Who is Carey Sublette?

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rfd...@optonline.net

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Jan 28, 2008, 6:25:00 PM1/28/08
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With all due respect to an individual who obviously knows his or her stuff, and
I thoroughly enjoy their posts here, but may I ask who is Carey Sublette? Just
curious. Thanks.

Carey Sublette

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Jan 30, 2008, 12:49:34 PM1/30/08
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<rfd...@optonline.net> wrote in message
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Hi:

I have deliberately kept personal (and for that matter, professional)
information about myself off the Internet from its first establishment.

But I will say the following about my background: I am a computer
scientist/software architect/software engineer (depending on the hat I am
currently wearing) who is a former weapon systems analyst.

Carey


rfd...@optonline.net

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Jan 31, 2008, 5:58:51 PM1/31/08
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Thanks. I have a friend who worked in the weapons field at Livermore. Haven't
seen him in a while but I used to like to tease/wow him with questions based on
things I read here. He didn't know I was lurking in the newsgroup.

Carey Sublette

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Feb 1, 2008, 12:58:48 AM2/1/08
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<rfd...@optonline.net> wrote in message
news:kgk4q3hlslueluf82...@4ax.com...

Oh, and I wanted to clarify that as a weapon systems analyst I never had a
clearance regarding nuclear weapons (chemical weapons, thats a different
story).

Carey


Jim E

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Feb 4, 2008, 5:35:48 PM2/4/08
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"Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:ryyoj.228$w07...@newsfe05.lga...

Can you expound a bit, tens of readers want to know.


Jim E


Carey Sublette

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Feb 5, 2008, 11:35:16 AM2/5/08
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"Jim E" <YD63...@SVN.net> wrote in message
news:60pia7F...@mid.individual.net...

About what I did regarding chemical weapons?

Being a computer guy I analyzed reports and developed mathematical models,
then wrote and ran simulations back in the 80s, which was the last gasp of
CW in the U.S. military (McCain, among others, were stumping for binary
chemical weapons at the time).

I was actually opposed to the proposed plans for deploying new chemical
weapons, and was interested in modelling defenses against the Soviet Union
which, unlike the U.S., had maintained an active chemical arsenal.
The type of work I did is used as the basis of the training and
indoctrination materials that CW soldiers study.

I dislike 'arguing from authority' (i.e. "I am a professional such and such
and thus you should believe me...") and thus prefer discuss the factual
basis of my opinions, but my experience gives me a high degree of confidence
in the accuracy of my views regarding the capabilities and threats presented
by chemical weapons.

It is surprising to me that we have never yet had an *effectively staged*
terrorist mass chemical attack (although two limited operations by Aum
Shinrikyo killed a total of 19 people and injured 1500 in two attacks in
1994-95) and the threat needs to be taken seriously.

Vance P. Frickey

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Feb 5, 2008, 1:59:45 PM2/5/08
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"Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1f0qj.22$wN4...@newsfe06.lga...

I totally agree. Synthesis of the organophosphates skirts
close to some of the chemistry used in meth labs - in fact,
as sophisticated as some of the more organized
narcotrafficantes are, and as much chatter as we're
beginning to see about links between Al-Qaeda and these
gangs, they might be approachable about using their existing
narcotic smuggling routes to bring in other things.

While Aum Shinrikyo's use of sarin in the Tokyo subway
system is well-known, less well-publicized is their
synthesis and use of agent VX on several occasions. (Mainly
"own goals" on members of the cult targeted for murder;
bizarrely, most of these were injections adminstered by the
cult's physician; some murders of non-cult people, too.)

http://cbwinfo.com/Chemical/Nerve/VX.shtml contains much
related information.

There was also the allegation that EMPTA, a VX precursor
chemical, was present at the plant in the Sudan bombed by
the US in the late 1990s, and some indications that the
terrorist group Ansar-Al-Islam or other groups had imported
VX into Iraq (Carey, can you say whether or not any of
that's been confirmed?)

Also there's been chatter about baby food drying machinery
being adaptable to weaponization of BW agents. Al-Qaeda
front groups have been reported to have shipped some of this
machinery to the Middle East.

In related news, several small-time kooks and nuts have been
found in possession of either the raw materials for ricin,
or the poison itself. It's only a matter of time before
someone high-functioning enough to do some real harm goes to
work.

Of course, to put this all in perspective,
globalsecurity.org also has a feature called "the Daily
Scaremonger" which singles out reporting on WMD threats for
ridicule. Five deaths from anthrax in the mail are a
tragedy, a thousand are a statistic?

http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/nsn/nsn-040901.htm

The guy who wrote that article pooh-poohed an article on the
potential for agroterror which focused on a meat-packing
plant in Greeley CO (a nice hike north of Denver), while
overlooking that the huge Swift meat packing plant up that
way has been the site of mass arrests by federal
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents hauling
away dozens of illegal aliens working there. Just one of
them really COULD inoculate consumer meat products with
anthrax spores, botox, ricin... any of a number of highly
lethal potential food adulterants. Not to harp on a topic,
but people smuggling into the States is another sideline of
the people in narcotics trafficking who have been having
chats with Al-Qaeda.

Smart guy in globalsecurity.org also asserted that one
recommended countermeasure for the whole spectrum of
bioterrorist activity, sensors, are things "nobody could
probably afford." Just like terabyte hard drives, gigabyte
RAM arrays, gigahertz-speed computers and videogames.

It's probably worth Homeland Security's (or somebody's)
while to develop a cheap dedicated mass spectrometer or IR
absorption sensor that local PDs and fire departments can
use to alert them to the presence of these agents. Who
knows, civilians may even be interested in a cheap enough
"black box" that can tell them when to get out of the
neighborhood. Once the factories in the Pacific Rim lay
hands on the concept, we could be seeing stuff like this
selling in the same cost range as iPods or even their
knock-off imitators. Chips are cheap.

Maybe we need another Dr. Diamandis to hold a contest for
inexpensive, powerful technology of this type. Having been
active in college technology contests as an undergrad at
Louisiana Tech, I can testify that there's a lot of talent
going unused that already has been tapped by DARPA in their
Challenge contests to create practical robotic guidance for
motor vehicles. These guys have achieved something that
DARPA's been trying to do for many years (in justice to the
DARPA research teams, it's the 21st century now, and neural
net computing is finally something Joe Hacker can play with
in his garage).

"All you need is cash... (ta ta da de da) All you need is
cash, cash... cash is all you need..." the Ruttles
--
Vance P. Frickey

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they
infect the soul with evil." -- Socrates

remove safety from Email address to use


Gashauler

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Feb 7, 2008, 12:30:26 PM2/7/08
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"Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1f0qj.22$wN4...@newsfe06.lga...
>
No need for me to know who you are. I enjoy your postings and I know you're
right on. BTW, you wouldn't know who the guys are that stole my mobile flash
furnace back in the late 90's at a base in Utah would you??!!!


