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.

Hamdi Mahmoud Made Some People Nervous

The month prior to the American invasion of Iraq, the Times of London broke the news that one of Saddam’s bodyguards had defected to the West and had given the Mossad a file that showed where Saddam Hussein kept his WMD (Times link not available). Abu Hamdi Mahmoud provided what looked like a smoking gun to the UNMOVIC team:

The bodyguard, Abu Hamdi Mahmoud, had provided Israeli intelligence with a list of sites, the newspaper said, as he was debriefed at a high-security Israeli base.
It quoted William Tierney, a former UN weapons inspector who has continued to gather information on Saddam’s arsenal, as saying Mahmoud’s information was “the smoking gun” that has so far proved so elusive for both the UN weapons inspectors and US intelligence.
“Once the inspectors go to where Mahmoud has pointed them, then it’s all over for Saddam,” Mr Tierney said.
The newspaper said Mahmoud was a member of the elite unit that protects Saddam, called the Murasiq Qun – the “Inner Circle”. Known as “the Gatekeeper”, Mahmoud was a muscular Saddam lookalike often photographed standing behind Saddam .

Not much has been heard from Hamdi Mahmoud since the fall of Saddam. Google searches turn up little except the initial reporting on the topic. The UNMOVIC inspections ended shortly before the invasion. One other reason that the inspections may not have turned up anything of value may be because of the alert that Iraqi Intelligence Service directors sent out immediately after Mahmoud’s defection. In document IISP-2003-00027591-HT-DHX.pdf, the General Director of Directorate 17 (responsible for training of IIS officers) sent a Top Secret and Personal communique to the chief of Directorate 40 regarding the defection and publication of the material:

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Benevolent
Top Secret and Personal
Number Directorate 17/6/1
Date: 2/3/2003
Subject: News
To: The Director of Directorate 40
Kadimi Kurdistan broadcasting station claimed the following:
British sources revealed that one of the personal bodyguards of the president of the Iraqi regime handed the Israeli secret service, the Mossad, a file containing the locations of secret arsenals where Saddam is concealing WMD. The British Sunday Times reported that Hamdi Mahmoud, Saddam’s personal bodyguard, fled Iraq recently to Israel and gave that file to the Mossad. The newspaper pointed that the information revealed by Mahmoud comes a day before the International inspectors presented their report to the United Nations regarding the inspection operations inside Iraq. It went on to add that Mahmoud, now living in Israel at an undisclosed location, has given the Mossad a secret file containing all the locations where Baghdad is hiding weapons and equipment of mass destruction. The newspaper explained that the locations include a chemical weapon plant built underground in Baghdad, a plant to assemble SCUD missile near al-Ramadi, an underground reinforced arsenal for biological bombs, in addition to five arsenals for missiles buried in the sands of the Western desert.

Note that none of the above talks about any kind of false information getting propagated by Mahmoud. The memo treats the information published as fact rather than speculation or disinformation. Moreoever, the very urgency implied in the classification and in the language gives the impression that the IIS considered this a big problem.

Iraqi Documents: Kuwaiti POWs Used As Human Shields

This story has been reported before, but the captured IIS documents contains the actual orders from Qusai Hussein directing the Republican Guard to take Kuwaiti prisoners illegally held for twelve years and use them as human shields at strategic locations. Document CMPC-2003-012666.pdf shows the brutal callousness that became the hallmark of the Hussein family:

Presidential Office/ Special Office
The Secretary:
Re / Kuwaiti POW’s
Regarding the execution of Mr. President, Commander Saddam Hussein’s (God protect him) orders, according to the decision of the Revolutionary Command Council on Friday, March 4, 2003.
Transfer all Kuwaiti POW’s / a total of 448 captured Kuwaitis who are located at the Al-Nida Al-Agher Prison and the Intelligence / General Center and Kazema Prison in Al-Kazema, to make them human shields at all locations that are expected to be attacked by the American aggressors. Put them in communication locations and essential ministries, radio and television, Military Industrial Commissions, and all other locations expected to be attacked by the criminal Anglo-American aggressors.
Transporting them should be in coordination with:
Intelligence Services Directorate
Republican Guard Chief of Staff
Under direct supervision of the Special Security Organization / Organization Security
[Signature]
Qusai Saddam Hussein
Supervisor of the Republican Guard Secretariat
March 14, 2003

Recall that the cease-fire agreement that kept Coalition forces from marching to Baghdad in 1991 required Saddam Hussein to release all Kuwaitis held prisoner immediately. Saddam and his family never complied with this major requirement, an act of war in itself. Qusai compounded it by violating every standard of war by using his illegal prisoners to act as unwilling human shields to deter the Americans from attacking their command and control facilities.
As I said above, this is not a new story, but it is one worth repeating.

Saddam’s Idea Of Diplomatic Pouches

Another DocEx document has a strange take on diplomacy under Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime. A top-secret roster of Iraqi Intelligence Service projects for 2003 shows some interesting, inventive, and disturbing initiatives that only the American invasion stopped. From CMPC-2003-005745.pdf:

  • Use of diplomatic briefcases as an explosive device that can not be detected using an X Ray device
  • Sabotaging airplane fuel
  • Development of a research project for self igniting chemical mixtures to be used in acts of sabotage
  • Project for camouflaging a long range explosive device using a stick [or crutch]
  • If Saddam had remained in power, the IIS would have developed these murder systems for the state of Iraq. What purpose would an exploding diplomatic briefcase serve other than assassination or terrorism? Self-igniting chemical explosives are only useful for the same purposes, and probably violated the UN resolutions regarding chemical weapons. And can anyone imagine a rational state disguising its assassins as disabled people and their weapons as crutches?
    This shows the Saddam regime as particularly virulent, as well as close to certifiable. It may or may not have much to do with WMD, but it certainly shows that the world is better off with Saddam locked away.

    Iraqi Documents: Our Friends, The Russians (Updated And Bunped)

    One of the reasons that the DoD may have sat on the captured IIS files without translating or releasing them, some speculate, was that the contents may embarrass some of our allies in the overall war on terror. One document released yesterday seems to support that analysis. According to document CMPC-2003-000878, the Russians gave more active support to Saddam prior to the March 2003 invasion than previously known — and they used Syria as a conduit for their materiel:

    Bulletproof Vests from Russia
    Thirteen thousand vests were imported from Russia by request from the Presidential Command Office; they were all turned over to Qusai Saddam Hussein eight days before the war. Three Russian experts came with the vests, and the deal had been financed through a wealthy man in al-Kut (180 km south of Baghdad). [The suits] were bought for 250 dollars and then sold to Qusai Saddam Hussein for 600 dollars; they had sneaked into [Iraq] by way of [Syria] after [being] wrapped by Swedish jackets (so as not to embarrass Syria) as well as to deceive the American Intelligence, [however] [the American Intelligence] was able to discover this operation.
    This suit is characterized by its ability to withstand a round from an American made M16-A2 (which has a very high speed and a piercing head) from a distance of only 5 meters, and the MG 7.62 [mm] machine gun at the same distance.
    Advanced Russian T-72 Heavy Tank Engines
    This tank is considered the gem of the Russian (Armored divisions); it has a 125 mm smoothbore barrel, and is capable of firing an APFSD (armor-piercing) round. These tanks suffer from engine [problems] from their use in the Iran-Iraq and Gulf wars. Iraq at most used 25 liters of engine oil per month on these tanks [and] Republican Guard officers always complained about their [the tanks] movement (During Operation Desert Fox in 1998, they were only able to move 6 tanks a distance of 1200 meters from the other 21 tanks.) One characteristic of a Russian armored tank is that the greatest emphasis is put on fire, then force, movement, and armor, in that order. Suddenly, there were new engines imported from Russia, and Republican Guard units were provided with 70 engines for each unit; these engines passed though Syria one month before the war.

    This doesn’t have much to do with WMD, of course, but the revelation of the movement of tank engines — seventy of them for every armored unit — has to raise some eyebrows about the relationship between Washington and Moscow. It also should remind people about the materiel conduit that Syria supplied to Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin, and whether or not that conduit operated bidirectionally. Perhaps the WMD that the US seeks did not stay in Syria at all, but made its way to Russia instead.
    UPDATE and BUMP: Another look at our friends in Moscow comes in document CMPC-2003-001950, which details a meeting with the Russian ambassador in March 2003. The diplomats discussed the evacuation of Russian citizens from Iraq, but also discussed current American military assets deployed in the Gulf theater:

    3- The ambassador, during the meeting, had given the following information about the American military presence in the Gulf and in the area since March 2. as follows:
    – 206500 troops, including: 98000 air force troops, 36500 infantry. 90% of these forces are in Kuwait, positioned on board of American warships.
    – American forces had reached Bobian Island.
    – 480 tanks.
    – 1132 armored vehicles.
    – 296 artillery
    – 735 Apache Helicopters
    – 871 combat planes
    – 106 US navy units, of which 68 are in the Gulf. The rest of them are in Oman, Adan, The Red Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.
    – 5 aircraft carriers, one of which is nuclear. Three are in the Gulf, one is in the Mediterranean Sea, and another one is on the way.
    – 583 cruise missiles are positioned on the US navy units. They are distributed over 22 navy units.
    – 64 cruise missiles are carried by planes.
    – Ten B-52H heavy bombers are positioned in the Indian Ocean.
    – Eight B-18 aircrafts are located at the American base in Oman (Tamarid Center).
    4- The ambassador had indicated that they were concerned about the increasing number of aircrafts in Jordan . Also, he described the number of those aircrafts, positioned at Al-Sult base, as follows:
    – 24 F-16 aircrafts.
    – 10 Tornado aircrafts.
    – 11 aircraft carrier.
    Also, he indicated that there are five A-10 tank destroyer aircrafts located at King Faisal base in Jordan.
    5- The ambassador also indicated that a number of the 82nd Division military personnel, which was stationed in Afghanistan, have begun arriving in Kuwait, and that the number has reached 750 to date.

    I’m sure the White House would prefer not to have this get around.

    Dr. Germ Analyzes Aircraft BW Attack Requirements In 2002

    For those who continue to reject evidence of Saddam Hussein’s pursuit of WMD programs, the document released yesterday by the FMSO DocEx project makes it a much more difficult proposition. Document CMPC-2003-004346 reveals that Dr. Rehab Rasheed Taha, otherwise known as Dr. Germ, prepared an analysis in 2002 of how to spread biological weapons material using an aircraft as the medium, and how far they had advanced on the application:

    In the name of God, most Merciful, most Compassionate
    THE BIOLOGICAL COMMITTEE DECISION
    An appendage to the Biological Committee Decision, on 10 March 2002, subsequent to the biological activity combined list review, that was received after the delegate’s return from Moscow, and in reference to the concluded meeting convened on 10 April 2002, [when] the (GRL) draft list study was completed. – The Biological Section is evaluating what is shown in the third revised attachment for the continuous observation and examination plan. – The grades are subject to change according to the automation of export and import controls, according to resolution 1051 (1996) issued in document No. (S / 2001 / 560) which shows us the following:
    1 – What is included in the draft list (GRL) is similar to what is included in the revised comments; submissive grades according to the system of export and import controls except the following:
    a. Paragraph 7-1 from the revised statement and the (GRL) draft about the aircraft sprayers that are able to scatter dust. The dispensing percentage exceeds the one liter suspended liquid per minute or 10 grams of the dry substance per minute, therefore the size of the aerosol or dust portions were increased to the size of (15) microns or less.
    b. A new paragraph under No. (11) was added to the draft list (GRL). According to that, it combined microscopic conservation equipment and Micro Encapsulation that was taken from the reviewed merchandise list (the additional list) stated in resolution (1382) 2001.
    c. The (GRL) draft list indicated changes to the biological part, which was placed in the last page of the draft. Agents were added for the use of tissues and cell cultures (Cell Culture Mediators), and added cell growth cultures to cow fetus serums of (1) liter or more. These changes are not included in the mentioned list in paragraph (5) relating to culture media.
    2. According to the changes shown in Paragraph (1-7), it increases the size of aerosol portions or the dust, and limits it to within (15) microns or less that and does not create a problem. The available information that we’ve been referring to is that agricultural usage doesn’t need these small sizes (quantities), but larger sizes (quantities). What is related to the change in the previously added paragraph (11), combining microscopic conservation equipment and micro encapsulation also does not create a problem because the use of this equipment is very limited, and it does not effect the production or research process.
    Changes mentioned (suggested) in paragraph (5), that subjoin culture agents used in tissue culturing or cells and cell growth culturing to cow fetus serum is not considered a problem. These agents [were] originally entered including the complicated culture agent paragraph mentioned in paragraph (5) from the revised comments of the grades that are subject to notification in accordance to the system of imports and exports, that were imposed by resolution 1051 (1996).
    Review please with respects.
    Dr. Rehab Rasheed Taha
    Committee Chief
    Captain
    Senan Abdel Hassan
    Member
    04-13-2002
    Thamer Abdel Rahman
    Member
    04-13-2002

