318. Surveying the Biological Warfare Landscape

Surveying the Biological Warfare Landscape

A look at US and China biological warfare history and capabilities


Stu Cvrk

Stu Cvrk
April 17, 2022

Biological warfare may already be underway.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sensitized the world to the spread of dangerous viral diseases. The Russo-Ukrainian war has exposed the presence of U.S.-funded biological research labs in Ukraine. Do either of these issues actually involve biological warfare in violation of the 1972 Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention that has been signed by over 100 nations?

Let us examine the topic.

US Bioweapons Testing

The United States did not “invent” bioweapons. Bioweapons have actually been used in various forms since ancient times. Methods included using arrows dipped in feces, using dead bodies to poison wells during wars in the Middle Ages, and intentionally spreading smallpox during the French and Indian War in the 18th century. The Germans and the Russians conducted small-scale biological attacks during World War I.

After World War I, the Geneva Protocol of 1925 was signed by 108 nations, including the United States, that “prohibited” the development and use of biological agents (and chemical weapons such as those used in the World War I trench warfare on both sides). But that treaty had no verification measures, and many nations continued their research and development.

A Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) was signed in 1972, with the signatories agreeing “not to develop, produce, stockpile, or acquire biological agents or toxins ‘of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective, and other peaceful purposes,’ as well as weapons and means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.”

The United States learned a great deal about bioweapons from World War II adversaries, particularly the Japanese at the notorious Unit 731. The Japanese weaponized cholera, typhus, and the plague to kill over a half-million Chinese in at least 11 separate biowarfare attacks on Chinese cities during the war.

Experiments in the use of biowarfare agents—such as botulism and anthrax—were also conducted against prisoners of war (POWs) at the Mukden POW Camp in northeast China. By the end of the war, the Japanese had stockpiled 400 kilograms of anthrax to be used in a specially designed fragmentation bomb that was never deployed. The United States interrogated survivors of Unit 731 after the armistice and learned the full extent of the Japanese program.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese and Japanese experts investigate and categorize munitions excavated from a site known to contain Japanese chemical weapons left behind from World War II in Mudanjiang, in China’s northern Heilongjiang Province, on July 5, 2006. (Natalie Behring/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The United States conducted considerable biological warfare-related research during the Cold War before the BWTC was negotiated and signed in 1972.

In 2015, the Smithsonian Magazine published an article describing a U.S. Navy bioweapons test in 1950, two miles off the northern California coast, using a bacterium that produced a red pigment to make it easy to examine its effects. Eleven residents later were determined to have urinary tract infections related to the bacteria.

That article further stated that the U.S. military performed other biowarfare-related tests in the United States until President Richard Nixon halted biowarfare research in 1969.

Francis Boyle, now a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, was the principal drafter of the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 (BWATA), which implemented the 1972 Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention.

According to LewRockwell.com, Boyle made the following allegation: “Since Sept. 11, 2001, we [the United States] have spent somewhere in the area of $100 billion on offensive biological warfare.”

Was Boyle’s sensational claim correct?

Fast-forward to the Russo-Ukrainian war and allegations by Russia and China about U.S.-funded “bioweapons-related research laboratories” in Ukraine. Although there has been much circumstantial evidence, speculation, and propaganda swirling about this topic, a final determination of what transpired in those biological research labs will probably have to wait until a thorough investigation is completed after the war.

Questions certainly need to be answered, but the continuing accusations by China, in particular, raise an obvious red flag since the Chinese communists are masters at psychological warfare and disinformation in order to shift attention away from their own transgressions.

Let us examine China’s biowarfare history. What might the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) be hiding on this topic?

Communist China and Biowarfare

Since the Chinese themselves had been victims of Imperial Japan’s biological warfare campaign during World War II, it is no surprise that communist China began research into the development of bioweapons after 1949.

An excellent 2020 article from Air University makes several key points about China’s likely biological warfare program:

  • China signed the Geneva Protocol of 1925 in 1952.
  • China signed the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) in 1984; the Chinese were assessed as having a robust biowarfare research program before they signed the convention.
  • Before signing the BTWC, China insisted on the insertion of a clause that meant the treaty was only binding if all other signatories were also following the guidelines, thus giving the Chinese an out to not only pursue biological weapons but to use them if determined “appropriate.”
  • While denying the existence of an offensive biological program, China has developed a robust biodefense infrastructure and a biotechnology industry that has substantial dual-use capabilities that can be used for both biodefense and bioweapons.
  • By 2005, China was the biggest violator of export restrictions under the BTWC. It sold dual-use equipment and vaccines with both civilian medical applications and biological weapons applications to other countries.
  • It is believed that China has helped Iran and other Middle Eastern nations build their own biological weapons programs.
  • According to a 2014 U.S. State Department report, it is clear that “China possesses the required technology and resources to mass-produce traditional [biological weapon] agents as well as expertise in aerobiology.”

At least two flu pandemics in the past century—in 1957 and 1968—originated in China and were triggered by avian (“bird flu”) viruses that evolved to become easily transmissible between humans.

The 1957-1958 H2N2 pandemic killed an estimated 1.1 million people worldwide and 116,000 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The 1968 H3N2 pandemic killed an estimated 1 million people worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States, according to the CDC.

In November 2002, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was discovered in southern China. According to the CDC, a coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infected 8,098 people worldwide, including eight in the United States, and killed 774 people worldwide (none in the United States)—a death rate of 10 percent. It was largely “contained” by July 2003.

The Smithsonian Magazine published an article about the bird flu in 2017 that is almost a precursor of the spread of the SAR-CoV-2 virus. It stated the following:

  • The Avian influenza A (H7N9) virus first spread from birds to humans in 2013.
  • There have been five waves of that “bird flu” virus (now six, per the CDC: “China is currently experiencing its sixth epidemic of Asian H7N9 human infections”).
  • The fifth wave began in October 2016 and infected 766 people—far more than any of the four preceding waves.
  • There have been 1,589 total cases of H7N9, with 616 of them fatal (a 39 percent mortality rate).
  • If H7N9 were to mutate further and develop the ability to pass readily from person to person, it could spread rapidly and kill millions of people worldwide.
Epoch Times Photo
A technician conducts tests for the H7N9 bird flu virus at the Kunming Center for Disease Control in China on April 10, 2013. Chinese scientists believe new cases of H7N9 bird flu in East China may indicate the risk of a fresh outbreak of the virus during winter. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

Then there is another coronavirus that first made its appearance in 2019 in China’s Wuhan city: the SARS-CoV-2 virus or CCP virus. Thousands of articles have detailed the worldwide COVID pandemic over the past two years!

Are all these China-originated viruses merely acts of nature or something more sinister?

It is alleged that the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is just a cover for the research and development of Chinese bioweapons. Could SARS-CoV-2 have been bioengineered at the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

Epoch Times Photo
An aerial view shows the P4 laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei Province on April 17, 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite open-source speculation by reputable scientists and others, the origin of the CCP virus remains unconfirmed, albeit very likely.

Have the Chinese communists given us any clues to the puzzle?

A document written by Chinese scientists and public health officials in 2015 actually predicts that biological warfare will be the basis for conducting “World War III.” Is this document a harbinger?

The document, titled “The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons,” stated that SARS coronaviruses could be engineered as a “new era of genetic weapons” that can be “artificially manipulated into an emerging human disease virus” and then weaponized and released into the general population in unprecedented ways.

Another piece of the puzzle was an obscure FBI tactical intelligence report from November 2019 that detailed an incident in which a Chinese scientist was caught carrying viruses from China into the United States in November 2018.

As reported two years after the incident by yahoo! news, the details are shocking: “Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials. … [T]he FBI concluded that the incident, and two other cases cited in the report, were part of an alarming pattern [of ongoing U.S. biosecurity risks].”

There are no such things as coincidences! And a clear pattern emerges.


Available open-source information from U.S. government agencies and news reports enables a logical conclusion that communist China has an ongoing offensive biological warfare program that is camouflaged by an extensive Chinese dual-use biodefense infrastructure and a biotechnology industry developed over the past several decades.

Chinese authorities have suggested that World War III may be fought with biological warfare weapons. A Chinese scientist was caught entering the United States with MERS and SARS virus samples in 2018. The world continues to endure waves of viral pandemics that originated in China. The SARS-CoV-2 was almost certainly engineered by humans. Has World War III already started?

Stu Cvrk retired as a captain after serving 30 years in the U.S. Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. Through education and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education that serves as the key foundation for his political commentary.


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