27 November 2001. Revised distance from Plumb Island to Oxford, CT, thanks to TD.
24 November 2001
Newsday article on anti-terrorism security for Plum Island
Scientific American on Plum Island
Patricia Doyle on Plum Island
What's underplayed about Tobiason's CD, "Scientific Principles of Improvised Warfare and Home Defense Volume 6-1: Advanced Biological Weapons Design and Manufacture," is his argument that people have a right to know how to protect themselves against biological attack, especially the "accidental" kind.
The Connecticut victim of anthrax lived in Oxford, CT, across Long Island Sound about 55 miles west-northwest of Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which is located off the coast of Long Island, and performs highly specialized research on animal diseases. The New York anthrax vicitim lived in The Bronx located at the western end of Long Island Sound, about 120 miles west of Plum Island.
The Center's Web site (http://www.ars.usda.gov/plum/) says :
The Plum Island Animal Disease Center is a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) facility designed and constructed to work with the most dangerous animal diseases in the world, such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Rinderpest, and African swine fever. In fact, by federal law, Plum Island is the only place in the U.S. where FMD and Rinderpestviruses can be studied.
As a BSL-3 facility, PIADC already has in place state-of-the-art biosafety practices and procedures to prevent a disease organism from escaping into the environment, including stringent and rigorously observed safety measures within the laboratories themselves.
Plum Island, N.Y., Sept. 5, 2000 The U.S. Department of Agricultures Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) has created a forum groupfor public affairs and safety and emergency preparedness, to provide new conduits for communication with the centers neighbors.
The forum includes eight local officials who represent communities in New York and Connecticut within commuting distance of Plum Island. The forum will initially meet once a month with USDA scientists and other staff as part of an ongoing dialogue on the centers research activities, responsibilities, and general operations."
... so, did a forum member track the virus home to CT? Probably not:
* Must sign a personal recognizance statement undertaking to abide by the Safety Rules.
* Must take a shower and follow personal decontamination procedures when exiting biocontainment Building 101.
* Who have been in biocontainment must observe a self-imposed quarantine, meaning they cannot be around livestock, zoos or circuses for 5 days after coming out of biocontainment. (This does not include dogs and cats.)
In October 1991, all operation and maintenance activities were privatized, transferring to a contractor (under USDA supervision) all personnel involved in these activities. Currently the operations and maintenance of the PIADC are conducted through a contract with LB&B Associates, Inc., headquartered in Columbia, Md.
LB&B Associates is a facilities manager firm which has contracts with the USG for numerous DoD, GSA, NASA, FEMA and USDA operations around the nation. In addition to operating the Plumb Island facility, it operates an unidentified federal facility in Trenton, NJ, the reported origin of several of the anthrax letters.
It holds government contracts for "hot" facilities for viral research, claiming extensive experience with up to Level 3 facilities and is under consideration as operator of Plum Island's upgrade to Level 4 for research on zoonotic (capable of infecting humans as well as animals) diseases.
A Plum Island job ad says "many employees live in Connecticut and take the ferry from New London to Orient Point, NY" from which a Center boat goes to the island. The most recent anthrax death occurred in Oxford, CT, a few miles from New London.
The firm has had several labor relations problems such as employee suits and unionization squabbles. It is reportedly fiercely anti-union. Another report claims its continuing labor problems may have affected a government bid.
The firm also produces virtual military training programs in urban warfare and aircraft operation. It received a lot of press coverage for adopting and adapting Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Rogue Spear game engine for military training programs.
The firm also operates military helicopter facilities and services the aircraft.
LB&B stands for Lily Brandon and Brandon, the founder and a relative.
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 12:03:08 -0500
Subject: newsday plum
By Elaine S. Povich
November 16, 2001
Washington - With fears of bioterrorism in the background, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) yesterday inserted a provision in the Senate's anti-bioterrorism bill that would pour $100 million into extra security at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.
"Plum Island, and other germ-research centers, plays a vital role in defending against foreign animal diseases and keeping America's livestock and food supply safe," Clinton said in a statement. "The legislation that we are introducing today will bolster our homeland defense by providing the resources needed to upgrade security so that these important research centers and their surrounding communities are better protected against terrorist attack."
Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) unveiled a bipartisan bill to more than double the $1.5 billion that President George W. Bush is seeking for bioterrorism defense, but Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said he could not embrace any spending that would bust White House budget plans.
Thompson praised the $3.2 billion Senate initiative, but said he had to stick with Bush's $40 billion ceiling on post- Sept. 11 emergency spending. He said more money could come later.
The Plum Island Animal Disease Center off Orient Point develops vaccines and treatments for responding to animal disease outbreaks. Although the center does not conduct research on biological weapons, there are germs stored there that cause dangerous animal diseases. For example, the center is the only place in the country that studies foot-and- mouth disease, Clinton said.
Copyright © 2001, Newsday, Inc.
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 10:51:07 -0500
Subject: scientific american: plum
Scientific American; New York; Jun 2000; Glenn Zorpette;
Start Page: 22-23
Subject Terms: Laboratories
Biological & chemical weapons
Geographic Names: Plum Island
Companies: Department of AgricultureDuns:14-383-5429Sic:926140
Plum Island is where the USDA operates one of the world's top laboratories for the study of infectious animal diseases. Sensationalism surrounding the island and what goes on there is making it more difficult for the lab to upgrade its biosafety rating level from three to four, the most secure.
Copyright Scientific American, Incorporated Jun 2000
PLUM ISLAND, N.Y-"We still get asked about the Nazi scientists," says Sandy Miller Hays, the slightest trace of weariness creeping into her voice. We're sitting on the ferry that will bring us back from Plum Island, where the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates one of the world's top laboratories for the study of infectious animal diseases.
Foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever would not seem to be the stuff of wild urban legend anymore. Nevertheless, the rich mythology that has sprung up around the 840-acre island makes it a must-see stop on the conspiracy theorist's world tour. Hays, information director for the department's Agricultural Research Service, which oversees the laboratory, patiently describes several of the choice tales she's been asked about over the years. The gist of the "Nazi scientists" story is that after the war the army (which did actually use Plum Island as a base to hunt U-boats) brought German scientists to the island to develop biological-warfare agents. Lyme disease, first identified in nearby Connecticut, was caused by one of their escaped microbes, according to the tale. Other stories feature threeheaded mutant chickens, space aliens in storage and a secret submarine laboratory.
The threads that went into the fanciful fictional tapestry that shrouds Plum Island are fairly obvious. The USDA did not let any reporters onto the island between 1978 and 1992. Then, novelist Nelson DeMille stoked the fire with his 1997 thriller Plum Island, about a detective investigating the murder of two biologists amid suggestions that they stole a secret vaccine-in-progress. It also didn't help that the island is just 1.5 miles off the North Fork of Long Island, the standardbearer for suburban luridness.
Caption: ANIMAL-DISEASE TESTING, such as inoculating a steer with an experimental vaccine, takes place on Plum Island (inset), just off Long Island's Orient Point.
Unfortunately for the USDA (and Hays in particular), the lab's reputation has complicated its most recent quest: selling nearby residents on its proposal to upgrade the lab from its current rating of biosafety level 3 to level 4, the most secure. The USDA wants the upgrade so that it can study potentially fatal diseases that can jump from animals to people. No animal-disease lab in the U.S, has a level-4 rating, but there are such labs in Geelong, Australia, and Lyons, France, as well as a small one in Winnipeg, Canada. The U.S. does maintain several level-4 labs for human diseases-including one in downtown Atlanta at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Before beginning a tour of the laboratories and animal-holding pens, the assembled members of the press (there are four of us) strip off our clothes. Conveniently, none of us has any hidden body piercings, which might collect microbes, so we are free to put on coverall garments and enter biocontainment. (Jewelry in a pierced part would have to be left behind.) Essentially all the facilities are located in a single large building known, with comic arbitrariness, as Building 101.
