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					 Syria and Iran Biological Weapons: Criteria for Future Inspection Regimes


“The failure of the Americans to prove that Iraq was developing nuclear, chemical and biological
weapons should not create a false picture when it comes to Syria.”
                                                                          Eyal Zissler



Background

Although Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are generally grouped together,
they represent distinctly different classes of weapons. This common misnomer
perpetuated by the media, has obscured not only what was recovered in Iraq by
the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) but more crucially, the detection criteria employed
for each class of weapon and the future for inspection regimes where pre-
emptive engagement may be critically necessary1.

          "We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives
          of today's adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using
          conventional means...Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use
          of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that can easily be concealed,
          delivered covertly and used without warning.”-National Security Strategy of the
          United States of America

Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear weapons are all capable of
producing mass casualties and in some instances global catastrophic
consequences. Chemical and Nuclear weapon classes both have international
treaties and comprehensive inspection regimes: the Chemical Weapons
Convention and inspection body the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons (OPCW); Nuclear Proliferation Treaty with the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) as the inspecting body and the Biological and Toxin
Weapons Convention (BTWC) which is the only class of weapons which do not
have a verification or inspection regime. Moreover while chemical weapon
stockpiling and nuclear weapons development can be monitored by satellites and
other technologies, the nature of biological ―weapons‖ development is generally
not detectible with standard methods.

The inherent characteristics, the technology required for stockpiling, deployment
and use, set WMD apart; but none more so than with biological ‗weapons‘ for
biological pathogens can be considered a ‗weapon‘ even when not ‗weaponized.‘
The major differences between biological weapons and other unconventional
warfare munitions include:

    1
       Preemption, defined as the anticipatory use of force in the face of an imminent attack, has long been accepted as
legitimate and appropriate under international law. The continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD),
the transfer of technology and knowledge to states with a history of aggression and who support terrorist groups, creates
an unacceptable level of risk, and ― presents a compelling case for taking anticipatory actions to defend ourselves, even if
uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack." (Michael E. O'Hanlon, Susan E. Rice, and James B.
Steinberg, ―The National Security Strategy and Pre-emption‖, Policy Brief No. 113, Global Politics, The Brookings
Institution, December, 2002. URL: http://www.brook.edu/comm/policybriefs/pb113.htm
         The release of an agent is not immediately detectable as it the case with
          chemical and nuclear munitions. There are systems that detect biological
          agents, but most have a delay between acquiring the agent and identifying
          it;
         The effects of an attack are not immediately recognizable. People may
          become exposed to an agent soon after its release, but the infection
          requires time to cause illness2 (the incubation period in some instances
          can be lengthy up to 17 days from exposure or longer);
         The effect of biological weapons can continue after initial release for
          months as in the case of a highly communicable and highly infectious
          virus such as smallpox. This would result in secondary infections in areas
          far from initial release/index case and geographic regions where such
          diseases could present virgin soil epidemics.
         Global commercial airline travel makes the pace (of communicable
          diseases) not the space, critical to containment strategies;
         If you took a gram of smallpox, which is highly contagious and infectious
          and for which there is no vaccine available globally, and released it in the
          air and created about a hundred index cases, the chances are excellent
          that the virus would go global in six weeks as people traveled, the death
          toll could easily hit the hundreds of millions…in scale, that‘s like a nuclear
          war.3

Additional differences which set biological weapons apart include strain selection.
Selecting an agent requires matching the desired results of an attack with an
agent‘s characteristics. Those characteristics may include: how much of an agent
can cause disease (pathogenicity); time between exposure and illness
(incubation period); how debilitating the resulting disease is (virulence); its
lethality; and how readily the disease spreads to others (transmissibility).4

     2
       ―Biological Weapons Production‖, Federation of American Scientists, URL:
http://www.fas.org/biosecurity/resource/bioweapons.htm
     3
       Microbiology 101 Internet Text, Chapter XV, Addendum: Biological Weapons, Malignant Biology, 2000 URL:
http://www.slic2.wsu.edu:82/hurlbert/micro101/pages/101biologicalweapons.html#advantagesofBW

     4
       For a full description of the process of selection and potential weaponization process see ―Biological Weapons
Production‖, Federation of American Scientists, URL: http://www.fas.org/biosecurity/resource/bioweapons.htm [A
pathogen can be obtained from two major sources: its natural environment and a microbiology laboratory or bank. When
acquired from environmental sources such as soil, water, or infected animals, enough of the microorganism would have to
be obtained to allow purification and testing of its characteristics. The difficulty in acquiring agents stored in labs and
banks, such as the American Type Culture Collection, depends on accessibility to the pathogens, security for the facility,
or security measures for the bank‘s ordering process. These agents are purified and of a known quality. An alternative to
acquiring agents is creating them. Toxins can be produced by adding the DNA coding for its production to bacteria. Also,
advances in biotechnology have made it possible to synthesize certain viruses based on its genome, or an organism‘s
genetic instructions, and using basic materials such as DNA. Dr. Eckard Wimmer first demonstrated this by re-creating the
poliovirus in 2001, which was followed by Dr. Craig Venter‘s synthesis of the bacteriophage X174 in 2003 and the 2005
re-creation of the 1918 flu virus by Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger and Dr. Terrence Tumpey. Modification of microorganisms
through selection techniques and advances in genetic engineering could alter an agent so it will function in a particular
manner. Agents modified for increased pathogenicity and a shorter incubation period could result in a more severe, fast-
acting disease. Microorganisms that, under normal circumstances, do not infect potential targets could be modified to do
so. Other changes could make treatments, vaccines, or the body‘s immune system useless. Delivering an agent requires
preparing it to remain effective when outside of its optimal growing conditions. Exposure to environmental stresses such
as temperature, ultraviolet radiation, and drying can reduce the agent‘s activity. Some pathogens, like the anthrax
bacteria, can encapsulate itself into a hardy, long-lasting spore not easily susceptible to those conditions. Other agents
require further processing that minimizes damage to it and allows it to retain its activity when dispersed. These
Generally, the technological requirements associated with chemical and nuclear
munitions and their deployment platforms are significantly different than for
biological weapons.

There are about 48 organisms that could be used offensively--25 viruses, 13
bacteria, and 10 toxins. Although advances in genomics, molecular biology,
combinatorial chemistry and understanding of microbial structure and replication
and synthetic biology will effect future non-conventional weapons development,
several nations of concern continue to build the majority of their offensive
biological weapons programmes around the 5 or 6 Category A agents.5

          “The gravest danger to freedom lies at the crossroads of radicalism and
          technology. When the spread of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons,
          along with ballistic missile technology—when that occurs, even weak states and
          small groups could attain a catastrophic power to strike great nations. Our
          enemies have declared this very intention, and have been caught seeking these
          terrible weapons. They want the capability to blackmail us, or to harm us, or to
          harm our friends—and we will oppose them with all our power.” - President
          George Bush, West Point, New York, 1 June, 2002

Currently there are about 18 nations suspected of having or trying to develop
offensive biological weapons. The degree of sophistication of each country‘s
research program will determine how advanced biological agents will be. 6 Even
the most rudimentary program will likely have lethal agents that have been a
threat for some time.7 Botulism, anthrax, plague and variola (smallpox) are high-
probability candidates for most bio-weapons programmes. In addition, the
revolution in biotechnology may produce other agents that are even more toxic
and resilient. Without getting into the technical aspects, relatively minor
molecular adjustments may produce a more toxic, fast acting, and stable
biological agent.8 However developing recombinant strains and then
‗weaponsizing‘ them is a more involved process which also requires testing and

procedures include: direct freeze drying (lyophilization); formulation into a special stabilizing solid, liquid, or gaseous
solution; deep freezing; and powdering and milling. Once stabilized, the pathogens are ready for dispersal .

           5
            Category A includes the highest priority agents: anthrax(bacillus anthracis), botulism (clostridium botulinium
    toxin),plague (yersinia pestis) smallpox (variola major), tularemia (francisella tularenis) and viral hemorrhagic fevers
    (filoviruses e.g. Ebola, Marburg, and arenaviruses e.g. Lassa, Machupo) that pose a risk to national security because
    of the following features For a biological weapon to be highly effective, three conditions should be optimized. The
    biological agent should consistently produce the desired effect of death or disease. It should be highly contagious
    with short and predictable incubation period and infective in low doses. The disease should be difficult to identify and
    be suspected as an act of bioterrorism. The agents should be suitable for mass production, storage, weaponisation,
    and stable during dissemination. The target population should have little or no herd immunity and little or no access
    to treatment. The terrorist should have means to protect or treat their own forces and population against the
    infectious agents or the toxins. Beeching NJ, Dance DA, Miller AR, et.al. Biological warfare and bioterrorism. BMJ.
    2002; 324:336-339.

           6
             Mayer, Terry, Lt.Col.USAF, ― The Biological Weapon: A Poor Nations Weapon of Mass Destruction‖ Battlefield
of the Future, United States Air Force, Air University.
URLfile:///C:/DOCUME~1/JILLDE~1/MYDOCU~1/Battlefield%20of%20the%20Future.htm
           7
             Ibid.
           8
             Rose, Stephen, ―The Coming Explosion of Silent Weapons,‖ Naval War College Review, 42, (Summer 1989):
26–27.
demonstrating consistent results which can take years to perfect. State bio-
defence laboratories throughout the world conduct advanced defence research to
prepare for biological warfare. While the Biological and Toxin Weapons
Convention prohibits ‗offensive‘ biological weapons research it does not prohibit
defensive research which is completely legitimate. With nations who conduct
offensive research or are seeking to acquire the knowledge and technology to do
so, such programmes are the most highly guarded national security areas such a
nation can possess. The nature of biological weapons research makes such
research highly complimentary to compartmentalization and embedding or
running studies along side legitimate research; one reason is the dual-use nature
of bio-weapons research, the other is the need to hide such activities. Nations
conducting offensive research such as the former Soviet Union, the DPRK, Iran,
Syria and previously Iraq have all embedded their programmes. Since the
programmes are hidden and often run within legitimate research programmes
criteria for assessing, what amounts to very subtle indicators, must be
constructed. Iraq and the failure to develop such criteria to be utilized by the ISG
is a good starting point for future inspection regimes.

Assessing the Iraq Survey Group as an Inspection Regime

Given the nature of biological weapons, their proliferation and potential use by
rouge states, it is imperative we have sound criteria in order to asses both the
current and future threat. In terms of future inspection regimes, nothing could be
more significant or offer more of a road map for conducting inspections than the
words of Dr. David Kay in his Interim Progress Report on the Activities of the ISG
before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House
Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense, and the Senate Select
Committee                                on                            Intelligence




                                                 Vials: A total of 97 vials-including those with labels consistent with
the al Hakam cover stories of single-cell protein and biopesticides, as well as strains that could be used to produce
BW agents-were recovered from a scientist's residence.




-STATEMENT BY DAVID KAY ON THE INTERIM PROGRESS REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES
OF THE IRAQ SURVEY GROUP (ISG)BEFORE THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT
COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE,THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON
APPROPRIATIONS,SUBCOMMITTEE ON DEFENSE, AND THESENATE SELECT
COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE

October 2, 2003

“With regard to biological weapons activities, which has been one of our two initial areas
of focus, ISG teams are uncovering significant information - including research and
development of BW-applicable organisms, the involvement of Iraqi Intelligence Service
(IIS) in possible BW activities, and deliberate concealment activities. All of this suggests
Iraq after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining
smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production of BW
agents. (Why search for a stockpile when you know what bio-warfare programme
development entails?)

Debriefings of IIS officials and site visits have begun to unravel a clandestine network of
laboratories and facilities within the security service apparatus. This network was never
declared to the UN and was previously unknown. We are still working on determining the
extent to which this network was tied to large-scale military efforts or BW terror
weapons, but this clandestine capability was suitable for preserving BW expertise, BW
capable facilities and continuing R&D - all key elements for maintaining a capability for
resuming BW production. The IIS also played a prominent role in sponsoring students
for overseas graduate studies in the biological sciences, according to Iraqi scientists and
IIS sources, providing an important avenue for furthering BW-applicable research. This
was the only area of graduate work that the IIS appeared to sponsor.

Discussions with Iraqi scientists’ uncovered agent R&D work that paired overt work with
nonpathogenic organisms serving as surrogates for prohibited investigation with
pathogenic agents. Examples include: B. Thurengiensis (Bt) with B. anthracis (anthrax),
and medicinal plants with ricin. In a similar vein, two key former BW scientists confirmed
that Iraq under the guise of legitimate activity developed refinements of processes and
products relevant to BW agents. The scientists discussed the development of improved,
simplified fermentation and spray drying capabilities for the simulant Bt that would have
been directly applicable to anthrax, and one scientist confirmed that the production line
for Bt could be switched to produce anthrax in one week if the seed stock were
available.

A very large body of information has been developed through debriefings, site visits, and
exploitation of captured Iraqi documents that confirms that Iraq concealed equipment
and materials from UN inspectors when they returned in 2002. One noteworthy example
is a collection of reference strains that ought to have been declared to the UN. Among
them was a vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be
produced. This discovery - hidden in the home of a BW scientist - illustrates the point I
made earlier about the difficulty of locating small stocks of material that can be used to
covertly surge production of deadly weapons. The scientist who concealed the vials
containing this agent has identified a large cache of agents that he was asked, but
refused, to conceal. ISG is actively searching for this second cache.

Additional information is beginning to corroborate reporting since 1996 about human
testing activities using chemical and biological substances, but progress in this area is
slow given the concern of knowledgeable Iraqi personnel about their being prosecuted
for crimes against humanity.”
Iraq and the Search for WMD

Given Dr. Kay‘s above statements it‘s perhaps surprising that the ISG took the
course they did and finished in three months.

      They apparently discovered pathogens suitable for biological warfare;
      They discovered evidence of the involvement of Iraqi Intelligence Service
       (IIS) in possible BW activities;
      They believed Iraq after 1996 had further compartmentalized its program
       and focused on maintaining smaller, covert capabilities that could be
       activated quickly to surge the production of BW agents;
      Discovered a clandestine network of laboratories and facilities suitable for
       BW research and development;
      Evidence of human testing with bio-warfare pathogens.

When we then consider inspection regimes, the criteria for estimating biological
‗weapons‘ and weapons programmes is in need of urgent review.
For example, it has been claimed that the duration of the ISG inspections and
Sector Control Point Baghdad (SCP-B) recovered chemical weapons on only two
occasions. The first was a sarin mortar shell reconfigured into an IED (improvised
explosive device). The second occasion was the discovery of several 122-mm
rocket warheads filled with inert mustard gas recovered near Babylon.9 Both
were considered to be remainders from the Iran-Iraq War and useless as
offensive weapons.10

The ISG focus on the search for biological weapons appeared solely pinned to
the discovery of mobile laboratories, an unusual criteria for assessing an
offensive biological weapons programme by any standard. Then there is the
issue of stockpiling biological weapons; this paper contends that both of these
criteria are low-level indicators if not irrelevant to assessing an advanced,
offensive biological weapons programme. At issue, certainly is the perception
that the failure to find biological ‗weapons‘ in Iraq has lead to serious
miscalculations. There is an underlying assumption that since no biological
weapons were found in Iraq any claim that for example, Smallpox exists in other
national offensive research programmes is dismissible and baseless. In fact lack
of finding biological weapons in one country has no bearing on the situation in a
number of other nations and is not in any way an indicator of proliferation to
hostile regimes.



Why Mobile Laboratories?



       9
           Iraq Survey Group, Definition Wikipedia, 27, July, 2006 URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Survey_Group
       10
            Iraq Survey Group, Definition Wikipedia, 27, July, 2006 URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Survey_Group
While the nature of chemical weapons makes them well suited for ‗stockpiling‘ as
would be the case with radioactive and nuclear weapons; the nature of biological
weapons generally does not make them as suitable for stockpiling. Therefore this
particular class of weapon has significantly different inspection criteria, most of
which is subtle and differentiated from searching for a so-called ―stockpile.‖ One
could be lead to believe that the same criterion for searching for chemical,
nuclear and radioactive stockpiles was applied by the ISG in their search for
biological weapons or ―mobile‖ laboratories. In fact, if this were the case, the
criteria would be almost irrelevant in determining a biological weapons capability.
One simply has to question why there was such tremendous focus placed on the
‗mobile labs‘ in the first place when such labs would be but one indicator among
other more discrete criteria which certainly would have yielded the existence of
an offensive programme; a programme which to this day may remain a real
threat in terms of proliferation to states that currently sponsor terrorism.


Mobile Production Plant versus Mobile Laboratory?

Although individuals often interchangeably use the terms production plant and
laboratory, they have distinct meanings.11 The mobile production plants are
designed for batch production of biological material and not for laboratory
analysis of samples.12 A truck-mounted mobile laboratory would be equipped for
analysis and small-scale laboratory activities; US forces discovered one such
laboratory in late April of 2003.

         The mobile laboratory—installed in a box-bodied truck—is equipped with
          standard, dual-use laboratory equipment, including autoclaves, an
          incubator, centrifuges, and laboratory test tubes and glassware.

         These laboratories could be used to support a mobile BW production plant
          but serve legitimate functions that are applicable to public heath and
          environmental monitoring, such as water-quality sampling.




          11
             Central Intelligence Agency, ―Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants‖, URL:
https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraqi_mobile_plants/index.html#01
          12
             Central Intelligence Agency, ―Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants‖, URL:
https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraqi_mobile_plants/index.html#01
The mobile lab issue is one, portrayed by the media and intelligence sections as
crucial to proving Hussein had a biological weapons programme, The failure to
find more ―mobile‖ labs or even pathogens in the mobile lab which was
discovered is completely irrelevant to any kind of programme the Iraqi regime
was running. It simply was a convenient and not terribly sophisticated criterion
which was asserted as evidentiary of an offensive weapons programme.
Biological weapons programmes are complex, embedded, usually latent and
highly technologically and scientifically sophisticated programmes, mobile labs
are an easy simple target, those who aren‘t biological weapons experts fixed
upon, convincing the public and the Bush administration this was a viable
indicator for assessing a biological weapons programme. One can speculate that
their own lack of known (current) biological weapons programme construction
lead them to fix on this indicator or perhaps they had another agenda in mind; at
any rate mobile labs were selected and nothing short of finding them would
suffice. Failure then to discover any pathogens or pre-cursors, media etc. meant
there was no evidence of an active, existing biological programme; a very
dangerous conclusion to have draw from a singular and isolated marker. It‘s also
notable that although Dr. Kay would later assert that they did find a ‗clandestine
network of laboratories‘ the criteria which would then be applied after such a
finding was not.

Although Iraq's known bio-weapons labs were so carefully hidden that U.N.
officials failed to discover them until 1995 -- four years after the start of
inspections13; the second time around Kay spent only three months searching.
Given the previous round which took four years to discover, it‘s shocking to think
three months would constitute a comprehensive inspection.

―As Duelfer's September 2004 report noted, the ISG “fully evaluated less than
one quarter of one percent of the over 10,000 weapons caches throughout Iraq,
and visited fewer than ten ammunition depots identified prior to OIF [Operation
Iraqi Freedom] as suspect CW [Chemical Weapons] sites.” In addition, the ISG
had inspected approximately 10 percent “or less of the total Iraqi munitions
stocks” that were estimated at over 600,000 tons.”14

“In the end, the Duelfer report stated, the ISG visited only two dozen or so sites.
Out of 104 ammunition storage points within the "Red Line" ringing Baghdad, the
ISG used “indicators of CW—such as possible decontamination vehicles—to
narrow the search to 26 sites.” The result of this search uncovered “no caches of
CW munitions.” The Duelfer report concluded: “[A]lthough only a fraction of the
hundreds of thousands of tons of Iraqi munitions were inspected, ISG has a high
confidence that there are no CW present in the Iraqi inventory.” 15

If this is an indicator of the thoroughness with which they conducted inspections
of ammunition storage sites then the potential of the ISG inspectors to utilize
standard criteria for assessing biological weapons programmes would be beyond
their capability.

