Bioterrorism, Bio Crimes and Politics: A Case of Chaos and Complexity

Bioterrorism, Bio Crimes and Politics: A Case of Chaos and Complexity

Hakiimu Kawalya (Ankara University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0148-0.ch006


Right from the onset, man woke up to a strenuous and hostile surrounding. He had to swiftly learn that just like the planet upon which his life hinged possessed enormous attractive endowments, so was it rich in hostility. Given its delicate nature humanity therefore had to adapt particular ways of living for survival and inevitably has since then evolved over thousands of years into the so called Homo-sapiens or modern man. Undoubtedly as modern man's continued trajectory to transformation gave birth to philosophy and science along with the icing that came with it, man finds himself entangled in a more complex and chaotic web with threats far greater than his imagination. One such a threat is biological weaponry a product of science that has potential to be used as a tool to orchestrate murder, terror and other sophisticated crimes. Owing to the vast amount of resources required to assemble these biological weapons it's fervently rare to find an ordinary individual utilizing them, instead governments and of recent some heavily financed terrorist groups can harness the catastrophic potential of these weapons to destroy both local and foreign adversaries. In a world stirred up with tensions, the powerful ones are amassing weapons of every caliber to rise above perceived enemies, yet rocket speed advancing biotechnology is making the manufacturing of biological weapons easier and consequently proliferation of biological war material is becoming inevitable. Therefore whereas the world health organization and United Nation are grappling with keeping biological science generated terror or crimes under check, it is high time the world started viewing them in light of the actual threat they pose today as tools exploitable in the notion of politicking.
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The use of biological weapons by man may have first revealed itself inform of poisoning one’s enemies or making them eat deadly foods during early years of civilization. Yet when man became more embraced with the scientific know how he ventured into isolating disease cause entities (pathogens) and then exposing them to his adversaries who could die upon contracting deadly diseases. With time this became an art of war and many scientists were recruited into militaries. The competitive rivalry in possession of the most advanced biological weaponry reached alarming levels at the beginning of the 20th century and the once simple lay man’s tool successfully translated to a tool of supremacy. By so doing it had earned itself a comfortable place in the spheres of politics as a tool of influence. The onset of the 21st century saw an upsurge in sophisticated bioterrorism which not only disgorged over the USA but also spread across the globe hence becoming as a priority item on the agendas of international concern of our times. To this end, countries have beefed up their defense mechanisms against proliferation of the biological weapons and funding packages for anti-bioterrorism and counter defensive measures have indeed sky rocketed in the past decade in USA (Marshall, 1999) as well as other nations . Yet numerous complexities some of which bear political origin continue to engulf the necessary fight against heinous evils related to bioweapons. This article therefore seeks to elaborate the complex nature surrounding biological weapons and their intrinsic relationship with politics.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Regulation: Refers to a principle or rule employed in controlling, directing, or managing an activity, organization, or system. The rule might be pursued with or without coercive power of law which in itself may be traditional, local, regional or international law.

Bioterrorism: This refers to the use of biological warfare agents by a person, an organization or groups with ideological or political reasons through open and secret methods against countries or entities designated as enemies. In other words, it’s the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, toxins or other harmful biological agents to cause illness or death to people, animals or plants.

Crime: A crime is an action or omission punishable by the law. Criminal offences may indeed be geared towards some individual or individuals but also towards a community, society or the even state. From a lay man’s perspective anybody using biological agent to cause harm or destruction of life literally commits a biological crime. Technically though, the words bioterrorism and biocrime differ on the basis of the interest with which they are executed. The use of biological agents against a background of known political, sectarian, religious or ecological agenda is perceived as bioterrorism while the use biological agents in a manner rather nourished with traditional criminal motives translates to what is referred to as biocrime.

Politics: The art and science of organizing and influencing peoples towards certain goals. These so called societal or national interests breed competition amongst societies and nations and are a recipe for the supremacy frays that have swept across all the generations of human history.

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