The point of the tour is to impress on us how serious the laboratory is about safety and security. An official describes the powerful filtering and ventilation system that directs airflow so as to contain any stray microbes within certain rooms. We are shown the airtight and watertight steel boxes within which infectious materials are delivered. A technician with gloves and safety glasses demonstrates that the boxes are opened under a hood. Samples are stored in sealed vials in cardboard boxes in freezers. All contaminated trash is treated in an autoclave before being incinerated. Even the sewage is decontaminated before being released. Such prosaic stuff is a long way from mutant chickens.
At last we descend into the mazelike bowels of the building for a tour of the animal-holding pens. We see pigs, a cow, guinea pigs and some rabbits. Six young pigs in a fluorescent-lit painted-cinder-block room are destined for a safety test, explains Lee Ann Thomas, the lab's acting director. To ensure that an animal-derived product being tested is free of any exotic viruses, the pigs will be inoculated with the product-possibly cell cultures or hormones. Later the pigs' blood will be checked for antibodies. Products singled out for testing come from animals known to be at risk for certain infectious diseases, or they come from countries where those diseases are endemic.
Before we can leave the biocontainment area, we must remove our borrowed coveralls and shower thoroughly. Our eyeglasses-and the waterproof video camera with which the two TV journalists have been gathering footage-are dunked in an acetic acid solution for a few minutes before being released.
"We don't know what diseases are coming, but we know they're coming," Hays says in making the case for the level-4 upgrade. As examples, she cites Nipah and Hendra, recently discovered viruses home by swine and horses, respectively. Both viruses are known to have jumped fatally to people, primarily farm and slaughterhouse workers. A Nipah outbreak killed about 100 people in Malaysia in 1999, and Hendra caused two deaths in Australia in 1994. Neither virus made it to the U.S., but if one had, Hays asserts, no lab in the U.S. would have been equipped to study it. (The infamous West Nile virus, which is deadly to birds, was briefly studied at Plum Island last year. Because West Nile is seldom fatal to people with robust immune systems, it can be studied in a level-3 laboratory.)
More intriguing (though still not in the three-headed chicken category) is the question of whether the lab will do work on vaccines to counteract germ warfare or bioterrorism agents-specifically, ones developed to kill both livestock and people. "There were a number of reports of agents being weaponized" in Russia, Thomas notes. But she denies that the proposed upgrade is tied to a specific agenda to develop germ-warfare countermeasures at Plum Island, as some reports have suggested. "Whether it's an intentional introduction [of a virus] or an accidental introduction," she says, "the need to protect the animals is going to be the same."
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 10:18:29 -0500
By Patricia Doyle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have finally found out why the Plum Island animal diagnostic/research facility is a Biolevel 5.
To explain my discovery we must go back to 1970. It was just a year after President Nixon had OFFICIALLY ended all US biowar research.
So, in 1970 the Government granted 10 million dollars for mycoplasma research for use in germ war. At the time, it was illegal to work with mycoplasma in the continental US. Plum Island, which was already a biowar research facility, and, due to its island status, was chosen to conduct the Mycoplasma research. The Government designated them with a Biolevel 5 and the mycoplasma research commenced.
The initial 10 million dollar grant was for a 5 year period. The mycoplasma research was successful and the funding for the research continued.
In the 1980's, Plum Island hired a scientist who had just completed his graduate research at Cornel. This scientist headed the mycoplasma research department until just prior to hostilities breaking out in the Persian Gulf. He took his research and went back to Bagdad, where he still heads the Univ. of Bagdad research department. This scientist, who worked at Plum Island during the 1980's, and, then took the mycoplasma research back to Iraq was Dr. Jawad Al Aubaidi.
The new Director, Dr. LeeAnn Thomas, had admitted, very unwillingly, during one of the public meetings they held in reference to their desire to upgrade the level of pathogens at the facility, "Plum Island did indeed work with 7 strains of mycoplasmas."
They also had projects that infected ticks with pathogen agents of brucella toxins. Another project was infecting ticks with African Swine Fever.
A large majority of the people in Eastern Connecticut feel that Plum Island was indeed responsible for the origins of Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease was first isolated in a youth, in 1975, within a few miles of the area where the Plum Island Government Ferry Boats dock.
