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Typical Lyme Story, Atypical Victim

Discussion in 'Infections: Lyme, Candida, EBV ...' started by duncan, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @duncan Sorry to bother you, but I need a second opinion. What do you make of the lab technician note copied on p202 saying that WB had found spirochetes, Wolbachia, an East side agent, Babesia and microfilaria in tick samples?

    This is at the end of a chapter dealing with events up to early 1980. At this time no spirochetes were supposed to have been found.

    If this is placed anachronistically and comes from Nov/Dec 1981 or later then the records are not supposed to be available.

    Either way something does not fit with the story.

    I am confused. It seems quite important.
     
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  2. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You are no way a bother, @chrisb .

    If you look at the description of the note (my pg 203) it says this is a note concerning "the Lyme outbreak ticks." So this should be from a Benach batch, I'm guessing, which would pinpoint the date a bit better.

    Still, if the note was done retrospectively...

    No history is without inconsistencies.

    This is a frustrating endeavor you've undertaken. I admire you for it. I think it is a good thing to do. This is what she did, but who else? Not many, that's for sure.
     
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  3. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks. I thnk you must be right and that these come from post Nov 1981. I had originally supposed that the reconstruction of these events came from WB's official accounts. On second thoughts she does have the draft of the Science article with the comments omitted from the published article. Perhaps it is not the case that all the papers from the period have disappeared.

    I don't wish to be critical of Newby. It is a major piece of research she has published and it should have important ramifications.

    I am still trying to get my head around the idea that there is something in here which makes it worth WB's while, and that of all the others who knew but failed to correct him, concealing his interest in Lyme prior to his discovery of Bb in Nov 1981. The only thing I can see which could be relevant is the Baye Dole Act, but the only possible point I could see is if that did not apply to organisms of foreign collection possibly, or possibly not, collected by a NIH employee when on sabbatical. The NIH tried to screw the French over HIV. Perhaps they tried the same with the Swiss over Lyme, but it is rather a long shot.

    I cannot help thinking that WBs official story of the discovery, to be repeated without hesitation, repetition or deviation, does seem as though it could be an officially drafted story - rather like the Montagnier/Gallo history which seems to have been not entirely recognisable to one of the parties.
     
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  4. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    No, WB was invested in Borrelia and ticks and Rickettsia and RMSF and you name it decades before.

    WB is, when all is said and done, a prologue.
     
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  5. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Certainly. It is just that it is necessary to find a reason for his having to say that he was not interested in Lyme prior to November 1981, when he quite manifestly was. And if it was merely a repeated slip of the pen, why didn't Steere say "hang on. What about those samples you were testing in 1979".
     
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  6. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    He might be a prologue, but he was human. I think, too, beyond his own sleights of hand, he was to a degree, scripted. Of course, today, his is an insulated and protected prologue.

    I believe Newby truly was fearful for her safety.

    I think it is in no way a stretch to imagine the US and its allies dabbling with biowarfare. I'm sure there were many manifestations, with ticks and pathogens just being an example.

    But "an accident" of any sort, or worse, whether or not if WB was involved somehow, or the Russians - that changes things in a grand fashion.

    Worse still would be an institutionalized, sanctioned and perpetuating lie that sentenced tens of thousands, maybe multiples of that, to lives of misery - that has lasted perhaps as long as 45 years so far and continues to this day.

    That's the story that I am enthralled by. WB's backstory and his involvement with US clandestine biowarfare efforts that are purported to include tinkering with borrelia and babesia and ticks, help give us an answer to the "why". If we could unseal that "prologue", it surely would help with the rest.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
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  7. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes. I tend to think that the mistake may have been to imagine that there is one big lie. I think there may be a number of smaller ones which may be interconnected or may be wholly independent. Without losing sight of the big picture all we can do is work away at points of weakness and see what we get. Start with the small questions. How could it make any difference whether or not WB was involved with Lyme research prior to 1981. We must assume that this is scripted by people who know a thing, or two, about lying. There seems no point in lying unnecessarily.

