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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Jean Perier -- Cynthia: Flesh-Eating Synthetic Bacteria that has Gone Wild

14.09.2016 Author: Jean Perier
Cynthia: Flesh-Eating Synthetic Bacteria that has Gone Wild
Column: Politics
The reports about tests on human beings that are being routinely carried out by certain Western corporations have become a sort of a trend these days.
Among others, one can recall the story about the long struggle between civil authorities of various states and the US chemical giant Monsanto provoked by research in the potential dangers of GMO products, and the Monsanto-produced herbicide Roundup in particular. The actual damage inflicted on the agricultural business of various states is yet to be carefully assessed, but even at this stage it safe to say that Monsanto’s expansion into India and surrounding markets resulted in deaths of thousands of people.
However, in the nearest future, the planet could face yet another “monster” that was bred deep inside US corporate laboratories. We are talking about the first synthetic bacteria – Cynthia, created “to combat oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico” which, according to the various reports that are often ignored by the corporate media, has mutated and has started attacking animals and humans. Now this highly lethal microorganism is on its way to Europe.

One could recall that back in April 2010 an explosion at a British Petroleum oil rig resulted in millions of barrels of oil contaminating the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the drastic measures taken to prevent an environmental catastrophe, an oil slick produced by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill covered over sixty thousand square miles.
As one of the means of addressing the environmental catastrophe on their hands, Washington decided to take drastic measures, regardless of the possible consequences of those actions. It was at that time when an artificially created microorganism nicknamed Cynthia was unleashed, without any kind of examination of the possible threat it may pose to the environment.
Cynthia is the brainchild of the J. Craig Venter Institute — which was engaged in genetic engineering experiments since the beginning of the 21st century — and Synthetic Genomics Inc, and was created and funded directly by BP. It was believed that Cynthia feeds on oil, but it turns out now that it is equally willing to consume all forms of organic life as well…
In 2011, Cynthia was unleashed in the Gulf of Mexico and in its initial stages of life it was absorbing oil slicks at breathtaking speed. In January, 2011 the Register reported that scientists were particularly impressed by the speed with which the bacteria was eating up its “meal”.
But then this bacteria mutated and soon was feeding on organic lifeforms. Strange reports started coming from the US, like five thousand birds falling victims of an “unknown disease” in Arkansas, or more that a hundred thousand dead fish found off the coast of north Louisiana. It was also reported that a total of 128 British Petroleum employees that participated in the liquidation of the oil slick were struck by some mysterious illness. According to various sources they were forbidden to seek relief in public hospitals, to prevent them from talking to anyone about what has happened to them…
Soon it was recorded that the disease and the symptoms that are now associated with the coastal zone of the Gulf of Mexico began spreading to the continental United States – for example, people who were caught by heavy rains that came from the Gulf of Mexico were also exposed to it.
In fact, such disturbing reports have become pretty common, in spite of the restrictive measures taken by the US government to prevent this information from spreading. In particular, it’s been reported that certain individuals who were unfortunate enough to take take a swim in the Gulf of Mexico often found themselves covered with itching sores only to die in agony a few days later due to extensive internal bleeding.
According to media reports, a person can become Cynthia’s victim under two circumstances: if it penetrated the skin barrier through a wound or if they were unfortunate enough to eat raw seafood infected by this bacteria. Once the bacteria is in the system, it penetrates into the layer between the skin and muscles and starts producing a toxin that disrupts tissues. It is known that Cynthia is capable of reproducing itself rapidly within the infected cells, and that it is immune to antibiotics.
According to the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), up to 40% of the residents of the territories adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico have become infected with severe respiratory and skin diseases, and one in four residents is planning to pack up and leave in the nearest future.
Still, Washington has been pretty determined to mute these reports by announcing that the growing death toll can be attributed to some “unknown virus.”
At the same time, we’ve been witnessing disturbing reports that Cynthia has started spreading to different regions of the world, since the mass death of seals in Alaska, near the town of Barrow, was accompanied by skin lesions and extensive damage to internal organs of the deceased animals.
At the rate the bacteria is spreading together with the Gulf Stream, Europe is definitely at risk. What can the consequences of this voyage be if the reports about high lethality among those infected by the bacteria are proven right – one can only guess … It means that the famous beaches of France, Italy and even Greece and Turkey are to be closed permanently. The microscopic Cynthia might swallow the tourist industry of Southern Europe.
What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico – is not a regional problem and the residents of this area are not the only ones at risk. This is a problem of global proportions. The signs of a possible bacterial viral infection are already beginning to appear everywhere. The mysterious, unexplained illness affecting fish, marine mammals, animals, poultry, trees, and plants arise from the synthetic genomes that transforms natural organisms and force them to mutate.
However, even at the initial stage of the test trials of Cynthia, many experts were vocal in stressing the danger of synthetically created living organisms. For instance, Dr Helen Wallace the Executive Director of the British organization Genewatch that oversees research in the field of genetics pointed out in an interview that this synthetic bacteria could pose a serious danger. In turn, the Friends of the Earth movement has stressed time and time again that this scientific achievement of J. Craig Venter is a threat to the entire world, and all the research of this institute should be put on hold.
Many environmentalists and human rights activists on the back of those disturbing reports say that the US government is not prepared to regulate this revolutionary domain of science. An international civil society organization based in Ottawa, Canada known as the ETC Group has sounded the alarm, arguing that Venter opened a “Pandora’s box” and that an international moratorium on the development in the field of synthetic biology in private laboratories must be introduced immediately, since such research may pose a threat to all life on the planet.
So what are we witnessing here if not the manifestation of Washington’s secretive policy on the development of new types of biological weapons? The US has been hard at work on the weakening of the international norm that prohibits the development of biological weapons, while building up its own military biological infrastructure and creating a string of microbiological laboratories across the world that are being run by the Pentagon. The activities of such laboratories are not being supervised so there’s absolutely no guarantee that a new kind of monster that can outmatch Cynthia is not being created in their depths.
Under these circumstances, there’s an urgent need to force Washington into singing the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction that it blocked unilaterally in 2001. Moreover, there must be a verification mechanism that would guarantee that all the provisions of this convention are observed to the letter by all those who signed it.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”   

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