The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq Survey Group Final Report


Iraq’s Chemical Warfare Program
Annex A


IIS Undeclared Research on Poisons and Toxins for Assassination

The Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) M16 Directorate—Iraq’s Undeclared Poisons and Toxins Research

The IIS M16 directorate utilized a set of covert laboratories to produce, research, and test various chemical compounds, including the BW agent ricin. While there is no definitive evidence that M16 scientists produced CW agents in these labs, the M16 directorate may have been planning to produce several agents including sulfur mustard, nitrogen mustard, and Sarin.

  • Site visits to several M16 labs, safe houses, and disposal sites have turned up no evidence of CW-related production or development, however, many of these sites were either sanitized by the regime or looted, limiting the obtainable information from site exploitations.
  • ISG has had to rely heavily on sensitive reporting to understand the activity that took place at these sites, and there has only been limited, uncorroborated reporting that the M16 had produced CW agents. Several reports have stated that ricin was produced at one of these sites in the early 1990s.
  • A former IIS officer claimed that the M16 directorate had a plan to produce and weaponize nitrogen mustard in rifle grenades, and a plan to bottle Sarin and sulfur mustard in perfume sprayers and medicine bottles which they would ship to the United States and Europe. The source claimed that they could not implement the plan because chemicals to produce the CW agents were unavailable.

Chemicals Used for Assassinations

ISG has found evidence that the IIS utilized chemical materials to carry out assassination operations in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

  • A former IIS officer said that Muhammad Khudayr al-Dulaymi took an auto injecting syringe in the shape of a pen that can deliver a lethal amount of a toxic substance to Europe in 1988, but ended up not using the device. The same source said a similar device was taken to the UK in 1987.
  • The device was developed by the M9 directorate, which would later become the M16 chemical directorate. The former IIS officer said that the director of M9, Muhammad Munim al-Azmerli, would personally fill the device with either snake venom or nitrogen mustard before giving it to an M4 officer to use overseas.
  • A former IIS officer claims that Muhammad Munim al-Azmleri used ricin produced at the M16 Rashdiya site to perform assassinations in 1993.

However, we have not come across information suggesting chemical or biological materials have been used for assassinations in recent years.

  • ISG has obtained a large body of evidence which suggests that the M14 directorate was responsible for assassination operations, including the assassination attempts on George Bush and Husayn Kamil.
  • Little reporting exists on what chemicals, if any, the M16 directorate provided other IIS officers. However, the director of M16 from 1996 to OIF, Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti, claims that the only chemical M16 provided other directorates was a sleeping agent he gave M5 officers in 2002.
  • In the large body of reporting we have on the M16, cooperation with M14 officers is rarely mentioned. Furthermore, none of the IIS sources with direct access we have spoken to have told us they knew of chemical substances given to the M14 directorate to use in assassinations.

ISG assesses that the IIS used these labs to develop substances that kill or incapacitate targeted individuals. Intentions of senior regime leadership with regards to these labs have been difficult to determine due to the compartmented nature of the work. ISG judges that these small-scale endeavors were not part of a WMD program.

  • The M16 chemical preparation division was responsible for producing and testing these substances of interest. A recovered document lists the chemical preparation division’s tasks which include developing substances which kill and paralyze, and concealing these chemicals in food and beverages. What IIS officers have told ISG about the chemical preparation division is consistent with this documentary evidence.
  • The same document lists less than a dozen individuals as being employed by the chemical preparation division in 1999. IIS officers in other sections of M16 were either unaware of the chemical preparation division’s activities or unwilling to discuss them, as several IIS officers did not even list it as one of M16’s divisions.

Purpose of IIS CBW Research

We assess that the M16 chemical preparation division was not used as the method for maintaining the technical expertise required to restart a large scale CBW program, because M16’s work was limited to laboratory scale production.

  • M16 scientists employed in the chemical preparation directorate would have the knowledge to produce CW agents on a small scale given their scientific training, the link the IIS had to Iraq’s early CW program, and the availability of covert chemical labs and equipment.
  • These scientists focused on lab-scale chemical work, which would mean they would be less capable to manufacture CW on a large industrial scale than the engineers involved in Iraq’s pre-1991 CW program.

