North Korea Starting Up Nuclear Program Again

Well I did not think the original intentions of the North Korean regime would last long… That is if it actually ever did stop. I gues now that Kim is feeling better, he is back in control. There must have been some speculation within the N. Korean leadership that he was not going to pull through when they originally agreed to stand down their nuke program.

I wonder what Obama would do… How would he handle this situation. Diplomacy has not worked, is not working and does not look like it will work in the near future. Maybe he will do what Bill Clinton did, look the other way until they have more nuclear weapons developed… The same strategy he will use against Iran I am sure.

North Korea says it is preparing to restart its partially dismantled main nuclear reactor.

North Korean diplomat Hyon Hak Bong made the announcement to reporters Friday in the border village of Panmunjom, where talks are set to begin between North and South Korea on energy aid.

Pyongyang had been dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear reactor as part of a six-nation nuclear disarmament deal. But it suspended work on the facility because it said the United States had failed to remove the North from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. 

British research institute International Institute for Strategic Studies says it will take less than a year for North Korea to restore the reactor.

Hyon also angrily denied reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is sick, dismissing them as rumors spread by people who hate his country. 

South Korean officials said earlier this month that Mr. Kim underwent brain surgery after suffering a stroke. The 66-year-old leader’s health has been the focus of global concern after he failed to show up at a national celebration marking the country’s 60th anniversary.

In a separate development , an expert on Pyongyang’s missile program says North Korea appears to be able to test its missiles under more realistic conditions than before. Joseph Bermudez’s comments to VOA on Thursday follow South Korean media reports that North Korea has been testing the engine for its longest-range missiles. 

Bermudez reported last week in Jane’s Defence Weekly about a new North Korean missile test and launch site, which he called Pyongyang’s “most advanced to date.” He said the launch facility appears to be about one or two years from completion. 

The long-range missile is theoretically capable of hitting the United States, but it failed less than a minute after launch during a test in 2006. It is not known if the missile is capable of carrying a nuclear weapon of the size that North Korea is able to produce. 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

North Korea Blows Up Cooling Tower At Main Nuke Site

Something is up with North Korea’s very quick Nuclear breakdown… Yesterday they release their disclosure as part of the lifting of sanctions and today they blow up the cooling tower at Yonbyon, with pictures and everything.

It would seem almost desparate in nature. Especially with the pictures and video being released by this secretive governemnt.  Is the country that bad off from the tryranical rule they have endured? Is this some sort of show? Are they creating a distraction? Only time will tell. I just hope those in power tread carefully and don’t take things at face value.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (CNN) — North Korea on Friday destroyed a water cooling tower at a facility where officials acknowledge they extracted plutonium to build nuclear weapons, CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reported from the scene.

The cooling tower is demolished at the Yongbyon nuclear complex near Pyongyang, North Korea.

The cooling tower is demolished at the Yongbyon nuclear complex near Pyongyang, North Korea.

The massive implosion, which came at about 5pm local time Friday at the Yongbyon facility, was intended to be a powerful public symbol of a move to end nuclear activities by the Communist nation once branded a member of an “axis of evil” by U.S. President George W. Bush.

The destruction of the highly visible symbol of North Korea’s long-secret nuclear program came just a day after the country released details of its program.

A signal flare gave a three-minute warning as U.S. State Department officials and observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) watched from a reviewing stand.

“The whole thing came tumbling down,” Amanpour said.

“This is a very significant disablement step,” the U.S. envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim, said.

Nuclear experts say that the plant’s destroyed central water-cooling tower would take a year or longer to rebuild if North Korea were to try using the plant again.

“This is a critical piece of equipment for the nuclear reactor,” said analyst John Wolfsthal, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who has been following North Korea since the 1980s. “Without this facility, the reactor can’t operate and can’t produce more plutonium for weapons.” Watch the tower being demolished Video

North Korea has been dismantling other parts of the facility under the watchful eyes of representatives of the five other nations, including the U.S., that have been involved in six-party talks aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

On Thursday, North Korean officials turned over to China a 60-page declaration, written in English, that details several rounds of plutonium production at the Yongbyon plant dating back to 1986. Video Watch President Bush claim progress over the N. Korea nuclear issue »

In it, North Korea acknowledges producing roughly 40 kilograms of enriched plutonium — enough for about seven nuclear bombs, according to the U.S. State Department.

In response, Bush said he would lift some U.S. sanctions against North Korea and remove the country from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

But he made clear that other sanctions remained in place on North Korea — which has been on the terrorism list since its alleged involvement in the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner which killed 115 people.

“The United States has no illusions about the regime in Pyongyang,” Bush said. “We remain deeply concerned about North Korea’s human rights abuses, uranium enrichment activities, nuclear testing and proliferation, ballistic missile programs and the threat it continues to pose to South Korea and its neighbors.”

U.S. analysts will pore over the document to resolve Washington’s outstanding concerns, which include questions about the extent of North Korea’s proliferation of nuclear technology and the status of any uranium enrichment program. Video Watch what’s still unknown after Pyongyang’s declaration »

Friday’s event at the nuclear plant marked at least an effort by North Korea — dubbed “The Hermit Kingdom” in the international community for its isolationist tendencies — to show the world a good-faith effort to end its nuclear weapons program.

Media outlets from the five other nations involved in the talks were invited to view the tower’s implosion, a rare move in North Korea. CNN was among the media outlets present.

But there appeared to be no mention of the declaration or planned implosion at Yongbyon on the Web site of North Korea’s state-run news agency on Thursday. And an article Wednesday noted the 58th anniversary of the Korean war, calling it “a war of aggression started by the U.S. imperialists in an attempt to occupy the whole of Korea.”

 

 

Russia To Defend Terrorist Nations Using Nukes

I wonder where the liberal media is with this one, had the US been the one to say the nuclear option is not off the table, then the media would be lambasting Bush for threatening nuclear war with Russia…. but since it is Russia threatening to use nukes if their allies, Iran, Syria, North Korea, are attacked, then it is ok…

Not that this is a new policy, the timing of their restatement of their policy is interesting, it would appear they are more worried about strikes against Iran….

Russia’s military chief of staff said Saturday that Moscow could use nuclear weapons in preventive strikes to protect itself and its allies, the latest aggressive remarks from increasingly assertive Russian authorities.

Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky’s comment did not mark a policy shift, military analysts said. Amid disputes with the West over security issues, it may have been meant as a warning that Russia is prepared to use its nuclear might.

“We do not intend to attack anyone, but we consider it necessary for all our partners in the world community to clearly understand … that to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military forces will be used, including preventively, including with the use of nuclear weapons,” Baluyevsky said at a military conference in a remark broadcast on state-run cable channel Vesti-24.

According to the state-run news agency RIA-Novosti, Baluyevsky added that Russia would use nuclear weapons and carry out preventive strikes only in accordance with Russia’s military doctrine.

The military doctrine adopted in 2000 says Russia may use nuclear weapons to counter a nuclear attack on Russia or an ally, or a large-scale conventional attack that poses a critical risk to Russia’s security.

Retired Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, formerly a top arms control expert with the Russian Defense Ministry, said he saw “nothing new” in Baluyevsky’s statement. “He was restating the doctrine in his own words,” Dvorkin said.

Moscow-based military analyst Alexander Golts said that when Russia broke with stated Soviet-era policy in the 2000 doctrine and declared it could use nuclear weapons first against an aggressor, it reflected the decline of Russia’s conventional forces in the decade following the 1991 Soviet collapse.

“Baluyevsky’s statement means that, as before, we cannot count on our conventional forces to counter aggression,” Golts told Ekho Moskvy radio. “It means that as before, the main factor in containing aggression against Russia is nuclear weapons.”

Putin and other Russian officials have stressed the need to maintain a powerful nuclear deterrent and reserved the right to carry out preventive strikes. But in most of their public remarks on preventive strikes, Russian officials have not specifically mentioned nuclear weapons.

Baluyevsky spoke amid persistent disputes between Moscow and the West over issues including U.S. plans for missile defense facilities in former Soviet satellites, NATO members’ refusal to ratify an updated European conventional arms treaty, and Kosovo’s bid for independence from Serbia.

Like Golts, Moscow-based military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said Russia plays up its nuclear deterrent because of its weakness in terms of conventional arms. “We threaten the West that in any kind of serious conflict, we’ll go nuclear almost immediately,” he said.

But in the absence of a real threat from the West, he said, “It’s just talk.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The liberal media and Government officials want us to believe N. Korea is ready to play nice… Low and behold aluminum tubes from N. Korea, which they presented as evidence that they did not have a covernt nuclear weapons program, tested positive with traces of enriched uranium

The Posts, liberal stance, is that the traces were contamination by other equipment… What other equipment, the equipment being used to enrich water…

N. Korea managed to run its clandestine program though the Clinton Presidency… Maybe they are just waiting for Hillary to take the reins and start up again. This past years news about N. Korea’s involvement in Iran and Syria should send up some warning signs… But alas the liberal media says it is not so…

WASHINGTON —  Traces of enriched uranium have been found on smelted aluminum tubing provided to the United States by North Korea in its effort to prove it was not operating a secret nuclear program, The Washington Post reported.

Citing U.S. and diplomatic officials, the Post said the discovery by U.S. scientists apparently contradicts North Korea’s claim that its acquisition of thousands of aluminum tubes were for conventional purposes rather than a nuclear program. Such tubes could be used in the process of converting hot uranium gas into fuel for nuclear weapons, according to U.S. officials.

