Iraq Survey Group Final Report
Concealment And Destruction of Biological Weapons
Iraq’s Initial WMD Concealment Effort
UNSCR 687, approved on 3 April 1991, required Iraq to disclose fully its weapons’ programs and stockpiles, yet the former Regime decided later that month only to declare partially their programs and weapons.
- In the week following the passage of UNSCR 687, MIC Senior Deputy Dr. ‘Amir Al Sa’adi convened a meeting of all the senior managers from the missile, chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons programs. These program heads brought with them inventories of weapons, missiles, launchers, accessory equipment, bulk agents, raw materials, and production machinery, along with recommendations of what to declare and what to hide.
Al Sa’adi and the program heads wrote a paper detailing a series of options for Iraq’s response to the resolution. These options, according to Al Sa’adi, included:
- Declaring everything and actively cooperating with inspectors.
- Declaring all sites and weapons but saying nothing about activities under development such as the nuclear program, and not volunteering information responding to questions when asked.
- Hiding everything. They based this option on the Coalition’s claim that it destroyed everything during the war.
- A fourth option may have called for Iraq to make a simple declaration of a few lines and to let the UN respond with clarification of what was required.
- One or two of the options contained a provision that Iraq should unilaterally destroy the biological program. Another option called for Iraq to declare only BW research and development work.
Al Sa’adi submitted the options to Husayn Kamil, not directly to Saddam. Husayn Kamil later gathered Al Sa’adi and several of the program heads and gave them instructions regarding the declarations. He did not base his instructions on a single recommended option but contained elements from several options. After the initial declaration in April, Iraq also submitted a more detailed declaration in May 1991.
- Whether Saddam was involved in the decision is not clear, though ISG judges that he was probably involved. Once Husayn Kamil made the overall policy for the declarations, Al Sa’adi, in consultation with the program heads, decided which weapons and programs to declare.
Senior Iraqi officials have stated several reasons for Iraq’s retention of weapons and its failure fully to declare its programs.
- Husayn Kamil decided that a full declaration–to include the nuclear and BW programs– would be embarrassing to Iraq and would bring undesired international scrutiny, according to one participant in the April 1991 meeting.
- Former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq ‘Aziz stated that Husayn Kamil originally wanted to keep the concealed, undeclared weapons for use in the future, and he speculated that Kamil probably wanted to use them against the United States, Israel, or Kuwait.
- Former Oil Minister and MIC Deputy, ‘Amir Muhammad Rashid Al ‘Ubaydi, speculated to ISG that Iraq did not declare all of its weapons in order to maintain a deterrent against the United States, which continued to menace Iraq from Kuwait and southern Iraq at the time of the initial declaration.
- Another official believed that Iraq’s decision not to declare all of Iraq’s weapons came from Saddam who was afraid of Iran, Israel, and perhaps other neighbors. Post-war Iraq was unstable, and Iraq found itself in a helpless and defenseless position.
- Another official believed Iraq retained missiles and launchers because Iraq was experiencing serious Iranian-instigated security problems–the 1991 Shia uprising– and Iraq wanted to keep the missiles in case war developed with Iran.
- In the period shortly after the passage of UNSCR 687, most Iraqi officials did not think that the resolution would be vigorously applied, and they expected that inspectors would only operate in Iraq for a couple of months.
Because of Husayn Kamil’s decision in April 1991, Iraq only partially declared its holdings of chemical weapons and missiles, while it did not declare its biological and nuclear weapons program at all.Iraq concealed the undeclared weapons to varying degrees.
- Iraq concealed between 128-157 R-400 bombs containing BW agent at Airfield 37 in western Iraq and at Al ‘Aziziyah to the southeast of Baghdad.
- Iraq also concealed 25 biological agent-filled Al Husayn missile warheads; 15 in the embankment of the Tigris Canal northwest of Baghdad, and 10 warheads in the Al Mansuriyah former railway tunnel to the northeast of Baghdad. These warheads contained botulinum toxin, Bacillus anthracis spores, and aflatoxin, though the number filled with each agent is still uncertain.
- Iraq also concealed an undetermined amount of bulk BW agent at a succession of locations around the periphery of Baghdad.
