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«1 This report has been excerpted from a more comprehensive treatise: Kelle, A./Nixdorff, K./Dando, M.: Controlling Biochemical Weapons. Adapting ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

A Paradigm Shift in the

CBW Proliferation Problem:

Devising Effective Restraint on the

Evolving Biochemical Threat1

Alexander Kelle/Kathryn Nixdorff/Malcolm Dando

1 This report has been excerpted from a more comprehensive treatise: Kelle, A./Nixdorff, K./Dando, M.: Controlling

Biochemical Weapons. Adapting Multilateral Arms Control for the 21st Century. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

(2006), 208 pp.

Kontakt:

Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung (DSF) Am Ledenhof 3-5 D-49074 Osnabrück Fon: +49.(0)541.600.35.42 Fax: +49.(0)541.600.79.039 www.bundesstiftung-friedensforschung.de info@bundesstiftung-friedensforschung.de Dr. Alexander Kelle Department of European Studies and Modern Languages University of Bath Phone: ++44(0)1225 385268 a.kelle@bath.ac.uk Prof. Dr. Kathryn Nixdorff Institut für Mikrobiologie und Genetik TU Darmstadt Schnittspahnstr. 10 D-64287 Darmstadt Phone 06151/164210 nixdorff@bio.tu-darmstadt.de Prof. Malcolm Dando Department of Peace Studies University of Bradford Phone ++44(0)1274234186 m.r.dando@bradford.ac.uk © 2008 Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung Gestaltung, Satz und Herstellung: atelier-raddatz.de und DSF Druck: Günter Druck GmbH, Georgsmarienhütte Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Printed in Germany 2008

Spendenkonto der Deutschen Stiftung Friedensforschung:

Sparkasse Osnabrück, Konto-Nr. 1230, BLZ 265 501 05 Table of Contents Page Executive Summary

Zusammenfassung

1 Introduction

2 Science, Technology and the CBW Regimes

2.1 Present CBW Control Mechanisms and Their Relationship to

Developments in the Life Sciences

2.2 The Biotechnology Revolution and the Future of CBW Controls

3 Assault on Defenses: The Immune System Under Attack

3.1 Some Pertinent Facts about the Immune System

3.2 Immune Evasion Strategies

3.3 Vulnerability of the Immune System to Modulation with Bioregulators............ 22

3.4 Targeted Delivery of Bioregulators

4 Malign Misuse of Neuroscience

4.1 Noradrenaline/Arousal

4.2 Investigation of the Possibilities

5 Malign Manipulation of the Neuroendocrine-Immune System

5.1 Neural Regulation of the Immune System

5.2 Immune Regulation of the Nervous System

5.3 Compounded Assault

6 Assessing the Adequacy of the CBW Prohibition Regimes for the Challenges of the 21st Century

6.1 Life Sciences on the Fast Track

6.2 Prohibition Regimes Evolving in Slow Motion:

Undermining Regime Adequacy?

7 Conclusion: Towards an Overarching Framework for Biochemical Controls... 50

7.1 National Measures

7.2 Adapting CBW Controls on the International Level

7.3 Bridging the Gaps – Towards a Framework Convention for Biochemical Controls (FCBC)

DSF-Forschung is published irregularly. The authors alone are responsible for the content of the publications.

Executive Summary Characteristic of the developments in science and technology over the past three decades is the explosive nature of the accumulation of knowledge concerning the mechanisms and functions of biological systems. In this regard, the associations between science and technology and political decision-making processes within the context of arms control negotiations were at the centre of this investigation. In the light of the collapse of negotiations in Geneva over a verification protocol to the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BWC), a new assessment of these associations is all the more urgent.

A scientifically based analysis of the possibilities for misuse of developments for the production of biological weapons was carried out in order to make particular risk areas for arms control and verification of biological weapons more visible. Clear evidence was obtained for a paradigm shift in the CBW proliferation problem with its focus moving away from the malign manipulation of microorganisms to cause infectious diseases to the possibility of using biochemical agents as weapons to specifically target the operation of interacting biological systems in the human body. Two vital, interacting systems - the neuroendocrine and the immune systems with their double vulnerability to modulation-were analysed in this context. The analysis of these two systems regarding in the life sciences illustrates that much of the growing knowledge is dual-use and could be subject to hostile misuse if the prohibitionary norm embodied in the BWC is not upheld in coming decades.

