Next Up, Biowar?
Vol: 26 Issue: 15 Saturday, November 15, 2003
Car bombs exploded outside two synagogues in Istanbul at almost the same time during Sabbath prayers. Early reports say at least sixteen people were killed and more than 140 people were wounded by fire and shrapnel. And, as usual in these kinds of attacks, those figures are expected to rise.
The terrorist attacks have continued to escalate as the month of Ramadan (October 27-November 26) progresses. Thirty-five people died and 230 were wounded in four al-Qaeda attacks in Iraq on October 27. Eighteen died and 120 were wounded in November 9 attack in Riyadh. Most of the victims in that attack were Lebanese Muslims.
On November 12, suicide car bombers hit an Italian military police base in the southern Iraq city of Nassiriya, killing 18 Italians and nine Iraqis and wounding at least 20 Italians and more than 80 Iraqis.
Anti-terrorism experts have been warning of an upsurge in global al-Qaeda activity, and they are now warning of a biological threat.
A leaked confidential report given to the UN by a panel of experts says al-Qaeda is planning to use chemical and biological weapons against the West soon. The only thing stopping them, according to the experts, is that they don’t know how yet.
The five-member expert group led by Michael Chandler of Britain said it believes this is the main reason why al-Qaeda is still trying to develop new conventional explosive devices, such as bombs that can evade scanning machines.
With the fall of Saddam’s government, al-Qaeda lost an important patron and source of finance and logistics, according to a report in this morning’s New York Post. The information came from a 16-page memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee that cites reports from a variety of domestic and foreign spy agencies and compiled by multiple sources.
That, by itself is a major story, since it provides all the justification necessary for the Iraq war and cuts the UN off at the knees. If Saddam and al-Qaeda were working together prior to September 11, then the September 12 Congressional authorization for war against al-Qaeda included Saddam Hussein. And the UN has no legal argument.
But, as important as that is, the New York Post story also contained a chilling detail that nobody has connected to the leaked UN report. The UN experts say the only reason that al-Qaeda hasn’t deployed chemical or biological weapons is because they don’t know how.
According to the New York Post story, Osama sent two al-Qaeda operatives to Iraq following the attack on the USS Cole in October, 2000. There, they were trained, according to the Post, in “weapons of mass destruction and obtained information on poisons and gases.”
Iraq “sought al Qaeda influence through its connections with Afghanistan, to facilitate the transshipment of proscribed weapons and equipment to Iraq. In return, Iraq provided al Qaeda with training and instructors.”
Add to that a report in today’s Worldnetdaily that says an al-Qaeda member bought enriched uranium capable of being used in a “dirty bomb” from the Congolese opposition three years ago and you get a pretty comprehensive picture. The Department of Homeland Security warned in March that al-Qaeda, “may be in the last stages of planning for large-scale attacks,” officials warned in March and in subsequent advisories. “There are many recent indications this planning includes the use of chemical, biological, and/or radiological materials.”
Taken together, the UN report says that al-Qaeda is determined to use these weapons, if they can figure out how, and the US report says Saddam already provided them with the know-how.
Which means it is only a matter of time, opportunity, and logistics.