(ORDO NEWS) — The US Department of Defense is building an ultra-expensive dual-use biological laboratory in Kazakhstan.
This laboratory, designed to complement the system of similar facilities placed by the Pentagon along the perimeter of Russia’s borders, potentially threatens the security of the Russian Federation and the countries of Central Asia. Dmitry Popov, head of the Ural Regional Information and Analytical Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (Yekaterinburg), writes about this.
“Construction of the Central Reference Laboratory on the basis of the former Soviet Anti-Plague Research Institute in Almaty began in 2010 with financial support from the US Defense Department. The commissioning of the laboratory is expected in 2015. Its work will be complemented by a new station for early warning of outbreaks of diseases in Central Asia, located in the village of Otar (presumably on the basis of the Scientific Research Agricultural Institute DNISKhI). The opening of the latter is scheduled for April 2014, and the USA is allocating $ 5.6 million for its construction, ”notes Dmitry Popov.
According to him, the Central Reference Laboratory in Almaty is officially being created to ensure the safety of especially dangerous pathogens left in Kazakhstan from the Soviet military biological program, and to research ways to protect against them, as well as employ (twenty years later!) Former military biologists. However, a number of circumstances indicate that in fact this laboratory can be used for military biological research conducted by the United States.
The program is curated by Senator Richard Lugar, who is closely associated with the American military establishment. Previously, he was engaged in the dismantling of Soviet nuclear facilities in Kazakhstan and other CIS republics, then he focused on biological weapons, in particular, in Ukraine and Georgia (in the latter, by the way, in Soviet times there were no such weapons, but now a laboratory named after Richard Lugar) …
“The practice of using similar facilities by the Americans in other countries shows that they have been taken out of national control, operate behind closed doors, and are often headed by the military or representatives of the special services (former chief of Georgian intelligence, Anna Zhvania, has been appointed head of the laboratory in the Alekseevka village near Tbilisi). The facilities are staffed by foreign personnel, including those with diplomatic immunity, and local civilian health officials do not have direct access to these facilities.
The cost of the complex in Almaty will be $ 108 million, which is significantly higher than the standard costs of such institutions and may indicate the deployment of dual-use equipment there.
The emergence of expensive closed military facilities on the territory of the CSTO member states raises questions at least. On July 19, 2013, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern about the biological activities of the US Department of Defense near Russian borders, ”continues Popov.
According to Russian experts, the creation of laboratories by the Pentagon near the borders of the Russian Federation threatens its biological security and allows the United States to solve several military tasks at once.
First, it opens up the possibility of conducting military biological research (including field testing of disease strains) outside its territory, without fear of protests from the American public.
Secondly, it allows you to bypass international agreements, in particular the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Recall that the Americans consistently evade the creation of a verification mechanism within the BTWC (including the signing of the corresponding protocol to the Convention developed in 2001 at the initiative of Moscow) and refuse Russian representatives to visit laboratories located abroad.
Thirdly, on the territory of such objects, pathogens can be created, aimed at affecting a specific genotype, fauna or population of a certain territory. In the summer of 2013, the then head of Rospotrebnadzor of the Russian Federation, Gennady Onishchenko, publicly announced that an American laboratory in Georgia was engaged in active offensive programs against Russia. Iran may be another state of interest to US military medics in the region.
Fourth, the Americans can conduct banned testing of biological agents on the ground, tracking their virulence, mortality, delivery routes and other properties in relation to the field of potential use. Experts from the Research Institute of Microbiology of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation do not exclude that outbreaks of atypical diseases in southern Russia in 2013 (highly contagious meningitis among children in the Rostov region, African swine fever and foot and mouth disease in the Kuban and North Caucasus) could be biological markers purposefully thrown here from the territory all the same Georgia (it was from there, as research confirmed, that African swine fever, for example, was introduced).
“Additionally, the Pentagon is expanding access to the results of the Soviet military biological program, including the combat strains of microorganisms created in the USSR. The latter, among other things, allows you to get an idea of the current military biological potential of Russia, providing appropriate means of protection against it. According to information available in the press, from the former republics of the USSR, their collections of causative agents of dangerous diseases were transferred to the United States in exchange for American assistance, ignoring the concerns of Moscow, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. At the same time, in the case of Azerbaijan in 2005, mediation in the transfer of more than 60 samples of dangerous bacteria to the American Army Medical Center. Walter Reed, along with Richard Lugar, provided Senator Barack Obama, who, after becoming President of the United States,
In general, over several decades, the United States has formed an extensive network of dual-use laboratories in various parts of the world (Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia). In the post-Soviet space, large laboratories were opened by the Americans in Ukraine and Georgia, smaller stations were modernized in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Presumably, the laboratory under construction in Kazakhstan should also enter into the general system, which the press has already dubbed “bioPRO”. If experts’ fears that the United States have hostile intentions are correct, then the threat posed by an American biological facility in the Almaty region will be intensified by free trade between Russia and Kazakhstan within the Customs Union, labor migration from Central Asia, and the proximity of potential foci of dangerous diseases (in particular , three natural foci of plague in Kyrgyzstan,
Do not forget that any prohibited activities with biological pathogens will primarily undermine the security of Kazakhstan itself and threaten its population. At the same time, there is a fairly simple way to remove public concerns about the creation of a laboratory in Almaty by the Americans – to ensure transparency of this process at all stages, including construction and subsequent research. But will the Pentagon in this matter go to civil and international control, which State Department officials like to talk about so much?” Dmitry Popov asks.
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