A small chronicle of the early days Of the Swine flu fraud

January 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

A small chronicle of the early days Of the Swine flu fraud

Petros Arguriou
(First Published in Nexus Magazine, August-September 2009 Issue)

Pigsfly

We are desperately in need of a new scientific discipline which we
should name “prognosticology”, the science that studies the way
in which predictions are made in science. For the last three
decades, there have been ample prognoses. Most of these have
been proven wrong or have constituted false alarms. Especially in the realm
of medicine, there seems to be a consistent mechanism that not only
inaccurately predicts but also invents pandemics and projects their
realisation into the near future.

The swine flu “epidemic” is the latest product of this pandemic
mechanism. And this medical mechanism that feeds on billions of dollars in
grants is just a part of an even greater mechanism. It is a device of the
“feartron”, this unfailing political machine that creates and manipulates fear.
In the public health domain, the mechanism pretty much started with the
AIDS epidemic. Monstrously wrong prognoses and estimates were made,
the world was seized with terror, and sexual behaviour was regulated by the
state. The AIDS theoreticians made panic-inducing estimates and overhyped
prognoses about the AIDS threat while receiving overwhelming support from
celebrities. It is typical that Oprah Winfrey herself stated on her show in
1988 that “one out of five heterosexuals could be dead of AIDS by 1990”. As
a matter of fact, these predictions failed to such an extent that in 2008 the
World Health Organization (WHO), under the overwhelming evidence of the
actual numbers and of previous statistical abuse, was forced to declare the
heterosexual AIDS pandemic over.

The mechanism continued to create post-pandemic imaginary universes
incriminating other viruses. Hantaviruses, the West Nile virus, the SARS
coronavirus and, more recently, bird flu strains of viruses have all been
morphed by the pandemic industry into malevolent entities that could bring
modern civilisation to an end, or at least to its knees. Trillions of dollars has
been spent on drug purchases and on drug and vaccine development.
In the case of West Nile Virus, the spraying of New York with pesticides to
get rid of the virus carriers, mosquitoes, caused a substantial ecological
disaster.3 The SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) ghost pandemic
disappeared within a year, in mid-2003, never to reappear. And hardly
anyone remembers hantaviruses any more. From 2003 to 2009, fewer than
500 people were affected with bird flu, with fewer than 300 deaths,4 while the
annual common flu death toll ranges from 250,000 to 500,000 worldwide.5
It is obvious that common sense, as well as humanity, is being targeted
and victimised by “novel epidemics”.

The new virus on the block

The pandemics industry was desperately seeking for a new product, a fresh
approach. It found this in Mexico with swine flu. And Mexico is neither the
first nor the last station in the pandemics prognostics train of thought.
So far, the reasoning behind the pandemic prognostics has been ridiculously poor. Scientists have been desperately trying to connect the causal agent of the “Spanish flu” pandemic, which back in 1918–20 killed 50 to 100 million people, with present strains of viruses. Two researchers, Taubenberger and Tumpey, attempted to connect the 1918–20 virus with avian flu virus strains based solely on a permafrost sample. A
loose scientific connection created a very real tsunami of fear that swept through the world and crippled reason. The connection between the Spanish flu universal tragedy and novel epidemics is not novel at all.
In 1976, 13 cases of swine flu appeared among Fort Dix recruits. One case was deadly.
The then US President, Gerald Ford, perceived these swine flu cases to be an imminent
national health threat that had to be handled immediately at all costs. A mass vaccination program was initiated, ambitious enough to target all the US populace, but it was so incompetent that it had to be halted 11 months after it began. About one third of the US population received the emergency vaccine. This vaccine that was supposed to protect the people from a possible health risk from swine flu was possibly
associated with a very tangible and undesirable health threat. A few weeks after the vaccination program commenced, the incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome rose sharply among those who were vaccinated. Guillain-Barré is an acute inflammatory demyelinating
polyneuropathy, an autoimmune disease that involves a misfiring of the immune system in response to foreign antigens. The relationship between vaccines and the quality of immune response that is mounted is still in question.
The reasoning behind such imprudent and rushed reactions over the 1976 swine flu cases was once again the possible connection between the presumed 1918–20 killer virus and the swine flu strains of viruses. And once again the prognosis was unsubstantiated and
caused much more harm than good. The same connection is being attempted with the current swine flu situation.
The 1918–20 pandemic was without doubt a disaster.
The word “disaster” literally means “bad star” in Greek.
And it is no coincidence, because everything that may resemble the 1918–20 “bad star” is instantly equated with pandemics. Pandemic predictions are like astrological predictions. Furthermore, they have systematically failed.
So, one should ask: why is it that failed prognostics and unsuccessful policies are consistently maintained and reproduced as if they proved themselves in any
conceivable way?

