Term Paper: Future of Governmental Controls in Bioterrorism

Pages: 10 (2862 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

Soon after 911 terrorist attack, the federal government introduced a regulation as per which 'export controls and trade sanctions and embargoes were regarded as the tools to guard against terrorism, and is devoting heightened focus to compliance and enforcement in academic research settings', the policy is aimed at preventing terrorist attack/s in future. The policy 'is devoting heightened focus to compliance and enforcement in academic research settings' (Mark, 2007). The Congress and the defense-oriented interests at the export control, major science funding, and defense agencies have been involved in wide range of activities aimed at the assessment and evaluation of the 'export controls to stem what they perceive to be a threat that academic institutions might transfer sensitive technology to potential terrorists' (Barry, 2002). The regulations are applicable on 'many types of equipment, chemicals, biological agents and toxins, materials, goods, and software code that are used by academic research institutions, and to certain information, training, and instruction relating to controlled materials or items' (Christian, 2004).


After 9/11, the Congress approved two federal laws i.e. Section 817 of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 and the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, the regulation imposed 'new and very stringent requirements on the transfer of, and on certain other activities with, biological agents, toxins and related equipment'. Some of the chemicals on which the restrictions have been imposed are subject to the 'requirements of export controls in addition to the requirements of the BPARA and its regulations and Section 817 of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act' (Jamie, 2003).

Bio-terrorism is considered as intermediate or transitional state of violence and terror which is intentionally conducted to ignite chaos with in society, the element of terrorism grips the local population with extreme fear, abuse, panic and torture through biological substances. The American society has observed several practices which are aimed at spreading 'intimidation, panic, and destruction in a population' through the public distribution of these biological substances. In real practice it has been observed that such individuals and groups which have differences with the state or government about policies and implementation are likely to create instability through means of terror (Christian, 2004).

The determinants of the trans-national and domestic politics are different, the trans-national terrorism is based on the concerns and grievances shared by the terrorists against influential people, in the case of transnational terrorism the terrorist individual and group plan to attack the rich citizens, this opportunity has been taken to reveal the concerns and demands of the terrorist group, and the advent of biological weapons have made it easier to create interface between the biological weapons and the target through smooth tactics. However, in the case of the domestic terrorism the approach is different (Alfred, 2006). The domestic terrorism has different reasons; the uprising is based on the social, political and ethnic negligence of the state towards its citizens. There is major difference between the historians, according to some the per capita national income has outraged the citizens, and compelled them to bridge association with terrorist groups, and terrorism based activities, on the other hand some historians have regarded 'the direct affiliation of the poverty with domestic terrorism as nuisance' (Mark, 2007).

According to the regulations, 'one provision of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, Section 817(1), amends Chapter 10 of Title 18 of the United States Criminal Code to criminalize a greater range of activities involving all types of biological agents and toxins and the equipment that may be considered a delivery system for such materials'. Furthermore the Section 175(a) of the U.S. Criminal Code has provided that 'anyone who knowingly develops, produces, stockpiles, transfers, acquires, retains, or possesses any biological agent, toxin, or delivery system for use as a weapon, are prophylactic, protective, or peaceful, or who knowingly helps a foreign state or organization to do so, or who attempts to do these things, may be punished by criminal fines of up to $500,000 for entities, and by imprisonment for any term of years or for life, criminal fines of up to $250,000, or by both for individuals, both subject to increase or decrease for certain aggravating and mitigating factors' (Jamie, 2003).

The Section 175(a) and new Sections 175(b) and 175- of the U.S. Criminal Code has expanded the criminal prohibition irrespective of the involvement with biological weapon. The section has imposed restriction on 'university or college, as well as for the individual researcher or other personnel including research support staff, purchasing staff, or shipping and receiving staff' if involved in the possession, acquisition or transference of the 'biological agent or toxin or related equipment of a type or in a quantity that is not reasonably justified by a prophylactic, protective, bona-fide research, or other peaceful purpose' (Mark, 2007). The regulation is not applicable on 'any biological agent or toxin that is in its natural environment, meaning that the agent or toxin has not been cultivated, collected, or otherwise extracted from its natural source'. The party found accused of violation, the offense is regarded as punishable 'by up to ten years in prison, or criminal fines of up to $250,000, or both for individuals, and by criminal fines of up to $500,000 for entities, both subject to increase or decrease for certain aggravating or mitigating factors' (Jamie, 2003). The measures are aimed at securing the environment of the country, and ensure atmosphere which is conducive and positive (Jamie, 2003).

The reasons of such behavior have been based on two different possibilities, it has been observed that autocratic regimes are normally involve in the adoption of certain repressive practices which are aimed at elimination of political dissent, this further ignite and bolster the purpose of terrorism, it has been observed that in many of the situations the local authorities offered mediocre level of political freedom when the government experiences political transition, the terrorist elements were successful to avail and scatter these practices across the state upon the failure of the state authority to 'implement their writ, the failure on the behalf of the state was to be associated with the lack of support for the government, and strong opposition against its policies and implementation' (Mark, 2007). It has been observed that the level and concentration of the terrorist incidents varied geographically, therefore geographical features including weather, elevation and area have been the reported factors which have influenced the level of terrorism.

The high levels of terrorism was rampant in the case where the state delivered lower levels of political rights to the citizens, when the state offered higher possible level of the political rights, the frequency of the terrorist events reduced, and lowest level of terrorism was practiced. In the case of my society the relationship between the terrorism and level of political rights was not linear, in situations where the states offered intermediate range of political freedom to its citizens, there were increase number of terrorist incidents (Robert, 2007).

Critical Evaluation

In one of the incident the American investigation monitored the biologists of the country who have been offering services and have strengthen the local expertise and command to avert possible threats and unwarranted consequences of the biological and chemical substances. In 2003, an American biologist was accused of stealing more than thirty vials of plague bacteria from the Texas Tech University in Lubbock, the biologist was arrested on suspicious linkages with the terrorist organizations, and more than sixty charges were levied against the biologists. However, the scientists community of the country were of the opinion that such practices of arrest do not signify the involvement of the biologist community in the reign of terror, rather it warned the scientist against the vulnerabilities associated with the chemicals they study, and the 'that effort is having repercussions that go far beyond the fate of one scientist' (Christian, 2004), and therefore the community shall adopt careful, secure and preventive approach towards such potential hazardous and threatening chemicals.

The anthrax attack made the public insecure against bio-terrorism. The investigation department of the country therefore had to identify and arrest the elements who were involved in heinous practices. The scientists have expressed their reluctance in offering their services against the projects which involve the agents which are potentially hazardous, and their exploitation might result in worst form of bio-terrorism, the chemicals 'could be exploited as bio-weapons' (Kent, 2005). The government of United States has therefore offered finances to expedite the research work on such chemicals, and have tried to estimate the level of danger which might be expected soon after the exposure of the chemical with the public. The government has introduced certain regulations to ensure the minimal risk factor during the research phase, and different restrictions have been imposed to avoid deliberate and accidental deadly use of the chemicals, therefore many researchers and laboratories have abandon their research work, and 'irreplaceable collections of microbes essential for managing and tracing outbreaks, bioterrorist or natural, have been destroyed simply because… [END OF PREVIEW]

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