There is a striking difference between the foreign policies of Norway and Denmark, two Scandinavian neighbours. Whilst the appeasing Quisling government in Oslo grovels at the feet of extremists, Denmark valiantly defends the freedom of the West. The same striking difference in attitudes can be seen between two other close neighbours, Belgium and the Netherlands. Whilst the Dutch political elite has finally come to its senses, after the assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, the Belgians are continuing their tradition of being utterly unreliable allies. [pdf]
It was revealed today that on November 3, 2004 a Belgian company exported a machine to Iran which will help Teheran to build (nuclear) missiles. The machine, a hot isostatic press, was exported by the Belgian company EPSI (Engineered Pressures Systems International) despite frequent and urgent requests by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) not to do so. From July 17, 2004 onwards CIA officers had been warning their colleagues at the Belgian state security service, the Sûreté de l’État (SdÉ), that Iran Aircraft Industries was trying to buy an isostatic press in Belgium.
Anne-Marie Lizin, the speaker of the Belgian Senate, said today that the Americans “asked the Belgian government with insistence not to contribute, not even inadvertently, to the Iranian missile program.” Yesterday evening Koen Dassen, the head of the SdÉ, resigned. A report presented to the Belgian Senate today says that Mr Dassen failed to inform the government in Brussels of the American request. However, the delivery of the isostatic press to the Iranians went ahead despite negative advice from CANPAN (Commission d’avis pour la non-prolifération des armes nucléaires), the Belgian Advisory Committee for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Arms. In its report of September 28, 2004 CANPAN wrote that there was “an unacceptable risk that the machine will be used for activities related to nuclear arms or nuclear explosions.”
The American authorities also contacted the Belgian Customs to prevent the exportation of the isostatic press, but all to no avail. Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx, the minister supervising the Belgian state security service, claimed that the SdÉ had never informed her of the American objections to the delivery of the isostatic press to Iran. The report blames Mr Dassen for incompetence.
Mr Dassen succeeded Godelieve Timmermans as head of the SdÉ in 2002. As I wrote at the time in the British weekly The Spectator (July 13, 2002) [see the article here] Mrs Timmermans had to resign after a report commissioned by the Belgian Parliament revealed that the SdÉ was failing to screen Islamic terrorists. The SdÉ remained passive because it had no indications that the terrorists would attack Belgian targets. Previously both the French and the American authorities had criticised Belgium for its lack of resolve in the fight against international terrorism. There are indications that in the early 1990s the Belgian government made a deal with Islamic terrorists, agreeing to turn a blind eye to conspiracies hatched on Belgian soil in exchange for immunity from attack.
In the 1980s the Belgian company Sybetra provided Iraq with the technology for extracting yellow cake out of phosphate. Yellow cake is an ingredient used in the production of nuclear arms. Sybetra built the world’s largest phosphate plant at Alka’im, in the Iraqi desert. The Alka’im plant was destroyed by the Americans during the 1991 Gulf War.