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Special Report On "Operation Desert Shield"

Volume 4, Number 33 August 15, 1990

Why is there so much force? How is it that despite the enormous risk encumbent with amassing opposed armed forces in a `hot spot' like the Middle East, this man, Saddam Hussein can provoke that reaction? Could it simply be righteous indignation over the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait? Is it oil? Money? Power? Support for two of the United States' allies: Egypt and Saudi Arabia? Is it because of the threat of losing Saudi Arabia, and consequently 40 percent control of the world's oil resources to Hussein?

In aggregate, those are strong reasons, but could there be even more? Apart from a one-million-man army, chemical weapons, and a significant conventional weapons arsenal, what has Saddam Hussein got that has prompted the extensive military action by the West?

Tactical, nuclear weapons? If Iraq has them, nuclear war would have been imminent.

Apart from Saddam Hussein's indigenous nuclear programme to the absolute consternation of Moscow there are persistent rumours circulating through the Middle East about Soviet tactical nuclear weapons stolen by Islamic fundamentalists from a Soviet military facility near the Azerbaijan/Iran border last January.

As one account goes, during ethnic violence in the Nagorno Karabakh region, local guerillas swooped in on an "arms depot" near the city of Baku snatching up arms and equipment, and according to the tale, stole 8-9 dozen tactical nuclear weapons which since that time have been allegedly sold into the Third World.

On the night of Monday, January 15, shortly after the raid on the Soviet depot, Mikhail Gorbachev moved swiftly to send the Red Army into the region with the apparent moral support of Washington. The Soviet Presidium in Moscow declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law on the Azerbaijan's disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and in nearby areas of Azerbaijan and the republic of Armenia. The Kremlin sent high-level troubleshooters into the region.

As Armenian and Azerbaijani civilians spilled each other's blood, were Soviet Army and KGB troops attempting to trace the movement of a horrifying plunder of tactical nuclear weapons?



The movement of troops to the Middle East is massive.

From the U.S. alone, if the present rate continues for another 7 days, there will be 211,000 or more troops on the ground in Saudi Arabia next Wednesday. Every ten minutes another aircraft — C-5s, C-130s, C-141s and commercial charters, "anything they can get their hands on" — leaves the U.S. for the Middle East. Some U.S. military operations tacticians are even looking at stripping commercial aircraft, creating large cargo holds to haul components for the Army's AH-64 Apaches, The Wednesday Report was told.

Dispatched by Pentagon leaders are the U.S. Army's XVIII Airborne Corps including the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); the entire 24th Mechanized Infantry Brigade; U.S. Marines; thousands of U.S. Air Force personnel; and the sailors and airmen of four carrier groups, USS Independence, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Saratoga; and most recently, USS John F. Kennedy.

American nuclear weapons are already present in the Gulf region aboard the fleet as is normal, and conceivably as one reliable source suggests, with ground forces in Saudi Arabia.

Vladimir Alexeyev, head of the "North American Section" of Novosti in Moscow says "No." During a telephone interview with Alexeyev who had been provided with our written questions in advance, he told us, "You are referring to an incident which occurred near the border, the Iran/Azerbaijan border, at that time (January). There is an official denial (imagine our surprise) saying that nothing of that sort has occurred. There have been arms snatchers, but not `nuclear arms snatchers'. Our military at a very high level has denied that anything like that has occurred. I was told," he went on, "that periodically since January such enquiries have been made and the answer has always been the same." We asked Alexeyev how such persistent rumours might have started. "These rumours," he said, "may have been started by ultranationalists who wish to make themselves more important than they are to attract attention to themselves."

One odd thing about the armed dispute during the January ethnic uprising was the preponderance of relatively sophisticated Soviet weapons within the guerillas' inventory. And the claims that there were more. It was not your typical `citizens-in-the-streets' rioting, pounding each other with rocks, bottles, bricks, poking about with pitch forks. Terrorists with hand grenades and machine guns, artillery, armoured vehicles, and helicopters were converging on the Azerbaijani village of Adzhikend at one point. Where in [what has been] a totalitarian state would these people acquire their arsenal? Obviously there had been a considerable loss of security control over Soviet weapons stores. How extensive was it? Was this the root of new rumours about the so-called "Islamic bomb"?

The Soviet government newspaper Izvestia reported that week that the belligerents were using helicopters without markings and armoured vehicles "CAPTURED FROM MILITARY BASES". The report said nothing about stolen nuclear artillery weapons, but articles published in the U.S. as recently as last week allege a black market movement of Soviet nuclear weapons, stolen in January, citing sources "in both the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences and the Kurchatov Atomic Energy Institute".

An unprecedented statement mid-January from the U.S. government said that it "understood" the Soviet actions in Azerbaijan. When it comes to ethnic unrest and the potential for serious breaches of national security, all nations can say, "There but for the grace of God go I". Just look at Oka, Quebec — AK-47s and land mines in the hands of civilians. An understanding tone from Washington was in keeping with other developments. But was there more to it?

