When it comes to observing US and international laws, treaties and norms, the Bush administration is a serial offender. Since 2001, it’s:
— spurned efforts for nuclear disarmament to advance its weapons program and retain current stockpiles;
— renounced the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and asserted the right to develop and test new weapons;
— abandoned the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) because it expressly forbids the development, testing and deployment of missile defenses like its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and other programs;
— refuses to adopt a proposed Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) that would prohibit further weapons-grade uranium and plutonium production and prevent new nuclear weapons to be added to present stockpiles – already dangerously too high;
— spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined plus multi-billions off-the-books, for secret programs, and for agencies like the CIA;
— advocates preventive, preemptive and “proactive” wars globally with first-strike nuclear and other weapons under the nihilistic doctrines of “anticipatory self-defense” and remaking the world to be like America;
— rescinded and subverted the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) to illegally develop new biowarfare weapons; in November 1969 and February 1970, Richard Nixon issued National Security Decision Memoranda (NSDM) 35 and 44; they renounced the use of lethal and other types of biological warfare and ordered existing weapons stockpiles destroyed, save for small amounts for research – a huge exploitable loophole; the Reagan and Clinton administrations took advantage; GHW Bush to a lesser degree;
— GW Bush went further by renouncing the US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 that prohibits “the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons….;” on May 22, 1990, GHW Bush signed it into law to complete the 1972 Convention’s implementation; what the father and Nixon established, GW Bush rendered null and void; “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” is his central policy document for unchallengeable US hegemony; among other provisions, it illegally advocates advanced forms of biowarfare that can target specific genotypes – the genetic constitution of individual organisms.
A Brief Modern History of Biowarfare
— the Hague Convention of 1907 bans chemical weapons;
— WW I use of poison gas causes 100,000 deaths and 900,000 injuries;
— Britain uses poison gas against Iraqis in the 1920s; as Secretary of State for War in 1919, Winston Churchill advocates it in a secret memo stating: “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes;”
— the 1928 Geneva Protocol prohibits gas and bacteriological warfare;
— in 1931, Dr. Cornelius Rhoads infects human subjects with cancer cells – under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations; Rhoads later conducts radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients;
— in 1932, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study begins on 200 black men; they’re not told of their illness, are denied treatment, and are used as human guinea pigs to follow their disease symptoms and progression; they all subsequently die;
— in 1935, the Pellagra Incident occurs; after millions die over two decades, the US Public Health Service finally acts to stem the disease;
— In 1935 – 1936, Italy uses mustard gas in conquering Ethiopia;
— In its 1936 invasion, Japan uses chemical weapons against China; in the same year, a German chemical lab produces the first nerve agent, Tabun;
— in 1940, 400 Chicago prisoners are infected with malaria to study the effects of new and experimental drugs;
— the US has had an active biological warfare program since at least the 1940s; in 1941, it implements a secret program to develop offensive and allegedly defensive bioweapons using controversial testing methods; most research and development is at Fort Detrick, MD; beginning in 2008, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore labs will also conduct it; production and testing are at Pine Bluff, AR and Dugway Proving Ground, UT;
— from 1942 – 1945, (US) Chemical Warfare Services begins mustard gas experiments on about 4000 servicemen;
— in 1943, the US begins biological weapons research at Fort Detrick, MD;
— in 1944, the US Navy uses human subjects (locked in chambers) to test gas masks and clothing;
— during WW II, Germany uses lethal Zyklon-B gas in concentration camp exterminations; the Japanese (in Unit 731) conduct biowarfare experiments on civilians;
— in 1945, German offenders get immunity under Project Paperclip; Japanese ones as well – in exchange for their data and (for Germans at least) to work on top secret government projects in the US;
