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Congress temporarily thwarted in its effort to launch biological war

Remember Mark Souder? Well, back in 2006, he and Senator Hatch and Senator Biden were desperately trying to introduce some major biological warfare into the drug war – namely, the use of mycoherbicides for drug crop eradication.

At that time, we were able to stop them from implementing active field studies of mycoherbicides in Colombia and Afghanistan. But they still managed to push a pro-mycoherbicide provision… into the ONDCP reauthorization.

SEC. 1111. REQUIREMENT FOR SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF MYCOHERBICIDE IN ILLICIT DRUG CROP ERADICATION.

(a) Requirement.–Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall submit to the Congress a report that includes a plan to conduct, on an expedited basis, a scientific study of the use of mycoherbicide as a means of illicit drug crop elimination by an appropriate Government scientific research entity, including a complete and thorough scientific peer review. The study shall include an evaluation of the likely human health and environmental impacts of mycoherbicides derived from fungus naturally existing in the soil.

Well, the study was actually done, and the results were just released.

From the summary:

On the basis of its review, the committee concluded that the available data are insufficient to determine the effectiveness of the specific fungi proposed as mycoherbicides to combat illicit-drug crops or to determine their potential effects on nontarget plants, microorganisms, animals, humans, or the environment. The questions normally asked before a fungal pathogen is registered as a mycoherbicide in the United States have not been adequately addressed. […]

OVERARCHING FINDINGS

Studies of the cannabis, coca, and opium poppy mycoherbicides that have
been published or were made available to the panel are preliminary, exploratory, and insufficient to determine their suitability for controlling illicit-drug crops. The available data do not answer all the questions normally asked before a fungal pathogen is registered as a mycoherbicide in the United States. The rigorous, lengthy testing required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not yet begun, and conducting the research is not a guarantee that a registered mycoherbicide product will result. Mycoherbicides for the control of illicit-drug crops will face additional difficulties in that the people cultivating the crops will be working to prevent the mycoherbicides from having their intended effects.

Potential Impediments

International Approval and Cooperation: Mycoherbicides proved to be safe and effective might not be approved for use in other countries. At least some tests of the mycoherbicide strains must be performed in the countries where the mycoherbicides might be used or in other countries that have similar climatic and environmental conditions. The testing requires the approval and cooperation of those countries and has been difficult, or impossible, to obtain. Country-specific requirements for such applications must also be satisfied.

Difficulties in Implementation: Commercial success of mycoherbicides developed to control weeds requires collaboration with the growers. Farmers who welcome attempts to control unwanted plants will tolerate aerial application from aircraft flying at low altitudes and at low speeds or from ground-based equipment, as needed, for the effective application of mycoherbicides, and they will permit or assist in the on-the-ground monitoring needed to assess the efficacy of the mycoherbicide. The proposed mycoherbicides for illicit-drug crops would not have similar cooperation from their growers, and this would constrain aerial application methods and limit on-the-ground monitoring. Technology for
the effective application of mycoherbicides from high altitudes has not been developed.

Difficulty in Assessment of Effectiveness: The available data indicate that that proposed mycoherbicide strains are unlikely to kill large numbers of the target plants quickly. The combination of lack of rapid, aggressive action with little or nonexistent on-the-ground assessment would make it difficult, or even impossible, to determine the effectiveness of the mycoherbicide applications.

Development of Countermeasures: Producers of illicit-drug crops have an incentive to prevent damage to their crop yields and should be expected to develop countermeasures that reduce the efficacy of the mycoherbicides. Such countermeasures could include the use of fungicides or soil fumigants to kill the mycoherbicide strains directly or the cultivation of plant varieties that are resistant to the mycoherbicides.

Unavoidable Risks

Risks to Legal Crops and Native Plants: Cannabis, coca, and opium
poppy are grown in several countries for licit uses and are part of the native flora in some regions. Plants in those settings could be vulnerable to the mycoherbicides. In addition, the mycoherbicides could spread beyond the geographic range of the illicit crops.

Risks to Nontarget Organisms: The mycoherbicide strains could have
direct and indirect effects on other plants, microorganisms, animals, or the environment. Those effects cannot be completely characterized even if research is performed to learn more about the infectivity and toxicity of the strains, if any, to nontarget plants and organisms. Mycoherbicides consist of living organisms that interact with and adapt to their environment, and it is difficult to predict how they might behave when released in substantial numbers into an ecosystem.