The Destruction of Iraq’s BW
An IAEA inspection in late June 1991 triggered Iraq’s decision unilaterally to destroy the undeclared weapons that had been concealed from the UN, according to multiple senior Iraqi officials. The IAEA’s inspection team was blocked from sites in Abu Ghurayb and Fallujah. The Iraqis fired warning shots over the inspectors’ heads, but the inspectors brought back photos indicating Iraq was hiding undeclared uranium enrichment equipment from the inspectors.
- The IAEA inspection and the international uproar surrounding it caused consternation and a measure of panic in the Regime’s leadership, particularly Husayn Kamil, and Saddam appointed a high-level committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tariq ‘Aziz to deal with inspection matters, according to multiple sources.
- A senior Iraqi scientist who directed the destruction of chemical and biological munitions contends that the decision to destroy the hidden materials was made at the end of June 1991. The IAEA inspection and the ensuing controversy prompted Iraqi concerns about renewed war with the US, according to Dr. Bilal. ‘Amir Rashid telephoned Dr. Bilal and ordered that all hidden chemical and biological munitions be destroyed within 48 hours. When Bilal responded that this was impossible, ‘Amir Rashid directed that Bilal use the resources of the Iraqi Air Force and the surface-to-surface missile force to accomplish the task. Dr. Bilal gathered his colleagues from Al Muthanna, went to the locations of the stored munitions, and began the destruction.
Interviews with high-ranking political figures, managers of military industries, WMD scientists, and disarmament officials indicate that Iraq decided in the spring of 1991 to eliminate evidence of the BW program. All the interview subjects agree that Iraq accomplished this elimination by the autumn of 1991, though there are still important questions about the timing of the effort, the amounts and origins of material destroyed, and whether Iraq initially planned to retain a stock of BW.
The Iraqi leadership regarded the BW program as politically dangerous for Iraq and made the decision to destroy the BW program, according to Tariq ‘Aziz.
- Husayn Kamil actually made the decision to destroy weapons and evidence of the BW program in April at the same time that he decided not to declare the program, according to NMD head, Husam Amin.
- In early May 1991, Husayn Kamil verbally ordered Technical Research Center (TRC) head Ahmad Murtada to destroy all biological agents, along with all documentation for their research, development, and production, according to Dr. Rihab.
- Former MIC director ‘Amir Rashid also indicated that the destruction decision came from Husayn Kamil, who then relayed the decision through Al Sa’adi and himself, to TRC head Murtada for execution.
The BW program’s destruction occurred in three distinct phases:
- The cleanup and sterilization of research and production facilities, including Al Salman, Al Hakam, Al Manal (Al Dawrah, FMDV Plant), and Al Safa’ah (Al Fudaliyah)
- The destruction of munitions by the TRC Biological Group and Al Muthanna personnel
- The deactivation and dumping of bulk BW agent.
Concealment of the production aspects of the BW program required the thorough cleanup of Iraq’s BW research and production facilities, which reportedly began shortly after the destruction decision. Cleanup was completed prior to the arrival of the first UNSCOM BW inspection in August 1991, according to TRC head Dr. Ahmad Murtada.
- The TRC T-3 BW research and development facility at Al Salman, located three kilometers south of Salman Pak, which Coalition bombing had badly damaged during the 1991 war, was further destroyed with explosives, and the site graded and landscaped. A review of reporting from the summer of 1991 indicates this activity began in early July 1991 and was complete by the end of that month.
- The Al Manal production facility was cleaned up, equipment not originally part of the facility was taken to Al Hakam, and the site returned to its original owner–before the first UNSCOM inspection in May 1991, according to Dr. Rihab, although MIC did not formally relinquish control until July 1991.
- Al Hakam, one of Iraq’s major BW agent production plant, was not damaged during the 1991 war, and Husayn Kamil sought to maintain the facility–with its specialized equipment and work force– by creating a civilian cover story to explain the presence of the large-scale production equipment. The plant was converted for production of biopesticide and single cell protein.
Iraq destroyed its BW weapons in the summer of 1991, according to multiple sources.
- Dr. Bilal of Al Muthanna was responsible for destroying the BW–R-400 aerial bombs and Al Husayn missile warheads–because no one within the TRC T-3 Directorate had any experience with weapons, while Al Muthanna personnel were very familiar with them. Bilal was assisted by Sinan ‘Abd-al-Hasan Muhi Mustafa Al ‘Ubaydi and Isma’il Ahmad Salih Bashir Al Bashir of TRC.
