The History of Biological Warfare | Secrets of War | Timeline

published on June 30, 2020

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they are silent invisible killers

capable of suddenly wreaking havoc in

the battlefield even being launched to

decimate far-off civilian population

centers buildings are left untouched but

death hangs in the air synthetically

manufactured chemical weapons like sarin

and naturally occurring diseases like

smallpox are inexpensive to manufacture

and easy to spread when they're released

into the air biplanes are packed into

artillery shells or long-range missiles

they are capable of past destruction

since chemical and biological weapons

claimed their first victim centuries ago

they've been denounced as immoral a vile

tool of the cowardly the world community

has repeatedly attempted to ban their

use but the temptation to use them has

often been too great all over the world

nations have continued to develop these

deadly and inexpensive weapons many

hiding their stockpiles and publicly

denying their existence one of the more

recent examples occurred during the Gulf

War in 1995 Iraq admitted to having

loaded lethal botulinum toxin and

anthrax into warheads these germ weapons

were deployed at four sites but

reportedly never used to this day the

scope of Iraq's biological warfare

program remains cloaked in sickness

based on Clues gathered over the past

few years intelligence officials now

believe Iraq may be hiding enough deadly

germ agents to kill all the people on

earth today at least 11 other nations

are also suspected of harboring secret

germ warfare programs including Iran

Syria and North Korea

how far their research has progressed is

nearly impossible to ascertain recent

advances in microbiology have made this

question even more pressing scientists

claim they are only a few years away

from one of the most important

breakthroughs of all time deciphering

the human genome mankind will soon

possess the biochemical code for each of

the 100,000 genes that determine every

physical characteristic in the human

body when this knowledge becomes

converted into technology it will for

sure be an enormous a vast potential

benefit no question of that

in making people healthier stronger what

hopes happier but if history teaches us

one lesson it is that all previous

technologies from explosives to aviation

to nuclear power have been exploited not

only through human benefit but also for

hostile purposes already in a secret bio

warfare program carried out during the

1970's and 80's russian scientists used

genetic engineering to transform agents

of disease into potent weapons of war

now man's new understanding of the

genetic code opens the door to even more

sinister possibilities for instance

genetically engineered weapons could be

used to target specific races or ethnic

groups other potential applications are

equally terrifying

if we learn how to manipulate what we

are how we think how we develop I

suppose that must mean that there are

potentials there not only for killing

but from subjugating dominating

exploiting it's a kind of road down

which it's obvious we must not go as a

species mankind started down this

frightening road over a thousand years

ago from the earliest times combatants

understood that tossing a dead body down

a well was an effective way to poison an

enemy's water supply by the late 19th

century a moral taboo prevented the use

of poison on the battlefield no clear

distinction was made between agents of

disease and chemical weapons military

leaders condemned both calling their use

dishonorable their repugnance for

employing poison as an instrument of war

was so strong that only the horrific

stalemate of World War 1 could overcome

it the German advance of August from

1914 into Belgium and France soon bogged

down into a colossal battle of attrition

along a hundred mile front over the

course of six months more than a million

casualties were caused without either

side gaining an inch of ground both

armies searched for a solution that

would break the deadlock

in January of 1915 a chemist named fritz

haber suggested to German chief of staff

general Falkenhayn that poison gas might

be an effective means to drive the enemy

out of their trenches and into the open

Falkenhayn considered the use of gas

unchivalrous but he was desperate he

agreed to try it as an experiment the

German troops moved 700 tons of chlorine

to the front near the Belgian town a

deep the work was done quietly under the

cover of darkness Hibbert supervised the

placement of the delivery system nearly

6,000 heavy metal cylinders as they were

dug into the ground along the trenches

well their preparations were quite

secret but there were enough

intelligence indications that should

have made the British and the French

aware it's one of these classic

situations you know what goes along when

you don't spot what is going to happen

the secret plan was nearly subverted

when German deserters alerted an allied

commander producing his proof the

protective mouth pads that had been

distributed to them they even named the

date for the planned attack but they

were not taken seriously

on the afternoon of April 22nd 1915

soldiers of the French 45th Algerian

division and the 87th territorial

division stared from their trenches as a

strange yellow green cloud rolled

towards them as waves of this thick fog

enveloped them stricken soldiers

clutched their throats and fell writhing

to the ground it was sheer panic the

unit spoke apart and started to flee

they were taken totally by surprise and

the line broke the Germans could have

really gained at least a tactical

advantage at that point but they were

not ready to exploit it and they didn't

have the reserves on hand for it the

attack may have killed up to 3,000 men

chlorine gas was dangerously ex-fix

leading and inflamed the lungs creating

a fluid that drowned its victims the

Allies were quick to respond developing

gas masks like the black veil respirator

that filtered air through a cotton

screen

although uncomfortable aware and awkward

in combat

the masks proved extremely effective

against both chlorine and a more potent

phosgene gas five months later at the

Battle of Loos the Allies launched their

own gas offensive late in 1915 the

German General Staff also initiated the

first use of biological agents in modern

war at the time the Germans had mounted

an ambitious programme of sabotage

against neutral countries trading with

the Allied powers saboteurs attempted to

disrupt the flow of munitions by

planting and sensory devices in

factories and trained apples because

World War one was a conflict in which

horses and mules played a major role as

cavalry mounts and draft animals

the Germans viewed them as legitimate

targets for destruction as well secret

agents smuggled cultures of anthrax and

Glenda's Vasili into the United States

with the intention of deliberately

infecting animals destined for shipment

to Britain or France

the agents recruited dock workers along

the waterfront in Baltimore in New York

these men slipped into the animals

holding pens carrying syringes filled

with a deadly microbes they would either

jab these needles into the horses or

they would pour the diseased cultures on

their food or they would try to swab the

animal's nostrils with the diseased

cultures in the hope of first infecting

those particular animals and secondly in

the hope that those animals would in

turn infect others

the Germans had a strong vested interest

in keeping the United States out of the

war they made certain the operation

remained covert there's no evidence that

the biological saboteurs had any impact

in the outcome of the war

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by the time the United States entered

the war in 1917 Germany had initiated a

new and more sinister phase in its

chemical assault mustard gas mustard was

a blistering agent that attacked through

the skin of its victims blinding the

eyes and burning me more sensitive areas

of the body gas masks were unable to

offer adequate protection

American soldiers inexperienced in the

pitfalls of chemical warfare suffered

nearly 70,000 casualties

nevertheless at the time of Germany's

surrender in 1918 the Allies overall

assessment of poison gas was that it had

mostly served as an asset while causing

heavy casualties its use had not been a

decisive factor in winning the war

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despite its limited effectiveness poison

