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BIOLOGICAL AND TOXIN WEAPONS CONVENTION AND IRAQ
A report for Parliament on the British Government’s response to the US supply of biological materials to Iraq.
of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies,
This report sets out further evidence of misleading Government statements in relation to the Iraq conflict. Specifically, it considers the Governments response to the previously-overlooked finding of the US Senate Riegle Report, first brought to the attention of the House of Commons by Peter Kilfoyle MP on 26 February 2003, that in the 1980s the United States supplied Iraq with materials for its biological weapons programme. It is argued that this breaches the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which the UK signed in 1972 and ratified in 1975.
On 6 July 2004, in a written answer to a question from Mike Hancock MP, the House was informed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that Government responses to questions on the supply of biological materials to Iraq by the United States have been based upon their reading of the Riegle Report. On 10 August 2004, however, the Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Mike O’Brien MP, wrote the following in answer to an enquiry from a former Government Minister who was looking into the matter.
The United States Department of Commerce did, indeed, licence the export of a number of batches of bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) and other biological agents from suppliers in the US to established scientific research institutes in Iraq during the 1980s.
The term “established scientific research institutes” does not appear in the Riegle Report. According to the Riegle Report, these biological materials were exported to “agencies of the government of Iraq”. Therefore, Government answers to questions on the supply of biological materials to Iraq by the United States must either be based upon more than just their reading of the Riegle Report, or they are not reading the Report properly. This point is examined further in this report.
It is not enough to say that weapons of mass destruction have not been found in post-war Iraq and therefore no more questions need to be asked. These materials, whether or not already destroyed by UN weapons inspectors or by the Iraqis themselves, were the repeatedly-stated reason for war. The Foreign Secretary made a particular point of focusing on anthrax when addressing the House of Commons on 10 March 2003:
..let me give the House just one illustration: anthrax—easily inhaled and the death rate for untreated victims may be 90 per cent. or more. Only tiny amounts are needed to inflict widespread casualties. Contrary to Iraqi assertions, the inspectors found evidence of anthrax where Iraq had declared there was none. Again, contrary to Iraqi assertions, UNMOVIC believes there is a strong presumption that some 10,000 litres of anthrax were not destroyed in the early 1990s and may still exist. Iraq also possesses the technology and materials to allow it to return swiftly to the pre-1991 production levels for anthrax. 
When Mr Kilfoyle asked the Foreign Secretary if the anthrax had been provided by the United States, the Foreign Secretary said the following:
As far as I know, that anthrax did not come from the United States. However, even if it did, while it would have been wrong of the United States to supply it, it would have been even worse of Iraq, in complete defiance of the United Nations, to continue to hang on to it and to maintain facilities to produce it. 
In the middle of this extraordinary answer, please note the words: “it would have been wrong of the United States to supply it”.
A world authority on this subject, the late Dr David Kelly, Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Adviser both to the Ministry of Defence Proliferation and Arms Control Secretariat and the Foreign Office Non-proliferation Department, confirmed in a telephone interview with The Vancouver Sun, investigating the US anthrax mailings in October 2001, that the Virginia-based American Type Culture Collection company had admitted to the UN that it sent anthrax to Iraq. 
With the publication of the ‘Duelfer Report’ in the United States just last month, it was revealed that the anthrax supplied by the American Type Culture Collection was the exclusive strain used in the Iraqi biological weapons programme. The Report states that:
Iraq declared researching different strains of B. anthracis, but settled on the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) strain 14578 as the exclusive strain for use as a BW. 
As far as the Foreign Secretary knew on 10 March last year, “that anthrax did not come from the United States”. Now, however, it would appear that it did.
The Riegle Report provides precise invoicing details, including eleven addresses in Iraq to which warfare-related biological materials were sent by the American Type Culture Collection between February 1985 and November 1989. Anthrax was supplied in May 1986 and September 1988, ostensibly to the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Trade.
It is misleading for ministers to say that the quantities of biological agents sent were small, and so imply that they were somehow insignificant. Dr Des Turner MP, a biochemist, has said: “The biological materials exported from the US to Iraq were quite sufficient to fuel a biological weapons programme, as a starter culture can be scaled up to any quantity”.  Similarly qualified MPs agree.
We know the materials were licensed for export by the US Department of Commerce at a time when the United States secretly supported Iraq in its eight-year war with Iran, and that in February 1982 the US Government removed Iraq from its list of terrorist states in order to do so. 
