Created: 9/20/1989

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September IWW

ti is dawning on thciebove alt UieCTMinans ate asking themselves ir.m'jumjt^ft.niu: theirealtther wonjt.iinn ildetermined by foreignAipja^nairman of. Congressional ArmcdSpamWSijrmnillee. realized: "If the Germans we^m'otnstvt or.rcigniy. we wouldntirely different NATO

Which would not be the worst that could happen.

Problems of Verifying Biological YV Convention Reviewed


(Article by Oliver Thraenen: "On the Problem Complex of Verifying the Biological-Toxin Weaponsirti paragraph is boxed item)

(Tett| Oliver Thraenen hascientific staff member of the Security and Disarmament Study Group in ihe Friedrich Ebert Foundation Research Institute in Bonn since IvgtV He studied political science, modern history. Evangelical religion pedagogy, and sociology at the Brunswick Technical University and earned his PhD in political science there. His published works deal with Questions of East-West relations and proWemi of arms control.

I. Introduction

The press reported inia that Iran's supreme military commander. President of Parliament Hashemi Kalsanjani. expressed the vie* that Iran should equip itself with biological and chemicalrder io counter the possible use of such weapons by Iraq. He maintained that biological and chemical weapons are the lilile fellow's atomic bombs and can be made easily.'

Jmm how urgent it it to conclude an agreement *ban on chemical weapons, to preveni further developments and ihe use of such warfare agents, became iltjr lau bui not leastesult of ihe employment of chemical warfare agenti in the Gulf War. But whai abouteapons ihai Rafsan-ani touched upon? Whai dues that mean to begin with? What are the arms timtrnl agreements thai exist regarding biological weapons and. aboie all. whai problems ante in monitoring compli-trtx wwh these agreements*'

L What Are Biological Warfare Agents?

ing oiganismt of all kinds or

According to0 rcpon by the UN secretary-general on chemical and biological warfare agents are

int'ectinut substances which ate obtained from them and which are intended to cause disease or death in man. inirtwlv. iv phntv and.heir cfleet is based im their ability to proliferate in the attacked persons. unimsiK urhe organisms involved here can Im aaolHgaaUc barterutes. rickctuiae. o* fungi

Resides, biological warfare agent, iihu includepoisonous substances ul uigamc origiii. suehmuLc ur scorpionthough ihey arc made stntheii-caliy. something that is becoming inerratinglv powibic today. Noi included among biological warfare agents, however, are chemical agentsoxic effect which do not come from any living organism but which arcurely synthetic nature. This involves chemicalagents.

Biological warfare agenti can be absorbed via iheorgans, via contaminated food and drink, or through the skin,esult of insect bites. In the case of btotogieal warfare, the viruses can be sprayed in aerosol form from aircraft, or ihey can be spread via host animals, above all. insects. Viruses, which are io be used ai biological warfare agents, should be suitable for storage, lor being released in the aerosol form, forickness with the shortest possible incubation time, and they ihould be highlyand highly virulent Moreover, the enemy should notble tueeetifullj to employ any simple antidotes, such as antibiotics; bul the attacker should have the capability of protecting his own troops and population through inoculation.


The military establishment might be particularly inier-eited in totim because some of them, such at botulinum toxin, ricin. or saxiionn. are conuderably more noisooout than ihe moil highly poitonout chemical warfare agent* iuch at the nerve agentt VX. unit, soman, aadf eoune. botulinum toxin, for example, might, because of Ut molecular structure, not be absorbed via the skin, in contrast to nerve agents, so that -earing rrsmratory masks would already offer sufficient protection.

he Biological-Toxin W.

