Is the supressed immune system that birds & some humans experience, a result of another type of poisoning? pollution? process?
is it a real virus? or are people suffering & dying of 'Avian flu' simply showing similar symptoms?
are they getting sick from a supressed immune system allowing them to catch a 'man-made species specific pathogen' & then passing it to humans...causing a pandemic scare?
So what is causing the supression of immune systems?
1. factory farming
Coming Home to Roost: Bird Flu, a Virus of Our Own Hatching
Compassion Over Killing - By Michael Greger, M.D.
The deadliest plague in human history was the influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed up to 100 million people around the world. Annual flu strains tend to spare young healthy adults, but every few decades a strain arises that can kill people in the prime of life. In 1918, more than a quarter of all Americans fell ill. What started for millions around the globe as a runny nose and a sore throat ended days later with people often bleeding from their ears and nostrils and into their lungs. Many victims drowned in their own blood. Their corpses—tinged blue from suffocation—were said to have been "stacked like cordwood" outside the morgues as cities ran out of coffins. No war, no plague, no famine has ever killed so many in so short a time as the 1918 pandemic.
Where did this disease come from? Just this year, brilliant medical detective work, which included digging up corpses discovered frozen in the Alaskan permafrost for tissue samples, recently pieced together the genetic makeup of the virus. The disease came from straight from bird flu.
Factory Farming and Bird Flu
Over the last few decades, meat and egg consumption has exploded in the developing world, leading to industrial-scale commercial chicken farming and mass animal transport, creating the "perfect storm" environment for the emergence of new superstrains of influenza. Though the 1918 virus managed to kill more people in 25 weeks than AIDS has killed in 25 years, it killed less than 3% of those infected. The current mutant H5N1 bird flu virus strain is unprecedented in its ferocity, officially killing more than 50% of its human victims.
We now know that bird flu is the original cause of all of these so-called human influenza "type A" viruses. Although the viruses can affect a wide range of animals including pigs, horses, and wild birds, the initial source seems to be domesticated fowl such as chickens and turkeys.
Cramming tens of thousands of chickens bred to be almost genetically identical into filthy sheds the size of a football field to stand and lie beak-to-beak in their own feces is a recipe for increasing the virulence and transmission of H5N1. "You have to say," concluded University of Ottawa virologist Earl Brown, a specialist in the evolution of influenza viruses, "that high intensity chicken rearing is a perfect environment for generating virulent avian flu virus."
In October 2005, the United Nations issued a press release: "Governments, local authorities and international agencies need to take a greatly increased role in combating the role of factory-farming, commerce in live poultry, and wildlife markets which provide ideal conditions for the virus to spread and mutate into a more dangerous form...." The World Health Organization's flu expert in Asia also blames the emergence of killer viruses like H5N1 in part on intensive animal agriculture and what he called the "[o]verconsumption of animal products."
The Making of a Killer Virus
In nature, the influenza virus has existed for millions of years as a harmless intestinal waterborne infection of aquatic birds such as ducks. The duck doesn't get sick, because the virus doesn't need to make the duck sick to spread. In fact, it's in the virus's best interest for the bird not to get sick so it can spread farther. After all, dead ducks don't fly. The virus silently multiplies in the duck's intestinal lining to be excreted into the pond water and then swallowed by another duck who alights for a drink, and the cycle continues.
If an infected duck is dragged to a live poultry market, though, for example, and crammed into cages stacked high enough to splatter virus-laden droppings over many different species of land-based birds, the virus then has a problem. The virus must mutate or die. Fortunately for the virus, mutating is what influenza viruses do best. In aquatic birds, the virus is in total evolutionary stasis. But, when thrown into a new environment, it quickly starts mutating to adapt to the new host. In the open air, it must resist dehydration, for example, and must spread to other organs to find a new way to travel.
So it finds the lungs.
To hitch rides in respiratory droplets, the virus has to start attacking cells to trigger a hacking cough in its new host. It doesn't want to start killing cells, lest it tip off the immune system to its presence. So, in desperation, it's forced to find new ways to spread. The more virulent the virus becomes, the more violent the cough and the faster it can overwhelm the immune system. It can't become too deadly, though. If the virus kills the host too quickly, there may not be enough of a chance to infect another.
Enter intensive poultry production.
When the next beak is only inches away, there's no limit to how nasty the virus can get. Scientists have even done this in the lab. They start out with some harmless swan virus which wouldn't hurt a fly. But pass the virus through enough chickens and you end up with a virus so deadly it kills every chicken it comes in contact with. Unfortunately for us, through some quirk of nature, the respiratory tract of a chicken seems to bear striking resemblance (on a cell receptor level) to our own. So as the virus gets better at infecting and killing chickens overcrowded and intensively confined in filthy warehouses, the virus is getting better at infecting and killing us.
The world is now facing just such a virus that has gone full circle. It has escaped from the chicken farms and seems to have reinfected its original hosts—migratory aquatic and shore birds—who can fly this factory-farmed virus to every continent in the world. The more birds the virus infects, the more people who are exposed, the greater likelihood that the virus will acquire the means to spread easily person to person—via a sneeze or a handshake—and the next pandemic is triggered; a pandemic that has been estimated at killing between two million and a thousand million people around the globe.
Not "If," But "When"
What are the odds of it actually happening, though? What are the odds that a killer flu virus will spread around the world like a tidal wave killing millions?
The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services has answered that question: "The burning question is, will there be a human influenza pandemic," he recently said to reporters. "On behalf of the W.H.O., I can tell you that there will be." The Director General of the World Health Organization agreed: "[T]here is no disagreement that this is just a matter of time."
"The world is now," he said, "in the gravest possible danger of a pandemic."
Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness, predicts that up to one billion people could die. "What we are talking about is not just another health issue," Dr. Tara O'Toole, director of University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biosecurity, told a Congressional briefing, "it is a nation-busting issue." Indeed, our Senate Majority leader recently called the bird flu virus an "immense potential threat to American civilization."
Dr. Osterholm is the director of the U.S. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and an associate director within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "An influenza pandemic of even moderate impact," he wrote, "will result in the biggest single human disaster ever—far greater than AIDS, 9/11, all wars in the 20th century and the recent tsunami combined. It has the potential to redirect world history as the Black Death redirected European history in the 14th century."
For humanity's sake, we hope the direction world history will take is away from raising birds by the billions under intensive confinement.
Humanity's lust for cheap meat not only leads directly to the suffering and deaths of billions of animals every year, but also threatens the health of our planet, and may threaten our health in more ways than we know.
Michael Greger, M.D. is The HSUS's Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture. - hsus.org/
Industry caused the flu; why blame wild birds?
ASHOK B SHARMA - Financial Express - Monday, March 06, 2006
Not just in India, industrial poultry is the cause of the spread of the bird flu outbreak worldwide.
Several studies show that transnational poultry industry is the root cause of the problem. The spread of industrial poultry production and trade networks have created ideal conditions for the emergence and transmission of lethal viruses like the H5N1 strains of bird flu.
Inside factory farms viruses becomes lethal and multiply. Air thick with viral load from infected factory farms is carried for kilometres, while integrated trade networks spread the disease through many carriers like live birds and chicken manure.
Comparatively, the backyard poultry are not fuelling the current wave of bird flu outbreaks stalking large parts of the world. The epicentre of the outbreaks is the factory farms of China and South East Asia. While wild migratory birds can carry the virus, at least for short distances, the viruses are spread by the unhygienic factor farms, global studies said.
This situation is very true in case of the recent outbreak of bird flu in India. The epicentre of the outbreak was in 18 factory farms in and around Navapur in Maharashtra, where there are no sanctuary for migratory birds in the vicinity.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in November 2005 said, "To date, extensive testing of clinically normal migratory birds in the infected countries has not produced any positive results for H5N1 so far." Even with the current cases of H5N1 in wild birds in Europe, experts agree these birds probably contacted the virus in the Black Sea region, where H5N1 is well established in poultry, and died while heading westward to escape the unusually cold conditions.
The attributed reasons for the spread of H5N1 virus by migratory birds among geese in Qinghai Lake in north China was negated by the BirdLife International which pointed out that the lake has many surrounding poultry farms. It has also integrated fish farms where chicken faeces are commonly used as feed and manure. Besides, rail routes connect the region to the areas of bird flu outbreaks like Lanzhou.
Wild migratory birds and backyard poultry are the victims and not carrier of the disease. The geographical spread of the disease does not match with migratory routes and seasons, the BirdLife International report said.
A study done by a global organisation, Grain shows that migratory birds and backyard poultry are not effective vectors of bird flu. For example, in Malaysia, the mortality rate from H5N1 among village chicken is only 5%, indicating that the virus has a hard time spreading among small scale chicken flocks. H5N1 outbreaks in Laos, which is surrounded by infected countries, have only occurred in the nation’s few factory farms, which was supplied by Thai hatcheries.
The only case of bird flu in backyard poultry, which account for over 90% of Laos production, occurred next to infected factory farms.
The lethal bird flu outbreaks took place in large factory farms in Netherlands in 2003, Japan in 2004 and Egypt in 2006. The Nigerian outbreak earlier this year occurred in a single factory farm distant from hot spots of migratory birds, but known for importing unregulated hatchable eggs.
In September 2004, Cambodian authorities noted that the source of bird flu outbreak was chicks supplied by the Thai company, Charoen Pokphand. This company dominates the feed industry and is the biggest supplier of chicks to China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Turkey, which have witnessed bird flu outbreaks. Ukraine, where bird flu occurred, imported 12 million live birds in 2004.
Russian authorities pointed out that feed as one of the main suspected sources of an H5N1 outbreak at a large factory farm in Kurgan province.
A newsletter of e-Pharmail said the outbreak of avian flu in Maharashtra may be due to inoculating improperly cultured vaccine (inactivated viruses) in poultry, allegedly distributed by Venkateshwara Hatcheries. - financial Express
FAO: poultry producers to blame for bird flu outbreak
20/07/2004 - The FAO has cited poultry producers as the primary cause for the spread of the disease, undermining industry's assertions that it is mainly wild birds that spread the disease.
Recent outbreaks of avian influenza in China, Thailand and Viet Nam have led to producers blaming wild birds for the transmission of the disease.
"Killing wild birds will not help to prevent or control avian influenza outbreaks," said Juan Lubroth of the FAO Animal Health Service. "Wild birds are an important element of the ecosystem and should not be destroyed."
Though it is recognised that certain species of water fowl can be a reservoir of avian influenza viruses, "to date, there is no scientific evidence that wildlife is the major factor in the resurgence of the disease in the region," he added.
The major factors contributing to the spread of the avian influenza virus are poor hygienic practices related to the production, processing and marketing of poultry, contaminated products, gaps in biosecurity and individuals not following recommended control measures, FAO said. This statement turns the tables back on the industry, after increasing concerns that wildlife were the main cause of the disease being spread between poultry flocks.
"Hunting wild birds, some of which are listed as endangered, or cutting down trees to destroy roosting sites, is likely to disperse wild birds into new areas, stress them further and could make them susceptible to avian influenza or other diseases," said William Karesh of the Wildlife Conservation Society, based in New York.
The FAO sayd that improved poultry coops and biosecurity measures to keep farm poultry, including ducks, from coming into contact with free-flying fowl can diminish the risk of disease spread. In recent months the organisation has been working alongside respective governments and representatives of the Asia Pacific poultry processing sector in an effort to drive home this message and prevent further outbreaks of the disease.
If surveillance is improved and immediate reporting is strictly applied, starting from the villages, more pockets of infection and disease are bound to be detected at their early stage. This is the best way of dealing with avian influenza, FAO said.
The FAO has been pushing hard for greater transparency within the industry by trying to encourage poultry producers to report outbreaks of sickness in their farms as soon as they occur. The organisation has been stressing the fact that, by not declaring outbreaks of the disease, the success of control measures will be diminished, leading to further delay restocking investments for poultry farmers.
As a result, the organisation says that emergency response plans should include the immediate destruction of affected poultry flocks using proper protective equipment and clothing that follow its specific guidelines on the subject backed up by thorough cleaning and disinfection of the premises.
It also says that destroyed or dead birds should never be fed to other animals nor should their carcasses be sold. Markets and marketing patterns should be carefully monitored and samples collected for analysis.
At the beginning of this year industry experts were estimating that the bird flu outbreak would cost the Asia Pacific region somewhere in the region of $500 million, mainly due to the mass culling of nearly 100 million birds. However as the industry continues to be dogged by further outbreaks, costs appear to rising all the time. Last week's fresh outbreaks of the disease were reported by poultry producers have sparked renewed fears that after restocking, poultry producers could be facing a fresh wave of the disease. - oodanddrinkeurope.com
Letter to Dr. Jacques Diouf, FAO, about GRAIN's recent report on bird flu
Dr. Jacques Diouf,
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
- Dr. Samuel Jutzi, FAO
- Dr. Joseph Domenech, FAO
- Dr. Juan Lubroth, FAO
Barcelona, 27 February 2006
Dear Dr. Diouf,
Attached you will find a new report from GRAIN on bird flu, which we released today. After much research and consideration, we've come to the conclusion that the global poultry industry is at the centre of the emergence and spread of bird flu. Backyard poultry and migratory birds play a much less significant role. We, therefore, firmly believe that control measures should focus on the industry and that not nearly enough is being done by governments and agencies, such as the FAO, to investigate and address the industry's role in the emergence and spread of the virus.
