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have debilitating consequences. Chapter 2 explains bioviolence: what is
it, how is it done, and how technological advance is changing the phe-
nomenon. There are many bioviolence options; science is opening new
opportunities and making existing methods easier. Chapter 3 addresses
the question of who has perpetrated bioviolence and who might perpe-
trate it today. Whether viewed from historical experience or from today™s
news, it is clear that many people are not inhibited about in¬‚icting disease.
Part II recommends the global strategy for preventing bioviolence.
Chapter 4 explains the foundations of that strategy based on criminaliza-
tion of wrongful conduct. Chapter 5 focuses on complicating bioviolence
by making it dif¬cult to get needed pathogens and capabilities and by
strengthening law enforcement™s authority to detect and interdict biovio-
lence preparations. We need to know far more about the capabilities for
committing bioviolence, and we need to raise hurdles to their wrongful
applications. Chapter 6 considers how the potential for harm inherent in
bioscience research should be understood and how science can develop
resistance against bioviolence by creating vaccines and medicines. Global-
izing policies to promote bioscience presents critical ¬nancial challenges
as well as potential con¬‚icts with intellectual property protections.
Chapter 7 discusses public health preparedness to deal with bio-attacks
by hardening targets, planning response interventions, and establishing
quarantines if necessary. Although preparedness measures can be useful
in mitigating the consequences of a bioattack, excessive reliance on public
health is false security. Chapter 8 considers the unique problems of State
bioweapons programs and today™s challenges for the Biological Weapons

Convention, including nonlethal bioagents and national biodefense pro-
grams. Also relevant here are measures to ensure dismantlement of the
former Soviet Union™s bioweapons stockpiles. Chapter 9 discusses how
relevant policies should be progressively governed under the rule of law
and supervised by three United Nations entities. In all, the book is intended
to provide a multidimensional blueprint for today™s decision makers and
concerned citizens to improve humanity™s security.

The Bioviolence
Condition and
How It Came to Be
1 Why Worry?

If someone really despises 21st Century civilization, what can be done? For
the truly diehard nihilist, passionate terrorist, or zealous lunatic, there are
frustratingly few options. At some point, they have to realize that conven-
tional attacks just are not doing the trick. The 9/11 attacks, the bombing of
the Madrid and London subways, and numerous smaller attacks have all
put civilization on edge, but history marches inexorably forward more or
less as it was before. The United States and its allies are resolute, continu-
ing to assert materialistic values and using their force of arms and media
to propound those values to everyone else. A few thousand people can be
killed, yet western armies still traverse the world. The sun never sets on a
U.S. military base.
There is, however, one way to shred the predominant social fabric. It is
how the deity has done it since the days of pharaoh: in¬‚ict a scourge. The
Bible is replete with lessons of how the in¬dels were beset by pestilence “
the holy wrath of the righteous. What more symbolically justi¬able way
to provoke an apocalyptic confrontation between the forces of good and
evil? Causing collective death and misery may be seen as performing a
sacramental reckoning that morally justi¬es mass murder.
The threat of bioviolence is unique among perils facing humanity, and
those who would perpetrate bioviolence are villains in a class of their own.


Bioviolence is ultimately about destruction of living organisms, not build-
ings or equipment. In operation, bioweapons “ the devices of bioviolence “
kill or impair people (or animals or vegetation) within range, then dissi-
pate leaving victims as the only evidence of their use. Bioweapons are very


They most closely resemble chemical weapons. Some bioweapons are,
in fact, chemical weapons. Toxins such as ricin are inanimate poisons that
happen to be made by living organisms. They are bioweapons because their
source is biological, yet they interrupt key life functions in ways similar to
sarin or mustard gas. Toxins aside, all other bioweapons share the common
attribute of engaging a live agent to infect the victim.

