Do the 'conspiracy theories' swirling around Russia's claims that the US has been helping Ukraine develop a secret bioweapons program hold any truth?
According to Russian officials, the U.S. government has been financing and helping Ukraine develop a secret bioweapons program.1 The U.S. State Department has shrugged it off as “total nonsense,”2 and fact checkers have published countless “consensus statements” emphatically denying the Russian claim over the past few weeks.
As usual, it’s difficult to discern the truth, as both sides are churning out propaganda. In this video, Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson reviews what we’ve come to know so far.
Under Secretary of State Admits US Funding of Ukraine Labs
While the Biden administration has vehemently denied the Russian accusation, March 8, 2022, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, admitted that “biological research laboratories” in Ukraine have in fact been funded and operated under the direction of the U.S.3
She did not admit that they were biological WEAPONS labs. But is it all semantics? While the research and defense industries would like you to believe that there’s a vast difference, and a sharp dividing line, between biological research for health purposes and biological weapons research, most such research can serve dual purposes.
During Nuland’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked: “Does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?” Surprisingly, Nuland, after some hesitation, responded that “there are biological research facilities” in the Ukraine.
Nuland then immediately went on to say that she’s “deeply concerned” the pathogens held in those labs may now fall into the hands of the Russian military. This implies the pathogens are extremely dangerous — and could be deployed as weapons by the Russians.
As noted by investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald (whose report is also covered by Russel Brand, below):4
“Any hope to depict such ‘facilities’ as benign or banal was immediately destroyed by [her] warning ...
Nuland's bizarre admission that ‘Ukraine has biological research facilities’ that are dangerous enough to warrant concern that they could fall into Russian hands ironically constituted more decisive evidence of the existence of such programs in Ukraine than what was offered in 2002 and 2003 to corroborate U.S. allegations about Saddam's chemical and biological programs in Iraq ...
It should go without saying that the existence of a Ukrainian biological ‘research’ program does not justify an invasion by Russia ... But Nuland's confession does shed critical light on several important issues ...
Any attempt to claim that Ukraine's biological facilities are just benign and standard medical labs is negated by Nuland's explicitly grave concern that ‘Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of’ those facilities ...
Russia has its own advanced medical labs ... The only reason to be ‘quite concerned’ about these ‘biological research facilities’ falling into Russian hands is if they contain sophisticated materials that Russian scientists have not yet developed on their own and which could be used for nefarious purposes — i.e., either advanced biological weapons or dual-use ‘research’ that has the potential to be weaponized ...
This joint US/Ukraine biological research is, of course, described by the State Department in the most unthreatening way possible. But that again prompts the question of why the U.S. would be so gravely concerned about benign and common research falling into Russian hands.
It also seems very odd, to put it mildly, that Nuland chose to acknowledge and describe the ‘facilities’ in response to a clear, simple question from Sen. Rubio about whether Ukraine possesses chemical and biological weapons.
If these labs are merely designed to find a cure for cancer or create safety measures against pathogens, why, in Nuland's mind, would it have anything to do with a biological and chemical weapons program in Ukraine? ...
The indisputable reality is that — despite long-standing international conventions banning development of biological weapons — all large, powerful countries conduct research that, at the very least, has the capacity to be converted into biological weapons. The work conducted under the guise of ‘defensive research’ can, and sometimes is, easily converted into the banned weapons themselves.”
When Fox News contacted the state department for comment about Nuland’s admissions, they received the following reply:5
“The U.S. Department of Defense does not own or operate biological weapons labs in Ukraine. Under Secretary Nuland was referring to Ukrainian diagnostic and biodefense laboratories during her testimony which are not biological weapons facilities. These institutions counter biological threats throughout the country.”
Again, this seems like someone trying to split hairs and not quite succeeding. The U.S. may not “own,” or “operate” biological weapons labs in Ukraine, but does it fund them? Funding, operating and owning are not the same thing, yet they’re denying the accusation of “funding” these labs by saying they don’t “own or operate” them.