Didn’t give Congress quite the ringing endorsement some were hoping for.

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36 comments to Congress temporarily thwarted in its effort to launch biological war

  • darkcycle

    Just in case a mycoherbicide is sprayed in YOUR neighborhood. A useful additive when a sterile root zone is a must. See “Agressive Strength”.
    Pythium? Fusarium? ANY fungus in the root zone at all? Heh-heh-heh:http://www.dutchmaster.com.au/?language=english&page=product&product=ZONE Don’t f**k with darkcycle.

    • darkcycle

      Zone is such a powerful sterilizer it is incompatable with organic systems. So, be prepared to use synthetic fertilizer exclusively. Do not add to organic soil, you won’t like the results.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .
      I don’t understand at all why people are so queer for organics. So called “chemical fertilizers” are mineral salts, i.e. rocks. Organic fertilizer is predominantly animal shit. So I ask myself, would I enjoy eating or vaporizing processed animal shit, or would I prefer processed rocks? The rocks win every time.
      ———-
      Pave the planet

      One world

      One people

      One giant slab of concrete

      • darkcycle

        Oh, Duncan….I will write you an extended explanation on Fb. But the method plants use to take up those nutrients is EVERYTHING. There are many patients around here who will not use anything BUT my organic meds, and for good reason.
        Think about the advantages. I spend 30-40 minutes once “building” my container (that’s adding all the dry ammendments and mixing) and then they get nothing but plain water w/ a tiny bit of molasses and occasionally compost tea for the rest of the cycle. And they’re LONG cycle….plant limits mean I must grow monsters. Four to five and a half feet tall, 4 to 14oz a plant depending on strain. And I never have to test pH (well, almost never) and EC doesn’t matter.

      • darkcycle

        “We are dealing 10 global issues at the moment: food security, availability of water,climate change, energy demand, waste disposal, extinction of biodiversity, soil degradation and desertification, poverty, political and ethnic instability, and rapid population increase. The solution to all of these lies in soil management.” Rattan Lal, Director of the Ohio State University Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Jan. 29, 2009

  • For a minute there when I saw this, “it is incompatable with organic systems” I thought you were talking about modern civilization… my bad.

    I remember Florida’s drug czar James McDonough wanted to use fusarium down there. Russia was involved as well, doing their biological warfare work at the Vavilov Center. Which is really weird because of Nikolai Vavilov’s work as a botanist and geneticist. Vavilov was concerned with feeding the world’s hungry and starving. He intended his work to benefit people.

    If memory serves there was some work done in Hawaii and Montana with fusarium as well. And it is truly nice to see a gummint document based on real science (or explaining the lack of).

    I’ve always wondered how nincompoops like Biden and Hatch can introduce such ideas while being so freaking clueless about the subject… (rhetorical, sarcasm)

  • pfroehlich2004

    Interesting article on the racist history of marijuana prohibition: http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/commentary/article/U-S-marijuana-laws-costly-failure-2341146.php.

    One of the co-writers, Beto O’Rourke, is mounting a primary election challenge to Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes, an unapologetic drug warrior.

    If anybody on here has friends in the El Paso area, make sure they vote for Mr. O’Rourke in the Democratic primary. In the last hundred years, the 16th District has been represented by a Republican for only one term, so it’s a safe bet that the Democratic nominee will win in the general election.

    http://www.facebook.com/betoforcongress

  • Nick

    Our governments drive to make any plant extinct
    is ludicrous at best.

  • darkcycle

    I laugh my ass off every time somebody claims that they intend to “eradicate cannabis” once and for all. Wasn’t that one of the U.N. drugs commission goals?
    Get back to me when they’ve eradicated dandilions.

    • Francis

      I’ve got an idea. It’s bold and admittedly not without some risks, but by God, if we want to eliminate the scourge of marijuana once and for all, we’re gonna have to be bold. The problem with our previous drug crop eradication efforts is that they’ve been focused entirely plant-side. We’ve got to strike at the source of the problem, and that, my friends, is that damn photosynthesis-enabling sun. My plan? Two words: nuclear winter. Stop the sun, stop the weed. And save the children.

      • Jake

        In addition, with a separate filing, the DEA and IAEA have declared that the fusion reactions at the heart of the sun can produce light that is used for photosynthesis of Cannabis, Coca and Poppies. As this is an ‘illegal’ use of UV rays and nuclear power the DEA is lobbying for all international climate commitments to be repealed and sanctions be put in place. A DEA spokesman said “we simply cannot take the chance that the Sun won’t be used to produce these evil substances. As a result we are doing everything in our power to save the world from the scourge of drugs by stopping the Sun being able to produce those nasty UV rays that are so vital for illicit crops”. Many think that the criminalisation of the Sun is a price worth paying to protect us from drugs…

        • Francis

          I like the cut of your jib, sir. And let’s not forget to ban water. Apparently, it “facilitates nutrient transport” in drug crops. Um…”facilitates“? Can you say “felony accessory”? After a little more sleuthing, I discovered something EVEN MORE SHOCKING: the drug crops in question are something like 90% water by weight! (If I had a white board, this is the point in my presentation where I’d write “DRUGS = WATER” across it in huge letters and sit down.)

        • Jake

          Thank you sir, although I think we can go deeper ;-).
          .
          **BREAKING NEWS – URGENT DEA PRESS RELEASE**
          It has been found that the main constituents of all drugs are Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen. This shock discovery has given our administration a vital lifeline in the fight against drugs. As there are a multitude of drug combinations that are possible with these key ingredients, the noble step of scheduling C, H and O as Schedule I drugs under the CSA is taking place as we speak. From the 1st January 2012, anyone found in possession of these substances will be detained indefinitely until it is proved that their arrangement of these elements does not constitute a drug.

          Oh wait, didn’t something akin to that just happen–>
          http://rt.com/usa/news/detention-legislation-torture-senate-891/

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .
        It’s a proven fact that all drug users breathe.

        P.S. Francis, it sounds a lot more authoritative if you call it dihydrogen monoxide (or DHMO) and it confuses the prohibitionists to no end which can be very amusing.

        Somebody went to a lot of trouble to set up a comprehensive website warning about the dangers of DHMO, so comprehensive I was thinking for a few moments that I was confused, again, and that DHMO was something else. The web site is a laugh riot. I highly recommend visiting to anyone with a sense of humor.

        http://www.dhmo.org/

  • claygooding

    If they want,,they can come eradicate the goathead stickers from Texas.

    • PunctureVine

      Clay, this may not be of much use to you, but there is at least a way to collect the scattered goat heads from the yard floor: Walk around in Crocs then pull them out of the soles afterwards.

      And there’s also this aspect:

      CONCLUSIONS:
      The weight gain and improvement in sexual behavior parameters observed in rats could be secondary to the androgen increasing property of TT (PTN) that was observed in our earlier study on primates. The increase in ICP which confirms the proerectile aphrodisiac property of TT could possibly be the result of an increase in androgen and subsequent release of nitric oxide from the nerve endings innervating the corpus cavernosum.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12804079

    • Duncan20903

      Why would anyone stick a goat’s head?

  • JDV

    How they can seriously consider what amounts to biological warfare while even debate about decriminalization or legalization remains taboo is incredible.

  • claygooding

    The fact that they don’t have enough information may not stop them from deploying the micros,,since it would be the intelligent thing to wait until they do have the data,,I look for a large order of spray planes any day.

    • Maria

      I’m guessing, judging from history, that someone out there with the right access is saying “To hell with this red tape. Let’s spray ’em down.”

      Supply side and deployment just needs to be packaged properly and contracted out to private entities. I won’t be surprised to find out a few years form now that they already deployed these techniques in “controlled” experiments in ‘the thoid woild.’

      Like in the already on going “the world is our petri dish” experiments such as terminator genes in certain insects (mosquitoes, flies) and the release of bacteria and algae for environment control in some waterways. Our tinkering is only going to get more micro and macro as time goes on.

    • There were complaints from folks in Peru about having their farms used as involuntary test subjects for mycoherbicide application, don’t know if anything ever came of it… someone hand me the Google… aah… when I search Peru fusarium it only returns 1,160,000 hits…

      The mycoherbicide currently being touted by the drug warriors is Fusarium oxysporum, which first caught the attention of U.S. authorities in the 1970s when a Coca Cola-owned coca plantation in Hawaii was decimated by a mysterious plague. (The company was permitted to grow coca under government supervision for use as an extract in its beverages). Tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) isolated a strain of Fusarium oxysporum (dubbed EN-4) as the origin of the blight, which caused the coca plants and subsequent plantings of the crop to wilt and die. Impressed by the possibilities of Fusarium as a mycoherbicide, the U.S. government embarked on extensive–and sometimes classified–research of the fungus, spending some $14 million over the next two decades.