Tamiflu as a panacaea

Next, bird flu begets Tamiflu® (oseltamivir phosphate), the commercially highly successful drug.
And now, swine flu is being treated with Tamiflu, which earns billions of dollars in profits for Roche, the pharmaceutical giant that manufactures and markets
the drug. But Roche is not the only company that benefits from Tamiflu’s sales going up. The drug’s rights are owned by Gilead. Former US Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld served as Gilead’s chairman, and he remained a substantial Gilead stakeholder
even after he joined the Bush administration in 2001.
It is surely not a crime to make some extra million bucks from a drug that saves the Earth from monster viruses. The only problem is that while Tamiflu
may be a huge commercial success, this does not necessarily make it a successful
treatment against flu viruses.
Back in 2005, US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt was commenting on Tamiflu’s effectiveness against bird flu: “Tamiflu is effective, or at least partially effective. We don’t know how effective it is against the virus.”
Some reports from health experts actually treating bird flu patients with Tamiflu were rather discouraging.
Despite the considerations about Tamiflu’s effectiveness in dealing with bird flu, now we are using Tamiflu to deal with swine flu as if the drug were some kind of anti-flu panacaea.

Drug-resistant viruses

It gets worse. Dr Anne Moscona, a professor of paediatrics, microbiology and immunology, has been warning us since 2005 about viral strains mutating and
evading the drugs that target them—a phenomenon known as drug resistance:
“This scenario, however, is potentially dangerous. Misuse of the drug [Tamiflu] could rob us of the advantages that neuraminidase inhibitors provide, by favoring the emergence of oseltamivir-resistant influenza virus…
“It is therefore worrisome that personal stockpiling of oseltamivir is likely to lead to the use of insufficient doses or inadequate courses of therapy. Shortages during a pandemic would inspire sharing of personal supplies, resulting in inadequate treatment. Such undertreatment is of particular concern in children—the main source for the dissemination of influenza within the community, since they usually have higher viral loads than adults and excrete infectious virus for longer periods. The habit of stopping treatment prematurely when symptoms resolve…could also lead to suboptimal treatment of influenza and promote the development of drug resistance.
“Could drug-resistant viruses then spread?…
“There have now been several reports that oseltamivirresistant influenza A (H5N1) viruses with the H274Y mutation have been isolated from humans with avian
influenza infection who were treated with oseltamivir.
The cases described by de Jong et al. raise the worrisome prospect that even with therapeutic doses, oseltamivir resistance may develop during the course of
illness and may affect clinical outcomes…
“Like any successful infectious agent, influenza virus will most likely evolve to evade
any single drug. By targeting several points in the viral life cycle simultaneously with different drugs, we are more likely to discourage the emergence of viruses that can resist all drugs at once. But we currently rely solely on the neuraminidase inhibitors—and solely on oseltamivir [Tamiflu] in many situations…”

Dr Moscona, unlike the pandemic prognostics, has been proved absolutely right.
But by now it may be too late. As reported in the New York Times (8 January 2009), 99 per cent of this season’s dominant flu strains are by now resistant to Tamiflu.
The astonishment of health expert Dr Kent Sepkowitz (Director of Infection Control at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center in New York) at the extent of the phenomenon was such that he exclaimed:
“It’s quite shocking. We’ve never lost an antimicrobial this
fast. It blew me away.”

