They started their bioweapons program the year *after* signing the convention
banning them. Ours was shut down three years before. Compare the description
of smallpox attached below with the assertion the Soviets maintained no less
than twenty TONS on strategic stockpile.
------- Forwarded Message
Date: Mon, 02 Mar 1998 22:34:45 -0500
From: John Young <email@example.com>
The New Yorker magazine of March 9 has a long shattering
essay on Ken Alibek, the former Soviet bioweapons expert,
William Patrick, the US's counterpart, the state of Russian
secret bioweapons development, and prospects for the spread
and use of this WMD.
It's far more disturbingly detailed than the New York Times
and ABC PrimeTime reports, and presents a horrific spectrum of
gruesome details of nearly unimaginable catastrophe fermenting
in secret laboratories and deepest black storage tanks.
If you thought nuclear weapons were terrifying, read this for a
shocking introduction to evil which will give even thermonuclear
warriors nightmares of helplessness.
Where Strangelovian physicists once ruled, now reign Mad
Richard Preston is the writer, featured on PrimeTime and
author of The Hot Zone, on the Ebola virus.
For those without easy access to the magazine we offer a
------- End of Forwarded Message
The deadliest natural smallpox virus is known as Variola major. Natural
smallpox was eradicated
from the earth in 1977, when the last human case of it appeared, in Somalia.
Since then, the virus
has lived only in laboratories. Smallpox is an extremely lethal virus, and it
is highly contagious in
the air. When a child with chicken pox appears in a school classroom, many or
most of the children
in the class may go on to catch chicken pox. Smallpox is as contagious as
chicken pox. One case of
smallpox can give rise to twenty new cases. Each of those cases can start
twenty more. In 1970,
when a man infected with smallpox appeared in an emergency room in Germany,
of smallpox appeared in the hospital on the floors above. Ultimately, the
vaccinated a hundred thousand people to stop the outbreak. Two years later in
Yugoslavia, a man
with a severe case of smallpox visited several hospitals before dying in an
intensive-care unit. To
stop the resulting outbreak, which forced twenty thousand people into
isolation, Yugoslav health
authorities had to vaccinate virtually the entire population of the country
within three weeks.
Smallpox can start the biological equivalent of a runaway chain reaction.
About a third of the
people who get a hot strain of smallpox die of it. The skin puffs up with
blisters the size of
hazelnuts, especially over the face. A severe case of smallpox can essentially
burn the skin off
The smallpox vaccine wears off after ten to twenty years. None of us are
immune any longer,
unless we've had a recent shot. There are currently seven million usable doses
vaccine stored in the United States, in one location in Pennsylvania. If an
outbreak occurred here,
it might be necessary to vaccinate all two hundred and seventy million people
in the United States
in a matter of weeks. There would be no way to meet such a demand.