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Experts Warn of Iraq's Improved Weapons
Assoc. Press ^ | 12/27/02 | MATT KELLEY

Posted on 12/27/2002 6:59:08 PM PST by Ranger

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Biological weapons are among the few capabilities Iraq has improved since being defeated by a U.S.-led coalition in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, government officials say.

Working under the noses of U.N. inspectors from 1991 to 1998, President Saddam Hussein's government probably developed mobile germ warfare labs and processes to create dried bacteria for deadlier and longer-lasting weapons, U.S. officials and former weapons inspectors say.

Pentagon officials say Iraq's biological arsenal could do the most damage, physical and psychological, if it were used to retaliate immediately against a U.S. invasion rather than in later stages of battle.

Although U.S. troops are being vaccinated against anthrax and smallpox and have protective gear, a biological attack cannot be detected until after exposure. Even if a biological attack did not kill U.S. troops, it could kill many civilians and create a logistical mess that would slow an American advance and strain the military's medical capabilities.

"The most frightening thing is Iraq's biological program," said David Kay, a former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations. "Even in my inspection days, it was the program we knew the least about."

What inspectors eventually learned was disturbing. After the 1995 defection of Saddam's son-in-law, who ran the germ weapons program, Iraq acknowledged brewing thousands of gallons of deadly germs and toxins and loading some of them in bombs, missile warheads and rockets.

The weapons included anthrax, the germ that killed seven people in last year's U.S. mail attacks; botulinum toxin, nature's most deadly poison; Clostridium perfringens, a flesh-eating bacterium that causes gas gangrene; and aflatoxin, a fungal poison that causes liver cancer.

In late 1998, frustrated by Iraq's refusal to cooperate, the inspectors withdrew shortly before the United States and Britain began "Operation Desert Fox," a bombing campaign to compel compliance by Iraq. Saddam refused to let the inspectors return.

Iraq claimed it destroyed all its biological weapons. U.N. inspectors concluded in 1999 that probably was a lie, because Saddam's scientists could have made thousands of gallons of biological weapons without declaring them. U.S. officials say Iraq's latest weapons declaration does not clear up discrepancies.

"Before the inspectors were forced to leave Iraq, they concluded that Iraq could have produced 26,000 liters of anthrax. That is three times the amount Iraq had declared," Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently. "Yet the Iraqi declaration is silent on this stockpile, which alone would be enough to kill several million people."

The omissions, U.S. officials and former inspectors say, are strong evidence that Iraq has retained at least some of its biological arsenal.

Iraq's development of anthrax-drying technology makes that arsenal even more dangerous than it was during the Gulf War. Its earlier biological weapons efforts relied on a liquid slurry of anthrax, which let the spores clump together and made it difficult to get the fine aerosol needed to get the germs into people's lungs.

U.N. inspectors in the late 1990s found Iraq had drying machines that could be used to make a powdered form of anthrax.

The Iraqis claimed they were making a biological pesticide from a worm-killing bacteria known as BT, said former inspector Jonathan Tucker. But they were making particles so small they would float through the air, not settle onto crops like a biopesticide should, Tucker said. Inspectors believed Iraq was using BT, a relative of the anthrax germ, as a testing stand-in for anthrax, Tucker said.

Evidence also suggested that Iraq was experimenting with drying anthrax in combination with bentonite, a compound that would help the anthrax particles stay aloft. Iraq also has imported hundreds of tons of fumed silicon dioxide, another substance that would give anthrax an aerosol quality.

Dried anthrax is easier to disperse as a weapon, easier to get into a target's lungs and lasts longer in storage, Tucker and another former U.N. inspector, Richard Spertzel, said. Particles small enough could penetrate even the U.S. military's protective gear.

"Quite clearly, Iraq knew exactly what needed to be done," Spertzel said. "Their contract with the spray dryer company showed they knew what to go for and how to do it."

Although U.S. troops are inoculated against anthrax, a high enough concentration of anthrax spores still could make them sick, Tucker said.

"If you're exposed to a massive dose, it could overwhelm a vaccination," said Tucker, a senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Iraq has missiles that could carry biological weapons to Israel, Kuwait or U.S. troop concentrations within Iraq, Pentagon officials say.

Iraq also has experimented with turning small jet airplanes into remote-controlled drones. U.S. officials fear those drones could be fitted with spray tanks to deliver biological weapons.

"Iraq developed these drones because I think they realized their air force wouldn't be flying long if there was a war," Tucker said.

