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Urgent Issues for Congress: Zika, the Islamic State, Iran ransom, Turkey coup, N. Korea …

August 4, 2016, President Obama held a news conference where he endeavored to reassure the American public.  It was the usual political rostrum at the White House with the Washington press corps assembled to hear the President and engage in questions dealing with a host of emerging problems both internationally and domestically. Watch this YouTube video of the President’s August 4, 2016 White House Press Conference.

This White House Press conference was held in the midst of an especially troubling Presidential Campaign pitting his former Secretary of State Democrat nominee, Hillary Clinton, against Republican New York real estate mogul, Donald Trump.  Because of the latter’s tweets and ex cathedra declarations at rallies and press conferences President Obama declared him allegedly temperamentally unfit to be Commander in Chief. This on the cusp of both candidates eligible to receive courtesy national security briefings. In Clinton’s case, her role during the Benghazi episode in September 2012 and the email scandal following State Department FOIA requests and Wiki leaks releases raised questions about the credibility of her responses during campaign rallies and media interviews. This despite endless hours of her providing testimony and that of FBI director James Comey before the House Special Benghazi Committee chaired by South Carolina Republican US Representative, Trey Gowdy. Trump, according to the President in an unprecedented political campaign comment, has displayed a fundamental lack of background in national security issues.  Especially concerning were his admiration for Russian President Putin, despite the latter’s seizure of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. There is the encroachment on ‘near enemies’ in the NATO Atlantic alliance: the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The President was asked by the assembled press corps about revelations from a series of Wall Street Journal reports about $400 million of foreign currencies strapped on pallates in a cargo plane last January and flown to Tehran, despite concerns raised by his own Justice Department. He All while another airplane waited on the ground for hours with four American hostages aboard told by Iranians they awaiting a “money plane” so they could be released to fly home.  There were also questions about the threat of the Zika virus in the US, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean given the start of the Rio, Brazil Olympic Games. There were other news stories about returning US military with possible infections, as well as Congressional resolution of the impasse over funding for completion of three promising vaccines.  There were also concerns raised about the latest launch of a North Korea missile that flew 600 miles, landing less than 150 miles off the main island of Japan. That raised questions about Japanese, South Korean and most importantly, Continental US Missile defense. The missile defense system virtually incapable of assuring protection of the US homeland.  Then, there were emerging concerns expressed about 60 to 70 over age B-61 nuclear bombs at the NATO base in Incirlik, Turkey. This came amidst a purge of the country’s military by President Erdogan following a failed coup and his demand to the White House seeking extradition from the US of former Islamist ally, Sheik Fethullah Gulen.

On the following morning, August 5th, despite the monsoon rains that continued to drench the Phoenix area and the entire Four Corners region, Lisa Benson and this writer were engaged in recording the Sunday, August 7th’s Radio program for the weekly eponymous national security radio show. Our guests on this 200th program were Dr. Jill Bellamy, renowned bio-defense expert and member of the UN Counterterrorism Task Force and Dr. Stephen Bryen former Reagan era Pentagon defense official and policy expert and senior fellow at the American Center for Democracy.

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Dr. Jill Bellamy

The Zika Threat

Bellamy spoke convincingly about the Zika threat in Brazil, Florida and the Caribbean. She noted the necessity of the World Health Organization, the CDC the US Congress and groups like the World Bank to fund vaccine development and military service personnel and dependents with health protection. She did not believe that the US CDC could rely on reprogramming of Ebola vaccine funds to complete development and clinical trials of three Zika vaccine candidates. Bellamy had warned about the emerging Zika threat seven months earlier on a Lisa Benson Show. Zika and other infectious tropical diseases like Dengue fever that are mosquito borne keep on emerging and re- emerging. She noted that the impact on infants born with micro-cephalic small head conditions could place enormous burden on families and insurance companies, potentially for decades. She said we have known about the Zika virus for over 40 years.  Dr. Bellamy believes that US military personnel and their families may have more preventive protection during pre-and post deployment phases. Lisa Benson noted the increase in women infected with the Zika virus since first reports emerged in May. Dr. Bellamy noted the US CDC warning to pregnant women traveling to Florida.  She did not believe that current mosquito control measures especially in south Florida and Puerto Rico would effectively curtail exposure to possible Zika infections.  She noted that European countries appear less concerned about the spread of Zika than the US and other countries in the sub tropical zones of the Western Hemisphere and globally.

Benson reminded that Dr. Bellamy had also addressed the lack of an effective radiation sickness antidote.  She revealed threats by ISIS cells in Belgium and the Netherlands to intrude on nuclear research facilities to obtain radioactive materials for construction of explosive dirty bombs. Both countries have distributed packets of iodine tablets to their respective populations as precautions.

Stephen Bryen

Dr. Stephen Bryen

The problematic nuclear weapons at the Incirlik NATO airbase in Turkey

Dr. Bryen, the husband of program Advisory Board Member Shoshana Bryen, addressed the dangers of not\ permanently retiring those over age nuclear bombs at the NATO base in Incirlik, Turkey. These weapons he pointed out contain plutonium, tritium and other fissile materials. They are gravity bombs and there are no aircraft based at Incirlik capable of dropping them. During the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, these nuclear weapons were redeployed and subsequently returned. The best that could be done would be to permanently remove them.   They might be exposed to ISIS infiltration, Iranian Quds Force raids or possible Islamic extremists in Turkey. He considered the huge purge of military in Turkey by Erdogan reminiscent of the Stalin era during the 1930’s in Soviet Russia. He noted the arrest of the Turkish base commander and 11 other air force officers and the surrounding of the base by fundamentalist AKP supporters loyal to Erdogan.   Despite this he said US personnel at Incirlik continue to engage in combat air support for the war against ISIS.  Both he and Benson noted Erodgan’s often conflicting positions on support for ISIS when it appeared political expedient in the raging civil war in neighboring Syria.

The North Korea Missile Threat to Japan and the lack of U.S. Missile Defense

Bryen addressed the failure of Japan to shoot down the latest North Korean missile that splashed down 150 miles off the coast of the main island. Dr. Bryen said all Japan had were old Hawk Batteries, Nike Zeus and Patriot missile defense systems incapable of bringing down the North Korean No-Dong production missile. It may have produced panic in Japan that it was unable to destroy the incoming missile. When queried about Continental US missile defense, he contended there is virtually no development of systems to deal with North Korean, Iranian and Russian missile threats. The latter threat concerns allies like Poland, the Baltic States and others in Central and Eastern Europe.  Bryen noted that all we had in the pacific at the moment was the Theater High Altitude Air Defense System in Hawaii and 44 Ground Mid-Course interceptors at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Fort Wainwright, Alaska. They lack a fully effective kill vehicle to knock down possible incoming North Korean missiles. Benson drew attention to the complete absence of missile installations on the east coast, to which Dr. Bryen agreed. He suggested that the US hadn’t developed any strategy to address asymmetrical warfare missile threats from rogue countries like North Korea and Iran.  During the Cold War era, he noted we had developed a symmetrical Mutually Assured Destruction Deterrent strategy.  Further, he drew attention to Putin’s Russia that has continued to develop sophisticated missile defense systems.

The Question of Administration Payments to Iran and Release of American Hostages

Dr.  Bryen addressed the troubling matter of the $400 million of sequestered Iranian funds in foreign currency loaded on palettes and sent on a cargo plane sent to Tehran. All allegedly done because we had no way of transferring it, given outstanding financial sanctions.  During his August 4th press conference, the President said: “We do not pay ransom for hostages. We didn’t here, and we won’t in the future, precisely because if we did we’d start encouraging to be targeted.”

American Pastor Abedini and three other hostages were parked on the tarmac in Tehran. They were told by their Iranian minders that they could not depart until, what Dr. Bryen called, “the money plane,” landed. He suggested we have no idea where those funds could end up. Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey in aWall Street Journal op-ed, “The $400 Million; Legal but Not Right”,  called into question CIA Director John Brennan’s earlier suggestion that Iranian sanctions relief funds might be devoted less to infrastructure projects and more to the “untraceable” needs of  Iran’s Quds Force-a major agent of this global state sponsor of terrorism.

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Shoshana Bryen

Coincidental with the completion of the recorded Lisa Benson Show, Shoshana Bryen published an American Thinker article, “Iran, follow the money.” It cited further evidence of the duplicity and deviousness of Iran in setting up future possible ransom flights, given several additional American and other foreign nationals held as hostages, foolishly seeking to negotiate business deals. Problem is, as Shoshana Bryen wrote, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, like China’s Peoples Liberation Army, owns major businesses and will not brook any foreign competition.

Further, she noted that it is not only US banks, but foreign ones, notably in the UK, that won’t re start banking relationships with the Islamic Republic even with the lifting of financial sanctions. Was the US money plane simply to return the original funds sequestered by the US 37 years ago when the Shah’s regime was overthrown by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic founder?

Shoshana Bryen concluded:

The Obama administration paid $400 million to the #1 financier and supporter of terrorism according to Obama’s own State Department.  In addition, Iran has more executions than any country except the People’s Republic of China, including for homosexuality; exercises legal brutality against women; supports religious intolerance; has committed violations of the Geneva Conventions against American sailors; provides military support to Bashar Assad as he commits war crimes against the Syrian people; violates U.N. bans on weapons import and export and ballistic missile testing; and censors information going into Iran and coming out.  That’s only a partial list.

Even as he claims that it wasn’t ransom for hostages (cough, cough), the president behaved as if there was a “moderate” part of the Iranian government with which to do business.  This is why the administration hid the fact from the American public.

Effectively President Obama said, during his press conference to Pastor Abedini and the other released hostages, don’t believe what you were told on the tarmac in Tehran. We wonder what the price could be for the next round of hostage releases. Would that include the doubtful release of ex FBI agent Bob Levinson, whose family want answers from the White House about his whereabouts and release after six years of silence following the last video proof of life? Americans are demanding the Administration press Iran to fess up whether Levinson is still alive.

A Wall Street Journal editorial, “The President’s Non-Ransom to Iran” best summed up the folly of dealing with Iran:

What matters to American credibility is what the mullahs of Iran believe. And it’s obvious they believe that arresting and holding Americans in Iran is a useful way to extract money and other concessions from the United States. Their latest demand is for the U.S. to hand over $2 billion in Iranian funds that have been frozen for the victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. The thugs of the world don’t care what Mr. Obama believes. They care only that he shows them the money—then they’ll release their hostages.

Listen to the 200th broadcast of The Lisa Benson Show, Sunday August 7, 2016.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Nat Sec Daily Brief

Islamic State’s Rogue Use of Chemical Weapons – a Clear and Present Danger

Dr. Jill Bellamy, noted bio defense expert and member of the UN Counterterrorism Task Force, has warned repeatedly about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) development and test of CBRN weapons in Syria, Iraq and potentially in Europe. She has also drawn attention to vast resources of the Islamic State to create Chemical and Biological weapons laboratories and scientific figures from the regime of late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.  In several Lisa Benson Show programs she has drawn attention to the likelihood of use of CBRN weapons in the EU, given revelations  following the Brussels airport and subway bombings, about the  Brussels  ISIL terrorist cell attempts to kidnap Belgian nuclear research  experts and  obtain radio isotopes for creation of dirty bomb terror weapons.   Note this from a January 2016 New English Review interview article with Dr. Bellamy:

In conversations with Dr. Bellamy she had raised the threat that the Islamic State with more than $1 billion in funding from smuggled oil sales, extortion and looted bank hard currency and gold reserves could acquire the professional staff of scientists and technicians and equip laboratories for production of leading edge synthetic biological weapons. She had also drawn concern over foreign ISIS fighters in Libya gaining control of Gaddafi-era chemical weapons caches sealed by the UN.

Bellamy’s response on chemical weapons threat of ISIL:

We have seen IS’ capability of using chemical weapons. On several occasions, they have used mustard agents. They have also used sarin. This has been confirmed by the UN. We have a situation where they have already been using it in the Caliphate. The potential that they could bring this into Europe is extremely high. This is very easy using the refugee routes. Thus chemical weapons use in [Europe] could result in mass casualties.

To illustrate Dr. Bellamy’s prescient concerns, one can read into a U.K. Telegraph article published, May 22, 2016 on the redeployment of ISIL Chemical weapons laboratories and former Saddam Hussein experts to residential areas in preparation for the potential battle by Iraqi Forces to retake Mosul.  Note these excerpts:

ISIL has moved its chemical weapons operation to densely populated residential areas and is testing homemade chlorine and mustard gas on its prisoners, residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul have claimed.

ISIL is reported to have set up laboratories in built-up neighborhoods in the heart of its so-called caliphate to avoid being targeted by coalition air strikes.

The terror group is known to harbor chemical and nuclear ambitions, and is trying to manufacture weapons not only for attacks within Iraq and Syria but also the West.

It has a special unit for chemical weapons research made up of Iraqi scientists who worked on weapons programs under Saddam Hussein, as well as foreign experts.

The head of the unit, Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, was captured during a raid by US Special Forces outside Mosul in March and is now sharing intelligence on ISIL’s chemical weapons operation.

An investigation by Syrian and Iraqi citizen journalists who report under the name Sound and Picture reveal he has now been replaced by Abu Shaima, an Iraqi doctor who worked at the University of Baghdad during Saddam’s reign.

Other than his links to the late Iraqi dictator little is known about Shaima, which is customary for top ISIL leaders.

The evidence of ISIL CW testing in Mosul residential areas:

Residents of al-Mohandseen – which had been a wealthy Christian neighborhood until ISIL seized the city – said several houses had been taken over by ISIL officials in the last few weeks. A number of large unmarked trucks have been parked outside and more recently they reported seeing dozens of dead dogs and rabbits in nearby rubbish containers.

An ISIL insider confirmed to the journalists, who shared the information with the Telegraph, that they had been dumped there after they were used for chemical testing.

The report also claimed ISIL has been carrying out experiments on prisoners they are holding at a secret jail in al-Andalus, in the Nineveh governorate of Mosul, exposing them to chlorine and mustard gas to test the toxicity.

Residents near the prison have reported breathing difficulties and children developing severe rashes – some of the side effects of exposure to such substances.

The stockpiles and indiscriminate use of CW by ISIL:

The extremists have seized large quantities of industrial chlorine and are believed to have the expertise to make mustard gas. They are also feared to have captured chemical weapon stocks from Bashar al-Assad’s regime across the border in Syria.

The militant group has already used chemical weapons against Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq and Syria.

In March, a suspected ISIL chemical attack on the Iraqi town of Taza, south of Kirkuk, killed three children and wounded some 1,500 people, with injuries ranging from burns to rashes and respiratory problems.

Brig Roger Noble, the deputy commander of international troops training and supporting the Iraqi army, told the Telegraph that ISIL militants are expected to use chemical weapons against troops trying to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second city.

Witness this warning from a former UK military expert on CBRN about this ISIS CW threat:

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, former commanding officer of the UK Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment (CBRN) and chemical weapons adviser to NGOs in Syria and Iraq, told The Telegraph:

“ISIL’s chemical weapons operation has been heavily targeted – as is detailed in this report – and moving into residential areas is exactly what you would expect them to do now.”

He said Western security services should be concerned that their chemical operations have effectively gone underground, allowing them to continue their work outside of strike range.

“Now we know the extent of the ISIL chemical and dirty bomb aspirations we must make doubly sure that our security in the UK is absolutely water-tight against this threat.”

This warning about ISIL’s rogue use of CW confirms Dr. Bellamy’s prescient warning that defense against such threats to our troops and civilians there  and in the West should be cause to make them “water tight”.  Unfortunately, ISIL is not bound to international conventions in the banning and use of Chemical Weapons, as evidenced by mass casualties in both Iraq and Syria. The laboratories, personnel that produce them and the stockpiles must be captured and destroyed. The track record in alleged use of Sarin gas on civilians in Syria and intervention of the Office for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons suggests that these defenses are far from “water tight”.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Nat Sec Daily Brief.

PODCAST: On the Islamic State’s Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Threats

This week witnessed the gathering of 50 heads of state at a Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. President Obama’s concluding speech only briefly addressed the threat of so-called dirty bombs and necessity of controlling the distribution of radioactive materials widely used in industry and cancer health treatment in hospitals and clinics throughout the world. The stated objective is prevent such materials from falling into the hands of  ISIS, whether North Korea, or Iran’s  terrorist proxies,  Al Qaeda, or the self declared Caliphate of the Islamic State in conquered areas of  Syria and Iraq.  The problem of dirty bombs and more lethal CBW Weapons of Mass Destruction will be discussed by Dr. Jill Bellamy, United Nation’s Counter terrorism Task Force adviser and founder of Warfare Technology Analytics  on The Lisa Benson Show, Sunday, April 3rd.

Recent actions by ISIS Paris and Brussels terror cells murdering a security guard at a Belgian nuclear facility and filming the offices of Belgian Nuclear research director’s office are an indication of a longer term strategy to unleash dirty bomb as a panic driven wave of terrorism in Europe. A front page story  in the weekend  edition of the Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2010 illustrates the ISIS strategy that Dr. Bellamy will discuss, “ISIS Turns College Lab into Bomb School:”

Gen. Hate Magus, Iraq’s top explosives officer, said the facilities at the University of Mosul have enhanced Islamic State’s ability to launch attacks in Iraq and to export bomb-making know how when its fighters leave the so-called caliphate and return to their home countries. Dirty bombs are easily made, and so are biological agents as Weapons of Mass Destruction as Dr. Bellamy will reveal on the April 3, The Lisa Benson Show that airs at 4:00 PM EDT in the U.S.

Watch  this 2003 WGBH/BBC co production on The Dirty Bomb originally aired on NOVA on PBS and Horizon on BBC in the UK.:

The documentary contains Interviews with nuclear materials research and counterterrorism experts from the UN International Atomic Agency, The U.S. Department of Energy, the CIA and the Federation of Atomic Scientists take the viewer through the scientific basis for radiation effects and actual occurrences of accidental releases.  Overall, it  illustrates the ease by which a terrorist with training  could obtain radioactive materials like Cesium Chloride from industrial gauges,  medical isotopes and the history of massive use of heavy radiation emitting Strontium 90 developed into  thousands  of standby generators  and mobile seed generators, the latter using Cesium chloride.,

The documentary reveals a terrorist dirty bomb attempt in Moscow in 1995, discovery of high radiation Strontium containers in the mountains of the Republic of Georgia in 2001, as well as the panic effects of release of a handful of Cesium Chloride in Brazil in 1987 affecting 100 percent or over 100,000 of the city’s population.  The documentary addresses the plausible risk of Al Qaeda and now ISIS obtaining these radioactive materials and the risk of contracting radiation sickness and cancer as the fallout from a dirty bomb explosion spreads.  That is reflecting in two scenarios; one is a large dirty bomb explosion in Central London equivalent to the Cesium chloride in one of the Soviet seed generator that produces perhaps 10 killed from the explosion but increases the risk of cancer rapidly as the radius from the explosion increasing. Such a large dirty bomb blast would require enormous displacement of populations and economic decontamination requiring the virtual abandonment of the city center for a decade or longer. Think of the spread Strontium 90 with the Chernobyl reactor meltdown in 1986 in the Ukraine and the radiation sickness and cancer effects. A smaller explosion scenario depicts the explosion using a handful of Cesium Chloride in the Washington, DC Metro with the Metro carriages and the system’s ventilation system distributing the powdery Cesium flakes over a broader area; panic breaks out. That was not unlike the Anthrax attack on the US Senate Office Building in late 2001 that cost hundreds of millions in decontamination costs in US Postal Service sector centers and five deaths across the US from the biological agent sent via mail.    Now read these excerpts from the Nuclear Regulation Commission from their Fact Sheet on The Dirty Bomb:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DIRTY BOMBS & RDDs

What is an RDD or “Dirty Bomb”?

A “dirty bomb” is one type of a “radiological dispersal device” (RDD) that combines a conventional explosive, such as dynamite, with radioactive material that may disperse when the device explodes. It is not the same as a nuclear weapon. If there are casualties, they will be caused by the initial blast of the conventional explosive. The radioactive particles that are scattered as a result of the explosion cause the “dirty” part. The explosives in such a bomb would still be more dangerous than the radioactive material.

What is radiation?

Radiation is a form of energy that is present all around us. Some of the Earth’s background radiation comes from naturally occurring radioactive elements from space, the soil, and the sun, as well as from man-made sources, like x-ray machines. Different types of radiation exist, some of which have more energy than others, and some of which can be more harmful than others. The dose of radiation that a person receives is measured in a unit called a “rem.” A rem is a measure of radiation dose, based on the amount of energy absorbed in a mass of tissue. For example, an average person gets about 1/3 of a rem from exposure to natural sources of radiation in one year, and approximately 1/100th of a rem from one chest x-ray.

Are Terrorists Interested In Radioactive Materials?

Yes, terrorists have been interested in acquiring radioactive and nuclear material for use in attacks. For example, in 1995, Chechen extremists threatened to bundle radioactive material with explosives to use against Russia in order to force the Russian military to withdraw from Chechnya. While no explosives were used, officials later retrieved a package of cesium-137 the rebels had buried in a Moscow park.

Since September 11, 2001, terrorist arrests and prosecutions overseas have revealed that individuals associated with al-Qaeda planned to acquire materials for a RDD. In 2004, British authorities arrested a British national, Dhiren Barot, and several associates on various charges, including conspiring to commit public nuisance by the use of radioactive materials. In 2006, Barot was found guilty and sentenced to life. British authorities disclosed that Barot developed a document known as the “Final Presentation.” The document outlined his research on the production of “dirty bombs,” which he characterized as designed to “cause injury, fear, terror and chaos” rather than to kill. U.S. federal prosecutors indicted Barot and two associates for conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against persons within the United States, in conjunction with the alleged surveillance of several landmarks and office complexes in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Newark, N.J. In a separate British police operation in 2004, authorities arrested British national, Salahuddin Amin, and six others on terrorism-related charges. Amin is accused of making inquiries about buying a “radioisotope bomb” from the Russian mafia in Belgium; and the group is alleged to have linkages to al-Qaeda. Nothing appeared to have come from his inquiries, according to British prosecutors. While neither Barot nor Amin had the opportunity to carry their plans forward to an operational stage, these arrests demonstrate the continued interest of terrorists in acquiring and using radioactive material for malicious purposes.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

“This is a war and there will be thousands of deaths all across Europe.”

Over the past 24 hours Lisa Benson and Dr. Jill Bellamy, Dr. Jill Bellamy, noted bio defense  expert, member of the UN Counterterrorism Advisory Council  and Founding Director of Warfare Technology Analytics , held conversations and emails exchanges regarding the ISIS suicide bombings in Brussels at the Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek Metro near the EU Complex and European Parliament. The toll has now risen to 31 dead, two of whom are Americans, 330 injured, half of whom remain in hospital with extensive shrapnel wounds and burns. What follows are exchanges between Benson and Bellamy. Bellamy will be a guest on the Sunday, March 27, 2016 The Lisa Benson Show that airs at 4:00 PM EDT in the U.S.

Benson: Jill I started to write an article tonight on the brothers of the 9/11 attacks – and the brothers of Charlie Hebdo, Paris, Boston, and Brussels. The New York Times published a profile of the criminal brothers and suicide bombers, Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui. These are same EU countries contending with terror from émigré Muslim communities  who have Lars Hedegaard charged with mentioning his Danish Palestinian émigré ISIS assailant’s name or  trying  Geert Wilders in a political trial at the Hague  charged over  his 2014 campaign statement “fewer Moroccans.”  I have so little hope — more bloodshed is coming — many more will die and political correctness will live on.

 Bellamy: I have colleagues stateside recommending that my children and I come back to the States. Although I don’t carry an active US passport, nor do my children, I have decided to apply for new passports. This is a war and there will be thousands of deaths all across Europe. This is just the very beginning. We will look back on the attacks in Paris and Brussels five years from now and understand that it was just the beginning.

Benson: This is an interesting time line from The Guardian, given that the Dutch apparently didn’t keep track of suicide bomber Ibrahim Bakraoiu deported by Turkey. They are the same folks who lost track of other terrorists. Meanwhile the Dutch are trying Geert Wilders for raising concerns about Islamic terrorists in the Netherlands.

Bellamy: As a Belgian of course I want to stay and raise my children in Belgium.  However, the Dutch policies and approaches are putting us all in great danger. I have far more faith in the Belgians and French. I know how they operate and what their views are. The Dutch are off in outer space when it comes to understanding and countering Islamic Jihad. They bend over backwards to help their Muslim population target us for death. The Belgians and French would do no such thing. I am quite sure they are giving Salah Abdeslam  some interesting experiences. The Dutch would never do this as it conflicts with their ingrained Calvinistic approach to fairness. Unfortunately, ‘fairness’ and laws which protect terrorists have left the Netherlands totally vulnerable. They are sitting ducks. Yes, they had to leave one of the larger bombs behind as it didn’t fit in the taxi. Another larger one did not detonate. They got that one to the airport. The fact that the one they did detonate brought down a part of the second floor, I just hesitate to think what may have happened had this other one gone off. Indeed I think the real target was Schuman or Luxembourg (these are metro stops running right under the Parliament). I would get off at Schuman and literally take fifty steps into the Parliament buildings.

Now that they suspect that there was a second terrorist with the one who bombed Maelbeek, it seems likely that they may have aborted putting a second bomb on perhaps the first metro. I think their real target was Schuman. I wonder if the bomb detonated early or if there was supposed to be a second bomb. This would make more sense to me. They wouldn’t just use one and they wouldn’t want it detonated at Maelbeek. It wasn’t the prime target, almost but not quite. I am very hopeful Belgian forces will capture the second and third terrorists who appear to have escaped. I also think with Abdeslam chirping away, that other networks across Europe will now be activated very quickly. I suspect we will see within the next few weeks, more major attacks. I can’t wait for Abdeslam to be extradited. Wait until the French get a hold of him.

Benson: If I am reading this correctly:

The train line running under the European Parliament could have been a secondary target….and they could not get all the explosives in the cab. My Israeli friend said that much of Europe believe they can be targeted. In the United States the supporters of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz believe that our government is appeasing ISIS terrorists.

 Bellamy:  Certainly, with the train line running under the European Parliament, this was intended to put the entire EU on notice that their countries are next. As I’ve written before our transportation networks are incredibly vulnerable.

Madrid was just the opener. I really believe that Schipol, with trains running conveniently under it, is next on the list. The Dutch refuse to believe they are in any way a target. They believe they are exempt from terrorism because they have tulips and windmills or some such nonsense. They also refuse to call a spade a spade. They refuse to acknowledge that they are next due to their large population of Muslims. While Muslim communities may be better integrated here compared to Belgium or France, they are still planning jihad. One is not necessarily related to the other and this is what the Dutch totally miss. They pin all their hopes on integration. The Dutch think they can appease Muslim communities by doing things like putting Geert Wilders on trial. This is a very naive and dangerous approach.  France and Belgium top the list mainly due to their colonial past. The Dutch are there because they are bombing Syria and they are a very soft and vulnerable target.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English ReviewThe featured image is from an Islamic State propaganda video claiming responsibility for the attacks in Brussels. The video calls for more attacks.

The West is so naive when it comes to the Islamic State

In our January 2016 New English Review discussion with Dr. Jill, Bellamy, “The ISIS Chemical Biological Threat to the West,” we wrote:

In conversations with Dr. Bellamy she had raised the threat that the Islamic State with more than $1 billion in funding from smuggled oil sales, extortion and looted bank hard currency and gold reserves could acquire the professional staff of scientists and technicians and equip laboratories for production of leading edge synthetic biological weapons. She had also drawn concern over foreign ISIS fighters in Libya gaining control of Gaddafi-era chemical weapons caches sealed by the UN.

Dr. Bellamy provided confirmation of this in a FoxNews report presenting graphic evidence of what she said should give the West cause for concern, “Footage of ISIS weapons lab shows construction of heat-seeking missiles, car bombs:”

New images of what is being called a “jihadi technical college” in the ISIS terror group’s de facto capital shows that the group is capable of producing key components for advanced weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles.

Footage of the weapons lab in Raqqa, Syria was obtained by Sky News and shows that ISIS scientists have managed to produce a homemade thermal battery for use in surface-to-air missile systems. That had previously been thought impossible for terror groups without any military infrastructure to accomplish.

The footage shows that ISIS can recommission thousands of missiles previously thought unusable and target passenger and military aircraft.

Sky News reports that terror groups had previously been able to build the weapons, but storing them and maintaining the thermal battery was difficult to do.

“What this video shows is that ISIS is leagues ahead of their terrorist predecessors,” Chris Hunter, a former bomb technician with the United Kingdom Special Forces, told Sky News. “Their advanced knowledge of weapons engineering, coupled with their seemingly limitless ability to reverse engineer and recondition weapons (which until now intelligence agencies had considered obsolete and beyond repair) kept me awake all night.”

Sky also reported that the ISIS “research and development” team has produced remote control cars to act as mobile bombs, complete with “drivers” — mannequins with self-regulating thermostats that produce the heat signature of humans, allowing the car bombs to evade sophisticated scanning machines that protect military and government buildings in the West.

The Sky report was based on eight hours of unedited training video that was seized by the Free Syria Army when it captured an ISIS trainer making his way toward Europe via Turkey.

An ISIS defector in Turkey told Sky News that a top secret training program was known about in Raqqa, his home town. He confirmed the program was designed to carry out attacks in Europe and further afield.

“If [attacks were] meant internally. they could send someone to set an explosive device or wire a car as they are able to do this [openly],” the defector said. “But doing such a program and documenting it was meant to target a large number of people and in more than one location.”

Bellamy’s comment on this FoxNews report is apt:

The West is so terribly and dangerously naive when it comes to IS. They cling to the notion that they are incompetent or don’t have WMD capabilities and continuously try to downplay the threat we face. Israel and possibly Russia are the only countries who really ‘get it’ when it comes to Da’esh scientific staff.

Our comment.  President Obama, this is graphic evidence that we are not dealing with a JV team of Islamic terrorists in occupied Raqqa, Syria, the capital of the self-declared Caliphate, the Islamic State.

RELATED VIDEO: Usama Dakdok’s analysis of the Islamic State (presentation begins at 13:00 minute mark):

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

PODCAST: GOPe Led Congress Quadruples Foreign Worker Visas

Listen to an extraordinarily informative Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired Sunday December 20, 2015 on KKNT 960 The Patriot on ISIS CBW threat to EU, America, while Israel protects its citizen.  The program also addresses the surprise quadrupling of US foreign worker visas in the Omnibus spending bill abused by leading U.S. companies.  Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon co-hosted this show with the assistance of Board of Advisors member, Richard Cutting.

Our Guests were:

Dr. S. Jill Bellamy, member of the UN Counterterrorism Task Force and noted international expert of biological warfare threat reduction made some stunning revelations. She spoke of ISIS Libyan-based units, comprised of Dutch and Belgian foreign fighters who may have accessed UN sealed Gaddafi era Chemical and Biological toxin caches and may have stolen large quantities of dangerous Sarin gas.  She noted that the recent EU Parliamentary research report highlighted the possible deployment by ISIS foreign fighters of CBW toxic agents and nuclear material in the EU. Bellamy spoke of the lack of preparedness of EU and American airports to possible ISIS CBW attacks.  EU counterterrorism echelons, she noted, have not prepared civilian defense programs against these threats as they don’t wish to upset their civilian populations. Israel, alone among Western countries, conducts annual exercises against CBRN threats actively involving its civilian population and even school children. Bellamy also disclosed that US intelligence declined to obtain a veritable treasure trove of information from an accredited NATO country defense source on both Syrian and Iranian bio-warfare offensive weapons programs.

Leo Hohmann, a senior editor at World Net Daily disclosed the quadrupling of H-2B Visas for guest foreign workers in seasonal business sectors to 250,000 buried in the 2,009 pages of the $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill signed off by President Obama before he left on his Christmas vacation in Hawaii.  He noted that the expansion of the dramatic expansion of H-2B foreign workers Visas had the active support of the US Chamber of Commerce.  Recipients of these H-2B Visas can stay in the US for up to two years. Hohmann also discussed the H-1B Visa program for foreign workers with “critical special skills” that has been abused by a number of major American companies, among them Disney, Northeastern Utilities, Hertz. In one graphic example Disney,  Hohmann spoke of how Disney gave Florida workers pink slips on condition that they train their H-1B replacements who typically are paid less than half of salaries of these technical positions and can stay in the US for up to six years and in some instances ultimately acquiring green cards for permanent residency.

Note this comment from one of our European listeners:

Dr. Jill Bellamy is excellent. The leaks on Daesh (ISIS) having their members taken over the sealed and buried Libyan chemical weapons are being discussed in some EU countries. They are scared that suicide bombers with chemical bombs in their boats could ram a naval vessel or have it smuggled through containers from Tunisia or Algeria to Europe. For Daesh to hit at any western country would be a major means of propaganda for them, which is their main aim, as well as killing as many infidels.

The lawmakers in the EU are still skeptic of any biological attack and they do not want to spend money on it because their budget deficits are lousy. They all do not care of the dangers facing their populations. I also think that the same lack of clear thinking is missing from the US administration and law makers.

EDITORS NOTE: This podcast originally appeared in the New English Review.

France issues warning of Islamic State chemical/biological attack

Last Sunday’s Lisa Benson Show had a segment on the possible Chemical and Biological threat posed by ISIS to  Europe and the West in the wake of the November 13th Massacres in Paris and the battle in the predominately Muslim St. Denis banlieuse suburb.  Belgium and especially Brussels continues under lockdown as there could be another series of devastating attacks by ISIS operatives given the significant presence in the significant Muslim population with radicalized  elements in suburban Molenbeek. On the Lisa Benson Show segment we asked why French Premier Manuel Valls had raised concerns over possible ISIS operatives use of chemical and biological agents?  Dr. Jill Bellamy, noted bio-warfare threat reduction expert, whom we have interviewed in the NER, provided some answers. See our January 2013 interview her, The Dangers of Syria’s Bio-Warfare Complex Should Assad Fall.

Following the program, Dr. Bellamy posted her assessment of what triggered Valls ‘comments; the theft of bio-protection suits and threats to France water supply system.  See her Biological Warfare blog post, “France and Belgium Prepare for CBW Attacks While Europe Sleeps.”

In May 2013, we posted on the possible terrorist to U.S. water supply systems after two incidents had occurred. We refer to the arrest and arraignment by federal prosecutors in Manhattan of Ahmed Abassi, a Tunisian national and chemical engineering graduate of Laval University in Quebec, on Asylum fraud and an alleged WMD attack on a municipal water system, the Quabbin reservoir in Massachusetts.  The possible biological agent involved is cryptosporidium (Crypto).  We noted:

In the U.S. we have had two mass Crypto outbreaks in water supply systems in Carrollton, Georgia in 1987 and in Milwaukee in 1993.  The Georgia outbreak affected 13,000 out of 16,000 residents.  Because the Milwaukee water supply system draws from Lake Michigan, Crypto pathogens might have entered from drainage or in ice breakup during the early spring.  In the Milwaukee case, the epidemiologists and public health specialists estimate that more than 400,000 succumbed to Crypto causing massive outbreaks of watery diarrhea over a period of two weeks or more.  108 deaths occurred involving those with immune deficiencies from cancer treatment, AIDS and other maladies. Within immunocompromised communities, exposure frequently leads to severe and permanent diarrhea, decreasing absorption of nutrients resulting in progressive dehydration and eventual death.

Here are excerpts from Dr. Bellamy’s Biological Warfare post.

On the missing bio-protection suits and Eau de Paris water supply.

While France and Belgium prepare their populations for continued terrorist attacks and the possible use of chemical or biological weapons, other EU states avoid the obvious conclusion that a prepared public is better than an unprepared one. Several smaller states, excluding Spain and Germany, continue the drum beat that there is no significant threat to them or their civilian populations. In study after study this has not been proven to be the case and public preparedness has been shown to reduce casualties. PM Valls statement on the bio-chem threat was in part motivated by the apparent loss of several bio-chem suits from a Paris hospital. While its possible these suits were misplaced or that inventory lists were incorrect, and warnings are not based singularly on bio-chem suits being unaccounted for, the French have taken appropriate measures.  Belgium has increased security at its nuclear facilities and France has increased protection for water supply facilities taking note of analysis by French intelligence  that ISIS is capable of producing crude chemical agents.

“Eau de Paris, the capital’s state-run water company, has banned access to six sensitive sites to all but key personnel following the Government’s decision to declare a state of emergency for three months.”Our eight security agents are the only ones to be accredited by the defense ministry and are in permanent contact with the terrorism cell of Paris police headquarters,” a spokesman told Le Parisien.” “The storage and treatment sites have protective fencing and special sensors to detect intrusion. To limit the risk of contamination, Eau de Paris has increase the amount of chlorine added to water at five supply sites.” “The dose injected has been raised,” said Celia Blauel, president of Eau de Paris. Chlorine is a key indicator of any anomaly in the water. “When the chlorine level drops, it means there is a biological contamination.” she said.” 

“It emerged last week that hospitals and emergency services across France have been supplied with the most powerful antidote to sarin and other nerve gas chemicals for the first time. Under a November 14 decree, the army’s medical service was ordered to distribute stocks of the drug atropine. Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, said that the country could rule nothing out when it came to terrorists bent on mass murder, including “chemical and biological weapons”.

On French and Belgian CBW intelligence and threat reduction capabilities.

The security services of both France and Belgium are to be commended. Both countries share similar population demographics and have extensive experience with terrorism. Additionally, they have both worked, since 911, to prepare their populations for such bio-chem attacks, some of these scenarios I developed and ran myself with their government officials in attendance. Far from being the weakest link, as some media outlets have portrayed the situation, they are in fact the best prepared within the EU to counter such threats.  The weakest link are those countries who have not prepared their public, are currently bombing IS and have announced it on the nightly news without one moment of thought to the risk they have placed their population in and no counter-terrorism or counter intelligence experience to fall back on.

In 2005, French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin called for international cooperation against bioterrorism at an Interpol meeting in Lyon. He promoted the idea of creating a joint database and a rapid alert network for theft, diversion and illegal transfer of biological agents, as well as a list of designated groups and individuals of concern. De Villepin also proposed the creation of an international center for monitoring bio terrorist threats. Mr. de Villepin went on to plead for a better coordination of Biotox style (the French government response to the deliberate introduction of the smallpox virus) plans at European level. “Why not to imagine for example a European reaction plan against a biological attack?”he asked. Furthermore, he added, the EU should initiative an update on reserves of vaccines so that each country knows the nearest country to turn to in case of emergency.” See: http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/23453_en.html.
For over a decade the French government has established itself as the gold standard when it comes to bio-security, bio-safety and certainly countering, on the ground threats from would be bio-terrorists. In 2003, French authorities discovered ricin like substances in Gare du Lyon train station. Subsequently nine suspects of North African descent, who had trained in the Pankisi Gorge and were associated with AQ were arrested. While this is just one high profile example of a possible bio-threat, the French have developed outstanding and what I would describe as comprehensive capabilities to counter the threat of bio-terrorism. This depth of expertise offers a lot from which Member States within the EU could well benefit.

As well, as we trust the U.S. and UK bio-terrorism threat reduction programs.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

PODCAST: Spreading the Muslim Holy War in the name of ‘Humanity’

Listen to an extraordinarily informative Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired Sunday November 22, 2015 on KKNT960The Patriot in the aftermath of the ISIS jihad in ParisLisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon and special guest Richard Cutting co-hosted  this show.

Our guests were:

Morten Storm – Storm is a former Muslim convert and apostate who became a double agent for Danish Security and Intelligence Service and CIA who penetrated Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula  targeting the late Anwar al Awlaki. He is the author of Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA  and been frequently, interviewed on Fox News and CNN.  Storm picked up on a private discussion this past week with more than 100 callers including members of the National Security Task Force of America launching a “know your Imam” campaign. He did that  this past weekend. In the private NSTFA call he stressed not to be complacent about additional ISIS attacks in Belgian, France and major EU countries now inundated with hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants, especially young men in detention camps.

Dr. S. Jill Bellamy –  was  interviewed by both  Cutting and Gordon in a segment on possible ISIS Chemical and Biological agent threats to  Europe and the US.  Bellamy is a recognized international expert on biological warfare and is a member of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Task Force. She has previously developed and run NATO sponsored policy programs on biological terrorism and has published extensively in related fields. Her papers have appeared in the National Review, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Le Monde, Le Temps, New English Review and the Jerusalem Post. Over the past twenty five years she has worked in non-proliferation and counter terrorism.  She has developed and run nuclear and biological war games and scenarios supported by European Ministries of Defense.  Currently she advises governments on national strategic stockpiling and force protection. She is the founding Director of Warfare Technology Analytics.  Bellamy suggested that French Premier Valls expressions of concerns over possible use of  CBW by ISIS in terror attacks  in  the West were reflective of recent uses of chemical weapons by the Islamic State in Syria .  She suggested that was reflected in  confirmed reports on mustard gas against both Syrian Kurdish YPG and Iraqi Peshmerga forces, as well as Sarin gas that may have been used to kill hundreds of civilians in a suburb near Damascus in 2013. Those reports led to the Hague based Organization for the Prohibition   of Chemical Weapons that removed only a fraction of the Assad Regimes stockpile. She pointed out that ISIS ,and other Islamic terror groups like al Nusrah and Hezbollah, wouldn’t refrain from using CBW, as they simply consider  them another weapon in their inventory. She said they would have no compunction against the use of such silent killers given the burning alive of a downed Jordanian pilot.  That would extend to using the hoards of teeming refugees in UN  camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon as the equivalent of human weaponized vectors to spread disease and pathogens causing a pandemic.  She also responded to queries about major silent killers Anthrax, Smallpox and botulinum toxin developed by the Syria Scientific Research Center that might fall into the hands of ISIS and other terror groups like Hezbollah.  It  has been reported that ISIS may  have established laboratories and acquired research scientific personnel which  could pose a threat to the EU and  the US.  Bellamy covered the extent of protection against these silent killers  under US and international vaccine stockpile programs.