Why Intelligence Seized on Mobile Laboratories as a Standard for
Assessment

During the 1990‘s it was only after the defection of the program's chief, Saddam
Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, that inspectors found secret laboratories
that were producing lethal bacteria by the ton. 16While conclusive proof remains
elusive, there have been persistent reports since the late 1990s suggesting that
Iraq has continued biological weapons research using small labs built
underground or concealed inside specially modified trucks. Detailed accounts of
what were described as secret labs were given to U.S. intelligence officials by

          13
             Joby Warrick, ―In Assessing Iraq‘s Arsenal the Reality is Uncertain‖, Washington Post, 31 July, 2002, p.AOI.
          14
             McKivergan, Daniel, Worldwide Standard.Com. 8 February, 2006 URL:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2006/02/todays_ny_sun_iraqwmd_piece_an.html
          15
             McKivergan, Daniel, Worldwide Standard.Com. 8 February, 2006 URL:
http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2006/02/todays_ny_sun_iraqwmd_piece_an.html
          16
             Joby Warrick, ―In Assessing Iraq‘s Arsenal the Reality is Uncertain‖, Washington Post, 31 July, 2002, p.AOI.
Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri, an engineer specializing in constructing dust-free
"clean rooms" needed for certain types of laboratory suggested that as many as
300 secret weapons facilities had been "reactivated" since the withdrawal of U.N.
inspectors.17 Even if such claims proved false, existing and known research
laboratories, veterinary institutes, bio-pharma research facilities, university
hospitals and pediatric units should have been searched and their programmes
detailed to develop a concise framework of biological research activities and
compartmentalization.

Saeed was kept in a safe house by the Defense Intelligence Agency, which
declined requests to interview him. But according to a transcript of his debriefing
session, which was made available by the Iraqi National Congress, a leading
opposition group, Saeed said most of the facilities were small and cleverly
disguised.18 Again, a bit concerning that the ISG focused on finding weapon
stockpiles.

"In some areas, houses or a small factory would get converted into labs," Saeed said.
He also described a visit to an underground biological lab on the grounds of one of
Hussein's Baghdad palaces, and his account is similar to reports of the Tahhaddy
biological site offered by the Iraqi National Congress, which claims to have investigated
the facility using informants. A document provided to The Washington Post by the group
gives directions to the lab, lists its senior officers and describes a layout that includes
above-ground offices and rooms for a security detachment assigned to the building.
Most of its 85 employees work in a small underground lab that conducts research on
pathogens, including a mysterious Blue Nile strain, officials of the opposition group said.
Bio-warfare experts suggested the name may refer to Ebola, a usually fatal hemorrhagic
disease.” 19

Two issues must be immediately dispensed with: the mobile laboratories as an
indicator of an offensive weapons programme; and second the lack of
incorporating viable criteria for determining a biological weapons capability and
programme in spite of historic and current knowledge on how biological
programmes are constructed today and how they have been constructed for
decades in nations who conduct offensive research. What are mobile labs? Why
would mobile labs be selected as an indicator? Who selected this?

What are mobile laboratories?

Where did the notion of the possibility of an Iraqi mobile biological weapons (BW)
production capability come from? In 1995, Lt. Gen. Amir al-Sa‘adi told UNSCOM
officials that in 1988 he had suggested that perhaps Iraq should develop its BW
production on mobile platforms.20 The suggestion was rejected as not being
          17
             Joby Warrick, ―In Assessing Iraq‘s Arsenal the Reality is Uncertain‖, Washington Post, 31 July, 2002, p.AOI.
          18
              Joby Warrick, ―In Assessing Iraq‘s Arsenal the Reality is Uncertain‖, Washington Post, 31 July, 2002, p.AOI.
           19
              Joby Warrick, ―In Assessing Iraq‘s Arsenal the Reality is Uncertain‖, Washington Post, 31 July, 2002, p.AOI.
           20
               Leitenburg, Milton, ―Unresolved Questions Regarding the US Government Attribution of a Mobile Biological
Production Capacity by Iraq‖ URL:
http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cache:cYT3LvX0IlUJ:www.fas.org/irp/eprint/unresolved.pdf+SAIC+mobile+laboratories+Ir
aq&hl=nl&gl=be&ct=clnk&cd=4
feasible. During the war against Iran, General Sa‘adi had been head of the Iraq
government‘s Special Office for Technical Industry (SOTI), he later became
deputy to General Hussein Kammel, he Head of all of Iraq‘s WMD programmes
in the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization (MIMI). Although Sa‘adi
said he only provided a ‗concept‘ and not a detailed drawing, the CIA gleaning
‗details‘ from a source known as curveball, would certainly have had to
substantially enhance the mobile laboratory concept, which eventually appeared
in Secretary Powell‘s illustration at the UN on the 4th of February 2003.
Unfortunately Secretary Powell was never informed of the enhancement. Mobile
Laboratories appear to be a convenient, simple to understand, concept promoted
by the CIA as criteria for a BW programme.

Claims about Iraq's mobile laboratories first appeared in September 2002, with
the intelligence dossier released by Blair saying a number were in use.
The next month the CIA asserted, Iraq had "large-scale" biological warfare
production capabilities in mobile laboratories. Bizarrely, this became the standard
by which the CIA sought to gauge a biological weapons programme by. It could
be proposed that the CIA placed a high value on mobile laboratories because
they can evade detection and are highly survivable however the latent nature of
all biological programmes rather negates this as a probability. If evasion were the
motive, embedded programmes can evade most inspection regimes and Iraq had
a history of doing this not a history of mobile laboratories.

Mobile laboratories are also employed by militaries throughout the world for force
protection. Generally they are termed ‗forward deployed mobile laboratories‘ for
field identification of known and unknown agents. Although the CIA claimed that
the mobile platforms they recovered did not appear suited for this use.

Possession of mobile laboratories does not constitute a biological weapons
programme, which would have been known certainly by microbiologists on the
ISG inspections, even given intelligence on hidden laboratories; but other criteria
do; criteria which were selectively ignored.

What does a real state biological weapons programme look like?

In assessing the Iraqi programme and challenging the criteria used by the ISG
we need only look at how programmes are constructed today. It‘s stated that
―survey teams (Task Force 75) combed laboratories and munitions plants,
bunkers and distilleries, bakeries and vaccine factories, file cabinets and holes in
the ground where tipsters advised them to dig. Most of the assignments came
with classified "target folders" describing U.S. intelligence leads. Others, known
as the "ad hocs," came to the task force's attention by way of plausible human
sources on the ground.

