Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Al-Qaeda cell killed by Black Death 'was developing biological weapons'

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Latest Breaking News Donate to DU
 
Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:17 AM
Original message
Al-Qaeda cell killed by Black Death 'was developing biological weapons'
Source: Telegraph Online (UK)


Last Updated: 6:10PM GMT 20 Jan 2009

The group of 40 terrorists were reported to have been killed by the plague at a training camp in Algeria earlier this month.

It was initially believed that they could have caught the disease through fleas on rats attracted by poor living conditions in their forest hideout.

But there are now claims the cell was developing the disease as a weapon to use against western cities.
Experts said that the group was developing chemical and biological weapons.

Dr Igor Khrupinov, a biological weapons expert at Georgia University, told The Sun: "Al-Qaeda is known to experiment with biological weapons. And this group has direct communication with other cells around the world.

"Contagious diseases, like ebola and anthrax, occur in northern Africa. It makes sense that people are trying to use them against Western governments."

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindi...



The story as carried by The Sun:


THE al-Qaeda cell wiped out by Black Death may have infected ITSELF while developing biological weapons, it emerged last night.

The terrorists planned to wreak havoc on Western targets but fell victims to their own weapon, a leading expert on chemical warfare believes.

More:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article215005...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. Experimenting with bioweapons and wiped out by a disease a little penicillin will clear right up?
Pull the other one!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:09 AM
Response to Reply #1
18. Of course anyone experimenting with plague is likely to engineer its resistance to antibiotics
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
cannabis_flower Donating Member (386 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
30. Actually..
Pennecillin doesn't work with Plague.


To reduce the chance of death, antibiotics must be given within
24 hours of first symptoms. Streptomycin, gentamicin, the tetracyclines, and
chloramphenicol are all effective against pneumonic plague. Antibiotic treatment
for 7 days will protect people who have had direct, close contact with infected
patients.



http://www.nationalterroralert.com/pneumonicplague/
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:20 AM
Response to Original message
2. Ebola occurs in Northern Africa? ...No, it doesn't
And bubonic plague sucks as a biowarfare agent. There's this thing, called antibiotics... Yeah, developed last century, they tend to clear up the plague super-crazy.

Igor needs to stick to lurching and going "YESH, oh MARSHTER, right awaaaay MARSHTER"...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. If they were using it in an aerosol form, wouldn't that make it pneumonic plague?

That's about 99.9 percent fatal, isn't it? It's spread person to person; it's not vector-borne. If the person doesn't get the antibiotics early, they will die. It would be a very effective bio-warfare agent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pneumonic_plague
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Chulanowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #11
35. I was unaware
Okay, that's rather frightening then
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:34 AM
Response to Original message
3. From Bill Warner
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 03:06 AM by Turborama
I don't know anything about Warner and find it hard to trust a blog which cites "anonymous officials" and quotes Faux, but there are some interesting factoids on the original post...




An al Qaeda affiliate in Algeria closed a base earlier this month after an experiment with unconventional weapons went awry, U.S. intelligence official said.

The official, who spoke on the condition he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said he could not confirm press reports that the accident killed at least 40 al Qaeda operatives, but he said the mishap led the militant group to shut down a base in the mountains of Tizi Ouzou province in eastern Algeria (near the Oran Province which had an outbreak of Bubonic Plague in 2003, see below).



==cut==


FROM THE ATLANTA CDC... Bubonic Plague strain from tainted water reservoir; Plague Reappearance in Algeria after 50 Years in 2003. An outbreak of plague occurred in the region of Oran, Algeria, from June to July 2003.

Algeria had not reported this disease for 50 years. Eighteen bubonic cases were identified, and Yersinia pestis was isolated from 6 patients. Except for the index case-patient, all patients recovered. Al Qaeda is believed by U.S. and Western experts to have been pursuing biological weapons since at least the late 1990s. A 2005 report on unconventional weapons drafted by a commission led by former Sen. Charles Robb, Virginia Democrat, and federal appeals court Judge Laurence Silberman concluded that al Qaeda's biological weapons program "was extensive, well organized and operated two years before the Sept. 11, 2001" terror attacks in the U.S.

