04 December 2007
Biological Weapons Programs...Things you should know
Weapons of Mass Destruction:
Consequences for Future Inspection Regimes and Syrian Biological Weapons Development
“The failure of the Americans to prove that Iraq was developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons should not create a false picture when it comes to Syria.” Eyal Zissler
Although Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are generally grouped together, they represent distinctly different classes of weapons. This common misnomer perpetuated by the media, has obscured not only what was recovered in Iraq by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) but more crucially, the detection criteria employed for each class of weapon and the future for inspection regimes where pre-emptive engagement may be critically necessary .
"We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today's adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means...Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that can easily be concealed, delivered covertly and used without warning.”-National Security Strategy of the United States of America
Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear weapons are all capable of producing mass casualties and in some instances global catastrophic consequences. Chemical and Nuclear weapon classes both have international treaties and comprehensive inspection regimes: the Chemical Weapons Convention and inspection body the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); Nuclear Proliferation Treaty with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the inspecting body and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) which is the only class of weapons which do not have a verification or inspection regime. Moreover while chemical weapon stockpiling and nuclear weapons development can be monitored by satellites and other technologies, the nature of biological “weapons” development is generally not detectible with standard methods.
The inherent characteristics, the technology required for stockpiling, deployment and use, set WMD apart; but none more so than with biological ‘weapons’ for biological pathogens can be considered a ‘weapon’ even when not ‘weaponized.’ The major differences between biological weapons and other unconventional warfare munitions include:
• The release of an agent is not immediately detectable as it the case with chemical and nuclear munitions. There are systems that detect biological agents, but most have a delay between acquiring the agent and identifying it;
• The effects of an attack are not immediately recognizable. People may become exposed to an agent soon after its release, but the infection requires time to cause illness (the incubation period in some instances can be lengthy up to 17 days from exposure or longer);
• The effect of biological weapons can continue after initial release for months as in the case of a highly communicable and highly infectious virus such as smallpox. This would result in secondary infections in areas far from initial release/index case and geographic regions where such diseases could present virgin soil epidemics.
• Global commercial airline travel makes the pace (of communicable diseases) not the space, critical to containment strategies;
• If you took a gram of smallpox, which is highly contagious and infectious and for which there is no vaccine available globally, and released it in the air and created about a hundred index cases, the chances are excellent that the virus would go global in six weeks as people traveled, the death toll could easily hit the hundreds of millions…in scale, that’s like a nuclear war.
Additional differences which set biological weapons apart include strain selection. Selecting an agent requires matching the desired results of an attack with an agent’s characteristics. Those characteristics may include: how much of an agent can cause disease (pathogenicity); time between exposure and illness (incubation period); how debilitating the resulting disease is (virulence); its lethality; and how readily the disease spreads to others (transmissibility). Generally, the technological requirements associated with chemical and nuclear munitions and their deployment platforms are significantly different than for biological weapons.
There are about 48 organisms that could be used offensively--25 viruses, 13 bacteria, and 10 toxins. Although advances in genomics, molecular biology, combinatorial chemistry and understanding of microbial structure and replication and synthetic biology will effect future non-conventional weapons development, several nations of concern continue to build the majority of their offensive biological weapons programmes around the 5 or 6 Category A agents.
“The gravest danger to freedom lies at the crossroads of radicalism and technology. When the spread of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons, along with ballistic missile technology—when that occurs, even weak states and small groups could attain a catastrophic power to strike great nations. Our enemies have declared this very intention, and have been caught seeking these terrible weapons. They want the capability to blackmail us, or to harm us, or to harm our friends—and we will oppose them with all our power.” - President George Bush, West Point, New York, 1 June, 2002
Currently there are about 23 nations suspected of having or trying to develop offensive biological weapons. The degree of sophistication of each country’s research program will determine how advanced biological agents will be. Even the most rudimentary program will likely have lethal agents that have been a threat for some time. Botulism, anthrax, plague and variola (smallpox) are high-probability candidates for most bio-weapons programmes.
