NATO CHIEF - Warns of "poor man's nuclear bomb"greenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Nato chief warns of 'poor man's nuclear bomb' risk
FROM RICHARD CLEROUX IN OTTAWA
LORD Robertson of Port Ellen, the Nato Secretary-General, gave a warning yesterday that attacking forces in Afghanistan are under the threat of biological and chemical weapons.
He told 300 delegates at the Nato Parliamentary Assembly here that Britain and the United States must protect their deployed forces against that threat.
“These dangers are real. These dangers exist and it’s now time we focused on them,” he said. “The unthinkable happened on September 11, we don’t want the unthinkable to happen again with chemical weapons.” Lord Robertson made the remarks in reply to a question from a Greek delegate during a question and answer period after his speech to the group.
“We mustn’t scare the population too much about chemical and biological weapons,” he said. “There are real and substantial dangers out there in the hands of individuals and states which might and may well be used. They are terrifying and they are horrific when you hear the way they can be used.”
He said his blood ran cold when he heard that members of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network had been “investigating” crop-spraying aircraft in Florida.
“That in itself has huge implications for what they can do. That is why the balanced approach to discovery and preventing is so important, to protect our deployed forces against that threat. We will have to do much more in the future about it.”
Lord Robertson said it was equally important to protect the civilian population and that was why Nato had recently set up a Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre to study the use of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
As much as it is important not to frighten people, he said, “they must be made aware of the horrendous new kinds of killing that can take place and how possible it is for it to happen”.
He said that the new chemical and biological weapons had become “the poor man’s nuclear bomb. It is not something we can understand at all.”
Lord Robertson’s speech left many of the delegates visibly shaken. In the hallways afterwards, several were talking more about the chemical and biological threat than anything else he had said during his half-hour speech.
-- Anonymous, October 11, 2001