no future war will the military be able to ignore poison gas.
It is a higher form of killing."
- --German professor
Fritz Haber, pioneer of gas warfare, upon receiving the Nobel
Prize for Chemistry in 1919.
It is simply not enough
anymore that in these modern times biological and chemical weapons
are being used in combat. Sudden occurrences of communicable diseases
still plague our modern society just as they did during medieval
times, only now, man can purposely inflict such terrible and uncurable
illness upon eachother through bio-chemical warfare.
As found on the PBS
NOVA online website, , the first documented occurrences of biochemicals
being used in warfare date back to the early 1300's through the1400's.
When loaded with diseased bodies, wood-frame catapults were biological
such as these, were filled with corpses, and hurled at enemies in
a primitive form of biological warfare.
Human corpses, whose
foul smell was known to carry disease if not disposed of properly,
were used as a type of ammunition in battle. Later on, during the
American Revolution, British troops many times inoculated persons
on purpose in order to infiltrate the Continental Army. In 1763
in an infamous moment in history, British General Jeffrey Amherst
had blankets laden with smallpox soldiers given directly to the
Native Americans during what should have been a peace negotiations.
World War I was the
first time biological or chemical warfare was documented in battle
and appplied on a substantial magnitude. Beginning with the Germans,
they used their technologically advanced chemical industries to
create the first simple chemical weapons. With the upper hand these
new munitions provided, Germany was able to sustain some victories
in battle. However unfortunate ecologically, the Allies soon caught
on and began their own biological campaign in the war thus setting
the eternal tone that chemical arms and their combative gear was
not only very much a present factor in war, but completely necessary.
Though chemical weapons was not what changed the outcome of the
war, it greatly increased the deaths on both sides.
By this time, the world
was coming to terms with the power of biological sabotage. Wars
were being fought in which animals were given fatal diseases such
as anthrax, found naturally in animals, but when purposely cause
deaths of great proportions. The Geneva
Protocol was created in 1925, only the U.S. Senate would not
ratify it until 50 years later. In it, it stated that all countries
which signed would hence forth cease and desist in the use of bacteriological
methods of warfare, and those who violated the rulings of the protocol
would be prosecuted. In 1972 a multi-lateral treaty that banned
dangerous biological weapons was created, its ultimate goal was
total eradication of weapon systems however allowing room for defensive
work to be done in the area.. By the 1996, 137 countries had signed
In 1992 the UN Sustainable
Development decided to implement "Agenda 21" after 178
countries voted in support of it at the UN Conference on Environment
that same year. Though the agenda was an effort to have cooperation
from major governments and groups and United Nations Systems to
raise and produce awareness in humanistic matters concerning ecological
matters, Section II, Chapter 16 explicitly states the direction
and responsibilities of biotechnological studies, namely, bio-chemical
One of the worst cases
of biological attack occurred in recent history when sarin gas,
a deadly toxin was released into the Tokyo subway system. As found
on the PBS webpage, "Plague Wars:"
"On March 20, 1995
the religious cult, Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) released sarin
gas into the Tokyo subway system. Aum members had placed small containers
in the trains filled with sarin gas that they then punctured during
morning rush hour. Twelve people died and over 5,000 were injured.
Due to the poor quality of the sarin gas and the inadequate delivery
system, the casualty rate was low for a subway system that handles
five million riders each day. Aum Shinrikyo was founded in 1987
by Shoko Asahara. The group had actively developed both biological
and chemical weapons and are suspected of running smaller tests
on the population before the subway attack." ~http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/plague/etc/faqs.html
History and Current Involvement
Iraq's involvement with
chemical and biological warfare is assumed to have its roots in
Soviet military aid. As the Cold War drew to a close, some professional
Soviet scientists who devoted themselves exclusively to such studies,
left for the money offered in Iraq. Though Iraq lacked the sophistication
that larger nations such as the Soviet Union and the United States
held, it began a secret chemical weapons program of its own. According
to NOVA, by 1991 Iraq had successfully created as weapons such as
boltulinum toxin, anthrax, gas gangrene, aflatoxin, trichothecene,
mycotoxins, wheat cover smut, ricin, hemorrhagic conjunctivitis
virus, rotavirus, camel pox and many other varieties of chemical
arms. After the agreement that ended the 1991 Gulf War forbade Iraq
from developing weapons of mass destruction, the U.N. Special Commission
(UNSCOM), spent many years inspecting Iraq. Though Iraq had previously
along with the U.S., China, and many other countries signed the
Weapons Convention, which, similar to the Geneva Protocol prohibited
the creation of any biological weapons, it is widely believed by
the UNSCOM and the U.S. that Iraq had actively pursued biological
On February 5, of 2003
Secretary of State Colin Powell went before the United Nations Security
Council to make a case for a war against Iraq through Iraqi defectors,
such as former scientists of the program. Information/communication
interceptions, and satellite photographs, the U.S. claimed evidence
that such a program existed but Powell could not secure votes for
war from the Council majority.
