Terror alert on anthrax

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Story Link

Terror alert on anthrax
Sunday 4 June 2000

Australian and international intelligence agencies are increasingly alarmed at the emergence throughout South and South-East Asia of terrorist groups linked to Osama bin Laden, amid new evidence that the multi-millionaire Saudi extremist has bought biological weapons from a former Soviet state.

Confirmation to TThe Sunday Age from intelligence sources that bin Laden associates recently bought the deadly anthrax and plague viruses from arms dealers in Kazakhstan comes as Australian authorities prepare for the massive task of securing the Olympics from terrorism.

While Australian security analysts still rate the risk of terrorist attack at the Sydney Games as low, they nonetheless believe any terrorist violence would represent an intelligence failure that could only be dealt with reactively and "largely medically".

"Essentially the fight against this sort of terrorism is preventive - it comes down to the agencies stopping the people who do this sort of thing from coming in," an Australian source said.

` "If there is a flaw in intelligence and this sort of (biological) attack happens, we can do little but react and try to minimise the human damage."

As part of the pre-Games anti-terrorism campaign, Australian security agencies are investigating phone calls made to numerous New South Wales addresses in late 1992 and early 1993 by convicted Islamic extremists linked to the February 26, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York that killed six people and injured 2000.

In separate trials in mid-1990s, nine bin Laden-linked Islamic terrorists were convicted of the Trade Centre bombing, of planning a day of anti-American terror and of murdering Rabbi Meir Kahane, a US-based radical Jewish leader in 1990.

The Sunday Age has been provided with the telephone records of several of the convicted terrorists and their colleagues, which show the extremists had extensive contact with possible associates in Australia before and after the New York bombing.

The records show that one of the terrorists, Ibrahim El-Gabrowny, made two telephone calls lasting 19 minutes and nine minutes to a business in Dean Park, NSW, early on August 24, 1992. He made two more calls to another business in Yagoona, NSW, on March 20 and 21, 1993 - less than a month after the Trade Centre bombing.

El-Gabrowny was originally charged with conspiracy in the bombing but was later convicted as an accessory to the murder of Rabbi Kahane.

The phone records also show that Mahmud Aboulahimi - one of the bombers who was sentenced to life in jail - and another associate also made numerous calls to NSW before and after the bombing.

While some people who were resident at the NSW addresses have since moved, it is believed that the telephone records have formed the basis of a massive pre-Games Australian surveillance operation by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation with help from police and other intelligence agencies.

The Sunday Age also has documentary evidence that shows that another convicted Trade Centre bomber, Mohammed Salameh, was preparing to apply for migration to Australia about the time of the crime.

Meanwhile, sources maintain that Australian security and intelligence agencies are increasingly concerned about bin Laden's growing links with extreme Islamic groups throughout South and South-East Asia.

While international intelligence agencies have established that Muslim rebels in the Philippines - who are currently holding 21 hostages - are getting financial support from bin Laden, there is growing concern that the terrorist mastermind could also be funding separatist Islamic groups in the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and Ambon.

"That is a suspicion based on some evidence that is yet to be conclusively proven," an Australian source told The Sunday Age.

"It would be consistent with the spread of bin Laden funding throughout Asia as this guy looks for more swamps (hiding places) that are less detectable to the US."

In April this year the US State Department identified Afghanistan and Pakistan as a new international hub of Muslim extremism.

The department said that while the US was once threatened by state-launched terrorism, the new global terrorist threat was expected to come from small networks of religiously and ideologically motivated groups.

While Australian authorities, including the Federal Government, have repeatedly said there is "no specific threat" against the Olym-pics, sources maintain that a judgment has already been made that any terrorist threat is likely to come from bin Laden-funded groups.

Australian and international security analysts are interpreting the significance of the purchase of biological weapons - including the deadly anthrax and plague viruses - from Kazakhstan arms dealers by bin Laden associates.

"The world has long been afraid of the biological warfare threat, but Islamic terrorist groups have not to date used such weapons against the West," an Australian source said.

"The very fact that it has been established, without doubt, that bin Laden now has these weapons is, by its very nature, of significant concern."

Disclosures that bin Laden associates now have biological weapons coincides with a warning from a leading US infectious-disease expert that the US is ill-equipped to deal with such an attack.

"It is not a question of if such an event will occur, but rather when, as well as which agent will be used and how extensive the damage will be," warned Michael Osterholm, who heads the private Minnesota-based Infection Control Advisory Network.

"Given the enormity of what is possible, we must prepare for a potential nightmare."

The Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence and ASIO are coordinating criminal intelligence assessments before and during the Olympics.

It is believed that they are receiving extensive help from law enforcement and intelligence agencies from several countries, including the United States and Israel.


Posted as a general awareness item. Make up your own mind about the risk of antipodean jaunts.

Regards from OZ

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), June 03, 2000


Phones link terror net to Australia

More general info...

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), June 03, 2000.


Thanks for the info! As I've said before, I recommend reading Biohazard by Ken Alibek for a perspective on what the Soviets have developed and weaponized, and are probably selling to the highest bidder!

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), June 03, 2000.

I just saw a post on another forum where someone said they cured their own case of Anthrax using Colloidal Silver. It was likely the cutaneous kind contracted by animal contact. Anecdotal, of course, but still worth considering.

-- Observer (lots@to.observe), June 06, 2000.


This is just like reading Y2K reports last year. The author states

that bin Laden associates recently bought the deadly anthrax and plague viruses. That of course is wrong [bacteria] indicating that Paul did not verify the information concerning the most basic part of his article. We should believe that he verified anything else?

-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xx), June 06, 2000.


While technically wrong, this type of error is nothing new in news reporting. I believe that Bin Laden likely HAS procured both Anthrax and Plague cultures. Whether or not he has obtained WEAPONIZED cultures is unclear. My information comes from private subscription intelligence sources not usually read by the general public, including most news organizations.

What amazes me is that our Western countries, while frequently warning that something is going to happen sooner or later, are doing NOTHING to educate the public about basic, simple, sensible measures that we can take as individuals to reduce the likelihood of dying in a bio-chem attack should one ever occur.

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), June 06, 2000.


True, it is nothing new. Yet, while reading Y2K reports last year I followed a useful rote. Go to the most basic parts of the article and work up from there. Do they know anything about an embedded system? No; got that wrong; then everything that followed turned out to be wrong.

Delivery of biological agents is very complicated. Makes code writing seem simple. Not something that your wealthy nitwit can do; won't even be able to hire people to do it for him. Small attack, sure. Anything else; not like

-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xx), June 06, 2000.


While technically wrong

It is technically wrong; but it is also absolutely, completely, and without question wrong. It doesn't come within a kingdom of being correct. Enough said.

-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xx), June 06, 2000.


Please clarify your above assertion "It is technically wrong; but it is also absolutely, completely, and without question wrong. It doesn't come within a kingdom of being correct. Enough said."

I'm confused as you don't provide any specifics to support such sweeping statements. I had assumed your previous comments referred to the mistake of categorizing Anthrax and Plague as viruses. Are you saying that this one factual error invalidates the whole article? The United States Government seems to feel that the threat of bio-chem terrorism is very real, and we have been hearing warnings about it for months and have recently witnessed a major exercise conducted by various government units designed to evaluate our country's detection and response capabilities.

The February 2000 edition of Janes Terrorism & Security Monitor indicates that Western governments are quite concerned about the likelihood of bio-terrorism. Are you referring only to the assertion that Bin-Laden has acquired such capability, or that there is no threat in general?

By the way, have you read Biohazard?

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), June 06, 2000.


Yes that is what I meant. If a journalist cannot identify the kingdom of an organism, I don't pay much attention to what else he says.

Yes, I have been to federal meetings on the subject. Yes, I have developed area contingency plans for such attacks. Yes, I know quite a bit about the subject. No, I don't pay much attention to press reports from people who can't separate kingdoms of organisms. Next he will be calling them fungi or catfish.

Jus' yer ol' debunker,


-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xx), June 06, 2000.


I'd somewhat agree with DB on this one. You've read Biohazard and you're seeing biological weaponry used in your dreams. Terrorist attacks of some sort or another have occurred all my adult life. If I were to accumulate the necessary antidotes to thwart infection from all possibilities, I'd have a full medicine cabinet and get hit by a truck.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), June 06, 2000.


I've got to admit that I missed the more subtle "kingdom" aspect of your comment! I hope you are right. But you haven't provided any details to support your opinions.


Thanks for joining in. I think you are assigning too much weight to my recent reading of Biohazard. I have been interested in biowar a lot longer than just since I read the book, mainly evolving out of a longstanding more general interest in medicine. Reading Biohazard just sort of brought that interest to the forefront recently.

With the two of you in agreement, I guess I'll just rest my case unless someone else happens to weigh in on my side, although I'm also open to any real information that supports your opposing view.

