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Terrorism

Computer-Aided Forensic Facial Comparison by Martin Paul Evison and Richard W. Vorder Bruegge (CRC) Countless facial images are generated everyday through digital and cell phone cameras, surveillance video systems, webcams, and traditional film and broadcast video. As a result, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have numerous opportunities to acquire and analyze images that depict persons of interest. Computer-Aided Forensic Facial Comparison is a comprehensive exploration of the scientific, technical, and statistical challenges facing researchers investigating courtroom identification from facial images.

Supported by considerable background material, research data, and prototypic statistical and applications software, this volume brings together contributions from anthropologists, computer scientists, forensic scientists, and statisticians. Topics discussed include:

  • Face database collection in 3D
  • Error and distinguishing power associated with craniofacial landmarks
  • Statistical analysis of face shape variation
  • Comparison of instrumentation
  • Court admissibility issues
  • Missing data
  • Computer applications development

Based on the quantification and analysis of more than 3000 facial images, this seminal work lays the foundation for future forensic facial comparison, computer applications development, and research in face shape variation and analysis. Using experimental and real case data, it demonstrates the influence of illumination, image resolution, perspective, and pose angle on landmark visibility. Two DVDs are included which contain the raw 3D landmark datasets for 3000 faces, additional datasets used in 2D analysis, and computer programs and spreadsheets used in analysis and in the development of prototypic applications software.

Excerpt: The faces of crime and terrorism are commonplace. Unlike DNA and fingerprints, which are normally encountered only at crime scenes or in government databases, images that depict the faces of criminals, terrorists, and their victims are ubiquitous. The ubiquity of digital cameras, cell phone cameras, surveillance video systems, and webcams, to say nothing of traditional film and broadcast video, results in the generation of countless facial images every day. Furthermore, the ease with which facial images can be transmitted, shared, and stored through the Internet and on devices such as servers, digital video recorders, computer hard drives, and removable media makes it possible to access millions of images and videos depicting faces with just a few clicks of a button.

As a result, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have many more opportunities to acquire and analyze images that depict persons of interest, whether they may be suspects of a crime, witnesses, or victims. In most cases, such images are used for investigative or recognition purposes, wherein an investigator or witness will look at a photograph and because of a prior association or familiarity with the subject, "recognize" the individual and thus be able to "identify" them. In some cases, however, the identity of the individual depicted in an image is subject to debate. In these cases, analysis by an expert may be necessary to either confirm or exclude a specific individual as being the subject depicted in an image.

A reliable method of confirming or excluding facial identity from photographs—"forensic facial comparison"—has an important role in criminal and intelligence investigations. Iscan (1993) discusses two major categories for photographic facial comparison: "morphological" and "anthropometric." A third category identified by Iscan as "video superimposition" should be considered as a combination of the first two—an examiner resizes and overlays two facial images, then determines whether there is an alignment and correspondence of features. Although explicit measurements may not be recorded, any differences in the geometric arrangement of features after the alignment is achieved must be incorporated into the ultimate conclusion. This method appears to be the preferred technique of forensic practitioners today.

Morphological analyses involve the direct comparison of facial features, and require that the expert/examiner identify similarities and differences in the observed characteristics. These characteristics include both "class" and "individual" characteristics, where the former can represent characteristics common to many individuals (e.g., the overall shape of the nose, eyes, or mouth), while the latter can include such characteristics as freckles, moles, and scars. The location and distribution of these characteristics are considered in morphological analyses, but are not explicitly measured. This type of analysis is discussed in Spaun and Vorder Bruegge.

Anthropometric analyses rely upon the explicit measurement of landmarks on the face and a comparison of these measurements between the questioned and known subjects. In most cases, blemishes such as freckles, moles, or scars are not incorporated into anthropometric analyses.

While a combination of the morphological and anthropometric techniques through overlay analysis is now anticipated to offer the best possible mechanism for photographic identification of individuals by human examiners, the anthropometric technique alone is the focus of the research described herein. Examples of the use of anthropometric analysis in criminal cases have been described by Halberstein.

Any anthropometric analysis of images requires the incorporation of photogrammetric principles. This stems from the basic principle that while most images are two-dimensional (2D) representations, the face is a three-dimensional (3D) object. Hence, the research summarized in this volume was undertaken with the ultimate aim of creating, a reliable method of photogrammetric analysis of faces that can be used to confirm or exclude an identity based on facial measurements—craniofacial anthropometrics--as an operational capability for both criminal investigation and prosecution.

At a more basic level, however, a fundamental question addressed by this research is whether human beings may be distinguished from one another based solely upon the geometrical arrangement of facial landmarks common to all. Whereas it is accepted that all human beings may be distinguished from one another on the basis of their DNA (with the exception of identical twins or multiples), and probably through other modalities of human identification such as fingerprint and iris patterns, the ability to discriminate every human being from another based upon their facial characteristics is an open question—and one that needs to be answered. The recent National Academy of Sciences report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States (NAS 2009) did not explicitly address forensic facial comparison, but could have been when it stated "in most forensic science disciplines, no studies have been conducted of large populations to establish the uniqueness of marks or features. ... A statistical framework ... is greatly needed."

To date, no statistical means of individual identification from the face has been developed for use in court. Current photogrammetric methods intended to offer proof of facial identification are crude and may lead to erroneous matches or exclusions; such errors have the potential to result in both unwarranted convictions and acquittals of guilty suspects. It with this in mind that the investigation described in this chapter was undertaken.

The investigation can be conceptually divided into two parts: (1) collection of a database of 3D faces and face measurements and (2) provision of a rapid and automatic means of recording, comparison, matching, and exclusion of facial images that is defensible in a court of law on the basis of empirical scientific evidence open to peer review and scientific scrutiny. In practice, however, this volume is organized into chapters describing self-contained but interrelated investigations and database and prototype development exercises.

The evaluation of instruments for 3D face capture is described in Chapter 2. Investigations of anthropometric face shape variation in 3D and collection of a large database sample of 3D faces are described in Chapters 3 and 4, respectively. Landmark variation in 2D is investigated in Chapter 5. Each chapter offers consideration of error and repeatability in measurement. Wider issues of landmark visibility in 3D, and error due to the influence of lens and perspective are considered independently in Chapters 6 and 7. Chapters 8 and 9 explore more theoretically orientated avenues of related research, specifically landmark placement using the active shape model and estimation of missing landmark position using the EM algorithm. Chapter 10 introduces the fundamental issue of courtroom admissibility. Chapter 11 describes the prototypic application toolset developed as a consequence of the preceding research and the results of preliminary testing. Finally, Chapter 12 reviews the overall problems and prospects of the effort.

Both commercial and custom software application tools were used in the project. The personal computer platforms employed were Microsoft® Windows-based IBM-compatible PCs capable of hosting distributed low volume graphics-orientated systems for research, systems development, and testing purposes. Standard platforms consisted of 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 CPUs with 2 GB of RAM and 256 MB PCI-E dual-head graphics cards supporting two 19" LCD monitors at 1080 x 1045 pixel resolution. Statistical programming was undertaken in R (R 2009), and Microsoft Windows applications were developed in C++ and Visual Basic.

Collection of information of any kind from human subjects for research purposes is regarded as highly ethically sensitive, and the collection of identifiable personal information—of which the face is clearly an emotive example—particularly so. As well as being of general importance, there was a specific requirement for data collection with informed consent and for steps to be taken to safeguard and preserve the strict anonymity of the public volunteers' identities. The facial images remain unobscured, however, to facilitate access by other bona fide researchers.

The research project and proposed data collection process was reviewed by a University of Sheffield research ethics committee. The review addresses issues such as scientific quality, potential for harm to volunteers or the public, informed consent, appropriateness of the information collected to the research goals, and confidentiality. Mechanisms for the control of access to the database, now and in the future, were regarded as critical issues.

Informed consent hinged on the appropriateness of information offered to volunteers, and details of data requested and consent given. Favorable ethical review was given, based on the information sheet, biographic information form, and consent form used in the data collection process. These are included in Appendix A.

It should be noted, in particular, that public volunteers' faces are to remain confidential and are not to be published or made public in any way. Volunteers may withdraw from the database at any time without giving a reason, and their database records will be deleted. Volunteers' data may be used in the future by bona fide researchers in crime prevention and detection—subjectively defined by forensic scientists as researchers in public organizations with a genuine interest in forensic facial identification.

Volunteers' ages were restricted to over 14. For 16 to 18 year olds, informed consent of the parent or guardian was requested and, if possible, obtained.

Departure from the information given to volunteers and uses consented to by them may constitute a breach of human subject research ethics.

The database and data collection program (Chapter 4) were designed by and undertaken under the direction of the Principal Investigator, who identified the Magna Science Adventure Centre (Rotherham, South Yorkshire, UK) as a promising site for data collection from public volunteers. Magna is a popular science museum located in a former steel foundry. To mitigate risk, however, plans were made for data collection at other venues and a partly mobile data collection platform was implemented based on the Geometrix FaceVision® FV802 Series Biometric Camera (see Chapters 2, 3, and 4).
Similarly, a Cyberware® 3030PS Head and Neck Scanner—which uses an alternative laser-based technology—was installed in reserve (see Chapter 2).
In order to foster public interest in the research, a launch was held at the Magna Science Adventure Centre, with the invaluable support of representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Forensic Audio, Video and Image
Analysis Unit (FAVIAU; see Figure 1.1). The launch was a very successful event, attracting all the main network radio and television news services in the United Kingdom, and transpired to be more popular even than the opening of the Magna Science Adventure Centre itself. Although there was some interest in the privacy aspects of the research the popular interest and press coverage was overwhelmingly positive, and this trend continued throughout the project.

Potential volunteers were provided with the project information sheet and given the opportunity to discuss the project with technicians employed to assist with data collection. Members of the public willing to volunteer were asked to complete the biographic information sheet and consent form, which optionally allowed volunteers to give an email address via which they could be contacted with further information about the project. Volunteers were then scanned with the 3D stereophotographic and laser scanners.

Both scanners were commissioned, calibrated where necessary, and used in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions. Technicians undertook a formal induction and training process to ensure the manufacturer's procedures were followed, supported by site visits from representatives of both companies.

The Geometrix FaceVision FV802 Series Biometric Camera is portable, enabling data collection to be extended beyond the Magna site. These excursions had the added benefit of making the research project and methods employed known to other experts, fostering greater acceptance of the research within the forensic science community and permitting field testing of the 3D scanning equipment.

The data collection program was designed to meet a specific requirement for 3D data collection from a small representative sample population stratified by sex, age, build, and geographic ancestry. The biographic information sheet was used to record the individual's sex, age, and ancestry—selfassessed subjectively according to the U.K. National Census classifications. The site location, scanner used, and technician undertaking the scan were also recorded. In this way, analysis of craniofacial variation could be undertaken according to biological (sex, age) or bio-cultural (ancestry and intraand inter-observer) site, observer, and scanner categories.

To ensure that the database size requirement was met, an excess of volunteers' faces were scanned. After some records were deleted because of quality control or other issues, over 3000 volunteers' facial images were obtained, the overwhelming majority collected with the Geometrix FaceVision FV802 Series Biometric Camera.

Each volunteer was provided with a copy of their own 3D facial image model generated with the Geometrix FaceVision software (Figure 1.2). The volunteer was then able to view their facial image in a Web browser on their own desktop using the Viewpoint Media Player (www.viewpoint.com).

The large sample database was retained in the following form:

  • Geometrix ForensicAnalyzer® project folders, each containing the eight facial images of a volunteer in JPEG, MTS, and DXF format files of the 3D surface of the volunteer's face generated by the Geometrix FaceVision application tool, and a calibration file permitting regeneration of the face surface using FaceVision. There are over 3000 project folders with names corresponding to the unique key references of the volunteers scanned with the Geometrix FaceVision FV802 Series Biometric Camera. Each folder contains 12 files: eight JPEG files corresponding to the eight 2D digital camera images, a calibration file, a landmark data file, and the MTS and DXF format 3D face surface image data.
  • Cyberware project folders each containing the facial image of a volunteer in DXF format. The folder name corresponds to the unique key reference of the volunteers scanned using the Cyberware equipment. The folder contains DXF and RGB 3D surface and color image files, respectively.

The large sample database is available to bona fide researchers in crime prevention and detection via intergovernmental agreement (see Chapter 4).

The following landmark datasets, research material, and prototypic programs are included on the digital media included with this volume:

  • CSV format file containing all landmark data collected from the 3115 volunteers landmarked using Geometrix FaceVision, including those with "missing data"
  • EVB_real_data.csv
  • CSV format file containing landmark data collected from the 3115 volunteers landmarked using Geometrix FaceVision, but excludes those with "missing data"
  • EVB_complete_real_data.csv
  • CSV format file containing landmark data collected from the 3115 volunteers landmarked using Geometrix FaceVision, where values are generated for "missing data" using the EM algorithm
  • EVB_em_data.csv
  • CSV format file containing the biographic data for all volunteers EVB_biographic_data.csv
  • CSV format file containing a list of the 30 landmarks and their names EVB_final_301andmarks.csv
  • Folders containing copies of Microsoft Windows programs, R programs, and MATLAB® and MAXscript® programs, corresponding to application tools and research tools used in each chapter

The investigation has resulted in prototypic models warranting further development, with the ultimate aim of technology transition from research to application. Commercial use of such research—including commercial and open source software—may require special licensing arrangements to be made with the supplier.

Advances in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures  edited by Ronald J. Kendall, Steven M. Presley, Galen P. Austin, Philip N. Smith  (CRC)  Drawing heavily on the findings and conclusions from research conducted through the Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats (operated through The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University and partially funded through the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command), this critical work provides perspectives, policies, and procedures to assist the United States and other nations to counter or prevent current and emerging terrorist threats.

  • An up-to-date assessment of the technologies and strategies established to defend against this kind of attack, Advances in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures—
  • Focuses on modeling, simulation, and visualization; environmental protection; personal protection and therapeutics; and the mechanistic and toxic effects of weapons
  • Discusses the relationship between risk and vulnerability to establish a measure of threat
  • Examines the manner of threat agent dispersal through the environment
  • Explores the development of sensors and the use of phage display for detection and therapeutic intervention
  • Provides an overview of recognized threats and their toxic effects
  • Calls on leading researchers to present their own findings as well as their expert opinions and recommendations
  • Supplements the material with a 16-page color insert

Heavily referenced, this science-based work is an excellent tool to assist military and homeland security personnel and first responders to improve their ability to develop and implement countermeasures to the potential biological and chemical threat agents that continue to emerge.

Western civilization is at war—a multifaceted, asymmetric, global war being fought in a nondelineated, undefined battle space, waged against a faceless enemy that operates from the shadows, utilizing both conventional and unconventional weapons and tactics to achieve its objectives. These 21st-century terrorists do not officially rep-resent nation-states, but often they represent a religious ideology expressed through violence and death. They are driven by hatred and religious fanaticism, with many striving for the destruction of Western society and culture, and ultimately for the establishment of a global theocracy. The employment of unconventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction against civilian noncombatants is not novel or unique to present times. Mankind has exploited diseases, toxins, and poisons since the earliest days of recorded history to wage warfare, commit crimes, and influence or coerce others. However, accessibility to biological and chemical weapon agents, and their enhanced capacity to cause morbidity and mortality, as well as improvement of tactics for their employment, have significantly increased the need for the development of more effective means of detecting and countering such weapons. Additionally, Western society has become considerably more vulnerable to terrorism.

Many advanced sovereign nations have experienced an increase in terrorist activities due to an erosion of the restraints that once limited the terrorist's abilities to engage modern military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies. Previously effective restraints included political and ideological isolation, prohibitive technical and fiscal requirements for the production of adequate qualities and quantities of terror-based weapons, and complex logistical and organizational obstacles that precluded delivery of such weapons (Stern 1999). Terrorist groups and individuals that Western societies now face, both militarily and in civil society, are not restrained in their actions. They have proven to be innovative and resilient, with a willingness to murder civilians and to martyr themselves without guilt or hesitation. Terrorists capitalize on the critical vulnerability fundamental to most advanced Western societies—openness and freedom. The avowed willingness of terrorists to use any means, including covert biological and chemical weapons against noncombatants, has dramatically impacted the psyche, social norms, and economies of many Western societies, and has instilled a chronic state of awareness of the ever-present threat of terrorism into every aspect of daily life in those societies (e.g., air travel, food and water supplies, public gatherings, etc.). "Noncombatant" is a misnomer in this context; the reality of the "global war on terrorism" is that civilians and civil society are the actual tactical targets for terrorism and are forced into a role as primary combatants.

The citizenry and governmental infrastructures of the West continue to regain their footing following the horrific terrorist attacks upon the United States on September 11, 2001. As a direct result of the September 11 attacks, there was a dramatic realization of the unrestrained, ruthless violence that could be targeted at and perpetrated upon Western civilization by relatively low-tech terrorists. This changed the collective mind-set of Western governments and militaries with regard to terrorists and their threats, and caused reassessment of vulnerabilities and protective capabilities. Western governments and peoples have increasingly recognized the vulnerabilities inherent to a free and open democratic society. Such vulnerabilities are not limited to those overt and covert threats associated with expansive coastlines and borders, or industrial and transportation systems, but include the day-to-day necessities of life such as food production, water supply, and a safe environment within which to work and recreate. The ability to reduce or eliminate these vulnerabilities and respond to terrorism, particularly biological and chemical terrorism, is highly dependent upon innovative and unprecedented mergers and collaborations among academia, engineering, industry, medical arts, and research sciences.

The primary focus and intent of this book is to improve the reader's understanding of the current status of scientific research on countermeasures to biological and chemical threat agents through an enhanced knowledge of the history of their usage, the types and extent of the threats to humans and society at large that they pose, and an awareness of the vulnerabilities within Western societies that exist due to lifestyle and demographics.

Scientific research efforts to develop and employ capabilities to counter biological and chemical threat agents and weapons must address the basic tenets of environmental toxicology and focus upon all environmental compartments, including the air, biological organisms, land, and water. The relevance of the relationship between exposure, dose, and effect, and how toxicants may move through or be retained in the environment is critical to identifying and characterizing the hazards associated with both biological and chemical threat agents.

