Germs Gone Wild: How the Unchecked Development of Domestic Bio-Defense Threatens America

Overview

A shocking exposé of the reckless proliferation of bio-weapon research and the threat this poses to everyday Americans.
Battling a new generation of corporate giants and uncovering threats right in our own backyard, Kenneth King’s Germs Gone Wild reveals the massive expansion of America's bio-defense research labs and the culture of deception surrounding hundreds of facilities that have opened since 9/11.
King experienced the menace of ...
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Germs Gone Wild: How the Unchecked Development of Domestic Bio-Defense Threatens America

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Overview

A shocking exposé of the reckless proliferation of bio-weapon research and the threat this poses to everyday Americans.
Battling a new generation of corporate giants and uncovering threats right in our own backyard, Kenneth King’s Germs Gone Wild reveals the massive expansion of America's bio-defense research labs and the culture of deception surrounding hundreds of facilities that have opened since 9/11.
King experienced the menace of bio-defense research firsthand when local government and business leaders tried to lure a new facility to his hometown in Kentucky. Researching the safety claims, he not only found many of them to be completely false, but was also horrified by the lack of oversight and the recklessness with which these labs genetically modified pathogens like smallpox, Ebola, and influenza without a care for what happened to the public if there was ever a “leak.”
And yet the greed that drove the development of these labs has effectively counteracted any cautionary checks by the government and universities. All have been seduced by the economic gains and corporate stipends that come with compliance and turning a blind eye. But now, the reality of these labs and the germs they manipulate will finally be brought to light, as King examines the controversies surrounding plants from Maryland to Boston and Utah, to the Department of Homeland Security’s dubious National Bio-and-Agro-Facility (NBAF) project, and the precautions—or lack thereof—being taken to protect us all from a deadly pandemic.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2006, when the Department of Homeland Security was searching for a site to house the "second biggest biodefense facility" in America, the Republican Congressman representing Pulaski County, Ky., was in the forefront of a coalition pushing to house the facility; it would be "as safe as going to Wal-Mart," he asserted. But thousands signed petitions in opposition, including Pulaski resident King, who collected enough evidence to call these safety claims lies. Even after Kentucky was eliminated as a potential home, King continued his research, compiling an impressive number of articles and reports that illustrate not only a widespread failure to track and contain biologically dangerous materials at germ labs across the country, but a history of reckless or even criminal behavior (routing chemical sprayings of U.S. cities through the 1950s, for example). As a chronicle of the development of America's largely unseen biodefense infrastructure, King's book is intriguing; the author combines meticulous research, an often flippant style, and unshakable faith. And this personal connection ultimately stops King's effort from being greater than the sum of its parts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
King (writing, emeritus, Western Kentucky Univ.) was an active participant in the movement to keep a new National Bio-and Agro-Facility Bio-Safety Level-4 (NBAF BSL-4) lab from being built in Kentucky. He documents the process used by some groups to fight against the local placement of these labs and past problems with other existing high-security biological-research labs. While there is no reason to doubt the facts presented, the book is written in an argumentative and strident tone that will lead only strong supporters of King's viewpoint to read it. His purpose is unclear, and his argument is unlikely to convince anyone of the appropriateness of opposing this type of research. VERDICT This is recommended only for libraries located in areas that were considered for these labs and had active public participation and for die-hard supporters of this cause.—Eric D. Albright, Tufts Univ. Health Sciences Lib., Boston
Ed Hammond
“A superb guided tour of the demented world of twenty-first century bioweapons research in America, where dangerous new labs seem to pop up on every street corner, the lines between offense and defense blur, and people who question the wisdom and safety of it all are derided by their own government.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605981000
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 8/7/2010
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth King holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska and a JD from Vanderbilt School of law. King teaches at Western Kentucky University.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 A Biodefense Juggernaut 1

NBAF 1 Plum Island Prelude 15

Chapter 2 Breaches of Containment: The Juggernaut Sputters in the Passing Lane 27

NBAF 2 The NBAF Dating Game, Beta Version 44

Chapter 3 The "Silent Proliferation" of High-Containment Germ Labs: Congress Takes a Look 49

NBAF 3 Just How Safe Is It, Dan'l ? 70

NBAF 4 Ask Them No Questions: I Crash a Pep Rally 83

Chapter 4 Growing Up in a Rough Neighborhood: The Troubling Antecedents of U.S. Biodefense Research 87

NBAF 5 DHS Pulls an August Surprise 97

NBAF 6 A Small Skirmish with the Academic-Military-Industrial Complex 102

Chapter 5 Tales of Anthrax: Your Biodefense Dollars at Work 105

NBAF 7 I Lose a Reason for Caring 130

Chapter 6 Culture of Denial: Accidents in the World of High-Tech Germ Research 133

NBAF 8 Homeland Security Shows Up Late for a Date, Again 151

Chapter 7 Culture of Recklessness: Building the Frankenstein Germs 162

NBAF 9 One If by Van, Two If by Helicopter: Salvaging a Protest 182

Chapter 8 Follow The Money: Biodefense as Academic-Military-Industrial Complex 185

NBAF 10 Waiting for Bad News 200

NBAF 11 Condolences in Silicon Holler 203

Chapter 9 Ain't No Sunshine When It's Gone: A Watchdog Leaves the Circus 209

NBAF 12 Dog-and-Pony Shows vs. Independent Journalism 234

NBAF 13 The Wheels Drop Off a Couple of Bandwagons 245

Chapter 10 Regulation, Not: The Wild Wild West of Germland 262

NBAF 14 Lighting Up NBAF's Hidden Costs: Utility Plants and the GAO 276

Chapter 11 Something in the Air: Dugway, Utah 290

NBAF 15 Kansas Propaganda, A Kansas Tornado, and the DEIS 312

NBAF 16 A Tale of Two Hearings 316

Chapter 12 The Gangs Are All Here: The Fort Detrick Expansion 333

NBAF 17 What Happened to the Anti-NBAF Sign? 357

Chapter 13 Educating the Educated: The Brouhaha in Boston 366

NBAF 18 We're Off to See the Wizards, the Wonderful Wizards of Oz 387

Chapter 14 Galveston: Trust Us, Part Two 392

NBAF 19 A Texas-Kansas "Puss War," and the Propaganda Shifts to Congress 409

NBAF 20 A Trip to Kansas, a Letter to Congress 415

Chapter 14 You Can't Make a Vaccine for Everything: Some Ways Forward 419

A Final Postscript: Just Trust Us 439

Epilogue: Late-Breaking News from Germland and The War on Terror: Gifts and Givers That Keep on Giving 445

Acknowledgments 455

Notes 457

Index 501

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