Derek Lyons

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Feb 7, 2008, 3:03:38 PM2/7/08
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"Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> wrote:

>It is surprising to me that we have never yet had an *effectively staged*
>terrorist mass chemical attack (although two limited operations by Aum
>Shinrikyo killed a total of 19 people and injured 1500 in two attacks in
>1994-95) and the threat needs to be taken seriously.

Hmm... <ponders>

There's a lot of heat and very little light about terrorists and
nuclear weapons - but it seems to me that they haven't tried the
simpler route of CW much is somehow telling. Doubly so since an
effective CW attack can be mounted with over the counter materials, no
need to get into VX or other high end nasties when chlorine or ammonia
will suffice nicely.

D.
--
Touch-twice life. Eat. Drink. Laugh.

http://derekl1963.livejournal.com/

-Resolved: To be more temperate in my postings.
Oct 5th, 2004 JDL

Allan Larsen

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Feb 7, 2008, 11:40:37 PM2/7/08
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..that they haven`t tried a simpler route of CW much is somehow
telling...fairwater
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
According to one government official ,they were all set to mount a CW or
bio attack
(in a subway if I remember correctly ) but
bin Laden waived it off as not being spectacular enough. He apparently
has a -if you don`t go big don`t go- philosophy of terrorism.

Carey Sublette

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Feb 8, 2008, 1:33:22 AM2/8/08
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"Vance P. Frickey" <vfri...@safetyricochet.com> wrote in message
news:VZSdna53MOTyLzXa...@forethought.net...

Although the more sophisticated designer drug operations do handle chemical
procedures akin to the complexity of nerve agent synthesis (which is really
quite straightforward chemically, as chemical syntheses go), an immense
difference is the tremendous toxicity of the product. This takes some care
and cleverness to deal with, but only some. The operator of a typical meth
"lab" (more like a kitchen) couldn't handle it but a few clever guys in a
lonely little house could (poisoning the neighbors and local wild life
attracts attention, some isolation is required).

Some time back a reporter ordered the chemicals required to synthesize a
kilogram of sarin, they ran a few hundred dollars (about $75/kg in larger
amounts) and he encountered no problems getting the stuff. Of course a
draconian clampdown on precursors in the U.S. is utterly useless if the
stuff is brought in from across the border.


> While Aum Shinrikyo's use of sarin in the Tokyo subway system is
> well-known, less well-publicized is their synthesis and use of agent VX on
> several occasions. (Mainly "own goals" on members of the cult targeted
> for murder; bizarrely, most of these were injections adminstered by the
> cult's physician; some murders of non-cult people, too.)
>
> http://cbwinfo.com/Chemical/Nerve/VX.shtml contains much related
> information.
>
> There was also the allegation that EMPTA, a VX precursor chemical, was
> present at the plant in the Sudan bombed by the US in the late 1990s, and
> some indications that the terrorist group Ansar-Al-Islam or other groups
> had imported VX into Iraq (Carey, can you say whether or not any of that's
> been confirmed?)

The alleged detection of EMPTA was the reason that the Sudanese pharm plant
was cruised to the ground. It seems to have been a mistaken bit of
intelligence IIRC.

Iraq definitely manufactured ton quantities of VX - they imported enough
precursors for 200 tons, but fessed up only to two or so.


> Also there's been chatter about baby food drying machinery being adaptable
> to weaponization of BW agents. Al-Qaeda front groups have been reported
> to have shipped some of this machinery to the Middle East.

BW agents are much, much harder to weaponize effectively than CW agents -
with the sole unique exception of small pox. Any live sample of that is a
severe hazard to the world. Too bad in cannot be eradicated (the genome is
public knowledge, it can synthesized with current technology). We need next
generation small pox vaccines that are safe and effective - testing them is
a problem though.


> In related news, several small-time kooks and nuts have been found in
> possession of either the raw materials for ricin, or the poison itself.
> It's only a matter of time before someone high-functioning enough to do
> some real harm goes to work.

Its a good stealth poison for cloak and dagger stuff (as the Bulgarians
proved). It could have been used on Litvinenko but polonium was way scarier.

Hard to make a mass weapon from it though.

Mustard gas, tabun, sarin (or any related G agent derivative), hydrogen
cyanide are all major threats. Probably dioxin also, like mustard gas not a
great killer, but a terrible peacetime contamination problem.

Hijacked toxic chemicals are tremendous threats also, but the chemical
industry wants to do as little as possible about it (bad for business), and
the DHS seems eager to go along. The major effort here seems to be to try to
keep the threat from being publicly known.

Don't you feel safer?

Carey


Carey Sublette

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Feb 8, 2008, 1:40:07 AM2/8/08
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"Derek Lyons" <fair...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:47ab62bf...@news.supernews.com...

> "Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>>It is surprising to me that we have never yet had an *effectively staged*
>>terrorist mass chemical attack (although two limited operations by Aum
>>Shinrikyo killed a total of 19 people and injured 1500 in two attacks in
>>1994-95) and the threat needs to be taken seriously.
>
> Hmm... <ponders>
>
> There's a lot of heat and very little light about terrorists and
> nuclear weapons - but it seems to me that they haven't tried the
> simpler route of CW much is somehow telling. Doubly so since an
> effective CW attack can be mounted with over the counter materials, no
> need to get into VX or other high end nasties when chlorine or ammonia
> will suffice nicely.

Hijacked chlorine has been put to exactly this use in Iraq. There were
several attacks early last year, but only a few dozen people died (many of
these from the bombs used to blow the trucks up). Not well executed,
fortunately. Maybe they should get a copy of "Chemicals in War" - the WWI
tactics are carefully described.

There is a problem getting the agent to where you want it to be in
sufficient quantity. Chlorine is about 60 times less lethal than tabun, 200
times less lethal than sarin, and 600 times less lethal than VX on a
weight-for-weight basis, plus it is extremely pungent, revealing its
presence far below the hazard level. Its also not a cumulative posion (as
are the nerve agents, and mustard gas).

Hijacked toxic agents are indeed a serious threat though.

Derek Lyons

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Feb 8, 2008, 2:18:36 AM2/8/08
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"Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> wrote:

>There is a problem getting the agent to where you want it to be in
>sufficient quantity.

That depends on your goal I'd imagine.

>Chlorine is about 60 times less lethal than tabun, 200
>times less lethal than sarin, and 600 times less lethal than VX on a
>weight-for-weight basis, plus it is extremely pungent, revealing its
>presence far below the hazard level.

