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GovernmentAttic Publishes Declassified Survey of Worldwide Bio-War Research

timothy posted about a year ago | from the stuff-of-nightmares dept.

The Military 62

An anonymous reader writes "The GovernmentAttic website has just published a dossier of reports produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency describing biological weapons development in nations throughout the world. The 16 reports were released by the Department of Defense in response to declassification request submitted five years ago. Although the sensitive bits were removed, the remaining portions of the reports demonstrate the prevalence of research, development and deployment of bio weapons worldwide, despite an international treaty prohibiting such activity. The same website has also published a Thesaurus of Biological Warfare terminology (PDF) and a listing of pre-1946 reports on biological and chemical warfare (PDF) from the Army."

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FIrririririststt post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536103)

OOOh yeah suck it malda!

List the 16 countries (3, Funny)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#44536115)

Bet you'll get a plus 5 informative.

Re:List the 16 countries (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44536193)

Unfortunately, the summary oversells the issue. First, the reports are from 1972-1983. Not as relevant now, I'd say! Certainly no mention of al qaida or muslim theocratic countries, which would be the most relevant issue. it focuses on communism. Second, there are sixteen different reports, but each looks at a group (asian communist countries, eg), rather than calling out specific countries.

still, i imagine it would be interesting fodder for a john lecarre cold war spy novel!

Re: List the 16 countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536301)

The Asian communist report specifically calls out China. While these reports are old, they are quite chilling. In this report they are VERY interested in viri concerning wheat, but oddly enough, not rice... Which would indicate, to me Atleast, that most of their defense budget is, well... Geared towards the offensive.

Re: List the 16 countries (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44537771)

Always has been and still is. Chinese leaders are very much in a cold war with the west.

Re: List the 16 countries (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44542751)

"they are VERY interested in viri concerning wheat, but oddly enough, not rice"

Not so odd. China has had it's share of difficulties including cross-border incursions (a delicate way of phrasing "small invasions") on both sides over the years with the Sovs, with at least several division-sized incidents in my lifetime; an also delicate, for different reasons, relationship with their supposed client, N. Korea; and historical North-South antipathy dating back over a millenium or two. Note that all but the southern portion of China eat wheat rather than rice as their staple grain.

So, offensive, no doubt, but many potential targets. I don't suppose the anti-wheat work was done in the south of China, was it? If so, it'd be almost a climate thing - rice eaters against those who live where it gets cold in winter. Siberia, for example, has boo-coo resources and it's not just Japan who has an interest in them.

Re:List the 16 countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536195)

There are 16 reports, not 16 countries. I give you -1 reading comprehension.

Re:List the 16 countries (1)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#44536295)

This is what happens when I post before coffee.

No Russia? (2)

the_povinator (936048) | about a year ago | (#44536133)

They have a section on "European Communist Countries" but it does not include Russia. I guess that part of the report was not released? That was the only thing I was interested in as there are some scary rumors out there about what they have (ebola/smallpox hybrids, etc.)

Re:No Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536157)

Russia is not in Europe, Russia forms quite a large part of Asia.

Re:No Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536201)

Russia is part of Europe. Russia is also part of Asia. Russia at the time was one part of the USSR, which as you see has it's own report.

Re:No Russia? (1)

the_povinator (936048) | about a year ago | (#44536245)

The part on the USSR only covers tissue culture, it seems to be separate from the biological weapons reports.

Re:No Russia? (1)

Sven-Erik (177541) | about a year ago | (#44536207)

Actually, Russia is in both Asia and Europe. West of the Ural mountains is Europe, and east of Ural mountains is Asia.

Re:No Russia? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#44536199)

I haven't read the report. But it's pretty obvious that biological warfare is the poor mans "H-Bomb" in terms to inflicting loss of life. There's extremely smart people all over the world that calculates latency, mortality, and contagion rates for all sorts of nasty stuff. Now with modern computers and genetic programing, God know what kinda of shit has been made. Honestly, I don't want to know!!! If it's going to be doomsday level stuff, ignorance is bliss being that we can't stop its development anyways.

Re:No Russia? (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#44537535)

Unlike nuclear weapons it is much harder to prevent it from spreading to areas we want to keep.

