Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:08 am

Part 2 of 3

The McNichols attempt to fight back

 Jared and Marie were relaxing at home in Queenswood before the day's work on the same morning that Dr. Masters and his underlings were conspiring against them. They sat together on a couch with Yin and Yang in the morning room with a marvelous view of the rolling hills behind the McNichols' home. Their modem house was made up mostly of wood and glass panels that faced the scrub and woodlands typical of the Texas Hill Country. The TV was on blearing a coffee commercial featuringJuan Valdez picking the Colombian coffee beans one-by-one, while Jared was reading a journal that he had just picked up. Jared sarcastically stated, "That's just how I feel, doing the work one bean at a time."

Marie was sipping juice and reading the daily newspaper. Jared said, "This journal has an interesting article on Mfi. You should read it. It probably has a lot to do with your illness." Jared was playing with the cats at the same time he was reading, and in a very intense manner started studying the research article. Suddenly Jared said to Marie, "This article describes a fatal illness that was caused by Mfi. It appears to be responsible for the deaths of some Armed Forces personnel in a study by our old friend Ming Lon along with Richard Armwhite at the U. S. Army Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. The signs and symptoms they described are almost identical to what you had, and I think that you might be interested in taking a look at this."

Marie put the newspaper down and looked at the article, while Jared read another journal. Finally after scanning the publication she said, "From the description, it sounds exactly like the illness I had. We knew that they were working on Mfi. I'm going to give Dr. Lon another call to see if we can learn more about this Mfi." Jared added, "According to the publication, they claim that Mfi is still a very rare type of infection. I don't see how this mycoplasma could have caused your health problems, unless it was deliberate. Nobody around you ever came down with this, except me, and that was later on after you were beginning to recover. You obviously didn't get it from me." Marie thought for a moment, "I have always believed that my illness was deliberate." Jared said, "The big question is how you could have come into contact with this thing. It doesn't seem very contagious." Marie stated from the publication, "Ming Lon indicates that it is only rarely found in healthy adults, but the infection may be particularly common in AIDS patients as a cofactor with the HIV-I virus, but I didn't have contact with any AIDS patients. So I have to figure out who gave it to me .... and why?"

 Jared did not want Marie to immediately assume that there was a conspiracy against her. "Let's not jump to conclusions about how you got the infection. We have to be consistent. Consistent behavior is the key." Marie shot back, " Jared, just stay open-minded! Remember how professor Clever and even Geoff Fence looked at me as if they had seen a ghost? And let's not forget the fake concern of Geldter and Krappner and the others in your department who are obviously unhappy that I am still here." Jared responded, "Some of them are obviously unhappy that I am still here too, but that doesn't mean that somebody is trying to eliminate me in order to take over my department. Besides, we don't have any proof. However, I tend to agree with you that there are lot of suspicious things going on around here, but we would need more evidence before we could say that foul play was involved." Marie became angry at Jared, "Damn it, Jared, this is like a guerrilla war operation. We may never get absolute proof, but there is one thing that I predict. Once the enemy presents itself, it's going to be too late! We're going to have to anticipate the enemy! I don't want to find you in your office some morning with a bullet in the back of your head?"

Marie had made her point, and Jared could not deny that some evidence was there for all to see. "O.K.! You've made your point. We'll try to be more anticipatory. And, by the way, I'd like to know who arranged those special privileges for you, like going inside the Stonehenge circle." Marie said, "I don't know. Who cares?" Jared said, "Things like that always seem to happen to you but not to ordinary people. I think it holds one of the keys to your identity. Once we learn of your real identity, then perhaps we will be able to figure out why this is happening to us, that is, besides stumbling onto some infections in the Gulf War veterans and prison guards. There has to be more to it than that. I think that the VIP treatment you often receive is essential to figuring out who you really are, and it will explain all the bullshit that has been hurled at us by our colleagues. I don't think that it's all about our Gulf War Illness work."

Marie did not want to continue the conversation. "O.K., let's change the subject!" Jared agreed, "Good idea! You know, something very strange happened to me yesterday. The new head of the hospital and clinics division, Clyde Bane, left me no alternative but to accept an invitation that we represent the D. O. Madison in Moscow at the All Russian Cancer Center. I was going to turn down the invitation because Francis Belcher was giving me a very hard time about my travel. He always approves Geldter's and Krappner's travel, but whenever I have a request, I get the third degree and lectures about being away from my duties. Now they actually want me travel to Moscow. You know, now we could have back-to-back overseas trips coming up." Marie responded, "I know you don't think I'm a world-class traveler, but I want to go with you. You say that I have to keep giving lectures, even if every position for me is blocked, just to prove I am still a recognized scientist." Jared responded, "It also proves that you cannot be blocked from invitations everywhere. Just keep doing the work, presenting it and publishing it, and in the end that's what will count. Everything else is bullshit, as Isaac Geldter would say!" Marie said, "Talk about bullshit! He's the biggest piece I've ever seen. I really need to get out of here, even for just a week."

 Jared wanted to change the subject again. "Look, you think that you have all the problems. I just got a letter from Suzanne. She is having health problems again. She didn't even get a chance to finish flight school and get her wings. How would you like to spend a year in Saudi and Southern Iraq and then come home and prepare for your life's dream to be a pilot, and then you couldn't even finish flight school? Marie asked, "I hope that she is going to be O.K.? All that she and the others went through, and it looks now that it's still a mess over there." Jared added, "What you mean is it's still a bloody disaster! We could be at war all over again in a few years." Marie said, "God, I hope not! I don't think that the Iraqis are that stupid twice." Jared added, "Or are we that stupid twice!"

There was a pause in the conversation, and then Marie spoke again. "I'm still going to call Dr. Lon again and find out if he has finally detected Mfi in the Gulf War samples." Jared looked up from his reading, "Good idea. Let me know what he says, but I wouldn't hold your breath. I think that it's pretty clear that the Pentagon decided to cover this whole thing up and call all the veterans psycho cases." Marie was talking to herself, "I also have to call Bob Sonan to instruct him on some procedures for the next experiments. We are almost ready to write up the results on the organization of tumor suppressor and oncogenes in metastatic lymphomas. I tell you,  Jared, there is a definite pattern at the chromatin level that could give us clues on the nuclear differences in highly malignant cells." Jared answered, "That's great! We'll talk about this later. Don't forget, it looks like we now have to go to Moscow next month, so we have to get our research organized." Jared got up and the cats scattered. He told Marie, "I've got to run! I have a 10 AM meeting."

Later that day Marie was in Jared's laboratories talking to Bob Sonan as they looked over the raw data of the day. She told Bob that she was going to call Dr. Ming Lon about the unusual mycoplasma, Mfi, that they had found in the Gulf War veterans' blood samples. It was good for Marie to work with Bob, because he was a very mild-mannered, even-tempered, steady technician. Marie told him, "Bob, it's great to work with you. You are my one true-blue friend here at the Madison, and you are the only person I've worked with for any extended period of time and not had a fight with." Bob chuckled as Marie continued, "You know, Bob, I don't know what we would do without you. Don't think I don't know how you kept me from relapsing after my illness." Bob replied, "Please, Marie." It was obvious that Bob was getting embarrassed.

Marie then changed the subject. "Oh, by the way, have a look at this article Jared found in a pathology journal." She handed Bob the article. Marie continued, "The article describes the same unusual Mfi mycoplasma that Dr. Ming Lon at the U. S. Army Institute of Pathology Research found earlier." Marie turned the pages until she found the section in the article that she wanted to show Bob. "Look, the constellation of symptoms described by Lon fit those that I had during my illness and the illness survey forms that Jared has been getting back from the Airborne and Special Forces units. Blake Hall has been collecting the data for Jared." Bob scanned the article and replied, "I see what you mean. That's just like Jared described it on the board in his office!" Marie said, "Exactly! And it's like my own symptoms when I was sick. I'm going to give Dr. Lon a call and find out more about this Mfi, as well as his opinion on our Gulf War studies." Bob was curious, "I'd be interested to hear what he says. We all felt so helpless during your illness. You looked like a ghost" Marie said, "I know! I don't like to even think about it. Bob, I really believe that it was divine intervention that saved me." Bob replied, "I'm not as spiritual as you are, but I have to agree that something brought you through that illness." Marie said, "Well, Bob, keep up the fabulous work!" Bob replied cheerfully, "You can always count on me."

Marie waved and left Jared's laboratory, and as she walked down the hallway she encountered hostile looks from some of Dr. Nosan's laboratory workers. His laboratory was located on the opposite side of the hallway as she walked into her small office. Her office was at the end of a long hallway from Jared's office, and she felt that she was negotiating a minefield to get to Jared. Marie sat down at her desk and called a secretary on the intercom. Marie asked her friend Jane in the Department Office, "Jane, could you please get me the phone number of Dr. Ming Lon at the U. S. Army Institute of Pathology Research in Washington D.C.?" Jane answered, "Sure thing, call you right back, boss." Marie, "Thanks, Jane. But please don't call me boss. You can call Jared boss, but I am not your boss. Just call me Marie. Marie took out a file and began analyzing some raw data, just as a young Asian student walked into her office with his laboratory notebook. The student was of medium height and of Taiwanese background. Marie said, "Hi, Steve. How are you progressing with the assays?" Steve replied, "I think I've found a genuine enzyme DNA cutter." Marie was excited, "Let me see the electrophoretic pattern." He handed her the data, and Marie's face lit up. She looked up, "Well, Steven, it looks like we were right! The enzyme complex has to be in a 'relaxed' structure to cut the DNA." She looked up at him from her desk, "You're doing great work, Steven!"

The elusive Dr. Lon

Marie was in her office as the intercom buzzed. She answered, "Yes?" The intercom voice of Jane was on the line, "Jane here, I have the number you requested." Marie said, "Thanks, Jane." She picked up the phone and dialed the U.S. Army Institute of Pathology Research so she could speak with Dr. Ming Lon. Dr. Ming Lon picked up the phone after the third ring. He was of Chinese extraction with dark black hair and wore very thick glasses. Dr. Lon answered, "Hello, Pathology lab." Marie replied, "This is Dr. Marie McNichols calling from Austin, Texas. I am trying to reach Dr. Ming Lon!" Dr. Lon replied, "Dr. Marie McNichols, do I know you?" Marie responded, "You might remember me, but I don't think so. We've talked before." Ming Lon then remembered Marie's voice, "Dr. McNichols, you're alive? Ah, I mean you're so fortunate to be ... " Marie interrupted Dr. Lon, "Do you remember me? I called you once about Mycoplasma fermentans incognitus." Dr. Lon continued, "I'm sorry, I was expecting another call, and ( thought that you were someone else." Marie was puzzled but in an analytical way, "Are you sure that you're Dr. Ming Lon?" Dr. Lon replied, "( am sorry for the confusion. Yes, this is Dr. Lon." Marie said, "You may also know my husband, Dr. Jared McNichol. He found an article of yours that was just published in a pathology journal, and we were intrigued by the article." Dr. Lon replied, "Oh, Yes, the pathology paper." Marie continued, "This unusual mycoplasma, Mycoplasma jermentans incognitus, that you found associated with AIDS patients and responsible for the deaths of some Armed Forces personnel .... " Dr. Lon politely interrupted and went on, "Yes, Mycoplasma fermentans incognitus is a unique microorganism. At first I thought it was a large virus after visualizing its morphology by electron microscopy, but then it turned out to be more like a bacteria, and I was finally able to grow it out using special medium designed to allow mycoplasma growth. It grew very poorly. It appears to be quite pathogenic, but the concept of a lethal mycoplasma has not been acknowledged by the medical community since most mycoplasmas are relatively benign." Marie responded, "I am not an infectious disease expert, but I am curious about this particular mycoplasma, because we have found in it blood samples from some Gulf War veterans."

Dr. Lon suddenly changed his tone. "What? You must be wrong. I don't think that we found it in any Gulf War samples." Marie became suspicious, "That's funny, when I talked to you before, you said that you had also found it in some of the Gulf War veterans." Dr. Lon replied, "I did? I don't think so. You must have misunderstood me. We have gone back, and we can't confirm it in the Gulf War veterans' samples." Marie said, "That's funny. You were so sure about it when I spoke to you before. I also think I may have caught this particular mycoplasma. Several years ago I became very sick after a trip to the Middle East. The infection seemed to colonize every organ and tissue in my body, and some of my organs became inflamed and ultimately I developed meningitis and encephalitis. Initially, it started as a flu-like illness with aching joints, chronic fatigue, night sweats, gastrointestinal problems, vertigo, and other problems, and it also caused a kind of thyroiditis. My thyroid was swollen and my thyroid hormones were all over the place. I was nauseated for 13 months, my stomach felt like an inferno, and I was constantly dizzy and my weight dropped to 70 pounds. At one point I thought I had gotten HIV-I from a blood transfusion that I received during surgery in 1983."
Dr. Lon reflected for a moment. "From what you've described, it sounds like you could have had an infection like the mycoplasma. How did you overcome it?" Marie, "Well, at first I went on ampicillin, and I got worse. Then, by process of elimination my husband determined that the antibiotic doxycycline might work. Within eight weeks of taking the antibiotic, my symptoms started to subside. I went on several more six-week courses of doxycycline, and then I began to get well enough to resume exercising with weights. All in all, though, it took about three years for me to fully regain my health." Dr. Lon explained, "You are a very lucky young lady. Most people in the medical community are skeptical about a highly pathogenic mycoplasma and probably would not have prescribed doxycycline. You were extremely lucky to have hit on doxycycline." Marie added, "You may laugh at me, but I am sure there was some type of divine intervention in my healing." Dr. Lon said, "I do not laugh at such things."

Marie continued the conversation with Dr. Lon. "You know, Dr. Lon, my husband is a department chairman here at the D. O. Madison Cancer Center, and he and I admire your work. I was wondering if perhaps you would be open to hearing about the Nucleoprotein Gene Tracking technique that we have been developing over the last decade. We have been using it to study some unusual genes associated with particular nucleoproteins." Dr. Lon responded, "That sounds interesting. Can you tell me more about it?" Marie continued, "My husband, Jared McNichols, is an expert on cancer metastasis, and initially we developed the technique to study cancer in terms of the chromatin organization of particular genes involved in the metastatic process. I am a believer that if you can find the pattern of particular phenomena, you can begin to understand more about the biochemical processes involved." Dr. Lon asked, "What are you driving at?" Marie said, "We are modifying the Gene Tracking technique to study the dynamics of HIV-l virus infection in terms of integration of the virus' genes into the cell's chromatin. We have found that there is only a limited subset of controlling elements where the H IV genes can integrate into chromatin." Dr. Lon said, "That's intriguing. But I really do not understand the approach, and we did not find any evidence for a Mycoplasma in the Desert Storm veterans."

Marie disagreed with Dr. Lon but tried to be diplomatic. "I know it is difficult to grasp without the benefit of seeing the data. You know what? I have to give a seminar at Georgetown University in late November right before I travel to Europe. Perhaps I could come over to the Institute and present a seminar?" Dr. Lon was excited, "Would you really do that?" Marie responded, "Sure! I'll be in your neck of the woods anyway." Dr. Lon replied, "That would be great. I'll tell my colleagues General Armwhite and Dr. Deutschman. I'm sure they'll welcome the opportunity." Marie said, "O.K. That's settled."

As an afterthought Marie asked Dr. Lon another question. "By the way, where did you do your training?" Dr. Lon answered, "I did my undergraduate training at the National University in Taiwan." Marie asked, "I thought you were from Mainland China?" Dr. Lon replied nervously, "How did you know that? I am from Mainland China, but it was arranged for me to study in Taiwan. I completed my Ph.D., and then I did an M.D. at Belford College of Medicine in your city." Marie amazed, "Gee, I didn't know you had been at Belford." Dr. Lon replied, "I was on the faculty in microbiology there for a while. But I also spent some time at a small biotech company called Biox that was started out of the Microbiology Department." Marie replied, "That's amazing! I was a junior faculty member in the Micro Department, and I don't remember running into you. I didn't know about Biox, but that doesn't really mean very much. I didn't keep track of the Belford faculty that had gone off campus to start biotech companies. What types of products are marketed by Biox?" Dr. Lon answered, "I don't know if they are actually selling anything yet. When I was at Biox, I was working on a variety of antibody-based tests against anthrax and related microorganisms." Marie asked, "Anthrax? Why on earth would anyone work on anthrax? It's so deadly that I recall that the government had to shut down a facility at Fort Detrick sometime in the late sixties due to an anthrax accident." Dr. Lon replied, "That's right, two people actually died during the accident. Moscow was heavily engaged in anthrax germ warfare during the Cold War, so we had no choice but to establish our own program." Marie asked, "My God! Are you saying that microbiology faculty at Belford were actually engaging in biological warfare research?"

Dr. Ming Lon did not answer Marie. He became extremely uneasy and nervous, and Marie could actually hear him fidget over the phone. But she continued, "You know, Dr. Lon, my department chairman at Belford asked me how I felt about germ warfare and if I would participate in Biological Warfare experiments just before I became sick in the late eighties. But I told him how asinine such research would be since we barely understand what makes us tick. He asked me if I would remain silent if I heard about any germ warfare research going on. I told him I wouldn't, and that such research was the height of scientific amorality. Of course, Dr. Lon I mean no disrespect to you." Dr. Lon replied, "I understand. You don't have to explain." Marie continued, "Anyway, two weeks later my position was eliminated!" Dr. Lon did not reply, so Marie continued, "Do you feel that the mycoplasma you found is a naturally-occurring microorganism, or do you feel it was altered?" Dr. Lon was nervous and said, "I cannot say. It's too sensitive!" Marie asked, "In other words, you don't know if it had been altered, or you can't say?" Dr. Lon, "You're going to have to draw your own conclusions." Marie said abruptly, "Oh well, I meant no offense." Dr. Lon answered, "I know." Marie finally said, "I look forward to meeting you." Dr. Lon had one more request, "Please send me your resume. I'll be in touch with you about a seminar." Marie ended the conversation, "Nice talking to you." Dr. Lon replied, "It was a pleasure talking to you Dr. McNichols."

The U.S. Army Institute of Pathology Research

Later that same day Dr. Lon met with Dr. Deutschman and General Armwhite in a conference room at the U. S. Army Institute of Pathology Research. General Armwhite said angrily, "You actually invited Dr. Marie McNichols to give a seminar here? Are you crazy? Suppose she connects her illness to our programs." Dr. Lon replied, "I don't think that she will find out about our programs. I do not see why anyone would be trying to kill Dr. Marie. She seems to be a good scientist, and she is very personable." Dr. Deutschman countered, "It isn't personal, Dr. Lon. It's just that she comes from a powerful family, and she and her husband have stumbled onto some things that are best left alone." Dr. Lon asked, "Why? We could just ignore them, and let them find a way to treat the soldiers." General Armwhite replied, "What? Goddamnit, Ming! Don't you get it? You would think a person of your intelligence who was thrown in a work camp in China because of questionable political loyalties would see that we don't want them to let everyone know about the Day Lily. This is a classified project, and it will remain so until it's declassified. And that's not your decision. You are to follow orders and not question them. Is that clear!"

Dr. Lon was usually a more astute politician. "I was not thinking about the political aspects of this, sir. I was only thinking of the science." Dr. Deutschman continued, "I strongly urge you to wake up and see that our perspective is correct! Do-good people like the McNichols are a menace." General Armwhite added, "By the way, Dr. Lon, why didn't that Day Lily- Russian Doll Cocktail do its job? Our tests on the recruits all went quite well. We actually let you publish some of the data in that pathology journal, without any of the real details, of course." Dr. Lon asked, "You mean your people actually poisoned her?" Dr. Deutschman replied, "We didn't do anything of the kind. Our zealous colleagues in Austin were more than amenable to trying a little experiment. They didn't like the idea that this young scientist might have found out about their prison experiments. Dr. Lon shook his head and General Armwhite asked, "What's wrong with you, Dr. Lon? Don't you remember?" Dr. Lon replied, "Remember what, sir?" Dr. Deutschman interjected, "You helped design the cocktail for her." Dr. Ming Lon looked dazed and confused at General Armwhite's statement. He replied, "But I ... " Dr. Deutschman interrupted and said to General Annwhite," ever mind! Dr. Lon here spent some time at the Montauk Point Intelligence Center for some mind rehabilitation." General Armwhite's smiled and his face lit up after Dr. Deutschman had explained. The Montauk Point Intelligence Center was a top secret facility for brainwashing, and personnel who had questionable loyalties were often sent for 're-programming' so they were less likely to reveal secrets that could embarrass the military or intelligence services.

General Armwhite returned to his previous thought. "Very well. Where was I?" Dr. Lon said, "You were telling us that you had an idea." General Armwhite continued, "Oh, yes! Since the Day Lily Russian Doll failed, perhaps we could exploit the McNichols' visit here. Is there some way that we could invite Jared McNichols as well?" Dr. Deutschman added, "We could arrange a dinner in honor of their visit after the seminar at some exclusive restaurant." General Armwhite said, "This time we better get it right, but I don't like the idea of the subjects being so close to home. We need to have the two of them together." Dr. Deutschman thought about some local sites, "I like that Romanian restaurant in Georgetown. The gypsy atmosphere with the violins is just the right touch. Don't you agree?" General Annwhite agreed, "I like that restaurant!" Dr. Deutschman added, "One of their colleagues at the D. O. Madison Cancer Center that is involved in our classified programs, a Dr. Geldter or something like that, might be of use."

Dr. Lon looked very uneasy as he watched the interchange between Dr. Deutschman and General Armwhite. General Armwhite picked up Ming's uneasiness and said, "Christ, Ming. Will you stop letting your sentimental emotions cloud your judgment. These McNichols are history .... because that's the reality of the situation. There's nothing we can do about it. By the way, Dr. Deutschman?" General Armwhite continued, "We should probably call that Clement Masters at the D. O. Madison. I understand Masters is very frustrated about the McNichols. He's apparently lost face. Dr. Deutschman agreed, "Indeed, it now looks like some other group will be on tap in Moscow when the McNichols go there later this month. We may not have to do anything but sit back and watch."

General Armwhite thought for a moment. "We just can't assume that the Moscow operation will be a success; we need a back-up plan. What better way to take care of someone, than after a professional seminar. It won't be expected." Dr. Deutschman disagreed, "That mayor may not be true. I for one do not like the plan. It's too close to us." General Armwhite turned to Dr. Lon, "Ming, do you now understand the urgency and sensitivity of this issue?" Dr. Lon nodded sheepishly and replied, "Sir, may I be excused from this project?" General Armwhite was irritated, "Absolutely not!" Dr. Lon requested again, "Sir, I urge you not to have me become directly involved in this. Isn't there another way that this can be done? Can't we just threaten the McNichols so that they stop their research?" General Armwhite stated firmly, "I doubt if that would work." Dr. Deutschman added, "Don't worry Dr. Lon. We're going to have to take this to a higher level before anything is settled. For the moment, all you have to do is be friendly with the McNichols and find out what they know and who they have told. If they have written anything up, we need to get copies as soon as possible. Is that clear enough for you?" Dr. Lon nodded his approval. Dr. Deutschman finishing up said, "Good! Then let's get on with it then."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:08 am

Part 3 of 3

Dr. Masters has a plan

Dr. Masters had called a special meeting and was on the speakerphone with General Armwhite and Dr. Deutschman. Drs. Geldter, Krappner, Ross, and Graham were sitting in Dr. Masters' office, and Dr. Belcher had quietly but reluctantly just entered the office where the others were listening attentively to the important men from Washington. In contrast to the other D. O. Madison staff, Dr. Belcher did not like anything about Dr. Masters or his 'special' projects. He considered Dr. Masters to be a dangerous political hack, appointed to his position over the much better qualified and intellectually equipped surgeon Dr. Robert Hicks. However, pressure from certain financial interests in Las Vegas that Belcher thought were just organized crime bosses and their defense contractor investments were supporting Dr. Masters' and his obscene building program. Dr. Masters also had support from some ex-governmental officials like the ex-national security advisor to a former President, and these special interest groups forced the University System to place Dr. Masters into the leadership position at the Madison over the unanimous disapproval of the faculty search committee. He also thought that Dr. Masters had completely gone insane and was potentially dangerous to everyone on the staff at the Madison, including himself. In fact, Dr. Belcher was acutely afraid of Dr. Masters, who he considered to be fully capable of having him killed, just like Dr. Cannon and the rest, so he would go along with whatever Dr. Masters wanted. After all, he was close to retirement, and he was biding his time so that he could eventually leave all this behind. In his arrogance, however, Dr. Belcher did not realize that Dr. Masters really did not trust him, which is why Dr. Masters made sure that Dr. Belcher was thoroughly implicated in any plan that was concocted in his own office.

Dr. Masters smiled and motioned to Dr. Belcher to sit down. Dr. Masters was speaking to General Armwhite on the phone. "Well, General, it is fortuitous that your call coincides with our monthly Special Faculty Executive Meeting." Dr. Masters hesitated and said in a cynical voice, "All the key personnel on my team are present." General Armwhite was heard over the speakerphone, "I have Drs. Deutschman and Ming Lon connected from their respective offices. Let me start by saying that this McNichols situation has got to be handled once and for all. We simply cannot afford another failure." General Armwhite then asked Dr. Lon, "Ming, do you have any explanation as to why the Russian Doll mixtures that were given to the McNichols failed?" Dr. Lon answered, "We don't know why they failed. They may not have been given the correct dose. It could also be that the McNichols have excellent immune systems." Dr. Lon paused and then said, "And they were lucky to have stumbled upon the doxycyline as a treatment. Dr. Marie herself believes that there was divine intervention." General Arrnwhite interjected, "Can you believe such bull?" Dr. Masters scoffed, "That's just the sort of self-righteous comment I would expect from Marie McNichols." General Armwhite continued, "I have our coordinator Dr. Deutschman on the line as well. He has helped us in the past with foreign contacts and is an advisor to Dr. Geldter's and Dr. Rook's projects there in Austin." Dr. Deutschman then asked, "Can you all hear me?"

It was Dr. Masters who responded first. "You are loud and clear in Austin." General Armwhite said, "Roger here." Dr. Deutschman continued, "This is Deutschman here. Our people suggest that a more conventional approach might be useful in Moscow, because it is doubtful that an autopsy would be performed. As a back-up we will be capitalizing on a local seminar here. Dr. Marie McNichols has been invited to visit us. Of course, we would want her husband to accompany her as well. Can you arrange it?" Dr. Masters asked, "Why did you invite her to give a seminar?" General Armwhite replied, "That's our business, Dr. Masters, and you are in no position to question it." Dr. Masters quickly backed down, "I merely wanted to point out that every time Marie McNichols delivers a seminar at a prestigious institution, it lends credibility to her as a scientist. I am under pressure from our financial backers in Las Vegas to do everything possible to prevent acknowledgment of her work. They directed us to provide constant peer ridicule to drive them both to despair." Dr. Deutschman said, "Yes, that might be useful, but Dr. Masters, you do not appear to be very successful at carrying out your campaign. I don't see where you have succeeded."

Dr. Masters looked at his colleagues disdainfully. "It appears that I am surrounded by incompetence here." Dr. Geldter spoke out first, "Dr. Isaac Geldter here! If I may interject, already? We feel here that it is unlikely that the McNichols will ever return from Moscow. A more conventional approach will be used at a private dinner, which will be thrown by a 'friend.' The medical personnel and police authorities will be instructed not to look for certain things. It will be just be a matter of time, and it will all look quite natural. After all, people in Moscow die all the time of unusual things." Dr. Deutschman was not convinced, "That's a possible approach, one that we would have trouble implementing stateside with all of our shyster lawyers pouring over tests and documents, but if it fails, we have devised a back-up plan." General Armwhite interjected, "Of course, it's always better to execute an overseas plan. But just in case it does not go as we expect, I think it is imperative that we have an alternative approach." Dr. Deutschman added, "It's really only a matter of time, but we need to make sure this time."

Dr. Krappner interrupted the discussion. "Sir, this is Dr. Amy Krappner. I think we should also consider that it is imperative to have the immune system compromised in order to assure success with the conventional approach." Dr. Belcher then interjected sarcastically, "You obviously don't know what you're talking about, Amy. The immune system has nothing to do with this approach. And in addition, Dr. Krappner, how are you going to compromise the immune system? Remember, the last time you and Isaac suggested the asparaginase, which you were absolutely convinced would work, it appeared to boost the immune system, just like I predicted." Dr. Krappner quickly responded, "Dr. Belcher, we told you it was not our fault-it wasn't done correctly." Dr. Geldter added, "This time, we suggest the use of an organophosphate mixture." Dr. Krappner continued, "Remember, we want to make the subjects just sick enough so that they can travel but their immune systems will be compromised." Dr. Masters said sarcastically, "Good idea! I like your tenacity, Amy."

Dr. Belcher couldn't stand it any longer, and in his usual whiny voice he disagreed. "I don't know about your 'immunology' approach. It does not even sound sensible; I don't see any relationship between the approach being discussed and the immune system. I don't think any of you know what you're talking about." Dr. Geldter whispered to Amy, "God-willing this time it will work." Dr. Belcher said in a voice that he assumed would not be heard by their colleagues back East, "I find it odd Isaac that you don't consider you're breaking one of God's commandments." Dr. Belcher had been torn by the very nature of Dr. Masters' requests of him. On one hand he despised Dr. Masters and would just as soon turn him to the police for allegedly having Dr. Cannon murdered and attempting to murder other staff members at the Madison, if he had enough evidence so that he could escape the subsequent threat of being identified as a co-conspirator. On the other hand Dr. Belcher was terrified of being murdered by the very same people that he was meeting with this morning. It would be a dilemma that other faculty members also had but would never be resolved. Dr. Belcher and other faculty and administrators were drawn into the conspiracy in a way that they could not easily escape.

Dr. Masters waved his hands and apologized to the East Coast group. "Sorry about the interruptions. It seems we are having a disagreement here on the appropriate approach." He then quickly turned to Dr. Belcher and pointed, "You keep quiet, Francis." General Armwhite asked skeptically, "Let me get this straight. When would you use the organophosphates?" There was silence because Dr. Masters had no idea how to answer the question. So Dr. Krappner replied for him. "We could invite her to a women's faculty tea on the pretense that we are considering approval of a faculty appointment for her." Dr. Masters quickly added, "Good! I like that approach."

Dr. Deutschman the hack who questioned the wisdom of the D. O. Madison immunologists was still not convinced. "I think you would be better off administering aflatoxin rather than an organophosphate. It's more potent and the dehydration produced by vomiting and diarrhea should do the trick." Dr. Masters said as he turned to his faculty for support, "That's an idea. We need to consider that." Dr. Belcher added sarcastically, "I'm surprised no one has thought of the shellfish toxin cigaterra. It takes a full year to clear the body, if the individual actually survives." Dr. Masters then said, "Yes, good! Dr. Belcher, I see you're finally on board." But Dr. Belcher was simply being sarcastic. He really did not anticipate that they might actually consider his input. In this way he had thoroughly implicated himself in Masters' conspiracy.

Dr. Deutschman could easily sense that the entire meeting was unraveling, and he responded to the group. "If the cyanide and immunosuppression fail, we will take your suggestions into consideration. We don't want them to be so sick that they won't travel." Dr. Deutschman and Dr. Masters seemed to be finally on the same ridiculous bureaucratic wavelength. Now Dr. Graham, who did not want to be outdone by Dr. Krappner, interjected, "This is Dr. Graham, sir, I can assist at the women's faculty tea, and I am also an immunologist." General Armwhite was growing impatient with the antics in Austin. "This is getting a bit complicated, don't you think. I think that we will leave the details to Dr. Masters. Has anyone thought about how you are going to deal with Professor McNichols?" Dr. Masters replied, "Yes! That's right. I will get my team right on it!" Dr. Deutschman responded sarcastically, "Good! You do that! Remember Dr. Graham, and that goes for you Dr. Ross, since the last debacle you have a lot to prove." Dr. Ross responded, "But surely you realize that we had no control over whether they actually came to that graduation party." Dr. Deutschman who knew Dr. Ross well but didn't know anything about some stupid graduation party said, "Damnit Ross! Don't you give me any of your excuses. I know you too well."

Finally General Armwhite became impatient with the entire Austin group. "Dr. Deutschman and I are tired of your excuses too, Dr. Masters. You and your 'team' never seem to get anything right." Dr. Masters explained, "I disagree! True, we have had some minor difficulties but nothing that can't be corrected. Sir, my team is at your complete disposal. You can count on us." Dr. Masters looked around the room for help, "Does anyone else have any suggestions?" Dr. Geldter, who had been unusually quiet, was one never to be outdone or not have the final word. "Dr. Masters, I still think we should include a biological in the next operation." Dr. Masters vacillated, "That sounds like an excellent idea." General Armwhite was not convinced, "Why should we do that?" Dr. Masters hesitated and looked at Isaac for help. Dr. Geldter spoke first, "To weaken them, of course." He added, "A good dose of Epstein Barr virus could also do the trick." Dr. Masters had already forgotten what Isaac had just said, "Good! I knew Dr. Geldter would have a suggestion." There was silence from the East Coast participants.

Dr. Masters felt the need to regain control over the meeting by summarizing the various approaches. "Now let's review this morning's session. I believe that we decided to stick to the conventional approach and leave out the biologicals, at least for now." General Arrnwhite said, "[ finally agree with that assessment. The rest is too hypothetical." Dr. Masters asked, "Do you have any additional comments?" He looked around the room trying to rally his troops. "Dr. Ross?" Dr. Ross nervously decided not to fall for the bait. "No. Not at the present, sir. But ... " Dr. Masters interrupted and looked at Dr. Ross and Dr. Graham, "I am pleased that you two are joining my special team." Dr. Graham nodded and then blurted out, "I wonder why no one has thought of a lethal dose of radiation. It would be relatively easily to contaminate food with something radioactive to suppress the immune system and possibly induce a lethal cancer." Dr. Masters nodded his approval and said, "Yes, that is a possibility. What do the rest of you think?" There was silence around the room. Most thought the suggestion was completely idiotic but were afraid to make the situation worse.

Dr. Deutschman was more strained than ever and began to lose his patience. "That's food for thought, but we already considered that approach." He paused, "The problem is the long time period for the full effect, so to speak. At high doses radiation poisoning is way too obvious. But let's keep that idea in mind for future reference." General Armwhite added, "If all else fails, I suppose we could put a device on their plane. Unfortunately, it's messy, and it can be traced. If we must use that approach, we have to get it authorized, and I feel that we've overused this tactic lately. This must not be traceable back to us."

Dr. Masters thought about the statement for a moment and wondered if one day these fiends would use that approach on him if something goes wrong. "Well, I agree, and I did, I believe, explain to my team that it also cannot be traced back to my office. Now, [ think that we have a good game plan. If at first you don't succeed .... " Everyone forced a little laugh in Dr. Masters office but no one back East responded to the over-used comment. General Armwhite finally said, "We're signing off now Dr. Masters. Get your group and your game plan in order. [s that clear enough?" Dr. Masters responded, "We will be ready, sir. Signing off here in Austin." Dr. Masters pressed a button and disconnected the speakerphone. He looked around his office, but his hand picked team was just waiting for something to happen.

After they hung up the speakerphone in Austin General Armwhite started talking to himself. "What a clusterfuck! That Clement Masters has no clue about how to run an operation! No wonder they never succeed." Dr. Deutschman was still on the line, "We'll just have to make sure ourselves. We can't depend on those clowns." General Armwhite added, "God help us if we ever have to go to those losers in Austin. I think that Masters has nipped his lid. He has obviously lost touch with reality. [ don't think we can depend on them to get anything right." Luckily for Marie and Jared General Armwhite would prove correct.

The McNichols prepare to leave for Moscow

 Jared had received an invitation to become a visiting professor at the All Russian Cancer Center in Moscow, and to his amazement the D. O. Madison administration went out of their way to allow him to accept. Dr. Belcher even arranged to get Jared some travel funds for the trip, saying that it was an honor for the institution to receive such an invitation. As a friend of the Russian center, Dr. Bane had been arranging joint visits of some of faculty with the Moscow institution, so the invitation was not unusual. He told  Jared that he was proud that the McNichols could represent the D. O. Madison in Russia and deliver lectures to the scientists and physicians at their sister institution in Moscow. Although Jared was suspicious and felt a bit uneasy about the change in attitude of the administration in Austin, he decided to go anyway and even take Marie with him to Moscow. He had been assured by Dr. Belcher that the D. O. Madison would look favorably on the trip because of the prestige of the appointment. That made Jared even more suspicious, and he wondered why Dr. Belcher or Dr. Geldter weren't representing the D. O. Madison instead.

One day before their trip to Moscow Jared was beginning to pack the bags for the trip. Marie could never seem to fit everything into one bag, and she usually waited until the last minute and then complained that she left something out. Jared insisted that they only take one large bag each with them so that they could handle their luggage themselves. He had learned over the years of foreign travel that you have to limit your baggage so you can be mobile, and mobility was often important in other countries where you may not speak the language. He said to Marie as one of his big black cats, Yang, jumped into the bag he was packing. "Yang doesn't want us to go to Moscow! He says there are bad people there!" Marie asked, "And there aren't bad people here? At least you've been to Moscow." Jared responded, "Yah, at the height of the Cold War. It was a pretty unfriendly place. Not that the scientists were unfriendly. They were actually very warm, but the bureaucrats were insufferable. I can't say that I enjoyed my trip that much, but it was interesting. I met some nice people there who really knew what they were doing."

Marie had fond memories of meeting Russian scientists at international meetings. "The Russians have always supported and admired my work, in contrast to the treatment I receive in this country. At that molecular genetics meeting in Greece they all stood up and gave me a standing ovation." Jared added, "That's because they understood what you were talking about with your nucleoprotein gene tracking experiments, in contrast to the likes of Krappner and Geldter, who couldn't think their way out of a paper bag." Marie said, "Actually it was Dr. Auchenhower who gave himself an award for his own presentation at the meeting, and all the Russians got up and yelled 'fix' and booed him. They all wanted me to win the award. and they gave me a standing ovation, but they said his talk was mediocre." Jared sarcastically said, "Why doesn't that surprise me! Did you ever think what it might take to give yourself an award in front of a hostile crowd for something that you didn't deserve? That takes some balls! .... What an asshole."

Marie pondered the thought of meeting her Russian colleagues again in Moscow. "I think it will be refreshing to talk to people who actually understand what we are doing in the lab. You know, some of the scientists in Moscow were actually translating their Russian publications for me so that I could see what they were doing. They were way ahead of us in chromatin research, but it's funny, no one in this country seemed to know about it." Jared responded, "That's because they only published in Russian language journals." Marie objected, "They didn't always publish in Russian journals, and even when they published in English language journals, their research was ignored." Jared asked, "Do you think that the Cold War had something to do with that?" Marie answered, "Yes, I do. We are so insular and arrogant here in the U.S. We think that everything we did is so great, and everything they did was mediocre." Jared added sarcastically, "And since during the Cold War we out-spent them into economic ruin, that proves it!" Marie answered, "Sort of, but not entirely. I think that it's more that the research in each country tends to be more controlled than we would like to admit." Jared agreed, "Well, I can certainly attest to that. Look what happened to my Outstanding Investigator Grant. A germ warfare guy who works on yeast genetics at Crystal Spring Harbor crashed the review committee meeting and immediately attacked me. He wasn't even a reviewer, but he did a complete hatchet job on my proposal, and it wasn't even his review assignment. Now who do you guess was behind that? Who directed him to go out of his way to trash my application? It's difficult enough to get a grant funded these days without having an 'asset' going after you!" Marie agreed, "I don't even bother anymore after they changed my NIH grant priority score from a 110 to a 310. The guy running the committee couldn't explain the change in my score, but at least he apologized to me. The committee chairman complained, but it didn't do any good."  Jared sighed, "Yes, I know it well. The same thing happened to me with my Army grant application, and there was even an investigation by the Inspector General's Office but it didn't go anywhere. Some of the review committee members complained but in the end I never got the grant."

Marie felt that she and Jared had faced extreme hostility from their so-called colleagues. "You know, some day we are going to have to move to another country." Jared answered, "I know, but where? We can't just pick up and move overseas and end up right back in the same situation again. I have a feeling that we are going to have to fight this battle right here if we can ever expect to see any justice." Marie scoffed, "Don't hold your breath,  Jared. We are not going to win anyone of importance over to our side here in Texas." Jared knew Marie was right. They would never see justice in Texas.

Marie then remembered something that she forgot to tell to Jared. "Oh, I forgot to tell you, Amy Krappner and Laura Graham invited me to a special women's faculty tea this afternoon." Jared laughed, "Oh, lovely. What in the hell is that all about? I can't see you sipping tea with those bitches." Marie said, "Maybe they are not as bad as you think. Perhaps I was too harsh in judging them. Amy Krappner said they wanted to discuss an appointment for me at the Madison." She continued, "I don't know if they are up to something in view of their past behavior."

 Jared was completely skeptical. "Yah, they are nice and friendly, like stepping on sleeping rattlesnakes. They look all pretty and nice all coiled up, until they sink their fangs into your flesh, and the venom starts creeping up your leg." Marie responded, "Oh Jared, you just don't like women in science." Jared responded, "No, I love women in science -- I married one, remember! I just don't like female blood-sucking parasites in science that have absolutely no talent. You know, they could be setting you up. Did you ever consider that, Marie?" She answered, "Yes, I did. I promise to be careful, if I decide to go." Jared said, "Let's ask Yang!" Yang, their male feline friend was still interfering in the packing process that was interrupted by the conversation between Jared and Marie. Jared picked up Yang and held him up to Marie while moving his paw as he spoke, "Yang says that we are on a negative thought loop, and we should think good thoughts!" Marie said, "Like, how exciting and historic it will be to see Moscow." Jared replied, "Right!" At this point Yang started to whine in a very Burmese way to tell them that it's time for his dinner. Both Marie and Jared started to laugh. Marie said, "Yang has given his paw of approval to a change of subject and activity!" Jared agreed, "You've got it!"

 Jared and Marie were in the kitchen feeding Yin and Yang. Jared picked up Yang and held him up to Marie, "Yang says it's too close to our trip to Moscow, and why would you want to go to a tea with those two morons!" Marie said, "Perhaps I'll just give Dr. Krappner a call and send my temporary regrets due to my tight schedule!" Jared answered, "That's a good idea! Keep the bitches guessing."

Marie then thought for a moment out loud. "I think I'll have Jane send both Krappner and Graham each a white rose as a gesture of regret."  Jared asked, "White roses? Why would you waste the money?" Marie said, "It's my signature, remember?" She continued, "The white rose is the symbol of my new educational Foundation." Jared disagreed, "Why bother. They could construe a white rose as the kiss of death!" Marie laughed, "I prefer to think of it as a symbol of hope!" She continued, "I was often called Roses when I was growing up. It was my nickname."  Jared asked, "Another clue to your real identity?" Marie replied, "Perhaps!" She continued, "You know, the rose is also a symbol of the Catholic Church." Jared asked, "It is? How did you know that?" Marie said, "Everyone knows that!" Jared disagreed, "No they don't!" Marie reflected, "When I got sick as a child I had a sort of godmother, Mary, who always went to the Vatican to pray for me! She said Novena for me every morning!" Jared asked, "But I thought that you grew up Jewish? Weren't you were brought up a Jewish home?" Marie answered, "Yes, but I was also very close to the Catholic Church. When I asked my grandmother why was it that every time I got sick, Mary went to Rome? She told me that I asked too many questions!" Jared was curious, "Go on, Marie." She continued, "Anyway, when she returned, she always had a little gift for me from the Pope. One time he sent me a wine decanter embellished with silver containing holy water from the Vatican. Another time he sent me beautiful hand-blown glass horses and an elephant! And she always brought me a rose with the gift, and she said the Pope sends his regards and wants me to have a rose! From then on, I was called Roses!" Jared asked, "Do you think you have some special connection to the Vatican?" Marie pondered the question, "I don't know. But I love to send roses to people! I even like to send roses better than receiving roses."

 Jared indicated to Marie that what she has just told him would eventually help her find her true identity. "I believe you've hit upon an important clue. Keep thinking about what happened during the time when you were a little girl." Marie pondered what Jared told her and agreed that she would try to concentrate on her childhood to find additional keys to her identity.

The faculty tea

Later that morning Marie called Dr. Krappner on the phone from Queenswood. She was sitting on the bed petting one of the cats. The phone rang three times in Dr. Krappner's outer office, and her secretary picked up the phone. The secretary answered, "Good morning, Dr. Krappner's office." Marie said, "This is Dr. Marie McNichols. I'd like to speak with Dr. Krappner." The secretary answered, "One moment please." The secretary buzzed Amy Krappner, "Dr. Marie McNichols is on line two." Dr. Krappner responded, "Thank you. I'll take the call. Amy Krappner hesitated and looked around her office as she thought about how she would manipulate Marie. Her office was unusually opulent for a faculty member with rosewood office furniture and all sorts of antique pictures on the wall as well as pictures of Amy receiving various minor awards and posing with important people. Dr. Krappner finally picked up the phone and answered in a sweet voice, "Hi Marie." Her voice was liltingly false. Marie said, "Hello Dr. Krappner." Dr. Krappner tried to be friendly, "Call me Amy." Marie told her, "Amy, I'm afraid I won't be able to make it to the faculty tea. I have a schedule conflict, and the tea's awfully close to an overseas trip." Dr. Krappner responded sharply, "You can't do that to me! Isn't there any way that you could rearrange your schedule?" Marie answered, "I'm afraid not. Perhaps I could take a rain check?" Dr. Krappner continued, "Are you absolutely sure that you couldn't fit it in? It's not like it's a major commitment of your time, and I think that it could be especially important for your career. The other faculty members in our little group will be there, and I must say, we do wield some political power at our institution. We have been moving the University to hire more women at the upper administrative levels. Our academic institutions in Texas, you know, are quite behind in having women at the top positions." Marie said, "You don't say? I am sure that you will find a way to place more women into the upper echelons of power .... such as yourself." Dr. Krappner laughed, "This is not about me, Dr. McNichols, this is about equality and equal representation of women at all administrative levels in our public institutions." Marie replied sarcastically, "I see. Well, I am certainly gratified that you are working on this important problem."

Dr. Krappner was thrilled that Marie saw her side of the problem. "Why thank you! I have been working so hard on this, and I seem to get very little thanks from the other faculty. In fact, we have set up a fund to procure a lobbyist at the State Capitol to help correct the situation. Would you like to make a donation to a very important cause?" Marie responded, "I think that if I am allowed to actually join the faculty, that would be a possibility." Dr. Krappner disappointed, "Well, you don't move up with that kind of attitude, Marie. It seems that we have to fight harder for promotions than everyone else. Don't you agree?" Marie answered, "I wouldn't know, since every time I apply for a position at the D. O. Madison, it seems that it is blocked." Dr. Krappner seized the thought, "Yes! That is exactly what I mean, and this is why you need to make a donation to our group to insure the future of women in our academic institutions! Wouldn't you agree that this is a very worthy and important cause?" Marie answered, "Oh, yes, I do, but I don't think that I can be active in your group until I actually get a genuine offer to join the faculty." Dr. Krappner disagreed, "Nonsense, you can join our group at any time. We would be most pleased to have you." Dr. Krappner hesitated, "Marie, I would like to give you some friendly advice ... " Marie was waiting patiently for Amy's lecture, "Yes?" Dr. Krappner continued, "There are people like me trying very hard to help you achieve your career goals, and I must say, we would like to see a bit more appreciation from you for our efforts." Marie responded, "I know that you are trying very hard to ... to assist me, and I certainly appreciate it as a woman. I would very much like to attend your faculty tea, but I just do not have the time before we leave for Moscow. I am afraid that I will have to take a rain check on the tea, but I would like to attend a future meeting of the women faculty." Dr. Krappner became angry, "I am very disappointed in you, Marie .... To be honest with you, I thought that you were one of us, and we very much wanted to bring you into our group. You have to start working on your career, Marie, and this would be an excellent time to start-by coming to our tea and making a donation to our group."

Marie grew impatient with Dr. Krappner who would not take no for an answer. "I really would like to come, but it just isn't going to work for me this time. I have so little time to get ready for my trip. Perhaps next time." Dr. Krappner pleaded, "But there may not be a next time, Marie. I think that you are making a big mistake by rejecting our sincere offer. We may not be so willing next time to invite you into our group." Marie said, "Please don't misinterpret my comments, Dr. Krappner. I very much want to come to the faculty tea, but if we could make it next month after I return, it would be much better for me." Dr. Krappner said, "Marie, you are going to have to start thinking less about yourself and more about the bigger picture. We are trying to bring you onto the faculty here, and you do not seem to be responding to our efforts. After all the work that I have put in to help you, this is the thanks that I get!" Marie became impatient, "It's not as if I don't appreciate all that you have done for me, it's just that I don't have enough time before we leave for an exhausting overseas trip."

Dr. Krappner became mad and gave up on Marie. "Very well, but I am extremely disappointed in you. We will be having another tea next month .... perhaps you can join us then and make your donation at that itme." Marie said, "I'll certainly try to place this onto my schedule, but I do have back-to-back international trips." Dr. Krappner answered, "Well! I so wanted this tea to serve as a vehicle for your joining our faculty, but you don't seem to be very helpful. You know, there is still time to change your mind!" Marie said, "Thanks again, but it is highly unlikely that my attending a tea will alter Dr. Master's negative opinion of me." Dr. Krappner disagreed, "Nonsense! I happen to know that Dr. Masters has a great deal of respect for you." Marie responded, "Amy, somehow I doubt that. You know Dr. Krappner, I find it hard to believe that you would support me in view of the fact that we have had such a strained relationship in the past." Dr. Krappner had a slight falsetto laugh, "It was just a misunderstanding. I do not hold grudges. I believe that we need more faculty like you on our staff." Marie finally had all that she could take. "I am so sorry to disappoint you. Give my best to Dr. Geldter." Dr. Krappner said, "I know that Isaac will be disappointed that you will not be joining our tea. By hook or by crook I will get you aboard our faculty at The Madison." Marie said, "You can try, and I would appreciate that at least." She then said, "Good bye, Dr. Krappner. Thank you for all your wonderful support." Dr. Krappner said in an affected manner, "Ciao, Marie. And may you have a productive trip." She slammed the phone down angrily. "That bitch! She won't come to our tea!"

Amy thought for a moment and then dialed Dr. Masters' number. After reaching his office she said, "This is Dr. Krappner; I'd like to speak with Dr. Masters on an urgent issue, the faculty tea." Dr. Masters' receptionist responded, "One moment, please!" The receptionist buzzed Dr. Masters who was in his office. "Dr. Masters, Dr. Krappner is on line two with an urgent message." Dr. Masters asked, "What the hell does she want? I'm busy!" The receptionist said, "Sir, she said it was urgent." He replied, "Everything that these women faculty have to say is 'urgent.' Can't they wait their turn like the other faculty?" The receptionist, "She said it was something about a .... faculty tea." Dr. Masters almost shouted, "Well, why didn't you say so! O.K., I'll take the call and hold my other calls, please."

Dr. Masters pushed the button on the phone for line two, and his personality changed abruptly, "Amy, how good of you to call. I was just thinking about your faculty tea." Dr. Krappner said hesitantly, "Marie can't make the tea, and I won't be able to ... " Dr. Masters interrupted before she could finish, "God damn it, Amy, we had a plan, and you were going to make sure that the plan was followed. And don't you ever talk about this issue on the phone. Just get your fat ass over here!" Dr. Krappner was taken aback, "Yes, sir!" He continued, "I am sick of all these obstacles threatening to ruin our mission." Dr. Krappner said, "I'll be right over!" Dr. Masters replied, "You do that!" He then slammed down the phone.

Within ten minutes Dr. Krappner was in Dr. Masters' office. He left instructions for his executive secretary to show her in immediately when she arrived. He was clearly in an agitated mood as he rose from his desk when Dr. Krappner entered his office. He waited for the door to close and then asked her, "Amy, why is it that none of you seem to be able to complete even the most minute part of the project that was assigned to you?" Dr. Masters was usually more refined, but his anger seemed to be getting the best of him. Dr. Krappner pleaded, "I can't control the fact that Marie turned down the invitation to attend our tea! I even personally called her today and pleaded with her to come to the tea. I don't understand it. Everything was going so well, and we were having such a good conversation." Dr. Masters, who was extremely angry, almost screamed, "Don't give me excuses like that insipid Graham. Am I surrounded by idiots? Why can't you ever seem to get it right and complete the most simple of tasks?" Dr. Krappner did not answer. He shook his head, "I don't know how you ever got so far in my organization." Dr. Krappner finally spoke out. "But sir, it wasn't my fault! Dr. Masters, you know I always try my best to do what you have asked!" He said angrily, "Oh, it's never your fault, Amy! Do you take me for an idiot? I suggest that we leave this to the operatives. It seems that no one around here can perform even the simplest things without screwing up. Let them worry about the problem." Dr. Krappner said, "You are absolutely right, sir, we can only do so much! We were never trained to do this kind of work."

Dr. Masters placed his hand to his head, looked out the window and said, "I may have to use other methods. I don't want to lose face with those Las Vegas boys and their Cornelyus Group." He looked out the window. He finally turned to Dr. Krappner and said, "Get out, Amy! Go back to your women's faculty tea!" Dr. Krappner was still pleading her case, "But, sir! I have always .... " He interrupted her by waving his hand, "Get out! I am sick of your excuses." Dr. Krappner started to cry, "I swear to God, it wasn't my fault! Can't you see that, Dr. Masters?" He said, "Stop your driveling in my office. Crying about what could have been is not going to solve the problem. I guess you're not ready for bigger things, Amy. I am very disappointed in you!" Dr. Krappner wiped the tears from her face. He said again, "Now out!" Dr. Krappner pulled out a white handkerchief from her purse and began wiping her face. She turned quickly and ran out the office while the secretaries and receptionist stood to see what was wrong with Dr. Amy Krappner, who had once been the darling of the President of the D. O. Madison Cancer Center.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:08 am

Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER 9: A trip to Moscow (Late 1994)

The McNichols had to fly from Austin to Houston to Amsterdam to Moscow to reach their destination. It was a long trip, even longer with the layovers in Houston and Amsterdam. After an overnight flight, they arrived to gloomy whether in Amsterdam. It was raining and cold compared to the boiling heat of Central Texas. After waiting for a flight to Moscow, there was another several hour flight.

The McNichols arrived in Moscow in the evening, and it had already been dark for six hours. In the beginning of winter the sun set at about 4 PM, but in the deep winter it can set around 3 PM in the afternoon. Marie had never been to Russia, so she was excited about arriving in Moscow. The airport was modern and busy, and as they were making their way through the Passport Control, Jared thought that it was curious that some rock song was playing in the background. He made some quip about the influx of capitalist tendencies, and they eventually found their luggage and cleared customs. Marie was wearing a rabbit fur coat and a Russian-style hat. She had on layers of clothing to brace herself against the Moscow cold. She was wearing none of this when they left Austin but was persuaded by Jared to prepare for a major contrast in weather.

The amusing Dr. Vassiloff

Marie and Jared were very tired from the trip, and it showed as they stumbled out of Customs with their bags. Now Marie realized why Jared insisted on only one checked bag each. They were lucky, however, as Dr. Yuri Vassiloff, a colleague ofJared's met them at the arrival hall. Dr. Vassiloff was a rather short, stocky, middle-aged Russian gentleman who had a very wise and jovial manner. He was a man full of life. He especially liked to make Jared laugh with his tales about Russian bureaucratic idiots, which he said were the bread for the masses in the old Soviet system. Jared saw Dr. Vassiloff first and yelled, "Yuri!" Dr. Vassiloff turned and responded, 'Jared, my old friend! Welcome! Welcome to Mother Russia!"

Jared and Yuri got into a typical Russian bear hug. Yuri turned to Marie and asked, "Who is ... beautiful young woman with you?" He spoke in a kind of broken English with a very strong Russian accent, but Jared and Marie had no trouble understanding his sincerity and warmth. Jared replied, "Why this is my beautiful wife, Marie." Dr. Vassiloff said, "Now I know why you did not want to leave ... behind! She is so young ... so pretty!" Marie said, "I just look a bit younger than I am, but thank you for the compliment." Dr. Vassiloff said, "Compliments ... we have lots of .... especially for foreign visitors!" He laughed. "Remember last trip to Moscow in '81?"Jared responded, "Yes, it was horrible. There was no food in Moscow. I hope the situation has changed for the better." Dr. Vassiloff laughed and said, "It changed, but .... may not notice!" He laughed again. "At least we can complain and not go to KGB office." He laughed loudly, as this was something that no one would dare to say in public in the old Soviet days. Jared said, "Come on, Yuri!" Dr. Vassiloff laughed again and said, "In Russia we can change names, but everything still .... same!" He turned to Marie and said, "You see, we live to suffer in Mother Russia." He paused and asked, "You must be tired from journey?" Jared said, "We are." He paused, "But we will have time to rest up in Berlin on our way home." Marie added, "It has long been a dream of mine to finally visit the country that produced Rachmaninoff, Tschaikovsky, Doestoevsky, Tolstoy, Borodin ... Your country is one of great passion!" Dr. Vassiloff laughed, "That is true!" He turned to Jared, "You married .... philosopher?" He paused, "I think, though, Russia best described as country built on great mistakes." Marie said, "Remember, if I may quote Pontius Pilate in the Movie Ben Hur, 'where there is greatness, error is often great!'" Yuri laughed, "Well, Mother Russia certainly is great and mistakes are great beyond description!" Yuri was on a roll, but when he got excited his English suffered a bit.

Turning back to Jared he finally became serious. "Did you bring supplies?" Jared smiled and answered, "Yes I did! Just like you requested." Dr. Vassiloff said, "Now we have vodka and then rest." Marie looked at Jared and said, "Not me. I'm going to sleep!" Jared said, "Perhaps we could visit together at the hotel so Marie can get some sleep. She never sleeps on the plane." Dr. Vassiloff said, "I don't either! I would like to not miss movies! And vodka!" Yuri then said, "I hope you will be patient with Yuri. My English .... not so good. Our system still in great flux, but not as bad as visit in '81." He continued, "Collapse of communists has produced much confusion, but average Muscovite at least has some food." He paused, "Even heat still rationed in some places. So, I'm afraid we cannot provide luxuries you treated me when I came to Texas." Jared said, "It looks like things have improved since our last visit. So life can't be so bad." Marie said, "We are here to see you and meet with our colleagues at the All Russian Cancer Center." Dr. Vassiloff smiled, "Still going to be a bit like returning to old Soviet state for you." Jared replied, "The luxuries are superficial. We won't be concerned about that." Marie asked, "Can I look forward to seeing some Russian kazatsky and throwing the vodka glass into the fireplace?" Dr. Vassiloff laughed, "I'm afraid vodka and glass breaking is Hollywood perception of our glorious Russia. Today, we don't waste one drop of vodka in fireplace. Is better to place in stomach!" Yuri rubbed his stomach, andJared and Marie laughed. Marie said, "There is no way I can drink vodka!" Dr. Vassiloff turned to Jared, "I think we can provide Russian entertainment for Marie." She said, "I really want to see St. Basil's and the changing of the guard as well as Zagorsek and the Kremlin!" Yuri bowed slightly, "That is all arranged!" Jared laughed as they made their way out of the terminal building into the cold Moscow night.

They walked into the parking lot and it was dark, very dark. The small Russian vehicles were lined up and covered with frost. Marie turned and asked, "Where's the KGB?" Yuri laughed and said, "They're here-I assure you!" He continued, "Did they bother you at arrival?" Jared shook his head indicating they did not, while Marie said, "I am so happy to be here that the KGB can't possibly dent my joy!" Dr. Vassiloff said, "Tomorrow morning you rest; I then take you to Red Square and Kremlin. Then you give lectures at All Russian Cancer Center and later in week at Russian Institute for Molecular Biology." Jared nodded his approval.

They made their way to a small Russian car. Dr. Vassiloff apologized for the size of the car, "Is not like Texas cars, I think!" Jared responded, "It looks functional to me. Four good tires and I hope the engine runs." Dr. Vassiloff laughed and said, "Most of time! You know in Mother Russia, we have a saying ... " Jared said to Marie who was falling asleep in the car, "Yuri always has a story about Mother Russia!" Dr. Vassiloff laughed and said, "But I haven't told story!" They all laughed. It was good to be in Moscow, even if it was freezing cold and as dark as a deep cave.

The All Russian Cancer Center Hotel

Yuri stopped the car in front of the Cancer Center's facilities and escorted the McNichols into a non-descript building and up to a worn reception desk. It was a sparsely decorated institutional hotel, and it still had some of the remnants of the old Soviet system. The old fat women, the 'Babushkas,' were still sitting at their desks at the elevators on each floor. In the old Soviet days, they had to take down the names and times of everyone that arrived or left on the old creaky elevators. As far as Marie and Jared knew, they were still taking the names and times down, just like the old days. Yuri was right. Some things never change.

After a rather long shouting match in Russian that neither Jared or Marie understood, Yuri turned and smiled as he calmed down, "Everything settled. Just Russian bureaucracy!" The clerk took Jared's and Marie's passports, and had Jared sign the register. Yuri smiled and helped Jared and Marie up to their room on the third floor. A very overweight Slavic woman who had a somewhat square build wearing a bubushka took charge of settling in the McNichols. She pointed out the samovar that had been provided for their tea. The woman said in broken English with a big smile, "Hope you .... be comfortable!" Marie and Jared smiled and nodded, Jared gave her some change, and after Yuri signaled that he would wait for them down stairs and closed the door, they proceeded to unpack. Marie looked at the Spartan surroundings and said, "This is really roughing it for me!" Jared added, "Hey, this is nothing! At least we have our own bath! And the bed looks O.K.!" Marie laughed when she looked at the antiquated tub and small hose that could be used as a shower. She asked, "You call this a shower?" Jared looked at the contraption and sighed, "It doesn't get any easier does it? Are you sure you want to do this?" Marie said, "After that trip I need a shower!" Jared made fun of Marie, "Even if it is just like using a garden hose in the back yard?"

Jared left Marie trying to master the bath hose, and he decided to take the stairs instead of the rickety elevator down to the reception area. There he met with Yuri to discuss their joint experiments. They found some over-stuffed chairs to relax in while they continued their scientific discussion. Yuri was very happy to see Jared and receive the supplies that they needed to complete their joint study. When Yuri visited Jared in Austin, he was showered with laboratory supplies, office supplies, gifts of all sorts, and he was a bit ashamed to not be in a position to return the favor. However, these were difficult times for Russia, and scientists needed all of the help that the West could muster. Jared had brought some expensive drugs, antibodies, supplies and reagents to Moscow for Yuri's laboratory. It was the least that they could do for their Russian colleagues. Fortunately, all of the supplies fit in one rather small 'official-looking' box that Jared had labeled 'medicine' and placed into his suitcase. Although it was opened, it did not draw any attention to the custom agent who looked into Marie's and Jared's bags at the airport. They were probably looking for other more popular commercial items that were commonly smuggled into Russia.

The gathering in Red Square

The next morning Dr. Vassiloff would be picking up the McNichols at their hotel located inside the All Russian Cancer Center. The McNichols made their way down to the dining room for breakfast. It was bleak. Marie was upset, because there was not much to eat with the exception of some bread, flavored water, coffee and a hard-boiled egg. This was probably the same exact breakfast that they had served for the last 50 years. After breakfast and a brief rest in their room, Yuri arrived to take Marie and Jared to Red Square.

It was extremely cold, and Marie and Jared were not used to the brutal Moscow weather. Yuri's little Moscovite car had a good heater, and it was cozy in the little car. The traffic was light as it was after the Moscow rush hour, and they whizzed along the broad Moscow boulevards to the center of Moscow. They parked the car near the Square and made their way on foot. Marie had everything warm on that she owned, layer after layer, to keep out the Moscow cold. Jared didn't seem to mind the cold as they walked the two blocks or so to Red Square. The square was almost empty, except for a few brave souls walking around. St. Basil's Cathedral was at one end with its colorful turrets and towers that looked like an old-fashioned multi-colored candelabra. At the other end was a stark Stalinist building containing Lenin's tomb. There was still an honor guard at Lenin's tomb, and a small line of people were waiting to see his glass-encased body that had remained in state for many, many decades. Just behind the tomb and toward the middle of one side of the square was the massive grandstand where the Soviet leadership presided over dramatic May Day parades and special occasions.

Except for St. Basil's and another church, the architecture was of typical massive Soviet style. A group of soldiers then came onto the square. They were obviously recruits, young, shouting and playing with each other. They gathered in the middle of the square for a photograph. They could have been young recruits from any nation, laughing, joking and pushing each other. They immediately saw Marie, an obvious visitor. Marie wanting to be friendly said in broken Russian, "La yublu tebia!" The young soldiers laughed and surrounded Marie. They were all talking so fast it was difficult to know what they were saying, even if the McNichols understood Russian, but they were certainly friendly. They were talking so fast and laughing that one of them slipped and fell down. Everyone laughed at the young soldier, and he laughed too.

Yuri laughed and whispered into Jared's ear and told him that Marie had just asked the soldiers to make love to her! The young soldiers loved the attention that Marie was giving them, and they took turns posing for pictures with the American scientist visitor. Marie loved the attention too and didn't realize that she had asked the young soldiers to make love to her. They thought it was all great fun, for it was still rare to see such a pretty visitor who wanted to be friendly with the obviously lowly young recruits of the Russian Army. Since most of them were probably from Siberia or some other outpost of the Russian Federation, they likely had never spoken to a young, pretty women from America. And they certainly had never had one ask them to make love right in Red Square!

The McNichols meet Dr. Luxembourg, the charming host

The following morning Marie and Jared were taken for a walk around Moscow by a Dr. Luxembourg, a rather non-descript man with a thick accent but rather good English, who worked at the Cancer Center. He greeted them at the hotel in the lobby where Marie and Jared were sitting in the overstuffed chairs. "Good morning Dr. and Dr. McNichols! I am Dr. Luxembourg, your tour host for today. I trust you have rested well?" Jared replied, "We fell asleep as soon as we hit the pillow." Dr. Luxembourg said, "Good! We will take the subway as you call it. Jared said, "Lead the way." As they walked in the cold Moscow morning, Marie noticed that her breath was freezing. Actually, the weather was well below freezing, but the Moscovites didn't even notice. Jared and Marie saw people eating ice cream and Marie asked, "How can they eat ice cream in this sub-zero weather." Dr. Luxembourg laughed, "It's a Moscow tradition. Our ice cream is the best in the world!" He continued, "And we are tough and used to the cold. Would you like to try some?" Marie answered, "Not this morning. We come from a very warm and humid climate, and I am not used to this cold. I swear I have become a lily-livered person." Dr. Luxembourg asked, "Lily-livered?" Jared explained, "An English term for spoiled and soft." Dr. Luxembourg looked at Marie, nodded his head and muttered, "Ah!" Marie, seeing a group of soldiers and remembering the previous day in Red Square, said to Jared, "Young soldiers again. Look at them. They're just boys!" Jared said, "So? You've seen young soldiers before, even yesterday." He smiled to warn Marie of her antics with the young soldiers of the previous day. Marie turned to Dr. Luxembourg, "We grew up with the propaganda of fear of the Red Army. But I personally was never afraid of the Russian people. The Russian literature and music were always my favorites because of the intensity of the emotion. And I was right!" Jared added, "Marie is still a naive idealist at heart!" Marie continued, "I never could understand the hatred of war. Yet I know that the darker side of man exists." Dr. Luxembourg said, "You see, the scars of the Cold War are deep, and yet when you face your perceived enemy of childhood, you find that they are just boys." Marie said, "Dr. Luxembourg, I am so excited about being here that I feel as if I am 4 years old!" Dr. Luxembourg replied, "With your cheeks all rosy from the cold, you look like the vision of a young little Russian angel." Jared added, "You mean young little devil?" Marie playfully punched at Jared who feigned a blow. She didn't appreciate the comment. Jared apologized.

Dr. Luxembourg reminded them of their next stop on the tour of Moscow. "We are going to visit the oldest Church in Moscow before lunch and the cabin that belonged to Peter the Great." Marie asked, "Are you telling us that the Czar actually stayed in a cabin?" Dr. Luxembourg said, "That's right. The cabin was moved to Moscow as part of an effort to let the people know more about their past under the Czars." Marie continued, "I have always been fascinated by the religious art of the Russian Orthodox Church. It's so lovely." Jared asked, "Dr. Luxembourg, are you saying that most of the art typical of Czarist Russia is still in existence, even after the Bolshevik revolution and all the purges?" Dr. Luxembourg said, "Absolutely! It still exists. Our country did not perform destructive acts like those in China's Cultural Revolution." They were excited to be able to see the heritage of Mother Russia. It was something that Jared missed on his previous trips to the Soviet Union, because the trips were strictly on the business of science, and there was little time to socialize with the locals. In fact, it was frowned upon for Westerners to get too close to the Russian people. That had all changed.

At this point they all entered the old Moscow Church. The interior of the church was magnificent, and it was resplendent with candlelight, which was reflecting upon the gold of numerous icons and statues. You could hear the harmony of Gregorian chants, and the spiritual atmosphere was quite tangible. Marie whispered, "Are we intruding on a private ceremony?" Dr. Luxembourg answered, "The ceremony is private, but I assure you, you are most welcome."

Suddenly Jared and Marie realized that they have joined a funeral procession for six adults and two children. Several of the bodies were lying under shrouds on simple tables, and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch was swinging incense and praying over the dead. Their faces looked peaceful. Marie looked at Jared and said in a whisper, "No one is crying?" She then continued, "But the passion of the people is so apparent here." Jared whispered back, "As if the communist regime never really stamped out the Russian people's belief in God." Jared and Marie observed the ceremony, and they were unaware that they had become the object of curiosity of the families that had met to say goodbye to their loved ones. Marie leaned over to Dr. Luxembourg and whispered, "Don't you feel the intensity of the souls in this room." Dr. Luxembourg whispered back, "I do not really believe in God, so it's hard for me to be in a place like this."

Marie looked at Dr. Luxembourg. "I think I understand, but to just listen to the Gregorian chants ... The depth of the music reflects God more than any other place of worship I have ever seen and attended .... Dr. Luxembourg, you must see that this devotion did not spring up over night." Jared who had been listening from behind them whispered, "It just went underground after the revolution." Dr. Luxembourg appeared to be very uncomfortable, and he suddenly turned away from the couple and started to walk out of the church. The McNichols were not about to leave in the middle of the ceremony, because they felt that it might be disrespectful. Marie finally said to Jared, "I don't understand him?" Jared replied, "Don't even try to." Jared and Marie watched him as he left the church with a puzzled expression. He walked out into the cold Moscow air where he probably felt safer than in the old church.

Jared and Marie did not follow Dr. Luxembourg outside. Instead, they concentrated on the Gregorian chants that were still continuing in the beautiful chapel. Suddenly Marie began to cry. Everyone was looking at Marie and Jared. They knew that they were outsiders, tourists from the West who had somehow stumbled into their ceremony of death. Jared finally whispered to Marie when he saw that she was crying, "What's wrong now?" Marie answered, "Nothing's wrong. It's just that I feel the sorrow of the families here." Marie then began to sing but not in words with the people who were participating in the funeral service. She did not know the Russian words, but she simply followed the chants. Her high voice was easily heard above the chants.

The locals nodded their approval at these obvious tourists who had taken an interest in their loved ones who had passed. The head priest smiled at the McNichols, and the monks did the same as they passed in the orthodox procession at the end of the funeral ceremony. Finally, the families involved in the funeral released their emotions, and everyone had a good cry. The men, however, wiped their eyes but did not openly weep like the women. Jared gently pulled Marie away from the group and brought her to the front of the church where candles were burning in long rows. Just as he as done a hundred times for Marie, Jared picked up a candle from a stack, dropped some change in a box and gave the candle to Marie and then lit it for her in front of the alter. Some of the candles had burned down and had almost gone out. Marie placed the candle in a free holder and said a brief prayer. Then she and Jared crossed themselves like the Russians and left the church.

The McNichols finally caught up with Dr. Luxembourg on the Moscow street in front of the church. He had been pacing back and forth. Dr. Luxembourg finally turned and called to them. "I'm sorry to have been so abrupt with you." He paused, "It's just that I can not handle emotions too well. I really want to believe in God, but my life is so bleak .... and my family history is so turbulent. My father was in and out of the gulag for the political incorrectness of his scientific research." He thought for a moment and then continued, "Papa finally died in a Siberian work camp." Marie said, "I'm so sorry." There was a moment of silence, and Jared continued, "We can't begin to understand the depth of your experience growing up in the Soviet Union." There was silence for a moment.

