In remarks at a hearing held this past week by the US House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications, Dr. Robert Kadlec warned of the imminent nature of a biological weapons attack on the United States. As reported in Bioprepwatch, this hearing was intended to permit experts in the biodefense field to assess the current bioterrorism threat.
The risk of biological attacks on the U.S. is an uncertain, imminent reality,stated Kadlec, who was assistant and senior director for biodefense policy for President George W. Bush and has a decades-long history with the US military.
Kadlec went on to warn against the vulnerability presented by the US to such an attack, stating, “Our ability to predict or know when this threat will manifest itself is severely limited by the capabilities of our intelligence services’ and the wide array of potential perpetrators who could conduct such attacks,”
Affirming the deadly possibilities of such an attack, Kadlec said. “Biological weapons could inflict grievous harm on America, equal to and potentially greater than nuclear weapons.”
Kadlec thus adds his name to the growing number of US “insiders” who are issuing warnings about the imminent nature of either a biological weapons attack or a pandemic.
The two possibilities differ only in genesis and intentionality. Either could devastate not only the population of a given country, but also, given the nature of global transportation in the twenty-first century, could become a world wide event.
Former US Senators Bob Graham and Jim Talent have issued similar warnings, as has Retired Colonel Ronald Larsen, who sits as executive director of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Center in Washington, DC. Both Senators Graham and Talent are listed as founding members of the WMD Center.
Vaccine manufacturer J. Joseph Kim of Inovio Pharmaceuticals also issued a similar warning in 2012. Kim was quoted by US News as saying that a pandemic was “inevitable.”
At a meeting during the Biological Weapons Convention in 2011, DHS staffer Dr, Daniel Gerstein issued a similar warning, and was somewhat specific in his predictions, stating that such an event was “expected” by the end of 2013.
While no world wide pandemic occurred by the predicted date, bio-watchers have uneasily noted that there are several emerging strains which could become pandemic level events. Concerns have been generated in this regard in relation to MERS Corona virus and a couple of the bird flu strains now in evidence in the East, H7N9 and H5N1.
However, for all its protestations, the US has not quelled growing concerns as to the nature of its own biological weapons program. The US effectively derailed the verification protocol which had been hammered out by a UN working group with the Biological Weapons Convention just months before the anthrax attacks of September, 2001. Following the attacks, the US quietly changed its domestic biological weapons statute in a manner which rendered it in violation of the treaty Convention, and then failed to report the changes to the Convention at large, as it is mandated to do.
The US appears to be setting up satellite biological facilities throughout Eastern Europe, facilities which, like the Lugar lab in Tbilisi, Georgia, are surrounded by secrecy and obfuscation. The arm of the US military called the Defense Threat Reduction Agency reports partnering with Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine, as well as with Georgia on what is termed bio-threat preparation. Little is known of the work going on at these locations.
In 2011, the WMD Center issued a Bio-Response “Report Card,” giving the US a grade of D or F in about half of the listed categories. Bio-watchers have voiced repeated concerns that the efforts by the US government domestically and also its attempts to encourage biopreparedness overseas have focused on airborne issues, leaving the water systems relatively unprotected.
Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.