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For The Record  

FTR #287 Don’t Put Your Foot In Your Mouth When You Are Talking About Mad Cow Disease, and That’s No Bull!

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

1. Spec­u­la­tive in nature, this pro­gram explores the recent out­breaks of foot-and-mouth dis­ease and “mad cow dis­ease” (Creutzfeld & Jakob Dis­ease.) Specif­i­cal­ly, the broad­cast exam­ines the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the advent of one, or both of these dis­eases might result from bio­log­i­cal war­fare.

2. The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of EU reac­tion to the out­break of foot-and-mouth dis­ease, which has dev­as­tat­ed live­stock and the meat-pro­duc­ing indus­tries of sev­er­al coun­tries, notably the Unit­ed King­dom. (“Brus­sels to Probe Dis­ease Out­break” by Michael Mann and Dan Bilef­sky; Finan­cial Times; 4/4/2001; p. 4.)

3. One of the focal points of dis­cus­sion was the pos­si­ble source of the out­break. “The Euro­pean com­mis­sion said yes­ter­day it would launch a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion into the caus­es of the foot-and-mouth dis­ease out­break which has crip­pled Britain’s farm­ing indus­try and spread to three oth­er Euro­pean Union coun­tries. . . . It would also inves­ti­gate the fea­si­bil­i­ty of improv­ing the trac­ing of live­stock move­ments, whether exist­ing ani­mal trans­port reg­u­la­tions increase the risk of dis­eases spread­ing and whether there is a need to tight­en con­trols on meat imports. The cur­rent out­break is wide­ly thought to have been start­ed by an ille­gal ship­ment of meat.” (Idem.)

4. It should be not­ed that these out­breaks have occurred at a time when Ger­many has been push­ing to revise the EU’s insti­tu­tions, its agri­cul­tur­al pol­i­cy, in par­tic­u­lar. “To date France has indi­cat­ed no enthu­si­asm for change. But last week in the UK, where the out­break of foot-and-mouth dis­ease has brought much of the agri­cul­tur­al indus­try to a stand­still, prime min­is­ter Tony Blair echoed [Ger­man leg­is­la­tor Renate] Kunast’s sen­ti­ments. . . . Many observers are con­vinced the mad cow cri­sis has trig­gered a gen­uine reassess­ment of farm pol­i­cy in Berlin. But Mr. Schroder has stopped notice­ably short of demand­ing the re-open­ing of the long-term farm reform he failed to impose com­plete­ly in 1999, when Ger­many held the EU’s rotat­ing pres­i­den­cy. Progress appeared to have been made on the prin­ci­ple of co-financing—under which EU expen­di­ture would have been cut by shift­ing part of the farm spend­ing bur­den to mem­ber states. But in the end, the then still inex­pe­ri­enced chan­cel­lor ran up against the unyield­ing oppo­si­tion of France’s Pres­i­dent Jacques Chirac at the March 1999 Berlin sum­mit.” (“Ger­many Sig­nals the Euro­pean Union Agri­cul­tur­al Pol­i­cy has to Change” by Haig Simon­ian; Finan­cial Times; 3/5/2001; p.2.)

5. The foot and mouth out­break has already exert­ed a pro­found effect on British pol­i­tics. “Tony Blair, British prime min­is­ter, has over­rid­den the wish­es of his own Labour par­ty by delay­ing plans for par­lia­men­tary elec­tions until June. The deci­sion fol­lows calls for post­pone­ment from farm­ers, oppo­si­tion politi­cians, busi­ness orga­ni­za­tions and church lead­ers, who say Mr. Blair should give pri­or­i­ty to fight­ing the foot-and-mouth dis­ease epi­dem­ic. The num­ber of ani­mals killed or des­tined for destruc­tion since the out­break began was yes­ter­day approach­ing 1m.” (“British elec­tions to Be Post­poned in Wake of Foot-and-Mouth cri­sis” by David White; Finan­cial Times; 4/2/2001; p.16.)

6. The out­break has also height­ened xeno­pho­bic ten­sions in Britain, with the eth­nic Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ty being scape­goat­ed for the epi­dem­ic. (“Dis­ease Stirs Eth­nic Ten­sions in Britain’ by Veronique Mis­t­i­aen; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 4/7/2001; p. A10.)

7. “The dis­as­ter is hav­ing effects far beyond the dis­traught farm­ers who must help­less­ly watch the slaugh­ter of the herds that are their liveli­hood. The vic­tims now include the coun­try’s Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ty, the tourism indus­try and the envi­ron­ment. After reports that the gov­ern­ment is inves­ti­gat­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that meat ille­gal­ly import­ed from Asia might be the source of the dis­ease, Chi­nese restau­rants across the coun­try have report­ed a drop in busi­ness of as much as 40 per­cent. The drop has had a huge impact on the 300,000 strong Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ty, because more than7 70 per­cent of its mem­bers are involved in the cater­ing indus­try. The sus­pect meat, des­tined for a Chi­nese restau­rant, found its way into pig swill at a farm in Northum­ber­land where the out­break began. Only 1 per­cent of British pigs are fed swill (food made out of dis­card­ed meals from restau­rants, hos­pi­tals and schools), and Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Nick Brown is expect­ed to ban such feed soon. ‘We cer­tain­ly have been dam­aged by these accu­sa­tions,’ said W.K. Poon, edi­tor of Lon­don’s Chi­nese news­pa­per Sing Tao. ‘Busi­ness is very qui­et, and some restau­rants have received threat­en­ing phone calls.’ ” (Idem.)

8. This anti-Asian sen­ti­ment res­onates with the racist phi­los­o­phy being expressed by many British fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions. Britain (among oth­er EU nations) has begun recon­sid­er­ing its pro­hi­bi­tion of vac­ci­na­tion against foot-and-mouth. (“Britain Rethinks Vac­cine” by Alan Cow­ell [New York Times]; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 3/28/2001; p. A11.)

9. “As Britain pre­pared to slaugh­ter hun­dreds of thou­sands more healthy sheep that may have been exposed to foot-and-mouth dis­ease, the gov­ern­ment indi­cat­ed yes­ter­day that it might reverse pol­i­cy to use vac­ci­na­tion against the out­break.” (Idem.)

10. Among the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the EU’s pos­si­ble recon­sid­er­a­tion of vac­ci­na­tion against foot-and-mouth would be phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies that man­u­fac­ture the vac­cine. “The cur­rent out­break is like­ly to pro­vide a mod­est boost to earn­ings of the three lead­ing mak­ers of the vac­cine in Europe: Mer­i­al Ltd., a Lon­don-based joint ven­ture of Aven­tis SA and Mer­ck & Co.; Akzo Nobel NV’s Inter­vet unit in the Nether­lands; and Bay­er AG of Ger­many.” (“Out­break May Boost Prof­its on Vac­cines for Foot-and-Mouth” by James R. Hager­ty; Wall Street Jour­nal; 3/28/2001; p. A18.)

11. Aven­tis (formed from the merg­er of Rhone-Poulenc with Hoechst) and Bay­er are two of the com­pa­nies that emerged from the for­mer I.G. Far­ben com­pa­ny, the chem­i­cal firm that was at the heart of the Third Reich.) Like Mer­ck, the I.G. com­pa­nies are deeply involved with the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal orga­ni­za­tion. The eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal com­po­nent of a Third Reich gone under­ground, cre­at­ed and run by Mar­tin Bor­mann, the orga­ni­za­tion­al genius who was the “the pow­er behind the throne” in Nazi Ger­many, the Bor­mann group is a pri­ma­ry ele­ment of the analy­sis pre­sent­ed in the For the Record pro­grams.

12. Despite, the anti-Chi­nese hys­te­ria now grip­ping Britain, the strain of foot-and-mouth spread­ing through that coun­try is not native to Chi­na. “The strain of foot-and-mouth virus plagu­ing Britain’s farms was first detect­ed in India more than a decade ago. Sci­en­tists have been track­ing it across the world since then, but are no clos­er to deter­min­ing how it got to Eng­land. . . . Experts have iden­ti­fied the virus caus­ing the cur­rent out­break in Europe as belong­ing to the Pan-Asia type zero strain. The sub­type rav­aging Britain is nor­mal­ly found in the Mid­dle East and South Asia.” (“Foot-and-Mouth Trots Around Globe” by Emma Ross; San Jose Mer­cury News; 3/30/2001; p. 5A.)

13. Chi­na is not in the Mid­dle East, nor is it in South Asia. Iraq is, of course, in the Mid­dle East and a recent U.N. study about the renascent Iraqi devel­op­ment pro­grams for weapons of mass destruc­tion warned of that coun­try’s devel­op­ment of foot-and-mouth virus. (“Mis­siles, Virus­es Still Trou­ble Experts” by the inter­na­tion­al staff, Finan­cial Times; 3/2/2001; p. 5.)