Iraq's U.N. ambassador
Mohammed Aldouri stated at the time though that any weapons of mass
destruction were destroyed back in 1990's, and that the U.S. was
using the U.N. in an attempt to invade Iraq. As he stated, found
page, "All the sites that the United States and the Britons
alleged in their two recent reports produced weapons of mass destruction
were repeatedly inspected, X-rayed, and environmental samples were
taken, to make sure that nothing happened there," Aldouri told
reporters. "The result is to prove that Iraq is clear
of weapons of mass destruction" at those sites. Supporting
this theory was former U.N. Weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who
also claimed that the previous chief of the program, Richard Butler
had sold out to the United States and allowed the program to become
corrupted, and affiliated with one country's wishes. As found on
the CDI's website, Terrorism
Inspections Update #6 ~ Feb. 28, 2003
~ Endeavors to develop
missiles with ranges beyond those currently allowed by U.N. resolutions.
~ Communications between Iraqi military officials who appeared to
conspire to hide evidence of proscribed equipment and munitions.
~ Indications that Iraq is actively covering up evidence of a variety
of banned weapon programs.
~ Reports that Iraq may have as many as seven mobile biological
weapons production facilities for the production and weaponization
of anthrax and botulinum toxin.
~ Imagery suggesting ongoing efforts to conceal chemical warfare
agents at dual use facilities.
~ Imagery suggesting chemical weapons continue to be stored in munitions
~ Reports that Iraq had tested an unmanned aerial vehicle intended
to deliver proscribed weapons.
~ Reports that Iraq continues to explore ways to reconstitute its
nuclear weapons program.
~ Reports that high strength aluminum tubes imported by Iraq were
manufactured to tolerances high enough to make them suitable for
centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium.
British Prime Minister
Tony Blair along with U.S. President George W. Bush the world that
concealed biological weapons, the main platform of their war on
Iraq, will be found, and destroyed. Hundred more bases, are still
waiting to be explored extensively by Coalition troops and scientists.
Dismissing any argument that chemical arms will never be uncovered
to justify the war in Iraq, Tony Blair stated to CNN
on April 28th, ""There is no doubt that weapons of mass
destruction existed, that they have been subject to a systematic
program of concealment...I am confident they will be found."
The UN weapons inspectors and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan want
to be part of the search, for the sake of the "credibility"
of any possible discovery.
The person known as
the father of Iraq's chemical warfare program, Nassir Hindawi strongly
believes as he tells CNN that the program ended back during the
Gulf War Cease-fire in 1991, and with the new economic sanctions
that were placed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait would have
been enough to shut the program down permanently.
A Short History of Biochemical Weapons
By Dr. Zoltan Grossman
Assistant Professor of Geography
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
400s BC.: Spartan Greeks
use sulfur fumes against enemy soldiers.
1346: Crimean Tatars
catapult plague-infected corpses into Italian trade settlement.
1500s: Spanish conquistadors
use biological warfare used against Native peoples.
1763: British Gen. Jeffrey
Amherst orders use of smallpox blankets against Native peoples during
1800s: Smallpox and
other diseases ravage Native American communities; U.S. officials
use quarantine techniques to
isolate diseases in white communities, but not in Native villages.
1907: Hague Convention
outlaws chemical weapons; U.S. does not participate.
1914: World War I begins;
poison gas produces 100,000 deaths, 900,000 injuries.
1920s: Britain proposes
use of chemical weapons in Iraq "as an experiment" against
Kurdish rebels seeking independence; Winston Churchill "strongly"
backs "the use of poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes."
1928: Geneva Protocol
prohibits gas and bacteriological warfare; most countries that ratify
it prohibit only the first use of such weapons.
1935: Italy begins conquest
of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), using mustard gas.
1936: Japan invades
China, uses chemical weapons in war.
1939: World War II begins;
neither side uses bio-chemical arms, due to fears of retaliation
1941: U.S. enters World
War II; President Roosevelt pledges U.S. will not be first to use
1943: U.S. ship damaged
by German bombing raid on Bari, Italy, leaks mustard gas, killing
1945: Germans use Zyklon-B
in extermination of civilians. Japanese military discovered to have
conducted biological warfare experiments on POWs, killing 3000.
U.S. shields officers in charge from war crimes trials, in return
for data. Soviets take over German nerve gas facility in Potsdam.
The Nazis had stockpiles of nerve gas against which the Allies had
no defenses, and had also been working on blood agents.
1947: U.S. possesses
germ warfare weapons; President Truman withdraws Geneva Protocol
from Senate consideration.
