Afghan Refugees Infected By BioWeapons?
Vol: 2 Issue: 30 Friday, November 30, 2001
Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor is reporting today that Pakistan and Iran indicate either a viral pandemic may be brewing among Afghan refugees, or former Soviet biological weapons have made their first appearance.
In Pakistan, at least 75 people have been diagnosed in Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province, with Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in the largest outbreak of the disease ever recorded. Eight have already died.
All the infected are refugees recently arrived from Afghanistan or people living close to the border. An isolation ward surrounded by barbed wire has been established at the Fatima Jinnah chest and general hospital in Quetta.
Ali-Safar Makaanali, head of Iran s Border Quarantines, has confirmed that Iranian health officials are also dealing with an outbreak of the virus, with more than 100 citizens having been infected. Iranian health authorities have established 40 quarantine bases on the border in an attempt to halt the spread of the disease.
More than 100 mobile quarantine bases have been set up, and 39 hospitals have been prepared to cope with patients. The virus has a mortality rate of over 50 per cent, damaging arteries, veins and other blood vessels before leading to the collapse of major organs, eventually causing its victim to die of internal bleeding. The disease is highly infectious and can be transmitted via contact with infected individuals.
The USSR’s bioweapons lab, Biopreparat intensively studied biological weapons and maintained a bank of 10,000 of the most dangerous and exotic viruses known, including smallpox, Ebola and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Many intelligence analysts believe that Osama bin Laden acquired biological weapons agents from Kazakh arms dealers.
Russia Upgrades Armored Fighting Vehicles
Earlier this year, the Russian Army revealed several new prototype modernization packages at a military demonstration held at the NIII-21 facility at Bronnitsy, near Moscow. Russian manufacturers demonstrated upgraded versions of the venerable BTR-70 and BRDM-2 armored fighting vehicles (AFVs), plus a new air-defense package for mounting on light AFVs.
Army Upgrading Thermal Imagers
The US Army is considering a horizontal technology integration (HTI) program for uncooled thermal imagers to complement the one already being conducted for their cooled counterparts, according to John Spadafore, Product Director for Close Combat Systems. The proposed HTI effort would provide a standard ‘B-kit’ that would be mated with system-specific ‘A-kits’ for use in programs such as Land Warrior, Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (ENVG), Multi-Sensor Uncooled Thermal Weapon Sight and small unmanned aerial vehicles.
BadTrans b. Internet Worm
A new and particularly devious computer virus called Badtrans b. has been infecting computers with a computer worm that can capture a computer users keystrokes or give a hacker access to a computer. It also sends out the information about the infected computer to a Hotmail account.
It then sends itself out to all unread messages in a person’s inbox. This e-mailing process will not begin until the computer has been rebooted. A user does not have to view or open the infected file to become infected. Major anti-virus software companies like Symantec and McAfee have posted updates to detect the worm. Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express are vulnerable.
Cyberczar Announces Cyber Warning Network
Richard Clarke, special adviser on cyberspace security to President George Bush, said an early-warning network called the Cyber Warning and Information Network (CWIN) would at first be a voice system that would link major computer-network operation centers and the information-sharing and assurance centers (ISACs) that represent critical infrastructure sectors, such as financial services, telecommunications and transportation.
CWIN would be modeled after the existing National Operations and Intelligence Watch Offices Network, which connects senior officials at the Pentagon, the National Security Agency, the White House, the State Department and the CIA by phone within 15 seconds.