[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] T [/yt_dropcap]he attack perpetrated in Manchester on May 23 last is a turning point for the Daesh-Isis war in Europe and, in the future, in the rest of the Mediterranean. We must focus our attention on two factors, in particular: firstly, the attack on the Manchester Arena is the first terrorist attack in Europe perpetrated by a Libyan jihadist, although born in Great Britain in 1994 from parents opposed to Gaddafi’s regime.
The generation of millennials, to which the Manchester terrorist partially belongs, is the generation in which so far the largest number of boys (and girls) ready for the “martyrdom” fi sabil Allah (on the way to Allah) have been found.
If you think about it, this is obvious.
The young people born after the end of the Cold War are tabulae rasae; they have been raised up in schools, in families, and especially on the media – and so much so on the web – to be manipulated as quickly as the way in which styles, trends, symbols and jobs change.
They have no identity so as to adhere to the gig economy, the “gigonomics” or “micro-job economy” theorized by many American and European gurus and so-called economists. They have no memory so as to be adaptable to new consumption styles and trends, without too much advertising effort. They have no history so as to be transferable and interchangeable, in the future, in the new large spaces of the geoeconomics that will be created by mass poverty.
The first clue to study is the following: the Daesh-Isis jihadist myth is both the substitute and the opposite of this postmodern passive revolution – in Gramsci’s sense of the term – with which the global ruling classes in the West accept and even stimulate the worst behaviours of masses so as to later use them in their favour.
While some years ago the “two-thirds” society was theorized, in which the “affluent” two thirds abandoned the poor third to its destiny, today we have the “three thirds” society: a very small walk of society getting increasingly rich; a third of middle class divided between new poor and members of the establishment; a huge mass of old and new poor abandoned to their destiny.
Currently politicians protect the rich and gives them the spoils of the middle class that is close to its end. They tell the poor to go to hell by creating for them a mythical and media-like Disneyland distracting them from their condition and destiny.
Hence the Caliphate myth against Western uprootedness; the obsession of a faked identity against the destruction of identity; the mnemonic and silly – but far too strong – jihad doctrinarism against the Western “weak thinking”.
Finally, against the infinite present of Euro-American consumption, the jihadist myth of the “near-end times” of the Sunni Mahdism which, by no mere coincidence, was the first political and military goal to be destroyed by the Ottomans’ Caliphate, namely the true one.
Therefore, while there is persistent economic crisis in our “extreme West”, savings are made on processes and products and hence the labour costs and the number of workers are reduced. Workers are scarcely paid, they are delocalized and hence a great amusement park is built for them until old age.
Resuming a Marxist analysis model, which is often not useless, the myth of the Syrian-Iraqi Caliphate is also the great identitarian and even professional myth of many uprooted and marginalized young people in the outskirts of our cities.
As proletarians and bad guys went to Fiume as volunteers with Commander D’Annunzio, proletarians and petty criminals consider themselves blameless and recreate a mythical, warlike, ennobling and inspiring identity – and with a salary.
A Western amusement park for the poor in which you survive only if you accept to remain poor and devoid of identity, at the same time – the identity which is provided, as a substitute, exactly by the jihad of the new Syrian-Iraqi Caliphate.
This reminds us of the terrible and enlightened Nietzsche of the Posthumous Fragments, when he imagined our times as an immense mass of “Chinese” on which the “soothing oil” is poured, thus making them go on – like “soma”, the acceptable hallucinogenic drug of Orwell’s 1984.
No longer religion as the “opium of the people”, but the myth of desiring desire, of the instinctive matter, of the immediate and irrational fulfilment and satisfaction.
It is no coincidence that in all the propaganda dedicated to Daesh and Al Qaeda’s youth, as well as in magazines and online material, the focal point is the end times and the urgency of conversion to Islam, before it is too late – a conversion to be carried out also and above all with the sword jihad.
The second more strategic factor to be studied is that – given the scarce presence of the Caliphate’s jihadists in Raqqa and Mosul during and after the evacuation following the victory of the Syrian forces of Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies – we can only infer that many Daesh militants fled before the Caliphate’s fall into those regions and retreated behind the lines so as to quickly spread to Europe and other areas of our “extreme West”, probably protected by tribes such as Zu-bi and al-Masalmeh that participated in the initial uprisings against Bashar el Assad.
