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They're out to Get You!
October 3, 2005 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Paranoia Time!
CIA drops Big Bad Bio Bombs on anti-war protesters???
posted by squalor (51 comments total)

 
"Some people say" that Goss' appointment to the CIA was evidence of cronyism.
posted by Rothko at 2:33 PM on October 3, 2005


Sounds more like the dirty sex-crazed hippies are fighting back with some bioterror of their own.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:36 PM on October 3, 2005


Also found: germ-laden chewed gum.
posted by Specklet at 2:37 PM on October 3, 2005


Rabbit fever can not be passed from person to person...

...considered a biohazard because it is highly infectious
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:48 PM on October 3, 2005


Please clarify: I missed the part where the article mentioned the CIA or "biobombs", or any indication that this was not a normal thing to see among a large enough group of people.
posted by freebird at 2:50 PM on October 3, 2005


Local health department officials said further sampling had proved negative and said they thought the bacteria had not been intentionally released. - Guardian

Officials said the quantities detected were too small to have been an attack. -Washington Post

This is kind of interesting, but where does the article talk about anything, anything at all, that is suspicious about this?
posted by blahblahblah at 2:53 PM on October 3, 2005


Perhaps in a rush, you misread "The bacteria that cause Tularemia occur widely in nature" as "The bacteria that cause Tularemia are not known outside the secret underground labs of the CIA where they have been developing bio-weaponry to wage covert war against citizens who dare to disagree with the executive branch"?

I guess I can see how that would be easy to mix up.
posted by freebird at 2:55 PM on October 3, 2005


Hippie jokes aside it does look like someone brought this bacteria into the area with the intent of spreading it and presumably causing sickness. Unfortunately the linked article doesn't provide any details for how widespread the bacteria was around the Mall - did one or two sensors detect it or was it widespread in "low levels"? Further, how was it spread?

I personally hope there is a serious investigation into this. The techniques involved in spreading this could easily be adapted to spread more deadly pathogens.

As for speculating on who could be responsible - I've seen enough anti-war marches to know that they attract kooks of all sorts.
posted by wfrgms at 2:55 PM on October 3, 2005


... it does look like someone brought this bacteria into the area with the intent of spreading it and presumably causing sickness.

Why does it look that way? I certainly don't see it.
posted by odinsdream at 2:57 PM on October 3, 2005


The 21st century is dangerous.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 2:57 PM on October 3, 2005


Was this part that set the old Tinfoil Hat a buzzin':
"...was tested in the 1960s by the United States as a biological weapon."

*keeps right on munching his damn popcorn all thru the Zapruder film*
posted by squalor at 2:58 PM on October 3, 2005


StickyCarpet - Rabbit fever can not be passed from person to person...
...considered a biohazard because it is highly infectious


The disease can be contracted by ingestion, inhalation, or by direct skin contact - it sounds like that it doesn't concentrate in mucus/saliva of humans making human-human transmission unlikely (although there's no evidence, it doesn't mean it can't happen) - I suspect that if you drank the blood or water contaminated with the waste of someone infected that you'd get infected.

posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:00 PM on October 3, 2005


Why does it look that way? I certainly don't see it.
posted by odinsdream at 5:57 PM EST on October 3 [!]


It's hard to know what to make of this. What little information there is about the air sensors seems to suggest the sensors have a hard time distinguishing signal from noise (i.e. they give false positives, or they are too sensitive). Are the samples genetically consistent? Did the CDC analyse sequence data from the samples against sequences from preexisting databases or bioweapons labs? What does a "small" concentration mean such that the government concluded this "occurred naturally"? Too many unresolved questions to say either way what this is about.
posted by Rothko at 3:10 PM on October 3, 2005


While I'm tempted ask what the big deal is the other part of me is asking how unusual finding rabbit fever bacteria is? Does this happen at every large gathering of people or is this the first time?

If its never happened before then there should be some investigation into how it happened but if it happens all the the time then why is this a big deal at all? The article was really no help on that question at all.

I'm alot more worried about the article in the "Other Headlines" box that read Eating Dirt: It Might Be Good for You. Are they kidding?
posted by fenriq at 3:17 PM on October 3, 2005


DC is, literally, a disease infested swamp. I've seen the bio-detectors around town they look pretty ominous, as in, this is a dangerous place. Good to know they work.
posted by stbalbach at 3:28 PM on October 3, 2005


Ha ha ha! Those crazy paranoids!

Yeah, uh, let’s just forget that it’s happened a BUNCH of times before. Off the cuff; Tuskeegee, MKULTRA, spraying pathogens off a ship into the air just outside San Francisco in the 1960s...gee, I wonder what that areosol deployed pathogen might have been...huh. Probably has nothing to do with this.


Yeah. But it's all different now. They wouldn't do that anymore, right? I mean back then there was an unpopular war and an unpopular president and the MI complex corporations making all kinds of ilicit money and uh...stuff.

So - who would benefit from this?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:30 PM on October 3, 2005


I don't want to go out on a limb here or anything, but could this have been because there are squirrels and rabbits living on the Mall?
posted by Pollomacho at 3:34 PM on October 3, 2005


I don't want to go out on a limb here or anything, but could this have been because there are squirrels and rabbits living on the Mall?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:34 PM EST on October 3 [!]


The air sensors would have picked this up as background noise before any scheduled event on the Mall, including the war protest. If squirrels and rabbits live on the Mall, any sensors they would trip would (should) have been adjusted upwards to subtract background noise.
posted by Rothko at 3:38 PM on October 3, 2005


DC is, literally, a disease infested swamp.

That is true. Most people don't realize that the place was over-run with whores during the civil war and VD was rampant for decades afterwards.

But I have to say, current occupants aside, DC is a beautiful and exciting city. I'd love to live there.
posted by tkchrist at 3:38 PM on October 3, 2005


/Snark
This is simply a prototype for the eventual population decreasing measures we'll be seeing in the future. They are necessary due to the eventual collapse of the US food economy (along with the rest of the economy) due to the globalization begun last century and continued by the Bushites.

I'm alot more worried about the article in the "Other Headlines" box that read Eating Dirt: It Might Be Good for You. Are they kidding?
posted by fenriq at 5:17 PM CST on October 3 [!]


This is simply one of the dietary supplements the administration is toying with to maintain a slave workforce, while systematically decimating populations as food supplies dwindle. They will time the decimation properly to ensure that only the common people need 'eat dirt' while they consume the remaining 'regular food'.
/Endsnark
posted by IronLizard at 3:42 PM on October 3, 2005


the place was over-run with whores during the civil war

.. and they never left. [Bah-ding!]
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:45 PM on October 3, 2005


Well, there is the Washington Post article on it. And then there is the CDC FAQ. It seems to be a common agent in soil, so much so that a study of a 2000 outbreak at Martha's Vinyard found that mowing your lawn (PDF) puts you at risk. Another study (PDF) notes that it's widespread in North America, and endemic in Eurasia. Most natural cases occur in the South and South West.

My reading of this knowing a bit about how these tests work, is that they got a positive on the sensors, probably using an antibody assay. Dirt kicked up by the protest in the Mall is a likely source given the hot dry weather over the entire month of September. The next step would be to run some tests, perhaps culturing what's in the dirt from the filter on a specific medium. If it's an aerosol, you can expect a fairly high return.

Smedleyman: Yeah. But it's all different now. They wouldn't do that anymore, right? I mean back then there was an unpopular war and an unpopular president and the MI complex corporations making all kinds of illicit money and uh...stuff.

So - who would benefit from this?


Well, I would say that the government certainly benefits from having conspiracy theorists chase their tail trying to figure out whether an endemic soil bacterium was sprayed on protesters. Meanwhile, there is plenty hard evidence for malfeasance on the part of the government without turning this one into a Tuskeegee.

