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U.S. Exports of Biological Materials to Iraq (Question)
Gulf Web ^ | May 25, 1994 | Senate Committee Report

Posted on 02/23/2007 7:06:29 AM PST by South Hawthorne

 Hey folks, I've been posting around here long enough so that it's pretty clear I'm not a troll.
The below Senate Report was referenced to me by a liberal, and I'm not sure quite what to make of it.  Thanks in advance for any clarifications.

U.S. Exports of Biological Materials to Iraq

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs has oversight responsibility for the Export Administration Act. Pursuant to the Act, Committee staff contacted the U.S. Department of Commerce and requested information on the export of biological materials during the years prior to the Gulf War. After receiving this information, we contacted a principal supplier of these materials to determine what, if any, materials were exported to Iraq which might have contributed to an offensive or defensive biological warfare program. Records available from the supplier for the period from 1985 until the present show that during this time, pathogenic (meaning "disease producing"), toxigenic (meaning "poisonous"), and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Records prior to 1985 were not available, according to the supplier. These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction. According to the Department of Defense's own Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, released in April 1992: "By the time of the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq had developed biological weapons. It's advanced and aggressive biological warfare program was the most advanced in the Arab world... The program probably began late in the 1970's and concentrated on the development of two agents, botulinum toxin and anthrax bacteria... Large scale production of these agents began in 1989 at four facilities in Baghdad. Delivery means for biological agents ranged from simple aerial bombs and artillery rockets to surface-to-surface missiles."

Included in the approved sales are the following biological materials (which have been considered by various nations for use in war), with their associated disease symptoms:

Bacillus Anthracis: anthrax is a disease producing bacteria identified by the Department of Defense in The Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: Final Report to Contress, as being a major component in the Iraqi biological warfare program.

Anthrax is an often fatal infectious disease due to ingestion of spores. It begins abruptly with high fever, difficulty in breathing, and chest pain. The disease eventually results in septicemia (blood poisoning), and the mortality is high. Once septicemia is advanced, antibiotic therapy may prove useless, probably because the exotoxins remain, despite the death of the bacteria.

Clostridium Botulinum: A bacterial source of botulinum toxin, which causes vomiting, constipation, thirst, general weakness, headache, fever, dizziness, double vision, dilation of the pupils and paralysis of the muscles involving swallowing. It is often fatal.

Histoplasma Capsulatum: causes a disease superfically resembling tuberculosis that may cause pneumonia, enlargement of the liver and spleen, anemia, an influenza like illness and an acute inflammatory skin disease marked by tender red nodules, usually on the shins. Reactivated infection usually involves the lungs, the brain, spinal membranes, heart, peritoneum, and the adrenals.

Brucella Melitensis: a bacteria which can cause chronic fatique, loss of appetite, profuse sweating when at rest, pain in joints and muscles, insomnia, nausea, and damage to major organs.

Clostridium Perfringens: a highly toxic bateria which causes gas gangrene. The bacteria produce toxins that move along muscle bundles in the body killing cells and producing necrotic tissue that is then favorable for further growth of the bacteria itself. Eventually, these toxins and bacteria enter the bloodstream and cause a systemic illness.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs

Does anyone have familiarity with this report?  It pre-dates me becoming politically aware by a couple of years (and my memory isn't that great anyway), but I've never heard it referenced before.


If what I just wrote made you sad or angry,
it was probably just a joke.

1 posted on 02/23/2007 7:06:30 AM PST by South Hawthorne
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To: Owl_Eagle

I have heard things along these lines from time to time over the past several years. I do not think this is "new" news. I think this is "old" news that's been recycled.

The clear implication, of couirse, is that "It's America's Fault", or "We are being hypocritical".

IIRC, there apparently are some legitimate uses for some of the materials that the US has been alleged to have sent to Iraq.

Also, you need to be careful about the phrase "The US sent" -- because I think some of this stuff was sent by US companies -- not a Government program -- and then you'd have to look to see how much Gov't oversight there was.

Then you also have to look to see if the stuff that was sent was useful for SOME kind of biological weapons reasearch, or the ACTUAL kind of research the Iraquis are claimed to have done.

Also, was everyone else sending this stuff too? If so, when and in what quantities?

2 posted on 02/23/2007 7:12:06 AM PST by Flash Bazbeaux
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To: Owl_Eagle
Vaccines? Vaccines are nothing but minute doses from the hair of the dog that bit you.
Other than that, it's not even an official document. I could write one saying just the opposite if I wanted to, and it would be just as valid.

Of course, we all know Dan Rather really, really had the actual document from Bush's National Guard records, too, right? The liberals said so. Would they lie?

3 posted on 02/23/2007 7:21:06 AM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: Owl_Eagle

There's a great deal of these sorts of "biological materials" that are bought and sold around the world. They're used for agricultural research, development of treatments and whatnot. I think it's a fairly routine thing. They're not weapons.

To "weaponize" any strain is a more sophisticated process, and it doesn't so much matter where they got the reference strains they started with. They could have gotten them anywhere or used their own native strains.

4 posted on 02/23/2007 7:23:57 AM PST by Ramius ([sip])
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To: Owl_Eagle
Unless they can give you the document number from the national archives, I'd ignore it.

(BTW, the Iraq war has just ended. How do I now? I just typed it into reality. It's now in the cyber space records as fact. Any questions?)

