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Russia has filed an official information request with the United States to explain experiments with biological and chemical weapons in Georgia, with Russian officials giving an ultimatum to Washington that Moscow will not tolerate the housing or experimentation of such weapons near its borders.

Agents which can cause Anthrax, Tularemia, Brucella and bubonic plague are housed at the facility. US Army documents and photos show that the Pentagon has developed various dissemination methods for bioterrorism attacks including by explosives.

Dilyana Gaytandzhieva

The story was first exposed to English speaking audiences on September 12th by investigative journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva. Ms. Gaytandzhieva was previously unjustly terminated from her position at the Bulgarian Trud Daily for exposing Azerbaijan’s support for terrorists, reporting that 350 Azerbaijani diplomatic flights carry weapons for terrorists in Syria.

The Russian Federation has followed up on her rigorous reporting regarding the Tbilisi biological weapons scandal, and determined that her findings were accurate. Major General Igor Kirillov, chief of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Troops, explained during an interview with the state news agency TASS yesterday the 4th of October 2018, that the US was running a secret chemical weapons lab at the Richard Lugar Public Health Research Centre, located in the Georgian settlement of Alekseyevka.

“It raises a question – ‘Why such documents are stored at the Lugar Public Health Research Centre?’ We expect a clear-cut answer to this question from the Georgian and American sides,” Kirillov said.

He said a list of patents showed the US had developed various types of munitions intended for delivering chemical and biological agents.

According to these patents, the munitions had “low destruction cost” and didn’t “need to contact with enemy manpower.”

The following is an excerpt from Gaytandzhieva’s report, which can be read in full here: http://dilyana.bg/us-diplomats-involved-in-trafficking-of-human-blood-and-pathogens-for-secret-military-program/

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The US Embassy to Tbilisi transports frozen human blood and pathogens as diplomatic cargo for a secret US military program. Internal documents, implicating US diplomats in the transportation of and experimenting on pathogens under diplomatic cover were leaked to me by Georgian insiders. According to these documents, Pentagon scientists have been deployed to the Republic of Georgia and have been given diplomatic immunity to research deadly diseases and biting insects at the Lugar Centre – the Pentagon biolaboratory in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.

This military facility is just one of the many Pentagon biolaboratories in 25 countries across the world. They are funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under a $ 2.1 billion military program – Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), and are located in former Soviet Union countries such as Georgia and Ukraine, the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa.

The Pentagon biolaboratory is heavily guarded. All passers-by within a radius of 100 m are filmed although the military biolaboratory is located within a residential area.

Secret experiments at night

Locals complain of constant headaches, nausea, high blood pressure and dizziness when chemicals are being burnt at night in the laboratory which is just a couple of hundred meters from their homes.

“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.

“Sometimes the wind spreads a smell of rotten eggs. Once I woke up early in the morning and noticed violet smoke coming from the laboratory. At night time they let the smoke out so that people don’t see. Why at night, what are they hiding from us?, he asks and then provides another worrying fact: “There are big blue plastic pipes along this street (from the laboratory) and from where everything goes to the river which is 3-4 km away. Not only do they pollute our air, but they also poison our water.”

 

Locals: Poisonous gas killed two Filipinos

Neighbours recall a tragic incident involving four Filipinos who worked at the Lugar Centre. Two of the foreigners died of an alleged gas poisoning in their rented flat in block 44 of the Alexeevka Settlement.

“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.

Diplomatic cargo shipments are exempt from inspection and taxes. According to 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.

In cases of importing to Russia, this biological material must be carried by diplomats in a diplomatic pouch and sealed as diplomatic cargo.

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.

Romantic, intimate or sexual relations with local citizens or among team members are strongly discouraged as “foreign security services are known to use the enticement of such relations to exploit foreign officials”. As such, a relationship with foreign nationals must be reported to DTRA as soon as possible, the document reads.

US scientists test viruses under diplomatic immunity

Tasked with the program at the Lugar Centre are biologists from the US Army Medical Research Unit-Georgia (USAMRU-G) along with private American contractors and the US Centre 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 defence cooperation.

Joshua Bast is the deputy director of the US Army Medical Research Unit-Georgia (USAMRU-G). The American military scientist drives a diplomatic car and enjoys diplomatic immunity, without being a diplomat.

He has been deployed to Georgia since 2015 by the Pentagon Walter Reeds Army Institute of Research. His military unit also operates a separate laboratory inside the Lugar Centre – the Walter Reeds Army Institute of research laboratory. However, when I confront him at the entrance of the laboratory, he flatly denies that he works at the Lugar Centre.

However, leaked e-mails between the Pentagon and the Georgian Ministry of Health (below) proves him wrong. Joshua Bast does work at the Lugar Centre.

Joshua Bast is the deputy director of USAMRU-Georgia, according to leaked correspondence between the Pentagon medical research unit in Georgia and the Georgian Health Ministry. The address of USAMRU-Georgia indicated in this official e-mail (above) is the address of the Lugar Centre (16 Kakheti Highway, Tbilisi).

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.

These security guards patrolling the area around the laboratory in an unmarked car 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 Reeds Army Institute and the Georgian National Centre 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 of toxic mosquitoes

The work that US diplomats perform at the Lugar Centre has nothing to do with diplomacy and does not fall under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Joshua Bast, for instance, is an entomologist and researches insects, according to a video released by the US Embassy to promote the peaceful purposes of the otherwise military program of the US in Georgia.

Why does an entomologist work for the US Army and why is he accorded diplomatic immunity? Entomological warfare is a type of biological warfare that uses insects to transmit diseases. Georgia borders on the US main rival – Russia. Moscow has repeatedly voiced its concerns about the potential development of biological weapons near the 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.

The inventor of the drone for the releasing of toxic mosquitoes S. Mill Calvert has patented 42 similar military inventions for the US Army and Special forces, including 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 if this name was a pseudonym and who his client actually was (the e-mails below).

Documents show a number of Pentagon projects involving insects as possible vectors of diseases in Georgia. In 2014 The Lugar Centre was equipped with an insect facility and launched a project on Sand Flies in Georgia and the Caucasus. In 2014-2015 sand fly species were collected under another project “Surveillance Work on Acute Febrile Illness”and all (female) sand flies were tested to determine their infectivity rate. A third project, also including 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.

The Pentagon scientists have also performed experiments involving tropical mosquitos and ticks in Georgia. In 2016, 21 590 ticks were collected for a DNA database for future studies at The Lugar Centre under the Pentagon project “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 Centre 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 Centre 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.

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 spread 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 includes 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.

US Army documents and photos show that the Pentagon has developed various dissemination methods for bioterrorism attacks including by explosives.

Besides having various military capabilities to disperse bio agents, DTRA has also full access to the Russian borders, granted under a military program called 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 Centre. 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.

Private contractors

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.

TMC was awarded a $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.

Snowden’s former employer – Booz Allen Hamilton, has been awarded 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.

Battelle as a $59 million subcontractor at the Lugar Center has extensive experience in research on bio-agents, as the company has already worked on the US Bio-weapons Program under 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 the 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.

The US Company Metabiota Inc. has been awarded $23.9 million in federal contractsunder the Pentagon’s DTRA program in Georgia and Ukraine for scientific and technical consulting services. Metabiota had been contracted to perform work for DTRA befor 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.