4/27 Swine Flu Background and Possibilities

"This fight has nothing to do with soldierly gallantry or principles of the Geneva Convention. If the fight against the partisans is not waged with the most brutal means, we will shortly reach the point where the available forces are insufficient to control the area. It is therefore not only justified, but it is the duty of the troops to use all means without restriction, even against women and children, so long as it ensures success".
Wilhelm Keitel, chief of staff of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces of Germany, Dec. 16, 1942

"this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' (GWOT).
Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.'

kills only in Mexico
With Swine Flu Cases Rising, Borders Are Tightened
Countries around the world began tightening their border and immigration controls Tuesday as the number of confirmed cases of swine flu continued to rise.
The number of deaths believed attributable to swine flu climbed to as many as 152 on Tuesday — all of them in Mexico — as news agencies reported the number of confirmed cases of infection in the United States stood at 50... The World Health Organization raised its global pandemic flu alert level...from Level 3 to Level 4... while recommending that borders not be closed nor travel bans imposed. But in a possible precaution to be taken by other nations, Japan said Tuesday it would no longer allow Mexican travelers to obtain a visa upon arrival.... Tuesday, the British Foreign Office said: “We are now advising against all but essential travel to Mexico. Routine consular and all visa services at the embassy in Mexico City have been suspended until further notice.”...
Two new swine flu cases were confirmed in Israel and as many as 11 in New Zealand, bringing the number of countries with confirmed cases to at least seven on Tuesday. But all, with the exception of Mexico, said the patients were recovering or had been hospitalized with only mild symptoms, leaving health officials struggling to determine why the disease has killed only in Mexico...... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/health/29flu.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&hp

spreading xenophobic fear while officially denying the basis for it
Finding the right mix of alarm and reassurance is a delicate task for an elected official. Eric Toner, a senior associate at the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said: “It can be very dangerous to overreact. And it can be very dangerous to underreact.” So far, Mr. Toner said, Obama administration officials “have managed to get it just right.”
Other public health experts also endorsed the administration’s response to the outbreak that emerged from Mexico. They gave much of the credit to President Bush, whose administration did extensive planning for such an emergency. “We’re seeing a payoff of the original investment made in pandemic preparedness by the Bush administration,” said Jeffrey W. Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health. The term pandemic refers to a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease. Frances Fragos Townsend, who was assistant to President Bush for homeland security and counterterrorism, noted that the Department of Health and Human Services had devised a detailed plan for responding to the threat of pandemic flu in 2005 and 2006....

Mr. Obama also displayed interest in pandemic flu in 2005. Within months of taking office as a senator, he introduced a bill to step up preparations, saying: “We are in a race against time. The nation’s health officials have made some progress in preparing for pandemic influenza. Yet we have much work to do.”...
The Obama administration dispatched high-level officials from several agencies Monday to allay concerns about swine flu and to demonstrate that it was fully prepared to confront the outbreak even as the president said there was “not a cause for alarm.” Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, and Dr. Richard E. Besser, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the administration was prepared to respond to any further spread of the swine flu virus.... Dr. Besser, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control, brings his experience as a past director of the Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response at the centers to his task of dealing with the swine flu threat. ...Homeland security officials said they expected the outbreak to spread. “We are proceeding as if we are preparatory to a full pandemic level,” Ms. Napolitano said. As the administration responds to its first domestic emergency, it is building on concrete preparations made during the tenure of President George W. Bush that have won praise from public health experts. But its actions are also informed by what Mr. Bush learned in his response to Hurricane Katrina: that political management of a crisis, and of public expectations, can be as important as the immediate response. In a speech at the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, Mr. Obama said only a few words about swine flu. “This is, obviously, a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert,” he said. “But it’s not a cause for alarm.”...
Since 2005, federal and state governments have spent more than $1.5 billion to stockpile Tamiflu and Relenza, antiviral medicines recommended by the government to treat infection with the swine flu virus.

U.S. Army document describes Israel [and N.K.] as 'a nuclear power', Mexico as potential failed state
By Amir Oren
In a rare breach of official American adherence to Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, the U.S. military is terming Israel "a nuclear power" on a par with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea, all of which have declared their nuclear weapon status, and ahead of "nuclear threshold powers" Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the "emerging" Iran.
The reference to Israel as a nuclear power is contained in a document published late last year by the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), the Norfolk, Virginia-based headquarters in charge of preparing American forces for their military missions worldwide, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. JFCOM's chief, U.S. Marine Corps Four-Star General James Mattis, also heads NATO's Allied Command Transformation....
JFCOM's "Joint Operating Environment" (JOE) document, with a forward by Mattis and drafted by a team of officers and civilians he selected, was signed in mid-November 2008 and posted on the Pentagon's Web site. It has generated protests by the governments of Mexico - whose potential collapse is depicted as a grave threat to U.S. national security - and South Korea, which resented the reference to North Korea as a nuclear power. Following the Korean controversy, JFCOM issued a clarification, noting that this reference does not reflect U.S. government policy, which has vowed never to accept North Korea as a nuclear power....
"In effect," the document continues, "there is a growing arc of nuclear powers running from Israel in the west through an emerging Iran to Pakistan, India and on to China, North Korea and Russia in the east. Unfortunately, that nuclear arc coincides with areas of considerable instability of enormous interest to the United States."

recent U.S. 'assistance' offers to expand its domination of Mexico
Clinton Reassures Mexico About Its Image
MONTERREY, Mexico — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, continuing her show of solidarity with Mexicans in their struggle against drug trafficking, toured a high-tech police base in Mexico City on Thursday and greeted diplomats from the American Consulate in this northern city, which was sprayed with gunfire last fall by a suspected drug gang member.
But Mrs. Clinton was nearly upstaged by reports that the United States planned to nominate a Cuban-born American diplomat who has written extensively about “failed states” as the next ambassador to Mexico.
Mr. Pascual’s specialty was dealing with conflict-ridden states...as the coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization in the State Department, a post that involved working with several agencies to develop strategies for broken countries like Afghanistan. That could raise hackles among some Mexicans, who take umbrage at recent assertions by American analysts that drug-related violence has so destabilized Mexico that it is danger of becoming a failed state. The State Department declined to comment on reports that the diplomat, Carlos Pascual, a former ambassador to Ukraine who is currently the director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, would be nominated.... a person familiar with the administration’s deliberations said Mr. Pascual was President Obama’s choice for the post....
Mrs. Clinton noted that no official of the Obama administration had ever used the phrase “failed state.” She said Mexico faced a “public safety challenge,” likening it to the surge of drug violence in American cities in the 1980s. And she lavished praise on the Mexican president, Felipe Calderón, for taking strong measures against the drug cartels....The Obama administration appears sensitive that the discussion of Mexico’s instability in Washington may have gone too far. Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, said in testimony in Congress recently that the cartels controlled parts of Mexico, a comment that drew an angry reaction in Mexico.But Thursday, he sought to tamp down those fears. “Mexico is in no danger of becoming a failed state,” Mr. Blair said in a discussion with reporters in Washington. He then repeated the phrase for emphasis.

NO U.S. Intervention
by Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Rejection of all interventionist behavior, Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns in a letter to Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State.

Ready to "defend out right as a free and sovereign Nation"
"It is an error to want to confront the problems of insecurity and violence with only an iron fist, soldiers, jails, tougher laws, and stiffer penalties."

Mexico City. March 25, 2009
Esteemed Mrs. Clinton:
Even though only Mexicans can confront and resolve our Fatherland's internal issues, we consider it to be pertinent, given what you represent, to express to you the feelings of millions of citizens who struggle daily in order to make justice and democracy a reality in Mexico. From our point of view, the problems of insecurity and violence in our country have arisen from the prevailing corruption and impunity, and because there hasn't been economic growth for 26 years and millions of youths have been marginalized from education and haven't had work opportunities.
You surely know that all of this began when a group of about 30 traffickers of influence and corrupt politicians, using the cover of so-called neoliberal economic policies, took control of the Mexican State, as well as a good part of national and so-called public goods. And these policies of pillaging that has enriched a minority in an exaggerated and obscene manner, in a way that has not occurred in any other part of the world, has condemned the Mexican people to exile and survival.
That is why we believe that it is an error to want to confront the problems of insecurity and violence with only an iron fist, with soldiers, with prisons, with tougher laws, and with stiffer penalties. The solution to the scourge of criminality lies in rescuing the State, in changing the current economic model, and in guaranteeing the people better living and working conditions. It can't be forgotten that peace and tranquility are fruits of justice.
Mrs. Clinton: As a result, as we have also made known to President Barack Obama, we maintain that the solution to the phenomena of migration and insecurity will not be found in the construction of walls nor in border militarization. Rather, it will be found in Mexico's social and economic development. Therefore, it is essential that the relationship between Mexico and the United States is built upon cooperation for development and not in the use of coercive measures.
Likewise, we express to you that even though we suffer from a usurper and failed government, whose weakness could lead it to enter into agreements that go against the national interest, a strong citizen movement also exists that is determined to impede any interventionist behavior and to defend our rights as a free and sovereign nation.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Legitimate President of Mexico

behind the sudden, non-stop 'news' of u.s. 'grave concern' about Mexico's drug violence 'threatening' U.S.
Obama and US commander discuss military intervention in Mexico
By Bill Van Auken
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen briefed President Barack Obama over the weekend on the so-called drug war in Mexico and the prospect of increased US military involvement in the conflict south of the border. Mullen had just returned from a six-day tour of Latin America, which took him on his last and most important stop to Mexico City. There he held meetings with Mexico's secretary of national defense and other top military officials and discussed proposals for rushing increased US aid to Mexico under the auspices of Plan Merida, a three-year, $1.4 billion package designed to provide equipment, training and other assistance to the Mexican armed forces.
In a telephone press conference conducted as he returned from Mexico, Mullen said that the Pentagon was prepared to help the Mexican military employ the same tactics that US forces have applied in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US military, he said, was "sharing a lot of lessons we have learned, how we've developed similar capabilities over the last three or four years in our counterinsurgency efforts as we have fought terrorist networks." He added, "There are an awful lot of similarities."...
In a March 1 television interview, Defense Secretary Robert Gates sounded a similar note, praising Calderon for having "taken on the battle" against drug trafficking by deploying the army and claiming that the "old biases against cooperation" between Mexico and the Pentagon were "being set aside." As a result, Gates added, Washington was prepared to provide the Mexican military "with training, with resources, with reconnaissance and surveillance kinds of capabilities."
The indications of more direct US military involvement follow a growing chorus of official as well as media reports portraying Mexico as a potential "failed state" and a mounting threat to US national security. n its annual report assessing global security threats, the Pentagon's Joint Forces Command lumped Mexico together with Pakistan as countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse." The document added a warning: "Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response, based on the serious implications for homeland security as well." This was followed by a report released at the US Military Academy in January by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who was director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Bill Clinton. Mexico, he wrote, is "fighting for survival against narco-terrorism" and required greater US intervention.[...]

Mexicans protest new leader:
Lopez Obrador has said he won't recognize the new government and pledges to block Calderon from taking power Dec. 1. Protesters outside the tribunal wept as the decision was announced and set off firecrackers that shook the building.

"Mexico's future - and the world's - will be determined by the peoples' revolutionary struggle against imperialist capitalism, for national liberation and socialism"
Mexico's destiny to be decided September 16th
by Hector Carreon
La Voz de Aztlan
Los Angeles, Alta California - September 7, 2006 -
(ACN) "No Pasaran" is the slogan now most often chanted by the thousands of supporters of presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador encamped for weeks at El Zocalo, Mexico City's central historic square. "No Pasaran" means "They Shall Not Pass" and is directed at any presidential administration of Felipe Calderon Hinojosa declared president on September5th by a federal panel of judges after Lopez Obrador alleged electoral fraud in the July 2nd elections. The federal panelof judges refused to have a full recount of all the ballotsin the very close election that was separated by a mere .57percentage point. As a result, a vast number of the electorate now considers the presidency of conservative Felipe Calderon, to be installed December 1st, as illegitimate.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Partido Revolucionario Democratico (PRD), a left of center political party, has summoned his supporters throughout Mexico and a million delegates to convene a National Democratic Convention at El Zocalo on Mexican Independence Day. One purpose of the convention is to establish an alternative or parallel national government for the Republic of Mexico.
There have been only two prior National DemocraticConventions in the history of Mexico. The first took placeduring the Mexican Revolution in the state of Aguascalientes
in 1914. The National Democratic Convention of 1914 includedas delegates General Franciso Villa of the "División delNorte" and General Emiliano Zapata of the "División delSur". The second National Democratic Convention took place in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas in 1994 convened by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
No one doubts that the agenda for the National Democratic Convention of 2006 will determine the destiny of Mexico for many decades to come. It will greatly impact US/Mexico
relations ... the movement that will arise on September 16 is going to greatly hamper the ability of the Harvard educated conservative Felipe Calderon Hinojosa to govern effectively during his 6 year term.

Mexico Defies Washington on International Criminal Court
Washington had warned Mexico that if it ratified the ICC and refused to sign an accord exempting U.S. nationals from the court's jurisdiction, it would cut 11.5 million dollars in funding from aid programmes for fighting drug trafficking, according to human rights groups. The amount is equal to almost 40 percent of the economic aid Mexico receives from the United States.

Army Investigating Disappearance of Lethal Pathogen at Fort Detrick
April 23, 2009
The U.S. Army is finishing an investigation into the disappearance of three vials of a potentially lethal pathogen from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., the Washington Post reported today (see GSN, Feb. 10).
The inquiry begun in 2008 by the service's Criminal Investigation Command is "in the final stages of its mandatory review process before being closed," according to command spokesman Christopher Grey. There is "no evidence to date of any criminality related to the unaccounted-for items," he said.
The Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus is considered a possible tool of bioterrorism, but poses a significantly smaller threat than anthrax and other disease agents handled at the institute.
The missing material is believed to have been destroyed when a freezer malfunctioned, said USAMRIID spokeswoman Caree Vander Linden. The absence was detected last year by a scientist conducting an inventory of samples that had been passed down by two other researchers upon their successive departures from the facility....
The institute's security practices are already under scrutiny, following the Justice Department's conclusion that USAMRIID scientist Bruce Ivins perpetrated the 2001 anthrax mailings that killed five people (see GSN, Jan. 6). Ivins killed himself in 2008 before any charges were filed. The laboratory is also finishing a full inventory of its virus and bacterium holdings, which began in February after another accounting problem was found in storage of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, the Post reported (see GSN, Feb. 10). Research largely stopped amid the accounting, though some has since resumed, Vander Linden said (Hernandez/Tyson, Washington Post, April 23).

Lawsuit Pending Over Site Selection for U.S. Biodefense Lab
April 23, 2009
A lawsuit could be filed as early as today claiming that political considerations led the U.S. Homeland Security Department to select Kansas as the home state for a new $450 million biodefense laboratory, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Feb. 11). Building the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan., would be "grossly irresponsible, the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature," due to the frequency of tornadoes in the state, said John Kerr, chairman of the Texas Biological and Agro-Defense Consortium.
Kerr's group, which consists of a number of research entities, promoted San Antonio as the prime location for the new facility. The organization has submitted a notice of intent to sue Homeland Security with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. It plans to demand that the December site decision be vacated and that preparatory work halt.
The new facility is intended to take over research on biological threats such as foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever that is now conducted at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York.

NIH Needs Another Year for Boston Biolab Safety Review
April 16, 2009
The U.S. National Institutes of Health said it would would need another year or more to review possible safety threats that a $192 million Boston University biological defense laboratory could pose to the surrounding city, the Boston Globe reported yesterday (see GSN, May 5, 2008).
Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner said he would continue to oppose plans to open a Biosafety Level 4 area within the laboratory, which would become the nation's seventh facility permitted to handle the world's deadliest human disease agents, the Boston University Daily Free Press reported. The site would also house laboratories with lower biosafety designations.
“This Level 4 lab allows for experimentation with the most dangerous pathogens in the world,” Turner said. “I do not think we need any more Bio 4 labs other than the six we now have, and I certainly don’t think they need to be sited in the urban areas if they are built” (Williette Nyanue, Daily Free Press, ).

Swine Flu Outbreak -- Nature Biting Back at Industrial Animal Production?
David Kirby Journalist
Last year, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production issued a lengthy report on factory farming that included research on emerging forms of avian-swine-human influenza viruses. The molecular forensics of rapidly mutating animal pathogens makes epidemiological investigations all the more challenging, it said. "Populations exposed to infectious agents arising in CAFOs are even more difficult to define as some agents - such as a novel avian influenza virus - may be highly transmissible in or well beyond a community setting," the Pew report stated.
The transmission of avian or swine influenza viruses to humans, the report said, (almost wistfully, in retrospect), "seems a rather infrequent event today. But the commission also issued this grave and perhaps all-too prescient warning:
The continual cycling of swine influenza viruses and other animal pathogens in large herds or flocks provides increased opportunity for the generation of novel viruses through mutation or recombinant events that could result in more efficient human-to-human transmission of these viruses. In addition, agricultural workers serve as a bridging population between their communities and the animals in large confinement facilities. This bridging increases the risk of novel virus generation in that human viruses may enter the herds or flocks and adapt to the animals.

Reassortant influenza viruses with human components have ravaged the modern swine industry. Such novel viruses not only put the workers and animals at risk of infections, but also potentially increase zoonotic disease transmission risk to the communities where the workers live. For instance, 64% of 63 persons exposed to humans infected with H7N7 avian influenza virus had serological evidence of H7N7 infection following the 2003 Netherlands avian influenza outbreak in poultry. Similarly, the spouses of swine workers who had no direct contact with pigs had increased odds of antibodies against swine influenza virus. Recent modeling work has shown that among communities where a large number of CAFO workers live, there is great potential for these workers to accelerate pandemic influenza virus transmission.

"We met with a team of researchers from the University of Iowa who are studying avian flu, and their real concern was the very scenario that may have happened in Mexico - that avian flu may get into a swine CAFO and rapidly mutate and then get passed to workers, and then on to other people very quickly," Bob Martin, who was executive director of the now-disbanded commission and currently a Senior Officer at the Pew Environmental Group, told me.

"Their concern was that new strains of avian flu combining with swine flu could make the swine flu more deadly," he said. "And because viruses pass so easily between pigs and people, the new avian component could make swine flu more virulent."

Researchers such as Gregory Gray, MD, a University of Iowa professor of international epidemiology and expert in zoonotic infections, warned that CAFO workers could serve as a "bridging population" to rural communities sharing viruses with the pigs, and vice-versa. Other scientists suggested that CAFO workers could theoretically spread disease quickly to great distances. An outbreak of infectious avian flu on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, for example, could reach the Rocky Mountains within 36 hours. The Iowa team was also worried that CAFO production could lead to another 1918-style global pandemic. One theory behind that calamity is that waterfowl cross-infected U.S. pigs with a new type of avian-swine super-virus that was quickly transmitted to farm workers, possibly in Iowa, who went off to military training camps for WWI, and then spread the pathogen worldwide "One very big concern was that swine flu mixed with wild bird flu, or bird flu in a chicken CAFO, tended to be ripe for incubating new types of viral infections, especially since the animals are so densely packed together," Bob Martin said.

Hog CAFOs are supposed to be completely closed environments, in order to protect the pigs from outside diseases. Visitors are usually required to shower and don special protective clothing (again, for the animals' benefit) before going inside a confinement. But these are not hermetically sealed environments, and pathogens can enter and exit a CAFO in a number of ways other than via swine workers (or flies, another proven vector of CAFO diseases)....

Industry calls these massive compounds "confined animal feeding operations," or CAFOs (KAY-fohs), though most people know them simply as "factory farms." You have seen them before while flying: Long white buildings lined up in tightly packed rows of three, four or more. Within each confinement, thousands of pigs are restricted to indoor pens and grain-fed for market, while breeding sows are kept in small metal crates where they spend most of their lives pregnant or nursing piglets.

In the last several years, U.S. hog conglomerates have opened giant swine CAFOs south of the border, including dozens around Mexico City in the neighboring states of Mexico and Puebla. Smithfield Foods also reportedly operates a huge swine facility in the State of Veracruz. Many of these CAFOs raise tens of thousands of pigs at a time. Cheaper labor costs and a desire to enter the Latin American market are drawing more industrialized agriculture to Mexico all the time, wiping out smaller, traditional farms, which now account for only a small portion of swine production in Mexico.

"Classic" swine flu virus (not the novel, mutated form in the news) is considered endemic in southern Mexico, while the region around the capital is classified as an "eradication area" - meaning the disease is present, and efforts are underway to control it. For some reason, vaccination of pigs against swine flu is prohibited in this area, and growers rely instead on depopulation and restriction of animal movement when outbreaks occur. U.S. and Mexican epidemiologists and veterinarians will surely want to take swine samples from Mexican CAFOs and examine them for the newly discovered influenza strain (No one knows exactly how long it has been in circulation). And though it is too early to know if this new virus mutated and incubated on Mexican hog CAFOs, the industrialized facilities unquestionably belong on the list of suspects.

Pigs are nature's notorious "mixing bowls" for inter-species infections, and many swine flu viruses have long contained human influenza genetic components. Then, in the late 1990's - when industrialized swine production really took off in North America - scientists were alarmed to find that avian influenza genetic material was also mixed into the continent's viral soup (see below). Fortunately, it was not the dreaded and lethal H5N1 strain, which most people know of as "bird flu."

So where did this new, virulent and highly infectious influenza emerge from? According to Mexico's Health Minister, Jose Angel Cordova, the virus "mutated from pigs, and then at some point was transmitted to humans." It sure sounds like something happened on some farm, somewhere. For years, leading scientists around the world have worried that large-scale, indoor swine "factories" would become breeding grounds for new pathogens that could more easily infect humans and then spread out rapidly in the general population - threatening to become a global pandemic.

We know that hog workers in Europe and North America are far more likely than others to be infected with potentially lethal pathogens such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), drug-resistant E. coli and Salmonella, and of course, swine influenza. Many scientists also believe that people who work inside CAFOs are more at risk of contracting and spreading these and other "zoonotic" diseases than those working in smaller-scale operations, with outdoor pens or pasture and far lower animal density. But until now, hog workers with swine flu have rarely gone on to infect other people, save for close family members. And that is why this new strain of swine influenza virus is so vexing - and alarming. It seems to spread quite easily through casual human contact.
This new strain making headlines and killing people contains genetic components of human flu virus, avian flu virus and - for the first time ever - two types of swine flu virus: American and Eurasian. "Such a combination of components (genes) was not found so far, neither among humans nor among pigs (as far as we know)," CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said in an email.
Nobody yet knows whether the mysterious mixing of two continents' swine flu genes is what made this outbreak so deadly[...]

u.s. moves to stop import bans
Swine flu alert prompts pork import bans
27 Apr 2009
* Russia, China ban pork imports from Mexico, U.S.
* WHO says no danger of swine flu from contact with pork
By Jonathan Lynn
GENEVA, April 27 (Reuters) - Outbreaks of swine flu have prompted several countries to ban the import of pig meat, raising the prospect the disease will add a further protectionist blow to sagging world trade. International trade rules allow countries to restrict or ban imports for health and safety reasons -- but this has to be based on scientific evidence.
"It's not supposed to be an unjustifiable barrier to trade," Stuart Harbinson, senior trade policy advisor at law firm Winston & Strawn and former chairman of agriculture negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), told Reuters. Confirmed outbreaks of swine flu in Mexico, where it has killed 103 people, the United States, Canada and Spain have prompted health authorities to put customs officers on alert.... The World Health Organisation (WHO) says you cannot catch swine flu from infected pork. "Right now we have no evidence to suggest that people are getting infected from exposure to pork or to pigs so right now we have zero evidence that exposure to meat leads to infection," Keiji Fukuda, acting assistant director-general for health security and environment, said on Sunday.
In fact the world animal health body OIE says the disease should not even be called swine flu, as it also contained avian and human influenza components and no pig has been found ill with the disease so far. [ID:nLR478786]. The WHO says the swine flu virus is killed by cooking temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit), in line with general guidance for cooking pork safely.

Cases of the flu, which has components of classic avian, human and swine flu viruses but has not actually been seen in pigs, were also suspected in Britain, France, Italy and Israel.
On Sunday Russia banned imports of all meat not treated thermally from Mexico, Texas, California and Kansas, and raw pork imports from 8 other U.S. states, Central America and the Caribbean. [ID:nLQ600185 China, the world's largest pork consumer, also banned imports of live pigs and pork products from Mexico, Texas, California and Kansas. [ID:nPEK2499]. The United Arab Emirates is considering banning imports of pork products from Mexico and the United States. Such trade measures are monitored by the WTO's Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures monitors.

But exporters often claim that health and safety standards are abused to keep out their goods. The latest restrictions will add to those concerns, particular as the G20 group of leading and emerging countries repeated a call this month to its members not to raise trade barriers. Last Thursday World Bank President Robert Zoellick said nine out of the 20 nations -- including Russia and the United States -- had taken or were considering measures to restrict trade in the face of the economic crisis. [ID:nN23322834]

Pentagon Poised To Resume Open Air Weapons Testing
by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, December 7, 2007
scoop.co.nz - 2007-12-04
Pentagon Appears Poised To Resume Open-Air Testing Of Biological Weapons But Says It Has Received No Presidential Directive To Break 1969 Moratorium. The Pentagon's annual report apparently calls for both the developmental and operational "field testing of (CBW) full systems," not just simulations.
The Pentagon's report to Congress contains the following passage: "More than thirty years have passed since outdoor live-agent chemical tests were banned in the United States, and the last outdoor test with live chemical agent was performed, so much of the infrastructure for the field testing of chemical detectors no longer exists or is seriously outdated. The currently budgeted improvements in the T&E infrastructure will greatly enhance both the developmental and operational field testing of full systems, with better simulated representation of threats and characterization of system response." "T&E" is an acronym for testing and evaluation. "Either the military has resumed open-air testing already or they are preparing to do so," said Francis Boyle, a University of Illinois Professor of International Law who authored the implementing legislation for the U.S. Biological Weapons Convention signed into law by President George Bush Sr. and who has tracked subsequent developments closely. "I am stunned by the nature of this development," Boyle said. "This is a major reversal of policy." The 1972 treaty against germ warfare, which the U.S. signed, forbids developing weapons that spread disease, such as anthrax, a pathogen that is regarded by the military as "ideal" for conducting germ warfare.
"The Pentagon is fully prepared to launch biological warfare by means of anthrax," Boyle charged. "All the equipment has been acquired and all the training conducted and most combat-ready members of U.S. armed forces have been given protective equipment and vaccines that allegedly would protect them from that agent."

Open-air testing takes research into deadly agents out of the laboratories in order to study their effectiveness, including their aerial dispersion patterns, and whether they actually infect and kill in field trials. Since the anthrax attacks on Congress in October, 2001, the Bush administration has funded a vast biological research expansion at hundreds of private and university laboratories in the U.S. and abroad involving anthrax and other deadly pathogens. The anthrax attacks killed five people, including two postal workers, injured 17 others and temporarily shut down the operations of the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court, and other Federal entities.

Although a Federal statute permits the president to authorize open-air testing of CBW agents, Boyle said this "does not solve the compliance problem that it might violate the international Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention as well as their related domestic implementing legislation making such violations crimes." Boyle charged the U.S. is already "in breach" of both conventions and also of U.S. domestic criminal law implementing them. In February, 2003, for example, the U.S. granted itself a patent on an illegal, long-range biological-weapons grenade, evidently for offensive purposes...the development of anthrax for possible offensive purposes is underscored by the government's efforts "to try to stockpile anthrax vaccines and antibiotics for 25-million plus Americans to protect the civilian population in the event there is any 'blowback' from the use of anthrax in biowarfare abroad by the Pentagon."

"In theory," Boyle added, "you cannot wage biowarfare abroad unless you can protect your civilian population from either retaliation in kind, or blowback, or both." Under Project BioShield, Homeland Security is spending $5.6 billion to stockpile vaccines and drugs to fight anthrax, smallpox, and other bioterror agents. The project had been marked by delays and operational problems and on December 12th last year Congress passed legislation to pump another $1 billion into BioShield to fund three years of additional research by the private sector.

Boyle said evidence the U.S. has super-weapons-grade anthrax was demonstrated in the October, 2001, anthrax mail attacks on Senators Thomas Daschle(D-S.D.) and Patrick Leahy(D-Vt.) The strain of highly sophisticated anthrax employed has allegedly been traced back to the primary U.S. Army biological warfare campus at Ft. Detrick, Md. The attacks killed five persons and sickened 17 others. A current effort to expand Ft. Detrick has sparked widespread community opposition, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun. "Obviously, someone working for the United States government has a stockpile of super-weapons grade anthrax that can be used again domestically for the purposes of political terrorism or abroad to wage offensive warfare," Boyle said.

The Associated Press has reported the U.S. Army is replacing its Military Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick "with a new laboratory that would be a component of a biodefense campus operated by several agencies." The Army told AP the laboratory is intended to continue research solely for defense against biological threats. Undercutting the argument U.S. research is for "defensive" purposes is the fact government scientists have been creating new strains of pathogens for which there is no known cure. Richard Novick, a professor of microbiology at New York University, has stated, "I cannot envision any imaginable justification for changing the antigenicity of anthrax as a defensive measure." Changing a pathogen's antigenicity means altering its basic structure so that existing vaccines will prove ineffective against it.

Biological warfare involves the use of living organisms for military purposes. Such weapons can be viral, bacterial, and fungal, among other forms, and can be spread over a large geographic terrain by wind, water, insect, animal, or human transmission, according to Jeremy Rifkin, author of "The Biotech Century"(Penguin).

Boyle said the Federal government has been plowing money into upgrading Ft. Detrick, Md., and other CBW facilities where such pathogens are studied, developed, tested, and stored. By some estimates, the U.S. since 2002 has invested some $43 billion in hundreds of government, commercial, and university laboratories in the U.S. for the study of pathogens that might be used for biological warfare.

According to Rutgers University molecular biologist Richard Ebright, more than 300 scientific institutions and 12,000 individuals have access to pathogens suitable for biowarfare and terrorism. Ebright found that the Number of National Institute of Health grants to research infectious diseases with biowarfare potential shot up from 33 in the 1995-2000 period to 497 by 2006.Ebright has stated the government's tenfold expansion of Biosafety Level-4 laboratories, such as those at Fort Detrick, raises the risk of accidents and the diversion of dangerous organisms. "If a worker in one of these facilities removes a single viral particle or a single cell, which cannot be detected or prevented, that single particle or cell can form the basis of an outbreak."

During the Cold War era, notably in the Fifties and Sixties, various Government agencies engaged in open-air CBW testing on U.S. soil and on naval vessels at sea to study the effects of weaponized pathogens. U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, were among the targets and sickness and even a number of deaths were reported as a result. According to an article titled "Lethal Breeze" by Lee Davidson in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City of June 5, 1994, "In decades of secret chemical arms tests, the Army released into Utah winds more than a half million pounds of deadly nerve agents." Among them, he said, was VX, a pinhead-sized drop of which can be lethal. The tests were conducted at Dugway Proving Ground but Davidson said the evidence suggests "some (agents) may have escaped with the wind."

Pentagon documents obtained by the News listed 1,635 field trials or demonstrations with nerve agents VX, GA and GB between 1951 and 1969, "when the Army discontinued use of actual nerve agents in open-air tests after escaped nerve gas apparently killed 6,000 sheep in Skull Valley," Davidson wrote. The Skull Valley strike also sickened a rancher and members of his family.Boyle has previously charged the Pentagon with "gearing up to fight and 'win' biological warfare" pursuant to two Bush national strategy directives adopted in 2002 "without public knowledge and review." He contends the Pentagon's Chemical and Biological Defense program was revised in 2003 to implement those directives, endorsing "first-use" strike of chemical and biological weapons in war.

The implementing legislation Boyle wrote, enacted unanimously by Congress, was the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. Boyle has written extensively on the subject. Among his published works are "Biowarfare and Terrorism" and "Destroying World Order: U.S. Imperialism In the Middle East Before and After September 11th," both from Clarity Press.
Sherwood Ross is a free-lance writer and public relations consultant and Director of Anti-War News Service. He was host of a radio talk show in Washington, D.C., reported for the Chicago Daily News and worked as a regular columnist for several wire services. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com

Analysis of the Anthrax Attacks
Barbara Hatch Rosenberg,
Federation of American Scientists
LA Times Op-Ed
Anthrax Attacks Pushed Open an Ominous Door
22 September, 2002

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- On this first anniversary of the anthrax attacks, a number of conclusions can be drawn even without an arrest by the FBI. First, the strain and properties of the weaponized anthrax found in the letters show that it originated within the U.S. biodefense program, where the necessary expertise and access are found. Government officials recognized that the anthrax source was domestic less than two weeks after they learned of the letters, and nothing in their investigation has led them to say otherwise since. One can also conclude that, given the origin of the anthrax and the warnings contained in the letters, the perpetrator's motive was not to kill but rather to raise public fear and thereby spur Congress to increase spending on biodefense. In this, the attacks have been phenomenally successful....

Although biodefense has gotten a shot in the arm, it is important to understand that the goal of defending against bioweapons is not primarily public protection--which is largely impossible, as last year's attacks demonstrated. It is rather "to allow the military forces of the United States to survive and successfully complete their operational missions ... in battlespace environments contaminated with chemical or biological warfare agents," according to the annual report of the Department of Defense's Chemical and Biological Defense Program. Biological weapons are preeminently anti-population weapons. But it would be impossible to provide the entire country with protective suits, masks, detectors, shelters, training and vaccinations against the large and growing array of potential agents. In any event, vaccinations can have serious side effects and can be overcome if the dose of the pathogenic agent is large or if the agent has been engineered to evade the vaccine. Instead of protection, the civil defense response is entirely concerned with limiting the damage should an attack occur. There are also paradoxes here. Because of the rush to "do something," large amounts of government money are being thrown, without sufficient forethought, at research involving potential biological weapons agents....

The anthrax probe has disclosed an astounding degree of irresponsibility and lack of security at Ft. Detrick, Md., home to the nation's premier existing biodefense laboratory. The problems stretch back for decades and extend beyond the anthrax attacks. In spite of a security crackdown there following the attacks, two incidents have occurred this year at Ft. Detrick in which spores escaped from a high-containment laboratory and were found in hallways, offices and locker rooms. One case was recognized only when an unauthorized employee took swabs outside the laboratory to check for anthrax contamination--something no one had thought of doing there before. The anthrax investigation has raised questions about the nature and value of the work at Ft. Detrick and has brought to light the granting of security clearance and free access to highly dangerous biological agents to someone with falsified credentials--very disturbing whether or not he turns out to be the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks.

Even more serious concerns have been raised by the discovery of secret biodefense projects that push against the limits of international prohibitions. It was recently revealed that an Army laboratory in Utah has been secretly making weaponized anthrax for some years. Another secret project involved the construction of bomblets designed for dispersion of biological agents, although the Biological Weapons Convention explicitly prohibits developing, producing or possessing "means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes." Such projects have raised suspicions abroad that the U.S. continues to develop biological weapons--suspicions that, even if not true, are likely to spur a new biological arms race.

Experts agree that a significant bioterror attack today would require the support of a national program to succeed. But for two years now, the U.S. has opposed every international effort to monitor the ban on the development and possession of biological weapons by states or to strengthen the toothless Biological Weapons Convention in any way. The anthrax attacks have not altered that stance. Two weeks ago, I attended an informal meeting in Geneva where diplomats from six continents struggled in the face of U.S. intransigence to map out a joint strategy for combating the global biological threat. The United States had demanded that a formal Biological Weapons Convention conference, scheduled to take place during two weeks in November, should instead disband in one day with only an agreement not to meet again until 2006. To make sure that the American resolve prevails in this setting where international consensus is de rigueur, the U.S. demand was accompanied by an overt threat to disrupt any further proceedings with accusations that would make productive international action impossible. At that Geneva meeting, the assembled diplomats, representing the political spectrum from our closest allies to declared enemies, were uniformly frustrated. They find it hard to comprehend why a country that has just been the victim of bioterrorism should stand in the way of peaceful efforts supported by all its allies to deter bioterrorism.

1976: Fear of a great plague
By PAUL MICKLE / The Trentonian
On the cold afternoon of February 5, 1976, an Army recruit told his drill instructor at Fort Dix that he felt tired and weak but not sick enough to see military medics or skip a big training hike. Within 24 hours, 19-year-old Pvt. David Lewis of Ashley Falls, Mass., was dead, killed by an influenza not seen since the plague of 1918-19, which took 500,000 American lives and 20 million worldwide. Two weeks after the recruit's death, health officials disclosed to America that something called "swine flu" had killed Lewis and hospitalized four of his fellow soldiers at the Army base in Burlington County. The ominous name of the flu alone was enough to touch off civilian fear of an epidemic. And government doctors knew from tests hastily conducted at Dix after Lewis' death that 500 soldiers had caught swine flu without falling ill.Any flu able to reach that many people so fast was capable of becoming another worldwide plague, the doctors warned, raising these questions:

Only young Lewis died from the swine flu itself in 1976. But as the critics are quick to point out, hundreds of Americans were killed or seriously injured by the inoculation the government gave them to stave off the virus.... Arthur M. Silverstein, whose book, "Pure Politics and Impure Science," suggests President Gerald Ford's desire to win the office on his own, as well as the influence of America's big drug manufacturers, figured into the decision to immunize all 220 million Americans....
To understand the fear of the time you have to know something about the plague American soldiers seemed to bring home with them after fighting in Europe during World War I. The Great Plague, as it came to be called, rivaled the horrid Black Death of medieval times in its ability to strike suddenly and take lives swiftly. In addition to the half million in America, it killed 20 million people around the world. It got its name because it was a brand of flu usually found in domestic pigs and wild swine. It was long thought to have come, like so many flus, out of the Chinese farm country, where people and domestic pigs live closely together.

Recent research has shown, however, that the post-WWI flu was brought to Europe by American troops who had been based in the South before they went to war. Medical detectives, still working on the case in the 1990s, determined that a small group of our soldiers took swine flu to Europe and that it spread to the world from there.

How the swine flu got to Fort Dix in 1976 still hasn't been tracked down. At the time, Dix military doctors knew only that a killer flu had made it to the base and that they were lucky more men hadn't died or been sickened seriously.

