1 Imagine the following hypothetical situation a tobacco farmer in southeast Texas goes out into a cattle pen to feed

his cattle and notices one cow is sick, within a time span of a several days more animals on his farm become sick. He calls the local vet and it is determined that they have vesicular stomatitis. Nothing can be done. The vet reports it to the district reporting office that then sends someone to obtain a culture, the next day a neighboring farmer reports his herd is sick too. After 12 days the farm report says that a farm in the north has been hit hard and officials fear that it may be foot and mouth disease. Two days later the state disease control team shows up and delivers the bad news that it is indeed foot and mouth disease. Soon a six-county area is under quarantine involving tens of large ranches and scores of small farms. The Congressman from the district reports on a televised report that it maybe the work of bio-terrorists from the other side of the world. Later another team arrives and starts asking questions and find out that it was started due to a goat that was given to the farmer as a gift from his cousin who found the goat that seemed out of place on the beach in Galvaston. The farmer had no idea that the goat’s sore hooves were an indicator that something was wrong.1 Then, imagine going to a restaurant to a buffet, you eat some barbeque ribs and in a matter of a couple of hours you become deathly ill. You later find out through being tested at your doctors office that you contracted a highly contagious, deadly virus that was injected into the meat on the buffet. The pathogen responsible, botulism. You soon become deathly ill and die. Upon your death it is reported many more were affected by the meat on the buffet and many more people die. Does this sound like something out of a horror novel? No, unfortunately it is all too real and can very much happen to the Midwest food chain. The threat of agro-1
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From the Federation of American Scientists Ahead Iliad Web site

2 terrorism is something we take for granted in the Midwest and believe we are exempt from. In fact we are equally susceptible to terrorism as say what is regarded as more mainstream traditional terrorist targets on the east coast and west coast. In the research that follows I will give some background into biological terrorism, give examples of three very deadly biological agents that can very well affect the entire ecosystem of the breadbasket of America, and give some insights into some ecoterroristic cells that have been or are currently in operation today and some of the tactics they have used. I will then conclude by giving useful information as to what we need to look for in regards to the reporting, and being more aware of suspicious activity in our midst. According to Roget’s Thesaurus Second Edition a terrorist is an extortionist, vigilante, bully, arm twister, radical revolutionary, rebel, anarchist, subversive. While they define terrorism as a fear campaign, intimidation tactics, arm-twisting, bullying, extortion, coercion, firebombing, hostage-taking, and bomb threats. The history of biological war fare goes back as far as the early settlement days of colonial America. According to Bioterrorism: The History of a Crisis in American Society, of the many contagious sicknesses which the Europeans brought to plague the Indians, smallpox was far the most deadly. Early settlers realized that the new land had many health benefits after seeing how well the health of the Indians appeared in this new frontier. In an unwitting seemingly innocent introduction to the smallpox disease, was a sure fire way to eliminate numerous tribes from the land to aide in paving the way for more white settlers to populate the new country. In fact the British realized what a decisive , and destructible force the deadly agent was in clearing resistant tribes from the land so that they could more easily proceed with settling the new world. They figured out

3 that by lacing the blankets and handkerchiefs they traded with naïve unsuspecting tribes it would infect whole villages of Indian tribes. Casualties resulted in the thousands during the Revolutionary and French, Indian wars. Now fast forward to the twentieth century. From 1915 to 1916 German agents introduced agents in Maryland and New York to attack our horse and mule population. In 1951 the Mau Mau Freedom Fighters used a plant toxin to successfully attack cattle in Kenya. From 1982 to 1984 the Soviet Military used the agent Glanders to attack rebel’s horse population. I also read from another source which I can not remember the name of, that the Germans used the potato beetle to single handedly wipe out the potato crop in Ireland. As you can see this is just the tip of the iceberg of a few examples in history where chemical agents have been introduced to affect the outcome of an environment for the seemingly innocent benefit of a more powerful organization. Also the introduction of an organism which is lower in the food chain, but still has the possibility of wreaking havoc on an ecosystem to force starvation of the higher organisms of the food chain, as in the example I made reference to with the potato beetle can be highly effective. Three things that could cripple our agricultural community in present day America if a terrorist so chose to acquire them to that end are, Foot and Mouth disease, botulism, and classic swine fever virus. If they were to introduce the pathogens that are responsible for the destructive outcome that this would ensue the country as we know it would come to a stand still forcing economic hardship among farmers, higher meat prices, and a sharp increase in mortality rates straight across the current structure of the animal kingdom in modern day America. The most appealing factor for a terrorist to use these is ease of transmission. To introduce FMD requires no specialized weapons

4 training, nor does the implementation of botulism or the classical swine fever virus. All three can be transmitted in such easy ways that even the simplest minded idiot can spread these diseases. First, let’s start with Foot and Mouth Disease or FMD. I was horrified when I read how easily this can be transmitted and also the ramifications it can have on our food supply. Farmers dread this disease most of all, for them it would mean financial devastation. According to a January 2002 article submitted by Veterinary Services on the www.aphis.usda.gov site FMD is a severe, highly communicable viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats, deer, and other cloven-hooved ruminates. This country has been free of FMD since 1929, when the last of nine U.S. outbreaks was eradicated. While the disease is widespread around the world, North America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and some countries in Europe are considered free of FMD. There have been various types of FMD found in Africa, South America, Asia, and part of Europe. The signs associated with FMD are erosions in the mouth or on the feet and the resulting excessive salivating or lameness, in addition blisters may not be observed because they easily rupture, leading to erosions. This can also inhibit the production of milk, the ability to reproduce, and significant weight loss that is not easily put back on for many months. FMD is easy to transmit as it takes something as simple as people wearing contaminated clothes or footwear or using contaminated equipment to pass the virus along to susceptible animals, contaminated facilities and vehicles used to introduce susceptible animals to the virus and also infected meat fed to the susceptible animals.

5 When these methods are brought into play it can very well lead to mass spreading of this virus to other farms and larger livestock ranches. Therefore, FMD is on the list of USDA High Consequence Livestock Pathogens and Toxins and can be considered a WMD as well. In addition this pathogen can incubate in animal fodder or other infected material for at least one month, thus allowing easy spread of FMD. The economic ramifications in turn would be astronomical if a terrorist decided to unleash this virus into our agricultural structure. Botulinum Neurotoxin equally has a massive and deadly possibility and has actually been used in just the last 30 yrs or so to infect a population. Clostridium botulinum, the name of the organism which triggers botulism is defined by the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition as an anaerobic, spore forming rod that produces a potent neurotoxin. The spores are heat resistant and can survive in foods that are incorrectly or minimally processes. There are seven types of botulism( A, B, C, D, E, F and G ) and is determined by the antigenic specificity of the toxin produced by each strain. A, B, E, and F cause human botulism and C and D cause most cases of animal botulism. G is the least significant of this and was found in an isolated soil in Argentina with no known recognized outbreaks. It is listed as a high consequence livestock pathogen and toxin/ select agent (overlap agent). The CDC ranks it in it’s’ type A category of agents that a terrorist would obtain to more effectively impact public health. The last two facts come from Biosecurity: Limiting Terrorist Access to Deadly Pathogens by Jonathan B. Tucker. Food borne botulism is the most severe type caused by the ingestion of foods containing the potent neurotoxin formed during growth of the organism. The incidence of

6 the disease is low however, is of considerable concern because of its high mortality rate if not treated immediately and properly. Infant botulism, first recognized in 1976, affects infants under 12 months of age. It is caused by ingestion of spores which colonize and produce toxin in the intestinal tract of infants. Honey has been found to the one reservoir that houses the spores and is definitively linked to infant botulism by both laboratory and epidemiologic studies. It is now internationally recognized with cases being reported in more countries. Wound botulism is the rarest form resulting when it or other microorganisms infects a wound and produces toxins which reach other parts of the body via the bloodstream. Foods are not involved in this type of botulism. A very small amount of toxin can cause illness with symptoms appearing after eighteen to thirty-six hours of ingesting the infected food, but have been known to appear as early as four hours and as late as eight days. Symptoms are marked lassitude, weakness, and vertigo, usually followed by double vision and progressive difficulty in speaking and swallowing. Difficulty breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distention, and constipation are also common symptoms. The most known foods that botulism can affect is canned foods to include corn, green beans, soups, beets, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, tuna fish, and in meats such as chicken livers, luncheon meats, ham, sausage, stuffed eggplant, lobster, and smoked and salted fish. As you can see parallel to the Tylenol Cyanide scare it takes just a small amount injected into any of these types of foods to create a widespread epidemic causing mass casualties. Also this can be manufactured in an independent lab or underground facility

7 by terrorist cells that only need minimal education to be trained in spreading this pathogen. Last of these deadly pathogenic virus’ is classical swine fever virus. It shares the spotlight with FMD in being listed in the USDA high consequence livestock pathogens and toxins (non-overlap agents and toxins). Although pigs and wild boar are the only natural reservoir of classical swine fever virus it can be transmitted by direct contact between animals, spread by farm visitors, veterinarians, and pig traders. It can also be spread through indirect contact through premises, implements, vehicles, clothes, instruments, and needles as well as insufficiently cooked waste fed to pigs and finally transplancental infection. The virus itself is partially resistant to moderate heat and can survive well in cold conditions and can survive some forms of meat processing. Blood and all the tissues, secretions and excretions of sick and dead animals, congenitally infected piglets, and ingestion, contact with the conjunctiva, the mucous membranes, skin abrasions, insemination, and percutaneous blood transfers are among the ways in which can be sources for this virus. Incubation period is two to fourteen days with symptoms of fever, cyanosis of the skin, vomiting, and coughing being the more common identifiable indicators. Death occurs five to fifteen days after onset of the disease. In all three – acute, chronic, and congenital- forms death is the ultimate outcome. As you can see classical swine fever virus and FMD can totally obliterate a whole agricultural system if properly timed and formulated. Soon the countryside would be dotted with dead carcasses and the human population that is in charge of disease control running over each other to reign in the damage this would cause.

8 Now let’s take a brief look into ecological terrorism. In Domestic Terrorism and Incident Management, by Miki Vohryzek-Bolden, Gayle Olson-Raymer, and Jeffrey O. Whamond there are three ecological terrorist cells mentioned all of which are fairly active currently. According to the authors of this book the tenants of ecological terrorism are rooted in the philosophy of ecological consciousness, which is the belief, that human have to change themselves to repair human destruction of nature. They have struggled against a number of issues including logging of redwoods, whaling, drift-net fishing, and the wearing of fur. Also Eagan (1996) notes that these groups have three important elements in common in that they 1. argue that due to environmental necessity, an uncompromising position is needed; 2. spend their time and money on direct action to achieve this goal, rather than on lobbying government and industry; and 3. typically are grass roots organization with little or no pay, perks, or hierarchical structure. Earth First! (EF!) is one of the most active and notorious homegrown radical environmental groups in the United Sates. It grew out of the lobbying efforts by environmental groups in 1970 started by David Foreman. He was also responsible for being the chief lobbyist for the Wilderness Society from 1970 to 1979 when the Society management changed. In 1980 after a trip to the Pinacate Desert of Mexico Foreman and his colleagues discussed setting up massive systems of ecological land preserves in every bioregion in the United States. Foreman then called out Earth First and that is the name the organization has had

9 ever since. Earth first activism emerged with the avowed purpose to raise the level of confrontation between mainstream environmental movements and their countermovement’s. Initially they engaged in activism including non violent civil disobedience, strategic property destruction, and other forms of direct action. The second group I would like to talk about now is ELF or Earth Liberation Front. This is a group who was founded by members of Earth First! When Earth First! Decided to mainstream its organization. It was founded in 1992 in Brighton, England. Members advocated destruction of property to take action against corporations and companies they thought were hurting the environment. ELF came to the public’s attention on October 1998 when they took responsibility for the most destructive act of environmental terrorism in the United States history- the fire and property destruction at Vail Resorts in Colorado. This caused more than $12 million in damage by burning three buildings and damaging four ski lifts. They claimed to have done it to protect the lynx, which is an endangered animal, from an 880 acre expansion project proposed by the resorts development team. They argued that it would ruin one of the last great habitats for the lynx and could not tolerate putting profits ahead of Colorado’s wildlife. ELF and ALF have combined forces to incite arson to protect horses in Oregon and have released 100 wild horses from horse corrals in Rock Springs Wyoming in September 1998. ALF also known as Animal Liberation Front is more of an autonomous group of loosely connected individuals throughout the world. Because their

10 actions are against the law they choose to work in anonymity and do not have any centralized organization or coordination. There short term goals are to save as many animals as possible and directly disrupt the practice of animal abuse. Some of the things that ALF has been recently involved with are as follows: In March 2000 in Sonoma County, California, the Farm Bureau was ransacked after posting a $50,000 reward in connection with the firebombing of two area meat processing plants and an egg farm that occurred in February In early 2000, the ALF firebombed trucks at B & K universal breeding company in Freemont California; attempted arson at Primate Products in Redwood City, California; and smashed windows at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, California- with estimated total damages of $500,000 The Los Angeles chapter of ALF placed a “most wanted” section on its Web site. It lambastes Fur Commission USA executive Teresa Platt, as “scum,” and gives detailed directions to her house along with the note, “Now you know where to find her! Please feel free to use this vital information in any way to further the liberation of animal beings.” As you can see these are but a brief glimpse into ecological terrorist groups, what they stand for and methods they have used to promote there cause. The list of these organizations is still extensive and

11 maybe one day I will be challenged to do another paper on this topic to give more insight into this form of terrorism. In conclusion I don’t need any sources to be able to warn folks that if they notice suspicious or unusual activity in their surroundings to be alert against the outsiders and to report to the authorities anything that is out of the ordinary. Look at it this way would a person rather have one farm shut down and quarantined to protect the lives of many in return risking a smaller yet still serious financial hardship or would they want to put off reporting something until the whole area they are living in is at serious risk of widespread infection and more large scale financial ruin. That would be the result if an Al Quid a insurgent decided to come to our country and infiltrate our ecological, farming community with a deadly pathogen. Let’s not also overlook that would these pathogens not only impact our animals but ourselves as well as most use meat as there main source of nutrition. I hope that I was able to present some timely and useful information, but I also do not want to stir un-needed panic either. Pretty much what it boils down to is get to know your neighbors rather they be farmers or city folks, keep an eye on each others property and animals and form a tight knit support system so that we do not give biological terrorism or ecological terrorism a place to take root and grow in the Midwest.