Author Topic: WL tweet on Ebola virus... and the rest of the "Resident Evil scenario"  (Read 3793 times)

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Offline jujyjuji

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On yesterday the @wikileaks account has tweeted an article by RT.com (a Russian newspaper) mentioning a WL specific cable on ebola virus:

@wikileaks
US Army withheld promise from Germany #Ebola virus wouldn't be weaponized http://rt.com/news/197500-us-army-ebola-weapon/ … #WikiLeaks cable: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BERLIN1588_a.html
https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/524260011367604224

Related article and cable:

Quote
US Army withheld promise from Germany that Ebola virus wouldn't be weaponized

Published time: October 20, 2014 17:17

The United States has withheld assurances from Germany that the Ebola virus - among other related diseases - would not be weaponized in the event of Germany exporting it to the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases.

German MFA Deputy Head of Division for Export Control Markus Klinger provided a paper to the US consulate's Economics Office (Econoff), "seeking additional assurances related to a proposed export of extremely dangerous pathogens."

Germany subsequently made two follow-up requests and clarifications to the Army, according to the unclassified Wikileaks cable.

"This matter concerns the complete genome of viruses such as the Zaire Ebola virus, the Lake Victoria Marburg virus, the Machupo virus and the Lassa virus, which are absolutely among the most dangerous pathogens in the world," the request notes.

The Zaire Ebola virus was the same strain of Ebola virus which has been rampaging through West Africa in recent months.

"The delivery would place the recipient in the position of being able to create replicating recombinant infectious species of these viruses," the cable notes.

However, it also points out that Germany has in place an "exceptionally restrictive policy," adding that approval would not be granted to the export until US assurance was provided.

"A decision about the export has not yet been made. Given the foregoing, we would appreciate confirmation that the end use certificate really is from the Department of the Army and of the accuracy of the data contained therein," the document stated.

There is no follow-up document available to confirm whether the US Army eventually provided Germany with the necessary guarantees.

Bioweapons were outlawed in the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and was signed and ratified by 179 signatories, including Germany, the US and Russia.

It dictates that signatories, "under all circumstances the use of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons is effectively prohibited by the Convention" and "the determination of States parties to condemn any use of biological agents or toxins other than for peaceful purposes, by anyone at any time."

Source: http://rt.com/news/197500-us-army-ebola-weapon/

---

Related cable:
GERMANY REQUESTS ASSURANCES ON VIRUS EXPORT

Date:2009 December 15, 13:14 (Tuesday)
Canonical ID:09BERLIN1588_a

1. (SBU) This is an action request. Please see paragraph 4.

2. (SBU) German MFA Deputy Head of Division for Export Control Markus Klinger provided the following non-paper to Econoff, seeking additional assurances related to a proposed export of extremely dangerous pathogens to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases. The Army's end use certificate provided to Germany is lacking an official seal. Klinger's deputy, grmmmph! Reck, noted that Germany had made two follow-up requests to the Army seeking assurances and clarifications related to this proposed export. The GOG seeks assurances from the USG or US Army that the end use certificate and the information contained therein are legitimate and accurate.

3. (SBU) Begin text of informal translation of German MFA non-paper: "For Official Use Only" Against the background of our partnership in the area of non-proliferation and our excellent cooperation in the matters of export controls, we would like to bring the following issue to the attention of your government. A German firm has applied for the approval of the export of 184 genetic elements with nucleic acid sequences of viruses for the production of recombinant viruses. The viruses will be used in optical imaging to identify host factors required for viral replication. The recipient in the USA is, according to the enclosed end use certificate, the Department of the Army "US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)" Fort Detrick, Maryland. Specifications in English about the goods, the recipient and end use can be seen from the end use certificate. The goods are controlled by the Australia Group and are subject to compulsory export approval (List position C1C353A). This matter concerns the complete genome of viruses such as the Zaire Ebola virus, the Lake Victoria Marburg virus, the Machupo virus and the Lassa virus, which are absolutely among the most dangerous pathogens in the world. The delivery would place the recipient in the position of being able to create replicating recombinant infectious species of these viruses. Because of the particular criticality of these goods, the German federal government practices an exceptionally restrictive approval policy for such exports. An approval here can only be issued if an improper end use in association with the development or production of biologic weapons approaches can be foreclosed with a probability approaching certainty. The enclosed end use certificate is on the letterhead of the U.S. Army. The required official seal is missing, however. A decision about the export has not yet been made. Given the foregoing, we would appreciate confirmation that the end use certificate really is from the Department of the Army and of the accuracy of the data contained therein. We look forward to the continuation of our excellent cooperation in matters of non-proliferation and export controls. End text of informal translation of German MFA non-paper.

4. (SBU) Action Request. Post requests guidance on responding to the GOG request in the non-paper. MURPHY

Source/More: https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09BERLIN1588_a.html#efmAYPAhB


This is surely a scary scenario AND:

a) It's a 2009 document and we have no idea what happened after as the cablegate archive arrives to 2010 and now we are in 2014.

b) It talks about biological weapons and mentions Ebola: so, it seems this dangerous virus is being developed and considered among the bio-weapons produced in "Western countries": it mentions the US and German laboratories: I think it's just terrible because we are all having potentially lethal viruses "under the ass"... and viruses are easily subject to genetic mutations (you know, being the 3rd planet of the Solar System a bit more of UV rays happens...)... and we are told nothing about what they are doing with these viruses! This is why I used the "Resident Evil scenario" provocatory words in the title: they worry that some scientists clonate sheeps, meanwhile they work with stuff that is potentially more dangerous than an atomic bomb.

c) The mentioned article comes from RT.com, a filo-Russian journal and has been retweeted by @wikileaks, an account that not always shows all the faces of the medal...
The article almost seems to hint that the US are responsible of the actual Ebola epidemic disaster in Africa and now spreading worldwide... That there is no proof about this anyway.
Why I tell it may hint such a thing? Because it's being published in the middle of an epidemy and it talks about bio-weapons: in the head of cospiracy theorists the two things match.
So I thought about using the WikiLeaks cablegate search engine to look at the whole picture... And what popped up as I looked for "Ebola" are 37 cables mentioning a lot of countries: https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/search.php?q=ebola&qo=0&qc=0&qto=2010-02-28

... but looking for "Ebola" and "Weapon" -as we are researching about bio-weapons- it comes out that the cable mentioned by RT is only one of the 9 emerging, and not US and Germany only are involved in the production of bio-weapons, but almost whatever country of the world is working on this dangerous stuff.

2009, Dec 15 Germany Requests Assurances On Virus ExportEmbassy Berlin (Germany)
2008, Dec 22 Kazakhstan: First International Biotech Conference Held In Astana December 12-13Embassy Astana (Kazakhstan)
2008, Sep 4 Part One Of Two -- Biological Weapons Convention: Detailed Read-out Of Experts Group Meeting On Biosafety, Biosecurity And Professional Responsibility In The Life Sciences, August 18-22, 2008US Mission Geneva (United Nations)
2007, Oct 2 Drc September Economic ReviewEmbassy Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
2006, Dec 20 Japan: 2006 Country Reports On TerrorismEmbassy Tokyo (Japan)
2006, Dec 20
Japan: 2006 Country Reports On TerrorismEmbassy Tokyo (Japan)2006, Jun 20Australia Group: 2006 Information Exchange (ie)Embassy Paris (France)
2006, May 25 Japan: Environment, Science And Technology - Developments Sept 2005-apr 2006Embassy Tokyo (Japan)
2006, May 15 Indonesia Races To Build Bsl-3 LabsEmbassy Jakarta (Indonesia)

 Source: https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/search.php?q=ebola+weapon&qo=0&qc=0&qto=2010-02-28

The 1st cable of the list is the same one mentioned by the RT article and WL, seeing the involvement of US and Germany.
Now let's see the other ones, example:

Quote
Kazakhstan: First International Biotech Conference Held In Astana December 12-13
Origin Embassy Astana (Kazakhstan)
Cable time Mon, 22 Dec 2008 10:42 UTC
Classification UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Source http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/12/08ASTANA2530.html
***
 
¶1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.
 
¶2. (SBU) SUMMARY: The First International Conference "Astana
Biotech 2008" took place on December 12-13, at the National Center
for Biotechnology in Astana, Kazakhstan. Its stated goal was to
develop further Kazakhstan's overall scientific potential. Speakers
represented a range of laboratories and research institutes,
including several from the United States. Among the presenters was
a representative from Russia's Vector, a state-supported research
center that the Centers for Disease Control called "one of Russia's
largest and most sophisticated former bioweapons facilities."
According to Global Security.org,
Vector has been involved in the
development of virus weapons such as smallpox, bubonic plague, and
anthrax since the late 1980s
. The adjacent exhibition hall had
numerous displays from local and international companies. Research
laboratories also displayed billboards highlighting their work on
genetic modification in cotton, wheat, corn, and rice. The
genetically modified organism (GMO) situation in Kazakhstan is still
quite fluid. Currently there is no ban on GMO food products in
Kazakhstan, although all GMO goods must be labeled, and all imported
goods must first be analyzed to certify their safety. END SUMMARY.
 
FIRST INTERNATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE IN ASTANA
 
¶3. (SBU) REO attended the First International Conference "Astana
Biotech 2008" in Astana, December 12-13, at the National Center for
Biotechnology. A biotech exhibition filled with numerous stalls was
adjacent to the conference hall, and attendees could easily view the
many diverse products and equipment available, as well as see the
latest research developments from a wide variety of scientific
organizations.
 
¶4. (SBU) National Center for Biotechnology General Director Erlan
Ramankulov said that the overall goal of the conference was to
develop further Kazakhstan's overall scientific potential. It was
also important to learn more about the diversity of biotechnological
research that colleagues are conducting, he said. Indeed, this
observer was quite impressed with the depth of knowledge and
experience that the conference brought together, with participants
representing laboratories and research institutes from Russia,
Belarus, Kazakhstan, as well as Kazakhstani scientists working
overseas at the University of California Davis, Rutgers University,
Auburn University, Texas A&M, Institute Gustave Roussy (France),
Nagasaki University (Japan), and Hebrew University.
 
BIOTECH LABORATORY RESEARCH ON VIRUSES
 
¶5. (SBU) There were many speeches outlining the research and
development (R&D) progress at the various laboratories and
institutes in biotechnology, and REO selected two as representative.
 Belarus Ministry of Health Institute of Epidemiology and
Microbiology Director of R&D Dr. Leonid Titov outlined some of his
institute's work, such as research on the formation of resistance to
antibiotics used to fight human viruses, the development of
innovative methods and technologies for the manufacture of vaccine
test systems and reagents (e.g., a chemical substance used to
produce a chemical reaction to detect, measure, and produce other
substances), the localization of tuberculosis strains, and research
on various diphtheria ribotypes that are prevalent in Belarus and
Russia.
 