Several scientists in the M16 directorate likely had the expertise to produce laboratory scale amounts of CW agent, and the directorate had sufficient laboratory equipment available to engage in CW research and development.

  • Exploitation of the M16 headquarters building revealed that the directorate had large amounts of laboratory glassware and analytic equipment, which could be used for both legitimate work such as food testing and forensic analysis, and illicit CW production and development. However, precursor chemicals required for CW agent production were not found among the various chemicals located at the headquarters building or its storage site in Djerf al-Naddaf.
  • Iraq’s pre-Gulf war CW program had a heavy IIS involvement prior to being relocated to the Al Muthanna facility. Some of the scientists who worked on CW agent production prior to the Gulf war still had ties to the M16 directorate at the time of OIF.

There are indications that the former regime intended to use the M16 to retain the capability to produce CW agent on a small scale that would not be militarily significant.

  • According to a former IIS officer with direct access to the information, a four man team was created in 1995 to produce CW agents on a small scale. The source believed that the secret IIS lab work was initiated by Saddam Husayn who tasked the director of the IIS to set up the program.
  • The same source reported that Iraq dismantled its capability to mass produce CW agent in favor of retaining the ability to produce smaller, batch scales of agent at covert labs. The source claimed that the IIS possessed the equipment and chemicals necessary to produce CW agents. We believe that this report is only speculating on a plan to retain a CW production capability, because the source has stated several times that the IIS lacked the necessary precursors to produce chemical agent.

Future Plans To Produce CW Agent

ISG is unable to corroborate the sensitive reporting that the IIS was planning to produce nitrogen mustard, sulfur mustard, and Sarin, but assesses that if plans to produce chemical agent within the IIS existed, the M16 chemical preparation division would have been the group tasked with carrying them out.

  • A former Iraqi intelligence officer reported that the M16 chemical preparation division planned to produce and weaponize nitrogen mustard using CS rifle grenades. The source provided ISG with two grenade launchers and cases of CS grenades he claimed M16 officers were supposed to modify.
  • The same source later reported that the IIS had a plan to produce Sarin and sulfur mustard, which the IIS planned to distribute to the US and Europe. The source claimed that the director of M16, Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti, gave him a perfume-bottling machine that was to be used to help carry out this plan.

Both of these plans are extremely difficult to corroborate because:

  • The reporting on this activity states it was never carried out.
  • According to the source of the above information, only Fadil Abbas al-Husayni, Adnan Abdul Razzaq, Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti (the director of M16), and Tahir Jalil Habbush (the director of the IIS) knew details about the plans to produce chemical agent within M16. (See figures 1 and 2.)

Covert Labs and Related Activity

Exploitations of IIS sites have corroborated the story that the chemical preparation directorate was involved in the research and development of chemical materials, but was not producing CW at the time of OIF. Exploitation teams have visited several laboratories, storage areas, and destruction sites, but have only recovered materials which indicate the chemical preparation directorate was involved in the production of chemicals used for assassination or incapacitation purposes.

The activity which took place at the various sites focused mainly on the production of chemicals and the testing of these chemicals on animals and identifying their effects on food and beverages.

  • Multiple reports and a recovered lab notebook show that the M16 chemical preparation division researched a variety of chemicals including: Fluoroacetate, nitrosoamine, strychnine, thallium chloride, and various pharmaceutical products.
  • According to a recovered document, the chemical preparation division was separated into two groups: One that produced the chemicals and one that tested the intelligence applicability of a chemical.
  • Reporting states that persons associated with the intelligence application group tested chemicals on mice, rats, rabbits, and pigs, and mixed chemicals with various foods to see if it changed the appearance or smell of the food (see figures 3 and 4).

The M16 chemical preparation division changed locations significantly during the past 12 years, which may have been done to avoid UN inspectors.

  • From 1991 to 2003 the M16 chemical preparation division moved 5 times, from Rashdiyah, to Djerf al-Naddaf, to the headquarters building in Karrada, to a small house in Taji, and finally to a residence in Mustansariyah where the final operations of the division took place.
  • Reporting says that a fear of the UN was the driving force for some M16 activity, such as concealing chemicals or closing down the
    Rashdiyah site.

Rashdiyah (N 33 32 03.0 E 044 20 26.4)

The Rashdiyah site was an active M16 site from 1991 to some point in the mid 1990s where the chemical preparation division researched ricin and other, non-CBW related chemicals.

  • Reportedly, ricin, PCP, and Hyoscine, a chemical extracted from the Datura plant, were researched at the Rashdiya site.
  • Reports state that the Rashdiyah lab was eventually closed in the mid-1990s and moved to the Djerf
    al-Naddaf facility.
  • A former IIS officer listed the Rashdiyah “Fish Research Center” site as being a secret laboratory used by the IIS.

The absence of laboratory equipment or chemicals is more likely the result of the facility not being utilized by the M16 since the 1990s, rather than being caused by looting or sanitization efforts prior to OIF.

  • An exploitation of this site in April 2003 uncovered chemical-resistant countertops and evidence of a former air handling system. No other signs were evident that this facility had been used as a chemical laboratory.
  • Much of the chemicals and equipment present at this facility were likely moved when the IIS departed this site. A former high-level member of the Iraqi government with direct access to the information said that the IIS operated the lab from 1992-1995.

Ricin and other chemicals were probably produced and tested on mice and rats at the Rashdiya site in the early 1990s. The amount of ricin produced at the site was no greater than a few kilograms.

  • A high-level IIS source claimed that Adnan Abdul Razzaq al-Ubaydi produced as much as 3.5 kg of ricin in 1992, which was partially used by Doctor Muhammad Abdul Munim al-Azmerli for assassinations in the early 1990s. The source claimed that he saw the ricin, and Razzaq personally informed him about the amount produced.
  • A mid-level IIS lab worker with direct access supported the Ricin production claim, and estimated that Razzaq produced 2 kg of Ricin at the Rashdiya site.

We have received conflicting reports about what happened to the ricin produced at this site, and have been unable to retrieve any of the chemical.

  • The IIS source gave two different accounts of what happened to the ricin, in June 2003 he said that the ricin produced was given to the director of the IIS, but in September he claimed that Abdul Munim al-Azmerli took possession of the ricin when the IIS left the Rashdiyah lab.
  • A detainee who was a high-level member in the IIS said that the ricin research was halted on the order of Husayn Kamil, and the research turned over to Dr. Rihab Taha. The source claims that the ricin produced at the lab was destroyed.

We believe that a detainee who claims only milligrams of ricin was produced at the site is either unaware of the extent of M16’s work on the substance or trying to downplay the quantity of the production.

  • A detainee who was a high-level member in the IIS informed ISG that Adnan Abdul Razzaq al-Obaydi produced ricin at a site 35 miles North of Baghdad (likely referring to the Rashdiyah lab). Razzaq reportedly produced a few milligrams if ricin in 1992 while researching his thesis on the extraction of toxins from natural substances.
  • The high level member of the Iraqi government who said that 3.5 kg of ricin was produced in 1992 also said that only a small sample of ricin was produced by 1991. The detainee sourced above may have only been aware of the scientist’s progress up to 1991.
  • Reportedly, chemicals produced at the Rashdiyah site were tested on mice and rats, which would have been unlikely to occur with ricin if only milligram amounts were produced (see Figures 5 and 6).

Djerf al-Naddaf (N 33 15 15.1 E 044 33 08.3)

The M16 moved its operations from Rashdiyah to Djerf al-Naddaf in the mid-1990s where scientists continued the production and testing of chemicals. The site appeared to be sanitized when a coalition team exploited it, but the IIS may have removed laboratory materials several years ago when they left the site.

  • According to a former BW scientist, an NMD official went to the Djerf al-Naddaf site in 1997 or 1998, and though he was not allowed in the facility, he believed it was involved in biological research because he saw people he knew from the IIS.

A report states that M16 produced small amounts of Sarin and Tabun at this site in 1997, which they were later ordered to destroy by the director of the IIS. While we have strong evidence indicating an IIS chemical destruction committee existed at this time, we are unable to verify that Sarin and Tabun were among the chemicals destroyed.

