Biological weapons or civilian research?

Problems with the biological convention – a (dispute) conversation

A (quarrel) talked to the cell biologist Jan van Aken (Sunshine Project, Hamburg) and the genetic professor Erhard Geibler (Max-Delbruck-Centrum, Berlin) to effect and reform requirements of the biowenary convention.

With the 1972 bioweapon convention, the risk of an offensive use of biological warfare should be stored. This goal has been achieved? Erhard Geibler
Erhard Geibler: Unfortunately, the goal has unfortunately not been achieved: the Soviet Union, not only partner State, but even depositar power of the convention, has launched a very extensive biowaffing program after its entry into force, which was officially terminated in 1992. Likewise, Iraq has produced and ammunition to Gulf War. He was not a contractor at that time, but had signed the agreement and was bound to his compliance with at least politically. As far as the facts. Both Western and Russian intelligence assesses that ten to twelve continue to operate B-weapons programs, but this is difficult to use, especially since the intelligence services in this field have so far failed. Jan van Aken
Jan van Aken: To your question a clear Jein. Although the examples mentioned by Mr Geibler make it clear that the biowaffing convention can be easily bypassed. On the other hand, she has certainly contributed to the world’s respect for biowaffing and prevents it from being given not only an atomic, but also a biological bettrust. Why, or. At what points should the convention be initiated?
Jan van Aken: The convention is a toothless tiger. Although it prohibits any development of organic weapons, but does not see any verification measures before. In 1972, it may have been purely technically almost impossible for many countries to produce biological weapons in the rough scale, but by the revolution in biotechnology, this image has radically changed. We now need an international agreement, the Z.B. Laboratory and export controls establishes to monitor compliance with the biowenary convention.
Erhard Geibler: I go further. One of the serious weakness of the B-weapon convention is that it does not record appropriate research at all. This should be changed, as volumes of biological and toxin combatants produced in laboratory operation can also be a danger. Of course you can not prohibit such works. They are essential for health protection. But they have to be so transparent that a gun development under the guise of peaceful research is prevented. Further, the convention allows for prophylactic, protective and other peaceful purposes – what the abuse tur and gate. In addition to the lack of control regulations, there are no determinations as in case of violation against the convention is to react. Again, there is a catch. Where do you see problems?
Erhard Geibler: The previous course of the consultations in Geneva on a corresponding additional protocol to the Convention shows that a wide variety of states (groups) from a wide variety of motifs in front of a truly serious starting of the Convention.
Jan van Aken: I see the core problem of any verification in the dual-use problem, which Mr. Geibler has already addressed: virtually all the knowledge and any equipment that is needed for an offensive biowaffing program can also be used for civil research in medicine and biology will. Whether a particular experiment is offensive or defensive nature is alleged solely in the intention of the respective researchers. In addition, all organisms of natural origin and can also be used for usual purposes. This is a great deal of real verification very difficult. All experts agree that a state could find funds and paths in case of doubt to avoid prohibition. However, an effective verification regime was at least able to massively push the cost of a secret B-weapon program and thus the "Atomic bomb of the little man" to make unreachable for many states.
Erhard Geibler: I agree with Mr. Van Aken, but scary that a really effective verification system is not yet in sight. This shows frightening clearly on the muzzle that has been equipped with which the expert group has been working for six years with the preparation of an additional protocol to the Convention. Your mandate is to work out control regulations that "as little intrusive as possible" are, in other words: as superflatable as it works. Some experts also distinguish between offensive and defensive research. Is such a distinction at all permanent?
Jan van Aken: Again, the dual-use problem plays again. If I’m z.B. The botulinum toxin produces to use it as a medicament is the civilian research. When I produce the same amount of toxin with the same apparatus to use them as a weapon, the offensive research is. A smallpox virus is initially nothing but a natural pathogen. Only when someone produces it with a martial intention, it becomes a biowaffe. Even vaccines have dual-use character. The development of a vaccine against spleen fire is clearly defensive at first glance. However, if an attacker wanted to use spleen fire as a weapon, he also had to provide a vaccine for its own army and population. Thus, a spleen fire vaccine could also be considered as an indication of an offensive program. Only in the overall consideration of the B-weapon research of a country maybe decide whether here really only defensive intentions are being pursued. Who produces rough amounts of spleen fire bacteria, could have difficulty justifying that with a defensive or medical research. There are also for gene-manipulated bacteria that avoid vaccinations, barely civilian explanations.
Erhard Geibler: Of course you have to differentiate between offensive and defensively motivated activities. However, since the twenties, experts have agreed worldwide that the development of effective protective measures requires accurate knowledge of bioweapons, which makes an opponent for use. But I can not beat Van Aken’s view that there is no civilian – or say we say better in our context: Defensive – motive for work with pathogens, which, for example, can be immunile overwind (or which are resistant to antibiotics): just before those If you have to wear, especially if it has to be expected that the other side optimizes biological combatants in such a way. Even if such work is only made for protection, one can not fully not only notice that others is perceived as a threat – a devilish situation that could only be relaxed through total, global transparency – but how do you currently want this on this Earth achieve? In order to achieve such transparency (and also to reduce the technology sugar between North and Sud and to make vaccines cost-effectively for development countries), we have almost ten years ago – especially of developing lands then very welcomed – international "Vaccines-For-Peace"-Program proposed and placed worldwide for discussion. Especially developmental standards, but also the Russians have buried and supported this proposal. In the NATO states, on the other hand, we are understood understood on unanimous rejection. The US is in Colombia with genetically changed mushrooms against drug implantations. Is not that one "By-product" the so-called defensive research?
