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Virally infected suicide terrorists: return of a reoccurring theme that finds our defenses lax
- Gordon Housworth [ 7/20/2006 - 09:37 ] #
A Canadian speaker at the FBI National Academy Associates 2006 ANNUAL TRAINING CONFERENCE posed the question, "Who would think someone will deliberately infect people and send them out to infect others?" as part of a discussion of a "suicide terrorist infected with a deadly virus." It would "be harder to detect than one packing explosives as well as being a significant threat to first responders "including rescuers -- even cops with gas masks and ordinary protection gear." "There has to be some recognition that some people will die."
The especially sad part is that this is not new news.I am reminded how themes, on our side and our adversaries, appear to rise and ebb without continuous attention so as to be repeatedly viewed as new and their employment carrying an undeserved element of surprise.
One such theme is beheading. In 2003, a colleague cited a NYT item, Conflict on Iraq-Syria Border Feeds Rage Against the U.S., "about video disks being distributed in Syrian border villages encouraging attacks on US troops patrolling the border and showing what appeared to be an American - at any rate, a white male - being beheaded, while surrounded by a cheering crowd. The Pentagon denies that any US casualty was beheaded" and asked:
My private response was:
We were unduly surprised by the beheading of Daniel Pearl and most recently with the beheadings of Russian diplomats. We are surprised only because we forget. See Jihadists extend kidnapping and implied beheading down the coalition supply chain.
Jihadist as infection transmission vector is not new either. From Rethinking biological warfare at a human scale, January 16, 2006:
As I have been forecasting this attack vector for some time, I've been thinking on the means by which a Judas could infect him or herself to show a group of innocents, say, a group of Mexican migrant workers ready to set off for El Norte, the US, that their 'free' inoculation is safe. The group comes across "clean" as the symptoms have yet to manifest themselves, then they infect others before taking out various first responders as either police pick them up or the unknowingly infected go to medical facilities.
Were I doing it, I would set up a medical clinic as a cover doing legitimate work for a period of time that would lessen the attention of the authorities even as it draws innocents to my facility. At the right time, a very large group is infected on the eve of migration.
While scenario spinning can be dangerous, the various and simplest permutations by which attacker and innocents alike can be infected without notice is useful to study. DHS still looks at far too complex attack scenarios in framing a likely asymmetrical attacker. See Bioterrorism Drill TOPOFF 2 -- Failing to think like al Qaeda & relearning old lessons and Katrina as an "incident of national significance" puts the lie to DHS scenario planning for terrorist event preparation.
Before 11 September, Asymmetric Conflict 2010 noted a Vietnam Redux camp:
The eleven points still track in a post 11 September world; Unfortunately, the closing "unnecessarily provocative" comments do not.
The combination of suicide terrorism and a willingness to "bring the war home" is extremely effective. From Iraq replaces Palestine as militant Islam's crie de guerre:
Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, [notes that] religion is NOT the important criterion for a suicide volunteer. The principal stimulus to volunteering IS foreign occupation which increases nationalist resistance. (Religion is, however, a multiplier when the foreign occupying power has a religion different from the local community which the terrorists can exploit to their benefit…). Suicide terrorism is a quintessential asymmetrical attack tool in that suicide coercion is the inverse of the military coercion of the larger, ostensibly stronger power. The "presence of foreign combat troops on territory that the terrorists prize" cuts across all other drivers, be it religion, social status, revenge, poverty, or low education. Following the success of Hezbollah and its Iranian handlers in dissuading the US, France and Israel to remain in Lebanon, other asymmetric groups adopted the strategy (although much of the technical advances have been made by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka). Of the terrorist campaigns since 1980 that Pape has studied, 13 have concluded while 5 are still ongoing. Of the 13, 7 resulted in territorial gains for the terrorists while 6 did not. Pape writes:
"The main purpose of suicide terrorism is to use the threat of punishment to compel a target government to change policy and most especially to cause democratic states to withdraw forces from land the terrorists perceive as their national homeland."
Pape states the reality of needing to "find a lasting solution to suicide terrorism that does not compromise our core interest in maintaining access to one of the world’s key oil-producing regions." Dying to Win points to the need for counterterrorist strategies that defeat the current pool of suicide terrorists while deflecting or disarming the forthcoming emergence of a larger pool. Pape paints a steep slope that is not now being pursued, certainly not with sufficient competence, consistency, or funding, combining such actions as thoughtful concessions to occupied areas that rob terrorist groups of their support and possibly their legitimacy among the sea in which they swim,reconciliation with Muslim states and developing core alliances with Iraq and Saudi Arabia to combat of anti-Americanism in the Middle East.
The absence of such reductive policies predicts sustained suicide terrorism without limitation.
Li’l bugs, big peril (Item 4)
Li'l bugs, big peril
Blogs of War
June 25th 2006
Note: The video link is no longer active but the stills are
By NADIA ABOU
Associated Press/ABC News
Jun 25, 2006
AFTER THE WAR: FRONTIER; Conflict on Iraq-Syria Border Feeds Rage Against the U.S.
New York Times
July 15, 2003
Mirror LFP - Lebanese Foundation for Peace
Prepared by IDA
InfoT Public Infrastructure Defense Public Risk Containment and Pricing Public Terrorism Public
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