Biological and ecological warfare is the most dangerous tool of war, setting aside a Nuclear Armageddon. It is also the oldest form of warfare, as old as the ancient civilizations.
Let's take a look at these historical cases.
- Carthage attacked Pergamon an ancient Ancient Greece city with clay pots filled with venomous snakes.
- The Spartans often burned the grain crops of the Athenians.
- The Mongol Empire once the largest contiguous empire in History of the world in Medieval Times brought bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis) from Central Asia to the Middle East and Europe.
- Bodies of Mongol warriors were used for biological attacks, by flinging with catapult the corpses over castle walls of Theodosia.
- The last known incident of using plague corpses for biological warfare occurred in 1710, when Russian forces attacked Sweden.
- The Black Death, also known as the Black Plague, was a devastating pandemic that first struck Europe in the mid-late-14th century, killing between a third and two thirds of the population in medieval Eurasia. Its spread was natural and deliberate.
- The Mongols wrecked the irrigation works in Mesopotamia which ruined the local economy.
- Siege of castles and forts was to deprive the besieged enemy of food, water and other basic supplies, while the enemy burned the fields, slaughtered the livestock, and looted the villages.
- The spread of diseases across the Atlantic during the European age of exploration did tremendous damage to the indigenous populations of North and South America.These diseases upon the Native Americans were catastrophic, reducing the population of affected tribes by as much as 50-90%.
- The roots of many diseases that killed millions of indigenous peoples in the Americas can be traced back to Eurasians living for millennia in close proximity with domesticated animals. Without long contact with domesticated animals, indigenous Americans had no resistance to plague, measles, tuberculosis, smallpox or most influenza strains. (Attempts by missionaries to provide inoculation to local tribes people were usually met with suspicion, thus leaving the native population completely vulnerable to epidemics.)
- The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in Mexico and the English predominance in North America might not have succeeded were it not for the devastating effect of diseases previously unknown in the Americas, and against which the local populations had not built up any immunities.
- Starting with George Washington in 1779, the US government used environmental destruction as a military weapon to subdue the Iroquoi Nations of the the Indians.
- The US Army consistently attacked the Indians' natural resources - livestock, orchards and crops - wiping out the Navajos.
- The American Indian culture almost followed the buffalo into extinction. Buffalo Bill killed 4,280 buffaloes in one year. Systematic slaughter between 1850 and 1883 left only a few buffaloes placed under protection as an embarrassed afterthought.
- In 1710, during Queen Anne's War, Iroquois Indian tribes used biological warfare against the British with poisoned water sources with freshly killed animal hides, infecting the water with E.coli and other enteric bacteria.
- During the Seven Years' War in North America between the British and French, the British transmitted smallpox (Variola major and Variola minor) through clothing to Native American tribes to which British victory is accredited.
- The French flooded Holland but was stopped by the militant Dutch.
- The Russians stopped Napoleon by scorching their own earth and deprived the French army with food and shelter.
- In 1834 California smallpox epidemic began at the Russian fort soon after trading ships had left. Blankets were a popular trading item, and the cheapest source of them was second-hand blankets which were often contaminated.
- The Confederate States of America forces shot farm animals in ponds upon which the Union depended for drinking water. This made the water unpleasant to drink, and caused diseases to the enemies.
- During the 1948 Israel War of Independence, the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the Palestine from 1920 to 1948, the main precursor for Israel's Defense Forces militia, released Salmonella typhi bacteria into the water supply of the enemies.
- The genocide of six millions Jews during the Second World War with the use of poisonous gas, and other means of chemical and biological warfare remains a sensitive diplomatic issue to this day.
- During WW II, Japan made flea bombs to spread bubonic plague in the US, after successfully testing it in China where thousands died of the pestilence.
- North Korea accused the United States of large-scale field testing of biological weapons, including the use of disease-carrying insects against them during the Korean War (1950-1953).
- The Korean War allegations also stressed that the United States initiated its weaponization efforts with disease vectors in 1953, on plague fleas, EEE-mosquitoes, and yellow fever-mosquitoes.
- At the time of the Korean War the US weaponized one agent, Brucellosis, an infectious disease caused by the Brucella suis.bacteria.
- Cuba also accused the US of spreading human and animal diseases on their islands.
- Around 1950 the US Chemical Corps also initiated a program to weaponize Tularemia, an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella, endemic in North America, parts of Europe and Asia. Tularemia was standardized in the 3.4" M143 bursting spherical bomblet.
- The US used Agent Orange to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam and flush out the Vietcong guerrillas. Napalm was used directly on them as well as the citizens.
- Anthrax spores through the mail was controlled by the US Postal Service before it got out of hand.
- Biological warfare was the issue against Saddam Hussein leading to the attack by the US and Britain on Iraq.
- Milosevic's was chargedanf found guilty before the International Court of Justice where he later died, for a crime of genocide using poisonous gas and other weapons of mass destruction.
There are many other cases of biological and ecological warfare heretofore unreported, or committed in the guise of natural phenomena. And there are countries that continue to research on deadly microorganisms - especially with the breakthrough in genetic engineering - violating the provisions of the 1925 Geneva Convention that prohibits biological warfare in any part of the world.
The world today faces three deadly viral forms that can spread out globally on pandemic proportions. The Avian Flu virus, a hybrid of bird flu virus and human flu virus, has broken the species barriers between man and birds - lately, with pigs. If the new Avian flu virus strikes, scientists predicts it is likely to kill at least 600 million people on its first major attack. Their estimate is based on the 1920s' Spanish flu which killed 100 million people, a ratio of one out of 6 inhabitants of the earth.
The AIDS virus (HIV) continues to infect hundreds of millions of people around the world, with thousands dying every year.
And now the obesity virus (Ad 36) is fast spreading in the United States where one out of five Americans is an obese. Obesity is also an epidemic in other industrialized countries, and in big cities of both developed and developing countries. The obesity virus may be naturally occurring, but it is possible that it is laboratory-triggered.
Let us be on the guard at all times against any form of biological and ecological warfare. ~
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