THE opinion article ``Who Helped Arm Saddam?,'' Jan. 29, said that the Swedish company Saab-Scania sold Saddam Hussein ``the missile launchers that facilitated his rocket attacks on Israel and Saudi Arabia.'' in violation of Swedish neutrality laws. According to a Saab executive, Saab-Scania has never manufactured any equipment that could launch Russian-made Scud missiles, and has never sold mobile launchers to Iraq. Between 1965 and 1989, the executive says, the company's Scania truck division, through subsidiaries in Sweden and Brazil, sold approximately 12,000 civilian truck kits or assembled trucks to Iraq, consistent with Swedish neutrality. The company says it has had no role in any modification of its vehicles for military purposes after delivery to Iraq.
There is some evidence that Scania trucks may be used to haul Iraqi mobile missile launchers. However, neither the authors of the article nor the Monitor has information that Scania knew that its trucks would be used for this purpose, or that Scania assisted Iraq in the modification of its trucks for such purpose. The company's denial of improper involvement should have been included in the article.
The article also stated that more than 100 companies in Germany provided Saddam with military and nuclear know-how in violation of the United Nations embargo. According to a US embassy official in Germany, the German government received tips of approximately 100 suspected cases of embargo violations. German authorities have determined that nine of the cases warrant further investigation.