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Category Archives: Germ Warfare
Posted: February 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm
Biopreparat (Russian: , “Biological substance preparation”) was the Soviet Union’s major biological warfare agency from the 1970s on. It was a vast, ostensibly civilian, network of secret laboratories, each of which focused on a different deadly bioagent. Its 30,000 employees researched and produced pathogenic weapons for use in a major war.
Biopreparat was established in 1973 as a “civilian” continuation of earlier Soviet bio-warfare programs (see Soviet biological weapons program). The project was reportedly initiated by academician Yuri Ovchinnikov who convinced General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev that development of biological weapons was necessary. The research at Biopreparat constituted a blatant violation by the Soviet Union of the terms of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 which outlawed biological weapons. Its existence was steadfastly denied by Soviet officials for decades.
In April 1979, a major outbreak of pulmonary anthrax in the city of Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) caused the deaths of 105 or more Soviet citizens. Sverdlovsk contained a Biopreparat facility. The Soviet Union attempted to cover up reports of the incident, but details leaked out to the West in 1980 when the German newspaper Bild Zeitung carried a story about the incident. Moscow described allegations that the epidemic was an accident at a biological warfare facility as “slanderous propaganda” and insisted the anthrax outbreak had been caused by tainted meat.
The first senior Soviet biological weapons engineer to defect to the West was Vladimir Pasechnik (19372001) who alerted Western intelligence in 1989 to the vast scope of Moscow’s clandestine program. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and U.S. President George H. W. Bush put pressure on Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to open up Russia’s germ warfare facilities to a team of outside inspectors. When the inspectors toured four of the sites in 1991, they were met with denials and evasions. Production tanks, the purpose of which seemed to be to manufacture large quantities of hazardous materials, were clean and sterile when presented to inspectors. Laboratories had been stripped of equipment before being presented to inspectors.
Pasechnik’s revelations that the program was much greater in scope than previously suspected were confirmed in 1992 with the defection to the United States of Colonel Kanatjan Alibekov (b. 1950), the First Deputy Director of Biopreparat. Alibekov (now known as Ken Alibek) held his role in Biopreparat from 1988 to 1992. He claimed that development of new strains of genetically engineered weapons was still continuing.
Alibekov later wrote the book Biohazard (1999) detailing publicly his extensive inside knowledge of the structure, goals, operations and achievements of Biopreparat. He was also featured in the October 13, 1998 episode of Frontline (PBS TV series).
The Biopreparat complex suffered with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since then several large bioweapons production lines have been officially closed. Its current state is unknown, however it is likely that Biopreparat and successor entities continued bioweapons research and development at least through the 1990s.
Biopreparat was a system of 18, nominally civilian, research laboratories and centers scattered chiefly around European Russia, in which a small army of scientists and technicians developed biological weapons such as anthrax, Ebola, Marburg virus, plague, Q fever, Junin virus, glanders, and smallpox. It was the largest producer of weaponized anthrax in the Soviet Union and was a leader in the development of new bioweapons technologies.
The project had 18 major labs and production centers:
Pathogens that were successfully weaponized by the organization included (in order of completion):
Annual production capacities for many of the above listed pathogens were in the tens of tons, typically with redundant production facilities located throughout the Soviet Union.
Posted: at 7:05 pm
I cant have a single conversation these days without what Messr. Trump has decreed or done in the last 12 minutes intruding.
Similarly, I can no longer see a topical play without shuddering because I keep picturing his apparent belief that all journalists except those who toil for Fox should be drawn and quartered.
Consider Ideation, a Marin Onstage production directed by Queenelle Minet at the Belrose Theatre in San Rafael.
Its a creepy serio-comedy that builds to a crescendo of, well, ambiguity.
Minet, in the program, says she likes the plays unique ability to make us laugh and feel horrified at the same time.
Unfortunately, the laughs are rare.
Ideation readily plays into all my night terrors, especially with germ warfare being about the only apocalyptic item not on Trumps wish list.
Sandeep, a Harvard-educated engineer from India competently portrayed by Heren Patel, wonders if the mysterious, secretive Senna Project he and his think-tank colleagues are working on is really a plan to kill brown guys named Mohammed, foreigners people who look like him.
Is the project meant to save humanity?
The four co-workers start to worry that their backers are involved in a sinister conspiracy.
And as the corporate consultants paranoia grows, they begin to become excessively suspicious of each other.
Ben Ortega as Brock, who futilely strives to be cool and always think logically, provides the funniest moment when hes so overwhelmed with possibilities he stammers.
And stammers. And stammers.
Another amusing interlude occurs when three members of the ensemble cast search hither and yon for electronic bugs, laying waste to anything in their way.
And I grinned when smiley and frowny faces are used to illustrate grim scenarios on the blackboard.
But its impossible not to wince when the dialogue focuses on liquidation facilities and a doomsday virus, or choosing between crematoria, a mass grave or burial by sea (in sinkable shipping containers).
Ted (Len Shaffer), whose southern accent vanishes from time to time, reminds them theyve been asked to save the human race from extinction.
But Brock asks, What are we gonna do with all the bodies?
Upwards of 2 million of them.
Later, however, he tongue-lashes the groups lady boss, Hannah, for being worried about imaginary people in imaginary death camps.
Bringing to the forefront of my mind shades of Nazi Germany.
Interestingly, Marianne Shine, who plays Hannah a tad stiffly, has dedicated her performance to her father, a Holocaust survivor.
The fifth actor, Jeremy Judge, is Scooter, 22-year-old intern squeezed onto the team through nepotism, again reminding me of our peerless leaders penchants.
The entire cast, which needed to memorize and understand an inordinate number of phrases and concepts, deserves at least a B for its efforts.
Playwright Aaron Loeb only merits a C, though for coming up with a laborious peek at mental masturbation, a satire unduly convoluted, complicated and complex.
Loquacious to the nth degree.
Even the title which means a creative process of forming new notions isnt a word Ive ever used in a polite sentence.
Ideation premiered at San Francisco Playhouse a few years back and then moved to off-Broadway.
It lasts only 90 minutes and has no intermission. But its exhausting since it contains about 1,768 thoughts and what seems like 2,958,854 words.
And it still doesnt answer any of the big questions it poses.
Ideation will run at the Belrose Theatre, 1415 5th Ave., San Rafael, through March 4. Night performances, 8 p.m. Fridays and Sundays; matinees, 2 p.m. Saturdays. Tickets: $12 to $24, subject to change. Information: 415-290-1433 or http://www.marinonstage.org
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Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:47 am
This particular column is brought to you courtesy of the man in front of me at Stop & Shop who open-mouth coughs then wipes his nose with his hand before touching anything and everything. Thanks for sharing, Bud.
Mid-winter is a tough time to go out in public. Its cold, its usually sleeting, and germs are lurking on every surface. Or at least it seems that way. I hibernate like a possum each winter, digging into my burrow of blankets and only come out when I have to come out. My alarm assaults my ears each morning, forcing me to leave my nest and enter the world. I cant afford my burrow of blankets if I dont earn my paycheck after all.
I get out of bed in the dark, creaky as an old ship. I am the Mayflower at the end of its long journey across the sea, listing to the right with sails askew and my timbers shouting and bulging in a riot against the elements. What is going on? Its raw and Im another year older, but Im not a hundred years older? Why is it so difficult to move in the morning? And why do I have arthritic pain like the old crone in Snow White must have had? Why do my hands feel like they should look like hers as she thrust out that apple, her tortured fingers wrapped like vines around the fruit? Im not an old crone yet. Really, Im not. I call my doctor and get checked out. Turns out I have Lyme disease. Ive had it before and it always manifests itself in joint pain rather than a bulls-eye rash.
Im sick but not contagious, so I get antibiotics and keep working. I probably contracted the disease over the summer, but since I never got a rash or found a tick, I had no idea. Its not until my joints start behaving like they belong to a centenarian that I take notice.
Im the only one in the office with Lyme disease, but Im not the only one whos ill. The office is one big ol petri dish. All offices are at this time of year. One person has bronchitis and a sinus infection, as if having either one isnt bad enough. Others have colds and at times theres a chorus of hacking like frogs in a pond who smoke too much. Those who have children get the dreaded Stomach Bug. I will capitalize because this is the most feared of all office ailments. The Most Feared. No one is afraid of my Lyme disease because its not communicable. Were all vaguely concerned about the bronchitis and the colds, but figure we can take careful steps to avoid contact with the afflicted.
As for the Stomach Bug, the idea of contracting it and having it come on like the Acela Express train while Im at work and then having to drive all the way home hoping my system stays in control long enough for me to get to my very own Bathroom of Solitude (I capitalize again), is not good at all. Being ill at work is bad enough, but being that kind of ill is mortifying.
And so we all Purell bomb our hands at every chance. Lysol is sprayed like Agent Orange over the desk and phone of the latest victim who has declared absence due to Stomach Bug. Even the persons chair gets a Lysol shower. You cant be too careful. Antibiotic washes and wipes are our swords and shields. Let the battle begin!
My antibiotic pills are like little soldiers in my bloodstream, brawling with the enemy that is Lyme. As for the flu and the Stomach Bug, antibiotics wont help. So I will do my best to fight them through those days and nights when everything is locked up tight as a barrier against the chill and germs are bouncing off the walls. I will fight them off like a Jedi until spring, also known as allergy season. Or should I say, Allergy Season?
Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of her columns at http://www.zip06.com/shorelineliving.
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Posted: February 7, 2017 at 8:51 am
On 9 October 1964, a baby girl was born at Philadelphia general hospital. She arrived early, when her mother was about 32 weeks pregnant. The baby weighed 3.2lb and was noted to be blue, floppy and not breathing. The only sign of life was her slow heartbeat. Nonetheless, she clung on, and her 17-year-old mother named her.