The FAO was once a staunch advocate for small-scale poultry production and backyard poultry farming. As you are well aware, small- scale poultry production is critical to people's food security and livelihoods in developing countries and to the world's poultry biodiversity. We are, therefore, deeply alarmed to see the FAO identifying backyard poultry production as a problem for the control of the disease and, in statements to the media and official reports, supporting a long-term restructuring of the poultry sector towards greater consolidation and industrialisation as a way forward. The FAO's positioning here appears to be overly influenced by the unsubstantiated notions that migratory birds are the principle vectors for the disease and that factory farms are somehow "biosecure".
We strongly disagree with these ideas, and our report shows clearly that industrial poultry operations are the source of the problems, not the solution. We also note that the notion of biosecurity in uniform industrial poultry operations contradicts the FAO's own arguments on the problems with factory farming and the importance of local poultry races and genetic diversity, which were expressed on many occasions prior to the recent string of bird flu outbreaks.
We are, however, encouraged by recent statements from senior officers of the FAO that have emphasized the role of the poultry industry and poultry trade in spreading bird flu. We hope that these words will be matched by actions to investigate the role of the poultry industry as the most likely source and vector for bird flu and to protect and promote backyard poultry production. Small-scale poultry production is far more important to the poor and to rural people than large-scale commercial production. It should not have to adjust or, worse, disappear because of the problems caused by the latter.
We welcome any comments or questions that you may have regarding our report. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
Backyard or free-range poultry are not fuelling the current wave of bird flu outbreaks stalking large parts of the world. The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is essentially a problem of industrial poultry practices. Its epicentre is the factory farms of China and Southeast Asia and -- while wild birds can carry the disease, at least for short distances -- its main vector is the highly self-regulated transnational poultry industry, which sends the products and waste of its farms around the world through a multitude of channels.
Yet small poultry farmers and the poultry biodiversity and local food security that they sustain are suffering badly from the fall-out. To make matters worse, governments and international agencies, following mistaken assumptions about how the disease spreads and amplifies, are pursuing measures to force poultry indoors and further industrialise the poultry sector. In practice, this means the end of the small-scale poultry farming that provides food and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of families across the world.
This paper presents a fresh perspective on the bird flu story that challenges current assumptions and puts the focus back where it should be: on the transnational poultry industry. - PDF: Fowl play: The poultry industry's central role in the bird flu crisis
a force multiplier
observe the stockpiles of tamiflu being prepared
some people are bulk buying it
Report: Tamiflu is 'useless' for avian flu
4th December, 2005 (UPI)
A Vietnamese doctor with experience in treating avian flu says Tamiflu, the drug being stockpiled for treatment of avian flue is useless against the virus.
Dr. Nguyen Tuong Van of the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi has treated 41 victims of H5N1, following World Health Organization guidelines and administering Tamiflu to her patients. She told the Sunday Times of London the medicine had no effect.
'We place no importance on using this drug on our patients', she said. 'Tamiflu is really only meant for treating ordinary type A flu. It was not designed to combat H5N1.'
The newspaper said the finding casts doubt on the British government's pandemic flu policy. The nation's top medical official, Sir Liam Donaldson, has ordered 15 million doses of Tamiflu be stockpiled.
Van said the only way to keep avian flu patients alive is to support all their vital organs -- including the liver and kidneys -- with modern technology like ventilators and dialysis machines, the Sunday Times reported.
The WHO has acknowledge Tamiflu had not been widely successful in human patients, but said it believes it would have been more effective in many Asian countries if it had been used earlier in the illness.
- Big News Network.com
60% of the entire US population immunosuppressed?
The nasal spray however, because it is a live or weakened virus, should be avoided by certain individuals. Nasal spray recipients should avoid close contact with immunocompromised individuals for at least 21 days. This warning is specifically directed toward those living in the same household with anyone who has a weak or weakened immune system.
As many as 60 percent of the entire US population could be considered immunosuppressed and therefore should not be in close contact with anyone who has received the nasal spray flu vaccine.
Some examples of these individuals are those with eczema, cancer, HIV /AIDS, organ recipients, and those on drugs that cause immunosuppression (such as corticosteroids). Also, the nasal spray is also not recommended for use in patients with a history of reactive-airway problems such as asthma. - podiatry online
The disturbing images of the Ontario government's "Let's Beat the Flu" ad campaign confront TTC riders with a startling plea get the flu shot, or risk infecting loved ones with a potentially deadly disease. The ads tell riders the flu can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure and even heart failure in the elderly, children and the chronically ill.
What the ads don't say is that some experts worry that flu shots could have startling long-term health effects. They say widespread vaccination could prevent people from developing natural immunities and end up making us a vaccine-dependent culture. - vaccinetruth.org
Thimerosal is known widely as a first-aid product available as "tincture of Merthiolate®" for home use. It is used as a preservative in cosmetics, including makeup removers, eye moisturizers, and mascaras. It may be found in soap-free cleansers, in nose-, eye-, eardrops; and in eye ointments, topical medications, and antiseptic sprays. Exposure may occur through the use of cleaning fluids for contact lenses. Thimerosal is also used widely as a preservative in vaccines, antitoxins, tuberculin tests, and desensitization solutions. - truetest.com
FLU WHAT A STINKER
Private Eye 10 January - 23 January 2003
A row has broken out over reports that four of the seven flu jabs on offer this winter contain thimerosal - a 50 percent mercury-based preservative which is supposedly being phased out of all vaccines in the United States and Europe because of its possible links with autism, Alzheimer's and brain damage.
Though the debate about thimerosal in vaccines is muted in Britain, in the US the preservative is at the centre of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit. Parents there maintain their children's autism and brain damage have been triggered by a build-up of mercury.
Last year a congressional hearing into the tenfold rise in autism in the US heard that a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicating a possible link between thimerosal and autism was never
published. This led to claims of a cover-up.
The US Institute of Medicine has said the link was not proven but ''biologically plausible''. There was insufficient evidence either way. In the meantime the US decided to phase out all thimerosal and doctors there have been advised to opt for mercury-free vaccines wherever possible. So why, when presented with a choice of flu jabs, did Britain's health department opt for some with thimerosal? A spokesman said: ''In response to your question about why the department doesn''t just buy thimerosal-free flu vaccines, flu vaccine is not purchased centrally. It is purchased directly by GPs.'' This ignores government responsibility for vaccine and medicine safety.
The spokesman added that the decision to phase out the preservative in the US and Europe was ''precautionary''. ''There is no convincing evidence of harm to anyone, including infants and pregnant women, caused by small amounts of thimerosal in flu vaccines and the benefits of flu vaccine outweigh any hypothetical risks.''
In the US the authorities are clearly more concerned - particularly about the legal action. Four clauses have been slipped into the national homeland security bill, introduced in the wake of 11 September, effectively exempting drug manufacturer Eli Lilly from the mercury lawsuits brought by parents. (Eli Lilly contributed nearly £1m to the Republicans in the latest political campaign.)
The clauses pushing the autism cases into special vaccine courts were apparently designed to protect companies in their efforts to develop vaccines to protect against biological welfare. But the ensuing outrage at provisions that have nothing to do with state security has forced promised from both the senate and the House legislative wings that the clauses will be changed to allow litigation to proceed.
Meanwhile in a separate move the justice department in Washington asked the vaccine court to block public access to government and drug manufacturers' documents in the 1000-plus autism cases it is already handling.
Semantic games: How much thimerosal = none?
According to the CDC web site, "The majority of influenza vaccines distributed in the United States currently contain thimerosal as a preservative. However, some contain only trace amounts of thimerosal and are considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be preservative-free. Manufacturers of preservative-free flu vaccine use thimerosal early in the manufacturing process. The thimerosal gets diluted as the vaccine goes through the steps in processing. By the end of the manufacturing process there is not enough thimerosal left in the vaccine to act as a preservative and the vaccine is labeled ‘preservative-free'.
For the 2005-06 flu season, a limited amount of influenza vaccine that does not contain thimerosal as a preservative is available. Sanofi pasteur estimates that they will produce 6-8 million doses of thimerosal-free vaccine this year. Also, the nasal-spray influenza vaccine (sold commercially as FluMist®) does not contain any thimerosal and can be given to healthy people 5 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant."
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration web site, "Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal can contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose." Vaccines with 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose are considered to be "thimerisol free." This web site also provides a table of vaccines and preservatives currently being used in them.
Although mercury seems to be the primary preservative of concern within the autism community, other ingredients in the immunizations, such as formaldehyde and aluminum may also be problematic. It is also uncertain whether or not immunizing for multiple diseases at one time (such as the DPT and MMR vaccines) may overtax a young child's immune system and lead to immune system dysfunction. Dr. Boyd Haley, head of the chemistry department for Kentucky University, has shown in experiments with nerve cells that mercury in combination with other contaminants such as aluminum are synergistically more toxic to nerve cells than mercury alone. - autism coach
lots of cash into Roche AG and other pockets
[Gilead the inventor of Tamiflu - has Rumsfeld has Rumsfeld as a stockholder]
Flashback: 2005 avian flu scares
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former chairman of Gilead, the manufacturer of Tamiflu, will also make big profits, since he is a major shareholder.
Better yet, Bilderberger spokesman Etienne F. Davignon (Vice-Chairman, Suez-Tractebel)and Reagan-Bush Cabal insider former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, PhD (Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University) are also on the board of directors of Gilead. (http://www.gilead.com/wt/sec/bod)
Another Bilderberger regular is Lodewijk J.R. de Vink, who sits on the board of Hoffman-La Roche, Gilead's partner.
In other words, the "Bird Flu" scam will generate outrageous profits for globalist-insiders like Shultz, Rumsfeld, Davignon, and de Vink.
why prepare & stockpile an anti-viral remedy for a virus
that hasn't even mutated to Human to Human form yet?
it will be rendered useless to kill any new strain...
these anti-virals might not be
for the treatment of 'avian' flu at all
but for the propogation of a cash cow
ask your doctor about the dangers of
self prescribing anti viral medication
your body builds up a resistance to it
and the virus does too...thus it mutates
my hunch is that the mass marketing & selling of
Tamiflu by use of viral marketing and threataganda
will help the mutation of the virus
into yet another money spinner
it is a beast that feeds itself
Round & round it goes
Influenza viruses continually mutate or change, which enables the virus to evade
the immune system.
People are susceptible to influenza infection throughout their lives.
The process works as follows:
A person infected with influenza virus develops antibody against that virus.
The virus mutates or changes.
The "older" antibody no longer recognizes the "newer" virus.
The older antibody can, however, provide partial protection against reinfection.
Currently, three different influenza strains circulate worldwide:
two type A viruses and one type B. Type A viruses are divided into subtypes based
on differences in two viral proteins called hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N).
The current subtypes of influenza A are designated A(H1N1), A(H3N2),
and B(Hong Kong/330/2001-like virus strain).
Bird flu vaccine developed
"A team of researchers - led by Dr Richard Webby, who graduated from Otago in 1999, and a colleague, both based at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, America - has rapidly developed a vaccine for a deadly Hong Kong bird virus and human killer."
"Using samples of the influenza from Hong Kong, they mixed two genes from the virus with six genes from another virus inside a cell. This modified the virus genes to "abolish its ability to cause disease and therefore made it safer to use as a vaccine", the statement said. The virus has been sent to Atlanta and London for testing in preparation for human trials."
Otago graduates help create flu vaccine- Joanna Norris
Otago Daily Times
OOPS! : Vaccine helps to mutate Bird flu?
11 February 04
..."In 2003, scientists who developed an improved flu vaccine for poultry, including Robert Webster of St Jude's, concluded that such vaccination "may be a serious problem for human pandemic preparedness" (Virology, vol 314, p 580).
Such vaccines, they wrote, might mask disease signs while allowing the birds to continue to shed virus. In such a case, "persistence of virus infection in the presence of a flock immunity may contribute to increased virus evolution".
Genetic analysis probes bird flu's history - New scientist
Flashback 11/13/2003: Scientists create a virus that reproduces
By Elizabeth Weise USA TODAY
It is the stuff of science fiction and bioethical debates: The creation of artificial life. Up until now, it's largely been just that.
But an important technical bridge towards the creation of such life was crossed Thursday when genomics pioneer Craig Venter announced that his research group created an artificial virus based on a real one in just two weeks' time.
When researchers created a synthetic genome (genetic map) of the virus and implanted it into a cell, the virus became ''biologically active,'' meaning it went to work reproducing itself.
Venter cautioned that the creation of artificial human or animal life is a long way off because the synthetic bacteriophage -- the virus that was created -- is a much simpler life form. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria.
The project was funded in part by the Department of Energy, which hopes to create microbes that would capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, produce hydrogen or clean the environment.
But the questions ethicists have raised about such work are numerous: Should we be playing God? Does the potential for good that new life forms may have outweigh the harm they could do?
Arthur Caplan, who heads the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics, says yes. This technology ''is impressive. It's powerful and it should be treated with humility and caution,'' Caplan says, ''But we should do it.''
A genome is made up of DNA ''letters,'' or base pairs, that combine to ''spell'' an individual's chromosomes. The human genome project was completed in April.
This summer, researchers at Venter's Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives bought commercially available strands of DNA and, using a new technology, coaxed them together to form a duplicate of the genome of a bacteriophage called phi X.
''It's a very important technical advance,'' says Gerald Rubin, a molecular geneticist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. ''You can envision the day when one could sit down at a computer, design a genome and then build it. We're still inventing the tools to make that happen, and this is an important one.''
Venter notes the synthetic bacteriophage has 5,000 base pairs in its genome. The human genome has 3 billion, so similar work in human form probably won't happen in this decade, he says.
To date, the largest genome that was synthesized was the 7,500-base-pair polio virus. But that was only semi-functional and took three years to complete.
