Biological Warfare: U.S. dropped plague-infected fleas on North Korea in March 1952

From Medium
April 3, 2018

There is a great deal of misunderstanding between the people of the United States and North Korea. This is largely due to the lack of information the average U.S. citizen has about the suffering endured by Koreans during the Korean War, including war crimes committed by U.S. forces.

While U.S. forces carpet bombed North Korea, bombed irrigation dams, and threatened nuclear attack, their most controversial action was the use of bacteriological or biological weapons during the war.

For decades, the U.S. has strenuously denied the use of such weapons. At the same time, evidence of such use was kept from the American people. Even today, very few are aware of what really happened. Only in February 2018 was a full documentary report on germ warfare, prepared and written by mostly West European scientists, released online in easy-to-read format.

Some former Cold War researchers have maintained that China, the Soviet Union, and North Korea perpetuated a fraud in their claims of germ warfare. They rely on a dozen or so documents supposedly found by a rightwing Japanese journalist in Soviet archives. But these researchers never counted on the fact that someday the public could read documentary accounts of the biowar campaign for themselves.

The story that follows concerns one such episode, the dropping of plague-infected human fleas on a single small village. But we will see that the story itself is much larger, and includes a U.S. cover-up about Japan’s use of biological weapons in World War II, and testimony from a Marine Corps colonel about how the U.S. conceptualized its germ warfare campaign.

Excerpted from the 1952 “Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China,” p. 287 (p. 325 of linked PDF)

The tale begins with an American plane flying circles over and over a small North Korean village one moonless night in Spring 1952.

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U.S. unleashing deadly virus in Donbass, Ukraine?

Global Research, January 23, 2016

Chemical, biological and radiological warfare is a longstanding US practice, used in direct and proxy wars, Syrians and Yemenis notably affected.

On January 22, the Donbass International News Agency (DINA) headlined “Deadly virus leaked from US laboratory – DPR Army and Intelligence,” saying:

More than 20 Ukrainian soldiers have died and over 200 are hospitalized,” affected by a virus “immune to all medicines.”

Thousands of Ukrainian troops are stationed in areas bordering Donbass. Intermittent shelling continues, civilians largely threatened.

The lab in question is located in Shelkostantsiay, about 30 km from Kharkov near Donbass. “US military experts” operate there, said DINA.

Donbass Deputy Defense Minister/spokesman Eduard Basurin informed area residents of a potential epidemic.

“According to the medical personnel of the AFU units (Ukrainian troops), there were recorded mass diseases among the Ukrainian military personnel in the field,” he said.

Physicians recorded the unknown virus as a result of which the infected get (a) high fever which cannot be subdued by any medicines, and in two days there comes the fatal outcome.

Thus far from the virus there have died more than twenty servicemen, what is carefully shielded by the commandment of the AFU from the publicity.

Days earlier, DINA reported Ukrainian forces shelled Kominernovo, Zheleznaya Balka and Spartak.

Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) intelligence said Ukrainian forces and heavy weapons are deployed near the contact line – indicating a “readiness of the Ukrainian power agencies to aggravate the situation in Donbass,” DINA reported.

Kiev continues violating Minsk ceasefire terms – with full support and encouragement from Washington.

According to DPR intelligence, “(i)n eight localities of the ‘buffer zone’ seized by the AFU there were registered cleansings of the local population, defiant” of Minsk.

The cleansings are carried out by the representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) with reinforcement by units of the 36th separate naval infantry brigade, by reason of the huge information leak in these areas.

In particular, about concentration of the AFU’s forbidden arms and personnel in the so-called ‘grey’ zone, and preparation by the Ukrainian power structures of provocations against civilians.

Basurin said ISIS and other terrorist elements from Syria and Iraq now operate in Donbass. In mid-January, DPR’s Defense Ministry revealed foreign mercenaries in the self-declared republic.

They conduct “recurrent attacks on our positions,” it explained. Is Ukraine a new platform for ISIS expansion? Is Washington deploying their elements there?

Addressing the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, John Kerry turned truth on its head, claiming a safer Middle East and world today.

Conditions are graver than ever. Endless US wars of aggression rage. Kiev refused to implement Minsk I and II ceasefire terms.

Washington wants war, not peace. It wants Donbass destabilized, its freedom fighters eliminated, its democratic rights denied.

Kerry telling WEF participants “it is possible in these next months to find those Minsk agreements implemented and to get to a place where sanctions (on Russia) can be appropriately…removed” runs counter to US policy since Obama replaced democrats with fascists in Ukraine, and Russia was falsely accused of invading its territory.

Illegal sanctions were imposed for fabricated reasons, European nations pressured to go along. Conflict resolution in Donbass remains elusive.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.  