1949: U.S. dismisses
Soviet trials of Japanese for germ warfare as "propaganda."
Army begins secret tests of biological agents in U.S. cities.
1950: Korean War begins;
North Korea and China accuse U.S. of germ warfare--charges still
not proven. San Francisco disease outbreak matching Army bacteria
used on city.
exposed to potentially fatal simulant in Virginia test of race-specific
1952: German chemical
weapons researcher Walter Schreiber, working in Texas, exposed as
a perpetrator of concentration camp experiments, and flees to Argentina.
1956: Army manual explicitly
states that bio-chemical warfare is not banned. Rep. Gerald Ford
wins policy change to give U.S. military "first strike"
authority on chemical arms.
1959: House resolution
against first use of bio-chemical weapons is defeated.
1961: Kennedy Administration
begins hike of chemical weapons spending from $75 million to more
than $330 million.
1962: Chemical weapons
loaded on U.S. planes during Cuban missile crisis.
1966: Army germ warfare
experiment in New York subway system.
1968: Pentagon asks
for the chance to use some of its arsenal against protesters to
demonstrate the "efficacy" of the chemicals. Maj. Gen.
J.B. Medaris says, "By using gas in civil situations, we accomplish
two purposes: controlling crowds and also educating people on gas.
Now, everybody is being called savage if he just talks about it.
But nerve gas is the only way I know of to sort out the guys in
white hats from the ones in black hats without killing any of them."
1969: Utah chemical
weapons accident kills thousands of sheep; President Nixon declares
U.S. moratorium on chemical weapons production and biological weapons
possession. U.N. General Assembly bans use of herbicides (plant
killers) and tear gasses in warfare; U.S. one of three opposing
votes. U.S. has caused tear gas fatalities in Vietnamese guerrilla
1971: U.S. ends direct
use of herbicides such as Agent Orange; had spread over Indochinese
forests, and destroyed at least six percent of South Vietnamese
cropland, enough to feed 600,000 people for a year. U.S. intelligence
sources gives swine-flu virus to anti-Castro Cuban paramilitary
group, which lands it on Cuba's southern coast (according
to 1977 newspaper reports).
1972: Biological and
Toxic Weapons Convention. Cuba accuses CIA of instilling swine fever
virus that leads to death of 500,000 hogs.
1974: U.S. finally ratifies
1928 Geneva Protocol.
1975: Indonesia annexes
East Timor; planes spread herbicides on croplands.
1979: Anthrax leak from
Soviet biological weapons lab kills 60 near in the Ural Mountains
of Russia, near Sverdlovsk.
Washington Post reports on U.S. program against Cuban agriculture
since 1962, including CIA biological warfare component. Anthrax
outbreak among Africans in white-ruled Rhodesia (in the last stages
of the Zimbabwe independence war) results in 10,000 cases, 182 of
them fatal (according to Covert Action Quarterly #43)
1980: U.S. intelligence
officials allege Soviet chemical use in Afghanistan, while admitting
Congress approves nerve gas facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Iraq
begins eight-year war with U.S. arch-enemy Iran.
1981: U.S. accuses Vietnam
and allies of using mycotoxins (fungal poisons) in Laos and Cambodia.
Some refugees report casualties; one analysis reveals "yellow
rain" as bee feces, but questions remain. Israel bombs Iraqi
nuclear reactor, leading to Iraqi decision to build chemical weapons.
1984: U.N. confirms
Iraq using mustard and nerve gasses against Iranian "human
wave" attacks in border war; State Department issues mild condemnation,
yet restores diplomatic relations with Iraq, and opposes U.N. action
Bhopal fertilizer plant accident in India kills 2000; shows risks
of chemical plants being damaged in warfare. President Reagan orders
over a half-million M55 rockets retooled so they contain high-yield
explosives as well as VX gas. (The Army later claimed that many
of these rockets were "unstable" and leaking nerve gas.)
1985: U.S. resumes open-air
testing of biological agents. U.S. firms begin supplying Iraq with
numerous biological agents for a four-year period (according to
a 1994 Senate report).
1986: U.S. resumes open-air
testing of biological agents.
1987: Senate ties in
three votes on resuming production of chemical weapons; Vice President
Bush breaks all three ties in favor of resumption.
1988: Iraq uses chemical
weapons against Kurdish minority in Halabjah; U.S. continues to
maintain agricultural credits with Iraq; President Reagan blocks
congressional sanctions against Iraq.
1989: Paris conference
of 149 nations condemns chemical weapons, urges quick ban to emerge
from Geneva treaty negotiations; U.S. revealed to plan poison gas
production even after treaty signed.
