Bush threatens Iraq with nukes,
US ramps up its own
By Kellia Ramares
Reprinted with Permission
It was originally published
on the Center for Research on Globalisation
(http://www.globalresearch.ca) on December 26, 2002.
When I booted up my AOL account on the morning of December
11th, I was greeted by the picture of someone in a gas
mask and the headline: "You gas us; We'll nuke you!" Bad
as that was, the headline on West County Times was worse: "Pre-emptive
nuke strike a possibility." The San Francisco
Chronicle banner headline was even pithier: Bush Doctrine: Hit First.
But while George W. Bush threatens Iraq, the United States
is expanding its own biowarfare research programs. The
government plans to increase the number of biohazard
safety level (BSL)
3 and 4 labs around the United States. BSL 3 labs handle
live anthrax, botulism, and bubonic plague, among many
other things. BSL 4 labs conduct research on an array
of even deadlier
organisms, including smallpox and Ebola virus.
Steve Erickson, director of the Citizens' Education
Project <http://www.citizensedproject.org> in Salt
Lake City, Utah said, "This expansion of laboratory
capacity within the Defense Department and other departments
of government has been in the works for a number of years,
probably dating to about 1995. Certainly, the intensity
and speed of these developments is picked up since 9/11/2001.
The last count we had was about 14 [labs] that were being
proposed in various locations by any one of four Cabinet
level departments within the US Government. There are some
indications now that the National Institutes of Health
be backing off in terms of the numbers of Biological Safety
Level Four laboratories, but intends instead to renovate
and perhaps build additional Biological Level Three laboratories."
The Department of Energy wants to build a BSL-3 facility
at its Los Alamos lab in New Mexico. On December 16th,
the DOE released the final Environmental Assessment of
to build a BSL-3 lab at Lawrence Livermore National Lab <http://www.llnl.gov> ,
in the San Francisco suburbs. DOE issued a "Finding
of No Significant Impact" for construction of this
new facility. Additionally, Lawrence Livermore (LLNL) plans
to be a partner in developing The Western National Center
for Biodefense and Emerging Diseases, a BSL-4 facility slated
for the University of California – Davis.
Why put high containment microbiology labs at nuclear facilities,
such as Los Alamos and LLNL?
One might think the ready answer is that at the nuclear
weapons lab security measures were already in place that
the community against accidents or terrorist attacks. But
when I posed the question to John Bellardo, director of
the Office of Public Affairs of the U.S. Department of
National Nuclear Security Administration, he did not offer
even that much substance. Instead, he said, after a long
pause, "There is no apparent problem with locating
the biosafety level three facility at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory. All of the potential ramifications
were examined in the environmental assessment and it was
that it does not pose any undue harm or potential threat
to the human health or the environment."
Bellardo also said that a contract had been let for the
construction of a prefabricated building to house the
new facility. Construction
should be completed by late summer or early fall of 2003.
The real reason for putting a high containment microbiology
lab in a nuclear research facility may be to duck oversight
Prof. Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Chair of the Working Group
on Biological Weapons of the Federation of American Scientists, <http://www.fas.org> said "when
various types of weapons are being researched at the same
place, it means that if there is any kind of oversight
or investigation or inspection of one type, it puts at
classified information about the others. And this is a
reason why this government frequently objects to any kind
And this is also, in my view, a reason why different kinds
of weapons research should be conducted at different locations,
rather than piling them all in the same place."
What might government microbiologists be researching
that they wouldn't want to have subject to inspection?
Robert Gould, MD, incoming president of Physicians for
Social Responsibility <http://www.psr.org> , is concerned
that the US may be breaching the Biological Weapons Convention,
which limits research to defensive purposes, by genetically
modifying anthrax. "This is a threat of developing
offensive capabilities," Dr. Gould said, "because
you're modifying an organism to be resistant to antibiotics
and therefore increasing its capability to be a weapon."
Dr. Gould's concerns are borne out by several documents.
LLNL, which already has a BSL-2 lab, has acknowledged in
a "Frequently Asked Questions" list that it would
be working with anthrax in the BSL-3 lab and that it has
been "working with 25 different strains of anthrax
since Spring 2000 as part of our regular program work for
the National Nuclear Security Administration's Chemical
and Biological National Security Program."
The draft environmental assessment for the proposed lab
says that current plans call for the facility to handle
and RNA of a wide array of organisms. The lab could also
engage in the chemical separation of DNA, RNA and proteins,
and in sample amplification, which the assessment defines
as "the process to rapidly and significantly increase
the number of microorganisms in a sample." The environmental
assessment also states that "the proposed facility
would have the unique capability within DOE/NNSA to perform
aerosol studies to include challenges of rodents using
infectious agents or biologically derived toxins (biotoxins)."
While George W. Bush compels the Iraqis to bare all in
connection with its weapons programs, what biological
horrors is the
American government cooking up in the secrecy of its
Kellia Ramares is Host/Producer of R.I.S.E.- Radio
Internet Story Exchange <http://www.rise4news.net>.
December 16th edition of R.I.S.E. <http://www.rise4news.net/Programs.html> is
about the expansion of US biowarfare labs.
Host/Producer: R.I.S.E. - Radio Internet Story Exchange
366 Grand Avenue #215, Oakland, CA 94610
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