Erhard Geibler: This is a very complex problem, to which I have no clear opinion. But it has nothing to do with biological war management, but with the legitimate attempt to involve the international drug criminal element by means of biological bad bodies. I’m aware of the difficulties already mentioned in view of the difficulties already mentioned that this is now sometimes mentioned in the same context with biological war carrying: this can affect the starting of the B-weapon convention only counterproductive.
Jan van Aken: The term "Biological schadling fighting" leads to the mistake, because the drug plants are not weed or shadling in agriculture, but the crop grown by the farmers. As much as I agree with Professor Geissler, that the international drug criminaliment must be clarified: Again, the purpose must not be the medium. Especially in Colombia, the drug storage is part of the Burger War, and the use of killer mushrooms for destruction of Coca plants were nothing more than the use of a biological weapon in the Burger War. The Biowaffing Convention prohibits any non-peaceful use of biological resources against people, animals or plants. This is unequivocally valid for national conflicts, there are no exceptions for police applications. These projects threaten global, rigorous consensus against biological weapons. Especially in the face of the rising danger of biological weapons, all steps have to be avoided that could question the global respect for all organic weapons. To what extent did the gene research influence the development of biological warfare?
Erhard Geibler: I already have in my contribution for the 1984th yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Sipri Uber "Genetic Engineering and Biological Warfare" It should be noted that there are opportunities and risks in this area: with the methods of molecular biotechnology (and not only gene research in the narrower sense), one can optimize both organic and toxine weapons and their uses as well as improve protective measures.
Jan van Aken: In the past, the effects were certainly very limited. The real threat is in the future development. For example, if the results of human genome research are used militarically, we can do it in 10 to 20 years with completely new weapon systems that are much deeper than before in what we are, what matters us as people. Ethnically selective weapons are only one – theoretical application example, which is likely to be imminent to us. So far, virtually every key technology – from the black powder to electronics and rocket technology – has also been used massively for military purposes. In view of the tremendous intervention depth of organic and genetic engineering, humanity should assist all to prevent the military abuse of modern biology. Must not be extended to the BioWaffing Convention at this point of view?
Erhard Geibler: Here I see no immediate need for action; The last review conferences on the Convention have clearly clarified in the all partner countries at least politically binding closures that, accordingly manipulated pathogens and toxins or toxins. Corresponding activities are covered by the convention. In the shortcoming, I still showed Mr Van Aken’s last remark that the use of biological strangers was already carried out before the introduction of appropriate key technologies. Whether the death train of the PEST in 14. In the century really on biodegradation was to be influenced, how many claim, is no longer prove in retrospect. Documentarily occupied is that British invasion troops are already playing in the 18th. Century against uprising Indian stems. On the other hand the concept of "ethnic weapons" As well as the sequence analysis of the human genome, but at least was discussed at least in the sixties, the results of sequence analysis indicate that this idea is highly unrealistic: ethnic differences can hardly be identified in the genome.
Jan van Aken: Mr. Gissler has already mentioned that the genetic engineering has played a role on the last check conferences. In November of this year, the 5 comes in Geneva. Check conference of the convention together. There, possible loopholes must be stuffed in the convention and the all-encompassing forgiveness of B-weapons ban. Any application of biological weapons – whether against people, animals, plants or material, whether in wars, burger wars or other conflicts – must be taken in principle. Thus, then the killer mushrooms were prohibited in the drug war or genetic engineering B-weapons. When do you expect a result of the ongoing work of the expert commission in the form of a Reformed Bioowaffing Convention?
Jan van Aken: In the next four months, the decisive negotiations take place, a solution is not in sight. Still block some states – especially the USA – a strong protocol. I’m still hoping for the concrete head in the last month to agree on a log that at least in Bezen a reasonable verification allowed. In the worst case, there will be no agreement now and the verification of the B-weapon convention was postponed indefinitely. Almost a failure of the whole B-weapon convention was equal, it was sent out the signal that the international community is not really interested in a reasonable control of B-weapons.
Erhard Geibler: Unfortunately, I have to beat the negative judgment. Even if the group – as hoped for – this year creates a corresponding protocol design to be consumed by mutual agreement, which must be approved and ratified by the partner states. But what if an important state does not sanction the protocol? In addition, I was that an agreement could be bought on a contract text with so much keynatives that the whole additional protocol then is not worth the many, many pages of paper (and the trees faded), the prere of the thousands of formulation and the numerous meanwhile consumed committed protocol drafts. Much more important, but at least equal ranking I held an international transparent initiative to prepare for emergency: what can we do together, if it is indeed in a rogue state, a terrorist union or a single criminal to use a biological or toxin combat? Think that you live up to the problem in the UN?
Jan van Aken: Definitely. Precisely because the B-weapon problem is so complex, we have to face a whole system at the eyes here. In addition to the biological convention, other UN instruments are conceivable, such as Z.B. An international criminal law to prosecute B-weapons fashion. However, every UN convention is only as strong as the society that implements it. Here is a deluptated MAB to be necessary to give the ie in the policy and the affected sciences the importance that it deserves. So far, the knowledge and awareness is not very widespread by the possible military abuse of biological or medical achievements. It is a declared goal of the Sunshine project, especially in the affected sciences raising awareness of the military implications of its own research. For all interested parties we will therefore be on 9. June in Dresden at the German Hygiene Museum a symposium to biowumps performed.
Erhard Geibler: There is no other possibility. However, if one was prepared to think about appropriate protective measures together with the World Health Organization WHO, the World Heritage Organization FAO and the International Animal Seakeeping Institute IOE, of course, with confiscation of strikingly dedicated non-governmental organizations. (Harald NeuberTo)

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