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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

I have the honour to refer to the letter which I addressed to the
President of the Security Council on 19 February 1998 (S/1998/176). I
set out the modalities for the conduct of technical evaluation
meetings agreed to by the Commission and by Iraq. By that letter I
also transmitted the reports of two such meetings. The first of these
two reports related to the accounting for Iraq's special warheads for
biological and chemical weapons and the second related to Iraq's
activities in connection with the chemical agent VX.
The third technical evaluation meeting, dealing with all aspects of
Iraq's biological weapons programme, was held in Vienna from 20 to 27
March 1998. I am now transmitting to the Council, for its information,
the report which I have received on this third meeting (see annex).
The report sets out the conclusions arrived at unanimously by the
participants. As in the case of the previous technical evaluation
meetings, the outline of the conclusions was conveyed to the Iraqi
participants by the Commission's experts prior to their final
formulation. I am also transmitting a copy of this letter with the
same attachment today to the Government of Iraq.
(Signed) Richard BUTLER
Report of the United Nations Special Commission's Team to the
technical evaluation meeting on the proscribed biological warfare
(Vienna, 20-27 March 1998)*
1 April 1998
1.1 According to the provisions of the Security Council Resolution 687
(1991), Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or
rendering harmless, under international supervision, of all biological
weapons and all stocks of biological agents and those related
subsystems and components and all research, development, support and
manufacturing facilities. Security Council Resolution 707 (1991)
requires the provision of a 'Full, Final and Complete Disclosure'.
Despite various Security Council Resolutions, Iraq continued to
conceal its Biological Warfare (BW) programme. Since May 1992, a
series of 'Full, Final and Complete Disclosures' (FFCDs) was submitted
to the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), the latest being
submitted in September 1997. In 1995, Iraq acknowledged the existence
of an offensive BW programme.
1.2 In September 1997, a panel of experts considered the September
1997 FFCD and expressed the view that the document was incomplete,
inadequate and technically flawed. UNSCOM, in October 1997, reported
to the Security Council that Iraq had not disclosed the full scope of
its proscribed biological warfare programme.
1.3 In December 1997, the Executive Chairman of the Special Commission
and the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq agreed to conduct a technical
evaluation meeting (TEM) to deal specifically with the issue of the
proscribed BW programme.
2.1 The Executive Chairman invited a number of Governments to nominate
experts to participate in the BW TEM. Based on responses received, the
Executive Chairman formed the Special Commission's team with experts
from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Norway, Romania,
Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom,
United States and three experts from the Office of the Special
Commission originating from Austria, Germany and United States. A list
of the team members is attached at Annex A.
2.2 Prior to the TEM, the Commission sent a dossier to Iraq containing
all of Iraq's declarations on its biological warfare programme
together with documents provided by Iraq to support its declarations.
Where appropriate, official translations of Arabic documents were
2.3 The expert team assembled at the United Nations (UN) New York on
Thursday 12 March 1998 and spent six days in preparation for the
meeting, including four days of briefings. In the framework of the
preparation, the members of the team had access to all information on
Iraq's biological warfare programme available to the Commission. With
this background information and after an assessment of Iraq's
declarations, the team members composed a Commentary Note (Annex B)
which was provided to the Iraqi delegation prior to the meeting. Iraq
also provided a dossier to the TEM prior to the meeting.
3.1 The purpose of the TEM was to conduct, through open discussions
with Iraq's delegation, an examination of all aspects of the
proscribed BW programme to evaluate the technical issues of this
programme and present an assessment to the Executive Chairman of
3.2 The BW TEM was conducted at the UN Office in Vienna, Austria from
20-27 March 1998. Iraq's delegation (Annex C) was led by
Lieutenant-General Amer Hammoodi Al Sa'adi. A preliminary meeting was
held between the experts and Iraq's delegation on 19 March 1998. At
this meeting, it was affirmed that Dr. Ake Sellstrom would chair the
TEM. It was agreed that the TEM agenda should essentially follow the
sequence of chapters in the FFCD session by session. Iraq would start
the TEM with an initial presentation and remarks on the written
commentary provided by UNSCOM in its BW dossier. It was agreed that no
comment on the TEM to the media would be made until the TEM was
3.3 The meeting also agreed that there would be a break of 24 hours on
the penultimate day to allow both delegations to prepare their
provisional concluding remarks. Comments were provided to the team's
outline of provisional conclusions that were presented at the final
session of the TEM on 27 March (Annex D).
