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Bio-Warfare and Terrorism: The Quiet Threat

A nexus between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction would have the potential to unleash deadly attacks against innocent civilian populations that could dwarf the horrors of 9/11. Does such a nexus already exist? And are there terrorist groups out there right now planning to strike with devastating fury against those they see as their enemy?

Nobody knows the answers to these questions for sure. While many talking heads are constantly sounding the alarm about this threat, it must be remembered that there is a whole cottage industry of terrorism “experts” out there who are constantly screaming about the coming calamity because whipping up paranoia and fear is a great way to get attention and promote their careers. The fact that there have been no serious terrorist attacks against American targets either here or abroad in the ten years since September 11, 2001, could be seen as a sign that the threat of terrorism has been exaggerated, by those both inside and outside of government who need a good excuse to promote their deeper agendas. The one thing we know for sure is that claims about Saddam Hussein having WMD’s was a lie, made up by those consumed with the idea of foreign conquest and the domination of world oil supplies.

But one story that all of us have heard at one point or another in our lives, and that we all remembered from the moment we heard it, is the story of the little boy who cried wolf. Just because master manipulators cry wolf constantly in order to help them establish greater control does not mean that real wolves do not exist, waiting in the wings to launch massive terror campaigns designed to produce shock and awe and a massive loss of life.

When weapons of mass destruction are discussed, three categories are always differentiated: nuclear, chemical, and biological. But in reality, it would be hard to cause massive, widespread casualties using chemical weapons, and nuclear attacks would likely involve dirty bombs that would kill some but not do anywhere near as much damage as the kind of nuclear weapons controlled by states. When it comes to a biological attack, however, circumstances are quite different. Because biological agents are so small and difficult to detect, there is very little that can be done to defend against them proactively, and because of the way they spread surreptitiously from person to person, killer viruses or bacteria intentionally released could cause a huge loss of life before anyone even realized that a biological attack had occurred.

Killer Germs on the Loose

In 2008, a blue ribbon panel selected by Congress to study the terrorist threat concluded that an attack with weapons of mass destruction by 2013 was highly probable, and that it was more likely to come in the form of a biological attack than something nuclear. Bacteria and viruses are being studied intensively, and in some instances being genetically altered as a part of that work, at disease research centers and military facilities all over the world. Because security is so lax at most of those locations, it was concluded by the panel that getting potentially lethal and highly contagious germs out of one of these labs would not be exceedingly difficult. Alternatively, the threat could come from doctors with expertise in germs and genetic manipulation willing to sell their services covertly to the highest bidder. Because killer viruses and bacteria can’t be seen with the naked eye, or even with an x-ray or any other kind of high-tech detection device, once they are in the possession of a terrorist group there would be no way this fact could ever be known – at least not until after an attack had taken place.

Letting a contagious germ loose on an unsuspecting public would be extremely easy. Viruses or bacteria could be released into the water supply, on a subway car, in an apartment building in a small American city, or at an international airport – anywhere that people congregate with enough density for a germ to spread easily from person to person. A martyr willing to sacrifice themselves could even be intentionally infected with a viral agent and then sent on a trip around the world, shaking the hands and hugging and kissing the cheeks of people in a dozen different countries. People worry about porous borders allowing terrorists to enter the United States with ease; but with biological weapons, it might not even be necessary for a terrorist to actually visit the country they planned to attack.

Once a dangerous germ was on the loose, it could infect tens of thousands before anyone would suspect anything was going on. And even then, it might be assumed that what was happening was a natural outbreak, which could cause authorities to underestimate the true threat. In particular, if a bio-weapon had been altered genetically, public health officials might not understand what they were actually seeing. Perhaps a smallpox virus or bubonic plague bacteria could be changed to make it more lethal than normal, or more resistant to treatment, or capable of mutating faster than normal in response to attempts to combat it. For medical professionals, the attempt to stop a killer germ after it had been released could be the ultimate example of trying to put a genie back into the bottle.

Protecting Yourself from the Threat of Bio-Weapons

In reality, there would be little anyone could do to protect themselves from a biological weapons attack if they happened to live in a city targeted by the terrorists. By the time anyone suspected anything, the germ would have already spread and it would be too late. Planning for disaster always involves certain basic steps, all of which are appropriate for a disease-related emergency  – having a secure room or facility where you and your family could hole up during an attack or disaster, storing plenty of food and water supplies ahead of time, getting a shortwave radio and police scanner to help monitor what is happening out in the world, and so on. It is obviously much safer to live in the country than the city, and the off-the-grid lifestyle in general would help you stay out of the crossfire in case of an outbreak of a killer disease. But no one is really sure what it would be like if a biological attack occurred, because no one knows for sure how contagious and deadly a killer germ released by terrorists might be. In biological warfare, nothing would be certain, which is perhaps why this type of WMD-terrorist threat makes the spine chill and the blood run cold like no other.

In the end, prayer and faith might be the only real protection we would have in the face of a bio-terrorist attack.

©2011 Off the Grid News

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