Weeks after Lewis died, doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and other federal public health officials were meeting in Washington, trying to decide if they should recommend the government start a costly program of mass inoculations.. By mid-March, CDC Director Dr. David J. Sencer had lined up most of the medical establishment behind his plan to call on Ford to support a $135 million program of mass inoculation. On March 24, one day after a surprise loss to Ronald Reagan in the North Carolina Republican presidential primary, Ford decided to make the announcement to the American public.Congress still had to appropriate the money, of course, and that wasn't going to be easy. Even before official congressional consideration of the plan was taken up, there were forces arguing against it. Another big hurdle was the drug makers, who were insisting the government take liability for any harmful side effects from the vaccine. During congressional hearings in the spring and early summer, lawmakers heard some naysayers who noted that the swine flu of last winter never got beyond Dix and that only one death had been reported.

The president and his experts prevailed, however, and on Aug. 12 Congress put up the money to get the job done....to get all 220 million Americans inoculated against swine flu. By Oct. 1, the makers had the serums ready and America's public health bureaucracy had lined up thousands of doctors, nurses and paramedics to give out the shots at medical centers, schools and firehouses across the nation.

Within days, however, several people who had taken the shot fell seriously ill. On Oct. 12, three elderly people in the Pittsburgh area suffered heart attacks and died within hours of getting the shot, which led to suspension of the program in Pennsylvania. Jersey pressed on with inoculations, however. Through the fall, even as more bad reports about the side effects of the vaccine came out, thousands of mostly older people in Greater Trenton lined up outside health centers, schools and firehouses to get the shot,...

On Dec. 16, increasingly concerned about reports of the vaccine touching off neurological problems, especially rare Guillain-Barre syndrome, the government suspended the program, having inoculated 40 million people for a flu that never came....

The swine flu case of 1976 forever reduced confidence in public health pronouncements from the government and helped foster cynicism about federal policy makers that continues to this day....

The Nuclear Security Project started with the January 4, 2007 Wall Street Journal op-ed by former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn. All four authors are leading the Project and NTI serves as the Project Secretariat.
NTI is co-chaired by Ted Turner and Sam Nunn.
"NTI's mission is to strengthen global security by reducing the risk of use and preventing the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and to work to build the trust, transparancy and security which are preconditions to the ultimate fulfillment of the Non-Proliferation Treaty's goals and ambitions."

NTI Responding to the Threat of Pandemic Flu
Basic Facts | Preparedness Resources| Responding to the Threat
The threat of a human influenza pandemic is real and growing, and NTI's Global Health and Security Initiative is committed to help prevent, detect and respond to an influenza pandemic. This is one way that we are trying to fulfill our mission because many of the actions we take to prevent and respond to natural infectious diseases, will also help us reduce the threat of bioterrorism...
To help increase awareness of this threat among senior policymakers in the Group of Eight and key Asian nations on influenza preparedness, the Global Health and Security Initiative is supporting the Royal Institution World Science Assembly’s (RiSci) project on pandemic influenza preparedness.
This project seeks to design a targeted, highly strategic education campaign aimed at educating senior policy makers about the threat posed by pandemic flu. The Global Health and Security Initiative is providing technical and financial support to this effort, which will include a global virtual workshop on pandemic flu preparedness. Click here for more information on the project and to read the Foreign Affairs and Nature Magazine articles on pandemic influenza....
NTI's Global Health and Security Initiative is working in several areas of the world to improve preparedness and response to pandemic influenza. The links below provide information on NTI's pandemic influenza direct-action projects.

State of Georgia Preparedness Exercise [pdf]
Pandemic Influenza Exercises in Southeast Asia
Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease (SACIDS)

The U.S. develops new weapons of mass destruction
by Phil Gasper
In September 2001, the New York Times revealed that under the Clinton administration, the military had initiated a secret new germ weapons program known as Project Bachus, which was later embraced by Bush." As part of Bachus, the Pentagon built a bioweapons plant from commercially available parts, supposedly to show that terrorists could do the same thing. Other secret U.S. weapons projects include an attempt by the CIA to replicate a Soviet-designed cluster bomb intended to deliver biological weapons, Defense Intelligence Agency research into genetically engineering a strain of anthrax resistant to antibiotics and a program to manufacture dried anthrax spores for use as weapons. The U.S. claims that these programs are only for defensive purposes, but the BWC requires signatories to make annual declarations of any biodefence research, and Washington never listed these programs in its reports.

Moreover, in May 2002, on the basis of documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Texas-based Sunshine Project revealed that U.S. Navy and Air Force biotechnology laboratories are proposing development of offensive biological weapons. The weapons, genetically engineered microbes that attack items such as fuel, plastics and asphalt, would violate federal and international law. The proposals...date from 1997; but were recently submitted by the Marine Corps for a high-level assessment by a panel of the U.S. National Academies of Science (NAS).'3 The development of such weapons violates not only the BWC, but also the U.S. Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act....

According to Nicole Deller of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, "The U.S. has undermined the chemical weapons treaty by passing legislation that conflicts with the terms of the inspection provisions of the treaty." Deller, who is a principal editor of the recent report "Rule of power or rule of law?" adds that "This is part of a pattern, as our report found that the U.S. has violated, compromised, or acted to undermine in some crucial way every treaty that we have studied in detail."
The U.S. government is not only developing new weapons systems, it has every intention of using them as it sees fit. "If you are not with us, you are against us," President George W. Bush has said," writes Pinter. "He has also said: 'We will not allow the world's worst weapons to remain in the hands of the world's worst leaders.' Quite right. Look in the mirror, chum." Phil Gasper is a professor of philosophy a) Notre Dame de Namur University in California.

"Biological Weapons Defense: Infectious Diseases and Counterbioterrorism"
LE Lindler, PhD, National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), Ft. Detrick, MD and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MDFJ
Lebeda, PhD, USRMRIID, Ft. Detrick, MDGW
Korch, PhD, NBACC, Ft. Detrick, MD...
... the most comprehensive and authoritative biodefense reference on this subject to date.
Written for professionals in biomedical research, clinical care, drug/vaccine development, regulatory approval, crisis management and coordination, this book enhances understanding of the material and the ability to follow procedures described. Governments, military, and other organizations will be better prepared to respond and protect US citizens. This is a thrilling read because so much information is contained in one source. The uniqueness of this book is the amalgamation of authoritative discussions on US DOD policies, emergency procedures, biodefense databases, integrated time-sensitive surveillance and event modeling systems, up-to-date status of medical countermeasures, and more importantly, the molecular dissection of key biopathogens and the potential application of technology for good or for evil.
The editors and contributors represent leading scientists, clinicians, policymakers, and defense program managers in biodefense communities in the US, UK and Sweden. They are associated with government agencies, federal research labs, leading academic institutions, biotech/pharmaceutical industries, and private organizations, including USAMRIID, WRAIR, NMRC and CDC of DOD, DHHS and DHS.
Since the anthrax letter attacks, national preparedness for a major bioterrorism attack and biodefense has become a top priority. This book is organized into four sections that describe the legal/procedural aspects of DOD biodefense, technical details of the “omics”, (e.g, genomics, toxigenomics, etc.), diagnostics, medical countermeasures, and genotyping of carefully selected bioagents, along with historical stories and current challenges of each agent.
Section I, describes policies and procedures that DOD follows in supporting civilian management of a bioterrorism crisis. Sections II and III, detail countermeasures for bioagents in existence as well as in development. Section IV, describes the impressive progress made in molecular diagnosis using gene fingerprinting. These important topics are systematically integrated into a single reference source, which helps tremendously in understanding the science, medicine and policies.
Specific chapters are devoted to traditional biological agents, some of which were mass produced, field tested, and stockpiled in bulk and in munitions. More importantly, the risks of newly emerging or genetically modified biopathogens and related countermeasures are also elucidated. Seven chapters are dedicated to biological agents, discussion ranging from definition of emerging threats, DOD’s Global Emerging Infections System (GEIS), biodefense database development, genetic fingerprinting, to specific progresse made with F. tularensis and Y. pestis. As a double-edge sword, rapidly evolving biotechnology presents an inextricably linked combination of opportunity and danger, the dual use dilemma.
Section I “Preparation and Military Support for a Possible Bioterrorism Incident” provides behind-the-scenes efforts in the areas of law and policy governing the DOD biodefense programs, medical countermeasure development, approval by FDA, and bioattack event modeling. DOD’s unique disaster modeling, outcome prediction, tabletop exercises, and emergency planning capacity are highlighted.
Section II “Medical Countermeasures and Decontamination” provides general knowledge of selected bioagents and their infections, including pathogenesis, diagnosis, vaccination, prophylaxis, treatment, and decontamination. Anthrax, smallpox, Ebola, Marburg, plague, brucellosis, C. burnetii, glanders, and protein toxins receive special attention in this discussion. Discussions are at the cutting-edge of science and technology in antimicrobial drug and vaccine development and include host immune modulators as a broad-spectrum treatment for mixed or unknown infections. Relevant exposure routes and concentrations of both pathogen and therapeutics are critical in animal model selection and validation for successful countermeasure development and are discussed in detail for these agents.
Section III “Emerging Threats and Future Preparation” describes the “Biodefense of Tomorrow.” Rapid progress in human genome and biotechnology research should be considered as opportunities for both good and bad. The rapid progress not only can help mankind combat diseases, but can be used rather rapidly by bioterrorist groups to create novel and much more deadly agents in ways difficult to predict. For instance, among the many validated genetically modified threats, recombinant anthrax pathogen generated by cereolysin gene insertion could largely circumvent the entire existing military anthrax vaccination program. Other validated threats, such as engineered antibiotic resistance and recombinant F. tularensis, are also discussed along with other potential new threats. The potential for rapidly developing nefarious manipulations or discoveries of previously unknown biothreats into bioweapon systems can be readily seen with the recent progress in bioinformatics, genomics and proteomics of bioagents and their interactions in human hosts. This section concludes with “The number of scenarios that an ill-intended group might invent is almost limitless to the point that all possibilities could not be programmed in any reasonable manner.”
Government research programs at DHHS, DOD, and DOE are summarized in Section III. DOD’s Global Emerging Infection System (GEIS) program and its vital role in meeting the new challenge of public health are presented. Prompt recognition of reemerging infections, to include bioterrorism in addition to natural occurrence of new infectious diseases, requires both modern laboratory facilities and rapid identification of community health pattern shifts. The GEIS offers not only domestic, but global, surveillance and epidemiology capacities. The text describes how a new time-sensitive surveillance program can use integrated data sources across various geographical regions and what the pioneering role of the GEIS can be used in creating such a system.
Backbone databases and analytical resources critical for genetic makeup and genetic fingerprinting of key bioagents such as B. anthracis, Y. Pestis, B. melitenis, F tularensis, C burnetii, B. suis, and B. mallei are detailed. This is one of the most thoroughly presented biodefense databases available.
Section IV “Diagnostic Development for Biowarfare Agents” describes the aspects of the development and application of the current biotechnology to identify and characterize those bioagents. Future trends for both lab-based and field-based bioagent identification systems are also covered. A main lesson learned from the 2001 anthrax attack is the lack of timely communication of diagnostic results. This section describes how to improve such a situation in the future.
The authoritative discussions on DOD policies, emergency procedures, biodefense databases, integrated time-sensitive surveillance and event modeling systems, up-to-date status of medical countermeasures, and more importantly the molecular dissection of key biopathogens and the potential applications for good or for evil, all contribute to the uniqueness of this book.

About the reviewer: Guilin Qiao, DVM, PhD, is currently a Sr. Pharmacologist and Subject Matter Expert in medical countermeasure R&D and FDA regulatory approval for biodefense at DTRA. He served FDA as a Regulatory Pharmacologist (2001-2006) and CDC as a Team Leader in exposure assessment research (1998-2001) after serving as a faculty member at North Carolina State University (1995-1998). As a program panelist, Dr. Qiao has been supporting the peer-reviews of the US Army Chemical and Biological Defense programs since 1999.


the United States did not begin a biological warfare offensive program until 1941. During the next 28 years, the United States initiative evolved into an effective, military-driven research
and acquisition program, shrouded in controversy and secrecy. Most research and development was done at Fort Detrick, Maryland, while production and testing occurred at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. Field testing was done secretly and successfully with simulants and actual agents disseminated over wide areas. A small defensive effort paralleled the weapons development and production program.
With the presidential decision in 1969 to halt offensive biological weapons production the program became entirely defensive, with medical and nonmedical components. The U.S. Biolog-
ical Defense Research Program exists today, conducting research to develop physical and medical countermeasures to protect service members and civilians from the threat of modern biological warfare.
1. Fox LA. Bacterial warfare: The use of biologic agents in warfare. Milit Surg. 1933;72(3):189–207.
2. Bernstein BJ. The birth of the US biological-warfare program. Sci Am. 1987;256:116–121.
3. Department of the Army. Special Report to Congress. US Army Activity in the US Biological Warfare Programs,
1942–1977. Vols 1 and 2. Washington, DC: DA. 24 Feb 1977. Unclassified.
4. Cole LA. Clouds of Secrecy: The Army’s Germ Warfare Tests Over Populated Areas. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and
Littlefield; 1988.