  • The director of the IIS created a committee to destroy the chemical agents and any related production equipment, which was later carried out at the Djerf al-Naddaf site, according to a senior IIS official.
  • We have been able to verify that Muhammad al-Qaisi, who the source claimed was on the committee that destroyed the CW agent, probably worked on explosives for M21 during 1997. M21 later merged with the M16 directorate around 2000.
  • A document recovered discusses a committee that destroyed 4 containers of Phosgene, a CW agent and precursor, in 1997. On the committee was an M21 officer named Muhammad Shukr, this is probably Muhammad Shukr al-Qaisi, who was later employed by M16 according to a separate document.
  • The director of M16, Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti, admitted that he ordered the M16 directorate to destroy several mustard and nerve-agent precursors in the 1996-97 time frame, but he did not say they destroyed Sarin or Tabun. According to Nu’man, the chemicals were destroyed because they were on a list of prohibited materials given to him by the National Monitoring Directorate.

M16 HQ (N 33 17 00.9 E 044 24 32.0)

The M16 headquarters building in Karada housed several labs and contained chemicals and chemistry equipment, but the sensitive reports we have on activity at this site do not indicate that CBW research or development was taking place.

  • A former IIS officer with direct access claims that the M16 Headquarters building was used to produce biological weapons, but the source seems to lack knowledge about biological sciences, and a device he describes as being used to produce BW is probably a device used in analytic research.

The headquarters building contained several chemical and biological laboratories, but apparent sanitization efforts of the site make the purpose of the laboratories difficult to determine from exploitation data alone.

  • The April 2003 exploitation team found a microbiological lab capable of growing small amounts of bacteria, analytical equipment, and laboratory chemicals such as solvents. According to the exploitation report, items appeared to have been removed from the site, and shredded documents were present throughout the building.
  • A family that moved into the former M16 headquarters building said that after the coalition’s primary visit to the facility in April, IIS personnel returned to pick up several items including computers and equipment. Sanitization efforts may have continued, because the team that returned to the site found burnt documents in October 2003.

The equipment, chemicals, and literature found at the site are consistent with sensitive reporting on the activities of the M16’s chemical forensics division, which does not have strong ties to CBW research or the development of assassination-related compounds.

  • The M16 chemical forensic division was responsible for testing food for the regime. Other reports corroborate that there was an M16 division which had the ability to analyze chemical substances and test food and other items for the presence of poisons and toxins.
  • According to a senior IIS official who has reported reliably in the past, this building served as the M16 headquarters, where research on toxins and their properties took place. However, the same source stated that the work was solely for defensive purposes.
  • Laboratory analysis of several samples taken at the site revealed that the M16 had samples of potassium cyanide, the pesticides diazinon and Malathion, the herbicide glyphosate, and several other innocuous chemicals. It would not be unusual to find these chemicals at a laboratory examining foodstuffs for poisons or contaminants, because such a lab would need standards to which it could compare analytic results.
  • Documents recovered at the M16 headquarters building include scientific texts on the extraction of toxic compounds, pesticides, detection of toxins in food, water contamination, microbial agents, and laboratory notebooks.
  • A few of the documents recovered indicate that M16 was interested in CW-related dual use technology such as organophosphorous chemistry. A thesis on the production and physiological effects of ricin and Hyoscine was also found on site. The paper was prepared by M16 officer Adnan Abdul Razzaq in the early 1990s (see Figures 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11).

Illicit Activity at M16 Headquarters

The chemical preparation division may have produced chemicals which were used on IIS prisoners or unknown Kurdish individuals when it was located in the M16 headquarters during the late 1990s.

  • An IIS officer with said that the director of M16, Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti, may have provided dimethyl nitrosoamine to the director of the SSO in July 2000 for use against 4 unidentified Kurdish citizens.
  • The same source claims that Adnan Abdul Razzaq al-Ubaydi used dimethyl nitrosoamine on prisoners under the control of the IIS M7 directorate starting in 2000.
  • The source informed ISG that when located in the Karada district, the IIS M16 chemical preparation division worked exclusively on producing dimethyl nitrosoamine, a substance which, according to the source, can cause lung and liver cancer within three months.

Taji Lab (N 33 22 49.3 E 044 18 59.2)

The chemical preparation division’s lab in Taji focused on the research of three chemical substances, but the purpose of opening the lab may have been to give the division a covert location to produce CW agent for the regime.