In addition, the revolution in biotechnology may produce other agents that are even more toxic and resilient. Without getting into the technical aspects, relatively minor molecular adjustments may produce a more toxic, fast acting, and stable biological agent. However developing recombinant strains and then ‘weaponsizing’ them is a more involved process which also requires testing and demonstrating consistent results which can take years to perfect. State bio-defence laboratories throughout the world conduct advanced defence research to prepare for biological warfare. While the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention prohibits ‘offensive’ biological weapons research it does not prohibit defensive research which is completely legitimate.
With nations who conduct offensive research or are seeking to acquire the knowledge and technology to do so, such programmes are the most highly guarded national security areas such a nation can possess. The nature of biological weapons research makes such research highly complimentary to compartmentalization and embedding or running studies along side legitimate research; one reason is the dual-use nature of bio-weapons research, the other is the need to hide such activities. Nations conducting offensive research such as the former Soviet Union, the DPRK, Iran, Syria and previously Iraq have all embedded their programmes. Since the programmes are hidden and often run within legitimate research programmes criteria for assessing, what amounts to very subtle indicators, must be constructed. Iraq and the failure to develop such criteria to be utilized by the ISG is a good starting point for future inspection regimes.
Assessing the Iraq Survey Group as an Inspection Regime
Given the nature of biological weapons, their proliferation and potential use by rouge states, it is imperative we have sound criteria in order to asses both the current and future threat. In terms of future inspection regimes, nothing could be more significant or offer more of a road map for conducting inspections than the words of Dr. David Kay in his Interim Progress Report on the Activities of the ISG before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Vials: A total of 97 vials-including those with labels consistent with the al Hakam cover stories of single-cell protein and biopesticides, as well as strains that could be used to produce BW agents-were recovered from a scientist's residence.
-STATEMENT BY DAVID KAY ON THE INTERIM PROGRESS REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE IRAQ SURVEY GROUP (ISG)BEFORE THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE,THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS,SUBCOMMITTEE ON DEFENSE, AND THESENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE
October 2, 2003
“With regard to biological weapons activities, which has been one of our two initial areas of focus, ISG teams are uncovering significant information - including research and development of BW-applicable organisms, the involvement of Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) in possible BW activities, and deliberate concealment activities. All of this suggests Iraq after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production of BW agents. (Why search for a stockpile when you know what bio-warfare programme development entails?)
Debriefings of IIS officials and site visits have begun to unravel a clandestine network of laboratories and facilities within the security service apparatus. This network was never declared to the UN and was previously unknown. We are still working on determining the extent to which this network was tied to large-scale military efforts or BW terror weapons, but this clandestine capability was suitable for preserving BW expertise, BW capable facilities and continuing R&D - all key elements for maintaining a capability for resuming BW production. The IIS also played a prominent role in sponsoring students for overseas graduate studies in the biological sciences, according to Iraqi scientists and IIS sources, providing an important avenue for furthering BW-applicable research. This was the only area of graduate work that the IIS appeared to sponsor.
Discussions with Iraqi scientists’ uncovered agent R&D work that paired overt work with nonpathogenic organisms serving as surrogates for prohibited investigation with pathogenic agents. Examples include: B. Thurengiensis (Bt) with B. anthracis (anthrax), and medicinal plants with ricin. In a similar vein, two key former BW scientists confirmed that Iraq under the guise of legitimate activity developed refinements of processes and products relevant to BW agents. The scientists discussed the development of improved, simplified fermentation and spray drying capabilities for the simulant Bt that would have been directly applicable to anthrax, and one scientist confirmed that the production line for Bt could be switched to produce anthrax in one week if the seed stock were available.
A very large body of information has been developed through debriefings, site visits, and exploitation of captured Iraqi documents that confirms that Iraq concealed equipment and materials from UN inspectors when they returned in 2002. One noteworthy example is a collection of reference strains that ought to have been declared to the UN. Among them was a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced. This discovery - hidden in the home of a BW scientist - illustrates the point I made earlier about the difficulty of locating small stocks of material that can be used to covertly surge production of deadly weapons. The scientist who concealed the vials containing this agent has identified a large cache of agents that he was asked, but refused, to conceal. ISG is actively searching for this second cache.