¶6. (SBU) Russian (Novosibirsk) State Research Center of Virology and
Biotechnology "Vector" Deputy General Director Elena Nechaeva said
her laboratory was researching countermeasures to global biological
threats, virus research (including Ebola), and biological security.
She said Vector had many years of experience working with dangerous
viruses. She said Vector is one of Russia's largest R&D
laboratories and actively collaborates with research centers around
the world, such as the Centers for Disease Control, National
Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy national
laboratories, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (NOTE:
According to Global Security.org, since the late 1980s, Vector has
 
ASTANA 00002530 002.2 OF 003
 
contributed to the development of virus weapons such as smallpox,
bubonic plague, and anthrax. It has a high level of bio-containment
capacity that enables it to work safely with viral pathogens and
contains a special Laboratory Animal Farm that raises laboratory
animals for experiments. They have had several contracts with The
International Science and Technology Center, an intergovernmental
organization that facilitates international science projects and
assists the global scientific and business community to source and
engage with Russian and CIS institutes that develop or possess
scientific know-how, which helps keep Russian Cold War-era
scientists gainfully employed. END NOTE.)
 
BIOTECH EXHIBITS ARE VARIED, MODERN, AND COMMERCIAL
 
¶7. (SBU) Several companies and institutes had displays in the
adjacent exhibition hall, and the exhibits showed the depth and
variety of biotech products available in Kazakhstan today. Some
were local Kazakhstani companies, such as Medilend, displaying
testing equipment for clinical immunology, biochemistry, and
microbiology; Vel'd, selling laboratory and medical equipment to
various labs in Central Asia; and Yumgiskor Holding, a laboratory
equipment distributor for Radiometer Copenhagen, Sysmex (Japan), and
Nihon Kohden (Japan). Others were international, such as Olympus
(Russia), producing diagnostic laboratory equipment; Sartorius
(Germany), with control systems for sterilization of pharmaceutical
preparations and centrifuges for their preparation; Techniplast
(Italy), specializing in laboratory cages for mice and other lab
animals; and Bio-Rad (U.S.), displaying computer systems for
bio-molecular analysis and testing, and an automated electrophoresis
system (e.g., movement of charged particles in a colloid or
suspension when an electric field is applied).
 
GMO RESEARCH IS ACTIVE IN KAZAKHSTAN
 
¶8. (SBU) Various research institutes also had billboard displays
explaining their latest research developments and achievements. REO
noticed that several were doing considerable work in genetic
modification of cotton, wheat, rice, and corn, the core agricultural
products here in Central Asia, either to make them more resistant to
pests and diseases and more adaptable to arid climates, or to
increase their yield per hectare. (COMMENT: In September, Dr. L.
Giddings, President of PrometheusAB, Inc, a biotechnology company,
visited Astana to meet with counterparts in agricultural
biotechnology. He characterized the Kazakhstani scientists as open
and adaptable, "not hostile or prejudiced." Giddings said the
Ministry of Environment "seemed eager to cooperate" and the National
Biotechnology Center was interested in pursuing collaborative
projects. According to Giddings, "the most formidable potential
allies are in the Academy of Nutrition, who have a strong focus on
science as the basis for decision-making and firmly believe that the
use of biotechnology in agriculture is a solution, not a problem."
END COMMENT). The Institute of Biology and Biotechnology, a
subsidiary of the National Center for Biotechnology (hosting this
conference), does research in cell engineering and genetic
engineering -- e.g., they conduct research in genetic modified
organisms (GMO).
 
¶9. (SBU) The GMO situation in Kazakhstan is still quite fluid.
There is a Law on Food Safety (2007) and related Rules on
Distribution of GMO in Kazakshtan that stipulate that genetically
modified food must first be analyzed in laboratories to certify its
safety before it is imported to Kazakhstan. Currently, the Kazakh
Academy of Nutrition in Almaty has the only laboratory in Kazakhstan
that can do GMO tests.
 
¶10. (SBU) According to Lyutsia Kalamkarova, head of this Quality
Control and Food Safety Laboratory, currently there is no ban on GMO
food products in Kazakhstan. All GMO products and food containing
GMO ingredients must be labeled accordingly. The Ministry of Health
is developing technical regulations and rules that will tighten
control over food for children. Kalamkarova said the weak point in
quality and safety control for children's food is that agencies that
 
ASTANA 00002530 003.2 OF 003
 
have no capacity for detailed analysis of children's food are
nevertheless issuing food safety certificates.
 
HOAGLAND

So, while blaming the US for the Ebola potential weaponization, Russia's Vector developed the bubonic plague together with many other viruses as weapons! RT.com has very little to stay happy about.

... There is the "embarassment of the choice": what virus do you want? Ebola? Bubonic Plague? ... Else? you just have to choose and to hope the virus isn't going to mutate because of the still present Chernobyl radiation!

NOTICE that often viruses are anyway held not only to produce weapons but to study the potential cures and vaccinations.
Anyway when the labs are of the Army I'm not sure only this happens.

Let's go on, this cable on international agreements provides a whole list of all the countries that partecipated and what they were doing in 2008:

Quote
Part One Of Two -- Biological Weapons Convention: Detailed Read-out Of Experts Group Meeting On Biosafety, Biosecurity And Professional Responsibility In The Life Sciences, August 18-22, 2008
Origin US Mission Geneva (United Nations)
Cable time Thu, 4 Sep 2008 15:35 UTC
Classification UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Source http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/09/08GENEVA752.html
***
REF: REF A: STATE 088219 REF B: GENEVA 719
 
Begining of text of part one of two.
 
