“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Iranian Smoking Gun. This Post is in Error. General Dynamics Did Not Manufacture this gun and does not own Steyr Mannlicher.

UPDATE: It appears that I have made a bad translation from some German language documents. The manufacturer of the arms sold to Iran were made by this company:

Steyr Mannlicher

The Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & CO.KG is an Austrian firearm manufacturer, that came out from the former Austrian armament makers company, once part of the Steyr Daimler of Puch company. In October 2003 Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH, MOWAG GmbH and Santa Bárbara Sistemas was integrated into a single business unit, called European Land Combat Systems. This is owned by General Dynamics.

A wikipedia translation of a similiar document reads as follows:

"Steyr Daimler Puch special vehicle GmbH (SSF) is a formerly Austrian arms manufacturer, that was separated 1998 from the upper-Austrian Steyr Daimler Puch works, and sold to a Austrian group of investors. This sold SSF in the year 2003 to the US-American arms company general Dynamics, which integrated the enterprise into the European subsidiary „general Dynamics European country Combat of system “, which has its seat in Vienna, to which also Swiss MOWAG and the Spanish Santa Bárbara Sistemas belong.
The today's enterprise Steyr Daimler Puch special vehicle consists of parts of former Austrian armament makers, the Daimler engine company and the Puch works.
SSF is manufacturer of the Pandur Radpanzers, which was among other things already sold in the extent by 260 pieces at Portugal, which brought in 344 million euro for the enterprise, and in the extent by 234 pieces starting from the year 2007 to the Czech military one delivers, which will bring in 828 million euro. The large difference in amount of proceeds is to be explained thereby that Portugal paged a large part out of the order to domestic enterprises, during however Tschechien the wheel tank completely in Austria, in the SSF work in the Viennese municipality district Simmering, to manufacture leaves.
SSF is subject to the strict regulations of the neutrality act from the convention as Austrian enterprise, why weapons and munition may not be supplied to „crisis regions “. Since the definition of the legal text leaves however interpretation clearance open, to the enterprise in the year 2001 on the one hand the export from 66 troop transporters was permitted to Simbabwe, briefly before the European Union imposed a weapons embargo against this country, on the other hand one may Steyr Mannlicher, a rifle manufacturer likewise from the Steyr Daimler Puch works came out, no exports to South America to transact, how the ministry of the Interior decided."

Iraqi insurgents using Austrian rifles from Iran

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:55am GMT 13/02/2007

Audio Listen here, using the link: Revelation makes US action against Iran more likely, says Thomas Harding
Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids.

The Steyr HS50 is a long range, high precision rifle
The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.

The sale was condemned in Washington and London because officials were worried that the weapons would be used by insurgents against British and American troops.

Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon.

Over the last six months American forces have found small caches of the £10,000 rifles but in the last 24 hours a raid in Baghdad brought the total to more than 100, US defence sources reported.

The find is the latest in a series of discoveries that indicate that Teheran is providing support to Iraq's Shia insurgents.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, yesterday denied that Iran had supplied weapons to Iraqi insurgents. But on Sunday US officials in Baghdad displayed a range of weapons they claimed had originated in Iran.

They said 170 American and British soldiers had been killed by such weapons.

The discovery of the sniper rifles will further encourage those in Washington who want to see Iran's uranium-enriching facilities destroyed before a nuclear weapon is produced.

The Foreign Office expressed "serious concerns" over the sale of the rifles last year and Britain protested to the Austrian government.

A Foreign Office spokesman said last night: "Although we did make our worries known the sale unfortunately went ahead and now the potential that these weapons could fall into the wrong hands appears to have happened."

The rifle can pierce all body armour from up to a mile and penetrate armoured Humvee troop carriers.

It is highly accurate and fires a round called an armour piercing incendiary, a bullet that the Iranians manufacture.

The National Iranian Police Organisation bought the rifles allegedly to use them against drug smugglers in an £8 million order placed with Steyr in 2005.