Bioweapons are ironic... (2)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44537931) []
"... Biological weapons like genetically-engineered plagues are ironic because they are about using advanced life-altering biotechnology to fight over which old-fashioned humans get to occupy the planet. Why not just use advanced biotech to let people pick their skin color, or to create living arkologies and agricultural abundance for everyone everywhere?
    These militaristic socio-economic ironies would be hilarious if they were not so deadly serious. ..."

Re:Bioweapons are ironic... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44543175)

Reminds me of "If a felon commits felony, then God is an iron." (Um, Spider Robinson, maybe, although I'd long thought it to be Harlan Ellison.) I'm trying to remember a sci-fi story where ridicule was the weapon of choice against terrorists and hard measures were used only as needful. Also, of the two or three large studies on classification I recall, done by the government itself, one of the recurring findings was that the bulk of items marked secret were to prevent embarrassment of high-ranking people. Seems rigid personalities can't tolerate mockery, yet who more deserving?

Doubly ironic that only sociopaths generally bother doing all the hard work needed to be rulers, yet they're so aptly ill-suited for the job. Given that maybe half of humans are, however gently, generally functionally idiotic about anything much past their nose and most of the other half willfully so, what's in the offing?

Btw, your second para in the linked essay, I'd definitely include, even emphasize, space-based solar power systems. Hasn't been a good study yet that could knock it down excepting against current coal costs or the temporary glut of natural gas (and not factoring in costs attendant to coal-fired power plants.) In other words there a no valid arguments against it. The one quibble is over assessing environmental impact of a slew of launches over a ten to twenty year period. Using methane or hydrogen rather than kerosene and such might help, I should think, although there are some design problems owing to difference in specific impulse and whatnot. Meanwhile, have some reading to finish.

Oh, and yeah, one problem with bio stuff is that if one party looks into something everyone has to look into it, both to have a counter - the MAD thing, but also to look for remedy, does one exist.

Re:Bioweapons are ironic... (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44548007)

Thanks for the idea about solar power space satellites; I'll update the essay with that. I used to be a Senior Associate at the Space Studies Institute who looked into the feasibility of solar power space satellites in the 1980s. Personally, I think such systems won't fund they development of space habitats like SSI hoped because solar panels are now rapidly falling in price to grid parity. But once we are in space, SPSS may make sense to beam power down to factories, or space launch sites (like for laser launchers or making hydrogen for rocket fuel), or even powering airplanes in flight. But the best place to use space power is just in space to live there, IMHO. So, it is a choice how we are going to use all that aerospace technology -- to leap into the space age or to regress back to the stone age (as Einstein joked about). And the same is true for biotech.

Re:Bioweapons are ironic... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44550813)

I've long had my own ideas, gleefully stolen from wherever found, about some nifty things to do once out of the huge limiting gravity well of Earth. But to me the argument for SPSS (or whatever the acronym du jour is) is simply the essentially limitless potential for assuming base power load for the planet. It's not all easy and still the need or at least utility of maintaining a sensible blend of hydro, biomass (methane - also viz. CO2 balance), and I've a soft spot for LFTR.

I read a few hours ago that Musk dismisses SPSS and, sharp cookie that he is, I want to know why. Back late '80s, early '90s read a fine little novel, "Lime's Crisis" that dealt with some of this, the ending involved the Saudis launching their own solar power stuff in anticipation of exhausting the only thing of value they have (my estimation; apart from oil about all I can see is arrogance, and blind, fanatical, if cynical, piety - the second sword on their flag.)

As Brain obliquely points out, the key to all is a surfeit of clean energy. With enough energy (all this starts with the electricity from the rectennas) pressing issues such as clean water and waste treatment become bagatelles. We'd be able to forego fertilizing soil into dead dirt and return to sensible soil management. A nice side effect of a huge plenty of electricity is reduced waste heat on planet from combusted electricity generation. Most ground vehicles can go electric. (I haven't looked at use of methane for ships and airplanes so make no claims there but I'm interested in seeing what's been looked at or done so far.)

Had we started, say in '77 with off-the-shelf stuff, by century's end the U.S. could have been a net energy exporter; by now we could be giving electricity away and using it for a tax write-off - not to mention paying down the debt to keeping just enough to keep the financials running. Heck, Boeing et al, persons that they now are, could have _retired_ on the proceeds from all the Saturn launches. Manna's more congenial aspect could be well on its way here by now as well.

We've no will and no vision in a national leadership vehemently averse to fact, science, and sane engineering. They'd much prefer building a Berlin Wall 'tween us and Mexico, telling young girls to put an aspirin tablet between their knees until they're married, and, oh, keeping weed a Schedule I drug, not to mention keeping ever more prisons ever more filled to overflowing so's to keep Bob Barker flush with cookies.

A number of people have tried to point out from as far back as the '80s that given the increasing population and its demand on resources within the current way we go about matters economic and political, if we don't get into space and well on the way to being productive and self-sustaining (and yes, that means tool-and-die, pharmaceuticals, light bulbs, lisles, chip fabs, plush toys, coffee and chocolate, the whole nine yards) by mid-century we'll never do it - we won't be able.

Moving into space for security through diversity (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44578973)

Great points. Because we can always make solar panels and windmills, I'm not too worried about space expansion being impossible from running out of fossil fuels from Peak Oil or whatever. And I agree that with enough energy, pretty much all resource issues become easy to solve.

On making it into space, see my comments here on self-replicating space habitats: []

On energy in general, as Amory Lovins an others have said, if fossil fuels and older nuclear had to pay their true costs up front (including health costs, environmental damage, centralization risks), renewables (like solar thermal) would have been cheaper since the 1970s. It's only because of tax preferences and unpaid externalities (e.g. politics) that fossil fuels have remained in widespread use. What is happening now is that wind and solar are becoming even cheaper than subsidized polluting risky fossil fuels etc..

In a capitalist society, prisons and war can be profitable, so we get lobbying for laws and politics such that they increase. Of course, in other societies, prisons and war can be sources of political power, so that growth is not unique to capitalism. In the theory of social decline, those cancers will grow until the society collapses because it can't afford them. And then the whole thing would start over, The difference this time is we have nukes and bioengineered plagues and soon autonomous killer robots, so its not clear humans will survive if our global society collapses in some likely ways. But, perhaps some isolated habitats might survive (ocean, subterranean, antarctic, space). [] []

So, in that one sense, perhaps people like William Catton are right that the Earth has surpassed its "carrying capacity" -- but only in the narrow sense of carrying capacity including the ability to absorb humanities follies from greed and war. Otherwise we could probably support trillions of people on Earth with advanced technologies using lots of nuclear energy as you outline. A related story: []

Not that we'd probably want to do that compared to living in space and making the Earth into a nature park and religious shrine?

Re:Moving into space for security through diversit (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44580645)

Jeez, Paul, you just don't stop with all the things you write that, due to my own failings to be sure, require me to read and try to think about.

I'm not so sanguine (now that's a strange word to come to have this use) about "renewables", principally solar, viz. reality of utility (yes, I like bad puns) in U.S. Oops, nevermind; I just looked at this: []

I read it through but only quickly checked a few of the sources; I get the impression this is legit. Good; let's do it. If gov could do Hoover and Grand Coulee, it could easily do this - except for the aspirin Congress. Penny wise, pound foolish, bottom-line Friday, who's buying the votes; bidness as usual. (And no, I don't need the sanctimoniously self-proclaimed expertly literate yahoos critiquing my language choice and use; I've heard at least six high-flying execs speak it this way. Well, two were high flying, anyway, they had their own jets. Kids these days need to read more, get out more. Get off my lawn.)

I've passed through Death Valley, it could use some shade. It's also much cheaper than SPSS. The Sahara and others have some spare real estate as well, I believe. I'll leave it to the crunchers to work things out, but I'm guessing all of Africa could get a big boost in available electricity. Float bonds, live a little, have some faith in future, pay for the grandkids college. It's not just money, it's doing something useful with it and the payoff in real terms is relatively quick, the eventual payout is enormous.

Prisons, manufactured wars, enforced poverty, are the mechanisms of people who like to hurt other people whatever their guise and rationale du jour. Ask any madame - the weirder and more sadistic patrons are invariably at the peak of the power game. (see also de Ropp, The Master Game) Our world is mostly run by sociopaths, a fine bunch of charismatic idiots. The more that things get worse the better they like it - it reinforces their self-sense of superiority while filling their wallets and renders the peons powerless to change anything. (I also have in mind, I think it was "The Arms Merchants" or somesuch, read it about twenty years back; also a fine book on the Krupps figured in there somewhen.) I suppose the counter might be that only the madly bad run things because nobody else wants to; but then, no one else gets the chance, and when someone tries they're killed off right quickly. I recently read a historical analysis of Athens. Ouch. Yet a small voice inside keeps insisting there's gotta be a way....

A friend once suggested that for sanity's sake an easy way to look at things is that we're in a school, a testing ground, and an experiment all in one; that 'do what you can, don't stand too proud lest a hammer, and enjoy as able, persevere as needed' is the way to go. That's a fine choice of a non-choice, really, yet it may be just the thing. Doesn't set quite right, tho.

Ah, Lovins et all, thank you. Some of these folks really did their homework, unlike so many of their detractors. I came across C. Wright Mills' The Power Elite about the same time, so some things began to make more sense about how things were the way they were. (I am un-sophisticated in all this stuff; I read the occasional bit, sometimes hit the stacks for some very dry and tedious source and background, try to keep some of it in mind.)

Isolated habitats are well and good but meaningless if they haven't at least sufficient infrastructure to not only survive but sustain and grow - I posit some growth needed to overcome in some meaningful time (centuries OK, millenia meaningless) whatever the global calamities. Isolated pockets surviving at some level of prosper is fine existentially, until red giant phase, but does little if one has hopes for any larger possible meaning for our species. In that regard I still get a warm-and-fuzzy from Fuller's musing that perhaps the purpose of intelligence in Universe was to counteract entropy; I think that came right around where he gives his hierarchy of concept chart in volume one of Synergy. Tau-Zero, I think it was, comes to mind, also.

I'm not sure we'd want to turn Earth into Trantor. (I know, you weren't recommending it.) Btw, my thing with nukes is on the basis of having a goodly set of tools such that we can try matching best use with best need kind of thing. I like tools, lots of tools; I once had a garage-full and each had its best use. Yes, I can use a screwdriver to put in a lockset, but prefer a hole saw, bits and some chisels.

Whatever the habitats, wherever we go, my personal requirement is absolute avoidance of sterility and cubicleland. I want elbow-flapping and cat swinging and kicking back, not warren huddling. Energy and material are abundant; the psyche is precious.

Cheers, mate. I've got some reading to do. (Whilst cleaning out a few directories I came across three ebooks I'd forgotten I had, plus yesterday the postman brought Red Mars - which I'd forgotten I'd read long ago, it's worth a second. Not to mention the homework you've given me. And I still have five topics here to at least skim. Probably time to crash instead.)

Re:Bioweapons are ironic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563147)

Methane is a decent rocket fuel for specific impulse but the density is pretty low. Hydrogen is even more trouble because it's a cryogenic fuel too. Kerosene wins by being really cheap and really high density so the fuel tanks can be smaller. Propane is a good compromise if you want less CO2. Of course you can go solid fuel and burn aluminum and rubber.

The Europe/Asia line is arbitrary (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#44536453)

Sometimes Russia is considered European, sometimes Asian.

Re:The Europe/Asia line is arbitrary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536859)

The Europe / Asia line is not arbitrary, it is at the Ural mountains. There are even places in Russia you can take your picture where you are "in both continents", like the Four Corners in the US.

Distinguishing Europe and Asia as two separate countries is arbitrary. If you thought there was a precise number of continents, this will blow your mind:

Re:No Russia? (1)

wiredog (43288) | about a year ago | (#44540647)

Russia isn't in Europe, it's part of Asia.

Re:No Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44542183)

Learn some geography. It will blow your mind :D

Do they know about my weaponized vial of Anthrax? (3, Informative)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#44536171)

It's for duck hunting.

