Ebook: Bioterrorism: Threats and Deterrents
This book summarises the lectures presented at the Centre of Excellence – Defence Against Terrorism (COE-DAT) workshop on Bioterrorism of November 2008. The contributors are a diverse group of academics and practitioners, selected for their expertise in the field. Their contributions cover the definition and classification of bioterrorism and take account of its various dimensions, examining the theoretical, historical and practical aspects, as well as the defence against it. Consisting of seven papers and four summaries, the book covers subjects such as biodiversity, the historical use of biological agents and the concern for public safety, the role of the International Science & Technology Center in countering bioterrorism, the Global Forum on Biorisks, threat assessment, animal health and disease with reference to biological safety and the Biological Weapons Convention. The workshop itself was of necessity restricted to a small number of participants, but with this book, research, experience and perspectives on biological risks can be shared with a wider audience, allowing further consideration and improvements in countering risks and responding to biological threats and attacks. Inaugurated in 2005, COE-DAT is a NATO accredited Centre of Excellence; a unique centre dedicated to Defence Against Terrorism, which provides DAT training and education at strategic and operational levels and contributes to research efforts.
This book Bioterrorism: Threats and Deterrents collates the lectures presented at the workshop on Bioterrorism that took place in Ankara, Turkey, on 13 and 14 November 2008. The workshop was organized by the Ankara-based Centre of Excellence–Defence Against Terrorism (COE–DAT). COE–DAT was inaugurated in 2005 with the purpose of supporting NATO on defence issues related to terrorism. Turkey is the framework nation, and currently six other nations also contribute with staff and funds, namely Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States. Each year, COE–DAT organizes numerous workshops and courses, bringing academic rigour and institutional expertise in terrorism to interested parties in NATO, Partnership for Peace (PfP), and Mediterranean Dialogue Countries, ICI Countries, and others.
This book comprises 7 papers and 4 summaries that arose from the presentations at the workshop. The presenters are both academics and practitioners, selected for their expertise in matters related to bioterrorism. The papers and summaries herein cover the definition and classification of bioterrorism taking into account the various dimensions, theoretical, historical and practical aspects, and the defence against it.
The first paper by Dr. Amy Zalman looks at the discourses around bioterrorism and their responsibility in creating the framework through which people contemplate, understand and respond to bioterrorism. Zalman examines two different discourses and the resulting recommendations for response.
Second, a technical elaboration on biodiversity is given in the notes from the presentation by Prof. Dr. Nicolae Manolescu wherein he outlines how knowledge of biodiversity is a first and necessary step for understanding biological threats not just in terms of bioterrorism but also in terms of unintentional accidents. It was not possible to print a full paper on Dr. Manolescu’s talk, but his presentation was valuable and the information should be included in this title.
Dr. Gerald Epstein discusses the necessity for collaboration between responding bodies in the case of a biological attack on civilians. Epstein introduces a network called the Global Forum on Biorisks as a potential and already operational means for medical personnel, law enforcement, researchers, etc. to strategically collaborate across disciplines both interactively and as a means of sharing useful information.
David Casale takes a look at the EU and its approach to countering bioterrorism and biological threats. He explains the process through which the EU has increased its efforts to prepare for biological threats both terrorist and accidental in nature. Included in Casale’s paper is a discussion of the recent EU Green Paper written as a result of all the increased concern and discussion around biological threats.
A summary of Leo Owsiaki’s presentation outlines the role of the International Science and Technology Center and specifically looks at its role in countering bioterrorism. Owsiacki covers the structure and purpose of the ISTC as well as the current and newly proposed research projects it supports.
Levent Kenar and Mehmet Baysallar co-presented and wrote a paper about the growing need to address bioterrorism. They look at historical uses of biological agents and the growing concern for public safety. They give technical information about biological agents as well as possible countermeasures and preparedness for attacks.
Ajey Lele’s paper looks at threat assessment. It discusses tools and techniques for analyzing biological threats and appropriate responses. Lele looks at tools such as trend analysis, SWOT analysis and technology that can be useful in these endeavours.
Dr. Caroline Plante and Dr. Alain Dehove presented and wrote about the role of the World Animal Health Organization. They discuss the need to control animal health and disease with reference to biological safety because of the possible transference of some diseases across the species barrier (from animals to humans). They also examine the workings and potential benefits of standards set out by the World Animal Health Organization.
Dr. Rashid Chotani and David Heyman each present specific examinations of historical incidents of biological crises. Chotani examines the SARS and H5N1 Influenza outbreaks. He outlines the happenings, the responses to them and then discusses what can and should be done to prepare for any possible future outbreaks, epidemic or pandemic. Heyman looks at the anthrax attacks that occurred in the US in 2001. He makes direct assessments about the medical and law enforcement structures involved in the first response. Then Heyman further suggests direct ways in which any such future acts of bioterrorism can be more successfully countered in terms of assisting victims of an attack.
The final paper, by Major Yasin Aslan, looks at the international and legal case against biological threats through a discussion on the Biological Weapons Convention. Aslan examines and explains the articles from the text of the Convention as well as the highly important review process that allows the document to stay current and relevant in an ever-advancing technological society.
