Karl Otto Brauer
In the fall of 1988, Iraq requested that the H+H team find a ballistic missile expert. In response, Bruno Stemmler recommended Karl Otto Brauer, a retired German engineer who he knew from a German flying club.
Brauer worked on V-2 rockets in Germany during World War II. He then moved to the United States after the war, where he worked on U.S. ballistic missile programs and the Apollo space program. After leaving the United States, Brauer worked on short-range rockets in South Africa at Armscor, the armaments company, and then retired to Germany in 1983. Brauer was an expert in lightweight non-metallic materials and the author of the Handbook of Pyrotechnics, which was published in 1974.
According to statements by Brauer, Stemmler approached him in early December 1988 about being a consultant to H+H Metalform. At the invitation of Dietrich Hinze, a co-owner of H+H, Brauer visited the firm a few days later. While there, he also met with Stemmler, Walter Busse, and the company's other co-owner Peter Huetten.
Hinze told Brauer about the company's flow-forming machines that had been sold to Iraq. He said that his Iraqi business partners were interested in meeting consultants about "new technologies." Hinze then inquired whether Brauer was interested in a civil consulting arrangement in the university sector in Iraq.
Brauer said that the consulting contract would be for about 200,000-250,000 Deutsch Mark (DM) and would last about 10-12 months. The payments would be provided in Switzerland.
Hinze mentioned that Brauer would have excellent medical care in Iraq, a concern for Brauer who was recovering from a 1987 automobile accident that had left him with an injured back. However, Brauer said he was unable to determine who his employer would be in Iraq.
Brauer nonetheless said he was interested, and Hinze agreed to arrange a trip to Iraq. After contacting the Iraqis about Brauer's visit, Hinze wrote Brauer in mid-December that he was waiting for an answer "from our friends," and that Brauer "will be surprised by the privileged, elegant treatment you will experience there." The official invitation to visit Iraq came in early January 1989.
Before flying to Iraq, Brauer, who had both a U.S. and German passport, contacted the U.S. embassy in Bonn about his trip. Hinze said that Brauer showed him a document from the U.S. embassy in Bonn Germany that he could go to Iraq.
Hinze and Huetten accompanied Brauer to Iraq in early February 1989. H+H paid all of Brauer's expenses on this one week trip.
In Iraq, Brauer met with several senior Iraqi missile experts, both in military uniform and in civilian clothing. He said that the Iraqis gave the impression that they were scientists affiliated with a university. Iraqi senior officials said they took him to Nassr General Establishment.
Brauer denied discussing any sensitive or classified subjects with Iraqis. He said he had conversations about topics in his book, lightweight composite materials, and separation of a payload from a missile. Brauer characterized the conversations as preliminary in nature. However, during the trial of Hinze, evidence was presented that Brauer had discussed more sensitive missile topics with the Iraqis.
Included in Brauer's trip report was a business card of Gianni Martinelli, the Director of SMB, with Martinelli's private address and telephone number handwritten on the card. Click here for more information about SMB and Iraq. Brauer, however, made no mention of any discussions with Martinelli in his trip report. Matinelli's connection to H+H, if any, remains unclear.
Brauer returned to Germany without being offered a contract. Brauer telephoned Hinze and Huetten numerous times in the spring of 1989 asking about the status of a contract. Brauer was often told that Hinze and Huetten were on travel or in meetings. Periodically, company officials told him that Iraq had not made a decision, but he should continue to wait.
In reality, the Iraqis had decided quickly that they did not want to give Brauer a contract. They viewed him as extremely frail and doubted that he could significantly help their ballistic missile program. Dr. Safa al Habobi, the head of Nassr General Establishment and a key partner of H+H, told Hinze during the February 1989 trip that Brauer was an old man. Habobi said: "Let Brauer know that we are interested in what he has to offer, but we need a long time to decide." In late June 1989, Hinze wrote Brauer a letter telling him that "we will sell our machines to make cooking pots without you."
Brauer died in August 1993.