Foreign - Wednesday 22.10.2003
Former CEO says CIA responsible for bringing down Rauma-Repola Oceanics submarine technology firm
USA opposed exporting hi-tech equipment from Finland to Soviet Union
Submarine technology firm Rauma-Repola Oceanics was shut down in the 1980s
because of pressure from the CIA, claims Tauno Matomäki
in a Metallitekniikka magazine interview. Matomäki is a former CEO of
Rauma-Repola, and was Chairman of the Board of UPM-Kymmene until his
retirement in 2001.
The "official" explanation for closing the shop, namely the empty order
false information. Matomäki feels it is the moment to set the record
that the times have changed.
- Rauma-Repola's submarine undertaking was in
contravention of the U.S. ban on the export of hi-tech equipment to the
Union during the Cold War. Finland never actually signed the export ban.
Rauma-Repola managed to build and deliver two deep-sea submersibles, Mir
Mir II, to the Soviet Union. Oceanics was created in 1983 and
after the Mirs had been delivered in 1987.
Matomäki believes the Americans would have used severe politico-commercial
sanctions against Rauma-Repola had Oceanics continued in operation.
"We were given the names of companies that had not adhered to the Americans'
recommendations. Without exception all these companies had gone bust",
According to Matomäki, he and other executives of Oceanics were called
several times to be heard by the Pentagon. The President of the United
States George Bush sent a letter concerning the submersibles
to Finnish President Mauno Koivisto. Koivisto mentions this in
his book Kaksi kautta (Two Terms).
In his reply Koivisto had stated to Bush that the Finnish government could
interfere with the legal enterprises of private companies.
- The American Embassy in Helsinki was aware of the
submarine project right from the start. At first it was ignored, because the
Americans didn't believe the Finns could produce a mini-sub capable of
They were wrong. The experiment was so successful, Matomäki believes, that
American interference deep-sea technology could very well have become
Rauma-Repola's main field of operation.
"We were shot down in mid-flight", Matomäki says to Metallitekniikka.
There would apparently have been a market for the Oceanics products. The two
Mirs are still the best deep-sea submersible vessels ever made. They
were, for instance, the first ones on site when the Russian nuclear
submarine Kursk sank in August 2000.
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