More Questions than Answers in US Bioterrorism Case
If the FBI's theory that the only significant bioterrorism case in US history, resulting in 5 deaths and 17 illnesses, originated from the US biodefense program, the implications for the US public are profound. Two US Senators - Patrick Leahy D-VT and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle D-South Dakota were targeted in the unprecedented attacks by letters containing anthrax spores, sent through the US Postal system. Twenty-eight people, twenty of them on Senator Daschle's staff, tested positive for anthrax exposure.
Whether or not Dr. Ivins himself was guilty or innocent, the anthrax strain used in the 2001 attack has been traced to our own biodefense laboratories. What does that say about the security of our biodefense systems? What would be the motive of operators within our own defense system attacking the US public and US congressmen? Why is the FBI not cooperating with Congress in this investigation, especially given the fact that Congress was targeted?
Believe it or not, no one branch of government knows the number and location of bioweapons laboratories in the US, according to a report in the Washington Post. Use of biological weapons was outlawed by the 1925 Geneva protocol, but nations continued development and stockpiling of these agents in the 20th century. The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), signed by the US and 155 other nations, prohibits production and acquisition of biological weapons. Efforts to develop protocols for verification broke down in 2001 and spending on biodefense jumped to $3 billion in 2007. The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation reports that 15,000 people have been approved to handle bioweapons. Clearly we need stricter security, oversight and transparency of this expanding branch of the defense industry for public health and safety.
Thank you Judy Breck for use of photo Bioweapons.
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