What we generally call “terrorism” is primarily an instrument of psychological war, considering that it is terror – and the most brutal one, in particular – to indefinitely block the enemy’s reactions, our reactions.
It was Genghis Khan’s tactic and now it is the primary instrument of the jihad presence in the “enemy” territory, in our territory.
After terror, there comes the sequence of other war actions, all linked to the primacy of a well-known Islamic psywar technique: the systematic deception of the enemy, namely us.
Taqyya – namely the lawful deception, a sort of “honest dissimulation”, just to use the title of Torquato Accetto’ book of 1641, which Croce brought back to fame – has sound Qur’anic foundations.
The basic criterion for understanding the issue is the one found in Al Tabari’s commentary of Qur’an verse 3:28, which reads as follows: “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Auliya (friends, supporters) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger for them. And Allah warns you against Himself (His Punishment), and to Allah is the final return. “
Al Tabari’s commentary on this Qur’anic verse is enlightening and vey topical: “Let not believers take disbelievers as friends and allies rather than believers. Whoever does that has nothing to do with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence, obeying them if they are in power but always preserving animosity towards the infidels.”
Hence the theory of deception and later – as first stage of the jihadist clash – the terror which blocks the infidels’ reaction for the desired time – and the more terrifying the better.
Then, in sequence, the other techniques of psychological and material war, which always go hand in hand in the Islamic universe.
Furthermore, the Qur’anic doctrine of war is linked to two psychological and political characteristics: the recognition of the possible “repression” made by infidels against the Islamic community seen as a whole – just as it happened at the beginning of Muhammad’s preaching by the Mecca’s Quraysh enemies – and the absolute right of Islam to its universal expansion – and its being peaceful or not only depends on the “infidels”.
A theory of war which is both victimist and arrogant at the same time .
In fact, in recent years, the Muslim Brotherhood has always repeated that “Europe will be conquered peacefully” and hence the sword jihad is not needed.
Is it Taqyya? Certainly so, but rather Western stupidity and myth of the so-called “multiculturalism”.
It is worth recalling that there are as many as 40 major Islamic texts on war and its techniques, written in the period between the 8th and the 15th century AD.
Without a philosophy of war you cannot understand Islam, not even the so-called “moderate” Islam.
The jihad techniques, however, are Qital, “fighting” or even “killing”, witnessed in the Qur’an since its first Mecca’s Surahs; Ghazw, namely the direct fight or raids for expanding the territory subject to Islam; Siriya, namely the fight ordered by the Prophet or by one of his successors, but not directly led by Muhammad or by Islamic people; Baatha, a mission or expedition which can be diplomatic, but does not rule out the armed clash.
Terror, at first, and then the sequence of these techniques – obviously modernized.
Furthermore, in the Qur’anic texts of the Wahhabi tradition, there is a final chapter on jihad – which is not the case in other interpretative traditions.
Moreover, in the Wahhabi world, which is at the origin of contemporary jihad, also the verses prohibiting suicide (195 of Al Baraqah, Al Nisa’29-30) are not considered, besides translating as a vital and generic obligation the fact of “giving” (even life) fi sabil Allah, “on the way to Allah” – a “giving” that was previously referred specifically to the tax to be collected by the “infidels”.
Hence, to recap, now the Caliphate’s network will soon extend to Europe and will start to spread terror, so as to later use normal warfare techniques, but always according to the sequence we have seen above.
We should not forget that the first great battles of Prophet Muhammad were all against Medina’s Jewish tribes – and this is an essential factor.
The final clash will be between Judaism and Islam – the clash for the End Times – and Christianity is “infidel” because it derives from Judaism and accepts Jesus, the Mediator and Risen Christ, not as a Prophet (which would also apply to the Qur’an), but as Filius Dei and Deus.
If there is an Israeli reaction against one single Muslim, as was the case with Osama Bin Laden, it can be inferred – on the basis of the theology that Ibn Taymiya developed against Tartar Islam – that the jihad can be declared.
Also other theologians of the Islamic war infer that the mere existence of the State of Israel can justify the jihad. All the wars between Jews and Palestinians, secular and non-secular Arab countries, jihadist Islam and the Jewish State were exactly a jihad, ending only with the victory of believers and the arrival of “End Times” – another eschatological and military factor at the same time.
Islam clearly perceives that the current West does no longer want and possess eschatòn.
It wants and possesses the recurring cycle of births and deaths, which will continue to recur in a similar form – the Nietzschean Eternal Return or Recurrence.
However relegated to an increasingly reduced consumption cycle.
The carnivalesque, materialistic and satanic vision of the Cycle that Nietzsche had in Sils Maria.
But what is eschatòn? It is the neutral form of the Greek word “end”. End Times.
For us “infidels”, initially the theme is that of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.
Conversely, the katechòn about which Saint Paul speaks is precisely the Antichrist.
It holds the Evil because it is held back by the Saint who is partially present in the world; it prevents it from being seen, it keeps time still. It masks, tames and stabilizes it. And it cannot do evil in all its power.
It is on its relationship with the Evil, in its temporary “holding and standing still” – as Carl Schmitt maintained – that the West bases Politics, with the “social contract” and the previous Hobbes’ bellum omnium contra omnes, whose king becomes the only one who can do evil to defend his subjects’ lives, property and freedom.
It is the beginning of dialectics.
Macbeth, the protagonist of Shakespeare’s tragedy, rose to power and lost it due to the same and only witchcraft of the three witches, who predicted he would lose everything when the “walking forest” came against him – an apparent paradox.
Katèkhon does not lead to eschatòn.
In the first Letter to the Corinthians Saint Paul maintained that, after the end of time, “we will all be changed” (15: 51).
The model is the model of resurrection narrated by Ezekiel, with the dry bones wrapped with muscles and skin coming back to life
In Saint Paul, however, faith in the Kingdom – which is still an acceptable model for an Islamic person, namely a perfect future Caliphate in universal Islam – becomes only faith in the Risen Christ, that even replaces the Kingdom.
And faith in the Risen Christ may even defer His return indefinitely; it can “contain” evil on its own and defeat the katechòn without the Fullness of Time coming.
As we can see, it is in the subtleties of theological, Catholic and Islamic analysis that we can properly read the political-religious dimension of jihad and its possible cultural, strategic, and even military contrast on our part.
Moreover, if the Risen Christ does not want to reappear, instead of building his Kingdom – as the jihadist Islam believes it can do against the “sinners-infidels” (sinners insofar as infidels) – Saint Paul’s eschatòn becomes internal. The return of Christ and the end of time are secondary, because we are all in Christ, who has already resurrected.
It is the notion of pleroma, namely Christ who always fills the world with Him and brings it to Salvation within the Church, but also within mankind.
Thinking of the constant mechanism inimicus-hostis, personal enemy- public enemy, which – as already seen – characterizes the practice and the doctrine of jihad, we cannot fail to note the radical nature of the separation between the West, founded by the Judeo-Christian theology, and Islam.
The Catholic theology is a specific theory of the End Times, but of parusia, namely the Fullness of the Spirit, which has to face the Islamic theology of the End Times, which is a doctrine of the war to which, afterwards, Allah responds by destroying this phase of the visible world.
In this regard it is important to reflect upon the Qur’anic verse stating that “Allah is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. If he wishes, he could destroy you and bring about another creation” (Al Fatir, 16).
This means that, without any mediation, our universe will be destroyed and later Allah, if He so wishes, will create another one we cannot even imagine. He will bring us back to life and will separate the souls going to Hell and those going to Paradise.
There is no possibility in Islam to stop the katechòn. Everything happens inside Allah and not even the elimination of all “infidels” is a harbinger of the end of time, but only one of its preconditions.
Hence the nihilism of current jihadists – to use our historical-political notions and definitions: they know they only have to destroy the world of infidels, and later Allah only – without any sign – will recreate a new one.
A kind of nihilism which, apart from its theological foundations, reminds us much of the Russian nihilism of the mid-19th century. However, it also reminds us of the nihilism of the so-called millennials, who put their bodies to test, climb up to the top of skyscrapers, attempt suicide and are violent without a cause.
