TERRORISM AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE

By: ANTON STEVE P. LIM, R.N., PGDip-TS

LEAPS Academy Philippines | PG Diploma in Terrorism Studies


Introduction

The current definition of terrorism emphasizes that its primary aim is to threaten and terrorize large groups of humans, governments, armies, or society as a whole. Thus, one may assume, in the context of a socio-historical analysis of bioterrorism, that it involves the use of various biological agents by all kinds of actors or groups, including political or military actors and official states, motivated by different reasons (be they political, religious, or other ideological objectives), in order to attain such objectives.

The use of biological agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, or their toxins to cause disease or death among human population, food crops and livestock, or to terrorize society and manipulate the government, has increased much possibilities in recent times. It could be by any means of any method, covert or overt, for the transmission of disease from one human to another or to the desired target. For instance, measles, influenza, avian flu, smallpox, plague, and viral hemorrhagic fevers. Bioterrorist agents of major concern have been categorized as A, B and C based on the priority of the agents, and all posing risk to societal security.

The Threat of Bioterrorism

The threat of bioterrorism, in which biological agents are used by extremists as weapons against civilian populations, is a matter of great concern. Nations and dissident groups exist that have both the motivation and access to skills to selectively cultivate some of the most dangerous pathogens and to deploy them as agents in acts of terrorism. Although a bioterrorist attack is difficult to predict, the consequences of a successful attack could be devastating and cannot be ignored.

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