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malevolence. Perhaps our greatest concern should not be Al Qaeda or its
associates but the possibility that a handful of deeply alienated people
would in¬‚ict a biological catastrophe. This threat is far more dif¬cult to
penetrate than is Al Qaeda. In due time, hindsight will enable accurate
measures of risk. If the past is predictive of the future, then the danger of
bioviolence is worth taking seriously.


r In January 2003, London police dismantled the Poison Cells, a part of the France-
based Benchellali network, arresting six Algerians in a ¬‚at where the police thought,
incorrectly, were trace amounts of ricin.a The cell was allegedly plotting to attack a
British military base by poisoning the food. Discovered documents indicated that
they sought to produce several poisons.b In the men™s apartment in Manchester,
police discovered equipment to process castor beans. Similar documents relating to
the production and dissemination of bioweapons were found when seven members
of the Benchellali network were later arrested in Lyon, France. When Benchellali
was arrested for producing ricin for an attack in France, authorities discovered that
he had been storing the agents in Nivea Cream cosmetic containers.c
r In September 1984, the Rajneeshee religious cult contaminated self-service restau-
rants and grocery stores in Oregon with salmonella in order to disable hundreds
of Oregonians from voting against their candidates in local elections. Nearly 1,000
people reported symptoms and 751 cases were con¬rmed; no one died. The out-
break was quickly recognized and investigated. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention found salmonella in milk and coffee creamers of some restaurants
and in salad dressings of another but did not conclude that there had been an
attack until a year later when the cult™s leader revealed that the outbreak was
deliberately caused. Subsequent investigation revealed that the Rajneeshee Medi-
cal Corporation and pharmacy were legally able to acquire bio-agents from medical
supply companies. The cult also purchased a quick-freeze dryer to stabilize agents
for effective weaponization.d
r The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo (now known as Aleph) was comprised ¬fty thou-
sand members including biochemists, doctors, and policemen from Russia and
Japan and had a net worth of over $1 billion. Aum spent considerable sums to
build modern high-tech laboratories for producing bioweapons such as anthrax,
botulinum, and Q fever. During the 1990s, Aum tried to perpetrate over a dozen
germ attacks in Japan but disseminated them too amateurishly to have detectable
consequences. In one attempt, the cult sprayed aerosolized anthrax from atop an
eight-story building in downtown Tokyo; no harm resulted. The group also tried dis-
seminating botulinum toxin and anthrax spores by driving a truck with an aerosol
mechanism loaded in the back; intended targets included the Imperial Palace,
a John Steele & Sandra Laville, Six Arrested in Poison Terror Alert, DAILY TELEGRAPH (January 8,
2003); See also, Roland Jacquard & Atmane Tazaghart, BENLADEN, LA DESTRUCTION PROGRAMMEE
DE L™OCCIDENT (December 2004); Warren Hoge, British Of¬cer Slain, 4 Hurt as Terror Suspects
are Seized, NEW YORK TIMES (January 15, 2003).
b Jeffrey Bale, Anjali Bhattacharjee, Eric Croddy, & Richard Pilch, M.D., Ricin Found in London:
An al-Qa™ida Connection, CENTER FOR NONPROLIFERATION STUDIES (January 23, 2002).
c Joby Warrick, An Al Qaeda ˜Chemist™ and the Quest for Ricin, WASHINGTON POST (May 5, 2004).
d Judith Miller et al., GERMS: BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS AND AMERICA™S SECRET WAR, Simon & Schuster,
p. 28 (2001).


the Parliament building, and American navy bases. Having spent enormous sums
to develop bioweapons without success, they turned to chemical weapons.e On
March 19, 1995, the group attacked the Tokyo subway system with sarin nerve gas
killing twelve people and hospitalizing thousands more. Six months later, during
U.S. Senate hearings, Senator Nunn declared, “The scenario of a terrorist group
either obtaining or manufacturing and using a weapon of mass destruction is no
longer the stuff of science ¬ction or even adventure movies.”f
r In 1993, Thomas Lavy was stopped by Canadian Customs Of¬cials near the Alaskan-
Canadian border. He had racist literature, a stockpile of weapons, and ammunition
as well as 130 grams of ricin (enough to kill over 130,000 people). Police later
found castor beans and instructions explaining how to produce ricin in Lavy™s
apartment. Lavy committed suicide in his jail cell days after his arrest; his intentions
are unknown.g
r In 1998, members of a right-wing extremist faction the “Republic of Texas” pur-
portedly discussed plans to weaponize rabies and anthrax and to use them against
families of government employees. Reports allege that members wanted to modify
cigarette lighters to inject a cactus needle coated with HIV, rabies, botulinum, or
anthrax. Two members were convicted of sending threatening e-mails to assas-
sinate President Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno, and other of¬cials using
bioweapons.h They were sentenced to twenty-four years in prison. They were acquit-
ted, however, of charges of planning to produce weapons of mass destruction.i
r Larry Wayne Harris, a member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, wrote a book on
how to protect against a bioattack: Bacteriological Warfare: A Major Threat to North
America. He experimented with bubonic plague-causing bacteria, three vials of
which he purchased from the American Type Culture Collection for $300.j At the
time, no law prohibited possession of such agents. His attempt to order other
agents including anthrax led to his highly publicized arrest in 1998 on charges of
conspiracy to possess a bioweapons agent. However, lab results on Harris™s anthrax
samples revealed that it was a harmless vaccine and not the weaponized agent as
feared. Therefore, these charges were dropped.
r In 1992, the Minnesota Patriots Council produced ricin to be used against a U.S.
deputy marshal and deputy sheriff. The group never used it against those persons,
e See generally, Miller, pp. 151“154, 159“164; See also, Jeremy Manier & Jeff Long, State Tackles
Readiness for Biochemical Attack, CHICAGO TRIBUNE (October 7, 2001).
f (Miller, p. 191 ).
g Beyond Anthrax: Extremism and the Bioterrorism Threat, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, p. 5 (2001).
h Jessica Stern, Domestic Terrorists Constitute a Potentially Serious Biological Warfare Threat, in
BIOLOGICAL WARFARE: OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS, William Dudley (ed.), p. 80 (2004).
i Beyond Anthrax: Extremism and the Bioterrorism Threat, p. 4.
j Miller, p. 197 .

but group members were convicted for possessing 0.7 grams of ricin for use as a
weapon (enough to kill over 100 people).k
r In 1981, an environmental extremist group known as the “Dark Harvest Comman-
dos” deposited packages of anthrax-contaminated soil outside chemical weapons
facilities in Great Britain to protest the presence of the chemical facility and its
alleged contamination of Gruinard Island.l
r In 1972, the extremist right-wing group “Order of the Rising Sun” was arrested
in Chicago with 30“40 kg of typhoid bacteria. The group was planning to poison
water supplies in Chicago, St. Louis, and other Midwest cities.m Even if the plot had
not been foiled, however, water ¬ltration systems would likely have negated any
k Beyond Anthrax: Extremism and the Bioterrorism Threat, p. 5; See also, Stern.
l Beyond Anthrax: Extremism and the Bioterrorism Threat, p. 8.
m Stern, p. 79.

The Global Strategy for
Preventing Bioviolence
4 Strategic Foundations

There are scenarios for bioviolence that could deeply destabilize the mod-
ern era. To summarize Part I: there are capacities to do harm, and there
are people who want to devote those capacities precisely to do harm.
The thesis of Part II is that there are policies that can substantially
reduce risks. No proposal, of course, can provide an ironclad guarantee that
a bioattack will not happen. It would seem that we will never be completely
safe, but there is much that we can do to make us safer. We can pursue these
policies in ways that promote the advance of bioscience and that elevate
global attention to public health. Absent a prevention strategy, the threats
will grow larger and more uncontrollable. Considerable improvement is
better than perpetually accruing insecurity.
Prevention strategies are controversial because the limits of these
strategies are uncertain. Should broad policy sectors involving health and
science be bent to the objective of preventing bioviolence, an as-yet unreal-
ized threat? The answer must be clear: preventing bioviolence is one part
of a policy m´ lange, important but not an exclusive priority. Whatever
actions are to be taken must not only improve security from biothreats,
they must also promote (or at least not encumber) other values and aspira-
tions. Putting this point more bluntly, not everything that can conceivably
be done to prevent bioviolence should be undertaken. Not every preven-
tive measure produces bene¬ts that are worth the costs. Viewed more
positively, richer and more sophisticated initiatives can ripen if we pursue
bioviolence prevention in a context of broader policy paradigms.
Admittedly, this is complicated. It is also important. The answers given
to “ how can international law address the intrinsic security threats posed
by high science, especially the life sciences? “ say a great deal about how we
can and should govern ourselves at this time.



