GERM SPIES = BARDA the new federal agency

Moderators: Elvis, DrVolin, Jeff

GERM SPIES = BARDA the new federal agency

Postby Trifecta » Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:58 am

A billion bucks the first year ... to protect us ... by injection ... with no legal recourse ...<br><br>GERM SPIES AND THE MOVE TO CREATE A NEW SECRET FEDERAL AGENCY<br><br>DECEMBER 5, 2005. I'm rushing this one into print, because tonight I'll be on with George Noory (Coast to Coast AM radio) in the first hour, talking about a new push to create a secret government agency (BARDA) that can---in partnership with drug companies---develop drugs and vaccines "to protect against bio-terror attacks." <br><br>And protect against natural outbreaks and pandemics. That about covers the waterfront on disease. Who knows how far the feds will take this, if the bill passes Congress and is signed by Bush? <br><br>This is a bad one, folks. It will give the federal government---if Senate Bill 1873 passes---the right to shove drugs and vaccines down your throat, hide all the adverse effects from public view, and eliminate any lawsuits against drug companies for physical damage (from the drugs). <br><br>Since this new agency, BARDA, would be free from all governmental oversight, all government investigation, this appears to eliminate even the few remaining honorable employees of the FDA from protesting and saying the drugs and vaccines are toxic. <br><br>As far as I can tell, no FOIA requests to determine adverse effects of the new drugs and vaccines would be permitted. In other words, the whole process of drug development is secret, the effects are secret, and the cost of development is secret. <br><br>Achtung! Obey! <br><br>And of course the bill's key sponsors have taken many dollars in campaign contributions from pharmaceutical interests... <br><br>Faxes, not emails, need to flood the offices of senators to stop this heinous bill (S1873) from passing. <br><br>Here is a piece on the subject from OMB Watch: <br><br>A New Ultra-Secret Government Agency <br><br>Legislation is moving in the Senate to create a new government agency to combat bioterrorism that will operate, unlike any other agency before it, under blanket secrecy protection. <br><br>Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) has introduced the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, S1873, that would create a new agency in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to research and develop strategies to combat bioterrorism and natural diseases. While Congress has created several agencies recently in response to homeland security concerns, most notably the Department of Homeland Security, Burr proposes for the first time ever to completely exempt this new agency from all open government laws. The legislation has already passed out of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and is now before the full Senate. <br><br>The Act creates the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) to work on countering bioterrorism and natural diseases. Apparently in an attempt to protect any and all sensitive information on U.S. counter-bioterrorism efforts or vulnerabilities to biological threats, Burrs has included in the legislation the first-ever blanket exemption from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The legislation states that, "Information that relates to the activities, working groups, and advisory boards of the BARDA shall not be subject to disclosure" under FOIA "unless the Secretary [of HHS] or Director [of BARDA] determines that such disclosure would pose no threat to national security." <br><br>Neither the CIA nor the Defense Department has such an exemption. Burr’s spokesperson argues that the exemption is necessary to protect national security claiming that "there will be times where for national security reasons certain information would have to be withheld." For instance, the BARDA should not, according to the spokesperson, be required to publicly disclose information pertaining to a deadly virus. <br><br>FOIA, however, already includes an exemption for national security information, as well as eight other exemptions ranging from privacy issues to confidential business information and law enforcement investigations. If the public disclosure of information would threaten national security, then the government may withhold the requested information. "The well-established and time-tested FOIA provisions already address Burr's concerns," explains Sean Moulton, OMB Watch senior policy analyst, "thereby making the blanket exemption for BARDA unnecessary and unwise." <br><br>Congress established and strengthened FOIA over the years to create a reasonable, consistent level of accountability among government agencies. Under FOIA, when the public requests agency records, the agency is compelled to collect and review the requested information. The only decision for the agency is whether specific records can or can not be released under the law based on the exemptions from disclosure written into the law. However, the Burr legislation reverses the process: it does not require BARDA to collect or review the requests for disclosure. Instead, the agency can automatically reject requests. Still more troubling, the law prohibits any challenges of determinations by the Director of BARDA or Secretary of HHS, stating that the determination of the Director or Secretary with regards to the decision to withhold information "shall not be subject to judicial review." <br><br>Mark Tapscott at the Heritage Foundation writes that "BARDA will essentially be accountable to nobody and can operate without having to worry about troublesome interference from courts or private citizens like you and me." <br><br>This move to restrict the reach of FOIA appears in stark contrast to the recent Senate vote to strengthen open government. Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) co-sponsored FOIA reform legislation, passed by the Senate in June, that "will bring additional sunshine to the federal legislative process, and was another step toward strengthening the Freedom of Information Act." <br><br>The Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act also exempts BARDA from important parts of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires public disclosure of advice given to the executive branch by advisory committees, task forces, boards and commissions. <br><br>Other provisions of the bill compound the troubling secrecy provisions. They include: <br>· Giving BARDA the authority to sign exclusive contracts with drug manufacturers and forbidding the agency from purchasing generic versions of these drugs or vaccines. <br>· Authorizing BARDA to issue grants and rebates for drug companies to produce vaccines. <br>· Providing liability protection to drug manufacturers for drugs and vaccines not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, by requiring the secretary of HHS find that a drug company willfully caused injury. <br><br>The FOIA exemption in combination with these provisions would prevent the public from knowing whether BARDA is effectively completing these duties. Only information on agency actions could establish if the new agency is protecting the public from bioterrorism and infectious disease or if it is simply providing handouts to drug companies that creates no added security. <br><br>"It is essential that open government safeguards remain in place for all agencies," Moulton continues. "It is extremely important to ensure that the nation is protected against pandemics and bioterrorist attacks, but such efforts must not be excluded from open government. By providing the mechanisms for government accountability, these safeguards ensure that the government meets its responsibility to protect the public. In the end, an accountable government is a stronger government which acts to effectively meet all threats, including pandemics and bioterrorism." <br><br>Burr is still in the process of revising the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act, and, with the Senate's incredibly tight schedule, the timing of the bill's introduction on the floor remains uncertain. In the meantime, supporters are rumored to be seeking out a Democratic cosponsor to give it momentum. <br><br>end OMB Watch article <br><br>Here is another piece on BARDA from <br><br>Agency Would Be Exempt from FOIA <br>Last month, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced a bill which would create the first -- and only -- government agency granted immunity from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The new bill, S. 1873, would create the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA). In addition to the FOI exemption, minutes, memos and such "shall not be subject to judicial review" unless the Secretary decides there is no national security threat. <br><br>Ironically, in June this same Senate passed a bi-partisan measure (S. 1181) by unanimous consent that would "bring increased sunshine to the federal legislative process," according to co-sponsor Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT). It would require bills with FOIA exemptions to state them "explicitly" in the bill text; the bill languishes in the House Committee on Government Reform. <br><br>The National Vaccine Information Center calls BARDA "a drug company stockholder's dream and a consumer's worst nightmare." <br><br>The long bill title summarizes BARDA's purpose: "A bill to prepare and strengthen the biodefenses of the United States against deliberate, accidental, and natural outbreaks of illness, and for other purposes." A "natural" outbreak of illness would include a pandemic. The bill is a boon for pharmaceutical companies, because BARDA would manage the federal "government's anti-bioterrorism research and encourage private companies to bring more drugs and vaccines to market quicker." <br><br>With a FOIA exemption, the agency -- and the companies receiving tax money -- would be exempt from judicial or public oversight. The bill also exempts the agency from "rules designed to ensure efficiency and protect against waste and fraud," suggesting there would be little Congressional oversight as well. It doesn't stop there: the companies that would be funded would have a blanket exemption from liability lawsuits. <br><br>Bill Sponsors <br>So who are these Senators, who wish to hand out money with little or no strings attached? In addition to Burr, chair of the Senate Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Subcommittee, there are five co-sponsors of the 89-page bill: Sen. Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Dole (R-NC), Sen. Enzi (R-WY), Sen. Frist (R-TN) and Sen. Gregg (R-NH). As a group, they accepted almost $3 million in contributions from the health sector in the last election cycle; more than one-third of this went to Burr. <br><br>Earlier this month, the Seattle Times called on Congress to "scrutinize" the bill, nothing that not even Homeland Security or the CIA have the "luxury" of FOI exemption. The Roanoke (VA) Times calls, instead, for "a vaccine against official secrecy," noting that bill sponsors "apparently could not resist the penchant too prevalent among Washington leaders today for secrecy and capitulation to corporate donors at the expense of civil protections." <br><br>FOIA <br>FOIA was a hard-fought battle to shine the light of day on backroom government practices; it spawned similar legislation in all 50 states. It, along with other measures like the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), is an "open government" measure designed to provide citizen and media access to government documents and actions. <br><br>President Johnson signed the FOIA on 4 July 1966, one day before a pocket-veto would have killed the bill. In 1996, the Society of Professional Journalists wrote: <br>[T]he FOIA has compelled federal agencies to yield millions of documents relating to government operations and performance. Every week, a news organization, scholar or public-interest group somewhere reports information of significance to public health or safety or good governance — based on material gleaned from FOIA requests. <br><br>Still, the FOIA has been something of a regulatory pariah over its 30-year history. Congressional oversight and agency reporting have been superficial and episodic at best. Funding has been inadequate. Compliance has ranged from enthusiastic implementation to sullen resistance to active interference. <br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--> <p></p><i></i>
User avatar
Posts: 1013
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:20 am
Location: mu, the place in between dualism
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: GERM SPIES = BARDA the new federal agency

Postby sussurus2 » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:37 pm

Jumpin' jehosephat...<br><br>And tamiflu is useless against the avian flu...<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>Profit, control, more profit, more control.<br><br>S. <p></p><i></i>
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 6:38 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Return to Health

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest