Interview with Kris Newby author of the book “Bitten”: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons

duncan

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Remember when this research was being done. It was during the cold war. The west wasn't just looking into ways to kill. It was looking into ways to weaken the economy of the old Soviet Bloc. Causing massive amounts of people to become debilitated could exert enormous pressure on any economy.

And they didn't just dragoon Borrelia. They played with Babesia and Bruceliosis and a host of others, and they tinkered with combinations. Did you know ticks infected with Borrelia and Babesia qwest more aggressively than those infected with Borrelia alone? They looked at lots of stuff like that.

According to the book, Nixon shut down the program in 1969. The first outbreak of multiple cases of Lyme(retrospectively) and babesia and ricketsia looks to have occurred around 1968.
 
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Mel9

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It is a fascinating historical study.

Imagine working as a tick microbiologist during the Cold War. Imagine the guilt one would feel as one grew old and noticed the exacerbation of tick borne disease in the same regions.

Even if this exacerbation had nothing to do with his experiments, he would still suffer. And if he did have evidence that something he did had a causal role, the guilt would be unbearable.
 

Mel9

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Yes, @Mel9 , it was in many ways a poignant book, a sad one. You felt for Willy.

Absolutely.

The answer to whether his work was actually implicated can only be found with science.

Microbiologists could apply Next Generation Sequencing (using primers for bacteria, viruses, fungi and maybe more) to ticks in the affected region and compares the results with those all over the world.

If there were an added unknown pathogen there, and nowhere else, it might support the ideas in the book.
 

Hip

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There is no such thing as a Lyme cult.
There is a cult from the perspective of those medical professionals who view the idea of a chronic Borrelia infection causing chronic Lyme as improbable or even preposterous. From their perspective, chronic Lyme patients are a strange cult who use unreliable blood tests to detect an invisible bacterial infection.

Not surprisingly, these professionals may view Lyme disease as Internet-generated hysteria.

Once these professionals hear that some Lyme patients now think their invisible infections were created by some evil genius living on Plum Island, then that's just the icing on the cake, only confirming to them that these Lyme patients are simply victims of Internet-promoted Lyme hysteria.
 

duncan

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It's words like cult and hysteria applied to sick people that continue to hurt those same sick people. There is a reason for that: This is a strategy employed by the old Lyme Guard to continue refusing them treatment in the face of new studies which aptly demonstrate the failure of IDSA-promoted therapies to eradicate Lyme and other TBDs. When Science fails you, you try to diminish the patient.

It's also similar to the approach used by the BPS crowd, so it is always surprising to me when I hear it from fellow pwME.

Science is breaking down these myths. It's a slow process. The resistance comes from the usual sources, but some unusual ones as well.

Investigative journalism is playing its role, too, no doubt. This book is a step in the right direction.
 

Wally

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This book was just published a couple of weeks ago, so I am not sure that many people have had an opportunity to read it yet especially for many Members here on the Forum who have trouble both from an energy and cognitive perspective reading and digesting a book in a short time span or at all. (Note - it does look like this book is available in an audio version - https://www.audible.com/author/Kris-Newby/B07PZX94Z2 and here is a short synopsis of the book - https://lithub.com/on-the-link-between-lyme-disease-and-bioweapons/ .)

I am sure in time more people will be able to provide specific references to evidence or ideas she presents in her book to add to the discussion in this thread, but in the mean time I thought I would share a few other places online where discussions about this book are taking place.

1) https://www.amazon.com/Bitten-History-Disease-Biological-Weapons/dp/006289627X

2) https://www.bayarealyme.org/blog/story/author-kris-newby/

3) https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/kris-newby/bitten-newby/

4) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42117387-bitten

5) https://www.reddit.com/r/lymedisease/comments/ai0hjl (note - if you are not familiar with Reddit then be aware that the comments can be a bit more direct and forceful in their delivery and you may or may not be comfortable reading some of the postings on this platform.
 
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There is a cult from the perspective of those medical professionals who view the idea of a chronic Borrelia infection causing chronic Lyme as improbable or even preposterous. From their perspective, chronic Lyme patients are a strange cult who use unreliable blood tests to detect an invisible bacterial infection.

Not surprisingly, these professionals may view Lyme disease as Internet-generated hysteria.

Once these professionals hear that some Lyme patients now think their invisible infections were created by some evil genius living on Plum Island, then that's just the icing on the cake, only confirming to them that these Lyme patients are simply victims of Internet-promoted Lyme hysteria.
i havent read fthis book, but from discussing it with others, and listening to a podcast with the author, the idea i get is that its fairly modest in claims even if it sort of heavily implies by arranging the details of investigations, that the US government either accidentally or intentionally seeded ticks with lyme disease. This seems pretty fair to speculate on based on the facts. there is no doubt that the bioweapons programs worked a lot with similar types of illnesses--not always really deadly diseases, but ones that would incapacitate, sometimes not fatally, a whole population or a lot of the population; and there is no doubt plum island had scientists studying lyme, and there are lots of details left shrouded in mystery.

