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Terrorism

What Happens If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off in Manhattan?

Manhatten skyline. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Image: Manhatten skyline. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

theatlantic.com - March 15th 2017 - Kaveh Waddell

On a quiet afternoon, two medium-sized nuclear blasts level portions of Manhattan.

If this were a movie, hordes of panicked New Yorkers would pour out into the streets, running around and calling out for their loved ones. But reality doesn’t usually line up with Hollywood’s vision of a disaster scene, says William Kennedy, a professor in the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University. 

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Bill Gates Warns Tens of Millions Could be Killed by Bio-Terrorism

           

Bio-terrorism could kill 30 million people in a year, says Bill Gates

Microsoft founder and philanthropist tells Munich security conference genetic engineering could be terrorist weapon

theguardian.com - Bill Gates / Ewen MacAskill - February 18, 2017

A chilling warning that tens of millions of people could be killed by bio-terrorism was delivered at the Munich security conference by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates

Gates, who has spent much of the last 20 years funding a global health campaign, said: “We ignore the link between health security and international security at our peril.”

Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who has spent billions in a philanthropic drive to improve health worldwide, said: “The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus ... or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”

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CLICK HERE - Munich Security Conference

 

 

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It Looks Like Russia Purposefully Bombed a Base Used by the US to Force Washington's Hand in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly spoke with Obama by phone in early July and confirmed the plan that will involve enhanced sharing of information about al-Nusra's positions in Syria. Reuters

CLICK HERE - Terms of Reference for the Joint Implementation Group (8 page .PDF file)

businessinsider.com - by Natasha Bertrand - July 23, 2016

Russian warplanes bombed a garrison used by US and British forces in Syria twice last month, despite being warned by a US surveillance aircraft flying nearby that the base was not occupied or being used by members of ISIS.

The airstrikes — which hit the base in southeastern Syria just 24 hours after 20 British special forces had left and killed four US-backed rebels — appear to have been Moscow's way of pressuring the US into sharing military intelligence and coordinating more closely with the Russians in Syria, The Wall Street Journal's Adam Entous reported. . . .

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Orlando Nightclub Shooting: Mass Casualties After Gunman Opens Fire

At least 50 people were killed and more than 50 others were wounded when a gunman opened fire and took hostages at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning.

The shooter, identified by several law enforcement sources as Omar Mateen, 29, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement after a three-hour siege.

The massacre — the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States — began when the gunman stormed the Pulse Nightclub about 2 a.m. ET with an AR-15 type rifle and a handgun, officials said.

CLICK HERE - Tampa Bay Times - LIVE - BREAKING COVERAGE OF THE PULSE NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA

CLICK HERE - NBC News

CLICK HERE - CNN - LIVE Blog

CLICK HERE - CNN - Timeline of Orlando nightclub shooting

CLICK HERE - The New York Times - Mass Shooting at Pulse Florida Nightclub: Live Updates

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President Obama visits Hiroshima, speaks out against nuclear weapons

The Hiroshima Memorial.

Image: The Hiroshima Memorial.

inhabitat.com - May 30th 2016 - Lacy Cooke

About 71 years after the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, President Obama visited the site and placed a wreath before the cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. It is the first visit by a “sitting U.S. President.” Both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama delivered speeches, and Obama spoke out against nuclear weapons.

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Worldwide Travel Alert | U. S. Department of State

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.

travel.state.gov - November 23, 2015

Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.  This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.  In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali.  ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. 

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What Did the U.S. Learn from Ebola? How to Prepare for Bioterrorist Attacks

FOREIGN POLICY  by Siobhán O'Grady                        April 13, 2015
When the Ebola virus spread from Guinea to Sierra Leone and Liberia last spring, the initial international response was labeled a failure. By the time President Barack Obama ordered troops to the affected countries in September, more than 2,400 people were dead.

But in the United States, where major hospitals prepared for an outbreak, there were only four in-country diagnoses, one of which resulted in a death. And some see the urgency of that response as a lesson in how the government can prepare for another public health hazard: a bioterrorist attack.

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally chairs a House subcommittee that will examine over the next few months the threat of bioterrorist attacks and U.S. preparedness to respond to them. She told Foreign Policy that even if a disease outbreak and the use of a biological agent in a coordinated attack are not completely analogous, the response strains similar systems.

“We can learn lessons from other outbreaks that are naturally occurring,” she said. “We can identify weaknesses in our response and even if it wasn’t terrorism, it presses the system at the same level....”

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Obama Is Right: Climate Change Kills More People Than Terrorism

Map of vulnerability to climate change.Image: Map of vulnerability to climate change.

newrepublic.com - February 11th 2015 - Rebecca Leber

In an interview with Vox this week, President Barack Obama said the media “absolutely” overstates the risk of terrorism, when climate change and epidemics affect far more people. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest elaborated on Obama’s remarks on Tuesday, saying that “[t]here are many more people on an annual basis who have to confront the impact of climate change or the spread of a disease” than have to face terrorism.

Conservatives like Mike Huckabee ridicule Obama for linking climate change to national security.

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Use of Ebola virus as bioterror weapon highly unlikely: Experts

HOMELAND SECURITY NEWS WIRE                                                             Nov. 11, 2014

Francisco Martinez, Spain’s state secretary for security, claimed that ISIS fighters are planning to carry out “lone wolf” attacks using biological weapons. He cites conversations uncovered from secret chat rooms used by would-be militants.

 Bioterrorism experts say the use of Ebola for bioterrorism is highly unlikely.  “Assuming a terrorist organization manages to capture a suitable Ebola host, extract the virus, weaponize the virus, transport the virus to a populated city and deliver the virus, it is entirely likely that the sub-optimal climatic conditions of a Western city will kill it off relatively quickly,” says one expert.
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http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20141111-use-of-ebola-virus-as-bioterror-weapon-highly-unlikely-experts

CNN                                                                                                               Nov. 11, 2014

Meanwhile, in Wellington New Zealand, three suspicious packages with a reference to Ebola were sent to the Parliament  building, the US embassy, and a newspaper in what appeared to be a hoax.

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Jihadi Online Chatter Discusses Using Ebola as Weapon Against the West

HOMELAND SECURITY TODAY                                                        Oct. 3, 2014

By: Anthony Kimery, Editor-in-Chief

 Jihadists and supporters of the Islamic State have stepped up discussions on jihadist social media websites about the possibility and ease of using Ebola, as well as other virulent pathogens and poisons, as weapons against the US and the West, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) said Friday.

Homeland Security Today first reported on August 4 that US counterterrorism officials were concerned that African-based, Al Qaeda-tied ihadist groups might try to take advantage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by sending Ebola infected “bio-martyrs” to the US. The officials said they could be members of Al Shabaab -- who have been caught this past year trying to enter the US through the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, according to intelligence sources -- Nigeria’s savage Boko Haram or Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

... officials discussed their concerns with Homeland Security Todayat the time because, they explained, the terrorist component of a pandemic “must” be taken into any response planning consideration “because it changes the dynamics of a natural pandemic and requires considerably different planning and far more resources to deal with it,” as one explained. 

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