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DC demonstrators bio-attack: update

strangeness around the tularemia sensor alarm
It would appear now that the Homeland Security alert regarding tularemia is being 'spun.' As the antiwar demonstrators did their thing in DC in late September, biowar sensors at the Capitol registered unusual amounts of tularemia. Now they are suggesting that perhaps the feet of the demonstrators stirred up the bacteria from the soil--but if that were true, why has no other demonstration stirred up a US biowar arsenal bacterium?

Tularemia is perfect for attacking demonstrators. It doesn't spread, so there would be no contagious 'outbreak.' Now that they are dispersed across the nation, their symptoms will (would) appear to be similar to the common cold--muscle aches, mild fever, etc. The symptoms are unlikely to be diagnosed without a larger national awareness, however, and they slowly progress to painful and disfiguring conditions and then death (see my post from last Friday on this subject). Hence the attack could pass completely unnoticed except for the condition of the demonstrators and their grieving families. The only notice might be in a spike of tularemia cases in the following years' CDC reports.

The national lists for the demonstrations need to be re-activated to warn of this threat. And if (as I suspect) it actually occurred as a government attack, the outrage should be used to bring down this monster government once and for all.

 link to www.pej.org
Rumors, lies and disinformation 11.Oct.2005 00:58

Not the CDC

Dear Ms. Mitchell,
Would you say that your posts, especially your headlines, qualify best as rumors, lies or disinformation?

Here is part of what the CDC, one of your alleged sources, says about tularemia. Please go to the bottom sentence.

Tularemia, a bacterial zoonosis, is caused by Francisella tularensis, one of the most infectious pathogenic bacteria known. It requires inoculation or inhalation of as few as 10 organisms to cause disease.
F. tularensis is a small, nonmotile, aerobic, gram-negative coccobacillus. It has a thin lipopolysaccharide-containing envelope and is a hard, non-spore-forming organism that survives for weeks at low temperatures in water, moist soil, hay, straw, and decaying animal carcasses.
Tularemia occurs throughout much of North America and Eurasia. In the U.S., human cases have been reported from every state except Hawaii, with the majority occurring in south-central and western states.
F. tularensis is found in widely diverse animal hosts and habitats and can be recovered from contaminated water, soil, and vegetation. A variety of small mammals, including voles, mice, water rats, squirrels, rabbits, and hares are natural reservoirs of infection. They acquire infection through tick, fly, and mosquito bites and by contact with contaminated environments. Epizootics with sometimes extensive die-offs of animal hosts may herald outbreaks of tularemia in humans.
Humans can become incidentally infected through diverse environmental exposures: bites by infected arthropods; handling infectious animal tissues or fluids; direct contact with or ingestion of contaminated food, water, or soil; and inhalation of infective aerosols. Humans can develop severe and sometimes fatal illness, but do not transmit the disease to others.
Worldwide incidence of naturally occurring tularemia is unknown. It is likely that the disease is greatly under-recognized and under-reported. In the U.S., reported cases have dropped sharply from several thousand/year prior to 1950 to fewer than 200/year in the 1990s. Between 1985 and 1992, 1409 cases and 20 deaths were reported in the U.S., a case fatality rate of 1.4%. Most U.S. cases occur June-September, when arthropod-borne transmission is most common. Cases in winter most commonly occur among hunters and trappers who handle infected animal carcasses.
F. tularensis could be used as a biological weapon in a number of ways, but an aerosol release would likely have the greatest adverse medical and public health consequences.
Airborne F. tularensis would be expected to principally cause pleuropneumonitis, but some exposures might contaminate the eye, resulting in ocular tularemia; penetrate broken skin, resulting in ulceroglandular or glandular disease; or cause oropharyngeal disease with cervical lymphadenitis.
Release in a densely populated area would be expected to result in an abrupt onset of large numbers of acute, nonspecific febrile illness beginning 3-5 days later (incubation range 1-14 days), with pleuropneumonitis developing in a significant proportion of cases during the ensuing days and weeks.

