the water supply of their enemies by poisoning their wells with Rye
Ergot. The master tactician Solon used the purgative herb hellebore
(skunk cabbage) to poison the water supply during his siege of Krissa.
Plague broke out
in the ranks of the Tartar army during its siege of Kaffa. The Tartars
then hurled the corpses of the dead over the city walls using catapults
and the plague epidemic which soon followed forced the defenders to
surrender. Historians believe that those infected Kaffans who managed
to escape detection and escape could have started the Black Death pandemic
which spread across Europe.
Napoleon tried to
infect the people of Mantua with swamp fever during his Italian campaign.
Chlorine and Mustard
Gas were used extensively by the Germans
Dr Anton Dilger,
a noted German-American Physician, established a small biological agent
production facility at his northwest Washington, DC home. Using cultures
of Bacillus Anthracis (Anthrax) and Pseudomonas Mallei (Glanders) supplied
by the Imperial German government, Dilger produced an estimated liter
or more of liquid agent. He reportedly passed the agent and a standard
inoculation device to dock workers in Baltimore who used them to infect
a reported 3500 horses, mules and cattle destined for the Allied troops
who were waging World War 1. Several Hundred military personnel were
infected as well.
The use of chemical
weapons in World War 1 clearly unnerved the scientific community. The
Geneva Protocol was established to prohibit the use of such agents in
war ever again. The protocol, however, did not ban the production of
officials tried to poison delegates of the League of Nations' Lytton
Commission that had been assigned to investigate Japan's seizure of
Manchuria in 1931. The officials allegedly laced the fruit provided
by the delegates with cholera germs but the Japanese government maintained
that "the investigators did not develop the disease"
Despite the efforts
of the international community to control the use of biological and
chemical weapons, Japan dabbled with such weapons throughout the 30s
and employed them against the Chinese forces when invading China and
The British conducted
Anthrax tests off the coast of Scotland on Gruinard Island. Today, the
abandoned island is still believed to be infected with anthrax spores.
The US proceeds
with its offensive biological weapons initiative that started during
World War 2. The U.S Army conducts tests in certain US States using
[nonpathogenic] bacteria. The program ends with
a large number of tests being carried out in the Pacific Ocean. Sources
indicate that offensive biological weapons were used and the operation,
carried out in the utmost secrecy, involved many ships loaded with caged
animals. At the end of 1969, President Nixon orders the termination
of the offensive biological weapons program and orders all stockpiled
Weapons Convention prohibits the research, development and proliferation
of offensive biological weapons. The treaty does, however, allow defensive
work in this discipline to continue.
In Sverdlovsk, Russia,
around a hundred people are infected with Anthrax. In this outbreak,
64 die and the Russian government blames the outbreak on contaminated
meat. International scientific and intelligence communities are doubtful
about that claim and wonder if an accidental release of Anthrax spores
from a nearby bio weapons facility was responsible instead. Finally,
in 1989, Dr. Vladimir Pasechnick, the former director of the Leningrad
Institute of Ultrapure Biological Preparations, defects to the UK and
reveals that the Russian government had an offensive biological weapons
program despite it signing the BWC in 1972.
The 80s saw the
eradication of smallpox and, to a certain extent, polio after a long
and successful vaccination campaign by the Center for Disease control,
based in Atlanta. Today, only two labs officially have smallpox stocks.
The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Ivanovsky Institute
Iraq uses chemical
weapons in its war against neighboring Iran. After it's defeat at the
hands of the US Forces in 1991, Iraq is ordered by the UN security council
to halt all biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs it might
Evidence of an offensive
program in Russia is found when US and UK inspectors visit suspected
biological facilities in Russia. The team believed that biological agents
such as smallpox, anthrax and plague were used. The Russians deny any
wrongdoing and within a year, send over a team to inspect closed-up
US biological facilities Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov , former deputy director
of the civilian arm of Russia's biological weapons program, defects
to the US and confirms suspicions that Russia had used smallpox to make
weapons. President Yeltsin, in an unprecedented move, admitted that
the Anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk was caused, in part by activity at
the military installation.
The Chemical Weapons
Convention (CWC) is established. Similar to the BWC, it prohibits the
research and production of chemical agents such as Sarin and VX Nerve
Gas . In the same year, Six people die and hundreds are injured when
a bomb explodes at the World Trade Towers in New York City. Six people
die and hundreds are injured. Analysts suspect the bomb was laced with
Cyanide that failed to ignite.
Members of the Shinrikyo
religious sect release Sarin into the Tokyo underground rail system,
killing 12 and injuring thousands. Due to the inferior quality of the
Sarin agent and inefficient dispersal techniques, the death toll were
lower than predicted.
The US Defense Department
starts an Anthrax vaccination program to immunize all personnel against
Anthrax. President Clinton, backed by Congress, approves two new presidential
decision directives to improve the country's ability to respond to the
threat of a biological and chemical weapons terrorist attack. An additional
one billion is channeled into the defense budget and Richard Clarke
is appointed as the national coordinator for all antiterrorism initiatives.