The Corpus Callosum

Tainted Syringes in US

When Bush announced the Global and Perpetual War on Terror, and shifted
funding away from environmental, worker, and consumer safety functions,
I speculated that “the terrorists” would not have to do anything to
kill us: our own corporations would do the job for them.  This has
turned out to be the case,  many times, and here is yet another
example:

Feds searching for CEO in case of tainted syringes
February 24, 2009, 11:46 p.m.
The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. – For months, prosecutors say, technicians in
the gloom of a run-down North Carolina plant prepared life-sustaining
syringes and shipped them before ensuring they were sterile.

Investigators believe a rush to maximize profits led Dushyant Patel’s
AM2PAT Inc. to produce heparin and saline syringes that killed five
people and sickened hundreds of others, some resulting in spinal
meningitis and permanent brain damage…

…Court documents portray a disturbing recklessness that allowed
syringes to ship before they were checked for contamination. Reports
detailing the testing were backdated to appear they passed procedure
before shipping, and some test results were manipulated or fabricated
to deceive inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
prosecutors said.

Patel’s company sold nearly $7 million worth of heparin, a blood
thinner, and saline syringes in 2006-07. The plant in Angier, about 20
miles south of Raleigh, cut corners so it could maximize profit,
including shipping products quickly without checking on safety,
according to court documents.

The syringes were recalled in December 2007 after an outbreak of
illnesses. Health inspectors identified bacterial infections in
Colorado, Texas, Illinois and Florida and traced the contamination to
AM2PAT…

Homeland security is about a lot of things. 

Although I am not thrilled with Obama’s choices for several positions,
I was glad to read href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/02/116022.htm">Clinton’s
comment about national security:

So we need more cross-fertilization, more interchange, more
of a common mission. You know, I’ve talked with Secretary Gates and
General Jim Jones about how we need to look at our whole national
security framework from a more holistic perspective
. You know, if
we are serious about diplomacy and development and culture and politics
and anthropology and sociology and all the things that we can bring to
the table, then we’ve got to be at that table from the very beginning
as we plan for the national security strategy of the United States. So
there’s a lot we’re working on and thinking through, and I hope you’ll
give me some of your ideas about how we can perform better… [emphasis
added]

I’ve come to dislike the word holistic, but I appreciate her
point.  Jones himself reinforces this:

“The whole concept of what constitutes the membership of
the national security community — which, historically has been, let’s
face it, the Defense Department, the NSC itself and a little bit of the
State Department, to the exclusion perhaps of the Energy Department,
Commerce Department and Treasury, all the law enforcement agencies, the
Drug Enforcement Administration, all of those things — especially in
the moment we’re currently in, has got to embrace a broader
membership,” he said.

New NSC directorates will deal with such department-spanning
21st-century issues as cybersecurity, energy, climate change,
nation-building and infrastructure.
Many of the functions of the
Homeland Security Council, established as a separate White House entity
by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, may be
subsumed into the expanded NSC, although it is still undetermined
whether elements of the HSC will remain as a separate body within the
White House… [emphasis added]

I realize that there is a risk of mission smudging, if one tries to
define homeland security in overly broad terms.  It is not
practical to include everything that is in some way related to
safety.  But I think it is helpful to remember that a death is a
death.  This is true regardless of whether the death was caused by
malice, negligence, or quantum mechanics.  It is a mistake to
focus too much attention on any one potential source of morbidity and
mortality.