Friday, May 15, 2009

Canada's "Fort Detrick" and lax security threaten deadly pandemics

Canada's version of the United States biological "research" laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland, the National Microbiology Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is once again in the news for a serious breakdown in security of pathogenic materials.

Konan Michel Yao, a native of Ivory Coast, was arrested by FBI agents on May 5, while trying to transport 22 vials of genetic material from the deadly Ebola virus from the Winnipeg laboratory to what Yao claimed was his new research job at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. NIH is near Washington, DC and is even serviced by a Metro subway station that transports passengers on the "Red Line" into the heart of the nation's capital.

Yao removed the material this past January and hid the vials, containing Ebola and HIV genetic material, in a glove and inside aluminum foil. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta claim the genetic material is not infectious, however, as previously reported by WMR, similar genetic material extracted from the corpse of an Inuit woman who died of the 1918 "Spanish flu" was extracted in 1997 and used the synthetically create the current A/H1N1 hybrid or "novel" influenza virus. The Winnipeg facility, as well as the University of Wisconsin in Madison, was involved in the H1N1 research and vials of H1N1 and other influenza strains were transported back and forth from Madison to Winnipeg.

On May 6, 2009, WMR reported that in 2007, "macaque monkeys were infected with the 1918 flu virus at the Canadian laboratory by some of the same researchers who were involved in the risky Ebola research in Madison." In addition, the article stated that on September 20, 2007, the Madison laboratory was cited for safety violations. The Madison facility claimed that because Ebola studies were being conducted in a less-secure Biosafety Level 3, instead of a Level 4 laboratory, the Ebola research was shut down. However, it was also reported that the Ebola genetic strains, said to be "DNA copies" of the virus, were then transferred to the Winnipeg facility's Level 4 laboratory. It was the Level 4 laboratory from which Yao reportedly stole the Ebola strains confiscated at the Manitoba-North Dakota border on May 5.

Yao was arrested at the border crossing at Pembina and was heading in a direction that would have taken him through Madison on Interstate 94 to Chicago and onward to Washington, DC. Based on past exchange of dangerous pathogenic materials between Winnipeg and Madison, there is a possibility that Yao could have dropped off some or all of the Ebola vials at the Madison laboratory.

On March 2, 2005, a courier truck crashed in downtown Winnipeg that was transporting anthrax from the Canadian Forces Base in Ralston, Alberta and influenza, salmonella, e.coli, tuberculosis, and HIV from a laboratory in British Columbia.

What is not being explained is where Yao kept the Ebola virus material from January to May and whether he transported any other pathogenic material from the Winnipeg laboratory. As WMR reported on May 6, the day after Yao was arrested, the Winnipeg facility also contains strains of hanta virus, Marburg virus, and Lassa fever. On November 30, 2001, the Memphis Police Department received a phone call from Detective Paul McKemmie of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Security Investigation Unit in Ottawa stating that a sicentist at the Winnipeg facility was a likely target for kidnapping by "bio-terrorists." The Memphis police were investigating the disappearance of Dr. Don Wiley, a noted virologist from Harvard University, whose body was later discovered in the Mississippi River in Vidalia, Louisiana.

A number of scientists working on AH1N1 and Ebola have also conducted research at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis. Wiley served as a member of the St. Jude's science advisory board and was in Memphis for an annual St. Jude's banquet at the time of his disappearance, which was ruled a suicide by the Shelby County medical examiner.

For the first time, WMR is revealing what a special investigation in 2002 of Wiley's death, which now appears to have been a murder, revealed about St. Jude's. While investigating establishments around the Peabody Hotel in Memphis where Wiley may have stopped before he turned up missing, this editor obtained information from a St. Jude's insider that the books were "being cooked" at the charitable children's hospital, which is dedicated to finding cures for cancer. What was reported by the insider was that large sums of money were coming into the hospital from "Middle East" sources and this had raised alarms in the hospital's accounting department because it was not showing up on the official books.

Meanwhile, three public schools in New York City have been closed because of A/H1N1, which has left the assistant principal of one of the schools in critical condition. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization WHO, has warned against a false sense of security over A/H1N1 and of dire global implications for the pandemic.