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Fearing Saddam, anthrax scientist kept her secret - and chanced war
WKRC ^ | 3/28/04

Posted on 03/28/2005 11:11:20 AM PST by areafiftyone

Fearing Saddam, anthrax scientist kept her secret - and chanced warLAST UPDATE: 3/28/2005 12:36:24 PM

In early 2003, as war fever built in Washington, an Iraqi scientist faced a fateful choice.

Rihab Rashid Taha could try to lower the heat by finally telling U.N. inspectors what happened to Iraq's "missing" anthrax.

Or she could remain silent, rather than risk Saddam Hussein's wrath.

The microbiologist's dilemma, she has told U.S. interrogators, was that her team 12 years earlier had destroyed the lethal bacteria by dumping it practically at the gates of one of Saddam's main palaces, and the feared Iraqi despot might grow enraged at news of anthrax on his doorstep.

Taha chose silence in 2003, thus stoking suspicions of those who contended Iraq still harbored biological weapons. Soon thereafter, two years ago this month, the United States invaded.

"Whether those involved understood the significance and disastrous consequences of their actions is unclear," the CIA-led Iraq Survey Group says of Taha and colleagues in its final report on Iraq weapons-hunting. "These efforts demonstrate the problems that existed on both sides in establishing the truth."

It also demonstrates anew that the war was launched on the basis not of hard fact, but of speculation and untruths, especially about Iraqi motives and actions.

"We ourselves had a lesson to learn there," one ex-arms inspector, Australian microbiologist Rod Barton, says of the account by Taha, still in U.S. detention in Iraq.

The anthrax mystery had bedeviled U.N. inspectors since the 1990s.

The Iraqis claimed then that before the 1991 Gulf War they had made 2,191 gallons of anthrax, considered highly suited for biowarfare because its spores are relatively easily produced, durable and deadly when inhaled. They said they destroyed all of it in mid-1991 at their bioweapons center at Hakam, 50 miles southwest of Baghdad.

The U.N. experts, who scoured Iraq for banned arms from 1991-98 and again in 2002-03, confirmed anthrax had been dumped at Hakam. But they also found evidence indicating Iraq produced an additional, undeclared 1,800 gallons of anthrax.

In early 2003, chief inspector Hans Blix put the seeming discrepancy high on his list of Iraq's "unresolved disarmament issues," complaining the Iraqis must be withholding information. Colin Powell dwelled on an anthrax threat in his February 2003 speech seeking U.N. Security Council authority for war.

Warning of "tens of thousands of teaspoons" of anthrax still in Iraq, the then-U.S. secretary of state said of the discrepancy, "This is evidence, not conjecture. This is true."

But the truth appears to lie elsewhere, according to the account disclosed in a little-noted section of the Iraq Survey Group report, a 350,000-word document issued last Oct. 6.

The British-educated Taha, who ran the Hakam complex in the 1980s, told interrogators her staff carted off anthrax from Hakam in April 1991 and stored it in a bungalow near the presidential palace at Radwaniyah, 20 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. teams report.

Later that year the crew dumped the chemically deactivated anthrax on grounds surrounded by a Special Republican Guard barracks near the palace, the report says. Barton, who took part in Iraq Survey Group interrogations, said in a recent Australian Broadcasting Corp. interview that the disposal was carried out in July 1991 when Iraqi orders came down to destroy all bioweapons agents immediately.

Then, through the years, Taha and other Iraqi officials denied the "missing" anthrax ever existed.

"The members of the program were too scared to tell the Regime that they had dumped deactivated anthrax within sight of one of the principal presidential palaces," the Iraq Survey Group says.

The arms hunters' report also concludes, "ISG's investigation found no evidence that Iraq continued to hide BW (biological) weapons after the unilateral destruction of 1991 was complete."

"We knew there was a lie," Barton said, "but we jumped to the wrong conclusions."

The U.N. inspection agency says in an assessment of the U.S. report that the Taha disclosure is "perhaps the most significant new information" in the biological area. It suggested sampling and analysis at the Radwaniyah site to corroborate her account.



TOPICS: Anthrax Scare; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 5ofhearts; anthrax; barton; biologicalweapons; drgerm; fiveofhearts; hakam; iraq; iraqiscientists; iraqiwomen; isg; mrsanthrax; rihabrashidtaha; rodbarton; saddam; taha
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Oh now why should the MSM report this when the Michael Jackson Trial is on!!
1 posted on 03/28/2005 11:11:21 AM PST by areafiftyone
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To: areafiftyone

FNC = all tabloid, all the time.

Thanks for posting the thread. I'm trying to remember the people who were interested in anthrax stories.


2 posted on 03/28/2005 11:13:03 AM PST by Peach (I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Peach

Oh you are welcome. I practically have to dig with a shovel to get stories on Iraq in the MSM that aren't about how many soldiers died or how many peaceniks protested the war. - Thank god I have my other sources.


3 posted on 03/28/2005 11:15:08 AM PST by areafiftyone (The Democrat's Mind: The Hamster's dead but the wheel's still spinning!)
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To: areafiftyone
The microbiologist's dilemma, she has told U.S. interrogators, was that her team 12 years earlier had destroyed the lethal bacteria by dumping it practically at the gates of one of Saddam's main palaces, and the feared Iraqi despot might grow enraged at news of anthrax on his doorstep.

12 years ago?

4 posted on 03/28/2005 11:15:32 AM PST by Mo1
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To: Mo1

ya right, story seems like bs


5 posted on 03/28/2005 11:17:52 AM PST by veryconernedamerican
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To: areafiftyone
The microbiologist's dilemma, she has told U.S. interrogators, was that her team 12 years earlier had destroyed the lethal bacteria by dumping it practically at the gates of one of Saddam's main palaces, and the feared Iraqi despot might grow enraged at news of anthrax on his doorstep.

Especially if they deposited it in a flaming paper bag, rang the doorbell, and ran.

6 posted on 03/28/2005 11:18:41 AM PST by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: Mo1

Yea that was about the time the Weapons inspectors were in Iraq. Bubba was in office having fun in the Lincoln Bedroom at that time.


7 posted on 03/28/2005 11:19:25 AM PST by areafiftyone (The Democrat's Mind: The Hamster's dead but the wheel's still spinning!)
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To: areafiftyone

LOL.

And now that soldiers are safer and things seem to have calmed down considerably over there, it isn't interesting to even the liberal media.

It used to just be Chicago and NYC that had the mantra "if it isn't bleeding and burning, it isn't news". Now it's all the cable outlets.

Now wonder people don't understand the issues half the time; they can't get the facts from their old sources.


8 posted on 03/28/2005 11:19:25 AM PST by Peach (I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: areafiftyone
... dumped deactivated anthrax within sight of one of the principal presidential palaces...

Was there anywhere in Iraq not within sight of one of these palaces?

9 posted on 03/28/2005 11:20:30 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: KylaStarr; Cindy; StillProud2BeFree; nw_arizona_granny; Velveeta; Dolphy; appalachian_dweller; ...

ping


10 posted on 03/28/2005 11:20:41 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Peach

The only time the liberal media perks up about Iraq is if there is a bombing and a bunch of soldiers get killed.


11 posted on 03/28/2005 11:20:54 AM PST by areafiftyone (The Democrat's Mind: The Hamster's dead but the wheel's still spinning!)
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To: Peach
FNC = all tabloid, all the time.

Oh brother, what an ignorant statement!

12 posted on 03/28/2005 11:21:26 AM PST by Coop (In memory of a true hero - Pat Tillman)
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To: Peach

I'm trying to remember that freeper's nic, badabing or something. Shermy or genefromjersey might be able to ping him here :)


13 posted on 03/28/2005 11:21:34 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: areafiftyone

so where's the other 1800 gallons of anthrax the UN experts believe were produced, and how is it "activated" and "deactivated?"


