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Æthelthryth the Texan

Weaponized Ticks- Lyme disease “theory”

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Hopefully this isn’t political. I don’t want to debate the lawmaker or amendment.

I was wondering if I have been living under a rock to not have heard this theory about Lyme disease originating from weaponized ticks? Does this fall into conspiracy theory territory? The only things I know about Lyme I’ve read here on the boards, so figured this would be the place to ask. 

(Picked news link at random- feel free to Google and see on your preferred news source)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/house-passes-amendment-ordering-pentagon-to-investigate-whether-ticks-were-weaponized/

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I have never heard of this but I am surprised there is not more panic, media coverage, etc. with respect to Lyme Disease, especially in areas where it is most common. I wish they could find a non-toxic way to get rid of the ticks so they stop increasing.

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One of my brothers worked on projects that were designed to understand the ways people could be killed by using biological warfare. He couldn’t talk about specifics, so I don’t know if they studied Lyme, but it wouldn’t surprise me if his group did research it. Lyme, though, might be more of a case of an experiment gone wrong, an error in judgement at one part.

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I think it is probably — almost certainly — real.

(And years and years and relates to many countries  so not political in the sense that I think isn’t allowed here. ETA Not one administration or one party responsible for what happened , that is.   Though timing of an investigation could be currently politically motivated around an election time) 

Part of my current reading has to do with this subject. 

Bitten by Kris Newby

Lab 257 by ? Michael Carroll 

and some others re American (USA, but also collaboration with Canada and other allies) aspects 

 

And for USSR 

title? By Ken Alibek who was head of biological weapons area in former Soviet Union

 

...

 

Edited by Pen
Clarity?
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16 minutes ago, Pen said:

I think it is probably — almost certainly — real.

(And years and years and relates to many countries  so not political in the sense that I think isn’t allowed here. ETA Not one administration or one party responsible for what happened , that is.   Though timing of an investigation could be currently politically motivated around an election time) 

Part of my current reading has to do with this subject. 

Bitten by Kris Newby

Lab 257 by ? Michael Carroll 

and some others re American (USA, but also collaboration with Canada and other allies) aspects 

 

And for USSR 

title? By Ken Alibek who was head of biological weapons area in former Soviet Union

 

...

 

 

Why did my mind suddenly link this thread and the one on Stranger Things? 😆

Seriously, though, Lyme is merciless (as are the other tick borne diseases). If it actually is a government biological, perhaps  somewhere in the vault there’s an antidote, or at least research towards one. 

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Nonsense. Utter nonsense. In order for there to be a conspiracy, you have to expect dozen, hundreds, or even thousands of people to keep their mouths shut.

That's simply not going to happen. The more people who are necessary to keep a conspiracy going, the faster it's all going to fall apart.

Lyme disease is more common because people continue to encroach into what was wild land.

As for an antidote to Lyme disease, we don't have one of those but we DO have a little-known vaccine, with research going on a second one.

(Also, does this conspiracy theory state that Lyme disease didn't exist at all until the 20th century? Because it was first described in the 1880s, and we've found evidence suggesting it's been in North America for thousands of years.)

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I read this on NPRs website the other day, I haven’t looked into it yet. The military has done some strange research but this is the first I’ve heard of ticks possibily being used for biological warfare. 

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The military has done some wacky research so in that sense, I can totally believe it's possible. I doubt they developed Lyme (in part because we're pretty sure it's been around awhile) and I'm highly dubious that they did some sort of purposeful release, but I could imagine they had ticks with random diseases they were studying who got loose. But then... I don't know. If the disease already existed (as we're pretty sure it did) then maybe they spread the disease a little more? Bad, but... not exactly a weaponized, mass thing. And how would we ever know? Like, Congress asked to be told, but maybe they don't even know.

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I've never heard of this before either and I'm skeptical.  I think if I were a country looking to make bio weapons I wouldn't use a tick as a vector.  It seems like symptoms can take a long time to appear and/or be debilitating.  I've known people who had it and antibiotics worked fine and others who had all sorts of issues with it.  That just doesn't seem reliable as a weapon, in my mind. 

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Prior to eggs being used for vaccine production, ticks were used.  My grandfather was an immunologist. That part,  use of ticks in bioresearch to grow pathogens and to try to find vaccines is for sure is real.

I haven’t gotten to the tick or Lyme part of 

 

Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Germ Laboratory https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XHRSKYR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_XuGmDbQQ2D42R

But the facility has had all sorts of problems, not really anything I’d call conspiracy— poor management; human errors; problems with the infrastructure of the facility, including a Hurricane   , making it seem like a bio disaster (a bit like Chernobyl or Fukushima, but multiple incidents over many decades, not a single event). 

