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08.20 Amazon under fire for new packaging that cannot be recycled [ALL NON-RECYCLABLE PACKAGING MUST BE ILLEGAL]

08.19 The Trump administration tried to bury a climate study on ... rice? [CO2 increase causes decrease in nutrition from rice and other crops. Trump chose to bury the story because it contradicts his ignorance.]

08.19 Give Your Yard Back to Nature

08.19 Australia is third largest exporter of fossil fuels behind Russia and Saudi Arabia

08.16 Planting the Seeds for Dramatic Changes in Agriculture [6:19 video]

08.16 Microplastics ‘significantly contaminating the air’, scientists warn

08.15 The rain in Spain: how an ancient Arabic technique saves Alicante from floods

08.15 40% of US honeybee colonies disappeared last year. This is what the world would look like without any bees at all.

08.15 Fracking Boom in US and Canada Largely to Blame for 'Massive' Rise of Global Methane Levels: Study [Will there be mass-murder criminal charges? With Trump-appointed judges allow criminal or civil-cases be fairly adjudicated?]

08.14 “Kochland” Examines the Koch Brothers’ Early, Crucial Role in Climate-Change Denial [For their gravestones, what best summarizes the vast death of life across the globe these two brothers have wrought?]

08.14 GM, VW Say They Won’t Build Hybrids Or Plug-in Hybrids, Only Battery Electric Cars

08.14 eHang Wants To Start An eVTOL Service In Guangzhou Soon [7:31 video]

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08.14 China Is Leading The World To An Electric Future: Four Takeaways From My Recent Visit

08.14 India Approves Subsidy For 5,595 Electric Buses Across 64 Cities

08.14 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us

08.14 North Pole: multiple lightning strikes follow record-low sea ice levels

08.13 Tree-damaging pests pose ‘devastating’ threat to 40% of US forests

08.13 Playing Role of Pesticide 'Cheerleader,' EPA Rebukes Calif. With Ban on Warning Labels for Roundup

08.13 Regenerative Agriculture Is Key for a Sustainable Climate and Food System

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08.15 Why Bernie Sanders Is Absolutely Correct About the Washington Post—and Corporate Media Overall [7:51 video]

08.11 Guess who said it: Tucker Carlson or a far-right shooter [How have Fox News and similar excretory news sources become such profitable engines of hate? They foment fear of people different than ‘you’ as the problem, and sell evisceration of ‘them’ as the solution. It’s all neatly packaged to make ‘you’ feel safer.]

08.09 'What Oligarchy Looks Like': Sanders Leads 140 Lawmakers in Condemning Trump Plan to Rip Food Stamps From 3 Million Americans [Why isn't this story covered in corporate media?]

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08.20 Kamala Harris, Who Just Clarified Her Rejection of Real Medicare for All, to Snub Climate Forum in Favor of Big Donors [Bye Bye, Kamala]

08.20 'I can't breathe': NYPD fires officer who put Eric Garner in chokehold

08.20 Caged alone 24 hours a day, denied medicine: lawsuit claims 'torture' in US migrant jails [Another triumph of ignorant beliefs]

08.20 Planned Parenthood withdraws from federal program over Trump rule [Another triumph of ignorant beliefs]

08.19 America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One

08.19 America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others.

08.19 Sanders unveils proposal for massive overhaul of criminal justice system

08.18 Memo reveals a House Republican strategy on shootings: downplay white nationalism, blame left

08.18 In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.

08.18 The misogyny Steve King embodies is very much in the DNA of the Republican party [Society has become an embarassing...mess...from media outlets and politicians spewing outrageous hate and warped opinion.]

08.18 Trump's Statue of Bigotry is not Cuccinelli's first neo-Confederate assault [Is everyone in the Trump Administration a racist bigot?]

08.18  400 years of slavery: 400 years since slavery: a timeline of American history

08.18  400 years of racism: Portland rally: Proud Boys vow to march each month after biggest protest of Trump era [1:15 video]

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08.20 The supreme court's pro-gun radicalism puts us all in the crosshairs [America's Confederate cancer...]

08.16 The FBI could fight far-right violence if they wanted to – but they don't

08.15 Fracking Boom in US and Canada Largely to Blame for 'Massive' Rise of Global Methane Levels: Study [Will there be mass-murder criminal charges? With Trump-appointed judges allow criminal or civil-cases be fairly adjudicated?]

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08.19 The end of capitalism has begun [3:33 video]

08.15 Military Spending: Ignoring the $738 Billion Elephant in the Room

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08.20 UK privately appeals to senior Australian ministers for climate action

08.18 Scott Morrison's betrayal of the Pacific was immoral – and completely unnecessary [Inaction will bring death and suffering]

08.18 ‘Our people are dying’: Australia’s climate confrontation in the Pacific

08.18 Hong Kong: hundreds of thousands join protest in pouring rain

08.18 Bangladesh fire leaves 10,000 homeless after blaze razes slum [1:19 video]

08.15 US moves to block release of Iranian vessel in Gibraltar

08.13 The Museum Is the Refugee’s Home [Think about it: refugees—excluding bad criminal types—are naturally the best new citizens because they'll fight like hell for a better life.]

08.13 Hong Kong protests: airport suspends flights for second day [0:45 video]

08.11 Trump's influence is spreading like a virus

08.11 The very idea of a united kingdom is being torn apart by toxic nationalism

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  Fort Detrick Poses a Threat to Frederick, Md.--and to Humanity
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ENVIRONMENT:

Fort Detrick Poses a Threat to Frederick, Md.--and to Humanity

by BARRY KISSIN and RICHARD OCHS
The NIH budget for medical research priorities has been slashed to help pay for bioweapons research--yet any bioterror threat pales in significance compared with diseases which already kill tens of thousands.
September 28, 2006, 2006--A huge expansion of bioweapons research at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, is being planned as part of President Bush's $8 billion annual budget for bioweapons research (www.usamriid.army.mil/eis). This expansion is ill advised for the following reasons:

1. NO LOCAL SECURITY: “You could walk out with anything,’ researcher says,” “Scientist faults lab’s security;” (Frederick Post, 1/21/02): “Interviews with more than a dozen current and former Fort Detrick scientists provided a rare account of what they described as a lax security system, that could have done little to prevent an employee from smuggling the ingredients for biological terrorism out.” Also, see “Detrick lost pathogens: Army audit,” (front page, Frederick Post, 1/21/02): “Lab specimens of anthrax spores, Ebola virus and other pathogens disappeared during a turbulent period of labor complaints and recriminations among rival scientists...” Also, see “Beyond the breach,” (front page, Frederick Post, 5/13/06): “During a two-week period in April four years ago, officials at the Army’s lead biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick discovered anthrax spores had escaped carefully guarded suites into the building’s unprotected areas.” Also, see “Risky Business,” (Frederick Post, front page, 5/14/06): “Employees at USAMRIID, the Army’s leading biodefense laboratory, filed 161 biological defense mishap reports between April 1, 2002 and Dec. 1, 2005.” Dangerous pathogens, some with no cure, could escape in the event of accident, terror attack or an inside job like the October 9, 2001 anthrax attack on Democratic Senators. The latter intimidation helped stampede the Patriot Act passage and terrorized Congress into authorizing war (www.freefromterror.net).

2. NO MEDICAL PRIORITY: In March, 2005, 750 US biologists signed a letter protesting what they see as the excessive study of bioterror threats. "The diversion of research funds represents a crisis for NIH-supported microbiological research," the letter states. Signers include two Nobel laureates and seven past presidents of the American Society for Microbiology. Real medical threats are going unfunded, such as staphylococcus, which is now largely unaffected by penicillin and other antibiotics (“Superbugs,” USA Today, 5/11/06). The NIH budget for medical research priorities has been slashed to help pay for bioweapons research--yet any bioterror threat pales in significance compared with diseases which already kill tens of thousands: (“Rising Diabetes Threat Meets a Falling Budget," NYT,5/16/06). Dr. Muin Khoury, Director of Disease Prevention at the CDC, stated in February 2003, ”Public health is in disarray, and this emphasis on terrorism is eroding the public health infrastructure even more.”

3. NO CREDIBLE BIOTERROR THREAT: Milton Leitenberg, a veteran arms control advocate and senior scholar at the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies, shows in his recently published Assessing the Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism Threat that billions of federal expenditures have been appropriated in the absence of virtually any threat analysis, and that the risk and imminence of the use of biological agents by nonstate actors/terrorist organizations “has been systematically and deliberately exaggerated.” It is critical to recognize that the only bioattack in American history, namely the anthrax letters of October 2001, almost certainly was generated by our own bioweapons establishment. Dr. David Franz, former director of the Army's bioweapons facility at Detrick (USAMRIID): “People don’t understand how difficult it is to pull off a biological attack.” Dr. C.J. Peters, formerly a senior virologist at USAMRIID: For a chemical or biological attack with mass casualties, “You have to have a state or the equivalent.”

4. NO MONEY: Federal deficit spending is pushing the national debt to beyond bankrupting levels. Military bases and weapons systems are being cut as branches vie for funding. So, cut Ft. Detrick!

5. NO WATER: Frederick has just contracted to help pay for an expensive pipeline 30 miles to the Potomac River (containing dioxin, PCBs, mercury and fecal bacteria). During droughts, D.C. can bar others from drawing from the Potomac, leaving Frederick to compete with Fort Detrick for Monocacy River water, also inadequate during droughts. Larger water bills are on their way, not to speak of higher taxes for more schools, roads and waste treatment. Already, many residents can no longer afford to live here.

6. NO LEGALITY: The former chief American negotiator of the Biological Weapons Convention, James Leonard, has warned that the administration’s initiative could be interpreted as “development” of biological weapons in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). This explains the Bush administration’s rejection of the International Protocol on Inspection and Verification of biological weapons activity, supported by practically all of the other 130 nations that are party to the BWC.

7. NO INTERNATIONAL SECURITY: Testing clouds of genetically modified pathogens on animals is worrisome because if we found these things elsewhere in countries we were suspicious of, we would not say they had a necessary biodefense program. One might conclude that the US bioweapons program could ignite similar efforts in other countries, fueling a biological arms race and the proliferation of genetically modified pathogens. If diseases with no vaccines or cures escape anywhere in the world, national boundaries would not mean much, as the HIV/AIDS epidemic shows. The US bioweapons program therefore threatens our global and national security.

8. NO LIMIT: Germ warfare agents can be genetically modified and each modification may require a different vaccine or countermeasure. Since Fort Detrick's stated mission is to anticipate biological threats, Fort Detrick plans to genetically modify diseases on which to test vaccines. This is a slippery slope to a bottomless pit of unlimited new diseases with no known cures, which could plague the earth till the end of time, if they escaped containment by accident, smuggling or terror attack. These technologies may very well end up under the control of the “enemy,” technologies that the “enemy” would never be able to develop on its own.

The rampant corruption associated with the failures of reconstruction in Iraq and post-Katrina portends the development of a disease protection racket.
9. NO INTEGRITY: The situation is ripe for biotech corporate profiteering, and political bribery, to further warp the democratic process with pork and even germ scares for profit. The rampant corruption associated with the failures of reconstruction in Iraq and post-Katrina portends the development of a disease protection racket.

10. NO CREDIBILITY: The difference between defensive and offensive R&D is defined by intention. There is little reason to believe that the Bush administration's intentions with respect to expansion of bioweapons facilities are purely defensive. The Army has had to admit that it has been using chemical weapons in the current war in Iraq. Such use of white phosphorus and napalm is in clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which the U.S. is a party. Some history: In the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Commerce licensed 70 biological exports to Iraq. Saddam was our ally then, warring against our enemy Iran. Licensed exports included approved shipments to Iraq of weapons grade botulin poison and at least 21 batches of lethal strains of anthrax. (www.democracyrising.us/content/view/30/74/)

The Administration ignores the Convention Against Torture, rejects the Land Mines Treaty, and violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Treaty Against Militarization of Space. Why should anyone trust their germ warfare intentions in Frederick?
11. NO TRUST: The Administration lied this nation into the war on Iraq, mismanaged the Katrina disaster, rejects World Court decisions, ignores the Convention Against Torture, opposes the Koyoto treaty on greenhouse gases, boycotted the South African Conference on Racism, defends and finances Israel's UN violations, rejects the Land Mines Treaty, violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Treaty Against Militarization of Space. This Administration has violated the UN Charter by aggression and occupation of a country which posed no threat to the US. The United Nations Chairman Kofi Annan has called this US war "illegal." After all this, why should anyone trust their germ warfare intentions in Frederick?

Barry Kissin is an attorney practicing in Frederick, Md. Richard Ochs, a retired printer, is a longtime Baltimore peace and environmental activist.



Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on September 28, 2006.
 

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