Friday, September 14, 2007

Another Type of Abuse,Neglect and Negligence by U.S. Intelligence Community

by Jerry Gordon interview with Dr.Jill Dekker

When news leaked out of the September 6th Israeli Air Force and commando raid on a Syrian Nuclear facility followed by revelations about the deaths of dozens of Iranians and Syrians in a Chemical warfare missile accident in July the world was jarred.Recently, it was revealed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) had aided Syria in its chemical warfare programs.

I noted in a recent interview with former US UN Ambassador John Bolton his early concerns about the Syrian Bio Warfare threat. Questions arose, specifically about the size, nature and danger of the Syrian bio-warfare military programs.For answers and professional views on how extensive the Syrian bio-warfare threat is, we turned to Dr. Jill Dekker, a consultant to the NATO Defense Establishment in bio-warfare and counter terrorism.

Dr. Dekker is also a member of the board of advisors of the Intelligence Summit.Dr. Dekker’s answers give a foreboding picture of how large and refined the Syrian bio-warfare programs are and how little Western Intelligence knows about how the programs were developed.

For answers and professional views on how extensive the Syrian bio-warfare threat is, we turned to Dr. Jill Dekker, a consultant to the NATO Defense Establishment in bio-warfare and counter terrorism. Dr. Dekker is also a member of the board of advisors of the Intelligence Summit.

Dr. Dekker’s answers give a foreboding picture of how large and refined the Syrian bio-warfare programs are and how little Western Intelligence knows about how the programs were developed. The potential exists for a significant WMD threat in the Middle East and the West, especially, against America.

Syria is a proxy ally of Iran, North Korea (DPRK) and terror groups such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Thus, the supply of bio-weapons and delivery platforms that could results in mass casualties makes it a real and present danger.

We were pleased that Dr. Dekker took time out from her professional work to answer questions about the Syrian bio-warfare establishment and WMD threat.

Jill Dekker: In 2001, when the US suffered its anthrax attacks, everything changed. We went from looking at bio-safety as an aspect of protecting workers and the environment, to bio-security and trying to safe-guard High Consequence Pathogens mainly in P3 and P4 facilities from terrorists.

I now focus on state supported bio-terrorism whereby pathogens don’t need to be stolen or diverted. A state warfare lab, such as exists in Iran and Syria today, could easily provide their terrorist surrogates with the most advanced biological agents for covert operations. This is far more likely and would be far more devastating in terms of kill ratios than some lone terrorist group trying to weaponize pathogens without state support or a warfare laboratory

in Afghanistan, you may recall, the US recovered documents which Al Qaeda had on their bio-programs. I moved from an interest in bio-safety and bio-security to looking at the threat state biological warfare labs pose and the types of criteria we need to assess them. Most biological weapons research is dual use.

Contrary to how the US State Department and other agencies tend to downplay the sophistication of the Syrian biological and nuclear programs, they are very advanced. Syria has always had the most advanced chemical weapons program in the Middle East.

The US and other western agencies have in a sense been distracted by this, but their biological programs and the “concept of use” are robust. Syria’s biological weapons capability today is closely tied to the former and current Soviet and Russian programs respectively, the DPRK, Iran and the former Iraq regime. A major concern is their strategic concept of use - which has gone from one of ‘special weapons’ to incorporation into their ‘conventional arsenal.’ That is a significant shift and one that seems to have eluded the US.

Dekker: The Syrians work on most Category A pathogens: anthrax, plague, tularemia, botulinium, smallpox, aflotoxin, cholera, ricin, camelpox. Some of these they acquired during natural outbreaks, others they acquired from the Soviets, Russians, DPRK, Iran and Iraq.

US intelligence agencies denied the Soviets could possibly have such a massive program - even after the defection of high level scientists- such Vladimir Pasechnik. You have to wonder at what point they are going to sharpen up and see that nations like Syria also have a robust advanced biological weapons program.

Gordon: We heard that some of the late Saddam Hussein’s Bio-warfare research and pathogens may have been transferred to Syria during Operation Enduring Freedom. Is that accurate to your knowledge, and who facilitated the transfer? What types of bio-warfare agents and materials might have been transferred?

Dekker: Yes. It is important to remember that the Iraqi programs were far more advanced at the time than what the Syrians had, and were developing. The delivery of certain pathogens in a ‘weaponized’ form taught the Syrians new techniques they previously had not mastered. This is very problematic.