 

 

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I know it probably sounds impossible like a nutcase or conspiracy theory idea, but it was a thing that was done. Not necessarily with any evil goal.   My grandfather (and others) worked with embryos.  Burgdorfer (and others) worked with ticks.  


Willy Burgdorfer inoculating Ornithodoros ticks, 1954. Picture: Wikipedia...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Burgdorfer

(ETA: for clarity, he wasn’t inoculating them with Lyme in the picture afaik.  I posted picture link to help show that inoculating ticks was done .) 

 

Apparently, someone told me, in a recent survey of UK high school students, ~20% believe Winston Churchill to be a fictional character and ~48% believe Sherlock Holmes to have been a real person.  

Edited by Pen

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Lyme has been treated successfully by a few doctors in the US without using antibiotics. I am not going to discuss how, but it is similar to an old treatment for other health problems that was used about 100 years ago. If you dig for it, you can find it online.

The best bio weapons are natural substances that eventually cause problems but don’t appear to be bio weapons. My brother discussed how aflatoxin was a concern at one point. Not sure if it still is.

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Didn't the government once try to train bats to fly into planes and bring them down or something? And dolphins or whales or something to swim up to ships with equipment to gather intelligence? And didn't they put a microphone inside an actual cat and try to send it into the Kremlin or something?

I'm just saying... rational is not always the keyword with military science.

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The best bio weapons are natural substances that eventually cause problems but don’t appear to be bio weapons. My brother discussed how aflatoxin was a concern at one point. Not sure if it still is.

 

Sure, but not if you wait so long for symptoms to appear that you may not even be at war anymore.

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32 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Sure, but not if you wait so long for symptoms to appear that you may not even be at war anymore.

 

No need to even be at war to carry out a bio attack. The goal might be to just secretly weaken a country that has been at odds with another for many years. A twenty-year wait might be acceptable but it would have to be something that doesn’t appear to be intentional and only a small number of people would likely know about it. That would probably be difficult to pull off. 

In this day and age, I think countries would be more likely to engage in cyber warfare. 

Edited by BeachGal
clarifying
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55 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Didn't the government once try to train bats to fly into planes and bring them down or something? And dolphins or whales or something to swim up to ships with equipment to gather intelligence? And didn't they put a microphone inside an actual cat and try to send it into the Kremlin or something?

I'm just saying... rational is not always the keyword with military science.

 

Wouldn’t be surprising!

I think they have drones the size of insects now but I don’t know how they use them.

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We've been weakening and disrupting countries for years. We don't need to innovate new methods for it. We already have a pretty good handle on how to destabilize other governments.

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My brother was working on projects designed to understand the vulnerabilities in our country and elsewhere. It’s ongoing and changes according to new research in science and technology and other areas, I would think.

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26 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Very interesting — and a bit scary. A drone that can fly for long periods and that looks like an insect and doesn’t easily stand out could gather a lot of information. Are they able to detect these smaller drones somehow? ETA: Radar can detect them. My husband worked on radar back in the 80s so I’ll have to ask him about this.

Edited by BeachGal

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I'm not really swayed by the idea that it's too unfeasible for our government to have done it. I mean, I absolutely believe it's the sort of nonsense that our military researchers would try.

But something being plausible and a correlation of more cases in the general area where a military science center was is hardly strong evidence.

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8 hours ago, Farrar said:

Didn't the government once try to train bats to fly into planes and bring them down or something? And dolphins or whales or something to swim up to ships with equipment to gather intelligence? And didn't they put a microphone inside an actual cat and try to send it into the Kremlin or something?

I'm just saying... rational is not always the keyword with military science.

The Marines still train dolphins, at least that is what I was told last time I was in San Diego. 

My Colonel friend currently in war college told me about the cat thing recently. He said the project failed because the military couldn’t get the cats to do what they wanted them to do. 

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We have the paralysis ticks here that kill dogs and also they are finding some native ticks seem to be giving people “Lyme-like” diseases.  Parasite and pest born diseases have been a thing forever.  

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1 hour ago, Rachel said:

The Marines still train dolphins, at least that is what I was told last time I was in San Diego. 

My Colonel friend currently in war college told me about the cat thing recently. He said the project failed because the military couldn’t get the cats to do what they wanted them to do. 

 

Does not everybody know this??? 😸

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Okay, so at the risk of being the contrarian again, I must say it's not that hard to train cats to do simple things so long as you know what you're doing and start when they're young. Just because the military can't figure it out doesn't mean nobody can do it.

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On 7/18/2019 at 5:06 PM, Tanaqui said:

Nonsense. Utter nonsense. In order for there to be a conspiracy, you have to expect dozen, hundreds, or even thousands of people to keep their mouths shut.

That's simply not going to happen. The more people who are necessary to keep a conspiracy going, the faster it's all going to fall apart.

Lyme disease is more common because people continue to encroach into what was wild land.

As for an antidote to Lyme disease, we don't have one of those but we DO have a little-known vaccine, with research going on a second one.

(Also, does this conspiracy theory state that Lyme disease didn't exist at all until the 20th century? Because it was first described in the 1880s, and we've found evidence suggesting it's been in North America for thousands of years.)

This. All of this. It's a conspiracy theory plain and simple. We should be more concerned about what climate change is doing to the tick population and the increase in Lyme than with some totally unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.

ETA: Yes, I know the U.S. government has done some awful experiments, but there is simply no evidence that this is one of them. As one of the links above pointed out, Lyme disease has been around for longer than the U.S. existed.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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On 7/17/2019 at 3:56 AM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

theory about Lyme disease originating from weaponized ticks?

 

I just  caught this exact aspect of what you wrote for first time.

At least from what I’m reading there’s a mismatch between this statement and what the books as I’ve read so far (in my ADD way I’m part way through several instead of at end of any one of them) are saying.

They aren’t so far as I can tell saying that humans created the rickettsial creatures that lead to Lyme de novo.

It isn’t so far even clear that they are saying that humans deliberately infected people with a known illness in the same way as, for example, was probably done with giving small pox infected blankets to Native Americans (or was that — illness and germs—not well enough understood at the time to be able to rise to intentional infection spreading either) .

Lyme disease already existed. Yes. That isn’t afaik, as far as I can tell from what I’ve been reading, at issue.  The issue is was it, accidentally or deliberately, spread from the labs working with it?

And perhaps had it been rendered a worse illness via experimentation and manipulation than it had been a century beforehand ?

 

]Consider even perhaps that it was being used for experimental purposes not because it was an effective warfare agent , but perhaps precisely because it wasn’t. It might be considered safer to experiment with Lyme than with Plague for example.   Then if there’s a category 5 hurricane or failed air locks or whatever might go wrong, it’s “only” Lyme , not Plague, that escapes.]

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If the congressional inquiry or whatever is proposed is looking into ‘did humans create the rickettsias’  that lead to Lyme then it may be that it is a straw man argument to investigate that.

sort of if like someone claims that small pox was given to Native Americans by Europeans... and then setting up an investigation to determine if humans created Small Pox as germ warfare. And then finding, no, small pox was around for centuries or millennia, humans did not create it.

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11 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

Okay, so at the risk of being the contrarian again, I must say it's not that hard to train cats to do simple things so long as you know what you're doing and start when they're young. Just because the military can't figure it out doesn't mean nobody can do it.

 

I could only train my cat with tuna or bacon rewards. Our foes might get suspicious if we send a gift of a large container of tuna and then swarms of cats suddenly appear.  🤔

I like to believe that dolphins are too darned smart to engage in such shenanigans.

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I think spying on the Soviets was probably too complex a task even if they started the training in kittenhood.

When I read about this conspiracy theory, the allegation wasn't that they necessarily made Lyme in a lab, but that they made Lyme worse in a lab or that they played around with a rare disease that was Lyme and that their infected ticks got loose, increasing the population when it had been a pretty unusual disease. Unusual enough that no one had named it. That seems way more plausible... but plausibility isn't evidence. When it comes down to it, I'd much rather Congress do something about climate change, which we know for sure is increasing Lyme.

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@Farrar I don’t think climate change / looking into Lyme disease and Labratory issues should be considered as an either /or option.  Both/and should be possible.

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8 minutes ago, Pen said:

@Farrar I don’t think climate change / looking into Lyme disease and Labratory issues should be considered as an either /or option.  Both/and should be possible.

Fair enough. But doing science about how to deal with and plan for Lyme disease in the wake of climate change is so much more likely to help us all than finding out if this plausible but unsubstantiated lab theory has any validity.

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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

Fair enough. But doing science about how to deal with and plan for Lyme disease in the wake of climate change is so much more likely to help us all than finding out if this plausible but unsubstantiated lab theory has any validity.

 

  If the lab did release stuff and is in as bad shape as suggested (or even half as bad), looking into that might help prevent accidental (or deliberate?) release of things far worse than Lyme disease

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3 hours ago, Farrar said:

Fair enough. But doing science about how to deal with and plan for Lyme disease in the wake of climate change is so much more likely to help us all than finding out if this plausible but unsubstantiated lab theory has any validity.

True but accountability for the future is always important.  Otherwise it could be worse another time.  Obviously only if there was reasonable grounds to suspect something was up more than the usual conspiracy theory type thing.

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On 7/18/2019 at 4:06 PM, Tanaqui said:

Nonsense. Utter nonsense. In order for there to be a conspiracy, you have to expect dozen, hundreds, or even thousands of people to keep their mouths shut.

That's simply not going to happen. The more people who are necessary to keep a conspiracy going, the faster it's all going to fall apart.

Lyme disease is more common because people continue to encroach into what was wild land.

As for an antidote to Lyme disease, we don't have one of those but we DO have a little-known vaccine, with research going on a second one.

(Also, does this conspiracy theory state that Lyme disease didn't exist at all until the 20th century? Because it was first described in the 1880s, and we've found evidence suggesting it's been in North America for thousands of years.)

And there are so many other tick diseases too.  Like they are now finding that so far at least 50% of cases of sudden anaphylactic allergy issues are related to another tick carried pathogen.  And there is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babellosis, etc. etc.  

Just a few days ago, there was an announcement of a new species of Shark found in the Gulf of Mexico.  Last year, a new fish was found too.  If animals that can be seen by naked eyes are still being found,  I can think that we are not anywhere close to finding all the insect, arachnid, nematode, etc carried pathogens anytime soon.  

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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1652376/

Under the Eight Ball.   Film interview of Willy Burgdorfer, believe. I haven’t figured out how to see it.  

Here is a quote from Kris Newby about the right film which I think is Under the Eight Ball (I’m using a page photo instead of trying to write it out — think this counts as educational fair use)

 

 

6408ACFE-8B50-4045-9995-C8CD091AA933.jpeg

7F9103BB-664D-40EB-AAE2-0C130AAEE7EA.jpeg

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On 7/18/2019 at 4:06 PM, Tanaqui said:

 

As for an antidote to Lyme disease, we don't have one of those but we DO have a little-known vaccine, with research going on a second one.

(


Oh that vaccine is extremely well-known.  Google lyme vaccine lawsuits, or maybe just oops.

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I read about this recently. Not sure, but it is upsetting if it’s true. A family I know homeschools one child because of his weakened immune system/Lyme disease. I found out recently his mom has it, too. I’m not sure exactly how they got it. I heard about it from another mom that brings the teen to events on his mother’s behalf (mom works FT). So basically when I heard this theory I was very upset on their behalf, even if that may not be logical. 

Edited by heartlikealion
Autocorrect

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On 7/19/2019 at 4:41 PM, Tanaqui said:

We've been weakening and disrupting countries for years. We don't need to innovate new methods for it. We already have a pretty good handle on how to destabilize other governments.

I’ve got no hard opinion on the Lyme topic....Ah, even if we don’t need to innovate new methods of slow torture to disrupt countries, we sure as shit keep on throwing money into it. Digital disinformation  is a fairly new way of weakening. 

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On 7/25/2019 at 9:44 PM, Pen said:

The book in photo above is Bitten by Kris Newby at pages 100-101.  The other books are just to hold  it open for the photo.

Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons https://www.amazon.com/dp/006289627X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_vuOoDb5JHMTSW

 

After the part I photo-quoted above there’s almost what I’d call a plot twist in the journalist’s trail to understand Lyme Disease.  The book imo starts slow and a little dull about Burgdorfer’s life, but it gets much more interesting in the later part of the book.  IMO, highly Worth reading. You may disagree, but it could change how you view the issues in this thread.  Change even what you think Lyme disease is.         ...Or not.  

But I am not sure we can have a relevant conversation in this thread “informed” as to underlying controversy without people having read this book. 

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On 7/19/2019 at 4:41 PM, Farrar said:

Didn't the government once try to train bats to fly into planes and bring them down or something? And dolphins or whales or something to swim up to ships with equipment to gather intelligence? And didn't they put a microphone inside an actual cat and try to send it into the Kremlin or something?

I'm just saying... rational is not always the keyword with military science.

 

Yes.  They also tried to figure out how to kill Fidel Castro with an exploding cigar, and then they thought instead to give him one that made his beard fall out do people would laugh at him, and somehow that would undermine his government.

It's this kind of thing that makes even silly conspiracies seem plausible.

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There are so many tick borne diseases, some that effect humans, some that effect other animals...why we'd think Lyme was some conspiracy and not the others, I don't get. Erlichia is more of an issue in my area. 

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55 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

There are so many tick borne diseases, some that effect humans, some that effect other animals...why we'd think Lyme was some conspiracy and not the others, I don't get. Erlichia is more of an issue in my area. 

 

Maybe it is.  

Or maybe it isn’t. 

 

Maybe there was a Tuskegee syphilis experiment — maybe the fact that in my area there are lots of other STIs and that syphilis is probably not the most common STI is completely irrelevant 

 

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