Back in 2004 a European intelligence service commissioned some due diligence work on the activities of Bechtel National and the Technology Management Company, TMC, in Georgia and the region. The then-confidential report on these was written by, and payment made to, one of the contributions to this article, Jeffrey Silverman, who during his career was once stationed at a military storage site for chemical weapons in the US.
This report was forgotten until recently. Then it became known that Technology Management Co. Inc. had won part of a $975 million federal contract for small businesses offered by the U.S. Air Combat Command Joint Base at Langley-Eustis, Virginia, for companies providing counter-narcotics and global threats operational and logistical support. TMC Global Professional Services was eligible for this because it claims that it provides engineering and construction management services, to governmental and commercial clients in Central Asia, the former Soviet Union and internationally.
The task of the due diligence in 2004 had been to find out who the researchers involved in the Bechtel and TMC programmes were; their countries of origin, qualifications, etc. Whilst investigating this Silverman discovered that TMC had close and often covert, relations with an array of civilian and military structures, having little ostensible connection with science, He compiled a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of these. When its staff’s qualifications were analysed under various criteria (what kind of science backgrounds they had, what relations they had with other research centres etcetera) they were seen to have limited scientific credibility, but more significant experience as military intelligence operatives, thus demonstrating that TMC and Bechtel were in the intelligence business, not the scientific research and human health business they claimed to be part of.
So are we to believe that TMC has now won a big US government contract by fair and transparent means, and that the “operational and logistical support” it will henceforth be providing is really designed to counter the narcotics trade and global threats? There is little evidence to support that; I beg to differ. If Bechtel and TMC had changed their spots, they would have been reorganised to rid themselves of their pasts, but this has never happened. On the contrary, they have become ever more involved in the murky business they long ago made Georgia the regional headquarters for.
Their history is already well-documented in other activities; for instance, how TMC has subcontracted out work over the years. One company, Eren Grou, is the Turkish builder. As one source described, Dr. Eren is a really nice guy; had two children going to university in USA. You know how things work; “They hired locals and had Turkish ‘masters’ and well, the quality wasn’t good. The Lugar lab costs over $12M a year to operate; the Georgian government can’t even afford that. The cost factor confirms that it is the US government that is footing the bill, and this lab is not under the control of the Government of Georgia, as claimed in media reports.”
DTRA’s Tar Babies
Earlier this year a series of articles appeared about the death of a foreign contract worker at the Richard E. Lugar Center in Tbilisi. This centre is officially listed a “scientific research institute,” but is actually a biological weapons development lab built by Bechtel and Turkish contractors and run by the US Department of Defense.
There is lots of history here; for instance, Bechtel got a “bad grade” from DTRA. This was Bechtel’s very first BSL project ever. Now the next company involved, TMC, is charging millions to redesign and rebuild the mechanical systems. $100M wasn’t enough. Bechtel has long had close ties inside the deep-state American government. From 1974 to 1982 George Schultz, former United States Secretary of Treasury and future Secretary of State, was president and director. The late former U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was general counsel for Bechtel in the late 1970s. Former Deputy Secretary of Energy W. Kenneth Davis was Bechtel’s vice-president. Riley Bechtel, the company’s chair, was on President George W. Bush’s Export Council. Jack Sheehan, a former senior vice-president of Bechtel, was a member of the U.S. Defense Policy Board. The Clinton Administration also appointed senior Bechtel managers to senior Administration positions.
Sources claim that money was also siphoned off was via Global Services,”which did the landscaping, irrigation system, grass, trees, moved the portable buildings and guard shacks. www.globalservice.com.ge They later … Global Services, did some last minute steel platform installation and welding in the mechanical rooms so the maintenance men can access equipment. They were not very important to the project. They might had have built the fence too, but I don’t know for sure. Regardless, TMC was brought in to load the job with local workers.
Another option, if you believe in conspiracy theories, is the fact that this mechanism is a convenient way to funnel money into Georgia for various hidden agendas, political, military and these can extend to regional maneuvers. The deaths of contract workers had been kept secret by Georgian intelligence. Apparently they displayed all the symptoms of someone affected by Sarin gas poisoning. As we know, Sarin gas was used in the false flag attack in Syria conducted by the US but blamed in Assad’s forces. Members of Georgia’s intelligence agencies, working with Ukrainian extremists, Turkish intelligence and al Qaeda and with cooperation from NATO, had shipped chemical weapons, including Sarin gas and its needed precursors, through Turkey into Syria prior to the attack.
The dead men in Georgia were not the only ones affected by the work of the Lugar lab. The landlords of properties rented by other lab workers have since reported that their renters all got sick and were sent home, and a number of civilian residents living near the block have been hospitalised when noxious fumes or infections being emitted from the lab have come through their ventilation ducts. As Georgian investigative journalist Shorena Tsivkarashvili described two months ago, “Our respondent said that he knew some more facts about the lab, claiming that some lab employees were poisoned 4 years ago as well. Unfortunately two of them died. This person asked to remain anonymous for the purpose of the investigation.”
“I live across from the laboratory, and several years ago four workers from the laboratory were living in our block. They appeared to be of Asian descent. I don’t know what was going on in the laboratory, but I can tell you what I saw with my own eyes. All of them had health-related problems. Their neighbours were constantly calling for the ambulance. Once I saw all of them lying unconscious. Foam was spewing from their mouths. We immediately called the doctor, but two of them died. Journalists and representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs took an interest in what had happened, but nobody covered this case in spite of the deaths, as they had been threatened by Georgian Security.
Partly as a result of all this, the areas which produce deadly fumes are only open to American staff. Contract workers and locals can no longer go there, whatever their job descriptions might say.
The Lugar Research centre produces no known peer review clinical research papers, and has not stopped strange viruses and other infections suddenly from emerging in livestock and the Georgian population, as it was allegedly set up to do. Rather, it has overseen a number of unexplained and deadly local spikes in some very dangerous diseases, such as hepatitis and new flu strains. So either it is a colossal waste of US government money, which the Office of Management and Budget should ensure be closed down, or it is serving valuable military purposes which involve producing biological agents rather than improving public and animal health.
Over ten years ago Bechtel National, which built the Richard E. Lugar Centre in its role as a Department of Defense contractor, signed a deal on biological non-proliferation with the Georgian branch of TMC. Why would such an agreement be necessary unless the facility were designed to house biological agents? But of course this is only the required US paperwork – agreements in Georgia are only valid if you have the power to enforce them, and this heavily-guarded building cannot be held accountable by any Georgian government or agency for as long as influential people in the US sponsor it.
On site and off message
On December 13, 2015 a person connected with US Naval Intelligence contacted Jeffrey Silverman and said, “I notice you are very familiar with the Lugar Center in Tbilisi. If you have time I would love to speak with you about it.”
Silverman replied: “Yes, I know a few things about the lab and have written a few articles as well. It is part of a larger bio weapons project. I can help you understand what you may already know, mostly on the university side and concerning Fort Dix in Maryland and the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. There is no doubt in my mind that the projects in Georgia have a military application, e.g. bio warfare.
“Apparently what is going on in Tbilisi is the next stage of dealing with the natives in the Middle East, as we are running out of proxy terrorists. We definitely don’t have enough boots on the ground ourselves. Let’s not forget all the articles over the years, and the press releases claiming that the Lugar Lab in Tbilisi Georgia will not be involved in carrying out bio weapons research.”
According to Silverman’s notes, the conversation continued like this:
Intelligence Officer: What does Technology Management Corporation have to do with all this? I thought they were just doing interpreting work?
Silverman: My ass, who in the hell told you that?
Intelligence officer: Just my research
Silverman: “I would have to dig out the questions that a European intelligence service provided me years ago. You will see that TMC is more than that. There are links to Evergreen University. Also, look at the links to Eliava Institute and the bio phage – that too is part of the US covert bio weapons programme.”