Certainly this is an action of the Enemy that, in Islamic theology, Allah creates from “smokeless fire” and is expelled from the Grace of God when he refuses to pay tribute to Man, created by Allah with clay and not with fire, without using fire.
The devil will die at the end of time after having deceived mankind – but this is his task.
Nevertheless it is precisely mankind who is the sole enemy of Iblis, the devil; Allah cannot obviously be his enemy.
It has always been above the enemy – and here lies the ambiguity of Islam about Evil, an unresolved theology according to which what is evil for us may appear to Allah in a different way.
These are probably remnants of gnosticism in Islamic theology while, in Catholic theology, Jesus, the Risen Christ, is already the Lord of History and has already defeated the devil.
The devil who is Man’s enemy, but also enemy of God’s designs.
However, it is exactly the ritual of violence that sometimes imitates the Satanist death rituals so widespread among Western youth, which creates the terrorist specific death ritual shaping the deep identity of Islamic jihadists.
For Daesh-Isis militants, participating in the materialization of Evil, which will destroy this unfaithful world, is a gnostic way of “calling God” after the end of this world.
We always revert to the game of the reverse and the opposite about which we have previously spoken.
Polytheistic gnosticism in the West, gnosticism of the One to be called int0 History for the Islamic jihad.
It is also worth noting how the Daesh-Isis use of the web is obviously for propaganda purposes, but it is also identitarian and often overlapping with the advertising or political mechanisms (assuming that there is a difference today) with which the Web is used in the West.
I do not want to reiterate the usual trivial platitude of those who say that Isis videos are “well-done” or that the communication of the two Caliphate’s magazines, namely Dabiq and Rumiyah, seems to be developed by excellent professionals who know the Western media rules.
Quite the reverse. I wish to say that the Western political mix – namely the “idea-platform-specialists” that made Obama, Trump and Macron rise to power and made Brexit possible, and will keep on doing harm in the future – is currently the same paradigm of Daesh- Isis.
Barack Obama used the VoteBuilder platform that enabled him to collect 72 million US dollars in tiny donations, but above all enabled him to know the tastes, trends, preferences and idiosyncrasies of a huge mass of his potential voters.
Conversely, Donald Trump used his ProjectAlamo platform, which identified potential voters through the LookalikeAudiencies software, measuring also the efficacy of advertising with the BrandLift system.
Cambridge Analytics’s planned Brexit at communication and political levels (which is currently the same thing).
On the contrary, Daesh-Isis uses its social media or traditional networks especially to urge a response from its users.
It is very likely for the Caliphate – especially now that it is moving to Europe and probably in the United States – to use platforms that are very similar to those of the West, with a view to tracking news, data, areas of possible protection-flanking and new militants, in addition to information about the “infidel” enemy.
The Caliphate’s communications are often included – by pre-selected audiences – in the most popular Arab news websites, such as Al Ahram. In the social media fora, indicators increasingly appear for collecting messages according to the various entries: shar’ia, militancy, news from the Caliphate, Qur’an interpretations, etc.
It is certainly possible to obscure and create networks tracking this mass of jihadist big data simultaneously, but it is also worth recalling the cultural, theological and political postulates we mentioned earlier.
Security of nuclear materials in India
The author is of the view that nuclear security is lax in India. More so, because of the 123 Agreement and sprawling nuclear installations in several states. The thieves and scrap dealers even dare to advertise online sale of radioactive uranium. India itself has reported several incidents of nuclear thefts to the international bodies. The author wonders why India’s security lapses remain out of international focus. Views expressed are personal.
Amid raging pandemic in the southern Indian state of Maharashtra, the anti-terrorism squad arrested (May 6, 20210) two persons (Jagar Jayesh Pandya and Abu Tahir Afzal hussain Choudhry) for attempting to sell seven kilograms of highly-radioactive muranium for offered price of about Rs. 21 crore. The “gentlemen” had uncannily advertised the proposed sale online.. As such, the authorities initially dismissed the advertisement as just another hoax. They routinely detained the “sellers-to-be” and forwarded a sample of their ware to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. They were shocked when the centre reported that “the material was natural uranium”. As such the squad was compelled to book the duo under India’s Atomic Energy Act, 1962 at Nagpur police station (Explained: ATS seizes 7 kg uranium worth Rs. 21 crore from a scrap dealer…Indian Express May 7, 2021).
