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Alaskans Fear Hepatitis Vaccine & AIDS Connection

by Joan Moss

At a time when president Clinton plans to inoculate every American child for common childhood diseases, traditional Dena' Ina native women from Alaska have enlisted the help of biologists, doctors, and researchers to protest-and, if possible halt-mass inoculation programs sponsored by the federal government aimed exclusively at Alaskan natives.

Mary Ann Mills and Bernadine Atchison began researching Hepatitis B vaccine shots when a tribal member, Delice Calcote, reported to the Tribal Council that her first grade son had been given a shot at school in 1986 by a school nurse, without Calcote's knowledge or consent. The women learned that vaccine shots were being given to all Alaskan natives.

That a parent's knowledge-much less consent-was not required for school nurses to inject medicines into native children is not surprising in light of the government-published US Arctic Research Plan, which has set forth the Arctic region as a "natural laboratory"; on page 120 it refers to natives as a "resource for studying health problems which will benefit other populations."

Is the Vaccine Safe?

After having spent six years studying vaccines, microbiology, and documentation, Atchison and Mills are concerned that the plasma-based Hepatitis B vaccine used to inoculate at least half of the native population so far may have contained infected blood that poses the threat of auto-immune diseases.

The three women have been distributing a video, Alaska Health Issues and Indigenous Peoples, taped at a July 1991 Arctic Village Health Conference, to groups and individuals as a way of sharing information they have learned.

"We're making our story public for the sake of humanity," explained Mills. "What the Public Health Service has done-and continues to do-with the Alaskan Natives in the guise of health is truly tragic and diabolical."

It has not escaped the notice of the women that among the many scientific journals and articles they have gathered, repeated mention is made of the experimental Hepatitis B vaccine program undertaken by the Center for Disease Control and universities from 1978 to 1981, immediately prior to the first indications of the new unnamed auto-immune disorder now known as AIDS. They, like many before them, wonder if there is a direct correlation. One such reference is the book Aids and the Doctors of Death: An Inquiry into the Origin of the AIDS Epidemic, in which Alan Cantwell, M.D. Jr., states that "much of the scientific knowledge that has accumulated on the spread of AIDS in America has come from the surveillance and blood testing of large groups of gay and bisexual men who volunteered as human test subjects in the original Hepatitis B vaccine trials, which took place in six American cities during the years 1978 to 1981."

Dr. Archie Kalokerinos, medical adviser for Aboriginal Health in Australia, spoke in a telephone conversation March 6, 1993, and appears in the 1992 video The Vaccination Dilemma. He stated in the video and in the conversation, "In 1980 a Hepatitis B vaccine was made that . . . was distributed for use among Canadian Indians, and to Australian doctors overseas. The vaccine was in question because it may have contained very harmful viral particles. We don't know what happened to the people who received the shots."

According to Cantwell's article "AIDS Biowarfare," Even Robert Gallo (originator of the green monkey theory) agreed that the WHO (World Health Organization) vaccine program, which inoculated millions. . . could have awakened the dormant AIDS." Also appearing in the Alaska Health Issues video is Yves DeLatte, a biologist from Finland who has long questioned the safety of Hepatitis B vaccines. In a 1990 open letter to Professor Peter Duesberg in Berkeley, he wrote, "AIDS could very well be the consequence of vaccination programs, done indiscriminately or not, and I will ask the scientific world for a proper test to be executed with honesty in order to show if I am right or wrong." So far, that test has not been carried out.

None of the investigators believe that AIDS was passed from the recipients of the original vaccine to the general population, but they do wonder if the disease was already in the vaccine and was therefore passed to the study's volunteer subjects.

They're Trying to Kill Us Community health aide Eva John works at Mentasta Village in South Central Alaska. She made it clear in her conversation that she was expressing her own opinion, not that of her tribe. She recalled, "After I received the Hepatitis B shot my health was never the same. I've felt sick all the time. I'm either very fatigued or overactive . . . I've never felt physically normal since the Hepatitis shot. I've stopped going to the doctor. "I believe the government is trying to kill us because of greed for the land. It's really bad."

