The record is clear that ‘our’ (that is, the ruling Establishment’s) intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, have lied to the public many times, and actually lie routinely — but these lies are always revealed only decades later, by historians, when it’s decades too late, because the damage was already done, decades before. Think, for example, of just two now-famous cases, Iran 1953, and Chile 1973, in both of which instances the U.S. Government ended a democracy abroad, and established a brutal dictatorship there (the Shah in Iran, and Pinochet in Chile) — but what good can a historian do, when the Government and its ‘news’-media were persistently lying, and they had fooled the U.S. public, at the time — which is all that really counted (and ever will count)? Can a historian undo the damage that the Government and its propaganda-agencies had perpetrated, by means of their lies, and coups, and invasions? Never. But this Government, and its propaganda-agents, claim to defend democracies, not to end them. Can it actually be a democracy, if it’s doing such things, and doing it time after time?
Something’s deeply wrong here. Government by deceit, cannot be a democracy. And, yet, the public still don’t get the message, that we don’t live in a democracy, even after it has (though only by implication) been delivered to us in history-books. By then, it’s no longer in the news, and so only few people really care about it. The message of history is thus not learned. The public still accepts the ongoing lies — the new lies, in the new ‘news’, to justify the new atrocities. One reason why, is that America’s historians fail their obligations: America’s historians have an obligation to the American public to state clearly that the U.S. is now a dictatorship. This is the current reality. But the myth, that this country is a democracy, continues to be spread, even by historians, who should, by now, know better.
During the period after the Soviet Union, and its communism, and its Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended in 1991, the historical record of the U.S. and its allies (all now after the Cold War has supposedly been over) has become even worse than it was during the Cold War, and is even more clearly evil, because the ideological excuse that had formerly existed (and which was only the excuse, in most cases, such as in the cases of Iran, and of Chile) is gone. Though the ideological excuse is gone, the bad behavior has become even worse. Today’s U.S. regime is, to be frank, bloodthirsty.
Iraq in 2003 was a particularly blatant demonstration of today’s U.S.-Government’s psychopathy regarding foreign affairs. So: let’s consider this unusually clear example (hopefully, to learn a lesson from it — which still hasn’t yet been learnt):
Bill Clinton’s CIA chief George Tenet told President George W. Bush, on 21 December 2002, that convincing the American people that Saddam Hussein had WMD, weapons of mass destruction, was “a slam-dunk.” His job wasn’t to find the truth, but to authenticate the ‘evidence’ to back up the President, and Tenet did just that. The American people went for it, even though no WMD actually remained in Iraq, because the U.N. inspectors in 1998 had destroyed all of them, and because there was no indication (other than hired and coerced testimony, and especially fabrications from CIA-partnered anti-Saddam Iraqis such as Ahmed Chalabi) that there had been restored in Iraq any WMD program. A crucial date was 7 September 2002, when George W. Bush and Tony Blair both said that a new report had just been issued by the IAEA saying that Saddam Hussein was only six months away from having a nuclear weapon. The IAEA promptly denied that it had issued any such “new report” at all, and the ‘news’ media simply ignored the denial, which the IAEA then repeated weeks later, and it again was ignored; so, the false impression, that such an IAEA report had been issued, remained in the publics’ minds, and they favored invading Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein before there would be, as Condoleezza Rice warned the next day following Bush-Blair, on September 8th, a “mushroom cloud”. It was all just lies — lies that were believed by the public, at the time, and even believed by many for a long time after we invaded.
Some of these lies were derived from torturing detainees — torturing them to say what the U.S. and British regimes wanted them to say.
On 25 April 2007, Tenet told CBS “60 Minutes” that
“We don’t torture people. Okay?” Tenet says.
“Come on, George,” Pelley says.
“We don’t torture people,” Tenet maintains.
“Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?” Pelley asks.
“We don’t torture people,” Tenet says.
“Water boarding?” Pelley asks.
“We do not – I don’t talk about techniques,” Tenet replies.