Why the obfuscation? Why not say “we don’t FUND bioweapons labs,” if that is in fact the case? And what is the difference between “biodefense” labs and a “bioweapons” lab? If you were creating a bioweapon, wouldn’t you call it biodefense? As noted in an April 2020 article by independent journalist and analyst for the Institute for Public Accuracy, Sam Husseini:6
“Governments that participate in ... biological weapon research generally distinguish between ‘biowarfare’ and ‘biodefense,’ as if to paint such ‘defense’ programs as necessary.
But this is rhetorical sleight-of-hand; the two concepts are largely indistinguishable. ‘Biodefense’ implies tacit biowarfare, breeding more dangerous pathogens for the alleged purpose of finding a way to fight them.”
Bioweapons expert Francis Boyle, who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, has also pointed out that many if not most BSL-4 labs are dual use: “They first develop the offensive biological warfare agent and then they develop the supposed vaccine.”7
Were Pathogens Secured or Not?
Nuland’s statement also raises another question. If the U.S. government feared the pathogens could be used as weapons, why didn’t they secure them before the Russians went into Ukraine? Carlson asks. Clearly, they knew it was going to happen. In fact, President Biden stated February 18 that he was “convinced” Putin would invade Ukraine.8
March 11, 2022, Reuters9 reported that the World Health Organization had advised Ukraine to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent “potential spills” were any of the facilities to be bombed.
Curiously, the WHO declined to say when it made that recommendation. It also did not specify the pathogens Ukraine labs might have. We also don’t know whether the Ukrainians complied with the request.
What Are the Labs Actually Used For?
As reported by Carlson, initially, the Biden administration told members of Congress that the labs in Ukraine were “designed to help the Ukrainians fight tuberculosis” and “various livestock diseases.”
Next, numerous news organizations published “fact checks” stating that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has worked with Ukraine to eliminate bioweapons, some of which were allegedly left behind by the Soviet Union as far back as 2005. The labs are definitely not, however, bioweapons labs, they claim.
“That makes sense,” Carlson says. “But wait; 2005 — that was 17 years ago. How long does it take to eliminate Soviet bioweapons? Seventeen years seems like a long time. With 17 years and ample funding from Congress you can probably remove and catalogue every grain of sand on Waikiki Beach.
And yet, somehow, over that same time period, 17 years, the Pentagon has not finished removing test tubes from Soviet era freezers ... When was the Pentagon planning on finishing this important job?”
Narrative No. 2
Perhaps because the first alibi didn’t make sense upon closer reflection, a small correction to the narrative was then rolled out by CNN, which claimed that the labs in Ukraine exist to “secure” — not eliminate — old Soviet bioweapons. But to Carlson, that explanation still doesn’t ring quite true. What does it mean to “secure” bioweapons, and why has it taken 17 years? Moreover, Carlson adds:
“If these are just old Soviet bioweapons, why is Victoria Nuland so worried they’ll wind up in the hands of old Soviet, which already presumably has these very same weapons? They probably don’t need more. It’s absurd, when you think about it.”
Narrative No. 3
Then, the third narrative was rolled out, again by CNN. In a live coverage, CNN showed Russian video footage from 2015, which claimed the U.S. was running biological facilities in Ukraine and Georgia, and were responsible for deadly outbreaks of disease among local livestock.
According to CNN, this story has been “a key part of Russia’s disinformation campaign” to justify its invasion of Ukraine. However, “the claims were debunked several years ago,” CNN states, “when in 2020 the U.S. issued a statement to set the record straight.”
According to that 2020 statement, the facilities were for “vaccine development” and “to report outbreaks of dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats.”
So, did the U.S. fund these labs to help Ukraine combat tuberculosis? Or was it to eliminate former Soviet bioweapons? Was it to “secure” Soviet bioweapons? Or to aid the Ukrainians with vaccine development?
Perhaps it’s all of those things. Or none of them. As reported by Carlson, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists interviewed10 Dr. Robert Pope, director of the DoD’s Cooperative Threat Reduction program.11 Pope has in fact been in charge of securing former Soviet weapons of mass destruction over his 30-year career.
While Pope insisted that the Ukraine labs “conduct peaceful scientific research and disease surveillance,” he also made some interesting statements that raise questions and allow for alternative interpretation. Here’s an excerpt highlighted by Carlson:12
“The pathogens in Ukrainian labs vary by facility, Pope said, but some can be characterized as presenting a concern in the Ukrainian environment. As an example, he cited African swine fever virus, which is highly contagious in pigs and has caused hundreds of outbreaks in Ukraine since 2012.
