There are quite a few not so fairy tales about a wicked character who only wants to be loved, but can’t stop to be evil, because s/he is evil to the bone and sometimes the character doesn’t even recognize how evil s/he is because it screws everything around it and that’s its nature.
Even though the AK-47 is THE weapon of mass destruction and millions have been killed with it, still chemical and biological weapons are a different quality. The more meticulous the effort to produce a deadly weapon, the more malicious the whole thing becomes.
Note: There are a few links to external articles in German. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a source in English. I recommend to use google-translater. Meanwhile this translator is really good.
Sigmar Gabriel, then German Minister for economy and technology was the first high ranking western minister to visit Iran after the. It didn’t take him long after the ink of the signatures were dried to gather a delegation of German economic leaders to join him for his trip to Tehran to make deals with the Iranian government. But seemingly already months before his trip, Germany massively eased export control restrictions for Iran.
How export control generally works
Products (items) which can be used for military purposes are roughly assigned to two major categories:
- Dual Use items and
- ITAR (militar items)
In order to export such products the manufacturer needs to apply for an export license at the Federal Office for Economics and Export control (Bundesausfuhramt – BAFA). The BAFA operates under direct supervision of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundeswirtschaftsministerium – BMWI), so at that time, it was under the control of Sigmar Gabriel. More about Gabriel in the next passage. So there is decree about how to categorize products. It’s segregated into electronic, chemical, metal……etc products from there the engineers have to go downwards following a hierarchy of classification until they have assembled the export-control-code. This can’t be done by a forwarding expert. It can only be done by an engineer who is well in that technical stuff. The forwarding expert then usually applies for the export license and contacts the export control agency accordingly. In Germany this agency is the BAFA. After the BAFA has issued the export license every shipment has too be documented carefully. The shipment of export controlled items has to be noted on the export declaration and on the way bill. The exporter periodically has to report all his shipments associated to a particular export license. There are different license types and an exporter can hold several such licenses. Export of military items (ITAR) are very particular and until now I’ve never seen something different than a dedicated license. This means that there is one export license for one customer. If the manufacturer has a second customer for the same product, he needs a dedicated license for the second and third and fourth customer….. and so forth.
Periodically auditors from the BAFA check companies for their compliance with export control laws and regulations.
Sigmar Gabriel is the son of a die hard Nazi, who denied the Holocaust.  Gabriel appears to have developed a neurotic attitude towards this. He badly want’s to be a good guy – a goody two shoes. He jumps on every train that presumably heads for a good goal, he shakes every hand and bites in every microphone you hold before him. He managed to marry a Jewish woman and this relates to a particular problem with converts in Germany. Many Germans who want to convert to Judaism do this for a latent guilt complex and Rabbis have to sort this out, because converts have to come to Judaism for their love to HaShem and not for anything else.
And Gabriel is a distinguished critic of Israel and Zionism and he’s not short in libeling Israel as an apartheid-state , while other high ranking members of the SPD announce common values between the SPD and Fatah or call a very anti-semitic speech full of libels of Abu Mazen before the European Parliament inspiring. There are quite a few people who consider Sigmar Gabriel, Andrea Nahles, Martin Schulz and many other leftists in Germany and Europe anti-semites, while they claim that there was a difference between criticizing Israel and anti-semitism. But accusing Israel of Apartheid really is plain anti-semitism and BDS is nothing but the contemporary version of kauft nicht bei Juden.
So we had a minister for economics with this mind set and of course he grossly dismissed all Israeli concerns about the nuclear deal made with Iran. Instead the BAFA moved quickly to kick-start trade with Iran and issued export licenses.
What is a Dual-Use Item?
A Dual-Use Item is a technical product that can be used for civilian applications but also can be used in military applications. You can use a digital signal processor (DSP) for sound and video processing in a consumer product, such as a smart phone, tablet computer or computer, but you also can use it to build an encrypted two-way radio for military purposes or use it as an image processor in an optically guided bomb (cf. the U.S. small diameter bomb II – GBU53 or the Israeli spice-bomb)
You can use almost anything for military purposes. It’s only a matter of your bad fantasies. There is this example about old rubber tires (see below). Particular aluminum and steel products are fit to be used for military applications. Carbon fibers and epoxy-, polyester- and phenol resins, semi finished products, such as steel or aluminum sheets or -profiles, carbon sheets or -profiles.
When you buy a gas mask and you want to take it with you when you travel to Israel, you need an export license and it’s the manufacturer who has to cough up that export license. Imagine you go to a retailer and buy a used gas mask and 10 new filters and want to take them with you to Israel, you need to ask the retailer to get you that export license and the retailer needs to ask the manufacturer and they have these licenses, because they ship this products to Israel since many decades. We’ll come to this later. If you buy an old German military truck (MAN kat 8×8) and put a container on it and convert this container to be a mobile home and then travel to the Middle East, you actually need an export license for this truck, even though you can buy it very cheap on the free market.
Everybody can access these documents and there are numerous training courses available.
Examples for the failure of German (and western) export control on Dual-Use Items and ITAR-products
Actually, I know better examples, but these examples concern the business of former employers, so I better refer to widely known examples.
In the second half of the 1970s the German company OTRAG moved its missile test facilities to the Libyan desert and performed several successful missile tests there. The missiles were clearly also suited for military application. In December 1981 among others, the Washington Post reported that the company had moved out of Syria. The engineer behind that rocket, Lutz Kayser and his wife are portrayed in this article.
There have been several attempts by German Engineers to build missiles for Arab countries. They had in common that these engineers had close ties to former Nazi-leaders and their customer-countries were arch-enemies of Israel and propagated the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people. There is a CIA-report about the Egyptian ballistic missile program that is partially declassified. Basically to whatever country Nazi-leaders and perpetrators fled, they also helped to build up sophisticated weapons industries foremost ballistic missiles. These countries are: Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Argentine and Germany willingly cooperated with these countries for the advantage of the German industry and knowingly to the disadvantage of Israel. German governments knew exactly what German companies and Arab dictators were up to and they always lent their hand.
In the early 1980s, the German company Imhausen Chemie started to plan and build a chemical weapons factory in Rabta (Libya) some 70 miles south-west of the capital Tripoli. The German foreign intelligence service (Bundesnachrichtendienst – BND) knew about weapons program and German involvement at least from 1985 on and accordingly then Chancellor Helmut Kohl also knew it from his daily intelligence briefings. In 1989 the CIA warned the U.S. government to take action and the Bush administration took action and forced the German government to stop this.
In 1986 the Reagan administration put Syria on the embargo list for chemical produce. Syria was barred from importing American equipment and raw material that was not only suitable to produce pesticides, but also to be used for the Syrian chemical weapons program. Germany instantly stepped in and compensated Syria for the loss of their U.S. vendors. Germany shipped equipment and raw material for the Syrian WMD-Program until 2012. Of course the German government claims nescience and refuses to investigate.
In 1991, it turned out that Saddam Hussein had imported vast quantities of old tires to use thick layers of tires shock absorbers for bomb strikes against his bunkers.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein, attacked and occupied Kuwait and the Arab world called on the U.S. to come to their aid. The U.S. was obliged follow this call, as the petrodollar deal on the one side functions like a world wide tax imposed by the U.S. but on the other side the U.S. in the mid 1970s promised to the gulf monarchies to assist them militarily. And now it was due! The U.S. and the Arab states around the Persian gulf formed a war-alliance against Iraq and prepared to drive Iraq out of Kuwait and as the army was built up in Saudi Arabia, Sadam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator threatened to fire missiles with chemical weapons at Israel if the coalition attacked Iraq. In return Israel threatened that if Iraq would attack Israel with chemical weapons within a few hours a major Iraqi city would disappear from the surface of the planet. The next turn was that the Arab coalition partners understood this as an Israeli entry into the war and they threatened in return to leave the war-coalition, if Israel “joined” the war against Iraq.
It quickly turned out that it was German companies and engineers who provided Iraq with technology, equipment and raw material to build up the chemical weapons program and stockpile and to also build delivery capabilities as they helped upgrading Iraqi Scud-B missiles to enhance their range and increase their precision. I read about this already during the late 1980s but today I’m unable to find a source. That was the last straw for George H. W. Bush and he called his foreign minister James Baker and then British prime minister John Major to make Germany fix this at whatever cost to be carried by Germany.
Baker and Major grilled then Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Germany complied. Germany offered anything Israel wanted/needed in exchange for an Israeli commitment that they would keep mum and not answer any Iraqi missile strike. The U.S. provided their newly developed patriot Surface-to-Air missile system, which they claimed was potentially capable of shooting down incoming hostile missiles and Germany promised Israel to provide it with two of its new submarines for free and also shipped more than a million gas-masks to Israel and for the toddlers who couldn’t wear gas-masks, Germany provided encapsulated beds that were equipped to filter the air from chemical agents.
We knew it all before and we could see it coming, when Sadam Hussein ordered his air force to attack the Kurdish town Halabja with Sarin-gas in 1988.
At the latest then, everybody knew that it was Germany from where Iraq had its chemical weapons from but whoever read the news already could know it in the early 1980s, when Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian forces during the 1st gulf war.
