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Plum Island in the news 7/1/04

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posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 09:08 AM
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I apologize that this is not a link and is long but it is an article in our local paper and you would have to have a subscription to the Paper to read the article online. But I thought there might be some interest in what it has to say .....

The Southampton Press
By Gavin Menu

Federal officials assured East End residents at a presentation on Sunday that fears about security at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center have been addressed by a host of improvements to the research facility.

Beth Lautner, director of the center, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, and Group for the South Fork President Robert S. DeLuca outlined some of the improvements at a discussion sponsored by the Coalition of Neighborhoods for the Preservation of Sag Harbor, or CONPOSH. Dr. Lautner said the gathering at the Old Whalers's Church in Sag Harbor would be the first in a long list of public outreach sessions to address the mystery surrounding the center, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this month.

The Plum Island Animal Disease Center was established by the Department of Agriculture in 1954 following outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in both Mexico and Canada. The 840-acre island is located just 1.5 miles northeast of Orient on the North Fork and only about 10 miles from the location of Sunday's meeting, raising fears that any discharge of dangerous substances might affect residents such a short distance downwind.

At Sunday's meeting, a roomful of residents was assured by Dr. Lautner that the security concerns outlined in a September 2003 U.S. General Accounting Office Report have been addressed on the island, which has been controlled by the Department of Homeland Security for approximately one year.

She said the department was charged with speeding the development of vaccines, specifically with regard to foot-and-mouth disease, and with upgrading the island's overall security. According to Dr. Lautner, $10 million in funding was added to Plum Island's operational costs, and since August of last year, significant changes have been made.

The improvements outlined by Dr. Lautner, most of which were suggested in the GAO report, included a new intrusion alarm system, further compartmental restrictions, enhanced security around the vaccine banks, and more detailed employee background checks. Additional security personnel and equipment were added, the director said, but specifics could not be released to the public.

Dr. Lautner explained that a new identification system, which will require a PIN number to access the labs rather than the existing lock-and-key system, is still in the works. We will know exactly who is coming and going, she said.

Dr. Lautner reported that as of last week, a team of 24 volunteer firefighters had completed intensive training and are now prepared to handle emergencies on the island. Two new fire trucks are available around the clock, and a full-time federal fire chief has been assigned to oversee the operation.

I think there is a firm commitment from the Department of Homeland Security to excellence in the operation, Dr. Lautner said. We intend to be responsible members of the community.

Mr. Bishop said he continues to focus his efforts on reinstating 76 Plum Island workers who have been on strike since August 2002. They've been out of work to the detriment of the operation of Plum Island, the congressman said. My number-one priority is to advocate as strenuously as I possibly can for the return of the workers who want their jobs back.

The congressman said that during the electrical blackout last August, replacement workers did not know how to properly activate the island's generation system, causing a temporary breach in the bio-containment labs.

Mr. Bishop said the 76 workers were caught in a much larger ideological struggle as to whether the U.S. government would allow its workers to organize and protect their own workplace rights. He was optimistic, however, that negotiations with the former employees were moving along productively, and that a contract would be presented to the Department of Homeland Security soon.

Plum Island has long been an area of concern for local residents, and, for the most part, it has been difficult for anybody, including press organizations, to obtain clear explanations to troubling environmental and safety concerns.

A book released in February of this year, Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island, detailed the history of the animal laboratory. The book's author, Michael Christopher Carroll, addressed a 2002 raid by the CIA on a terrorist front organization in Afghanistan, where a dossier was found detailing the Plum Island Center.

Mr. Carroll also revealed how a Nazi scientist, Dr. Eric Traub, developed Plum Island in the mold of a germ warfare lab. Dr. Traub had been involved in projects that weaponized animal diseases like foot-and-mouth. At the time the book was released, many of Mr. Carroll's claims were discounted by the federal government.

Dr. Lautner pointed out that of the 160 countries belonging to the World Animal Health Organization, 60 have recorded cases of foot-and-mouth, including Afghanistan and Iraq. It would be easier to catch it from a goat in Afghanistan than to come onto Plum Island and get it, she said.

She explained that vaccines are constantly being developed on Plum Island that would prevent the outbreak of several animal diseases in this country, including foot-and-mouth, monkey pox, African swine fever, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis.
Foot-and-mouth would kill the economy, Dr. Lautner said, adding that the tourism industry in the United Kingdom suffered a $4.2 billion hit when the disease first broke out.

Mr. DeLuca, who has served as president of the Group for the South Fork since 1992, compared some of Plum Island's troubles to the Brookhaven National Laboratory, which over the years has contaminated waterways on Long Island. Both projects, Mr. DeLuca said, started with strong federal investment, but that financial support diminished as time moved on.

Slowly over time, as the federal government didn't want to pay for some of the services, there was a slow reduction in ongoing maintenance and security -just the basic stuff, Mr. DeLuca said. If you're going to have a facility like this in heavily populated areas, you have to invest in its protection.

Mr. DeLuca was encouraged by Dr. Lautner's efforts to reach out to the community, and asked that the effort be continued. He said also that constant pressure from concerned citizens on the Department of Homeland Security would only help to further stabilize security on the island.

Continued skepticism is always good, Mr. DeLuca told the crowd. Eventually you will make the determination whether or not you're getting a straight answer.

Issue Date: Southampton Press 07/01/04
Copyright, The Southampton Press

The Southampton Press includes two zoned editions.




posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 07:28 PM
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Yikes! How close is this to you home!?!?
The had

a temporary breach in the bio-containment labs
after the Meltdown last August? What does that mean?
Also, I'm not clera why those workers are striking.

It says locals have been concerned for years. What are the major concerns and wht do people think goes on there?

It also makes one wonder how many other places are doing this kind of business in our country



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 07:43 PM
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here's a link that might be of interest:

eyeball-series.org...

koji K.



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 08:00 PM
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Koji_K~~

What's BSL-3 and BSL-4 facilities? That link didn't really clear up anything for me



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 08:04 PM
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BSL- biosafety level (think the movie "outbreak").

basically, BSL 1 facilities will handle things like basic bacteria while BSL 4 handles stuff like ebola virus and other scary things. there are only 3 known BSL 4 facilities in the US, one at Ft. Deitrick, one the CDC runs, and another one.. urm.. somwhere else that I forget (although it's on the map in that link).

for a full description of the relative biosafety levels and what they mean, check out: www.cdc.gov...

-koji K.

[edit on 5-7-2004 by koji_K]



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 08:12 PM
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Thanks for the CDC link. For some reason, that other link made my computer freeze up, so I won't be going back to see where the other place was.
Very interesting stuff, justme and koji



posted on Jul, 5 2004 @ 08:33 PM
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I can't comment directly on the BSL3 or BSL4 status but the site that Koji referenced mentioned the following .....


9.They take a decontaminating shower each time they leave the laboratory.. Personal clothing is removed in the outer clothing change room and kept there. Complete laboratory clothing, including undergarments, pants and shirts or jumpsuits, shoes, and gloves, is provided and used by all personnel entering the laboratory. When leaving the laboratory and before proceeding into the shower area, personnel remove their laboratory clothing in the inner change room. Soiled clothing is autoclaved before laundering.

10. Supplies and materials needed in the facility are brought in by way of the double-doored autoclave, fumigation chamber, or airlock, which is appropriately decontaminated between each use. After securing the outer doors, personnel within the facility retrieve the materials by opening the interior doors of the autoclave, fumigation chamber, or airlock. These doors are secured after materials are brought into the facility.
They take a decontaminating shower each time they leave the laboratory.. Personal clothing is removed in the outer clothing change room and kept there. Complete laboratory clothing, including undergarments, pants and shirts or jumpsuits, shoes, and gloves, is provided and used by all personnel entering the laboratory. When leaving the laboratory and before proceeding into the shower area, personnel remove their laboratory clothing in the inner change room. Soiled clothing is autoclaved before laundering.

10. Supplies and materials needed in the facility are brought in by way of the double-doored autoclave, fumigation chamber, or airlock, which is appropriately decontaminated between each use. After securing the outer doors, personnel within the facility retrieve the materials by opening the interior doors of the autoclave, fumigation chamber, or airlock. These doors are secured after materials are brought into the facility.



And I can tell you that when DH was doing phone work on the island about 15 years ago he went thru the procedures mentioned. Also when we got a dog he was not able to work on the island anymore.

DTOM - living so close to the facility there have been many concerns -- some founded and some unfounded I am sure -- Some of which involve the birds, insects and the occasional deer that would swim to the island and make if off without being detected and destroyed. Also the concern that the island would release waste water etc. that they assure us was decontaminated into the bay where we fish and clam.

The information on the volunteer fire department that would respond to any fires (after intensive training) was interesting as most people don't realize that the volunteer fire department is not based on Plum Island -- the members would have to report to the ferry then get to the island before being able to put out any fires. My concern is how far along will that fire get before they are able to respond.

As I said these are just some of the concerns we locals have -- perhaps some are unfounded but if just a few are founded it is still frightening to us.



posted on Jul, 6 2004 @ 08:12 PM
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Just me~~
I follow everything, except for one point: What does you and your husband having a dog have to do with his being allowed back on the island?
That sounds pretty spooky. Maybe your explanation will de-mystify it a bit.



posted on Jul, 6 2004 @ 10:05 PM
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I didn't understand it completely either -- I guess it could be one of a few things -- 1) that they were afraid of something he might bring in on his person or clothing from our dog that could contaminate their work or 2) that he could bring something home (again on his person or clothing) that could be transmitted to our dog and then get out into the general population of animals? Although with all the decontamination he went thru I don't see how either of those things could happen.



posted on Jul, 6 2004 @ 10:28 PM
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Originally posted by justme1640
I didn't understand it completely either -- I guess it could be one of a few things -- 1) that they were afraid of something he might bring in on his person or clothing from our dog that could contaminate their work or 2) that he could bring something home (again on his person or clothing) that could be transmitted to our dog and then get out into the general population of animals? Although with all the decontamination he went thru I don't see how either of those things could happen.


it's an animal disease centre, so it's possible that there may be some diseases that a human can't catch but that they can carry on their clothes home to a dog. i have no idea if this is true or not, but it's a theory.

-koji K.



posted on Jul, 7 2004 @ 08:05 PM
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To me, that is what is weird. If it is a known animal disease center, then why not be up-front and say if you've got a pet, we can't let you back on the island.

To me, that is the weirdest part of the whole scenario. The secrecy and subterfuge.



posted on Jul, 8 2004 @ 06:48 AM
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story.news.yahoo.com... cid=542&e=4&u=/ap/20040708/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/plum_island

-koji K.



posted on Jul, 8 2004 @ 07:50 AM
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koji- thanks for that link -- am I the only one that thinks it is strange that they feel a need for federal guards part time but not full time? I would think they either trust the private security or they don't.


DTOM -- I think they are pretty upfront about the having a dog and not being on the island -- they must ask or they wouldn't have known that we got a dog. But I would think that they would have more faith in their decontamination process there. But I'm certainly no scientist so I guess it is better safe than sorry huh. But it makes me wonder about the birds that land and then leave and the insects (especially the ever present mosquito) if it is that much of a concern.



posted on Jul, 10 2004 @ 11:26 PM
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it's an animal disease centre, so it's possible that there may be some diseases that a human can't catch but that they can carry on their clothes home to a dog. i have no idea if this is true or not, but it's a theory.

-koji K.

Koji
You are correct. Take for example mad cow disease. If it lethal between cows but does not affect humans in small consumptions. This is true with many other animal viruses.



posted on Jul, 19 2004 @ 02:07 PM
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On the topic of the guy getting the dog...

I do not think this is uncommon in any biological research facility. I used to work for a bio-sciences company (in vivo bioluminescent imaging and transgenic animals) that had a clean facility and it was a long standing policy that you could not enter the 'animal colony' if:

1. You recently visited a pet store.
2. You had mice or rats at home or have been in contact with them.

There were a few other restrictions as well, naturally, but those two stuck out at me.



posted on Jul, 19 2004 @ 02:47 PM
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The strangest thing (for me) about Plum Island is in regard to its connection to West Nile Virus. Just google for lots of information and informed speculation that we now have WNV in the USA because of it escaping from their research labs.

So with so many people dying from WNV (264 in the US by end of last year) why aren't there some wrongful death lawsuits??



posted on Jul, 19 2004 @ 04:43 PM
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Not too familiar with West Nile Virus other than we do have major concerns here about getting it.

But in the mid 70's I got Lyme Disease and Babesiosis at the exact same time -- I was a very sick puppy at that time. I would guess that the tick that got me carried both of those diseases and I was one of the ones who didn't get the bulls eyed rash. I still have some problems because of that -- also in this area everyone knows someone who is undergoing treatment for lyme. Do you think that I believe that Lyme disease originate in Lyme Conn. -- or since Conn is so close to us that is just where the first documented case was.

I think it is pretty hard to police diseases from getting off a biological research facility when you take into consideration the birds that fly there, the deer that swim there and manage to get off undetected, and the mosquito and other insects that can make it from the island to the rest of Long Island and/or Conn. or Rhode Island.



posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 08:54 AM
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Originally posted by koji_K
it's an animal disease centre, so it's possible that there may be some diseases that a human can't catch but that they can carry on their clothes home to a dog. i have no idea if this is true or not, but it's a theory.

-koji K.

Yeah, but when you start playing with science and diseases and manipulating cells and whatnot, who knows the results. Things not meant to affect humans could.
What about rabies?
And, AIDS began with primates, no?

The WNV thing is pretty scary, too. I don't think this is what is meant by "better living through chemistry"---more like creating new diseases to kill off the population???



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