Genocide Watch exists to predict, prevent, stop, and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder. Our purpose is to build an international movement to prevent and stop genocide.
Sixteen days after the massacre on Pentecost Sunday in Nigeria, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Ondo state, we know one thing for certain: Nigeria’s government is letting the attackers get away with it. No one has been arrested in the murders of the 40 congregants and the maiming of scores more. Despite an onslaught in which the terrorists surrounded and shot up the city church for 25 minutes, the government has failed to identify a single suspect. That fits with the general pattern of impunity for Islamists who target Nigerian Christians, and it is why there is no end to it in sight.
The Kukah Center finds that “many communities have been displaced and many farmers are unable to plant and harvest their crops. Consequently, hunger and poverty have risen, and the economy has deteriorated by the day.” In fact, thousands in southern Kaduna, a mostly Christian region, have been killed, and millions more are displaced and destitute. The jihadis can take over and even change the names of entire villages without any government response.
While no Muslim imams are reported abducted, the sultan of Sokoto was threatened by a mob for bravely criticizing the May 12 deadly bludgeoning, on a campus in Sokoto, of Christian student Deborah Yakubu, for alleged blasphemy against Islam. The police dispersed the mob setting fires around the sultan’s residence. Bishop Kukah also protested Yakubu’s murder and the fact that only two suspects were arrested, on minor charges. In response, in a viral video I viewed, an imam incited his followers, threatening: “The leader of the infidels of Sokoto state, they said he made some statements. . . . Matthew Hassan Kukah, so let him continue to do, I swear we shall kill him. . . . I swear, we shall kill you.” All diocesan Masses were then suspended following attacks that “devastated” two parishes. Nigeria’s Christian Association implored the government to protect the bishop.
The genocide of indigenous peoples, colonial genocide, or settler genocide[note 1] is elimination of entire communities of indigenous peoples as part of colonialism.[note 2] Genocide of the native population is especially likely in cases of settler colonialism, with some scholars arguing that settler colonialism is inherently genocidal.
Another historically significant example of forced labour was that of political prisoners, people from conquered or occupied countries, members of persecuted minorities, and prisoners of war, especially during the 20th century. The best-known example of this are the concentration camp system run by Nazi Germany in Europe during World War II, the Gulag camps run by the Soviet Union, and the forced labour used by the military of the Empire of Japan, especially during the Pacific War (such as the Burma Railway). Roughly 4,000,000 German POWs were used as “reparations labour” by the Allies for several years after the German surrender; this was permitted under the Third Geneva Convention provided they were accorded proper treatment. China’s laogai (“labour reform”) system and North Korea’s kwalliso camps are current examples.
About 12 million forced labourers, most of whom were Poles and Soviet citizens (Ost-Arbeiter) were employed in the German war economy inside Nazi Germany. More than 2000 German companies profited from slave labour during the Nazi era, including Daimler, Deutsche Bank, Siemens, Volkswagen, Hoechst, Dresdner Bank, Krupp, Allianz, BASF, Bayer, BMW, and Degussa. In particular, Germany’s Jewish population was subject to slave labour prior to their extermination.In Asia, according to a joint study of historians featuring Zhifen Ju, Mark Peattie, Toru Kubo, and Mitsuyoshi Himeta, more than 10 million Chinese were mobilized by the Japanese army and enslaved by the Kōa-in for slave labour in Manchukuo and north China. The U.S. Library of Congress estimates that in Java, between 4 and 10 million romusha (Japanese: “manual labourer”) were forced to work by the Japanese military. About 270,000 of these Javanese labourers were sent to other Japanese-held areas in South East Asia. Only 52,000 were repatriated to Java, meaning that there was a death rate of 80%.Kerja rodi (Heerendiensten), was the term for forced labour in Indonesia under Dutch colonial rule.The Khmer Rouge attempted to turn Cambodia into a classless society by depopulating cities and forcing the urban population (“New People”) into agricultural communes. The entire population was forced to become farmers in labour camps.
Confessions of ex-Myanmar soldiers show mass-murder orders came from the top: Bob Rae
The 2 men’s testimony will be ‘hugely important’ in upcoming trials, says Canada’s ambassador to the UN
CBC Radio · Posted: Sep 09, 2020 5:56 PM ET | Last Updated: September 9, 2020
Video testimony from two former Myanmar soldiers is “hugely important” evidence that the atrocities committed against the Rohingya people were part of a systematic campaign of genocide, says Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations.
In video clips that surfaced last week, two men who identify themselves as Zaw Naing Tun and Myo Win Tu describe being ordered to kill members of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority indiscriminately, and to bury their bodies in mass graves.
The videos were recorded by the Arakan Army, an insurgent group fighting Myanmar’s military. CBC had not independently verified the contents.
The two men are now at the The Hague in the custody of the International Criminal Court, sources told CBC News.
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims left Myanmar in 2017 for neighbouring Bangladesh, fleeing what they described as a military-campaign of rape and mass murder.
CHRISTIANS DELIBERATELY DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOMES IN BID TO ERADICATE CHRISTIANITY
Christians are being deliberately driven from their homes in certain regions of the world, according to Open Doors. Its new report, called ‘Church on the Run’, says that governments, armed extremist groups and in some cases even families are trying to weaken or eradicate Christian populations. It comes as new data reveals that there are around 100 million displaced people in the world, one in eighty people on earth. In Iraq, the Christian population has dwindled from over a million to around 166,000. The report describes a “deliberate strategy” to weaken, silence or completely eradicate Christian populations. Open Doors’ global gender persecution specialist, Helene Fisher, said: “Part of this deliberate strategy is to fracture religious communities. Displacement is not just a by-product of persecution, but, in many cases, it is an intentional part of a broader strategy to drive out Christianity from the community or country.”
Open Doors found that the most common agent driving displacement for Christians is their family. Family units can withhold basics for survival, such as food or shelter and can threaten their physical safety with violence or death threats when a family member converts to Christianity. Violent groups and government officials single out key figures like church leaders for persecution. Their departure can be the trigger for other Christian families in the community to move. The report also found that Christians do not leave persecution behind when they flee. In their new “homes” they can be singled out, being denied basic aid or face attack from other displaced communities. This happens whilst they are already processing severe trauma from their initial displacement.
The report highlights the long-term impact of displacement in Iraq with a local refugee saying: “Everyone is slowly leaving, It happens quietly, but it is happening every day. People pack up their things, lock their doors and leave behind their entire lives.” Rachel Morley is specific religious persecution analyst for Open Doors and she’s been speaking to Premier about the report: “We found that religion and religious identity can mean that Christian IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and refugees carry an extra layer of vulnerability. The thing which is most concerning from the report is that at every stage of the displacement journey, whether that be when a Christian is deciding to leave, or whether they’re in a camp or an urban setting, religious persecution can manifest at every stage or in any place.”
Morley says the systematic targeting of Christians is seen particularly starkly in countries such as Iraq and Nigeria: “In Iraq, Islamic State, especially over the past decade has resulted in many thousands of Christians being deliberately uprooted from a specific area or lands. “Another place where we see this is in northern Nigeria, where the role of multiple Islamic extremist groups have made it their goal to remove Christians from that particular area. So we see this strategy of displacements as a tool to uproot Christians from a particular area. “What we see as well is that religious persecution is part of this complex tapestry of reasons why a Christian will leave. That can be because alongside ethnic tensions, conflicts, there is instability. And we see this in places such as Myanmar, where really it’s this combination of factors, which means that there are thousands displaced both internally and in neighbouring countries.”
I’m normally not one to give my opinion here on my blog and yes, I know that that’s kind of what it’s for but with so much going on right now in the world and also my life I don’t really have much time to do that. I consider it pure luck that I’m able to just get the fact posted these days, lol. However, now is NOT one of those times!
This was extremely hard for me to watch. It has my heart breaking and my blood boiling. It took me back to when I was watching all those videos (which have now been removed from YouTube) of all the people in the hospital close to the raw food market is in Wuhan, China. It was the beginning of the bio-viral-weapon (as I call it). The very end November actually, before the CCP decided to get honest with the other nations. I’ll never forget watching the bodies (some still breathing) being thrown into black body bags and hauled down the halls, out the doors and chunked into those big white vans with no windows. The nurse’s were literally having nervous breakdowns all over the hospital. Bodies everywhere, lined up in the hall’s, some sick, some barely breathing. People crying, moaning, screaming and some silent. I also remember seeing the authorities going to people’s homes and locking them inside, literally using thick chains with deadbolts on the OUTSIDE of their doors. They could not even leave to buy food. Many died of starvation. I had never seen anything so horribly inhumane in my life. The only thing that I could compare it to is some of the things I witness while working with sex-trafficking victims. So when I see these kind of videos it kinda takes my breath away. Leaves my heart breaking and my blood boiling. It’s hard to explain.
Quarantine CAMPS. We all know what that looks like in China!
Torture, beaten, raped. It’s like being escorted to your coffin while your still alive. You know where they are taking you, You can’t run and you can’t hide. The ONLY thing you can do is pray you can withstand your stay. Hopefully you will be breathing when and if you leave. The evil is real.
WE, AS AMERICANS NEED TO BE ON THEIR KNEES GIVING THANKS TO GOD THAT THIS IS NOT US! So many think this could never happen here. Why? I learned a long time ago to never say “never” because as soon as I did, Boom! I’d be choking on my words!
For the life of me I can NOT understand how some people in this country are just so wrapped up and so self-consumed with their own little lives that they can’t come up out of it long enough to see the world around them. They probably wouldn’t even believe a robber if he walked up and said I’m going to pull the trigger if you don’t do what I say… while holding a piece to their head! Just BLIND AS HELL!!!
Thank God there are so many Patriots in the U.S. that are aware of what is happening here! I’m so very grateful that they are fighting for truth, justice and freedom! If you are one of them… Hear me when I say “THANK YOU” YOU ARE BRAVE TO THE BONE!
