by Jonathan Marshall
American Reporter Reader
San Francisco, Calif.
January 9, 2003
WRONG ABOUT BECHTEL?
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 8, 2001 -- Your recent article by Randolph Holhut, "The War Racket Lives On," (AR, No. 2011) cited Bechtel among 24 U.S. companies that (in his words) "illegally aided Iraq's nation's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs in the 1980s," according to a German newspaper report.
Bechtel was not involved with any Iraqi weapons programs.
In 1988, Bechtel signed a contract with Iraq's Ministry of Interior to manage engineering and construction of a standard refinery and petrochemical facility near Baghdad. The project was legal and sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Construction had barely begun in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait and interned more than 100 Bechtel employees and their dependents. Bechtel succeeded in extricating its employees before the Gulf War began and has had no further involvement with the project.
Editor's Note: The author is Media Relations Manager of the Bechtel Corp.