Timeline

1942 The War Research Service is secretly constituted to initiate US research in biological warfare.
1943 Camp Detrick becomes the secret headquarters for the Chemical Warfare Service's biowarfare division.
1946-1948 In exchange for their experimental data, the US gives Japanese scientists immunity from prosecution for the war crimes which obtained the data (biowarfare research on sacrificial human victims). The US receives 15,000 slides taken from the corpses of over 500 experimental victims.
1949-1969 In secret biowarfare tests, the military blankets 239 populated areas around the US with bacteria erroneously asserted to be harmless, and with a carcinogen, zinc cadmium sulfate.
Nov. 1953 Pandora's Box 1: CIA officer Sidney Gottlieb spikes the drinks of biowarfare researchers with LSD.A few days later, Frank Olson, the chief of Detrick's Special Operations Division's Plans and Assessments Branch, who had been feeling "mixed-up" and declaring that he wanted out of the germ warfare business, jumped, fell, or was pushed from a 175-foot hotel window.
1953-1976 The US conducts Project Whitecoat, infecting around 2200 Seventh Day Adventist "volunteers" with bioweapons agents. The conscientious-objector Adventists are misled about the biowarfare goals of the experiments.
March 1968 At Dugway, Utah, an open-air nerve gas test goes astray and kills thousands of sheep. The Army at first denies conducting the test at all, then denies that the test was what killed the sheep.
1969 President Nixon orders an end to US offensive bioweapons research.
1978 The first US outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease since 1929 occurs at Plum Island. Animals being held outside the containment areas for future research are inexplicably infected with FMD. Only the island location of the outbreak prevents spread to the mainland and devastating economic consequences.
April 1979 An accidental release of anthrax from a Soviet facility kills at least 64 people in surrounding communities.
1984 The Army tries to bury plans to construct a BSL-4 aerosol test facility at Dugway in a "routine reallocation request."
1984-1988 The Army's plans for a Dugway BSL-4 facility are vigorously opposed by Utah political leaders, scientists, and doctors.
1988 Deseret News FOIA requests reveal that the Army had conducted nearly five times as many open-air germ tests at Dugway as it had acknowledged.
1988 A Senate subcommittee says the military's germ and chemical-warfare research programs aren't adequately protecting the public from accidental release of disease or nerve agents.
Oct. 3, 1988 Charles Piller's article in The Nation, "Lethal Lies about Fatal Diseases," documents numerous examples of reckless research at Dugway, and numerous misrepresentations by the Army.
1989 Neal Levitt, a former Detrick researcher, tells a Utah newspaper how the Army had deleted from his reports his concerns about germ contamination and missing samples.
1991 Hurricane Bob shuts down all electrical power at Plum Island for eighteen hours, disabling "negative air pressure" and other protective systems in a "biological meltdown."
1991 Dugway resumes testing at its controversial Baker Laboratory.
1991 Detrick connects several private residences to city water after carcinogens from a Detrick chemical dump end up in the residents' wells.
April 1992 The Army releases the Environmental Impact Statement for a new Dugway germ lab, the Life Sciences Facility.
2000 Ed Hammond and his wife Susana Pimiento join with German biologist Jan van Aken to establish the US branch of the Sunshine Project.
2000 A Detrick researcher contracts glanders and continues to work for six weeks while failing to report his symptoms.
Jan. 2001 Pandora's Box 2: An Australian research team announces that it has inadvertently engineered a killer mousepox virus, raising the possibility of modifying the smallpox virus in a similar fashion.
2001 The USDA's efforts to make Plum Island a BSL-4 facility are blocked by the efforts of New York Congressman Michael Forbes.
Sept. 11, 2001 Researchers at Plum Island, Detrick, and the CDC evacuate their respective facilities. NBAF propagandists will later deny that the facility is at any risk of a terrorist attack.
Sept.-Nov. 2001 22 people are sickened and five die from the anthrax letter attacks, believed to have originated from within the US's own biodefense complex.
2002 Unionized Plum Island workers go on strike and are replaced by temporary replacement workers. One of the replacements, a computer technician with an arrest record, goes AWOL with a laptop capable of controlling air pressure from a remote location.
2002 Gerhard Bienek, director of biological safety for Dugway between 1989 and 1993, says the facility was "appallingly sloppy" in its handling of pathogens.
Another former Dugway employee, David W. Hall, wins his whistleblower suit against Dugway.
December 2002 Two separate power failures occur at Plum Island. The first lasts for three hours and includes all three backup power generators.
Jan. 2003 Boston University announces it will compete for one of the NIH's new BSL-4 National Biocontainment Laboratories.
Feb. 2003 The Davis City Council votes unanimously to oppose The University of California at Davis's solicitation of an NIH BSL-4 lab.
March 2003 A package containing the West Nile virus explodes at a FedEX facility near Columbus, Ohio.
May 2003 Workers excavating a chemical dump at Detrick discover 100 vials of live bacteria. "The documentation for where this came from doesn't exist," says Detrick's safety director.
June 2003 A coalition of community groups organizes in opposition to Boston's NIH facility.
2003 Senator Hilary Clinton and US Representative Tim Bishop continue to oppose a BSL-4 designation for Plum Island. DHS "states definitively" that it has no plans for BSL-4 labs.
2003 Pandora's Box 3: University of St. Louis scientist Mark Buller deliberately creates an even deadlier version of mousepox, one which kills all mice even if they have been previously vaccinated or treated with antiviral medication. Buller modifies the cowpox virus--which affects humans, and is also closely related to smallpox--in similar fashion.
Sept. 2003 Researchers at the University of Washington, using the "foolproof" Madison Aerosol Chamber, are infected by tuberculosis.
Sept. 2003 The NIH announces that it has chosen Boston and Galveston as the sites for its two BSL-4 facilities.
Nov. 2003 Drs. Tara O'Toole, Tom Inglesby, and D.A. Henderson leave the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies to create the UPMC Center for Biosecurity, continuing and building on their role as bioterror alarmists.
2003-2004 Three separate SARS releases from high-containment facilities in Asia kill one researcher's mother and infect several hospital personnel.
2003-present UTMB-Galveston resists the Sunshine Project's requests for minutes of its IBC meetings, which NIH Guidelines required to be available to the public.
Jan. 2004 The Sunshine Project launches a thorough survey of the Institutional Biosafety Committee and Guidelines system "administered" by NIH. The survey reveals widespread noncompliance with the Guidelines by institutions in all sectors--including the government itself--and failure to enforce the Guidelines by the NIH.
Feb. 2004 Michael Carroll's Lab 257 chronicles the numerous safety breakdowns at Plum Island, and suggests that the facility may have accidentally introduced Lyme disease and the West Nile virus into the US.
Feb. 2004 The Deseret News reports that Dugway is constructing four new "temporary" germ labs-three of them BSL-3-using an abridged "environmental assessment" process.
April 2004 146 Massachusetts academics send a letter to the Boston City Council opposing Boston U's BSL-4 project.
2004 The Kansas legislature creates the Kansas Bioscience Authority, funding it with income tax withholdings from employees in the biosciences sector. The KBA will serve as the prime propagandist for the Kansas NBAF efforts.
2004 The Southern Research Institute mistakenly ships live anthrax samples to the Children Hospital's Oakland Research Institute. 49 mice injected with the anthrax unexpectedly die; seven Oakland researchers are treated with antibiotics for anthrax exposure.
May 2004 Your bioterror and criminal justice dollars at work: The FBI and the Buffalo Joint Terrorism Task Force arrest art professor Steven Kurtz, a critic of genetically modified foods and bioterror propaganda, after police responding to Kurtz's 911 call (his wife had just died in her sleep) discover petri dishes containing the relatively harmless bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Serratia marascens. Kurtz was preparing a multimedia museum exhibit on genetically modified foods. The feds prosecuted Kurtz and a colleague, Robert Ferrell, for four years for "wire and mail fraud" under the Patriot Act. Ferrell, who was battling lymphoma, pled guilty to a misdemeanor after spending $50,000 in legal fees. On April 21, 2008, a federal judge dismissed the indictment against Kurtz as "insufficient on its face." What the feds alleged had happened did not constitute "fraud," as the government's high-powered legal experts had alleged. Various New York politicos had congratulated the Buffalo Terrorism Task Force for disrupting this major terrorist threat.