However, the hazard level is considerably below the lethal level -
I.E. even non lethal exposure to chlorine poses significant health
problems. Perhaps it's a good thing terrorists seemingly aren't
interested in less-than-Hollywood-flashy attacks, even though they
could be seriously disruptive.

>Hijacked toxic agents are indeed a serious threat though.

Indeed. A lot of folks would be shocked to know how much pretty
dangerous stuff gets shipped around the country with less security
than the cold medicine they are trying to keep out of the hands of
meth cookers. OTOH, it's not clear that much can be done about it.

Carey Sublette

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Feb 8, 2008, 8:39:37 AM2/8/08
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"Allan Larsen" <ace7...@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:27159-47A...@storefull-3353.bay.webtv.net...

That's right. Nuclear attacks are much more dramatic, though far, far harder
to arrange.

OTOH, well organized train bombings have been pretty spectacular (London,
Spain) but these are the work of local cells. Other local cells can really
bollox up a strightforward bombing plots (the recent car bombing fiasco in
Britain/Scotland).

At some point I have to think that chemical engineers are going to get into
the act, and execute a competent operation.


John Schilling

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Feb 8, 2008, 9:33:12 PM2/8/08
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On Thu, 07 Feb 2008 20:03:38 GMT, fair...@gmail.com (Derek Lyons) wrote:

>"Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>>It is surprising to me that we have never yet had an *effectively staged*
>>terrorist mass chemical attack (although two limited operations by Aum
>>Shinrikyo killed a total of 19 people and injured 1500 in two attacks in
>>1994-95) and the threat needs to be taken seriously.

>Hmm... <ponders>

>There's a lot of heat and very little light about terrorists and
>nuclear weapons - but it seems to me that they haven't tried the
>simpler route of CW much is somehow telling. Doubly so since an
>effective CW attack can be mounted with over the counter materials, no
>need to get into VX or other high end nasties when chlorine or ammonia
>will suffice nicely.

Except that they *have* tried, repeatedly, and the fact that you're
here telling us they haven't is a pretty good indication as to how
well it really works - which is to say, not very. If they'd tried
in any place other than Iraq, I suppose it would at least have merited
a passing mention in your local newspaper, but anyplace people are
blowing each other up with ordinary high explosives, that sort of
chemical attack is literally lost in the noise.

Problem with chlorine, and ammonia, is that they have a very poor
lethal agents, and very powerful irritants - mostly, people are just
going to get a whiff and leave the area long before they've inhaled
enough to be seriously injured.


Which, if you're trying to clear an enemy trench line, is probably
sufficient. Alternately, in that scenario, you can machine-gun
anyone who tries to leave.

And if you can disperse a few hundred tons all at once, with a
favorable wind, you can maybe produce a cloud so big it can't be
effectively fled.

But for terrorists trying to produce mass casualties, those aren't
practical options.


I personally suspect that the "sweet spot" for this sort of thing,
maximum results for minimum effort, would be an attack with industrial
phosgene. But that's not as easy to arrange as chlorine, and it
scores a big "zero" on the visual impact and/or acute panic meters.


--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *
*John.Sc...@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-951-9107 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *

nx1...@hotmail.com

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Feb 9, 2008, 12:13:15 AM2/9/08
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>
> I personally suspect that the "sweet spot" for this sort of thing,
> maximum results for minimum effort, would be an attack with industrial
> phosgene.  But that's not as easy to arrange as chlorine, and it
> scores a big "zero" on the visual impact and/or acute panic meters.
>
IIRC phosgene(from reading a book on war gases many years ago) is
difficult to disperse on its own(it apparently isn't a very good
aerosol) but in WWI they got around this problem IIRC by mixing it
with chlorine gas and dispersed it with a special type of mortar
shell.

Scrumpy.

Bill Baker

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Feb 9, 2008, 1:48:39 AM2/9/08
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On 2008-02-07 22:33:22 -0800, "Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> said:

> ...Too bad it [smallpox] cannot be eradicated (the genome is


> public knowledge, it can synthesized with current technology).

Wait...synthisized (virally replicated, I assume you mean) by a handful
of first-world genetic labs, or easily synthisized by a small-scale
rogue-agent lab, provided they can obtain the necessary automated
sequencing machinery?

I had thought that we were still a long way from the latter scenario
being plausible.

nx1...@hotmail.com

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Feb 9, 2008, 3:49:01 AM2/9/08
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On Feb 9, 7:48 pm, Bill Baker <wabo...@yahoo.com> wrote:

If you're talking about either steps just keep in mind how much time
and effort it took Craig Venter and his lab(with its first rate and
horribly expensive equipment) to create a synthetic genome based on
the Mycoplasma Genitalium bacteria(which has the simplest genome at
just circa. 485 genes). and keep in mind this is just a synthetic
GENOME not a cell(although conceptually a virus should be easier as
you only have to rap said genome in a synthetic protein sheath not all
the cellular machinery of a self-replicating bacterium and its
cell-0membrane).

nx1...@hotmail.com

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Feb 9, 2008, 3:57:39 AM2/9/08
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>
> I had thought that we were still a long way from the latter scenario
> being plausible.

The latter scenario at this stage is still just a theoretical
possibility at the moment, the nessacary(sic) equipment and the
experienced personal to use them is just simply not widespread enough
to do this but if you look at say 10 even just five years in the
future. I think you'll find the knowledge base and resulting mass
produced automated equipment will exist given how rapidly this field
is developing(just look at the field of DNA profiling in 1985 as to
now over 20 years later-it's probably being used now in ways with
great regularity now that its developers never imagined).

Scrumpy.

Carey Sublette

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Feb 9, 2008, 11:39:54 AM2/9/08
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<nx1...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:6b5b523f-e64e-4ba9...@q77g2000hsh.googlegroups.com...

The smallpox genome is 186 kilobase pairs (186 kbp, one of the largest of
among viruses), the recently synthesized mycoplasma genome is 583 kbp. Ergo
the technology to synthesze smallpox de novo already exists. Although his
was a major research effort today, Venter and company are hardly unique in
having the facilities to do this.

An infectious polio virus, OTOH, was synthesized six years ago, but it was a
measly 7.5 kbp.

Today you can buy synthesized genes from commercial firms (GenScript for
example) of 45 kbp "starting at $0.66/bp". Purchasing the genome ready made
in several pieces and splicing them together is probably within the means of
many labs today for a budget of a couple of million dollars.

The technology is only getting better, cheaper, faster and more accessible.
Six years from now the synthesis of 186 kbp gene blocs will be routine.

Regarding the "boot-up" problem, regretably for viruses this is no problem
at all. You don't have to package the genome in the protein machinery that
it normally uses for protection and infection. Simply inserting it into
cultured cells creates an infection. The cultured cells then manufacture
your intact viruses.

So - the small pox threat is here to stay and will only get worse as time
passes. The only solution is to reinstitute universal vaccination, but we
need much better and safer vaccines before we can contemplate doing this.


Carey Sublette

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Feb 9, 2008, 12:00:41 PM2/9/08
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"John Schilling" <schi...@spock.usc.edu> wrote in message
news:jsjrq3pvirqsk0t43...@4ax.com...

Right-o. The concentration of chlorine required to kill someone in one
minute is 20 g/m^3 of air. This is a concentration of 1.5%, i.e. you have to
displace a significant fraction of the air itself. A tank car can hold 100
tons of chlorine, a tank truck 35 tons, so releasing a deadly plume is
definitely possible.

But chlorine is detectable at a level of 1 *milligram* per cubic meter, and
is intolerable (i.e. people will flee immediately) at 10 *milligrams* per
cubic meter. So only dense clouds that are of such size that people *can't*
escape can be lethal.

OTOH, you could release it in an enclosed environment (think - train car),
but then you have to transport it into the closed environment and thats
where the low potency makes a big difference.

>
> But for terrorists trying to produce mass casualties, those aren't
> practical options.
>
>
> I personally suspect that the "sweet spot" for this sort of thing,
> maximum results for minimum effort, would be an attack with industrial
> phosgene. But that's not as easy to arrange as chlorine, and it
> scores a big "zero" on the visual impact and/or acute panic meters.

Well, not until someone does it anyway.

Carey Sublette


Carey Sublette

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Feb 9, 2008, 12:08:36 PM2/9/08
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<nx1...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:ee5ff3e9-ccf9-4970...@d70g2000hsb.googlegroups.com...


Phosgene's boiling point is 8 C, so it is technically a gas at room
temperature. Drift gas phosgene attacks were a problem since the gas had to
vaporize from a bulk container and the vaporization cooling pushed it below
its own boiling point, even in warm weather. This is when they mixed it with
chlorine. Shells never had this problem, the burst and the droplets
immediately vaporize.

But the vapor pressure of phosgene is only 1180 mm Hg at 20 C, only 8 psi
above normal air pressure. A light plastic container can hold it fine, and
is easily ruptured by a small explosive charge. This would produce a dense
cloud immediately.


Vance P. Frickey

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Feb 9, 2008, 1:07:24 PM2/9/08
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"Carey Sublette" <care...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:Y_krj.1258$OZ7...@newsfe05.lga...

I remember when I was in junior high school watching as the
Navy shipped a whole lot of phosgene in tank cars from New
Orleans to a pesticide plant up river - they'd just gotten
caught sinking old Liberty ships full of mustard gas in the
ocean and decided to sell the stuff instead of demilling
it - right across old US Highway 90 from my house. I was
at that age where I read the big placards on the tank cars
explaining that you might as well ask for your last rites if
there was a leak and said "Cool."

Carey Sublette

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Feb 9, 2008, 1:49:58 PM2/9/08
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<nx1...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:27004365-5441-43c6...@h11g2000prf.googlegroups.com...

The smallpox genome is 186 kilobase pairs (186 kbp, one of the largest of

among viruses), the recently synthesized mycoplasma genome is 583 kbp. Ergo
the technology to synthesze smallpox de novo already exists. Although his
was a major research effort today, Venter and company are hardly unique in
having the facilities to do this.

An infectious polio virus, OTOH, was synthesized six years ago, but it was a
measly 7.5 kbp.

Today you can buy synthesized genes from commercial firms (GenScript for
example) of 45 kbp "starting at $0.66/bp".

The technology is only getting better, cheaper, faster and more accessible.

reste...@aol.com

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Feb 9, 2008, 8:23:38 PM2/9/08
to

Coimng at this thread from the fire fighting angle can say there are
simple /cheap means of causing death
and mayhem - ie FIRE!

In recent years been number of incidents of tanker truck roll over and
fires on overpass warping the steel
and causing bridges to collapse. (I880 - San Francisco 2007
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacArthur_Maze
I 95 Shelton CT 2004 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_95_in_Connecticut)

Propane tankers are another source for terrorists to consider - the
"gas limo" plot of few years back were based on this - idea was to
use limos loaded with propane cylinders to drive into underground
parking
garages of buildings in New York/Newark/Wash DC).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Financial_buildings_plot

Plots in London/Glascow last year were variation on this. Doesn't
take a lot of money or genius in chemistry
to carry out something like this. Image trying to rig the George
Washington Bridge in NYC with explosives =
would take thousands of pounds and days to carry out. Now figure a
tanker truck "accident" and fire
of gasoline tanker - the damage inflicted and resulting disruption
would be immense.

Allan Larsen

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Feb 9, 2008, 9:02:41 PM2/9/08
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Anyone have an educated guess as to how effective the current smallpox
vaccine would be against weaponized smallpox? I heard that there was a
leak at a Soviet weapons lab a few years back. It said that those who
had been vaccinated before hand had survived. I don`t see the Soviet
government immunizing the general public with some super vaccine . It
would make it too easy for a sample of that to get to the west.

Vance P. Frickey

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Feb 9, 2008, 10:57:33 PM2/9/08
to
"Allan Larsen" <ace7...@webtv.net> wrote in message news:20384-47A...@storefull-3357.bay.webtv.net...
Dr. Ken Alibek (born Kanatjan Alibekov), the former deputy director of the Soviet biological warfare agency up until his defection around the time the Soviet Union broke up, says that indications are that Russia has continued work with camelpox and monkeypox with a view to increasing their virulence and developing vaccine-resistant strains.

Here's an interview between www.emergency.com and Dr. Alibek on the subject:
http://www.emergency.com/1999/alibek99.htm

"Dr. Alibek is now the co-author of a best-selling book,  "Biohazard," (Random House) which thoroughly discusses the inside story of the development of bio-warfare agents in the former Soviet Union. According to the New York Times, quoting William C. Patrick, a former U.S. government bio-war expert who helped debrief him, Dr. Alibek has provided information that is "critical" to America's understanding of the Soviet biological warfare programs.


EmergencyNet: What Weapons of Mass Destruction (Chem/Bio/Nuke) agent do you see as the greatest threat to U.S. security at the present time?

Alibek: Plague, Smallpox, Anthrax, Glanders, Melioidosis, Marburg and Ebola infections, Lassa infection, Machupo infection, many other hemorrhagic fevers and various encephalitis and many others.


