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FTR #480 Plum Island, Lyme Disease and the Erich Traub File

Record­ed Octo­ber 3, 2004
NB: This stream con­tains both FTRs 479 and 480 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast.

In the mid-1970’s Lyme Dis­ease broke out in Con­necti­cut and it has since spread through much of the Unit­ed States. This pro­gram exam­ines the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Lyme Dis­ease may have spread as a result of clan­des­tine exper­i­men­ta­tion on bio­log­i­cal war­fare on Plum Island—a Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture facil­i­ty that dou­bled as an Army BW research facil­i­ty. Ded­i­cat­ed to the study of ani­mal dis­eases, Plum Island appears to have been the site of exper­i­ments with dis­ease-infect­ed ticks con­duct­ed by Nazi sci­en­tists brought into the Unit­ed States under Project Paper­clip. One of the Nazi sci­en­tists who appears to have been involved with Plum Island was Dr. Erich Traub, who was in charge of the Third Reich’s viro­log­i­cal and bac­te­ri­o­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram in World War II. Was Traub involved with exper­i­ments that led to the spread of Lyme Dis­ease?

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Exam­i­na­tion of Traub’s stud­ies in the US pri­or to World War II; Traub’s pro-Nazi activ­i­ties inside the US before the war; John Lof­tus’ dis­cov­ery of ref­er­ences in the Nation­al Archives to Nazi sci­en­tists exper­i­ment­ing with dis­eased ticks on Plum Island; Lyme Dis­ease activist Steven Nostrum’s dis­cov­ery of Lof­tus’ find­ings and his work inves­ti­gat­ing Plum Island; Details of Traub’s involve­ment with Plum Island; files about Tick Research and Erich Traub that have been purged; Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can’s dis­missal of the Plum Island/Traub/Paperclip/Lyme Dis­ease link; the Nazi her­itage of the Von Holtzbrinck firm—which owns Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can; Plum Island exper­i­men­ta­tion with the dis­ease-car­ry­ing “Lone Star Tick”; the fact that the Lone Star Tick—native to Texas—has some­how spread to New York, New Jer­sey and Con­necti­cut!

1. In order to under­stand how Erich Traub came to the Unit­ed States, it is impor­tant to under­stand Project PAPERCLIP. The pro­gram begins with a syn­op­tic account of that project and how its pros­e­cu­tion led to Traub’s entry to the Unit­ed States and his involve­ment with Plum Island: “Near­ing the end of World War II, the Unit­ed States and the Sovi­et Union raced to recruit Ger­man sci­en­tists for post­war pur­pos­es. Under a top-secret pro­gram code-named Project PAPERCLIP, the U.S. mil­i­tary pur­sued Nazi sci­en­tif­ic tal­ent ‘like for­bid­den fruit,’ bring­ing them to Amer­i­ca under employ­ment con­tracts and offer­ing them full U.S. cit­i­zen­ship. The recruits were sup­posed to be nom­i­nal par­tic­i­pants in Nazi activ­i­ties. But the zeal­ous mil­i­tary recruit­ed more than two thou­sand sci­en­tists, many of whom had dark Nazi par­ty pasts.”
(Lab 257: the Dis­turb­ing Sto­ry of the Government’s Secret Plum Island Germ Lab­o­ra­to­ry; by Michael Christo­pher Car­roll; Copy­right 2004 by Michael Christo­pher Car­roll; Harper­Collins [HC]; p. 7.) [2]

2. “Amer­i­can sci­en­tists viewed these Ger­mans as peers, and quick­ly for­got they were on oppo­site sides of a ghast­ly glob­al war in which mil­lions per­ished. Fear­ing bru­tal retal­i­a­tion from the Sovi­ets for the Nazis’ vicious treat­ment of them, some sci­en­tists coop­er­at­ed with the Amer­i­cans to earn amnesty. Oth­ers played the two nations off each oth­er to get the best finan­cial deal in exchange for their ser­vices. Dr. Erich Traub was trou­bling on the Sovi­et side of the Iron Cur­tain after the war, and ordered to research germ war­fare virus­es for the Rus­sians. He pulled off a dar­ing escape with his fam­i­ly to West Berlin in 1949. Apply­ing for Project Paper­clip employ­ment, Traub affirmed he want­ed to ‘do sci­en­tif­ic work in the U.S.A., become an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, and be pro­tect­ed from Russ­ian reprisals.’” (Idem.)

