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The Ebola Strain Links African
Outbreak To A Lab Escape

By Yoichi Shimatsu
Exclusive to Rense


As newly arrived patients are treated at US hospitals in Atlanta and New York, the most alarming aspect of the spreading Ebola outbreak across four West African countries is the strain’s probable origin as an escapee from a medical-research laboratory.

As early as May, a prophetic warning came from Heinz Feldman, former head of the Canadian laboratory that created the ZMapp drug-cocktail used to treat missionary doctors Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Now serving as chief virologist at the Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana, Feldman has urged a halt to international shipments of infected tissue and pressed for the formation of secure national laboratories in every country to handle samples of contagious pathogens (The New England Journal of Medicine).

The virologist, who provided medical aid to Sierra Leone, disclosed that it requires a 14-day period between shipping a medical sample from Liberia, hub of the pandemic, to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, before receiving a diagnosis. In the interval, physicians depend only physical symptoms as an indicator of the specific disease affecting patients, most of whom suffer multiple diseases and chronic disorders. The delay can be fatal to other patients and medical staff in cases of ebola virus infection.

Besides the long delays in a limbo of uncertainty, another potential problem is the mishandling of medical samples from clinics in isolated villages via informal transport networks of visiting doctors and couriers sent to the air-cargo offices. The odds of a medical technician or deliveryman accidentally breaking a container and self-infecting are not improbable, and in rebellion-torn regions like western Africa a small package en route can easily fall into the hands of marauding bands of rebels or criminal elements. The risks of inadvertent infection are unacceptably high.

Inefficient transport of medical samples could explain why the current Western African outbreak is not of the endemic (local-originated ) variant Ivory Coast ebola (EBO-C1). Instead, the now-prevalent virus is the foreign ZEBOV, or Zaire ebola, the most virulent of the four types of this pathogen.

In the 1990s, ZEBOV-infected parts of Zaire, since renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), were quarantined inside a World Health Organization (WHO) cordon, under a decontamination campaign that led to the chemical-spraying or burning down of entire villages. Since that horrific containment program in remote Central Africa, a rural area with few roads or communications links, the Zaire stain has been suppressed due to close monitoring by health authorities, border police and immigration officials.

How one of the deadliest viral strains in human history could have jumped a distance of 4,000 kilometers undetected from Central to West Africa defies logic. Retracing its path will be difficult to track down when West African medical personnel are overwhelmed with new cases while foreign physicians and non-governmental groups flee the region. The challenge of retracing Zaire ebola is compounded by the recent death of epidemiologist Sheik Humarr Khan, one of the continent’s top field doctors who was posted at Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone.

As a stern precedent, the 2002 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong started with just one infected guest at the Metropole Hotel but quickly led to a wave of infections inside city hospitals and a WHO-imposed 6-month travel ban to the island. The arrival of an infected passenger at JFK Airport, New York, raises the threat of a similar public-health crisis across North America.

Bush’s Project BioShield

The chaos, delays and atmosphere of secrecy surrounding and undermining the global fight against contagious diseases is largely due to anti-terrorism concerns in the United States in the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks after 911. In response to the mailings of “white powder” envelopes to Congress, the White House and federal agencies, President George W. Bush authorized Project BioShield as an integral part of his war on terrorism.

The ill-defined but sweeping BioShield program led to a bureaucratic consolidation of all related medical research under the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which handles many other issues ranging from aircraft safety and controls over explosives.

In a parallel extension of national security, the microbiology of infectious diseases was reclassified by the Pentagon as “biological-warfare countermeasures”, under the supervision of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (AMRAIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Md., home of military Walter Reed Hospital.

Defense Contractors Go Viral

Under an R&D “outsourcing” policy similar to the deployment of defense contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, has dispensed multimillion-dollar research contracts to large pharmaceuticals like GlaxoSmithKline and Rothschild-owned Sanofi, as well as smaller “favorite son” contractors with insider connections to the Defense Department or the CIA, including Mapp Biopharmaceutical based in San Diego.

The smaller biotech start-ups like Mapp are usually run by younger hotshot researchers out for fame and instant riches that come from playing fast-and-loose with biochemistry and medical ethics. Proprietary tussles with patent holders, rushed and sloppy lab procedures, budgetary corner-cutting, a competitive drive against more cautious labs, and executive misappropriation of grant monies can end up with the doctoring of lab results and other serious lapses.

Prior to the much-publicized single dose was donated to Dr. Brantly in Sierra Leone, two of the three antibodies in ZMapp drug cocktail had never been tested in macaque monkeys, much less in clinical trials with human patients. Tests in mice alone are inadequate and seriously unethical since small rodents have entirely different immune responses from humans to blood coagulation and lymph disorders. The sole “proof” of ZMapp’s efficacy and lack of side effects is the company’s own claims. Treatment without testing is reckless.

Since the provision of the untested drug violates FDA regulations, one is led to wonder if the two missionary doctors with Samaritan Purse, a group headed by evangelist Billy Graham’s millionaire son Franklin, were actually infected with Zaire ebola or by a much less-virulent strain of a similar disease. Perhaps their lives were saved with the high degree of confidence, shown by CDD officials, that could only come from secret clinical tests on prisoners, military personnel in Veterans Administration hospitals or unsuspecting patients in the developing world.

Mapping the Zaire Virus

Mapp Biopharmaceutical is the US-licensed patent holder for the drug cocktail administered to doctors Brantly and Writebol. San Diego-based Mapp Bio is merely the conduit for a Pentagon grant of $8 million in cost plus fees. The actual R&D done on the the ZMapp serum formulation involved a half-dozen other entities:

- the three drug components are commercially replicated through genetic modified (GM) tobacco plants at the Owensboro indoor farm of Kentucky Bioprocessing, a subsidiary of the Reynolds America cigarette company;

- proprietary holder of one of the antibodies, MB-003, is LeafBio, the San Diego-based US commercialization partner of Mapp Pharm;

- the intellectual property manager for the ZMAb antibody is Defyrus, a Toronto-based “private biodefence company that collaborates with public health agencies and military R&D partners in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada to develop and sell a broad spectrum anti-viral drugs and vaccine system as medical countermeasures to bioterrorist threats and emerging infectious diseases;”

- the monkey lab research into ZMAb efficacy against Zaire ebola was done under Dr. Feldman during his term at the Special Pathogens Program of the Canadian National Health Agency in Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada;

- Defyrus acquired its profolio of biowarfare viruses from the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, a research arm of the British Ministry of Defence.

- The original patent holder of the UK Defence virus portfolio is The Queen of England and Canada, Elizabeth II, the world’s wealthiest individual.

The Pharma Cartel

This complex web of partnerships is a series of front companies, similar to how the Medellin cartel structures its operations in foreign markets. Instead of psychotropic drugs, the product is biowarfare toxins and their corollary, antidotes. The ethical situation becomes cloudier on the discovery that the” “self-sacrificing media-lionized Doctor Brantly belongs to an organization controlled by Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, notorious million-dollar annual income as CEO of a charity.

The current ebola “cure” is reminiscent of how former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Gilead pharmaceuticals perfectly timed its marketing of Tamiflu at the height of the panic during the H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks of 2003-06. Infectious diseases and their dubious “cures” are being exploited in a mafia-style protection racket and governments and law-enforcement agencies have done nothing to stop it and instead promote these corporate labyrinths. After governments and consumers spent billions of dollars on supposed prevention, a panel of health experts recently declared that Tamiflu has been “largely ineffective.”

Not to be outdone by the Pentagon, the CIA also maintains a presence in the infectious disease field through USAID’s “emerging pandemic threat program” called PREDICT. One of the key participants was Brad Schneider, laboratory director for the NGO MetaBiota. The non-profit proffers its thinly veiled cover by proclaiming: “We offer a radically different approach to infectious disease threats. Our solutions transform health information into actionable intelligence.

Schneider, notably, is a Google scholar, and Google has the closest research relationship with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Actionable Intelligence? Is the CIA going to deliver pathogens with drone strikes?

Ebola as Weapon for Israel

ZEBOV from the Zaire outbreak was weaponized by the Soviet military, as revealed to the US Congress by defector Dr. Kenneth Alibeck in 1998. The former deputy director of Russia’s Biopreparal biosecurity program testified that ebola was a major target for weaponization and cloned with equine influenza. President Boris Yeltsin later confirmed such claims that Russia had continued to conduct biowarfare research after signing the Convention against Bioweapons.

Following the collapse of the USSR, many of the Soviet biowarfare experts accepted Israeli invitations to immigrate to the Jewish state. The Russian Jewish emigrees upgraded the in-house research at the Nes Ziona biowarfare center south of Tel Aviv. The Israeli biowarfare program began in the 1948 Nakba expulsion of Palestinians with the typhus poisoning of village water wells to discourage their return. The typhus samples were acquired by David Green Ben-Gurion, while the full-blown Israeli biowarfare program was later inaugurated by President Ephraim Katachalsky Katzir. The Israeli biowarfare program has since been greatly enhanced with biotech expertise at Ben Gurion University in the Negev and the Rothschild-financed Ariel University.

The epicenter of ebola and the related Marburg filovirus has special interest for Israel, which is a supporter of the Tutsi government in Rwanda, bordering mineral-rich Congo-Zaire, and in West Africa, a center of “blood” diamond mining. The focus on a Zionist connection arises from the close cooperation between Israel and the apartheid South African regime in the development of genetic-targeted microorganisms. The fact that researchers of European ancestry have survived the first phase of the West African contagion tentatively points to a well-planned campaign of extermination of African people, and is therefore not just a mere public-health threat but a crime against humanity of the highest order.

The speed of this spreading pandemic and the ongoing evacuation of foreign medical personnel will make it practically impossible to identify Patient A, who carried ebola from Zaire to Western Africa. Without that elusive bit of information, it will be difficult to conclusively determine whether the reemergence of Zaire ebola is the result of an unintended virus escape from a medical laboratory or a deliberate act of genocidal terrorism.

Yoichi Shimatsu, a Hong Kong-based science journalist, led public-health information programs on innovative approaches to stopping the SARS coronavirus outbreak and Asian avian influenza pandemics. He also investigated attempts by the Aum Shinrikyo sect in Japan to obtain ebola virus samples from Central Africa.





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