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CB Terror Notes

CB Terror Notes


CB Terror Notes


(1) Berkowitz et al. are a little more conservative in their estimate, noting that "the adult LD50 [the dose fatal to 50% of the exposed population] is of the order of a millionth of a gram, making this material two or three orders of magnitude more toxic than the V-agent nerve gases" (1972: VIII-41). Later, they write: "Most certainly, not more than a few micrograms—perhaps even a fraction of a microgram—of pure type A toxin is sufficient to produce at least serious illness and slow convalescense; more probably, death" (1972: VIII-43).[Return]
(2) Berkowitz et al. similarly note that "While the terrorist may be incapable of mounting continent-wide strategic attacks with BW agents, smaller attacks on cities are not impracticable" (1972: VIII-88).[Return]
(3) See also: Kupperman 1984: 77.[Return]
(4) See also McGeorge, who writes that "Political terrorists bent on destroying the existing social order have, with biological weapons, the capacity to kill more people than would be possible if they possessed a small tactical nuclear weapon" (1986: 57 and 1988: 20). Berkowitz et al. agree: "There is little doubt...that with a degree of technical expertise equivalent to that assumed for the INW [illicit nuclear weapon], the mortality levels resulting from a biological attack could exceed those from a nuclear attack" (1972: IX-7). Similarly, Ponte states (with considerable exaggeration) that "With germs as with nerve gas, a terrorist or fanatic acquires the capability to destroy whole cities. The possession of a vat of appropriate bacteria, the 'poor man's H-bomb,' gives a terrorist firepower comparable to that of any nuclear superpower" (1977: 79).[Return]
(5) According to Berkowitz et al.: "There are few if any reasons why complete secrecy cannot be maintained during the development of this capability" (1972: VIII-65).[Return]
(6) Of course, this characteristic may also work against terrorists by making it more difficult for them to claim responsibility for a particular incident (US House Armed Services Committee 1993: 26).[Return]
(7) Berkowitz et al. also make this point, elaborating somewhat further: "Unlike the INW [illicit nuclear weapon] case with its reasonable limitation to one or, at most, a few weapons and unlike the CW case with its dependence on fairly large delivery systems for a widespread attack, the biological pathogens are well adapted to demonstration attacks on small, isolated targets without significantly impairing the terrorist's capability for large-scale attack. Consequently, they seem to offer a unique effectiveness as the basis of a coercive threat or extortion plot" (1972: VIII-64). [Return]
(8) In the words of Berkowitz et al.: "...even limited or selective dissemination to a particular target group maintains the implicit potential for a widespread attack with its powerful psychological effect. Although the details and problems of BW are poorly understood by the general public, it elicits strongly negative attitudes. In light of the recent US renunciation of BW as an offensive military capability, these public attitudes have undoubtedly been reinforced, so that the threat of a terrorist BW attack would result in much sensationalism, exaggeration, and emotional distress" (1972: VIII-64).[Return]

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