There is even an unsubstantiated (at this time) claim that a young girl who was being treated at Yale for Lyme Disease was sent to the inhouse hospital at Plum Island where she 'emerged' cured and showed no evidence of Lyme Disease. The story was related by a man at another public meeting.
Plum Island wants the public trust. They seek to bring in pathogens for which there are no KNOWN vaccines and no KNOWN cures. Yet, my observation at the public meeting, the Plum Island officials are very evasive and only admit to certain research when cornered. Dr. Lee Ann Thomas first said, when questioned about the mycoplasma research at the public meeting, no. When the questioner held up a copy of the Common Cause Foundation's "Journal of Degenerative Diseases," Oct. 1999, which contained an article regarding the mycoplasma research, Dr. Thomas had to admit that the article was true.
I have more information en route to my home via the Freedom of Information Act. I will keep updating my research.
Before I believe and trust that facility, a facility with a long history of safety violations, some as recent as Spring/Summer 1999, I want to find out exactly what the facility is doing with my tax dollars.
Although Plum Island is located off the coast of Long Island, and just 10 miles across Long Island Sound from Groton, Ct. Submarine base, it is a National concern. Deadly pathogens like Nipah, Hendra, Bottulism, Brucellosis, Plague, Anthrax et al, do not respect State lines.
I have been trying to enlist the help of Veterens who are suffering with Gulf War Syndrome, to get together, sign petitions, and demand that the Government enlighten the Veterans and publc about the research that began 30 years ago, and is still causing deaths here in the US and the world, especially among our Allies.
I welcome e-mails from anyone concerned about Plum Island and the legacy of mycoplasma research conducted at that facility.
I fail to understand how the US Government can tell the Veterans and the rest of the Country that Biologicals were not used in the Persian Gulf. There was no monitoring for biologicals at that time. There was only some monitoring for chemical weapons.
The Army BIDS and the Navy's IBADs technology was not in place during the Persian Gulf War. BIDS, which is actually Biological Integrated Defense System, is still being tested at Dugway Proving Ground and Aberdeen Proving Ground. IBADS is also in the test phases.
How can the US be so sure that there were no biological weapons used in the Gulf War?
I am also wondering why the US was in such a hurry to develop mycoplasma weapons back in 1970. Did they want to use the weapon in Viet Nam?
Were any primitive mycoplasma weapons used then? Were some of the Viet Nam vets suffering from Agent Orange and mycoplasma?
There are lots of questions, but, I do not hear the Government answering them.
I guess I will have to keep on researching.
Thank you, Patricia Doyle
You are invited to visit my website "Emerging Diseases"
"Hoot"...There It Is!
By Patricia Doyle <email@example.com>
As you may know, I had been investigating the Plum Island ARS/APHIS facility which is located less then 2 miles from Orient Pt. There is now a PR campaign to present the facility as a model of safe lab operation. First of all, let me address the fact that Plum Island IS A BIOLEVEL 5 facility. I have attached a couple of pages that do describe the facility as biolevel 4 and then 5.
The page from SUNY Stony Brook is a couple of years old. It describes some consideration to coordinate Plum Island, SUNYSB, BNL and CSH (Cold Spring Harbor) (CHS is on the North Shore of Long Island) experimentation. It does mention that there was a consideration to use the level 4 lab at Plum Island for some of their (SUNYSB) level 4 pathogens.
The media PR states that Plum Island is a biolevel 3 facility seeking funds to upgrade to biolevel 4. In fact it is a biolevel 5 facility seeking funds to maintain that level. There are a few biolevel 5 facilities worldwide. Last Fall, 1998, not far from the United Nations biolevel 5 facility in Trieste, Italy, there was an outbreak of almost the identical strain of the altered (N.Y.) West Nile/Kunjin Virus.
Since Plum Island's new media campaign, I have noted there has been no mention of West Nile/Kunjin, or, dead birds. Although, people have been telling me that from time to time, they have seen dead crows in the area, I have not seem it mentioned in the press.