May-Sept. 2004 Three Boston University researchers are infected with tularemia. BU conceals the infections from the public until state and local regulatory approvals have been granted for its BSL-4 lab.
Summer 2004 DHS conceals information about two internal FMD (foot-and-mouth disease) outbreaks at Plum Island, until an anonymous tip alerts a reporter.
July 30, 2004 Pandora's Box 4: An article in Science, "Tiptoeing around Pandora's Box," raises concerns about experimental efforts to tweak the bird flu virus so it can be transmitted from person to person.
2004-2005 Detrick announces plans for a massive new National Interagency Biodefense Campus, featuring new "high-containment' facilities for USAMRIID, DHS, the National Institutes of Health, USDA, and the CDC.
Jan. 12, 2005 The Boston Zoning Board issues the final city regulatory approval needed for the BU BSL-4 lab. A week later, Boston media learn of the 2004 tularemia infections.
2005 758 of 1143 NIH-funded microbiologists sign an open letter criticizing the diversion of NIH public health research funds to biodefense research.
2005 In his book Biowarfare and Bioterrorism, University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle, who had drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, charges the FBI with deliberately concealing evidence of "a criminal U.S. government biowarfare program."
2005 The Sunshine Project discovers a series of contracts at the US Army's Dugway facility, asking companies to supply bulk quantities of the Sterne strain of anthrax, and fermentation equipment to produce 3000-liter batches of anthrax.
2005 The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark "loses track" of live plague-infested mice.
2005 A Cincinnati-based test kit maker mistakenly ships H2N2 influenza--a 1957 flu which had killed 4 million people and had not circulated in the world since 1968--to 4,000 laboratories in eight countries.
2005 Pandora's Box 5: Teams from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the CDC reconstruct or "rescue" the 1918 flu--which had killed at least 50 million people worldwide. They publish the entire genome sequence in Nature. They discover-duh-that the 1918 flu is highly virulent and dangerous. So thanks for "rescuing" it from oblivion.
2005 PharmAthene, Emergent Biosolutions (both competing for government anthrax contracts) , and other biodefense firms form a lobbying group, the Alliance for Biosecurity, alongside the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
2005 Milton Leitenberg's Assessing the Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism Threat, published by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, systematically debunks claims by people like Tara O'Toole and former Senate Majority Leader William Frist that bioterrorism is the world's greatest existential threat. Leitenberg offers a detailed critique of the Atlantic Storm exercise conducted by UPMC.
Nov. 2005 Pandora's Box 6: Nature reports that the CDC plans to mail the 1918 flu virus to any BSL-3 labs that request it.
Nov. 2005 Pandora's Box 7: The National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg announces that it plans to resurrect the 1918 flu virus also. Both it and the University of Washington at Seattle announce their interest in testing the virus on macaques.
Jan. 19, 2006 DHS requests "Expressions of Interest" from potential sites for the National Bio-and Agro- Facility (NBAF), an "integrated" BSL-4 facility "with the capability to address threats from human pathogens, high-consequence zoonotic disease agents, and foreign animal disease."
February 2006 Carelessness at Texas A&M University, then headed by future Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, results in the infection of a researcher by brucella. A&M does not report the infection to the CDC, as mandated by Select Agent regulations.
Feb. 3, 2006 The NIH approves its own Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Boston BSL-4 project.
March 21, 2006 Mississippi Governor and former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour assures Mississippians that NBAF won't be developing bioweapons because "The Department of Defense does that, and the CIA."
April 1, 2006 In an article published on April Fool's Day, University of Georgia research vice-president David Lee declares that only "miniscule amounts" of pathogens will be present at NBAF. In a separate April Fool's article, a University of Tennessee veterinary dean assures potential NBAF neighbors in Kentucky that, "In terms of safety, you can't get any better."
July 30, 2006 A Washington Post article reveals that DHS plans to operate its new Detrick facility-the NBACC-as an ultra-secret Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, producing bioweapons in order to study them. DHS disavows some of these statements a couple of years later.
Aug. 2006 Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Ralph Gant rules that the state's approval of Boston U's environmental review was arbitrary and capricious. He orders a new review, but allows construction on the project to proceed.
Oct. 19, 2006 The Ninth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals rules that the Energy Department's environmental review of a proposed new BSL-3 lab at Lawrence Livermore is inadequate.
March 2007 An Associated Press article announces that Kansas State's Biosecurity Research Institute will open in April. In mid-2009, the building is still largely unoccupied and "available" for occupancy by the new NBAF.
March 2007 Dugway issues a draft "environmental assessment" for a proposal to completely renovate the Baker Lab with 25 new BSL-3 and BSL-2 testing facilities.
March-April 2007 After opposition arises at Hinds, Mississippi, one of three proposed NBAF sites in Mississippi, the Mississippi consortium withdraws the Hinds site just before the arrival of the DHS site evaluation team.
April 2007 Under threat of legal action, Texas A&M releases documents to the Sunshine Project revealing the unreported Feb. 2006 brucella infection, and files, over a year late, the required report with the CDC. Hammond issues a press release, and the CDC launches an investigation.
April 2007 The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Biosecurity begins promoting the idea of an anonymous, voluntary reporting system for biolab accidents--to spare institutions embarrassment and penalties--and a government-funded "public relations" effort on behalf of misunderstood germ labs.
May 2007 The Dane County (Wisconsin) Board of Supervisors votes to oppose placing NBAF there. The Missouri Cattlemen's Association withdraws its earlier support for placing NBAF in Missouri.
May 2007 After encountering protests at several potential NBAF sites, DHS posts a stripped-down "Diseases of Interest" list on its NBAF website. The description is flagrantly at odds with DHS's original announced intent for the facility. Supposedly, this supposed center for zoonotic research will not even research anthrax, even though 350 or so other facilities do so.
June 2007 In new materials received from A&M, Hammond discovers A&M also failed to report Q-fever exposures in April 2006. The CDC suspends all A&M's select agent research.
June 15, 2007 Pandora's Box 8: A lightning strike shuts down all power in the CDC's new high-tech building, containing six unoccupied BSL-4 labs, but numerous occupied BSL-3 labs. The CDC denies the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Freedom of Information request for records related to the incident. Reports a year later reveal that the CDC had repaired faulty doors with duct tape.
July 3, 2007 Hammond issues a press release documenting numerous other recent germ lab mishaps from around the country.
July 2007 DHS selects San Antonio, Texas; Manhattan, Kansas; Butner, North Carolina; Flora, Mississippi; and Athens, Georgia as NBAF finalists.
July 24, 2007 Pandora's Box 9: Internal CDC documents leaked to the AJC showed that CDC engineers had been warning higher-ups about its backup power system plans since 2001.
Summer/Fall 2007 Outbreaks of FMD, eventually traced to a "world-class" FMD research and vaccine facility in the United Kingdom, result in the slaughter of 2160 animals and estimated costs to the British government and livestock producers of 147 million pounds.
Aug. 2007 In Manhattan, Kansas, former Detrick researchers Jerry and Nancy Jaax assure local residents of the benign nature of their former work with Ebola-an attitude not on display by the Jaaxes in Richard Preston's The Hot Zone, where Jerry reportedly castigated Nancy for working with "that fucking Ebola."
Aug. 23, 2007 The NIH issues a new environmental impact study on the Boston project, which is widely criticized.
Sept. 21, 2007 The CDC issues a report chronicling a safety train wreck at A&M, and continuing the ban on select agent research there. The CDC had missed noticing many of the problems in its routine Select Agent inspections, and had failed to require the correction of those it had noticed.
Sept. 2007 Former Secretary of State Colin Powell warns against the creation of a "terror-industrial complex."
Oct. 2, 2007 The Associated Press obtains a leaked copy of CDC incident reports involving select agents over the previous four years. The more than 100 incidents involved accidents and missing germ shipments at 44 labs in 24 states.
October 2007 The Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee conducts a hearing entitled "Germs, Viruses, and Secrets: The Silent Proliferation of Bio-Laboratories in the United States." Written and oral testimony of the Government Accountability Office reveals a seven-fold increase in biodefense funding since 2001, a twelvefold increase in BSL-4 lab space, and an uncounted number of BSL-3 labs, exceeding 1356 (compared to 200 or less in 2001). GAO Technologist Keith Rhodes says no one is responsible for even tracking the labs, much less determining the need for them. He says the labs are essentially "policing themselves," and in his opinion, Americans are less safe than they were before 2001.
