Marlowe's Shade

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Mystery of the Dead Microbiologists

I venture into conspiracy territory only with great trepidation, but some posters I respect a great deal on LGF such as Fiery Celt submitted a long list of microbiologist who have recently died under mysterious circumstances in these three posts.

Most of them were verifiable through primary sources. Unfortunately moonbats sites like and Indymedia are also all over them. I've flirted myself with conspiracy theories [eg Kennedy assassination], and the problem I found is once in the seductive arms of a conspiracy theory, all reality gets processed through it, because once you've convinced yourself it's true, all new information is required to support the theory. And of course, that's not objectivity.

Looking at the list, I would toss out anyone in the "in his 70s, but had a strong heart, yet mysteriously had a heart attack" catagory. Similarly, any of the Iraqi scientists, who were most likely bumped off for any number of reasons. But even after throwing out data points that could have other explanations, there are still a lot of very suspicious deaths, much more than it would seem wise to attribute to coincidence. Some of the departed include David Kelly of the BBC "sexed up" report scandal fame and high profile Soviet defector Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik.

Usually a story like this wouldn't get more than a shrug from me, but biological weapons, as Mark Helprin relates in his most recent OpinionJournal article, are terrifying.

Although nuclear detonations in American cities are not to be slighted, still, the greatest and most likely perils are natural epidemics and biological warfare. A common belief among public health experts is that a viral shift such as that which caused the 1918-19 pandemic is almost certain. Estimates of the number of dead run to the hundreds of millions world-wide and scores of millions in the U.S. If nature fails to deliver an epidemic, it is unfortunately easy for a highly trained terrorist, by genetic manipulation, to create a super-virulent pathogen with a nearly 100% rate of mortality. Natural or artificial epidemics are collectively the greatest threat this country has ever faced, and will not be exceeded for decades to come.

In trying to figure out who would want to knock off microbiologists all over the world, I part company with the moonbats who point to government [shadow, and otherwise] plots and other sinister cabals. Germs are true doomsday weapons that don't distinguish between friend and foe. Only lunatics would use them. The research that governments are doing is and has always been defensive, note how several of the researchers were involved in combatting diseases like West Nile and Ebola. I think this excerpt from Helprin's article may give us a clue to the perps:

But though the biological sciences advance day by day and could put up a spirited defense, they can do so only if efforts are begun now on a scale several orders of magnitude beyond what is scheduled. Given current plans and preparations, this will not occur, and the greatest enemy the country has ever known will have no opposition.

If we are already behind the curve in preparing for a pandemic [natural or man-made], losing dozens of potential researchers would put us in very bad shape. So my guess is that insane terrorists are the most likely culprits. It is conceivable that totally unhinged PETA types or whacko environmentalists [a la 12 Monkeys] could see the depopulation of the Earth as a goal to be acheived by any means necessary. But I don't think any of those groups have the training and infrastructure to pull off a global campaign of murder. So what other group is left that doesn't fear death, hates the modern world, has the least to lose and has the funding, know-how, and infrastructure to reach these people, even in their own labs?

Well, maybe I should allow the reader to draw their own conclusions.

I did find this article enlightening though...

Update - This article looks at the possibility of a connection between suspected terrorists in Memphis and some of the researcher deaths in that area.
papijoe 8:47 AM