The researchers chose to put the new technology into the public domain for all scientists to use. It will appear in the next few weeks on the Web site of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The technology raises safety issues, says David Magnus of Stanford's Center for Biomedical Ethics. Even putting it in the public domain is ''a double-edged sword,'' he says. That presumes that allowing everyone access will keep the good guys ahead of the bad guys. ''It's a gamble. . . . It's a bet that everyone has a stake in,'' he says.
- USA Today
see also: Poor reporting on reproducing virus and the replies and discussion thread
US Govt Admits Lyme Disease a Bioweapon
The existence of the Lyme disease epidemic is officially covered up in the UK, its myriad presentations routinely misdiagnosed as everything from "M.E." to MS to hypochondria. This is the first admission by a US government body that the cause is an incapacitating biowar agent.
"SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The $10.6 million Margaret Batts Tobin Laboratory Building will provide a 22,000-square-foot facility to study such diseases as anthrax, tularemia, cholera, lyme disease, desert valley fever and other parasitic and fungal diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified these diseases as potential bioterrorism agents.".
This is the first admission by a US government body that Lyme disease is a biological warfare agent. This is the reason that hundreds of thousands of men, women and children around the world have been left to rot with wrong diagnoses, or have had their Lyme disease acknowledged but been told that it is an "easily-treated" disease, given 3 weeks' antibiotics, then told to shove off when their symptoms carried on after that.
In Britain the existence of the epidemic is denied completely, and virtually no effort made to warn or educate the public about the dangers of ticks, which carry the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.
The Borrelia genus has been a subject of biowar experimentation at least as far back as WW2, when the infamous Japanese Unit 731, which tortured and experimented on live prisoners, studied it.
The reality is, Lyme disease is for many a chronic, horrendous, incapacitating disease producing crippling fatigue, constant pain, loss of memory, possible paralysis, psychosis, blindness and even death.
It was an ideal biowar agent because it evades detection on routine tests, has an enormous range of different presentations, and can mimic everything from ADHD to multiple sclerosis to carpal tunnel syndrome to rheumatoid arthritis to chronic fatigue syndrome (M.E.) to lupus to schizophrenia. Enemy medical staff would never know what had hit them, nor even that ONE illness had hit their population, rather than an unexplained rise in dozens of known conditions.
Honest doctors and scientists who tried to treat or research Lyme disease according to ethical principles have been viciously persecuted by government-backed organisations in the US, Europe and elsewhere. Many specialists in the US were threatened with loss of their license or had anonymous, false allegations sent to the medical board, which tied them up in mountains of paperwork and legal fees...some were forced out of medicine or even driven to suicide.
Instead, medical disinfo agents, most of whom have a background in military/biowarfare units, such as Dr Allen Steere, Mark Klempner, Philip Baker, Edward McSweegan, David Dennis, Alan Barbour etc were enabled to assume top positions in Lyme research , CDC, NIH etc from where they issued false information , covering up the true seriousness and chronic nature of the disease, and comdemned untold numbers to a living hell.
via Lymerayja on indymedia
on contracting Lymes Disease most people get flu-like symptoms not long after the bite of an infected insect. As little as 2 hours after the bite. And flu-like symptoms, as well as other symptoms
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that is carried and transmitted through bites from several species of ticks. This disease was first recognized in 1976 and has now occurred in 47 states, including Nebraska. By 1993, Nebraska health officials reported 35 human cases: 11 of these cases were confirmed as having been contracted in Lancaster County.
Early signs of the disease include: a red rash which expands in concentric circles outward from the tick bite producing a "bulls-eye" effect. Later, flu-like symptoms occur which include headache, fever, chills, lethargy, and joint and muscle pain. In advanced untreated cases, there may be arthritis-like symptoms in the knees and shoulders and cardiac abnormalities. In most cases, antibiotics have shown to be an effective treatment of this disease, especially in early stages of the disease. There is no vaccine presently available for humans.
Lyme disease can also infect dogs, horses and cattle. In dogs, Lyme disease can cause fever, joint swelling, pain, arthritis, and lameness. Infected dogs may also exhibit a loss of appetite, depression and lethargy. This disease is rarely fatal in dogs, but it can be debilitating and antibiotic treatments can be long and expensive. A vaccine against Lyme disease for dogs is available from a veterinarian and is an initial series of two shots, followed by a yearly booster shot.
The black death plague of the 17th century was transmitted - not by rats but by the fleas / ticks that were living on them
Question: If Avian flu actually exists...is it a Bio-warfare agent which is transmitted via an infected insect which lives on chickens?
'politically useful' means 'enables the continued control of'
From mass vaccination to aspartame and back again
Then and current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was reportedly the architect of the plan to ensure that, "every man, woman and child" in America be vaccinated against the swine flu in 1976.
Within a few weeks, some 47 million Americans were vaccinated with the experimental vaccine. The program resulted in at least 113 deaths, nearly 4,000 cases of paralysis and an epidemic of Guillean Barre -- a polio-like disease. It is impossible to calculate the longterm damage the swine flu disaster has caused in terms of human suffering, chronic disease care and genetic damage being passed on to children.
Insider reports indicate Rumsfeld orchestrated the swine flu fiasco to "add some spark to the campaign of President Ford..." wrote author and marine biologist William Sargent.
In 1978, Rumsfeld became CEO of the G.W. Searle Corp. By June, 1981, his political muscle overcame science so that the deadly neurotoxic artificial sweetener aspartame could achieve U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
The FDA has linked aspartame to 92 symptoms including paralysis, blindness, neuroses, sexual dysfunction, asthma, diabetes, chronic fatigue and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 500,000 Americans each year are simply dropping dead from cardiac arrest. A growing coalition of physicians and researchers believe aspartame is behind these and many other unexplained deaths.
Rumsfeld was also instrumental in promoting the recent mass smallpox vaccination plan that was ultimately scuttled because too many people were experiencing adverse reactions (including death) to the vaccine.
Rumsfeld is again the secretary of defense and again he promoted a plan to vaccinate every man, woman and child against a manufactured disease scare with an untested experimental vaccine.
Is it just a coincidence this man is involved when programs to poison the entire nation are being planned, promoted and executed? What is the real Rumsfeld "public health" agenda?
Is Avian Flu another Pentagon Hoax?
F. William Engdahl
October 30, 2005
No sooner are indictments being handed down to Scooter Libby, the Chief of Staff of the Vice President of the United States for lies and coverup of information used deliberately to suppress the fact the Bush Administration had no 'smoking gun' to prove Saddam Hussein was building a nuclear arsenal, but a new scandal is surfacing every bit as outrageous and ultimately, likely also criminal.
Against all scientific prudence and normal public health procedure, the world population is being whipped up into a fear frenzy by irresponsible public health officials from the US Administration to WHO to the United States Centers for Disease Control. They all warn about the imminent danger that a malicious viral strain might spread from infected birds, primarily in Vietnam and other Asian centers, to contaminate the entire human species in pandemic proportions. Often the flu pandemic of 1918 which is said to have killed 18 million worldwide, is cited as an example of what 'might' lie in store for us.
On November 1, appropriately enough the day after Halloween, President Bush is scheduled to visit the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda Maryland to announce his Administration's strategy of how it will prepare for the next flu epidemic, whether from Bird Flu or some other strain. The plan has been a year in the making. On October 28 the Senate passed an $8 billion emergency funding bill to address the growing Avian Flu panic. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, in a moment of candor during the debate on the Senate bill told the press, 'If it isn't the current H5N1 virus that leads to an influenza pandemic, at some point in our nation's future, another virus will.' In the meantime taxpayer billions will have gone to a handful of pharmaceutical giants positioned to profit. None stands to reap more lucre than the Swiss-US pharmaceutical giant Roche Holdings of Basle.
The only medicine we are told which reduce the symptoms of general or seasonal influenza and 'possibly' might reduce symptoms also of Avian Flu, is a drug called Tamiflu. Today the giant Swiss pharmaceutical firm, Roche, holds the sole license to manufacture Tamiflu. Due to the media panic, the order books at Roche today are filled to overflowing. Roche recently refused a request from the US Congress to lift its exclusive patent rights to allow other drug manug´facturers to produce Tamiflu with the improbable excuse that it was in effect, too complex for others to rapidly produce.
However, the real point of interest is the company in California who developed Tamiflu and gave the marketing rights to its patented discovery to Roche.
Tamiflu was developed and patented in 1996 by a California biotech firm, Gilead Sciences Inc. Gilead is a NASDAQ (GILD) listed stock company which prefers to maintain a low profile in the current rush to Tamiflu. That might be because of who is tied to Gilead. In 1997, before he became US Secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld was named Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, where he remained until early 2001 when he became Defense Secretary. Rumsfeld had been on the board of Gilead since 1988 according to a January 3 1997 company press release.
An as-yet-unconfirmed report is that Rumsfeld while Secretary of Defense also purchased an additional stock in his former company, Gilead Sciences Inc., worth $18 million, making him one of its largest if not the largest stock owners today.
The Secretary of Defense, the man who allegedly supported the use of contrived intelligence to justify the war on Iraq, is now poised to reap huge gains for a flu panic his Administration has done everything it can to promote. It would be useful to know whether the Pentagon's successor to Douglas Feith's Office of Special Plans developed the strategy of biowarfare behind the current Avian Flu panic. Perhaps some enterprising Congressional committee might look into the entire subject of plausible conflicts of interest regarding Secretary Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld stands to make a fortune on royalties as a panicked world population scrambles to buy a drug worthless in curing effects of alleged Avian Flu. The model suggests the parallel to the brazen corruption of Halliburton Corporation whose former CEO is Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney's company has so far gotten billions worth of US construction contracts in Iraq and elsewhere. Coincidence that Cheney's closest political friend is Defense Secretary and Avian Flu beneficiary Don Rumsfeld? It is another example of what someone has called the principle of modern US corrupt special interest politics: 'Concentrate the benefits; diffuse the costs' President Bush has ordered the US Government to buy $2 billion worth of Gilead Science's Tamilflu.
GMO Chickens come home to roost
But Tamiflu conflicts are perhaps just the tip of the iceberg of the Avian Flu story. There is high-level biological research underway in Britain and presumably also the United States to develop a genetic engineering method to make chickens and other birds 'resistant' to Avian Flu viruses.
British scientists are reportedly genetically engineering chickens to produce birds resistant to the lethal strains of the H5N1 virus devastating poultry in the Far East. Laurence Tiley, Professor of Microular Virology at Cambridge University and Helen Sang of the Roslin Institute in Scotland are involved in developing 'transgenic chickens' which would have small pieces of genetic material inserted into chicken eggs to allegedly make the chickens H5N1 resistant.
Tiley told the Times of London on October 29, 'Once we have regulatory approval, we believe it will only take between four and five years to breed enough chickens to replace the entire world (chicken) population.' The real question in this dubious undertaking is which GMO giants are underwriting the research and development of GMO chickens and who will control their products. It is increasingly clear that the entire saga of Avian Flu is one whose dimensions are only slowly coming to light. What we can see so far is not at all pretty.
- William Engdahl
consider the notion of the
'management of disease'
as being similar to the idea of the
2. GM modification
There have been many suggestions: stealth viruses that could be introduced covertly into the genomes of a given population, and then triggered later by a signal, designer diseases, and bio-warfare agents in agriculture such as the Fusarium used against drug plantations in Colombia and elsewhere.
The human genome sequence is well on its way to completion. There could be misuse of large scale databases containing information on specific populations, such as the human DNA BioBank planned in Britain, similar to ones in Iceland, Tonga and Sweden. And DNA collections of indigenous peoples have been accumulating in university laboratories under the disreputable Human Genome Diversity Project.
Specific genetic variants of receptors for regulatory and signaling molecules could be targeted. There is also increasing potential for manipulating the immune system, already being done in the course of seemingly innocent research on viruses.
"GM experiments are in some respects worse than biological weapons. For every biological warfare agent, it is possible to know its biological origin, its mode of action, where it is produced and where it is released, providing the BWC Protocol can be agreed. But in the case of accidental creation of deadly pathogens in GM experiments, or contamination with GM microorganisms, none of these parameters is known, and in most cases cannot even be predicted. In the event of disease outbreaks, diagnosis will be delayed, and more people will get ill and die."
GM & Bio-weapons in the post-Genomics Era
Plants created using Terminator technology will produce sterile seeds,
creating a monopoly and unnatural control of the seeds. Farmers will not
be able to use seeds from such plants for the following season's
cultivation. The seeds will rot \in the soil without producing new
plants. If this technology is introduced in crops such as soya, wheat,
canola and cotton it will force farmers to buy new seeds every year from
the same company. - indymedia
Note companies involved: Syngenta - Monsanto - BASF - BAYER
|GM: New Study Shows Unborn Babies Could Be Harmed
Mortality rate for new-born rats six times higher when mother was fed on a diet of modified soya
by Geoffrey Lean
Women who eat GM foods while pregnant risk endangering their unborn babies, startling new research suggests.
The World Trade Organization is expected next month to support a bid by the Bush administration to force European countries to accept GM foods. The study - carried out by a leading scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences - found that more than half of the offspring of rats fed on modified soya died in the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers with normal diets. Six times as many were also severely underweight. The research - which is being prepared for publication - is just one of a clutch of recent studies that are reviving fears that GM food damages human health. Italian research has found that modified soya affected the liver and pancreas of mice. Australia had to abandon a decade-long attempt to develop modified peas when an official study found they caused lung damage. And last May this newspaper revealed a secret report by the biotech giant Monsanto, which showed that rats fed a diet rich in GM corn had smaller kidneys and higher blood cell counts, suggesting possible damage to their immune systems, than those that ate a similar conventional one.
The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization held a workshop on the safety of genetically modified foods at its Rome headquarters late last year. The workshop was addressed by scientists whose research had raised concerns about health dangers. But the World Trade Organization is expected next month to support a bid by the Bush administration to force European countries to accept GM foods.
The Russian research threatens to have an explosive effect on already hostile public opinion. Carried out by Dr Irina Ermakova at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, it is believed to be the first to look at the effects of GM food on the unborn. The scientist added flour from a GM soya bean - produced by Monsanto to be resistant to its pesticide, Roundup - to the food of female rats, starting two weeks before they conceived, continuing through pregnancy, birth and nursing. Others were given non-GM soya and a third group was given no soya at all. She found that 36 per cent of the young of the rats fed the modified soya were severely underweight, compared to 6 per cent of the offspring of the other groups. More alarmingly, a staggering 55.6 per cent of those born to mothers on the GM diet perished within three weeks of birth, compared to 9 per cent of the offspring of those fed normal soya, and 6.8 per cent of the young of those given no soya at all.
"The morphology and biochemical structures of rats are very similar to those of humans, and this makes the results very disturbing" said Dr Ermakova. "They point to a risk for mothers and their babies."
Environmentalists say that - while the results are preliminary - they are potentially so serious that they must be followed up. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has asked the US National Institute of Health to sponsor an immediate, independent follow-up.
The Monsanto soya is widely eaten by Americans. There is little of it, or any GM crop, in British foods though it is imported to feed animals farmed for meat.
Tony Coombes, director of corporate affairs for Monsanto UK, said: "The overwhelming weight of evidence from published, peer-reviewed, independently conducted scientific studies demonstrates that Roundup Ready soy can be safely consumed by rats, as well as all other animal species studied."
What the experiment found
Russian scientists added flour made from a GM soya to the diet of female rats two weeks before mating them, and continued feeding it to them during pregnancy, birth and nursing. Others were give non-GM soya or none at all. Six times as many of the offspring of those fed the modified soya were severely underweight compared to those born to the rats given normal diets. Within three weeks, 55.6 per cent of the young of the mothers given the modified soya died, against 9 per cent of the offspring of those fed the conventional soya.
Banning GM crops not enough to save wildlife (2003-10-16)
Genetically modified crops are now grown in more than 16 countries. In 2002, farmers around the world planted 60 million hectares of land with dozens of varieties of GM crops. Yet in the UK, the decision to approve or reject the technology could hinge on the results, out on Thursday, of four-year trials involving 280 fields of three GM crops.
Although these farm-scale evaluations are being portrayed as a test of the environmental credentials of GM crops, it is really the weedkillers to which they are resistant that are on trial. The studies looked only at the effect that these herbicides had on "wildlife" in fields, in the form of weeds and insects. But if the aim of the exercise really is to save farmland wildlife, banning any of the GM crops tested is unlikely to make much difference.
Non-GM herbicide-resistant plants
That is because herbicide use in the UK is soaring even before any GM crops are introduced. And in the long term, farmers denied GM crops may instead turn to non-GM crops bred to be resistant to herbicides. That might seem like a good thing to those who oppose GM technology, but like GM crops, the conventionally bred strains allow farmers to splash on the herbicide.
Their impact on farmland wildlife in Europe could be worse than that of the weedkiller-resistant GM crops, because many allow the use of more noxious herbicides than GM strains. And as with GM crops, the herbicide-resistance could spread to other crops and wild relatives.
Despite this, these crops do not have to undergo the same scrutiny as GM crops because they are not genetically engineered. The only hurdle they face in the UK is tests designed to confirm that they are indeed new varieties. And while GM crops can be banned under world trade rules on the grounds that they pose a threat to human health or the environment, the same is not true of conventional herbicide-resistant crops.
"We're as concerned about them as GM crops," says Brian Johnson, an adviser on GM technology to the conservation group English Nature. "The same principles should be applied to all crops, irrespective of their origin." The sequencing of plant genomes is making it much easier for breeders to create non-GM plants with a desired trait, he points out.
None of these crops is yet grown in the UK, unless one counts maize, which is naturally resistant to the herbicide atrazine. But one company has already tried to market them. An application to sell imidazolinone-resistant rapeseed in the UK was turned down in 1998 only because the strain proved low-yielding when trialled (New Scientist print edition, 27 February 1999).
This strain and others like it are already grown in several countries. More are being developed. And companies are likely to redouble their efforts if GM herbicide-resistant crops are banned in Europe. "We're continually looking at GM and non-GM solutions. If the market is there, we'd explore all avenues," a Syngenta spokesman told New Scientist.
"We would be foolish to turn our backs on the possibility that other methods of plant breeding could generate the same results without the transgenic approach," says a Monsanto spokesman. "The regulatory systems effectively ignore all these other methods, and are driven by politics, not science. As things stand, a non-GM plant would bypass the arguments against GM."
But so far Monsanto has been unable to create conventional crops resistant to glyphosate, the herbicide it sells as Roundup. Glyphosate is regarded as one of the most benign herbicides because it breaks down relatively rapidly. That is not true of many of the herbicides to which companies have been able to breed resistant crops.
For instance, almost all Australia's oilseed rape now consists of strains bred to be resistant to broad-spectrum herbicides. The most popular, accounting for 72 per cent of the total grown, is "TT canola", which tolerates the triazine herbicides, including atrazine, an older herbicide suspected of poisoning frogs and polluting rivers.
The original strains were created by researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, who cross-bred commercial canolas with a weedy relative, Brassica rapa, which had evolved resistance to triazines.
Another variety, "Clearfield" rapeseed, is resistant to the imidazolinone family of weedkillers. Scientists made it by chemically mutating rapeseed strains until they produced some strains resistant to the herbicide.
Both strains were approved without the fuss surrounding GM crops, despite arguments that imidazolinones and atrazine are worse for the environment than the herbicides such as glyphosate.
"The two canolas that were classically bred have greater problems with persistence of herbicides and resistance than the GM ones do," says Rick Roush, now of the University of California at Davis, who served for five years with Australia's GM regulation body, the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator. "Atrazine is probably the most problematic of these two herbicides, as it is mobile in water and frequently appears in groundwater and waterways," says Chris Preston of the University of Adelaide. "Atrazine is persistent and in dry years may cause minor damage to subsequent wheat crops."
Imidazolinones, meanwhile, can last so long in soil that it is impossible to grow a crop the following season. "Australians opposed to GM crops have totally ignored the fact that most of our canola is already herbicide tolerant, and have also ignored problems with currently used herbicides," says Preston.
In the UK the use of atrazine has increased from 34,000 kilograms a year in 1992 to over 130,000 kg in 2002, mostly because more naturally resistant maize and sweetcorn is being grown. Atrazine was one of the "conventional" treatments against which GM glyphosate-resistant maize was evaluated in the UK's farm-scale trials.
Critics say that glyphosate-resistant GM maize is bound to look good compared with atrazine, and that the comparison is irrelevant because of an impending European ban. But the UK has applied for an exemption from the ban for sweetcorn.
The EU ban does mean that TT Canola is unlikely to be grown in Europe. But Clearfield products are edging closer, with launch this year of imidazolinone-resistant sunflowers in Turkey, and the development of similar varieties for southern and eastern Europe. BASF, the company that makes Clearfield strains, has just launched imidazolinone-resistant wheat in Australia and may develop variants for the European market.
Even without herbicide-resistant crops, GM or otherwise, herbicide use has soared in the UK, with glyphosate use more than quadrupling in a decade (see graph). The biggest rise has been on farms, where farmers receive subsidies to reduce overproduction by temporarily leaving fields fallow, but keep these "set aside" fields free of weeds with glyphosate. Glyphosate use has also soared on cereals such as wheat and barley, to compensate for a side effect of a popular fungicide.
"There's no strategic control over technologies used in the countryside," says Johnson. "We have many well-meaning technologies, but not a means to regulate them."
First contamination report reveals worldwide illegal spread of genetically engineered crops
The first report into the extent to which genetically engineered organisms have 'leaked' into the environment - released today - reveals a disturbing picture of widespread contamination, illegal planting and negative agricultural side effects.
The report is a summary of incidents uncovered by the on-line Contamination Register (1) set up by Greenpeace and GeneWatch UK. It reveals a catalogue of highly disturbing incidents right across the world, including:
- Pork meat from genetically engineered pigs being sold to consumers
- Ordinary crops being contaminated with GE crops containing pharmaceuticals
- Growing and international distribution of illegal antibiotic resistant Maize seeds
- Planting of outlawed GE crops which have been smuggled into countries
- Mixing of unapproved GE crops in food, including shipments of food aid
- Inadvertent mixing of different GE strains even in high profile scientific field trials
The report reveals 113 such cases worldwide, involving 39 countries - twice as many countries as are officially allowed to grow GM crops since they were first commercialised in 1996. Worryingly, the frequency of these cases is increasing, with 11 countries affected in 2005 alone. Contamination has even been found in countries conducting supposedly ''carefully controlled" high-profile farm-scale evaluations, such as the UK.
"This may well only be the tip of the iceberg, as there is no official global or national contamination register so far," said Dr. Sue Mayer of GeneWatch UK, who leads the team of investigators. "Most incidents of contamination are actually kept as confidential business information by companies as well as public authorities."
Greenpeace is calling for a mandatory international register of all such events to be set up, along with the adoption of minimum standards of identification and labelling of all international shipments of GE crops. "Without such biosafety standards ,the global community will have no chance of tracing and recalling dangerous GMOs, should this become necessary." said Benedikt Haerlin of Greenpeace International's Biosafety Protocol delegation.
The publication of the report comes only days before the latest meeting of the 132 countries who have signed the Biosafety Protocol (2), which is to establish standards of safety and information of GE crops in global food and feed trade. At their last meeting an imminent agreement was blocked by only two member states, Brazil and New Zealand. They were backed by the major GE exporting countries USA, Argentina and Canada, who are not members of the Protocol and want to restrict required identification to a meaningless note that a shipment "may contain" GE.
"All of these countries have national legislation to protect themselves from illegal GE imports. Still they want to deny the same rights and level of information to less developed countries, with no national Biosafety-laws and means to enforce them," concluded Haerlin. "Do they really want such unethical double standards and create dumping grounds for unidentified and illegal GE imports? We hope that Brazil, who will be hosting this meeting, will not betray the developing countries and cater to large agro-businesses at the expense of the environment."
Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. - raiders newsupdate
see - GM Contamination Report: Executive Summary from GreenPeace [93 Kb PDF]
- GM Contamination Report: Full Report from GreenPeace [470 Kb PDF]
control of resources
we need food, right?
this mean that we will have to pay the owner of
the patent for continued survival
its the same with disease management
they are actually going to patent & prescribe
drug / additive / resources
which 'enable us'
basically grants us permission
to continue our life
to make us feel 'normal' & 'free'
how do you gain access to this?
our very lives are a 'normality addiction'
index linked to the fear of a 'disease / terror'
propagated by the very same cartel
right now many people die from Murder incs lust
for bio/pharma-control as a 'politically useful'
managed economic force-multipler
WHO mulls centralizing flu vaccine
Monday 31st October, 2005 (UPI) - The World Health Organization is looking into creating a centralized system to purchase flu vaccines designed to reduce costs and boost immunization rates.
Dr. Klaus Stohr, coordinator of the WHO global influenza program, told the Financial Times by purchasing the seasonal flu vaccines in bulk on behalf of groups of countries working together, the organization could negotiate lower prices, making seasonal vaccines more attractive and retaining some of the price difference to invest in research and development.
However, one representative of the vaccine manufacturers cautioned that a similar scheme operated by UNICEF drove down vaccine prices so far that producers withdrew and investment in innovation was reduced.
Jean-Pierre Garnier, GlaxoSmithKline's chief executive called on U.S. regulators to allow the leading vaccine companies to cooperate, despite anti-trust concerns, so that they could all produce the single pandemic vaccine which proved the most effective in clinical trials.
- Big News Network.com
"Avian flu virus H5N1: No proof for existence, pathogenicity, or pandemic potential; non-'H5N1' causation omitted"
Letter from David Crowe and Torsten Engelbrecht in Medical Hypotheses, (November 2005) (Try your library or medical/university library)
Crowe and Engelbrecht analyse the four papers sent to them by the Friedrick Loeffler Institute (FLI) in response to the following questions.
1. Does H5N1 exist?
2. Is it pathogenic to animals?
3. Is it transmissible and pathogenic to humans, and does it have pandemic potential?
4. Have other causes for observed disease been studied?
Question 1: An infectious clone can be produced in vitro, but no paper describes purification or full description. One paper author essentially told them further information was classified.
Question 2: Only in extraordinary concentrations was diseased produced.
Question 3: They received an article offering an anecdotal report of a Thai boy who died after treatments with anti-microbials and anti-virals in 1997. They also received a report of Hong-Kong boy who died of Reye's syndrome after treatment with antibiotics and salicylic acid. He had no known contact with poultry. The FLI conceded "'There is no scientific forecasting method that can evaluate the possibility that an influenza virus induces a new pandemic.'" (p.2)
Question 4: No competing theories for disease causation have been considered (such as environmental or pharmaceutical factors.)
They conclude: "Our analysis shows the papers do not satisfy our four basic questions. Claims for H5N1 pathogenicity and pandemic potential need to be challenged further." (p.2)
see also Attack of the killer ducks Jim West, David Crowe & Torsten Engelbrecht
flashback: were a million birds tested?
In Japan over the weekend, about 6,000 chickens died on a farm in the town of Ato, about 500 miles southwest of Tokyo, according to the news service ProMED, run by the International Society for Infectious Diseases. Eggs from the farm were recalled, and plans were made to kill nearly 29,000 remaining birds. It was described as the first outbreak of avian influenza in Japan since 1925.
