The French Connection

Part II, Spanish Flu On The Comeback

by Jenny Lake

The preeminent message of "the next flu pandemic" is packaged for the public in two popular books by medical journalists Gina Kolata and John M. Barry. Published in 1999, and just as the CDC was issuing a directive for the U.S. to prepare for Avian Influenza, or A.I., Kolata's book, "FLU, the Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, etc.",came out as a product of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux publisher in New York. The 'Straus' of the company is the now deceased Roger Williams Straus Jr., grandson of Oscar S. Straus (introduced in an article for TFC called "The Ruination of Milk"). Roger Straus Jr. is described in his NY Times obituary as exercizing personal and intimate oversight of all FS&G publications, so "approval" of Kolata's FLU story is noted. (1). Roger Straus started his company in an office belonging to the US Navy, paying one dollar in rent until the capital was provided by the family of his mother, Gladys Guggenheim, and an associate family of his wife, Dorothea Liebmann (Rheingold Beer fortune), the Julius Fleischmanns (Fleischmanns gin and yeast,etc.). Why the scion of one of America's wealthiest families paid one dollar in rent, and raised funds through his extended family, is probably more the stuff of good storytelling than an effort at peddling personal humility. It was definetly not Straus's style to be humble according to his Times obit, which documents his behavior in the cast of a swaggering movie mogul.

John M. Barry's book, "The Great Influenza", published by Viking-Penguin Group in 2004, is nearly epic in historical detail, extending and expanding the retrospective of influenza and the "heroic medicine" that issued from the scientists of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Both of these books serve to alert the readers that another pandemic is only "one mutant microbe" away, and indeed, that message is openly embraced. But first --you should be real-ly real-ly scared! The rich detail and character insights of Barry's Great Influenza offers the best exposure to inquisitive minds for sharing in the experience and learning about who was controlling it.

Seeing the "next pandemic" story with new eyes is the purpose of this article, because events surrounding the 1918 flu had a revolutionary and catalyzing effect on the establishment of western medicine. Like the flu itself, it gained a foothold in the United States, and spread all around the world. The most prominent of events in 1918 was the First World War, a conflagration of hostility that erupted between Austria and Serbia in 1914 and quickly drew in the allies of these two nations, Germany and Russia. Unlike the preceding centuries of war, WWI was defined by new technologies in science and medicine. A great chemical industry had been building up in the industrial nations since the 1850s, with commensurate advances in surgery and antisepsis. Breakthroughs in the sciences that came after 1900 have, and still do, present humanity with it's deepest and most troubling questions. How shall they (the technologies) be used? And in so doing, what challenges arise regarding our fundamental nature and responsibility?

Unraveling the great flu from the present standpoint is most essentially begun with an understanding of the influenza virus, or all viruses for that matter, given a sameness of action as culprits in disease. German virologist Dr. Stefan Lanka, who is winning his fame speaking out against a viral cause of AIDS/HIV, has this to say: "The basis of biological life is togetherness, is symbiosis, and in this there is no place for war and destruction. War and destruction in biological life is something purported by sick and criminal brains...In the course of my studies, I and others have not been able to find proof of the existence of disease-causing viruses anywhere...structures which you can characterize as viruses exist in many species of bacteria and in simple lifeforms similar to bacteria. They are elements of different cells living together in a common cell type...this is called symbiosis, an endosymbiosis...arisen in the course of the process of different cell types and structures combining...This is very impostant: viruses are component parts of very simple organisms." (2).

Dr. Robert L. Folk, professor emeritus at the University of Texas, Austin, and a geologist studying nanobacteria, describes human beings as 10% human cells and 90% bacteria and fungi. On the smallest scale, in the world of microbes, are what Dr. Folk calls "nanobes", adding that they are "the most ancient lifeforms on earth". Here, at this level, is where the confusion between "living" and "not-living" beds down. Dr. Folk's work involves nanobes generated in substances that we would strictly regard as inorganic --decidedly not-living. His presentations to biologists have garnered him ample derision for the reason, as he sees it, that biologists are trained to disregard anything smaller than 0.2 micrometers, or anything too small to be trapped in a high-tech porcelain filter. In spite of Folk's enthusiasm about nano-sized lifeforms, it is not proven that nanobes qualify as biological life. They are, however, exceptionally similar to viruses. Compare electron microscope images of viruses "in situ" with nanobes and many look identical.

Dr. Lanka believes that the very process of isolating virus, which is virtually the same now as it was a hundred years ago, is responsible for creating the myth of virus. The historical method of producing a "filtrate" (virus filled fluid) entails making a liquid of tissue and blood, separating out the "solids", and then passsing the chemically-washed serum solution through a superfine porcelain filter by the drawing action of a vacumn. This rather violent dismemberment of delicate bio-stuff results in a filtrate loaded with submicroscopic particulates. In the dawning days of Germ Theory, this material was Witches Brew, and claimant to death by disease. In reality, it was biological and chemical Chaos in a jar. But not for long. In line with the activity of chemical processes, molecules will align themselves into "natural" configurations expressed as crystalline forms, and as many people know and have observed firsthand, crystals grow. Back in the origin-of-life laboratories, the "Life From Clay" theorists capitalize on this native ability of chemicals. (3). Robert Folk points out that nanobes came to his attention while observing volcanic Sicilian clay.

What becomes fundamentally evident is that virus is a term used to label the biochemical material that is foundationally present in living organisms that do qualify as biological lifeforms. Along with an ability to dissolve cell matter in the capacity of solvents (see "virotherapy" for cancerous tumors), viruses are also carriers of genetic information and capable of transferring genes. In this role of genetic package-delivery is the key to understanding the basis of gene therapy --today's establishment medicine that is looming very large and very profitable. Paraphrasing an interview given by Dr. Lanka, the website the following, "Lanka believes that all so-called retroviruses are actually the body's own creations; that hepatitis is an autoimmune disorder rather than a viral disease; that AIDS has nothing to do with immune suppression, and that it should really be called Acquired Energy Deficiency Syndrome because its true cause is a breakdown in the delivery of oxygen to the blood and body tissues". (4). Dr. Lanka, giving his larger perspective, goes on to say,"Academic medicine has been and is the most important pillar of support of all distatorships and governments which do not want to submit to written law, to constitutions, and to human rights, that is, to the democratically legitimized social contract...if we do not overcome this, we will all perish by this academic medicine."

And so it is with urgency that a recognition of chemical chaos accompanies our modern plagues --most especially perhaps the Spanish Flu of 1918, already noted in this research as "atypical pneumonia", because it was, as appears on the cover of John Barry's book "the deadliest plague in history".

He writes, "The 1918 pandemic, then, provides a case study of the public health and government response to a major bioterrorism attack...since September 11th, 2001, most states have begun to develop plans. But...actual decisions will likely be up to elected officials --and ready to implement...such as making sure healthcare workers are the first to get vaccinated...Legislation has to be in place...Production facilities have to be ready..." and the lack of a centralized system "should not be tolerated...There was terror afoot in 1918, real terror."

"The Great Influenza" sets the stage by introducing the players, well known to current researchers as the same-old-same-old handful of clubby scientists initiated into the fraternity of the Rockefeller Institute; men who came to be selected (by each other!) just as the modern medical paradigm was taking shape. The book could have been another yawning bore about the early heroes of the medical establishment except for the tantalizing hints of devious personal pursuits and character flaws of men like William H. Welch, a lifelong Bonesman who was distinctively elitist and overindulgent in habits, and Simon Flexner of dubious education, experience, and character from a Zionist family (which Barry never mentions). Despite leading a conclusion that the Great Influenza came from pigs, one doesn't mind a scientific misfire in light of the useful clues that Barry provides.

There is a quiet under-story in The Great Influenza. The scientists that he names --Welch, Flexner, Paul Lewis, Milton Rosenau, Thomas Rivers, and others-- had all achieved an expertise in polio over the years prior to 1918. Polio had been the forerunning disease to test the new medical system in it's ability to detect "virus" and flex political power in the area of military and civilian cooperation. Barry cites the successful polio quarantines enacted in Philadelphia and New York (1915-1916). He states firmly that his book's main hero, Paul Lewis, had proven along with Flexner that polio was a viral disease, thereby cementing for us all a "scientific" basis for belief in an unimpeachable dogma of viral disease and the certainty of polio as a medical triumph. It is, of course, in our time that the polio vaccine crusade of the WHO sweeps the globe in a determined program of "eradication". It is the polio vaccine enabling a medical/pharmaceutical infrastructure to take root in every corner of every country. But, in the Great Influenza, polio is just a bit player --a crutch giving credence to the flu-handlers as they became ever more bogged in the mysterious mire of the Spanish Lady.

Barry's real contribution is in naming the locations and timing of the flu outbreaks. He identifies seed points and describes where and when the changes in signs and symptoms occurred. He explains the process of viral evolution and the epidemiological theories behind it. In essence, Barry gives out the math on flu.

Several seed points of interest emerge with a light of importance against an historical background not explained by either Barry or Kolata in their books; specifically a unique mention of Louisville, Kentucky as a place where flu defied the norm --a turning point, if you will-- producing violently fatal epidemics in all 3 waves of 1918; spring, fall, and winter, and taking on the characteristic in the fall of felling healthy adults among civilians in the prime of life. This is noted by Barry as a marked difference in the epidemiologic pattern. As the world's flu was spreading among the European combatants, the West African port of Sierra Leone hosted the entry point of influenza to the African continent. Oddly though, the illness overtook the native laborers before the incoming sailors got sick, suggesting it was already there and not the the consequence of imported contagion. What makes these seed points meaningful among the handful mentioned is that Louisville, KY was the birthplace and family home of Simon Flexner and his brothers Bernard and Abraham. It is also the birthplace of Supreme Court justice Loius D. Brandeis, who had recently acceeded to his appointment. Brandeis was instrumental in positioning the Rothschild agent Herbert Hoover as the head of the U.S. Food Administration, and overseer of all food supplies that supported the war as chief of the Commission for Relief in Belgium. Hoover became historically linked to the "King of the Congo", Belgian financier Emile Francqui, who was in league with Hoover's African mining operations as well the Belgian Relief. Hoover ran his business from London, and in 1900, Sierra Leone was formally made a colony and the property of the British Crown. Britain's entire West African colonial enterprise was headquartered at Sierra Leone, and this included a new traffic in coal and tin that had recently begun being exploited in the vast Nigerian territory. During WWI, Sierra Leone became a key coaling station for the Allies.

None of this, as yet, explains how and why the deadly flu fanned out from these places --all the seed points, including New York, Philadelphia, and New Orleans-- or the designated ground zero in Haskell County, Kansas. Perhaps because as Barry quotes in his book, the flu was "spread by conditions of war", grasping the scope of the pandemic is predicated on assessing those conditions, the ones that are not paraded in front of our attention. If we can understand what made the world ripe for a pandemic in 1918, maybe we can understand how it applies to us right now.

The most enlightening of clues is possibly found in the most recent of pandemics, HIV and AIDS. As doctors Stefan Lanka, Peter Duesberg, and Nancy Banks are telling us, AIDS is a condition of nitrogen catabolism. Catabolism, which is the breaking down of cells, is the opposite and complementary action of anabolism, which is the building up. Together these processes define the energy transactions of our bodies, and the general health of our beings. The small metabolic reqirement for nitrogen is essential and yet finely balanced. Too much of it upsets our biochemistry, tipping us into a state of toxic nitrogen catabolism. It is more than possible in the years before the Spanish Flu, that a massive nitrogen-based poisoning was underway. Nitrogen, that oh-so-valuable element that makes plants grow green and lush, existing in extreme abundance in the atmosphere, had become the most strategically important chemical of all time. The world's largest manufacturer of nitrogen products at the turn of the 20th century was the giant chemical conglomerate I.G. Farben.

Farben's leading chemists, Fritz Haber (renounced Jew and inventor of ZyklonB) and Carl Bosch, patented a process in 1910 to extract nitrogen from the atmosphere, producing a liquid ammonia and paving the way for mass production. The Haber-Bosch process, hailed as the most important discovery ever, demanded an intense input of energy, gotten from coal which was further (and traditionally) exploited for nitrogen as coal-tar derivatives. The coal-tar business undergirds, then as today, the entire chemical industry, including pharmaceuticals, dye colorants, and explosive munitions. In the words of a former U.S.Attorney General after WWI, A. Mitchell Palmer, "The next war, if it ever does happen, will be a chemists' war, and the country which has the best developed dye and chemical industry is the country which is going to come out on top". (5).

Footnotes and References

(1) NY Times obituary for Roger W. Straus, Jr,May 27,2004--

(2) further reading about Dr. Stefan Lanka,,

(3) the "Life From Clay" theory in the spectrum of, (found while entertaining the notions of "Golem", a very serious enterprise in artificial life "interface" by DARPA, and an ancient Judaic concept about creating a "souless monster") and info about the work of geologist Robert Folk,

(4) interview with Dr. Lanka,

(5) from the online book, "Treason's Peace" by Howard W. Ambruster, about I.G. Farben and it's American affiliates, found at