Originally published June 9 2015
Why is the Pentagon shipping anthrax all over the place in the first place?
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) In late May, it was reported that the Defense Department had inadvertently shipped a few live samples of anthrax to several labs – most of them in the U.S., but at least one sample to a U.S. military base in South Korea.
CNN further reported that the military not only sent live anthrax recently to facilities in the U.S. and South Korea but may have also inadvertently sent live samples to Australia in 2008 or 2009. The shipments all originated from an Army lab in Utah.
However, in recent days, the Pentagon has been forced to admit that it actually shipped live anthrax to dozens more labs in the U.S., in addition to more countries. As reported by the L.A. Times:
Officials said... that the labs identified so far are scattered across 17 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, Australia and South Korea, suggesting a systemic lapse in the military's program to study and build defenses against biological weapons agents, including anthrax. ...
The U.S. labs that received the suspect shipments are in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
Somebody at the Pentagon is worried about anthrax
That small snippet of information presented by the Times at least partially answers the question as to why the U.S. military is shipping so many anthrax samples to so many places in the U.S. and abroad: "To study and build defenses against" such agents.
Granted, there has been at least one major anthrax incident in the United States in recent memory. In the days following the 9/11 attacks, letters laced with live anthrax spores were sent to members of Congress and the media; five people were killed, and 17 others were infected before the FBI traced the mailings back to an Army lab in Maryland.
But is the threat of bioterrorism, via use of anthrax, really substantial? Some experts think so, which would explain why the U.S. government is sending so many samples to so many places so often.
A 2012 paper by Leonard A. Cole at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, notes that the U.S. research effort has grown dramatically.
"Since the anthrax attacks, the U.S. government has spent about $60 billion on biodefense," Cole wrote. "A large portion of those dollars has gone to biodefense research under the auspices of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The NIAID budget for biodefense research has grown from $200 million in 2001 to an annual average of $1.6 billion since 2004."
Smartest anthrax researchers in the world are under threat
Other reports have referenced the 2001 anthrax mailings as more concerning than a bioterrorist attack from a foreign government or group, especially since 2008, when the FBI identified Dr. Bruce Ivins, a U.S. Army anthrax researcher, as the prime suspect in the anthrax letter attacks.
"The threat of insiders having access to lethal bioterror agents led to a crackdown on lab security. The Ivins case touched off fears that 'malicious actors' would use the substances to harm humans, according to a 2009 report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science," Reuters reported in June 2014.
Clearly the amount of money, time and effort being spent to develop anthrax detection, prevention and countermeasures is indicative of the Pentagon's fear that such a weapon could eventually be deployed successfully against the American people. That explains why so many samples are being shipped to and fro.
But if the Army's labs can't send samples properly, its carelessness could eventually kill off the smartest anthrax researchers in the world.
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