What frustrates me is that no one appears concerned about this issue except Western Governments. If it ever does happen, it's going to be totally devastating because the public hasn't bothered to learn the least little bit about what they might do to protect themselves.

I guess I'm sounding like a doomer, but my philosophy is to look at possible risk scenarious, make some "reasonable" preparations in relation to their probabability vs magnitude, and then go on having a nice life. I just happen to think that the risk of a bio or chem attack on one or more metropolitan areas is a distinct possibility in the forseeable future. If the risk is negligible, why is the U.S. Government spending so much money on exercises and issuing periodic warnings?

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), June 06, 2000.


I agree with you that people like Bin-Laden aren't likely to be growing their own bacterial cultures and certainly not viral ones. Also we agree that weaponizing is difficult. But what's to preclude bad folks with lots of money from buying ready-made dispersal units? Also, what would you say is the shelf-life for Plague, Tularemia, Anthrax, and say Smallpox weapons? Does it take much effort to place a container of anthrax spores beneath the air intake of a modern office building?

You allude to some training is biowar defense. Do you care to give us any tips on what we might do to reduce our chances of being a causalty should we happen to be in an area where a biological agent is released? What would you recommend we do to clean up after exposure. Also, what agents should we use to clean areas of suspected exposure?

Sharing your knowledge would be appreciated

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), June 06, 2000.

Any of you G.I. Joes out there who don't want your Anthrax vaccine, just loan me your dog tags and I'll be happy to take your place.

-- (don't like @ puking. blood), June 06, 2000.


That is a lot like asking the question, "something is going to happen, what should I do?". The list of possible agents that I got from .gov is longer that what has been mentioned. About a page, single spaced.

The response would depend upon the organism. We have identified experts who have worked with each organism. They are on call. They have given us decontamination procedures. They would be involved in identification of any agent. This is all coordinated with the city, county and DOD emergency response teams.

You must have the same response teams where you live [your tax dollars at work]. If this should occur, the proper response will be broadcast to you. Communication to the public is a big part of the program.

Let me leave you with the thought, that the possiblility of this happening is vanishingly small; but preparation is required; just like for a possible st

-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xx), June 06, 2000.

G'Day everyone,
Just caught up with the forum and thanks for the input. I'm far away from potential trouble, although my friends train every week to support the Olympics crowd control at Sydney later. We certainly live in interesting times. Pays to be alert regarding issues like this when inviting the world to OZ. I wonder why the authorities wished it to be published in the news. Hmmm?

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), June 06, 2000.


I guess "trust your government" is about the extent of what I'm going to get from you, eh? I'm glad YOU have access to information. Too bad for the rest of us who apparently aren't smart enough or important enough to rate some of it.

If anyone else happens to have anything to add to this thread in the form of real information, it would be appreciated. My purpose in participating in this discussion was to hopefully learn something more than some mysterious person's reassurance that the risk is "vanishingly small".

Pieter, what else do they say about this in OZ?

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), June 06, 2000.


That is about it. There is no way that I can transmit 2000 pages of documents onto this site. Do you want to shut it down. Now I can't give you assurance that you are protected. I just know that the folks that I am responsible for are protected. Candide: I till my own garden.

-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xxx), June 06, 2000.


There is no access to information. Because there is no information. If you want doomerish trash like that in the article, I assume that you were really worried about Y2k.

Go with it. Store up medicine to deal with 20 or 30 diseases [I believe Anita brought up this point]. Of course you can't. Go out and buy some Ebola vaccine. :^)

If you don't trust the government on this one [like many didn't trust the government on Y2K] you are just out of luck. That is your only choice. Change the government if you don't trust i

-- DB (Debunker@nomore.xx), June 06, 2000.

G'Day Flash,
I've been keeping an eye open for more follow-on news re: this subject. My friends are training to be alert to such threats. Overall we are more concerned at the Fiji thing and now the Solomons are exploding in a fracas that has 700 Australians sort-of trapped in the wrong place. If you tie in the Papuan and Irian Jaya thing with the Muslims asserting themselves in the Indonesian Archipelago, add some Malasian drama with Bruma next door, then be mindful of the Ceylon Tigers also, and more Indians than you can believe - well, we're surrounded!

Most of us Down Under are trying to get a grip on our gripe re: Goods and Services Tax as from the 1st of July. We think the Olympics are just fine if you like that sort of circus...a bloody good circus if you want to attract attention bin Laden style. I believe we mostly think it's over the top and for wankers.

Maybe we should cancel the freaking lot and retire back into anonymity.

-- Pieter (zaadz@icisp.net.au), June 06, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