- There were two sites within the ‘Aziziyah bombing range for the destruction of the R-400 BW bombs–possibly 133 or 134 of them, according to Dr. Bilal. Deactivation of the agent within the bombs with formalin and potassium permanganate (for botulinum toxin and anthrax bombs) or bleach (for bombs containing aflatoxin) was followed by destruction of the bomb casings with explosives.
- The Al Husayn BW warheads were chemically deactivated by Al Hakam personnel at their storage sites (the Tigris Canal embankment and the Al Mansuriyah former railway tunnel), then taken to An Nibai and destroyed with explosives, according to Bilal and Rihab.
- Iraq’s BW declaration indicated Iraq had 157 R-400 BW bombs (100 botulinum toxin, 50 anthrax, and 7 aflatoxin) and 25 Al Husayn BW warheads (5 anthrax, 16 botulinum toxin, and 4 aflatoxin). UNSCOM, UNMOVIC, and the Iraqis themselves regarded these numbers as soft estimates because of the lack of documentation.
- UNMOVIC-monitored excavations at the Al ‘Aziziyah destruction site in February and March 2003 unearthed evidence of 104 R-400s, in addition to the 24 R-400s excavated under UNSCOM supervision. As a result, UNMOVIC considered the 128 R-400s accounted for at Al ‘Aziziyah.
It also appears that Iraq destroyed its stocks of bulk agent in the summer or autumn of 1991, but Iraqi accounts of this destruction vary in timing, amounts, and location. As a result, ISG still does not have a clear picture of bulk agent destruction. There remain a number of inconsistencies in the accounts of the officials involved.
- A 2,200-liter storage tank of anthrax in underground storage at Al Hakam remained there during the 1991 war, along with two one cubic meter tanks on trailers. The trailers had flat tires and the large tank was not transportable. The disposition of this material is unknown, according to a former BW program official.
- In the summer of 1991, Al Hakam personnel deactivated anthrax stored in an unknown number of one-cubic meter stainless steel tanks using formalin and potassium permanganate. They dumped the anthrax into a septic tank for an unspecified period, then trucked the deactivated anthrax to an area near the production bunkers at Al Hakam and dumped it on the ground.
- In April 1991, Al Hakam personnel removed some of the Clostridium botulinum and Bacillus anthracis produced at Al Hakam and stored it in a bungalow in Ar Radwaniyah until May 1991, according to Dr. Rihab. This agent was supposed to return to Al Hakam for disposal but was not. Later, Rihab’s staff destroyed and disposed of the BW agent in ar-Radwaniyah. This concealment and destruction was never declared to the UN.
- An Iraqi BW program official inadvertently told UN inspectors about the dumping of an unknown number of one-cubic meter stainless steel tanks of anthrax in the desert northwest of Baghdad near An Nibai in July 1991, according to a former BW official.
- Al Hakam personnel reportedly transported several one cubic meter tanks of botulinum toxin and 340 liters of Clostridium perfringens to Airfield 37 in western Iraq in January 1991 as the war was about to begin. At some point, unidentified personnel loaded these tanks onto a truck and drove them around Baghdad until September or October 1991. Iraq had told the UN it destroyed the material in July 1991. This was not so. The tanks probably returned to Al Hakam where, following deactivation, disposal occurred, though the Iraqi NMD could not confirm this, according to a BW program official.
- One source indicated that the 340 liters of Clostridium perfringens at Al Hakam remained there until the destruction of Al Hakam (in 1996), but this contention is not supported by other sources. Another source maintains that researchers tested this agent in May 1991, found severe fungal contamination, and assessed that the agent was no longer pathogenic.
The Iraqis also apparently destroyed tanks of anthrax at the ‘Aziziyah firing range, the site of the R-400 bomb destruction. The number of containers and the amount of agent destroyed is unclear.
- Three one cubic meter tanks of anthrax stored at the ‘Aziziyah firing range were ordered destroyed in June 1991, according to a participant in the destruction. After gathering debris from the destruction, he reported to his supervisor, Dr. Bilal, that the tanks had been destroyed. However, an entry in the log book of the officer in charge of the ‘Aziziyah range only lists the destruction of two of the tanks, and therefore the source believed that one of the containers still exists at Al ‘Aziziyah.
