The Illegal Government Arms Trade. When You Try To Take Away ‘The Toys of the Big Boys,’ They Play For Keeps

Although 13 years apart, two key figures about to blow the lid off the illegal arms sales to Iran and Iraq both turned up dead, one a reported suicide and the other shot three times to the back of the head outside his Brussels apartment.

Both deaths have drawn media attention, but none of the reports have ever led to a serious investigation.

The closest any brave prosecutor ever got to getting at the truth was a 2003 report that a Belgium prosecutor was considering reopening a probe into the March 22, 1990, murder of Canadian born Dr. Gerald Bull, founder of Space Research Corporation (SRC).

But after reports surfaced that there had been Mossad/CIA/MI6 involvement in Bull’s murder, the Belgium prosecutor’s never went any farther amid speculations that he was about to be killed himself if he pursued the investigation.

Before the investigation was quashed, the following is English translation of what appeared in a Belgium magazine about the initial report.

“On Friday, the Belgian daily Derniere Heure published a report saying Belgian police and the State Prosecutor have information from a “reliable source” that identified a Mossad agent, a member of an “elite unit,” as one of Bull’s assassins. The report said the source of the information is in a Central American country “previously controlled by Britain” the country is most likely Belize. The information source said a piece of jewelry or a bracelet was taken from Bull and kept by the suspect.

“Members of Bull’s family and investigative reporters suggested that Bull was in contact with members of Israel’s intelligence services, and provided them with inside information about the Iraqi super-gun project.

“One theory held that the Mossad killed him for failing to provide accurate information about the Iraqi program to extend the range of Scud missiles and improve their accuracy.”

Other theories floated around that Bull was killed on the direction of UK and U.S. officials concerned he was ready to “spill the beans” about the illegal arms trade, pinning high-level politicians with receiving millions in illegal kickbacks on the arms contracts.

Whatever the case, it was obvious Bull knew too much and had to be eliminated, his murder sending a clear message to others like him either shut up or expect the same fate.

Although Bull was a “hot government item,” how deep did he really go into the murky waters of the worldwide arms trade?

From the outset, Bull’s involvement of the Iraqi arms dealing was directly responsible in the late 1970s for the development of advanced guns as well as full-bore and base-bleed ammunition technologies within South Africa.

Years after, in the mid 1980’s, he brought more advanced expertise to Iraq. A key product of Bull’s endeavors, the G-5 155mm self-propelled howitzer has surfaced in original form or similar weapons within Chile, Austria, Germany, Belgium and Iraq.

A 1987 report about Bull in a Canadian Defense Weekly publication had this to say about the gunned-down arms whistle blower:

“In 1980 on June 16, Bull was convicted on criminal charges in a Rutland, Vermont court for smuggling gun barrels and ammunition to South Africa. He later pleaded guilty in Montreal, on August 14 of the same year, to violating U.N. arms sanctions also against South Africa. The Quebec court fined SRC $55,000.

“The Canadian convictions involved “shipments of howitzer parts” both directly and indirectly to South Africa. On the U.S. charges, Bull eventually served a short prison sentence in the United States and paid several thousands of dollars in fines.”

And after he was murdered in his Brussels apartment, a series of revelations tied him and his company, SRC, to voluminous arms dealings with Iraq, including development of the fabled Iraqi 600 kilometer-range, forty-meter-barrel “Supergun”.

Evidence of the monstrous gun surfaced, but British officials quickly tried to distance themselves from involvement with Bull, who was depicted as a renegade when in fact he was acting on behalf both the UK and U.S. governments.

The Canadian Defense magazine provided further details of the weaponry sold to Iraq, but what the publication failed to mention was that all the sales were done with UK and U.S. government complicity in blatant violation of UN embargoes.

Here is the Canadian report:

It was later found that SRC’s technology development ties with the Iraqis included the Scud B, extensive 155mm gun and ammunition development, as well as 210mm self-propelled howitzers manufactured in facilities north of Baghdad, and the overall 155mm GC-45 artillery system.

“Other developments that Bull is believed to have been helping Iraq with included the amazing 1000/405mm (1000mm smooth bore saboted down to 405mm) Ultra Long Range (ULR) gun with a 2.32 meter long shell having a mass of around 1,800 kilograms. (See The Wednesday Report, April 18 and August 15.)

“Iraq first acquired the G-5 155mm artillery piece in the early 1980s from South Africa. Later in 1986-87, a time when Bull’s influence increased in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein, who was at the time angry with South Africa, switched to Austria as a principal supplier. The first of Iraq’s G-5s were built by South African firm Lyttelton Engineering Works of Verwoerdberg and sold through Pretoria’s roguish export firm, Armscor.

“The original gun barrels were built by Krykor while Summerset Chemicals (both of South Africa) built the explosive charges for the gun. With technology transfers from South Africa and later Austria, coupled with Gerry Bull’s direct assistance, the Iraqis now have the complete manufacturing capacity for powder, shells and barrels. It is estimated that Iraq can manufacture 1,000 replacement barrels per year.

“Today (1987) more than two hundred G-5 155mm howitzers exist within the arsenals of Iraq. The gun is capable of firing a shell some 40 kilometers, greater than any modern artillery of its type. The G-5 and its ammunition employ one of Bull’s favorite techniques. The accuracy of the gun is greatly enhanced by firing base-bleed ammunition. Extra powder is burned at the base of the projectile as it exits the barrel, thus stabilizing the shell. The technology of the gun is brilliant.”

So Bull was erased from the picture and depicted as an outlaw arms dealer at a time when investigations were heating up regarding the illegal deals brokered with Iran and Iraq by the UK and U.S. governments.

But what about microbiologist and weapon’s inspector, Dr David Kelley, who was said to have committed suicide in 2003? In regards to Dr. Kelley, two serious questions need to be asked and whether the answers have any serious bearing on his untimely death?

What did Dr. Kelley about the supply by the UK of biological and chemical materials and defense equipment to Iraq before the start of the first Gulf War?

And what did he know in relation to whether Iraq possessed WMD’s in 2003 at the time the present government asserted that such a threat justified their invasion of Iraq?

It must be remembered that Dr. Kelly was the senior microbiologist at Porton Down at the time the sale of biological cultures to Iraq was authorized in 1985-6. Over the period 1985-7, Porton Down supplied Iraq with bacterial cultures, including C. botulinum and B. anthracis and a formal admission of the role of Porton Down was also published in 1992.

These bacterial cultures were then used to mass produce biological weapons which were deployed by Iraq on Iran whose civilian population suffered massive casualties from the deployment of chemical weapons.

At the end of the first Gulf War in 1991, Dr Kelly joined the UN Weapons Inspector’s team and over a period of seven years, he made a total of 37 trips to Iraq until the inspections ceased.

He was instrumental on every aspect of reporting and reported on the weapons arsenal and manufacture of biological weapons, including those financed by the United Kingdom and manufactured using UK expertise, cultures and equipment.

Being ideally placed to know of the existence of the weapons, and who supplied them, it might be thought these matters might have had some bearing on Dr Kelly’s death. But, strangely, they were never investigated or even considered in any formal hearings held, most notably the Hutton enquiry.

In a notable report written in 2004 by Sir William Jaffray and another in 2003 by John Drewe, both men commented how important aspects known by Dr. Kelley may have led to his death, especially aspects concerning radioactive material sent to Iraq with UK and U.S. approval.

Drewe wrote:

“In addition to biological weapons, chemical precursors to anticholinesterase inhibitors and ammunition, it has been established that at least one contract entailed supplying Iraq with radioactive material. The listed material is not plutonium or a fissile isotope of uranium, but consists of radiocaesium (Cs-137) in significant quantities. The documentation indicates that the shipment was stored at the Astra Defence Systems depot at Faldingworth and then air freighted to Iraq (Ref: 9).

“The contracts for the supply of radiocaesium from the UK to Iraq by companies such as Allivane International Limited are on record. Such contracts demonstrate the huge quantities of prohibited material, including nerve-gas precursors, bacteria and culture media sold by the UK to Iraq over the period 1982-88 (Ref: 10).

“A deposition from a former employee of Allivane has appended to it contracts and shipping records indicating that hundreds of curies of substances such as radiocaesium (Cs-137) and radioiodine (I-131) were shipped from the UK to Iraq (Ref: 11).

“A former employee of the Ministry of Defense who dealt with Allivane International (1983-86) has given a statement confirming that during this time the Ministry of Defense specifically authorized companies such as Allivane International to supply munitions to Iran and Iraq. Huge quantities of conventional ammunition, such as 155mm artillery shells, were delivered to Allivane from the depots of Royal Ordnance (Ref: 12).

“It must have been apparent to the government that this ammunition would be deployed by Iraq against Iran. It must also have been clear that the chemical weapons would also be used against Iran. For example, Iraq used nerve gas to kill thousands of Iranians in 1986 at the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. More than 5000 Kurds were killed in 1987 when Iraq deployed chemical weapons against the Kurds at Halabja. It must be asked what the UK officials who authorized the sale to Iraq of radioactive material thought it would be used for?”

Still today details about the deaths Dr. Kelley and Bull remain a guarded government secret, as do the secrets behind the larger issue of the UK and U.S. involvement in illegal weaponry sold to Iraq and Iran.

However, Sir William Jaffray’s put a tidy but yet unsolved seal on the entire arms scandal and cover-up when he said in 2004:

“I am one of a group of persons who believe that the Thatcher government acted unlawfully by supplying large quantities of conventional, chemical and biological weapons to Iraq and by granting export credits to Iraq for the purchase of these weapons, as well as taking commissions from UK companies which participated in the business.

“Documents available include a set of memoranda from the Intelligence Service, internal correspondence between the Ministry of Defense and Foreign Office and commercial papers of the companies involved in supplying Iraq and records of export credits granted by the DTI.

“The UK Attorney General should prosecute the officials responsible for supplying weapons to Iraq. Foremost is Lord Levene of Portsoken who as Peter Levene and in his capacity as Director of Defense Procurement approved much of this unlawful trade.”

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Greg Szymanski

Listen to my Radio Broadcast live Monday night at 8pm Pacific time on LewisNews, returning Jan. 1 2006 Radio Greg is also regular on the first Thursday of every month at 9pm pacific time.

Greg also has his own daily show on the Republic Broadcast Network. Go to and will be starting a daily program on the Genesis Communications Network soon at Greg Szymanski is an independent investigative journalist and his articles can been seen at He also writes for American Free Press and has his own site

Also see:
Blood Money Part I: The Big ‘Allivane-Astra’ Picture. The Trail of Illegal Weapons Sold To Iran And Iraq Starts In Washington And London

Blood Money Part II: The Devil Is in The Details But Crooked Politicians Are Devious At Hiding Their Dirty Work in the Illegal Arms Sales To Iran And Iraq

Blood Money Part III: MI6 secret documents and Astra Commission Documents Reveal How Politicians Reaped Huge Profits Off Illegal Middle East Arms Sales