Flu epidemic in Ukraine: U.S bioweapon of war

From Fort Russ

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
15th January, 2016

After reviewing information about the flu epidemic coming to Ukraine and the number of fatalities associated with this disease in different regions of the country, I remembered that six months ago I wrote an article on a similar theme. And then came the thought: if not elements is “controlled chaos” implemented in Ukraine?
Then, six months ago, in my paper, I analyzed the content of the apocalyptic parables of “Advent”, written by O. Turchynov.
Yes, we are talking about the same Oleksandr Turchynov  which in one case seems like a pastor of some Church, in other cases – as one of the officials responsible for security in Ukraine. Here is an excerpt from that article: “The speaker impartially narrated about victims in South Korea who died from the disease, caused by an unknown virus”.
And then I had a feeling of deja vu. Where was I able to hear about it before? The key words spoken on television: “Preparations for the treatment of this disease does not exist.” Here it is! It’s the leitmotif of the plot of the book “Advent,” by Oleksandr Turchynov  where the author describes the behavior of people during the worldwide spread of an unknown disease: “The main problem facing doctors and scientists in all countries, is that the virus that causes “barking (dog) flu that is resistant to all known antiviral drugs. In this regard, the disease at this stage can quickly be diagnosed, but there is no cure…” (p. 115)
And here on the Internet appeared the information about the impending flu epidemic already in South Korea, and the Ukraine: “Over three weeks in Odessa, 15 people died of flu and its consequences, in Vinnytsia region — 7, in the occupied Kramatorsk — 17. Kiev confirmed only two deaths from flu, but the situation in the capital is close to peak. The official number of cases in Ukraine in just one day, January 11, reached five thousand. Doctors say that the challenges have grown 2-3 fold. All the same symptoms: very high fever (above 39 degrees) and cough. Authorities say quarantine in schools and kindergartens can be setup in the near future”.
Disappointing statistics were published and the Deputy Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Health Irina Sysoenko: “Today, the flu affected 5.7 per cent of the total population. Of these, 70 percent are children, pregnant women. The greatest number of cases are in Vinnytsia, Odessa, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Kyiv region. In comparison with last year the number of fatalities increased by 10 percent. In Odessa 28 patients died, in Vinnytsia – 25”. The MP advised citizens not to self-medicate and named the reasons for the increased number of deaths: “Low level influenza vaccination, self-medicated people, as well as lack of primary health care, including the insufficient number of medicinal products at medical institutions”.
“We haven’t reached the epidemiological threshold. This is the usual peak for influenza season,” – Ukrainian-Georgian Minister Kvitashvili said on January 12th. This reassurance does not prevent a comparison with the Ukrainian population of Poland during the same epidemiological period from October to early January when just five people died from the flu, the same as in Kyiv.
In Kiev from the 16th January, there will be a quarantine in educational institutions and health care, as well as restrictions on holding public events.
Vinnytsia, Odessa, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Kyiv region… In Russia the flu this year didn’t come from the East and from the South-West, Ukraine…
In the summer of 2015 our activists sounded the alarm about a strange laboratory located in many cities of Ukraine, published on American money, and Americans, as you know, ain’t no charity. Then what is being develops in these labs?
The alarm was caused by community members on the information about the level of data security labs have been assigned a level three (of the four, the fourth – the maximum). This suggests that these laboratories can produce bioweapons and their level of safety is equated to military installations.
For example, in Kharkov, just 800 metres from residential areas of the town of Merefa and 25 km from the Kharkov, despite the lack of permits, the American company Black & Veatch, which is among the contractors of the U.S. Department of Defense, undertook the construction of a biological laboratory that has the potential to develop biological weapons. Officially this is called “Central reference laboratory“, according to information from local residents, Ukrainians do not work in the laboratory as overseas experts are imported. Also there are reports that if the laboratory were to open a “Depository” for storage of hazardous biological materials, including, for example, pathogenic strains of plague, anthrax and other diseases, they are of interest not only to biologists, but also the military.
Today this information is particularly disturbing. Not to mention a strange epidemic in Ukraine, which began with the coming to power “orange”. Recall that in 2009, during the Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a fellow member of A. Turchynov, the country was raised the hype around the flu, which was named “pork”. And it is against public in Ukraine under President Viktor Yushchenko since 2005, in coordination with the US defense Department biological laboratories.
Why the biological laboratory was created in Ukraine becomes clear only now, in light of the information that the United States is going to have a biological weapons attack in Syria. So, in this article the IEE expert Henry Kamens notes that American strategists have found a way out of the Syrian conflict, delegating their decision to the Turkish authorities, by organizing a “full-scale biological attack.” According to the author, “The anthrax spores, which will presumably be used to attack, will be delivered to Syria from Georgia, where there are a large number of American laboratories conducting experiments not only on dangerous viruses, but also over the Georgian population”.

US encircling Russia with bioweapons labs, covertly spreading them – Russian FM

From RT
June 11, 2015
Reuters / Regis Duvignau

The US is obstructing international efforts to eradicate biological weapons, seeking to involve other nations covertly in research on weaponized diseases, Moscow charged. America’s record of handling bioweapons is poor.

The accusations of mishandling biological weapons voiced by the Russian Foreign Ministry refer to a recent report that the US military shipped live anthrax by mistake. Last week, the Pentagon admitted sending samples of the highly dangerous disease to at least 51 labs in 17 US states and three foreign countries.

The delivery “posed a high risk of outbreak that threatened not only the US population, but also other countries, including Canada and Australia. Of great concern is the shipment of bacteria to a US military facility in a third country, the Osan Air Base in South Korea,” the Russian ministry said in a statement.

It added that an anthrax outbreak incident occurred in 2001, which also involved a US military lab.

READ MORE: Live anthrax sent to 51 labs in 17 states and 3 nations – Pentagon

For Russia such incidents are of particular concern, because one of its neighbors, Georgia, hosts a research facility for high-level biohazard agents. The Richard G. Lugar Center for Public and Animal Health Research near Tbilisi is an undercover American bioweapons lab, a branch of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Russia believes.