in my opinion, the takeaway from the bioweapons program revelations shouldnt be "the government created lyme disease specifically to make our own population sick, but only in parts of the northeast", a lot of what i took away was stuff that supports the dual-factor theory of me/cfs--combining pathogens or toxins plus pathogens, was often part of how they tried to make cocktails that would disabled a large amount of the population.

anyway, i discuss this more on this podcast: https://soundcloud.com/headlessyouthpodcast%2Ftribulations-25-ft-allegedlyzo
 
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i also dont think that the government always knew what it was doing with these weapons, so it doesnt mean that the government had evil geniuses creating this in a lab. more like they toyed around with various already existing toxins and pathogens in a reckleszss and maximalist way, and maybe some of those diseases made it into the wild. and also what their experiments revealed about how to disable a population is independently interesting, and I do think we can think about the military industrial complex as something that creates emergent disease--not always centralized and intentionally, but just as a byproduct of their activity, whether through bombing exercises creating nanoparticle plumes, or accidentally letting loose a pathogen seeded through a novel vector.
 

Hip

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I personally think there's a substantial group of people in the world who hold the general philosophical view that nature is all benign, and so when they see bad things happen, like all the nasty diseases that human beings face, it runs against their philosophical outlook on life. So rather than blaming Mother Nature, they look for man-made explanations of disease. That fits with their worldview.

Whereas after my experience with a viral infection triggering ME/CFS in me, and the same virus causing mental and physical medical carnage in my friends and family, I now subscribe to the views of Prof Paul Ewald, who believes that in future, most (non-genetic) chronic diseases will be shown by science to be caused by pathogens.

So my philosophical perspective is that nature is likely to blame for all the majority of diseases, both physical and mental.

That perspective informs how I approach stories like Plum Island: I agree it's not beyond the realms of possibility that a lab might inadvertently create a nasty pathogen which then escapes; but when we see nature creating nasty pathogens all the time, and throughout history, the odds are that any pathogen-associated disease is much more likely a product of nature, rather than a man-made affair.
 
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I personally think there's a substantial group of people in the world who hold the general philosophical view that nature is all benign, and so when they see bad things happen, like all the nasty diseases that human beings face, it runs against their philosophical outlook on life. So rather than blaming Mother Nature, they look for man-made explanations of disease. That fits with their worldview.

Whereas after my experience with a viral infection triggering ME/CFS in me, and the same virus causing mental and physical medical carnage in my friends and family, I now subscribe to the views of Prof Paul Ewald, who believes that in future, most (non-genetic) chronic diseases will be shown by science to be caused by pathogens
my original post was just asking whether or not kris newby makes any directly outrageous claims in her book, not what its psychologically motivated by.

but in response, I actually think its the opposite. people really want to think that we are disconnected from nature and that all of the ecological stuff that affects lower animals-pesticides causing colony collapse and amphibian endocrinological problems, etc, doesnt affect us. the root of this psychological issue is explored a lot in the polemical philosophical novel Ishmael, by daniel quinn. basically people have some sort of primeval horror toward huntergatherer life and primitive ancestors in general. and it leads them to think in an abstract modernist way about ecology: that we are disconnected from it.

however to get away from the philosophical and back to the scientific--I think that it seems pretty obvious that while so many chronic illnesses skyrocket, and we have thousands of novel chemicals, and disease skyrocketing faster than major genetic changes could happen, that its likely most chronic illness will be discovered to be the result of pollution or chemicals. this is the contention of robert naviaux https://naviauxlab.ucsd.edu/the-28th-amendment-project/.

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/356798/


Also, even if we didnt have some epidemiological evidence for a link here, I would suggest that this is because of an absence of studies... For some reason, there is almost no studies on this subject, or at the very least, a dearth of very well-designed studies. there is consensus that regular particulate pollution causes a variety of diseases, and that pfas is very bad for basically every organ system, but a lot of novel chemicals lack studies on them, and a lot of diseases lack geographic epidemiological data, and so those two things do not get bridged often.

i'm not saying that "mother nature" exists or is cuddly, but whatever the telos of nature, I dont think the skyrocketing rates of chronic disease we are seeing is a result of normal genetic selection pressures; I think its due to an onslaught of environmental toxins that effectively create an evolutionary bottleneck. almost no organism is fit enojugh to come out of this onslaught better, the exceptions being certain types of fungi and cockroackes , etc.
 

Hip

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I think that it seems pretty obvious that while so many chronic illnesses skyrocket, and we have thousands of novel chemicals, and disease skyrocketing faster than major genetic changes could happen, that its likely most chronic illness will be discovered to be the result of pollution or chemicals. this is the contention of robert naviaux https://naviauxlab.ucsd.edu/the-28th-amendment-project/.
I would not deny the involvement of man-made chemicals in triggering or worsening disease.

Indeed, just prior to catching my ME/CFS-triggering virus, I had a severe chronic exposure to organophosphate pesticides, after a large amount was (unbeknown to me) spilt in my home, where there is no wind or rain to disperse it, so it became a chronic exposure. The exposure was severe enough to cause some major effects in my gonads (which I will not go into!), as well as causing terrible psychological symptoms.

The psychological symptoms triggered by major pesticide exposure are dire: lots of farmers in India are constantly committing suicide, and there is a pesticide link to this (these farmers are not educated to understand that pesticides are very nasty chemicals, and in India they don't have the right protective equipment anyway).

So I am appreciative of the problems caused by toxic chemicals.


However, when you speak to the average person, many feel that environmental chemicals are the culprits behind much of disease. And many people go in for detox diets and such like, in the hope of removing chemicals from their body. You hear people say "this weekend I am not going out partying, I am going to do a detox". So in the common mythology of the people, chemicals are the villains.

However, very, very few people are aware of the enormous potential involvement of pathogens in ill-health. I certainly was not. Pathogens are just not something that appears on people's radar.

Greenpeace and similar organizations will raise awareness of chemicals in our clothes, chemicals in the air, chemicals in our water, etc. But they are totally silent on the issue of pathogens.

And this I see as a major disaster, because if people are not even aware of the problem — if they are oblivious to the fact that pathogens may well be causing untold misery and suffering via triggering chronic disease — then how are we going to even begin to address the problem? Pathogens are the invisible enemy that nobody suspects.

So the issue of chemical toxins is well served by activist groups, as well as by science itself. The issue of pathogens is barely addressed at all. The human race is asleep on this issue.
 
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However, when you speak to the average person, many feel that environmental chemicals are the culprits behind much of disease. And many people go in for detox diets and such like, in the hope of removing chemicals from their body. You hear people say "this weekend I am not going out partying, I am going to do a detox". So in the common mythology of the people, chemicals are the villains.
i suppose we may each be having our own sample biases. the sample of people that i know tends to think that this detox stuff is so "woo" that it discredits the whole paradigm of environmental illness... or at least lean that way.

I don't exactly think the chemical pollutants issue on health is well served by activists. You are probably right that there are more activists for various chemicals or pollutants, than for pathogens, but that is probably only addressing a tip of the iceberg in terms of the roles of chemicals in disease. sure, people are now starting to wake up to the idea of toxins in general being aproblem and do vague detox diets to address it, or something like that, but its an underwhelming response to an overwhelming problem. In the United states, novel chemicals dont have the precautionary principle applied and instead are "innocent until proven guilty", allowing companies to regulate themselves. This leads to almost no criminal accountability for polluting.

but your overall point is well taken, I will mull it over
 
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i dont think the two are unrelated: it seems like we talk about the human microbiome, the internal one, all the time, but besides the commensal microbiome, there is an outdoor and an indoor microbiome and they both have effects on disease, etc, and are affected by chemicals. I've seen some articles about how pathogens have worsened since factory farming led to cramped conditions but also less biodiversity. Its not that human disease is unnatural, but it does seem that we used to commonly have bacterial diseases and occasional bad viral outbreaks but the types of viral outbreaks and scale have changed
 

Hip

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I don't exactly think the chemical pollutants issue on health is well served by activists. You are probably right that there are more activists for various chemicals or pollutants, than for pathogens, but that is probably only addressing a tip of the iceberg in terms of the roles of chemicals in disease.
I guess with chemical pollutants, much of the problem is a corporate profits one, with companies polluting the environment because it's cheaper to throw your toxins into the local river than properly and safely dispose of them. So the activists, as well as trying to raise public awareness, are also fighting corporate interests, which is a hard battle. So I can understand why these activists have to be so passionate about pollution issues, and why they fight hard.

With pathogens it is different, as there are no corporate profit motives here. The battle against pathogens would mainly be a scientific and technological one: to develop future vaccines and advanced antimicrobial treatments which could eradicate as many as of the chronic disease-associated pathogens as possible.

I guess until we get some solid evidence that all the major chronic diseases are caused by pathogens, nobody is going to embark on this technological journey to try to eliminate them.

But in the future, in terms of eradicating chronic disease-causing pathogens, I would like to see something like Nixon's 1970s war against cancer, a great presidential initiative which unfortunately did not succeed in eliminating cancer (the problem was much harder than they realized), but did bring cancer treatment forward in leaps and bounds.



In the United states, novel chemicals dont have the precautionary principle applied and instead are "innocent until proven guilty", allowing companies to regulate themselves. This leads to almost no criminal accountability for polluting.
Yeah, the UK has the same sort of philosophy, whereas Continental Europe tends to be more "guilty until proven innocent".
 
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These things are not mutually exclusive. Pathogens, exposures associated with modern living (chemical, EMF, stress, etc), bioweapons, hell even exposures bombarding the Earth from outside of the planet .. all could plausibly impact proper functioning in a human.

Have an open mind and have the sense to study the evidence when available and make your own determinations.

Personally, I am trying to remove as many environmental triggers as possible causes (like wifi, non organic food, cell phones, mold) while investigating possible pathogenic causes.

Speaking of bioweapons, a credible and conclusive answer about the cause of covid still has not emerged. A lot of prominent people still think it was accidentally released from that lab in Wuhan. These things can happen, but from our perspective there's nothing we can really do about it since the evidence is often scant and the course of action is uncertain.