Some labs, he said, may hold pathogen strains left over from the Soviet bioweapons program, preserved in freezers for research purposes. ‘There is no place that still has any of the sort of infrastructure for researching or producing biological weapons,’ Pope said.
‘Scientists being scientists, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these strain collections in some of these laboratories still have pathogen strains that go all the way back to the origins of that program.’”
So, in other words, according to Pope, the Ukraine labs may still have former Soviet bioweapons in their freezers — and, “scientists being scientists,” they don’t want to destroy those bioweapons. They want to keep them and use them for research purposes.
When you put those statements together, don’t you end up with “they may be doing bioweapons research”? And if the U.S. is funding such endeavors, doesn’t that mean the U.S. is funding bioweapons research in Ukraine?
Signs of Guilt?
During a March 16, 2022, War Room interview, guest host Peter Navarro asked Dr. Robert Malone, “Why do you think we are funding biolabs in Ukraine and Wuhan?”
Malone’s hypothesis is that the “federal government of the USA, specifically NIAID/HHS and DTRA/DoD, are offshoring risk and legal liability, and trying to circumvent congressional oversight concerning activities that we know we should not be doing.”13 In a Substack article, published that same day, Malone also made the following observation:14
“U.S. politician Tulsi Gabbard (a WEF ‘young leader’ trainee whose WEF webpage was recently removed) raised concerns on Twitter regarding the ‘Biolabs’ issue and was immediately attacked by Mitt Romney (Senator, Utah, Uniparty).
Romney used Twitter to state ‘Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives’ ... Here is the text of what constitutes “treasonous lies” according to Mitt.
‘There are 25+ US-funded biolabs in Ukraine which if breached would release & spread deadly pathogens to US/world. We must take action now to prevent disaster. US/Russia/Ukraine/NATO/UN/EU must implement a ceasefire now around these labs until they’re secured & pathogens destroyed.’
As far as I am concerned, Mitt calling Tulsi Gabbard ‘treasonous’ for pointing out undeniable facts of the well documented US-sponsored Ukrainian biolabs is a tell. If this was a nothingburger, he would have called her a ‘crazy conspiracy theorist’ or some version of that.
But instead he essentially called her a traitor to her country for stating the truth. That is the behavior of someone who is caught in a lie. The words, strategies and tactics (propaganda, gaslighting, character assassination) being used by this administration are most consistent with attempts to hide guilt.”
Why Was This Notice Deleted?
Another finding that has fueled suspicions that the U.S. government is not being transparent about the Ukraine labs include the inexplicable scrubbing of an article announcing then-Sen. Barack Obama leading an effort to build a biolab capable of handling “especially dangerous pathogens” in Ukraine, back in 2010.
“Originally posted on June 18th, 2010, the article ‘Biolab Opens in Ukraine’17 details how Obama, while serving as an Illinois Senator, helped negotiate a deal to build a level-3 bio-safety lab in the Ukrainian city of Odessa.
The article ... also highlighted the work of former Senator Dick Lugar ... ‘Lugar said plans for the facility began in 2005 when he and then-Senator Barack Obama entered a partnership with Ukrainian officials ...
A 2011 report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High-Containment Biological Laboratories explained how the Odessa-based laboratory ‘is responsible for the identification of especially dangerous biological pathogens.’”
According to The National Pulse,18 other reports reveal the Odessa-based lab in question was constructed through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. DoD and the Health Ministry of Ukraine. The collaboration reportedly focused on “preventing the spread of technologies, pathogens, and knowledge that can be used in the development of biological weapons.”
The lab would also serve as an Interim Central Reference Laboratory and contain collections of pathogens, including bacteria and viruses of the pathogenic groups 1 and 2, which include Ebola.
The scrubbed article is very short. No more than an announcement, really. On the surface, it appears to confirm the U.S. government’s current claim that — at least this particular lab — was for the purpose of preventing the proliferation of bioweapons. When and why was it deleted? We may never know. Hopefully, we’ll have better luck getting to the bottom of what kind of research, really, the U.S. government has been funding in the Ukraine.