Wednesday, November 30

Bioweapon labs in New Orleans: what next will Katrina turn up?

If you heard a thundering sound last night around 10:30 PM ET, it was everybody who was watching NBC's Law and Order SVU running to their computer and Googling "New Orleans bioweapon labs."

The scriptwriter for the SVU 11/29 episode Storm had to do some fancy footwork to stay within the show's theme (sexually-based crimes), which took up the show's first half hour, and the script's target was clearly the Patriot Act. However, it was news to me and I am sure most of America that there are five Level Three bioweapon labs in the New Orleans-Covington area.

My hope was that the scriptwriter made up the whole story but 30 seconds on Google dashed that hope. As to what kind of lunatics would put Level 3 labs in a hurricane alley flood zone -- Pundita does not want to think about that question. But the more that comes out about New Orleans, the harder it gets for me to keep poking fun at the Iranians for building a nuke weapon facility near a major faultline.

My biggest concern was whether there was any truth to the plot of Storm, which wends its way to a vial of weapons grade anthrax stolen from a NOLA bioweapon lab during the Katrina hurricane.

From articles about the NOLA bioweapon labs posted on the Above Top Secret website, it seems the authorities have been close-mouthed on the question of whether any of those labs lost electricity during the hurricane and subsequent flooding and whether anything in the labs turned up missing.

For the sake of my peace of mind, I am going to assume that the Storm scriptwriter took dramatic license in order to pound home a few points. And I will assume a factual error on the scriptwriter's part regarding a statement that Ebola virus is stored at those five Level Three labs. That would have to be a Level Four lab, unless the writer was insinuating that one such lab is also in the New Orleans area.

I interject that this is the second time I've tuned in SVU in two months and this is the second episode I've seen that deals with a bombshell story about a highly infectious killer agent. So I don't know what's going on with Law and Order SVU. The show has been on the air for seven seasons; I've only seen it a few times but until last night I didn't associate it with muckraking journalism.

The earlier show (Strain air date October 18) concerns an epidemic of a new "killer" strain of AIDS. According the script those who contract the virus develop full-blown AIDS within a year and (if I recall correctly) the new strain is resistant to AIDS anti-viral drugs.

According the script, this strain of AIDS is being spread like wildfire among members of the American Gay community who are methamphetime addicts. According to the script, the Gay meth heads get stoned and forget about wearing a condum.

I did not research any of the script claims; if there is a killer strain of AIDS reaching epidemic proportions, I can't deal with this. Tracking H5N1 is enough for me at this time. But if you'd like to lose some sleep, by all means I invite you to check out the episode's claims.

The moderator of the Above Top Secret website posted a charitable statement about allowing educational sites to make extensive use the reports posted on the New Orleans bioweapon labs.* But I will only publish the first paragraph of the first report and urge you to visit the site if you want to read more.

I note that from the first report, it seems there are more than five bioweapon labs in the New Orleans area and that some of them are private firms under contract to DoD. Is it just me being hysterical, or is that carrying military outsourcing a little too far?

Tulane’s National Primate Research Center Reports No Release of Nearly 5,000 Test Monkeys or Disease Agents – Other NOLA Defense or Research Projects Involve HIV, SIV, SARS, Herpes-B, Anthrax, Botulism, Measles, West Nile and Mousepox

No Confirmed Information on Other NOLA Level-3 Labs Involved in Bioweapons Research –At Least One Lab Reportedly Compromised

Michael C. Ruppert
The Wilderness Publications

September 13, 2005 0800 PST (FTW) – Prior to the arrival of Hurricane Katrina on August 29th, the greater New Orleans area was a significant hub of infectious disease and biological weapons research. At least five Level-3 biolabs were located either in New Orleans or in its nearby suburb of Covington. [...]

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