The U.S. did not want to reveal the discovery of the uranium traces because it could expose intelligence methods and complicate diplomatic efforts aimed at North Korea, the Post said in a story posted on its Web site late Thursday. The office of the director of national intelligence and the State Department declined to comment on the discovery, the newspaper said.

The tubing could have been contaminated by exposure to other equipment rather than by an active enrichment program, the Post said, citing unidentified officials.

North Korea is expected to issue a declaration by the end of the month in which it outlines all its nuclear programs. Under an agreement with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, North Korea has begun disabling its main nuclear facilities.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told The Associated Press last week that the Bush administration was not ready to “engage broadly” with North Korea until its leadership ended all aspects of its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea and Iran “are clearly still states about which there are significant proliferation concerns,” Rice said

Syria’s Biological Clock Ticking Away

This article is a must read for anyone who takes our nations security, as well as the security of the world, seriously… Syria and N. Korea are one of the worlds biggest problems… Now the only think that needs to be clarified is Iran’s heavy involvement in all this, between their work with the North Koreans and their recent “accident” that explosed their involvement in Syria’s chemical warefare program, the are just as involved as N. Korea.

Also do not forget that intel showed much of Iraq’s NBC programs going into Syria before the invasion..

When news leaked out of the September 6th Israeli Air Force and commando raid on a Syrian Nuclear facility followed by revelations about the deaths of dozens of Iranians and Syrians in a Chemical warfare missile accident in July the world was jarred. Recently, it was revealed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) had aided Syria in its chemical warfare programs. I noted in a recent interview with former US UN Ambassador John Bolton his early concerns about the Syrian Bio Warfare threat. Questions arose, specifically about the size, nature and danger of the Syrian bio-warfare military programs. For answers and professional views on how extensive the Syrian bio-warfare threat is, we turned to Dr. Jill Dekker, a consultant to the NATO Defense Establishment in bio-warfare and counter terrorism. Dr. Dekker is also a member of the board of advisors of the Intelligence Summit.

Dr. Dekker’s answers give a foreboding picture of how large and refined the Syrian bio-warfare programs are and how little Western Intelligence knows about how the programs were developed. The potential exists for a significant WMD threat in the Middle East and the West, especially, against America. Syria is a proxy ally of Iran, North Korea (DPRK) and terror groups such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Thus, the supply of bio-weapons and delivery platforms that could results in mass casualties makes it a real and present danger.

We were pleased that Dr. Dekker took time out from her professional work to answer questions about the Syrian bio-warfare establishment and WMD threat.

Jerry Gordon: Tell us briefly about your professional background and research background in Bio-warfare.

Jill Dekker: Well, I started working on bio-safety several years ago under the guidance of a colleague at the World Health Organization in Geneva and the concern then was Laboratory Acquired Diseases (LAD’s) and how best to protect workers and the environment from accidental exposure to dangerous pathogens. There were few national requirements to report sharps and sticks accidents as well as other accidents. If you recall Vector in Novosibirsk Russia had an accident with a senior scientist who subsequently contracted Ebola-Vector failed to report the incident until 12 day had passed and by then it was too late for the US team en route to save her life. I also worked on notification for zoonotic diseases (transmissible from animal to human) to public health authorities. Back then in the EU emergency animal disease outbreaks, even with public health consequences, were only notified to the OIE, which is the World Organization for Animal Health. There was little regulation on the reporting of public health cases of Campylobactor, Listeriosis, E-coli 0157 and or strains of Salmonella. Keeping in mind here that with the exception of variola (smallpox) nearly all Category A biological warfare pathogens are zoonotic. I then worked with several organizations involved with the UN Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in Geneva. It was during this work in 2000 that I really came to understand the threat state biological weapons programs posed.

In 2001, when the US suffered its anthrax attacks, everything changed. We went from looking at bio-safety as an aspect of protecting workers and the environment, to bio-security and trying to safe-guard High Consequence Pathogens mainly in P3 and P4 facilities from terrorists. The P4 or Biological Safety Level 4 (BSL4) before 2000 were usually associated with national defense programs. A P4 laboratory or is the highest level of laboratory containment for handling mainly warfare agents or what might be considered battle strains. We went from bio-safety to developing various interventions to prevent the theft, diversion and sale of High Consequence Pathogens by terrorists from laboratories. After the US postal attacks, institutions such as Sandia, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the World Health Organization in Genève were instrumental in developing this concept of “bio-security” or protective measures for laboratories. Bio-security has remained a focus in the United States and Europe. Events over the last three or four years have shifted the perception of bio-security significantly. While bio-security is certainly still on the agenda, the relationship of states and terrorists has changed. I now focus on state supported bio-terrorism whereby pathogens don’t need to be stolen or diverted. A state warfare lab, such as exists in Iran and Syria today, could easily provide their terrorist surrogates with the most advanced biological agents for covert operations. This is far more likely and would be far more devastating in terms of kill ratios than some lone terrorist group trying to weaponize pathogens without state support or a warfare laboratory.