— in 1945, the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) implements “Program F;” it’s the most extensive US study of the health effects of fluoride – a key chemical component in atomic bomb production; it’s one of the most toxic chemicals known and causes marked adverse central nervous system effects; in the interest of national security and not undermining full-scale nuclear weapons production, the information is suppressed; fluoride is found naturally in low concentration in drinking water and foods; compounds of the substance are also commonly used for cavity-prevention, but few people understand its toxicity;
— in 1946, VA hospital patients become guinea pigs for medical experiments;
— in 1947, the US has germ warfare weapons; Truman withdraws the 1928 Geneva Protocol from Senate consideration; it’s not ratified until 1974 and is now null and void under George Bush;
— in 1947, the AEC’s Colonel EE Kirkpatrick issues secret document #07075001; it states that the agency will begin administering intravenous doses of radioactive substances to human subjects;
— in July 1947, the CIA is established; it begins LSD experiments on civilian and military subjects with and without their knowledge – to learn its use as an intelligence weapon;
— in 1949, the US Army releases biological agents in US cities to learn the effects of a real germ warfare attack; tests continue secretly through at least the 1960s in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, Panama City and Key West, Florida, Minnesota, other midwest locations, along the Pennsylvania turnpike and elsewhere; more on outdoor testing below;
— after the (official) 1950 Korean War outbreak, North Korea and China accuse the US of waging germ warfare; an outbreak of disease the same year in San Francisco apparently is from Army bacteria released in the city; residents become ill with pneumonia-like symptoms;
— in 1950, the DOD begins open-air nuclear weapons detonations in desert areas, then monitors downwind residents for medical problems and mortality rates;
— in 1951, African-Americans are exposed to potentially fatal stimulants as part of a race-specific fungal weapons test in Virginia;
— in 1953, the US military releases clouds of zinc cadium sulfide gas over Winnipeg, Canada, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Fort Wayne, the Monocacy River Valley in Maryland, and Leesburg, VA – to determine how efficiently chemical agents can be dispersed;
— in 1953, joint Army-Navy-CIA experiments are conducted in New York and San Francisco – exposing tens of thousands of people to the airborne germs Serratia marcescens and Bacillus glogigii;
— in 1953, the CIA initiates Project MKULTRA – an 11 year research program to produce and test drugs and biological agents that can be used for mind control and behavior modification; unwitting human subjects are used;
— in 1955, the CIA releases bacteria from the Army’s Tampa, FL biological warfare arsenal – to test its ability to infect human populations;
— from 1955 – 1958, the Army Chemical Corps continues LSD research (on over 1000 subjects) – to study its effect as an incapacitating agent;
— in 1956, the US military releases mosquitoes infected with Yellow Fever over Savannah, GA and Avon Park, FL – to test the health effects on victims;
— in 1956, Army Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, specifically states bio-chemical warfare isn’t banned;
— in 1960, the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence authorizes LSD field tested in Europe and the Far East;
— in 1961, the Kennedy administration increases chemical spending from $75 – $330 million; it authorizes Project 112 – a secret program (from 1962 – 1973) to test the effects of biological and chemical weapons on thousands of unwitting US servicemen; Project SHAD was a related project; subjects were exposed to VX, tabun, sarin and soman nerve gases plus other toxic agents;
— in 1962, chemical weapons are loaded on planes for possible use during the Cuban missile crisis;
— in 1966, the New York subway system is used for a germ warfare experiment;
— in 1968, the Pentagon considers using some of its chemical weapons (including nerve gas) against civil rights and anti-war protesters;
— in 1969, an apparent nerve agent kills thousands of sheep in Utah; Nixon issues two National Security Memoranda in 1969 and 1970; the first (in November 1969) ends production and offensive use of lethal and other type biological and chemical weapons; it confines “bacteriological/biological programs….to research for defensive purposes” and has other loopholes as well; the second (in February 1970) orders existing stockpiles destroyed, confines “toxins….research and development (to) defensive purposes only,” and declares only small quantities will be maintained to develop vaccines, drugs and diagnostics – a huge exploitable loophole;