    This shows that Taha continued to pursue application of biological weapons, in this case taking care to exploit UNSCOM parameters to hide the existence of the source material, its weaponization into the proper size (15 microns or less) for dissemination, and the process by which she produced it. This memo is dated in American format and comes from April 2002, prior to the Congressional authorization of force, but well after 9/11 and our renewed focus on the region.
    Saddam and his henchmen not only had every intention of reconstituting their WMD programs, they obviously continued them unabated during the entire twelve-year quagmire while the UNSC slept.
    ADDENDUM: We also have this IRIS news release from January 2002. The official Iraqi news agency (incorrect — see next update) felt it necessary to warn their subjects about a new militarily-restricted area around al-Rashad:

    Transporting Chemical Weapons to the Al-Rashad Area
    At the beginning of this month, the ruling regime moved chemical and biological weapons to the Al-Rashad area and declared it a prohibited military area. This area is covered with trees and bushes. . .

    This appears to be a more formal translation of the same document we covered in April.
    UPDATE: IRIS is the official Iranian news agency. My error, and thanks to Jveritas for the correction.

    Saddam And Anthrax Operations

    In yet another document captured by the Coalition from the files of the IIS, we have yet another piece of evidence that Saddam Hussein continued his pursuit of WMD. In document BIAP-2003-004552.pdf, we have a short memorandum announcing a transfer to a biological weapons program:

    CENTER OF MANAGEMENT AND LAW / PRESIDENT
    For that, we order Dr. Hazem Anwar Alnasery, assigned to the Health Department Center, and Dr Mothny Abas, president of the Central Health Testing Department, to be members of the Anthrax Operation Room. This order will not cancel the previous order assigned to Dr. Mostafa Fathee, president of the Central Health Testing Department and president of the Health Research Institute. Thanks.
    Signed
    Zohir Saeed Abd Elsalam
    10/13/2002

    The “Anthrax Operation Room” sounds pretty ominous. El-Salem wrote this memo in October 2002, so this is not a case of pre-Gulf War mischief. Abas got assigned to anthrax operations while Congress debated whether to authorize military force.
    This poses an interesting question about the anthrax attacks in the US in 2001. Did the US find Abas and the Anthrax Operations Center’s products during the invasion? Or did Abas manage to escape the collapse of the Saddam regime, and still manage to stage anthrax attacks from wherever he established himself?
    UPDATE: The anthrax attacks were in 2001, not 2003. Abas would not have worked at the Anthrax Operation Room at that time — but it was obviously in operation during that period. Did Saddam orchestrate those attacks?

    Project Harmony Documents Show Chemical ‘Projects’ In 2003

    The translated documents from the captured IIS files have even more information on Saddam Hussein’s activity in WMD research and development. BIAP-2003-003057.pdf has the agenda from a January 21, 2003 meeting that involves chemical projects scheduled for implementation in the coming year:

    Members of the Chemical Projects Implementation Authority
    Below is the 10th session agenda for the Chemical Projects Implementation Authority
    held on January 21, 2003 at 0900.
    1. To review work progress for the month of December for each project as of
    December 31, 2002 according to the approved schedules and it’s indexes.
    2. Discuss the implementation plan for the year 2003’s projects, to suggest the
    [amount of money to] allocate, and to set out detailed plans to accomplish this.
    3. The status of the importation orders.
    4. The status of manufactured equipment.
    Signed
    Dr. ‘Alla Abbas Hussein
    Chief, Chemical Projects Implementation Authority

    Below is a table listing bids for several phases of the “sodium carbonate” project, one which the table shows will cost Iraq over $18 million dollars as well as $2.2 billion Iraqi dinars (see update below). One has to wonder what about sodium carbonate would require such an investment while the US argued for a military invasion of Iraq at the Security Council. This document shows that the Saddam regime not only kept their WMD programs active but were prepared to spend large amounts of money to fund them.
    UPDATE: Originally I had this in billions of dollars and trillions of Iraqi dinars. However, one commenter points out that the numbers were probably a literal translation from the document, and that commas in the rest of the world are used as decimal indicators, where we use periods for that purpose. That takes each total down a level of magnitude here into more realistic numbers. Still, $18 million for a sodium carbonate project seems very high.