EmergencyNet: To your knowledge, did the former Soviet work on genetic engineering or altering of the properties of "standard" biological agents used for weapons?

Alibek: The Soviet Union has developed genetically altered antibiotic resistant strains of anthrax, plague, tularemia, and glanders. New biological weapons (lab prototypes and pilot-plant techniques) have been developed on a basis of genetically altered plague, anthrax and tularemia. This country was intensively researching way to genetically alter some viruses. For example, for years it was researching the ways to genetically alter variola major (smallpox virus) by inserting some new genes in this virus genome.


EmergencyNet: To your knowledge, were strains of Smallpox/Variola exported to former Soviet allies? Other agents?

Alibek: I'm afraid I don't know anything about the specifics of this.


EmergencyNet: Do you believe that former Soviet scientists, unpaid for many months and familiar with bio-weapon technology, are currently working in the so-called "rogue states" such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Africa, etc.??

Alibek: Yes, I do. There is some information about this.


EmergencyNet: Do you believe that non-state actors (terrorists) could/have attained possession of former Soviet chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons?

Alibek: It is highly probable.


EmergencyNet: Here's a hypothetical -- if you were a terrorist and wanted to attack the U.S. -- what chemical/biological/nuclear agent would you chose to cause the greatest mortality and morbidity?

Alibek: Marburg and ebola infections, plague, smallpox, anthrax and (unfortunately) many others.


EmergencyNet: If you had to pick one (1) bio-weapon for an terrorist attack on the USA, based on former Soviet doctrine, which one would you chose?

Alibek: Smallpox or Plague.


EmergencyNet: Did the former Soviet Union develop effective methods for non-explosive dispersal of biological agents?

Alibek: Yes, it did. It was a spray technique based the use of spray tanks installed on medium range bombers. In the late 80s, this country started to develop a new type of application based on use of "a low flying, high-speed object" for BW application. Clearly, it was a research work to use "cruise missiles" for BW application.


EmergencyNet: Theoretically, how would a terrorist operative disperse a bio-agent in a large city? Obviously, they don't have access to medium bombers or cruise missile technology. Could a man-portable system might be used by an individual or small group of persons to spread an agent? If so, how?

Alibek: The most probable situations are these: contamination of food in restaurants', aerosolization in metro-systems, shopping malls, administrative and commercial buildings, etc.


EmergencyNet: What do you see as the potentially most vulnerable targets to attack by WMD within the continental United States? Which/what would have potentially been targeted by the former Soviet Union?

Alibek: For a military application of BW, these are cities, sea ports, military bases and so on. For terrorist application, these are mostly shopping malls, commercial and administrative buildings, metro-systems and so on.


EmergencyNet: What defensive measures would be of the greatest assistance to the United States in order to effective defend against WMD?

Alibek: We need to stop deceiving people that vaccines are the most effective protection and start developing new therapeutic and preventive approaches and means based on a broad-spectrum protection.


EmergencyNet: How effective do you feel that vaccination or inoculation programs could be against potential WMD attacks on a civilian population within the United States? Vaccinations for military/emergency responders?

Alibek: It is not a way to solve this problem.


EmergencyNet: A follow-up...If vaccines aren't the answer, in your opinion, what is a better approach for protecting civilian populations/emergency responders from the threat of bio-attack?

Alibek: There are too many biological agents that could be used in biological weapons. It is impossible to imagine how to develop this number of vaccines, and moreover how to vaccinate the entire population against all these diseases. The best approach is to develop a broad spectrum medical defense. It is quite a long research (it can take up to 3-5 years), but we are coming close to the possible solutions. I am working in this area now and I hope I will succeed.


EmergencyNet: Given limited federal government training and funding, what steps can local emergency response agencies best take to improve their preparedness for the potential of an attack using bio-agents??

Alibek: What we need to do is to develop a new handbook to train first responders in this area. The problem is that everything we have now is absolutely inapplicable. I have been proposing my help for years, but haven't gotten a positive response. It is possible to accumulate funding from different sources (and different state and federal agencies) to have a contemporary and comprehensive manual for training first responders.


EmergencyNet: In your view, what is the current level of preparedness in the United States to respond to a "soviet-style" attack using (Weapons of Mass Destruction) WMD's?

Alibek: I'm afraid it is very low."

--

From Dr. Alibek's testimony before a special congressional hearing chaired by Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn, entitled "Combating Terrorism: Assessing the Threat of a Biological Weapons Attack." on October 12th, 2001 (as reported on newsmax.com) :
 
 
"It's not just vaccine; we knew for sure that North Korea was researching smallpox in the late '80s and the beginning of the '90s. This information was obtained while I was in the Soviet Union. It was published by the Russian Intelligence Services; in 1993 they again confirmed North Korea was involved in research of smallpox. ...

No, I would say that we shouldn't be naïve to think that there are just two depositories in the world stockpiling smallpox. In Russia, in the U.S. when this decision was made, it didn't mean that it was an obligatory requirement for all countries. ...

North Korea is a fact. You know, everything started in Iraq. We knew that Iraq in the '80s and early '90s was experimenting with [a virus related to] smallpox virus.

These viruses are from the same family.

If you use a regular iron, steam iron, taking the mail, using a piece of fabric with high temperature and moisture would kill anthrax spores. ...

One of the possible ways [is using a microwave], but what we need to keep in mind is there is a problem. If you use some moisture and steam and high temperature you can kill the spores easily, but if you use just high temperature, in some cases the spores could survive.

The best way is to iron, with moisture and steam and high temperature.

Smallpox is a highly contagious infection. We know that [with] somebody introducing smallpox we could see a very significant number of casualties, a very large outbreak, an epidemic.

Plague is not so contagious as smallpox, but if the number of people infected in pneumonic form of plague is high, it would start a significant outbreak. What we need to keep in mind, in these specific cases, it would be a completely different situation.

It comes back to our issue of lost knowledge. We need to retrieve this knowledge. We need to start analyzing what we knew in the '60s and '50s about these infections. It would give us a new understanding of what kind of protection we need to develop."

--
 
Dr. Alibek doesn't think much of the efficacy of current smallpox vaccines, with justification.  Russia, North Korea, Syria, Iran... all the usual suspects, basically, have been working for decades on strains of smallpox which are resistant to Western vaccines.   The Russians probably have spent the most time and money on the problem, and using the most sophisticated tools - recombinant DNA techniques especially, but as Carey and others have pointed out here, it's more a matter of laying out money for the requisite hardware, computing tools, sequencers - it's not absolutely necessary to have physical seed strains if you have the peptide sequence for what you want to play with, and you know enough about its genome to be able to manipulate it.
 
In interviews with PBS,
 
 
Dr. Alibek has also said that his former employers have worked with HIV, ebola and other highly virulent viruses for which there is no vaccine known to exist, or at least not one with an acceptable degree of efficacy.
 
"NARRATOR: Smallpox, the deadliest of all plagues. It is a dreadful way to die. Once the virus takes hold, it produces a high fever, and then the distinctive and very painful pustules. Next the body tissue breaks down. The victim's immune system is overwhelmed, and the patient dies. There is now no immunity against this disease.

During the 1970s, the United Nations conducted a decade-long program to eradicate smallpox, chasing the virus around the globe, vaccinating millions. Eventually, they succeeded in containing this incredibly infectious killer.

KEN ALIBEK: Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980. And you know, just immediately after, this government, the Soviet Union government, realized that nobody would have defense in the future against this agent just because it was declared that there was no necessity to vaccinate people anymore.

In 1990, Vector developed industrial technique to manufacture this virus for manufacturing biological weapons. It's a completely new technique to obtain huge amounts of this virus.

INTERVIEWER: And that is for use as a biological weapon.

KEN ALIBEK: Of course.

NARRATOR: The Russians running Vector deny these accusations and say that none of the viral work that they are doing breaches the Biological Warfare Convention and that their work on smallpox is benign. But inspectors have a different view.

FRANK MALINOSKI, Former U.S. Army Bio-Weapons Inspector: That research was being conducted with that virus in this other laboratory, and it was being conducted in a laboratory that was also working on things like Ebola and Marburg and other hemorrhagic fevers, was just unbelievable. It broke down every idea in my mind that we could achieve an eradication of smallpox in this world.

NARRATOR: In December, 1991, Russia asked for a reciprocal inspection tour of U.S. biological facilities. Washington agreed. They came to Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas, once America's key biological manufacturing base. But its rusting architecture and abandoned buildings sent a clear message. It was evident the program had been shut down long ago.

We've obtained amateur video of that visit, too. Ken Alibek was a member of the Russian team.

KEN ALIBEK: Before I came, I strongly believed that this country had such a program. But when I came and I saw abandoned facilities, I found out that there was no offensive program in the United States.

It didn't matter, we were told, whether or not they've got this program. But you have to- you must find any evidence to prove an existence of such a program in the United States.

INTERVIEWER: So you were- to sum that up, you were ordered to lie in your reports to the Russian leadership?

KEN ALIBEK: That's correct.

INTERVIEWER: And to say, "The Americans are still conducting an offensive program."

KEN ALIBEK: That's correct.

NARRATOR: But when he returned home, a disillusioned Alibek refused to write the false report, deciding instead to resign from the program.

KEN ALIBEK: Within two weeks, in January of 1992, I resigned from the Russian Army. And in February, I left all my scientific and administrative positions and quit.

NARRATOR: Soon after, he defected to the United States, where he was debriefed by U.S. intelligence.

KEN ALIBEK: I did a lot of very bad things. I consider myself a person who was responsible for the development of such serious weapons. I'm not a believer, but in my opinion there is God, and God will forgive me for what I did in the past.

INTERVIEWER: What was the significance of Ken Alibek's defection to Washington?

GORDON OEHLER, Director, CIA Non-Proliferation Center 1992-97: It really was that the Soviet biological warfare program was continuing into the 1990s. We, of course, had been following it through the years, but we had been given assurances that it had been stopped. And when he said it had not, and detailed the extent of the program, I think it was a real shock."

--

If you're really interested in learning more in depth, Dr. Alibek documented his experience in a book entitled Biohazard.

http://tinyurl.com/3d43wk

I've also found episode 1706 of the PBS documentary series Frontline, 'Plague Wars,' on VHS video at several public libraries.

PBS Video doesn't seem to carry it any longer

- info at http://www.nti.org/f_wmd411/wmd.html;

- my own Web site http://members.tripod.com/~VFRICKEY/cbrlinks.html;

- a listserv discussion on the topic is at : http://www.acutecare.com/nbclistserv.htm;

 
- amazon.com lists it but currently they don't have it available; might be worth checking later on if your local library doesn't have it:
 
--
 
The reason I concentrated on Alibek's work is his degree of access to the Russian program (until he defected in 1992).
 
It's worth noting that in the first listserv discussion I list above, one of the physicians mentioned using killed smallpox from lesions in people presenting with the strain which people are showing ill with - this is the classical way to immunize against the "pox" viruses (back when Jenner first started treating the disease, he found that cowpox conferred cross-immunity to the strain of smallpox prevalent then), but not even specialized smallpox vaccines are expected to be useful against weaponized smallpox from the Russian or similar programs.
 
The problem, too, is that you can overcome a vaccine-conferred immunity by using enough weaponized virus - the body has a limited supply of the antibodies to a given organism, and you can "swamp" the immune system with enough active virus particles.
 
Dr. Alibek's research, last I heard (which was over ten years ago) was concentrating on improving the immune system's general effectiveness rather than trying to immunize against every conceivable agent - people at (for example) the biodefense lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, must immunize against a spectrum of bioweapons, and not infrequently people "burn out" their immune systems with all those inoculations - Dr. Alibek himself reported on the PBS Frontline episode "Plague Wars" that he has continual problems with allergies and next to no sense of smell because of all the immunizations he's had in his work.
 
Hope this helps.
--
Vance P. Frickey

Allan Larsen

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Feb 10, 2008, 1:39:51 AM2/10/08
to
Alibek said it would be naive to think that there are only two sites
that have smallpox. I couldn`t agree more. I posted the same thing I`m
going to say here a couple of years ago again because you may not have
been following this group then.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++National Geographic television ran a
special about smallpox a few years back.
They told of an ou/break in Quebec over a hundred years ago. It was
started when someone dug up a body that had been buried 150 years
earlier. Under the right conditions smallpox can remain viable for150
years.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Back in the nineties someone sold a farm a few miles from where I
live.There was a small graveyard where family members had been buried.
The source I heard /his from thought it contained maybe five graves . At
least one of the people buried there was known for a certainty to have
died from smallpox. The new owners were not told about the graves. A
bulldozer exposed one of the bodies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
It is not to much of a stretch to think that if a case of smallpox had
occurred in the US shortly after 9/11 that today Afghanistan would be
toast.

Allan Larsen

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Feb 10, 2008, 2:37:08 AM2/10/08
to
I remember when...the Navy...had just gotten caught sinking old Liberty
ships full of mustard gas...///Vance P Frickey///////
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
You make it sound like the Navy was dumping gas clandestinely. Is that
what you meant to convey? I thought ocean dumping was rather widespread
an generally known. What was the feeling locally about ocean dumping at
the time .

Bill Baker

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Feb 10, 2008, 5:10:38 AM2/10/08
to
On 2008-02-09 19:57:33 -0800, "Vance P. Frickey"
<vfri...@safetyricochet.com> said:

> Dr. Ken Alibek (born Kanatjan Alibekov), the former deputy director of =
> the Soviet biological warfare agency up until his defection around the =


> time the Soviet Union broke up

Alibek is a phenomenally intersting figure in the bioweapons world. It
appears to be beyond doubt that he was one of the key Soviet scientists
responsible for the "last leap" increase of lethality for their BW
weapons in the late 70's. Since he emerged from his post-defection
debriefing interregnum I've read some mixed cites about him, though.
He's either the Cassandra of an inevitable bioweapons
catastrophe/semi-holocaust or else...well, the "or else" is hard to pin
down since Alibek has been as detailed as is prudent as to the
burgeoning threat of a widescale biological democide. Yet there are
these murky doubts about him hinted at in various articles, especially
in the last five years or so.

Vance P. Frickey

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Feb 10, 2008, 1:51:49 PM2/10/08
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"Bill Baker" <wab...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:2008021002103816807-wabobo3@yahoocom...

Granted that it's dangerous to take a defector at face
value, just what does Alibek have to gain by walking away
from being the head of the Kazakh special weapons program
(which is what the Russians and the Kazahks decided he would
be before he defected), great wealth, power, prestige... to
come over here and have murky cites written about him by
people whose standing to do so is even more murky.

Occam's Razor. The guy was second-in-command of their BW
effort. He knew what they had when he left. Is it
reasonable to go to the murky cites when you have a simple
explanation - the guy knows what could be coming over the
Arctic Circle at us in ICBM warheads to decimate our cities
(besides nuclear warheads)?

Vance P. Frickey

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Feb 10, 2008, 2:02:58 PM2/10/08
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"Allan Larsen" <ace7...@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:20384-47A...@storefull-3357.bay.webtv.net...

It wasn't well-publicized, if that's what you're asking. At
least one Pulitzer Prize, IIRC, goes back to reporting about
our ocean dumping program. And it eventually ceased after
the late 1960s, when the news about ocean dumping became a
national issue. In the case of phosgene, it was an
intermediate in some chemical syntheses being done in
chemical plants near New Orleans anyway, so... the Navy and
the chemical companies concerned had a wonderful convergence
of interests.

I didn't live near any ocean dumping sites (that I know of,
anyway) - that was done on the East and West coasts - but
people weren't excited about having a train full of phosgene
running through their neighborhoods, if that's what you're
asking. Then again, there was a war on and Not in My Back
Yard wasn't the potent charm it seems to be now. Phosgene
was mother's milk itself compared to some of the other
intermediates (like acrolein) that were made on a continual
basis about eight miles from where I grew up (as the
alligator crawls through the swamp).

You hear a lot of glibness about "the dilution solution" -
relatively tiny amounts of toxins lost in the vast ocean,
but the stuff lands in the benthic layers of the sea, under
cold temperature, high pressure - it could be preserved
extremely well. In the Baltic and other northern European
ocean areas, incidents of fishermen being burned or poisoned
by chemical munitions thrown over the side after World War
II are STILL happening, sixty years later - the Danes and
other countries have rules intended to manage the severity
of these incidents.

John Schilling

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Feb 10, 2008, 8:16:44 PM2/10/08
to

Being head of the Kazakh special weapons program involves
great wealth, power, and prestige?


>to come over here and have murky cites written about him by
>people whose standing to do so is even more murky.

People don't bother to write those sorts of things about
you unless you are famous. Which, at least in the West,
can be fairly easily bartered for wealth and power - even
while one is being slandered.

Which is not to say that wealth, power, and prestige are
Alibek's motives - but if they are, he's going to find more
of them here than he would have in post-Soviet Kazakhstan.


>Occam's Razor. The guy was second-in-command of their BW
>effort. He knew what they had when he left. Is it
>reasonable to go to the murky cites when you have a simple
>explanation - the guy knows what could be coming over the
>Arctic Circle at us in ICBM warheads to decimate our cities
>(besides nuclear warheads)?

Ah, so he decided to move his family to one of those cities?

Really, I don't think one need look any further than the fact
that the government which actually employed Alibek, sent him
on a trip to the United States, and then *ceased to exist*.
Occam's razor suggests we need look no further for an explanation
as to why he went looking for a new job right after that.

As for why he'd chose bestselling author-scientist in the West
over dubiously-employed scientist in a Disunited Soviet Socialist
Republic Named "-Stan", there are so many obvious explanations
for that one that it is probably impossible to deduce Alibek's
actual motives, or guess at his credibility. Pretty much any
honest man in his position, would have done what he did. So
would pretty much any scoundrel.


--
*John Schilling * "Anything worth doing, *
*Member:AIAA,NRA,ACLU,SAS,LP * is worth doing for money" *
*Chief Scientist & General Partner * -13th Rule of Acquisition *
*White Elephant Research, LLC * "There is no substitute *

*John.S...@alumni.usc.edu * for success" *
*661-718-0955 or 661-275-6795 * -58th Rule of Acquisition *

coonass

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Apr 5, 2008, 5:00:18 AM4/5/08
to
On Feb 10, 7:16 pm, John Schilling <schil...@spock.usc.edu> wrote:
> On Sun, 10 Feb 2008 11:51:49 -0700, "Vance P. Frickey"
>
>
>
> <vfric...@safetyricochet.com> wrote:
> >"Bill Baker" <wabo...@yahoo.com> wrote in message

> >news:2008021002103816807-wabobo3@yahoocom...
> >> On 2008-02-09 19:57:33 -0800, "Vance P. Frickey"

I took it as "he decided to get out of a situation he couldn't in good
conscience continue to stay in."

> Really, I don't think one need look any further than the fact
> that the government which actually employed Alibek, sent him
> on a trip to the United States, and then *ceased to exist*.
> Occam's razor suggests we need look no further for an explanation
> as to why he went looking for a new job right after that.
>
> As for why he'd chose bestselling author-scientist in the West
> over dubiously-employed scientist in a Disunited Soviet Socialist
> Republic Named "-Stan", there are so many obvious explanations
> for that one that it is probably impossible to deduce Alibek's
> actual motives, or guess at his credibility. Pretty much any
> honest man in his position, would have done what he did. So
> would pretty much any scoundrel.

All I can say is "read the book" (that would be Alibek's
_Biohazard_). And if you don't believe him, read Tom Mangold's
_Plague Wars_.