Texas Congressman Joseph Barton--later to become infamous with his "apology" to British Petroleum--joins his Texas colleagues in softpedaling both the seriousness of the situation and the transgressions of A&M.
NIH and CDC representatives blandly assert that all is well in biodefense heaven.
Oct. 2007 Daryl Moss, the African-American mayor of Creedmoor, NC, becomes a folk hero as an elected official with a conscience, publicly withdrawing his support for NBAF--and his promises to NC bigwigs--at the DHS scoping meeting in NC.
Oct. 14, 2007 The Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs announces it will pay the National Research Council to evaluate the adequacy of the NIH's latest analysis of the Boston project.
Nov. 2007 Detrick officials decline to participate in a public forum about their USAMRIID expansion.
Nov. 29, 2007 The National Research Council panel evaluating the NIH EIS for the Boston project concludes that the report's science "was not sound or credible." Mayor Menino insists that the Boston facility will go forward in any event.
Dec. 2007 The Massachusetts Supreme Court unanimously upholds Judge Gant's 2006 ruling that the state's environmental approval of the Boston biolab project had been arbitrary and capricious.
Jan. 2008 Pandora's Box 10: An internal door separating bird flu and hemorrhagic fever labs at UTMB-Galveston fails twice.
Feb. 1, 2008 Ed Hammond announces that the Sunshine Project is suspending operations due to funding problems.
Feb. 2008 The NIH starts a new environmental review of the Boston biolab project.
March 2008 In an unguarded moment, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius expresses irritation about what she sees as a new DHS requirement for a "separate power source" for NBAF. But the Kansas legislature dutifully meets and passes a $105 million bond issue.
April 2008 Under the threat of Congressional subpoena, DHS reveals previously undisclosed internal releases of FMD at Plum Island.
April 10, 2008 Frederick County Commissioners ask U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski to request a review of the USAMRIID expansion by the National Research Council.
May 2008 Pandora's Box 11: The CDC publishes a study on its experiments breeding hybrids of bird flu and H3N2 human flu. Nearly half of the 63 products reproduce with high efficiency; 13 are very effective at killing mice.
May 22, 2008 The Government Accountability Office releases its report on DHS's NBAF plans: "DHS Lacks Evidence to Conclude That Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Can Be Done Safely on the U.S. Mainland." House Energy and Commerce chairman John Dingell criticizes DHS's withholding of information from the GAO and the committee, calling the agency "arrogant, incompetent and secretive."
June 11, 2008 A tornado passes through Manhattan, Kansas, causing significant damage to parts of the city and $20 million in damage to the KSU campus. The tornado passes within a quarter mile of the Biosecurity Research Institute, but KSU boasts that the Institute "continued to function" without a glitch. A skeptical letter writer cites National Weather Service reports indicating that the EF4 tornado had weakened to EF1 by the time it reached campus.
July 2008 Your bioterror and criminal justice dollars at work: Frederick attorney and Fort Detrick expansion critic Barry Kissin learns that he was one of 53 people placed under surveillance by the Maryland State Police for such crimes as "Terrorism-Anti-Government" and "Civil Rights." The others included Catholic nuns, environmental organizations advocating bike lanes, PETA, and Amnesty International. In Feb. 2009 the Washington Post will report that the surveillance was aided by the Department of Homeland Security.
July 29, 2008 Dramatic irony big-time: On the night Bruce Ivins is taking his own life, Jesse Wilkins, a retired engineer from the Butner, NC area, tells DHS: "You didn't see that if you brought dangerous diseases here to study, and you let them out, you yourself are the terrorists."
Aug. 2008 The FBI says the 2001 anthrax letters were mailed by Detrick researcher Bruce Ivins.
Aug. 2008 Following the Ivins revelations, the Army, Navy, and Air Force launch a four-month "review" of their biodefense labs.
Aug. 2008 The Raleigh, NC City Council formally opposes placing NBAF in Butner, because DHS hasn't answered 38 questions previously submitted by the city's Public Utilities department.
Aug. 2008 Disavowing any efforts at journalistic objectivity, the Manhattan Mercury launches a three-article attack on a new No NBAF in Kansas group.