The collection of papers and summaries is intended to cover many different perspectives on bioterrorism and biological threats and intentionally comes from authors with varying technical and practical backgrounds. The sharing and dissemination of research, experience and perspectives on biological risk and bioterrorism allows for further consideration and improvement in countering risk, and creating and improving the authorities and systems responsible for responding to such risks. Although the workshop spanned two days and involved a handful of people, hopefully the content of this volume can be useful and informative for a much greater time and to a greater audience.
Selçuk ÇANKAYA, Maj.
In the absence of substantial empirical data on bioterrorism, two competing discourses have emerged about the potential strategies to address psychological distress. One discourse stresses the innately terrifying qualities of biological agents and argues that the government and public health communities should do more to prepare and protect the public from psychological trauma. A second discourse identifies government and defense/security community as partly responsible for constructing a sense of danger and fear among the general population. This article summarizes these competing schools and recommends emergency preparedness and risk communication strategies that draw on both.
Terrorists have an incredible arsenal at their hand, for which they have to make minimal efforts and expenses, since it is provided by nature, thanks to biodiversity. Bioterrorism is difficult to combat. In comparison with the general types of terrorist actions against civil society, bioterrorism represents a huge advantage for terrorists. We should give the first priority to the absolute knowledge of biodiversity which offers us the key to the successful actions of combat and prevention of bioterrorism. This paper attempts to unravel the mystery of biodiversity and its applications in bioterrorism.
This paper is a summary of a presentation. It discusses the nature of procedures and interests in countering biological risks by personnel in various societal sectors. It particularly looks at the overlap and similarities between and amongst certain sectors in light of possible cooperative endeavors. It also introduces The Global Forum on Biorisks as a strategic way for various sectors to collaborate across disciplines both interactively and as a means of sharing useful information.
Bio-terrorism has emerged in recent years as one of the key challenges for European security. The possibility that terrorists may resort to non-conventional weapons such as the usage of biological agents is particularly worrying for the disruptive capacity that such means may have on public health and the environment. To respond to such a threat, the European Union has stepped up its efforts to reduce risks and enhance preparedness in Member States through a comprehensive approach taking into consideration all possible sources of threat deriving from naturally occurring incidents as well as deliberate terrorist attacks. Beyond a series of communications on the topic, the European Commission launched in 2007 a consultation process releasing a Green Paper on Bio-preparedness aimed at stimulating the debate with all stakeholders involved.
This paper is a summary of a presentation. It discusses the purpose and structure of the International Science and Technology Center and some of its objectives and projects specifically designed to counter the threat of bioterrorism. Included are descriptions of some current as well as proposed activities as well as budget information.
Existence of unexplained mass casualties and unnatural disease outbreaks are main indicators of chemical and biological attack. The threat from these agents should not only be considered a military issue, but also an act of terrorism. Therefore, it should be noted that civilians may also be exposed to these agents. There is an increasing concern around the possibility of terrorist use of biological agents including bacteria, viruses and toxins in recent times. Finally, the catastrophic September 2001 attacks intensified the interest of biological terrorism and the necessity of a multilateral cooperation regarding a chem-bio defense policy. Since the use of biological agents is not always initially evident contrary to chemical agents, outbreak of diseases may provide a first indication related to an attack. Collaboration between the organizations and institutions against biological terrorism has to be taken into careful and extensive consideration.
Existence of unexplained mass casualties and unnatural disease outbreaks are main indicators of chemical and biological attack. The threat from these agents should not only be considered a military issue, but also an act of terrorism. Therefore, it should be noted that civilians may also be exposed to these agents. There is an increasing concern around the possibility of terrorist use of biological agents including bacteria, viruses and toxins in recent times. Finally, the catastrophic September 2001 attacks intensified the interest of biological terrorism and the necessity of a multilateral cooperation regarding a chem-bio defense policy. Since the use of biological agents is not always initially evident contrary to chemical agents, outbreak of diseases may provide a first indication of an attack. Collaboration between the organizations and institutions against biological terrorism has to be taken into careful and extensive consideration.
The ability to control animal diseases, whether occurring naturally or deliberately, will depend on the early detection and rapid response capacity of Veterinary Services regarding outbreaks. OIE is the reference intergovernmental organisation for animal health, which develops standards that are democratically adopted by its 173 Members. These standards include minimum requirements for quality and efficiency of national Veterinary Services such as human and financial resources, technical authority and capacity, as well as transparency of the national sanitary situation. Their implementation by all countries makes an essential contribution to preventing and responding to bioterrorism attacks, keeping in mind that 80% of pathogenic agents having a potential bioterrorist use are zoonotic (diseases transmissible to animals and humans).
This paper is a summary of a presentation. It discusses the history and development of the SARS and H5N1 viruses as well the measures taken to deal with virus outbreaks. Based on analysis of past events, the paper suggests improved countermeasures to be taken should another outbreak occur, either due to SARS, the H5N1 virus or another.
This paper is a summary of a presentation. It discusses the 2001 Anthrax attacks in the United States making observations and analyzes then providing discussion about possible improvements to systems responsible for emergency response.
The anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001 raised the question of responding to future attacks. Terrorists must be prevented from developing, producing, stockpiling, or otherwise acquiring or retaining, and using under any circumstances, biological agents and toxins, equipment, or means of delivery of agents or toxins, for nonpeaceful purposes. The Biological Weapons Convention is the first multilateral disarmament treaty to ban the production and use of an entire category of weapons. The Convention effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons. The Convention is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.