By Larry Romanoff, June 24, 2020
In 2001, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease ravaged the British farming industry. Exports from the UK of live animals, meat and dairy products were banned by other nations, as was the movement of animals from the infected area, and the government ordered a mass slaughter of millions of animals. The losses to British farmers were nearly incalculable, with a great many farmers going bankrupt or otherwise put out of business, and some farmers committing suicide in anguish over their losses. Within six months, almost 4 million animals had been slaughtered and their carcasses burned. Oddly, in the face of this enormous disaster, the government refused to hold a public inquiry into the outbreak, announcing instead three small separate investigations, the results of which would not be made public.
The UK government initially blamed the disease outbreak on “animal activists”, but not everyone believed the official story. At the time, the Sunday Express reported that the outbreak had been attributed to some vials containing foot and mouth virus, which had gone mysteriously missing from the laboratories at Porton Down, which location is a top-secret government bioweapons research facility housing such agents as TB, anthrax, smallpox, Ebola and the foot-and-mouth viruses. The report stated that “Authorities tried to play down the report by suggesting that “animal rights activists” had stolen and released the samples from the maximum-security government laboratory, though the same authorities failed to explain how animal rights activists would believe they were promoting animal rights by releasing a biological agent that would result in the destruction of millions of animals, or how they were able to penetrate the multiple layers of defenses in the heavily-secured laboratory.
No ragtag collection of anybody from anywhere would ever have access to such a facility, much less know how to deal with it. Neither terrorists nor animal-rights activists are renowned Ph.Ds with high-level security clearances and access to the top-secret and impossibly-secured facilities that contain these pathogens. And even if they did obtain access, the chances of any of them knowing what to search for, what to take, and what to do with it – and exiting alive – are somewhat less than zero. Given all of this, what do we make of the UK government’s claims that “activists” entered such a P-4 facility, stole many vials of foot and mouth virus, then apparently walked out of the facility unchallenged and proceeded to inoculate cattle and other farm animals by the hundreds of thousands? The accomplishment of such a feat might require more animal activists than exist in England, possibly by orders of magnitude.
As well, one media report in 2001 stated that “An eminent scientist with thirty years experience of infectious diseases challenged [UK Prime Minister] Blair in a prominent Sunday newspaper to “come clean and tell the truth about the foot-and-mouth epidemic”. The scientist testified that the virus which devastated Britain’s livestock “was not active in any other part of the world and could only have come from a UK laboratory.” And indeed the UK government bio-warfare labs at both Pirbright and Porton Down have been confirmed by the UK Minister of Health as containing more than 5,000 different strains of this particular virus, and in the end it did indeed appear the virus had originated in the UK government’s bio-warfare labs at Porton Down.
Then, the Sunday Express reported that a routine audit of Porton Down’s bio-warfare labs revealed that a container of several vials of foot-and-mouth virus had gone missing two months before the first outbreak of the disease, stating that “There are very persistent rumors over missing phials from Porton Down linked to animal rights activists”. The government of course desperately denied such a possibility, stating that “… only the Institute of Animal Health Laboratory and the Merial Biological Laboratory at Pirbright are licensed to hold FMD virus”, and that tales of the virus being stolen from Porton Down were inaccurate and impossible. But then, a senior military source at Porton Down stated publicly that vials “appear to have gone missing from one of the labs [at Porton Down] following a routine audit last year.”
The government then admitted that such a thing did happen after all and, right on cue, the government blamed the usual “animal rights activists” for the theft and release of the deadly pathogen, the media dutifully reporting that “Ministry officials were informed immediately and an investigation was launched initially by Special Branch and then by MI5, who are interested in the activities of animal rights protesters.” Unfortunately, those animal activists and protestors were somehow never found.
This scenario was repeated in 2007 with another outbreak in the UK, the source of which was determined to have been another UK government bio-weapons lab, this time at Pirbright. At the time, the Guardian published an article stating that, according to the authorities, “A leaky drain allowed the disease to escape”. The Guardian reported that, according to government sources, there had been a “probable” new leak of foot and mouth disease virus from the Merial Animal Health facility at Pirbright, the virus believed to have escaped through a leaking valve, “allowing an unintended probable release of live FMD virus into the drainage system”. The government claimed in a written statement to have received Merial’s assurances that “the live virus had not been released to the environment”, though in fact it had been. A spokesman for Merial apparently told the Guardian that he was “surprised by the fuss”. Both the government Health Service and Merial shared the source of this outbreak, the “broken drainage system” which served both sets of laboratories, though apparently “investigators were strangely unable to determine which lab was actually responsible for the leakage and outbreak”.
