I'm sorry not to have time to chase this one down better, but I want to put what I have here and hope someone else will run with it, in the best blogosphere fashion.
In the past couple of weeks, there's been news, not well covered here in America, of arrests in Britain and France of terror suspects who may have been planning to use ricin as a terror weapon.
Ricin is easily produced and spread by skin contact. It will cause violent death in a few days, if not spotted and treated. Its symptoms can sometimes be confused with pneumonia, which makes it dangerous as many people will simply live with it too long rather than go to a doctor.
Well, this story from Australia's The Age, from September of last year, contains some disturbing information linking Iraq, indirectly I admit, to ricin. The story is titled "Why Inspections Won't Work" but it actually shows how they just may have. It documents the travails of the former UN inspectors.
From the story:
Taylor eventually got to his man, a university professor and expert on ricin, a favoured toxin for individual assassination. He also eventually uncovered the professor's hidden papers (some tucked inside old magazines in an outer office), which included documents showing ricin research results on animals, its efficacy as a weapons agent and details of the production process. The papers also revealed that the biological section of the Iraqi Scientific Research Centre, a civilian program, was involved in support of the military's biological weapons program.Nothing better reveals the extent of Iraqi deceit than the saga of the missing growth medium. Growth medium is the dry nourishment required to feed deadly bacteria to reproduce them. In 1995, David Kelly, then the senior British UNSCOM inspector, met an Israeli intelligence officer in a safe apartment on First Avenue and 38th Street in New York. The Israeli handed over documents proving that British and German companies had exported 32 tonnes of growth medium for bacteria to the Iraqis - substantially more than could ever have been required for normal civilian use. Only one conclusion could be drawn.There's a very frightening story lurking here. I can feel it. I hope someone can do some leg work and look into it.
Thanks to the always witty and incisive Tim Blair for spotting the Age story and mentioning it in his blog.
Also, note the mention of German companies in the quoted part. When the Iraqis released their 13,000 page "report" on weapons of mass destuction, the names of many German companies were contained therein. They've been doing big business with Iraq, including nuclear reactor building, for years, often in violation of the UN embargo.
All their bluster last fall, especially Gerhard Schroeder who was running for re-election as President, against war with Iraq, seems now not to have been motivated by any pure anti-war sentiments, but by simple ass-covering. Good thing they've since shut the hell up.