Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Germ Warfare: Has the program been moved to Space?

 Covert experimentation into germ warfare  has been carried out for decades in secret labs. Has the program been moved to space? On the International Space Station? The inaccessibility of the station gives scientists an unprecedented opportunity to carry out experiments banned on Earth that could lead to the end of civilization. Such a scenario would allow researchers freedom to conduct experiments into medicine that  could benefit people all over the world. On the other hand it could lead to the end of civilisation.

Not as far-fetched as it may first sound: for years international germ warfare research has pushed the global treaty banning such weapons to its limits. The information below was printed in an article in the New York Times:
'Over the past several years, the United States has embarked on a program of secret research on biological weapons that, some officials say, tests the limits of the global treaty banning such weapons. The 1972 treaty forbids nations from developing or acquiring weapons that spread disease, but it allows work on vaccines and other protective measures. Government officials said the secret research, which mimicked the major steps a state or terrorist would take to create a biological arsenal, was aimed at better understanding the threat.'
The projects that were exposed in the article  began under President Clinton and were  built on by subsequent administrations. Most sinister, the Pentagon drew up plans to engineer genetically a potentially potent variant of the bacterium that causes anthrax, a deadly disease ideal for germ warfare, not all that unlike the scenario in my latest novel, 'The Biocide Conspiracy'.   
The actual experiment was  devised to assess whether the vaccine now being given to millions of American soldiers was effective against such a superbug, which was first created by Russian scientists.  Other projects focused on the mechanics of making germ weapons. 
Much of the experimentation around the world is conducted  in secret in underground laboratories. Nations justify the secrecy on the grounds  that it  not in the state's interest to expose their research to the scrutiny of scientists and the public.
Clear Vision is an example of one such program that despite being conducted by the CIA  came to light. In this program scientists tested a model of a Soviet-designed germ bomb that agency officials feared was being sold on the international market. 

The Pentagon was no  better at keeping secrets. Inevitably the public learnt about the secret germ factory they'd assembled in the Nevada desert. 
In an increasily suspicious world, it's nigh on impossible to keep a secret. So is it any wonder that space might be considered as the next frontier? The 1976 Bacteriological Convention has been violated time and time again so how do we discover if germ warfare is being conducted in the most inaccessible and secret laboratory of all.

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