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Rethinking biological warfare at a human scale


The report in the Sunday Mirror (UK) regarding the possible recruitment of AIDS infected individuals as suicide bombers is not a new idea as it occurred as early as 2002 in Palestine when rat poison was intentionally placed in suicide vests and by happenstance when postmortems of suicide bombers revealed Hepatitis B infections. The only curiosity is why expansion would take so long and how the process will morph.

Citing UK MOD documents released in the aftermath of the July 2005 London bombings:

Terror chiefs are also targeting fanatics who suffer other lethal blood diseases such as hepatitis and dengue fever in order to increase their "kill rate" from an explosion. "There is evidence that terrorists might be deliberately recruiting volunteers with diseases that are spread by blood transference." Experts have found that bones and other blood-spattered fragments from a suicide bomber could penetrate the skin of a victim 50 metres away and infect them…

Compare this June 2002 description of "human shrapnel" from Death is a Master from Palestine:

"We see here things you don't usually see in civilian hospitals," observed Dr. Avi Rivkind, director of the trauma unit at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem.

For example, he said that nails, ball bearings and other penetrating objects carried by suicide bombers had on occasion been laced with rat poison, which promotes internal bleeding in those wounded victims who are not killed immediately. To combat the effects of the poison, Israeli physicians have used Factor VII, a coagulation protein used to treat hemophilia. Factor VII is contra-indicated for trauma, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Dr. Rivkind, but "it works, so we use it anyway."

But rat poison is "insignificant relative to other blast effects," said Dr. Michael Stein, trauma director at the Rabin Medical Center near Tel Aviv. In addition to hundreds of Israeli fatalities, thousands of non-combatants have suffered penetrating wounds and burns since the Palestinian uprising began in September 2000. Over 1,700 Palestinians have died.

Suicide bombers do not simply transport the explosive weapon that they use to murder their targets. In several respects, the bombers themselves become the weapon...

Another novel development is the role of communicable disease in terrorist attacks. Several Palestinian suicide bombers were found to be positive for Hepatitis B, according to Dr. Stein. As a result, all survivors of such attacks who are admitted to the trauma ward are now routinely vaccinated against Hepatitis B, he said.

In one case, tissue pathology studies conducted several weeks after a terrorist attack revealed that a terrorist was HIV positive. "We haven't figured out what to do about that," Dr. Stein said on June 4.

A Palestinian suicide bomber who struck June 17 [2002] was HIV positive, according to al Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arabic news channel. The al Jazeera report, noted by the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, was not mentioned in U.S. coverage of the incident.

From Bombs and Bioterror in August 2002:

While it is unclear if the bomber who was infected with hepatitis B was intentionally sent out to cause additional harm, the inclusion of rat poison in bombs would be a sign of malicious intent.

However, the effect of rat poison is apparently more psychological than physical.

Israeli officials allege rat poison was used in the Dec. 1 suicide bombing of the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall in Jerusalem, where 11 people were killed and 188 were injured, but they also said the chemicals had little effect because they were largely consumed by the blast.

Shortly after the blast, Israeli Health Ministry spokesman Ido Hadari told The Associated Press that Palestinian militants have used pesticides in four bombings since 1995 but the substances have all been incinerated in the blasts, and no victim of a bomb has been harmed by chemicals.

Returning to the present, it is obvious that there is much misinformation (and little data) on the number of infected Muslims, the manner of infection, and the prevalence of homosexuality (as if it were the only infection vector).

I advise readers that Jihad Watch can be a bracing read as it is not politically correct, but it has useful content for the careful reader. A recent article, Al-Qaeda's plot to infect troops with AIDS virus, which is mainly a citation of the Sunday Mirror article, is more interesting for the talk back comments that amply demonstrate the misinformation noted above. Some of the more useful posts are here, here, here and here.

All these discussions overlook the potential for a prospective suicide bomber to voluntarily permit infection thereby sidestepping the "search" for a willing infected. I can see the process as an early and easy commitment to martyrdom. Once the presence of AIDS is confirmed, the martyr can proceed to carry out his or her suicide mission. There are other diseases, natural and bioweapon, that can lend themselves to infection and dispersal by "human shrapnel."

In all cases, the psychological aspects of a 'human dirty bomb' are as valuable as the direct blast effects. returning to the Sunday Mirror, consider the distancing that is recommended for UK personnel. If nothing else, the jihadists succeed in driving yet another wedge between the locals and the military:

soldiers are warned to wear special protective clothing when on guard duty or if they have to deal with casualties in the event of an attack. All bases must also have snipers hidden behind blast-proof defences ready to take out would-be suicide bombers...

While I agree with Henry Crumpton, "the newly-appointed head of counter-terrorism at the US State Department, [that] it is simply a matter of time before international terrorist groups such as al-Qa'eda acquire weapons of mass destruction and use them in attacks," I submit that the attack can come quickly, cheaply and in mass on a human scale.

'Only a matter of time before terrorists use weapons of mass destruction'
By Con Coughlin
Telegraph (UK)
(Filed: 17/01/2006)

Al-Qaeda's plot to infect troops with AIDS virus
Jihad Watch
January 09, 2006

EXCLUSIVE Al-Qaeda's plot to infect troops with AIDS virus
By Rupert Hamer Defence Correspondent
Sunday Mirror (UK)
Jan 8 2006

Bombs and Bioterror
Rat Poison, Biological Agents Could Make Suicide Attacks Even Deadlier
By Andrew Chang
ABC News
Aug. 6, 2002
Mirrored on this page (scroll down)

from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2002, Issue No. 54
June 18, 2002

PA Intelligence Chief Rejects Attacks on Civilians, Views Reforms, Ties With CIA
May 2002
Jerusalem Al-Quds (Internet Version-WWW) in Arabic
27 May 02

Gordon Housworth

InfoT Public  Terrorism Public  


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