I strongly suggest you too start this journey there.
Then, I can’t insist enough for you to watch the whole thing! At times he’s just regurgitating so many libtard tropes it feels like it will never end, but almost every other minute he delivers some surprising admission, argument or revelation that makes you wonder if he’s there to represent the Military BioTech Complex or to whistleblow against it. And the final Q&A is the icing on the cake!
In addition to being a brilliant scientist, Dennis Bushnell has the advantage of enjoying an eagle’s-eye view of most of the exciting new technologies vying for a place, from under the oceans to low-Earth orbit to the moon, Mars, and deep space. In this discussion, he’ll take a close look at our near-term challenges and the technical solutions he suggests for moving beyond them. –
This starts slow, but it gets better and better, culminating around min. 37, where he starts ranting again about brainchips and becoming cyborgs. Peak Transhumanism and Great Reset in 2011!
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! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them
Cars now run on data. We hacked one to find out what it knows about you.
Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler cracked open a Chevrolet to find an always-on Internet connection and data from his smartphone. (Jonathan Baran/The Washington Post)
Behind the wheel, it’s nothing but you, the open road — and your car quietly recording your every move.
On a recent drive, a 2017 Chevrolet collected my precise location. It stored my phone’s ID and the people I called. It judged my acceleration and braking style, beaming back reports to its maker General Motors over an always-on Internet connection.
Cars have become the most sophisticated computers many of us own, filled with hundreds of sensors. Even older models know an awful lot about you. Many copy over personal data as soon as you plug in a smartphone.
But for the thousands you spend to buy a car, the data it produces doesn’t belong to you. My Chevy’s dashboard didn’t say what the car was recording. It wasn’t in the owner’s manual. There was no way to download it.
To glimpse my car data, I had to hack my way in.
We’re at a turning point for driving surveillance: In the 2020 model year, most new cars sold in the United States will come with built-in Internet connections, including 100 percent of Fords, GMs and BMWs and all but one model Toyota and Volkswagen. (This independent cellular service is often included free or sold as an add-on.) Cars are becoming smartphones on wheels, sending and receiving data from apps, insurance firms and pretty much wherever their makers want. Some brands even reserve the right to use the data to track you down if you don’t pay your bills.
When I buy a car, I assume the data I produce is owned by me — or at least is controlled by me. Many automakers do not. They act like how and where we drive, also known as telematics, isn’t personal information.
Cars now run on the new oil: your data. It is fundamental to a future of transportation where vehicles drive themselves and we hop into whatever one is going our way. Data isn’t the enemy. Connected cars already do good things like improve safety and send you service alerts that are much more helpful than a check-engine light in the dash.
But we’ve been down this fraught road before with smart speakers, smart TVs, smartphones and all the other smart things we now realize are playing fast and loose with our personal lives. Once information about our lives gets shared, sold or stolen, we lose control.
There are no federal laws regulating what carmakers can collect or do with our driving data. And carmakers lag in taking steps to protect us and draw lines in the sand. Most hide what they’re collecting and sharing behind privacy policies written in the kind of language only a lawyer’s mother could love.
Car data has a secret life. To find out what a car knows about me, I borrowed some techniques from crime scene investigators.
What your car knows
Jim Mason hacks into cars for a living, but usually just to better understand crashes and thefts. The Caltech-trained engineer works in Oakland, Calif., for a firm called ARCCA that helps reconstruct accidents. He agreed to help conduct a forensic analysis of my privacy.
I chose a Chevrolet as our test subject because its maker GM has had the longest of any automaker to figure out data transparency. It began connecting cars with its OnStar service in 1996, initially to summon emergency assistance. Today GM has more than 11 million 4G LTE data-equipped vehicles on the road, including free basic service and extras you pay for. I found a volunteer, Doug, who let us peer inside his two-year-old Chevy Volt.
I met Mason at an empty warehouse, where he began by explaining one important bit of car anatomy. Modern vehicles don’t just have one computer. There are multiple, interconnected brains that can generate up to 25 gigabytes of data per hour from sensors all over the car. Even with Mason’s gear, we could only access some of these systems.
This kind of hacking isn’t a security risk for most of us — it requires hours of physical access to a vehicle. Mason brought a laptop, special software, a box of circuit boards, and dozens of sockets and screwdrivers.
We focused on the computer with the most accessible data: the infotainment system. You might think of it as the car’s touch-screen audio controls, yet many systems interact with it, from navigation to a synced-up smartphone. The only problem? This computer is buried beneath the dashboard.
After an hour of prying and unscrewing, our Chevy’s interior looked like it had been lobotomized. But Mason had extracted the infotainment computer, about the size of a small lunchbox. He clipped it into a circuit board, which fed into his laptop. The data didn’t copy over in our first few attempts. “There is a lot of trial and error,” said Mason.
(Don’t try this at home. Seriously — we had to take the car into a repair shop to get the infotainment computer reset.)
It was worth the trouble when Mason showed me my data. There on a map was the precise location where I’d driven to take apart the Chevy. There were my other destinations, like the hardware store I’d stopped at to buy some tape.
Among the trove of data points were unique identifiers for my and Doug’s phones, and a detailed log of phone calls from the previous week. There was a long list of contacts, right down to people’s address, emails and even photos.
For a broader view, Mason also extracted the data from a Chevrolet infotainment computer that I bought used on eBay for $375. It contained enough data to reconstruct the Upstate New York travels and relationships of a total stranger. We know he or she frequently called someone listed as “Sweetie,” whose photo we also have. We could see the exact Gulf station where they bought gas, the restaurant where they ate (called Taste China) and the unique identifiers for their Samsung Galaxy Note phones.
Infotainment systems can collect even more. Mason has hacked into Fords that record locations once every few minutes, even when you don’t use the navigation system. He’s seen German cars with 300-gigabyte hard drives — five times as much as a basic iPhone 11. The Tesla Model 3 can collect video snippets from the car’s many cameras. Coming next: face data, used to personalize the vehicle and track driver attention.
In our Chevy, we probably glimpsed just a fraction of what GM knows. We didn’t see what was uploaded to GM’s computers, because we couldn’t access the live OnStar cellular connection. (Researchers have done those kinds of hacks before to prove connected vehicles can be remotely controlled.)
GM spokesman David Caldwell declined to offer specifics on Doug’s Chevy but said the data GM collects generally falls into three categories: vehicle location, vehicle performance and driver behavior. “Much of this data is highly technical, not linkable to individuals and doesn’t leave the vehicle itself,” he said.
The company, he said, collects real-time data to monitor vehicle performance to improve safety and to help design future products and services.
But there were clues to what more GM knows on its website and app. It offers a Smart Driver score — a measure of good driving — based on how hard you brake and turn and how often you drive late at night. They’ll share that with insurance companies, if you want. With paid OnStar service, I could, on demand, locate the car’s exact location. It also offers in-vehicle WiFi and remote key access for Amazon package deliveries. An OnStar Marketplace connects the vehicle directly with third-party apps for Domino’s, IHOP, Shell and others.
It’s likely GM and other automakers keep just a slice of the data cars generate. But think of that as a temporary phenomenon. Coming 5G cellular networks promise to link cars to the Internet with ultra-fast, ultra-high-capacity connections. As wireless connections get cheaper and data becomes more valuable, anything the car knows about you is fair game.
GM’s view, echoed by many other automakers, is that we gave them permission for all of this. “Nothing happens without customer consent,” said GM’s Caldwell.
When my volunteer Doug bought his Chevy, he didn’t even realize OnStar basic service came standard. (I don’t blame him — who really knows what all they’re initialing on a car purchase contract?) There is no button or menu inside the Chevy to shut off OnStar or other data collection, though GM says it has added one to newer vehicles. Customers can press the console OnStar button and ask a representative to remotely disconnect.
What’s the worry? From conversations with industry insiders, I know many automakers haven’t totally figured out what to do with the growing amounts of driving data we generate. But that’s hardly stopping them from collecting it.
Five years ago, 20 automakers signed on to volunteer privacy standards, pledging to “provide customers with clear, meaningful information about the types of information collected and how it is used,” as well as “ways for customers to manage their data.” But when I called eight of the largest automakers, not even one offered a dashboard for customers to look at, download and control their data.
Automakers haven’t had a data reckoning yet, but they’re due for one. GM ran an experiment in which it tracked the radio music tastes of 90,000 volunteer drivers to look for patterns with where they traveled. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM told marketers that the data might help them persuade a country music fan who normally stopped at Tim Horton’s to go to McDonald’s instead.
GM would not tell me exactly what data it collected for that program but said “personal information was not involved” because it was anonymized data. (Privacy advocates have warned that location data is personal because it can be re-identified with individuals because we follow such unique patterns.)
Automakers say they put data security first. But I suspect they’re just not used to customers demanding transparency. They also probably want to have sole control over the data, given that the industry’s existential threats — self-driving and ride-hailing technologies — are built on it.
But not opening up brings problems, too. Automakers are battling with repair shops in Massachusetts about a proposal that would require car companies to grant owners — and mechanics — access to telematics data. The Auto Care Association says locking out independent shops could give consumers fewer choices and make us end up paying more for service. The automakers say it’s a security and privacy risk.
In 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act will require any company that collects personal data about the state’s residents to provide access to the data and give people the ability to opt out of its sharing. GM said it would comply with the law but didn’t say how.
Are any carmakers better? Among the privacy policies I read, Toyota’s stood out for drawing a few clear lines in the sand about data sharing. It says it won’t share “personal information” with data resellers, social networks or ad networks — but still carves out the right to share what it calls “vehicle data” with business partners.
Until automakers put even a fraction of the effort they put into TV commercials into giving us control over our data, I’d be wary about using in-vehicle apps or signing up for additional data services. At least smartphone apps like Google Maps let you turn off and delete location history.
And Mason’s hack brought home a scary reality: Simply plugging a smartphone into a car could put your data at risk. If you’re selling your car or returning a lease or rental, take the time to delete the data saved on its infotainment system. An app called Privacy4Cars offers model-by-model directions. Mason gives out gifts of car-lighter USB plugs, which let you charge a phone without connecting it to the car computer. (You can buy inexpensive ones online.)
If you’re buying a new vehicle, tell the dealer you want to know about connected services — and how to turn them off. Few offer an Internet “kill switch,” but they may at least allow you turn off location tracking.
Or, for now at least, you can just buy an old car. Mason, for one, drives a conspicuously non-connected 1992 Toyota.
the perfect tool for the perfect murder
These being said, we’re dealing here with the perfect tool for the perfect murder. Speaking of which, we will be commemorating soon 10 years since the death of Michael Hastings, in 2013. #NeverForget
Here’s DARPA talking about hacking cars just months before Michael Hasting’s suspicious death:
Nowadays, with the Pentagon, the WEF and the Bilderbergers freaking out about the demise of their low-IQ fake-news media and the advent of independent journalism, this report alone is enough to get us targeted by a bunch of agencies that commonly use Pegasus and likely more advanced technology we haven’t even found out about.
You can’t hope much from a truther who drives computerized cars. Since 2013.
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! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them
Dr. Malone was so damn right when he said we’re barely scratching the surface on the biolabs topic. And so was I when I insisted you should pay special attention to the research on insects that’s been going on not only in the US funded labs in Ukraine and Georgia, but all over the world, including US soil.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA WELCOMES YOU TO YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE YOU HAVEN’T EVEN FATHOMED YET
THE CHERNOBYL & FUKUSHIMA RESEARVH INITIATIVE BY DTRA, THE US AGENCY FUNDING THE UKRAINE BIOLABS
The Chernobyl Research Initiative began formal research activities in Ukraine in 2000, Belarus in 2005, and Fukushima, Japan, in July, 2011. To date, the group has conducted more than 35 research expeditions to Chernobyl and 16 expeditions to Fukushima.
USC’s Chernobyl Research Initiative was the first and currently is the only research group to utilize a multidisciplinary approach to address the health and environmental outcomes of radiation effects in free-living natural populations. This has permitted the investigation of both acute (short term) and chronic (long term and multi-generational) exposures.
The Chernobyl Research Initiative is also currently the only research team studying plants and animals in both Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Key funding sources have included the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, the CNRS (France), the National Science Foundation, and the National Geographic Society. Subsequently, additional funding sources have included the Civilian Research Development Foundation (CRDF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Qiagen GmbH, the Fulbright Foundation, the University of South Carolina Office of Research and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Finland, and gifts from private citizens.
To date, more than 90 scientific publications have resulted from this initiative, most in the past 10 years (see link above for publications). This research has been highlighted in many newspaper reports and television programs including the New York Times, The Economist, Harpers, the BBC, CNN, CBS’s 60 Minutes, and Miles O’Brian of PBS News Hour (see links above for media coverage).
The team has pioneered the use of ecological, genetic and dosimetric technologies in order to unravel the health and environmental consequences of chronic low-dose exposure resulting from the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. These have included massively replicated ecological censuses of natural populations of birds, mammals and insects to investigate population and demographic effects; DNA sequencing and genotoxicity testing to assess short and long term genetic damage to individuals living in the wild; and the use of miniature dosimeters attached to wild animals and field measurements of whole body burdens of radioisotopes in birds and mammals to obtain accurate estimates of realized external and internal radiation doses to animals living under natural conditions. Recently, the group has expanded to include epidemiological and genetic studies of human populations (especially children) living in Chernobyl-affected regions of Ukraine.
Key results include the discovery of tumors, cataracts and damaged sperm in birds from high radiation areas of Chernobyl, and impacts on biodiversity in Fukushima. Exciting new results include the discovery that some species of birds may have developed resistance to the effects of radiation and effects on neurological development in small mammals in both Chernobyl and Fukushima.
These two disasters differ in the time since the events, and the amount and diversity of radionuclides that were released, although the predominant source of radiation is cesium-137 in both locations.
We are seeking funding to support the following ongoing and planned future research activities of the Chernobyl + Fukushima Research Initiative:
1)Continued monitoring of Fukushima populations of birds, small mammals, and insects in order to test for changes in population sizes (abundances) and numbers of species (biodiversity) through time.
2)Continued monitoring of barn swallows and rodents (mice and voles) populations for cancers, survival, reproduction, and genetic damage in Fukushima and Chernobyl (in collaboration with the CNRS, France, Rikkyo University, Tokyo, the Wild Bird Society of Japan, the National Institute of Forestry, Japan, and the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland).
3)Initiate a new project to study effects of radiation on tree growth and soil microbial activity in Fukushima (in collaboration with Chubu University, Nagoya, Japan).
4)Initiate a new project to investigate effects of radiation growth, fertility, and genetic damage in cows living in highly radioactive regions of Fukushima (in collaboration with the Fukushima Cattle Ranchers Association).
5)Initiate a new project to examine mutation rates in humans using whole genome DNA sequencing. Initially this project will focus on families living in contaminated regions of Ukraine. The project is in collaboration with the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University, the Center of Radiological Research at Columbia University, and the Institute for Radiation Medicine in Kiev, Ukraine.
6)Continued development of new methods for measurement of dose and genetic damage in wild populations of animals.
7)Coordination of an international consortium of independent scientists to provide unbiased evidenced-based information concerning the health and environmental risks related to nuclear accidents. This group will compile, evaluate, and interpret the current scientific and medical literature and develop a literature suitable for public distribution via the print and internet media, as well as public presentations in Japan and internationally.
Highlights from research published by the Chernobyl Research Initiative include the following:
•Population sizes and numbers of species (i.e. biodiversity) of birds, mammals, insects, and spiders are significantly lower in areas of high contamination in Chernobyl.
•For many birds and small mammals, life spans are shorter and fertility is depressed, in areas of high contamination.
•In Fukushima, only birds, butterflies, and cicadas showed significant declines during the first summer following the accident. Other groups were not negatively affected. Now, five years later, effects on birds have increased.
•There is considerable variability among species in their sensitivity to radionuclides. Many species are not affected, and a few species even appear to increase in numbers in areas of high contamination in both Chernobyl and Fukushima, presumably in response to competitive release (i.e. more available food and shelter) and fewer predators.
•Many species show evidence of genetic damage stemming from acute exposures and the differences observed between Fukushima and Chernobyl suggests some species may show the consequences of mutation accumulation over multiple generations.
•Some individuals and species show no evidence of genetic damage in relation to radiation exposure and some even show evidence of evolutionary adaptation to the effects of radiation through increased antioxidant activity, which may provide protection against ionizing radiation.
•The bird species that are most likely to show declines in numbers in response to radiation are those that historically have shown increased mutation rates for other reasons possibly related to DNA repair ability or reduced defenses against oxidative stress.
•Deleterious effects of radiation exposure seen in natural populations in Chernobyl include increased rates of cataracts, tumors, growth abnormalities, deformed sperm, and albinism.
•Neurological development is impacted as evidenced by depressed brain size in both birds and rodents and consequent effects on cognitive ability and survival have been demonstrated in birds.
•Tree growth and microbial decomposition in the soil are also depressed in areas of high radiation.
•In Fukushima, the first signs of developmental abnormalities have been observed in birds in 2013, although significant genetic damage has not yet been documented for birds or rodents.
Do I need to spell it out? They are using these grounds for experiments. Did they end up being experiment grounds by accident? People in Chernobyl have been evacuated, but fauna and flora are hardly impacted by radiation. Radiation does not discriminate by species. You know who does that? Viruses and bacteria.
DARPA IS A PENTAGON AGENCY WOKING FOR AGRICULTURE WITH GENETICALLY MODIFIED INSECTS THAT CAN POTENTIALLY BE WEAPONIZED. THEY SAY.
DARPA director Steven Walker, who recently took over that job after five years as the agency’s deputy, told reporters that he had personally visited the country in 2016 for talks with Ukrainian military, intel and industry leaders.
“We did have a good visit to the Ukraine,” Walker said Thursday at a breakfast hosted by the Defense Writer’s Group. “Yes, we have followed up with them, and through the U.S. European Command, we have started several projects with the Ukraine, mostly in the information space.”
“Not providing them weapons or anything like that, but looking at how to help them with information,” Walker added, before declining to go into further detail.
Ukraine has become a testing ground for hybrid warfare techniques from Russia and Russian-backed militant groups ever Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian territory in 2014, including disinformation campaigns. While that has allowed Moscow to test out new capabilities and techniques, it also provides an opportunity to develop counter techniques — which may benefit the U.S. and its allies in the long term.
“I think we’ve got to get better, as a country, in information warfare and how we approach info warfare,” Walker said. “I think there are capabilities there that we need to improve upon, and DAPRA is working in some of those areas.”
This is not the first tie between DARPA and Kiev. The Ukrainian government has hired Tony Tether, who led DARPA for the entirety of the George. W. Bush administration, to help lead a reorganization of their science and technology efforts, something Tether in a LinkedIn post said was necessary in part because so much of Ukraine’s S&T facilities were in the territory seized by Russia.
The former DARPA head has also consulted for the Ukroboronprom group, Ukraine’s largest defense contractor, and just a few weeks ago was added to the group’s supervisory board in a move that Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko called a “symbol of effective cooperation between Ukrainian and American partners.”
Tether is expected to try and recreate some of what make DARPA so successful in Ukraine, but Walker notes that many countries have tried to do that — and failed, in large part due to a cultural fear of giving workers the freedom to fail they need.
“When I talk to others about DARPA and why it works, many other cultures say ‘this couldn’t happen,’” Walker noted.
More broadly, Walker said part of what he wants to see at DARPA during his tenure is looking at increasing counterinsurgency capabilities.
“I think as more populations across the world move to larger and larger cities, we need to understand the three dimensionality of cites and how to operate in those very crowded, very three-dimensional spaces,” Walker said, noting DARPA is working on ways to sense and map underground tunnels and infrastructure.
Updated 3/1/18 at 1:45 PM EST to reflect the fact that after publication, DARPA confirmed that Walker visited Ukraine in 2016.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.
DARPA Is Making Insects That Can Deliver Bioweapons, Scientists Claim
The U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been accused of trying to create a new class of biological weapons that would be delivered via virus-infected insects.
The Insect Allies program was announced by DARPA in 2016. It is a research project that aims to protect the U.S. agricultural food supply by delivering protective genes to plants via insects, which are responsible for the transmission of most plant viruses. Scientists believe loading the bugs up with viruses that would offer plants protective benefits could be one way of ensuring food security in the event of a major threat.
In an editorial published in the journal Science, a group of researchers led by Richard Guy Reeves, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Germany, says Insect Allies isn’t exactly what it says it is. Instead, they claim DARPA is potentially developing insects as a means of delivering a “new class of biological weapon.”
How Does Insect Allies Work?
There are many threats that could impact upon food security. This includes environmental disasters, natural pathogens and intentional attacks. Crop failure, for whichever of these reasons, has the potential to have devastating consequences—wheat and maize, for example, are relied upon by hundreds of millions across the globe for their basic nutritional needs.
Genetically altering a species to make it more resilient comes with problems. Introducing alterations directly into a species’ chromosome is slow, as the alteration must be passed down through generations before it takes hold.
Instead, scientists with DARPA are looking at introducing genetically modified viruses that can edit chromosomes directly in fields—these are known as horizontal environmental genetic alteration agents (HEGAAs).
The DARPA program is using the principles of HEGAAs but, unlike traditional methods of dispersal—like spraying fields with them—it wants to spread them through insects. At the moment, maize and tomato plants are being used in experiments and the insects being used for dispersal are leafhoppers, aphids and whiteflies.
“Insect Allies aims to develop scalable, readily deployable, and generalizable countermeasures against potential natural and engineered threats to mature crops,” Blake Bextine, DARPA Program Manager for Insect Allies, told Newsweek. “The program is devising technologies to engineer and deliver these targeted therapies on relevant timescales—that is, within a single growing season. To do so, Insect Allies researchers are building on natural, efficient, and highly specific plant virus and insect vector delivery systems to transfer modified, protective genes to plants.”
Why Biological Weapons?
Reeves and his colleagues offer a number of assertions about why Insect Allies could end up being a means of bioweapon dispersal. Firstly, they question the very nature of the project—the use of insects. Why, they say, are insects so integral? What is the problem with spraying HEGAAs?
The team says Insect Allies “appears very limited in its capacity to enhance U.S. agriculture or respond to national emergencies…. As a result, the program may be widely perceived as an effort to develop biological agents for hostile purposes and their means of delivery.”
Potentially, the viruses being introduced could do harm instead of good. The insects could be used to disperse agents that would prevent seeds from growing. “HEGAA weapons could be extremely transmissible to susceptible crop species, particularly where insects were used as the means of delivery,” they write. “Chromosomal editing would be targetable to particular crop varieties dependent on their genome sequence (presumably those varieties not grown by the deploying parties).”