We know the White House was fully aware of the Iraqi chemical weapons programme as early as November 1983, when it was briefed by the State Department about Iraqs almost daily use” of chemical weapons. 
We know that by January 1988, reports of Iraqi germ warfare capabilities were appearing in the US press, including in Jane’s Defense Weekly, America’s leading independent provider of intelligence and analysis on national and international defence. 
Yet we are expected to believe, without any investigation, that between 1985 and 1989 anthrax and other warfare-related biological materials were exported from the US to Iraq for peaceful purposes. On what should this belief be based?
During the past nineteen months, the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary, and Foreign Secretary have all been questioned on this issue in the House of Commons. There have been eleven written Parliamentary Questions, a Starred Question in the House of Lords, two MPs have published related documents on their Websites and 138 MPs have signed Early Day Motion 300, ‘Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and Iraq’, tabled by Austin Mitchell MP.
This report is respectfully submitted to Parliament in support of EDM 300 and in the hope that the US supply of biological materials to Iraq will at last be properly investigated.
18 October, 2004
Response to a letter from Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs,
Mike O’Brien MP
On 10 August 2004, The Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Mike O’Brien MP, wrote to The Rt Hon John Denham MP, as follows:
..The United States Department of Commerce did, indeed, licence the export of a number of batches of bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) and other biological agents from suppliers in the US to established scientific research institutes in Iraq during the 1980s. The exports were licensed in accordance with export controls in place at the time. At the time of these xports there was no conclusive evidence that Iraq was pursuing a programme for the production of biological weapons. The quantities exported were consistent with the requirements of legitimate scientific research and the US authorities judged that there was no reason to suppose that the materials would be used for anything other than legitimate scientific purposes (e.g. the manufacture of vaccines : anthrax, in particular, is endemic in Iraq). The exports were not knowingly made by the United States to assist a biological weapons programme..
Mr O’Brien’s response contains a series of statements which are reprinted and individually examined, numbered 1 - 6 below.
(1) “The United States Department of Commerce did, indeed, licence the export of a number of batches of bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) and other biological agents from suppliers in the US to established scientific research institutes in Iraq during the 1980s.”
It is certainly not clear from the Riegle Report that these materials were sent to established scientific research institutes”, as claimed. The following destinations are exactly as printed in the sent to sections of the invoice listing in the Report:
Quite apart from the astonishing fact that one repeated recipient of these deadly materials was the Iraqi nuclear weapons research facility, the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission, the identities of some of the other listed recipients remain unclear.
On 6 July 2004, in response to a Parliamentary Question from Mike Hancock MP, who asked what the Foreign Secretary has made of the Riegle Report, Denis MacShane MP answered as follows on behalf of the Foreign Secretary:
The Government are aware of Senator Donald Riegle’s 1994 report. Our responses to previous questions on the supply of biological materials to Iraq from the United States have been based upon our reading of the report. 
If this is so, unless the Foreign Office has obtained some new information since answering Mr Hancock on 6 July, they appear to have misread the Riegle Report. What the Riegle Report says is that the biological agents and toxins were shipped to “agencies of the Government of Iraq” and the phrase established scientific research institutes” does not appear anywhere in the Report’s text. However, even if the materials had all been sent to established scientific research institutes, this would surely make no difference to the case, as we know that Saddam Hussein exercised absolute and ruthless authority in Iraq and it is highly improbable that scientific research institutes would have been an exception.
(2) “The exports were licensed in accordance with export controls in place at the time.”
This is the same statement made by Baroness Symons in the House of Lords on 15 March 2004 in answer to a question from the Bishop of Oxford. It is truthful, but only because it would apply regardless of the status of export controls. A report by the US General Accounting Office (the audit, evaluation and investigative arm of Congress) states:
Because Iraq was removed from antiterrorism controls and because controls on missile technology and chemical and biological warfare were not in place until the late 1980s, few foreign policy controls were placed on exports to Iraq during the 1980s. 
As the United States’ own General Accounting Office finds that controls were not in place, the Minister’s statement appears to be irrelevant.
(3) “At the time of these exports there was no conclusive evidence that Iraq was pursuing a programme for the production of biological weapons.”
This is similar to the answer given by Chris Mullin MP on behalf of the Foreign Secretary on 7 June 2004 in response to a Parliamentary Question from Lynne Jones MP, which asked whether the UK Government was aware between 1985 and the start of the Gulf War in 1991 that Iraq had a biological weapons programme. Then, Mr Mullin replied:
The first definitive information on Iraq’s biological weapons programme did not emerge until 1995 as a result of UN Special Commission inspections and the defection of Hussein Kamal. 
The terms conclusive evidence” and definitive information” are carefully chosen but merely mask the fact that Iraqs efforts to develop biological weapons were well known, certainly as early as January 1988. To quote from a paper published on the Website of Paul Flynn MP:
In January 1988, reports of Iraqi germ warfare capabilities were appearing in the US press, including in Jane’s Defense Weekly, America’s leading independent provider of intelligence and analysis on national and international defence….“EVERYBODY KNOWS”, a US Government official was quoted as saying, “the Iraqis are trying to develop biological weapons”….In January 1989, ABC News reported that Iraq was developing biological weapons and these reports were confirmed by US Government and other sources, including Anthony Cordesman, a noted military analyst, who said that “regardless of where you go in the Middle East or for that matter which Western intelligence agency you would talk to, they would all confirm that Iraq has biological agents in actual production and is stockpiling them for military use”….In March 1989, Secretary of State James Baker received a memo from the State Department, informing him that Iraq “is working hard at chemical and biological weapons”. 
Whether or not the Government wish to use terms such as conclusive evidence” or definitive information”, all they appear to really mean is that in 1995 the Iraqi defector Hussein Kamal admitted what was already well known. This is clear even from the transcript of the debriefing of Kamal, in which, for example, during questioning about Iraqs biological weapons programme, Rolf Ekeus, head of UNSCOM says to Kamal: We know that they weaponised agents in air bombs in December 1990.” 
(4) “The quantities exported were consistent with the requirements of legitimate scientific research”
This statement is perfectly true, but meaningless. As Dr Des Turner MP, a biochemist, explained in an interview:
The biological materials exported from the US to Iraq were quite sufficient to fuel a biological weapons programme, as a starter culture can be scaled up to any quantity. 
(5) “..the US authorities judged that there was no reason to suppose that the materials would be used for anything other than legitimate scientific purposes (e.g. the manufacture of vaccines: anthrax, in particular, is endemic in Iraq).”
If the US authorities “judged”, what does their judgement say exactly? And if Mr O’Brien has not seen such a judgement, upon whose authority in the United States is he speaking?
Bearing in mind, as described in (3) above, that Iraqs efforts to develop biological weapons were well known to the point that they were being discussed in the US press and were even the subject of US State Department memoranda, is it not fair to say that continuing to supply biological materials to Saddam Husseins Iraq at best involved extremely poor, if not criminally negligent, judgement?
There are further documents which substantially reinforce this charge. For example, a US Department of State memorandum to the Secretary of State, dated November 1 1983, entitled “Iraq Use of Chemical Weapons”, opens with the words: We have recently received additional information confirming Iraqi use of chemical weapons”.  The memorandum refers to Iraq’s “almost daily” use of chemical weapons and states that the issue will be on the agenda of a National Security Council meeting at the White House that same week. Does this sound like a regime to which deadly warfare-related biological agents should then be dispatched?
(6) “The exports were not knowingly made by the United States to assist a biological weapons programme..”
It is now well known that the United States Government supported Iraq in its war with Iran. To illustrate the extent of this support, former Staff Member to the US National Security Council Howard Teicher, who accompanied President Reagans envoy Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad in 1983, swore in a Florida court under oath in connection with the Iraqgate case on 31 January 1995 as follows:
While a Staff Member to the National Security Council, I was responsible for the Middle East and for Political-Military Affairs. During my five year tenure on the National Security Council, I had regular contact with both CIA Director William Casey and Deputy Director Robert Gates…CIA Director Casey personally spearheaded the effort to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war. Pursuant to the secret NSDD (National Security Decision Directive), the United States actively supported the Iraqi war effort by supplying the Iraqis with billions of dollars of credits, by providing U.S. military intelligence and advice to the Iraqis, and by closely monitoring third country arms sales to Iraq to make sure that Iraq had the military weaponry required. The United States also provided strategic operational advice to the Iraqis to better use their assets in combat. For example, in 1986, President Reagan sent a secret message to Saddam Hussein telling him that Iraq should step up its air war and bombing of Iran. This message was delivered by Vice President Bush who communicated it to Egyptian President Mubarak, who in turn passed the message to Saddam Hussein. Similar strategic operational military advice was passed to Saddam Hussein through various meetings with European and Middle Eastern heads of state. I authored Bush’s talking points for the 1986 meeting with Mubarak and personally attended numerous meetings with European and Middle East heads of state where the strategic operational advice was communicated.  It was in this climate that the biological arsenal detailed in the Riegle Report was shipped from the United States to Iraq, so how can the Minister be so sure of his ground?
This paper concludes that of the Minister’s six statements, (1) and (3) are misleading, the first of these seriously so, (2) and (4) are irrelevant, (5) is unbelievable, and (6) is unsubstantiated. Consequently, the Minister’s response merely serves to magnify concerns and thus reinforces the call for a proper investigation, as expressed in Early Day Motion 300, ‘Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and Iraq.'
Letter to the Prime Minister before the war in Iraq
Reply from the Prime Minister’ office
Chronology of Parliamentary statements, questions and answers relating to the US Senate Riegle Report
Peter Kilfoyle MP, Iraq debate, House of Commons, 26 February 2003 
I recommend that people read Senator Riegle's report, published by his Senate Committee, on where the biological weapons originated. It is a matter of congressional record and anyone can get a copy. There were 73 separate consignments, including everything from botulinum toxin to other horrors, such as anthrax. Those were exported to Saddam by the United States.
Sir Teddy Taylor MP, oral question, Defence, 3 March 2003 
Would it not assist the British troops enormously in their preparedness if the Secretary of State had some clear idea of what weapons they are likely to face? Can he say, in view of the excellent new relationship with the United States, whether the Americans are prepared to make public to him, or indeed to the general public, the extent and the size of the weapons of mass destruction that were provided to Iraq at the time when it was a friend of the United States?
Secretary of State for Defence The Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP, answer:
The US Defence Secretary has categorically denied making those kinds of equipment available to Iraq. I underscore the fact that it is for this House to judge the contents of the dossier that the Government published as long ago as last September, which clearly set out the details of the weapons of mass destruction that we judge that Iraq has continued to develop and continues to possess.
Peter Kilfoyle MP, oral question, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, 10 March 2003 
Rather than cherry-pick the bits of the reports that bolster what is, to many of us, a wholly unconvincing Government case, and further to the question by the Father of the House, will the Foreign Secretary now confirm that the forged evidence on uranium purchases that was submitted to the IAEA was provided by the United Kingdom? Will he also confirm, given his comments on anthrax as an alleged biological weapon in Iraq, that the anthrax was provided by the United States, as set out in Senator Riegle's report?
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, answer:
I have to say gently to my hon. Friend that I do not know quite where he is coming from, because the Iraqis had an illegal nuclear weapons programme that they did not initially disclose. Far from cherry-picking the report, I felt it my duty to make clear the burden of what Dr. el-Baradei was saying, which I duly did. For information on anthrax, my hon. Friend needs to read section a. in chapter IV, on biological clusters, of the lengthy report. There, set out in detail, he will see the charges against the Iraqi regime. Contrary to Iraq's assertions that no other facilities had been used to produce anthrax, UNSCOM found evidence of anthrax in two places. Details of that are given. The report says: "Based on all the available evidence, the strong presumption is that about 10,000 litres of anthrax was not destroyed and may still exist."
As far as I know, that anthrax did not come from the United States. However, even if it did, while it would have been wrong of the United States to supply it, it would have been even worse of Iraq, in complete defiance of the United Nations, to continue to hang on to it and to maintain facilities to produce it.
Sir Teddy Taylor, point of order, House of Commons, 11 March 2003 
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your help and advice on an issue of real significance to the House of Commons. On 3 March I asked the Secretary of State for Defence, on Question 1, whether he would seek to establish from the United States authorities which weapons of mass destruction had been provided to Iraq, so that we could assess the problems that our troops might encounter if we entered into armed conflict. The Secretary of State advised me that the US had "categorically denied" making any such items available to Iraq.
Later the same day, I gained access to a Senate committee report, written in May 1994, which set out in great deal the materials related to biological warfare that the US had provided to the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission. Those items included things such as anthrax, histoplasma, clostridium and other materials that have frightening potential. I tabled three written questions for answer on the named day of 6 March, asking for details. On that day, to my surprise, was I advised that a Minister would seek to answer my questions as soon as possible, but I still do not have the answers.