- Two destroyed one cubic meter bulk storage and transport containers –along with parts of a third container–were found at Al ‘Aziziyah during Iraqi excavations of the site just prior to OIF, according Dr. Bilal. If true, it would account for the missing third anthrax tank. Other participants in the 2003 excavations have not confirmed the finding of this third container.
Iraq declared that all bulk agent, including anthrax that remained after the filling of weapons, had been stored at Al Hakam and was unilaterally destroyed there in July and August 1991, according to UNMOVIC. UNMOVIC also noted that UNSCOM found evidence of anthrax disposal at Al Hakam but considered the evidence insufficient to support Iraq’s statements about the quantity of anthrax destroyed and the circumstances surrounding that destruction.
The problem of accounting for the destruction of bulk agent is part of the larger issue of Iraqi BW agent material balance. ISG cannot arrive at an agent material balance because it still does not know with confidence:
- The amount of each agent produced at each production facility
- The amount of each agent used in weapons filling
- The number of weapons filled with each agent
- The amount of bulk agent of each type destroyed.
It is not clear whether the original decision to eliminate the BW program called for the destruction of bulk agent and BW munitions, or if Iraq initially planned to conceal and retain the bulk agent and filled munitions. Kamil’s original plan may have only encompassed the cleanup and conversion of the research and production facilities.
- The BW munitions were all destroyed in the summer of 1991, according to multiple sources, but Iraq was also engaged in a much wider campaign of unilateral destruction during this period that also encompassed the chemical and missile programs.
- Iraq apparently destroyed much of the bulk BW agent in July 1991, but some reportedly remained hidden until September or October 1991, according to one BW program insider.
A letter written by Husam Amin to Qusay Saddam Husayn, as head of the Iraqi SSO, supports the judgment that Iraq unilaterally destroyed most of its pre-1991 CW and BW weapons and long-range missiles. The letter, written in August 1995 shortly after Husayn Kamil fled to Jordan, listed undeclared capabilities that Kamil might reveal to the UN.
- The letter points out that “the destruction of the biological weapons occurred in the summer of 1991 (after the ceasefire) and not in the fall of 1990 as in the Iraqi declaration” to the UN.
- The letter mentions a number of undeclared capabilities e.g. weaponization of BW agents, BW production at the Al Dawrah FMDV Plant, the Badr-2000 program, and other matters, but contains no mention of any existing undeclared CBW weapons or missiles.
Husam Amin acknowledged writing the letter, and ISG judges that the letter is authentic.
What Remained Hidden and Undeclared 1995-1998?
ISG’s investigation found no evidence that Iraq continued to hide BW weapons after the unilateral destruction of 1991 was complete, and ISG judges that most of the documents and materials hidden by the Special Republican Guard from 1991 until 1995 were indeed surrendered to the UN. However, Iraq continued to conceal documents from 1998 until 2003.
- For several years, Special Republican Guard officers concealed the “know-how” documents, which Husayn Kamil ordered collected in 1991. These officers used safehouses in the Ghaziliyah and Hay at Tashri neighborhoods of Baghdad and a farm in Abu Ghurayb to hide the documents.
- In late 2002, weeks before the arrival of the UNMOVIC inspectors in Iraq, NMD employees reportedly were ordered to collect all documents indicating discrepancies between the number of chemical and biological munitions destroyed or used and the total number produced. These documents, which filled 16 boxes, were being turned in to the IIS to be hidden or disposed of.
ISG investigations also determined that Iraq failed to declare to the UN a number of significant capabilities and activities. Examples of such omissions include:
- Storage and disposal of bulk BW agent, including anthrax, at Ar Radwaniyah in 1991.
Weaponization Related Activities in the Years Following Desert Storm
Various reporting indicates an interest in acquiring systems for the dissemination of CBW. Acquisition related efforts were usually couched in generic terms, such as “aerosol systems” or “aerosol generators,” and typically associated by the Iraqis with agricultural use. It would also appear that there may have been plans to keep the spray technology remnants of the CBW programs hidden from UN inspectors.
Detailed Accounting of Iraq’s Al Husayn Missile “Special” Warheads
According to Iraqi declarations and Dr. Mahmud Farraj Bilal, Iraq had produced 75 “special” Al Husayn warheads, including 50 chemical warheads, and 25 biological warheads.