“It’s torture,” Pelley says.
“And we don’t torture people.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has now appointed to lead the CIA the very same woman, Gina Haspel, who had operated, under Tenet, under Bush, the CIA “black site” in Thailand, where Abu Zubaydeh was waterboarded 83 times and otherwise tortured so that he lost his left eye. The reason why he was being tortured was in order to extract from him testimony that Saddam Hussein had been involved in 9/11, but Zubaydeh didn’t even know anything about any such matter, and tried desperately to say what he thought his torturers wanted him to say, so as to stop these tortures, but he didn’t know that they were intending to torture him until he would implicate Saddam Hussein in causing the 9/11 attacks. And so the torturing just went on and on. The CIA’s Haspel finally gave up, after deciding that he’d die if they continued any further. The problem then became to hide him from the public. So, Zubaydeh subsequently has been held incommunicado at Guantanamo since 2001, so that he can’t communicate with anyone in the outside world, and thus the crimes of George Bush and his employee George Tenet and his employee Gina Haspel, can’t be prosecuted. And, now, Trump appoints her to Tenet’s old spot, as the CIA Director. So: Bush had hired her, then protected her. Obama then protected instead of prosecuted her. And, finally, Trump now promotes her, to be the CIA’s new chief. She has demonstrated herself to be a reliable liar for whomever is her boss. Trump therefore can trust her to vouch for whatever he wants her to ‘prove’, to whatever American suckers still remain, as being suckers.
This isn’t new, but maybe it’s just worse. Think JFK assassination. Think RFK assassination. Think MLK assassination. And, even think about the CIA’s Gladio operation, which since the very start of the CIA, has been setting up atrocities designed to deceive their publics, so as to blame, first, the USSR’s Government, and then, now, Russia’s Government. (And, also, Iran’s Government, and Iraq’s Government, and Syria’s Government, and Libya’s Government, and Ukraine’s Government — any Government that’s friendly toward Russia — all for the purpose of “regime-change,” so as to pump up the sales of corporations such as Lockheed Martin and BAE, and to extend the properties of oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil. Lying to the public, in order to back up what the President wants, is what the American ‘intelligence’ community is designed to do. And, things aren’t much better in UK. (But Seymour Hersh reported that, at least one time, they were somewhat better.)
Is this type of government really in service to the public, anywhere? It is in service to the allied aristocracies — those of U.S. & Israel & Sauds & British & etc. — who own those weapons-making firms. The military tail wags this ‘democratic’ dog. For example, on March 21st, the New York Times documented how intermediaries between the U.S. and Saudi regimes secretly became enriched by lobbying which succeeded in getting Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster replaced by Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, whom the Sauds (the world’s largest foreign buyers of U.S.-made weaponry) preferred. But even there, the Sauds were’t referred to as America’s enemies, but as “close American allies.” They’re allies of America’s aristocracy, but enemies of the American people.
Globally, there is a competition between aristocracies, and they are contending gangs. That’s no different than was the case leading up to WW I. But WW III will end it all — and end us — unless the public wises up, and fast, and recognizes whom our real enemies are (which are mainly internal, not external). Without cooperation from the news-media (owned by those aristocracies), to expose (instead of spread) the frauds, WW III — the end of everything — is in the cards. It’s in the cards, right now. And, this time, it’s not a mistake. It won’t need any wild assassin to spark the conflagration. Instead, it’s the plan. It has actually been building ever since 24 February 1990. And this has been even more confirmed now.
So, should we trust ‘our’ intelligence agencies to tell us how they’re carrying out the plan? Are we idiots? Or is it just that the ‘news’ media are an arm of the CIA? In fact, “America’s Top Scientists Confirm: U.S. Goal Now Is to Conquer Russia”, but did you read about that in the New York Times, or Washington Post, or UK’s Guardian, or at all?
