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Saturday, January 18, 2003

Eco-Terrorism Legislation in Texas

relating to criminal offenses involving acts against certain activities involving animals or involving natural resources and to civil consequences arising from convictions of those offenses.


SECTION 1. Chapter 28, Penal Code, is amended by adding

Section 28.09 to read as follows:

Sec. 28.09. ANIMAL RIGHTS AND ECOLOGICAL TERRORISM. (a) In this section:

(1) "Activity involving animals" means any lawful activity involving the use of animals, including:

(A) hunting and trapping;

(B) food production, processing, and preparation;

(C) clothing manufacturing and distribution;

(D) medical or other research;

(E) entertainment and recreation; and

(F) agriculture.

(2) "Activity involving natural resources" means any lawful activity involving the use of a natural resource with an economic value, including mining, foresting, harvesting, or processing natural resources.

(3) "Animal facility" means a vehicle, building, structure, or other premises where an animal is lawfully:

(A) housed, exhibited, or offered for sale, including a zoo, amusement park, or preserve or a location at which a circus or a rodeo or other competitive event is held; or

(B) used for scientific purposes, including research, testing, and experiments.

(4) "Animal rights or ecological terrorist organization" means two or more persons organized for the purpose of supporting any politically motivated activity intended to obstruct or deter any person from participating in an activity involving animals or an activity involving natural resources.

(5) "Political motivation" means an intent to influence a governmental entity or the public to take a specific political action.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person, with political motivation or while acting on behalf of an animal rights or ecological terrorist organization:

(1) prevents an individual from lawfully participating in an activity involving animals or an activity involving natural resources by:

(A) obstructing the use of an animal or a natural resource owned by the individual, if the obstruction is for a period of time sufficient to significantly decrease the value or enjoyment

of the animal or the natural resource to the individual;

(B) damaging or disposing of an animal or a natural resource owned by the individual, if the damage or disposal substantially reduces the condition or usefulness of the animal or the natural resource; or

(C) detaining an animal or a natural resource owned by the individual and demanding compensation in exchange for release of the animal or the natural resource; or

(2) prevents an individual's use of an animal facility without the effective consent of the facility's owner by:

(A) damaging the facility or property in the facility;

(B) physically disrupting the operation of the facility;

(C) unlawfully entering or remaining in the facility and engaging in an activity described by Subdivision (1);

(D) unlawfully entering or remaining in the facility despite notice denying entry; or

(E) entering the facility to take photographs or a video recording with the intent to defame the facility or the facility's owner.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly provides financial support, resources, or other assistance to an animal rights or ecological terrorism organization for the purpose of assisting the organization in carrying out an act described by Subsection (b).

(d) An offense under Subsection (c) is a Class B misdemeanor. An offense under Subsection (b) is:

(1) a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of pecuniary loss resulting from the commission of the offense is less than $500; or

(2) a state jail felony if the amount of pecuniary loss is $500 or more.

(e) The punishment for an offense described by Subsection

(d) is increased to the next higher category of punishment if the offense results in bodily harm to any individual.

(f) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b) that the conduct is engaged in by:

(1) an employee of a government agency acting in the course and scope of their employment;

(2) an employee of a financial institution or other secured party acting in the course and scope of their employment; or

(3) an employee of an animal control authority or a recognized animal shelter or humane society acting in the course and scope of their employment.

(g) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.

SECTION 2. Title 6, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is amended by adding Chapter 148 to read as follows:


Sec. 148.001. CAUSE OF ACTION. (a) A person who is injured or whose property has been injured as a result of a violation under Section 28.09, Penal Code, has a civil cause of action if the conduct constituting the violation was committed knowingly or intentionally.

(b) A person must bring suit for damages under this section before the earlier of the fifth anniversary of the date of the last act in the course of the conduct constituting a violation under Section 28.09, Penal Code, or the second anniversary of the date the claimant first discovered or had reasonable opportunity to discover the violation.

Sec. 148.002. DAMAGES. A person who establishes a cause of action under this chapter may recover:

(1) an amount equal to three times the amount of economic damages, including any damages related to damaged records, lost profits, or the cost of repeating an experiment; and

(2) court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

SECTION 3. Subchapter D, Chapter 411, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 411.0422 to read as follows:

Sec. 411.0422. INFORMATION REGARDING ANIMAL RIGHTS OR ECOLOGICAL TERRORIST. (a) The department shall create a record of each individual who commits an offense under Section 28.09, Penal Code.

(b) A record created under this section must include the individual's name, residence address, and signature and a recent photograph of the individual.

(c) If an individual who is the subject of a record makes a change in name or address, the individual shall, not later than the 30th day after making the change, provide to the department written notice of the change.

(d) The department shall maintain an Internet website containing each record described by this section. A record must remain on the website for at least three years, at which time the individual who is the subject of the record may apply to the department for a hearing on removal of the record.

SECTION 4. (a) The change in law made by this Act applies only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act. For purposes of this section, an offense is committed before the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurs before that date.

(b) An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.

SECTION 5. This Act takes effect September 1, 2003.

Posted by Richard
1/18/2003 04:11:19 PM | PermaLink

Friday, January 17, 2003

Increasing Numbers of Households Putting Pressure on Environment

Despite decreasing populations in some areas, the number of households are increasing, putting pressure on the environment, according to a new study by researchers from two US universities in the prestigious journal Nature. This is a free report...

Posted by Richard
1/17/2003 11:05:45 AM | PermaLink

Reintroduction of Predators is Wrong -- A Letter to the Editor from the Montana Missoulian

In response to the letter from Becca Mercer (Missoulian, Jan. 3) about wolves:
I also am a Montana native (fourth-generation). I don't know just what that has to do with the wolf situation, but since she threw it in it
must mean something. We do live next to nature and there are now predators back in the picture that had been resolved many years ago by means of trapping (done by the government and others) and bounties and stock growers protecting their livestock. The conspiracy she mentions is not caused by the wolves, but by the people who were responsible for the reintroduction of animals.
There is an overabundance of wolves in Canada, so there is no danger of them going extinct. She writes that she is envious of people who have land, uncontrolled greenery and trees. This tells me she has no animals to protect; well maybe a dog or cat. I'll bet she might have a different outlook on wolves if they kill one of those. How will these people who did the introduction feel when a child or a grown-up is killed? Now how does she feel about mice in her house? They are just doing what mice do. Don't worry about hantavirus; mice have the right to live too. How about slugs, snails and other pests in the garden? Shouldn't they have the right to exist?

The rancher is trying to protect his and your food supply, and if predators are stealing from him and you they should be destroyed.

Jim Backus
Let me break down the problems with Mr. Backus's thinking on anti-predator introduction in Montana:

1) He doesn't know what being a 4th generation Montana native has to do with the wolf situation -- what it has to do Mr. Backus is that ranchers and anti-wolf parties often accuse people who are pro-wolf of being "outsiders," "meddling environmentalists or gov't officials" who know little to nothing of the history and community interactions that take place in the habitat of introduction.

2) He isn't concerned about extinction for the wolves because there are plenty of them in Canada. Unfortunately, his thinking here is wrong on two counts:

a) while Canada certainly is able to maintain much larger packs of wolves than present day America and should be able to do so for the near future as well, the fact is that human encroachment and global climate change are serving to threaten wolf packs generally. The idea that "there are still plenty elsewhere, so it's "not my problem" is false in a globalized world -- this is everyone's problem, which leads to the more sophisticated and important answer as to why Backus's thinking is misguided...

b) wolves are being reintroduced into original habitats for at least two important reasons -- that ecological science teaches us that the elimination of large predators from the American west (and east) has had a devastating effect on the habitat there, increasing numbers of deer, etc. to produce dynamic environmental conditions that are not helpful over the long-term (the elimination of large predators, then, is now seen as a short-sighted solution that has unfortunate long-term consequences that cannot be tolerated); and another reason for wolf reintroduction has to do with the American sense of conservation -- a powerful and important aspect of American identity since the 1830s that respects vital wilderness and the plethora of life that the American continent holds. Modern population of wilderness spaces, alongside the growing industrial consumption rates of the populace, however, have moved the once mighty American wilderness towards subdivision and suburbanity such that a thriving ecosystem of pluralism is now mostly a corporate monoculture.

The protection of wolves, then, like with the American Condor and Bald Eagle, represents an important symbolic move within the American spirit that says our traditions of mighty wilderness remain important to us as a people and that we will not sell them out for a dollar or convenience.

3) Mr. Backus then reacts hysterically against wolf reintroduction by asking those responsible how they would feel if wolves ate their beloved family dog or cat (or child or grown-up!). But this is simply hysteria of a kind that is typical of dialogue today, but unhelpful for democracy. While it would no doubt be horrible to lose a dog or cat, much less a person, to a wolf attack (or any attack -- including one by humans), the fact of the matter is that wolf packs (especially as humans provide them real and compelling habitats) are not interested in preying upon family pets or members. Wolves would much rather hunt deer populations -- and to rancher's chagrin, the weakest and sickest of their sheep, cattle, and elk flocks -- then family members (even in the most extreme circumstances).

Of course, coyotes often do hunt cats and, on occasion, dogs too; and the spread of coyotes -- increasingly into suburban and urban spaces due to ecological changes -- is a real issue. Yet, Mr. Backus doesn't address this, instead he blames it on wolves -- a much less likely candidate for such behavior. Further, as important an issue as it is, I have yet to hear widespread condemnation of coyotes as murderous pests deserving of American extinction because they are eating our beloved fluffys. Instead, and I have known many people who have sadly lost animals to coyote attacks (and owl attacks too), these people (as much as they regret what has happened) would never think of hunting down coyotes and owls in response -- they live where they live because they treasure the wilderness around them (at whatever its local costs). There's is an "ecological" life that understands the systemic costs and benefits involved and doesn't seek to streamline their lives to rid them of all costs and maximize their benefits (as does modern urbane capitalist thinking).

4) Mr. Backus then becomes inflammatory, wondering about mice and hantavirus -- and garden "pests" like slugs and snails -- "don't they have a right to exist to?" Well, yes, Mr. Backus -- they do, and it only goes to show how limited is your ability to conceive the whole picture here that you would think for even a moment that this is a compelling argument against wolf reintroduction. Yours is a vision of life in which, apparently, you are at the center and also at the periphery -- in which you dominate and happily clear out anything that bothers you and would like to try to exist alongside you. But it is exactly this sort of consciousness that has been found to be woefully inadequate for our current social and environmental crises within America proper (and across the planet as a whole). I think back to Henry David Thoreau, in Walden, and how he wrote about the mice who found warmth in his cabin (the size of a closet Mr. Backus) and would snack on his storage of potatoes in his cellar during the winter. Now, Mr. Thoreau was a Harvard educated man and one of our great American figures, hailed by such notables as Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandhi for his thought. If he could tolerate living with mice in his woodland shack, shouldn't we be able to accept an occasional intruder into our lives as such as they appear from time to time, without needing to murderously repress them and expell them from our sight?

In response, Mr. Backus would charge that such a worldview leads to things like Bubonic plague and hantavirus attacks. But the fact of the matter is that plague, while affecting rodent populations terribly, is a human disease brought about by human disgust and disrepair -- not the other way around. Further, as someone who lived amidst hantavirus in New Mexico, I feel assured in saying that, while the disease and its conditions are worthy of our attention and action, the sort of high-flung reaction that Mr. Backus manifests is way beyond reasonable this author, it reminds me of the style of cold war thinking that suggested "those commies are everywhere and if we don't get them, they'll get us first." Again, sadly, this logic is greatly on the rise today amidst our wars on terror. But I would argue in response that mice (or wolves) are accountable of far less terror upon people than people are.

5) Finally, Mr. Backus suggests that wolves are real problems for ranchers and that ranchers are only trying to protect their (and my) food supply. Well, Mr. Backus, ranchers I tell you are certainly not protecting MY FOOD SUPPLY -- some people reject outright the large scale farming of animals for slaughter and consumption (though this must be news to you). But disregarding that, your thinking here is again fallacious on at least two counts -- a) it has been demonstrated time and again that wolves are not significant threats to ranchers livelihoods even if they do hunt occasionally upon young, aged, or sick flock members. As I have demonstrated here on this blog a handful of times, if the federal government moved its monies committed to killing wolf packs preying upon flocks to simply reimbursing ranchers at the actual market cost of their occasional losses, federal wolf programs stand to actually make a profit over their current expenditure losses; and b) to the degree that this does not exist, and instead federal and state programs are in effect destroying marauding wolves that prey upon ranchers, while I wholly reject this course of action, there is at least a real course of action open to ranchers to protect their livelihood from predation -- the idea that ranchers need to simply sit back and allow flocks to be preyed upon without any form of recourse has not been raised by any party in the wolf reintroduction campaign.

The reintroduction of large predators into what is left of the American wilderness, and the continued conservation and resurrection of that wilderness, will not come easily and without troubles. But we must keep our debates focused on the long-term effects of what is being done now, and worry more about the costs and benefits to the land of our children's children's children than to our own station in society as it presently exists. Further, we must (on both sides of the issues) struggle to overcome simplistic and one-sided accounts of the kind good vs. evil, to recognize the other's views and address them meaningfully. Only by doing this, I would argue, is there any residue of hope left in once what was taken up as the "American dream."

Posted by Richard
1/17/2003 07:47:19 AM | PermaLink

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Best and Worst 2002 Green Autos

For the best, click here.
For the worst, click here.
For a best by class list, click here.

Posted by Richard
1/16/2003 01:30:00 PM | PermaLink

Getting Oneself Off the Grid, Solar Style

Responding to a query of mine, my friend Virginia (thanks Virginia!) at sent me a very useful collection of links that provide info on the possibilities of beginning to move off the electric grid, and get your power company and/or state to help defray the expenditure in the process. As she had mentioned previously, California has a program that helps to defray up to 50% of the costs in some cases. When the world claws at our ankles in supplication and ruination, and when the opportunity exists to realistically transform our relations to that world at the level of our habits of food consumption (local, organic, and vegan), product consumption (reuse), and energy consumption (sustainable practices such as implementing solar cells), an ethical mandate truly envelops those of us who are the harbingers of this revelation. We simply must transform ourselves and radicalize our behaviors. The mounting terror is global, but this does not alleviate us of responding locally.

Helpful solar links:
map for all states financial info
news on federal subsidies
great company
G u e r r i l l a S o l a r
great house
home desin and build it yourself
great links

Posted by Richard
1/16/2003 08:49:36 AM | PermaLink

Environmental Patriot Act? Terrorism, Patriotism, and Environmental Law

"The cherished Toxic Release Inventory arguably may be misused by terrorists to release deadly chemicals from industrial facilities. Should we, as patriots, therefore sacrifice the hard-fought right to know which chemicals are stored in our back yards and released into the air and water of our communities?

These are difficult questions requiring complicated and nuanced answers. What thoughtful environmentalists fear most in the upcoming congressional session is a rush to judgment. If a proposed Environmental Patriot Act gains momentum, Congress should remember that the toxic cloud slaying the innocent people of Bhopal, India, was not the result of a terrorist act but the consequence of business as usual."

Full article:

Posted by Richard
1/16/2003 08:21:42 AM | PermaLink

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

USDA Blasted for Cruelty in Killing Chickens

An HFA investigation revealed that during a mass turkey and chicken destruction program conducted by the USDA last summer in Virginia, cruel and inhumane methods were utilized in killing the birds. These methods included:

-- Bludgeoning turkeys to death with baseball bats, ax handles, sticks,
and broom handles.
-- Breaking the necks and cutting the throats of chickens by personnel
untrained and/or inexperienced in the procedures.
-- Placing chickens in plastic bags attached to vehicle exhaust pipes.
-- Cramming birds into gassing cages, leading to severe overcrowding and
inadequate gas distribution.
-- Inadequately sealing the gassing compartments, resulting in a prolonged
time to loss of consciousness.
-- Pumping gas directly on the bodies of some birds, causing painful

"The American public would be appalled to see the abusive treatment of animals conducted under the auspices of the USDA," said Dena Jones of the Humane Farming Association. "We call for an immediate end to behavior that if conducted by private citizens would surely qualify as criminal animal cruelty."

Read more

Posted by Richard
1/15/2003 01:19:20 PM | PermaLink

Not Building Green Called a Matter of Economics

The tools for constructing environmentally conscious, energy-efficient office buildings have existed for decades, but commercial developers have not adopted the principles of what is commonly called green or sustainable building because a compelling case demonstrating the economic rewards has not been made, according to specialists in real estate, finance, design, construction and environmental health and safety. It is a phenomenon with parallels to the popularity of sport utility vehicles, except that buildings are responsible for more than 36 percent of the country's energy consumption, and transportation only 27 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy. A movement is under way to promote green development as economically compelling, complete with a trade organization that sets standards and awards certifications to buildings.

New York Times

Posted by Richard
1/15/2003 10:01:19 AM | PermaLink

The Hydrogen Economy by Jeremy Rifkin

Rifkin's thesis is interesting and worthy of attention. But two problems are the chaotic combustibility of Hydrogen and, more importantly, the way in which technological innovation itself becomes the answer to the problems wrought by past technological innovations. Critics like the late Ivan Illich properly point out that using technology to overcome technology demands a priori a certain worldview and mindset (i.e. global technocapitalism) that may be more of an issue ultimately than any particular pollutive agent or industrial energy source.
More than a year after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the world is a more dangerous place than ever before. And, at the heart of our collective fear is the struggle to control oil. Can a combination of technological innovation, global cooperation and strategic thinking take oil off the international chessboard of power politics and replace it with the ultimate energy carrier, lighter-than-air, and potentially non-polluting hydrogen?

Posted by Richard
1/15/2003 09:47:56 AM | PermaLink

Computer Industry Faulted for Slow Progress on Sustainability -- Survey Rates Environmental Performance

Fujitsu is the only company that gets a passing grade -- IBM and Apple are US companies that don't absolutely fail but need to improve their track record considerably. Dell fails and Gateway scores just below George W. Bush on the environmental scale -- for shame! As the computer industry continues to be a dominant economic and social force over the coming decades, these very real and important industrial pollution factors will mount to be one of the largest problems facing the global environment very quickly. The tech corporations need to bring the commitment to their factory practices that they initially brought to the liberal workplace in terms of benefits and worker identity. But more than this, there is equally a burden upon the consumer population, not to support companies like Gateway that apparently give a damn about polluting the world. Further, consumers need to at least begin to reuse and recycle their component parts and have the awareness that throwing out their monitors and drives (laden with highly toxic metals and non-biodegradable plastics) is no better for the world then if someone with an INC. at the end of their name does it.
Computer manufacturers need pressure from government and the public to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products, according to a coalition of environmental groups. In its just-released annual Computer Report Card, the Computer TakeBack Campaign (CTBC) acknowledged some progress, but faulted the industry for failing to take more initiative in the United States, which has yet to develop a national policy.

"Laws and regulations, along with public pressure, have pushed companies to clean up their processes, protect workers, and take responsibility for the final disposal of their products," according to CTBC. "Where countries have enacted environmental regulations, such as…in Europe and…Japan, the computer industry has responded by developing sustainable products, accepting their responsibility throughout those products' lifecycles, encouraging reuse of materials, and working toward environmentally sound disposal."

CTBC charged that international companies alter their practices according to national and regional regulations, offering take-back programs and supporting recycling efforts where required or pressured to do so. "As a result, double standards exist between countries, as well as within companies."

Since the United States has no national policy or regulations requiring computer take-back or recycling programs, "most companies have not taken the initiative to implement permanent policies" as they have in the European Union and Japan, according to the report. "This inaction, coupled with the failure to pass crucial legislation, has allowed the computer industry to resist addressing" issues such as the amount of hazardous materials in their products and the growing volume of discarded equipment.

"In Europe, computer companies, activists, and government are implementing a system based on producer take-back of all discarded equipment," said David Wood, program director of the Grassroots Recycling Network. "We want those same computer companies selling here in the U.S. to treat American consumers at least as well as they treat Europeans. The double standard has got to go."

Manufacturers Rated

The Computer Report Card rated 28 manufacturers in four areas of environmental performance: Use of hazardous materials, take-back programs for used and obsolete equipment, worker health and safety, and ease of access to information about their environmental policies on company web sites. Fujitsu scored top marks in the survey, followed by Canon, IBM, and NEC. Among U.S. companies, Apple and Hewlett-Packard/Compaq ranked ninth and eleventh, respectively.

Apple, Brother, Dell, Hewlett Packard/Compaq, and IBM were among the 11 companies CTBC credited with "doing more to implement extended producer responsibility and improve the environmental attributes of their products" than indicated on their web sites. Had they reported all of their efforts, they would have scored higher in the survey. CTBC noted that many companies are reluctant to publish environmental targets in case they fail to meet them.

CTBC urged computer manufacturers to provide:
more environmentally sound products and take-back services
a commitment not to send e-waste to the Third World or prisons, and not to form partnerships with recyclers that do
timetables for their toxins reduction and take-back plans
names of products and numbers of units that are recycled, undergo green design improvements, and/or earn eco-labels - presented in the context of how many products within the same category the company makes and sells in the same time period
specific environmental attributes of products
specific information on environmental policies, such as recycling practices
actual phase-out goals, not tied to emissions reductions or materials management
more specific information on the chemicals used in products and in manufacturing processes
detailed reasons why lead, BFRs, PVCs, and other hazardous materials have not been phased out or are not meeting phase-out goals
monitoring information on serious illnesses, injuries, and reproductive problems possibly related to chemical exposure

"Finally, as part of extended producer responsibility, producers need to take the lead on environmental and safety issues, especially in regions that do not have the types of regulations found in Japan and the EU. Infrastructure needs to be built, products need to be made safe, laws need to be passed, and workers need to be protected. Computer companies comprise the most creative and innovative industry in history and must channel their energy toward clean and sustainable production."

The Computer TakeBack Campaign is a national coalition of organizations that promote clean production and extended producer responsibility that requires companies to take "full financial and physical responsibility" for their products through end of life.

View the full report card here.

by Dave Bell

Posted by Richard
1/15/2003 07:43:23 AM | PermaLink

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

SUV Critic's Assertions No Capital Crime (?)

I'm no big Arianna Huffington fan in general, but in this campaign she is to be lauded and it goes to show just how much power American car manufacturers and the Pentagon have with big media that the networks will fall all over themselves to run the arrogant series of commercials linking white drug-use to support of terror (a series that it is hard to determine whether it is more genuinely racist or misleadingly false in scope) but when it comes to playing the same exact cards towards critiquing SUV's and the global political costs of their fuel and pollution costs, however, the networks will cry foul and turn away. That Huffington would then be labelled a "terrorist" in turn goes to show just how hysterical the times have become and how an ultra-reactionary form of captialism is in fact the sort of psychopathology that is running the biggest companies, organizations, and government offices near you right now.
I've entertained SUV owners in my home, attended their children's birthday parties, and even married one of their sisters.

So it's difficult for me to think of those who drive sport-utility vehicles -- with the possible exception of that Expedition-mounted troglodyte who ran me off the Lodge service drive the other morning -- as terrorists.

But is it really so outrageous to suggest, as Arianna Huffington and her anti-SUV crusaders have, that our national appetite for fuel-hungry vehicles has consequences that range beyond our garages and bank accounts?

Maybe the national ad campaign suggesting a nexus between SUV owners and suicide bombers is a stretch.

But is it totally inappropriate to explore a possible linkage, as Channel 4's sales director sniffed after vetoing a 30-second spot sponsored by Huffington's group? [ More ]

BY Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press

Posted by Richard
1/14/2003 08:25:14 AM | PermaLink

Monday, January 13, 2003

Pentagon to Seek Relief from Rules on Environment

The Pentagon plans to ask Congress next month for relief from environmental regulations that protect endangered species and critical habitats on millions of acres of military training ranges across the country, saying the controls impede crucial exercises and combat readiness. "The essence of what they're saying is (that) national defense requires destroying what it is they're trying to defend," said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an environmental group in Washington, D.C. "And for the military on environmental issues to say, 'Trust us,' given their horrendous record, is insane."

Posted by Richard
1/13/2003 09:45:51 AM | PermaLink

Sunday, January 12, 2003

As Bush Threatens Iraq with Nukes, US Ramps up its Own Biowarfare Research

Full Article Here

Robert Gould, MD, incoming president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, is concerned that the US may be breaching the Biological Weapons Convention, which limits research to defensive purposes, by genetically modifying anthrax. "This is a threat of developing offensive capabilities," Dr. Gould said, "because you're modifying an organism to be resistant to antibiotics and therefore increasing its capability to be a weapon."

Dr. Gould's concerns are borne out by several documents. LLNL, which already has a BSL-2 lab, has acknowledged in a "Frequently Asked Questions List" that it would be working with anthrax in the BSL-3 lab and that it has been "working with 25 different strains of anthrax since Spring 2000 as part of our regular program work for the National Nuclear Security Administration's Chemical and Biological National Security Program."

The draft environmental assessment for the proposed lab says that current plans call for the facility to handle the DNA and RNA of a wide array of organisms. The lab could also engage in the chemical separation of DNA, RNA and proteins, and in sample amplification, which the assessment defines as "the process to rapidly and significantly increase the number of microorganisms in a sample." The environmental assessment also states that "the proposed facility would have the unique capability within DOE/NNSA to perform aerosol studies to include challenges of rodents using infectious agents or biologically derived toxins (biotoxins)."

Posted by Richard
1/12/2003 07:47:20 AM | PermaLink

Ingrid has been assembling some kick-ass recipes over at A bunch of noodle dishes and vegan pizzas (my predicition) will be key to revolutionizing the world to a better way of life and more harmonious social order! Even revolutionaries need the simple little things like pizza once in a while...

Posted by Richard
1/12/2003 07:29:06 AM | PermaLink