[Marxism] WMD (US style)

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Wed May 26 13:48:22 MDT 2004

we are being treated today with a warning from the Dept. of Homeland 
Security about new summertime threats inside US borders. typically, news 
reports of these warnings include this type of boilerplate:

    Of special concern, the counterterrorism official said, is the
    possibility that terrorists may possess and use a chemical,
    biological or radiological weapon that could cause much more damage
    and casualties than a conventional bomb.

Meanwile, and unquoted in any of today's leading US newspapers, is a 
story appearing in Nature magazine (abstract at bottom) discussing US 
initiatives in the biodefense arena that blur into offensive work 
specifically prohibited by bioweapons treaties. the paper mentioned in 
the quoted Nature article at bottom is available here:


here is an excerpt:

    How would these activities differ from their counterparts in the
    pre-1969 US BW program except for production and stockpiling this
    time not being envisioned?[4] In recent remarks elsewhere, Dr. Korch
    noted that one NBACC objective, creation of genetically engineered
    agents, might raise BWC compliance questions.Yet other NBACC
    objectives could prove even more problematic. On April 28, 2004, at
    the conclusion of a year’s review, the Bush administration disclosed
    details of the new National Biodefense Directive.[5] Among them,
    reportedly, was that ‘‘the US intelligence community is under orders
    to carry out studies examining the types of genetically engineered
    ‘bugs’ terrorists could be working on to mount an attack.’’[6]
    Surely, the ‘‘intelligence community’’ is the least appropriate
    place in the US government to ‘‘carry out’’ such work — and the most
    likely to lack adequate oversight. And does a program of this design
    bear any relation to the realistic level of threat presented by
    non-state actor ‘‘bioterrorists’’?[7] Recently declassified
    documents demonstrate that the US intelligence community possesses
    evidence demonstrating that interested terrorist groups — al Qaeda
    among them — still have no capability to work with classical
    BWagents and certainly cannot engineer agents genetically.

les schaffer


Nature 429, 331 (27 May 2004); doi:10.1038/429331b

Biodefence project accused of violating weapons treaty


[WASHINGTON] Three prominent US arms-control experts have hit out at the 
Department of Homeland Security's plans to start a new programme in 
biodefence research.

In an article published online on 17 May, the specialists say that 
activities planned at a National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures 
Center, scheduled to be built at Fort Detrick in Maryland, could breach 
the Biological Weapons Convention. The convention, which the United 
States has signed, prohibits offensive bioweapons programmes.

According to a presentation made by a US Army official at a Department 
of Defense meeting on 9 February, the centre would carry out studies to 
anticipate how bioterrorists might develop and deploy new biological 
threats. But the authors of the article, published in Politics and the 
Life Sciences ( http://www.politicsandthelifesciences.org ), say that 
these studies may cross the line from defensive into offensive 
territory. Taken together, they write, many of the activities "may 
constitute development in the guise of threat assessment, and they will 
certainly be interpreted that way".


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