Gordon: You are currently a consultant with the NATO Defense Establishment, what are your principle duties?

Dekker: For the past few years, I’ve developed a number of programs which NATO supports and in which NATO is a full participant. Additionally, I represent both governmental and defense industry clients who are interested in collaboration with supranational military structures such as NATO, US Dept. of Defense or Ministries of Defense on this side of the Atlantic. I’ve also worked on national assessments of Mid-East bio-warfare programs and as a strategic advisor for McKenna, Long and Aldridge, LLP in Washington D.C. on their Bio-Defense practice. I have consulted with the Public Health Preparedness program for the European Homeland Security Association under the French High Committee for Civil Defense. I developed and ran war games for this program.

Gordon: You have written and presented extensively to international groups in the US, EU and Middle East on Syrian Bio-warfare. How did you get interested in the subject?

Dekker: Initially, I became interested in looking at bio-safety standards mainly of East European laboratories and the types of pathogens which were being transported pretty much without regulation to other nations in Africa and the Mid-East. The World Health Organization, which I consulted with, was interested in these areas as well. Some laboratories in Africa and the Mid-East tend to have a lower level of bio-safety containment. A P4 is extremely expensive to build and maintain so nations with fewer resources tend to work on their bio-warfare programs in labs which may not be suitable. In the course of this two things happened; I was looking at issues related to the Soviet programs, what pathogens they may have provided to Iraq, Syria, Iran and the DPRK, specifically I was looking at their smallpox and botulinium programs. Then in Afghanistan, you may recall, the US recovered documents which Al Qaeda had on their bio-programs. I moved from an interest in bio-safety and bio-security to looking at the threat state biological warfare labs pose and the types of criteria we need to assess them. Most biological weapons research is dual use. It is quite difficult to determine if it falls within the BTWC, which allows defensive research, or if it is “offensive” which is prohibited. These programs are usually a nation’s most sensitive weapons sections. Thus, it can be very difficult, but not impossible, to estimate how advanced they are.

Gordon: What have your investigations revealed about the level of commitment and investment in Bio-warfare programs by the Syrian military establishment?

Dekker: Contrary to how the US State Department and other agencies tend to downplay the sophistication of the Syrian biological and nuclear programs, they are very advanced. Syria has always had the most advanced chemical weapons program in the Middle East. The US and other western agencies have in a sense been distracted by this, but their biological programs and the “concept of use” are robust. Syria’s biological weapons capability today is closely tied to the former and current Soviet and Russian programs respectively, the DPRK, Iran and the former Iraq regime. A major concern is their strategic concept of use – which has gone from one of ‘special weapons’ to incorporation into their ‘conventional arsenal.’ That is a significant shift and one that seems to have eluded the US. The Syrians run their biological programs out of the Syrian Scientific Research Council (SSRC) in Damascus. They have separate wings for separate pathogens. They also have a number of programs running in Aleppo. The Syrians are 100% committed to deniable operations as their modus operandi. Biological weapons, particularly those which might occur naturally, are the ultimate in deniability, for example, their cryptosporidium program for force reduction. The Wednesday Report noted a few years ago that in terms of the Syrian anthrax program, Syria has extensive expertise in the industrial cultivation of germs and viruses for the civilian production of anthrax (and smallpox) vaccines. It also noted that Russian experts, contracted by Syria, are apparently helping them to cultivate a highly virulent anthrax germ for installation in missile warheads. Their pharmaceutical infrastructure is fully integrated with their defense structure. Syrians cannot reach parity with US and Israeli conventional weapons. However, they view their bio-chemical arsenal as part of a normal weapons program. This is a huge shift in thinking by the Syrian military. It means they condone the use of biological pathogens as ‘offensive’ weapons. NATO and the United States should be very concerned about that re-designation.

Gordon: What external resources did the Syrian military establishment draw upon to develop its Bio-warfare capabilities?