One month later, the baby was still in the hospital, and a doctor listening with a stethoscope heard a harsh heart murmur. A chest X-ray showed that she had a massively enlarged heart because a hole in the organ was preventing it from pumping blood efficiently. It also emerged that the baby had cataracts blinding both eyes. Later, other signs indicated that she was profoundly deaf.
The baby also suffered from recurring respiratory infections and had trouble gaining weight. A psychologist who assessed her in July 1965 judged the nine-month-old to be the size of a two- or three-month-old infant and at about that stage of development, too. She needed heart surgery if she was going to survive. Just before her first birthday, surgeons made an incision in her chest wall and repaired her heart. After the operation, she remained in hospital. The chronic respiratory infections continued. The baby was 16 months old and weighed just 11lb when she died of pneumonia on 18 February 1966.
The young mother had told the doctors that when she was one month pregnant, she had contracted German measles, also known as rubella.
The early 1960s marked a coming of age for the study of viruses such as the one that causes rubella tiny infectious agents that invade cells and hijack their machinery in order to reproduce themselves. Biologists, with new tools in hand, were racing to capture viruses in throat swabs or urine or even snippets of organs from infected people and to grow them in lab dishes. Isolating a virus in the lab made it possible to make a vaccine against it. And making antiviral vaccines promised huge inroads against common childhood diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella, along with less common killers including hepatitis. The principle of vaccination is simple: if a person is injected with, or swallows, a tiny amount of a virus either a killed virus or a weakened live virus that person will develop antibodies against the virus. Then, if he or she is exposed in the future to the naturally occurring, disease-causing form of the virus, those antibodies will attack the invader and prevent it from causing disease.
But if the concept is simple, making effective vaccines is anything but. In the early 1960s, that reality was all too evident. In 1942, as many as 330,000 US servicemen were exposed to the hepatitis B virus in a yellow fever vaccine that was contaminated with blood plasma from infected donors (the plasma was used to stabilise the vaccine). Around 50,000 of the vaccinated servicemen contracted the liver disease and up to 150 died.
In 1955, a California-based company named Cutter Laboratories made a polio vaccine with the live, disease-causing virus in it. As a result, 192 people were paralysed many of them children and 10 died. Every senior US government employee involved in the Cutter incident lost his or her job, right up to the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the secretary for health, education and welfare.
Then, in the summer of 1961, Americans learned that cells used to manufacture the widely used Salk polio vaccine, harvested from monkey kidneys, harboured a virus named SV40. Tens of millions of American children had already received contaminated injections, and while the jury was still out on the tainted vaccines long-term health consequences, the risks were of great concern to regulators in the US and further afield.
It was against this backdrop that, on a drizzly June morning in 1962, a 34-year-old scientist named Leonard Hayflick went to work in his lab at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology an elegant 1890s brownstone tucked in the heart of the University of Pennsylvanias campus.
A serious, slight man with close-cropped dark hair, Hayflick was a product of working-class Philadelphia and hungry to make his name. He was in love with biology and had come to believe that he was extremely smart a fact that was far from appreciated. Hayflicks boss, the polio-vaccine pioneer Hilary Koprowski, saw him as a mere technician, hired to serve up bottles of lab-grown cells to the institutes scientists.
The ambitious Hayflick was undeterred. That day, he planned to launch a group of human cells that would revolutionise vaccine-making. He was convinced that, compared with monkey cells, which were often laden with viruses, human cells would serve as cleaner, safer vehicles for producing antiviral vaccines.
Several days earlier, a woman living near Stockholm had had an abortion. The eight-inch-long female foetus was wrapped in a sterile green cloth and delivered to a yellow brick outbuilding on the grounds of the National Biological Laboratory in north-west Stockholm. The lungs were removed, packed in ice and flown to the Wistar Institute.
Hayflick had been waiting months for this opportunity. These lungs would be the source of the new cells he needed to make antiviral vaccines. Viruses cant multiply outside living cells, and huge quantities of virus were needed to produce vaccines.
Now, at last, the lungs were here in his bustling second-floor lab, two purplish things floating in clear pink fluid in a glass bottle. They had been sent to Hayflick by a top virologist at the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
Hayflick knew that he was uniquely positioned to produce a long-lasting supply of these cells. He had spent the previous three years perfecting the procedure that would do it.
Hayflick took the lungs into a tiny room just off his lab what passed for a sterile area in 1962. He picked up a pair of tweezers, dipped them in alcohol and passed them through the flame of a Bunsen burner. He waited for them to cool and then, gently, one at a time, lifted the organs and placed them on a petri dish. Each was no larger than his thumb above the knuckle. He began carefully slicing them into innumerable pieces, each smaller than a pinhead.
Hayflick nudged the minute pieces of tissue into a wide-mouthed glass flask. The translucent pink fluid was full of digestive enzymes from slaughtered pigs. These biological jackhammers broke up the mortar between the lung cells, separating millions upon millions of them. Later, he transferred those cells into several flat-sided glass bottles and poured a nutritious solution over them. Hayflick then loaded the bottles on to a tray, and carried them into an incubation room where the temperature was a cosy 36C. He laid the bottles on their sides on a wooden shelf and closed the door carefully behind him. There the cells began to divide. He already had a name for them: WI-38.
The WI-38 cells that Hayflick launched that day were used to make vaccines that have been given to more than 300 million people half of them preschool children in the US. A copycat group of cells, developed using the method that Hayflick pioneered, has been used to make an additional 6bn doses of various vaccines.
Together these vaccines have protected people the world over from the gamut of viral illnesses: rubella, rabies, chickenpox, measles, polio, hepatitis A, shingles and adenovirus a respiratory infection that flourishes in situations where people live in close quarters. (Every US military recruit more than nine million of them since 1971 is given an adenovirus vaccine made using WI-38 cells.) In the US, a vaccine made in WI-38 cells that is still given to young children has wiped out homegrown rubella. It was developed at the Wistar Institute by Hayflicks colleague Stanley Plotkin, during a rubella epidemic that swept the country in 1964 and 1965.
The WI-38 cells Hayflick launched that day made vaccines that have been given to more than 300 million people
The WI-38 cells are still in use today partly because Hayflick made such a large initial stock of them: some 800 tiny, wine-bottleshaped ampoules were frozen in the summer of 1962. When frozen, cells stop dividing, but then gamely begin replicating when they are thawed. Each glass vial that Hayflick froze contained between 1.5m and 2m cells. The cells in those vials had, on average, the capacity to divide about 40 more times. Early on, Hayflick determined that the newly derived cells in just one of his small glass lab bottles, if allowed to replicate until they died, would produce 20m tonnes of cells. In those 800 vials, he had created a supply of cells that for practical purposes was almost infinite.
In addition to their use in vaccine making, the WI-38 cells became the first normal cells available in virtually unlimited quantities to scientists probing the mysteries of cell biology. Because they were easily infected with human viruses, they became important to disease detectives tracking viruses in the 1960s, before more sophisticated technology came along. Biologists still reach for WI-38 cells when they need a normal cell to compare against a cancerous one, or to test the toxicity of new drugs. They are a workhorse of research into ageing, because they so reliably age and die in laboratory conditions. Original ampoules of WI-38 cells, and of polio vaccine made using them, are now part of the collection of the National Museum of American History.
But in the 1960s and 70s, a bitter feud broke out between Hayflick and the US government over who owned the cells.
As the importance of the WI-38 cells grew, Hayflick was only too happy to promote them. Human Cells Given Role in Vaccines, the New York Times proclaimed after the scientist spoke at a vaccine conference in 1966. The article quoted Hayflick explaining that his cells were cheaper, cleaner and safer than the animal cells then used in vaccine manufacture.
As his profile rose, Hayflick ran out of patience with Koprowski. The disconnect between his contributions and his treatment by the Wistar Institutes director had become too much to bear. Nine years after Koprowski hired him, Hayflick remained stuck as an associate member of the institute, in sharp contrast to many colleagues who had been made full members despite, to his mind, making contributions no greater than his own.
Hayflick began looking around. He applied for a position as a full professor of medical microbiology at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. His application for the job was backed by a recommendation from a senior virologist who regarded his work as reliable, trustworthy and original. He was offered the post.
As Hayflicks departure approached, there was probably only one thing that concerned Koprowski: the fate of the hundreds of ampoules of WI-38 cells that were still stored in liquid nitrogen in the Wistar Institutes basement, under Hayflicks watchful eye. Hayflicks proprietary feelings about the cells were well known he once described them as like my children.
Koprowski had designs on the cells from the beginning. Nancy Pleibel, a lab technician who worked for Hayflick, recalls that more than once Koprowski had turned up in the lab within a day or two of Hayflick leaving on a trip, smiling and asking her for an ampoule of WI-38 cells. Politely but firmly, she refused his requests, explaining that only her boss could hand out WI-38 ampoules. After a while, Koprowski stopped asking.
Minutes from meetings of the Wistar Institutes board of managers in the early and mid-60s make clear that Koprowski tried repeatedly to cash in on Hayflicks human diploid cells (defined as cells that carry the normal complement of 46 chromosomes). The institute sought payment not only from Norden, a Missouri company that was interested in using WI-38 to develop a rabies vaccine, but also from Pfizer for the use of Hayflicks cells to make a measles vaccine, and from Wyeth, another Philadelphia-based drug manufacturer that by 1965 had used the WI-38 cells to make an adenovirus vaccine to protect US army recruits during basic training.
Koprowskis attempts to turn a profit with the WI-38 cells were far from successful. By 1965, the board of managers had appointed a special committee of lawyers and scientists to deal with problems in selling the Hayflick cells to industry. The only backing that the institute landed, according to budget documents from 1965 to 1967, was $5,000 in each of those years from Norden.
Today it seems incredible that an institution like the Wistar, full of eminent scientists, was so at sea when it came to profiting from unique and desirable cells produced under its roof. But in that era living things, such as the WI-38 cells, could not be patented. It would take a landmark supreme court decision in 1980 to change that.
However, what could be patented was a method of using the cells to produce a novel vaccine. Koprowski had already applied, back in 1964, for such a patent for another, improved rabies vaccine that he was developing using the WI-38 cells. Soon the Wistar Institute would apply for a patent on a method of making a rubella vaccine with the WI-38s, devised by another of its scientists, Stanley Plotkin.
If and when the rabies and rubella vaccine patents were granted, Koprowski would need access to at least some of the original ampoules of WI-38 frozen in the Wistar Institute basement. Vaccine companies would want original ampoules full of the youngest cells, which could be expanded into a nearly endless supply.
By the autumn of 1967, Hayflick vaguely suspected that Koprowski intended the WI-38 cells to serve something more than the good of mankind. Hayflick believed that his boss hoped to turn any vaccines made with the cells into sources of cash, boosting the Wistar Institutes income and freeing him from fundraising duties that he detested and considered beneath him.
Hayflicks instincts were right. As 1967 drew to a close, a financial vice was tightening on Koprowski. While the Wistar Institute had remained solvent, it had never been flush with funds, especially after Koprowski blew through $271,506 to fund major renovations that were completed in 1959. By the mid-60s, his struggle to find cash not tied to specific grants was becoming desperate. Badly needed repairs to the roof and the air conditioning system were deferred.
In the autumn of 1967, when officials at the NIHs National Cancer Institute (NCI) learned that Hayflick would be moving to Stanford, they decided to take the production, storage, study and distribution to researchers of human diploid cells out of his hands. The NCI had been paying the Wistar Institute hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hayflick to produce and distribute the cells since 1962, shortly after his paper announcing his human diploid cell strains to the world had sent demand soaring. The agencys contract with the Wistar Institute had specified that the government would take ownership of the cells when the contract was terminated. Now, NIH officials set 1 January 1968 as the end date. The timing seemed right, and not only because of Hayflicks impending move. The sense at the NCI was that the demand for the WI-38 cells had been sated. Those scientists who wanted them, it seemed, had them by now, more than five years after Hayflick had first produced them. They were being used widely and had already been cited in scores of papers.
On 18 January 1968, several men travelled to the Wistar Institute to sort out the physical disposition of the WI-38 cells now that the contract had ended. Koprowski summoned Hayflick to meet with them. Also present were senior scientists from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). This independent, nonprofit organisation was the countrys highest-profile cell bank, and was often where biologists turned when they needed a particular type of cell for an experiment. According to records, the assembled men agreed that all but 20 of the roughly 375 remaining original ampoules of WI-38 cells would be transferred to the ATCC, which would maintain them, deeply frozen, on behalf of the NIH. Hayflick would be permitted to take 10 ampoules with him to Stanford, and the Wistar Institute would also be allowed to keep 10.
The group also decided that any use of the 355 original ampoules being transferred to the ATCC they were precious because the WI-38 cell populations in them had divided only eight times, and so could be expanded into untold billions of cells for vaccine making should be totally arrested. By this, they meant that there was to be no more thawing of the ampoules, no more planting of these young cells into lab bottles, and no more splitting of those bottles over and over to generate multitudes of cells at higher doubling levels for scientists to use. Scientists could use the older cells that were already in circulation. The remaining 355 original ampoules needed to be kept safely frozen at the ATCC until such time as companies began winning US licences to make WI-38based vaccines.
Some time during his last months at the Wistar Institute, Hayflick was working in one of the tiny sterile rooms that adjoined his lab. Plotkin squeezed through the door and pulled up the only chair. The two chatted for a while, then Plotkin showed Hayflick a document. It was a letter, on Wistar-headed paper, from Koprowski, written to a senior official at Burroughs Wellcome, the British pharmaceutical company. Koprowski was offering to provide to the company ample supplies of WI-38 cells, along with the recipe for making a vaccine with the cells and the virus itself, all in exchange for royalties.
‘To have the vultures descend on whatIhad struggled to give value to most people would understand why I was upset’
Hayflicks suspicions had been confirmed. He was profoundly upset. He had spent the previous decade deriving the cells and opened up a new, important field in the study of cellular ageing. He had derived enough WI-38 cells to serve vaccine makers into the distant future and worked as hard as was humanly possible to win acceptance of the cells for vaccine making. In the process of all of this, he had been ridiculed and been forced to struggle for respect and validation.
This letter signalled that not only was he not valued but that he was also being sidelined in major decision-making and likely profit-making connected to the WI-38 cells. As Hayflick said, to have the vultures descend on what I had struggled so hard to give value to and [for them to] try to take it for their benefit I think that an average person would understand why I was, to put it mildly, concerned.
On or around 1 March when, under the January agreement, the ampoules were to have been moved from the Wistar Institute to the ATCC a specially outfitted station wagon arrived from Maryland, carrying the NIH project officer, Charles Boone, and John Shannon, the ATCCs curator of cell lines. Hayflick turned them away, saying he wasnt ready to hand over the cells because he had not prepared an inventory of them.
Not long after this, Hayflick, unobserved, visited the Wistar Institutes basement. There he packed every single one of the remaining original WI-38 ampoules 375 frozen vials: the largest stock of young WI-38 cells on earth into one or more portable liquid-nitrogen refrigerators and departed the premises. He left nothing behind not even the 10 ampoules that Koprowskis institute had been promised in the January agreement.
Hayflick stored the frozen cells temporarily with a friend, a vaccinologist at the nearby Wyeth Laboratories who, from time to time, topped up the liquid nitrogen that kept the cells frozen. Hayflick says that he took the ampoules with the intention of keeping them only until the ownership of the cells could be properly sorted out. He believed that there were several potential stakeholders who might reasonably claim ownership: himself and his early collaborator at the Wistar Institute, the chromosome expert Paul Moorhead; the estate of the WI-38 foetus, by which he meant the WI-38 foetuss parents; the Wistar Institute; and, just possibly, the NIH. But he was not going to be so naive as to leave the cells in the NIHs possession while these matters were decided. If he did that, he was sure that he would never see them again.
In mid-1968, Hayflick left for his new job in California. Moving a family of seven 2,900 miles was no small undertaking. The Hayflicks split the travel. Ruth flew out to the San Francisco Bay Area with their two youngest daughters. Hayflick drove the three older children cross-country in their dark green Buick sedan. They drove west through Pittsburgh, stopped to see drag races in Joplin, Missouri, and then headed on to Arizona, where they gazed at the worlds best-preserved meteor crater and marvelled at the Grand Canyon. All along the way, some extra cargo travelled with them. Carefully strapped on the backseat beside his children was a liquid-nitrogen refrigerator stuffed with ampoules of WI-38.
Hayflicks flight with the cells would make him the target of a career-derailing investigation by the National Institutes of Health. Hayflick counter-sued eventually, in 1981, settling with the government. He was allowed to keep six original ampoules of the cells, along with $90,000 that he had earned by charging researchers and companies for them after he left the Wistar Institute. A letter from supporters published in the journal Science, described the happy outcome of Dr Hayflicks courageous, sometimes lonely, emotionally damaging and professionally destructive ordeal.
But just as the tug-of-war over ownership of the WI-38 cells peaked, profound changes occurred in attitudes and laws governing who could make money from biological inventions. In the space of a few years, biologists went from being expected to work only for their salaries and the greater good to being encouraged by universities and the government to commercialise their innovations for the benefit of the institutions, the US economy and themselves.
Although the WI-38 cells were launched long before these changes took place and 18 years before the supreme court decreed that a living entity, such as a WI-38 cell, could be patented a lot of money has been made from them. The drug company Merck, in particular, has made billions of dollars by using the WI-38 cells to make the rubella vaccine given to more than seven million American children each year. The Wistar Institute too enjoyed a handsome royalty stream from vaccines made by its scientists using the cells including a much-improved rabies vaccine that replaced sometimes dangerous injections. Cell banks today charge several hundred dollars for a tiny vial of the cells.
During the long battle for ownership of the WI-38 cells, Koprowski sent a Wistar scientist across the country to collect them from Hayflicks Stanford lab. But Hayflick refused to part with them. A second emissary was more successful, returning with the 10 ampoules originally allocated to the institute. But later, while the NIH was still asserting its title to WI-38, Koprowski seems to have given up. Perhaps this was because Hayflick was now so far away. Maybe it was because, despite his propensity for it, Koprowski actually disliked direct conflict. Possibly, it was because several companies already appeared to have adequate supplies of the youngest WI-38 ampoules. On the other hand, though, it might have been because Koprowski had finally realised just how persistent, obdurate and dedicated Hayflick could be.
This is an adapted extract from The Vaccine Race by Meredith Wadman, published by Doubleday on 9 February in the UK and in the US by Viking.
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Posted: November 14, 2016 at 11:42 am
Unit 731 (Japanese: 731, Hepburn: Nana-san-ichi Butai?) was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (19371945) of World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japan. Unit 731 was based at the Pingfang district of Harbin, the largest city in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (now Northeast China).
It was officially known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army (, Kantgun Beki Kysuibu Honbu?). Originally set up under the Kempeitai military police of the Empire of Japan, Unit 731 was taken over and commanded until the end of the war by General Shiro Ishii, an officer in the Kwantung Army. The facility itself was built between 1934 and 1939 and officially adopted the name “Unit 731” in 1941.
Some historians estimate that up to 250,000 men, women, and childrenfrom which around 600 every year were provided by the Kempeitaiwere subjected to experimentation conducted by Unit 731 at the camp based in Pingfang alone, which does not include victims from other medical experimentation sites, such as Unit 100.
Unit 731 veterans of Japan attest that most of the victims they experimented on were Chinese while a small percentage were Russian, Mongolian, Korean, and Allied POW’s. Almost 70% of the victims who died in the Pingfang camp were Chinese, including both civilian and military. Close to 30% of the victims were Russian. Some others were South East Asians and Pacific Islanders, at the time colonies of the Empire of Japan, and a small number of Allied prisoners of war. The unit received generous support from the Japanese government up to the end of the war in 1945.
