Skip to comments.Iraq's bioweapons program: detailed info on mobile labs from pre-war intel.
Posted on 06/08/2003 2:16:37 PM PDT by FairOpinion
IRAQ: Failing To Disarm
First, biological weapons. We have talked frequently here about biological weapons. By way of introduction and history, I think there are just three quick points I need to make. First, you will recall that it took UNSCOM four long and frustrating years to pry, to pry an admission out of Iraq that it had biological weapons. Second, when Iraq finally admitted having these weapons in 1995, the quantities were vast. Less than a teaspoon of dry anthrax, a little bit -- about this amount. This is just about the amount of a teaspoon. Less than a teaspoonful of dry anthrax in an envelope shut down the United States Senate in the fall of 2001.
This forced several hundred people to undergo emergency medical treatment and killed two postal workers just from an amount, just about this quantity that was inside of an envelope.
Iraq declared 8500 liters of anthrax. But UNSCOM estimates that Saddam Hussein could have produced 25,000 liters. If concentrated into this dry form, this amount would be enough to fill tens upon tens upon tens of thousands of teaspoons. And Saddam Hussein has not verifiably accounted for even one teaspoonful of this deadly material. And that is my third point. And it is key. The Iraqis have never accounted for all of the biological weapons they admitted they had and we know they had.
They have never accounted for all the organic material used to make them. And they have not accounted for many of the weapons filled with these agents such as their R-400 bombs. This is evidence, not conjecture. This is true. This is all well documented.
Dr. Blix told this Council that Iraq has provided little evidence to verify anthrax production and no convincing evidence of its destruction. It should come as no shock then that since Saddam Hussein forced out the last inspectors in 1998, we have amassed much intelligence indicating that Iraq is continuing to make these weapons.
One of the most worrisome things that emerges from the thick intelligence file we have on Iraq's biological weapons is the existence of mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.
Let me take you inside that intelligence file and share with you what we know from eyewitness accounts. We have first-hand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails.
The trucks and train cars are easily moved and are designed to evade detection by inspectors. In a matter of months, they can produce a quantity of biological poison equal to the entire amount that Iraq claimed to have produced in the years prior to the Gulf War.
Although Iraq's mobile production program began in the mid-1990s, UN inspectors at the time only had vague hints of such programs. Confirmation came later, in the year 2000. The source was an eyewitness, an Iraqi chemical engineer who supervised one of these facilities. He actually was present during biological agent production runs. He was also at the site when an accident occurred in 1998. 12 technicians died from exposure to biological agents.
He reported that when UNSCOM was in country and inspecting, the biological weapons agent production always began on Thursdays at midnight, because Iraq thought UNSCOM would not inspect on the Muslim holy day, Thursday night through Friday.
He added that this was important because the units could not be broken down in the middle of a production run, which had to be completed by Friday evening before the inspectors might arrive again.
This defector is currently hiding in another country with the certain knowledge that Saddam Hussein will kill him if he finds him. His eyewitness account of these mobile production facilities has been corroborated by other sources.
A second source. An Iraqi civil engineer in a position to know the details of the program confirmed the existence of transportable facilities moving on trailers.
A third source, also in a position to know, reported in summer, 2002, that Iraq had manufactured mobile production systems mounted on road-trailer units and on rail cars.
Finally, a fourth source. An Iraqi major who defected confirmed that Iraq has mobile biological research laboratories in addition to the production facilities I mentioned earlier.
Series of mobile production facilities for biological agents.
We have diagrammed what our sources reported about these mobile facilities. Here you see both truck and rail-car mounted mobile factories. The description our sources gave us of the technical features required by such facilities is highly detailed and extremely accurate.
As these drawings, based on their description show, we know what the fermentors look like. We know what the tanks, pumps, compressors and other parts look like. We know how they fit together, we know how they work, and we know a great deal about the platforms on which they are mounted.
As shown in this diagram, these factories can be concealed easily -- either by moving ordinary looking trucks and rail-cars along Iraq's thousands of miles of highway or track or by parking them in a garage or a warehouse or somewhere in Iraq's extensive system of underground tunnels and bunkers.
We know that Iraq has at least seven of these mobile, biological agent factories. The truck-mounted ones have at least two or three trucks each. That means that the mobile production facilities are very few -- perhaps 18 trucks that we know of. There may be more. But perhaps 18 that we know of. Just imagine trying to find 18 trucks among the thousands and thousands of trucks that travel the roads of Iraq every single day.