Delayed Anonymity
Bioweapons are distinguishable by their naturalness. Most other weapons,
including chemical weapons, have uniquely unnatural effects, but
bioweapons resemble and can be mistaken for a natural disease outbreak.
Many pathogens generate ¬‚u-like symptoms, and it might appear at ¬rst
that victims are suffering from an acute ¬‚u outbreak. Although some dis-
eases, notably smallpox, have unmistakably distinctive symptoms that
could be readily observed, this is more the exception than the rule. For
most types of pathogen attacks, identi¬cation would be dif¬cult until long
after the bio-offenders have ¬‚ed.
Another distinction is the length of time between the attack and its
consequences. Chemical or explosive weapons kill virtually immediately,
but a victim of a bioattack might not have even the slightest indication of
a problem for a few days. Detonation of a bioweapon need not draw an
iota of attention. The attack could unfold in a prolonged process involving
exposure, incubation, and eventually illness, even death. In time, mount-
ing numbers of the sick and dying could lead to a diagnosis that patients
are suffering from a disease that is not a natural outbreak. This diagnosis
might convince authorities that a bioviolence attack has been committed,
but that could easily be a week after the attack occurs.
From the perspective of a bio-offender, these two characteristics of
using bioweapons “ its symptoms similar to those of natural disease and its
lengthy incubation time for effects to become manifest “ are very desirable.
He could commit the attack and then have all the time he needs to blissfully
move away unimpeded by police or of¬cials who would have no reason
to suspect that a horrible crime has been committed. He could release
anthrax in a sports stadium and leave at will; the game would be yesterday™s
news well before a single victim shows up at an emergency room or doctor™s
Far more ominous, bioviolence™s delayed effects could enable a sophis-
ticated bio-offender (or team) to wage a strategic series of attacks. He can
release pathogens in one location; as the toll of sick victims multiplies,

he moves to another location perhaps thousands of miles away. After a
few days as victims appear and authorities begin to respond, attention
and treatment resources will ¬‚ood the target site. Now it is time for a
second attack. This pattern could go on repeatedly as the bio-offender
is always a few days ahead of the law enforcers and public health of¬-
cials who are trying to stop him. Importantly, by moving around, he could
strain response resources and transportation networks as his ¬rst attack
draws those resources to one corner of the nation then in a few days must
hurriedly scramble to a distant corner and so on.
In a highly developed country such as the United States, for example,
an attack in Miami would draw vast quantities of antidotes and respon-
ders into southern Florida. The attack™s consequences might be contained
if authorities respond quickly and with massive resources. Getting more
resources to Seattle to cope with the second attack might not be a problem
for a country as rich and prepared as the United States. But getting them to
Boston to deal with the third attack might provoke some confusion: moving
medical supplies and trained personnel back and forth across a continent
takes substantial logistical execution, any aspect of which could stum-
ble in the stress of a series of bioattacks. When Dallas gets hit a few days
later, exhaustion and disarray might be taking a real toll on the response
community. A clever bio-offender could save his coup de grˆ ce “ a mas-
sive attack in Chicago “ until the end. However, citizens of hundreds of
other cities would not know that he has ¬nished; their levels of panic
would be elevated for months. No one would know where the next attack
might happen. Remember that the primary motivation for committing
bioviolence is to create panic, and multiple attacks with ceaseless night-
mares about where and when the next attack might occur are most fear-
some. No other weapon offers a comparable capacity to in¬‚ict catastrophe
Moreover, a bio-offender who is sophisticated enough to execute
multiple-site bioviolence could likely prepare more than one agent. Attacks
with different agents could radically compound the challenges for con-
taining consequences. For example, it is dif¬cult to ignite an epidemic in
the face of medical counter-measures even if one has a highly contagious
agent. If medical counter-measures are absorbed with the effects of an
anthrax attack, however, a different epidemic might have the opportunity
to spread. Indeed, one of the great fears associated with anthrax is that
it might be used to “cover” a contagious outbreak, the delayed effects of
which might be initially ignored in the face of hundreds (or more) anthrax

