The US Continued Biological Weapons Research Until 2003
Wayne MADSEN | 23.08.2016 | OPINION

The US Continued Biological Weapons Research Until 2003

President Richard Nixon ordered the destruction of all US biological weapons in 1969. His White House declaration, Statement on Chemical and Biological Defense Policies and Programs, declared that «the United States shall renounce the use of lethal biological agents and weapons, and all other methods of biological warfare. The United States will confine its biological research to defensive measures such as immunization and safety measures». With that and the ratification of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention by the United States, Soviet Union, and Great Britain, the US biological weapons program came to an end. Or did it?

Pursuant to Nixon’s order to end America’s biological warfare program, the US Army’s Biological Warfare Laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland changed its name to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). The facility made headlines in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks when the weaponized anthrax strain sent through the US postal system was found to have originated at USAMRIID. A USAMRIID scientist, Dr Bruce Ivins, was named as a «person of interest» in the anthrax attack, even though the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had scant evidence to charge the scientist. After Ivins allegedly «committed suicide» in 2008, the FBI declared Ivins the chief perpetrator and closed the case.

There has always been a belief that the Central Intelligence Agency and Pentagon never stopped their offensive biological warfare research, actions that were in contravention of the 1972 treaty and Nixon’s 1969 order. The National Security Agency, which is located at Fort Meade, Maryland, a one-hour drive from USAMRIID, referred to USAMRIID as the «US Army's bio-weapons research facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland» in a TOP SECRET/Special Intelligence/Talent-Keyhole Signals Intelligence Directorate newsletter dated November 6, 2003. The NSA news item stated that the «bio-weapons research facility» worked closely with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC). Not found in the NSA report is any mention of USAMRIID, which appears to have been a benign cover name for a continuing offensive US biological warfare program.

The close relationship between AFMIC at Fort Detrick, USAMRIID, and NSA is an illustration of the fact that USAMRIID continues to play a role in offensive biological warfare regardless of the 1972 treaty obligations of the United States. According to the leaked NSA newsletter, NSA’s International Organizations Branch «exploits and reports the communications of non-governmental (NGO) and treaty monitoring organizations worldwide». Such surveillance means that any bio-warfare outbreak of any virulent disease is practically immediately known to NSA since the agency and its partners constantly monitor the communications of the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The 2003 newsletter reveals that NSA and AFMIC paid close attention to «SARS in China, cholera in Liberia, and dysentery, polio, and cholera in Iraq». SARS is a dangerous coronavirus, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It is noteworthy that the NSA newsletter states that AFMIC happened to provide a «technical expert in epidemiology» at the same time that China experienced a severe outbreak of the SARS virus, Russian scientists who examined SARS claimed that the virus was genetically created by fusing mumps and measles pathogens. They pointed their fingers at Fort Detrick.

NSA’s Target Office of Primary Interest (TOPI) ensured that NSA surveillance resources were marshaled against «complex public health targets». These public health targets would have included health ministries, hospitals, international and local Red Cross and Red Crescent chapters in affected countries, and other NGOs.

There are strong indications that a secret American offensive biological program survived the 1972 treaty and Nixon’s order, at the very least, into the early 1990s. Rather than destroy its own germ warfare caches, the CIA merely transferred its bio-war programs to USAMRIID and continued bio-warfare research under the cover of "non-proliferation" enforcement and research.

An August 2, 1977, letter from CIA director Admiral Stansfield Turner to Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) revealed the nature of the CIA’s work with USAMRIID on bio-warfare projects. The letter states that as part of the CIA’s MKUltra project, various subprojects involved «funding for unspecified activities connected with the Army’s Special Operations Division at Ft. Detrick, Md... Under CIA’s Project MKNAOMI, the Army assisted CIA in developing, testing, and maintaining biological agents and delivery systems for use against humans as well as against animals and crops. The objectives of these subprojects cannot be identified from the recovered material beyond the fact that the money was to be used where normal funding channels would require more written or oral justification than appeared desirable for security reasons or where operational considerations dictated short lead time for purchases. Most of the files on MKNAOMI were destroyed on the order of CIA director Richard Helms. One of Helms’s successors as director, William Colby, called the MKNAOMI and other highly-classified files destroyed by Helms the «Family Jewels».

In the 1980s, during the CIA’s illegal involvement in warfare in Zaire and Angola, two novel viruses appeared on the scene: Ebola and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The CIA’s longtime «Dr Strangelove» for creating exotic methods to kill people, Dr Sidney Gottlieb, saw Africa as a virtual «Petri dish» for carrying out his macabre experiments. In 1960, Gottlieb developed a deadly poison that was to be put on Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba’s toothbrush and cause instant death. Gottlieb also worked on various «exotic» medical means to dispatch Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In 1990 and 1991, USAMRIID was the recipient of the germ warfare stocks amassed by apartheid South Africa’s Project Coast. South African weaponized strains transferred to Fort Detrick prior to the fall of the apartheid government included West Nile virus and anthrax.

Other Gottlieb exploits included the deployment of blue mold against Cuba’s tobacco crop and cane smut against its sugar crop. African swine fever, which is related to the SARS, which, in turn, is related to the deadly 1918 Spanish flu; and a hemorrhagic strain of Dengue fever were also employed by the CIA’s germ warriors against Cuba's human population. In the months after 9/11 and long after Gottlieb’s retirement from the CIA, a cousin of hemorrhagic Dengue fever, the Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), made its debut among civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The timing of the outbreak was suspicious.

The 2009 H1N1 swine influenza «novel» strain, which became a worldwide pandemic in 2009, was the product of resurrecting the deadly 1918 Spanish flu from DNA extracted from the corpse of a female Inuit teen who died from the disease in 1918 by scientists from the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Rockville, Maryland, not far from Fort Detrick. Although there were the usual denials from the US government about genetic engineering of various pathogens, on October 16, 2014, the Obama White House announced that it was cutting off funding to risky government experimentation that studied certain infectious agents by making them more dangerous.

The 2014 White House cut-off of funds for genetic manipulation of diseases, coupled with the 2003 NSA newsletter’s revelation that USAMRIID is known within the US intelligence community as the US Army’s bio-warfare research laboratory, calls into question decades of American denials that it continues to maintain an offensive biological warfare capability. What is more astounding is the fact that Washington used the bogus threat of biological warfare dangers from Iraq in 2003 to invade and occupy that nation. Hypocrisy within the corridors of power in the United States knows no bounds.

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