Did stolen nuclear artillery rounds find their way into Saddam Hussein's control? In the dismantling of Soviet forces and military facilities throughout eastern Europe and Afghanistan, are the Soviets in full control? Obviously there are dissenters and opportunists. But is there now a black market for nuclear devices the Soviets have lost track of? It is not inconceivable. There may be something to the prolific tales.

The Iraqis have been moving at break-neck speed to develop new artillery. They have perfected their own, new, 155mm and 210mm howitzers. Think about this. Was Dr. Gerry Bull assassinated because he was bringing the Iraqis closer to being `nuclear-capable'? Was it the Israelis who assassinated him? It is clear that the Iraqis were buying his expertise. Was it just the Bull "Supergun" they were interested in or did they seek the specialized artillery needed to shoot specialized rounds? Nuclear rounds? It seems certain that the answer may be "Yes!" in each case.

If Iraq has obtained nuclear weapons, then the crusade of Saddam Hussein would certainly have to be stopped before it led to Israel. If that moment were to come, nuclear war in the Middle East would be imminent. If President Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev believe or suspect that missing devices are in the hands of Iraqis, they would know the danger.

Some strategic thinkers have suggested that an "Arab Solution" to the Iraqi crisis would be the best solution. Many Arab leaders feel the same way. What cinched Saudi Arabia's decision to allow American forces to become the guardians of Mecca? Did U.S. President Bush whisper to Saudi leaders? To Brian Mulroney?

Canada has not taken an independent military initiative since the Korean War. What caused such a rare decision? We certainly do not question stated reasons. But was there more? We asked a spokesperson from the Prime Minister's office about what was said during the Bush/Mulroney dinner meeting last week in Washington. The answer was not unexpected. "The only public information that came out of that was what the Prime Minister stated afterwards."

Beyond any reasonable doubt, it is true that Iraq has sought nuclear weapons by any avenue since before the time of Saddam Hussein. Whether the rumoured weapons exist or not, and whether or not they have found their way to Baghdad, it is clear that the first paragraph of this editorial would have been written sooner or later.

Micheal J. O'Brien


The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

August 15, 1990


He is a terrorist. He possesses an unsophisticated astuteness for the nuances of terror and psychological warfare and he employs that knowledge to the fullest extent. A pseudo-fundamentalist Moslem with a serious antisocial personality disorder by any definition, Saddam Hussein is also intelligent, credible, cognitive of the axioms in the `science' of mass manipulation, and has an impassioned desire to control the moment. He seems to know very little about the West, and too little of the value that western cultures place on human life.

Hussein was losing control and saw the tedious progress in negotiations with Kuwait over his war debts and oil rights to be a direct challenge to his personal power. Typical of one with his disordered personality, he invaded Kuwait with the full knowledge that his soldiers would, in uncontrolled fashion, rape, pillage, brutalize and steal from the helpless people of that kingdom.

Although not so utterly disordered as was Adolph Hitler, and it is a very serious disorder in any measure, Saddam Hussein (also spelled "Husayn") is given to dramatic, gruesome action.

He is practically unable to distinguish right from wrong within the set of values established by most civilizations of the world. He too, as did Hitler, has an uncanny ability to identify weaknesses in his prey and work the hell out of any vulnerability he may discover. Thus, Hussein has an incalculable capacity to ignite tensions and erupt the violence ever-burbling in the Middle East.

Fear is Hussein's chief operative. Last week, to the consternation of a watching world, a calculated order from Hussein had his armed services deliberately and openly arm Iraqi bombers with chemical weapons thus petrifying the wives and children of embarking U.S. servicemen. In the past he has forthrightly demonstrated samples of his chemical stockpiles before the media to alarm his foes. And Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, with Hussein's blessings, has declared that Iraq will use chemical weapons against the massing armies that surround it.

He is a coldblooded murderer. He has indiscriminately gassed and killed more than 50,000 Iranian soldiers and citizens. Not even as an act of war, in March, 1988, the Kurdish families of the Iraqi town of Halabjaby, by Hussein's order, were condemned to the same painful and undignified death as were the gassed Iranians. His thirst for gore braces his grip on power. He imprisons, tortures, and kills his political opponents. Let's put that in perspective. How would you react? Conjure up an image of the widespread horror if a Canadian Prime Minister were to bind, imprison, torture and slaughter his political opposite.

Hussein horrifies even his Arab nation colleagues. That the Arab countries of the Middle East are no more than desert tribes with a flag, there is little doubt for Saddam. His masterful manipulation of the fundamentalists has sent shock waves through the region and set his Arab state adversaries into a frenzy. No term of leadership is secure, a coup is always just around the corner. Hussein has played upon that fact and set the `cat amongst the pigeons' with his hot-blooded plea to the steamy fundamentalist masses for a "Holy War". Arab leaders are desperately afraid of Saddam. That fear of his capacity to destabilize their world from the very roots upwards caused 12 out of 19 Arab statesmen last week in Cairo, some of them his friends, to vote in favour of a resolution condemning Iraq.

Imagine your own horror if the youngsters in your family came home from classes telling of their school's air-raid drill during which they were taught how to wear a gas mask. He has threatened to destroy half of Israel with "dual chemicals". Although there is yet insufficient evidence to indicate Iraq has matured development of that awful weapon, binary nerve gas, Israeli leaders must nonetheless redirect resources to civil defence training and equipment. In Israel, some school children and all military personnel routinely don gas masks as part of their air-raid drills.

Yes, Hussein must be stopped. But President Bush has not just entered a `pissing' contest with a misbehaved heathen. He is dueling with a wily, powerful dictator, who, like Adolph Hitler, has the traits of a psychopath. With his million-man army he has his own set of keys to destruction forged by his followers, some of whom are the peoples of nations George Bush now calls "friends". The Middle East has for all its time been a place of treachery and deceit. Many of its people share the fundamental religious belief that our `world' is evil and should be destroyed at any cost in lives.

There will be more bloodshed in the Middle East before the scourge of Saddam Hussein has been terminated. But as the size of the force mustered against Hussein grows, the extent of potential bloodshed could be reduced.

And yes, Canada too must go to the Gulf, perhaps with greater force yet.

Micheal J. O'Brien

The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

August 15, 1990



As readers will garner from the fantastic array of weapons outlined in our charts on page 5, the Iraqi armed forces operate a colossal potpourri of military equipment that redefines the meaning of the word "interoperability". A valuable asset to a rogue nation, Iraq has learned to consolidate a broad mix of foreign weapons into an effective arsenal.

Of some benefit to Iraq from the invasion of Kuwait is its capture of the wealth of technical manuals, servicing and support facilities as well as spare parts which Kuwait acquired in conjunction with its recent defence modernization efforts. The Kuwaitis' shopping list was extensive and brought much technical information into the country from firms campaigning for a piece of the business.

As part of the ambitious Kuwaiti defence modernization project, McDonnell Douglas sold 40 F/A-18s in 1988 to Kuwait, an order worth some $2.15 billion. Deliveries were not to have started until 1992 so there were no Hornets for the Iraqis to grab and add to their already large assortment of types. As Iraq invaded, McDonnell Douglas personnel were in-country teaching Kuwaitis to operate, arm, maintain and fly the aircraft. The Kuwaiti F/A-18 programme would be of little benefit to the Iraqis, except that their knowledge of the F/A-18 as an adversary has been expanded. They did apparently capture some of Kuwait's A-4 Skyhawks and other odds and ends, but nothing too significant. Kuwait's arsenal includes FROG-7 surface-to-surface missiles and British-made Vickers Mark 5 armour, both of which the Iraqis will likely use.

Iraq has imported conventional weapons either directly or indirectly from: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Spain, the United States, the U.S.S.R., and West Germany. Ballistic missiles and components have been obtained from the U.S.S.R., Brazil, Yugoslavia, and the United Kingdom.

Between 1980 and 1987, France sold Iraq $7.6 billion worth of arms. From the Soviets, Iraq's largest supplier, Hussein bought $23.3 billion worth of weapons and military equipment in the same period. Recent arms acquisitions include 210 Mirage F-1 fighters; 80 Gazelle helicopters; Exocet missiles; Panhard armoured personnel carriers; 155mm artillery ammunition; Roland anti-aircraft missiles; and 4 Frigates and 6 Corvettes from Italy, not yet delivered.

According to the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, Iraq can today field 50 divisions — 600,000 to 1,000,000 men — in its active forces, and some 500,000 reserves as well as 6,000 tanks and nearly 700 combat aircraft. Iraq has called up an additional division (100,000 troops).

Baghdad's artillery, ballistic missiles, chemical, biological and nuclear arms projects are indigenously Iraqi. To an increasing extent, Iraq relies upon its own people to manage complex programmes even though the work may be done by others, and on an increasing basis, designs are being spawned by Iraqis themselves. Its military, with the aid of an innovative industry, an enthusiastic government, and perhaps with the help of Canada's now infamous Gerry Bull, has developed its own indigenous artillery weapons such as advanced-design 155mm and 210mm self-propelled howitzers.


Senior executives at GKN, prime contractor on the British Army's Warrior infantry combat vehicle programme believe that several Gulf states will now move swiftly to finalize requirements that have hitherto been developing only slowly.

GKN has developed a Desert Fighting Vehicle (DFV) version of Warrior which it claims is unique in the extent to which it satisfies the needs of most of the countries concerned with rapidly deployable light armour. The fully air-conditioned DFV which has integrated NBC protection and an upgraded version of the Delco LAV25 (Bushmaster 25mm) turret is already trialing in Abu Dhabi, but GKN people are concerned that there is now a great deal of U.S. pressure behind an M1A2 Abrams MBT-plus-M2 Bradley IFV combination in every country likely to reappraise its needs during the Gulf crisis. There is likely to be massive support for FMC and General Dynamics as they move swiftly to capitalize on the fact that it was the U.S. troops with U.S. equipment who were first on the ground.