5 posted on 02/23/2007 7:27:19 AM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: Owl_Eagle

Saddam used poison gas against Iran in the Iraq-Iran war and killed tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens with nerve gas and mustard gas in Kurdistan. If you do a search you'll find lots of photos, it was a big media story. The dead baby pictures made a lot of people mad.

6 posted on 02/23/2007 7:29:47 AM PST by cookcounty (ShaZam! Lee Hamilton now employed by Sandy Berger!
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To: Owl_Eagle

From what I've read, they were innert harmless samples for use at university of Baghdad. Standard research material used in education facilities practically everywhere.

I don't think this was an issue anymore, just a failed smear attempt

7 posted on 02/23/2007 7:31:16 AM PST by Nathan Zachary
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To: concerned about politics

I'm confused. Are you suggesting that the so-called Riegle Report, a small part of which is reproduced on this thread, is fake, false or not real? Or is it the suggestion that the US may have sold bad stuff to Hussein that you think is fake, false and not real?

8 posted on 02/23/2007 7:39:54 AM PST by dmz
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To: dmz

See the dates? These materials are too old to do any damage. </ throwing Dem talking points back in their ugly faces>

9 posted on 02/23/2007 8:11:40 AM PST by ravingnutter
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To: Owl_Eagle
The below Senate Report was referenced to me by a liberal, and I'm not sure quite what to make of it

Back in the 1980s, we did indeed send Iraq several samples of various biological materials. However, they were sent to universities for (what Iraq asserted was) legitimate research purposes (primarily cattle vaccines). Unfortunately, Iraq diverted much of this material and research (and the researchers) to their biological warfare programs.

Iraq also obtained materials from a variety of other sources (Britain, France, Russia; although the latter were probably more weaponized strains), and in addition likely stole some samples from the US and other countries through student exchange programs (spies posing as students in our universities). While the materials they obtained via deception from us certainly helped them, the aid wasn't that significant in the grander scheme of things. As for anthrax (of which Iraq made over 8000 liters), it can be obtained by simply walking out into a typical field in the Midwest and picking up a hand full of dirt. Iraq never took this approach because it was easier to obtain samples via other means.

The bigger issue is that we know for a fact that Iraq had these weaponized stockpiles of various biological materials (we have even discovered a small number of a larger lot of scud warheads that were manufactured to deploy anthrax). These are clearly what most people would call "weapons of mass destruction" (i.e., nuclear, biological, or chemical). Yet the vast majority of the public still believes Iraq never had any such weapons. What is especially ironic is the doublethink of the Left, who simultaneously insists that the US armed Iraq with biological weapons that Iraq never had.

10 posted on 02/23/2007 8:44:48 AM PST by Technogeeb
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To: Owl_Eagle
I dunno how much help this might be, but I recall having been involved some years ago on another forum (apparently now defunct) in a web discussion revolving around this issue. The allegation itself, that during the 1980's the US provided biologic agents to Iraq, as I recall stemmed from a 2003 Newsweek article, which was quoted in its entirety during some Senate hearing, by, I believe, West Virginia Democrat, former Klansman, and enthusiastic Bush-Basher Robert "Sheets" Byrd ... though at this remove, I could be wrong about who said what where when.

Anyhow, on seeing your post, I remembered that I had copied and saved a portion of that web discussion for possible later use - digging through my hard drives (and, damn ... I really gotta get better organization going there ;-P ), I came up with the quote I've pasted below. The upshot of the discussion was that the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, evidently through a UN/World Health Organization program, provided to Iraqi medical research facilities a small quantity of biologics (mostly inert) and related analytic and diagnostic materials chiefly of use to the purpose of insect-borne and animal-borne disease control.

Though unfortunately I can't provide a link to that discussion, a circumstance rendering the following of dubious provenance, I offer an excerpt (of which I was not the author) from the saved portion of that discussion for your consideration and possible use and/or followup:

"Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, June 21, 1995. Hon. Donald W. Riegle, Jr., U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Dear Senator Riegle: In 1993, at your request, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) forwarded to your office a listing of all biological materials, including viruses, retroviruses, bacteria, and fungi, which CDC provided to the government of Iraq from October 1, 1984, through October 13, 1993. Recently, in the course of reviewing our shipping records for a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from a private citizen, we identified an additional shipment, on May 21, 1985, that was not included on the list that was provided to your office. Following this discovery, we conducted a thorough review of all of our shipping records and are confident that we have now included a listing of all shipments. A corrected list is enclosed (Note: the new information is italicized) ...


{Exhaustive list list and detailed tables snipped; total cash value approximately US $3000.00}

... Most of the materials were non-infectious diagnostic reagents for detecting evidence of infections to mosquito-borne viruses. Only two of the materials are on the Commodity Control List, i.e., Yersinin Pestis (the agent of plague) and dengue virus (the strain of plague bacillus was non-virulent, and CDC is currently petitioning the Department of Commerce to remove this particular variant from the list of controlled materials).

We regret that our earlier list was incomplete and appreciate your understanding.


David Satcher, Director."

As I said, I'm sorry I can't provide a link (the forum on which the above appeared being no longer available), and I hasten to add anyone has every reason to be skeptical of unsourced documents, particularly when same are presented with redactions and/or editing, as was the above, but maybe with that much to go on you could dig up something useful in such regard via a websearch.

11 posted on 02/23/2007 9:53:21 AM PST by timberlandko (Murphy was an optimist.)
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