3. The pro­gram sets forth Traub’s work for the Third Reich: “As lab chief of Insel Riems—a secret Nazi bio­log­i­cal war­fare lab­o­ra­to­ry on a cres­cent-shaped island nes­tled in the Baltic Sea—Traub worked direct­ly for Adolf Hitler’s sec­ond-in-charge, SS Reichs­fuehrer Hein­rich Himm­ler, on live germ tri­als. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 7–8.)

4. Traub had stud­ied in the Unit­ed States before the war (at the Rock­e­feller Insti­tute) and had been involved in Nazi activ­i­ties inside the U.S. pri­or to 1939 (the out­break of World War II). “ . . . Traub also list­ed his 1930’s mem­ber­ship in Ameri­ka-Deutsch­er Volks­bund, a Ger­man-Amer­i­can ‘club’ also known as Camp Sigfriend. Just thir­ty miles west of Plum Island in Yaphank, Long Island, Camp Sigfried was the nation­al head­quar­ters of the Amer­i­can Nazi move­ment. . . .Iron­i­cal­ly, Traub spent the pre­war peri­od of his sci­en­tif­ic career on a fel­low­ship at the Rock­e­feller Insti­tute in Prince­ton, New Jer­sey, per­fect­ing his skills in virus­es and bac­te­ria under the tute­lage of Amer­i­can experts before return­ing to Nazi Ger­many on the eve of war. Despite Traub’s trou­bling war record, the U.S. Navy recruit­ed him for its sci­en­tif­ic designs, and sta­tioned him at the Naval Med­ical Research Insti­tute in Bethes­da, Mary­land.” (Ibid.; p. 8.)

5. Nom­i­nal­ly under the juris­dic­tion of the USDA (Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture), Plum Island was also used for mil­i­tary bio­log­i­cal war­fare research on ani­mal dis­eases. In that regard, it was involved with Fort Diet­rick, the Army’s top chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal war­fare facil­i­ty. Note that Traub was at the foun­da­tion of the Plum Island/biological war­fare nexus. “Just months into his PAPERCLIP con­tract, the germ war­riors of Fort Det­rick, the Army’s bio­log­i­cal war­fare head­quar­ters, in Fred­er­ick, Mary­land, and CIA oper­a­tives invit­ed Traub in for a talk, lat­er report­ed in a declas­si­fied top-secret sum­ma­ry: Dr. Traub is a not­ed author­i­ty on virus­es and dis­eases in Ger­many and Europe. This inter­ro­ga­tion revealed much infor­ma­tion of val­ue to the ani­mal dis­ease pro­gram from a Bio­log­i­cal War­fare point of view. Dr. Traub dis­cussed work done at a Ger­man ani­mal dis­ease sta­tion dur­ing World War II and sub­se­quent to the war when the sta­tion was under Russ­ian con­trol.’ Traub’s detailed expla­na­tion of the secret oper­a­tion on Insel Riems, and his activ­i­ties there dur­ing the war and for the Sovi­ets, laid the ground work for Fort Detrick’s off­shore germ war­fare ani­mal dis­eased lab on Plum Island. Traub was a found­ing father. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 8–9.)