Targeted chemoprophylaxis, sanitation, and vector control played a crucial role in controlling the outbreak. Epidemiologic and biomolecular findings strongly suggested the existence of a local animal reservoir during this period, but its origin (resurgence or re-importation) could not be determined.

This sudden and unexpected reemergence of plague, close to an important commercial seaport, is a textbook illustration of a public health event of international importance. It also demonstrates that the danger of plague reoccurrence is not limited to the currently indexed natural foci.

http://wwwwbipicomlink.blogspot.com/2009/01/al-qaeda-in...




Edit: to fine tune formatting
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:26 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. Bubonic Plague strain from tainted water reservoir?
I doubt it: nobody seems to consider the pathogen waterborne
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. Off topic, but we really don't know for sure that bubonic plague= Black Death
We obviously don't have a sample or anything, so we can't be sure. There are some reasons to believe it was something else, because some of the symptoms and times of appearance that don't really match up.

Really basic explanation here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_Black_Death

It's rather sloppy or sensationalist reporting to refer to bubonic plague as Black Death. There is some well reasoned doubt that they are the same disease.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:09 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. I don't think those bear up well under scrutiny.

I think it was a variant of bubonic plague-- obviously not equivalent to the bacillus or vectors that we see now. In 1894 when they identified it, they had no doubt about it. And the Plague had been seen before that.

Now science should always check itself, but I see no reason that Y. pestis isn't still the most likely disease agent. Probably with nasty variant, and probably with a system of vectors that we can't quite reconstruct.

The way to find out is to find some of those mass graves from the 14th century and do some DNA pathology, not only among the bones, but within the soil.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bette Noir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:49 AM
Response to Reply #13
20. The medieval occurence of Black Death was in a population
That had no previous exposure to the disease. Europeans had no natural resistance to this new pathogen, as Native Americans had no resistance to measles and smallpox when they were first exposed to those agents. It is not necessary to postulate a super-virulent strain of the disease; the one we know would be quite sufficient.

As for introducing it as a bioweapon-- that worked out real well, huh? And it has been present in the Southwest since the mid-Nineteenth Century, having been brought here by ship.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 03:27 AM
Response to Reply #20
41. Not true. Outbreaks of bubonic plague happened before.
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 03:40 AM by caseymoz
The one that hit in the 14th Century was the worst. It hit Athens in 430 b.c. and beleaguered Rome all through its history and was probably instrumental in its fall.

The only way I could account for the Black Death is that it was a different and especially virulent strain combined with some unknown vector system-- that is to say, at least one vector that's unobserved in modern versions of the plague. The Black Death stopped ravaging Europe when that vector for some reason, collapsed.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
juno jones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
24. I am interested in reading a book about the plague
that posits the original 14th century plague as being an ebola-type virus. Apparently, some groups that had immunity to the plague also have immunity to similar viral diseases.

After a short search here we go:

Return of the Black Death: The World's Greatest Serial Killer

http://www.amazon.com/Return-Black-Death-Worlds-Greates...

I can't afford it right now, but have a reserve on interlibrary loan. It looks quite interesting.

Of course bubonic plague is bacterial and can be cured by antibiotics, but we have no proof that the bubonic plague was at work in the 14th century, our supposition of BP is based on chronicler's descriptions of the disease but little scientific evidence. There are several deadly diseases from this era that seem to have no modern counterparts.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:44 AM
Response to Original message
5. The Sun as a news source: improved when it gets covered in chip fat
This is probably complete bollocks.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:13 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. Re: The Sun story
I've been looking into this a bit more and it turns out that a) the blog I quote above plagiarised an article from The Washington Times and b) he edited out the part that says the "official" refuted The Sun's claims...

An al Qaeda affiliate in Algeria closed a base earlier this month after an experiment with unconventional weapons went awry, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Monday.

