Biodefense Controversies

This is another upsetting bit of news about our government.
 The href="">Washington
is reporting laboratory being built in Ft.
Detrick, Maryland.  Known as the National Biodefense Analysis
and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), the new facility will conduct title="Wikipedia link"
href="" rel="tag">biological
warfare research "within what many arms-control experts say
is a legal gray zone,
skirting the edges of an international treaty outlawing the production
of even small amounts of biological weapons."

I've written about this before.  Persons who are particularly
interested in this topic might want to read my earlier posts:

  • href="">PNAC
    Sucks, Part II
  • href="">US
    Biodefense Crossing the Line?

Those are fairly long, so I'll excerpt the most important points here.

The ( href="" rel="tag">PNAC)
is something familiar to many people who are suspicious of the
beligerent values that are so evident in our current Administration.
 The produced a document entitled href="">Rebuilding
America's Defenses
(PDF link) that promotes a
warmongering stance in international affairs.

What is pertinent here, is their mention of the following:

...And advanced forms of biological warfare that can
“target” specific genotypes may transform
biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful

It is difficult to imagine anything more reprehensible than
genotype-specific biological warfare.  To consider such a
thing as "politically useful" is beyond imagination.  Even so,
such champions of family values as Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, William
Kristol, and Paul Wolfowitz, all seem to think this is just an ordinary
issue in political discourse.  They all signed the document
that contains the quote above.  

When we look at the proposed areas of study for the new NBACC, as noted
in the article href="">Biodefense
Crossing the Line
(PDF link), we see the following:

  • genetic engineering;
  • susceptibility to current therapeutics;
  • host-range studies;
  • environmental stability;
  • aerosol animal-model development;
  • aerosol dynamics;
  • novel packaging;
  • novel delivery of threat;
  • bioregulators and immunomodulators; and
  • ‘‘Red Teaming,’’
    which is to say duplication of
  • threat scenarios.

I think it is being charitable to say that this a legal gray area.
 If it is gray, it is pretty darn close to black.  
At the very least, this should have close congressional oversight.
 Furthermore, I would favor modification of US law, and
international treaties, to specifically ban research on
genotype-specific biological warfare agents.  Although that
type of research was not mentioned in any publicly-available
information (that I could find) regarding NBACC, we need to be explicit
about this point.

 I also think that those of us in medicine and related fields
need to pressure our colleagues to disavow any such research.
 That would include not only research on potential
genotype-specific agents, but anything that could have offensive

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Couldn't agree more. See also my post on the old Effect Measure site here.


Thanks for that link; it's an excellent post. I am confident that the money would be better spent on "ordinary" public health measures. From a biodefense standpoint, it makes no sense to develop all that technology, while the infrastructure for public health deteriorates. The best technology in the world does no good, if there is no infrastructure with which to implement it.

That point is so obvious, that it is one of the things that makes me suspicious of the motivation behind NBACC.

Hi, If you will Google GOP Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist's largely ignored speech @ Harvard Medical School a few years ago you will find him recommending a MANHATTAN-STYLE PROGRAM to develop American Bio-Defenses vs. the very BIO-DETERRENT WEAPONS the Pentagon/Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-- US-GLOBAL-DOMINION-KABALERS are creating, based on US BIO-DETERRENTS "developed" 1964-1969 @ Johnson Island.[See Richard Preston's "The Cobra Event"--a truth -based "novel" re "BLACK BIOLOGY."]
I have discussed the reasons for the Bush/Bushevik BIO-DETERRENTS in my new book: "Truth Seeking: Travels in a Time of Terror, Wars, & Religious Fundamentalists-2000-2006"/Xlibris {2006).
over the Earth's Muslims(1.1 billion), Yellow Perils- Red Chinese[1.2 Billion} & Brown Indians[1 Billion]?--
Just murder people--not vaporize buildings/factories! A Fascist Christian Amerika could then fulfill Revelation's prophecies for Armageddon-WW III & the Second Coming of THEIR Lord Jesus Christ--destroy ALL the Earth's Cities & murder one half of the Earth's human beings--& thus achieve a Fundamentalist Christian "Dominion"/Millennial Kingdom over the entire Earth. Very worried,in Nova Scotia, George E. Lowe, author of "The Age of Deterrence" & "It Can Happen Here: A Fascist Christian America", two Vols. 2000.

By George E. Lowe (not verified) on 06 Aug 2006 #permalink

Where in "Rebuilding America's Defenses" is the referenced quote? I wasn't able to find it.

...And advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool...

It is at the bottom of the right-hand column of page 60 (page 72 of the PDF) of Rebuilding America's Defenses. I encourage people to read it, even though it is long and fairly dense.