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The German army's 1943 flooding of the Pontine Marshes south of Rome, which later caused a sharp rise in malaria cases among Italian civilians, has recently been described by historian Frank Snowden as a unique instance of biological warfare and bioterrorism in the European theater of war and, consequently, as a violation of the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting chemical and biological warfare. We argue that archival documents fail to support this allegation, on several counts. As a matter of historical record, Hitler prohibited German biological weapons (BW) development and consistently adhered to the Geneva Protocol. Rather than biological warfare against civilians, the Wehrmacht used flooding, land mines, and the destruction of vital infrastructure to obstruct the Allied advance. To protect its own troops in the area, the German army sought to contain the increased mosquito breeding likely to be caused by the flooding. Italians returning to the Pontine Marshes after the German retreat in 1944 suffered malaria as a result of environmental destruction, which was banned by the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions and by subsequent treaties. In contrast, a state's violation of the Geneva Protocol, whether past or present, involves the use of germ weapons and, by inference, a state-level capability. Any allegation of such a serious violation demands credible evidence that meets high scientific and legal standards of proof.
This article develops a theoretical framework for biopolitical science as a science of political animals. This science moves through three levels of deep political history: the universal political history of the species, the cultural political history of the group, and the individual political history of animals in the group. To illustrate the particular application of biopolitical science, this essay shows how this science would help us to understand Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.
This case study of the Australian Museum's Thylacine Cloning Project analyzes a frame dispute that emerged during public communication of a scientific project, which lasted from 1999 to 2005, and was premised on the idea of resurrecting an extinct species. In choosing the Tasmanian tiger—an iconic Australian marsupial officially declared extinct in 1986—the promoters of the cloning project ensured extensive media coverage. However, the popular and scientific attention generated by the idea of bringing back an extinct species challenged the Museum's efforts to frame the project in terms of scientific progress. The project repeatedly shifted from science to spectacle, as multiple stakeholders used the mass media to negotiate the scientific feasibility of trying to reverse extinction through the application of advanced biotechnology. The case study findings are relevant both to the emerging social issues surrounding the use of paleogenomics in wildlife conservation, and to the theoretical development of frame analysis as applied to scientific controversies.
This paper argues that the processes of evolutionary selection are becoming increasingly artificial, a trend that goes against the belief in a purely natural selection process claimed by Darwin's natural selection theory. Artificial selection is mentioned by Darwin, but it was ignored by Social Darwinists, and it is all but absent in neo-Darwinian thinking. This omission results in an underestimation of probable impacts of artificial selection upon assumed evolutionary processes, and has implications for the ideological uses of Darwin's language, particularly in relation to poverty and other social inequalities. The influence of artificial selection on genotypic and phenotypic adaptations arguably represents a substantial shift in the presumed path of evolution, a shift laden with both biological and political implications.