S Geneva proiocol outlawed the wartime use of atphyxiating. poitonout. or other gates, at well at(biological) method! of warfare Nc veil Inlet* almost allpowers panic-paling in World Wjr II developed biological warfare agents.apan attacked at leasthinew eitiev with viruses, such at anihrat. chnler,i. typhu* and irfacue *

Prctideni Riehardimpel**

outlining biological warfare agentse announced the unilateral reaufli-uluui of Um type of weapon by the Unitedeesearch program* which had beeni after World War It. had produced the assessment lhal the military utcfulnett of biological warfare agent tnmrf.

For example, comprehensive ttudiet had been carried out concerning the possibilities nt spreading aeonols in big cilics. For Ihis purnote.therliiim biological attack was launchedhe city uf New York. usingarirnmVgaaiflgn The idea was to find nutmM onrtaati-nateaciiy Uy releasinglw miIiwii) veiml.it nm shifts


icr Rctaie;

Data <r*


otc archwas done in Fon Derrick. Maryland, where as manyienitrtc personnel were employed from lime iolani for breeding viruses was erected in Pine Bluff. Arkansas The Dugway Proving Grounds had been used by ihc3 to lest biologies] ammunition.resident Nitonhorough review of these programs. The result was the finding that biological warfare agents could not be usedilitarilymanner because your own troops and population could not bc adequately protected against them.'

The Biological-Tot in Weapons Convention, which was signed onontaini inan on the development, production, iiorage, andacquisition of microbiological or other biological agenis and toxins of types and in quantities that tie not justified for prevention, protection, or other peaceful purposes. Moreover, weapons, equipment, or other resources suitable for the use of such agents and toxins for hostile purposes were also banned. According to Article IV. ihc treaty stales themselves are io see to compliance with this ban in iheir sovereign territory

The convention's verifies'.ion provisions are extremely weakly developed. The contracting stales pledge toeach other and to cooperaie with each other to guaraniee ihc implementation of the convention. Every treaty state is granted the pottibility of complaining to ihe United Nations Security Council and each con-trading state pledget io permit an investIgation loclarify treaty violation charges*

In other words, the convention does noi spell out detailed verification rules. The risks connected with that appeared to be calculable al that lime because biological warfare agents, in contrailhemical warfare agents, hardly promised any military options Moreover, research tor peaceful and protection purposes was ei press!permitted Aieonard, ihe head of the American negotiating delegation at thaiincdongressional hearing int was dear from ihe very beginning thai there are no objective criteria whatsoever when il comes tobemgable to distinguish beiwecn research for peaceful andpurposes, on lhe one hand, and research forpurposes, on the other hand. According to Leonard, this risk would have to be accepicd because one cannot forbid nates to develop vaccines agamsl biologicalagents. Moreover, many potential biological warfare agents presumably appear as virusesatural manner and this is why mankind must study (hem and improve us possibilities of handling them.'

id the Soviet Union Violate thr Convention*'

The probaVntt which can ante tn connection wiih rnon-nnnag compliance with Ihe convention can be dlui-trated b) two treaty violation charges which lhe United Stales made agams! ihc Soviet Union.

Inoviet emigre periodical published in the Federal Republic reported for Ihe first lime thai an anthrax epidemic had taken place in the city of Sverdlovsk in ihe Urals, in the spring of thai tame year, thit epidemic reportedly could be liaced backn ei plosion in an institute where work was being done on biological warfare ageots During the first monitoring conference on the Biological-Toxin Weapons Convention inhe AmerKan delegation officially aikrd the Soviet delegation to clarify this case. The Soviet reply was that thisatural anlhrax cp-semic thai had been triggered by the sale of cofltamioaird meal on the black market

The Defense Intelligence Agency of the United Stales Defense Depart men I. however, following this Soviet eipta-aaiioo. advocated the view thai ihn was an explosionaboratory. According to the intelligence experts, this was indicated by the maisive use of military personnel in fighting ihe epidemic as well as Ihe spraying of lheagenis by aircraft. The Soviet Union did not take any further steps to refute these charges and so it was ihc word of one side agatnit lhai of ihc other.