The obvious target for the armoured vehicle makers is the Saudi Arabian requirement for 351 MBTs which was to have been filled by Engesa's Osorio. U.K. manufacturer Vickers which has been pitching for the contract believed that there was a chance that the Saudis would be prepared to split their fleet between recently ordered M1A2 and its own Challenger 2. Likewise GKN believes that Turkey could require a more advanced IFV to complement the FMC-Nurol vehicles that are being built in-country.

The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

August 15, 1990


Although Iraq has the capacity to develop and produce petroleum-derived chemical weapons, Saddam Hussein has sought alliances to enhance those capabilities. Libya's leader Muammar Gadhafi (Mu'ammar al-Quadhafi) recently strengthened ties with Iraq moving further from Iran and Syria. Tripoli and Baghdad have been cooperating in chemical and biological warfare technology although it has yet to be confirmed that Iraq has operational use of biological weapons.

Iraq has developed innovative and advanced methods for packing artillery rocket-delivered chemical rounds. It manufactures nerve agents Tabun (GA) and Sarin (GB) as well as the blistering agent Mustard (H). Its Soviet-built aircraft are capable of delivering chemical bombs and its SCUD B missiles can deliver a ground-launched chemical attack as they have done in the past.


Iraq is a `nuclear-smart' nation with solid technical footing for its clandestine nuclear-weapons programme.

Seeking nuclear weapons on the black market is only one pursuit of Iraqi arms buyers who seek to fulfill Saddam Hussein's desire for an Israel-matching nuclear arms capability. Unless the current crisis in the Middle East changes the course of events significantly, Iraq will possess a nuclear weapons arsenal of its own creation by the mid-1990s, if not sooner.

Iraq's traceable quest for nuclear weapons dates back to 1974 and the conclusion of an accord with France which subsequently led to an agreement in 1976 for the provision of two nuclear reactors: the Tammuz I (Osiris type), 70 MW light-water, pool-type research reactor; and the smaller Tammuz II (Isis type), 800 KW research reactor. These deals were followed by the purchase of a nuclear research facility from Italy in 1978 which included a plutonium reprocessing facility. The Tuwaitha Nuclear Centre, a complex just outside of Baghdad, is the home of these facilities.

Iraq also operates a Soviet-supplied IRT-2000 2 MW research reactor at Tuwaitha which became operational in 1968. It is used primarily for medical and other civilian research.

According to Middle East analyst and researcher David Weinberg:

• Iraq initially attempted to acquire a French 500 MW natural uranium fueled gas-graphite power reactor which was capable of producing both electricity and significant quantities of plutonium. This type of reactor was a principal source of plutonium for the French nuclear missile force. The French eventually refused the sale.

• The Tammuz I Materials Testing Reactor that Iraq subsequently acquired from France was designed primarily for nuclear power research applications, and hence did not conform to any discernable peaceful Iraqi nuclear research agenda or nuclear energy requirement. Moreover, it was to run on highly-enriched (93 percent) uranium fuel which — if diverted — could have been used in a military nuclear device, and could have yielded modest quantities of plutonium from spent fuel, for use in nuclear weapons.

• Iraq rebuffed French attempts in 1980 to renegotiate an agreement to supply low-enriched uranium (Caramel) fuel, which is unsuitable for military applications, in place of the highly-enriched fuel it agreed to supply in 1976.

• The Italian reprocessing facility provided Iraq with a capability to separate plutonium from spent uranium fuel or irradiated natural uranium.

• In 1980 Iraq attempted to obtain 25,000 pounds of depleted uranium metal fuel pins from the West German firm NUKEM, which could have yielded significant quantities of plutonium after reprocessing at Iraq's Italian-supplied reprocessing facility. The deal was eventually blocked by the U.S. government, which refused to grant export licenses for the materials to U.S. subsidiaries of the West German firm.

• In 1982, senior Iraqi military officials attempted to purchase 33.9 kilograms of plutonium from an Italian arms smuggling ring claiming to have such materials for sale.

After the successful Israeli Air Force raid against the Iraqi reactor in June 1981, Iraq's nuclear programme slowed. In 1989, with the termination of the war with Iran, various reports have indicated that Iraq has apparently resurrected its nuclear weapons programme and may be farther advanced than many Western experts thought possible. U.S. military and intelligence experts believe that Iraq has considered a number of nuclear bomb development options, and appears to be actively pursuing one clear course of action.

One option has been to construct one or two small, low-yield fission weapons using the 12.5 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium fuel left over from the Tammuz I reactor. But, this small quantity of enriched uranium could probably not produce more than one or two low-yield devices.


The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

August 15, 1990

Another Iraqi option has been to rebuild the destroyed reactor and pursue the route of plutonium separation for plutonium-based fission weapons. Although Iraq recently sounded out the French to enlist their assistance in rebuilding the Tammuz I reactor, there is no evidence that France has agreed to help.

The third and most likely Iraqi option is construction of an infrastructure for the clandestine processing, conversion, and enrichment of uranium by the centrifuge enrichment process.

Iraq has reportedly attempted to acquire components and technology required for the production of gas centrifuges, including drill presses for the production of gas centrifuges from the West German firm H-H Metalform GmbH of Drensteinfurt. And several technicians either currently or formerly employed by MAN Technologie GmbH of Munich (which specializes in, among other things, centrifuge technology) have reportedly served as consultants for the Iraqis, assisting them to establish a production facility for centrifuges built by H-H Metalform at Tuwaitha.

Other countries have helped. There have been reports that China has been providing Iraq with components and technology essential to the manufacture of gas centrifuges, including magnets and rotor technology. Additionally, Iraqi scientists and technicians have reportedly visited Pakistan's centrifuge enrichment plant at Kahuta. Iraq may also have sought unspecified assistance in the realm of nuclear research from the Brazilian firm Avibras. And as reported in The Wednesday Report, U.S. and U.K. customs agents in London this spring seized 40 nuclear triggers (krytons) destined for Iraq. Several Iraqi agents who had for months been involved in weapons technology smuggling efforts were arrested.

Ironically, Iraq has had access to Saudi Arabia's new Cray II supercomputer which was activated in January. Simulations for ballistic missile and nuclear weaponry were reportedly run.

As much as 250 tons of natural uranium purchased from Brazil, Portugal, Niger, and Italy in the late 1970s and early 1980s could potentially yield substantial quantities of the fissile isotope U235. It is unclear, however, whether Iraq has facilities capable of converting uranium ore into uranium oxide (yellowcake). The Al-Qa'im phosphate fertilizer plant in western Iraq could conceivably be used as a conversion plant for making yellowcake into the uranium-bearing gaseous compound uranium hexafluoride, used as a feedstock for centrifuge enrichment.


The following is text of a Soviet Foreign Ministry statement published in Moscow on August 11:

"A message sent by President Gorbachev to President Mubarak of Egypt and heads of other Arab states, who held an emergency meeting in Cairo, set forth our idea of the ways of settling the acutely conflict situation in the Persian Gulf and the role of Arab countries in it. We express satisfaction over the desire, displayed by Arab leaders, to make an energetic contribution to the settlement of the dangerous crisis that emerged in the Persian Gulf. In this respect the Soviet Union assessed in a proper way the results of the Cairo meeting, which again condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, demanded the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from that country and announced its non-recognition of the annexation of Kuwait by Iraq.

"One cannot but welcome the growing understanding by Arabs of their role and responsibility for the destinies of the world and stability in the Middle East, and for settling the Persian Gulf crisis as soon as possible and preventing it from developing into a large conflagration capable of inflicting great damage to the interests of Arab nations, to the cause of world peace and security."


Moscow has created a working interdepartmental group, headed by Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Igor Belousov to tackle the evacuation of Soviet citizens from Kuwait and, "if need be" says Novosti, "from Iraq" (880 and 7,830 people respectively).

Iraqi authorities gave their consent to the evacuation of Soviets from Kuwait, but only by automobile transport across the Iraqi territory to its border with Jordan (the length of the route is some 2,000 kilometers). Consent was also given to the evacuation from Iraq of the families of Soviet citizens working in that country. Measures are now being taken for the organization of the evacuation of all Soviet citizens from Kuwait, as well as women and children from Iraq. The Soviet side continues to insist on the opening of other, more convenient ways of evacuation — by air and by sea.

The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

August 15, 1990



Her Majesty's Canadian Ships Terra Nova and Athabaskan are being fitted with close-in weapons dockside in Halifax. With supply ship HMCS Protecteur, they are being readied to sail for the Arabian Sea, not as part of UN or NATO operations, but in support of U.S. operations in the Persian Gulf region. Canada's decision was announced Friday at 2:00 pm by the Prime Minister.

Mulroney reminded Canadians that, "Earlier this week, Canada cosponsored UN Resolution 661 mandating the economic isolation of Iraq." The decision, said the Prime Minister, "was taken in light of consultations in Brussels, today [August 10], by NATO members on the continuing crisis in the Gulf region and on the most appropriate response of member countries."

U.S. Secretary of State James Baker had been sent to NATO meetings in Brussels by President Bush on what Washington sources described as a `recruiting mission'. Canada's name is added to a list including Australia, Belgium, West Germany, France, Great Britain, The Netherlands, and the U.S.S.R. who are all sending or have warships in the region.

How the Canadian contingent is to be engaged won't be known until it is `in situ' noted Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS), Vice-Admiral Charles Thomas who has indicated that American naval forces in the region are responsible for C3I. Defining the role from the government's initial perspective, Mulroney declared that, "Our naval forces, in company with those of other nations, will assist in the deterrence of further aggression."

The two ASW warships, deficient in air defence capability, particularly Terra Nova, will benefit from a brief refit with CIWS, chaffe, EW equipment and other unspecified gear. The ships sail "within days" arriving in the Gulf region mid-September under the command of Commodore Ken Summers, the senior officer afloat.

"Canada is prepared to increase its contribution to this multinational effort ...if the situation in the Arabian Peninsula deteriorates." Driving home this statement he noted grimly that, "Several hundred Canadians are present in Iraq and Kuwait."


The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990


The 1987 attack on the USS Stark was deliberate — not that anyone believes otherwise.

That year The Wednesday Report launched a lengthy investigation into developments in the Persian Gulf, in particular, the effectiveness of weapons involved in the USS Stark incident, weapons, in fact, similar to those being fitted to Canada's Tribal-class destroyers under the TRUMP programme. On October 7, 1987, a TWR article, "Lessons From The Persian Gulf" was published which in turn led to a forty-five million dollar lawsuit filed against The Wednesday Report's Micheal O'Brien by gun manufacturer OTO-Melara of Italy. The court action prompted a subsequently more intense investigation to uncover additional details (a $45 million libel suit can bring a journalist closer to a story than you might ever imagine). In all, the wide-ranging research turned up a number of parallel stories. One of them was the account of the attack itself.

In the dark of night on May 17, 1987, an Iraqi pilot flying an Iraqi Air Force Dassault-Breguet Mirage F1 launched two anti-shipping AM-39 Exocet missiles at the unsuspecting crew of the frigate, USS Stark. As a direct result of the raid, thirty-seven sailors were killed and twenty-one of Stark's crew were injured — many of whom had just months before visited Toronto, Ontario where we had befriended a few at our favourite `watering hole' on the main floor of the Maclean Hunter building on Bay Street.

From Baghdad came an official apology and declaration that the offending pilot had mistaken the USS Stark for an Iranian oil tanker. A dumbfounded U.S. administration in Washington hungrily lapped up the explanation and continued to focus its anger on Iran. The Iranian hostage-taking incident had generated a deep hatred for the Iranians within the U.S. resulting in considerable American patronage for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq conflict. It served no purpose to retaliate against Iraq, America's preset agenda was anti-Iran.

All through that summer and into the fall, The Wednesday Report was hearing rumours —and more than rumours, boastful claims by laughing Iraqis — of luxuriant rewards paid to the pilot of the Mirage by the government of Saddam Hussein. Reliable sources itemized a cash award which they say included a 1987 Mercedes-Benz; a (quick) furlough of luxuriant proportions; a military commendation; and promotion to a higher rank.

U.S. naval airmen who fly the 270 aircraft from U.S. carriers — USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Independence, USS Saratoga and USS John F. Kennedy, either in the Gulf region, presently enroute, or soon to depart the U.S. — are surely eager. In fact it is likely that the best money aboard Independence is bet on its flyers being the first to see action. Iraqi aircraft too close to the fleet, or nearing U.S. naval aircraft patrols, will be blown out of the sky by itchy-trigger-fingered young men who would only be cheered at home for having avenged the thirty-seven Americans who were slain treacherously by Saddam Hussein in 1987.


Greg Copley, Washington-based editor of the prestigious ($520 per year) Defence and Foreign Affairs Weekly believes that U.S. "deterrence will come from air power because it is a `force breaker'!".

"Iraqi armour has always operated in an `air-benign' environment," noted Copley during a recent sharing of views with The Wednesday Report's staff. "Coupled with the Royal Saudi Air Force which has superior skills to the Iraqis and better equipment including Mavericks and Rockeye on its F-5s and F-15s, they [U.S. and Saudi forces] could remove any strategic Iraqi Air Force asset."

While Iraq would defend against U.S./Saudi air attacks with the Roland surface-to-air missile, it is according to Copley, "a generation out of date". Another significant asset of the Saudis he believes is the Tornado. The Saudis operate the Tornado consistently in a low level environment, an operational capability that is unique to all users of the type. In that realm, the Saudis' Tornados comprise a significant threat to Iraq, should it invade Saudi Arabia.

The logistics of a massive invasion of Saudi Arabia by Iraq would be a major impediment, "impossible" suggests Copley. "Iraqis would be operating for the first time with long lines of supplies. They can't do it." Whether or not Saddam Hussein knows that is another matter.

Meanwhile other sources suggest that no amount of strength will deter Hussein from continuing to encourage his followers in the Middle East and around the world to commit terrorist acts. Security at embassies around the world has been tightened and the U.S. State department has issued appropriate warnings say Washington sources.

The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

August 15, 1990



In light of the Gulf crisis, certainly before the calendar flips around toward September 2, Farnborough exhibitors will be re-examining the list of gear they had planned to display at the international air and trade show in Farnborough, England. With the recent dearth of local business, U.K. defence manufacturers will be eying their chances for making sales for the quick support of Britain's allies in the Middle East. Britain's domestic industry will likely be in a prominent position to meet mid-east buyers.

Many of British Aerospace's military aircraft, guided weapon systems, ordnance, and military vehicles will be shown in their "British Aerospace Defence Presentation Park", a replica of an airfield dispersal site. Tornado, Harrier, and Hawk combat aircraft will be displayed together with air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, Towed Rapier, and Laserfire antiaircraft weapon systems, plus other tactical guided weapons that BAe supplies or had under development. Royal Ordnance's 105mm Light Artillery Gun, SA80 5.56mm family of infantry weapons, and Aden aircraft cannons will be shown along with military versions of the Land Rover series of four-wheel drive cross-country vehicles mounted with the ASP 30mm cannon.

Editor's note: The Wednesday Report will continue to provide close coverage of developments in the Gulf crisis as they unfold. For reference on Middle Eastern affairs leading to this week's report, our coverage in past issues of The Wednesday Report may provide suitable reading.

January 10, page 1, "Post-Glasnost Third World"

January 24, page 1, "An Emerging Threat"

February 14, page 1, "The Unforeseen Scope Of SDI"

March 28, page 4, "Infamous Murdered Canadian Was Well Known To TWR"

April 4, page 1, and page 2, "Canadian Gerry Bull's Death Linked To Iraqi Arms Deals"

April 18, page 8, "Gun Barrel Intercept Links Dr. Bull And U.K. Companies"

April 18, page 9, "Could This Have Been The Bull `Supergun'?"

April 25, page 3, "Iraq's Supergun — A Complex Web Of Deception"

June 6, page 1, "What's In Store For You?"

August 8, page 1, "A Hint Of Pending Horror?"


The past week ended with news that a further 1,500 jobs are to be lost at Devonport Royal Dockyard, one of the U.K.'s two major facilities equipped to refit surface warships and conventional and nuclear-powered submarines. Job shedding has been in progress at Devonport throughout the three years since the Conservative government installed a private contractor to manage the traditionally labour intensive Royal Dockyards, and the expectation was that the labour force would fall from more than 11,000 to 6,500 by 1991 — around half of which were to have been employed on submarine refits. However although the U.K. MoD had decided to guarantee Devonport work on three fleet auxiliaries which would otherwise have been offered to competition, the proposed reduction in the submarine fleet has prompted the management company to decide that only 5,000 jobs will be required to cope with future work. Political pressures for further guarantees on Devonport's value as a strategic asset have been given added emphasis by the current situation in the Gulf.

Elsewhere GEC Avionics, a leading U.K. supplier on U.S. military aerospace programmes has decided that around 700 jobs must go as a result of recent cuts — notably those affecting the RAF Tornado and the USN A-6 programmes. In the longer term the company may also have been affected by a decision not to proceed with the avionics update for the RAF Nimrod maritime reconnaissance fleet. Rolls-Royce too has been affected by the Tornado cancellation, having already announced that 700 jobs are to be lost, but at this stage the effects at British Aerospace are still far from clear.

It seems that around 400 jobs will be lost at BAe's Warton plant and that a similar number of employees will have to be relocated. The company is said to be examining its subcontracting policy. However although it has moved the focus of its effort on the still-very-promising Hawk programmes to Warton, the recent 16-aircraft order from Oman is still set in a lengthy time frame and unlikely to offer any relief in the near term.


The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

August 15, 1990


The board of directors of McDonnell Douglas has adopted a shareholder rights plan designed to "deter coercive takeover tactics and to provide assurance that shareholders will benefit from the long-term prospects and increases in value of the company," says the company.

Under the plan, shareholders of record on August 13, 1990 will receive a dividend consisting of the right to acquire securities at below-market prices under certain circumstances. The plan includes "flip-in" and "flip-over" features similar to other shareholder rights plans. If a person or group acquires 20 percent or more of McDonnell Douglas' outstanding common stock, each right will entitle the holder (except for the acquiring person or group) to purchase for $200.00 shares of McDonnell Douglas common stock having a market value of $400.00 (the "flip-in" feature).

If a person or group acquires 20 percent or more of the company's stock, but less than 50 percent, McDonnell Douglas may elect to exchange one share of common stock (or a fractional share of a new series of preferred stock) for each right held by shareholders other than the acquiring person or group. This exchange could apply to some or all of the rights outstanding. In the event of a third party merging with or acquiring 50 percent or more of the assets or earning power of McDonnell Douglas, each right will entitle the holder to purchase for $200.00 stock of the acquiring entity having a market value of $400.00 (the "flip-over" feature).

The rights expire in ten years unless redeemed, exercised or exchanged at an earlier time. The board will be able to redeem the rights at one percent per right at any time until 10 business days following the acquisition by a person or group of 20 percent or more of the company's common stock.

The rights plan is not being adopted in response to any effort to acquire control of McDonnell Douglas, and the corporation and its board are unaware of any such effort. Well over 1,000 other companies, including other leading aerospace companies, have adopted similar plans designed to protect against takeover tactics that bring unfair pressure to bear on shareholders and deprive the target company's board and its shareholders of their ability to determine the destiny of their company. Details of the shareholder rights plan were mailed to all shareholders of record on Monday.


A McDonnell Douglas MD-11 has completed the longest flight ever made by a commercial tri-jet, covering 14,615 kilometers in 16 hours and 35 minutes. The flight was part of a three day mission to test the aircraft's cruise endurance, navigation equipment near and over the North Pole, and to evaluate pilot workload during takeoffs, landings and cruise. MD-11 ship 4 was used for the test which was conducted as part of the MD-11 FAA certification flight test programme.


Mr. David Murray of GE Aircraft Engines Canada will be responsible for the establishment of a new, permanent office. John Hawkes, General Manager of GE's Aircraft Engine Programmes, wants to "provide the best possible service to our engine customers in Ottawa". GE has been supplying the Canadian government since the early 1950s when the J79 engine was selected for the CF-104 fighter. GE is the largest supplier of military engines to the Canadian armed forces with engines currently powering the CF-18 (F404 engine), Sea King and Labrador helicopters (T58 engine), Buffalo (T64 engine), CF-5, and "Snowbirds" (J85 engine). The Canadian Patrol Frigate is powered by GE LM2500 gas turbine engines. GE has proposed its CT7-6A1 engine for the NSA.


The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC) celebrated its 50th anniversary on Monday at CFB Gagetown, N.B. Comprised of four Regular Force and 18 Reserve Force regiments, along with an Armour School, the RCAC was formed during WW II and saw action in nearly every Canadian battle. The RCAC emerged from the war with no less than 109 battle honours. It was in 1945 that King George VI approved the prefix "Royal" for use by the Corps in recognition of gallantry in action and devotion to duty. Regiments of the RCAC served in the Korean War and have participated in many peacekeeping missions. Currently, there are armoured regiments stationed in both Canada and Europe.

August 15, 1990

The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990


The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

August 15, 1990


Fleet Aerospace Corporation's board of directors has announced to the company's employees that some significant changes have been made within the top management of the firm. After taking strident steps to reorganize and trim the company's holdings the Fleet board has added some dynamic elements to its own body and to the company's operational management. (See The Wednesday Report, August 1, page 6, "Fleet Aerospace: Back To Established Basics After 60 Years".) George Dragone is now the honourary chairman, William A. Dimma, becomes Chairman. Replacing Dragone as President and Chief Executive Officer is Cecil G. Cline. Bruce Gowan, the firm's V.P. Finance and Corporate Secretary, will now join the board of directors as Vice Chairman Finance and Secretary-Treasurer. Dimma, Cline and Gowan, along with Mr. John J. Ruffo and the Honourable William G. Davis will all be members of the Executive Committee.

In a memo addressed to employees, the board of directors stated that "Cline has brought critical leadership to the main operating units, Fleet Industries and Aeronca Inc." Dimma, who has served on the board for over a year, has an extensive corporate background at both the board level and in senior management roles. The otherwise blunt missive tactfully added that "Dragone has served Fleet through his entrepreneurial initiatives and will continue to provide advice to the board."


Pratt & Whitney is striding into the 1990s with leading test and analysis technology. A new Edison Systems Corporation Digital Structural Testing System has been commissioned at Pratt & Whitney Canada's (P&WC) Longueuil, Quebec facility. Edison's advanced DSC-7700 Digital Servocontrollers are the basis for the new system, as used on McDonnell Douglas' new C-17 Main Airframe Durability Test Digital Servocontrol System. Pratt's system is a scaled down version.

The DSC-7700 generates the test loading signals, controls and actuators, and monitors the resulting forces and movements. The Edison equipment also incorporates a comprehensive safety system to protect the engine test specimen in the event of an equipment malfunction. Initially, eight Edison DSC-7700 control channels have been installed. The system can be expanded to thirty-two channels by simply installing additional circuit cards, and to 512 channels by adding an expansion chassis. Edison also provided new servohydraulic and hydraulic power equipment for the laboratory.


Delta's experience with CAE simulators has led to their purchase of two more units. CAE Electronics Ltd. of Montreal, Quebec has been contracted by Delta Air Lines Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia to design and manufacture two MD-88 flight simulators. These are the third and fourth simulators ordered by Delta from CAE — the first and second include a Boeing 767 and an MD-11. The MD-88 flight simulators will be built to FAA Phase III standards and will be delivered to Delta's Flight Training Centre in Atlanta in November 1991 and June 1992.

CAE has been launched into the Airbus A340 programme. Lufthansa German Airlines has just placed an order with CAE for two A340-200 flight simulators valued at approximately $44 million. These are the 11th and 12th CAE flight simulators to be ordered by Lufthansa.

Several new technological innovations will be incorporated by CAE on Lufthansa's A340-200 simulators, including the new IBM RISC Systems/6000 Model 530 computer for simulation software, CAE's forward facing/moveable instructor facilities, an advanced digital control loading system, and fully digital sound and audio systems. The long-range, four-engine A340-200 aircraft, with a "glass cockpit" incorporating cathode ray tube displays, sidestick controllers and computer-controlled flight management systems will enter airline service in 1992 as one of the most sophisticated commercial airliners in the world. CAE is designing the flight simulators to FAA Level D (Phase III) standards. The A340-200 flight simulators will be delivered to Lufthansa's training centre in Frankfurt, West Germany in September 1992.

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The Wednesday Report - Copyright 1990

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August 15, 1990

  • Publisher and Editor In Chief: Micheal J. O'Brien

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