“American and Georgian authorities are trying to cover up the real nature of this US military unit, which studies highly dangerous infectious diseases. The Pentagon is trying to establish similar covert medico-biological facilities in other countries [in Russia’s neighborhood],” the Russian ministry said.

Moscow says the US is de facto derailing international efforts under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), a 1972 international treaty aimed at eradicating bioweapons worldwide.

“The US administration is obviously not interested in strengthening this convention. It’s known that in 2001 the US unilaterally torpedoed multilateral talks in Geneva to work on a verification mechanism for the BWTC and have since obstructed their restart. Decades of international effort to strengthen the convention were derailed,” the statement said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s indictment comes amid a wider list of accusations against the US over what Moscow sees as American violations of various international agreements dealing with weapons control, non-proliferation and disarmament.

The statement came in response to a US annual report on the issue, which accused Russia of various wrongdoings. Moscow considers such reports “megaphone diplomacy.” Such tactics aren’t aimed at resolving any differences, but instead support America’s pretense to be the ultimate judge of other nation’s behavior, the ministry said.

https://www.rt.com/news/266554-us-bioweapons-encircle-russia/?utm_campaign=trueAnthem%3A+Trending+Content&utm_content=557a248904d301132f000001&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

Biological warfare against the people of Iraq

And the people of eastern Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, etc., etc., etc.

Global Research, December 13, 2015

The Anglo-American bombing of water supplies, sanitation plants, and the power plants that are necessary for their functioning, constitutes a biological attack.

This article was first published by the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2003 in the immediate wake of the war on Iraq

The only property of micro-organisms that enables them to be used as biological weapons is their capacity to cause infectious disease. People may be deliberately exposed to pathogenic micro-organisms in a variety of ways but it is the fact of exposure rather than the method of delivery that determines whether disease will result. Because the ability to cause infection is the defining aspect of a biological weapon, then any malevolent intervention that causes infection in the civilian population constitutes an attack with a biological weapon.

Micro-organisms are necessary but not sufficient in the causation of infectious disease and other causal factors are required for infection to occur.1 Host resistance is an important factor in the chain of causation leading to clinical infection.2 Whether or not exposure to a micro-organism causes disease depends on whether or not the exposed individual is susceptible or immune. Dietary deficiency of key vitamins and micronutrients increases susceptibility to a number of infectious agents and also increases the likelihood that infectious disease will result in severe illness and death. Vitamin A and zinc deficiency impair the ability of the immune system to fight infection and the ability of mucous membranes to resist infection.2,,3 Indeed, the decline in infectious diseases in high-income countries is more readily attributed to increased host resistance from better nutrition than to a reduction in the virulence of the relevant micro-organisms. It follows that any malevolent intervention that impairs the ability of a civilian population to resist infection constitutes biological warfare.

In public health practice, prevention involves removing one or more of the components in the chain of causation leading to disease. From an epidemiological perspective, causation and prevention are two sides of the same coin.1 For this reason, a consideration of the actions that can prevent infectious disease from occurring after exposure to a biological agent can help to identify the other components in the causal chain. For example, following an attack with anthrax, spores can be washed off with soap and water and oral antibiotics can be given to prevent infection from developing.4 If an anthrax attack occurred in situations where antibiotics were unavailable then some cases of anthrax infection would be attributable to their absence. Consequently, any malevolent intervention that destroys a population’s ability to respond effectively to infectious diseases constitutes a biological attack.

These rather mundane scientific considerations have important implications for how biological warfare is defined in the context of the current conflict in Iraq. First, it implies that the Anglo-American bombing of water supplies, sanitation plants, and the power plants that are necessary for their functioning, constitutes a biological attack. Standard texts on biological weapons point out that three factors must be taken into account in selecting a biological agent for a biological attack: ease of manufacture, stability, and lethality. Despite widespread public concern about the use of anthrax, smallpox, and plague, all three are difficult to manufacture and disseminate. Anthrax requires sophisticated methods of manufacture and virulent stock is hard to find. The only confirmed sources of smallpox are in the US and Russia, and plague is both difficult to obtain and difficult to weaponize.4

On the other hand, the microbial agents that can cause devastating epidemics of diarrhoea are ubiquitous, lethal, and are readily disseminated by destroying the civilian sanitation infrastructure by bombing or otherwise destroying water sanitation and sewage disposal systems. These actions will ensure that food and water supplies to the civilian population will quickly become contaminated. Because the faeces of infected people will further contaminate the water supply and because there will be extensive person-to-person transmission this strategy has the potential to result in extensive, population-wide, and self-propagating epidemics. The scope for civilian casualties with such an approach is massive in comparison with the use of agents such as anthrax for which there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission. Declassified documents from the American Defense Intelligence Agency show that during the 1991 Gulf War, the ‘Allies’ deliberately targeted Iraq’s water supply. Twelve years later, half the water treatment plants are still out of action.5

Second, the economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council that have caused widespread dietary deficiencies throughout the civilian population, seriously reducing the ability of the population to resist infection, constitute a form of biological warfare. Micro-organisms that pose little threat to those with intact immune systems can be highly lethal to those with impaired immunity as a result of micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition. For example, life-threatening diarrhoea can be caused by ubiquitous microbes such as Escherichia coli that reside in the gastrointestinal tract and common respiratory viruses can cause highly lethal pneumonia. As a result of the sanctions against Iraq there has been a more than doubling of the infant and under-5 mortality rates, with most of the excess child deaths being due to diarrhoea and pneumonia exacerbated by malnutrition.6 The imposition of economic sanctions in Iraq is as much a form of biological attack as was the distribution of anthrax in the US mail system.