Several nations currently have latent offensive biological weapons programmes
and in this sense Iraq did not stand out. Their intent to activate the programme
certainly required pre-emptive and immediate action as the consequences could
conceivably be global pandemics and catastrophic devastation. What is and
remains disturbing is that given an historic precedence (the Soviet Biopreparat
programme) to go by, the inspection criteria employed to discover an Iraqi
biological weapons programme, reflected none of the criteria which would be
drawn by assessing the Soviet programme or even the previous Iraqi
programme. This is unusual and one must consider that there were other
dominant reasons for not conducting an inspection using normal criteria i.e.
deciding to search instead for mobile biological laboratories which would
demonstrate nothing or the stockpiles which would have been unlikely.

To touch upon one of the most notable and successful biological weapons
programmes to date, the soviet programme known as Biopreparat was a massive
biological weapons research and development programme that went completely
unnoticed by all western intelligence agencies for over three decades. Only 15%
percent of research conducted at all 52 of the identified Biopreparat sites was
legitimate. Nearly 50,000 scientists worked within the Biopreparat system under
the guise of highly compartmentalized legitimate research. Even when the
programme was detailed by two scientists who defected, most US bio-weapons
continued to rejected how advanced the programme was…in fact it was the most
advanced biological weapons programme ever run. Biopreparat is an outstanding
example of both an active and latent programme. It is a framework currently
employed by a number of states to hide their offensive bio-weapons research.
Biopreparat and other programmes in North Korea, Iran, Syria and China offer
constructive, defined criteria for how to evaluate the advancement of a biological
weapons programme.

What is perhaps most surprising, given the ISG‘s failure to conduct an adequate
inspection, is a statement by Dr. Kay acknowledging the significance of ‗surge
capability‘. ―David Kay, chief U.S. weapons inspector, told Congress that ―Iraq
after 1996 further compartmentalized its program and focused on maintaining
smaller, covert capabilities that could be activated quickly to surge the production
of [biological weapons] agents‖ and that Iraq concealed relevant ―equipment and
materials‖ from UN inspectors in violation of Security Council Resolution 1441.
His most prominent piece of evidence, however, was that an Iraqi scientist hid ―a
vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced‖
in his home; Kay later acknowledged that the vial had been hidden in the
scientist‘s home since 1993. Kay also said that a ―very large body of information
has been developed…that confirms‖ Iraq‘s concealment efforts, but he did not
elaborate.21

The nature of an offensive biological weapons programme incorporates a
number of institutions, expertise and testing, most of which is completely dual-
use and some of which is entirely legitimate. Evaluating a bio-programme
requires a comprehensive approach to a very substantial framework of activities.

21
  Kerr, Paul, “Deconstruction: Kay’s Congressional Testimony” Arms Control Association, November
2003. URL: http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2003_11/KayReport.asp
The institutional framework includes defence laboratories, veterinary vaccine
research facilities, medical research facilities, university hospitals, prison
populations (with a focus on political prison sections); military populations and
bio-pharma institutions and in the case of most nations possessing offensive bio-
programmes the freezers and refrigerators of scientists from bench to defence..
The Stepnagorsk facility, a center of excellence in the Biopreparat programme,
conducted dozens of developmental and test runs with anthrax so as to be ready
to launch full production should Moscow declare a ‗special period‘ for doing so.
Moscow never did and Stepnagorsk never produced a stockpile of weapons.
22
  Similar to Iran, Iraq, the DPRK, and Syria, the purpose of the facility and other
institutions in the Biopreparat network, was to maintain the capability to start
production on short notice. This is the model still in use today by most nations in
possession of a biological weapons programme. The latent nature is essential to
maintaining not necessarily the weapons, or a stockpile, but in fact the capability
to produce such weapons as this is the most unstable and technologically
complex aspect of retaining an offensive programme.

―Now the really sobering part—biological warfare agents are very difficult, if not
impossible, to detect while they are in the research, production, transit, or
employment phases.‖23 Normal biological warfare research facilities resemble
completely legitimate biotechnical and medical research facilities; the challenge
this presents is in distinguishing legitimate production plants from illicit ones.24 As
demonstrated in Iraq, this needs to be done to verify a programme‘s existence or
in the case of Syria, to use pre-emptive strikes on biological weapons production
facilities.

For this reason, it is critical new, more advanced approaches be developed and
instituted in order to identify latent programme structure, institutional organization
and network interaction between civilian and defence research facilities, such
criteria was never employed by the ISG inspections in Iraq and therefore none of
the programmes were ever discovered.

Detecting Latent Biological Weapons Programmes: Critical Criteria for
Inspection Regimes


“David Kay, reported that "we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi
officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of
Saddam's WMD program." Among the things left behind, Kay reported finding a
"clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses," and "a prison laboratory
complex... that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly
ordered not to declare to the UN." The ISG's investigation revealed "new research on


        22
            Meselson, Matthew, ―Bio-Terror: What Can Be Done?‖ The New York Review of Books, Vol.48, No.20,
December 2001
        23
           Ibid., Mayer.
        24
           Ibid., Mayer
BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and
continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin.”25


Interestingly, as dismissive as the ISG was of Iraq‘s biological programme,
generally because the criteria it employed was very crude and simplistic, they
made a similar assessment of Iraqi chemical programmes. If the findings didn‘t fit
their pre-conceived ‗stockpile‘ concept, they negated it which is a fabrication of
what indeed existed. This is well illustrated by Kenneth Timmerman in the
following quote:

“When coalition forces entered Iraq, "huge warehouses and caches of 'commercial and
agricultural' chemicals were seized and painstakingly tested by Army and Marine
chemical specialists," Hanson writes. "What was surprising was how quickly the ISG
refuted the findings of our ground forces and how silent they have been on the
significance of these caches." Caches of "commercial and agricultural" chemicals don't
match the expectation of "stockpiles" of chemical weapons. But, in fact, that is precisely
what they are. "At a very minimum," Hanson tells Insight, "they were storing the
precursors to restart a chemical-warfare program very quickly."

Kay and Duelfer came to a similar conclusion, telling Congress under oath that Saddam
had built new facilities and stockpiled the materials to re-launch production of chemical
and biological weapons at a moment's notice. At Karbala, U.S. troops stumbled upon 55-
gallon drums of pesticides at what appeared to be a very large "agricultural supply" area,
Hanson says. Some of the drums were stored in a "camouflaged bunker complex" that
was shown to reporters -- with unpleasant results.