Nevertheless, therecries of indications thai supported ihe Soviet version from the very beginning. To be sure, according io subsequently published Sonet data, lhe "Department for Military Epidemiology of lhe Defense Ministry Research Institute for Microbiology" was indeed in Sverdlovsk. Bui that department did notighly safe laboratory because it wat not working with pathogenic microorganisms. Western scientists found that amhrat had indeedhcareaatural epidemic in recent times Inwo persons had been sentencedocal district court for selling meal contaminated with anlhrax.

But (he decitivc quettion is whether ihc epidemic involved lung anlhraxesult of ihc inhalation of the viruses or whether this was intestinal anihras resulting from "he ingestion of infected food. These iwo forms of sickness diflcr from each other above all hy the fact that lung anihraa causes death in infected prrsoaiays, whereas this process lakes conndVraNy lunger in the case of minimal anihraa Bui because neiirvcr of ihe infectedwhom the ducaseays, it would seem thai ihisaseit mi nil anihrai. This again support* the Soviet version of events

Bui even if ihil hadase of lung anthiav caused bylosionaboratory, this would still not be proofiolation of the Biological-Toxin Weapons Convention. The degree io which the epidemic was spread could be clarified by lhe United Stales just as hiiic a* coutd the question ofmall quantity of sirusesemiaatcd very effectively orarge quantity was spread aroundery inctlcciive <asa*oa Storing small Quaatitaetof viruses, however, is certainly ncrmiiicd when they arc intended to serve for research on defensive purposes, such as development of tatcilM,

Inivid di'lejpiiiin hc.iilnt h> Ocpiiiy llcaim Minister HurgaMiv. travellingunt! States, provided detailed informal urn mi tins incident



for official use only



contaminated meatvoid on the Mack motkci and that meat had come from animal* that had been fed fodder ihat contaminated with anthraa. That triggered the epidemic. Themong other things.ubmitted autopsy photo* of *ome of the victim* and their explanation* were judged to be pre-*umaWy correct by United State* experts."

4 Ar**erican charge agaimt the Sent Uruon concerned the alleged viehe oriiin of thi* atKrtion coniiited of report* from refugee* who had told the American embassy in Bangkok about corresponding events. They also brought samples of the substance on leaves, some of wfctrh were investigated at the University of Minnesota. Accordingly, the sample* indeed contained mycoioxins. Thereupon. United States Secretary of State Haig declared onerlin, thai there was now clear evidence as to toxic warfare in Southeast As-j

A group of American icientitts who look up the rate, however, became increaiiiigly doubtful regarding the tern-biJn. of toil thesis. At first, they were able to prove that tbe samples brought by the refugees contiilrd mostly of tecrcta from bees. At that time the behavior of certain vaneiies of wild bees in Southeast Asia had not yet beea explored. In March MM Thomasnd apory expert, was able to mow that there arc wild bee colonies there which undertake purification excurtions at such great altitudes that one could not see them In the process, they release pollen which greatly resembles "Yellowecond, it -as po*fble to prove ihat the mycoioxins. which were foundthe sample* in Minnesota, also appear naturally in Southeait Asia, specifically at mold producn. Fortudy was made of the Moodoup of Asians -ho had not been in the area ia which "Yellow Ram" had reportedly fallen It -as possible ioiracet of rayeototinv Butn the other hand, wa* never accomplished in person* *ho had been eiposed to "Yellow Rain."

Finally, an investigating team, which had been vent to Southcatt Asia by the Reagan Administration, found thai the renewed questioning of the "eyewiines*et" to the tpread of "Yellow Run" revealed ihat thote wit-nettet turned out to be highly doubtful. For example, one manhad earlier maintained that he had teen the "Yellowh hi* own eyes *atd that he gotten hit informationhird person*

It mutt be kept in mind that there were con*.deraWe analytical problems in both cases. Both charges could not beercent, but there isa high degree of plausibility ihat they are irrelevant Thtt was aho indicated, lau but not lean, by the fact that neither the Carter nor the Reagan sdmimsjration*omplaint with the United Nation* Security Council it would hue beenccording io the tcrmt of Ihe Biological-Toxin Weapon* Convention.

S.ffawi^ RetenrchT

One may well question today whether the prer.ii*e. which applied when the Biological-Toxin Weapon* Convention was signed, it still valid, according to thai premise biological warfare agentt can hardly be uted in ameaningful 'union It ha* been above all gene enjineenng that hat promitcd new possibilities Viruict tan be bred via mat* production, their tincture can be altered, and their aggressiveness can be boosted. New vaccines can be produced with ihe help of geneand bacteria ran be rendered resistant ioTonni can be produced by geneticaily repeo-grammed bacteria. It even appears possible to implant data about the production of loom in Ihethat are familiar to the human organitm. tuch at. for example, the bacteria eoli. Thit meant that we could, for example, have the opt-do ofery effective virus apinsl which (he enemy has no antidote, but against which are our own troops can be protected in advance by vaccination."1

In the United Slates, expenditures on defensive research in the field of biological warfare rote from HIS million1 tomillion6 According to informs-lion supplied by the Defense Department, research protect* were ongoing in8 inovern-ment Uboratones. inongovernmental laboratone* andnd in more thanolleges andll project* reportedly are intended only for defcntive purposes, tuch as the exploration of viruses and the development of vaccines The necessity for these project* wat justified by the government in terms of the exigence of an offensive Soviet researchnl.

But the decisive problem isJamesLeonardare no objective criteria when it comes to distinguishing between offensive and defensive eri-leria. There is only ihe subjective criterion of offensne or defensive intention*

Thus we lee that the development of vaecmesa precise knowledge of the corretpunding viru* One can folio- thit up dearlyfor example in connection with AIDS research. But ihr* alto means that one muit have the virus. Besides, vaccines often consist of weakened virutet which are administered to that Ihe organism can then develop antibodies. In addition then-is ihe fact that, in the age of advancinghe field of gene engineering, precautions must be taken against conceivable viruses. If, fortale should decide lo go for txologKal warfare, ihen it i* to he expected thaiIene-manipulatedfor example, viruses whose external tirueture ha* been altered and which are not recoinircd hy ihe human immune lyttcm a*ut thit again mean* thai it it necettary to explore ihe offensive possibilities in order io able io develop countcrmeaturr* Finally, ibe development of vaccines and their possibleon itself cannot be clearly markedefensive measure because it could be interpreted byreparation for biological warfare.

During theKB congressional hearings in theiological warfare

for official. use only


M SeptemberEUROPE

toiini program punned try lhe Untied Stairs Army for lhe purpour Oi" pushing defensiveespert* again and jgsm pointed out that this hind of procedure could not be distinguished from an offensive biological warfare program. It is of course entirely logical thai one must explore Ihc way in which biological warfare agents work under field conditions in order lo he able to develop corresponding coumerraeasurcs. but this si the same time means that viruses, which arcto be potential biological warfare agents, must be presentertain volume."

At this point we cast cSrarty detect another problem. Very small Quaniiiict of viruses or toxins could already beardy relevant Bciulrs. bacteria ia corresponding autncni solutions or viruses in syrntnosis with other cells could multiply very rapidly. On-siie inspeciioos in laboratories, which are earned out only very sporadically, thus would be of tittle help To lhat extent. effective verification of Ihe ban on biological warfare igenii is much more difficult than in ihe case of chemical warfare agenis. Nevertheless, on-site inspections, above all in high-seeunty laboratories in which work is being done wim pathogenic bacteria and viruses is well as lOiios could be meaningful because they wouldertain cTeterrcai (fleet Bui Uiis presupposes lhal aD ccerespoadlag laboratories can be covered- Because high-security laboratories shafts. recoonaitSi

effect her- Less nut-conscious couairies of course also have the pen mem work done ia other Uboraiories

Simple solutionshcan on reportedly defcniivc researchbe expected. Of course, one might ask oneself why.mple, ihe West German Armed Forces want to develop vaccines against such exotic diseases ai Veneiuclan equine encephalitis, which juit about never turn up in Europrin latitudes, but which would be of interestlog*a! warfare Moreover, it is


i case of war But. first of all. mca of Europe entirely. and one cannot

econd Monitorial Caafertace oaoil.

igatosi ihem. For example,, Rtfi-Valley fever broke out in Egypt and only the Pentagonaccine which it made available io particularly endangered persom Second, basicas the exploration of the group of alpha viruses, which includes lhe virus of Venezuelan equinebe banned from generaland medical research.


A series of confidence-building measures were approved ai the second monitoring conference on the Biological-Toxin Weapons Convention, which was heldnd

of data on research installations and high-security laboratories in which work is done forpurposes regarding biological warfare.

of information on ihe spread crt ir.fest-m* and similar events lhal deviate from normal processes.

of exchange of publicaiions whose results arc directly connected to the convention:

of contacts between scientists who arcwuh biological research."

The disadvantage of these measures consists above all in the fan lhat they arr not binding under international law. By lhe way. far from all of ihr countries that signed ihe Biological-Toxin Weapons Conventionhese measures. For example, in the Autumn of IW. there was an informational conference staged by the Defense Science Duty Station in Munsicr concerning ihe litter's facilities; however, few countries turned up for Ihis event aod ihose of ihe Warsaw Pact, for example, did not show up ai all. Nevertheless, effons to be more open in this connection will improve the verification of ihe ban oa biological warfare agenis. For example,7 scientist* from nine countries, including thePeople's Republic. Japan, and Senegal, were given advanced training in Fort Deirick, Maryland,arge pan of ihe American research effon takes place The first scientists from ihe Soviet Union arc eipeded by Ihe endesult of such limned ueps. the countries could iry io convince each other lhat Ihey do not have ihe intention of operating an offensive biological research program.

When it comes to banning biological warfare agents, one can sayereeoi-effeciive verification will be pouible just as little ai in the case of all other arms control or disarmamentertain risk will always be there. Even if. on lhe ban* of progress in the field of genet* engineering, this lype of weapon might again bc of interest to ihe military establish men i. one should not dramaiue the dangers lhal could result from

ic ihe military usefulnessJogiea; warfare not been clarified. On ihc Othere kept in mind thai,onvention banning chemical warfare agents is signed, which would contain far-reaching venfieaiion rules such as on-site inspection, Ihe vetificiiion measures for ihe Biological-Toxin Weapons Convention should also bc improved. Becausethere might be loopholes which might make it possible io gelhemical weapons convcniion. For example, chemical warfare agents could he subsii-luied by lhe secret production of loxins. Most of iheember slates of ihc Geneva Disarmament Conference, however, appear lo iry to work toward ihelonns bothuture CW Jchcmical -car-mvln lion anduture BW [hMslngKaluaven-lion. Nevertheless, ihere will always he veriricsiion gap* here because on-uie inspections would he doubtfulattempts to verity the ban on biological warfare agenis Firsl of all. ihc quanuuci lhal arcol military, relevance arc much smaller herehe cawChemical warfare agenis. and viruses cnulil niuHipl)hort time.uch inspect km* woulde


. ID9

of being performed in almost all research"here woek is bring done with microorganism*

The improvement of verification measures should be discussed ai ihensonUoring conference of ihe Biological-Toxin Weapons Convention, which isfor no lairrhe issue of whether and how on-site inspections could contribute totheoiin Weapons Convention should be investigated here.

The first prrmuiiite for improving verification capabil-itiei would be the obligation on the pan of all signatory siates to list laboratoriesigh safety standard in which permitted biological research efforts, which are directly connected with the BW Convention, take place. The Federalthe previouslynonobligatory. confidence-buildingluted the following facilities:

The Defense Science Duty Station for NBC [nuclear, biological, and chemical] protection of the West German Armed Forces in Munstrr,

The Federal Research Institute for Virus Disrate* ofuebmgrn:

The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Dii Hamburg:

The Institute of MiCToenejIogy of the Academy ofServiees of ihe West German Armed Forces in


Similar to the inspectgreed upon in connection with the KVAC (Conference oo Confidence-Building andin Europe)ach member country would have to declare itself ready toertain number of on-site inipeeiions per year at short notice. Of course, even that would not enable us locrcenl effective verification for the above-mentioned reasons, but potential treaty violators could rxobably be deterred much better than before. Of course, here againould be ttueklearome of the potential BW countries, such as Iraq for example, to far have not even ligned or ratified ihe BW Conveniion.



and Bacteriological (biological)the Effects of Their Possibleofof the United Nation*uly

t-inn-Si. Vienna, Zuerich (German trantlaiion),


J.herhard Gcitslcr. Karlhemr Lohs. "The (hanging Status of Toxinn: Erhard Gentleriological and Toxin W'eapont Today.p IMS,

rthur Wesiing "The Danger of Biologicalm: Werner Dosch. Peter HerrlichAech-lung der Giflwaffen. Naturwitsentchafiler warden vor chemischen und biologischenBanning PoisonNaiuraJ Scientitti Warn Against Chemical and BicJogical.Sf.

Survey Studies on American BW Research Efforts duringts are as follows: Robert Harris, Jeremy Pax man.igher Form ofThe Secret History of Biological and ChemicalDucssetdorf,J; Robin Clarke. "Silentand Biologicalienna.ohn Cook ion. Judithurvey of Chemical and Biologicalondon.eymour Hcrsh, "Chemical and Biological Warfare, American's Hiddenndianapolis. New York. Kansat8

The treat) it primed in* Heinrkh Sicglcr. Dokumen-lation iur Abruestung und Sicherhcilcumentatiuii on Disarmament andol.onn. Vienna.p

tatement of James F. Leonard, (retired) chief negotiator, Biological Weaponsn: Biological Warfare Testing. Hearing before theon Armt Control. International Security and Science of ihe Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of theon Interior and Intular Affairs and theon Military InttaUationt and Facilities of the Committee on Armed Services. House ofOne Hundredth Congress, second Session. May J.

U.S. Governmenl Printing Office. Washington


arris. CBW Arms Controln: ARMS CONTROLJ; Reinhard Kaiser,and BiologicalnternationalWoiking Paper No.upperul.


Julian Robinson. Jeanne Guillemin.Yellow Rain: The Story Collapses, mPOLICY No.: cf..charges alto Elisa D. Harm. Sverdlowtk andTwo Cam of SovietnSECURITY.p ji-9J.

liver Thraenen. "Biologitfhc Kampfnnflc-Rucsiungsdynamik imBiologicalDynamics in the Testonn. Fricdrtch Ebert Foundation, lune tugx. pp >1

Cf. Jonathan Tucker. Gene Wa.t. in: FOKLIKiN POLICY Noptatement of Jeremy Rifkm. prcf'leni ofundjluin nn



eptemberEST LUROrL

Trendi, in: Biological Wirfaie Tfn.it. loc. cil. ppI.

tatement of Jay A. Jawbton.. Anihony Hobbins..

otef Geldblat. Tbe Review of the Bioloaxal Weapont Conveniion.RIew.

ighting limy Oueil for Way io Bloc*WeapoBi Ii liielfhreat, in: WALL STREET JOURNAL..

ederal Republic of Germany: Report inwiih the Final Declaration of the Second Review Conference of ihe Panic* lo the Convention on ihe Prohibition of the Development. Prod net km. and Stock -pil infl if Bacteriological (Biological) and Tone Weapon* and on Their Destruction, Geneva,

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