Subj: Bio Threat: Worse Than You're Told
Date: 10/16/01 4:01:52 PM Pacific Daylight Time
To: (Kent Steadman)

Bio Threat: Worse Than You're Told
Christopher Ruddy
Monday, Oct. 15, 2001

Let us agree on one matter: The attacks of Sept. 11 were not significant ones.

Anyone who believes these attacks were significant is foolish, delusional or both.

The death of 5,000 Americans is no small matter. But the casualty list of Sept. 11 is small compared to what could have happened, and what may happen.

I am baffled that in the wake of Sept. 11 the major media, and some government officials, continue to downplay the significance of ongoing events.

The media have given great coverage to such non-issues as racial profiling, Jerry Falwell's comments, how misunderstood Islam is, and other matters that don't deal head-on with the present crisis. The American people are very reasonable, as long as they have the facts. But that’s not what they are getting from CNN and the rest of the media pack. Here are some stories the heartland of America would like to see on CNN:

Such "rational" stories are not on the media’s radar screen.

Instead, as America faces the new biological threat of anthrax, the media are flooding the airwaves with experts and government officials saying "no need to worry folks, anthrax is hard to make, hard to deploy, can’t hurt you, no need to worry, yadda, yadda ..."

Recently, I spoke with Dr. Byron Weeks. Dr. Weeks is a retired Air Force colonel. He has the distinction of having been the youngest flight surgeon in the Air Force during the Korean War.

After years of military service, and after serving in several senior medical posts in the Air Force, including hospital commander at the U.S. Air Force Base, Bitburg, Germany, Dr. Weeks retired to private practice.

Since the late 1970s, Dr. Weeks has been specializing in biological warfare. He has lectured and written on the subject. He has also given many warnings about its dangers.

In my conversations, I found much of what he said startling. He says exactly the opposite of what we hear from the "don’t worry" p.c. crowd. For starters, Dr. Weeks believes America is woefully unprepared for an anthrax attack -- one that he says could kill millions.

Dr. Weeks has consulted with the former head of Russia’s bio-weapons program, Dr. Ken Alibek. He knows what capabilities the Russians developed over a decade ago -- and what Russian friends like the Iraqis likely have access to.

According to Weeks, the Russians developed a "weaponized" form of anthrax that is hearty, doesn’t break down easily in sunlight or heat, and can be easily dispersed.

But anthrax, Weeks said, is the not the greatest threat. He also talks about the danger of bubonic plague, easily manufactured and deployed. Also dangerous, he says, is smallpox.

As far the so-called government "stocks" of smallpox vaccine and antibiotics, Dr. Weeks dismisses these as insignificant. He told me what he believes will happen when a significant outbreak occurs, perhaps with 100,000 cases or more.

The reported antibiotic supply for 2 million cases will likely arrive too late to be effective -- amidst panic and other problems.

Dr. Weeks suggests that as the gravity of the attack sinks in among political and military leaders, they will decide NOT to dispense the stocks.


Because they know that once the small amount of antibiotics is used up there will be none for the U.S. military and for them, the political elites. The decision will be made not to deplete the stocks. The epidemic will rage, and many will die.

Two weeks ago, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson claimed that there was no need to worry about a biological attack because the antibiotic stockpile is set aside for 2 million cases. He said this was more than sufficient.

Fast-forward to this past week: Thompson announced he is seeking to increase the antibiotic stockpile to 10 million cases. If 2 million was enough just two weeks ago, why the sudden need for a supply for 10 million?

Weeks knows the truth: Even 10 million may not be enough for a country of 280 million souls.

Weeks advises directly -- and counter to what the talking heads are saying on TV: Make sure you have a supply of Cipro, the best antibiotic for countering anthrax, for you and your family. Don’t depend on the government.

One reason not to count on the government is how inconsistent the official line has been.

Consider what officials were saying about the threat of biological weapons before Sept. 11.

Last week, I came across a paper prepared for the U.S. Air Force’s Air War College by Lt. Col. Lansing E. Dickinson, entitled "Military Role in Countering Terrorist Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction."

In his brilliant and often prescient 68-page report published in 1999, Col. Dickinson lays out the facts about the threat of biological and other weapons of mass destruction.

Here is an excerpt from his Introduction:

The terrorist threat is real. Some say it is only a question of time before terrorists use weapons of mass destruction against our military forces. Secretary Cohen in the Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review concluded "the threat or use of chemical and biological (CB) weapons is a likely condition of future warfare, including in the early stages of war to disrupt U.S. operations and logistics. ... This requires that the U.S. military continue to improve its capabilities to locate and destroy such Chemical/Biological weapons, preferably before they can be used, and defend against and manage the consequences of CB weapons if they are used."

Another excerpt:

Most experts agree terrorist groups are more likely to use chemical or biological weapons versus a nuclear weapon. This is due to the ease of acquisition, inexpense, and easier methods of delivery. Bruce Hoffman, Director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, says, "previously, terrorism was not just a matter of having the will and motivation to act, but of having the capability to do so -- the requisite training, access to weaponry, and operational knowledge. ... Today, however, the means and methods of terrorism can be easily obtained at bookstores, from mail-order publishers, on CD-ROM, or even over the Internet. Relying on such commercially published or readily accessible ... manuals and operational guides ... the `amateur' terrorist can be just as deadly and destructive as his more professional counterpart."

In an Advanced Concept Research Report, B.J. Berkowitz summarizes:

The chief advantages of Chemical/Biological weapons are the unrestricted availability of the necessary information, the relatively small resources needed, and the ability to test the product. There are no meaningful controls on the availability of chemicals, and what little control exists over pathogenic cultures can be overcome in a variety of ways. Perhaps most important is the fact that the chemical and biological materials can be produced under the cover of an apparently legitimate commercial venture such as a small research company, fine chemical manufacturer, or bio-medical laboratory.

As for what the U.S. government really thinks about anthrax, Lt. Col. Dickson writes:

Brigadier General John Doesburg, the former Director of the Joint Program Office for Biological Defense, says, "Anyone who makes home-brewed beer can make anthrax. Anthrax is a deadly toxin that, depending on the quantities used, can disable and kill thousands of people within hours or days. ... Another agent that could be in the enemy's arsenal is staphylococcus enterotoxin B (SEB) -- an incapacitant that, if it goes into the lungs, causes a fever of 106 degrees within an hour to three hours. The force will go into immediate malaise, but the agent will not kill them. If they ingest it, they will have severe diarrhea and vomiting."

The most effective means of delivering toxic agents is through aerosol clouds. Kupperman and Smith state that "aerosol dispersal technology is easy to obtain from open literature and commercial sources, and equipment to aerosolize biological agents is available as virtually off-the-shelf systems produced for legitimate industrial, medical, and agricultural applications. With access to a standard machine shop, it would not be difficult to fabricate aerosol generators and integrate components to produce reliable systems for dispersing microorganisms or toxins.

Others suggest dispersing agents with cropdusters or through building air ventilation systems. The OTA [Office of Technology Assessment] study sums up the biological threat by stating, "Standard biological agents for covert sabotage or attacks against broad-area targets would be relatively easy to produce and disseminate using commercially available equipment, such as agricultural sprayers."

I have reprinted these lengthy excerpts so that you may compare them to what the media talking heads are telling us today: Biological weapons are difficult to make, difficult to deploy, and difficult to die from.

You can believe the media if you like. I would tend to believe Dr. Weeks and Lt. Col. Dickinson. They don’t care if CNN invites them onto a show, they are just revealing the truth as they see it.