Suddenly Dr. Luxembourg displayed a subtle unexpected hostility towards Marie and Jared. He turned to Marie and said, "With that capitalist father of yours, I imagine you were a most pampered person of the elite." Marie answered, "My father? He was a physician and true, the first seven years of my life were comfortable, but then he left, and it was hard to make ends meet. I suffered a great deal of ostracism because of my parent's divorce, which was a great stigma in the early sixties in the U.S. I may not know the hardship you have experienced, but I do know what it is to feel constant rejection and emotional humiliation for being different and not fitting into the established system." Jared cut in, "Who said life is perfect? There is no real fairness in life. As we say in the States, life is hard, then you die."

Marie ignored the flippant comments of Jared. She has heard this before, and she was now more serious. "I have always turned to prayer and the wisdom of the great philosophers to comfort me. And by the way, how did you ever hear of my father?" Luxembourg replied, "Not the physician-father, the father who killed everyone in his path and hoarded all the money for himself." Marie said, "Dr. Luxembourg, with all due respect, I think you are under some misimpression about my background. The KGB has probably given you some disinformation for some unknown reason." Dr. Luxembourg stated, "I am most definitely not mistaken. It is you who are in the dark." Marie looked at Jared in a puzzled manner realizing that there were gaps in her background that she still didn't understand.

It was Jared who tried to break the apparent stalemate. "You know, my father was an engineer, and his father was an engineer. We grew up in relative comfort but nothing really fancy." He turned to Dr. Luxembourg and said, "I really don't think that we're going to resolve the world's problems on a street corner in Moscow." But Dr. Luxembourg continued in an abstract manner. "No one person should be entitled to so much!" Jared turned to Marie and asked, "What is he talking about?" Marie said, "Dr. Luxembourg, we are only in Moscow to share our work with our colleagues. It is true that we Americans have not endured the hardships you have, but I am not this spoiled heiress that you imagine." Jared asked, "What are you talking about?" She continued, "We want to help our Russian colleagues in any way we can. Why should political barriers continue to hinder our ability to work together in a cooperative way?"

Dr. Luxembourg walked silently with the McNichols for a minute or so and then began talking again. "People do not change so easily, Dr. McNichols, and I am sorry if I appeared hostile. Dr. McNichols ... " Marie interrupted, "Please call me Marie." He continued, "You are so naive in some ways and yet so wise in others." Dr. Luxembourg finally stated, "Some bridges are never built!" Jared added, "And some bridges are built overnight! This bridge will be built if we are positive in our attitudes and put some effort into it." Dr. Luxembourg chuckled, "Well, perhaps you are right, the son of an engineer. And perhaps there is also a God." He hesitated for a moment and then continued, "And to prove to you that I am open-minded, would you do me the honor of sharing a dinner together with my family?" Marie said, "We'd be delighted!" Jared added, "Yes, it would be our pleasure!" Dr. Luxembourg replied, "Good, it is settled! No more deep philosophical conversations! Just a good time amongst new friends in traditional Muscovite style!"

Everyone finally felt at ease. As Marie and Jared turned to walk to the Cabin of Peter the Great, Dr. Luxembourg looked at the backs of the McNichols with a mixture of contempt and hatred. He muttered to himself, "Certain ends justify the means." Jared turned to Dr. Luxembourg and asked, "Did you say something?" Dr. Luxembourg responded, "I was just mumbling to myself that certain means justify the end result." Marie looked puzzled. Jared said, "Machiavelli in Moscow?" Dr. Luxembourg shot back, "Something like that. We are a people whose country is a collection of mistakes, and we must work hard to build a future to merge with a world of free enterprise. But we, as a people, have no history of democracy whatsoever." Marie said, "If yee have faith as a mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible unto thee." Dr. Luxembourg thought for a moment and then retorted, "There we are back to the religious philosophical young lady." Marie laughed, "O.K., I'll keep my big mouth shut!" Jared added, "We are here to enjoy the Russian history not to lecture to you on religion or philosophy."

The unusual dinner at the Luxembourgs

The following day the McNichols had been invited to an intimate dinner at the apartment of Dr. Luxembourg. The apartment was only three blocks from the Cancer Center. Even though it was within walking distance, Dr. Luxembourg picked up Marie and Jared. It was much too cold for the McNichols to walk. After a quick ride from the hotel, the McNichols arrived at a group of Soviet-style apartment buildings. They looked exactly the same from the outside, bleak and plain. The buildings appeared to be equivalent to subsidized housing in the U. S., but they were more massively built in the Soviet style. Steam rose from the streets and buildings, indicating a central steam plant kept the buildings warm during the cold Moscow winters. They entered one of the buildings. The elevator was barely working, and there was trash scattered about. They made their way to the third floor. From the outside and the common areas, the building looked like a disaster. But when they entered the Luxembourg's apartment, they had a completely different opinion of the building. The apartment was extremely warm and cozy. It was furnished sparsely but comfortably, and there were personal items that gave it a homey appearance. There were cabinets and bookshelves that contained many very well-used books in all different languages. There was a photograph of Dr. Luxembourg as a young man with Khrushchev when he received an award for scholastic excellence. There were some typical 'worker era' works of art. Although the outside of the apartment showed no evidence of maintenance, inside the apartment it was spotless and showed the pride of its occupants. There was also an old piano along one wall. Jared was shocked to learn that the building was only six years old. Essentially no maintenance resulted in rapid deterioration of the apartment buildings in Moscow.

After a hearty welcome and introductions from Dr. Luxembourg's family, Mrs. Luxembourg, a non-descript looking woman of Slavic origin looked up and said, "Welcome, Welcome!" She had a thick Russian accent. Marie attempted to say, "I love you" or "Ya yublu tebia," the only words that she knew in Russian, but it didn't come out exactly right. Dr. Luxembourg said, "Not bad pronunciation!" He paused, "But in Russia we do not have the friendly equivalent of 'I love you' in our language." He chuckled, "In Russian it means, will you make love with me?" Jared laughed, "Yes, Marie found this out with some soldiers in Red Square!" Marie looked mortified and her face turned red as she said, "Do you realize that I went all over Moscow asking the young soldiers to make love to me! I just wanted to be friendly!" Jared added, "No wonder they were so anxious to have their picture taken with you!" Everyone laughed.

Marie wanted to apologize to Dr. Luxembourg for what happened the previous day, but in fact, there was really nothing to apologize for. "Dr. Luxembourg, I want to say again how sorry I am that I offended you yesterday in some way when we were visiting the church. But the beauty of the Gregorian chants and the glow of the icons made me feel as if I was touching God." Jared added, "Or some higher form of consciousness." Dr. Luxembourg replied, "You are quite the philosophers, Marie and Jared. And an amateur theologian, perhaps Marie?" Marie responded, "I understand that you must be thinking how spoiled I am to have the time to ponder the great mysteries of the universe or dwell upon the heritage of ancient scripture." He answered in an off-hand manner, "Not at all. I am sorry that I overreacted to what was obviously a cultural comment." Marie continued, "I cannot answer why I grew up in the relative comfort and prosperity of America, while you lived in a great but harsh country of turbulent ideologies, passions and poverty. I believe strongly that you and I are not that much different. As a matter of fact, I have a dear friend whose father was the former head of the Bulgarian KG B and was educated in Leningrad ... " Dr. Luxembourg interrupted, "Now St. Petersburg again!" Marie continued, "And she finally defected to the U. S. Well, you might be surprised to know that I had more in common with this friend than the average American. We shared the same tastes in music, literature and art." Dr. Luxembourg answered, "Please do not take offense at my atheistic attitude. Believe me, I wish there was a God, or at least some supreme intelligence. I have just never seen it manifested in my country." Marie responded, "Dr. Luxembourg, I hope that one day you will open your eyes past the political structures of your country and look at some at the physical beauty of the magnificent pine forests surrounding Moscow. Just stop some day and notice the grace of the Bolshoi and the passion of Rachmaninoff. Perhaps that's the best that anyone can hope for, the experiences that transcend the ordinary."

Dr. Luxembourg smiled and turned to Jared. "I say again, Marie here is quite the passionate young philosopher!" Jared agreed, "You'll get used to it. She gets carried away in new, exciting places, and I think that she especially liked what she saw yesterday." Marie looked delightedly at the piano and asked, "May I?" Dr. Luxembourg said, "Be my guest!" Marie sat down and began the opening chords of the Rachmaninoff's 2nd Concerto. Dr. Luxembourg's wife then came out of the kitchen with a tray of typical Russian cold cuts and caviar. She seemed pleasantly surprised and marveled as Marie continued playing, "My, you are pianist!" Marie said as she played, "No, I am very much an amateur!" Luxembourg's wife said as Marie got up and interrupted her playing, "Would you care for caviar?" Marie replied, "Thank you!" Jared said, "You've gone to so much trouble for us!" Dr. Luxembourg answered, "It is a Russian tradition to share all we have with our guests." Jared stated, "You must let us take you out for a meal in downtown Moscow. I wish no offense, but at least we have come with some hard currency, knowing what a struggle you are all having with the economy here in Russia." When I visited in '81, we all noticed that it was particularly hard for our academic colleagues." Marie added, "We do not wish to offend your gesture of hospitality, but we are worried about the state of the Russian economy and how it is affecting our colleagues." Dr. Luxembourg was irritated, "Things have gotten better since then.

Dr. Luxembourg then became serious with the American visitors. "We will survive. We always have!" He then looked at his wife and said, "Ah!" His wife gave a signal with her hands and said, "Dinner is ready! Please sit down!" They moved from the living room to the dining room, and Dr. Luxembourg motioned for Marie to sit next to him and pointed to the respective seats of the other guests. The Luxembourg's son had joined them for dinner. Vodka was offered to everyone, and Jared made a toast, "We want to thank all of you for making our visit to Moscow so unique and fulfilling. We are especially pleased to be here, and we hope that you are finally headed for better and happier times." Everyone agreed and drank the vodka except Marie. She held her glass up, and said, "I'm afraid I cannot drink vodka." Dr. Luxembourg said, "Nonsense! Everyone drinks vodka." Marie stated emphatically, "All it takes is one sip of wine and it goes completely to my legs." Dr. Luxembourg asked, "Legs, not head?" Marie replied, "That too! Can you imagine what vodka would do to me? Jared knows!" Dr. Luxembourg then stated, "You do not know what you are missing? But I will yield to your request. And we will even let you throw an empty glass into the fireplace in true Russian tradition." Marie laughed and Jared added, "That will not be necessary. Marie is just happy to be here as your guest."

The Luxembourg's son tried his English with the American visitors. "I will play balaleika! Important in Muscovite daily life." Dr. Luxembourg made a toast in Russian, which he then translated. "To life and friendship from Russia with love." Jared added, "May the politics of the Cold War cease to deter better understanding and cooperation between our Russian colleagues and the West!" Afterwards, Marie did throw an empty glass into the fireplace, and everyone shouted in Russian style. The Luxembourg's son again played the balaleika.

The dinner itself ran through several courses full of conversation and laughter, and then finally it was time for the dessert. Dr. Luxembourg's wife motioned for Dr. Luxembourg to come to the kitchen and to help her with the dishing out of Moscow's famous ice cream. In the kitchen Dr. Luxembourg's wife said to her husband in Russian while pointing to a small jar containing a white powder that he had brought home for this special event. "Are you going to add this to their dessert?" He answered, "Absolutely!" His wife said, "I do not feel right about this. They are very brilliant and sweet people! They do not deserve this." Dr. Luxembourg stated, "Do not think of them in a humanistic sense. They are spoiled people from America who are a threat to our way of life." His wife answered, "It is not their fault to be here? They are nice people. They mean us no harm." Dr. Luxembourg stated, "Fault is not a concern here, and they are not nice." He paused, "It is their destiny! And we are at a point in history where we must seize the moment. We must think in terms of what is good for the majority and the State. Do not be fooled by their many talents and compassions." Luxembourg's wife asked, "What if it were your children?" Dr. Luxembourg answered, "But they're not ours! They are Americans. Besides we do not even have a daughter." Luxembourg's wife shook her head and stated, "You are an evil person-I cannot watch!" Dr. Luxembourg sneered, "Just go back in the parlor and entertain the McNichols with your "Communist jokes!"

Mrs. Luxembourg returned to the parlor where Jared and Marie were sitting on a small couch and listening to the Luxembourg's son play the balaleika. They didn't notice the grim look on Mrs. Luxembourg's face. They clapped and laughed as he approached the end of a dramatic piece. Mrs. Luxembourg, who was actually quite a clown, calmed down and reentered the parlor wearing an old Red Army General's hat, and she had put a Havana cigar in her mouth as a prop for her satirical jokes.

Jared and Marie didn't know exactly what to do at this point, but they decided that Mrs. Luxembourg would be doing some kind of Russian comedy act for them. Using the hat and then the cigar, she played a parody of a Soviet citizen and then a Soviet General. First without the hat but with the cigar, "Soviet worker! Pride of Mother Russia!" Then she put on the hat and affected the stern manner of a Soviet General, "Mother Russia does not see difference in sexes!" Then she removed the hat and the cigar and put her hands under her large breasts indicating that she was playing a mother, "Soviet mother, pride of Mother Russia!" She then put the hat back on and as the Soviet General said, "Well, all I see is baby bottle!" She then took off the props and said, "Love not important to Party!" She then put the props back on, and continuing as the General, "Changing diapers important!" She took off the props, "Sex?" She put the props back on and said as the affected General, "Sex-only two encounters per week-at most!" The General continued, "But for you, daughter, never!" The General then said, "In fact, I bring back ... religion. Then I put you .... in convent!" She took off the props, "You are hypocrite!" She put the props back on, "A capitalist in reverse." She then paused, "It's secret, boobalah!" The General continued, "There is R in the U.S.S.R which stands for Republic! There is no R in U.S. of A." She took off the props, "So, U.S. of A. is really U.S.S.R. and vice versa!"

Mrs. Luxembourg then burst out laughing loudly, and Jared and Marie looked at each other and forced a laugh as well, but their laughs were not genuine. Their laughs were polite laughs while they looked at each other wondering what they had just seen. The joke was not completely clear to them. Perhaps something was lost in the translation? Dr. Luxembourg entered the room at the end of his wife's strange routine with a tray of ice cream. He said, "My wife is also quite the philosopher." He turned to Marie, "Just like you Marie!" Marie chuckled and said, "I must say that politics are not my strong suit. I am too strong in my opinions to be a good politician." Dr. Luxembourg's wife now said, "But once you see all political ideologies are same, it all becomes joke, a puppet show!" Marie asked, "Like the General and the worker?" The wife said, "Yes, like General of Soviet Army!"

Jared had already tasted the ice cream, and he didn't like it. It was too sweet for his taste. Usually when something was too sweet, he had a hard time eating it. At this point Marie took one bite of the ice cream and within moments she felt that something was wrong. She looked at Jared, indicating that she did not like the ice cream. It did not taste like the ice cream that they ate earlier in the day. The McNichols did not want to be bad guests, so they continued the conversation without eating much of the ice cream. Marie actually ate more than Jared, but she also stopped eating. Dr. Luxembourg asked, "Is there something wrong with our excellent Moscow ice cream? You ate some before today?" Jared smiled and answered, "Yes, but we usually don't eat such sweet desserts after dinner. We are just not used to it this late at night, and we are so full from all of the excellent courses." After a few minutes Marie was having problems, and she doubled over in pain." Jared asked Marie, "What's wrong?" She said, "My insides are burning up. I think it was something I ate." Dr. Luxembourg said, "Nonsense! I don't think it had anything to do with what you ate! Do you feel that we must get Marie to a hospital." Jared thought, "That won't be necessary!" Jared then said, "It's probably one of her food allergies." Marie turned and whispered to Jared, "I think it was in the ice cream. It tasted like bitter almonds." Dr. Luxembourg heard what Marie had said, "That's impossible! It was probably a bad almond. Sometimes various nuts, if they go stale, release a small amount of aflatoxin. It's nothing to be worried about. The ice cream is delicious. Look!" He took a big bite, but his wife looked worried and said, "We terribly sorry!" Marie replied, "I will be fine. I just want to change and go to bed! Could you please take us back to the hotel."

Jared told Dr. Luxembourg that they were very sorry, but they must return to their hotel room. "I am so sorry that we have to end such a lovely evening, but I think that we should get Marie back to the hotel." Dr. Luxembourg said, "You can't go so soon. You haven't finished your ice cream. It would be terrible to let it go to waste." Jared reiterated, "I am really sorry, but I think that we should get Marie back to the hotel." Dr. Luxembourg reluctantly agreed, "Very well, I will bring the car around and pick you up in front of the building. He stood up and left the room abruptly. Jared turned to Mrs. Luxembourg and said, "We've had a very lovely time, and I apologize for Marie. It's been a long day for us, and with the long trip to Russia, I think that Marie has just overdone it today." Mrs. Luxembourg looked very concerned that Marie did not feel well, "I understand. You go now. You did not like play?" Jared said, "Oh, we very much liked your play, and we are very grateful for the dinner and all the good fellowship. We are very pleased to be here in Moscow with such good friends and colleagues."

Jared stood and helped Marie stand up. She was a bit wobbly and needed support from Jared. Marie whispered to Jared, "I feel horrible. Please, I need to take some Benedryl and Zantac." Jared made his final good-byes and apologies to Mrs. Luxembourg, who told him that Dr. Luxembourg should have the car ready in front of the building. Jared helped Marie down the stairs and out into the cold Moscow night. They did not try the creaking elevator, and the walking was actually better for Marie. As they walked into the freezing cold night Jared said, "I'm going to call Yuri as soon as we get to our room!" Marie pleaded, "I think there was something in the ice cream! And you know my body! If something's wrong with the food, my body rejects it as soon as it hits the salivary glands!" Jared agreed, "I didn't like it. It was not like the ice cream that we had earlier today, but I think that it was the chocolate sauce." Marie, "I have no tolerance for bad food."

Jared placed Marie into the small car, and Dr. Luxembourg drove them quickly to the hotel. Thankfully, it was only three blocks from the Luxembourg's building, and it took less than five minutes to reach the Cancer Center hotel. Jared said a quick good-bye to Dr. Luxembourg who didn't seem to be very concerned about Marie's health problems, and he helped Marie into the hotel and up in the elevator to their room. When they exited the elevator, even the old Bubushka was concerned and helped Marie and Jared to their room. Jared and Marie couldn't tell what she was saying, but Jared thanked her and closed the door. Jared, "She probably thinks that we're drunk!" He found the Benedryl and Zantac and put Marie immediately into the bed.

They both were finally in the bed and Marie told Jared, "I know there was something in the ice cream. It tasted like burnt almonds." Jared asked, "Cyanide? I better watch you closely tonight. I don't think you ate enough to hurt you, Marie, even if it was cyanide. I didn't eat as much as you did, and that's probably why I'm not feeling as sick as you are. But come to think of it, my insides are burning up too. I thought there was something wrong with the ice cream or the sauce. It was sickly sweet. Marie told Jared, "You take the Benedryl and Zantac right now. Don't argue with me this time. Jared got up and went to the bathroom.

Jared was not going to argue with Marie on this night. "Why would Dr. Luxembourg want to harm us?" Jared said from the bathroom, "I don't know if it was his fault. This is Moscow, you know. Bad food may be more common than you think." As Jared returned to bed, Marie grabbed him and said, "It's suspicious, and I don't feel well?" Jared replied, "They seemed O.K., but that Dr. Luxembourg gave me a creepy feeling. He was not at all concerned about your response to the ice cream. He even tried to say it was just a case of some bad almonds. That's pretty far-fetched." Marie to Jared, "I'm getting very tired. Let's go to sleep."

Back at the Luxembourg's apartment, after Marie and Jared had returned to their hotel, Dr. Luxembourg was trying explain to his wife what happened. He said, "I cannot understand it! The cyanide should have worked, but they did not have enough of it. This is not good." His wife said, "I do not know, but maybe there is a God that protected them. They did not deserve your ice cream. I am happy you failed. There is something about those people." Dr. Luxembourg said sarcastically, "Next you'll be telling me Marie is an angel on earth or some kind of Madonna!" He tried to laugh, but Mrs. Luxembourg said, "I don't care what you say, I liked them, and I am glad that they did not get sick." He paused, "I tell you she is more like a devil!" His wife disagreed, "Then you admit there is something spiritual about them, and therefore your atheist mind is confused?" At this point Dr. Luxembourg looked at his wife with hostility, and she returned the look. He muttered, "Capitalist bastards! They got what they deserved."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:09 am

Part 2 of 2

The Institute for Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences

The next part of the McNichols trip was a visit to the Institute for Molecular Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was the following morning, but Jared and Marie were not very comfortable. They woke up alive but not feeling well. They skipped the terrible breakfast at the Cancer Center hotel, and eventually Dr. Vassiloff called their room where they were resting to find out about their lectures at the Institute for Molecular Biology. Marie did not want to go visiting on this day, but Jared talked her into it because she was scheduled to give a lecture along with Jared. Jared felt that it was better to keep Marie moving around to metabolize any remaining toxins in her body. Also, he was afraid that if he let her sleep all day, he just might come back to find her incapacitated or worse.

So Marie and Jared showered, dressed and waited downstairs for Yuri to arrive in his small car. After about 30 minutes, Dr. Vassiloff finally arrived to take Jared and Marie to the Institute for Molecular Biology. He wanted to ask them about the dinner at the Luxembourgs, but Jared and Marie were in no mood to discuss the dinner or Dr. Luxembourg. Yuri did not press the issue. He had more important things to discuss with Jared about his own research project and the experiments that he had planned with the supplies that Jared brought with him to Moscow.

As they discussed their research, Yuri drove the McNichols to the Institute. It was located in an ornate, Stalinist style building near Moscow State University and was surrounded by a heavy fence and large gate. There were guardhouses at the entrance, but they were no longer occupied by military police. Yuri couldn't stay long. He had an important meeting back at the Cancer Center. Dr. Vassiloff turned into the car park and stopped his car right in front of the institute entrance in a space marked with signs that probably indicated that he couldn't park there. Yuri ignored the signs (after all, what were they going to do about it?) and led the McNichols into the building to meet the Director. After making a brief call, he apologized that he must be at a meeting, so he said good-bye for the moment. The McNichols were brought to the Director's office by a staff member to meet the Director.

Dr. Gregori Gorgioff, Director of the institute for Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, met the McNichols just outside the Directors Office. After the introductions, Dr. Gorgioff brought the McNichols to his inner office to speak with Marie and Jared before their seminars were to be given in the main lecture hall of the institute. Dr. Gorgioff's office had a high ceiling and was cluttered with papers and old desks and tables. The window was grimy and hadn't been cleaned in years. Looking through the grimy windows, one could see that it was beginning to snow outside.

Inside the Director's office the McNichols were engaged in a scientific conversation with Dr. Gorgioff, when Marie, who was not looking well began to get dizzy. Jared had just explained to Dr. Gorgioff that his department was working on several aspects of cancer genetics, including the new MTA 7 gene discovered by one of Jared's pathology fellows. Jared thought that the new gene that they had discovered was involved in the spread of cancer or metastasis and that it probably controlled important signaling pathways in cancer cells.

Dr. Gorgioff finally turned to Marie. "At the institute we have followed your work with some interest. As you know, we have done much research in chromatin structure for some time, and some of the best studies on the subject have come from this Institute. Unfortunately, the Western countries seem to ignore our work." Jared said, "Marie and I certainly take your institute's work extremely seriously. Marie has even examined your papers in Russian. Perhaps if you published more in Western European or American journals, it would have been more easily recognized in the West. Marie who normally couldn't ever be kept quiet finally spoke, "In fact, your publications in the Russian journals were an inspiration for our work and allowed us to develop the electrophoresis approach for the nucleoprotein separation. We based this on the research done right here in Moscow." Dr. Gorgioff said, "Thank you for those kind words. Most Americans do not know our research well enough to cite the Russian journals.

Dr. Gorgioff looked at the clock on the wall in his office. "It is now almost time for the lectures. We must please have your slides for the projectionist." Turning to Marie he asked, "Are you feeling well?" Marie answered, "I don't know, I seem to be dizzy since the dinner at Dr. Luxemburg's last night." Jared reached over and grabbed Marie. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Marie tried to stand up, but she began to faint. Jared quickly moved behind her and caught her as she was falling back, and he placed her on the couch near the chairs they were sitting in. Marie quickly regained consciousness and asked for her slides. Jared was very worried about Marie. She was groggy and holding onto Jared. "Marie, are you sure you're feeling O.K.? You know, you don't have to do this. You can wait here, or we can have someone take you back to the hotel."

Dr. Gorgioff remained in his chair and did not seem to be very upset about Marie fainting in his office. He finally spoke in a matter-of-fact tone, "Marie does not seem to be feeling very well. Perhaps she should rest here in my office instead of giving her lecture." Marie finally seemed to be feeling better and said, "I have to get my slides!" Jared ordered her, "No you don't! How do you feel?" Marie responded slowly, "I'll be all right in a few minutes." Jared turned and told Dr. Gorgioff, "I think that we should get her back to our room at the Cancer Center as soon as possible. It was a long trip here, and Marie is exhausted. Since I made up the slides for her, I can give both lectures. Can we arrange for a taxi or a car to return Marie to the Cancer Center? If she needs help, the physicians at the Cancer Center will be able to assist her." Finally Dr. Gorgioff responded, "Yes, I can arrange for a car to the Cancer Center, if you feel that it will be necessary." Jared nodded indicating that he wanted Dr. Gorgioff to arrange for transportation for Marie.

Dr. Gorgioff picked up the phone and began yelling in Russian into the phone for what seemed like several minutes. Finally Dr. Gorgioff slammed down the phone and turned to the McNichols, "There, it is arranged. Professor McNichols, you will please give us both lectures now. May I have the slides?" Jared was a bit taken aback by Dr. Gorgiofrs unsympathetic tone and said, "I want to make sure that Marie is safely on her way before we start the lectures." Dr. Gorgioff was irritated at Jared's comment and said in a very professional voice, "My staff will take care of everything. Please come with me now. The lectures are scheduled to start." Dr. Gorgioff stood and motioned for the slides and Jared to come with him to deliver the lectures. Jared handed over the slides, including Marie's, but he did not leave the office with Dr. Gorgioff, who took the slides to the outer office.

Instead of leaving with Dr. Gorgioff, Jared turned to Marie who was still lying down on the couch in the office and asked her, "Hey, kid do, are you going to be all right? Marie answered, "I'm O.K., just a little dizzy and tired. It just suddenly hit me. My stomach has been on fire since the dinner last night, and I want to get my stomach medicine. Can I go back to the room now?" Jared answered, "Of course you can. Dr. Gorgioff has made arrangements to have you driven back to the Cancer Center." Marie whispered to Jared, "You know, Dr. Gorgioff is nothing like his letters. He seems very cold. I don't trust him." Jared said, "Marie, you just don't feel well. Professor Gorgioff is just a typical Soviet administrator. I will deliver your seminar for you. I want you to just go back and rest." Marie said, "I know that something is wrong here. I want you to go back to the room with me." Marie grabbed Jared and held him firmly, a good sign that she was not weak. Jared reassured Marie, "It will be O.K., Marie. I have to give the lectures, but I will ask them to get me back to the Cancer Center as soon as possible. Deal?" Marie was not happy but she agreed, "Deal! Just come as soon as you finish." Jared gave Marie a kiss. "Don't worry, I don't want to stay here any longer than necessary."

Jared now understood what Marie was trying to tell him. She didn't like the way that Dr. Gorgioff was acting toward them, and she didn't feel right about the Institute either. There was something very wrong going on here, and she sensed it as soon as they arrived that morning. It was the same feeling that Marie used to have about Belford College of Medicine and the D. O. Madison Cancer Center in Austin. They were up to no good here, and she could feel it in her bones. From the moment that they arrived, there were signs that this facility was more than just an academic Institute. The tall strong fence around the facility, the guardhouses, the security people at the desk in the entry hall, the attitude of Dr. Gorgioff-everything suggested that this facility was working for the Soviet 'defense' apparatus.

Dr. Gorgioff returned and motioned repeatedly for Jared to follow him to the lecture hall. Jared got up, turned, smiled and waved to Marie as he left the room. She was still lying on the couch when Jared turned into the long hallway to proceed to the lecture hall. After Jared and Dr. Gorgioff left his office, two very large Russian women helped Marie to her feet and to the car that would return her to the McNichols' hotel room. Jared didn't want to leave Marie in the hands of the two large women that he did not know, but he had little choice in the matter. His function in Moscow was to interact with the Russian academics and researchers, and right now he had to do his job.

Jared followed Dr. Gorgioff into the lecture hall. The lecture hall was an old large room with a very tall ceiling, and it had large windows that must have been two stories tall with long dark curtains that were being drawn to keep out the light, which was hardly necessary on this dreary day in Moscow. Dr. Gorgioff went down to the front of the lecture hall and delivered his lecture announcement and introduction of Jared in Russian. The introduction seemed to go on forever, and Jared could only think about Marie and the possibility that they had been poisoned the previous night at Dr. Luxembourg's flat. Finally it was time for Jared to deliver the two lectures, his lecture and Marie's lecture, to a lecture hall full of curious, polite Russian scientists. As he got up to approach the podium, Jared wondered about a possible relationship between Dr. Luxembourg and Dr. Gorgioff. Why were these scientists so passive-aggressive towards them, and especially towards Marie?

Jared delivered the two lectures without a break in between, except for a drink of water, and he answered all of the questions from the Russian audience with the help of Dr. Gorgioff. Much of the question and answer session required translation, which Dr. Gorgioff did from the front of the lecture hall. Jared was distracted by Marie's problems, and he tried to focus on the questions and his answers, but it was difficult. During any pause created by the discussion in Russian Jared didn't understand it anyway) he thought about Marie and hoped that she was feeling O.K. and was safe back at the Cancer Center hotel.

After the lectures and the lengthy question and answer period, or about three hours later, Jared had to go for a late lunch with some of the academic staff of the Institute. However, he excused himself from the lunch at the Institute's private dining hall, explaining that his wife was sick and he had to leave immediately. Instead of spending more time at the Institute, he requested to be returned to the Cancer Center as soon as possible. Dr. Gorgioff was quite disappointed that Jared was not staying longer at the Institute to meet more of the faculty and senior administrators, but after a discussion in the hallway, he finally agreed and arranged for a car to take Jared back to the hotel. Jared apologized profusely to Dr. Gorgioff, who seemed completely unsympathetic about Marie's apparent illness. He recovered his and Marie's slides and then left quickly to meet a waiting car. As he exited the front of the Stalinist style Institute buildings, a large black sedan was waiting near the entrance, the same car that had taken Marie back to the Cancer Center. Within moments he found himself in the back of the sedan on his way back to the hotel. Jared found out later that the sedan was assigned to Dr. Gorgioff by the State. He took one more look at the Institute as they drove away. It was obviously well protected with its high iron fence and guard posts. The driver said nothing during the entire trip, which didn't matter to Jared, since he was not in a mood to be diplomatic or discuss the Moscow weather.

The big black car finally turned into the entranceway in front of the Cancer Center hotel. Jared didn't wait for one of the creaky elevators, he dashed up the stairs, quickly bypassed the 'Babushkas,' and entered their room to see how Marie was doing. He didn't like what he found. Marie was in considerable pain and discomfort. There was blood all over the bed and sheets, and there was a trail of blood to the bathroom. Marie had a miscarriage from the poison that she received from the 'special' dinner the night before at Dr. Luxembourg's flat. Jared immediately went over to Marie in the bed and whispered to her. She was weeping, and she grabbed onto Jared. Marie was very pale and looked terrible. The blood on the sheets was relatively fresh, and Jared was very nervous because he didn't know if she was still bleeding. He held her gently. Jared needed to find out more about her condition, but he didn't want to scare her and make it worse. He said gently, "How's my baby? .... Don't cry! .... Are you in pain? .... Are you bleeding?" Marie cried even harder as Jared asked each question. By the time that Jared was finished, Marie was balling uncontrollably and holding onto Jared very strongly, a good sign. Eventually her crying slowed enough to be able to say between gasping breaths, "Oh Jared I .... I had a miscarriage! It was awful! .... It was twins! I could tell One was a boy, and one was a little girl." She started crying again, this time uncontrollably. "Oh, it was awful!" Jared finally said, "Baby, just don't try to talk, it's going to be all right." Marie still crying, "Oh, God! .... It was so painful! .... Please don't go to the bathroom! There may be blood on the floor!" Jared said, "I'm not going to worry about a little blood, but I have to know if you're still bleeding?" Marie told him between crying bouts, "I think it stopped." Jared tried to be cheerful but he felt terrible. "That's good, now where does it hurt?" Marie didn't answer. Finally she said, ''I'm sorry, I couldn't get to the bathroom in time." Marie started crying again, uncontrollably. Jared tried to calm her, "Don't worry about the blood in the bathroom, I'll take care of it." Jared held Marie tightly in his arms while she released her sorrow and anguish.

Jared looked around the room while he held Marie. There was a trail of blood from the bed into the bathroom. Jared glanced through the door to the bathroom and saw that there was some blood on the floor. He was trying to calculate in his head how much blood Marie had lost. If she lost too much, he would have to take her to the hospital so they could provide intravenous Ouid support and even blood, if necessary, and he was worried that Marie would refuse any efforts at hospitalization. She didn't like hospitals, and there was no doubt in Jared's mind that Marie would not like to be in a cancer hospital in Moscow.

Jared left Marie for a moment to assess the situation. Although Marie objected, he went to the bathroom, looked around, and then made his way back to the bed so that he could hold Marie in his arms again. He brushed his hand across her head and held her as close and as tight as he could without hurting her. There were now tears in his eyes too. Jared said as he rocked Marie gently in his arms, "Don't cry, baby. As long as you're O.K., everything will be all right .... Are you still bleeding?" Marie cried, "I don't know .... But I lost the twins! .... God, Jared, I lost the twins! .... And I missed my seminar!" Jared smiled and said, "Forget about the damn seminar!" Marie loudly said, "I didn't like that place!" Jared replied, "I didn't either. There was something very wrong going on there, and I didn't like Dr. Gorgioff that much." Marie added, "He was not at all like his letters!" She asked, "I am so thirsty. Can I have some water?" Jared quietly replied, "Of course."

Jared went into the bathroom and returned with a glass of water. Marie looked at the glass and said. "Not that water!" Jared smiled, "I see that you aren't completely out of it. I'll have to go out and get some bottled water. And I want you to be examined." Marie was crying again, "I don't want to be examined! I don't want them to touch me! Don't leave me! I'm scared!" Jared told her, "I promise that I won't leave you alone."

Jared returned to the bed and held Marie who was weeping again. He was trying to reassure her. "Marie, I know that you're upset about the babies. But we have to worry about you, now. Let's say a prayer for little Jared and little Marie. They didn't really have a chance in this cruel world." Marie asked, "You're not mad at me?" Jared smiling as he stroked Marie's head, "Why would I be mad at you?" Marie crying again, "But the twins! I lost the twins! You know that I have trouble carrying." Jared replied, "Marie, I am truly sorry that this had to happen, but you are the most important thing to me in the whole world. As long as you're O.K., everything will be all right." Marie was crying, "I didn't want to lose our babies. I thought that you would be mad at me for losing our babies." Jared said, "I'm not mad at you, Marie. I love you, and I want you to rest now." Marie was still sobbing, "O.K! .... You're sure .... you're not mad at me?" Jared reassured her, "['m not mad at you. Now rest. I'll be in the other room. We'll say a prayer for the little babies; they're surely in heaven now." Marie sobbing, "I think I was poisoned! You were right! Cyanide ... You didn't eat much of the dessert with the almond sauce on it. I think it was poisoned. That Dr. Luxembourg!" Jared said, "I don't know .... It tasted too sweet ... " Marie interrupted, "I tell you, it was poisoned!" Jared told Marie, "I have to call Yuri. I'II just be at the phone in the other room.

Jared stood up from the bed and looked very worried at Marie. He then quietly left the bedroom and went to the only phone in the other room. He looked up a number that he wrote down and dialed Yuri's office. The phone rang and rang with no answer. Finally someone answered and Jared asked, "Dr. Vassiloff, please. After what seemed like over a minute, someone finally found Yuri and he was on the phone. "Yuri, this is Jared. Marie has just had a miscarriage, and I need someone to examine her as soon as possible." Yuri asked, "Is she bleeding? Is she in pain?" Jared responded, "She lost some blood, but .... No, she doesn't appear to be bleeding at the moment, but she is in pain." Dr. Vassiloff said, "I will have someone over to your hotel room immediately. Please stay with her!" Jared responded, "Don't worry, Yuri, I won't leave her." Marie yelled from the other room, "I don't want to go to the hospital! Don't let them take me! ... Please, I don't want to ... " Jared entered the bedroom and said, "Don't worry, baby, Dr. Vassiloff is having someone come by just to check you out and make sure that nothing's wrong. Are you still bleeding?" Marie was sobbing, "No." Jared replied, "That's a good sign. Everything will be all right. We will get through this and go on."

The McNichols return from a difficult trip

Professor McNichols completed the minimum requirements of their trip to Russia, lecturing at two other Moscow institutions, and he and Marie booked an early return to Austin. Since Jared had to give several lectures in the span of a few days, they had to forgo their trip to St. Petersburg that Marie was especially looking forward to in order to return a week early to the States. On the plane trip home Marie was still sobbing about the twins.

The McNichols had been poisoned and badgered so much by evil people that Marie would never be able to carry a full-term pregnancy. Thus they would never feel the joy of parenthood. It was the single most precious thing that they had to give up in seeking the truth and helping the veterans and the Texas prison employees. In their travels all over the world it was always immediately noticeable that the one thing that bound all people together was the love for their own offspring and children in general. Having children to carryon a family's traditions was as old as mankind. This was a universal joy that Jared and Marie would never have the luxury of experiencing. Unfortunately, they would never leave a living legacy, and no one would be left to carryon the McNichols name and traditions, so they must do what they could by themselves to leave something for mankind.

The vicious people that attacked the McNichols in Austin and elsewhere scoffed at the couple, because they knew that they had all of the resources, they had all the power, and they had all the financial backing to completely and utterly destroy Marie and Jared, and they almost succeeded. God must have been protecting them, Jared and Marie reasoned, because they would have been long dead and buried by now, and their scientific struggles would only have been a distant memory, not even a brief footnote in the history of science. They would have been relegated to the dustbin of academia. But Marie and Jared would rise from the ashes of their personal anguish to continue their quest for the truth. They would not let what they considered the forces of evil tear them down to nothingness and destroy all that they had created in their quest to help their fellow man. Jared comforted Marie on the long journey back to Austin, for they both knew down deep that the horror that they have endured wasn't over yet. In fact, it may have only begun.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:09 am

Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER 10: Back in Austin

Dr. Clement Masters received a phone call from his old friend, Stephen V. Able, the financial 'broker' for the Cornealyus Group and a former national security advisor to the White House. Mr. Able, a popular figure around Washington and staunch Catholic with ties to the Opus Dei, a New World Order group linked to the Illuminati and Vatican financial empires, was an advisor to several former presidents and cabinet members. He was also the lead financial advisor for a Las Vegas casino-based financial group with ties to organized crime that funded biotechnology and energy projects around the world, including some in Austin. In fact, Mr. Able and his colleagues were the financial geniuses that funded biotechnology-spin offs from several universities that conducted classified work for the Pentagon and CIA on unconventional weapons of mass destruction, for 'biological defense,' of course.

In the United States there were over 120 universities that had been involved in Biological Defense projects, most of them classified, and American universities turned out to be fertile ground for the technology necessary to create small biotech companies. Texas was considered a good place to troll for new technology to establish 'biological defense' spin-off enterprises, because the Texas universities had actually coveted such programs that brought corporate funds to their universities, and this provided a sizable subsidy for new programs. Also, the Texas institutions did not have to worry so much about what some of their leadership considered the bleeding-heart pacifist faculties that were concentrated on the East and West Coasts that could disrupt important classified research programs.

The small biotechnology spin-off companies usually had legitimate 'covers' to protect their secrecy, so that their real mission could be hidden from public view and scrutiny. Since they were all privately held companies, they did not have to divulge anything to the public about what they did, and they often paraded around the communities where they were located as humanitarian companies that provided jobs and income to the community and answers to complex medical and health problems. However, what went on behind their locked doors was often quite different from their public image, and probably none of the communities where they resided had any notion of the medical risks to their citizens if these companies' biological creations ever escaped the confines of their buildings. This was a very real possibility when you consider that most of these companies did not have adequate containment facilities for the microbes that they were working on. In fact, one of the few Level 4 containment facilities in the country was located at Fort Detrick, and this was available for their most dangerous work, but it was hardly used by the companies under contract with the DoD. The notion that only a few containment facilities existed so that few exotic microbes could be handled at anyone time was simply faulty thinking. Such thinking probably could not prevent biological accidents from occurring at companies such as those that were located around the major cities of Texas.

Most of the spin-off biotech companies Boards of Directors were smart enough to make sure that they had a mix of classified and non-classified biomedical projects underway at anyone time. Their diversified approach to the marketplace was championed by their private investors, who wanted to see quick profits for conducting biological defense work, while they waited for the long-term profits from the approval of new drugs and medicines. They often manipulated the system so that the Federal Government actually subsidized their private for-profit commercial projects and provided needed income during the early stages of corporate development. The classified biowarfare projects from the government contracts were so lucrative that even many established corporations, such as the pharmaceutical giants and large defense corporations like the Las Vegas-backed Cornealyus Group, also had their own 'Biological Defense' programs hidden behind their grand PR efforts that produced endless TV commercials and magazine adds about 'wonder' drugs and products that were so expensive that the average person could barely afford them. The subsidies offered by the Federal Government for 'Biological Defense' projects were also attractive in helping the 'bottom line' bean counters project healthy future profits and thus added value when and if they ever had a public stock offering. By the time they went 'public' the Biological Defense subsidies would have been long forgotten.

Mr. Able had contacted Dr. Masters, because he was particularly concerned about the noise coming from some academics in the Austin biomedical community about some whistle blowers who could cause some potential damage to Able's Las Vegas casino-organized crime investors, but his real concern was that somewhere down the road the whole ugly mess might become public and tarnish some very powerful political families. One of his pet projects in Austin was a company called Biox, Inc., a spin-off from Virgil Rook's Microbiology Department at Belford College of Medicine.

The chief scientists at Biox, including its president and founder Dr. Mary Ling and her husband Dr. Henry P. Ling, were experts in microbiology and biological warfare. They had recruited some of the best scientists from the Medical Center to work either full-time or part-time at Biox. One of Biox's contracts with the Pentagon was to test new 'medical techniques' and 'drugs' in the prison system using the expertise of Belford and D. O. Madison and their contacts in the prison system, especially the three retired Army Colonels who now ran the Texas prison health programs.

Mr. Able's foremost 'success' in the biological defense area was to arrange financing of a spin-off company from the highly classified MKNAOMI program of the research effort at Fort Detrick. The project that was spun-off to the civilian sector was called Project P2, named after the inner Masonic order of the Opus Dei. Project P2 was a highly secret testing program in Africa and other parts of the Third World for new biological defense discoveries that many in the academic community might rightfully regard as eugenic programs. The principals in Project P2 had been responsible for sending contaminated vaccines to Central Africa to test for and prevent important diseases that were endemic there, such as small pox.

Project P2 was secretly headed by Dr. Harry Koppla, an esteemed Philadelphia scientist. As a pathologist he was interested in the effects of the new pathogens on isolated communities, but he was also a fiend that found pleasure in seeing what the potent new biologicals could do to more 'primitive' societies. When members of his own laboratory objected to his 'experiments,' they either died under suspicious circumstances similar to what had happened at the Madison or became gravely ill and unable to work, just like Marie. As an important member of the U. S. Academy of Sciences, Dr. Koppla would never be suspected of spreading genocidal agents to the African continent under the guise of his specially designed 'humanitarian' vaccine projects. What the African countries receiving the vaccines did not know at the time, and still do not know, was that the vaccines were secretly contaminated with various candidate biowarfare viruses and bacteria that required 'field testing' to determine their effectiveness under 'real world' conditions.

Some academics had accused certain members of the American science community, such as Dr. Koppla, of advising and even directing this Third World program. The highly secret Project P2 had been suspected by some scientists as the principal mechanism for spreading hepatitis, smallpox, HIV-l and other very dangerous pathogens to isolated regions of the Dark Continent for purposes of studying their community disease characteristics. An even more sinister role suggested by some scientists was that this project was part of a classified population reduction directive. As outlined in Henry Kissinger's now notorious National Security Study Memorandum 200, the document that promoted the 'National Security' justification for world population reduction by increasing the death rates in Third World countries, the long-term survival and the 'National Security' of the Western world and its culture was thought to depend upon reducing or limiting the world's population. One of the lead financial organizations, along with certain wealthy individuals and families, that provided funds for such insane eugenics research was the same Las Vegas organized crime-connected financial empire along with the European Illuminati, an empire that few understood who were not born into the organization. One of the principal sources of funding of the entire program was the giant multi-hundred billion dollar Cetta Dharma Trust, held off-ledger at a major bank in New York and whose trustees were some of the most prominent families and politicians in the world. It was also funded by an even larger multinational trust called the Five Star Trust.

Mr. Able was quite proud of his role helping the Las Vegas casino interests with their investments, which were also backed by the giant Cetta Dharma and Five Star Trusts. He was also involved with the government and financial networks that provided the technological seeds and financing for projects like Biox Incorporated. Thus he did not like to be told by his underlings that there were problems that could result in exposure, bad press and possibly even interruptions in the science of doom that had been conducted unabated in the United States since the early 1950s. Even though the United States was signatory to the 1972 Geneva Convention on Biological Warfare that prohibited the development of new offensive biological agents, their production, storage and testing, work on new biowarfare agents and their testing had continued unabated due to a clause in the treaty that permitted limited biological defense research. Important signatory countries to the treaty, such as the United States, China and the Soviet Union, had interpreted the treaty to mean that they could do just about anything that they wanted on biowarfare agents and their development. After all, it was quite difficult to ascertain the difference between defensive and offensive biological warfare research, and there were no provisions in the treaty for inspections of biological-capable countries to make sure that they were not cheating.

Some individuals had suggested that the downfall of Richard Nixon was caused, in part, by his attempt to shut down the massive United States biological defense program and convert its assets to more noble endeavors, such as the War on Cancer. Unfortunately, President Nixon was only partially successful in shutting down this program, resulting in only a minor blip in the covert science that supported the biological warfare programs of the United States. Mr. Able and his colleagues in the CIA and DoD were quite smug about their roles in circumventing this treaty by conducting 'biological defense experiments' that looked astonishingly like the prohibited offensive biological warfare mentioned in the treaty. After all, the other 'biological capable' countries around the world were doing the same thing, and we couldn't have a 'biological gap' like the famous and more public 'bomber gap' and later 'missile gap' between the Soviet Union and the United States of previous decades. The financial backers of this massive program, in particular, did not like public disclosure or discussion, because it could eventually come back to expose them as the public enemies that they were, rather than the humanitarian role models that had been projected by their own PR and by the American media.

Dr. Clement Masters was waiting for his call from Mr. Able when he was buzzed by his administrator, effectively jarring him out of his reverie of grandeur. He said forcefully but impatiently, "Yes! What is it?" The administrator answered, "Mr. Able is on line one." His demeanor instantly changed to a somewhat smug attitude as he pushed the button to place his phone in the speaker mode. He was, however, also nervous and was fidgeting with a paperweight. Dr. Masters had a lot to fidget about, because he was no longer held in the esteemed light that he thought he deserved by Mr. Able, who Dr. Masters considered just a financial lackey for some wealthy families, ex-Presidents and shady Las Vegas organized crime groups. While he fidgeted in his office he stared at a painting of the Texas bluebonnet flowers in full bloom under a mounted State of Texas Flag. Mr. Able finally broke his train of thought. "How are you Clement?" Dr. Masters responded, "How nice to hear from you, sir. How did the fishing go this year?

Mr. Able was in no mood to chat but he went along with the banter. "Clement, you know that I love Texas, but life does not get much better in New England than fishing off Maine. Sorry you were not here to join us this last summer. Listen, Clement, I hear that you have had some difficulty in handling that little problem of yours." Dr. Masters asked, "Are you referring to our projects with Belford and the prisons or the little problem with one of our faculty members? I think that we can handle them." Mr. Able responded, "That's not what I hear, Clement. I was told that you have dropped the ball!" Dr. Masters replied, "I respectively disagree, sir. I don't think we have dropped the ball. Perhaps we have had some problems, but nothing that we can't handle." Mr. Able said, "Those Doctors could make things embarrassing for us and the Pentagon. Not that they don't deserve it-the stupid and public way that they have been dealing with the veterans. Hell, even a moron could take care of the press with this Gulf War Syndrome thing, but the DoD and CIA seem to keep shooting themselves in the foot. We don't want to see this thing get out of hand, Clement. And then there's the question of Marie McNichols and the Trusts. We don't want her to find out that she is the principal heir to the Cetta Dharma and Five Star Trusts and the other trusts. That could cause some important families and politicians back here to be destabilized. They might eventually even have some financial problems as a consequence, and that goes for the government as well. I swear that her family is a blight on this planet. They and all their offspring should have been stamped out years ago."

Dr. Masters thought about what Mr. Able had said. "With all due respect, sir, I think you overestimate her and her family's influence. My contacts indicate that most of them have been eliminated. And I don't believe that I have failed entirely in my assignment. We have been very successful in completely discrediting her as well as her husband as people and as scientists. We have successfully blocked faculty appointments at the Medical Center, and we are in the process of removing her husband from his position. My deputies are overseeing a very effective character assassination campaign. We have made sure to blackball the two of them all over the country, and we have made sure that any invitations for them to speak, publish, you name it, have been blocked. It stands to reason that if her family was still so powerful, I could not do this." Mr. Able replied, "Well Clement, that's fine, but it's sophomore stuff. It's time to play hardball."

Dr. Masters became very nervous, because he thought that he was playing hardball with the McNichols. "Sir, I was thinking, and I would like to ask you if this ever occurred to you, that her family does not want her in science, and that we may possibly be playing into some agenda of theirs?" Mr. Able answered, "Dr. Masters, you're thinking again! I don't want you to think. Remember what I told you; I want you to do what you have been entrusted to do, and that's all. The rest is all academic crap! Is that perfectly clear?" Dr. Masters responded, "I believe that we are accomplishing our assignment as it was outlined to me." Mr. Able continued, "Clement, don't try to bullshit me; I am an old hand at bullshit tactics. You know exactly what I am interested in, and I want the situation corrected. Is that clear, Clement?"

Dr. Masters thought very carefully before he answered Mr. Able. "Yes, that's very clear." Mr. Able then asked, "Well then, what the hell happened in Moscow? What kind of games are you playing with us Clement?" Dr. Masters responded, "Sir, we're not playing games. In fact, we were just reviewing the circumstances around that trip and considering some alternative tactics. We are going to be successful-it's just a matter of time. You will just have to give us a bit more time." Mr. Able responded, "Goddamn it Masters! Haven't you been listening to anything that I've been saying? For once I want to get it through that thick head of yours. No one here gives a damn about the science or the academic blackballing. We want to see some 'real' results. Am I clear on that? You're going to get off your ass and be more productive. Am I making myself perfectly clear, Clement?"

Dr. Masters was near panic, because he now believed that his fate could be the same as Dr. Cannon's if he failed. "What do you want me to do? Is there any way we can continue to assist you?" Mr. Able said, "You know what to do. People commit suicide all the time. I hear that you have had quite a few down your way in the last couple of years. I don't see anyone complaining that they are no longer at the Madison, even if they had a little help in the process. And I know that you have been helpful in this regard as well. But I have to tell you, Clement, that hit on the Colonel was crude, very messy. That didn't show me much in the way of sophistication, and it caused quite a bit of bad press."

Dr. Masters did not answer Mr. Able. There was silence for some time, and then Mr. Able continued, "Clement are you listening? If I can suggest a story; you probably know the story well by now. A talented young scientist is driven to despair by the rejection of her colleagues, so she commits suicide." Dr. Masters asked, "What about her husband? He is one of the most respected scientists on our staff? Mr. Able replied, "That's easy! Have you ever heard of the story about how a rumor campaign gets started about how he has lost it and goes nuts because his young wife committed suicide, and he ends up the same way? Or another story that is popular is that he kills his wife in a jealous rage and then turns the gun on himself. Come on, Clement. You know the stories; you've seen things like this before. As I recall, you know this angle very well indeed! I recall the hematologist at your place who got too close to the truth about some of our testing programs in your nursing homes South of San Antonio and had to be 'corrected.'

Mr. Able was referring to the nursing homes purchased by the D. O. Madison for the specific purpose of testing their biological creations on unknowing human victims. What better way to find out their effects on humans and mechanisms of action than to inject the exotic biological creations into senior citizens who had outlived their usefulness to society, at least that was what the director of this program, Dr. Joseph Reichsmann, reasoned. As a senior member of the faculty and department chairman, Dr. Joseph Reichsmann, ran the testing program from his department at the Cancer Center under the cover of a large drug development program. Dr. Reichsmann was a former Colonel in the Army Medical Corps and well acquainted with the use of military personnel for these types of experiments. In fact, he had been involved in this program even before Dr. Masters arrived at the Madison.

Dr. Masters sneered and responded to Mr. Able. "I am especially proud of that operation. The police immediately put it down as a suicide. The only slight problem was that we had to kill the rumors that he wasn't suicidal and was talking too much to his friends, but we took care of it." Mr. Able continued, "The former Air Force Colonel who was going all soft and was trying to blow the whistle on our germ warfare experiments in your place. I didn't like that approach. It's not my style-too messy. I want a cleaner operation this time, Clement. We need to get going on this, and I don't want to have to contact Las Vegas and have some of their people come in and fix some more of your mistakes. Is that clear?" Dr. Masters, "Yes sir, it is." Dr. Masters was petrified at the thought of some Las Vegas 'contractors' coming down to Austin to 'correct' the situation, because he could easily visualize himself as part of the problem that needed correction. He must take care of this himself or face the wrath of people like Mr. Able-or worse-his Las Vegas bosses.

While Dr. Masters was thinking of how he could escape Mr. Able's wrath, the former National Security Advisor to the President was reflecting on his own role in 'protecting' America. 'Just think of the National Security aspects of this. While the goddamn commies were doing their anthrax experiments, we were just sitting on our asses. What in the hell were we supposed to do? Let Moscow get the better of us?" Dr. Masters replied subserviently, "No sir, I don't believe that we could afford to do that." Mr. Able responded, "Afford to do that! Hell, I get so damn sick of these bleeding hearts interfering in important matters that they know nothing about. Take your nursing home project. Who the hell cares if we get rid of a few sickly, old people who are nothing but a drain on our economy? And prisoners! I tell you, Hitler had a point' He just didn't go far enough. He didn't get them all." Dr. Masters looked out his window and became a bit abstracted. He weakly asked, "Sir?"

Dr. Masters' voice had a weak questioning tone. Mr. Able didn't like it, and he didn't let him finish his question. "Listen Clement. You will be doing a great service to your country and our Las Vegas interests by getting rid of that little bitch and her damned husband. In addition, they are interfering in our 'research' programs. Look, I hear you have an overcrowding problem down there in the prisons. What are a few prisoners, anyway? The way I see it, we are doing your State a favor by correcting their prison overcrowding problem. Clement, I don't hear the press screaming about the loss of a few condemned vermin."

Dr. Masters blurted out of nowhere, "I hate those Jews. They have polluted the planet, and even my own administration is full of them." Mr. Able answered, "Will you grow up Masters! This is not about Jews or Catholics or Muslims. This is about power and money and our survival! Our financial organization just uses the ethnic problem as a smokescreen to incite the old worn Biblical hatreds that keep our little Middle East armaments and oil markets going. You know, Clement? The concept of limited warfare to infuse a 'shot in the arm' to the global economy and keep prices and profits high. At the same time we can test our integrated warfare strategies." Dr. Masters replied, "Yes, Yes, I can see that." Mr. Able said sarcastically, "You can see that? Hell, it's potentially one hell of an investment, but we have to keep it going. And at the same time we can eliminate some undesirable elements from this planet. You know, Kissinger was right. We need to be concentrating more on controlling Third World populations."

Dr. Masters replied in a slightly puzzled way, "Sir, I really have not put enough thought into the more global issues." Dr. Masters was interrupted as he tried to continue by Mr. Able. "Why even some of the financiers of the so-called state of Israel don't give a flying fuck." The former White House National Security Advisor had a sarcastic tone to his voice. "Hell, these people even backed Hitler when it suited them. They just couldn't control him." Dr. Masters answered, "I feel the same way you do, sir." Mr. Able said, "Now you're finally listening, Clement. You won't disappoint me again, will you Clement?" Dr. Masters replied angrily, "By the time I finish with them they'll be dog meat." Mr. Able said again, "I still can't figure out why they survived Cambridge and then Moscow. It's a goddamn embarrassment, damn it! It would have been a good story. Scientist succumbs to exotic illness picked up while traveling. Damn, we even gave some others food poisoning at that conference to hide what you gave those two. I don't understand it. Clement, don't fail me again. I am running out of patience with everyone down there, and that includes you!"

Dr. Masters hesitated to bring up another important issue, at least to him and members of his staff. "Sir, there is one more minor issue, the financial aspects of ... " Dr. Masters was interrupted before he could finish his sentence. "Of course, Clement, my friends are always well-compensated! We'll take care of it, as always. Now I want you to get off your ass! Do you get my drift?" Dr. Masters had perked up and was now with the program, "Sir, you can count on me!" Mr. Able said, "Good boy, Clement-remember, don't let me down again. Give my best to June and the kids." Dr. Masters said, "Please give my best to Lana and your family." Mr. Able had a final thought, "Good-bye and remember, don't disappoint me! A lot is riding on this." Dr. Masters said, "Again, sir. I will not fail-you can count on that."

Dr. Masters' last comments were not heard by Mr. Able. He had hung up on his end of the line before Dr. Masters could finish. Clement Masters slammed down the phone, thought for a moment about how he hated those East Coast know-it-alls who had unlimited entree into the corridors of power and finance, and he took on the expression of a man who was scheming to be successful in his mission to 'correct' the deficiencies that had embarrassed him in the eyes of the power brokers. The McNichols had become a liability, and now an embarrassment. They were risking the good name of the D. O. Madison with their continued work with the veterans and now the prison employees. But it was the latter research that really concerned Dr. Masters, but he couldn't let on to his subordinates that he was worried about the situation. He didn't dare share his true feelings with them. He was proud of the way he could manipulate anyone in Austin to do what he wanted, but he was unsure of his abilities in the fast-paced world of Washington and New York. There his down home Southern style was less than useless-it was considered 'hicksville.'

Dr. Masters started mumbling to himself again. Some of his close colleagues considered that he was psychotic, and talking out loud to himself was a frequent habit. "It's too bad you're such a pretty little bitch, Marie. It might have been fun to have a whirl with you." He sighed, "Ah, well, I am certain, my pretty little kiss of death, that my reward for 'correcting' you will far outweigh any pleasure fucking you would have given me. Hell, I don't even know who is behind this Las Vegas organized crime bullshit. But it seems like yours truly will hit the Vegas jackpot. At least I know that the Cetta Dharma Trust exists, and that is one hell of a lot of money." Dr. Masters then made a sinister sounding laugh to himself. "Do I use that blow-hard Isaac Geldter to assist in this mission, or do I use my local sources to put out a more professional contract on the McNichols. That could get expensive. That bastard Colonel cost me a pretty penny, but it was certainly a foolproof way to proceed. Now let's see, that prick Mr. Able doesn't want any more publicity. So let's use the blow-hard first. If he can't do it, I'll just have to go back to my tried and true sources, even if its going to be a pain in the ass to move some funds through my Madison accounts. I don't see why I should have to personally pay for this! That Israeli creep Ricin would do an assignment like this with relish."

Dr. Masters was considering his options. "Geldter can't stand it if Jared McNichols outshines him, so with this assignment he can kill two birds with one stone. Discredit and eliminate Jared and then that bitch Marie. I may even promise him Jared's department. That whiner Francis is against that, but he can be overruled. I will just proceed as if I am going through the usual legal procedures to remove McNichols from his position. That will be a good cover." He clasped his hands together and then ordered his administrator on his intercom to contact his Vice President of Research and Dr. Geldter to set up an emergency meeting as soon as possible. He also told her to get in contact with the Legal Department. "Ms. Broderick, get Isaac Geldter and Francis Belcher to meet me here in my office as soon as possible, and get Legal on the phone." Ms. Broderick answered, "Yes, sir."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:10 am

Part 2 of 2

Back in the laboratory progress is being made

One of the programs that Jared initiated was a Gulf War Illness information project that sent information packages to veterans and their families and a similar program for prison guards and their families. The packages informed them about Gulf War Illnesses and the unusual illnesses in the prison system, how to have them diagnosed and some possible treatments. Jared had to be especially careful about the last part of the information packages on treatment strategies, because this was where the administration could attack him and he was aware of this. He was careful to use only peer-reviewed publications for this part. Once the information had been published, it was in the public domain, and it was more difficult for the administration to go after him for simply giving out duplications of peer-reviewed, published research.

The D. O. Madison administration was particularly angry aboutJared's information program, because they had been receiving calls from various people in Washington as well as locally from the State prison system and the VA to shut it down, because it was fostering too much publicity and questions in the community. Jared had been careful enough to use his own personal funds to pay for postage and copying, throttling an investigation initiated from Dr. Masters' office into misappropriation of State funds and resources in Jared's Department, which had become the most audited department in the Cancer Center.

Fortunately, Jared had some discretionary funds at his disposal that the President of the Cancer Center couldn't control, because they were from his endowed chair. The funds were to be used for whatever research project the recipient chose to use them for, and Jared had already survived a 'legal' challenge on this point from the Cancer Center's Legal Services Department. In fact, Dr. Masters and his henchmen even contacted the Dallas family that provided Jared's endowed chair to have their donation changed to a more restricted use at the Cancer Center. They also tried to have Jared removed from his own chair that the family had approved. After reviewing the situation, the family gave Jared a rousing letter of support that further infuriated Dr. Masters and the Madison administration.

In Jared's department this small operation was entirely in the hands of Blake Haley, a student in between high school and college that Marie and Jared had made one of their honorary godsons. Blake believed in what the McNichols were doing, so much so, in fact, that he cleverly resisted all of the pressures that the Madison administration put to bear to shut down Jared's little program. Blake had to do some maneuvering to avoid the department rats, such as Dr. Domasovitch and his staff, who were always snooping around trying to find some irregularity in hospital regulations or University Rules and Regulations to use against Jared. The scheming Dr. Domasovitch, who had benefited greatly from the support that Jared had given him over the years, even went so far as to have Blake's computer rigged with a silent 'alias' program so that he could retrieve everything that Blake had placed into his computer when the files were spooled for printing. He secretly did the same with Jared's computer, and each morning before six AM he used his secret master key provided by the administration to gain entry into Blake's and Jared's offices to make copies of what ever they were doing. Jared knew all about this from the few loyal people left in his office, and he laughed at such foolishness. He had offered to provide copies of anything that the Administration wanted from his computer, but Dr. Masters' weasels preferred to 'steal' the information, perhaps to gain favor with the higher-ups in the administration and prove their loyalty.

Jared once caught Dr. Domasovitch measuring his office as if to see how his own furniture would fit into a much more roomy space rather than his more cramped office quarters down the hall. Jared loved to play tricks on the rats by removing the alias programs and files from his computer or placing notes in the alias files telling them that he would be pleased to send them everything. Jared was sure that this infuriated Domasovitch. Since Jared's email was re-routed before it arrived in the Department, Domasovitch wasn't responsible for that type of electronic communication, but the faxes that came directly into the office were routinely intercepted by the office personnel and given to Domasovitch. Then he tried one morning to poison Jared's coffee. But since it tasted quite unusual Jared decided not drink it. Besides, it was hand-delivered by Dr. Domasovitch himself, and Jared immediately became suspicious and took only a sip before throwing it into a waste container.

There was also a cat and mouse game being played at the McNichols' home in Queenswood. Each morning after the mailman delivered the mail to the McNichols' large mailbox out on the street in front of their house, one of the faculty rats or one of Jared's postdoctoral students recruited by Domasovitch and who placed the alias programs in Jared's computer, were there to retrieve all of the mail for delivery to Dr. Masters' office for examination. Jared went so far as to complain to the U. S. Postal Service Inspectors about his and Marie's mail being stolen from their mailbox, but to no avail. In time the stolen mail would end up in a large pile in several boxes at a regional post office in North Austin. They were never able to recover their mail.

For sensitive materials Jared had to resort to a postal box at a local shopping center. He and Marie had given up on ever receiving any U. S. Mail on time, if they received it at all. They usually found that their mail was postmarked months before it actually arrived. The mail had more likely been intercepted by Dr. Masters' rats. Similarly, any faxed materials received at or sent to the Department office would be copied, and presumably all the telephone calls were monitored as well.

Dr. Masters was looking for something, anything that he could use against Jared and Marie. When Jared prepared a manuscript for publication, he had to be especially careful. If the department rats found out about the manuscript or where it was to be sent, the information was passed to Dr. Belcher or Dr. Geldter or one of the other faculty conspirators, who would then contact the journal to influence the editor that the data were tainted or faked. Since science and medicine were so competitive anyway, such an effort was usually disastrous to an individual's reputation. Journal editors had no way of determining who was telling the truth, so they usually avoided any controversy by returning the manuscript without any editorial decision. This was how Dr. Masters and his underlings slowly eroded the stature and prestige of Professor Jared McNichols, who had built his reputation over a 25- year period, only to see it quickly torn down. Colleagues stopped calling him or writing him letters, they removed invitations to speak at international meetings and conferences, and in general the campaign to paint Marie and Jared as over-the-edge scientists who had flipped their lids succeeded.

Drs. Geldter and Krappner played important roles in the discrediting process, and they spent much of their time on the phone during working hours to insure that Jared and Marie didn't have a chance to present their data at conferences and meetings. Even when Jared did receive important invitations, such as an invitation received by fax from Sweden to speak at a prestigious meeting, he never received it. The Department rats and the Madison administration had instructed the office personnel to keep such items from Jared, and they were given instead to Dr. Domasovitch for daily delivery to Dr. Masters' office. In this case, the organizer of the conference in Sweden sent a copy of the fax by regular mail, and Jared just happened to be in the outer office when it arrived, and he grabbed it before it was collected for forwarding to Dr. Masters.

Jared would never find out how many invitations and communications were intercepted and later destroyed. Fortunately, some of Jared's colleagues were wise to the ways of Dr. Masters and his underlings, who they considered sinister or even evil. There were even some acts of passive-aggressive behavior within Jared's faculty and staff by people who didn't like the way Jared and Marie were being treated. Most of the faculty that had been around the Medical Center for many years had seen this type of behavior before from Dr. Masters, the Madison and also Belford College of Medicine, and some of them even secretly attempted to warn Jared and even tried to thwart some of the more obvious acts against the couple.

The similarity of Gulf War Illness with the Wallsville Prison Illness

In the laboratory Bob Sonan had been assisting in the gathering of the data on the Gulf War veterans and the state prison guards and prison employees and their families. He had come to Jared's office to talk to Jared and Marie about the latest results. Bob said, "It's just like you said. About 45%, of the veterans' samples are coming up positive for Mycoplasma, and about 80% of these are Mfi infections. And in the prison guards and other prison employees, more than 50% are coming up positive, and again more than 80% of these are also Mfi positive. Jared looked briefly at the results and returned to the board where a new table had been taking up space. Blake was also in the office, and he had been collecting the signs and symptoms data from the prison employees and their family members in the Wallsville area. After Jared had finished, he stood back and they examined the table.

Image

Jared looked at the data. "They all look pretty much the same to me. And what's the common denominator, Mfi, at least for half of the patients." Bob asked, "What do you think the other one-half have?" Jared responded, "Either a similar type of chronic infection or something else. For example, we know that the Gulf War veterans were exposed to a variety of chemicals, so the illnesses in the patients who do not test positive for a Mycoplasmal infection could be from chemical exposures, or some other type of biological exposure. In the case of the prison system, a common infection that causes a lot of skin problems is Staphylococcus aureas. In fact, the Texas prisons have had a major problem with antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureas infections or MRSA."

Although the Texas prison system had tried to cover up the presence of the MRSA epidemic over the years, it had now passed into the Texas population outside of the prison system. Jared continued, "Some patients have actually died from this infection when it became systemic, progressed and could not be treated with the usual antibiotics. Both the Mycoplasma and Staph infections could be related to the testing programs in the prison system, but the mere presence of these unusual infections did not prove that they were from testing programs." Some of the employees in the prison clinics indicated to Blake that Belford scientists and some scientists from a small biotech company with the ridiculous name Biox were testing vaccines and other biologicals at the Wallsville unit.

Marie perked up at the mention of Biox. "Biox was started out of my old department at Belford by the Lings, the husband and wife microbiologists. They seemed very interested in our Mycoplasma experiments. In fact, Mary Ling met me outside the building a few weeks ago and asked me why I was still alive? I asked her if she was involved in my poisoning, and she turned white and ran away. I thought that it was so bizarre that I didn't bother to mention it." Jared asked, "What else do you know about Biox?" Marie said, "Well, I know that Dr. Ming Lon was working there for approximately a year." Jared asked, "You mean the same Ming Lon of the Army Institute of Pathology Research?" Marie answered, "Yes, the very same. Did you know that his M.D. degree was from Belford?" Jared exclaimed, "No kidding! Do you think that Ming Lon was involved in Mfi experiments in the Wallsville prison?" Marie answered, "I'd say it was very likely, from what we have found in the sick prison guards and other employees. Some of them claim that Dr. Lon was even at the Wallsville Prison to collect blood." Jared said, "You know what this means, don't you?"

Jared asked for their attention so that they could discuss the unusual gene sequences found in the veterans' and prison guards' blood samples that tested positive for Mfi. "We almost forgot to discuss the most interesting result. I think that this is very significant. What you found is going to shake everything up and change the way we look at this problem. I am referring to the HIV-l gene controls. The Mfi results also indicate the presence of a piece of or a complete HIV-l gene in the same samples. Those HIV-I gene sequences weren't supposed to be there! That a part of the env gene was found but not the pol or rev genes in the Gulf War veterans' samples indicates that this might be a gene modification in the Legal Services to insure that Dr. Masters was complying with University regulations. Eventually Dr. Masters relented in firing Jared at this time, but he was still furious that the university lawyers refused to let him dismiss Dr. McNichols on the spot. But he did manage to get the university lawyers to agree that if Jared failed to comply completely with the stipulations in the "warning letter," then Dr. Masters could have his way. Jared knew he was in trouble when he received the letter from Dr. Masters.

December 7, 1994

LEGAL SERVICES

Professor Jared McNichols
Chairman, Department of Cancer Biology
The D. O. Madison Cancer Center
Austin, Texas

Dear Professor McNichols;

You are no doubt aware that the Cancer Center has received numerous inquiries related to some statements you have made concerning your research on the microorganism Mycoplasma fermentans. I have discussed the matter with Dr. Clyde Bane, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Dr. Francis Belcher, Vice President for Research, as well as several other vice presidents and administrative and legal officials at our institution. We share a common concern that scientific support for your statements must be reviewed by officials of the institution to protect both your reputation as a scientist and the Cancer Center's good name as an internationally renowned center of excellence. I have the following directives that I expect to be followed, effective immediately.

I. Administrative Approvals. We have no institutional record of any administrative approval of the research from your laboratory on this field of investigation, nor do we have any formal data to substantiate your claims concerning the subject.

2. Biohazzard Approvals. We can find no approvals that would permit experimentation with a dangerous and communicable pathogen of this nature within the institution.

3. Relationship to Mission of the Institution. We find no relationship between this issue and cancer, and we can find no relationship of this research to the mission of the institution.

4. Administrative Authorization to Use Facilities. We have found no authorization for the use or the application of institutional facilities, resources or faculty reputation in this area.

I have made arrangements for you to meet with Drs. Bane and Belcher and I as soon as possible to review the pertinent information that forms the basis of your statements and publications. I am appointing an expert review panel of impartial specialists to help clarify and resolve these serious allegations. In the meantime, you will cease all research in this area and refrain from making any public statements until all of the issues surrounding Mycoplasma fermentans have been resolved.

Given your reputation as a productive and conscientious scientist, I am certain that you recognize your special responsibilities in the area of scientific rigor and scholarly integrity. It is imperative and I am prepared to take appropriate action to fulfill our institution's responsibilities to the public.

