Arms committee probing Iran claims

2012-03-15 13:31

Cape Town - The National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) is investigating a weekend newspaper report that South Africa has been exporting attack helicopters to Iran through an elaborate set of front companies.

Individuals and companies mentioned in the Sunday Times newspaper's report were being investigated, Vanessa du Toit, a director at the NCACC inspectorate, told Parliament's joint standing committee on defence on Thursday.

"We have already started investigations against the companies mentioned and individuals mentioned. We will report back to NCACC should we find any contravention of the NCACA (National Conventional Arms Control Act)."

According to the article, a Canadian company, Eagle Copters, would buy 1979 Bell 212 helicopters from Hudson Flight LLC in Texas, the USA. Eagle Copters would then sell the Bell 212 helicopters to a Johannesburg registered front company called Gemini Moon 477.

The helicopters would be taken to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg aboard Dutch airline KLM.

Once the helicopters were in South Africa, they would be deregistered and then re-registered, with Iran as the end-user. They would then be shipped abroad on a Russian cargo aircraft.

According to the report, "a big factory in Tehran" was using reverse-engineered helicopter parts for the military. The parts would most probably be used in military attack helicopters.

Reverse engineering involves analysing or taking a piece of equipment apart, with the aim of making a duplicate.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told the committee South Africa did not allow any exports of "equipment" to Iran.

"We do not authorise any equipment to Iran because in the main there are United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran, so we do not do that as a matter of course," he said.

  • bernpm - 2012-03-15 13:40

    Smells like sanction busting as in the "good old days" when it was a national sport and globally supported. This time the guys are on the wrong side of the world opinion and thus busted.

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  • Marick - 2012-03-15 13:47

    So... the helicopters originated from the United States. And were headed for Iran... NO SURPRISES THERE Why is it that in the past 20 years, a lot USA wars / battles / "We're setting them freeeeeee" have links to companies operating in Texas with vested financial interests?

      Deon - 2012-03-15 13:55

      I am sure the Americans don't like this.

      Eric - 2012-03-15 14:14

      you managed to miss everyone - including SA - on way from the US to Iran. And the fact that the attack helicopters will hardly be used in defence of American interests. Unless you are suggesting that the US is engaging in the transfer of high-tech weaponry to Iran - why? - to make the war (if it happens) a bit more fun this time around?

      djmain1 - 2012-03-15 14:34

      Its all about money - the arms dealers don't care who buys their weapons - no maorals there. And besides, it's to their benefit if the sides are more evenly matched - more arms sales the longer it drags on.

      John - 2012-03-15 14:37

      Question is why South Africa gets involved in this? Probably becouse in the last 20 years South Africa activly is involved in reverse engineering and is "transit destination" for any "know how" to asia and middle east.

      Marick - 2012-03-15 15:46

      @Eric - This would not be the first time USA companies have played both sides of a conflict and made profits. More fun? Indeed - there's more money to be made when selling to both sides. The article did not clarify where the transaction was initiated from - perhaps the organisation responsible for this transaction was based in another country and the USA company was an innocent party thinking they were selling the items to Canada. My assumption in this regard, however, is based on facts in history. Just two recent points: Afghanistan - USA armed the Taliban a few years before the conflict. USA companies benefitting from the conflict included those in the arms trade and petroleum industry (in this case gas, not oil). Iraq - USA was friendly with Saddam and armed him as well. USA companies benefitting from the conflict included those in the arms trade and petroleum industry.

      John - 2012-03-15 17:37

      @Marick When USSR (Russia) in 1980 enter in Afganistan, Talibans was armed by US. That is got nothing to do with just selling arms. Reunert was seling to Sadam Hussein before and after operation "Desert Fox/Desert storm". How nice and conveniently we going off-topic here. South Africa is exporting "banned technologies" to Iran....such a disgrace for South Africa.

  • gouws2 - 2012-03-15 13:48

    Thats it little piggies! Show the whole world your true colours!

  • Ben - 2012-03-15 13:51

    I surely hope this is not the truth.

  • arthurbrigg - 2012-03-15 13:57

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it yanks! Would love to know how the American soldiers feel, knowing that their own country sold arms to their enemy to be used against them. Wait a minute - this happens all the time...

      John - 2012-03-15 14:45

      wow....and what exactly is in your pipe aardvarkie? Beetle poopoo? Why don't you answer who was selling arms to Umkhonto we Sizwe aka MK in the past? Tell us about that..... Tell us where G5 and G6 systems were sold in Middle East. Do you want to comment that perhaps?

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-15 15:27

      Luckily for me this article isn't about Umkhonto, so here's my pipe, have a drag, and try again.

      John - 2012-03-15 16:46

      Aardawark....smoke your poo.You are waste of time.

  • lindz.kok - 2012-03-15 14:02

    yip we are screwed, i was wondering witch side we would take this time. s.a. use to be behind isreal 100%. oh well, we have absolutely no infrastructure to see us through this time.

  • Thoka - 2012-03-15 14:05

    sounds like well oiled machine with each state just adding their markup and passing on to the next state. moral of the story it pays to a middle man.

      Eric - 2012-03-15 14:23

      I seriously doubt that the US state is involved - enough of their military technology has already been copied/stolen - though Iran's, by definition, will be - the rest of them, who knows? But that's a pretty good description of how illicit and regulated markets behave - not that I'm suggesting the international arms trade should be deregulated!

  • bheki.dingiswayo - 2012-03-15 14:22

    Minister there is nothing wrong in selling arms to Iran. All the muslim country have sanctions from America (UN) and they can not go ahead with their own life as it is decided by the so called UN. I think China must rise up and help Iran. They have been killed, maimed, detained for their oil. If I was in charge I would not be a signatory to the UN which favours certain countries.

      lindz.kok - 2012-03-15 14:28

      sorry i can see you are pro islam either that or anti semite. what a stupid statement in my opinion, do you suport facist goverment dictatorship and the slaughter of inocents? tell me how many will die if irahn gets theyre way? they have made public threats against isreal and the word. they are openly making neuclear threats.

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-15 14:33

      Lindz - so it's okay for Israel to commit genocide on Palestinians but not okay for Iran to defend itself as a sovereign country? Israel is in fact baying for Irans blood, currently the USA is holding them back due to public sentiment.

      Trevor - 2012-03-15 14:34

      Then you would be alone...You think so highly of China, you obviously not educated in the way of global economics. China is the USA's bitch and visa versa...China cannot function without a PAYING user and the "Western World" is it's BIGGEST consumer so, if China get out of hand the USA clamps down through the UN and if you have not noticed, it works both ways so a country like Iran is like a tick that needs to be removed and it is just one phone call away from being flattened and China will do NOTHING but flap it's lips. But you also missing the point completely, USA won't invade Iran, Israel will and if you pay attention to global politics you'd know this and that Israel are already in position to attack Iran. The world is not as simple as you make it out to be, it's not South Africa where the majority think that the ANC are the beginning and the end.

      Garth - 2012-03-15 14:48

      aardvarkie - I find that comment `okay for Israel to commit genocide on Palestinians' strange, given that Israel spends all it time defending itself from oblivion. How many Palestinians have been killed in their attacks, oops, sorry, Israel's attacks? Iran and Syria promote the destruction of Israel, no matter how one chooses to translate a word from a speech, or not. Supplying Iran with the means to conduct war is wrong by any standards; so too is the supply of arms by Russia, to Syria's regime.

      lindz.kok - 2012-03-15 14:51

      very well put trevor. and aardvarkie if you read up on irahn properly and not just the propeganda that is bein spread over the world by islamic countrys you will see my point. why is the gaza strip still being ocupied by islamic groups? how many isrealites do you think is being killed yearly by islamic terrorist groups? why does islam turn a blind eye when these groups are draging theyre name through the dirt? why are islamic terorist atacks not target specific like that of isreal but kill woman and children? or am i the one who is blind?