My question to you, Sir, is whether there is any time limit on the period for which Ministers can keep the House waiting for answers on important questions that have been tabled for answer on a named day. As I believe it is vital that the House should have that information before a decision is made on possible conflict, can you give me any assurance about the period that we might have to wait for information?
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his point of order. I understand his frustration that his questions have not received a substantive reply. The rule is that an answer to a named question must be given on the day named by the Member, but if that answer is a holding answer, there is no rule about when the eventual substantive answer should be given. However, I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's point of order has been noted by Ministers.
Sir Teddy Taylor, Business of the House, House of Commons, 13 March 2003 
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider allowing time for a debate next week on the growing practice among Ministers of delaying indefinitely replies to questions for a named day by saying that they will reply "as soon as possible"? In that connection, will he consider an issue that I raised with you, Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, regarding detailed questions about the biological warfare material provided by the United States to Iraq and to the Iraq atomic weapons commission on which information is required urgently by the House, but on which Ministers are simply failing to give any knowledge or information, although they have it available to them?
Leader of the House The Rt Hon Robin Cook MP, 13 March 2003:
Of course, the point with which the hon. Gentleman concludes is a very important issue of substance. Having had some experience of answering questions in the Foreign Office, I say to him that if he tables a question about material that may have been transferred back in the 1980s by another power, while that information may be available, it is not entirely surprising that it cannot adequately be pinned down within the five days required by a named-day question. If he wishes to pursue what I fully accept is an important issue, although it goes back some years and involves another power, he may have to be prepared to show a little more patience than is allowed for by a named-day question.
Sir Teddy Taylor MP, written question, answered 14 March 2003 
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has received a copy of the pages of the Riegle report published by the US Senate on 25 May 1994, which lists the materials exported to Iraq which could contribute to a biological warfare programme; and if he will seek to establish from the USA what threat these materials provide to troops engaged in warfare with Iraq.
Adam Ingram MP, Government answer:
The Ministry of Defence is aware of the Riegle report. We remain concerned that Iraq continues with efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as set out in the dossier "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction" published by the Government last September.
Sir Teddy Taylor MP, written question, answered 14 March 2003 
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has received about the amount of (a) bacillus anthracis, (b) clostridium botulinum, (c) histoplasma capsulatum, (d) brucella melitensis and (e) clostridium perfingens which have been exported from the USA to Iraq; and if he will make a statement.
Adam Ingram MP, Government answer:
We share information with allies and believe we have a good understanding of the potential threat that may derive from the biological materials, knowledge and technology known to be available to Iraq.
Sir Teddy Taylor MP, written question, answered 14 March 2003 
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the consequences will be for troops operating in the Iraq area of the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission's possession of (a) E-coli, (b) genetic materials and (c) human and bacterial DNA.
Adam Ingram MP, Government answer:
The United Kingdom believes that the possession by Iraq of E-coli, genetic materials or human and bacterial DNA poses less of a hazard than their continuing efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as set out in the dossier "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction" published by the Government last September.
The Rt Hon Robin Cook MP, resignation from Government speech, House of Commons, 17 March 2003 
Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term - namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target. It probably still has biological toxins and battlefield chemical munitions, but it has had them since the 1980s when US companies sold Saddam anthrax agents and the then British Government approved chemical and munitions factories.
Sir Teddy Taylor MP, Iraq debate, House of Commons, 18 March 2003 
The Prime Minister is making a powerful and compelling speech. Will he tell the House whether there has been any identification of the countries that have supplied these terrible biological materials—such as anthrax and toxins—to Iraq? Should those countries not be identified—named by the Prime Minister and condemned?
The Prime Minister:
Much of the production is in Iraq itself.
Sir Teddy Taylor MP, House of Commons, Iraq debate, 18 March 2003 
The main point that hon. Members have addressed is the appalling weapons controlled by Saddam Hussein and the terrible damage that they could do to so many people. I hope that before we vote, the Government will help to clarify where those weapons and biological materials came from. I have tried for quite a while to get information about that. About three weeks ago, in Question Time, I asked the Secretary of State for Defence to confirm where they came from and whether they had perhaps come from America. We were told that the Americans had denied it. Earlier today, when I intervened on the speech of the Prime Minister, I asked him to help to identify where the weapons had come from and who was responsible for them. Hon. Members may recall that he said that Iraq had made most of them itself.
