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This paper presents a comprehensive and detailed picture of the obsessive interest of radical right-wing groups and individuals in biological warfare and bioterrorism since the 1970s and its evolution until the new era of the global coronavirus pandemic. It underpins the ideological and strategic reasons and motivations for such interest and cites most of the important cases of bioterrorism by these elements. An interesting part of the analysis relates to the “schizophrenic” relations of some of these ideologues and groups with their jihadist counterparts. Based on this historic overview it presents a first evaluation of the future radical right bioterrorism threat.
Biological weapons (BW) could be considered the second threat among CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) weapons in order of priorities, after the threat of chemical terrorism. Biological weapon is a weapon whose components are produced from pathogenic microorganisms or toxic substances of biological origins.
BW agents can be hundred to thousands of times more potent than chemical agents and provide a much cheaper route to CBRN capability, considering an equal quantity of chemical agents. As international controls are strengthened on nuclear and chemical weapons materials, biological weapons become more attractive. In addition, biotechnology expertise is spreading rapidly.
Theoretically BW could produce a higher number of casualties, but do not take effect immediately. This delay makes for a less immediately spectacular effect. Because of the incubation period, it might be somewhat easier to contain and neutralize the effects of a terrorist strike involving biological weapons than one involving chemical agents or toxins.
This article is part of the RED-Alert project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation Programme under grant agreement No 740688.