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Jan Klimkowski
07-20-2009, 05:52 PM
Ho hum.


The designation of a "substantial" threat level is the lowest since 9/11. It confirms that the swine flu pandemic is now a bigger threat to the life of the nation than terrorism.

Full article here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jul/20/al-qaida-terror-attack-alert-level


Britain downgrades al-Qaida terror attack alert level

Officials reduce assessment of threat from 'severe' to 'substantial', its lowest level since 9/11

Alan Travis, home affairs editor guardian.co.uk,
Monday 20 July 2009 11.27 BST Article history

The official assessment of the threat level of an al-Qaida terrorist attack on Britain has been lowered from "severe" where an attack is deemed highly likely to "substantial", where an attack is considered a strong possibility.

The decision to lower the official threat level follows a new assessment by MI5 and the joint terrorism analysis centre, based on intelligence gathered in Britain and abroad on how close terrorist groups may be to staging an attack.

The designation of a "substantial" threat level is the lowest since 9/11. It confirms that the swine flu pandemic is now a bigger threat to the life of the nation than terrorism.

The home secretary, Alan Johnson, acknowledged that fact on Sunday, when he told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme that swine flu came "above terrorism as a threat to this country". He said the long-term preparations had involved the whole "Cobra machinery", a reference to the Cabinet's emergency committe that handles major disasters.

The decision reportedly follows an official assessment of Operation Pathway, one of MI5's biggest counterterrorism campaigns, which led to the arrest of 11 Pakistani men in April. All those arrested were released without charge, and no explosives or weapons were found.

The system of threat levels is made up of five stages. At "critical", an attack is expected imminently. At "severe", an attack is regarded as highly likely. At "substantial", an attack is a strong possibility. At "moderate" an attack is possible but not likely. And at "low", an attack is deemed unlikely.

The home secretary said in a statement: "We still face a real and serious threat from terrorists and the public will notice little difference in the security measures that are in place, and I urge the public to remain vigilant. The police and security services are continuing in their thorough efforts to discover, track and disrupt terrorist activity."

Kill those swine....

Vaccinate all humans....

A sore throat and a runny nose are a threat to democracy...

Our very way of life is under attack from entities so tiny you cannot see them....

Damien Lloyd
09-30-2009, 01:59 AM
The following article was published in 2003:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/3867.php (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/3867.php)

Flu could be a far more dangerous bioterror weapon than smallpox or anthrax, scientists have warned.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, scientists said information from the sequencing the genome of the 1918 flu (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/15107.php) epidemic, which killed between 20 and 40 million people, could be misused by terrorists.

They warn that once the sequencing is complete, unscrupulous scientists could use the information to create more virulent strains.

The fact that it should be possible to transmit flu in aerosol form also increases its attractiveness as a biological weapon, they warn.

The US team warn that flu could be even more deadly than previously thought.

It has been estimated that flu kills 20,000 people a year in America.

But the researchers say the number could be over four times that figure because of a link between flu and fatal heart attacks (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/151444.php).

The team, from the University of Texas Health Science Center, were looking at the links between flu and cardiovascular disease when they became concerned about how genetic information about the flu virus could be misused.

Epidemic

Dr Mohammed Madjid, who led the research, warned there were particular concerns about how influenza (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/15107.php) could be used as a bioweapon.

He said the fact it was so common would make it easier for terrorists to obtain the virus.

But the ordinariness of flu would also make it more difficult for experts to identify clusters of cases, so an epidemic could be well established before it was detected, they said.

If an epidemic should take hold, the researchers say it would be difficult to immunise against because the incubation period is short.

They also warn flu is very difficult to eradicate since birds, rats and pigs all carry the virus.

Dr Madjid and his colleagues say bodies such as the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control should co-ordinate experts in flu, bioterrorism, health policy, international law and ethics to look at the issue.

They also call for better security in laboratories, stockpiling of antiviral drugs and more work on developing vaccines.

The researchers also call immunisation programmes to be improved and better disease surveillance.

Virulence

Dr Madjid told BBC News Online: 'Using influenza as a bioweapon is a probability.

'It's just a matter of technology. If it's difficult now, it will be easier in six months and much easier in a year's time.'

'The question is about preparation. We can't wait until something happens and then say 'what do we do'.

Professor John Oxford, a virologist at Queen Mary's School of Medicine, London, leads one of two teams sequencing the 1918 influenza virus.

He told BBC News Online even if they were able to pinpoint why the virus killed so many, it would be difficult to use the information to create a bioweapon.

'I don't think it could be used in that way now.

'It would need a lot of expertise and a huge teams of people to enhance its virulence.'

Professor Oxford said his team, and another working in America, were about two years away from completing the genome's sequence.