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December 24, 2005
Saddam's Chemical Supplier Gets 15 Years For WMD

For those who keep insisting that Saddam had no WMD and no way of producing them, The Hague has some embarrassing news. It convicted Saddam's supplier, Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat, to 15 years for selling Saddam the chemicals used to kill at least 5,000 Kurds in Halabja, among others:

A DUTCH businessman was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for helping Saddam Hussein to acquire the chemical weapons that he used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians in the Iran-Iraq war.

The ruling by a court in The Hague — which could have an impact on the trial of the former Iraqi dictator in Baghdad — also said that genocide had been perpetrated against Kurds in Iraq after Saddam accused them of collaborating with Iran. ...

Prosecutors accused Van Anraat of delivering more than 1,000 tonnes of thiodiglycol. It can be used to make mustard gas, which causes horrific burns to the lungs and eyes and is often fatal.

He was also accused of importing chemicals to make nerve agents. The prosecution said that the lethal cargo was shipped from America via Belgium and Jordan to Iraq. He also imported other shipments from Japan via Italy.

Over a thousand tons of thiodiglycol, nerve agent precursors -- sounds like the kind of stuff that the US and the UN demanded that Saddam produce or prove to have been destroyed. After all, we would have wanted to know that these stocks -- and these from just this one source, among many others -- had been rendered harmless in some fashion, either by destruction or dissipation (or as in Halabja, by attack). Saddam's refusal to account for these very real stocks eventually forced the US and UK into taking action against Saddam.

And if he was bluffing, he did a masterful job of it. After all, no one could ask Frans van Ansaart about what else he might have sold Saddam during the so-called "containment" period. Why not? Because as it turns out, van Ansaart lived in Baghdad since 1989 under an assumed name, after escaping detention in Italy and fleeing an American warrant for his arrest. Saddam kept him safe -- and accessible -- until the fall of Baghdad in 2003, when he fled to the Netherlands and got arrested there.

Oddly, van Ansaart and his trial have received little attention from the American media. Perhaps that is because, once again, the Exempt Media here do not wish to report on developments that contradict their official Bush Lied!TM narrative. Saddam's partnership with van Ansaart, especially his continued protection of him after 1989, shows that Saddam wanted to ensure that he could get his hands on weapons and chemicals supposedly denied to him by the UN. At the very least, it demonstrates that Saddam had every intention on restocking his WMD at the earliest possible moment.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 24, 2005 7:45 AM

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