14 posted on 03/28/2005 11:21:47 AM PST by peacebaby (somewhere at the beach there's an empty chair just waiting for me.)
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To: areafiftyone
It also demonstrates anew that the war was launched on the basis not of hard fact, but of speculation and untruths, especially about Iraqi motives and actions.

It seems that if she kept it a secret, then that would prove exactly the opposite. And it was Saddam's motives and actions that were under suspicion, not the Iraqi people.

15 posted on 03/28/2005 11:21:59 AM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: areafiftyone

The Iraqis got rid of the anthrax because they felt it might be harmful to bunny rabbits.


16 posted on 03/28/2005 11:23:08 AM PST by FreedomSurge
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To: areafiftyone

While I don't dispute this particular woman's account, there is so much confusion, deceit and uncertanty involved that I don't completely buy it as conclusive either. This could easily be "I am Spartacus, I destroyed the WMD" "No, I am Spartacus, I destroyed the WMD"


17 posted on 03/28/2005 11:24:20 AM PST by blanknoone (Steyn: "The Dems are all exit and no strategy")
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To: Coop

I guess you haven't noticed that some people you know quite well on this forum make the exact same statement. I don't think you'd be calling them ignorant.

And surely you've noticed now that Iraq is a safer place, we don't hear about it more than a few minutes every couple of hours.

It's Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, etc.


18 posted on 03/28/2005 11:27:50 AM PST by Peach (I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Calpernia

I'm going through my notes and don't see any for anthrax. Hopefully they'll see this and show up.


19 posted on 03/28/2005 11:28:16 AM PST by Peach (I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: areafiftyone
Can't anthrax survive for decades or centuries in the ground? Doesn't it form spores that are practically impervious to environmental degradation?

Shouldn't we be able to find the spot where this stuff was (supposedly) dumped and test the soil there? Maybe she can pin down the location a little bit.

(steely)

20 posted on 03/28/2005 11:28:56 AM PST by Steely Tom (Fortunately, the Bill of Rights doesn't include the word 'is'.)
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To: areafiftyone
More media hype/bullPOOP...Oh anthrax it will kill you even if you spell the word!...

FYI...loggers and sawmill workers are routinely exposed to Anthrax spores everyday they are in contact with lumber or trees that still has some bark or dirt on it...Anyone that hikes through the woods is also at risk of MINIMAL exposure...what they will not tell you is that it's perfectly safe unless you are overwhelmingly exposed to it...
21 posted on 03/28/2005 11:32:55 AM PST by MD_Willington_1976
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To: Peach; TrebleRebel; jpl; Shermy; genefromjersey; Allan; Mitchell; freeperfromnj; cgk; Ranger; ...

ping


22 posted on 03/28/2005 11:34:15 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: areafiftyone
It also demonstrates anew that the war was launched on the basis not of hard fact, but of speculation and untruths, especially about Iraqi motives and actions.

So Saddam still thought he had anthrax. But we were wrong to take him out? What if he actually HAD the weapons that he thought he had? What a crock.

23 posted on 03/28/2005 11:45:42 AM PST by dirtboy (Drooling moron since 1998...)
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To: areafiftyone
Later that year the crew dumped the chemically deactivated anthrax on grounds surrounded by a Special Republican Guard barracks near the palace,

I try to keep up at least an informed civilian's understanding of these weapons, and "chemically deactivated" is a new concept for me.

Does anyone know how that works?
Is the substance then 100% inert?
If the anthrax is totally neutralized as a weapon, why would Saddam have cared?
Can the neutralized anthrax even be identified after dumping?

The whole concept is confusing.

24 posted on 03/28/2005 11:48:07 AM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are ignorance, stupidity and hydrogen)
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To: Peach
1) I called your statement, not you, ignorant.

2) I can guarantee my comment would be the same for many others.

The "all tabloid" comment is just pure nonsense.

25 posted on 03/28/2005 11:51:40 AM PST by Coop (In memory of a true hero - Pat Tillman)
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To: areafiftyone
Isn't this lady one of the people on the deck of cards?

And isn't she a potential defendant in the upcoming war crimes trials?

And where is the anthrax coming from that is being used in the attacks here in the U.S.?
26 posted on 03/28/2005 12:06:01 PM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: Calpernia; areafiftyone
Yes . . .'Dr. Germ' herself . . .
"Rihab Rashid Taha became known as 'Dr. Germ' for helping build weapons out of anthrax. " NBC Nightly News/AP

27 posted on 03/28/2005 12:08:39 PM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: Peach

My daughter is a Army Combat Medic in Mosul. She told me she was working in the ER of the surgical hospital the day a bomber killed over a 100 Iraqis at a Mosque. All day long injured citizens and Iraqi servicemen came through the ER in bllody taters. There was a tv on the wall tuned to fox news---while they rushed about caring for the injured Fox spent hour after hour covering Michael Jackson being late for court, the after effects and health care professionals discussing his condition. Every once in a while the crawl at the bottom of the screen mentioned the 100 dead in Mosul. Fox lost a lot of fans in that hospital that day. The media are the most dysfuntional segment of an increasingly dysfuntional society.


28 posted on 03/28/2005 12:13:27 PM PST by metalcor
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To: metalcor

I couldn't agree with you more. I thought Fox was better than that.

My stepson had a similar situation when he was in Jordan and Iraq. They couldn't get appropriate info from the tv so we sent him articles from FR.

His buddies would wake him up to have him log on and get our e-mails for their Daily Intel Briefing.


29 posted on 03/28/2005 12:16:12 PM PST by Peach (I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: areafiftyone
Barton, who took part in Iraq Survey Group interrogations, said in a recent Australian Broadcasting Corp. interview that the disposal was carried out in July 1991 when Iraqi orders came down to destroy all bioweapons agents immediately.

Wonder who gave those Iraqi orders... They couldn't have come without the knowledge and approval (or direction) of Hussein, could they? If that's correct, why would she be so reluctant to inform Saddam that the orders had been carried out? Something fishy going on here... And, how do we know that all of the anthrax was "destroyed"? They can't say for certain how many thousands of teaspoonfuls were destroyed, and how many went into safekeeping somewhere, can they?

30 posted on 03/28/2005 12:17:54 PM PST by Zeppo
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To: metalcor

My husband came home and I was distracted and just hit send.

I meant to say I'll be thinking of your daughter and hoping she's safe. It must really upset our troops to be in such a situation and find FNC covering Jackson. I'm here safe and sound and it ticks me off. I'm interested in the Jackson case, but let's put it on Court TV where it belongs and have FNC report on it occasionally.


31 posted on 03/28/2005 12:34:41 PM PST by Peach (I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: peacebaby
so where's the other 1800 gallons of anthrax the UN experts believe were produced, and how is it "activated" and "deactivated?"

You are one of the pesky few who actually remembers details and reminds others.

32 posted on 03/28/2005 1:07:47 PM PST by Lady Heron
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To: Lady Heron

it says it in this article: "The U.N. experts...found evidence indicating Iraq produced an additional, undeclared 1,800 gallons of anthrax. "

Something else pecular: "In early 2003, chief inspector Hans Blix put the seeming discrepancy high on his list of Iraq's "unresolved disarmament issues," ... .

This is not the way I understood the reports from MSM.


33 posted on 03/28/2005 1:16:06 PM PST by peacebaby (somewhere at the beach there's an empty chair just waiting for me.)
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To: peacebaby

I was not challenging you, but giving you a compliment.


34 posted on 03/28/2005 1:43:42 PM PST by Lady Heron
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To: Steely Tom

exactly my thoughts, I thought the problem with anthrax is that it doesn't degrade - perhaps there is a chemical forumulation that can deactivate it

I often wondered how much of this stuff was dumped in the Persian Gulf or at the bottom of the Tigres/Euprhates river....or buried all over the desert

after all they just found barrels of Nazi mustard gas in the North Sea last year......


35 posted on 03/28/2005 2:07:56 PM PST by llama hunter
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To: llama hunter

i also recall from seeing documentaries and listening to David Kay and others on various occasions that certain stockpiles of biochemical weapons were found in Iraq throughout the 1990's but especially after the son in law Kamal squealed in 1995, and the UN Team destroyed those stockpiles in that 1995-1998 period before they were kicked out.......

what David Kay said was that Kamal didn't actually have that much specific information but that Iraq blinked, when Saddam found out the CIA had Kamal he assumed Kamal had fessed up to it all and so the Iraqis quickly moved all these WMD files to Kamal's farmhouse, lead the UN inspectors to the house (the inspectors said they could tell the files were just moved there, they would have been very dusty otherwise, it was way too neat) and Saddam tried to say that Kamal was a liar and he had been working on his own on WMD without Saddam's permission, like anyone was going to buy that....

and Kay said those files were very helpful and did lead to finding some stockpiles of some bio chem weapons.......

in fact I recall Kay saying that they got Dr. Germ to fess up to a few things after the Kamal situation......


36 posted on 03/28/2005 2:17:32 PM PST by llama hunter
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To: MD_Willington_1976

And then, back in late 2001, there was that tabloid photo editor in Florida who was an avid outdoorsman, and contracted anthrax by drinking from a stream.


37 posted on 03/28/2005 2:34:58 PM PST by ordinaryguy
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To: peacebaby
how is it "activated" and "deactivated?"

Rather than remaining ignorant or asking others to do your work for you, why didn't you just visit Google and find out.

The Decontamination of Anthrax and Other Biological Agents
http://www.upwardquest.com/news-biological-warfare/anthrax-spores.html

38 posted on 03/28/2005 2:41:53 PM PST by ordinaryguy
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To: ordinaryguy

It really is hit or miss, at the same time, I'm sure someone in Alaska could have been mauled by a Kodiak, or a little old lady fell down a stair and broke her hip in Iowa...

Besides...it's not to smart to just drink out of a stream...


39 posted on 03/28/2005 2:52:01 PM PST by MD_Willington_1976
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To: MD_Willington_1976

Sorry. I was being sarcastic. I guess it wasn't obvious. When Bob Stevens, the first victim in the 2001 anthrax attacks, came down with anthrax, the feds pointed out that he was an avid outdoorsman, and claimed he probably contracted it from doing something like drinking out of a stream. When others were also infected, they had to drop that story.


40 posted on 03/28/2005 3:06:45 PM PST by ordinaryguy
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To: areafiftyone
"It also demonstrates anew that the war was launched on the basis not of hard fact, but of speculation and untruths, especially about Iraqi motives and actions."

No, not true at all. The facts are that Iraq failed to show proof that it had dismantled and destroyed all aspects of its WMD programs per its 1991 surrender agreement and various UN resolutions.

It was up to Hussein to demonstrate conclusively that he had complied; he didn't.

Moreover, besides the above WMD disclosure failure, Iraq was rewarding the families of Palestinian suicide bombers with cash payments, firing at U.S. and British aircraft patroling the UN no-fly zones over North and South Iraq, building and importing missiles with illegal ranges per surrender treaties and UN resolutions, was harboring terrorists such as Abu Nidal (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/12/14/wterr14.xml), was caught red-handed in the 1993 WTC attack, and in general was destablizing the Middle-East.

And those are FACTS, contrary to what "speculation" the uneducated TV rubes tried to report above.

41 posted on 03/28/2005 4:04:06 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: ordinaryguy

No prob..I got what you were getting at, I'm only saying that they are using fear to up their ratings...

I'm reading this book right now:

Fear Less: Real Truth About Risk, Safety, and Security in a Time of Terrorism

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316085960/103-2707402-0872652

and I want to check out this book by the same author...

The Gift of Fear
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0440226198/ref=pd_bxgy_text_1/103-2707402-0872652?v=glance&s=books&st=*

good read...

I got my copy for $1 in the discount bin...Amazon is making some serious coin off the book.

MD


42 posted on 03/28/2005 4:16:34 PM PST by MD_Willington_1976
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To: BenLurkin
To: areafiftyone Isn't this lady one of the people on the deck of cards?