3.4 Iraq's delegation participated in all discussions during the TEM.
At the first session, General Amer Al-Sa'adi provided a precis of
Iraq's BW programme. General Sa'adi introduced himself as the
principal weapons expert in Iraq and stated he had the authority to
speak on these issues. He then proceeded to give a critique on the
team's commentary.
3.5 Iraq did not include within its technical team a full range of
technical and managerial expertise to enable most of the technical
issues to be fully examined. Iraq stated that it was unable to provide
a more comprehensive delegation for financial and personal reasons.
General Sa'adi chose personally to respond to most questions at the
general and political level. Occasionally he chose those Iraqi experts
present to contribute. Many technical issues raised, but not
discussed, were deferred to resolution after the TEM. Many responses
were explanations rather than definitive statements and did not
represent technically coherent accounts.
3.6 The meeting was conducted in a professional manner in accord with
the arrangements made initially.
4.1.1 The FFCD contains major mistakes, inconsistencies and gaps in
information. In addition, the information concerning Iraq's BW
programme has been selected before presentation in the FFCD, thus
hindering the assessment of the BW programme. The FFCD should be a
full and complete account and, consequently, should be a 'stand-alone'
document. The FFCD also does not provide a clear understanding of the
current status of the BW programme or whether, or when, it was
4.1.2 The interplay amongst acquisition, production and selection of
weapons contradicts Iraq's assertion that there was no planning of the
BW programme. The account of organizational and logistic issues as
plans, decision-making and military concepts of use, is minimal. The
current information on organisational aspects does not allow for an
understanding of the scope of the BW programme.
4.2.1 Iraq has not provided the evolutionary aspects of the BW
programme so that an overall understanding is gained. Whilst this is
an overall history, and the intention was not to explore specifics,
the complete paucity of information on the Al-Hazen Ibn Al Haithem
Institute(1), relationships between different organisations and the
alleged lack of documents are very disturbing. Further and completely
consistent information is needed. The statement by Iraq of the lack of
importance of the Al-Hazen Institute is not warranted.
4.2.2 Iraq has not provided an adequate account of the funding and
budgetary arrangements established for the BW programme throughout its
4.2.3 Establishing when the offensive BW programme ceased is
essential. Knowing when those involved stopped working in the BW
programme, or were transferred elsewhere, is vital to this. Such
proposals were made to Iraq's delegation.
4.3.1 The Al-Hazen Institute and many sites of the later BW programme
have not been included in the FFCD. The rationale given for the
construction and acquisition of all sites is incomplete. Iraq
attempted to marginalise and minimise the information on these sites
on the grounds they were insignificant. Iraq agreed to include as an
integral part of the FFCD diagrams of all sites related to any BW
activities (from the first day of the implementation of the BW
programme in Iraq). This is an authoritative chapter in the FFCD and
it is essential that it is both full and complete to allow for
understanding of the program and future work on verification.
4.3.2 There is a requirement for Iraq to provide the rationale,
justification, and requirement for all sites including those for
weapons tests, research and development, production, storage, weapons
production and filling, deployment, and the destruction sites for
weapons, documents and agents. Building diagrams must be provided
where appropriate.
4.4.1 The general lack of information concerning the organization from
the highest levels down, and their connections to functional organs,
considerably hampers the ability to understand the scope of the past
BW programme. Supporting documentation and consistent information,
regarding programme organization and fund allocations, is needed.
4.4.2 Iraq claims that there was no support or organization involving
the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and that there was no representation on
the 'Military High Command' and the General Council of Ministers
concerning any aspect of the BW programme. Iraq states that the
Director-General of the Technical Research Centre (TRC)(2) reported to
Hussain Kamel as head of the State Security Organ (SSO)(3), rather
than Military Industrial Commission (MIC)(4). In spite of this, Iraq
forcefully denied any interaction between the BW programme and any
Iraqi intelligence agencies; a disavowal the team felt was not
plausible. The BW programme remains an area wherein all involvement of
Defence, Health or other agencies with MIC and TRC is denied. Evidence
exists which contradicts this. Iraq offered to clarify organization
structures only within MIC.
4.4.3 Iraq maintained that the Al-Hazen Institute was a complete
failure, was totally liquidated, and had no relationship with or was,
in anyway, continued into the BW programme. Current information makes
this assertion difficult to accept. The bottom-up control of the BW
programme does not account for the degree of coordination evident as
the programme progressed.
4.4.4 By contrast with the Al-Hazen Institute, which had a formal
personnel recruitment programme for its BW activities, the following
BW programme did not have such a formal arrangement according to Iraq.
Iraq stated that promising people within the later BW programme were
sent abroad for higher education yet there was no directive or
directions to academic institutions to conduct research related to BW.
The inadequate description of academic connections did not permit the
team to make meaningful evaluation.
4.5.1 The FFCD is deficient in reporting the acquisition of supplies,
material, microbiological isolates, munitions, and equipment. Iraq
claims that all imports for the BW programme were reported. The
system, however, used in the FFCD for determining what imports by Iraq
to include or exclude among the declared acquisitions was shown to be
without sound basis. Thus acquisitions, as measured by the number of
orders including letters of credit and cash deals through attaches,
are substantially under-reported. Without a complete accounting of all
BW programme acquisitions, a material balance is not possible.
4.5.2 Substantial quantities of microbial growth media are not
reported or included in the material balance. In addition, Iraq states
that quantities of laboratory media, including those asserted to be
for the Forensic Laboratory of the TRC, were not necessary to be
reported in the FFCD. This accounts for under-reporting of some
imports. Indeed, there appears to be no clear separation between
laboratory media for the BW programme and that attributed for the
Forensic Laboratory. Iraq did not include media imports used in the
fungal research and production programme.
4.5.3 Acquisition and attempts to acquire specific microbiological
isolates, either locally or abroad, are under-reported and poorly
described. No rationale is given for the selection of specific strains
obtained abroad. Acquisition of mycotoxin standards, and viral and
fungal strains, is not included. Iraq claims that the virus strains
are cited elsewhere in the FFCD and do not need to be included under
acquisition. Knowledge in this area is one of the essential components
required far a full understanding of the scope of Iraq's BW programme.
4.5.4 Iraq did not provide complete information on all its acquisition
channels, including the Arabian Trading Company. Iraq promised to
provide additional information in this area.
4.5.5 The possibility that Samarra Drug Industries was a procurement
channel for BW programme related materials was rebutted with an
explanation, which needs to be verified.
4.5.6 The numerical accounting of the media balance is flawed. The
balance is based on estimates of both quantities of agent produced and
the numbers of failed batches. There are insufficient documents to
calculate a media balance. Thus, material balance of media is based on
a set of estimated figures, which in turn rely on estimated and
derived figures as well as under-reported acquisition of media.
Consequently, material balance of microbiological growth media
acquired, consumed, lost or remaining in 1991, cannot be determined.
4.6.1 The research and development session was not conducted at a
scientific or technical level because the head of Iraq's delegation
chose to answer most questions in a superficial manner and frequently
deflected the question. Consequently, little quantitative information
was provided.
4.6.2 The start of research and the development of the BW programme is
not clearly defined in the FFCD. The planning, management and
development of the research programme must be presented in its
totality to make it possible to understand the overall extent and
purpose of the BW programme. This must include a description of the
work undertaken at the Al-Hazen Institute and its impact on the later
BW programme. Iraq claims that no conceptual or "paper' studies were
4.6.3 The specific rationale behind the expansion of the BW programme
up to 1991 is unclear and needs further explanations. This includes
agent selection and research into aspects of toxicity and
dissemination. As of yet, no single individual assumes responsibility
for initiating and coordinating research and development. The role of
the MIC Technical Department in planning and acquiring research
proposals is not clear.
4.6.4 Iraq portrayed the various researchers as in-experienced, or
even incompetent. Paradoxically, the BW programme, involving the same
people, managed to reach tangible results in a short time.