I would suggest that there is abundantly clear evidence that, instead of taking a high-handed and upmarket view of ourselves, we should accept a considerable measure of the responsibility for what has happened. Now that our sittings finish at 7 o'clock, I am engaging in reading books, which is something that I have not done for a long time. If any hon. Member wants to know about the subject, they should buy a book called "The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq", by Kenneth Timmerman. It is a rather dramatic book that gives full details of where all the materials came from, and we simply have to accept some responsibility for that.
What kinds of materials are we talking about? I have managed to get full details not only of the materials that were sent, but when they were sent—on which days—from the United States to Iraq's Atomic Energy Commission and Government. It is an astonishing list. It includes bacillus anthracis, which is just anthrax—a very substantial amount; clostridium, which is the source of a toxin; histoplasma, which causes a disease resembling tuberculosis; brucella, which damages major organs; another material that causes gas gangrene; E. coli; and seven others. Those materials were not produced by Iraq, but provided and sold by the western powers. We should show a little humility and decency, and say that part of the problem came from ourselves….
…It is abundantly clear that the US Department of Commerce approved every single thing that went from the United States to Iraq. It was not a question of secret firms doing nasty things; this was approved by Government. It is difficult to prove that one wants to use a material such as anthrax to help in the improvement of animals, or to achieve better forms of production…
…My second point concerns our responsibilities in international law. The Government's biological Green Paper states that there was an "internationally legally binding instrument", and that "those at every level responsible for any breach of international law will be held personally accountable." That refers to the export of biological and toxic materials. The danger is that we are throwing away a great deal, and that, to some degree, we might be responsible for such matters. It is totally wrong to say that some people in the world are good and some are bad, because we have a great deal of responsibility for them.
Adam Price MP, written question, answered 28 April 2003 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the content of the 1994 US Senate Riegle Report, with particular reference to Chapter 1, Part 2, US Exports of Biological Materials to Iraq.
Mike O’Brien MP, Government answer:
The section of the report dealing with US exports of biological materials to Iraq contains details of a number of exports of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic materials in the 1980s. These exports were licensed by the relevant US authority at the time, on the basis that they were for legitimate scientific research purposes.
Sir Teddy Taylor MP, Iran debate, Westminster Hall, 17 September 2003 
When the Shah was replaced in the great revolution, the western powers, including Britain, appeared so concerned that we financed and armed an evil military despot in Iraq called Saddam Hussein so that he could invade Iran. There was a frightful war in which Iran survived only because of the determination of its people. There is no doubt about the weapons of mass destruction that were supplied to Saddam Hussein, because they are listed in the Reigle report, produced in America by the Senate. Of course, that is now rather difficult to get hold of, because circulation of such documents is not encouraged at present. However, the list is there, and it is clear and precise. The supply of those arms was in breach of the biological and toxic weapons convention, but I am told that such conventions are not meant to be applied to the nations of the west—according to the United States, anyway.
Austin Mitchell MP, Early Day Motion number 300, ‘Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and Iraq’, tabled 16 December 2003 
That this House notes that the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention binds signatories not to transfer to any nation any agents, toxins, weapons and equipment of biological and toxin warfare and provides that any nation finding another signatory in breach of this undertaking may lodge a complaint to the Security Council; further understands that the Riegle Report to the US Senate has published evidence that the US sold biological materials including Bacillus Anthracis, Clostridium Botulinum, Histoplasma capsulatum, Brucella Melitensis, and Clostridium Perfringens to various agencies of the Iraqi Government pursuant to export licences issued by the US Department of Commerce, in quantities set out in the Report and at the time when the US was fully aware of the Iraqi biological warfare programme and that these exports have been fully documented and are also set out in the 23 September 2002 edition of Newsweek and by Senator Robert Byrd in speeches in the Senate on 20th and 26th September 2002; requests the Government to exercise its power to report these sales to the Security Council of the United Nations in the light of its commitment in the April 2002 Green Paper, Strengthening Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention that, those at every level responsible for any breach of international law relating to the use of such weapons will be held personally accountable because compliance with the BTWC is an issue the international community cannot avoid; and urges the Prime Minister either to lodge the necessary complaint with the Security Council of the UN or change its stated policy after an appropriate public announcement and discussion.
Tony Lloyd MP, written question, answered 17 December 2003 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those countries he deems in contravention of the Biological Weapons Convention.
Denis MacShane MP, Government answer:
The UK routinely monitors the compliance of all States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). The UK is a Depositary Government of the BTWC, which entered into force in 1975, and currently numbers 151 countries. We continue to view the issue of compliance with the Convention as being of central importance and made specific reference to this point in our statement to the BTWC Review Conference in November 2002. However, it is not our policy to list or name those individual countries we judge to be in contravention with their obligations.
The Lord Bishop of Oxford, Starred Question, ‘Biological Weapons: US sales to Iraq’, House of Lords, 15 March 2004 
To ask Her Majesty’s Government: Whether, in accordance with the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, they will report to the Security Council of the United Nations the reported sale of biological weapons to Iraq by the United States.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, Government answer:
My Lords, no. The materials were exported by the United States in accordance with export controls in place at the time. The United States did not believe that they would be used for anything other than legitimate research purposes and therefore did not knowingly export the materials to assist a biological weapons programme. There are therefore no grounds for reporting a breach of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
The Lord Bishop of Oxford, Biological Weapons: US sales to Iraq, House of Lords, 15 March 2004 >
Those who know about these matters point out the significance of the phrase that these biological materials ‘were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction’. This seems to suggest that they might have been used for other than purely theraputic purposes.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, Biological Weapons: US sales to Iraq, House of Lords, 15 March 2004 
I am not sure if there is a copy of the Riegle report in the Library of the House, but if there is not, I shall arrange for one to be placed there. As I have said to your Lordships, that report gives details of a whole range of different biological substances that were exported to Iraq at that time. Those substances were exported in very small amounts.
Des Turner MP, interview , 4 June 2004 
The biological materials exported from the US to Iraq were quite sufficient to fuel a biological weapons programme, as a starter culture can be scaled up to any quantity…The transfer was clearly illegal in terms of the Convention.
Lynne Jones MP, written question, answered 7 June 2004 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK Government was aware between 1985 and the start of the Gulf War in 1991 that Iraq had a biological weapons programme.
Chris Mullin MP, Government answer:
No. The first definitive information on Iraq's biological weapons programme did not emerge until 1995 as a result of UN Special Commission inspections and the defection of Hussein Kamal.
Mike Hancock MP, written question, answered 15 June 2004 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence he has collated on US exports of biological materials between February 1985 and November 1990.
Denis MacShane MP, Government answer:
None, other than information published by the United States Administration.
Des Turner MP, The Guardian, 17 June 2004 
I was interested to see a Commons early day motion tabled by Austin Mitchell asking the government to report the US to the UN security council for breaching the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It cites the 1994 US Senate Riegle report, which said anthrax, botulinum toxin and other biological materials were shipped from the US to Iraq between 1985 and 1990. Parties to the convention may not transfer biological agents and toxins except for "justifiable prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes". I am a biochemist, but this qualification is hardly necessary to envision potential use of these materials when Saddam Hussein was engaged in military conflict with Iran. As war in Iraq was predicated upon Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, we deserve to know if the US supplied these materials.
Lynne Jones MP, written question, answered 18 June 2004 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 15 March 2004, Official Report, House of Lords, columns 1–3, of the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, what export controls were in place at the time of the sale of biological materials to Iraq by the United States.
Bill Rammell MP, Government answer:
The exports of biological materials from the United States to Iraq in the 1980s were licensed by the US Department of Commerce under the (US) Export Administration Act.
Mike Hancock MP, written question, answered 23 June 2004 
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the countries of origin were of (a) advice, (b) technology and (c) materials discovered by the Iraq Survey Group which contributed towards the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction in that country.
Secretary of State for Defence The Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP:
The Iraq Survey Group continues to investigate foreign assistance to Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction programmes and is expected to produce a substantive report later this year. The Iraq Survey Group has confirmed that Iraq was holding discussions with North Korea regarding technology associated with a 1,300 km range missile system. It has also been confirmed that foreign technology and technical assistance were critical to the progress made by Iraqi engineers and designers.
Mike Hancock MP, written question, answered 1 July 2004 <
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 23 June 2004, Official Report, column 1446W on Iraq, what the origin was of the foreign technology and technical assistance critical to the progress of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Secretary of State for Defence The Rt Hon Geoff Hoon MP:
I have already confirmed that Iraq was holding discussions with North Korea, and Her Majesty's Government 2002 dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction mentions an Indian chemical engineering company. I am withholding further information under exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mike Hancock MP, written question, answered 6 July 2004 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2004, Official Report, column 796W, on Biological Materials (US Exports), what he has made of the 1994 US Senate Riegle Report.