Count 1. In view of the enormous opportunities for policy progress, too
little is being done to make it hard to prepare and commit bioviolence.
Progress is too slow on the basics: keeping dangerous pathogens and
equipment out of the hands of strangers. Only a few individuals that we
know a lot about should have access to items that can do vast and irrepara-
ble harm; we should be sure that no one else can get in. Laboratory security
experts understand how to make rules for the conduct of bioscience that
complicate access. Although scientists argue endlessly about this or that
rule, no serious scientist would assert that the conduct of science is void of
rules. The question is whether everyone is complying. The overwhelming
majority of scientists in developed countries operate according to these
rules and procedures. But there are holes especially in countries less sci-
enti¬cally advanced. Why?
The problem is that these rules are not really rules, they are guidelines:
scientists should behave in this or that way, but it is dif¬cult to ¬nd out
about violations. Guidelines have served the world well; there is remark-
ably scant evidence about rogue scienti¬c activity. Yet, there are bene¬ts
to making them law:

If these rules about science are binding, then every authority (whether
governmental or professional) will have to educate its members about
those rules. A large problem in bioscience today is not malevolence but
negligence; too few scientists are actively trained to be aware of biovio-
lence risks. The best defense from bioviolence is a bioscience commu-
nity where everyone understands the seriousness of working with dan-
gerous capabilities. Converting these guidelines into rules would compel
that training. Law can institute requirements of courses, certi¬cation, etc.
Although it may readily be conceived that law can go too far in this context, it
need not.
It will be easier to develop tools to detect intentionally wrongful conduct
and, therefore, to leave everyone else alone. There very well might be cul-
prits who can in¬‚ict an unprecedented harm, and both bioscientists and
law enforcers have a professional responsibility to stop them; cooperation
between these two communities is essential to preventing bioviolence.
Without a legal framework, cooperation can take place here or there on an
ad hoc basis, but the gaps in coverage are imperiling. Simply put, it is very
dif¬cult to envision global cooperation between bioscience communities
and law enforcement communities unless there is some legal framework
of rules and standards.

Today, there is too much that is unknown. We do not know where every
well-equipped laboratory is; we suspect that not all dangerous pathogens
can be accounted for; we have inadequate systems for tracking the move-
ment of pathogens and equipment; and we have grossly inadequate capa-
bilities of putting information together to give us the best chance to stop
bio-offenders. Not enough is being done to track bioscience so that there
is a basis for detecting wrongful conduct. Even if there are only a handful
of people suf¬ciently hateful to commit a catastrophic bioviolence attack,
we should improve the odds of ¬nding and stopping them. Accordingly,
the international community should consider how bioscience standards
should be best universalized “ that is, how law should help to ¬ll gaps
through which bioviolence might too easily emerge.
The obstruction here is not resistance from scienti¬c or pharmaceuti-
cal communities; although these communities resist heavy-handed regu-
lation, they appreciate the value of universalized scienti¬c standards that
are developed by and for scientists. It is the States that resist international
standards as an intrusion on sovereignty or because their enforcement
would disadvantage developing economies that have less resources to
devote to security. The ¬rst objection “ sovereignty “ is absurd in view
of the laundry list of internationally recognized standards in other areas of
science and technology without which we would all be far worse off. The
objection based on inadequate resources for security is short-sighted; it
misses the shrewd assessment that burdens can be opportunities and that,
in fact, international law upholds processes for enabling developing coun-
tries to gain capacities as they undertake obligations to achieve security.

Count 2. We are insuf¬ciently taking advantage of the many law enforcers
worldwide who should serve as the primary line of detection. Many of these
law enforcers are inadequately trained and ill-equipped to pursue biovi-
olence. More important, law enforcers operate only where there are legal
rules and processes that de¬ne illegal behavior. The absence of appro-
priate legal prohibitions against bioviolence makes every other initiative
vastly harder to accomplish. There are too many ¬‚aws in law enforcement™s
readiness, whether at the conceptual level “ how should international legal
assistance work effectively to ensure cooperation to discover and inter-
dict bioviolence? “ or at the most operational level “ how should police
be trained to use protective gear? Not enough is being done by special-
ized organizations, Interpol excepted, to introduce bioviolence concerns
to their constituents; not only do we lose the bene¬t of local police, we lose
those organizations™ capabilities for taking decisive action.

The obstructors here are leaders who argue that fundamental inter-
national security decisions should not be grounded on law enforcement.
For example, although the U.S. government strongly supported United
Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 “ legally obligating all States to
criminalize development of weapons of mass destruction and to adopt
legal measures to prevent proliferation of WMD precursors to terrorists “
it has been adamant that international security initiatives relevant to biovi-
olence must leave a very sizeable escape hatch for unilateral realpolitik.
While the U.S. government has embraced the need to train and equip
police, it has resisted bringing the full legal weight of the international
community to bear on this issue. Although many laudable U.S. government
personnel have been trying to make the world safer from bioviolence, they
have had to carve out a niche of accomplishment virtually in hiding from
political superiors. Resistance to international law from U.S. of¬cials leaves
everyone vulnerable. Enormous progress could be made if political leaders
make a serious commitment to strengthening global law enforcement.

Count 3. There is no effective method to address the small number of
extraordinarily serious threats of bioviolence preparation. While intelli-
gence, diplomatic, and military communities are responsible for ensuring
that these threats do not materialize, the disengagement of the United
Nations Security Council “ the legal apparatus for addressing threats to


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