Although the controls of science and technology that are increasingly taking shape in the United States point in the right direction, they face the same shortcomings as do the deliberations by states parties to the BWC in the so-called new process created by the last BWC Review Conference: both of these attempts do not lead to coordinated action on the international level and are thus decoupled from developing the regime as a whole.

The prohibitionary norm of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is also under threat by developments in science and technology. Indeed, many of the products flowing from the revolutions in biotechnology and pharmacology that can impact life processes at various levels are basically chemical compounds that have relevance for both the BWC and the CWC. Negotiators of the CWC have provided for a procedure to review developments in science and technology by creating the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to advise the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on science and technology matters. This body has expressed its concerns about the development of riot control agents and other so-called “non-lethal” chemical weapons. However, S&T issues did not have a prominent position on the agenda of the First Review Conference of the CWC. In order to prevent the misuse of twenty-first century chemistry, CWC implementation cannot continue as if the regime existed in a time warp. Otherwise, science and technology advances in chemistry, biology and the life sciences in general can be expected to again leave their mark on military thinking and the history of warfare.





Finally, the results of these analyses were used to examine how to devise an overarching framework that would tie together all the measures that have been proposed and that will be needed additionally to counter biochemical warfare.

Zusammenfassung

In den vergangenen drei Jahrzehnten ist das akkumulierte Wissen über die Mechanismen und Funktionen biologischer Systeme durch wissenschaftliche und technologische Entwicklungen explosionsartig gewachsen. Der vorliegende Forschungsbericht untersucht die Wechselwirkung von naturwissenschaftlicher Forschung, insbesondere in der Biotechnologie und Molekularbiologie, und politischem Steuerungshandeln im Bereich der Rüstungskontrolle. Vor dem Hintergrund der gegenwärtigen Krise der Genfer Verhandlungen über ein Verifikationsprotokoll zum „Übereinkommen über das Verbot der Entwicklung, Herstellung und Lagerung bakteriologischer (biologischer) Waffen und Toxinwaffen“ (BWÜ) ist es dringend erforderlich, den Handlungsbedarf für die Rüstungskontrollpolitik neu zu bestimmen.

Die Verfasser untersuchten die Missbrauchsmöglichkeiten neuer Forschungserkenntnisse und Technologieentwicklungen für die Herstellung von Biowaffen auf der Grundlage einer naturwissenschaftlichen Analyse. In der Studie konnten besondere „Risikobereiche“ identifiziert und sichtbar gemacht werden, die für die Rüstungskontrollpolitik und für Verifikationssysteme zu biologischen Waffen von grundlegender Bedeutung sind. Hierbei traten deutliche Hinweise auf einen Paradigmenwechsel bei den Proliferationsgefahren für biologische und chemische Waffen zutage: Lag die Hauptgefahr bisher im Einsatz modifizierter Mikroorganismen, um Infektionskrankheiten auszulösen, so steht nun die Möglichkeit im Vordergrund, biochemische Agenzien als Waffen zu benutzen, um gezielt die Funktionsweise und Interaktion biologischer Systeme im menschlichen Körper anzugreifen. Im Zentrum der Untersuchung standen zwei lebenswichtige, miteinander verbundene physiologische Systeme - das Nerven- und das Immunsystem, die eine doppelte Verletzbarkeit durch Manipulationen aufweisen und somit eine grundsätzliche Relevanz für die biochemische Rüstungskontrolle besitzen. Eine Analyse dieser Systeme im Kontext jüngster Entwicklungen in den Lebenswissenschaften (Life Sciences) verdeutlicht, dass ein Großteil des gestiegenen Wissens einen dual-use-Charakter hat und somit für nicht-friedliche Zwecke missbraucht werden kann, sofern die Verbotsnormen des BWÜ in dem kommenden Jahrzehnten nicht angepasst werden. Die Kontrollen von Wissenschaft und Technologieentwicklung, wie sie in letzter Zeit in vermehrtem Ausmaß in den Vereinigten Staaten eingerichtet wurden, weisen zwar in die richtige Richtung. Sie sind jedoch mit denselben Unzulänglichkeiten behaftet, die auch die Konferenzen der BWÜ-Vertragsstaaten kennzeichnen. Auch die Maßnahmen im Rahmen des so genannten „neuen Prozesses“, der auf der letzten Überprüfungskonferenz des BWÜ initiiert wurde, führten nicht zu koordinierten Vorgehensweisen auf der internationalen Ebene und sind somit nicht in die Regimeentwicklung integriert.