— in 1969, the General Assembly bans herbicide plant killers and tear gases in warfare; the US is one of three opposing votes; despite being banned, open-air testing intermittently continues to the present, and the Pentagon apparently authorized it in its most recent annual report; it calls for developmental and operational “field testing of (CBW) full systems,” not just simulations, and followed it up in a recent March 2008 test; in Crystal City, VA, it released perflourocarbon tracers and sulfur hexaflouride assuring residents it’s safe; it’s not and may harm persons with asthma, emphysema and other respiratory ailments;
— in 1969, DOD’s Dr. Robert MacMahan requests $10 million to develop a synthetic biological agent for which no natural immunity exists;
— from the 1960s through at least the 1980s, the US assaults Cuba with biological agent attacks;
— in 1970, US Southeast Asian forces conduct Operation Tailwind using sarin nerve gas in Laos; many die, including civilians; Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Joint Chiefs Chairman, confirmes the raid on CNN in 1998; under Pentagon pressure, CNN retracts the report and fires award-winning journalist Peter Arnett and co-producers April Oliver and Jack Smith because they refuse to disavow their report;
— in 1971, US forces end direct use of Agent Orange in Southeast Asia; also in 1971 with CIA help, an anti-Castro paramilitary group introduces African swine fever into Cuba; it infects a half a million pigs and results in their destruction; a few months later a similar attack fails against Cuban poultry; in 1981, a covert US operation unleashes a type 2 dengue fever outbreak – the first in the Caribbean since the turn of the century involving hemorrhagic shock on a massive scale; over 300,000 cases are reported, including 158 fatalities;
— in 1975, the Senate Church Committee confirms from a CIA memorandum that US “defensive” bioweapons are stockpiled at Fort Detrick, MD – including anthrax, encephalitis, tuberculosis, shellfish toxin, and food poisons;
— in 1980, Congress approves a nerve gas facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas;
— during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, the US supplies Iraq with toxic biological and chemical agents; Ronald Reagan signs a secret order to do “whatever (is) necessary and ‘legal’ ” to prevent Iraq from losing the war;” a 1994 congressional inquiry later finds that dozens of biological agents were shipped, including various strains of anthrax and precursors of nerve gas (like sarin), gangrene, and West Nile virus;
— in 1984, Reagan orders M55 rockets retooled to contain high-yield explosives and VX gas; his administration begins researching and developing biological agents allegedly for “defensive purposes;”
— in 1985 and 1986, the US resumes open-air biological agents testing; it likely never stopped;
— in 1987, Congress votes to resume chemical weapons production;
— in 1989, 149 nations at the Paris Chemical Weapons Conference condemn these weapons; after signing the treaty, it’s revealed that the US plans to produce poison gas; at the UN, GHW Bush reaffirms the US commitment to eliminate chemical weapons in 10 years; the US implements the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 – “to implement….the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and Their Destruction….;”
— in 1990, GHW Bush signs the 1989 act making it illegal for the US to develop, possess or use biological weapons; Bush also signs Executive Order 12735 stating: the spread of chemical and biological weapons constitutes an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States;”
— following the Gulf War, reports surface about US forces’ health problems – later called Gulf War Syndrome; the likely cause – widespread use of depleted uranium, other toxic substances, and the illegal use (on nearly 700,000 theater forces) of experimental vaccines in violation of the Nuremberg Code on medical experimentation; over 12,000 have since died and over 30% are now ill from non-combat-related factors; they’ve since filed claims with the VA for medical care, compensation, and pension benefits;
— in 1997, Cuba accuses the US of spraying crops with biological agents;
— in 1997, the US ratifies the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) banning the production, stockpile and use of these substances;
— in 2001, the Bush administration rejects the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) citing 38 problems with it, some called serious; claiming a need to counter chemical and biological weapons threats, it’s spending multi-billions illegally to develop, test and stockpile “first-strike” chemical and biological weapons that endanger homeland security and threaten good relations with other countries;
— all along, a BWC loophole allows appropriate types and amounts of biological agents to be used for “prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes” – construed to be defensive; it also permits “research,” not “development;” the CIA took full advantage to conduct programs for offense, not defense or to further peace; further, the BWC includes nothing about genetic engineering because it didn’t exist at the time.
