Beware! Devil may break out of US bio-labs
Published: Apr 01, 2022 10:32 PM
Mixed messages Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Mixed messages Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Recently, documents released by Russian defense ministry showed that over the years, the US has been collecting bio-samples of the Slavic people in Ukraine. After the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the US transferred these samples to laboratories in Australia, Germany, the UK and Georgia. 

In fact, this is not the first time the US has been caught covertly collecting bio-samples. According to French journalists, during the Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016 in Western Africa, the US carried out a mission in Liberia to secure some 5,000 blood samples from patients and shipped them to the notorious Fort Detrick - the largest biological warfare research complex in the US. In 2017, the US Air Education and Training Command admitted selecting Russians as the source for genetic material in research.

From 2017 to 2020, the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency launched UP-8 project in Ukraine. The project focused on collecting blood samples from 4,400 healthy soldiers in Lvov, Kharkov, Odessa, and Kiev, and testing antibodies to hantavirus and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF). 

As Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reported citing leaked documents in January 2022, through a Pentagon project named GG-21, the US gathered blood samples from 4,400 Ukrainian soldiers and 1,000 Georgians. The samples were tested for antibodies against 14 pathogens. 

No matter how hard the US tries to deny the above revelations, the consequences of its biological experiments are clear. Media reported that in 2013, after the Pentagon launched an anthrax vaccine experiment at the Lugar Research Center in Georgia, an anthrax epidemic broke out there. 

And according to Donbass News International, in 2016, 20 Ukrainian soldiers near the US biochemical laboratory in Kharkov died of the same type of influenza virus, named California flu, within two days. 200 others were hospitalized. Recently, Russia has revealed that the US was developing weapons affecting both the reproductive health of women of certain nationalities and the immune systems of certain ethnic groups.

"It is no secret that the purpose of these biological experiments conducted by the Pentagon using biomaterials obtained from the experimental Slavs of Ukraine and other countries neighboring Russia is to develop an 'ethnic weapon' against the Russian population," said Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian state space agency Roscosmos.

Considering that the US has been conducting researches on the most deadly viruses and pathogens in its 336 biolabs in 30 countries and collecting bio-samples around the world, we should all be concerned. 

Biological materials like blood samples and DNA are the most critical biological information for a nation, because they contain genetic weaknesses and defects of a certain group of people, and biological weapons targeted at these weaknesses can be devastating. 

In 1519, when the Spaniard Hernán Cortés set sail to colonize the Aztecs, he brought smallpox to the American continent. The disease reduced the population of native Americans who were especially vulnerable by 40 percent in a single year. Smallpox and other European diseases, such as measles and mumps also took a heavy toll on the Mayan and Incan civilizations. 
In 1763, to break the siege of Fort Pitt, British colonizer General Jeffrey Amherst ordered his subordinates to give blankets and handkerchief exposed to smallpox as "gifts" to American Indian opponents. A spread of smallpox eventually crushed the Indian rebellions. 
History has taught us painful lessons. For any nation, the risk is too high to surrender their bio-samples into the hands of others. Biological information of any group of people should not be subject to any research that may bring harm. 

Countries that are still hosting US bio-labs should ask themselves, what is the US experimenting on in these bio-labs? Will the devil break out of these labs? Have US bio-labs brought about bio-security or danger? 

As for the US, simply dismissing charges against its secret biological experiments as disinformation isn't enough. It's obliged to offer the world a satisfying and verifiable explanation. 

If the US wants to prove its innocence and make a contribution to global bio-security as it always trumpets, why not join negotiations on establishing a Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) verification protocol and open up its bio-labs to international and independent inspection?

The author is a commentator on international affairs, writing regularly for the Global Times, China Daily, and so on. He can be reached at xinping604@gmail.com.