After decades of denial...

British Government Transfers all Lyme Disease testing to Biowarfare Centre

an article in two parts
by Elena Cook

Part I

This year, 2012, will go down in the history of Lyme Disease as the Year of Hope. Why? Let me explain.

Most of us in the patient community are aware that Lyme Disease has been the subject of a disinformation campaign for many decades. Ever since the day in 1975 when an officer of the Epidemic Intelligence Service [1] called Allen C. Steere, MD walked into an outbreak of an unknown disease in the small town of Lyme, Connecticut, ignored the detailed evidence of Polly Murray and other local victims and subsequently proclaimed Lyme Disease a self-limiting viral illness, the world has had nothing but dishonesty and deceit from those entrusted with protecting public health.

From the Eighties onwards, it became obvious that increasing numbers of people were suffering a severe and chronic form of the illness, far removed from the dismissive description of Steere. It became known that Lyme was bacterial, not viral (and therefore potentially treatable with antibiotics).

The Steere camp and American public health authorities responded by downplaying the amount of treatment needed, and ignored peer-reviewed evidence of a growing epidemic. Instead, CDC [2] declared that Lyme Disease was confined to just a few regions of the US, whilst in other countries, such as Britain, nothing was said at all.

Severe, crippling neurological borreliosis, as experienced by so many Lyme victims even after the 'adequate' doses of antibiotics they had received, was declared rare. Finally, following the publication by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) of its guidelines in 2006, US public health agencies, with Europe in tow, announced that chronic Lyme Disease actually did not exist at all.

Those who believed they had it were either imagining their symptoms, or had other psychological problems, or perhaps had another illness altogether. Even if the symptoms were identical to those they had suffered when diagnosed with Lyme under Steere camp protocols.

Why on earth would the public health apparatus of modern technologically-advanced countries ignore hard, peer-reviewed evidence of persistent infection, of brain-disabling pathology? In some cases Steere camp doctors ignored their own published findings of a few years before, writing new articles which contradicted the old, though never explaining their sudden about-face.

Doctors and scientists who raised the issue of persistence, of chronic Lyme infection of the central nervous system were at best ignored. At worst they were vilified, persecuted, driven out of their professions. A few committed suicide.

In the mid-Nineties, with American cases spiralling out of control, CDC devised so-called 'surveillance criteria' (where the parameters are deliberately set so as to exclude all but the most absolutely definite cases, at the cost of generating many false negatives) . Immediately afterward these blood testing criteria, far from being restricted to 'surveillance' purposes, came to be imposed on all Lyme patients in the US and abroad. The CDC's two-tier testing protocol relies on a 'screening' ELISA test followed by a 'confirmatory' Western Blot for those with a positive ELISA only - a system so insensitive that experienced clinicians from ILADS [3] estimate it misses half of cases. Antigens (the proteins which elicit an immune response) on the Western Blot, which were considered so specific to Lyme Disease that they were the basis of vaccine research, suddenly disappeared off the strip altogether. The multitude of evidence showing why, in chronic Lyme patients, the immune system might not react to the antigens present was ignored.

Why was the testing protocol so suddenly changed by the US public health authorities, with a knock-on effect in Europe and elsewhere?

Suddenly chronic Lyme victims were dropping out of the statistics, their disease now 'ruled out' by the negative test. And with it, treatment, care, indeed hope itself seemed to be 'ruled out'. Persistence was a myth, proclaimed the Steere camp, whilst their manipulated testing protocols appeared to prove it.

Not long after the 2006 IDSA guidelines sealed the fate of Lyme patients around the world, a California-based film crew arrived at the home of Willy Burgdorfer, the 'grandfather' of Lyme credited with discovering its cause. The interview had been pre-arranged with Burgdorfer, who had retired from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) years previously. Nevertheless when the 'Under Our Skin' film crew arrived they found their way blocked by an NIH scientist, who told them they could not go in without him. 'You cannot discuss just anything with him,' the scientist said. 'This comes from the highest levels.' And specifically: 'You cannot discuss persistence.'

Lyme patients, some bed-ridden, nearly all pain-ridden, fatigue-ridden, brain-fogged from a complex and virulent disease which turned young into old almost overnight, struggled to understand what was going on. Why were these government-backed 'experts' so intransigent, so close-minded? Why so arrogantly pig-headed in their denial of the truth? A truth that was so painfully obvious to the patients themselves, as well as the ILADS doctors and professionals involved in their day-to-day care.

Was it egotism? The Flat Earth Syndrome? Scientists simply refusing to accept that they had got it wrong, because it was just too embarrassing to say so?

Was it financial skulduggery? It was not hard to see that the mighty insurance industry had a massive stake in falsifying the facts, or that it often called on the services of doctors such as Allen Steere and Eugene Shapiro to justify their refusal to pay for long-term treatment.

Further, as the film 'Under Our Skin' made clear, there were others with motives too: financial stake-holders in vaccines; patent-holders; the real estate industry who might lose millions if it were known that the lovely woodlands surrounding some of their properties were actually hotbeds of eight-legged vermin harbouring a nasty, brain-tunnelling infectious disease.

Armed with reams of evidence gathered by patients, Connecticut Attorney-General Richard Blumenthal demanded an enquiry into the hated IDSA guidelines, used round the world. It was an unprecedented move. The IDSA agreed to review the recommendations drawn up in 2006. They had been written by a Lyme committee composed entirely of Steerites, some with glaring financial conflicts of interest. This time, IDSA promised, a new, independent review panel would be convened,and would even submit to vetting by a leading Professor of Ethics to ensure no one was chosen who had a potential monetary incentive to lie.

Both sides were invited to submit their case, and the new panel, apparently impartial, settled down to many long months of deliberating. The Lyme world held its breath.

At the time, I wrote a piece warning that the decision would not be in our favour. Nevertheless, many in the Lyme community were shocked when the news came in. The impartial panel had reached its verdict. We were wrong. The Denialists were right. The Denialists had always been right.

It is impossible to fight a battle if you do not understand just who, or what, your enemy is. Yes, the insurance and biotechnology industries and others with a massive financial stake in the issue have sought to pervert Lyme medicine. Certainly, there are Lyme scientists with inflated egos. There are in every field. But that is not the whole story...nor even half of it.

For many years now, I and others in the Lyme community have been trying to get a message out. The message is this: there is another, more fundamental reason why Lyme Disease patients are denied diagnosis and treatment, and basically left to rot.

There is another reason for the misinforming of the medical profession by government 'experts', who have been told not to diagnose Lyme in anyone outside of the few areas in which its presence is acknowledged, even in a patient with ragingly-positive serology.

What is this reason?

It is simply this: Lyme Disease is a militarily-sensitive, biowarfare issue.

And now, finally, after decades of hiding this truth, it is official, admitted this spring by the government of the United Kingdom, in the shape of announcements from the Health Protection Agency (HPA), our leading public health agency. [4]

Eight years ago author Michael C. Carroll pointed out, in his book 'Lab 257', the fact that the town of Lyme, Connecticut sits right across the water from Plum Island, a biological warfare facility which was disguised for decades as a civilian 'animal diseases' lab.

Carroll noted that:

You can pinpoint cases of Lyme Disease on a map of the United States by drawing a circle around the area of largest infection. Now you can tighten that circle until a single point is reached. That point? Plum Island. Spokes radiate outward from this point and pass through neighbourhoods boasting the highest rates of Lyme Disease contamination in the nation. [5]

Years ago, researchers proved that migratory birds can carry Lyme ticks 'trans-hemispherically'. In other words, from the North Pole to the South... around the entire planet.

Further, the same monumental sloppiness, the stunning breaches in bio-containment described to Carroll by eyewitnesses at Plum Island, have undoubtedly occurred in similar labs in other countries too. Is it a coincidence that the most notorious Lyme hotspot in Britain, the New Forest, lies so near her premier biowar lab, Porton Down, and that the surrounding area is riddled with disabled and fatigued 'M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' patients, when recent evidence suggests that perhaps 50% or more of people given that diagnosis have chronic Lyme?

It is a fact that if you examine the backgrounds of the leading proponents of the Denialist camp in the US, a fantastic proportion of them have a history as biological weapons researchers, or are members of the Epidemic Intelligence Service (created in the Fifties for the purposes of then-legal offensive biowarfare), or both.

Mark Klempner [8], for example runs a biowarfare mega-lab. So does Alan Barbour, co-discoverer of Lyme (and the source of information from which all current Lyme blood testing is ultimately derived). Allen Steere, David Dennis of CDC, the former NIH Lyme Programme Officers Phillip Baker and Edward McSweegan, and even Willy Burgdorfer himself: all are biowarfare scientists and/or EIS officers.

Over the years, there have been several leaks of information demonstrating, for example, that far from the relatively low Biosafety Level 2 officially recommended for handling Lyme borrelia germs, at least some Lyme is studied in BSL-4. This is the maximum bio-containment level, reserved only for the most dangerous pathogens on earth, transmissible by the airborne route.

I and others publicised these leaks widely in the Lyme community. For example, we distributed documents attesting to Lyme research in a BSL-4 lab in San Antonio, Texas (news leaked from CDC which eventually found its way to the website of MSNBC), or 'biodefence' research on Lyme at Porton Down, England. In each case, the governments concerned denied it, even resorting to claiming that accidentally published material was 'printing mistakes', or, Orwellian-style, attempting to 'disappear' documents from the internet. [7]

Certain prominent individuals, such as ILADS Dr. Virginia Sherr, the Countess of Mar and Professor Malcolm Hooper in England, Michael Carroll and others showed great courage in speaking out publicly about the issue. They did not speak of 'conspiracy theories', but of hard facts, such as the facts contained in the Lyme-related patents and publications of researchers like JJ Dunn and Raymond Dattwyler. These are documents clearly and unequivocally related to biological warfare. [8]

Many ordinary victims of the Lyme Disease cover-up have spoken out for years too, highlighting the evidence, trying very hard to persuade that the Denialism was indeed an official cover-up at the highest levels of our governments, due to the nature of Lyme as a biowarfare issue.

We do not need to persuade people any longer. For the British government health agency, the HPA, in an unprecedented show of openness, has now revealed it itself.

They have announced that the British Lyme Reference Unit Laboratory at Southampton, formerly directed by the widely-hated Dr Susan OConnell, is now to be re-housed in the biowarfare lab at Porton Down, the centre of British bioweapons and chemical weapons research since the Second World War.

The 'Special Pathogens Research Unit' (SPRU) which will now house the Lyme lab, was recently euphemistically re-named 'Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory ' or RIPL. But names notwithstanding, the purpose of the lab is abundantly clear from the nature of the 'dangerous pathogens' it studies: 'bio-threat agents' such as 'viral haemorrhagic fevers'...'anthrax, tularaemia' etc.. In short, the most dangerous germs on earth, favourites of developers of biological WMD the world over.

So much for Lyme as the 'self-limiting', or 'hard-to-catch, easy-to-cure' illness.

According to documents released by the British government, the Lyme lab has already re-located:

'The Lyme disease specialist unit is scheduled to be a part of RIPD from 1 April 2012.' (See ref 10)

It is remarkable that the British government has decided, unilaterally, to reveal this information, while the US, whose lead they normally follow in military matters, is still clinging to denial of the biowarfare issue. Indeed, it is only a few months ago that our government here in Britain was still denying it themselves. When, in January, the Countess of Mar raised the question, in Parliament, of Lyme being studied at the Porton Down biowar labs in the past, she received a scornfully dismissive reply from our government. Now British Lyme testing has moved, lock, stock and barrel, to Porton: it is official.

So where do we go from here? In Part Two, I will discuss some options. It is a great step forward that the truth of Lyme as a dangerous biowarfare-related disease, not a self-limited easily-cured one, is finally, finally out. This opens the door to Hope.

But we must not for a moment imagine that we can co-operate with the biowarfaremen, the very authors of the decades of our suffering. They must be held to account. And we must demand an end to the lies; genuine prevention and protection for the uninfected public, and true medical aid and justice for the countless victims, young and old, of Lyme Disease.

References

  1. Allen Steere has always downplayed his involvement in the EIS, claiming it was just something he joined to avoid being drafted to Vietnam. Yet, more than 25 years after Vietnam, he was still attending EIS gatherings.
  2. Centres for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia
  3. International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society www.ilads.org
  4. Originally announced in a somewhat low-key manner, this is now available to read on the HPA website (see ref. 10)
  5. 'Lab 257:the Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory', Michael Carroll, Pub. Harper Collins 2004 ISBN 0-06-001141-6
  6. The Klempner 2001 paper supposedly disproving the need for long-term antibiotics in Lyme sealed the fates of thousands of patients round the world. The results of a parallel study, which showed persistent infection in rhesus monkeys despite a Klempner-identical antibiotic protocol, were covered up for more than a decade, only recently having been released.
  7. The MSNBC article, for example, was pulled from the website within days of me publicising it. Traces of such leaks remain, however, on the internet, and on the hard drives of people who recorded it at the time.
  8. See http://profiles.bumc.bu.edu/ProfileDetails.aspx?Person=625
  9. Letter to the Editor, for publication regarding rapid response Re: The Lancet 2005; 366:1771, DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67721-5 Lyme disease: scratching the surface Steven E Phillips, Nick S Harris, Richard Horowitz, Lorraine Johnson and Raphael B Stricker Hitting the Bulls Eye By Virginia T. Sherr, MD
  10. http://www.hpa.org.uk/ProductsServices/InfectiousDiseases/LaboratoriesAndReferenceFacilities/RareAndImportedPathogensDepartment/

Elena Cook May 2012



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