Additional information is beginning to corroborate reporting since 1996 about human testing activities using chemical and biological substances, but progress in this area is slow given the concern of knowledgeable Iraqi personnel about their being prosecuted for crimes against humanity.”
Iraq and the Search for WMD
Given Dr. Kay’s above statements it’s perhaps surprising that the ISG took the course they did and finished in three months.
• They apparently discovered pathogens suitable for biological warfare;
• They discovered evidence of the involvement of Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) in possible BW activities;
• They believed Iraq after 1996 had further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production of BW agents;
• Discovered a clandestine network of laboratories and facilities suitable for BW research and development;
• Evidence of human testing with bio-warfare pathogens.
When we then consider inspection regimes, the criteria for estimating biological ‘weapons’ and weapons programmes is in need of urgent review.
For example, it has been claimed that the duration of the ISG inspections and Sector Control Point Baghdad (SCP-B) recovered chemical weapons on only two occasions. The first was a sarin mortar shell reconfigured into an IED (improvised explosive device). The second occasion was the discovery of several 122-mm rocket warheads filled with inert mustard gas recovered near Babylon. Both were considered to be remainders from the Iran-Iraq War and useless as offensive weapons. The ISG focus on the search for biological weapons appeared solely pinned to the discovery of mobile laboratories, a very unusual criteria for assessing an offensive biological weapons programme by any standard. Then there is the issue of stockpiling biological weapons; this paper contends that both of these criteria are low-level indicators if not irrelevant to assessing an advanced, offensive biological weapons programme. At issue, certainly is the perception that the failure to find biological ‘weapons’ in Iraq has lead to serious miscalculations. There is an underlying assumption that since no biological weapons were found in Iraq any claim that for example, Smallpox exists in other national offensive research programmes is dismissible as another fox hunt. In fact lack of finding biological weapons in one country has no bearing on the situation in a number of other nations and is not in any way an indicator of proliferation to hostile regimes.
Why Mobile Laboratories?
While the nature of chemical weapons makes them well suited for ‘stockpiling’ as would be the case with radioactive and nuclear weapons; the nature of biological weapons generally does not make them as suitable for stockpiling. Therefore this particular class of weapon has significantly different inspection criteria, most of which is subtle and differentiated from searching for a so-called stockpile. One could be lead to believe that the same criterion for searching for chemical, nuclear and radioactive stockpiles was applied by the ISG in their search for biological weapons or “mobile” laboratories. In fact, if this were the case, the criteria would be almost irrelevant in determining a biological weapons capability. One simply has to question why there was such tremendous focus placed on the ‘mobile labs’ in the first place when such labs would be but one indicator among other more discrete criteria which certainly would have yielded the existence of an offensive programme; a programme which to this day may remain a real threat in terms of proliferation to states that sponsor terrorism.
Mobile Production Plant versus Mobile Laboratory?
Although individuals often interchangeably use the terms production plant and laboratory, they have distinct meanings. The mobile production plants are designed for batch production of biological material and not for laboratory analysis of samples. A truck-mounted mobile laboratory would be equipped for analysis and small-scale laboratory activities; US forces discovered one such laboratory in late April of 2003.
• The mobile laboratory—installed in a box-bodied truck—is equipped with standard, dual-use laboratory equipment, including autoclaves, an incubator, centrifuges, and laboratory test tubes and glassware.
• These laboratories could be used to support a mobile BW production plant but serve legitimate functions that are applicable to public heath and environmental monitoring, such as water-quality sampling.
