News


DATE=3/10/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-227929
TITLE=BIOLOGICAL TERRORISM (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=COLE MALLARD
DATELINE=ATLANTA
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:   TERRORISM, AS A POLITICAL ACT, HAS BEEN AROUND FOR AGES.
HOWEVER, THE TERM "BIOLOGICAL TERRORISM" HAS BECOME VISIBLE ONLY 
RECENTLY, IN LIGHT OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN OVER IRAQ'S SUSPECTED
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS PROGRAM.  THE TOPIC IS ON THE AGENDA AT THE 
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN 
ATLANTA, GEORGIA.  V-O-A'S COLE MALLARD IS AT THE CONFERENCE AND 
FILES THIS REPORT.

TEXT:  ACCORDING TO A MEDICAL EXPERT, THERE ARE SEVERAL REASONS 
WHY BIOLOGICAL TERRORISM HAS NOT BEEN TAKEN SERIOUSLY, IN THE 
PAST.   DOCTOR D-A HENDERSON IS WITH THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND.                  
            ///  HENDERSON ACTUALITY  ///

         BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS HAVE SO SELDOM BEEN USED OVER THE 
         CENTURIES THAT PRECEDENT WOULD SUGGEST THAT THEY WOULD 
         NOT BE USED, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.  THE SECOND POINT 
         IS THAT THEIR USE IS SO MORALLY REPUGNANT THAT THE 
         BELIEF IS THAT NO ONE WOULD POSSIBLY DEIGN TO USE 
         BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS.  THE THIRD CONCEPTION ON THE PART OF
         SOME IS THAT IT SO TECHNOLOGICALLY DIFFICULT TO PRODUCE 
         AND TO DISPERSE THOSE WEAPONS THAT IT'S QUITE OUT OF THE
         REACH OF ANY LABORATORY, EXCEPT ONE THAT IS HIGHLY 
         SOPHISTICATED.  AND LASTLY, THERE ARE THOSE WHO REGARD 
         THIS MUCH AS THEY DID THE NUCLEAR WINTER OF AN EARLIER 
         TIME, AS BEING JUST SO INTOLERABLE, SO DISASTROUS THAT 
         WE CAN'T EVEN ADDRESS IT -- CAN'T THINK ABOUT IT.  EACH 
         OF THOSE PRESUMPTIONS IS JUST FALLACIOUS.  IT'S DEAD 
         WRONG AND WE KNOW THAT NOW.  

                        ///  END ACTUALITY  ///       

DOCTOR HENDERSON SAYS THE NUMBER OF COUNTRIES ENGAGED IN 
BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS EXPERIMENTATION HAS GROWN FROM FOUR IN THE 
1960'S TO 11 IN THE 1990'S.  

HE SAYS THIS INCREASE INDICATES THE NEED FOR CONCERN ABOUT THE 
FUTURE FOR SEVERAL REASONS.  AMONG THEM IS THAT THIS TYPE OF 
WARFARE IS FAR WORSE THAN EITHER EXPLOSIVES OR CHEMICALS.  THE 
DOCTOR SAYS THERE IS INSUFFICIENT FUNDING, AT PRESENT, TO DEAL 
EFFECTIVELY WITH THE THREAT POSED TO CIVILIAN POPULATIONS.  HE 
ADDS THAT RECIPES FOR MAKING INFECTIOUS BIOLOGICAL AGENTS, SUCH 
AS ANTHRAX, SMALL POX, AND PLAGUE, ARE EASILY AVAILABLE ON THE 
INTERNET AND THEY ARE INEXPENSIVE TO PRODUCE.  HE ALSO SAYS 
DETECTING OR INTERFERING WITH ONE'S INTENT TO USE THESE WEAPONS 
IS NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE. 

///OPT///  DESPITE THE SEEMINGLY-OVERWELMING PROBLEM THAT 
BIOTERRORISM CAN CAUSE, THERE ARE WAYS TO DEAL WITH IT.  DOCTOR 
DAVID FRANZ IS WITH THE U-S ARMY MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF 
INFECTIOUS DISEASES AT FORT DETRICK, MARYLAND.  HE SPOKE AT THE 
CONFERENCE ON THE TOPIC OF MANAGING PEOPLE EXPOSED TO BIOLOGICAL 
WARFARE AGENTS.  

// OPT //  HE SAYS RESOURCES EXIST TODAY THAT CAN TREAT THIS 
FORMIDABLE PROBLEM.

                      ///  OPTIONAL FRANZ ACTUALITY  ///       

         WE HAVE, THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, A PUBLIC HEALTH 
         CAPABILITY AND RESPONSE CAPABILITY THAT COULD READILY BE
         APPLIED IN THE CASE OF A BIOLOGICAL TERRORIST INCIDENT. 
         AND, WE WOULD BE USING ORGANIZATIONS AND CAPABILITIES OF
         W-H-O (THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION), AND PAHO (PAN 
         AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION)[FOR EXAMPLE] AND OUR C-D-C
         (CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL) HERE IN THIS COUNTRY AND 
         IN THE DEPARTMENTS OF DEFENSE IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES TO 
         RESPOND.  SO WE HAVE CAPABILITIES TO RESPOND, BUT IT'S 
         NOT SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DEFINITIVELY SAY "YES, WE'RE 
         READY NOW."  WE'VE CERTAINLY COME A LONG WAY IN THE LAST
         COUPLE OF YEARS, I WOULD SAY IN THE U-S, AND EVEN 
         COLLABORATIVELY IN OTHER COUNTRIES.  

                              ///  END OPTIONAL ACTUALITY //

DOCTOR HENDERSON SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT NOW TO START COMMUNICATING 
AND EDUCATING PEOPLE, WORLDWIDE, ABOUT BIOTERRORISM.  

                  ///  HENDERSON ACTUALITY  ///

         I BELIEVE IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE, AS A WORLD COMMUNITY,
         BEGIN TO TALK ABOUT THIS SUBJECT IN REALISTIC TERMS -- 
         IN TERMS OF HOW REPUGNANT IT IS, HOW MORALLY 
         REPREHENSIBLE IT IS AND GRADUALLY TO BUILD A CONSENSUS, 
         BUILD A SET OF ACTIVITIES -- WHETHER IT BE FROM 
         CONVENTIONS AND MEASURES OF VERIFYING THAT COUNTRIES ARE
         NOT ENGAGED IN THIS ACTIVITY -- SO THAT EVENTUALLY WE 
         BASICALLY CONDEMN BIOLOGICAL WARFARE IN SUCH UNEQUIVOCAL
         TERMS THAT NO ONE WOULD EVER USE IT AGAIN.   

                  ///  END ACTUALITY  ///  

[SIGNED]

NEB / WD / WD

11-Mar-98 12:13 AM EST (0513 UTC)
NNNN

Source: Voice of America
.