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Book Review: Bioviolence: Preventing Biological Terror and Crime

Posted By IRC, Monday, April 1, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Barry Kellman’s Bioviolence: Preventing Biological Terror and Crime excellently describes the growing threat of biological warfare as a form of terrorism. Kellman begins by giving a definition of bioviolence: "the use of an active ingredient to cause mass harm.” The author then lists the most common agents used in acts of bioterrorism: smallpox, anthrax, influenza, Ebola, and other toxins used in agro violence. Additionally, the author examines the threat bioviolence has had prior to and after the tragedies of September 11th.

During the Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union collected strands of the small pox virus. After small pox was nearly eradicated, both nations began stock piling vials of the virus. In 1992, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo staged a medical mission to Zaire to cultivate Ebola in order to weaponize it back in Japan. And, after 9/11/2001, groups mailed envelopes full of anthrax to political figures in Washington. Throughout his text, Kellman draws parallels between each event while stating the successes and failures of each method attempted. While

Though Kellman does not cite Kansas City as a hot bed of biological terror, the threat of bioviolence lurks throughout the world. Kansas City houses a Federal Reserve, a field office for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is home to the National World War I Museum and Memorial, which make it a possible location to target aspects of the United States government.

In addition to discussions of biological violence, the book spends time examining ways to prevent these acts of terror. Kellman suggests global coalitions to end bioterror, more scientific research to find cures to these diseases, and microbial surveillance to both prevent and discourage terrorist behavior.

Kellman currently instructs as a Professor at the DePaul University School of Law. He teaches International Environmental Justice and the Law of Antiterrorism. He was awarded as the 2014 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Public International Law at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute at the Lund University in Sweden. The U.S Departments of State, Defense, Energy and Homeland Security often consult professor Kellman for his expertise on biological violence.

About the Author
Missy Rosenthal is a student at Tulane University in New Orleans with interests in Political Science and Public Health.

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