Award-winning author Kris Newby educates healthcare providers on vector-borne diseases. She is the author of “Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons.” She also produced the 2008 Lyme disease documentary “Under Our Skin,” which was nominated for an Academy Award the following year.
Lyme disease is pernicious, and many new strains are worse.
In a Feb. 28 Substack article, investigative journalist Paul D. Thacker interviewed award-winning author Kris Newby about the U.S. government’s history of manipulating pathogens to make them deadlier, and the secretive federal research that may be responsible for the epidemic of Lyme disease.
According to Newby, there’s reason to suspect that Lyme disease might be a biological weapon. There’s no smoking gun; just circumstantial evidence.
She attended a party where a former CIA agent bragged about a Cold War operation that involved dropping infected ticks on Cuba [to spread Lyme disease].
“This CIA guy was a little bit in his cups, but what he said rang true. I started doing some research, interviewed him several times, and found that it was a verifiable story.”
Newby also got tipped off by Willy Burgdorfer during the filming of “Under Our Skin.”
Burgdorfer, a Swiss medical zoologist, is credited with discovering Lyme disease. He worked his entire career at Rocky Mountain Labs, a National Institutes of Health-run biosafety level 4 (BSL4) facility in Montana. He had contracts with Fort Detrick. They oversee the U.S. chemical and biological weapons programs.
While he made some important admissions during that interview, at the very end, he broke into an “evil little smile” and said, “I didn’t tell you everything.” Was he hinting that Lyme disease was a bioweapon?
Newby told Thacker:
“He started hinting at the unnatural origin of the outbreak to several people …
“When I interviewed him for the book, he said, ‘Yes, I was in the biological weapons program. I was tasked with trying to mass produce ticks and mosquitoes.’
“That’s also when he told me that he was called to investigate the outbreak of what was called ‘Lyme disease.’ But which could’ve been caused by one or more organisms. In Army documents, they said they were conducting early gain-of-function experiments by mixing pathogens — bacteria and viruses — inside ticks to create more effective bioweapons.”
The official story
As described by Newby, the official story is that Burgdorfer was sent to investigate a novel disease outbreak in Lyme, Connecticut and Long Island. In 1980, he discovered the bacterium that now bears his name, Borrelia burgdorferi, and determined that this was what caused the disease.
He subsequently published an article stating the organism was easily killed off with penicillin. The notion that Lyme disease is easy to diagnose and treat has stuck ever since, even though the reality is often the opposite.
If caught early, that can be true, but many patients go undiagnosed.
Holes in the official storyline
While researching for the book, Newby produced an animation of the original outbreak, which supposedly began at the mouth of the Connecticut River, near Long Island. This turned out to be rather revealing.
She told Thacker:
“When I drew a 50-mile radius around that point, there were three new, highly virulent tick-borne diseases that showed up at that same time, in the late ’60s. This was 13 years before the Lyme bacterium was declared the cause of ‘Lyme disease’ in 1981.
“I started looking through military records to see if the outbreak could be tied to any bioweapons accidents. And that’s when I discovered this massive bug-borne weapons program, as well as a program where germs were sprayed from airplanes over large areas, called Project 112.
“Some of those germs were tick-borne diseases that they freeze-dried and aerosolized for spraying … Whatever happened in Lyme, Connecticut, we don’t have all the details. But I put together a solid circumstantial case, based on available evidence …
“Burgdorfer … had worked with Q fever and ticks, experience that was needed at Rocky Mountain Labs for their bioweapons work. As soon as he got a security clearance, he started putting plague in fleas; deadly yellow fever in mosquitoes; and then mixing and matching viruses and bacteria in ticks to increase the virulence of these living weapons.
“The Detrick weapons designers were looking for ticks that could be dropped on an enemy without arousing suspicion, filled with agents for which the target population wouldn’t have natural immunity … Ticks were the perfect stealth weapon, untraceable and long-acting …
“I went as far as I could as a journalist to put together the circumstantial evidence that says Lyme disease is not the big problem — meaning the bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi.
“It’s what Burgdorfer said that they’re covering up: 1) that a different bacteria, perhaps a rickettsia related to Rocky Mountain spotted fever, was developed as a bioweapon in the Cold War; 2) that it might be a combination of bugs inside the ticks that is making people sick.”