The official, who spoke on the condition he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said he could not confirm press reports that the accident killed at least 40 al Qaeda operatives, but he said the mishap led the militant group to shut down a base in the mountains of Tizi Ouzou province in eastern Algeria.

He said authorities in the first week of January intercepted an urgent communication between the leadership of al Qaeda in the Land of the Maghreb (AQIM) and al Qaeda's leadership in the tribal region of Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. The communication suggested that an area sealed to prevent leakage of a biological or chemical substance had been breached, according to the official.

"We don't know if this is biological or chemical," the official said.

The story was first reported by the British tabloid the Sun, which said the al Qaeda operatives died after being infected with a strain of bubonic plague, the disease that killed a third of Europe's population in the 14th century. But the intelligence official dismissed that claim.

Full article:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/19/al-qaed... /



I guess the best that could be said about this is that it's a developing story... :shrug:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Optical.Catalyst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:56 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. Here is an opportunity to don the tinfoil hats
The incident is written off as 'some Al Qaeda operatives died from the bubonic plague, but don't worry antibiotics will cure it'

Could just be a Government cover story for Al Qaeda engaging in biological weapons deployment of a more serious nature. I doubt a group of Al Qaeda members could develop biological weapons in a cave in Afghanistan, but buying the deadly agents on the black market is not out of the question.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:15 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Yes, it could be a cover story.

Radiation sounds more likely to me. It would be remarkable if that many people died of pneumonic plague at once. But I've always thought that people who fooled with nuclear, biological or chemical agents without the right equipment and expensive precautions, they were more likely to kill themselves before they killed anybody else.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #15
33. Or it could be completely made up: here's an example of a made-up Sun anti-Muslim story
Let's begin by going back to the Sun non-story that prompted this initial post:

The Sun - Islamic fanatics name Alan Sugar, Mark Ronson and Lord Levy in a hit list of Britain's leading Jews: British anti-terror expert Glen Jenvey is convinced online forum Ummah is being used to prepare a deadly backlash against UK Jews. His warning came as Europe was hit by anti-Semitic attacks over Israel's push into the Gaza Strip.... Mr Jenvey, 43, said: "The Ummah website has been used by extremists. "Those listed should treat it very seriously. Expect a hate campaign and intimidation by 20 or 30 thugs."


It would now appear that this entire non-story actually began with Glen Jenvey feeding an unknown quantity of information to the Sun 'news' paper. Glen Jenvey bills himself in this bio as a 'freelance terror investigator', is described in this article as a 'freelance intelligence agent', and is described in his Wikipedia entry (that he regularly edits himself) as a former spy who now "uses the internet to infiltrate terrorist organisations."
...
Though the Sun suggests otherwise, the only forum contributor pushing for anything other than a polite letter-writing campaign (details here) is posting under the name 'abuislam'.... and I'm looking at evidence right now that strongly indicates that Glen Jenvey and 'abuislam' are one and the same person.

In other words, he has created the very 'militant' content that the Sun has based their story on.

http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/01/glen_jenve...


This is also reported in today's Private Eye - the UK's leading investigative/humour magazine.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
36. Yeah, but those Page 3 Girls....
I got to deliver The Sun while I was an exchange student over that way, and to that long lost fourteen-year old lad The Sun, and particularly Page 3, was the paper of record!
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:49 AM
Response to Original message
6. You'd think anyone messing with Yersinia pestis would have a supply of antibiotics around
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 02:49 AM by depakid
Idiots.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Wizard777 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:43 AM
Response to Reply #6
19. You also assume the dead are not human test subjects. You have to find out how effective it is.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 02:55 AM
Response to Original message
7. So all they have is speculation and conjecture.
That settles it, I guess.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Loudmxr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 03:01 AM
Response to Original message
8. The plague is really easy to miss if you don't know what you're looking for.
A friend of a caretaker at a hostel in New Mexico died cause she contracted the plague and went on vacation to Maryland. Now from what I understand plague is rare in NM but it happens.
In Maryland its unknown so the docs didn't know what they were looking at and poof. The friend was dead. Simple but strong anti bios would have done the trick.