4.6.5 The selection of agents has not been hilly explained,
particularly in the light of a BW programme that continued to expand
and develop. The rationale for the selection of the fungal and viral
agents is unacceptable.
4.6.6 The downplaying of research and the absence of rationale for
genetic engineering, ricin, mycotoxin and virus research is
disturbing. The quality of all the scientific information in the FFCD
is poor, with more emphasis on methods than on results.
4.6.7 The information on fungal research is incomplete. The account of
trichothecenes is sparse and inaccurate, particularly with respect to
the time frame of research. Evasive responses were provided by Iraq.
Animal toxicity information on aflatoxin is inaccurate and incomplete.
Iraq was unable to justify the weaponisation of aflatoxin from the
research data obtained. Iraq also agreed that more information is
needed on the aflatoxin project.
4.6.8 The information presented on the aerobiology research is
incomplete. Iraq's portrayal of the aerobiology programme as immature,
with no bearing on other components of the research programme, is
contradicted by information held by the Special Commission and
provided by Iraq.
4.7.1 Iraq maintained that it was difficult, if not impossible, to
provide any verifiable account for production because relevant
documents had been unilaterally destroyed. The FFCD does not
adequately support the actual production quantities of the four BW
agents(5) acknowledged to be intended for weaponisation. Iraq
maintained that the core document for production data was the '1990 Al
Hakam Report' and that production was based on availability of
equipment and personnel as well as the filling requirements for
weapons. Iraq claims that there was no strategic plan or a
co-ordinated effort for agent production.
4.7.2 Iraq has contended in the FFCD that the BW programme turned to
existing fermenters within Iraq only after external acquisition
sources failed. Evidence does not support this as such existing
sources were already obtained before external contracts were sought.
Similarly, Iraq contends that initial production of botulinum toxin
was dependent on availability of growth media. This is not supported
by the evidence. Overall, the expert team considered that production
equipment acquisition was better planned and co-ordinated than
portrayed by Iraq.
4.7.3 Bulk BW agent production appears to be considerably understated
in the FFCD. There is an unexpected and unexplained discrepancy
between production capability and stated agent production. There is
low confidence in the account of the production of the bacterial
agents: Clostridium pefringens, Clostridium botulinum (spores and
toxin), Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis (Bacillus anthracis
simulant). The use by Iraq of recollection and back-calculation, based
on weapons filling needs and/or the '1990 Al-Hakam Report', is flawed.
Consequently, the figures are not reliable.
4.7.4 The account of aflatoxin production, production technology and
organisation, and weaponisation is implausible. Production methodology
for aflatoxin could not provide for the quality and quantity stated in
the FFCD.
4.7.5 Iraq steadfastly maintained that fermenter idle times were
determined by the need for maintenance of the fermenters or because of
failures resulting from contamination. Iraq repeatedly affirmed that
production was as stated in the FFCD. The low productivity of
fermenters and the significant periods when fermenters were unused
were not satisfactorily explained.
4.7.6 The statement by Iraq that all seed cultures were unilaterally
destroyed in July 1991 cannot be confirmed.
4.8.1 Without a full understanding of all aspects of Iraq's BW
weapons, it is not possible to assess whether the provisions of
Security Council Resolution 687 have been met. The FFCD does not
contain the required detail. The FFCD must include numbers, types,
markings and a detailed account of individual weapon systems.
Discussions of this issue added little of significance. Iraq
recognised that this situation can only be rectified by the
presentation of a full account, backed-up by documents and physical
4.8.2 A most disturbing unresolved issue concerns the Al-Hussain BW
warheads. The FFCD account of the destruction of the BW warheads
cannot be reconciled with the physical evidence. Iraq acknowledges
that the FFCD contains incorrect information regarding Al-Hussain
warheads. Weapons declared as 'special chemical' were, in fact,
conventional. Recent discoveries, in a pit at Al-Nibai, of what Iraq
claimed to be chemical warfare (CW) warheads, were discussed. The
UNSCOM evidence that these weapons were BW was presented. Iraq did not
respond in detail, 'preferring' to deal with this matter when current
excavations are completed. This whole situation casts doubts on many
aspects of the Al-Hussain BW warhead programme.
