The Wednesday Report

Anthrax BZ Gas Ebola Glanders Hantavirus
Pneumonic-Plague Small Pox Typhoid Fever Super-Diseases Threat-Scenario
Detection Tokyo Retaliation Landmines VX Gas
Main Index - ABO - World Missiles - Gulf War

Where does Saddam Hide his NBC

Al Quaeda Terrorist Manual

Canada's Aerospace and Defence Weekly
Anthrax Q & A for Soldiers and Civilians

Special Research Section - Gulf War

Agents of Biological Origin (ABO) and the Prelude To War in Iraq 2003

Anthrax
 Top

In its most destructive form - an aerosol sprayed into the air - it is invisible and odourless.  Anthrax spores can only be seen through a microscope that magnifies 50 to 100 times.  It can be stored in bulk as a powder, liquid or paste.

Anthrax has become the terrorist "biological weapon of choice" during the 20th Century and most likely will continue to hold this position into the 21st Century.  
The agent is easy to create and stores almost indefinitely under the right environmental conditions.It can also be easily delivered to a target in a dust form that creates casualties when it is inhaled. Additionally it remains dangerous for long periods of time on the ground, giving it a persistent effect.

Also known as splenic fever, malignant pustule, or wool sorters' disease, anthrax is an acute, infectious disease of animals as well as human beings. The disease is caused by Bacillus anthraces, an organism that forms highly resistant spores that can remain dangerous for decades in contaminated soil or other materials.

And anthrax is very persistent; during WWII, the British experimented with anthrax spores as a possible weapon. Their work was conducted on an island called Gruinard off the northwest coast of Scotland. The island is still quarantined today, decades after the work was discontinued.

There are several forms of the disease caused by anthrax. Per acute is the most intense form followed by sub acute (or internal anthrax), and chronic or localized (external) anthrax. In the acute forms symptoms include excitement and a rise in body temperature followed by depression, spasms, respiratory or cardiac distress, trembling, staggering, convulsions, and death. Bloody discharges sometimes come from the natural body openings, and edematous swellings may appear in various locations on the body.

The per acute and acute forms generally end with death occurring within a day or two. Sub acute forms of anthrax either lead to death in three to five days (or sometimes longer) or to complete recovery after several days, depending on the overall health of the victim and the exposure to the agent.

Strict quarantine measures, disposal of the dead by burning or burial in carefully marked graves that will not contaminate drinking water in the future are a necessity if there is an attack.  Since flies can carry this disease, care must be taken to avoid letting flies multiply.  Strict sanitation, screening over doors and window, and other protective measures are in order.

Natural outbreaks of Anthrax in humans usually occurs as a coetaneous, pulmonary, or intestinal infection. Of these the localized infection of the skin in the form of a carbuncle is the most common; this results from handling infected material. Lesions are usually seen on the hands, arms, or neck; this resembles a small pimple that develops rapidly into a large vesicle with black necrotic centre (known as a "malignant pustule"). Large numbers of lesions can lead to fatal blood poisoning.

The most likely form to be employed for biological terrorism would be pulmonary anthrax, also known as "wool sorters' disease," which affects the lungs and pleura. This results from inhaling anthrax spores which often occur naturally in areas where hair and wool are processed. Because anthrax spores are apt to be delivered in a "dust" or aerosol form on the battlefield, this form of the disease is also the most likely to be encountered during the use of anthrax as a biological agent. This form of anthrax usually runs a rapid course and ends in death.

The intestinal form of anthrax often occurs after eating contaminated meat. It is characterized by acute inflammation of the intestinal tract, vomiting, and severe diarrhoea.

Anthrax can be transmitted to humans who travel through spore-contaminated brush or come into contact with objects that are contaminated. And because of the hardiness of the spores, areas can remain contaminated for very long periods of time. For this reason great caution must be exercised in venturing into areas that have been contaminated with this biological agent.

Prompt diagnosis and early treatment are necessary if a victim is to survive an Anthrax attack.

The hazard of infection from a contaminated environment can be reduced by sterilization of contaminated material before use, wearing protective clothing, use of a gas mask or other respirator, and maintenance of good sanitary facilities to avoid further spreading of the disease. Great care must be exercised in moving the bodies and carcasses of men and beasts that have been killed by the disease.

Anthrax generally has a 1 to 7 day incubation period before a victim exposed to the spores becomes ill. Spores delivered in a terrorist incident would probably be in a dry, powdered form looking something like dried cocoa.

Symptoms include tightness of the chest and the symptoms of a cold. Often victims will appear to recover (this is known as the "Anthrax eclipse"); this comes to an end around day four of the il1ness when victims will die from anthrax pneumonia.

Treatment following exposure to spores requires a massive dose of antibiotics during the first 24 hours in order to prevent a lethal build-up of toxins.

 

Effective decontamination of materials such as tools, or of floors and other surfaces, can be carried out with a mixture of a solution comprised of 10 percent formalin and 5 percent lye. As noted earlier, these chemicals are not meant for direct contact with human flesh and may produce dangerous fumes. Take all necessary precautions such as protective gloves, breathing masks, etc.

  Top

Q & A for Soldiers and Civilians

  • Q: Would I know if I breathed anthrax?

  • A: No.

  • Q: If anthrax is on the ground, can I get it from kicking up dust?

  • A: Probably not.  The spores tend to clump together, so even if inhaled, they do not get deep into the lungs.

  • Q: How much anthrax does it take to make someone sick?

  • A: Roughly, 10,000 spores.

  • Q: What happens when a person breathes them?

  • A: The spores become lodged in the lungs.  There, they are picked up by the immune-system cells called macrophages, which carry them to the lymph nodes.  On the way, the spores mature into bacteria.

  • Q: How do they make people sick?

  • A: The bacteria multiply in the lymph nodes and then enter the bloodstream.  They produce a poison that causes the immune system to produce lethal doses of chemicals that are ordinarily useful to the body.

  • Q: What are the systems?

  • A: At first, they seem like a cold or flu: fever, ache and non-productive cough.  Plummeting blood pressure, swelling, haemorrhaging and other catastrophic symptoms soon follow.

  • Q: How quickly does it kill?

  • A: Typically within three days of the start of symptoms.

  • Q: How soon do the symptoms start once people breathe the spores?

  • A: Usually around 10 days, but up to six weeks …

 

Ebola
Top

Although deadly, natural Ebola is rapidly killed by sunlight. This makes it less than ideal for biological warfare. However the variant of Ebola called the Marburg virus was developed by the Soviets and it may be that this strain is more hardy. Too, work has been done by the Soviets in transferring parts of the Ebola virus into the composition of Smallpox and other diseases. If such experiments succeed, then such a strain might be suitable for terrorism.

The Ebola virus burst from obscurity late this century with spectacular outbreaks of severe, hemorrhagic fever. The first outbreak in Zaire resulted in 318 cases with a fatality rate of 90 percent; later it caused 150 deaths out of 250 cases in Sudan. Smaller outbreaks have continued in Africa with scientists unsure what the animal vector of the disease is - or even if there is one.

Epidemics appear to have resulted from person-to-person transmission as well as through laboratory infections, making this a potentially very contagious and deadly disease that is undoubtedly of great interest to those searching for new biological weapons. The incubation period for the needle-transmitted Ebola virus (spread by medical authorities who improperly sterilized equipment used for vaccinations) appears to be 5 to 7 days; person-to-person transmission takes from 6 to 12 days.

The virus spreads through the blood and then is replicated in many of the body's organs including the liver, lymphatic organs, kidneys, ovaries, and testes. As the disease progresses, it manifests itself in the form of bleeding, especially in the mucosa, abdomen, pericardium, and vagina. The capillary leakage leads to loss of blood volume, bleeding from various points in the body, shock, and acute respiratory disorder for those cases that will prove fatal. These patients eventually die of intractable shock. The illness is often accompanied by sustained high fevers with patients often becoming delirious and combative.

Health officials have argued that the Ebola virus is ill-suited to sustaining an epidemic since it kills so rapidly that victims don't have much chance to infect others. Also, the virus is not all that easy to pass along since it isn't airborne and can't be transmitted with a sneeze or cough. Although not everything is known about how the disease is spread, it appears to be similar to AIDS in that direct contact with a victim's blood or other body fluids appears to be necessary to contract the virus.

Modification of the virus through genetic engineering, or the creation of dispersal methods that could infect people through aerosol methods might also be practical.  And the virus itself could conceivably mutate into an airborne disease. In short, given the lethality of Ebola, there is a great incentive to develop methods that would transform this into a viable weapon.

Past recommendations for isolation of the patient in a plastic isolator have given way to the more moderate recommendation of strict barrier isolation with body fluid precautions. This presents no excess risk to the hospital personnel and allows substantially better patient care.

Currently the main concern in the prevention and control of the disease is to interrupt any person-to-person contacts between those suffering from the disease and those who are free of it. This may be very difficult, especially during a large outbreak of the disease when hospitals are over-taxed and sick or dying patients are on the streets. The main consideration of those who are well is to avoid contact with blood or other body fluids from those who are ill; use of a protective mask and even clothing might also be necessary if the virus appears to be airborne.

Until the vector creatures that carry this disease have been determined, it would also be wise to avoid contact with all mammals since these are the most likely vectors of the disease (though it is always possible that the disease is carried by insects or other means).

Glanders

Top

Glanders, first described by Aristotle in 330 BC, is an airborne bacterial disease that causes boils to break out on animals and humans. It is generally spread by flies, and is still found in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Although usually spread naturally by ingestion of contaminated food or water, it can be spread in aerosol form, making it useful as a biological weapon. It has an incubation period of 3 to 5 days.

The disease is caused by Pseudomonas mallei (Actinobacillus mallei), a bacteria that is common to horse and some other mammals in Asia and Mediterranean areas but rare in North America. The disease is most often spread from the infectious discharges of wounds and mucus membranes which through one route or another are then ingested.

Symptoms include cough and nasal discharge from the pulmonary form of this disease. The coetaneous form is marked by multiple, purulent, coetaneous eruptions, often following lymphatic. The fatality rate in humans is 95 percent if left untreated.

Treatment is generally carried out with a combination of streptomycin and tetracycline or chloramphenicol and streptomycin.

Because it can be spread by contact, care must be taken to avoid sick animals. Gloves and protective clothing are called for when handling infected animals or in treating patients.

 

Hantavirus
Top

The Hantavirus has been proposed in some quarters as a possible agent of biological origin. It emerged in the "Four-Corner" region of the American Southwest in 1993 and demonstrated that even First World countries such as the US are not immune to the sudden emergence of an indigenous disease with life-threatening potential.

Not that Americans hadn't been exposed to the disease before. The "Canyon virus" variant that appeared is related to the Hantaan viruses that created disease among GIs in the Korean War. Both are members of the genus Hantavirus, family Bunyaviridae, with three segments of negative-sense single-strand RNA.

In the wilds this disease is spread by small rodents. People contract the disease after exposure to rodent urine and feces, spread through small dust particle in the air. This suggests that a similar method could be employed to spread this disease as a biological agent through the delivery of fine dusts contaminated with Hantavirus spores. The fatality rate from this disease is generally around 60 percent even with treatment.

The first symptoms of most Hantavirus exposures resulting in the disease are fever, muscle aches, chills, and cough. As the disease progresses, the lungs quickly fill with blood, choking airways. Death can result in a matter of hours after the initial symptoms. And the initial symptoms are so common that they can easily go unrecognized.

Supportive care and meticulous monitoring of vital signs and fluid balance are the basis for therapy. Severe hypoxia and over hydration should be avoided or prevented.  Use in combating such an agent.

 

Pneumonic Plague
Top

Bubonic and pneumonic plague are both forms of plague, but with differing symptoms. Both are caused by the same bacterium and are spread by rodents and their fleas.  Pneumonic plague can also be spread by droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or by aerosol spray if it is being used as a biological weapon.

The incubation period of Bubonic plague is 2 to 6 days following exposure.  Symptoms include enlarged, swollen lymph nodes and fever; pneumonic plague occurs when the disease spreads to the lungs, causing pneumonia. If untreated, bubonic plague is fatal to about 50 to 60 percent of its victims; untreated pneumonic plague reaps nearly 100 percent fatalities. Pneumonic plague is believed to have been the Black Death that devastated Europe and Asia in the 14th century.

The 1994 plagues that struck northwest India are believed to have been pneumonic plague. Even with medical treatment available, at least 56 people died in the outbreak that started in Surat.  Four hundred thousand people fled the area, including one of the doctors in charge of the clinics that were treating patients.

The spontaneous evacuation held all the potential for a run-away spreading of the disease to surrounding towns. Instead, the plague died out, with almost no cases in nearby Bombay and only two deaths in New Delhi, India's capital. In all only 250 people were actually treated for plague at hospitals in several states, though thousands were examined with what appeared to be plague.

The quick recovery of India from the epidemic was unexpected by many scientists. Generally a natural contagious disease like the plague lasts a season or more. For this reason some Indian scientists have maintained that the outbreak was caused by military microbes designed to last for only a short time in a very virulent form that quickly died off so it wouldn't spread unchecked. Whether this was actually an attack or just an odd outbreak is unknown. (Which is what makes biological terrorism so effective as it is often impossible to prove an actual attack has occurred.)

The most common vector of plague is the common house rat, rattus rattus. For this reason the first line of defence against the plague is the elimination of all rats in an area with poison and traps.  Additionally, insecticides designed to kill fleas can also be useful; recent studies suggest that borax powder is a highly effective chemical for killing fleas and it has the added benefit of being only mildly toxic to mammals. Because of the possibility of the spread of the disease through aerosol droplets, use of a protective mask would also be prudent in areas that are experiencing plague victims.

Plague often may be treated with antibiotics; however it might be bred into a more resistant form for use as a biological weapon. When dealing with those who have contracted the plague, masks, gowns, and gloves should be worn for protection.

Smallpox
Top

Also known as Variola, Smallpox has an incubation time of 7 to 16 days following exposure. Smallpox begins with something that's a lot like chicken pox with small blisters forming on the skin, especially on the face, chest and hands. But then as days go by, the blisters grow larger and a high fever develops that comes and goes. Victims eventually go into shock and may also suffer from secondary infections in blisters. The disease is highly contagious and most Americans, even those once vaccinated for it, would probably contract it as resistance from vaccines lasts for only a decade or so.

Transmission can be through direct contact, aerosol, ingestion, or parenteral administration. Because person-to-person transmission will be highly likely following an attack involving Smallpox, great care must be devoted to proper sanitation and particularly to isolation of those who have not contracted it from those who are ill.

Typhoid Fever
Top

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection of the blood caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria. The infection is spread directly from person to person as well as by contaminated food or water. Typhoid fever also has infected, chronic "carriers" who may not show any symptoms, but can pass the germs in their feces and urine for many years. Animals do not spread this disease.

Symptoms show up 1 to 3 weeks after exposure and include fever, headache, red  spots on the trunk of the body, slow heart rate, and constipation (or, less commonly, diarrhoea). Intestinal haemorrhage may also occur with significant bleeding occurring during the third week of the infection. This most often causes fatal complications of this disease.

Secondary  spread of the infection can be prevented by keeping infected persons from food handling or having direct contact with young children or other potential victims who are not yet ill. Thorough washing of hands with soap and water after using the toilet is essential for everyone whether they show signs of this disease or not. Washing before preparing food and drinks, and before eating are also essential.

Typhoid fever can be prevented with typhoid vaccine. Suitable antibiotics can reduce the death rate to less than 2 percent; lack of a treatment raises the death rate to 30 percent. Obviously developing a new strain of this disease might be key in employing it as a weapon. Victims can remain potential carriers of this disease for up to 3 months after recovery.

Super Diseases
Top

Had these biological agents simply been the standard Smallpox, Plague and Anthrax, that would have been frightening enough. But Alibek, who has a Doctor of Sciences degree, claims that these were engineered for added lethality as well as resistance to all known antibiotics that might be employed to treat them.

According to Alibek, the Russians altered the Smallpox genome, introducing foreign genetic material to make it more virulent. Among the first changes were the splicing of portions of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (a brain virus) into Smallpox to create "Smallpox-VEE" or "Veepox."

Alibek also claimed that the Soviet researchers were working toward a variant of Smallpox that contained Ebola DNA. Whether this was perfected or not is uncertain. Alibek believes that the Russians probably succeeded in creating "Black pox" or "Ebola pox" from their work. This would become a highly contagious disease that would create haemorrhaging and a very high mortality rate. While American experts remain sceptical about whether an Ebola/Smallpox chimera could be produced, most agree that an Encephalitis/Smallpox disease would be possible. Few doubt that the Russians have succeeded in creating such a weapon. And Alibek claimed that the Veepox strains were perfected in 1989 before he defected.

When Alibek first started telling his story to CIA debriefers, the intelligence community dismissed much of it as exaggerations or lies. However, that changed when Vladimir Pasechnik, another top Biopreparat scientist who had defected to the UK in 1989 started talking to British debriefers. When the two intelligence agencies compared their notes, they found both men were telling the same story.  And Pasechnik had one chilling addition.

 

THREAT SCENARIO 
Top

CIA Microbiologist Larry Harris: "In the very near future we can almost certainly expect biological weapons to be used by various terrorist organizations. This makes it imperative that the citizens of North America obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to protect themselves against this emerging threat." -  Former CIA microbiologist Larry Harris

Former CIA microbiologist has probably done more than anyone man to alert American citizens to the growing likelihood of a terrorist biological attack against U.S. cities. His reward? Ridicule by the controlled U.S. press, and an arrest on trumped up charges by his own government. Yet today, the U.S. government is preparing for the very terrorist attacks Harris has been warning about since 1996. Here is his frightening story ...

Question: Larry,  I want to ask you right out the gate, between January 1985 to August of 1991, what were you doing?

Answer: I am a certified microbiologist, and at that time I was working in a covert CIA laboratory .My specialty field is defence - how to defend against biological warfare. But often I worked in conjunction with offensive teams, and I was many times working on mycoplasma ferrnentens incognitos, which is a simple soil bacteria that is normally harmless - until the genetic engineers working in those laboratories took it and spliced in part of the AIDS capsule, the DNA that codes for the AIDS capsule. And this turned a harmless soil micro organism into an absolute ravaging killer.

Question: Why would they do it?

Answer: Basically money. This micro organism was then sold to foreign government for huge amounts of money.  Miriam Arif, a young Iraqi woman I knew for some time, told me fifty million dollars worth of this material was sold to Saddam Hussein.

Question: Tell us a little about Miriam Arif.

Answer: In September of 1991 I left the CIA and went back to Ohio State University to take some more advanced courses in microbiology. I was 40 years old then. I very soon got into a clique of non-traditional students, and in that clique was a very delightful young lady named Miriam Arif. She had an unusual background. One of her close relatives was the President of Iraq back in the 1960's. He was killed in a helicopter crash in 1966. Then there was a long series of coups until finally Saddam Hussein and the Republican Guard came into power.  Miriam said her family had not fared very well during all of this - some of them had even been hanged. She felt she would be safer here in the U.S., so she came here from Iraq as a student to study microbiology.

Miriam further said she would stay here in the U.S. until she could do something that would allow her to return to her beloved Iraq without the stigma of her family's past political beliefs. She told me she would one day do something that would make her very famous in her home country, and then she could return. She and I and the clique of microbiology students we were in all became very close friends. We studied together, laughed together, etc.

But the Monday after the World Trade Centre had been blown up [the first time in 1993], I got to the college a little early to get a good parking spot, and down in the Med Tech building where the microbiology courses were taught was small vending area, and Miriam was there by herself when I arrived. She was all glassy-eyed, looking as if she had not had any sleep, very disturbed and nervous, and claimed to be worried that she could be arrested at any moment. Her speech was rambling and incoherent at first. Then she became very silent for a few minutes before speaking again.

When she did speak, she said to me, "Larry, you are a dear and trusted friend. What I am about to tell you, you can use to protect yourself and a few friends. When it is my time to act, I do not want your death to be on my conscience. "  She said, " You obviously do not know the danger your country is .facing from Iraq in terms of emerging biological warfare as a major threat against North America. A. few  hours ago a band of fanatics blew up the World Trade Centre. I am sure my beloved Iraq did not do this thing. For when payback comes, I am sure Iraq will demand at least one American life, for every one of my countrymen that you butchered during Desert Storm. We would not settle for some silly old building. "

She then went on to state that nearly all of the emerging countries, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria, North Korea, etc., were actively pursuing a Germ Warfare programme and scrapping their nuclear programme. She said there were two primary reasons for this shift. The first is that the acquisition cost of a sufficiently large nuclear stockpile to be effective is excessively high. The second reason is that germ warfare is antipersonnel warfare, not anti-material warfare. Housing, buildings, factories, and machinery remain intact and can be made useful in a short time.

At that point I asked her had she ever seen Saddam Hussein's germ warfare programme, and she said yes, that she had actually worked in the germ warfare programme before coming to the U.S. to study advanced microbiology. So I asked her how Iraq's biological warfare programme worked, and she said that basically, Iraq uses a 'plain Jane' approach. They have two separate areas of operation, one being continental (meaning in the Middle East) and one being foreign (meaning inside the United States).   Miriam said that trained Iraqi agents used a product called a chemostat, which is purchased from Germany. This is a large tank that can be sterilized that has a mixer in the bottom of the tank that very efficiently mixes solutions. What you do is you put in the nutrient media that the bacteria grow on along with sterile water and sterile air, and to that you add your "starter culture," a microbe such as anthrax. This microbe is so small - about one twenty five thousandths of an inch long - which means you have to have a microscope to see it. And each one of them produces spores, which are like seed. They are difficult to destroy, very, very resistant to everything, having a shelf life of up to 5,000 years.

Anyway, what they do in a chemostat, they put the starter culture in there and basically it will start growing. After a few days this culture will reach what we call critical density, and then you add fresh nutrient media as you steadily draw off the top layer of the growing bacteria. So it's a continuous process, you keep putting in food, and you keep getting bacteria out. The bacteria then are basically chilled, and are transferred either freeze-dried into a powder, or, as in the case of a terrorist attack against an enemy target, they are transferred into a specially designed aircraft - single engine turbo props that have spraying apparatuses under each wing. It's basically a spray plane.

Question: You've said in the past that Miriam Ariftold you the Iraqi's have smuggled hundreds of vials of these deadly pathogens back into this country to be unleashed at a predetermined signal.

Answer: That's right.  Miriam confirmed that Iraqi cell teams have brought in many hundreds of these vials. Miriam herself told me she had brought in three or four of these vials. Every time a female Iraqi agent posing as a student comes into this country, they smuggle these vials in, full of the deadly pathogens that have been grown in chemostats in Iraq. These women smuggle these vials into the U.S. in their body cavities, in their vaginas.

Question: How many of these Iraqi agents are in the United States? 

Answer: Miriam told me that she knew of over l00 Iraqi cell teams, with 11 members to each team, positioned strategically across the United States in various major cities. There is usually one female in each team she is the carrier or smuggler. The other 10 are men who will carry out the operations once the deadly pathogens have been re-hydrated, and sufficient amounts grown to mount an attack.

Question: Did you ever ask Miriam what the most likely targets in the U .S. would be?

Answer: Yes. I asked her what the most likely targets would be here in the U .S., and what she told me was very disturbing. She said, " For one thing, it will not be a single target, but rather many hundreds of targets simultaneously across the country. For example, subway systems in major cities. Air ducts of large office buildings. Large gatherings of people at stadiums. Crowded streets during rush hour traffic. Also, our cell groups stationed in over 100 major U.S. cities will be using aircraft venturies, like the ones that are used to drive the vacuum instruments on airplanes. These will be mounted underneath cars and trucks. The spray tank goes inside with tubing going to the venturi. When the vehicle is going 60 miles per hour one simply opens the valve and a fog of  death will be coming out behind the car. Other cell teams across the U.S. will simultaneously be using these same venturies mounted on light aircraft, from which they will be able to spray whole cities at a time. They will also spray the major  farmlands of this country. Anyone eating the crops will come down with gastrointestinal anthrax, which is 100% .fatal. "

Question: How deadly are these microbes if they are breathed in and an infection take place?

Answer: They are extremely deadly. In fact, once the symptoms show you are pretty much dead. Even if I pumped you full of antibiotics and killed every single microbe in you, the poisons that those microbes release as they burst inside you are still going to kill you. They are going to cause every blood vessel in your body to lyse, and you're going to die from massive hemorrhagic shock. Just about every blood vessel through your body will lyse -- that is, they will dissolve.

Question: How effective are these spraying devices used by the Iraqi terrorists?

Answer: We've done the math, and it turns out that one single container of these biological agents sprayed from a venturi over a major city like New York City, at the very lowest body count there will be a minimum of 400,000 dead almost immediately. If they spray over a larger area and are effective at their spraying technique, we are talking as much as 25 to 26 million dead.

Question: Did you ask Miriam if there is a schedule for these attacks?

