By Janet Phelan
This November, a meeting will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, in a large hall filled with delegates from around the world. This meeting, which has the potential of affecting every single living person on the planet, will get at most passing mention in newspapers. Some reporters will be present, duly noting which country provided what recommendation and which country approved and which country objected. At the most, this may result in an article on page 18 in the larger, more comprehensive daily newspapers.
The hometown dailies probably won’t run anything.
Every five years, the Biological Weapons Convention convenes a Meeting of State Parties at the United Nations in Geneva. Every five years, there is some sort of objection raised by one country or another to the fact that this arms Convention has no mechanism to verify that its member nations are complying with the terms of the treaty and every five years, the US pooh poohs the relevance of concerns about the lack of verification and reporting protocols.
However, this upcoming convening of the BWC in 2016 may be special. For at this juncture, it appears that forces working through the US government, and with knowledge and complicity of other world leaders, are perched on the edge of deploying a biological weapons attack that will simply change the human footprint on the globe.
Despite concerted efforts to keep this from public attention, certain little tells keep popping up. Stories hit the press which should, were we in normal times, result in teams of reporters being dispatched, with all the forensic investigative capabilities that newspapers and magazines used to require of top reporters. As we too well know, the funds for in-depth research have virtually dried up and investigative reporters are now an endangered species.
And in the current political climate, even as disturbing as some of these indicators are, they usually end up being reported as “errors” and any intentionality is buried in the dung heap of denial issued by culpable parties. And in the face of all the other negative news, the real weight of these indicators seems to get lost.
Coverup of the Coverup
Item: The US was recently reported as having sent live anthrax to nearly 100 labs, worldwide. The labs receiving the active anthrax were both government and private labs. Did any reporter actually ask why the US is sending anthrax, dead or alive, to so many labs? Did a reporter cull through the spending records available at the government website usaspending.gov to ascertain if any of these labs had unlisted anthrax projects? An unlisted project might well be one funded by the CIA and the implications of a secret anthrax project might well have raised some questions.
What the press did with this story was to dutifully report that the Pentagon stated that the anthrax de-activating equipment at Dugway Proving Grounds, which was the sender to all those labs, worldwide, was examined and fixed.
Does that make you feel better? It shouldn’t. Dugway was previously caught about eight years ago sending out live anthrax. No one thought to examine the equipment then?
Item: Speaking of Dugway Proving Grounds, would you sleep any better knowing that Dugway possessed in their labs the very same strain of anthrax that was purportedly used by Fort Detrick researcher Dr. Bruce Ivins, whom the FBI alleges mailed live anthrax to a number of Congressmen and media in September of 2001, resulting in five deaths? Would you sleep better knowing that the FBI refused to investigate personnel at Dugway, instead pinning this crime on the unfortunate Dr. Ivins, who conveniently committed suicide, giving the FBI a “Case Closed” verdict on the mailings? In fact, Ivins did not have the equipment to weaponize anthrax.
Item: Freedom of Information requests concerning biological and chemical weapons are routinely given the deep freeze by the US Military.
An investigative group called Muckrock filed a 2014 FOIA with Dugway Proving Grounds requesting a document named “Cold Death, Chemical Weapons and Means of Mass Destruction.” After doing the hot potato with this request between various branches of the military, the agencies simply stopped responding. The FOIA was killed through passive non-compliance with the laws governing transparency. Cold Death, Chemical Weapons and Means of Mass Destruction
Similarly, researchers at Muckrock also filed a FOIA for documents relating to “Anthrax File Parke Davis and Co” and received a reply stating the request was denied because it was too broad. The denial was appealed and the subsequent document that was sent to the Muckrock investigator was 100% whited out.
In case you happen to think that the Army really doesn’t have certain records or that it is in the best interests of all concerned that these records remain private, consider this:
Item: In 2013, Muckrock filed a FOIA with the Army requesting contracts and copies of reports with mega-contracting firm Booz Allen Hamilton over a certain time period. The reply came back stating that no documents existed. However, a quick visit to the US government contract tracking website, usaspending.gov, reveals 6,766 unclassified contracts with the Army and BAH during the relevant time period, for a total of $4,310,543,269.
Item: This reporter filed a FOIA last year requesting a certain contract between the DTRA, a branch of the US military, and a company called Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The reply from the FOIA office stated that the DTRA does not recognize or honor the contract numbers listed at usaspending.gov. A second FOIA was then filed using a different contract number. There has been no production of documents to date.
I filed a similar request for a specific contract between the Department of Homeland Security and Translational Genomics. In fact, I filed the request five times. No reply has ever been received.
It appears that access to information is regularly being limited. What we need to understand is why.
Item: The US government is violating the Biological Weapons Convention and the UN won’t do a thing about it.
The violations are multiple and severe. To start with, when the US Congress passed into law the USA Patriot Act, in 2001, a section of the Act made it legal for the US government to violate its own biological weapons laws. In so doing, the US essentially violated the international accord known as the BWC.
The State Department attempted to keep the existence of Section 817 away from BWC oversight. According to State Department official Chris Park, the US “forgot” to inform the Convention at large about the changes to the US domestic legislation. Any changes in BW legislation must be reported, but then again, as we have seen, there is no mechanism to ensure that states are adhering to their responsibilities under the BWC.
The reactions of UN officials and the Convention at large to notification of the US’s violations were reported in this article.
All the way up the UN food chain, the UN Disarmament Affairs officials reacted as if they were being handed an envelope laced with anthrax. And no action was taken.
In the five years since the 2011 BWC convening, we have seen an Ebola crisis, a Zika crisis and continued warnings about emerging threats associated with bird flu and swine flu. If the realities behind Ebola and Zika can be verified, it would appear that testing on civilian populations is well under way. We are becoming conditioned to the emergence of strange and deadly new bugs which have the capacity to kill people en masse. Mainstream news organizations, while assuring as that governments are doing everything in their power to protect us from bioweapons, continue to serve in a dual capacity by reminding as that, as far as pandemics go, The Big One is coming. The double message is clever and contrived: “A major pandemic is looming on the horizon and we did not cause it!” Ebola isn’t the big one. So what is? And are we ready for it?
According to a former employee at Dugway Proving Grounds, who spoke with this reporter under conditions of anonymity, Dugway has been testing biological and chemical weapons for decades. Dugway recently cancelled a media tour which could have reassured us that there is no threat posed by the research ongoing at that facility.
A review of the human rights record of the US indicates that, at this juncture, only certain types of people have rights. This is most clearly in evidence in the lackadaisical response from law enforcement agencies when police kill minorities and in the wholesale judicial disposal of the rights of one of the most vulnerable groups in any society, the elderly and disabled.
If there were to be a globe changing event, from which certain types of people would perish while others remain healthy and intact, a selectively engineered or delivered bioweapon would provide the perfect cover. Both sorts of technologies – race specific bioweapons and selective delivery systems – now exist.
The signs pointing to future deployments are everywhere now. The only question remaining is will we awaken to history before history ends.
Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, an author of a tell-all book EXILE, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.