WTF!

Seriously, when the Stephen King-like plague wipes out most of mankind, you can be sure the U.S. Government was to blame. And this AFTER the mosquitoes involved had nearly been wiped out of existence in the western hemisphere. How? Well, that’s easy enough – the gov’t simply released a shit-pile of the infected mosquitoes in residential neighborhoods…

The exact moment when one of the world’s most dangerous mosquitoes arrived in the Americas is unknown. It’s clear that they came from Africa, and they may have crossed the Atlantic as early as 1495, on some of the first European ships to reach Hispanola. By 1648, when yellow fever broke out on the Yucatan peninsula, Aedes aegypti had definitely arrived…

Now, A. aegypti is one of our boon companions, an unwanted, constant domestic creature that house-broke itself. By the 1930s, this species was found in every country in South and Central America, throughout the Caribbean and across the American southeast. Along with it came the viruses it spread—yellow fever, which once killed a third of the people it infected; dengue, also called breakbone fever because its aches were so painful; and now, Zika.

Its growth, though, was not inevitable. Half a century ago, it would not have been possible for A. aegypti to spread Zika in Brazil. In 1958, Brazil was declared free of the mosquito and was leading an effort to eradicate it from this hemisphere. Eradication was to be the culmination of decades of work, by scientists who let themselves be infected with yellow fever, by an Alabama soldier determined to clean up Cuba, and by a fanatical epidemiologist with an authoritarian streak, to beat both Aedes aegypti and the diseases it carried…

The United States has had a complicated relationship with A. aegypti. Today’s Congress has been reluctant to allocate funds to fight Zika: President Obama asked for emergency funding in February, and it’s taken until June to get close to an acceptable deal. This hesitation is in keeping with the American government’s history with the A. aegypti mosquito. Even while American money was funding eradication efforts, led by Americans, in countries further south, the American government was one of the last holdouts in the hemisphere-wide effort to destroy A. aegypti. At the same time as the U.S. Public Health Service at last started trying to eradicate Aedes aegypti from the southeast, another branch of the U.S. government was planning to raise colonies of millions of A. aegypti mosquitos, to use as biological weapons…

In the 1950s, while in South America military-like brigades were hunting down Aedes aegypti, in the United States, the Army was falling in love with the same mosquito.

At Fort Detrick, the military’s biological weapons base in Maryland, in great secret, Army scientists were considering how fleas, grasshoppers, and mosquitoes might be deployed against the Communist threat. These insects were harder to protect against than gas— masks wouldn’t help. The threat they posed would last, as long as a population of insects remained alive. Plus, it would be very difficult to pin an insect-borne attack on the U.S.

Among these possible insect soldiers, A. aegypti was “the golden child,” writes Jeffrey A. Lockwood, in Six-Legged Soldiers, because the disease it carried, yellow fever was so terrible. The Army Chemical Corps, in a 1959 report, notes that yellow fever is “highly dangerous” and that “since 1900, one-third of patients have died.” There were parts of the Soviet Union that had never been exposed to the disease, which made them vulnerable, but which had the right climate to support mosquitoes. The Chemical Corps started to experiment with how a brigade of A. aegypti might be deployed and what sort of damage they might do.

So we shouldn’t be surprised the U.S. Government has outsourced the same idiotic behavior to such responsible corporations as Mosanto, nor complain when we start getting ill, n’est-ce pas.

WTF!

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