Skip to comments.US Lab in Georgia at Center of Storm Over Biological Warfare Claims (Russia)
Posted on 10/15/2013 1:01:37 AM PDT by TexGrill
WASHINGTON, October 14 (RIA Novosti) A US-funded laboratory in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, accused by a prominent Russian official Monday of developing biological weapons, has been repeatedly touted by US officials as a key tool in guarding the region against dangerous infectious diseases.
This laboratory has the potential to become a regional center for disease surveillance, research, as well as biosafety and security, US Sen. Richard Lugar said in a speech last year at the christening of the laboratory that bears his name in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, several months before he retired from the Senate.
The laboratory, formally known as the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research, became the target of a renewed attack by Russian authorities Monday when Gennady Onishchenko, head of the state consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, expressed extreme concern about the lab.
According to our assessments, this laboratory constitutes an important offensive link in the US military-biological capability, Onishchenko was quoted by Russian media as saying, adding that compounds developed at the facility could be secretly employed to destabilize the political and economic situation in Russia.
It was the latest in a series of accusations this year by Onishchenko that the research center could be used for nefarious purposes, allegations that US and Georgian officials have repeatedly denied.
There still seems to be misperception that this laboratory is a military facility or is engaged in biological weapons research which is absurd, Richard Norland, the US ambassador to Georgia, said in July.
(Excerpt) Read more at en.ria.ru ...
Another angle would be the Russians themselves deciding that hitting a small region of their territory would be the perfect cassus belli. For instance, this particular case is about ASFV, a virus that the Soviets had worked on decades back as a weaponized biological agent to be used against agricultural targets. The Soviets used to have a developed biological weapons program, and I am certain that all that knowhow and material did not just get thrown in an autoclave. So, have an anthrax outbreak in a small part of that country that is easily quarantined, have scientists prove that it was weaponized by a government and not some lone idiot of a sot, which is easy to prove for Anthrax since the particles to be really effective have to be a certain size and without electrostatic charge, and then show that the attack 'must have' come from Georgia.
Anyways, that's an extreme scenario. More importantly, with Mikheil Saakashvili out of power, and Bidzina Ivanishvili pro-Russian stance, that even makes it less likely.
However, games with biological agents could potentially be worse than even nuclear arms brinkmanship.
As an aside, we need a "Byrd Rule" that says no government facility shall bear the name of a living politician. And since the cost of renaming the facility is too great a burden for the public, the solution is obvious.
Abkhazia in Georgia was a known site of Soviet bio-weapon research. They had a chimp farm there to use them for tests and the entire subtropical area of the Russian Black Sea coast was infested by runaway chimps in earlier 1990s after this farm was bombed in an earlier skirmishes between Georgia and their separatist minorities.
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