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Ebola: The German/American/Biological Warfare Connection

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by 10/02/2014. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #812 [2].  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748 [3].)

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[7]COMMENT: Many lis­ten­ers and read­ers have inquired about any thoughts we might have con­cern­ing the Ebo­la out­break in Africa. Over rough­ly four decades of observ­ing media behav­ior, we have learned to care­ful­ly scru­ti­nize jour­nal­is­tic spasms of the type we are see­ing vis a vis Ebo­la.

Although we have no hard infor­ma­tion of a pos­si­ble bio­log­i­cal war­fare link to the out­break, an arti­cle from for­mer Naval Intel­li­gence offi­cer Wayne Mad­sen is worth con­sid­er­ing in that regard. (When Mad­sen ven­tures into editorializing/opinion, we feel he strays well off the base, but his pro­fes­sion­al back­ground enables him to turn up some inter­est­ing, use­ful mate­r­i­al. As far as many of his opin­ions, how­ev­er, CAVEAT EMPTOR.)

In 2009, Ger­many was pon­der­ing the ship­ment of dead­ly pathogens, includ­ing Ebo­la virus to Ft. Det­rick in Mary­land. They voiced con­cern about the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the sam­ples might be weaponized, pos­si­bly giv­ing them­selves plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty in the event that they were used for bio­log­i­cal war pur­pos­es.

Mad­sen’s arti­cle also high­lights the issue of German/American bio­log­i­cal war­fare  coop­er­a­tion.

For back­ground on Ft. Det­rick and bio­log­i­cal war­fare devel­op­ment, see (among oth­er pro­grams) AFA #16 [8], FTR #‘s 16 [9], 642 [10]  686 [11]. For back­ground on German/American coop­er­a­tion on bio­log­i­cal war­fare, see (among oth­er pro­grams) FTR #‘s 606 [12]682 [13].

Mad­sen also points to the Ger­man OTRAG facil­i­ty as one that pro­vid­ed a base for bio­log­i­cal war­fare oper­a­tions in Africa dur­ing the Cold War. For more about OTRAG, see FTR #25 [14].

In FTR #820 [15], Ed Haslam not­ed that his father was dis­cussing Ebo­la Val­ley Fever in the ear­ly 1960’s, well before it was sup­pos­ed­ly dis­cov­ered.

We also note in this regard that Oba­ma’s han­dling of the Ebo­la out­break has been an ongo­ing focal point for crit­i­cism of his admin­is­tra­tion by the GOP. Might that have been part of the intent, IF, in fact, the out­break was an “op?”

Anoth­er curi­ous aspect of Mad­sen’s arti­cle con­cerns the sam­ples that Fort Det­rick was seek­ing. We are of the opin­ion that all of those pathogens are already stock­piled by Ft. Det­rick. Might they be com­par­ing the sam­ples that Ger­many has, in order to com­pare them with sam­ples that may have been released in Africa, or might be released in the future? Might the Ger­mans be seek­ing to dis­tract atten­tion from their activ­i­ties by divert­ing the dis­cus­sion to issues of pro­lif­er­a­tion?

“Amer­i­ca’s Weaponiza­tion of Ebo­la” by Wayne Mad­sen; Strate­gic Cul­ture Foun­da­tion; 10/24/2014. [16]

Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma has received a tor­rent of crit­i­cism for dis­patch­ing U.S. troops and Nation­al Guards­men to the Ebo­la-rav­aged West African coun­tries of Liberia, Sier­ra Leone, and Guinea to help con­trol the spread of the high­ly-lethal Ebo­la-Zaire hem­or­rhag­ic virus. While Cuba has sent qual­i­fied doc­tors to the strick­en region, Oba­ma has respond­ed with troops answer­ing to the U.S. Africa Com­mand in Stuttgart, Ger­many.

Evi­dence has recent­ly sur­faced in a 2009 U.S. embassy Berlin cable to the U.S. State and Defense Depart­ments that Ger­man author­i­ties hes­i­tat­ed to send hem­or­rhag­ic fever cul­tures to the sus­pect­ed bio­log­i­cal war­fare lab­o­ra­to­ry at the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute of Infec­tious Dis­eases (USAMRIID) in Fort Det­rick, Mary­land because the Ger­mans feared the Army might «weaponize» the cul­tures.

The cable, clas­si­fied as «Sen­si­tive», is dat­ed Decem­ber 15, 2009 and states:

«Ger­man MFA [Min­istry of For­eign Affairs] Deputy Head of Divi­sion for Export Con­trol Markus Klinger pro­vid­ed the fol­low­ing non-paper to Econoff [Embassy Eco­nom­ics Offi­cer], seek­ing addi­tion­al assur­ances relat­ed to a pro­posed export of extreme­ly dan­ger­ous pathogens to the U.S. Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute for Infec­tious Dis­eases. The Army’s end use cer­tifi­cate pro­vid­ed to Ger­many is lack­ing an offi­cial seal. Klinger’s deputy, Nan­cy Reck, not­ed that Ger­many had made two fol­low-up requests to the Army seek­ing assur­ances and clar­i­fi­ca­tions relat­ed to this pro­posed export. The GOG [Gov­ern­ment of Ger­many] seeks assur­ances from the USG [US Gov­ern­ment] or US Army that the end use cer­tifi­cate and the infor­ma­tion con­tained there­in are legit­i­mate and accu­rate».

The «non-paper» ref­er­ence is to an «aide-mem­oire», what is known in the diplo­mat­ic world as a note with­out an author, source, or title that is used to pre­pare for nego­ti­a­tions. The fol­low­ing «non-paper», which was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten in Ger­man, was trans­lat­ed by the embassy and sent to Wash­ing­ton:

Against the back­ground of our part­ner­ship in the area of non-pro­lif­er­a­tion and our excel­lent coop­er­a­tion in the mat­ters of export con­trols, we would like to bring the fol­low­ing issue to the atten­tion of your gov­ern­ment.

A Ger­man firm has applied for the approval of the export of 184 genet­ic ele­ments with nucle­ic acid sequences of virus­es for the pro­duc­tion of recom­bi­nant virus­es. The virus­es will be used in opti­cal imag­ing to iden­ti­fy host fac­tors required for viral repli­ca­tion. The recip­i­ent in the USA is, accord­ing to the enclosed end use cer­tifi­cate, the Depart­ment of the Army ‘US Army Med­ical Research Insti­tute for Infec­tious Dis­eases (USAMRIID)’ Fort Det­rick, Mary­land.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions in Eng­lish about the goods, the recip­i­ent and end use can be seen from the end use cer­tifi­cate. The goods are con­trolled by the Aus­tralia Group and are sub­ject to com­pul­so­ry export approval (List posi­tion C1C353A). This mat­ter con­cerns the com­plete genome of virus­es such as the Zaire Ebo­la virus, the Lake Vic­to­ria Mar­burg virus, the Machupo virus and the Las­sa virus, which are absolute­ly among the most dan­ger­ous pathogens in the world. The deliv­ery would place the recip­i­ent in the posi­tion of being able to cre­ate repli­cat­ing recom­bi­nant infec­tious species of these virus­es.

Because of the par­tic­u­lar crit­i­cal­i­ty of these goods, the Ger­man fed­er­al gov­ern­ment prac­tices an excep­tion­al­ly restric­tive approval pol­i­cy for such exports. An approval here can only be issued if an improp­er end use in asso­ci­a­tion with the devel­op­ment or pro­duc­tion of bio­log­ic weapons approach­es can be fore­closed with a prob­a­bil­i­ty approach­ing cer­tain­ty. The enclosed end use cer­tifi­cate is on the let­ter­head of the U.S. Army. The required offi­cial seal is miss­ing, how­ev­er. A deci­sion about the export has not yet been made. Giv­en the fore­go­ing, we would appre­ci­ate con­fir­ma­tion that the end use cer­tifi­cate real­ly is from the Depart­ment of the Army and of the accu­ra­cy of the data con­tained there­in. We look for­ward to the con­tin­u­a­tion of our excel­lent coop­er­a­tion in mat­ters of non-pro­lif­er­a­tion and export con­trols.»

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment specif­i­cal­ly stat­ed that the abil­i­ty of Fort Det­rick to «cre­ate repli­cat­ing recom­bi­nant infec­tious species» of dan­ger­ous hem­or­rhag­ic virus­es could vio­late inter­na­tion­al con­trols on the export of dan­ger­ous weapons of mass destruc­tion that are enforced by the Aus­tralia Group of sig­na­to­ries to bio­log­i­cal, chem­i­cal, and nuclear export treaties.

The Ger­mans are in a posi­tion to be well aware of past U.S. involve­ment in bio­log­i­cal war­fare oper­a­tions, espe­cial­ly in Zaire, where, in 1976, the first major out­break of the Zaire Ebo­la virus, ref­er­enced by the Ger­mans in their aide-mem­oire, occurred near the Ebo­la Riv­er in north­ern Zaire (now the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Con­go).

In 1976, while the CIA was exper­i­ment­ing with Ebo­la and HIV in Zaire as part of its ille­gal covert war against the Marx­ist gov­ern­ment of Ango­la, Orbital Trans­port und Raketen AG (OTRAG), or Orbital Trans­port and Rock­ets, Inc., a Stuttgart-based West Ger­man cor­po­ra­tion close­ly linked to West Ger­many’s Bun­desnachrich­t­en­di­enst (BND) intel­li­gence ser­vice and the U.S. Nation­al Aero­nau­tics and Space Admin­is­tra­tion (NASA), helped estab­lish a huge 100,000-square mile rock­et base in the Sha­ba (Katan­ga) province of Zaire.

The base was not only involved in launch­ing rock­ets but also in pro­vid­ing the CIA with a base of oper­a­tions against the Marx­ist gov­ern­ment of neigh­bor­ing Ango­la. The autho­riza­tion for the CIA to use the OTRAG zone as a base of oper­a­tions for its ille­gal sup­port for right-wing guer­ril­las in Ango­la came from Sec­re­tary of State Hen­ry Kissinger and the oper­a­tions were car­ried out by CIA direc­tor George Bush.

OTRAG’s Zaire base was shut down in 1979 and it was relo­cat­ed, cour­tesy of Libyan leader Muam­mar Qaddafi, to the Libyan Desert in 1981. Sovi­et leader Leonid Brezh­nev was so con­cerned about the OTRAG base’s offen­sive capa­bil­i­ties he pres­sured French Pres­i­dent Valery Gis­card d’Es­taing to weigh in with Mobu­tu to force the base’s ouster from Zaire. The Ger­man government’s present con­cern about the Amer­i­can weaponiza­tion of hem­or­rhag­ic fevers that have plagued Zaire/Congo indi­cates that Brezh­nev was cor­rect in sus­pect­ing the actu­al pur­pose of the OTRAG base. The first Ebo­la out­break in Zaire in 1976 coin­cides with the start of oper­a­tions at the OTRAG base.

The CIA’s long­time Tech­ni­cal Ser­vices Direc­tor, Dr. Sid­ney Got­tlieb, who came up with var­i­ous ways to infect CIA tar­gets like Con­golese Prime Min­is­ter Patrice Lumum­ba, Cuba’s Fidel Cas­tro, and Iraqi leader Gen­er­al Abdel Karim Kassem with lethal tox­ins, admit­ted to a con­gres­sion­al hear­ing that as ear­ly as 1960 he dis­posed in the Con­go Riv­er a large quan­ti­ty of virus­es to con­t­a­m­i­nate any­one who used the riv­er for drink­ing water.

The U.S. embassy in Lusa­ka, Zam­bia was quick to report in an Octo­ber 3, 2008 cable to Wash­ing­ton the out­break of an unknown virus among six South African mem­bers of a safari group on the Low­er Zam­bezi Riv­er that was caused by «per­son-to-per­son trans­mis­sion may be via bod­i­ly flu­ids — vom­it, sali­va, blood, etc.» How­ev­er, with only pre­lim­i­nary evi­dence from the CDC, the embassy was quick to rule out «Ebo­la, Mar­burg, and Crimean-Con­go» as the cause of the ill­ness of the South Africans.

The Wal­ter Reed Johns Hop­kins Cameroon Pro­gram (WRJHCP), based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and involv­ing both the CIA-con­nect­ed U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment (USAID) and the U.S. Mil­i­tary HIV Research Pro­gram (USMHRP), has been close­ly «mon­i­tor­ing» Cameroon’s bor­der with the Repub­lic of Con­go for Ebo­la and oth­er hem­or­rhag­ic fever out­breaks.