Not a unique incident
The event, though shocking, is is not one of its kind. Earlier, in 2016 also, two persons were arrested by Thane (Maharashtra) police while they were trying to sell eight to nine kilograms of depleted uranium for Rs. 24 crore. It is surmised that sale of uranium by scrap dealers in India is common. But, such events rarely come in limelight. According to Anil Kakodar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, `Factories using uranium as a counterweight in their machines are mandated to contact the Atomic Energy agencies and return uranium to them. They however resort to short cuts and sell the entire machine with uranium in scrap’.
India media scarcely report such incidents. However, Indian government sometimes reports such incidents to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to meet disclosure requirements. According to international media reports (February 25, 2004), India reported 25 cases of “missing” or “stolen” radio-active material from its labs to the IAEA. Fifty-two per cent of the cases were attributed to “theft” and 48% to the “missing mystery”. India claimed to have recovered lost material in twelve of total 25 cases. It however admitted that 13 remaining cases remained mysterious.
India’s reports such incidents to the IAEA to portray itself as a “responsible state”. It is hard to believe that radio-active material could be stolen from nuclear labs without operators’ connivance.
Nine computers, belonging to India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation establishment at Metcalfe House, New Delhi, were stolen. India communicated 25 cases of ‘stolen or missing’ uranium to the IAEA. In different incidents, uranium in varying forms and quantities continue to be recovered from scrap dealers and others by Indian authorities. The recoveries include fifty-seven pounds of uranium in rod form, eight kilograms in granular form, two hundred grams in semi-processed form, besides twenty-five kilograms in radioactive form, stolen from the Bibi Cancer Hospital.
Too, the ‘thieves’ stole three cobalt switches, worth Rs. 1.5 million, from Tata Steel Company laboratory at Jamshedpur (Jharkhand). A shipment of beryllium (worth $24 million), was caught in Vilnius, on its way to North Korea. Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea. A New Jersey-based Indian engineer Sitaram Ravi Mahidevan was indicted for having bypassed US export procedures to send blue-prints of solenoid-operated valves to North Korea.
We know that the Taiwanese authorities had intercepted a ship, carrying dual-use aluminum oxide from India to North Korea. The oxide is an essential ingredient of rocket casings and is, as such, prohibited for export to “rogue” countries.
Despite recurrent incidents of theft of uranium or other sensitive material from indiandian nuclear labs, the IAEA never initiated a thorough probe into lax security environment in government and private nuclear labs in india. However, the international media has a penchant for creating furore over uncorroborated nuclear lapses in Pakistan. The Time magazine article ‘Merchant of Menace’, had reported that some uranium hexafluoride cylinders were missing from the Kahuta Research Laboratories. Pakistan’ then information minister and foreign-office spokesman had both refuted the allegation. Masood Khan (foreign office) told reporters, `The story is a rehash of several past stories’.
Similarly, Professor Shaun Gregory in his report ‘The Security of Nuclear Weapons’ contends that those guarding about 120 nuclear-weapon sites, mostly in northern and western parts of Pakistan, have fragmented loyalties. As such, they are an easy prey to religious extremists.
Frederick W. Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon, also draw a gloomy portrait of the situation in Pakistan. In their article, published in The New York Times, dated November 18, 2007, they predicted that extremists would take over, if rule of law collapses in Pakistan. Those sympathetic with the Taliban and al-Qaeda may convert Pakistan into a state sponsor of terrorism. They pointed to Osama bin Laden’s meeting with Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, former engineers of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission (having no bomb-making acumen).
They claimed that U.S. military experts and intelligence officials had explored strategies for securing Pakistan’s nuclear assets. One option was to isolate the country’s nuclear bunkers. Doing so would require saturating the area, surrounding the bunkers, with tens of thousands of high-powered mines, dropped from air, packed with anti-tank and anti-personnel munitions. The panacea, suggested by them, was that Pakistan’s nuclear material should be seized and stashed in some “safe” place like New Mexico.
