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Cyclic Hotline
23rd Sep 2001, 01:13
TIME Exclusive: Cropduster Manual Discovered in Suspected Terrorist Hideout

Sources tell TIME that U.S. officials suspect that bin Laden conspirators may have been planning to disperse biological or chemical agents from cropdusting planes BY MASSIMO CALABRESI AND SALLY DONNELLY

CHARLES O'REAR/CORBIS

Saturday, Sep. 22, 2001
New York -- U.S. law enforcement officials have found a manual on the operation of cropdusting equipment while searching suspected terrorist hideouts, government sources tell TIME magazine in an issue out on Monday, Sept. 24th.

The discovery has added to concerns among government counterterrorism experts that the bin Laden conspirators may have been planning — or may still be planning —to disperse biological or chemical agents from a cropdusting plane normally used for agricultural purposes.

US officials would not disclose in what state, or in which search, the manual was found. But the discovery resulted in the grounding of all cropdusters nationwide on Sunday Sept. 16th. The dusters have been allowed back up, but are not allowed to take off or land from what traffic controllers refer to as Class B airspace, or the skies around major cities.

One senior official cautions that because corroborative evidence is lacking the FBI does not place "high credibility" in the notion that the hijackers were in fact exploring the idea of stealing or renting cropdusters. However, the FBI is advising members of a crop-dusters' group to report any suspicious buys of dangerous chemicals in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks.

Last week, the National Agricultural Aviation Association, a crop dusters trade group, posted a message from the FBI to its membership: "Members should be vigilant to any suspicious activity relative to the use, training in or acquisition of dangerous chemicals or airborne application of same including threats, unusual purchases, suspicious behavior by employees or customers, and unusual contacts with the public. Members should report any suspicious circumstances or information to local FBI offices."

The Guvnor
23rd Sep 2001, 02:03
I did read a couple of days ago that someone in one of the former CIS countries was approached by some people claiming to be Afghans wanting to buy cropdusters and a Tupolev airliner. Apparently the local KGB types were somewhat concerned by the deal and they put the kibosh on it.

ol_benkenobi
23rd Sep 2001, 04:19
Soon they'll be stealing a nuclear sub to complete the full complement of Tom Clancy scenarios

GWYN
23rd Sep 2001, 05:30
Maybe something similar has already been done, though not on the grand scale using cropdusters. Has noone drawn a connection between last week's events and the Foot and Mouth 'epidemic' in the UK?

The extent and rapidity of spread of that disease never seemed entirely 'natural' and had hallmarks of multi-site propagation. What if that were just a demonstration of the potential of biological agents? Any comments?

Throtlemonkey
23rd Sep 2001, 06:46
This tactic was first employed by Pussy Galore's flying circus in a bond flick in order to rob fort Knox. I have wanted to turn this upon the terorists and drug lords and spray there drugcrops with herbicide for a long time now.

Fluke Skywalker
23rd Sep 2001, 08:55
Hmmm...I read a report last week that good ol Sod'im Hussein has developed Foot & Mouth-like biological weapons. Not that I'm a comspiracy theorist, but... That's along with his stores of Anthrax etc etc. Such a nice chap! :eek:

JPJ
23rd Sep 2001, 10:50
If he bad guys really are planning some more atrocities, the one thing that we can be sure of is that they aren't going to tell us what it is.

When terrorists force us to alter our daily lives, and to spend billions on security, they have already achieved partial victory. The best way for us to foil them is to carry on with our lives as normal, while maybe accepting that our chance of living to a ripe old age might have dropped by a fraction of one per cent.

What does worry me is the idea of the Press spreading alarmist fantasies (about which they simply know nothing) which terrify the gullible into changing their lives.

It will take more than Bin Laden to stop me going to the pub this lunchtime. I bet the pubs in Afghanistan are rubbish by comparison with Buckinghamshire.

Pom Pax
23rd Sep 2001, 12:25
Whilst blaming the foot and mouth disease outbreak on aerial spraying may be a bit fanciful, the propogation appears to be airbourne. In the current outbreak the prevailing winds are often mentioned and in the '67 outbreak migratory birds were considered a possible carrier, though I have not heard this theory recently.
:D However the chem trails fanatics might like to consider that their government is actually spraying them with good things to counteract the baddies realeased by the otherside :D

Indiana Jones
23rd Sep 2001, 12:35
Seems like we need to have sheep roaming airside before the army is called in...in some areas the industry needs help with all this.......

Katy
23rd Sep 2001, 13:29
Interesting that the subject of the Foot and Mouth epidemic should raise its head in an aviation forum.