The company was given permission to export them by the Austrian government, which is not a Nato member. Guess who owns the company?

General Dynamics

General Dynamics was officially established in 1952, although it has organizational roots dating back to the late 1800s. The company was formed after its predecessor and current operating division, Electric Boat, acquired the aircraft company Canadair Ltd. and began building the first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus.

Today, General Dynamics has leading market positions in business aviation and aircraft services, land and amphibious combat systems, mission-critical information systems and technologies, and shipbuilding and marine systems. It is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 70,200 people worldwide, and has four main business groups: Aerospace, Combat Systems, Information Systems and Technology, and Marine Systems.

Combat Systems
General Dynamics Combat Systems is becoming the world's preferred supplier of land and amphibious combat system development, production and support. Its product lines include a full spectrum of armored vehicles, light wheeled reconnaissance vehicles, suspensions, engines, transmissions, guns and ammunition handling systems, turret and turret drive systems, and reactive armor and ordnance.

European Land Combat Systems
In October 2003 Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH, MOWAG GmbH and Santa Bárbara Sistemas have been integrated into a single business unit, called European Land Combat Systems.


  1. Here's to hope!

    The hope that Mr. Harding is correct and action against Iran is more likely.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. But the question is Tiger, do we punish General Dynamics?

    If we make the argument that they did not know about it, can we condemn the Iranian argument that their upper levels of government did not know about it?

    If we condemn the Iranian then what about the Austrian Government?

    The Administartion has made a presentation of lethal weapons based on where they were manufactured.

    It has then pointed to the distribution point and route. How now?

  4. STEYR MANNLICHER: Steyr Mannlicher
    Official website of STEYR MANNLICHER GmbH. & Co KG (MANNLICHER & STEYR ARMS), Ramingtal 46, 4442 Kleinraming, Austria.

  5. When one is the largest arms exporter and producer in the world, the enabler of the Military Insutrial Complex, it is hard to complain that there is a proliferation of rifles.

    The US is not and has not been at war with Iran. Let US have the debate, talk the talk.
    Then let US see if there is any Will to walk the walk. Doubt that there is.

    The NorK agreement proves the point.
    Weak sisters in Washington DC

    But wait...
    The Fatah is using US supplied M16's, who is to blame, for the escalation, there? US?

    Boycott GE, over Akins.
    Boycott General Dynamics, cancel the F22, or forget about their transgression.

  6. Deuce, If we can prove GenDyn was complicit? SURE!

    But, they probably didn't realize or intend this.

    I agree with your points about the "politics" of it.

  7. The legal theory of faulting the gun manufacturer, and/or the distributors of weaponry has fallen flat in the US.

    Smith & Wesson nor Colt is responsible for the later use of the weapons they produce. Gun stores not responsible for how their customers use the bullets they sell.

    The criminals are to blame for gun crime, not the manufacturers, providers or the supply chain. Settled law.

  8. You bring up a real can of worms, Deuce. Remeber the "accurized" M-16s that made it into Palestinian hands via an approved State Department contract?

    Shouldn't someone in the State Department go to jail?

    This all revolves around whether or not you think we're actually fighting the W.O.T.; AS A COUNTRY?

    The answer is no, I'm ashamed to say.

  9. DR, blaming a gun manufacturer for another person's "wrong" is one subject. Arming terrorists and knowing about it is another.

    Did GenDyn know?

  10. The US Government supplied similar weapons to the Bolivian Government. When that Government went anti-US, democraticly, the DEA could not retrieve the weapons.

    If those weapons are used, in criminal activity, is the US liable?

  11. No, the Bolivian example would not make the U.S. complicit.

    ... I'm no lawyer but I play one on the web!

  12. Did the Iranian Government know?

    Prove that conspiracy, it is just as easy, or hard, as GenDyn.

    Prejudgement of Iran is easy.
    Perception swaying the case.
    GD was the ultimate source, creating the dynamic.