Rothko: The air sensors would have picked this up as background noise before any scheduled event on the Mall, including the war protest. If squirrels and rabbits live on the Mall, any sensors they would trip would (should) have been adjusted upwards to subtract background noise.

I dunno. Thousands of protesters can raise a heck of a lot of dust compared to normal.

posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:53 PM on October 3, 2005


I dunno. Thousands of protesters can raise a heck of a lot of dust compared to normal.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:53 PM EST on October 3 [!]


As would several thousands of tourists who walk the Mall when there aren't media-grabbing events going on.
posted by Rothko at 3:56 PM on October 3, 2005


Rothko: As would several thousands of tourists who walk the Mall when there aren't media-grabbing events going on.

Having been at the Mall both as a tourist, and as a protestor, it seems that there is usually about two orders of magnitude difference between those cases.

Some of the evidence against this being a planned attack:
1: Lack of collaborating evidence for an aerosol.
2: Lack of actual infections.
3: Low counts by public health and CDC surveys.

If this was a planned attack, it seems to have been a complete failure to get the agent out there in quantities large enough to draw more than routine attention.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:00 PM on October 3, 2005


This would have never happened if those dirty hippies used soap once and a while.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 4:12 PM on October 3, 2005


IronLizard, that's what I was thinking. Is this the first vanguard of the "same but different" food pyramid scheme for the Haves and the Havenots?

See, on the Haves' pyramid we have meat, dairy, grains and fruits and veggies. And over here on the poor people's food pyramid you have dirt, rocks, bugs and boogers. Its the same but different.
posted by fenriq at 4:12 PM on October 3, 2005


If it was a govt conspiracy, why would the detector data be leaked/available?
posted by forforf at 4:39 PM on October 3, 2005


If it was a govt conspiracy, Bob Novak would have already written a column citing "highly placed White House sources" stating that Cindy Sheehan's husband is secretly a rabbit.
posted by swell at 5:28 PM on October 3, 2005


Yes, fenriq. we must share some of the same sources! We'll probably be forced to reveal them or face prison shortly.
posted by IronLizard at 5:49 PM on October 3, 2005


Symptoms of the disease...inlude sudden fever, chills, headaches, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough and progressive weakness.

heh.
posted by Cassford at 5:53 PM on October 3, 2005


Stone soup is next. We already have children who eat bugers (The replacement for burgers, see? Not much different at all!) . The childer's fried worms book (I forget the title, better check my comspiracy database!) was another prep for future generations. So there you have it, the circle is complete! dirt, rocks, bugs and boogers The end must be near!
posted by IronLizard at 5:54 PM on October 3, 2005


This has been one of the most misleading posts I've ever seen. How has it survived?
posted by IronLizard at 5:54 PM on October 3, 2005


fenriq : "See, on the Haves' pyramid we have meat, dairy, grains and fruits and veggies. And over here on the poor people's food pyramid you have dirt, rocks, bugs and boogers. Its the same but different."

If watching gourmet trends has taught me anything, it's that the Haves are going to be the ones spending hundreds of dollars to eat dirt, and the Have Nots are going to be eating cheap tasty onion rings and the like.
posted by Bugbread at 6:26 PM on October 3, 2005


it all sounds pretty fishy to me. apparently there are two sub-species of this bacterium. one is highly pathogenic with an LD50 in a rabbit of only 10 organisms. the other sub-species is rather benign. highly infectious just means you don't need to inhale very many organisms to get sick. it not being contagious means it isn't passed from person to person. for it to be picked up by sensors at an anti-war rally on the mall, even at low levels, raises questions in my head. maybe someone was playing with the non-pathogenic sub-species just to see what would happen?
posted by brandz at 6:33 PM on October 3, 2005


Um, why would the CIA want to do this (what would be gained)?

What would the objective have been? To kill thousands of people? To give them a fever and a cough?

If they did intend to release a bio agent, why did they do such a shitty job?

Please, by all means, keep speculating without any evidence. It's evidence of a very logical mind.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:56 PM on October 3, 2005


Having been at the Mall both as a tourist, and as a protestor, it seems that there is usually about two orders of magnitude difference between those cases.

In a single instance, perhaps, but over a longer time period there is probably much more foot traffic from tourists, school groups, etc. than from planned events. I tried looking for statistics from the National Parks Service about National Mall foot traffic and was unsuccessful. I'm not sure anything could be said conclusively either way.

Some of the evidence against this being a planned attack:
1: Lack of collaborating evidence for an aerosol.
2: Lack of actual infections.
3: Low counts by public health and CDC surveys.


Agreed, though some of the evidence for this being a "controlled" or "planned" release could include:
1: Signal count above background noise
2: Most protesters travel to DC from a suburban to urban environment, making it less likely they brought bacterium with them
3: Opaque (secretive) public health and national security procedures

I would say lack of transparency is probably the biggest contributor to any rational person's suspicion.

If this was a planned attack, it seems to have been a complete failure to get the agent out there in quantities large enough to draw more than routine attention.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:00 PM EST on October 3 [!]


Agreed. But I don't think anyone can make rational conclusions either way at this point, at least until more information about the results and how they were collected is released into the public domain.
posted by Rothko at 6:57 PM on October 3, 2005


I'll chalk this one up to no big deal. For all we know, a bunch of protesters formed at friend's rabbit farm before arriving at the mall and never cleaned the bottom of their shoes. Voila. Mystery solved.
posted by Atreides at 7:16 PM on October 3, 2005


It's not very practical. Epidemiological data could easily trace the people who get sick back to their participation in the peace march, and we'd know we'd been attacked by a biological agent. That would create a backlash.

If the repugs thought they could get rid of political dissent by spraying our peace marches with biological weapons from crop-dusters, they would do it without hesitation.
posted by VP_Admin at 9:09 PM on October 3, 2005


Rothko: 1: Signal count above background noise

Certainly, but this isn't the first time the sensor program has had a hit on this particular species (search for the second reference to Houston.

2: Most protesters travel to DC from a suburban to urban environment, making it less likely they brought bacterium with them

I have found no evidence that F. tularensis is confined to rural settings.

3: Opaque (secretive) public health and national security procedures

In what way was the response opaque? As with the Houston incident the CDC reported the information to public health officials as soon tests confirmed the positive result. The technology used for the BioWatch program was fairly easy to find. The diagnostic procedures for identifying Francisella has been published. The limited information provided by the Washington Post and derived articles is probably more due to the fact that most papers write for a 5th grade literacy level including understanding about science. The time delay can also be due to the CDC's well-known "gold standard" of demanding cell cultures before confirming the presence of a pathogen. "However, F. tularensis is a slow-growing, fastidious organism that requires 24 to 72 h for growth on cysteine-enriched agar (6, 31) and its growth is often out-competed by contaminating bacteria, particularly when environmental samples are being tested." (Or for that matter, you might want to try this paper.) So it really can't be said that the CDC is being secretive or opaque about their methods in confirming pathogens.

Just about all of the primary sources I've read in putting down this dog of a theory have also said something like this: "Since F. tularensis is present in a diverse number of animals and environmental habitats, a large variety of field and environmental samples, from carcasses, fish, vectors, water, soil, lawn clippings, hay, feces, and urine, need to be tested."

greed. But I don't think anyone can make rational conclusions either way at this point, at least until more information about the results and how they were collected is released into the public domain.

The information about how the BioWatch program works, its administrative setup, and the methods for confirming the existance of F. tularensis are abundantly available on the web and through Google Scholar. Information about F. tularensis abundance throughout continental North America is also available.

So by all means, I think there is abundant information pointing to a number of conclusions. First, a four day period to confirm the existance of this organism in environmental samples appears to be reasonable. Second, the CDC followed the same procedures as the 2003 detection of F. tularensis in Houston. Third, the presence of this organism naturally in soil in the Mall also highly probable.

Lets just say that the CDC is in on an biological weapon attack on protesters. Why distribute information nationally to health departments?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:57 PM on October 3, 2005


" One of many security measures adopted in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, the air monitors are part of the nationwide "Biowatch" system installed to sample the air in major metropolitan areas daily for pathogens that could be used in a biological attack on the United States."
yet:
The CDC waited a week to notify city officials of the detected bacteria because it took that long to test the samples at labs and confirm its presence, the radio station reported.

Well, that's not very good monitoring in case something really bad happens, now is it?

By the way and just for kicks, Rabbit fever = Tularemia = Schu-4.
posted by dabitch at 10:02 PM on October 3, 2005


And the only cure...is more cowbell!

(Oops, sorry, wrong website)
posted by HTuttle at 10:27 PM on October 3, 2005


dabitch: Well, that's not very good monitoring in case something really bad happens, now is it?

Hate to break it to you, but some of these bugs take 5-7 days to grow.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:29 PM on October 3, 2005


It's not very practical. Epidemiological data could easily trace the people who get sick back to their participation in the peace march, and we'd know we'd been attacked by a biological agent. posted by VP_Admin at 12:09 AM EST on October 4 [!]

Not if we're in the first weeks of influenza season (tularemia's symptoms are remarkably similar), and if reports were not so lacking in detail and not widely disseminated.

Certainly, but this isn't the first time the sensor program has had a hit on this particular species (search for the second reference to Houston.

KirkJobSluder: Agreed, but that was two years ago, which is two years to come up with a better (more sensitive or discriminant) test. Molecular biology procedures change and improve on a monthly basis, even those available to the federal government.

I have found no evidence that F. tularensis is confined to rural settings.

It's not contagious, so you'd have to be in a rural or rural/suburban environment to come in contact with the bug in any substantive way, to contract or spread the bug in a way where you weren't eating or drinking deliberately contaminated food.

The limited information provided by the Washington Post and derived articles is probably more due to the fact that most papers write for a 5th grade literacy level including understanding about science.

Perhaps. But I've gotten more science out of the media reporting on what NASA has launched into space this week. It has to be said, honestly, that the reports are woefully lacking in substance. This may have to do with "national security" and keeping information from terrorists, etc. etc. but that is again an opaque process, keeping details from the public.

The time delay can also be due to the CDC's well-known "gold standard" of demanding cell cultures before confirming the presence of a pathogen

The time delay is more of a managerial complaint in my mind, and less cause for conspiratorial thinking. It makes little sense to employ an identification procedure that takes longer than symptoms to appear. Luckily, F. tularensis is neither contagious nor horrendously lethal. I'd be very concerned if CDC is not now employing real-time PCR and microarrays on a comprehensive basis to quickly ID bugs of a more contagious and serious nature.

That said, I'd feel a lot more comfortable had some RFLP or other marker results been published that eliminate potential military sources of the bug, and explained where on the Mall the samples were found, how genetically consistent and at what levels. A process is opaque if people can reasonably — if incorrectly — speculate about details.

Lets just say that the CDC is in on an biological weapon attack on protesters. Why distribute information nationally to health departments?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:57 AM EST on October 4 [!]


Perhaps the CDC is not in on that hypothetical "it"? Who says a biological attack would have to be sanctioned or perpetrated by the federal government? It could have come from an (admittedly incompetent, if hypothetical) domestic right-wing terrorist for all we know, as was in all likelihood the case with the anthrax attacks of 2001. With an election coming up in 2006, it would certainly benefit the people in charge to cover up the origins of such a hypothetical attack from domestic right-wing terrorists, however poorly prepared, were that the case.
posted by Rothko at 10:43 PM on October 3, 2005


Rothko: Agreed, but that was two years ago, which is two years to come up with a better (more sensitive or discriminant) test. Molecular biology procedures change and improve on a monthly basis, even those available to the federal government.