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-15 14:56

      Garth - I'm not saying the Palestinians are innocent at all from their part in the past, but what is happening now is somewhat ironic - Israel has converted the Gaza strip to the equivalent of a Nazi concentration camp. It's genocide, finished and klaar. What good is it doing for Israel? What problems does it solve? None - it incites more hatred and antisemitic sentiment. To top it off, the USA backs these atrocities financially. As for the arms game - oh I agree totally, and we both know how corrupt it is, there no end to the bottom of that barrel.

      John - 2012-03-15 14:56

      For aardvarkie, Hamas, Abu Nidal and Hezbollah are maybe peace keepers? aardvarkie...go and smoke your pipe somwhere else. You are pathetic.

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-15 15:10

      John - I'm not condoning ANY violence - I am just pointing out Israel in this instance - prove me wrong with an intelligent retort, not just an insult Hmmkay? So I suggest you shove your pipe right back where it belongs.

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-15 15:15

      Lindz - The UN concluded that serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel in the context of its military operations in Gaza, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity. I suggest you look up, for example, “Operation Cast Lead,” where more than 1,400 people were killed, including women and more than 340 children, and houses, factories, wells, schools, hospitals, police stations and other public buildings were destroyed. I suggest YOU read a little more.

      John - 2012-03-15 17:00

      @Aardvarkie "...prove me wrong with an intelligent retort(report)..."? To prove what? Between prove and teach is a big difference, but in South Africa this is very common expression to cover the empty pages of misapprehension and misknowledge. I cannot prove anything to people like you. You are from that category of people that denied existance of giraffe, becouse they never seen one. ... I was expecting something more than cheap vulgarity and you are realy waste of time.

  • Rob - 2012-03-15 14:23

    Take another look at Radebe's quoted comments. Now that is how information is concealed without resorting to a Secrecy ACT. Of course we must wait for teh findings of the investigation...then we will be told something, Will it be equally meaningless?

  • Neutedop - 2012-03-15 14:32

    Whoever is involved should be charged with murder, if any of those machines is used in a war. There is a reason the UN is on full alert - it is not normal News24 readers views of conspiracy is based on facts.

  • Trevor - 2012-03-15 14:42

    We're smokeing again, where's the fire? a shlanted story.

  • Kobus - 2012-03-15 14:43

    Now the rest of the World can see who South Africa's governments friends are. And I don't like them one bit :(

  • Paslav - 2012-03-15 14:44

    Wow. Did nobody miss that they're reverse-engineering Bell 212's, hardly an "attack helicopter" by anyone's standards. I should say though, the reporter "probably" has an education, possibly a brain too but I'm quoting unnamed sources on that.

  • Chez - 2012-03-15 14:47

    The wording in the beginning of this story makes it sound like we are selling our manufactured weapons to Iran but really, we are just a stop-over and its the Americans that are "doing the deed". Perhaps the story should have read "Americans selling weapons to Iran"

  • Roy - 2012-03-15 14:56

    And I would not be a bit surprised if it was not happening. Just another "arms deal" lot of crooks who are going to enrich themselves and get away with it. Another BIG government cover-up possibly?

  • rowan.rennie - 2012-03-15 15:46

    Are we talking about the 1979 Bell 212 helicopters - that's no attack helicopter. We got taxi's and taxi drivers more dangerous than that. Cant we export them a few taxi's?

  • Ant138 - 2012-03-15 16:51

    Gemini Moon 477 does not exist according to a CIPC search

  • ozzie.oz1 - 2012-03-15 19:00

    This says it all : Once the helicopters were in South Africa, they would be deregistered and then re-registered, with Iran as the end-user. They would then be shipped abroad on a Russian cargo aircraft.

  • Michil - 2012-03-15 21:27

    Ask Zuma

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