It is not only in Africa that the Unit­ed States is sus­pect­ed of vio­lat­ing the 1972 Bio­log­i­cal War­fare Con­ven­tion by engag­ing in bio-weapons research. In addi­tion to the Unit­ed States, an Octo­ber 4, 2008 cable from the U.S. Mis­sion in Gene­va to Wash­ing­ton stat­ed that Ukraine, then under the rule of pro-NATO Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yushchenko, was insist­ing that com­pli­ance with the Bio­log­i­cal War­fare Con­ven­tion was the respon­si­bil­i­ty of «indi­vid­ual sci­en­tists’» adher­ing to unen­force­able «codes of con­duct.»

Anoth­er 2008 cable from the U.S. embassy in Mani­la describes how the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol assist­ed the Philip­pines in exam­in­ing the out­break of the milder form of Reston Ebo­la in the Philip­pines swine stock. The Reston strain gets its name from a 1989 out­break of Ebo­la at the Reston Pri­mate Quar­an­tine Unit in Vir­ginia, near Wash­ing­ton, DC that killed a num­ber of pri­mates. The facil­i­ty was linked to Ebo­la and Mar­burg virus research at Fort Det­rick. Viral out­breaks in South­east Asia, such as that Ebo­la Reston swine out­break in the Philip­pines, also involved researchers from the U.S. Naval Med­ical Research Unit (NAMRU‑2) in Jakar­ta, Indone­sia. Sev­er­al Indone­sian health offi­cials and politi­cians have charged that the U.S. Navy facil­i­ty is not only involved in bio-war­fare research but also direct­ly assist­ing U.S. Big Phar­ma com­pa­nies in research of air­borne influen­za, such as H5N1 avian flu, as well as anthrax, infec­tious bur­sal dis­ease, and oth­er pathogens.

Indone­sian Health Min­is­ter Siti Fadi­lah Supari charged that NAMRU‑2 was ille­gal­ly send­ing bio­log­i­cal spec­i­mens out of the coun­try. Indone­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Hasan War­i­ju­da demand­ed to know why NAMRU‑2 per­son­nel enjoyed diplo­mat­ic immu­ni­ty. Soerip­to, the Deputy Chair of Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sion III on Law and Human Rights, claimed that NAM­RUs were a front for intel­li­gence activ­i­ties and called for NAMRU‑2’s imme­di­ate clo­sure. In 2010, the Indone­sian gov­ern­ment ordered NAMRU‑2 to close and it was relo­cat­ed to Pearl Har­bor, Hawaii. NAMRU‑2 main­tains a detach­ment in Phnom Penh, Cam­bo­dia.

The Navy con­tin­ues to main­tain NAMRU‑3 in Cairo, NAMRU‑K in Nairo­bi, NSAMRU‑6 in Lima, and a spe­cial detach­ment in Bangkok. These facil­i­ties are engaged in the same type of «research,» includ­ing of hem­or­rhag­ic fever and influen­za out­breaks, which result­ed in NAMRU‑2’s «walk­ing orders» from Jakar­ta. All these Navy units have rela­tion­ships with the peren­ni­al­ly sus­pect USAID, which main­tains its own «Pub­lic Health Team.» Per­son­nel from NAMRU‑3 and the U.S. Air Force School of Aero­space Med­i­cine in Land­stuhl, Ger­many were sent to Kuwait in August 2009 to inves­ti­gate the sud­den out­break of H1N1 swine flu among U.S. troops sta­tioned at Camp Arif­jan.

U.S. activ­i­ties at Land­stuhl, Stuttgart, Germany’s OTRAG base in Zaire, and a research insti­tute seek­ing to export Ebo­la and oth­er dead­ly pathogens to Fort Det­rick have focused on Ger­many as a nexus for America’s qui­et treaty-vio­lat­ing bio-war­fare research. One sin­gle cable out of a tranche of 250,000 cables released to Wik­iLeaks has pro­vid­ed the «smok­ing test tube» for this ille­gal research that may be behind the cur­rent Ebo­la out­break in West Africa.