The effects of biological agents
Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus Anthracis. Inhalation
anthrax is the manifestation of the disease likely to be expected in biological
warfare. The symptoms may vary, but can include fever and internal
bleeding. The incubation period for anthrax is 1 to 7 days, with most cases
occurring within 2 days of exposure.
Botulinum toxin is one of the most toxic substances known to man. The first
symptoms of poisoning may appear as early as 1 hour post exposure or as late
as 8 days after exposure, with the incubation period between 12 and 22 hours.
Paralysis leads to death by suffocation.
Aflatoxins are fungal toxins, which are potent carcinogens. Most symptoms
take a long time to show. Food products contaminated by aflatoxins can cause
liver inflammation and cancer. They can also affect pregnant women, leading
to stillborn babies and children born with mutations.
Ricin is derived from the castor bean and can cause multiple organ failure
leading to death within one or two days of inhalation.
helped to develop the programme. At about the same time plans were made to
develop the Salman Pak site into a secure biological warfare research facility. Dr
Taha continued to work with her team at al Muthanna until 1987 when it moved
to Salman Pak, which was under the control of the Directorate of General
Intelligence. Significant resources were provided for the programme, including
the construction of a dedicated production facility (Project 324) at al Hakam.
Agent production began in 1988 and weaponisation testing and later filling of
munitions was conducted in association with the staff at Muthanna State
Establishment. From mid 1990, other civilian facilities were taken over and
some adapted for use in the production and research and development of
biological agents. These included:
al Dawrah Foot and Mouth Vaccine Institute which produced botulinum
toxin and conducted virus research. There is some intelligence to suggest
that work was also conducted on anthrax;
al Fudaliyah Agriculture and Water Research Centre where Iraq admitted it
undertook aflatoxin production and genetic engineering;
Amariyah Sera and Vaccine Institute which was used for the storage of
biological agent seed stocks and was involved in genetic engineering.
3. By the time of the Gulf War Iraq was producing very large quantities of
chemical and biological agents. From a series of Iraqi declarations to the UN
during the 1990s we know that by 1991 they had produced at least:
19,000 litres of botulinum toxin, 8,500 litres of anthrax, 2,200 litres of
aflatoxin and were working on a number of other agents;