But it could be just a mountain folk tale. :smoke:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:25 AM
Response to Reply #8
17. If it's pneumonic or septicemic plague the person has 24 hours

. . . to begin to receive antibiotics, or the mortality rate is about 100 percent. Those are very aggressive infections.

If these guys were putting plague in aerosol form, and they'd have to in order to make it an effective weapon, then what they infected themselves with was pneumonic plague. It's believable to me that terrorists would actually kill themselves with their WMD before they had a chance to use it.

Maybe they found a strain that was a little much for the antibiotics they had available. When you're suicidal anyway, and when you think God is on your side, your precautions can get slipshod.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bottomtheweaver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:13 AM
Response to Original message
14. Let's see, how many billions do Algerian "terrorists" spend annually on weaponzed bio weapons?
Oh wait, that's us. Never mind.

p.s. I very much doubt the existence of al-Qaeda "terror cells" here or anywhere else except the CIA script room.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #14
32. Oh, you too?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
prodigal_green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:24 AM
Response to Original message
16. See kids, this is why studying evolution is important
Using Y. Pestis against Western targets would be largely ineffective if your target is people of European descent. See, the last few rounds in the 14th century wiped out a huge part of the population that was susceptible to this disease, leaving behind those of (us) who carried a resistance to breed and repopulate. Essentially, you'd be killing those living in the West from sub-Saharan Africa and areas that were not ravaged by earlier outbreaks. Y. Pestis does continue to thrive in the Southwestern United States, but human infection is exceedingly rare.

To the above commenter who suggests that the Black Death wasn't only Y. Pestis--there is speculation that anthrax may have also been involved in the British Isle outbreak, leading to much higher death rates there than on the continent, but plague was without a doubt the pathogen throughout Europe.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Marrah_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
21. Darwin Award !
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bigmack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #21
31. Now There's a Nomination
I can enthusiastically second! Ms Bigmack
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:00 AM
Response to Original message
22. Terror weapons
can have an emotional impact and the plague/black death will certainly have that.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:09 AM
Response to Original message
23. If this story is true
I'm laughing.

Sorry if anyone is offended but I am.

People that stupid get what they deserve
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
25. What a bunch of MORANS! n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
InkAddict Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:18 AM
Response to Original message
26. Sensationalized story could have been the other "Yersinia"
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/DBMD/diseaseinfo/yersinia_g.h...

Sometimes, the media are the pestis, if you know what I mean.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
27. "Contagious diseases, like ebola and anthrax, occur in northern Africa."
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 08:41 AM by Javaman
first of all anthrax is not contagious. ebola, yes; anthrax, no.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
28. One of the terrorists, reached for comment said...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
catnhatnh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. Hello, In-fee-dell....N/T
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sheets of Easter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
34. Oh, the irony.
:D
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
SOS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
37. WHO report:
"The World Health Organization says that nine countries reported 2,118 cases in 2003 and 182 deaths, with almost 99 percent of both cases and fatalities in Africa."

Wouldn't it make sense to investigate the area before reporting conjecture?

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
38. Or maybe the CIA sprayed this "Al-Qada cell" with plague
To see how well it works, then blamed it on the victims. It is about as believable as any other story.

It seems to me that you would have to have a fairly well equipped lab to do this type of research. A desert in Algeria doesn't seem like a great research lab, but if it is true, at least show a few beakers with a skull and crossbones to back up the story. And call one of them "Dr Germ" or something like that.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
39. There's a reason that bioweapons are not really good weapons.
So hard to aim.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zonmoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
40. I wonder what really happened.
I suspect more that it was a cia or related agency experiment to see if they can start an epidemic among the muslims to wipe them out. or at minimum something to further demonize the muslim religion.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Oct 01st 2014, 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Latest Breaking News Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC