until the eve of the 1990 Persian Gulf War, these companies, as well as many other companies from Europe, provided entire complexes, building elements, basic materials and technical know-how for Saddam Hussein's programs to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. They also supplied rockets and complete conventional weapons systems.

How else could Hussein have gotten these weapons? Iraq was not a heavily industrialized country. It has always been forced to import most of the technology that it needs for its weapons industry, not to speak of its entire economy.

Of course, these details are overlooked by Bush when he talks about Saddam Hussein's use of these weapons in the past. The five permanent members of the Security Council – led by the United States – opposed publishing any report of these companies' involvement, just as they have for the last 12 years, that is, since the Persian Gulf War.

It's obvious why they won't publish these details: these facts don't just condemn the barbaric nature of the Hussein dictatorship, but also condemn the very members of the Security Council, starting with the U.S., that now oppose him.

When details of the report finally began to be leaked to the press, they were published mainly outside the U.S. The U.S. news media – which claims to be so "free" and "fair" – studiously ignored any mention of the role that U.S. companies played. On December 21, The New York Times finally did publish an article about the Iraqi documents. But the article mentioned only two companies based in the U.S. – both happened to be owned by Iraqi businessmen and are now out of business.

What the U.S. corporations, with the aid and support of the U.S. government, did for the regime of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s,they do for dictators all over the world all the time. The U.S. suppliers of weapons are by far the largest in the world. Obviously, for them this is a highly profitable industry – among the most profitable in the world. But besides that, dictators (like Hussein) then use these weapons to secure corporate profits, that is, to impose the imperialist order all over the world – through the worst, most barbaric violence imaginable, through war and repression.

Standing behind these dictatorships is the one power with more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the world combined – the U.S. government. The government which today justifies a war against Iraq and Saddam Hussein for at one time having the very weapons that it supplied him with.