Intelligence Officer: “Yeah.” (This conversation is highly technical, so this chatty “Yeah” seems too colloquial.
Silverman: “B the way it [the Lugar Lab] can’t actually function because it has gone 2-2.5 times over the original budget. To start with, the [part which requires] BSL-3 [clearance] has never worked, and thus only the second floor BSL-2 part is functioning. More money is being pumped in to remediate, remodel and repair the system, and so theoretically the lab does not even have a simple flu virus in it.
“It has two sources of electricity: the airport feed and the city feed, and huge backup generators. Double redundancy fans on all systems, plus the fans for the bio hoods, should make it damn near impossible for bad stuff to get out of the bio hoods. But I know people living there, and they are being kept in the dark as what is being constructed near their homes. I know one journalist who was attacked at home on the same day he visited the facility and tried to find information. Are they hiding that the lab is a big f-up, or its real purpose, or both?
“I have taught English in close proximity to it, and have interviewed my students, which is better than trying to get direct information from the management or public affairs officer of the US Embassy.
“As one source wrote in 2012,” “I can tell you that it will be at least two more years before any heebie jeebies arrive, when it actually functions.” … I asked what was meant by “heebie jeebies” and was told, “Different bio agents, stuff that kills us and we don’t even need to breathe or touch it.
“When TMC came to Georgia it was presented as a legal company which would hire locals for its projects. However, that soon proved not to be the case, as Bechtel brought over their six-figure Americans. TMC works side-by-side with it, and now has a five-year contract to keep bringing in Americans at the expense of Georgia.
“Anyone interested in this lab must realise that it was never built to be occupied or operated by Georgia. It is now clear that there were some flu deaths in Tbilisi this year, all alleged to have a direct link with bio research in Georgia.
“I advise you to keep close records, as sooner rather than later there is going to be a new international scandal related to the lab and some of the Americans connected to it; there are also links with Turkish intelligence.”
Intelligence Officer: “That’s interesting – so you think that these deaths were directly related to the Lugar Center?”
Silverman: “Here are some old notes from an email some years ago; I am not an expert in forensic science, but apparently the Caucasus region is an ideal location if the United States would wish to outsource its ‘grey zone’ research. Many of the most ‘attractive’ viruses and bacteria for weaponisation live naturally in this region, so this is the place to study them more intensely in their natural habitat.
“This will fill in some dots for you, like the concerns about the bio weapons convention – and working together we might be able to reduce a massive public health risk to Georgia and the region.”
Intelligence officer: “OK, perfect. Let me get back with you once I confirm my schedule. Thanks for your messages.”
Silverman: “Don’t share information about our meeting with anyone, as I have enough problems here already. I can’t get my Georgian passport renewed, since technically I am still a US citizen and the US Embassy has had me legally classified as an alien, and a non-national of the US – all part of the plot to get me out of here, which began when I started investigating end user certificates and terrorist training projects.”
Subsequently Silverman told this man that he could not make their planned meeting as he would be on the Turkish border monitoring trafficking and goat paths for terrorists for the next two weeks. The intelligence officer, now apparently scared of getting too much information he did not know how to deal with, responded: “… After giving it more thought – I really don’t need to meet up with you. I think I can Google most of the information I need anyways. I appreciate your time anyways, and best of luck with all your future endeavors.”
Contract with the Devil?
It is known that Turkey has supplied Sarin gas to ISIS. Veterans Today, an online intelligence journal, was the first to break this story in 2013. It traced the gas/components being used back to a US funded facility in Georgia, the very same Lugar lab. VT staffers in Georgia then secured plans for WMD and bio-weapons warfare facilities in other parts of the region, including the Lugar lab, which appears to have a purpose-built room for holding dead bodies.