This is not the end of the story, but the beginning of a new, horrifying, public health chapter.

Superbug gyms

The conditions of modern living make us highly susceptible to the development and spread of a pandemic. Dense urban populations and regular highspeed circulations between them are favourable pandemic factors. However, these conditions are also met in the meat industry. An extensive global trade and the crowding of livestock so densely that we are never going to see its counterpart in even the most crowded of human cities are typical in this industry.
And it gets worse.
Sixty to eighty per cent of the overall US antibiotics production is absorbed by the
meat industry for non-therapeutic use, namely for growth purposes. That is, antibiotics are overused to make the animals grow bigger much faster, so the
industry can get more meat from one animal. Perhaps that would be okay if bugs didn’t have this nasty habit of developing drug resistance quickly and rendering the
available antibiotics useless and us helpless.

It gets even worse.
It has been shown that the meat industry–trained superbugs spread through air, water
and soil. Before the WHO and the media proclaimed swine flu as a pandemic candidate, a peculiar outburst of respiratory disease troubled the Mexican village of La
Gloria in mid-February 2009. Out of the 3,000 or so villagers, more than half of them were affected. Two infants died. Eyes turned in suspicion to a Smithfield Foods Inc. installation situated in Perote, 12 miles [~19 kilometres] from the village. Smithfield is the leading pork producer in the world, and its environmental record is far from flawless. According to the Guardian, the Supreme Court in October 2000 upheld a $12.6 million fine levied on the company by the US Environmental Protection Agency for polluting the Pagan River near Smithfield, Virginia. The Mexico City newspaper La
Jornada fearlessly presented the Mexican public with its own explanation of the strange
La Gloria disease: “According to state agents of the Mexican social security institute, the vector[s] of this outbreak are the clouds of flies that come out of the hog barns, and the waste lagoons into which the Mexican–US company spews tons of
excrement.”
This possible connection is far from well represented in the mass media, which choose the natural-born killer viruses theory over industry-created threats and pollutants including resistant, mutated microorganisms. After all, viruses, though microscopic, are easier to target: they don’t have lawyers to defend them or any political strings to pull.

The “industry is to blame” epidemic started to spread outside of Mexico. A Texas resident, Steven Trunnell, filed a wrongful-death petition on behalf of his late wife,
Judy Rodriquez Trunnel, a teacher who was eight months’ pregnant when admitted to hospital with swine flu on 19 April 2009 and who died on 5 May shortly after
her baby was delivered through Caesarean section.
Trunnell holds Smithfield Foods responsible for his wife’s death, as he thinks that the conditions in its installations are capable of generating a serious public
health threat. In the petition, filed on 11 May 2009, Trunnell states that “there may be evidence which links the creation of the newest strain of the deadly swine
flu…with Smithfield Foods’ humongous pig farm operation in Mexico, which, under the joint control of Smithfield Foods, has been allowed to lapse into a breeding ground of immense unsanitary proportions for a deadly virus”.
There is sound scientific literature to support such an hypothesis. It has been there for quite some time, but no one until now has ever dared challenge the meat barons. This is the first legal action of its kind, and it may create a precedent capable of changing the face of modern civilisation and force us to face the real manmade
threats instead of wasting billions of dollars in a senseless virus hunt. After all, small initiatives can bring about big changes.
This is an age in which values have to be reinstituted.
If life has value, then meat as a direct product of life should also posses nutritional, aesthetic, financial and “moral” value. We can no longer afford profit-mongering with what we eat. We can no longer afford cheap meat.
In fact, we need pricey, valuable meat. It is, after all, part of what we are made of. And no one wants to be considered as made of “crap”. It is time for the world to
begin the “no cheap meat” campaign. ∞

