US firm caught exporting chemical weapons

A US company is to pay a $171,500 penalty for exporting banned chemical weapons components to Israel, Saudi Arabia, China and Taiwan, the US Department of Commerce has said.

    The banned components were being sent to Israel, Saudi Arabia, China and Taiwan

    Hamilton Sundstrand exported centrifugal pumps to its customers without obtaining the required export licences, the Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) reported on Wednesday.


    Sundstrand, which also manufactures spacesuits for NASA, cooperated throughout the investigation, the bureau said.


    The alleged possession of such pumps was part of the US administration’s case to prove that deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was conducting a chemical weapons programme.

    The BIS trawled through the company’s documents, discovering that Sundstrand had made false statements on Shipper's Export Declarations (SEDs), stating that no export licence was required when in fact one was, along with several other irregularities. 


    Proliferation fears


    The news raises questions about the chemical weapons capabilities of the countries on Sundstrand’s client list, especially in the wake of the Iraq war.


    Intensive searching by US and UK forces in post-Saddam Iraq has failed to turn up any conclusive evidence that the former Iraqi leader still possessed operational chemical weapons, though he is known to have used them in the past, during the Iran-Iraq war and most notoriously in gas attacks against the Kurdish population.


    Both the US and UK governments are facing accusations that they exaggerated the extent of Saddam’s arsenal in order to justify their invasion of Iraq.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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