However, a relation of mine told me the following story related by a long-time family friend, who is also a vet employed by the UK Government.

Apparently the UK Government were aware of a phial of Foot and Mouth virus having been stolen from a research laboratory somewhere in the EU. This theft occurred some time before the outbreak in February/March of this year. The Government were also aware that Foot and Mouth was in the country months before it was ever officially reported.

This story, whilst interesting at the time of its telling (albeit somewhat far-fetched), was given credence by the credentials of the reporter.

In view of recent events in the US, and the comments made above, it now has a more chilling reality.

GWYN
24th Sep 2001, 06:20
Katy

Just put it down to my having a foot in both aviation and agricultural camps, so to speak. Glad to see that I'm not just dismissed as some sort of conspiracy theorist nutter though!

BayAreaLondoner
24th Sep 2001, 08:19
I'm guessing that this threat is what's behind the following (from US AOPA website):

FAA bans Part 137 agricultural operations
09/23/01 4:39:10 PM, ET FAA banned Part 137 agricultural ("cropduster") operations once again on Sunday. The ban includes all aircraft "capable or equipped for agricultural operations," whether they are flying under Part 137 or any other FAR (for example, Part 91). The ban remains in effect until 12:05 a.m. local time Sept. 24. AOPA again reminds pilots that they must check all notams immediately prior to starting any flight.

Katy
24th Sep 2001, 11:39
Gwyn

I am sure that you are not a nutter at all!

The vet stated that the 'Authorities' believed the Foot and Mouth epidemic was perpetrated by a group connected with EU farmers disaffected by British farming practice, rather than the terrorists involved in the US atrocities.

An outrageous idea to my mind, but that is what he was told.

I suppose we shall never know.

Regards

Katy
24th Sep 2001, 11:44
Gwyn

I am sure that you are not a nutter at all!

The vet stated that the 'Authorities' believed the Foot and Mouth epidemic was perpetrated by a group connected with EU farmers disaffected by British farming practice, rather than the terrorists involved in the US atrocities.

An outrageous idea to my mind, but that is what he was told.

I suppose we shall never know.

Regards

JB007
24th Sep 2001, 18:20
There was a big article in the Sunday Times yesterday with referance to a biological attack... I actually stopped reading it as the whole prospect frightend me somewhat.

I think the slowest was Anthrax with death in six hours....

But it's good to hear Tony and the gang will be ok...MoD has a 130m bunker 150ft below Whitehall !!!!!

Shops selling them have also reported sales in Bio/Chem suits have increased..

The worlds gone mad..it's official, just my bloody luck that i'll get my ATPL issued and some git will push the button and nuke us all...after the WTC atrocity, the unthinkable is now truly believeable.

Edited for spellin.!

[ 24 September 2001: Message edited by: JB007 ]

Fraudsquad
24th Sep 2001, 22:23
Britain's foot and mouth epidemic may have been caused by a cloud of infected dust blown from the Sahara, say scientists.

They have linked the outbreak to a massive plume of sand that swirled out of northern Africa several days before the disease was first reported.

The soil there is contaminated with microbes and faeces.

Dr Dale Griffin, of the US Geological Survey, told the Observer: "Satellite images show a dust cloud moving over the Atlantic and reaching Britain on 13 February. One week later, foot and mouth broke out in the UK.

"Given that the disease's incubation period is seven days, that is one heck of a coincidence."

Dr Eugene Shinn, another US geological survey scientist, said: "There is no sewage treatment or proper garbage disposal there - so the soil is heavily infected with microbes and faeces.

"Cattle there are also infected with the same viral strain, type O, that is causing foot and mouth in Britain."

Storms frequently carry dust from the Sahara to Britain and their incidence is increasing, thanks to climate changes.

For years, researchers assumed bacteria, viruses and fungi caught up in such clouds would be sterilised by the sun's ultraviolet rays. But now scientists have discovered they may be finding protection against radiation by clinging to dust and sand particles.

Dr Griffin and his team analysed several dust clouds, and found a wide range of plant and human pathogens. Crucially, these samples were obtained by making cultures. "Only live organisms can generate cultures, which shows we are dealing with microbes that are still infectious after their Atlantic crossing," he said.

GWYN
25th Sep 2001, 10:51
Good to see the Fraudsquad are on to it!

If the above scenario were the case, why was infection restricted to the UK Mainland, with only some later and very few infections in nearby continental countries? Surely if a cloud of contaminated dust were the culprit, there would have been simultaneous and widespread outbreaks in many parts of western Europe?