6. It is inter­est­ing to note that the Third Reich’s bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram had the cov­er name of “Can­cer Research Pro­gram.” (In RFA#16—available from Spitfire—as well as FTR#’s 16, 73, we look at the Nation­al Can­cer Institute’s Spe­cial Viral Can­cer Research Pro­gram and the evi­dence sug­gest­ing that the project was actu­al­ly a front for the con­tin­u­a­tion of bio­log­i­cal war­fare research. Erich Traub appears to have been involved with the projects relat­ed to the SVCRP.) “ . . . Every­body seemed will­ing to for­get about Erich Traub’s dirty past—that he played a cru­cial role in the Nazis’ ‘Can­cer Research Pro­gram,’ the cov­er name for their bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram, and that he worked direct­ly under SS Reichs­fuhrer Hein­rich Himm­ler. They seemed will­ing to over­look that Traub in the 1930’s faith­ful­ly attend­ed Camp Sigfried. In fact, the USDA liked him so much, it glossed over his dubi­ous past and offered him the top sci­en­tist job at the new Plum Island Laboratory—not once, but twice. Just months after the 1952 pub­lic hear­ings on select­ing Plum Island, Doc Sha­han dialed Dr. Traub at the naval lab­o­ra­to­ry to dis­cuss plans for estab­lish­ing the germ lab­o­ra­to­ry and a posi­tion on Plum Island.” (Ibid.; p. 10.)

7. More about how Traub came to be in a sig­nif­i­cant posi­tion at Plum Island. “Six years later—and only two years after Traub squirmed in his seat at the Plum Island ded­i­ca­tion ceremonies—senior sc

ien­tist Dr. Jacob Traum retired. The USDA need­ed some­one of ‘out­stand­ing cal­iber, with a long estab­lished rep­u­ta­tion, inter­na­tion­al­ly as well as nation­al­ly,’ to fill Dr. Traum’s shoes. But some­how it couldn’t find a suit­able Amer­i­can. ‘As a last resort it is now pro­posed that a for­eign­er be employed.’ The aggies’ choice? Erich Traub, who was in their view ‘the most desir­able can­di­date from any source.’ The 1958 secret USDA mem­o­ran­dum ‘Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for Employ­ment of Dr. Erich Traub’ con­ve­nient­ly omit­ted his World War II activ­i­ties; but it did empha­size that ‘his orig­i­nal­i­ty, sci­en­tif­ic abil­i­ties, and gen­er­al com­pe­tence as an inves­ti­ga­tor’ were devel­oped at the Rock­e­feller Insti­tute in New Jer­sey in the 1930’s.” (Idem.)

8. The push to employ Traub as the direc­tor of Plum Island involved pro­fes­sion­al rec­om­men­da­tions that omit­ted his work for the Third Reich: “The let­ters sup­port­ing Traub to lead Plum Island came in from fel­low Plum Island founders. ‘I hope that every effort will be made to get him. He has had long and pro­duc­tive expe­ri­ence in both pre­war and post­war Ger­many,’ said Dr. William Hagan, dean of the Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty vet­eri­nary school, care­ful­ly dis­pens­ing with his wartime activ­i­ties. The final word came from his dear Amer­i­can friend and old Rock­e­feller Insti­tute boss Dr. Richard Shope, who described Traub as ‘care­ful, skill, pro­duc­tive and very orig­i­nal’ and ‘one of this world’s most out­stand­ing virol­o­gists.’ Shope’s sole ref­er­ence to Traub at war: ‘Dur­ing the war he was in Ger­many serv­ing in the Ger­man Army.’” (Idem.)

9. Traub declined the offer to lead the lab. There is con­sid­er­able evi­dence that he was involved with bio­log­i­cal war­fare research at Plum Island. “Declin­ing the USDA’s offer, Traub con­tin­ued his direc­tor­ship of the Tub­in­gen lab­o­ra­to­ry in West Ger­many, though he vis­it­ed Plum Island fre­quent­ly. In 1960, he was forced to resign as Tubingen’s direc­tor under a dark cloud of finan­cial embez­zle­ment. Traub con­tin­ued spo­radic lab research for anoth­er three years, and then left Tub­in­gen for good–a scan­dalous end to a check­ered career. In the late 1970’s, the esteemed virol­o­gist Dr. Robert Shope, on busi­ness in Munich, paid his father Richard’s old Rock­e­feller Insti­tute dis­ci­ple a vis­it. The germ war­rior had been in ear­ly retire­ment for about a decade by then. ‘I had din­ner with Traub one day—out of old time’s sake—and he was a pret­ty defeat­ed man by then.’ On May 18, 1985, the Nazis’ virus war­rior Dr. Erich Traub died unex­pect­ed­ly in his sleep in West Ger­many. He was sev­en­ty-eight years old.” (Ibid.; pp. 10–11.)

