Throughout the course of human history, governments — even those that claimed to be benevolent — have killed millions of their own people in horrible fashion through the use of what were essentially weapons of mass destruction. A new historical review by Dr. Stefan Riedel, MD, PhD, for Baylor University Medical Center documents some of those uses, but there are other examples as well that Natural News found in its own research.
Dr. Riedel’s review was spurred in part by the continuing threat of global terrorism and, in some current conflicts, the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations. But in addition to the standard threats — chemical and conventional weapons – there should be additional concerns about non-traditional, biological threats, and the current deadly Ebola virus outbreak serves as a reminder that pandemics can also be unleashed on populations as a means of decimating them.
The historical review noted:
Because of the increased threat of terrorism, the risk posed by various microorganisms as biological weapons needs to be evaluated and the historical development and use of biological agents better understood. Biological warfare agents may be more potent than conventional and chemical weapons.
Biological warfare has been used for 2,500 years
In the past century especially, there has been substantial progress in the fields of biotechnology and biochemistry, progress that has “simplified the development and production” of biological and chemical weapons. Also, Dr. Riedel’s review found that the field of genetic engineering is most likely the deadliest of all.
“Ease of production and the broad availability of biological agents and technical know how have led to a further spread of biological weapons and an increased desire among developing countries to have them,” the review said. “The threat of bioterrorism is real and significant; it is neither in the realm of science fiction nor confined to our nation.”
Early in our history, men learned how to kill one another using incurable, untreatable sickness as a biological weapon. As early as 600 B.C., the use of infectious diseases was recognized as a way to impact, with deadly results, entire armies and the populations that supported them. Indeed, biowarfare has been used for some 2,500 years, according to a 1995 study:
The techniques of delivery and weaponization of biological warfare agents have gradually evolved from the catapulting of plague victims to the deliberate use of infected clothes, insect vectors, and specialized weapon systems.
“The crude use of filth and cadavers, animal carcasses, and contagion had devastating effects and weakened the enemy,” Dr. Riedel’s review added.
Another tactic adopted by warring factions was the poisoning of water sources of the opposing military force — a tactic that was continued often through the many European wars, as well as the American Civil War. The tactic has been used into and throughout the 20th century as well.
Middle Ages and more technological advances
Military tacticians and leaders during the Middle Ages understood that bioweapons — infectious diseases — could be deployed against opposing armies and their supporting civilian populations.
For example, in 1346 during the siege of Caffa, a strongly fortified seaport controlled by the Genoese (now, the region is known as Feodosia, which is in Crimea, recently annexed by Russia), the assaulting Tartars fell victim to a plague epidemic. But the Tartars used it to gain military advantage; they catapulted cadavers of the deceased into the city, which then led to an outbreak of plague there. That forced the Genoese forces to retreat.
An epidemic of plague, known also as the Black Death, followed and continued to sweep through Europe, the Near East and North Africa during the 14th century. It has been called the worst pandemic in recorded history.
“The siege of Caffa is a powerful reminder of the terrible consequences when diseases are used as weapons,” said the review.
The 14th century plague killed more than 25 million Europeans, and there were other instances where disease and poisons were used during warfare, the historical review said.
In more recent times, other diseases have been used as biological weapons, most notably smallpox. Francisco Pizarro, for instance, reportedly gave native South Americans disease-contaminated clothing in the 15th century; also, during the French and Indian War in North America, the commander of British forces, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, suggested that the smallpox virus should be deliberately introduced into the Native American population hostile to the Crown, as a way of diminishing resistance.
Bioweapons in the New World
“An outbreak of smallpox in Fort Pitt led to a significant generation of fomites and provided Amherst with the means to execute his plan,” the review said, continuing:
On June 24, 1763, Captain Ecuyer, one of Amherst’s subordinate officers, provided the Native Americans with smallpox-laden blankets from the smallpox hospital. He recorded in his journal: “I hope it will have the desired effect.” As a result, a large outbreak of smallpox occurred among the Indian tribes in the Ohio River Valley.
World War I saw the first industrialized use of chemical warfare — which was eventually banned by international treaty — but there was also talk of using biological warfare. German military planners considered shipping horses tainted with the anthrax and glanders bacteria to the United States and other allied countries. Also, “the same agents were used to infect Romanian sheep that were designated for export to Russia,” the review said. Germany was also suspected of making plans to send cholera to Italy and plague to parts of Russia.
A League of Nations committee cleared Germany of any biological warfare in 1924 but noted that the country used chemical warfare.
Continued research and fear of use in the 20th century
By the time World War II began, a number of countries had begun substantial research into biological weapons, according to Dr. Riedel’s review:
Various allegations and countercharges clouded the events during and after World War II. Japan conducted biological weapons research from approximately 1932 until the end of World War II. The program was under the direction of Shiro Ishii (1932-1942) and Kitano Misaji (1942-1945). Several military units existed for research and development of biological warfare.
More than 10,000 prisoners were believed to have died during their captivity in Japanese prison camps as a result of experimentation with biological warfare agents.
After World War II, biowarfare programs expanded, and that included programs in the United States, but these also involved research into countermeasure programs aimed at defeating a biological attack. By 1972, however, most nations signed onto a UN-sponsored treaty, the “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction,” which bans development and deployment of biological weapons.
Today, terrorists could deploy bioweapons
As recently as the first Gulf War in 1991, however, there were fears that biological weapons could be employed during combat. “Coalition forces prepared in 1990-1991 for potential biological and chemical warfare by training in protective masks and equipment, exercising decontamination procedures, receiving extensive education on possible detection procedures, and immunizing troops against potential biological warfare threats,” Dr. Riedel’s review said.
Since then, research into bio-agents has continued, as global terrorism fears multiply with the rise of numerous non-state actors. Even today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon’s NORTHCOM (Northern Command, which is responsible for protecting the U.S. homeland), have all warned that biological warfare is still a very real possibility. Officials cite the immediate post-9/11 incidents in 2001 involving anthrax spores sent to targets through the mail as examples.
Learn all these details and more at the FREE online Pandemic Preparedness course at www.BioDefense.com