The fact is that the pilloried Pakistani engineers had no knowledge of weaponisation (“When the safest is not safe enough,” The Defence Journal -Pakistan), pages 61-63). The critics mysteriously failed to mention that Pakistan is a party to the UN Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials. The steps taken by Pakistan to protect its nuclear materials and installations conform to international standards. The National Command Authority, created on February 2, 2000, has made fail-safe arrangements to control development and deployment of strategic nuclear forces. Pakistan’s nuclear regulatory authority had taken necessary steps for safety, security, and accountability of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, facilities, and materials even before 9/11 incident. These controls include functional equivalent of the two-man rule and permissive action links (PALs). The indigenously-developed PALs are bulwarks against inadvertent loss of control, or accidental use of weapons. So far, there has been no security lapse in any of Pakistan’s nuclear establishments.
Abdul Mannan, in his paper titled “Preventing Nuclear Terrorism in Pakistan: Sabotage of a Spent Fuel Cask or a Commercial Irradiation Source in Transport”, has analysed various ways in which acts of nuclear terrorism could occur in Pakistan (quoted in “Pakistan’s Nuclear Future: Worries beyond War”). He has fairly reviewed Pakistan’s vulnerability to nuclear terrorism through hypothetical case studies. He concludes that the threat of nuclear terrorism in Pakistan is a figment of imagination, rather than a real possibility.
There are millions of radioactive sources used worldwide in various applications. Only a few thousand sources, including Co-60, Cs-137, Ir-192, Sr-90, Am-241, Cf-252, Pu-238, and RA-226 are considered a security risk. The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA) has enforced a mechanism of strict measures for administrative and engineering control over radioactive sources from cradle to grave. It conducts periodic inspections and physical verifications to ensure security of the sources. The Authority has initiated a Five-Year National Nuclear-Safety-and-Security-Action Plan to establish a more robust nuclear-security regime. It has established a training centre and an emergency-coordination centre, besides deploying radiation-detection-equipment at each point of nuclear-material entry in Pakistan, supplemented by vehicle/pedestrian portal monitoring equipment where needed.
Fixed detectors have been installed at airports, besides carrying out random inspection of personnel luggage. All nuclear materials are under strict regulatory control right from import until their disposal.
Nuclear controls in India and the USA are not more stringent than Pakistan’s. It is not understood why the media does not deflect their attention to the fragile nuclear-security environment in India. It is unfortunate that the purblind critics fail to see the gnawing voids in India’s nuclear security.
The ‘research work’ by well-known scholars reflects visceral hatred against Pakistan. The findings in fresh ‘magnum opuses’ are a re-hash or amalgam of the presumptions and pretensions in earlier-published ‘studies’. It is time that the West deflected its attention to India where movements of nuclear materials, under the 123 expansion plan, are taking place between nuclear-power plants sprawling across different states.
Above all, will the international media and the IAEA look into open market uranium sales in India.
Biological warfare: A global security threat
Biological warfare is not a new concept in arena of international politics as it has been used as a tool to sabotage enemy in previous centuries. Biological weapons are a sub-category of Weapons of Mass destruction (WMDs) in which there is a deliberate use of micro-organisms like pathogens and toxins to cause disease or death in humans, livestock and yields.Form its usage in 14th century by Mongols to its usage by imperial Japan during 1930s-40s against Chinese, it has always been a threat to global security. The evolution of bio-weapons can be broadly categorized into four phases; first phase includes the post WWII developments with the evident use of chlorine and phosgene in Ypres.The second phase was marked by the use of nerve agents like tabun, cholinesterase inhibitor and anthrax and plague bombs. The initiation of third phase was marked by the use of biological weapons in Vietnam war during 1970s where deadly agents like Agent orange were used. 4th and last phase include the time of biological and technological revolution where genetic engineering techniques were at their peak. Traditionally they have been used in wartime in order to defeat enemy but with the emergence of violent non-state actors, bioterrorism is another potential threat to the security of states. There are certain goals that are associated with the use of biological weapons. Firstly, it is purposed to hit to economy of the targeted country, breaking down government authority and have a psychological effect on masses of the targeted population. It is also a kind of psychological warfare as it may hit a smaller number of people but leaves impact on wider audience through intimidation and spreading fear. It also creates natural circumstances under which a population is induced with disease without revealing the actual perpetrator.
