Gene Watch Conference

Biological Weapons and the New Genetics - Avoiding the Threat

Section 4: Additional Measures for Security
a) Beyond the protocol: Jan van Aken (Sunshine project, Germany)
b) What can the Scientific and Medical Communities do? - Dr. Alistair Hay (University of Leeds)
c) Discussion chaired by Dr. Sue Mayer


Section 4a: Beyond the protocol - Jan van Aken

There are agents that are not covered by the protocol. Some weapons are not directed at people but should also be covered.

Anti-material Agents

These are, genetically engineered and  environmentally unsafe/untested. These too should be included in the protocol.

Anti-plant material & Drug Wars

Bio agents for use in the drugs war have already been produced. These are fungi against coca, poppy, and cannabis. Some of these are ready for use. They are a threat to the environment and to human health. They have not been tested on plants that are relatives of the target plants.

There is a danger from allowing this kind of operation.

Environmental Modification Techniques (remember ENMOD ?)

In 1978 there was an international consensus called ENMOD restricting the use of chemicals that modified the environment. This followed the use of Agents Orange, and Operation Popeye. The effects of Agent Orange are still (20 years later) being suffered in Vietnam.

The agreement covered such things as setting fires; cloud seeding; spreading salt on fields; and the introduction of invasive species.

There may be things within ENMOD that would be useful.

Section 4b: What can the Scientific and Medical Communities do? -   Dr. Alistair Hay

Certainly the protocol is essential. The place of the scientific and medical communities is to keep open lines of information. The provide open knowledge, and to use expertise to provide good clarification and research.

Clarification and knowledge examples


One way of handling information is to be regularly involved in giving non-political briefings on areas of interest. These should involve politicians, legislators, Civil Servants, the Clergy and the press. By creating an atmosphere of openness,

Advantage of Protocol

If there is a peace time moratorium on the development of biological weapons, then at least if war starts no preparation has been made in this field.