Conclusion: NOT READY YET.
One has to PREPARE first.
Once upon a time, a long time ago, namely June 2001, our US government ran a national security exercise called Dark Winter simulating a smallpox attack, to see if the country was ready for a biological weapon attack. Conclusion: NOT READY YET.
Please note the names of the people involved in this drill.
On June 22-23, 2001, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention Terrorism, hosted a senior-level war game examining the national security, intergovernmental, and information challenges of a biological attack on the American homeland.
With tensions rising in the Taiwan Straits, and a major crisis developing in Southwest Asia, a smallpox outbreak was confirmed by the CDC in Oklahoma City. During the thirteen days of the game, the disease spread to 25 states and 15 other countries. Fourteen participants and 60 observers witnessed terrorism/warfare in slow motion. Discussions, debates (some rather heated), and decisions focused on the public health response, lack of an adequate supply of smallpox vaccine, roles and missions of federal and state governments, civil liberties associated with quarantine and isolation, the role of DoD, and potential military responses to the anonymous attack. Additionally, a predictable 24/7 news cycle quickly developed that focused the nation and the world on the attack and response. Five representatives from the national press corps (including print and broadcast) participated in the game and conducted a lengthy press conference with the President.
President The Hon. Sam Nunn
National Security Advisor The Hon. David Gergen
Director of Central Intelligence The Hon. R. James Woolsey
Secretary of Defense The Hon. John White
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Tilelli (USA, Ret.)
Secretary of Health & Human Services The Hon. Margaret Hamburg
Secretary of State The Hon. Frank Wisner
Attorney General The Hon. George Terwilliger
Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency Mr. Jerome Hauer
Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation The Hon. William Sessions
Governor of Oklahoma The Hon. Frank Keating
Press Secretary, Gov. Frank Keating (OK) Mr. Dan Mahoney
Correspondent, NBC News Mr. Jim Miklaszewski
Pentagon Producer, CBS News Ms. Mary Walsh
Reporter, British Broadcasting Corporation Ms. Sian Edwards
Reporter, The New York Times Ms. Judith Miller
Reporter, Freelance Mr. Lester Reingold
The players were introduced to this crisis during a National Security Council meeting scheduled to address several emerging crises, including the deployment of a carrier task force to the Middle East. At the start of the meeting, the Director of Health and Human Services informed the President of a confirmed case of smallpox in Oklahoma City. Additional smallpox cases were soon identified in Georgia and Pennsylvania. More cases were reported in Oklahoma. The source of the infection was unknown, and exposure was presumed to have taken place at least nine days earlier due to the lengthy incubation period of smallpox. Consequently, exposed individuals had likely traveled far from the loci of what was now presumed to be a biological attack. The scenario spanned 13 days.
Note the smallpox mock up takes place in the winter. Smallpox is a disease of the winter months. It also happens concurrent with an emerging crisis in the Middle East. Emerging crises in the Middle East can be arranged practically anytime. The smallpox is presumed to have been released 9 days earlier, presumably by people who can also foresee the emerging crisis requiring military deployments two weeks later.
Narrative arc of the NYT Magazine article:
1. Many experts believe even a relatively unsophisticated technician (ie: terrorist) can make bioweapons. Only sheer luck has saved us thus far.
2. The assumptions made in the mock exercise assured a disastrous outcome. Real conditions may be very different.
3. Authorities like Michael Chertoff, Admiral Mike McConnell, Admiral Dennis Blair, and Heidi Avery consider bioterrorism one of the highest threats. Therefore it must be true.
4. The government has spent over $60 billion on preparations, including Project BioShield. Despite all this spending, and three redesigned approaches, we are still unprepared. Regrettable.
5. After the anthrax attacks in 2001, everything changed. The government began to take biodefense more seriously, meaning, the government spent money on expanding drug stockpiles.
After the anthrax letters in October 2001, everything changed: by 2002, spending on biodefense rose to more than $4 billion, from $633 million, with an emphasis on expanding the stockpile. One of the program’s first priorities was to increase the supply of smallpox vaccine. Smallpox is regarded by biodefense experts as the most threatening biological weapon, because it can spread as easily as the flu and kills about one in three victims. To expand the stockpile, the Bush administration called in a legendary epidemiologist. In the 1960s and ’70s, D. A. Henderson led the World Health Organization’s program to eradicate smallpox in nature, chasing outbreaks through villages in Brazil, the mountains of Yugoslavia and the jungles of India before finally containing the last known cases in the Horn of Africa in 1977.
Today, smallpox is the only human infectious disease ever eradicated by science. Returning to public service in 2001, Henderson called in another legend of microbiology, Maj. Gen. Philip K. Russell, a former commander of the Army’s medical research program and a figure so revered that one commanding general was known to keep a bumper sticker on his wall that read, “What would General Russell do?” Between 2001 and 2004, Henderson and Russell, along with leaders at the National Institutes of Health and civilian research laboratories across the country, raced to develop new production techniques and expand the smallpox-vaccine supply. Today, the stockpile holds more than 300 million treatment courses.
The NYT article goes then into the sad story of money, and the fights over money, being the main reason why we are still unprepared for new threats, even though we do have a full stockpile of smallpox vaccine. It is all very regrettable, all these budget woes and lobbying efforts, that have stalled progress on other important matters.
We then learn that DoD research into bioweapons, in the past, was actually very extensive:
It was immediately apparent that the Army’s research on tularemia went far beyond what is commonly known. In hundreds of experiments, scientists weaponized the bacteria to extraordinary potency and then proceeded to mix the slurry with another agent, known as S.E.B., which multiplied the effects logarithmically, shattering the human immune system just as the tularemia plunged in. In several large outdoor tests, scientists drifted clouds of tularemia over cages of live monkeys to evaluate the infectivity. At high doses, the weaponized bacteria were determined to have an incubation period of just a few hours. If left untreated, the combination of tularemia and S.E.B. was projected to cause death within the same period. Patrick called these “killing winds.” In one video, he calmly warned, “Between 50 and 60 pounds of freeze-dried tularemia produced in our production facility would eliminate about 60 percent of the population of London, England.”
Your tax dollars at work.
Has the government spent a lot of time and money researching how to make deadly bioweapons? YES.
Did they succeed? YES. "Extraordinary potency," "logarithmic" effects capable of "shattering the human immune system..."
Has the government spent a lot of time and money researching how to make effective antidotes to deadly bioweapons? YES.
Did they succeed? NO. The government has enough stockpile of smallpox vaccines. Otherwise, the government is not prepared for other threats.
Disagreements over funding: REGRETTABLE.
(Sorry about wasting all your monies. The germs are invisible, just like the deadly radiation particles. Good luck.)
You better hope if there's a bioweapon attack, that it's smallpox, because at least the government has enough vaccine for every American. But you have to take it before symptoms appear.
We have to digress here for a moment because actually, that turns out to be a whole other opportunity. A company called Siga Technologies has been working with the Obama administration to develop a drug that can be taken by people who don't get their emergency (free government provided) smallpox vaccine within 4 days of exposure.
Siga's drug, an antiviral pill called ST-246, would be used to treat people who were diagnosed with smallpox too late for the vaccine to help. Yet the new drug cannot be tested for effectiveness in people because of ethical constraints — and no one knows whether animal testing could prove it would work in humans.
No worries whether it works or not. Details. Whatever. The government negotiated a price of $255 per dose, for 1.7 million doses, a profit margin of 180%, which makes Siga's controlling shareholder Ronald Perelman very happy no doubt.
Perelman very "presciently" invested in Siga in 2003, a year before Bush signed the BioShield legislation, which focused on expanding the stockpile of bioterror medications, see above. And despite the haggling over money that supposedly prevented other pharma companies from wanting to do research (see the NYT story), some companies got grants and went ahead on this risky path. Siga of course being one of them. Lucky lucky lucky.
Siga's chief executive, Dr. Eric Rose, also served on the U.S. National Biodefense Science Board for the past four years, a board which has advised the government on how to respond to bioterrorism. Being on the inside of that process has no doubt helped Siga take a very aggressive stance in negotiating:
"Siga did not derive its price based on any cost information, and, from Siga's viewpoint, such information is not relevant to determination of an appropriate price," the company's chief financial officer, Daniel J. Luckshire, wrote to Lurie's office and others on March 4. "Siga has created extremely valuable intellectual property, embodied in ST-246, and Siga has priced ST-246 based on the value of that intellectual property," Luckshire added.
Lucky Luciano training his dog.
ALSO SEE: bringing home the bacon.
Despite all the spending, the country is NOT READY YET. If something happens, a lot of people will presumably die, or at least, that is the FEAR.
Should you be afraid of smallpox?
We have written about smallpox before. See: eat fresh produce. We will quote extensively from this post:
Bedbugs have plagued humans for centuries. Then, after a half a century of relative inactivity, the bedbugs suddenly started up again in the late 1990s. Hmm. Kind of strange. And of course, the bedbugs are harder to kill than ever. Scientists hypothesize what's up with that.
In the 1940s and ’50s, liberal use of DDT and other insecticides all but wiped out the pests. Scientists hypothesize that the few that survived proliferated—females can lay up to five eggs a day, and 500 during a lifetime—and passed along pesticide-resistant traits. Millions of bedbug generations later, scientists are finally zeroing in on how, exactly, bedbugs made their comeback.Possibilities include:
- thicker skin repels pesticides
- faster metabolism repels pesticides
- chemical blocking repels pesticides
- Fort Detrick bio-engineered a bedbug that repels pesticides
Just kidding! The scientists didn't actually hypothesize about Fort Detrick. That was us.
...We read about the bedbugs in Vancouver, and then we read Jennifer Lake's blog about polio and influenza. And in our research about polio and influenza we watched this video, featuring Desiree Rover (the woman in the top video), and around minute 13 she mentions cimex lectuarius, which are bedbugs. The video link will open to this slide. And we were stunned to learn that a Dr. A.R. Campbell, 1865-1931, conducted extensive research on smallpox, and he discovered that smallpox was caused by bedbugs. Furthermore, it did not spread person to person, or through the air, or through clothing, but it struck people with poor hygiene and vitamin C deficiency.
"In considering this malady, I quickly became impressed with two distinctive peculiarities of it, viz: Its being a disease of the winter and of the coldest climates, and that, as a rule, it is confined to the lower or filthy classes." Resume of Experiments on Variola, by Charles A.R. Campbell, M.D.
One would note at this link that a Russian scientist had arrived at the same conclusions as Dr. Campbell. One might also note the strong connection to poor nutrition and crop failures:
The most important observation on the medical aspect of this disease is the cachexia with which it is invariably associated and which is actually the soil requisite for its different degrees of virulence. I refer to the scorbutic cachexia. Among the lower classes of people this particular acquired constitutional perversion of nutrition is most prevalent, primarily on account of their poverty, but also because of the fact that they care little or nothing for fruits or vegetables. That a most intimate connection exists between variola and scorbutus is evidenced by the fact that it is most prevalent among the poor or filthy class of people ; that it is more prevalent in winter, when the antiscorbutics are scarce and high priced; and, finally, that the removal of this perversion of nutrition will so mitigate the virulence of this malady as positively to prevent the pitting or pocking of smallpox. A failure of the fruit crop in any particularly large area is always followed the succeeding winter by the presence of smallpox.
Very, very interesting reading.
