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North Korea's Secret Biochemical Arsenal 321

Posted by Zonk
from the i'd-keep-an-eye-on-that dept.
mattnyc99 writes "Popular Mechanics has an in-depth report on North Korea's biological and chemical weapons stock, which has been developed in secret and has gone largely unnoticed amidst the country's nuke threat. From the article: 'North Korea's Chemical and Bioweapons (CBW) program appears to be modeled on that of the former Soviet Union, which covertly constructed a massive biological weapons infrastructure within the shell of a civilian research organization called Biopreparat. Inside Biopreparat, the Soviets developed deadly agents that included weaponized forms of anthrax and pneumonic plague. Intelligence reports from the United States and South Korea list anthrax, smallpox, pneumonic plague, cholera and botulism toxins as leading components of North Korea's bioweapons projects.' "
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North Korea's Secret Biochemical Arsenal

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  • by DrugCheese (266151) * on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:15PM (#17465680)
    We will be very, very angry with you North Korea and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.
  • To intimidate others from attack while you develop your nuclear program? One nuke trumps all the bio.
    • by d12v10 (1046686) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:24PM (#17465836)
      I'm not at all surprised that NK has biochemical facilities and research, but I'm more interested in how PM found out specific details about it. That would be a better question.
      • by xQx (5744) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:30PM (#17465942)
        Well, to quote the late Bill Hicks...

        George Bush: "We know they've got weapons of mass destruction"
        Public: "How do you know?"
        George: "Uhh... we looked at the reciept..."
      • by webrunner (108849)

        but I'm more interested in how PM found out specific details about it.
        They're popular

        The popular can do whatever they want!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ajenteks (943860)
      A nuke is just one egg in a basket. Biochemical weapons do have their advantages, i.e. you can't expose some potential "refugees" with radiation and then have them "escape" from your side of the border to freedom. Give refugees something nasty like small pox though, and hypothetically, that'd be a lot cheaper and possibly more effective than a nuke.
      • by fbjon (692006)
        But those refugees will go to/through China, and someone might not like that very much at all.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Unlucke (1026008)
          If that happens, imagine the 'Always Low Prices!' at Walmart. They'd skyrocket from dirt cheap to just plain cheap.
          • Holy crap, that is so wrong...
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Unlucke (1026008)

              Holy crap, that is so wrong...

              You're right, I probably should have worded it better. Still funny though. But on a serious note, if NK does collapse, and refugees pour into China who are possibly carrying infectious diseases, you can't deny that the world's economy would take a hit. I mean let's face it, companies are setting up manufacturing plants in China because of the labor force being so cheap (compared to the US, UK, EU, etc.). This whole thing is like firing a gun just to get rid of a bullet, but it's aimed at your head. Su

    • Different uses. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khasim (1285)
      Biological - Not really all that useful. There's too much danger of it infecting your people.

      Chemical - Used to restrict the enemy's access to terrain which forces him to attack along routes you've selected or require him to attack wearing protective suits. Chemicals can also be used to "soften" a target before your own troops attack.

      Nuclear - Big boom. Lots of damage.

      So, I can see them working on chemical weapons and nukes. But biological weapons make no sense for them. Particularly when the "enemy" is onl
      • Re:Different uses. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by endianx (1006895) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:51PM (#17466274)

        Biological - Not really all that useful. There's too much danger of it infecting your people.
        Not a problem if you don't care about your people.
        • An accidental outbreak of smallpox in your army and you're suddenly far more vulnerable than before.

          • Not hard to vaccinate your army against smallpox. I'd be surprised if even North Korea doesn't do it. It's not exactly a high-tech vaccine these days.

            In fact, if you're a country looking to get rid of some "surplus" population, not to mention keep your military's grip firm on the populace, a carefully engineered outbreak wouldn't be a bad way of doing it. You vaccinate the folks you want to keep around, and let God sort out the rest.

            Of course, North Korea's government seems to do just fine using famine as i
      • Biological - Not really all that useful. There's too much danger of it infecting your people.

        Boy, are you clueless. First, nearly all nations who have an army already have Bio and Chemical units. Why? Because they are low cost and trivial to do. In fact, Biological warfare has been done forever. Smallpox has been very useful.

        But Biological is even easier then the others. First, you can create virus that target a specific genome. If you are China and decide to target America, you simply go after white and

    • by Entropy (6967)

      One nuke trumps all the bio.

      On the contrary, if humanity had a full on nuclear war right now it would survive. Sure, we'd lose three or four billion, but we'd still have two or three, and the southern hemisphere would be largely fine. The northern would be okay to repopulate in not too long, as the hotspots would be contained.