In April 1991, Iraqi initially declared to the UN only 30 warheads–all of them chemical. Iraq destroyed these under UNSCOM supervision. Of the 30 CW warheads:
- 16 contained unitary Sarin (GB) nerve agent
- 14 contained the cyclohexanol/isopropanol mixture that was the basis for Iraq’s “binary” GB/GF nerve agent. The methylphosphonic difluoride (DF) component for these warheads was also destroyed.
In addition to these 30 declared chemical warheads, Iraq initially concealed 20 undeclared chemical warheads from UNSCOM, which it destroyed in the summer of 1991. All were “binary” warheads filled with a mixture of cyclohexanol and isopropanol.
After Husayn Kamil fled Iraq in August 1995, Iraq clarified that the 75 Al Husayn warheads actually consisted of 50 chemical and 25 biological warheads. Of the 25 biological warheads, Iraq declared and Dr. Bilal believes that:
- 5 contained “Agent B”—anthrax spores
- 16 contained “Agent A”—botulinum toxin
- 4 contained “Agent C”—aflatoxin
To verify Iraq’s claims, UNSCOM sampled remnants of warheads destroyed at An Nibai and found traces of anthrax in containers of seven distinct missile warheads. In response, Iraq changed its account of BW warheads. Dr. Bilal clarified that no one knew for certain the number of warheads filled with a given agent because the Iraqis kept no records of the filling operation.
Of the 45 “special” warheads that were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq, UNSCOM recovered and accounted for remnants of 43-45.
The Al Husayn warhead “material balance” is thus:
75 Total “special” warheads produced by Iraq 30 Destroyed under UNSCOM supervision
20 “Binary” CW warheads unilaterally destroyed at An Nibai 25 Deactivated BW warheads unilaterally destroyed at An Nibai 45 Toatl warheads unilaterally destroyed 45 75
Total “special”warheads destroyed
- In 1994, a Hughes 500 helicopter was equipped with two L-29 drop tanks at At Taji Airfield by Dr. Imad ‘Abd-al-Latif ‘Abd-al-Rida’Ali Shihab. He reportedly did this to satisfy a requirement from the Minister of Agriculture to replace its aging agricultural helicopters. No other helicopters were converted. UNSCOM tagged the helicopter and while inspectors agreed it was only for agricultural use, it was kept under close scrutiny. ISG recovered these tanks in February 2004 and have conducted extensive sampling and forensic analysis to determine what materials were disseminated from these tanks, but have not discovered any materials relating either directly or indirectly to BW.
- The L-39 RPV, UAVs and ballistic missile developments are addressed in the Delivery Systems Section of this Report.
Detailed Accounting of Iraq’s R-400 BW Aerial Bombs
Iraq declared and Dr. Mahmud Farraj Bilal contends that Iraq originally manufactured 200 R-400 bomb casings for use as BW. Some of these were coated internally with epoxy for filling with “Agent A” (botulinum toxin) and “Agent B” (Bacillus anthracis spores). Dr. Bilal maintains that Iraq unilaterally destroyed 133 or 134 R-400 BW aerial bombs in 1991. In the two months prior to the outbreak of war in 2003, Iraq excavated two R-400 destruction sites in ‘Aziziyah and recovered the remnants of 133 or 134 R-400 bombs, including eight or nine intact bombs. UNMOVIC, however, accepted that 128 R-400 were accounted for at ‘Aziziyah.
Six more bombs were found to be defective prior to filling. Al Hakam personnel discarded these six bombs in the Euphrates River. Later, UNSCOM retrieved these from the river.
Dr. Bilal claims that the Iraqis reviewed a videotape of the UNSCOM-supervised destruction of 60 or 61 empty R-400 bombs at Al Muthanna in 1991. They noted that 30 of the bombs destroyed had black-stripe markings, indicating they were epoxy-coated and intended for BW use. Bilal believes that the remainder of the 60-61 bombs destroyed on the tape showed those manufactured for BW use.
The R-400 BW aerial bomb “material balance” is thus: 200 casing manufactured for BW use 128-134 Filled R-400s unilaterally destroyed at `Aziziyah (with 8-9 intact bombs), with UNMOVIC accounting for 128 and Dr. Bilal stating 134. 60 or 61 Empty R-400 casings deestroyed at Al Muthanna under UNSCOM supervision 6 Defetive casings discarded inteh Tigris River by Al Hakam personnel 194-201 Total R-400 casings manufactured for biological use accounted for.
Dr. Bilal’s recent thinking on the R-400 destruction at ‘Aziziyah and Al Muthanna is at variance with what Iraq told UNSCOM during the late 1990s. At that time, Iraq asserted that 157 R-400s were destroyed at ‘Aziziyah and that 37 were destroyed at Al Muthanna. When these are added to the six disposed of in the Tigris, the number equals the 200 R-400 cases originally manufactured for BW use. Dr. Bilal now contends that Iraq’s prior claim of 157 destroyed at ‘Aziziyah was based on the diary of an officer at the range and was inaccurate. Bilal’s assertion that 60 or 61 empty cases were destroyed at Al Muthanna is at variance with UNSCOM data that indicates that 58 R-400s were destroyed under UNSCOM supervision at Al Muthanna.
In March 2003, when UN inspectors departed Iraq, many contentious issues remained unresolved. Additional issues have emerged from ISG investigations. ISG investigated these matters with interviews, site visits, documents searches and material sampling. ISG made progress understanding most of the unresolved issues, but a few vital areas remain outstanding. With the degradation of the Iraqi infrastructure and dispersal of personnel, it is increasingly unlikely that these questions will be resolved. Of those that remain, the following are of particular concern, as they relate to the possibility of a retained BW capability or the ability to initiate a new one.
- ISG cannot determine the fate of Iraq’s stocks of bulk BW agents remaining after Desert Storm and subsequent unilateral destruction. There is a very limited chance that continuing investigation may provide evidence to resolve this issue.
- The fate of the missing bulk agent storage tanks.
- The fate of a portion of Iraq’s BW agent seed-stocks.
- The nature, purpose and who was involved in the secret biological work in the small IIS laboratories discovered by ISG.
Through an investigation of the history of Iraq’s bulk BW agent stocks, it has become evident to ISG that officials were involved in concealment and deception activities.
- ISG judges that Iraq failed to comply with UNSCRs up to OIF by failing to disclose accurate production totals for B. anthracis and probably other BW agents and for not providing the true details of its alleged 1991 disposal of stocks of bulk BW agent.
- Officials within the BW program knowingly continued this deception right up to OIF and beyond, only revealing some details well after the conflict.
- Those concerned put two motives for the continued denial and deception in relation to undeclared dumping of BW agent at a site in Ar Radwaniyah:
- The members of the program were too scared to tell the Regime that they had dumped deactivated anthrax within sight of one of the principal presidential palaces.
- Changing the account would only complicate matters with the UN and would have no affect on the material balance.
More detail on these subjects, where it exists, is included in the appropriate section of the report.
Decision Making, Command and Control and rationale of Iraq’s BW Program. Despite access to many of Iraq’s senior political and military figures, including Saddam, many aspects of the BW program remain opaque to ISG. Specifically ISG learned very few new details of the following:
- The role of the military and intelligence services in defining the requirements for the BW program.
- The rationale behind key decisions such as the reasons for starting the program, the selection of agents and weapons.
- The military response to meet the requirements of a BW program.
- The doctrine for the use of BW weapons.
- The procedures for the release of BW weapons and who was to make the decisions.
Research and Development
Genetic Engineering and Viral Research. From 1998-2003, Iraq devoted increased resources and effort to its biotechnology and genetic engineering activities, a concern that the UN continued to investigate until its departure. ISG has talked to scientists and workers in the biotechnology and genetic engineering fields, and viral researchers specifically. Despite an extensive interview program and numerous site visits that have included sampling, ISG found no evidence of activity likely to contribute directly to BW.
BW Agent Simulants. The UN deemed Iraq’s accounting of its production and use of BW agent simulants—specifically Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus lichenformis, Bacillus megaterium and Bacillus thuringiensis to be inadequate . ISG remains interested in simulant work because these items may be used not only to simulate the dispersion of BW agents, develop production techniques, and optimize storage conditions, but also the equipment used for their manufacture can also be quickly converted to make BW agent. It permits maintenance of techniques and provides continuing familiarity with the process to preserve skill levels. Iraq continued its work on Bacillus thuringiensis as a bio-pesticide carried on bentonite, at Tuwaitha after the destruction of Al Hakam. As a result of interviews with the former staff of Al Hakam and principal researchers at IAEC, ISG has discovered that this research also included investigations of bentonite not only as a carrier but also as means of enabling the speedy production of slurry from the stored dried biopesticide.
ISG has found a number of small IIS laboratories, some containing biological equipment. There are reports that aflatoxin and ricin work has been conducted by the IIS into the 1990s and that human experimentation occurred. Given the historical connections of the IIS with Iraq’s BW program, it is a concern that the nature, purpose and those involved at these small IIS laboratories have not been identified by ISG. This is an unresolved issue that will be further investigated.
Disposition of Iraq’s BW Program Culture Collection
Doubts persist regarding Iraq’s destruction of bacterial reference strains and isolates. According to Dr. Rihab, she destroyed these materials in early 1992. Dr. Rihab gave a small box containing no more than 25 vials of lyophilized bacterial pathogens, including those obtained from the American Type Culture Collection to the IIS in mid-1991 for safekeeping.
Husam Amin returned the box to Dr. Rihab in early 1992. Dr. Rihab ostensibly asked former TRC head Ahmad Murtada what to do with the vials. Murtada took the matter to Husayn Kamil, who ordered the vials destroyed. This was accomplished by injecting the vials with Dettol™ and then autoclaving the vials. ISG cannot verify that these materials were destroyed or the other details of Dr. Rihab’s account. Given correct storage conditions, ISG assesses that these seed stocks would still be viable.
Anthrax. The UN could not confirm, and in fact its evidence contradicted, the quantities of anthrax declared by Iraq as having been produced, used for trials, filled into weapons, and destroyed. The UN assessed that Iraq probably had greater stocks of the agent on hand in 1991 than it declared, probably for use in the Mirage F1 drop-tanks, and questioned Iraq’s account of destruction of the agent. ISG has interviewed most of the key Iraqis who admitted working with the agent, and has obtained contradictory explanations of the events. The details are in Annex A.
Botulinum Toxin. Iraq’s declaration of the amount of botulinum toxin it produced, used in experiments and trials, filled in weapons, wasted during handling, and unilaterally destroyed is derived from calculations, or contrived from the numbers of weapons stated to have been filled—none of these figures is verifiable. ISG teams have interviewed principal engineers and scientists involved with botulinum toxin; there has been no new information.
Mycotoxins: Aflatoxin. The resources that Iraq devoted to the manufacture, testing and filling of weapons with aflatoxin has puzzled investigators since Iraq first declared the agent. There is little doubt that Iraq conducted such a program, but the UN assesses it almost certainly overstated the production, raising the possibility that some of the weapons declared to have contained aflatoxin may have contained other BW agents. There is no evidence to support Iraq’s claim about the numbers of weapons filled with the agent, and most of the limited number of staff involved in aspect of the effort have not been located. ISG has not determined the rationale behind Iraq’s choice of aflatoxin for its offensive BW program.
Wheat Cover Smut. The UN was not able to verify the amount of wheat cover smut produced, used or consumed owing to a lack of sufficient documentation from Iraq. Iraq had stated it produced smut coated with aflatoxin, but neither this statement, nor the destruction of the wheat cover smut could be verified. ISG has not discovered any new information on this agent.
Clostridium perfringens. (C. perfringens)–the causative agent of gas gangrene—was one of the first agents Iraq examined. Despite its interest and various fragments of research—including interest in cluster munitions and an awareness of the use of C. perfringens in anti-personnel weapons—the UN found no evidence to indicate that such a course was pursued. An ISG team obtained two vials of C. perfringens as well as one vial of C.botulinum type B, from a mid-level scientist who formerly worked in the BW program. This matter is addresses in Section D—R&D.
Ricin. Unlike other BW agent programs, work on ricin emanated from the IIS, and almost certainly was based on its limited developed use as an assassination weapon. Iraq conducted a limited weapons development program until Desert Storm that included a test using artillery shells charged with ricin. Later Iraq expanded into the manufacture of castor oil, which yields the material from which ricin is extracted. Although this manufacture was later abandoned, Iraq retained the ability to restart such production in volume. ISG has pursued the Tariq castor oil facility and its possible role in ricin production as well as the security services’ interest in and use of ricin.