With the advancement in genetic engineering techniques more lethal biological weapons are being produced everyday around the world. Countries which are economically deprived are more likely to pursue such goals as it is difficult for them to go for heavy military sophistication keeping into consideration their poor economic conditions. Biological weapons serve as inexpensive tool for developing countries to address their issues in prevailing international security environment. During the initial decades of cold war, united states of America (USA) and Soviet Union went for acquiring tons of biological weapons alongside nuclear proliferation.
The quest for these weapons reduced during 1970s with the formation of Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC). This convention was presented in 1972 before countries and finally came into force in 1975 with 150 countries who signed this convention and 140 countries who fully joined this treaty. This convention prohibits any biological weaponization in order to promote peace and stability around the world. But this convention has obvious defects as it is unable to address many issues like it doesn’t prevents itself the use of biological weapons but just reinforces 1925 Geneva Protocol which forbids the use of bio-weapons. Convention allows ‘defensive research’ to which there are many objections that what is incorporated into this defensive research. It is non-binding to the signatory states and in case if countries are proliferating it lacks the effective oversight techniques to look after them either they are pursuing these biological weapons capabilities or not. Since the inception of this convention till now it has clearly failed in stopping the countries from acquisition as well as usage of these weapons. This is evident as there were many cases after 1975 where these weapons were used as in 1980s when Iraq used mustard gas, sarin and tabun against Iran and many other ethnic groups inside Iran. Another incident which was highlighted was Sarine nerve gas attack in Tokyo subway system leaving thousands injured and many got killed. In post-cold war era, however, the number of these attacks reduced as much attention was shifted to terrorism after 9/11 attacks with the change in global security architecture.
“Anthrax letters” in post 9/11 attacks revealed yet another dimension of bio-weapons which was the threat of bioterrorism from non-state actors. US became a victim of bio-terrorism when in 2001 a powder was transported through letters containing bacterium called anthrax infecting many people. One purpose which terrorists have is to make general masses feel as if they are unsafe in the hands of their government which can be best achieved through the use of these weapons. The fact that biological weapons are cheaper and more devastating than conventional weapons make it more likely for biological weapons to be used by terrorists. Also, the fact that they are easy to hide and transport and a smaller quantity can leave long-lasting impacts on larger population makes these weapons more appealing. Now that we are facing a global pandemic in the form of COVID-19 which according to some conspiracy theories is a biological weapon pose even more serious challenge to the international security in coming decades. There is no such scientific research which proves Corona Virus as a biological weapon but the realization here is that whether or not it is a biological weapon but world was least prepared for it. Not only the developing countries but also developed states suffered more despite having enormous medical infrastructure. The fact that there has been decline in the incidents related to bioterrorism should never let us think that there is no possibility of such attacks. The fact that world failed to handle Covid-19 puts a question mark on the credibility of measures if we are faced with bio-terrorism. The medical community as well as general population needs to develop an understanding of how to respond if there is such attack. At the international level there is a dire need to develop some strong norms which discourage the development and use of such weapons in any capacity.
The ‘Post-Covid-19 World’ Will Never Come
On May 3rd, the New York Times bannered “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe” and reported that “there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.”
In other words: the ‘news’-sources that were opposing the governments’ taking action against Covid-19 — libertarian ’news’-sites that oppose governmental laws and regulations, regardless of the predominant view by the vast majority of the scientists who specialize in studying the given subject — are looking wronger all the time, as this “novel coronavirus” (which is what it was originally called) becomes less and less “novel,” and more and more understood scientifically.
The “herd immunity” advocates for anti-Covid-19 policies have been saying that governments should just let the virus spread until nature takes its course and such a large proportion of the population have survived the infection as to then greatly reduce the likelihood that an uninfected person will become infected. An uninfected person will increasingly be surrounded by people who have developed a natural immunity to the disease, and by people who don’t and never did become infected by it. The vulnerable people will have become eliminated (died) or else cured, and so they won’t be spreading the disease to others. That’s the libertarian ’solution’, the final solution to the Covid-19 problem, according to libertarians.
For example, on 9 April 2020, Forbes magazine headlined “After Rejecting A Coronavirus Lockdown, Sweden Sees Rise In Deaths” and reported that, “Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has continuously advocated for laid back measures, saying on Swedish TV Sunday that the pandemic could be defeated by herd immunity, or the indirect protection from a large portion of a population being immune to an infection, or a combination of immunity and vaccination. However, critics have argued that with a coronavirus vaccine could be more than a year away, and insufficient evidence that coronavirus patients that recover are immune from becoming infected again, the strategy of relying on herd immunity and vaccinations [is] ineffective.”
The libertarian proposal of relying upon “herd immunity” for producing policies against this disease has continued, nonetheless.
CNN headlined on 28 April 2020, “Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story”, and reported that
On March 28, a petition signed by 2,000 Swedish researchers, including Carl-Henrik Heldin, chairman of the Nobel Foundation, called for the nation’s government to “immediately take steps to comply with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations.”
The scientists added: “The measures should aim to severely limit contact between people in society and to greatly increase the capacity to test people for Covid-19 infection.”
“These measures must be in place as soon as possible, as is currently the case in our European neighboring countries,” they wrote. “Our country should not be an exception to the work to curb the pandemic.”
The petition said that trying to “create a herd immunity, in the same way that occurs during an influenza epidemic, has low scientific support.”
Swedish authorities have denied having a strategy to create herd immunity, one the UK government was rumored to be working towards earlier on in the pandemic — leading to widespread criticism — before it enforced a strict lockdown.
FORTUNE magazine headlined on 30 July 2020, “How parts of India inadvertently achieved herd immunity”, and reported that, “Around 57% of people across parts of India’s financial hub of Mumbai have coronavirus antibodies, a July study found, indicating that the population may have inadvertently achieved the controversial ‘herd immunity’ protection from the coronavirus.” Furthermore:
Herd immunity is an approach to the coronavirus pandemic where, instead of instituting lockdowns and other restrictions to slow infections, authorities allow daily life to go on as normal, letting the disease spread. In theory, enough people will become infected, recover, and gain immunity that the spread will slow on its own and people who are not immune will be protected by the immunity of those who are. University of Chicago researchers estimated in a paper published in May that achieving herd immunity from COVID-19 would require 67% of people to be immune to the disease. Mayo Clinic estimates 70% of the U.S. population will need to be immune for the U.S. to achieve herd immunity, which can also be achieved by vaccinating that proportion of a population.
On 27 September 2020, Reuters bannered “In Brazil’s Amazon a COVID-19 resurgence dashes herd immunity hopes”, and reported that, “The largest city in Brazil’s Amazon has closed bars and river beaches to contain a fresh surge of coronavirus cases, a trend that may dash theories that Manaus was one of the world’s first places to reach collective, or herd, immunity.”
Right now, the global average of Covid-19 intensity (total cases of the disease thus far) is 19,693 persons per million population. For examples: Botswana is barely below that intensity, at 19,629, and Norway is barely above that intensity, at 20,795. Sweden is at 95,905, which is nearly five times the global average. Brazil is 69,006, which is around 3.5 times worse than average. India is 14,321, which is slightly better than average. USA is 99,754.
However, the day prior, on May 2nd, America had 30,701 new cases. Brazil had 28,935. Norway had 210. India had 370,059. Sweden’s latest daily count (as-of May 3rd) was 5,937 on April 29th, 15 times Norway’s 385 on that date. Sweden’s population is 1.9 times that of Norway. India’s daily count is soaring. Their population is four times America’s, but the number of new daily cases in India is twelve times America’s. Whereas India has had only one-seventh as much Covid-19 intensity till now, India is soaring upwards to become ultimately, perhaps, even worse than America is on Covid-19 performance. And Brazil is already almost as bad as America, on Covid-19 performance, and will soon surpass America in Covid-19 failure.
There is no “herd immunity” against Covid-19, yet, anywhere. It’s just another libertarian myth. But libertarians still continue to believe it — they refuse to accept the data.
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