Wednesday, July 25, 2012

People as Playthings, Part 2


In Dan's Brother Angel, Part 1, we looked at organized crime in Denmark, specifically the connection to "biker gangs" that were fighting over control of the distribution of illegal drugs. In Denmark the fight has an ethnic flavor to it, as ethnic Danes are battling "Asian" gangs. The Asian gangs are Muslims who, the Danish bikers say, do not want to assimilate. We also considered how Denmark was increasingly a destination for cocaine. From other series in this blog, we know that Latin American cocaine is increasingly being trafficked via Africa.

In Dan's Brother Angel, Part 2, we saw how heroin was specifically a drug, the trafficking of which was being fought over, and how its use was on the rise in Denmark. Furthermore, following up on an aspect of the situation in Part 1, we saw how police were allegedly taking sides in the fight, often, but not always, siding with ethnic Danish biker gangs against "immigrant" groups. We also considered how "immigrant" is a politically correct code word for Muslim groups.

Significantly, the narcotics in question focus on heroin brought in from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Trafficking of the Afghan heroin is especially done by ethnic Turkish and ethnic Albanian cartels, though I mentioned that in passing in these posts, and did not provide support for that statement.

In Dan's Brother Angel, Part 3, we skipped over to Scotland, and saw how heroin use was on the rise. We also saw how government programs were about continuing the addiction, not curing it, and how the number of heroin-related deaths was increasing. We noticed the concidence between how the treatment program continues addiction, and how the UK government is part of the military operation in Afghanistan that seems unable or unwilling to eliminate the heroin production there. I asked the question: Who benefits?

Dan's Brother Angel, Part 4 painted a picture of a Muslim leader of the UK's Muslim community named Anjem Choudary. Though disavowed by many of the UK's more mainstream Muslims, Choudary is very much of an Islamic supremacist, and seeks to destroy infidel society and replace it with Islamic law - undoubtedly, Islamic law interpreted by him. We also saw how Choudary has a past of serious drug abuse. Dan's Brother Angel, Part 5 went more in-depth, showing how Choudary was receiving money from the UK government, even as he was calling for the destruction of the UK's society and its replacement by an Islamic caliphate. Part 5 also showed us how Choudary associates with drug-traffickers, who deal in heroin and cocaine, among other drugs, and we saw how certain members of the Muslim subculture in the UK are happy to traffic heroin: it's a chemical jihad. The heroin kills infidels, and the money from selling the heroin furthers the jihad in other ways, although an article referenced explains that some of the Muslim drug dealers will sell to anybody, infidel or Muslim:

The ruthless racket is a two-pronged attack which peddles death and misery with heroin while netting massive sums to pay for future terror attacks.

A senior security source told the Daily Star Sunday: "The Afghan poppy fields are probably the biggest financial contributor to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

"The UK's heroin trade is increasing at an alarming rate and most of the cash helps arm terrorists with bombs and guns."

The US has already been targeted in the evil campaign which mirrors a terror plot in the new James Bond novel Devil May Care.

Between 1990 and 2005 Taliban-linked drug peddler Haji Baz Mohammed raked in a staggering £17billion by pouring heroin into North America.

He told a US court that "selling heroin was a jihad because they were taking Americans' money and the heroin was killing them".

[snip]

Our investigators went on the hunt for heroin in Luton and did a deal in the back of a taxi.

Pulling out a handful of wraps, the driver said: "I'll sort you a fix for £10 but a gram's £50. It’s knockout gear." Asked where the drugs came from he said: "Poppy fields between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"The big bosses have Taliban and al-Qaida connections and we're often told only to deal it to non-Muslims. They call it chemical jihad and hope to ruin lives while getting massive payouts at the same time.

"I'm more interested in the money. I knock it out to anyone, whatever their beliefs.

"But there are lots of big-hitters who only sell to non-Muslims – to poison them."

So, ethnic Muslim groups are big players in the trafficking and distribution of heroin, and now of cocaine as well, in Western Europe.