What Hussein’s transfer taught the Syrians was more sophisticated ways of weaponization and dispersal. I believe Russian special ops- their Spetsnaz teams - transported sections of the programs. Remember these are not MIRVed ICBM’s we are talking about - you don’t need to stockpile biological weapons. It is the quality of the pathogen and ‘weaponization’ or aerosolization, milling processes that count, not the quantity.

If you take something like Bot - I gram of crystalline Botulinium is estimated to kill about a million people if it were evenly dispersed

Gordon: To your knowledge what pathogens and toxins are the Syrian bio-warfare establishment developing and what is their propensity to produce mass casualties?

Dekker: Syria posesses Category A, B, and C pathogens and toxins. To my knowledge the most problematic

A particular issue I have with smallpox research conducted in rogue states is that these programs most likely are not based on vaccine preventable strains. So the US national strategic stockpile of smallpox vaccine, which has cost the US tax payers billions of dollars to stockpile, may be totally non-efficacious against a battle strain developed in Syria, Iran or the DPRK.

It creates a false sense of security to think that out of 128 strains, only four (the most prevalent previously naturally occurring strains) are the ones rogue states would choose to reintroduce smallpox. It is naive to think that states developing weapons of mass destruction are going to select a strain we can prevent. The Soviets ramped up their work on smallpox once they knew the WHO had declared it eradicated and that the United States had ceased vaccination against it.
Dekker: The Syrian biological warfare programs are administratively run under the SSRC in Damascus. They have one of the most highly developed pharmaceutical industries in the Mid East.

Gordon: What means of delivery does Syria have available for its bio weapons?

Dekker: Well they’ve mastered micro-encapsulation which is necessary for aerosol dispersal. They have experimented with parachute dispersal techniques for orthopox based on Soviet methods. They are also developing micro aerosol dispersal technologies which have no military application. This is probably the most alarming as it is designed for terrorist use.

The Syrians are perfecting advanced dispersal technologies that will be for use against civilians but far more sophisticated than the use of a crop duster.

Gordon: How much of a threat is the Syrian Bio-warfare capability to Israel and US forces in the Middle East, e.g. Iraq?

Dekker: Syria poses an immediate and imminent threat to the United States and Israel. it may be possible for Syria to contaminate water distribution systems with a pathogen like Crypto which is impervious to chlorine and will pass through most filtration systems. Such a contamination could infect significant sections of a population.

Even in the United States, there have been natural outbreaks. There is no treatment available, so it could have quite an impact. There are other concerns such as the use of pre-deployed biological agents in the event that Iran is attacked by the United States. Again, here we should pay close attention to how the Soviets planned for Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). They planned their smallpox program specifically in the event of MAD so that smallpox would wipe out whoever was left. It’s not beyond reason to consider that the Syrians and Iranians have engaged in such contingency planning

Gordon: How much does the US Bio-warfare establishment and intelligence community know about the Syrian Bio-warfare threat?

Dekker: It is similar to the US negligent underestimation and denial that the Soviets had a massive biological weapons program. The US Intelligence Community negligently underestimates and denies the sophistication of the Syrian biological weapons programs which is very unfortunate.

Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton has tried since 2001 to warn the US about the threat the Syrian biological weapons programs poses. His warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

The US public needs to be informed that the intelligence community is falling far short here in protecting them.

Other US allies are not, they are up to speed. Again as an American citizen it is unbelievable to see such negligence in the US intelligence community. Having lived in Europe for 20 years and working as a defense consultant on Category A warfare agents, this is not the standard approach of other NATO nations. There is something deeply disturbing with the US approach. Time will tell as unfortunately it did with 9/11.

Gordon: In your opinion, what has prevented the US from recognizing the significance of the Syrian bio-warfare threat and developing effective counter measures?

Dekker: I believe there is a specific mind-set within the US intelligence community which makes it difficult for them to procure sources in the Middle East and of course the lack of language ability..their approach is not reassuring.

they have not taken appropriate defensive measures in view of the potential consequences of a WMD attack, they have left the US exposed.

The US relies heavily on technology and has done so for a number of years. Biological weapons cannot be assessed by satellites anymore. Perhaps during the old Soviet era but now science has moved beyond this. I believe the US incompetence in this field and its arrogance could eventually lead to a successful strike on the US by a rogue nation-possibly in the very near future.

Another problem for the United States their failure to inform the US public on the real threat they face. The smallpox program is a case in point. The US may not be able to protect its citizens with its ‘treasured’ national strategic stockpile of smallpox vaccine. Who wants to be the one to come out and announce that to the US public?

Who wants to say they have no idea how advanced the Syrian Botulinium or Plague programs are because they don’t have any access? It would be very unpopular if the US public knew they were potentially defenseless and that the people charged with protecting them had dropped the ball again. What is disconcerting is they don’t seem to be able to recognize, acknowledge and correct their prior mistakes, If they don’t start taking Mid-East biological weapons programs more seriously the U.S. is likely to suffer far worse attacks than 9/11. The US intelligence community is inadequately equipped to deal with this threat.

Gordon: Could Bio-weapons developed by the Syrian military establishment be used as WMD producing significant mass casualties in Israel, the EU and here in America?

Dekker: Yes, Syria is very good at conducting covert operations. They have a number of technologies available which they could provide to either Special Forces or terrorists who could release them in airports, other transportation hubs, airplane ventilation systems and that would cause mass casualties.

I certainly believe they have very advanced biological weapons capabilities and we are at a point where there really aren’t any technological obstacles for them to overcome in dispersal or deployment. This is why intelligence is so vital in this area. It is probably the last line of defense, so to neglect it, or deny that one should allocate resources for prevention, is odd. Some biological weapons use pathogens which don’t need to be ‘weaponized’.

Of all the countries Israel is by far the most prepared to handle the release of biological weapons. The nations of Western Europe are unevenly prepared and the United States is probably not prepared. In such an attack, the country would probably suffer major mass casualties. I think the Syrians are much more sophisticated than the US intelligence community realizes. This puts American lives at immediate risk. The American public should demand that the US intelligence community close the gap in their intelligence on the Syrian biological weapons programs. Additionally, they have underestimated the Syrian nuclear programs for several years as well.

Gordon: In your opinion what should America, Israel and NATO do to combat the Syrian Bio-warfare threat and its proliferation to terrorist groups?

The US intelligence community could start by acknowledging that Syria has an advanced, well developed program and take things a bit more seriously.

The US Intelligence Community seems particularly risk averse. It’s almost as if Syria couldn’t possibly have such a program because their scientific community isn’t advanced enough.

Other NATO nations are preparing for deliberate disease outbreaks and acknowledge that Syrian biological weapons programs are a threat.Biological weapons and terrorist use of them require excellence in intelligence not incompetence and denial.

Gordon: Thank you Dr. Dekker for this most informative and I’m sorry to say, frightening discussion of the Syrian bio-warfare threat and why America has not done enough to recognize and combat it.

Dr. Dekker suggests that for more information you consult “Biological Terrorism: The Threat of the 21st Century” by Marie Sultan for the types of technological advancements which might be a concern.


Dr. Jill Dekker is a well respected scientist whose veracity is beyond repute. I have worked in the intelligence field within the Military as well as civilian law enforcement and am now retired but still giving my services to B’nai Elim (a very pro-active Jewish - Zionist organization) as their chief of intelligence and security. If Dr. Jill Dekker said that a new “Ice Age” was beginning along with rapid “Global Cooling” in January… I would go out and buy some thermal underwear. In other words, the information that she has garnered regarding the Syrian bio-weapons capabilities is totally accurate.

Doctor Dekker has merely scratched the surface regarding Syrian complicity with Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, Al-Queda and other purveyors of terrorism.

We are standing on the brink of another World War and no matter which direction we take, we will be risking freedom as we know it today. Our Government’s egregious actions directed at Dr. Dekker in a lame effort to intimidate her signal only the beginning of the erosion of our individual liberties in the name of National Security.

Bill ManiaciChief, Intelligence and SecurityB’nai Elim / The Maccabee Group
For whatever good it might do, I emailed the URL for Dr. Dekker’s interview to each member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. The email included the following comment: “US seems stunningly unprepared for biological weapons in the hands of rogue states.” Is there an equivalent in the House? Jerry
America is in the most vulnerable position as they are totally unprepared and in constant denial. It is time for America to revive DUCK AND COVER DRILLS! by Jamit
If you have friends and family in the US this interview is most disturbing, reason enough for each one of us to be writing our senators in congress and demand the US intelligence community take inmediate steps to close this gap and face this reality with effective steps to protect the american public, denial , incompentence, negligence, and looking the other way is not an acceptable way to deal with Elder Abuse, neither it is an acceptable way to deal with this potential inmediate threat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Could be the best blog I read this month :P