Friday, August 08, 2014

Let's take a closer look at the Ebola story...

The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency -- although this designation does not mean that there will be any travel bans. This outbreak has claimed some 1700 victims, of which more than 900 have died.

Dr. Brantly and Ann Coulter. I'm sure that most you already know the tale of 33 year-old Dr. Kent Brantly, a doctor working for a religious organization. He and a co-worker, Nancy Writebol, contracted the disease while working with Ebola patients in Liberia. Although the highly contagious virus is usually fatal, Brantly has responded well to a mysterious new drug called ZMapp. He was flown back to the United States -- a controversial decision, making him the first Ebola carrier to enter this country -- and is now being treated in Atlanta.

Brantly was the focus of a characteristically ugly Ann Coulter rant, in which she refers to Brantly as "idiotic."
Why did Dr. Brantly have to go to Africa? The very first “risk factor” listed by the Mayo Clinic for Ebola — an incurable disease with a 90 percent fatality rate — is: “Travel to Africa.”

Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?
(You know who else was idiotic? Saint Bernadette. She became a nurse and probably caught tuberculosis from one of her patients. Jerk!)

A commenter here offers a perfect description of Ann Coulter: "An oxygen thief who significantly lowers the net worth of the entire human race."

The mystery aircraft. Nevertheless, there is something odd about the Brantly episode. I direct your attention to this eye-opening piece of original research by Lambert Strether, who seems to have taken his Daniel Hopsicker pills.

Lambert tracks the N-number of an airplane that may have connections to the CIA's rendition program:
So I was watching a video of Brantly’s plane arriving, and I spotted the tail number: N173PA. N173PA, a Grumman Gulfstream III, was originally owned by the Royal Danish Air Force (then numbered F-313) and became N173PA in January 2005 (planespotter). N173PA does not appear on Wikipedia’s list of rendition aircraft — although, when you think of it, evacuating a patient in an isolation hood is, logistically, a lot like rendition — although Shannon Watch, monitors foreign military use of Shannon Airport in Ireland, includes it on its list of suspects...
From 2005 to 2010, N173PA was operated by Phoenix Air (planespotter). N173PA and its sibling, N163PA (planespotter) “are fitted with a large freight door on the starboard side and seem to be used … mainly on cargo and air ambulance work” as in this ebola episode.
Doors like that are also useful to smugglers as well as to those who transport prisoners.

The plane is owned by an "on paper" entity call N173PA LLC, which has an official address in Wilmington, Delaware. Delaware registration is pretty common for CIA front companies.

"So what?" you may be asking. "That doesn't prove that the plane was used for rendition flights." Well, it turns out that this plane and a sister craft are registered to a firm called Phoenix Air...
These planes are known to have landed at Shannon a number of times and frequently fly to US military air bases.
Lambert then quotes another site which offers this intriguing bit of background on Phoenix Air:
Phoenix Air is well known for providing adversary support and electronic warfare training to the DoD. … These jets appear to have been used as government contract aircraft on and off over the last decade, as their large cargo doors and convertible interiors allows them to carry out-sized cargo, passengers or modular medical components and stretchers.
Although Lambert doesn't mention it, Phoenix Air -- I think it is the same entity -- heavily figures in the work of Daniel Hopsicker: See here. As many of you know, Hopsicker focused on Huffman Aviation, an apparently CIA-linked company which plays an important role in the story of the 9/11 hijackers. Huffman operated out of a "spooked up" airport in Florida.
The company or network of companies which has had so much involvement with recent owners of Huffman Aviation is known variously as “Phoenix Air,” “Phoenix Air Services,” and “Phoenix Continental."
A mysterious serum. Brantly is being treated with ZMapp, an experimental new drug grown in (I kid you not!) tobacco plants. Lambert quotes this article in The Wire:
The serum appears to have evolved from evolved from research conducted by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute in 2012 that showed a mix of various antibodies could stave off the Ebola virus.

So why ZMapp, of all the experimental solutions to Ebola, of which there are many? Perhaps it comes down to Mapp’s recent successes: The NIH included Mapp in its $28 million five-year grant awarded to five companies to research Ebola further in March. A press release dated July 15, 2014 revealed that Defyrus, a private life sciences biodefense company based in Canada, had partnered with Mapp's San Diego-based commercialization partner firm Leaf Biopharmaceutical Inc., to push the ZMapp serum's clinical development. And just last week, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency announced it awarded a contract to Mapp to continue development of the serum.
Lambert refers to the Mapp Biopharmaceutical website as "skeletal." Indeed it is -- almost as skeletal as Ann Coulter herself. (But I do like the Mapp logo.) From the information sheet:
ZMapp (TM) is the result of a collaboration between Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc. and LeafBio (San Diego, CA), Defyrus Inc. (Toronto, Canada), the U.S. government and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

ZMapp (TM) is composed of three “humanized” monoclonal antibodies manufactured in plants, specifically Nicotiana.

It is an optimized cocktail combining the best components of MB003 (Mapp) and ZMAb (Defyrus/PHAC).

ZMapp (TM) was first identified as a drug candidate in January 2014 and has not yet been evaluated for safety in humans. As such, very little of the drug is currently available.

Any decision to use an experimental drug in a patient would be a decision made by the treating physician under the regulatory guidelines.
The president of Mapp is one Dr. Larry Zeitlin. Lambert directs our attention to this interview with Zeitlin:
There has been no treatment or cure that has been effective against the Ebola virus, and with the potential ability to turn Ebola into a bio-weapon, it is labeled as Risk Group 4 Pathogen.

[Dr. Zeitlin] started studying Ebola virus when he was offered funding from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 2002.

1. How did the idea to test MB-003’s effectiveness post infection come about?

This was driven by funding agencies. They wanted post-exposure efficacy rather than prophylactic protection.
Zeitlin's reply is, in my view, very thought-provoking. His governmental funders wanted a cure, not a preventative, for a virus that was studied for use as a weapon. At this point, it may be pertinent to note that, both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian scientists studied the weaponization of Ebola. You can be quite certain that the United States and the U.K. did so as well.

Before the Brantly/Writebol episode, we really had no published evidence of ZMapp's effectiveness. The serum was first identified in January of this year. Mapp, though a tiny company, has received some $40 million from the U.S. government since 2005 -- and much of the money came from the United States Army.

We should learn more about Defyrus. Although listed as Toronto-based, this firm seems to be fairly well tied in with the British defense (or "defence") establishment.

Was ZMapp made available to Samaritan's Purse, the Christian organization that employs Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol? This story is infuriatingly unclear on that key point:
The cases of Brantly and Writebol, who were flown home for treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, mark the first time the United States has had to deal directly with Ebola, Frieden noted.

Both workers are the only Ebola patients to receive ZMapp, a treatment never tested before on people. When asked by reporters if the Obama administration played a role in allowing ZMapp to be used, Frieden said merely that a CDC official put Samaritan’s Purse in touch with the NIH, which connected them with the experimental drug’s manufacturer.

“Beyond that, I cannot comment,” Frieden said after testifying.
I get the feeling that something is being hidden here. It seems possible that an untested drug was being used on unwitting human subjects in Africa.

Lambert notes that Samaritan's Purse is a well-connected religious group headed by Franklin Graham (the son of Billy Graham); they were part of the Iraq reconstruction effort.

(At this point, I should note that some conspiracy-minded writers have tried to link Franklin to the CIA/the Illuminati/S.P.E.C.T.R.E./Dr. Evil/You-choose-the-bogeyman. Alas, those writers operate under the disadvantage of being unable to write two consecutive sentences without sounding nuts.)

So what's going on? The evidence indicates that the governments of the United States and Canada felt an urgent need to develop this serum as a cure for weaponized Ebola.

(Incidentally, the origin of the current Ebola outbreak remains quite mysterious. I'm not saying that this mystery has any relationship to the possibility of a weaponized virus. But...)

I also suspect -- and this really is no more than a hunch -- that the "miracle serum" was being tested in Africa. All of the news stories I've consulted are surprisingly unclear as to precisely what Brantly was doing in Africa, although none of them suggest that he possessed ZMapp. This story in The Wire states that the first vials of ZMapp in Liberia arrived there on July 31, for the purposes of treating Brantly after he had been stricken with the virus. Perhaps that claim is true; perhaps something else was going on.