In People as Playthings, Part 1 we considered the "Amerithrax" case (the anthrax attacks of late 2001). In particular, we looked at investigative reporting that raised serious questions regarding the plausibility of the FBI's claim that the attacks were perpretated by Army scientist Dr. Bruce E. Ivins. It should be noted that the attacks came in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and were accompanied with letters calling for death to America and to Israel.


We now consider excerpts of a report entitled An Outbreak of Anthrax Among Drug Users in Scotland, December 2009 to December 2010, dated December, 2011 (excerpts from pages viii and then pgs 21-23 (10 and then pgs 37-39 of 134 as you download the pdf)):

Summary

Outbreak Characteristics

• An outbreak of anthrax was identified starting in Glasgow in December 2009, when cases of serious soft tissue infection (SSTI) among drug users were confirmed as being due to infection with Bacillus anthracis, the first such outbreak formally recorded. A local outbreak investigation began, which became a national investigation in January 2010, coordinated by Health Protection Scotland (HPS), when cases were identified in multiple NHS board areas.

[snip]

• The outbreak was declared as ended in December 2010, by which time 208 initially suspected cases had been formally investigated; 119 patients were ultimately classed as anthrax cases, classified further as: 47 confirmed cases; 35 probable cases; and 37 possible cases based on the strength of microbiological evidence, provided by the Health Protection Agency, Novel and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory (HPA-NDPL) at Porton Down; the remaining 89 initially suspected cases were finally classed as not having anthrax (anthrax negative). Fourteen anthrax cases died (13 confirmed, 1 probable).

• Most of the cases occurred between December 2009 and March 2010. The last case to be confirmed in Scotland had symptoms in July 2010; however, the last suspected case was investigated in October 2010, indicating that the risk of infection to drug users in Scotland persisted for almost a year.

[snip]

4.4.2. Genotyping of the B. anthracis Outbreak Strain

To characterize the particular strain (or strains) isolated from the outbreak cases, genotyping of B. anthracis isolates was carried out at the HPA-NDPL and by Professor Paul S. Keim of the Northern Arizona University (NAU), Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), USA.

B. anthracis is considered to be a relatively new organism in that its low genetic diversity implies that all strains existing now can be traced back to a common ancestor, evolving some thousands of years ago from its close relative Bacillus cereus. For that reason B. anthracis is considered to be a recently emerged pathogen. The nature of the B. anthracis organism allows genotyping analysis (known colloquially as DNA fingerprinting) to be used to compare and categorize an unknown or new strain into previously known genetic groups.

[snip]

Genotyping therefore enabled conclusive exclusion of the possibility that the Scottish strain was related to the former Soviet Union bio-weapons (Sverdlovsk) strain; Vollum (the former British bio-weapons strain); and the Ames strain, which was associated with the USA anthrax bioterrorism attacks of 2001, causing an outbreak of respiratory and cutaneous anthrax.

In other words, this was not the kind of anthrax involved in the 1979 Soviet bioweapons accident, nor was it the kind the British used to work with for their bioweapons program, nor was it the kind used in the 2001 terrorist attack in the US.

Continuing:

The elimination of the outbreak isolates from the Vollum branches was particularly important because these strains are found commonly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This particular exclusion was significant in that intelligence on the sources for heroin trafficking into the UK and Scotland indicated that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the most likely countries of origin. Had the heroin used by the outbreak cases been contaminated in one of these source countries (e.g. during raw heroin production), it would more likely have been of a Vollum strain type.

Exclusionary conclusions are very strong and there is therefore great confidence that the outbreak strain is not a common laboratory strain or a previously known United Kingdom variant.

Progressive sequential genotype comparisons excluded more strains, until there were only two previously identified anthrax strains that showed a closely related phylogenetic SNP profile to the outbreak variant. Both of these strains originated from animals (goats) dying of anthrax in central Turkey. Further testing using additional techniques supported this conclusion. The approximate location of these two earlier animal cases is shown on Figure 2.

In order to determine if all the heroin-associated outbreak cases were infected with heroin from a common source, an additional highly specific genotyping procedure was developed for the outbreak strain. This was accomplished by the complete sequencing of the genome (DNA sequence) of one outbreak isolate at TGen. This genome sequence was compared to other previously completed anthrax genomes to identify SNPs that could be strain specific. Screening a set of three SNPs revealed that they differentiated the outbreak strain from the two Turkish strains and all other known B. anthracis strains (~2,000). In addition, the SNPs grouped all the outbreak isolates together. This strongly suggests that all the heroin-associated outbreak isolates are of a single strain, emanating from a single infective source, perhaps even a single infected animal.

The overall conclusion from this work is therefore that the isolates of B. anthracis grown from the heroin associated anthrax outbreak cases in Scotland were most closely related to strains previously found in infected animals in Turkey. This finding provides additional support for the favoured outbreak hypothesis; that the heroin implicated as the vehicle for transmitting the anthrax identified in Scottish drug users, was probably contaminated in transit between the source country (probably Afghanistan or Pakistan) and final destination (Europe/UK/Scotland) and that a likely locus of this contamination was in Turkey, possibly via contact with a contaminated animal, carcass or hide.

Police intelligence also supports the plausibility of such a link in that Turkey is a known staging post in the distribution of illegal heroin, between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the UK.

Although evidence from the genotyping data linking the outbreak strain to the Turkish strains is not conclusive, it is highly significant and supportive of the favoured outbreak hypothesis. It is also consistent with anecdotal evidence obtained from several sources; that animal skins (particularly goat skins) are used in the transport of illegal heroin. Contamination with anthrax spores from a goat skin is therefore a plausible explanation for the origin of the anthrax spores, imported via heroin to Scotland.

To date all the isolates from the Scottish cases have been characterised as an indistinguishable novel strain, not isolated from human anthrax cases previously. The fact that all the strains identified to date are indistinguishable suggests that they are a very closely related clonal population and that they had a single common origin from one infected animal. The strains identified from cases in England and Germany similarly show that these are indistinguishable from the Scottish strains and therefore are highly likely to have shared a common single source.


Okay, so: this was a new strain of the pathogen that causes anthrax; it came from Turkey, contamination was accidental as the drugs were being moved through Turkey, the incident is over. Unlikely such a thing would happen again, right?

From Anthrax cases among injecting drug users Germany, June-July 2012 Update 6 July 2012:

Updated event background information

As of 4 July, 2012, three cases of infection with B. anthracis have been reported among IDUs in Germany. The first two cases were reported from the city of Regensburg, Bavaria. Both had symptom onset during June and anthrax infection was confirmed by blood culture and PCR [1]. The first case has died. Molecular typing on isolates of B. anthracis infecting these first two cases showed that the strains were genetically similar to each other and to the strains isolated during the 2009/2010 outbreak [1].


And, from Anthrax cases among injecting drug users Germany, June-July 2012 Update 13 July 2012:

Updated event background information

As of 10 July, 2012, five cases of infection with B. anthracis among injecting drug users have been reported in Germany, Denmark and France.

[snip]

The fourth case has been reported from the city of Copenhagen, Denmark [3]. The person had no recent travel history and reported having purchased heroin in Copenhagen.

The fifth case has been reported from Rhône-Alpes region, France [4]

[snip]

This patient acquired heroin in the Rhône-Alpes region and did not travel outside of France prior to symptom onset.

Next, we consider excerpts from Case of anthrax confirmed in Lanarkshire heroin user, from July 25, 2012:

A case of anthrax has been confirmed in an injecting drug user in Lanarkshire.

The area's health authority said the patient was being treated at one of its hospitals and was in a critical but stable condition.

NHS Lanarkshire believes the patient could have contracted the anthrax bacteria from a contaminated batch of heroin circulating in the area.

[snip]

Dr David Cromie, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lanarkshire, said: "It is possible that heroin contaminated with anthrax may be circulating in Lanarkshire and potentially other parts of Scotland."

[snip]

"Muscle-popping, skin-popping, and injecting when a vein has been missed are particularly dangerous.

"Smoking heroin carries much less risk than injecting it. If there is any pain or swelling around an injection site drug users should seek urgent medical attention."

Heroin can be smoked. Did you know that? Smoking it carries less risk of anthrax infection than injecting it.

We now return to An Outbreak of Anthrax Among Drug Users in Scotland, December 2009 to December 2010, page 57 (73 of 134):

5.3.5. Methods of Heroin Taking (Exposure Routes)

[snip]

In the anthrax outbreak muscle-popping [intramuscular injection] did not feature prominently. Most cases (who provided data) reported injection use of some sort, either exclusively or as often in combination with other methods. Some reported exclusively noninjection methods of taking heroin (e.g. smoking).

The retrospective case-control study which compared cases to non-case heroin users (historically) showed that cases had a longer history of injection use of heroin; cases were relatively less likely to have smoked heroin exclusively.

In 2009-2010, most of the victims injected somehow.

My questions are these:

If the 2009-2010 incident resulted from one batch of heroin that got accidentally contaminated, why is it continuing now?

On the other hand, if the same guys in Turkey are moving heroin with the same anthrax-contaminated materials, why haven't they come down with anthrax? Why aren't we hearing about an outbreak in Turkey among the people who are moving the drugs?

You know, Bacillus anthracis, like most pathogenic bacteria, needs iron from its host to grow and proliferate. Interestingly, it has two siderophore proteins that help get iron from the host's hemoglobin.

In other words, if you want to contaminate people with this stuff, getting them to inject it somehow might just be a great way to do it, because access to the host's blood helps the pathogen.

In 2001, terrorists hit the US with anthrax. Though the FBI tried to blame an Army scientist - in fact, one who was instrumental in helping them identify which strain of anthrax had been used - their case was hollow and contrived. The real culprits were Islamic terrorists with connections to corrupt employees of the US bioweapons military-industrial complex, and with connections to officialdom so they could subtly steer the investigation away from themselves.

Now, Islamic terrorists are deliberately targeting Western Europe with heroin laced with anthrax, and they are leveraging their connections in Western Europe's drug distribution underworld to do it: they are mixing bioweapons in with their "chemical jihad".

To be sure, the contamination with Bacillus anthracis is at a low level, and for good reasons.

In 2001, the goal was, as I pointed out in Part 1, to maximize publicity.

But, if casualties had been the goal, three essential mistakes were made: 1) they hit high-publicity targets, thus alerting us to the attack and to the need to respond; 2) they used a form of anthrax that was obviously deliberately chosen as a weapon, again making it clear that we were under attack; and 3) they delivered it in a conspicuous manner, so we could see it was a deliberate attack. These aspects spread terror, but they allow us to respond in a timely manner and thus to minimize casualties.

This time, the terrorists are: 1) hitting heroin addicts, which fewer people care about; 2) using a form of anthrax that looks more natural and less weaponized; and 3) delivering it in such a way as to make it look like it is not deliberate.

Consequently, the goal this time is to spread the pathogen and the disease in such a way that we don't realize what is going on until it is too late; the goal is to inflict casualties.

From An Outbreak of Anthrax Among Drug Users in Scotland, December 2009 to December 2010, page 53 (69 of 134):

5.2.1. Deliberate Contamination of Heroin

The possibility of deliberate or malicious contamination of heroin was considered. Some evidence might support such an explanation, especially the clonal nature of the organisms isolated from anthrax cases in Scotland and elsewhere (suggesting a single common source). Had deliberate contamination occurred due to the use of an artificially cultured organism, then it is likely that all the cases would have had the same anthrax strain. Police intelligence supported the conclusion that the heroin was from Afghanistan or Pakistan. However, there was no specific intelligence to suggest that deliberate contamination had occurred. Although this possibility cannot be completely eliminated, it seems unlikely; drug users would seem an unlikely target for a deliberate attack.

Unlikely? That depends on your objective, and on the tactics you have chosen to achieve it.

Meanwhile, the terrorists from 2001 are still at large.

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