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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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi