News


DATE=4/27/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-230313
TITLE=BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS (L ONLY)
BYLINE=GIL BUTLER
DATELINE=WASHINGTON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  UNITED NATIONS INSPECTION OF IRAQ'S SUSPECTED MASS 
DESTRUCTION WEAPONS HAS BROUGHT MUCH PUBLIC ATTENTION TO THE 
THREAT POSED BY SUCH WEAPONS.  ONE OF THE LEAST UNDERSTOOD OF THE
THREATS IS FROM BIOLOGICAL WARFARE AGENTS.  THE CLINTON 
ADMINISTRATION HAS SET THE GOAL OF A REACHING MORE EFFECTIVE 
INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT ON SUCH WEAPONS BY THE END OF THE YEAR.  
TODAY (MONDAY) SCIENTISTS AND ANALYSTS DISCUSSED THE ISSUE AT A 
SEMINAR IN WASHINGTON.  CORRESPONDENT GIL BUTLER HAS A REPORT.

TEXT:  THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTED SUNDAY THAT A RECENT MOCK 
TERRORIST ATTACK WAS USED AS AN EXERCISE TO TEST THE PREPAREDNESS
OF AMERICA'S ABILITY TO HANDLE SUCH AN EMERGENCY.  THE FICTITIOUS
BIOLOGICAL WEAPON USED IN THE EXERCISE WAS REPORTED TO BE A 
COMBINATION OF SMALL POX AND ANOTHER DEADLY VIRUS. 

WHILE THE SCIENTISTS AND PLANNERS AT THE BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS 
SEMINAR HERE DID  NOT  DIRECTLY CONFIRM THE REPORT, BROOKINGS 
INSTITUTION SCHOLAR JOHN STEINBRUNER INDICATED SUCH NEW DEADLY 
ORGANISMS MIGHT BE POSSIBLE.  

                     /// STEINBRUNER ACT ///

         THE UNDERLYING SCIENCE IS EVOLVING, AND CONCEPTUALLY IT 
         IS POSSIBLE TO IMAGINE HOW YOU MIGHT CREATE A REAL MASS 
         DESTRUCTION AGENT.  I MEAN A REAL ONE WHERE YOU ARE 
         INVOLVING VERY, VERY LARGE CASUALTIES.  NOW NEITHER 
         NATURE NOR ANY KNOWN PROGRAM HAS DONE SUCH A THING YET, 
         BUT CONCEPTUALLY IT IS REASONABLY CLEAR HOW, IN 
         PRINCIPLE, IT MIGHT BE DONE.  THEREFORE THE BUSINESS OF 
         PREVENTION HAS A HIGHER LOAD ON IT THAN IT DID EVEN FIVE
         YEARS AGO. 

                         /// END ACT ///

THE THREAT OF TERRORISTS USING BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS WAS DISCUSSED 
AT THE SEMINAR.  THE ONLY KNOWN TERRORIST USE OF GERMS IN THE 
UNITED STATES WAS A MASS, NON-FATAL FOOD POISONING BLAMED ON AN 
OREGON CULT.  

MICROBIOLOGIST RONALD ATLAS SAYS USING BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS DOES  
NOT  BRING IMMEDIATE RESULTS -- INFECTED PEOPLE MIGHT  NOT  
BECOME SICK FOR WEEKS.  

                        /// ATLAS ACT ///

         FOR A TERRORIST WHO WANTS TO MAKE A STATEMENT, THAT MAY 
         NOT  BE A GREAT WAY TO DO THINGS, SO WE ARE MORE LIKELY 
         TO SEE THE HOAXES WHERE SOMEONE THROWS STRAWBERRIES DOWN
         AND YELLS, 'ANTHRAX' (A PATHOGEN), AND RUNS AWAY AND 
         SPREADS TERROR THROUGH THE SURROUNDING POPULATION.

                         /// END ACT ///

/// OPT ///  BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS EXPERT COLONEL DAVID FRANZ SAYS 
TERRORISTS PROBABLY WOULD REQUIRE HELP FROM A GOVERNMENT TO USE 
GERMS AS A MASS KILLER.

                        /// FRANZ ACT ///

         THE TRUE MASS CASUALTY ATTACK WITH POTENTIAL TO KILL OR 
         INJURE THOUSANDS OR EVEN HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE
         WILL PROBABLY REQUIRE STATE SPONSORSHIP, AND, 
         FORTUNATELY IS THE LEAST LIKELY TO OCCUR

                   /// END ACT ///END OPT ///

THE SCIENTISTS AND ANALYSTS AGREED THAT EFFORTS AT PREVENTING 
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS USE SHOULD BE INCREASED AND A STRONGER 
INTERNATIONAL TREATY AGAINST DEVELOPING GERM WARFARE AGENTS IS 
NEEDED.  BUT THEY ALSO AGREED THAT BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS PROGRAMS 
ARE THE HARDEST TO DETECT -- THE FACILITIES NEEDED TO PRODUCE 
THEM ARE SMALL, AND MOST BIOLOGICAL MATERIALS ALSO HAVE 
LEGITIMATE USES.  (SIGNED)

NEB/MGB/MMK 

27-Apr-98 2:47 PM EDT (1847 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.