Sincerely,

Clement A. Masters, M.D.
President


Jared had only a few days to reply to the formal letter from the Department of Legal Services signed by Dr. Masters. He did his best to reply quickly, and actually he beat Dr. Masters' deadline. If he had not answered Dr. Masters' letter within the allowed time, he would have been immediately dismissed. Jared realized that Dr. Masters was after him and especially Marie, and Dr. Masters had a reputation for always getting his way, especially when he wanted to fire someone. Once Dr. Masters had it in for one of the breast cancer oncologists at The Madison, and he had one of his henchmen watch his clinic to see if any hospital rules were ever violated. The oncologist slipped one night and left patients in his service waiting to be seen. Dr. Masters was immediately notified, and he went directly to the clinic and made arrangements on the spot to fire the tenured oncologist the next day.

Jared knew that it might only be a matter of time before one of his department rats found something, even minor, and the ax would fall. His only hope was that Dr. Masters, who would have to retire on or before August 31, 1996, would go first and go quietly. Therefore, he decided to work a bit harder to see that he would not be leaving the Cancer Center before Dr. Masters, knowing full well that he was holding a very poor hand of cards compared to the powerful and egotistical Dr. Masters, who held all the aces and always got his way. The key would be to draw out the game and keep Dr. Masters off balance.

December 10, 1994
Clement A. Masters, M.D.
President
The D. O. Madison Cancer Center
Austin, Texas

Dear Dr. Masters,

Concerning the comments in your recent letter of December 7, 1994 and the meeting that you have scheduled in your office, I have the following statements.

l. Administrative Approvals. We have no institutional record of any administrative approval of the research from your laboratory on this field of investigation, nor do we have any formal data to substantiate your claims concerning the subject. As to the point that a registered research project does not appear on institutional administrative records, this policy was abandoned two years ago in favor of departmental records, and of course, this does appear on our department records as a legitimate research project.

2. Biohazzard Approvals. We can find no approvals that would permit experimentation with a dangerous and communicable pathogen of this nature within the institution. This project involves the proper handling of patient samples, and it conforms to our existing institutional requirements of registration of patient blood and blood products. Furthermore, the project received approval from the Biohazard Office at our institution. We have ample experience in dealing with the biohazards associated with the handling of blood, and we take the same precautions with every sample of blood that is analyzed in our department. In addition, we are not nor have we ever attempted to culture any infectious agent from patient blood samples. Once we complete the development of a commercially useful diagnostic test for Mycoplasma fermentans incognitus, large-scale testing or clinical trials will not be done at our institution.

3. Relationship to Mission of the Institution. We find no relationship between this issue and cancer, and we can find no relationship of this research to the mission of the institution. I find the comment that the research does not have any relationship to the mission of our institution interesting. We have several ongoing projects at our institution in several clinical and basic research departments on infectious microorganisms. In fact, the old Virology Department was merged into my own department, and several faculty members work on infectious microorganisms in this and other departments. One only has to read the recent Annual Research Report of the D. O. Madison Cancer Center to see the wide variety of infectious agents that are being examined by our staff as well as new approaches in the clinical management of such infections in our patients. Thus an important part of the mission of our institution is to investigate infections that could be transmitted to cancer patients who often have compromised immune systems. This is why our institution has a separate clinical unit just for the identification and treatment of infectious microorganisms.

4. Administrative Authorization to Use Facilities. We have found no authorization for the use or the application of institutional facilities, resources or faculty reputation in this area. I find this comment interesting, since we do have administrative approval. The Vice President of Research approved of the research with his signature on a Federal grant application of mine on the very same subject. By his signature on this grant application, the institution has formally approved of the research and agrees to accept a grant in the subject area if it is awarded. In addition, the research had departmental approval, and funding was made available from my own endowed chair. No new facilities, resources or funding was requested from the administration, and the research complies with all safety and biohazard regulations. As to the comment about my reputation, I remind you that I have 25+ years of scientific experience, have published over 400 scientific papers and edited 12 books, am one of the 100 most-cited scientists in the world in the biomedical sciences, serve as Editor or Associate Editor on 15 medical and scientific journals and enjoy a scientific reputation that is matched by few at our institution. As I mentioned above, we are also collaborating with some of the most renowned scientists in the world in Mycoplasma research.

There have been very few statements made to the public or press concerning the Desert Storm Illness and the possible involvement of a pathogenic mycoplasma in this illness. Our data form the basis of three peer-reviewed publications on the subject in academic journals. The statement that seemed to trouble the Administration of the D. O. Madison Cancer Center was that we have obtained preliminary evidence that unusual gene sequences might be in a pathogenic mycoplasma found in patients with this disorder. While admittedly preliminary, that is exactly how it was presented. This statement is strengthened by published data on other unusual, inserted sequences found in this mycoplasma by the U.S. Army Institute for Pathology Research. In addition, it is strengthened by preliminary data from the laboratory of Professor Gerald Brookman, a leading expert on this type of microorganism, in the University's Medical School Microbiology Department. You have my assurances that any future statements will be carefully drafted to insure that they are backed up by sound laboratory and clinical data.

Concerning the review of our research by the Cancer Center, I doubt that we have anyone on our staff who is an expert in this area and can do this in a fair and unbiased manner. Therefore, I suggest if you need assistance in the evaluation of our data that individuals who are experts in the area, such as the professor indicated above, be called in to examine our data. I believe that it is hardly necessary to establish a local committee to oversee and screen our research. In fact, there is no precedent at the Cancer Center for such action, and it smacks of political control over our academic right to conduct research that has the chance to benefit many patients who are currently being denied care and treatment.

I assure you that the utmost care will be taken to ensure that accurate, critical data will emerge from our studies, and these will be subject to critical peer-review, as were three of our publications on this subject in respected medical publications during the last year. At the appropriate time, our techniques and procedures will be transferred to another institution that deals more exclusively with these and other types of infections, so that a suitable clinical trial can be initiated. I hope that this letter adequately addresses your concerns.

Sincerely,

Jared McNichol, Ph.D.
Samual Burker Chair in Cancer Research
Professor and Chairman


Jared never heard directly from Dr. Masters or the Legal Services Office concerning his letter of response to Dr. Masters' letter. He decided to not press his luck, so he tried as much as possible to take a low-key approach by refusing the many press interviews and refusing to go on local TV. He was, however, asked by the National Security Committee of the House of Representatives to testify on his research, and he was also asked to present his case to the President's Commission on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses in Washington DC. These and other formal requests for expert testimony could not be ignored, and his travel requests could not be blocked by the Administration because Jared received formal notice from the United States Government for his expert testimony, the equivalent of a legal summons.

As time went on Jared became more and more disillusioned with the faculty at the D. O. Madison Cancer Center. He assumed that at least some of the faculty would come to his defense, but in reality very few ever did. Most of the faculty, at least those that were recruited for the purpose of driving the McNichols from the institution, were quite content to take the perks that the Administration was offering to go after him, even the faculty in his own department that were originally recruited and nurtured by Jared. The most disappointing of the faculty 'rats' were the ones that Jared had actually helped the most in terms of their own careers. They turned on him like hyenas on a dying animal-without one hint of remorse or regret. Perhaps they thought that tearing down Jared would leave them with higher salaries, more lab space, higher positions and additional perks but, of course, the administration rarely came through with their promises. Perhaps the administration felt that it didn't have to fulfill its promises, and to do so might even smack of academic manipulation and actually give credence to the allegation that the administration was orchestrating a smear campaign against Jared to drive him from the institution.

Dr. Masters did, however, ultimately reward a few of the faculty members in Jared's department. One of these was Dr. Domasovitch, Jared's first academic appointment and a disappointment as a researcher, who was elevated to an administrative position in the Department of Educational Affairs where he could sit all day in his office and play around with the teaching programs of the institution, making graduate course A into course B, and vice versa. Since he was considered a mediocre scientist, the administration had to find something to elevate his pay status. Marie had warned Jared that most of the faculty in his department had no character and would not come to his defense. Jared felt otherwise, but Marie turned out to be completely correct about Drs. Nosan, Domasovitch and an immunologist, Bill Costerman. Jared had fought hard to get tenure for Dr. Costerman at the Cancer Center. Jared had recruited Dr. Costerman from the Midwest where he had been a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of one of Jared's friends and colleagues. Jared actually considered Bill Costerman a friend, or at least Jared thought he was a friend, but Jared would learn the hard way that some of the young faculty that he advised and aided along their career paths would do just about anything to get ahead. In this case Dr. Costerman was either a very insincere person or he was so ambitious that destroying Jared to get ahead at the institution was of no particular concern to him. Dr. Costerman was the department's representative to the Faculty Senate, and in this position he was able to bring information to the Senate that was potentially damaging to Jared. At one point the Senate was strongly considering sanctioning Jared, and the administration was pushing for just such action, and it was Costerman who would provide the necessary faculty 'corroboration' for the attack.

The chairman of the Faculty Senate was none other than Dr. Joseph Reichsmann, the senior faculty member who was responsible for running the biological testing program in the nursing homes South of San Antonio purchased by the Madison to test biological cocktails on human subjects without their consent or knowledge. Dr. Reichsmann hated Jared and Marie for interference in programs that were not their concern. He was pleased, indeed, to have Dr. Costerman provide information on Jared for the Faculty Senate from within Jared's own department. This added credence to the allegations sent secretly to the Senate from Dr. Masters through Dr. Clyde Bane to Dr. Reichsmann that Jared was acting in ways that they considered unethical or not in the best interests of the D. O. Madison. Unknown to Jared, Dr. Reichsmann was coordinating a secret Faculty Senate 'investigation' of Jared's activities, including his research on Gulf War Illness patients and the prison guards and their families. The function of the 'secret' Faculty Senate committee was to consider the unsubstantiated allegations made against Jared and to make recommendations to the administration on what to do with their wayward faculty member. The committee was being pushed by Dr. Reichsmann to recommend termination of Jared; however, when it came time for the committee to consider exactly which University rules and regulations that Jared had violated, there was intense disagreement on the committee as to whether Jared had in fact violated any University rules and regulations. On one side was Dr. Reichsmann, aided by Dr. Costerman from Jared's department, and on the other side were faculty members who could see that it was a set-up to stifle Dr. McNichols' research. They probably could see themselves in a similar situation if they dared some day to conduct research that was considered politically incorrect by the administration.

The faculty members in Jared's department, and in fact the entire institution, were divided into three camps when it came to Jared McNichols -- those who jumped at the chance to ingratiate themselves to the D. O. Madison Administration at any cost, those who remained completely neutral and refused to take sides at all in the debate, and those that actually defended Jared and fought with the faculty that were easily recruited by the Madison administration for their dirty work. As one might expect, the weakest faculty in terms of their abilities and academic prowess were the ones who most eagerly signed on to the McNichols' harassment and defamation programs. Only the academically strongest faculty came to Jared's defense, but they couldn't fight the D. O. Madison administration and all the other faculty members who wanted to ingratiate themselves to the administration at any cost. Even the D. O. Madison administration wasn't monolithic when it came to Jared McNichols, however, and there were some members of Dr. Masters' own administration that disagreed strongly with his attempts to terminate Jared.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:46 am

Part 1 of 2

CHAPTER 11: The Veterans and Prison

Guards ask for Help (1995)


During the time that the controversy raged in Austin the McNichols became lifelong friends with Sandy Maitland and her husband Clayman, the couple from Wallsville, the prison town struck with the 'Wallsville Mystery Illness.' Their daughter Jenny who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease or ALS at the Belford College of Medicine, slowly began to recover from her 'terminal' condition on the antibiotic doxycycline, as did other residents struck down with unusual degenerative neurological diseases in Wallsville. If their daughter really had ALS, an antibiotic like doxycycline would have had little effect on her condition. The neurologists at Belford were mad at Marie and Jared for interfering with their East Texas ALS patients, but of course, Jared and Marie really had nothing to do with the Belford neurological patients, other than to test some of them to see if they had chronic bacterial infections. If they found chronic infections in these patients, they were provided with Jared's published information on how the infections could be treated.

Although the D. O. Madison was angry with the McNichols for interacting with patients that came to them for help, they couldn't easily interfere with people who freely called or wrote to a tenured faculty member to ask for advice. Jared was careful not to openly contact patients-they did not advertise or recruit any patients from area physicians or claim in any way that they treated patients or accepted patients for any clinical studies. The patients that came to the McNichols were strictly word-of-mouth referrals. Somehow they found the McNichols, and the only reason that they flocked to the Austin laboratory was that they were not receiving the assistance that they needed to overcome their illnesses. The McNichols were wary enough to leave the diagnosis and treatment of diseases like ALS, MS and other neurological disorders to neurologists, and they did not get directly involved in their initial work-ups or treatments in any way, even though some patients pleaded with them for assistance with laboratory studies on chronic infections.

Jared made sure that no one interfered with any physician's diagnosis or treatments, and they would only consider assisting patients that had exhausted all of the traditional medical services available to them. Sometimes the McNichols did get involved in certain patients' programs, if they considered that the patients had been treated unfairly or that their initial diagnoses were obviously wrong or their treatments generally ineffective. For example, they did not consider patients like Jenny Maitland to be classical ALS patients, notwithstanding the original diagnosis by a qualified neurologist. Jared had been trying to get the Belford neurologists to listen to his argument about Mycoplasma fermentans and neurodegenerative diseases, but they would not budge from their positions, even though they could offer their patients essentially nothing in the way of effective treatments. These neurologists all too easily sacrificed their patients rather than admit that they did not have all of the answers to the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Most if not all neurologists did not believe in nor were they open-minded enough to consider an infectious basis for most neurodegenerative diseases, even if infections were indirect factors in the process or suspected co-factors for diseases like ALS, MS, Lupus and other diseases. They also refused to listen to Jared as a scientist when he agreed with them that it was unlikely for neurodegenerative diseases to be solely caused by mycoplasmal or other infections. But Jared argued that the Mycoplasmas in combination with other infections, genetic propensity and other factors might be important in neurodegenerative diseases. After all, weren't viral infections of the central nervous system an important neurological problem? Thus the McNichols found that certain infections might be important co-factors that did not cause the disease on their own but could playa role in its progression or in its inception. Thus chronic infections might be more important than realized in diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Pick's, and various forms of dementia. In fact, there was already some evidence in the literature indicating the presence of certain nervous system infections in these diseases.

The mindset of most physicians was that if an infection was causing a particular clinical problem, then everyone with that specific infection should come down with exactly the same disease. It was the old warn-out 'single agent' cause and effect argument, such as poliovirus caused only polio, and that was it. This was certainly not the case for chronic infections, such as Mfi. This type of infection and probably other chronic bacterial and viral infections seemed to be implicated in a variety of diseases and illnesses but not in every clinical case. These illnesses were quite diverse, and the observation that every patient did not have the same type(s) of chronic infection(s) had been used over the years to completely dismiss any relationship between illnesses and chronic infections. The fact was that certain syndromes, such as fatiguing illnesses (chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome, Gulf War Illnesses), rheumatic diseases (rheumatiod arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Lupus, Reiter's), respiratory diseases (asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema), vascular diseases (atherosclerosis, vasculitis, endocarditis, myocarditis), gastrointestinal disorders (inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, ulcers) and other conditions, showed very high rates of chronic infections. Even more interesting were patients, whose chronic infections were successfully treated, that subsequently recovered from their illnesses. Thus it seemed ridiculous to dismiss the role of chronic infections out of hand in these illnesses. But this was exactly what most physicians were trained to do.

The notion that chronic infections potentially played a role in so many clinical conditions seemed to fly in the face of conventional medicine. In fact, one of the neurologists who had a lot to hide because of his involvement with the deadly Belford experiments in the prison system complained to Dr. Clyde Bane at The Madison that Jared was interfering with the treatment of his patients. Jared was concerned that this would cause him more problems with Dr. Masters, who was just looking for an excuse to fire him. The neurologist was mainly upset, however, that patients were considering other neurology services rather than Belford's Neurology Department. Fortunately, he really didn't care about any blood tests that the McNichols were performing on the patients that came to his practice. He was just upset at losing patients to other services or other practices. Jared argued that he would have lost the patients anyway, because he had nothing to offer them in the way of effective treatments.

Finally, the Belford neurologists decided that the presence of infections in their patients was all coincidence, and the chronic system-wide infections like Mycoplasma fermentans were not in their medical domain, so they simply ignored the obvious findings. Ironically, the neurologists at Belford had never successfully treated an ALS patient to recovery in the history of the Neurology Department, so they should have been at least somewhat interested in the apparent slow but complete recovery of an ALS patient diagnosed by their neurology service on Jared's antibiotic and immune enhancement protocols. Not so! In fact, it was just the opposite. They were also very angry that in the future their neurology patients might decide to leave the 'specialist' care given by neurologists and go to a general practitioner, which was exactly what was happening with some of the ALS patients who never went back to Belford. With the slow recovery of Jenny from her 'terminal' disease, the angry Maitlands agreed to be the contact point in Wallsville for the prison guards and employees and their families who became sick with unusual illnesses and neurological diseases that could not be diagnosed by local physicians.

The Maitlands received so many calls that Sandy was tied up most of the day with the problems of the prison employees and their families. Sandy turned out to be quite the social worker, barefoot physician, psychologist and marriage counselor all rolled up in one. She also read everything that she could get her hands on to the castigation of the prison doctors who had been ducking the question of illnesses in the Wallsville Prison, among its employees and in the surrounding community. In fact, the prisons wouldn't comment at all about the illnesses in the community, as they claimed that it was out of their jurisdiction, even if most of the illnesses were localized in prison employees' families.

The local physicians in the Wallsville area didn't know what to do with all the people who were coming down with the Wallsville 'Mystery Illness.' They had no idea how to treat it or even determine what it was. Could it be severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Rheumatoid Arthritis? MS? Lupus? Also, they received little or no assistance from the State prison system, even though most of the sick people in the community were prison employees or their family members. Since a link with the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) prisons, the largest employers of Wallsville residents, and the 'Mystery Illness' was undeniable, rumors in the community were rampant about the origin of the Disease-it was obviously originating from the Wallsville Prison and other TDC facilities in the area.

People in Wallsville respected Sandy Maitland because of her innate intelligence and the fact that her husband was the Assistant Warden of the Wallsville prison, so Sandy and especially Clayman were in a position to know what was happening in the prison. Unfortunately, they did know. There were lots of prisoners with the 'Mystery Illness' in the prison, so much so, in fact, that the prison hospital was full, and sick prisoners were being transferred to other institutions where hospital beds were available. Clayman was in a difficult position because he was the Assistant Warden of the prison, so he let his outgoing wife Sandy handle all the calls about the health problems that the local people brought to the family.

Sandy Maitland brought some important news and information to the McNichols. She and her comrade-in-arms (some would claim co-conspirator) Cindy Black had found some documents in Austin from the TDC Prison Board Minutes that could be important in determining why there were so many sick citizens in Wallsville. Together with the information that they had received from Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiries, they pieced together a reasonable scenario for what happened in the prisons. It seemed that the TDC Prison Board approved a number of clinical trials at Wallsville and other Texas prisons, including some involving dangerous contagious pathogens and experimental vaccines during the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the clinical trials were sponsored by the DoD or pharmaceutical companies, and most were administered by Marie's old colleague, Dr. Virgil Rook and the Belford College of Medicine. Some were joint trials between Belford and the D. O. Madison.

Sandy also had the results of the State Health Department report on the Trinity River Region. These two items peaked the interest of Jared, who immediately asked Sandy about what she had found. First, they discussed the Texas Environmental Resources Department, which did an environmental study on the water in the Trinity River and surrounding areas and produced a report on their findings. The report was quite extensive and studied several possibilities, but it only focused on the water and water sources, such as wells in the area. The negative results were reported in the local paper with much fanfare.

The report also included the original complaint, which did not even mention the water at all as a possible source for the illnesses. In fact, the complaint named the Wallsville Prison and other prisons in the area as the most logical source, but this was apparently ignored by the Department of Environmental Resources. Sandy was mystified, but Jared mentioned a possible reason. "You know, the Environmental Resources Department is not going to investigate another State Department, especially one as insular as the TDC. What probably happened is that the TDC told them to layoff their departmental area and go do their study elsewhere. Since they could easily access the water supplies in the area, they concentrated on what they could access. This is like the story of the drunk who lost a dime from his pocket at night, but the only place he looked was under a lamp post down the street because that was the only place where there was enough light to see anything. Of course, he never found the dime!"

Sandy immediately understood the analogy. "Exactly! This was our main complaint about the study. They didn't follow up on the most logical source." Sandy continued, "But we did manage to find some interesting documents in the TDC Board of Minutes. As a footnote in the Board minutes, three or four recently retired colonels had replaced the entire upper level medical management staff at the TDC during the late 1970s to mid-1980s. These colonels were from the U. S. Army Medical Corps. Jared thought that was particularly interesting and wondered if any of them had ever been posted at Fort Detrick or other facilities where biological warfare research had been conducted.

The newly hired ex-Army colonels immediately revved up the TDC's clinical prison research programs and the testing of new biologicals and vaccines with Belford and to a lesser degree D. O. Madison and other Texas universities. Sandy was very proud of her find. "The information was right in the TDC Board of Directors minutes." Marie said, "No wonder Dr. Rook was so interested in what was going on in the prison system. I always thought that he was volunteering his time at the prisons to help the prisoners. What hypocrisy! I knew that he was running clinical trials at the prisons, but I had no idea exactly what these trials were all about. Other faculty members in his department, such as Dr. Richard Chair, head of the Virus Program at Belford, were also heavily involved in the prison trials. So were the Drs. Ling." Sandy perked up and said, "There was a Dr. Ling listed in the minutes, along with a funny sounding company with an X in its name." Marie exclaimed, "Biox?" Sandy answered, "That could be it. That sounds familiar. Jt was a very peculiar name, and it didn't say exactly what they were going to do with Belford and D. O. Madison, except that they were going to use Mycoplasmas and viruses to stimulate immunity, whatever that means."

Jared placed his hand on Sandy's shoulder. "I think that you just hit the jackpot. Remember, I asked you about Dr. Ming Lon and what he was doing?" Sandy replied as she was going through the stack of papers, "Yes, and I found him along with the .... here it is, Biox Incoporated.' Marie said, "Bingo! That's it, Biox! Ming Lon was coming down to Texas from Washington to do research on mycoplasmas in the Texas prison system and at Biox, a spin-off from his and myoid department at Belford!" Sandy continued, "It gets better. Although the mycoplasma and virus projects that were approved included Belford and the Biox company, I know from my contacts that Dr. Lon and the company scientists conducted these specific experiments at only a few of the Texas prisons, and one of these was Wallsville!" Jared asked, "Were there any cases of unusual or 'Mystery Illnesses' in the communities around the other prisons that weren't part of the clinical trials involving Belford, D. O. Madison, Biox or Dr. Lon?" Sandy paused for a moment, looked at her notes and replied, "Not to my knowledge!" Jared said, "That has got to be it! Do you have a list of the types of clinical trials that were being conducted by name, principal investigator and institution?" Sandy said, "You betcha!" Marie added, "You just know that this is all going to fit with the illnesses at Wallsville and the other units where chronic illnesses were reported!" Sandy finally said, "I'm sure it will, and from what data I collected-it all fits!"

Jared raised his fist into the air and punched an imaginary target. "Well Sandy, you have certainly done your homework! This is going to be useful! By the way, did Dr. Lon ever test any of the people who lived in Wallsville and had the 'Mystery Illness?' You know, in Dr. Lon's patent entitled 'Pathogenic Mycoplasma,' which was a patent on the detection of Mycoplasma fermentans in various illnesses, he indicated that this particular Mycoplasma species was implicated in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, either as a cause or co-factor." Sandy said, "You know, that's real interesting. We sent more than 100 blood samples from our support group to Dr. Lon, and I know many more were sent from the prison, but Dr. Lon indicated that the community samples were destroyed or went bad and could not be analyzed. He would never tell us anything about the prison samples. So another 20 blood samples were sent to Dr. Lon from the community, but apparently only five could be analyzed, and all of the samples tested positive for Mycoplasma infections. Dr. Lon claimed that only two were Mycoplasma fermentans." Marie stated, "That's very suspicious that most of the samples were lost." Jared added, "It sounds just like what the soldiers told us about Dr. Lon. They actually found that he was allowing the veterans' blood samples to sit on the lab bench in his laboratory for weeks before analyzing them. Of course, by then they would all have been negative. We know that blood samples degrade within a few days at room temperature. We have the control experiments to prove it."

After examining the information on the 'Mystery Illness,' which looked less and less like a real mystery with time, the news spread throughout the community. Sandy and Clayman, who were themselves victims of the prison system experiments, would be the focus of continuing attacks from the TDC and the county administrations. These attacks were like those that the McNichols faced and were likely meant to discredit them and keep them from probing further. It became more and more difficult for Sandy to continue to assist the McNichols in gathering information in East Texas on the TDC experiments, and Clayman was under fire to rein in his pesky wife.

Eventually Clayman retired from the TDC, and the Maitlands decided that it was better to leave Texas than continue the fight, and they were right. It would not have ended with Clayman's retirement, and their safety could not be assured. So they eventually moved to Kansas where they had a much quieter life away from Texas and its health and political problems. Unfortunately, no one will ever know how many prisoners died or suffered needlessly under the unethical TDC medical testing programs. Marie said, "We might as well be back in Auschwitz and have Dr. Mengele running the prison hospitals." In fact, unknown to most Americans Dr. Mengele had been a consultant to certain U. S. Government agencies after World War II while he was hiding from other agencies that sought his arrest on an international warrant for crimes against humanity and genocide.

The McNichols were also contacted by a former resident of Wallsville, Cindy Black, who had moved from Wallsville to College Station with her ill son. Her son was eventually diagnosed with a parvovirus B 19 infection, but he also had a mycoplasmal infection as well. Cindy felt quite strongly that the Belford study in the prison system with viruses and mycoplasmas resulted in illnesses in several of her neighbors who worked in the Wallsville Prison. Their family physician placed Cindy's son on an immune suppressing protocol using steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the standard protocol at the time along with gamma globulin for the treatment of BI9 infections, but this actually made her son worse not better. When Cindy contacted Jared, her son was showing most of the signs and symptoms of the Wallsville 'Mystery Illness.' He suffered from severe headaches, gastrointestinal problems, blurred vision, throat spasms, rashes that would come and go, vomiting, knee pain episodes, esophagus spasms, chest pains, fevers that would come and go, incontinence, extreme fatigue, dental problems, among others. And this was not a complete list. The key piece of information that eventually led Cindy to consider Mycoplasmas and contact the McNichols was that she had read that steroid immune suppression actually makes mycoplasmal infections worse not better, and so she suspected that her son also had a mycoplasmal infection along with the B 19 parvovirus infection. Consistent with this hypothesis was the result that doxycycline actually made Cindy's son feel better, and his signs and symptoms began to abate but only when he was on the antibiotic.

As her son was beginning to recover from his infections on doxycycline, Cindy made contact with Sandy Maitland, and together they began to sift through information from the minutes of the monthly meetings of the TDC Board of Directors to see what they could find. These TDC documents were a matter of public record, so they sent Freedom of Information requests to the State and went to the State Capitol to begin their hunt for information. Unfortunately, they were told that all of the records had been ordered destroyed. However, whoever gave the order forgot about one copy that was hidden away in an old State building in Austin where ancient records were kept. There they found the old TDC Board minutes that indicated that the Board had approved the Belford-D.O. Madison clinical study using mycoplasmas and viruses. Some of the more interesting information that they found was that there were also experiments in the prison system using dogs and insect vectors that could spread pathogenic infections through their blood meals. The TDC dogs were affectionately called the 'Belford Dogs' around the prison system, and they were kept in a special unit on the prison grounds.

What was interesting about the TDC Board minutes was that they found evidence of clinical trials that were approved for undescribed species of Mycoplasmas or they were approved for Mycoplasma pneumoniae not Mycoplasmafermentans. WhenJared and Marie analyzed blood samples from the Wallsville community and in particular from the prison employees, they found predominantly M. fermentans not M. pneumoniae. Marie's old colleagues at Belford (or Biox and Dr. Lon) had probably switched the Mycoplasma samples to the more pathogenic M. fermentans! Cindy was convinced that Dr. Lon had substituted M. fermentans. She did not trust Dr. Lon, and she considered him dishonest because he published a brief note in a medical journal with some prominent physicians who worked on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that said that antibodies against mycoplasmas could not be detected in these patients.

At the same time Dr. Lon's own patent that was issued on Mfi indicated that antibodies against Mfi couldn't be detected in nonhuman primates until they were near death from the infection, long after they started showing symptoms. Thus Dr. Lon was caught in a dilemma. If you couldn't detect antibodies in patients, this could have been due to the fact that antibodies were not being made against the mycoplasmas hiding inside cells and tissues. not that the patients did not have the infection. Antibodies could only be detected at later stages of the disease. Marie remembered that Dr. Lon first told her that the Gulf War veterans tested positive for Mfi, and then later he changed his story. Was he under pressure to deny that Mfi was involved in the prisoners' and veterans' illnesses? Since Dr. Lon was acting so suspicious, it seemed likely that he was trying to satisfy his handlers, rather than seek the truth.

Interestingly, Marie's old department chairman, Dr. Virgil Rook, was the principal investigator on most of these TDC prison studies, and some of the studies also contained the name of Dr. Ming Lon. Dr. Rook would not speak with Cindy, and Cindy's conversations with Dr. Lon were less than satisfactory. She considered Dr. Lon a very deceptive person, fully capable of lying about his results to reflect the official stance that Mil and other mycoplasmas were not involved in human diseases, notwithstanding his own patents and publications on the topic. Perhaps because of the growing flap about the Gulf War veterans and prison experiments, Dr. Lon was under increasing pressure to deny that Mil could be involved in any human disease. Cindy was never able to obtain a straightforward answer about Mil and disease from Dr. Lon. Perhaps he was under the constant threat of death, if he dared to tell the American people the truth about Mil?

In the meantime, Sandy and Cindy were passing out the information packets that Jared had made up for the TDC prison employees. Cindy later told Jared over the phone and in a letter, "When I carried your documents and those that we dug up on the prison testing programs to some of my son's physicians, one stated, "Maybe they didn't realize what they were releasing. "Another stated, "Now I know why we have so many rare illnesses in this area." Cindy told Jared, "This is not what I wanted to hear. I wanted them to tell me there was nothing to it. Instead, they confirmed what Sandy and I had concluded. These dangerous pathogens had been released in our community with complete lack of regard for the inmates, the guards who worked at the prisons and the guards' families. Now they have brought it home to the community at large."

Cindy was beginning to feel the heat from the TDC prison officials. Jared said to Cindy, "What you and Sandy have found was completely consistent with our studies on the prison employees and their family members. We could come to no other conclusion than the prisons must have been used by Belford, the D. O. Madison and companies like Biox for the testing of dangerous biological agents." Jared and Marie found out over the years that one of the most important reasons that the institutions in the Medical Center went after them so vigorously and brutally was to discredit and discourage them, and to drive them out of Texas (or eliminate them) in order to keep their unethical, amoral and illegal medical experiments from ever being exposed to public scrutiny.

Cindy eventually went back to school in Central Texas and entered a graduate public health program, and she did her masters thesis on the clinical research programs in the State prison system. Although her thesis committee was originally enthusiastic about the entire scope of her thesis, the authorities and graduate school administrators eventually found out about her thesis topic and got into the act. Her committee then decided that most of her thesis would have to be deleted from the final version before they could approve it. Cindy had found out the hard way the types of 'dirty tricks' the system can use to silence its critics. Cindy, Sandy and Jared and Marie would find that whistle blowers were not appreciated, and they usually ended up broke, jobless and outcasts of the very system that they were trying to save. Sometimes even worse things could happen to them. In Texas too often the whistle blowers died under inexplicable circumstances, as was the case for several of the McNichols' colleagues.

The third member of what Jared was calling "The Three Moms" (as they later liked to call themselves) was Beth Mowgall of College Station, Texas. Beth, who had a daughter who had been sick with a mysterious illness, had attended a conference on rheumatic illnesses that Jared was speaking at, and she met Marie who was inadvertently sitting in front of her in the audience. Marie and Beth struck up a conversation, and Marie mentioned during a break that she should contact Sandy Maitland of Wallsville and Cindy Black of College Station. Beth indicated that she used to live in Wallsville, and she eventually called Sandy and Cindy to share notes on the Wallsville Mystery Illnesses.

Thus a new friendship began, and even though this alliance would become strained over the years because of the pressure atmosphere and politics surrounding the Wallsville 'Mystery illness,' the 'Three Moms' had a lot in common because of the illnesses in their families. Eventually Beth met with Cindy and Sandy, and it was Sandy who usually drove to College Station in her trusted Chevy Suburban. Sandy always seemed perfectly willing to travel anywhere, just as long as it was within the range of her Chevy Suburban. The massive size of the vehicle alone probably proved valuable, since they could cart around massive amounts of boxed documents, and it was hard to harm them with some kind of phony, orchestrated accidents that some unknown persons had tried repeatedly on Marie.

The Three Moms shared boxes of information on that first trip, too much to digest, in fact, for the next several months, but eventually everything began to come together. Beth was well known in the area of Central Texas for running a patient support group for chronic illnesses. Her group was named, in part, for the alterations in health caused by chronic fungal, viral and bacterial infections. The reason that Beth was so interested in infections like Mfi was that she suspected that her daughter became sick when they lived next to the Wallsville Prison that they later found out was involved in vaccine experiments using Mycoplasmas and viruses. Could the illness in her child be related to the same 'Mystery Illness' of Wallsville, which in turn was related to experimental testing programs on prisoners using mycoplasmas and viruses? Beth followed this story for many years and even wrote about it in her newsletter, which she distributed free of charge to anyone who asked for a copy. Beth was particularly disappointed in Dr. Lon and his responses to her questions about Mfi, the prison illnesses and the illnesses in the communities around the prisons. Dr. Lon was probably directed by his superiors at the U.S. Army Institute of Pathology Research not to talk to civilians about Mfi or any testing programs in the prison system, and he dutifully followed his orders. In general, he refused to discuss the topic with the Three Moms, with the exception of a brief conversation with Cindy. Thus using her newsletter Beth began to take aim at Dr. Lon and his involvement in the TDC testing programs. Although never widely distributed, Beth did raise a major regional stink in her newsletter that still hasn't been settled in the Great State of Texas.

One aspect of the TDC-Belford-Madison clinical trials at the Wallsville Prison and other State prisons that was rarely discussed was what happened to the prisoners who died during the experiments? This was a question that no one in the prison system dared to ask, because they were told not to reveal anything about the ongoing clinical trials at the prisons. At least most of them didn't end up like one of Jared's students, a pathologist named Samuel Pen. Dr. Pen was studying with Jared when he discovered a new gene involved in the spread or metastasis of breast cancer. After completing his studies with Jared and passing his research project on to two visiting physician-scientists from Japan who were also studying with Jared, Dr. Pen was appointed to the pathology faculty at the State medical school in Galveston, Texas. Since this medical school had a proud history and was the first medical school in the state, it was by Texas law directed to be responsible for the autopsies on prisoners who died while in custody at TDC prisons.

During the time that Jared and Marie were finding that the 'Mystery Illness' of Wallsville was linked to mycoplasmal and possibly other infections in the Wallsville Prison run by the TDC, Clayman Maitland quietly indicated to Jared and Marie that at the height of the prison testing programs they were losing a few prisoners per week at the Wallsville unit alone. What he meant was that the prison 'Mystery Illnesses' were fatal to perhaps hundreds of prisoners at that one TDC facility alone each year. Since there were several TDC prisons involved in the testing programs, there could have been several hundreds or even thousands of prisoners dying each year in the State prison system of unknown and unusual illnesses related to the clinical testing programs run by Belford and other institutions.

Since the three ex-Army colonels took over the Medical Division of the TDC, information on prison fatalities was no longer available to the public, and so it was difficult to find any information on the deaths of prisoners at TDC facilities. After Dr. Pen was appointed Assistant Director of the Autopsy Service at the State University medical school in Galveston, he tried to look into this after a long conversation with Jared. Dr. Pen became suspicious, because the prison fatalities were not being sent to his service for autopsy as dictated by State law. What Dr. Pen found when he dug deeper was that the prisoners who died under unusual circumstances at the Wallsville unit and other prison units within the TDC were being sent to a U.S. Army base outside of San Antonio for autopsy, instead of the medical school at Galveston where by law they should have been sent. This was also confirmed by at least one of the prison guards at Wallsville during a visit to Austin to see the McNichols to get help for his own 'Mystery Illness.' Jared and Marie found Mfi in this guard, who related to them in a subsequent visit that he was responsible for transporting the bodies from the Wallsville unit and other TDC prisons to the Army base outside of San Antonio. When the Army was finished with the bodies, he was called and then ordered to take them to a private crematorium built for just this purpose on a large private tract of land in Central Texas. There the dead prisoners and their medical records were reduced to ashes.

The prison cremation program was all very secret and carefully hidden from public view and scrutiny. The guard also told Jared that all of the medical records were copied by the Army before being sent to the private crematorium. If any medical records were missing and later found, it was the guard's responsibility to bring them directly to the Army base after they were found at the Wallsville unit and other prisons. After the Army was finished with the records, he was instructed to take them to the secret crematorium for destruction. He didn't know if the prisoners' ashes were ever given to relatives who requested them, but few probably went through the cumbersome procedures to receive their relative's ashes.

Unfortunately for Dr. Pen, raising the issue of the missing prisoners' bodies may have ultimately resulted in his premature death, of questionable natural causes. Dr. Pen died in his mid-40s, but his death was never thoroughly investigated. His family was told that he had a possible heart defect, but Jared and Marie found that explanation somewhat weak since he was a physician himself, and he never mentioned the problem while he was with Jared in Austin. Was he given Mfi or some other infection or drug that weakened his heart? The answer to this will probably never be known for sure, but one of the organ systems attacked by Mfi is the heart, and victims of Mfi infections often complain of heart problems and then later die of heart attacks due to endocarditis or myocarditis, infections of the heart. Over the years several of Jared's proteges would die under mysterious circumstances.

Jared felt strongly that one of the reasons for a fatal Mfi infection was weakening of the heart valves and coagulation problems from vasculitis, resulting in thrombosis, blood clots and blockage of the heart arteries. Vasculitis, or inflammation of the vascular system, probably occurred when Mfi or other infections invaded the endothelial cells lining the blood vessel walls. When this happens, the endothelial cells release substances that cause increased coagulation of the blood, and eventually this results in the formation of blood clots that could clog the heart blood vessels and other arteries and small blood vessels of other organs.

When Jared learned of Dr. Pen's untimely death, he was angry and wanted the State District Attorney's Office to launch an investigation. But since the TDC and the DA were ultimately under the same criminal justice system in Texas, it was fruitless to dig any further into what really happened to Dr. Pen. It was reminiscent of the tragedy of Dr. Cannon. The issue of the dead TDC prisoners was never resolved, and an analogy with the Nazi testing programs of the Third Reich in the death camps and prisons of Eastern Europe of 50 years prior was never far from the thoughts of Marie, Jared or The Three Moms. They often asked themselves how this could happen in a 'free' and 'democratic' America? They all considered themselves patriotic and strong supporters of the United States and the American way of life, but the events in Texas had shaken their belief systems.

The U.S. Navy SEALs thank the McNichols

One Sunday afternoon Marie and Jared received a call from Dale DeJon, the avy Lt. Commander and SEAL that Marie and Jared had rescued from losing his eyesight. He was going through Houston with his family on a brief visit and wanted to bring his wife and children to Austin to visit the McNichols. They agreed on a time and place to meet near Queenswood, because Jared did not want to agitate Dr. Masters who might be informed by the rats in his department of the visit of a Navy SEAL officer. The U. S. avy SEALs are such an elite Special Forces unit that this would certainly draw the attention of the D. O. Madison administration. Also, the fact that the SEALs had problems with Gulf War Illnesses might strain the widely publicized myth that the ill veterans from the Gulf War were malingers and malcontents who were prone to psychological problems. The very nature of SEAL training precluded such psycho-mumbo-jumbo explanations. Most of these sick SEAL veterans had been to war before and not suffered the chronic illnesses, and they were not unstable or prone to psychological problems.

On the day of the visit the McNichols were waiting for Dale and his family to arrive at their home in Queenswood. The McNichols decided to take the DeJons to their country club, the Queenswood Country Club, for a mid-day meal to discuss Dale's bout with Gulf War Illness. While they waited for the DeJons to arrive, Marie was teary-eyed as she began talking to Jared. She had just received an anonymous letter with no return address. It was post-marked Austin in the area of the Medical Center. Marie said, "This letter is awful! Listen to it! She read parts of the letter to Jared. "What was that nonsense you delivered at your so-called seminar!" "How dare you disgrace the good name of The D. O. Madison." "It is common knowledge that the only way you got into the D. O. Madison was by sleeping with Jared McNichols." "The fact that he is using his position here at The Madison to house a madwoman in his department shows me he has no ethics.''' "It is a complete conflict of interest! Let's keep the bedrooms separate from the laboratories and act like upright citizens. "It was signed 'Concerned.' Jared asked, "Who do you think wrote it?" Marie answered, "I don't think! I know! It was written by Clement Masters -- just look at the phrasing. 'How dare you disgrace the good name of The D. O. Madison.' That is strictly Clement Masters. "I have friends in the FBI and they can lift a finger print off this and have it analyzed." Jared said, "If it is Masters, it does not bode too well for us here! Of course, the style is completely consistent with his more formal letters to me." Marie continued, "Masters is so influenced by Drs Geldter, Krappner and Belcher! These people hate me!" Jared said, "It doesn't sound like he needs those three to stoke his hatred. If it is him, and I think you're right about the letter, he is even more over the edge than I thought." Dr. Masters was over the edge, and in fact, he was probably an outright psychopath. Even his administrators at the Madison knew this and feared him.

Marie was distraught about the letter. "The irony is that I don't know any of them! Masters and the rest never took the time to check out my resume. They have no idea that I earned perhaps one of the toughest Ph.D.s in the world. They have architected a smear campaign against me and have blocked my chances of a faculty position anywhere!" She said, "I'll never forget how Dr. Blair told me that there were serious accusations against me, but then he refused to tell me what they were!" She continued, "He told me I have powerful enemies!" She tried to talk between sobs, "And that he, for one, was not interested in being responsible for my career. I have been accused of everything under the sun and of being a whore! I tell you Jared, all my life people have been conducting whisper campaigns against me and I don't know why!"

Marie started sobbing. Once she regained her composure she continued. "The odd part is that ever since my phony uncle visited here, I hear exactly the same lies that he screamed at me when I was nine years old, only now it's coming from the Madison faculty! And look at how people like Dr. Clever and others have looked at me since I recovered from my near fatal illness. They were not happy to see me survive, I tell you, and something beyond my science is involved." Jared told Marie, "I don't think that you are who you think you are, Marie." She replied, "Look, I'm me! I've always been me!" Jared said, "I've noticed that people of power and position always seem to act deferential toward you. And you have had some highly unusual experiences that ordinary people don't have." Marie finally stopped crying and said, "You can sure say that again. But do you think I deserve this kind of treatment or have in some way engendered this hatred?" As Marie wiped her eyes, Jared said, "No! Absolutely not! This is deranged! And I don't understand it. It really defies reason. But whatever it is, some of the hatred is now directed at me too." She said, "I'm sorry!" Jared continued, "It's not your fault, Marie." She responded, "I have always played by the rules in my academic career, and I am sick of everyone questioning my integrity and my competence as a scientist!"

Jared tried to give Marie some advice and build back her self-esteem. "There are those who truly respect you. Just don't conclude from the rat-pack in my department that no one respects you. Remember what I have always told you. Don't expect to be liked for being the best. Remember how many of your supporters warned you that professional jealousy can reach untold heights, especially when someone who is pretty like you makes a significant finding or breakthrough." Marie countered, "You may think I am pretty, but I am only pretty in terms of the other female scientists." Jared continued, "Whatever! You're unusual, and that's why I love you! And I know you are a sweet and caring person." Marie said as she wiped her last tears, "Thanks! .... I love you too!" Jared said, "Sooner or later we will get to the bottom of the mystery about you!"
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:47 am

Part 2 of 2

The DeJons arrive to visit the McNichols

There was a knock on the door, and both Marie and Jared turned their attention to their visitors and headed for the front door. As Jared opened the door Dale, who was on a brief leave before deploying to Haiti, was standing there in his battle fatigues with his wife Lorraine and two little girls of age less than six that were dressed in very pretty dresses. Dale had some leave time before he left, and he wanted to visit the McNichols and personally thank them for the help they had given him and his SEAL Team. After meeting at the McNichols home in Queenswood, the two parties departed for the Country Club, about a half-dozen blocks away. Dale, still in his battle fatigues, wondered if his attire would cause a problem at the fancy Country Club, but Marie and Jared convinced him that the people at the Country Club were very patriotic and would be very pleased to see him and his family visit the club. During Desert Storm the Country Club flew American Flags and yellow ribbons all over the facility to indicate their support for the troops, so Dale was assured that he and his family would receive a warm welcome.

They arrived at the Country Club in two cars, because the DeJons had to leave directly after the meal and drive back to Houston. The main dining facility at the Country Club was a large, single story structure with a high roof. It was an elegant place inside, and the decor was done in a variety of shades of greens to blend in with the wooded area where the McNichols lived. Dale was escorted to the table with his wife Lorraine and their two little girls and the McNichols. Dale said as they sat down, "We are so glad to be able to come to the Country Club with you." Marie answered, "Why thank you. We're thrilled that you are feeling better and that your vision has improved. I was horrified that you were actually going blind, and the details of your illness in your letter made me cry!" Dale replied, "Well, I've come here with my family to thank you both personally for saving my life and the lives of my Team. We are forever thankful-the SEALs won't ever forget what you two have done, and if there is anything that we can do for you, just say the word!" Jared joked, "Well, we both may need jobs!"

Jared laughed but he then noticed that Dale was looking very serious at the two of them across the table. Jared said, "I was just kidding." Unfortunately, Jared was not kidding, but he was certainly not going to ruin the festivities to discuss the McNichols' problems. Dale said, "You know, the antibiotic worked almost immediately! Before long my vision started to return, and I no longer had the fevers, night sweats and joint pain." Lorraine added, "I believe Christ put you two here for a very special purpose, and you will always be in our family's prayers." Marie replied, "Thank you Lorraine; Dale's recovery has given me the will to continue." Jared said, "To be honest with you, Marie and I have received a lot of flack and ridicule for our work on Gulf War Illnesses." Dale responded, "I am truly sorry for that. My commanding officer and most of my fellow Delta One colleagues think of you both as heroes. In fact, we are going to make you honorary U.S. Navy SEALs. You two will be the first honorary SEALs in the history of the Navy." Jared smiled, "That's quite an honor, Dale, and one that Marie and I will cherish. You don't have any idea how resistant the DoD has been to our work."

Dale then became somber. He waited until Lorraine and the girls had gone to the bathroom before telling the McNichols the message he had brought from Fort Bragg and Delta One Headquarters. "I have been asked to warn you that your lives are in jeopardy if you continue to come forward to help the veterans." Marie responded first, "But Dale, we must continue! There are other Dales out there, some who are not soldiers, marines or SEALs, some who are innocent children who may be victimized by the infections that we found." She continued, "And I gave my word to God that I would help those who were similarly afflicted when he allowed me to survive my near fatal illness." Jared tried to lighten up the atmosphere by saying, "There you have it, Dale! We are not going to stop as long as we can help families like yours." The discussion continued, and Jared and Marie explained their laboratory results with the veterans' blood samples and how they found the unusual Mfi that Dr. Lon discovered at the U.S. Army Institute of Pathology Research. Dale seemed particularly interested in what they had found in the laboratory with the veterans' blood samples.

At this point Lorraine, who had returned from the bathroom with her girls, came within hearing range, stopped and had begun to cry. Dale stood up, and he excused himself to go for a brief walk with Lorraine and the girls. Lorraine did not want to hear such serious talk after Dale recovered from his illness. Dale then returned in a few minutes, but Lorraine continued on with the girls. After they left, Dale spoke, "Since Loraine has gone for a walk, I can tell you more. I don't want Lorraine to worry, and it is against orders to share the secrets of our missions with our families." He continued, but you two are family, and I already consider you SEALs. Aside from your Gulf War Syndrome research, the work that has placed you both at some risk, Marie is at additional risk because of who she is."

Marie was a bit taken aback by Dale's last comment. "What do you mean by that? All my life people have been asking me who I am? As if they know something that [ don't know." Dale said, "I can't divulge all the information, but the near-fatal illness that you had while you were working at Belford College of Medicine was no accident, and we know that you have been poisoned on several occasions, especially when you were both out of the country." Jared responded, "Well, we know all about this, because we had to live through it, but how did you know about it?" Dale answered, "Through our contacts in the intelligence community." He continued in a soft voice so that no one at another table could hear him. "And I'm almost embarrassed to say, some of my colleagues were actually ordered to eliminate you at one point." Marie asked, "I don't understand?" Dale explained, "We are a 'special operations' unit." He continued, "I probably shouldn't even be telling you this, but we do special assignments for the Government, like the assassination of Pablo Escobar." He paused, "My own unit is part of the Presidential Assassination Squad, and we perform some very special duties on occasion."

Jared smiled while Marie took a deep breath. "I see!" Marie turned to Jared and said, "You see, Jared, I told you that my near fatal illness was no accident! Dale, I told Jared that it was not in my imagination the way certain scientists looked at me when I recovered my health and began lecturing again. They were not happy to see me recover, but I don't know these people that well, so I didn't understand their hatred." She paused, "Particularly the hatred of Dr. Clement Masters, the President of the D. O. Madison." Dale said, "I am not at liberty to tell you everything, but I urge you to watch what you eat and drink and where you go. Always ask to see the bottle or can when you order soft drinks and open it yourself. Change your routine, and don't accept invitations from people you don't know or trust. Don't sit near windows, and don't accept gifts from people you don't completely trust." He continued, "And be especially careful when the two of you leave the country. We have sent your picture to all the military bases and Special Forces units around the world. They all know who you are. We will do our best to protect you." Marie said, "Thank you, Dale, for warning us!"

Jared wanted to know why there was such a mystery surrounding Marie. "We're trying to deduce why Marie is such a target for harassment and this cloak and dagger game. I don't have all the answers, but I do know that numerous attempts have been made on Marie over many years. It can't be just for our work on veterans' illnesses." Dale added, "In fact she holds the record for more attempts on a U.S. citizen and civilian than any other person in U. S. history." Jared said, "Sooner or later we will unravel the mystery of Marie's identity, but it probably didn't help matters getting involved in the Gulf War Illness problem."

At this point Lorraine and the two girls returned to the table. Lorraine sat down and made sure that the two girls were seated properly and said, "Marie, you and Jared are always in our prayers. But I think that you need to stop your work with the veterans, for your own safety." Marie answered, "Well Loraine, when I had my near death experience I was told that I had to come forward if I heard of anyone in the future who was sick like I was, and] had to promise to help others who were ill. Even if it meant setting myself up for extreme danger and ridicule. I am just following those divine orders!" Dale added, "Thank God for people like you two! You two scientists are truly courageous and compassionate."

Marie wanted to leave Dale with one more thought. "Dale, I have to tell you one more thing and then I say let's enjoy this dinner and fellowship." Dale answered, "Shoot!" Marie said, "I am convinced that a powerful and influential economic machine is responsible for this horror. In fact, I concur with a friend of mine who is the Director of Special Investigations at the Justice Department in Washington. His specialty is to flush out eugenics proponents. He has been following the collusion between the organized crime groups and the defense industry. Both Jared and I feel that there seems to be a link between some Las Vegas-based group and small, and perhaps even large, biotechnology companies that do defense work." Dale then interrupted Marie. "I have to tell you that you two have stumbled into a major hornet's nest. Just watch your back! Be very careful!"

Then Dale shook his head. He wanted to change the subject with Lorraine and the girls present, so he became instantly jovial. "I can't get over it. To me you still look like a little high school cheerleader!" Marie laughed, "But I was a cheerleader!" Jared interrupted and smiled at the two young girls, "] say we go to the buffet table and check it out." The girls smiled back, and they all seemed to be in agreement with Jared's suggestion. Marie and Jared would not forget the warning that Dale gave to them that day in Queenswood. They would try to be more careful, but they would not abandon the veterans and the prison guards and their families, no matter what the cost.

The veterans and their family problems

One of the many families that the McNichols helped during the course of their research was the family of Capt. Richard Hamlin, who fought with the 101st Airborne Division in Southern Iraq during the Gulf War. Capt. Hamlin, his wife Julie and their young daughter Linda would all become victims of the war. When the Hamlins contacted the McNichols, the entire family was sick with unknown illnesses that at the time Capt. Hamlin thought was directly related his service in the Gulf War.

This was a pattern that Jared and Marie would see over and over, and it would eventually lead to a medical publication on the sick family members of the Gulf War veterans. The VA and DoD hated the McNichols for this study, because it directly contradicted their own statements and pronouncements that the families were not getting sick when the veterans returned from the Gulf War and slowly became ill. To this day any illnesses in the family members of Gulf War veterans as a consequence of transmission of chronic infections from the ill veterans to their immediate family members had been completely and utterly denied, and the VA had even gone so far as to fund a purposely flawed study that was skewed in an attempt to 'prove' that there was no such thing as illness transmission from Gulf War Illness patients to their immediate family members. In fact, just the opposite was true, and the VA knew it. They were purposely lying to the American people, possibly to prevent criticism and fear in the communities where military bases were located.

Jared was receiving many calls a week from family members of sick veterans who had themselves became slowly sick after the veterans presented with unknown chronic illnesses or Gulf War Illness. One of those families was the Hamlins. When Capt. Richard Hamlin returned from the Gulf, he even burned his combat fatigues and anything else he brought back so that nothing could be transferred to his family from the Persian Gulf. However, within six months after he returned he became sick with severe flu-like symptoms that would not pass, including chronic fatigue, skin rashes, diarrhea, severe headaches, memory loss and other signs and symptoms. Then his wife came down with similar problems, including gynecological problems and severe uterine swelling and bloating. She also had thyroid problems. Then their five year-old daughter began to show the same problems and was unable to keep awake at school where she had behavioral problems. She had severe fatigue, rashes and bloody diarrhea and her teeth were falling out.

The Hamlins met with and found that other families were having exactly the same medical problems. When they tried to get help from the Army, it was all denied-the official policy was that the illnesses could not be related. The family members were told that they weren't sick or that their problems were not related to the Gulf War or to veterans. The families found out about the antibiotic treatments for Gulf War Illness that the McNichols were advising, and the Hamlins even attempted to get the Army Medical Center in Washington DC to put them on the appropriate antibiotics, such as doxycycline. Their military doctor told them, "That's interesting, we will be putting everyone on doxycycline soon." However two days later this same doctor recanted and said, "I wasn't supposed to say that just yet." Later he said, "What antibiotics? I didn't say anything about antibiotics.''' Capt. Hamlin concluded that his superiors in the Medical Corps had told him to shut up about the possibility of infections and antibiotic treatment.

It was clear to the Hamlins that the Army wasn't going to admit that there was any biological cause for their illnesses, and they weren't even going to admit that spouses and children could come down with illnesses similar to Gulf War Illness. Thus they did not want to admit that an infection might be involved. It was a blatant pattern of lies that would be repeated thousands of times all over the country by the DoD and the VA. The Hamlins told the McNichols that the Army refused to give them the appropriate medicines for their illnesses. "We don't know why the Army is refusing to help the soldiers and their families." Fortunately, the Hamlins managed to get antibiotics from sympathetic civilian physicians, and the entire family eventually recovered. They wrote to the McNichols to say "We believe that it is a small group of doctors who are bad, because any of the military doctors who tried to help us were reassigned or frightened, or were left out of the loop. We have given up on the system at this point. We thank you, Jared and Marie, for having the courage and the compassion to help us." In another letter Julie Hamlin stated "The military lied about Agent Orange, they lied about radiation poisoning, and today they are lying about Gulf War Illness, and they are getting away with it. "Julie should know, because before she married Richard she was a noncommissioned officer in an Army intelligence unit based at Fort Meade, the top-secret headquarters of the National Security Agency.

The McNichols meet the Hamlins at Fort Meade

After their occasional telephone calls, mostly about Gulf War Illness and its treatment and the harassment that the Hamlins were receiving at the hands of the Army Medical Corps, the McNichols decided to visit the Hamlins on one of their trips to the Washington area. Capt. Hamlin was posted at Fort Meade, Maryland, home of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). As a part of Echelon, the NSA's top-secret electronic intelligence gathering program, it was probably the most important 'signals' intelligence base in the U. S. It was responsible for monitoring all telephone, fax, radio and internet traffic world-wide. The civilian and military intelligence experts at Fort Meade were by far the best in the world at electronic intelligence.

The McNichols would be entering the grounds of Fort Meade but only as far as base housing. Fort Meade was situated along the Washington- Baltimore Parkway in the gently rolling Maryland hills between Washington DC and Baltimore. The U.S. Army fort itself was named for a famous Civil War general who was considered too conservative by Lincoln and was later replaced. The McNichols would not go into the super-secret part of the base, but they would enter the area containing base housing. As they drove down the military streets with their military names past groups of housing duplexes, they ended up on a street where Capt. Hamlin's duplex, which looked just like all of the other duplexes, was situated on a small hill. As Marie and Jared got out of their rental car, they heard the Hamlin's two Dalmatians notifying the Hamlins that the McNichols had arrived.

The McNichols were greeted at the door by Capt. Hamlin, an Army officer in his mid-30s, his pretty wife Julie, who was formally in the Army and stationed at Fort Meade before they started a family, and Linda, a shy, pretty dark haired seven year-old in a flowered dress and, of course, their two rambunctious Dalmatians. The Hamlins were very happy to see that the McNichols had survived the onslaught in Austin due to their research on Gulf War Illnesses. After they met and hugged each other, they had a long discussion that covered a number of topics. Capt. Hamlin, who had a sly grin then retrieved a bag which contained the symbols for the surprise he had for the McNichols. He was proud to pull out Army fatigue caps with the eagle insignia of a full Colonel on each one. He told them, "Well, you know that you were approved by the commanding general of the post and by the Special Forces to be Honorary Colonels, so we are just trying to make you feel at home here at Fort Meade." He looked inside each cap to inspect that the names were correctly spelled. Each one had either COL M. McNichols or COL J. McNichols printed on the identity Oap. Marie and Jared were pleasantly surprised to receive such a warm welcome at the base, and they were especially pleased to be recognized by the officers who were present as honorary fellow officers with the rank of Colonel. As it turned out they were two of only six civilians to ever be appointed to this honorary rank in the U. S. Army. The significance to the McNichols was that although most of the medical officers did not support them, at least the line officers and the fighting soldiers were behind them. Capt. Hamlin chuckled and kept reminding them that a Special Forces Colonel was worth at least two Medical Corps Colonels. The McNichols laughed and enjoyed the camaraderie with the other officers.

For the remainder of the McNichols' visit that day, they didn't take off their caps, and they received salutes from the other officers who had come by to visit with the McNichols. Each one of the soldiers began by saluting and then thanking the McNichols for their help in regaining their health and the health of their family members. It turned out to be the highlight of a very bad year for the McNichols. Jared in particular was quite conscious of the fact that immediate family members could come down with Gulf War Illness, since he had been comparing the types of infections in sick family members to the sick veterans.

Jared found that for the most part when the military family members got sick, it was only after a veteran returned from the Gulf War, and their signs and symptoms were similar to the sick veteran in the family. However, there were some interesting differences. For example, many of the children that were less than 10 years old were diagnosed with autism, a behavioral disorder characterized by communication and speech problems and impaired social skills. Repetitive and obsessive behavior and even self-injury or aggression often appeared in these patients. In the case of Linda, she had changed from a very extroverted, top student to a very withdrawn student with near failing grades. She no longer wanted to interact with the other students in her classes, she was tired all the time, and she exhibited repetitive behavior and short-term memory loss. But she was not a classic autistic child. She felt very bad all of the time with aches and pains but would only talk to her mother about her symptoms. Julie still showed some of the excessive abdominal swelling that made people think that she was pregnant, and the whole family still had some chronic fatigue and other problems, even after almost a year on and off doxycycline. At least now they were showing the signs of recovery. Richard could even run again after having reached a point where he felt that he couldn't even lift his legs.

After getting the run-around for some time at the U. S. Army Medical Center in Washington, the Hamlins decided to contact the McNichols about their health problems. Their military physicians were denying that the family illnesses had anything to do with Richard's service in the Gulf War, even though all three had many signs and symptoms in common. So they were extremely happy that the McNichols had come to their base this day, and it gave everyone the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the couple. The Hamlins had prepared a Bar-B-Q-dinner for everyone in honor of the McNichols visit, and the neighbors also brought special dishes just for the McNichols. Everyone had a grand time, and Jared and Marie were busy answering question after question about Gulf War Illnesses. Obviously, the Army kept its officers and veterans in the dark about the condition and its treatment. The sad point brought out at the Bar-B-Q was that the DoD was still trying to diagnose Gulf War Illness as PTSD, and there were a number of jokes at the dinner about the base psychiatrist who kept diagnosing every Gulf War veteran with PTSD. As it turned out, he really didn't believe in the diagnosis for the Gulf War veterans, but he went along with his commanding officer because he and his CO did not want to make waves. It would take years for the McNichols to uncover the ugly politics and the reasons for the continual denial, and their search for the truth would evolve into a dangerous quest. It was a quest that would eventually uncover some of the hidden reasons for the terrorism that was now directed at the United States and its allies.

After the food and drink were gone and the Hamlins' friends and neighbors had finally left, the McNichols sat down with the Hamlins for a more serious discussion. Julie said, "We found something interesting in our neighbor's trash that we would like to share with you." Julie noticed the expression on Jared's face, laughed and quickly explained. "My neighbor is an officer in one of the Intel units here at Fort Meade, and his wife is a third-year medical student at the Uniform Services Health Sciences University at the Naval Medical Center in Washington. She ran out of storage room because our little bungalows don't have much space as you can see, and she was throwing away her second-year notes and syllabuses from the various medical school lecturers. I was curious and found these pathology notes and the course syllabuses and thought that you might be interested." Jared was quite familiar with this technique of teaching medical students, since he had done this for years in the Pathology Block at the Medical School in Austin. He immediately picked up the book entitled Pathology Syllabus VI from the pile of similar books on different blocks that medical students must memorize. The lecturers' notes had been bound in the different syllabuses with different colored covers signifying the various blocks or subjects. Julie continued, "I see you're interested in the Pathology Syllabus. As Jared went to the red tab placed carefully in the syllabus, Julie said, "A Navy Commander named Ellen Martins working at the U. S. Army Institute of Pathology Research lectured on Mycoplasma fermentans incognitus, and a summary of her lecture on the mycoplasma is in the syllabus." As Jared opened the syllabus and began scanning the material for a few seconds he remarked, "That's interesting, I didn't think that the military publicly acknowledged Mfi." Julie responded, "Well, from what my neighbor said when I asked her, they don't, but this is their medical school, the only medical school for active duty military personnel. Since it's their experts and their materials, I assume that they don't publicly spread these books around. What I found interesting, and I think that you and Marie will also find this interesting, is that although they deny it now, they knew all along that Mfi was a dangerous infection." Julie immediately showed Jared where to look in the Pathology Syllabus VI from 1994. It was the section on M. fermentans by Commander Ellen Martins of the U.S. Navy. It read as follows:

Mycoplasma fermentans

The most serious presentation of M. fermentans infection is that of a fulminating systemic disease that begins as a flu-like illness. Patients rapidly deteriorate developing severe complications. including adult respiratory distress syndrome, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and/or multiple organ failure. The organs of patients with fulminant M. fermentans infections exhibit extensive necrosis. Necrosis is most pronounced in lung, liver, spleen, lymph nodes, adrenal glands, heart and brain. M. fermentans is identified in areas of necrosis, particularly in the advancing margin of necrosis, by the immunohisto-chemistry using specific anti-M. fermentans and M. fermentans incognitus antibiody and/or by in situ hybridization assays using cloned incognitus strain DNA. Mycoplasma-like particles are found intracellularly and extracellularly by electron microscopy.


After reading the above introduction to M. fermentans, Jared read the remainder of the section and then the student's notes. Suddenly he was not feeling so well. When he got to the section on the treatment of Mfi, there was a doxycycline protocol, almost exactly the same dose and treatment schedule as Jared had been recommending. The military had obviously known all along that Mfi was a dangerous infection that could lead to a fatal disease and that could be successfully treated with doxycycline. Jared suddenly felt a pain in the pit of his stomach, as if someone had poked him with a sharp stick. While this was going on, Marie and Richard were laughing and playing with the Hamlin's two Dalmations that were running around the room and licking Marie's face.

Jared decided not to spoil Marie's fun, because she would just get upset at seeing the summary on Mfi. The syllabus indicated that the DoD knew all along about the dangers of Mfi. Jared said to Julie, "Not only did they know all about Mfi, but they also knew how to effectively treat it! You know, if these military physicians were out of the Army and in private practice, they would all be sued for malpractice!" Julie said, "It gets worse. Not only did they know all about Mfi. They knew how to treat it, and they purposely ignored their own directives on how to identify it and care for patients. They ignored our pleas to test for Mfi, and they even ignored these sections of the Pathology Syllabus from their own medical school."

In the less than the five minutes that it took to examine the Pathology Syllabus section on Mfi and the student's notes Jared became sick, but it also strengthened his resolve. Jared tried very hard for the rest of the visit to be upbeat and interactive, but he could not shake the feeling that he had in his gut about what the military had done to their own veterans. After Jared and Marie had thanked the Hamlins, made their good-byes and wished the Hamlins well, they made their way off the base and back onto the Parkway for the trip back to Washington DC. About half way back to Washington, Jared got the courage to tell Marie about the exchange with Julie and the Pathology Syllabus. He was afraid that she would blow-up and become very angry, but instead of becoming angry or crying or having an emotional outburst as Jared expected, Marie just said to him angrily, "What did you expect? I tell you, the United States is gone, it's history. When I see how America has treated its own military families, I tell you, there is no country on the planet that can do this and ultimately survive." She continued, "Unless these criminal factions in the government's scientific and medical sectors are rooted out and exposed, I see nothing but terror and destruction in our future."

After thinking about her comment for a moment Jared answered Marie. "I know that I have resisted your thinking on this, but I am afraid you're right. It's a sad day to realize that your own government may be behind this entire mess along with organized crime and their defense investments." The following year the Pentagon ordered the removal of the section on M. fermentans from the Pathology Syllabus VI. They would never explain why the section written by Dr. Ellen Martins was quietly removed from the medical curriculum at the DoD's own medical school. It was too late, however, the cat was out of the bag, and it was right there in official print, and they could not take it back no matter how hard they tried. There were a million excuses for the military medical school's description of Mfi as a dangerous pathogen and the instructions on how to treat its infections, but the most effective tactic was to just pretend that it never happened, which was exactly what they did-and they got away with it completely.

The U.S. Air Force Reserve nurse

One of the more interesting people that Jared and Marie met in Austin was Janet Riles, a former Air Force nurse and reserve officer in the Air Force. Although Captain Riles never fought in the Gulf War, she was activated and assigned to one of the C-130 Hercules air evacuation units that returned wounded soldiers from the Gulf. She had received all of her vaccinations and was preparing to deploy to the Persian Gulf when the war ended. After the war, she was deactivated and returned to her hospital job, when she slowly came down with Gulf War Illness. As a nurse, Capt. Riles had contact with ill soldiers and marines that were returning from the Gulf, but she never actually went to the theater of operations.

Marie and Jared met Capt. Riles in Austin where she ran a weekly radio show for nurses called Nurse Talk Radio. In civilian life Capt. Riles was an ER nurse, and her radio show reflected that perspective, but she also developed a strong interest in Gulf War Illnesses because of her own health problems and those of other Air Force personnel and other veterans. Janet contacted the McNichols because of her interest in finding out about her own illness, but she also knew from her colleagues still in the Air Force that many veterans were slowly becoming sick and leaving their active duty positions because they could no longer perform their duties.

In time Capt. Riles became a strong advocate for the Gulf War veterans and their medical problems. In fact, she would often travel around the country delivering her lectures on the Gulf War and Weapons of Mass Destruction, concentrating on the little known fact at the time that certain companies in the United States sold Weapons of Mass Destruction to Iraq before the war with the blessings of the U. S. Department of Commerce. Among those weapons were a variety of 'dual-use' pathogenic bacteria and viruses that could be used as Biological Warfare agents.

Nurse Janet was a charming, eloquent lady who felt strongly about the way veterans had been treated after the Gulf War. The DoD had been attacking her for her outspoken views, but she had her supporters, and now among them, the McNichols. Jared and Marie agreed to be on one of Capt. Riles' radio shows, so they drove to a small commercial building complex in South Austin where Janet had access to a small radio studio. Although her radio program was local, she was in the process of trying to have her show go national. There was some interest but only by the patriot radio networks that have non-stop talk shows that deal with various conspiracy theories and other topics of ultra-conservative nature. Jared and Marie enjoyed their session with Janet on the air, and between the three of them, they raised some tough questions and issues that needed discussion on a wider scale.

Janet had become more and more submerged in the entire conspiracy surrounding the Gulf War Illnesses issue. This just stimulated her to find more information about the illnesses and why the U.S. military seemed to be ignoring the issue and not offering treatments beyond antidepressants and pain medications. Capt. Riles was especially mad about the PTSD debacle. When she started digging for information from completely legitimate sources, she usually ran into a stonewall. But she kept digging and digging, and finally she found enough material from the Congressional Record, publications, government archives and other sources to back up the theory that the United States had been working on biological weapons of mass destruction long after signing the 1972 treaty banning such efforts.

The most damaging information that Capt. Riles found or at least made more visible was, in fact, published in the U. S. Congressional Record a few years earlier. There for all to see were the reports from the Senate Banking Committee on Iraq's WMD. These reports documented the transfer of 'dual use' chemical and biological agents from the United States to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. In fact, this U. S. Senate committee under Senator Don Riegle found that the Commerce Department gave its blessing to the transfer of these dangerous weapons to Iraq's Atomic energy Commission and various universities in Baghdad and Basra in the 1980s during the Reagan administration, and this should have been a major embarrassment. But no one seemed to care that the United States and its allies armed Iraq with the very weapons that might now be playing a role in the deteriorating health of American, British, Canadian, Australian, Dutch, Danish and other veterans of the Gulf War.

Eventually Capt. Riles left Texas for a new home in Missouri, the "Show- Me' state, and she married and settled down. But she still continued the fight for veterans' rights on a new syndicated radio show with her new husband. With her U. S. documents in hand, Janet decided to change her life from a part-time veterans' advocate to a full-time radio talk show host with her husband and lecturer on unpopular topics like how our veterans were wounded by our own chemical and biological weapons and were then betrayed by their own country to hide the truth from the American people. She also formed a new Gulf War veterans' organization where she could continue the fight for veterans' rights from her new home in Missouri, far away from the depressing environment of Texas. It seemed ironic that many of the individuals that raised questions about veterans' health care had come from academic institutions or from the veterans community in Texas, the same state that was at the center of the controversy on the origin of these same problems.

A doctor in the VA needs help

Although the VA Medical Centers were generally hostile to patients with Gulf War Illnesses, moving them mostly to psychiatrists so that they could receive a diagnosis of PTSD, there were some VA physicians who realized early on that the Gulf War Illnesses were medical not psychiatric illnesses. This especially hit home when the physicians themselves started to display similar signs and symptoms to their patients, and in some cases they even brought the condition home to their families, just like the veterans who brought Gulf War Illness to their spouses and children.

A VA physician in Oklahoma named Dr. Harry Moss contacted Jared McNichols because he began to show flu-like symptoms that progressed to a mild form of Gulf War Illness that was treatable with antibiotics, but then his wife started to show similar signs and symptoms. In fact, his wife was virtually incapacitated with the severe problems similar to what Dr. Moss had seen in his VA Gulf War referral clinic.

Since Dr. Moss was not a full time VA physician, he was less susceptible to the political pressure that was placed on the full-time VA medical staff, and he was more open to what was actually going on in his service. Dr. Moss tried to investigate Gulf War Illnesses as a medical problem, and treat his patients accordingly. In other words, he was actually trying to help the veterans solve their health problems, instead of just pushing them off onto psychiatrists who would then diagnose them with PTSD and stuff them full of antidepressants. The psychiatrists probably felt that they were just doing their job to diagnose psychiatric disorders and follow the directives of the VA.

Dr. Moss had noticed that the signs and symptoms of the Gulf War veterans with chronic illnesses did not fit with PTSD, but his pleadings were quickly dismissed by his colleagues because he was not a board-certified psychiatrist. Dr. Moss liked to call himself just a 'country doctor,' and how in heaven's name would this 'country doctor' know anything about a complex, stress-associated condition? In other words, how would he know that the veterans were not suffering from PTSD? But Dr. Moss was not satisfied to just send his patients to the psychiatrists for their PTSD diagnoses when he knew in his gut that it was not right. So he began to fight back when he noticed that both he and especially his wife were coming down with the same signs and symptoms as his patients.

His wife became progressively sicker and more incapacitated, but he could not ascertain what was wrong with her medically. Dr. Moss realized that it couldn't be PTSD-his wife was never in the Armed Forces or anywhere near Iraq-so he started to read everything he could get his hands on about the illnesses associated with service in the Gulf War. At the time there wasn't much to read about, but he became convinced that his wife's condition was caused by contact with him, and in turn, was likely caused by contact with the veterans, suggesting transmission of a biological exposure, an infection.

The VA just laughed and wrote off Dr. Moss' notions off as ridiculous. Then he heard from one of his patients that a husband-wife research group in Texas had found infections in Gulf War veterans. This was the type of information that he wanted to follow up on, because the spread of the illness to himself and especially his wife indicated an infectious process. Unfortunately, at the time the transmission of Gulf War Illnesses to spouses was hotly denied by the VA and the DoD, so Dr. Moss was bucking the system when he decided to follow up on this clue.

Dr. Moss tracked down Jared in Austin and called him on the telephone. Dr. Moss began by asking Jared what he and Marie had found in the Gulf War veterans that could explain their illnesses. Dr. Moss eventually told Jared, "I'm just a simple country doctor from Oklahoma trying to help the local VA with their Gulf War cases, but it seems to me that there is something being transmitted here, and one of my patients brought in some of your information. It looks very interesting." Jared replied, "That's funny, you don't sound to me like a simple country doctor." Dr. Moss continued, "Well I am. And I don't believe for one minute the bull that the VA is giving these veterans!" Jared responded, "That would be a reasonable conclusion. I don't believe them either, especially after they went out after me and my wife for making a simple suggestion, one that is helping the veterans." Dr. Moss asked, "What have you found down there in Austin?" Jared answered, "We found that approximately one-half of the sick veterans had an unusual chronic bacterial infection called Mycoplasma fermentans. But it can be treated with doxycycline along with immune and dietary support." Dr. Moss said, "Well hell, that makes a lot of sense from your papers I have here. Does this bug cause a lot of different signs and symptoms in your patients?" Jared replied, "Oh, I would say so. Some of the vets with this infection have over forty different signs and symptoms. The most prominent ones are chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, headaches, cognitive problems and memory loss, gastrointestinal problems, skin rashes, heart problems, vision problems and a lot more." Dr. Moss said, "I see. How about the female patients? Do they show a lot of female problems with their periods, bloating and such?" Jared responded, "They sure do. We were just visiting with the wife of a Gulf War veteran from the 101st Airborne, and she looked almost pregnant because of bloating. She also had major problems with her periods, PMS and vaginal infections."

Then Dr. Moss got down to a critical question. He asked, "How is it spread?" Jared continued, "It appears to be an airborne infection, but I think that it can also be passed to spouses by sexual contact. When children come down with it, they usually present after the adults, and they often have unusual problems such as autistic behavior." Dr. Moss said, "I think this may be bigger than you think, and I believe that you are onto something important. Does the VA have a contract with you for testing?" Jared laughed, "Are you kidding? They would like to see us shut down for good!" Dr. Moss replied, "Damned them, if they do succeed in shutting you down!"

Dr. Moss was not surprised to hear what Jared had just told him. He told Jared, "I think I am beginning to see why you hit a nerve. You know, I'm just a country doctor, but some things are so obvious that even a simple doctor like me can't avoid seeing them. You said it could be successfully treated with doxycycline?" Jared responded, "Yes, that's right, 200 milligrams per day plus some supplements." Dr. Moss replied, "To me that sounds simple enough. I appreciate what you're doing, and so do my patients. My wife is showing the illness, and I am going to try your protocol on both of us. ( know that some other physicians here are having the same problem, but I don't know if they are going to be smart enough to contact you." Jared said, "Well, we're used to that. Some people just want to avoid the obvious if it involves some painful truth that they would rather forget." Dr. Moss said, "I want to keep in contact with you, if it's all right. We may need your assistance again here in Oklahoma." Jared responded, "No problem. We'll be here for you."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:33 pm

Part 1 of 4

CHAPTER 12: The Trips to Washington DC (1995)

Marie had previously applied for a faculty position in a clinical department at the D. O. Madison Cancer Center. On the basis of this application, now almost a year old, Dr. Augustus Blair, the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics had offered Marie a faculty position. For reasons that had more to do with the direction of research that Dr. Blair wanted in his department, Marie had put off making a decision on whether to join his department. Although he had not contacted Marie since that time, and she had not followed up on the offer, Marie had become desperate for a faculty position in Austin. Also, the position had been advertised recently in a professional journal, so she decided to press the issue. Jared had warned her that it was now unlikely that she still had a chance at the position, but since the position was recently advertised and was still open, she decided to contact Dr. Blair to see if he was still interested in hiring her. Marie might as well find out herself about the dirty politics of the institution when it came to hiring new staff. She made an appointment with Dr. Blair, and to her surprise, she was told that she could see Dr. Blair the next day in his office.

The following day at the Cancer Center Marie found herself in the office of Professor Blair, Chairman of the prestigious Pediatrics Department, in which Marie was to have received an entry faculty position after a compulsory seminar. Dr. Blair was a very short man of very nondescript appearance, and he had very small but kind eyes for his size. He loved children and his personality fit quite well with his patients, but it also betrayed him as a 'suck-up' artist. He did, however, give off an air that he truly cared for his young patients. He was not an especially brilliant man compared to his D. O. Madison colleagues, but he was a good physician, and he was well-liked by his colleagues and the families that flocked to the Cancer Center, usually as a last resort for their terminally sick children.

Dr. Blair's office was furnished in the vivid colors of a childhood nursery. There were lots of stuffed animals on display, even some vintage stuffed animals, which Marie suspected belonged to Dr. Blair himself, possibly reminders of his own childhood. The wall was covered with awards that Dr. Blair had received in recognition of his crusade to discover new treatments for childhood cancers. The furniture was typical office furniture, nothing too opulent. He had probably not been to Dr. Geldter's office and seen the expensive rosewood furniture that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and caused the Cancer Center quite a scandal in the press.

Marie had entered Dr. Blair's office while he was on the phone, and he signaled for Marie to take a seat. After several minutes, he eventually hung up the phone and immediately turned to Marie. "Dr. McNichols, you have powerful enemies! And their attitude towards you is very deep-seeded." Marie replied, "I guess that means that my possible appointment to the faculty in your department has been blocked." Dr. Blair in a very cold way said, "Well, at The Madison we don't block faculty appointments, but if I were you I would seriously consider doing something else with your life. It is unlikely that you will find employment in Austin. According to my sources, your candidacy here has been seriously compromised." Marie answered Dr. Blair by looking him directly in the eyes, "I am aware of the blackball here at The Madison, but I do not know why. I was trained by some of the top scientists in the world in the hard sciences, and although my personality is not exactly like those of my colleagues, I am not that much different in demeanor from other beginning faculty."

Marie finally got to the point. "Do you have an explanation for this, Dr. Blair?" Dr. Blair became nervous and very uncomfortable before he answered, "No, not really. Marie, remember, I am relatively new to The D. O. Madison. Prior to coming here I had never heard of Drs. Geldter or Krapner. But it seems that these people are not your supporters. Even worse is your apparent connict with the upper administration. I have to assume that you have contributed in some way to cause their current attitude." Marie replied, "They're not in my field. I don't even really know these people!" Dr. Blair responded, "Even if you haven't ever met them or don't know them well, why do you think that they are so forcefully against your candidacy? There must be some reason?"

Dr. Blair reflected for a moment and then became more direct with Marie. "I honestly could not be responsible for the career of someone with any controversy surrounding them, and I have heard what you and your husband are doing with that Gulf War Syndrome patients. You have to understand my position. I have to be very careful whom I hire into the Department. And I have to cooperate fully with the Administration. This puts me in a very difficult position, and you wouldn't want that, I'm sure."

Marie looked directly at Dr. Blair. "Did it ever occur to you, Dr. Blair, that there are always two sides to a story?" Dr. Blair responded, "Well yes, Dr. McNichols, it has occurred to me. But I do not have the time for any controversy, nor the inclination to cause problems for my Department." Marie said, "Dr. Blair, answer one question for me. Why would the President of The D. O. Madison be interested in a peon such as myself. You know I am just an entry level faculty candidate, and chief executive officers seldom even know the names of the people at my level." Dr. Blair answered, "Which is why there must be some basis for this, and there must be some truth to what people say about you. Marie, let me be frank with you. There are serious accusations against you and your husband." Marie asked, "Well, what are they?" Dr. Blair said, "I can't tell you."

Marie sarcastically responded to Dr. Blair's comments. "Well, that's just perfect! People whom I do not even know are levying serious accusations, as you call it, against me, which have in essence, halted my academic career. But I am not allowed to know what these accusations are. It's as if I am being treated as a criminal with no means to defend myself. At least criminals get to have a fair trial." Dr. Blair consoled Marie, "You should not take it personally." She continued, "Dr. Blair. I am sure if the shoe were on the other foot, you would take it personally." He nodded his head and Marie said, "Are you aware that I studied with some of the top physicists of this century. One of them, a former President of the National Academy of Sciences, thought I was one of the best students he had seen in his entire career, which spanned half a century. It's right there in my reference letters. I will not dignify this discussion by going into a long explanation of my achievements. I know, they say that we cheat and fudge our data on the Gulf War veterans' results. Dr. Blair was beginning to get uncomfortable, "This is very embarrassing, Marie." She asked, "For whom, Dr. Blair? What else? Oh, I know, I slept my way into D. O. Madison by bewitching my husband, Jared. You can stop me, Dr. Blair, but I have heard it all. Yes, it is true that I slept with my husband. But I was never promiscuous, nor would I stoop to such behavior to procure some inconsequential faculty position. Dr. Blair, did it ever occur to you that those people who have branded me have sex not their jobs on their minds? If they were truly devoted to doing their jobs, they would not spend time in such guttural gossip. Perhaps these people view me in some sexual manner themselves?" Dr. Blair answered, "You have a point." Marie said, "Thank you, Dr. Blair."

He finally became uneasy at continuing the conversation. "Well! That was interesting. I'm glad that we had this little conversation." Marie said, "All these things are just unsubstantiated rumors, and I have one last statement. I am not a petty or vindictive person, but you have to agree that I have been treated very badly by the system here." Dr. Blair looked visibly relieved that the conversation was about to end. "So Marie, are we all going to be O.K.?" Marie responded, "If you have done nothing wrong, than you have nothing to fear." Blair began to look nervous again.

Marie was now toying with Dr. Blair because of the intense hurt and anger she felt from her treatment at the hands of the D. O. Madison administration and faculty. Dr. Blair continued, "You said you were not a vindictive person." Marie answered, "That's true. But I cannot account for the behavior of my godfather who is very protective of me. My family may perceive this whole episode as an incredible blight upon my honor, even if he has mixed emotions about my having a career in science. You see, he's a very old-fashioned gentleman, very aristocratic, actually! But don't worry, I'll put in a good word for you." Marie paused and said, "There's no point for everyone to suffer due to the vicious pettiness of some administrators. But you just better pray that my godfather and I are far more reasonable in our dealings towards you and your colleagues than D. O. Madison's administration has been to me." Dr. Blair then exclaimed, "You know what? I feel better about you as a person now that we have had this little talk, and I think it's a tragedy that you have been treated this way. Unfortunately, my hands are tied with respect to the appointment. I am truly sorry, there is nothing I can do!" Marie responded, "You know what, Dr. Blair, I don't feel better about you as a person, because you base your opinions on hearsay. A good leader bases his or her decisions on facts not hearsay. I believe that you have clearly failed to do that in my case, and I doubt I would be happy in a department whose director is so malleable. With all due respect, sir, you are a typical yes-man. I am sorry if I have offended you with my comments, but this episode does not portend well for the long-term viability of this institution. Businesses whose leaders make decisions based purely on emotion rarely succeed, and today's economic trends are not conducive to running a large operation like this hospital according to the Texas good ole' boy system. No, Dr. Blair, I predict that D. O. Madison's leadership will ultimately force this institution to bankruptcy."

Dr. Blair was now visibly irritated. "That's impossible! This institution can always call upon the Permanent University fund." Marie said, "Don't be so sure. Even the Roman empire fell." Little did Marie know at the time that it was her own massive inheritance that backed up the Permanent University Fund. Dr. Blair then said, "I'm truly sorry. Marie, about this whole episode, and I wish I could make amends. But it is just impossible. I wish you luck, however, in your endeavors, and as a remembrance of our division I have decided to present you with our special children's bear." He handed the bear to Marie. She held her temper in check and tried not to view the act as the ultimate insult. She somewhat sarcastically said, "Oh, thank you. Dr. Blair I just love stuffed animals. I will cherish this bear always. Good luck to you!" As Marie left the room with her bear, leaving Dr. Blair to just shake his head and wonder what went wrong with the meeting.

After the disastrous meeting with Dr. Blair, Marie found her way to Jared's office carrying the stuffed bear. People stopped her in the hallway to comment on the bear. It seemed that everyone liked the bear, or at least it was a point of conversation. Marie made her way past the office personnel and walked right into Jared's office. He was on the phone, and Marie sat down and waited until he finished his conversation before a tear showed up on her face. Jared got up and came over to Marie. He asked her, "That bad?" Marie replied, "Worse! I should have listened to you. I should have never gone to Dr. Blair's office. It was a complete waste of time." Jared said, "Well, it looks like you got a nice bear from the interview. Was that your booby prize?" Jared did not want to make Marie feel worse than she did already, but he succeeded. He apologized, "Marie, I'm really very sorry. I didn't want you to go to see Dr. Blair. You knew that it was a waste of time, but you went anyway. You look nice though. I love you for your tenacity." Marie responded, "At least I got something out of it." Jared said, "Yes, you did. It's a nice bear. At least he has some good taste in something, the little maggot!" Marie paused and said, "It seems from Blair's comments that the entire administration is terrified of my elusive family." Jared just shook his head and thought to himself that once again Marie was touching on the issue that she was probably someone else, possibly an heiress from some elusive European family. Could Marie be somehow linked to the financial web that was entangled in the Medical Center finances? Jared kept this thought to himself.

Marie jumped up and said, "Well, are you taking me to lunch or what?" Jared answered, "It looks like I am." He took off his lab coat, and they left the office together holding hands. Jared said to the officer personnel as they left, 'Jane, I am taking my beautiful wife here to lunch. I don't know when I'll be back. Please take messages for me."

The Department of Defense goes after the McNichols

One of the patients that contacted Jared and Marie was an Air Force cargo handler who worked at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. His name was Master Sergeant Albright Letterman. Sergeant Letterman had actually been out of the Air Force for some time, but he was involved in unloading Iraqi tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment from giant C-5A cargo planes at Dover AFB after the war. These trophies of war were brought back undamaged for examination by the Army at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds and later for possible use in training Marine and Army armored units in the California desert. MSGT Letterman was not deployed to the Gulf during the war. The only contact he had with the Gulf War was his involvement in unloading Iraqi equipment after the war and his receipt of the anthrax vaccine and other vaccines that the deployed airmen received.

Some of the vehicles and other equipment came home completely wrapped and sealed in plastic, but the cargo handlers were never told why. After his contact with the war trophies, MSGT Letterman slowly came down with a chronic illness that was undistinguishable from Gulf War Illness. Unfortunately for him, he left the Air Force after a long career, and the VA wouldn't accept that he had any illnesses related to the Gulf War. Perhaps it was just as well, for they didn't try to send him to the psychiatrists for a PTSD diagnosis. Even the VA wasn't that stupid. But MSGT Letterman wouldn't accept that his illness was not work related. He began getting sick before retiring from the Air Force where he was forced to take the anthrax vaccine, and his signs and symptoms matched those veterans who did serve in the Gulf War. Was it the vaccines or the Iraqi equipment that caused his illness?

Sergeant Letterman was concerned that he might have been exposed to chemical and biological agents carried back on Iraqi equipment from the Gulf or something in the anthrax or other vaccines that he was forced to take while in the Air Force. After getting the run-around from the Air Force and the VA, he decided to write his Senator, William Roth of Delaware, who promptly forwarded his letter to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Joseph Johns. Dr. Johns in return sent a formal letter of reply to Senator Roth and other members of Congress on this general issue. It was clear that he had apparently used similar letters on a number of occasions.

In the letter to Congress Dr. Johns forcefully stated that "there is no scientific or medical evidence that either chemical or biological agents were deployed at any level during the Gulf War, "nor he argued in his letter were there any exposures of U.S. service members to chemical or biological warfare agents. Furthermore, he stated that any chemical alarms that sounded during the Gulf War were caused by dust particles. Of course, he didn't bother to mention that biological detectors were not even present in the theater of operations, so how could there be any evidence of non-exposure to biological agents when there were no detectors anywhere near the Gulf? Also, there was ample evidence that chemical alarms only sounded during not before or after the war.

At the same time that Dr. John's letter was circulating to members of Congress, in one of their own Congressional Committee hearings an Army chemical/biological weapons officer testified under oath that there were over 14, DoD chemical alarms that sounded during but not before or after the conflict. Presumably there was dust before, during and after the war. The fact that chemical alarms sounded during but not before or after the war was conveniently hidden from the public until this Army Nuclear Biological Chemical Warfare specialist testified to Congress under oath about the number and type of chemical detections during the war. Unfortunately when Congress asked for the chemical logs to substantiate his testimony, none could be subsequently found! They had been lost or destroyed after the war. Nor did Dr. Johns bother to mention that a defense contractor detected chemical warfare agents using infrared detectors located in satellites in stationary orbits over Iraq.

Of interest to the McNichols was a statement in Dr. Johns' letter that was a complete lie. Dr. Johns had stated in his letter that mycoplasmas could not be causing the illnesses, because Mycoplasma fermentans had not been shown to cause disease in man. When Jared was sent a copy of the letter written by Undersecretary Johns, he was furious. Notwithstanding the U.S. patent awarded to Army pathologist Dr. Lon on Mycoplasama fermentans entitled 'Pathogenic Mycoplasma' and the publications from the U.S. Army demonstrating the pathogenic properties of this microorganism and the teaching manuals in the military's own medical school on its pathogenic properties, there was considerable evidence published by the DoD itself indicating that M. fermentans could cause a fatal disease in Armed Forces personnel as well as healthy non-human primates that had been injected with the microorganism. Since the military taught their medical students at the Naval Medical Center that M. fermentans was pathogenic, Dr. Johns must not have received his medical training in the military. He should have found out what his own military medical school instructors were teaching their students before spreading such rubbish in formal letters to Congress. Jared wondered if the laws governing Congressional perjury applied to letters sent to Senators from Pentagon big-wigs. He would have loved to see Dr. Johns convicted of lying to Congress.

In a telephone conversation with Sergeant Letterman Jared was still furious. "So an undersecretary deliberately lied about M. fermentans in a formal letter to Congress? What else is new?" Jared discussed the situation, "They have been lying for years to Congress. It looks like you got tanked by that liar Dr. Johns!" Sergeant Letterman said, "You told me this was going to happen, and you were right. Now I have to convince Senator Roth's office that Dr. Joseph Johns is a liar, and that won't be easy. This is the same guy that testified to Senator Roth's committee on Pentagon budgets and health matters. The Senator thinks he's a 'nice' guy." Jared replied, "I think he a fiend! I don't think that it would be difficult to show that Dr. Johns is a liar, and he is not a 'nice guy' to the veterans. After all, most of the research that demonstrates that M. fermentans is pathogenic comes from the Army itself, and he probably knows all about it. Anyway, what is the penalty for lying to Congress?" Letterman replied, "I have no idea. I didn't know we had fallen so far to have our leading Pentagon physicians behave this way."

Sergeant Letterman thought for a moment. "I think this explains why Dr. Johns essentially called you a charlatan on a TV interview last week. He went out of his way to paint you and Marie as opportunistic, know-nothing jerks that prey on the veterans with your wild ideas." Jared laughed, "Well, we both know who the charlatan is, and we both know who is preying on the veterans! I would like to see him pass a lie detector test on the subject to find out what he knows but won't tell to the American public. But this does bring up an interesting question. Why would the DoD go to such lengths to hide the truth about the mycoplasma? What's the big deal about this Mfi infection? Is it some kind of biowarfare agent that got loose and they don't dare to admit it to the public? You know, like another Lyme Disease that got loose from Plum Island?" Sergeant Letterman said, "Affirmative! And then they sent it to Saddam!"

Sergeant Letterman was not far off base in his last comment. Congressional records showed that very dangerous chemical and biological agents were actually sent to Iraq from the United States before the war with the blessing of the U.S. Commerce Department. But did the Iraqis get Mfi from the United States or some other nation willing to sell it for the right price? And what about the vaccines given to deployed Armed Forces personnel? Most deployed personnel received 20-30 different vaccines within a few days during deployment. Any immunologist knows that this is very suppressive to your immune system. If there were even some minor contaminants in any of the vaccines, the vaccinated servicemen and servicewomen might have been especially susceptible because their immune systems were compromised.

The Pentagon spokesperson and his traveling circus

Another person that went after the McNichols was a spokesperson for the DoD in the Office of Gulf War Illnesses, Dr. Roger Rott. Actually, Dr. Rott did not have a scientific or medical degree, but the press called him Dr. Rott anyway, and he did nothing to correct their mistake. It would take some time for the press to actually find out that Dr. Rott had a degree in education and was poorly qualified to make serious comments on medical conditions or treatments. Nonetheless, Dr. Rott was constantly going after physicians and scientists who dared to buck the Pentagon on the issue of Gulf War Illnesses. Thus, if anyone disagreed with the DoD and their PTSD bandwagon, they became a potential target, and that certainly included the McNichols. After all, everyone knew that the illnesses from the Gulf War, if there were any, were all caused by stress!

Mr. Rott was spending most of his time defending the position of the DoD with respect to the 'psychiatric' casualties from the Gulf War. In fact, he took his show on the road, and his traveling bandwagon, some would claim traveling circus, was scheduled to visit various communities where large military bases existed to convince active duty Armed Services personnel, veterans of the war, their relatives and the local press that everything was under control with respect to Gulf War Illnesses. In fact, just the opposite was the case, and it was Mr. Rott's 'spin-job' to 'keep a lid on it' so that the situation did not get out of hand and cause further embarrassment to the DoD.

In the process of leading the Pentagon cheering section on the traveling show around the country, Mr. Rott was often greeted with hostile questions about the veterans' possible exposures to chemical and biological agents. The veterans and their families were concerned, and the major purpose of the traveling show was to bring 'peace of mind and clarity' to the veterans and to the public. Unfortunately, it rarely accomplished either. In fact, some of the traveling shows become somewhat rowdy when the participants felt quite rightly that they were being lied to by the spokesperson from the Pentagon. This often happened when Mr. Rott repeated over and over again that there was no evidence that the veterans of the Gulf War were exposed to chemical or biological agents. However, the veterans seem to have known otherwise, mostly from a handful of websites that were established by the veterans themselves. Some of these proudly displayed the documents indicating the complete opposite of the 'snake oil' that Mr. Rott had been selling on his traveling shows.

When the questions inevitably came up during the traveling shows about possible biological exposures during the Gulf War, one of the popular targets of Mr. Rott were the McNichols. He delighted in telling the crowds about Dr. Lon's failure to confirm the McNichols' findings on Mfi in the veterans' blood and the bogus statement that the infection did not even cause disease. Mr. Rott knew exactly what he was doing, which was to cast doubt on any findings which went against the Pentagon line. In fact, the traveling PR show continued on for some time, but the DoD was eventually forced to change its position in a number of areas, in response to the increasing criticism that it was being less than forthright with the veterans and the American public.

Thus the traveling PR show of Mr. Rott probably didn't yield the outcome that the DoD expected. For example, there was a flap over the exposures of U.S. Forces to the toxic clouds from the destruction of Iraqi bunkers at Khamisiyah immediately after the Gulf War. At first, the Pentagon denied that anyone could have been exposed to anything toxic from the blowing up of bunkers and munitions after the war, until it was made public that some of the bunkers actually contained chemical and biological weapons. A CIA analyst blew the whistle on the DoD when he determined that a toxic cloud likely spread from Southern Iraq to the Gulf and could have exposed U. S. and other forces on the ground to low-level chemical and biological agents that were stored in the bunkers that were blown. Even the Pentagon's own Deputy Director of Policy in the Command and Control had written a treatise entitled "A matter of national integrity," which addressed the issue of low-level exposures. He expected to be fired over the article, but to his amazement he was actually promoted and would become a life-long friend of the McNichols and give them hope that the Pentagon leadership still had some integrity.

In another embarrassing moment for the Pentagon, a soldier in one of the engineering units assigned to blow up the bunkers had taken home movies with his own VCR of the munitions in some of the bunkers at Khamisiyah. The videotape clearly showed that there were chemical and biological weapons stored at Kamisiyah. Interestingly, his video also showed that some of the cases of weapons had the U.S. Interstate Commerce Hazmat or hazardous materials stickers still on the cases, indicating that some of the weapons were of American manufacture and were shipped from the United States to Iraq.

Thus the DoD was forced to keep changing its official position on the possible exposures of U. S. Armed Forces personnel to toxic materials in the air. From the initial position that no soldiers were exposed to only a handful of troops were potentially exposed to thousands and finally hundreds of thousands of veterans were potentially exposed. The Pentagon did not dare admit that civilians were exposed, even though the Mc ichols knew otherwise from their communications from colleagues in the Middle East who reported the existence of unusual increases in undiagnosed chronic illnesses and cancer cases in the region.

Throughout this entire flap, Mr. Rott was completely unflappable. He had become the artful dodger, cleverly avoiding criticism and giving the press and the public any ammunition that could be used to challenge the Pentagon's official line. His ultimate reward for such unsavory behavior was not a ticket out of town but an appointment as an Undersecretary in the Department of Defense. Thus the protectors of the 'truth' (according to the Pentagon) were handsomely rewarded for their service in deflecting any criticism from the 'barbarian' public and especially the 'traitorous' press.

Mr. Rott was often accompanied on his 'control and containment' missions by a Navy Captain, Dr. Charles Murphy, a non-descript Naval medical officer who wore his Navy 'whites' for all such occasions. What few in the veterans' community, the general public and especially the press knew was that Capt. Murphy was an infectious disease expert who had been involved with Biological Warfare defense during his career. He was there to handle the questions about potential biological warfare agents ("there were none released in the Gulf War and there was no evidence of exposure"), chronic infections ("there is no evidence for chronic infections in the Gulf War veterans") to the illnesses themselves ("all the evidence points to a stress-related cause'). But there was more to Dr. Murphy than it seemed, and he was carefully chosen for his position as medical flak catcher for Mr. Rott.

As it turns out, Capt. Murphy was in addition to a biological warfare expert, a former commander who was in charge of a unit in the Navy that had illegally experimented with dangerous biological agents on Marine recruits. He was also the former head of a special biological warfare laboratory in Egypt that specialized in tropical diseases. In fact, one of his victims, former U.S. Marine Michael James, came to Jared for help when he found out that there were actually some civilians who would help in such cases.

Michael James was a young Marine rifleman just out of basic training at the Marine Recruit Depot, San Diego, when he first met Dr. Murphy at Camp Pendleton in North San Diego County. Dr. Murphy was then a young Navy Lt. Commander and director of a unit at Balboa Naval Hospital that apparently performed horrific experiments on unwitting Marine guinea pigs. Michael James was one of Dr. Murphy's Marine guinea pigs that had been 'volunteered' to be part of the Navy's biological warfare experiments. In fact, his entire platoon was 'volunteered' without any pretense of informed consent, and most of them apparently died during 'the experiment' that James was involved with and never made it out of Balboa Naval Hospital alive. At least when PVT James woke up from one of his delirious episodes in the hospital and asked the orderlies about his platoon buddies, he was told that they didn't make it.

Michael James was one of the 'lucky' Marines that survived. After a partial recovery and quick medical discharge from the Marines, it took the former Marine rifleman years to recover from Dr. Murphy's horrific experiment. When confronted by the former Marine, Dr. Murphy hotly denied the entire story, including the part where he was the Marine's attending doctor. That was until Mr. James was able to recover his medical records from the Marine Corps. The records from Balboa Naval Hospital clearly had Dr. Murphy's signature on records that also bore the secret codes for a biological warfare experiment. Finding his medical records and determining what the 'codes' actually meant turned out to be no small feat, since at first the Marine Corps denied that Mr. James had ever even served in the Marines, and then later the Marine Corps denied that he was ever hospitalized at Balboa Naval Hospital. With the assistance of his Congressman, Mr. James eventually recovered his Marine Corps hospital records with Dr. Murphy's signatures on various pages as the physician-in-charge of an experimental unit at Balboa Naval Hospital. It seems that it was no accident that Dr. Murphy, the biological warfare expert, was chosen as Mr. Rott's deputy in the Gulf War Illness section at the Pentagon, and it was certainly no accident that Dr. Murphy was chosen as the medical backup on the Pentagon's Gulf War Illnesses traveling circus. After all, anyone with the rank of a Navy Captain commanded and received great respect from the veterans who, of course, had no idea of Dr. Murphy's background in biological warfare.

The government spin-doctors had to control the situation at all costs. They had even gone so far as to enlist a few right-wing journalists to write articles on how Gulf War Syndrome was nothing but a made-up psychosomatic condition due to the 'neurotic nature of the journalists who had convinced the veterans that they were sick because they ought to be sick from the war.' The rationale for this neurotic condition was that it wasn't their experience in the Gulf War that was haunting them, but rather what they were seeing on TV shows, what they were reading in newspapers, what they were hearing from congressional demagogues and from activists, and what they had heard from their fellow veterans. In other words, the veterans were simply being bombarded by the press that kept telling them that they were sick, and they were succumbing ('media shock' instead of 'shell shock?') to the message that they ought to be sick. Since they were so gullible and malleable by the press, they simply became psychologically sick in response to the media assault on their health!

One of these writers, who was actually an attorney by profession, had published in a magazine that Gulf War Syndrome was caused by some sort of 'epidemic of hysteria' created by the media and certain politicians. Even the term 'epidemic hysteria' that was used so freely in the article by this self-proclaimed 'medical expert' was demeaning to the veterans. And where did this term come from? It turned out to be a 'mental condition' invented by a woman English professor who felt that journalists and politicians had played a significant role in escalating the veterans' 'anxieties' to the point that they apparently caused some sort of mass hysteria because of too much information from politicians and the news media. Jared laughed and told Marie that if this were the case, one might expect that a rather large fraction of the population in the Washington D.C. area would have been suffering for decades from 'epidemic hysteria' after being bombarded by too many politicians and Washington journalists! As if the veterans were so gullible, and of course, their family members were also so gullible, as to believe everything that the press had written and the politicians had discussed about Gulf War Syndrome was just completely ludicrous. The thought of blaming sick infants for being gullible about politicians and news reporters and thus becoming chronically ill was especially appalling to Jared. How could they stoop so low?

Of course, the McNichols were in the crosshairs of such 'assets.' In their articles on what they called the Phony Gulf War Syndrome they were quick to attack the McNichols with completely bogus information, or they produced pure hearsay about their research and attributed ridiculous comments in their articles to the McNichols themselves, without ever interviewing them. Compared to the other insults and real threats to their health and safety, this seemed like child's play to the McNichols, but it was irritating and insulting.

Some medical scientists take on the Veterans' Administration

Jared and Marie had met Dr. Jack Baumgardner at a meeting on Gulf War Illnesses organized by a veterans' organization. They hit it off immediately, and a wonderful friendship developed. Dr. Baumgardner was the head of Neurology at the Los Angeles VA Medical Center, and he was trained as a psychiatrist as well as a neurologist. With his distinguished background, Dr. Baumgardner was particularly well equipped to determine if the veterans were suffering from PTSD or instead some organic medical problem.

Dr. Baumgardner always smiled or laughed when discussing the issue of PTSD and the Gulf War veterans. His superiors wanted the Gulf War veterans that came to the VA Medical Center in Los Angeles to be diagnosed with PTSD and placed on antidepressants, but Dr. Baumgardner resisted, mainly because he felt quite strongly that the veterans might have been exposed to multiple toxins in the Gulf that caused many problems that couldn't be explained by stress alone. In fact, since he was a neurologist, Dr. Baumgardner had been interested in the neurological aspects of Gulf War Illnesses and what might have caused the memory loss, headaches, cognitive deficits and problems with hearing, vision and other senses in the veterans. Since he was also a Board-Certified psychiatrist, he was amply qualified to determine if there were any psychiatric reasons for the illnesses.

The medical problems of the Gulf War veterans suggested that actual damage could have occurred to their brains. Thus Dr. Baumgardner set out to test his hypothesis by performing brain scans on the Gulf War veterans. Using an imaging technique that measured metabolic differences in brain tissues Dr. Baumgardner found that the ill Gulf War veterans showed multiple lesions of differing metabolic activity in their brains that could have been the result of multiple toxic insults. Such lesions could not have been caused by stress or PTSD, and there was no evidence in the neurological literature indicating that stress caused similar multiple lesions. Since there was no history of PTSD causing such dramatic brain lesions, Dr. Baumgardner concluded that it was not stress that was causing the veterans' chronic illnesses, it was exposure to unknown toxic substances, such as chemicals and biological agents that can penetrate into the central nervous system and cause focal damage to brain tissue.

For his efforts, the VA amply rewarded Dr. Baumgardner by closing his department and sending him packing from the VA. Before his department was closed down for good and he and his employees released from their duties, Dr. Baumgardner was actually forbidden to speak about his brain scan results at scientific meetings and especially to the press. The Veterans' Administration was very sensitive to the issue that pathological damage may have occurred in the veterans, because it flew in the face of their psychiatric diagnoses and solutions to the problem. Their final solution was: kill the messenger.

Dr. Baumgardner was forced to leave the VA, so he went into private practice in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, without the expensive brain scanning equipment left behind gathering dust at the VA in his now closed department, he could not complete his study for publication. He wanted to publish his research in a highly ranked medical journal, but since he no longer had access to the equipment he needed to finish his studies, it couldn't be done. He did eventually publish some of his findings, but he was never able to publish his work in a top ranked medical journal. Eventually he retired for health reasons. He was too ill to continue the battle, and his eyesight was failing. Marie and Jared wondered if Dr. Baumgardner picked up Mfi from his patients and, like SEAL Commander Dale DeJon, was losing his sight because of the infection.

Dr. Baumgardner's research on the Gulf War veterans was eventually continued, and even expanded upon, by a research group in Dallas that eventually landed some Federal funding for the project. The Dallas group completed and published a Gulf War Illnesses brain lesion research project that demonstrated that Gulf War Illness patients did have unusual lesions in their brains that showed dramatic differences in metabolic states. The VA and DoD response to the brain lesion research, however, was more ridicule and disbelief. In an attempt to discredit Dr. Baumgardner and the Dallas group that followed him, the VA and Pentagon claimed that there was absolutely no evidence to control for the possibility that the veterans may have had the lesions before they left for the Gulf or that the lesions did not have any relationship to Gulf War Illnesses.

It was the usual strategy of 'delay and deny' that had plagued virtually any and all researchers who had attempted to do any non-psychiatric research on the Gulf War veterans. Even though the Dallas group was actually financially supported by the DoD and published their results on brain lesions in the Gulf War veterans in excellent medical journals, the Pentagon continued their refusal to believe in the validity of the research. If they accepted that the brain lesions in the veterans were real, then their PTSD charade was over. So, they didn't accept the brain lesion reports.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Project Day Lily: An American Biological Warfare Tragedy

Postby admin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:34 pm

Part 2 of 4

Dr. Cathy Workman looks at sand

Another VA physician who took an unpopular stand on Gulf War Illnesses was Dr. Cathy Workman, an infectious disease specialist at a regional VA Medical Center in Central Pennsylvania. Dr. Workman, as the head of a Gulf War Illness referral center, noticed that the signs and symptoms of the Gulf War veterans were consistent with an unusual chronic infection, and she initiated her own studies in an attempt to find out what was causing the chronic condition. However, the VA administration was very unforgiving to its physicians who dared to challenge the system, and in the case of Dr. Workman, it eventually resulted in her release from the VA for going against the PTSD stampede.

