The CDC and Federal authorities have yet to give the okay for Texas A&M University to resume their bio-weapon defense research. The university expected to have the programs up and running by now. So why the delay? Turns out the problems at their lab were not so simple to repair despite the fact Texas A&M ”added new security systems, high-tech locks on doors, visitation logs, cameras and in-house TV monitors. The school has also submitted a new application for research to the CDC and invited the CDC to reinspect labs”.
The disturbing issue here is that had the Sunshine Project not exposed these security breaches they could have very easily never seen the light of day. Texas A&M did not report any problems to their oversight bodies at the CDC.
The Sunshine Project discovered workers were exposed to the toxic agents while researching universities vying to host a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Texas A&M was among the applicants for the homeland security project.
The NCC-NBAF Consortium has said publicly that the NBAF, were it located in Butner would have oversight and transparency.
The research will be unclassified, so we will know what kinds of work is being performed. Finally, community oversight groups will be established to provide public monitoring of activities. This is an animal and public health lab that will research some diseases and will provide critical diagnostic services for the nation. This is the same model as the CDC, except the NBAF will focus on diseases affecting both animals and humans.
Now, This is what the Department of Homeland Security actually said about public monitoring of the activities at the purposed NBAF. Nowhere within this dialogue does the DHS discuss community oversight or public monitoring of activities.
Question: What will be the mode of governance and/or who will be responsible for identifying research topics, prioritizing research programs and managing NBAF operations?
Response: The NBAF could be a government-owned government-operated (GOGO) or government-owned contractor-operated (GOCO) facility. A decision will be made at a later date.
Question: How will continual public transparency of NBAF operations be accomplished?
Response: The public will be able to provide comments during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, which will start when enough facility information exists to begin the NBAF site selection. A Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be published at the start of this process and DHS would hold public meetings in the impacted communities to solicit public input on the scope and content of the EIS. The EIS would analyze the potential environmental impacts of a range of reasonable alternatives for constructing and operating the NBAF.
Question: Will DHS declare that any research related to developing or preparing biological warfare agents will never be allowed?
Response: DHS conducts all of its biological agent research in full-compliance with the regulations governing such work in the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and other applicable laws and regulations. The BWC explicitly bans the production of biological agents for hostile purposes or armed conflict.
It would seem by the DHS response the public consideration goes no further than the initial process and DHS doesn’t say biological agents will not be produced. DSH said they will not be produced for hostile purposes or armed conflict. Then why would an supposed Agricultural facility be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act?
Ask yourself, why would the affected communities be so blanantly misled and what would happen here if a Texas A&M like event went unreported in Granville County? The Texas A&M lab IS NOT run by the DHS. If it can happen in Texas you know it will happen here. Hopefully with the January 14th public forum hosted by the Granville Non-Violent Action Team the new year will reveal some answers.