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CBRN & Terrorism
Transcript of CBRN & Terrorism
Biological weapons intentionally disseminate agents of infectious diseases to harm or kill others.
Key considerations include infectivity, virulence, toxicity, pathogenicity, the incubation period, transmissibility, lethality and stability.
* Bacteria (like Anthrax, Brucellosis, Tularemia, Plague)
* Viruses (Smallpox, Marburg, Yellow Fever)
* Rickettsia (Typhus fever, Spotted fever)
* Fungi (the molds that cause stem rust of wheat and rye)
* Toxins (like Ricin, Botulinum and Saxitoxin) aka “midspectrum”
* Infectious Pathogens:
Emerging threats; SARS, Avian Influenza
‘Old’ threats: TB, HIV, Malaria
A radiation emission device (RED) or a radiological dispersion device (RDD) – also known as a “dirty bomb” – is a bomb to cause panic and mass disruption; areas with severe radioactive contamination would be uninhabitable for many years.
Built using radioactive material (such as cesium 137, cobalt 60, strontium 90, plutonium oxide and uranium oxide), which is dispersed by the detonation of conventional explosives.
Myriad sources of radioactive material could be used for this purpose, like medical/educational facilities, atomic waste storage reservations, commercial sites, etc.
Many lack strong security, especially medical facilities, educational institutions
Can also acquire radioactive materials via mail order or Internet
History of Use of C/B Weapons
First major use in modern warfare (April 22, 1915); during World War I, the German army released chlorine gas in an attack against the French in Ypres, Belgium
About 124,000 tons of chemical weapons were used by all sides during World War I, inflicting over a million casualties (90,000 fatalities).
WWII examples of WMD include:
Italy used mustard gas against Ethiopians
Japan used intestinal typhoid bacteria to poison a Soviet water supply
Japan used air cargo drops of rice and wheat mixed with plague-carrying fleas over China and Manchuria
Iraq against the Kurds in Northern Iraq during he 1990s
Syria against rebels 2013
By Non-State Actors:
1984, The Dalles, Oregon: Rajneeshes poison locals with salmonella
June 1990, Sri Lanka: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) used chlorine gas in its assault on a Sri Lankan Armed Forces camp at East Kiran
Japan, 1994-1995: Aum Shinrikyo uses Sarin gas in Matsumoto and Tokyo
Russia, 1995: Chechen rebels planted a dirty bomb in Moscow's Ismailovsky Park
U.S., October 2001: anthrax attacks through U.S. mail
Chemical Weapons use the toxic properties of chemical substances to cause physical or psychological harm to an enemy
Many different kinds, including:
Choking and blood agents (like chlorine, phosgene, fentanyl gas) cause respiratory damage and asphyxiation
Blistering agents (like mustard gas and lewisite) cause painful burns requiring immediate medical attention
Nerve gases degrade the functioning of the nervous system, causing a loss of muscle control, respiratory failure, and eventually death
Can be delivered through bombs, rockets, artillery shells, spray tanks, and missile warheads
Weapons that have a relatively large-scale impact on people, property, and/or infrastructure.
WMD are defined in US law (18 USC §2332a) as:
(A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title (i.e. explosive device);
(B) any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors;
(C) any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector (as those terms are defined in section 178 of this title)
any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life.
CBRN weapons: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear
June 2003, a Jemiaah Islamiah weapons storage facility in Malaysia is found to contain various kinds of chemicals
April 1985, a compound of the Sword, the Covenant and the Arm of the Lord is found to have a 55-gallon barrel of cyanide
January 2003, an apartment in north London is found to have raw ingredients for making cyanide and ricin, as well as instruction manuals
January 2004, seven pounds of cyanide salt are found during a raid on a Baghdad house reportedly connected with al Qaeda
November 2004, a “chemical laboratory” is discovered in Fallujah containing potassium cyanide, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid
What Form of WMB Are Terrorists More Likely to Use?
Terrorists either desire to cause the most casualties possible or, conversely, a spectacular effect
This is not reflective of the reality of C/B weapons
They are silent, are highly unreliable, and potentially dangerous to the terrorists
But, unlike nuclear weapons and nuclear materials, there is no watchdog over chemical and biological weapon components
Legal Impediments to the USE of CBR Weapons
Unlike nuclear weapons and the NPT, there is no mechanism to control the spread of chemical, biological, or radiological weapon components
Biological Weapons Convention (1975) - prohibits the development, production, and use of biological weapons
Chemical Weapons Convention (1997) - built on the BWC framework, prohibits the arming, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons