Deadly Cultures: Biological Weapons since 1945

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  • Mark Wheelis, Lajos Rzsa,

    and Malcolm Dando, Editors

    Deadly Cultures

    Biological Weapons since 1945


    Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England


  • Copyright 2006 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College

    All rights reserved

    Printed in the United States of America

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Deadly cultures : biological weapons since 1945 / Mark Wheelis, Lajos Rzsa,

    and Malcolm Dando, editors.

    p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    ISBN 0-674-01699-8 (cloth : alk. paper)

    1. Biological weaponsTesting. 2. Biological weaponsResearch.

    I. Wheelis, Mark. II. Rzsa, Lajos, 1961 III. Dando, Malcolm.

    UG447.8.D43 2005

    358.388209dc22 2005050225

  • Contents

    Preface vii

    Abbreviations ix

    1 Historical Context and Overview 1

    Mark Wheelis, Lajos Rzsa, and Malcolm Dando

    2 The US Biological Weapons Program 9

    John Ellis van Courtland Moon

    3 The UK Biological Weapons Program 47

    Brian Balmer

    4 The Canadian Biological Weapons Program andthe Tripartite Alliance 84

    Donald Avery

    5 The French Biological Weapons Program 108

    Olivier Lepick

    6 The Soviet Biological Weapons Program 132

    John Hart

    7 Biological Weapons in Non-Soviet Warsaw Pact Countries 157

    Lajos Rzsa and Kathryn Nixdorff

    8 The Iraqi Biological Weapons Program 169

    Graham S. Pearson

    9 The South African Biological Weapons Program 191

    Chandr Gould and Alastair Hay

  • 10 Anticrop Biological Weapons Programs 213

    Simon M. Whitby

    11 Antianimal Biological Weapons Programs 224

    Piers Millet

    12 Midspectrum Incapacitant Programs 236

    Malcolm Dando and Martin Furmanski

    13 Allegations of Biological Weapons Use 252

    Martin Furmanski and Mark Wheelis

    14 Terrorist Use of Biological Weapons 284

    Mark Wheelis and Masaaki Sugishima

    15 The Politics of Biological Disarmament 304

    Marie Isabelle Chevrier

    16 Legal Constraints on Biological Weapons 329

    Nicholas A. Sims

    17 Analysis and Implications 355

    Malcolm Dando, Graham Pearson, Lajos Rzsa,Julian Perry Robinson, and Mark Wheelis

    Appendix. The Biological Weapons Convention 375

    Notes 381

    Contributors 463

    Index 465

    vi Contents

  • Preface

    This book originated when two of us (Malcolm Dando and Mark

    Wheelis) were at a meeting of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and

    World Affairs in Geneva, whose topic was strengthening the biological

    disarmament regime. We lamented the fact that there was no recent

    scholarly history, based on primary sources, of offensive biological weap-

    ons (BW) programs. How, we wondered, could effective policy be gener-

    ated if there was widespread ignorance of BW developments in recent de-

    cades? There were good recent sources for BW history up to 1945, and

    older sources for the period until the early 1970s, but the critical period

    since thenwhich saw the negotiation of the Biological Weapons Con-

    vention, the discovery of the illegal Soviet, Iraqi, and South African BW

    programs, the arduous and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to negoti-

    ate an inspection regime for BW, and resurgent fears of bioterrorism

    was discussed only in popular books based on secondary or incomplete

    sources. We resolved at that time to fill this obvious gap.

    Shortly thereafter, at a NATO Science Program Advanced Study Insti-

    tute in Budapest, we met Lajos Rzsa, and the three of us applied for a

    grant from the same NATO program to fund meetings of the authors se-

    lected to write the chapters of the book, and to provide some support for

    the archival research that would be necessary. That grant (977940) al-

    lowed us to hold two sets of meetings: one at the beginning of the project,

    when authors presented outlines of their chapters; and one near the end,

    when first drafts were available. One of the authors, Nicholas Sims, did

    not participate in these NATO-funded meetings and did not accept any

    NATO research funds, for reasons of conscience.

    In addition to the authors, two senior scholars in the fieldJulian


  • Perry Robinson and Graham Pearsonagreed to comment on the drafts,

    and both have been actively involved in advising authors upon each

    chapter and in collaborating with the editors in writing the final chapter.

    The contributions of these two scholars have greatly strengthened the en-

    tire book; any remaining weaknesses persist despite their efforts.

    An additional grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York

    (D03044) provided financial assistance for the authors research, the au-

    thors final meeting, and the editorial work. We are grateful to both

    NATO and Carnegie for their support, which has been critical to produc-

    ing a book this complex.