Throughout the chapters of this book there are critical terms and phrases that are used, many of which may have different specific meanings to scientists from different disciplines. Because of the highly multidisciplinary composition of the authors of the present text, every effort has been made to standardize usage and meaning of such terms and phrases, and a glossary of terminology and phrases is provided fol-lowing the final chapter. A few critical concepts essential to the understanding of this topic are explained in this chapter.

The terms chemical weapon and biological weapon are often used collectively in reference to a chemical compound or substance, or a pathogenic organism or toxin derived from a living organism that has been enhanced or modified for use as a weapon to cause morbidity or mortality in a population; whether this agent is specific to humans, animals, or plants is dependent upon the objectives of the user. The enhancement or "weaponization" of the biological pathogen, toxin, or chemical sub-stance may be by means to improve its ease of delivery, longevity in the environment in which it is delivered, toxicological or disease-causing effects upon the intended target population, or speed of action once within the intended target population. Bio-logical weapons may be either living organisms that infect the victim and cause disease (such as bacteria and viruses) or specific toxins derived from bacteria, viruses, and other naturally occurring organisms.

Biological or chemical terrorism can be defined as the threat of, or intentional release or delivery of such agents for the purpose of influencing the conduct of a government, or intimidating or coercing a civilian population, which is an expansion on the definition used by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO 2001). The term "international terrorism" means activities that involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any state. The term "domestic terrorism" means activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state and appear to be intended (1) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (2) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (3) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (4) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States (U.S. Code 18).

The actual use of biological or chemical agents by terrorists to cause disease or debilitate a population can be either overt or covert. The overt use of a biological or chemical weapon, particularly a chemical agent, is an immediately recognizable incident, either through the delivery method (e.g., explosion, motor vehicle, etc.) or the near-immediate physiological effects on the targeted population. Most military use of chemical weapons can be characterized as overt, is typically tactical in scope, and is focused on immobilizing, debilitating, or killing victims within a specific building, location, or area of the battle space. An excellent discussion of the comparative and theoretical differences in the delivery and intended impacts of biological and chemical weapons, both covert and overt, is provided in the first two chapters of Falkenrath and others (2001). Covert use of either weapon type, but more especially biological agents, may be intended to accomplish more strategic objectives. Because of the self-perpetuating capabilities and delayed morbidity or mortality following exposure or infection, most disease-causing organisms used as biological weapons, particularly the zoonoses, can be delivered upon a target population without risk of immediate detection. Strategic objectives that may be sought through the covert delivery of a biological weapon might include the disruption of food production, processing, or delivery, and the disruption of industry or the economy through worker absenteeism.

Only moderate technical skills are required to develop or improvise effective delivery equipment for the covert use of either chemical or biological weapons. An assessment of a population's vulnerability to attack with biological or chemical weapons must consider the potential use of any delivery method, not just highly technical and use-specific delivery systems. An example of diverse and simple low-technology means of agent delivery is the use of the U.S. Postal Service to deliver letters and parcels contaminated with anthrax spores (Bacillus anthracis) during October 2001. Further discussion of types of biological and chemical weapons, their deployment and potential effects are provided in Chapter 2. Directly compared, there is a greater likelihood of the surreptitious release of a biological agent than for a chemical agent, for unlike chemical agents, which are often more acute or immediate in their effects, biological pathogen agents must invade and replicate within the host animal or plant tissues before pathology and clinical symptoms of infection present themselves (MacIntyre et al. 2000).

Information available in this chapter will provide a brief overview of the history of biological and chemical weapons and their use for terrorism, briefly discuss the technical aspects characteristic of currently recognized biological and chemical threat agents, and relate the importance of ongoing and needed multidisciplinary research programs to address countermeasures to biological and chemical threats to both military and civilian elements of Western society, economic viability, and political stability.

It is important for the reader to understand that the use of biological and chemical threat agents against humans and their interests, including crops, livestock, and wildlife, is not a new or novel concept. Numerous references to the use of biological pathogens, toxins, and chemical agents as weapons can be found throughout writ-ten history. The modality of these weapons has not significantly changed, but technologies to enhance their effectiveness and capacity to exploit those modalities have improved. The actual delivery and resultant human morbidity or mortality resulting from the use of biological and chemical weapons is only one aspect of their effectiveness. The psychological aspects such as fear and terror produced within a population and society at large that result from the threat of their use can be just as effective, if not more so. References to the use of biological and chemical agents as weapons reach back into the earliest annals of recorded history. Although not an exhaustive or all-inclusive listing of the historic use of biological or chemical weapons, we present an overview of those specific incidents that represent the wide spectrum of technology utilized in the production and delivery or dissemination of such weapons.

