Category: Homeland Security
Every once in a while a dialogue comes through (via comments) on a post that is worthy of further debate. Below is just the kind of dialogue I’m refering to. I hope you will agree.
Thanks for your coverage.
The internal DHS Study Committee (SSRA) was about as close to an “inside job” as you could assemble and virtually all of the panelists had glaring conflicts of interest and personal stakes in seeing this project move forward.
Both of the USDA “independent experts” on the SSRA, Drs. Cyril Gay and Randall Leavings, were also members of the initial NBAF site visit team. Their efforts as site visit team members, largely informed the decision of siting NBAF in Kansas. They may have also met with Senator Pat Roberts during their 2007 site visits in Kansas.
SSRA members Steve Bennett, Dr. Michelle Colby, Dr. Bruce Harper and Dr. Joanne Jones-Meehan are all DHS employees. The notion that they would cast a skeptical eye towards a pet project of the DHS Secretary is laughable.
SSRA member Dr. David Brake is a contractor for DHS at Plum Island and his firm would have a vested financial stake in an expanded DHS countermeasure enterprise at NBAF.
SSRA member Dr. Josh Fine (SAIC) is also a contractor for DHS at Plum Island. His firm, SAIC, could potentially stand to gain a windfall if selected to provide SETA contract support at NBAF.
SSRA member Dr. Ted Schroeder is a professor at Kansas State. No conflict of interest there;) SSRA member Dr. Charles Hobbs is a “senior scientist emeritus” at the Lovelace Respiratory Reserach Institute. Lovelace’s President and CEO, Dr. Robert Rubin, was appointed in 2007 by then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius to serve on the “NBAF in Kansas Task Force.” Of course, there is no chance that Dr. Hobbs would come out against a major policy goal of his instiution’s President and CEO.
Other than the two HHS members, the SSRA panelists were riddled with ethical, professional, personal and financial conflicts of interest.
A report released today by the National Research Council, solidified concerns brought forth by two grassroot, non-profits who opposed and fought the placement of the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) from being sited in North Carolina and Georgia. Both groups, the Granville Non Violent Action Team (GNAT) and AthensFAQ brought forth the same credible arguments presented in the NRC’s report. The report titled: “Evaluation of a Site-Specific Risk Assessment for the Department of Homeland Security’s Planned National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas” (that’s a mouth-full) was completed by DHS in June 2010.
The NRC report finally sheds some much-needed light on DHS’s flawed methodology and skewed data the agency used to justify the NBAF’s risk to near-by communities and livestock populations.
Upon review of the DHS assessment, the National Research Council found “several major shortcomings.” Based on the DHS risk assessment, there is nearly a 70 percent chance over the 50-year lifetime of the facility that a release of FMD could result in an infection outside the laboratory, impacting the economy by estimates of $9 billion to $50 billion. The present Research Council report says the risks and costs of a pathogen being accidently released from the facility could be significantly higher. The committee found that the SSRA has many legitimate conclusions, but it was concerned that the assessment does not fully account for how a Biosafety-Level 3 Agriculture and Biosafety-Level 4 Pathogen facility would operate or how pathogens might be accidently released. In particular, the SSRA does not include important operation risks and mitigation issues, such as the risk associated with the daily cleaning of large animal rooms. It also fails to address risks that would likely increase the chances of an FMD leak or of the disease’s spread after a leak, including the NBAF’s close proximity to the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine clinics and KSU football stadium or personnel moving among KSU facilities.
Matt DeGennaro of AthensFAQ sums the report up quite nicely, “WE TOLD YOU SO” (and all we had was Google). Critical thinking suggest this report should lay to rest once and for all, the federally funded bio-hazard, right? No, not if the Kansas Congressional Delegation has its way.
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has chosen Manhattan as the site for the new NBAF. The construction of this cutting edge facility must move forward to safely conduct critical research to protect our nation’s agriculture sector and food supply. The National Research Council’s study is helpful to DHS as it continues in its design phase of the NBAF facility. We are also pleased that it confirms the importance of building a new NBAF to protect our nation. However, we are concerned that some of the findings do not seem to account for mitigation and safety plans that DHS has already said will be put in place. These efforts should not be discounted. We are confident this facility will be the safest research laboratory in the world and its mission is critical in order to protect our nation’s food supply.”
Absent critical thinking, politicos from the Kansas Congressional Delegation obviously can’t read ! U.S. Senator Pat Roberts knows first hand what an outbreak of FMD would do to his state. Sen. Roberts you see was the President of the U.S. during a government exercise known as Crimson Sky. Here is what he said about the mock FMD outbreak during a Senate Hearing ( To Review BioSecurity Preparedness and Efforts to Address AgroTerrorism Threats).
Back in 2002, I joined an exercise held by the department called Crimson Sky. That was sort of a misnomer because it followed the experience of Great Britain in regards to their problems with their livestock herds. They used that method in regards in incinerating the animals, which is probably the worst thing you could have done, as we found out.