"More than a dozen soldiers, a Knight-Ridder reporter, a CNN cameraman, and two Iraqi
POWs came down with symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent," Hanson
says. "But later ISG tests resulted in a proclamation of negative, end of story, nothing to
see here, etc., and the earlier findings and injuries dissolved into nonexistence. Left
unexplained is the small matter of the obvious pains taken to disguise the cache of
ostensibly legitimate pesticides. One wonders about the advantage an agricultural-
commodities business gains by securing drums of pesticide in camouflaged bunkers 6
feet underground. The 'agricultural site' was also co-located with a military ammunition
dump -- evidently nothing more than a coincidence in the eyes of the ISG." 26

Timmerman further contents that:

“The discoveries Hanson describes are not dramatic. And that's the problem: Finding
real stockpiles in grubby ammo dumps doesn't fit the image the media and the
president's critics carefully have fed to the public of what Iraq's weapons ought to look
like. A senior administration official who has gone through the intelligence reporting from



          25
             Mariani, Joe, ―Iraq‘s WMD Redux‖, The Conservative Voice, 21, Febuary, 2006, URL:
http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/12525.html
          26
             Timmerman, Kenneth, ―Operation Iraqi Freedom Saddam‘s WMD have been Found: New Evidence Unveils
Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Ballistic Arms‖, 26 April, 2004, WorldNet Daily. URL:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38213
Iraq as well as the earlier reports from U.N. arms inspectors refers to another well-
documented allegation.”27

Indeed, this is the same side of the coin with Saddam‘s biological weapons
programmes and the ISG failure to construct normal criteria in order to assess a
real and active offensive capability. Instead the ISG chose a media produced
concept of biological weapons, in a neat stockpile waiting near military
instillations to be deployed. This is not how things are remotely done today by
any nation on earth in possession of a full scale biological weapons programme
with production capability.



North Korea

Camp 22 is a North Korean prison for political prisoners. There are an estimated
50,000 prisoners held in the camp. North Korea‘s State Security Agency
maintains a dozen political prisons and about 30 forced labor and labor camps.
The worst are in the countries far northeast near the border with China and
Russia. At least two of the camps, Haengyong and Huaong, are larger in area
than the District of Columbia, with Huaong being three times the size of the U.S.
capital district. Camp 22 in particular is known to conduct biological weapons
testing on prisoners, women and children. North Korea's Army is the only army in
the world with mandatory smallpox vaccinations. The DPRK is suspected of
conducting human experiments with most Category A biological pathogens
including plague, anthrax, botulium, smallpox and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers
(VHF). Four years ago there was a suspected outbreak of smallpox in a camp on
the border with China which purportedly killed 40,000 of the camps internees. As
variola has been eradicated since 1980 and the remaining strains are held at
only two repositories: the CDC in Atlanta Georgia and Vector in Novosibirsk,
Siberia, the only possible explanation for this outbreak is the illegal retention and
use of smallpox for building a biological weapons capability and potential
experimentation on humans which then lead to an accidental outbreak.

Iraq

Throughout their frustrating years of cat-and-mouse searches, the U.N.
inspection teams stumbled across several chilling clues that hinted at human
testing projects in Iraq.28 The most compelling case involved alleged biological




          27
             Timmerman, Kenneth, ―Operation Iraqi Freedom Saddam‘s WMD have been Found: New Evidence Unveils
Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Ballistic Arms‖, 26 April, 2004, WorldNet Daily. URL:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38213
          28
             Salopek, Paul, ―Reports Surface that Saddam Tested Biological, Chemical Weapons on Humans‖,
Foundation for Defence Democracies, 16, July, 2003. URL:
http://www.defenddemocracy.org/research_topics/research_topics_show.htm?doc_id=183756&attrib_id=7511
weapons tests carried out on Shiite political prisoners by a mysterious Unit 2100,
a U.N. inspection team document shows.29

According to the document, at least 50 prisoners from Abu Gharib prison west of
Baghdad were rounded up in 1995 and sent to a secret testing facility in Al-
Haditha, a remote community in Iraq's western desert.

"Unit 2100 was subordinate directly to the Ministry for Military Industry ... which
was headed by Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamil," states the document,
which is based on intelligence supplied by a senior Iraqi defector.

"The unit conducted experiments on human subjects using chemical and
biological warfare agents," the document goes on. "Prisoners who were sent to
Unit 2100 did not return."30 While these statements may be true, and inspectors
who apparently went to recover ‗documents‘ of all things which were missing, did
not conduct serological testing on in-mates; such testing would have yielded
conclusive results as would test known areas where mass graves were dug to
dump the bodies.

Informed that the Americans had probed the mass grave of the alleged chemical
test victims and turned up nothing, the officer seemed unfazed. Instead, he
produced a colleague, a lieutenant in the Iraqi Second Army Corps that
purportedly oversaw the operation, who confirmed the broad outlines of his
story.‖ The Americans," the officer insisted, "have a lot more digging to do."31

According to a report by the Arms Control Association, the ISG found that:

        Iraqi scientists experimented with ―nonpathogenic organisms serving as
         surrogates for prohibited investigation with pathogenic agents.‖ For
         example, they conducted experiments with a substitute for anthrax that
         would have been ―directly applicable‖ to producing anthrax for weapons.

        Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were ―explicitly
         ordered not to declare‖ a prison laboratory complex that was possibly
         used in human testing of biological weapons agents.

        New research was being conducted on biological-weapon applicable
         agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and that

         29
             Salopek, Paul, ―Reports Surface that Saddam Tested Biological, Chemical Weapons on Humans‖,
Foundation for Defence Democracies, 16, July, 2003. URL:
http://www.defenddemocracy.org/research_topics/research_topics_show.htm?doc_id=183756&attrib_id=7511
          30
             Salopek, Paul, ―Reports Surface that Saddam Tested Biological, Chemical Weapons on Humans‖,
Foundation for Defence Democracies, 16, July, 2003. URL:
http://www.defenddemocracy.org/research_topics/research_topics_show.htm?doc_id=183756&attrib_id=7511
          31
             Salopek, Paul, ―Reports Surface that Saddam Tested Biological, Chemical Weapons on Humans‖,
Foundation for Defence Democracies, 16, July, 2003. URL:
http://www.defenddemocracy.org/research_topics/research_topics_show.htm?doc_id=183756&attrib_id=7511
         continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.

        Iraq never declared a ―clandestine network of laboratories and facilities
         within the security service apparatus.‖ The network ―was suitable for
         preserving [biological weapons] expertise, [biological weapons] capable
         facilities and continuing R&D [research and development]—all key
         elements for maintaining a capability for resuming biological weapons
         production.‖ The ISG is ―still working on determining the extent to which
         this network was tied to large-scale military efforts or…weapons.‖



Iran

One of the first research facilities established in 1986 under the new program
was the Tehran based Pasteur Institute, which started to work on the
development of toxic fungus and microbiological substances. During its first
stages, the center concentrated on producing aflatoxin, a potent natural
mycotoxin produced by aspergillus flavus, which can be weaponised by certain
biochemical                                                         procedures.
At the same time similar research was undertaken at the Vira Laboratory Shari'ati
under                 Dr                   Gholamhossein                 Riazi.32

A 1989 US intelligence report mentioned Iranian agents trying to buy two new
strains of fungi, Fusarium from Canada and the Netherlands that can be used to
produce T-2 mycotoxins.33 The Imam Reza Medical Center at Mashhad Medical
Sciences University and the Iranian Research Organization for Science and
Technology were ostensibly identified as the end users for this purchasing effort,
"but more likely was that the true end user was an Iranian government agency
specializing in biological warfare." 34Some of the most common agents that are
associated with the Iranian BW program are Bacillus anthracis (anthrax),
botulinum toxin, ricin, T-2 mycotoxin, and Variola virus the causative agent of
smallpox. The many sophisticated research facilities in Iran could easily serve as
a front for illicit BW-related activities and could offer a legitimate excuse to import
dual-use material.35 (see list of institutes at bottom)

Syria

Although Syria‘s biological weapons research programme is centered on a
number of Category A agents, among them smallpox, plague and anthrax with

          32
             Iran‘s National Deterrent: Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, Defence Update News Commentary, 4,
April, 2004. URL: http://www.defense-update.com/2004/04/irans-national-deterrent-weapons-of.html
          33
             Iran‘s National Deterrent: Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, Defence Update News Commentary, 4,
April, 2004. URL: http://www.defense-update.com/2004/04/irans-national-deterrent-weapons-of.html
          34
             Iran‘s National Deterrent: Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, Defence Update News Commentary, 4,
April, 2004. URL: http://www.defense-update.com/2004/04/irans-national-deterrent-weapons-of.html
          35
             Iran‘s National Deterrent: Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, Defence Update News Commentary, 4,
April, 2004. URL: http://www.defense-update.com/2004/04/irans-national-deterrent-weapons-of.html
ricin representing a Category B agent which they also are conducting tests on at
the biological section of the CERS Center, (Scientific Research Council and
Scientific Studies and Research Center SSRC); Syria‘s strategic research,
development and production facility located in Damascus. The project started in
the early 1980s; in recent years, we have been witness to an upsurge in activities
that might indicate a change of concept triggered by Syria‘s intentions to amplify
its arsenal of such weapons.36 The extensive foreign activities of Syrian
intelligence services include substantial acquisition efforts focused on biological
and chemical weapons. The Syrian procurement structure uses the Scientific
Studies and Research Center as cover.37

Given the vast array and scope of activities which are involved in a biological
weapons programme, future inspection criteria must incorporate far more
discrete indicators and a broader base of methods to fully assess an offensive
weapons programme and to unequivocally establish the threat such a
programme poses both in the near and long term. A couple of the criteria noted
herewith (there are a total of seven) will be discussed in greater detail within the
up-coming book.

The Institutional Framework Criteria

1.Vaccine Research Sites and Veterinary Research Laboratories

Because the technology used to produce vaccines can also be used until the
very final stages to produce biological weapons and the knowledge base is
essentially the same, vaccine research facilities and veterinary research
laboratories in rouge states pose a credible target for inspection. In fact Iraq is a
case in point and a few of it‘s facilities were indeed rigorously monitored.
However, there are research sites which never make it onto the radar and which
should be carefully screened.

During the first Gulf War, the evidence for Baghdad‘s efforts to sustain and
expand it‘s biological weapons program was substancial. According to the CIA
report, the Al-Dawrah Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Facility, which employs a
sophisticated air filtration system, was used to produce biological agents before
the Gulf War. UNSCOM destroyed equipment at the facility associated with
biological weapons but left other equipment in place. In 2001, without U.N.
approval, Baghdad announced that it would renovate the facility to produce
vaccine to treat an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, even though it could
much more easily and quickly import the vaccine it needed (citations) Iraq greatly
expanded the storage capacity of the Amiriyah Serum and Vaccine Institute,
which records show was used to store cultures, agents and equipment for
biological weapons before the Gulf War. Similarly, authorities worked to rebuild


       36
            Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies.
       37
            Federation of American Scientists, ―Syria-Special Weapons‖,
the Fallujah III Caster Oil Production Facility, which was used to manufacture
ricin.38

Veterinary research facilities are highly complimentary to biological weapons
programmes and must be investigated with the same rigor one would apply to a
defence laboratory.

2. Medical and Scientific Community Freezers and Refridgerators

During the consolidation of global smallpox (variola major) stocks by the World
Health Organization, D.A. Henderson, a renown smallpox expert, when asked if
he thought all smallpox samples were accounted for and turned into the two
official repositories: CDC and Vector, replied ―It would be impossible to know
what is in everyone freezer.‖ This may indeed be the case however in accounting
for potential pathogens, particularly Category A biological pathogens suitable for
warfare, it is incombant upon those inspectors to assess both defence and
commerical staff from bench docs to full scientific team leaders and to in fact do
a comprehensive search of their homes and offices. While this task would take
more than three months, the western concept of bio-safety which would inhibit
most scientists from transporting and maintaining live warfare strains in their
home refridgerators is not inhibitory in most mid-east nations and others
throughout the would. Moreover, unlike scientific communities in the West who
face innumerable standards and review committees when conducting clinical
trials, many research teams in the far east and mid-east conduct trials using
themselves as guinea pigs. This is another scope which was never fully
verified.The scientific community should have submitted to blood screening.
While this goes against western concepts of civil liberties, it is essential in
determining a covert programme. Comprehensive lists of lab-techs and scientists
working in vaccine institutes, veterinary research facilities and university
laboratories should be screened against a number of criteria (define in my book)
to determine the likelihood of their concealing or being asked to conceal
biological agents at their home.

3. Serological and Toxicological Testing of Political Prison Populations and Post
Humosly

One of the most important criteria inspection regimes could imploy in future
inspection regimes is the testing of the prison population and post-humosly
testing of prisoners bodies; specifically political prisoners. As previosly
mentioned, today North Korea (DPRK), Iran, Syria, and other nations are strongly
suspected of conducting biological weapons testing on live human subjects
drawn from the prison population and among military personal (for less lethal,
vaccine related testing). For example the above noted cases are not exemplary
and should today be considered mainstream practice for these nations.

            38
               ―Iraq: WMD: The Deadliest Threat of all‖, 30 July, 2006, U.S. Department of State. URL:
http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/iraq/threat.htm
Serological testing is a relatively simple task, the prisoners are encarcerated so
they are accessible, do not have to be located or tracked and testing can be
easily documented.

Conclusions

With the increasing potential for future inspection regimes in countries such as
Syria and Iran, defining inspection criteria, clearly not employed by the ISG, for
assessing state run offensive biological weapons programmes, which by their
nature tend to be ‗latent‘ is critical.

