Vaccine plant or Iraqi weapons factory?
CNN visits facility under U.N. monitoring
November 16, 1997
Web posted at: 11:36 p.m. EST (0436 GMT)
From Correspondent Brent Sadler
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- In a non-descript factory 20 miles from
Baghdad, United Nations' cameras watch over flasks containing
liquid in which bacteria is being grown.
The Iraqis say the Al-Kindy plant is producing vaccines for
animals. But the United Nations believes that, if left to
their own devices, the technicians here could turn out
prohibited biological weapons.
Though U.N. weapons inspectors have left Iraq, the activities
here can still be watched, through locked and tagged
recording equipment that Iraqis are not touching.
But without inspectors, there can be no verification of
what's going on at Al-Kindy and other such plants. And that,
according to the United States and the United Nations, spells
The scientist in charge claims nothing has changed since the
U.N. teams stopped coming.
"We have no change in our work, whether the inspection team
is here or the cameras (are) here or both of them," says Dr.
Jaafer Al-Hilly. "Our work is open."
Officials from Iraq's national monitoring directive say their
relations with the U.N. teams began to deteriorate about six
months ago. They believe that it was the beginning of a
campaign to undermine nearly four years of monitoring and
surveillance work -- a strategy they insist has led to the
total breakdown of the process.
The officials at Al-Kindy admit they have removed a
refrigeration plant and vaccine growth media in case of an
air attack. But they insist no other rules are being broken
here, and that the United Nations, with its cameras, is not
totally in the dark.
They maintain there's no capability -- here or anywhere else
-- to make banned weapons.
"You can imagine this is false information," says Dr. Ala'a
Al-Saeed, head of the monitoring directorate. "This is ...
just making the environment against Iraq just to find a
reason to hit Iraq."
Al-Kindy officials suspect their plant may be on a list of
targets if there is military action. The facility was bombed
in the 1991 Gulf War, and they fear it may happen again.