Saturday, July 28, 2007

History of American Policies, Part III: Various Programs

The Australia Group, formed in the 1980s, has received renewed attention since September 11, 2001. The organization was formed to coordinate export controls so that states which failed to obtain sensitive materials or technologies from one member could not simply get them from another. While this is an important effort in its own right, it fails to address the non-state transfer of Russian C/BW. Russia is not a member of the Australia Group and even if it were, the organization only deals with legal trade, not the black market.

A 1992 agreement between Russia, the US and Britain calling for reciprocal visits and disclosures of classified programs never panned out, though it did reveal that the Russians had secretly moved their smallpox samples from the Institute of Viral Preparations in Moscow, the designated site, to a location in Siberia. In 1995 Russian officials flat out refused to admit American inspectors to their labs, as had previously been agreed. (See Judith Miller, et al, Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War)

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