gas became a symbol of the horrors of

attritional slaughter on the western

front the general sense of revulsion was

so strong that in 1925 150 nations

drafted the Geneva Protocol prohibiting

the use in war of X fixating or

poisonous gases except in retaliation

but the treaty did nothing to ban the

manufacture and stockpiling of these

weapons of death in the years to come

work on chemical weapons would continue

nearly unabated

in 1935 just ten years after an

international treaty banned the use of

chemical weapons the Italian military

unleashed a secret plan to use poison

gas against an ill-equipped and

undermanned army in Ethiopia for the

first time in history chemical weapons

were wedded to air power the Italian Air

Force sprayed mustard gas over Ethiopian

soldiers and villages in an eloquent

speech before the League of Nations

Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie

implored the community of world leaders

to halt these atrocities and there was a

response from the League of Nations was

rather tepid of course Italy was was

condemned and there's a great many pious

statements were made but no real

collective action was was taken with the

threat of a second global conflict

looming ever closer many experts

predicted the use of strategic and

tactical chemical weapons

but in World War two Winston Churchill

articulated what was to become allied

policy in 1942 he promised that if the

Axis powers used poison gas against any

allied civilian or military population

Britain would retaliate immediately and

in kind

Hitler too was opposed to the use of gas

on the battlefield his refusal to

consider chemical warfare has been the

source of endless speculation

he had been gassed in the first world

war it was the end of it and some have

argued that because he had been gassed

this inhibited him somewhat I don't buy

that frankly he had no hesitation

against use he had against Jewish

captives the planning of Hitler's race

water was shrouded in secrecy the first

step in what was to become the final

solution began in Poland when killing

squads rounded up Jewish men women and

children heard of them ended nearby

forests and shot them police

executioner's were soon complaining that

the mass shootings were lowering German

morale that turned out to be less than

efficient and as well people in those

groups were riding home to their loved

ones word was leaking out and so almost

immediately there was a discussion of

what's the fastest cheapest way to

murder someone mobile gas vans were

introduced while more permanent

extermination camps were put under

construction

orders were placed to secure huge

amounts of the commercial pesticide

zyklon-b

SS men carried out much of this planning

through a series of highly confidential

coded radio messages unbeknownst to the

German High Command British

cryptanalysts and already cracked their

code by 1941 before the start of

operations of the first extermination

camp British intelligence had some grasp

of Nazi intentions for Jews this

information was communicated to Winston

Churchill but to Churchill the surreal

notion of mass extermination was beyond

comprehension

besides Churchill was preoccupied with

defeating the enemy

however in 1944 the promise of

retaliation in kind was tested when a

zionist group proposed to the US Joint

Chiefs of Staff that chemical weapons be

used against Germany unless the gassing

of Jews stopped but by then the planning

for the Allied invasion of Europe was

underway and the proposal was ignored

while it's true that the genocide

against the Jewish population in Europe

took place during World War two had

nothing to do with the military conflict

and nothing to do with the political

orientation of the victim these were all

civilians men women and children who

were brought to these killing centers

for one reason the accident of their

birth

and so it's horrific and horrible as it

was I would put that in a completely

different category because it was just

flat-out murder

near the end of the war the Germans

considered the use of chemical weapons

to defend against the Allied

cross-channel invasion

some Nazis even tried to convince Hitler

to use his secret weapon they held in

reserve Tabon a deadly nerve gas only

after the collapse of Germany did allied

military leaders discover that the

Germans possessed this new generation of

gas so powerful that an amount as Tiny

as one milligram caused death by

paralyzing the nervous system by June of

1942 President Roosevelt was receiving

reports that Japanese soldiers had been

using toxic weapons against the Chinese

at the time US intelligence could not

begin to fathom the scope of this secret

and grisly program known within Japan by

the codename unit 731

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the origins of unit 731 went back to the

1930s to ingest troops over ran

Manchuria in northwest China

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by 1937 the occupying Japanese army had