      But a few grams of the correct germ, with initial placement for it's full impact? 12 monkeys (or The Stand, or 28 Days Later &c &c ) would look like happy days.

    • Really? 2 lbs of Botulin toxin is enough to kill every human being on the planet.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by antonyb (913324)
        ...or get rid of all of Courtney Cox's wrinkles.

        ant.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mvdwege (243851)

        Now try spreading 2lbs. of botulin toxin across the entire planet.

        Hmmm. You seem to have come up with a new concept: homeopathic bioweapons. Congratulations!

        Mart
  • To quote from B5 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metlin (258108) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:19PM (#17465764) Journal
    "I suppose there'll be a war now, hm? All that running around and shooting one another. You'd think that sooner or later, it would go out of fashion."

    - Londo Mollari [wikipedia.org]

    Great, one more country has one more way of killing several large number of people in one go.

    One would think that sooner or later we'd stop this crap.

    Sorry, just a little frustrated with the fact that every time I have looked at news the past week, there is killing and murder and unrest everywhere. Bah.
    • Only in the past week? Where is the rock that you live under?
    • Seems to me that the news is like that every week. I know how you feel, it's very frustrating when all they show is blood, death, gore, and sensationalism. I guess they think that will get them better ratings, I dunno... It only gets worse when they bring in "experts" to "analyze" the situation. Eeesh. I just want the facts so I can make up my own mind, I don't need some crooked politician or retarded movie star trying to tell me what I should be thinking.
    • by Tackhead (54550)
      > "I suppose there'll be a war now, hm? All that running around and shooting one another. You'd think that sooner or later, it would go out of fashion."
      > - Londo Mollari

      Sooner or later we'll stop this crap? Sorry, we don't get to decide. I'll see your Londo and raise you a Kosh:

      "The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."

  • by LibertarianWackJob (881478) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:22PM (#17465798) Homepage
    So could we replace the CIA with the staff from Popular Mechanics?
    • by iamlucky13 (795185) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:35PM (#17466032)
      As someone who grew up on a big stack of Popular Mechanics, I hate to say it, but "in-depth" and "Popular Mechanics" are two terms that haven't worked well together in a sentence for years, arguably decades. A much better source of information is www.globalsecurity.org or fas.org. In fact, looking through their section on North Korea's WMD [globalsecurity.org], I see that the Popular Mechanics author basically paraphrased their write-up, giving his article all the quality and broad research base of any good internet blog.

      Another nice aspect of globalsecurity and the Federation of American Scientists, is that both maintain rather extensive databases of information on weapon systems. For example, if after reading the article, I want to know how far a chemical weapon-equipped Scud could deliver it's payload, I can look that up [globalsecurity.org], too.
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      So could we replace the CIA with the staff from Popular Mechanics?

      I agree that if one thought this was actually news, then hearing it from Popular Mechanics might seem a little odd. But this is hardly news. Of course NK has been been doing this stuff for decades. And just like every major intel agency on the planet knew that Saddam was (at various times, in various amounts) hiding stuff, they all know that NK has stuff. Unlike Saddam, NK hasn't yet trotted it out and used it on an ethnic minority at the
  • by fantomas (94850) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:25PM (#17465844)
    remind me, is this a dupe posting?
  • I mean come on... so they have a nuke (or claim to), why overkill? But, on the conspiracy side of things, they could have some super bug that the public won't be told about, and use that as some sort of leverage. God knows that science in the US has been declining. (I gotta wonder if god will give me brownie points for that statement)
  • When asked for comment Kim Jong declined to give details, respoding:

    "You have any idea how fucking buzy I am?"
  • Those are war drums i hear beating. The propeganda offensive has been underway for years - The military one cant be too far behind.
  • by Fysiks Wurks (949375) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:28PM (#17465888)
    Popular Mechanics is known for its deep knowlege North Korean technology.

    By the way Popular Mechnaics, where is my flying car or personal submarine?
  • by mpapet (761907)
    While this is unfortunate and *may* add to instability in the region, I smell a couple of rats.

    1. Now that today's bad guy is doing it how is it different than say (insert former bad-country-now-fighting-the-war-on-terrr here) doing it?

    2. What special inroad does popular mechanics have in NORTH korea? Most objective analysts would have a hard time verifying it and I'd like to hear it from them.

    3. Does anyone recall the long and sordid history of planted stories, media contacts and testimony in the U.S. in o
  • North Korea's Chemical and Bioweapons (CBW) program
    Wow, not only is their super secret enterprise in English, but they even use provide an easily recallable acronym that's constructed in a way that makes sense to our English minds! Very Handy!
    • by xQx (5744)
      And it's posted on slashdot!!!