Instead of being tried for war crimes, the researchers involved in Unit 731 were secretly given immunity by the U.S. in exchange for the data they gathered through human experimentation. Others that Soviet forces managed to arrest first were tried at the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949. Americans did not try the researchers so that the information and experience gained in bio-weapons could be co-opted into the U.S. biological warfare program, as had happened with Nazi researchers in Operation Paperclip. On 6 May 1947, Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, wrote to Washington that “additional data, possibly some statements from Ishii probably can be obtained by informing Japanese involved that information will be retained in intelligence channels and will not be employed as ‘War Crimes’ evidence.” Victim accounts were then largely ignored or dismissed in the West as communist propaganda.
A special project code-named Maruta used human beings for experiments. Test subjects were gathered from the surrounding population and were sometimes referred to euphemistically as “logs” (, maruta?), used in such contexts as “How many logs fell?”. This term originated as a joke on the part of the staff because the official cover story for the facility given to the local authorities was that it was a lumber mill. However, in an account by a man who worked as a junior uniformed civilian employee of the Japanese Army in Unit 731, the project was internally called “Holzklotz”, which is the German word for log.
The test subjects were selected to give a wide cross-section of the population and included common criminals, captured bandits and anti-Japanese partisans, political prisoners, and also people rounded up by the Kempeitai military police for alleged “suspicious activities”. They included infants, the elderly, and pregnant women.
Thousands of men, women and children interred at prisoner of war camps were subjected to vivisection, often without anesthesia and usually ending with the death of the victim. Vivisections were performed on prisoners after infecting them with various diseases. Researchers performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of disease on the human body. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was feared that the decomposition process would affect the results. The infected and vivisected prisoners included men, women, children, and infants.
Prisoners had limbs amputated in order to study blood loss. Those limbs that were removed were sometimes re-attached to the opposite sides of the body. Some prisoners’ limbs were frozen and amputated, while others had limbs frozen, then thawed to study the effects of the resultant untreated gangrene and rotting.
Some prisoners had their stomachs surgically removed and the esophagus reattached to the intestines. Parts of the brain, lungs, liver, etc., were removed from some prisoners.
Japanese army surgeon Ken Yuasa suggests that the practice of vivisection on human subjects (mostly Chinese communists) was widespread even outside Unit 731, estimating that at least 1,000 Japanese personnel were involved in the practice in mainland China.
Prisoners were injected with inoculations of disease, disguised as vaccinations, to study their effects. To study the effects of untreated venereal diseases, male and female prisoners were deliberately infected with syphilis and gonorrhea, then studied. Prisoners were also repeatedly subject to rape by guards.
Plague fleas, infected clothing, and infected supplies encased in bombs were dropped on various targets. The resulting cholera, anthrax, and plague were estimated to have killed around and possibly more than 400,000 Chinese civilians.Tularemia was tested on Chinese civilians.
Unit 731 and its affiliated units (Unit 1644 and Unit 100 among others) were involved in research, development, and experimental deployment of epidemic-creating biowarfare weapons in assaults against the Chinese populace (both civilian and military) throughout World War II. Plague-infested fleas, bred in the laboratories of Unit 731 and Unit 1644, were spread by low-flying airplanes upon Chinese cities, coastal Ningbo in 1940, and Changde, Hunan Province, in 1941. This military aerial spraying killed thousands of people with bubonic plague epidemics.
It is possible that Unit 731’s methods and objectives were also followed in Indonesia, in a case of failed experiment designed to validate a conjured tetanus toxoid vaccine.
Physiologist Yoshimura Hisato conducted experiments by taking captives outside, dipping various appendages into water, and allowing the limb to freeze. Once frozen, which testimony from a Japanese officer said “was determined after the ‘frozen arms, when struck with a short stick, emitted a sound resembling that which a board gives when it is struck'”, ice was chipped away and the area doused in water. The effects of different water temperatures were tested by bludgeoning the victim to determine if any areas were still frozen. Variations of these tests in more gruesome forms were performed.
Doctors orchestrated forced sex acts between infected and non-infected prisoners to transmit the disease, as the testimony of a prison guard on the subject of devising a method for transmission of syphilis between patients shows:
“Infection of venereal disease by injection was abandoned, and the researchers started forcing the prisoners into sexual acts with each other. Four or five unit members, dressed in white laboratory clothing completely cover the body with only eyes and mouth visible, handled the tests. A male and female, one infected with syphilis, would be brought together in a cell and forced into sex with each other. It was made clear that anyone resisting would be shot.”
After victims were infected, they were vivisected at different stages of infection, so that internal and external organs could be observed as the disease progressed. Testimony from multiple guards blames the female victims as being hosts of the diseases, even as they were forcibly infected. Genitals of female prisoners that were infected with syphilis were called “jam filled buns” by guards.
Some children grew up inside the walls of Unit 731, infected with syphilis. A Youth Corps member deployed to train at Unit 731 recalled viewing a batch of subjects that would undergo syphilis testing: “one was a Chinese woman holding an infant, one was a White Russian woman with a daughter of four or five years of age, and the last was a White Russian woman with a boy of about six or seven.” The children of these women were tested in ways similar to their parents, with specific emphasis on determining how longer infection periods affected the effectiveness of treatments.
Female prisoners were forced to become pregnant for use in experiments. The hypothetical possibility of vertical transmission (from mother to fetus or child) of diseases, particularly syphilis, was the stated reason for the torture. Fetal survival and damage to mother’s reproductive organs were objects of interest. Though “a large number of babies were born in captivity”, there has been no account of any survivors of Unit 731, children included. It is suspected that the children of female prisoners were killed or the pregnancies terminated.
While male prisoners were often used in single studies, so that the results of the experimentation on them would not be clouded by other variables, women were sometimes used in bacteriological or physiological experiments, sex experiments, and the victims of sex crimes. The testimony of a unit member that served as guard graphically demonstrates this reality:
“One of the former researchers I located told me that one day he had a human experiment scheduled, but there was still time to kill. So he and another unit member took the keys to the cells and opened one that housed a Chinese woman. One of the unit members raped her; the other member took the keys and opened another cell. There was a Chinese woman in there who had been used in a frostbite experiment. She had several fingers missing and her bones were black, with gangrene set in. He was about to rape her anyway, then he saw that her sex organ was festering, with pus oozing to the surface. He gave up the idea, left, and locked the door, then later went on to his experimental work.”
Human targets were used to test grenades positioned at various distances and in different positions. Flame throwers were tested on humans. Humans were tied to stakes and used as targets to test germ-releasing bombs, chemical weapons, and explosive bombs.
In other tests, subjects were deprived of food and water to determine the length of time until death; placed into high-pressure chambers until death; experimented upon to determine the relationship between temperature, burns, and human survival; placed into centrifuges and spun until death; injected with animal blood; exposed to lethal doses of x-rays; subjected to various chemical weapons inside gas chambers; injected with sea water; and burned or buried alive.
Japanese researchers performed tests on prisoners with Bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism, and other diseases. This research led to the development of the defoliation bacilli bomb and the flea bomb used to spread bubonic plague. Some of these bombs were designed with porcelain shells, an idea proposed by Ishii in 1938.
These bombs enabled Japanese soldiers to launch biological attacks, infecting agriculture, reservoirs, wells, and other areas with anthrax, plague-carrier fleas, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, and other deadly pathogens. During biological bomb experiments, researchers dressed in protective suits would examine the dying victims. Infected food supplies and clothing were dropped by airplane into areas of China not occupied by Japanese forces. In addition, poisoned food and candies were given out to unsuspecting victims, and the results examined.
In 2002, Changde, China, site of the flea spraying attack, held an “International Symposium on the Crimes of Bacteriological Warfare” which estimated that at least 580,000 people died as a result of the attack. The historian Sheldon Harris claims that 200,000 died. In addition to Chinese casualties, 1,700 Japanese in Chekiang were killed by their own biological weapons while attempting to unleash the biological agent, which indicates serious issues with distribution.
During the final months of World War II, Japan planned to use plague as a biological weapon against San Diego, California. The plan was scheduled to launch on September 22, 1945, but Japan surrendered five weeks earlier.
Despite the facility’s location in Northern China, great pains were taken by organizers of the facility that its inmates represented a wide array of ethnicities. Most of the prisoners of war were American.
Robert Peaty (19031988), a British Major in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, was the senior ranking allied officer. During this time, he kept a secret diary. A copy of his entire diary exists in the NARA archives. An extract of the diary is available at the UK National Archives at Kew. He was interviewed by the Imperial War Museum in 1981, and the audio recording tape reels are in the IWM’s archives.
Unit 731 was divided into eight divisions:
The Unit 731 complex covered six square kilometres (2.3 square miles) and consisted of more than 150 buildings. The design of the facilities made them hard to destroy by bombing. The complex contained various factories. It had around 4,500 containers to be used to raise fleas, six cauldrons to produce various chemicals, and around 1,800 containers to produce biological agents. Approximately 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of bubonic plague bacteria could be produced in a few days.
Some of Unit 731’s satellite facilities are in use by various Chinese industrial concerns. A portion has been preserved and is open to visitors as a War Crimes Museum.
A medical school and research facility belonging to Unit 731 operated in the Shinjuku District of Tokyo during World War II. In 2006, Toyo Ishiia nurse who worked at the school during the warrevealed that she had helped bury bodies and pieces of bodies on the school’s grounds shortly after Japan’s surrender in 1945. In response, in February 2011 the Ministry of Health began to excavate the site.
China requested DNA samples from any human remains discovered at the site. The Japanese governmentwhich has never officially acknowledged the atrocities committed by Unit 731rejected the request.
The related Unit 8604 was operated by the Japanese Southern China Area Army and stationed at Guangzhou (Canton). This installation conducted human experimentation in food and water deprivation as well as water-borne typhus. According to postwar testimony, this facility served as the main rat breeding farm for the medical units to provide them with bubonic plague vectors for experiments.
Unit 731 was part of the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department which dealt with contagious disease and water supply generally.
Operations and experiments continued until the end of the war. Ishii had wanted to use biological weapons in the Pacific War since May 1944, but his attempts were repeatedly snubbed.
With the coming of the Red Army in August 1945, the unit had to abandon their work in haste. The members and their families fled to Japan.
Ishii ordered every member of the group “to take the secret to the grave”, threatening to find them if they failed, and prohibiting any of them from going into public work back in Japan. Potassium cyanide vials were issued for use in the event that the remaining personnel were captured.
Skeleton crews of Ishii’s Japanese troops blew up the compound in the final days of the war to destroy evidence of their activities, but most were so well constructed that they survived somewhat intact.
Among the individuals in Japan after their 1945 surrender was Lieutenant Colonel Murray Sanders, who arrived in Yokohama via the American ship Sturgess in September 1945. Sanders was a highly regarded microbiologist and a member of America’s military center for biological weapons. Sanders’ duty was to investigate Japanese biological warfare activity. At the time of his arrival in Japan he had no knowledge of what Unit 731 was. Until Sanders finally threatened the Japanese with bringing communism into the picture, little information about biological warfare was being shared with the Americans. The Japanese wanted to avoid the Soviet legal system so the next morning after the threat Sanders received a manuscript describing Japan’s involvement in biological warfare. Sanders took this information to General Douglas MacArthur, who was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers responsible for rebuilding Japan during the Allied occupations. MacArthur struck a deal with Japanese informantshe secretly granted immunity to the physicians of Unit 731, including their leader, in exchange for providing America, but not the other wartime allies, with their research on biological warfare and data from human experimentation. American occupation authorities monitored the activities of former unit members, including reading and censoring their mail. The U.S. believed that the research data was valuable. The U.S. did not want other nations, particularly the Soviet Union, to acquire data on biological weapons.
The Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal heard only one reference to Japanese experiments with “poisonous serums” on Chinese civilians. This took place in August 1946 and was instigated by David Sutton, assistant to the Chinese prosecutor. The Japanese defense counsel argued that the claim was vague and uncorroborated and it was dismissed by the tribunal president, Sir William Webb, for lack of evidence. The subject was not pursued further by Sutton, who was probably unaware of Unit 731’s activities. His reference to it at the trial is believed to have been accidental.
Although publicly silent on the issue at the Tokyo Trials, the Soviet Union pursued the case and prosecuted twelve top military leaders and scientists from Unit 731 and its affiliated biological-war prisons Unit 1644 in Nanjing, and Unit 100 in Changchun, in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials. Included among those prosecuted for war crimes, including germ warfare, was General Otoz Yamada, the commander-in-chief of the million-man Kwantung Army occupying Manchuria.
The trial of those captured Japanese perpetrators was held in Khabarovsk in December 1949. A lengthy partial transcript of the trial proceedings was published in different languages the following year by a Moscow foreign languages press, including an English language edition. The lead prosecuting attorney at the Khabarovsk trial was Lev Smirnov, who had been one of the top Soviet prosecutors at the Nuremberg Trials. The Japanese doctors and army commanders who had perpetrated the Unit 731 experiments received sentences from the Khabarovsk court ranging from two to 25 years in a Siberian labor camp. The U.S. refused to acknowledge the trials, branding them communist propaganda.
After World War II, the Soviet Union built a biological weapons facility in Sverdlovsk using documentation captured from Unit 731 in Manchuria.
As above, under the American occupation the members of Unit 731 and other experimental units were allowed to go free. One graduate of Unit 1644, Masami Kitaoka, continued to do experiments on unwilling Japanese subjects from 1947 to 1956 while working for Japan’s National Institute of Health Sciences. He infected prisoners with rickettsia and mental health patients with typhus.
Japanese discussions of Unit 731’s activity began in the 1950s, after the end of the American occupation of Japan. In 1952, human experiments carried out in Nagoya City Pediatric Hospital, which resulted in one death, were publicly tied to former members of Unit 731. Later in that decade, journalists suspected that the murders attributed by the government to Sadamichi Hirasawa were actually carried out by members of Unit 731. In 1958, Japanese author Shsaku End published the book The Sea and Poison about human experimentation, which is thought to have been based on a real incident.
The author Seiichi Morimura published The Devil’s Gluttony () in 1981, followed by The Devil’s Gluttony: A Sequel in 1983. These books purported to reveal the “true” operations of Unit 731, but actually confused them with that of Unit 100, and falsely used unrelated photos attributing them to Unit 731, which raised questions about its accuracy.
Also in 1981 appeared the first direct testimony of human vivisection in China, by Ken Yuasa. Since then many more in-depth testimonies have appeared in Japanese. The 2001 documentary Japanese Devils was composed largely of interviews with 14 members of Unit 731 who had been taken as prisoners by China and later released.
Since the end of the Allied occupation, the Japanese government has repeatedly apologized for its pre-war behavior in general, but specific apologies and indemnities are determined on the basis of bilateral determination that crimes occurred, which requires a high standard of evidence. Unit 731 presents a special problem, since unlike Nazi human experimentation which the U.S. publicly condemned, the activities of Unit 731 are known to the general public only from the testimonies of willing former unit members, and testimony cannot be employed to determine indemnity in this way.
Japanese history textbooks usually contain references to Unit 731, but do not go into detail about allegations, in accordance with this principle.Saburo Ienaga’s New History of Japan included a detailed description, based on officers’ testimony. The Ministry for Education attempted to remove this passage from his textbook before it was taught in public schools, on the basis that the testimony was insufficient. The Supreme Court of Japan ruled in 1997 that the testimony was indeed sufficient and that requiring it to be removed was an illegal violation of freedom of speech.
In 1997, the international lawyer Knen Tsuchiya filed a class action suit against the Japanese government, demanding reparations for the actions of Unit 731, using evidence filed by Professor Makoto Ueda of Rikkyo University. All Japanese court levels found that the suit was baseless. No findings of fact were made about the existence of human experimentation, but the decision of the court was that reparations are determined by international treaties and not by national court cases.
In October 2003, a member of the House of Representatives of Japan filed an inquiry. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi responded that the Japanese government did not then possess any records related to Unit 731, but the government recognized the gravity of the matter and would publicize any records that were located in the future.
There have been several films about the atrocities of Unit 731.
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Posted: September 29, 2016 at 11:54 am
Many hockey players, such as reporter Randy Boswell, are skating biohazards. With bacteria growing on their equipment at up to 3,440 times higher than acceptable levels, they can be a danger to themselves and others, reports Hugh Adami. by Hugh Adami
December 11, 2004
‘This is very bad,” he said quietly, with a wary look that would make most wonder what horror they were about to be told. Felix Skora unfolded the sheet of paper and slid it across the desk for his guest to see. The information was numbing. Germ warfare. That’s what Skora’s Gatineau laboratory, Micro B, found in Randy Boswell’s hockey bag after we took it there to see if the CanWest News reporter’s soppy, rank equipment posed a hazard to his health and to those around him when he’s on the ice trying, as he says, to be “an amalgam” of Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky. Skora has no idea if Orr and Gretzky had as much disregard for the care of their equipment as Boswell does for his, but suggested some fast action be taken in the laundry room. ” There is a need to disinfect this equipment,” Skora said. “Possibly with chlorine, alcohol and perhaps washed at a high temperature. Then, you should be able to eliminate the bacteria, the yeast, the mould.” What Micro B found lurking about Boswell’s equipment was a cesspool of bacterial growth. “Very high concentrations,” Skora explained. Dr. Barry Dworkin, who writes a health column for the Citizen, said the bacteria could include numerous types of pathogenic germs, viruses and fungal substances, which can lead to a variety of illnesses and skin infections, some of which he has treated. Sounds good so far, eh? The lab didn’t test for moulds and yeast, but Skora said the high bacterial concentrations would virtually guarantee their presence. In fact, said Dr. Dworkin, heat and humidity stimulate growth of fungal matter. Dr. Dworkin also said that in extreme cases, dirty hockey equipment can be a habitat for the hepatitis B virus, which causes very high fever, weakness and jaundice. The virus is found in infected blood and other bodily fluids, such as sweat and saliva. ” It’s disgusting,” Dr. Dworkin said of what can lurk in a stinky hockey bag. Having dirty sports equipment, he said, “is no different than not following routine hygiene like changing your socks and underwear.” Bacteria- and viral-contaminated equipment is a very easy means of transmitting infection. People who play sports are particularly susceptible to infections for various reasons: Germs grow when athletic equipment gets warm and moist; sweating softens the skin’s main barrier, the stratum corneum, to the body; and germs enter the body from scrapes, cuts and bruises. Professional hockey players, who are covered from head to toe in protective padding and sweat profusely during play, can be very susceptible to infection because many, for superstitious reasons, refuse to update their equipment. But at least professionals, and players through the junior and university ranks, have training staffs responsible for the maintenance of equipment. It’s those who play at the minor levels, children and beer-leaguers, who may have the most to worry about if they just leave their wet equipment in their hockey bags until it’s time to play again. Not hanging up wet, smelly equipment to dry is a major reason for severe bacterial contamination. While some may wash their jerseys, hockey socks and undergarments before the next game, leaving the rest of the stuff in the bag, like Boswell does, is not uncommon. There doesn’t seem to be a reasonable explanation from those who let their equipment rot, other than offering the frequent refrain, “It’s kind of a guy thing.” Allowing equipment to dry kills a lot of bacteria, although Dr. Dworkin suggested that cleaning equipment with disinfectants should also be part of the process, to make sure you’re getting more bacteria and any spores left by dead germs. Because they’re reproductive cells, spores can be activated by sweat or other moist conditions, which leads back to bacterial growth. Athletic equipment is a very good host for germs because of the plastics and foam used in its construction. For example, bacteria can get trapped in crevices and pores of the materials and, if equipment isn’t dried or cleaned properly, the germs can flourish, multiplying en masse. It is highly recommended that players do not share any piece of equipment. Health issues are not the only problem with dirty equipment. ” What (damages) equipment is bacteria and mould buildup,” said Darren McCready, co-owner of Hockey Wash, a local company that specializes in cleaning sports gear in what basically is a huge washing and drying machine that uses special detergents and sanitizers. ” (Dirty equipment) eventually rots and falls apart. Equipment is expensive. By keeping it clean, you’re protecting your investment.” Skora’s lab, which primarily conducts microbiological tests for bacteria in wells, air, restaurants and food-processing plants, took bacteria samples from five-by-five-centimetre surfaces of eight pieces of Boswell’s equipment — helmet, shoulder pads, pants, skates, elbow pads, athletic support, gloves and shin pads. A count of 25 or less of bacteria on hard surfaces (such as a restaurant counter) is considered acceptable under Quebec provincial guidelines. Anything above is considered a potential health hazard and disinfection is recommended. There are no guidelines to bacteria levels in hockey equipment, although Skora said the levels in Boswell’s equipment were simply too high to ignore out of concern for infection. Here’s what the lab results show: 1. Shoulder pads: 480 bacteria that were reproducing on that equipment as we spoke. A concentration of 19 times higher than the acceptable quota under the provincial guidelines. 2. Helmet: 750 (30 times higher) 3. Skates: 2,800 (112 times higher) 4. Pants: 4,500 (180 times higher) 5. Elbow pads: 6,200 (248 times higher) 6. Athletic support: 9,400 (376 times higher) 7. Gloves: 79,000 (3,160 times higher) 8. Shins pads: 86,000 (3,440 times higher) In other words, in Boswell’s equipment, the lab found 188,650 living, reproducing bacteria on just eight samples, measuring 25 square centimetres each. How many more were there? Three, four million? Boswell’s equipment has since been cleaned by Hockey Wash. Micro B tested the equipment afterward, and Skora says the results were amazing compared with the first tests. Every sample taken showed counts of bacteria to be within the standard set by Quebec’s environment ministry for hard surfaces — 25 or less. There was no sample taken in the second test of Boswell’s skates: he didn’t want them cleaned for fear that the slightest change after being washed might throw off his game. Here are the result from the second lab test: 1. Shoulder pads: 18 2. Helmet: 22 3. Skates: No sample taken. 4. Pants: 24 5. Elbow pads: 14 6. Athletic support: 8 7. Gloves: 16 8. Shin pads: 12 While your skin is already a host to some of the bacteria found in the contents of a hockey bag, and some of that bacteria on your skin is considered “good” because it kills harmful germs, Dr. Dworkin said the “bacterial load on dirty hockey equipment is greater than what your body is used to.” Thus, bacteria and viruses that get into your system, or that of the player you just made contact with, can make either one of you as sick as a dog or cause some excruciating pain. Dr. Dworkin explained there are numerous ways for players to suffer or pass ailments caused by the bacteria and viruses. Most of it, he said, is through hand-to-hand contact. One example is a player who adjusts a piece of equipment, such as his shoulder pads or athletic support, and then grabs a drink from a water bottle. Another player touches the same water bottle, either to move it or take a drink, and then adjusts his mouthguard, allowing the bacteria he picked up from the bottle to mix with his saliva, which carries it into his body. Players colliding on the ice can send contaminated sweat showering into the air, and into the nasal or oral passages. Skin infections occur as bacteria find their way under the skin through cuts, abrasions and bruises. Germs also get under the skin as it gets soft and prune-like from the body’s heat and sweat. Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot also require heat and moisture to be stimulated. Dr. Dworkin said various micro-organisms can cause problems once they get through the skin because they multiply rapidly in warm and wet cells. Nasty illnesses that bacteria and viruses found in hockey equipment can cause include: * Gastroenteritis (commonly know as stomach flu, which results in diarrhea and nausea); * Other viral illnesses such as influenza, colds, pneumonia and chicken pox; * Various skin infections, including impetigo, caused by either the streptococcus (strep) or staphylococcus (staph) germs; * Diarrhea, bleeding and cramping, caused by a strain of E. coli, found in fecal matter and often ending up in the athletic support. The streptococcus and staphylococcus families of bacteria can be extremely dangerous and are spread through broken skin. Staphylococcus aureas, or MRSA, is one that is particularly feared because it is resistant to certain antibiotics, can poison blood and even kill you. Sometimes, though, it causes no more than a mildly painful blister. Recent cases of MRSA, considered a “superbug,” have involved U.S. high school and university football players who developed infections through razor nicks from cosmetic body shaving. The infections spread through body contact. Last year, several members of the NFL’s Houston Texans developed MRSA infections and needed intravenous antibiotics. Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikael Renberg had a run-in with group-A strep and nearly lost a hand as a result. While tying his skates for a practice in late December 2002, a lace opened a blister on his left hand. The hand became so infected the next day that he developed a 104-degree fever and ended up in a Vancouver hospital, where doctors considered amputation over fears that the infection could spread and kill him. Boston Bruins star Joe Thornton was put on intravenous antibiotics in January 2003, after he fell and bruised his left elbow during practice and developed an infection a few days later. It was believed that the infection came from bacteria in his elbow pad or from bacteria in his hand, which he transmitted by rubbing the bruise. Some other NHL players who suffered bad infections in recent years include Detroit Red Wings forward Darren McCarty (elbow), Leafs goalie Eddie Belfour (hand) and former San Jose Sharks defenceman Gary Suter (shoulder). Suter’s infection ate a large part of one of the triceps muscle in his upper arm. In September 2003, Tampa Bay Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier was prescribed antibiotics after his right ankle became infected through scar tissue as he was breaking in a pair of skates. Boswell? He claims he is as “healthy as a horse” and doubts he has ever suffered an illness related to his equipment.
Reprinted with the permission of the Ottawa Citizen
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Posted: September 8, 2016 at 6:49 am
This book contains shocking but carefully documented details about germ warfare tests conducted by the U.S. Army in the 1960s. It is an eye opener about a range of Army experiments that exposed millions of Americans to various bacteria without their knowledge. The purpose supposedly was to see how vulnerable Americans would be to a germ attack. The book is clearly written and provides riveting descriptions of many of the tests. The most amazing thing about the tests was the number of American cities and their populations that were targeted. They included New York City, San Francisco, St. Louis and hundreds of other cities and towns. The germs were not true warfare agents like anthrax, but they apparently caused several people to become sick, some perhaps fatally. In the current climate of fear about terrorism, Clouds of Secrecy provides an invaluable reminder that secret government actions intended to protect the public may themselves create risks to its safety.
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Posted: August 21, 2016 at 11:18 am
by Donald S. McAlvaney, Editor, McAlvaney Intelligence Advisor (MIA), August 1996
GWI is a communicable, moderately contagious and potentially lethal disease, resulting from a laboratory modified germ warfare agent called Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus). [ED. NOTE: There were actually up to 15 such agents used in Desert Storm by Iraq only three have been identified at this writing: mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus), mycoplasma genitalia, and Brucella species.]. Myco- plasma fermentans (incognitus) is a biological which contains most of the (HIV) envelope gene, which was most likely inserted into it in germ warfare laboratories.
GWI spreads far more easily than AIDS, by sex, by casual contact, through perspiration, or by being close to someone who coughs. Your children can be infected at a playground or school. The Nicolsons, who have isolated the micro-organisms, say that it is airborne and moderately contagious.
Joyce Riley had an American Legion chapter leader call her in mid-95 who said, I was visiting the Desert Stormers at the VA Hospital and after two weeks I had the same illness they did just from visiting them at the VA. It sounds almost like tuberculosis-type contagion.
To illustrate the moderately contagious nature of the biologicals Saddam used, Dr. Garth Nicolson cited the case of a young woman who served in a transportation squad who contracted GWI while assigned to a graves registration unit during the hostilities. She is currently the sole survivor of the 16 members of her unit.
She has severe GWI, is partially paralyzed, has multiple chemical sensitiveness (which complicate treatment) and has the mycoplasmic infection. All of the other 15 members of her unit are dead from what we suspect were infectious diseases. These (graves registration) units had to deal with the registration and disposal of thousands of dead Iraqi soldiers who were, we strongly suspect, exposed to GWI.
GWI is the direct health consequence of prolonged exposure to low (non-lethal at the time of exposure) levels of chemical and biological agents released primarily by direct Iraqi attack via missiles, rockets, artillery, or aircraft munitions, and by fallout from allied bombings of Iraqi chemical warfare munitions facilities during the 38-day war.
The effects of these exposures were exacerbated by the harmful and synergistic side effects of unproven (untested) pyridostigmine bromide (PB) pills (nerve agent pre-treatment pills) forcibly administered to our troops; botulinum toxoid vaccines (also untested and experimental) forcibly administered to our troops; anthrax vaccines and several other experimental vaccines, all forcibly administered to our troops like so many laboratory guinea pigs.
Estimates of the number of vets who are sick are just that estimates. Estimates of 50 to 90,000 sick vets are now obsolete. Over 160,000 Gulf War vets have reported to the Gulf War Registry (kept by the Department of Defense which still maintains that the disease does not exist). Dr. Garth Nicolson estimates the number of veterans sick with GWI to be closer to 100,000 to 200,000 with approximately 15,000 dead. This does not include wives, children or other family members, friends or associates (secondary infectees) who are sick, disabled, dying or dead.
By August 15, 1991, 17,000 out of 100,000 reservists and National Guardsmen who served in the Gulf conflict had reported to the VA that they were ill. Four years later (in August 96) that number is likely to have tripled to 51,000, or over half of the total. Joyce Riley estimates that 1/2 of all Desert Stormers may now be positive for Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus). Riley (and the Nicolsons) also estimate that a large percent of all GWI victims may ultimately die from the disease, or suicide.
On 7/31/96, Tony Flint, spokesperson for the British Gulf War Veterans Association, reported that the number of GW veterans deaths in U.K. is l.233 out of 51,000 Brits who participated. Of these deaths, 13% or 162 were from suicide. These are huge numbers of suicide victims who took their lives due to their lack of treatment and incredible pain levels.
Whole families are now ill. Nor do the above numbers include babies which are being born dead or severely deformed like the thalidomide babies of the 50s. Some of the baby deformities are Goldenhar syndrome, wherein babies are born with one or more limbs missing, a missing eye or other deformity. It is now estimated that a large percent of babies born to infected veterans are being born deformed or with birth problems.
The study done for former U.S. Senator Don Riegle (D-MI) concluded that 78% of wives of veterans who are sick are also likely to be sick, that 25% of their children born before the war are also likely to be sick, and that 65% of children born to sick Gulf War veterans after the war also are likely to be sick.
The Nicolsons, after listening to health complaints of many veterans of Desert Storm (including their step-daughter, then Staff Sergeant Sharron McMillan, who served with the Armys 101st Airborne Division-Air Assault, in the deep insertions into Iraq), concluded that the symptoms can be explained by aggressive, pathogenic mycoplasma and other microorganism infections.
Mycoplasmas are similar to bacteria. They are a group of small microorganisms, in between the size and complexity of cells and viruses, some of which can invade and burrow very deep into the cell and cause chromic infections. According to the Nicolsons, normal mycoplasma infections produce relatively benign diseases limited to particular tissue sites or organs, such as urinary tract or respiratory infections.
However, the types of mycoplasmas which the Nicolsons have detected in Desert Storm veterans are very pathogenic, colonize in a variety of organs and tissues, and are very difficult to treat. [ED. NOTE: The Nicolsons tested thousands of veterans blood samples (free-of-charge) while at the M.D. Anderson Center].
These mycoplasmas can be detected by a technique the Nicolsons developed called Gene Tracking, whereby the blood is separated into red and white blood cell fractions, and then further fractionated into nucleoproteins that bond to DNA, the genetic material in each cell. Finally, the purified nucleoproteins are probed to determine the presence of specific mycoplasma gene sequences. [ED. NOTE: Obviously this is no ordinary blood test and can only be understood or done by a small handful of pathologists or microbiologists in the world today].
As the Nicolsons wrote in a recent paper entitled Chronic Fatigue Illness and Desert Storm Were Biological Weapons Used Against Our Forces in the Gulf War?: In our preliminary study on a small number of Gulf War veterans and their families, we have found evidence of mycoplasmic infections in about one-half of the patients whose blood we have examined.
Not every Gulf War veteran had the same type of mycoplasma DNA sequences that came from mycoplasmas bound to or inside their white blood cells. Of particular importance, however, was our detection of highly unusual retroviral DNA sequences in the same samples by the same technique. These highly unusual DNA sequences included a portion of the HIV-1 (the AIDS-causing virus) genetic code, the HIV-1 envelope gene, but not the entire HIV-1 viral genomes.
The type of mycoplasma we identified was highly unusual and it almost certainly could not occur naturally. It has one gene from the HIV-1 virus but only one gene. This meant it was almost certainly an artificially modified microbe altered purposely by scientists to make them more pathogenic and more difficult to detect.
Thus these soldiers were not infected with the HIV-1 virus, because the virus cannot replicate with only one HIV-1 envelope gene that we detected. [ED. NOTE: But, infected soldiers do exhibit many of the symptoms of AIDS while testing HIV negative. Garth Nicolson says that Mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus) contains about 40% of the HIV virus which causes AIDS. He told this writer on 8/9/96 that some soldiers do test HIV-1 positive, but do not have the HIV virus only the envelope gene product].
Interestingly, the specific DNA sequence that we detected encodes a protein that, when expressed on the surface of the mycoplasma, would enable any myco-plasma to bind to many cell types in the body, and even enter those cells.
Thus this genetic manipulation could render a relatively benign mycoplasma much more invasive and pathogenic and capable of attacking many organ and tissue systems of the body.
Such findings suggest that the mycoplasmas that we have found in Gulf War veterans are not naturally occurring organisms, or to be more specific, they were probably genetically modified or engineered to be more invasive and pathogenic, or quite simply, more potent biological weapons.
In our rather small sample of Gulf War veterans, it seems that the soldiers that were involved in the deep insertions into Iraq and those that were near Saudi SCUD impact zones may be the ones at highest risk for contracting the mycoplasmas that we feel are a major culprit in the Desert Storm-associated chronic fatigue illness. Our preliminary research indicates that the types of mycoplasmas found in some of the Desert Storm veterans with the most severe chronic symptoms may have been altered, probably by genetic manipulation, suggesting strongly that biological weapons were used in Desert Storm.
We consider it quite likely that many of the Desert Storm veterans suffering from the symptoms (described below) may have been infected with microorganisms. Quite possibly aggressive pathogenic mycoplasmas and probably other pathogens such as pathogenic bacteria as well, and this type of multiple infection can produce the chronic symptoms even long after exposure. [ED. NOTE: Three to seven years later, Joyce Riley calls it a time-release form of illness].
[ED. NOTE: Joyce Riley and the Nicolsons believe that the microbe just described is only one of 10 to 15 different microbes or different types of germ warfare that could have been utilized].
Micotoxins are toxins that are associated with fungus. Fungi and micotoxins have long been a very secret carrier of germ warfare agents. Micotoxins are very difficult to destroy with temperature, weather, or anything else.
Mycoplasmas have for many years been studied as potential germ warfare agents. Add a recombinant DNA to the mycoplasma such as the HIV envelope gene, and youve got a very virulent form of disease that is going to be passed easily throughout the population.
Mycoplama fermentans (incognitus) (and the other 10 to 15 microbes the Nicolsons believe could have been used by Saddam) are easily manufactured and have been made for the past 15 years in America, Russia, Iraq, China, Israel and even in Libyas new biological (germ) warfare facilities.
One of the more ominous aspects of GWI is that the microorganism is communicable between humans and dogs and cats (and presumably other animals). Veterans pets are coming down with the GWI symptoms and dying. Remember one of the Nicolsons cats contracted it and died. So, the disease is contagious between species. As Joyce Riley has said, The fact that the disease is being transmitted from people to animals is almost unprecedented. To find an organism that can be transmitted to animals is truly frightening.
In England, a viral researcher friend says that he has treated a number of people with the human form of Mad Cow Disease which he says has many common characteristics with GWI. Remember, most of the cattle herd of England had to be destroyed because of Mad Cow Disease. The British researcher says he is presently seeing (and treating) dozens of new, never-before-seen viruses in the U.K.
There is a large list of signs and symptoms which can begin from six months to six or seven years from the time of exposure, and once they begin, can get progressively worse until the victim is partially or totally disabled, or dies. [ED. NOTE: With severe exposure to heavy doses of biologicals, the symptoms can show up in a few days]. These symptoms include (not listed in order of severity or frequency): (1) Chronic fatigue; (2) Frequent (or constant) throwing up and diarrhea; (3) Severe weight loss (wasting away) very similar to an AIDS patient; (4) Severe joint pains; (5) Headaches that dont go away; (6) Memory loss, concentration loss the brain begins to go; (7) Inability to sleep [ED. NOTE: Severe sleep disorders are one of the worst and most frequent symptoms. Victims often sleep in the day, awake at night, or dont sleep for days or weeks]; (8) A rash on the stomach, groin, back, face, arms often looks like a giant ring worm. Whole families often get the rash; (9) Lymph nodes begin to swell; (10) Nervous system problems begin to appear (Parkinson-like symptoms, numbness and tingling around the body which can degenerate into paralysis and death); (11) Night sweats; (12) Bizarre tumors many brain stem tumors; [ED. NOTE: the active duty tumor rate in the U.S. military has increased 600% since 1990, according to data obtained from the Veterans Admini-stration. This data is available from Joyce Riley at the American Gulf War Veterans Association, 3506 Highway 6 South #117, Sugarland, TX 77478-4401 (1-713-587-5437)]; (13) Bizarre personality changes (victims become violent, have wide mood swings, severe depression, they hibernate in a dark room, begin to drink heavily, use drugs, become violently angry. Denial is a major facet of the disease; (14) Cant work often go bankrupt; (15) A large number of victims (perhaps 50%) end up committing suicide. GWI victims are walking time bombs!
Many of the symptoms are similar to AIDS because they are both immuno- suppressive and attack the immune system. Most victims will have half to two-thirds of these symptoms (some more severe than others). Wives married to GWI victims are likely to get the disease via sex and other close contact, and their symptoms can even include cervical cancer, ovarian cysts, ovarian tumors, endometriosis, painful intercourse, chlamydia, and herpes (sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] but with no extra-marital sexual activity). About 90% of the wives of veterans who are sick with GWI are now complaining of these symptoms.
When Joyce Riley had the disease she had some of the above symptoms in addition to the following symptomology: (1) She felt like a part of the body (like a foot, a leg, a calf, an arm) was missing; (2) She felt like a pan of hot water had been splashed on her one side of her body burned; (3) She felt like a foot was in ice; (4) She had bone pain, muscle pain (like a cramp or charley horse that doesnt let up for weeks); (5) She had central nervous system symptoms (knife-like pain from the upper back to tailbone).
Bleeding and hemorrhaging are symptoms associated with GWI. In Ebola Zaire, the body bleeds out in about 48 hours. Ebola Riston (a variation of Ebola Zaire) takes about two years to cause death with severe bleeding. A number of Gulf War vets who have called Joyce Riley have told her that they are bleeding from every orifice of their body. And their doctors dont have a clue as to what is happening they just know they dont have long to live. [ED. NOTE: She gets dozens of calls each day].
The Ebola Riston virus is a version of the Ebola Zaire virus (which may have been laboratory produced) but it takes about two years or more to kill a victim, beginning with the onset of the symptoms, versus 48 hours for Ebola Zaire. [ED. NOTE: Readers of this report are strongly encouraged to buy and read the book, The Hot Zone and rent the movie Outbreak both of which deal with the Ebola Zaire virus. However, in the real world, Ebola did not come from an African monkey, cave or rain forest but probably from a biological warfare laboratory].
Lekoencephalopathy is similar to Mad Cow disease the brain dissolves! It is now spreading among the populace of England. 25 to 30-year-old paratroopers are now dying of lekoencephalopathy. Other symptoms of GWI include: recurring fever, menstrual disorders, stomach upsets and cramps, heart pain, kidney pain, thyroid problems, and in extreme cases, autoimmune-like disorders such as those that lead to paralysis.
Many GWI victims are getting medical diagnoses of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) or Guillian Barre Syndrome, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrings Disease), their neurological problems eventually lead to paralysis and death. Thousands of Gulf War vets are now being diagnosed as having MS when they really have GWI.
The reason for the autoimmune symptoms maybe related to the cell penetrating mycoplasmas and bacteria of GWI. When these microorganisms proliferate and leave the cell, they can take a piece of the cells membrane with it, resulting in host immune responses against the microorganisms as well as the normal parts of membrane associated with the microorganism. This type of response is called a concomitant immune response.
In August 95, researchers at the University of Glasgow released a report entitled, Neurological Dysfunction in Gulf War Syndrome, which was published in the March 96 issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry which said, The results between the two groups [Desert Storm vets and non-military control group] showed significant differences between the two groups in terms of nervous system function. The Gulf War veterans performed less well. They all displayed the classic symptoms of nerve damage.
Graves Disease (a disease of the thyroid) is another problem or symptom associated ith mycoplasma fermentans (incognitus) infection. If it settles in the wheart, then you can get a severe enlargement and necrosis (or degeneration) of the heart, and in some autopsies of GWI victims, the coroner says, their heart exploded.
The most severely affected (sickest) units in our military are the 101st Airborne, the 82nd Airborne, and the Big Red One out of Ft. Riley, Kansas, and the 3rd and 5th Special Forces.
[ED. NOTE: 99.9% of the medical doctors in America cant recognize GWI, dont believe it even exists because of the government and medical establishment saying it doesnt exist, would have no idea how to test for it and even less idea how to treat it. Most alternate medical practitioners are in the same boat although many of them would try detoxification and immune system therapy which would be helpful. These are answers (if the disease is not too far advanced) both in the tradition (mainline) medical area and in the alternate medicine field which will be discussed in Section VI below. If you or a family member reading this report are discouraged at this point, turn to Section VI on Methods of Treatment before continuing].
Life (11/95) featured a special report entitled: The Tiny Victims of Desert Storm, which described in heart-rending detail (with numerous photos) how the children of our veterans are being born with horrendous disfiguring birth defects. The article was subtitled, When our soldiers risked their lives in the Gulf, they never imagined that their children might suffer the consequences or that their country would turn its back on them.
In the months and years following Desert Storm, thousands of babies have been born to vets with horrible deformities (missing limbs, one eye, missing ears, incomplete or missing organs reminiscent of the Thalidomide babies of the 1950s but in far greater numbers. [ED. NOTE: Thalidomide was another experimental drug (administered to pregnant mothers) which went awry].
Meanwhile, the Department of Defense is working overtime to cover up the crisis with Gulf War babies, denying it exists, denying benefits or medical assistance to veterans with birth defected children, and even going so far as to censor the Life article cited above off of the Internet.
Dr. William Campbell Douglass is the editor of the Second Opinion newsletter and author of the book, Who Killed Africa (about how the World Health Organization smallpox inoculations may have triggered the AIDS epidemic in Africa). Dr. Douglass, a close friend of this writer, wrote in his January 1994 newsletter regarding Gulf War Illness: The symptoms are now having serious repercussions. Half or more of the babies born to Gulf War vets since the war have had some sort of birth defect or blood disorder.
Nation Magazine (1/95) estimates that 67% of babies being born to Gulf War vets who are ill are having serious birth problems. Over half of the babies now being born in Iraq today have deformities or major birth defects, according to reports Dr. Garth and Nancy Nicolson have received.
According to the Life Magazine article: In 1975, a landmark Swedish study concluded that low-level exposure to nerve and mustard gases could cause both chronic illness and birth defects. The Pentagon denies the presence of such chemicals during the Gulf War. [ED. NOTE: Even though over 18,000 chemical alarms sounded during the Gulf War] but the Czech and British governments say their troops detected both kinds of gas during the war. A 1994 report by the General Accounting Office says that: American soldiers were exposed to 21 potential reproductive toxicants, any of which might have harmed them or their future children.
A number of examples of babies born to Gulf War vets with devastating birth defects were cited in the Life Magazine article:
1) Kennedi Clark (Age 4) Born to Darrell (an Army paratrooper in the Gulf War) and Shona Clark. Kennedis face is grotesquely swollen sprinkled with red, knotted lumps. She was born without a thyroid. If not for daily hormone treatments, she would die. What disfigures her features, however, is another congenital condition: hemangiomas, benign tumors made of tangled red blood vessels. Since she was a few weeks old, they have been popping up all over on her eyelids, lips, etc.
(2) Lea Arnold (Age 4) Born to Richard and Lisa Arnold. Richard was a civilian helicopter mechanic (working for Lockheed) with the Armys 1st Cavalry Division during the Gulf War. Lea was born with spina bifida, a split in the backbone that causes paralysis and hydrocephalus (i.e. water on the brain). She needed surgery to remove three vertebrae. Today, she cannot move her legs or roll over. A shunt drains the fluid from her skull. Her upper body is so weak that she cannot push herself in a wheelchair on carpeting. To strengthen her bones, she spends hours in a contraption that holds her upright. Just about our whole world is centered around Lea, says Lisa Arnold. Huge medical bills and the unwillingness of insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions force the family to live in poverty in order to qualify for Medicaid.
(3) Casey Minns (Age 3) Born to Army Sgt. Brad and Marilyn Minns. Casey was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, characterized by a lopsided head and spine. His left ear is missing, his digestive tract (i.e. esophagus) was disconnected. Trying to repair his damaged organs, surgeons at Walter Reed Army Medical Center damaged his vocal chords and colon, says Brad and Marilyn. His parents feed and remove his wastes through holes in his belly. His mother Marilyn, says, Sometimes it just overwhelms me, but I try to take it one day at a time.. its made worse by people who say that Gulf War Syndrome doesnt existtheyre turning their backs on us.
(4) Michael Ayers (Died at 5 Months of Age) Born to Glenn (a battery commander in the Gulf War) and Melanie Ayers. Michael was born with a mitral-valve defect in his heart. He sweat constantly until the night h woke up screaming, his arms and legs ice-cold. he died that night of congestive heart failure. As Life Magazine wrote: After Michaels death, Melanie sealed off his bedroom; she tried to close herself off as well. But soon she began to encounter a shocking number of other parents whose post-Gulf War children had been born with abnormalities. All of them were desperate to know what had gone wrong and whether they would ever again be able to bear healthy babies. With Kim Sullivan, an artillery captains wife whose infant son, Matthew, had died of a rare liver cancer, Melanie founded an informal network of fellow sufferers. Kim is here. So is Connie Hanson, wife of an Army sergeant her son, Jayce, was born with multiple deformities. Army Sgt. John Mabus has brought along his babies Zachary and Andrew who suffer from an incomplete fusion of the skull. The people in this room have turned to one another because they can no longer rely upon the military.
(5) Cedrick Miller (Age 4) Born to Steve (a former Army medic in the Gulf War) and Bianca Miller. Cedrick was born with his trachea and esophagus fused; despite surgery, his inability to hold down solid food has kept his weight to 20 pounds. His internal problems include hydrocephalus and a heart in the wrong place. Cedrick suffers, like Casey Minns, from Goldenhars Syndrome. The left half of his face is shrunken, with a missing ear and blind eye.
(6) Jayce Hanson (Age 4) Born to Paul (a Gulf War vet) and Connie Hanson. Jayce was born with hands and feet attached to twisted stumps. He also had a hole in his heart, a hemophilia-like blood condition, and underdeveloped ear canals ..a cherubic, rambunctious blond, hes the unofficial poster boy of the Gulf War babies seen by millions in People Magazine. But since his last major public appearance, he has undergone a change. His lower legs are missing. Doctors recently amputated his legs at the knees to make it easier to fit him with prosthetics. Hell say once in a while, My feet are gone, says his mother Connie, but he has been a real trooper.
(7) Alexander Albuck (Age 3) Born to Lieutenant and Kelli Albuck after two miscarriages. Alexander was born with underdeveloped lungs, Strep B infection, spinal meningitis, cranial hemorrhage, collapsed heart valve, calcium deposits in the kidneys, bleeding ulcers, cerebral palsy, vision and hearing impairments, bronchia pulmonary dysphasia, etc. Having exhausted the lifetime limit on their health insurance in the first three months, the Albucks because responsible for paying for his treatment. The first bill they received was for $154,319!
There are thousands of young children like Kennedi, Lea, Casey, Michael, Cedrick, Jayce, and Alexander (the tiny victims of Desert Storm) who have been born to Gulf War vets with horrible birth defects or who have died from these deformities. The government (especially the Defense Department) denies that the problem exists and no government medical or financial assistance is forthcoming unless a parent is still in the military (and over 2/3 of the Gulf War vets have been separated from duty since Operation Desert Storm).
As Life wrote: For parents of these children, the going is grim. They are denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. They are being driven into poverty. Some join the welfare line so Medicaid will help with the impossible burden. You could be a millionaire, and there is no way you could take care of one of these children, says Lisa Arnold.
Because the U.S. government and military will not help, a Gulf War Baby Registry has been formed (in Orlando, Florida) by Dr. Betty Bekdeci to track as best as possible the birth defected children. Call 1-800-313-2232 for more information.
Read more here:
Posted: July 29, 2016 at 3:19 am
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