Die Verbotsnormen des Chemiewaffenübereinkommens (CWÜ) geraten durch die dynamische Entwicklung von Forschung und Technologie ebenfalls in Gefahr. Zahlreiche Produkte, die aus der neueren Biotechnologie und Pharmakologie hervorgegangen sind, können Lebensprozesse auf den verschiedensten Ebenen beeinflussen. Sie bestehen im Wesentlichen aus chemischen Verbindungen, die sowohl für das BWÜ als auch für das CWÜ von Relevanz sind. Die Verhandlungsführer des CWÜ sprachen sich für die Gründung eines wissenschaftlichen Beratungsgremiums (Scientific Advisory Board) aus, um Entwicklungen in Forschung und Technologie überprüfen zu können und die Überwachungsorganisation für das Verbot chemischer Waffen (OPWC) in Den Haag in diesen Fragen zu beraten. Dieses Gremium äußerte seine Bedenken über die Entwicklung von so genannten riot control agents und anderen „nichttödlichen“ chemischen Waffensystemen. Trotzdem spielten Fragen der Forschung und Technologieentwicklung auf der Ersten Überprüfungskonferenz des CWÜ keine bedeutende Rolle. Wenn der Missbrauch der modernen Chemie im 21. Jahrhundert verhindert werden soll, darf die Umsetzung des CWÜ nicht in einer Weise fortgesetzt werden, als ob die wissenschaftliche und technologische Basis unverändert bliebe. Andernfalls ist zu befürchten, dass die wissenschaftlichen und technologischen Entwicklungen in der Chemie und Biologie sowie in den Lebenswissenschaften im Allgemeinen erneut ihre Spuren im militärischen Denken und in der Geschichte der Kriegsführung hinterlassen werden.

Die Ergebnisse der Forschungsarbeiten dienten dazu, einen übergreifenden Rahmen zu entwerfen, der die bereits vorhandenen Vorschläge mit den zusätzlich erforderlichen Maßnahmen zusammenführt, um einer künftigen biochemischen Kriegsführung entgegenzuwirken.

1 Introduction

The norm against the deliberate use of poison and disease in warfare can be traced back several hundred if not thousand years. This ‘taboo’ became embodied in the 20th Century in three international treaties which form the basis of the two chemical and biological weapons prohibition regimes that are still today the major instruments in the fight against the spread of biological and chemical weapons proliferation and use. The three legal instruments are the 1925 Geneva Protocol, the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

The 1925 Geneva Protocol came about as a reaction against the misuse of modern chemistry in the form of ‘gas’ warfare during World War I. It prohibits the use of chemical and biological - or, as in the terminology of the day, ‘bacteriological’ - weapons in warfare.

Not prohibited are for example development and stockpiling of chemical or biological warfare agents. In addition, many states parties to the 1925 Geneva Protocol attached unilateral reservations to their ratifications, which limited the scope of the Protocol even further. During the second half of the 1960s negotiations to comprehensively prohibit chemical and biological weapons (CBW) were separated, which in turn led to the conclusion of the 1972 BWC. While the BWC was hailed as the first multilateral agreement to ban a whole class of weapons of mass destruction, the 1993 CWC has to be regarded as one of the most advanced instruments of multilateral arms control. The CWC not only bans a category of weapons of mass destruction, but is the first such multilateral treaty that sets up a new international organisation for the verification of treaty provisions.

It has become clear over the last few years, however, that the adequacy of the two prohibition regimes which aim at preventing the hostile use of chemistry and biology for offensive military or for terrorist purposes has been seriously called into question. This is

due to a series of interrelated events and trends:

• The nerve gas attack in the Tokyo subway system in March 1995 by the apocalyptical sect Aum Shinrikyo has often been called a ‘wake-up call,’ refocusing attention as to the potential sources of a CBW attack. 2 In addition, the anthrax letters sent through the US mail system in 2001 seemed to confirm that terrorists can use biological weapons.

• With respect to the BWC, however, the most glaring gap in the controls of this treaty is the absence of a verification system that would be able to confirm the treaty compliant behaviour of BWC states parties or uncover violations of the treaty. Also, the parallel process of strengthening the BWC through a legally binding international instrument (protocol to the BWC) that was started in 1991 came to an abrupt - and unsuccessful end in July 2001. 3



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