turned Manchuria into a colony over

which they had total control then they

began to set their sights on neighboring

Russia convinced that bacterial weapons

could play an important role in

defeating the Soviets the Japanese used

Chinese labour to build the first of

several large biological warfare and

human research centers in being found on

the outskirts of Harbin a city near the

Russian border to hide the true nature

of their work

the Japanese created a cover story that

ping Phan was a lumber mill they built a

railroad spur from Harbin right into the

center of the camp freight cars would

rumble in at night discharge people who

were going to be the next group of

victims sometimes they were brought in

in sealed vans sealed trucks so the

local populace wouldn't say them the

mastermind behind this secret germ

warfare project was a microbiologist

named Ho Shiro Ishii II in appreciation

of his efforts he was named Lieutenant

General the highest-ranked a Japanese

officer could achieve

he eventually expanded his program to

massive proportions employing more than

20,000 scientists

he turned pink on and nearly a dozen

other units into factories of death

within ping fans sprawling compound

Japanese scientists experimented with

every conceivable pathogen from anthrax

to yellow fever to tuberculosis typhus

typhoid plague and glanders

inside doctors routinely experimented on

human subjects

without the aid of anesthesia those

victims of Japanese human experiments

were called marutas they were logs there

were pieces of wood timber they were not

considered human and so consequently

experiments vivisection cutting people

open dead or alive for that matter

injecting them with all sorts of

pathogens didn't raise in these people's

minds any sense of ethics morality

humanity

whether motivated by a misguided sense

of patriotism or merely monetary gain

heshes crew served him faithfully during

the course of the war they enjoyed the

grim satisfaction of seeing the fruits

of their labor put to the test in the

only known case of systematic and

institutionalized military use of

biological weapons by a modern state the

Japanese Army bombed communities

throughout China dropping live vectors

like plague infected fleas killing tens

of thousands

as the war moved towards its climactic

resolution in the Pacific Theater the

ferocity of the fighting weakened

America's humanitarian concerns over the

use of toxic although different

estimates were projected for operation

downfall the planned invasion of Japan

Secretary of War Henry Stimson worried

that the United States could suffer up

to 1 million casualties

proponents of chemical warfare like

General George Marshall believed gas

might be an invaluable aid in mopping up

pockets of Japanese resistance his

Allied troops advanced in the mainland

the debate over whether to use gas

turned out to be short-lived with the

rapid conclusion of the war in the

Pacific there is no evidence that the

plan to use gas was ever brought to the

attention of President Ruth

soon after US military personnel

discovered Japan's secret germ warfare

program and the fact that human research

experiments had been conducted us

scientists were anxious to acquire

issues horrific data and keep it out of

Soviet hands General Douglas MacArthur

brokered a deal that granted full

immunity from prosecution to Japanese

scientists in exchange he she was to

turn over his data to the United States

no scientists were ever brought to trial

no news of Japanese atrocities was ever

leaked to the press a veil of silence

fell over the entire episode the

cover-up was motivated by the fact that

the United States was using the

information to develop its own germ

warfare program there are certain kinds

of people in with scientific and medical

degrees we'll look at that kind of

opportunity and say let ethics and

morality be damned this is what's going

to bring us real progress and it's

exactly that mentality I believe that

also motivated must have motivated some

of the American scientists at the end of

the Second World War who said what you

mean that there were experiments going

on with live specimens and we can get

our hands on that

America's own biological weapons program

was underway established on a foundation

of deceit few Americans would ever hear

about the deal their own government had

cut with the devil

during the years following World War two

Americans faced a world in which

complete nuclear destruction was within

the realm of possibility

although secret agents were unable to

penetrate the Iron Curtain that

separated East from West they feared

that the Soviets might be hiding an

arsenal of intercontinental ballistic

missiles in response to the growing

Soviet threat the US military stepped up

its production of deadly biological

weapons the primary Center for offensive

biological weapons research was Camp

Detrick in Maryland

here in 1947 US scientists scored a

breakthrough in implementing a new

aerosol system for delivering biological

agents making it possible for airplanes

to disperse tiny microscopic particles

of disease from the sky

throughout the 1950s and 60s the army

conducted a series of secret airborne

tests to find the most effective way to

spread bacteria over more than 250

populated areas including San Francisco

st Louis and Minneapolis experts now

estimate that millions of people were

exposed without their knowledge or

approval

by the late 1960s the United States had

built a massive arsenal of chemical and

biological weapons but opposition to the

program was beginning to grow in the

Senate prompted by military policies in

Vietnam the Pentagon had given the order

to use herbicides and a tear gas called

CS to drive the enemy out of their

tunnels and ground fortifications

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in 1969 14 million pounds of these

chemicals were sprayed over Vietnam the

United States military defended its use

of gas by claiming that CS was not

really a lethal agent even though in

concentrated doses it could cause death

in 1969 the United Nations passed a

resolution condemning the use of both

herbicides and CS some members of

Congress followed suit by threatening

major cuts in funds for chemical and

biological weapons in response President

Nixon convened a scientific panel to

review US policy the penalty doubt

several things that concern them about

germ warfare

biological weapons were inexpensive and

their production did not depend on a

vast technological infrastructure it was

apparent to the panel that as a weapon

of mass destruction biological weapons

were within the grasp of any third-world

nation interested in having them it also

recognized that by retaining biological

weapons we legitimize them in a way we

are offensive program with biological

weapons suggested to other nations that

these were useful weapons and that they

were worth pursuing in 1969 President

Nixon reversed decades of US policy I

have decided that the United States of

America will renounce the use of any

form of deadly biological weapons that

either kill or incapacitate his decision

was followed in 1972 by a new

international treaty that not only

banned the use of biological weapons it

prohibited their production it seemed

that the international community was

finally on its way to eradicating bio

warfare or so it was thought unbeknownst

to the US government but perhaps not

surprisingly the Soviets ignored the

terms of the biological weapons

convention they made this decision to

really boost up the program and a

separate covert program that hadn't

existed before and with 10 times as many

institutions as they'd had before and

the reason was they thought they'd have

an enormous advantage it's a society in

which things could be kept secret were

kept secret and this was even more

secret they now say than the nuclear

weapons program

satellite reconnaissance gave the United

States few clues that a massive program

was underway with more than 60,000

scientists working to turn deadly

pathogens into weapons of war nor did

Western intelligence agencies know that

bombers and intercontinental missiles

were in storage ready to disseminate

hundreds of tons of smallpox plague and

anthrax across the United States

then in 1979 more than 70 people

suddenly died near the military

installation it's fed lost in southern

Russia was this finally proof of the

Soviets illegal program I was invited

down to the CIA I worked there lived

there for several days and on several

trips working on this problem we had a

lot of information there was no doubt

there had been an anthrax outbreak but

the Soviets said when asked what was

this that it was caused by the

consumption of infected meat several

years after the accident it's fair

laughs the Soviets began building step

Nagurski another enormous complex on the

desolate windblown step of Central Asia

steppe no gorks former director Ken Ali

Beck enforced a code of secrecy when a

team of inspectors from the West were

allowed to visit a Moscow facility in

the mid-1980s

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of course we did everything we could