Undeclared BW agents—In addition to the BW agents listed above, Iraq may have investigated variola major (smallpox). Additionally the amount of peptone or tryptone soya broth (TSB) growth media imported by Iraq and not accounted for give rise to concern about the possible production of Yersinia pestis (plague), Francisella tularensis (tularaemia) and Brucella species (brucellosis). ISG has examined smallpox and Brucella, but has not uncovered any information on plague or tularaemia.
Drying of BW Agents
Iraq actively pursued the goal of drying its BW agent for improved storage and optimal dispersion and inhalation. The UN was unable to determine whether Iraq dried any of the bulk agents it produced, although it possessed the expertise and equipment to do so. ISG has found a successful program for drying the anthrax simulant, Bt; safety of the drying process would affect its application to anthrax. ISG found no evidence of dried agent.
Bacterial BW Agent Production and Storage
Production Equipment. There are a number of critical items of equipment and materials normally required for the production of bacterial BW agents. Iraq was able to manufacture fermentors, separators, settling tanks and growth media, often of a lower quality than those it formerly imported, and all of which have commercial purposes. This manufacturing aspect is a vital prerequisite for resuming a BW program and could lead to the possibility of making mobile BW facilities. ISG investigated the industrial infrastructure needed for such activity and the particular possibility of a mobile BW program. ISG discovered no evidence to indicate a renewed interest in manufacturing equipment for BW purposes.
1m3 Stainless Steel Mobile Tanks. In 1990, Iraq produced 39 1m3 stainless steel mobile tanks. The tanks are significant because they were used to store and transport bulk agent, and with modification the imported tanks could be used for fermentation purposes to produce BW agent. Al Hakam already possessed eight 800-liter stainless steel mobile fermentors. Iraq claims to have unilaterally destroyed 19 of the 1m3 and 4 of the 800-liter fermentors in 1991. UNSCOM verified these figures from remnants presented to inspectors in the mid-1990s. ISG has identified the remains of 2 additional 1m3 tanks. Thus out of an original 47 items, 18 1m3 and four 800-liter fermentors are still to be found. There are 22 items unaccounted for. Additionally, ISG has learned of additional production after 1990 (see Figure 13).
Al Husayn Biological Warheads. Iraq declared that it manufactured a total of 25 Al Husayn warheads for BW, claiming to have filled 16 with botulinum toxin, 5 with Bacillus anthracis spores, and 4 with aflatoxin. There is evidence only to confirm that sufficient stainless steel agent containers were unilaterally destroyed to account for the declared quantities of BW warheads. It is not possible to conclude that all of the BW warheads were destroyed or that only three agents were used.
R-400 and R-400A Bombs—Iraq declared that it ordered the manufacture of 200 R-400A bombs for BW, but reportedly did not fulfil that quota and instead used some R-400 bombs. Iraq claimed that 157 bombs were filled with BW; 100 with botulinum toxin, 50 with Bacillus anthracis spores, and 7 with aflatoxin. Investigations by ISG at the Al ‘Aziziyah site confirmed that by the beginning of OIF approximately 132 out of 157 bombs had been accounted for, indicating that at least 25 bombs remain unaccounted for. Because all the known physical evidence has now been investigated, it is unlikely that this matter can be resolved without the discovery of documents or new testimony from those involved.
Spray devices and RPVs.Iraq showed a continuing interest in the use of spray devices as a means of dispersing BW agent. The program started with the adaptation of helicopter-borne agricultural spray equipment and progressed through experiments with MiG-21 and Mirage F1 aircraft. In the 1990s L-29 aircraft were adapted for remote operation, but there is no evidence of spray tanks being fitted to them. The Mirage F1 used an auxiliary fuel tank as a trial spray system. Iraq claims that only 4 of these tanks were modified and that the original tank and aircraft were destroyed in opening bombardment of the Gulf war in 1991. No evidence exists to support the destruction of the aircraft and tank, although the remains of the other tanks have been verified in the past. Recent ISG investigations have discovered very large numbers of drop tanks, but none that had been modified for trials or use as a BW weapon. The L-29 development program continued up to OIF and Iraq possessed approximately 30 L-29 aircraft that could be adapted for remote operation. Drop tanks existed for this aircraft, some in use at the same site that had been used for helicopter spray trials.
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