10. “A bio­log­i­cal war­fare mer­ce­nary who worked under three flags—Nazi Ger­many, the Sovi­et Union, and the Unit­ed States—Traub was nev­er inves­ti­gat­ed for war crimes. He escaped any inquiry into his wartime past. The full extent of his sor­did endeav­ors went with him to his grave. While Amer­i­ca brought a hand­ful of Nazi war crim­i­nals to jus­tice, it safe­guard­ed many oth­ers in exchange for vers­es to the new state religion—modern sci­ence and espi­onage. Records detail­ing a frac­tion of Eric Traub’s activ­i­ties are now avail­able to the pub­lic, but most are with­held by Army intel­li­gence and the CIA on grounds of nation­al secu­ri­ty. But there’s enough of a glimpse to draw quite a sketch.” (Ibid.; p. 11.)

11. An impor­tant chap­ter in the sto­ry of how the inquiry into the pos­si­ble link between Plum Island, Erich Traub’s work on behalf of the US and the spread of Lyme Dis­ease con­cerns the work of for­mer Jus­tice Depart­ment pros­e­cu­tor John Lof­tus. In his book The Belarus Secret, Lof­tus referred to work done on Plum Island in the ear­ly 1950’s in which Nazi sci­en­tists were exper­i­ment­ing on dis­eased ticks. Might that have referred to Traub?! “ . . . Attor­ney John Lof­tus was hired in 1979 by the Office of Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tions, a unit set up by the Jus­tice Depart­ment to expose Nazi war crimes and unearth Nazis hid­ing in the Unit­ed States. Giv­en top-secret clear­ance to review files that had been sealed for thir­ty-five years, Lof­tus found a trea­sure trove of infor­ma­tion on America’s post­war Nazi recruit­ing. In 1982, pub­licly chal­leng­ing the government’s com­pla­cen­cy with the wrong­do­ing, he told 60 Min­utes that top Nazi offi­cers had been pro­tect­ed and har­bored in Amer­i­ca by the CIA and the State Depart­ment. ‘They got the Emmy Award,’ Lof­tus wrote. ‘My fam­i­ly got the death threats.’” (Ibid.; p. 13.)

12. “Old spies reached out to him after the pub­li­ca­tion of his book, The Belarus Secret [3], encour­aged that he—unlike oth­er authors—submitted his man­u­script to the gov­ern­ment, agree­ing to cen­sor por­tions to pro­tect nation­al secu­ri­ty. The spooks gave him copies of secret doc­u­ments and told him sto­ries of clan­des­tine oper­a­tions. From these leads, Lof­tus fer­ret­ed out the dubi­ous Nazi past of Aus­tri­an pres­i­dent and U.N. sec­re­tary gen­er­al Kurt Wald­heim. Lof­tus revealed that dur­ing World War II, Wald­heim had been an offi­cer in a Ger­man Army unit that com­mit­ted atroc­i­ties in Yugoslavia. A dis­graced Kurt Wald­heim fad­ed from the inter­na­tion­al scene soon there­after.” (Idem.)

