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July 7, 2006
Iraqi Documents: UNMOVIC Knew Of Renewed WMD Efforts (Updated And Bumped)

Continuing my review of the many documents released from the DocEx files over the last two days, I found yet another interesting piece of information regarding Saddam Hussein's pursuit of WMD. In a summary of a larger document, the translators found that Iraq had restarted its processing of castor-bean extraction, from which ricin can be developed -- and that UNMOVIC discovered it in December 2002.

From CMPC-2003-003766-HT.pdf, with line breaks and emphases mine:

Ricin toxin is found in the bean of the castor plant. UNMOVIC inspections since December 2002 have verified that the bombed caster oil extraction plant at Fallujah III has been reconstructed on a larger scale.

Undeclared BW agents, there are a number of microorganisms and toxins that have been developed as BW agents by several countries, including Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Clostridium bottalinum toxin, Yersinia pestis (plague), Francisella tularensis (tularemia), Brucella species (Brucellosis) Coxiella burnetti (Q fever) and Variola major (smallpox). Drying of BW Agents, BW agents are produced by a process that usually results in a liquid product, for example bacteria in an aqueous suspension, or toxins in an aquesous or organic solution.

Bacterial BW agent production, this requires certain equipment, typically a fomenter and down stream processing equipment such as separators and settling tanks. Also required for the production of bacterial BW agents are nutrients that are dissolved in water and added to the fermenter. The lack of supporting documentation makes it difficult for UNMOVIC to confirm Iraq's figures on the quantities of bacterial BW agent produced.

Genetic Engineering and Viral Research. Genetic Engineering, a process whereby an organism's genetic material is modified, has many medical and industrial applications. BW Agent Stimulants are chemicals or microorganisms that have very similar characteristics and properties to a biological warfare agent.

UNMOVIC inspections and Iraqi declarations confirm that Iraq continues working with organisms that could be used as BW agent stimulates. The documents display after each section the actions that Iraq could take to help in resolving the issue and convincing the UN inspection teams that the activity have stopped or were fruitless and so on.

So here we have confirmation that Iraq continued to work on WMD, and that the new UNMOVIC inspections verified that. We had previously heard from the mainstream media that UNMOVIC only found that the Iraqis still refused to cooperate fully with the inspections, but this puts a little different light on the situation as the UN found it as they debated how to deal with Iraq. Even with Saddam actively pursuing WMD, as it turns out, they refused to take any action except to propose extended inspections.

Another point seems rather interesting here. The third paragraph seems to match up pretty well with the CIA/DIA description of the mobile laboratories discovered shortly after the invasion of Iraq:

Common elements between the source’s description and the trailers include a control panel, fermentor, water tank, holding tank, and two sets of gas cylinders. One set of gas cylinders was reported to provide clean gases—oxygen and nitrogen—for production, and the other set captured exhaust gases, concealing signatures of BW agent production.

The discovered trailers also incorporate air-stirred fermentors, which the source reported were part of the second-generation plant design.

Once again, it looks like Saddam's own documentation makes it clear that he had never stopped working on WMD programs. This time, it also shows that UNMOVIC and the UNSC knew it.

UPDATE and BUMP: Hans Blix never mentioned ricin or castor beans in his UN presentation on March 7, 2003. In fact, it never even mentions the word "violation" once.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 7, 2006 11:00 PM

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