On 22–23 June 2001, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Analytic Services Institute for Homeland Security, and the Oklahoma National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, held a senior-level exercise entitled “Dark Winter” that simulated a covert smallpox attack on the United States. The first such exercise of its kind, Dark Winter was constructed to examine the challenges that senior-level policy makers would face if confronted with a bioterrorist attack that initiated outbreaks of highly contagious disease. The exercise was intended to increase awareness of the scope and character of the threat posed by biological weapons among senior national security experts and to bring about actions that would improve prevention and response strategies.
On 22–23 June 2001, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies , in collaboration with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) , the Analytic Services (ANSER) Institute for Homeland Security , and the Oklahoma National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism , held a senior-level exercise entitled “Dark Winter,” which simulated a covert smallpox attack on the United States. Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and Randy Larsen and Mark DeMier of ANSER were the principal designers, authors, and controllers of the Dark Winter exercise. John Hamre of CSIS initiated and conceived of an exercise in which senior former officials would respond to a national security crisis caused by use of a biological weapon. Sue Reingold of CSIS managed administrative and logistical arrangements for the exercise. General Dennis Reimer of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism provided substantial funding for exercise.
The first such exercise of its kind, Dark Winter was undertaken to examine the challenges that senior-level policy makers would face if confronted with a bioterrorist attack that initiated outbreaks of highly contagious disease. The exercise was intended to increase awareness of the scope and character of the threat posed by biological weapons among senior national security experts and to catalyze actions that would improve prevention and response strategies.
Of all potential biological weapons, smallpox is historically the most ominous and feared [5–7]. It is a disfiguring, communicable disease with a case-fatality rate of 30% [8, 9]. There is no effective medical treatment . The World Health Assembly officially declared smallpox eradicated worldwide in 1980 . Since its eradication, smallpox vaccination programs and vaccine production have ceased around the world . The United States stopped its mandatory vaccination program in 1972. Thus, residents of the United States—and indeed, the global population—are now highly susceptible to an inadvertent or deliberate release of smallpox.
It has been argued that the smallpox virus is the organism least accessible to potential bioterrorists. Since its eradication, the only officially existing stocks of the smallpox virus have been stored in 2 World Health Organization reference laboratories located in the United States and Russia . Many experts believe, however, that the smallpox virus is not confined to these 2 official repositories and may be in the possession of states or subnational groups pursuing active biological weapons programs . Of particular importance and concern is the legacy of the former Soviet Union’s biological weapons program. It is widely known that the former Soviet Union maintained a stockpile of 20 tons of smallpox virus in its biological weapons arsenal throughout the 1970s, and that, by 1990, they had a plant capable of producing 80–100 tons of smallpox per year .
The 12 participants in Dark Winter portrayed members of the National Security Council (NSC). Each is an accomplished individual who serves or has served in high-level government or military positions. Among these, the Honorable Sam Nunn, former US Senator from Georgia, played the President of the United States, and the Honorable Frank Keating, the governor of Oklahoma, portrayed himself. Five senior journalists who currently work for major networks or news organizations observed the deliberations of the simulated NSC and participated in a mock press conference during the exercise (table 1). In addition, ∼50 people with current or former policy or operational responsibilities related to biological weapons preparedness observed the exercise.
Roles of key participants in the Dark Winter exercise.
Dark Winter was a “tabletop” exercise. Decision makers were presented with a fictional scenario and asked to react to the facts and context of the scenario, establish strategies, and make policy decisions. To the extent possible, the decisions made were incorporated into the evolving exercise, so that key decisions affected the evolution and outcomes of the scenario.
Dark Winter was divided into 3 segments and simulated a time span of ∼2 weeks. Each segment portrayed an NSC meeting, which were set several days apart in the story: on 9, 15, and 22 December 2002. The participants began segments 2 and 3 with a review of all events that had taken place in the intervening period since the last meeting. In an effort to mirror the process of NSC meetings, exercise participants received information through a variety of sources. Exercise controllers played the roles of deputies or special assistants, providing briefings of facts and policy options to participants throughout the meetings as needed. Participants were also presented with newspaper summaries and video clips of television news coverage of the epidemic. In addition, specific individuals were given memoranda during the exercise on issues or events that would normally fall within the purview of that individual’s position or agency. Thus, for example, the Director of Central Intelligence was given memos that provided updated intelligence data during the course of the meetings.
Exercise Planning Assumptions
In designing Dark Winter, the authors of the exercise analyzed plausible delivery methods for bioterrorist attacks as well as available scientific and historical data from smallpox outbreaks in the past [14–18]. Numerous factors influence whether a pathogen will successfully invade a host community and how that pathogen will spread once established in that community [19, 20]. Two key assumptions were made that had a direct effect on the scope of the epidemic portrayed in the exercise: the number of people infected in the initial attack and the transmission rate (i.e., the number of people subsequently infected by each person with a case of smallpox). These assumptions were not intended to be definitive mathematical predictors or models and should not be interpreted as such. However, these assumptions were derived from available data and the current understanding of the smallpox virus and, therefore, serve as a foundation for the Dark Winter scenario. These assumptions are further articulated below.
The quantity of available smallpox vaccine also significantly affected the options and outcome of the exercise. The authors posited that the quantity of undiluted vaccine available during the exercise equaled the amount in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stockpile at that time: ∼15.4 million doses of vaccine.
Number of persons infected by the initial attack. In the Dark Winter scenario, 3000 people were infected with the smallpox virus during 3 simultaneous attacks in 3 separate shopping malls in Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. It has been estimated that only a few virions are required to cause human smallpox infection, and thus the total quantity of virus necessary to cause 3000 infections in humans is small . For example, William Patrick, a senior scientist in the US offensive biological weapons program before its termination in 1969, has stated that 1 g of weaponized smallpox would be sufficient to infect 100 people via an aerosol attack . Accordingly, as little as 30 g of smallpox could cause 3000 infections, the number of infections resulting from the initial attack in this exercise. Given the small infectious dose required to cause disease, and considering that the former Soviet Union was able to produce smallpox by the ton, an attack resulting in 3000 infections is scientifically plausible.
Smallpox transmission rate. The transmission rate for smallpox is not a static characteristic of the smallpox virus that can be readily determined, but a complex, dynamic, fluctuating phenomenon contingent on multiple biological (both host and microbial), social, demographic, political, and economic factors [17, 19]. As such, the smallpox transmission rate within any given population is highly context dependent. Therefore, any effort to estimate how smallpox might spread through contemporary societies must account for contextual differences, to the extent possible.
Dark Winter was designed to investigate the challenges following a covert attack with the smallpox virus. As described in the scenario above, the first recognition of a covert attack with smallpox virus will likely occur when people infected in the initial attack begin showing signs of infection and start appearing in emergency departments and doctors’ offices . At this point, those people will have become capable of transmitting smallpox to others. Thus, by the time a covert attack is discovered, the disease will already be spreading to the next generation of cases, known as “second-generation” cases. Given that very few doctors currently practicing medicine have ever seen a case of smallpox, and given that there is currently no widely available, rapid diagnostic test for smallpox, it is likely that the diagnosis of initial smallpox cases will be delayed, further promoting spread of disease. These factors are crucial in estimating the transmission rate in this exercise.
Another important factor in such estimations is the level of national and global susceptibility to smallpox virus infection. Human beings are considered universally susceptible to smallpox virus, unless they have been vaccinated or have been infected previously with an orthopox virus . Given the absence of endemic smallpox in the world and the absence of vaccination programs since the 1970s, the global susceptibility to smallpox virus is higher than it has ever been in modern history . Data from the 2000 US Census indicate that ∼42% of the US population is aged <30 years and, therefore, has never been vaccinated against smallpox . For those who have been vaccinated, the susceptibility to smallpox infection is uncertain, because acquired immunity is known to wane over time. Exactly how long and to what extent smallpox immunity endures is unknown. Epidemiologic data offer some information and insights into the expected duration of immunity and the benefits of past revaccination: “an increased level of protection against smallpox persists for ⩽5 years after primary vaccination and substantial but waning immunity can persist for ⩾10 years….antibody levels after revaccination can remain high longer, conferring a greater period of immunity than occurs after primary vaccination alone” (, pp. 3–4).
These findings suggest that those who were vaccinated in the United States before vaccination programs ceased 30 years ago would have waning immunity, although those who were vaccinated ⩾2 times may have maintained higher levels of immunity. A rough estimate of the level of total population herd immunity to smallpox in the United States is 20% (D. A. Henderson, personal communication), a number that will continue to decrease over time. A recent analogous estimate for the United Kingdom is 18% . Thus, an estimated 228 million US citizens would be expected to be highly susceptible to smallpox infection. Some experts have recently argued that immunologic memory in response to vaccination against smallpox may last considerably longer than hypothesized  and, consequently, that the level of herd immunity may be higher. However, for now, that remains a matter of conjecture.
The authors of the exercise used a 1 : 10 ratio for the transmission rate of smallpox in Dark Winter, which was based on an analysis of 34 instances of smallpox importation into Europe between 1958 and 1973 [14, 17]. These smallpox importations were instances in which a person contracted smallpox in a country where the disease still occurred naturally and then unknowingly brought the virus back to a country that no longer had endemic smallpox. Ten of those importations occurred in the months June–November, when the smallpox transmission rate is at its seasonal low. These importations were not included in further analysis, because the smallpox attack simulated in Dark Winter took place in December, when the smallpox transmission rate is at its seasonal high. Of the remaining 24 imported cases that occurred during the seasonal high for smallpox transmission (December–May), most were quickly diagnosed and contained [14, 17].
The authors of this exercise determined that 6 of these 24 importations most closely paralleled the conditions and context of the Dark Winter exercise, as well as what should be anticipated and planned for in the event of a smallpox attack on the modern United States. In those 6 importations, health care practitioners were slow to diagnose initial smallpox cases, and infected people had considerable interaction with other people before appropriate infection-control measures were initiated . The number of second-generation cases in those 6 outbreaks ranged from 10 to 19 cases, with an average of 13.3 secondary cases per initial case (95% CI, 9.3–17.3). Gani and Leach  have recently analyzed these smallpox importations and have estimated that the transmissibility of smallpox in those outbreaks was 10–12 new infections per infectious person. This estimate may be toward the low error bound, because it does not account for seasonal differences in transmission rates (D. A. Henderson, personal communication).
