By Jeffrey K. Silverman
The Center for Disease Control, CDC, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, says that the US Military is in charge of the bio lab, not the Georgian government.
Tensions between Russia and the West are heating up again. And it is not only the Edward Snowden affair that has turned up the heat between Moscow and Washington.
After being put under the spotlight by recent media speculation that Georgia was housing a bioweapons lab, namely the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Tbilisi, the facility was visited in May of 2013 by the Prime Minister of Georgia, accompanied by both the Georgian Health Minister and the US Ambassador.
Hours later, surprisingly and without any prior discussion, the Georgian government formally announced the liquidation of the Center, no reason being given.
According to government decree No 422, dated the previous day (7th May 2013), the assets of the Center will be handed over to the Georgian National Center for Disease Control. A liquidation commission will be set up to carry out the liquidation procedure. The commission will be manned by representatives of government entities.
Something does not add up
The CDC tells another story, however. In response to a recent press inquiry, the CDC responded that “the lab is managed by the Department of Defense.” The media representative suggested we contact USAMIRID (U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases), which is located at Fort Detrick. (Source)
If the Georgia lab, the Central Reference Lab, is non functional and has never been functional, as is stated, where would the problem be?
Answer: There are other labs and the bio lab which is now the center of attention is basically a decoy.
A number of labs, strewn across Eastern Europe, are umbilically linked to the Biological Weapon Proliferation Prevention (BWPP) programme and various projects within it, which is a cover for what is most likely an offensive programme. If the strains turn out to be antibiotic resistant, ongoing research into viruses that eat bacteria, and attack infections that are antibiotic resistant can be quickly accessed.
Whoever has such information controls the bioweapons battleground. Given the intense interest manifested by the government of the United States in maintaining a public relations stance that its only interest is in protecting the world from bioterrorism when the US is clearly involved in promoting bioweapons research, it would appear the picture is much larger.
And if the Georgia lab, the one funded by DTRA, is non functional, then where would the problem be?
Possibly the answer lies in the centre of Tbilisi at the G. Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage, Microbiology and Virology. The Eliava Institute is an internationally known centre of bacteriophage research and applied microbiology. It was established in 1923 as the World Centre of Bacteriophage Research. During the Soviet period the Institute was part of the all-Soviet Ministry of Health, known first as the Institute of Microbiology, Epidemiology and Bacteriophages and later as the Scientific-Research Institute of Vaccines. This may be the gem in the crown of the weapons research programme here, not the Lugar Lab, which is a showpiece, a decoy.
At a time of growing concern about increasing antibiotic resistance, bacteriophages might just supply the solution. Bacteria is evolving with new generations faster than science is able to keep up, resistance is common and the overuse of antibiotics is causing the last line of new antibiotics to become resistant. Prior to the discovery and widespread use of antibiotics, it was suggested that bacterial infections could be prevented and/or treated by the administration of bacteriophages. Although the early clinical studies with bacteriophages were not vigorously pursued in the United States and Western Europe, phages continued to be utilized in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
According to Amiran Mepariani of the Eliava Institute with 40 years of experience on the phages using as a medicine for a therapeutic purposes,
I can tell with full responsibility for my words that I never faced any case of worsening in the course of the cure, or even any notion of the side effects caused by Bacterial phages. The Phages are always effective, it is a specific action. If he is chosen correctly specifically against a definite microorganism, the bacterial phage is always 100 percent effective.
The Eliava Institute is actively involved in a US-Georgian Programme on “Biological Weapons Proliferation Prevention,” BWPP. The programme aims at “consolidation and protection of especially dangerous pathogens,” and this sounds curiously like bioweapons storage, doesn’t it?
Aside from inside sources, open sourced information indicates that the UK Ministry of Defense is also interested in the strains being produced there. Grace Filby, a researcher, has shared a shocking secret report by an anonymous Wellcome Trust peer reviewer described as an ‘expert’. Compare it with information supplied by the Ministry of Defence about the Eliava Report on the health value of bacteriophage, which is being funded by the Global Partnership.
Perhaps it is the cure that is more valuable than the bio agent?
The Eliava Institute founded in 1923 by Giorgi Eliava, a prominent Georgian bacteriologist, together with Felix d’Herelle. D’Herelle spent several months in Georgia collaborating with Eliava and other Georgian colleagues, and he intended to move to Tbilisi permanently (a cottage built for his use still stands on the Institute’s grounds).
However, in 1937 Eliava was arrested by Stalin’s NKVD (the predecessor of the KGB), pronounced a “People’s Enemy,” and executed. Frustrated and disillusioned, d’Herelle never returned to Georgia. Nonetheless, the Institute survived and later became one of the largest facilities in the world engaged in the development of therapeutic phage preparations. The Institute, during its best times, employed approximately 1,200 researchers and support personnel and produced phage preparations (often several tons a day) against a dozen bacterial pathogens, including staphylococci, Pseudomonas, Proteus, and many enteric pathogens. Most of the Soviet studies reviewed in this article involved phages developed and produced at the EIBMV.
It is possible that much of the at least 300 million dollars actually spent for the so called Central Reference, Public and Animal Health Lab has been diverted into this wider research in Georgia, including vaccine manufacturing sites and satellite labs. Bechtel National is involved and employment contacts are being extended at the very time when this CRHL project near the Tbilisi International airport is supposed to be shut down, and taken under the control of the Georgian government, ending its tenure as a joint US and Georgian Military Project.
It seems this lab here, for phage bacteriology, the Eliava Institute, was the gem in the crown of exotic microorganism research for the Soviets. After the collapse of USSR, the Americans swooped in and grabbed it up.
The Strange Case of the Vanishing Bio-Weapons Lab
So what is going on with the Lugar lab? The US pumped over 150 million into the lab, only to have it liquidated upon opening? As previously stated, according to government decree No 422, the assets of the Center will be handed over to the Georgian National Center for Disease Control.
However, it appears that US involvement in the lab is ongoing. Bechtel National, which was involved in the construction of the lab, has a deal with Georgian Technology Management Company (TMC) on biological non-proliferation under the apparent guise of a civilian project. American employees’ contracts at the Lugar lab are being extended. According to the Georgian Times, an English Language Weekly, the decree, dated May 7, was published on the official webpage of the Government of Georgia and quotes Amiran Gamkrelidze, Head of the NCDC, says that it only concerns the centre’s legal status.
“The research centre was a legal entity of private law, and the NCDC is a legal entity of public law. We had to change its legal status to make it NCDC property,” he told the Georgian Times. “This doesn’t mean that the laboratory will be sold off or that its profile will be changed. It will keep its old name but will be merged with the NCDC and have a multi-sectoral supervisory board, chaired by the Health Ministry,” he added.
This lab was designed in 2004-5 but was actually constructed during 2007-2010, with the construction phase November 1, 2010.
The Russian government has made public accusations that the lab is a cover for US bioweapons research. Moreover, Russian officials have publicly questioned the intent of the US to launch this lab so close to the Russian border. There are also escalating concerns that the research underway may be in violation of the international bioweapons treaty, the BWC.
All these projects in Georgia and the region are linked. Take for instance, one currently underway for Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage:
The very name of the project, “Strengthening Bio Safety and Bio Security Capabilities in South Caucasus and in Central Asian Countries, Annex A, Project A4,” indicates that the lab is part of a larger effort that deals not with the research at this institute but addresses the issue of anti-biotic resistance, which has military and civilian implications.
The timing of this and other reports shadows reports coming out of the United States that the US may be considering using bioweapons against its own citizens, with the possibility of using anthrax. It appears, based on various sources, the US is planning something major, something of the level of the 1918 flu, but tightly controlled.
There have already been outbreaks of anthrax in Georgia and the recent measles outbreak, March through July 2013, prompted a questionable response by public health officials, who were calling up people recommending that “everybody” in family be vaccinated. Once you have this disease, then you have immunity for life, unless of course they are experimenting with new strains and there is something more in the vaccine. This is highly suspected since the US Department of Defense donated the vaccine to Georgia.
This may be the “why” of the 2001 anthrax attacks and the resultant changing of the biological weapons legislation, via the USA PATRIOT Act Section 817. The US used the anthrax letters of 2001 to launch a massive biological warfare research programme within its own borders, to the tune of over $70 billion in Congressional allocations. There are now scattered reports coming in of biological weapons being tested against individuals in country.
There have even been proposals for anthrax vaccines to be tested on children. There appears to be some nexus to projects in Georgia and other countries funded by the US government and the Bioweapons Proliferation Prevention, which is a US military project; it changed its name to Biological Threat Reduction Programme (BTRP) a few years back.
The programme operates within an interagency framework to prevent the proliferation of expertise, materials, equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development of biological weapons. DTRA has carried out implementation of the biothreat reduction projects in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine. (Source)
BWPP now refers to Biological Weapons Prevention Project, which is a civil society effort. All the projects in Georgia, at least based on open sourced information and other documents provided by Bechtel National BWPP Outside of Russia were actually making a reference to BTRP. There seems to be a concerted effort here to fold in former Soviet states for the use of the West. And now the Russians have their backs up. Blasting the US in the Russian Press, Russia’s chief sanitary inspector, Gennady Onishchenko, accused the US of producing biological weapons in Georgia. (Source)
Section 817 of the USA PATRIOT Act
Changes to the US’s biological weapons statute in Section 817 of the USA PATRIOT Act, entitled the Expansion of the Biological Weapons Statute, have given the US government immunity from its own prohibitions on biological weapons. In addition, the US failed to inform the international treaty organization, the BWC, of these changes. Under the CBM’s, the US has a political mandate to inform the treaty org of these types of changes.
CBM’s have been adopted by the BWC in lieu of a real verification protocol. CBM’s are “Confidence Building Measures.,” wherein a state party self reports to the Convention its activity—how many labs, changes in legislation, etc. This amounts to the fox reporting on his own behavior in the henhouse, as it were.
The fact that the BWC remains without a verification protocol and instead relies on the unverifiable CBM’s is due to the US’s refusal to endorse the protocol that was hammered out by a BWC working group. Several months later, the anthrax attacks hit selected targets on the East Coast of the US.
One might wonder, from a legal perspective, given the involvement of the US in the Georgia lab, what is the liability, actual agenda, and given the US’s exception to its own rules how does this play out with its involvement in Eastern European labs, such as the ones in Georgia? The law is rather clear in terms of penalties for being involved with restricted bio agents — except, apparently, if the US government is involved.
From Section 817 of the USA PATRIOT Act:
(c) Whoever knowingly violates this section shall be fined as provided in this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both, but the prohibition contained in this section shall not apply with respect to any duly authorized United States governmental activity. (emphasis added)
One thing is clear: Americans are still directly involved in the bio research program in Georgia, whether it is designed for civilian or military purposes. Americans are still there working as they have been since the Lugar lab opened in 2010.
One such American, Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org, just received an offer to extend his contract for another two years. It is common knowledge that the Georgians cannot keep a lab like this open. They have no concept of active maintenance and monitoring. CH2M Hill and Battelle, two main contractors to Bechtel and DoD, are still there for maintenance.
And contradicting the protestations that the US has signed off from its involvement in the lab is the fact that the lab is still hiring high level English translators.
This was posted in May:
If the US DoD wanted to have a “successful” epidemic which only took out the target populations they would have to cook up something that didn’t easily spread. An agent, like Anthrax, that will not easily spread from person to person would seem to be ideal.
Anthrax is endemic to livestock herds in Georgia. Georgia provides the ideal environment to study the effects of the disease and to work on weaponization and cure; it is necessary to have the disease agent in order to create the countermeasure.
It has been noted by other journalists studying the bioweapons agenda of the United States that an effort to launch a global epidemic would of necessity mandate the following:
1) selectivity in delivery system, or 2) selectivity in agents. Otherwise, there would be unintended casualties, possibly impacting those involved in creating the epidemic. The US’s involvement in creating gene specific weapons was recently revealed in this article: http://www.activistpost.com/2013/06/genetic-weapons-can-your-dna-kill-you.html
Anthrax as an infectious agent is not highly contagious, other than at an approximate infectious dose; it would also perfectly fit the bill for its targeted population.
Jeffrey K. Silverman, BS, MS, freelance journalist, US Army Veteran, USAR, studied International Science and Technology Policy at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY, formerly stationed at the Bluegrass Army Depot, a chemical weapons stockpile which comprises 523 tons of nerve agents GB and VX, and mustard agent in projectiles, warheads and rockets, Richmond Kentucky, United States. Now long-term resident and citizen of Georgia, 20 years plus – resides in Tbilisi Georgia.
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