A trailer found by the U.S. in Northern Iraq last year likely was used by Saddam Hussein’s regime as a mobile biological weapons laboratory, and not to fill hydrogen balloons as some in Britain and the U.S. have charged, a view supported by exclusive photos obtained by WorldNetDaily that for the first time offer inside views of the trailer components.
Kurdish forces seized the trailer in April 2003 at a checkpoint near Mosul in northern Iraq. At the time, the unit was hailed as the closest U.S. forces may have come to finding a “smoking gun” in their search for weapons of mass destruction inside Iraq.
A general photo of the outside of the trailer was released to the media.
But initial swab tests of the mobile unit, which seemed to have been washed thoroughly with a strong decontaminating substance, yielded no traces of biological or chemical agents, leading many critics to conclude the trailer could have been used for legitimate medical purposes.
Very large industrial heating-cooling
pump, added after previous bio-weapons accident
Some in British and American intelligence groups charged the trailers were used for the production of hydrogen to fill artillery and weather balloons.
However, photos obtained by WorldNetDaily from a U.S. Army source in Iraq offer a rare glimpse inside the trailer, which indicates the most likely use for the mobile unit was the production of biological agents and not hydrogen.
The internal components provide the kind of mobile biological weapons laboratory described to the United Nations’ Security Council by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell before the conflict began, and match in design and configuration the mobile weapons labs U.S. intelligence learned about several years ago from an Iraqi scientist.
Side view of
The photos, more than 30 of which were of the inside trailer components, were verified by several military sources and were independently reviewed by intelligence sources familiar with pre-Gulf War Iraqi weapons programs.
The images show a large fermenter, several cylinders to supply clean air for production, canisters to “feed” biological agents, industrial heating machines and a system to capture and compress exhaust gas to eliminate traces of residue – a function not normally used for legitimate biological processes and certainly not for hydrogen production, analysts told WorldNetDaily.
A large stainless steel brewing canister can be seen toward the front of the laboratory, and would be used in the initial stages of agent production, analysts said.
Canister used to “feed” and grow agent
and apply fluid and temperature regulation
Large pistons are connected to a compressor atop a storage tank that would hold the growing product and maintain a certain pressure on the system required to grow the bio agent at an advanced rate.
The agent would then be pumped into a large canister connected to several tanks that provide “food” from which the agent would “feed,” and which apply large amounts of fluid and temperature regulation for the contents of the holding canister. This feature is rarely set up in such a manner in ordinary labs, analysts told WorldNetDaily.
The photos also reveal an industrial heating pump the width of almost the entire trailer. The size of the heating and cooling system was of particular interest to analysts, who said such systems would be used to superheat or supercool strong agents in a pressurized system.
Pump and generator to apply pressure to
Iraqi defectors have reportedly told the U.S. that an accident on a similar trailer killed 12 during a production run in 1998. The incident, a report says, shows “Iraq was producing [biological-weapons] agent at that time.” The Iraqis later altered the design, installing the heating and cooling system visible in the photos to prevent overheating, an analyst said.
Close-ups of the exterior portions of the trailer show several areas in which the steel plating of the unit, which is almost an inch thick, is dented, most likely during laboratory use and trailer transportation.
Analysts said the back of the trailer could be attached to a secondary mobile unit that would collect the finished product for transportation. There are indications another trailer was dragged into this lab unit at the receiving end, which houses coils through which tubing would likely be placed for the agent to be pumped into a receiving canister.
Several of the laboratory components have serial numbers that were traced to German companies, where some of the parts were manufactured. One device, a generator coming from one of the pumps, was made by General Electric.
View of trailer from
Dates on some parts show several components were made in 2001.
The trailer itself has a metal plaque that says it was manufactured in 2001 by Iraq’s Al-Naser Al-Adheem – a munitions company controlled by Saddam Hussein – and inspected in 2002.
A large collection and compression pipe is visible at the anterior section, which is not commonly used in regular laboratories and would find little use in the production of hydrogen. The system is designed to capture and compress exhaust gas to eliminate any telltale signature of which kinds of agents were produced, analysts told WorldNetDaily.
Manufacturer’s plaque from 2001 by a
Hussein-controlled munitions company
When the trailer was found last April it was immediately swabbed for traces of biological weapons agents. Military analysts were particularly hopeful about a large holding canister connected to piping that drains the agent and which was at a height that may have left residual agent at the bottom of the canister.
But they found the entire mobile unit had been thoroughly cleansed and decontaminated with a strong caustic agent that rid the trailer of traces of whatever material had been produced.
Official spokesmen for the Department of Defense in the U.S. and Iraq could not comment before press time.
Vice Admiral Jake Jacoby, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has said an informant had told the U.S. military similar mobile facilities had previously been used to make three illicit agents, believed to be anthrax, botulism and staphylococcus.
Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Steve Cambone said, “What we have here is what … the Secretary of State talked about, along with other things, in his presentation to the United Nations.”
A U.S. Army Intel officer in Iraq said he was convinced the trailer was used to make biological weapons: “There are too many indications this was used for biological weapons. The tubing, the heating system, the exhaust system are specific to the kind of military-grade production we saw before the first Gulf War. Also, when you’re conducting legitimate laboratory work, you want to do it in the most stable environment possible. Why would scientists work from a trailer?”