Endnotes
1. Tierney, John, “In ’80s, Fear Spread Faster Than AIDS”,
The New York Times, June 15, 2001
2. Laurance, Jeremy, “Threat of world Aids pandemic
among heterosexuals is over, report admits”, The
Independent on Sunday, 8 June 2008
3. Nadel, Laurie, “With Lobsters Scarce, Questions
Abound”, The New York Times, December 9, 2001
4. WHO, “Cumulative Number of Confirmed Human
Cases of Avian Influenza A (H5N1) reported to WHO”, 1
July 2009, http://www.who.int/csr/disease/
avian_influenza/country/cases_table_2009_07_01/
en/index.html
5. WHO, “Influenza”, Fact Sheet No. 211, April 2009
6. Taubenberger, J.K. et al., “Characterization of the
1918 influenza virus polymerase genes”, Nature 2005 Oct
6; 437:889-893;
Tumpey, T.M. et al., “Characterization of the
Reconstructed Spanish Influenza Pandemic Virus”,
Science 2005 Oct 7; 310:77-80
7. Gaydos, J.C. et al., “Swine Influenza A outbreak, Fort
Dix, New Jersey, 1976”, Emerging Infectious Diseases 2006
Jan; 12(1):23-8
8. Freedman, D.A. and Stark, P.B., “The Swine Flu
Vaccine and Guillain-Barré Sundrome: A Case Study in
Relative Risk and Specific Causation”, 15 August 1999,
http://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~census/546.pdf
9. Schwartz, Nelson D., “Rumsfeld’s growing stake in
Tamiflu”, Fortune, October 31, 2005
10. “Is the US Ready for an Avian Flu Pandemic?”,
interview with Mike Leavitt by Brit Hume on 1
November 1, 2005, Fox News, http://origin.foxnews.com/
story/0,2933,174316,00.html
11. Moscona, Anne, “Oseltamivir Resistance –
Disabling Our Influenza Defenses [Perspective], New
England Journal of Medicine 2005; 353(25):2633-36,
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/353/25/2633
12. McNeil Jr, Donald G., “Major Flu Strain Found
Resistant to Leading Drug, Puzzling Scientists”, The New
York Times, January 8, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/
2009/01/09/health/09flu.html?ref=health
13. Mellon, M. et al., Hogging It!: Estimates of Antimicrobial
Abuse in Livestock, Union of Concerned Scientists
Publications, Cambridge, MA, January 2001
14. Campagnolo, E.R. et al., “Antimicrobial residues in
animal waste and water resources proximal to largescale
swine and poultry feeding operations”, Sci Total
Environ 2002; 299:89-95;
Chee-Sanford, J.C. et al., “Occurrence and diversity of
tetracycline resistance genes in lagoons and
groundwater underlying two swine production facilities”,
Appl Environ Microbiol 2001; 67:1494-1502;
Zahn, J.A. et al., “Evidence for transfer of tylosin and
tylosin-resistant bacteria in air from swine production
facilities using sub-therapeutic concentrations of tylan
in feed” [Abstract], J Anim Sci 2001; 79:189;
Chapin, A., “Airborne multidrug-resistant bacteria
isolated from a concentrated swine feeding operation”,
Environmental Health Perspectives, February 1, 2005
15. Tuckman, J. and Booth, R., “Four-year-old could
hold key in search for source of swine flu outbreak”, The
Guardian, 27 April 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/
world/2009/apr/27/swine-flu-search-outbreak-source
16. ibid.
17. Shlian, Deborah, “Swine flu related lawsuit and
updates”, http://www.examiner.com/x-9303-Miami-
Health-Care-Examiner~y2009m5d20-Swine-flu-relatedlawsuit-
and-updates

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