November 1992 (vol. 9, #1) 1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1992 Physicians for Civil Defense


In the judgment of Fumiaki Fujino, chief of the China division of the giant Japanese trading firm ITOCHU Corp., the world's top economic power in the year 2030 will be China.

In October, 1992, Emperor Akihito visited China the first Japanese emperor in history to do so.

The Japanese government is encouraging investment in China more than in any other single country. In the year ending in March, 1992, investments reached $579 million, almost twice the amount of the previous year, and are expected to double again in the coming year. Major Japanese investments are expected in steel, non-ferrous metals, and petrochemicals, in contrast to the mostly short-term property and stock investments by Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Industrial projects valued at $185 billion are under construction in the state sector in China, a figure equal to about one-half of the nation's annual gross national product.

This rapid growth is not without its problems. Inflation in some big cities is in double figures (although 5% is cited as the nationwide average) and could increase dramatically if Chinese citizens use their $200 billion in bank savings to go on a buying binge.

Under Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms, the central government is to withdraw from day-to-day running of the economy. To counter the resulting dilution of central power, Beijing is implementing reforms that will increase central controls over the military. Japan favors such reforms, believing that the military plays a crucial role as the ``armed escort'' of economic reform. Japan is openly urging the US to be less demanding of China on human-rights issues.

``China has taken to heart many of the lessons of Gorbachev's attempt to reform the Soviet Union, and it will not be repeating the same mistakes,'' according to Intelligence Digest.

``China's communist establishment saw from Moscow's experience that political reform would be fatal to communist rule. The Tiananmen Square massacre was not a mistake, or a one-off, it was a show of determination that the Chinese people were intended to remember for a very long time to come.''

Although the People's Liberation Army is to be reduced to 3 million men (from 4.5 million in 1985), the intention is to increase its strength through technologic advancement. The seven military regions will be removed in order to ``rid the emperor of evil ministers'' and consolidate the power of the supreme command.

In addition to a rapid build-up of its own strategic triad (see CDP Sept. 1992), China is building a thriving export business in nuclear technology and armaments. Reportedly, China has sold Iran a calutron for concentrating uranium-235. A planned Chinese 300-million-watt nuclear reactor in Iran could produce enough plutonium for two to three nuclear warheads per year (Jastrow and Kampelman, Commentary, Nov. 1992). China is also to provide Iran with 38 warplanes, 10 ballistic missile systems, 400 tanks, 400 medium-range artillery pieces, shoulder-held armor-piercing missiles, radars, and other surveillance systems. Other customers include Syria, Pakistan, Algeria, and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, both the Western bloc and the former Soviet Union face increasing economic gloom.

The Russian GNP will shrink by about 25% in 1992, with an inflation rate of 1,000%. Industrial production fell about 14% in the first half of the year and was 27% lower in August, 1992, compared with the same month in 1991. As Moscow begins the process of reneging on its existing foreign debt of $70 billion, Japanese and Western investors are steering clear. The economic debacle threatens Yeltsin's reforms; some say he could be ousted from power as early as December 1 (Washington Inquirer 11/6/92).

Germany, which dominates the European Community, holds half the Russian foreign debt. The East German debt of about $250 billion will start maturing in 1995. The 1993 German federal deficit is projected to be over $27 billion.

The US is beginning to awaken to the implications of its own monstrous national debt. The word ``deflation'' has appeared on the front pages of mainstream newspapers and not just in hard-money newsletters.

When Francis Fukayama spoke of ``the end of history,'' did he mean the end of Western history?

[REF: Intelligence Digest, 17 Rodney Road, Cheltenham, Glos, GL50 1HX, United Kingdom, 9/30/92-11/13/92.]

Non-Disarmament and Proliferation

CIS. Instead of destroying all the known 308 SS-18 ballistic missiles as required by a joint understanding to the START-2 agreement, military officials state they will keep 154 of them. The US suspects that an improved model is still in production. Also, Russia refuses to honor its agreement to sell nuclear fuel to the US. It is believed to be selling the fuel to Iran instead for a higher price. Troops are not being withdrawn from the Baltic states (Washington Inquirer 11/6/92).

No one knows the extent of leakage of nuclear material from the CIS. Three Poles were arrested in Germany when they offered a nuclear warhead for sale. Weapons-grade uranium has been found in Munich and Vienna. An Iranian dissident group claimed that Iran has purchased four nuclear warheads from Kazakhstan (Intelligence Digest).

Iran. Besides the war materiel listed above, Iran plans to acquire 2,000 ballistic missiles (Scuds and Chinese Silkworms) and to build a force of diesel submarines of Soviet manufacture. Iran has effectively annexed the island of Abu Musa and aims to control access to the Persian Gulf through the straits of Hormuz. Perhaps more ominously, Iran now has access to the Red Sea via Port Sudan and has four army bases to the north of Khartoum, used for training Hezbollah guerrillas from Lebanon and Islamist extremists from Egypt.

A developing Libya/Ethiopia/Iran triangle threatens both Egypt and Israel (Intelligence Digest).  

CBW Update

North Korea. According to South Korea's agency for National Security Planning, North Korea has cultured 13 kinds of bacteria useful for BW, including the organisms that cause plague, anthrax, cholera, typhoid fever, and botulism. It is estimated that 1.8 gm of Yersinia pestis (the plague bacillus) or 4 gm of Clostridium botulinum would suffice to exterminate the population of South Korea.

Since the 1970s, North Korea has manufactured chemical-warfare agents and has an annual production capacity of around 5,000 tons. Between 1980-91, there were 630 chemical-warfare exercises. The country owns more than 1,000 decon-tamination vehicles and 500 detection mobiles. Large sections of the population have received gas masks (Intelligence Digest).

Iraq. Testifying before Congress in May, 1992, CIA director Robert Gates stated that he believed Iraq could produce modest quantities of chemical-warfare agents almost im-mediately, if UN sanctions were lifted. Producing biological materials would take a few weeks. Restoration of pre-war capacity would take about a year.

In June, the official Iranian news agency reported use of chemical weapons against ``opposition strongholds'' in southern Iraq. In July, Financial Times of London reported that the Iraqi government had been deliberately polluting marshlands with containerized sewage and possibly using biological and chemical toxins to poison the water.

Azerbaijan. Several allegations were made of the use of poison gas, but a UN team interpreted the finding of cyanide residues in the soil to be ``degradation/combustion'' products from conventional weapons.

CIS. Russian officials finally admitted to the existence of a BW program at Sverdlovsk, site of an anthrax outbreak in 1979, and also to the development of aircraft bombs and rocket warheads to deliver anthrax, tularemia, and Q fever pathogens. The effort continued at least into 1990. US and British government officials are concerned that other illicit programs survive. New information was said to have originated from a defector. Speaking to the US Congress, Boris Yeltsin prom-ised ``No more lies-ever.''

Iran. The Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran makes detailed daily reference to large-scale military maneuvers that include anti-CW exercises.

[REF: Chemical Weapons Convention Bulletin, Sept. 1992.]


Infectious Diseases Forgotten, But Not Gone

What if an epidemic of yellow fever were to break out in New Orleans, a city of 500,000 people, also inhabited by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the mosquito vectors? Probably 100,000 people would come down with the disease, and 10,000 would probably die within 3 months.

This was the conclusion of committee of the US Institute of Medi-cine, led by Joshua Lederberg of Rock-efeller University and Robert Shope, director of the Arbovirus Research Unit at Yale.

If yellow fever were to break out, vaccine would be de-pleted within a few days and new supplies would have to come from Brazil, the only source of large stocks. What the committee calls ``acceptable'' (environmentally correct) pesticides are not available.

The genetic variability of viruses (such as influenza and human immunodeficiency virus) and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics is part of the problem. Another factor is changes in human living patterns. When the forests on the East Coast were cleared for farming in the 19th century, the habitat for the tick vector of Lyme disease was destroyed. Reforestation and the movement of people from cities to wooded suburbs brought people, deer, ticks, and the Lyme spirochete back together. Lyme disease, virtually unknown a decade ago, is the most common vector-borne disease in the US and an increas-ing threat in Europe.

Western governments may regret their budgetary decisions to cut back on public health measures and disease surveillance (Nature 10/22/92).


Endangered Species

A new controversy has arisen in the Church of England over the right of bats to roost in the sanctuary. Some Angli-cans are campaigning for a change in the 1981 Wildlife and Coun-tryside Act that protects members of Britain's 15 bat species from being disturbed (except in the occupied rooms of homes). Others say that the Church should rejoice at the opportunity to work with scientists on species preservation.

Bat droppings on the hymnals are not the only problem. The creatures bite, and they can carry rabies. Some think that it is congregations that are the endangered species (Chico Enterprise-Record 11/7/92). In Tucson, AZ, an abandoned mine shaft near an elementary school was to have been blasted shut before school opened-but workers discovered bats. The school hired guards to keep children from wandering into the shaft.

Because experts said that the bats were using the shaft as a ``motel'' rather than a maternal roost, the shaft can eventually be sealed. The job will be done at night while the bats are away looking for insects, or in the winter after they have migrated to Mexico (Ariz Daily Star 8/29/91).


Dangers of Asbestos Substitutes

A 1989 EPA ban on virtually all uses of asbestos was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds that the EPA had failed to evaluate the safety of asbestos substitutes such as polyvinyl chloride. The EPA will conduct a product-by-product review that might keep the door open for certain uses of asbestos (Science 3/27/9-2). Industry spokesmen argued that the ban has forced the wasteful expenditure of millions of dollars for costly substitutes, and also causes 100 to 1400 traffic deaths per year due to the failure of inferior brake linings. The control of diseases like cholera depends on safe water transportation systems. Asbestos pipe is cheaper, easier to maintain, and superior in performance compared with iron and polyvinyl chloride pipe. The manufac-ture of PVC also exposes workers to a potent carcinogen, vinyl chloride (Asbestos Institute, 1130 Sherbrooke St W, Suite 410, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3A 2M8).