Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum from Dr Thomas David Inch


  As requested below are some questions that could be asked to help establish the strength and margin for error or risk of misinterpretation of intelligence data. It is possible that all the interpretations are correct and well founded but as the report is written there are too many unconvincing points which now in a post war situation should be clarified.

  P17 para 2.  Was there any evidence that the attempts at procurement were successful?

  P18 para 3.  What was the evidence that mustard could be made in weeks and nerve agents in months?

This statement suggests the intelligence source knew the facilities to be used and how the facilities would be used.

  P19 para 5.  It is important to find what the raw data actually said about 45minutes.

  P19 para 8.  If it is known that Iraq continued to produce nerve agent then it should be known where that was when the intelligence was obtained. Post event chemical analysis of the site should be able to confirm the allegation.

  P20 para 8.  Similarly analysis should reveal whether there was misuse of the precursor chemicals at Fallujah2.

  P20 para 9.  More information should be sought on the suppliers of the illegal equipment and whether the Inspectors visited this complex on their return last year.

  P22 para 12.  More information is required on whether Iraq has a legitimate castor oil industry. Also we need to know whether the plant construction would allow the easy production of ricin.

  P22 para 14.  I am puzzled by the importance given in the dossier to aflatoxins. The materials are not particularly acutely toxic and in solution may not have been weaponised in high concentration. For the sake of the overall credibility of the dossier some indication o0f the real significance of this information would be helpful.

  P24 para 16.  The summary groups anthrax, botulinum, aflatoxins and ricin together and suggests a common biological agent production capability.This seems odd since the biological agent anthrax is very different from the others which are chemical toxins . Also ricin is very different since it is not cultured but harvested from a cultivated crop.

Dr Thomas Inch

June 2003

1   Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Assessment of the British Government. Back

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