    Iraqi Rosters In 2002 Show Interesting Department Names

    The latest document release from the captured IIS files, this time with full translations, show some interesting behind-the-scenes nomenclature in the Iraqi government. For instance, Project Harmony document BIAP-2003-002728.pdf is a roster of night workers that got transmitted to the IIS Finance Department — and some of the assignments appear to indicate ongoing WMD programs in Iraq:

    Names of branch night workers on 28/12/2002 to the Finance Department:
    Missiles branch
    1. Brigadeer General Sidaad Jasem
    2. Amer Jaseb
    Operation branch
    1. Liieutenant Colonel Riad Fawzy
    Biology dept.
    1. ahmed Abid Al Hasan
    2. Safaa Katai
    Nuclear dept.
    1. Natek Ibrahim
    2. Mohammad Fawzy
    Import dept.
    1. Riad Abid Sadaa
    Chemical dept.
    1.Ahmed Mohammad Fakhry
    Notary dept.
    1. Moustafa Abid Alkader
    2. Naser Abdulla
    3. Safaa Abid Alatif
    Machine dept.
    1.Khaleel Kazem
    2. Abas Majid
    3. Ibrahim Ali
    4. Asil Salem
    5. Mohanad Moufak
    6. Dyah
    7. Ali Jasem
    8. Amjed Hamid
    9. Thaer Edan
    10. Ali Abid Alhussein
    operator dept.
    1. Mahady Saleh
    2. Kareem Majid
    3. Abas Mahady
    Labatory dept.
    1. Kamal Mohammad
    Photography dept.
    1. Hasan Khamis
    2. Ibrahim Ahmad
    3. Jawad Kazem
    4. Salah Mahady
    5. Sanaa
    6. Tomas Aziz
    Chemical dept.
    1. Marwan Abid Al Kader

    Among the rather banal departments, such as Notary, Computer, and Communication, we also see Nuclear, Biology, and Chemical. Power Line notes the same issue in another memo detailing end-of-year bonuses. In these three categories, 30 people received bonuses. One has to wonder why they worked three shifts and paid bonuses for programs that people still insist did not exist.

    Does Captured Document Tie Saddam To Taliban?

    Ray Robison presents another interesting translation of a captured document at Fox News that has some buzzing about another link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism. Robison produces a manual written for Arabs fighting in Afghanistan for the Taliban that covers strategy and tactics for disguise and deception, fairly obviously written for soldiers working to defeat the Northern Alliance and avoid Western intelligence agencies:

    An Arab regime, possibly Iraq, supplied how-to manuals for Arab operatives working throughout Afghanistan before 9/11, and provided military assistance to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
    That’s the most likely conclusion drawn from an apparent training manual unearthed in captured Iraqi government computer files translated and analyzed exclusively for Fox News, and made public for the first time. …
    The training manual warns, in stark how-to terms, of the dangers of “information leaks,” and instructs Arab operatives inside Afghanistan to dress like Afghan tribesmen, to avoid being followed (“Routine is the enemy of security”), to always be armed, and “to behave as if enemies would strike at any moment.”
    The manual also cautions Arabs to “beware of rapid and spontaneous friendships with Afghans who speak Arabic,” and “always make sure about the identity of your neighbors and classify them as regular people, opponents or allies.”

    Robison hedges his bets here, and for some good reason; nothing in the document explicitly ties Iraq to the manual. While Iraq certainly qualifies as an Arabic nation that would have some reason to send troops covertly to support the Taliban, one could also say the same about Syria or even Saudi Arabia. Iraq and Syria both sponsored terrorism, while the Saudis have yet to do so through its own military, as far as we know. That state-run military forces are the intended audience seems beyond doubt; it makes references to hiding military identification, an unlikely precaution for run-of-the-mill jihadis.
    His argument gets a boost from the New Yorker. In February 2003, the magazine ran an article reporting on the assistance granted by Saddam to the Taliban and al-Qaeda by sending a secret force called Unit 999 to conduct training:

    “In interviews with senior officials, the following picture emerged: American intelligence believes that Al Qaeda and Saddam reached a non-aggression agreement in 1993, and that the relationship deepened further in the mid-nineteen-nineties, when an Al Qaeda operative — a native-born Iraqi who goes by the name Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi — was dispatched by bin Laden to ask the Iraqis for help in poison-gas training. Al-Iraqi’s mission was successful, and an unknown number of trainers from an Iraqi secret-police organization called Unit 999 were dispatched to camps in Afghanistan to instruct Al Qaeda terrorists.”

    The pattern looks incriminating, and certainly gives any intelligence unit reasonable cause to tie Saddam to both AQ and the Taliban. It’s not exactly a smoking gun, but it provides yet another piece of evidence towards that conclusion.