On March 27th, Ghassan Kadi, at The Saker’s blog, wrote:
When Westerners watch TV news, they hear lies. When they go to their ballot boxes, they hear false promises. When they are told that their sons and daughters are sent to fight a war in a distant country in order to protect the homeland, they are hearing fabricated stories of lies and deception.
Their politicians lie, and their media dance to the tunes of the lies of their politicians.
Who can deny any of that, without publicly becoming recognized as being a fool?
Patriotism is to the public, not to the rulers. Any rulers who expect it to be to them, instead of to the public, are simply tyrants — they are traitors, who happen to rule the public. Do we live in a dictatorship, or in a democracy? If it’s a dictatorship (such as the best available evidence shows that America is), then this, which we are now experiencing, is simply par for the course. But will we continue to accept it? Or, will we, finally, learn from history? (And, if so, then will we do it fast enough, under the prevailing circumstances?) The time to decide, and to act, could be short.
Have we had enough now, of that lying? Because, accepting just a little bit more of it, could mean the end of everything. If it’s not going to be the end of the liars, it will probably soon be the end of everything. Because this is the path that we now are on.
Even the former conservative, David Stockman, is alarmed that the U.S. regime is going insane, with its war-fever. This is not a government that represents the American public, but it does represent the people who control corporations such as Lockheed Martin. Recently, I headlined “How the Military Controls America”, and explained the root cause behind this potentially world-ending problem. Everything is unfortunately coming together in the worst possible way. It has happened before, but never during the nuclear era — this is far worse even than during the Cuban Missile Crisis, because, at that time, both superpower leaders were intelligently self-interested, and each also had authentic interest in the general welfare. That’s not true today — certainly not on the American side. But the problem isn’t only Donald Trump. Maybe he will culminate it, but he represents America’s aristocracy. That’s the source of the problem, and he is determined to be their leader. He has assembled their dream-team, which, prior to his becoming President, no one had had the nerve to place so fully in charge.
first published at strategic-culture.org
Boko Haram: Religious Based Violence and Portrayal of Radical Islam
Modern-day global and domestic politics have set forth the trend that has legitimized and rationalized the use of religion as a tool to attain political gravity and interests. Similarly, many religion-oriented groups use religion to shape their political agenda and objectives, often using religion as a justification for their violent activities. Most of these mobilized groups are aligned with Islam. These groups have promoted religion-based violence and have also introduced new waves and patterns in global terrorism. Some prominent organized groups that attain world attention include Boko Haram, ISIS, Al- Qaeda, and the Taliban. These groups have potentially disrupted the political establishment of their regions. Although, a comparative insight delivers that these various organizations have antithetical political objectives but these groups use Islam to justify their violent actions and strategies based on violence and unrest.
The manifesto of Boko Haram rests on Islamic principles i.e. establishing Shariah or Islamic law in the region. A system that operates to preserve the rights of poor factions of the society and tends to promote or implement Islamic values. Hence, in this context, it negates westernization and its prospects. However, the rise of Boko Haram was based on anti-western agenda which portrayed that the existing government is un-Islamic and that western education is forbidden. Hence, the name Boko Haram itself delivered the notion that western culture or civilization is forbidden. Boko Haram has a unique political and religiously secular manifesto. Boko Haram was formed by Mohammad Yusuf, who preached his agenda of setting up a theocratic political system through his teachings derived from Islam. And countered the existing governmental setup of the Christians. The violent dynamics surged in 2009 when an uprising against the Nigerian government took the momentum that killed almost 800 people. Following the uprising, Mohammad Yusuf was killed and one of his lieutenants Abu Bakar Shekau took the lead.
Boko Haram used another violent strategy to gain world attention by bombing the UN Compound in Abuja that killed twenty-three people. The incident led to the declaration of Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organizationby the United States Department. Thus, the group continued the process of violence and also started to seize several territories like Bama, Dam boa, and Abadan. They also extended their regional sphere in terms of occupation using violent strategies. The violence intensified when in the year 2014, 276 girls were abducted from Girl’s school in Chibok. This immediately triggered global outrage and developed an image of religious extremism and violence. This process continued over the years; one reported case articulated that a Christian girl ‘Lean Shairbu’ was kept in captivity for a prolonged period upon refusal to give up her religion. Ever since, the violence has attained an upward trajectory, as traced in the case of mass Chibok abduction and widespread attack in Cameroon in the years 2020 and 2021.
