The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

The big powers and biological arms

Dec 17, 2001

The major powers of the world refuse to allow any international control over their overstocked arsenal of biological weapons. This was demonstrated, once again, at the November 23 conference on biological weapons held in Geneva.

An international agreement was ratified in 1972 by 143 countries of the world, including the United States, outlawing the development, fabrication, stockpiling and acquisition of biological weapons. However, no means have ever been put in place to verify whether or not these states have respected the agreement they signed.

There have been many attempts to establish controls since 1995. However, the discussions never seem to end, for the simple reason that the United States opposes them. Last July, the U.S. refused all inspections of its laboratories and its arsenals. In Geneva on November 19, a U.S. under-secretary of state repeated that it was a waste of time to elaborate additional controls because the U.S. would not agree to any of them. Ironically, this same U.S. official denounced a number of countries – including Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, the Sudan and Syria – of violating the very agreements the U.S. refuses to recognize. He said their refusal to allow the U.S. to carry out inspections is proof that they are continuing research and perhaps even mass production of biological weapons. Otherwise, they wouldn't have anything to hide ...! The same, obviously, could be said of the U.S.

In fact, the international agreements that exist are not even very strict. They allow countries to continue carrying out research on a small scale for "defensive" purposes. They allow countries to keep a limited amount of biological weapons – the U.S. and Russia officially acknowledge that they each keep dozens of tons of such weapons which fall within the limits.

The very existence of these arms is a risk. There is nothing reassuring for the population – including in the U.S. – which may one day discover that it has been victimized by germs coming from these laboratories and arsenals maintained by the U.S. Defense Department.

What this all confirms is that the leaders of the major world powers are preparing for future wars and, as the anthrax scare has made clear, with the potential to be widely devastating to the civilian population.