      By the early 1990s, there were numerous allegations that the United States had conducted its first “field test” of Fusarium over the coca fields of Peru. Peasants in the Upper Huallaga Valley reported seeing helicopters and airplanes spraying clouds over their crops (some of which were coca), and that shortly thereafter their plants had wilted and perished and their animals had grown sick. The UN Development Program office in Lima, whose responsibilities included overseeing crop substitution initiatives, registered a number of complaints that the helicopters had departed from the Santa Lucia antidrug base, a facility built by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Precisely what triggered the fungal outbreak in the Huallaga Valley is still unknown, but it is certain the blight resulted from none other than Fusarium oxysporum.

      The U.S. government denied involvement in the Fusarium outbreak in Peru and deflected criticism by asserting that it was a natural phenomenon. Then-U.S. drug czar Bob Martinez stated that, “The United States has not been, is not, nor will it be involved in any kind of use of chemicals.” Strictly speaking, however, Martinez’s statement did not deny U.S. culpability for the fungal outbreak, which was, after all, a biological and not a chemical occurrence. When pressured, he acknowledged “a lot of research” in the United States but would not comment further.

      Considering the heightened drug war context of the early 1990s, the peasants’ consistent testimonials about aerial fumigation, the initial concentration of the outbreak around a DEA facility, and Washington’s years of research into the very mycoherbicide that broke out in the spraying’s immediate aftermath, there is much room to doubt the U.S. government’s conviction. And the fact remains that the outbreak yielded a clear example of Fusarium’s destructive power against coca in a non-laboratory setting–precisely the type of real-world “results” sought by U.S. researchers since the Hawaii incident.

      From http://colombiajournal.org/colombia21.htm

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    My wife woke up ill this morning. After she convinced me that she’s really very ill by exhibiting symptoms I said that I was really worried, and asked her if she wanted me to call a politician in for a medical consultation. But she’s still not sold on the assertion that politicians are better qualified to practice medicine and insisted on seeing an M.D.

    Now I’m going to have to lobby her to at least get a second opinion from a politician. Even if they can’t cure her, they can at least pass a law which would do so. I may have to put my foot down and insist. After all, it’s for her own good.

    But seriously, what about the children? What kind of message does it send the children if she lallygags and acts like a layabout all day without consulting a politician? Doesn’t anyone care about the children?
    ———-

    You might have noticed that I used the word lallygags above. Lallygagging is different than lollygagging. It means, “To dilly dally; to be lazy or idle; to avoid necessary work or effort; to loaf.” I wanted to make sure I recalled the word’s definition correctly so I searched dictionary.com. In addition to verifying that I had recalled the definition correctly the page made a list of “related” searches. I don’t have a clue why they’re related to lallygagging but they are on topic of the instant discussion.

    Related Searches

    Homemade fungicide
    Homemade fungicide for garden
    Fungicide lawn
    Natural fungicide
    Organic fungicide
    Captan fungicide
    Types of fungicide
    Make your own fun…

    We put the fun back in the fungicide, no doubt.

  • […] temporarily thwarted in its effort to launch biological war Congress temporarily thwarted in its effort to launch biological war DrugWarRant / Pete Guither / 12,02,2011 Remember Mark Souder? Well, back in 2006, he and Senator […]

  • […] launch biological war USA: Congress temporarily thwarted in its effort to launch biological war DrugWarRant / Pete Guither / 12,02,2011 Remember Mark Souder? Well, back in 2006, he and Senator Hatch and […]

  • darkcycle

    Well, well, well…could this be the DEA’s “Fast and Furious” scandal? We can effing HOPE!…check THIS out:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/world/americas/us-drug-agents-launder-profits-of-mexican-cartels.html?_r=2&hpw

    • Jake

      “These people aren’t running a drugstore in downtown L.A. that we can go and lock the doors and place a seizure sticker on the window.”

      Now I wonder why that is…

  • Servetus

    The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  • ezrydn

    Like we were told about Agent Orange, “It’s just a weed killer.” And now, I must be a weed because my cardio says it’s killing me.

  • palemalemarcher

    Don’t get hit with that pay-wall. Log in from a library.