The development of an insect-based system, according to the authors, points to “an intention to develop a means of delivery of HEGAAs for offensive purposes.” The technology, they say, could quickly be simplified and used to develop a whole new class of biological weapons. “In our view, the program is primarily a bad idea because obvious simplifications of the work plan with already-existing technology can generate predictable and fast-acting weapons, along with their means of delivery, capable of threatening virtually any crop species,” they wrote.
The team calls for more transparency from DARPA as the Insect Allies progresses. However, it also says the potential to weaponize this technology is already out there. They say weapons programs are driven by the perceived activities of competitors—maybe the Insect Allies program is a response to intelligence about another nation’s capabilities.
Furthermore, “the mere announcement of the Insect Allies Program, with its presented justifications, may motivate other countries to develop their own capabilities in this arena—indeed, it may have already done so…. Reversal of funding for this DARPA project…would not in itself close the particular Pandora’s box that HEGAAs or their insect dispersal may represent.”
DARPA denies the assertions made by Reeves and his colleagues. “DARPA is producing neither biological weapons nor the means for their delivery,” a spokesman told Newsweek. “We do accept and agree with concerns about potential dual use of technology, an issue that comes up with virtually every new powerful technology.” He said these concerns are the reason Insect Allies has been structured in the way it is—supposedly as a transparent and university-led research project that encourages communication. “We also have numerous, layered safeguards in place to maintain biosecurity and ensure the systems we’re developing function only as intended,” the DARPA spokesperson added.
Bextine reiterated this point. Researchers working with DARPA are allowed to publish their results and work with different agencies. The experiments they carry out are done so in biosecure greenhouses. “At no point in the program is DARPA funding open release of Insect Allies systems,” Bextine said.
He said he disagrees with the conclusion of the editorial in Science, saying technology and research that deals with food security and gene editing “have a higher bar than most for transparency”—and Insect Allies, he says, meets these high standards.
Responding to the queries relating to delivery—why spraying technology cannot be used—Bextine said these are just not up to the challenge, especially when it comes to responding at a large scale to the most severe threats.
“Many existing methods for protecting crops are inefficient, expensive, imprecise, or destructive to plants, may require significant infrastructure, and often provide only limited efficacy,” he said. “Sprayed treatments are impractical for introducing genetic modifications on a large scale and potentially infeasible if the spraying technology does not access the necessary tissues with specificity. Meanwhile, traditional selective breeding methods for introducing protective traits into plants require years to propagate, nowhere near the speed required to prevent a fast-moving threat from developing into a crisis.”
He added that DARPA would never receive funding for the next generation of aerial spraying technology. The development of this new technology is dependent on industry and other research funders. “Instead, we reach for fundamentally new ways of delivering more precise, efficacious treatments through systems that can be readily adapted to confront a range of potential threats.
“Emerging biotechnologies—and especially the cutting-edge research being performed on Insect Allies—are pushing science into new territories. DARPA is proud to be taking a proactive role in working with stakeholders to inform a new framework for considering how the benefits of these technologies can be most safely realized.”
US military plan to spread viruses using insects could create ‘new class of biological weapon’, scientists warn
Agency says it is trying to genetically modify crops, but experts think this goal is ‘simply not plausible’
The Insect Allies programme aims to use bugs to disperse genetically modified (GM) viruses to crops.
Such action will have profound consequences and could pose a major threat to global biosecurity, according to a team that includes specialist scientists and lawyers.
However, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), which is responsible for developing military technologies in the US, says it is merely trying to alter crops growing in fields by using viruses to transmit genetic changes to plants.
In theory, this rapid engineering would allow farmers to adapt to changing conditions, for example by inserting drought-resistance genes into corn instead of planting pre-engineered seeds.
But this seemingly inoffensive goal has been slammed by the scientists, who say the plan is simply dangerous and that insects loaded with synthetic viruses will be difficult to control.
They also say that despite being in operation since 2016 and distributing $27m in funds to scientists, Darpa has failed to properly justify the existence of such a programme.
“Given that Darpa is a military agency, we find it surprising that the obvious and concerning dual-use aspects of this research have received so little attention,” Felix Beck, a lawyer at the University of Freiburg, told The Independent.
Dr Guy Reeves, an expert in GM insects at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, said that there has been hardly any debate about the technology and the programme remains largely unknown “even in expert circles”.
He added that despite the stated aims of the programme, it would be far more straightforward using the technology as a biological weapon than for the routine agricultural use suggested by Darpa.
“It is very much easier to kill or sterilise a plant using gene editing than it is to make it herbicide or insect-resistant,” explains Reeves.
Experiments are reportedly already underway using insects such as aphids and whiteflies to treat corn and tomato plants.
Mr Beck said he and fellow experts were not suggesting that the US military wanted to create biological weapons, but that the proposed agricultural uses are “simply not plausible for a number of reasons”.
Firstly, they note that if farmers wanted to use genetically modified viruses to improve their crops, there is no reason not to use conventional spraying equipment.
They also noted that despite Darpa stating that no insects used should survive longer than two weeks, if such safeguards were not in place “the spread could in principle be unlimited”.
Mr Beck added: “The quite obvious question of whether the viruses selected for development should or should not be capable of plant-to-plant transmission – and plant-to-insect-to-plant transmission – was not addressed in the Darpa work plan at all”.
Air Force fails to acknowledge mysterious meteor that crashed to Earth near US military base
“Because of the broad ban of the Biological Weapons Convention, any biological research of concern must be plausibly justified as serving peaceful purposes,” explained Professor Silja Voeneky, a specialist in international law at Freiburg University.
“The Insect Allies Program could be seen to violate the Biological Weapons Convention, if the motivations presented by Darpa are not plausible.
“This is particularly true considering this kind of technology could easily be used for biological warfare.”
To prevent any suspicion and to avoid encouraging other nations to develop their own technologies in this area, the authors of the study have called for more transparency from Darpa if it intends to pursue such programmes.
A spokesperson from Darpa defended the programme, explaining that using insects to apply these gene altering treatments could provide advantages over sprays.
“Most importantly in this context, sprayed treatments are impractical for introducing protective traits on a large scale and potentially infeasible if the spraying technology cannot access the necessary plant tissues with specificity, which is a known problem,” they said.
“If Insect Allies succeeds, it will offer a highly specific, efficient, safe, and readily deployed means of introducing transient protective traits into only the plants intended, with minimal infrastructure required.”
Ukroboronprom Appoints Former DARPA Head as Supervisory Board Member
Anthony Tether, Former Head of US DARPA was appointed as member of UOP Supervisory Board (Image: Ukroboronprom)
Ukraine’s state run Ukroboronprom has appointed former head of US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Anthony Tether as member of UOP Supervisory Board.
Anthony Tether has been in charge of Ukroboronprom long-term development for over a year and a half. He assists in implementing UOP development strategy, implementation of reforms, corporatization, and international audit. The former head of DARPA contributed to strengthening Ukroboronprom’s export potential and investment development. Under his chairmanship, the State General Advanced Research and Development Agency (GARDA, the prototype of the American DARPA) was created, the company said in a statement Thursday.
“As a member of the Supervisory Board, Anthony Tether will help Ukroboronprom to implement the reform strategy and international audit,” said Roman Romanov, Ukroboronprom Director General.
Earlier, Mykhaylo Zhurovs’kyy – the rector of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute named after I. Sikorsky” – was elected as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Lieutenant General Yaroslav Skal’ko, former commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Air Force, was elected as Vice-Chairman.
On January 31, the Ukroboronprom Supervisory Board – after a long-term meeting -took key decisions on the activities of the Concern. During the meeting, UOP management report was heard; strategic directions for UOP development, corporatization process of UOP enterprises-participants, the international audit, the system of effective anti-corruption measures, creation of an advisory body and other issues were discussed.
Ukraine to Create DARPA-like Defence Research Agency
Ukriane will soon set up its General Advanced Research & Development Agency (GARDA), modeled along the American Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at Igor the Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI).
This was stated by UKROBORONPROM Director General Pavlo Bukin during his speech at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, during the parliamentary hearings “National Innovation System: State and Legislative Development”.
“It was decided to create an agency of advanced technologies based on the DARPA model, to implement technologies in the defense industry. Mykhaylo Zhurovs’kyy – the rector of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute named after I. Sikorsky” – agreed that the agency will be based at this very university. I am sure this decision will contribute to the greatest effect”, stressed Pavlo Bukin.
At the same time, he mentioned that the issue of innovative technologies development is connected with the necessity of legislative changes that would improve the mechanisms of financing such projects.
“The legal framework for innovation in Ukraine is sufficiently developed, but some aspects need to be improved, as they hamper financing. When it comes to research institutes and design bureaus – their resources are limited. It is necessary to legislatively create a mechanism for innovation activity financing and preferential taxation, “- said UKROBORONPROM Director General Pavlo Bukin from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
He named UGV “Phantom-2” development among UOP innovations. “This platform allows to destroy the enemy’s manpower and to transport the goods, and it has already passed the test abroad, and it can be considered to be a result of the activities of the State Concern and its design engineering bureaus,” said Pavlo Bukin.
Ukroboronprom head: Ukraine’s military industrial complex during hybrid warfare
By Roman Romanov, Dec 11, 2017 Roman Romanov is the director general of Ukrainian defense company Ukroboronprom.
Three years ago, Ukraine was facing an unexpected challenge – Russia’s military aggression. The annexation of Crimea and the first battles in Donbass were a total shock to the Ukrainian armed forces and the domestic defense industry. At that time, defense and law enforcement agencies were uncapable of performing their tasks; weapons and military equipment were not ready for operational use; and the military-industrial complex could not meet the needs of the Army.
Unfortunately, over the past 25 years, Ukrainian defense enterprises received no orders from the state – more than half of the plants were practically closed. The main types of the military equipment manufactured required Russian components.
In 2014, we completely stopped our cooperation with the Russian defense industry, and Ukroboronprom received the task to provide the Army with necessary weapons and military equipment in the shortest possible time.
First of all, we formed a new team of Ukroboronprom managers, who managed to quickly make qualitative changes and introduce the best business and management practices. We replaced about half of the directors of Ukroboronprom enterprises, mainly those who failed to adapt their way of thinking to new realities; we initiated repair and overhaul of the military equipment – Ukroboronprom enterprises organized 55 mobile maintenance crews, restoring military equipment directly in the anti-terrorist operation zone.
Furthermore, we arranged the import of critical components and organized the repair and manufacture of modernized military equipment samples. Ukroboronprom heads for strategic partnership with Western countries and NATO-Ukraine defense-technical cooperation.
In 2015, Ukroboronprom began implementing a new strategic task – the State Defense Order. Ukroboronprom enterprises launched serial production of new military equipment samples. The Army began to receive sniper rifles, mortars, modernized tanks and new armored personnel carriers manufactured in Ukraine.
The next urgent task was set: to overcome the dependence on imported components from the Russian Federation. To solve this problem, we launched a large-scale import substitution program to attract domestic reserves and set up cooperation within the country with enterprises of any form of ownership.
Ukroboronprom representatives visited all regions of Ukraine, held meetings with governors and discussed the issues of attracting the region’s industry to cooperation with Ukroboronprom.
As a result, enterprises from all regions of Ukraine began to join the import-substitution program implementation. As of today, 414 small, medium and large enterprises of Ukraine and 200,000 specialists joined the process. In fact, Ukroboronprom has attracted the whole country to working on strengthening the Ukrainian Army and the development of the country’s economy.
Furthermore, we renewed the workforce, attracted scientific and educational potential of the country: memorandums of cooperation were signed with 48 Ukrainian universities. Today, we train young specialists: 8,000-plus students had their practical training at Ukroboronprom enterprises and almost 600 of them are already working at our plants.
Memorandums of cooperation were signed with 30 institutes of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Attracting talented Ukrainian scientists and young specialists resulted in 535 promising developments upon the anvil and 80 projects that are already being implemented at Ukroboronprom enterprises.
We set ourselves to the task of expanding partnerships and implementing NATO standards for all stages of armament life cycles. The work on the introduction of the AQAP 2000 series standards at Ukroboronprom enterprises is launched. The ISO 9001 system already operates at 73 percent for Ukroboronprom enterprises.
Ukroboronprom specialists actively participate in multinational projects of the NATO concept Smart Defence, as well as in the meetings of the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defence-Technical Cooperation.
In 2016, the development of the Ukroboronprom reform strategy was launched. The state concern Ukroboronprom held a meeting of a specially established tendering committee, involving the specialist of the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee of Transparency International Ukraine, to help select the international consulting company using a “competitive dialogue” procedure. Thus, the concern started the process of conducting an international audit. We launched the next stage of Ukroboronprom’s reform. Implementation of such a large-scale process – as international audit and transformation of Ukroboronprom’s enterprises into joint stock companies – will last for about two years.
As a result of military operations in the anti-terrorist operation area, 900-plus technical solutions were introduced and implemented by Ukroboronprom engineers in the armored vehicles operated by the Army, having significantly improved tactical and operational characteristics of the military equipment and taking into account hybrid war experience.
Today, the latest developments of our specialists are being used and tested in the anti-terrorist operation zone. A good example is the unmanned complex Spectator, developed by the specialists of state concern Ukroboronprom, together with scientists of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.” In May 2015, a contract for production was signed. And in January 2016, the first batch was transferred to Ukraine’s armed forces. This high-tech product has been successfully used in combat conditions for more than a year. The prototype of the new tactical UAV, Horlytsya, developed by the Ukrainian enterprises, successfully performed its first flight.
Hybrid war in the east of Ukraine forced us – taking into account combat experience – to develop unmanned equipment for performing various tasks on the battlefield without putting our soldiers’ lives at risk.
Ukroboronprom withstood the challenge of the war and in three years transferred about 16,000 units of weapons and military equipment to the military. Thanks to the work of the entire defense industry of Ukraine, our armed forces – from combat-ineffective units in 2014 – turned into a well-armed Army.
Mosquitos potentially carry a range of deadly diseases, from malaria to yellow fever. (Photo by James Gathany/CDC. Public Domain.)
WASHINGTON: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency may have been created to develop cutting-edge technology to help the US take on the Soviet Union in the Cold War, but now it’s taking on another deadly enemy: mosquitos.
DARPA’s latest idea, now entering its second phase, is to get down to the molecular level to make a topical cream that would actually alter the “microbiome” of human skin to make it less appetizing to the disease-carrying insects.
“The ReVector program aims to precisely, safely, and efficiently reduce mosquito attraction and biting, and, subsequently, to help maintain the health of military personnel operating in disease-endemic regions,” the agency said in a release last month.
While tiny compared to the USSR and totally lacking artillery, the mosquito is the deadliest animal on the planet, responsible for spreading malaria, which kills more than 400,000 people every year, in addition to other deadly diseases. Throughout human history militaries have struggled with mosquito-borne maladies, from the million-plus cases that waylayed soldiers during the Civil War to the over 80,000 cases among US servicemembers in Vietnam.
Even though a vast majority of those survived, the disease disrupted the forces’ ability to fight, at times in critical moments. Army researchers currently estimate malaria infections are responsible for up to 21,000 lost work hours and between $1.2 and $4.4 million per year in evacuation and medical costs.
The treatment for malaria has progressed significantly in recent decades, but the ReVector program aims to stop the disease before it can get into the human body at all. The program’s first phase involved the development of technology to “modify human skin microbes” and the “volatile molecules” it produces, and testing the effect of those modifications on mosquitos.
“In Phase 2, the team plans to advance testing in animal models and move complex microbiome communities,” ReVector program manager Linda Chrisley said in the release.
The release explained that “ultimately, ReVector seeks to develop topical formulations that could be applied shortly before a mission with minimal equipment or training, and last for at least two weeks without reapplication, offering improved, sustained protection against disease vectors.”
DARPA is working with Stanford University researchers on the project, and the agency notes the research is reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration and “if necessary” the Environmental Protection Agency “to ensure that technologies are effective and do not pose a threat to humans or the environment.”
PENTAGON UNIT A1266 STUDIES INSECTS AS BIOTERRORISM AGENTS ON RUSSIA’S DOORSTEPS:
DARPA has been working for several years on genetic editing of mosquitoes. Through its “Insect Allies” program, DARPA has been working, using CRISPR gene-editing and gene drive technologies, on manipulating the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The US Department of Defense has spent at least $100 million in the controversial technology known as “gene drives” making the US military a top funder and developer of the gene-modifying technology. “Gene drives are a powerful and dangerous new technology and potential biological weapons could have disastrous impacts on peace, food security and the environment, especially if misused,” said Jim Thomas, co-director of ETC Group, an environment safety group. “The fact that gene drive development is now being primarily funded and structured by the US military raises alarming questions about this entire field.”
Entomological warfare is a type of biological warfare that uses insects to transmit diseases. The Pentagon, using DARPA research, has allegedly performed such entomological tests secretly in the Republic of Georgia and Russia. Is the DARPA development, together with Gates’ foundation and Oxitec, of the gene edited mosquitoes a covert program in entomological warfare?
The Pentagon presently has top security bio laboratories in 25 countries across the world funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program– Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP). They are in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa. Among their projects, Phlebotomine sand fly species were collected under the heading, “Surveillance Work on Acute Febrile Illness,” in which all (female) sand flies were tested to determine their infectivity rate. A third project, also including sand flies collection, studied the characteristics of their salivary glands. This is weaponization research.
The controversial person picked by the Biden Administration to become the first Cabinet-level science advisor, Eric Lander, came from the MIT-Harvard Broad Institute. Lander is a specialist in gene drive and gene editing technologies and played a major role in the flawed US Human Genome Project. This is not the kind of science we need to be supporting. It is rather part of what is obviously a larger eugenics agenda and Bill Gates is again playing a key role. SOURCE
The US military wants to deploy plants as “the next generation of intelligence gatherers”.
Genetically modified plants could be employed as self-sustaining sensors to gather information in settings unsuitable for more traditional technologies.
The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is responsible for the development of emerging technologies in the US military, has called for scientists to submit ideas for how to harness the power of plants.
In the past, DARPA has produced information-gathering technologies such as the satellites and seismographs employed to ensure Soviet compliance with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
But in this new initiative, termed the Advanced Plant Technologies (APT) programme, the agency is looking to the natural world for help.
“Plants are highly attuned to their environments and naturally manifest physiological responses to basic stimuli such as light and temperature, but also in some cases to touch, chemicals, pests and pathogens,” said Dr Blake Bextine, the manager of the ATP programme.
“Emerging molecular and modelling techniques may make it possible to reprogramme these detection and reporting capabilities for a wide range of stimuli, which would not only open up new intelligence streams, but also reduce the personnel risks and costs associated with traditional sensors,” said Dr Bextine.
The idea is that plants’ natural capabilities can be co-opted to detect relevant chemicals, harmful microorganisms, radiation and electromagnetic signals.
Modifying the genomes of plants would enable the military to control the types of sensing they are doing, and also trigger certain responses that can be monitored remotely using existing hardware.
Technology already exists to monitor plants from the ground, air and even from space.
“Advanced Plant Technologies is a synthetic biology programme at heart,” said Dr Bextine.
“As with DARPA’s other work in that space, our goal is to develop an efficient, iterative system for designing, building, and testing models so that we end up with a readily adaptable platform capability that can be applied to a wide range of scenarios.”
Past experiments with plants that have been modified in this manner have resulted in organisms that have difficulty settling in the natural environment, where they would be deployed.
The additional strain placed on the modified plants by their new duties makes it difficult for them to survive and compete with surrounding plants. This will be a key area that the new programme seeks to address.
The “proposers day” is being held on 12 December in Arlington, Virginia. It will lay out the objectives of DARPA’s programme and take submissions for research projects that are relevant to the initiative.
A British-American gene-editing company has released millions of genetically modified mosquitoes containing a dominant lethal gene, each week for 27 months in the Bahia, Brazil region in a test to see if the gene-edited mosquitoes would mate with local mosquitoes carrying Zika, malaria or other mosquito-borne diseases. A new study documents the alarming fact that following an initial reduction of the target population of mosquitoes, after some months the “population which had been greatly suppressed rebounded to nearly pre-release levels.” Scientists to date have no idea what dangers are presented by the new mutations. This once more highlights the dangers of uncontrolled gene-editing of species.
According to a new published study in Nature Reports journal, genetically engineered mosquitoes produced by the biotech company, Oxitec, now part of the US company Intrexon, have escaped human control after trials in Brazil and are now spreading in the environment.
On paper the theory was brilliant. Strains of “yellow fever” male mosquitoes taken from Cuba and Mexico were altered using gene-editing to make it impossible for their offspring to survive. Oxitec then began a systematic release of tens of millions of the manipulated mosquitoes over more than two years in the the city of Jacobina in the region of Bahia in Brazil. The Oxitec theory was the altered mosquitoes would mate with normal females of the same type which carry infectious diseases like dengue fever, and kill them off in the process.
A team of scientists from Yale University and several scientific institutes in Brazil monitored the progress of the experiment. What they found is alarming in the extreme. After an initial period in which the target mosquito population markedly declined, after about 18 months the mosquito population recovered to pre-release levels. Not only that, the paper notes that some of the mosquitos likely have “hybrid vigor,” in which a hybrid of the natural with the gene-edited has created “a more robust population than the pre-release population” which may be more resistant to insecticides, in short, resistant “super mosquitoes.”
The scientists note that, “Genetic sampling from the target population six, 12, and 27–30 months after releases commenced provides clear evidence that portions of the transgenic strain genome have been incorporated into the target population. Evidently, rare viable hybrid offspring between the release strain and the Jacobina population are sufficiently robust to be able to reproduce in nature…” They continue, “Thus, Jacobina Ae. aegypti are now a mix of three populations. It is unclear how this may affect disease transmission or affect other efforts to control these dangerous vectors.” They estimate that between 10% and 60% of the Bahia natural Ae. Aegypti mosquitoes now had some gene-edited OX513A genome. They conclude that “The three populations forming the tri-hybrid population now in Jacobina (Cuba/Mexico/Brazil) are genetically quite distinct, very likely resulting in a more robust population than the pre-release population due to hybrid vigor.”
This was not supposed to happen. Professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, Jeffrey Powell, senior author of the study, remarked on the findings: “The claim was that genes from the release strain would not get into the general population because offspring would die. That obviously was not what happened.” Powell went on to note, “But it is the unanticipated outcome that is concerning.”
A Gates Foundation Project
The Brazil study deals a major alarm signal on the uncontrolled release of gene-edited species into nature. It calls to mind the horror plot of Michael Crichton’s 1969 science fiction novel, Andromeda Strain. Only it is no novel.