Dekker: The Syrians work on most Category A pathogens: anthrax, plague, tularemia, botulinium, smallpox, aflotoxin, cholera, ricin, camelpox. Some of these they acquired during natural outbreaks, others they acquired from the Soviets, Russians, DPRK, Iran and Iraq. Some of these pathogens such as their botulinium program have their own facilities and sections within chemical weapons institutes and defense labs; others are in veterinary vaccine research facilities and have a ‘latent’ component. Keep in mind ‘defensive’ biological research is completely legal and prior to the 1980’s it was normal to trade in pathogens, even dangerous ones. Although the US gave up its bio-warfare program in the 1960’s, the BTWC of 1972, ratified in 1976, had no verification mechanism. Offensive programs were not that uncommon. The Soviets hid theirs (Biopreparat) and it was massive. US intelligence agencies denied the Soviets could possibly have such a massive program – even after the defection of high level scientists- such Vladimir Pasechnik. You have to wonder at what point they are going to sharpen up and see that nations like Syria also have a robust advanced biological weapons program. Things have changed with genetic modification and other technologies which make the need to ‘stockpile’ biological weapons obsolete. The Syrians are intent on having a very agile program; additionally they work on a number of crash programs. Thus, we see a progression from the old Soviet days of bio-weapon development to a far more contemporary way in which the Syrians have made tremendous gains from the Soviets and more recently the Russians and the DPRK. The Syrians also acquired some of their dual-use technologies completely legally when companies such as Baxter and other bio-pharma concerns were developing factories in Damascus. The majority of their bio-programs stocks have come from Russia, Iran and the DPRK.

Gordon: We heard that some of the late Saddam Hussein’s Bio-warfare research and pathogens may have been transferred to Syria during Operation Enduring Freedom. Is that accurate to your knowledge, and who facilitated the transfer? What types of bio-warfare agents and materials might have been transferred?

Dekker: Yes. It is important to remember that the Iraqi programs were far more advanced at the time than what the Syrians had, and were developing. The delivery of certain pathogens in a ‘weaponized’ form taught the Syrians new techniques they previously had not mastered. This is very problematic. I am less concerned about the types of pathogens or specific pathogens as these were available to Syria from other sources. What Hussein’s transfer taught the Syrians was more sophisticated ways of weaponization and dispersal. I believe Russian special ops- their Spetsnaz teams – transported sections of the programs. Remember these are not MIRVed ICBM’s we are talking about – you don’t need to stockpile biological weapons. It is the quality of the pathogen and ‘weaponization’ or aerosolization, milling processes that count, not the quantity. I don’t believe they moved some biological arsenals into the Baqaa Valley in Lebanon, perhaps sections of their chemical and nuclear weapons, but not the biological programs. Those are much too sensitive to dump in the desert. They must be carefully maintained in a defense laboratory. If you take something like Bot – I gram of crystalline Botulinium is estimated to kill about a million people if it were evenly dispersed – you don’t want to bury it out in the desert.

Gordon: To your knowledge what pathogens and toxins are the Syrian bio-warfare establishment developing and what is their propensity to produce mass casualties?

Dekker: Syria posesses Category A, B, and C pathogens and toxins. To my knowledge the most problematic program, I believe was transferred, was the Iraqi camelpox program – the fact that Iraq had this program in the first place is a problem. That it was one of their major programs, which UNMOVIC had detailed the first time around, is a big problem. It’s a problem because camelpox research and other types of orthopox research can and have been used as a safe substitute for conducting smallpox research. A particular issue I have with smallpox research conducted in rogue states is that these programs most likely are not based on vaccine preventable strains. So the US national strategic stockpile of smallpox vaccine, which has cost the US tax payers billions of dollars to stockpile, may be totally non-efficacious against a battle strain developed in Syria, Iran or the DPRK. There were reports a few years back, that something like the India 1 strain, which is considered exceptionally virulent, can be prevented with modern attenuated vaccine. However, this is first of all not an absolute and secondly India 1 which is associated with the 1971 Smallpox outbreak in Aralsk, Kazahkstan which came from Vozrozhdenie Island may not resemble genetically modified strains. It creates a false sense of security to think that out of 128 strains, only four (the most prevalent previously naturally occurring strains) are the ones rogue states would choose to reintroduce smallpox. It is naive to think that states developing weapons of mass destruction are going to select a strain we can prevent. The Soviets ramped up their work on smallpox once they knew the WHO had declared it eradicated and that the United States had ceased vaccination against it. The US national stockpile is based primarily on the Ankara strain (Modified Vaccinia Ankara). Syria also has high capacity samplers now that are exceptionally useful in field testing biological weapons, again, another possible acquisition from Iraq. They have recently mastered different types of dispersal methods which may have come from the Iraqi programs. As I previously mentioned, Syria works ‘offensively’ on most Category A bio-warfare pathogens as do a number of other states.

Gordon: To your knowledge have Syrian Bio-warfare programs been supplied by Russian, West German and even American research and technical processing entities?

Dekker: Yes, several West European nations (Germany, the UK, Holland, France), the US and Russia were trading partners of Syria and supplied technologies which could and were used for offensive programs. At that time it was not illegal – the only firm I know specifically which seems to have caught the attention of the US Dept. of Justice was Baxter Pharmaceutical. At the moment the main bio-pharma trading partners are the DPRK and Russia. The Iranians have supplied scientific teams which will advance their weapons knowledge. The Syrians have also been somewhat successful at third party bidding through countries in Africa.

Gordon: How extensive has the Syrian Bio-warfare program become and who in their military and defense establishment is directing and controlling its development?

