Too many neighbors?
March 14, 2002 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Too many neighbors? Bioweapons can help solve that problem. Recently declassified documents say that one of Australia's leading scientists suggested just that in 1947.
posted by gimonca (6 comments total)
That would put them in roughly the same company as South Africa and Israel.
posted by euphorb at 10:42 AM on March 14, 2002

(Wow, this trollfeed was cheap!)

Actually, neither of the countries you listed has used their weapons of mass destruction against civilians. Unlike, say, the United States, which used the two most powerful weapons of mass destruction available to kill civilians in 1945.

And that's my real point. While this might seem odd now, it was probably pretty acceptable in the climate of the late 40's, right after World War II and its "issues"...
posted by Ptrin at 11:06 AM on March 14, 2002

The plan was resurrected in the 1980s. We kept the 'Neighbours' bit in the project name as an inside joke.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:17 PM on March 14, 2002 [1 favorite]

Australia has had longstanding issues with ever-so-slightly paranoid racism -- from Stolen Generation of aborigine children forcibly removed to white families, to the allegedly racist One Nation political movement just recently, and the current immigration troubles; and its defence policy historically has been one of deep concern for invasion. And interestingly, their F-111 fleet gives them long-range strategic air power that is unmatched by any nation but the US.

This particular plan is no doubt intimately connected with the White Australia Policy, which for most of the nation's history tried to restrict immigration to Europeans only, pretty much abolished by 1978. These are acknowledged as an "otherness" problem today, stemming in part from their isolation from Britain as the empire crumbled, and I think in that other thread somebody, maybe me, pointed out that Sydney is over 25% foreign-born today, and probably as colorful as the most multi-cultural city in North America, Toronto.

Notably, in 1942 the Japanese attacked Darwin, which probably had something to do wth raising the hackles of Australians in this era.

But I think Ptrin has the real point: in this era, people were experimenting for the first time with Weapons of Mass Destruction. There was a sense that science could replace the existing methods of war; and there hadn't yet developed the Cold War era antiwar, anti-WMD movement that tried to create a WMD taboo. The complex Australian-Indonesia relationship (see end of article for history) has had its ups and downs -- but it's probably overreaching to say that this was anything more than a white-paper study. Military commanders are required to plan for any eventuality; and as SDB has noted, the Pentagon probably has several plans to invade Canada somewhere deep in the basement. Having a plan is not the same thing as having intent. That last link shows that during the period of this plan (1945-49), Australia was actually supporting Indonesian independence from Holland -- actions of which they rightly can be proud.
posted by dhartung at 5:00 PM on March 14, 2002

the Pentagon probably has several plans to invade Canada somewhere deep in the basement...

Some of the older ones are out in public view.
posted by gimonca at 6:39 PM on March 14, 2002

(Wow, this trollfeed was cheap!)

My point is that Australia wasn’t the only country that contemplated bioweapons which target a specific population which is what yours was too I believe.

And there are claims that South Africa used some of their anthrax and cholera on civilians.
posted by euphorb at 9:04 PM on March 14, 2002

« Older Let him stay.   | Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments