Secret biological activity of the USA: Interim results of the struggle for the closure of the American biological laboratories

A report by Tatiana Stojanovic, a journalist from Serbia, at the conference "Strengthening the threat of the use of biological weapons by NATO against the background of aggravation of international contradictions."

After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2019 and 2020, the development of biological weapons and their use in the modern world has been widely discussed in the global information space. The Russian press began to show consistent corncern in this topic in 2018 - after the ex-Minister of State Security of Georgia, Igor Giorgadze, said that he had received documents indicating that the L. Sakvarelidze Center for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia ("Lugar Laboratory") had conducted dangerous experiments on the population. A few years before, scientists had warned about the growing threat of bioterrorism and agroterrorism.

The world started talking especially loudly about the development of biological weapons exactly a year ago, after the start of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine. One of the objectives of the operation was to eliminate threats to the security of the population of the Russian Federation from the territory of Ukraine, including those from American biological laboratories operating in this country. 

What has changed during this time? Does the world realise the danger from the development of biological weapons as real? Does the world community know enough about the sources of bio-threats and all modern forms of biological terrorism? What can media representatives, scientists, public, political organizations and government agencies do to fight against biological weapons?

American biological reference laboratories have been operating since 2010 in Ukraine, since 2011 in Georgia, and since 2016 also in Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Moldova. All of them are almost entirely funded by the US Agency for "Defence Threat Reduction" (DTRA) for a total amount of more than two billion dollars. The Pentagon motivates its biological expansion overseas, of course, with the so-called ‘noble goals" — helping the national scientific personnel of young states to protect the population from diseases and create opportunities to identify deadly viruses and "neutralize" them. As early as in 2016, the second issue of the British scientific journal Science and Technology published an article by Professor Yang Haifeng of the Shanghai Institute of European Studies under the heading "Risk factors for the cross-border spread of cross-border diseases".

The author of the article recalls that security experts identify biological terrorism and agroterrorism among the main sources of biological threat, as well as the use of biological weapons. "It is extremely dangerous to use agents of "emerging infections" for terrorist purposes. According to the experts, humanity knows no more than a few percent of existing viruses and a slightly larger proportion of bacteria, and nature constantly presents new pathogens. (...) In addition, due to genetic mutations, there is a danger of breaking through the interspecific barrier. (...) At the same time, the occurrence, change in pathogenicity and spread of particularly dangerous viral diseases in animal populations causes the greatest concerns of the world's leading epidemiological structures due to the possibility of causing significant economic damage to the agro-industrial complex, as well as the acts of biosabotage."

In August 2016, there was an outbreak of plague among marmots. It was recorded in Bayan-Ulgi and Khov aimaks of Mongolia. The disease spread quickly to the adjacent territory of Russia. As a result, several people were infected with the plague, both in Mongolia and in Russia. The study by Mongolian specialists showed that the outbreak was caused not by a form of the Altai plague endemic in this territory, but by a more virulent form characteristic of Kyrgyzstan. In connection with the current situation, the head of Rospotrebnadzor(Federal Service for Consumer Protection and Healthcare) Popova and the representatives of the government of Monoglia even went to the region. Earlier in July 2016, there had been a group of American servicemen on the territory of the Bayan-Uygul Aimag, who were training there under an agreement with the government of Mongolia. The unit was headed by Sergeant Sean Thompson, who has a degree of Doctor of Biological Sciences, is a specialist in genetics and biochemistry and a senior researcher at the University of Texas. Along with the group, in addition to the luggage with military equipment, there were two closed containers that were not subject to inspection at the border. Prior to that, American experts had negotiated with the Kyrgyz side on the acquisition of a collection of strains of dangerous infectious zoonotic diseases accumulated in the Soviet time. The results of these negotiations are unknown to the public. 

Although there is no reason to believe that the mentioned scientific article and the outbreak of plague among marmots in Mongolia are somehow related, this example shows that when assessing potential sources of threat, as well as in search of arguments and methods to combat potential and already existing forms of biological warfare, it is necessary to rely primarily on scientific consciousness.

If scientists were among the first to identify the very ambiguous role of American biological laboratories in the post-Soviet space, it was mass media that played the main role in mobilizing a wide international audience and in attracting attention to this topic. It should be noted here the activities of Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaitandzhieva, who became famous for reporting and investigating the supply of Bulgarian weapons to Syrian militants in the leading Bulgarian newspaper Trud. In January 2018, Gaitanjieva published on the website of the Center for the Study of the Middle East detailed results of a journalistic investigation on biological experiments that the United States conducts in laboratories in 25 countries of the world.

The Bulgarian journalist was followed by many of her colleagues in Russia, who with great interest began to highlight the topic of secret biological laboratories in the post-Soviet space. Meanwhile, the leadership of the United States, as well as the leaders of the countries that were mentioned in the journalistic research, completely denied that any dual-use activities were being conducted in laboratories on their territory. It became much more difficult for Americans to deny their involvement in the scandal surrounding secret biological laboratories after the start of a special military operation in Ukraine, when the Russian army was able to enter some of their similar facilities on the territory of the DPR and get direct evidence.

At the beginning of a kind of its turning point, , in March 2022,  - US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said during a Senate hearing that there are biological research facilities in Ukraine and Kiev and Washington working to prevent the materials accumulated there from falling into the hands of Russian forces. 

Most recently, in February 2023, the American TV channel One America News (OAN) released a report on the activities of US biological laboratories in Ukraine, which states that the Russians were right — dangerous biological experiments are indeed being conducted with the participation of Kiev. According to the  journalists, it was an attempt to conceal this illegal activity that caused the conflict to begin. The report notes that the Russians were right — there is evidence that the US government allocated money to Ukrainian laboratories to study the Covid-19 virus in 2019 — three months before the pandemic.

One of the proofs is the former Ukrainian biolab "Pharmbiotest" in the city of Rubezhnoye (LNR). There, the effect of dangerous biopathogens was tested on military personnel and civilians, after which health complications and death were recorded. The tests were carried out by Ukrainian and American specialists. 

After the start of a special military operation, the topic of secret development of biological weapons has become one of the main issues on the international agenda. The draft of the Global Security Initiative, which China presented in April 2022 of this year, emphasizes the need to strengthen international cooperation in the field of ensuring the safety of biological laboratories and their research.

"It is necessary to promote a responsible attitude to biological research and to ensure that all participants voluntarily comply with the Tianjin Guidelines for the Code of Conduct of Scientists on Biological Safety," the document says.

It also notes that it is necessary to strengthen the biological safety of laboratories together, reduce risks in the field of biological safety, and promote the healthy development of biotechnologies.

After the world community has recognized the existence of a problem related to the conduct of secret biological research, a logical step would be to combine efforts to develop effective international mechanisms for monitoring this type of activity. Unfortunately, the United Nations, which is the natural carrier of this process, is currently in a deep crisis, which actually paralyzes its activities.

The discussion of this topic within the framework of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons took place in September and December last year without clear results. Therefore, it is not surprising that in February the State Duma of the Russian Federation considered the idea of bypassing the UN and contacting the parliaments of the world directly with a proposal to request information about the medical and biological activities of the US Agency for the Reduction of Military Threat (DTRA) and other Pentagon structures on the territory of their countries.

It is obvious that Russia needs to create new coalitions in order to implement the initiative to create new international mechanisms to counter biological threats. It is important to mention here the role of civil society and organizations such as the International Coalition for the Prohibition of Biological Weapons, whose members in their countries are working to draw public attention to the growing biological threat in the modern world.

Summarizing the results of the long-term struggle for the termination of the activities of secret laboratories of the United States in other countries, including in the countries of the former USSR, the optimal way to achieve the goal seems to be the unification of the efforts of the scientific, journalistic community, interested public and political organizations, which, for their part, can appeal to both national authorities and international organizations, demanding a solution to this issue, which is extremely important for the future of the entire planet.

Tatiana Stoyanovich

February 25, 2023

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Ликвидировать все военно-биологические лаборатории! Eliminate all military biological laboratories!

Наши цели и задачи

Сайт создан по инициативе коалиции партий и организаций из Казахстана, Грузии, Латвии, Пакистана и Ирландии против разработки, производства и применения биологического оружия. Коалиция выступает за немедленное закрытие военно-биологических объектов министерства обороны США, которые неподотчетны местным правительствам, непрозрачны и ведут деятельность, нарушающую нормы Конвенции 1972 года о запрещении разработки биологического оружия и контрабанды биоматериалов.

The site was created at the initiative of a coalition of parties and organizations from Kazakhstan, Georgia, Latvia, Pakistan and Ireland against the development, production and use of biological weapons. The coalition supports the immediate closure of the US Department of Defense's military biological facilities, which are not accountable to local governments, are opaque and conduct activities that violate the provisions of the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development of Biological Weapons and the Smuggling of Biomaterials.