  • The IIS M16 laboratory located near Taji was opened in 2000 for the purpose of producing nitrogen mustard, according to a former IIS scientist. The five individuals assigned to work at the lab lacked the necessary chemicals to produce nitrogen mustard, so they worked on a plant-based anesthetic per the order of M16 director Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti.
  • The source said that while they were waiting for Adnan Abdul Razzaq to send back precursor chemicals to produce the CW agent, the division researched the compounds dimethylnitrosoamine, a mixture of fluoroacetate and thallium chloride, and a natural anesthetic extracted from the datura plant.
  • An exploitation team that visited this site found a non-residential drainage system and signs that chemical ventilation had been present, which help corroborate the source’s claim that the house was used as a laboratory.
  • A former IIS scientist who worked at the Taji lab said that the lab was shut down and all the equipment removed when the US issued its ultimatum to Saddam Husayn to leave Iraq in 48 hours (see Figures 12, 13, and 14).

Mustansariyah (N 33 21 17.9 E 44 24 41.0)

The Mustansariyah site was the chemical preparation directorate’s final location, where the burial and destruction of chemicals took place. Research activity on chemicals was minimal at this site.

  • The M16 director, Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti, said that when the officers in the chemical preparation directorate were based at the Mustansariyah house in 2002, they did not do any notable chemical work and spent most of their time destroying old chemicals and moving other chemicals and equipment to a storage site in Djerf al-Naddaf.
  • A house in Mustansariyah received equipment from the lab in Taji and CW precursors in late 2002, according to a former IIS officer with direct access to the information. The source believed that nerve agent production was being researched at the site, experiments occurred on the roof of the house, and that chemicals were buried on the property.
  • We assess that this source had direct access to the movement and burial of chemicals, but we believe the source does not have authoritative access on information about the identities of chemicals involved or the research activities of the Mustansariyah house. The small time frame that the IIS was at the site, combined with the time constraints of setting up a chemical lab, make it unlikely that extensive research took place at this site.

The exploitation of this site found a few items indicating that the Mustansariyah had supported IIS chemical-related research, but the site was mostly empty.

  • In April 2003 an exploitation team visited the Mustansariyah site where it found IIS documents and a few laboratory-related items and chemicals, but nothing appeared to be CBW related. The site was mostly empty, and appeared to be recently cleaned and painted.
  • A high level member of the Iraqi government with direct access to IIS activity accompanied the exploitation team and pointed out several rooms that were used for laboratory chemical storage, but the rooms were empty leaving the impression that the chemicals had been previously relocated.
  • On the roof of the Mustansariyah building, the exploitation team found chemical-resistant countertops, chemical fume hood face plates, and spare parts for fume hoods.
  • On the perimeter of the Mustansariyah site, the exploitation team recovered a box of medication that was used to cause pain, humiliation, or death in Saddam Husayn’s adversaries, according to a high level member of the Iraqi Government that had direct access to the information (see Figures 15 and 16).

Site exploitations have verified that material was buried at the Mustansariyah site, although ISG has been unable to determine the identity of items present at the site.

  • The exploitation team that visited the Mustansariyah site was able to excavate various vials and broken glassware that was buried in the yard, but the contents of these containers could not be verified.
  • In September, an ISG exploitation team returned to the site to take various soil samples for analysis, which came up negative for the presence of BW agents or toxins. The samples were not analyzed for the presence of suspect chemicals.
  • According to a chemical forensic lab report, no suspect chemicals were found in three contact samples taken from various locations in the house.

Salmadiyah Warehouses/Burial Site (Djerf al Naddaf, N 33 15 22.0 E 044 33 03.2)

The burial and destruction of chemicals also occurred at two M16 warehouses located near the former M16 facility in Djerf al-Naddaf.

  • IIS officers moved chemicals from a warehouse in the Karada district of Baghdad to be disposed of at a site in Salmadiyah in March 2003, according to reporting. The report stated that chemical containers of various sizes were buried in a deep pit and that several of the containers were broken either during the move or when they were placed in the pit.
  • A former IIS officer with direct access to the information reported that chemicals stored at the Mustansariyah site were moved to the warehouses in Salmadiyah where some were destroyed. A burn pit was near the warehouse where IIS officers took some of the chemicals and poured them directly into the ground.
  • In a separate report, the same former IIS officer describes the chemicals as being CW components, but the source also describes the chemical components in non-scientific terms, such as “impressive and beautiful,” which indicates that he probably has little training in chemistry and may not have had direct knowledge about the identity of the chemicals.
  • A former IIS chemist with direct access claims that material at the Mustansariyah site was relocated to the Salmadiyah warehouses in 2002.

