Cross-posted at Daily Kos. Also: I have excised the section on Goss and Latin America, and will cover that in a separate diary.
Update [2005-3-18 13:43:51 by susanhbu]: At the end of the diary, learn about the victims’ actions as well as additional suspicions about this case.
Today’s BBC reports:
Frans van Anraat, 62, is accused of selling US and Japanese chemicals which were used to produce poison gas … said to have been used to kill more than 5,000 in a 1988 attack on the Kurdish Iraqi town of Halabja.
It’s ironic, isn’t it, that the Dutch find it possible to charge one of their own with a war crime for selling chemicals made in the U.S. while U.S. politicians and executives get promoted for their war crimes.
The case may take an interesting twist if Mr. van Anraat’s attorneys — as I have a hunch they will — charge that evidence was obtained through torture overseen by U.S. intelligence and military officials.
The evidence “includes information obtained from the former head of Iraq’s chemical weapons programme, Ali Hassan al-Majid, otherwise known as Chemical Ali.” Al-Majid‘s physical decline — he looked “haggard,” walked with a cane, and reportedly urinated on himself — shocked many who saw him in a courtroom in Dec. 2004.
Think what you will about Chemical Ali. We do not torture prisoners. George Bush said so.
Update [2005-3-18 15:57:19 by SusanHu]:
“Prosecutor: Dutch Businessman Helped Saddam Genocide,” Reuters/Yahoo
NOTE: You can see photos of the victims.
CHRONOLOGY, CONNECTIONS & ASSURANCES:
The AIVD Dutch secret service provided Van Anraat with a mobile phone and helped him find housing when he returned to the Netherlands in 2003 and assured him he would not face prosecution, his lawyers said.
He was arrested by Dutch officials at a house in Amsterdam in December as he was preparing to leave the country.
“The images of the gas attack on the Kurdish city Halabja were a shock. But I did not give the order to do that. How many products, such as bullets do we make in the Netherlands?” Van Anraat said in a 2003 interview with Dutch magazine Nieuwe Revu.
The United States said Iraq’s suspected weapons of mass destruction were one of its main reasons for going to war in 2003, but it has yet to discover significant stockpiles.
A criminal investigation by U.S. customs authorities a few years ago found that Van Anraat had been involved in four shipments to Iraq of an industrial chemical used in mustard gas.
Prosecutors say they have evidence that Van Anraat attempted to cover up the final destination of his exports, that Iraq paid money into his Swiss bank accounts and that materials he helped to supply ended up at an Iraqi plant for poison gas.
BEGINNING QUESTIONS: Why did the Dutch secret service help Van Anraat on his return to The Netherlands? Why was he detained by the U.S. in Milan but released after two months? What became of the criminal investigation by U.S. customs officials? Why is this all happening now? And why in The Netherlands which has been a U.S. ally in Iraq?
Update [2005-3-18 17:2:6 by SusanHu]:
WHAT HE MIGHT KNOW RE WMDs:
– The Amsterdam Times, Jan 28, 2005