The U.S. and U.K. sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials needed to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, according to reports by the U.S. Senate.
Under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior, the U.S. sold anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria we sold them are brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gangrene.
U.S. Defense Department sources also reveal that Britain sold Iraq the drug pralidoxine, an antidote to nerve gas, in March 1992, after the end of the Gulf war. Pralidoxine can be reverse engineered to create nerve gas.
The Senate committee's 1992 reports on "U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual-Use Exports to Iraq" give the date and destination of all U.S. exports. The reports show that on May 2, 1986, two batches of bacillus anthracis, the microorganism that causes anthrax, were shipped to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education, along with two batches of the bacterium clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism. Salmonella and E coli were shipped to the Iraqi State Company for Drug Industries on August 31, 1987. Other shipments went to the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission on July 11, 1988, the Department of Biology at the University of Basrah in November 1989, the Department of Microbiology at Baghdad University in June 1985, the Ministry of Health in April 1985, and Officers' City (a military complex in Baghdad) in March and April 1986. Shipments to Iraq continued even after Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurdish town of Halabja in March 1988, where 5000 men, women and children died.
Since the UN inspection team hasn't been able to locate weapons inside Iraq, the information contained in these Senate reports will make up much of the evidence Bush is looking for in order to justify going to war with Iraq. However, Scott Ritter, the UN's former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, says the United Nations destroyed 90 to 95% of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and doesn't think Saddam could have rebuilt his stocks by now. He says the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons gives off certain gases, which can be detected by satellite. "We have seen none of this," he says. "If Iraq was producing weapons today, we would have definitive proof."
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