Donald Trump has expressed an interest in possibly purchasing Plum Island, the 843-acre island off the coast of New York. The government-owned island has been the site of a laboratory that conducted controversial animal infectious disease experiments, but it stopped operating in 2009. The U.S. government is considering selling it to finance a new facility in Manhattan, Kansas. According to an Oct. 1 report on ABC News, Trump is not sure what he would do with the possibly hazardous site, but says it would not be on a big scale. The real estate giant is interested in looking at it, though.
He is not the only one interested in looking at it. You can view the attached video of former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, host of the program “Conspiracy Theories,” as he tried to get a good look at the island by boat; he was pursued by the Coast Guard and Homeland Security.
It’s not just conspiracy theorists who are interested in the interesting and frightening history of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. According to Newsday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is demanding answers to the long-held secrets of Plum Island. He is also insisting that the state of New York supervise any environmental clean-up of the area. Some recent zoning changes enacted by local governments have made the entire real estate sale a little murky. Donald Trump remarked on this situation, as quoted by ABC News:
"I'd be interested in looking at it," Trump told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It is a very complicated subject and nobody knows what is going to happen."
Plum Island was initially the site of an old lighthouse and an artillery site from the Spanish-American War. Later, the site was used by the government after World War II to conduct experiments in anti-biological warfare against animals that were initially overseen by a former Nazi mastermind of biological warfare, Erich Traub. While Traub was a renowned expert on foot-and-mouth disease worldwide, before the war ended, he was reportedly working on arming ticks with animal diseases to infect livestock. One of the conspiracy theories surrounding Plum Island suggests that Lyme disease originated there under these continued experiments. Lyme disease was named after Lyme, Conn., not very far from Plum Island.
There is concern that the nearby facility has created a very dangerous and potentially disastrous situation for the population of the East Coast. A report of a terrorist found to have information about Plum Island in their possession has increased concern about its potential as a biological threat to the whole country.
Although the ownership of the property and laboratories was earlier transferred to the Department of Agriculture, there has been much speculation about the experiments and research conducted there. The employees who were around these dangerous viruses were not allowed to go to the zoo or a circus because supposedly they had the virus organisms in the back of their throat where they had been filtered. The property is now under the control of Homeland Security.
The widespread circulation of photos of the Montauk Monster, an unidentified animal that washed up on the beach at Montauk, not far from Plum Island, has increased the conspiratorial curiosity about what bizarre oddities may be contained on that island, or maybe not so well-contained. You can view the creature in the attached photo. It had an odd beak and claws but otherwise appeared like a mammal of some sort.
The fact that the government wants to move the Infectious Animal Disease Lab to the middle of the country’s food basket in Kansas troubles many. It seems there would be a much higher chance of infecting the country’s cattle in Kansas than on an island off of New York. Possibly avoiding being a target for terrorists is part of the reasoning behind the potential move.
What Donald Trump wants with this potentially hazardous piece of property is unknown. He has mentioned that it would make a beautiful golf course, according to Newsday. Maybe he is just intrigued with the secrets of Plum Island like most New Yorkers and many other concerned and curious people across the world.
Russia was also concerned, according to Io9, and they sent a team to investigate in 1994; they found Plum Island to be free of biological weapons. So, maybe it is just the perfect place for a round of golf? It might add a whole new meaning to the word "hazard."