[Marxism] The Great Swine Flu [non-]Epidemic of 1976

sabocat59 at mac.com sabocat59 at mac.com
Wed Apr 29 17:03:28 MDT 2009


When did the US try to spread swine flu in Cuba? -- Michael Perelman wrote. 



 San Francisco Chronicle citing Newsday
 January 10, 1977 Front page
 
 1971 Mystery
 
 CIA Link to Cuban
 Pig Virus Reported
 
 With at least the tacit backing of Central 
 Intelligence Agency officials, operatives linked 
 to anti-Castro terrorists introduced African 
 swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971. Six weeks 
 later an outbreak of the disease forced the 
 slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent an animal epidemic.
 
 A US intelligence source told Newsday last week 
 he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked 
 container at a U.S. Army base and CIA training 
 ground in the Panama Canal Zone, with 
 instructions to turn it over to the anti-Castro group.
 
 The 1971 outbreak, the first and only time the 
 disease has hit the Western Hemisphere, was 
 labeled the ?most alarming event? of 1971 by the 
 United Nations Food and Agricultural 
 Organization. African swine fever is a highly 
 contagious and usually lethal viral disease that 
 infects only pigs and, unlike swine flu, cannot 
 be transmitted to humans. All local production of 
 pork, a Cuban staple, was halted, apparently for several months.
 
 A CIA spokesman, Dennis Berend, in response to a 
 Newsday request for comment, said: "We don't 
 comment on information from unnamed and, at best, 
 obscure sources". Why the virus turned up in Cuba 
 has been a mystery to animal investigators ever 
 since the outbreak. Informed speculation assumed 
 that the virus entered Cuba either in garbage 
 from a commercial airliner or in sausages brought in by merchant seamen.
 
 However, on the basis of numerous interviews over 
 four months with US intelligence sources, Cuban 
 exiles and scientists concerning the outbreak 
 (which occurred two years after the 
 then-President Nixon had banned the use of 
 offensive chemical and biological warfare), Newsday
 was able to piece together this account of events leading up to the outbreak.
 
 The US intelligence source said that early in 
 1971 he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked 
 container at Ft. Gulick, an Army base in the 
 Panama Canal Zone. The Central Intelligence 
 Agency also operates a paramilitary training 
 center for career personnel and mercenaries at Ft. Gulick.
 
 The source said he was given instructions to turn 
 the container with the virus over to members of an anti-Castro group.
 
 The container then was given to a person in the 
 Canal Zone, who took it by boat and turned it 
 over to persons aboard a fishing trawler off the 
 Panamanian coast. The source said the substance 
 was not identified to him until months after the 
 outbreak in Cuba. He would not elaborate further.
 
 Another man involved in the operation, a Cuban 
 exile who asked not to be identified, said he was 
 on the trawler when the virus was put aboard at a 
 rendezvous point off Bocas del Toro, Panama.
 
 He said the trawler carried the virus to Navassa 
 Island, a tiny, deserted, US-owned island between 
 Jamaica and Haiti. From there, after the trawler 
 made a brief stopover, the container was taken to 
 Cuba and given to other operatives on the 
 southern coast near the US Navy base at 
 Guantanamo Bay in late March, according to the source on the trawler.
 
 The source on the trawler, who had been trained 
 by the CIA and had carried out previous missions 
 for the agency, said he saw no CIA officials 
 aboard the boat that delivered the virus to the trawler off Panama, but added:
 
 We were well paid for this and Cuban exile groups 
 don't have that kind of money . . .
 
 He said he was revealing the information because 
 he is a member of an exile group that is being 
 investigated by the United States in connection 
 with terrorist activity in Florida. His account 
 was confirmed by another intelligence source in 
 Miami. The source indicated he had no proof that 
 the operation was approved by CIA officials, but 
 added: In a case like this, though, they would 
 always give them (CIA officials in the Washington area) plausible deniability.
 
 The investigation referred to by the operative on 
 the trawler involves a Federal inquiry into 
 terrorist acts allegedly carried out by Cuban 
 exiles. Those include bombings and assassination 
 attempts in the United States and Venezuela. 
 Trained originally by the CIA for operations 
 against Cuba [sic], the exiles have become more 
 restive as they view what they believe to be an 
 increasing move toward rapprochement between 
 Fidel Castro and the United States [sic!].
 

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