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Supplement, 23-29/9/01 (2)

Jihad against Œterrorismı (2)


*  Century of biological and chemical weapons [General account from the BBC
of the history of these weapons]
*  Disposal of Chemical Arms in U.S. Lags as Costs Mount [Amazing story of
the US armyıs problems in disposing of 31,496 tons of chemical weapons at an
estimated cost of $24 billion]
*  Get educated [Bibliography of books on Osama bin Laden, Central Asia,
terrorism, fundamentalism]
esday, 25 September, 2001, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK

BBC, 24th September

A World Health Organisation warning has renewed fears about chemical or
biological weapons being used by groups like the one which targeted America.

The United States takes the threat seriously enough that it has grounded
crop-dusting planes - a possible means of delivery of deadly agents - and
gas masks are reported to have sold out in New York shops.

The vast majority of chemical attacks to date have been by governments in

Chemical weapons were used widely in World War I following their
introduction by German forces at the beginning of 1915.

The British and French were using them by the end of the year as well, and
by the end of the war in 1918, roughly one-quarter of all shells fired
contained chemical weapons. Some 100,000 people were killed and up to one
million injured by gas attacks.

The 17 different gasses used in the war fell into three categories:

* Tearing agents, much like the tear gas used for personal defence or crowd
control today

* Asphyxiants, designed to choke the enemy, against which gas masks offer
some protection

* Blistering agents, such as mustard gas, which burns any exposed skin,
lungs and eyes. Gas masks offer only very limited defence.

The chemical weapons used in World War I were unreliable. The first time
British forces used them in September 1915, wind blew the gas back at the
soldiers who had fired it.

The Geneva Protocol of 1925 outlawed the use of chemical and biological
weapons in war, but did not actually prevent their use.

But the personal experience of one World War I German soldier may have
helped prevent the battlefield use of poison gas in World War II.

As a sergeant in the Kaiser's army, Adolf Hitler was gassed by British
troops in 1918, and the experience may have caused him to refrain from using
it as a tactical weapon himself.

The Nazis did, of course, use poison gas on civilians in death camps.

Chemical weapons were used in a further 11 campaigns after World War I,
according to the Federation of American Scientists - often delivered from
aircraft rather than artillery, thus reducing the fear that it would rebound
against those who used it.

Mustard gas was used by British forces intervening in the Russian Civil War
in 1919 and by Soviet forces in China in the 1930s.

Spanish and Italian troops used it in north African campaigns between the
world wars, as did Japanese soldiers in China during World War II.

The US used a chemical defoliant, Agent Orange, in Vietnam throughout the
1960s, which proved to have harmful effects on people as well as the plants
it was intended to clear.

Iraq under Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against both Iran in the
1980-88 war and simultaneously against Iraqi Kurds in 1987-88.

Despite Israeli fears that Iraqi Scud missiles would be tipped with chemical
or biological agents during the Gulf War, there is no evidence Saddam
Hussein fired non-conventional weapons at the Jewish state.

Chemical campaigns

World War I: Both sides
Spanish in Morocco, 1923-26
Italian in Ethiopia, 1935-40
Soviets in China, 1934, 36-37
Japanese in China, 1937-45
US in Vietnam, 1961-69
Iraq in Iran and Iraq, 1983-88
Source: Federation of American Scientists
While some soldiers who fought in the Gulf War say they were exposed to
chemical or biological weapons, resulting in Gulf War Syndrome, there is no
solid proof of that assertion.

But UN inspections of Iraq after the Gulf War showed that Saddam Hussein had
no fewer than five laboratories working to develop chemical and biological

Some 130 countries signed a protocol banning the production, stockpiling and
use of chemical weapons in January 1993.

Biological weapons had been banned under an earlier treaty, in 1975.

With states having pledged to put chemical and biological weapons beyond
use, concern now focuses on militant groups and other so-called "non-state

One militant group, the Japanese sect Aum Shinrikyo, released nerve gas on
the Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 12 and injuring thousands.

The militant leftist German group the Red Army Faction is believed to have
tried to develop botulism toxin - with some success - in the 1980s.

A raid on a Red Army Faction safe house in Paris in 1984 uncovered a
makeshift laboratory containing toxins.

Members of a religious cult in the US state of Oregon succeeded in poisoning
local restaurant salad bars with salmonella in 1994, injuring more than 700
people. No one is believed to have died as a result of the attack.

A militant group would encounter significant difficulties if it wanted to
use chemical or biological weapons.

