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Thursday, June 23, 2011

E. coli mystery raises
specter of terrorism

Scientists unraveling the deadly outbreak of a very rare strain of E. coli are still puzzled at how the disease hopped from place to place, the New York Times reports today.

The disease was traced to contaminated bean sprouts at a German farm, after patrons of a restaurant became ill. But, according to the Times, experts are asking "why was the German outbreak so widespread, and where did the bacteria go between outbreaks?"

British security authorities were immediately suspicious and warned that al Qaeda was capable of conducting food poisoning attacks, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Gina Kolata wrote in the Times that the usual culprit in deadly E. coli outbreaks is O157:H7, which lives in livestock and has been troubling the world since the 17th century. However, the German pathogen E. coli O104:H4 is not known to infect livestock. One E. coli expert, Dr. Helge Karch, "thinks it smoldered in human populations, causing mild illness in most and occasionally causing severe disease."

"Then, somehow it was passed to the bean sprouts by someone who harbored the bacteria," Kolata wrote.

The 0104:H4 outbreak was traced to the Kartoffelkeller pub in Lubeck, Germany, which is home to the University of Lubeck, a center of medical and biological research.

A number of al Qaeda terrorists have shown technical expertise, though it is not known whether any could have obtained access to bio-engineered strains in research laboratories.

Terrorists poisoning food supplies in different locations would account for the hopscotch nature of the outbreak. However, authorities -- perhaps fearful of public panic -- have not identified terrorism as a likely cause and no terrorist claims of responsibility have been reported.

Organic manure a suspect

Senate's 'socialism' vote
likely to chill recovery

The Senate's unanimous vote to confirm Leon Panetta as defense secretary -- even after his history of communist networking became known -- sends a chilling message to Main Street and Wall Street.

With confidence already wavering, American business is likely to take a very dim view of the sudden appearance of control on behalf of a man who maintained a close friendship and political alliance with Hugh De Lacy and his wife, people Panetta should have known had strong communist backgrounds.

The fact that the Senate and the mainstream press could unite to stonewall a fact deemed unmentionable by the extremist left shows that "the system" is dysfunctional and that the "dirty rotten capitalists" can go hang when it comes to ultra-leftist -- in fact, communist -- honor.

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