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"The next super weapon could be biological" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 Apr 2017 3:35 p.m. PST

"With the threat of chemical weapons in Syria and nuclear arms in North Korea, the risk of biological weapons has largely dropped off the international agenda. But evolving technologies and genetic engineering may open the door to new dangers.

Other than the "anthrax in the mail" attacks that followed 9/11, killing five people, there have been few serious attempts at biological attacks in recent years. Most global powers scaled back their biological weapons research in the 1970s, partly because of the difficulties of getting fragile bacteria and viruses to survive being dropped in bombs or missiles, or even sprayed.

Militant groups like al Qaeda and Islamic State have largely embraced the other end of the technological spectrum, turning to basic but brutal tactics such as using a car or truck to attack pedestrians in Nice, Berlin and elsewhere…"
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Lion in the Stars19 Apr 2017 11:26 p.m. PST

The advantage of bio-weapons is that you need to know what the hell you're doing to make them, and most terrorist groups don't.

So anyone throwing bio around is an actual state actor, which means acts of war and war crimes.

David Manley20 Apr 2017 10:07 a.m. PST

Actually no, the growing likelihod of a terrorist developed biological threat has been well reported in recent years, so no guarantee of state actors, etc.

And of course biological warfare was not exactly unheard of in the 18th century

Rod I Robertson Inactive Member20 Apr 2017 10:33 a.m. PST

Lion in the Stars wrote:

So anyone throwing bio around is an actual state actor, which means acts of war and war crimes.

That is a dangerous misapprehension. Making deadly weapons of mass destruction from common pathogens or commercial crops is pretty basic university level stuff and weaponising it only requires mid-20th Century technology which you could likely find in a dump somewhere. Ricin, Botulinum toxin and Anthrax are not that difficult to produce, weaponise and disperse. Far from being too complicated to manage, it is a wonder to me that there have been so few and such limited biological attacks to date.

Now if you're talking about genetically engineered pathogens which can be tailored to hurt selective populations, that's another matter. If however the terrorists are not too squeamish about killing a broad spectrum of the population then low-tech bio-weapons are a depressingly real option for them.

Rod Robertson.

SouthernPhantom20 Apr 2017 11:17 a.m. PST

And then there's chemical weapons, which worry me a lot more than biological due to the incredible ease with which chemical weapons can be created with household cleaning products.

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