Top Secret America:Health/Safety in the Age of Homeland Security
Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin have completed a two year study of the intelligence community, published by the Washington Post, entitled Top Secret America, that offers a glimpse into the structure and functioning of the Department of Homeland Security. It has been revealed:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
Bearing in mind the latest information provided by the Washington Post, an updated revisit to a story first published here at NowPublic three years ago.
Throughout modern history, world governments and private industry have aligned themselves as partners. Governments and private industry never approach any endeavor for altruistic reasons.
Governmental actions may be predicated by a variety of statements citing various concerns but, power and control are the outcome desired from any alliance.
For private industry, profit is the main motivation. For both of these entities, financial capital or money enables wielding of influence and power.
Senate Bill S. 1873 is known as the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, which was introduced in October 2005.
An excerpt from the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP), providing analysis of S. 1873, explains, in part, that any vaccine or drug, used during a declared public health emergency, at the sole determination of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is exempt from any possible trial before a jury for liability, even when it is established some form of contamination has occurred during its production or distribution.
[Sec. 6(b)(1)(A)(i)] of S. 1873 reads:
IN GENERAL- No cause of action shall exist against a person described in subsection (a) for claims for loss of property, personal injury, or death arising out of, reasonably relating to, or resulting from the design, development, clinical testing and investigation, manufacture, labeling, distribution, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, or use of a security countermeasure or qualified pandemic or epidemic product distributed, sold, purchased, donated, dispensed, prescribed, administered, or used in anticipation of and preparation for, in defense against, or in response to, or recovery from an actual or potential public health emergency that is a designated security countermeasure or a qualified pandemic or epidemic product by the Secretary in a declaration described in paragraph (2).
Senate Bill S. 1873, known as the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, was introduced and sponsored by Republican Senators Richard Burr, Bill Frist, Lamar Alexander, Michael Enzi, Judd Gregg and Elizabeth Dole. The legislation passed in October 2005, amid objections from Democrats.
Under this bill, an agency called Biomedical Advanced Research Development Agency (BARDA) was formed in 2006.
BARDA was the first-ever government agency granted total immunity from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as one form of incentive to assist and encourage private industry in developing products to be used as countermeasures to a possible pandemic or terrorist act.
The inaugural bill set aside an expenditure of $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion), at its inception, with accounting for the use of this funding shielded from disclosure.
In addition, the bill allows: a fast-track approach to release of vaccines and medicines for use on the public; protection of the pharmaceutical companies from prosecution due to any possible harm or fatal results of vaccines or medicines distributed and provides anonymity for members of the advisory board that approves the use of any drugs dispensed to the public. BARDA ultimately falls under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security.
Homeland Security Weekly reported that Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood:
.... praised the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously passing the "Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2006" (H.R. 5533) last night:
"By passing the 'BARDA' bill, the House has taken an important and necessary step forward to improve national preparedness against biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear events.
Click here to read the Homeland Security Weekly article.
A new funding strategy, that partners pharmaceutical companies with private industry, has emerged with foundations and organizations being funded by private individuals and in turn incorporating hospitals and universities, with all entities becoming linked through liaison or direct organizational ties to the drug companies.
The creation of BARDA, an agency with the power to order the inoculation of U.S. citizens by the Department of Health and Human Services, that is shielded from public scrutiny and exempt from lawsuits brought about as a result of suspected harm from any products distributed by BARDA, bears close monitoring and regulation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has established the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP).
In a release in May 2006, WHO issued a call for a clinical trials registry stating:
The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging research institutions and companies to register all medical studies that test treatments on human beings, including the earliest studies, whether they involve patients or healthy volunteers. As part of the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, a major initiative aimed at standardizing the way information on medical studies is made available to the public through a process called registration, WHO is also recommending that 20 key details be disclosed at the time studies are begun.
In 2006, WHO noted groups such as the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA, two groups opposing any registry for clinical trials, in a joint statement with fellow members of the industry, raised concerns that these proposed requirements could, “ .... jeopardize academic or commercial competitive advantage if they apply to preliminary trials of new interventions.”
Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America and its members were the primary sponsors of the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005.
It would be prudent to know who among the agencies and employees revealed to be part of the Homeland Security network, written of by the Washington Post, may be involved in work relating to vaccines and other medical products to be produced for distribution in case of a declared national emergency.
Oh, that’s right! Legislation passed in 2006 that formed the agency BARDA exempts those who may have or will have created and distributed any of those products from liability while their identities are shielded from the American public.
I state again, as I did in 2007, we, as citizens, patients in need of medical expertise and consumers, must act against any and all proposed scenarios where those who may be responsible for causing harm and fatalities, are allowed to step off the path of accountability and become cloaked in a bureaucratic web of invisibility.