July 1993 (vol. 9, #5) 1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1993 Physicians for Civil Defense


In our Communications Age, many messages are sent by airmail, though methods as primitive as smoke signals are not ruled out. The lingua franca appears to be use or threat of deadly force. The messages are not always well understood.

USA to Iraq. President Clinton sent a ``strong'' but sensitive message to Saddam Hussein in the form of cruise missiles that bombed a building and killed a few civilians.

Iraq to Iraqis, USA, and UN. Lt-Gen Amer Rashid of the Iraqi Military Industries Commission, reportedly told Chief UN Inspector Santesson that if his subordinates provide anything beyond technical answers, he will ``break their backs.'' The General also was reported as saying that he would break the neck of any Iraqi providing the UN with the names of people involved in the weapons of mass destruction program. The Iraqi government described these reports as ``imprecise.''

In December, 1992, Robert Gates, then Director of the CIA, said that ``Iraq could restart limited chemical and biological weapons production virtually overnight; a militarily significant amount of biological weapons could be produced in a matter of weeks'' (Chemical Weapons Convention Bulletin, March, 1993).

In April, 1993, traces of the nerve gas sarin were identified in materials collected in 1992 from the site of a 1988 attack by Hussein against Kurdish civilians (correspondence from former Buchenwald prisoner Aubin Heyndrickx, now a toxicologist).

In February, 1993, a journalist from the London Observer reported that government forces are poisoning waters of the Howeiza marshes as part of the continuing suppression of the Shia resistance (CWCB, June, 1993).

Witnesses testifying before the House of Representatives stated that Iraq is poised to rebuild its nuclear weapons program, using billions of dollars in financial assets hidden abroad and being funneled through a network based in Amman, Jordan; Geneva; and Vienna. UN inspectors have been denied access to military sites and refused permission to set up cameras at a facility that tests rocket engines (Wall Street J 6/30/93).

US Troops to US Government. Desert Storm troops kept chickens near their quarters to act as CBW-detectors, as the Army had almost no capability to detect biological weapons.

US Government and Advocacy Group Respond. According to a February 25 report by the General Accounting Office, in the six years before Desert Storm less than 7% of total chemical and biological detection research and development funds went to biological agent detection. The Department of Defense stated that this was because their analyses showed the use of biological agents to be unlikely. This assessment has been revised, and 30% of the budget is now devoted to BW agent detection, but according to the GAO the Army is still not doing enough to detect emerging threats such as microencapsulated and genetically engineered organisms (CWCB, June, 1993).

The Department of Defense budget request for Fiscal Year 1994 would increase the current Biological Defense Program by 54% to $170.8 million. The budget document states that 38 Biological Integrated Detection Systems could be ``rapidly fielded to the Army beginning in 1996.'' (At present, US armed forces still have no BW-agent detection equipment.)

The BIDS uses off-the-shelf instrumentation, including an aerosol-particle counter/sizer, a bioluminescence analyzer, a liquid-particle counter/sizer, a particle sampler, and a manual antibody-based detector. Among the agents that BIDS is required to detect and identify are anthrax and plague bacteria, botulinal toxin A, and staphylococcal enterotoxin B (CWCB June, 1993).

In April, a nonprofit organization called the Center for Public Integrity criticized the US Army's Biological Defense Research Program, concluding that ``because a credible medical defense for biological warfare defies scientific logic in the age of genetic engineering, the program offers a false sense of security.'' In addition, the report criticizes the focus on exotic diseases not currently recognized as threats since this could send adversaries the message that the program might develop weapons with offensive potential. The study proposes a ``thorough reassessment'' and directing BW defense efforts away from medical protection into physical and chemical protection, possibly on an international basis (ibid.)

US Government to US Citizens. On April 19, federal agents disseminated the irritant agent CS from Army Combat Engineer Vehicles (modified battle tanks) by compressed-air aerosol generators into the Branch Davidian compound, after sending a warning to the leadership. The cultists reportedly had an ample supply of adult-size gas masks (but none for children). The intended message (that mothers should take their children and flee the compound) was apparently not received, and the siege ended in a conflagration and the death of at least 70 persons (CWCB, June, 1993).

Persecuted Civilians to World. The following requests for scientific toxicologic investigation were received by Prof. Aubin Heyndrickx but were impossible to fulfill due to a lack of financial support: Refugees of southern Soudan, war gas of Iraqi origin used by government of Khartoum; Uganda, war gas used on population by government; Tamils in Sri Lanka; population in Georgia; Kurds, shells containing cholera and/or typhus (personal correspondence).

North Korea to US. General Robert Riscassi, commander-in-chief of the South Korean-American Combined Forces Command, warned that a North Korean attack is possible and that if it does come the South will be quickly overrun. His worries are based on the following signals: nearly two-thirds of the war materiel needed by an attacking force has been moved within 60 miles of the border and is mostly secured in deep underground bunkers. A similar portion of the air force and nearly all the artillery needed to support an attack have been moved to forward positions. Eight sites are now capable of producing 4,500 tonnes of CW agents annually. Already stockpiled are 1,000 tonnes of chemical weapons, including sarin, tabun, phosgene, adamsite, mustard gas, and cyanide (Intelligence Digest 5/21/93).

Ukraine to Russia and to World. According to Sergei Stepashin, chairman of the Russian parliament's defense committee, the Ukraine is trying to break the security codes that control ex-Soviet nuclear weapons in order to retarget them. Success will probably require about a year (Intelligence Digest, 6/4/93).