Of the smallpox importations analyzed, the importation into Yugoslavia in 1972 is particularly instructive because that outbreak encompassed many of the attributes that would be expected if a smallpox outbreak occurred today (e.g., a large number of susceptible people, delayed diagnosis, both hospital and community transmission, wide geographic dispersion of cases, difficulty in contact tracing) . In that outbreak, a man on a religious pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina became infected with smallpox virus while in Iraq and subsequently brought the disease back to Yugoslavia. His infection with smallpox virus went undiagnosed, and he unknowingly infected 11 others, whose infections also went undiagnosed. The smallpox outbreak was not recognized and control measures were not initiated until the advent of the second generation of cases, which comprised 140 new cases (transmission ratio, 1 : 13). Ultimately, a single index case caused 175 cases of smallpox and 35 deaths before the outbreak was brought to an end. Gani and Leach  estimated the transmissibility of smallpox in the 1972 Yugoslavia outbreak to be 10.8 new infections per infectious person.
Given the low level of herd immunity to smallpox and the high likelihood of delayed diagnosis and public health intervention, the authors of this exercise used a 1 : 10 transmission rate for Dark Winter and judged that an exercise that used a lower rate of transmission would be unreasonably optimistic, might result in false planning assumptions, and, therefore, would be irresponsible. The authors of this exercise believe that a 1 : 10 transmission rate for a smallpox outbreak prior to public-health intervention may, in fact, be a conservative estimate, given that factors that continue to precipitate the emergence and reemergence of naturally occurring infectious diseases (e.g., the globalization of travel and trade, urban crowding, and deteriorating public health infrastructure) [26, 27] can be expected to exacerbate the transmission rate for smallpox in a bioterrorism event.
Meltzer et al.  have reviewed data from a selected series of past smallpox outbreaks and determined that “the average rate of transmission is <2 persons infected per infectious person” (, p. v). However, they also conclude that “data suggest that one person can infect many others,” that a “large percentage of the population in the United States is now susceptible” to smallpox, and that “the average transmission rate following a deliberate release of smallpox might be µ2 [persons infected per infectious person]” (, p. v). The authors of this article believe that the average past transmission rate calculated by Meltzer et al. [28, 29] does not have significant application to planning for a smallpox attack on the contemporary United States. Their analysis does not adequately account for confounding factors, such as poor herd immunity , seasonality, and likelihood of delayed or inadequate vaccination or other public health interventions and, therefore, significantly underestimates the transmission rate that should be anticipated if a smallpox attack occurred today. Gani and Leach , on the other hand, incorporated a number of these confounding factors in their mathematical analysis and predicted that the rate of transmission of smallpox in contemporary industrialized societies is 4–6 new infections per infected person, and possibly as high as 10–12 new infections per infected person in the absence of appropriate hospital infection-control procedures.
During Dark Winter, participants were told that the rate of transmission beyond the first-generation to second-generation cases (i.e., to third and fourth generations of cases) would be highly dependent on additional variables (e.g., vaccination and isolation). The Dark Winter exercise ended in the middle of the second generation of cases. However, exercise participants repeatedly requested worst-case scenario predictions for the spread of disease beyond the second generation of cases to guide their key policy decisions. Accordingly, participants were given estimates of the projected number of smallpox cases and deaths, on the assumption that no additional vaccine would become available and no systematic, coordinated isolation procedures could be broadly and effectively enacted—in other words, the worst-case scenario. In these worst-case scenario conditions, it was determined that the transmission rate would continue to be 1 : 10, on average. Therefore, it was estimated that the third generation of cases would comprise 300,000 cases of smallpox and lead to 100,000 deaths, and that the fourth generation of cases could encompass as many as 3,000,000 cases of smallpox and result in as many as 1,000,000 deaths. It was emphasized to participants that these numbers were worst-case projections and could be substantially diminished by institution of large-scale and successful vaccination programs and disease-containment procedures.
Available doses of smallpox vaccine. The United States, through the CDC, maintains a stockpile of 15.4 million doses of smallpox vaccine . Exercise participants were asked to assume that only 12 million doses of vaccine would be available. This estimation was based on practical experience obtained during the smallpox eradication program in the 1960s and 1970s. During the World Health Organization’s smallpox eradication campaign, it was common to lose ∼20% of the available doses of vaccine from any given vial because of unavoidable inefficiencies and waste (D. A. Henderson, personal communication).
The year is 2002 . The Unites States economy is strong. Tensions between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China are high. A suspected lieutenant of Osama bin Laden has recently been arrested in Russia in a sting operation while attempting to purchase 50 kg of plutonium and biological pathogens that had been weaponized by the former Soviet Union. The United Nation’s sanctions against Iraq are no longer in effect, and Iraq is suspected of reconstituting its biological weapons program. In the past 48 h, Iraqi forces have moved into offensive positions along the Kuwaiti border. In response, the United States is moving an additional aircraft carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf.
NSC Meeting 1
Information presented to NSC members, 9 December 2002. The 12 members of the NSC gather for what initially was to be a meeting to address the developing situation in southwest Asia but are given the news that a smallpox outbreak is occurring in the United States. In Oklahoma, 20 cases have been confirmed by the CDC, with 14 more suspected. There are also reports of suspect cases in Georgia and Pennsylvania. These cases are not yet confirmed. The initial exposure is presumed to have occurred on or about 1 December, given the 9–17-day incubation period for smallpox (figure 1).
Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 50) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 1 (9 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
The governor of Oklahoma, who is in Washington, D.C., to deliver a speech, agrees to participate in the NSC meeting to clearly articulate the priorities and needs of his state before rushing home to manage the growing crisis. NSC members are briefed on the status of the outbreak and on smallpox. It is explained that smallpox produces no symptoms at the time of exposure and that fever, malaise, and rash will develop 9–17 days after exposure; that, although vaccination before exposure or up to ∼4–5 days after exposure may prevent or ameliorate disease manifestations, there is no effective treatment once the disease has developed; that the case-fatality rate for smallpox is ∼30%; that smallpox virus is communicable from person to person and is spread at close range by respiratory droplets or, in some instances, at longer range by aerosols (i.e., droplet nuclei) ; that although the transmission rate for smallpox virus is a complex dynamic that is dependent on multiple factors, epidemiologic evidence indicates that a single infected person in a highly susceptible population can be expected to infect 10–19 others; and that the US stockpile of smallpox vaccine is 15.4 million doses, but it is estimated that this amount translates to ∼12 million usable doses [8, 9].
The Deputies Committee advises the NSC members on possible disease-containment strategies, including isolation of patients, identification and vaccination of patient contacts, and minimization of public gatherings (e.g., closing schools in affected states). In addition, the Deputies Committee provides the NSC members with 3 vaccine distribution policy options. Policy option 1 is a ring vaccination policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states to vaccinate patient contacts and essential personnel, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the Department of Defense (DoD). Policy option 2 is a combination ring/mass vaccination policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states so that all residents of affected cities could be vaccinated, as well as patient contacts and essential personnel, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the DoD. Policy option 3 is a combination ring/mass distribution policy, in which enough vaccine would be distributed to each of the 3 affected states so that all residents of affected cities could be vaccinated, and 2.5 million doses would be set aside for the DoD, and the remaining 47 unaffected states would immediately receive 125,000 doses of vaccine each, to use as they see fit.
Critical debate issues and decisions. The NSC confronts an array of important questions and decisions. With only 12 million doses of vaccine available, what is the best strategy to contain the outbreak? Should there be a national or a state vaccination policy? Is ring vaccination or mass immunization the best policy? How much vaccine, if any, should be held for the DoD? Should health care workers, public safety officials, and elected officials be given priority for vaccination? What about their families? Should vaccine be distributed to all of the states now, or as new cases emerge? What should the size be of the aliquots of vaccine given to each state? Should there be a mandatory or voluntary immunization policy? What is the federal role in emergency response? What are the state roles in emergency response? How are the 2 responses coordinated? Should the National Guard be activated? How best can the Guard be used (under state or under federal control)? What should be done about the developing situation in southwest Asia? What should the public be told? What should our allies be told? Was this a deliberate attack on the United States? If so, who is responsible? Is the nation at war?
The NSC members agree that the public should be fully informed as quickly as possible to maximize public confidence and adherence to disease-containment measures and to minimize the possibility that disease-containment measures would need to be forcibly imposed. NSC members decide to use vaccine distribution policy option 1, which is the ring vaccination policy intended to focus and limit vaccination efforts to those at highest risk of contracting smallpox (e.g., patient contacts and health care and public safety personnel in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Pennsylvania) while preserving as much vaccine as possible for use as the epidemic unfolds. NSC members decide that the same directed vaccination strategy will be followed if additional new cases emerge in other cities or states. In addition, NSC members decide to set aside sufficient doses of vaccine for the DoD to meet its immediate needs, with the expectation that this will be ∼1 million doses and with direction to the DoD to determine those needs. NSC members decide to proceed with the deployment of the additional aircraft carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf but defer other decisions regarding deployments, pending further developments. NSC officials hope that the people of the United States will view these policy decisions as rational and equitable. The meeting closes as the NSC prepares a presidential statement for the press, detailing their decisions and actions.
NSC Meeting 2
Information presented to NSC members, 15 December 2002 (6 days into the epidemic). A total of 2000 smallpox cases have been reported in 15 states, with 300 deaths (figures 2 and 3). The epidemic is now international, with isolated cases in Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Both Canada and Mexico request that the United States provide them with vaccine. All of the cases appear to be related to the 3 initial outbreaks in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. The public health investigation points to 3 shopping malls as the initial sites of exposure. Only 1.25 million doses of vaccine remain, and public unrest grows as the vaccine supply dwindles. Vaccine distribution efforts vary from state to state, are often chaotic, and lead to violence in some areas. In affected states, the epidemic has overwhelmed the health care systems, and care suffers. The DoD expresses concern about diverting its critical supplies and personnel to the civilian health care system, given the evolving crisis in the Persian Gulf.
Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 2000) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 2 (15 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
Smallpox cases reported to the National Security Council at meeting 2 (15 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
Several international borders are closed to US trade and travelers. Food shortages emerge in affected states as a result of travel problems and store closings. Sporadic violence has been reported against minorities who appear to be of Arab descent. There are no solid leads regarding who may have perpetrated this attack. The government response to the epidemic has been criticized. The media continues its 24-h news coverage of the crisis. Misinformation regarding the smallpox outbreak begins to appear on the Internet and in the media, including false reports of cures for smallpox. Schools are closed nationwide. Public gatherings are limited in affected states. Some states limit travel and nonessential gatherings. The Department of Health and Human Services establishes a National Information Center. Three US drug companies agree to produce new vaccine at the rate of 6 million doses per month, with first deliveries in 5 weeks. Russia offers to provide 4 million doses of vaccine.
Critical debate issues and decisions. NSC officials confront a growing set of challenges and decisions. Given the shortage of vaccine, how can the spread of smallpox be halted? Should patients with smallpox be confined to facilities dedicated to care for them? Should contacts of patients be forced to remain at home or in dedicated facilities until they are proven to be free of smallpox? Should national travel restrictions be imposed? How can disease containment best be balanced against economic disruption and the protection of civil liberties? To what extent can and should the government infringe upon civil liberties? Under what conditions can those powers be exercised? What federal actions can and should be taken to care for the sick? Should the National Guard be federalized (i.e., put under federal control)? What additional assistance can the federal government provide to the states? Should troops continue to deploy overseas to southwest Asia? What should the President tell the people of the United States? Who orchestrated this attack and why? Is the nation at war?
NSC members make a series of important policy decisions. Members decide to leave control of the National Guard as well as decisions on quarantine and isolation in the hands of state officials. Members decide to pursue a crash production program for new smallpox vaccine, despite unresolved liability issues. They also decide to accept smallpox vaccine offered by Russia, provided it passes safety evaluations. In addition, a statement is produced for the President to deliver in a press conference. In the press conference, the President provides an assessment of the gravity of the situation and discusses the government’s response. He appeals to the people of the United States to work together to confront the crisis and to follow the guidance of their elected officials and their public health professionals regarding necessary disease-containment measures.
NSC Meeting 3
Information presented to NSC members, 22 December 2002 (13 days into the epidemic). A total of 16,000 smallpox cases have been reported in 25 states (14,000 within the past 24 h) (figures 4 and 5). One thousand people have died. Ten other countries report cases of smallpox believed to have been caused by international travelers from the United States. It is uncertain whether new smallpox cases have been transmitted by unidentified contacts of initial victims, by contacts who were not vaccinated in time, or by people who received ineffective vaccine, or are due to new smallpox attacks, or some combination of these. Vaccine supplies are depleted, and new vaccine will not be ready for at least 4 weeks. States have restricted nonessential travel. Food shortages are growing in some places, and the national economy is suffering. Residents have fled and are fleeing cities where new cases emerge. Canada and Mexico have closed their borders to the United States. The public demands mandatory isolation of smallpox victims and their contacts, but identifying contacts has become logistically impossible.
Map showing cumulative reported smallpox cases (n = 16,000) reported to the National Security Council at meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
Smallpox cases reported to the National Security Council at meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise.
Although speculative, the predictions are extremely grim: an additional 17,000 cases of smallpox are expected to emerge during the next 12 days, bringing the total number of second-generation cases to 30,000. Of these infected persons, approximately one-third, or 10,000, are expected to die. NSC members are advised that administration of new vaccine combined with isolation measures are likely to stem the expansion of the epidemic. NSC members ask for worst-case projections. They are advised that in worst-case conditions, the third generation of cases could comprise 300,000 new cases of smallpox and lead to 100,000 deaths, and that the fourth generation of cases could conceivably comprise as many as 3,000,000 cases of smallpox and lead to as many as 1,000,000 deaths. It is again emphasized to participants that these numbers are worst-case projections and can be substantially diminished by large-scale and successful vaccination programs and disease-containment procedures (figure 6).
Smallpox epidemic projections, worst-case scenario (in the absence of disease-containment measures or new vaccine delivery), reported to the National Security Council meeting 3 (22 December 2002) as part of the Dark Winter simulation exercise. Gen, generation of cases; K, thousand.
No solid leads as to who masterminded the attack have emerged. A prominent Iraqi defector claims that Iraq is behind the biological attack. Although the defector cannot offer proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the intelligence community deems his information highly credible. Polls of US citizens show overwhelming support for retribution when the attacker is identified.
The scenario ends when it is announced that the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today have each received an anonymous letter demanding the removal of all US forces from Saudi Arabia and all warships from the Persian Gulf within 1 week. The letters threaten that failure to comply with the demands will result in new smallpox attacks on the US homeland as well as other attacks with anthrax and plague. To prove the veracity of these claims and the seriousness of their threats, each letter contains a genetic fingerprint that matches the fingerprint of the smallpox strain causing the current epidemic, demonstrating that the author of these letters has access to the smallpox strain.
Critical debate issues. With no vaccine remaining and new vaccine not expected for at least 4 weeks, how can the rapidly expanding epidemic be contained? What measures should the federal and state governments take to stop the epidemic, given the scope of the crisis, the lack of remaining vaccine, and rising stakes? Should the United States pull its forces out of the Gulf in response to the anonymous letters? With no conclusive evidence as to who orchestrated the attack, how and should the United States respond? If the United States discovers who is behind the attack, what is the proper response? Would the American people call for response with nuclear weapons?
Lessons of Dark Winter
The authors of this article have drawn a series of lessons from the Dark Winter exercise. These lessons are based on an analysis of comments and decisions made by exercise participants during the exercise, subsequent Congressional testimony by exercise participants, and public interviews given by participants in the months after the exercise . The lessons learned reflect the analysis and conclusions of the authors from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the exercise participants or collaborating organizations.
In this section, these lessons are listed, each accompanied by a short explanatory note and quotations from participants in the exercise to illustrate it. The Dark Winter event did not permit attribution of comments without permission from individual participants. Where comments are ascribed to a particular person, permission has been obtained.
Leaders are unfamiliar with the character of bioterrorist attacks, available policy options, and their consequences. The senior decision makers in Dark Winter were largely unfamiliar with the sequence of events that would follow a bioterrorist attack. Important decisions and their implications were dependent on public health strategies and possible mechanisms to care for large numbers of sick people—issues that the national security and defense communities have not typically analyzed in the past.
“We are used to thinking about health problems as naturally occurring problems outside the framework of a malicious actor….If you’re going against someone who is using a tool that you’re not used to having him use—disease—and using it toward—quite rationally and craftily—…an entirely unreasonable and god-awful end—we are in a world we haven’t ever really been in before” (James Woolsey).
“This was very revealing to me—that there is something out there that can cause havoc in my state that I know nothing about—and, for that matter, the federal family doesn’t know a whole lot [about] either” (Frank Keating).
“My feeling here was the biggest deficiency was, how do I think about this? This is not a standard problem that I’m presented in the national security arena. I know how to think about that, I’ve been trained to think about that…a certain amount of what I think went [on] around this table was, ‘I don’t get it. I’m not in gear in terms of how to think about this problem as a decision-maker.’ So then I get very tentative in terms of what to do” (John White).
“This was unique…[you know] that you’re in for a long term problem, and it’s going to get worse and worse and worse and worse and worse” (Sam Nunn).
After a bioterrorist attack, leaders’ decisions would depend on data and expertise from the medical and public health sectors. In Dark Winter, even after the smallpox attack was recognized, decision makers were confronted with many uncertainties and wanted information that was not immediately available. (In fact, they were given more information on locations and numbers of infected people than would likely be available in reality.)
For example, it was difficult to quickly identify the locations of the original attacks; to immediately predict the likely size of the epidemic on the basis of initial cases; to know how many people were exposed; to find out how many were hospitalized and where; or to keep track of how many had been vaccinated. This lack of information, critical for leaders’ situational awareness in Dark Winter, reflects the fact that few systems exist that can provide a rapid flow of the medical and public health information needed in a public health emergency.
“What’s the worst case? To make decisions on how much risk to take…whether to use vaccines, whether to isolate people, whether to quarantine people….I’ve got to know what the worst case is” (Sam Nunn).
“You can’t respond and make decisions unless you have the crispest, most current, and the best information. And that’s what strikes me as a civil leader…that is…clearly missing” (Frank Keating).
The lack of sufficient vaccine or drugs to prevent the spread of disease severely limited management options. In Dark Winter, smallpox vaccine shortages significantly affected the response available to contain the epidemic, as well as the ability of political leaders to offer reassurance to the American people. The increasing scarcity of smallpox vaccine led to great public anxiety and flight by people desperate to get vaccinated, and it had a significant effect on the decisions taken by political leaders.
“We can’t ration….Who do you choose and who do you not choose to get vaccinated?…People are going to go where the vaccine is. And if they know that you’re going to provide the vaccine to my people, they’ll stay to get vaccinated. I think they’ll run if they think the vaccine is somewhere else” (Frank Keating).
“If we had had adequate vaccine supplies…we would have had more strategies to help deal with this thing and help control the epidemic” (Margaret Hamburg).
The US health care system lacks the surge capacity to deal with mass casualties. In Dark Winter, hospital systems across the country were flooded with demands for patient care. The demand was highest in the cities and states directly attacked, but by the time many victims became symptomatic, they were geographically dispersed, with some having traveled far from the original site of attack. The numbers of people flooding into hospitals across the country included people with common illnesses who feared they had smallpox and people who were well but worried. The challenges of distinguishing the sick from the well and rationing scarce resources, combined with shortages of health care staff, who were themselves worried about becoming infected or bringing infection home to their families, imposed a huge burden on the health care system.
“We think an enemy of the United States could attack us with smallpox or with anthrax—whatever—and we really don’t prepare for it, we have no vaccines for it—that’s astonishing. That’s like, for me, in Oklahoma, where we do have tornadoes, to be assiduously studying hurricanes, or not studying tornadoes” (Frank Keating).
“It isn’t just [a matter of] buying more vaccine. It’s a question of how we integrate these [public health and national security communities] in ways that allow us to deal with various facets of the problem” (James Woolsey).
To end a disease outbreak after a bioterrorist attack, decision makers will require ongoing expert advice from senior public health and medical leaders. The leaders in Dark Winter were confronted with rapidly diminishing supply of smallpox vaccine and an expanding smallpox epidemic. Some members advised the imposition of geographic quarantines around affected areas, but the implications of these measures (e.g., interruption of the normal flow of medicines, food and energy supplies, and other critical needs) were not clearly understood at first. In the end, it is not clear whether such draconian measures would have led to a more effective interruption of disease spread.
“A complete quarantine would isolate people so that they would not be able to be fed, and they would not have medical [care]….So we can’t have a complete quarantine. We are, in effect, asking the governors to restrict travel from their states that would be nonessential. We can’t slam down the entire society” (Sam Nunn).
Federal and state priorities may be unclear, differ, or conflict; authorities may be uncertain; and constitutional issues may arise. In Dark Winter, tensions rapidly developed between state and federal authorities in several contexts. State leaders wanted control of decisions regarding the imposition of disease-containment measures (e.g., mandatory vs. voluntary isolation and vaccination), the closure of state borders to all traffic and transportation, and when or whether to close airports. Federal officials argued that such issues were best decided on a national basis to ensure consistency and to give the President maximum control of military and public-safety assets. Leaders in states most affected by smallpox wanted immediate access to smallpox vaccine for all citizens of their states, but the federal government had to balance these requests against military and other national priorities. State leaders were opposed to federalizing the National Guard, which they were relying on to support logistical and public supply needs. A number of federal leaders argued that the National Guard should be federalized.
“My fellow governors are not going to permit you to make our states leper colonies. We’ll determine the nature and extent of the isolation of our citizens….You’re going to say that people can’t gather. That’s not your [the federal government’s] function. That’s the function, if it’s the function of anybody, of state and local officials” (Frank Keating).
“Mr. President, this question got settled at Appomattox. You need to federalize the National Guard” (George Terwilliger).
“We’re going to have absolute chaos if we start having war between the federal government and the state government” (Sam Nunn).
The individual actions of US citizens will be critical to ending the spread of contagious disease; leaders must gain the trust and sustained cooperation of the American people. Dark Winter participants worried that it would not be possible to forcibly impose vaccination or travel restrictions on large groups of the population without their general cooperation. To gain that cooperation, the President and other leaders in Dark Winter recognized the importance of persuading their constituents that there was fairness in the distribution of vaccine and other scarce resources, that the disease-containment measures were for the general good of society, that all possible measures were being taken to prevent the further spread of the disease, and that the government remained firmly in control despite the expanding epidemic.
“The federal government has to have the cooperation from the American people. There is no federal force out there that can require 300,000,000 people to take steps they don’t want to take” (Sam Nunn).
In conducting the Dark Winter exercise, the intention was to inform the debate on the threat posed by biological weapons and to provoke a deeper understanding of the numerous challenges that a covert act of bioterrorism with a contagious agent would present to senior level policy makers and elected officials. Since the Dark Winter exercise, the country has endured the horrific events of 11 September, as well as anthrax attacks through the US postal system. Bioterrorism is no longer just the subject of war games and the source of “futuristic and disturbing topics for…[Congressional] committee meetings” (, p. 2454). Many of the challenges and difficulties faced by the Dark Winter participants, unfortunately, have been paralleled in the response to the recent anthrax attacks. The Dark Winter exercise offers instructive insights and lessons for those with responsibility for bioterrorism preparedness in the medical, public health, policy, and national security communities and, accordingly, helps shine light on possible paths forward.
After Dr. Ardis’ bombshell interview with Stew Peters, everyone wants to know—is he crazy, a heroic whistleblower, or just a humble man trying to share the COVID science he uncovered? Is there any truth to the claims that snake venom and COVID are linked? Today, Seth gives you the chance to ask Dr. Ardis your questions for yourself. Join us for a live Q&A
The corrupt Genocide CDC, Plandemic-Pusher’s, are at it again… as always… using any excuse they can, whether it makes sense or whether science agrees or not have come to another nefarious conclusion about masks mandates.
Here’s the kicker… their heinous excuse this time is to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus.
Can someone please explain this to me?
Here’s the article:
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to extend the federal transportation mask mandate for another 15 days to early May, according to a Biden administration official familiar with the decision.
The announcement is expected as early as Wednesday afternoon from the CDC. The mandate is now set to expire on May 3.The Associated Press was first to report the extension.
The administration official familiar with the decision told CNN the goal of the extension was to gather more information and understanding of the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus.
“Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the US. In order to assess the potential impact,the rise of cases has on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and health care system capacity, CDC is recommending that TSAextend the security directive to enforce mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for 15 days, through May 3, 2022,” the official told CNN.
The official added, “This will give additional time for the CDC to learn more about BA.2 and make a best-informed decision.”
The US is now averaging 38,345 new Covid-19 cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Cases are trending up in more than half of states — including all but one state in the Northeast, Delaware. But the daily rate is still one of the lowest since mid-July.
According to the latest estimates from the CDC, BA.2 caused 86% of new Covid-19 cases nationwide last week.
The mandate , which requires masks on public transportation such as planes, trains, buses — as well as in hubs like airports and bus terminals — had been set to expire on April 18. White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha told CNN on Monday that the CDC planned to share a scientific framework this week for the federal transportation mask mandate.
This is a breaking story and will be updated. Source: (CNN)
Now that we have the masks thing cleared up go the next two weeks at least let me take this to another level.
if you’re one of those who’s thinking hasn’t quite caught up with some of your relatives, friends or coworkers or the rest of us, I would really like you to consider adjusting your thinking “outside the box” a little bit for a moment because you deserve to know and understand the truth like the rest of us. If society as a whole doesn’t start to grasp the entire truth of what has been happening and has happened, things are not going to turn out very well for any of us. This much I am convinced.
In case you missed it!
Just in case you missed the “venomous” conclusion regarding the origin of the coronavirus you might want to hear the latest findings. I was blown away! Videos discussion’s centered around the research findings of Dr. Bryan Ardis (www.ardisantidote.com), the real origin of the virus, the goal of this Plandemic, and who is behind it!
The plandemic continues, but its origins are still a nefarious mystery. How did the world get sick, how did Covid really spread, and did the Satanic elite tell the world about this bioweapon ahead of time? Dr. Bryan Ardis (www.ardisantidote.com) has unveiled a shocking connection between this pandemic and the eternal battle of good and evil which began in the Garden of Eden.
Here’s a couple of recommended watches for you. Be sure you’re sitting down! I literally watched one of them 3 times last night because I couldn’t believe my ears!
In this Stew Peters Network exclusive, Director Stew Peters, award winning filmmaker Nicholas Stumphauzer and Executive Producer Lauren Witzke bring to light a truth satan himself has fought to suppress.
Unhealthy Landscapes: Policy Recommendations on Land Use Change and Infectious Disease Emergence
The could possibly be the rabbit hole from Hell… Some of it seems like it could make sense but that’s how the work. I wonder what one would find if they dug deep – real deep and followed the money Trail on this subject???
Anthropogenic land use changes drive a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and modify the transmission of endemic infections. These drivers include agricultural encroachment, deforestation, road construction, dam building, irrigation, wetland modification, mining, the concentration or expansion of urban environments, coastal zone degradation, and other activities. These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, disease introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. The Working Group on Land Use Change and Disease Emergence grew out of a special colloquium that convened international experts in infectious diseases, ecology, and environmental health to assess the current state of knowledge and to develop recommendations for addressing these environmental health challenges.
The group established a systems model approach and priority lists of infectious diseases affected by ecologic degradation. Policy-relevant levels of the model include:
specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels.
a) to provide information to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health;
b) to facilitate fully interdisciplinary research from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences and train professionals who can conduct interdisciplinary research; and
c) to engage in science-based communication and assessment for policy making toward sustainable health and ecosystems.
Human-induced land use changes are the primary drivers of a range of infectious disease outbreaks and emergence events and also modifiers of the transmission of endemic infections (Patz et al. 2000).
These land use changes include:
coastal zone degradation
the concentration or expansion of urban environments
and other activities.
These changes in turn cause a cascade of factors that exacerbate infectious disease emergence, such as forest fragmentation, pathogen introduction, pollution, poverty, and human migration. These are important and complex issues that are understood only for a few diseases. For example, recent research has shown that forest fragmentation, urban sprawl, and biodiversity loss are linked to increased risk for Lyme disease in the northeastern United States (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001). Expansion and changes in agricultural practices are intimately associated with the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia (Chua et al. 1999; Lam and Chua 2002), cryptosporidiosis in Europe and North America, and a range of food-borne illnesses globally (Rose et al. 2001). Road building is linked to the expansion of bushmeat consumption that may have played a key role in the early emergence of human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (Wolfe et al. 2000), and simian foamy virus has been found in bushmeat hunters (Wolfe et al. 2004).
In recognition of the complexity of land use change and the risks and benefits to human health that it entails, a special colloquium titled “Unhealthy Landscapes: How Land Use Change Affects Health” was convened at the 2002 biennial meeting of the International Society for Ecosystem Health (6–11 June 2002, Washington, DC) to address this issue. The invited experts worked to establish consensus on the current state of science and identify key knowledge gaps underlying this issue. This article condenses the working group’s report and presents a new research and policy agenda for understanding land use change and its effects on human health. Specifically, we discuss land-use drivers or human activities that exacerbate infectious diseases; the land–water interface, common to many infectious disease life cycles; and conclusions and recommendations for research and training from the working group.
Land-Use Drivers of Infectious Disease Emergence
The emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) resulting from land use change can be entirely new to a specific location or host species. This may occur either from “spillover” or cross-species transmission or simply by extension of geographic range into new or changed habitats. More than 75% of human diseases are zoonotic and have a link to wildlife and domestic animals (Taylor et al. 2001).
The working group developed an extensive list of processes by which land use affects human health (specifically, infectious disease occurrence) and of other factors that contribute to this relationship: agricultural development, urbanization, deforestation, population movement, increasing population, introduction of novel species/pathogens, water and air pollution, biodiversity loss, habit fragmentation, road building, macro and micro climate changes, hydrological alteration, decline in public health infrastructure, animal-intensive systems, eutrophication, military conflict, monocropping, and erosion (ranked from highest to lowest public health impact by meeting participants). The four mechanisms that were felt to have the greatest impact on public health were changes to the physical environment; movement of populations, pathogens, and trade; agriculture; and urbanization. War and civil unrest were also mentioned as a potentially acute and cross-cutting driver. Infectious disease agents with the strongest documented or suspected links to land use change are listed in Table 1.
Changes to the biophysical environment.
Rates of deforestation have grown exponentially since the beginning of the 20th century. Driven by rapidly increasing human population numbers, large swaths of species-rich tropical and temperate forests, as well as prairies, grasslands, and wetlands, have been converted to species-poor agricultural and ranching areas. The global rate of tropical deforestation continues at staggering levels, with nearly 2–3% of forests lost globally each year. Parallel with this habitat destruction is an exponential growth in human–wildlife interaction and conflict. This has resulted in exposure to new pathogens for humans, livestock, and wildlife (Wolfe et al. 2000). Deforestation and the processes that lead to it have many consequences for ecosystems. Deforestation decreases the overall habitat available for wildlife species. It also modifies the structure of environments, for example, by fragmenting habitats into smaller patches separated by agricultural activities or human populations. Increased “edge effect” (from a patchwork of varied land uses) can further promote interaction among pathogens, vectors, and hosts. This edge effect has been well documented for Lyme disease (Glass et al. 1995). Similarly, increased activity in forest habitats (through behavior or occupation) appears to be a major risk factor for leishmaniasis (Weigle et al. 1993). Evidence is mounting that deforestation and ecosystem changes have implications for the distribution of many other microorganisms and the health of human, domestic animal, and wildlife populations.
One example of the effects of land use on human health is particularly noteworthy. Deforestation, with subsequent changes in land use and human settlement patterns, has coincided with an upsurge of malaria and/or its vectors in Africa (Coluzzi 1984, 1994; Coluzzi et al. 1979), in Asia (Bunnag et al. 1979), and in Latin America (Tadei et al. 1998). When tropical forests are cleared for human activities, they are typically converted into agricultural or grazing lands. This process is usually exacerbated by construction of roads, causing erosion and allowing previously inaccessible areas to become colonized by people (Kalliola and Flores Paitán 1998). Cleared lands and culverts that collect rainwater are in some areas far more suitable for larvae of malaria-transmitting anopheline mosquitoes than are intact forests (Charlwood and Alecrim 1989; Jones 1951; Marques 1987).
Another example of the effects of land use on human health involves deforestation and noninfectious disease: the contamination of rivers with mercury. Soil erosion after deforestation adds significant mercury loads, which are found naturally in rainforest soils, to rivers. This has led to fish in the Amazon becoming hazardous to eat (Fostier et al. 2000; Veiga et al. 1994).
This alters the composition of host species in an environment and can change the fundamental ecology of microorganisms. Because of the nature of food webs within ecosystems, organisms at higher trophic levels exist at a lower population density and are often quite sensitive to changes in food availability. The smaller patches left after fragmentation often do not have sufficient prey for top predators, resulting in local extinction of predator species and a subsequent increase in the density of their prey species. Logging and road building in Latin America have increased the incidence of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis (Desjeux 2001), which in some areas has resulted from an increase in the number of fox reservoirs and sandfly vectors that have adapted to the peridomestic environment (Patz et al. 2000). Foxes, however, are not very important reservoirs for leishmaniasis in Latin America (Courtenay et al. 2002), and a more important factor in the transmission cycle includes domestic dogs.
Ostfeld and Keesing (2000) have demonstrated that smaller fragments in North American forests have fewer small mammal predators. Results suggest that the probability that a tick will become infected depends on not only the density of white-footed mice but also the density of mice relative to that of other hosts in the community. Under this scenario, the density effect of white-footed mice, which are efficient reservoirs for Lyme disease, can be “diluted” by an increasing density of alternative hosts, which are less efficient at transmitting Lyme disease. These results suggest that increasing host diversity (species richness) may decrease the risk of disease through a “dilution effect” (Schmidt and Ostfeld 2001).
Gold mining is an extractive industry that damages local and regional environments and has adverse human health effects, because mercury is used to extract gold from riverbeds in the tropical forests. Not only does mercury accumulate in local fish populations, making them toxic to eat (Lebel et al. 1996, 1998), but mercury also suppresses the human immune system. Also, in gold-mining areas, more mosquito-breeding sites and increased malaria risk result from digging gem pits in the forest and from craters resulting from logging; broader disease spread occurs as populations disperse throughout the region (Silbergeld et al. 2002).
Movement of populations, pathogens, and trade.
The movement of humans, domestic animals, wildlife populations, and agricultural products through travel, trade, and translocations is a driver of infectious disease emergence globally. These sometimes inadvertent, sometimes deliberate movements of infectious disease and vectors (e.g., the introduction of smallpox and measles to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors) will continue to rise via continually expanding global travel and by development of Third World populations. Human introduction of pathogens, hosts, or materials into new areas has been termed “pathogen pollution” (Daszak et al. 2000).
Land use changes drive some of these introductions and migrations and also increase the vulnerability of habitats and populations to these introductions. Human migrations also drive land use changes that in turn drive infectious disease emergence. For example, in China’s Yunnan Province, an increase in livestock populations and migration has led to an increase in the incidence of schistosomiasis (Jiang et al. 1997). In Malaysia, a combination of deforestation, drought, and wildfires has led to alterations in the population movements and densities of flying foxes, large fruit bats known to be the reservoir for the newly emergent zoonosis Nipah virus (Chua et al. 1999). It is believed that the increased opportunity for contact between infected bats and pigs produced the outbreak of the disease in pigs, which then was transmitted to people in contact with infected pigs (Aziz et al. 2002).
Another example of human-induced animal movement on a much larger scale is the international pet trade. This movement of animals involves many countries and allows for the introduction of novel pathogens, such as monkeypox, with the potential to damage ecosystems and threaten human and animal health. Monkeypox was originally associated with bushmeat hunting of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius); after a localized epidemic emerged in humans, monkeypox persisted for four generations via human-to-human contact (Jezek et al. 1986).
Human movement also has significant implications for public health. Not only are travelers (tourists, businesspeople, and other workers) at risk of contracting communicable diseases when visiting tropical countries, but they also can act as vectors for delivering infectious diseases to another region or, in the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), potentially around the world. Refugees account for a significant number of human migrants, carrying diseases such as hepatitis B and tuberculosis and various parasites (Loutan et al. 1997). Because of their status, refugees become impoverished and are more exposed to a wide range of health risks. This is caused by the disruption of basic health services, inadequate food and medical care, and lack of clean water and sanitation (Toole and Waldman 1997). People who cross international boundaries, such as travelers, immigrants, and refugees, may be at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, especially those who have no immunity because the disease agents are uncommon in their native countries. Immigrants may come from nations where diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria are endemic, and refugees may come from situations where crowding and malnutrition create ideal conditions for the spread of diseases such as cholera, shigellosis, malaria, and measles [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1998].
The importance of zoonotic diseases should be emphasized. Zoonotic pathogens are the most significant cause of EIDs affecting humans, both in the proportion of EIDs that they cause and in the impact that they have. Some 1,415 species of infectious organisms are known to be pathogenic to people, with 61% of them being zoonotic. Of the emerging pathogens, 75% are zoonotic, and zoonotic pathogens are twice as likely to be associated with emerging diseases than are nonzoonotic pathogens (Taylor et al. 2001). More important, zoonotic pathogens cause a series of EIDs with high case fatality rates and no reliable cure, vaccine, or therapy (e.g., Ebola virus disease, Nipah virus disease, and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome). Zoonotic pathogens also cause diseases that have some of the highest incidence rates globally [e.g., acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)]. AIDS is a special case, because it is caused by a pathogen that jumped host from nonhuman primates and then evolved into a new virus. Thus, it is in origin a zoonotic organism (Hahn et al. 2000).
Because of the important role of zoonoses in current public health threats, wildlife and domestic animals play a key role in the process by providing a “zoonotic pool” from which previously unknown pathogens may emerge (Daszak et al. 2001). The influenza virus is an example, causing pandemics in humans after periodic exchange of genes among the viruses of wild and domestic birds, pigs, and humans. Fruit bats are involved in a high-profile group of EIDs that includes rabies and other lyssaviruses, Hendra virus and Menangle virus (Australia), and Nipah virus (Malaysia and Singapore), which has implications for further zoonotic disease emergence. A number of species are endemic to both remote oceanic islands and more populous suburban and rural human settlements; these may harbor enzootic and potentially zoonotic pathogens with an unknown potential for spillover (Daszak et al. 2000).
Thus, some of the current major infectious threats to human health are EIDs and reemerging infectious diseases, with a particular emphasis on zoonotic pathogens transferring hosts from wildlife and domestic animals. A common, defining theme for most EIDs (of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and plants) is that they are driven to emerge by anthropogenic changes to the environment. Because threats to wildlife habitat are so extensive and pervading, many of the currently important human EIDs (e.g., AIDS, Nipah virus disease) are driven partly by human-induced changes to wildlife habitat such as encroachment and deforestation. This is essentially a process of natural selection in which anthropogenic environmental changes perturb the host–parasite dynamic equilibrium, leading to the expansion of those strains suited to the new environmental conditions and facilitating expansion of others into new host species (Daszak et al. 2001).
Crop irrigation and breeding sites.
Agriculture occupies about half of the world’s land and uses more than two-thirds of the world’s fresh water (Horrigan et al. 2002). Agricultural development in many parts of the world has increased the need for crop irrigation, which reduces water availability for other uses and increases breeding sites for disease vectors. An increase in soil moisture associated with irrigation development in the southern Nile Delta after the construction of the Aswan High Dam has caused a rapid rise in the mosquito Culex pipiens and consequential increase in the arthropod-borne disease Bancroftian filariasis (Harb et al. 1993; Thompson et al. 1996). Onchocerciasis and trypanosomiasis are further examples of vector-borne parasitic diseases that may be triggered by changing land-use and water management patterns. In addition, large-scale use of pesticides has had deleterious effects on farm workers, including hormone disruption and immune suppression (Straube et al. 1999).
Once agricultural development has expanded and produced food sufficient to meet local need, the food products are exported to other nations, where they can pose a risk to human health. The increase in imported foods has resulted in a rise in food-borne illness in the United States. Strawberries from Mexico, raspberries from Guatemala, carrots from Peru, and coconut milk from Thailand have caused recent outbreaks. Food safety is an important factor in human health, because food-borne disease accounts for an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,200 deaths in the United States each year (CDC 2003). Other dangers include antibiotic-resistant organisms, such as Cyclospora, EscherichiacoliO157:H7, and other pathogenic E. coli strains associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome in children (Dols et al. 2001).
Agricultural secondary effects need to be minimized, such as the emerging microbial resistance from antibiotics in animal waste that is included in farm runoff and the introduction of microdams for irrigation in Ethiopia that resulted in a 7-fold increase in malaria (Ghebreyesus et al. 1999).
On a global basis, the proportion of people living in urban centers will increase to an unprecedented 65% by the year 2030 (Population Reference Bureau 1998). The 2000 census shows that 80% of the U.S. population now lives in metropolitan areas, with 30% living in cities of 5 million or more. The environmental issues posed by such large population centers have profound impacts on public health beyond the city limits (Knowlton 2001).
Alterations of ecosystems and natural resources contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious disease agents. Human encroachment of wildlife habitat has broadened the interface between wildlife and humans, increasing opportunities for both the emergence of novel infectious diseases in wildlife and their transmission to people. Rabies is an example of a zoonotic disease carried by animals that has become habituated to urban environments. Bats colonize buildings, skunks and raccoons scavenge human refuse, and in many countries feral dogs in the streets are common and the major source of human infection (Singh et al. 2001).
Infectious diseases can also pass from people to wildlife. Nonhuman primates have acquired measles from ecotourists (Wallis and Lee 1999). Also, drug resistance in gram-negative enteric bacteria of wild baboons living with limited human contact is significantly less common than in baboons living with human contact near urban or semiurban human settlements (Rolland et al. 1985).
The Land–Water Interface
Another major driver of infectious disease emergence results from the land–water interface. Land use changes often involve water projects or coastal marine systems in which nutrients from agricultural runoff can cause algal blooms.
Currently the seventh Cholera pandemic is spreading across Asia, Africa, and South America. In 1992, a new serogroup (Vibrio cholerae O139) appeared and has been responsible for epidemics in Asia (Colwell 1996). The seasonality of cholera epidemics may be linked to the seasonality of plankton (algal blooms) and the marine food chain. Studies using remote-sensing data of chlorophyll-containing phytoplankton have shown a correlation between cholera cases and sea surface temperatures in the Bay of Bengal. Interannual variability in cholera incidence in Bangladesh is also linked to the El Niño southern oscillation and regional temperature anomalies (Lobitz et al. 2000), and cholera prevalence has been associated with progressively stronger El Niño events spanning a 70-year period (Rodo et al. 2002). This observation on cholera incidence may represent an early health indicator of global climate change (Patz 2002).
Infectious diseases in marine mammals and sea turtles could serve as sentinels for human disease risk. Sea turtles worldwide are affected by fibropapillomatosis, a disease probably caused by one or several viruses and characterized by multiple epithelial tumors. Field studies support the observation that prevalence of this disease is associated with heavily polluted coastal areas, areas of high human density, agricultural runoff, and/or biotoxin-producing algae (Aguirre and Lutz, in press). This represents the breakdown of the land–water interface, to the point that several pathogens typical of terrestrial ecosystems have become established in the oceans. Toxoplasmosis in the endangered sea otter (Enhydra lutris) represents an example of pathogen pollution. Massive mortalities in pinnipeds and cetaceans reaching epidemics of tens of thousands are caused by four morbilliviruses evolving from the canine distemper virus (Aguirre et al. 2002). Additionally, overfishing has myriad ramifications for marine ecosystems and sustainable protein food sources for human populations.
Cryptosporidium, a protozoan that completes its life cycle within the intestine of mammals, sheds high numbers of infectious oocysts that are dispersed in feces. A recent study found that 13% of finished treated water still contained Cryptosporidium oocysts, indicating some passage of microorganisms from source to treated drinking water (LeChevallier and Norton 1995). The protozoan is highly prevalent in ruminants and is readily transmitted to humans. Thus, management of livestock contamination of watersheds is an important public health issue.
One example of how overexploitation of a natural water resource led to infectious disease is that of Lake Malawi in Africa. Overfishing in the lake reduced the population of snail-eating fish to such a level that snail populations erupted. Subsequently, schistosomiasis incidence and prevalence markedly rose after this ecologic imbalance (Madsen et al. 2001).
Recommendations from the Working Group
Conceptual model: bringing land use into public health policy.
The recommendations stemming from the international colloquium are highly relevant to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), a broad multiagency/foundation-sponsored scientific assessment of degraded ecosystem effects on human well-being. A conceptual framework of the MEA already provides an approach to optimize the contribution of ecosystems to human health (MEA 2003). This framework offers a mechanism to a) identify options that can better achieve human development and sustainable goals, b) better understand the trade-offs involved in environment-related decisions, and c) align response options at all scales, from the local to the global, where they can be most effective. This conceptual framework focuses on human well-being while also recognizing associated intrinsic values. Similar to the MEA, focus is particularly on the linkages between ecosystem services and human health. Workshop participants developed a conceptual model (Figure 1). Like the MEA, it assumes a dynamic interaction between humans and ecosystems that warrants a multiscale assessment (spatial and temporal).
By using this framework, policy makers may approach development and health at various levels. These levels include specific health risk factors, landscape or habitat change, and institutional (economic and behavioral) levels. For sound health policy, we must shift away from dealing primarily with specific risk factors and look “upstream” to underlying land-use determinants of infectious disease and ultimately the human behavior and established institutions that are detrimental to sustainable population health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a similar DPSEEA (driving forces, pressures, state, exposure, effect, actions) model that in a similar way describes the interlinkage between human health and different driving forces and environmental change (WHO 1997).
As such understanding increases, it will become more feasible to plan how to prevent new infectious disease emergence. Yet, because these are rare events, accurate predictions will remain daunting. It is already evident that inserting humans into complex ecosystems can lead to a variety of EIDs, but health outcomes depend on the economic circumstances of the human population. In poor and tropical communities, land use change can lead to major shifts in infectious disease patterns. For these situations, many conventional public health interventions can prevent several infectious diseases at relatively low cost. In rich and temperate-climate communities, the infectious disease shifts tend to be more disease specific, for example, in the case of Lyme disease and habitat fragmentation.
Research on deforestation and infectious disease.
Considering the deforestation that usually accompanies agricultural development, new conservation-oriented agriculture should be pursued. As discussed above, water project development and modern livestock management present major health disease risks. However, often the secondary unintended consequences can also wreak havoc; for example, a leaking dam may present greater risks than the reservoir itself. A distressingly large number of development projects not only have adverse effects on human health but also fail to attain their primary economic purposes in a sustainable manner.
Habitat fragmentation, whether caused by forest destruction, desertification, or land-use conversion, affects human and wildlife health and ecosystem processes. There is already much research undertaken by landscape ecologists on the consequences of habitat fragmentation for wildlife, especially larger animals. It would be important to study the effects of landscape fragmentation on public health hazards. Such research could entail three components. The first component consists of gathering baseline data, including using historical data where possible and beginning monitoring programs where necessary. Key data include identifying and quantifying the relevant pathogen load of wildlife, livestock, and human communities in fragmented landscapes. The goals of this data collection are, first, to identify key infectious diseases, both chronic and emergent or reemergent and, second, to document the consequences of fragmentation on relative abundance of wildlife and subsequent pathogen load. For example, the loss of large predators in fragmented habitats in the northeastern United States has led to a superabundance of rodent vectors for Lyme disease.
The second component of the research program would involve health impact modeling, primarily in three areas: a) estimating changes in the relative abundance of organisms, including infectious disease vectors, pathogens, and hosts; b) projecting potential vector or transmission shifts (e.g., should the Nipah virus shift to pulmonary as well as neurologic expression in humans as in swine); and c) projecting the impact of infectious diseases in a region on different geographic scales.
The results of these analyses, if successful, could support the third component of research: development of decision-support tools. Improved decisions on land-use policy could be made from a better understanding of costs and benefits to health and environmental decision makers. In all probability, however, they will be very location specific. For example, to construct an irrigation scheme in India would likely invite a malaria epidemic, whereas the same activity in sub-Saharan Africa may have little effect on malaria transmission. It is worth mentioning that costs and benefits could depend on the time course over which they are assessed. For example, some land-use changes can lead to short-term increases in transmission followed by longer-term decreases (e.g., irrigation and malaria in Sri Lanka) or vice versa (e.g., deforestation and cutaneous leishmaniasis in Latin America).
Policies to reduce microbial traffic/pathogen pollution.
In today’s interconnected world, it becomes very important to invest in the worldwide control of infectious diseases in developing countries, for example. It is also necessary to control transport to stem the flow from one place to the next.
Improved monitoring of trade is warranted in order to target infectious disease introductions. In the attempt to prevent the invasion of a pathogen (and drug-resistant organisms) into the vulnerable areas subject to land use changes, we need to pay greater attention to controls at the sources. We need to document and map these trades and investigate the vectors, the infectious diseases they harbor, and the populations they threaten. Risk assessment should guide surveillance and the development of test kits, targeting point-of-origin intervention to preempt these processes. Assessments must further include nonmarket costs (usually to the detriment of the environment and long-term sustainable health). We should communicate to both the exporters and consumers the need to make their trades clean, economically viable, and certified “clean and green” by an independent scientific agency at the source and/or destination. Additionally, strategies for screening travelers for pathogens that may be introduced to a region should be improved.
Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training.
One approach to developing the issues to which this article draws attention is the creation of a system of regional- or subregional-based interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence in Ecology and Health Research and Training. Based at regional universities and/or research institutes but with very close links to the surrounding communities, these centers would have the following objectives:
Providing information based on good science to local communities about the links between environmental change and public health, including the factors that contribute to specific infectious disease outbreaks. The new research agenda must gather information on household and community perspectives about proposals for the use of their land. These perspectives are key to assessing the cost/benefit of a proposed project. Training local professionals in environmental, agricultural, and health science issues, with a particular focus on granting degrees in a new “trans”-discipline linking health and the environment, would be emphasized.
Acting as centers of integrated analysis of infectious disease emergence, incorporating perspectives and expertise from a variety of natural, social, and health sciences. Research activities would range from taxonomy of pathogens and vectors to identifying best practices for influencing changes in human behavior to reduce ecosystem and health risks.
Incorporating a “health impact assessment” as an important cross-sectorial decision-making tool in overall development planning (parallel to an environmental impact assessment), along with the need for doing more research.
Equipping professionals with the ability to recommend policy toward maintaining ecosystem function and promoting sustainable public health for future generations. For example, the link between forest fragmentation and Lyme disease risk could lead to preserving more intact tracts of forest habitat by planning “cluster” housing schemes.
Implementing research and policy programs.
In selecting areas for research and the placement of centers of excellence, it is important to choose geographically representative, highly diverse areas around the world. In addition, research projects should take place in regions or landscapes that have both well characterized and less characterized patterns of infectious disease emergence or transmission for comparison purposes. Local health and environment professionals, who are in the best position to understand local priorities, should make the choices within each region for initial research areas and sites.
Addressing trade-offs among environment, health, and development.
There are some inherent trade-offs when considering land-use change and health. They are ethical values, environmental versus health choices, and disparities in knowledge and economic class. Trade-offs are between short-term benefit and long-term damage. For example, draining swamps may reduce vector-borne disease hazards but also destroy the wetland ecosystem and its inherent services (e.g., water storage, water filtration, biologic productivity, and habitats for fish and wildlife). Research can help decision making by identifying and assessing trade-offs in different land-use-change scenarios. Balancing the diverse needs of people, livestock, wildlife, and the ecosystem will always be a prominent feature.
When considering issues of land use and infectious disease emergence, the public needs to be attentive to entire ecosystems rather than simply their local environs. Although we may not live within a certain environment, its health may indirectly affect our own. For example, intact forests support complex ecosystems and provide essential habitats for species that are specialized to those flora and that may be relevant to our health. If these complex relationships are disrupted, there may be unforeseen impacts on human health, as the above examples clearly demonstrate.
Three new initiatives are rising to the challenges presented above. The first initiative, the Consortium for Conservation Medicine (CCM), was formed recently to address these health challenges at the interface of ecology, wildlife health, and public health (Figure 2). At its core, conservation medicine champions the integration of techniques and partnering of scientists from diverse disciplines, particularly veterinary medicine, conservation biology, and public health. Through the consortium, therefore, these experts work with educators, policy makers, and conservation program managers to devise approaches that improve the health of both species and humans simultaneously [more information is available from the CCM website (CCM 2004)].
The second initiative, the new international journal EcoHealth, focuses on the integration of knowledge at the intersection of ecologic and health sciences. The journal provides a gathering place for research and reviews that integrate the diverse knowledge of ecology, health, and sustainability, whether scientific, medical, local, or traditional. The journal will encourage development and innovation in methods and practice that link ecology and health, and it will ensure clear and concise presentation to facilitate practical and policy application [more information is available from the EcoHealth website (EcoHealth 2004)].
The third initiative, the MEA, is an international work program designed to meet the needs of decision makers and the public for scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human health and well-being and for options in responding to those changes. This assessment was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June 2001 and will help to meet the assessment needs of international environmental forums, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Migratory Species, as well as the needs of other users in the private sector and civil society [more information is available from the Millennium Assessment Working Groups website (Millennium Assessment Working Groups 2004)].
As this working group of researchers continues to work on these topics, we face three challenges. First, strong trans-disciplinary research partnerships need to be forged to approach the research with the degree of creative thinking and comprehensiveness required by the nature of the problems. Second, if the work is to influence policy, the choice of questions and the research must be undertaken collaboratively with the local community and also through discussion with decision makers in government, industry, civil society, and other sectors. Third, investigators must consider how they can integrate their findings into the social, economic, and political dialogue on both the environment and health, globally and locally. As links between land use and health are elucidated, an informed public will more readily use such discoveries to better generate political will for effective change.
With the Freedom Convoy’s fundraiser on GiveSendGo hacked on Sunday and the list of its donors illegally leaked online, politicians and legacy media have been doxxing and shaming everyone they can find who donated their own money to support the grassroots freedom movement.
I never thought that free speech would have sunk to such a low in Canada that it feels as if the Communist Party has taken over – that people would actually feel targeted and bullied for supporting an important and extremely valid cause.
To give one example, an Etobicoke man reached out to me Wednesday after his name was shared with some nefarious types for donating a mere $10 to the Freedom Convoy.
The man – who didn’t want his name used for obvious reasons – had received a vulgar e-mail at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, out of the blue. He said he was “very unsettled” when he went to bed, and he woke up exhausted.
The email from someone by the name of FruitBussy – a handle accompanied by an extremely vulgar bio – informed my contact that “supporting crime is never a good idea, especially on a platform run by deranged dimwits.”
The email’s recipient remains understandably shaken.
“It is very distressing what my country and my countrymen have become,” he said. “I am ashamed of my fellow Canadians.”
He is 100% right.
Not only was the GiveSendGo fundraising platform hacked, but someone under the Twitter handle @WatcherToronto has been sharing the lists of donors for the past 48 hours, together with members of our “objective” media and some politicians.
The anonymous tweeter has repeatedly used the hashtags #RamRanchResistance, #FluTruxKlanGoHome, #KKKonvoy and #Clownvoy. Judging from his tweets, he is clearly enjoying his doxxing activities, saying no laws were broken, no one was libelled and the information is all public.Tweets by WatcherToronto
There’s no doubt this is sick and appalling, and it makes me angry to think how far things have gone. But mainstream media on the Trudeau payroll – many of whom are publishing the names and/or contacting the donors – are as much at fault for doing Trudeau’s bidding.
They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
The doxxing that is going on has clearly been enabled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s implementation of the Emergencies Act on Monday, which is seeing the bank accounts of convoy donors frozen with a court order.
And it’s clearly all about protecting Trudeau, who is looking more and more each day like a supreme dictator.
I blame Trudeau for setting the tone with his vile talk, and even more, his autocratic actions against the Freedom Convoy. His failure to understand or entertain their concerns speaks to his absolute disdain for ordinary and working-class Canadians.
Ditto for mayors Jim Watson in Ottawa and John Tory in Toronto – self-serving, virtue-signaling Liberals both.
And we can’t forget Premier Doug Ford either, once a man of the people who alone among premiers openly supported Trudeau’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act.
I also blame those Canadians who have swallowed the Liberal party line hook, line and sinker – the uninformed, entitled and intellectually lazy voters with ‘head in the sand syndrome’ who can’t or refuse to understand the long-term ramifications of what is happening.
Perhaps one day in the not-too-distant future, Canadians will get it when their favourite charity is targeted by the government of our supreme dictator.
Until then, and as my Etobicoke contact stated so eloquently, Canada has been overtaken by “wretched, disgusting fascists.”
We’re asking readers, like you, to make a contribution in support of True North’s fact-based, independent journalism.
Unlike the mainstream media, True North isn’t getting a government bailout. Instead, we depend on the generosity of Canadians like you.
How can a media outlet be trusted to remain neutral and fair if they’re beneficiaries of a government handout? We don’t think they can.
This is why independent media in Canada is more important than ever. If you’re able, please make a tax-deductible donation to True North today. Thank you so much.
Big Tech Censored Dozens of Doctors, More Than 800 Accounts for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Finds
Ailan Evans / @AilanHEvans / February 09, 2022
Twitter, Google, Google+, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are among the platforms arrayed on the screen of an Apple iPhone. Many of them have used their largely unregulated power to censor information they don’t approve of as “misinformation.” (Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images)
Major technology companies and social media platforms have removed, suppressed or flagged the accounts of more than 800 prominent individuals and organizations, including medical doctors, for COVID-19 “misinformation,” according to a new study from the Media Research Center.
The study focused on acts of censorship on major social media platforms and online services, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Ads, and TikTok.
Instances of censorship included Facebook’s decision to flag the British Medical Journal with a “fact check” and “missing context” label, reducing the visibility of a post, for a study delving into data-integrity issues with a Pfizer vaccine clinical trial.
Facebook also deleted the page of the Great Barrington Declaration, an open letter led by dozens of medical professionals, including Dr. Jay Battacharya, a Stanford epidemiologist, and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a former employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advocated for less restrictive measures to address the dangers of COVID-19.
“Big Tech set up a system where you can’t disagree with ‘the science’ even though that’s the foundation of the scientific method,” Dan Gainor, MRC vice president of Free Speech America, told the Daily Caller National Foundation. “If doctors and academic journals can’t debate publicly, then it’s not science at all. It’s ‘religion.’”
Big Tech also scrubbed podcast host Joe Rogan’s interviews with scientists Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, the latter of whom was instrumental in pioneering mRNA technology. Twitter banned Malone from its platform permanently in late December over the virologist’s tweets questioning the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We tallied 32 different doctors who were censored, including mRNA vaccine innovator Dr. Robert Malone,” Gainor said. “Censoring views of credentialed experts doesn’t ensure confidence in vaccines. It undermines faith in government COVID-19 strategies.“
In addition to medical doctors, the study examined instances in which members of Congress were censored by tech platforms.
These included an incident last August in which YouTube suspended Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for posting a video arguing that “cloth masks” are not effective against the coronavirus, a view later echoed by many prominent medical commentators. Twitter also flagged a tweet from Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., in which he wrote “studies show those with natural immunity from a prior infection are much less likely to contract and spread COVID than those who only have vaccine-induced immunity.”
The study also examined Big Tech censorship of prominent media personalities, such as Rogan, Tucker Carlson, and Dan Bongino.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of this original content, contact email@example.com.
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.
Want to keep up with the 24/7 news cycle? Want to know the most important stories of the day for conservatives? Need news you can trust? Subscribe to The Daily Signal’s email newsletter. Learn more >>