Answer: Indeed. She told me, " The attacks will begin sometime in the next few years. The attacks are cantered on Muslim holy days that occur in the next few years. There is one in 1999, and one in 2004. One thing is certain, before the year 2004 the population of the United Slates will be reduced to less than 50 million. "

Question: What's stopping the Iraqi's from unleashing their terrorist germ warfare attacks in the U.S. right now?

Answer: The Muslim holy days I just mentioned. You see, the great Muslim sufis, that is, the Muslim holy men, have for 20 some years predicted that "the Great Satan" - their term for the U.S. - would strike "the heel of Allah" sometime in 1991, and that would set off a timetable based upon the Koran. The "heel of Allah" by the way, is Kuwait. And we struck Kuwait in 1991, thus fulfilling the prophesy.  That started a timetable ticking down toward those Muslim holy days in 1999 and 2004 when the revolt against "the Great Satan" is to begin. The Muslim holy men predict that by 2001 the Muslims will rule the world.

Question: Have you ever been debriefed on all of this by the government?

Answer: Yes. The military, DOD, Department of Defence, finally took me in for debriefing. They knew I had talked with Miriam.  And they and the NSC took me in for debriefing. When they take you in, they use a voice stress analyzer to see if you are lying. And they asked me a long series of questions, and had me go into great detail as to everything Miriam Arif told me down to the finest detail. This went on for six hours. But about the fifth hour the secretary who was watching the voice stress analyzer got up and had to go puke.

And literally, after the debrief, we took the information I gave them and fed into a computerized simulation model they use. It showed that if we do not know the exact date of the coming attacks, we are going to lose approximately 230 million people.

And if we knew the exact day, hour and minute of the attacks, and they are successful, we would still lose 180 million people. By hitting a single major city like New York City first, they would strip the nation of its entire antibiotic supply. There would be none left for anyone else, anywhere else in the United States. Furthermore, that one attack alone would fill up every known hospital bed in the continental United States.

Question: What ever happened to Miriam Arif? Do you know?

Answer: Yes. Actually, CNN came in to interview me just before the Atlanta Olympics in April 1977 and again they were using voice stress analysis too, and they found out I was telling the truth. And they got me to give an extremely accurate description of  Miriam, very detailed. By this time, the government had over 12,000 U.S. agents looking for her. She was finally apprehended on May the 16th in Atlanta. The cell she was with were in preparation for carrying out a germ warfare attack on the Olympic games. If that attack had taken place, we probably would have lost anywhere from 20 to 25 million people, and there would have been a zone of death about 80 miles wide, from Atlanta, depending upon how the wind was blowing, all the way to the sea. So they did apprehend her. I didn't see it, but I am told CNN showed a brief piece on her arrest with the 10 other members of her cell team, but then nothing else has been said of the arrest since.

 

Question: How can people protect themselves?

Answer: It is best to have a good supply of antibiotics on hand. Tetracycline or oxytetracycline is very effective against anthrax, if you are able to start using it before you contract a serious infection from these biological agents. This means to start using it the moment you know of a germ warfare attack against your area …

Question: What about natural substances? Are there any that can help protect you?

Answer: The only natural substance I know of that is effective against these microbes is colloidal silver. I tested that myself when 1 was with the CIA, and found it effective against both anthrax and the bubonic plague pathogen.

Question: You realize, of course, how frightening everything you have been telling us is?

Answer: This is the world of biologicals. It is frightening world. And it is a world I have worked in for 20 some years. I have seen this disaster coming. And I have seen every person I have ever talked to in key positions of power who have tried to get a decent civil defence organization into operation get fired from their jobs, or worse. This is for real folks. It is not a game. It is not Sunday school. It is not the Twilight Zone.  It is real.

Detection Of Attack
Top

Detection of a biological agent that has been used in an attack is dependent to a great extent upon the observation of unusual circumstances of attack (such as the presence of smokes or mists, strange munitions, or unusual vectors) or upon widespread illness of persons and animals.  The process involved in the identification of a biological agent is difficult even under the most favourable conditions.  
Any attack will probably come with little or no warning.  Unusual disease agents, mixtures of various agents, very high infective doses, and unusual portals of entry or methods of infection will be employed, all of which will make even more difficult the task of identification of the organisms as well as the diagnosis of the disease it produces.  
Diagnosis of the disease produced by recognition of its characteristic symptoms and its reaction to treatment is of value in helping to identify the biological agent, but this can usually be accomplished only days or weeks after the attack or exposure, because of the incubation period required before symptoms are apparent.  Samples of probable biological agents are sent to designated laboratories where they are identified by trained technicians. Anthracis can be found in the blood, skin lesions, or respiratory secretions.  Tests also can measure specific antibodies in the blood of people with suspected cases.

There are several forms of the Anthrax disease. Per acute is the most intense form followed by "acute anthrax", sub acute (or internal anthrax), and chronic or localized (external) anthrax. In the acute forms symptoms include excitement and a rise in body temperature followed by depression, spasms, respiratory or cardiac distress, trembling, staggering, convulsions, and death. Bloody discharges sometimes come from the natural body openings, and edematous swellings may appear in various locations on the body.

The per acute and acute forms generally end with death occurring within a day or two. Sub acute forms of anthrax either lead to death in three to five days (or sometimes longer) or to complete recovery after several days, depending on the overall health of the victim and the exposure to the agent.

Strict quarantine measures, disposal of the dead by burning or burial in carefully marked graves that will not contaminate drinking water in the future are a necessity if there is an attack.  Since flies can carry this disease, care must be taken to avoid letting flies multiply.  Strict sanitation, screening over doors and window, and other protective measures are in order.

Natural outbreaks of Anthrax in humans usually occurs as a coetaneous, pulmonary, or intestinal infection. Of these the localized infection of the skin in the form of a carbuncle is the most common; this results from handling infected material. Lesions are usually seen on the hands, arms, or neck; this resembles a small pimple that develops rapidly into a large vesicle with black necrotic centre (known as a "malignant pustule"). Large numbers of lesions can lead to fatal blood poisoning.

The intestinal form of anthrax often occurs after eating contaminated meat. It is characterized by acute inflammation of the intestinal tract, vomiting, and severe diarrhoea.

Anthrax generally has a 1 to 7 day incubation period before a victim exposed to the spores becomes ill. Spores delivered in a terrorist incident would probably be in a dry, powdered form looking something like dried cocoa.

Symptoms include tightness of the chest and the symptoms of a cold. Often victims will appear to recover (this is known as the "Anthrax eclipse"); this comes to an end around day four of the il1ness when victims will die from anthrax pneumonia.

Treatment following exposure to spores requires a massive dose of antibiotics during the first 24 hours in order to prevent a lethal build-up of toxins.

"Black pox" or "Ebola pox" would become a highly contagious disease that would create haemorrhaging and a very high mortality rate.

The Ebola virus burst from obscurity late this century with spectacular outbreaks of severe, hemorrhagic fever. The first outbreak in Zaire resulted in 318 cases with a fatality rate of 90 percent; later it caused 150 deaths out of 250 cases in Sudan. Smaller outbreaks have continued in Africa with scientists unsure what the animal vector of the disease is - or even if there is one.

Epidemics appear to have resulted from person-to-person transmission as well as through laboratory infections, making this a potentially very contagious and deadly disease that is undoubtedly of great interest to those searching for new biological weapons. The incubation period for the needle-transmitted Ebola virus (spread by medical authorities who improperly sterilized equipment used for vaccinations) appears to be 5 to 7 days; person-to-person transmission takes from 6 to 12 days.

The virus spreads through the blood and then is replicated in many of the body's organs including the liver, lymphatic organs, kidneys, ovaries, and testes. As the disease progresses, it manifests itself in the form of bleeding, especially in the mucosa, abdomen, pericardium, and vagina. The capillary leakage leads to loss of blood volume, bleeding from various points in the body, shock, and acute respiratory disorder for those cases that will prove fatal. These patients eventually die of intractable shock. The illness is often accompanied by sustained high fevers with patients often becoming delirious and combative.

If Smallpox or Anthrax were dispersed  by terrorists, the number of victims would increase exponentially.

Glanders, first described by Aristotle in 330 BC, is an airborne bacterial disease that causes boils to break out on animals and humans. It is generally spread by flies, and is still found in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Although usually spread naturally by ingestion of contaminated food or water, it can be spread in aerosol form, making it useful as a biological weapon. It has an incubation period of 3 to 5 days.

The disease is caused by Pseudomonas mallei (Actinobacillus mallei), a bacteria that is common to horse and some other mammals in Asia and Mediterranean areas but rare in North America. The disease is most often spread from the infectious discharges of wounds and mucus membranes which through one route or another are then ingested.

Symptoms include cough and nasal discharge from the pulmonary form of this disease. The coetaneous form is marked by multiple, purulent, coetaneous eruptions, often following lymphatics. The fatality rate in humans is 95 percent if left untreated.

The first symptoms of most Hantavirus exposures resulting in the disease are fever, muscle aches, chills, and cough. As the disease progresses, the lungs quickly fill with blood, choking airways. Death can result in a matter of hours after the initial symptoms. And the initial symptoms are so common that they can easily go unrecognized.

Bubonic and pneumonic plague are both forms of plague, but with differing symptoms. Both are caused by the same bacterium and are spread by rodents and their fleas.  Pneumonic plague can also be spread by droplets released into the air when an infected person coughs or by aerosol spray if it is being used as a biological weapon.

The incubation period of Bubonic plague is 2 to 6 days following exposure.  Symptoms include enlarged, swollen lymph nodes and fever; pneumonic plague occurs when the disease spreads to the lungs, causing pneumonia. If untreated, bubonic plague is fatal to about 50 to 60 percent of its victims; untreated pneumonic plague reaps nearly 100 percent fatalities.

Smallpox has an incubation time of 7 to 16 days following exposure. Smallpox begins with something that's a lot like chicken pox with small blisters forming on the skin, especially on the face, chest and hands. But then as days go by, the blisters grow larger and a high fever develops that comes and goes. Victims eventually go into shock and may also suffer from secondary infections in blisters. The disease is highly contagious.

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection of the blood caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria. The infection is spread directly from person to person as well as by contaminated food or water. Typhoid fever also has infected, chronic "carriers" who may not show any symptoms, but can pass the germs in their feces and urine for many years. Animals do not spread this disease.

Symptoms show up 1 to 3 weeks after exposure and include fever, headache, red  spots on the trunk of the body, slow heart rate, and constipation (or, less commonly, diarrhoea). Intestinal haemorrhage may also occur with significant bleeding occurring during the third week of the infection. This most often causes fatal complications of this disease.

Follow-Up
Top

On March 20 of this year (1995), in the Tokyo subway system restrooms and trains, odd packages started spewing a gas that made people suddenly, violently ill. In the end Japan was held hostage for weeks until the terrorists that had planted the boxes filled with nerve gas were captured and prosecuted.

Few civilians actually died in the attacks; had the terrorists been truly skilled at what they were doing, the fatalities could easily have been thousands of times worse. The important point was that the attack marked a new age of terrorism, when something besides crude bombs and guns could be employed to "make a statement" to governments and the populations they controlled. As Kyle Olson of the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute in Alexandria, Virginia put it, "Terrorists have taken that step across the threshold into the use of weapons of mass destruction." The Tokyo attacks were hardly more than a dress rehearsal for what a professional terrorist group might easily accomplish.

Surprisingly this wasn't the first such attack on civilians by weapons that once were called "unthinkable" because it was assumed they were too awful to ever be used. In fact, a successful biological weapons attack was mounted a little over ten years earlier. And it occurred in the US.

 

The attack took place in September 1984, in Oregon. As with the Japanese subway attack, this one was reportedly mounted by a religious cult, the Rajneeshi, who were trying to take over the local political system of the town where they had set up their headquarters. To swing the election that they hoped would vote into office members of the sect, the group cultivated salmonella bacteria in an underground lab and spread out over town in salad bars and on produce in grocery stores. The goal of this act was to make enough townspeople ill that they wouldn't go to the voting booths, thereby allowing the Rajneeshi to swing the election in their favour. The attack eventually made 751 people sick, including babies; in all, nearly a tenth of the town was laid low with the intense illness. One frightening aspect of this story is that the crime went unresolved. No one ever connected the cult to the strange illness that swept through the tiny town. It was only later, when a former member came forward and told the authorities, that the attack was discovered. Such attacks can be mounted with only rudimentary knowledge of laboratory methods, and such assaults may not only go undetected but may even remain a mystery.

It isn't a question of whether it will happen, but rather when and where the next major ABO attack will take place, and how many deaths will result.

 

Persian Gulf Analysis: The Nuclear Option


RETALIATION WITH THE NEUTRON BOMB?

