Ukraine Biolab Watchtower
An attempt to triangulate something approximating truth about Ukraine and Biolabs
"No reason to get excited"
The thief, he kindly spoke
"There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now
The hour is getting late"
Buckle up. This is going to be a long one, but I think the topic deserves a deep dive.
What a mess. Are there any grownups in the house? This is what happens in a world in which no one trusts anyone anymore, integrity is treated as an obsolete concept, both information and legacy media have become weaponized to such an extent that what passes for official reality becomes just a funhouse hall of mirrors, and the experience, intellect and maturity of those entrusted to manage these matters is just not up to the task.
Yesterday I published a substack article titled “All Along the Watchtower”, which posed the question “Would the Russian invasion of Ukraine be justified if it were for biodefense?”.
Since then, we have had a flood of new information drop:
1) Testimony of Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to Senator Marco Rubio, in which she admits that Ukraine has biological research facilities.
2) Epoch times’ report “US State Department Denies Russian Allegations of Biological Weapons in Ukraine”.
3) “US Is Protecting ‘Biological Research Facilities’ in Ukraine From Russia: Official”. Another excellent article by Epoch times, which has seemingly become one of the last remaining bastions of “old school” journalism in a major print news format.
4) And an insightful interpretation by journalist Glenn Greenwald via his often brilliant and occasionally sarcastic substack, entitled “Victoria Nuland: Ukraine Has "Biological Research Facilities," Worried Russia May Seize Them” with the subheading “The neocon's confession sheds critical light on the U.S. role in Ukraine, and raises vital questions about these labs that deserve answers.”
“Oh what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive”
(Sir Walter Scott, 1808)
Just to recap why you may (or may not) care about what I have to say about this whole situation, and to establish my relevant bona fides:
In addition to being a physician, vaccinologist, virologist, molecular biologist, person who made discoveries as a young man yielding nine domestic patents which disclose the ideas and reduction to practice of using mRNA as a drug including for vaccination purposes and all that, I have worked in biodefense and medical countermeasure development for decades now. This includes close cooperation through multiple infectious disease outbreaks with scientists at USAMRIID and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). I know these people, how they think, what they are concerned with, what they do, etc. My comments below reflect only my own opinions, and in no way represent any official positions of DoD, DTRA, or the US Government. I have intentionally not called up any of my contacts to ask them what they think about all of this. However, one did spontaneously volunteer some information.
There, got the disclaimer out. Now, let me set the stage a bit.
In the back seat driving home from a trip to Nashville to testify to the Tennessee legislature regarding various COVID-related bills. Hoping to get back to the house before a scheduled interview with Mr. Beck. DC traffic being what it often is, I ended up having to take the interview from the car. My preparation was less than comprehensive, but I did what I could using the cell phone, GETTR, and whatever links I could pick up from what people had posted since my original “Watchtower” substack.
Glenn Beck had asked me to spend an hour with him on his Radio program today, and to discuss an in-studio podcast that I recorded with him about a week ago. The latter will drop tonight for Blaze TV subscribers, and then on Saturday for the general public. I expected him to want to focus on our podcast, but current events had overtaken him, and he really wanted to explore this whole issue of the Ukraine biolabs and what that meant. I ended up having to do more “speculating” than I like (the acronym “SWAG” comes to mind) and was concerned that what I had said might just contribute yet more to the fear. Then I got a call from another reporter that works for a mid-sized conservative media outlet, she let on that her editor was quite wary of this story, and we talked for a while sharing notes and trying to make sense out of all of this. And I kept on thinking after she hung up. Pondering on how different people seem to be asking the same questions. Probably many people. And wondering what I could do to help to start to make sense of this.
Finally getting to the point.
With this particular substack, I seek to develop and publish a current “best case” working hypothesis concerning this unfortunate matter, and to provide you, an interested reader, with information and references so that you can make your own assessment and determination.
Let’s start with the “facts” as I believe them to be, to the best of my ability, so help me God.
1) The US Government (DoD Defense Threat Reduction Agency) has funded “biolabs” in Ukraine. The US Government’s Embassy in Ukraine has posted a statement to that effect, including the following text:
“The U.S. Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program collaborates with partner countries to counter the threat of outbreaks (deliberate, accidental, or natural) of the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases. The program accomplishes its bio-threat reduction mission through development of a bio-risk management culture; international research partnerships; and partner capacity for enhanced bio-security, bio-safety, and bio-surveillance measures. The Biological Threat Reduction Program’s priorities in Ukraine are to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concern and to continue to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats.
Current executive agents of the Biological Threat Reduction Program in Ukraine are the Ministry of Health, the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection, the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences, and the Ministry of Defense.”
2) “Factcheckers” have asserted that claims of US biolabs located in the Ukraine are false. These include USA Today (“Fact check: False claim of US biolabs in Ukraine tied to Russian disinformation campaign”), “Politifact” (“There are no US-run biolabs in Ukraine, contrary to social media posts”), and a very well referenced piece from “Factcheck.org” (“Social Media Posts Misrepresent U.S.-Ukraine Threat Reduction Program”).
3) Andy Weber, who should know what is going on (but has very high security clearance, and is very unlikely to say all that he knows), has stated to Factcheck.org that “the Biological Threat Reduction Program “has provided technical support to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health since 2005 to improve public health laboratories whose mission is analogous to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention””.
4) The Chinese Foreign Ministry has asserted that "The US has 336 labs in 30 countries under its control, including 26 in Ukraine alone. It should give a full account of its biological military activities at home and abroad and subject itself to multilateral verification."
5) The official Russian News Agency TASS has reported the following in an article titled “Ukraine worked on development of biological weapons near Russian borders – statement”:
During the special operation in Ukraine, Russia obtained documents proving that Ukrainian biological laboratories located near Russian borders worked on development of components of biological weapons, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement Tuesday.
"We confirm the facts, discovered during the special military operation in Ukraine, of the emergency cleanup by the Kiev regime of traces of the military biological program, carried out by Kiev with funding from the US Department of Defense," the statement reads. "Documents were obtained from employees of Ukrainian biological laboratories about emergency disposal of particularly dangerous pathogens of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases, carried out on February 24. In particular, we are talking about the Ukrainian Health Ministry order on prompt disposal of all stockpiles of dangerous pathogens, sent to all bio laboratories."
"The obtained documentation is currently being scrupulously analyzed by specialists of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection troops. However, it is already possible to make a conclusion that the laboratories located in direct proximity from Russian borders worked on development of components of biological weapons," the diplomat noted.
The emergency disposal of particularly dangerous pathogens, carried out on February 24, was necessary in order to prevent the revelation of facts of violation of Article 1 of the Biological Weapons Convention by Ukraine and the US, Zakharova said.
"This information confirms the validity of the complaints that we’ve made repeatedly within the context of implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention in regards to the military biological activity of the US and its allies on the post-Soviet territory," she noted.
"In order to alleviate these concerns, we consider engaging mechanisms, outlined in Articles 5 and 6 of the Biological Weapons Convention, which stipulate that member states must consult with each other in resolving all issues regarding the goal of the Convention or implementation of its clauses, and cooperate in investigation of all possible violation of obligations under the Convention," Zakharova added.
6) Regarding those who assert that this Russian storyline regarding Ukrainian biolabs was concocted after the invasion started and is therefore just post-fact propaganda (otherwise they would have said something about this issue before they invaded). I note that, in fact, there were Russian articles about this issue prior to the shooting war. See for example the older (Feb 08, 2022) article from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists entitled “Russian media spreading disinformation about US bioweapons as troops mass near Ukraine”.
7) Readkova News has published an article entitled “Russian Defense Ministry: Americans were able to take out most of the documentation from biological laboratories from the territory of Ukraine” which asserts that “The Americans have already managed to evacuate most of the bioresearch documentation from laboratories in Kyiv, Kharkov and Odessa. This was reported in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.”
On the afternoon of March 10, according to the Ministry of Defense, it became known that a coronavirus infection was being developed in the biological laboratories of Ukraine. All this was done with the support of the US authorities.
“In the biolaboratories created and funded by the United States in Ukraine, experiments were carried out with samples of coronavirus from bats. This is shown by the [found] documents ,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to the official representative of the department, Major General Igor Konashenkov , Russian specialists from the Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defense Forces have studied documents on the transfer of human biomaterials taken in Ukraine to foreign countries at the direction of US representatives.
“In the near future we will publish the next package of documents received from Ukrainian employees of biological laboratories and present the results of their examination ,” the general added.
On the evening of March 10, the military department published supporting documentation:
Transfer of biomaterials from Ukrainian laboratories to Australia and Germany;
Bat Research Project;
Migratory Birds Project UP-4 and protocol for capturing birds from Ukraine in Russia;
Acts of destruction of evidence in biolaboratories.”
The article provides some screenshot and power point slide images, and then asserts
“It is also reported that the ultimate goal of development is the spread of deadly pathogens. The Russian Defense Ministry claims that the US authorities wanted to work in Ukraine in 2022 on pathogens of birds, bats and reptiles that were supposed to carry African plague and anthrax.
Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation - on the development of biological weapons in Ukraine:
Materials on the UP-8 project to study the Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus and hantaviruses in Ukraine refute the US public assertion that only Ukrainian scientists work in the Pentagon's biolaboratories in Ukraine without the intervention of American biologists;
· The fact of payments directly from the Pentagon for participation in research is confirmed. Pays a modest, by American standards, wages. This indicates a low assessment of the professionalism of Ukrainian specialists;
· There is information about a US project in laboratories in Ukraine to study the spread of dangerous infections by migratory birds;
· The Americans have already managed to evacuate most of the bioresearch documentation from the laboratories in Kyiv, Kharkov and Odessa;
· It is possible that a part of the collection of American bioresearch materials will be moved from Ukraine to Poland;
· The United States, Ukrainian and Georgian laboratories near the borders of Russia are implementing a project where bats are considered as carriers of bioweapons;
· The analysis of materials confirms the fact that more than 140 containers with ectoparasites of bats were transferred from the biological laboratory in Kharkov abroad;
· Research in biolaboratories was carried out in the immediate vicinity of the borders of Russia - in the regions of the Black Sea coast and in the Caucasus;
· Research similar to the American one in Ukraine was carried out during the Second World War by the infamous Detachment 731 from Japan;
With a high degree of probability, we can say that one of the tasks of the United States and its allies is the creation of bioagents capable of selectively affecting various ethnic groups of the population.
8) Great Game India published “US Embassy Removes All Evidence Of Ukraine Bioweapons Labs. Here Is All The Data”
9) Great Game India also published “Documents Expose Barack Obama Ordered Construction Of Biolabs In Ukraine To Create Dangerous Pathogens”
Then we have these documents which are purported to have been removed by the US Embassy-
a) Kharkiv Diagnostic Laboratory, Kharkiv Oblast Laboratory Center, Pomirky region, Kharkiv- Fact Sheet
b) State Regional Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine, Luhansk Regional Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory (Luhansk RDVL) 9a, Krasnodonnaya Str. Luhansk- Fact Sheet
c) Dnipropetrovsk Diagnostic Laboratory, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Laboratory Center 39/A, Filosofs’ka str., Dnipropetrovsk- Fact Sheet
d) Vinnytsia Diagnostic Laboratory (Vinnytsia DL) Vinnytsia Oblast Laboratory Center 11, Malinovskogo str., Vinnytsia- Fact Sheet
e) Kherson Diagnostic Laboratory Kherson Oblast Laboratory Center 3 Uvarova Str., Kherson- Fact Sheet
f) Ternopil Diagnostic Laboratory, Ternopil Oblast Laboratory Center 13 Fedkovycha str., Ternopil- Fact Sheet
g) Zakarpartska Diagnostic Laboratory, Zakarpartska Oblast Laboratory Center 96, Sobranetska Street., Uzhgorod- Fact Sheet
h) Lviv Diagnostic Laboratory, Lviv Oblast Laboratory Center 27, Krupyarskaya Str. Lviv- Fact Sheet
i) State Regional Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine, Lviv Regional Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory 7, Promislova Str. Lviv- Fact Sheet
j) Electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance System (EIDSS)
k) Pathogen Asset Control System (PACS)
l) Dnipropetrovsk State Regional Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory, (Dnipropetrovsk RDVL) 48, Kirova ave., Dnipropetrovsk- Information Summary
m) Institute of Veterinary Medicine of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences- Fact Sheet
One explanation provided to me by a US colleague (that is in position to have insights into these matters) follows:
“As for the Ukranian labs, you should look at the actual DoD agreement and other associated open source materials. The Ukranian labs put out published reports on a variety of public health and agricultural threats, including Swine Fever from China and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) are some of the more recent ones, as well as public health messaging on topical items that you can watch on youtube. Unannounced inspections of these laboratories by DoD personnel are allowed.
