The Clandestine Building of Libya's Chemical Weapons Factory: A Study in International Collusion

By Thomas C. Wiegele | Go to book overview

6
The Explosion of Events in West Germany

As developments in Libya proceeded and the Paris Chemical Weapons Conference unfolded, events in the Federal Republic of Germany moved toward a major political explosion. As indicated in the previous chapters, developments regarding the Rabta facility did not occur in sequential fashion. Rather, they overlapped each other and were often intertwined not only in public statements and documents but also in the minds of statesmen. This complexity can only be understood by disaggregating the general event into its component parts and examining those parts microscopically.

The present chapter provides a detailed examination of the West German connection to the construction of the Rabta facility. It explores the initial outlook of the Bonn government to the stimulation of exports and the role of the German press in revealing issues that had to be addressed by federal authorities. Then the chapter moves into debates in the Bundestag over the Libyan affair. The government's report to the Bundestag regarding its knowledge of chemical weapons activities by its firms and the further knowledge it had of Libyan activities is discussed in detail. The central role of the Imhausen-Chemie firm is explained, and several graphic diagrams of Libya's complex business operations are provided.


The Posture of the Bonn Government

Through the conclusion of the Paris Conference, Bonn continued to maintain that it had no knowledge of prosecutable offenses committed by German firms regarding the shipment of chemicals and chemical processing equipment to Libya. German officials professed anger at the harsh treatment the FRG was receiving in the American press. One official called the Libyan coverage a case of "German- bashing."1 Moreover, the Germans were upset at American insis-

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