For a long time, Western companies have conducted much of their “dirty work” in other countries. Places like Mexico, Nigeria, and China have been popular because they are comparatively lax on worker safety, environmental protection, and transparency. Older readers may recall how Shell’s oil exploration in Nigeria and the conditions of the maquiladoras in Juarez used to be a common complaint of leftist activists, but you don’t hear much about “sweatshops” anymore.
Private companies know that the United States and Western Europe have strict laws and minimal corruption; it could destroy a company’s reputation and financials if it were to do the things at home that it does rather freely abroad. By contrast, when something is really important or really sensitive, it only makes sense to do it at home, where it can be done right and to the highest standards.
This is what makes the Russian and Chinese allegations about U.S. biological weapons facilities in Ukraine so peculiar. At first, it all sounded like internet “schizo posting.” It seemed highly unlikely that significant American resources would be devoted to such research, particularly in unstable Ukraine. On the flip side, the military and the CIA have conducted some of their dirty work overseas, including the controversial “black sites” and “renditioning” programs during the War on Terror.
While I do not know exactly what happened, I do know a liar when I see one, and U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland manifested the telltale signs of deception at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. When asked by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) if Ukraine has “chemical or biological weapons,” Nuland never answered yes or no, but instead, speaking slowly and uncomfortably, said that Ukraine merely has “biological research facilities.” This appeared to rattle Rubio, who had to move fast to blame any potential problems with these labs, including any release of their contents, on the Russians. Off the hook for her earlier admission, Nuland enthusiastically agreed.
There is a huge contradiction of saying, on the one hand, that these are just harmless research labs, and, at the same time, if Russian forces somehow released the contents of these labs it would be a major disaster.
Why in the world is the Department of Defense operating biological labs in Ukraine or anywhere else for that matter? Presumably, the Pentagon’s only interest in this subject is to make weapons or weapon countermeasures. It may well be the latter, as these programs are long-standing. The U.S. government even funded former Soviet labs in Russia in order to secure potentially dangerous source materials. But the publicly stated fear of these labs’ takeover makes the benign explanation less believable.
We know that anthrax and smallpox and other pathogens can do a lot of harm, either on purpose or incidentally, and probably should be subject to the highest standards. Even if everything is on the up and up, why take the risk of conducting such research in Ukraine? And, if it is too risky to do within our borders, why allow it in other countries with even less rigor when it comes to safety?
Consider the provenance of COVID-19, which wreaked havoc on the entire world. It almost certainly came from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, with the lab in question being funded by none other than Anthony Fauci and the National Institutes of Health, through the intermediary company, EcoHealth Alliance. These facts were suppressed as COVID emerged; instead, we were given lurid stories about wet markets, with alternatives dismissed as “disinformation” through highly coordinated messaging by public health officials, social media executives, and the mainstream media. A similar campaign is underway to dismiss any questions about the labs in Ukraine.
The 20 or so Pentagon-funded labs in Ukraine are stranger than the Wuhan “gain of function” research. For starters, biological weapons have been banned since 1975. We don’t have them, and we don’t use them . . . at least we are not supposed to.
Second, even before the war broke out, Ukraine was a poorly governed country, whose culture included the arrest of opposition figures, political murders, and massive theft by individuals across the political spectrum. As Hunter Biden has demonstrated, money sloshing around Ukraine can splash on American companies, the children of American politicians, grifters of all kinds, and benefit essentially everyone but the Ukrainian people themselves. None of this is consistent with safety for sensitive biological research.
Even if Ukraine has great potential, the United States was funding this potentially dangerous research while Ukraine was burdened by all the aforementioned aspects of its post-Soviet life, plus a hot war with separatists in its East. I should think a similar facility would not be opened in Iraq or Libya, but anything is possible when the government is involved.
Finally, when Joe Biden was saying for months that Russia would invade Ukraine and possibly use a false flag, why did no one think to shut down and evacuate these labs if they’re filled with such dangerous materials? While the Ukrainians may have been restrained by pride and wishful thinking about a Russian invasion, why did no one in the Pentagon or State Department make this priority known? These are, after all, considered to be weapons of mass destruction.
If you search for “biological threat reduction programs” the first thing that comes up is a link to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. Not only is this odd, but the links to the various documents describing the funding projects for a dozen or more Ukrainian labs are now dead, although an intrepid Bulgarian weapons researcher has made some of these documents available.
The same playbook of crying “conspiracy theories” and “disinformation” used to suppress difficult questions about the origins of COVID is now being used to defend Pentagon biological research activities in Ukraine. True congressional and media oversight would ask, how much money went to these labs? For what purpose did the Department of Defense fund this research? Why did this all take place in Ukraine of all places? Who is supervising these programs to ensure safety and financial accountability?
While there are many pressing issues at the moment—high gas prices, high crime, and serious risks to our national security—it is also relevant what the United States may have done to endanger the people in the region and potentially the entire world. As with political opposition research, Ukraine may be a place where Western governments outsourced other activities that were too dangerous or too illegal to conduct at home.