These labs fulfill a vital mission in global surveillance of emerging infectious diseases. Similar to US APHIS program, State public health labs, etc. Most work is low biosafety (BSL 2) although some places have Class III cabinets for things like CCHF. I think one place has a small hood line.
There are no micronizers, spray dryers, aerosol test chambers, particle size counters, etc. needed for biowarfare research and aerosol stabilization testing.
All the mainstream media pundits that suddenly became overnight COVID experts have now suddenly become overnight national foreign policy experts. It is aggravating to watch them cloud the issue and add fuel to the current Russian Chinese propaganda. Plus, it’s a huge waste of everyone's time having to correct their BS.
Outside of some small seed stock cultures in liquid nitrogen or held in -70 cryofreezers, the Ukranians have nothing in these public health or agriculture labs that the Russians do not already have in their own still very active and sophisticated BW program that nobody talks about.”
“Biolabs” is a very generic term. A biolab could be anything from the room with a kitchen sink, microscope, incubator and centrifuge that we use for shipping semen from our stallion all the way to a high-containment BSL-4 bioweapon research laboratory housing non-human primates. The term “Biolabs” could be applied to many high schools, and to virtually all medical school research facilities. It means almost nothing. So Senators, please do not let those testifying to you get away with that. Marco Rubio, I am looking at you. Get specific information please.
What we do seem to have is a DTRA-funded program, run by a group that Andy Weber used to manage, that has invested in some way in a group of Ukrainian laboratory facilities of some sort.
I can confirm that Hantavirus and Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever virus isolates from this region would be of great interest to DTRA and the US Biodefense enterprise.
There does appear to have been funds transferred from DTRA to biologic research facilities in the Ukraine. This funding appears to have come from the threat mitigation branch, rather than the Chem-bio research branch. Threat mitigation has previously and apparently (according to my sources) continues to fund the infamous Wuhan laboratories. For further background, the Chem-bio research branch is focused on development of a wide range of countermeasures ranging from protective clothing to drugs, antibodies, diagnostics and vaccines designed to prevent and treat the effects of chemical and biological weapons that might be deployed against our warfighters.
So here is my “assuming best intention” current “working hypothesis” concerning this hot mess:
USA DoD/DTRA partnered with the government of Ukraine to (at a minimum) support collection, storage and monitoring of infectious biological agents and toxins by researchers in Ukraine, and there seems to have been some component of personnel training and facilities engineering involved with this.
US State Department via the Embassy in Ukraine announced this DoD/DTRA effort in a transparent manner via a readily available web page.
If I were working as an analyst for the Russian government, paid to perform and enable risk assessment, I would be skeptical that the US DoD/DTRA effort was limited to just collecting and archiving biological samples, and I would have to conclude that there is significant risk that these facilities were involved in (at a minimum) “dual purpose” research. “Dual purpose” is a euphemism for “could be used to develop defensive capabilities or could be used to develop offensive capabilities”.
Clearly, whether in sincerity or for propaganda purposes (time will tell if they provide the documentation and receipts), the Russian government is stating that the activities of these laboratories included bioweapon research which was coordinated with US DoD/DTRA.
Prior to invasion of Ukraine, the government of Russia signaled that the presence of these DTRA-sponsored “biolabs” in this region was perceived as a threat to Russian national security and biosecurity. Again, if I were a Russian analyst, I would likely conclude that these laboratories represent a threat to national security.
Based on information available to me, the US Government does not seem to have made any attempt to assure the government of Russia that these laboratories were performing benign activities. One action which might have mitigated Russian concerns would have been to allow unannounced inspections, much as US and NATO have insisted on in the case of foreign nuclear enrichment or reactor programs.
In my professional opinion, based on the language employed by Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, I believe that there is a significant risk that the Russian government has obtained documents or other evidence that (at a minimum) one or more of these laboratories have had biological materials the existence of which is likely to prove embarrassing to the United States. The language used appears to my ear to imply that there are biological materials the existence of which could damage US strategic and tactical geopolitical interests.
It is likely that the “chain of custody” or veracity of any evidence which the Russian government may present to support their case will not be clean, and that there will be a strong effort by western media and information sources (social media, tech) to delegitimize any communication by Russia (as a government) and by any persons (Russian or otherwise) who present or attempt to discuss such communication. Including myself. It is highly likely that management of any information concerning this topic is already being globally handled by the Trusted News Initiative organization, and that obtaining or discussing unfiltered and unprocessed “raw” information will soon not be possible.
In other words, in my opinion, this is another topic that we will never be able to get to the bottom of, and we will never be able to discern something akin to objective “truth”. Best we can hope for is some sort of approximation of truth that is sort of like a kalidescope image viewed in a hall of mirrors.
In my opinion, the partnership relationship between DoD/DTRA (as historically structured) and the current government of Ukraine (which has functionally become a client state of the USA) was ill advised. At a minimum- this relationship has provided some semblance of political cover for military actions which the government of Russia believes are in its strategic interests, and which are of such importance that the Russian government was willing to take significant geopolitical and financial risk.
At a minimum, congressional testimony on this topic by a relevant US official representing DoD/DTRA should include a detailed description of the nature and capabilities of each of the facilities which have been funded, and a summary of the activities taking place therein. DoD inspection reports should be disclosed both to congressional investigators and the general public, with redaction if necessary for sensitive information. This would go a long way to dispelling concerns which the US public and global community may have, might help to reduce tensions, and at a minimum might mitigate the blowback which may damage the reputation of DoD/DTRA and the USG if not managed appropriately and intelligently.
Given the lack of faith engendered with the US public and global community after the demonstration of coordinated public health-related propaganda activities during the last two years (clearly involving USG-legacy media-social media-big tech coordination), mounting yet another propaganda campaign attempting to discredit all information and discussion of this topic is unlikely to be effective, and may boomerang. In my opinion.
Finally, the (mis)management of this whole mess personally reminds me of the mismanagement of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. I have no opinion or insight regarding whether the shooting war and subsequent cascade of tragic events could have been avoided, given the multiple geopolitical factors which provide motivators for Russian aggression in this context at this time. But focusing on the specifics of the biological laboratories in question, assuming that the intent and activities associated with the DoD/DTRA- Ukranian “cooperation/collaboration” (my term and quotes) was as benign as my deep state colleague asserts, the risk that the purpose and intent of these facilities would be misinterpreted by the government of Russia should have been assumed, and risks stemming from such misinterpretation should have been anticipated and mitigated.
Assessing whether or not there was adequate planning, risk evaluation, and risk mitigation for the obvious potential for Russian concerns and reaction, particularly given the historic tendency of the Kremlin to be a bit (understandably) paranoid, is absolutely a topic that merits investigation by Senate and House of Representative committees. I hope that this is something that both political parties can agree on.
But let’s please stop the propaganda/media war response to every crisis. This increasingly strikes me as very immature, and a horrible way to run a country. Grow up, own your mistakes, and stop trying to obfuscate them with a barrage of flying feces. The USA is supposed to be the dominant political, military, and economic power in the world at this point. So act like it. This reminds me of a young child that keeps seeking to blame everything bad that happens on someone or something else. Just stop it.
All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants too
Outside, in the distance
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
The wind began to howl
The US has zero credibility especially when it comes to militarism of any type. We've proven over and over again totally inept in exercising military muscle especially in far off parts of the world. Compare the relatively minor bombings and attacks that Russia is engaging in compared to our toppling of other governments by the CIA and how we have mercilessly bombed so many other countries, especially Iraq and Vietnam. Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges have written well on what is at stake with the current conflict. There is no major news outlet either on cable or newspaper that are not parroting the government talking points and they will continue to increase the amplitude until more and more people call on the US and NATO to get directly involved.
I was at WRAIR in the early 2000s (among other times), and a colleague who had moved to USAMRIID told me that after the fall of the Soviet Union we had essentially employed the BW scientists in the former Soviet states, at their old labs, to do safe biological work, in order to keep them from leaving their countries to gain employment in Russia, if they couldn't earn a living at home. That makes sense. What happened in the intervening years may be something different and, given that "the NIH never funded gain of function research in Wuhan" turned out to be a lie like a teenager, or Bill Clinton, would tell - possibly very technically true, but in actuality false - I'm not believing anything any feds tell me, just because they're telling me; show me the data. I also think there has been something unusual going on between the Deep State/Swamp creatures and Ukraine for a very long time and that this sudden "everyone display the Ukrainian flag and ask for donations and the Russians are evil" thing is highly suspicous - it looks like yet another op (operation).