The introduction of non-native species to North America isn’t new. It’s been happening since Europeans first began to settle here centuries ago. For example, Indians wouldn’t have had horses otherwise.
But what if non-native species were used against us in a terrorist attack? It’s the biowarfare threat we’re not expecting.
We live with the presence of invasive species every day, such as kudzu and Asian carp. While each of these poses its own set of problems, how would we face a biowarfare threat from a hostile release of an introduced species?
We usually think of biowarfare as the release of a virulent strain of vacteria or a virus. But Dr. Lawrence Roberge has done research which covers much more than that. Bioterrorism is a problem for…
- Global food production
- The threat of ecosystem destruction
- The crashing of commodity markets
- And eventual collapse of public health!
Who is this Professor?
Lawrence Roberge contacted me via LinkedIn and thought I might be interested in passing along his information to help you with assessing preparedness risks. After reading papers he’s written, I asked him to be my guest on DestinySurvival Radio. Here are a couple of paragraphs outlining his credentials.
“Dr. Lawrence Roberge is a professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Laboure (LA-BORE-RE) College located in Milton, MA. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from Atlantic International University in December 2012. His Doctoral Dissertation was entitled: Invasive Species as a Form of Biological Weapon. He has taught biological science at the college level for over twenty years.
“He is a recipient of the CASE/Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year award in 2005. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, he also worked at the technology consultancy firm, NERAC, where he advised military contractors on issues of biological and chemical warfare prior to and after Gulf War I.”
What’s he talking about?
We spent the first few minutes of our conversation defining terms, such as introduced species and black biology. I may not describe them as well as Dr. Roberge did in our conversation, but I’ll try to boil things down for you as well as I can.
An introduced species is any organism–all the way from microbes to large animals and plants–which can disrupt and cause chaos in an ecosystem. That ecosystem may be a desert, prairie, forest, or urban area. The problem arises when there are no controlling forces to keep an invasive species in check, such as pathogens or predators. Agriculture seems to be the largest target for such a threat.
In black biology, something sinister is created through the genetic modification of organisms. For example, a disease fungus or microbe would be manipulated to damage or destroy food crops. Or a bacteria might be changed to become resistant to antibiotics and cause a higher mortality rate among its victims.
How would a biowarfare attack be recognized?
Organisms would be released on a large scale and in a number of places. For the attack to be successful, the perpetrators would presumably have studied how well the organisms would live and carry out their evil purposes in the environment in which they’re placed.
One example would be the proliferation of wheat stem rust throughout the country, with the intent to devastate this food crop.
The down side for us mere mortals is that it would take a while for such an attack to be discovered. Data would need to be gathered and assembled before we would know what was happening.
If we did experience a verifiable biowarfare attack, it would be immediately reported to the Biological and Toxins Warfare Convention in Geneva, where several countries have signed a treaty. How effective would this be? Only time would tell.
Who might carry out a biowarfare attack using introduced species?
As with any type of terrorism, it could be state sponsored from a country such as China. Or it might be carried out by smaller terroris troups or the proverbial lone wolf. Dr. Roberge gave examples of how the latter possibility isn’t as far fetched as it might seem. Whatever the case, our country isn’t prepared for such unconventional warfare.
Are we under attack now and don’t know it?
It’s hard to say for certain, but Dr. Roberge cited some curious things that have happened.
For example, one type of beetle was brought into the country in a shipment of ceramic tiles–not exactly the beetle’s natural habitat.
Then there’s the variety of a large snail brought in by a man from China. The snail was intended as a delicacy. Unfortunately, this particular species has a voracious appetite for a wide array of things, and it carries a lung parasite.
Got your fork ready?
As you might guess, Dr. Roberge is in favor of harsher government restrictions on species coming into the country from elsewhere. Of course, as we know, some things come in accidentally, such as the parasitic fungus that killed off elm trees decades ago, changing our nation’s landscape. What we really need is a way to distinguish the accidental arrival of species from the hostile or terroristic introduction of species.
Could the production of GMO foods be a type of corporate biowarfare program for depopulation?
Dr. Roberge was gracious enough to entertain this radical question from me. I recommend listening to his answer during our conversation so you can make up your own mind. I can tell you that he’s well informed and urges you and me to check the sources from which we get our information so we don’t jump to hasty conclusions.
Still, based on what I’ve read and heard, I couldn’t help but ask the question.
But let’s look at it another way. If there were a corporate biowarfare program arrayed against you and me, would the be a whistleblower to come forward, similar to Edward Snowden?
Also, could some genetic modification be beneficial? Can it be done safely to prevent crops from being destroyed by pathogens without affecting nutrition content or causing diseases and cancer?
Again, listen to Dr. Roberge’s remarks. One thing is for certain though. The whole GMO issue calls for objective review and greater transparency.
What about diseases brought in by the flow of illegal immigrants?
An earlier paper from Dr. Roberge (linked below) asks whether the chikungunya virus would come to America. He acknowledged in our conversation that it has already arrived via mosquitoes, and cases have been reported in Florida and Texas. But it didn’t need help from illegal immigrants to land on our shores.
However, as most of us already know, or have suspected, immigrants are carrying in a number of other diseases. And what will be our country’s response?
Could we turn negatives into positives?
I mentioned kudzu above. Some are turning it into a nutritional supplement, while others are letting goats feed on it. I can’t help but wonder. Could we do more of this sort of thing with invasive species, regardless of whether they came by accident or hostile action? Can we be imaginative enough to turn a bioterrorism attack on its head?
Find out more
We talked about more than what I’ve written about here. I encourage you to listen to my conversation with Dr. Roberge by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for December 11, 2014. (Right click to download.)
Is all of this fear mongering? Or do you believe this is a threat we should take seriously?
View a news release which asks, Could Invasive Species Become the Next Biological Weapon?