Re:Do they know about my weaponized vial of Anthra (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44536311)

If you had said it's for quail hunting I would say we've found an evil ex-vice-president /. account.

Re:Do they know about my weaponized vial of Anthra (1)

TechnoJoe (1173761) | about a year ago | (#44543113)

This should have been +5 funny. It's a Futurama reference.

A Head in the Polls []

FARNSWORTH: So what are you doing to protect my constitutional right to bear doomsday devices?
N.R.A. MAN: Well, first off, we're gonna get rid of that three-day waiting period for mad scientists.
FARNSWORTH: Damn straight! Today, the mad scientist can't get a doomsday device, tomorrow it's the mad grad student. Where will it end?
N.R.A. MAN: Amen, brother. I don't go anywhere without my mutated anthrax......for duck hunting.

Thanks for the 118MB PDF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536187)

But where's the breakdown? This is useless.

Calling the kettle black (1)

jmd (14060) | about a year ago | (#44536239)

"demonstrate the prevalence of research, development and deployment of bio weapons worldwide, despite an international treaty prohibiting such activity."

As if America in its adventures around the globe doesn't violate the Geneva Conventions regularly. Countries are afraid. Very afraid.

Can we stick to nukes please? (2)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44536305)

Or ar least vaccinate me against small pox... As it stands, only a few countries have the capability of all out world wide nuclear war, and I would like to believe those nations are smart enough to not start pressing big red buttons. An un-winnable end of all life as a deterrent scenario and all that. But any idiot country could potentially develop bio-weapons of mass destruction, and any idiot country is potentially short-sighted enough to unleash something they might not even fully understand. With nukes you can stop pressing buttons, but the right bio-weapons could potentially yield an unstoppable runaway process of slow, agonizing, world wide death.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44536397)

At least one idiot country already did. The USA has heaps of bioweapons.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44536481)

No less than that, we are (supposedly) one of two idiot nations that still keep small pox around, the other being Russia. Although it stands to reason that the UK and Israel probably have some too. I was thinking more along the lines of North Korea, Iran, anything ending in "stan", any state that could be called rogue, or any other bothersome nation with self-esteem issues combined with unstable\irresponsible leadership looking for a power trip over western, or at least westernized nations.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year ago | (#44536709)

UK has not has any smallpox in any lab for well over two decades. No, I'm not going to tell you how I know that.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#44538817)

The USA is a rogue state with irresponsible leadership and ego issues.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44539133)

Busted. You got me. It is true.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (0)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44539141)

However, myself as an American, don't think for one second that I am not right now in the process of being radicalized against my own nation. Because I'm sick of so much shit, and I am. If the NSA is reading this: come get me motherfuckers, and prove my point.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44539149)

Talk about getting off topic though...

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (2)

jmd (14060) | about a year ago | (#44536449)

Or ar least vaccinate me against small pox... As it stands, only a few countries have the capability of all out world wide nuclear war, and I would like to believe those nations are smart enough to not start pressing big red buttons. An un-winnable end of all life as a deterrent scenario and all that. But any idiot country could potentially develop bio-weapons of mass destruction, and any idiot country is potentially short-sighted enough to unleash something they might not even fully understand. With nukes you can stop pressing buttons, but the right bio-weapons could potentially yield an unstoppable runaway process of slow, agonizing, world wide death.

The US has already detonated nukes. The US has loads of chemical weapons. The US appears to be the loose cannon (idiot country) on the world stage today.... invading another country(s) without provocation.

just my $.02

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44536569)

No doubt about any of that, however, I find it unlikely that we would use nukes or bio-weapons in our pathetic, disgraceful, misguided attempts to kill terrorists and "nation build". The day we do, if we do, I'm moving to Norway if at that time they're not smart enough to prohibit the immigration of US citizens. The nations that would use bio-weapons are the nations that don't have a large enough army to roam the world like a big dumb giant with a huge club, playing whack-a-mole, like the US and it's allies. We can exclude non-allies: China, Russia, and their military might from this discussion as they seem to be somewhat better at keeping their dogs chained up.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#44536867)

At the moment most of the countries that appear desperate to develop, and most likely to use, weapons of mass destruction are doing so because they're on the US's next to invade list. The US spent a few decades on such a list, from a much less overwhelming adversary, and was quite ready to use nukes.

