Skip to comments.Scientists' deaths are under the microscope (11 Microbiologists mysteriously dead within 5 months)
Posted on 05/05/2002 6:52:36 AM PDT by Seeking the truth
Saturday, May 4, 2002 Print Edition, Page A1
It's a tale only the best conspiracy theorist could dream up.
Eleven microbiologists mysteriously dead over the span of just five months. Some of them world leaders in developing weapons-grade biological plagues. Others the best in figuring out how to stop millions from dying because of biological weapons. Still others, experts in the theory of bioterrorism.
Throw in a few Russian defectors, a few nervy U.S. biotech companies, a deranged assassin or two, a bit of Elvis, a couple of Satanists, a subtle hint of espionage, a big whack of imagination, and the plot is complete, if a bit reminiscent of James Bond.
The first three died in the space of just over a week in November. Benito Que, 52, was an expert in infectious diseases and cellular biology at the Miami Medical School. Police originally suspected that he had been beaten on Nov. 12 in a carjacking in the medical school's parking lot. Strangely enough, though, his body showed no signs of a beating. Doctors then began to suspect a stroke.
Just four days after Dr. Que fell unconscious came the mysterious disappearance of Don Wiley, 57, one of the foremost microbiologists in the United States. Dr. Wiley, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Harvard University, was an expert on how the immune system responds to viral attacks such as the classic doomsday plagues of HIV, ebola and influenza.
He had just bought tickets to take his son to Graceland the following day. Police found his rental car on a bridge outside Memphis, Tenn. His body was later found in the Mississippi River. Forensic experts said he may have had a dizzy spell and have fallen off the bridge.
Just five days after that, the world-class microbiologist and high-profile Russian defector Valdimir Pasechnik, 64, fell dead. The pathologist who did the autopsy, and who also happened to be associated with Britain's spy agency, concluded he died of a stroke.
Dr. Pasechnik, who defected to the United Kingdom in 1989, played a huge role in Russian biowarfare and helped to figure out how to modify cruise missiles to deliver the agents of mass biological destruction.
The next two deaths came four days apart in December. Robert Schwartz, 57, was stabbed and slashed with what police believe was a sword in his farmhouse in Leesberg, Va. His daughter, who identifies herself as a pagan high priestess, and several of her fellow pagans have been charged.
Dr. Schwartz was an expert in DNA sequencing and pathogenic micro-organisms, who worked at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, Va.
Four days later, Nguyen Van Set, 44, died at work in Geelong, Australia, in a laboratory accident. He entered an airlocked storage lab and died from exposure to nitrogen. Other scientists at the animal diseases facility of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization had just come to fame for discovering a virulent strain of mousepox, which could be modified to affect smallpox.
Then in February, the Russian microbiologist Victor Korshunov, 56, an expert in intestinal bacteria of children around the world, was bashed over the head near his home in Moscow. Five days later the British microbiologist Ian Langford, 40, was found dead in his home near Norwich, England, naked from the waist down and wedged under a chair. He was an expert in environmental risks and disease.
Two weeks later, two prominent microbiologists died in San Francisco. Tanya Holzmayer, 46, a Russian who moved to the U.S. in 1989, focused on the part of the human molecular structure that could be affected best by medicine.
She was killed by fellow microbiologist Guyang (Matthew) Huang, 38, who shot her seven times when she opened the door to a pizza delivery. Then he shot himself.
The final two deaths came one day after the other in March. David Wynn-Williams, 55, a respected astrobiologist with the British Antarctic Survey, who studied the habits of microbes that might survive in outer space, died in a freak road accident near his home in Cambridge, England. He was hit by a car while he was jogging.
The following day, Steven Mostow, 63, known as Dr. Flu for his expertise in treating influenza, and a noted expert in bioterrorism, died when the airplane he was piloting crashed near Denver.
So what does any of it mean?
"Statistically, what are the chances?" wondered a prominent North American microbiologist reached last night at an international meeting of infectious-disease specialists in Chicago.
Janet Shoemaker, director of public and scientific affairs of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, D.C., pointed out yesterday that there are about 20,000 academic researchers in microbiology in the U.S. Still, not all of these are of the elevated calibre of those recently deceased.
She had a chilling, final thought. When microbiologists die in a lab, there's a way of taking note of the deaths and adding them up. When they die in freakish accidents outside the lab, nobody keeps track.
The sudden and suspicious deaths of 11 of the world's leading microbiologists.
Who they were:
1. Nov. 12, 2001:
Benito Que was said to have been beaten in a Miami parking lot and died later.
2. Nov. 16, 2001:
Don C. Wiley went missing. Was found Dec. 20. Investigators said he got dizzy on a Memphis bridge and fell to his death in a river.
3. Nov. 21, 2001:
Vladimir Pasechnik, former high-level Russian microbiologist who defected in 1989 to the U.K. apparently died from a stroke.
4. Dec. 10, 2001:
Robert M. Schwartz was stabbed to death in Leesberg, Va. Three Satanists have been arrested.
5. Dec. 14, 2001:
Nguyen Van Set died in an airlock filled with nitrogen in his lab in Geelong, Australia.
6. Feb. 9, 2002:
Victor Korshunov had his head bashed in near his home in Moscow.
7. Feb. 14, 2002:
Ian Langford was found partially naked and wedged under a chair in Norwich, England.
8. 9. Feb. 28, 2002:
San Francisco resident Tanya Holzmayer was killed by a microbiologist colleague, Guyang Huang, who shot her as she took delivery of a pizza and then apparently shot himself.
10. March 24, 2002:
David Wynn-Williams died in a road accident near his home in Cambridge, England.
11. March 25, 2002:
Steven Mostow of the Colorado Health Sciences Centre, killed in a plane he was flying near Denver.
BTW, I just read you bio page and I think we were separated at birth.
I'm convinced from your post that it's a much wider conspiracy. There are obvious connections here; after all, out of only 6+ billion people, how could such a gigantic quantity of them (11) be dead microbiologists?
And no need to worry; I've already donned my tinfoil suit.
I am not the author of the article. I merely posted it for informational purposes. I found it interesting that a Canadian Newspaper is now reporting this; albeit, tongue in cheek.
It's just a silly thesis, that's all.
It probably is but I remember in my lifetime (I'm 54) a similar strange series of deaths involving potential witnesses in another "Grand Conspiracy" about the assasination of JFK. The DA, Garrison, eventually threw in the towel as there were no witnesses left!
Of course, with the passage of time, we now know that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone...don't we? :)
This is the key to all the deaths. Clearly, they are all related to an imminent invasion of space aliens, and the deaths are designed to converge on the final episode of the X-Files.....
When you Absolutely, Positively have to get rid of somebody, leave it to the Brits and Ruskies!!!
Oh? You KNOW the Agenda? How?
'Specially the Dwarf Transvestite Wheelchair-Bound Landscape Designers?
Did youse guys do it?
The Israelis are pretty good at it, too: Gerald Bull, Gunsmith
Here's my guesses:
3) Al Gore?
4) VRWC Inc.?
See for additional comments
You do not need to know that death rate, only the death rate among the general population to determine the statistical likelihood of this cluster of deaths happening in the observed timeframe. This post from Slashdot is a reasonable back of the envelope estimation of the odds.
For those who do not want to click through, here is the executive summary:
Death rate among 45-64 cohort due to all causes is 708 per 10,000 in general population (source). Factor out medical causes, and it reaches about 200 per 10,000. About 20,000 microbiologists working in the United States. Premise: about half (or 10,000) are over 40. Premise: about half of this over-40 group are prominent enough to attract attention, leaving about 5,000. Premise: rate of death amongst microbiologists is roughly the same as the general population. Observed time frame is 5 months; annual rate of death would be about 10, over 5 months would be about 4.2 deaths.
Using a Poisson distribution ("bell curve" in layman's terms, though that is a rather extreme oversimplification), the probability of 11 deaths in 5 months is about 0.2%. Two-tenths of one percent is about the same probability of drawing two pairs in seven card stud poker, or less than the chance of a major hurricane with 111 mph winds or faster passing within 75 miles of Portland, Maine in any one year.
But it deserves posting again. BTTT. Not to make light of it, but reminds me of that old tv show "V", where the aliens killed all the scientists.
Two months ago, in New Scientist magazine, they reported how a few years ago, France backed out on a deal to supply nuclear technology to Iran. After France announced their intentions to back out of the deal, a bunch of "random" terrorist attacks inside France killed a four or five scientists and businessmen behind the decision to get out of the deal. After the deaths -- which the French press insisted were unrelated -- the French government overturned its own plans to back out of the deal and DID supply the technology and know-how to Iran.
I'm sorry to say, but in the modern world, terror works.
When a bunch of smart people die -- and it's happened in the West before, too, remember all those "star wars" specialist who died in freaky ways? -- it's almost certainly not "coincidence."
I wish someone would start a study
of mysterious deaths
amongs prominent veterinarians.
I suspect the results would be surprising.
Inscription on the tombstone of a hypochondriac: "See, I told you I was sick!"
A suspicious coincidence.
Nobody knows exactly who killed Gerald and nobody knows exactly why. (Silly "supergun" speculation aside...)
BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Good one!:O)
Yup. "Purity" it is called in the "X-Files"...
IS THIS TRUE!!!?????
OMG! Things are FAR WORSE than I thought.
Heading for the shower...
I received my MBA back in 1977 and have not physically done the math in quite a few years but I understand the stats, having taken numerous courses at the under, post and doctoral level.
At face value, it warrented a raised eyebrow.
Thanks for putting a number on it.