After establishing a regional foothold Boko Haram improvised new alliances especially in 2015 after the government recaptured some of its territories that pushed the militant group near Lake Chad and to the hilly areas. Consequently, Abu Bakar Shekau turned towards international alliance and pledged its allegiance to IS. This created two branches of Boko Haram called Jamat u Ahlis Liddawatiwal Jihad (JAS) headed by Abu Bakar Shekau and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) lead by Musab Al Barnarwai. The ISWAP developed strong social, political, and strategic roots in the region. It has embedded itself socially in the hearts and minds of people by establishing their caliphate and judicial system.
The pattern of religion-based conflicts has transformed the global religious conflicts. That is often referred to as extremist terrorism based on religion. Hence the rise of Boko Haram also involved demographics that complimented their political objectives. As the state of Nigeria is an amalgamation of Christians and Muslims; and has been constructed as a distinct ethno-lingual society, historically. The Christians resided in the South of Nigeria while the Muslims were located in Northern Nigeria. The northern side suffered from poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and public health issues under the government of Goodluck Jonathan. His government was centrally weak and marginalized the Northern side. This also contributed as one of the major factors that granted an edge for the influence and legitimacy of Boko Haram. Therefore, the main reason that triggered the organization and its move was based on Islamic principles of Jihad and Tajdid. This presents new notions of religion to recruit and incorporate more people into their community. The concept of Jihad has been historically driven which reflects and justifies acts against the unjust state and its authority. It also expands the capacity for social hostilities against the non-religious entities promoting hatred and non-acceptance. This also breeds religious extremism and rigidity that further validates the use of violence on their behalf. Hence Jihad acts as a driving force to strive against the un-Islamic state structure for Islamic religious social fabric. Moreover, this religiously derived conception of violent confrontation has always been legitimized in terms of the historic concept of war and terms of self-defense.
As a radical and contemporary religious belief; Jihad is regarded as the manifestation of religious violence and extremist terrorism. The establishment of the caliphate and state-like institutions represents a radical Salafist view regarding the establishment of the Islamic state structure. The ISWAP acts as a pseudo-state or state with in state that has established its authority and control. The reflection of another religious proclamation ofTajdid refers to the renewal of religious norms that aims at reconstruction or reset of social structure in accordance with Islamic values. Jihad and Tajdid collaboratively serve to generate notions about the reset of the political framework as an Islamic state system. The socio-religious reconstruction is particularly divergent from the western one. As western societies are often pluralistic, while Boko Haram’s vision aims as establishing Islamic social composition. Moreover, the western setup provided constitutional provisions to women in terms of rights, freedom, education, and liberty. This completely contradicted their conceptualization of women. Hence, this also generated gender-based violence as means to protect Islamic values. This was closely witnessed during the abduction of girls from their school. Furthermore, Islamic radicalization has been pursued through different channels that have extensively contributed to narrative building amongst the population, propaganda, and the development of a religious mindset in the African region. One of the most prominent tactics used for the purpose has been achieved through the propagation of literature. The scholars started to preach about Jihad and its implications since the 15th Century. The channel continues to date where the teachers preach about these scholarly findings that further encourages the youth to turn towards radical Islamization. The degree of radicalization elevates as Boko Haram propagates the concept of exclusivism that tends to oppose other value systems and beliefs. This creates a rift the society and deteriorates the sense of co-existence. As a result, Boko Haram represents a destructive paradox that promotes religious extremism and violence through misinterpretation of Islamic principles. Pursuing the political agenda of Boko Haram under the banner of Islamic law; which is power-oriented and would help them maintain dominance politically, economically, and territorially in the African region.
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.
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