Nidra Poller  provided an eye witness report of what was unfolding in France. Poller is a Lisa Benson Show  Advisory Board Member, American  writer and translator, resident of Paris, France, since 1972,  contributor to The Wall Street Journal, National Review, FrontPage Magazine, The New York Sun and New English Review, author of the forthcoming, The Black Flag of Jihad stalks la RepubliquePoller spoke of her experiences in Paris following the November  13th massacres and the  November 18th St. Denis banlieuse  battle that resulted in the deaths of the alleged Belgian born ‘mastermind’ Abdelhamid Abaaoud, his French born cousin Hasna Ait Boulahcen and third, as yet to be identified suicide bomber. In a New English Review/ Iconoclast post, “Bonjour Tristesse”, she considered them as “punk’ jihadis akin to those who burned vehicles banlieuse nightly in Paris and other French cities for weeks in 2005. She spoke of the muted aftermath following the recent terror events in Paris and the myopia of the international media following these stories forgetting about rallies in July 2014 at which the ISIS banners were prominent in rallies condemning Israel during Operation Defensive Edge fighting Hamas at the statue of Marianne, the symbol of France, at la place de la Republique. She also returned to the theme of, Humanitarian Jihad,  a chapter in her latest book,  to describe how the conflict in Syria  with ISIS and other terror groups had sent hundreds of thousands refugees and illegal migrants bursting the open borders of Europe’s Schengen system . She said that was an unwarranted intrusion of national sovereignty and western values with reports of destructive behavior by migrant Muslim young men in reception centers in EU countries. She said that was triggered by the EU and international response to the imagery a drowning victim, Aylan Kurdi, a three year old  Syrian Kurdish child  from an overloaded a life raft  provided by Turkey headed for the Greek Island of Leros.

RELATED ARTICLE: In Texas, Leftist community organizers target governor over Syrian refugee stance

EDITORS NOTE: This podcast originally appeared in the New English Review.

Assessment: The Islamic State’s Chemical and Biological Threat to Europe

French Premier Valls this week raised concerns about the possible threat of ISIS’ use of CBRN in Europe. The Daily Mail reported:

France’s prime minister has warned his country to be prepared for chemical and biological attacks as he told MPs that the ‘macabre imagination’ of ISIS is ‘limitless’.

Manuel Valls made the ominous prediction while calling on French MPs to extend the country’s state of emergency for another three months, amid fears another attack is imminent.

The warning comes as U.S. security officials report that they have found proof that ISIS is developing bio-weapons with the help of Syrian and Iraqi scientists in the Middle East.

Speaking in the French Parliament today, Mr Valls said: ‘Terrorism hit France, not because of what it is doing in Iraq and Syria… but for what it is.’

He added: ‘We must not rule anything out. I say it with all the precautions needed.

But we know and bear in mind that there is also a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons.

DrJillBellamy

Dr. Jill Bellamy

In late July, 2015, noted  Syrian bio-warfare expert, Dr. Jill Bellamy,  wrote about that possibility in a post on Black Six: The BioWarfare Blog Europe at Risk: Assessing ISIS’ Current Chemical and Biological Weapon Capabilities “.  Our New English Review interviews with noted biological warfare expert Dr. Jill Bellamy revealed the Assad regime’s extensive dual use pharmaceutical research and production facilities for development of  Class A Pathogens, “The Dangers of Syria’s Bio-Warfare Complex Should Assad Fall (Jan. 2013.”   Listen to Dr. Bellamy discuss ISIS’ CBW capabilities on the Sunday, November 22, Lisa Benson Show that airs at 3PM EST.
Here are some excerpts from Dr. Bellamy’s post:

“On June 20th, 2015, The Independent ran an article entitled: “ISIS Dirty Bomb: Jihadists have seized Enough Radioactive Material to build their First WMD.” Adam Withnall reports: “The ISIS militant group has seized enough radioactive material from government facilities to suggest it has the capability to build a large and devastating “dirty” bomb, according to Australian intelligence reports. ISIS declared its ambition to develop weapons of mass destruction in the most recent edition of its propaganda magazine Dabiq, and Indian defense officials have previously warned of the possibility the militants could acquire a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. According to the Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop, NATO has expressed deep concerns about the material seized by ISIS from research centers and hospitals that would normally only be available to governments.” Withnall goes on to report in his article that:

“The threat of ISIS’s radioactive and biological weapon stockpile was so severe that the Australia Group, a 40 nation bloc dedicated to ending the use of chemical weapons, held a session on the subject at its summit in Perth last week.”

According to a post on Nuclear Security Matters, a Harvard University site, Nate Sans posits in his article entitled: How much of a Nuclear, Chemical or Biological Threat Might ISIS Pose (Part II)? “ISIS may have the monetary means and the necessary equipment to organize and carry out a sophisticated attack in another count; therefore there is a real danger that they might be able to seize CBRN materials or tech, or inflict catastrophic damage to a facility such as a nuclear power plant. It is worth noting that ISIS includes hundreds of fighters from Europe and North America, who can travel in Europe and the United States without needing a visa.”

National Defense published an article recently which, if true, provides a bit of insight on IS biological weapon aspirations and capabilities. In “ISIL Determined to Acquire Biological Weapons,” Sara Sicard writes: “Intelligence has recently discovered that ISIS intends to pursue biological agents and also is trying to figure out how to weaponize bubonic plague through the use of infected animals,” quoting Brig. Gen. Maria Gervais, Gervais is head of the Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School.”

It would appear given ISIS, like Al Qaeda’s quest for BW is underway. The difference with ISIS is they have the financial means to attract and acquire higher level scientists and control areas where they could test it possibly on human subjects, thereby forgoing the need to waste money on developing animal models and could effectively deploy it in a mass casualty scenario.

The capability issue is a concern should they overtake the SSRC in Damascus and install a scientific team with knowledge of synthetic biology. Much of the research undertaken at the SSRC is research into novel pathogens and deployment techniques. This would give ISIS a state warfare capability. I believe they are currently interested but not capable.  With chemical warfare agents they are already using it and should they acquire VX or sarin both in Assad’s former declared stockpiles they could easily transport this over land to Europe and deploy it around a city center.  Governments generally downplay the ease of use but in fact CW in smaller quantities transported by several couriers with EU passports would be doable.

BW is even easier as the quantity doesn’t matter as much as the quality of pathogenic agent and some agents don’t need to be weaponized.  The first deployment of a biological warfare agent in Europe will be a wakeup call to all states who continue to believe they are for some reason exempt from such attacks.

The real risk any ISIS WMD program posses to Europe is the dismissal by European governments that such an attack would ever occur. It is the denial and disbelief that ISIS could possess such a capability and their intent to use it which is the biggest threat to European populations.” 

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.