Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism

By Jeanne Guillemin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8

BIOTERRORISM AND THE THREAT OF PROLIFERATION

As the Cold War was ending, new hopes emerged for a strengthened Biological Weapons Convention through a protocol with strong compliance measures. The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention offered a model of team inspections, mandatory verification procedures, and a standing organization, located in The Hague. Why not similar fortifications fortheBWC?

From the beginning, the United States proved wary of multilateral accord that would require transparency and subject it to international law. In 1991, it requested that a range of verification measures should be reviewed before protocol negotiations began. Two years later the Ad Hoc Group of Governmental Experts produced a technical and scientific report evaluating offsite measures (such as declaration of facilities, surveillance of publications, legislation, and trade, remote sensing and tests of physical materials) and onsite measures (exchange visits, inspection of buildings and key equipment, collection of relevant medical data, and continuous observation of certain facilities, whether by instruments or by experts).1 In this 1993 Verex (Verification Experts) Report, onsite measures were seen, especially by the United States, as a threat to the commercial proprietary information (CPI) of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and to the US defensive biological program. Russia and China also expressed resistance.

Still, since compliance was the goal, not radical transparency, it was agreed that common ground among participating nations might be found. In 1994, an Ad Hoc Group was established to start the negotiations for a BWC protocol that would strengthen compliance measures.

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