Thursday, March 23, 2006

Old Friends the Most

Ah, for shame, for shame, America. How could we think of turning over some ports operations to some company run by Arabs in Dubai? And at the same time that ol' debbil Chimplerburton has just been so low-down mean and neglectful to our loyal allies. Like dear old Deutschland.

Speaking to German public broadcaster ARD on Monday, security experts confirmed that as many as up to 100 dummy firms in Germany are involved in illegally exporting components for missiles and aircraft to Iran.

Johannes Schmalzl, president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the state of Baden-Württemberg, told the program "Report Mainz" that the situation wasn't entirely new.

"We've been devoting time to the topic since 2002," he said. "And we've concluded that an estimated 100 dummy firms in Germany are involved in it."

Schmalzl added that the authorities could hardly keep up with the scale of illegal exports to Iran.

"When I say, 100 dummy firms, you can imagine that when we discover one and the federal prosecutor opens a case against them, we're happy and pat ourselves on the back. But 99 others are still in business," Schmalzl said.


However, German firms' involvement in illegal arms exports is not confined to Iran alone. Since the 1980s, German firms and middlemen, along with counterparts in other European countries, have been suspected of smuggling nuclear technology to regimes in Pakistan and North Korea.

Last Friday, a court in Mannheim began hearing the case of a German engineer accused of aiding Libya's nuclear program and being involved with the global nuclear mafia run by discredited Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.