It took the inspectors four years to find out that Iraq was making biological agents. How long do you think it will take the inspectors to find even one of these 18 trucks without Iraq coming forward as they are supposed to with the information about these kinds of capabilities.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are sophisticated facilities. For example, they can produce anthrax and botulinum toxin. In fact, they can produce enough dry, biological agent in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. A dry agent of this type is the most lethal form for human beings.
By 1998, UN experts agreed that the Iraqis had perfected drying techniques for their biological weapons programs. Now Iraq has incorporated this drying expertise into these mobile production facilities.
We know from Iraq's past admissions that it has successfully weaponized not only anthrax, but also other biological agents including botulinum toxin, aflatoxin and ricin. But Iraq's research efforts did not stop there.
Saddam Hussein has investigated dozens of biological agents causing diseases such as gas gangrene, plague, typhus, tetanus, cholera, camelpox, and hemorrhagic fever. And he also has the wherewithal to develop smallpox.
Iraq test flight spraying simulated anthrax. (VIDEO) The Iraqi regime has also developed ways to disperse lethal biological agents widely, indiscriminately into the water supply, into the air. For example, Iraq had a program to modify aerial fuel tanks for Mirage jets. This video of an Iraqi test flight obtained by UNSCOM some years ago shows an Iraqi F-1 Mirage jet aircraft. Note the spray coming from beneath the Mirage. That is 2,000 liters of simulated anthrax that a jet is spraying.
In 1995, an Iraqi military officer, Mujahid Saleh Abdul Latif told inspectors that Iraq intended the spray tanks to be mounted onto a MiG-21 that had been converted into an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV. UAVs outfitted with spray tanks constitute an ideal method for launching a terrorist attack using biological weapons.
Iraq admitted to producing four spray tanks, but to this day, it has provided no credible evidence that they were destroyed, evidence that was required by the international community.
There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more. And he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction.
These are pictures from the article, but when I tried to post them in the article, it messed up the formatting, so I post them here.
And here is a link to a video of an Iraqi test flight spraying simulated anthrax. If this link doesn't work, go to the article and click on the video.
Interior view of the trailer showing the fermentor, media tank, water supply tanks and gas cylinders (Photo courtesy CIA)
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"...when Iraq finally admitted having these weapons in 1995, the quantities were vast. Less than a teaspoon of dry anthrax, a little bit -- about this amount. This is just about the amount of a teaspoon. Less than a teaspoonful of dry anthrax in an envelope shut down the United States Senate in the fall of 2001."
Every time I hear something like this, I remember Sec. Cohen toting around that bag of sugar...
Was that in 1998?
Thank you both for the post and the ping!
They're the ones who know that the borders are still wide open, while Bush supports the Assault Weapons Ban, does nothing to stop recognition of Mexican ID, and the Border Patrol harrasses citizens trying to do their jobs...
If you hadn't noticed.
Thanks, I had not seen this, and will add it now.
Well, I guess in that case we DO have proof of Saddam's bioweapons program, in fact the evidence was taken by the UN inspectors.
This isn't a matter of "not 100%;" it's 10% or less. To say that the reason border security is so lax is because there are higher priorities when Bush has actively worked against border security is simply not honest. Remember 245i? How many pilots are armed yet? Did he do anything about Mineta dragging his feet? Remember how the ban on Mexican trucks was lifted? You do know that there are large numbers of Arabs buying their way into the US through Mexico, don't you? Now just how did those highjackers manage to enter and stay in this country and how did they manage to take over those planes?
The assault weapons ban thing is a political red herring and anyone with any sense knows that, except those who want to "divide and conquer" the conservatives, splitting up the Bush support.
Selling out a Constitutional principle in order to appear politically moderate can just as easly backfire if the AW ban gets attached to a bill Bush really wants. He didn't have to say he would simply sign it, especially when we both know that the scope of the reauthorization bill goes far beyond the original legislation. Nobody made the President make that blind commitment.
The reason I mentioned the AW ban and armed pilots wasn't just some unrelated pet issue. It's a matter of fundamental trust in the American people to manage homeland security instead of turning us into a police state and expecting inspections and searches without probable cause to do the job. That's what the founders of this country intended and it's the only thing that will really work, or does your memory of how the DC snipers were apprehended somehow elude you?