¶1. (U) This cable is sensitive but unclassified and should
be protected accordingly.
 
¶2. (SBU) Summary. The second annual meeting of BWC Experts
for the 2007-2010 Work Program, focusing on biosafety,
biosecurity, and professional responsibility in the life
sciences, marked progress, registered gaps, and shared ideas
on how to move the issues forward. The meeting was notable
for the active participation in most sessions not only by
States Parties, but by Observer States, Intergovernmental
Organizations, professional associations, industry
representatives, scientific bodies, and others from the
private sector and civil society.
This engagement reflected
a recognition among States Parties that the ability to
counter the BW threat is enhanced by the active involvement
of a coalition of those with interest in implementing the
actions discussed in BWC fora.

 
¶3. (SBU) There has been
significant progress on biosafety
and biosecurity since the BWC held its initial meeting on the
subject in 2003
, the first of its kind focused on these
issues. Gaps were noted with countries such as Pakistan,
Cameroon, and even Libya (with whom the U.S. and UK have been
working for the past 5 years) coming forward to ask for
assistance. On the professional responsibility front there
are a wealth of ideas but, with some exceptions, there has
been less forward movement in this area, perhaps because
movement relies more on civil society rather than mandatory
government regulations of one kind or another. Various
"forcing" events may be required to push this along and Del
recommends Washington give careful thought to what kind of
recommendations arising from the December Meeting of States
Parties could provide an appropriate nudge.
 
¶4. (SBU) Overall the meeting was conducted in a
professional manner and included the innovation of two
"poster sessions", several "panel" discussions and seven
early morning/lunchtime events hosted by civil society
representatives. If there were any criticism at all, it can
be chalked up to being victims of our own success. In their
enthusiasm, the Chairman and his ISU team scheduled more
guests and presentations than physical time allowed, so the
meeting provided little time for follow-up questions and
answers. At the same time, the depth and breadth of
participation provided a wealth of material on which to draw
in moving forward.
 
¶5. (SBU) The U.S. and its Allies should begin to lay
groundwork for productive results at the Meeting of States
Parties in December 2008. Further down the road is the 2009
topic on international cooperation, capacity building, and
related assistance, a NAM favorite but upon which the West
has a good story to tell. The WEOG provides the Chairman for
the 2009 meetings; Canadian Amb. Grinius has the support so
far of the non-EU members of the WEOG for the job, and we
know some EU members have supported him as well, assuming the
EU doesn't put forward a candidate. The EU is meeting soon
to discuss, after which the Canadian candidacy can be
consulted more broadly with a view to a December 2008
decision this matter. Having the WEOG candidate identified
early on will provide additional time to prepare for handling
this challenging topic. End Summary.
 
---------------------------------------
Opening of Meeting; National Statements
---------------------------------------
 
¶6. (U) The 2008 Meeting of BWC Experts opened smoothly on
August 18, running successfully through the usual
housekeeping items: adoption of the agenda, an amended
Program of Work, the Rules of Procedure, and participation in
the meeting. The Chairman, Ambassador Georgi Avramchev of
the Republic of Macedonia, made introductory remarks and
pointed to the four information papers provided by the ISU
(Biosafety and Biosecurity; Developments in Codes of Conduct
Since 2005; Oversight of Science; and Education, Outreach
and Raising Awareness).
 
¶7. (U) Introductory statements were made by many States
Parties, including: France for the EU, Cuba for the
Non-Aligned Movement, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Japan, U.S.,
Russia, China, ROK, Indonesia, Nigeria, Libya, Iran, Peru,
Colombia, Albania, Norway, India, Germany, and Morocco. Key
themes included: BWC universalization (and welcoming THE
UAE, Cameroon, and Morocco as new States Parties); national
implementation; 1540 legislative support; international
cooperation; and implementation of BWC's Article X;
verification protocol revival (NAM stressed the importance of
effective verification, Russia specifically called for
resumption of the Ad Hoc Group with its existing mandate);
dual-use and bioterrorism threats; and the need to balance
biosafety and biosecurity measures while avoiding obstacles
to advances in the life sciences, as well as country-specific
implementation on codes of conduct. Progress made since
consideration of both topics in 2003 and 2005, respectively,
was cited, as well requests for assistance from some
countries (Sudan, Libya, others). Georgia also made an
impassioned intervention on "ethnic cleansing" by Russian
troops, noting that Russia has yet to withdraw and requesting
assistance; Russia did not rise to the bait, but rather
insisted upon the need to stick with the agreed BWC experts
agenda, and avoid "artificial politicization". The Chair
echoed the Russian request to stay on the agreed expert's
agenda. (Note: The Georgian BWC Expert later told US Deloffs
that she was under instructions to make that statement. End
Note.)
 
¶8. (U) The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and
seven NGO's provided presentations on relevant research and
activities in support of the 2008 topics: international
measures to improve biosafety and biosecurity, and the
development of codes of conduct and educational programs to
promote awareness on dual-use issues and the BWC. (See
detailed NGO presentations in the NGO Lunch Section.)
 