4.8.3 Other issues of importance include the lack of information in
the FFCD about all aspects of Iraq's BW aircraft drop-tank project.
The significance is greatly underplayed, considering that this weapon
appears to be the most efficient produced by Iraq. The evidence that
Iraq was investigating patents in this area several years before the
claimed start of weapon development is also of concern. The FFCD does
not clearly state the agent to be deployed in drop tanks. Iraq has, in
the course of inspections, acknowledged that Bacillus anthracis was to
be used. In the TEM, the Iraqi head of delegation stated, for the
first time, that botulinum toxin was to be used although Iraq was
unable to offer the technical basis for the choice of this agent.
4.8.4 Within the overall production figures of CW and BW R-400 and
R-400A bombs, it is not possible to determine how many weapons were
filled with particular agents. As Iraq could not explain
inconsistencies in the evidence in this area, no confident assessment
can be made of the numbers of BW filled bombs.
4.8.5 Further, but less well defined, aspects of Iraq's BW programme
also raise concerns. The denial of any planning or external agencies'
involvement in the weapon selection, filling, deployment or
destruction, is unacceptable. Weapons research into other systems,
including cluster munitions and remotely-piloted vehicles, is
inadequately described in the FFCD. This lack of candour also raises
the possibility of research or development of, as yet, undisclosed
4.9.1 A clear description of the organisations driving, or
influencing, the BW programme is critical when assessing its dimension
and the significance of the results portrayed. The lack of such
descriptions reflects negatively on the credibility of accounts of
research and development, production, and the selection and deployment
of weapons. Without further physical or documentary evidence, the
unclear explanations given, in all of these areas, make it impossible
to confirm the information presented in the FFCD.
4.9.2 According to Iraq's account, the involvement of MOD in the BW
programme ceased with the transfer of the biology group from
Al-Muthanna to TRC which was under the control of MIC. Iraq asserts
this MOD link was only re-established specifically for the deployment
of weapons in January 1991. The explanation given is that MIC had a
higher status than the MOD and was a self-contained entity that could
progress from initiation to deployment of weapons without outside
input. This is not believable.
4.9.3 The BW weapons would have to have been integrated into Iraq's
strategic arsenal. For these, military objectives, the concepts of use
and the mechanisms for releasing these weapons must have been defined.
This would have required extensive planning, which Iraq denies.
4.9.4 The FFCD portrays Hussain Kamel as the sole key decision-maker
and controller of the BW programme after 1987. Links between Hussain
Kamel, the MOD and other organisations are vehemently denied. It is
assessed that such links must have existed. Without such links, it is
difficult to understand how Iraq defined its military requirement and
planned for the use of its BW weapons.
4.10.1 Despite the obligations of Security Council Resolution 687,
Iraq practised deception and concealment of its BW programme. An
elaborate effort was undertaken to conceal and preserve Iraq's BW
programme. Iraq has acknowledged this concealment until 1995. Iraq
claims that the implementation of the concealment instructions were
left to the initiative of individuals and was not a planned and
co-ordinated activity. An action as serious as this, without a
co-ordinated plan, is absurd. Iraq denies that any deception occurred.
Iraq, however, has presented falsified or altered papers, accounts and
material to conceal its offensive BW programme. Since February 1996,
Iraq has not provided further documentation or plausible explanations
for many aspects of its BW programme. It is not certain whether
deception with regard to some elements of the BW programme continues.
4.10.2 The scope of Iraq's BW programme, defined in 1995, and in
succeeding, FFCDs still does not cover the entirety of the BW
programme. The mechanisms by which concealment was accomplished, the
organisations and individuals involved, and the underlying philosophy
has not yet been presented to the Special Commission. Many technical
and military aspects are omitted, misrepresented or trivialised.
Consequently, Iraq provided misleading information about the
involvement of the MOD, Intelligence Agencies, and Security
Organisations in the BW programme.
4.10.3 Equipment, documents, media and seed micro-organisms were all
removed from the key BW facilities prior to the 1991 war and returned
after this war. Iraq claims that some media were stolen during this
process. This claim is, in part, the reason why Iraq cannot account
for all the media existing, destroyed, and used. This assertion,
however, is contradicted by evidence as well as interview information.
Iraq claims that all documents with regard to the BW programme were
destroyed in 1991 on orders from Hussain Kamel. This event can not be
confirmed. Some documents were preserved and collected, and are
allegedly those that have turned up later at the Haidar Farm of
Hussain Kamel. The source of these documents can not be established.
4.10.4 Iraq claims that the BW programme was obliterated in 1991 as
demonstrated by the unilateral destruction of the weapons deployed,
bulk agent and some documents associated with the BW programme. Iraq,
however, retained the facilities, growth media, equipment and
groupings of core technical personnel at Al Hakam, and continued to
deny the BW programme's existence. In spite of Iraq's continued denial
of the preservation of its BW programme, the Government of Iraq has
yet to offer documentation of its formal renunciation. The head of the
Iraqi delegation took the position that he could offer no defense to
justify the concealment and deception prior to 1995. These positions
and acts raise serious doubts about Iraq's assertion that the BW
programme was truly obliterated in 1991.
5.1 A technical evaluation of Iraq's FFCD was undertaken by the
international experts using all the available information as well as
Iraq's explanations and clarifications. No additional confidence in
the veracity and expanse of the FFCD was derived from the TEM. Iraq
did not provide any new technical information of substance to support
its FFCD.
5.2 Iraq's FFCD is judged to be incomplete and inadequate. The
information presented by Iraq does not provide the basis for the
formulation of a material balance or a determination of the structure
and organisation of the BW programme. This is required for effective
monitoring of Iraq's dual capable facilities.
5.3 The construction of a material balance, based primarily on
recollection, provides no confidence that resources such as weapons,
bulk agents, bulk media and seed stocks, have been eliminated.
5.4 The organisational aspects of the BW programme are not clear and
there is little confidence that the full scope of the BW programme is
revealed. Additional aspects, such as the existence of dormant or
additional BW programmes, remain unresolved.
5.5 The TEM identified to the Iraqi delegation the depth and extent of
the experts' concern about Iraq's biological FFCD.
5.6 The responses by Iraq revealed that their delegation was not
prepared to tackle the issues in the technical detail demanded by the
process. They did not grasp the opportunity offered. The attitude of
Iraq as evinced by the TEM toward the discussions was disappointing
and shows no change since 1995.
5.7 Iraq, however, recognized the need to improve its FFCD and
promised to do so. If this BW TEM results in a significant improvement
of the Iraq's declaration, the FFCD, then this is a positive outcome.
5.8 The present report has been jointly prepared by all team members,
unanimously approved, and adopted on 01 April 1998.
6.1 The team is grateful to the interpreters and the report writers
for their tireless assistance. The team is also grateful to the staff
of the Vienna International Centre for its hospitality, tolerance and
professional support at very short notice.
Ake Sellstrom (Chairman)
Henri Garrigue
Anfeng Guo
Britta Haggstrom
Oleg Ignatiev
Kenneth Johnson
David Kelly
Hamish Killip
Gabriele Kraatz-Wadsack
Sergej Kucherenko
Roque Monteleone-Neto
Erling Myhre
Andrew Robertson
Nadia Isabel Schurch
Christian Seelos
Richard O. Spertzel
Charles Templeton
Stefan Trasculescu
o The annexes and appendices mentioned in the report are not attached.
(1) The Al-Hazen Ibn Al Haitham Institute (Al-Hazen Institute) was a
BW and CW research institute sponsored by an Iraqi intelligence
(2) The Technical Research Centre (TRC), established in 1985 under an
Iraqi intelligence agency, to which part of the BW programme was added
in 1987.
(3) The State Security Organ (SSO) was under Hussain Kamel's command.
(4) The Military Industrial Commission (MIC) was nominally responsible
for the TRC.
(5) Clostridium perfringens (Gas gangrene). Clostridium botulinum
(botulinum toxin). Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) and aflatoxin.
(6) Although deception and concealment were not part of the FFCD, the
experts believed that this subject as of significance in understanding
the programme from 1991 onwards.

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