Dekker: The Syrian biological warfare programs are administratively run under the SSRC in Damascus. They have one of the most highly developed pharmaceutical industries in the Mid East. It is overseen by the Ministry of Defense under General Talas and their intelligence services. This is rather unusual as most western pharmaceutical firms are overseen by a Ministry of Public Health. There is also Saydalaya which is their foreign procurement board for all chemical and biological imports. I would say the Syrian bio-pharma sector is highly interfaced with the defense establishment. They also have a number of veterinary institutes – again oversight is from the Ministry of Defense.

Gordon: What means of delivery does Syria have available for its bio weapons?

Dekker: Well they’ve mastered micro-encapsulation which is necessary for aerosol dispersal. They have experimented with parachute dispersal techniques for orthopox based on Soviet methods. They are also developing micro aerosol dispersal technologies which have no military application. This is probably the most alarming as it is designed for terrorist use. They are also looking at amplifying virulence. Syria wants to develop a very high quality arsenal and a very agile one, hence their crash programs. They do of course have a sophisticated chemical weapons program for which missile delivery is far more complementary. Remember, if you are preparing to do a covert release of a biological agent you don’t necessarily want to use something as traceable as a crop sprayer. The Syrians are perfecting advanced dispersal technologies that will be for use against civilians but far more sophisticated than the use of a crop duster.

Gordon: How much of a threat is the Syrian Bio-warfare capability to Israel and US forces in the Middle East, e.g. Iraq?

Dekker: Syria poses an immediate and imminent threat to the United States and Israel. The most likely use of their biological weapons arsenal against Israel would be to reduce IDF fighting forces prior to an attack on the Golan. It’s conceivable they could incapacitate the IDF for a few days even with a non-lethal pathogen or repetitively weaken civilians in Lebanon, where the water supplies are unprotected. This could be an optimum use of their bio-arsenal. That might not be as catastrophic as some fear, but it would be very effective. Obviously, there are more serious scenarios one can imagine in terms of deniability, if they have produced vaccines to protect their military and maybe their civilians against more lethal strains of virus such as smallpox. The immediate threat is their ability to reduce fighting forces. They have a strain of pneumonia that is probably very effective and they had a crash program on cryptosporidium prior to last year’s war in Lebanon. If you look at regions in Lebanon with known concentrations of anti-Syrian civilians, it may be possible for Syria to contaminate water distribution systems with a pathogen like Crypto which is impervious to chlorine and will pass through most filtration systems. Such a contamination could infect significant sections of a population. Even in the United States, there have been natural outbreaks. There is no treatment available, so it could have quite an impact. There are other concerns such as the use of pre-deployed biological agents in the event that Iran is attacked by the United States. Again, here we should pay close attention to how the Soviets planned for Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). They planned their smallpox program specifically in the event of MAD so that smallpox would wipe out whoever was left. It’s not beyond reason to consider that the Syrians and Iranians have engaged in such contingency planning

Gordon: Does the Syrian Bio-warfare establishment have co-operative weaponization programs on-going with Iran, Sudan and other terrorist sponsoring states?

Dekker: Similar to Iran’s collaboration on their nuclear testing with the DPRK, Syria has joint efforts for field testing their biological agents. It appears they have done some field testing with the cooperation of Khartoum. There is also evidence to suggest they have conducted tests on sections of their prison populations. Iranian scientific teams are known to work within the SSRC system on bio-warfare programs and certainly they have high level exchanges on their chemical and nuclear programs. Russia has sent scientists recently to work within their bio-chem programs.

Gordon: We noted Israeli and some mainstream media reports about an alleged chemical warfare accident in July 2007 that took place in Syria and killed ‘dozens of Iranian and Syrians technicians and officials.’ Are you able to confirm that through your sources? Have there been equivalent technical accidents in the Syrian Bio-warfare programs?

Dekker: There have been a number of accidents with their biological weapons programs that have killed civilians in the past in cities like Homs and Aleppo. The July 2007 accident was a far more serious and immediate one. As is the case with chemical munitions, the types of previous accidents took time to develop and tended to produce chronic symptoms. Some of those programs were ended and it appears that casualties from former bio-programs were related to ventilation problems. This latest accident appears to have occurred while they were mounting a warhead. Syria is known to have a stockpile of chemical weapons and accidents happen. It is interesting to note that Iranian scientists were involved in that activity.

Gordon: How much does the US Bio-warfare establishment and intelligence community know about the Syrian Bio-warfare threat?

