Can Modern Science Accomplish What Adolf Hitler Started?
Biological Warfare: Fact or Fiction?
Stacy Richardson is a graduate student in microbiology at USC when her life is interrupted by the sudden-- and unbelievable-- suicide of her husband Max. Her every attempt to divine the truth and probe behind the smoke and mirrors of his suspicious death only lead her into greater danger-- and farther into the super-secret bio-weapons research area known as "The Devil's Workshop."
What is biological warfare? Technically, it is the use of germ warfare, deployed by civilian means or conventional warhead, to kill or harm the population, fighting forces, and crops of the enemy, and includes any type of viral microorganism or bioactive substance (living or dead).
Even before the technology of the late 20th century, bioweapons were a common and effective weapon for centuries: Romans used dead animals to pollute the enemies' water supply, while Tartars were known to catapult bubonic plague-infected corpses over castle walls. One of the more ghastly and efficient uses of biological warfare pre-20th century was the British settlers' "gift" of smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans during the French and Indian war; the subsequent plague decimated the tribes.
The modern era of biological warfare was introduced in 1918, with Japan's formation of "Unit 731," the biological weapons testing unit. All the POWs in Japan's subsequent invasion China and Manchuria were considered fair game for biological experiments in testing the most efficient means in a deadly game of germ warfare.
The U.S. quickly decided that it, too, must develop some sort of biological war plan to fend off the bioweaponry of Germany, the then-U.S.S.R, Great Britain, and Japan. Despite the fact that the Japanese had also tested out their bioweapons on American POWs, the U.S. government offered to drop the persecution of war criminals in exchange for information on their sophisticated bioweaponry.
The proliferation of bioweapons lies in how cost-effective they are. Sometimes called "the poor man's atomic bomb," some studies have shown that to "affect" 1 square kilometer, it would cost only $1.00 using bioweapons as opposed to the $2,000 it would take using conventional weapons.
The future of bioweaponry is hazy. Nearly all countries agree that the practice of using bioweapons is inhumane and inappropriate in any situation.
Despite this, the fear of biotechnological warfare exists, and with good reason. Cheap to research and produce, it is also easy to hide under the guise of legitimate research. Most nations openly disavow any knowledge of bioweapon research, but three of the biggest stockpilers in the world are Iran, the former Soviet States, and the U.S.
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Copyright © 1999 Newfront Productions, Inc. and William Morrow