Third, the destruction of the Iraqi population’s ability to respond to outbreaks of infectious disease by restricting the import of essential medicines and medical equipment, by destroying the public health infrastructure, and by overwhelming the capacity of the healthcare system to respond effectively constitutes a further biological attack.

Fourth, having destroyed Iraq’s water and sanitation systems, leaving the civilian population highly vulnerable to major epidemics of infectious disease, the failure to restore the public health infrastructure and provide safe water supplies to homes and hospitals constitutes a biological attack. In this context, recent reports that reconstruction contracts may be awarded to the US company Bechtel are a particular cause for concern. In 1999, a Bechtel subsidiary took over the control of the public water system in Cochabamba in Bolivia and within weeks doubled and tripled the water rates for some of the poorest families in South America resulting in massive public demonstrations.7 Also, we must not forget that in the case of Afghanistan, despite the Bush administration’s claim that ‘the US will not walk away from the Afghan people’, the administration subsequently forgot to ask for any money for humanitarian and reconstruction costs in its 2003 budget.

The full extent of civilian casualties resulting from the war on Iraq will become clear in the coming weeks and months. An effective humanitarian response must be mounted urgently to reduce the death toll from this appalling episode in the history of biological warfare.

References

  1. Rothman KJ. Modern Epidemiology. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1986.
  2. Stephensen CB. Vitamin A, infection and immune function. Annu Rev Nutr2001;21:167–92.
  3. Berger A. What does zinc do? BMJ 2002;325:1062.
  4. Levy BS, Sidel VW (eds). Terrorism and Public Health. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  5. Sengupta K. The Independent. Saturday 19 April 2003.
  6. Arnove A (ed.). Iraq under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War. London: Pluto Press, 2003.
  7. Palast G. New British Empire of the Dammed. The Observer. Sunday 23 April 2000.

America’s expansive Bioweapons Industrial Complex

Global Research, July 29, 2009

The dystopian British sci-fi film 28 Days Later opens with animal rights activists breaking into the Cambridge Primate Research facility to free chimpanzees used in a secret weapons program.

Terrified by the intrusion, a scientist warns the raiders that the chimps are infected with a genetically-modified pathogen. Ignoring his admonition, the chimps are let loose from their cages and immediately attack everyone in sight, unleashing a plague of unimaginable proportions.

Despite the film’s fanciful scenario (with animal rights’ campaigners clearly focused in the cross-hairs) this grim, cautionary tale does contain a kernel of truth. While marauding gangs of flesh-eating zombies haven’t invaded our cities, a subtler threat looms on the horizon.

The sixth anniversary of the murder of British bioweapons expert Dr. David Kelly on July 17, 2003, lifted the lid on more than government lies that smoothed the way for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq; it exposed the shadowy world of germ warfare research in Britain and the United States.

Along with the 2001 anthrax attacks in America that murdered five people and exposed some 10,000 others to a weaponized form of the bacteria, Kelly’s death under highly questionable circumstances focused attention on the West’s bioweapons establishment. For a fleeting instant, all eyes were trained on an international network of medical researchers, corporate grifters and Pentagon weaponeers busy as proverbial bees experimenting with deadly microorganisms.

And then as they say, things went dark; as more bodies piled up, cases were “closed” and the money kept on flowing…

An Expansive Bioweapons-Industrial Complex

The production of biological weapons were ostensibly banned when the United States signed the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1975. However, the absence of any formal verification regime limited, some would argue purposely so, the effectiveness of the treaty from the get-go.

Indeed, a giant loop hole in the BWC allows for the production of “small quantities” of pestilential agents “for medical and defensive purposes.” Note however, it is is not the production of said agents that are prohibited as such but rather, their transformation into “weapons, equipment or means of delivery … for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.”

And with the September 11 and anthrax attacks as a pretext, the United States embarked on a systematic and reckless program to expand research into the creation of prohibited weapons systems. Along with renewed interest in these dodgy projects, now euphemistically dubbed “biodefense” to avoid breaching the BWC, came a huge increase in funding as new facilities are built and older ones “upgraded.” A May 2009 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) estimates that overall government spending has “increased from $690 million in FY2001 to $5.4 billion in FY2008.”

According to the Washington D.C.-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation since the 2001 terrorist attacks “the U.S. government has spent or allocated nearly $50 billion among 11 federal departments and agencies to address the threat of biological weapons. For Fiscal Year 2009 (FY2009), the Bush Administration proposes an additional $8.97 billion in bioweapons-related spending, approximately $2.5 billion (39%) more than the amount that Congress appropriated for FY2008.”

The bulk of these funds according to the Center have gone to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA ($31.5 billion), the Defense Department ($11.8 billion), Department of Homeland Security ($3.3 billion) and Project BioShield ($5.5 billion).

Yet according to numerous studies, deadly pathogens are far more likely to spread like wildfire as the result of a laboratory accident than an attack by germ-wielding terrorists. As I write, labs with Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) and Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) facilities are sprouting up like poisonous mushrooms across the United States.

