From the January 2005 Idaho Observer:
Projects BioShield, BioWatch and BioSense
The diabolical creation of a mandated marketplace
by The Idaho Observer
With an apparent inability of our government and the public at large to do any real investigation into the events of 9/11, a plethora of security measures were instituted to allegedly prevent another "terrorist attack." These security measures are costing billions of dollars while abolishing any semblance of privacy and the Bill of Rights.
John Marburgerís October 20, 2003, keynote address on national preparedness at BioSecurity 2003 in Washington, D.C., summarized actions taken by President Bush and Congress. Marburgerís presentation reveals that America is just one perceived biological attack away from martial law and forced medical experimentation on the masses.
Our new united security infrastructure
"On October 9, 2001 the President established, by executive order, the Office of Homeland Security, and asked Governor Tom Ridge to lead it. The new Office had a mandate to develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks.
"Just over one year later, in an extraordinary re-organization of the Executive Branch, Bush signed into law the "Department of Homeland Security Act of 2002" creating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The following January, Governor Ridge was sworn in as Secretary of the new Department. A month later, all or part of 22 different agencies were united into the Department. With a budget of $30.4 billion for Fiscal Year 2004, the Department has access to the critical operational resources needed to manage both man-made and naturally-occurring disasters."
Marburger continued by mentioning two key reports that were influential in developing the infrastructure in place today under the guidance of Homeland Security:
"Making the Nation SaferóThe Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism" (June 2002) and "Maximizing the Contribution of Science and Technology within the New Department of Homeland Security." He then outlined the incredible amount of tax dollars being appropriated to the DHS for bioterrorism research through the National Institutes of Health and for setting up the necessary infrastructure for detection of a bioterrorist attack on the U.S.
Initial funding for biodefense preparedness was $180 million and jumped to $1.6 billion over two years at the request of President Bush. In 2004 over $1.2 billion were dedicated to "science and technology" within the DHS, including the funding of a wide variety of programs listed below:
* $88 million for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Centeróa "hub and spoke" system to increase the understanding of and improve measures against potential bioterrorism pathogens;
* $98 million for Threat and Vulnerability Testing and Assessment including $11 million for cybersecurity research and development;
* $75 million for the Rapid Prototyping Program to facilitate the rapid adaptation of commercial technologies for counter-terrorism measures by DHS and first responders;
* $70 million for the Homeland Security Scholars and Fellows Program, which will allow graduate and undergraduate students to pursue scientific studies in homeland security, and will fund the establishment of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence at universities across the country;
* $675 million for critical infrastructure protection, including research, developments, testing, and evaluation of anti-missile technology for commercial aircraft;
* $134 million for the development of sensors and other countermeasures to prevent the unauthorized transport and use of radiological and nuclear materials within the United States;
* $40 million for developing a database of homeland security-related standards for the private sector for devices such as radiation detectors, and protocols for analysis of high tech explosives, chemical agents, and toxic chemicals; and
* $15 million for the Urban Monitoring Program, also known as Project BioWatch.
An unholy trinity
Quoting Marburger: "Narrowing now specifically to bioterrorism, you can see already from the budget numbers that important parts of the Nationís response to this challenge will be the responsibility of agencies other than Homeland Security. These responses are organized under three broad interagency initiatives: Project BioWatch, Project BioSense and Project BioShield.
"Project BioWatch is a cooperative effort among the Department of Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Center for Disease Controlís (CDC) Laboratory Response Network to provide an early warning system for bio-threats. There are currently over 4000 atmospheric monitoring stations nation-wide for the detection of atmospheric pollutants. Under the auspices of Project BioWatch, atmospheric samples in numerous cities are monitored around-the-clock for select agents. Filters from the sampling apparatus are analyzed by the CDC network for numerous biological threat agents. If any such agents were to be detected, mechanisms and protocols are in place for DHS, CDC, and EPA to reach crucial public health decisions rapidly, and promulgate a uniform course of action for local public health officials on the Ďfront lines.í This network was established very rapidly, and much work remains to take full advantage of it, but it is functioning today.
"Project BioSense is still in its infancy. It is intended to reduce the lag time between the detection of a possible bio-agent and an appropriate response. Distinct from Project BioWatch, but integrated in function, Project BioSense relies upon multiple streams of information to facilitate rapid decision-making. Monitored parameters will include environmental data from Project BioWatch, epidemiological information from hospitals administered by the Department of Defense and the Veteranís Administration, reports from pharmacies across the nation, and other sources of relevant syndromic and non-traditional data. All this information will converge at the CDCís Biointelligence Center, first for analysis, and then, if warranted, for coordinated response. Having this single center examine data from many different sources permits the detection of patterns and anomalies that may not be apparent through other means. Moreover, the CDC has long been entrusted with both gathering information from and disseminating information to front-line health-care providers. This new role is a logical extension of that mission, in which the CDC will work hand-in-glove with clinicians at the local level to determine if an emergency response is warranted, and the necessary magnitude of that action."
Project Bioshield is a national security measure to stockpile drugs and treatments against terrorist threats first proposed by President Bush in January, 2003. Five-hundred and sixty days after Bushís initial proposal, the Project Bioshield Act of 2004 was passed nearly unanimously by Congress and signed by the president on July 21, 2004. Project Bioshield was allocated $5.6 billion over the next 10 years to fund research and the purchase of vaccines, therapeutics and other products (all pharmaceutical) against chemical, biological, and radiological attacks.
Pharma cartel wonít bite
Although President Bush intended Bioshield to be an incentive for biotechnology companies and the pharmaceutical industry to create vaccines and/or drugs to counter such anticipated threats as genetically-modified smallpox and super stains of anthrax, the expected flood of proposed contracts has not materialized. What appears to be a good deal is not, according to many companies. They say the funding mechanism is "flawed" due to lack of liability protection, cumbersome regulations, and lack of a guaranteed, patent-protected marketplace. Even though there is a cozy relationship between the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and many research and development companies awarded contracts in the past, there is little interest in contracting for Bioshieldís billions without further liability and patent protections.
Millions for the privileged
Bioshield funded its first contract on Nov. 7, 2004, with VaxGen of California to the tune of $877 million for 75 million doses of an "improved" anthrax vaccine. This equates to $11.70 per dose of anthrax vaccine. With our tax dollars and foreign policy committed in directions that appear to intentionally be promoting the likelihood of a bio-terrorist attack, one has to wonder just who will be "privileged" to receive one of the 75 million doses of the new anthrax vaccine? Only one four Americans will be able to receive such a government-sponsored benefit. But, this is only one contract and more money is available for the purchase of additional anthrax vaccine.
With the DHS having a central database for all birth certificates and driverís licenses, and the enforcement of the new Intelligence Reform Actís national ID card, complete with biochips, the mere "threat" of a bio-terrorist attack may be right around the corner. Most states are passing some form of emergency health powers legislation which include mandatory vaccinations and involuntary quarantine provisions. The imminence of mandatory vaccination or drugging with these unproven, experimental drugs is very likely in our new age of terrorism.
Not enough marbles
But as mentioned, companies are leery of Project Bioshield. According to Avant President and CEO Una Ryan, Bioshield changed substantially between proposal and passage with the biggest disappointments being the lack of committed funds once a company decides to develop a drug and indemnification from lawsuits. Even though Bioshield is intended to be an "end-stage acquisition process" with companies able to use NIH and SBIR* funding to help develop products, this incredible sum of money is not enough of an incentive for the majority of companies who donít want to "play" unless they can have it all.
To satisfy Bush and Congressís zeal to defend Americans from the "threat" of a bio-terrorist attack by mass medical experimentation with drugs of unknown toxicity, the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary convened on October 6, 2004, to hear testimony on "Bioshield II: Responding To An Ever Changing Threat." Although the meeting was sparsely attended, it was important to address the concerns of the pharmaceutical industry and its supporters in the biodefense community over what they see as problems with Project BioShield.
Since our aggressive foreign policy hasnít changed, the likelihood of a bioterrorist attack increases daily and the necessity for countermeasures appears justified and close to emergency status in terms of Bioshield being implemented immediately.
A new Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute (CBACI) report, "Meeting the Biodefense Challenge: A Roadmap for a National Vaccine Strategy," was also released on October 6, 2004, describing in detail the problems facing development of a national biodefense stockpile of drugs and vaccines. The working group contributing to the report was comprised of some 60 experts from the White House, Congress, the science community, federal agencies, academia, the pharmaceutical industry and the private sector.
The Devilís own deal
In a heroic effort to speed up this cumbersome process, Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) will be introducing Senate Bill 666, also known as BioShield II, in the early weeks of the 109th Congress. BioShield II promises to offer tax incentives, intellectual property protections, liability protection and patent extensions to companies willing to participate in Project BioShield.
But rather than more money and more inducements, perhaps what is needed is a fundamental rethinking of the problem. For example, rushing to develop a vaccine for every biological weapon on the threat list may not be the right approach.
David Franz, former head of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRID) at Fort Detrick, MD, and now chief biological scientist at the Midwest Research Institute in Frederick, Maryland, near USAMRID, thinks that protection against smallpox and anthrax should be top priorities. Others think that specific drugs may be more effective and less costly to develop than vaccines.
Richard Elbright, a biochemist and biodefense expert at Rutgers University, thinks we should be focusing on real threats like influenza, which he qualifies by parroting the CDCís fabricated figures of 40,000 deaths annually from influenza.
Real solutions ignored
The rest of the populace who understands the dis-ease process and are advocates of naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, and oxidation therapies see the entire problem of BioShield I and II in a different light. How about stockpiling earth-friendly substances such as oregano oil, hydrogen peroxide, and colloidal silver that have been proven to effectively counter all manner of pathogens?
Our self-induced demise
Should BioShield II be approved by Congress and signed into law by President Bush (which is expected to happen this session) it will be a sad reflection of the consciousness of our country. The American people are allowing the Bush administration to send our sons and daughters to wage illegal wars on sovereign nations and are apparently unaware that these internationally repugnant actions are creating the threat of a retaliatory biological attack here at home.
It is apparent that the U.S. government is signaling the demise of our once great republic by justifying the passage of federal acts that, in effect, abolish the Bill of Rights and Constitutionóto "bioshield" us from the ever-increasing likelihood that U.S. aggression will prompt a biological attack here at home.
BioShield II, is an amended version of BioShield I, which did not provide enough incentives to encourage pharmaceutical industry cooperation. Once signed into law by the president, the BioShield plan will interface with emergency health powers laws that have already been passed in most states, revealing a "biosecurity" infrastructure ready to administrate a declared state of medical martial law.
And just thinkóunder BioShield, such a declaration can come at any moment under the mere presumption that a biological attack may take place.
*SBIR - Small Business Innovation Research is a government program with an annual budget of $1-2 billion for assisting small biotech companies by providing research and development to winning bidders.
John Marburgerís keynote address on national preparedness October 20, 2003 at BioSecurity 2003 in Washington, D.C.
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