Denis MacShane MP, Government answer:
The Government are aware of Senator Donald Riegle's 1994 report. Our responses to previous questions on the supply of biological materials to Iraq from the United States have been based upon our reading of the report.
Peter Kilfoyle MP, Iraq debate, House of Commons, 20 July 2004 
Curiously, when Lord Butler wrote about the background to the weapons of mass destruction, he did not mention where they actually came from. He made a cursory mention of what Iraq had before 1990, but he did not refer to the countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, that provided the very weapons of mass destruction that would later become politically problematic.
John Baron MP, Iraq debate, House of Commons, 20 July 2004 
..we know that Iraq used to possess weapons of mass destruction. We know that because America and the west supplied Saddam Hussein with those weapons.
Sir Teddy Taylor MP, Iraq debate, House of Commons, 20 July 2004 
I was in the minority of people who did not support the war in Iraq. I explained in the debate at the time that that was because of what I considered to be the near-hypocrisy of the western powers, and in particular of the US. Those powers complained that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world and to security, even though the Reigle report set out clearly that the US had openly supplied the most horrendous weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein to allow him to invade Iran. Those weapons included anthrax, clostridium—a source of toxin—and histoplasma, which causes a disease resembling tuberculosis. There was also brucella, which damages major organs, another substance that causes gas gangrene, and seven other materials. People who talk about the threat to democracy that Saddam posed should remember the debt that we owe for the mistakes that we made.
Letter from Senator Robert C Byrd
Dean of the Congress, Father of the US Senate
Verbatim extract from the US Senate Riegle Report
Section: “U.S. Exports of Biological Materials to Iraq”
“The following is a detailed listing of biological materials, provided by the American Type Culture Collection, which were exported to agencies of the government of Iraq pursuant to the issuance of an export licensed by the U.S. Commerce Department:
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control has compiled a listing of biological materials shipped to Iraq prior to the Gulf War. The listing covers the period from October 1, 1984 (when the CDC began keeping records) through October 13, 1993. The following materials with biological warfare significance were shipped to Iraq during this period:
nb: The invoicing details in the preceding six pages may be found at:
Former Senator Donald W Riegle Jr, 28 May, 2003
Global Policy Forum. http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/2001/1022iraq.htm
> “Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction”, 30 September 2004, Vol 3, “Biological Warfare”, p.21. http://www.foia.cia.gov/duelfer/Iraqs_WMD_Vol3.pdf
 University of Sussex Students’ Union interview, the badger, 4 June 2004.
 US Department of State information memorandum to the Secretary of State, “Iraq use of Chemical Weapons”, 1 November 1983. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/iraq24.pdf
 Jane’s Defense Weekly, 9 January 1988, p. 3.
 US Senate report: “US Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and Their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War”, (‘The Riegle Report’), Part II, Chapter 1, “Iraqi Chemical and Biological Warfare Capability”, http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/medsearch/FocusAreas/riegle_report/report/report_index.htm
Quoting: US GAO Report to the Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives: “US Military Items Exported or Transferred to Iraq in the 1980s”, February 1994. http://www.paulflynnmp.co.uk/mustreaddetail.jsp?id=892
 Quoting: Jane’s Defense Weekly, 9 January 1988, p. 3; Jentleson, B., With Friends Like These: Reagan, Bush, and Saddam, 1982-1990, New York: W.W. Norton, 1994, p. 90; New York Times, 18 January 1989, cited in Jentleson, p. 106; and US State Department memorandum: “Meeting with Iraqi Under Secretary Hamdoon”, 24 March 1989, cited in Jentleson, pp. 18 and 107. http://www.paulflynnmp.co.uk/mustreaddetail.jsp?id=892
 University of Sussex Students’ Union interview, published in the badger, 4 June 2004.
 National Security Archive, US Department of State Memorandum, “Iraq Use of Chemical Weapons”, November 1, 1983, http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/iraq24.pdf
District Court, Southern District of Florida: “The Teicher Affidavit: Iraqgate”,
 UK Parliament Early Day Motions Website, http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=300
 University of Sussex Students’ Union interview, published in the badger, 4 June 2004.
in October 2004 by Geoffrey Holland
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