13. “In the pref­ace of The Belarus Secret, Lof­tus laid out a strik­ing piece of infor­ma­tion gleaned from his spy net­work: ‘Even more dis­turb­ing are the records of the Nazi germ war­fare sci­en­tists who came to Amer­i­ca. They exper­i­ment­ed with poi­son ticks dropped from planes to spread rare dis­eases. I have received some infor­ma­tion sug­gest­ing that the U.S. test­ed some of these poi­son ticks on the Plum Island artillery range off the coast of Con­necti­cut dur­ing the ear­ly 1950’s. . . .Most of the germ war­fare records have been shred­ded, but there is a top secret U.S. doc­u­ment con­firm­ing that ‘clan­des­tine attacks on crops and ani­mals’ took place at this time.” (Idem.)

14. More pieces of evi­dence on the tan­ta­liz­ing trail of evi­dence point­ing to a pos­si­ble Plum Island/Traub/Lyme dis­ease link: “Erich Traub had been work­ing for the Amer­i­can bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram from his 1949 Sovi­et escape until 1953. We know he con­sult­ed with Fort Diet­rick sci­en­tists and CIA oper­a­tives; that he worked for the USDA for a brief stint; and that he spoke reg­u­lar­ly with Plum Island direc­tor Doc Sha­han in 1952. Traub can be phys­i­cal­ly placed on Plum Island at least three times—on ded­i­ca­tion day in 1956 and two vis­its, once in 1957 and again in the spring of 1958. Sha­han, who enforced an ultra­strict pol­i­cy against out­side vis­i­tors, each time received spe­cial clear­ance from the State Depart­ment to allow Traub on Plum Island soil.” (Ibid.; p. 14.)

15. If in fact Traub was involved with research on Plum Island, this devel­op­ment would have been con­sis­tent with pro­grams being con­duct­ed at that time involv­ing exper­i­men­ta­tion on unwit­ting Amer­i­can cit­i­zens with bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal war­fare research agents: “Research unearthed three USDA files from the vault of the Nation­al Archives—two were labeled TICK RESEARCH and a third E.TRAUB. All three fold­ers were emp­ty. The caked-on dust con­firms the file box­es hadn’t been open since the moment before they were taped shut in the 1950’s. Pre­pos­ter­ous as it sounds, clan­des­tine out­door germ war­fare tri­als were almost rou­tine dur­ing this peri­od. In 1952, the Joint Chiefs of Staff called for a ‘vig­or­ous, well-planned, large-scale [bio­log­i­cal war­fare] test to the sec­re­tary of defense lat­er that year stat­ed, ‘Steps should be take to make cer­tain of ade­quate facil­i­ties are avail­able, includ­ing those at Fort Det­rick, Dug­way Prov­ing Ground, Fort Ter­ry (Plum Island) and an island field test­ing area.’ Was Plum Island the island field test­ing area? Indeed, when the Army first scout­ed Plum Island for its Cold War designs, they chart­ed wind speeds and direc­tion and found that, much to their lik­ing, the pre­vail­ing winds blew out to sea.” (Idem.)


“One of the par­tic­i­pat­ing ‘inter­est­ed agen­cies’ was the USDA, which admit­ted­ly set up large plots of land through­out the Mid­west for air­borne anti­crop germ spray tests. Fort Detrick’s Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Divi­sion ran ‘vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty tests’ in which oper­a­tives walked around Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and San Fran­cis­co with suit­cas­es hold­ing Ser­ra­tia marcescens—a bac­te­ria rec­om­mend­ed to Fort Det­rick by Traub’s nom­i­nal super­vi­sor, Nazi germ czar and Nurem­berg defen­dant Dr. Kurt Blome. Tiny per­fo­ra­tions allowed the germs’ release so they could trace the flow of the germs through air­ports and bus ter­mi­nals. Short­ly there­after, eleven elder­ly men and women checked into hos­pi­tals with nev­er-before-seen Ser­ra­tia marcescens infec­tions. One patient died. Decades lat­er when the germ tests were dis­closed, the Army denied respon­si­bil­i­ty. . . . In the sum­mer of 1966, Spe­cial Oper­a­tions men walked into three New York City sub­way sta­tions and tossed light­bulbs filled Bacil­lus sub­tilis, a benign bac­te­ria, onto the tracks. The sub­way trains pushed the germs through the entire sys­tem and the­o­ret­i­cal­ly killed over a mil­lion pas­sen­gers.” (Idem.)

17. “Tests were also run with live, vir­u­lent, anti-ani­mal germ agents. Two hog-cholera bombs were explod­ed at an alti­tude of 1,500 feet over pig­pens set up at Eglin Air Force Base in Flori­da. And turkey feath­ers laced with New­cas­tle dis­ease virus were dropped on ani­mals graz­ing on a Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin farm.” (Ibid.; p. 15.)

18. “The Army nev­er ful­ly with­drew its germ war­fare efforts against food ani­mals. Two years after the Army gave Plum Island to the USDA—and three years after it told Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er it had end­ed all bio­log­i­cal war­fare against food animals—the Joint Chiefs advised that ‘research on anti-ani­mal agent-muni­tion com­bi­na­tions should’ con­tin­ue, as well as ‘field test­ing of anti-food agent muni­tion com­bi­na­tions. . . .’ In Novem­ber 1957, mil­i­tary intel­li­gence exam­ined the elim­i­na­tion of the food sup­ply of the Sino-Sovi­et Bloc, right down to the calo­ries required for vic­to­ry: ‘In order to have a crip­pling effect on the econ­o­my of the USSR, the food and ani­mal crop resources of the USSR would have to be dam­aged with­in a sin­gle grow­ing sea­son to the extent nec­es­sary to reduce the present aver­age dai­ly caloric intake from 2,800 calo­ries to 1,400 calo­ries; i.e., the star­va­tion lev­el. Reduc­tion of food resources to this lev­el, if main­tained for twelve months, would pro­duce 20 per­cent fatal­i­ties, and would decrease man­u­al labor per­for­mance by 95 per­cent and cler­i­cal and light labor per­for­mance by 80 per­cent.’ At least six out­door stock­yard tests occurred in 1964–65. Sim­u­lants were sprayed into stock­yards in Fort Worth, Kansas City, St. Paul, Sioux Falls, and Oma­ha in tests deter­min­ing how much foot-and-mouth dis­ease virus would be required to destroy the food sup­ply.” (Idem.)

19. “Had the Army com­man­deered Plum Island for an out­door tri­al? Maybe the USDA lent a hand with the tri­al, as it had done out west by fur­nish­ing the large test fields. After all, the Plum Island agree­ment between the Army and the USDA allowed the Army to bor­row the island from the USDA when nec­es­sary and in the nation­al inter­est.” (Idem.)

20. A for­mer employ­ee at Plum Island in the 1950’s has per­son­al rec­ol­lec­tion of a “Nazi sci­en­tist” releas­ing ticks out­doors on Plum Island. “Traub might have mon­i­tored the tests. A source who worked on Plum Island in the 1950’s recalls that ani­mal han­dlers and a sci­en­tist released ticks out­doors on the island. ‘They called him the Nazi sci­en­tist, when they came in, in 1951—they were inoc­u­lat­ing these ticks,’ and a pic­ture he once saw ‘shows the ani­mal han­dler point­ing to the area on Plum where they released the ticks.’ Dr. Traub’s World War II hand­i­work con­sist­ed of aer­i­al virus sprays devel­oped on Insel Riems and test­ed over occu­pied Rus­sia, and of field work for Hein­rich Himm­ler in Turkey. Indeed, his col­leagues con­duct­ed bug tri­als by drop­ping live bee­tles from planes. An out­door tick tri­al would have been de rigueur for Erich Traub.” (Ibid.; pp. 15–16.)

21. Next, the pro­gram sets forth the case of Steve Nostrum—an ear­ly Lyme Dis­ease vic­tim whose read­ing of Lof­tus’ book spurred him to begin inquir­ing about the Plum Island/Traub con­nec­tion. “Some­body gave Steve Nos­trum a copy of John Loftus’s The Belarus Secret at one of his sup­port group meet­ings. Steve had long sus­pect­ed that Plum Island played a role in the evo­lu­tion of Lyme dis­ease, giv­en the nature of its busi­ness and its prox­im­i­ty to Old Lyme, Con­necti­cut. But he nev­er pub­licly voiced the hunch, fear­ing a loss of cred­i­bil­i­ty; hard facts and sta­tis­tics earned him a rep­u­ta­tion as a leader in the Lyme dis­ease field. Now in his hands, he had a book writ­ten by a Jus­tice Depart­ment attor­ney who not only had appeared on 60 Min­utes but also had brought down the sec­re­tary gen­er­al of the Unit­ed Nations. Nos­trum dis­closed the pos­si­ble Plum-Lyme con­nec­tion on his own tele­vi­sion show. He invit­ed local news reporter and Plum Island ombuds­man Karl Gross­man to help him explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties in light of the island’s bio­log­i­cal mishaps. Asked why he wrote about Loftus’s book in his week­ly news­pa­per col­umn, Gross­man says, ‘To let the the­o­ry rise or fall. To let the pub­lic con­sid­er it. And it seemed to me that the author was a Nazi hunter and a rep­utable attorney—this was not triv­ial infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed [and it was pro­vid­ed] by some reli­able per­son.’” (Idem.)

22. “In Octo­ber 1995, Nos­trum, fresh off nurs­ing duty (hav­ing earned an RN degree to help Lyme dis­ease patients), rushed to a rare pub­lic meet­ing held by the USDA. In a white nurse’s coat, stetho­scope still around his neck, Nos­trum rose. Trem­bling, his blond beard now streaked with gray, he clutched his copy of The Belarus Secret as he read the damn­ing pas­sage out loud for the USDA and the pub­lic to hear. ‘I don’t know whether this is true,’ he said, look­ing at the dais. ‘If it is true, there must be an investigation—if it’s not true, then John Lof­tus needs to be pros­e­cut­ed.’ Peo­ple in the audi­ence clapped, and some were aston­ished. A few gawked, think­ing he was nuts. How did the offi­cial USDA offi­cials react? ‘If stares could kill, I would have been dead,’ remem­bers Nos­trum.” (Idem.)

23. “Hid­ing behind the same aloof veil of secre­cy they had employed for decades, the USDA brazen­ly cut him off. ‘There are those who think that lit­tle green men are hid­ing out there,’ the offi­cials respond­ed to Nos­trum. ‘But trust us when we say there are no space aliens and no five-legged cows.’ A few laughs erupt­ed in the crowd. ‘It did noth­ing but detract from what I was say­ing,’ says Nos­trum. ‘But I said it, and I had the doc­u­men­ta­tion to sup­port it.’” (Idem.)

24. The author spec­u­lates about the deer and birds that vis­it­ed Plum Island, and the pos­si­bil­i­ty that some of the infect­ed ticks may well have trav­eled to the main­land from the island on those vec­tors. (Car­roll explains that white-tailed deer reg­u­lar­ly swim the two miles to the island to for­age and migrat­ing birds stop on Plum Island on their way North and South dur­ing their annu­al migra­tions.) “ . . . If Dr. Traub con­tin­ued his out­door germ exper­i­ments with the Army and exper­i­ment­ed with ticks out­doors, the ticks would have made con­tact with mice, deer, and more than 140 species of wild birds known to fre­quent and nest on Plum Island. The birds spread their tox­ic car­go to rest­ing and nest­ing perch­es atop the great elms and oaks of Old Lyme and else­where, just like they spread the West Nile virus through­out the Unit­ed States.” (Ibid.; p. 21.)

