Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
Two of the world’s foremost scientific journals, Nature and Science, have been asked to censor information on a man-made bird flu variant, claiming that it could fall into the wrong hands.
The United States’ National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) requested that Nature and Science only publish redacted versions of the studies amid fears it might be used as a bioweapon.
The studies, carried out by Yoshihiro Kawaoka from the University of Winsconsin-Madison and Dr. Ron Fouchier and colleagues from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, involved laboratory-made forms of the H5N1 avian flu virus.
This engineered form of H5N1 could be easily transmitted by ferrets, which is reportedly a strong indicator that the virus could be communicable between humans as well.
Both Nature and Science are standing up to the attempted censorship and pointing out that such a move could restrict access to information which very well might contribute to the advancement of public health research.
The panel which issued the request – the NSABB – was formed in 2001 after the now infamous anthrax attacks in the United States.
Of course the major problem with such a board being created in response to the anthrax attacks and its role in advising the Department of Health and Human Services along with other federal agencies is that the anthrax attacks themselves were traced back to the American government.
In fact, the nature of the particular qualities of the anthrax and the strain it was made it impossible to deny that the government was involved in one way or another.
So what role does the same government think they have in controlling the free flow of scientific information?
The NSABB deals with research which they allege has a “dual use” of not only the advancement of public health but also potential use as a biological warfare agent.
Many seem to be pointing to the fact that this is a first for the NSABB to attempt to minimize the dangerous implications of such a move.
“NSABB has never before recommended to restrict communications on research that NSABB has viewed that has potential dual use implications,” said Dr. Amy Patterson, director of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Biotechnology Activities in a statement.
While this may be true, it has no bearing whatsoever on the precedent this would set. If they allow this scientific research to be censored and controlled by the government, there is no telling where it could end.
Furthermore, what right does the United States government have to control a monopoly on information regarding this virus?
While they repeatedly claim it could “fall into the wrong hands,” no one seems to consider the fact that the United States government itself could very well be considered “the wrong hands.”
Not all seem to be so ready to accept yet another instance of the federal government creeping into areas where they should have no place whatsoever.
Professor Wendy Barclay, the chair of influenza virology at Imperial College London told the Guardian, “It is a very worrying idea that information from this type of work may be restricted to those that ‘qualify’ in some way to be allowed to share it.”
“Who will qualify? How will this be decided? In the end is the likelihood of misuse outweighed by the danger of beginning a Big Brother society?”
Barclay’s point could not be more poignant. Where does it end? I think we all realize that if you give a tyrant an inch, they will take a mile. I believe that we should stop this trend before it begins.
About the Author
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at [email protected]