back to article Football horns could spread Black Death, says Interpol chief

Bioterrorists stand poised to unleash plague bacteria, killing "thousands, even millions" with the aid of "hundreds of simple horns, the kind that children use at sporting events", Interpol secretary general Ron Noble appeared to claim last week. Speaking in Lyon, sane and rational Ron was kicking off a measured and realistic …

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Stop

and he knows this because?

the fairies told him while he was swimming in a lake of chocolate in la-la-land.

abs-o-lute b0ll0x.

The Power of Nightmares, anyone?

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Flame

And so could my backside

My mistake that's the brown gas death.

Seriously, what planet are these people on? Do they believe that the terrorists in their Afghan coats (sorry caves) spend all day dreaming of ways to distribute deadly diseases which they don't have due the technological difficulties in actuallt building a facility.

Then they have to work on the means of distributing said virus, plague or whatever it is they've created.

Loonies like him should be locked away and let normal people just get on with their lives rather than 'worry about the next corner which inevitably has a terrorists lurking round it'

Bliar and Bush have a lot to answer for

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Paris Hilton

And still the 'terrorism' hysteria continues...

I remember watching a programme a couple of years back about how the neocons in the US were able to push through masses of their reforms and agendas by bigging up the 'threat from terrorism'. Now it's over here, and it's even worse. 56 day detention, ID cards being forced on us (I still don't understand how that would stop terror clowns), control orders, no parking in front of airports (that already have anti-car bomb bollards in place).

At least El Reg is a bastion of (some) common sense when it comes to this. The fact is we've managed perfectly well with terrorists in the past (remember the IRA), and we don't need the government to clamp down on our civil liberties any more, thank you very much.

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Gold badge
Joke

Bioterror alert!

I'd just like to say that I have come into posession of documents that show that bioweapon-laden air horns exist now and are being mass-produced at a secret facilty in a cave somewhere in the NW frontier.

Ban them now, before it's too late.

Please, pretty please?

(Anything for a quiet life).......

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Ash
Flame

Terrorist

1. a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.

2. a person who terrorizes or frightens others.

Terrorism isn't dropping bombs or blowing up buildings or spreading disease. Terrorism is making sure everyone knows how scared they should be of the prospect of these things occurring.

The only way that happens is by pricks like this opening their mouths.

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Stop

Icon

I think el reg needs an icon for over hyped terrorisim related crappy news stories. These guys are idiots who come up with the stupidest excuses for justifying their overly large budgets.

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Paris Hilton

You do have to wonder if these Anti-Terrorist folks

missed their calling as Hollywood script writers.

They seem intent on conjuring up scenarios for episodes of 24 and new sequels of Die Hard, generally based on little other than their over-active imaginations

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Anonymous Coward

Be Alert!

Your country needs lerts

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Thumb Down

Yeah but no

"The attack itself is not particularly sophisticated. It does not rely on advanced scientific expertise, large amounts of money, or elaborate laboratories."

Erm, except that it is, and it does.

How to use plague as a bioweapon :

1) Get plague

2) Weaponise plague (it will need to be resistant to all antibiotics, current and in development, and you'll need to up the lethality and shorten the incubation period)

3) Culture plague in sufficient quantity

4) Engineer and manufacture a delivery system.

5) Organise delivery

Now I'm neither a scientist nor an engineer, but I think it's plain to see that at least steps 2 and 3 require a fair amount of scientific knowledge, plus a big wad of cash to buy equipment. I'm afraid that contrary to this pricks assessment, you will need a decent set of lab facilities and personnel even to do the culturing without either fucking it up or killing yourself.

The weaponisation you can forget unless you have a couple of Molecular Bio PhDs with experience in the field, and an even better and safer lab. And a really long time.

I can't see step 4 being a walk in the park either, since it requires you to be able to manufacture your delivery system in quantity, so again we're talking machine shops and engineers, except that they'll also need to be very special engineers, and the machine shop will presumably need a decent level of biocontainment.

Even a complete retard can see that such an attack needs, exactly and specifically, "advanced scientific expertise, large amounts of money, [and] elaborate laboratories", or at least any retard not working AT for Interpol, anyway.

What saddens me is that the population at large is buying into this utter shite.

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Quips?

No disease-riddled horn quips yet? Ahem - I have one in my trousers already, seems to terrorise the ladies. *barumph-tish*

Surely this is as much comedy as the nonsense the government spews out. Oh, and it's Brown and Bush now, not Blair. Pay attention.

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3x2

The Threat from DIY

This is what happens when the Writers Guild of America go on strike and people have to script their own threats.

He should have contacted me as the designer of Credible Threat (TM) (available for Windows XP, Linux and Mac). Utilizing of course my patented Dual Core 10^9 Monkeys Scenario Generation Technology (TM).

Short of the getting the WGA back to work it really would have been his best option.

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Boffin

full of bull, as usual

As it happens, I have a PhD in bacteriology, and as far as I can make out:

1) it's difficult to get your hands on a really nasty bacterium/fungus/virus

2) it's very difficult to grow in large quantities, and to make sure it doesn't kill you before "delivery"

3) it's very very difficult to weaponize it without specialist knowledge, that is mostly available in western army labs

4) I'll leave engineers to explain how very very very difficult it is to industrially produce (e.g.) football horns/tamagotchis/some other crap that you'll be able to sell to football fans, all the while carrying a really nasty pathogen.

In fact if, unlike the anthrax clown in the US, you have no access to a culture collection (and they are VERY particular with pathogens), just step 1) would take several years and PhDs (trust me, I'm a doctor). It's just easier to break into a construction site and steal good ol' explosives, as the Corsicans became specialists of in France. But I guess the "Fear Factor(tm)" just isn't the same.

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Black Helicopters

Shhhhhhhh..

..for god's sake don't let on that you don't believe their fearmongering bollocks.

Some sane souls tried playing down the 'extreme threat' of bioterrorism in the USA and shortly afterwards people were getting anthrax in the mail - anthrax, incidentally, which (if I recall correctly) was suspected tohave came from somewhere within the US bio 'defence' or intelligence community.

It's akin to foot-and-mouth 'accidentally' escaping from the labs of the people who charge an arm and a leg to protect your animals from foot-and-mouth.

It can hardly come as a surprise when it happens for exactly the same reason you don't pay fire-fighters by the number of fires that they put out then issue them with flamethrowers just in case it gets dark or something.

Think of the Iranian nuclear weapons program or Iraq's weapons of mass destruction - just because it doesn't actually exist is no reason for our governments not to give a pile of cash to their buddies, clamp down on those pesky freedoms of thought and action and bomb a load of foreign people into mince in order to put a stop to it.

There is a twisted logic to it all - "We spent a fortune, locked you all up without charge and killed thousands of innocent people but as a result the giant space goat has still not eaten the planet, in fact we've not even seen it hanging round our galaxy yet, so vote for us again and give us more money because we're great!"

What really sucks is that more people seemingly fall for it than don't.

Then again, any species that falls for all that God guff..

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Unhappy

One of the other minor points...

It's easy to be brave about a 'suicide' attack when it involves little if any pain as the explosives go off. In reality you probably don't even perceive anything happen.

A lingering painful death from exposure to a chemical or biological agent is a lot less tempting. And you'd probably now it was in store 'cos you'd have to do at least some testing before attempting delivery. So volunteers are likely to be thin on the ground.

Plus people will always take the simple option, especially the type of person who'd get involved in this lunacy in the first place. Things that go bang - easy to get, easy to assemble, easy to deliver. Other possibilities are just too much effort.

In any case, the truly sophisticated skip straight past complex weapons straight to the *threat* of what they could do. Much simpler, much cheaper, very little risk, and much more effective. Especially as the other side will do most of your work for you!

I just look forward to the day in 20 years time when the madness has passed, and we can look back and wonder what we were up to. Though the scary thing is things might actually get worse.

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Black Helicopters

@PhD in bacteriology

well the UK quarries are out as most have moved to liquid explosives, delivered "JIT",and having a PhD is no good if your name happens to be on the NoFly guess list.= Mohammed Sajid

{http://209.85.129.104/search?q=cache:AQn7NlXG5wgJ:www.thescientist.com/article/home/53418/+%22Have+science,+can%27t+travel%22+zielinska&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=3} (spliffing-long cache url to avoid website registration)

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Black Helicopters

The Media

For Terror per $ spent and security risked, manpower lost, time taken, biological, chemical or nuclear has to be he way forward to continue maximising returns into 2008/9

A badly maintained air conditioner at an arts centre in Cumbria infected 157 people and killed 7 just by them walking past the external vent. No terror lable means low Media interest.

600 people probably died in Iraq from the war last month, media coverage cannot continue to report boring news, even explosives are boring now.

Even if an bio attack gets half the hit rate, the attackers need the media and the goernment to create terror and fear in the public which costs Billions to do properly and full attention from everyone without other stories taking over.

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... and I /could/ win the lottery

Sure, both are possible, but how bloody likely is either one to occur?

Instead of crying "Wolf!" at every turn and needlessly frightening the children and horses, shouldn't TPTB focus their energies on preventing scenarious that (a) are likely to happen, and (b) have a high possible kill/ injury rate? Like, oh I dunno, blowing up chemical refineries or derailing trains pulling tank cars of who- knows- what through populated areas, maybe? Sounds like someone slipped notes from a "think way outside the box" scenario- spinning beer- and- bull session into the Interpol Big Cheese's public appearance strategy and his minions didn't catch the slip-up.

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Boffin

But terror gets you money...

...and a disease outbreak started by terrorists, as a training exercise, is just as useful as an outbreak of bird flu. If you're doing disaster planning, there's a lot of stuff that's going to be the same. Bird flu is a virus, which is an important difference, but the problems of dealing with thousands of corpses loaded with deadly germs are going to be the same.

If they have any sense, while the numbers used to drive the exercise will be pretty horrific, nobody is going to mention a bug that looks as though it might work.

It's like the way the military, in exercises, had the enemy behaving like the Russians, but they never called them that. BAOR had the Fantasians, and the biowar people have plague.

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E

Other dire threats

Tainted toilet paper - pretty intimate delivery system

Tainted tampons - ...

Tainted cutlery at retail

Tainted table ware at retail

Tainted intelligence

Keyboards sold with contact poinson on the keys

My god, it could be anything... anywhere... we better all wrap ourselves in plastic and stop breathing.

I think the tainted intelligence is the biggest risk here. Indeed I think the attack has already happened.

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Dead Vulture

@Yeah but no

The Other Steve, you aught to be taken out and shot for crimes against the english language. The word "weaponisation" should be band forth-with.

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Harrison Ford

Erm... This was almost the exact plot of Tom Clancy's "Executive Orders" - I acknowledge all of the experts' comments, however Clancy does his homework and he made a good case that a *state sponsored* terrorist organisation might well be able to have a fair crack at making this work.

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Boffin

ah, those horns...

I'm glad I read TeeCee's remark - up until then, I'd got a picture of someone running around in one of those fake viking helmets with the horns. I was wondering how that classed as an effective delivery mechanism.

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@ Joe Stalin

I agree.

"Weaponisation" does sound like a good name for a banned.

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Pirate

Three Waters

Has anyone either read the comic or seen the film.... "Vendetta"?

According to this, it is more likely that such terror would be unleashed by a government, than a terrorist.

If they thought for one moment that they could keep something like this under control, they would.

It is their little way of persuading us that we need them (as if) more than they need us.

It is not as though they do not have enough of our money to pay for it.

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If nothing else...

All this bioterror fear makes a convenient excuse to continue manufacturing your own biological weapons (for research and defense) regardless of what certain treaties might say.

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ooh! I've got one!

I've got the perfect terror plot here!

How about pretending that there is this major threat, then while people are really scared the politicians can pass more and more laws to make the place into a police state? Those in charge could even implement ludicrous things like arbitrary detention, make torture legal again, and every so often make sure the police shoots someone and spins it as having saved us from another terrorist!

Pretty soon the public is either clamouring for more police protection and more intrusive laws, which of course those in charge are all too willing to supply.

In the final phase, you spread a rumour that voting ballots have been contaminated with anthrax and that polling stations and ballot boxes have been booby trapped. This allows those in charge to cancel elections completely.

I realise the story starts out pretty unrealistically, but the ending sort of fits in.

yeah. right.

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Ah, that means...

...they want to ban these horns at sporting events and need an excuse for doing so, so the public won't complain about having yet another bit of fun taken away. After all, it's to protect us from Goldstein (oops I mean bin Laden), isn't it?

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