The US Secret Bioweapons Program
In November 2001, Michel Chossudovsky used this title for his Global Research.ca article. It was when “an impressive military arsenal of aircraft carriers and gun-boats” was building up in the Persian Gulf in preparation for “a major bombing operation….against Iraq” at a future designated time.
Back home, the administration used the 2001 anthrax attacks as “justification for extending the ‘campaign against international terrorism’ to Iraq….Washington singled out Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Libya of violating the international treaty banning weapons of germ warfare.”
At the same time, ample evidence “confirms that the US has built an extensive arsenal of biological weapons (in blatant violation) of international laws and covenants.” It was enlarged in the 1980s and 1990s but significantly expanded under George Bush on the pretext of being strictly “defensive” and to “curb the use of germ warfare by ‘rogue states.’ ”
On October 29, 2002, the London Guardian reported that “Respected scientists on both sides of the Atlantic warned that the US is (illegally) developing a new generation of weapons that undermine and possibly violate international treaties on biological and chemical warfare” – ironically at the same time it accused Iraq of these same type violations.
University of Bradford international security professor Malcolm Dando and University of California microbiology lecturer Mark Wheelis accused the Bush administration of “encouraging a breakdown in arms control” treaties by secretly conducting these programs. Dando said they include:
— developing a cluster bomb to disperse bioweapons;
— building a bioweapons plant from commercially available materials to prove “terrorists” can do it;
— genetically engineering a more potent anthrax strain;
— producing dried and weaponized anthrax spores in quantities far larger than for research;
— researching and producing hallucinogenic weapons such as BZ gas; and
— developing “non-lethal” weapons similar to the gas Russia used to end the 2002 Moscow theater siege that killed around 170 people and injured hundreds.
In February 2008, the Sunshine Project suspended operations, but its website is still accessible. It was an NGO dedicated to banning and “avert(ing) the dangers of” bioweapons. In 2001, it accused the Bush administration of advancing “a plan to undermine international controls on biological weapons.”
On May 8, 2002, it issued a press release titled “US Armed Forces Push for Offensive Biological Weapons Development – genetically engineered microbes that attack items such as fuel, plastics and asphalt” in violation of international law. The proposals date from 1997 and involve the (Washington, DC) Naval Research Laboratory and the (Brooks Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas) Armstrong Laboratory. They come at a time when the US rejected “legally-binding” UN inspections of “suspected” facilities producing weapons “explicitly for offense.”
Additional documents have been suppressed and those known “are probably only the tip of the iceberg….The National Academies are also concealing related documents. After the Sunshine Project requested copies….on March 12, 2002, (they) placed a ‘security hold’ on the public file” without explanation. “The research proposed by the Air Force and Navy raises serious legal questions. Under the (1989) US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act, development of biological weapons, including those that attack materials, is subject to federal criminal and civil penalties.” It also prohibits development, acquisition and stockpiling of agents intended as bioweapons.
On May 21, 2004, AP reported that arms control advocates warned the Bush administration that “proposed research for a new (Fort Detrick) Homeland Security center may violate an international ban on biological weapons and encourage other countries to follow.” Experts said proposals for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) flout bioweapons prohibitions by crossing the line between “defensive” research and banned weapons development.
On July 31, 2007 the London Guardian reported that the US is “Building (a) Treaty-Breaching Germ War Defence Centre” near Washington, DC” – NBACC. It’s to be completed in 2008 and will be a “vast germ warfare laboratory intended to help protect the US against an attack with biological weapons, but critics say the laboratory’s work will violate international law and its extreme secrecy will exacerbate a biological arms race (by) accelerat(ing) work on similar facilities around the world.”
It will house “heavily guarded and hermetically sealed chambers….to produce and stockpile the world’s most lethal bacteria and viruses” – forbidden by the 1972 BWC and 1989 US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act. The Fort Detrick facility will be used for the new 160,000 square foot lab, and it’s authorization coincided with the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people, and along with 9/11, unleashed everything that followed.
DHS calls Fort Detrick the home of “The National Interagency Biodefense Campus.” Besides NBACC, other agencies there include:
— the Health and Human Services’ (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID);
— the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit (FDWSRU); and
— the Department of Defense’s US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).
DHS says USAMRIID “conduct(s) basic and applied research on biological threats (to provide) cutting-edge medical research for the warfighter against biological threats.” International law and bioweapons expert, Francis Boyle, disagrees. He says the “program constitutes clear violations of the international (1972 BWC) arms control treaty….ratified by the United States in 1975.” He also cites BWC’s preamble that states in part:
“….Parties to this Convention (are) Determined to act with a view to achieving effective progress towards general and complete disarmament, including the prohibition and elimination of all types of weapons of mass destruction, and convinced that the prohibition of the development, production and stockpiling of chemical and bacteriological (biological) weapons and their elimination, through effective measures, will facilitate the achievement of general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control….” The BWC goes on to say that use of these weapons are so “repugnant to the conscience of mankind….that no effort should be spared to minimize this risk.”
In Boyle’s view, Fort Detrick’s NBACC and USAMRIID heighten risks because their work involves: “acquiring, growing, modifying, storing, packaging and dispersing classical, emerging and genetically engineered pathogens.” This work is an “unmistakable hallmark of an offensive weapons program” in violation of the 1989 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act that he authored. Even worse according to Edward Hammond, former director of the Sunshine Project: Recreating the deadly 1918 “Spanish flu” germ that killed an estimated 40 million worldwide (or other dangerous pathogens) increases “the possibility of (a) man-made disaster, either accidental or deliberate….for the entire world.” If a single viral particle or cell escapes or is unleashed, an enormous outbreak may result with potentially catastrophic consequences.
The Fort Detrick plan derives from a Bush Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-10) written April 28, 2004. It states: “Among our many initiatives we are continuing to develop more forward-looking analyses, to include Red Teaming efforts, to understand new scientific trends that may be exploited by our adversaries to develop biological weapons and to help position intelligence collectors ahead of the problem.” Boyle calls it “a smoking gun” aimed at the BWC.
“Red Teaming means that we actually have people out there on a Red Team plotting, planning, scheming and conspiring how to use biowarfare” and sooner or later will unleash it using living organisms for military purposes. They may be viral, bacterial, fungal, or other forms that can spread over a vast terrain by wind, water, insect, animal, or humans, according to Jeremy Rifkin, author of “The Biotech Century.” Rifkin also asserts it’s “impossible to distinguish between defensive and offensive research in the field,” and given this administration’s penchant for lying and secrecy, other nations will be justifiably suspicious.
The Bush administration proceeded anyway. Since 9/11, it spent or allocated around $50 billion on bioweapons development through 11 federal departments and agencies, including DOD and DHS. For FY 2009, it wants an additional $8.1 billion or $2.5 billion more than in FY2008. It calls its program preventive and defensive and cites Project BioShield as an example. It became law in July 2004 as a 10 year program to develop countermeasures to biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents. It was, in fact, a gift to companies like Gilead Sciences, the company Donald Rumsfeld led as chairman from 1997 to 2001 (and remains a major shareholder) until he left to become George Bush’s Defense Secretary.
It would have also required every American to be vaccinated under the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005. It passed the Senate but not the House and would have, under a public emergency, allowed experimental or approved drugs to be used with insufficient knowledge of their safety – in violation of the Nuremburg Code on medical experimentation. It also would have immunized companies from liability and denied those harmed the right to sue.
Private Bioweapons Labs Cashing In
According to the Sunshine Project, “scores of US universities and biotechnology companies (since 2001) have benefitted handsomely from billions of dollars in ‘biodefense’ cash. Across the country, ‘biodefense’ labs are sprouting up like weeds. The unrelenting spigot of federal money (has) thousands of scientists and technicians” doing bioweapons research on some of the deadliest pathogens. But the problem is much greater than that:
— projects underway are illegal;
— immense secrecy enshrouds them; and
— federal oversight is so lax that NIH safety guidelines aren’t enforced and CDC poorly identifies problems it should address; as a result, “accidents are popping up everywhere” amidst a “pervasive cover-up culture” that hides them – in direct violation of federal rules and responsible practice that:
(1) require government agencies to protect the public from dangerous pathogens, and
(2) obligate research labs to disclose the nature of their work; failure to do so suggests alleged biodefense research is, in fact, cover for offensive biowarfare programs to complement Fort Detrick and other government site efforts.
The Sunshine Project believes about 400 private bioweapons labs now operate around the country with no public disclosure of their activities – and plenty of reasons to worry Francis Boyle that the Bush administration is up to mischief. It “sabotaged the Verification Protocol for the BWC (and) fully intend(s) to (engage in) research, development and testing of illegal and criminal offensive biowarfare programs.” That prospect should frighten everyone.
Reporter Sherwood Ross for sure. He calls the administration’s project “the costliest, most grandiose research scheme ever attempted (with) germ warfare capability….going forward under President Bush and in defiance of” US and international laws. Far worse, where once “germ warfare was an isolated happenstance, (today’s efforts elevate it) to an instrument of (deadly and loathsome) policy.
Other Recent Developments
On February 21, 2008, the Sidney Morning Herald reported that the Bush administration rejected claims made by Indonesian Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, in her book titled: “It Is Time for the World to Change! God’s Hand Behind Bird Flu Virus.” She questions whether the US is using bird flu samples collected from developing nations to develop biological weapons, not new vaccines as claimed.
On July 20, 2008, the Jakarta Post reported: “If there were a “National Darling Award” contest….Supari would probably win it. (Her) supporters praise her as a great third world heroine who dares challenge the global structure of injustice and inequality perpetrated by powerful states (like the US) and networks of international institutions. Most of the praise is based on opinions” from her new book mentioned above.
She claims the US is transferring virus samples to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It’s one of two US nuclear weapons labs that will operate new biological research facilities capable of researching and developing dangerous pathogens in violation of the BWC and US Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. California-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is the other one. On January 25, it began operating a new Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) lab. In August, Los Alamos is scheduled to complete a federally mandated environmental study for a similar lab to begin operations shortly thereafter. Given the Bush administration’s penchant for secrecy, Supari’s accusations may be justified.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) establishes biosafety classifications. BLS-4 ones, like for Ebola, are the most dangerous, in part, because no known cures exist. Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore currently operate BLS-2 labs. They’ll now have BLS-3 ones to study infectious agents able to cause serious or fatal illnesses if inhaled. But there’s no way to know if both labs, Fort Detrick, others like the former Edgewood Arsenal (now the Edgewood Area at the Aberdeen Proving Ground), Oak Ridge Ridge National Laboratory, and still more we don’t know about will secretly research any type pathogens, including the most dangerous ones, for any purpose – offense or defense.
What is known is that government labs will study pathogens posing serious public health and safety threats. Ones like anthrax, botulism, brucellosis, plague, Rickettsia, tularemia, Avian influenza, H5N1 (the recent strain reported and called the most dangerous), and valley fever plus whatever others are planned but kept secret.
Most important is this. These labs conduct weapons research, so they’ll likely focus on bioweapons and not follow BWC “prophylactic, protective, or other peaceful purposes” guidelines. For example, vaccines and potential biological weapons defenses may, in fact, be for offense. Distinguishing between the two is impossible so other nations and figures like Supari are suspicious.
They’re not comforted by Lawrence Livermore’s Lynda Seaver. On February 12, she told Arms Control Today that the US is “a signatory to the Biowarfare Convention and does not conduct bioweapons research.” She also said most work there will be unclassified. On February 15, however, a CDC spokesperson suggested otherwise and informed Arms Control Today that Lawrence Livermore security restrictions are tight as they are at Los Alamos, Fort Detrick and other US weapons research facilities. They bar transparency and place strict limits on sharing select agents research to prevent other nations from knowing it exists or its purpose.
Further, later this year DHS will complete construction of the new Fort Detrick lab (NBACC), and a new $500 million animal research facility is planned. Both will have BLS-3 and 4 capabilities. They’ll work on the most dangerous known pathogens and conduct controversial type threat assessment research – to develop and produce new biological weapons and develop defenses against them. Once again, differentiating between offense and defense is impossible, and given their penchant for deception and secrecy, no one takes Bush administration officials at their word nor should they.
Francis Boyle’s “Biowarfare and Terrorism”
Boyle drafted the 1989 Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act and covers it in his 2006 book. It’s now codified in Title 18 of the US Code, sections 175 – 178 and was the implementing legislation for the landmark 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).
MIT molecular biology professor Jonathan King wrote this about the book in its forward:
It “outlines how and why the United States government initiated, sustained and then dramatically expanded an illegal biological arms buildup….Boyle reveals how the new (multi-) billion-dollar US Chemical and Biological Defense Program has been reoriented (endorsing “first strike” CBW use in war) to accord with the Neo-Conservative pre-emptive strike agenda – this time by (illegal) biological and chemical warfare.” This “represent(s) a significant emerging danger to our population (and) threaten(s) international relations among nations.” These programs “are always called defensive (but) with biological weapons, defensive and offensive programs overlap almost completely.”
“Boyle (also) sheds new light on the motives for the (2001) anthrax attacks, the media black hole of silence (about them), and why the FBI may never apprehended the perpetrators of this seminal crime of the 21st century.” They killed five people, injured 17 others, and temporarily shut down Congress, the Supreme Court, and other federal operations. Army scientist Dr. Steven Hatfill was unfairly implicated as a “person of interest” but was never charged. He sued the Justice Department and in June was awarded $2.8 million and a $150,000 annuity for violating his privacy, leaking false and inflammatory information, costing him his job and reputation, and blasting his name all over the media for days. It was the beginning of the frightening events that followed.
Boyle is currently a leading proponent of an effort to impeach George Bush, Dick Cheney and other high-level administration figures for their crimes of war, against humanity and other grievous violations of domestic and international law. In his “Biowarfare and Terrorism,” he sounds an alarm about the administration’s bioweapons program and what it means for humanity. He fears “a catastrophic biowarfare or bioterrorist incident or accident (is) a statistical certainty.” It highlights enormous new risks plus other frightening ones like the possibility of nuclear war and catastrophic fallout from it. That, permanent wars, a potential Andromeda Strain, police state justice, and destroying the republic are but five among other threats since the advent of George Bush and his roguish team.
In “Biowarfare and Terrorism,” Boyle addresses the bioweapons threat as an expert on the subject and gives readers an historical perspective. He asserts that the US government dramatically expanded an illegal biological arms development, production, and buildup that endangers all humanity with its potential. It’s part of an extremist agenda for unchallengeable power and right to unleash “proactive” wars with the most aggressive weapons in its arsensal – nuclear, chemical, biological, others, space-based ones, and new ones in development.
Since WW II, America has actively developed, tested, and used terror weapons, including biological ones. Even after Nixon ended the nation’s biowarfare programs, they never stopped. The CIA remained active through a loophole in the law, then the Reagan administration reactivated what Nixon slowed down. It acted much like the current regime with many of the same officials espousing similar extremist views – that America must exploit its technological superiority and not let laws, norms, or the greater good deter them.
The Bush administration raised the stakes and threatens all humanity. Boyle believes it used 9/11 and the anthrax attacks to stampede Congress and the public into aggressive wars and a menu of repressive laws. He also thinks the FBI knows who’s behind the anthrax attacks: criminal US government elements planning a police state and another frightening enterprise – to fight and win a future biowar. A possible nuclear one as well. Boyle sounds the alarm about what may lie ahead and its potential consequences.
In October 2003, the National Academy of Sciences did as well. It warned about the “misuse of tools, technology, or knowledge base of (bioweapons) research for offensive military or terrorist purposes.” That’s the present risk. It makes everyone unwitting subjects of a recklessly endangering experiment.
STEPHEN LENDMAN is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.