Developing and storing them would require sophisticated facilities. There
are concerns that they could be stolen from countries that have them.

Even if a militant group obtained non-conventional agents, it would find
them difficult to deliver effectively.

That is the source of worry about reports that one of the World Trade Center
hijackers was interested in learning about crop dusters - they are designed
specifically to disperse chemicals over a large region.

Los Angeles Times, 29th September

WASHINGTON -- The nation's chemical weapons stockpiles, perceived as a
potential security threat following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, will
cost billions of dollars more and take years longer to destroy than the Army
has previously told Congress and the public, according to government records
and Pentagon officials.

After insisting that the Army was on schedule with the destruction of the
weapons, defense officials have privately acknowledged that significant
delays and dramatic overruns will raise the price of the program by about $9
billion and push its completion well past an international treaty deadline
of 2007, according to an internal memo obtained by The Times.

This would come as unwelcome news to communities where the weapons are
stored and where there is already uneasiness about the risk that an accident
or an attack could unleash a deadly cloud of nerve or mustard agents. This
last week, hundreds of Army troops were dispatched to guard the stockpiles
at eight chemical weapons depots throughout the U.S. At the same time,
terrorism fears could change the political dynamics of the debate over
incineration, the Army's preferred disposal method. The desire to eliminate
the weapons as quickly as possible could help the Army overcome resistance
to incineration in communities where that battle is being fought. The
concerns could also lead to expedited environmental reviews.

The ballooning costs and timetables are likely to prompt fresh criticism of
the program to eliminate the nation's 31,496 tons of chemical weapons. In
recent months, members of Congress and other critics have accused top Army
officials of duplicity for understating the price tag and time needed to
destroy the lethal munitions.

Interviews and documents obtained by The Times show that senior officials
have concluded that costs will ultimately rise to about $24 billion, up from
an earlier estimate of $15 billion. Pentagon sources said the revised
timetables are expected to show that work will not be completed at some of
the sites until between 2008 and 2012.

The updated estimates were developed as part of a high-level Pentagon review
of the weapons disposal program. A senior Pentagon official said the review
has confirmed that Army officials have long realized that the projected cost
of $15 billion and the 2007 deadline were far too rosy.

"People have known for a long time that wasn't going to happen," said the
official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Army denies it provided misleading estimates.

Millions of rockets, bombs and projectiles, along with drums of nerve and
blistering agents, await destruction at weapons sites in eight states. They
are stored in igloo-like concrete bunkers that are covered by earthen mounds
and surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Many were produced 50 years
ago or earlier.

The Army has already destroyed more than 23% of its chemical weapons at
incinerators in Tooele, Utah, and at Johnston Atoll in the Pacific.

Additional incinerators are under construction at weapons sites in Anniston,
Ala., and near Umatilla, Ore. and Pine Bluff, Ark. Chemical neutralization
plants are being built to destroy liquid agent stockpiles at Newport, Ind.,
and Aberdeen, Md. At the remaining sites--Pueblo, Colo., and Blue Grass,
Ky.--a disposal method has not yet been chosen.

The overruns are the latest blow for a program that has repeatedly come
under fire from government investigators, Congress and environmental groups.
The $24 billion figure represents a 14-fold increase from an original
estimate of $1.7 billion when the program began in 1985. At the time, the
Army said it would complete destruction by 1994 of the stockpiles of mustard
gas, sarin and VX nerve agent, along with rockets, land mines and other
delivery systems.

An international chemical weapons treaty, ratified by the U.S. in 1997,
requires that weapons stockpiles be destroyed by 2007, but provides a
five-year extension for countries that cannot finish on time. Russia, which
has a larger chemical weapons stockpile than the U.S., has said it will seek
this additional time.

The new estimate of $24 billion was cited in a Sept. 6 memorandum by a top
aide to Edward C. "Pete" Aldrich, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition,
technology and logistics. The memo, which was obtained by The Times,
summarizes the findings of a Pentagon team that completed its review of the
program this summer.


Salon, 28th September

Sept. 28, 2001 | While the identity of those who organized the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11 remains unclear, there's much of value to be learned
about the man declared by U.S. officials to be their "prime suspect," Osama
bin Laden, and the historical, political and cultural factors contributing
to Islamic militancy in the Middle East and Central Asia. Salon's staff
offers this partial list of recommended books for readers who want to know
more. A word of warning, though: Most bookstores and online booksellers are
out of stock on these and other related titles, and while publishers are
going back to press on almost all of them, they may be hard to find for a
few weeks. In the meantime, try checking with your local used bookseller.