    If one builds and sells weapons, the producer may assume that they will be used. Whether the weapons are rifles or nukes.
    If the US cannot follow the supply chain, back to the producer, with a rifle, what security is there in MAD nuclear proliferation deterence?

    General Dynamics is guilty, or not, whether they knew, or not. They should have known, or not.

  13. Geezs, Rat! Sounds like you're arguing for COMPLETE government control of all weapons!

    Not sure what you're saying? ...

  14. No, but I'm saying that trying to justify an expanded War, because of the source of the weapons on the battlefield will not fly.

    The idea that, today, the US is justified to attack Iran, because 100 Austrian rifles transited Iran, is comical.

    Either the US was justified, as I thought, to drive into Iran in '03 and end the War, or not.
    That 100 rifles have entered the battlespace from Iranian sanctuaries, along old and well known supply lines is unimportant, except as added background.

    Whether or not the US is at War, Iran is. Has been since 1979.
    What say Congress?
    Why no calls for a binding resolution regarding Iran?

    Except for those that call for "No War", they call for debate in Congress. They call for Resolutions. No call, not a one, for an antiIranian Resolution.
    No positive debate, just drum banging.

  15. Ok, your statement;

    "The criminals are to blame for gun crime, not the manufacturers, providers or the supply chain. Settled law."

    I agree with that!

    But GenDyn probably didn't know., so ...

  16. You and I agree, Rat.

    It has to be more than just rifles ...

    Is the development of WMDs enough? I would argue yes! Is Iran developing nukes? Can we be sure?

  17. O/T

    Not content with wrecking destruction on N.O. by Katrina, Bush generated tornadoes hit three neighborhoods this morning. When will the discrimination end?

  18. Hey, selling Thompsons to Al Capone was just business. Surely, no one on the business side bore any responsibility for how those Thomspsons were used.

  19. Allen, not any more than McDonalds selling me greasy fries!

    Besides, we now have background checks for such "business", and I'm OK with that.

  20. We had a demonstration in the Green Zone over the weekend and a lot of emphasis was on serial numbers and place of manufacture. Then there is the distribution issue. Seems to me the sauce for the goose is the same as the sauce for the gander, unless of course, goose is off the menu.

  21. That is what was decided, allen. Back in the day.

    No one is responsible but the "end user".

    Gotta catch the sniper, rifle in hand.
    Iraqi Courts demand no less.
    Their Judges respecting the rights of the accused.

  22. U.S. general says no evidence Iran giving arms to Iraqi fighters

    By The Associated Press

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - A top U.S. general said Tuesday there was no
    evidence the Iranian government was supplying Iraqi insurgents with highly lethal roadside bombs, contradicting claims by other U.S. military and administration officials.

    General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. forces hunting down militant networks that produced roadside bombs had arrested Iranians and that some of the material used in the devices were made in Iran.

    That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is
    directly involved in doing this, Pace told reporters in the Indonesian
    capital, Jakarta. What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers.

    His remarks might raise questions on the credibility of the claims of
    high-level Iranian involvement, especially following the faulty U.S.
    intelligence that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    Three senior military officials in Baghdad said Sunday that the highest levels of Iranian government were responsible for arming Shiite militants in Iraq with the bombs, blamed for the deaths of more than 170 U.S. troops.

    Asked Monday directly if the White House was confident that the weaponry is coming on the approval of the Iranian government, spokesman Tony Snow said, "Yes."

  23. I miss the old fries.

    They taste funny now.

    And no, my heart problems are genetic - NOT FROM GREASY FRIES!

    : )

  24. So many Intelligence Agencies
    so little intelligence.

  25. The moderate Muslims have detonated two bus bombs in a Christian area of Lebanon. It is reported at least three are dead. More Thompsons sold to Capone by somebody, it seems.

  26. Guns don't kill people
    People kill people.

    Define the Enemy
    Destroy it

    or come home

  27. I'm thinking accessory to murder.

  28. Then you are not at War,
    but prosecuting criminals.

  29. You cannot get on They must be getting visitors.

  30. Allen, I agree with you that there's a moral significance to all of this.

    "Back in the day", knowing about Capone, I would not have sold guns to him.

    Yes, today there are bad guys doing immoral things. To them it may not be immoral, but the Will of Allah!

    As you're really suggesting - THERE IS NO MORAL EQUIVILANCY!
    Wrong is wrong and Right is right.
    I agree with you! This philosophy has already been dealt with in the classics.

    So... like Rat says - lets go get the bad guys and if we find a bad guy amongst ourselves - we get him too!

  31. To my way of thinking, I would want to know who bought the weapons and follow that link. A short violent interview should point to the next link. Clip another link or two and you will find your connection.

    If you do not have the intelligence connections to do that, you do not have intelligence connections. That is another problem, but cut out the stupid dog and pony shows, flip charts and powerpoint presentations.

  32. Only if GenDyn's complicity can be show!

  33. Negligence, a subsidary company of GenDyn did business with a country that is on a US weapons sanctions list. GynDyn is guilty of that, hands down.
    It did not maintain US sanction laws amongst its' many subsidiaries, violating at least the spirit of the US law.

    They should be fined and forced to divest, to be fair. Or cancel the F-22

  34. Warning! Do not try this at home, and do not video tape if you do.

    "Senior Airman Welland Wilkerson...try[ed] to throw a frog into a running F-16 engine."

    The Airman was tried at court-martial.

    There is no word today on the status of 1st Lt. Watada.

  35. tiger,

    Under law, the seller may be culpable for the end use of his product. Obviously, the case would have to be proved that the company here either knew or should have reasonably known the end use of the rifle. Certainly, that is never going to happen.

    My vent is the screwing around at the expense of our service members. To repeat, it is just a vent. In a rational world, denied access to meaningful due process, extra-judicial means of redress would have long since been implemented.

  36. For those here who may not have seen the estimable Dr. Rice's apologia for the latest North Korean debacle/agreement, we (US) are butts up again.

    The woman is truly shameless.

  37. Never give up! It's into the breach, as it were.

    Upon reading your last, Petri dish came to mind.

  38. That last was to our intrepid, indefatigable society correspondent, bobalharb.

  39. Bobalharb is one of the gems here at The Elephant, still link-challenged, although I did spend half of one night trying to teach him how to link. Still wating for the link Bob!

  40. Deuce,

    Winds of Change comments mention the rifle, without the General Dynamics connection. I have linked to this thread.

  41. Actually, it wouldn't be too difficult to punish General Dynamics. If one considers the miniscule amount of revenue General Dynamics generates from selling high quality rifles to Iran compared to the billions of dollars of revenue General Dynamics receives from American defense contracts, America's leverage is quite considerable.

    The problem isn't whether we have the power to punish General Dynamics, but whether we have the will. Moreover, if General Dynamics can get away with this behavior, one should truly consider whether the power of such a multinational corporation surpasses the power of even the most powerful state in the world.

    If the American government refuses to exercise its police power over a corporation like General Dynamics where the government's leverage is great, one can legitimately question the seriousness of the American government's will to prosecute this war.

  42. Deuce,

    This General Dynamics connection is becoming blurred. I have spent an hour or more trying to find a direct connection between GD's European Systems and Steyr-Mannlicher, the rifle manufacturer. Whether the Steyr conglomorate breakup in 1990 severed all ties with Steyr-Mannlicher is not entirely clear.

  43. What a sad day for the Irish: the Utah mall shooter was Sulejmen Talovic.

  44. Sorry, Allen. I was away for a while.

    Lets see:

    Doctor's Kill 100 more times than guns

    Smoking kills more African-American people each year than guns, drugs, and automobile accidents combined

    Oh yeah, we got the tobacco companies already.

    Those Gawd Awful Swimming Pools Kill More People Than Guns!

    My LIBERAL neighbor is going to cry over this one! He'll want me to remove my pool first - LIBERALS are like that, ya know.

    ... : ) you get the idea Allen. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Let's find out if GenDyn is directly culpable and punish the wrongdoers. But don't go after each manmade product we have. It's just too silly!

  45. Oops! Solejman Talovic (aka Sulejmen) is a recent Bosnian immigrant. But I am sure he is a radical Christian.

  46. The Greasy Fries made 'em do it!

  47. The General Dynamic/Steyr-Mannlicher link is a tangled web.

    It looks like General Dynamics has acquired or is acquiring Steyr Spezialfahrzeug,
    "...which has approximately 400 employees, will become part of General Dynamics’ Combat Systems group.

    Steyr Spezialfahrzeug also makes the Ulan tracked infantry fighting vehicles and family of variants.

    The company has leading market positions in mission-critical information systems and technologies, land and amphibious combat systems, shipbuilding and marine systems, and business aviation."

    I still don't know if General Dynamics is associated with Steyr-Mannlicher.

    Will persevere.

  48. From wiki General Dynamics:
    In 1998 the production of heavy armed vehicles was sold to an Austrian investor company which sold the company called Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug (SSF) in 2003 to the US-company General Dynamics.

  49. tiger,

    I'm with you on the individual's right to gun ownership. As far as I'm concerned that need not be limited to semi-automatic handguns and long guns.

  50. There are no press releases from General Dynamics.

    If I were them and my hands were clean, I would get the word out quickly. They haven't.

  51. tiger,

    How might that mall shooting in Utah have gone if anyone other than the Muslim Bosnian had been armed?

  52. whit,

    As I said, the associations of the various Steyr permutations is blurred.

  53. I have reviewed the documents that I used for this report. I re-posted this as having been reported in error.

    I do that because General Dynamics deserves the benefit of the doubt, and a review of the documents appears that the original company was split into sections with some going into an investment group that was purchased by General Dynamics.

    I cannot determine from the documents that General Dynamics owns Steyr Mannlicher. In fact, the documents, where a clear translation is available do not link General Dynamics to Steyr Mannlicher.

    I regret the error. The fault is mine and mine alone.

  54. For future reference, the US is no longer the largest arms exporter in the world. Russia passed us last year.

  55. Police have no motive for why young "Suleiman the Magnificent" would indiscriminately murder innocent Westerners. Ummm...Oh, what could it be...What could it be?

  56. Deuce,

    Thanks for your integrity!!!!

  57. For those who missed Fox News, John Bolton is VERY, VERY, VERY unhappy with Rice's Korea plan. Following Mr. Bolton's logic to its end, Dr. Rice is a cowardly moron.

  58. Well, then, do not cancel the F-22.
    No need to divest.
    All is well, again.

    If one factors US internal purchases, the US still produces the greatest amount of arms, in the world.

    Mr Bolton is not happy, at all.

  59. Another interesting aspect of Iraqi Shiite militia acquiring these big Steyrs is that it shows the Russians are still sorely lagging in .50 sniper rifle market share. They've long developed various 12.7mm x 108 rifles like the SVN-98 and KSVK but they still can't produce enough sniper grade ammunition to make them field worthy. Russian 12.7mm sniper rifles would be much better for the Iraqi militia if not for this fact, after all, whats accounting or accountability for a Russian arms company? They'd be close to untraceable coming south through the northern Iranian border. If the Russians ever started producing better ammo, then we'd have a real problem in Iraq. Funny what matters in a war like this.

  60. reocon,

    I owe you an apology for using "recon"; proving once more that the eye sees what the brain anticipates.

  61. allen said...

    I owe you an apology for using "recon"; proving once more that the eye sees what the brain anticipates.

    Well then I must also apologize for being so high-handed and brutish in my rejoinders to you. I am a passionate conservative of the Burkean/Adams variety and realist school and I've been battling various neocon schemes and conspiracies for far too long. It's made me more grumpy and retaliatory than good manners allow. My regrets and pace.

  62. reocon,

    Thank you for the thoughtful reply. May we have many worthwhile future exchanges.

    Best regards.