US weapons of mass destruction: how Washington chose biolabs instead of missiles

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Has the United States really abandoned biological weapons?

Mankind learned to use pathogenic bacteria and viruses as a weapon in conflicts a long time ago. There are many examples and confirmations of this in history: in 1346, the Tatar-Mongols guessed to bombard the Genoese fortress with plague corpses, in 1763 the British in Fort Pitt distributed blankets of smallpox patients to Indian leaders in order to provoke an epidemic among Native Americans, and the first state program for The development of biological weapons was launched by Germany in 1914.

The United States began implementing projects to create bioweapons only in 1942. Already 25 years later, the 37th US President Richard Nixon, concerned about the destructiveness and uncontrollability of such tools of war, announced the curtailment of these laboratories.

A new round of Washington’s interest in biological weapons came in 2001, when some American politicians and journalists received letters with anthrax spores.

Using this obscure incident as a pretext, between 2001 and 2006, the United States government spent $36 billion to “expand biodefense capabilities.” Biolaboratories, of which there were only two in the country before 2001, began to grow like mushrooms after rain. By 2007, in the US alone, their number increased to 20, and by 2017 – 276.

As such institutions proliferated in the United States, the first biolaboratories began to spring up around the Russian Federation, which Washington continued to view as a potential adversary after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Editorial Telegram channel “American Number” explains why the emergence of American biological laboratories in the post-Soviet space poses a serious threat to Russia’s security.

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This article is about laboratories with the highest level of biosecurity – that is, institutions where research is being conducted on the most dangerous microbes and viruses.

Biosafety levels range from the lowest of the first to the highest of the fourth. The main threat is institutions that are assigned the third (BSL-3) and fourth (BSL-4) levels.

In BSL-3 labs, staff deal with potentially lethal pathogens for which vaccines or treatments exist, such as anthrax, plague, or the recent COVID-19 coronavirus. In BSL-4, the situation is much more serious: there, specialists work with airborne pathogens that can cause incurable diseases.

No matter how strict the measures to prevent the leakage of viruses outside the laboratory are, it is worth recognizing that humanity has not yet invented any means of simple human carelessness.

It is for this reason that in 2007 in the UK there was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease – an acute viral disease that affects the skin, as well as the mucous membranes of the oral and nasal cavities. During the investigation, it was possible to establish that the pathogen entered the streets of the village of Pirbright due to a faulty drainpipe in a biological laboratory located within the boundaries of the settlement.

Similar incidents have not bypassed the United States. In 2006, a Texas A&M University scientist fell ill after contracting the bacterium Brucella, which was recognized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as usable. as a biological weapon.

In 2014, workers clearing a warehouse at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland found glass vials of the smallpox virus.

That same year, the US CDC found that staff at the Maryland Institute of Public Health accidentally infected 84 workers anthrax by trying to move non-deactivated samples of the pathogen between laboratories.

In 2015, a public scandal provoked a report by the US Department of Defense, which reported that for ten years, “specialists” at the Dagway Biological Laboratory in Utah managed to send 575 batches of live bacteria anthrax in 194 laboratories in the United States and seven other foreign countries.

Such incidents caused a wide resonance in the American society, alarmed by the negligent attitude of the authorities towards deadly pathogens. Just on the wave of hype in 2015, USA Today published an article “Biolaboratories in your backyard”which witnessed hundreds of security breaches and accidents at BSL-3 and BSL-4 facilities.

The turmoil in the biolabs of the United States allowed China in 2020 to accuse America of creating a new coronavirus. Allegedly, it was created at the Walter Reed Army Research Institute (Fort Detrick Base) in the city of Frederick, about 80 km north of Washington, and then leaked outside the laboratory as a result of a leak. Based at Fort Detrick in 2019 indeed there was a leak – then the work of the laboratory was suspended.

Meanwhile, a clear reaction from the US administration to the concerns of the American people, as well as to the accusations and investigations, did not follow. Moreover, in the period from 2015 to 2022, Washington continued to increase the number of dangerous biological laboratories not only in the United States, but also in other foreign countries.

“Laboratories of death” near the Russian borders

The United States literally surrounded the Russian Federation with biological laboratories. Washington-sponsored institutions are slowly popping up in ArmeniaGeorgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Here, leaks of dangerous pathogens, as in the United States, of course, also happened. For example, in 2012, in the Gegharkunik region of Armenia, where one of the biological laboratories was located, an anthrax outbreak.

It should be noted that the laboratories are controlled by the US Threat Reduction Agency (Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA), which, according to the official legend, is engaged in the destruction of nuclear, chemical and other types of weapons of mass destruction.

From 1991 to 2012, the United States managed to allocate at least $ 9 billion for the activities of BSL-3 and BSL-4 level institutions in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus, working with strains of viruses and bacteria deadly to humans, suitable, including , for use as a biological weapon. And if in the Russian Federation it was possible to stop the destructive American activities in this direction, then in Ukraine the construction of biological laboratories since 2005 has been in full swing.

Cooperation in this area between Kyiv and Washington began after the first Maidan Nezalezhnosti in 2005, was suspended during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, and then resumed again after the events of 2014.

As of September 1, 2021, there were at least 15 biological laboratories in Ukraine: in Kyiv, Lvov, Odessa, Kherson, Ternopil, Uzhgorod, Vinnitsa, Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk.

By October 2021, two more American biological laboratories in Ukraine – in Kyiv and Odessa – were ready for operation. One was organized on the basis of the Kyiv State Research Institute for Laboratory Diagnostics and Veterinary and Sanitary Expertiseand the other on the basis of the Odessa division of the State Service of Ukraine on food safety and consumer protection.

It remained only to equip them with the necessary equipment, as well as to hire staff. To this end, the United States Threat Reduction Agency posted on the government procurement website documentconcerning the fight against “especially dangerous pathogens on the territory of Ukraine”. The cost of the work was estimated at $3.6 million and the facility’s completion date was estimated at February 2022.

Thus, for testing, and possibly for creating biological weapons near Russian borders, they planned to bring the most dangerous pathogens to Ukraine, which pose a direct threat not only to Ukrainian, but also to Russian citizens.

Moscow’s fears on this issue The US State Department almost made fun ofstating that the initiatives of the United States are aimed at “secure storage” of pathogens:

“Efforts like these are focused on food safety, consumer protection, and the secure storage of pathogens and threatening toxins so they don’t fall into the wrong hands while peaceful research and vaccine development can take place. The United States is helping to develop Ukraine’s ability to detect outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose a threat to national security.”

Meanwhile, assuming that no biological weapons were really created in Ukraine, the United States’ own sad experience in dealing with deadly pathogens has demonstrated that Washington is not able to organize any “protected storage”, especially on the territory of another foreign state.

It is possible that the decision of the government on the Russian Federation to conduct a special military operation in Ukraine was dictated not only by considerations to prevent the appearance of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, as members of the Russian leadership claimed, but also to stop the destructive activities of American biological laboratories. Weakly controlled by international control, they posed a serious danger to all countries of Eastern Europe.

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