    We are also most grateful to all those who have reviewed and com-

    mented on draft chapters; their contributions have greatly improved the

    quality of the book. In addition to Robinson and Pearson, all authors

    read all chapters and made constructive comments (even when they may

    have disagreed with particular points). Martin Hugh-Jones read the en-

    tire manuscript and made very helpful comments, as did two anonymous

    reviewers selected by Harvard University Press. Ann Hawthornes edit-

    ing improved the writing significantly and helped to unify the disparate

    chapters. Catherine Rhodes provided organizational support that assisted

    the editors greatly. Thanks to Claudia Graham, of UC Davis Mediaworks,

    who drew all the figures. Michael Fisher, Executive Editor for Science

    and Medicine (now Editor in Chief) at Harvard University Press, has been

    actively involved in the project from early on, and we are grateful for his

    support and advice.

    We hope that this book will assist in the crucial public discussions and

    state-level policy decisions that must take place in coming years if the re-

    newed development and potential use of biological weapons are to be


    viii Preface

  • Abbreviations

    ACDA Arms Control and Disarmament AgencyADAC Agricultural Defence Advisory Committee

    AHG Ad Hoc Group of Governmental ExpertsARMET Armement et Etudes of the EMA

    ASF African swine feverBG Bacillus globigii

    Biopreparat Main Directorate for Biological PreparationsBRAB Biological Research Advisory Board

    BW biological weapons; in quoted material may stand for biologicalwarfare


    Biological Weapons ConventionBiological Warfare Sub-Committee

    BZ 3-quinuclidiny benzilateCASDN Comit dAction Scientifique de la Dfense Nationale

    CB chemical and biologicalCBM confidence-building measureCBR chemical, biological, and radiological

    CBW chemical and biological weapons; in quoted material may standfor chemical and biological warfare

    CCD Conference of the Committee on DisarmamentCD Conference on Disarmament

    CDAB Chemical Defence Advisory BoardCDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    CDEE Chemical Defence Experimental EstablishmentCEB Centre dEtudes du Bouchet

    CEECB Commission des Etudes et Exprimentations Chimiques etBactriologiques

    CIA Central Intelligence AgencyCIAS Commandement Interarmes des Armes Spciales

    CIEECB Commission Interarmes dEtudes et dExprimentationsChimique et Bactriologique

    CINBC Comit Interarmes du NBC


  • CmlC US Army Chemical CorpsCRSSA Centre de Recherches du Service de Sant des Armes

    CW chemical weapons; in quoted material may stand for chemicalwarfare

    CWC Chemical Weapons ConventionCWS Chemical Warfare ServiceDEA Department of External Affairs

    DERA Defence Evaluation and Research AgencyDIA Defense Intelligence Agency

    DMA Dlgation Ministrielle lArmementDND Department of National DefenceDOD Department of DefenseDRB Defence Research BoardDRC Defence Research Committee

    DREO Defence Research Establishment Ottawa/Shirleys BayDRES Defence Research Establishment SuffieldDRPC Defence Research Policy CommitteeDRPS DRPC StaffEMA Etat-Major des Armes

    ENDC Eighteen Nation Committee on DisarmamentFBI Federal Bureau of Investigation

    FFCD full, final, and complete declarationsFMD foot and mouth diseaseFOIA Freedom of Information Act

    4P prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposesGABA gamma-aminobutyric acid

    GDR German Democratic RepublicGML General Medical LaboratoryICRC International Committee of the Red Cross

    ISC International Scientific CommissionISG Iraq Survey Group

    ISSBW Inter-Services Sub-Committee on Biological WarfareJCS Joint Chiefs of Staff

    KGB Committee for State SecurityLAC large area concept

    LMRV Laboratoire Militaire de Recherches VtrinairesLSD lysergic acid diethylamide

    LTBT Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, inOuter Space and Under Water (Partial, or Limited, Test-BanTreaty)

    MOD Ministry of DefenseMRD Microbiological Research DepartmentMRE Microbiological Research Establishment

    x Abbreviations

  • MSE Al Muthanna State EstablishmentNARA National Archives Research Administration, College Park, Md.NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization

    NBC nuclear, biological, and chemicalND Newcastle disease

    NGO nongovernmental organizationNPO military-scientific production facilityNPT Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Non-Prolif-

    eration Treaty)NSC National Security Council

    POW prisoner of warPRO Public Records Office, LondonR&D research and developmentRRL Roodeplaat Research Laboratories

    SADF South African Defence ForceSALT Strategic Arms Limitation TreatySBVA Service Biologique et Vtrinaire des ArmesSGA Special Group Augmented

    SGTEB Sous Groupe de Travail et dEtudes BiologiquesSHAD Shipboard Hazard and Defense

    SHAPE NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers EuropeSHAT Service Historique de lArme de TerreSIPRI Stockholm International Peace Research InstituteSOD Special Operations Division of the US Army Biological Laboratory

    at Fort DetrickSTA Service Technique de lArmeTHC tetrahydrocannabinolTRC Technical Research Center; or Truth and Reconciliation Commis-

    sionUN United Nations

    UNMOVIC United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commis-sion

    UNSCOM United Nations Special CommissionUSGPO US Government Printing Office

    VEE Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis (sometimes encephalitis)WMD weapons of mass destruction

    WP Warsaw Pact Treaty

    Abbreviations xi



    Historical Context

    and Overview




    The threat of biological weapons (BW) use by either states

    or terrorists has never attracted so much public attention as in the past

    five years, when heads of state and other governmental leaders have spo-

    ken repeatedly about the dangers from weapons of mass destruction and

    the threat of bioterrorism. BW proliferation among states has been a con-

    cern since before the end of the Cold War, and concerns about BW in

    terrorist hands became a prominent issue in the early 1990s. The US an-

    thrax letter attacks of 2001 seemed to validate these concerns, and intelli-

    gence suggesting interest in BW among international terrorist organiza-

    tions has exacerbated them, especially in the US. Currently the threat of

    BW attracts keen international attention at the highest levels.

    These contemporary concerns relate largely to the threat of BW acqui-

    sition and use by rogue states or by terrorists. However, the BW threat

    has much deeper roots, and it has changed markedly over the past 60

    years. During most of the Cold War period, major global powers invested

    substantial resources to develop a strategic BW capability aimed at the

    military forces, civilian populations, or agricultural resources of their ad-

    versaries. Indeed, early in this period BW were considered to rival nu-

    clear weapons in strategic importance.

    Despite the shifting view of the nature of the BW threat, it has been ev-

    ident for over 60 years that biological agents can be used to cause mass

    casualties and large-scale economic damage. However, BW are not well

    understood, and there has been little historical analysisand hence little


  • appreciationof the various ways in which such weapons have been re-

    garded over those decades. The following chapters attempt to fill this gap,

    by providing a concise and accurate history of offensive BW programs

    since 1945, and by drawing possible lessons from that history with regard

    to strengthening the long-standing total prohibition of BW. Whenever

    possible we use primary sources to provide an accurate account of why

    some countries sought biological weapons and why some abandoned

    such programs. Because primary sources are not uniformly available for

    all countries and periods, however, there is inevitable variation in the

    depth of coverage.

    Despite these limitations, there is an immense amount of material

    2 Mark Wheelis, Lajos Rzsa, and Malcolm Dando

    1945 1955 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005

    1925 Geneva Protocol

    1972 BWC

    1993 CWC






    South Africa


    Figure 1.1 Major arms control and disarmament treaties limiting BW (top)and known offensive BW programs (bottom) since 1945.

  • available. Multivolume works could easily be written on several of our

    topics. Consequently, our aims of brevity and comprehensiveness are

    necessarily often in conflict. Each chapter cites reliable secondary

    sources, when available, to which the interested reader is referred for ad-

    ditional material.

    Our reliance on verifiable primary sources has another consequence:

    we cannot treat in any detail events in the very recent past for which

    documentation is not yet available. For instance, the failed attempt to ne-

    gotiate a verification protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention

    (BWC), the extensive reorganization of the US government following the

    2001 terrorist attacks, and the nature of current US biodefense programs

    are all topics for which much of the primary-source documentation re-

    mains classified. Until these documents are declassified, these important

    topics will not be amenable to rigorous historical treatment and must re-

    ceive only passing comment here.

    Biological Weapons before 1945

    The history of biological weapons before 1945 has been addressed in sev-

    eral monographs. Most important are The Problem of Chemical and Bio-

    logical Warfare, produced in six volumes by the Stockholm International

    Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which covers the period until approxi-

    mately 1970; and Biological and Toxin Weapons Research, Development and

    Use from the Middle Ages to 1945, edited by Erhard Geissler and John Ellis

    van Courtland Moon.1 Our volume is conceived as a sequel to the latter,

    but it owes much to the earlier SIPRI series as well.

    Geissler and Moons volume covers BW from the Middle Ages to World

    War I, BW use in World War I, BW programs from the 1920s to 1945 in a

    number of individual states, and BW use in World War II. The resulting

    picture shows that after the Golden Age of bacteriology at the end of

    the nineteenth century, when scientists first unraveled the causes of in-

    fectious diseases, the military applications of this knowledge intrigued

    several countries, some of which initiated offensive programs. These be-

    gan with efforts by Germany in World War I (and by France on a much

    more limited scale) to attack military draft animals covertly with the dis-

    eases anthrax and glanders. Following the war, there was widespread

    speculation in the press and in military circles that...


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