The mobile lab issue is one, portrayed by the media and intelligence sections as somehow crucial to proving Hussein had a biological programme, nothing could be farther from the truth. The failure to find more mobile labs or even pathogens in the mobile lab which was discovered is completely irrelevant to any kind of programme the Iraqi regime was running. It simply was a convenient and not terribly sophisticated criterion which was asserted as evidentiary of an offensive weapons programme. Biological weapons programmes are complex, embedded, usually latent and highly technologically and scientifically sophisticated programmes, mobile labs are an easy simple target, those who aren’t biological weapons experts fixed upon, convincing the public and the Bush administration this was a viable indicator. One can speculate that their own lack of known (current) biological weapons programme construction lead them to fix on this indicator or perhaps they had another agenda in mind; at any rate mobile labs were selected and nothing short of finding them would suffice. Failure then to discover any pathogens or pre-cursors, media etc. meant there was no evidence of an active, existing biological programme; a very dangerous conclusion to draw from a singular and isolated marker. It’s also notable that although Dr. Kay would later assert that they did find a ‘clandestine network of laboratories’ the criteria which would then be applied after such a finding was not.
Although Iraq's known bio-weapons labs were so carefully hidden that U.N. officials failed to discover them until 1995 -- four years after the start of inspections ; the second time around Kay spent only three months searching. Given the previous round which took four years to discover, it’s shocking to think three months would constitute a comprehensive inspection.
During the 1990’s it was only after the defection of the program's chief, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, that inspectors found secret laboratories that were producing lethal bacteria by the ton. While conclusive proof remains elusive, there have been persistent reports since the late 1990s suggesting that Iraq has continued biological weapons research using small labs built underground or concealed inside specially modified trucks. Detailed accounts of what were described as secret labs were given to U.S. intelligence officials by Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, an engineer specializing in constructing dust-free "clean rooms" needed for certain types of laboratory suggested that as many as 300 secret weapons facilities had been "reactivated" since the withdrawal of U.N. inspectors. Even if such claims proved false, existing and known research laboratories, veterinary institutes, bio-pharma research facilities should have been searched and their programmes detailed to develop a concise framework of biological research activities and compartmentalization.
Saeed was kept in a safe house by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which declined requests to interview him. But according to a transcript of his debriefing session, which was made available by the Iraqi National Congress, a leading opposition group, Saeed said most of the facilities were small and cleverly disguised. Again, a bit concerning that the ISG focused on finding weapon stockpiles.
"In some areas, houses or a small factory would get converted into labs," Saeed said. He also described a visit to an underground biological lab on the grounds of one of Hussein's Baghdad palaces, and his account is similar to reports of the Tahhaddy biological site offered by the Iraqi National Congress, which claims to have investigated the facility using informants. A document provided to The Washington Post by the group gives directions to the lab, lists its senior officers and describes a layout that includes above-ground offices and rooms for a security detachment assigned to the building. Most of its 85 employees work in a small underground lab that conducts research on pathogens, including a mysterious Blue Nile strain, officials of the opposition group said. Bio-warfare experts suggested the name may refer to Ebola, a usually fatal hemorrhagic disease.”
Two issues must be immediately dispensed with: the mobile laboratories as an indicator of an offensive weapons programme; and second the lack of incorporating viable criteria for determining a biological weapons capability and programme in spite of historic and current knowledge on how biological programmes are constructed today and how they have been constructed for decades in nations who conduct offensive research. What are mobile labs? Why would mobile labs be selected as an indicator? Who selected this?
What are mobile laboratories?
Where did the notion of the possibility of an Iraqi mobile biological weapons (BW) production capability come from? In 1995, Lt. Gen. Amir al-Sa’adi told UNSCOM officials that in 1988 he had suggested that perhaps Iraq should develop its BW production on mobile platforms. The suggestion was rejected as not being feasible. During the war against Iran, General Sa’adi had been head of the Iraq government’s Special Office for Technical Industry (SOTI), he later became deputy to General Hussein Kammel, he Head of all of Iraq’s WMD programmes in the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization (MIMI). Although Sa’adi said he only provided a ‘concept’ and not a detailed drawing, the CIA gleaning ‘details’ from a source known as curveball, would certainly have had to substantially enhance the mobile laboratory concept, which eventually appeared in Secretary Powell’s illustration at the UN on the 4th of February 2003. Unfortunately Secretary Powell was never informed of the enhancement. Mobile Laboratories appear to be a convenient, simple to understand, concept promoted by the CIA as criteria for a BW programme.
