Jeffrey Silverman, an investigative journalist in the Republic of Georgia and US Army veteran, was once stationed at a chemical weapons storage site in the United States, the Bluegrass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky, during his service. He has long alleged that a US biological research facility near Tbilisi International Airport not only is involved in the transit of poison gases and other agents used in the world’s conflicts but also develops new viruses and allegedly infects livestock with them, thus introducing to see whether unsuspecting Georgians can withstand them and their potential use for military applications.
For several years both the US and Georgia denied this facility existed, dismissing it and all Silverman’s other claims, despite the fact the lab is named after Senator Richard E. Lugar and was officially opened by the US Ambassador and Georgian President of the time.
Indeed, the US was so insistent about this that staff of the non-existent facility hospitalised him with a head wound and embassy staff insulted him in the media, while he was trashed as the source of any story on the official US website. The Embassy states that his claims about U.S. policy are absolutely without any basis in fact, and that, unfortunately, reflect on the veracity [truthfulness] of their apparent source.
Over time however a few interesting things have happened. First the existence of the lab was publicly acknowledged by both the US and Georgia, though it was described as merely a scientific institute. Then it was taken under the control of the new Georgian government so that it could monitor what was actually going on there. Then biological weapons were used in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Ukraine. Get a map, draw lines between these countries, and see for yourself where they cross.
Now the Center for Disease Control [albeit not Prevention], or CDC, an American institution based in Atlanta, has announced in a press release that a new virus related to smallpox has been found in the Republic of Georgia. It was caught by two livestock workers who earn their living herding cattle. They have recovered, but there is no knowing how many others have been affected before this came to light or will be in future, as you can’t treat a virus if you do not know what it is.
When contacted about this breaking story, Silverman responded with:
“I hate to tell you so, but I told you so, and if you want the details of what I said, just contact the public affairs officer at the US Embassy in Tbilisi, as they went out of their way to discount my investigation, trashing the story and my reputation, and look at subsequent interviews given to the Georgian press last April of the dangers of a network of bio weapons labs being constructed in Georgia, one in proximity to Tbilisi Airport, by US DOD contractor Bechtel National.”
The story is now being picked up by the mainstream press, including US National Public Radio, The Guardian and others. Time will tell just how serious this latest outbreak is, but everyone has had fair warning.
What he said
Silverman made the following statement last year, which was reported by Veterans Today and Russian media outlets, including Russian State TV, to which he gave an exclusive interview in May 2013. Silverman also serves as the local Bureau Chief for Veterans Today, a military affairs journal and has served as the editor in Chief of Georgian Times and other regional publications.
”I soon realised that the US government and the Department of Defense, DoD, wanted to study new infectious strains, such as Anthrax, which were evolving in the wild amongst cattle herds in rural regions of Georgia. It should be mentioned that this small country and Tbilisi were once centre-stage to the Soviet Union’s system of bio weapons research, for both animal and plant warfare.
I have been able to access the design plans for the bio facility and, through speaking to contractors and whistle blowers, I soon learned that the US Department of Defense operates a network of labs in Georgia and that they have an offensive capacity.
Some even go so far as to claim that the US government is using Georgia and its population as part of ongoing research. I also suspect this, and that is why I am trying to obtain solid proof of this allegation right now.
The question is whether Georgians are being utilised for sinister bio programmes and vaccine field trials. This may be difficult to prove, but even the United States has experimented on its own population over the years, and it can use the population of Georgia as part of field trials for vaccines without their full informed consent. ”
Basically Silverman accused Georgia and US DOD of experimenting on locals without their permission, and thereby committing an atrocity worthy of Joseph Mengele, the notorious Auschwitz physician. It was already well know that many clinical trials were being conducted in Georgia, often covertly, including some for experimental TB drugs. These trials are funded by the usual suspects: developmental agencies, including the United States Agency for International Development, and various European drug companies.
The possible outbreak of a new smallpox-like disease can have widespread public health ramifications. Now the CDC is involved, regular smallpox vaccination programmes may have to be reinstated as a preventative measure, as they provide some degree of protection from cousin-like viruses which most affect livestock, such as cowpox. Like smallpox itself, these viruses can be deadly for people with suppressed immune systems.
What was found
The newly-discovered virus has been described as a “second cousin to smallpox”. Like smallpox it causes painful blisters on the hands and arms, and other symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes and overall weakness.
The two cattle herders who caught it denied having any history of smallpox vaccinations. These were once compulsory, but were discontinued in 1980, when the disease is supposed to have been eradicated. Only the military are vaccinated now, and the Tbilisi lab was established by the US Department of Defense, not Department of Health, employing military scientists.
Forensic disease detective Neil Vora, who led the team that made the discovery, said that “the CDC researchers consider this family of viruses very important because smallpox could be used as a bioterrorism agent.” But how, if the disease no longer exists?
The only place you can get hold of the smallpox virus is in a scientific research laboratory, as samples of it are still kept in such institutions. The US itself has acknowledged that it may somehow leave these institutions and be used in warfare. Last year the U.S. government spent about $460 million on a relatively new smallpox medicine in case the virus was deliberately released in a bioterrorism attack. The quantity of medicine involved could treat about two million people, this therefore being the size of attack expected.
Four viruses in the orthopox family affect people: smallpox itself, cowpox, monkeypox and vaccinia. The other three affect animals to begin with, then jump to people opportunistically. Now people are no longer immunised against smallpox, the other viruses in the same family have room to resurface, as immunisation against one of the four also protects against the others. But it is unclear why a completely new virus should emerge, unless, of course, somebody put it there.
What conclusions can be drawn?
We know that the non-existent lab in Georgia does exist, and that labs of the same ostensible kind store smallpox samples. We know that the new virus, described by US experts as similar to smallpox and a member of the same family of viruses, was discovered in Georgia and has affected two people working with cattle. Also that the previous Georgian government of Mikheil Saakashvili stopped immunising cattle at the US government’s request so the non-existent centre could study the spread of diseases within Georgian cattle herds.
All of this is consistent with what Silverman, who himself holds a BSc. and MSc. and has conducted research into animal diseases, School of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, has been saying for many years. He now claims that the new virus is probably a hybrid, a combination of several viruses spliced together to produce the maximum effect, as this practice has been followed for many years in a number of scientific fields.
Silverman draws attention to a suspicious measles outbreak in Georgia last year, affecting adults as well as children, including people who had already had the disease and should therefore have had lifelong immunity. He recalls how he himself was told by public health officials that he must be vaccinated, even though he had obtained all the necessary vaccinations in the US military, and they knew this.
The vaccines the Georgian officials were trying to force on him were donated by the US Department of Defense. No one bothered to gain the informed consent of those they were given to before administering them. Silverman believes they were part of the same programme of injecting diseases into Georgians, without their knowledge, to test the human reaction to potentially deadly new viruses which can be used in warfare.
The ultimate consistency
All this will sound too bad to be true to some. Until, perhaps, you drag up a few names from history. Alois Brunner, the most wanted Nazi war criminal still possibly alive, claims to have worked for the US Army as a driver. Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, was employed by US counterintelligence as an advisor, passing on Nazi interrogation and torture techniques to a new generation, and helped to escape justice for many years by being shipped off to Bolivia through a US-constructed ratline. Walter Schreiber, responsible for experimenting on concentration camp inmates, was taken to the US by its government to work for the Air Force School of Medicine.
The American defence, intelligence and military medical personnel of today got their training from somewhere, and willfully selected a long line of suitable trainers whose skills have been passed on from generation-to-generation. That network of facilities has also included some in Ukraine and other parts of the Soviet Union, fertile ground for mad science.
Pentagon Active in Ukraine
The US has also been involved in building microbiological laboratories in Ukraine. The Ukrainian newspaper ‘2000’has reported that people living in Kharkov have visited its office to express concern over plans to build a US biological laboratory in the vicinity of the suburban town of Shelkostantsia near Merefa.
It is reported in the Ukrainian press that the Pentagon is in the process of building a network of biological laboratories across the country, many near the borders of Russia, Belarus, Poland and Moldova.
It has already built laboratories in Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Lviv, Vinnitsa, Ternopol, Uzhhorod, Kiev, Simferopol and Kherson. Local people are expressing their anxiety over the collateral damage which could result from a leak of deadly substances.
All the research activities in Ukraine are being conducted under an August 2005 Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement. The Pentagon (this not a civil agency, but the Defense Department itself) is responsible for this programme. Similar agreements have been concluded with Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
The agreement on cooperation in the field of microbiology between the US and Ukraine expired in May 2014, but the programme is still active. The US is insisting it should be prolonged until September 2017, despite the lack of an agreement and the political atmosphere in Ukraine and ultra right forces.
In short, the discovery of a new virus in cattle in Georgia, where there is a biological research facility which has the means to manufacture it, has a hideous logic behind it. Even in recent weeks there has also been unexplained outbreaks of viral meningitis has spread in schools and kindergartens in Georgia, coincidence or not; scores of confirmed cases confirmed so far. It has been so severe that schools were forced to be closed while sanitary risk reduction measures are implemented to slow the spread.
Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.