Weapons of Mass Destruction: Creating Panic

America and Britain were on heightened alert against terror attacks for most of last year.

The World Today Published 1 February 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 4 minute READ

Andy Oppenheimer

Consultant on weapons of mass destruction, Jane's Information Group

The discovery of the toxin ricin in a north London apartment at the start of this year, and the extent of subsequent arrests, have brought the threat of terrorists using chemical or biological weapons one step closer. How concerned should we be about this, and what is the evidence that those who perpetrate terror want to use such weapons?

The ricin discovery came after two months of interconnected raids by police in Britain and France targeting an Algerian-dominated network linked to Al Qaeda that is feared to be plotting attacks with bombs or chemical weapons. Whether or not the men charged with possessing ricin turn out to be linked to Al Qaeda, this is the first police discovery of biological or chemical weapons in Britain.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.