If it had been up to me, I would have suggested a much more sensible way to test ZMapp: Transport Ann Coulter to the Emory University hospital in Atlanta, expose her to Ebola, then see if the serum works on her. Of course, the results might not tell us what kind of effect this drug would have on actual human beings.

Is Ebola airborne? Disturbingly enough, no-one quite knows how Brantly and Writebol were infected. While working with patients in Africa, Brantly wore a full-body protective uniform and goggles, just as he did when he was transported to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Writebol helped him get in and out of this gear.

Some days ago, I posted a video made by a fellow who goes by the name StormCloudsGathering. Below, I have embedded his take on the Ebola controversy. Please understand that I do not endorse the claims made here -- in fact, I think that the last half of this presentation is sensationalized and rather silly. What makes this video worth watching is the evidence that Ebola may, in fact, be airborne -- mainstream media protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

This video has engendered much discussion regarding the proper medical definition of the term "airborne." We need not recapitulate that debate here. I would, however, note that Tara C. Smith's book Ebola speaks (on page 69) of "airborne" Ebola possibly being used by a terrorist group.

The 2012 BBC article cited in this video quotes a Canadian researcher named Dr. Gary Kobinger, of the National Microbiology Laboratory, part of the Public Health Agency of Canada. He is the one who claims to have proven airborne transmission via animal studies.

As noted above, the Public Health Agency of Canada is one of the developers of ZMapp. According to this recent story in the Vancouver Sun...
The Canadian research on an experimental Ebola treatment was done under the leadership of Dr. Gary Kobinger, who heads the special pathogens research program at the national laboratory in Winnipeg.
So Kobinger, having demonstrated airborne transmission to be possible, straightway went to work on a cure. You know what? I'm rather glad about that. My home is not very far from Fort Detrick, the original center of Ebola research in this country. If an outbreak ever hits a major U.S. city, don't be surprised if that city is Baltimore.

Even if it's transmissible by air in animals, it doesn't follow that it would be in humans, see Anthrax. Those two both came into contact with the suit he was wearing while treating people, a small error could easily infect them both.

Similarly, if he had ZMapp he would probably have treated himself with it. So clearly that doesn't make sense. If he was really up to something, which I think unlikely, it's more likely to be spreading weaponised ebole amongst the natives.

But then I've been watching Utopia recently, with its themes of murder and conspiracy and the use of a biological weapon to trick the population into accepting a vaccine that will sterilise them, thus to reduce the world population to more manageable levels. It's a lot more entertaining than Alex Jones.
Although the subject matter is serious business, and well written, I have to add that I do laugh a lot at your jabs and quips. ;) j
Some strains of ebola have gone airborne, but they insist this one is not. I guess it was just overweening caution when the two infected patients were escorted into the hospital with workers who had oxygen generators on their biomed suits?

Delaware registration is pretty common for CIA front companies.

Delaware registration is quite common for corporations in general, because Delaware law and the Delaware courts tend to favor management in disputes with shareholders. Nearly every company I've worked for was registered in Delaware, regardless of where is was headquartered. For example, IBM (headquartered in Armonk, NY) is incorporated in Delaware, so is Intel (Santa Clara, CA), Ford (Dearborn, MI), Facebook (Menlo Park, CA), Microsoft (Redmond, WA), Verizon (New York, NY), Google (Mountain View, CA), Warner Bros. (Hollywood, CA), etc., etc.

According to Wikipedia (the Source of All Truth), more than half the corporations in the US are incorporated in Delaware, and most of the Fortune 500. I'm sure that most spooked-up corporate entities are incorporated there, but it just doesn't follow that a corporation is spooked-up because it's incorporated in Delaware.

The plane's owner might simply be a leasing company, and might not have any connection with those who rented their plane to do something either humanitarian or dastardly - anymore than Hertz was complicit in the first WTC bombing because they owned the rented va that was used in the attack.
Prop, I made pretty much the same point with my "So what?" paragraph. But you have to read further. Phoenix Air is pretty much a known entity by this point, and I am gathering still more on them.
Well, I missed the last big Ebola outbreak which was in Gulu, Uganda by about three weeks. I, too, was working for an NGO and though I missed the outbreak, I followed it closely (since I knew the hospital staff involved) and wrote about it for a magazine.

Of course Ebola is airborne. In the outbreak in Gulu, 15 percent of the health care workers died despite all wearing full protective gear provided by the CDC. By the way, the day after the first case was diagnosed the CDC showed in spades with a massive amount of material and personnel. This was during the Clinton years so perhaps the agency was more functional then but the CDC was instrumental in helping contain that outbreak. Judging from the comments current heads-of-state are making--this time, not so much.

There is another aspect to this affair that may pass under the radar for those who don't deal with drugs everyday. This is a potential goldmine for the pharmaceutical industry. The drug does not even have to work. Case in point: Tamiflu. This was developed by a company called Gilead (I quess as in Balm of.) Chairman of the Board of Directors at its inception: Donald Rumsfeld. This drug has only been demonstrated to shorten the symptoms of the flu by about 22 hours–and there is some doubt about this–it was approved by the FDA as a life style drug (see approval documents on FDA website.) There is NO evidence that it reduces mortality. The side effects are significant (it has been outlawed by Japan for certain age groups due to severe psychiatric side effects) yet suddenly, based on zilch data, the CDC was recommending its administration to ABSOLUTELY everyone. Nations were stockpiling it to the tune of billions of dollars. (Yet when the Cochrane Report asked to see the original data, this request was denied. People have been asking–does this drug even work?)

So already Tekmira's stock has risen 45%. I suspect that the fear of the disease will override any attempt to perform the appropriate clinical trials. First world nations will stockpile the drug. There's an easy billion dollars. No money to be made in Africa since they can just manufacture using compulsory licensing, no reason to even test it--except to make sure that the side effects are not so that anyone would catch on right away. And there you are. Instant fortune.

Who are Tekmira's investors?
I apologize--apparently there are two drugs in play, one called TKM-Ebola currently under development by Tekmira. Apparently it was placed on fast track status by FDA (why? what was the rush) Then further development was placed on hold (again why?) Now it has been approved for emergency purposes.

ZMapp was the drug given (or perhaps "given") to the aid workers in Africa. It has been developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc.

There is apparently another drug in the works from yet another company.

What's up with these obscure companies developing these drugs?
"If an outbreak ever hits a major U.S. city, don't be surprised if that city is Baltimore."

Oh, gee, thanks, that's comforting. :)

I worked in Dundalk yesterday. I can kind of see your point of view. But despite all the Confederate flag bandanas (can't believe I need the plural here) and full coverage tattoos and mullets and staggering street bums, and....Ron Paulbots....everyone was super polite and toothache sweet.

Except for one guy, who came in and scowled and muttered at the Israeli news on the tv...I actually said "Joseph" out loud to see if he'd turn. lol

Hey, we have to have our fun where we can!
Hm...he "came in and scowled" at the tv? Came in WHERE, exactly?

I'm sure it wasn't me, but it's nice to know that there's a fellow misanthrope in the area.
I know, it wasn't you, but I had to test it!

I was in a liquor store. People are definitely strange in Dundalk... I had to work hard to give away not even 2/3s what I usually do.
The liquor stores of Dundalk are indeed grim.

Back home in California, one may pick up a bottle of wine at the grocery store to go with one's pasta and pesto. All very civilized.

But in the working class areas of Bawlmer, you have to go to a liquor store filled with people who seem to be trying out for parts in a production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." The craziest of the crazy guys will work for the store, and as you walk in, he'll give you that Jack-Nicholson-in-"The-Shining" stare as he asks "WHATCHA DRINKIN?"

As if I want to discuss my tipple with a guy who looks ready to chasing after Shelly Duvall with a baseball bat.

These places are so seedy, I keep thinking that if I say the secret password they'll buzz me into the back room where one may purchase heroin, C4 and kiddie porn.
"What's up with these obscure companies developing these drugs?"

The large pharmaceutical companies are too busy looking for profitable ventures while the small start ups live on venture capital hoping to get purchased by a large company once they are successful in developing new drugs.

Joseph , Why tobacco... here is why
I very much doubt the virus has gone airborne. But you might to catch up on the information relative to this subject.

Great scientists who know their stuff. It focuses on the subject of the Ebola Zaire virus at the 15 minute mark.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is 

powered by Blogger. 

Isn't yours?