Back Home Up Next

 

“are determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction, along with other advanced military technology, to be used as threats or offensively to achieve the aggressive designs of these regimes;”
- White House, United States National Security Council, V. Prevent Our Enemies from Threatening Us, Our Allies, and Our Friends with Weapons of Mass Destruction


Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS)
Chemical and Biological Weapons: Possession and Programs Past and Present
This chart summarizes data available from open sources. Precise assessment of a state's capabilities is difficult because most weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs were, and/or are, secret and cannot be independently assessed.

U.S.A. Chemical
Former program
Possible Agents:
-mustard
-sarin
-soman
-VX
-lewisite
-binary nerve agents

U.S.A. Biological
Past Weaponized Agents
-Venezuelean equine encephalitis
-Q fever
-tularemia
-anthrax
-wheat rust
-rice blast
Research
-brucellosis
-smallpox

-Eastern and Western equine encephalitis
-Argentinian hemorrhagic fever
-Korean hemorrhagic fever
-Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
-Lassa fever
-glanders
-melioidodis
-plague
-yellow fever
-psittacosis
-typhus
-dengue fever
-Rift Valley fever
-Chikungunya virus
-late blight of potato
-rinderpest
-Newcastle disease
-fowl plague
-staph enterotoxin B
-botulinum toxin
-ricin[
 


Briefing on Cold War-era Chemical and Biological Warfare Tests
United States Department of Defense
Wednesday, October 09, 2002 - 1:07 p.m. EDT

Bioweapons Tested in U.S. in 1960s
By MATT KELLEY, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States secretly tested chemical and biological weapons on American soil during the 1960s, newly declassified Pentagon reports show.

The tests included releasing deadly nerve agents in Alaska and spraying bacteria over Hawaii, according to the documents obtained Tuesday.

The United States also tested nerve agents in Canada and Britain in conjunction with those two countries.

The summaries of more than two dozen tests show that biological and chemical tests were much more widespread than the military has acknowledged previously.

The Pentagon released records earlier this year showing that chemical and biological agents had been sprayed on ships at sea. The military reimbursed ranchers and agreed to stop open-air nerve agent testing at its main chemical weapons center in the Utah desert after about 6,400 sheep died when nerve gas drifted away from the test range.

The tests described in the latest Pentagon documents include:

bulletDevil Hole I, designed to test how sarin gas would disperse after being released in artillery shells and rockets in aspen and spruce forests. The tests occurred in the summer of 1965 at the Gerstle River test site near Fort Greeley, Alaska. Sarin is a powerful nerve gas that causes a choking, thrashing death. The Bush administration says it is part of Iraq's chemical arsenal.
bulletDevil Hole II, which tested how the nerve agent VX behaved when dispersed with artillery shells. The test at the Gerstle River site in Alaska also included mannequins in military uniforms and military trucks. VX is one of the deadliest nerve agents known and is persistent in the environment because it is a sticky liquid that evaporates slowly. Iraq has acknowledged making tons of VX.
bulletBig Tom, a 1965 test that included spraying bacteria over the Hawaiian island of Oahu to simulate a biological attack on an island compound, and to develop tactics for such an attack. The test used Bacillus globigii, a bacterium believed at the time to be harmless. Researchers later discovered the bacterium, a relative of the one that causes anthrax, could cause infections in people with weakened immune systems.
bulletRapid Tan I, II, and III, a series of tests in 1967 and 1968 in England and Canada. The tests used sarin and VX, as well as the nerve agents tabun and soman, at the British chemical weapons facility in Porton Down, England. Tests at the Suffield Defence Research Establishment in Ralston, Canada, included tabun and soman, the records show.

Tabun and soman are chemically related to sarin and produce similar effects.

U.S. Troops Were Subjected to a Wider Toxic Testing
By THOM SHANKER, New York Times, October 9, 2002
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 — Acknowledging a much wider testing of toxic weapons on its forces, the Defense Department says it used chemical warfare and live biological agents during cold-war-era military exercises on American soil, as well as in Canada and Britain, according to previously secret documents cleared for release to Congress on Wednesday.