A BSL-3 lab designation means that a facility is equipped to handle indigenous or exotic agents that may cause serious or potentially lethal disease after inhalation. Examples of substances handled by a BSL-3 lab include tuberculosis, anthrax, West Nile virus, SARS, salmonella, and yellow fever.

On the other hand, a BSL-4 lab handles the most deadly pathogens known to humankind; in other words, aerosol-transmitted infectious agents that cause fatal diseases for which no known treatments are available. Examples of substances handled by a BSL-4 lab include: Marburg virus, Ebola virus, Lassa fever and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

CRS researchers reported that “Non-federal entities have also expanded or constructed additional high-containment laboratories. In addition to the threat of bioterrorism, an increasing awareness of the threat posed by emerging and re-emerging diseases has led to the proliferation of high-containment laboratories internationally, as the technologies used are widely available.”

Shockingly, CRS was unable to determine the exact number of BSL-3 laboratories currently operating in America. However Congress’ research arm said that “the total amount of planned or existent BSL-4 space in the United States has increased by an estimated twelve-fold since 2004.”

Much of this work, conveniently, is being contracted out to private corporations with little or no effective oversight. Among the more prominent firms to have received the federal government’s largesse for BSL-3 and BSL-4 work according to CRS, one finds the “Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Battelle Memorial Institute, Southern Research Institute, and others.” Indeed, much can be hidden here, including outsourced secret weapons research, under the rubric of “proprietary information” and “intellectual property” of course!

During 2007 hearings before Congress’ Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, committee Chairman Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) said:

These BSL–3 and 4 labs are the facilities where research is conducted on highly infectious viruses and bacteria that can cause injury or death. Some of the world’s most exotic and most dangerous diseases are handled at BSL–3 and 4 labs, including anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease and Ebola fever. The accidental or deliberate release of some of the biological agents handled at these labs could have catastrophic consequences. Yet, as we will hear from the Government Accountability Office, GAO, no single Government agency has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the safety and securing of these high-containment labs. However, GAO states there is a major expansion of the number of BSL laboratories is occurring both in United States and abroad but the full extent of that expansion is unknown. (“Germs, Viruses and Secrets: The Silent Proliferation of Bio-Laboratories in the United States,” Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, October 4, 2007, Serial No. 110-70, pp. 1-2)

The hearings revealed that no one “in the Federal Government even knows for sure how many of these labs there are in the United States, much less what research they are doing or whether they are safe and secure.” Neither “safe” nor “secure” such facilities however, are highly profitable.

During 2007 alone, some 100 “incidents” were reported; however, “there are indications that the actual number of incidents may be much higher,” according to Rep. Stupak. Reporting guidelines are so lax that dangerous pathogens such as hantavirus, SARS and dengue fever “are not on the select agent list” nor are there requirements “that the theft, loss or release of these agents … be reported to Federal officials.”

According to Edward Hammond, director of the now-defunct Sunshine Project, some 20,000 people working at more than 400 sites in the U.S. conduct research on organisms that can be used as bioweapons. This represents a tenfold increase in employment at such facilities since the 2001 anthrax attacks.

Using the Freedom of Information Act to pry data from the federal government, Hammond obtained records from a score of university biosafety committees. What he discovered was disturbing to say the least. Plague, anthrax, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, brucellosis and Q fever; these are some of the deadly pathogens that escaped containment through poor safety practices and resulted in the inadvertent sickening of lab workers.

Scientists have warned for years that the more people who handle these toxic substances, the higher the probability that mishaps will occur. Among the more well-publicized incidents, Hammond reported the following:

* Texas A&M University: workers were exposed to Q fever when it escaped containment;
* University of New Mexico: one worker was jabbed with an anthrax-laden needle while another was stuck with a syringe filled with an undisclosed, genetically altered microbe;
* University of Ohio Medical Center: workers are exposed to and infected with Valley Fever;
* University of Chicago: a syringe puncture of a lab worker with an undisclosed substance that required heavy containment, most likely anthrax or plague;
* University of California at Berkeley: workers handled the air-borne toxin Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever without containment. It had been mislabeled as “harmless”.

More recently, Global Security Newswire reported in June that an inventory at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md., “found nearly 10,000 more vials of potentially lethal pathogens than were known to be stored at the site.”

Claiming that there are “multiple layers of security,” Ft. Detrick’s deputy commander Col. Mark Kortepeter said it was “extremely unlikely” that any of the center’s samples had been smuggled out. “Unlikely,” but not impossible.

Amongst the 9,200 extra samples uncovered during the inventory were “bacterial agents that cause plague, anthrax and tularemia; Venezuelan, Eastern and Western equine encephalitis viruses; Rift valley fever virus; Junin virus; Ebola virus; and botulinum neurotoxins.” So much for a “culture of safety”!

Any one of these pathogens should they escape or made to “disappear,” could be transformed into a doomsday weapon.

Designer Genes, Designer Weapons

In Emerging Technologies: Genetic Engineering and Biological Weapons, researcher Edward Hammond described how “Genetic engineering can contribute to offensive BW programs in a variety of ways. With genetic manipulation, classical biowarfare agents such as anthrax or plague may be made more efficient weapons. Barriers to access to agents such as smallpox, Ebola or the Spanish flu are being lowered by genetic and genomic techniques.”

No longer the province of science fiction, recombinant DNA research is being exploited by enterprising corporate grifters for decidedly sinister purposes. Hammond writes that while “access to highly virulent agents and strains is increasingly regulated and restricted,” with lethal toxins such as the smallpox virus “eradicated outside the laboratory more than 20 years ago … it is only a question of time before the artificial synthesis of agents or agent combinations becomes possible.”

The available evidence suggests such work, alarmingly, is advancing at a rapid rate.

In 2002, poliovirus was synthesized by a research team at the University of New York in Stony Brook. Hammond writes that “researchers built poliovirus ‘from scratch’ through chemical synthesis. Starting with the gene sequence of the agent, which is available online, the researchers synthesized virus sequences in the lab and ordered other tailor-made DNA sequences from a commercial source. They then combined them to form the full polio genome. In a last step, the DNA-sequence was brought to life by adding a chemical cocktail that initiated the production of a living, pathogenic virus. The experiment was funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).”

While poliovirus is not “well suited” as a bioweapon, “the experiment exemplifies possibilities that generate real problems if similar techniques become applicable to agents such as smallpox.” Hammond averred that in 2002 “such a technique was demonstrated.” Indeed, “the full sequences of at least two different smallpox strains are available in the internet, and most recently a new internet site dedicated to poxvirus genomic sequences has been launched.”

As frightening as the potential for genetically engineering smallpox as a bioweapon, U.S. researchers, led by a Pentagon pathologist “recently began to genetically reconstruct” the dangerous influenza strain responsible for the 1918-1919 pandemic. “In one experiment” Hammond informs us, “a partially reconstructed 1918 virus killed mice, while virus constructs with genes from a contemporary flu virus had hardly any effect.” During the 1918-1919 outbreak some 40 million people died in the global pandemic.

Hammond reports that a sample of lung tissue from a 21-year-old soldier who died in 1918 at Ft. Jackson in South Carolina “yielded what the Army researchers were looking for: intact pieces of viral RNA that could be analysed and sequenced. In a first publication in 1997, nine short fragments of Spanish flu viral RNA were revealed. Due to the rough tissue preparation procedure in 1918, no living virus or complete viral RNA sequences were recovered.”

But far from inhibiting Pentagon researchers, biowarfare proponents were jumping for joy when Army scientists recovered intact pieces of viral RNA that were then subsequently pulled apart and analyzed. By 2002 according to Hammond, “four of the eight viral RNA segments had been completely sequenced, including the two segments that are considered to be of greatest importance for the virulence of the virus.”

Which leads to a queasy sense that perhaps the current outbreak of the H1N1 strain of swine flu may be the result of some mad experiment gone awry. Adrian Gibbs, a prominent Australian scientist who collaborated on research that led to the development of the Tamiflu drug, told Bloomberg News “the new strain may have accidentally evolved in eggs scientists use to grow viruses and drugmakers use to make vaccines. Gibbs said he came to his conclusion as part of an effort to trace the virus’s origins by analyzing its genetic blueprint.”

“The sooner we get to grips with where it’s come from, the safer things might become,” Gibbs told Bloomberg. “‘It could be a mistake’ that occurred at a vaccine production facility or the virus could have jumped from a pig to another mammal or a bird before reaching humans, he said.”

Gibbs is no crank and his claims, at least initially, were taken seriously by the World Health Organization (WHO). Kenji Fukada, WHO’s assistant director-general of health security and environment said the agency is reviewing Gibbs’ report. On the other hand, the American Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta dismissed the findings, deciding there is “no evidence” to support the scientist’s conclusions.

His research is considered credible and the scientist said his analysis is supported by other researchers, including Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis who found “the new strain is the product of two distinct lineages of influenza that have circulated among swine in North America and Europe for more than a decade.”

Gibbs told the financial publication he saw no evidence that “the swine-derived virus was a deliberate, man-made product.” The researcher said, “I don’t think it could be a malignant thing. It’s much more likely that some random thing has put these two viruses together.”

Fukada later said that Gibbs’ proposition “didn’t fit the evidence.” The WHO official added that the organization will need to review Gibbs’ research article when it is published, but he indicated that “it is unlikely to change the experts’ conclusions.”

Perhaps Gibbs is wrong and his findings will be relegated to the sidelines. Having said that however, the danger that H1N1 or some derivative might be weaponized cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Indeed, the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine was so-alarmed by the prospect that in 2003 they commented, “the possibility for genetic engineering and aerosol transmission [of influenza] suggests an enormous potential for bioterrorism.” Unsaid, of course, was the gravest threat posed by such dark research may be state terrorism, more specifically, American state terrorism.

Plum Island

If past is prologue, it might be an instructive exercise to take a short detour down memory lane.

One spooky facility that played a key role in America’s Cold War bioweapons programs is the 840-acre Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC). Under the nominal control of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Plum Island shared close ties with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md.

According to a series of striking reports by researcher Mark Sanborne, Plum Island’s “spiritual godfather” was none other than one Dr. Erich Traub, “a Nazi scientist with a fascinating history.” Traub spent the pre-war years as a scientific fellow at the Rockefeller Institute in Princeton, N.J., “studying bacteriology and virology, while still finding time to hang out at Camp Sigfried, headquarters of the American Nazi movement in Yaphank, Long Island, 30 miles west of Plum Island.”

Citing evidence uncovered by researcher by Michael Christopher Carroll in his exposé Lab 257, when war broke out, Traub returned to Germany and became the head of Insel Riems, the Nazi state’s secret biological warfare research facility located on an island in the Baltic Sea. A fanatical Nazi, Traub tested germ and viral sprays over the occupied Soviet Union “while reporting directly to Heinrich Himmler.”

With a CV such as this one would have expected Traub to have landed in prison or at the end of a rope. Think again!

After the war Traub worked briefly for the Soviets before escaping into the embrace of Operation Paperclip, Washington’s covert employment program for useful Nazi scientists. As Werner von Braun was to rockets, Traub was to germs: He promptly went to work for the Naval Medical Research Institute and gave operational advice to the CIA and the biowarriors at Fort Detrick. Indeed, his detailed description of his work at Insel Riems probably helped inspire the selection of Plum Island by the Army: both the German and U.S. facilities were situated on islands where the prevailing winds blew (mostly) out to sea. (Mark Sanborne, “‘Bionoia’ Part 3: The Mystery of Plum Island: Nazis, Ticks and Weapons of Mass Infection,” World War 4 Report, No. 121, May 1, 2006)

But that’s all in the past, right? Well, not entirely…

Carroll builds a compelling case that the 1975 outbreak and subsequent pandemic spread of Lyme Disease, a tick-borne pathogen first identified in Old Lyme, Connecticut “just 10 miles across Long Island Sound from Plum Island,” may have originated when a secret bioweapons experiment went awry.

Since its 1975 appearance nearly 300,000 cases have been reported in 49 states, although given its mimetic abilities and confusing, multi-symptom manifestations, the CDC estimates that only one in 10 cases are recognized as such, which means potentially some three million Americans may have been infected by the pathogen.

Indeed, what makes Lyme the perfect cover as a bioweapon is its capacity as “a devious, multi-systemic, inflammatory syndrome that mimics other illnesses by encompassing a range of afflictions, including chronic and crippling pain and fatigue that untreated can spread to organs and the central nervous system, causing depression, palsy, memory loss, psychosis, and even encephalitis and death,” Sanborne grimly informs us.

Why then, would America’s biowarriors concern themselves with a disease that “incapacitates but rarely kills” its victims? According to Sanborne, “the logic is brutally simple.” Drawing an analogy between how a wounded soldier puts greater stress on an army than a dead one, “gradually sickening a population places greater economic and social stress on a society than simply killing a limited number of people with a more direct and virulent attack.”

And if such a disease can be transmitted via a natural vector like ticks or mosquitoes that already possess built-in plausible deniability so to speak “and can confuse medical authorities by presenting a broad array of symptoms that mimic other conditions (Bb, like its more famous relative syphilis, has been called the ‘Great Imitator’), then so much the better,” Sanborne wrote.

Carroll discovered during his research that entomologist Dr. Richard Endris and African swine fever team leader Dr. William Hess, traveled to Cameroon and other parts of Africa on “tick-hunting safaris.” By the time the pair had finished their collection, they had reared “over 200,000 hard and soft ticks of multiple species.”

Lab containment practices were cited as “unsafe” by outside consultants who “strongly recommended” the construction of a “modern, approved insectory be undertaken for future research.” (emphasis in original) The pair were fired in 1988 and the tick colony destroyed, but the question remains: were the ticks already out of the bag?

There is also evidence that Plum Island researchers experimented with more than ticks. Carroll averred,

Dr. Endris also conducted experiments with sand flies on Plum Island in 1987 to test transmission of leishmaniasis, a bacterial ailment that if left untreated, has a human mortality rate of almost 100 percent. It is characterized by irregular bouts of fever, substantial weight loss, and swelling of the spleen and liver. The work was performed under contract for Fort Detrick, and serves as another example of a deadly germ warfare agent worked on at Plum Island for the Army, with no public knowledge or public safety precautions taken. (Michael Christopher Carroll, Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government’s Secret Germ Laboratory, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005, p. 24)

Like other parts of America’s bioweapons-industrial complex, disease outbreaks and subsequent cover-ups go hand in hand. The New York Times reported in 2004 that “the highly contagious foot and mouth virus had briefly spread within the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in two previously undisclosed incidents earlier this summer.”

Fear not, lab spokesperson Donald W. Tighe told the paper “the virus had remained within the laboratory’s sealed biocontainment area. He said there had been no risk to humans or animals inside or outside the laboratory.” An investigation “is continuing.” Alarmingly, in 1991, Hurricane Bob knocked out power on the island for several hours and disabled the air pressure systems that contained the viruses. At the time, lab spokespersons assured the public “they were safe.”

Plans are afoot to close the facility. Global Security Newswire reported in February that the Department of Homeland Security is planning a new, $450 million facility to be built on the Kansas State University campus.

However, The New York Times revealed that “additional costs” would bring the total to about $630 million.” The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBADF) would have “safety built into every square inch,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano assured critics.

Coming to a City Near You!

Despite lax oversight and a veritable $50 billion ocean of cash washing over universities, corporations and the military, since 2002 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent billions on the construction of new BSL-3 and BSL-4 facilities. More are planned, including those already under construction in major U.S. cities.