Sept. 2008 Pandora's Box 12: Hurricane Ike, a Category 2 hurricane, devastates Galveston island, flooding the building containing the operational BSL-4 lab, and leaving all the labs without power for at least 36 hours, and some without power for a week or more. Negative air pressure was lost for an undisclosed period of time. The new National Lab (which hadn't opened yet) didn't shut down, however.
UTMB in general suffers $710 million in damages. In an indication of how seriously it regarded hurricane risks, it had carried insurance for only $100 million.
Sept./Oct. 2008 On two occasions, floor drains in the University of Georgia's "new" Animal Health Research Center overflows, letting thousands of gallons of contaminated waste outside the containment area after an autoclave malfunctions. The College of Veterinary Medicine conceals the incident until a newspaper begins asking questions. Minutes and correspondence obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald indicate multiple other problems with equipment in this "state-of-the-art" facility, which had only recently been largely gutted and rebuilt after 1999 construction proved seriously deficient.
Oct. 2008 DHS dedicates its new Detrick facility, the NBACC.
Oct. 2008 Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt declares a seven-year "public health emergency" due to the risk of bioterrorism. The declaration provides legal immunity for those involved in the production or distribution of a controversial anthrax vaccine implicated in serious adverse reactions.
Oct. 2008 A No NBAF billboard disappears in Manhattan, Kansas after "the property owner decided he didn't want to wade into the middle of that controversy."
Dec. 2008 Friends with Benefits 1: The UPMC Center for Biosecurity responds to the Graham-Talent WMD Commission's World at Risk report by announcing that it "strongly agrees . . . that the threat of bioterrorism is urgent, growing, and requires decisive action."
Dec. 2008 Media coverage reveals that K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute, which it cited as evidence of its ability to operate high-containment facilities safely, and which it boasted had "continued to operate" during a summer tornado, had not actually begun to work with select agents, and was therefore "available" for temporary occupancy by NBAF research.
Dec. 2008 Kansas politicos and biotech honchos are in "hog heaven" after the NBAF site selection committee selects Manhattan as the "preferred alternative." Governor Rell of Connecticut applauds the decision to locate "a research facility that handles some of the most dangerous biological substances known to humanity" away from Plum Island. One state's hazard is another state's pork.
Jan. 2009 The Associated Press reports that the University of Wisconsin-Madison has quietly decided to stop manufacturing the Madison Aerosol Chamber, a widely used piece of biodefense equipment, because of liability concerns related to failing seals and gaskets.
Feb. 2009 The Newark Star-Ledger learns that two frozen remains of plague-infested dead mice had gone missing from the Public Health Research Institute, a BSL-3 facility at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. The university had withheld the information from the public.
Feb. 2009 Baxter International acknowledges that it sent lab samples contaminated with bird flu to three neighboring countries.
Feb. 2009 USAMRIID suspends most of its select agent research after a spot check indicates uninventoried vials of select agents, and the probability of others.
March 1, 2009 Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, one of the Kansas NBAF enthusiasts, accepts President Obama's offer to become Secretary of Health, Education, and Human Services.
March 2009 Friends with Benefits 2: The UPMC Center for Biosecurity urges the Obama administration to make "robust biodefense a top national security priority," but to go slow on calls for increased lab security.
March 2009 The Kansas Congressional delegation criticizes President Obama for only including $35 million for NBAF in his proposed budget. "The need for accelerated animal disease research has never been stronger"--the delegation states--though KSU has left its new Biosecurity Research Institute, in "Pat Roberts Hall," largely unused for two years, so that by coincidence it is now available to DHS as a temporary NBAF.
March 19, 2009 Friends with Benefits 3: Harper's carries an article on the connections between various "associates" of Congressman John Murtha involved in a project called "21st Century Biodefense," working "to develop and manufacture vaccines and other medical countermeasures." The partners include the UPMC Center for Biosecurity, PharmAthene (in hot pursuit of government anthrax vaccine contracts), and a defense lobbying firm, Ervin Technical Associates.
April 2009 The Texas NBAF Consortium files suit over DHS's selection process. The lawsuit urges the dangers of a moderate to severe tornado, and points out the political connections of the Kansas Bioscience Authority's Tom Thornton.
April 2009 Friends with Benefits 4: The Graham-Talent WMD Commission names two UPMC Center for Biosecurity staff members to positions with the Commission: Colonel Randall Larsen as Executive Director, and Dr. Gigi Kwik Gronvall as Science Advisor.