-----------------------------------
"Biosafety and Biosecurity Concepts"
-----------------------------------
 
¶9. (U) At the August 19 plenary meeting, Cameroon received
observer status. Four International Governmental
Organizations: the World Health Organization (WHO); the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD);
the United Nations Environment Program/Global Environment
Facility (UNEP/UNEF); and the European Commission (EC) gave
presentations. WHO,s Dr. Nicoletta Previsani detailed
biosecurity efforts aimed at "minimization of deliberate
release" and cited the 2001 anthrax letters and the 2003
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in
Singapore to stress that even though the event is over the
pathogens still remains in one U.S. (USAMRIID) and three
Singaporean laboratories. She noted a global increase of
biosafety level three (BSL3) labs and commented that Brazil
had twelve BSL3 labs. Georgia asked why Brazil needs twelve
BSL3 labs. Brazil responded that this wasn't enough and they
would be building more BSL3, as well as two new BSL4 (highest
containment level) labs. Sudan asked for assistance in
drafting relevant scientific/legal texts and
train-the-trainer assistance.
 
¶10. (SBU) Following the OECD's presentation on security
guidelines for access to dangerous pathogens, Iran asked if
there should be mandatory criteria for transfer of bio agents
"outside the convention?" OECD noted they have established
an approach that can be used for peer review and evaluation
for various sensitive projects and agents and their possible
transfer. Japan stated that they are "legally obligated to
store pathogens in four categories" and could OECD help them
categorize their new strain of attenuated Ebola? UNEP spoke
to biosafety/security elements of the Cartagena Protocol on
Biosafety in relation to living modified organisms and
synthetic biology. They have been working with 123 countries
to establish biosafety policies; 103 countries are complete.
 
¶11. (U) Returning to the States Parties presentations, South
Africa, Argentina, Australia and Germany introduced their
national papers. The U.S. outlined assistance given to the
WHO and OECD on development of pathogen security guidelines.
Of particular note was Canada's overview of recently proposed
legislation ("Bill C-54" under the 1994 Human Pathogens and
Toxins Act) which will require all people working in BSL3-4
labs to have a security clearance at the SECRET level or
above. The UK presented their national paper on the 2007
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak, summarizing the
background and future considerations in handling animal
pathogens, and emphasizing the similarities of human and
animal pathogens. (This is apparently the first time the UK
has spoken about FMD in an international meeting, despite
great pressure to do so, especially in the bioterrorism
context (BTEX). It remains a highly sensitive subject in the
UK.) Norway gave an extensive presentation on the EU
"Laboratory Biorisk Management Standard"(CWA 15793) and its
applicability under the BWC on biosafety/security. They
emphasized the similarities across all BSL-levels, despite
various circumstances. Denmark noted the significant changes
in their legislation, particularly the establishment of the
Center for Biosecurity and Biosafety, which provides training
for universities, hospitals, research and private
organizations; incorporating physical, transportation,
information security, material controls and a threat
assessment algorithm.
 
¶12. (U) Nigeria focused on the extensive numbers of its
indigenous pathogens which underscore Nigeria's need for
biosecurity and urgent assistance in establishing a
biosecurity program. It has established an Office of
National Authority (ONA) for Chemical and Biological Weapons
Conventions implementation and developed a "Code of Conduct
and Laboratory Manual" for scientists and is also
establishing a "Field Laboratory Program."
 
¶13. (U) Cuba presented the main elements of its 1990 legal
instrument implementing the BWC, emphasizing its ongoing
concern about human, animal and plant toxins, especially
modified organisms and exotic species. It also mentioned its
1996 legal instrument regarding lab staff members and the
integrity of persons regarding property and information
security; it is drafting legislation on "information
protection" in sensitive labs. Pakistan's presentation on
Prevention, Control and Surveillance recognized that there
were differing opinions concerning appropriate levels of
protection and what constitutes acceptable levels of risk.
It is meeting in a number of working groups to address these
differences of opinion. It is also organizing a "National
Plan of Conduct." Bulgaria spoke of its efforts since 2006.
Morocco gave a presentation on the BWC related efforts of the
MENA region countries and emphasized their determination to
secure life sciences research by ensuring legally binding
measures are in place in each country.
 
¶14. (U) The Industry Panel Discussion had four speakers:
Gary Burns (AstraZeneca), John Keddie (GlaxoSmithKline)
Robert Friedman (J. Craig Venter Institute) and Shrikumar
Suryanarayan (India; Association of Biotechnology Led
Enterprises (ABLE). It is significant that representatives
from prominent industry attended not only their session but
several days of the meeting and made well-informed points
comparing their views to what is discussed in government/IGO
and NGO forums. The first two speakers represented large
pharmaceutical firms that recognize the security concerns but
wish to see a risk-based balance. They noted that the
pharmaceutical industry has very high Good Manufacturing
Process (GMP) standards that are directly related to their
risk. They have been involved with Advisory Groups and other
studies to ensure their input into the GMP standards, thus
they have an interest in meeting the standards they helped to
develop. Keddie expressed concern that registration of
dual-use equipment would have significant administrative
burden. He stressed the need for regulations that are simple
and can be applicable across different areas, observing that
"local" decisions have global impact. Research and
development is global, as is the industry, which needs to be
able to move material, biological samples and agents
globally. Finally, referring to an earlier question about
new delivery technologies that have a legitimate use in
medication delivery, he expressed concern that if the
research is restricted because of weaponization concerns, the
benefits of these new technologies may not be available for
medical uses.
 
¶15. (U) Friedman spoke about the genomics industry, DNA
sequencing and the benefits of their synthetic biology
program. The panel ended with the note of caution that
mechanisms for biosecurity may unduly interfere with
research, biosecurity measures should not make daily business
more difficult and controls should be proportional in
relation to risk. One speaker commented that we are drifting
from the original intent of the BWC and becoming focused on
biosecurity and synthetic biology. Another comment was that
the pharmaceutical industry should not be the focus of
concern but rather Do-It-Yourself biology (DIY-Biology).
 
------------------
Capacity-Building
------------------
 
¶16. (U) The August 20 session began with presentation from
professional societies. The American Biosafety Association
(ABSA) recognized the State Department for support of Former
Soviet Union scientists in attending annual ABSA meetings.
The Pacific Asia Biosafety Association (P-ABSA) requested
regional States to step forward and support, as well as
implement their "Biosafety Plan." The European Biosafety
Association (EBSA) noted concern that some States have
legislation for biosafety/security that can cause conflicts
with organizations who propose biosafety standards. ABSA
Canada recommends licensure and security clearances for
anyone who accesses BSL-3 or 4 pathogens.
 
¶17. (U) The IAP, made up of nearly one hundred national
science academies, does not have a code of conduct per se,
but rather promotes Principles of Awareness ("Scientists have
an obligation to do no harm"), Education, Safety and
Security, Accountability and Oversight. The International
Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility
(INES) emphasized that the majority of scientists remain
unaware of dual-use aspects of their work. They believe that
an approach to managing biorisks that is exclusively
bottom-up in character will have little chance of success on
its own and a top-down method is the right process, i.e.
licensing or issuing of permits. Licensure should not only
include facilities, but also the work itself and also the
principal investigators. There must also be periodic checks
of the licensing authority. Brazil commented that this is
too optimistic.
 
¶18. (U) The panel discussion on Risk Management included
speakers May Chu and Cathy Roth (WHO), Ian Gillespie (OECD),
Keith Hamilton (World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),
Paul Huntly (Det Norske Veritas, an accreditation body),
Brooke Rogers (Kings College London). Gillespie described
Risk Management as a process and presented a "Framework for
Governance." He described managing risk as needing a
proportionate response to risk; building in the human factor;
having standards and best practices but not "recipes." The
approach should be tQd harmonization, but not rigidity,
and transparency through certification and accreditation.
Keith Hamilton described "Good Risk Management Principles" as
being flexible enough to deal with complexities of life with
use of the best information available, making reasoned and
logical decisions, and being objective (i.e., based on
scientific principles.) He said that quantitative and
qualitative risk management strategies both have their
places. The qualitative approach requires a good
understanding of the real world to include &everything8
that contributes to the risk. A quantitative approach allows
comparisons, can be precise if good data is available, and
allows comparisons after interventions but may require
complicated modeling skills. The WHO presentation focused on
their plans to develop Risk Management Programs.
 
¶19. (U) The International Center for Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology (ICGEB)(Decio Ripandelli) emphasized the need
to improve laboratory skills and facilities in developing
nations. The UN 1540 Committee (Olivia Bosch) walked through
the basics of UNSCR 1540 noting that implementation involves
reporting of legislation and enforcement measures and this
reporting is used as the baseline for risk management. She
emphasized that national submissions on 1540 support BWC,
counterterrorism and larger nonproliferation obligations.
Information from each of these areas should be used to
complete national submissions. When noting the 1540 staff
could now provide direct assistance, based on the May 2008
UNSC Resolution 1820, Japan surprisingly indicated they would
ask for assistance with more in-depth penal legislation as
did the Philippines. She recommended the CWC National
Authorities as a resource for smaller nations meet their BWC
and 1540 requirements. The WHO gave a presentation on the
WHO public health mandate for biosafety and biosecurity.
They referenced WHA 58.29, "Enhancement of Laboratory
Biosafety," which discusses the state of laboratories in
underdeveloped countries.
 
¶20. (SBU) Twelve countries (France, the U.S., Japan, Nigeria,
UK, Indonesia, Cuba, Australia, Turkey, Malaysia, Argentina,
and Sudan) delivered statements on their efforts to improve
biosafety and biosecurity measures and on capacity building.
Most presentations focused on recent and upcoming workshops
and conferences, supportive legislation, and educational
programs. The U.S. statement highlighted work with the UK
and Libya efforts with the UK and Libya on promoting
cooperative implementation of biosafety/biosecurity and
bioethics measures, indicating the plan to table a working
paper in December on these efforts. Japan declared its
national goal of creating "the world's safest region when it
comes to biosafety and security." Indonesia detailed its
ongoing efforts to build its first BSL 3 laboratory by
describing the challenges it faces with finding the
appropriate space, materials and technical know-how to build
the laboratory. Malaysia described its 2007 legislation, the
"Biological Weapons Bill," which expands controls over
transportation, use and quantity of toxics without
justification for peaceful use, and related punitive
measures. Sudan, noting Art. X (assistance) obligations of
all States Parties, indicated it is drafting national
legislation in this area, but pointedly called for technical
and financial assistance in promoting biosafety/security in
its region.
 
--------------------------------------------- --
&Oversight of Science, Education and Awareness-Raising,
Codes of Conduct8
--------------------------------------------- --
 
¶21. (SBU) During the Oversight of Science discussion on
August 21, the UK, Australia, Japan, China, Nigeria, Cuba,
Turkey, Malaysia, Argentina and Sudan either gave
introductions to national papers or said little of interest.
France delivered the EU presentation on the "EU Cooperative
Initiative to Improve Biosafety and Biosecurity," which was
adopted in 2003 to counter the WMD threat. The EU seeks
partnership with BWC States to sustain the initiatives.
France presented a paper discussing the need to "Use
Laboratory Notebooks as a Tool for Traceability of Research
Activities" and gave another presentation on "Biosafety Risk
Assessment."
 
