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:: 12.09.2004 ::  



Ever wonder what, exactly, we sold to Iraq?

Well, now you can see for yourself.
Records available from the supplier for the period from 1985 until the present show that during this time, pathogenic (meaning "disease producing"), toxigenic (meaning "poisonous"), and other biological research materials were exported to Iraq pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Records prior to 1985 were not available, according to the supplier. These exported biological materials were not attenuated or weakened and were capable of reproduction.
You can read the full list of materials we sold to Iraq in the Riegle Report, including several Class III pathogens (e.g. anthrax, a bacterial source of botulinum toxin, and a "highly toxic bateria which causes gas gangrene"), E. Coli, and West Nile Virus. We also sold them cloned human DNA. Site also includes explanations of the effects on humans of the biological agents the US sold to Iraq. Linked by Tom Tomorrow.

Here's my question:
How could we legally possess such materials, much less sell them to someone of questionable motives, after signing The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972?
ARTICLE I

Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstance to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain:

(1) Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes;
...
ARTICLE III

Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever, directly or indirectly, and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any State, group of States or international organizations to manufacture or otherwise acquire any of the agents, toxins, weapons, equipment or means of delivery specified in article I of the Convention.
[emphasis mine]
In order to remain in agreement with this convention, we should have just enough Class III pathogenic material (for example) to develop defenses against it, right? We should not have enough left over to sell to someone else.

:: Deb 2:59 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::


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