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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.

Grief for those Killed at the Lindt Café in Sydney by Refugee Islamikaze Man Haron Monis

Neither the late Katrina Dawson, 38, mother of three and a rising star in the Sydney bar  or regular patrons thought anything out of the ordinary having a morning coffee at the Lindt Café in Martin Place, the heart of the city’s business financial district.  Neither did the other 16 patrons, whether they were regulars, Christmas shoppers or tourists. At 9:42AM Monday  a bearded man wearing a head band with an Arabic inscription, clothed in a long white tee shirt entered  carrying a blue bag causing terror.

He extracted from the bag a pump shot gun and a Hizb ut-Tahrir black flag with the white inscription of the Islamic Shahada, “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.” He then asked the terrified patrons to stand against one of the windows with hands pressed against a window facing Channel 7 across the way holding the Shahada flag.  A 16 hour standoff  ended  when police Swat teams entered  early Tuesday amidst exploding flash bang grenades and semi-automatic gunfire. This occurred  after a sniper reported “hostage down”.

Watch this CBS and Sky News Australia video of the deadly Hostage standoff at the Lindt Café in Sydney:

Man Harun Monis

Man Haron Manis perpetrator of Lindt Café hostage taking.

The perpetrator of the hostage taking at Lindt Café was self-styled Muslim Cleric, 50 year old Iranian Man Haron Monis with a history of convictions for violence was shot dead.

Unfortunately Ms. Dawson and Lindt café Manager, 34 year old Tori Johnson were killed. Johnson had tried to seize the perpetrator’s weapon.  Five others were wounded including a policeman whose head was hit by shot gun pellets, the others suffered gunshot wounds. Earlier in the hostage standoff two  patrons and three Lindt café workers escaped, when the perpetrator had nodded off.

Tony Abbott at Lindt Street Cafe

Australian PM Tony Abbott lays wreathes at Lindt Café Memorial. Source: CBC world news.

The shock and grief reverberated throughout Sydney and Australia, indeed the West, about the loss of lives of Ms. Dawson and Mr. Johnson and surviving shooting victims. The shock was this could happen in broad daylight and was according to Australian PM Abbott “the worst terrorist incident in 35 years in Australia.” The largest  terror event   was Australia’s “9/11” that occurred in Bali, Indonesia on October 10, 2002 with 200 Australians lost their lives  when an Indonesian  Al Qaeda affiliate bombed a popular tourist nightspot. Hundreds of Sydneysiders poured out expressions of mourning with memorial floral tributes placed at the Lindt café site praying to comfort the loss of Ms. Dawson and Mr. Johnson and those injured in the explosive shoot out that ended the hostage taking.

Amirah Drouis and Man Harun Monis

Amirah Droudis and Man Haron Monis accomplices in murder of his ex-wife.

Monis, the perpetrator was an Iranian national who had been given asylum as a political refugee in 1996 by Australia.  He was a self styled Muslim cleric who ran a so-called spiritual health center. He was notoriously well known to Sydneysiders.  He had more that 40 charges of sexual assault and was freed on bail as an accessory in the murder of his ex-wife, 30 year old Noleen Hayson Pal by Monis’ companion, Amirah Droudis. Moniz’s ex- wife was stabbed more than 30 times and lit on fire in the stairwell of an apartment complex in April 2013. Ironically Monis might have been thwarted from his lethal spectacle in Sydney, had he been remanded to police custody. Instead both he and the perpetrator Ms. Droudis were released on bail for their roles in the capital crime of murder.

Monis had raised the public ire of Australians for letters sent to the families of Australian soldiers killed in the Afghanistan war, accusing their sons of committing genocide against civilians. He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service for this action.  One deceased Jewish Australian soldier’s family was told in their letter from anti-Semitic Monis that “Jews were no better than Hitler.” The Algemeiner noted this anti-Semitic screed quoted by a New South Wales prosecutor in a trial brought on charges against letter writers Monis and Droudis:

Monis described the soldier as a “dirty animal.”

“Some Jews who blame Hitler for violations of human rights are not much better than him,” the letter continued. “When the body of a murderer of civilians is sent back to Australia, we must not respect the body; such a body does not deserve a respectful ceremony.”

Monis, while originally raised as a Shia in Iran, recanted his sect and allegedly converted to become a Sunni Muslim.  He could be seen on the streets of Sydney in a Sharia compliant gabila with white turban girded in chains parading with handmade posters accusing New South Wales police and prosecutors for violation of his human rights.  Monis’ lawyer, Manny Conditsis said he may have been “unhinged about the prospect of more jail time” and” had “nothing to lose”. Conditsis defended his late client’s allegation s of being tortured while in custody, found him extremely fundamentalist but “not a jihadist.” Conditsis contended the only reason that Monis walked free until trial was the alleged  poor case the New South Wales prosecutors put on in court.

Monis, in his new role as a Sunni extremist wanted to create a spectacle. He seized the opportunity to carry out his Islamikaze  jihad against the innocent patrons and staff at the Lindt Café in Sydney’s financial district. He was an Islamikaze, and had nothing to lose; he was free awaiting a court appearance in February of 2015. As  former Hebrew  University professor  and author of the book, Islamikaze: Manifestations of Islamic Martyrology  responded when we questioned him about so-called lone wolf canards  to describe  Canadian and US attacks this fall:

Of course they are Islamikaze. Because even if in these cases they acted alone, they must have been indoctrinated and motivated, or shown the example by someone. No lone wolf just gets up in the morning and decides to murder human beings. Besides, Islamikaze has an element of self-sacrifice. A common murderer would do it for personal gain of some sort. Here, in both Canadian and US cases, they committed the murder, being aware of the danger of risking their lives, and they were not deterred.

After all if ISIS could behead Muslims and infidels, more recently Christian children, in Syria and Iraq, then Monis could kill his infidels in Sydney’s Martin Place. After all ISIS had urged local Jihadis down under to follow in the way of Allah.

That was not possible for ordinary peace loving Muslims. Keysar Trad, founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia was reported by the BBC to have said:”This man is damaged goods. He came across as someone with a serious mental illness.” Another Australian Muslim leader gave the usual excuse that Monis was “a bit of a loner and isolated from the Muslim Community.

Several Muslims came to Martin Place to express their grief, deposit memorial flowers and roll out prayer rugs to pray.  The Australian Muslim Association said this about the Shahada flag, that it is “testimony of faith that has been misappropriated by misguided individuals.” Tolerant Australians fearful of retribution against the estimated 500,000 Muslims established a ride sharing social media message, #IllRideWithYou  used more than 90,000 times by late Monday evening.  Australia has an estimated 24 million in population in the Sydney business center during the Christmas shopping season couldn’t bring himself to face the reality that something inside the Islamic canon might have motivated Monis to carry out his deadly act.  Prime Minister Abbott said:

It was appalling and ugly tragedy.This is a very disturbing incident,It is profoundly shocking that innocent people should be held hostage by an armed person claiming political motivation.

CBS News cited the earlier efforts by Australian Counter terrorism and ISIS spokesman specifically targeting Australians:

Australia’s government raised the country’s terror warning level in September in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group, also known as ISIL. Counterterror law enforcement teams later conducted dozens of raids and made several arrests in Australia’s three largest cities – Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. One man arrested during a series of raids in Sydney was charged with conspiring with an Islamic State leader in Syria to behead a random person in Sydney.

The Islamic State group, which holds a third of Syria and Iraq, has threatened Australia in the past. In September, its spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani issued a message urging attacks abroad, specifically mentioning Australia.

There were the usual cries of “lone wolf” by Australian and US counterterrorism experts and news commentators. Former CIA deputy director, Mike Morrell, a CBS news contributor on national security said social media was the culprit. He should know having perpetrated the myth that a cheaply made anti-Islam video on the internet triggered the deadly terrorist attacks on 9/11-12/2012 in Benghazi that took the lives of four Americans.

It was left to an Australian Clive Kessler, an Emeritus Professor of Sociology & Anthropology at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and expert on Political Islam to write this political incorrect assessment of the “ugly tragedy” that occurred Tuesday morning at the Lindt Café in Sydney:

Yesterday’s dreadful events, we were told, “had nothing to do really with properly understood Islam per se,” but were simply an awful gesture spawned from it.  I offer this comment, again, not “to have a go” at Islam, but to make clear why I find so much of the commentary upon it to which our media treat us confused and deficient.

Again, as when I recently questioned the simple typification that “Islam is a religion of peace,” my main point was to challenge the sheer mindlessness and inadequacy of the way that this argument is continually proffered to discourage, stigmatize, and block all serious enquiry into, and discussion of, the inherent tensions and problems

CBS News cited the earlier efforts by Australian Counter terrorism about an ISIS spokesman specifically targeting Australians:

Australia’s government raised the country’s terror warning level in September in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group, also known as ISIL. Counterterror law enforcement teams later conducted dozens of raids and made several arrests in Australia’s three largest cities – Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. One man arrested during a series of raids in Sydney was charged with conspiring with an Islamic State leader in Syria to behead a random person in Sydney.

The Islamic State group, which holds a third of Syria and Iraq, has threatened Australia in the past. In September, its spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani issued a message urging attacks abroad, specifically mentioning Australia.

There were the usual cries of “lone wolf” by Australian and US counterterrorism experts and news commentators. Former CIA deputy director, Mike Morrell, a CBS news contributor on national security said social media was the culprit. He should know having perpetrated the myth that a cheaply made anti-Islam video on the internet triggered the deadly terrorist attacks on 9/11-12/2012 in Benghazi that took the lives of four Americans.

It was left to an Australian Clive Kessler, an Emeritus Professor of Sociology & Anthropology at the University of New South Wales, and expert on Political Islam to write this political incorrect assessment of the “ugly tragedy” that occurred Tuesday morning at the Lindt Café in Sydney:

Yesterday’s dreadful events, we were told, “had nothing to do really with properly understood Islam per se,” but were simply an awful gesture spawned from it.  I offer this comment, again, not “to have a go” at Islam, but to make clear why I find so much of the commentary upon it to which our media treat us confused and deficient.

Again, as when I recently questioned the simple typification that “Islam is a religion of peace,” my main point was to challenge the sheer mindlessness and inadequacy of the way that this argument is continually proffered to discourage, stigmatize, and block all serious enquiry into, and discussion of, the inherent tensions and problems within the Islamic tradition, including Islamic doctrine as it has evolved from its very origins.

“It’s got nothing to do with Islam; really, it just has to do with what [some] Muslims make of it.”

So it does have something, something important, to do with Islam-important because that is where its origins and, however “misconceived” and unwelcome, its justification lies or is found.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. All photographs are courtesy of the New English Review.