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Lugar Laboratory in Georgia, opened on 18 March 2011. Photo supplied

Biological weapons produced by US in Georgia?

In an exclusive interview with the ex-minister for State Security of Georgia, Igor Giorgadse, FWM uncovers details of a double-purpose project run by the Pentagon.

Published: February 7, 2019, 7:15 am

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    On December 19 last year in Moscow, in the building of the Russian news service Interfax, the ex-minister for State Security of Georgia, Igor Giorgadse held a press-conference during which he stated that the Lugar laboratory located near Tbilisi, has a double-purpose objective, run with the active presence of American military forces.

    One of the documents contain the list of dead persons treated for Hepatitis C. According to Washington and Tbilisi, this is the main focus of the activity at the Lugar Centre. In the document there are troubling details: for example, in December 2016, some 24 persons (whose names were replaced with laboratory numbers) died in one day, and the column “reason for death” states “unknown”.

    Moreover, according to these papers, the standard administered anti-Hepatitis medicines resulted in many patients at the centre suffering from  lymph node cancer and leukemia. A FWM reporter managed to meet with Igor Giorgadse in Moscow to ask him some questions.

    Mr. Giorgadse, after an expert appraisal by yourself and your colleagues, is it feasible that all the documents you published about the Lugar laboratory could be authentic?

    Giorgadse: They are absolutely and completely authentic. I stated as much in an interview with the BBC because there are no doubts about it. Unless the laboratory itself was developed to spread disinformation, with $160 million invested to show Igor Giorgadse inauthentic document [laughs] – these are absolutely authentic documents. The laboratory workers acknowledged it. They were presented with these documents and they responded by saying ‘yes, these are ours’.

    Some documents contain the concept of a drone used for releasing infected insects into the air. It appears to have been only in concept-form, because the picture of the drone is very schematic and elementary. But the question arises: has it already been put into action or is it still an idea only?

    Igor Giorgadze is former Minister of State Security of Georgia(1993–1995) and the current leader of the “Samartlianoba” (Justice) Party. FWM

    Giorgadse: Firstly, the documents do not show this. Secondly, we see drones every day. It is quite simple to make holes for mosquitos to fly out. You press the button, it opens and they fly out. It can be done easily. But there is no tell tale article being stored at their place, only the concept contained in the documents, similar to the gun for firing a biological cartridge. Can I say that they produced it? No, I cannot. But I ask the question: why do you need it? Why is it needed at the laboratory supervising the health of Georgia? Nobody has an answer. They only say: ‘This is Russian propaganda.’ What propaganda?!

    In another interview, you noted that multi-discipline experts serving on a commission will be consulted and called to perform an assessment of the documents. There are some specific questions that should be considered by medical, biological experts, etc.

    Giorgadse: Yes! We need a proper examination… Do you know how many documents we have? Like this! [He shows a huge pile of papers with his hands]

    Have you found such people yet?

    Giorgadse: They do come. Someone may come for 2-3 days, work and leave. We do not have permanent people able to do research. That is why we have an advertisement on our website saying: Anybody, please help! We do not have funds to pay a salary, etc. That is why, we remain grateful [for help]. Perhaps it is through word-of-mouth that some experts respond and join us.

    The mainstream media reported that “in Georgia there are some biological objectives taking place which are controlled by Pentagon: Tbilisi National Center for Control of Infectious Diseases, Centre for supporting reduction of threats in Kutaisi, storage of very hazardous biological substances at a military base near Tbilisi, Planting laboratory in Kobuleti; Institute for Microbiology, Virus Science and Bacteriophages in Tbilisi”. Is there any coordination between these objectives?

    Giorgadse: Such connections are not tracked in the documents we studied. I would say that there is no such connection because we have not completed our research yet. We move gradually, it is very difficult for us to do it. Because it should be done much faster on permanent basis, however… That is why we do not have any documents proving it.

    Some experts have linked the ASF (African Swine Fever) outbreak in several countries in Eastern Europe, such as Georgia, in Baltic countries, with the activity of this Lugar base…

    Giorgadse: Once again: I heard that it was linked. Actually, there are people who say that there is a direct connection. There are many interviews where local inhabitants of Alekseevka say that there was blue smoke, everybody vomited, etc. All this information comes from reports, stories, interviews. The documents do not contain anything like this. That is why I take responsibility for the information contained in the documents only.

    In 2014 in Georgia 34 persons were infected with Congo-Crimean Ebola hemorrhagic fever, three of them died…

    Giorgadse: The documents contain the reports concerning storage and work with these strains but is it the leakage from this laboratory?

    You requested that US President Donald Trump’s administration carry out an investigation. Were there any answers or consequences?

    Giorgadse: No. There was only a rebuke from Mr Eric Pahon. He is an official, a spokesperson at the US Ministry of Defense.

    He said that ‘Giorgadse’s accusations are ridiculous’?

    Giorgadse: Yes. First of all, there were no accusations. You’ve  heard that I do not accuse anybody of anything. But Pahon did not answer any of my questions.

    The mainstream media got the information that according to different data sets, Ukraine are currently operating some 13 to 15 laboratories that develop viruses. And the same in Baltic and other countries – and all these countries share a border with Russia.

    Giorgadse: You are asking a citizen of Georgia. I attended the talk show with Mr Onishchenko [earlier – Chief Sanitary Inspector of the Russian Federation, head of Rospotrebnadzor in 1996—2013]. He talked about this unambiguously. He said: look at the map, Russia is being surrounded and it cannot happen without consequences for Russia. He is a professional, he knows what an epidemic is, he knows how they are manufactured, how it may be neutralized as well as distributed. That is why I trust him.

    In 2015 the MFA of Russia claimed that a medical and research detachment of the US land forces registered the Lugar laboratory. What is the situation now?

    Giorgadse: I know, I have the document, that in March 2018… [thumbs through pages]: the head of the medical command of the US land forces, Brigadier General Barbara Hallcomb came and met with the Georgian Minister of Health. The main aim of her visit was an inspection of the activity of the detachment of the Reed Institute in Georgia which she is in charge of.

    What is the Reed Institute?

    Lugar laboratory has one more detachment run by US land forces. It is called the Walter Reed Research and Development Institute, the largest bio-medical research and development establishment. The institute is located in the state of Maryland – well, actually it is near Tbilisi [he says mockingly with a smile]. Just – pass here, turn there and you are in Tbilisi! It was established in 1953. The task of the institute is to perform bio-medical research meeting the requirements of the US Ministry of Defense – not health care!

    The US Ministry of Defense! When I’m asked: ‘Why did you get so worked up?’ I say I’m an intelligence man, I’m a counterintelligence officer. We were taught this and I applied it in practice – there are clear signs.

    If you arrive at home and see that socks are here, trousers… and a person lying on his back – probably you will think that he is drunk. Right? These are indirect signs. But you should turn him over – it’s possibly a dead man. The indirect signs tell us that 17 km away from Tbilisi there is at least one double-purpose laboratory.

    Why is it there? Because you woke up in the state of Maryland and said: ‘Wow, I need to go to Tbilisi!’. Hey, guys, stop telling lies! Don’t make fools of us. Please, see where they [USE] perform research – in Africa, Asia, Europe. With the assistance of the governments where they have such laboratories. And here they sit at the Lugar laboratory – 500 sqm. There is a map showing where they are located. Today I showed these slides [during the press-conference ]. Here is the source of our apprehensions!

    So, this laboratory operates directly in the interests of a military agency?

    Giorgadse: Yes. And it is not hidden!

    It leads to the question – does this say anything about the sovereignty of the country of Georgia?

    Giorgadse: Now you are entering into the area of politics, and I was talking about the humanitarian aspect. You should ask the former administration of the USA and the ex-President of Georgia convicted in Georgia about it. How did he view Georgian sovereignty?

    And the fact that as soon as it was elected, the current government signed the agreement with the US side to transfer the laboratory and put it under the jurisdiction of Health care – this is the move that you are talking about – about sovereignty.

    But it can’t be stopped in one day… One remains responsible for what ones predecessors did. You cannot come and say: ‘I do not like this laboratory’. Moreover, we depend on this country in many aspects.

    Does the Georgian Government and society at large realise how dangerous such laboratory could be?

    Giorgadse: If it is not felt, it means that we have not spoken about it enough. We should speak louder.

    Is it being discussed in Georgia?

    Giorgadse: TV programs of a different nature were broadcast and there have been calls to look into it. There were also on-air declarations such as ‘Come on, this is Russian propaganda!’.

    This may seem unrelated to this subject but the question is linked indirectly. Now that presidential elections are over in Georgia, you know the political scene of Georgia well, because you had your own party – how do you estimate the results? What foreign policy direction may be expected from Salome Zurabishvili?

    Giorgadse: Here’s the deal: this will be the last question about politics, because I came to talk about other things. I’ll make an exception for you and answer your question. The thing that happened during the presidential elections in Georgia will prove that society – the main thing – Georgian society no longer accepts the actions of [Mikheil] Saakashvili. His candidate failed. This is the main thing.

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