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Suspected bioweapons lab found

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This will be just the start........

Suspected bioweapons lab found

Results of U.S. probe of Iraqi vehicle due today

By Walter Pincus and Michael Dobbs

THE WASHINGTON POST

May 7 — A suspected mobile biological weapons lab has been recovered in northern Iraq, a development that senior U.S. officials said yesterday would lend support to Bush administration allegations of a banned weapons program by the government of deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

A SENIOR administration official said the Pentagon will announce today the results of a two-week investigation into a tractor-trailer truck that was stolen from a government depot in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul and later handed over to U.S. forces. He said equipment found on the truck included a fermenter bolted to the floor that could be used for the production of biological agents.

The official said the truck and the equipment inside it had been cleaned with bleach and, therefore, did not show any identifiable residue of biological agents. But intelligence analysts have concluded that “there doesn’t seem to be any legitimate use for it, other than as a biolab.â€

The existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs, in violation of U.N. resolutions dating to 1991, was a major part of the Bush administration’s rationale for invading Iraq and overthrowing Hussein. But the administration has been unable to point to concrete evidence of illegal Iraqi weapons activity nearly a month after the fall of Baghdad to U.S. forces.

The truck-mounted lab is of the type described by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to the U.N. Security Council in February, when he outlined what he said was a pattern of concealment by the Hussein government.

But intelligence officials said yesterday that they were still trying to determine whether it was ever used to produce biological agents and, if so, when it was operated that way.

The search for illegal weapons in Iraq has coincided with a hunt for billions of dollars in financial assets accumulated by Hussein and his family. Treasury and State Department officials said yesterday that investigators were trying to recover an estimated $1 billion in cash seized from the Iraqi central bank in Baghdad on Hussein’s instructions in the hours leading up to the U.S. attack on Iraq.

STOLEN FROM MOSUL

The size of the bank heist, which reportedly involved enough $100 bills to fill three tractor-trailers, is an indication of the challenges facing investigators as they seek to track down billions of dollars in ill-gotten Iraqi assets scattered around the world. Much of the money was raised through illegal oil smuggling operations to circumvent the U.N. sanctions that were imposed after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.

According to U.S. officials and private investigators, Hussein used a network of front companies from Switzerland to Panama to purchase both conventional and unconventional weapons. Little attempt was made to separate the funds allegedly used for buying the ingredients of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons from the money used for building presidential palaces and subsidizing the lavish lifestyles of Hussein and his two sons, Uday and Qusay.

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Officials said the truck suspected of serving as a mobile biological lab was stolen from an Iraqi government site near Mosul as Kurdish militia and U.S. Special Forces units moved into the city. When the thief saw what he had taken, he turned it over to Kurdish troops, who handed it over to U.S. officials.

A senior administration official said the truck resembled one of the mobile laboratories described by Powell in his Feb. 5 speech to the Security Council. Powell used diagrams to describe the interior of the mobile labs, based on what he said was information from an Iraqi chemical engineer who had witnessed an accident in which 12 technicians died from exposure to biological agents.

According to Powell, information from Iraqi defectors proved that Iraq had “at least seven of these mobile biological agent factories.†As he described the system, two or three trucks would typically park alongside each other, connected by hoses when they were in production mode.

EVADING INSPECTORS

A senior intelligence official said analysts had concluded that the truck found near Mosul was not being used to transport equipment because the fermenter was bolted down and the rest of the equipment and systems were built-in.

U.N. inspectors who worked in Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War heard about the mobile trucks in interviews with Iraqi scientists, but they never located one.

Terence Taylor, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-U.S. and a former U.N. weapons inspector, said yesterday that the mobile labs appeared to be linked to the Iraqi deception programs. “We found evidence that, during the 1990s, the Iraqis were using container trucks to move equipment away from inspectors,†he said. “It was nothing to move one extra step.â€

The looting of the Iraqi central bank by former Hussein aides was first reported by the New York Times and confirmed by State Department and Treasury Department officials. According to the Times, quoting an Iraqi bank official, the operation was personally supervised by Hussein’s second son, Qusay, who appeared at the bank with a seizure order signed by Hussein.

Over the past few weeks, U.S. troops have recovered stacks of dollar bills at various locations in Baghdad, including about $600 million in Hussein palaces and about $190 million in U.S. currency and euros in an armored vehicle. It is unclear whether this money was part of the $1 billion stolen from the Iraqi central bank in the early morning hours of March 18.

A Treasury Department official said his agency is “90 percent sure†but not absolutely certain about the involvement of the Hussein family in the disappearance of the cash. A further $400 million in U.S. currency and about $40 million in Iraqi dinars are believed to have been stolen from Iraqi banks in the looting that coincided with the entry of U.S. forces into Baghdad on April 9.

“This is yet another chapter in the two-decade plundering of the Iraqi people,†said Treasury spokesman Taylor Griffin, referring to the March 18 incident. “We will work diligently to hunt for these assets and return them to the people of Iraq.â€

Officials said Treasury Department investigators are in Baghdad to help restore the collapsed Iraqi banking system and to assist in the interrogation of former Hussein aides with knowledge of the financial networks used to conceal Iraqi assets.

In addition to the cash held in the Iraqi central bank, investigators believe that Hussein and his family had access to an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion in foreign bank accounts and front companies.

Staff writer John Mintz contributed to this report.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

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Originally posted by siceone

It's awful quiet no?

i think it's just that we've been through this so many times, it's not even funny...

this is what?...the 40th time, the pentagon claims to have found wmd's...

and everytime they retract (quietly too)...

the gov't itself has announced that it seriously doubts ever finding wmd's in iraq...

btw, can you believe how bad this board is becoming man?...

most threads just end up in insult contests...

sad...

p.s.: but carl, you know what's awful quiet?...

the thread i started on halliburton and their dealings with countries in the axis of evil...

i think i'll go bump that...;)

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Originally posted by frenchbread

i think it's just that we've been through this so many times, it's not even funny...

this is what?...the 40th time, the pentagon claims to have found wmd's...

and everytime they retract (quietly too)...

the gov't itself has announced that it seriously doubts ever finding wmd's in iraq...

btw, can you believe how bad this board is becoming man?...

most threads just end up in insult contests...

sad...

p.s.: but carl, you know what's awful quiet?...

the thread i started on halliburton and their dealings with countries in the axis of evil...

i think i'll go bump that...;)

40TH time huh..

Give it time my freind.. whats wrong?? you wanted to give the inspections another 90 days so that the regime can play hide and seek a little longer. Even if we do find them you and other left wingers will still dimiss it as a conspiracy or we planted the evidence.. I bet you can't wait to see the U.S fall on it's face. but it ain't going to happpen jack, you'll see but I doubt you will beleive it... SAD.

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Originally posted by mr mahs

40TH time huh..

Give it time my freind.. whats wrong?? you wanted to give the inspections another 90 days so that the regime can play hide and seek a little longer. Even if we do find them you and other left wingers will still dimiss it as a conspiracy or we planted the evidence.. I bet you can't wait to see the U.S fall on it's face. but it ain't going to happpen jack, you'll see but I doubt you will beleive it... SAD.

well, i'm surprised it's taking this long, since we supposedly had proof positive that they had wmd's...(or did we?...ah nah...forged documents)...

i mean powell was so adamant that our intelligence services knew for sure where those wmd's were that you'd think they'd have found one by now...

patience my ass...according to powell at the u.n., we knew for a fact that they had so many wmd's, and we knew for a fact where they were...

how can it be that out of all these wmd's iraq had, and all the intelligence we had, we haven't found one yet...

not one...

and don't tell me they destroyed them all...

the numbers of wmd's that powell claimed iraq had was far too great to be destroyed in a couple of days before the war started (e.g. 25,000 liters of anthrax, hundreds of bombs, at least 8 different kinds of biological agents, etc...)...

seems hardly technically impossible...

and no, i don't want the u.s. to fall on its face...

i want the u.s. to take the control back from these impostors in the white house, and start acting like the great nation we are (or should be)...

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Originally posted by frenchbread

and no, i don't want the u.s. to fall on its face...

i want the u.s. to take the control back from these impostors in the white house, and start acting like the great nation we are (or should be)...

what a ridiculous statement

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Originally posted by frenchbread

and no, i don't want the u.s. to fall on its face...

i want the u.s. to take the control back from these impostors in the white house, and start acting like the great nation we are (or should be)...

So you would rather have a administration that...

-Cuts military and intelligence spending undermining the security of the country..

-Lies to the American people live on television claiming he did not have sexual relations with a intern..

-Did more looting of the white house then in Iraq to date..

The truth is the majority of americans are proud of this country except it!!!

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