1990: U.S., Soviets
pledge to reduce chemical weapons stockpiles to 20 percent of current
U.S. supply by 2002, and to eliminate poison gas weapons when all
nations have signed future Geneva treaty. Israel admits possession
of chemical weapons; Iraq threatens to use chemical weapons on Israel
if it is attacked.
1991: U.S. and Coalition
forces bomb at least 28 alleged bio- chemical production or storage
sites in Iraq during Gulf War, including fertilizer and other civilian
plants. CNN reports "green flames" from one chemical plant,
and the deaths of 50 Iraqi troops from anthrax after air strike
on another site. New York Times quotes Soviet chemical weapons
commander that air strikes on Iraqi chemical weapons would have
"little effect beyond neighboring villages," but that
strikes on biological weapons could spread disease "to adjoining
countries." Czechoslovak chemical warfare unit detects Sarin
nerve gas during air war. Egyptian doctor reports outbreak of "strange
disease" inside Iraq. U.S. troops use explosives to destroy
Iraqi chemical weapons storage bunkers after the war.
1992: Reports intensify
of U.S. and Coalition veterans of Gulf War developing health problems,
involving a variety of symptoms, collectively called Gulf War Syndrome.
U.N. sanctions intensify civilian health crisis inside Iraq, making
identification of similar symptoms potentially difficult. Two members
of anti-government Minnesota Patriots' Council arrested for plan
to use ricin chemical against law enforcement officer.
1993: President Clinton
continues intermittent bombing and missile raids against Iraqi facilities;
U.N. inspectors step up program to dismantle Iraqi weapons. U.S.
signs U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention, but approval later blocked
1995: Japanese cult
launches deadly Sarin nerve gas attack on Tokyo subway system.
hearings on Gulf War Syndrome focuses on Iraqi storage bunker destruction,
rather than other possible causes, and does not call for international
investigation of symptoms among Iraqis.
1997: Cuba accuses U.S.
of spraying crops with biological agents . Iraq expels U.S. citizens
in U.N. inspection teams, which are allowed to continue work without
Americans, but choose to evacuate all inspectors. U.S. mobilizes
for military action. Senate act implements Chemical Weapons Convention,
with a provision that "the President may
deny a request to inspect any facility" on national security
1998: Chief UN weapons
inspector Richard Butler orders inspectors out of Iraq just prior
to U.S. bombing. U.S. again bombs alleged Iraqi bio-chemical weapons
sites, after Iraq questions role of American U.N. inspector, and
restricts inspector access to presidential properties and security.
U.S. launches missile attack on pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that
it alleges produces nerve gas agents--a claim disputed by most of
the international community.
1998-99: Series of anthrax
hoaxes against U.S. targets, such as NBC, Washington Post, State
Department, White House complex, post offices. Former Aryan Nations
member Larry Wayne Harris carries out anthrax hoax to dramatize
warning of alleged "Iraqi threat." Three members of Republic
of Texas militia group arrested for intention to use anthrax and
other biological agents against public officials. Upsurge in anthrax
hoaxes against abortion clinics.
2000: "Topoff Exercise"
involving federal and state authorities fails to cope with simulated
chemical, biological and
nuclear attacks in three widely separated metropolitan areas.
2001: U.S. withdraws
from July's first round of Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention
(BTWC), crippling international efforts to establish global measures
against bioogical weapons. In wake of September 11 attacks, anthrax
spores sent by mail to multiple political and media targets around
the U.S., resulting in anthrax exposures, infections, and at least
5 deaths. Law enforcement authorities debate whether source of anthrax
threat is foreign or domestic; federal suspicion centers on a U.S.
scientist who formerly lived in white-ruled Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).
Real anthrax attacks accompanied by enormous increase in anthrax
hoaxes by "Army of God" and other groups and individuals.
2002: Bush Administration
renews allegations that Iraq possesses biochemical weapons, reluctantly
acquiesces in return of United Nations weapons inspectors (after
four years of absence) to prove or disprove the claim. Chief UN
arms inspector Hans Blix reports no evidence of renewed chemical
or biological weapons programs in Iraq.
2003: UN inspectors
find evidence of Iraqi violations of ballistic missile range limits,
and begin to destroy missiles. Bush Administration not satisfied
with extent of UN inspection. Just prior to U.S.-U.K. invasion of
Iraq, UN orders inspectors out of country. After invasion, U.S.
contends it will hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction on its own.
Hans Blix and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan ask that UN be part
of inspection to enhance the "credibility" of any discovery.
Compiled from articles
in "Z" magazine by Stephen
Shalom and Noam Chomsky (February 1991) and
Zoltan Grossman (March 1991), from the Council
for a Livable World , William Blum's "Killing Hope: U.S.
Military and CIA Interventions
Since World War II," ADL Militia Watchdog by Mark Pitcavage
(Feb. 1999), and
from recent news reports.