International journalists have been denied access to the lab and given misleading information about it. They have been given guided tours, but the areas where the real work is carried out are off limits, to both guests and the lab’s own Georgian staff.
In 2010 there was a big staff turnover at TMC. All the highly skilled professionals left, to form a new company called Sigma. The key question is, why? Was there something going on in the background in Georgia that left them feeling ethically compromised?
In the 2010 US elections Susana Martinez (R) replaced Bill Richardson (D) as Governor of New Mexico. The new CEO of TMC was an initial contributor to Martinez’s campaign, so the company may have changed slightly because of who was in power at Los Alamos and their objectives.
New Mexico is next door to Arizona, home of Senator John McCain, the link man between the arms dealers and the terrorists. McCain is of the same party of Martinez, and made his fortune through organised crime and military contracts and the fusing of the two. He also has longstanding connections with Georgia, exerted through several US Ambassadors, and Saakashvili government members openly canvassed for him online when he stood for president.
Gold-plated translation service
According official documents, TMC was awarded $ 8,801,998 million USD for “Translation Services,” between 2012 and 2015, give or take some adjustments in the accounting. It will be necessary to go through these payments line-by-line to see exactly what went where, but one very large payment related to work in Georgia was for 2.4 million USD. The individual procurement records have been zipped, but individual contract files will be shared with the MOD Office of Inspector General in the form of a spreadsheet. There are also related contracts in two other countries, Poland and Germany, and investigative journalists are going through each record of these.
All this raises many questions. Where is all this money going, as translators get paid practically nothing? The author works as a translator on an as-needed basis, and knows the legitimate translation business. The payments made to TMC constitute organised crime, graft. and it is high time to call internal affairs at the Navy. There is some doubt whether they are willing, or even able, to closely examine fraud, waste and abuse in DoD contracting, but failing to do so will simply demonstrate how deep the corruption which the Tbilisi lab is part of has run.
One active translator, working for the Gold Company, wrote when checking out these prices, “Why do you think they cannot spend this amount on translation? Translation fees are high here, too. I do not mean cheap translators charging 5 lari per page. A normal agency would never hire them. I mean professional translators. For instance, simultaneous interpreting costs USD 800 per day, consecutive interpreting – USD 300 per day. There are also separate fees for using simultaneous interpreting equipment. Translation fees are also high – up to USD 12 per word. These are the prices of freelance translators. Companies charge more. It depends on the amount of work they have here. Maybe they have several conferences per day and need many consecutive interpreters?”
The answer to these questions is that TMC’s history is already well documented, For instance, TMC has subcontracted out plenty of interesting work over the years. One company it has subcontracted to is Eren Grou, www.erenport.com … a Turkish building company who worked on the Lugar lab. As one source described, “You know how things work, they hired locals and had Turkish “masters”, and, well, the quality wasn’t good. The Lugar lab costs over $12M a year to operate; the Georgian government can’t afford that, and the sum can’t be identified in the state budget. This cost confirms that it is the US government which is footing the bill for the lab, and therefore this lab is not under the control of the Government of Georgia, as claimed in some media reports.
TMC was brought in to load these jobs with local workers. They made between $1,000-$2,000 a month, each. They were not skilled workers, so were not paid international rates. Although $1,000 a month is good money by Georgian standards, the contractor ends up with more if it can bill Uncle Sam for local help at the going international rate. Alternatively, this mechanism can be used to funnel money into Georgia for various hidden agendas, political or military, terrorist support, and these can extend to regional manoeuvres. This has long been a known practice in Georgia, with USAID and various agricultural development funds having been proved to have been used in this way.
We should all be concerned that TMC has won a new US Government contract to further another US programme. The only change TMC has undergone since it got involved in the Georgian bioweapons programme, with all the criminality that goes with that, is that the last few genuine scientists have left it. If you want to know where this leaves everyone the US comes in contact with, come and stand outside the Richard E. Lugar Center or Bechtel’s Office for a few hours, if you are even allowed to do so.
Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.