There are a number of reasons why state‘s adopt ‗latent‘ programmes for
biological weapons development instead of stockpiling. Some of these reasons
were discussed above, some have to do with the nature of biological pathogens
themselves, as living and replicating organisms, some have to do with the ability
to hide an offensive programme behind legitimate research and some have to do
with long-term strategic defence planning. Latent BW programmes are not
dormant or virtual, they are existing, active programmes imbedded in research,
industry and defence sectors. Many nations throughout the world possess a
‗latent‘ capability through the framework of legitimate advanced life-sciences,
pharmaceutical industries and research laboratories.39 Inspection regimes are
simply not prepared to conduct the type of detailed advanced inspections
required to verify biological weapons production and use. Similar to how
‗weapons‘ are conceived of, science and technology have so advanced, coupled
with a basic mis-understanding of what constitutes a biological weapons
programme, that unless the criteria is significantly altered, future inspections
which may be undertaken in various nations will continue to yield little or no
results.


List of Iranian Institutes Suspected of Research and Development for WMD


The Pasteur Institute
69 Pasteur Avenue Tehran
Located at the Iranian Science Center for Biotechnology and Molecular Biology.
Established in 1920 as a primary center for research of infectious desease and
production of biological vaccines.The Biotechnology Department was formed in
1993 as a modern genetic engineering research institute.
According to intelligence reports, the Defence Ministry operates a secret
experimental laboratory within the institute, studying toxic fungus, specialising in
aflatoxin. A special MOD official supervises the work on biological agents.
Heading the institute is Dr Mortez Azartush, who denied 1999 reports that illegal
activities are taking place at the Pasteur Institute.

        39
           Report from Wilton Park Conference 797, 30 September- 2 October 2005 on ―CBW Proliferation: Developing
New Responses.‖
The Vira Laboratory
Shari'ati Street Tehran
Also known under the name of Sina Industries it operates ostensibly focusing on
agriculture and medical research, but actually its main function seems to be as
the chemical laboratory of the Defence Ministry Special Industries Organisation.
It functions as research center for testing and production of chemical and
biological warfare-related substances. Several reports mention Vira having field
tested biological agents on animals.
Heading the laboratories during the nineties was Dr Gholamhossein Riazi, a
specialist in biological fermentation process.
His deputy, Dr Yousefi is now in charge.

Special Industries Organisation ( Ministry of Defence)
Gostaresh Research Center Tehran ( Zartosht Street?)
Formed in 1999 ( some reports mention an earlier date as 1993) to develop
chemical weapons. The SIO supervises and coordinates various scientific
programs, including biological research, with a special branch studying and
developing biological weapon grade bacterial agents.
Intelligence reports, probably based on internal HUMINT indicate the location of
a special facility related to SIO being camouflaged from sight along the Tehran-
Karaj highway, known locally as Shahid Meysami Industry. Apparently this site
also acts as storage depot for chemical (and biological?) artillery shells for the
Revolutionary Guards units. Some years ago, rumours spread, that lax safety
procedures caused severe health hazards to workers employed there.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) website has published some interesting
details on SIO activities in its Country Information on Iran:
"Two Swiss firms, Bio Engineering (a subsidiary of Bayer AG) and MBR
Company, had been selling fermenters to Iran in the 1990s that were claimed to
be entirely for civilian use. Company officials insisted that the Iranian purchasers
were the Ministry of Agriculture and an entity they identified as MIDSPGIC Co.
However, the People's Mujahadin of Iran claimed that MIDSPGIC is an
abbreviation for the Special Industries Organization of the Defense Ministry. Bio
Engineering was attacked two times in 1992, once at its office outside of Zurich
(apparently by a terrorist group) and once at its Munich-based delivery company.
Equipment destroyed in the attacks included a 15-liter lab fermenter and a 750
production fermenter, similar to those used by Iraq for its BW program." (NTI
August 2003)

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Imam Hussein University

Located in Tehran, the university complex houses extensive, but highly secret
research departments led by scientists, members of the Iranian Revolutionary
Guard Corps (IRGC) or Pasdaran. According to reports, this establishment
focuses on weaponisation of several biological agents, including anthrax,
smallpox, typhoid, plague and cholera bacteria. IRGC scientists also engage in
weapons-related genetic engineering research at the Malek Ashtar University,
Shahinshahr,based in the Lavizan Shian Technological Research Center and
headed by Dr Maqsudi, who is in charge of the affiliated center for Scientific and
Growth Technology. Dr Hossein San'ati heads this center and has been active in
this field since the eighties. Jointly with Dr Mirza'i and Karami, the team became
known as architects of the national microbial weapons research project.
Experiments have been taken place at the IRGC Imam University, testing of
microbial bombs using anthrax, smallpox, typhoid fever, as well as high dosage
aflatoxin.
The authorities have placed substantial effort in coordinating all these functions,
by establishing a new department named Directorate to Asess Weapons of Mass
Destruction, which also focuses on recruiting foreign WMD related advanced
technologies in biochemistry. This diretorate also supervises activities in
acquisition, training and supplying various special forces with bioweapon related
technologies.
A special organisation in the Ministry of Defence is charged with Chemical,
Biological and Nuclear industries to supervise all production activities, headed by
Brigadier General Seyyedi.
Heading the new directorate is Brigadier General Nasser Toqyani, a senior IRGC
commander. His superior is Major General Hassan Firouzabadi chairman of the
Joint Command HQ of the IRGC. In charge of microbiological weapons
development section is Brigadier General Abroumand.

Other Biological Facilities related to BioWeapons Program

Biological Research Center of SIO
Located at Shahid Meisami Martyr Complex Special Karaj Highway
Revolutionary Guards Baqiyatolla Research Center
affiliated to the Guard's Baqiyatolla hospital works under Dr Karami, an
experienced member of the IRGC Imam Hussein University scientific staff in the
study and development of biological weapons.

Damghan Weapons Production Facility
Located near a dry lake approximately 375 miles to the southwest of Mashad, or
300km east of Teheran.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Damghan is the site of a biological weapons
research laboratory constructed with Russian assistance.

Other facilities who could be, or become related to the production of biochemical
weapons grade material are widely dispersed in almost all major Iranian cities.
There are also numerous research institutions, in which various dual related
biological studies could take place. Among the major "civilian" institutes are:
Biotechnology Research Center, Group of Fermentation and Biological
Technology
No.71 Forsat St.,
Ferdowsi Square
Tehran

National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research
No. 15,
Abbas Shafiee Alley,
Quds St.,
Inqilah Ave.
Tehran

Sharif University of Technology
Biochemical and Bioenvironmental Research Center
Tehran

The Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics (IBB)
University of Tehran

Source: Iran‘s National Deterrent: Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, Defence
Update News Commentary, 4, April, 2004.

				
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