Perhaps one of the earliest reported and most simple uses of a biological agent in warfare is from the 6th century BC, when Assyrian armies used a toxin derived from ergot-infected rye to poison the water wells of besieged enemies.* Another unique and innovative use of biological agents is reported from around 400 BC, in which it was the practice of Scythian archers to dip the heads of their arrows into vats of bacteria-rich human excrement and decomposing corpses (Smart 1997). Although not necessarily a distinct and effective biological weapon by modern standards, the bacterial contamination to the wound caused by such an arrow and highly probable secondary infection was most likely very effective in causing increased (however delayed) morbidity and mortality in their enemies. Effective chemical weapons were believed to have been used in warfare as early as 429 BC during the Peloponnesian War. Using hollowed-out wooden beams, Spartan forces and their allies directed smoke from a burning concoction of sulfur and pitch into the Athenians' fort—disabling the defenders with an effective choking agent (Thucydides 431 BC). The tactics used by the Spartans bear a striking resemblance to those of Sadam Hussein's Iraqi military use of chemical agents such as tabun and mustard gas during the Iran-Iraq War and against the Kurds throughout the 1980s nearly 2,500 years later (DOD 1996; Zilinskas 1997).

Warfare and weapon technologies and tactics advanced significantly by the Mid-dle Ages, but the frailty and susceptibility to disease of the warriors had not much improved. During the long siege of Kaffat by the Tartars, squalid and desperate conditions led to an outbreak of plague (Yersinia pestis) among the Tartar forces in 1346 (Deaux 1969; Gottfried 1983; Marks 1971). With death claiming a large portion of the army, the Tartars catapulted corpses of those who succumbed to the disease over the city walls into the Genoese defenders. This caused great terror among the city's defenders who, in an attempt to escape infection, fled by ship back to Genoa and took the plague back to southwestern Europe. Much speculation and discussion on

whether the catapulted, infected corpses were truly an effective means of infecting the defenders has been exhaustive; some argue that the fleas would have detached from the bodies prior to being catapulted and thus infection from the corpses could not have occurred. Perhaps dogs and rats fed upon the corpses, became infected, and thus infected the fleas that fed upon them. Subsequently, those rats and fleas then boarded the ships, where the fleas then fed upon the crowded and fleeing Italians (thus completing the zoonotic disease cycle), who then transported the plague and contributed to the establishment of a second epidemic focal point of the Black Death pandemic in Europe. The original focal point of the Black Death epidemic that deci-mated Europe is believed to have been Constantinople.

Russians under the leadership of Peter the Great exploited the same "biological pathogen" delivery methods that the Tartars used, catapulting of plague-infected corpses, against the Swedes during the Great Northern War (1700-1721). After a long and severe Russian winter, the plague-devastated and severely weakened Swed-ish army under the leadership of Charles XII was soundly defeated at Poltava in July of 1709 (Smart 1997).

Smallpox has been used throughout history as a very effective biological weapon agent. It is suspected that Francisco Pizarro (circa 1470-1541), in his conquest of Peru, presented the immunonaive natives blankets and clothing contaminated with the smallpox virus—thus causing a widespread smallpox epidemic and decimating their defenses. A later and controversial suspected use of smallpox as a biological weapon agent occurred during the French and Indian War (1754-1767). English forces were frustrated and suffering extensive losses to the guerilla tactics of the Indians during Pontiac's Rebellion in New England. After trying numerous unorthodox approaches, English forces reportedly distributed blankets soiled with the exudates, excreta, and vomit from smallpox victims at the English Fort Pitt to Indians loyal to the French. An epidemic of smallpox ensued and Fort Carillon fell to the English soldiers (Smart 1997). Numerous historical documents exist to support these stories, including correspondence between Governor General Jefferey Amherst and his field commander Colonel Henry Bouquet that were discovered as part of the British Manuscript Project, 1941-1945, undertaken by the U.S. Library of Congress during World War II. In a letter from Colonel Bouquet to General Amherst, dated July 13, 1763, he suggests the distribution of blankets to inoculate the Indians with the disease: "I will try to innoculate the Indians by means of blankets that may fall into their hands, taking care [illegible] not to get the disease myself."* In Gen-eral Amherst's reply dated July 16, 1763, he approves Colonel Bouquet's suggested method and encourages him to do whatever is necessary to gain victory: "You will do well to try to innoculate the Indians by means of blanketts, so well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race. I should be very glad your [illegible] scheme for hunting them down by dogs could take effect."

During World War I, German agents (including Captain Erich von Steinmentz), disguised as women, illegally entered the United States to inoculate horses, mules, and cattle with anthrax and glanders prior to their shipment to France to support the war effort (Smart 1997). The arrival of the 20th century not only brought more covert usage of biological pathogens but also welcomed the large-scale production, stockpiling, and overt use of chemical weapons on the battlefield. The first large-scale use of chemical weapons on the modern battlefield occurred on April 15, 1915, near Ypres, Belgium. Approximately 150 tons of chlorine gas was released from 6,000 cylinders upwind of Allied forces, killing 800 and debilitating 15,000. Although very simplistic in the delivery and dissemination technologies used (gas cylinders and wind), the attack was very effective both physically and psychologically. German forces once again tested new chemical weapon technologies on July 12, 1917, again near Ypres, Belgium, when artillery units delivered sulfur mustard via artillery shells onto Allied infantry and caused more than 20,000 casualties (Smart 1997).

Immediately after witnessing and suffering the horrors of an estimated 530,000– 1,300,000 casualties resulting from the use of approximately 125,000 tons of chemi-cal weapons during World War I (Legro 1995), the international community moved to outlaw the use of such weapons through the Geneva protocol of 1925.* The pro-tocol was initially signed by only 38 nations but has since been signed by more than 130 nations. Neither the United States nor Japan was an initial signatory, but eventu-ally the United States did conditionally ratify the protocol in 1975.

During World War I, World War II, and throughout the Cold War, vast quantities of chemical weapons were produced and stockpiled by the Soviet Union and the United States; however, very few were actually employed during World War II. It is estimated that as much as 181,000 metric tons of chemical weapons were produced and stockpiled in the Soviet Union during this period, while some 27,000 metric tons were stockpiled in the United States (Falkenrath et al. 2001; U.S. Office of Technology Assessment [OTA] 1993). The most notable use of biological weapons during wartime, at least to any significant scale, occurred in the 1930s and 1940s. The Japanese Imperial Army established Unit 731 in Beiyinhe, Manchuria, in 1932 to research and manufacture biological warfare agents, including anthrax, glanders, and plague. A full account of Unit 731's activities and the overall efforts of the Japanese army to research, build, and employ biological weapons during WWII can be found in books by Harris (1994) and Williams and Wallace (1989). The facility was moved to Ping Fan in 1937 and large-scale biological weapon production and delivery research was conducted. Various pathogens and delivery methods were refined, but one stands out as an excellent example of a simple method for delivering biological agents. In 1937 Japanese military airplanes dropped plague-infected fleas, some contained in porcelain bombs and some loose, as well as Yersinia pestis–saturated rice onto Chinese and Soviet villages, which ultimately caused significant plague outbreaks among civilians and military personnel.

In 1942 the U.S. military began research into the offensive use of biological weapons in response to a perceived German biowarfare threat (U.S. biological weapon efforts were located at Camp Detrick, Maryland). The program was terminated in 1969 by President Richard M. Nixon, and the stockpiles of biological weapons were destroyed in 1971 and 1972. Also in 1972, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction (The Biological Weapons Conventions) was signed.* Although the United States used significant amounts of various herbicidal defoliants to gain visual access to enemy actions and supply routes throughout Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, the use of these defoliants was not targeted at humans. Nevertheless, human exposure to one compound in particular, "Agent Orange" (2,4-D and 2,4,5-T) and dioxin contaminants, has been shown to have devastating long-term health consequences.

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, particularly after the Biological Weapons Conventions, the use of biological and chemical agents as weapons of war, at least on a large scale, has been limited. However, there have been numerous incidents of biological or chemical agents being used in limited and focused attacks against individuals or small groups. Historical trends related specifically to events involving the use of biological agents (n = 415) have been empirically reviewed and were classified according to three general types: terrorist events, criminal events, and state-sponsored assassinations (Tucker 1999). In that article, Tucker concludes that although the historical records may lead to the belief that future incidents of bio-terrorism will likely involve hoaxes and relatively small-scale events, the ability to utilize dual-use technologies for the production of bioterrorism agents coupled with the availability of scientists formerly employed by the Soviet Union have actually increased the potential for mass casualty terrorism.

One relatively recent incident involving the use of a biological agent on a com-munity scale very clearly fits the definition of bioterrorism and is an excellent dem-onstration of the difficulty associated with recognizing a covert bioterror attack. In an attempt to sway a countywide election by inhibiting the ability of voters to reach polling stations, members of a cult following of Baghwan Sri Rajneesh contami-nated the salad bars of four different restaurants in the Dalles, Oregon, area with Salmonella typhimurium in 1984. More than 750 people suffered the ill effects of the exposure, but the knowledge that it was an act of bioterrorism was not revealed until almost 2 years later when a cult member being tried on unrelated charges confessed to the 1984 attacks. A full report describing this community-focused, politically driven act of biological terrorism is provided by Torok et al. (1997).