Dekker: It is similar to the US negligent underestimation and denial that the Soviets had a massive biological weapons program. The US Intelligence Community negligently underestimates and denies the sophistication of the Syrian biological weapons programs which is very unfortunate. I think it has been very difficult for the US Intelligence Community to procure knowledgeable sources due to internal institutional problems. Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton has tried since 2001 to warn the US about the threat the Syrian biological weapons programs poses. His warnings have fallen on deaf ears. I hope Israel is helping the United States because it would appear the US is really not up to this challenge. The US public should demand that our military is first and foremost protected. Every soldier should carry Factor Seven and should be vaccinated against smallpox, have botulinium anti-toxin available and anthrax vaccine. This should be standard protection for our military personnel operating in the Middle East. Obviously in other areas we need counter medical measures to prevent VHF’s (Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers). The US public needs to be informed that the intelligence community is falling far short here in protecting them. Other US allies are not, they are up to speed. Again as an American citizen it is unbelievable to see such negligence in the US intelligence community. Having lived in Europe for 20 years and working as a defense consultant on Category A warfare agents, this is not the standard approach of other NATO nations. There is something deeply disturbing with the US approach. Time will tell as unfortunately it did with 9/11.

Gordon: In your opinion, what has prevented the US from recognizing the significance of the Syrian bio-warfare threat and developing effective counter measures?

Dekker: I believe there is a specific mind-set within the US intelligence community which makes it difficult for them to procure sources in the Middle East and of course the lack of language ability is a problem for them as well. I’ve lived outside the US for nearly 20 years now and what I’ve seen in their approach is not reassuring. Most of their experienced officers are gone. The US State Dept. moves their staff about every three years which is not compatible with building long-term relationships. They appear not to have the Human Intelligence (HUMINT) resources required for long term assessment of WMD programs. Because they have not taken appropriate defensive measures in view of the potential consequences of a WMD attack, they have left the US exposed. It’s also problematic that the US relies heavily on technology and has done so for a number of years. Biological weapons cannot be assessed by satellites anymore. Perhaps during the old Soviet era but now science has moved beyond this. I believe the US incompetence in this field and its arrogance could eventually lead to a successful strike on the US by a rogue nation-possibly in the very near future.

Another problem for the United States as a result of their inability to assess Syrian programs accurately is their failure to inform the US public on the real threat they face. The smallpox program is a case in point. The US may not be able to protect its citizens with its ‘treasured’ national strategic stockpile of smallpox vaccine. Who wants to be the one to come out and announce that to the US public? Who wants to say they have no idea how advanced the Syrian Botulinium or Plague programs are because they don’t have any access? It would be very unpopular if the US public knew they were potentially defenseless and that the people charged with protecting them had dropped the ball again. What is disconcerting is they don’t seem to be able to recognize, acknowledge and correct their prior mistakes, such as the denial of the Soviet Biopreparat programs. If they don’t start taking Mid-East biological weapons programs more seriously the U.S. is likely to suffer far worse attacks than 9/11. The US intelligence community is inadequately equipped to deal with this threat.

Gordon: Could Bio-weapons developed by the Syrian military establishment be used as WMD producing significant mass casualties in Israel, the EU and here in America?

Dekker: Yes, Syria is very good at conducting covert operations. They have a number of technologies available which they could provide to either Special Forces or terrorists who could release them in airports, other transportation hubs, airplane ventilation systems and that would cause mass casualties. I certainly believe they have very advanced biological weapons capabilities and we are at a point where there really aren’t any technological obstacles for them to overcome in dispersal or deployment. This is why intelligence is so vital in this area. It is probably the last line of defense, so to neglect it, or deny that one should allocate resources for prevention, is odd. Some biological weapons use pathogens which don’t need to be ‘weaponized’. This requires specialized intelligence techniques not used for tracking chemical or nuclear weapons. Of all the countries Israel is by far the most prepared to handle the release of biological weapons. The nations of Western Europe are unevenly prepared and the United States is probably not prepared. In such an attack, the country would probably suffer major mass casualties. I think the Syrians are much more sophisticated than the US intelligence community realizes. This puts American lives at immediate risk. The American public should demand that the US intelligence community close the gap in their intelligence on the Syrian biological weapons programs. Additionally, they have underestimated the Syrian nuclear programs for several years as well.

Gordon: In your opinion what should America, Israel and NATO do to combat the Syrian Bio-warfare threat and its proliferation to terrorist groups?

Dekker: The US intelligence community could start by acknowledging that Syria has an advanced, well developed program and take things a bit more seriously. It would be helpful if they stopped tasking resources to intimidate US scientists abroad who are informed on Syrian biological weapons. The US Intelligence Community seems particularly risk averse. It’s almost as if Syria couldn’t possibly have such a program because their scientific community isn’t advanced enough. Syria’s scientific community is exceptionally advanced and sophisticated. They work closely with Iran, Russia and the DPRK. They have vast expertise to draw upon. Their conventional weapons programs may fall far behind Israel and the US but they have leveled the playing field considerably with their unconventional weapons arsenal. It has been their goal to do so. If you deny something exists and seek to intimidate those who say it does, then any preventive measures to protect your citizens are lacking. Other NATO nations are preparing for deliberate disease outbreaks and acknowledge that Syrian biological weapons programs are a threat. These efforts may now be accelerated given concerns over Syria’s nuclear program that caught many off guard.

Israel on the other hand is well prepared. Its citizens have experience with Scud attacks and Israel is poised to interdict WMD attacks because their intelligence services are so competent.

Biological weapons and terrorist use of them require excellence in intelligence not incompetence and denial.

Gordon: Thank you Dr. Dekker for this most informative and I’m sorry to say, frightening discussion of the Syrian bio-warfare threat and why America has not done enough to recognize and combat it.

Dr. Dekker suggests that for more information you consult “Biological Terrorism: The Threat of the 21st Century” by Marie Sultan for the types of technological advancements which might be a concern.

North Korea’s Nuke Program Nullified?

Now, if in fact this is true and N. Korea is going to abide by all conditions, this is surely good news. However the skeptic in me, tells me that it could just be a pony show, as N. Korea last did this under the Clinton Administration, only to find out years later that they have completed their nuke program…

Let’s also hope that this technolgy does not pop up in Syria as just an outsourcing on N. Korea’s part.

Also, notice how the media is not crediting the Bush Administration for for the diplomatic efforts used to broker this deal. The liberal media is more than ready to jump on anything the Bush Administration does wrong. Well were is the Fourth Estate now with cheers for the use of negotiations…

WASHINGTON —  The United States said Monday that a team of U.S. experts had arrived at North Korea’s sole functioning nuclear reactor and begun the work of disabling the facilities.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters that the disabling of the North’s nuclear reactor at Yongbyon “is a positive first step in this process, and we certainly hope to see it continue.”

He had no details about what specific steps the team was conducting. “This is going to be a process that is going to take some time,” he said.

The North shut down Yongbyon in July and promised to disable it by year’s end in exchange for energy aid and political concessions from other members of talks on its nuclear program: the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

Disabling the reactor at Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang, would mark a further breakthrough in efforts to persuade the North to scale back its nuclear program. The country conducted its first-ever nuclear test in October of last year. /**/

Have Nuke, Will Travel

Alas, most have already forgotten the nuclear threat from Al Qaeda… Most Americans sleep at night blind to what is right in front of them. For years now, the threat has been made, then the liberal media brushes it under the rug and everyone becomes compacent…

Well a little reminder, Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations around the world want to attack us, on our land, in our places of work, at our homes. They have made clear they want to attack with nuclear, biological or chemicals weapons. They have made clear they are trying to put together a program. They have repeatedly claimed to have such devices. What more does America need to tackle the big problems out there. Countries like Iran, Syria and N. Korea are more than willing to aide terrorists in attacking the west. Russia has shown its alliances to the Triad of Terror. Russia has shown it will sell weaponary to anyone willing to pay the price.

This is why we bring the battle to them, our next President needs to have the resolve that President Bush once had. We need a President willing to make the hard decisions, the decisions that may not be the popular choice, the decision to protect Americans.

Now, Al Qaeda and Bin Laden constantly make threats to try and prove they are still realevant, even though they are a diminishing reality, however it only takes one lucky shot to do the damage they need to become a leading terrorists in the world again. They thrive on the need to be seen as the ultimate martyrs in the Islamic world. We must not let our guard down against them, we must not under estimate them, we must not turn a blind eye because we think they are weaken and ineffectual…

Sleep fitfully America.

Nuclear attack on America: Hiroshima Paul Williams

The Global Islamic Media Front, the leading al Qaeda website, has posted a report that verifies Osama bin Laden’s possession of nuclear weapons and his intent, if provoked, to deploy these weapons against the United States.

The report maintains that bin Laden, when asked what will happen if the US uses nukes against his terrorist organization, said: “If they hit us with them, we will hit them with the same.”

In November 2001, bin Laden henchman Dr. Ayman al Zawahri provided a similar response to the same question during an interview with Hamid Mir. “We have chemical and nuclear weapons,” he told the Pakistani journalist. “If America uses chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may resort with chemical or nuclear weapons.” When Mir asked bin Laden where he obtained such weapons, the al Qaeda leader said: “It is not difficult [to acquire such weapons], not if you have contacts in the Russian underworld.”

The Global Islamic Media Front report goes on to say that al Qaeda, prior to 9/11, had commissioned an Egyptian scientist to prepare its arsenal of nuclear weapons–obtained from arms dealers, such as Semion Mogilevich of the Ukraine and black-market sources in Russia, Chechnya, China, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Sudan. This scientist, according to the Front, “tested exploding a miniature nuclear bomb and caused a huge, tremendous explosion which made the leaders of the mujahadeen very happy. Sheikh Osama personally was following the project through its various phases.”