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:

Prosecutors in the Netherlands have formally charged a Dutch businessman with complicity in genocide for selling chemicals to Iraq’s former regime.

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]:




Iranian and Iraqi victims of chemical attacks plan to seek up to 10,000 euros ($13,430) compensation each from the accused, a lawyer for the group said, while a group of Kurds demonstrated outside the court, holding pictures of Halabja victims. …

“Prosecutor: Dutch Businessman Helped Saddam Genocide,” Reuters/Yahoo

NOTE: You can see photos of the victims.




Van Anraat was first detained in Milan in 1989 following a U.S. request but was released after two months. He then fled to Iraq, where it is thought he stayed until the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, when he returned to the Netherlands through Syria.

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]:




There are other reasons, aside from genocide or aiding genocide, why law enforcement agencies from several countries and the United Nations would like to interrogate Van Anraat. It is believed that he aquired most of the chemical compounds he eventually shipped to Iraq from a range of companies in the United States and Japan, among other countries. If Van Anraat would identify the people he had contact with, or companies he did business with, investigators could perhaps find out exactly what network, knowingly or unknowingly, provided compounds for weapons which killed thousands of people, not only in Halabja but also during the Iraq–Iran war of 1980 – 1988. As well, perhaps Van Anraat could shed some light on the question that has been haunting investigators looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; did Saddam Hussein receive chemical compounds during the 1991–2003 period, when a weapons embargo was imposed to deny Hussein from acquiring WMD? Van Anraat is believed to have arranged a total of thirty six compound shipments to Iraq during his tenure, but it is not clear yet whether some of those shipments also took place during the embargo period.

The Amsterdam Times, Jan 28, 2005


Emphases mine.

0 0 votes
Article Rating