    It all becomes difficult when you have to presume that, in the absence of verified, contemporaneous, corroborative documentary evidence nothing can be regarded as necessarily true.
     
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  8. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This.

    Once you realize you have been lied to, you know you have to screen for the truth going forward. With each lie you encounter thereafter, you begin to fear where the bottom may actually be.

    I wish we had the WB insight first, so we could have built off of that. Most people - like me - have come at it from a different start-point of lies.

    I hope that US legislation to uncover Lyme ties to biowarfare gets somewhere, but I have far too much faith in the art of State deception to hold out much hope.
     
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  9. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    On consideration of the matters it would appear that, for anyone with access to the files, there might be two possible additional obscure sources of information, which could have escaped notice. In 1979 WB must have been involved in detailed correspondence with Aeschliman. They published two papers together concerning the agents discovered in their Swiss collected ticks. Both papers would appear to be of potential interest, but not of easy access. It is hard to believe that the East side agent would not have cropped up in the discussions.

    The second possibility is correspondence with Geigy. The NIH historian shows an unusual interest in the reports which WB apparently regularly gave to Geigy to keep him updated on events.

    It may be that the correspondence was in French or German, certainly the first of the papers with Aeschliman was in French, and this could make it seem less accessible if time for inspection of documents was limited.

    The Swiss publications make the silence over East-side agent look even more perplexing. It was worth writing two papers in European journals, difficult of access, but the similar or identical US agent was wholly ignored.
     
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  10. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Another thread started today had an article with a link to this, with comments by Sam Telford of Tuft's:

    https://www.capeandislands.org/post...oweapon-despite-what-conspiracy-theorists-say

    Apparently WB was just having a laugh to wind up the researchers. Probably the only answer to this is to wonder on how many previous occasions WB was just having a giggle. It makes some reasonable points, which are hardly of earth shattering novelty, but is hardly a serious attempt to refute the suggestions in Bitten, if that is what it was intended to do.
     
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  11. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    We knew this was coming. This is only the second I'm aware of in five or so months, though.

    I don't think his attack is very good. It's actually quite easy to counter on many points. But the biggest red flag is he invokes "conspiracy theorists." He did not need to. All he needed to do, if he could, is demonstrate this history of WB was wrong. IMO, he failed to do that.

    Yes, he makes a reference toward the end of the article to WB's wry sense of humor and suggests WB was toying with interviewers, playing the prankster.

    Prankster. There was nothing playful or tongue in cheek about WB's documented work history, which Newby demonstrates was squarely in the midst of the US biowarfare apparatus.

    Moreover, Borgdorfer had been critical of mainstream Lyme research for years, if I recall correctly. He also would have been acutely aware of the patient outcry against mainstream Lyme. And lest we forget, he was diagnosed with Lyme - there's a picture of him posing with his EM rash in Bitten, only purportedly to have that diagnosis ripped away from him in later years under somewhat vague and disconcerting circumstances.

    Of course, there are the boxes of private notes discovered in his garage which supposedly speak to his clandestine efforts.

    So, maybe those couple of comments which stand out so strikingly were little more than the silliness of a prankster. Maybe not. But there is little else that can be misconstrued in the meticulously documented history that Newby has laid out as tongue in cheek.

    I don't think it would be hard to refute most of Telfords tinfoil conspiracy screed, but since I didn't find it particularly convincing, I'm not inclined right now.
     
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  12. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That was my feeling. It is not worth taking the trouble to provide a detailed refutation because it is such an inadequate critique. Perhaps Telford is just having a joke. there is as much evidence for that as for the suggestion that WB was.
     
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  13. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am familiar with his name. This is not the first time I have come across it. That's the best I can do, though.

    As for his piece, I don't think it will levy any meaningful impact on those who know anything about the history of Lyme, nor do I think those would be his intended target.

    I expect to see many similar articles over the next few months.
     
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  14. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    One thing that struck me about Telford's piece was

    In testing the “blood” of the deer ticks, Burgdorfer did not find RMSF bacteria. But he did find spiral-shaped bacteria called spirochetes.

    I presume that by "blood" he is referring to the haemolymph test. But WB was most clear that he only found the spirochetes upon dissecting the mid-gut, not in the haemolymph. Reading between the lines that would seem to be the excuse for missing it in 1979. So are we to believe that Telford is not too bothered about detail or that he thinks people who read him are not.
     
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  15. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Oh, I have problems with much of what he wrote. He mixes good solid data - like the Benach tidbit - with banal references like how long borrelia has been around, as if strain manipulation wasn't a thing, let alone friggen evolution.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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  16. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There is one point which I would like to posit on the suggestion that some of WB's statements could be put down to his sense of humour and an intention to mislead. This appears to show a complete disdain for WB. It is scurrilous to suggest that a respected researcher would deliberately fuel rumours that a disease was caused by a bioweapon, if he knew this to be untrue. It is like the old example of shouting "fire" in the crowded theatre. If he really had the sort of character that would allow for such behaviour, screening processes should have ensured hat he never got anywhere near bio-weapons research. It's a pretty feeble argument to run.

    It may be entirely coincidental but on p94 where Newby mentions the time in 2007 when WB said "I didn't tell you everything", she also records him as having criticised the dozen or so researchers who received most of the NIH funding, and saying the controversy in Lyme disease research is a shameful affair.

    So many interests at play. So many potential conflicts.
     
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  17. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  18. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks for that @duncan .I could not work out from Newby's description whether she had seen the test results which accompanied the letter. It is very interesting to see the original. Another reread is called for, but it probably will not help. What is needed is the full file and correspondence. Would one not expect the patient sera to have been tested against East-side agent or Swiss agent US? Was WB withholding something from Steere?

    In any event that letter makes clear an ongoing intention to pursue this line of enquiry further. It seems unlikely that interest just fizzled out. What is hard to evaluate is the extent to which the absence of evidence is caused by the missing file, and to what extent it might be caused by a failure to note the evidence in the file, for whatever reason.

    Those thanks for the continuing interest in Lyme disease seem pretty damning. I cannot decide whether WB merely told a little lie in 1984, which he converted into a big lie when pressed on the issue by the historian in 2001, or whenever it was. It could not have been a mistake. He was given every opportunity to correct himself, and he was merely reiterating the story from 1984, when his memory was fresh. It makes no sense for him to say he had no prior interest in Lyme at the time of the discovery of Bb. I suspect that if he lied it was not his lie , but an Institutional one, but to what end.

    I am still trying to rediscover the story in the book where they have set up the interview with WB, and some goon from RML comes beating on the door insisting on baby-sitting him. If Bb was wholly unconnected with the WB's previous work, what could there have been for him to say which could cause such disquiet? It only makes sense if information was still classified.

    I am ambivalent about WB's apparent confirmation to Grey that Bb was the product of WB's work. The conduct of the interview, in which this "confession" was made, would seem to make an indefinite, apparently unrepeated, affirmation to a leading question unsatisfactory for any serious purpose. It is not clear that "grilling" (the description used in the book) an old, sick witness, for over three hours, is to be recommended. However that in no way vitiates some of the other disclosures made at other times.

    It is an interesting subject, despite the risks one runs of being classified as a nutter.
     
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  19. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Too late for a large swath of the late stage Lyme community, which received that broad brush stroke characterization by a former senior NIH peep (I think), back like 12 years or so ago. :)

    Edit to add: Just as there are those within the ME/CFS community who question the extent of the NIH and CDC commitment to them, there are those within the Lyme community who wonder about those two agencies' commitment to them. If those concerns are justified, the obvious question is Why?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
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  20. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Why, indeed? But those who knew the answer are probably dead, and all the relevant documents long since shredded. WB makes the interesting observation in the history that some of the notebooks from the 1950's were destroyed. He suggests that he was not party to the decision, though one never knows what to believe.
     
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