One Boston resident, alarmed by the prospect that Boston University Medical Center officials were building “a biological defense laboratory in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods” told the Los Angeles Times, “We heard anthrax and Roxbury-South End,” she recalled. “Then we heard Ebola. The last thing we heard was bubonic plague. We looked at each other and said, ‘No way are they bringing that … into our community.’”

Seven years later, the $198-million lab complex stands completed between an apartment building and a flower market. But state and federal lawsuits by anxious residents, backed by skeptical scientists, have blocked the opening until late next year at the earliest.

The battle marks the first major setback in the vast growth since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks of labs authorized to research the world’s most dangerous diseases. It also underscores a growing debate over the safety and security of such labs–and whether so many are needed. (Bob Drogin, “Biodefense Labs Make Bad Neighbors, Residents Say,” Los Angeles Times, May 17, 2009)

Working class Boston residents aren’t the only people alarmed by the explosive growth of such facilities.

According to a 2008 University of California budget document the Board of Regents recommended the allocation of $3,998,000 for a project to renovate and “upgrade” the existing laboratory facility “for programs that require Bio-safety Level 3 (BSL3) containment” on the U.C. Davis campus.

With students and workers reeling under draconian state budget cuts, out-of-control fee hikes and mass layoffs, why would the State of California waste nearly $4 million for such a facility? “The BSL3 space is needed” we are informed, “for research programs utilizing infectious and pathogenic organisms.” Indeed, “the facility would be designed to accommodate research studies involving in-vitro experimentation utilizing infected avian, murine, arthropod hosts, and the development of genetic markers for a wide range of disease agents that require BSL3 containment.”

But as with most of America’s bioweapons-industrial complex, illicit and illegal research is carried out with little or no oversight.

The antinuclear Bay Area watchdog group Tri-Valley CAREs (TVC), has been monitoring and protesting the expansion of America’s nuclear weapons complex for decades, with a particular focus on the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

An ubiquitous “public-private partner” of the U.S. national security state, LLNL is a “limited liability corporation” comprised of five partners: the University of California, Bechtel, BWX Technologies, Washington Group International and Battelle–all heavy-hitters in the biotech, construction, defense, energy, nuclear and security worlds.

According to TVC, the group obtained government documents as a result of Freedom of Information Act litigation demonstrating that LLNL had violated federal regulations and had carried out “restricted experiments” that were discovered by the Centers of Disease Control inspection in August 2005. CDC, the Department of Energy and LLNL covered up the inspector’s report.

Restricted experiments are experiments utilizing recombinant DNA that involve the deliberate transfer of a drug resistance trait to select agents that are not known to acquire the trait naturally. Select agents, which include anthrax and plague, are biological agents and toxins having the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety.

Because of the dangers involved in transferring drug resistance to select agents, restricted experiments require approval from the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Livermore Lab did not have that approval, but ran the experiments anyway. (“Livermore Lab Caught Conducting Illegal Restricted Bio-Experiments,” Tri-Valley CAREs, Press Release, May 26, 2009)

According to the watchdog group, the experiments were carried out by the lab at the same time of the accidental release of anthrax in August-September 2005. Five individuals were exposed to the deadly pathogen and a $450,000 fine was levied against the facility. TVC noted that “the relevant details of the 2005 anthrax accident were kept from the public at the time, just as happened with the illegal experiments that are coming to light today.”

LLNL has opened a BSL-3 facility and is planning to experiment with pathogens that can be used as offensive weapons. Activities contemplated include, “aerosolizing (spraying) pathogens such as plague, tularemia and Q fever, in addition to anthrax. Moreover, government documents disclose that planned experiments in the BSL-3 include genetic modification and potentially novel manipulation of viruses, prions and other agents.”

What of LLNL’s close partner, Battelle Memorial? According to a blurb on their web site, the firm’s national security brief includes what they euphemistically call “vaccine and therapeutic product development.” Battelle “specialists” at their Aberdeen, Maryland research facility (adjacent to USAMRIID’s Ft. Detrick bioweapons complex) “study aerosolized microorganisms that may be possibly used in terrorist attacks.”

Indeed, Ft, Detrick is currently undergoing the largest expansion in its history. Investigative journalists Bob Coen and Eric Nadler revealed in Dead Silence: Fear and Terror on the Anthrax Trail that the recently-opened “National Biodefense Analysis Countermeasures Center … contains heavily guarded and hermetically sealed chambers in which scientists will simulate terrorist attacks and use lethal germs and toxins.”

Coen and Nadler aver, “this, remember, is the facility that officialdom claims was the source of the only significant germ war attack on US soil.” Conveniently enough, “Battelle has the $250 million contract to manage the operation.”

But the journalists uncovered more, much more than insipid government pronouncements on “biodefense.” During a interview with constitutional law scholar Francis Boyle, a University of Illinois professor and acknowledged expert on the Biological Weapons Convention, Boyle told the investigative sleuths that the “Pentagon is ready to wage anthrax war.”

“Look at the Department of Defense’s Chemical and Biological Defense Program Report to Congress, April 2007, page 22, Table 2-5. Information Systems Modernization Strategy, Mid FY09-13,” Boyle told Coen and Nadler.

“Here you find a study” Boyle asserted, that estimates the “human effects from a 5,000 weapon worldwide strike; to predict fatalities and incapacitation, both initial and delayed and to accommodate population moves including area evacuations or sheltering in place. Now how does that strike you?”

Sounds like business as usual!