The Oxitec mosquitoes were developed using a highly controversial form of gene-editing known as gene drive. Gene Drive, which is also being heavily funded by the Pentagon’s DARPA, combined with CRISPR gene-editing, aims to force a genetic modification to spread through an entire population, whether of mosquitoes or potentially humans, in just a few generations.
The scientist who first suggested developing gene drives in gene-editing, Harvard biologist Kevin Esvelt, has publicly warned that development of gene editing in conjunction with gene drive technologies has alarming potential to go awry. He notes how often CRISPR messes up and the likelihood of protective mutations arising, making even benign gene drives aggressive. He stresses, “Just a few engineered organisms could irrevocably alter an ecosystem.” Esvelt’s computer gene drive simulations calculated that a resulting edited gene “can spread to 99 percent of a population in as few as 10 generations, and persist for more than 200 generations.” This is very much what has now been demonstrated in the mosquito experiment in Brazil.
Notable is the fact that the Oxitec Brazil mosquito experiment was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In June, 2018 Oxitec announced a joint venture with the Gates Foundation, “to develop a new strain of Oxitec’s self-limiting Friendly™ Mosquitoes to combat a mosquito species that spreads malaria in the Western Hemisphere.” The Brazil results show the experiment is a catastrophic failure as the new strain is anything but self-limiting.
The Gates Foundation and Bill Gates have been backing development of the radical gene-editing technology and gene drive technology for more than a decade. Gates, a long-time advocate of eugenics, population control and of GMO, is a strong gene-editing promoter. In an article in the May/June 2018 magazine of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, Gates hails gene editing technologies, explicitly CRISPR. In the article Gates argues that CRISPR and other gene-editing techniques should be used globally to meet growing demand for food and to improve disease prevention, particularly for malaria. In his article he adds, “there is reason to be optimistic that creating gene drives in malaria-spreading mosquitoes will not do much, if any, harm to the environment.”
Every bit as alarming as the failure of the Brazil gene-editing mosquito experiment is the fact that this technology is being spread with virtually no prior health or safety testing by truly independent government institutions. To date the US Government relies only on industry safety assurances. The EU, while formally responsible to treat gene-edited species similarly to GMO plants, is reportedly trying to loosen the regulations. China, a major research center for gene-editing, has extremely lax controls. Recently a Chinese scientist announced an experiment in human gene-editing allegedly to make newborn twins resistant to HIV. Other experiments are proliferating around the world with gene-edited animals and even salmon. The precautionary principle has been thrown to the winds when it comes to the new gene-editing revolution, not a reassuring situation.
Currently Oxitec, which denies that the Brazil results show failure, is now trying to get regulatory approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a similar experiment with the same gene-edited species in Texas and Florida. One of the people involved in the attempt, Texan Roy Bailey, is a Washington lobbyist and close friend of Randal Kirk, the billionaire CEO of Intrexon, owner of Oxitec. Bailey is also a major Trump fundraiser. Let’s hope that regulatory prudence and not politics decide the outcome.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
So yeah, nothing to worry here, just “health labs” and SPAs …
Thanks Fukushima Exposed for the great and timely contribution that decisively helped me complete this investigation!
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! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them
The Internets got agitated recently at the news that Moderna’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, dumped $400Million in Moderna stocks and nuked his Twitter account. Here’s why this shouldn’t surprise you and you should expect the worst any moment now.
Developing story, to be updated
Have you watched the former Blackrock director that went on Bannon’s War Room and prophesied that the Covid vaccines are a bubble that’s about to pop? Everything I’ve learned lately stands to support his claim.
This is him on Twitter:
If the dumping were a sudden and unusual move, this would indicate a recent event that shook the system, possibly rats leaving a sinking ship, a near threat for the business, as in:
That’s the case only partly, due to the stock crash overlapped with the incoming financial report, but a constant behavior over the span of months and years rather indicate a strategy and it’s associated with insider trading more often than not.
Surprisingly, it’s NPR of all the fakestream media who came in support of my suspicions, with a pretty merciless analysis of Moderna’s leadership financial behavior. And you know what’s funny? The piece dates all the way back to September 2020. I recommend reading the whole piece, I added the bolding and highlights :
Whether the coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna succeeds or not, executives at the small biotech company have already made tens of millions of dollars by cashing in their stock. An NPR examination of official company disclosures has revealed additional irregularities and potential warning signs.
“On a scale of one to 10, one being less concerned and 10 being the most concerned,” said Daniel Taylor, an associate professor of accounting at the Wharton School, “this is an 11.”
Taylor said Moderna’s stock-selling practices appear well outside the norm, and raise questions about the company’s internal controls to prevent insider trading.
Since January, CEO Stéphane Bancel has sold roughly $40 million worth of Moderna stock held by himself or associated investment funds; Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks has sold around $60 million; and President Stephen Hoge has sold more than $10 million.
Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, has sold roughly $40 million worth of stock in the company since the beginning of this year.
The stock sales first came to widespread notice after Moderna announced positive early data from a vaccine trial in May [2020 – S.m.]. At that point, the company’s share price jumped and official disclosures showed executives cashing in their shares for millions of dollars.
“As long as stocks are sold after public announcements – and not before – one might conclude that for an executive with significant net worth tied up in the company, it’s a prudent thing to do,” said Marc Fagel, a former longtime enforcement official with the Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC). “But the optics aren’t great.”
The Moderna vaccine was quick to reach a phase 3 trial, and is seen as a promising contender. But, in some ways, the executives’ stock sales have overshadowed the company’s progress.
Advocates have questioned whether it’s appropriate for executives to privately profit before bringing the vaccine to market, especially when American taxpayers have committed roughly $2.5 billion to the company’s vaccine development and manufacture.
Here’s what NPR’s examination found:
Stock Sales Worth Tens Of Millions: Since June 1, NPR has found, company executives have sold roughly $90 million worth of Moderna stock. Rather than put a hold on the trades after facing intense criticism in May, company executives continued to sell.
Questionable Modifications To Stock Sale Plans: Moderna says its executives pre-scheduled their stock sales long in advance. Those schedules – known as 10b5-1 plans – can act as a defense to charges of insider trading. But the plans have to be put in place when executives do not have confidential inside information. NPR has found multiple executives adopted or modified their plans just before key announcements about the company’s vaccine. That has raised questions about whether they were aware of nonpublic information when they planned their stock trades.
Selling To Zero: Generally, corporate best practices suggest that a company’s leadership should hold on to at least some stock in their company to have “skin in the game.” That way, the thinking goes, an executive has an incentive to improve the company’s performance. As Moderna has been developing its coronavirus vaccine, two executives, including the Chief Medical Officer, have sold all their stock holdings in the company. The General Counsel has sold nearly all of her holdings.
In an interview with NPR, Ray Jordan, Moderna’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, said the company has strict internal policies in place to prevent illegal insider trading. For example, Jordan said, the company only allows employees to make changes to their stock sale schedules when they don’t have confidential inside information that could affect the company’s share price.
NPR asked Jordan why Moderna executives modified their 10b5-1 plans just before major announcements. Initially, Jordan said by email, “I believe you must have your dates wrong.”
NPR then provided documentation of those dates from the company’s official disclosures to the government, which Jordan did not dispute.
Jordan then said that even though multiple Moderna executives changed their 10b5-1 plans within one business day of announcements, the company had determined that those executives did not have “material nonpublic information” – a key term for insider trading – when they made those changes.
A spokesperson for the SEC declined to comment for this story.
From a relative unknown, to a key player in the vaccine race
Moderna launched in 2010 with a headquarters based in Cambridge, Mass., focused on using a technology called messenger RNA (or mRNA) to develop vaccines and therapeutics. The mRNA technology has been widely considered innovative, but remains largely unproven. The company has never brought a product to market. In early January, Moderna was trading for under $20 per share, and was valued at around six billion dollars.
Then Moderna announced that it had started collaborating on a coronavirus vaccine with scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is led by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
By April, the government had committed half a billion dollars to the Moderna vaccine project as part of Operation Warp Speed.
Since then, the company’s stock price has exploded. Press releases suggesting positive news from the scientific trials, or announcing additional commitments of taxpayer funding sent the share price to a peak of around $95, before dropping to between $60-$70 in recent months. The company is now valued at around $25 billion.
As a result, shares owned by Moderna executives suddenly became much more valuable. And those executives have cashed in tens of millions of dollars worth of stock, according to filings with the SEC.
The bad press and critical comments did not deter continued sales. Since June 1, NPR found, executives sold around $90 million worth of stock.
Public money, private gain
The U.S. government is making massive financial bets on several vaccine candidates. In all likelihood, only some of those vaccine candidates will prove sufficiently safe and effective.
“If the vaccine doesn’t work, you lost a lot of money,” Fauci has said. “But we feel this is serious enough that it’s worth the financial risk.”
But even if taxpayers lose money betting on Moderna, the company’s executives have already made millions.
“The insiders are making plenty of profit and they’re mostly doing it with our money,” said Margarida Jorge, a campaign director with the group Lower Drug Prices Now. “I’m absolutely for deploying public money in the interests of public health and the public good. But we don’t have any commitment from the administration that any of this investment is ultimately going to benefit real people.”
Moderna has argued that the company was only in a position to work with the government on a coronavirus vaccine, because it had spent a decade developing its mRNA technology with the support of private investors.
“The company has been funded over the years by billions of dollars of private investment,” Zaks told the Freakonomics podcast in August. “Those billions created the opportunity for the U.S. government to come in earlier this year and say, ‘I’m going to add some money to the pot to make sure that you get the development for this vaccine right.'”
[But they locked in the Government and its funding for mRNA technology years before SARS-COV2, as shown below, so this was a deliberate lie – S.m]
“Set it and forget it” stock plans
Moderna has offered another defense of those stock sales: the sales, representatives and executives say, were scheduled well in advance, and were unrelated to the market-moving announcements about the coronavirus vaccine. An NPR examination of the company’s financial filings tells a more complicated story.
The schedules are known as 10b5-1 plans. If your stock trades are on autopilot, the idea goes, then you can’t be accused of insider trading. But these “set it and forget it” plans have to be adopted when executives do not have “material nonpublic information,” to use the legal term.
In an interview with CNBC in July, CEO Bancel said he and other executives set up their 10b5-1 plans “a long time ago” – in December 2018 – and “obviously, when we set up those plans, none of us had any idea what was going to happen in 2020.”
In fact, NPR has found, Moderna executives, including Bancel himself, implemented new plans or modified older plans at multiple points in 2020, and right around key announcements related to the company’s vaccine.
On Jan. 21, 2020, for example, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tal Zaks amended his 10b5-1 plan. (It’s unclear what changes he made.)
Then, on Jan. 22, Moderna first widely confirmed that it was working with the government on a coronavirus vaccine. The following day, Jan. 23, the company announced it had received additional funding to support its coronavirus vaccine development.
NPR asked Moderna whether Zaks might have been aware of the collaboration with the government when he changed his stock trading plan.
“What was known on that particular day or not known, I couldn’t specifically talk to,” Moderna’s Jordan told NPR. But he said that the Moderna legal team only allows employees to change their 10b5-1 plans if they do not possess inside information that could affect the company’s share price.
Later, on Friday, March 13, three Moderna executives adopted new 10b5-1 plans, according to records reviewed by NPR: Zaks, Chief Technical Operations and Quality Officer Juan Andres, and then-Chief Financial Officer Lorence H. Kim. (Kim left the company in August 2020.)
On Monday, March 16 – one business day later – the company announced that it had given a participant the first dose of their vaccine as part of its phase 1 trial. The stock ended that day up 24% compared to the previous day’s close. Moderna was “bucking the trend” of the broader market, which was panicking over coronavirus fears, one CNBC host said at the time.
Timing Of Changes To Pre-Scheduled Stock Sales Raises Questions
Jan. 21 – Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tal Zaks amends his schedule of stock sales, known as a 10b5-1 plan.
Jan. 22 – Moderna widely confirms that it is working on a coronavirus vaccine with the National Institutes of Health. The company’s share price rises nearly 5% over the previous day’s close.
Jan. 23 – Moderna announces new funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
Mar. 13 – Chief Technical Operations Officer Juan Andres, Chief Financial Officer Lorence Kim, and Zaks adopt new 10b5-1 trading plans.
Mar. 16 – Moderna announces that it provided the first dose of its coronavirus vaccine to a participant in a phase 1 trial. Moderna stock climbs 24% over the previous day’s close.
May 18 – Moderna reports early positive data from its phase 1 trial. The company’s stock ends the day up 20% over the previous day’s close.
May 29 – Moderna announces another milestone in its phase 2 coronavirus vaccine trial.
June 1 – President Stephen Hoge amends his 10b5-1 plan.
Despite the close timing, Jordan told NPR, “by the judgment of the legal team, there would not have been material, nonpublic information known” when executives entered into the new plans.
“Every company and individual is entitled to the presumption of innocence. That said, from the public’s perspective, this trading behavior looks very problematic,” said Taylor of the Wharton School, who first pointed out the timing of these changes to NPR.
“If I put on my SEC enforcement hat, I would certainly be asking, ‘What caused you to change the plan on a Friday?'” said Kurt Wolfe, who works as a defense attorney in securities cases for the firm Troutman Pepper. “I don’t think it’s a good fact pattern.”
On May 21 – in between announcements of major vaccine trial milestones on May 18 and May 29 – CEO Bancel amended and adopted 10b5-1 plans. And on June 1, President Hoge amended his trading plan.
“Amending a trading plan after a positive announcement, like trading after a positive announcement, is only problematic if the executive possesses material, nonpublic information at the time,” said Fagel. “Though repeated or questionably-timed changes to a trading plan will reduce its value as a defense to insider trading.”
Selling to zero
Using these 10b5-1 plans, two Moderna executives – Zaks and Andres – have sold all of their shares in the company. General Counsel Lori Henderson has sold nearly all of her shares.
In fact, roughly every week since June, Zaks has exercised stock options (meaning, he bought stock at a price set by the company as part of his compensation), and then immediately sold all of his shares for a significant profit.
[Isn’t this a great explanation for Bancel’s sales too?! – S.m]
On Aug. 24, for example, Zaks exercised stock options and bought 25,000 shares at bargain prices of between $12 to $21. He then immediately sold all of those shares for around $65 per share. Zaks ended up with a profit of nearly $1.2 million.
SEC filings indicate these trades are made under the 10b5-1 plan he adopted in March.
Selling so much stock can also raise concerns for investors – and the public – about why company leaders would sell now if they expected their vaccine to succeed later. After all, a safe and effective vaccine could send Moderna’s stock to even greater heights.
“It perhaps draws questions about how much they believe in it,” said Wolfe.
If the company does develop a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, and its stock keeps rising, then “these trades will be water under the bridge,” said Fagel, the former SEC enforcement official.
But, Fagel warns, if the vaccine fails, then SEC regulators and angry investors may come looking for answers. In that case, he said, “both class action litigation and an SEC investigation would seem inevitable.”
NPR revelations end here, we’re actually just starting
So what we’ve learned is that Moderna looks like a stock market operation more than a medical one. The chiefs create momentums and then trade. And they use public money to bet and make billions, but more about that shortly.
This news is actually pretext to get you to know the real history of Moderna, a crux point in modern history in the widest sense. The stock dumping is not really news, it’s been happening for quite a while, indicating a long term strategy and business model, rather than a sudden or impulse move.
The next two older reports from Pharma’s own media – STAT, will cement the certainty that Moderna turned into a stock market bubble long ago, under the helms of Stephan Bancel. They don’t mind having some science to show, but that’s just the bait.
Ego, ambition, and turmoil: Inside one of biotech’s most secretive startups
At first glance, Moderna Therapeutics looks like the most enviable biotech startup in the world. It has smashed fundraising records and teamed up with pharmaceutical giants as it pursues a radical plan to revolutionize medicine by transforming human cells into drug factories.
But the reality is more complicated.
A STAT investigation found that the company’s caustic work environment has for years driven away top talent and that behind its obsession with secrecy, there are signs Moderna has run into roadblocks with its most ambitious projects.
At the center of it all is Stéphane Bancel, a first-time biotech CEO with an unwavering belief that Moderna’s science will work — and that employees who don’t “live the mission” have no place in the company. Confident and intense, Bancel told STAT that Moderna’s science is on track and, when it is finally made public, that it will meet the brash goal he himself has set: The new drugs will change the world.
But interviews with more than 20 current and former employees and associates suggest Bancel has hampered progress at Moderna because of his ego, his need to assert control and his impatience with the setbacks that are an inevitable part of science. Moderna is worth more than any other private biotech in the US, and former employees said they felt that Bancel prized the company’s ever-increasing valuation, now approaching $5 billion, over its science.
As he pursued a complex and risky strategy for drug development, Bancel built a culture of recrimination at Moderna, former employees said. Failed experiments have been met with reprimands and even on-the-spot firings. They recalled abusive emails, dressings down at company meetings, exceedingly long hours, and unexplained terminations.
At least a dozen highly placed executives have quit in the past four years, including heads of finance, technology, manufacturing, and science. In just the past 12 months, respected leaders of Moderna’s cancer and rare disease programs both resigned, even though the company’s remarkable fundraising had put ample resources at their disposal. Each had been at the company less than 18 months, and the positions have yet to be filled.
Lower-ranking employees, meanwhile, said they’ve been disappointed and confused by Moderna’s pivot to less ambitious — and less transformative — treatments. Moderna has pushed off projects meant to upend the drug industry to focus first on the less daunting (and most likely, far less lucrative) field of vaccines — though it is years behind competitors in that arena.
The company has published no data supporting its vaunted technology, and it’s so secretive that some job candidates have to sign nondisclosure agreements before they come in to interview. Outside venture capitalists said Moderna has so many investors clamoring to get in that it can afford to turn away any who ask too many questions. Some small players have been given only a peek at Moderna’s data before committing millions to the company, according to people familiar with the matter.
“It’s a case of the emperor’s new clothes,” said a former Moderna scientist. “They’re running an investment firm, and then hopefully it also develops a drug that’s successful.”
Like many employees and former employees, the scientist requested anonymity because of a nondisclosure agreement. Others would not permit their names to be published out of fear that speaking candidly about big players in the industry would hurt their job prospects down the road.
Moderna just moved its first two potential treatments — both vaccines — into human trials. In keeping with the culture of secrecy, though, executives won’t say which diseases the vaccines target, and they have not listed the studies on the public federal registry, ClinicalTrials.gov. Listing is optional for Phase 1 trials, which are meant to determine if a drug is safe, but most companies voluntarily disclose their work.
Investors say it’ll be worth the wait when the company finally lifts the veil.
“We think that when the world does get to see Moderna, they’re going to see something far larger in its scope than anybody’s seen before,” said Peter Kolchinsky, whose RA Capital Management owns a stake in the company.
Bancel, meanwhile, said he is aware of the criticism of him and has taken some steps to address it. After scathing anonymous comments about Moderna’s management began showing up online, Bancel went to Silicon Valley to get tips on employee retention from the human resources departments of Facebook, Google, and Netflix. But he makes no apologies for tumult past or present, pointing to the thousands of patients who might be saved by Moderna’s technology.
“You want to be the guy who’s going to fail them? I don’t,” he said in an interview from his glassy third-floor office. “So was it an intense place? It was. And do I feel sorry about it? No.”
An ambitious CEO dreams big
Bancel, 44, had no experience running a drug development operation when one of biotech’s most successful venture capitalists tapped him to lead Moderna. He’d spent most of his career in sales and operations, not science.
But he had made no secret of his ambition.
A native of France, Bancel earned a master’s in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Harvard in 2000. As Harvard Business School classmates rushed to cash in on the dot-com boom, Bancel laid out a plan to play “chess, not checkers.”
“I was always thinking, one day, somebody will have to make a decision about me getting a CEO job,” he told an audience at his alma mater in April. “… How do I make sure I’m not the bridesmaid? How do I make sure that I’m not always the person who’s almost selected but doesn’t get the role?”
He went into sales and rose through the operational ranks at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, eventually leading the company’s Belgian operation. And in 2007, at just 34, he achieved his goal, stepping in as CEO of the French diagnostics firm bioMérieux, which employs roughly 6,000 people.
The company improved its margins under Bancel’s tenure, and he developed a reputation as a stern manager who got results, according to an equities analyst who covered bioMérieux at the time.
“He doesn’t suffer fools lightly,” the analyst said, speaking on condition of anonymity to comply with company policy. “I think if you’re underperforming, you’ll probably find yourself looking for another job.”
Bancel’s rise caught the eye of the biotech investment firm Flagship Ventures, based here in Cambridge. Flagship CEO Noubar Afeyan repeatedly tried to entice him to take over one of the firm’s many startups, Bancel said. But he rejected one prospect after another because the startups seemed too narrow in scope.
Moderna was different.
The company’s core idea was seductively simple: cut out the middleman in biotech.
For decades, companies have endeavored to craft better and better protein therapies, leading to new treatments for cancer, autoimmune disorders, and rare diseases. Such therapies are costly to produce and have many limitations, but they’ve given rise to a multibillion-dollar industry. The anti-inflammatory Humira, the world’s top drug at $14 billion in sales a year, is a shining example of protein therapy.
Moderna’s technology promised to subvert the whole field, creating therapeutic proteins inside the body instead of in manufacturing plants. The key: harnessing messenger RNA, or mRNA.
In nature, mRNA molecules function like recipe books, directing cellular machinery to make specific proteins. Moderna believes it can play that system to its advantage by using synthetic mRNA to compel cells to produce whichever proteins it chooses. In effect, the mRNA would turn cells into tiny drug factories.
It’s highly risky. Big pharma companies had tried similar work and abandoned it because it’s exceedingly hard to get RNA into cells without triggering nasty side effects. But if Moderna can get it to work, the process could be used to treat scores of diseases, including cancers and rare diseases that can be death sentences for children.
Bancel was intrigued. He knew it was a gamble, he told STAT, “but if I don’t do it, and it works, I’m just going to kick myself every morning.”
And so he became the company’s CEO — and soon developed an almost messianic reverence for the mRNA technology.
Despite having never worked with RNA before, Bancel said he sat around the table with his core team in the early days of the company, dreaming up experiments. As a result, he is listed as a co-inventor on more than 100 of Moderna’s early patent applications, unusual for a CEO who is not a PhD scientist.
Lavishly funded Moderna hits safety problems in bold bid to revolutionize medicine
SAN FRANCISCO — Moderna Therapeutics, the most highly valued private company in biotech, has run into troubling safety problems with its most ambitious therapy, STAT has learned — and is now banking on a mysterious new technology to keep afloat its brash promise of reinventing modern medicine.
Exactly one year ago, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel talked up his company’s “unbelievable” future before a standing-room-only crowd at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference here. He promised that Moderna’s treatment for a rare and debilitating disease known as Crigler-Najjar syndrome, developed alongside biotech giant Alexion Pharmaceuticals, would enter human trials in 2016.
It was to be the first therapy using audacious new technology that Bancel promised would yield dozens of drugs in the coming decade.
But the Crigler-Najjar treatment has been indefinitely delayed, an Alexion spokeswoman told STAT. It never proved safe enough to test in humans, according to several former Moderna employees and collaborators who worked closely on the project. Unable to press forward with that technology, Moderna has had to focus instead on developing a handful of vaccines, turning to a less lucrative field that might not justify the company’s nearly $5 billion valuation.
“It’s all vaccines right now, and vaccines are a loss-leader,” said one former Moderna manager. “Moderna right now is a multibillion-dollar vaccines company, and I don’t see how that holds up.”
Bancel made no mention of the Crigler-Najjar drug when he spoke Monday before a similarly packed room at this year’s J.P. Morgan conference.
His presentation instead focused on four vaccines that the company is moving through the first phase of clinical trials: two target strains of influenza, a third is for Zika virus, and the fourth remains a secret. Bancel clicked through graphs of data from animal studies before hurrying on to tout Moderna’s balance sheet and discuss the company’s cancer vaccines, slated for clinical testing later this year.
When STAT asked Bancel after the presentation about Crigler-Najjar, he deferred to Alexion.
In need of a Hail Mary
Founded in 2012, Moderna reached unicorn status — a $1 billion valuation — in just two years, faster than Uber, Dropbox, and Lyft, according to CB Insights. The company’s premise: Using custom-built strands of messenger RNA, known as mRNA, it aims to turn the body’s cells into ad hoc drug factories, compelling them to produce the proteins needed to treat a wide variety of diseases.
But mRNA is a tricky technology. Several major pharmaceutical companies have tried and abandoned the idea, struggling to get mRNA into cells without triggering nasty side effects.
Bancel has repeatedly promised that Moderna’s new therapies will change the world, but the company has refused to publish any data on its mRNA vehicles, sparking skepticism from some scientists and a chiding from the editors of Nature.
The indefinite delay on the Crigler-Najjar project signals persistent and troubling safety concerns for any mRNA treatment that needs to be delivered in multiple doses, covering almost everything that isn’t a vaccine, former employees and collaborators said.
The company did disclose a new technology on Monday that it says will more safely deliver mRNA. It’s called V1GL. Last month, Bancel told Forbes about another new technology, N1GL.
But in neither case has the company provided any details. And that lack of specificity has inevitably raised questions.
Three former employees and collaborators close to the process said Moderna was always toiling away on new delivery technologies in hopes of hitting on something safer than what it had. (Even Bancel has acknowledged, in an interview with Forbes, that the delivery method used in Moderna’s first vaccines “was not very good.”)
Are N1GL and V1GL better? The company has produced no data to answer that question. When STAT asked about new technologies, Bancel referred questions to the company’s patent filings.
The three former employees and collaborators said they believe N1GL and V1GL are either very recent discoveries, just in the earliest stages of testing — or else new names slapped on technologies Moderna has owned for years.
“[The technology] would have to be a miraculous, Hail Mary sort of save for them to get to where they need to be on their timelines,” one former employee said. “Either [Bancel] is extremely confident that it’s going to work, or he’s getting kind of jittery that with a lack of progress he needs to put something out there.”
Former employees and collaborators who spoke with STAT requested anonymity because they had signed nondisclosure agreements — which the highly secretive Moderna requires even some job candidates to sign.
A STAT investigation last year found that Bancel had driven away top talent from Moderna with a culture of recrimination and a caustic work environment, including on-the-spot firings for failed experiments.
The company, based in Cambridge, Mass., seems to have repaired its reputation among many rank-and-file employees, winning workplace accolades from Science Magazine and the Boston Globe, but Moderna has lost more than a dozen top scientists and managers in the past four years, despite its vast financial resources.
A bug in the software
Bancel, a first-time biotech CEO, has dismissed questions about Moderna’s potential. He describes mRNA as a simple way to develop treatments for scores of ailments. As he told STAT over the summer, “mRNA is like software: You can just turn the crank and get a lot of products going into development.”
It seems clear, however, that the software has run into bugs.
Patients with Crigler-Najjar are missing a key liver enzyme needed to break down bilirubin, a yellowish substance that crops up in the body as old red blood cells break down. Without that enzyme, bilirubin proliferates in the blood, leading to jaundice, muscle degeneration, and even brain damage.
In Moderna’s eyes, the one-in-million disease looked like an ideal candidate for mRNA therapy. The company crafted a string of mRNA that would encode for the missing enzyme, believing it had hit upon an excellent starting point to prove technology could be used to treat rare diseases.
But things gradually came apart last year.
Every drug has what’s called a therapeutic window, the scientific sweet spot where a treatment is powerful enough to have an effect on a disease but not so strong as to put patients at too much risk. For mRNA, that has proved elusive.
Before COVID-19, the company’s secretive nature, and its failure to deliver a functional product, was drawing comparisons to the infamous biotech startup Theranos. Similar to Moderna, Theranos rarely published any peer-reviewed material. Like Moderna, Theranos mastered the networking game, and recruited high profile individuals to its board in order to vouch for the company’s “revolutionary technologies.” Once valued at well over $10 Billion, Theranos collapsed after it was revealed that the company was running a massive fraud scheme, in addition to its failure to implement its promised blood testing technology.
“Now an obscure lawsuit filed in British Columbia in October sheds light on one of Moderna’s key partners, and through it FORBES can reveal details on Moderna’s amazing but still untested technology.
It appears that the first two products Moderna has entered into clinical trials rely on technology from a small outfit in Vancouver, British Columbia, called Acuitas Therapeutics. (Acuitas is so small, in fact, that its worldwide headquarters are in its CEO’s single-family home.)
Almost all medicines either block proteins–the building blocks of life–or, in the case of expensive biotech drugs, are proteins themselves. But Moderna has been promising to hack an entirely different part of life’s cookbook. In order to turn genetic information encoded in DNA into the cellular machines that actually are proteins, living things use a messenger chemical called mRNA.
Creating these mRNA drugs is a big challenge on many levels. For them to work, Moderna needs to deliver mRNA to the body’s cells. By itself mRNA breaks down in the bloodstream. Tiny Acuitas specializes in one method: lipid-nanoparticle delivery systems. Its technology essentially wraps the mRNA into balls of fat that disguise the drug so that the target cells will readily ingest it.
“Although we are small,” says Thomas Madden, chief executive of Acuitas, “I believe the technology we have developed is highly effective.”
The problem for Madden and Moderna is that Acuitas doesn’t actually own the technology it has licensed to Moderna. The tech belongs to a third company, publicly traded Arbutus, which recently decided to terminate the license for the tech that it had granted to Acuitas. That’s why Acuitas filed the lawsuit in British Columbia, to protect the deal it had. Arbutus immediately countersued, claiming its deal with Acuitas didn’t cover Moderna’s medicines.
The legal mess has its roots in Moderna’s 2011 start, when Robert Langer, an MIT professor, Moderna board member and founder of dozens of biotech companies, told Bancel that Moderna was too underfunded and small to create its own delivery system. So Moderna vetted over a dozen external delivery methods for mRNA and settled on at least three. One belonged to Arbutus, but Moderna turned to tiny Acuitas to get access to it.
Acuitas was formed in 2009 by Madden after a merger eliminated his position at Arbutus’ predecessor, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals. After a contentious lawsuit Madden was able to license from his former employer the novel tech he had helped develop, and Bancel claims Moderna chose to work with Acuitas because it had “the people and the capabilities.”
But that doesn’t explain why Moderna–flush with capital–didn’t make sure that sublicensing through Acuitas would be okay with Arbutus before advancing its new drugs into human studies.
Bancel met with FORBES at a Brooklyn coffee shop on a recent Saturday to dispel the implications of the lawsuit. He is dismissive of Acuitas’ technology. “We knew it was not very good,” he says. “It was just okay.”
He further explains that Moderna is in the process of producing its own nanoparticle lipids. One such lipid, N1GEL (called “Nigel” internally), appears to cause less inflammation than Acuitas’ version. Another is being licensed from Merck. Bancel says Moderna has stopped using the Acuitas tech for new drugs.
That still leaves a somewhat messy situation for any Moderna vaccines that are being developed using Acuitas’ tech.
Data from one vaccine is expected early next year. If results are good, it could lead to a sizzling-hot initial public offering, even if the Canadian lawsuit ultimately affords Arbutus bigger royalty payments from Moderna.”
Well, the two tiny Canadian companies mentioned above bring royalties to the Canada’s treasury (should I say The British Crown?), so don’t expect Trudeau to backpedal too soon
AND IF ONLY THEY HUSSLED WITH PRIVATE FUNDS, AS THEY CLAIMED…
Moderna chief keep claiming that they started to use public funds only as a patch on infrastructure, science and funding they’ve built for years.
It’s known that NIH + NIAID have long been one of their main sources for the “lavish funding” mentioned earlier and when they locked in the government support, they actually started to leverage it and attract even more private funds, in an self-feeding loop that created today’s monster-bubble.
Very few people know they even got money from BARDA and DARPA. As in “military funds”.
Remember this lie from earlier? “The company has been funded over the years by billions of dollars of private investment,” Zaks told the Freakonomics podcast in August. “Those billions created the opportunity for the U.S. government to come in earlier this year and say, ‘I’m going to add some money to the pot to make sure that you get the development for this vaccine right.'” Watch this claim getting nuked:
KEI asks DOD to investigate failure to disclose DARPA funding in Moderna patents
by Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
Luis Gil Abinader has taken a deep dive into Moderna’s surprising practice of never declaring government funding in its 126 patents and 154 patent applications, despite having had funding from multiple federal agencies.
One outcome of his research is a 25 page report (RN-2020-3) on Moderna’s failure to report funding from DARPA, and a request by KEI to DOD and DARPA to remedy this, including by taking title to patents where disclosures should have been made. (Text of letter below, and PDF version here).
KEI will also send a letter to BARDA. The letter below was addressed to DOD and DARPA, and focuses on their funding.
The obligation to disclose federal funding in patent applications has been subject to presidential executive orders, statutes, regulations and contracts, including those cited and quoted in Abinader’s report. The disclosure clarifies the public’s rights in the inventions and the obligations on the entity getting the money, on everything from the government’s worldwide royalty free license to the public’s march-in rights, obligations to make inventions available to the public on reasonable terms, and additional safeguards that can be exercised by a government inclined to do so.
Secondly, the disclosure changes the narrative about who has financed the inventive activity, often the most risky part of development.
One of the earlier norms on this was Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9424, on the Establishment of a Register of Government interests in patents.
In 2018, the regulations on disclosure were modified by NIST (see 83 FR 15954), where, among other things, the government gave itself unlimited time to remedy a failure to disclose federal funding, to eliminate one loophole that created an incentive ignore the disclosure requirement.
In the past, the US Department of Defense has taken title to patents where federal funding was not disclosed. See: Campbell Plastics v. Brownlee, 389 F.3d 1243 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
The research on the Moderna/DARPA funding is outlined in a 25 page August 27, 2020 report by Luis Gil Abinader, titled: “Moderna failures to disclose DARPA funding in patented inventions.” RN-2020-3
Below is the text of the KEI letter to Dr. Mark T. Esper, Secretary of Defense, and Dr. Amy Jenkins, of the Pandemic Prevention Platform for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), regarding the apparent failure by Moderna to disclose DARPA funding in patent applications. PDF copy here:
2020. September 18. DARPA letter to KEI confirming investigation of Moderna for failure to report government funding in patent applications. https://www.keionline.org/33970
2020. August 4. KEI and Public Citizen request BARDA to address Moderna’s noncompliance with COVID-19 vaccine contract term. https://www.keionline.org/33618
2020. July 1. KEI receives seven new contracts for COVID 19 research from BARDA and DOD, including five using “Other Transactions Authority” that weaken or eliminate Bayh-Dole and FAR Safeguards. https://www.keionline.org/covid19-ota-contracts
Moderna’s vaccine was developed with support from the NIAID, and, as covered in a past fact check, analysis from Axios found that the National Institutes of Health, of which the NIAID is part, may own intellectual property used in producing Moderna’s vaccine. Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH, has also said that NIH has a stake in intellectual property used in the vaccine, though what exactly this means in practical terms is unclear.
“Valera’s efforts (Moderna subsidiary) have resulted in the demonstration of preclinical efficacy of Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccines in multiple viral disease models, Moderna said.
In the partnership with the Gates Foundation, Valera will apply its mRNA vaccine platform as well as Moderna’s drug platform Messenger RNA Therapeutics™. Designed to produces human proteins, antibodies, and entirely novel protein constructs inside patient cells, the therapeutics are secreted or active intracellularly.” – Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
To avoid a conflict of interest, Slaoui resigned from the board of the Massachusetts-based biotech firm Moderna, which had been developing a vaccine for the coronavirus. He stepped down but he didn’t give up his stakes in Moderna, as the Daily Beast reports:
“Slaoui’s ownership of 156,000 Moderna stock options, disclosed in required federal financial filings, sparked concerns about a conflict of interest. Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren called Slaoui out over the matter on Twitter: “It is a huge conflict of interest for the White House’s new vaccine czar to own $10 million of stock in a company receiving government funding to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Slaoui should divest immediately.” The company’s shares skyrocketed last month after news broke of the $483 million in federal funding to work on a coronavirus vaccine. Slaoui could not immediately be reached for comment on the matter.”
Slaoui also sits on the boards of SutroVax, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and the PhRMA Foundation
The circle has just closed. Unless China faked another interview to prop up another myth.
So this has never been about health, just a global scale racketeering operation that’s coming to light about about to go bust. You can speed up this process simply by spreading this expose far and wide!
UPDATE MARCH 21, 2022: VOILA!
Via our ex-BlackRock friend Edward Dowd. I rest my case, but I bet they will “unrest” it soon.
To be continued? Our work and existence, as media and people, is funded solely by our most generous readers and we want to keep this way. Help SILVIEW.media survive and grow, please donate here, anything helps. Thank you!
! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them
Remember past spring when magnetic ferritin in Covid bioweapons was a conspiracy theory and we were getting our YouTube channels and socials wiped out for exposing it? That was fun*! (* not)
The spike ferritin nanoparticle (SpFN) vaccine was designed as a ferritin-fusion recombinant protein for expression as a nanoparticle, and has been described in detail previously (20). Briefly, the spike protein sequence was derived from the Wuhan-Hu-1 genome sequence (GenBank accession number: MN908947.3)
The present invention provides methods and compositions for the remote control of cell function based on the use of radiofrequency waves to excite nanoparticles targeted to specific cell types. The nanoparticles may be applied to the target cell extracellularly and/or expressed intracellularly. The cell type of interest expresses a temperature sensitive channel wherein excitation of the nanoparticles results in a localized temperature increase that is transduced into a cellular response. Such cellular responses may include, for example, increases in gene expression resulting in production of one or more physiologically active proteins. The expression of such proteins can be used to treat a variety of different inherited or acquired diseases or disorders in a subject. Accordingly, the invention provides a generic approach for treatment of any disease associated with a protein deficiency. – SOURCE
And, coincidentally, of course:
In patients with severe COVID-19 disease, decreased hemoglobin along with elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, albumin , serum ferritin , and low oxygen saturation  provide additional support for this hypothesis.
“The spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 is quite large, so scientists often formulate abridged versions that are simpler to make and easier to use. After closely examining the spike, Kim and his team chose to remove a section near the bottom.
To complete their vaccine, they combined this shortened spike with nanoparticles of ferritin – an iron-containing protein – which has been previously tested in humans. Before the pandemic, Powell had been working with these nanoparticles to develop an Ebola vaccine. Together with scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the researchers used cryo-electron microscopy to get a 3D image of the spike ferritin nanoparticles in order to confirm that they had the proper structure.
For the mouse tests, the researchers compared their shortened spike nanoparticles to four other potentially useful variations: nanoparticles with full spikes, full spikes or partial spikes without nanoparticles, and a vaccine containing just the section of the spike that binds to cells during infection. Testing the effectiveness of these vaccines against actual SARS-CoV-2 virus would have required the work to be done in a Biosafety Level 3 lab, so the researchers instead used a safer pseudo-coronavirus that was modified to carry SARS-CoV-2’s spikes.”
So they took a code from a server, like all the other vaccine makers (see link above), they took a nanoparticle that was ‘illegal’ to discuss on TheirTubes and they did what?
US Army Creates Single Vaccine Against All COVID & SARS Variants, Researchers Say
Within weeks, Walter Reed researchers expect to announce that human trials show success against Omicron—and even future strains.
BY TARA COPP, SENIOR PENTAGON REPORTER, DEFENSE ONE DECEMBER 21, 2021, Updated on Dec. 22
Within weeks, scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research expect to announce that they have developed a vaccine that is effective against COVID-19 and all its variants, even Omicron, as well as previous SARS-origin viruses that have killed millions of people worldwide.
The achievement is the result of almost two years of work on the virus. The Army lab received its first DNA sequencing of the COVID-19 virus in early 2020. Very early on, Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch decided to focus on making a vaccine that would work against not just the existing strain but all of its potential variants as well.
Walter Reed’s Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine, or SpFN, completed animal trials earlier this year with positive results. Phase 1 of human trials, wrapped up this month, again with positive results that are undergoing final review, Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch, said in an exclusive interview with Defense One on Tuesday. The new vaccine will still need to undergo phase 2 and phase 3 trials.
“We’re testing our vaccine against all the different variants, including Omicron,” Modjarrad said.
On Wednesday, Walter Reed officials said in a statement that its vaccine “was not tested on the Omicron variant,“ but later clarified in an email to Defense One that while the recently discovered variant was not part of the animal studies, it is being tested in the lab against clinical human trial samples. These “neutralization assays” test whether antibodies can inhibit the growth of a virus.
“We want to wait for those clinical data to be able to kind of make the full public announcements, but so far everything has been moving along exactly as we had hoped,” Modjarrad said.
Unlike existing vaccines, Walter Reed’s SpFN uses a soccer ball-shaped protein with 24 faces for its vaccine, which allows scientists to attach the spikes of multiple coronavirus strains on different faces of the protein.
“It’s very exciting to get to this point for our entire team and I think for the entire Army as well,” Modjarrad said.
That moment when US Army announces ferritin-based vaccines in December, and my reports about it were getting deleted by LibtardTech last summer:
These ferritin nanoparticles are rapidly drained to lymph nodes and target dendritic cells, especially CD8α+ population, upon subcutaneous immunization.
SILVER SPRING, Md. – A series of recently published preclinical study results show that the Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle (SpFN) COVID-19 vaccine developed by researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) not only elicits a potent immune response but may also provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern as well as other coronaviruses.
Scientists in WRAIR’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch (EIDB) developed the SpFN nanoparticle vaccine, based on a ferritin platform, as part of a forward-thinking “pan-SARS” strategy that aims to address the current pandemic and acts as a first line of defense against variants of concern and similar viruses that could emerge in the future.
“The accelerating emergence of human coronaviruses throughout the past two decades and the rise of SARS-CoV-2 variants, including most recently Omicron, underscore the continued need for next-generation preemptive vaccines that confer broad protection against coronavirus diseases,” said Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch at WRAIR, co-inventor of the vaccine and the U.S. Army lead for SpFN. “Our strategy has been to develop a ‘pan-coronavirus’ vaccine technology that could potentially offer safe, effective and durable protection against multiple coronavirus strains and species.”
Pre-clinical studies published today in Science Translational Medicine indicate that the SpFN vaccine protects non-human primates from disease caused by the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and induces highly-potent and broadly-neutralizing antibody responses against major SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern including the SARS-CoV-1 virus that emerged in 2002.
SpFN entered Phase 1 human trials in April 2021. Early analyses, expected to conclude this month, will provide insights into whether SpFN’s potency and breadth, as demonstrated in preclinical trials, will carry over into humans. The data will also allow researchers to compare SpFN’s immune profile to that of other COVID-19 vaccines already authorized for emergency use.
“This vaccine stands out in the COVID-19 vaccine landscape,” Modjarrad said. “The repetitive and ordered display of the coronavirus spike protein on a multi-faced nanoparticle may stimulate immunity in such a way as to translate into significantly broader protection.”
WRAIR developed a secondary candidate vaccine, a SARS-CoV-2 Spike Receptor-Binding Domain Ferritin Nanoparticle (RFN) vaccine, which targets a smaller part of the coronavirus Spike protein than the SpFN vaccine. Results from a study, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that this vaccine potentially offers similar protection against an array of SARS-CoV-2 variants and SARS-CoV-1.
“The RFN vaccine candidate is more compact and has some natural advantages as we try to increase the immune response against multiple coronaviruses using a single vaccine platform, so it is still under consideration as part of our pan-coronavirus vaccine development pipeline,” said WRAIR structural biologist and vaccine co-inventor, Dr. Gordon Joyce.
“The threat from COVID-19 continues as it evolves, and eventually there will be other emerging disease threats,” said Dr. Nelson Michael, Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research at WRAIR. “Our investment in developing a next generation vaccine is an important step towards getting ahead of COVID-19 and future disease threats.”
A SARS-CoV-2 Ferritin Nanoparticle Vaccine Elicits Protective Immune Responses in Nonhuman Primates
We’ve already published some of that literature past spring.. With what occasion? Everything will become round again if you (re)visit this pivotal moment in independent journalism that will keep rocking the official narrative:
Those poor people sticking forks and cellphones on their foreheads seem to be the lab rats for this new escalation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by the World Psychopaths Forum.
And if you want an even larger context, what better evidence that Pharmafia, Big Tech and the Military are not separate entities, they’re rather arms of a common enterprise I like to call “The Military BioTech Complex”.
If you can steal a few moments of peace and warmth with the dearest ones, take good advantage, for me too, I can’t, and these may be our last days before the war on us escalates from psychological and biochemical to kinetic. Then arm up to hold your positions and make it through the Darkest Winter! Happy holidays!
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! Articles can always be subject of later editing as a way of perfecting them
For my mother, who has just buried my father, passed away from a very suspicious heart event involving some clots. She had to bury him in my absence, because the Military BioTech Complex holds us prisoners on two different continents. I had to bury myself in work to keep it together.
Work in progress, I will keep adding pieces to the Tetris until it goes away. Please return regularly for updates, this is a very long and fascinating story that should change the worldview for most people.
“This is to request that the current retention allowance [(b)(6) redaction] for Dr. Anthony S. Fauci be converted to a permanent pay adjustment in the amount [(b)(6) redaction] over his base pay of [(b)(6) redaction] in order to appropriately compensate him for the level of responsibility in his current position of Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), especially as it relates to his work on biodefense research activities.”
First, in the US, Military and an emerging petrochemical industry with strong roots in agriculture but expanding into health, among others. The Rockefellers were the main force driving this expansion in the US and bridging over the ocean to Germany, the most advanced country in terms of chemical industrialization. But it was mostly Crown-controlled and Rothschild-controlled from the City of London, through their many henchmen.
After a few good collaborative experiences, the Military and Pharmafia decided they have a future together, and they bought up the Academia to help with the labs and the brains, as both industries already had a foot in the door there.
Two world wars demonstrated there’s hardly any limit to what they can achieve together.
The Cold War is then used as an excuse to develop more surveillance and population control tools. From these efforts spring1 out Silicon Valley and the Internet.
Before the end of 20th century, Big Pharma and Big Tech are fused by all means: capital, gear, agenda.
The Great Military BioTech Complex is born to be the main Operating System of the system.
9/11 is the launch of the new control grid.
Many of the following events were just test runs.
Covid is a forced upgrade of this operating system.
Weapons trade is disguised as “defense”, bioweapons trade as “biodefense”. And the latter is booming.
Transhumanism Airlines depart from Humanism and are set to land in lifeless soulless material existence.
The Military Biotech Complex Origins
After 1865, American inventiveness turned away from war and toward commerce and industry. Development of the lands of the West did promote some agencies to investigate natural resources. The Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce and Labor, and the National Park Service appeared during this period. While government research tended toward the applied end of the research spectrum, newly-created private foundations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Institute of Washington, supported much of the nation's basic scientific research.- Daniel Else, "Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex", 2017
Daniel Else explored the results of his year-long inquiry into the organizational underpinnings of that military technological revolution of the 1940s and 1950s. By mining the Library’s resources, Else traced the evolving relationship between science and the federal government leading to the creation of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) in 1941. A temporary wartime agency, OSRD mobilized the nation’s academic and industrial technological resources in support of the war effort, and in so doing profoundly altered the linkages between science and engineering, industry, and government. Else explored those wartime changes and outline their impact, still seen and felt today more than seven decades after V-J Day.
Event Date September 21, 2017
Notes- Daniel Else was a specialist in national defense in the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress and the 2016 Kluge Staff Fellow at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center.
Finally in 1950, the Air Force created a larger organization, the Air Research and Development Command. The House finally passed the Senate bill that had been passed the year before, and the president signed the bill, establishing the National Science Foundation. So in that five-year gap, what we saw was the creation of a number of military, Department of Defense organizations for science and scientific research, and the final NSF bill contained no mandate for military research for the National Science Foundation.
So, what are its legacy organizations? A number of federal agencies can trace their origins back to the OSRD. National Science Foundation, of course, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Development and Engineering, or, and Evaluation Command, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, DTRA, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DARPA, of course, and in the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is the custodian of atomic stockpile. - Daniel Else, "Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex", 2017
One of Vannevar Bush’s PhD students at MIT was Frederick Terman, who was later instrumental in the development of “Silicon Valley”.
The Dark Winter exercise was the collaborative effort of 4 organizations. John Hamre of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) initiated and conceived of an exercise wherein senior former officials would respond to a bioterrorist induced national security crisis. Tara O’Toole and Tom Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies and Randy Larsen and Mark DeMier of Analytic Services, Inc., (ANSER) were the principal designers, authors, and controllers of Dark Winter. Sue Reingold of CSIS managed administrative and logistical arrangements. General Dennis Reimer of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) provided funding for Dark Winter.
Preparing homeland security professionals through scenario-based simulations and exercises on key issues.
The Steadfast Resolve exercise was planned to address the concern that poorly designed government response to the next terrorist attack could disrupt America’s economy and society as much or more than the attack itself. This concern is particularly relevant in the context of an attack that may be harmful, but not catastrophic.
In the event of a next attack, government officials will be under enormous pressure to respond swiftly, more than likely with limited information about the status of the attack or what to expect next. In today’s news cycle, the public – and the situation – will demand a swift and decisive response perhaps before exactly what is happening becomes clear. Confusion, indecision, or false starts at government’s highest levels will be magnified and may have long-lasting ramifications. Getting it wrong will be easier than getting it right. As the Hurricane Katrina experience has demonstrated, a lack of situational awareness, understanding of current plans, and an absence of effective decisionmaking tools can lead to disaster.
Dark Winter: Bioterrorism Simulation Exercise
In the summer of 2001, a group of senior-level officials, including Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma, David Gergen, and James Woolsey, participated in an executive level simulation. Dark Winter simulated a U.S. National Security Council meeting at which senior officials were confronted with a smallpox attack on the United States. The exercise illustrated the issues to be addressed in the event of a bioterrorism crisis, including the challenges facing state and local governments, the role and responsiveness of the federal government, and the likely friction spots between federal- and state-level responders and responses.
Coming as it did before the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent anthrax attacks, Dark Winter generated an enormous amount of interest in both the public policy community and the media. CSIS briefed Vice President Dick Cheney, then National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, then FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh, over 80 members of Congress, senior government officials and leaders, including approximately 20 ambassadors to the United States, and senior government officials from Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Besides raising public awareness of the bioterrorism threat, these briefings contributed to the Bush administration’s decision to manufacture 300 million doses of the smallpox vaccine.
Silent Vector: A Critical Energy Infrastructure Simulation Exercise
The events of September 11 and additional intelligence on al Qaeda demonstrate the potential for an attack against the infrastructure of the United States. To face this challenge, CSIS developed an executive-level simulation focusing on U.S. critical energy infrastructure. The exercise took place in October 2002 and employed a simulated National Security Council of senior policymakers with former senator Sam Nunn, now chairman of CSIS’s Board of Trustees, serving as scenario president.
Silent Vector was designed to simulate possible U.S. reaction to a credible threat of terrorist attack when there is not sufficient information for effective protection. The overall purpose of the exercise was to assist the administration and Congress in their attempts to improve the effectiveness of response during the pre-attack phase of a major terrorist incident. Silent Vector challenged current and former senior government leaders to respond to increasingly credible and specific intelligence indicating the possibility of a large-scale attack against critical energy and energy-related infrastructure on the East Coast of the United States.
Black Dawn: A Scenario-Based Exercise on Catastrophic Terrorism
Organized under the auspices of the Strengthening the Global Partnership project by CSIS and the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Black Dawn gathered approximately 55 current and former senior officials and experts from the European Council, the European Commission, NATO, 15 member states, and various international organizations to grapple with the challenges associated with preventing the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by terrorists.
The exercise aimed to develop a set of actionable recommendations for the EU, NATO and individual European governments to prevent terrorists from acquiring and using WMD. The exercise was designed to energize discussion and debate as various European countries and institutions entered into their policy and budget deliberations. The central question animating the exercise was this: In hindsight, what could we have done to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD and conducting such an attack? And what more can and should we do now?
The exercise concluded with several lessons learned: the threat of WMD terrorism is real; it could happen in Europe; prevention is the best option; we can take concrete steps to significantly reduce the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons; Europe has a leadership role to play; and we need to act now.
Simon Chair BlogCommentaries on U.S. relations with countries in the Western Hemisphere – focusing on international political economy, trade, investment, energy, and other current events.
A “Dark Winter” for Public Health: Meet Homeland Security’s New Bioterror Czarina
by Tom Burghardt / August 24th, 2009
In the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks, successive U.S. administrations have pumped some $57 billion across 11 federal agencies and departments into what is euphemistically called “biodefense.” Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2005, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader William Frist, a Bushist acolyte, baldly stated that “The greatest existential threat we have in the world today is biological” and predicted that “an inevitable bioterror attack” would come “at some time in the next 10 years.”
Later that year, Frist and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) covertly inserted language into the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill (H.R. 2863) that granted legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers, even in cases of willful misconduct. It was signed into law by President Bush.
The Senate Majority Leader’s alarmist jeremiad at Davos was seconded by Dr. Tara O’Toole who added, “This [bioterrorism] is one of the most pressing problems we have on the planet today.”
Really? Not grinding poverty, global warming or the lack of access by hundreds of millions of impoverished workers and farmers to clean water, an adequate diet, health care or relief from epidemic levels of preventable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis or diarrhea, but “bioterrorism” as narrowly defined by securocrats and their academic accomplices.
But Dr. Victor W. Sidel, a founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and an outspoken critic of the Bioweapons-Industrial-Complex challenged O’Toole’s hysterical paradigm.
Sidel made the point that there is a fundamental conflict between the state’s national security goals and health care providers’ professional responsibilities to patients. He wrote in 2003 that “military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies and personnel have long histories of secrecy and deception that are contrary to the fundamental health principles of transparency and truthfulness. They may therefore be unsuitable partners for public health agencies that need to justify receiving the public’s trust.”
In this context, the choice of O’Toole as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Undersecretary of Science and Technology is troubling to say the least. As former CEO and Director of UPMC’s Center for Biosecurity, critics charge that O’Toole’s appointment will be nothing short of a disaster.
No ordinary policy wonk with an impressive résumé and years as a government insider, O’Toole is a key player advocating for the expansion of dual-use biological weapons programs rebranded as biodefense.
Subverting the Biological Weapons Convention
The resuscitation of American bioweapons programs are facilitated by their secretive and highly-classified nature. Under cover of academic freedom or intellectual property rights, the U.S. Bioweapons-Industrial-Complex has largely been outsourced by the state to private companies and contractors at top American corporations and universities.
Efforts to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) by the inclusion of verification language into the treaty and regular inspection of suspect facilities by international experts have been shot-down since 2001 by the Bush and now, the Obama administrations. Why?
Primarily because the United States view onsite measures as a threat to the commercial proprietary information of multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as to America’s reputedly “defensive” biological programs; initiatives that continue to work with nature’s most dangerous and deadly pathogens.
In fact, the problem of the dual-use nature of such research is a conundrum facing critics who challenge the break-neck expansion of concealed weapons programs. Simply put, military activities can be disguised as commercial research to develop medical countermeasures without anyone, least of all the American people, being any the wiser.
Highly-trained microbiologists deployed across a spectrum of low-key companies, trained for academic, public health, or commercial employment are part of the dual-use problem. Who’s to say whether scientists who genetically-manipulate pathogens or create Frankenstein-like chimera disease organisms (say, synthesized Marburg or Ebola virus as has already been done with poliovirus in a U.S. lab) are engaged in treaty-busting weapons research or the development of life-saving measures.
And what about the accidental, or more sinisterly, the deliberate release of some horrific new plague by a scientist who’s “gone rogue”? As researcher Edward Hammond pointed out:
British researchers pled guilty in 2001 to charges that they improperly handled a genetically engineered hybrid of the viruses causing hepatitis C and dengue fever. British authorities characterized the virus as “more lethal than HIV”. ‘Dengatitis’ was deliberately created by researchers who wanted to use fewer laboratory animals in a search for a vaccine for Hepatitis C. Under unsafe laboratory conditions, the researchers created and nearly accidentally released a new hybrid human disease whose effects, fortunately, remain unknown; but which may have displayed different symptoms than its parents and thus been difficult to diagnose, and have required a new, unknown treatment regime. (Emerging Technologies: Genetic Engineering and Biological Weapons, The Sunshine Project, Background Paper No. 12, November 2003)
A new report by the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation has charged that despite restrictions under the BWC prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of weaponized disease agents such as anthrax, smallpox or plague, as well as equipment and delivery systems intended for offensive use, the rapid growth of “biodefense and research programs over the last decade” has placed “new pressure” on efforts to curb the development of banned weapons listed in the treaty.
In an interview with Global Security Newswire Gerald Epstein, a senior fellow with the hawkish Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS) told the publication, “When one is doing bioresearch and biodefense, one has to be careful to not overstep the treaty itself.”
He cited the U.S biodefense effort Project Bacchus–an investigation by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to determine whether it was possible to build a bioweapons production facility using readily available equipment–as an instance where questions were raised if the treaty had been violated.
The type of biodefense activity that is most likely to raise questions regarding treaty compliance is “threat assessment,” the process of determining what type of biological attacks are most likely to occur, he told Global Security Newswire. A dangerous biological agent could inadvertently be developed during such research, Epstein said. (Martin Matishak, “Biodefense Research Could Violate Weapons Convention, Report Warns,” Global Security Newswire, August 20, 2009)
But Pentagon bioweaponeers did more than build “a bioweapons productions facility using readily available equipment.” They built banned weapons. According to Jeanne Guillemin, author of Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism, the Pentagon and CIA made and tested a model of a Soviet anthrax bomb and created an antibiotic-resistant strain of anthrax.
After consulting with scientists who strongly suggested that the CIA anthrax bomb project would violate the BWC, “CIA lawyers decided the project was within the allowed realm of defensive research,” Guillemin revealed. Project Clear Vision, a joint investigation by the CIA and the Battelle Memorial Institute, under contract to the Agency, reconstructed and tested a Soviet-era anthrax bomblet in order to test its dissemination characteristics. The Agency “decided the same” for the small, fully functional bioweapons facility built under the rubric of Project Bacchus.
The third initiative, Project Jefferson, led to the development of an antibiotic-resistant strain of anthrax based on a Soviet model. After the outgoing Clinton administration hesitated to give the CIA the go-ahead for the project, the Bush regime’s National Security Council gave the Pentagon permission. “They believed” Guillemin wrote, “the Pentagon had the right to investigate genetically altered pathogens in the name of biodefense, ‘to save American lives’.”
Shortly thereafter, the Pentagon authorized the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), one of the most secretive and heavily-outsourced Defense Department branches, to re-create the deadly anthrax strain.
What the scope of these programs are today is currently unknown. We do know however, that based on available evidence the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department and the oxymoronic Intelligence Community, using the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a cover, continue to investigate the feasibility of transforming nature’s most deadly pathogens into weapons.
In close coordination, the United States government and their outsourced corporate partners are spending billions of dollars on research and simulation exercises, dubbed “disaster drills” by a compliant media, to facilitate this grisly trade.
Secrecy and Deceit
That the official bioterror narrative is a preposterous fiction and swindle as even the FBI was forced to admit during its much-maligned Amerithrax investigation, is hardly worth a second glance by corporate media beholden to the pharmaceutical industry for advertising revenue; call it business as usual here in the heimat.
As we now know, the finely-milled anthrax powder which killed five people and shut down representative government didn’t come from the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets known as al Qaeda, but rather from deep within America’s own Bioweapons-Industrial-Complex, to wit, from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Ft. Detrick in Maryland. But such troublesome and inconvenient truths are barely worth a mention by “respectable” media, e.g. the corporate stenographers who sold two imperialist military adventures to the American people.
Indeed, a credible case can be made that without the anthrax attacks, the fear levels gripping the country in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist events–and the subsequent clamp-down that followed, from the USA Patriot Act to the indefinite detention and torture of “terrorism” suspects, and from warrantless wiretapping to the demonization of dissent–may very well have been impossible.
It is difficult not to conclude that from the beginning of the affair, there was a clear intent on the part of the anthrax terrorist(s) to draw a straight line between 9/11 and the anthrax mailings. From there, it was but a short step to stitching-up a case for “regime change” in Iraq. The media’s role in this criminal enterprise was indispensable for what Salon’s Glenn Greenwald has called“the single greatest, unresolved media scandal of this decade.” As Greenwald points out,
During the last week of October, 2001, ABC News, led by Brian Ross, continuously trumpeted the claim as their top news story that government tests conducted on the anthrax–tests conducted at Ft. Detrick–revealed that the anthrax sent to [former Senator Tom] Daschle contained the chemical additive known as bentonite. ABC News, including Peter Jennings, repeatedly claimed that the presence of bentonite in the anthrax was compelling evidence that Iraq was responsible for the attacks, since–as ABC variously claimed–bentonite “is a trademark of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons program” and “only one country, Iraq, has used bentonite to produce biological weapons.” (Glenn Greenwald, “Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News,” Salon, August 1, 2008)
Despite ABC News’ claims that their information came from “four well-placed and separate sources,” they were fed information that was patently false; as Greenwald avers, “No tests ever found or even suggested the presence of bentonite. The claim was just concocted from the start. It just never happened.”
And as we will shortly explore below, the dubious “Dark Winter” and “Atlantic Storm” bioterror exercises designed by Dr. Tara O’Toole freely drew from the neocon’s sinister playbook, right down to the weaponized smallpox supplied to al Qaeda by Saddam.
Whether or not one buys the current permutation of the “lone nut” theory, this one alleges that Dr. Bruce Ivins, a vaccine specialist employed by USAMRIID, was the anthrax mailer; the fact is, when all is said and done the attacks, to use a much over-hyped phrase, were an inside job.
And like other “lone nuts” who have entered the parapolitical frame at their own peril, Ivins isn’t around to refute the charges.
The Alliance for Biosecurity: Insiders with a Mission and (Very) Deep Pockets
Before being pegged by the Obama administration to head DHS’s Science and Technology division where she will oversee the department’s billion dollar budget, with some 45 percent of it going towards chemical and bioweapons defense, O’Toole, as previously mentioned, was the CEO and Director of UPMC’s Center for Biosecurity, a satrapy which describes itself as “an independent organization dedicated to improving the country’s resilience to major biological threats.”
How “independent”? You make the call!
According to their web site The Alliance for Biosecurity is “a collaboration among the Center for Biosecurity and 13 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies whose mission is to work in the public interest to improve prevention and treatment of severe infectious diseases–particularly those diseases that present global security challenges.”
Alliance partners include the usual suspects: Bavarian Nordic; Center for Biosecurity of UPMC; Cangene Corporation; DOR BioPharma, Inc.; DynPort Vaccine Company LLC, a CSC company; Elusys Therapeutics, Inc.; Emergent BioSolutions; Hematech, Inc., a subsidiary of Kyowa Kirin; Human Genome Sciences, Inc.; NanoViricides, Inc.; Pfizer Inc.; PharmAthene; Siga Technologies, Inc.; Unither Virology LLC, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation. Rounding out this rogues gallery are associate members, the spooky Battelle Medical Research and Evaluation Facility and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.
Among the chief activities of the Alliance is lobbying Congress for increased funding for the development of new drugs deemed “countermeasures” under the Project BioShield Act of 2004, previously described by Antifascist Calling as a particularly grotesque piece of Bushist legislative flotsam.
The Alliance avers that “the United States faces unprecedented risks to national security … by the clear and growing danger of bioterrorism or a destabilizing infectious disease pandemic,” and that “our nation’s vulnerability to biothreats is so severe” due to the fact that “most of the vaccines and medicines that will be needed to protect our citizens do not now exist.” Therefore, countermeasures needed to mitigate nebulous biothreats never spelled out once in the group’s literature “will likely require several years and several hundred million dollars each to successfully develop and produce.” (emphasis added)
An Alliance report, The State of Biosecurity in 2008 and Proposals for a Public/Private Pathway Forward, charts a course for “improving and accelerating” efforts to “develop medical countermeasures (MCMs) for the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).”
Under the Project Bioshield Act of 2004, Congress authorized $5.6 billion over ten years “to purchase MCMs for the SNS.” Funds were allocated for the procurement of the anthrax vaccine as well as for “therapeutic antibodies for inhalational anthrax, a botulism heptavalent antitoxin, a smallpox vaccine, and several products for radiological and nuclear threats, obligating a total of about $1.9 billion of the $5.6 billion BioShield fund.”
In 2006 as I noted previously, Congress created the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). BARDA was authorized to spend some $1.07 billion over three years for MCMs, “only $201 million has been provided by Congress through FY 2008″ noted the Alliance, “approximately one-fifth of the authorized level.”
According to an “independent economic analysis” carried out by (who else!) the Alliance’s academic partner, the Center for Biosecurity, “it would require $3.4 billion in FY 2009 to support one year of advanced development.”
“Similarly” according to the organization, “the original appropriation of $5.6 billion for Project BioShield is equally insufficient to ensure that once MCMs are developed there will be funds available to procure them and maintain the stockpile.” Indeed, “this level of funding would need to be sustained for many years.” You can bet however, that Alliance lobbyists are busy as proverbial bees in pressuring Congress to fork over the dough!
The report state’s that Alliance goals necessarily entail instilling “a sense of urgency … with Congress” by hyping the “bioterror threat.” But there’s much more here than a simple cynical exercise at preparing the “public diplomacy” ground through academic and industry “message force multipliers” that will enable Congress to shower Big Pharma with a veritable tsunami of cash. A “risk-tolerant culture” should be promoted within BARDA, one that “understands the realities, risks, timelines, and costs of drug development.”
The “risks” to whom and for what purpose are not enumerated, but one can be certain that a “risk-tolerant culture” crafted by industry insiders will come at the expense of the health and safety of the American people, one that pushes potential legal liability should things head south onto the taxpaying public.
The stealth nature of Alliance recommendations are clearly spelled out when they aver that “stakeholders” should “focus more on the potential biothreats and the corresponding countermeasures, rather than the price tag” and that BARDA, ostensibly a public agency, should be packed with insiders “who have drug development and manufacturing experience.” This will lead to the development of “a culture that is focused on partnering with industry and academia.”
But the bottom line as always, is the corporatist bottom line for Alliance shareholders! How else can one interpret their statement that emerging “biothreats” are all the more dire today now that “interest of the public and private capital markets in biodefense has declined over the last 2-3 years.” What better way then, to beef-up those sagging capital markets than to install an industry-friendly individual at DHS with a documented track record of overplaying the “bioterror threat.”
O’Toole was the principal designer of two “tabletop” bioterror preparedness drills, the 2001 Dark Winter exercise and the 2005 Atlantic Storm run-through; both were criticized by scientific experts as fabrications of an alleged threat of a smallpox attack mounted by al Qaeda.