There wasn’t anybody else in town, so I played the role of President in this exercise, and it simulated the intentional introduction of foot and mouth disease in five different locations. By the way,the person who did that was from Iraq, at least in the exercise. The impact was incredible. In 6 days, if you do not detect the disease, that is when this or the effects of the disease first become obvious, and then it is too late. All of our exports stop. People in the cities discovered that their food doesn’t come from grocery stores, and panic set in. The markets went crazy.
Basically, we had States calling out the National Guard. That is when we had the National Guard in the States, not over in Iraq and in Afghanistan and everywhere else, setting up all sorts of border situations so livestock in Texas couldn’t go to Oklahoma; Oklahoma couldn’t go to Kansas; Kansas couldn’t go to Nebraska; etc.,etc. It got pretty rough except everybody finally realized that all of the States were involved and we had to do something.
As President, I stopped the movement of all livestock. The Secretary of Commerce said you couldn’t do that. So I fired him, and it felt very good. But it was absolute chaos and not only for 1 year and not only for livestock, but every crop. So if you talk about a real problem, that was a real problem.
So, Chuck, can you tell me are you still conducting these kind of exercises? You probably don’t want to have me play President, but at any rate, are we doing the exercises that we need to do in conjunction with your compatriots up there on the panel, and has that impacted the way you do business?
Senator ROBERTS. We had to terminate almost every herd in America. I mean that was the end result. It was an incredible experience when you really finally got down to the final answer to stop what was going on. We had to call out the National Guard and call out the military. Quite frankly, we ran out of ammunition. It was a mess, and then you had PETA on television, and I can’t describe the utter chaos that happened.
See folks this is the bottom line; Federal grant dollars have a way of creating amnesia. Here we have a person who knows first hand the economic damage caused by a mock- outbreak of FMD in the state of Kansas but continues to push for the NBAF. I don’t live in Kansas but if I did I’d be concerned, very concerned. Maybe real-life is too much for some people to believe, but when you involve their wallets everything changes, doesn’t it Sen. Roberts?
Kudos goes to Robert K. Schaeffer of Manhattan, Kansas for a moment of critical thinking regarding the National Bio and Agro Defense Factiliy, (NBAF) and it’s risk to the community of Manhattan,KS.
Proponents of National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility argue that the risk is low of accidentally or intentionally releasing lethal pathogens (anthrax, plague) from the germ lab. But it is not up to government officials to assess the level of risk. Instead, the private insurance companies that provide coverage to households and businesses in Manhattan will determine the level of risk.
If insurance companies view the risk of NBAF as low — as rare as an earthquake in Kansas — households might pay about 5 percent more on their insurance policies, about $40 a year, according to insurance company estimates. Together, the 19,170 households in Manhattan would pay $766,800 a year, or $7.6 million over the next 10 years, to protect themselves from a big government project that puts their lives and property at risk.
But if insurance companies view the risk as high — as risky as a major quake in California — households could see their insurance premiums rise by 60 percent or $480 a year, which would amount to $9.2 million annually or $92 million over the next 10 years.
Federal and state officials should answer these questions: Will insurance companies provide coverage for the risks associated with NBAF? How much will premiums increase for households, businesses and Kansas State University? And what will they do if companies refuse to offer coverage or if they charge prohibitive rates?
ROBERT K. SCHAEFFER
Clearly the NBAF will be a money-maker for all “Businesses”, but what of the communities who will host and fund the facility? Folks in Butner, North Carolina and Athens, Georgia have already spoken, been there and have a T-shirt. What’s the old saying “if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is? Wake-up Kansas! The threat of Foot and Mouth disease for farmers should be a pricey proposition, don’t you think? Or do you?
In a Press Release this past week, Congressman Tim Bishop of New York stated that it is “highly unrealistic” that the sale of Plum Island (PIADC) at an “estimated value of $50-80 million could possibly cover the over $650 million cost of constructing NBAF”.
“Highly Unrealistic”? You think? On what planet does the sale of a $50-80 million piece of highly contaminated government property pay for the construction of a new $650 million facility?
First of all let’s not forget the Congressional Research Service estimated back in 08′ that the clean-up of Plum Island would top $100 million and that was their best estimate at the time.
Bottom line, DHS has toyed with the sale of Plum Island (PIADC) for almost two years now as noted in a previous post I wrote back in 08′, yet they (DHS) still have not completed a Congressionally mandated comprehensive risk assessment of the NBAF’s actual final design. Moreover, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has completed 4 oversight reports on High-Containment Biosafety Laboratories in the U.S.; two specifically analysing the methodology used to justify the research slated for Plum Island’s (PIADC) replacement the NBAF. Isn’t it past time for this Bush-era knee jerk, behemoth to disappear? It was and still is a bad idea and;
Given our nation’s mounting budget deficits, many have questioned the wisdom of spending approximately $1 billion of taxpayer dollars to create a massive new research facility that would duplicate many of the functions currently served by Plum Island and other existing facilities.
Congressman Bishop has the right idea, we should tell Price and the other members of the House subcommittee on Homeland Security we do not support this project. Why? Think of it this way, here we are three years into the project, now Kansas and DHS are pushing lawmakers for a biological TARP bail-out in the name of national security. Or is it really more about research grants and corporate profits? If you’re a critical thinker you already have the answer.
Just, where are those Teabaggers when you need them?
SENATE BURGLARY: CIA DOMESTIC BLACK-OP TEAM ARRESTED
ALL 4 INVOLVED IN SENATE HOMELAND SECURITY BREAKIN CIA “N-O-C” AGENTS
CIA PROGRAM MAY HAVE TRAINED DOMESTIC “DEATH SQUADS”
Last week’s breakin at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office in the New Orleans Federal Building was more than it seemed, much more. All of the 4 arrested had been trained by the CIA and, possibly, Israel. One arrested, Stan Dai, is listed as an Operations Officer of the Department of Defense Irregular Warfare Program and a known expert and lecturer on, not only surveillance but explosives training, assassinations and “false flag operations.” If you wanted a plane to crash, an enemy to get sick and die or a building to blow up, Dai would be the man to know how to make it happen. Problem is, his skills were being used as part of a criminal conspiracy inside the United States against members of our own government.
Original reports on the “break-in” were also wrong. One of those arrested was found blocks away with a covert receiver, managing the office bugs. The man in the car is identified as Stan Dai, Operations Officer for the Department of Defense Irregular Warfare Program:
“one of the four was arrested with a listening device in a car blocks from the senator’s offices.” The FBI’s affidavit noted that Flanagan and Basel were in the building with O’Keefe, and a federal law enforcement official confirmed to AP that Dai was the one in the car.”
What is not initially known is whether this was the first attempt or, as is much more likely, an additional incursion to plant new bugs as the ones in place were missing key conversations. Also, it is not known how many “black ops” crews are being run by the CIA inside the United States in violation of their charter or if their operations are being limited to spying on Democratic lawmakers or if operations of a more threatening nature have been performed but remain undiscovered.
Additionally, as this was a covert op against US government investigations of, not only terrorism and terrorism funding but major financial crimes against the United States, it is unclear who the recipient of the “product,” an intelligence industry term for “output” or information put up for “distribution” might be. Potential buyers could be the Republican Party, Israel, Turkey, India, Russia, China, Venezuela, North Korea or financial institutions involved in massive money laundering schemes being investigated by the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security of which Senator Landireu is a member.
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirms that American security firms Xe Services LLC, formerly known as Blackwater, and DynCorp have been operating in Pakistan.
The two firms are operating in private capacities, Gates said on Thursday, adding that the companies were abiding by Pakistani laws.
However, he said that if the Pakistani parliament votes for a ban on the presence of the firms, the US government would comply with it.
Blackwater won notoriety for having gone on a shooting rampage in a heavily trafficked Baghdad intersection in September 2007 killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians.
Blackwater Worldwide changed its name to Xe Services LLC in February 2009, after it came under international criticism for its disregard for civilian lives.
Two former Blackwater mercenaries have also been charged with the 2009 murder of two Afghan civilians in Kabul.
Asad Durani, former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had earlier told Press TV that the notorious firm, Blackwater, was involved in the deadly drone attacks on Pakistani territories, which usually result in civilian casualties.
“I learned somewhere that these people are employed certainly for…the logistic support at the drone bases. That is understandable,” Durani said earlier in January.
Gates, meanwhile, said that Washington is considering sharing its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology with Pakistan.
“These UAVs are useful and we have a budget for them,” Gates said in an interview with a privately-run Pakistani television on Thursday.
He claimed that the drones had proved productive in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“We are working together with Pakistan army in this connection,” Gates said, adding that discussions were underway with Pakistan military leadership on technical matters in this regard, a Press TV correspondent reported late Thursday.
Defense officials in his delegation later said that the US will provide 12 Shadow drones to Pakistan.
The Shadow drone is about 3.3 meters (11 feet) long and has a wing-span of 4.2 meters (14 feet), with sensors and cameras feeding video images back to operators on the ground.
SEC mulled national security status for AIG details
U.S. securities regulators originally treated the New York Federal Reserve’s bid to keep secret many of the details of the American International Group bailout like a request to protect matters of national security, according to emails obtained by Reuters.
The request to keep the details secret were made by the New York Federal Reserve — a regulator that helped orchestrate the bailout — and by the giant insurer itself, according to the emails.
The emails from early last year reveal that officials at the New York Fed were only comfortable with AIG submitting a critical bailout-related document to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after getting assurances from the regulatory agency that “special security procedures” would be used to handle the document.
The SEC, according to an email sent by a New York Fed lawyer on January 13, 2009, agreed to limit the number of SEC employees who would review the document to just two and keep the document locked in a safe while the SEC considered AIG’s confidentiality request.
The SEC had also agreed that if it determined the document should not be made public, it would be stored “in a special area where national security related files are kept,” the lawyer wrote.
In another email, a New York Fed official said the SEC suggested in late December 2008, that AIG file the document under seal and then apply to the regulatory agency for so-called confidential treatment, if central bankers wanted to stop the information from becoming public.