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Geoffrey Hoon and the Big Lie

Whatever the UK says three times is true. Geoffrey Hoon's allegations
about Iraqi chemical weapons are vague - they 'refused to tell the truth'
- but the implication is that Saddam has VX. Readers will remember that
Iraqi missiles with VX contamination were the point of a disagreement
between laboratories in the US (which found traces of the agent) and
laboratories in Switzerland (which did not). Most defense experts believe
that the only countries currently in possession of VX are Russia, France
and the US. An American claim in April 1999 that Serbia also manufactures
it on a weapons scale need not be taken seriously, although in the early
1990s Yugoslav scientists reported results of animal experiments using VX.

The mere mention of VX is supposed to soften us up for bombing anywhere in
the world.  Clinton and Blair assured us all in August 1998 that the
pharmaceuticals plant at El Shifa, Sudan, produced VX for Iraq. Since the
plant was flattened in an air attack, there has been a grudging admission
that it produced only medicines. The organo-phosphorus compound it
exported to Iraq UNDER U.N. LICENSE was in fact a common agent for
treating worm infestations.

VX precursors were discovered by British, German and Swedish chemists in
1952-3. VX was developed at Porton Down in England. It has been claimed
that Britain gave the technology to the US in exchange for nuclear weapons
expertise. It is still manufactured in the America under the supervision
of U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM).  The LD50
for VX (the dose at which half the animals die) was 8 micrograms per kg of
body weight in one monkey trial in the US, and atropine derivatives given
one minute after exposure were found to protect the animals against twice
the lethal dose. The LD50 was lower than for soman; VX is nasty stuff, but
it is not the most deadly substance known to man.

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