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July 17, 2006
Saddam's Shopping List (Updated)

The American translations of the captured IIS files sometimes contain summaries rather than direct translations of some of the douments. This usually happens when dealing with forms that contain more tables than text; the translators give the gist of the material, presumably allowing investigators to review the data and request specific translations where necessary.

This gives less specificity to the translations, and as a rule I avoid commenting on them. Many of these summaries contain general references to chemicals, but nothing specific enough to call out for review. Document ISGQ-2003-00000847 appears to be an exception. This summarizes a number of memos calling for purchases of chemicals in 2002 and 2003 that appear on their face to be prohibited (emphases mine):

Pages 41-43 contain a correspondence dated on 29 October 2002 from Dhu-al-Faqqar Plant to the Planning and Tracking Directorate including lists of the plant needs [for] the chemical materials for the year 2003 such as: - (SATTS NTRIK) Acid (Page 41) - Sodium Cyanide (Page 41) - Auto Passiuatiw (Page 41) - Naocl (Page 41) - Liquid grain refiner (Page 41) - CADAMX Cadmium Salt (Page 41) - NaOH (Page 41) - PREPHOS 101, 201, 501, 503, 701 (Page 42) - DSA (Page 42) - ACTIVAX CLEANER (Page 42) - EMPHAX CLEANER (Page 42) - HYLITE ZINC (Page 42) - UNIZIN (Page 42) - AUTO PASS SIT (Page 42)

Pages 59-66, 68, 97, 99, 101, 186-189, 254-255 contain lists of the needed chemical materials for the years 2001 and 2002.
- HTPB (Page 59)
- DOZ (Page 59)
- TDI (Page 59)
- MAPO (Page 59)
- HMDI IPDI (Page 59)
- (SATTS FWRMALIN) (Page 59)
- (SATTS FWSFWRIK) Acid (Page 59)
- (SATTS AICANWL) (Page 59)
- Sodium Cyanide (Page 62)
- (SATTS II;W SIANID) (MDI) (Page 62)
- 1-3 (SATTS BIWTADAIN) (Page 63)
- EPDM (Page 64)
- VAROX (Page 64)
- A.P (Page 64)
- (SATTS KRAFIT) Powder (Page 65)
- (SATTS ALMINIWM) Powder (Page 65)
- (SATTS D KLWRIN) (Page 65)
- EMPD caoutchouc (Page 66)
- IPPD (Page 189)
- PVI (Page 189)
- CBS (Page 189)
- (SATTS SRKABTW) (Page 189)

Sodium cyanide is an important precursor to WMD, especially the nerve gas tabun, which many suspect was the weapon used in Halabja. We have worked with France and Germany to stop North Korea from acquiring it in 2003 and 2004. The fact that it shows up on Saddam's shopping list as late as for 2003 shows that the Iraqis still used it for some purpose -- and the regime was not supposed to have any of it.

The list of chemicals may have more connection to weapons programs, but certainly the repeated inclusion of sodium cyanide has to point to nefarious intent.

UPDATE: Or it could be used for ... electroplating, according to CQ reader Dutch. He says the list of chemicals is consistent with electroplating, an area of some expertise for Dutch. Good catch by him. However, if that's the case -- and I don't see why it wouldn't be -- why do we keep sodium cyanide away from North Korea? It looks like one of the dual-use issues.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 17, 2006 11:42 AM

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Tracked on July 17, 2006 8:59 PM


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