In Vietnam in recent weeks, 40,000 chickens died of influenza, and 30,000 more were killed to stop spread of disease, WHO reported. In December, more than a million chickens and ducks in South Korea died of disease or were culled, according to reports. - washingtonpost.com
so a million chickens all tested + for HN51...?
ETHIOPIA: Dead birds tested for bird flu
ADDIS ABABA, 8 December (IRIN) - Ethiopian authorities have launched an investigation into the recent deaths of nonmigratory birds to rule out the possibility of an avian flu outbreak in the Horn of Africa nation.
Dead birds from the Somali region in eastern Ethiopia and the capital city of Addis Ababa have undergone initial tests, but further analysis is needed, officials said on Friday.
"Before we can rule out avian flu we have to complete our investigations," said Dr Seleshi Zewdie, the head of the animal health department at the agriculture ministry.
Scientists had carried out preliminary tests on eight birds from three different locations. Zewdie said that additional results are expected later next week, but Ethiopia needs proper testing kits before a final determination can be made.
The birds are being tested for the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has devastated Asia's poultry flocks and killed at least 62 people since 2003. The dead birds - all nonmigratory local pigeons - were discovered around drinking wells in Somali region in eastern Ethiopia and at two separate locations in Addis Ababa.
Authorities in Somali Region estimated that around 500 dead birds were found at wells and water points in the Deger Bur area. Some 10 to 15 birds were discovered at each site. Zewdie said the reports of the dead birds - all received in the last two weeks - showed that the early-warning system set up by the government was working. He thought the dead birds would not have contracted avian flu because they were local pigeons rather than migratory birds.
"All dead birds should be tested," he said. "It is difficult to rule out avian influenza until we have completed the tests, but it is not likely."
Experts believe that the Rift Valley countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are at high risk for avian flu outbreaks because millions of migratory birds fly south to warmer climes during the European winter.
"[Bird] arrivals peak in December," said George Amutete, a senior research scientist in the ornithology department of the National Museums of Kenya.
A government-led taskforce in Ethiopia estimated that some US $53 million would be needed to fight a possible pandemic of the H5N1 virus of avian flu that affects humans.
Meanwhile, state media announced late on Thursday that Ethiopia would extend its 26 October ban on the import of all poultry products indefinitely.
The UN has also established its own crisis management team in Ethiopia for avian flu and is in the process of finalising a contingency plan to deal with a potential outbreak. - alertnet.org
in the report below the virus
cannot be transmitted when the chickens are dead meat
...how do they check for that?
EU: No evidence bird flu can be transmitted through food
26/10/2005 - There is no evidence so far that the deadly form of bird flu can be transmitted to humans through food consumption, the EU food agency said today, quashing speculation that it might issue warnings that raw eggs and uncooked chicken should be avoided.
Italian news reports said today that the European Food Safety Authority, based in the Italian city of Parma, would alert consumers shortly about possible bird flu risks connected to eating certain foods.
"It might be the end of mayonnaise, steak tartare and tiramisu," Corriere della Sera reported on its front-page. "It's highly unlikely that the H5N1 (bird flu strain) could be passed on to humans by consumption of raw meats or eggs," said EFSA press officer Lucia de Luca.
The agency said it would issue a statement later today.
Officials across the EU are preparing for an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain in birds, after it was discovered in Russia, Turkey and Romania.
It has decimated poultry stocks in Asia in the past two years and has killed at least 62 people, mostly poultry farmers directly infected by birds.
Though H5N1 is difficult for humans to contract, experts fear it could mutate into a form that can easily pass between humans and spark a pandemic. - IOL
There are more than 250 known foodborne diseases. They can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Natural and manufactured chemicals in food products also can make people sick. Some diseases are caused by toxins (poisons) from the disease-causing organism (germ), others by bodily reactions to the organism itself. People infected with foodborne germs may have no symptoms or develop symptoms ranging from mild intestinal discomfort to severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea. - Foodborne Diseases
No risk of infection from meat or eggs
Professor Hugh Pennington said the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had reiterated long-standing advice related to salmonella in a "quite inappropriate" way.
Prof Pennington, of Aberdeen University, said the EFSA should have been more careful in issuing advice on chicken and eggs.
"I don't know why EFSA has played it this way," he said. "The advice not to eat under-cooked chickens and not to eat raw eggs is sound advice ... [but] this is long-standing advice which hasn't changed for 15 years. They have reiterated it again, but in the context of bird flu, which is quite inappropriate."
Prof Pennington said it was "quite wrong" to link eating chickens or eggs with a risk of catching bird flu.
"I think the chances of anybody catching bird flu from eggs is, for all practical purposes, zero. The sick birds with pathogenic bird flu do not lay eggs for a start - they are at death's door," he said.
"Bird flu is not having an effect on European [Union] poultry. It might in the future, but with the current awareness of bird flu, one dead bird and the guy running the henhouse will be jumping up and down wanting to know what it is.
"Even if people ate a dead bird, the virus is in the lungs and the guts, which are not consumed, and the virus is killed when it's cooked. Humans don't contract flu through food. There are several reasons piling on top of each other to say this is not a food-transmitted disease."
When asked about the EFSA's comments on the theoretical risk from eating poultry, Dr Judith Hilton, the head of microbiological safety at the Food Standards Agency, echoed Prof Pennington's comments. She said : "It is something that, on scientific grounds, you can never entirely rule out. But, in practice, looking at the cases that are occurring in the Far East, they are people who are getting flu in the way that we normally get flu, through what we breathe." - scotsman.com
CHICKEN SAFE TO EAT
H5N1 is already endemic across parts of Asia and has been found in wild birds and poultry over a third of Turkey. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish consumers on Tuesday it was safe to eat chicken.
"There is no need to worry about consuming poultry and eggs that have been produced in industrial conditions," Erdogan told a gathering of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "There is no advantage in harming our poultry sector which employs thousands of people. It is very important for Turkey to remain calm," he said.
Poultry sales have plunged in Turkey, although chicken and eggs pose no health threat to human beings if properly cooked. Turkish authorities have culled around a million birds over the past two weeks to try to contain the crisis. The Agriculture Ministry has imposed a nationwide ban on the transit of poultry.
(For more stories, pictures and video on bird flu see: http://today.reuters.com/News/GlobalCoverage.aspx?type=globalNew s) (Additional reporting by Gareth Jones in Ankara) - yahoo.com/
this report contradicts those claims:
Tom Pennycott, an avian veterinary specialist at the Scottish Agricultural College at Auchincruive, Ayrshire, said the virus may have the same title, but other characteristics will have changed over 46 years. "The H5N1 that was found back in 1959 would have been quite different to the one that's around now," he said. "Similarly, there was an H5N1 down in Norfolk in December 1991 and it will be different to the H5N1 that's about just now." He added that the only additional information he has been able to find about the H5N1 in Scotland was that two flocks of chickens were infected. The total number of birds affected, however, was not reported.
No medical agency in Scotland or England was able to give many details - except to say that the disease has become heartier and deadlier since it was found in Scotland. There is also no sign of Dr Wilson. The Moredun Research Institute at Penicuik said that it had no record of him and that he was likely to have passed away. Flu strains are named after the various H and N protein codes recognised by the immune system. No H5 flu had ever spread to humans before 1997, when Hong Kong reported six casualties.
The 1959 Scottish H5N1 was - like all its successors - incapable of moving from species to species. But this changed last year, when the South Korean version showed itself capable of infecting pigs, rodents and humans. Scientists have been most alarmed at the fast rate of H5N1's mutation. For the first time, the virus can survive in chicken faeces and in dead meat, without requiring the flow of fresh blood. This has made it stealthier, claiming victims who had no obvious connection with the agricultural industry.
But its low human death toll suggests that the disease has yet to pass from human to human. Meanwhile, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, met British farmers yesterday and said he agreed with the National Farmers Union that chicken remained safe to eat.
If the virus remains in dead meat...
why are they not just isolating the animals
instead of killing & burying thousands in a pit, burning and thus dispersing potential pathogens into the atmosphere?
Something which troubled many during the UK foot & mouth outbreak...
Are Turkish Culling, eating the birds?
Turkey culls over 1 million fowl in fight against bird flu
Turkey has culled 1.107 million fowl so far to combat bird flu spread in the country, Turkish National Coordination Center for Bird Flu announced on Thursday. According to the center, bird flu was detected in 13 provinces and 24 localities in Turkey while suspected bird flu cases were reported in 28 provinces and 73 localities. The provinces where bird flu was detected are as follows: Igdir, Erzurum, Agri, Sanliurfa, Erzincan, Bitlis, Yozgat, Ankara, Bursa, Istanbul, Van, Aydin and Kars.
So far, there are 21 people confirmed of infecting bird flu in Turkey, among whom four children have died since. The virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed about 80 people in Asia since its latest outbreak in late 2003.
Experts fear that the disease, which currently jumps from birds to humans, might mutate into a form that can easily transmit among humans, which would lead to a global pandemic, killing millions.
Free Chicken Meat Reduces Anxiety over Bird Flu
By Economy News Desk Published: Sunday, January 22, 2006 zaman.com
The suppliers of chicken meat have begun to use interesting methods to boost their sales following severe stagnation due to intense anxiety over the bird flu.
Some markets stopped providing the chicken meat service to their customers, whereas seven companies in Batman distributed free cooked chicken to long lines of people. The volume of chicken meat sales went down considerably because of the negative effect of bird flu, said the owners of those seven companies. To solve this problem, a joint decision was made among those owners to distribute free cooked chicken meat in the Meydan (Square) district of Batman. Long lines of people were spotted shouting at each other from time to time to get as much free chicken as possible. The people said they believed the distributed chicken meat could not be infected with the strain of bird flu virus as the meet was being distributed by about seven prominent companies. Crowds of people lined the streets to eat the free meat.
For a dealer of chicken meat in Kayseri, however, the solution was to change his job.
"We could not sell a single pack of chicken meat for the past one to two weeks," said Duran Felek, adding that it was 800 kilos of chicken meat a day on average that Duran could sell prior to the outbreak of bird flu. Felek said he is selling vegetables and fruit for the time being.
Meanwhile, the chairmen of the eastern Marmara stock markets and chambers came together with the bird breeders to discuss possible solutions. The meeting ended with the release of a written statement that the public organizations should be encouraged to consume more white meat. The bird flu virus left around 80 people dead in the past nine years around the world, said Burhan Unlu, the General Manager of Sen Pilic. Unlu was disturbed by the news reports that tended to exaggerate the current situation when he said that around 260,000 people died from the common flu last year.
In the meantime, the bird breeders in Konya began to feed the starving chickens with the reserved eggs because they wanted to cut the expenses as well as to use unsold eggs. - zaman.com
High strangeness: count the swans...
"...a laboratory at Weybridge has confirmed Romania has another cluster of bird flu - this time in 12 swans that died in fish ponds near the village of Maliuc, in the Danube Delta. It has yet to confirm whether the strain is the lethal H5NI." - BBC
Take a look on this page and
see if you can spot Blairs EU presidency signiture stamped
on these 'Avian flu' events
2001 - foot & mouth epidemic, elections postponed...and then won 'convincingly'
2005 Febuary - Massive food recall over 'lethally carcinagenic boot polish additive' Sudan 1 - in the run up to another 'convincing' election win
EU sends vet to Turkey to assess bird flu threat
BRUSSELS, Jan 5 (Reuters) - The European Union has sent a veterinary expert to Turkey to help it tackle bird flu after the disease was found to have killed two teenagers in a remote rural area, the European Commission said on Thursday. Two Turkish teenagers died from bird flu in recent days in a remote rural district near Turkey's border with Armenia, where people live in close proximity with livestock and poultry.
There was the possibility of more suspected cases of bird flu in humans in the area, the Commission said in a statement.
Although experts say more tests are needed to be certain of the virus, all evidence points to it being the H5N1 strain -- appearing to mark a major shift westwards to the edge of Europe of a disease that has killed 74 people in Asia since 2003.
Samples of the diseased poultry would now be sent to the EU's reference laboratory in Weybridge, near London, for tests to be carried out, the Commission statement said.
The Turkish authorities are also sending samples from the human cases to a separate World Health Organisation reference laboratory in Britain to confirm the identity of the virus.
After the Foot & Mouth debacle of 2001, which saw British Farms quarantined, shut down, animals needlessly slaughtered... misery, anguish and destitution for many farmers.
Who, in their right mind would trust
a British Virus outbreak response???
Since the 1950s the US military began developing bio-warfare weapons at Fort Detrick by cooking up germs from exotic animal diseases intended to cripple the Soviet or other enemy economies by killing horses, cattle, birds and swine with crippling new epidemics. By the 1970s new advances in genetic engineering allowed the creation of new designer viruses that jump species barriers and even cause cancer. Since then many analysts have claimed these germs have been used for population control as well as commercial purposes with the assistance of high level US government agencies.
In fact plagues of animal diseases had badly affected the UK which had slaughtered almost four million animals after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD). Internet-based encyclopedia Wikipedia defines the disease as a highly contagious but non-fatal viral disease, meaning it is similar to the common cold in humans. If left to their own devices animals recover from the disease with permanent immunity to it. However, laboratories licensed to manipulate or engineer the FMD virus can create forms that differ from the wild virus strain. The UK animals were infected with type O pan Asia strain, which is not normally found in the UK. Foot and mouth virus "research" was carried out by Merial Animal Health. This facility, owned by Merck and Aventis, is also a vaccine production laboratory located near Pirbright, Surrey, not far from Britain's own government Institute for Animal Health.
According to the Sunday Express, a routine audit into the government's bio-warfare research laboratory Porton Down revealed that a container of foot and mouth virus went missing two months before the outbreak in early 2001.7 While it is still unknown who was responsible for the outbreak, there were certainly many who profited from it. Merck's Merial is the leading supplier of foot and mouth disease vaccine.8 After the UK beef market collapsed overnight, Tyson Foods, the US based largest meat and poultry producer and packer in the world, expanded its international market into the UK. The outbreak proved to be catastrophic to UK agriculture and rural families but a lucrative cash cow to multinational slaughter houses, food processors and pharmaceutical companies.
- The Pandemic Some Want To Have
Turkey's strategic location makes it a natural "energy bridge" between major oil producing areas in the Middle East and Caspian Sea regions on the one hand, and consumer markets in Europe on the other. Turkey's port of Ceyhan is an important outlet both for current Iraqi oil exports as well as for potential future Caspian oil exports. Turkey's Bosporus Straits are a major shipping "choke point" between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Finally, Turkey is a rapidly growing energy consumer in its own right.
Oil and gas transportation is a crucial and contentious issue in Central Asia. Turkey and the United States have been pressing for a "Western route" pipeline that would carry oil from Azerbaijan's port of Baku through Azerbaijan and Georgia and then across Turkey to Ceyhan, at an estimated cost of US$1.8-$4 billion. This would be a major part of the proposed "Eurasian Corridor" to bring Caspian oil and gas to international markets via Turkey, and to bypass Russia and Iran. Russia, on the other hand, is promoting a "Northern route" across the Caucasus to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. From there, oil would be transported through the Bosporus (which Turkey claims is too crowded already, and a potential danger to Istanbul) or via a proposed pipeline from Bulgaria to Greece and the rest of Europe. Other proposals include a pipeline to Georgia's Black Sea port of Supsa, and a swap arrangement with, or export pipeline through, Iran. - worldpress.org
Bird flu permanently alters Turkey
Saturday, January 14, 2006 By BENJAMIN HARVEY ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER ARALIK, Turkey -- No more tractors idling as ducks waddle across a dirt road. No more turkeys gobbling in open fields. No more fetching fresh eggs from the backyard coop. No more roosters crowing at dawn.
In Turkey, the outbreak of bird flu is changing the rural scenery and threatening a way of life. Yet up to now, there has been no significant discussion of what Turkey's countryside might look like when the bird flu crisis passes, or how its impoverished people will get by without the domestic birds on which many of them rely.
In the midst of the worst bird flu epidemic outside of southeast Asia, top government officials have warned Turkey is at permanent risk of outbreaks because it is on the path of several species of migratory birds.
At least 18 people in Turkey have been confirmed to be infected with the deadly H5N1 strain, including three siblings who died last week. Because of the risk, Health Minister Recep Akdag has insisted raising birds in backyards must "history," and the sooner Turks learn that, the better.
Yet the state has not come up with a long-term plan to compensate people for what could be a painful upheaval, other than to pay a basic market rate of $3.70 for delivering a chicken or a duck to authorities, $11 for a goose and $15 for a turkey. No rules have been drawn up for the post-crisis period, and it was unclear if people would be banned from raising poultry altogether or be allowed to keep birds in enclosed spaces like coops to keep poultry from mingling with wild fowl - a costly prospect for poor families.
In parts of the east, where raising birds in backyards is a way of life for nearly every family and a means of surviving for some, many scared residents have vowed off poultry, but don't seemed to have grasped the implications.
"We won't eat them, and we won't raise them," said Ahmet Inanc, 35, in the Seslitas village outside of Dogubayazit, where bird flu has claimed the lives of the three siblings. "If we don't raise chickens and don't die, it will be better for us."
Many believed Turkey would look after them.
"The state will take care of us," said Kahraman Duman, 56, who on Friday gave up seven geese, eight chickens and a turkey to men in white protective suits who would bag, bury and disinfect them. "It's OK if it's forever."
But one official rounding up poultry in Seslitas on Friday seemed to doubt the government would come through.
"They fed their kids with their eggs. They don't have other money. They'll be ruined," the official from the Dogubayazit Agriculture Ministry said as he jumped a stone fence to go from one house to the next. He would not give his name because Turkish officials are rarely allowed to speak to the media.
Domestic birds have been eliminated from the landscape in towns and villages where the virus has been found, like Aralik near the Armenian border, believed to be the starting point of the last series of outbreaks. They soon will disappear from other towns across the country. Officials said Friday the virus has been confirmed in 13 of Turkey's 81 provinces and is suspected in 18 more.
Butcher Ishak Isik, 58, stood in his "Meat and Chicken Gallery" in Aralik and stated proudly: "There are no chickens here." Although the outbreak started in Aralik, Isik said precautions were taken quickly and the town had no human illnesses and few bird deaths.
On Aralik's back streets, chicken coops were empty, and aside from wild fowl on power lines and a pile of feathers here and there, there was no sign of bird life.
"It's hard, we need to eat. We used the eggs, we used the meat," said Melek Guzelkaya, 52, who said she gave up 30 chickens. "We're waiting from an answer from the state." "Almost everyone had them," said Okan Duman, who was riding a bicycle home and said he'd given up seven or eight chickens. "I don't know what I'll do. Maybe cattle." - seattlepi.nwsource.com
|Question - If infected birds are culled and the meat is OK to eat...why is it being reported that some meat is being burned in pits? why are farmers not being issued with compensation? Are men in white coats simply stealing Chickens and selling the meat to the large food processing corporations?
ECONOMIC WARFARE: ENABLING A CORPORATE FOOD SUPPLY - Exactly what happened with the Foot & Mouth outbreak in the UK - Many small self reliant farms were closed... livelyhoods were lost... as the major supermarket chains cashed in on deregulation - as local food supply & traditional highstreets dissappear & Shopping Malls & Supermarkets continue to spring up everywhere...
This fearmongering enbles governments and the WHO to call for an end to backyard chicken and duck farming, which is ubiquitous in the Third World and a way for poor people to be self-sufficient.
Bird-flu is a weapon in the quest for neo-liberal globalisation - The Corporate state [Factory farming] against the self-reliant [safe & ethical] individual
$1.9 billion committed to global bird flu fight
Delegates to the fund-raising conference in Beijing focused on the need to help poor countries improve monitoring of bird flu outbreaks, prevent the spread of the illness and mitigate human suffering.
"To be truly prepared, we will need to mount a massive effort," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the delegates via teleconferencing, "from upgrading veterinary systems and launching vaccination drives, to encouraging change in the ways people coexist with animals. The loss so far of more than 140 million chickens, Annan said, "has caused massive hardship to farmers, and brought fear to their communities."
WHO blame disease on thousand of years of local farming
Indonesia markets risk spreading bird flu - WHO
By Telly Nathalia JAKARTA, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Ignorance, filthy conditions and lack of water risk making traditional Indonesian markets breeding grounds for bird flu in people and poultry, the World Health Organisation said on Friday. The warning comes a day after the death of a 22-year-old Indonesian chicken seller, which local tests showed had been infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus.
If confirmed, it would bring to 15 the number of people known to have died from bird flu in Indonesia. Five other people have survived infection from a virus that scientists fear could trigger a global pandemic in humans. Traditional wet markets are common throughout populous Indonesia and Alexander von Hildebrand, the WHO's regional adviser for environmental health, said vendors often conducted business on dirty ground, placing everyone at risk of infection.
Many vendors are clueless about the H5N1 virus surviving in chicken droppings for days, he said. "The exposure to poultry by market stall owners, slaughterers, poultry workers and the customer in the wet marketplace demonstrated that awareness of avian influenza, transmission routes and methods of preventing transmission is limited," he said.
Keeping ducks and chickens adjacent also presented problems. "Some vendors are keeping chickens very close to ducks which can be a problem because ducks do not show the disease but can carry it and transmit it," he said. If an infected bird was present, then many people risked being exposed to the blood and secretions, he said. "Re-zoning is necessary to limit the potential
Millions of Indonesians shop at traditional markets where fruit, vegetables and meat are often sold on the ground in the midst of slush and dirt. Sanitation in many traditional markets is poor, with dirty or drainage water used to wash produce and stalls.
The WHO has already called for preventive measures, including limited contact between humans and poultry in markets, as well as better access to water and improved waste management. Increasing the risks is that H5N1 is endemic in poultry in parts of Indonesia and in addition to unsanitary markets, many chickens and ducks live closely among people on small farms or even in cities and towns. This raises the chances of more humans becoming infected.
The government says the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 has been detected in birds in two-thirds of the provinces. A further complication is that Indonesia, with 220 million people, comprises about 17,000 islands, making surveillance and control measures more difficult than many other countries.
H5N1 is not known to pass easily between humans at the moment, but experts fear it could develop that ability and set off a global pandemic that might kill millions of people. In total, the virus has killed at least 83 people in six countries since late 2003. Millions of poultry have either died or been culled to try to stop the virus spreading. But Indonesia has not carried out the mass culling of some countries, in part because it cannot afford to compensate farmers for destroyed birds. - alertnet.org
Global Economic warfare:
Dioxin crisis widens in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany
02/02/2006- Europe's dioxin crisis has widened, with food regulators in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany placing quarantines on hundreds more pig and poultry producers that received contaminated feed. The dioxin contamination, not only means a sourcing problem for processors, but also marks another European food scare that might put people off their meat. The threat of avian influenza has already hit poultry consumption is some countries, while the beef industry is starting to recover from fears over BSE and food-and-mouth disease.
So far only South Korea has banned the import of pork from Belgium and the Netherlands as a result of the discovery. The country is the most important non-EU destination for pork produced in the two countries. They exported a total of 25,000 tonnes of pork worth about €62 million to South Korea in 2005. A total of about 650 pig and poultry farms are now under quarantine in the three countries.
Food safety regulators in the Netherlands and Belgium also announced that some of the meat from contaminated farms was sold in shops over the last two months. Both regulators said the level of contamination did not pose any serious risk to public health. Yesterday Belgium extended a quarantine to a total of 386 pig and poultry producers suspected of receiving feed contaminated with the carcinogen, doubling the number the country's food safety agency (FAVV) had originally banned from the market. Of these 361 were pig farms, 24 were poultry farms, and one rabbit producer.
FAVV said test results from the suspect farms will be available Saturday.
The Netherlands food regulator (VWA) said on 31 January that 250 producers remain under quarantine and that tests are currently underway. The regulator also released a report from the Dutch Office for Risk Assessment. "Consumption of pork meat and meat products could lead to a slight increase of the dioxin intake of consumers," the report stated. "In the most extreme intake scenario the tolerable weekly intake of dioxins might be slightly exceeded. However, the calculated incidentally increased intake does not pose a health risk for the consumer."
Meanwhile Germany's regulator has quarantined five pig farms and is currently testing for the carcinogen.
Tessenderlo, a feed ingredients company fingered as the source of the contamination, today said that an inadequate test had resulted in the error. "For Tessenderlo Group, discussions about compensation and amicable settlements are premature as long as the various investigations are under way," the Belgium-based company stated. "The problem shows that the PCB test was inadequate for testing dioxins and that we were wrong, as were most specialists, to rely on it."
The discovery of the dioxin contamination was first reported by the Netherlands, which on 25 January sent out an EU-wide alert on pig fat originating from Belgium. The Netherlands said its tests indicated dioxin levels 25 time the maximum permitted concentrations in pork fat. The dioxin was discovered in pork fat produced by Profat. FAVV said that between 6 and 28 October, two filters at Tessenderlo Chemicals were defective, resulting in untreated hydrochloric acid being delivered to its subsidiary, PB Gelatins. PB Gelatins in turn, supplied animal feed producers with dioxin contaminated ingredients.
FAVV found that that a normal consumption of such the gelatine produced by PB Gelatins is less than 25 per cent of the amount of acceptable dioxin consumption. " That thus means that there is currently no immediate danger to the public health," the agency stated.
The Belgian food agency has also put under monitoring the stockbreeding customers of Leroy and Algoet, two other feed producers. The Tessenderlo Group has admitted that a hydrochloric acid filtration problem at their plant is the likely source of the dioxin contamination. In a press release the company said the contaminated feed poses no threat to public health.
Belgium and the Netherlands, along with France and Germany, are among the top pig meat producers in the EU. The Netherlands accounted for about eight per cent of the EU's production in 2000, according to the bloc's figures. Dioxin has been the cause of numerous food scares. It was found in Dutch potato animal feed in 2004. Pig farmers in the Netherlands were found to be using it as an illegal hormone for pigs in 2002. Belgium's meat industry suffered a similar blow in 1999, when dioxin was discovered in pigs and chickens. Then, the industry lost millions of euros either through a quarantine of some 200 Belgian farms, or through the loss of their export markets after some countries imposed bans. The country ended up slaughtering seven million chickens and 60,000 pigs. The scare, which occurred just before the 1999 general election, played a key part in the landslide defeat of the former government of Jean-Luc Dehaene.
- food production daily
Flashback to the Turkey outbreak:
BP Pipeline Turkey / Azerbaijan
Gazprom Pipeline via Turkey
...while the gas dispute is nearing completion, Moscow and Kiev find themselves engaged in another trade war - this time in meat and dairy products. Russian veterinary authorities halted import of meat and dairy products from Ukraine on Jan. 20 citing health reasons. The Ukrainian government has been seeking international support in this matter and it even turned to veterinary watchdog the International Epizootic Bureau for help. Ukraine's Foreign Minister, Boris Tarasyuk, said on Tuesday, Jan. 31, that the Russian government had refused to meet a Ukrainian delegation that had sought to resolve the crisis. "Political decisions were behind this behavior; otherwise you cannot explain it," he said. "A considerable part of the Russian political elite is in favor of retaining the domination of Ukraine in one or another form," Tarasyuk continued. "Many of them are of the opinion that Ukraine should follow Russia or should be together with Russia." - mosnews
Two Britons Detained in Azerbaijan on Suspicion of Bioterrorism
06.12.2005 MosNews - Police in Baku, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, have detained two British nationals near a water reservoir. The two are being held on suspicion of trying to poison water supplies, the Regnum news agency reported.