The use of these warehouses for the storage of chemicals and equipment was corroborated, but the site was thoroughly sanitized after the first coalition visit, preventing complete exploitation of the warehouses’ contents.

  • An exploitation team visited the site in April 2003 and found two warehouses which contained laboratory chemicals, lab equipment, and documents. The specific chemicals were not detailed in the exploitation report, but no CW agents were present in the warehouses.
  • In April 2003, IIS officers destroyed the warehouse which contained the material, according to a former IIS officer with direct access to the information (several other warehouses in the area had already been destroyed by coalition bombing).
  • US military officers revisited the site in July 2003, but found that the warehouse had been destroyed (see Figures 17, 18, and 19).

Karwai Burial Sites (Al Adaim Desert, N 34 13 E 044 31)

The IIS buried equipment and chemicals, which may have included CW precursors, at a remote site North of Baghdad in the mid-1990s. ISG has been unable to corroborate that CW-related chemicals were hidden at any of the 5 exploited sites.

  • An exploitation team originally visited the sites in April 2003 where they recovered equipment used for animal testing, and burned CS grenades. Buried chemicals were also located, but the team determined that sample analysis would be unfeasible, so the identity of the chemicals remains unknown.

Iraqi Regime Use of Poisons and Toxins on Human Subjects

IIS Involvement in Human Testing

In the 1970s, and possibly into the 80s, the IIS conducted testing of deadly chemicals on human subjects under the leadership of Dr. Muhammad Abd al-Munim al-Azmerli, the head of the IIS al-Hazen research facility.

  • Dr. Munim confessed to administering various chemicals to human test subjects from 1975-1980. Dr. Munim stated that former IIS director Barzan al-Tikriti ordered him to carry out the testing program, along with Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti (who would later become the head of the M16 directorate in 1996) and Ali Hassan Jasim (who administered the lethal doses).
  • According to Dr. Munim, the poisons were being developed as assassination tools for use overseas, and that the IIS wanted a substance that would not kill its victim until 5 hours after it was consumed.
  • A high-level member of the Iraqi government with direct access claimed Dr. Munim used poisons and toxins on approximately 100 prisoners, including Kurds, Iranians, and a Saudi Arabian. The prisoners were given lethal doses of various substances including Lasix and dimethyl nitrosoamine.
  • Dr. Munim gave political prisoners poisoned food and gave other individuals injections. The officer also said that Dr. Munim tested explosives on human subjects, and that he was a “sick man.”
  • According to sensitive reporting, Dr. Munim tested drugs which affected memory and sexual function on 15 prisoners between 1980 and 1989. Any subjects that survived the drugs given to them by Dr. Munim were later executed.

The testing occurred at the M7 directorate’s Hakamia prison, where the victims were prisoners who were sentenced to death.

  • Dr. Munim said that subjects for the testing were provided M7, the directorate in charge of the IIS prison system where enemies of the regime are incarcerated. The M7 directorate was also responsible for interrogations and has been implicated in the torturing of inmates.
  • Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti denied being personally involved with any of the testing activity, but admitted to witnessing Dr. Munim administer poisons to prisoners 10 times in 1983 at the M7 Hakamia prison. Al-Tikriti stated that the poisons included cyanide, methyl micro chloride, thallium acetate, and sodium fluoride. “Methyl micro chloride” probably refers to liquid methyl chloride.
  • Dr. Munim claimed he tested chemicals on 20 subjects, and used lithium acetate, strychnine, librium, digitalis, and cyanide.

The discrepancy between Dr. Munim and Nu’man’s stories about the human testing activity may indicate that one or both individuals was not being honest, or could not recall the details about the extent of the activity when discussing it with ISG officials.

  • The admissions made by Dr. Munim and Nu’man both attempt to downplay the human testing activity. Dr. Munim claimed that the numbers of subjects were small, and Nu’man insisted that he only witnessed the activity and did not participate.
  • Dr. Munim and Nu’man’s stories about the testing at Hakamia are significantly different in terms of dates and materials tested, even though both individuals admitted to having direct knowledge on the activity.
  • Neither individual’s story matches information provided by other sources who described the testing activity.

DGS Testing of Chemicals on Humans

Multiple sources have described testing of chemicals on political prisoners within the Iraq’s Directorate of General Security (DGS) during the 1980s and in the early 1990s.

  • A former DGS biologist with direct access to the information said that until 1991 Department 69 in DGS imported toxins and tested them on political prisoners sent from DGS headquarters. This department’s official duties were for testing the food of Saddam’s inner circle for poisons and contaminants.
  • According to reporting, individuals were given milky liquids at a DGS laboratory run by Department 69 which caused them to die within 3-4 weeks.
  • A different report states that DGS officers gave milky liquids to political prisoners, who died 40 minutes after consuming them.

Possible IIS Human Test Site in Baghdad’s Karada District (N 33 17 14.8 E 044 25 12.6)

ISG has investigated the claim that human testing occurred at a residential house in the Karada district of Baghdad near the Tigris River. We have identified the building that the activity reportedly took place in, but have been unable to corroborate that any illicit activity took place.

  • According to reporting, in July 2001 nine individuals were brought into the house, tied down to beds, and had small tubes placed into each of their arms. The next day all of the prisoners showed signs of bleeding from the mouth. A female doctor gave each of the prisoners an injection, and the next day six of the prisoners were dead.
  • The same report said that the doctor performed autopsies on at least one of the victims, which suggests that she was trying to determine the effects of the substances given to him.
  • Based on highly detailed information about the location and description of the residence taken from the same report, ISG managed to identify and exploit the suspect facility.
  • ISG site exploitation revealed no evidence of human testing or other CBW activity, but the site appeared to be heavily sanitized or looted. All furniture and fixtures had been stripped from the facility, including floor tiles. Based on the site layout of the residence, we assess that this is the same facility the sensitive report referred to.

We have been unable to identify the exact purpose or owner of this house, but limited information indicates that it belonged to the IIS.

  • Presidential secretary Abid Hamid Mahmud, who was reported to have been at the site in 2001, claimed that the building was used as an IIS guest house.
  • During the site exploitation, IIS business cards and partially burned IIS documents were recovered.

Despite the reporting, we do not believe that this facility was associated with the IIS M16 (M9G) chemical forensics branch.

  • Reportedly, this facility was used by the M9G branch and was involved in the chemical analysis of unknown material.
  • This reporting appears to be describing the activities of the chemical forensics division of M16 (formerly known as M9J/M9G). Multiple reports indicate that the chemical forensics division was based in the M16 headquarters building, which is located on the same road but further west.

  • A team returned in August and excavated chemical containers, but found that several containers had been damaged in the burial process. A high level member of the Iraqi government with direct access claimed that an autoclave and glove boxes were buried at the site.
  • The same source, which led the team to the site, claimed that the IIS buried the CW precursor thionyl chloride, thionyldiglycol (which may be a reference to the CW precursor thiodiglycol), glassware, and chemical protective gear at the site in 1994 and 1998. According to the source, the burial was ordered by Abdul Munim al-Azmerli to hide the chemicals from UN inspectors.
  • We have not been able to corroborate the reason material was buried in 1994, but Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti stated that chemicals were buried during the 1996-1997 timeframe in this area because they were on a list of prohibited materials provided by the National Monitoring Directorate (see Figures 20 and 21).

M16 Procurement Efforts

The M16 directorate utilized several different avenues to obtain chemicals and equipment, but faced difficulties procuring illicit materials or items that would draw attention to the directorate’s work.

  • A high level member of the Iraqi government with direct access to the information claimed that IIS officer Adnan Abdul Razzaq was sent to Russia to set up a procurement network to provide the M16 directorate with CW precursors.
  • Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti said that the M16 directorate never tried to procure CW precursors during his tenure as M16 director. He said that the M16 had a significant store of chemicals in the Djerf warehouses that it used, and M16 scientists got any additional chemicals it needed from unspecified Iraqi ministries.

We have no evidence to suggest that M16 used M4, the IIS directorate which has been linked to assisting Iraqi procurement efforts, to obtain prohibited CW chemicals or equipment.

  • Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti claimed that M16 met with M4 sources on a few occasions to obtain equipment for M16, but none of the materials Nu’man discussed were prohibited.
  • A former IIS officer with direct access said that Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti, the head of M16, attempted to get several chemicals through M4 in 1998 including the CW precursor thionyl chloride. The source claimed that M4 was unable to get the requested chemicals.
  • A recovered document discusses an M16 request for laboratory equipment and chemicals in 2001. The document recommends M4 do a feasibility study to find out if one of their foreign agents could assist in getting M16 the items it needed.
  • A former mid-level IIS officer said that M4 provided technical papers to the M16 directorate, but did not get any chemicals or equipment for the directorate. The source said that M16 had its own procurement group that made trips out of the country to purchase equipment.

Assassination Pen Found al al-Karwai (N 34 14 34.9 E 044 031 32.0)

The pen-shaped auto injector recovered at al-Karwai may have been one of several such devices the IIS had to perform assassinations of the former regime’s key targets.

  • A former IIS scientist with direct access to the information stated that the IIS developed pen-shaped devices meant to be used for assassinations. Muhammad Khudayr al-Dulaymi, the director of IIS special operations, took one of the devices to London in 1988 for an assassination, but did not use it.
  • The same source claimed that Abdul Munim al-Azmerli gave the order to create the devices, which were produced from 1981-1985.
  • An ISG exploitation team recovered a device that matches the description of those requested by Azmerli buried at al-Karwai with other IIS materials. The device was tested for the presence of chemicals, but none were found.
  • The large needle on the device makes it appear poorly suited for covert assassinations, and the former IIS scientist said that the device’s original use was for animals. This may indicate that the IIS decided to alter a pre-existing device, rather than develop its own specially designed for human targets.

Other M16 Burial/Disposal Sites

A source led a coalition exploitation team to a site near Musayyib where chemicals may have been buried to avoid detection by UN inspectors.

  • No CW related materials were recovered, but the team found a large amount of chemicals buried at the site. The sensitive source claimed that the M16 buried the chemicals in 2002 because the IIS was worried the UN would think the M16’s chemical stores were too extensive for legitimate use.
  • The head of M16, Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti, claimed that he directed M16 officers to bury chemicals in 2002 because they were old and were no longer useful to M16 scientists (see Figures 22 and 23).

According to reporting, the director of the IIS research center, Numan al-Nasiri (likely Nu’man Muhammad al-Tikriti, the director of M16), was seen burying syringes, vials of liquid, cans, and bags of chemicals in March 2003. Nu’man buried the items with at least one other IIS officer at a location near the al-Samida depot and gave the specific GPS coordinates. ISG assessed that this reporting did not merit full exploitation due to its inconsistency with other M16 burial reporting and the source’s indirect access to the information.

Historical IIS Ties to Iraq’s CW program

The IIS likely had the technical knowledge to produce several CW agents, including Sarin and sulfur mustard, because the IIS was instrumental in starting Iraq’s CW program in the 1970s.

  • One IIS officer we spoke with was able to mentally recount the formula for producing Sarin nerve agent, despite not having worked on CW production in recent years.
  • Iraq’s FFCD states that efforts to produce CW agent began at the al-Rashad site, where researchers were able to produce lab-scale amounts of mustard, Tabun, Sarin, and various pesticides.
  • According to a former Iraqi Ministry of Defense scientist, the IIS began to research organic phosphates at the al-Rashad facility in 1974. A team of approximately 50 scientists worked to produce mustard gas at the location, and the effort was led by Dr. Muhammad Munim al-Azmerli.
  • A former Iraqi Intelligence officer with direct access to the information said that Dr. Munim obtained the equations for producing chemical weapons and established laboratories in Salman Pak during the 1980-82 timeframe where he worked on Sarin, sulfur mustard, nitrogen mustard, and tear gas (CS).
  • The IIS CW lab in Rashad which was operational from 1974-1979 was relocated to Samarra in 1980, and then moved to Salman Pak in 1983 according to a former IIS chemist. The same source stated that CS (tear gas) and Sulfur Mustard were provided by the IIS researchers to the Iraqi military to use during the Iran-Iraq war.
  • Dr. Munim stated that the IIS chemical warfare research lab was located in al-Rashad from 1974-1979, but was move to Samarra in 1980 and then later to Salman Pak.


Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias