Thursday, November 17, 2011

Does Smallpox Contract to Siga Highlight Corporate-Government Corruption, or Imminent Threat?

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
November 16, 2011
In recent months there has been a peculiar increase in the amount of anthrax vaccine being purchased and stored by the U.S. government allegedly in case of an outbreak or the possibility of a “bio-attack.”

For instance, on October 3, 2011, it was reported
that Emergent BioSolutions Inc. received “an award to supply the U.S. Government with 44.75 million doses of BioThrax (Anthrax Vaccine Absorbed) over a period of five years for a total value of up to $1.25 billion.” Only a few days before, on September 15, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had awarded millions of dollars worth of grants to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Developmental Authority (BARDA) for the purpose of supporting the “advanced development of a novel next-generation anthrax vaccine and a new type of anthrax antitoxin.”

Coupled with the fact that the U.S. government claims it cannot account
for or track thousands of pounds of “highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium” and that the Department of Homeland Security, along with local law enforcement, actually lost their own bomb at a drill being conducted at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, AZ, some such as myself began to wonder if we were not seeing the signs of a potential false flag attack.

Although the hopes are generally that the exposure of the preparation for such attacks will play some part in preventing them, little has been done to actually abate the fears of a looming false flag.
Indeed, the extraordinary amount of money being spent to acquire vaccines and drugs for what are essentially non-existent threats is continuing and, like the previous vaccine orders, there is a tie-in with those who view the idea of Martial Law as both an inevitability if not an ideal situation.
At the very least, these vaccine contracts are example of the revolving door between regulatory agencies, major corporations, and the awarding of government contracts.

Indeed, nowhere is the evidence of corruption more apparent than the recent granting of a $433 million smallpox drug deal to
Siga Technologies.

In what is clearly another example of no-bid contracts handed out to major corporations with monied interests, the U.S. government has taken extraordinary steps to
cut all other companies out of the bidding process in order to award Siga the contract. Of course, no-bid contracts are not unusual by any stretch of the imagination. They have been a symptom of government corruption for many years. However, the clownish manner in which the Obama administration has doled out the money to Siga does bear some mention.

Apparently, the contract award competition actually began as a typical bidding contest, even if the contest was only for show. However, after it became clear that Siga was about to lose the contract, the bidding process was suspended and all other firms were blocked from participating. The administration then opened up a new “sole-source” (read “no-bid”) procurement process in which Siga was the only company asked to submit a proposal.

The contract, as David Willman reports from the LA Times
, calls for Siga to provide the United States government with 1.7 million doses of the drug ST-246, an antiviral pill that allegedly can be used to treat people whose smallpox diagnosis came too late for the vaccine to take effect.

Of course, the smallpox vaccine itself is not only ineffective but highly dangerous
. Although this much has been well established, it has been given the green light by the FDA.

However, ST-246 cannot even pass the ridiculously biased and corporate-controlled FDA testing and regulation guidelines. The drug has never been tested in humans (and cannot be due to ethics issues) and the ability to accurately determine whether or not the drug is safe or effective with animal testing is questioned as well.

Not only that, but the threat posed from smallpox is a virtually nonexistent one. It is a disease that has not been found amongst the general population since 1978. In fact, the only known living smallpox agents are those possessed by the United States and Russian governments. According to Willman’s report, there is also no credible evidence that any other country or terrorist group possesses it. Still, the U.S. government is moving ahead with its massive order of smallpox drugs.

Yet, the monetary value of the drugs, as determined by the “sole-source” contract, can be potentially much higher than the $433 million cited earlier. This is because ST-246 is only guaranteed for 38 months, unlike the smallpox vaccine which is guaranteed for decades. This short shelf-life will require  the supply to be constantly replenished, a job that will most likely go to the original supplier barring any unforeseen circumstances. If Siga is granted replenishing contracts, the original $433 million figure could balloon to the tune of $2.8 billion.

Even in this regard, the Obama administration initially attempted to ensure that Siga would be unchallenged. Originally, it had intended for Siga to remain the sole supplier as well as the company that would replenish the stock. However, Chimerix, a small North Carolina company that had attempted to compete with Siga, formally complained about the unfair award practices. In order to end the dispute, the government dropped the exclusivity clause. Now, other companies will be able to go through the motions of what is most likely a bid contest that is merely for show.

Dr. Nicole Lurie
, the presidential appointee who has essentially led the charge to accrue ST-246, has argued continuously for the drug to be purchased because of the possibility of the “unexpected.” However, highlighting the obvious chicanery involved in the bid and award process for ST-246, many others who are considered experts in the field are dismissing the spending as ridiculous and unnecessary.

For instance, Dr. Donald A. Henderson, the man who is credited (at least by mainstream media) with the eradication of smallpox and who worked under the World Health Organization and coordinated U.S. bio-defense under the George W. Bush administration, stated, “We’ve got a vaccine that I hope we never have to use – how much more do we need? The bottom line is, we’ve got a limited amount of money.”

Likewise, Dr. Thomas M. Mack, who served as an advisor to the Food and Drug Administration on the smallpox virus and a current epidemiologist at USC’s Keck School of Medicine who has also dealt with smallpox in Pakistan, called the stockpiling of ST-246, “a waste of time and a waste of money.” 

Neither of these individuals can be considered “conspiracy theorists.” If anything, they are insiders.

Yet the Obama administration has remained undaunted by the questions and the ridicule being levied against its determination to feed its corporate sponsors. Dr. Nicole Lurie especially remained stalwart in defense of her investment of taxpayer money into the corporate black hole.

Lurie stated, “I don’t put probabilities around anything in terms of imminent or not. Because what I can tell you is, in the two-plus years I’ve been in this job, it’s the unexpected that always happens.”

Although Lurie does not exactly say what unexpected biological agent-related issues have arisen in the last two years, it stands to reason that she would defend her efforts to acquire ST-246 as she has invested a great deal of time and effort into the contract negotiations.

According to the LA Times report, Dr. Richard J. Hatchett, the chief medical officer for the HHS bio-defense preparedness unit, wrote in an internal memo as far back as March that the profit margin projected for Siga was “outrageous.” At that time, the projected profit was around 180 percent. Echoing Hatchett’s sentiment, a colleague e-mailed him and agreed that “no government contracting officer ‘would sign a 3 digit profit percentage.’”

Remarkably, Siga’s chief executive, Dr. Eric A. Rose, actually complained to the agency in writing about the department’s “approach to profit” even after Siga was asking for approximately $255 per dose of ST-246, an obviously inflated price that logically followed the lack of competition for the contract.

Lurie, however, then wrote a letter to Dr. Rose and assured him that the “most senior procurement official,” would soon be put in charge of the negotiations. Of course, “most senior procurement official” is merely corrupt bureaucrat for “official more skilled in fleecing the American people and corporate/government collusion.”

Shortly thereafter, Lurie’s next-in-command replaced the government’s chief negotiator Dr. Andre Early with another individual.

Lurie accurately concluded in her letter that Rose would be much more satisfied with the new negotiator. And indeed he was. Siga was awarded the contract at the inflated price it was asking. Yet Lurie continued to suggest that the contract was awarded on merit with an urgent need as the driving force.

At first Lurie denied having ever written the letter or had such contact with Rose. Not only that, but Lurie admitted that such contact as the letter mentioned above would have been inappropriate given her position.

However, a public statement by an HHS spokeswoman directly contradicts Lurie’s claim and acknowledges the letter, claiming that it “reflects the critical importance of the potential procurement to national security.”

Indeed, correspondence between Lurie and Rose is not something surprising or uncommon. After all, Rose served on the U.S. National Bio-defense Science Board which advised Lurie on biological terrorism response as well as other health emergencies.

In addition, Lurie has also been employed by none other than the RAND Corporation
, an entity that is considered a think-tank, but has become one of the most powerful voices in the NGO community, which is famous for promoting what amounts to World War III and a total police state.

One might ask: why Siga? Why is it so important to dole out such a large contract to this specific company? One possible answer lies with its controlling shareholder, billionaire Ronald O. Perelman. Perelman is often mentioned as one of the world’s richest men (yet these claims can be contested) and is a known Democratic Party donor.

As Willman writes for the LA Times,
Perelman and others at Siga’s affiliate, MacAndrews & Forbes, have long been major political donors. They gave a total of $607,550 to federal campaigns for the 2008 and 2010 elections, according to statistics compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. About 65% of that money went to Democrats. Perelman donated an additional $50,000 to President Obama’s inauguration.
Yet the issue goes a bit deeper than a major campaign and party donor being rewarded with massive no-bid contracts for non-existent threats. Obviously, this type of corruption is by no means specific to parties. So, before one launches into a tirade against “liberals” and the Democratic party, consider this: Dr. Eric Rose was appointed to the U.S. National Bio-defense Science Board in 2007 by George W. Bush, a Republican.

Before Rose’s appointment, Siga did not simply appear out of nowhere. As early as 2003, Perelman invested heavy resources into Siga and implanted his own executives within the company. Interestingly enough, Bush initiated Project BioShield (PDF), a program to develop a stockpile of drugs under the auspices of preparation to counter bio-terrorism, shortly thereafter in 2004. This program provided the company with fertile grounds for future profits. Only a few months after, Siga purchased the rights to ST-246 from ViroPharma Inc. paying $1 million, and 1 million shares of Siga’s common stock.

The apparent gamble began to pay off immediately. Between 2004 and 2007, Siga was awarded contracts worth a total of $23.5 million to develop ST-246 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

However, considering the close relationship between those in government and their counterparts in the corporate world, it becomes harder and harder to consider “gambles” and “risks” as anything other than a sure bet.

That being said, Siga never left anything to chance. As Willman describes:
From 2005 through September, the company has paid three lobbying firms $800,000 to represent its interests in Washington, public records show. Disclosures filed by the lobbyists said they focused on Project BioShield and 'issues related to homeland security and HHS,' along with 'government procurement of vaccines.'
Taken at face value, the recent announcement of the Siga contract seems as if it were nothing more than another case of government corruption taking the form of no-bid contracts that span across party lines. Yet the threat of another more diabolical purpose behind the stockpiling of drugs and vaccines in relation to diseases like smallpox and anthrax, coupled with other more “coincidental” happenings, is still very real.

Indeed, it remains to be seen whether the sense of imminence with which Nicole Lurie and the Obama administration have pursued ST-246 is the result of mere political language meant to camouflage corporate payoffs, or whether it is something more sinister which is being prepared for a future false flag bio-terror attack.

Therefore, we must remain vigilant in our ability to acknowledge true threats, while dismissing those that have no merit. At the very least, those elements in government, as well as those in the corporate world who have engaged in such obvious, under-the-table deals should not go unpunished. Nor should they be overlooked.

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