International News

Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons in Iraq

Posted: Wednesday, May 31, 2000 at 7:38 PM CT


BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - United States Defense officials say Iraq has acknowledged possessing almost 9,000 liters of Anthrax and several thousand liters of Botulinum toxin. It has also admitted having produced other agents like aflatoxin. Iraq claimed to have destroyed all the biological agents, but UNSCOM says there is little evidence of that. What concerns UNSCOM is that Iraq has admitted weaponizing anthrax on missiles, demonstrating an ability to use Anthrax.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has said that Iraq possessed, at one time, enough weaponized Anthrax to kill the entire population of the world several times over.

Nuclear Weapons

Biological and Chemical locations The Al Atheer Center, built as Iraq's main site for developing nuclear weapons infrastructure, was discovered by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy after the Persian Gulf War. Iraq is believed to have come close to developing a workable nuclear device shortly before the war, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which it is a signatory. 

 


 

  BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS CHEMICAL WEAPONS
  Anthrax Botulinum Toxin VX Mustard Gas Sarin
Iraq has... 9,000 liters 7,000 liters 4 tons Unkown Unkown
What is it? Bacteria with spore-forming rods; likes to live in the soil Bacterium that develops only in the absence of oxygen. Considered one of the most lethal chemical weapons, is a colorless and odorless liquid that turns into a gas on contact with oxygen. Mustard gas is in its pure state a colorless, odorless liquid, but when mixed with other chemicals, it looks brown and has a garlic-like smell. Sarin is a highly toxic gas which attacks the central nervous system.
  Anthrax Botulinum Toxin VX Mustard Gas Sarin
How it works? Humans become infected by coming into contact with spores, either by touch or inhalation. The spore then produces a toxin that can be fatal. The incubation period for inhalational anthrax is 1-6 days. By inhalation. Botulinum neurotoxins generally kill by the relatively slow onset (hours to days) of respiratory failure. The individual may not show signs of disease for 24-72 hours. The toxin blocks biochemical action in the nerves that activate the muscles necessary for respiration, causing suffocation. VX is primarily toxic through the skin, but can also prove fatal when inhaled. VX is fast-moving, virtually undetectable, and can spread through air as well as water. In its liquid state it is roughly the same density as water. It blocks the transmission of impulses along the central nervous system, causing convulsions, respiratory paralysis, and death. Inhaling the vapors causes painful, long-lasting blisters all over the body. It is chiefly absorbed through the respiratory tract; can be absorbed through the skin at higher environmental temperatures. Depending upon concentration of Sarin, toxicity can occur within minutes.
  Anthrax Botulinum Toxin VX Mustard Gas Sarin
Lethal amount? One billionth of a gram (the size of a speck of dust) One billionth of a gram 10 mg (just a drop) - 100 milligrams
How long can it survive? Tends to degrade rapidly in sunlight; if kept in the right environmental conditions, anthrax can survive for years. Relatively short life after it's released - - -
  Anthrax Botulinum Toxin VX Mustard Gas Sarin
Symptoms Flu-like symptoms, high fever, fatigue and cough. Shock and death can occur within 24-36 hours of the onset of severe symptoms. Dizziness, dry throat, blurred vision. Increased salivation, coughing, runny nose, headache and nausea. Itchy skin, watery eyes and burning sensation in lungs. The long-term effects on an individual may include chronic lung impairment, chest pain and cancer of the mouth, throat, respiratory tract, and skin. It has been linked to causing leukemia and birth defects. In low levels, it causes severe headaches, increased salivation and constrict air passages to the lungs. In higher doses, it causes coughing, increased perspiration, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and breathing difficulties. Death can follow due to suffocation.
  Anthrax Botulinum Toxin VX Mustard Gas Sarin
Treatment Antibiotics, including penicillin Anti-toxins can be injected soon after exposure to a lethal dose of toxin - - -
Prevention Vaccine Gas mask, protective clothing Gas mask, protective clothing Gas mask Gas mask

 


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