My goodness, not very demanding are we today? You do know that it takes two years for an innovation in diagnostic methods to even get published?

It's not contagious, so you'd have to be in a rural or rural/suburban environment to come in contact with the bug in any substantive way, to contract or spread the bug in a way where you weren't eating or drinking deliberately contaminated food.

Why the assumption that it is not already there in Washington DC? On my visits to The Mall, there certainly was no lack of potential vectors for it to be in the soil there. And again, we are talking about a bug that was found in downtown Houston. The FAQ you link to does not support the claim in that paragraph.

Perhaps. But I've gotten more science out of the media reporting on what NASA has launched into space this week. It has to be said, honestly, that the reports are woefully lacking in substance. This may have to do with "national security" and keeping information from terrorists, etc. etc. but that is again an opaque process, keeping details from the public.

Actually, I found the level of coverage on this to be pretty much what you expect from a mainstream newspaper reporting on any science issue. But you seem to be expecting that the Washington Post explain complex diagnostic procedures regarding what seems to be a non-event.

As for the requested information. Perhaps you could try calling up your local health department to see what information was actually released rather than rushing to judgement based on an article written for a 5th grade reading level by a reporter who may not even understand PCR or RFLP?

With an election coming up in 2006, it would certainly benefit the people in charge to cover up the origins of such a hypothetical attack from domestic right-wing terrorists, however poorly prepared, were that the case.

Why assume that this was even an act of terrorism to begin with? (Granted, I've never seen squirels as scary as in Washington DC.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:04 PM on October 3, 2005


You do know that it takes two years for an innovation in diagnostic methods to even get published?

Nothing's been published since Houston 2003? No new products advertised that work faster, cheaper, smaller? I find that hard to believe.

The FAQ you link to does not support the claim in that paragraph.

Well, perhaps not directly. Think about how you have to go outside to get hit by a car (unless you're an agoraphobic and a car drives into your house and runs you over — usually a less likely event).

But you seem to be expecting that the Washington Post explain complex diagnostic procedures regarding what seems to be a non-event.

There's nothing much complex about PCR as an abstract procedure. It's like turning up your stereo's volume and beign able to hear a sound you recognize, except with germ DNA in this case. Anyway, that's a different discussion.

Why assume that this was even an act of terrorism to begin with? (Granted, I've never seen squirels as scary as in Washington DC.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:04 AM EST on October 4 [!]


I'm not assuming, I'm granting the possibility based on a lack of information, and suggesting — tangentially — that openness about security procedures and data would probably go a long way to dispel guesswork.

I'm still bothered a little by the fact that only now has this data been published. Strictly speaking, unless those air monitors were installed last week (which is a possibility, granted), some kind of signal should have likely been picked up in the Mall earlier — even if it's a false positive.
posted by Rothko at 11:23 PM on October 3, 2005


Rothko: Nothing's been published since Houston 2003? No new products advertised that work faster, cheaper, smaller? I find that hard to believe.

Why do I suspect that if the CDC adopted a diagnostic procedure that had not been throughly described and reviewed in the medical journals that you would complain about the procedure not being transparent? Is it really the case that you find the rather conservative process of testing the reliability and sensitivity of diagnostic procedures to be harder to believe than phantom terrorists spritzing thousands of protesters with unseen bioaerosols.

I'm also not certain how the possible difference in diagnostic procedures really matters in discussing this. Same species discovered using similar methods in a relatively similar urban environment. Am I missing something here?

Well, perhaps not directly.

I don't even see the indirect support there.
1: We had an outbreak in 2000 inwhich the vector was mowing the lawn.
2: Similar methods found the same microbial species in Houston.
3: Almost all of the peer reviewed studies suggest that the bacterium is widespread throughout the United States.

I'm not assuming, I'm granting the possibility based on a lack of information, and suggesting — tangentially — that openness about security procedures and data would probably go a long way to dispel guesswork.

Will you also grant the possibility of invisible pink unicorns?

I'm pointing out the even stronger possibility that this so called "lack of information" can be attributed to the need for the news media to water down science, and your stubborness in refusing to read the information that is abuntantly available through other channels.

'm still bothered a little by the fact that only now has this data been published.

Um, the positive test was announced the same work week the filters were pulled from the testing stations. The filters were exposed over the weekend from Sept 24-25, and the CDC informed regional health departments on the 30th. Detailed conference papers are going to take a year to get out (and probably will wait pending more analysis).

Strictly speaking, unless those air monitors were installed last week (which is a possibility, granted), some kind of signal should have likely been picked up in the Mall earlier — even if it's a false positive.

Why? Also people get sacked for false positives (and they don't get in the news often either.) Are you suggesting that the CDC should have jumped the shark and started talking without a confirmation?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:30 AM on October 4, 2005


Will you also grant the possibility of invisible pink unicorns?

Do their pointy things hurt? I have a low pain threshold.

I'm pointing out the even stronger possibility that this so called "lack of information" can be attributed to the need for the news media to water down science, and your stubborness in refusing to read the information that is abuntantly available through other channels.

Except for the first link, the links you posted were to articles published about analysis of F. tularensis in contexts mostly unrelated to the Houston sensor case. The first link confirmed my initial suspicions about background. Only one, if I read correctly, suggested in its discussion section about the possible applications of the research and of RT PCR to bioterrorism defense. We still don't know much about this particular strain of the bug, otherwise.

Why? Also people get sacked for false positives (and they don't get in the news often either.) Are you suggesting that the CDC should have jumped the shark and started talking without a confirmation?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:30 AM EST on October 4 [!]


I'm not saying they should. I am saying, however, that if you're right, it is likely that a (another?) false positive should have already happened somewhere in the scope of the BioWatch program since 2003, from your implication (or your seeming implication) that there is little difference between background noise and what took place last week.
posted by Rothko at 12:59 AM on October 4, 2005


I would think that the following factors could make enough of a difference to make the weekend of Sept 24-25 different from the normal background.
1: 100,000 people on The Mall over the weekend.
2: The tail end of a month-long dry spell that puts the region at less than 10% average rainfall for the season.

The photos I've seen of the protest show some pretty brown grass all over. That's a lot of people stomping over some very dry ground kicking up a lot of dust.

And lets work on this from the other side, a lot of protesters, and a lot of cops. A bioaerosol that gets this bug into the lungs is a bit hard to produce, and probably would be noticed. Where did this happen? Why did no one notice anything?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:22 AM on October 4, 2005


If you're concerned about a lone nut making this think about this. If you had the sophisticated lab that you need in order to produce this wouldn't you probably create something a little more deadly/contagious? Are you going to go through all the trouble to make a bunch of people come down with flu like symptoms? It would take a couple of days for the bacteria populate to get large enough to make you sick anyway. By then, the protest is over and everyone has gone home.
posted by kookywon at 10:34 AM on October 4, 2005


"Meanwhile, there is plenty hard evidence for malfeasance on the part of the government without turning this one into a Tuskeegee."

Disingenuity doesn't work well for me in this medium.


I don't see why we'd have to dismiss the possiblity with a knee jerk.
But no hard evidence that I see here either. No.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:29 PM on October 4, 2005


Smedleyman: Disingenuity doesn't work well for me in this medium.

Then perhaps you should stop being disingenuous?

I don't see why we'd have to dismiss the possibility with a knee jerk.

Of course, the warped thinking of conspiracy theories. Spending multiple hours digging through the information available on this organism to understand the natural range and environments for this organism, and the means of detection is obviously a "knee jerk" dismissal.

But no hard evidence that I see here either. No.

Are you saying that there has been no evidence uncovered regarding the current U.S. administration's war and natural disaster profiteering?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:42 PM on October 4, 2005


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