Several Alaskan natives, in fact, are concerned about the possibility that in using their people as a "natural laboratory," the government is really up to something sinister. Among the documents assembled by Atchison and Mills are July 1, 1969, minutes to Senate appropriations hearings to the U.S. Department of Defense. Those notes, in the opinion of some, point to a biological warfare project, with money spent to investigate the development of "a synthetic biological agent, an agent that does not naturally exist and for which no natural immunity could have been acquired. . .

"There are many who believe such research should not be undertaken, lest it would lead to yet another method of massive killing of large population."

Also troubling is a 1972 memorandum of the World Health Organization-under "recommendations"-that reads "The possibility should also be looked into that the immune response . . . may be impaired if the infectious virus damages more or less selectively the cells responding to the viral antigens. If this proves to be the case, virus-induced immuno-depression might conceivably be highly instrumental in prolonging certain virus infections, such as Murine Leukemia, Hepatitis, Sub-acute Scherosing . . . ."

Whether or not one believes the World Health Organization would "recommend" prolonging certain virus infections with a serious intent, it is hard to ignore the words of Eva Sneed, author of Some Call It AIDS; I Call It Murder: "None of us may have the totality of the answer," she said, "but one thing is sure: those in charge-WHO, the United States Public Health Service, and the National Cancer Institute-are definitely lying."

Public Information officers for the Alaska Native Medical Center, Sylvia Carlson, a Thlinget, expressed certainty over the phone that the Hepatitis B shots are safe. "The problem of not having shots results in Carcinoma of the liver, which is cancer. Babies have died of Hepatitis B," added Carlson.

Lisa Short, public information worker for the Alaskan Social and Human Services Department, and Carlson, both confirmed that the Alaskan Native Medical Center orders Hepatitis B vaccine from the federal government, while the state of Alaska order vaccines for the general non-native population from another source. Larry Merculieff, an Aleut, is city manager for the city of Saint Paul on Saint Paul Island in Alaska. A member of the Task Force on Rural Water and Sewer, he described the conditions that have led to concern about Hepatitis in the state: "63 percent of Alaska's villages-200 villages-do not have flush toilets," he told the Bay Area Reporter. "104 villages use honey buckets, which are buckets with plastic lining, or outhouses; 60 percent of these villages lack water hookups."

Problem People

Even so, many Alaskan natives believe inoculation is unnecessary and far too potentially dangerous for such wide scale programs. Dr. Kalokerinos describes in The Vaccination Dilemma his frustration and dismay at the medical establishment's practices and attitudes: "Deliberate attempts have been made to allow infants under my care to die. The real authorities don't want these infants to live. The real intention on the part of the authorities is genocide." Kalokerinos in his Australian practice refuses to vaccinate infants who are already sick, and since 1967 has treated sick babies only with vitamin C and improved nutrition. Since then, the death rate has dropped, and he said there has not been one infant death among babies under his care from illness in the true sense. There have been deaths due to accidents (drowning, for example), but not illness. Kalokerinos also said he suspects "Crib Death" (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) occurs as a result of delayed vaccine reactions. He claims to have seen people susceptible to heart problems drop over dead from vaccine inoculations.

One Alaska native, Virgil John, recalled his own experience with a government-issued vaccine: "I received a shot while incarcerated for Hepatitis A or B, they didn't explain which one," he said. "They told me the shot was mandatory. I signed a paper and received a shot. Then I caught Hepatitis A. Now I refuse all medications. I feel great. I eat my natural foods. They'll put us in jail for getting our own food.

"If we complain, they see us a problem people, because we are standing up for our health.

"It was after all the people received shots that many people got sick. I guess the shot weakened our bodies so we caught the disease. That's the only shot we took and that's the only disease we got afterward. The TB shot, they say, is mandatory. After I took the shot I dreamed about alcohol, even though I've been sober for seven years. I've never craved alcohol until I was inoculated with a TB shot."