The nuclear threshold in a war with Iraq is pushed ahead by the risk of extreme collateral damage in Iraqi-occupied Kuwait. Further restrictions by the prospect of collateral damage and negative world reaction limit the use of strategic and tactical nuclear devices in Iraq itself.

The group of nations capable of using nuclear devices in the Gulf conflict is comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, and although barely conceivable, Iraq.

If war breaks out in the Gulf and should the Iraqis attack American positions with their diverse range of non-conventional weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein may find himself getting quietly banged with the ER bomb, otherwise known as the neutron bomb or W-70 Mod 3 and recent upgrades. An almost-discriminate, tactical, nuclear weapon, the field is wide open for its use in Kuwait.

The theory behind the neutron bomb is quite simple. Hit enemy troops with a high dosage of X-ray energy in the order of 6,000 REMs, thus immediately (within a few minutes) leaving victims incapacitated and eventually killing them with the extreme radiation overexposure.

The neutron device is predicated on nuclear fusion as opposed to fission. Specifically it relies on a process that involves the combining (fusing) of the nuclei of the very lightest of elements - hydrogen -- two types of heavy hydrogen, deuterium (the hydrogen component of heavy water) and tritium (heaviest form of hydrogen, not found in nature, but produced in nuclear reactors).

A pure-fusion bomb (deuterium/tritium), in contrast to fission weapons, puts most of the fusion energy into the neutrons thus creating instantaneously high radiation. The remainder of the energy goes into the helium nuclei, charged particles which are all absorbed in the weapon to create the blast and heat. In real terms, the pure-fusion or N-bomb device has an energy partitioning of 80 percent prompt radiation and 20 percent blast and heat whereas at the other end of the scale, a pure fission device emits 85 percent blast and heat, 10 percent delayed radiation and 5 percent prompt radiation. A combined fission-fusion device demonstrates a weak compromise of the antipersonnel characteristics of the pure-fusion device.

In tactical usage, a three-thousand-foot altitude burst of a very low yield pure-fusion or even a pseudo-neutron fission-fusion bomb (deuterium/tritium) keeps the fireball and destructive force of the detonation away from the ground. A pure-fusion device can be extremely small and yet have an enormous effect. A blast equivalent to 100 tons of TNT would cause the eventual death of everything living within a half-kilometer radius. That includes Iraqi troops inside even their T-72 tanks. Those troops within the centre half of the circle would be killed instantly.

A one-kiloton device would have the same effect over three kilometers and would instantly kill troops within a thousand meters. The radiation emitted from the blast, particularly in the middle of the X-ray band where most of the neutron bomb's radiation is concentrated, stops on impact with atoms, thus they have a short life and leave nominal residual radiation. Safely, if for only a short period of time, allied troops could occupy an area they had just hit with an N-bomb.

The W-70 Mod 3 is apparently such a weapon according to The Wednesday Report sources. Official U.S. sources would not confirm or deny the existence of the weapon and would only say that "no Pershings or Lances have left Europe". The Lance is widely believed to have an ER warhead.

This low-yield Enhanced Radiation (ER) weapon has been in the U.S. arsenal for some years and was deployed to Europe. In the late 1970s, the Air Force wanted to further develop the neutron bomb, but during the tenure of President Jimmy Carter the ongoing hysteria over radiation and an intense "peace" campaign by the Soviets who had yet to develop their own neutron bomb, reached such a high crescendo it wasn't possible to officially advance the project. Carter was forced to cancel the Mod 4 variant of the W-70 which was to be a device convertible to either structural negation or enhanced radiation, fission-fusion or pure-fusion.

On August 8, 1981, Ronald Reagan's administration reopened the matter and quietly gave the neutron bomb the nod.

Readers may recall the early 1980s' popular-media reaction to occasional reference by Reagan to a "limited nuclear exchange" and the overall argument brewing over the concept of "winnable nuclear war". The neutron bomb was conceived 30 years ago and pursued in the late 1970s as the ultimate in so-called "limited nuclear warfare". It was under that guise that Reagan did in fact approve the project, and it is because of that fact that the neutron bomb is available today for use in the Gulf.

Micheal J. O'Brien

2003


Speech of chief weapons inspector Hans Blix to the U.N. Security Council
Monday, January 27, 2003; 11:57 AM

 

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, the resolution adopted by the Security Council on Iraq in November of last year asks UNMOVIC and the IAEA to, quote-unquote, "update the council 60 days after the resumption of inspections." This is today.

The updating, it seems, forms part of an assessment by the council and its members of the results so far of the inspections and of their role as a means to achieve verifiable disarmament in Iraq. As this is an open meeting of the council, it may be appropriate briefly to provide some background for a better understanding of where we stand today. With your permission, I should do so. I begin by recalling that inspections as a part of a disarmament process in Iraq started in 1991, immediately after the Gulf War. They went on for eight years, until 1998 when inspectors were withdrawn. Therefore, for nearly four years, there were no inspectors. They were resumed only at end of November last year.

While the fundamental aim of inspections in Iraq has always been to verify disarmament, the successive resolutions adopted by the council over the years had varied somewhat in emphasis and approach. In 1991, Resolution 687 adopted unanimously as a part of the cease-fire after the Gulf War had five major elements; the three first related to disarmament. They called for declarations by Iraq of its programs of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles; verification of the declarations through UNSCOM and the IAEA; supervision by these organizations of the destruction or the elimination of proscribed programs and items.After the completion of the disarmament, the council would have the authority to proceed to a lifting of the sanctions and the inspecting organizations would move to long-term, ongoing monitoring and verification.

Resolution 687 in 1991, like the subsequent resolutions I shall refer to, required cooperation by Iraq, but such was often withheld or given grudgingly. Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed the inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.

As we know, the twin operation declare and verify, which was prescribed in Resolution 687, too often turned into a game of hide and seek. Rather than just verify in declarations and supporting evidence, the two inspecting organizations found themselves engaged in efforts to map the weapons programs and to search for evidence through inspections, interviews, seminars, inquiries with suppliers and intelligence organizations.

As a result, the disarmament phase was not completed in the short time expected. Sanctions remained and took a severe toll until Iraq accepted the oil-for-food program, and the gradual development of that program mitigated the affects of the sanctions. The implementation of Resolution 687, nevertheless brought about considerable disarmament results. It has been recognized that more weapons of mass destruction were destroyed under this resolution than were destroyed during the Gulf War. Large quantities of chemical weapons were destroyed under UNSCOM supervision before 1994. While Iraq claims, with little evidence, that it destroyed all biological weapons unilaterally in 1991, it is certain that UNSCOM destroyed large biological weapons production facilities in 1996. The large nuclear infrastructure was destroyed and the fissionable (ph) material was removed from Iraq by the IAEA.

One of three important questions before us today is, how much might remain undeclared and intact from before 1991 and possibly thereafter?

The second question is, what, if anything, was illegally produced or procured after 1998 when the inspectors left.

And the third question is, how it can be prevented that any weapons of mass destruction be produced or procured in the future?

In December 1999, after one year without inspections in Iraq, Resolution 1284 was adopted by the council, with four abstentions. Supplementing the basic resolutions of 1991 and the following years, it provided Iraq with a somewhat less ambitious approach.

In return for cooperation in all respects for a specified period of time, including progress in the resolution of key remaining disarmament tasks, it opened the possibility not for the lifting, but the suspension of sanctions.

For nearly three years, Iraq refused to accept any inspections by UNMOVIC. It was only after appeals by the secretary general and Arab states and pressure by the United States and other member states that Iraq declared on 16 September last year that it would again accept inspections without conditions. Resolution 1441 was adopted on 8 November last year and emphatically reaffirmed the demand on Iraq to cooperate. It required this cooperation to be immediate, unconditional and active. The resolution contained many provisions which we welcome as enhancing and strengthening the inspection regime. The unanimity by which it was adopted sent a powerful signal that the council was of one mind in creating a last opportunity for peaceful disarmament in Iraq through inspection.

UNMOVIC shares the sense of urgency felt by the council to use inspection as a path to attain, within a reasonable time, verifiable disarmament of Iraq. Under the resolutions I have cited, it would be followed by monitoring for such time as the council feels would be required.

The resolutions also point to a zone free of weapons of mass destruction as the ultimate goal. As a subsidiary body of the council, UNMOVIC is fully aware of and appreciates the close attention which this council devotes to the inspections in Iraq. While today's updating is foreseen in Resolution 1441, the council can and does call for additional briefings whenever it wishes. One was held on the 19th of January, and a further such briefing is tentatively set for the 14th of February.

I turn now, Mr. President, to the key requirement of cooperation and Iraq's response to it. Cooperation might be said to relate to both substance and process. It would appear from our experience so far that Iraq has decided in principle to provide cooperation on process, notably access. A similar decision is indispensable to provide cooperation on substance in order to bring the disarmament task to completion through the peaceful process of inspection and to bring the monitoring task on a firm course.

An initial minor step would be to adopt the long overdue legislation required by the resolutions. I shall deal first with cooperation on process. In this regard, it has regard to the procedures, mechanisms, infrastructure and practical arrangements to pursue inspections and seek verifiable disarmament. While the inspection is not built on the premise of confidence, but may lead to confidence if it is successful, there must nevertheless be a measure of mutual confidence from the very beginning in running the operation of inspection. Iraq has, on the whole, cooperated rather well so far with UNMOVIC in this field.

The most important point to make is that access has been provided to all sites we have wanted to inspect. And with one exception, it has been problems. We have further had a great help in building up the infrastructure of our office in Baghdad and the field office in Mosul.

Arrangements and services for our plane and our helicopters have been good. The environment has been workable. Our inspections have included universities, military bases, presidential sites and private residences. Inspections have also taken place on Fridays, the Muslim day of rest, on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. These inspections have been conducted in the same manner as all other inspections. We seek to be both effective and correct.

In this updating, I'm bound, however, to register some problems. The first are related to two kinds of air operations. While we now have the technical capability to send a U-2 plane placed at our disposal for aerial imagery and for surveillance during inspections and have informed Iraq that we plan to do so, Iraq has refused to guarantee its safety unless a number of conditions are fulfilled.As these conditions went beyond what is stipulated in Resolution 1441 and what was practiced by UNSCOM and Iraq in the past, we note that Iraq is not so far complying with our requests. I hope this attitude will change.

Another air operation problem, which was so during our recent talks in Baghdad, concerned the use of helicopters flying into the no-fly zones. Iraq had insisted on sending helicopters of their own to accompany ours. This would have raised a safety problem. The matter was solved by an offer on our part to take the accompanying Iraqi minders in our helicopters to the sites, an arrangement that had been practiced by UNSCOM in the past.

I'm obliged to note some recent disturbing incidents and harassment. For instance, for some time farfetched allegations have been made publicly that questions posed by inspectors were of an intelligence character. While I might not defend every question that inspectors might have asked, Iraq knows that they do not serve intelligence purposes and Iraq should not say so.

On a number of occasions, demonstrations have taken place in front of our offices and at inspection sites. The other day, a site-seeing excursion by five inspectors to a mosque was followed by an unwarranted public outburst. Inspectors went without U.N. insignia and were welcomed in the kind manner that is characteristic of the normal Iraqi attitude to foreigners. They took off their shoes and were taken around. They asked perfectly innocent questions and parted with the invitation to come again.

Shortly thereafter, we received protests from the Iraqi authorities about an unannounced inspection and about questions not relevant to weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, they were not. Demonstrations and outbursts of this kind are unlikely to occur in Iraq with initiative or encouragement from the authorities. We must ask ourselves what the motives may be for these events. They do not facilitate an already difficult job, in which we try to be effective, professional, and at the same time correct. Where our Iraqi counterparties have some complaint, they can take it up in a calmer and less unpleasant manner.

The substantive cooperation required relates above all to the obligation of Iraq to declare all programs of weapons of mass destruction and either to present items and activities for elimination or else to provide evidence supporting the conclusions that nothing proscribed remains. Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1441 states that this cooperation shall be, quote/unquote, "active." It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of catch as catch can. Rather, as I noted, it is a process of verification for the purpose of creating confidence. It is not built upon the premise of trust. Rather, it is designed to lead to trust, if there is both openness to the inspectors and action to present them with items to destroy or credible evidence about the absence of any such items.

On 7th of December, 2004, Iraq submitted a declaration of some 12,000 pages in response to paragraph 3 of Resolution 1441, and within the time stipulated by the Security Council. In the fields of missiles and biotechnology, the declaration contains a good deal of new material and information covering the period from 1998 and onward. This is welcome.

One might have expected that in preparing the declaration Iraq would have tried to respond to, clarify and submit supporting evidence regarding the many open disarmament issues which the Iraqi side should be familiar with from the UNSCOM documents 9994 and the so-called Almarim (ph) report of March 1999. These are questions which UNMOVIC, governments and independent commentators have often cited.

