Monday, April 27, 2009

American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse


By Randall Sullivan Email 04.20.09
The Georgia Guidestones may be the most enigmatic monument in the US: huge slabs of granite, inscribed with directions for rebuilding civilization after the apocalypse. Only one man knows who created them—and he's not talking.
Photo: Dan Winters

The strangest monument in America looms over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia. Five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. The rocks are each 16 feet tall, with four of them weighing more than 20 tons apiece. Together they support a 25,000-pound capstone. Approaching the edifice, it's hard not to think immediately of England's Stonehenge or possibly the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Built in 1980, these pale gray rocks are quietly awaiting the end of the world as we know it.

Called the Georgia Guidestones, the monument is a mystery—nobody knows exactly who commissioned it or why. The only clues to its origin are on a nearby plaque on the ground—which gives the dimensions and explains a series of intricate notches and holes that correspond to the movements of the sun and stars—and the "guides" themselves, directives carved into the rocks. These instructions appear in eight languages ranging from English to Swahili and reflect a peculiar New Age ideology. Some are vaguely eugenic (guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity); others prescribe standard-issue hippie mysticism (prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite).

What's most widely agreed upon—based on the evidence available—is that the Guidestones are meant to instruct the dazed survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization. Not everyone is comfortable with this notion. A few days before I visited, the stones had been splattered with polyurethane and spray-painted with graffiti, including slogans like "Death to the new world order." This defacement was the first serious act of vandalism in the Guidestones' history, but it was hardly the first objection to their existence. In fact, for more than three decades this uncanny structure in the heart of the Bible Belt has been generating responses that range from enchantment to horror. Supporters (notable among them Yoko Ono) have praised the messages as a stirring call to rational thinking, akin to Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason. Opponents have attacked them as the Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.

Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing: The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun. It also manages to engender endless fascination, thanks to a carefully orchestrated aura of mystery. And the stones have attracted plenty of devotees to defend against folks who would like them destroyed. Clearly, whoever had the monument placed here understood one thing very well: People prize what they don't understand at least as much as what they do.

The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent "a small group of loyal Americans" who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton—the county seat and the granite capital of the world—because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet.

Joe Fendley, Elberton Granite's president, nodded absently, distracted by the rush to complete his weekly payroll. But when Christian began to describe the monument he had in mind, Fendley stopped what he was doing. Not only was the man asking for stones larger than any that had been quarried in the county, he also wanted them cut, finished, and assembled into some kind of enormous astronomical instrument.

What in the world would it be for? Fendley asked. Christian explained that the structure he had in mind would serve as a compass, calendar, and clock. It would also need to be engraved with a set of guides written in eight of the world's major languages. And it had to be capable of withstanding the most catastrophic events, so that the shattered remnants of humanity would be able to use those guides to reestablish a better civilization than the one that was about to destroy itself.



Monumental Precision

Built to survive the apocalypse, the Georgia Guidestones are not merely instructions for the future—the massive granite slabs also function as a clock, calendar, and compass.

The monument sits at the highest point in Elbert County and is oriented to track the sun's east-west migration year-round.


On an equinox or solstice, visitors who stand at the west side of the "mail slot" are positioned to see the sun rise on the horizon.


An eye-level hole drilled into the center support stone allows stargazers on the south side to locate Polaris, the North Star.


A 7/8-inch hole drilled through the capstone focuses a sunbeam on the center column and at noon pinpoints the day of the year.

Text: Erik Malinowski; illustration: Steve Sanford


Fendley is now deceased, but shortly after the Guidestones went up, an Atlanta television reporter asked what he was thinking when he first heard Christian's plan. "I was thinking, 'I got a nut in here now. How am I going get him out?'" Fendley said. He attempted to discourage the man by quoting him a price several times higher than for any project commissioned there before. The job would require special tools, heavy equipment, and paid consultants, Fendley explained. But Christian merely nodded and asked how long it would take. Fendley didn't rightly know—six months, at least. He wouldn't be able to even consider such an undertaking, he added, until he knew it could be paid for. When Christian asked whether there was a banker in town he considered trustworthy, Fendley saw his chance to unload the strange man and sent him to look for Wyatt Martin, president of the Granite City Bank.

The tall and courtly Martin—the only man in Elberton besides Fendley known to have met R. C. Christian face-to-face—is now 78. "Fendley called me and said, 'A kook over here wants some kind of crazy monument,'" Martin says. "But when this fella showed up he was wearing a very nice, expensive suit, which made me take him a little more seriously. And he was well-spoken, obviously an educated person." Martin was naturally taken aback when the man told him straight out that R. C. Christian was a pseudonym. He added that his group had been planning this secretly for 20 years and wanted to remain anonymous forever. "And when he told me what it was he and this group wanted to do, I just about fell over," Martin says. "I told him, 'I believe you'd be just as well off to take the money and throw it out in the street into the gutters.' He just sort of looked at me and shook his head, like he felt kinda sorry for me, and said, 'You don't understand.'"

Martin led Christian down the street to the town square, where the city had commissioned a towering Bicentennial Memorial Fountain, which included a ring of 13 granite panels, each roughly 2 by 3 feet, signifying the original colonies. "I told him that was about the biggest project ever undertaken around here, and it was nothing compared to what he was talking about," Martin says. "That didn't seem to bother him at all." Promising to return on Monday, the man went off to charter a plane and spend the weekend scouting locations from the air. "By then I half believed him," Martin says.

When Christian came back to the bank Monday, Martin explained that he could not proceed unless he could verify the man's true identity and "get some assurance you can pay for this thing." Eventually, the two negotiated an agreement: Christian would reveal his real name on the condition that Martin promise to serve as his sole intermediary, sign a confidentiality agreement pledging never to disclose the information to another living soul, and agree to destroy all documents and records related to the project when it was finished. "He said he was going to send the money from different banks across the country," Martin says, "because he wanted to make sure it couldn't be traced. He made it clear that he was very serious about secrecy."

Before leaving town, Christian met again with Fendley and presented the contractor with a shoe box containing a wooden model of the monument he wanted, plus 10 or so pages of detailed specifications. Fendley accepted the model and instructions but remained skeptical until Martin phoned the following Friday to say he had just received a $10,000 deposit. After that, Fendley stopped questioning and started working. "My daddy loved a challenge," says Fendley's daughter, Melissa Fendley Caruso, "and he said this was the most challenging project in the history of Elbert County."

Construction of the Guidestones got under way later that summer. Fendley's company lovingly documented the progress of the work in hundreds of photographs. Jackhammers were used to gouge 114 feet into the rock at Pyramid Quarry, searching for hunks of granite big enough to yield the final stones. Fendley and his crew held their breath when the first 28-ton slab was lifted to the surface, wondering if their derricks would buckle under the weight. A special burner (essentially a narrowly focused rocket motor used to cut and finish large blocks of granite) was trucked to Elberton to clean and size the stones, and a pair of master stonecutters was hired to smooth them.

