Greater transparency needed from the US beyond its formal explanation for biolabs
Published: Mar 22, 2022 11:12 PM
Screengrab of Russian Defence Ministry briefing showing US-sponsored biolabs on Ukraininan territory. Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

Screengrab of Russian Defence Ministry briefing showing US-sponsored biolabs on Ukraininan territory. Photo : Russian Ministry of Defence

We are living in a world where stories are published without actual facts. Such stories are published in order to refute the real-world challenges. The most recent example is related to US biolab activities in 30 countries. In light of the Russia-Ukraine tensions, US-run biolabs in Ukraine have allegedly been used to develop bio-agents capable of selectively targeting certain ethnic groups. 

The US officials' statements have made the international community even more concerned. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called out Russian claims that the US is secretly researching chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine as a disinformation campaign. In the meantime, Undersecretary of State on Political Affairs Victoria Nuland during testimony in the US Congress confirmed that "Ukraine has biological research facilities." 

The formal explanations by US authorities on dozens of biolabs operations in Ukraine and more than 300 biolab activities around the world are not matching the real situation on the ground. There are many facts, and the most important ones are as follows. 

First, the results of biological programs, especially conducted under the guidance and with the financial support of the US Department of Defense are dual-use products. 

Second, the US has been standing alone in obstructing the establishment of a Biological Weapons Convention verification mechanism and refusing verification of its biological facilities at home and abroad for the past two decades.

Third, there were numerous reports on mysterious outbreaks of human illnesses and losses of livestock in Georgia, Ukraine and Russian provinces. 

From 2007 to 2012, the Russian provinces located not so far from Georgia reported losses of thousands of pigs due to African swine fever. At that year, the head of Russian state consumer protection agency Gennady Onishchenko informed that the African swine fever circulated from Georgia. Russia once claimed that the spread of the African swine fever from Georgia could have been linked to the activities of US biolabs in that country. 

There is evidence that in Kharkov, where one of the US biolabs is located, 20 Ukrainian soldiers died of swine flu in January 2016 and 200 more were hospitalized. By March 2016, a total of 364 people had died of swine flu in Ukraine. There are hundreds of people with new highly virulent variants of the Hepatitis A and Cholera agents hospitalized in several Ukrainian cities. 

According to Afghanistan's Ministry of Health, 237 cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever had also been reported across Afghanistan, 41 of which were fatal as of December 2017. The Pentagon had a bio laboratory in Afghanistan. The project in Afghanistan was a part of the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program which was funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the Pentagon. There has been a belief that the Pentagon contractors in Afghanistan and Georgia were the same, and so were the diseases which are spreading among the local population in both countries. 

There have been various reports about US biolabs overseas. Nevertheless, the US is keeping its mass destruction bioweapons in violation of the international treaties. Bioweapons research and attacks are the US modus operandi for the last 50 years at least. 

There is the Biological Weapons Convention which prohibits effectively "the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons." This is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. As stated by the UN, "Biological weapons disseminate disease-causing organisms or toxins to harm or kill humans, animals or plants." So, US biolabs are not just about the diseases. They're about the weapons of mass destruction - human, animal and plant. 

If the US is a peaceful and peacemaking country and follows democratic principles, it has to be more transparent and open up its biolab operations around the world. Greater transparency will give mankind the opportunity to see beyond the formal explanations of the US and the US might be recognized as a more trusted partner internationally. 

The author is an independent political analyst based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn