Kommentar: Følgende er endnu en eksplosiv undersøgelse skrevet af den bulgarske journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, som tidligere har berettet at USA's (og dets allieredes) diplomatiske flyvninger transporterer våben til IS (Islamisk Stat) og USA's biovåbenanlæg rundt om i verden. Vi interviewede hende her her.
Dette militære anlæg er blot et af Pentagons mange biolvåbenlaboratorier i 25 lande over hele verden. De er finansieret af Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under et USD 2,1 milliarder militærprogram - Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), og er placeret i tidligere Sovjetrepublikker som Georgien og Ukraine, i Mellemøsten, Sydøstasien og Afrika.
Kommentar: Delvist oversat af Sott.net fra Ethnic-Specific Weapons: Leaked Documents Reveal US Diplomats in Georgia Trafficking Human Blood And Pathogens For Pentagon Biowarfare Laboratory
The Pentagon biolaboratory is heavily guarded. All passers-by within a radius of 100m are filmed although the military biolaboratory is located within a residential area.
Secret experiments at night
However, I go back at night when the laboratory is seemingly still working. No matter how far the distance, the air is laden with the smell of chemicals. This smell coming from the Lugar Center at night is blown by the wind to the residential area. Local residents from the Alexeevka neighbourhood, where the laboratory is located, complain that dangerous chemicals are being secretly burnt at night and that hazardous waste is being emptied into the nearby river through the laboratory's pipes.
"There is a smoke - black, red, green at night or especially early in the morning at around 3, 4 a.m. Even the hens have died. They put a big pipe underground and connected it to the drains. This smell comes from there. It smells like rotten eggs and decaying hay. The smell is so bad and is spread in different directions by the wind," says Eteri Gogitidze who lives in a block of flats next to the laboratory.
Locals: Poisonous gas killed two Filipinos
"The first time when they called the Emergency service we were told that they had food poisoning from fish. But the second time when the ambulance came there was foam coming out of their mouths. They were shouting: "Help, Help!" When they passed away, they took them away and covered it all up. It all happened here," Albert Nurbekyan shows the sealed-off flat where the foreign scientists died.
Another witness, Elvira Ratiani, who lived next door, witnessed the foreigners die before her eyes. "They were my neighbors, we lived on the same floor, and once they were poisoned, and asked us to call the Emergency service. We phoned and the Emergency service saved them. They said it was probably fish poisoning. The second time, they knocked on the door and again asked for help. There were four Filipinos, two of them were saved, but the other two died," recalls Elvira Ratiani who lives in the fatal block 44 of the Alexeevka Settlement right next to the laboratory.
Human blood and pathogens as diplomatic cargo to the US Embassy - leaked documents
Internal documents and correspondence between the Ministry of Health of Georgia and the US Embassy to Tbilisi show what experiments have been conducted at the Lugar Center. Leaked documents reveal that the US Embassy to Tbilisi transports pathogens, as well as frozen human blood, as diplomatic cargo.
instructions from the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which oversees and funds the laboratories, biological material for the needs of the program must be shipped as hand-carrying items to the US embassies.
The Pentagon: Prostitutes strictly prohibited, no sex abroad
Other instructions to US personnel working under the military program prohibit the use of prostitutes, and any interaction with individuals who may reasonably be assumed to be working as prostitutes.
US scientists test viruses under diplomatic immunity
Tasked with the program at the Lugar Center are biologists from the US Army Medical Research Unit-Georgia (USAMRU-G) along with private American contractors and the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). Certain zones of the laboratory are classified zones and are accessible only to American citizens with security clearance. They are accorded diplomatic immunity under the 2002 US-Georgia Agreement on defense cooperation.
Why does a Pentagon employee lie about his workplace? I have not received any answer. Joshua Bast drives off immediately after being challenged. He is not the only US non-diplomat working on the Pentagon program who has been accorded diplomatic immunity. There are six diplomatic cars in the car park of the laboratory, all of them with registration plates of the US Embassy.
are paid for by the Pentagon and not by the government of Georgia, according to information obtained from the US Federal Contract registry. Hence, Georgia has no control over the activities of its foreign sponsor. Furthermore, the Pentagon scientists can work in direct violation of international law.
International law is not applicable
Under a 3 year-long agreement between the Walter Reed Army Institute and the Georgian National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the Pentagon has been given full access to the local collection of deadly bio agents in order to study them. These are agents which can cause Anthrax, Tularemia, Brucella and plague.
Drone for releasing toxic mosquitoes
The work that US diplomats perform at the Lugar Center has nothing to do with diplomacy and does not fall under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Joshua Best, for instance, is an entomologist and researches insects, according to a video released by the US Embassy to promote peaceful purposes of the otherwise military program of the US in Georgia.
Georgia borders on the US' main rival - Russia. Moscow has repeatedly voiced its concerns about the potential development of biological weapons near Russian borders, including the spread of diseases through insects.
Such fears are not groundless, considering a recent US patent for a Toxic Mosquito Aerial Release System, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. The invention includes a drone which can release infected mosquitoes.
stroke-inducing bullets, in a span of just two years from 2013 to 2015. A person with such a name however does not exist in the US citizens registry. The US patent lawyer, Louis Ventre, who filed the application, declined to comment on whether this name was a pseudonym and who his client actually was (see e-mails below).
'Surveillance Work on Acute Febrile Illness' and all (female) sand flies were tested to determine their infectivity rate. A third project, also including a Sand Flies collection, studied the characteristics of their salivary glands. Sand Flies carry dangerous parasites in their saliva which they can transmit to humans through a bite.
Assessing the Seroprevalence and Genetic Diversity of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV) and Hantaviruses in Georgia'. The Pentagon projects involving ticks coincided with an inexplicable outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), which is caused by infection through a tick-borne virus. In 2014 34 people became infected (amongst which a 4-year old child). A total of 60 cases with 9 fatalities have been registered in Georgia since 2009, according to a leaked e-mail sent by the Lugar Center director Amiran Gamkrelidze to the Minister of Health of Georgia David Sergeenko.
White Powder Over Chechnya
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which runs the US military program at the Lugar Center in Georgia, is alleged to have already performed field tests with an unknown substance in Chechnya, Russia. In June 2017 local citizens reported on a drone disseminating white powder close to the Russian border with Georgia.
Above: a local resident from a village in Chechnya close to the Russia-Georgia border shows traces of white powder on his car, which he says is regularly sprayed in the area.The Pentagon does have drones for powder dissemination of biological agents, according to information obtained from the US Federal contracts registry. Such field tests involving drones for bio-agent dispersion have been performed since 2012 at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The military facility not only produces live bio agents which include anthrax, botulinum toxin, tularemia, etc. under the pretext of studying them, but also disseminates them though aerosol, powder and explosives, as proven in a 2012 US Army Report.
Above: an offer for commercial work by the US Army - field tests involving bio-agents and drones can be found published on a US federal contracts website.US Army documents and photos show that the Pentagon has developed various dissemination methods for bioterrorism attacks, including by explosives.
Capabilities Report 2012, West Desert Test Center
Georgia Land Border Security Project. The activities related to this project have been outsourced to a private American company - Parsons Government Services International. Parsons has been awarded a $17.7 million contract under the Pentagon border security project in Georgia. DTRA has previously contracted Parsons for similar border security projects in Lebanon, Jordan, Libya and Syria. Interestingly, a subcontractor working on this border security project - TMC Global Professional Services, also happens to be contracted by DTRA for scientific support at the Lugar Center. The same American company - TMC, which works at the Lugar Center also carries out surveillance for WMD on the Georgian borders. The project coincides with the incident involving powder dissemination which was reported and filmed in neighbouring Chechnya close to the Georgian border.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has outsourced much of the work under the military program to private companies, which are not accountable to Congress, and which can operate more freely and move around the rule of law.
$3.8 million contract in 2016 running until 2021 for support services at the Lugar Center. Interestingly, the same year the same private company was awarded another $975 million counter narcoterrorism contract by the Pentagon. Why has a company, which works for the Pentagon on a program to counter narcotics, been concurrently given work at a military laboratory which burns chemicals at night?
Leaked documents reveal another company involved in the program in Georgia - Booz Allen Hamilton.
five lucrative contracts by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) since 2010 running until 2022, totaling at least $358 million for intelligence support and chemical weapons agents support services. According to the company's website it has developed a web-based platform for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the US intelligence community. The system currently holds more than 9 terabytes of intelligence data and grows by about 1.5 million records every week.
The Pentagon has spent at least $161 million on the Lugar Center in Tbilisi under a contract with the private American contractor - CH2M Hill. This is half of the total sum of $361.4 million that the company had been awarded to operate Pentagon bio-laboratories in Georgia, Uganda, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan and South East Asia.
According to CH2M Hill, the US company has secured biological agents and employed former bio warfare scientists at the Lugar Center. These are scientists who are working for another American company involved in the military program in Georgia - Battelle Memorial Institute.
11 previous contracts with the US Army in the past. Source: US Army Activities in the US, Biological Warfare Programs, vol. II, 1977, p. 82
The same company also worked for the CIA under Project Clear Vision (1997-200) Its stated goal was to reconstruct a Soviet-era anthrax bomblet in order to test its dissemination characteristics. The clandestine CIA-Battelle operation was omitted from the US Biological Weapons Convention declarations submitted to the UN.
$23.9 million in federal contracts under the Pentagon's DTRA program in Georgia and Ukraine for scientific and technical consulting services. Metabiota had been contracted to perform work for DTRA before and during the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and was awarded $3.2 million (2012-2015) for work in Sierra Leone at the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak.
Journalist expelled from the European Parliament for confronting US official on bioweapons
I asked US Assistant Secretary of Health Robert Kadlec for a comment during a conference on biological weapons at the European Parliament in Brussels and was immediately expelled from the conference.
Documents reveal some of the projects funded by the Pentagon. Among them projects related to Russia. The US Air Force has been specifically collecting Russian RNA and synovial tissue samples raising fears in Moscow of a covert US ethnic bio-weapons program.
Russian Anthrax strain at the Lugar Center, for which Russia has a vaccine, a Russian Yersinia Pestis strain (which causes plague), as well as the genome sequence of the Russian Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus strain.
Georgians used as laboratory rabbits
The minister's e-mails also reveal another American project on Hepatitis C in Georgia, including cases of death. The pilot study of the US Center for Disease Control in Georgia is called 'Simplified Diagnostics and Monitoring of Hepatitis C Infected Patients in Rural Primary Care Settings Using Newly Approved Pan-Genotypic Antiviral Therapy'. It is designated as confidential information. The Ministry of Health of Georgia has signed an agreement with the US Center for Disease Control and the private American pharmaceutical company Gilead. According to this agreement, the American side provides free medicines for Hepatitis C treatment. In exchange, the private American company cannot be held accountable for any damage (intentional or not) which may result from the program. The agreement is signed by David Sergeenko from the Georgian side.
Gilead drugs advertisement promoting the success of the program.
From Paris With Love
Leaked e-mails between minister Sergeenko and the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) which supports the program on Hepatitic C in Georgia reveal private meetings in Paris between the government officials and Gilead.
Confidential Reports: At Least 100 Death Cases in Georgia
Leaked confidential documents show at least 100 deaths reported to Gilead, over the last 3 years, of patients under treatment with the Gilead drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, which had been provided to them for free.
Georgians have been used as laboratory rabbits for a new Hepatitis C experimental treatment by the private American company along with the US Center for Disease Control. Moreover, in some of those cases' reports sent to Gilead from the Georgian Ministry of Health, the cause of death is indicated as unknown or not related to the treatment. 30 Georgians died during the drug clinical trials in December 2015 alone. Another 30 death cases were reported in April 2016, also in the span of only a month. It is worth noting that the drugs are neither emergency resuscitation drugs for patients in clinical death condition, nor cancer palliative drugs. Most causes of death remain obscure and some diagnoses do not correlate with the International Classification of Diseases by WHO.
A financial report for 2017 reveals that the same company Gilead is among the main sponsors of the Center for Disease Control Foundation.
The biggest shareholder in Gilead is the former US Minister of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
On 5 September 2018, the Anticorruption Department of the Georgian National Security Agency announced that it had launched an investigation into the Hepatitis C program.
The US-funded Lugar Center in Tbilisi may have been involved in illegal experiments on Georgian citizens, the country's former security minister Igor Giorgadze has claimed, citing leaked documents he obtained. He said he managed to acquire over 100,000 pages of documents about the research done at the Richard Lugar Center.
The minister of Health of Georgia David Sergeenko did not respond to my questions. The leaked e-mails though show the minister's reaction.
The police have no answer as to who had broken into the flat, locked me up and why, given that nothing had been stolen. Probably someone does not want journalists to investigate what chemicals are secretly burnt at night in the Pentagon funded laboratory and why a private contractor on a Pentagon program to counter narcotics also happens to work at the same laboratory.
* This report is part of an upcoming documentary for Al Mayadeen TV, to be broadcast on 20 September.
About the author
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva is a Bulgarian investigative journalist and Middle East correspondent. Over the last two years she has published a series of revealing reports on weapons supplies to terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Her current work is focused on biological weapons progams.