Osama bin Laden and the Taliban

Usama Bin Laden's Al-Qaida: Profile of a Terrorist Network by Yonah
Alexander and Michael S. Swetnam (Transnational, 2001)
Although intended for a somewhat specialized audience of experts, this is a
well documented reference work about the activities of bin Laden's
loose-knit web of terrorist cells.

Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America by Yossef Bodansky (Prima
Publishing, 1999)
A detailed narrative account of bin Laden's life and the militant Islamic
fundamentalist milieu in which his terrorist network functions.

The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism
by Simon Reeve (Northeastern University Press, 1999)
This book by a former Sunday Times of London writer views the bin Laden
organization's techniques through the lens of Yousef, the engineer of the
1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed
Rashid (Yale, 2000)
By a Pakistani journalist who has interviewed several of the Taliban's
leaders, this book describes how the fundamentalist group rose to power in
Afghanistan after the Soviets withdrew in 1989, and why their repressive
government was welcomed by many war-weary Afghans. Particular attention is
given to the role of the opium and oil trades in the region.

Afghanistan and Central Asia

The Hidden War: A Russian Journalist's Account of the Soviet War in
Afghanistan by Artyom Borovik (Grove Press, 2001)
Borovik visited Afghanistan before and during the withdrawal of Soviet
troops and pairs novel-like writing and momentum with lucid firsthand
accounts of the dramatic and dreary business of fighting a ground war in the
country's daunting terrain. Read Salon's review.

Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism by John K.
Cooley (Pluto Press, 1999)
A foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and ABC News
relates the history of the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan during the
Cold War and after.

An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot (Picador, 2001)
A British journalist who has visited Afghanistan several times and fought
alongside the mujahedin recalls the land he came to love in the years before
Taliban rule. Read an interview with Jason Elliot.

The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk
(Kodansha, 1992)
A history of the struggle between Britain and Russia for control of Central
Asia in the 19th century, this tale of espionage and intrigue shows how the
fate of the peoples of Central Asia has long been toyed with in the
strategic battles of world powers.


The Ultimate Terrorists by Jessica Stern (Harvard, 1999)
A balanced and blessedly concise examination of the potential for terrorist
use of weapons of mass destruction. Written by a former fellow of the
Council on Foreign Relations, this book was an early warning of the new
threat. Read Salon's review.

Terrorism & The Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of
National Security by James X. Dempsey and David Cole (First Amendment
Foundation, 1999)
While the authors are primarily concerned with the Anti-Terrorism Act of
1996, they provide a cautionary counterpoint to the current rush to gain
security at the price of the liberties that are a signal part of American

Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War by Judith Miller, Stephen
Engelberg and William Broad (Simon & Schuster, 2001)
A trio of New York Times reporters lay out the recent history of biological
warfare and the lack of preparation on the part of the U.S. government for
just such an attack -- against American troops overseas as well as within
our borders.

Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind
by Walter Reich, editor (Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1998)
This collection of essays about how terrorists think (opposing theories are
presented) includes case studies in the factors leading to political

Saddam's Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and
Biological Weapons Agenda by Khidr Abd Al-Abbas Hamzah with Jeff Stein
(Scribner, 2000)
A briskly paced, first-person account of an atomic scientist's experience
designing a nuclear weapon for Saddam Hussein, this is a chilling portrait
of the dictator of Iraq and his military aims.


The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong (Knopf, 2000)
An erudite, lively discussion, by the noted British scholar of religion, of
fundamentalism in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Armstrong sees
fundamentalism in all three religions as a struggle against modernity
itself, which threatens the way religion has primordially helped people make
sense of the world.

Triumph of Disorder: Islamic Fundamentalism, the New Face of War by Morgan
Norval (Sligo Press, 1999)
A provocative and somewhat controversial exploration of violent
fundamentalist Islam.

Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World by
Benjamin R. Barber (Ballantine, 1995)
In this snappily titled, far-ranging treatise, Barber envisions the clash
between the spread of global consumerism and the fundamentalism that rises
up to beat it back as the central conflict of contemporary life. His
definition of "jihad," very loosely used, refers to a wide range of
reactionary responses, not just to Islamic fundamentalism.

[Further sections on Islam; Israel and the Arabs; War ­ PB]

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