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Re: Times article deserves response

Dear Mil & All - The article asked for could be 'New threat from old foe', 
in 'T2',reportage, p.4. Mainly about U.S.S.R./Russia, it begins with some 
sentences about Iraqi biological weapons etc. The article is
described as the final extract from the book, by Robert Harris & Jeremy 
Paxman,'A Higher Form of Killing'. If that isn't what you're looking for, 
then I can't help you (could the article be from some other day?). I did try 
to email it through, some 5-6 times, but "The system was unable to 
communicate with the server".
Greetings, Bert G.

>From: Milan Rai <>
>To: CASI list <>
>Subject: Times article deserves response
>Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 00:22:23 -0000
>Dear all
>The Times is running a series by Paxman and Robert Harris about
>Iraq's WMD.
>The most interesting bit is the subheading: 'While George Bush
>names Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an axis of evil, Saddam Hussein's
>huge chemical and biological weapons arsenal emerges as the biggest
>threat to world peace'.
>Whatever view one takes, there is no basis for stating as fact that Iraq
>has a 'huge' CBW arsenal, and The Times should get rapped for
>saying so.
>The article which is really of interest to us is about Iraq's WMD - also
>by Harris and Paxman - immediately after this article in the paper
>version of the Times today, but I can't find it on their website.
>Perhaps if someone else does they will post it to the list?
>It is full of the usual 'could have/may have' stuff. Neatly avoids the
>'inspectors booted out in 1998', and refers to US nuclear threats
>against Iraq in 1991.
>Times 2 - features
>February 11, 2002
>Cover story
>The bio-terror time bomb
>by Robert Harris and Jeremy Paxman
>Subheading: While George Bush names Iraq, Iran and North Korea as
>an axis of evil, Saddam Hussein's huge chemical and biological
>weapons arsenal emerges as the biggest threat to world peace
>Proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is the most urgent
>problem facing Western military planners. Apart from Iraq — which
>stands in an appalling category of its own — the quartet of Iran, Syria,
>Libya and North Korea now appear to be co-operating in the
>development of weapons of mass destruction. Iranian oil wealth has
>helped to enable North Korea to develop a sophisticated long-range
>missile programme.
>Tehran has also provided Syria with financial assistance to enable it to
>threaten Israel by buying North Korean Scuds. Libya has expressed a
>desire to buy North Korean missiles with a range of 1,000km. All four
>countries have chemical and biological weapons programmes in
>various stages of development. North Korea is believed to have a
>stockpile of 300-1,000 tons of chemical weapons agents, including
>nerve gases, and to be experimenting with anthrax, cholera, bubonic
>plague and smallpox.
>Syria is producing chemical weapons at three sites, employed cyanide
>against a rebellion by Sunni Muslims in 1982 (according to Amnesty
>International) and is “pursuing the development” of biological
>weapons. Iran — which made use of mustard and cyanide gases in its
>war with Iraq — has continued to develop chemical weapons, has a
>biological weapons manufacturing capability, and is alleged to have
>stocks of anthrax and botulinum. Libya used chemical weapons against
>Chad in 1987, has a chemical weapons production facility, and
>appears to be trying to acquire the means to manufacture biological
>Expert advice is not lacking. The image of a footloose, amoral scientist,
>skilled in developing weapons of mass destruction and prepared to
>sell himself to the highest bidder, is usually the stuff of thrillers. But 
>this case, reality has kept pace with fiction. The collapse of the Soviet
>Union left hundreds of scientists involved in its biological weapons
>programme surplus to requirements. Some were re-employed in
>legitimate industries. Some were paid a pension by the Americans in
>return for their discretion. But as the plants at which they worked
>rusted away, others found that curious visitors began calling.
>American diplomats were warned in 1997 that Iranian delegations
>had offered biologists new careers developing a biological warfare
>capability in the Islamic republic. Most seem to have declined the
>invitations. Others, whose salaries had not been paid for months,
>apparently found the lure of a steady income irresistible.
>It is the risk from those countries with a reputation for sponsoring
>terrorism which is now most exercising governments around the
>world. So far the terrorist use of chemical and biological weapons has
>been the province of cults and cranks. In September 1984, for
>example, in the United States, devotees of the Bhagwan Shree
>Rajneesh poisoned 751 people in the Oregon town of Wasco,
>contaminating drinking glasses and salad bowls with salmonella.
>Mercifully there were no fatalities, even though the salmonella had
>been bought from the same company which supplied anthrax and
>botulinum to the University of Baghdad.
>Much more serious were the activities of the Japanese cult, Aum
>Shinrikiyo, which made two ineffectual attacks with biological agents
>— botulinum toxin in 1990 and anthrax in 1993 — neither of which
>caused any injuries, before resorting to nerve agents. In June 1994,
>the cult used home-made sarin on the inhabitants of an apartment
>block in Matsumoto, killing seven and injuring 300. Then, in March
>1995, came the worst incident of all. Five terrorists, each carrying
>plastic bags containing small amounts of sarin, boarded separate
>Tokyo subway trains, and at 8am simultaneously punctured the bags
>with umbrellas. Twelve people died; more than 5,000 were injured.
>Most recently there have been the anthrax attacks in the United
>States, carried out by means of contaminated letters. Five people have
>been killed by military-grade anthrax, reported to contain one trillion
>spores per gram. The letter sent to the US Senate majority leader,
>Tom Daschle, alone contained two grams of anthrax — theoretically
>enough to kill 200 million people (a figure which demonstrates both
>how easy it is to be alarmist about biological weapons, and how
>astonishingly lethal they could be if the right means of dispersal could
>be employed). The high concentration would seem to indicate that
>this agent was originally procured from a national weapons
>programme — possibly even from America’s own former biological
>The most frightening aspect of all these attacks — apart from the
>malice and contempt for human life which inspired them — is the
>ease with which they were mounted. And yet the perpetrators were,
>essentially, amateurs. If professionally trained terrorists, backed by the
>resources of a chemical and biological weapons-capable state, were to
>mount similar attacks, the results could be devastating. There have
>been intelligence reports that the al-Qaeda organisation has acquired
>botulinum toxin from a laboratory in the Czech Republic, paying
>$7,500 (£4,700) a phial. Anthrax “in some form” is also said to have
>been obtained from an Indonesian company.
>One of the hijackers who helped to carry out the suicide attacks of
>September 11 is known to have inquired about purchasing a crop-
>dusting aircraft — a perfect means of dispersing chemical and
>biological agents over a target population. A terrorist who was
>infected with smallpox, and who sought contact with as many people
>as possible before succumbing to the disease, would be the ultimate
>walking suicide bomb. In one exercise, undertaken by officials in
>Washington in 1999, the progress of smallpox was tracked as it
>spread through an unvaccinated American population. Within two
>months, 15,000 people were dead; within a year, the figure was 80
>A Higher Form of Killing by Robert Harris and Jeremy Paxman
>(Arrow, £8.99) is available from The Times Bookshop (0870 160
>8080) for £7.64 + 99p p&p
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