      Damn, the North Korean secret minister for secret affairs must be having a pretty bad day.
  • Maybe I'm wrong, but didn't popular mechanics have a feature article on Iraq's WMDs a few years ago?
  • by namekuseijin (604504) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:34PM (#17466006)
    Come to think of it, i like biochemical weapons a lot more than nukes: this way, we can wipe our shitty selves out of this world while still maintaining it intact, since other life forms don't really give a shit to Ebola, AIDS or other dumb monkey weapons...
    • by xero314 (722674)
      i like biochemical weapons...this way, we can wipe our shitty selves out of this world...
      If you like the idea of wiping out mankind you should show your support by starting with yourself.
      • No, I like myself very much, thank you.

        I was thinking more of Bush or the North Korean dictator of the day or any other dumbasses... it's a shame millions will suffer until one of them die or chage place with another dumbass...
    • by vishbar (862440)

      ...other life forms don't really give a shit to Ebola, AIDS or other dumb monkey weapons...

      I may be wrong, but weren't both AIDS and Ebola contracted from monkeys?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cold fjord (826450)

      Oddly enough, I would be in no way surprised to learn that you got your +5 Insightful for speculating favorably on humanity self-exterminating from people who go apoplectic over Christians who believe in and look forward to the second coming. ... I guess it takes all kinds.

  • by vandan (151516) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:20PM (#17466656) Homepage
    How does their alleged stock ( in much the same vain as Iraq's alleged stock ) compare to the real stockpile that the US actively develops?

    The simple fact is that all countries see these kinds of weapons as not only useful deterrents, but necessary deterrents. Consider, for example, how things would have played out differently if Iraq had possessed the nuclear ( or newkilla weapons as Dubya and half of the US pronounce it ), chemical and biological weapons that the US was claiming they had. The would have been no invasion, or if there had, there would have been very, very serious consequences, not only for US and coalition-of-the-killing troups, but for US citizens as well.

    This is what proliferation is all about. This is why the US is so hypocritical when it demands that all others renounce WOMD, terrorism and such. They are the biggest perpetrators, and force everyone else's hand. Whether you agree with the politics of the other states involved or not ( and I'm certainly no fan of North Korea ), you have to look at it from their point of view. Having a US armed to the teeth with WOMD, and being the biggest terrorist around, it makes good sense to get some serious arsenal of your own. What's good for the goose ... ( and Dubya makes a fine goose ) ...
    • by Loki_1929 (550940) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:41PM (#17466940) Journal
      "How does their alleged stock ( in much the same vain as Iraq's alleged stock ) compare to the real stockpile that the US actively develops?"

      It's stored and contained by a relatively responsible and sane government with no intention of using it. Iraq's stockpile of WMDs was not alleged - it was filmed and documented by United Nations weapons inspectors and it was actively used against Iran and the Kurds. North Korea's stockpile isn't alleged either - they've admitted on numerous occassions that they have weaponized Uranium and have working nuclear weapons. Furthermore, they've threatened to actually use those weapons against those they perceive as conspiring against them (ie "sea of fire...").

      In your rush to condemn the United States and its government, you seem to have lost track of the fact that Iraq murdered hundreds of thousands of its own citizens and attacked its neighbors, and North Korea is threatening nearby democracies with nuclear destruction while its citizens starve en masse in an Orwellian police state. The world is not black and white as we would like, and it's time for people who delude themselves into believing it is to grow up.

      • Chicken Shit (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Delifisek (190943)
        Where is that f*cking evidence...
        The uber responsible goverment of USA sell that chemical weapons to Saddam to take down Islamic Iran Regime in 1980's. That chemical weapons used against Iran and Kurds sell by Rumsfield himself...

        There was no chemical weapon production plant in Iraq, no one found it. If they found it where is the evidence ?

        USA goverment broke down the IRAQ goverment, if you haven't got instant replacement, you cannot change goverment like this. Entire country will collapsed...

        Current statu
        • by Loki_1929 (550940)
          "Where is that f*cking evidence..."

          Of? Iraq's killing of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens? Well, I can't very well drop all the corpses on your desk, but would you like pictures of the bodies laying in the streets and in mass graves? Careful - seeing dead children is a little startling.

          "There was no chemical weapon production plant in Iraq, no one found it. If they found it where is the evidence ?"

          Ok, they had no chemical weapons production - the chemical weapons they used in Iran and in northern I
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by vandan (151516)

        Iraq's stockpile of WMDs was not alleged - it was filmed and documented by United Nations weapons inspectors

        Unfortunately a lot of Americans still believe this. You need to turn off Fox news and get your information from elsewhere. The UN categorically stated, time and again, that they found no evidence of any WMD program in Iraq. This is why Dubya had to act unilaterally and go directly against the wishes of the UN ( and the security council, no less ) in invading Iraq.

        and it was actively used again

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grym (725290) *

          So? The recent nuclear test proves otherwise. They achieved a nuclear 'event', but no-where near what's required to produce a nuclear bomb. It was a fizzle. And the article wasn't talking about nuclear weapons. It was spreading unsubstantiated crap about chemical and biological weapons, and then neglecting to put these allegations in the context of the US's chemical and biological weapons programs.

          So, what's the plan? Do we hold off on diplomatically confronting them until North Korea has a nuclear weapo

        • by smithmc (451373) * on Friday January 05, 2007 @02:52PM (#17477314) Journal

            They are seeking weapons as deterrence. As for the 'Orwellian police state', have a look at the US. Sure, North Korea is not innocent in this respect, but the scale of development of the US police state dwarfs North Korea incredibly. You need to get some context into your analysis.

          And you need to get some into yours. The scale of development of the "US police state" is large, sure - because the US has a large population and a huge economy and ready access to high technology. The scope of the "US police state", however, in terms of the degree to which it actually affects the life of the average American citizen, simply pales in comparison to that of North Korea. This comparison is so ridiculous as to almost not bear scrutiny. For all the discussion and concern raised in the Slashosphere and elsewhere, the "US police state" is at most a minor issue or annoyance to the vast majority of the American people, whereas the North Korean government not only is far more intrusive and oppressive, but it's willing to fund that totalitarian regime even at the expense letting its own people freeze and starve to death, all for the glory of the Exalted Leader. Look, I'm about a libertarian a guy as you're likely to find on Slashdot, and as such I have plenty of criticisms of the US government, but to seriously compare it to North Korea is simply preposterous. [Waits patiently for the minus points...]

  • by littlewink (996298) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:54PM (#17467128)
    There's no alternative. We must hit North Korea with a surprise nuclear attack. Many nukes will be required to take out all chemical and biological facilities and sterilise them.

    It will be a short and simple war, unlike Iraq. We won't send a single person into combat. But 100-200 nuclear MIRVs will be sent on the first strike.

    The longer we wait the more dangerous NK becomes. They have probably already moved CBW to U.S. and European cities.

    Time to strike.
    • by smoker2 (750216)
      McCarthy - is that you ?

      It's China next then ?

    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      There's no alternative.

      Sure there is. Convince S. Korea to open their borders and let the N. Korean troops enter. Chances are, after seeing how good the South had it for the past 50 years, the N. Korean people will force Kim Jong Il to assume his rightful place in the world - in front of a firing squad.

      -b.

  • I really don't want to read in the news one day that North Korea has been systematicly poisoning our kids with Happy Meal toys fabricated from some sort of "new" plastic.
  • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @10:25PM (#17468622)
    Revealed: the gas chamber horror of North Korea's gulag [guardian.co.uk]
    The hidden gulag: Reports leak out of atrocities at North Korean labor camps [signonsandiego.com]
    Auschwitz Under Our Noses [washingtonpost.com]
    A WELL-FOUNDED FEAR: PUNISHMENT AND LABOR CAMPS IN NORTH KOREA [hrw.org]
    Death and terror in North Korea's gulags [msn.com]
    Comparative Analysis of Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany, the Former Soviet Union and North Korea [chosunjournal.com]
    An Auschwitz in Korea [boston.com]

    It's baffling to me why a country that has consistently and fairly been compared with Nazi Germany, to the point of concentration camps and illegal medical experimentation, has been allowed to exist for this long. Drudge reported this morning that they're prepping another nuke test, and it's a well-known fact that they've been developing chem and bio weapons for years. A new Hitler has risen, and we are so busy looking elsewhere that we either haven't noticed or don't care.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      A new Hitler has risen, and we are so busy looking elsewhere that we either haven't noticed or don't care.

      Actually worse than Hitler. Hitler actually brought prosperity to the non-Jewish, non-dissident, non-... part of Germany before WW II. All Kim Jong Il has done is supervise the slow starvation of his country. I bet that if North Korean troops saw what was south of the border, he'd have a mutiny on his hands within a month.

      -b.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pentagram (40862)
      It's baffling to me why a country that has consistently and fairly been compared with Nazi Germany, to the point of concentration camps and illegal medical experimentation, has been allowed to exist for this long.

      Because they have an enormous army and loads of missiles aimed at one of the world's densest population areas?

      Just about every regime in existence thinks NK is a scar on the face of the world but no one is able to do anything about it.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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