Democracy Now! July 22, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! July 22, 2002
Series Title:
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As the Bush administration sets aside half of the military's supply of anthrax vaccine for civilian use in case of a biological attack, we'll take a look at the anthrax vaccine and its maker, Bioport. And then, Peru sues the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over the Lori Berenson case, the New York activist sentenced to life in prison in Peru. All that and more coming up. 9:01-9:06 Headlines: 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:30 AS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION SETS ASIDE HALF OF THE MILITARY'S SUPPLY OF ANTHRAX VACCINE FOR CIVILIAN USE, A LOOK AT THE ANTHRAX VACCINE AND BIOPORT, THE COMPANY THAT MAKES IT The Bush administration is set to resume using the controversial anthrax vaccine on soldiers as well as civilians. The Pentagon announced in May the military will resume anthrax vaccinations for "at risk" troops. Soldiers receiving the vaccine will not be disclosed "for security reasons." A month later, the Bush administration announced it will set aside about half of the military's supply of anthrax vaccine for civilian use in case of a biological attack. But it is still not clear whether the anthrax vaccine is safe or even effective. In the last four years, a number of published studies have linked anthrax vaccination to the development of Gulf War Syndrome, among them a study in the British medical journal the Lancet. Hundreds of soldiers have refused the shots, after evidence emerged that the vaccinations are connected to a variety of illnesses. But then the Bush administration went on the offensive. The Pentagon funded an Institute of Medicine study which concluded in March the anthrax vaccine is safe and effective against all anthrax strains and routes of infection. Its conclusions were based on unpublished research also funded by the Pentagon. The story doesn't stop there. Bioport, the nation's sole anthrax vaccine lab has repeatedly failed FDA inspections which found among other things, contamination. Admiral Crowe, former chair of the joint chiefs of staff, is one the founding partners of Bioport. The FDA cleared BioPort's manufacturing plant to begin producing the vaccine again last January months after the letters containing anthrax were sent to Congress and news organizations. Bioport was also allowed to distribute the 500,000 doses of the vaccine already in stock. The vaccine was offered to some postal workers and others who were exposed. But most refused to take it. Today we are joined by three people to talk about Bioport and the anthrax vaccine. Democracy Now! called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pentagon, but they said no representative was available to come on the program today. Guest: Thomas Dennie Williams, reporter for the Hartford Courant who covers anthrax Contact: Email for more information: Guest: Kim Brennen-Root, spokesperson for Bioport Corp. Contact: Guest: Meryl Nass, anthrax expert, physician and writer. Nass has more knowledge about the adverse reactions to anthrax than probably anyone in the world. She is the expert witness in several lawsuits on the anthrax vaccine. Nass identified the 1979 anthrax outbreak in Zimbabwe as bio-terrorism. It was the largest outbreak of human anthrax in history. Contact: Links: 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 ANTHRAX VACCINE, CONT'D 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 PERU SUES INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS OVER LORI BERENSON CASE The government of Peru is taking the unprecedented step of suing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over the case of New York activist Lori Berenson. The Human Rights Commission recently recommended the Peruvian government give reparations to Lori Berenson. The Commission was considering passing Berenson's case on to the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights, when Peru announced it would sue the commission. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights is a legal arm of the Organization of American States, and can legally bind member countries, including Peru. A secret military court convicted Lori Berenson in 1996 of being a leader of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement in its failed attempt to seize Congress. The hooded military judge sentenced Berenson to life in prison. A civilian court later overturned that ruling, but convicted Berenson of helping the rebels, and sentenced her to twenty years. Berenson has consistently maintained her innocence. She has spent seven years in prison. The Human Rights Commission has not made public its recommendation. According to Reuters newswire, at issue is whether the civilian retrial respected human rights and due process. Reuters cited a respected human rights lawyer who had seen the document. The lawyer says the Commission condemned the so-called anti-terrorism' laws introduced by former president Alberto Fujimori. The lawyer said the commission blasted the very legal definition of what constitutes terrorism or terrorist collaboration as a violation of human rights. Guest: Rhoda Berenson, Lori Berenson's mother and author of "Lori: My Daughter, Wrongfully Imprisoned in Peru" (with a new edition just published by Northeastern University Press in Boston) IN STUDIO Contact: Guest: Mark Berenson, Lori Berenson's father IN STUDIO 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
July 22, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
July 22, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. July 22, 2002
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