25. After not­ing that alle­ga­tions of the dis­cov­ery of Bb (the bac­teri­um that caus­es Lyme Dis­ease) in the late 1940’s coin­cides with Traub’s arrival on the island, the broad­cast sets forth the denials by a USDA spokesper­son that there was any BW/Traub/Plum Island link to the spread of the Lyme infec­tion. Note that Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can dis­missed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a “Nazi sci­en­tist” link to Plum Island. In FTR#240 [4]—part of the long FTR series about “Ger­man Cor­po­rate Con­trol over Amer­i­can Media”–it was not­ed that the Von Holtzbrinck firm con­trols that mag­a­zine. Like its larg­er com­peti­tor Ber­tels­mann, the Von Holtzbrinck firm is root­ed firm­ly in the Third Reich. In FTR#226 [5], we exam­ined the Nazi her­itage of Von Holtzbrinck and the pos­si­bil­i­ty that they may employed the noto­ri­ous SS offi­cer and Goebbels pro­tégé Wern­er Nau­mann. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the Von Holtzbrinck/Scientific Amer­i­can link may have had some­thing to do with the magazine’s casu­al dis­missal of the Traub/Plum/Lyme link is not one to be too read­i­ly dis­missed. “Researchers try­ing to prove that Lyme dis­ease exist­ed before 1975 claim to have iso­lat­ed Bb [the bac­teri­um that caus­es the infec­tion] in ticks col­lect­ed on near­by Shel­ter Island and Long Island in the late 1940’s. That tim­ing coin­cides with both Erich Traub’s arrival in the Unit­ed States on Project PAPERCLIP and the Army’s selec­tion of Plum Island as its off­shore bio­log­i­cal war­fare lab­o­ra­to­ry. The USDA’s spokesper­son, Sandy Miller Hays, is uncon­vinced about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a link between Lyme dis­ease and Plum Island: . . . A PR expert, Hays had Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can eat­ing out of her hand in June 2000, when they report­ed her as say­ing, ‘ ‘We still get asked about the Nazi sci­en­tists,’ . . . [with] the slight­est trace of weari­ness creep­ing into her voice.’ In their fea­ture sto­ry on Plum Island, the pres­ti­gious mag­a­zine dubbed the intrigue sur­round­ing the island as a ‘fan­ci­ful fic­tion­al tapes­try.’” (Ibid.; pp. 21–22.)

26. The pro­gram con­cludes with exam­i­na­tion of Plum Island’s work with the “Lone Star Tick”—native to Texas. The focal point of exper­i­men­ta­tion on Plum Island in the 1970’s, the Lone Star tick—like Lyme Disease–is now spread through­out New York, New Jer­sey and Con­necti­cut. How did that hap­pen? “ . . . The lab chief [Dr. Charles Mebus] failed to men­tion that Plum Island also worked on ‘hard ticks,’ a cru­cial dis­tinc­tion. A long over­looked doc­u­ment, obtained from the files of an inves­ti­ga­tion by the office of for­mer Long Island Con­gress­man Thomas Downey, sheds new light on the sec­ond, more damn­ing con­nec­tion to Lyme dis­ease. A USDA 1978 inter­nal research doc­u­ment titled ‘African Swine Fever’ notes that in 1975 and 1976, con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous with the strange out­break in Old Lyme, Con­necti­cut, ‘the adult and nymphal stages of Aby­lom­ma amer­i­canum and Aby­lom­ma cajunense were found to be inca­pable of har­bor­ing and trans­mit­ting African swine fever virus.’ In laymen’s terms, Plum Island was exper­i­ment­ing with the Lone Star tick and the Cayenne tick—feeding them on virus­es and test­ing them on pigs—during the ground zero year of Lyme dis­ease. They did not trans­mit African swine fever to pigs, said the doc­u­ment, but they might have trans­mit­ted Bb to researchers or to the island’s vec­tors. The Lone Star tick, named after the white star on the back of the female, is a hard tick; along with its cousin, the deer tick, it is a cul­prit in the spread of Lyme dis­ease. Inter­est­ing­ly, at that time, the Lone Star tick’s habi­tat was con­fined to Texas. Today, how­ev­er, it is endem­ic through­out New York, Con­necti­cut, and New Jer­sey. And no one can real­ly explain how it migrat­ed all the way from Texas. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 24–25.)