The Portland Police Bureau began using tear gas on Black Lives Matters protesters almost as soon as they first assembled in late May. Mayor Ted Wheeler acknowledged that the city has used “CS” tear gas. The commonly used formulation contains 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, a compound that was designed to induce immediate pain but can also have long-term effects, including chronic bronchitis. In early September, Wheeler ordered the police to stop using it. Tear gas is banned in war but can be used to disperse crowds of civilians.
“Cuban Outbreak of Swine Fever Linked to CIA” headlined a January 9, 1977, article by Drew Featherston and John Cummings in Newsday, a Long Island, New York, daily paper. It began,
With at least the tacit backing of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officials, operatives linked to anti-Castro terrorists introduced African swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971. Six weeks later an outbreak of the disease forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic.
A U.S. intelligence source told Newsday he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked container at a U.S. Army base and CIA training ground in the Panama Canal Zone, with instructions to turn it over to the anti-Castro group.
The 1971 outbreak, the first and only time the disease has hit the Western Hemisphere, was labeled the “most alarming event” of 1971 by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. African swine fever is a highly contagious and usually lethal viral disease that infects only pigs and, unlike swine flu, cannot be transmitted to humans. There were no human deaths in the outbreak, but all production of pork, a Cuban staple, came to a halt, apparently for several months. . . .
The U.S. intelligence source said that early in 1971 he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked container at Ft. Gulick, an Army base in the Panama Canal Zone. The CIA also operated a paramilitary training center for career personnel and mercenaries at Ft. Gulick. . . .
Another man involved in the operation, a Cuban exile who asked not to be identified, said he was on the trawler where the virus was put aboard at a rendezvous point off Bocas del Toro, Panama. He said the trawler carried the virus to Navassa Island, a tiny, deserted, U.S.-owned island between Jamaica and Haiti. From there, after the trawler made a brief stopover, the container was taken to Cuba and given to other operatives on the southern coast near the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in late March, according to the source on the trawler.
It was an explosive story, reprinted in newspapers across the country. The CIA officially denied it six days later, in response to a request from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, but the Newsday reporters had cited so many corroborating sources, with such specific details, that the denial was not widely believed.
The most compelling reason for trusting the credibility of the Newsday report was that the only place in the Western Hemisphere where the virus was known to have been kept before the outbreak in Cuba was at the secret Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) laboratory off the eastern tip of Long Island, where local Newsday reporters had been cultivating sources since the one and only time reporters had been allowed inside in October 1971.
Plum Island had hosted the U.S. Army Chemical Corps base at Fort Terry from 1952 to 1956. According to Deadly Cultures: Biological Weapons since 1945 by Mark Wheelis and Lajos Rózsa, the mission at Fort Terry was “to establish and pursue a program of research and development of certain anti-animal (BW) agents.” (a.k.a. biological weapons) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) took over from the Army in 1956.
President Richard Nixon ordered biological weapons research to cease in 1969, but in 1975 the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence revealed that the CIA had continued to maintain a stockpile of biological agents and toxins in violation of the order.
In the closing days of World War 2, the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved the offensive use of germ warfare aimed at destroying enemy crops, placing final approval at the discretion its top commanders in the field, according to Office of Strategic Services (OSS) documents formerly classified “Secret” and “Top Secret” held in the National Archives.
Actual approval by U.S. authorities for the offensive use of any type of biological warfare has never been published before. As we shall see, it was the practice of the U.S. government to only pass on such orders orally. Most likely this was because the orders involved actions widely deemed to be illegal.
During the early 1950s War on Korea the U.S. used biological weapons against North Korea and China. Bombs designed to spread leaflets were filled with plague infested rats and dropped on Korean towns. Various infecting insects were released. Leaflets were contaminated with small pox and then distributed. Several local epidemics were caused by these attacks.
The program was a continuation of one which a special unit of the Imperial Japanese Army had developed during the second world war. Unit 731 and its leaders were not indicted for the war crimes they had committed during the war but integrated into the U.S. biological warfare program.
The Soviet Union and China made political noise about the use of biological weapons but the U.S. stoically denied that it ever used such weapons. U.S. pilots, shot down and imprisoned by the North Korean forces, admitted that they had dropped such bombs. The U.S. then falsely alleged that the pilots had been tortured and must have lied. This led to demands to train all pilots to resist torture measures:
Since World War II the U.S. Airforce and Navy had established training courses in Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) for pilots that might be captured by enemies. During these courses interrogations were staged to provide realistic training. After the Korea War anti-torture training was added. Torture of “prisoners” was “simulated” with the trainees. Decades later, during the war of terror and on Iraq, the CIA hired two psychologists from the SERE training staff as “behavioral science consultants” to teach its agents how to use torture on prisoners. The absolutely inhuman and dangerous methods those SERE “experts” devised proliferated to the U.S. military which, together with the CIA, used them on alleged enemy combatants in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other places.
Now back to the War on Korea. The Chinese and Soviets sponsored the International Scientific Commission (ISC) headed by one of the foremost British scientists of his time, Sir Joseph Needham, to investigate the use of biological weapons during the war. Three years ago we wrote about its report:
For a long time the commission’s report and its appendices with the witness statements were suppressed and not available online. Jefferey Kay, a psychologist and author living in northern California, dug them up and recently published them (recommended) on the web for the first time. You can read them here:
- Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China. – pdf
- Appendixes AA and BB concerning claims of air attacks against various villages in Northeastern China in the Spring of 1952. – pdf
Sir Joseph Needham was blacklisted by the U.S. during the McCarthy anti-communist campaign.
Needham’s investigations have since been confirmed by other scholars investigating the general case.
Now Jeffrey Kaye has dug up additional documents which confirm the other reports of U.S. germ attacks on North Korea and China. Interestingly these documents are from the CIA.