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North Korea bioweapons build-up

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arirish View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 11 2017 at 3:35pm
Analysts see worrying signs of North Korea bioweapons build-up

Over the past decade, North Korea has apparently overcome technical challenges in putting together a bioweapons programs and now has key equipment and labs and is gaining the expertise to use them, according to a Washington Post report yesterday that cited both on-the-record experts and anonymous sources in the intelligence community.

US analysists have known since at least 2006 that North Korea was doing secret work on a biological weapon and has long held stocks of smallpox and anthrax, but at the time, experts didn't think the country had the technical skills to produce weapons with the pathogens.

Kim Jong Un is sending scientists overseas to get advanced degrees in microbiology, and in 2015 after news surfaced that the Pentagon had accidentally shipped live anthrax samples to a South Korean military base, North Korea's leader in TV footage showed off a biotechnology institute that makes biological pesticides. However, foreign observers saw expensive machines that could grow and process microbes, include many pieces of equipment that were banned under international sanctions.

US and South Korean intelligence agencies say North Korea has experimented with microbes including anthrax, cholera, and plague, and are thought to have had the smallpox virus since at least the mid-1990s, based on antibodies in the bloodstreams of North Korean soldiers who escaped decades ago, according to the Post.

A senior US official told the Post that military planners believe Kim is keeping his bioweapons care in reserve for now, as the country's scientists build the capacity to quickly make large quantities of pathogens quickly. So far there is no evidence that North Korean scientists are genetically engineering more lethal pathogens, but experts are seeing signs that it is working to get its scientists up to speed with schooling and seeking outside expertise.

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2017/12/news-scan-dec-11-2017

Dec 10 Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/microbes-by-the-ton-officials-see-weapons-threat-as-north-korea-gains-biotech-expertise/2017/12/10/9b9d5f9e-d5f0-11e7-95bf-df7c19270879_story.html?utm_term=.43815ea1cbe4
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2017 at 9:18pm
Thanks for starting this!  I posted this link once before, it is a very good read about NK and bioweapons. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 12 2017 at 2:27am
A bio weapon would be far worse than a nucular weapon,12 Monkeys scenario....
12 Monkeys...............
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 12 2017 at 6:42am
Originally posted by carbon20 carbon20 wrote:

A bio weapon would be far worse than a nucular weapon,12 Monkeys scenario....

I find it interesting that a number of sources implicate NK as having stocks of smallpox, which is tightly controlled (only Russia and USA have samples under lock & key).  50% Case Fatality Rate, mostly vulnerable world population etc.   

I believe that former Soviet bioweapon guys are contributing to this.  The USSR had an internal group called "Biopreparat" that manufactured tons of smallpox, anthrax etc., and large stockpiles of these bioweapons disappeared and were never accounted for.  

According to Alibek, one particularly virulent strain, India 67 or India 1, was chosen by the Russians to be weaponised. They perfected techniques for mass producing smallpox and maintained a rolling annual stockpile of hundreds of tonnes. They also developed ways to disseminate the virus in aerial bombs and ballistic missile warheads. Additional work was done to enhance the virulence of the virus and to combine it with other viruses.

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