April 29, 2009 The Dallas Morning News learns that a bill offered by Houston Republican Sen. Joan Huffman, SB 4646, at the instigation of UTMB-Galveston, would exempt most information about select agents in Texas labs from the Texas Public Information Act.
May-June 2009 SB 4646 is opposed by the Texas Press Association; the Texas Daily Newspaper Association; the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas; the Galveston Daily News; and members of UTMB's community advisory board. They express their sense of betrayal, after UTMB's longstanding promises of openness.
May 6, 2009 Friends with Benefits 5: Barack Obama nominates a prime bioterror alarmist, Dr. Tara O'Toole of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for Biosecurity, as DHS's Undersecretary for the Science and Technology Directorate. O'Toole had produced the 2001 Dark Winter and 2005 Atlantic Storm simulations of fictional smallpox outbreaks, which widely influenced government officials, despite being criticized for unrealistic assumptions about rates of transmission etc.
May 8, 2009 Friends with Benefits 6: The Pittsburgh Business-Times reports that an $830 million national vaccine factory the UPMC Center for Biosecurity altruistically seeks to operate "may be getting legs."
May 2009 Pandora's Box 13: A group of Canadian, American, and Thai researchers report that they have successfully infected swine (a prime breeding ground for new flu variants) with the 1918 flu.
June 2009 Less than a year after the Ivins revelations, the American Association for the Advancement of Science urges the government not to adopt any significant personnel security measures for biolabs.
June 2009 USAMRIID announces that it has discovered 9200 previously uninventoried germ vials--about one-eighth of its entire stock.
June 2009 Friends with Benefits 7: The UPMC Center for Biosecurity carries a "Guest Editorial" from WMD Commission alarmists Graham and Talent, and provide a press release highlighting the duo's emphasis on "investment" in countermeasures.
July 2009 A judge dismisses without prejudice the Texas NBAF lawsuit, declaring it had been filed prematurely because NBAF might never actually be funded or built.
July 2009 The GAO releases a second NBAF report, stating that DHS relied on a rushed, flawed study in its decision to locate NBAF on the mainland. Reps. Dingell and Stupak call the NBAF decision a "foolish tempting of fate."
Aug. 2009 Not waiting for a planned independent review of its USAMRIID expansion, the Army sends the bulldozers in to get that sucker started.
Aug. 21, 2009 Friends with Benefits 8: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that UPMC is the "front-runner" to operate the national vaccine facility it has been insisting the country needs.
Sept. 2009 Friends with Benefits 9: The Washington Times reports on Tara O'Toole's role as the "unpaid strategic director" for a biodefense lobbying group, the Alliance for Biosecurity.
Sept. 2009 The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences offers its suggestions for biolab security, urging the government "to trust lab managers to keep a watchful eye on employees for troubling lab behavior."
Sept. 2009 University of Chicago researcher Dr. Malcolm Casadaban dies after becoming infected with a "weakened version" of the plague he was studying.
Oct. 2009 Friends with Benefits 10: The Graham-Talent WMD Commission issues The Clock Is Ticking, a follow-up to World at Risk, declaring that a sevenfold increase in biodefense funding since 2001 isn't enough. It relies on figures supplied by the UPMC Center for Biosecurity.
Oct. 12, 2009 Friends with Benefits 11: The UPMC Center for Biosecurity issues a press release announcing that GE Healthcare will collaborate in its quest for government vaccine plant funds. It quotes the Graham-Talent Commission's UPMC-assisted bioterror warnings on the "nation's critical need for a sustainable biodefense industrial base."
Nov. 4, 2009 Friends with Benefits 12: Tara O'Toole is confirmed as DHS Undersecretary for Science and Technology.
Nov. 2009 A USAMRIID researcher is infected by tularemia, which is not diagnosed until December.
Dec. 2009 A few months after departing as Director of the CDC (for a job with a pharmaceutical public relations firm), Dr. Julie Gerberding becomes President of Merck's Vaccine Division.
Dec. 2009 The Department of Health and Human Services announces that it is canceling the ongoing competition for a new government anthrax vaccine contract. Before the end of the month, HHS quietly extends an existing sole-source vaccine contract now held by PharmAthene.