Sixteen of the newly declassified reports, prepared by the Pentagon, describe how chemical and biological exercises, until now undisclosed, used deadly substances like VX and sarin to test the vulnerability of American forces to unconventional attack. An additional dozen reports describe how more benign substances were used to mimic the spread of the poisons in other tests.

The reports, which detail tests conducted from 1962 to 1971, reveal for the first time that the chemical warfare agents were used during exercises on American soil, in Alaska, Hawaii and Maryland, and that a mild biological agent was used in Florida.

In May, the Pentagon disclosed that ships and sailors had been sprayed with chemical and biological agents during cold-war-era testing. Unlike the newly disclosed tests, however, those took place on the high seas rather than on American soil.

The Defense Department is working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to identify an estimated 5,500 people believed to have participated in the land and sea tests, because it remains unclear, even today, whether all the military personnel were fully aware of the nature of the exercises, and the potential risks.

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction
© United Nations Office at Geneva, 1996-99. All rights reserved.
The Convention was opened for signature on 10 April 1972 and came into force on 26 March 1975, when twenty-two Governments had deposited their instruments of ratification.

HRW World Report 1999: Arms - Chemical and Biological Weapons
Chemical and Biological Weapons
At the time of writing, the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (the Chemical Weapons Convention, CWC), an international treaty that came into force in April 1997, had gathered 118 ratifications. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the agency set up to monitor the CWC’s implementation, reported that it had carried out more than 250 inspections on the territory of twenty-five States Party to the convention. Eight states declared former or existing chemical weapons production plants (China, France, India, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan) and pledged to destroy their stockpiles of chemical agents. Yet the CWC remained crippled by the failure of many states to provide the OPCW with the mandatory data declarations needed for verification of their compliance with the treaty. The United States, which had ratified the treaty—with some difficulty—in April 1997, was one of the notable culprits in this group.

U.S. Recently Produced Anthrax in a Highly Lethal Powder Form
By WILLIAM J. BROAD and JUDITH MILLER The New York Times
Thursday December 13 09:07 AM EST
Government officials have acknowledged that Army scientists in recent years have made anthrax in a powdered form that could be used as a weapon.
...
Dugway's disclosure was so sketchy that it was impossible to determine how similar the powdered anthrax produced there was to that sent in the anthrax attacks. In addition to drying, other steps involved in producing the most lethal powders include making the particles uniformly small and processing them so they float freely.

Private and federal experts are clashing over how much powdered anthrax Dugway has made. The issue is politically sensitive since some experts say producing large quantities could be seen as violating the global treaty banning germ weapons.

William C. Patrick III, a scientist who made germ weapons for the United States and now consults widely on biological defenses, told a group of American military officers in February 1999 that he taught Dugway personnel the previous spring how to turn wet anthrax into powders, according to a transcript of the session.

The process, Mr. Patrick told officers at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, was not as refined as the one used in the heyday of the government's germ warfare program, but it worked. "We made about a pound of material in little less than a day," he told the officers. "It's a good product."

He did not say what strain of anthrax was used in this work.

But Ms. Nicholson, the Dugway spokeswoman, said workers there "never produced more than a few grams" of powdered anthrax in any given year. There are 454 grams in a pound.

 

“For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. …We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it.”
- President Harry S. Truman, Washington Post, December 22, 1963

Capitol Hill Anthrax Matches Army's Stocks
Sunday, December 16, 2001; Page A01, Washington Post
“The FBI's investigation into the anthrax attacks is increasingly focusing on whether U.S. government bioweapons research programs, including one conducted by the CIA, may have been the source of deadly anthrax powder sent through the mail, according to sources with knowledge of the probe. The results of the genetic tests strengthen that possibility.”

“The CIA declined to say where its Ames strain material came from.”

Law enforcement sources, however, said the FBI remains extremely interested in the CIA's work with anthrax, with one official calling it the best lead they have at this point. The sources said FBI investigators do not yet know much about the CIA program.

A law enforcement source said the FBI did not initially include the CIA on its list of labs working with anthrax because the agency was not among 91 labs registered with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to transfer anthrax specimens. But as investigators interviewed workers at those known labs, they learned of the CIA's work, and in the past few weeks posed questions about it to the agency.

 

“are determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction, along with other advanced military technology, to be used as threats or offensively to achieve the aggressive designs of these regimes;”
- White House, United States National Security Council, V. Prevent Our Enemies from Threatening Us, Our Allies, and Our Friends with Weapons of Mass Destruction

"To me it indicates there are plans proceeding and well under way ... to resume the development, testing and production of new nuclear weapons. It's very serious," said Stephen Schwartz, the publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who added that it opened the US to charges of hypocrisy when it is demanding the disarmament of Iraq and North Korea.
- US plan for new nuclear arsenal, Guardian, February 19, 2003

US 'has nuclear hit list'
Saturday, 9 March, 2002, 17:01 GMT , BBC
The Bush administration has reportedly ordered the Pentagon to prepare contingency plans for attacking seven countries with nuclear weapons. Quoting a secret Pentagon report, the Los Angeles Times newspaper names China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria as potential targets.

Furthermore, the military have apparently been directed to build smaller nuclear weapons for battlefield use.

It is quoted as saying the Pentagon should be ready to use nuclear weapons in an Arab-Israeli conflict, a war between China and Taiwan and an attack by North Korea on the South. Defence analysts told the Los Angeles Times that the secret report appeared to mark the first time an official list of target countries had come to light.

"I can imagine what these countries are going to be saying at the UN," said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear arms expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

Bush set to flout test ban treaty
Global treaty sidelined as scientists gear up to develop next generation of weapons
Sunday July 28, 2002, Guardian
America's nuclear weapons laboratories have begun preparations to test a new generation of arms after strong signs that the Bush administration may be about to pull out of the landmark Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

It culminated last month in the disclosure by the White House that a 'pre-emptive strike policy' - including first use of nuclear weapons against the chemical and biological facilities of even non-nuclear states deemed to pose a threat to the US - would be incorporated into the National Security Strategy from this autumn.

Although the US is a signatory of the treaty, it has never ratified it. George Bush Snr decided instead to announce a US moratorium on weapons testing in 1992.

'With the arrival of the current administration, key nuclear proponents have assumed offices of power and placed the development of new nuclear weapons high on the political agenda,' he said. 'It poses a grave threat to the global testing moratorium and threatens to destroy the already fragile network of international arms control agreements.'

Among the most prominent nuclear proponents is John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control at the State Department, who campaigned successfully for the US to withdraw from the treaty to establish an International Criminal Court and has been campaigning with equal vigour for the US to withdraw from the Test Ban Treaty. Although overruled by Secretary of State Colin Powell, senior officials say the debate is far from over.

Threat Assessment: Countries May Bioengineer Weapons
From Friday, November 30, 2001 issue., NTI
“While officials at the White House, CIA, State Department and the newly created Office of Homeland Security refused to comment on grounds that the topic is classified, Undersecretary of State John Bolton last week publicly accused Iraq, Iran and four other countries of pursuing biological weapons"

Forty-Three Votes Cast Against John Bolton; Most Votes Against Republican Nominee
May 8, 2001, CLW
"There is good reason to question not only Mr. Bolton's experience and policy positions, but his ethics as well,"… Mr. Bolton has been involved in several political fundraising scandals. He played a vital role in helping Sen. Helms' National Congressional Club skirt federal laws resulting in a $10,000 fine from the FEC in 1986. As a fundraiser in the 1990's Bolton was charged with funneling political contributions through foreign businessmen and the Taiwanese government.”

Taiwangate: A Fallout-Free Scandal
04/10/2002 @ 4:10pm, The Nation
“Some scandals find traction in Washington, others fizzle. The Taiwangate affair--which involves a $100 million secret Taiwan government slush fund that financed intelligence, propaganda, and influence activities within the United States and elsewhere--seems to be in the latter category at the moment. The beneficiaries of the lack of attention include three prominent Bush appointees at the State Department who, before joining the Bush administration, received money from this account. And one of these officials, John Bolton, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, submitted pro-Taiwan testimony to Congress in the 1990s without revealing he was a paid consultant to Taiwan. His work for Taiwan, it turns out, was financed by this slush fund.”


Nuke 'Em From On High
02:00 AM Oct. 08, 2001 PT, Wired.com
Following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was questioned on ABC television's This Week program about the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons in the expected conflicts to come.

The most likely candidate is a tactical micro-nuke called the B61-11, an earth-penetrating nuclear device known as the "bunker buster."

"The 1,200-pound B61-11 replaces the B53, a 8,900-pound, nine-megaton bomb that was developed as a 'city buster'...

It was developed and deployed secretly. The U.S. military sneaked it past test and development treaties, as well as public and congressional debate, by defining the B61-11 as an adaptation of a pre-treaty technology rather than a new development.

Studies by the Natural Resource Defense Council estimate that more than 150 B61-11s are currently in the U.S. arsenals, scattered among NATO aircraft carriers and planes on bases in Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands and Greece.

Depending on the yield of the bomb, the B61-11 can produce explosions ranging from 300 tons of TNT to more than 300,000 tons. This is significantly less than the B53, but still far larger than even the greatest conventional non-nuclear device in U.S. stockpiles. And it is several times more powerful than the atomic weapons dropped on Japan in 1945.

Labs told to design burrowing bombs
By Dan Stober, March 26, 2002, originally San Jose Mercury News
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Pentagon and the Energy Department have directed the nation's nuclear weapons laboratories in Livermore, Calif., and Los Alamos, N.M., to compete for the chance to design a hydrogen bomb that could destroy targets underground.

The Bush White House, like the Clinton administration before it, says it has no plans for new nuclear weapons designs. But critics charge that extensively modifying an existing weapon for a new purpose is equivalent to a new design.

"If I take my Honda into the shop and it comes out a Ferrari, that's not a modification, it's a new car," said Marylia Kelley of Livermore, who leads Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment.

She and other opponents argue that producing such weapons blurs the line between nuclear and conventional weapons, increasing the chances that nuclear weapons will be used.

Proponents maintain that nuclear weapons could reach some buried targets that could not be destroyed by conventional bombs. Energy Department officials also say the preliminary design contest will help maintain the skills of scientists at the labs, 10 years after explosive testing of weapons in Nevada came to an end.

FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS WELCOMES REPORT ON BUNKER-BUSTERS; REPORT SHOWS LACK OF ENTHUSIASM FOR NUKES, SAYS FAS
Using a nuclear weapon, no matter how small, could easily ignite a broader nuclear war,” according to Michael Levi, Deputy Director of FAS’ Strategic Security Project. … "It's clear that the report's authors are aware of the massive civilian casualties that an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon would cause from radioactive fallout. I certainly hope those making the final decision on development will realize that new nuclear weapons aren't the way forward."

US plan for new nuclear arsenal
Secret talks may lead to breaking treaties
Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday February 19, 2003
The Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including "mini-nukes", "bunker-busters" and neutron bombs designed to destroy chemical or biological agents, according to a leaked Pentagon document.

Greg Mello, the head of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear watchdog organisation that obtained the Pentagon documents, said the meeting would also prepare the ground for a US breakaway from global arms control treaties, and the moratorium on conducting nuclear tests.

"It is impossible to overstate the challenge these plans pose to the comprehensive test ban treaty, the existing nuclear test moratorium, and US compliance with article six of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty," Mr Mello said.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for designing, building and maintaining nuclear weapons, yesterday confirmed the authenticity of the document. But Anson Franklin, the NNSA head of governmental affairs, said: "We have no request from the defence department for any new nuclear weapon, and we have no plans for nuclear testing.

"To me it indicates there are plans proceeding and well under way ... to resume the development, testing and production of new nuclear weapons. It's very serious," said Stephen Schwartz, the publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, who added that it opened the US to charges of hypocrisy when it is demanding the disarmament of Iraq and North Korea.

"How can we possibly go to the international community or to these countries and say 'How dare you develop these weapons', when it's exactly what we're doing?" Mr Schwartz said.

 

Back Home Up Next