Lee Hieb -- the WorldNetDaily columnist who's a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a right-wing group that opposes health care reform and mandatory vaccination, doesn't think doctors should be punished for massively overprescribing pain pills, and pushed Clinton conspiracy theories -- starts her Feb. 19 column by pretending she's not as anti-vaccine as she is, and she still comes off as anti-vaccine:
As any reader of this column must know by now, I am skeptical of modern government vaccination programs and violently object to mandates. I marvel at the purported horrible epidemic of flu we are supposedly currently experiencing – an epidemic so bad that anyone not getting vaccinated is labelled some sort of bourgeois anti-social criminal. Wait … where are all the supposed desperately ill people?
Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 8,300 people have been hospitalized for influenza since October, and the proportion of influenza-related deaths "remains above the epidemic threshold."
But Hieb -- who has declared that mandatory vaccination violates the Nuremburg Code -- eventually avers that there is one vaccine she supports everyone getting: smallpox. And she fearmongers to make her case:
While it is true that smallpox has been eradicated in the wild, it is not gone. As smallpox came under some control, samples from the disease were given to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and to Biopreparat/Vector in the Soviet Union. Just as Oppenheimer thought it would be a more stable world if both sides had nuclear bombs, the World Health Organization thought it was only fair that both the democratic U.S. and the totalitarian Soviets should have samples of the world’s deadliest disease.
We know for a fact, however, that when Nixon signed the treaty with the Soviets in the early 1970s that was to have halted all offensive bioweapons research and deployment, the Russians went right home and created the largest bioweapons program known to mankind.
According to Ken Alibek (his Americanized name), himself a defector and the No. 2 man at “Vector,” the Soviet Union had vats filled with over 20 tons of India-11 smallpox prepared for delivery in warheads. Our intelligence services had witnessed testing of ICBM reentry vehicles with nose-cone cooling, something only needed for bioagents. And we know that at the fall of the Soviet empire the bioweaponeers disappeared, along with their agents – presumably to the highest bidder.
So here is the scenario in a nutshell. Smallpox virus survives in freezers all over the world – not just in friendly hands. The virus that was manufactured by the Soviets was about 60 percent lethal, and the amount to start a world wide contagion may be stored in a single chicken egg.
But Alibek is not exactly a credible source on the issue. According to the Los Angeles Times:
His most sensational research findings, with U.S. colleagues, have not withstood peer review by scientific specialists. His promotion of nonprescription pills -- sold in his name over the Internet and claiming to bolster the immune system -- was ridiculed by some scientists. He resigned as executive director of a Virginia university's biodefense center 10 months ago while facing internal strife over his stewardship.
And, as Alibek raised fear of bioterrorism in the United States, he also has sought to profit from that fear.
By his count, Alibek has won about $28 million in federal grants or contracts for himself or entities that hired him.
Alibek also promoted the idea that Iraq's Saddam Hussein possessed smallpox -- something that has never been proven -- and claimed to have conducted research showing that a smallpox vaccine might increase a person's immunity to HIV. The later claim has never been replicated by other researchers, and attempts by Alibek to publish his findings in medical journals failed peer review, according to the Times.
Hieb conspiratorially added:
The government owns all smallpox vaccine in America. None is available for purchase by physicians or patients. I have talked to several naïve public health officials who assure me that, at the state level, the vaccine is stored and will be distributed if an outbreak occurs.
Hieb also ranted that "West Nile Virus was never seen in this continent until it appeared in birds in the Brooklyn Zoo (strange place) coincidentally just after a visit to New York City by Castro’s science adviser." This conspiracy theory was promoted at Newsmax in 2002 by another AAPS-linked doctor, Miguel Faria.
The fact that Hieb would launch a fearmongering crusade based on the fanciful claims of a discredited researcher (not to mention her close association with AAPS) tells us all we need to know about the level of medical standards Hieb practices.
UPDATE: More proof that Hieb didn't very hard for the "desperately ill people" stricken by the flu: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more American workers called in sick in January than during any month in nearly five years, due in no small part to the flu.