Claims about Iraq's mobile laboratories first appeared in September 2002, with the intelligence dossier released by Blair saying a number were in use.
The next month the CIA asserted, Iraq had "large-scale" biological warfare production capabilities in mobile laboratories. Bizarrely, this became the standard by which the CIA sought to gauge a biological weapons programme by. It could be proposed that the CIA placed a high value on mobile laboratories because they can evade detection and are highly survivable however the latent nature of all biological programmes rather negates this as a probability. If evasion were the motive, embedded programmes can evade most inspection regimes and Iraq had a history of doing this not a history of mobile laboratories.
Mobile laboratories are also employed by militaries throughout the world for force protection. Generally they are termed ‘forward deployed mobile laboratories’ for field identification of known and unknown agents. Although the CIA claimed that the mobile platforms they recovered did not appear suited for this use.
Possession of mobile laboratories does not constitute a biological weapons programme, which would have been known certainly by microbiologists on the ISG inspections, even given intelligence on hidden laboratories; but other criteria do; criteria which were selectively ignored.
What does a real state biological weapons programme look like?
In assessing the Iraqi programme and challenging the criteria used by the ISG we need only look at how programmes are constructed today. It’s stated that “survey teams (Task Force 75) combed laboratories and munitions plants, bunkers and distilleries, bakeries and vaccine factories, file cabinets and holes in the ground where tipsters advised them to dig. Most of the assignments came with classified "target folders" describing U.S. intelligence leads. Others, known as the "ad hocs," came to the task force's attention by way of plausible human sources on the ground.
Several nations currently have latent offensive biological weapons programmes and in this sense Iraq did not stand out. Their intent to activate the programme certainly required pre-emptive and immediate action as the consequences could conceivably be global pandemics and catastrophic devastation. What is and remains disturbing is that given an historic precedence (the Soviet Biopreparat programme) to go by, the inspection criteria employed to discover an Iraqi biological weapons programme, reflected none of the criteria which would be drawn by assessing the Soviet programme or even the previous Iraqi programme. This is unusual and one must consider that there were other dominant reasons for not conducting an inspection using normal criteria i.e. deciding to search instead for mobile biological laboratories which would demonstrate nothing.
To touch upon one of the most notable and successful biological weapons programmes to date, the soviet programme known as Biopreparat was a massive biological weapons research and development programme that went completely unnoticed by all western intelligence agencies for over three decades. Only 15% percent of research conducted at all 52 of the identified Biopreparat sites was legitimate. Nearly 50,000 scientists worked within the Biopreparat system under the guise of highly compartmentalized legitimate research. Even when the programme was detailed by two scientists who defected, most US bio-weapons scientist rejected how advanced the programme was…in fact it was the most advanced biological weapons programme ever run. Biopreparat is an outstanding example of both an active and latent programme. It is a framework currently employed by a number of states to hide their offensive bio-weapons research. Biopreparat and other programmes in North Korea, Iran, Syria and China offer constructive, defined criteria for how to evaluate the advancement of a biological weapons programme.
The nature of an offensive biological weapons programme incorporates a number of institutions, expertise and testing, most of which is completely dual-use and some of which is entirely legitimate. Evaluating a bio-programme requires a comprehensive approach to a very substantial framework of activities. The institutional framework includes defence laboratories, veterinary vaccine research facilities, medical research facilities, university hospitals, prison populations (with a focus on political prison sections); military populations and bio-pharma institutions. The Stepnagorsk facility, a center of excellence in the Biopreparat programme, conducted dozens of developmental and test runs with anthrax so as to be ready to launch full production should Moscow declare a ‘special period’ for doing so. Moscow never did and Stepnagorsk never produced a stockpile of weapons. Similar to Iran, Iraq, the DPRK, and Syria, the purpose of the facility and other institutions in the Biopreparat network, was to maintain the capability to start production on short notice. This is the model still in use today by most nations in possession of a biological weapons programme. The latent nature is essential to maintaining not necessarily the weapons, or a stockpile, but in fact the capability to produce such weapons as this is the most unstable and technologically complex aspect of retaining an offensive programme.
“Now the really sobering part—biological warfare agents are very difficult, if not impossible, to detect while they are in the research, production, transit, or employment phases.” Normal biological warfare research facilities resemble completely legitimate biotechnical and medical research facilities; the challenge this presents is in distinguishing legitimate production plants from illicit ones. As demonstrated in Iraq, this needs to be done to verify a programme’s existence or in the case of Syria, to use pre-emptive strikes on biological weapons production facilities.
For this reason, it is critical new, more advanced approaches be developed and instituted in order to identify latent programme structure, institutional organization and network interaction between civilian and defence research facilities, such criteria was never employed by the ISG inspections in Iraq and therefore none of the programmes were ever discovered.
Detecting Latent Biological Weapons Programmes: Critical Criteria for
“David Kay, original head of the Iraq Survey group, reported that "we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD program." Among the things left behind, Kay reported finding a "clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses," and "a prison laboratory complex... that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN." The ISG's investigation revealed "new research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin.”
Taking Syria as a case in point, this paper defines criteria for assessing state run offensive biological weapons programmes, which by their nature tend to be ‘latent.’ With the high potential for future inspection regimes, it’s vital that criteria which were never included by the ISG be developed and adopted for the use in future inspection regimes.
“The discoveries made by the ISG include a "clandestine network of laboratories . . . that contained equipment suitable for continuing chemical biological weapons research" and vials of "live C botulinum Okra B from which a biological agent can be produced." . Lines of enquiry adopted by the ISG include the examination of sites across Iraq, as well as interviewing scientists, truck drivers and other workers with possible knowledge of WMD.”
Although Syria’s biological weapons research programme is centered on a number of Category A agents, among them smallpox, plague and anthrax with ricin representing a Category B agent which they also are conducting tests on at the biological section of the CERS Center, (Scientific Research Council and Scientific Studies and Research Center SSRC); Syria’s strategic research, development and production facility located in Damascus. The project started in the early 1980s; in recent years, we have been witness to an upsurge in activities that might indicate a change of concept triggered by Syria’s intentions to amplify its arsenal of such weapons. The extensive foreign activities of Syrian intelligence services include substantial acquisition efforts focused on biological and chemical weapons. The Syrian procurement structure uses the Scientific Studies and Research Center as cover.
There are a number of reasons why state’s adopt ‘latent’ programmes for biological weapons development instead of stockpiling. Some of these reasons were discussed above, some have to do with the nature of biological pathogens themselves, as living and replicating organisms, some have to do with the ability to hide an offensive programme behind legitimate research and some have to do with long-term strategic defence planning. Latent BW programmes are not dormant or virtual, they are existing, active programmes imbedded in research, industry and defence sectors. Many nations throughout the world possess a ‘latent’ capability through the framework of legitimate advanced life-sciences, pharmaceutical industries and research laboratories. Inspection regimes are simply not prepared to conduct the type of detailed advanced inspections required to verify biological weapons production and use. Similar to how ‘weapons’ are conceived of, science and technology have so advanced, coupled with a basic mis-understanding of what constitutes a biological weapons programme, that unless the criteria is significantly altered, future inspections which may be undertaken in various nations will continue to yield little or no results.
Interestingly, as dismissive as the ISG was of Iraq’s biological programme, generally because the criteria it employed was very crude and simplistic, they made a similar assessment of Iraqi chemical programmes. If the findings didn’t fit their pre-conceived ‘stockpile’ concept, they negated it which is a fabrication of what indeed existed. This is well illustrated by Kenneth Timmerman in the following quote:
“When coalition forces entered Iraq, "huge warehouses and caches of 'commercial and agricultural' chemicals were seized and painstakingly tested by Army and Marine chemical specialists," Hanson writes. "What was surprising was how quickly the ISG refuted the findings of our ground forces and how silent they have been on the significance of these caches." Caches of "commercial and agricultural" chemicals don't match the expectation of "stockpiles" of chemical weapons. But, in fact, that is precisely what they are. "At a very minimum," Hanson tells Insight, "they were storing the precursors to restart a chemical-warfare program very quickly."
Kay and Duelfer came to a similar conclusion, telling Congress under oath that Saddam had built new facilities and stockpiled the materials to re-launch production of chemical and biological weapons at a moment's notice. At Karbala, U.S. troops stumbled upon 55-gallon drums of pesticides at what appeared to be a very large "agricultural supply" area, Hanson says. Some of the drums were stored in a "camouflaged bunker complex" that was shown to reporters -- with unpleasant results.
"More than a dozen soldiers, a Knight-Ridder reporter, a CNN cameraman, and two Iraqi POWs came down with symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent," Hanson says. "But later ISG tests resulted in a proclamation of negative, end of story, nothing to see here, etc., and the earlier findings and injuries dissolved into nonexistence. Left unexplained is the small matter of the obvious pains taken to disguise the cache of ostensibly legitimate pesticides. One wonders about the advantage an agricultural-commodities business gains by securing drums of pesticide in camouflaged bunkers 6 feet underground. The 'agricultural site' was also co-located with a military ammunition dump -- evidently nothing more than a coincidence in the eyes of the ISG."
Timmerman further contents that:
“The discoveries Hanson describes are not dramatic. And that's the problem: Finding real stockpiles in grubby ammo dumps doesn't fit the image the media and the president's critics carefully have fed to the public of what Iraq's weapons ought to look like. A senior administration official who has gone through the intelligence reporting from Iraq as well as the earlier reports from U.N. arms inspectors refers to another well-documented allegation.”
Indeed, this is the same side of the coin with Saddam’s biological weapons programmes and the ISG failure to construct normal criteria in order to assess a real and active offensive capability. Instead the ISG chose a media produced concept of biological weapons, in a neat stockpile waiting near military instillations to be deployed. This is not how things are remotely done today by any nation on earth in possession of a full scale biological weapons programme with production capability.
“We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that can be easily concealed, delivered covertly, and used without warning.” The National Security Strategy of the United States
The Institutional Framework Criteria
1.Vaccine Research Sites and Veterinary Research Laboratories
Because the technology used to produce vaccines can also be used until the very final stages to produce biological weapons and the knowledge base is essentially the same, vaccine research facilities and veterinary research laboratories in rouge states pose a credible target for inspection. In fact Iraq is a case in point and a few of it’s facilities were indeed rigorously monitored. However, there are far more research sites which never make it onto the radar and which should be carefully screened.
During the first Gulf War, the evidence for Baghdad’s efforts to sustain and expand it’s biological weapons program was substancial. According to the CIA report, the Al-Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Facility, which employs a sophisticated air filtration system, was used to produce biological agents before the Gulf War. UNSCOM destroyed equipment at the facility associated with biological weapons but left other equipment in place. In 2001, without U.N. approval, Baghdad announced that it would renovate the facility to produce vaccine to treat an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, even though it could much more easily and quickly import the vaccine it needed (citations) Iraq greatly expanded the storage capacity of the Amiriyah Serum and Vaccine Institute, which records show was used to store cultures, agents and equipment for biological weapons before the Gulf War. Similarly, authorities worked to rebuild the Fallujah III Caster Oil Production Facility, which was used to manufacture ricin.
2. Medical and Scientific Community Freezers and Refrigerators
During the consolidation of global smallpox (variola major) stocks by the World Health Organization, D.A. Henderson, a renown smallpox expert, when asked if he thought all smallpox samples were accounted for and turned into the two official repositories: CDC and Vector, replied “It would be impossible to know what is in everyone freezer.” This may indeed be the case however in accounting for potential pathogens, particularly Category A biological pathogens suitable for warfare, it is incombant upon those inspectors to assess both defence and commerical staff from bench docs to full scientific team leaders and to in fact do a comprehensive search of their homes and offices. While this task would take more than three months, the western concept of bio-safety which would inhibit most scientists from transporting and maintaining live warfare strains in their home refrigerators is not inhibitory in most mid-east nations and others throughout the would. Moreover, Unlike scientific communities in the West who face innumerable standards and review committees when conducting clinical trials, many research teams in the far east and mid-east conduct trials using themselves as guinea pigs. This is another scope which was never fully verified.The scientific community should have submitted to blood screening. While this goes against western concepts of civil liberties, it is essential in determining a covert programme.
3. Serological and Toxicological Testing of Political Prison Populations and Post Humosly
One of the most important criteria inspection regimes could imploy is the testing of the prison population and post-humosly testing of prisoners bodies; specifically political prisoners. Today North Korea (DPRK), Iran, Syria, and other nations are strongly suspected of conducting biological weapons testing on live human subjects drawn from the prison population and among military personal (for less lethal, vaccine related testing). For example the below cases are not exemplary and should today be considered mainstream for these nations.
Camp 22 is a North Korean prison for political prisoners. There are an estimated 50,000 prisoners held in the camp. North Korea’s State Security Agency maintains a dozen political prisons and about 30 forced labor and labor camps. The worst are in the countries far northeast near the border with China and Russia. At least two of the camps, Haengyong and Huaong, are larger in area than the District of Columbia, with Huaong being three times the size of the U.S. capital district. Camp 22 in particular is known to conduct biological weapons testing on prisoners, women and children. North Korea's Army is the only army in the world with mandatory smallpox vaccinations. The DPRK is suspected of conducting human experiments with most Category A biological pathogens including plague, anthrax, botulium, smallpox and Viral Hemoragic Fevers (VHF). Four years ago there was a suspected outbreak of smallpox in a camp on the border with China which purportedly killed 40,000 of the camps internees. As variola has been eradicated since 1980 and the remaining strains are held at only two repositories: the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia and Vector in Novosibirsk, Siberia, the only possible explanation for this outbreak is the illegal retention and use of smallpox for building a biological weapons capability and potential experimentation on humans which then lead to an accidental outbreak.
Throughout their frustrating years of cat-and-mouse searches, the U.N. inspection teams stumbled across several chilling clues that hinted at human testing projects in Iraq. The most compelling case involved alleged biological weapons tests carried out on Shiite political prisoners by a mysterious Unit 2100, a U.N. inspection team document shows.
According to the document, at least 50 prisoners from Abu Gharib prison west of Baghdad were rounded up in 1995 and sent to a secret testing facility in Al-Haditha, a remote community in Iraq's western desert.
"Unit 2100 was subordinate directly to the Ministry for Military Industry ... which was headed by Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamil," states the document, which is based on intelligence supplied by a senior Iraqi defector.
"The unit conducted experiments on human subjects using chemical and biological warfare agents," the document goes on. "Prisoners who were sent to Unit 2100 did not return." While these statements may be true, and inspectors who apparently went to recover ‘documents’ of all things which were missing..did not conduct serological testing on in-mates. Such testing would have yielded conclusive results as would testing known areas where mass graves were dug to dump the bodies.
Informed that the Americans had probed the mass grave of the alleged chemical test victims and turned up nothing, the officer seemed unfazed. Instead, he produced a colleague, a lieutenant in the Iraqi Second Army Corps that purportedly oversaw the operation, who confirmed the broad outlines of his story.
"The Americans," the officer insisted, "have a lot more digging to do."
B’nai Elim would like to thank Dr. Jill Dekker, a consultant to the NATO Defense Establishment in bio-warfare and counter terrorism for contributing this article. Dr. Dekker is also a member of the board of advisers of the Intelligence Summit.
Obama's true agenda...Throw Israel Under the Bus
JOHN VOIGHT ON OBAMA'S DISTAIN FOR ISRAEL
A message to the Jewish people and the entire world
Chronicles I - 16:15-18: "Forever remember His covenant that he commanded forever; That He made with Abraham and swore to Isaac; and confirmed in a decree for Jacob, for Israel, as an eternal covenant; saying to You I will give the Land of Cannan as your alloted heritage"