Reviewing Milton Leitenberg’s 2005 report, Assessing the Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism Threat, published the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, protein chemist Dr. Eric Smith wrote the following:
Of note is Leitenberg’s dissection of the process of assessment as practiced through bioterrorism threat scenarios conducted by the US government and private think tanks. Exercises like Dark Winter, which modeled an “aerosolized” smallpox attack, Top Off 2 and 3, both on pneumonic plague strikes, and Atlantic Storm, an exercise that purported to show an al Qaida group manufacturing a dry powder smallpox weapon, were rigged. In the cases of Dark Winter and the Top Offs, transmission rates of disease were sexed up beyond historical averages so that “a disastrous outcome was assured” no matter any steps taken to contain outbreaks. Eight pages are reserved to pointedly condemn the Atlantic Storm exercise on a host of sins which can generally be described as a bundle of frank lies and misinformation coupled with a claimed terrorist facility for making smallpox into a weapon that even state run biological warfare operations did not possess. And once again, juiced transmission rates of disease were employed to grease theoretical calamity. The reader comes to recognize the deus ex machina–a concoction or intervention added to dictate an outcome, in these cases very bad ones–as a regular feature of the exercises. However, the results of the same assessments–the alleged lessons learned–have never been reported with much, if any, skepticism in the media. (Eric Smith, “A Vaccine for the Hype: Milton Leitenberg’s new ‘Assessing the Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism Threat,” Global Security, National Security Notes, March 31, 2006)
In criticizing “the fancy that such attacks are easy and one of the most catastrophic threats faced by the American people,” Smith denounces the alarmist scenarios of Dark Winter and Atlantic Storm’s designers–people like Dr. Tara O’Toole and the coterie of industry insiders and other well-paid “experts”–as guilty of perpetrating a massive “fraud … and a substantial one” on the American people.
While one of Atlantic Storm’s architects proclaimed “this is not science fiction” and that “the age of Bioterror is now…” Leitenberg and Smith denounce O’Toole’s spurious claims as “not the least bit plausible.”
Leitenberg wrote that “well before October-November 2001, the spectre of ‘bioterrorism’ benefitted from an extremely successful sales campaign.” Indeed, hyped-up scenarios such as Dark Winter and Atlantic Storm that place “weapons of mass destruction” in the hands of shadowy, intelligence-linked terror outfits like al Qaeda provided “inflated predictions that … were certainly not realistic. Much worse, in addition to being wrong, inflated predictions were counterproductive. They induced interest in BW in the wrong audiences.”
But the implausible nature of the scenarios deployed in national exercises hardly prohibited the Bioweapons-Industrial-Complex from concocting scarecrow-like straw men designed to sow terror amongst the American people while extracting regular infusions of cash from Congress.
Among the eight exercises analyzed by Leitenberg between 1998-2005, he found that each and every one were fraudulently designed and the threat of bioterrorism had been framed as a rationalization for “political action, the expenditure of public funds for bioterrorism prevention and response programs,” that could “not occur without it.” This is “not benign,” Leitenberg concludes.
A second consequence of sexed-up “bioterror” drills have even more ominous implications for the immediate future. Because of national security state perceptions that mitigation of catastrophic bioterrorism is of supreme importance for national survival–perceptions reinforced by academic, corporate and militarist peddlers of crisis–”the US biodefense research program appears to be drifting into violation” of the Biological Weapons Convention. This is a menacing development and has happened, I would argue precisely because the evaluation process which justifies research into biological weapons threat capabilities and scenarios, are repackaged to conceal the offensive thrust of this research as wholly defensive in nature, which it certainly is not.
How else would one explain ongoing research funded by the National Institutes of Health to study botulism toxin, “with the added qualification” Smith points out, that because the protein toxin is “unstable, therefore there will be collaboration with other researchers to stabilize it.” The NIH grant “means preparing a much more effective botulinum toxin than had been available before.”
Smith goes on to cite “another problematical breakout” offered by two scientists to study the “aerobiological” characteristics of the lethal Marburg and Ebola viruses. How this is “defensive” in nature, in keeping with research restrictions under the Biological Weapons Convention, is another instance of a backdoor move to kick-start illicit bioweapons development.
According to Smith, the study “looks to define how the organisms can be aerosolized, an instance of research into examining vulnerability in the complete absence of a verified threat.” But I would argue that showering taxpayers dollars into such dark and troubling research tributaries deploy hyped-up threats as cover for the development of illegal weapons.
When her nomination was announced in May, Rutgers University and homeland security critic Richard Ebright told Wired,
“This is a disastrous nomination. O’Toole supported every flawed decision and counterproductive policy on biodefense, biosafety, and biosecurity during the Bush Administration. O’Toole is as out of touch with reality, and as paranoiac, as former Vice President Cheney. It would be hard to think of a person less well suited for the position.”
“She was the single most extreme person, either in or out of government, advocating for a massive biodefense expansion and relaxation of provisions for safety and security,” he adds. “She makes Dr. Strangelove look sane.” (Noah Shachtman, “DHS’ New Geek Chief is a Bioterror ‘Disaster,’ Critics Charge,” Wired, May 6, 2009)
And Dr. Smith told Wired that exercises designed by O’Toole and her colleagues show her to be “the top academic/salesperson for the coming of apocalyptic bioterrorism which has never quite arrived.”
As noted above, “[She’s] most prominent for always lobbying for more money for biodefense, conducting tabletop exercises on bioterrorism for easily overawed public officials, exercises tweaked to be horrifying,” Smith told Wired.
But Smith goes even further and denounces O’Toole as an industry shill who “has never obviously appeared to examine what current terrorist capabilities have been… in favor of extrapolating how easy it would be to launch bioterror attacks if one had potentially unlimited resources and scientific know-how.” It’s a “superb appointment if you’re in the biodefense industry and interested in further opportunity and growth.”
“Alternatively” Smith avers, O’Toole’s appointment is “a disaster if threat assessment and prevention” has “some basis in reality.”
Not that any of this matters in Washington. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee led by “independent Democrat” and arch neocon Sen. Joseph Lieberman, voted to send her nomination to the full Senate July 29.
Never mind that the deadly weaponized pathogen employed in the attacks didn’t originate in some desolate Afghan cave or secret underground bunker controlled by Saddam.
And never mind that the principal cheerleaders for expanding state-funded programs are Pentagon bioweaponeers, private corporations and a shadowy nexus of biosecurity apparatchiks who stand to make a bundle under current and future federal initiatives.
Leading the charge for increased funding is the Alliance for Biosecurity, a collaborative venture between the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Big Pharma.
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His articles are published in many venues. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning
Soviet scientists reportedly used newly developed genetic engineering techniques to create vaccine-subverting and antibiotic-resistant strains of anthrax, plague, tularemia, and smallpox for attacks against military forces and civilian populations (Bozheyeva et al. 1999, Alibek and Handelman 2000)
The market is fragmented, and the degree of fragmentation will accelerate during the forecast period. Alexeter Technologies LLC, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., Altimmune Inc., ANP Technologies Inc., Bavarian Nordic AS, Cleveland BioLabs Inc., Elusys Therapeutics Inc., Emergent BioSolutions Inc., General Dynamics Corp., and GlaxoSmithKline Plc are some of the major market participants. Although the rising prevalence of infectious disease and rapid increase in government funding in R&D will offer immense growth opportunities, to leverage the current opportunities, market vendors must strengthen their foothold in the fast-growing segments, while maintaining their positions in the slow-growing segments.
How the Deep State deployed anthrax on US soil to whip up publicity about biological weapons and increase funding for bioweapons labs
Why the WHO and CDC are both criminal organizations which are complicit in the covert development of biological weapons
The “death science” industry and why the US government has spent over $100 billion developing self-replicating weapons
Details about the Pirbright Institute and its ties to bioweapons, depopulation, vaccines and coronavirus patents. (It’s partially funded by Bill & Melinda Gates)
Why all BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs in the world should be banned and shut down.
Geopolitics and Empire: Geopolitics & Empire is joined by Dr. Francis Boyle, who is international law professor at the University of Illinois. We’ll be discussing the Wuhan coronavirus and biological warfare. He’s served as counsel to numerous governments such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Palestinian authority. He’s represented numerous national international bodies in the areas of human rights, war crimes and genocide, nuclear policy, and biowarfare. He’s written numerous books, one of my favorites being “Destroying Libya and World Order”, which I assigned as mandatory reading material for my own students when I taught at the Monterrey Institute of Technology.
But most important for this interview, he’s written a book called “Biowarfare and Terrorism”, and drafted the US domestic implementing legislation for the biological weapons convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 that was approved unanimously by both houses of the US Congress and signed into law by President Bush. Thanks for joining us, Dr. Boyle.
Dr. Francis Boyle: Wow. Thank you so much for having me on and thanks for that kind introduction.
Geopolitics and Empire: Now let’s get to what’s been on the news recently. This coronavirus in Wuhan. There have been some reports recently, there’s a really interesting website called GreatGameIndia that has been reporting on this. They’ve been talking about China, which they say has been complying with biological weapons convention in recent years.
But then there are some people in the US and experts that have been saying that in reality, China isn’t complying with the weapons convention. And I think neither, perhaps the US as well. I’m wondering if China is developing its own biosafety level four lab in Wuhan and elsewhere, as you know, as a type of deterrence. Is it a type of a biological arms race that we have going on?
And as well, Chinese nationals have been charged with smuggling vials of biological research to China from the US with the aid of Charles Lieber who was the chair of Harvard’s chemistry department. And he also happens to be in 2011 a strategic scientist at Wuhan University. So, can you tell us what’s going on with this recent outbreak in Wuhan?
Dr. Francis Boyle: Well, that’s a lot of questions. I guess we can take them one at a time, but if you just do a very simple Google search on “Does China have a BSL-4 laboratory?”, Wuhan comes up right away. It’s at the top of the list. That’s all with the moment this type of thing happened I began to do that. So a BSL-4 is the most serious type. And basically BSL-4 labs, we have many of them here in the United States, are used to develop offensive biological warfare weapons with DNA genetic engineering.
So it does seem to me that the Wuhan BSL-4 is the source of the coronavirus. My guess is that they were researching SARS, and they weaponize it further by giving it a gain of function properties, which means it could be more lethal.
Indeed, the latest report now is it’s a 15% fatality rate, which is more than SARS at 83% infection rate. A typical gain of function travels in the air so it could reach out maybe six feet or more from someone emitting a sneeze or a cough. Likewise, this is a specially designated WHO research lab. The WHO was in on it and they knew full well what was going on there.
Yes. It’s also been reported that Chinese scientists stole coronavirus materials from the Canadian lab at Winnipeg. Winnipeg is Canada’s formal center for research, developing, testing, biological warfare weapons. It’s along the lines of Fort Detrick here in the United States of America. I have three degrees from Harvard. It would not surprise me if something was being stolen out of Harvard to turn over to China. I read that report. I don’t know what was in those vials one way or the other.
But the bottom line is I drafted the US domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention that was approved unanimously by both Houses in the United States Congress signed into law by President Bush Sr. that it appears the coronavirus that we’re dealing with here is an offensive biological warfare weapon that leaped out of Wuhan BSL-4. I’m not saying it was done deliberately. But there had been previous reports of problems with that lab and things leaking out of it. I’m afraid that is what we are dealing with today.
Geopolitics and Empire: We’ll be talking about the Wuhan and the coronavirus and China, but can you give us kind of like a bigger context. I know you’ve, previously, in interviews said that since 9/11, you think that the US has spent $100 billion on biological warfare research. We know the Soviet Union, if I’m not mistaken, developed anthrax as a bioweapon. And you’ve also mentioned that UK, France, Israel and China are all involved in biological warfare weapons research.
And something interesting, I believe one or two years ago a Bulgarian journalist and the Russian government shared their concern of the discovery of a US bioweapons lab in the country of Georgia. You’ve commented how in Africa, US has set up bioweapons labs to work on Ebola, which I think is illegal under international law. But they were allowed somehow to put those in Africa. Can you give us like a bigger picture? What’s going on with these different countries and what’s the purpose of this research?
Dr. Francis Boyle:All these BSL-4 labs are by United States, Europe, Russia, China, Israel are all there to research, develop, test biological warfare agents. There’s really no legitimate scientific reason to have BSL-4 labs. That figure I gave $100 billion, that was about 2015 I believe. I had crunched the numbers and came up with that figure the United States since 9/11.
To give you an idea that’s as much in constant dollars as the US spent to develop the Manhattan Project and the atom bomb. So it’s clearly all weapons related. We have well over 13,000 alleged life science scientists involved in research developed testing biological weapons here in the United States. Actually this goes back it even precedes 9/11 2001.
I have another book, The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy, tracing that all the way back to the Reagan administration under the influence of the neocons and they got very heavily involved in research development testing of biological weapons with DNA genetic engineers. It was because of that I issued my plea in 1985 in a Congressional briefing sponsored by the Council for Responsible Genetics, I’m a lawyer for them. They’re headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. All the MIT, Harvard people are involved in that, the principal ones. And then they asked me to draft the implementing legislation.
The implementing legislation that I drafted was originally designed to stop this type of work. “Death science work”, I call it, “by the United States government”. After 9/11, 2001, it just completely accelerated. My current figure, that last figure a 100 billion. I haven’t had a chance to re-crunch the numbers because I just started classes. But you have to add in about another 5 billion per year.
Basically, this is offensive biological weapons raised by the United States government and with its assistance in Canada and Britain. And so other States, the world have responded accordingly including Russia and China. They were going to set up a whole series of BSL-4 facilities as well. And you know Wuhan was the first. It backfired on them.
Geopolitics and Empire: Would you basically consider what happened and Wuhan and just boil it down to ineptitude or incompetence on the Chinese part?
Dr. Francis Boyle: Well, it’s criminality. It does appear they stole something there from Winnipeg. This activity that they engaged in clearly violates the Biological Weapons Convention. Research development of biological weapons these days is an international crime, the use of it would be. That was criminal.
I’m not saying they deliberately inflicted this on their own people, but it leaked out of there and all these BSL-4 facilities leak. Everyone knows that who studies this. So this was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Unfortunately, it happened. The Chinese government under Xi and his comrades there have been covering this up from the get-go. The first reported case was December 1, so they’d been sitting on this until they couldn’t anymore. And everything they’re telling you is a lie. It’s propaganda.
The WHO still refuses to declare a global health emergency. It said Tedros was over there shaking hands with Xi and smiling and yanking it up. The WHO was in on it. They’ve approved many of these BSL-4 labs., they know exactly what’s going on and that is a WHO research-approved laboratory. They know what’s going on too. You can’t really believe anything the WHO is telling you about this, either they’re up to their eyeballs in it, in my opinion.
Geopolitics and Empire: I’d probably agree with you that this outbreak in Wuhan was an accidental leak from the laboratory. But just your thoughts, it’s happening at quite an opportune time because namely we’re smack in the middle of a US-China new Cold War, which is currently characterized by economic warfare such as the trade war among other forms of hybrid and technological warfare. And it seems the Wuhan outbreak will likely hit the Chinese economy hard. The Chinese are flat out dismissing any idea that the US is involved in. Like I said, it’s probably they made the mistakes in the Wuhan lab. What are your thoughts of any seemingly, this would benefit the US…
Dr. Francis Boyle: When the outbreak occurred, of course I considered that alternative too. When you have an outbreak, you’re never quite sure who or what is behind it. It certainly isn’t bats, that’s ridiculous. They made the same argument on Ebola in West Africa. I demolished that online. You can check it out. So I kept competing theories about this.
But right now, when you originally contacted me, I said I wasn’t prepared to comment because I was weighing the evidence. I’m a law professor and a lawyer, I try to do the best I can to weigh the evidence. But right now, the Wuhan BSL-4 in my opinion is the most likely source, apply Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation. I’m not ruling out some type of sabotage. But right now, I believe that is the source here.
Geopolitics and Empire: And you mentioned WHO. I’d like to just get your thoughts on the WHO and the Big Pharma. There’s also some analysts who are downplaying this news media hype of the coronavirus. You’ve just said that it seems to be lethal, but if we go back a decade to the 2009 swine flu, which I believe didn’t have too many casualties, but I think profited greatly the pharmaceutical companies. If I recall that back in 2009, many countries purchased great stocks of the vaccines and they ended up not using anywhere from 50 to 80% of the vaccines that they purchased.
You’ve previously stated in an interview that the World Health Organization is a front for Big Pharma if I’m not mistaken. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also agrees and he says, you know, 50% of WHO funding comes from pharmaceutical companies. And that the CDC itself is also severely compromised. What are your thoughts on the WHO? The CDC?
Dr. Francis Boyle:Can’t trust anything the WHO says because they’re all bought and paid for by Big Pharma and when they work in cahoots with the CDC, which is the United States government, they work in cahoots with Fort Detrick, so you can’t trust any of it.
However, the swine flu and yes, I agree pharma made a lot of money, but that swine flu which I looked at it, it did seem to me to be a genetically modified biological warfare weapon. It was a chimera of three different types of genetic strains that someone put it together in a cocktail. Fortunately, it was not as lethal as all of us fear. So fine. But as I said, this figure I just gave to you was Saturday from Lancet, which is a medical publication, saying it’s a 15% fatality rate and an 83% infection rate. So it’s quite serious, I think, far more serious than the swine flu.
As for big pharma, sure they’re all trying to profit off this today as we speak. There was a big article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, all big pharma trying to peddle whatever they can over there in China even if it’s worthless and won’t help. We do know, if you read the mainstream news media they say there isn’t a vaccine.
Well, there is, it’s by the Pirbright Institute in Britain that’s tied into their biological warfare program over there. They were behind the hoof and mouth disease outbreak over there that wiped out their cattle herd and it leaked out of there. So it’s clear they’re working on a hoof and mouth biological warfare weapon, but the vaccine is there. I have the patent for it here, I haven’t had a chance to read the patent it’s about 25 pages long and my classes just resume. So eventually, I get some free time and I’ll read the patent.
You can’t patent a vaccine with the United States patent office unless the science is there. So there is a vaccine. Everyone’s lying about that, no one’s pointing this out – there’s a vaccine but instead big pharma wants to make money and the researchers say, well, it’ll take three months and we’re racing forward, you know. Everyone’s gonna make a buck off of this, that’s for sure. But there is a vaccine, I have the patent here. It’s been patented by the United States government.
So obviously, I don’t know exactly how workable it is, but it’s a vaccine. I don’t know why it isn’t out there now? Why isn’t someone saying there is a vaccine? Perhaps political leaders have already been vaccinated for all I know, I really don’t know. But there is a vaccine, Pirbright is well known there in Britain and it’s tied into Fort Detrick and CDC is tied into Fort Detrick too. So they all know there’s a patented vaccine.
Geopolitics and Empire: And just to get your comment on, I mean, something to related to this, which was my next question. So I think, I’m not sure if it’s that same Institute that you just mentioned that has the patent. I read somewhere that the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation maybe funds or has some connection to that Institute that has the patent.
Dr. Francis Boyle: I think they do. The Bill & Melinda Gates information, they fund this type of DNA genetically engineered biological warfare work. That’s correct. So you can’t trust anything they’re telling you that somehow they’re out there trying to make the world a better place. I mean, we have Bill Gates publicly admitting that the world be a better place if there were a lot less people. So the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing and they are funding this type of stuff. Sure.
Geopolitics and Empire: And just your comment, there was also the report that I guess it was a consortium of companies which included the Gates foundation that back in just two or three months ago in October of 2019 they held a pandemic exercise simulating an outbreak. I mean, what are the chances specifically of a coronavirus and it was called events 201. People can find this online online and they gave a list of seven recommendations for governments and international organizations to take. I also find that kind of interesting how they had this simulation.
Dr. Francis Boyle: That’s correct. It raises that question, the origins of what happened here. But right now, I’m just looking at the evidence I have and applying Occam’s razor and we know that Wuhan BSL-4 was research developing, testing, SARS as a biological warfare agent. So it could have been, they gave it this DNA genetic engineering enhanced properties gain of function which we do here in the West, in the United States all the time. We have all sorts of research that is clearly a bio warfare research that has been approved by the National Institutes of Health, it’s a joke. They know full well they are proving all kinds of biological warfare research and it gets funded by the United States government.
Geopolitics and Empire: And you’ve also mentioned in the email to me that what happened in the biosafety lab level 4 in Wuhan calls into question the safety of all of these level 3and 4four labs around the world.
Dr. Francis Boyle:They’re complete unsafe. BSL-3 and BSL-4 lab are only designed for research development testing of offense of biological warfare agents. In my opinion, they serve no legitimate purpose at all. They should all be shut down, every one of them. Even assuming, they’re simply too dangerous. If you want, there’s an excellent documentary called Anthrax Wars by Nadler and Coen and I’m in there. Repeatedly at the end, I say with respect to these labs, three and four, this is a catastrophe waiting to happen. Well, I’m afraid the catastrophe is now happened. So there it is.
Geopolitics and Empire: Yeah, I was just watching that documentary before we connected and I recommend the listeners go check that out. Do you see, in the future, any countries, if we come to a conflict between US, EU, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Russia, I mean you name it. Do you see any of these countries actually utilizing these biological weapons? I mean, it’s illegal under international law but we know like in the past that international law isn’t followed. Do you think that there’s a real danger of this escalating?
Dr. Francis Boyle: For sure. That’s the only reason they develop these biological weapons to eventually be used, sure. I mean, it’s like the Manhattan project, we put all that money into developing an atom bomb and even though it was not needed to end world war II they still knew Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So, yes, I think that’s correct. And also these can be used covertly. Anytime you see an unexplained sudden outbreak of a disease like this anywhere in the world, both for human beings and or animals, I always suspect the bio warfare agent is at work. I monitor the situation like I did at Wuhan until I can reach a conclusion. Yes, they can be used as the eyes for the United States government, today they are fully prepared, armed, equipped, supplied to wage a biological warfare with anthrax.
These other more exotic things I don’t know, but they have the weapons, there are stockpiles. We have to understand if you read Seymour Martin Hersh’s book published about 1968, he won the Pulitzer prize, he had the whole offensive US biological warfare industry in there back before it was illegal and criminal. Basically after 9/11, 2001, that entire industry – offensive biological warfare industry has been reconstituted here in the United States with all these BSL-4 BSL-3 labs, well over 13,000, alleged scientists sort of like Dr. Mengele working on these things. Other countries have responded in kind like Russia, like China, France is involved, Britain’s involved. Sure.
Geopolitics and Empire: I just wanted to get your thoughts on, in the last few years there was the Russian double agent spy Sergei Skripal who had been allegedly poisoned with Novichok out in Britain and I thought it was funny. It just so happened where he was allegedly poisoned, he was right in Porton down the British bio weapons lab, I guess the world’s first bio weapons lab that was created in 1916. I mean, I don’t know if you have thoughts on that whole incident.
Dr. Francis Boyle: Yeah, I was right down the street from Porton Down, so applying Occam’s razor who you think might’ve been behind this and it was not a nerve agent. A nerve agent would have killed him immediately. This is Novichok. It was something else like DX or something like that. So fine. But, I would just say that I don’t think that was a coincidence, but, you know, there you go. There’s the, obviously there’s a lot of speculation on that.
Geopolitics and Empire: Something else that’s kind of interesting. You’ve written in bio warfare and terrorism in your book and there’s also Graeme Macqueen, I think your colleague who wrote the anthrax deception the case for domestic conspiracy…
Dr. Francis Boyle: Everything you said in there. That’s correct.
Geopolitics and Empire: I’m wondering also if this new war for biotechnological dominance, whatever you want to call it, if it can also be used kind of as a pretext for the centralization of political power and the initiation of wars like I guess it did in the 2003 Iraq war. I mean, is this another danger that we get these events like now this coronavirus and then governments will call for a centralization of greater power and taking away some of our civil liberties?
Dr. Francis Boyle: Sure. If you look at the October, 2001 anthrax attacks here in the United States, that was clearly by elements of the United States government that was behind that. That was a super weapons grade anthrax with a trillion spores per gram and it floated in the air solely a very sophisticated biological weapons lab like Fort Detrick could produce that. And they use that anthrax attack including on Congress to brand through the USA Patriot act which basically turned the United States to a police state which is what we have now. You have to understand the Pentagon, Fort Dietrich made the dugway proving ground still has a stockpile of that super weapons grade anthrax that we saw in October of 2001 that they can use the next time they want to do something like that to further develop the American police thing. Right.
Geopolitics and Empire: Is there anything else you feel important to mention regarding this Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak or biological warfare or any other thoughts you’d like to leave us with?
Dr. Francis Boyle:Well, you just can’t believe anything the Chinese government, the WHO, the CDC are telling. They’re all lies because they know what’s going on here and so you’re going to have to figure it out as fast as you can. But in my opinion, as of this time and I’m fully prepared to consider further evidence on this, it does seem to me that this was a DNA genetically engineered biological warfare agent leaking out of Wuhan that has gain-of-function properties which can make it more lethal. I think they are probably doing something with SARS to make it a lot more lethal and more infectious. And so for that reason, you have to take extreme precautions and they’re now finally admitted anyone within six feet can be infected, whereas with SARS that was about two feet. Well, that’s gaining a function right there and that should be a tip off.
So, I guess you’re gonna have to protect yourself. Laurie Garrett had a pretty good essay in a foreign policy yesterday and she was over there covering the SARS and she has very good advice in there except that she took the SARS figure out two to three feet and said well, you gotta stay to two to three. I think you’ve got to stay at least six feet away because this is gained function. It can flow through the air and infect and it can get you in the eyes. Any orifice, the mouth, maybe the ears, we’re not sure at this point.
Geopolitics and Empire: I’m here on the border of China in Kazakhstan and I was just reading yesterday – today that they’re no longer allowing Chinese citizens into Kazakhstan without a medical paper, a medical check to get their visas to enter Kazakhstan
Dr. Francis Boyle: Those medical checks are worthless because this is just public relations by all the governments involved because there is a 14 day incubation period where people can still be infected. So someone could walk right through a medical inspection and passing a gate into your country and then they come down with the coronavirus. So that’s all public relations in my opinion by governments and they know it and they’re just sending people out there with temperatures and things like that. It’s not like SARS, this is more dangerous than SARS. As I said, I think that Wuhan lab, we know they had SARS in there that they were dealing with and I think they enhanced it at and I’m afraid that’s what we’re dealing with. But you know, I’m keeping an open mind as to what other sources that might have and I wasn’t prepared to say anything until that Wuhan lab is right there and it’s dealing with coronavirus. So again, apply Occam’s razor. It seems to me that’s the simplest explanation here.
Geopolitics and Empire: I guess my, one of my final question would be in the months ahead, apart of what you say staying six feet away from people. I’ve read taking high doses of vitamin C and other things like this can help you. But, if they come out as the situation develops and if it gets worse and they come out with a coronavirus vaccine, should people take it or not? What are your thoughts?
Dr. Francis Boyle: Well, what I would say is this. Right now, if you look at the article at the Wall Street Journal, big pharma is trying to sell all sorts of – they’re taking all their drugs off the shelf and say well let’s see if it works. Which is preposterous. Okay. The scientists are saying, well, we can get you a vaccine maybe two to three months but they’re not tested. So what we do know, however, is that Pirbright vaccine has been patented. So all I can assume is that that might work. But I don’t think I’d be taking any of these other vaccines. No, you have no idea what’s in there. You’ll be the Guinea pig for big pharma and everyone figures they’re gonna make a lot of money here. So I’ll keep my eye open on this and how it develop but I wouldn’t trust anything they’re trying to sell right now. They’re just pulling these things off the shelf.
If they do come up with something in two to three months, even that’s not going to be tested in accordance with normal scientific protocol. So it’s going to be a crap shoot. If it’s going to help you, indeed it might not help you because they’ll be using for this vaccines (these DNA genetic engineered vaccines) they’ll be using live coronavirus probably and sticking it in there and giving you some live coronavirus on the theory you’ll develop an immunity. That’s the way a lot of these vaccines worked out, that’s what happened with the Ebola vaccine that created the Ebola pandemic there in West Africa. They were testing out a vaccine on poor black Africans, as usual, and this vaccine had live Ebola in it so it gave them Ebola. So again, I’d be very careful even if they do come up with these vaccines two to three months from now, very careful. Why would you want to inject the live coronavirus in you?
Geopolitics and Empire: All right. I don’t believe you have a strong online presence. How can people best follow your work? I suppose to search for interviews as well as get your books.
Dr. Francis Boyle:Well, basically I’m blackballed and blacklisted off all the mainstream news media here on purpose. As far as I can figure out, the US government gave an order that I should not be interviewed by anyone, so I’m not. I guess you could just put my name in there under Google, Google alert, and some interviews might come up. What happened was, right after the anthrax attacks of 9/11 2001, I was giving a lecture out at Harvard m Alma Mater. I was running a panel on biological warfare for the council for responsible genetics and it was at Harvard Divinity School and as I was going in, there was a Fox camera crew there from Boston and I said it looks to me like this has come out of the US government lab. We know they do research and testing on anthrax. Then I said the same thing there at Harvard then I gave an interview to a radio station in Washington, D C then I gave an interview on that to the BBC. So the whole world saw it and at that point I was completely cut off and I’ve been cut off ever since. So you probably not going to hear too many interviews from me here. As for my book. Biowarfare & Terrorism, you can just get it at amazon.com. That picks up the story pretty much from 9/11 2001 and until it went to press and then there are interviews I’d given to an investigative reporter, Sherwood Ross and a big one I just sent you and you might want to put that on your web page. That was pretty comprehensive.
Geopolitics and Empire: Yeah, I read that as well and I’ll include the link in the description of this interview so people can go check that out. You’re not the only academic I know and have heard of others that similar things have happened and that’s just I guess the price we pay for telling the truth. Again, for listeners, if people wanted to have a broader context and deeper understanding of what’s happening today especially with biological warfare as well as us foreign policy and international affairs, I urge you to get Dr. Francis Boyle’s books and listen to his interviews as well as his colleagues book. Graeme Macqueen, The Anthrax Deception, The Case For Domestic Conspiracy. Thank you for being with us, Dr. Boyle.
Dr. Francis Boyle: Well, thank you and again, please understand these are my current opinions. I could change my opinion here based on more evidence. So I’m just looking at the evidence out there as I see it and you have to understand there is so much disinformation, lies and propaganda that it’s kind of very difficult to distinguish truth from fact. I’m doing the best job I can here.
The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after major social media companies identified and took offline fake accounts suspected of being run by the U.S. military in violation of the platforms’ rules.
Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, last weekinstructed the military commands that engage in psychological operations online to provide a full accounting of their activities by next month after the White House and somefederal agencies expressed mounting concerns over the Defense Department’s attempted manipulation of audiences overseas, according to several defense and administration officials familiar with the matter.
The takedowns in recent years by Twitter and Facebook of more than 150 bogus personas and media sites created in the United States was disclosed last month by internet researchers Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory. While the researchers did not attribute the sham accounts to the U.S. military, two officials familiar with the matter said that U.S. Central Command is among those whose activities are facing scrutiny. Like others interviewed for this report, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military operations.
The researchers did not specify when the takedowns occurred, but those familiar with the matter said they were within the pasttwo or three years. Some were recent, they said, and involved posts from the summer that advanced anti-Russia narratives citing the Kremlin’s “imperialist” war in Ukraine and warning of the conflict’s direct impact on Central Asian countries. Significantly, they found that the pretend personas — employing tactics used by countries such as Russia and China — did not gain much traction, and that overt accounts actually attracted more followers.
Centcom, headquartered in Tampa, has purview over military operations across 21 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Central and South Asia. A spokesman declined to comment.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement that the military’s information operations “support our national security priorities” and must be conducted in compliance with relevant laws and policies. “We are committed to enforcing those safeguards,” he said.
Spokespersons for Facebook and Twitter declined to comment.
According to the researchers’ report, the accounts taken down included a made-up Persian-language media site that shared content reposted from the U.S.-funded Voice of America Farsi and Radio Free Europe. Another, it said, was linked to a Twitter handle that in the past had claimed to operate on behalf of Centcom.
One fake account posted an inflammatory tweet claiming that relatives of deceased Afghan refugees had reported bodies being returned from Iran with missing organs, according to the report. The tweet linked to a video that was part of an article posted on a U.S.-military affiliated website.
Centcom has not commented on whether these accounts were created by its personnel or contractors. If the organ-harvesting tweet is shown to be Centcom’s, one defense official said, it would “absolutely be a violation of doctrine and training practices.”
Independent of the report, The Washington Post has learned that in 2020 Facebook disabled fictitious personas created by Centcom to counter disinformation spread by China suggesting the coronavirus responsible for covid-19 was created at a U.S. Army lab in Fort Detrick, Md., according to officials familiar with the matter. The pseudo profiles — active in Facebook groups that conversed in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, the officials said — were used to amplify truthful information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the virus’s origination in China.
The U.S. government’suse of ersatz social mediaaccounts, though authorized by law and policy, has stirred controversy inside the Biden administration, with the White House pressing the Pentagon to clarify and justify its policies. The White House, agencies such as the State Department and even some officials within the Defense Department have been concerned that the policies are too broad, allowing leeway for tactics that even if used to spread truthful information, risk eroding U.S. credibility, several U.S. officials said.
“Our adversaries are absolutely operating in the information domain,” said a second senior defense official. “There are some who think we shouldn’t do anything clandestine in that space. Ceding an entire domain to an adversary would be unwise. But we need stronger policy guardrails.”
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, which is part of the White House, declined to comment.
Kahl disclosed his review at a virtual meeting convened by the National Security Council on Tuesday, saying he wants to know what types of operations have been carried out, who they’re targeting, what tools are being used and why military commanders have chosen those tactics, and how effective they have been, several officials said.
The message was essentially, “You have to justify to me why you’re doing these types of things,” the first defense official said.
Pentagon policy and doctrine discourage the military from peddling falsehoods, but there are no specific rules mandating the use of truthful information for psychological operations. For instance, the military sometimes employs fiction and satire for persuasion purposes, but generally the messages are supposed to stick to facts, officials said.
In 2020, officers at Facebook and Twitter contacted the Pentagon to raise concerns about the phony accounts they were having to remove, suspicious they were associated with the military. That summer, David Agranovich, Facebook’s director for global threat disruption, spoke to Christopher C. Miller, then assistant director for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, which oversees influence operations policy, warning him that if Facebook could sniff them out, so could U.S. adversaries, several people familiar with the conversation said.
“His point‚” one person said, “was ‘Guys, you got caught. That’s a problem.’ ”
Before Miller could take action, he was tapped to head a different agency — the National Counterterrorism Center. Then the November election happened and time ran out for the Trump administration to address the matter, although Miller did spend the last few weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency serving as acting defense secretary.
With the rise of Russia and China as strategic competitors, military commanders have wanted to fight back, including online. And Congress supported that. Frustrated with perceived legal obstacles to the Defense Department’s ability to conduct clandestine activities in cyberspace, Congress in late 2019 passed a law affirming that the military could conduct operations in the “information environment” to defend the United States and to push back against foreign disinformation aimed at undermining its interests. The measure, known as Section 1631, allows the military to carry out clandestine psychologic operations without crossing what the CIA has claimed as its covert authority, alleviating some of the friction that had hindered such operations previously.
“Combatant commanders got really excited,” recalled the first defense official. “They were very eager to utilize these new authorities. The defense contractors were equally eager to land lucrative classified contracts to enable clandestine influence operations.”
At the same time, the official said, military leaders were not trained to oversee “technically complex operations conducted by contractors” or coordinate such activities with other stakeholders elsewhere in the U.S. government.
Last year, with a new administration in place, Facebook’s Agranovich tried again. This time he took his complaint to President Biden’s deputy national security adviser for cyber, Anne Neuberger. Agranovich, who had worked at the NSC under Trump, told Neuberger that Facebook was taking down fake accounts because they violated the company’s terms of service, according to people familiar with the exchange.
The accounts were easily detected by Facebook, which since Russia’s campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election has enhanced its ability to identify mock personas and sites. In some cases, the company had removed profiles, which appeared to be associated with the military, that promoted information deemed by fact-checkers to be false, said a person familiar with the matter.
Agranovich alsospoke to officials at the Pentagon. His messagewas: “We know what DOD is doing. It violates our policies. We will enforce our policies” and so “DOD should knock it off,” said aU.S. official briefed on the matter.
In response to White House concerns, Kahl ordered a review of Military Information Support Operations, or MISO, the Pentagon’s moniker for psychological operations. A draft concluded that policies, training and oversight all needed tightening, and that coordination with other agencies, such as the State Department and the CIA, needed strengthening, according to officials.
The review also found that while there were cases in which fictitious information was pushed by the military, they were the result of inadequate oversight of contractors and personnel training — not systemic problems, officials said.
Pentagon leadership did little with the review, two officials said, before Graphika and Stanford published their report on Aug. 24, which elicited a flurry of news coverage and questions for the military.
The State Department and CIA have been perturbed by the military’s use of clandestine tactics. Officers at State have admonished the Defense Department, “Hey don’t amplify our policies using fake personas, because we don’t want to be seen as creating false grass roots efforts,” the first defense official said.
One diplomat put it this way: “Generally speaking, we shouldn’t be employing the same kind of tactics that our adversaries are using because the bottom line is we have the moral high ground. We are a society that is built on a certain set of values. We promote those values around the world and when we use tactics like those, it just undermines our argument about who we are.”
Psychological operations to promote U.S. narratives overseas is nothing new in the military, but the popularity of western social media across the globehas led to an expansion of tactics, including the use of artificial personas and images — sometimes called “deep fakes.” The logic is that views expressed by what appears to be, say, an Afghan woman or an Iranian student might be more persuasive than if they were openly pushed by the U.S. government.
The majority of the military’s influence operations are overt, promoting U.S. policies in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere under its own name, officials said. And there are valid reasons to use clandestine tactics, such as trying to infiltrate a closed terrorist chat group, they said.
A key issue for senior policymakers now is determining whether the military’s execution of clandestine influence operations is delivering results. “Is the juice worth the squeeze? Does our approach really have the potential for the return on investment we hoped or is it just causing more challenges?” one person familiar with the debate said.
The report by Graphika and Stanford suggests that the clandestine activity did not have much impact. It noted that the “vast majority of posts and tweets” reviewed received “no more than a handful of likes or retweets,” and only 19 percent of the concocted accounts had more than 1,000 followers. “Tellingly,” the report stated, “the two most-followed assets in the data provided by Twitter were overt accounts that publicly declared a connection to the U.S. military.”
Clandestine influence operations have a role in support of military operations, but it should be a narrow one with “intrusive oversight” by military and civilian leadership, said Michael Lumpkin, a former senior Pentagon official handling information operations policy and a former head of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center. “Otherwise, we risk making more enemies than friends.”
Excerpt from the article sourced above:
A LONG PATTERN OF INFILTRATION
45 years ago, legendary journalist Carl Bernstein released an investigation documenting how the CIA had managed to infiltrate U.S. and global media. The CIA had placed hundreds of agents into newsrooms and had convinced hundreds more reporters to collaborate with them. These included individuals at some of the most influential outlets, including The New York Times. The CIA needed to do this clandestinely because any attempt to do so openly would harm the effectiveness of the operation and provoke stiff public resistance. But by 2015, there was barely a murmur of disapproval when Reuters announced that it was hiring 33-year veteran CIA manager and director Dawn Scalici as a global director, even when the company announced that her primary responsibility was to “advanc[e] Thomson Reuters’ ability to meet the disparate needs of the U.S. government.”
Facebook, however, is vastly more influential than the New York Times or Reuters, reaching billions of people daily. In that sense, it stands to reason that it would be a prime target of any intelligence organization. It has become so big and ubiquitous that many consider it a de facto public commons and believe it should no longer be treated as a private company. Considering who is making many of the decisions on the platform, that distinction between public and private entities is even more blurry than many presume.
I’ve just brought to light insider information that confirms a very similar model has been pursued in USSR / Russia. I wonder if the two are eventually merging at the top, like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, seeing that Putin is a former Klaus Schwab disciple and a Davos regular.
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You thought Magnetogenetics are scary? Optogenetics are a similar thing, but using light instead of electromagnetism, non-invasive and non-detectable. Both stem from DARPA’s BRAIN Initiative. And you may be able to avoid EMF radiation, but you can’t avoid light.
This actually touches on a wide array of concerns, from LEDs to vaccines, The Great Reset and the smart grid. I am very confident that if you pay attention to this video presentation from start to end, you will spend one hour, but you will save incommensurably more hours of guessing, wondering and researching. Not just the many hours I spent doing this, but the many more hours I learned where to look for and how to connect things. You’re still supposed to not take my word and do your own research, but this will give you some of the best tips on the topic.
Oh, so much wow! just hours after putting this out I find out they will be spraying us with viruses. Shocker!
Ehud Isacoff of the Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging (MBIB) Division is the project lead on a $21.6 million grant awarded to UC Berkeley as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Neural Engineering System Design program. The team led by Isacoff, director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley, aims to develop a novel brain-machine interface that uses light to monitor and modulate the activity of thousands to millions of individual neurons in the cerebral cortex.
To communicate with the brain, the team will first introduce a gene encoding a fluorescent protein into neurons, making the cells flash when they fire an action potential. This will be accompanied by a second gene encoding a light-activated protein that stimulates neurons in response to pulses of light. The reading device Isacoff’s group is developing is a miniaturized light field microscope, which captures light through an array of lenses and reconstructs images computationally in any depth of focus. For the writing component, they are developing a means to stimulate groups of neurons by projecting three-dimensional light patterns onto them.
The researchers’ goal during the initial four-year funding period is to create a prototype device using model organisms—such as zebrafish larvae and mice—in which neural activity and behavior can be simultaneously detected and controlled. But DARPA’s ultimate goal is to accelerate the development of biocompatible neural implants for use in humans to compensate for sensory deficits or to control prosthetic devices. Read more from the UC Berkeley News Center.
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We need to speed up our little awakening because we’re still light-years behind the reality. This dwarfs Afghanistan and Covid is but a chapter in its playbook. This connects all the trigger-words: 5G, Covid, Vaccines, Graphene, The Great Reset, Blockchain, The Fourth Industrial Revolution and beyond.
A wide variety of internet-connected “smart” devices now promise consumers and businesses improved performance, convenience, efficiency, and fun. Within this broader Internet of Things (IoT) lies a growing industry of devices that monitor the human body, collect health and other personal information, and transmit that data over the internet. We refer to these emerging technologies and the data they collect as the Internet of Bodies (IoB) (see, for example, Neal, 2014; Lee, 2018), a term first applied to law and policy in 2016 by law and engineering professor Andrea M. Matwyshyn (Atlantic Council, 2017; Matwyshyn, 2016; Matwyshyn, 2018; Matawyshyn, 2019). IoB devices come in many forms. Some are already in wide use, such as wristwatch fitness monitors or pacemakers that transmit data about a patient’s heart directly to a cardiologist. Other products that are under development or newly on the market may be less familiar, such as ingestible products that collect and send information on a person’s gut, microchip implants, brain stimulation devices, and internet-connected toilets. These devices have intimate access to the body and collect vast quantities of personal biometric data. IoB device makers promise to deliver substantial health and other benefits but also pose serious risks, including risks of hacking, privacy infringements, or malfunction. Some devices, such as a reliable artificial pancreas for diabetics, could revolutionize the treatment of disease, while others could merely inflate health-care costs with little positive effect on outcomes. Access to huge torrents of live-streaming biometric data might trigger breakthroughs in medical knowledge or behavioral understanding. It might increase health outcome disparities, where only people with financial means have access to any of these benefits. Or it might enable a surveillance state of unprecedented intrusion and consequence. There is no universally accepted definition of the IoB.1 For the purposes of this report, we refer to the IoB, or the IoB ecosystem, as IoB devices (defined next, with further explanation in the passages that follow) together with the software they contain and the data they collect.
An IoB device is defined as a device that • contains software or computing capabilities • can communicate with an internet-connected device or network and satisfies one or both of the following: • collects person-generated health or biometric data • can alter the human body’s function. The software or computing capabilities in an IoB device may be as simple as a few lines of code used to configure a radio frequency identification (RFID) microchip implant, or as complex as a computer that processes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms. A connection to the internet through cellular or Wi-Fi networks is required but need not be a direct connection. For example, a device may be connected via Bluetooth to a smartphone or USB device that communicates with an internet-connected computer. Person-generated health data (PGHD) refers to health, clinical, or wellness data collected by technologies to be recorded or analyzed by the user or another person. Biometric or behavioral data refers to measurements of unique physical or behavioral properties about a person. Finally, an alteration to the body’s function refers to an augmentation or modification of how the user’s body performs, such as a change in cognitive enhancement and memory improvement provided by a brain-computer interface, or the ability to record whatever the user sees through an intraocular lens with a camera. IoB devices generally, but not always, require a physical connection to the body (e.g., they are worn, ingested, implanted, or otherwise attached to or embedded in the body, temporarily or permanently). Many IoB devices are medical devices regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).3 Figure 1 depicts examples of technologies in the IoB ecosystem that are either already available on the U.S. market or are under development. Devices that are not connected to the internet, such as ordinary heart monitors or medical ID bracelets, are not included in the definition of IoB. Nor are implanted magnets (a niche consumer product used by those in the so-called bodyhacker community described in the next section) that are not connected to smartphone applications (apps), because although they change the body’s functionality by allowing the user to sense electromagnetic vibrations, the devices do not contain software. Trends in IoB technologies and additional examples are further discussed in the next section. Some IoB devices may fall in and out of our definition at different times. For example, a Wi-Fi-connected smartphone on its own would not be part of the IoB; however, once a health app is installed that requires connection to the body to track user information, such as heart rate or number of steps taken, the phone would be considered IoB. Our definition is meant to capture rapidly evolving technologies that have the potential to bring about the various risks and benefits that are discussed in this report. We focused on analyzing existing and emerging IoB technologies that appear to have the potential to improve health and medical outcomes, efficiency, and human function or performance, but that could also endanger users’ legal, ethical, and privacy rights or present personal or national security risks. For this research, we conducted an extensive literature review and interviewed security experts, technology developers, and IoB advocates to understand anticipated risks and benefits. We had valuable discussions with experts at BDYHAX 2019, an annual convention for bodyhackers, in February 2019, and DEFCON 27, one of the world’s largest hacker conferences, in August 2019. In this report, we discuss trends in the technology landscape and outline the benefits and risks to the user and other stakeholders. We present the current state of governance that applies to IoB devices and the data they collect and conclude by offering recommendations for improved regulation to best balance those risks and rewards.