Okay, if there had been a widespread, deliberate use of tularemia on September 24th in Washington, DC, then it would be reasonable to expect "an abrupt onset of large numbers of acute, nonspecific febrile illnesses" (that means that people would be sick without fevers) in the DC area as well as in those cities which sent a number of people to the demonstration. And then, pneumonia-like diseases would also take a jump, with a rise in fatalities.
Do you have any evidence that this happened?
Please post it.
Do you have any evidence that there was anything other than a dead rabbit (mouse, vole, squirrel, etc) in and around the Washington Mall area, which would account for the increase in tularemia bacteria in the area. Do you have any evidence of the alleged deaths that you think should be happening right now, were tens of thousands of people to be infected?
Please post your evidence.

And finally, if you only "suspect" that this was a bioterrorism attack, why do you persist in using the headline "Bio-attack" and why did you originally state that this was an "apparent Bushite biological warfare crime."
I understand that you know little about bacteria, viruses and medical care, but this is just shoddy journalism. You should know better.
Can you please stop?

Again, there are plenty of reasons for urging revolt in this country. You don't have to manufacture rumors and lies to convince people. The truth is revolutionary.

good discussion 11.Oct.2005 02:21


Not taking sides here. Wanted to thank teresa and non-cdc for talking about this. Gossip and rumor are both good and bad. Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong. As a community, we need to spend time talking respectfully about our stories, so that we can get to the truth of the matter. And clearly, a respectfull tone facilitates this needed discussion.

No such thing as Tularemia "sensors" 11.Oct.2005 06:50


To test for stuff like that, you grow agar plates that you leave exposed to the local air for set times and then incubate. The "outbreak" probably indicates that some fool lab technician at DHS was out camping and contaminated a series of plates coinciding with the demo, or the "stirred up by demonstrators' feet" hypothesis.

No Osama in sight, just lots of manufactured hysteria to make us think we need leaders.

DC demonstrators 11.Oct.2005 11:15


I was there on the 24th and I am not sick. I will post if i do get sick, but its been over 2 weeks and I'm fine. The CDC says the incubation is usually 3-5 days but can range from 1-14.

Wonder how the detection was accomplished 11.Oct.2005 15:38

Fredric L. Rice frice@skeptictank.org

I've got to wonder how the detection phase was accomplished -- assuming that it was. If the original claim that there was an above-background-level incident of the organism at the anti-fascism protest was issued by any agency of the United States, it would be reasonable to assume that the agency lied.

Considering the fact that this regime lies about everything even when the truth would suit, the claim that there was an above-ground exposure like this should reasonably be considered unsubstanciated. The _why_ of the lie could easily be to try to whip up actual American patriots into just such conspiracy notions and claims as the original article, an effort to try to make the real citizens of this country look nuts.

My myself, I'm just treating the claim that there was a large exposure as just more Bush lies and fascism.

history 12.Oct.2005 22:51

theresa mitchell

Gosh, non-CDC, why would I accuse the government of the Tuskegee Non-Treatment Syphilis experiments of biological attacks? Why would I accuse the people who "can't" find any data about the 2001 anthrax attacks of such duplicity? I'd bet an original smallpox blanket that either (a) tularemia was released on some of the 'higher-value' demonstrators, (b) tularemia detection was delayed by a week in order to ensure confusion or (c) the whole shebang was cooked up by Rove to let demonstrators know that their lives could be forfeit at any minute.

Why would you assume that the whole group would be attacked? Why would you assume that those infected would realize by now what is making them feel tired? There is no mechanism, no funding, to track down each demonstrator and check on their health, and meanwhile the corporate-owned media will keep minds buzzing about some other subject.

That is why I label this a bio-attack: because this government is sleazy enough to have to prove a negative. I am a polemicist precisely because polemics are the knives of the powerless. Let the Bushites deny that they released tularemia, and let them explain why in hell they can't solve or at least make progress on the anthrax attacks (are you reading this, Philip Zack?). It is irresponsible to pretend that this historically criminal government can be trusted to investigate itself.

The truth should not be accompanied by a vanguard of lies 13.Oct.2005 00:11

Not the CDC

Dear Ms. Mitchell,
Pointing to the genocidal policies of previous U.S. governments and other colonial powers does not add one bit of evidence to your basic argument.

You asserted that someone or someones in the Bush administration deliberately attacked the September 24th anti-war demonstration in Washington DC by attempting to infect it with tularemia.
I keep asking for even the slightest bit of evidence for your original statements and headlines. You continue to evade with historical references, inane statements and a general disregard for what is considered to be 'evidence' either in journalistic or scientific circles.

Yes, the British and others did distribute smallpox blankets to Native peoples in North America to destroy them. Yes, various individuals and agencies in the U.S. government (during both Democratic and Republican administrations) did fail to treat African American men who had syphilis, even though effective treatments were known. Both these actions are well documented. You would do well to read the book Bad Blood so you have some understanding of this history.
I could go on. A discussion of AIDS would bring us up to date. Racism, homophobia and greed in the part of the Reagan Republican administrations allowed a public health hazard to become a world-wide epidemic. The current administration is undoubtedly funding development of nuclear, biological and other gruesome weapons.

That doesn't prove your point that tularemia was deliberately released. Or that tularemia was deliberately released by a government agency.

Do the rules of logic apply at Indymedia any longer? Who decided to make this ridiculous and ridiculously inflated piece into a main headline? Are folks in Portland so blind as to what is actually happening in the world that you have to stoop so low as to feature such drivel?

Look, if I am walking in the street at 2 AM and I get hit by a fast moving vehicle, I don't get to blame the Bush administration just because they give billions of dollars of subsidies to automobile and petrochemical corporations. Karl Rove is a dangerous man and deserving of all the contempt in the world; but that does not mean that he stole your bike last year and killed your tomato plants this summer.

Again, I repeat my requests: Find me one, just one case of tularemia associated with the alleged 'release' in Washington, DC. That should not be too difficult. Or even find a cluster of respiratory illnesses of ill-defined nature in some hospital near Washington, DC. Or find me a single MD or DO or NP or PA or anyone who understands the basics of microbiology who will do anything other than laugh at your speculations.

Otherwise, you may just have a very sick rabbit that happened to die near the Mall a few days before September 24th.

And, if it seems like I am showing a little contempt for the writer of the original articles and the editors of this website, I suspect I am showing less than they have earned.

I have pneumonia and I was there 11.Dec.2005 23:45

peace activist

I have been sick for about 3 months. Finally went to the doc a couple of weeks before thanksgiving. I have pneumonia. Am still sick even after two hospitalizations. Tularemia is one of only 6 substances thought to have the highest chance for use as a bio weapon and so is one of only 6 things tested for. The sensors were more than 6, were spread out miles apart, so that is one hell of an active animal or kicking up to have spread that far.
We can't prove that the black ops deal going on that weekend had anything to do with it but we do know that it is almost impossible to have been naturally occuring and to have spread so far. In addition these filters have never before nor since detected anything. Just that one day. That one day and no other.
Most people who were there most likely don't even know about this attack so there is no correct number count of people who got sick and how many of those who got sick went on to get pneumonia. Was it aerosolized? That is a major question. Few people in the world would be able to do that. Would Osama attack the peace niks? Probably not. He would want something grand not a quiet mostly unreported attack. Who would it benefit? Yep, our govt. They have the aerosolized tularemia, they can alter it, they had choppers flying low in the area that day,they had black ops going on that weekend and they sent us a message. They know that we know, and that is what matters most. We can never prove it and they know that. I just read that the same thing happened in San Francisco (I think that is where)when Cindy spoke there. Am going to try to find out if that is true. We sent a huge message to the whitehouse that day. This was the biggest antiwar protest since the 60's. We have become quite a thorn in their side. They sent us a message back. I don't think they cared if many got sick or died only that we become afraid to protest them.