Netherlands a 'supermarket' for countries building weapons of mass destruction: intelligence service boss

The Netherlands is an interesting "supermarket" for countries that want to make weapons of mass destruction, director Onno Eichelsheim of military intelligence service MIVD said in an interview with ANP. According to him, the Dutch intelligence services annually block a "significant number of attempts" of "countries of concerns" trying to acquire knowledge or materials for such weapons from the Netherlands. 

These include countries like North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and Syria. Eichelsheim did not want to say exactly how many of these attempts are blocked, because he did not want to reveal the capacity of the service that deals exclusively with doing so. He did say that dozens of people are working on the Contra-proliferation unit and that many dozens of official reports are sent to the Ministry annually, for example on rejecting export licenses. 

According to the MIVD chief, Dutch companies and knowledge institutes are insufficiently aware that countries like Syria and North Korea want to gain knowledge here. The Netherlands is technologically a high-quality country, that such countries want to use. Smaller companies that sell products such as ball bearings or heat resistant materials also need to be alert in this area, Eichelsheim said. 

Countries and groups trying to buy parts for weapons of mass destruction, always use a cover in the form of an intermediary or a company, Eichelsheim said. But their are signals that can betray something about the actual client, he added. "If you have a customer who wants to pay a million euros for chemicals you can actually get on the European market for 500 thousand euros, that is a warning light", he said to the news wire. An unusual delivery address, or finding it difficult to make telephone contact with the buyer, are also signs.