December 1, 1999, 7:30 am EST
I was driving north, about 100 yeards past Dutchess County Airport on Rte. 376, when I noted a dead owl on the shoulder of the road. I slowed up and noticed that it did not appear the owl was hit by a car. I decided to drive a little further north and find a place to safely turn around. I did so about 2 miles up the road. When I made my turn, I noticed a black pick-up truck also made a turn around. I proceeded South again, passed the owl which was lying on the North bound shoulder, I made a left turn into a street and went back to 376, pulling off the road behind the owl.
As I stepped from my vehicle, I looked at the Southbound lane and the black pick-up slowed, the dark haired, moustached man approximately in his 30's, look at me, then proceeded on his way.
Since the reports of dead crows in the area, I have prepared my vehicle with surgical gloves, ice chest, and hefty trash bags. I put on the gloves and went over to examine the owl. There was NO SIGN of cuts, abrasions, puncture wounds. I pushed back feathers, looked under wings, did a darn good exam for a layperson. The bone structure seemed to be intact, no fractures. I checked the eyes and nostril area for signs of pox. The area of the face was totally clear. The owl did not seem to have signs of wasting.
I determined that there might be a chance that the owl was infected, and I decided to take it to my friend, a Vet. We could have the bird tested and find out what, if anything, is going on.
About 4 or 5 minutes after I arrived upon the scene, a Dutchess County Sheriff Dept. Officer drove up behind my vehicle. I really was not paying too much attention, I did see flashing red lights from the corner of my eye, but, it really did not register.
I was crouched down examining the bird, when a shiney black boot lightly stepped over the bird and a stern voice asked, "what are you doing?" I looked up and was surprised to see the officer. I have been up and down that stretch of roadway for years and rarely saw a police presence. I was so surprised to see him that I asked him who had called the police?
I told him that I had been investigating the West Nile Virus, i.e. in the capacity of private citizen.
I did turn over the owl for him and pull back feathers and explain why I thought the bird was suspect. He told me that he would call his supervisor and they would determine which agency would get the "prize." I asked him if I could take it to my friend, A DVM, and have it tested. Frankly, I knew that would not be an option.
He proceeded to check my license. I gave him my name, street address, and telephone number. He promised to let me know which agency would get the owl. I thoroughly intended to follow up on the test result of the owl. He informed me that "my services were no longer needed at the scene." So, I went on my way.
While driving, I remembered that the police vehicle did arrive with red lights flashing. I also remembered the pick-up truck that made the same turn around.
I also remembered the relentless warnings of my dear friend, who was a Captain in the military biowar program, now retired. He constantly tells me to watch my surroundings especially when driving. Watch for cars following.
I must admit that I was more vigilant on my journey home. I noticed a black Ford escort station wagon following. I noted the same car at the place where I stop for coffee.
I pulled over and let the vehicle pass. Now, I was the follower and he the followed. About 5 miles past, he pulled into the East Fishkill Police Barracks.
Later that day, I was told that there were 2 men on my property about 12:30 pm. My daughter surprised them. They seemed to be looking around. When they saw her, they told her that they hadn't been in the area for a while and wondered if there was still a barn on the property.
I live in a secluded area atop a mountain. There is a cow farm a couple of miles down the road. Of course, at this time of year there are a lot of hunters in the woods.
These men, wearing long dark overcoats, and black dress shoes, did not seem dressed for hunting. After encountering my daughter, they both left, in separate vehicles, a red van and a pick up truck.
It is now December 5th and I have not heard from the County Sheriff's Dept. I have made numerous calls to various agencies, including to Dr. Novello at the N.Y. State Health Dept. and DEC. I have also written to our local paper, the Poughkeepsie Journal. Silence. If the owl did not test positive for the altered virus, you would think that they would have publicized that fact.
I have added one other piece of equipment to my vehicle, a camara. The next time I come upon a suspect dead bird, I will quickly snap a photo, and then, quickly place it in the ice chest and head for my Vet's office. I will not stop pursuing this. I will let you know where the owl was taken and what the test results concluded.
PS: Hi Jeff... Some more attachments. These are helpful but, not necessarily pertinent. If, something does happen to me, they will be very pertinent.