How the Hell Can 68 Packages of Live Anthrax get Sent Around the World?

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So, once again we are in a’ them and us’ situation. For over ten years United states military labs have been shipping anthrax around the globe. Now, we all know this is a bad boy of a disease, and we all know it should be deactivated before it is sent out to other labs…but in 68 cases (so far) is hasn’t been and tests on it have proved that some of it is still live and capable of causing illness and death. Lab workers handling some of the deadly powder have been given precautionary treatment.

From the BBC:

Anthrax entered the US national consciousness in 2001, when shortly after the 9/11 attacks, letters containing powdered anthrax arrived at news organisations and the offices of US senators. Twenty-two people were sickened and of those, five people died.

For those of you that don’t know the details, you can see the timeline here. In short Bruce Ivins, a scientist at Fort Detrick committed suicide after being accused of sending anthrax through the U.S mail. he was said to have homicidal tendencies. One has to ask why, if they knew that a government scientist was mentally ill did he have access to what the United States calls a biological weapon

According to the UK Health and Safety Executive website, sending live anthrax through the post/via courier constitutes biological terrorism.

Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is one of the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack (CDC)

So, is this another case of a disgruntled/mentally ill/homicidal government employee deciding to make a statement, or was it a simple mistake that just got repeated 68 times with over a dozen different lots of semi-active anthrax getting split into different packages and sent off on a trip around the globe?

How much anthrax is sitting on shelves in defence labs across the United States and how much of it is live? Nobody is saying, either that or they don’t actually know. Neither have we been told how much has made it to Australia, Canada, South Korea and the UK.

The Pentagon have repeated that there is no danger to the general public, not something that puts my mind at ease if I’m honest.

As more and more of our freedoms get curtailed in order to  fight ‘the war on terror’ how ironic that the government actually send the stuff around the world posing a huge threat to the national security of not just the United States but four other nations.

Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have issues with home-grown terrorists just as the United States does. What’s to say the next Jihadi John/Janet isn’t working in one of the labs, either in the United States or elsewhere and that they now have their grubby little hands on a biological agent capable of killing vast numbers of people .

This is a major security breach that is been marketed as a terrible accident caused by sloppy procedures. I humbly suggest that if 68 packages (so far) of anthrax have been shipped out it is a little more than sloppy procedures. One has to ask why there is that much live anthrax lying around in the first place, biological research is usually carried out on totally deactivated anthrax with just a small amount being kept under strict security in biocontainment facilities.

There are a great many questions that need to be answered, but most likely never will be:

  • How has this gone on for a decade without anyone noticing?
  • Is the same scientist responsible for not deactivating it in all the cases?
  • Who signed it off as safe to ship out?
  • How much live anthrax is actually kept in labs across the U.S?
  • What protocols were sidestepped?
  • Has the system been made more robust so this can’t happen again?
  • Does having so much live anthrax lying around indicate that the United States has revived its bioweapons program?

Take care

Liz

 

 

 

 

 

Four Years Since Fukushima, Calls Grow for Nuclear-Free World

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By Lauren McAuley. This article first appeared at Common Dreams

Crisis lives on as 250,000 Japanese still reside in temporary housing while struggle to contain hundreds of thousands of tons of radioactive water continues.

Four years since disaster struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011—with nightmare yet to abate—the call for a future beyond nuclear power also continues.

In the wake of the three reactor core meltdowns, which were triggered when the plant was hit by a tsunami stemming from a 9.0 earthquake, widespread nuclear contamination remains. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, continues to wrestle with how to contain increasing amounts of radioactive water, which was pumped in to cool the melted fuel rods within the reactors.

Roughly 500,000 tons of tainted water needs to be disposed of, threatening unknown environmental impacts in the region, while radioactive water continues to seep, and is dumped, into the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, 250,000 Japanese citizens remain in temporary housing. Despite this, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues to insist that nuclear energy is an essential part of the country’s energy future.

Kendra Ulrich, global energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan, argues that instead of pushing to restart its reactors, the Japanese government should look to its own country as an example of how “we do not need to accept this dirty, dangerous, and outdated technology—neither to keep the lights on nor to meet carbon reduction targets.”

“Those who created the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe know that their nuclear power plants have no place in a modern Japan. And they are fighting as hard as they can to stop clean energy progress and shore up their dirty-energy-based profits.” —Kendra Ulrich, Greenpeace Japan”

“As of the fourth Fukushima Daiichi disaster anniversary, the country will be nearly a year and a half without a single reactor online—and not a single blackout or brownout as a result,” Ulrich notes.

On Wednesday, members of the Japanese and European Greens Parties released a joint statement addressing the myriad ways the crisis continues to unfold. They write:

The number of evacuated persons who cannot return to their homes is in the hundreds of thousands, many of who still live in difficult conditions. Whole families were torn apart, yet the subsequent processing of financial compensation and reparation has been severely delayed and is not even sufficient to ensure people a decent living, let alone set up a new life.

Concern about the long-term health risks is also growing. A rise in the incidents of thyroid cancer among children, who lived close to the power plant at the time of the accident, is striking. Since radiation exposure is more prevalent in the young, 370,000 children and adolescents, who used to live in the prefecture, will be regularly screened for thyroid cancer throughout their lives. Sadly, every year the number of ill children is rising.

The statement notes that Japan also faces a contaminated water crisis, which is further exacerbated by TEPCO’s infamous secrecy. Calling for a global ban on nuclear energy, the statement says world governments must instead “actualize a transition to a sustainable energy policy and society.”

Similar messages were echoed in statements across the world, as civilians, environmental groups and others marked the anniversary by warning against a nuclear future.

In Tokyo on Sunday, 23,000 Japanese marked the anniversary by protesting the country’s efforts to restart the beleaguered nuclear power industry. Rallying in front of Japan’s parliament, the demonstrators called decommissioning all nuclear plants across the country and Asia.

“The recovery effort in Fukushima Daiichi is making no progress as they keep contaminating the ocean and fail to bring the situation under control,” Arirang News quoted a protester as saying. “In fact, it’s getting worse in many respects. We want to tell the world that the Fukushima nuclear accident has never ended, and it continues to affect all of us.”

The ongoing plant closures and growing global rejection of nuclear energy have been credited to a strong grassroots push. As anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman noted in a post on Wednesday, the shutdown of all 54 Japanese reactors is the “largest on-going nuke closer in history.” Meanwhile, in the U.S. five reactors have shut down since March 11, 2011 and many European nations, where nuclear plays a large role, are also committing to phase out their reactors.

As Ulrich adds: “Those who created the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe know that their nuclear power plants have no place in a modern Japan. And they are fighting as hard as they can to stop clean energy progress and shore up their dirty-energy-based profits.”

Also Wednesday, U.S. nuclear engineer and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen published a searing attack on the nuclear industry.

“Let’s be clear, the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi was manmade,” Gundersen wrote. “Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) and indeed the entire nuclear industry worldwide act as if they are the victims of a natural disaster, but in fact the nuclear industry is the perpetrator of this travesty.”

“At each nuclear catastrophe: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and again at Fukushima Daiichi, the companies, governments, and agencies responding to these disasters were not working to protect people, but worked instead to protect the ongoing operation and potential future of nuclear power,” Gundersen continued.

“Of all the ways electricity is produced, nuclear technology is the only one that can destroy the fabric of a country overnight,” he added.