Alibek was offered a ministerial-level position as head of the Kazakh
BW program, which would have left him in charge of, among other
facilities, the massive BW manufacturing and ICBM warhead-filling
plant at Stepanogorsk (which we didn't know about until he defected)
and the testing facilities for BW at Resurrection Islamd (nice ironic
touch, huh?). The job wasn't just "scientist," it would have been a
promotion from the deputy directorship he held at Biopreparat to being
head of all the Biopreparat facilities in Kazakhstan, which was a big
job and would have paid him a big salary.

The Russians were pushing him to accept this deal, which under the
rubric of the Commonwealth of Independent States would have meant he
continued to work in the Russian BW program, just in their Kazakh
"subsidiary" (not unlike some of the arrangements we had with Porton
Down in the UK back before the Biological Weapons Convention). He
declined, was pressured to accept, and defected, bringing his family
out. I guess he decided he'd rather they lived in a potential target
city than in a country where they could be threatened to force him in
order to continue working on BW.

Kazahkstan still has a fair-to-middling Russian presence, and BW-
related research continues at laboratories which are staffed mainly by
Russian scientists (PBS has shown much footage of this activity
continuing after the reorganization of Biopreparat and shut down of
the larger BW facilities like Stepanogorsk).

Alibek, if he'd accepted the deal, would have been a big fish in a big
pond - the boss of possibly the largest single BW manufacturing and
research outfit on Earth. Instead, he defected and blew the whistle
on the whole operation, which thanks to Matthew Meselson and folks
like him, was still largely thought not to exist by most people in the
West. (Remember him? "Yellow rain=bee crap"?). Alibek was joined in
defecting by another deputy director of Biopreparat, Vladimir
Pachesnik, who was later murdered in the UK (where he defected).
Thanks to these two men, Biopreparat at least was reorganized and the
larger plants shut down or re-used for non-BW operations.

One of the manufacturing plants with large fermenter tanks to produce
large quantities of BW agents now makes "Siberian Sunshine" vodka. Of
course, it could be refitted as a BW factory with little or no
trouble, because mass production of biologicals - whether synthetic
insulin or BW agents - is basically brewing stuff in big vats.

Vance P. Frickey

unread,
Jan 15, 2013, 12:42:52 AM1/15/13
to
Apologies to John and everyone else for waiting so long to answer this.

I wouldn't bother, but it deserves an answer if only to correct misapprehensions.
On the scale of what the Russian "chocolate eaters" (their formerly-privileged weapons scientists) were getting in the early 1990s? You bet.

This is true only because "head of the Kazakh special weapons program" gave Alibek first call on any Nunn-Lugar money being disbursed to Kazakhstan, which, don't forget, had the massive anthrax factory at Stepanogorsk (huge tanks for fermenting the stuff, huge bunkers where it was dried and prepared for weaponization and placement into ICBM warheads), the Russians' entire BW testing grounds at "Rebirth Island" (catchy name for a place where they tested lethal BW stuff, no?) - a large chunk of Biopreparat's former testing program, really.

> >to come over here and have murky cites written about him by
> >people whose standing to do so is even more murky.
>
> People don't bother to write those sorts of things about
> you unless you are famous. Which, at least in the West,
> can be fairly easily bartered for wealth and power - even
> while one is being slandered.
>
> Which is not to say that wealth, power, and prestige are
> Alibek's motives - but if they are, he's going to find more
> of them here than he would have in post-Soviet Kazakhstan.
>
>
> >Occam's Razor. The guy was second-in-command of their BW
> >effort. He knew what they had when he left. Is it
> >reasonable to go to the murky cites when you have a simple
> >explanation - the guy knows what could be coming over the
> >Arctic Circle at us in ICBM warheads to decimate our cities
> >(besides nuclear warheads)?
>
> Ah, so he decided to move his family to one of those cities?

Yeah, because his choices were limited to two, considering that he'd decided to quit the Russian Army and publicize their continuing to make biological weapons:

- leave Russia and/or Kazakhstan with his family and take his chances as a protected Federal witness here;

or

- remain there and have his family used as hostages to his continuing to work on BW for Russia (or as a contractor to Russia in Kazakhstan, the plan Biopreparat had for him according to his book).

What would you do?


> Really, I don't think one need look any further than the fact
> that the government which actually employed Alibek, sent him
> on a trip to the United States, and then *ceased to exist*.
> Occam's razor suggests we need look no further for an explanation
> as to why he went looking for a new job right after that.
>
> As for why he'd chose bestselling author-scientist in the West
> over dubiously-employed scientist in a Disunited Soviet Socialist
> Republic Named "-Stan", there are so many obvious explanations
> for that one that it is probably impossible to deduce Alibek's
> actual motives, or guess at his credibility. Pretty much any
> honest man in his position, would have done what he did. So
> would pretty much any scoundrel.

John, just what do you figure the royalties on Biohazard ARE, anyway?

Everyone equates writing a highly-publicized book with instant and enduring wealth, but it doesn't work that way unless you're Michael Crichton, can write good screenplays, pitch them to Hollywood and thus get into the income stream there.

Instead, he went into business, made some friends, and some enemies. The Los Angeles Times chose to believe his enemies and published a story on him which was pretty hurtful to him, his family, and associates. Some of Alibek's claims were outre by Western scientific standards, and would have finished him in science had he not published confirmation of some of them in peer-reviewed Western journals.

I'm not saying Alibek's not a controversial guy. Basically, I'm agreeing with you that it's difficult to judge whether Alibek is a good guy, a bad guy, unjustly maligned or a hype artist.

In the absence of any hard and fast information to the contrary, I think most people in his position would have just remained quiet, put Biopreparat's money in his pocket, and done what he was told to do. It's VERY hard to see a self-serving motive for his running away from being a major officer in Russia's biological warfare research and production effort. He'd have been a patriot by most people's lights in his country, doing well while doing good.

I feel Alibek deserves credit for a degree of altruism in what he did instead.

Bubba

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Jan 18, 2013, 9:54:44 PM1/18/13
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Cowards, all of them. The entire military industry is run by cowards.

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dmde...@aol.com

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May 20, 2017, 3:51:21 AM5/20/17
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On Monday, January 28, 2008 at 5:25:00 PM UTC-6, rfd...@optonline.net wrote:
> With all due respect to an individual who obviously knows his or her stuff, and
> I thoroughly enjoy their posts here, but may I ask who is Carey Sublette? Just
> curious. Thanks.

Whoever Carey is that wrote the article on polonium poisoning, you forgot to mention Yassar Arafat. So, does that mean he is a Jew? No one that knows about nuclear weaponry would NOT know about Arafat unless they are hiding their connection to his murder.
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