Also see here: Infectiousness of Smallpox and here: Study test defrosted smallpox vaccine, just in case, NY Times, October 2002
The United States stopped smallpox vaccinations in 1972 because the disease had been wiped out in the Americas. Globally, it was eradicated in 1980, and most other countries also stopped vaccinating. An important part of the reason that countries willingly gave up vaccination once the disease was no longer a real threat is that the smallpox vaccine, more than any other vaccine, carries a significant risk of serious complications. For every million people vaccinate, 1 or 2 die, 15 suffer life-threatening complications and hundreds of others have serious skin rashes, infections or other problems.
One might further note the multitude of crop failures current and expected due to the many freak weather events. One might wonder just how long before one of these poor people in Vancouver or anywhere acquires smallpox from an infected bedbug, and then all hell will break loose. They would have a few different ways to play it, starting we would guess with: Everyone Must Be Vaccinated Immediately.
Click through for the entire post. A single case of smallpox would trigger an enormous cascade of events, based on FEAR. Is this really justified? Has information been suppressed? Would people really be this evil? We think everyone should do some independent research into these matters, click through to some source documents, read them, see what you think.
Returning to the NYT Magazine article, linked at the very top...
What's the real threat?
“I think the unknown threat of a mutant microbe is infinitely greater than someone coming and dropping a glanders on us! I mean, seriously! Get real about that!”
~ Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, NIAID Director
Dr. Fauci is the smartest guy in the room.
HE says the unknown threat of a mutant microbe is infinitely greater than someone releasing a WWI or WWII era bioweapon, presumably such as smallpox.
Let's go back to the deadly e. coli superbug that hit Germany earlier this year, which was supposedly a "mutant microbe," the kind of thing that Dr. Fauci considers the infinitely greater threat.
Forensic evidence emerges about the e coli superbug:
When scientists at Germany's Robert Koch Institute decoded the genetic makeup of the O104 strain, they found it to be resistant to all the following classes and combinations of antibiotics:And this cannot really happen by accident in nature.
• nalidixic acid
• amoxicillin / clavulanic acid
In addition, this O104 strain posses an ability to produce special enzymes that give it what might be called "bacteria superpowers" known technically as ESBLs:
On top of that, this O104 strain possesses two genes -- TEM-1 and CTX-M-15...so deadly that many people infected with such bacteria experience critical organ failure and simply die.
When considering the genetic evidence that now confronts us, it is difficult to imagine how this could happen "in the wild." While resistance to a single antibiotic is common, the creation of a strain of e.coli that's resistant to eight different classes of antibiotics -- in combination -- simply defies the laws of genetic permutation and combination in the wild. Simply put, this superbug e.coli strain could not have been created in the wild. And that leaves only one explanation for where it really came from: the lab.
The e. coli superbug could not have been created in the wild. It came from a lab. As far as we know, the lab has never been identified. No one was ever held accountable.
"If we can prove that a biological attack originated in a country that attacked us, then all bets are off."
- Hillary Clinton, April 2010
See: you have a message waiting
That was Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates on Face the Nation, 18 months ago, talking about unleashing a devastating conventional attack on any country that uses a biological weapon....
IF THEY CAN PROVE that a biological attack originated someplace.
Well, let's see, did they ever find out which lab made the deadly e. coli mutant superbug? No. That story ended months ago, unsolved. Forgotten. Except as a fear marker in the herd attention space.
But will they be able to PROVE that a biological attack originated someplace specific? How would anyone know? Do you have a lab in your kitchen to prove them wrong? How could you trust a thing these authorities and media tools say? They will say whatever suits their purposes. Once the bioterror drill goes live, so to speak, the UNFORTUNATE MATTER of being NOT READY YET for a biological attack will merge with the FEAR of the INVISIBLE KILLER BIOWEAPON, to create chaos.
The social engineers know that people will be focused on SURVIVAL. They can predict how people will behave because that's what they study.
It's all a game to the social engineers. This is a laboratory. We are the rats. The way to mess up their plans is to not behave the way they predict. You have to do the opposite.
Understand that all their plans are based on FEAR, on people behaving out of FEAR.
The opposite of fear is love.
Maybe they are not ready yet, but we are ready. We are ready anytime.