Yes, and her hubbie was none other than the Iraqi Oil Minister...

And isn't she a potential defendant in the upcoming war crimes trials?

Yes...

And where is the anthrax coming from that is being used in the attacks here in the U.S.?

Good question.

43 posted on 03/29/2005 2:08:01 AM PST by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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To: ordinaryguy

"Rather than remaining ignorant or asking others to do your work for you, why didn't you just visit Google and find out."

maybe you ought to change your name to "angryguy"...or just "jerk."


44 posted on 03/29/2005 6:46:43 AM PST by peacebaby (somewhere at the beach there's an empty chair just waiting for me.)
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To: areafiftyone
But the truth appears to lie elsewhere, according to the account disclosed in a little-noted section of the Iraq Survey Group report, a 350,000-word document issued last Oct. 6.

The British-educated Taha, who ran the Hakam complex in the 1980s, told interrogators her staff carted off anthrax from Hakam in April 1991 and stored it in a bungalow near the presidential palace at Radwaniyah, 20 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. teams report.

So what a Baathist "tells" someone becomes synonomous with "truth"? In what universe?

It's truth to the intellectually dishonest MSM, that's all.

45 posted on 03/29/2005 9:44:09 AM PST by WL-law
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To: peacebaby
In the time it took you to post your original message, you could have gone to Google and found the answer. The fact is, nobody else answered your question. If I had not done your work for you then you would have remained ignorant.

Incidently, as for the 1,800 gallons of anthrax... um, that is exactly what the article was about! Taha says it was deactivated and dumped at Radwaniyah. Please reread the article.

46 posted on 03/29/2005 10:26:11 AM PST by ordinaryguy
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To: ordinaryguy

there you go again, being quite pompous. First, I'm not ignorant...I am inexperienced in the matters of science and anthrax.

Secondly, regarding the 1800 gallons of anthrax, I know it was mentioned in the article. If YOU'D TAKE THE TIME TO REREAD MY PAST POSTS, you could educate yourself and not remain.....dare I say, ignorant?


47 posted on 03/29/2005 10:56:18 AM PST by peacebaby (somewhere at the beach there's an empty chair just waiting for me.)
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To: Steely Tom
You are correct. The article rather blithely mentions "deactivation" as if it were a simple matter. It is not.

There are three basic methods - somebody googled them up - heat, chemicals, and radiation. The difficulty is the the spore of Bacillus anthracis is remarkably tough, and the heat required to guarantee 100% destruction is blowtorch-level. You can get lower yields with lower heat but you wouldn't want to release that into the environment, which is one reason that method is so expensive.

They may well have made advances in chemical methods since I took my last path course, but at the time concentrated formalin was the method of choice (same for the Mycobacteria such as the tuberculosis and leprosy bacilli for a similar reason - they do not sporulate but have an amazingly impenetrable lipid coat). Nasty stuff, and also has its own difficulties being released into the environment.

As for radiation, it takes a lot and the yield isn't great. There are no ongoing chemical reactions inside the spores to affect, so the idea is sufficient point mutations within the organism's nucleic acids will keep it from properly replicating.

The issue on the UN's mind (and ours, and the ex-Soviet scientists with similar challenges) is that whatever method was used was either better than our own or it didn't work. I'm betting on the latter. It would have taken a major plant somewhere to use any of the three methods described above - we're talking about 10,000 liters of the stuff, after all. It would have been something he could have shown the inspectors, and in fact he was required to do precisely that.

In which case the dump site is a very dangerous area right now.

48 posted on 03/29/2005 11:09:26 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: peacebaby
I'm not ignorant...I am inexperienced in the matters of science and anthrax.

Ignorance is the lack of knowledge. If you lack knowledge about anthrax, then you are ignorant about anthrax.

49 posted on 03/29/2005 11:57:51 AM PST by ordinaryguy
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To: ordinaryguy

fine. have at it, smart guy.


50 posted on 03/29/2005 12:27:25 PM PST by peacebaby (somewhere at the beach there's an empty chair just waiting for me.)
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