A close look at most nations™ response strategy for a terrorist attack
reveals that security of¬cials shortsightedly neglect the delayed effects
of a bioattack as well as the potential for repeated attacks. Even more
signi¬cantly, they tend to neglect the consequences of fatigue, chaos, and
the sheer challenge of coping across large distances. Most important, they
tend to assume that the response will proceed in an ordered environment
where authority is clear and the media is accurate. But this is palpable
The anthrax attacks of late 2001 were by any measure of violence very
small scale. Only a few people were infected by anthrax, but the entire
nation was infected with panic for weeks. American law enforcers have
still not identi¬ed the bio-offenders. Not much imagination is needed to
envision the chaos that would follow a relentless series of attacks in one
city after another. Nor should it be ignored that even a natural disaster
for which there was massive warning with effects concentrated in a single
region “ Hurricane Katrina “ provoked governmental responses that were,
to say the least, not optimal. Imagine those same of¬cials responding to
multiple outbreaks of disease not knowing where the next one will occur
or when the last one will be over.
Most ominously, an attack need not happen in the United States or
a comparably sophisticated nation. Whatever con¬dence that American
of¬cials might have about their ability to con¬ne a catastrophe is obviously
vapid if the threat scenario entails sites in developing nations. Indeed,
these of¬cials manifest a remarkable conceit by claiming that they can
contain a bioattack™s consequences as if offenders will attack only once,
using a readily detectable agent at a locale where defenses are strongest,
and as if only North Americans or Western Europeans might be targets.
In the vast majority of cities in the world, detection capabilities are
essentially nonexistent, and available medical response capacities are
already overburdened with a host of natural epidemics. The bioviolence
tactics that might be devastating in the United States “ multiple attacks at
geographically distant locations involving different agents “ could be many
orders of magnitude more catastrophic where populations are crowded
and public health capabilities are already strained and ineffective. An
attack could readily spread among victims infected with HIV/AIDS and
tuberculosis leaving innumerable fatalities and masses of ungoverned
survivors. It is hard to predict what would be the implications for stable
A bioviolence attack could ride on the coattails of a natural epidemic.
For example, a natural ¬‚u pandemic could provide perfect conditions for

bioviolence. Even if the ¬‚u is ultimately contained, it would so absorb
resources and attention as to make it exponentially more dif¬cult to cope
with the intentionally in¬‚icted disease. As mentioned, many bioviolence
agents cause ¬‚u-like symptoms; during a natural ¬‚u pandemic, they likely
would be misdiagnosed. Only when many patients who should be respon-
sive to countermeasures against ¬‚u fail to regain health might it become
clear that something else is causing the symptoms “ something that has
been deliberately spread.
Consider all this from the perspective of a bio-offender deeply hostile
to the United States and its western allies. He could, of course, initiate
an attack in mid-Manhattan, Chicago, or London. But there is some risk
that the world™s most sophisticated police will ¬nd out about him and the
world™s most sophisticated public health and medical communities will
devote their expertise and resources to an effective response. What™s a bio-
offender to do? It is easy to name dozens of capital cities around the globe

1. are teemingly overcrowded,
2. have woefully de¬cient public health systems,
3. are major international transport hubs, and
4. are in States that have close diplomatic linkages with the United

Envision a series of attacks against these capitals of developing States,
perhaps timed to follow local of¬cials™ expressions of friendship to visit-
ing U.S. dignitaries. The attacks could carry a well-publicized yet simple
warning: “If you are a friend of the United States, receive its of¬cials, or
support its policies, thousands of your people will get sick.” How many
attacks in how many such cities would it take before international diplo-
macy, to say nothing of international transit, comes to a crashing halt?
How many attacks that cause how many victims would it take before panic
and interruptions of international trade provoke of¬cials to close stock
markets? At some point, even if not a single American is actually sickened,
the nation™s economy and political leadership would be near collapse.

Concealable Devastation
Bioviolence is distinctive by yet another attribute: in comparison to using
chemical weapons (or indeed any other type of weapon but one), the
potential death toll could be huge. A well-planned attack using chemi-
cals or explosives could be devastating, but it is hard to conceive an attack

with casualties exceeding ten thousand victims. By contrast, it has been
estimated that release of 250 pounds of highly re¬ned anthrax spores over
a major American city could infect up to three million people.1 In truth, the
potential number of victims is unknowable “ it depends on where it hap-
pens, the type of pathogen, and the sophistication of the weapon maker.
Yet, there is widespread consensus among experts that a high end bioat-
tack would in¬‚ict casualties exponentially greater than any chemical or
conventional attack.
In this respect, bioweapons should be compared to nuclear weapons.
Just in terms of potential casualties these weapons stand out from all other
tools of catastrophe, and for this reason alone they deserve special atten-
tion. One big difference, of course, is that bioweapons leave buildings
standing and infrastructure intact. There are other more important differ-
ences. Biotechnology is far more forgiving, and bioweapons are far easier
to manufacture than nuclear weapons where even a miniscule error could
produce a dud. Bioweapons are not as easy to make as the media might
suggest; there are far more obstacles than with making and using a conven-
tional explosive. Indeed, the dif¬culties of making an effective bioweapon
are keys to detecting and interdicting bioviolence. Yet, making a lethal


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