The two men were arrested on Dec. 3 as they were trying to pour a white powder into the water. The powder has been sent for examination.
Prelimary reports identified the suspects as Paul Williamson and Duncan Jackson, employees of British Petroleum. The Azeri police said a map of the area was found on the detainees.
A correspondent for local television network, Azad Azarbaycan TV, cited a police source as saying that the two had been detained because they had behaved in a suspicious manner near the strategic water reservoir.
The expatriates were questioned at the district police department for several hours but did not explain why they had entered the area of the water reservoir. The National Security Ministry is currently investigating the bizarre actions of the foreigners. - mosnews
Iraq culls hundreds of thousands of birds
31/01/2006 - Health authorities went on high alert today following Iraq's first reported case of the deadly bird flu virus, culling hundreds of thousands of birds and warning farmers across the country to inspect their flocks.
Five mobile hospitals with special equipment were due to arrive in northern Iraq later today, according to Health Minister Abdel Mutalib Mohammed. A 20-mile security cordon will be placed around the village where the disease appeared, he added.
The measures followed yesterday's announcement that a 15-year-old girl from northern Iraq who died on January 17 had contracted the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. It was the first confirmed human case of H5N1 in the country. The prospect of a bird flu outbreak in Iraq is alarming because it is gripped by armed insurgency and lacks the resources of other governments in the region. Government institutions, however, are most effective in the Kurdish-run area where the girl lived.
The US has offered assistance to Iraqi authorities to help deal with the outbreak, while a World Health Organisation team of epidemiologists and clinicians was expected to arrive later in the week to start tests. "We are working with the government of Iraq and the World Health Organisation to ensure that the necessary support for diagnosis and treatment of avian influenza is available as needed," US Embassy spokeswoman Sylvia Blackwood said.
WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said health authorities are also investigating two more possible bird flue cases - the girl's uncle who died on January 27 and a 54-year-old woman from the same region who has been taken to hospital.
Iraqi authorities believe the girl most likely contracted the disease from migratory birds that passed it onto domestic birds in her hometown of Raniya, US Embassy health attache Jon Bowersox said.
Raniya is just north of a reservoir that is a stopover for migratory birds from bordering Turkey heading south through Iraq's southern marshlands, onto Kuwait and further to South Africa, said Bowersox. At least 21 cases of bird flu have been recorded in Turkey, raising fears the virus may have moved south.
Raniya is about 60 miles south of the Turkish border and 15 miles west of Iran. Azerbijan close , too...hmmm
|19th Jan 2006
WHO- Girl In Iraq Did Not Die Of Bird Flu
The World Health Organization says the teen did not have the bird flu.
- Geneva, Switzerland -- The World Health Organization says the bird flu virus is not being blamed for the recent death of a 15-year-old girl in Iraq.
The agency says its Eastern Mediterranean office has "dismissed" the theory that the virus caused the girl's death. The girl died earlier this week near Iraq's border with Turkey, which is the site of a recent bird flu outbreak.
Iraqi health authorities agree that preliminary results of tests taken at the girl's home also suggest she did not die from avian flu. However, officials there say it's too early to offer a definitive conclusion.
The investigation into the girl's death follows concerns that the virus could spread from Turkey to neighboring countries. - wfmy.com
January 31, 2006 - Teen Girl Who Died May Have Had Bird Flu
From Times Wire Reports
A 14-year-old girl who died in northern Iraq this month had bird flu, Iraq's health minister said. A World Health Organization official said preliminary results from a U.S. military laboratory in Cairo showed the H5N1 bird flu virus, but it was seeking further tests.
If confirmed, it would be the first known human case of the virus in Iraq, whose northern provinces border Turkey, where more than 20 people have been diagnosed with the virus. - latimes.com/
January 31, 2006 - IRAQ: First bird flu case confirmed
- The Ministry of Health has announced that a 15-year-old girl who died on 17 January in the northern town of Raniya, close to Sulaimaniyah, was a victim of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, despite earlier reports to the contrary.
"We are sorry to inform the Iraqis and the world that the case of bird flu in northern Kurdistan has been confirmed as being the first case in Iraq," said Abdel Mohammed, Iraqi minister of health on 30 January. "We alert the population to be aware of migratory birds."
The announcement was made after a sample was tested at a US Naval Medical Research Unit laboratory in Egypt. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is awaiting its own tests to be confirmed in the United Kingdom.
January 31, 2006 - WHO Puzzled with Young Turkish Bird Flu Victims
By Cihan News Agency Published: Tuesday, zaman.com
The World Health Organization on Monday expressed puzzlement at the young age of bird flu victims in Turkey during the recent outbreak of the virus in the country.
The WHO's laboratory in Britain has so far confirmed 12 of the 21 H5N1 bird flu cases reported by the Turkish Health Ministry.
The figure includes the deaths of four children from the town of Dogubayazit in the eastern Turkish province of Agri which borders Iran.
Of course - the timeframe for these Avian flu scares - right through from summer 2005 into early 2006... are purely co-incidental to yet another push by London & Washington to 'bring Iran & Syria into line'
Bird Flu means imposing a kind of martial law, making home grown food & local farms feel untrustworthy - keeping the public scared witless....
Coalition forces are readying the spin machine to enable bombing the shit out of The axis of evil
3. Depleted uranium
4. Electromagnetic pollution
"Many companies monitor employee e-mail and Internet usage, and Web-based security cameras are commonplace fixtures in office buildings. However, technologies such as GPS and employee badges with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags promise to take employee monitoring to an entirely new level. Today's tracking systems can record, display and archive the exact location of any employee, both inside and outside the office, at any time, offering managers the unprecedented ability to monitor employee behavior."
Can't Hide Your Prying Eyes
The U.S. plans to carry out large-scale scientific experiments, under
the HAARP program, and not controlled by the global community, will
create weapons capable of breaking radio communication lines and
equipment installed on spaceships and rockets, provoke serious accidents
in electricity networks and in oil and gas pipelines and have a negative
impact on the mental health of people populating entire regions,
Federation of American scientists
Remote-control for Bacteria
Radio waves switch proteins on and off.
6 December 2002 PHILIP BALL - Remote-controlled bacteria could be just around the corner. Researchers have found a way to switch cell processes on and off with radio waves.
The goal is "microbial machines", Joseph Jacobson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge told this week's Materials Research Society meeting in Boston.
Cells, he explained, could be equipped with a toolbox of 'software' - such as the ability to glow periodically1. Remote-controlled enzymes could cut and paste these modules as if downloading a particular program into the cells. This is a long way off, but the components are taking shape.
Jacobson's team uses an electromagnetic field to switch on and off an enzyme that snips open the genetic messenger molecule RNA. First they attach a tiny particle of gold to the enzyme. Only millionths of a millimetre across, the gold nanoparticle acts as an antenna, harvesting energy from a radio-frequency electromagnetic field. This energy breaks up the enzyme, rendering it useless. When the field is switched off, the parts of the enzyme re-assemble of their own accord.
Earlier this year the same team manipulated DNA in a similar way2 . They stuck a gold antenna to DNA strands that spontaneously curl up into hairpin structures where the two ends zip together. A radio-frequency pulse picked up by the gold antenna opened up the hairpin.
Showing that the approach works for proteins too greatly increases the range of things that might be done with it - proteins orchestrate nearly all the chemical processes in a cell. - lauralee.com
Could Chips in Chickens Track Avian Flu?
Maker of RFID tags proposes monitoring poultry health through embedded microchips.
Ephraim Schwartz, InfoWorld Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Digital Angel, the world's largest manufacturer of implantable microchips for animals, is proposing that biothermal RFID chips be used on a sampling of the world's 25 billion chickens as an early warning system for avian flu.
Avian flu is currently only identifiable via visual means, such as discoloration of the beak, sneezing, diarrhea, or sudden death. However, using a biothermal chip and an RFID reader poultry farmers would be alerted to elevated temperatures in the flock, company executives say.
According to Kevin McGrath, president of Digital Angel, while a temperature spike in a single chicken may not be caused by avian flu, if a representative sampling of tagged birds had a temperature spike, it might be an indication of trouble.
"If you end up finding 20 to 30 sentinel birds with higher-than-normal temperature, that is an indicator that you may have an infection. If you wait till the bird population is dying, it is too late," McGrath said.
McGrath proposes tagging every 250th bird in a flock.
Talking With Health Authorities
Digital Angel is in talks with health ministries in Asia that have expressed an interest in biothermal chips.
The biothermal chips are approximately 10 millimeters in length and are inserted in a bird's breast with a single inoculation. About 3 million dogs and cats each year are currently tagged with a Digital Angel RFID chip.
The company also designs tags for humans, under the name VeraChips, which are used primarily in medical applications and some for security. McGrath also said the U.S. military has received a proposal for biothermal chips to replace dog tags on soldiers. Along with the chip, if each soldier also had a GPS scanner on his or her belt, a commander would know the location and relative health of every soldier in the field.
Several countries are considering embedding biometric chips into passports, but they can track movement only at a short distance and are intended more for identification.
- live science
Alliance To Create Patient Smart Card Deployment, New York City
Article Date: 13 Dec 2005
A huge segment of the population in the New York City metropolitan area could soon benefit from a patient smart card technology program that will help make important health care information more accurate, more secure and more readily available. The new program is part of a strategic alliance announced today by Siemens Communications Inc., The Mount Sinai Medical Center and Elmhurst Hospital Center.
The Patient Health Smart Card initiative builds off the successful smart card pilot launched at Elmhurst Hospital in 2003, the first of its kind in New York City. Siemens brings a long history of successful patient smart card deployments to bear, including large-scale projects such as the Lombardy, Italy, regional patient card project. Together, Mount Sinai, Elmhurst and Siemens hope to expand smart card technology throughout the metropolitan area and create a regional health network for the benefit of their patients.
Rollout of the Patient Health Smart Card will occur in phases, with initial deployments of 100,000 smart cards to include Mount Sinai Medical Center and eight affiliated hospitals. The affiliated hospitals are: The Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens, Cabrini Medical Center, Elmhurst Hospital, Englewood Hospital, North General Hospital, Queens Hospital, St. John's Riverside Hospital, and Settlement Health. Overall, there are 45 affiliated and related health care facilities in the New York Metro area to be linked by the smart card initiative.
These institutions will issue their patients photo identification cards with embedded chips (smart cards) that can store patient information and will be routinely updated by health care professionals who are part of the regional smart card network. The Patient Health Smart Cards can be loaded with vital patient information such as demographics, allergies, current medications, laboratory results and more. The smart card is owned by the patient.
"This program has the potential to become one of the largest deployments of patient smart card technology in the United States," said Joe Licata, president of the Enterprise Division of Siemens Communications Inc. "With this innovative application of smart card technology, New York City patients can benefit from having direct control of key medical data on a highly portable, secure platform. This is essential in a metropolitan environment where people are always on the go and where a high density of health care facility options exist."
Siemens will provide technical and organizational services for the introduction of the Healthcare Patient Data Card. Siemens will deploy card management systems and software to help enable health care providers can maintain and update patient data throughout the card's lifecycle. Smart card technologies are part of the Siemens® HiPath® SIcurity® family of solutions that help enterprises protect information and communication via strong authentication, secure networks and identity management solutions.
The multi-year agreement between Siemens, Mount Sinai and Elmhurst also includes ongoing development of smart card technologies and integration with clinical and other information systems related to patient care.
"With Siemens, we are working with one of the world's best technology leaders to help improve patient care and provide hospitals with more readily accessible information in a secure and portable format," said Kenneth L. Davis, MD., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Whether it's an emergency or routine visit, patient data is vital to ensuring the appropriate treatment in a timely fashion."
The chip-embedded smart cards - about the size of a credit card - provide access to medical information and help to reduce medical errors caused by misinformation or lack of patient data. When admitted, a patient would insert the card into a reader and enter their private Personal Identification Number (PIN) to unlock the card, giving the health care facility access to the information on the card such as patient demographics, chronic diseases, allergies, current medications, lab results, medical histories and other important patient information. Other smart card technology benefits include helping to decrease patient wait times and sharing of vital patient information between providers.
"With rising health care costs, these hospitals and Siemens are working together to deploy a Patient Health Smart Card that can fundamentally change health care delivery with more secure and cost-effective transfers of patient records", noted Alan D. Aviles, President, New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation (the parent corporation of two participating affiliates - Elmhurst and Queens Hospital Centers). "This first step is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of removing waste, duplication and errors in the health care equation." - medical new stoday
smart cards are just the beginning
January 12, 2006
FLIR Systems announced today that it has received orders for thermal imaging cameras for use in detecting fever, which is a possible indicator of infectious diseases, including avian flu. The French Ministry of Health has ordered systems that will be deployed in six airports throughout France. The systems will be used to quickly detect the presence of fever in passengers arriving from certain destinations. A major US technology manufacturing company has also ordered systems for use at its overseas manufacturing facilities. The systems will be used to identify fever in arriving employees. Delivery of the systems will begin immediately.
Both customers chose the FLIR ThermaCam® A20™ system, which offers software specifically designed for this application. The A20 can be mounted at an optimal location and provide real time thermal data and analytics to inspectors.
"As we did during the SARS outbreak, we are providing a tool to governments and businesses around the world who are preparing to protect their citizens and employees from a potential epidemic. Our cameras offer a discreet and effective way of identifying individuals with elevated body temperatures, helping to detect possible fever and thereby limiting the spread of infectious disease," commented Earl R. Lewis, President and CEO of FLIR Systems, Inc.
View the full FLIR press release.
US Naval Intellignece Officer Marty Kaiser describes sickness from resonant frequency
"...Dr. Klensch and others, including me, were developing several schemes involving VVLF technology... below 10HZ... we used to call them "cycles" back then. I spent an enormous amount of time in the library scouring over Russian and German scientific papers and although I do not read or speak either language... show me a schematic and I'll tell you what the words most likely said. One interesting item I uncovered was the Germans use of strobe lights to down our aircraft. They would point the strobe spotlight at our aircraft and adjust the speed of the flash so it appeared to the pilot the bombers engines had stopped. The pilot would then jam the throttle forward not realizing he was already near full power and put the plane into a flat spin causing it to crash. On the ground, the German equipment operators were either losing consciousness or barfing all over the place. They soon realized that the frequency they had chosen, close to 6.8HZ, was the resonant frequency of the human body and it was the infrared component of the light causing the problem. They solved the problem by wearing filter glasses that blocked the infrared component.
At the lab, we stumbled across that problem too and although we were generating tens of kilowatts of audio at the 6.8HZ frequency lab personnel were walking into walls, tripping over chairs and barfing. We decided to stay well away from the critical frequency and conduct our research elsewhere. "
USDA Using Satellites to Monitor Farmers
Jan 13, 2006 By ROXANA HEGEMAN
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Satellites have monitored crop conditions around the world for decades, helping traders predict futures prices in commodities markets and governments anticipate crop shortages.
But those satellite images are now increasingly turning up in courtrooms across the nation as the Agriculture Department's Risk Management Agency cracks down on farmers involved in crop insurance fraud. The Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency, which helps farmers get loans and payments from a number of its programs, also uses satellite imaging to monitor compliance.
Across government and private industry alike, satellite imaging technology is being used in water rights litigation and in prosecution of environmental cases ranging from a hog confinement facility's violations of waste discharge regulations to injury damage lawsuits stemming from herbicide applications. The technology is also used to monitor the forestry and mining industries.
In this photo released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a satellite view shows a higher seed rate in the perimeter of a field and a lower one in the middle. The bright red edges and turn rows in the center show a higher plant density than the center of the field. Satellite images are now increasingly turning up in courtrooms across the nation as the Agriculture Department's Risk Management Agency cracks down on farmers involved in crop insurance fraud. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture)
"A lot of farmers would be shocked at the detail you can tell. What it does is keep honest folks honest," said G.A. "Art" Barnaby Jr., an agricultural economist at Kansas State University.
Satellite technology, which takes images at roughly eight-day intervals, can be used to monitor when farmers plant their acreage, how they irrigate them and what crops they grow. If anomalies are found in a farm's insurance claim, investigators can search satellite photos dating back years to determine cropping practices on individual fields.
What's catching the attention of Barnaby and others is a spate of recent cases involving the use of satellite imaging to prosecute farmers. The largest so far has been a North Carolina case in which a couple faked weather damage to their crops by having workers throw ice cubes onto a tomato field and then beat the plants.
In September, Robert Warren was sentenced to six years and four months in prison, while his wife, Viki, was sentenced to five years and five months. They were also ordered to forfeit $7.3 million and pay $9.15 million in restitution. The Warrens and at least three other defendants pleaded guilty. But in one related trial that went to a jury, prosecutors used satellite images and testimony from a satellite image analyst to present their case.
"It was impressive to the jury to have this presentation about this eye in the sky and satellite imagery and a trained expert," said Richard Edwards, the assistant U.S. Attorney in North Carolina who prosecuted the case. "In our case it did not make the case, but it sure helped and strengthened and improved the case."
The Risk Management Agency is involved in three other multimillion-dollar crop insurance fraud cases that have yet to be filed that will rival the Warren case in scope, said Michael Hand, RMA's deputy administrator for compliance. While fewer than 100 cases have been prosecuted using satellite imaging since the RMA started its crackdown in 2001, data mining - coupled with satellite imaging - pinpoints about 1,500 farms annually that are put on a watch list for possible crop fraud, Hand said. Ground inspections are done on the suspect farms throughout the growing season. The agency says its spot checklist generated by the satellite data has saved taxpayers between $71 million and $110 million a year in fraudulent crop insurance claims since 2001.
The agency stepped up its enforcement after the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 mandated it use data mining to ferret out false claims, Hand said. Every year, it ships claims data to the Center for Agriculture Excellence at Tarleton State University in Stephensville, Texas, where analysts look for anomalies in claims. They generate a list of claims for further investigation, with satellite imaging pulled on the most egregious cases.
Just as U.S. satellites kept track of things like the wheat harvest in the former Soviet Union, other countries have also launched satellites to monitor American crops. Germany, France and others have satellites monitoring crop conditions, and many other private firms sell those images in the U.S.
"Everybody spies on everybody. I was stunned to hear that myself," Edwards said. "Someday, I may have to rely on a French satellite to convict an American citizen." - apnews
Fish with chips stay close to the farm
Fisheries scientists are investigating the use of neural implants to control the behaviour of farmed fish. They hope the tags will eliminate the need to pen and feed fish, a practice that pollutes the surrounding waters and promotes disease. Instead, the plan is to let the fish loose to forage for themselves and then retrieve them when they are large enough to harvest.
One way to contain the fish would be an acoustic fence, a barrier of sound signals that would trigger the implants to deliver a warning signal to the fish's brain, possibly by mimicking a bad smell. Barry Costa-Pierce, a marine researcher at the University of Rhode Island in Narragansett, says his team has already developed implants that can make the fish surface on command. The project is focusing on bluefin and bigeye tuna, cobia and salmon.
Costa-Pierce is hoping to reduce the cost of each implant to a matter of pennies, although he admits the barriers to implementing the scheme are primarily legal, not economic. Setting tuna loose would raise the question of who owns a fish that swims in the commons of the ocean. Until governments can establish fishing regulations that take account of such implants, commercial fisheries are unlikely to take up the idea.
- From issue 2541 of New Scientist magazine, 01 March 2006, page 30
Is it really bird flu?
Monday, February 20, 2006 - Vaishali Balajiwale/Agencies
NASHIK/NEW DELHI: The government's announcement of bird flu deaths in Maharashtra has created an unnecessary panic and how the virus arrived in a remote place like Nandurbar needs "detailed investigations", including the possibility of deliberate introduction, said a leading virologist.
Meanwhile, health ministry officials investigating the episode said that Newcastle virus ---- that causes similar symptoms like bird flu ---- has also been isolated from the dead birds lending credence to the poultry industry claims that the deaths were not entirely due to bird flu.
"I am worried and surprised about the whole thing," says Kalyan Banerjee, former director of the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.
Transmission of flu from birds to humans is very difficult and the fears have been over blown, Banerjee said. The 90-odd persons in some 30 countries who have so far died of this virus were bird handlers and no single human-to-human transmission has taken place.
The commercial angle to the whole bird flu business "should be looked at very carefully," says Banerjee.
India, which was saying for three years that there was no bird flu in the country, had two months ago purchased two million doses of a bird flu vaccine (based on Hong Kong strain) manufactured by a Dutch company. India has also placed orders for the drug Tamiflu from the multinational company Roche, while three Indian companies have announced that they will be soon ready with generic version of Tamiflu. "And suddenly more than 30,000 poultry birds die of bird flu in a remote place," says Banerjee.
Banerjee says he is mystified by the fact that the virus showed up in a remote place that is not an international border or on the path of migratory birds that could possibly bring the virus. "This needs detailed investigations," he said. Asked if the virus could have been introduced deliberately he said "all aspects" must be investigated.
"We maintain that the disease among the birds in Navapur is not bird flu," reiterated Anuradha Desai, chairman, Venketeshwara Hatcheries, Pune. She said that 1000 samples were collected and screened at the Poultry Diagnostic Research Centre, Pune. The Disease Investigation Centre of Maharashtra confirmed that this is not bird flu, but Ranikhet Disease (RD), seen commonly among poultry birds. - dna india.com
Scientists aim to beat flu with genetically modified chickens
By Mark Henderson, Science Correspondent - The Times of London
THE long-term threat of an avian flu pandemic could be greatly reduced by a project to produce genetically modified chickens that can resist lethal strains of the virus.
British scientists are genetically engineering chickens to protect them against the H5N1 virus that has devastated poultry farms in the Far East, with a view to replacing stocks with birds that are not susceptible to influenza.
The technique should also offer protection against many other strains of flu with the potential to start a human pandemic, such as the H7 subgroup that was responsible for an outbreak in Dutch poultry in 2003.
If chicken populations were to be replaced with transgenic birds that were resistant to flu, it would remove a reservoir of the virus and make it much harder for it to spread to humans and trigger a pandemic.
The team, led by Laurence Tiley, Professor of Molecular Virology at Cambridge University, and Helen Sang, of the Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, has already shown that chicken cells can be protected against flu by inserting small pieces of genetic material.
The researchers are now ready to begin a similar procedure with eggs and the first experiments are expected within weeks. Any breakthrough, however, will come too late to have an impact on the present outbreak of H5N1.
Even if the technique works, it will be several years before it can be used to stock farms and it also faces important regulatory hurdles and a battle to win over public opinion. If these obstacles are overcome and farmers are willing to adopt GM chickens, the entire world stock could be replaced fairly quickly.
"Once we have regulatory approval, we believe it will only take between four and five years to breed enough chickens to replace the entire world population," Professor Tiley said. "Developing flu-resistant chickens has clear benefits for human health and animal welfare, as we wouldn't have to slaughter chickens around the world. Chickens provide a link between the wild bird population, where avian influenza thrives, and humans, where new pandemic strains can emerge. Removing that bridge will dramatically reduce the risk posed by avian viruses."
The research team is following three parallel approaches. One involves inserting a working copy of a gene that makes an antiviral protein called Mx, which is defective in many chicken breeds, and should improve their ability to fight off H5N1 and other strains.
The second approach is to harness a technique called RNA interference, in which small fragments of the genetic signalling chemical RNA are used to disrupt the workings of the flu virus.
By engineering chicken cells to make small RNA molecules that confuse the flu virus, the scientists hope to confer resistance to a wide variety of strains. The third strategy is similar to the second, but involves using RNA molecules as decoys, which trick the flu virus into copying them rather than itself. All three could potentially be incorporated in the same GM chickens. - timesonline.co.uk
Satellites Can Track Epidemics
Tue, 14 Mar 2006 - All those eyes in the sky are coming in handy for purposes scientists never imagined. Now researchers from ESA are using Envisat data to track places on Earth where disease epidemics could get started. The team was able to link the outbreak of diseases in Africa with dryness and drought. So far they've been able to track regions which are dry, which contribute to the spread of meningitis. Aid workers can then target these regions to give vaccinations and provide early warnings.
The amount of data acquired by satellites is increasing at an exponential rate, and researchers are learning about the value of this data in fighting epidemic outbreaks as a result of the ESA's Epidemio project.
"I was negative about the role satellites could play in addressing epidemics, but now I am positive," Penelope Vernatsou of the Swiss Tropical Institute in Switzerland said.
The ESA-funded Epidemio project was developed in January 2004 to illustrate the benefits of remote-sensing data for studying, monitoring and predicting epidemic outbreaks. By using data which focuses on a region's landscape - rainfall, vegetation, water bodies, elevation, dust mapping and temperature - researchers are able to pinpoint climatic conditions which are favourable for harbouring various epidemic hosts, indicating where people are at greatest risk.
As the project draws to completion, epidemiologists and data users gathered in Frascati, Italy, at the 'Earth Observation in Epidemiology Workshop', on 8-10 March 2006, to report on how Earth observation (EO) has benefited the field of epidemiology.
Ghislain Moussavou of the Gabon-based International Centre for Medical Research (CIRMF) began studying Ebola haemorrhagic fever, which can cause runaway internal and external bleeding in humans and apes, in Congo and Gabon in the hope of spotting particular environmental characteristics associated with infected sites.
Combining ESA Envisat satellite data, under the Epidemio project, on water bodies, forest cover and digital elevation models (DEMs) with field results, Moussavou and his team were able to link the epidemic with dryness and drought.
Moussavou said determining these factors will allow officials to tell the villagers in the area that current conditions for transmission are high, and that they need to take extra precautions. "Because there are no medicines to prevent or cure Ebola, predictions and prevention are necessary."
Dry conditions are also favourable for the spread of meningitis, an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord lining. Epidemics nearly always start in the early part of the dry season when it is hot and dusty. For this reason, ESA has been providing dust maps for high-risk areas to aid in implementing early warning systems.
Christelle Barbey of Silogic, in France, is currently involved in an Epidemio project to provide wind blown dust maps for Africa. Although her final results are still coming in, she was able to detect 100 percent of known dust events, using MeteoSat data, and determine that dust maps do correspond to a user need to contribute to meningitis prevention.
The Epidemio project - funded by the Data User Element of the ESA Earth Observation Envelope Programme - concludes its two-year mission in April 2006, but the groundwork it has laid will aid users in the continuance of their research and allow new projects to be undertaken.
Giuseppe Ottavianelli and Aude de Clercq of the HISTAR Solutions in the Netherlands are currently working on a project, backed by ESA business incubator financing, to confirm the onset of malaria epidemics in Africa, as predicted by remote sensing data.
They have designed a prototype of a sensor located in a box that detects mosquitoes as they fly overhead. The data collected by the sensor is then processed by a program inside the box, which will be placed in hat hutches in high-risk African villages, and indicates the species and numbers of the mosquitoes detected.
Malaria is transferred by the female mosquito of the species Anopheles, so if the sensor detects her presence in high numbers, public officials will be alerted so that preventive measures can be put into place.