What do we make of the claim that perhaps thousands of liters of foot and mouth virus escaped through “a leaky drain” at Pirbright? I have had some experience with things that leak from drains or similar, and in all cases the leaks simply pool on the ground, filling the depressions while waiting to evaporate. But then this is England and maybe things are different there, which would account for the leaked pathogens winding their way through English hill and dale, visiting and somehow infecting millions of animals, for hundreds of kilometers in all directions from the biolab. In my world, viruses are not renowned for their motive ability to travel a countryside, nor for the necessary tracking radar to hunt down thousands of animal herds, nor for the aggressive disposition that would lead them to attack and infect every animal they found. That would almost require an intelligence – and a vehicle.
In June of 2008, soon after the second major outbreak of foot and mouth disease, the UK media ran a series of articles stating that “Security at British laboratories working with some of the world’s deadliest pathogens (that included anthrax, hemorrhagic fever and smallpox viruses), was undermined by a lack of investment and poor maintenance”. The media articles were in response to a report produced by some government MPs which claimed that the labs were “so dilapidated” and “run down” it was “not acceptable” that scientists were asked to work there. These facilities, the MPs claimed, had “outlived their usefulness”, and were in such ruinous condition they were “quite likely to experience” yet another leakage of deadly pathogens such as those of the foot and mouth virus that necessitated the slaughter of millions of animals. The committee of MPs especially singled out the labs at Pirbright and the secretive bio-warfare lab installations at Porton Down which, the media reported, were “Britain’s frontline defense against infectious diseases”.
It needs to be noted here that neither Pirbright nor Porton Down, but especially Porton Down, are a ‘frontline defense’ against anything and are in fact bio-weapons labs with a well-deserved evil reputation and a long and malicious history. This may have been the CIA’s version of a joke, but when anthrax spores were mailed to some US government and media representatives in 2001, CIA officials publicly speculated that Porton Down may have been their origin. In the end, the origin was determined to be (quite possibly courtesy of the same CIA) the US military’s bio-weapons labs at Fort Detrick, so perhaps a small false flag. Porton Down and the CIA have been close friends for many decades. It was to Porton Down that the CIA outsourced many of its “terminal interrogations”, i.e. questioning people until they died from the questioning methods. It was here that CIA biochemist Frank Olson witnessed firsthand the results of his ‘biochemistry’, began to suffer unbearable pangs of conscience, then suddenly met his death in most unusual circumstances, the result of an apparent suicide – as they almost always are. It was eventually revealed that Olson had been ordered killed by CIA Director Allen Dulles, that his death was neither an accident nor a suicide, but a deliberate murder to prevent the man from disclosing to the media the secret crimes of the CIA and Porton Down. Then-US President Johnson apologised to the family and paid $750,000 in compensation. So let’s not pretend Porton Down provides defense against infectious diseases.
According to an “independent” report, the buildings housing the lab facilities that contained the foot and mouth viruses were apparently “visibly substandard”, were suffering from a “creeping degradation of standards”, and were “poorly managed and regulated”. As Dr. Iain Anderson, who led a similar inquiry into the larger similar outbreak in 2001, was quoted as saying, “This virus should never have got out. [No argument there] Everything was wrong around Pirbright; the regulatory system was poor, the risk management was poor”. He further stated, “… the facilities … fall well short of internationally recognised standards, and the governance and funding arrangements are muddled and ineffective”. As well, his report described the laboratories as “shabby and dilapidated”, thus leading to the deadly virus “probably leaking from faulty pipes”. One British MP was quoted as saying, “When you think about how important biosecurity is, [… this] is staggering”. No kidding. I would have to agree.
At the time of the release of these so-called independent reports, the media were uniformly frightening us with claims that “Many scientists believe” that “climate change and terrorism” would now “bring many new diseases” and cause many pathogens such as anthrax to be “deliberately released in public places”, though it wasn’t immediately clear how climate change might deliberately release anthrax in a public park. The only scientists who believe that are the same people planning the next release. Those reports were not meant as either an apology or explanation for past disease outbreaks, but to create fear because a fearful public is malleable and will easily surrender civil rights to a fascist government in exchange for protection – most often from that same government. It was also a political statement to justify to the public the planned expense of a new, and quite massive, bio-warfare pathogen facility in the UK, one that would of course be “necessary to combat whatever our enemies throw at us”. Or to produce whatever we might want to throw at ourselves.
Aside from the implausibility inherent in the official narratives of these disease outbreaks, there are three other curious items I would bring to your attention.
- The UK Government appeared to have prepared precisely for the epidemic of 2001. From an article by Dr. Mae-Wan Hoin an Institute of Science in Society Report dated September 24, 2001, entitled “Foot & Mouth Outbreak, GM Vaccine and Bio-warfare”:
“Investigations by the ‘Evening Chronicle‘ uncovered that the United States, Canada and Mexico began preparing for ‘a simulated outbreak of foot and mouth disease’ last October. According to papers leaked from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the exercise – which took place between November 6 and 9 – was ‘for the purpose of emergency planning.’ The papers reportedly state: ‘This exercise is the first of its kind and provides all three countries with a unique opportunity to apply their emergency response plans in the event of a real disease outbreak.’ At the same time, the UK Government was reported to be preparing its own ‘contingency plans’ for a foot and mouth outbreak. The Evening Chronicle reported that officials from the Agriculture Ministry began telephoning timber merchants as early as December asking if they could supply wood for pyres, should foot and mouth strike.”
- UK farms appeared to have been targeted in advance, each marked with yellow tapes, for a visitation from unannounced and unidentified “government animal inspectors”, those farms being unfortunate enough to earn an “inspection” apparently coinciding with those suffering an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, with all livestock being destroyed.
According to one report that appeared credible, and there were others, a local resident named Martin Grant, who lived in Hatherleigh, Devon, described events he observed while cycling through the countryside in the Spring and Summer of 2001. Grant claims to have seen yellow tapes tied to fences, hedges, and trees on the roadside at the entrances to farms in the area. He, and others, later noted that these same locations were those “inspected” by staff claiming to be government agricultural workers. Though Grant was not conducting a scientific survey, he later stated that these locations appeared to coincide not only with the so-called inspections but also with the specific appearances of foot and mouth disease. He said it all occurred “generally just about the same time … this seemed to coincide that anyone that got a tape got foot-and-mouth. As if somebody had deliberately done something.” He was asked if his impression was that the yellow tapes were, “In other words, to ear-mark the farm for possible infection?” His response was to say, “Yes. That was the impression that I got…yes.” He added further that at the time, fragments of the yellow tapes were still hanging on many of the fences.
Another report was from a family named Bratton who lived in the area in question. Mrs. Bratton reported that she “encountered two men in white overalls outside the cattle shed” while walking to the buildings on her farm. She had no idea who they were or why they were on her property and, upon inquiring, was told they were UK Ministry of Agriculture officials “who had every right to inspect agricultural premises”, and ordered her to go inside her house because she was not permitted to witness their “inspections”. Mrs. Bratton said she called the local police several times, was assured they would investigate and contact her. She claimed she received no response, and was later informed the police had no record of her prior calls. Shortly thereafter, all her farm’s livestock was discovered to be infected and were subsequently destroyed. I have not seen much of the documentation, but there were many apparently many similar reports of animal inspections from farms suffering the same fate.
- Perhaps the most curious of all was the well-documented activity by staff from the office of the UK Minister of Agriculture inquiring about the supply of lumber (for burning infected livestock) and the requisitioning of it, prior to any apparent need. There were at least several published accounts of various government officials or their representatives inquiring about “combustible materials”, as well as stockpiling them, and of the issuing of contracts to trucking companies and machinery operators for ground excavation and for the hauling of dead livestock, several months prior to the disease outbreak in February of 2001.
One headline stated, “Timber merchants around Britain say that in early February they were approached by the ministry for wood supplies to burn animals with foot-and-mouth. Timber merchants say they were approached by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in early February, before the outbreak was confirmed, to supply wood for the pyres which are used to burn the diseased animals that have been killed.” UK Agriculture minister Nick Brown insisted this was part of a “regular contingency planning exercise”, and added, “There are a number of urban legends doing the rounds that the ministry knew about this disease before. That is not true.”
Mr. Brown was pointedly questioned about the contacts made by his office with suppliers – many months prior to the disease outbreak – “to establish the availability of timber, suitable for use in pyres for burning dead livestock.” The Minister’s reply was to say that “Information on all the timber stockists contacted by the Ministry over the last year is not held centrally and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.” If that isn’t clear, the Minister effectively stated that his staff created no accessible records of their approaches to lumber dealers, purchases made and contracts signed, that any records that did exist were widely dispersed and couldn’t be collated. That might be true if 50,000 lumber dealers were approached by several thousand different staff members in a wholly uncoordinated fashion but, if the number of dealers were only in the tens, which is likely, the Minister’s statements beg some questions.
There is one final matter I would bring to your attention, one on which I have no commentary. There were many rumors, some articles, and several letters to the Editor at the time, dealing with what was called a “planned rationalisation” of UK animal farms, ‘rationalisation’ in this sense referring to the elimination of small farmers and the concentration of livestock production in the hands of Big Agra. This would have included, according to these people, increased and prohibitively costly new regulations which small operators would find onerous or impossible to implement, preparing the way for small agra to be “eventually absorbed by the multi-national food processing corporations”. Writers claimed this was one of the ambitions of then Prime Minister Blair. I do not know if this was the intent, but it certainly was the result. According to my information, many thousands of small farmers have disappeared from the UK, driven out by unrecoverable losses, poor compensation and new regulations. And Big Agra has apparently indeed proliferated in the aftermath.
I do not know the totality of truths for these outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, nor specifically how the virus was removed from the secure P-4 facilities and spread around the entire country. It certainly was not the result of either accidents or activists, and had to be done deliberately. I think we can be forgiven for suspicions that the deep state that controls so many Western governments is the most vicious criminal enterprise in the world today.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).
He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org