While UNMOVIC has been preparing its own list of current unresolved disarmament issues and key remaining disarmament tasks in response to requirements in the Resolution 1284, we find the issues listed in the two reports I mentioned as unresolved professionally justified.

These reports do not contend that weapons of mass destruction remain in Iraq, but nor do they exclude that possibility. They point to a lack of evidence and inconsistencies which raise question marks which must be straightened out if weapons dossiers are to be closed and confidence is to arise. They deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq, rather than being brushed aside as evil machinations of UNSCOM. Regrettably, the 12,000-page declaration, most of which is a reprint of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that will eliminate the questions or reduce their number. Even Iraq's letter sent in response to our recent discussions in Baghdad to the president of the Security Council on 24th of January does not lead us to the resolution of these issues.

I shall only give some examples of issues and questions that need to be answered, and I turn first to the sector of chemical weapons.

The nerve agent VX is one of the most toxic ever developed. Iraq has declared that it only produced VX on a pilot scale, just a few tons, and that the quality was poor and the product unstable. Consequently, it was said that the agent was never weaponized. Iraq said that the small quantity of agent remaining after the Gulf War was unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991. UNMOVIC, however, has information that conflicts with this account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than has been declared. Indeed, even one of the documents provided by Iraq indicates that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared.There are also indications that the agent was weaponized. In addition, there are questions to be answered concerning the fate of the VX precursor chemicals, which Iraq states were lost during bombing in the Gulf War or were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.

I would now like to turn to the so-called air force document that I have discussed with the council before. This document was originally found by an UNSCOM inspector in a safe in Iraqi air force headquarters in 1998, and taken from her (ph) by Iraqi minders. It gives an account of the expenditure of bombs, including chemical bombs by Iraq in the Iraq-Iran War. I'm encouraged by the fact that Iraq has now provided this document to UNMOVIC. The document indicates that 13,000 chemical bombs were dropped by the Iraqi air force between 1983 and 1998; while Iraq has declared that 19,500 bombs were consumed during this period. Thus, there is a discrepancy of 6,500 bombs. The amount of chemical agent in these bombs would be in the order of about 1,000 tons. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assumed that these quantities are now unaccounted for.

The discovery of a number of 122-millimeter chemical rocket warheads in a bunker at the storage depot, 170 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, was much publicized. This was a relatively new bunker, and therefore the rockets must have been moved here in the past few years at a time when Iraq should not have had such munitions. The investigation of these rockets is still proceeding.

Iraq states that they were overlooked from 1991 from a batch of some 2,000 that were stored there during the Gulf War. This could be the case. They could also be the tip of a submerged iceberg. The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve, but rather points to the issue of several thousand of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for. The finding of the rockets shows that Iraq needs to make more effort to ensure that its declaration is currently accurate. During my recent discussions in Baghdad, Iraq declared that it would make new efforts in this regard and has set up a committee of investigation. Since then, it has reported that it has found four chemical rockets at a storage depot in al-Haji (ph).

I might further mention that inspectors have found at another site a laboratory quantity of thiodylykol (ph), a mustard gas precursor.While addressing chemical issues, I should mention a matter which I reported on 19th of December last year concerning equipment at a civilian chemical plant at al-Fallujah. Iraq has declared that it had repaired chemical processing equipment previously destroyed under UNSCOM supervision and had installed it at Fallujah for the production of chlorine and phenols. We have inspected this equipment and are conducting a detailed technical evaluation of it. On completion, we will decide whether this and other equipment that has been recovered by Iraq should be destroyed.

I turn to biological weapons. I mention the issue of anthrax to the council on previous occasions, and I come back to it as it is an important one. Iraq has declared that it produced about 8,500 liters of this biological warfare agent, which it states it unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991.

Iraq has provided little evidence for this production and no convincing evidence for its destruction.There are strong indications that Iraq produced more anthrax than it declared and that at least some of this was retained over the declared destruction date. It might still exist.

Either it should be found and be destroyed under UNMOVIC supervision or else convincing evidence should be produced to show that it was indeed destroyed in 1991.As I reported to the council on the 19th of December last year, Iraq did not declare a significant quantity, some 650 kilos or bacterial growth media, which was acknowledged as reported in Iraq's submission to the Almarim (ph) panel in February 1999. As a part of its 7 December, 2004, declaration Iraq resubmitted the Almarim (ph) panel document but they table showing this particular import of media was not included. The absence of this table would appear to be deliberate, as the pages of the resubmitted document were renumbered. In the letter of 24th of January this year to the president of the Security Council, Iraq's foreign minister stated that, I quote, "All imported quantities of growth media were declared," unquote. This is not evidence. I note that the quantity of media involved would suffice to produce, for example, about 5,000 liters of concentrated anthrax.

I turn, Mr. President, now to the missile sector. There remain significant questions as to whether Iraq retained Scud-type missiles after the Gulf War. Iraq declared the consumption of a number of Scud missiles as targets in the development of an anti-ballistic missile defense system during the 1980s, yet no technical information has been produced about that program or data on the consumption of the missiles.There has been a range of developments in the missile field during the past four years, presented by Iraq in the declaration as non-proscribed activities. We are trying to gather a clear understanding of them through inspections and on-site discussions.

Two projects in particular stand out. They are the development of a liquid-fueled missile named Al-Samud II (ph) and a solid propellant missile called Al-Fatam (ph). Both missiles have been tested to arrange in excess of the permitted range of 150 kilometers, with the Al-Samud II (ph) being tested to a maximum of 183 kilometers and the Al-Fatam (ph) to 161 kilometers. Some of both types of missiles have already been provided to the Iraqi armed forces, even though it is stated that they're still undergoing development.

The Al-Samud's (ph) diameter was increased from an earlier version to the president 760 millimeters. This modification was made despite a 1994 letter from the executive chairman of UNSCOM directing Iraq to limit its missile diameters to less than 600 millimeter. Furthermore, a November 1997 letter from the executive chairman of UNSCOM to Iraq prohibited the use of engines from certain surface-to-air missiles for the use in ballistic missiles.

During my recent meeting in Baghdad, we were briefed on these two programs. We were told that the final range for both systems would be less than the permitted maximum of 150 kilometers.These missiles might well represent prima facie cases of proscribed systems. The test ranges in excess of 150 kilometers are significant, but some further technical considerations need to be made before we reach a conclusion on this issue. In the meantime, we have asked Iraq to cease flight tests of both missiles.

In addition, Iraq has refurbished its missile production infrastructure. In particular, Iraq reconstituted a number of casting chambers which had previously been destroyed under UNSCOM's supervision. They had been used in the production of solid fuel missiles. Whatever missile system these chambers are intended for, they could produce motors for missiles capable of ranges significantly greater than 150 kilometers.

Also associated with these missiles and related developments is the import which has been taking place during the last two years of a number of items despite the sanctions, including as late as December 2004. Foremost among these is import of 300 rockets engines which may be used for the Al-Samud II (ph).

Iraq has also declared the recent import of chemicals used in propellants, test instrumentation and guidance and control system. These items may well be for proscribed purposes; that is yet to be determined. What is clear is that they were illegally brought into Iraq; that is, Iraq or some company in Iraq circumvented the restrictions imposed by various resolutions.

Mr. President, I have touched upon some of the disarmament issues that remain open and that need to be answered if dossiers are to be closed and confidence is to arise. Which are the means at the disposal of Iraq to answer these questions? I have pointed to some during my presentation of the issues, let me be a little more systematic. Our Iraqi counterparts are fond of saying that there are no proscribed items and if no evidence is presented to the contrary, they should have the benefit of the doubt; be presumed innocent.

UNMOVIC, for its part, is not presuming that there are proscribed items and activities in Iraq. But nor is it, or I think anyone else, after the inspections between 1991 and '98 presuming the opposite, that no such items and activities exist in Iraq. Presumptions do not solve the problem; evidence and full transparency may help.

Let me be specific. Information provided by member-states tells us about the movement and concealment of missiles and chemical weapons and mobile units for biological weapons production. We shall certainly follow-up any credible leads given to us and report what we might find, as well as any denial of access.

So far, we have reported on the recent find of a small number of empty 122-millimeter warheads for chemical weapons. Iraq declared that it appointed a commission of inquiry to look for more. Fine. Why not extend the search to other items? Declare what may be found and destroy it under our supervision.

When we have urged our Iraqi counterparts to present more evidence, we have all too often met the response that there are no more documents. All existing relevant documents have presented, we are told. All documents relating to the biological weapons program were destroyed together with the weapons.

However, Iraq has all the archives of the government and its various departments, institutions and mechanisms. It should have budgetary documents, requests for funds and reports and how they have been used. They should also have letters of credit and bills of lading, reports and production and losses of material.

In response to a recent UNMOVIC request for a number of specific documents, the only new documents Iraq provided was a ledger of 1,093 pages which Iraq stated included all imports from 1983 to 1990 by the Technical and Scientific Importation Division, the importing authority for the biological weapons programs. Potentially, it might help to clear some open issues. The recent inspection find in the private home of a scientist of a box of some 3,000 pages of documents, much of it relating to the lacing (ph) enrichment of uranium, support a concern that has long existed that documents might be distributed to the homes of private individuals.

This interpretation is refuted by the Iraqi side which claims that research staff sometimes may bring papers from their work places. On our side, we cannot help but think that the case might not be isolated and that such placements of documents is deliberate to make discovery difficult and to seek to shield documents by placing them in private homes.

Any further sign of the concealment of documents will be serious. The Iraqi side committed itself at our recent talks to encourage persons to accept access also to private sites. There can be no sanctuaries for proscribed items, activities or documents. A denial of prompt access to any site will be very serious matter. When Iraq claims that tangible evidence in the form of documents is not available, it ought, at least, to find individuals, engineers, scientists and managers (ph) to testify about their experience. Large weapons programs are moved and managed by people. Interviews with individuals who may have worked in programs in the past may fill blank spots in our knowledge and understanding.

It could also be useful to learn that they are now employed in peaceful sectors. These are the reasons why UNMOVIC ask for a list of such persons in accordance with Resolution 1441. Some 400 names for all biological and chemical weapons programs, as well as their missile programs, were provided by the Iraqi side. This can be compared to over 3,500 names of people associated with those past weapons programs that UNSCOM either interviewed in the 1990s or knew from documents and other sources. At my recent meeting in Baghdad, the Iraqis have committed themselves to supplementing the list, and some 80 additional names have been provided.

In the past, much valuable information came from interviews. There are also cases in which the interviewee was clearly intimidated by the presence of an interruption (ph) by Iraq officials.This was the background to Resolution 1441's provision for a right for UNMOVIC and the IAEA to hold private interviews, I quote, "in the mode or the location" of our choice in Baghdad or even abroad. Today, 11 individuals were asked for interviews in Baghdad by us. The replies have been that the individual would only speak at Iraq's Monitoring Directorate or at any rate in the presence of an Iraq official.

This could be due to a wish on the part of the invited to have evidence that they have not said anything that the authorities did not wish them to say. At our recent talks in Baghdad, the Iraqi side committed itself to encourage persons to accept interviews in private, that is to say alone with us. Despite this, the pattern has not changed.

However, we hope that with further encouragement from the authorities, knowledgeable individuals will accept private interviews in Baghdad or abroad. Mr. President, I must not conclude this update without some notes on the growing capability of UNMOVIC. In the past two months, UNMOVIC has built up its capabilities in Iraq from nothing to 260 staff members from 60 countries. This includes approximately 100 UNMOVIC inspectors, 60 air operations staff, as well as security personnel, communication, translation and interpretation staff, medical support and other services at our Baghdad office and also (ph) Mosul field office.

All serve the United Nations and report to no one else. Furthermore, I'll roster of inspectors will continue to grow as our training program continues. Even at this moment, we have a training course in session in Vienna. At the end of that course, we should have a roster of about 350 qualified experts from which todraw inspectors. The team supplied by the Swiss government is refurbishing our office in Baghdad which had been empty for four years. The government in New Zealand has contributed both a medical team and a communications team. The German government will contribute unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and a group of specialists to operate them for us within Iraq. And the government of Cyprus has kindly allowed us to set up a field office in Larnaca.

All of these contributions have an assistance in quickly starting up our inspections and enhancing our capabilities, so has help from the U.N. in New York and from sister organizations in Baghdad.

In the past two months, during which we have built up our presence in Iraq, we have conducted about 300 inspections to more than 230 different sitesthat had not been inspected before.

By the end of December, UNMOVIC began using helicopters, both for the transport of inspectors and for actual inspection work. We now have eight helicopters. They have already proved invaluable in helping to freeze large sites by observing the movement of traffic in and around the area. Setting up the field office in Mosul has facilitated rapid inspections of sites in northern Iraq. We plan to establish soon a second field office in the Basra area where we have already inspected a number of sites.

Mr. President, we now have an inspection apparatus that permits us to send multiple inspections teams every day all over Iraq by road or by air. Let me end by simply noting that that capability, which has been built up in a short time and which is now operating, is at the disposal of the Security Council.

 


'Don't sleep in the Subway, Darling...'

Dr. Hussein Al Shahristani, Chairman of the Iraqi Refugee Aid Council.

Once Iraq's top nuclear scientist, Shahristani says subway plans drawn up by several international firms were given to the Iraqi military. 

"[Hussein] told his military, 'Well, we have these designs for the tunnels, go ahead and do them, but not for metro, for our chem/bio weapons. We can hide them, move them around.'"

"I've spoken to one person who has been in these tunnels," says Shahristani, "We believe now it is more than 100 kilometers of very complex network, multi-layer tunnels."

Among the weapons Shahristani believes may be hidden in the tunnels are deadly agents like Sarin, possibly anthrax and also the nerve agent VX. The oily, sticky VX is what the former chemist's contacts are telling him Hussein wants to use to form a chemical belt around Baghdad. "VX… will kill within a few minutes or a few seconds… The lethal dose of it is one milligram. So nobody can escape and whoever wants to attack the city has to cross this chemical belt first and then enter into street fighting," says Shahristani.

The tunnels may also hide Hussein or provide an escape route for him. "He actually has a tunnel that can withstand a nuclear blast and if he survives in the tunnel, he DR HUSSEIN AL-SHAHRISTANI:has won the war because, for him, winning the war means surviving it," Shahristani says.

Shahristani was tortured and spent 11 years in solitary for refusing to build an atomic bomb for Hussein. He escaped prison during an Allied bombing raid during the Gulf War. He hopes to return to his homeland and help rebuild it after the war he is sure will begin soon.

"My understanding is that Saddam Hussein has some mobile units with preventers to produce biological germs, and Saddam Hussein has some underground stores to hide what remains of his chemical weapons. And there's also a network of tunnels, under Baghdad where some of the weapons are kept. 

"Originally, they were built to connect the basements of the presidential palaces to the airport, to a number of sensitive sites in the city. And later on, they would develop as a network where the regime can move around freely without being exposed to the people at the surface and also...

"Well, I don't really know why they haven't tried to go to these tunnels yet. Of course, it's not something that people will easily find entrance to, but the inspectors with all the intelligence support that they are supposedly having should have been able to find their way into the tunnel system. 

"I think the scientists realize very well that if they say anything that the regime doesn't want them to say, not only on their lives and their families, but even their extended family, the whole, you know, their neighborhood could be taken away and never to be seen again. I mean, people have seen this happening to their colleagues, and they would not risk their lives and the lives of their families again."

"When I met Saddam Hussein at the Atomic Energy Commission board (in the late 1970s), it was clear that he was a vicious dictator who would not hesitate to eliminate anybody who dares to stand up to him, or even disagree with him on minor issues. He had just executed half of the Revolutionary Command Council and the Baath leadership that brought him to power.

"By the time Saddam became president in 1979, it became more and more difficult for a scientist like myself just to go quietly to his lab and do his peaceful research. There were more security officers and personnel assigned to our labs. Our movements were observed more closely.

"When I informed Saddam that Iraq was obliged by international agreements to work only on peaceful nuclear applications, he told me that I was a good scientist and I should concentrate on my scientific work, and leave politics to him.

"I did not find him very respectful of scientists, because he was not able to finish his own university education. One day he went to the University of Baghdad school of engineering and told the staff that the Ph.D. theses they were considering were not up to international standards and Iraqi universities should be the best in the world. He said therefore he had decided that no Ph.D. degree would be honored to anybody without his approval of the Ph.D. dissertation. Just to show that he knows more than anybody else.

"I was taken to the Baghdad security headquarters, down to the basement where the torture chambers are, and they started to torture me. This continued for 22 days and nights. They hanged me by my wrists. They used high voltage probes on sensitive parts of my body and beat me continuously. Later, Saddam's stepbrother came and told me that Saddam was very sorry for what had happened to me and they would like me to go back to my work at the Atomic Energy Commission. He said I was needed to help build an atomic bomb (Shahristani refused). These were his exact words. He said the bomb would give us a long arm with which Iraq would reshape the map of the Middle East. I was kept for over 10 years in solitary confinement.

"Saddam will use any means at his disposal to stay in power. He will try to take as many Iraqis down with him in a hope that he will stir up the international conscience to stop the war because of the civilian casualties. I have information from inside Iraq that Saddam plans to distribute his chemical weapons in particular in major Shiite towns in southern Iraq. He plans to remotely detonate them and expose the population to nerve agents and cause very large scale civilian deaths.


British Foreign Office Briefing - 2 Dec 2004

Edited Transcript of a briefing given by UK Foreign Office Officials and Dr Hussein Al-Shahristani, London, England, 2 December 2004

Introduction by FCO Official:
The purpose of this briefing is to launch the Foreign Office's Report on Human Rights in Iraq which the Foreign Secretary announced in his speech to the Atlantic Partnership earlier this morning. Joining us is Dr Hussein al-Shahristani, the Chairman of the Iraqi Refugee Aid Council. Dr Hussein was imprisoned for 11 years by the Iraqi regime and tortured. He escaped from Iraq during the Gulf War. 

The easiest and the most straightforward way to introduce the dossier is to use the Foreign Secretary's own words from the speech he was making this morning on this subject. As the Foreign Secretary pointed out, we have a policy now towards Iraq which is based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, the objective of which is the peaceful disarmament of Saddam's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, an arsenal he has been prepared to use not only against external enemies, such as Iran, but as a means of oppressing his own people too. It is surely a regime of unique horror which is prepared to kill thousands of its own civilians by poisonous gas, yet what occurred in Halabjah in 1988 is a vivid demonstration of the integral part Saddam's WMD play in the rule of fear which pervades Iraq today. So by disarming Iraq we not only help those countries in the region which are subject to Iraqi threats and intimidation, we also deprive Saddam of one of his most powerful tools for keeping the Iraqi people living in fear and subjugation. 

So today we are publishing this report of the appalling human rights record of Saddam's regime. It is the most detailed account the Government has ever published on this subject. It includes intelligence material, first hand accounts of Iraqi victims of torture and oppression, reports by NGOs and by the UN Special Rapporteur as well. 

The aim is to remind the world that the abuses of the Iraqi regime extend far beyond its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, in violation of its international obligations. The dossier, as you may have seen, makes for harrowing reading with accounts of torture, rape and other horrific human rights abuses. It makes clear these are carried out as part of the deliberate policy of the regime. 

The Iraqi people themselves are powerless to speak out about these abuses. Anyone criticizing the President is liable to have his tongue amputated. Only the outside world is free to speak about the barbarity of Saddam Hussein's regime, which is why we have published our dossier. 

DR HUSSEIN AL-SHAHRISTANI:
I have been a witness to Saddam's violations of human rights in Iraq. I was the Chief Scientist of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Organization until 1979, working on peaceful applications of atomic energy. I was arrested, tortured and kept in solitary confinement for over 11 years for refusing to work on the military nuclear program. However, I was more fortunate than many of my fellow political prisoners in the country. I did not have holes drilled into my bones, as happened in the next torture room. I did not have my limbs cut off by an electric saw. I did not have my eyes gauged out. My three children were brought in to the torture chamber but they were not tortured to death in front of me to force me to make confessions to things I had not done. Women of my family were not brought in and raped in front of me, as happened to many of my colleagues. Torturers did not dissolve my hands in acid. I was not among the hundreds of political prisoners who were taken from prison as guinea-pigs to be used for chemical and biological tests. 

They only tortured me for 22 days and nights continuously by hanging me from my hands tied at the back and using a high voltage probe on the sensitive parts of my body and beating me mercilessly. They were very careful not to leave any permanent bodily marks on me because they hope they can break my will and I will agree to go back and work on their military nuclear program. 

In a way I was lucky to spend 11 years in solitary confinement because I did not have to see what was going on in the larger prison - the country of Iraq - in which 20 million people were kept captives. I did not have to witness the ceremonies in which mothers were ordered to watch public executions of their sons and then asked to pay the price of the bullets that were used in the executions. I did not have to watch people's tongues being pulled out and cut off because they dared to criticize Saddam or one of his family members. I did not see young men's foreheads branded and their ears cut off because they were late for a few days to report to their military duties. I did not see the beautiful southern Iraqi Marshes drained and the reeds burnt and the Marsh Arabs massacred and their old ways of life destroyed. I did not see the beheading of more than 130 women, who were beheaded in public squares in Iraq, and their heads put out for public display. 

In many ways I was fortunate to have survived it all to tell the stories of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who are not here to tell their stories. These atrocities have been going on for over two decades while the international community have either silently watched it, or at times even tried to cover it up. Saddam is not a run-of-the-mill dictator; he is exceptional. Weapons of mass destruction at Saddam's hands are dangerous to the Iraqi people and to mankind. 

However, as important as it is to eliminate the weapons of mass destruction, it is more important to protect the people who may be destroyed en masse by these weapons at Saddam's hands. The international community should be more concerned and committed to implement Security Council resolutions such as 688 to protect the Iraqi people and safeguard their basic human rights at least as much as enforcing resolutions to disarm Saddam. 

QUESTION:
Dr Hussein, when you have made these charges or presented this evidence to fellow Arabs, to people from Muslim societies, what has their reaction been? Have they not also condemned Saddam Hussein for torturing and killing Arabs? 

DR HUSSEIN AL-SHAHRISTANI::
Yes. We have discussed this evidence with many Arab human rights organizations who take note of it and are interested in what we say, but the Arab masses unfortunately are suffering to one degree or another from human rights abuses in their own countries by their own governments, and for them this is just another Arab dictator who is mistreating his people. But they fail to see, as I said in my presentation, that he is not really a run-of-the-mill dictator, he is exceptional. 

QUESTION:
I would like to ask a representative of the Foreign Office: isn't this report simply giving the Government justification for a war in Iraq? And if that is not true, why is it that we haven't seen reports on Mugabe's Zimbabwe, or the torture and illegal detention of British prisoners in Saudi Arabia? It seems odd that we should be looking at video footage and reading about events, most of which happened 10 years ago, at this critical time politically. Either we have a consistent human rights policy and ethical foreign policy, or are we just giving ourselves justification really for what many people think is going to be a war in the New Year? 

FCO OFFICIAL:
I think we have to start from the position of what is our policy overall to Iraq. Our policy overall towards Iraq, which is now encapsulated in Security Council Resolution 1441, has a very clear objective, and that objective is the disarmament of Iraq through peaceful means through the weapons inspection regime, which we are doing all we can to support at the moment. Now there is a connection between weapons of mass destruction and human rights and that is why we have thought it right to bring to your attention today the evidence in this dossier. There is a connection in at least two respects. The first respect is the historical record where weapons of mass destruction were used, particularly in Northern Iraq, in order to suppress opposition to Saddam Hussein's regime, and that is a matter of record. 

But there is a second sense in which this is important and there is a strong connection, and that is the psychological sense that these weapons are still there and they are available for use against opposition. Indeed if you look at the dossier you will see that we have got, courtesy of Harvard University, a document which sets instructions out for dealing with demonstrations, and part of those instructions for dealing with demonstrations talk about the use of special measures, which are chemical weapons, in order to wipe out the objective of 95% of demonstrators at a demonstration. So there is a past connection on the record between WMD and human rights, and there is a present psychological and government policy record. Now if you look at the overall policy objective, which is about disarmament of WMD, you see you cannot disconnect the human rights performance in Iraq from that and that is why we have thought it right, as part of our overall policy, to draw this to your attention. 

For these reasons, we believe Iraq merits special attention, but we don't overlook other countries. We publish an annual human rights report which includes a wide range of countries, including some of the ones you mentioned. And finally on the date of the material, if you look through the dossier you will find plenty of examples from the last 2-3 years and the last couple of months as well. 

QUESTION:
Given this dossier and given the evidence you say you have, are you proposing that Saddam Hussein and other senior Iraqi officials should at some stage face a War Crimes Tribunal or trial within Iraq? If not, why not? 

FCO OFFICIAL:
We are not saying no to an International War Crimes Tribunal. This is a very complex area of international law. The international community as a whole has really got to agree amongst itself what the right remedy is going to be, and it hasn't done that yet. 

QUESTION:
My question is to Dr Hussein. I wonder if you could give us an idea of how you actually managed to get out and what are your most vivid memories of when you were captured and tortured? 

DR HUSSEIN AL-SHAHRISTANI::
During the Desert Storm operations I managed to escape from Aboreb Prison and left Baghdad the same night to the north, to Sirimani (phon) in Iraqi Kurdistan and went into hiding until there was an uprising in which I took part in the city of Sirimani and where Saddam's forces were allowed to crush the uprising. We had to flee. I fled with more than a million other Iraqis across the borders into Iran and stayed at refugee camps and started my human rights work from that point. My most vivid memory is hearing the screams of very young children being tortured in the neighboring torturing rooms. 

QUESTION:
Given that these human rights abuses, as you say, have been going on for 20 years, why do you think the British government is producing evidence like this now? 

DR HUSSEIN AL-SHAHRISTANI::
I do share the concern that has been expressed that this should have been noticed and acted upon a long time ago. I am sorry that the international community, including the British government, has not been as active as it should have been in trying to force the regime to stop such violations of human rights. However, later is better than never and I do call upon all other international organizations, governments, the Security Council in particular, to see that the Resolution 688 is actually enforced on the regime and the Iraqi people are protected under this resolution from the abuses of the regime. 

QUESTION:
You say that you are not putting forward human rights abuses as justification for an invasion. Supposing that Saddam Hussein does comply with the inspectors, weapons of mass destruction are removed, there is no invasion, what then are you going to do about these human rights abuses? You advance the argument that removing weapons of mass destruction is going to be a help, but you don't need weapons of mass destruction to cut out people's tongues or brand people's foreheads. 

FCO OFFICIAL:
It is a very good point. If we get to the happy conclusion that we have disarmed Iraq of its WMD successfully through the weapons inspection regime, as you say that will have removed one area where we are concerned about human rights, then we will be treating Iraq as we treat other countries where there are gross violations of human rights: through the annual UN mechanisms, through our own human rights work around the world, and we will be taking opportunities as they arise to put pressure on the Iraqi regime. It has to be said that if the Iraqi regime were to get rid of its WMD it would be a changed regime in the sense that as a minimum its behavior will have changed, so there may be scope for pressing for other changes too. 

QUESTION:
Recently Saddam has actually released lots of prisoners from Aboreb and other prisons and he is also flirting with some opposition parties. He seems to be doing what people have been asking him to do for many years, obviously under pressure. Do you acknowledge that he is changing and does that reflect at all on this report that he is actually doing some of the things that we have been wanting him to do for 20 years? 

DR HUSSEIN AL-SHAHRISTANI::
There was an amnesty in Iraq last month, they did release thousands of prisoners. The overwhelming majority of these - over 90% - were normal criminals, very, very few of them were political prisoners. Of the more than 10,000 people that were arrested with me during 1979 and 1980 and were kept at Aboreb Prison at the time, only one person has been released. Of the tens of thousands of people that were arrested during the uprising and after the uprising of March 1991, none has been released, including the over 100 religious scholars from Najaf that have been arrested and taken away from Najaf. From among the tens of thousands of political prisoners that were arrested in late 1998, early 1999, during the so-called second uprising when Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr was assassinated early in 1991, none of those has been released. The only political prisoners, and these are a couple of hundred that were released, were those who were arrested during 2001 and 2004, and perhaps some that were arrested during the year 2000. Of all the political prisoners that were arrested throughout the '80s and throughout the '90s, only one person has been released. 

QUESTION:
Dr Hussein, I understood you were head of the nuclear agency in Iraq before you were imprisoned, I imagine that means you know Saddam Hussein personally? How would you describe him as a man relative to your experiences and this report? Did he look like a villain before you went to prison? 

DR HUSSEIN AL-SHAHRISTANI::
Yes. He has always, even in the meetings, made sure that people listened very carefully to what he had to say and anybody who dared to disagree, even on scientific issues, could disappear and never to be seen again. So people were extremely careful not to disagree with him, even at the Atomic Energy Board meetings. I remember for example when he wanted to redirect the research activities at the Atomic Energy from peaceful applications to what he called then strategic applications, and I reminded the Board that Iraq had signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty with the International Atomic Energy Agency and it was our international obligation not to indulge in any non-peaceful applications. I was just told that I was a good scientist, I should monitor my scientific work and never discuss such issues again. 

--30--

Background:


Before dawn on February 13 1991 a U.S. jet dropped two laser-guided bombs on an air-raid shelter in western Baghdad, killing 310 persons, by the official Iraqi count. Later that day, as the city's attention was diverted to extricating and identifying the charred corpses, at least two groups of prisoners escaped from Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Among them was a nuclear chemist who had been behind bars from the day in 1979 when he was seized from his office at the Atomic Energy Commission in Baghdad. 

A short man with glasses and a greying beard, Dr. Hussein Shahristani was born in 1942. He talks about his ordeal in precise, soft-spoken English. Like many of the Iraqi refugees I have interviewed about their experiences under Saddam, Shahristani shifts constantly from his own case to the abuses visited on multitudes of others, many of whom are now dead or disappeared. Shahristani knows that, by Iraqi standards, he got off easy. 

Few Iraqis would be shocked by the story of Shahristani's arrest and torture by secret service agents, his sham trial in a Revolutionary Court, and his years of solitary confinement. Even fewer believe that Saddam, who has pledged to give Iraq a new constitution and a multi-party system and in May, 1991 abolished the Revolutionary Courts, intends to ease the kind of ruthless repression that led to the scientist's 12-year ordeal. 

Unlike most of the thousands of political arrests that occur in Iraq each year, Shahristani's did not go unnoticed in the West. The young director of research at the Atomic Energy Commission in Baghdad had earned a bachelor's degree from Imperial College in London and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. His wife is Canadian, the former Janet Holtom from London, Ontario. (She met her future husband while working at the Department of Engineering at the University of Toronto.) 

Those who inquired about his case, however, did not get very far. Baghdad provided no acknowledgement or explanation of his arrest, and conflicting reports began to emanate from Iraq as to whether the scientist was still alive. 

In 1984, the Iraqi ambassador responded to an inquiry about Shahristani from the National Academy of Sciences by claiming that the scientist had long since been pardoned and released. No one heard from Shahristani himself, however, and many who knew him or his name assumed he was dead. Quite recently, an exiled Iraqi writer who follows human rights in his country told me matter-of-factly that Shahristani had been executed long ago. 

But Shahristani was not dead. When he escaped from Abu Ghraib in February 1991, he had just passed the mid-point of a 20-year sentence. 

His ordeal began on December 3, 1979. Shahristani was in his office that day at the Atomic Energy Commission in Baghdad, when a stranger came to his door and asked to have a word with him. The man, who was wearing civilian clothes, did not give his name, and he was carrying a gun. 

After a brief chat, the visitor asked Shahristani to accompany him. When he reached a car that was parked outside, the visitor put handcuffs and a blindfold on him. He was then driven to the headquarters of Iraq's Internal Security agency (Mudiriyat al-Amn al-Aam) in Baghdad. Internal Security, one of Iraq's three principal intelligence agencies, monitors anti-regime activity by Iraqi nationals. Its bureaus are notorious torture centers. 

Shahristani was brought before Internal Security's director, Fadhel al-Barrak. His blindfold removed, Shahristani was asked what he knew about the sabotage of nuclear reactor equipment that Iraq had ordered from France. Authorities apparently suspected Israeli involvement. Shahristani was aware of the sabotage; he had been sent to France to inspect the equipment and determine whether it was salvageable. Shahristani told al-Barrak he had no idea who was responsible for the damage. 

Al-Barrak then changed the subject and asked the scientist if he knew a certain person. No, Shahristani told him, he did not recognize the name. Al-Barrak summoned a man into the room. The man said he knew Shahristani, and that he had heard him express disapproval of the widespread arrests of Shi'ites taking place at the time. Shahristani, a Shi'ite, is an observant Moslem, but he denied any connection with his accuser, or with any organized movement or party. 

Still suspicious, Al-Barrak ordered an interrogation. At this point, the civility ceased. Internal Security agents placed a blindfold over Shahristani's eyes again, led him from the office, and then pushed him down a flight of stairs to the basement. 

Thus began 22 days of torture. 

Shahristani was brought to a room and stripped of his clothes. He was made to stand on a chair while his hands were cuffed behind his back and tied to a rope looped through a hook in the ceiling. The chair was then kicked away, leaving Shahristani hanging by his arms. 

"At first you think that you can stand it," recalls Shahristani, who weighed about 130 pounds at the time. "But then you start losing your ability to hold yourself up. The pain in your shoulders is unbelievable." Like countless other torture victims in Iraq, Shahristani was then subjected to low-current electric shocks to his genitals. The pain, he says, proved secondary to what he felt in his arms. 

Shahristani could make out the faces of his interrogators, about waist-high, through a crack in his blindfold. They were al-Barrak himself, whose role was to probe the accusations about Israeli spy connections and the sabotage of the equipment, and Fadhel al-Zirqani, who specialized in interrogating religious personalities. 

Interrogation sessions lasted 30 to 60 minutes. Each time, Shahristani was blindfolded and hung by his wrists. The questioning was sometimes stopped when the interrogators noticed a chilly sweat forming on his body. Shahristani recalls, "They would say, 'the sign (al-alaama) has come -- take him down.' The cold sweat is a danger signal for them. Apparently, they did not want me to die." 

Between interrogation sessions, Shahristani was left to lie on the floor of a solitary cell for five or six hours, sometimes longer. One time, after they dumped him in a corridor, "I heard a guard say to an officer that he would tie me up. The officer replied, 'Don't bother. He can't move.' The officer was right." 

After three weeks of interrogation, Shahristani confessed only to possessing a leaflet critical of the roundup of Shi'ites. He told his interrogators that the leaflet, printed in Britain, had been given to him by two friends. 

Shahristani now suspects that his interrogators did not really believe he was a Zionist spy or a Shi'ite activist, but decided to lock him up anyway because of the general repression against Shi'ites at the time. After interrogation, Shahristani was transferred to a crowded cell, still barred from contacting his family or a lawyer. 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Shahristani learned of his arrest from a colleague at the Atomic Energy Commission. While desperate to learn her husband's status, she was introduced to a man claiming to have security connections. The man told her that if she gave him 15,000 dinars (officially worth U.S. $48,000) he could ensure that the death penalty would be averted. She did. 

On February 11, 1980, officers blindfolded and handcuffed Shahristani, his two friends who had given him the leaflet, and a fourth man he did not know. The four were brought to Baghdad's Revolutionary Court. 

Before Saddam abolished them on May 20, 1991, Iraq's Revolutionary Courts were foremost among the special courts that try political and security cases. Their verdicts were not subject to review, although they could be appealed to the president of the Republic. 

Shahristani's trial lasted one hour. The panel consisted of a judge, and two uniformed men who, the scientist recalls, slept through much of the session. 

None of the defendants had an opportunity to present a defense, although they were able to reply to questions put to them. Some of the judge's questions focused on whether Shahristani was of Iranian ancestry. Iraqi Shi'ites who, like Shahristani, have Iranian-sounding surnames had been targeted for mass deportation in the 1970s. 

The scientist indignantly responded to questions about his supposedly Iranian origin by saying he had the papers to show that his ancestors could claim 300 years in Iraq, and challenged the judge to trace back his own lineage. The judge retorted that the defendant was a Zionist spy. Shahristani shot back that as a pro-Palestinian student in Canada he had received a threatening letter from a Zionist organization -- a letter he presumed the Internal Security agents had found during their search of his home. 

Shahristani's arguments failed. The judge found him guilty of possessing a subversive leaflet, and thereby committing an anti-Ba'ath act in violation of Article 175 of the Penal Code. Before announcing the sentence, the judge called on a man seated in the courtroom to speak in Shahristani's defense. The man pleaded for leniency for Shahristani, saying he had served his country well in his research and as a mentor of young Iraqi scientists. When the man, apparently Shahristani's court- appointed lawyer, finished his plea, the judge announced a 20- year sentence. 

From the courtroom, Shahristani was brought to Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq's central penitentiary. Built by British contractors in the 1960s, Abu Ghraib is a virtual city within a city, occupying a large area West of Baghdad. 

The political section of Abu Ghraib is divided into "open" and "closed" wings. The closed wing houses only Shi'ites. The open wing holds all other varieties of real or suspected activists: Communists, Muslim Brothers, Kurdish nationalists, Christians, Turkomans, and tharthaars. (Tharthaar, Arabic for "chatterbox," denotes those who do not watch their tongues in a country where criticism of the state is not tolerated. Persons guilty of a grave insult to the president of the Republic or any of its leading institutions may face the death penalty, according to a 1986 decree.) 

Shahristani was placed in the closed wing, so named because its inmates -- at least until 1989 -- were permitted no visitors or outside contact. Nearly all inmates of the closed wing were convicted in Revolutionary Court, and were serving sentences ranging from seven years to life. 

Shahristani's first stay at Abu Ghraib lasted only three months. On May 20, 1980, he was handcuffed and blindfolded, and then driven to al-Hakimiyya, a Mukhabarat jail in Baghdad. (The Mukhabarat is the security arm of the Ba'ath party, responsible for intelligence, counter-intelligence and watching over Iraq's other security agencies.) 

At al-Hakimiyya, Shahristani shared a dark, reeking, two-by- three meter cell with some 20 men. After about 40 days without being questioned, Shahristani was informed that Barzan al-Takriti, Saddam's half-brother and the head of the Mukhabarat, wished to see him. The scientist was driven to a private house, apparently in Baghdad, where he was able to take his first shower since his imprisonment. 

After a couple of days, Barzan and Abderrazzaq al-Hashemi, head of the Atomic Energy Commission and later Ambassador to France, paid him a visit. Chairs were brought for Barzan and for Shahristani. Al-Hashemi remained standing, as is the custom for all present whenever Barzan speaks. 

"Your country needs you at the Atomic Energy Commission," Barzan began. "The program cannot proceed without you." 

"What exactly do you want me to do?" Shahristani asked. 

Barzan replied that developing atomic weapons would give Iraq a "long arm" in shaping the geopolitical structure of the region. "I mean developing weapons that allow us to have our say in the destiny of the region." 

Shahristani told them frankly that he did not have the knowledge needed to help with the program. Al-Hashemi scoffed. They knew his abilities. Barzan added, "In my view, a person who is not willing to serve his country does not deserve to live." 

Shahristani said later, "Anyone who looked at my work would know I could not help in a program of a military nature. But at that point I was afraid that if I refused to cooperate I'd be executed. So I said to him, 'please tell me exactly what you want me to do and I'll tell you whether I can do it.'"

Shahristani recalls, "Barzan turned to Abderrazzaq and said, 'Tell him what projects you want him to work on.' Fortunately, Abderrazzaq was a very incompetent scientist. He himself didn't have a clear idea what projects to start for this purpose. He said he wanted me to start on the extraction of uranium from Iraqi phosphates, which makes no sense, since uranium could be bought freely on the open market. There is no need to extract it from phosphates. So I said I'd try my best." 

Barzan and al-Hashemi left, and Shahristani remained under guard, barred from leaving the room or from contacting anyone outside. 

Barzan was to drop by twice more for discussions. 

After Iraq invaded Iran on September 22, 1980, Shahristani was apparently forgotten. He remained locked in the house, with little more than a few books and the occasional company of his bored guards. He could neither send nor receive letters, but every few months authorities took him somewhere else to see his wife and children. 

In June 1981, a Mukhabarat official came and informed Shahristani that Israeli jets had just destroyed the French-built Osirak nuclear reactor. The official said the government was thinking of asking Shahristani to assess the damage and recommend a course of action. The man left and the matter was never raised again. 

In December 1982, Shahristani was transferred back to Abu Ghraib prison, and it became his home for the next seven years. Shahristani was locked in solitary confinement around the clock. There was a toilet in his cell, and guards brought his meals twice a day. The guards had instructions not to speak to him, only to nod or shake their heads. 

Gradually he developed a daily routine: prayer, an hour of exercise, and an hour of reading the Koran, the only book he was permitted. Later, after a guard secretly gave him a pencil and paper, he spent hours playing with numbers and devising and solving mathematical puzzles. 

After a few months, authorities informed Shahristani he could have visitors. From then on he saw his wife and children for up to one hour on the 12th of each month, always in the presence of a Mukhabarat officer. 

In 1986, Shahristani's hopes were raised by reports that he was to be included in a presidential pardon. But again -- nothing happened. He had to wait four more years before his status was to change. One day in 1990, the door to his cell was opened and Shahristani was told he could mingle with the other prisoners in the closed wing. 

His first task was to discover what had happened to the inmates he had known when he was in the wing a decade before. He found almost no alumni of the earlier group. As the current prisoners told him, large numbers of Shi'ite prisoners had disappeared in the early 1980s. With the war against Iran underway, the authorities began removing inmates in wajbaat of 50 to 100. Wajba (plural, wajbaat), in all Arabic-speaking countries except Iraq, signifies meal. In the Iraqi dialect, it has a special meaning: a batch of people who are rounded up to be executed or disappeared. 

The prisoners in Abu Ghraib told Shahristani that none of the inmates taken in wajbaat had come back. They assumed that those who had been removed had either been shot and buried in secret graves, or transferred to secret prisons. Other Iraqi prisons had reportedly been partially emptied by wajbaat during the first two years of the Iran-Iraq war. 

Shahristani discovered that his two friends who had been tried with him ten years earlier had been taken from Abu Ghraib in a wajba in December1980 that came to be known as wajba thawi al-kafa'at (the batch of professional people) because it was composed of inmates who had advanced degrees. Nothing further was heard from them. 

A couple of months after the end of Shahristani's solitary confinement, Iraq invaded Kuwait, and the United Nations imposed an economic embargo on Iraq. The occupation of Kuwait and the countdown to war taxed the security agencies that ran the political section of Abu Ghraib. Their administration was disrupted further when the bombing campaign started. Power and phone lines were cut periodically, gasoline ran short, and security officials were no doubt preoccupied by the devastating strikes against strategic targets, and in some cases, the neighborhoods where they lived. 

Some prisoners saw in the disarray of war their best chance to break out. During a family visit, Shahristani managed to tip off his wife that he might try to escape, and told her to prepare to flee the country. On February 13, Shahristani seized the opportunity. Out of concern for prisoners and relatives who remain in Iraq, Shahristani refuses to divulge the details of his escape, or of his family's flight abroad to join him. 

Although in solitary confinement much of the time, Shahristani was able to provide a vivid picture of the overcrowding and gratuitous cruelty of the staff in the closed section of Abu Ghraib. 

Cells measure approximately four meters by four meters and hold an average of 40 persons. There are no beds; prisoners sleep on blankets on the floor, and must do so in shifts because there is not room enough for everyone to lie down at the same time. 

Until the late 1980s the crowding was exacerbated by the fact that prisoners were confined to their cells around the clock. They were given no time outdoors, no family visits, no work programs, courses, or organized activities. They were allowed no books, Korans, private radios, televisions, or mail. Their only reading material was an occasional issue of al- Thawra, the Ba'ath daily. 

If prisoners left their cells it was almost always because they were going to be beaten. Each day, security authorities would tour the wing and select prisoners, take them into empty rooms and beat them with clubs. 

Other than when they were clubbed, inmates were able to leave their cells only if they died or developed tuberculosis -- which was epidemic -- and began coughing up blood. Anemia, ulcers and liver ailments were also common. Medical care was almost nonexistent: the prison "doctor" was an inmate in the wing who was trained as a pharmacist. He was permitted to visit ailing prisoners, but was given little more than aspirin to treat them with.

Meals were monotonous and of poor quality, but prisoners were more preoccupied with their water supply. A guard brought a hose to the door of the cell once a day, and prisoners filled a can that would have to last them all day. Each received less than one liter for drinking and washing. Showers were out of the question. 

Conditions in the closed wing took a turn for the better sometime in 1987, when the doors to the cells were opened every day, and prisoners allowed for the first time to mix together in the corridors. A few even were able to receive visits, through bribes or Ba'athist family connections. 

Shahristani believes that this progress was tied to Iraq's improving relations with the West, and a desire to avoid adverse publicity about prison conditions. The head of Internal Security is said to have visited the prison at the time and claimed to prisoners that he had been unaware of conditions in the section. 

These concessions set the stage for a revolt in 1989 that led to some dramatic improvements. One afternoon during the Moslem holy month of Ramadan, prisoners in the corridor refused to return to their cells at the usual time. When guards tried to club the prisoners back into their cells, the prisoners resisted with their bare hands. The guards summoned Internal Security officials to the scene, who threatened to open fire if the inmates refused to back down. 

The men were prepared to die. Addressing the officials, they said they were not against Saddam, the Ba'ath or the Internal Security agency. All they demanded was to be treated as humans. They wanted family visits, recreational time in the courtyard -- which prisoners in the other sections enjoyed -- and the delivery of the meal rations to which they were entitled. 

To the inmates' amazement, the authorities agreed to the demands. Prisoners began receiving their families monthly in tents that were set up in the courtyard. Relatives were allowed to bring the prisoners soap, window fans, and money for purchases at the canteen and to bribe the guards. Prisoners were permitted to receive copies of the Koran, some books published by the Ministry of Information, and managed to smuggle in other reading material. Beatings greatly diminished and a modest amount of medical attention became available. The cells were equipped with running water, so that inmates could shower. 

Prisoners were able to spend more time outside their cells, lounging in the corridors or in the courtyard. They could discuss politics discreetly, but were forbidden to organize study groups as political prisoners in many countries are permitted to do. 

The closed section of Abu Ghraib remains a dreadful place by any standard except that of its former self. It provides less than one square meter of cell space per prisoner. All basic services are either minimal or nonexistent, and no organized activities are available to the inmates, who are all serving long sentences. Note that Iraq is a far wealthier country than most that incarcerate people in such dismal conditions. 

The Gulf war and its aftermath have exposed many of the horrifying details of Iraq's prison system, most notably the secret prisons that were discovered by Kurdish and Shi'ite rebels when they temporarily wrested cities from government control in March, 1991. In Duhok, al-Najaf, Suleimaniyya, Basra and other cities, Iraqis who had disappeared long ago were freed from underground cells. Some of them, the British press reported, had seen no sunlight or visitors for years and remembered little besides their names and that the president of Iraq was Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. (Bakr was replaced by Saddam in July 1979.) 

When Shahristani escaped from Abu Ghraib in February, he brought with him a list of all 1,350 inmates in the closed section, hoping to pass the information on to their relatives. 

Asked to explain why the men in Iraq's security establishment torture and kill so cruelly and methodically, Shahristani does not serve up Arendtian profundities about the banality of evil. After pausing for a moment, he observes that Iraqis in this line of work form their own stratum of society, a stratum bonded together by a sense of fear. "These security people are convinced that the prisoners would do the same to them. They told their prisoners, sometimes, I'm being kind to you. I know for sure if you were in my place you would have done worse to me." 

During the uprising in March 1991, Saddam's victims justified these fears. As Kurds and Shi'ites seized control of the cities of northern and southern Iraq, they murdered hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqis they suspected of working for security agencies. "The rebels behaved with a barbarity learned from their own rulers," a Financial Times correspondent reported from southern Iraq on May 17, 1991

Despite the bloodletting of the uprising, Shahristani is optimistic about the prospects for democracy in a post-Saddam Iraq. "The Iraqi people, after the years of oppression under Saddam and two major wars are mature enough to decide that there can be no salvation without a proper democratic system in which the minorities are respected. The leaders of Iraq's opposition groups share this ideal. Even some who may not be very democratic at heart realize there is no other way for the country." 

Shahristani believes that Saddam's rule, ultimately, will end. The defeat in the Gulf war and the long sanctions have made the situation so desperate, he said, that "even the army generals realize there can be no solution as long as Saddam remains in power." 

While pleased that the sanctions are undermining Saddam's domestic support, Shahristani worries about the extreme hardship they are causing the Iraqi people. He has put off his search for an academic post in the Gulf states in order to coordinate a relief effort in Iran that has been smuggling food and medicine to Iraqi civilians by canoe across the marshes on the Iraqi-Iranian border. 

Shahristani also sends human rights monitors equipped with video cameras into Iraq. Some of their footage has been shown on major television networks. He himself has remained on the Iranian side of the border, providing logistical support, venturing occasionally into Iraq. 

The Wednesday Report, Canada's Aerospace and Defence Weekly

Publisher and Editor In Chief: Micheal J. O'Brien

Circulation Manager: Julie K. Kwiecinski

Editorial Staff Writer: Wanda J. Brox

Contributing Editors:

Dale Grant (Toronto)

Christopher G. Trump (Toronto)

William Kane (Washington DC)

John Reed (London, England)

Moshe Karem (Jerusalem, Israel)

The Wednesday Report is published weekly by MPRM Group Limited Telephone: (905) xxx-xxxx use email contact 

Subscription Rates: first class mail delivery $500 yearly, 
express delivery $650 yearly, single copy $15.

ISSN 0835-6122

Copyright: MPRM Group Limited 1987-2003. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or in whole, in any manner whatsoever, is strictly forbidden.