We know that the Richard E. Lugar Centre in Tbilisi is actually a biological weapons lab. It has always been assumed that the US Department of Defense took over this facility, alongside a string of others in the former Soviet Union, for offensive purpose, and that the “scientific research” into animal and human diseases it claims to be carrying out is merely a front for developing new biological strains, viruses and bacteria, and then testing them on the Georgian population and the agricultural industry, without asking for consent, and even developing new generation vaccines and cures which are often experimental, naturally donated or supported by the US Department of Defence and German medical research facilities.
There is much evidence that these strains are being tested on the population, ironically even pundits got-it-right. More measurable evidence includes the sudden unexplained spikes in various diseases, human and plants, mortality rates. One also needs to mention the great reluctance of medical people in Georgia to talk about such things, other than off the record and in total confidence, not even to be recorded.
Fewer are even willing to discuss the fact that, after millions of dollars have been spent on this “research lab”, because of flawed engineering and substandard safety standards. Ironically it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a single research paper published in Georgian, and even the clinical studies are done in secret—and without informed consent. Josef Mengele, Nazi doctor, would be impressed with the Georgian project.
This is not all.
The present Georgian government made a great show of taking over this lab as soon as it took office, due to public concern about it, but the US Department of Defense still claims to run it regardless. A number of foreign contract staff at the centre had returned home to die, too many for these to be natural cause, unrelated deaths. If anyone starts asking questions, problems will result, as Ragnar Skre, a Norwegian Journalist found out after attacked at his home by mast men within hours of visiting the lab several years ago.
He thought at the time that robbery was not the purpose and suspected that the attack was connected to him having information on the planned production of biological weapons in Georgia. He had been carrying out journalistic investigation regarding the allegation.
“Even if the production of biological weapon does not start in Georgia, the government does not appreciate to expose the information that there is reserve of biological bacteria in the country,” said Skre in an interview with the Georgian Human Rights Centre.
All these things are matters of public record; even VOA tries to provide a smokescreen for its actual purpose, claiming that it is “politics-and-not-science” is why should Russia is concerned.
But recent developments suggest that the lab has other functions, including the links between DNA groups and bio weapons. It is not simply observing the effects of new biological strains by studying them by manipulating them. There is a strong possibility that one of its purposes is to inflict upon Georgia already proven viruses and bacteria, which no one needs to test.
Many in Russia and Arab countries suspect that they are likely the target of such research. Russian Senator Klintsevich claims that
“It is no secret that different ethnic groups react to biological weapons in different ways and that is why the West is meticulously collecting material all across Russia.”
In short, this and other labs, in Kenya, Thailand and Ukraine are not preparing weapons for future use by its favoured terrorists but by stockpiling them for a rainy day: using them itself: conducting its own biological terrorism against its friends rather than its enemies. It is no accident that it partners with the Army Medicine’s US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in carrying out infectious disease surveillance and research, purportedly develop better diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. Naturally all this is in violation of the Bio Weapons Convention, but that is a moot issue when the research is outsourced to Grey Zones as Georgia, under the flimsy guise of human and animal health.
Each State Party to this Convention undertakes never in any circumstances to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise acquire or retain: Microbial or other biological agents, or toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes Weapons, equipment or means of delivery designed to use such agents or toxins for hostile purposes or in armed conflict.
One of the people who ended up in a hospital for investigating what is going on in the Richard E. Lugar Centre is Jeffrey Silverman, who has lived in Georgia for over 25 years, and thought he had seen it all until the nature of this lab became clear. He has contributed some of his thoughts and experience to the book “Putin’s Praetorians”, written by NEO and Veterans Today contributor Phil Butler.
Silverman has brought to our attention a message he received from someone who apparently wrote to him out-of-the-blue. He recognised this message as the action of someone with a story to tell, who may have difficulty making the right people hear it.
Given the contents, this might be surprising in some countries, but not in Georgia.
Killing Hope – “Survival is Insufficient”
The message is from one Per Have. It reads:
“Dear Mr. Silverman,
I am writing to you after having read Putin’s Praetorians, and in particular your chapter.
Being a retired veterinarian specialising in animal virus diseases I am particularly interested in the spread of the devastating virus disease of pigs known as African Swine Fever (ASF). This infection had its origin in warthogs and other indigenous pigs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
ASF was introduced into Portugal and Spain around 1960, but has since been eliminated from the Iberian Peninsula. Quite surprisingly, it then surfaced in Cuba and other Caribbean islands at the beginning of the ’70s, where it proved to be detrimental to pig farming and the livelihood of poor people. It was suspected that it was introduced to cause economic damage by anti-Castro rebels supported by CIA (as mentioned in W, Blum, and “Killing Hope”).
In 2007 ASF appeared in Georgia, and has since spread to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and most recently several Eastern EU countries. It is currently the greatest threat to pig production in the EU, because it is maintained in the wild boar population, which is expanding in Europe and in which it is practically impossible to control.
It does not stop there, and as in the US, where there is compelling evidence that the CIA released whooping-cough bacteria into the open air in Florida, followed by an extremely sharp increase in the incidence of the disease in the state that year. The following year, another toxic substance was disseminated in the streets and tunnels of New York City (Blum).
Officially, it is assumed (but not proven) that the virus was brought to Georgia via swill unloaded from ships in Black Sea harbours. The [apparent] fingerprints of the virus trace it back to South-East Africa. Having read your accounts on the biological warfare activities in Georgia, the question which comes to mind is whether the introduction of ASF was entirely accidental?
I don’t know the answer to this question, but I have also not seen anyone try to answer it. I wonder if you might have any info which could shed more light on these events.“
I have read your message, and I think the question is very well worth the effort of asking. I will present it to the so-called experts in the Georgian Ministry of Health and Science, and to the Lugar Lab via the mainstream media in Georgia.
What went on in Cuba, based on your materials is going on in Georgia, such as Task 33, a “Plan for Incapacitation of Sugar Workers,” as part of a scheme to develop a plan for incapacitating large sections of the sugar workers by the covert use of BW [biological weapons] or CW agents, and I suspect the loses in the hazelnut industry in Western Georgia is a pilot for what is planned for Turkey next.
There is no coincidence that the US military is involved, and how such attacks are backstopped by the bio warfare experts from Fort Detrick, Maryland. BTW, I too have a background in agriculture, spending much of my youth on a farm, having a BSc and MSc in vocational agriculture, and I even worked on the university swine farm in my student days.
Based on the information I have had access to, material from insiders working in the lab and my own background in bio and chemical weapons, US Army, there is little doubt in my mind that ASF was intentionally released as an experiment to play havoc on the Russian economy. I will be looking into this, and will see what kind of literature review I can come up with, as Georgia is mostly surrounded by Muslim countries, and Turkey may be the next target, and the virus did not affect the wild pigs in Georgia as it did the domestic herds.
DNA Specific Weapons
But how the hell can one prove one version or the other? DNA strain – South East Africa, which could be Mozambique, not well known for its pork production “husbandry” – or for having the facilities to identify or weaponise any virus, and even if it was South Africa, who may well have the facilities and know how, I very much doubt there is the political appetite to get involved in this kind of adventure. Then too there is the theory that various strains of diseases are being designed to deal with Russians and Middle Eastern populations.
I am nearly always drawn to the cock up theory. I know a friend who spent some time looking at a story about strain of mildew that affected heroin harvests in Afghanistan – reducing it by as much as 80 percent. The Soviets had [allegedly] developed it in Abkhazia and at other plant warfare facilities in Georgia after the Soviet invasion.
More recently, it turned out that neither the Brits nor Americans would touch it as it would be biological warfare and set a precedent. If they wouldn’t do it in Afghanistan where there was a kinetic war, partly funded by heroin and the arms trade, then I doubt anyone would do it to get a very minor economic advantage—at least in a world when better minds make the decisions.
Ways out at the front
It will be interesting to see what response, if any, Silverman and Have get to their questions once this information is shared with the Georgian media. What we do know already is that Donald Trump took office stating that he wanted to cut US military commitments, after its people have long supported ever-increasing spending on being the self-appointed policeman of the world.
All Trump has actually done so far is threaten all kinds of wars and make US military action ever more likely, all bark and not bite. But he knows, as do his military brass, that the US war machine is being stretched too thin. Simply in order to maintain its existing influence the US has to find another way to project force. With some of its former allies now looking at other protectors, in tandem or as replacements, the US needs more conflict simply to stand still.
During the Cold War one of the issues frequently talked about was that although both sides had nuclear weapons, the West would have had to use them first, due to the size of the Soviet Bloc’s conventional forces. The West didn’t want to do that, which is why the various disarmament treaties such as SALT were largely a Western initiative. Nuclear arms limitation would bring parity, and thus peace, because it would stop the West from having to resort to such weapons, and this—being in itself a warlike gesture.
We do not live in the Cold War world now, but we are witnessing the rise of China and a gradual loss of US influence which its own behaviour has brought upon itself. US allies are increasingly less willing to sign up to US regime change schemes, such as the Syrian conflict, and then be told by The White House that they need to pay for a greater portion of them themselves. Nor do they appreciate being told who else they can talk to if they are friends of the US, or that they are harbouring terrorists just because the US isn’t arming and paying that particular bunch of terrorists today, though it might next week.
The US is losing the conventional power game. But it still doesn’t want to nuke everyone, merely to threaten to, by putting ever more missiles in ever more bases. So the US needs biological warfare to do what it can’t do in any other way. It can destabilise its enemies, and keep its allies under control, in the biological sphere when it can’t project other types of force.
In effect, this is what Trump said on the campaign trail, as it provides the way he can square the circle of threatening all kinds of countries and still cutting conventional military expenditure, the things people see, like men and tanks. Other countries will also have to pay for a share of a US/NATO biological warfare programme, but how much of it will be on the books?
There are different degrees of classified information, and the secrecy surrounding the work of the Lugar lab and other research facilities in Georgia, which are supposed to be a “scientific institutes”, suggests that whatever goes on there is not being fully accounted for, or properly audited, because it can’t be. Trump’s business career demonstrates that he knows effective ways to save money on paper, whatever the reality.
Pigs do fly
At least the US is consistent. Whenever its actions are called into question anywhere, you can find parallels with previous US actions which give an idea of what is really going on, and even which intelligence training schools the perpetrators went to. For example, regime change has a long history of prior analogies.
Back in 1977 the San Francisco Chronicle reported on its front page that anti-Castro terrorists introduced African Swine Fever into Cuba in 1971, just as Per Have suggests, despite the fact he probably never read this article. As in the more recent case in Georgia, the virus entered Cuba by boat through friendly ports and halted pork production, thereby damaging the Cuban economy.
Those involved in transmitting the virus may not have been aware of what it was, but they were well paid for doing the job, much better than they would have been for ordinary cargo. As in the Georgian case, the US did not admit involvement, and could not have done, as the Nixon White House had banned chemical warfare at this time. But no one else could have developed the virus, introduced it in the matter they did and paid the operatives so well to do it.
Following the international embarrassment of the ironically-named Bay of Pigs fiasco, the US had few offensive options in Cuba in 1971. Military action was off the table, and propaganda wasn’t working with the very people it should have, those who were suffering privation from the Castro regime but were enchanted by the promise of the riches some exiles were making. When all else had failed, the US used pigs to try and ruin the country.
The present Georgian government, though pro-US, is not as compliant as the criminal gang which preceded it. It wants to run more of the show itself, and move away from the dirty deeds of the previous regime. So it needs to be shown who’s boss, without scaring other partners. Sending a deadly virus which ruins the pork industry was as good a way of doing this as the previous Georgian government’s favourite method, which was cutting the domestic electricity at strategic times when the country was actually exporting electrical energy.
A plus B
The US ostensibly moved its biological facilities into Georgia to study new strains of disease which were naturally occurring in livestock, and under control. The real reason however, to take control of the left over stocks of especially dangerous pathogens storied there, under the veil of threat reduction.
This may explain why the Lugar Centre has not produced public research papers – it can’t find naturally occurring bio agents, only ones it put there and researches. But as always, Georgia has been used as the template for the region – what happens there will be rolled out in other friendly regional states sooner or later, if the US sees an advantage in it—and the timing is right.
Testing biological agents on the population through takes time and a willing government that will turn a blind eye. Furthermore, you have to keep at least some of the effects quiet. Poisoning of pigs can be blamed on the virus itself, the transmission can be claimed as a natural accident or the work of hostile powers, and the effects can be broadcast to the skies so everyone goes running to their protectors.
If you were a military man who couldn’t achieve the same objectives by sending troops in, which second option would you choose? It is all about finishing the job and making the World Safe for Democracy, US-styled Democracy.
One only needs to take a look Emily St. John Mandel, and her work of fiction, Station Eleven, where 99 percent of the World’s population has been wiped out within hours and days of spread of the mysterious Georgia Flu, unknowingly brought to the United States via virus-carrying airline, naturally filled with passengers from Russia.
Enough similarities abound with the fictitious Georgia Flu/Lugar Bio Weapons Lab and/or “the real-life Ebola virus to challenge the interest of conspiracy theorists. Any level-headed reader will raise an eyebrow and wonder what if … could this?”
Henry Kamens is a columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Featured image is from the author.