US embassy cable - 93STATE377793

WHITE PAPER ON LIBYA'S CHEMICAL WARFARE PROGRAM

Identifier: 93STATE377793
Wikileaks: View 93STATE377793 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1993-12-16 18:47:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PARM PREL CBW ETTC TH LY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 161847Z DEC 93
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY BANGKOK PRIORITY 
S E C R E T STATE 377793 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:  PARM, PREL, CBW, ETTC, TH, LY 
SUBJECT:  WHITE PAPER ON LIBYA'S CHEMICAL WARFARE PROGRAM 
 
REF: BANGKOK 42119 

1.  (S)  PRESENTED BELOW IN PARA 2 IS AN INTERAGENCY 
COORDINATED "WHITE PAPER" ON LIBYA'S CHEMICAL WARFARE (CW) 
PROGRAM.  THIS PAPER IS UNCLASSIFIED AND IS TO BE PROVIDED 
TO THE ROYAL THAI GOVERNMENT FOR ITS USE.  THE PAPER CAN 
BE USED BY THE THAIS IN HELPING TO PREPARE THE CASES 
AGAINST THE THREE THAI FIRMS FOR ASSISTING THE LIBYAN CW 
PROGRAM.  NO OTHER PAPERS ARE PLANNED TO BE GIVEN TO THE 
RTG.  ALTHOUGH, IF A SPECIFIC LEGAL QUESTION ARISES AFTER 
THE THAIS DETERMINE WHICH LAWS OR REGULATIONS THEY PLAN TO 
CHARGE THE FIRMS UNDER, IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE TO PROVIDE 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. 

2.  (U)  BEGIN TEXT OF WHITE PAPER ON LIBYA'S CW PROGRAM 
RELEASABLE TO RTG: 

-    LIBYA IS EXPANDING ITS CHEMICAL WARFARE PROGRAM 
 
THERE IS OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE THAT LIBYA IS ENGAGED IN 
CONSTRUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS PRODUCTION FACILITIES AT 
THE TARHUNAH SITE.  MOREOVER, THIS EVIDENCE IS IN THE 
PUBLIC DOMAIN, HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY ACTION OF THE UN 
SANCTIONS COMMITTEE, AND HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED BY OTHER 
COMPANIES THAT FORMERLY HAD SUPPLIED THE PROJECT.  IT IS 
NOT CREDIBLE THAT THAI FIRMS PARTICIPATING IN THIS 
CONSTRUCTION ARE  UNAWARE OF THE TRUE NATURE OF THIS 
FACILITY UNLESS THEY HAVE IMPERMISSIBLY "BURIED THEIR 
HEADS IN THE SAND." 

LIBYA SHOWS TREMENDOUS RESOLVE IN MOVING ITS OVERALL 
CHEMICAL WARFARE (CW) PROGRAM FORWARD.  DESPITE 
INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION AND POLITICAL PRESSURE 
TRIPOLI'S PURSUIT OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IS BARELY 
DISGUISED.  TRIPOLI'S ONGOING CW ACTIVITIES AND ITS 
REFUSAL IN JANUARY 1993 TO JOIN A GLOBAL CHEMICAL WEAPONS 
CONVENTION (CWC) SIGNED BY MORE THAN 150 OTHER NATIONS 
UNDERLINE THE JUDGMENT OF MANY GOVERNMENTS THAT LIBYA HAS 
NO INTENTION OF GIVING UP ITS CHEMICAL WARFARE PROGRAM. 

LIBYA HAS CHEMICAL FACILITIES AT RABTA AND TARHUNAH 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 

LIBYA HAS PRODUCED AT LEAST 100 TONS OF CW AGENTS  MOSTLY 
THE BLISTER AGENT MUSTARD AND SMALLER AMOUNTS OF THE NERVE 
AGENT SARIN. 

-   LIBYA HAS A CW AGENT PRODUCTION FACILITY AT RABTA 
ALTHOUGH THAT FACILITY CURRENTLY IS INACTIVE.  THE MAXIMUM 
PRODUCTION CAPACITY FOR RABTA IS 40 TONS OF CW AGENT 
DAILY, AND THE PLANT WAS DESIGNED TO MAKE THE BLISTER 
AGENT MUSTARD AND HIGHLY LETHAL NERVE AGENTS.  FACILITIES 
AT THE RABTA COMPLEX INCLUDE A METAL FABRICATION AREA FOR 
MAKING MISSILE WARHEADS, BOMBS, AND ARTILLERY SHELLS FOR 
CHEMICAL WARFARE PURPOSES.  THE RABTA COMPLEX WAS BUILT 
WITH ASSISTANCE FROM TECHNICIANS, ENGINEERS. AND LABORERS 
FROM SEVERAL COUNTRIES. INCLUDING WEST GERMANY. JAPAN AND 
THAILAND. 

-   SINCE 1990, TRIPOLI HAS TURNED ITS ATTENTION TO A NEW 
PROJECT--CONSTRUCTION OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST KNOWN 
UNDERGROUND CW PLANT, DEEP IN AN INTERIOR MOUNTAIN NEAR 
TARHUNAH ABOUT 60 KM SOUTHEAST OF TRIPOLI.  EXCAVATION AT 
TARHUNAH, WHICH BEGAN IN 1992  IS GOING FORWARD AND 
ASSEMBLY OF THE PLANT WILL BE COMPLETE WITHIN THE DECADE. 
THE INTERIOR PLANS AND EQUIPMENT FOR THE UNDERGROUND 
PLANT. PUBLISHED IN THE MAGAZINE "THE ECONOMIST"'S 
"FOREIGN REPORT'" INDICATE THAT THE TARHUNAH PLANT IS A 
RECONFIGURED VERSION OF THE RABTA FACILITY.  THE SAME 
LIBYAN PURCHASING OFFICERS INVOLVED WITH THE RABTA PLANT 
ARE NOW WORKING ON DUPLICATING EQUIPMENT ORDERS FROM THOSE 
DESIGNS FOR USE AT TARHUNAH. 

UNITED NATIONS SANCTIONS COMMITTEE ACKNOWLEDGE TARHUNAH'S 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
CW LINK 
------- 

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. THROUGH UN SECURITY COUNCIL 
RESOLUTION 748. PASSED ON MARCH 31, 1992, HAS SOUGHT TO 
ISOLATE LIBYA AND CEASE ITS TERRORIST ACTIVITIES--IN PART 
THOUGH A BAN ON MILITARY SALES AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO 
LIBYA.  INCLUDED IN THIS BAN IS THE TRANSFER OF CHEMICAL 
WEAPONS-RELATED MATERIAL AND ACTIVITIES. 

-   THE UN IN RESOLUTION 748 ALSO MADE CLEAR THAT LIBYA IS 
CONSIDERED AN OUTLAW STATE THROUGH VARIOUS OTHER DEMANDS. 
UN MEMBER STATES ARE REQUIRED TO REDUCE LIBYAN DIPLOMATIC 
MISSIONS AND TO DRAW DOWN THEIR OWN REPRESENTATION TO 
LIBYA.  THE RESOLUTION ALSO TERMINATED INTERNATIONAL AIR 
SERVICE TO AND FROM LIBYA. 

BARRING SHIPMENT TO LIBYA:  IN MARCH 1993  THE UN. 
INVOKING THESE SANCTIONS, BARRED A SHIPMENT OF CHEMICAL 
PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT--REACTOR VESSELS--DESTINED FOR 
LIBYA'S CW PROGRAM.  LIBYA HAD CLAIMED IT WAS PURCHASING 
THE EQUIPMENT FOR STRICTLY COMMERCIAL USE--TO MAKE 
DRILLING MUD ADDITIVES FOR OIL EXPLORATION.  THE EQUIPMENT 
WAS PRODUCED BY THE MALAYSIAN SUBSIDIARY OF A BRITISH 
FIRM.  SINGAPORE HALTED TRANSSHIPMENT OF THE REACTOR 
VESSELS TO A LIBYAN FACTORY IN BENGHAZI PENDING A UN 
SANCTIONS COMMITTEE DETERMINATION.  AFTER THE SANCTIONS 
COMMITTEE FOUND THAT THE SHIPMENT WAS IN VIOLATION OF 
RESOLUTION 748, SINGAPORE REFUSED TO ALLOW THEM TO BE 
SHIPPED AND SUBSEQUENTLY RETURNED THEM TO THE MALAYSIAN 
SHIPPER WHERE THEY REMAIN UNDER MALAYSIAN CUSTOMS CONTROL 
PENDING SALE TO A LEGITIMATE BUYER. 

GERMAN COMPANIES CEASED SUPPLYING TARHUNAH 
------------------------------------------ 

THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT IS CURRENTLY INVESTIGATING GERMAN 
FIRMS FOR DELIVERING EQUIPMENT AND CHEMICALS FOR THE 
TARHUNAH PLAN VIA THIRD COUNTRIES TO AVOID SUSPICION. 
CHANCELLOR HELMUT KOHL'S OFFICE CONFIRMED TO THE PRESS IN 
MID-FEBRUARY 1993 THAT HIS GOVERNMENT HAD RECEIVED 
INFORMATION THAT GERMAN FIRMS WERE INVOLVED IN PROVIDING 
MATERIAL FOR LIBYA'S CLANDESTINE CW PROJECT.  AT LEAST TWO 
IMPLICATED FIRMS IMMEDIATELY AGREED TO BONN'S DEMANDS TO 
STOP ANY FURTHER DELIVERIES, THE SPOKESMAN SAID. 

GERMAN PROSECUTION OF CASES AGAINST FIRMS DEALING WITH 
LIBYAN CW PROGRAMS DATES BACK TO 1990.  INITIALLY, THE 
WEST GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER SAID THAT INFORMATION ABOUT 
THE RABTA PLANT WAS TOO VAGUE FOR BONN TO PURSUE COMPANIES 
INVOLVED.  ALTHOUGH THE BONN GOVERNMENT AT FIRST STRONGLY 
DENIED ALLEGATIONS THAT GERMAN FIRMS HAD SUPPLIED AND 
BUILT A CW FACTORY IN LIBYA, AFTER EXTENSIVE 
INVESTIGATIONS IT FOUND THE CHARGES WERE TRUE.  THE GERMAN 
FIRM IMHAUSEN-CHEMIE STATED IN COURT THAT RABTA IS A 
POISON GAS PLANT, AND THE FIRM'S OWNER WAS SUBSEQUENTLY 
SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR VIOLATION OF EXPORT 
CONTROL LAWS. 

THAI NATIONALS ARE INVOLVED 
--------------------------- 

THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT CONCLUDED THAT A THAI BUSINESSMAN 
WITH AN ENGINEERING DEGREE WHO WAS INVOLVED IN BUILDING 
THE RABTA PLANT PROVIDED CRITICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE 
TARHUNAH PLANT, AS INDICATED IN A GERMAN NEWSPAPER.  THE 
THAI EXPERT COPIED THE PLANS FOR THE RABTA FACILITY, 
ALTERED THEM, AND THEN CONTACTED GERMAN COMPANIES FOR 
ASSISTANCE IN BUILDING AND EQUIPPING THE FACILITIES.  THAI 
COMPANIES HAD TAKEN OVER CW PROJECTS IN LIBYA AFTER GERMAN 
AND JAPANESE CONTRACTORS WERE FORCED TO WITHDRAW IN THE 
1980S UNDER PRESSURE FROM THEIR GOVERNMENTS, ACCORDING TO 
A PRESS REPORT IN "THE NEW TIMES." 

THE THAI FIRM W AND M LIMITED PARTNERSHIP HAS ACKNOWLEDGED 
THAT IT IS THE SOLE SOURCE FOR TUNNELING DESIGN AND 
EXCAVATION WORK AT THE TARHUNAH SITE.  WIROTE 
SUKUNMUTHITA, OF W AND M, TOLD THE PRESS THAT HIS COMPANY 
WAS HIRED THREE YEARS AGO TO DESIGN THE TUNNELS.  HE ALSO 
SAID THAT ABOUT 60 THAI WORKERS, INCLUDING A NUMBER OF 
ENGINEERS, WERE ASSIGNED TO THE TARHUNAH PROJECT. 

LIBYA'S DENIALS ARE NOT CREDIBLE 
-------------------------------- 

COL. MU'AMMAR QADHAFI CONTINUES TO DENY THAT LIBYA 
POSSESSES A CW PROGRAM AND THAT HE IS BUILDING AN 
UNDERGROUND CW PLANT AT TARHUNAH.  LIBYA STILL INSISTS 
THAT THE CW PLANT AT RABTA WAS DESIGNED TO PRODUCE ONLY 
PHARMACEUTICALS AND THAT TARHUNAH IS A CIVILIAN PROJECT. 
WHILE CONTINUING EXCAVATION, LIBYA HAS STRIVED TO PROVIDE 
A SEEMINGLY PLAUSIBLE ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION FOR THE 
INTENSIVE TUNNELING ACTIVITY THAT BEGAN IN 1992. 

THE LIBYAN DENIALS ABOUT TARHUNAH, HOWEVER, ARE 
REMINISCENT OF TRIPOLI'S PAST ATTEMPTS TO CONCEAL THE TRUE 
CW NATURE OF THE "RABIA PHARMACEUTICAL FACTORY.   TRIPOLI 
CLAIMS TARHUNAH IS A TUNNEL EXCAVATION TRAINING SITE FOR 
LIBYAN WORKERS ON THE MUCH PUBLICIZED CIVILIAN "GREAT 
MANMADE RIVER PROJECT," WHICH IS NOT IN THE IMMEDIATE 
VICINITY.  IN FEBRUARY 1993, LIBYAN TELEVISION AIRED A 
STAGED VISIT BY QADHAFI TO THE TUNNELS, AND THE LIBYAN 
GOVERNMENT HAS INVITED THE UNITED STATES AND INTERNATIONAL 
MEDIA TO TOUR THE EXCAVATION.  THE LIBYANS PROBABLY 
ANTICIPATED THAT INSPECTORS WOULD BE UNABLE TO IDENTIFY 
THE FACILITY AS CW-RELATED BECAUSE IT WAS IN THE EARLY 
STAGES OF CONSTRUCTION AND NO PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT IS YET 
PRESENT. 

TRIPOLI HAS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN MANIPULATING 
INTERNATIONAL OPINION, WHILE CONSTRUCTING AND RUNNING A CW 
FACILITY.  DURING THE 1980S, LIBYA CLANDESTINELY 
ESTABLISHED A GLOBAL PROCUREMENT NETWORK TO OBTAIN 
MATERIALS TO BUILD THE RABTA CW PLANT.  THERE WAS A 
CONNECTION BETWEEN A BELGIAN SHIPPING FIRM AND WEST GERMAN 
CHEMICAL MANUFACTURES. 

END TEXT OF WHITE PAPER. 
 
CHRISTOPHER 

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