Maybe if the big dumb giant stopped invading places the little guys would be less paranoid.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44536931)

"Maybe if the big dumb giant stopped invading places the little guys would be less paranoid."

Agreed. Although I suspect my own government (USA) is too naive to see it that way. I wish we would take a more isolationist approach. After all, we personally trained Bin Laden in the early 80's to use as a tool for meddling in the affairs of other nations. That one act pretty much set the stage for the substantial majority of the violence we have in the world today. I often wonder what things would be like now if we hadn't set out to destabilize the Middle East. We need to just back off rather then attack what we created with the same bad logic we started with. Sigh...

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44537887)

Yup. Our invasion of Iraq was just so wrong. The fact that they invaded kuwait and the UN troops (with USA) stopped it has nothing to do with anything.
Likewise, when Afghanistan launched an attack on USA, we should have turned the other cheek and allowed Afghanistan/AQ to continue attacking us.
And we should just pull out of the Mid-east and allowed all of those dictators to continue wiping out their citizens.

Its funny. France and italy pushed America to help with Libya to stop the slaughter, but we are the bad guys.
Likewise, Syria has Iran and Hezbellah helping a dictator that is committing genocide, but America is to blame on this.
North Korea continues to threaten South Korea and we have helped South Korea not only build up after the korean war, but also help protect them. Every time we want to withdraw from there, the SK gov. throws a fit and wants us to stay. And NK comes on strong with all sorts of threats and attacks against SK.
Then there is Taiwan, phillipines, vietnam, and India who absolutely want us to stay in the region because they have been invaded numerous times by China. Heck, China took over tibet, who was a free nation, and yet, it is America that is the bad guy that encourages North Korea, Iran, China, Pakistan (even though they are/were an alley), etc. to build nukes, chemical weapons, etc. And obviously, it is America that encouraged Iran, Syria, Libya, and Iraq to build nukes/chemical weapons due to the threat of USA. It was never about Iran/Syria, Libya wanting to attack Israel, and then Iraq wanting to defend itself against iran.

Nope, you sideliners have it right. America is 100% to blame for it all.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year ago | (#44538299)

I don't think very many people quibbled with the first US invasion of Iraq. You know, the one done under the auspices of the UN, with the purpose of liberating Kuwait, where the US withdrew afterwards. The second one - the one done unilaterally for made up reasons - that one concerned people.

Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya, maybe not that worrying. The sabre rattling against Iran and North Korea, well, if I were a citizen of either I'd be a little worried about being invaded by the world's sole superpower. And if you want to talk about leaving "dictators to continue wiping out their citizens," the US has a rather bad track record involving destabilizing democratic (or mostly so) governments and installing dictators in their place. Iran is an excellent example, along with half of South America. They even made a movie recently about the former. Then there are the cases like Somalia, where the US rode in on a white horse to stop the slaughter... except the US had been funding Somalian warlords.

Syria? You mean the country where a military dictatorship seized power in 1949... after conferring extensively with the CIA? Then approved a pipeline right afterward so the US could get Saudi oil more easily?

Then there's Guatemala, a Slashdot favourite "third world hellhole" because of the exploits of McAfee, where the (somewhat) democratic government was overthrown in the fifties by the CIA because the US was afraid they might turn commie. Oh, and the United Fruit Company had acquired quite a bit of land there.

Brazil. Possibly Ghana. Chile. Afghanistan, where you gave all those weapons and training to what would be come the Taliban wasn't clear cut badness, but it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. Turkey. Nicaragua.