just to convince them they were not

biological weapons facilities had a very

strong border just to develop some kind

of cover stories to explain each

building according to dr Ali Beck

Soviet officials insisted that the

United States was also harboring a

secret germ warfare program it was not

until 1991 during a visit to a former US

biological weapons facility in Pine

Bluff Arkansas that a Lebec came to

realize that this had been merely Soviet

propaganda it was clear that these

facilities were abandoned many years ago

everything was a raster equipment was

dismantled for me it was absolutely

clear that the United States didn't have

this problem after that I quit Ken a

Lebec defected to the United States in

1992 that same year Russian premier

Boris Yeltsin reversed policy and

ordered a halt to offensive germ warfare

production but some observers like Ken

Ali Beck remain skeptical they worry

that research may be quietly proceeding

on some of the least known Soviet

advances including bio regulators bio

regulators are agents that have the

ability to manipulate human functions

like heart rhythms sleep patterns and

moods but another fear perhaps even more

chilling is the possibility that Russian

scientists no longer able to secure

employment in our own country have sold

their secrets and their expertise to

rogue states like Iran or eager to

expand their own

and deadly germ Arsenal's

in the 1970s Saddam Hussein rose to

power in an undeveloped land on top of

billions of dollars of untapped oil

believing that the Arab world was ready

to rise up and expel all Western

colonial powers and Jews from the Middle

East

Hussein began to use those billions to

transform Iraq into a regional

superpower by forging secret trade

agreements with European nations he

purchased tanks supersonic fighters and

ballistic missiles one event was to set

back Saddam Hussein's plan

in 1980 a territorial dispute between

Iraq and its neighbor Iran escalated

into war suddenly a ground force of

hundreds of thousands of Iranian troops

confronted Iraq advancing in human wave

assaults the Iraqis needed weapons

immediately chemical weapons were a

natural solution because they were cheap

and relatively easy to develop Saddam

Hussein turned to West Germany for

expertise in turning chemicals into

weapons of mass destruction the Germans

built entire factories in Iraq German

companies gave the Iraqis a vast

across-the-board capability to

manufacture chemical weapons during the

course of most of the iran-iraq war

countries in the West including the

United States sided with Saddam Hussein

in his fight against the Ayatollah

Khomeini and his Islamic Revolution in

Iran there had been some 50 United

States citizens who were held hostage by

the Iranians in the late 70s and there

was a very bitter taste by the United

States so when it looked as though the

Iraqis were on the losing end of that

war and the Iraqis unilaterally decided

in 1983 to start using chemical weapons

the United States and some other

countries raised shall we say objections

but it really wasn't raising much more

than an eyebrow

the iran-iraq war continued to escalate

in 1988 when the Iranian army scored a

successful attack against the Kurdish

town of halabja within the borders of

Iraq Hussein retaliated furious over

what he considered to be the

collaboration of Iraqi Kurds with the

Iranian enemy he condemned the entire

small city to death it would be the

first wide scale use of a lethal nerve

gas

Iraq's confirmed use of chemical weapons

was to have far-reaching ramifications

what this tells the world that there's

someone who egregiously openly violates

the Geneva Convention and nobody does

anything there's no penalty they get

away scot-free and that just makes it

much easier for other people to think of

doing the same intelligence stories

leaked from Israel indicated that Iraq

was also developing biological agents

specifically anthrax

but no one officially verified the

information it was not until the Gulf

War in 1991 when the united states

itself was threatened with chemical and

biological attack that the world

community rose in protest after losing

the Gulf War Saddam Hussein as a

condition of surrender agreed to declare

all of his nuclear chemical and

biological arms and to destroy them

the United Nations set up a special

commission known as UNH's comm to ensure

that he kept his word until ins come

verified destruction of the weapons iraq

was to be barred from selling oil the

Iraqis have foregone something like a

hundred and fifty billion dollars worth

of oil revenues because of the UN

sanctions that's how important their

hidden weapons programs are to them

Saddam believes that these weapons are

the key to his survival and without them

he's dead

in 1995 the United Nations efforts to

peel away the layers of Iraqi deception

were aided by the defection of Saddam

Hussein's son-in-law general Hussein

come out after his debriefing inspectors

uncovered a secret cache of documents

that confirm the existence of an Iraqi

biological weapons program they also

pinpointed specific locations like al

hakam where deadly microbes were being

produced and another facility that had

been destroyed Rock said it was a

building for making single-cell protein

and by the time unscanned it there was

nothing in the building just a concrete

shell they had taken out all the

equipment they even leveled the

buildings and poured cement on top of

the leveling and poured dirt on top of

the cement Iraqi officials finally

confessed that during the Gulf War they

loaded deadly microbes like anthrax and

botulinum toxin into aerial bombs and

missile warheads it soon became apparent

that Iraq's biological program was so

vast that the country may have produced

enough deadly microbes to wipe out the

