“The biggest threat we face now as a nation is the possibility of terrorists ending up in the middle of one of our cities with deadlier weapons than have ever before been used against us – biological agents or a nuclear weapon or a chemical weapon of some kind, to be able to threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” --- Vice President Dick Cheney
Osama Bin Laden in an interview with TIME MAGAZINE, December 23, 1998, responded to the question of WMD in his arsenal: “Acquiring weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty. If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then I thank God for enabling me to do so. And if I seek to acquire these weapons, I am carrying out a duty. It would be a sin for Muslims not to possess the weapons that would prevent the infidels from inflicting harm on Muslims.”
It conclusively appears that the President of Iran and the Mullah regime wholeheartedly agrees with these sentiments. Want to read some more? Al Qaeda spokesman Sulieman abu Ghaith has stated: “We have the right to kill four million Americans --- two million of them children --- and to exile twice as many and injure and cripple hundreds of thousands. We have the right to fight them by chemical and biological weapons, so they catch the fatal and unusual diseases that Muslims have caught due to their (US) chemical and biological weapons.”
A multitude of media reports based on alleged interviews with senior intelligence sources from the United States, Britain and Australia seem to agree that the ex-Jordanian terrorist (now enjoying his virgins in paradise), Mussab al Zarqawi was Osama Bin Laden’s mastermind in directing efforts to assimilate chemical, biological and radioactive weapons for deployment against the West. In late 2000, he reportedly was operating WMD laboratories under the supervision of Iraqi intelligence in the northern Iraqi town of Bayara. Moreover, it is alleged that Zarqawi embodied the link between Saddam and Al Qaeda since 2000. Thus far, there is little available public data to substantiate these allegations; however there is likewise little data which would serve to refute this often repeated report.
Moreover there is repeated speculation by senior intelligence sources in the press maintaining that satellite photos confirm large transfers of materials from suspected Iraqi WMD facilities during January 2003, which were transported to Syria and/or Russia. A few even suggest the Bekka Valley of Lebanon. Due to lack of public data, there is no conclusive evidence that any of these speculations are true… or not true.
For you citizens worried about Islamic terrorists developing WMD, consider these statistics gleaned from the U.N.’s Arab Human Development Report written by Arab political scientists and scholars. The data from this study includes 22 Arab states, covering nearly 300 million people. (Iran is not included in this study. They are not Arabs.) The report found 65 million illiterate adults. Half of Arab women still cannot read or write. Ten million children between 6 and 15 years of age are out of school. In the last one thousand years, the Arabs have translated as many books as Spain translates in just one year. Only 1.2 percent of the population uses a computer, and only half of those have access to the internet. Their economies show productivity declines, with research and development weak to nonexistent, and science and technology practically dormant.
So, how are these guys deemed to be a WMD threat? The fact is that we citizens in the West must be wary of exaggerated claims by the jihadists just as we must be aware of their potential danger. Remember that the news media thrives on sensationalism. On the other hand, money can buy WMD, and Al-Qaeda has demonstrated that suicide jihadists offer an operable delivery platform for these weapons.
You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to devise a ‘dirty bomb.” All you need to do is assemble radiological material in close proximity with high explosives. It definitely qualifies as WMD.
Significant amounts of radioactive materials are used in food plants, medical facilities, laboratories, universities, research centers and even oil drilling companies. Access to these instruments containing dirty-bomb grade radiological agents are for all practical purposes unrestricted, and accountability is lax. In many parts of the world, these agents are available for a reasonable price, no questions asked. Well, what about the explosives necessary to disseminate these radiological agents?
HMX (High Melting eXplosives) also known as octogen is among the most powerful chemical explosives used by militaries throughout the world. It is made from hexamine, ammonium nitrate, nitric acid and acetic acid. It’s even used in rocket fuel because it detonates at very high temperatures and it is controlled by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) because it generates temperatures hot enough to set off fissionable nuclear material.
RDX is a white crystalline solid also called hexogen or cyclonite. It’s high degree of stability and the fact that it is the most powerful chemical explosive used widely by militaries make it a favorite key ingredient in plastic explosives like C-4 and Semtex. Plastic explosives are putty-like affairs that allow them to be formed in any shape. It’s strongly suspected that C-4 was used to wreck havoc against the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors. It was just one pound of Semtex that blew apart Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland resulting in 270 deaths.
Put these nasty pieces of chemical engineering together with highly radioactive material, and you’ve got the makings of a citizen’s worst nightmare. This (their dream, your nightmare) scenario is easily within the grasp of militant Islamic technology. A small cache of radiological material from Russia or Ukraine, a few pounds of high explosives from Saddam’s pilfered stocks, and deployed through a global network of suicidal jihadists as delivery platforms… and that’s what causes our people at Homeland Security and MI5 to toss and turn in restless sleep.
Okay… now here’s a bit of good news. In August, 2004 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two medicines designed to quickly eliminate radiation from the body, specifically those kinds of invasive particles introduced by “dirty bombs”. These two newly approved products are Penetate Calcium Trisodium injection, Ca-DPTA, and Zinc Trisodium injection, Zn-DPTA. They are particularly effective against plutonium, americium and curium whether inhaled, ingested or absorbed by direct contact through open wounds.
In the Fall of 2001 following the World Trade Center and Pentagon destruction, the United States encountered the “anthrax attacks”. Although the outcome resulted in few casualties, it had we citizens gripped in fear and certainly led to economic and psychological disruption, particularly in Washington D.C. and several other East Coast cities. This recent event brought home to Americans the realization that biological warfare was far more than simply homeland security hyperbole.
Well, biological attacks in America are not new. During the French and Indian wars, the British gifted the belligerent Indians with blankets (contaminated with small-pox). It all but wiped the tribe out. Another example of biological terrorism occurred at Dalles, Oregon in 1984. Followers of the Bagwan Shree Rajneessh cult sprayed salmonella on salad bars in several restaurants, causing over 700 people to become ill.
Chemical weapons contain substances intended to kill or incapacitate personnel and to deny use of areas, materiel, or facilities. As with biological weapons, terrorists have already exhibited the capability to use chemical weapons. This was demonstrated in 1978 when a group of Palestinians injected oranges with cyanide to damage Israel’s citrus exports. Additionally, in 1995 the Japanese cult, Aum Shinrikyo, released sarin gas in the Tokyo subway network killing 12 people and injuring 5,500. This attack, however, shows the unpredictability of chemical weapons and associated dissemination problems. Although the Japanese cult was able to produce sarin and released it in a closed environment, there was a problem with dissemination. Consequently, the attack resulted in a very small number of fatalities even though agents like sarin nerve gas require infinitesimal amounts to kill a human being.
The attacks on September 11, 2001 raised the chemical industry’s awareness of possible terrorist sabotage of facilities that store toxic industrial chemicals. These types of attacks could provide the mass casualty effects of a chemical weapon attack, yet would not present the terrorist group with the problem of developing or acquiring chemical agents. This scenario occurred in Bhopal, India in 1984 when a disgruntled pesticide plant employee is believed to have released 40 metric tons of methyl isocyonate into the atmosphere. The resulting casualties were 2,000 killed and 100,000 injured.
The know-how needed to produce chemical weapons can be found in texts, magazines and on the Internet. They require no sophisticated equipment and can be produced for relatively low cost. Look what the threat of cyanide several years ago did to the makers of Anacin. It caused a costly recall and blemished the trademark. Think what would happen to our economy if every day another ingestible was found to be contaminated, or fresh fruits and vegetable counters subject to surreptitious terrorist spraying.
And now the worst I have saved for last (best from the terrorist point of view)… the bomb. With a 10-ton nuclear weapon stolen from the former Soviet arsenal and delivered to an American city in a cargo container, al Qaeda could make 9/11 a footnote in history. Would you like to indulge a fantasy of your American hometown getting blasted by a 10K nuke? Go to www.nuclearterror.org and punch in your zip code.
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