¶22. (U) Indonesia made a presentation with Norway on a new
BSL-3 Laboratory which the Norwegians designed and built in
less than a year. Canada and the Kyrgyz Republic gave a
presentation on their cooperation under the 2002 G-8
Kananaskis Statement on WMD and its goal of counterterrorism,
particularly on guidelines and standards, training, biosafety
accreditation and a new BSL-3 laboratory and repository. A
related treaty was signed in August 2008 with ratification
expected in a few months.
 
¶23. (U) Cameroon (see details on accession para) made a
presentation discussing their legislative efforts to modify
their Constitution to enable their ratification of the 1925
Geneva Protocol and accession to the BWC in the near future.
They described their membership in the Biodiversity
Convention (Cartagena Protocol).
 
¶24. (U) The U.S. outlined the activities at the National
Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB). A question
was raised about why the term "life science research" was
used in the NSABB's work, rather than "activities in the life
sciences" and whether "exploratory development" would be a
better term? The U.S. presenter responded that the NSABB had
consulted with many organizations as well as industry on the
term "life science research" and this term was chosen as most
appropriate for describing their work and for its brevity.
There was also a question about any interest in regulating
genomics and the response was to make clear the NSABB is an
advisory panel without the authority to make policy.
 
¶25. (U) Japan made a presentation based on the experience
with Aum Shinrikyo and how Japan approaches the challenges of
local terrorism. One concept that came from these challenges
was whether a scientist with "low future potential" should be
included in a list of possible risk factors. They discussed
the dual-use challenge in broad terms, describing types of
experiments in advanced technologies. Paradoxically,
however, Japan had concluded that the Fink Commission
criteria are too inclusive.
 
¶26. (U) The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
(IUPAC) made a presentation emphasizing that education
concerning research potential is about choices and scientists
need to make the right choices. The WHO's Cossivi gave a
presentation on their Biosecurity Project and a summary of
the related Bangkok meeting in December 2007.
 
¶27. (U) The U.S., UK, Switzerland, France, Pakistan, Cuba,
Brazil, Germany, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
and the 1540 Committee gave presentations on oversight,
education, raising awareness and codes of conduct. The NAS
stressed its role in promoting biosecurity through in-depth
reports and workshops, and the importance of dialogue between
policy makers and scientists. Cuba explained its code of
conduct as being dictated by national priorities, where there
is national control of research, education and transfers in
the bio sector. This was in contrast to Germany's
presentation which stated that the Government funds the
majority of projects but scientists establish the priorities
and control distribution of funds. Germany's current
priority is on research for pathogens and toxins.
Switzerland distributed a fact sheet used to educate
professional associations and academic institutions on the
importance of codes and consequences of biological research.
 
 
¶28. (U) A discussion panel focused on the importance of
education with experts from ICRC (Robin Copeland), UNESCO,
International Center for Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology, and the International Council for Life
Sciences. The panel expressed a desire for the 2011 RevCon
to include education on the agenda by requesting countries to
report back on developments on curriculum and training
programs.
 
¶29. (U) Several States Parties (Australia, Argentina, InQ
Georgia Q Pakistan) gave presentations Friday morning on
education and raising awareness. Of note, India stated that
there is national guidance on education and awareness
training, but ultimate responsibility to ensure compliance is
up to the industries and individual Ministries. Georgia's
presentation recognized U.S. efforts, specifically DTRA,s
and the $280M in funds, to help eliminate biological weapons
and improve security and surveillance systems for dangerous
pathogens in the region.
 
¶30. (U) The United States, Netherlands, ROK, Sweden, Brazil,
Bulgaria, China and Ukraine gave presentations on codes of
conduct. The U.S. presentation was well received with the
ROK asking how to close the gap between codes and law. Del
rep replied that codes apply to all life sciences, but agreed
that there are gaps.
 
¶31. (U) China, when presenting their view on codes of
conduct, indicated that violators are to self-report
themselves. There was no discussion of efforts of a national
authority ensuring the guidance. Ukraine also stressed that
code of conduct compliance is up to individual scientists.
 
---------------
Poster Sessions
---------------
 
¶32. (U) "National, Regional and International Measures to
Improve Biosafety and Biosecurity." This inaugural poster
session consisted of 16 posters from States Parties,
professional organizations, and NGO'S on biosafety/security.
This innovation was deemed successful with strong attendance
and an excellent opportunity for detailed, yet informal,
interaction with the mix of attendees. The second poster
session, focusing on education, awareness, and codes of
conduct, consisted of over a dozen posters and was equally
well-attended.
 
-----------
NGO Lunches
-----------
 
Synthetic Biology: Engineering Life Science (Geneva Forum)
 
¶33. (U) A presentation was given on August 18 on an
educational seminar being developed that is geared towards
non-scientific policymakers on the future of biological
advances specific to genetic engineering and the dual-use
dilemma (that peaceful scientific research may be exploited
for malicious use due to universal materials, technology and
expertise in the life sciences). They posited that the use
of synthetic biology for malicious purposes is quite
futuristic, however, the ability of non-scientists to be able
to use biology to manufacture genetic material and eventually
organisms to advance fields such as alternative energy
(biofuels) and environmental remediation is going to be
commonplace given the advances in technology.
 
---------------
Dual-Use at the Cutting Edge: What to do about Oversight?
---------------
 
¶34. (U) On August 19, there was an academic panel discussion
moderated by Malcolm Dando (University of Bradford). BWC
Chairman Avramchev opened the discussion by stating that "the
BWC stands ready to ensure biopathogens are used only for
good." Panelists included Dr. Alexander Kelle (Bath
University), Kathryn Nixdorff (Darmstadt University of
Technology), Dr. David Friedman (Israeli Institute for
National Security Studies) and Elisa Harris (Center for
International Security Studies at Maryland). Nixdorff
discussed the Lemon-Relman Committee report in relationship
to bioregulators and delivery techniques. She specifically
mentioned Advances in Targeted Delivery Techniques for
vaccines, cancer therapy, immunotherapy, and viral vectors.
She also focused on aerosols in relation to nanoparticles,
opiates (Moscow theater incident) and oxytocin (for a false
sense of security in humans). Dr Kelle spoke about synthetic
biology and the biosecurity implications of this new
technology. Dr. Friedman described Israel's proposed new law
based on recommendations of the "Commission of Oversight of
Biotech Research" which is nearing approval in the Israeli
Parliament. Elisa Harris made a general presentation
concerning oversight of new technologies. There was also
discussion about a new Periodic Table for Biology similar to
the Chemical Periodic Table.
 
--------------------------------------------- -------
BWC Universalization (Bioweapons Prevention Project)
--------------------------------------------- -------
 
¶35. (U) On August 20, the BWPP roundtable included Kathryn
McLaughlin (BWPP), Kathryn Nixdorff (Hamburg), Alan Pearson
(Center for Nonproliferation and Arms Control), Gert Harigel
(BWPP Board) and Amb. Sergey Batsanov (Pugwash). Prof.
Nixdorff made a statement that there should be benchmarks for
the BWC and that ( How do you increase participation in
something (the CBM) that is not mandatory and even if
participation in the CBM is not legally binding, it should be
politically binding.
 
--------------------------------------------- ------
International Biosecurity Forum (Interacademy Panel (IAP),
National Academies of Science (NAS))
--------------------------------------------- ------
 
¶36. (U) On August 20, the Interacademy Panel (IAP) held a
roundtable to discuss code of conducts, education and
awareness-building. The discussion was lead by Alastair Hay
(University of Leeds), Ben Rusak (U.S. NAS) and Sergio
Pastrana (IAP). Mr. Hay stressed the importance of improving
awareness among scientists concerning misuse of science and
securing a culture of responsibility. He endorses
development of a code of conduct in the life sciences and
urges governments to follow-up on their proposals. Mr. Rusek
stated that there should be no limits on research and
progress on major research does not have dual-use potential.
Individual awareness is critical and there should be a
bottom-up voluntary awareness with a top-down oversight. He
encourages developing an on-line biosecurity advice portal.
Mr. Pastrana emphasized building consensus in the scientific
community to promote proper conduct and prevent hindrance of
science. He suggested that the UN should lead coordinating
of activities, organizing meetings, improve networking, and
deepen connections between the scientific community and
policy makers. The audience commented that the IAP should
take the lead as they have the breadth of audience; IAP
answered that they do not have the mandate or resources to
accept this task.
 
--------------------------------------------- -
National Implementation Measures for Effective Biosecurity
and Biosafety (VERTIC)
--------------------------------------------- -
 
¶37. (U) On August 22, VERTIC, the London-based NGO, briefed
on its capabilities to provide services to countries that
request assistance in drafting and enacting biological
security-related legislation. Also on the podium were UK and
Netherlands reps who announced their financial support to
allow VERTIC not only to analyze legislation and review draft
bills, but also to send experts to capitals. U.S. del rep
expressed strong support for VERTIC's efforts and said the
U.S. also hopes to be able to provide financial assistance in
the near future. He also urged Dels to consider how
assistance could be made available for implementation and
enforcement of legislation.
 
End of text of part one of two.
 
Rocca sends.
 
STORELLA

... And while asking myself WHAT is the Japanese "new strain of attenuated Ebola" and hoping it's to study a vaccination for the virus, I think people should be better informed on the bioweapons and their risks as too often this issue passes unobserved, or only part of it like in the RT article is reported, but the truth is that whatever state is still working and has a lot of work to be done against the Bio-weapons proliferation and related risks.

Offline Riney

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Re: WL tweet on Ebola virus... and the rest of the "Resident Evil scenario"
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 17:02:35 PM »
I am not sure if the Ebola virus itself fits the profile of a virus that would be suitable to be used as a Bio Weapon. It kills yes, but it also would have to be captured , contained, cultivated,  and able to be used in a focused way towards an enemy.
 I am not sure if Ebola fits that profile.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear

Offline jujyjuji

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Re: WL tweet on Ebola virus... and the rest of the "Resident Evil scenario"
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 15:07:35 PM »
By reading all these documents it seems many countries are studying Ebola also as a potential weapon, though I have the idea the main part of the studies are to create vaccinations and cures.

I think the initial RT.com article tweeted by WL is biased as it totally misses to say the eventual weaponization of the Zaire Ebola virus has NOTHING to with the actual epidemic situation; indeed it started way before 2009, and there are even WL cables showing for example all the failed attempt by Congo of containing the situation:

- 2005, May 24
Congo/b: Update On Ebola Outbreak In Northern Republic Of Congo- 2007, Sep 19
Drc Ebola Epidemic UpdateEmbassy Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)- 2007, Sep 11
Ebola Outbreak In Democratic Republic Of CongoEmbassy Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)- 2007, Sep 20
Drc: Disaster Declaration For Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever OutbreakEmbassy Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)- 2009, Jan 9
Ebola Cases Confirmed In DrcEmbassy Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

I'm seriously thinking the @wikileaks account has tweeted another partial view on the situation, almost cospiracy "Putinist" article.