The US unquestionably does quite a lot of good. The problem is, you guys do some evil mixed in there. Do you just hope it all evens out? Or maybe that everybody else won't notice? Judging by your post, many US citizens aren't really able to differentiate between the good and the bad. Invading Iraq... well, they invaded Kuwait right? We were just liberating Kuwait! Besides, Saddam had weapons of mass destruction! Iran? They took over our embassy in the 70's, didn't they? Never mind that the embassy was taken over by citizens angry at the US for overthrowing their government.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44543395)

First off, you will notice that almost everything that you mentioned to was pretty much 50's and somewhat the 60's. That was from when i was a kid. The ONLY exception, was W's invasion of Iraq. You mention the coup de'tat but forget to mention that France and Britain had been the lords in Bahrain and had rigged elections to get al-Quwatli into power. Now, WRT south America, oh yeah. America has played HORRIBLE games. Most of it was 50-60s, with the exception being reagan (who also played games). But compared to Europe, America is a wonderful large nation. We have NOTHING on europe, Russia, or China, when it comes to multiple centuries of domination of other nations with illegal invasions, political games, etc. Even now, all those nations regard America as an interloper, even when we push democracy. Heck, look at Egypt. We are not wild about the miltiary removal of a freely elected muslim brotherhood. We do not like them, BUT, they were FREELY elected (unlike say what goes on in Iran or other nations). Now, as to W's invasion of Iraq, what a joke. I was opposed to it then, but it has come at a terrible price in life. Worse, we have left a vacuum in leadership there. However, we are out of there and the freely elected gov. is in place. Likewise, when France, Italy, etc were pushing us to invade Libya, we did not want it, so did LIMITED support. It was because of USA that Kadafhi's military fell quickly, but it was French and Italian politics that created that situation. However, we supported it under NATO command. Of course, Libya appears to be better off, which is good, though there is a lot of doubt about that. OTOH, Syria is a nightmare. Why? Because minority shias want to dominate the nation and are happy committing genocide. USA, and I suspect all of the major powers, are in there putting weapons into various groups hands. Yes, those aligned with China, Iran, Hezbollah have been caught using chemical weapons. BUT, the west is quietly giving aid to various groups. Heck, bengazi was all about the fact that we had over 100 ppl there who were working on transferring weapons to Syria. We were attacked there by shia's. BUT, in the end, I would say that USA is no different than most of Europe (esp. UK, France, Germany, and Italy), Russia, or China.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

perceptual.cyclotron (2561509) | about a year ago | (#44546493)

First off, I'll just mention that I agree with the general thrust of your comment, but a couple points of note:

1) The states are somewhat unique in their demonstrated and stated interest in being the world-police. So much of the perhaps-unbalanced criticism against the US and not against various other imperial nations should be seen in light of that image. If you tell everyone you're the saviour of the world, then proceed to rape and pillage, you actually look worse than if you'd just gone ahead with the raping and pillaging without comment. So I think that explains a bit of the bias.

2) People criticize China and Russia constantly. It's such a dominant premise that it's gone past a requisite genuflection, and simply become a background assumption. People take it as a given that these nations do bad things. The US seems to be more in the genuflection stage, which is a sort of transition period between background-assumption-good to background-assumption-bad, where every action is appraised with a critical and skeptical eye.

3) This is speculation, but as to the 'that was all in the 60s/70s,' it's reasonable to keep hindsight in mind. We generally don't learn about what's really going on in the moment. It takes time for the truth to surface, for documents to be declassified, or dislodged through targeted FOI requests. However, given that the US provides military aid to almost 90% of the countries in the world (170/193), the odds are very good that for any given conflict, they are aiding both sides...

4) And finally, also on the subject of timing, global economic hegemony has pretty much been achieved. Most of the world is capitalist – and most of those pesky leftist governments have been replaced with obedient client states. There isn't as much need to intervene anymore. There are still ideological and resource motivations – but most of the time, the necessary manipulations can go through more passive or indirect channels like the IMF, WB, trade-sanctions, and free-trade agreements. The transnational character of dominant economic motivations also makes coalition acts more likely than unilateral ones – which suggests legitimacy; so negative actions in recent history tend to have a diffusion of blame that keeps them off the 'list'.

So ultimately, I agree that other countries should be getting more criticism, but I don't really think the US should get less...

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44544063)

A small quibble, if you will.

"Iran? They took over our embassy in the 70's, didn't they? Never mind that the embassy was taken over by citizens angry at the US for overthrowing their government."

Long memory, those students, who in summer of '79 took the embassy in retaliation for what we and the Brits engineered by way coup d'etat over Mossadegh in 1953 so's to put Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in power. I reckon they were far more angered at the predations of SAVAK, the Shah's secret police, and thus us by extension for putting him in power.

I mean, you're right, of course, but at the end of a chain, not the beginning.

Btw, for an interesting little bit of reading, []
might as well add some cayenne to the stew.

More to worry about than nation states (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537019)

And since biotech is available enough if you have the money and not exactly restricted, sooner or later there's potential for rogue actors to have access to weaponizable materials. Not just typical terrorist groups either, as there is plenty of financial motivation for criminal activity. Someone out there could very well try to play the broken windows game, and purposely release a genetically engineered plague in order to profit from the vaccine they developed along with it.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

mrbester (200927) | about a year ago | (#44536731)

The US continues research into biological and chemical weaponry purely for mitigation should it be attacked by them. Allegedly.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537807)

If you were paid 2 cents for that dribble, then you were paid 2 cents too much.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44539813)

Fun thing about bio-weapons is that it doesn't have to be a country to produce them. You can buy used gene manipulation equipment, set it up in the basement of a random building, and do some seriously nasty work with the help of a couple of post-grads. This is in the budgetary realm of the trust fund kids.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44543339)

Unless someone comes up with a bio true grey goo, no, not really. Weaponizing stuff is hard; getting something energetic enough to spread well, slow enough to have a long enough incubation to let carriers pervade the target, and with a high enough mortality to reduce your target as required, is just not that easy. Generally it's really more a terror weapon, not a WMD (although using the guidelines of law enforcement, fire crackers qualify - tremendously brain-dead stooopid, but it sure grabs headlines and boosts slam-dunk convictions.)

Unless, as others point out, with the newer genetic knowledge and spiffy machinery, it's gotta increase the possibility for making something both horrendous and effective.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

cusco (717999) | about a year ago | (#44546701)

In the '90s the Clinton Administration did an exercise with FEMA, DOD, NIH, and the state of Colorado, modeling the release of pneumonic plague into the ventilation system of a concert hall in Boulder. Within a week the healthcare system of Colorado had collapsed, and within another week that of several adjoining states had followed suit. IIRC the disease had spread as far as Singapore in only 6 days. The study's findings horrified the president, who rammed through funding for National Institute of Health bio-warfare defense research and pre-positioned "Push Packs" of medical supplies. Of course the Bush Madministration dismantled the entire project, apparently on the premise that if Clinton had done it then it was automatically bad.

Re:Can we stick to nukes please? (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44550557)

Thanks for the reminder; I followed that bit at the time and recall being horrified also. We carry the conceit that "truth will out" but against ideology there is really no counter, for a true believer cannot be reasoned with, unless maybe you can show direct threat to their wallet or their offspring.

University of California was involved (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536331)

When I attended University of California, in the early '90s, the UC system received a full third of their funding through the military.

There were research programs into mutated pathogens with the stated goal of vaccine research, but the pathogens were not naturally occurring, and were cataloged, preserved, etc. A thin veil of legitimacy to hide a very large bio-weapon research program behind.

A physics professor at UC Berkeley was so bothered by the weaponization of research from the UC system, that he began publicly speaking about the suspicious programs. It is from him that I learned the 1/3 of funding from the DoD figure. Of course, UC managed the nuclear weapons national laboratories too.

Re:University of California was involved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537751)

I tried to find the DoomBSD distribution but couldn't. University of California! It is time for dat!

Re:University of California was involved (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44537921)

Yup. THat was true all over the USA university system. That is what reagan brought us. I got my first degree in microbio/genetics and did research in one, but it was later converted into DARPA work. Back then, I had ethical issues with what I was working on. Now, as I look at the world situation, I do not. Hopefully, my work was continued.

recipes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536341)

I looked at the 1983 document and it's a complete manual on how to make all these agents.

Re: recipes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44538603)

Jesus. Page 1737 tells you how to make sarin...

Re: recipes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44539979)

on the other hand the section about the middle east includes the prediction that in 15 years
"Biomedical science will have conquered most forms of cancer known today"

Re: recipes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544845)

conquered is a loose word.

Most cancer is manageable today, and probably won't kill you. Now if the Therapy kills you, that is a whole other thing.

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