al Qaeda's
Weapons of Mass Hysteria



Smallpox could be a devastating weapon in the hands of a bioterrorist, a new scientific study suggests. Researchers at the UK's Porton Down laboratory estimated the vulnerability of today's population to smallpox and used historical data from Europe and North America to model a modern outbreak. They concluded the infection would spread rapidly, with each infected individual passing the disease to between six and 12 others. [BBC News]

In reality...


An effective cure for smallpox

Charles A. R. Campbell discovered the cause and cure of smallpox. Through a series of carefully controlled experiments (even using himself as a subject) Dr. Campbell, along with Dr. J. A. Watts, discovered that smallpox, like yellow fever and malaria, was transmitted by an insect, cimex lectularius (Latin for bedbug). They also discovered that the disease was neither contagious nor infectious and that vaccinations did not prevent it.

Even more importantly, Dr. Campbell discovered that the severity of the disease was directly proportional to the general ill health and malnutrition of the patient. He spoke of "scorbutic cachexia" and related it to scurvy, the "disease caused by lack of green food." (Bacteria, Inc., Cash Asher, Bruce Humphries, Inc., Boston, MA, 1949). [Full Details]



American operatives in Afghanistan have collected evidence that al-Qaeda, the terror group headed by Osama Bin Laden, may have stockpiled anthrax spores in Afghanistan. [Times of India]

In reality...

Anthrax is not a good terror weapon. It was developed by the United States (which still holds the world's largest stockpiles of weapons grade Anthrax) as a battlefield weapon, because there is no possibility of runaway infection. Anthrax has no secondary communicability. People who have the disease cannot give it to others around them. One must be directly exposed to the spores to get the disease. [Full Details]

Dirty Bomb


Radiological dispersal devices, commonly known as dirty bombs, are more within the reach of al-Qaeda's capabilities. An RDD is essentially a conventional weapon that when detonated spreads radioactive material over a wide area, thus contaminating it. []

In reality...

The radiation dose from a dirty bomb would likely be relatively small, says the Rochester health scientist. Even a potent dirty bomb, consisting of a radioactive cobalt-60 rod used for food irradiation, for example, would deliver an average dose of a few tenths of a rem for people within a half-mile radius, he says. (A rem is a unit of radiation dose.) This compares to the 0.3-0.4 rem average dose per year that a person receives from natural sources, and 5 rem, the typical annual dose limit for nuclear and radiation workers (most radiation workers receive less than 1 rem of exposure annually). [Full Details]

See also:

Osama bin Laden - A Weapon of Mass Convenience
Is 'Al Qaeda' the Modern Incarnation of 'Emmanuel Goldstein'?


What Really Happened