world's population

years after Saddam Hussein promised to

come clean about his weapons of mass

destruction many serious questions

remain unanswered the uncertainties are

so great that arms control experts fear

that Iraq may still have nerve gas and

germ agents and warheads ready to fire

in spite of this the embargo on Iraq's

oil has been relaxed then in 1998 Iraq

expelled UN inspectors from the country

while the world community struggled to

deal with the uncertainties of the

future some of its members had to face

their own complicity in arming Saddam

Hussein

during the 1990s as secretive Japanese

cult calling itself the own scene Ricky

all began prophesizing that gas attacks

would kill most of the world's

population these threats were not taken

seriously nor did Japanese intelligence

agents put the sect under close

surveillance then on a March morning in

1995 cult followers entered the Tokyo

subway system carrying with them the

deadly nerve gas sarin minutes later

hundreds of people were injured and 12

people they dead

I think in some ways they got exactly

what they wanted

worldwide attention and when you hear

about that kind of attack it strikes

terror into everyone's heart because you

realize it could happen anywhere it can

be launched by anyone for intelligence

experts like james Woolsey former

director of the CIA the challenges posed

by chemical or biological terrorism far

outweigh some of the complexities of the

Cold War era collectively it's as if

we'd been fighting with a dragon for 45

years and killed him and now found

ourselves in a jungle full of a lot of

poisonous snakes snakes can kill you

just as easily as dragon can and they're

a lot harder to find and keep track of

unlike traditional terrorists who seek

to grab the world's attention by staging

a violent act the perpetrators of

biological terrorism would often have

strong incentives to conceal their work

if for instance the motivation of a

terrorist group is to damage an enemy's

agricultural industry the attack would

likely be covert

it would certainly be designed to mimic

a natural outbreak and strenuous efforts

would be taken to to to cover it up and

to conceal it to make it as much like a

natural outbreak as possible and as as

undetectable as possible as intelligence

agencies struggle to monitor terrorists

more closely a recent breakthrough in

technology has been making their job

more difficult people all over the world

now use the internet as a means of

communication its potential for good and

evil is only just beginning to be seen

for the first time terrorists can now

market their product and their ideas

into the most powerful communications

tool ever created youth-oriented

virtually I would say unregulated and

24/7 24 hours a day seven days a week

as public concern over the dangers of

biological attack intensifies so does

the debate over how to respond in the

1990s the US military began vaccinating

over 2 million soldiers against anthrax

and began a 300 million dollar program

to build stocks of 18 other vaccines

including smallpox

in communities across the country

soldiers began rehearsing emergency

response measures in 1999 that Pentagon

asked President Clinton for the power to

appoint a commander-in-chief for defense

of the continental United States the

plan called for the military commander

to be ready if necessary to send

thousands of doctors and emergency

personnel quickly to stricken areas but

others see a danger in this sort of an

approach and worried that a threat

industry has cropped up around the

possibility of biological terrorism

they're quick to point out that in the

last 50 years there's not been a single

confirmed use of biological weapons in

war in spite of acres of research

facilities tens of thousands of

scientists and billions of dollars in

funds all devoted to making it happen

some critics fear that the hype focused

on the vulnerability of the United

States to biological attack only serves

to incite individuals with evil intent

while scientists believe that

strengthening the public health

surveillance system makes practical

sense

some say that stockpiling vaccines does

not there are too many organisms that

could be used as weapons and too many

people who would need protection those

who recognize the awesome potential of

biotechnology believe it's necessary to

ratify a treaty with a strong

verification protocol before it's too

late with every year that passes rogue

states are able to incorporate

frightening new advances in

biotechnology

other weapons systems can kill and wound

but basically they cannot change what it

is to be human over the very long term

we will know how to change what we are

we will know how to change the way we

think our loyalties our thought

processes our mode of logic all of this

will become eventually manipulable at a

time when the world's economies are all

linked communication is instant global

ecology is one the world has become a

very small place a specter of biological

weapons falling into the wrong hands

prompts experts to think beyond national

safety we have to make it clear that our

concern is really for our species what

might happen to all of us if

biotechnology is exploited vigorously

for hostile purposes 100 years of

secrecy and deceit have brought us to

this critical stage there's a weapon of

mass destruction germ warfare poses a

danger that transcends national borders

now that unlocking the secrets to every

human gene is within man's reach the

opportunities for vast beneficial

scientific breakthroughs are great but

so are the responsibilities

the 21st century will tell how

successfully mankind meets the challenge

of protecting civilization from the

horrors of chemical and biological

warfare

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