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Dr. K and the Bioagent

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The $300 million spent so far in the search for the WMD whose purported existence
brought on the
invasion has found a single vial of C. botulinum Okra B. This material:

1. Can’t be weaponized.
2. Was stored in a kitchen refrigerator since 1993.
3. Was probably obtained from the United States.

Here are some details about some of what was shipped when and by whom from
the Monterey
Institute of International Studies
:

* On 3/21/86, the US Department of Commerce issued a license to the American
Type Culture Collection (ATCC) to export aspergillus fungal cultures, used
in the production of aflatoxin, to Iraq. ATCC officials said the cultures
were not delivered.
* Between 1985-89, ATCC made 17 shipments of "attenuated strains of various
toxins and bacteria" to Iraq’s Atomic Energy Commission.
* In 1985, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sent a shipment of West Nile
Fever virus to an Iraqi researcher.
* On 11/30/84, the US Department of Commerce issued a license to ATCC to export
aspergillus fungal cultures to Iraq for delivery to the College of Medicine in
Baghdad. ATCC officials said the cultures were not delivered.
* In 1985, the CDC sent three shipments of West Nile Fever virus to Iraq for
use in medical research.
* Between 1985-1989, the American Type Culture
Collection (ATCC) supplied Iraq with several pathogens, including Clostridium
botulinum, and various
strains of anthrax.
Sources: R. Jeffery
Smith, "Iraq’s Drive for a Biological Arsenal; U.N. Pursuing
25 Germ Warheads It Believes Are Still Loaded with Deadly Toxin," Washington
Post, November 21, 1997, p. A1. Al J. Venter, "UNSCOM Odyssey: The
Search for Saddam’s Biological Arsenal," Jane’s Intelligence
Review, March 1998, p. 19."

For more details, see "Experts
Downplay Bioagent
."

"The discovery of the hidden vial of C. botulinum Okra B, which was revealed
in an Oct. 2 interim report by chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay, was
highlighted in speeches by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney,
Secretary of State
Colin L. Powell and other senior administration officials as proof that
President Saddam Hussein’s government maintained an illicit bio-weapons
program before
the war.

"The significance of the vial is one of several elements of Kay’s
report that are being called into question by U.S. biowarfare experts
and former
United
Nations weapons inspectors. Although most praised Kay for uncovering
numerous cases in which Iraq hid suspicious equipment and activities from
U.N. inspectors,
they said the report appeared misleading in several areas.

"Overall, Kay,
who returned to Iraq last week, reported that he had found no evidence
so far to indicate that Hussein’s regime had reconstituted
its chemical
weapons program, or had taken significant steps to build nuclear weapons
or produce fissile material, after the 1991 Persian Gulf War." [L.
A. Times 10/17/03]

We should have kept the receipts and saved the $300 million.

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