Dr. Workman had the gall to recommend that some of the sick Gulf War veterans be given antibiotics. In her studies on the veterans, Dr. Workman found that their condition was best described as an unusual, sand-associated infection that could be transmitted. An interesting aspect of the Gulf War that had been kept out of the mainstream press was the deployment of Iraqi biological weapons sprayers just before and during the war. In fact, the Marine and Army units that invaded through Southern Iraq and Kuwait found over 60 mobile Italian-made biological weapons sprayers fully deployed during the war. The sprayers were usually mounted on heavy trucks and were used to spray biological weapons onto the sand to create 'biological minefields.'

Some of the types of weapons that could have been deployed in the biological sprayers were: anthrax or Bacillus anthracis spores, Brucella species which causes brucellosis, Yersinia pestis which causes pneumonic plague, Coxiella burnetii which causes Q fever, Francisella tularensis which causes tularemia, and of course, mycoplasmal infections caused by Mfi.

Were biological weapons sprayed onto the sand in Southern Iraq? Only the DoD knew for certain, and they had refused to discuss the Italian biological weapons sprayers found in the Gulf. In fact, what was found in the sprayers has remained classified, and it was difficult to find anyone who could discuss what happened in Iraq and Kuwait with the biological weapons sprayers and what they sprayed onto the sand.

Eventually a Colonel from Fort Baker in California decided to go public about the bioweapons sprayers and the absence of any biological detection equipment deployment to the Gulf. He came out with this information just before his retirement from the Army, but for some reason, the mainstream press dismissed the declaration of this full Colonel and biological warfare expert. After all, the DoD stated that there were no biological weapons released in the Gulf War! How did they know that if there were no detectors deployed to the Gulf to monitor the release of biological weapons? This question had never been answered, and to this day it has not been answered. The Army did take some biological samples from Iraq, and it sent them to a top secret laboratory in Egypt. What did they find in the sand? What was loaded into the Iraqi biological sprayers? Jared said to Marie, "We will probably have to wait until hell freezes over to get the answers to these questions. I guess the Pentagon has too much to hide to be forthright about the biological weapons sprayers. They will just classify this information and keep it secret for the next 50 years."

Dr. Workman had collaborated with the McNichols on a few publications, mainly letters to editors and brief notes, on the medical aspects of Gulf War Illnesses. A few of these publications even took on government scientists and administrators that they felt strongly had skewed and manipulated their data to support the Pentagon's stance on PTSD, infections, hospitalization and death rates, among other issues, and Gulf War Illnesses. Since Dr. Workman was a VA physician and infectious disease specialist, her work actually added credence to Jared's and Marie's hypothesis that there were medical reasons for the illnesses, such as infections and chemical exposures, rather than stress-related psychological reasons that explained the illnesses found in the Gulf War veterans.

Here was a Harvard Medical School trained infectious disease specialist, the head of a Gulf War Illnesses Referral Center in the VA, agreeing with the McNichols about the presence of infections in Gulf War veterans. However, Dr. Workman's bureaucratic bosses in the VA were not pleased with her because of Dr. Workman's forthright attitude about the medical aspects of Gulf War Illnesses and her conviction that many of these veterans had chronic infections not PTSD. This was not a conviction based on pronouncements that came down from above in the VA chain of command, it was entirely based on Dr. Workman's medical examinations and evaluations of her patients in her VA referral center. Her conviction about the medical explanations for Gulf War Illnesses would cost Dr. Workman her VA job as an infectious disease specialist. The VA and the DoD were very unforgiving to its physicians that did not go along with the dogma on the stress-related cause for Gulf War Illnesses.

After being forced out of the VA and establishing herself in private practice in environmental and travel medicine in Central Pennsylvania, Dr. Workman continued to collaborate with the McNichols. Now she was free to publish what she decided was important not the VA administrators who had previously overseen the work in her Gulf War Illness Referral Center. Dr. Workman had dared to go up against the bureaucratic establishment on a principle that was as old as organized medicine itself, the ethical treatment of patients. From what Dr. Workman personally saw in her clinic, she did not believe in what Washington was proclaiming on the subject of Gulf War Illnesses, and she felt that it was jeopardizing the abilities of her patients to receive appropriate treatments for their conditions. Since the VA and DoD had often used the fact that the McNichols were researchers not physicians, and therefore didn't know what they were doing in context with the veterans' health problems, Dr. Workman was a wonderful addition as a collaborator.

Jared McNichols goes to Washington

Even with the Madison's efforts to stop the McNichols' manuscripts from ever being reviewed let alone published, Jared was committed as ever to publishing their laboratory results, if they could get by the D. O. Madison's administrators and Jared's own department faculty rats. The Cancer Center's administration had even gone so far as to attempt to place Jared's laboratory under a faculty committee that would oversee his and Marie's research. However, Dr. Belcher was against this, mainly because it would have set a bad precedent at the Center. Also, it would have been difficult to find faculty members that were willing to openly go directly up against Jared and his reputation, and possibly because they would then have to worry that the same tactic might some day be used against themselves if they fell from grace with Dr. Masters and the Madison administration.

As the McNichols began to publish their research on the comparisons of the signs and symptoms in Gulf War Illness patients and mycoplasmal infections in Gulf War veterans, a Dr. Thomas Granite, director of the VA's clinical research programs at the VA headquarters in Washington DC, contacted Jared about coming to Washington to deliver a lecture to the VA and DoD about their research on Gulf War Illnesses. Dr. Granite seemed like a reasonable person, and Jared and Marie were relieved that they might have found someone at the VA in Washington who appeared to be open-minded and reasonable about what they had found. Dr. Granite had been speaking to some of the physicians within the VA system who were actually having some success using Jared's protocol for the treatment of Gulf War Illnesses using antibiotics and immune enhancement supplements. For the most part, these VA physicians were foreign trained and more open to the fact that infections might be involved in Gulf War Illnesses. But they also had to buck the system to get their patients treated properly. In some cases this required that they give their patients other diagnoses in order to get around the PTSD problem in the VA. For example, one VA physician in one of the New England VA regional centers was diagnosing his Gulf War patients with sinusitis so that he could prescribe antibiotics like doxycycline, the antibiotic that Jared was recommending for treatment of the mycoplamal infections found in Gulf War Illness patients.

The Washington invitation came after some epidemiologists in the VA Environmental Medicine Section viciously attacked the McNichols the previous year for proposing that a subset of the Gulf War veterans had chronic infections. The VA epidemiologists didn't apparently know anything about the scientific approaches that Jared and Marie had taken with respect to chronic illnesses in the Gulf War veterans, and they had never even bothered to talk to Jared or Marie about their data. The McNichols were skeptical that this group of government scientists and physicians could have an intelligent, unbiased discussion because of the questionable political agenda that drove them. The McNichols learned that they were poorly trained in molecular medicine and didn't have the scientific and research backgrounds to understand what Jared and Marie had found. They had simply attacked the McNichols because their research didn't fit with the plans of the VA and DoD to ascribe PTSD as 'the' cause of Gulf War Illnesses.

The Federal epidemiologists that worked at the VA had produced questionable research on Gulf War veterans' health problems, primarily because it appeared that they were selecting their data to reinforce the political decisions that had been made concerning Gulf War veterans' illnesses. Thus they were either complete frauds who had been ordered to 'cook' their books to produce what the VA wanted the public to know, or they had been fed bogus data about the health problems of the veterans. It was clear that they knew more than they were willing to discuss with the McNichols or anyone else for that matter. They wouldn't discuss the VA's and DoD's own results on M. fermentans, and they dismissed out of hand the results of other laboratories that were just beginning to obtain similar results to the McNichols' with Gulf War Illness patients. These epidemiologists usually tried to frame their questions in such a narrow way that they ended up ignoring the obvious.

There was something very unreal about the VA and their approach to the problem of Gulf War Illnesses. First, they went along with the Pentagon and denied that the illnesses existed, and they allocated little or no resources to helping Gulf War veterans with their problems. This was done mainly because the DoD indicated that there was no such thing as Gulf War Syndrome or later Gulf War Illnesses or any chronic illnesses related to the Gulf War. Then the VA followed the Pentagon in deciding that Gulf War Illness was primarily a psychiatric condition, PTSD. So the VA did not do much more than send Gulf War veterans to VA psychiatrists, just like the DoD did after the war with active duty personnel. When the pressure on the VA from Congress and the veterans themselves eventually required them to respond to a growing crisis, mainly caused by the growing complaints from veterans and the lack of any measurable clinical responses to the antidepressants given to them, they established a few specialized Gulf War Illness Referral Units at some regional VA Medical Centers to deal with the increasing numbers of casualties from the Gulf War. Since the DoD and VA had always denied that veterans could transmit their illnesses to immediate family members, veterans' families were excluded from such assistance.

The VA seemed to be particularly hostile to the notion that many of the veterans might have chronic infections that could be transmitted to immediate family members. In one case, they actually went so far as to design a narrow study to 'disprove' that veterans' family members were coming down with illnesses similar to the veterans. However, even the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs reported to Congress as early as 1994 that approximately 77% of spouses and 65% of children of Gulf War Illness patients were showing signs and symptoms similar to the ill veterans. Unfortunately, this was completely discounted by the VA, because the data were not collected by their own scientists and physicians. Moreover, the VA units that were established to deal with the increasing health problems of Gulf War veterans, especially any psychiatric problems, did little more than evaluate the Gulf War veterans and forward the data to the DoD. Thus little was offered in the way of meaningful treatment for Gulf War Illnesses.

What the VA did in the face of this crisis was to prescribe antidepressants and other mood-altering drugs that tended to lessen the complaints of veterans. But these drugs were of dubious long-term benefit to the veterans, even with a PTSD diagnosis. Naturally the veterans were less inclined to complain when they were doped up on Zoloft and other mood-altering drugs, and perhaps that was the purpose of the exercise. If the VA and DoD were doing the right thing for the veterans, why were so many veterans complaining about the lack of assistance for their health problems? Why were so many of them still sick and not getting any better?

Little did the McNichols know at the time that Jared's invitation to visit the VA Headquarters in Washington DC was a complete set-up designed to discredit the McNichols in front of senior VA and DoD scientists and physicians. Basically the VA and Pentagon had already decided that there was little to the results that the McNichols were publishing, and perhaps this husband and wife research team were getting a bit too close to the DoD's own classified programs. Because Jared McNichols was a prominent scientist who had been asked to testify to Congressional committees and to the President's Commission on Gulf War Illnesses, they decided that they should show their 'neutrality' on the issue and give the McNichols' ideas a 'vigorous' examination. What this really meant was that the McNichols' research needed to be debunked, and they needed to be exposed as scientific charlatans, which had already been described to the press by Undersecretary of Defense Dr. Johns. For some reason Dr. Granite was apparently left out of the loop about this set-up, or at least he did not come across as obviously hostile, the usual indicator for the government cover-up artists who were 'quick with a knife' to attack any new non-psychiatric notions on Gulf War Illnesses.

Dr. Granite did not seem to fit the typical VA mold, and as far as Jared could tell, he was basically sincere and genuine. After a few discussions with Dr. Granite over the phone, Jared made his arrangements to go to Washington to deliver a lecture on the chronic infections in the ill Gulf War veterans. He was about to learn another lesson about Washington that Marie would learn separately in her own way. Once a decision had been made at the upper levels of the Federal bureaucracy, there was no easy method of reversing it. This was true for Agent Orange exposures in Vietnam veterans, and it was true for the chemical and biological exposures in Gulf War veterans.

The trip to Washington DC was relatively uneventful for Jared. He flew in from Austin on an early morning flight to Washington National Airport and immediately caught a cab to downtown Washington. When he arrived at the new VA Headquarters near the Capitol Mall, he was immediately taken up-stairs to Dr. Granite's office, dragging his suitcase along with him. There was nothing special about Dr. Granite's office, but he did have a good view of the Capitol out of his window. Papers were piled high on Dr. Granite's desk just like Jared's desk! Dr. Granite was a pleasant, even mannered physician in his 40s who Jared felt might have been a bit over his head on the Gulf War Illnesses issue, even though he was the director of VA clinical research programs. It was his job to oversee the design of clinical trials within the VA system, and as far asJared could tell he was competent at his job. Jared had the feeling that Dr. Granite wanted to do the right thing for the veterans, but he was against a very rock-hard wall, and that was his superior, Dr. Jack Fuysen, who was the Director of Clinical Programs for the VA system. Dr. Fuysen came to the VA from Utah by way of the Navy Medical Corps as a conservative physician-researcher who was well acquainted with the use of military recruits for human experimentation on new weapons of mass destruction.

Jared had already bucked heads with Dr. Fuysen, who he basically considered a closet fiend, easily capable of killing hundreds of thousands of veterans for his own power and glory or to protect his own administrative skin. Dr. Fuysen had close contacts with the military physicians who were running the office in the Pentagon that dealt with Gulf War Illnesses, especially Mr. Rott and Dr. Murphy, and he loathed scientists like Jared and Marie for making public statements on how the veterans were being treated, some would say mistreated, by the VA. In fact, Dr. Fuysen took great pleasure in running the McNichols into the ground every chance he got in private and even in public, because he felt that Jared, in particular, had demeaned the VA with his comments on how poorly the Gulf War veterans had been treated within the VA system. Actually ,Jared and Marie felt quite strongly that the VA had a very poor record, in general, in protecting the health of American veterans, and they thought that the VA had a lot to prove to earn the McNichols' respect.

Historically the VA had been involved in some of the most medically questionable clinical trials ever conducted in the history of the United States, such as the purposeful irradiation of veterans just to find out how much radiation they could tolerate. Such information might have been marginally useful for the DoD during the Cold War when the chance of nuclear conflagration with the Soviets was real, but it really wasn't the job of the VA to destroy their own patients to gather research information for the Pentagon.

Dr. Fuysen fit in quite nicely with the mentality of the Pentagon medical sector when it came to the use of veterans as research subjects or human guinea pigs. He really didn't give a damn about their welfare, and in general, he had promoted subordinates who felt exactly the same way. Dr. Granite appeared to be the exception. Dr. Fuysen had gone after anyone who dared to produce data that showed that Gulf War Illness was not a psychiatric condition. After some run-ins with Dr. Fuysen, Jared wanted desperately to accept that Dr. Granite was the exception to the 'Fuysen rule' at the VA. However, this was not the case with some of the other players around VA headquarters.

One VA epidemiologist that was particularly in the mold of Dr. Fuysen was Dr. Fiona Mathews. Dr. Mathews would have actually been considered a rather good-looking lady with long dark hair in her late thirties, if she didn't wear a full-time sneer on her face. She had cold, beady dark eyes and a robotic stare, and Jared considered her a nasty piece of work. It was Dr. Mathews, the VA epidemiologist in charge of Gulf War Illness studies, who actually did the most damage to veterans' lives by her reports that claimed that Gulf War Illness patients were not more likely to be sick than the general public at large. She also claimed that Gulf War veterans had not been hospitalized or had not died at higher rates than other service personnel. Of course, such studies were aimed entirely at hiding the real truth. For example, Gulf War veterans had chronic illness rates that were far, far higher than those of Vietnam or Korean War veterans and certainly much higher than non-deployed personnel. The VA epidemiologists, however, were becoming famous for being able to twist the truth by creative data selection and management. For example, the VA acted quickly to 'adjust' the data to 'demonstrate' that there was not a higher rate of illness in Gulf War veterans, but eventually the documented numbers of veterans with VA-accepted disability cases indicated exactly the opposite, and the difference was so obvious that the hole could not be easily plugged, even by the explanation that the VA had 'relaxed' the rules to allow more veterans to receive compensation than usual. The VA hospitalization rate data comparisons were criticized because the VA excluded without explanation from their calculations hospitalizations in civilian and military hospitals. In fact, Dr. Cathy Workman and Jared had published a letter to the editor of an environmental medical journal that was critical of the VA data published in the same journal on the subject. In addition, the VA itself possessed information that indicated that the death rate of Gulf War veterans was far higher than expected when compared to non-deployed personnel, but they had kept this data secret from the academics that studied such things, and they especially had kept it secret from the American people.

Not everyone at VA Headquarters agreed with the program of Dr. Fuysen to hide the truth from the American public. At one point a two-foot high stack of official raw VA data was secretly sent to Jared by an intermediate-level VA employee in the epidemiology section. This 'deep throat' would supply additional data to the McNichols until the packages abruptly stopped, and they never heard from him again. Jared and Marie always wondered what had happened to the VA whistleblower. Did the VA find out and fire him? Did they have him killed? For years the VA would only admit that the accident and suicide rates among Gulf War veterans were higher than expected, and from this we were urged to accept their explanation that the death rates of Gulf War veterans were not higher than expected. However, the data that the McNichols received secretly indicated just the opposite from what the VA was telling the press and the American people. Jared was particularly interested in the cancer rates, which were skyrocketing among the Gulf War veterans compared to their non-deployed colleagues. Among these were unusual brain and brainstem cancers and especially skin tumors that were being found at unusually high rates in Gulf War veterans. None of this was ever made public. Jared felt that he could not use the data, however, because he would have been immediately attacked by the VA because of its dubious source. All that the VA had to do was claim that the data was bogus or manufactured by the McNichols, and Jared would have no way to prove otherwise.

It was in this hostile environment that Jared had agreed to deliver a lecture to the VA and DoD staffs on chronic infections in Gulf War illnesses. Usually when a lecturer visits an institution, a schedule is drawn up so that they can meet with individuals with similar interests. However, the only VA staff member on Jared's schedule was Dr. Granite. Jared thought about the VA scientists that had sent him data in the past, but it would not have been prudent to ask for appointments to visit them, and in fact, it might even cast suspicion on them and their loyalty. The data that had been secretly sent to the McNichols came with a warning not to divulge the 'messenger.' From what Jared knew about the VA, that was probably a prudent suggestion. Neither Jared or Marie ever divulged the sources of their information from inside the VA headquarters, but eventually these sources dried up because of internal transfers, retirements or even possibly premature releases from the department or worse.

When the time came for Jared's lecture, Dr. Granite took him down to the lecture hall. Approaching the lecture hall with Dr. Granite, Jared could feel the animosity and hatred of some of the people who would be in attendance at his lecture, but he tried to ignore their stares. The next hint that there was something wrong was that just before Jared and Dr. Granite approached the lecture hall, Jared was told that his seminar would be closed to the general public. What that meant was not clear until Jared was met immediately outside the door to the lecture hall by several veterans, some in uniform as active duty military officers. They were not being allowed to enter the seminar room. Jared did not consider these Gulf War veterans 'the general public' but his pleas for their admittance fell on the deaf ears of the VA. Some officers in uniform of intermediate rank did manage to slip into the seminar, possibly because the VA may have been hesitant to bar them or they just thought that they were part of the audience. Some officers up to rank of major general were in the audience, and most of these officers were from places like Fort Detrick and the U. S. Army Institute of Pathology Research.

There was nothing that Jared could do as a visitor to help the veterans attend his seminar. He had to go into the seminar hall and wait for his own fate. Before the seminar started, it was common for the speaker's host to introduce the speaker and the subject. As Jared's host, Dr. Granite did a marvelous job at introducing the topic and the lecturer from Texas, and Jared was relieved that at least he was treated fairly by Dr. Granite.

Jared had planned his talk to be nonpolitical, so he could focus just on the science. Jared tried to deliver his seminar in a very low-key fashion so as to not fan the flames, because there had been some bad blood between the McNichols and the VA administration on the issue of the treatment of Gulf War veterans. When he completed his seminar, he answered questions for approximately thirty minutes. Most of the questions were of technical nature, and the VA bureaucrats and senior military officers were finding it hard to stay awake. Standing at the side of the lecture hall the entire time was the zombie witch Dr. Fiona Mathews, who was staring at Jared with her usual fixed sneer. She didn't ask any questions. Dr. Fuysen didn't even bother to attend the seminar. Perhaps he felt that if he attended, he might lend some credence to the McNichols research, which he certainly didn't want to do.

By and large the audience at Jared's seminar was respectful, but Jared had no way of knowing that the VA or DoD had brought in some 'hired guns' for the occasion-scientists on the payroll of the DoD or active duty officers from Fort Dietrick, biowarfare scientists and experts on chronic infections. Some of these had been brought in from as far away as Alabama and Texas to take on Jared. They were not invited all the way to Washington and paid as consultants by the VA to celebrate the joys of scientific inquiry. They were brought in to debunk the McNichols work, and Jared felt that they were having a hard time doing it. Although he never received any feedback from his lecture at VA Headquarters that day, just the fact that there was little or no explosive fallout was probably all that could be expected. Jared would later wonder why the D. O. Madison administration never reacted adversely to his VA seminar invitation in Washington DC. Perhaps they were in on it all along.

Dr. Lon from the U. S. Army Institute for Pathology Research was at the seminar, but he didn't really say very much, except to introduce himself to Jared before the seminar and ask one question after the seminar. Dr. Lon looked very professional in a dark suit, white shirt and dark tie with his signature black-rimed glasses. He could almost pass as one of the VA bureaucrats, except that he was Chinese. He was respectful, made one comment at the end of the seminar, briefly nodded at Jared and left the lecture hall. Jared never got a chance to discuss his research with him or ask Dr. Lon any questions. Dr. Lon was obviously a bit nervous around the assembled group, especially when Jared praised his work on Mycoplasma fermentans. Dr. Lon did not expect to be praised by Jared, and it made him very uneasy, especially when a few members of the audience turned and stared at Dr. Lon.

Even with the polite but antagonistic audience, Jared guessed that he held his own, which under the circumstances was an accomplishment. It was very clear that he was not there to win the hearts and minds of the VA or the DoD. He was there to be cannon fodder. The first question after the seminar was actually a comment made by Dr. Lon. He mentioned that he could not find M. fermentans in the veterans but he did not use the same procedures as the McNichols. With that comment he covered his scientific tracks, but he made it clear to the audience that the official DoD position was that there were no infections in the veterans that could explain their signs and symptoms. In fact, Jared remembered that Marie had told him about a conversation she had with one of the VA scientists who amazingly stated to her "There are no such things as mycoplasmas in the Middle East. " It was this ridiculous, stubborn and ignorant attitude that typified the unswerving and unspoken tone of the audience.

The next few questions were all about the pathogenic properties of M. fermentans. Jared could not identify the persons asking the questions, and in contrast to the DoD and VA personnel introduced to him just before his seminar, they did not identify themselves. Jared wondered whether they were DoD contractors, or more spooks from the CIA or DIA.

Jared went to the black board to the right of the screen to answer the questions about the pathogenic properties of the mycoplasma that they had found in the Gulf War veterans. He began by making a list of properties that M. fermentans should have if it were to be considered pathogenic. Jared said, "According to the literature, a mycoplasma species should fulfill most if not all of the following list of criteria in order to be considered pathogenic and involved in human illness." Jared wrote the following on the board:

(1) The mycoplasma should be found at higher concentration and prevalence in ill patients compared to normal subjects. Jared added, "This is exactly what we have found, and I reported on it today. In addition two other groups have similar results to ours.

(2) More of the mycoplasma should be recovered from diseased patients than from controls." Although M. fermentans is extremely difficult to recover, this appears to be the case."

(3) An antibody response should be found in symptomatic patients. "According to Dr. Lon, as specifically outlined in his patent and publications, M. fermentans does not elicit an antibody response until an infected subject is near death, so we would not expect this particular item to be useful in determining whether M. fermentans is pathogenic."

(4) A clinical response should be accompanied by suppression of the mycoplasma. "This is exactly what we have found with antibiotic treatment, and I reported on this today."

(5) Clinical responses should be differential, depending on the antibiotic. "In fact, only certain antibiotics are effective in alleviating signs and symptoms, other are not, and this is completely consistent with the response of M. fermentans to antibiotics, as I reported today and from the literature."

(6) The mycoplasma should cause a similar illness in animals. "This is actually quite dramatic and well documented in several publications. M. fermentans causes illnesses in mice, rats, hamsters, sheep, and even monkeys that is similar to that found in humans. In these non-human species, the infection causes a chronic illness that eventually progresses to organ failure and death, just like the studies of Dr. Lon with Armed Forces personnel."

(7) The mycoplasma must cause a similar disease in man after inoculating human volunteers. "Since this type of experiment is no longer considered ethical, I know of no way to answer this question."

(8) A specific anti-mycoplasma reagent or immune response protects subjects from the disease. "I don't know if this has, in fact, been done or not.

Jared continued his explanation of the pathogenesis of the mycoplasma, "Thus most of the requirements of pathogenicity have been met, and from this I would conclude that M. fermentans is pathogenic. From his publication on the subject in a pathology journal, I am sure that Dr. Lon would agree with me. He found this infection and only this infection in Armed Service personnel that later died of their infection." There were some questions about the lack of detectable antibodies against the mycoplasma in patients, but Jared kept referring to Dr. Lon's patent, which was quite clear on this issue. Dr. Lon had only found antibodies at the late stages of the disease process, and this was confirmed by his primate studies where antibodies were only found when the animals were near death.

After the seminar Jared met informally with some of his detractors. Dr. Mathews left immediately after a final sneer and a cold stare with her dark beady eyes, and Dr. Armwhite was there. When Jared met him, he didn't identify himself as an officer from Fort Detrick. Although Jared recognized him instantly as a Major General from the two stars on his epaulets, Jared wrongly thought that he had come over from the Pentagon. General Armwhite was not particularly happy about Jared's seminar, but this was not the time or place to dress down Jared. There was also a certain military respect for your enemies, even if Jared did not consider himself General Armwhite's enemy. Another officer that Jared met was an Air Force Colonel who was also apparently assigned to Fort Detrick. He was a nasty piece of work, but he at least kept up the veneer of appropriate behavior. All of these detractors were acting very professional in the semi-public environment of the seminar hall, but Jared wondered if they would have been as polite if he had met with them in private at Fort Detrick.

After answering a few more questions, Jared noticed probably the only friendly face in the crowd, Capt. Hamlin from Fort Meade, who had managed to sneak into the seminar. Capt. Hamlin was in full uniform and towered over the wimpy DoD scientists and VA administrators who were left in the room. He came right up to Jared, held his hand out and said loudly to the dismay of the remaining participants, "Colonel McNichols, that was an outstanding seminar! You have done a great service to the veterans of the Gulf War! You and Mrs. Dr. McNichols saved my life and probably my wife's as well. And our daughter would probably be crippled if it weren't for you two brave scientists."

Jared smiled and thought that Capt. Hamlin was overdoing it a bit, but he had his reasons. After all, he was stationed at Fort Meade, the nerve center of the NSA and the military's electronic intelligence units. He was obviously getting healthier than even the last time that Marie and Jared saw him at Fort Meade, and he must have felt a sense of amusement by loudly calling Jared 'Colonel,' even though Jared and Marie were only honorary colonels. This was his way, Jared assumed, of throwing a little dig at the administrative military officers and DoD biowarfare scientists who were mostly nerds who would never have the respect of the Special Forces. When they turned to examine Capt. Hamlin's credentials, which were worn proudly on his uniform, they quickly identified him as an Army intelligence officer. Besides, he could probably whip any two of them in hand-to-hand combat with one arm tied behind him. They were not going to take on Capt. Hamlin, not now and not anywhere!

Jared mentioned to the small group that Capt. Hamlin was an example of successful antibiotic treatment of Gulf War Illness. Most of the small group that was left after Jared's lecture didn't seem particularly pleased to see Capt. Hamlin say that the McNichols had probably saved his life and those of his family. In fact, they looked just as glum and hostile as they had before the lecture. Jared could only guess at what most of the audience did for a living, because most were in civilian clothes and looked suspiciously like scientists not bureaucrats. For the most part, they were likely biological warfare mavens from the DoD and outside biological warfare contractors along with a few middle level VA bureaucrats. All of the recognizable VA administrators left immediately after Jared's seminar, including Dr. Granite, or they didn't attend at all like Dr. Fuysen. Jared was left to fend on his own, but now, of course, with Capt. Hamlin's support it turned into a welcome respite from the seething atmosphere surrounding the prelude and aftermath of his seminar. Later Jared would wryly think to himself that etiquette and protocol seemed to be in short shrift at VA Headquarters that day.

Finally, the last remaining die-hards departed, and Jared was left with Capt. Hamlin to find his way from the now quiet seminar hall and out of the building. After picking up his slides and his overnight bag left in the back of the room by some unknown messenger at the now quiet and blacked-out projector, Jared and Capt. Hamlin made their way down the nearest stairs and exited directly onto the street. It was good to be out of VA Headquarters, Jared thought to himself, as they basked in the bright sunlight of a fine autumn afternoon. Capt. Hamlin, who drove his own car to Washington to be there when Jared lectured to the VA, had to excuse himself to get back to Fort Meade. He was given only a few hours leave by his commanding officer to attend Jared's seminar, and he had to immediately return to Fort Meade.

When they were about a block away from the VA headquarters, Capt. Hamlin turned to Jared and asked, "What did those Air Force pukes want? I don't trust them." Jared smiled and said, "They're just part of the biowarfare scum from Fort Detrick. They would rather see you and your family die than lift a finger to help. They were probably concerned that their little anthill may have been penetrated. You know, they would rather see their mother die than give up the antidotes to their weapons. I don't know what to think of them. Scum like that shadow us whenever we go to present our data in public." Capt. Hamlin said, "Don't let those pukes get you down. You have a lot of support from the line officers. They're just a bunch of desk-jockeys. They've never been in a real war. They just think that they're real smart, but I'd like to give them a M-16 and put'em in the front line!" Jared laughed, "I don't take them too seriously. As you said, they're nothing but a bunch of pukes!" Capt. Hamlin continued, "Don't trust that Dr. Lon either. He gave us the run around about testing for the mycoplasma. He told us that none of his Gulf War samples turned up positive, and then we found out from another soldier that he let the samples sit on the lab bench for a few weeks before testing them. I'd like to run that goddamn 'chink' out of here and send him back to Red China." Jared calmly said, "Yes, I've heard the story before. I can't seem to pin him down on the mycoplasma. He just won't commit in public to finding anything, but just after the war he told some officers from the 3rd Armored Division that they were positive for Mfi, and then he later denied it and said that the tests were all wrong." Capt. Hamlin said, "I want to get my hands around his skinny neck. I just want to crush his windpipe." Jared laughed, "Look, it wouldn't take much. But the more important question is who is telling him to shut up, and why? Is this their bioweapon? Is it too embarrassing to admit that publicly?" Capt. Hamlin agreed, "It's got to be something like that. I'm going to do some looking into this. Too many good people are dying for some pukes who are playing around with germs. It's just a game to them. Jared added, "A dangerous game at that. Be careful, Captain, and keep a close eye on your family." Capt. Hamlin said, "Yes, sir! That I will, sir!" Jared thought to himself that those 'pukes' were not just endangering the lives of military personnel, but they were also toying with the lives of the general public by denying the infectious nature of the microbes spread by their reckless and illegal activities. Later Jared and Marie would publish a paper stressing the dangerous precedent for the nation to not acknowledge such infections, because terrorists might consider that they had free reign to use biological weapons against America without the slightest chance that they would be acknowledged, until it was too late. Something had to be done, but he and Marie were very much isolated because of their quest to help the veterans and their family members who had become sick after the Gulf War.

After a firm handshake, some verbal encouragement and another pat on the back, Capt. Hamlin stiffened up to attention and gave Jared a snappy salute as he said, "Colonel, Sir!" He turned on his heal, and walked away sharply. Jared didn't have time to return the salute. He was holding his briefcase and bag, and he felt a little uneasy about saluting in his civilian clothes anyway, because it wasn't proper protocol and he wasn't a real colonel. But at this point, who cared? He called to Capt. Hamlin, and as he turned around, Jared dropped his bag, saluted and said, "Airborne!" Capt. Hamlin returned his salute and answered back, "Airborne! Sir!" Although Capt. Hamlin served in the 101st Airborne Division, which is now technically an air assault force not a paratrooper unit, Jared thought he might appreciate the historical perspective. The 101st had a rich history from the paratroopers who jumped during the Normandy invasion on through Korea, Vietnam and now the Gulf War, and Capt. Hamlin was a qualified paratrooper, meaning that he had been through Army 'jump school' in Georgia.

Capt. Hamlin was gone in a hurry. Jared watched the tall, straight Army officer walk briskly down the street for a moment, and then after he was finally satisfied that Capt. Hamlin was truly recovered from his ordeal with Gulf War Illness, Jared turned and started walking in the opposite direction to find a cab. Eventually he waved down a cab to take him to National Airport. The taxi driver was glad to take the obviously out-of-towner to Washington National Airport. He was an Afghan, and he didn't speak much English but knew how to get to National Airport.

In the cab on the way to the airport Jared had some time to think about what had happened at VA Headquarters. The VA obviously knew much more about what the McNichols were doing than the McNichols knew about what the VA was doing, and perhaps that was by design. Washington was such an insular 'need-to-know' place, and Jared could not help feeling that he and Marie were crashing their private party. The 'them-versus-us' attitude was quite obvious to Jared, and this was probably why the VA did not want any outsiders at his seminar, especially any reporters. Jared did not have any contact with reporters on this trip, and it was just as well, because he would have to face the D. O. Madison administration if anything appeared in print about the seminar at VA Headquarters.

The VA had been stung recently by some sharp reporters and critical newspaper articles. No matter how much they tried to push off Gulf War Illnesses as psychiatric illnesses, after talking to individual veterans, the press for the most part was not buying it. Jared had a feeling that the administrators in Washington didn't like to be bothered by provincials from the heartland, especially those that might bring a message to Washington that they didn't want to hear. Jared had managed to survive his trip to Washington with relatively minor 'injuries,' mostly to his ego, although Marie would find it more difficult with the group at the U. S. Army Institute for Pathology Research. They were much closer to the unethical agenda that Marie and Jared were now convinced permeated the whole Gulf War Illnesses issue.

It was much later on that Jared learned that his lecture had been secretly summarized in an unflattering way by one of the Pentagon attendees and provided to an Assistant Secretary of Defense, Dr. Joseph Johns. If this summary had been balanced, Jared probably would not have cared one way or another, but it was completely unfair and biased against the McNichols and their research. Dr. Johns had already slandered Marie and Jared with his letter to Senator Roth, and the attacks would continue.

Jared arrived back in Austin and was picked up at the airport by Marie. He said to Marie after giving her a kiss and a smile, "You know, I thought about it, and I've come to the conclusion that I really hate Washington." Marie didn't acknowledge his little joke and smile, and she said very seriously, "I have been telling you that. Now maybe you will listen. We have to get out of this country. They are killing everyone, and they don't give a damn about any of us." Jared was now sorry that he had set off Marie at the airport. "Can we talk about this later at home?" Unfortunately, Marie had been ignited, and she wouldn't quit so easily, "You're the one who wants to stay here and fight it out! I say we leave. It's a lost cause. Can't you see it?" Jared was now very sorry that he brought it up in the first place. He said, "You agreed with me when we started this whole thing, and you were the one who told the SEALs that we would go on because there were more Dales out there." Marie indicated, "Well, I was wrong!" Jared stopped, grabbed Marie and hugged her tightly. He could feel her squirming in his grasp trying to escape his hold on her. She was mad at Jared for continuing the quest, which she felt was like tilting against windmills. Sometimes Jared conceded that she was right and he was wrong to continue the battle. After all, they had helped their own get better and overcome the illness, so why continue to buck City Hall? You just knew that you couldn't win; they held all the cards. And the system was so corrupt that it seemed like no one was listening, even though the failure to act could have the most extreme consequences to the nation.

It would take over a decade for Marie and Jared to learn that it would be the checks and balances in the system that would eventually begin to overcome this dangerous faction, a faction of killers, with no loyalty to anyone or anything. It was a faction that hid in the inner recesses of the massive government bureaucracy. In fact, one Lt. General who served as an Undersecretary of Defense under four presidents would say to the McNichols, "This is dangerous ... This is scary .... It will take the divine to navigate the jungle created by this vicious group of defense scientists and physicians."

Jared and Marie had learned that no one liked whistle blowers, and this was how they were treated, even by the few friends that they had left in Austin and elsewhere. Most of their fair weather friends, it turned out, turned on them in a microsecond, especially most of their faculty colleagues at the D. O. Madison Cancer Center. Even Jared could not defend their despicable behavior, and he no longer tried to rationalize to Marie why they acted the way they did toward the McNichols. Jared concluded that it was so competitive out there that your professional colleagues thought nothing about slitting your professional throat, if they thought that they could have your lab, your technicians, your students, your office, your department and your position. That was the way it was in academia, at least from Jared's perspective.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28152
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to Health

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron