Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Look at what they found in Iraq........

CIA: Truck-Trailers in Iraq Had Bioweapons Labs

Here is the story:

No trace of biological weapons has been found in either of the trailers, but there is little question they were constructed to make such toxins as anthrax and botulin in quantities that potentially could kill thousands of people, U.S. intelligence officials said in telephone conference about a new report by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency.

"Our experts who are in the field right now ... have said this is an ingenious, unique and Iraqi design, not the way anyone else would have manufactured biological agent," one official said. "It's probably not how you would want to design a biological weapon. It was designed to evade inspection, not to be efficient."

One of the U.S. rationales for the invasion of Iraq was that it possessed chemical and biological weapons. None has been found, however, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday Iraq may have destroyed its weapons supplies before the U.S.-led war began in March.

The trailers now under U.S. military control in Baghdad were the first pieces in what was probably a series of two- or three-trailer systems, and Iraq may have produced as many as nine of these systems, said one of the officials who asked not to be identified.

One trailer appeared to contain the means to produce a wet slurry of biological agent, which could not be used as an effective weapon.

The second and third trailers probably contained the means to sterilize, concentrate and possibly dry the biological agent, making it usable in weapon form, the officials said.

Each of these systems could have produced 2.2 pounds to 4.4 pounds a month, enough to kill thousands if loaded into missile or rocket warheads, aerial bombs or artillery shells, they added.

The report posted on the CIA Web site (http://www.cia.gov/publications/iraqi_mobile_plants/index.html ) said all of the equipment was "permanently installed and interconnected, creating an ingeniously simple, self-contained bioprocessing system."

The trailers were probably updated versions of earlier mobile biological weapons laboratories, the officials said.

There was only a slight chance Iraq would use the systems for civilian purposes, such as hydrogen fertilizer production, as Iraq contended, they added.

"It made no sense to us nor to the other experts who have looked at it to have a mobile hydrogen manufacturing capability on a clearly quite valuable military heavy equipment transporter," one official said.

They said they were not surprised the examination of the trailers turned up no biological agent, though they had hoped Iraqi efforts at decontamination might have left something behind.

In New York, U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix told Reuters it appeared the mobile labs being described by the Americans were not declared by the Iraqis in December 2002, as required under a Security Council resolution.

Based on past intelligence reports, U.N. inspectors had asked the Iraqis about such labs "and there were a number of trucks that they showed to us and they had pictures of. But these do not correspond to the ones that are now published by the coalition. They are different," Blix said.

So these are labs which were not declared before, on a military vehicle, that could have been used to make fertilizer or weapons............

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