A more elaborate and deadly attack, this time a chemical terrorism attack by members of the Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese apocalyptic cult, was carried out in the Tokyo subway system in March 1995 (Olson 1999). It was suspected by international intelligence agencies that Aum Shinrikyo was working to develop biological and chemical weapons, but not until they killed 12 and severely`injured thousands more by releasing sarin gas were they taken seriously.

There are numerous excellent sources of additional information and details regarding the historical use and impact of both biological and chemical weapon agents, in warfare as well as for terrorism, available to the reader through the Inter-net, particularly the U.S. Army's Textbooks of Military Medicine entitled Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare (Side11 et al. 1997).

History can be an excellent source of information for planning strategies and developing methods and technologies to prevent and respond to terrorist threats, but we must not limit our assessment of potential threats and countermeasure strategies and technologies to only addressing a repeat of historical events. The historical record regarding the use of biological or chemical weapons by terrorist groups as weapons of mass destruction, particularly by domestic and non-state-sponsored groups and rogue fanatical religious or apocalyptic groups, suggests that technological, organizational, and logistical restraints limit the threat they pose on a national scale to the United States. However, a statement before the House Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations by John V. Parachini (senior associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies) in October 1999, in response to the U.S. Government Accounting Office's report on the threat posed by terrorists' use of biological and chemical threat agents, very clearly identifies the changing threat scenario posed by international terrorist groups such as Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'ida and others with superior organizational structure, near limitless monetary and technological resources, and worldwide reach. However, information gained during the global war on terror regarding the intricate and complex organization and technologies available to groups such as al-Qa'ida and nation-states that indirectly support and sponsor them suggests that those restraints may no longer exist—at least, not to an extent upon which we can rely.

The following section provides a brief description of the intended knowledge and concepts to be conveyed through the various chapters of this textbook. The research efforts and successes resulting from the Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Pro-gram for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats (Zumwalt Program) have focused, since its inception, upon four critical areas: (1) modeling, simulation, and visualization of threats; (2) strategies for environmental protection from chemical and biological threats; (3) personal protection and therapeutics; and (4) mechanistic and toxic effects of biological and chemical weapons. These topic areas were used in developing the specific chapter topics used in this book.

Chapter 2 provides an extensive discussion of the threats and vulnerabilities associated with the employment and effects of biological and chemical threat agents by terrorists. The chapter strives to educate the reader on the relationships among risk (potential for exposure), vulnerability (weakness or situation predisposing one to exposure) and threat as they relate to effectively responding to and countering such an attack: Vulnerability + Risk = Threat.

Chapter 3 focuses upon the research findings and technical advances in the modeling, simulation, and visualization of how biological and chemical threat agents disperse and move through the environment and structures. Chapter 4 reports on the state-of-the-science related to the strategies and approaches for assessment necessary for environmental protection from biological and chemical threat agents. Chapter 5 discusses the important mechanistic and toxic effects of chemical weapons on humans. Chapter 6 provides an extensive overview of the challenges faced and successes accomplished in the field of sensor development to detect and identify biological and chemical threats in the environment. Chapter 7 reports on recent advances and remaining opportunities for research in the area of phage display and its applications for the detection and therapeutic intervention of biological threat agent exposures, in vivo. Chapter 8 summarizes the need for, and research-based advances in, the development of personal protective capabilities against chemical threats. Chapter 9 provides an overview of recognized biological threat agents and their mechanisms of effect, and summarizes advances and accomplishments of related research. And finally, Chapter 10 offers significant conclusions of the scientists involved in the Zumwalt Program, specific areas identified as needing further research, and how their current and future multidisciplinary research findings may contribute to countering biological and chemical threats.

Although the challenges Western civilization now faces both at home and abroad as a result of this global war on terrorism are numerous and daunting, as we have discussed here, the concept of biological and chemical warfare is not new. However, the technologies associated with these tactics and the vulnerabilities inherent in modern Western society have changed immensely. As we recognize and assess potential vulnerabilities that are common within Western societies, such as unrestricted movement and travel within continental borders, food production and distribution technologies and methods, communication systems and electronic essentials, as well as medicine and public health services, it is critical that we design and implement scientific research programs to effectively address and counter the threats. Research and development programs specifically designed to address these threats must integrate multidisciplinary expertise and high levels of experience, and maintain research momentum to ensure that there exists the capability to successfully counter future biological and chemical threats. As we have learned from history, strategic advances gained through applied scientific research will ultimately ensure victory in the war against terrorism.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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