Fendley and Martin helped Christian find a suitable site for the Guidestones in Elbert County: a flat-topped hill rising above the pastures of the Double 7 Farms, with vistas in all directions. For $5,000, owner Wayne Mullinex signed over a 5-acre plot. In addition to the payment, Christian granted lifetime cattle-grazing rights to Mullinex and his children, and Mullinex's construction company got to lay the foundation for the Guidestones.

With the purchase of the land, the Guidestones' future was set. Christian said good-bye to Fendley at the granite company office, adding, "You'll never see me again." Christian then turned and walked out the door—without so much as a handshake.

From then on, Christian communicated solely through Martin, writing a few weeks later to ask that ownership of the land and monument be transferred to Elbert County, which still holds it. Christian reasoned that civic pride would protect it over time. "All of Mr. Christian's correspondence came from different cities around the country," Martin says. "He never sent anything from the same place twice."

Daybreak: A carefully cut slot in the Guidestones' center column frames the sunrise on solstices and equinoxes.
Photo: Dan Winters

The astrological specifications for the Guidestones were so complex that Fendley had to retain the services of an astronomer from the University of Georgia to help implement the design. The four outer stones were to be oriented based on the limits of the sun's yearly migration. The center column needed two precisely calibrated features: a hole through which the North Star would be visible at all times, and a slot that was to align with the position of the rising sun during the solstices and equinoxes. The principal component of the capstone was a 7\8-inch aperture through which a beam of sunlight would pass at noon each day, shining on the center stone to indicate the day of the year.

The main feature of the monument, though, would be the 10 dictates carved into both faces of the outer stones, in eight languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, and Swahili. A mission statement of sorts (let these be guidestones to an age of reason) was also to be engraved on the sides of the capstone in Egyptian hieroglyphics, classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Babylonian cuneiform. The United Nations provided some of the translations (including those for the dead languages), which were stenciled onto the stones and etched with a sandblaster.

By early 1980, a bulldozer was scraping the Double 7 hilltop to bedrock, where five granite slabs serving as a foundation were laid out in a paddle-wheel design. A 100-foot-tall crane was used to lift the stones into place. Each of the outer rocks was 16 feet 4 inches high, 6 feet 6 inches wide, and 1 foot 7 inches thick. The center column was the same (except only half the width), and the capstone measured 9 feet 8 inches long, 6 feet 6 inches wide, and 1 foot 7 inches thick. Including the foundation stones, the monument's total weight was almost 240,000 pounds. Covered with sheets of black plastic in preparation for an unveiling on the vernal equinox, the Guidestones towered over the cattle that continued to graze beneath it at the approach of winter's end.

The monument ignited controversy before it was even finished. The first rumor began among members of the Elberton Granite Association, jealous of the attention being showered on one of their own: Fendley was behind the whole thing, they said, aided by his friend Martin, the banker. The gossip became so poisonous that the two men agreed to take a lie detector test at the Elberton Civic Center. The scandal withered when The Elberton Star reported that they had both passed convincingly, but the publicity brought a new wave of complaints. As word of what was being inscribed spread, Martin recalls, even people he considered friends asked him why he was doing the devil's work. A local minister, James Travenstead, predicted that "occult groups" would flock to the Guidestones, warning that "someday a sacrifice will take place here." Those inclined to agree were hardly discouraged by Charlie Clamp, the sandblaster charged with carving each of the 4,000-plus characters on the stones: During the hundreds of hours he spent etching the guides, Clamp said, he had been constantly distracted by "strange music and disjointed voices."

The team that built the Guidestones didn't know who was financing the project—just that it was the biggest monument in county history. Local banker Wyatt Martin inspects the English lettering with sandblaster Charlie Clamp before the 1980 unveiling.
Photo: Courtesy of Fendley Enterprises Inc.

The unveiling on March 22, 1980, was a community celebration. Congressmember Doug Barnard, whose district contained Elberton, addressed a crowd of 400 that flowed down the hillside and included television news crews from Atlanta. Soon Joe Fendley was the most famous Elbertonian since Daniel Tucker, the 18th-century minister memorialized in the folk song "Old Dan Tucker." Bounded by the Savannah and Broad rivers but miles from the nearest interstate—"as rural as rural can be," in the words of current Star publisher Gary Jones—Elberton was suddenly a tourist destination, with visitors from all over the world showing up to see the Guidestones. "We'd have people from Japan and China and India and everywhere wanting to go up and see the monument," Martin says. And Fendley's boast that he had "put Elberton on the map" was affirmed literally in spring 2005, when National Geographic Traveler listed the Guidestones as a feature in its Geotourism MapGuide to Appalachia.

But many who read what was written on the stones were unsettled. Guide number one was, of course, the real stopper: maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature. There were already 4.5 billion people on the planet, meaning eight out of nine had to go (today it would be closer to 12 out of 13). This instruction was echoed and expanded by tenet number two: guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity. It didn't take a great deal of imagination to draw an analogy to the practices of, among others, the Nazis. Guide number three instructed readers to unite humanity with a living new language. This sent a shiver up the spine of local ministers who knew that the Book of Revelations warned of a common tongue and a one-world government as the accomplishments of the Antichrist. Guide number four—rule passion—faith—tradition—and all things with tempered reason—was similarly threatening to Christians committed to the primacy of faith over all. The last six guides were homiletic by comparison. protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts. let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court. avoid petty laws and useless officials. balance personal rights with social duties. prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite. be not a cancer on the earth—leave room for nature—leave room for nature.

Even as locals debated the relative merits of these commandments, the dire predictions of Travenstead seemed to be coming true. Within a few months, a coven of witches from Atlanta adopted the Guidestones as their home away from home, making weekend pilgrimages to Elberton to stage various pagan rites ("dancing and chanting and all that kind of thing," Martin says) and at least one warlock-witch marriage ceremony. No humans were sacrificed on the altar of the stones, but there are rumors that several chickens were beheaded. A 1981 article in the monthly magazine UFO Report cited Naunie Batchelder (identified in the story as "a noted Atlanta psychic") as predicting that the true purpose of the guides would be revealed "within the next 30 years." Viewed from directly overhead, the Guidestones formed an X, the piece in UFO Report observed, making for a perfect landing site.

Visitors kept coming, but after several failed investigations into the identity of R. C. Christian, the media lost interest. Curiosity flared again briefly in 1993, when Yoko Ono contributed a track called "Georgia Stone" to a tribute album for avant-garde composer John Cage, with Ono chanting the 10th and final guide nearly verbatim: "Be not a cancer on Earth—leave room for nature—leave room for nature." A decade later, however, when comedienne Roseanne Barr tried to work a bit on the Guidestones into her comeback tour, nobody seemed to care.

Christian kept in touch with Martin, writing the banker so regularly that they became pen pals. Occasionally, Christian would call from a pay phone at the Atlanta airport to say he was in the area, and the two would rendezvous for dinner in the college town of Athens, a 40-mile drive west of Elberton. By this time, Martin no longer questioned Christian's secrecy. The older man had successfully deflected Martin's curiosity when the two first met, by quoting Henry James' observations of Stonehenge: "You may put a hundred questions to these rough-hewn giants as they bend in grim contemplation of their fallen companions, but your curiosity falls dead in the vast sunny stillness that enshrouds them." Christian "never would tell me a thing about this group he belonged to," Martin says. The banker received his last letter from Christian right around the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and assumes the man—who would have been in his mid-eighties—has since passed away.

Joe Fendley of Elberton Granite Finishing posing with his masterpiece.
Photo: Courtesy of Fendley Enterprises Inc.

The mysterious story of R. C. Christian and the absence of information about the true meaning of the Guidestones was bound to become an irresistible draw for conspiracy theorists and "investigators" of all kinds. Not surprisingly, three decades later there is no shortage of observers rushing to fill the void with all sorts of explanations.

Among them is an activist named Mark Dice, author of a book called The Resistance Manifesto. In 2005, Dice (who was using a pseudonym of his own—"John Conner"—appropriated from the Terminator franchise's main character) began to demand that the Guidestones be "smashed into a million pieces." He claims that the monument has "a deep Satanic origin," a stance that has earned him plenty of coverage, both in print and on the Web. According to Dice, Christian was a high-ranking member of "a Luciferian secret society" at the forefront of the New World Order. "The elite are planning to develop successful life-extension technology in the next few decades that will nearly stop the aging process," Dice says, "and they fear that with the current population of Earth so high, the masses will be using resources that the elite want for themselves. The Guidestones are the New World Order's Ten Commandments. They're also a way for the elite to get a laugh at the expense of the uninformed masses, as their agenda stands as clear as day and the zombies don't even notice it."

Ironically, Dice's message has mainly produced greater publicity for the Guidestones. This, in turn, has brought fresh visitors to the monument and made Elbert County officials even less inclined to remove the area's only major tourist attraction.

Phyllis Brooks, who runs the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce, pronounced herself aghast last November when the Guidestones were attacked by vandals for the first time ever. While Dice denies any involvement in the assault, he seems to have inspired it: Spray-painted on the stones were messages like "Jesus will beat u satanist" and "No one world government." Other defacements asserted that the Council on Foreign Relations is "ran by the devil," that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job, and that President Obama is a Muslim. The vandals also splashed the Guidestones with polyurethane, which is much more difficult to remove than paint. Despite the graffiti's alignment with his views, Dice says he disapproves of the acts. "A lot of people were glad such a thing happened and saw it as standing up against the New World Order," Dice says, "while others who are unhappy with the stones saw the actions as counterproductive and inappropriate."

Martin winces every time he hears Dice's "Luciferian secret society" take on the Guidestones. But while he disagrees, he also admits that he doesn't know for sure. "All I can tell you is that Mr. Christian always seemed a very decent and sincere fella to me."

A worker uses a special burner to finish a slab of Pyramid Blue granite.
Photo: Courtesy of Fendley Enterprises Inc.

Dice, of course, is far from the only person with a theory about the Guidestones. Jay Weidner, a former Seattle radio commentator turned erudite conspiracy hunter, has heavily invested time and energy into one of the most popular hypotheses. He argues that Christian and his associates were Rosicrucians, followers of the Order of the Rosy Cross, a secret society of mystics that originated in late medieval Germany and claim understanding of esoteric truths about nature, the universe, and the spiritual realm that have been concealed from ordinary people. Weidner considers the name R. C. Christian an homage to the legendary 14th-century founder of the Rosicrucians, a man first identified as Frater C.R.C. and later as Christian Rosenkreuz. Secrecy, Weidner notes, has been a hallmark of the Rosicrucians, a group that announced itself to the world in the early 17th century with a pair of anonymous manifestos that created a huge stir across Europe, despite the fact that no one was ever able to identify a single member. While the guides on the Georgia stones fly in the face of orthodox Christian eschatology, they conform quite well to the tenets of Rosicrucianism, which stress reason and endorse a harmonic relationship with nature.

Weidner also has a theory about the purpose of the Guidestones. An authority on the hermetic and alchemical traditions that spawned the Rosicrucians, he believes that for generations the group has been passing down knowledge of a solar cycle that climaxes every 13,000 years. During this culmination, outsize coronal mass ejections are supposed to devastate Earth. Meanwhile, the shadowy organization behind the Guidestones is now orchestrating a "planetary chaos," Weidner believes, that began with the recent collapse of the US financial system and will result eventually in major disruptions of oil and food supplies, mass riots, and ethnic wars worldwide, all leading up to the Big Event on December 21, 2012. "They want to get the population down," Weidner says, "and this is what they think will do it. The Guidestones are there to instruct the survivors."

On hearing Weidner's ideas, Martin shakes his head and says it's "the sort of thing that makes me want to tell people everything I know." Martin has long since retired from banking and no longer lives in Elberton, yet he's still the Guidestones' official—and only—secret-keeper. "But I can't tell," the old man quickly adds. "I made a promise." Martin also made a promise to destroy all the records of his dealings with Christian, though he hasn't kept that one—at least not yet. In the back of his garage is a large plastic bin (actually, the hard-sided case of an IBM computer he bought back in 1983) stuffed with every document connected to the Guidestones that ever came into his possession, including the letters from Christian.

For years Martin thought he might write a book, but now he knows he probably won't. What he also won't do is allow me to look through the papers. When I ask whether he's prepared to take what he knows to his grave, Martin replies that Christian would want him to do just that: "All along, he said that who he was and where he came from had to be kept a secret. He said mysteries work that way. If you want to keep people interested, you can let them know only so much." The rest is enshrouded in the vast sunny stillness.

Randall Sullivan (randysul@aol.com) wrote about the electric-vehicle company ZAP in issue 16.04.

American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse


By Randall Sullivan Email 04.20.09
The Georgia Guidestones may be the most enigmatic monument in the US: huge slabs of granite, inscribed with directions for rebuilding civilization after the apocalypse. Only one man knows who created them—and he's not talking.
Photo: Dan Winters

The strangest monument in America looms over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia. Five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. The rocks are each 16 feet tall, with four of them weighing more than 20 tons apiece. Together they support a 25,000-pound capstone. Approaching the edifice, it's hard not to think immediately of England's Stonehenge or possibly the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Built in 1980, these pale gray rocks are quietly awaiting the end of the world as we know it.

Called the Georgia Guidestones, the monument is a mystery—nobody knows exactly who commissioned it or why. The only clues to its origin are on a nearby plaque on the ground—which gives the dimensions and explains a series of intricate notches and holes that correspond to the movements of the sun and stars—and the "guides" themselves, directives carved into the rocks. These instructions appear in eight languages ranging from English to Swahili and reflect a peculiar New Age ideology. Some are vaguely eugenic (guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity); others prescribe standard-issue hippie mysticism (prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite).

What's most widely agreed upon—based on the evidence available—is that the Guidestones are meant to instruct the dazed survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization. Not everyone is comfortable with this notion. A few days before I visited, the stones had been splattered with polyurethane and spray-painted with graffiti, including slogans like "Death to the new world order." This defacement was the first serious act of vandalism in the Guidestones' history, but it was hardly the first objection to their existence. In fact, for more than three decades this uncanny structure in the heart of the Bible Belt has been generating responses that range from enchantment to horror. Supporters (notable among them Yoko Ono) have praised the messages as a stirring call to rational thinking, akin to Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason. Opponents have attacked them as the Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.

Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing: The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun. It also manages to engender endless fascination, thanks to a carefully orchestrated aura of mystery. And the stones have attracted plenty of devotees to defend against folks who would like them destroyed. Clearly, whoever had the monument placed here understood one thing very well: People prize what they don't understand at least as much as what they do.

The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent "a small group of loyal Americans" who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton—the county seat and the granite capital of the world—because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet.

Joe Fendley, Elberton Granite's president, nodded absently, distracted by the rush to complete his weekly payroll. But when Christian began to describe the monument he had in mind, Fendley stopped what he was doing. Not only was the man asking for stones larger than any that had been quarried in the county, he also wanted them cut, finished, and assembled into some kind of enormous astronomical instrument.

What in the world would it be for? Fendley asked. Christian explained that the structure he had in mind would serve as a compass, calendar, and clock. It would also need to be engraved with a set of guides written in eight of the world's major languages. And it had to be capable of withstanding the most catastrophic events, so that the shattered remnants of humanity would be able to use those guides to reestablish a better civilization than the one that was about to destroy itself.



Monumental Precision

Built to survive the apocalypse, the Georgia Guidestones are not merely instructions for the future—the massive granite slabs also function as a clock, calendar, and compass.

The monument sits at the highest point in Elbert County and is oriented to track the sun's east-west migration year-round.

On an equinox or solstice, visitors who stand at the west side of the "mail slot" are positioned to see the sun rise on the horizon.

An eye-level hole drilled into the center support stone allows stargazers on the south side to locate Polaris, the North Star.

A 7/8-inch hole drilled through the capstone focuses a sunbeam on the center column and at noon pinpoints the day of the year.

Text: Erik Malinowski; illustration: Steve Sanford


Fendley is now deceased, but shortly after the Guidestones went up, an Atlanta television reporter asked what he was thinking when he first heard Christian's plan. "I was thinking, 'I got a nut in here now. How am I going get him out?'" Fendley said. He attempted to discourage the man by quoting him a price several times higher than for any project commissioned there before. The job would require special tools, heavy equipment, and paid consultants, Fendley explained. But Christian merely nodded and asked how long it would take. Fendley didn't rightly know—six months, at least. He wouldn't be able to even consider such an undertaking, he added, until he knew it could be paid for. When Christian asked whether there was a banker in town he considered trustworthy, Fendley saw his chance to unload the strange man and sent him to look for Wyatt Martin, president of the Granite City Bank.

The tall and courtly Martin—the only man in Elberton besides Fendley known to have met R. C. Christian face-to-face—is now 78. "Fendley called me and said, 'A kook over here wants some kind of crazy monument,'" Martin says. "But when this fella showed up he was wearing a very nice, expensive suit, which made me take him a little more seriously. And he was well-spoken, obviously an educated person." Martin was naturally taken aback when the man told him straight out that R. C. Christian was a pseudonym. He added that his group had been planning this secretly for 20 years and wanted to remain anonymous forever. "And when he told me what it was he and this group wanted to do, I just about fell over," Martin says. "I told him, 'I believe you'd be just as well off to take the money and throw it out in the street into the gutters.' He just sort of looked at me and shook his head, like he felt kinda sorry for me, and said, 'You don't understand.'"

Martin led Christian down the street to the town square, where the city had commissioned a towering Bicentennial Memorial Fountain, which included a ring of 13 granite panels, each roughly 2 by 3 feet, signifying the original colonies. "I told him that was about the biggest project ever undertaken around here, and it was nothing compared to what he was talking about," Martin says. "That didn't seem to bother him at all." Promising to return on Monday, the man went off to charter a plane and spend the weekend scouting locations from the air. "By then I half believed him," Martin says.

When Christian came back to the bank Monday, Martin explained that he could not proceed unless he could verify the man's true identity and "get some assurance you can pay for this thing." Eventually, the two negotiated an agreement: Christian would reveal his real name on the condition that Martin promise to serve as his sole intermediary, sign a confidentiality agreement pledging never to disclose the information to another living soul, and agree to destroy all documents and records related to the project when it was finished. "He said he was going to send the money from different banks across the country," Martin says, "because he wanted to make sure it couldn't be traced. He made it clear that he was very serious about secrecy."

Before leaving town, Christian met again with Fendley and presented the contractor with a shoe box containing a wooden model of the monument he wanted, plus 10 or so pages of detailed specifications. Fendley accepted the model and instructions but remained skeptical until Martin phoned the following Friday to say he had just received a $10,000 deposit. After that, Fendley stopped questioning and started working. "My daddy loved a challenge," says Fendley's daughter, Melissa Fendley Caruso, "and he said this was the most challenging project in the history of Elbert County."

Construction of the Guidestones got under way later that summer. Fendley's company lovingly documented the progress of the work in hundreds of photographs. Jackhammers were used to gouge 114 feet into the rock at Pyramid Quarry, searching for hunks of granite big enough to yield the final stones. Fendley and his crew held their breath when the first 28-ton slab was lifted to the surface, wondering if their derricks would buckle under the weight. A special burner (essentially a narrowly focused rocket motor used to cut and finish large blocks of granite) was trucked to Elberton to clean and size the stones, and a pair of master stonecutters was hired to smooth them.

Fendley and Martin helped Christian find a suitable site for the Guidestones in Elbert County: a flat-topped hill rising above the pastures of the Double 7 Farms, with vistas in all directions. For $5,000, owner Wayne Mullinex signed over a 5-acre plot. In addition to the payment, Christian granted lifetime cattle-grazing rights to Mullinex and his children, and Mullinex's construction company got to lay the foundation for the Guidestones.

With the purchase of the land, the Guidestones' future was set. Christian said good-bye to Fendley at the granite company office, adding, "You'll never see me again." Christian then turned and walked out the door—without so much as a handshake.

From then on, Christian communicated solely through Martin, writing a few weeks later to ask that ownership of the land and monument be transferred to Elbert County, which still holds it. Christian reasoned that civic pride would protect it over time. "All of Mr. Christian's correspondence came from different cities around the country," Martin says. "He never sent anything from the same place twice."

Daybreak: A carefully cut slot in the Guidestones' center column frames the sunrise on solstices and equinoxes.
Photo: Dan Winters

The astrological specifications for the Guidestones were so complex that Fendley had to retain the services of an astronomer from the University of Georgia to help implement the design. The four outer stones were to be oriented based on the limits of the sun's yearly migration. The center column needed two precisely calibrated features: a hole through which the North Star would be visible at all times, and a slot that was to align with the position of the rising sun during the solstices and equinoxes. The principal component of the capstone was a 7\8-inch aperture through which a beam of sunlight would pass at noon each day, shining on the center stone to indicate the day of the year.

The main feature of the monument, though, would be the 10 dictates carved into both faces of the outer stones, in eight languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, and Swahili. A mission statement of sorts (let these be guidestones to an age of reason) was also to be engraved on the sides of the capstone in Egyptian hieroglyphics, classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Babylonian cuneiform. The United Nations provided some of the translations (including those for the dead languages), which were stenciled onto the stones and etched with a sandblaster.

By early 1980, a bulldozer was scraping the Double 7 hilltop to bedrock, where five granite slabs serving as a foundation were laid out in a paddle-wheel design. A 100-foot-tall crane was used to lift the stones into place. Each of the outer rocks was 16 feet 4 inches high, 6 feet 6 inches wide, and 1 foot 7 inches thick. The center column was the same (except only half the width), and the capstone measured 9 feet 8 inches long, 6 feet 6 inches wide, and 1 foot 7 inches thick. Including the foundation stones, the monument's total weight was almost 240,000 pounds. Covered with sheets of black plastic in preparation for an unveiling on the vernal equinox, the Guidestones towered over the cattle that continued to graze beneath it at the approach of winter's end.

The monument ignited controversy before it was even finished. The first rumor began among members of the Elberton Granite Association, jealous of the attention being showered on one of their own: Fendley was behind the whole thing, they said, aided by his friend Martin, the banker. The gossip became so poisonous that the two men agreed to take a lie detector test at the Elberton Civic Center. The scandal withered when The Elberton Star reported that they had both passed convincingly, but the publicity brought a new wave of complaints. As word of what was being inscribed spread, Martin recalls, even people he considered friends asked him why he was doing the devil's work. A local minister, James Travenstead, predicted that "occult groups" would flock to the Guidestones, warning that "someday a sacrifice will take place here." Those inclined to agree were hardly discouraged by Charlie Clamp, the sandblaster charged with carving each of the 4,000-plus characters on the stones: During the hundreds of hours he spent etching the guides, Clamp said, he had been constantly distracted by "strange music and disjointed voices."

The team that built the Guidestones didn't know who was financing the project—just that it was the biggest monument in county history. Local banker Wyatt Martin inspects the English lettering with sandblaster Charlie Clamp before the 1980 unveiling.
Photo: Courtesy of Fendley Enterprises Inc.

The unveiling on March 22, 1980, was a community celebration. Congressmember Doug Barnard, whose district contained Elberton, addressed a crowd of 400 that flowed down the hillside and included television news crews from Atlanta. Soon Joe Fendley was the most famous Elbertonian since Daniel Tucker, the 18th-century minister memorialized in the folk song "Old Dan Tucker." Bounded by the Savannah and Broad rivers but miles from the nearest interstate—"as rural as rural can be," in the words of current Star publisher Gary Jones—Elberton was suddenly a tourist destination, with visitors from all over the world showing up to see the Guidestones. "We'd have people from Japan and China and India and everywhere wanting to go up and see the monument," Martin says. And Fendley's boast that he had "put Elberton on the map" was affirmed literally in spring 2005, when National Geographic Traveler listed the Guidestones as a feature in its Geotourism MapGuide to Appalachia.

But many who read what was written on the stones were unsettled. Guide number one was, of course, the real stopper: maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature. There were already 4.5 billion people on the planet, meaning eight out of nine had to go (today it would be closer to 12 out of 13). This instruction was echoed and expanded by tenet number two: guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity. It didn't take a great deal of imagination to draw an analogy to the practices of, among others, the Nazis. Guide number three instructed readers to unite humanity with a living new language. This sent a shiver up the spine of local ministers who knew that the Book of Revelations warned of a common tongue and a one-world government as the accomplishments of the Antichrist. Guide number four—rule passion—faith—tradition—and all things with tempered reason—was similarly threatening to Christians committed to the primacy of faith over all. The last six guides were homiletic by comparison. protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts. let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court. avoid petty laws and useless officials. balance personal rights with social duties. prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite. be not a cancer on the earth—leave room for nature—leave room for nature.

Even as locals debated the relative merits of these commandments, the dire predictions of Travenstead seemed to be coming true. Within a few months, a coven of witches from Atlanta adopted the Guidestones as their home away from home, making weekend pilgrimages to Elberton to stage various pagan rites ("dancing and chanting and all that kind of thing," Martin says) and at least one warlock-witch marriage ceremony. No humans were sacrificed on the altar of the stones, but there are rumors that several chickens were beheaded. A 1981 article in the monthly magazine UFO Report cited Naunie Batchelder (identified in the story as "a noted Atlanta psychic") as predicting that the true purpose of the guides would be revealed "within the next 30 years." Viewed from directly overhead, the Guidestones formed an X, the piece in UFO Report observed, making for a perfect landing site.

Visitors kept coming, but after several failed investigations into the identity of R. C. Christian, the media lost interest. Curiosity flared again briefly in 1993, when Yoko Ono contributed a track called "Georgia Stone" to a tribute album for avant-garde composer John Cage, with Ono chanting the 10th and final guide nearly verbatim: "Be not a cancer on Earth—leave room for nature—leave room for nature." A decade later, however, when comedienne Roseanne Barr tried to work a bit on the Guidestones into her comeback tour, nobody seemed to care.

Christian kept in touch with Martin, writing the banker so regularly that they became pen pals. Occasionally, Christian would call from a pay phone at the Atlanta airport to say he was in the area, and the two would rendezvous for dinner in the college town of Athens, a 40-mile drive west of Elberton. By this time, Martin no longer questioned Christian's secrecy. The older man had successfully deflected Martin's curiosity when the two first met, by quoting Henry James' observations of Stonehenge: "You may put a hundred questions to these rough-hewn giants as they bend in grim contemplation of their fallen companions, but your curiosity falls dead in the vast sunny stillness that enshrouds them." Christian "never would tell me a thing about this group he belonged to," Martin says. The banker received his last letter from Christian right around the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and assumes the man—who would have been in his mid-eighties—has since passed away.

Joe Fendley of Elberton Granite Finishing posing with his masterpiece.
Photo: Courtesy of Fendley Enterprises Inc.

The mysterious story of R. C. Christian and the absence of information about the true meaning of the Guidestones was bound to become an irresistible draw for conspiracy theorists and "investigators" of all kinds. Not surprisingly, three decades later there is no shortage of observers rushing to fill the void with all sorts of explanations.

Among them is an activist named Mark Dice, author of a book called The Resistance Manifesto. In 2005, Dice (who was using a pseudonym of his own—"John Conner"—appropriated from the Terminator franchise's main character) began to demand that the Guidestones be "smashed into a million pieces." He claims that the monument has "a deep Satanic origin," a stance that has earned him plenty of coverage, both in print and on the Web. According to Dice, Christian was a high-ranking member of "a Luciferian secret society" at the forefront of the New World Order. "The elite are planning to develop successful life-extension technology in the next few decades that will nearly stop the aging process," Dice says, "and they fear that with the current population of Earth so high, the masses will be using resources that the elite want for themselves. The Guidestones are the New World Order's Ten Commandments. They're also a way for the elite to get a laugh at the expense of the uninformed masses, as their agenda stands as clear as day and the zombies don't even notice it."

Ironically, Dice's message has mainly produced greater publicity for the Guidestones. This, in turn, has brought fresh visitors to the monument and made Elbert County officials even less inclined to remove the area's only major tourist attraction.

Phyllis Brooks, who runs the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce, pronounced herself aghast last November when the Guidestones were attacked by vandals for the first time ever. While Dice denies any involvement in the assault, he seems to have inspired it: Spray-painted on the stones were messages like "Jesus will beat u satanist" and "No one world government." Other defacements asserted that the Council on Foreign Relations is "ran by the devil," that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job, and that President Obama is a Muslim. The vandals also splashed the Guidestones with polyurethane, which is much more difficult to remove than paint. Despite the graffiti's alignment with his views, Dice says he disapproves of the acts. "A lot of people were glad such a thing happened and saw it as standing up against the New World Order," Dice says, "while others who are unhappy with the stones saw the actions as counterproductive and inappropriate."

Martin winces every time he hears Dice's "Luciferian secret society" take on the Guidestones. But while he disagrees, he also admits that he doesn't know for sure. "All I can tell you is that Mr. Christian always seemed a very decent and sincere fella to me."

A worker uses a special burner to finish a slab of Pyramid Blue granite.
Photo: Courtesy of Fendley Enterprises Inc.

Dice, of course, is far from the only person with a theory about the Guidestones. Jay Weidner, a former Seattle radio commentator turned erudite conspiracy hunter, has heavily invested time and energy into one of the most popular hypotheses. He argues that Christian and his associates were Rosicrucians, followers of the Order of the Rosy Cross, a secret society of mystics that originated in late medieval Germany and claim understanding of esoteric truths about nature, the universe, and the spiritual realm that have been concealed from ordinary people. Weidner considers the name R. C. Christian an homage to the legendary 14th-century founder of the Rosicrucians, a man first identified as Frater C.R.C. and later as Christian Rosenkreuz. Secrecy, Weidner notes, has been a hallmark of the Rosicrucians, a group that announced itself to the world in the early 17th century with a pair of anonymous manifestos that created a huge stir across Europe, despite the fact that no one was ever able to identify a single member. While the guides on the Georgia stones fly in the face of orthodox Christian eschatology, they conform quite well to the tenets of Rosicrucianism, which stress reason and endorse a harmonic relationship with nature.

Weidner also has a theory about the purpose of the Guidestones. An authority on the hermetic and alchemical traditions that spawned the Rosicrucians, he believes that for generations the group has been passing down knowledge of a solar cycle that climaxes every 13,000 years. During this culmination, outsize coronal mass ejections are supposed to devastate Earth. Meanwhile, the shadowy organization behind the Guidestones is now orchestrating a "planetary chaos," Weidner believes, that began with the recent collapse of the US financial system and will result eventually in major disruptions of oil and food supplies, mass riots, and ethnic wars worldwide, all leading up to the Big Event on December 21, 2012. "They want to get the population down," Weidner says, "and this is what they think will do it. The Guidestones are there to instruct the survivors."

On hearing Weidner's ideas, Martin shakes his head and says it's "the sort of thing that makes me want to tell people everything I know." Martin has long since retired from banking and no longer lives in Elberton, yet he's still the Guidestones' official—and only—secret-keeper. "But I can't tell," the old man quickly adds. "I made a promise." Martin also made a promise to destroy all the records of his dealings with Christian, though he hasn't kept that one—at least not yet. In the back of his garage is a large plastic bin (actually, the hard-sided case of an IBM computer he bought back in 1983) stuffed with every document connected to the Guidestones that ever came into his possession, including the letters from Christian.

For years Martin thought he might write a book, but now he knows he probably won't. What he also won't do is allow me to look through the papers. When I ask whether he's prepared to take what he knows to his grave, Martin replies that Christian would want him to do just that: "All along, he said that who he was and where he came from had to be kept a secret. He said mysteries work that way. If you want to keep people interested, you can let them know only so much." The rest is enshrouded in the vast sunny stillness.

Randall Sullivan (randysul@aol.com) wrote about the electric-vehicle company ZAP in issue 16.04.

Flu Bug

If you sell crack, join a gang, or rob the mob you can expect to die a violent death, but if you listen to your mother, eat all the right foods, and study hard in college to become a microbiologist, you should expect to live to a ripe old age and die peacefully.

That being the case, a few eyebrows were raised when five microbiologists either disappeared or died mysteriously violent deaths in 2001. A short time later the number rose to 19, and then 29.

They were found stabbed to death in the trunks of cars, thrown off bridges, or they wrapped their cars around trees after their brake fluid disappeared. Once again, this is the stuff of Hollywood spy stories, and not the way you would expect a microbiologist to give up the ghost.

By 2005, we lost 40 micro-biologists in less than 4 years, all under suspicious circumstances, and during this time someone discovered that they were all working for the government, or government contractors, on projects related to bio-terrorism, flu pandemics, or anthrax. Obviously they weren’t trying to find a cure for anything, or there would be no need to silence them.

Then it was discovered that our government was involved in strange experiments that involve exhuming bodies of people that were killed by the 1918 Spanish flu, and genetically engineered flu viruses, all the while the media is preparing the public with stories of bird flu wiping out thousands of chickens (acid test?) and even a few people here and there.

People who are becoming accustomed to the practices and motives of our criminal government tried to warn you of an impending flu pandemic, but your TV training taught you to dismiss them all as "crazy conspiracy theorists," and you naturally associated all their warnings with stories of Bigfoot and UFO abductions, just as you were trained to do.

The good folks of FEMA predicted a need for a few million plastic coffins, which are now spread out across the country, but despite this revelation, most of America still thinks their biggest concern is a toss up between the Super Bowl and American Idol.

Well it seems as if the crazy conspiracy theorists were right again, because the world-wide flu pandemic they were warning you about has been unleashed, and it will dominate the headlines until millions, if not billions of people are dead. It won’t be stopped because no one with the means to stop it wants to stop it.

Wash your hands often, pull your kids out of school, avoid crowds, if not people altogether, avoid alcohol or drugs that will weaken your resistance, and stay well-nourished.

Two of the goals here are to cull the population, and to encourage general mayhem and misery that only a World Government can save you from. You’ll be so worn out and tired of death and depression that you’ll offer little resistance to the new order. The economic collapse and World War three are part of the same plan, and it’s all been tried before. It’s the same crew behind this latest attempt, and it’s not difficult to see who’s behind it all, once again.

This flu pandemic that will soon cause people to drop like flies is no mutated bird flu. It’s a genetically engineered virus designed to kill as many people as possible. And after people do start dropping like flies, political dissidents will be accused of being flu carriers and no one will object to them being hauled away. Good luck. -- Jolly Roger


Here’s an interesting link:
http://www.legitgov.org/flu_oddities_shortnews.html
if you start at the bottom of the page and work your way up you’ll see a nice collection of news articles that document the entire process of creating and testing a flu bug that will wipe out millions of people.
(or at least that part of the process that's revealed to the public)

Thanks to Lori Price of legitgov.org for compiling these articles

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Is this the secret of eternal life?

Rita Levi-Montalcini won a Nobel Prize for discovering nerve growth factor. Now, at 100, she appears to be benefiting.

By Peter Popham

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Rita Levi-Montalcini celebrates

RICCARDO DE LUCA / AP

Rita Levi-Montalcini celebrates

    Mexican virus could throw wrench into North America's pandemic planning

    A woman and a child don masks as they walk outside the general hospital in Mexico City, Aprill 24, 2009. A deadly strain of swine flu has broken out in Mexico, killing at least 616 people and raising fears  it is spreading across Northe America.

    Preparations based on assumption outbreak would surface in Asia, and take three months to arrive

    By Ian MacLeod, The Ottawa Citizen

    A woman and a child don masks as they walk outside the general hospital in Mexico City, Aprill 24, 2009. A deadly strain of swine flu has broken out in Mexico, killing at least 616 people and raising fears it is spreading across Northe America.

    Photograph by: Henry Romero, Reuters

    Based on the law of averages and the science of virology, experts agree another influenza pandemic is inevitable. The question is when.

    International public health officials have warned for more than a decade that the world is due for a respiratory disease that will spread to every corner of the globe within months. Millions will become sick and untold numbers will slowly suffocate to death.

    In Canada, it has been estimated one-third of the workforce could become ill. And without a ready vaccine, the federal government calculates 11,000 to 58,000 Canadians could die, depending on the virulence of the virus, the rate of infection and the availability of an effective vaccine.

    But those dire warnings and grim numbers have been sounded so many times now, the alerts and headlines have taken on a Chicken Little quality, considered by many to be only slightly more credible than tips to the FBI on the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa's gravesite.

    If the Mexican virus does, indeed, turn out to be a novel pandemic strain -- and that's still a very big if -- it would throw a wrench into emergency preparations.

    Much of North America's pandemic planning is premised on the assumption that a killer virus would emerge in Asia, where all previous pandemic flu viruses have surfaced, and wouldn't arrive here for at least three months. That would allow time to begin preparing a vaccine and detailed plans to inoculate doctors, nurses, police officers, air-traffic controllers, other essential personnel and high-risk groups.

    But if Mexico proves to be ground zero, that hoped-for head-start could be lost.

    A flu pandemic occurs when a type A influenza virus, originated in birds but which can spread to pigs and then humans, undergoes a sudden and radical mutation called an antigenic shift, and acquires the ability to infect humans. Because people have never been previous exposed to such a germ, no one has immunity. The result is a worldwide epidemic, known as a pandemic.

    An average of 25 years separated each pandemic of the 20th century. The range was 11 to 39 years. It has been 41 years since the last pandemic. Statistically speaking, we're overdue.

    Like all flu viruses, the one now striking down Mexicans hijacks healthy human cells and uses them to rapidly reproduce new copies of itself. The host cells soon swell and then burst, spewing out armies of new pathogens to invade other healthy cells, particularly the epithelial cells that form the lining of the lungs.

    The surface of an influenza virus is covered with hundreds of protruding spikes, each made from one of two proteins: Hemagglutinin (H) allows the virus to bind to the host cells it uses to reproduce itself; neuraminidase (N) helps the new pathogens to pour out of those cells and travel through the bloodstream.

    When the virus invades, the immune system produces antibodies that target the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, called antigens, of that particular strain. The antibodies kill the virus and prevent a repeat infection.

    To survive, the virus must constantly replicate. But as it does, incremental mutations occur and over time, minor changes appear in the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, a process called antigenic drift.

    Antibodies on guard against the earlier antigens become less and less effective at recognizing the newer invaders, so that a portion of the world's population is always susceptible to some degree of infection. The result is the annual flu season.

    As many as 100 million people in the Northern Hemisphere are infected each year with one of three types of flu virus, usually Type A and Type B, both capable of causing serious disease. Type C influenza is of little public health concern.

    Once every generation or so, a type A influenza virus undergoes a sudden, radical mutation. An antigenic shift. Without warning, a novel subtype emerges with a combination of hemagglutinin and neuraminidase to which humans have never been exposed and have no immunity. The result is a pandemic.

    The first detailed record of an influenza pandemic was in 1580. Since then, three to four have swept the planet each century.

    The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 was triggered when a virus to which humans had never been exposed -- called A/H1N1 and a distant relative of the virus now raging in Mexico -- crossed from a bird or pig to a human and then blazed around the globe, killing 20 million to 40 million people, mostly from hemorrhagic viral pneumonia, many within a day or two of being infected. Others were felled by secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia.

    The virus slipped into Canada with the soldiers returning from the Great War in 1918. The virus claimed 440 victims in Ottawa that October. Almost 60 per cent of the victims were 18 to 35 years old. In all, more than 500 people died and thousands became gravely ill during the final four months of the year.

    But not all pandemics are apocalyptic. In July 1957, Asian flu (H2N2) arrived in Canada, but the rate of infection didn't explode until the fall of that year, killing 7,000 Canadians. The last pandemic, the 1968 Hong Kong flu (H3N2), caused far more widespread illness than the Asian flu, but was less deadly, killing about 4,000 Canadians. In a normal year, upwards of 1,500 Canadians, mostly older, die from the flu. Hundreds to thousands of others die from flu-related complications.

    Saturday, April 25, 2009

    Swine Flu Is Deadly Mix Of Never-Before-Seen Viruses

    Paul Joseph Watson
    Infowars
    April 25, 2009

    Swine flu

    Swine flu panic is spreading in Mexico and soldiers are patrolling the streets after it was confirmed that human to human transmission is occurring and that the virus is a brand new strain which is seemingly affecting young, healthy people the worst, and that the bug is a never-before-seen intercontinental mixture of human, avian and pig viruses from America, Europe and Asia.

    Clues that the virus may be a synthetic creation are already manifesting.

    According to reports, the virus is a “never-before-seen form of the flu that combines pig, bird and human viruses” which consists of an intercontinental mix of viruses from North America, Europe and Asia.

    “CDC officials detected a virus with a unique combination of gene segments that have not been seen in people or pigs before,” according to an Associated Press report.

    “This strain of swine influenza that’s beencultured in a laboratory is something that’s not been seen anywhere actually in the United States and the world, so this is actually a new strain of influenza that’s been identified,” said Dr. John Carlo, Dallas Co. Medical Director (video clip here).

    Alarming reports are now filtering in about people catching the illness who have had no contact with pigs whatsoever. These include a man and his daughter in San Diego County, a 41-year-old woman in Imperial County and two teenagers in San Antonio, Texas. In fact, in all U.S. cases, the victims had no contact with any pigs.

    Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s public health officer, told KPBS “We have had person-to-person spread with the father and the daughter,” says Wooten, “And also with the two teenagers in Texas, they were in the same school. So that also indicates person-to-person transfer.”

    “Dr. Wooten says it’s unclear how people were exposed to swine flu. She says none of the patients have had any contact with pigs,” according to the report.

    Although the situation in the U.S. looks under control, panic is spreading in Mexico, where 800 cases of pneumonia in the capital alone are suspected to be related to the swine flu and the virus has hit young and healthy people, which is very rare with an flu outbreak. Despite the danger of a pandemic, the U.S. border with Mexico remains open.

    “Mexico has shut schools and museums and canceled hundreds of public events in its sprawling, overcrowded capital of 20 million people to try to prevent further infections,” reports Reuters.

    “My level of concern is significant,” said Dr. Martin Fenstersheib, the health officer for Santa Clara County. “We have a novel virus, a brand-new strain that’s spreading human to human, and we are also seeing a virulent strain in Mexico that seems to be related. We certainly have concerns for this escalating.”

    featured stories   Swine Flu Is Deadly Mix Of Never Before Seen Viruses
    Obama featured stories   Swine Flu Is Deadly Mix Of Never Before Seen Viruses

    The WHO insists that the outbreak has “pandemic potential” and has been stockpiling supplies of Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, a pill that can both treat flu and prevent infection, according to officials.

    As we previously highlighted, those that have a stake in the Tamiflu vaccine include top globalists and BIlderberg members like George Shultz, Lodewijk J.R. de Vink and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

    Indeed, Rumsfeld himself played a key role in hyping an outbreak of swine flu back in the 1976 when he urged the entire country to get vaccinated. Many batches of the vaccine were contaminated, resulting in hundreds of sick people and 52 fatalities.

    The fact that the properties of the strain are completely new, that the virus is spreading from people to people, and that the young and healthy are being hit worst, has disturbing parallels to the deadly 1918 pandemic that killed millions.

    It is unclear as to why, if the virus is a brand new strain, that public health officials are so confident programs of mass vaccination, which are already being prepared, would necessarily be effective.

    It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that deadly flu viruses have been concocted in labs and then dispatched with the intention of creating a pandemic.

    When the story first broke last month, Czech newspapers questioned if the shocking discovery of vaccines contaminated with the deadly avian flu virus which were distributed to 18 countries by the American company Baxter were part of a conspiracy to provoke a pandemic.

    Since the probability of mixing a live virus biological weapon with vaccine material by accident is virtually impossible, this leaves no other explanation than that the contamination was a deliberate attempt to weaponize the H5N1 virus to its most potent extreme and distribute it via conventional flu vaccines to the population who would then infect others to a devastating degree as the disease went airborne.

    However, this is not the first time that vaccine companies have been caught distributing vaccines contaminated with deadly viruses.

    In 2006 it was revealed that Bayer Corporation had discovered that their injection drug, which was used by hemophiliacs, was contaminated with the HIV virus. Internal documents prove that after they positively knew that the drug was contaminated, they took it off the U.S. market only to dump it on the European, Asian and Latin American markets, knowingly exposing thousands, most of them children, to the live HIV virus. Government officials in France went to prison for allowing the drug to be distributed. The documents show that the FDA colluded with Bayer to cover-up the scandal and allowed the deadly drug to be distributed globally. No Bayer executives ever faced arrest or prosecution in the United States.

    In the UK, a 2007 outbreak of foot and mouth disease that put Britain on high alert has been originated from a government laboratory which is shared with an American pharmaceutical company, mirroring the deadly outbreak of 2001, which was also deliberately released.

    As we reported yesterday, last time there was a significant outbreak of a new form of swine flu in the U.S. it originated at the army base at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

    Fort Detrick disease samples may be missing

    Army criminal investigators are looking into the possibility that disease samples are missing from biolabs at Fort Detrick.

    As first reported in today's edition of The Frederick News-Post by columnist Katherine Heerbrandt, the investigators are from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division unit at Fort Meade.

    Chad Jones, spokesman for Fort Meade, said CID is investigating the possibility of missing virus samples from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

    He said the only other detail he could provide is that the investigation is ongoing.

    Fort Detrick does not have its own CID office, Jones said, which is why Fort Meade's CID was brought in.

    Jones said he could not comment on when the investigation started.

    CID is responsible for investigating crimes where the Army is, or may be, a party of interest, according to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command website.

    USAMRIID is the Army's top biodefense lab, where researchers study pathogens including Ebola, anthrax and plague.

    In February, USAMRIID halted all its research into these and other diseases, known as "select agents" following the discovery of virus samples that weren't listed in its inventory.

    The institute's commander, Col. John Skvorak, ordered research halted while workers conducted a complete inventory of the institute's select agents.

    That inventory is nearly completed, though the exact end date isn't known yet, said Caree Vander Linden, USAMRIID spokeswoman.

    Vander Linden said she didn't know about the CID investigation and referred questions to the CID's head public affairs office.

    There is no indication whether the CID investigation is connected to USAMRIID's re-inventorying of its select agent stocks.

    Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus

    The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.

    And an official of the World Health Organization’s European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International’s research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.

    “At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present,” medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.

    “But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau.”

    The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.

    The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn’t die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses.

    Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a “serious error” on Baxter’s part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event.

    On Friday, the company’s director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected.

    “It was live,” Christopher Bona said in an email.

    The contaminated product, which Baxter calls “experimental virus material,” was made at the Orth-Donau research facility. Baxter makes its flu vaccine — including a human H5N1 vaccine for which a licence is expected shortly — at a facility in the Czech Republic.

    People familiar with biosecurity rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled in the Orth-Donau facility. That is a dangerous practice that should not be allowed to happen, a number of experts insisted.

    Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences.

    While H5N1 doesn’t easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people.

    That mixing process, called reassortment, is one of two ways pandemic viruses are created.

    There is no suggestion that happened because of this accident, however.

    “We have no evidence of any reassortment, that any reassortment may have occurred,” said Andraghetti.

    “And we have no evidence of any increased transmissibility of the viruses that were involved in the experiment with the ferrets in the Czech Republic.”

    Baxter hasn’t shed much light — at least not publicly — on how the accident happened. Earlier this week Bona called the mistake the result of a combination of “just the process itself, (and) technical and human error in this procedure.”

    He said he couldn’t reveal more information because it would give away proprietary information about Baxter’s production process.

    Andraghetti said Friday the four investigating governments are co-operating closely with the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Control in Stockholm, Sweden.

    “We are in very close contact with Austrian authorities to understand what the circumstances of the incident in their laboratory were,” she said.

    “And the reason for us wishing to know what has happened is to prevent similar events in the future and to share lessons that can be learned from this event with others to prevent similar events. ... This is very important.”

    The Financial Barbarians at the Gate

    Guns & Butter Interviews financial economist and historian, Dr. Michael Hudson.

    "The Financial Barbarians at the Gate" with financial economist and historian, Dr. Michael Hudson. Europe; worsening financial situation and indebtedness; the history of banking and the criminalization of the banking system; tax policy; real estate asset inflation; US imperialism via the monetary system; neoliberal/neofeudal economics; classical political economy; finance capital breaking away from industrial capital; the financial crisis leading to a political crisis; similarities with the Roman Republic; what measures labor should take.

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    Guns and Butter - Broadcast April 15, 2009

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