14. “Iraq’s research into virus­es — includ­ing polio, influen­za, foot-and-mouth dis­ease, the camelpox virus, infec­tious hem­or­rhag­ic con­junc­tivi­tis virus and rotavirus — was also wor­ry­ing.” (Idem.)

15. Inter­est­ing­ly, and per­haps sig­nif­i­cant­ly, the U.S. and Britain launched air strikes against Iraq short­ly after George W. Bush became pres­i­dent. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the foot-and-mouth out­break might stem from Iraqi bio­log­i­cal war­fare retal­i­a­tion for Britain’s role in the strikes is not one that should be too read­i­ly cast aside. In that con­text, sev­er­al addi­tion­al facts should be tak­en into account.

16. One is that Iraqi dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein was raised by, and heav­i­ly influ­enced by his pro-Nazi, anti-British uncle. “At ten, he found a men­tor in his mater­nal uncle, Khairal­lah al-Tul­fah, a recent­ly cashiered army offi­cer whose hatred of British colo­nial rule was matched only by his admi­ra­tion for Adolf Hitler and his Nazi ideals. . . . He learned to read by the light of an oil lamp and fed his spir­it on his uncle’s tales of exploits with pro-Ger­man offi­cers in the Iraqi army. Khairal­lah al-Tul­fah had a dream that Arabs would one day be free of for­eign occu­pa­tion and for­eign rule. The Ger­mans, Khairal­lah said, were the only ones who respect­ed the Arabs as equals. The British were just after their oil.” (The Death Lob­by: How the West Armed Iraq; by Ken­neth Tim­mer­man; copy­right 1991 [HC]; by Houghton Mif­flin Com­pa­ny; ISBN 0–395-59305–0; p.1.)

17. Khairal­lah was also deeply involved with the devel­op­ment of the Iraqi bio­log­i­cal weapons pro­gram, which was known as the “Gen­er­al Direc­torate of Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices!” “Sad­dam Hus­sein was attract­ed ear­ly on to bac­te­ri­o­log­i­cal weapons. They were cheap, rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple to man­u­fac­ture, and poten­tial­ly dead­ly. . . . On Novem­ber 2, 1974, [Izzat] al-Douri signed a con­tract with the Paris-based Insti­tut Merieux, to set up Iraq’s first bac­te­ri­o­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ry. The Iraqis explained that they need­ed to be able to man­u­fac­ture large quan­ti­ties of vac­cines in order to devel­op agri­cul­tur­al and ani­mal pro­duc­tion. The offi­cial Iraqi pur­chas­ing agency was called the Gen­er­al Direc­torate of Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices.” (Ibid.; p. 20.)

18. “Al Douri’s suc­cess won him a pro­mo­tion and made him a de fac­to mem­ber of the team, the three-man Strate­gic Plan­ning Com­mit­tee, along with Sad­dam, Khairal­lah, and Adnan Ham­dani.” (Ibid.; pp. 20–21.)

19. Ger­many was also deeply involved with the Iraqi weapons pro­gram. “Like most Euro­pean nations, West Ger­many was depen­dent on Gulf oil and had bartered tech­nol­o­gy for oil with the Arab world and Iran. Thir­ty-five years after the Holo­caust, the West Ger­mans were will­ing to sell tech­nol­o­gy that would allow Iraq to man­u­fac­ture poi­son gas, bal­lis­tic mis­siles, even nuclear weapons.” (Ibid.; p. 71.)

20. “Sad­dam’s men would find oth­er part­ners in West Ger­many’s chem­i­cals, elec­tron­ics, and mil­i­tary estab­lish­ments. Over the next ten years, Ger­mans worked shoul­der to shoul­der with Iraqi chemists, bal­lis­tics engi­neers, and nuclear sci­en­tists to devel­op one of the most diver­si­fied arse­nals of uncon­ven­tion­al weapons found any­where in the world. Sen­a­tor Jesse Helms, whose staff assis­tants spent months track­ing them down, called these com­pa­nies and their cohorts “Sad­dam’s For­eign Legion.” (Ibid.; p. 105.) Mad cow dis­ease has (to date) been con­fined most­ly to the Unit­ed King­dom. That may be begin­ning to change. A recent dis­cov­ery of a relat­ed ill­ness in sheep in Ver­mont may presage an Amer­i­can out­break of the dis­ease.

21. “Fed­er­al offi­cials on Wednes­day seized a Ver­mont farmer’s flock of sheep over sus­pi­cions that some of the ani­mals may be infect­ed with mad cow dis­ease and could pose a threat to live­stock nation­wide. It was the first time that the U.S. gov­ern­ment has con­fis­cat­ed live­stock as a pre­cau­tion against mad cow dis­ease. . . . it will take at least two years—and pos­si­bly much longer—before pathol­o­gists can deter­mine for sure whether the ani­mals har­bor mad cow dis­ease or a relat­ed ill­ness, scrapie, that is rel­a­tive­ly com­mon in sheep and can­not be trans­mit­ted to humans.” (“U.S. Con­fis­cates Sheep Sus­pect­ed of Car­ry­ing Mad Cow Dis­ease” by Stephanie Simon; Los Ange­les Times; 3/22/2001; p. A7.)

22. Mad cow dis­ease is believed to result from ner­vous sys­tem tis­sue from scrapie-infect­ed sheep being fed to cows. Scrapie, in turn has also been stud­ied by ele­ments asso­ci­at­ed with the cre­ation of bio­log­i­cal weapons, includ­ing the Nation­al Can­cer Insti­tute.

23. “Alter­na­tive­ly, ‘slow’ virus­es were of the great­est inter­est to WHO, CDC, NIH, and NCI sci­en­tists between 1968 and 1974. The rea­sons for this were not as obvi­ous. The WHO Chron­i­cle report­ed: ‘Recent inter­est in the slow virus­es, in par­tic­u­lar those caus­ing chron­ic degen­er­a­tive dis­ease of the ner­vous system—the CHINA (chron­ic infec­tious neu­ro­path­ic agents) viruses—has come from painstak­ing work with vis­na and scrapie, degen­er­a­tive dis­eases of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem of sheep. . . .CHINA virus­es are dis­tin­guished by the lan­guish­ing char­ac­ter of the infec­tion process they ini­ti­ate. The incu­ba­tion peri­od in the host may be months or years, and the dis­ease itself may progress lag­gard­ly towards an irre­versible dete­ri­o­ra­tion of the vic­tim. . . . The resis­tance of the scrapie agent to heat, ether, for­ma­lin, and oth­er enzy­mat­ic and chem­i­cal agents, as well as its very small par­ti­cle size, pos­es the ques­tion whether it is a con­ven­tion­al virus, an incom­plete virus, or some oth­er agent. . . . the find­ings of dif­fer­ent [research] groups are at vari­ance and in sev­er­al instances are total­ly inex­plic­a­ble with­in our present con­cept of infec­tious agents.’ ” (Emerg­ing Virus­es: AIDS and Ebola—Nature, Acci­dent or Inten­tion­al?; by Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz; Copy­right 1996 [HC] by Tetra­he­dron Inc.; ISBN 0–923550-12–7; pp. 16–17.)

24. Mad cow may have final­ly made its entrance into the Unit­ed States. “Two patients have died at a Col­orado hos­pi­tal this year from Creutzfeldt-Jakob dis­ease, an ill­ness sim­i­lar to mad cow dis­ease, and there is con­cern oth­er patients may have been exposed, a hos­pi­tal spokes­woman said Fri­day.” (“2 Col­orado Deaths Are Likened to Mad Cow” Asso­ci­at­ed Press; Los Ange­les Times; 3/24/2001; p. A7.)

25. In deter­min­ing whether mad cow could be the result of bio­log­i­cal war­fare, it is inter­est­ing to note that genet­ic dif­fer­ences may account for the epi­demi­o­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of the dis­ease in Britain. This sug­gests at least the pos­si­bil­i­ty of genet­ic engi­neer­ing in con­nec­tion with the dis­ease. “Sci­en­tists have con­firmed that cas­es of the human form of mad cow dis­ease in the North are run­ning at dou­ble the rate in the South. . . . The researchers found it was twice as com­mon in the North of Eng­land and Scot­land, but were at a loss to explain the dif­fer­ence after find­ing no clear link with region­al dif­fer­ences in eat­ing habits. . . .‘We also need to keep an open mind about oth­er fac­tors unre­lat­ed to diet. . . . these could include the genet­ic back­ground of vic­tims. All those who devel­oped the dis­ease had a spe­cif­ic genet­ic make-up and it could be that peo­ple in the North are more genet­i­cal­ly sus­cep­ti­ble than in oth­er places.’ ” (“Puz­zled Sci­en­tists Try to Explain Region­al Vari­a­tion in Fig­ures” by Mike Wait­es; York­shire Post; 3/30/2001.)


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