Transhumanism, Bodyhacking, Biohacking, and More
The IoB is related to several movements outside of formal health care focused on integrating human bodies with technology. Next, we summarize some of these concepts, though there is much overlap and interchangeability among them. Transhumanism is a worldview and political movement advocating for the transcendence of humanity beyond current human capabilities. Transhumanists want to use technology, such as artificial organs and other techniques, to halt aging and achieve “radical life extension” (Vita-Moore, 2018). Transhumanists may also seek to resist disease, enhance their intelligence, or thwart fatigue through diet, exercise, supplements, relaxation techniques, or nootropics (substances that may improve cognitive function). Bodyhackers, biohackers, and cyborgs, who enjoy experimenting with body enhancement, often refer to themselves as grinders. They may or may not identify as transhumanists. These terms are often interchanged in common usage, but some do distinguish between them (Trammell, 2015). Bodyhacking generally refers to modifying the body to enhance one’s physical or cognitive abilities. Some bodyhacking is purely aesthetic. Hackers have implanted horns in their heads and LED lights under their skin. Other hacks, such as implanting RFID microchips in one’s hand, are meant to enhance function, allowing users to unlock doors, ride public transportation, store emergency contact information, or make purchases with the sweep of an arm (Baenen, 2017; Savage, 2018). One bodyhacker removed the RFID microchip from her car’s key fob and had it implanted in her arm (Linder, 2019). A few bodyhackers have implanted a device that is a combined wireless router and hard drive that can be used as a node in a wireless mesh network (Oberhaus, 2019). Some bodyhacking is medical in nature, including 3D-printed prosthetics and do-it-yourself artificial pancreases. Still others use the term for any method of improving health, including bodybuilding, diet, or exercise. Biohacking generally denotes techniques that modify the biological systems of humans or other living organisms. This ranges from bodybuilding and nootropics to developing cures for diseases via self-experimentation to human genetic manipulation through CRISPR-Cas9 techniques (Samuel, 2019; Griffin, 2018). Cyborgs, or cybernetic organisms, are people who have used machines to enhance intelligence or the senses. Neil Harbisson, a colorblind man who can “hear” color through an antenna implanted in his head that plays a tune for different colors or wavelengths of light, is acknowledged as the first person to be legally recognized by a government as a cyborg, by being allowed to have his passport picture include his implant (Donahue, 2017). Because IoB is a wide-ranging field that intersects with do-it-yourself body modification, consumer products, and medical care, understanding its benefits and risks is critical.
The Internet of Bodies is here. This is how it could change our lives
04 Jun 2020, Xiao Liu Fellow at the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum
We’re entering the era of the “Internet of Bodies”: collecting our physical data via a range of devices that can be implanted, swallowed or worn.
The result is a huge amount of health-related data that could improve human wellbeing around the world, and prove crucial in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
But a number of risks and challenges must be addressed to realize the potential of this technology, from privacy issues to practical hurdles.
In the special wards of Shanghai’s Public Health Clinical Center, nurses use smart thermometers to check the temperatures of COVID-19 patients. Each person’s temperature is recorded with a sensor, reducing the risk of infection through contact, and the data is sent to an observation dashboard. An abnormal result triggers an alert to medical staff, who can then intervene promptly. The gathered data also allows medics to analyse trends over time.
The smart thermometers are designed by VivaLNK, a Silicon-Valley based startup, and are a powerful example of the many digital products and services that are revolutionizing healthcare. After the Internet of Things, which transformed the way we live, travel and work by connecting everyday objects to the Internet, it’s now time for the Internet of Bodies. This means collecting our physical data via devices that can be implanted, swallowed or simply worn, generating huge amounts of health-related information.
Some of these solutions, such as fitness trackers, are an extension of the Internet of Things. But because the Internet of Bodies centres on the human body and health, it also raises its own specific set of opportunities and challenges, from privacy issues to legal and ethical questions.
Connecting our bodies
As futuristic as the Internet of Bodies may seem, many people are already connected to it through wearable devices. The smartwatch segment alone has grown into a $13 billion market by 2018, and is projected to increase another 32% to $18 billion by 2021. Smart toothbrushes and even hairbrushes can also let people track patterns in their personal care and behaviour.
For health professionals, the Internet of Bodies opens the gate to a new era of effective monitoring and treatment.
In 2017, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration approved the first use of digital pills in the United States. Digital pills contain tiny, ingestible sensors, as well as medicine. Once swallowed, the sensor is activated in the patient’s stomach and transmits data to their smartphone or other devices.
In 2018, Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare provider in California, started a virtual rehab program for patients recovering from heart attacks. The patients shared their data with their care providers through a smartwatch, allowing for better monitoring and a closer, more continuous relationship between patient and doctor. Thanks to this innovation, the completion rate of the rehab program rose from less than 50% to 87%, accompanied by a fall in the readmission rate and programme cost.
The deluge of data collected through such technologies is advancing our understanding of how human behaviour, lifestyle and environmental conditions affect our health. It has also expanded the notion of healthcare beyond the hospital or surgery and into everyday life. This could prove crucial in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Keeping track of symptoms could help us stop the spread of infection, and quickly detect new cases. Researchers are investigating whether data gathered from smartwatches and similar devices can be used as viral infection alerts by tracking the user’s heart rate and breathing.
At the same time, this complex and evolving technology raises new regulatory challenges.
What counts as health information?
In most countries, strict regulations exist around personal health information such as medical records and blood or tissue samples. However, these conventional regulations often fail to cover the new kind of health data generated through the Internet of Bodies, and the entities gathering and processing this data.
In the United States, the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), which is the major law for health data regulation, applies only to medical providers, health insurers, and their business associations. Its definition of “personal health information” covers only the data held by these entities. This definition is turning out to be inadequate for the era of the Internet of Bodies. Tech companies are now also offering health-related products and services, and gathering data. Margaret Riley, a professor of health law at the University of Virginia, pointed out to me in an interview that HIPPA does not cover the masses of data from consumer wearables, for example.
Another problem is that the current regulations only look at whether the data is sensitive in itself, not whether it can be used to generate sensitive information. For example, the result of a blood test in a hospital will generally be classified as sensitive data, because it reveals private information about your personal health. But today, all sorts of seemingly non-sensitive data can also be used to draw inferences about your health, through data analytics. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law school, told me in an interview that even data that is not about health at all, such as grocery shopping lists, can be used for such inferences. As a result, conventional regulations may fail to cover data that is sensitive and private, simply because it did not look sensitive before it was processed.
Identifying and protecting sensitive data matters, because it can directly affect how we are treated by institutions and other people. With big data analytics, countless day-to-day actions and decisions can ultimately feed into our health profile, which may be created and maintained not just by traditional healthcare providers, but also by tech companies or other entities. Without appropriate laws and regulations, it could also be sold. At the same time, data from the Internet of Bodies can be used to make predictions and inferences that could affect a person’s or group’s access to resources such as healthcare, insurance and employment.
James Dempsey, director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, told me in an interview that this could lead to unfair treatment. He warned of potential discrimination and bias when such data is used for decisions in insurance and employment. The affected people may not even be aware of this.
One solution would be to update the regulations. Sandra Wachter and Brent Mittelstadt, two scholars at the Oxford Internet Institute, suggest that data protection law should focus more on how and why data is processed, and not just on its raw state. They argue for a so-called “right to reasonable inferences”, meaning the right to have your data used only for reasonable, socially acceptable inferences. This would involve setting standards on whether and when inferring certain information from a person’s data, including the state of their present or future health, is socially acceptable or overly invasive.
Apart from the concerns over privacy and sensitivity, there are also a number of practical problems in dealing with the sheer volume of data generated by the Internet of Bodies. The lack of standards around security and data processing makes it difficult to combine data from diverse sources, and use it to advance research. Different countries and institutions are trying to jointly overcome this problem. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and its Standards Association have been working with the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health, as well as universities and businesses among other stakeholders since 2016, to address the security and interoperability issue of connected health.
As the Internet of Bodies spreads into every aspect of our existence, we are facing a range of new challenges. But we also have an unprecedented chance to improve our health and well-being, and save countless lives. During the COVID-19 crisis, using this opportunity and finding solutions to the challenges is a more urgent task than ever. This relies on government agencies and legislative bodies working with the private sector and civil society to create a robust governance framework, and to include inferences in the realm of data protection. Devising technological and regulatory standards for interoperability and security would also be crucial to unleashing the power of the newly available data. The key is to collaborate across borders and sectors to fully realize the enormous benefits of this rapidly advancing technology.
Governance of IoB devices is managed through a patchwork of state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and consumer advocacy groups
The primary entities responsible for governance of IoB devices are the FDA and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Although the FDA is making strides in cybersecurity of medical devices, many IoB devices, especially those available for consumer use, do not fall under FDA jurisdiction.
Federal and state officials have begun to address cybersecurity risks associated with IoB that are beyond FDA oversight, but there are few laws that mandate cybersecurity best practices.
As with IoB devices, there is no single entity that provides oversight to IoB data
Protection of medical information is regulated at the federal level, in part, by HIPAA.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) helps ensure data security and consumer privacy through legal actions brought by the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Data brokers are largely unregulated, but some legal experts are calling for policies to protect consumers.
As the United States has no federal data privacy law, states have introduced a patchwork of laws and regulations that apply to residents’ personal data, some of which includes IoB-related information.
The lack of consistency in IoB laws among states and between the state and federal level potentially enables regulatory gaps and enforcement challenges.
The U.S. Commerce Department can put foreign IoB companies on its “Entity List,” preventing them from doing business with Americans, if those foreign companies are implicated in human rights violations.
As 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and satellite internet standards are rolled out, the federal government should be prepared for issues by funding studies and working with experts to develop security regulations.
It will be important to consider how to incentivize quicker phase-out of the legacy medical devices with poor cybersecurity that are already in wide use.
IoB developers must be more attentive to cybersecurity by integrating cybersecurity and privacy considerations from the beginning of product development.
Device makers should test software for vulnerabilities often and devise methods for users to patch software.
Congress should consider establishing federal data transparency and protection standards for data that are collected from the IoB.
The FTC could play a larger role to ensure that marketing claims about improved well-being or specific health treatment are backed by appropriate evidence.
JAMMU and Kashmir is almost always in the news for one reason or another. Apart from the obvious political headlines, J&K was also in the news because of covid-19. As the world struggled with covid-19 pandemic, J&K faced a peculiar situation due to its poor health infrastructure. Nonetheless, all sections of society did a commendable job in keeping covid under control and preventing the loss of life as much as possible. The doctors Association in Kashmir along with the administration did as much as possible through their efforts. For that we are all thankful to them. However, it is about time that we integrate our Healthcare System by upgrading it and introducing to it new technologies from the current world.
We’ve all heard of the Internet of Things, a network of products ranging from refrigerators to cars to industrial control systems that are connected to the internet. Internet of Bodies (IoB) the outcome of the Internet of Things (IoT) is broadly helping the healthcare system and every individual to live life with ease by managing the human body in terms of technology. The Internet of Bodies connects the human body to a network of internet run devices.
The use of IoB can be independent or by the health care heroes (doctors) to monitor, report and enhance the health system of the human body. The internet of Bodies (IoB) are broadly classified into three categories or in some cases we can say three generations – Body Internal, Body External and Body embedded. The Body Internal model of IoB is the category, in which the individual or patient is interacting with the technology environment or we can say internet or our healthcare system by having an installed device inside the human body. Body External model or generation of IoB signifies the model where the device is installed external to the body for certain usage viz. Apple watches and other smart bands from various OEM’s for tracking blood pressure, heart rate etc which can later be used for proper health tracking and monitoring purposes. Last one under this classifications are Body Embedded, in which the devices are embedded under the skin by health care professionals during a number of health situations.
The Internet of Bodies is a small part or even the offspring of the Internet of Things. Much like it, there remains the challenge of data and information breach as we have already witnessed many excessive distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks and other cyber-attacks on IoTs to exploit data and gather information. The effects are even more severe and vulnerable in the case of the Internet of Bodies as the human body is involved in this schema.
The risk of these threats has taken over the discussion about the IOBs. Thus, this has become a great concern in medical technology companies. Most of the existing IoB companies just rely on end-user license agreements and privacy policies to retain rights in software and to create rights to monitor, aggregate and share users’ body data. They just need to properly enhance the security model and implement high security measures to avoid any misfortune. For the same the Government of India is already examining the personal data protection bill 2019.
The Internet has not managed to change our lifestyles in the way the internet of things will!
Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer
The author is presently Manager IT & Ops In HK Group
Social media, sensor feeds, and scientific studies generate large amounts of valuable data. However, understanding the relationships among this data can be challenging. Graph analytics has emerged as an approach by which analysts can efficiently examine the structure of the large networks produced from these data sources and draw conclusions from the observed patterns. By understanding the complex relationships both within and between data sources, a more complete picture of the analysis problem can be understood. With lessons learned from innovations in the expanding realm of deep neural networks, the Hierarchical Identify Verify Exploit (HIVE) program seeks to advance the arena of graph analytics.
The HIVE program is looking to build a graph analytics processor that can process streaming graphs 1000X faster and at much lower power than current processing technology. If successful, the program will enable graph analytics techniques powerful enough to solve tough challenges in cyber security, infrastructure monitoring and other areas of national interest. Graph analytic processing that currently requires racks of servers could become practical in tactical situations to support front-line decision making. What ’s more, these advanced graph analytics servers could have the power to analyze the billion- and trillion-edge graphs that will be generated by the Internet of Things, ever-expanding social networks, and future sensor networks.
In parallel with the hardware development of a HIVE processor, DARPA is working with MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host the HIVE Graph Challenge with the goal of developing a trillion-edge dataset. This freely available dataset will spur innovative software and hardware solutions in the broader graph analysis community that will contribute to the HIVE program.
The overall objective is to accelerate innovation in graph analytics to open new pathways for meeting the challenge of understanding an ever-increasing torrent of data. The HIVE program features two primary challenges:
The first is a static graph problem focused on sub-graph Isomorphism. This task is to further the ability to search a large graph in order to identify a particular subsection of that graph.
The second is a dynamic graph problem focused on trying to find optimal clusters of data within the graph.
Both challenges will include a small graph problem in the billions of nodes and a large graph problem in the trillions of nodes.
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Graphene is the new asbestos. Plus injectable and mandatory. The rest Of the graphene oxide story is here, if you need more background, this post is a result of that investigation
NOTE: A needed clarification solicited by some readers: Yes, we knew of GRAPHENE COATING on masks in May, as seen below, which is horrible enough, even more so since not many followed Canada’s example in banning it. What this article brings new is a confirmation for GRAPHENE OXYDE, which is not very different in properties and health impact, but seems to be specific to these mRNA jabs, and so we complete the new revelations on graphene oxide and vaccines from La Quinta Columna.
The World’s First Anti-Coronavirus Surgical Mask by Wakamono
In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in Wuhan, in China’s Hubei province. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged and characterized the condition as a pandemic owing to the rapid spread of the virus across the globe infecting millions of individuals. Scientists are fighting tirelessly to find out ways to curb the spread of the virus and eradicate it.
SARS-CoV-2 is regarded as highly contagious and spreads rapidly through person-to-person contact. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, their respiratory droplets can easily infect a healthy individual. Besides enforcing social distancing, common citizens are encouraged to wear face masks to prevent droplets from getting through the air and infecting others.
Despite the efficiency of N95, a respiratory protective device, to filter out 95% of particles (≥0.3 μm), surgical facemasks are single-use, expensive, and often ill-fitting, which significantly reduces their effectiveness. Nanoscience researchers have envisioned a new respirator facemask that would be highly efficient, recyclable, customizable, reusable, and have antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
Nanotechnology in the Production of Surgical Masks
Nanoparticles are extensively used for their novel properties in various fields of science and technology.
In the current pandemic situation, scientists have adopted this technology to produce the most efficient masks. Researchers have used a novel electrospinning technology in the production of nanofiber membranes. These nanofiber membranes are designed to have various regulating properties such as fiber diameter, porosity ratio, and many other microstructural factors that could be utilized to produce high-quality face masks. Researchers in Egypt have developed face masks using nanotechnology with the help of the following components:
This transparent polymeric material is derived from starch and carbohydrate. It has high elasticity and is biodegradable. Researchers found that electrospun polylactic acid membranes possess high prospects for the production of filters efficient in the isolation of environmental pollutants, such as atmospheric aerosol and submicron particulates dispersed in the air.
Despite its various biomedical applications (implant prostheses, catheters, tissue scaffolds, etc.), these polylactic membranes are brittle. Therefore, applying frequent pressure during their usage could produce cracks that would make them permeable to viral particles. However, this mechanical drawback can be fixed using other supportive nanoparticles that could impart mechanical strength, antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which are important in making face masks effective in the current pandemic situation.
Copper oxide nanoparticles
These nanoparticles have many biomedical applications, for example, infection control, as they can inhibit the growth of microorganisms (fungi, bacteria) and viruses. It has also been reported that SARS-CoV-2 has lower stability on the metallic copper surface than other materials, such as plastic or stainless steel. Therefore, the integration of copper oxide nanoparticles in a nanofibrous polymeric filtration system would significantly prevent microbial adherence onto the membrane.
Graphene oxide nanoparticles
These nanoparticles possess exceptional properties, such as high toughness, superior electrical conductivity, biocompatibility, and antiviral and antibacterial activity. Such nanoparticles could be utilized in the production of masks.
This is a semi-synthetic polymer derived from cellulose. It is used in ultrafiltration because of its biocompatibility, high selectivity, and low cost. It is also used in protective clothing, tissue engineering, and nanocomposite applications.
With the help of the aforesaid components, researchers in Egypt have designed a novel respirator filter mask against SARS-CoV-2. This mask is based on a disposable filter piece composed of the unwoven nanofibers comprising multilayers of a) copper oxide nanoparticles, graphene oxide nanoparticles, and polylactic acid, or b) copper oxide nanoparticles, graphene oxide nanoparticles, and cellulose acetate, with the help of electrospun technology and high-power ultrasonication. These facemasks are reusable, i.e., washable in water and could be sterilized using an ultraviolet lamp (λ = 250 nm).
Graphene-coated face masks: COVID-19 miracle or another health risk?
Because SARS CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, can survive on the outer surface of a face mask for days, people who touch the mask and then rub their eyes, nose, or mouth may risk getting COVID-19. So these manufacturers seem to be reasoning that graphene coatings on their reusable and disposable face masks will add some anti-virus protection. But in March, the Quebec provincial government removed these masks from schools and daycare centers after Health Canada, Canada’s national public health agency, warned that inhaling the graphene could lead to asbestos-like lung damage.
Is this move warranted by the facts, or an over-reaction? To answer that question, it can help to know more about what graphene is, how it kills microbes, including the SARS-COV-2 virus, and what scientists know so far about the potential health impacts of breathing in graphene.
How does graphene damage viruses, bacteria and human cells?
Researchers have been studying the potential negative impacts of inhaling microscopic graphene on mammals. In one 2016 experiment, mice with graphene placed in their lungs experienced localized lung tissue damage, inflammation, formation of granulomas (where the body tries to wall off the graphene), and persistent lung injury, similar to what occurs when humans inhale asbestos. A different study from 2013 found that when human cells were bound to graphene, the cells were damaged.
In order to mimic human lungs, scientists have developed biological models designed to simulate the impact of high concentration aerosolized graphene—graphene in the form of a fine spray or suspension in air—on industrial workers. One such study published in March 2020 found that a lifetime of industrial exposure to graphene induced inflammation and weakened the simulated lungs’ protective barrier.
It’s important to note that these models are not perfect options for studying the dramatically lower levels of graphene inhaled from a face mask, but researchers have used them in the past to learn more about these sorts of exposures. A study from 2016 found that a small portion of aerosolized graphene nanoparticles could move down a simulated mouth and nose passages and penetrate into the lungs. A 2018 study found that brief exposure to a lower amount of aerosolized graphene did not notably damage lung cells in a model.
From my perspective as a researcher, this trio of findings suggest that a little bit of graphene in the lungs is likely OK, but a lot is dangerous.
Although it might seem obvious to compare inhaling graphene to the well-known harms of breathing in asbestos, the two substances behave differently in one key way. The body’s natural system for disposing of foreign particles cannot remove asbestos, which is why long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to the cancer mesothelioma. But in studies using mouse models to measure the impact of high dose lung exposure to graphene, the body’s natural disposal system does remove the graphene, although it occurs very slowly over 30 to 90 days.
The findings of these studies shed light on the possible health impacts of breathing in microscopic graphene in either small or large doses. However, these models don’t reflect the full complexity of human experiences. So the strength of the evidence about either the benefit of wearing a graphene mask, or the harm of inhaling microscopic graphene as a result of wearing it, is very weak.
No obvious benefit but theoretical risk
Graphene is an intriguing scientific advance that may speed up the demise of COVID-19 virus particles on a face mask. In exchange for this unknown level of added protection, there is a theoretical risk that breathing through a graphene-coated mask will liberate graphene particles that make it through the other filter layers on the mask and penetrate into the lung. If inhaled, the body may not remove these particles rapidly enough to prevent lung damage.
The health department in Quebec is erring on the side of caution. Children are at very low risk of COVID-19 mortality or hospitalization, although they may infect others, so the theoretical risk from graphene exposure is too great. However, adults at high immediate risk of harm from contracting COVID-19 may choose to accept a small theoretical risk of long-term lung damage from graphene in exchange for these potential benefits.
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