News

Security Officials on Guard for Bio-Terrorism

French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin has warned that bio-terrorism could be the next stage in the evolution of international terrorism. Mr. de Villepin spoke at a key bio-terrorism conference in Lyon, France.

Mr. de Villepin made a call for greater international cooperation against bio-terrorism at the meeting in Lyon, which gathers senior security officials and terrorism experts from 150 countries.

In particular, the French interior minister called for creating a European-wide data base to better share information on disappearances of substances that could be used to make biological weapons. He also called for a public information campaign to teach people more about the threats of a biological attack, and for vaccine stocks to respond to such a possibility.

Mr. de Villepin's remarks began the two-day meeting hosted by the International police agency, Interpol. Many experts believe bio-terrorism - the use of bacteria, fungi and chemicals as a way to deliberately spread death and disease - poses a worrying threat to the international community. The police group hopes this first-ever international meeting on bio-terrorism will lead to better coordination and training against the threat of biological weapons.

Already, there have been a number of troubling incidents, including alerts against the deadly poison ricin. In some cases - like one at a Paris train station two years ago - the alert proved proved false.

Some analysts, like Jean-Luc Marret of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, believe that biological weapons pose less of an immediate threat than other forms of terrorism - such as suicide bombings.

"Frankly speaking, soon or later in the future, something is going to happen [with bio-terrorism]. But now our main problem is to avoid suicide bombings, in Europe in particular," he said.

But terrorism experts say there is evidence that al-Qaida, for example, has plans to use biological weapons for a terrorism attack. In a recent interview with the Agence France-Presse news agency, Interpol's chief, Reginald Noble, also said the world's police are ill prepared to deal with a biological attack.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Feature Story

FILE - Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, attends a plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.

Chinese State Media Praise Zhou Corruption Probe

Media reports say it is likely Zhou will be expelled from party, his case transferred to the courts, where defendants have little chance of escaping conviction More