Jan. 2010 Friends with Benefits 13: The Graham-Talent Commission issues its Biodefense Report Card just before President Obama's State of the Union address and proposed budget. It gives the Obama administration an "F" for not spending enough money on biodefense (bemoaning "the lack of priority given to the development of medical countermeasures," and proposes a tenfold additional increase, relying once again on figures supplied by UPMC, two of whose staff members are also part of the Commission's staff.
Jan. 2010 Friends with Benefits 14: After HHS's extension of the PharmAthene letter becomes public knowledge, the UPMC Center for Biosecurity posts on its website an "earlier" letter in which it resigned from the Alliance for Biosecurity because of what it calls "false statements" made about "Tara [O'Toole], the Alliance for Biosecurity, and the Center for Biosecurity."
Jan. 2010 The Council of Europe launches an investigation into whether the World Health Organization had deliberately hyped the H1N1 situation.
Jan. 26, 2010 The Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation issues a rebuttal to the WMD Report Card, which is largely ignored by mass media.
Feb. 2010 Pandora's Box 14: The pandemic flu monster we all had on our Christmas wish list: A three-country team led by University of Wisconsin germ lab cowboy Yoshihiro Kawaoka proudly announce that they have created all 254 possible mutated offspring of H5N1 bird flu and H3N2 human flu. 22 of their new flus are even deadlier (to mice) than the parent bird flu strain. This research was (and is) being done in less than BSL-4 containment. And we are supposed to be happy why?
Feb. 9, 2010 The FBI formally closes its Amerithrax investigation, without waiting for a National Academy of Sciences review of its "science."
March 2010 Friends with Benefits 15: The Congressional mandate of the Graham-Talent WMD Commission having expired on February 26, Graham, Talent, and former UPMC staffer Colonel Randall Larsen form the "Bipartisan WMD Research Center" so they can keep pulling the bioterror fire alarm on a regular basis.
March 2010 An NRC panel composed of biodefense insiders finds multiple problems with the EIS for the USAMRIID expansion, but notes that an improved EIS would be pointless because the Army has already begun construction. Nonetheless, the committee expresses complete confidence in USAMRIID's safety practices, even the "personnel reliability program" of this ancestral home of Bruce Ivins. But it suggests Detrick needs to play the public relations game better.
March 2010 Friends with Benefits 16: Battelle, IBM, and Merck join the UPMC vaccine plant consortium. Former CDC Director Julie Gerberding now heads Merck Vaccines; former Kansas NBAF proponent Kathleen Sebelius now heads Health and Human Services and is making post-swine-flu noises about a "new vaccine strategy"; and the UPMC's Tara O'Toole is now ensconced at DHS. Let the good-time countermeasures roll.
April 1, 2010 Pandora's Box 15: A federal jury awards $1.37 million in damages to a former Pfizer molecular biologist, Becky McClain. The damages were awarded against Pfizer, a member of the Alliance for Biosecurity, for having fired McClain after she attributed a paralyzing illness to a coworker's research with a genetically-engineered HIV-derived lentivirus. McClain had frequently raised concerns about Pfizer's safety practices. She has warned that the public is being kept in the dark about the risks of genetically engineered pathogens, and about the absence of any significant regulation in this area.
April 2010 The Frederick News-Post reports that building flaws are delaying the opening of DHS's NBACC.
May 2010 Pandora's Box 16: The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Dr. Gary Splitter of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine has been suspended from lab research for five years for having conducted unauthorized experiments creating antibiotic-resistant forms of brucella. Splitter had served on the Institutional Biosafety Committee which approved Yoshihiro Kawaoka's dangerous experiments with the 1918 flu. The CDC and NIH had been investigating the Splitter situation since 2008, but had concealed the matter from the general public.
May 2010 A modest study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds no evidence that the Patriot Act and 2002 Bioterrorism Preparedness Act have "inhibited" the growth of biodefense research, finding an overall stimulus to the field since 2002. The study does find a two-to-five-fold increase in the amount of dollars spent per published research paper. Several scientific publications unscientifically jump to the conclusion that "regulations" have increased the "cost" of doing scientific research.

      
Home    Author and Book    Bio-Crazy Timeline    Accidents    Resources    Contact Info