Another important Saddam Document has been translated by Jveritas at Free Republic. This one shows that Saddam was asked to restart the “Degussa Vacuum furnaces”.
These furnaces were used by Saddam in his Nuclear program. The NYT’s, and ironically the authors Judith Miller and James Risen, wrote an article in 1998 describing the program and the furnaces while discussing an Iraqi defector named Khidhir Abdul Abas Hamza:
Hamza said he found it surprisingly easy to negotiate nuclear cooperation agreements with the former Soviet Union, India, Brazil, France and others to buy nuclear technology that could be used for bombs under peaceful cover. “If you go with the money and some brains, it’s easy to acquire the stuff,” he said.
Among other things, Iraq bought a French reactor and an Italian fuel reprocessing facility, an IBM mainframe computer from the United States, and machine tools to make centrifuge components from the Swiss. In 1987 it almost bought for between $110 million and $120 million a complete foundry to forge uranium and other bomb-related components from Leybold and Degussa, two West German companies.
Hamza, who monitored the negotiations in Germany from a room next to the meeting room, said the companies had offered to supply not only the foundry but, for $200 million, a complete installation that they promised could be built within months.
He said Saddam rejected the tempting offer mainly because he feared that such a large deal involving highly sensitive equipment would have tipped off Western intelligence that Iraq was transferring its bomb effort to a new site, known as Al Atheer.
“But we were astonished to see that the companies were actually helping us find cover stories for some of the equipment we needed,” Hamza recalled.
Dr. Jorg Streitferdt, in-house counsel for Degussa, AG, based in Frankfurt, Germany, which owned Leybold at the time, said the companies did sell some equipment that ended up in Iraq’s nuclear program, and were later subjected to a series of investigations, including a criminal inquiry by Germany.
He noted that Degussa was exonerated on the charges of selling vacuum furnaces to Iraq, largely because West Germany did not require export licenses at that time for such sales. Though Degussa executives suspected that Iraq might use the equipment for military purposes given the ongoing Iran-Iraq war, he added, they did not know that Iraq wanted it for a nuclear program.
“DeGussa and Leybold did not know what the equipment was for,” Streitferdt said. “The whole world did not know what Iraq was about to do. We have learned our lesson and now have very tough internal controls on our exports.”
Years before Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait turned the country into an international pariah, many of its nuclear-related purchases were made with the blessing of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. atomic energy monitors. The agency assumed that Iraq was amassing the technical know-how for a peaceful power program, and did little to investigate. The inspectors, Hamza said, never asked even basic questions, “like why an oil-rich country like ours wanted nuclear power?”
The IAEA later forbid the use of those furnaces after Desert Storm, but in these two memo’s Saddam is asked to restart those furnaces:
The translation will include memos. The first one is from Senior Deputy Minister of Iraq Military Industrialization Committee to the Chairman of Iraq Atomic Energy Organization asking him to allocate the Degussa Vacuum furnaces, the second memo a reply from Iraq Atomic Energy Organization saying that they will do so and that they got the approval of Saddam Hussein to re-use these equipments.
Beginning of the translation of memo 1 of CMPC-2003-012331.pdf
In the Name of God the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
The Republic of Iraq, The Presidency of the Republic, The Military Industrialization Committee
Secret and Confidential
To: The Atomic Energy Organization- The Office of the Chairman
Subject: Allocation of Degussa Vacuum Furnaces
Please approve the allocation of the mentioned furnaces and quantity (2) with its accessories because of our dire need for it to implement the works and projects tasked to our committee. And we empower engineer Samir Ibrahim for follow up and receiving.
Marahem Sa’aab Al Hassan
Senior Deputy Minister for Military Industrialization
End of translation of memo 1
Beginning of translation of memo 2 of CMPC-2003-012331.pdf
Mr. Respected General Director
Subject: Allocation of Vacuum Furnaces
Regarding the letter of the Senior Deputy Minister of the Military Industrialization numbered 2/4/83 on 25/1/2001 I would like to clarify the following:
1. We do not have primaries about the subject.
2. There was a communication with the Energy Organization about the furnaces and it was revealed that the furnaces were delivered to the Physics Department in the Atomic Energy Organization upon the instruction of Mr. Chairman of the Energy Organization to take advantage of these equipments ( During the meeting with the President The Leader God protect and shepherd him and the Organization Staff asked his Excellency to take advantage of these equipments) and these equipments were received two months ago by the Physics Department.
The furnaces do not have the seal of the Agency but it was among the equipments of the previous program that were included in the list prepared by the agency.
End of translation of memo 2
As Jveritas notes, this proves Presidents Bush statement in 2002 that Saddam met with his nuclear scientists often to discuss restarting the Nuclear program:
Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium enrichment sites. That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue.
The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his “nuclear mujahideen” — his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past.
But hey, according the lefties, Saddam would never had been a threat to anyone (except his own people of course) if just left alone.