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Biological + Chemical

 
  

Project: History of US Interventions

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1987

       The Foundation for Economic Trends forces the Department of Defense to divulge its operation of 127 chemical and biological warfare research sites in the US. This despite a treaty at the time banning research and development of biological agents. [Article; Article; Article; Article]
          

May 1998

       The US Senate approves legislation that restricts international inspections of chemical sites in the United States, effectively killing the Chemical Weapons Convention. [Article]
          

July 1998

       CNN and Time magazine are forced to retract their reports under pressure from the US military, the CIA and figures such as Kissinger, Helms and Colin Powell. The two reporters who brought us the story stand by it and are fired.

An independent review by CNN however acknowledges that the reporters conscientiously and honestly amassed a considerable basis of evidence to support their conclusions, and that the confidential sources interviewed by the reporters were reputable. [Article; Article; Article; Article; Article]

          

July 1998

       CNN and Time magazine report on the use of nerve gas by US special forces in Laos. [Time article]
          

Oct 1998

       Dutch media claim that an Israeli plane which crashed in Holland was carrying a chemical used for nerve gas from a US factory to the Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona near Tel Aviv. The Dutch health ministry believes that up to 300 residents could be suffering from effects caused by the accident. [BBC article; Article; Article]
          

Feb-Mar 2001

       Israel (the world's top recipient of US military aid) uses poison gas on Palestinian civilians. Symptoms are typical of nerve gas poisoning. [Article; Article; Article; Article]
          

July 2001

       US renounces efforts to negotiate a verification process for the Biological Weapons Convention and brings an international conference on the matter to a halt. [Article; Article; Article]
          

August 2001

       US refuses to sign an international treaty banning germ warfare, saying it would put national security and confidential business information at risk. [BBC article]
          

Dec 2001

       Some of the anthrax spores used in the recent anthrax attacks in the US are found to be biologically identical to bacteria secretly manufactured at a US germ warfare facility at the Dugway Proving Ground (about 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah) during the last decade. The lab has a long history of secret research (including dengue fever and a controversy in the 60s when thousands of sheep and other animals died downwind of the facility, showing symptoms of having been exposed to nerve gas), and the revelation that it has been secretly producing Anthrax only adds to concerns. [Washington Post article; Article; Article]
          

April 2002

       For the second time in the month, an anthrax leak is found at an Army biodefense research building in Frederick. [Washington Post article]
          

May 2002

       The Pentagon acknowledges using two kinds of nerve gas and a biological toxin in tests on over 1000 US sailors in the 1960s. [CBS News article; Article; Article]
          

Oct 2002

       Pentagon documents reveal that the US held open-air biological and chemical weapons tests in at least three states - Alaska, Hawaii and Utah - during the 1960s 'to try to develop defenses against such weapons', using the nerve agents sarin, soman, tabun and VX . According to the Defense Dept, an unknown number of civilians were exposed at the time to 'simulants', or what were then thought to be harmless agents meant to stand in for deadlier ones, however some of which were later discovered to be dangerous. [Reuters article; Article; Article; Article; Article; Article]
          

Oct 2002

       Respected scientists on both sides of the Atlantic warn that the US is developing a new generation of weapons that undermine and possibly violate international treaties on biological and chemical warfare, including research into the possibility of genetically engineering a new strain of antibiotic-resistant anthrax, a programme to produce dried and weaponised anthrax spores, and 'non-lethal' weapons similar to the gas Russian forces used to break the Moscow theatre siege. [Guardian article]
          

Dec 2002

       A Sunday Herald investigation reveals that Britain is supplying chemical warfare technology to 26 countries including Libya, Syria, Sudan, Israel and Iran (which was labelled part of the 'axis of evil' by Bush). The lethal chemicals being exported are illegal under international law and controlled under the chemical weapons convention because they can be used in weapons of mass destruction. [Sunday Herald article]
          

Dec 2002

       Iraq releases weapons declaration. Before releasing to the public, the US Government confiscates all 12,000 pages, saying they contained "sensitive information" which needed "a little editing". Sensitive indeed. The original Iraqi documents listed 150 American, British and other foreign companies that supplied Iraq with its nuclear, chemical and missile technology, many of them in illegal transactions. In 2000 Peter Hain, then a Foreign Office Minister, blocked a parliamentary request to publish the full list of lawbreaking British companies. He has never explained why. [Article; Article]
          

Jan 6, 2003

       Artillery shell found to be leaking mustard gas (a poisonous chemical compound used in World War I) at the US Blue Grass Army Depot which stores about 55,000 rockets, land mines and other artillery with about 523 tons of chemical weapons. [Article; Article]
          

Feb 5, 2003

       Donald Rumsfeld reveals that military planners are preparing for the US to use incapacitating biochemical weapons in an invasion of Iraq, including use of gas or aerosols on unarmed Iraqi civilians, in caves, and on prisoners (thus violating the same treaties it purports to defend). [Independent article; Article; Article; Article; Article]
          
       US army scientists genetically reconstruct the 'Spanish Flu' influenza virus that killed 20-40 million people in 1918. [Article; Article; Article]
          

Oct 2003

       The US develops an extremely deadly form of mousepox, a relative of the smallpox virus, through genetic engineering. The cowpox virus, which infects a range of animals including humans, is also genetically altered in a similar way. [New Scientist article; Article; Article; Article; Article]
          

Today

       Vietnamese continue to suffer from Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used by US forces during the Vietnam war, which has been blamed for huge numbers of birth defects. [BBC article; Article; Article]
          


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