---

On the Net: CIA's Iraq page: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/iz.html

--


TOPICS: Anthrax Scare; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: anthrax; anthraxscarelist; biowarfare; iraq; prewarintelligence; warlist
Could someone bump this to the anthrax list? Also any thoughts on the bentonite, dryer and silicon dioxide techniques as it may relate to weaponizing anthrax for a mail attack?
1 posted on 12/27/2002 6:59:09 PM PST by Ranger
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To: *Bio_warfare
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
2 posted on 12/27/2002 7:04:07 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP
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To: Ranger
Send in the B-52s', use them with their original intent that
they were designed to do, It's Miller Time!!!!
3 posted on 12/27/2002 7:06:44 PM PST by Defender2
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To: Defender2
I wonder how many fanatic generals or shall we say suicidal generals are left on Saddams Staff that would order chemical and or bios used. Saddam is just a pistol shot away from being gone, once the battle starts. I think if he even utters chemical or bio out of his mouth he'll get a nine millimeter to the back of his skull.
4 posted on 12/27/2002 7:28:00 PM PST by agincourt1415
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To: Ranger
If there is any evidence Iraq has developed such weapons it's important they be destroyed early through use of weapons able to generate high temperatures. It appears we have no choice in this to protect our troops and neighboring countries.
5 posted on 12/27/2002 7:30:12 PM PST by toddst
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To: Ranger; Mitchell; The Great Satan; Shermy
"Also any thoughts on the bentonite, dryer and silicon dioxide techniques as it may relate to weaponizing anthrax for a mail attack?"

We now know that the anthrax spores in the Leahy and Daschle letters had been treated with "fumed silicon dioxide" -- which effectively de-ionized them and caused them to become easily airborne. And, thus, especially dangerous.

Whoever has the anthrax list, it's time to activate it. From their inclusion of this line...

"The weapons included anthrax, the germ that killed seven people in last year's U.S. mail attacks;"

...it suggests that AP is on the verge of completing the 2+ 2 equation.

6 posted on 12/27/2002 7:45:37 PM PST by okie01
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To: okie01; Mitchell; piasa; mrustow; Fred Mertz; muawiyah; Travis McGee; The Great Satan; Nogbad; ...
Ping to my A-List.
7 posted on 12/27/2002 7:49:21 PM PST by Shermy
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To: okie01
Iraq also has experimented with turning small jet airplanes into remote-controlled drones. U.S. officials fear those drones could be fitted with spray tanks to deliver biological weapons.

Need I say it again? I will. CROPDUSTERS.

8 posted on 12/27/2002 7:52:03 PM PST by Shermy
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To: Shermy
"Need I say it again? I will. CROPDUSTERS."

Makes ya wonder where ol' Mohammed Atta got that crazy idea, don't it?

I would hope that, on the day we attack Iraq, all cropdusting operations are grounded.

There is little reason for them to be flying in January, at any rate.

9 posted on 12/27/2002 8:13:41 PM PST by okie01
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To: Allan
ping
10 posted on 12/27/2002 8:29:06 PM PST by Nogbad
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To: 11B3; abwehr; Alamo-Girl; angkor; aristeides; Betty Jo; Black Jade; blam; boston_liberty; ...
ping
11 posted on 12/27/2002 8:32:26 PM PST by Allan
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To: Ranger
Many of our friends on the left and even some on the right, fail to understand the importance of taking this SOB and removing him from the world scenario.

His state run programs for weapon development and apparent willingness to selectively share these resources, coupled with his hatred of Israel is going a long way toward keeping the Middle East in turmoil.

This situation would be so much more manageable without iraq's support of the Islamist machine of destruction.

This is worth the risk to us and makes it a top priority.

12 posted on 12/27/2002 10:01:51 PM PST by Cold Heat
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To: wirestripper
USE 'EM OR LOSE'EM TIME is right around the corner. I am very curious as to how Dubya will react.
13 posted on 12/27/2002 10:20:52 PM PST by Chapita
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: Chapita
W is a master poker player! He knows that you cannot run a bluff without being willing to show your hand if called.

Saddam and the U.N. have both been calling his bluff.

This movement of troops is as much directed at the U.N. as it is Saddam.

That comment the other day by the chief U.N. Inspector about the lack of intelligence sharing by the U.S. did not set very well with the administration. Blix does not appear to be using the tools that we gave him. In addition, the Iraq declaration was bogus and Saddam is waiving his sword constantly.

If a internal coup is possible, it will not happen until we are on the brink. Looks like we are moving the game pieces to show that a attack is imminent in order to provoke a reaction. If the reaction does not come, we will unload a pile of intel on the public and go in simultaneously.

Many months ago, I picked the date as January 18th. It is a full moon.

15 posted on 12/27/2002 10:46:48 PM PST by Cold Heat
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To: Chapita
Iraq has missiles that could carry biological weapons to Israel, Kuwait or U.S. troop concentrations within Iraq, Pentagon officials say.

This is the wildcard. If he uses bioweapons on Israel, Iraq is toast.

16 posted on 12/27/2002 10:49:49 PM PST by Jeff Chandler
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To: wirestripper
Many months ago, I picked the date as January 18th. It is a full moon.
 
More like the end of January, beginning of February. Darkness, doncha know.

Jan 2003

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17 posted on 12/27/2002 11:08:17 PM PST by Jeff Chandler
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To: wirestripper
Many of our friends on the left and even some on the right, fail to understand the importance of taking this SOB and removing him from the world scenario.

Whatever Saddam can do to us, I'd rather face it now, when we have a chance to mop up and recover, than later when it will be more than we can possibly handle.

18 posted on 12/28/2002 1:55:15 AM PST by patriciaruth
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To: Chapita
I am very curious as to how Dubya will react.

An awful lot of our "use or lose 'em" stuff is moving to the Gulf now. Full court press is on for the Iraqi military to bag Saddam and drag him out of the country in exchange for immunity and no war. Worth a try, as that would lessen the threat of the WMD's being used against us.

Have you voted in the Iraq Attack pool time? Or do you just "like to watch?" :-)

19 posted on 12/28/2002 2:00:06 AM PST by patriciaruth
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To: patriciaruth
I'll watch! Didn't even bet on the lottery.
20 posted on 12/28/2002 2:52:02 AM PST by Chapita
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To: Chapita
Ping me when the war starts. We'll watch together, when I can break away from watching with my husband who loves bombing Saddam.
21 posted on 12/28/2002 3:45:20 AM PST by patriciaruth
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To: patriciaruth
The war started a couple of months ago!
22 posted on 12/28/2002 3:55:25 AM PST by Chapita
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To: Chapita
Have you been reading Debka?
23 posted on 12/28/2002 4:31:47 AM PST by patriciaruth
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To: patriciaruth
The war in Europe did not begin on D-Day. This war has indeed begun. Dubya and Congress have declared war, our preparatory operations for invasion are underway, and I agree with the other posters that this preparation indeed constitutes part of our war. The invasion has probably not yet truly begun, but I certainly would not dispute anyone who said we have Special Ops forces engaged in Iraq already. It is certainly true that "softening-up" bombing of selected targets has been taking place.
24 posted on 12/28/2002 5:48:37 AM PST by AFPhys
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To: *war_list
bump
25 posted on 12/28/2002 10:43:03 AM PST by The Obstinate Insomniac
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To: patriciaruth
If Saddam gets nukes he will hold Israel and others hostage as he does whatever. We cannot let this happen.

Look at N. Korea! They have just got started with their skulduggery.

26 posted on 12/28/2002 10:47:00 AM PST by Cold Heat
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To: Ranger

Wired / Courtesy U.S. Air Force

27 posted on 12/28/2002 10:56:32 AM PST by dighton
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To: Chapita
I am very curious as to how Dubya will react.

FWIW, I'm hearing sometime in Feb is D-Day. But my thinking is that is a leak Bush wants Saddam to believe so I would say anytime now. They're talking aircraft carriers heading to the region but I don't think they are needed for the first assualt. War is deception.
28 posted on 12/28/2002 11:17:25 AM PST by jwh_Denver
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To: wirestripper

29 posted on 12/28/2002 11:41:13 AM PST by Kay Soze
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To: *Anthrax_Scare_List; aristeides; thinden; honway; Ernest_at_the_Beach
I wonder if the 5 guys the FBI is looking for are related to this...
30 posted on 12/30/2002 1:03:20 AM PST by Lion's Cub
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To: Lion's Cub

"This is next"

31 posted on 12/30/2002 4:27:37 AM PST by honway
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To: Lion's Cub
http://www.fotw.ca/flags/iq.html

Iraq National Flag

Description: Horizontally divided red-white-black flag with three green stars and the takbir in green placed horizontally in the white strip.

The takbir [Allah Akbar (God is great) in Arabic script] in green was added to the 1963 flag during the Gulf War, 13 January1991

"Allah is Great" appears on both the Iraqi flag and the three anthrax letters.

32 posted on 12/30/2002 4:36:57 AM PST by honway
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To: Ranger; okie01; Shermy
Please see replies #31 and #32
33 posted on 12/30/2002 4:39:35 AM PST by honway
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To: honway
Thanks. I don't think I've seen the 3 letters together for comparison before. Its interesting. Its pretty clear they came from the same hand. Whether that was the hand of Saddam's minions, I less certain.
34 posted on 12/30/2002 7:17:16 AM PST by Ranger
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