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RE: [casi] Banning Atropine: Orwellian logic?

Thank you Elga.

> Adding atropine to the list of forbidden items is one
> of the main reasons the US is stalling on the Oil-for-Food
> program.

As a point of clarification, the Goods Review List (GRL), whose contents are
the centre of the UN debate here, is not a list of banned items.  The goods
on the list are subject to review by the Security Council's Iraq Sanctions
Committee.  Non-military items not on the GRL are not, and may be approved
directly by UN technical staff (Unmovic and the IAEA).

One of the odd aspects of the atropine story (which stems from a 12 November
New York Times article by Judith Miller) is that there is no evidence that
Iraq has ordered it in significant quantities through the UN.  These data do
not show Iraq to have ordered 2mg doses (the usual anti-CW volume) of
atrophine since 1997.  The quantities then ordered of 2mg ampoules seem
small (3,000) and consistent with the civilian needs of a country the size
of Iraq.  As up to 200 mg of atropine can be used by single patients to
counter poisoning, it is clear that this quantity would have very limited
battlefield significance.

Larger quantities of 0.6mg and 1.0mg ampoules have been ordered over the
years.  These are not regarded as particularly useful against CW.  Further,
holds placed on them prior to the adoption of SCR 1409 (May 2002), the
absence of money available in the escrow account and shipping delays mean
that past orders are only just expected to maintain a continuous supply for
civilian needs.  I have heard no indication that auto-injectors have been

I do not know whether orders have been placed outside the UN programme,
including orders of auto-injectors.  I also do not know how easily 0.6mg and
1.0mg doses can be repackaged as 2.0mg doses domestically.

The sense of my sources was that this had truth at core, but that it is
being spun.


Colin Rowat

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