Despite all these major failures of German export control, there are numerous smaller issues and it would take a book to list them.
The most recent issue
A German company shipped pressboard material to Iran – so what?!
Well, pressboard comes in many different technical specifications. We usually know it to be used for cheap furniture, but special produce of pressboard have other technical applications, i.e. to produce grenades or missiles with chemical weapons. The vendor who shipped this material to Iran describes the material here. Soon after it came out, Germans were quick to downplay the issue. Ha! Pressboard! You gotta be kidding me! Well, this is the downplay for the public, but the reality is that the material found in the grenades carrying poisonous chlorine-gas, except its technical label, has nothing to do with the pressboard we know.
There are numerous twists to this issue and it’s not only a German issue, it’s a European and a leftists issue. It seems to be somewhat hard for socialists to make decisions that benefit the own country. Only days after Iranian manufactured chemical weapons grenades, with German parts in it, were used against civilians in Syria, Iran flew a drone from recently captured air-base near Palmyra over Jordan into Israel which lead Israel to planfully overreact and to shake the tree in Syria. The drone that has been downed in Israeli air space was a copy of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone captured by Iran in 2011 and this story has a remarkable twist. By not taking the drone back, Obama effectively gave the drone to Iran.
What really takes me by surprise is the fact that western mainstream media doesn’t try to teach Israel about her recent air-raids against Syria respectively Iranian installations there.
The not so funny thing about the socialists in Germany is that they always complain about weapons exports of others. They complain about the U.S. in particular, they complain about the conservatives in Germany when they approve arms exports, but whenever the socialists are at least part of the federal government in Germany, arms exports are soaring.
they practically never complain about Russian arms exports, respectively they never complained about the arms exports of the Soviet Union. There is no trouble, when Russia delivers a submarine to North Korea or an aircraft carrier to India or China……. None of them cares when China ships missiles to Africa….. It’s not even reported in the press when Germany delivers a modern submarine, almost identical to those operated by Israel, to Egypt and promises to sell them more….. But next time when a submarine is shipped to Israel, there will be a well orchestrated outcry. When civilians are killed with chemical weapons and Germany was involved, the issue may be reported but it will be in the press only for two days. Nobody cares. It’s much more important where Germany is listed on the Medal table in the Olympic Winter games in PyoenChang. That’s the really important headlines, because they make us look good and feel good. When you look at Germany you often notice the Term “Weltmeister” (World Champion). They want to champion everywhere. Maybe this the reason why Merkel took in almost two million illegal immigrants and called them Syrien refugees even though many of them are from Afghanistan, Northern Africa and Iraq…… Whoever was able to say the two words “Asyl” and “Syrien” was allowed to come in. I believe, they had something to compensate.
A fishy story about German export control and arms deals
In September 2017 Heckler & Koch, a major German manufacturer of small arms (handguns, rifles, personal defense weapons, machine guns and 40mm-grenade launchers) announced that it would no longer ship weapons to countries which are either corrupt or located in war zones and they put Israel on that list. Prior to that, Heckler & Koch was investigated because it illegally shipped military assault rifles to Mexico in violation of the German law to control military weapons (Kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz), obviously without license. As the investigations proceeded Heckler & Koch suddenly announced their new policy and included Israel. Next year there will be the court proceedings on this case. The arms manufacturer Sig Sauer was also involved in the illegal deals, but there is a second issue. At the same time the German ministry for defense is running a tender for a new assault rifle for the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) and while Sig Sauer was pushed out of the race, Heckler & Koch appears to be the most likely candidate to get be awarded with the deal. So, there were many interests involved and Heckler & Koch obviously had the better connections into the government and right instinct.
It comes worse: With the tender for the new assault rifle for the Bundeswehr, the German government demanded the bidders to only make proposals free of U.S. patents. This means the German government wants to freely decide to where they export their weapons without any U.S. involvement. This is the only reason why they would demand this. The U.S. government was outraged about this motion of the German government and they probably pressured both arms manufactures Heckler & Koch and Sig Sauer with potential consequences for new arms deals with the U.S. armed forces, with the obvious outcome. It was more or less inevitable that U.S. pressure would only lead to a divide among the bidders. Finally Heckler & Koch was granted access to the projected ammunition while Sig Sauer was denied that access. Sig Sauer eventually pulled out of the bidding process. And there is a further aspect to that “issue”: Recently, Sig Sauer was awarded with a major contract to provide the U.S. army with modern side-arms (pistols). That all in one go is a bit much, isn’t it? And there are probably more aspects to this one single “story” that actually consists of many stories.